next BRICS summit, in Goa, is less than two months away. Compared
to only two years ago, the geopolitical tectonic plates have moved
with astonishing speed. Most
BRICS nations are mired in deep crisis; Brazil’s endless
political/economic/institutional debacle may yield the Kafkaesque
impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.
is in a coma. What’s
surviving is RC: the Russia/China strategic partnership. Yet even the
partnership seems to be in trouble – with Russia still attacked by
myriad metastases of Hybrid War. The
– Exceptionalist – Hegemon remains powerful, and the opposition
is dazed and confused.
but surely – see for instance the
possibility of an ATM (Ankara-Tehran-Moscow)
coalition in the making – global power continues to insist on
shifting East. That
goes beyond Russia’s pivoting to Asia; Germany’s industrialists
are just waiting for the right political conjunction, before the end
of the decade, to also pivot to Asia, conforming a BMB
already rules over Europe. The only way for a global trade power to
solidify its reach is to go East. NATO member Germany, with a GDP
that outstrips the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, is not even
allowed to share information with the “Five Eyes” secret cabal.
Putin, years ago, was keen on a Lisbon-to-Vladivostok emporium. He
may eventually be rewarded – delayed gratification? – by BMB, a
trade/economic union that, combined with the Chinese-driven One Belt,
One Road (OBOR), will eventually dwarf and effectively replace the
dwindling post-WWII Anglo-Saxon crafted/controlled international
inexorable movement East underscores all the interconnections –
and evolving connectivity – related to the New Silk Roads, the
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the BRICS’s New
Development Bank (NDB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
(AIIB), the Eurasia Economic Union (EEU). The crux of RC, the
Russia-China strategic partnership, is to make the multipolar,
post-Atlantic world happen. Or, updating Ezra Pound, to Make It New.
pivot to Asia is of course only part of the story. The
core of Russia’s industries, infrastructure, population is in the
west of the country, closer to Europe. BMB would allow a double pivot
– simultaneously to Europe and Asia; or Russia exploiting to the
max its Eurasian character. Not accidently this is absolute anathema
for Washington. Thus the predictable, ongoing no holds barred
exceptionalist strategy of preventing by all means necessary closer
parallel, pivoting to Asia is also essential because that’s where
the overwhelming majority of Russia’s future customers – energy
and otherwise – are located. It will be a long, winding process to
educate Russian public opinion about the incalculable value for the
nation of Siberia and the Russian Far East. Yet that has already
started. And it will be in full fruition by the middle of the next
decade, when all the interpolated New Silk Roads will be online.
of RC will continue to be the name of the exceptionalist game –
whatever happens on November 8. As far as the
industrial-military-security-surveillance-corporate media complex is
will be no reset.
Proxies will be used – from failed state Ukraine to Japan in the
East China Sea, as well as any volunteering Southeast Asian faction
in the South China Sea.
the Hegemon will be in trouble to contain both sides of RC
simultaneously. NATO does not help; its trade arm, TPP, may even
collapse in the high seas before arriving on shore. No TPP – a
certainty in case Donald Trump is elected in November – means the
end of US economic hegemony over Asia. Hillary Clinton knows it; and
it’s no accident President Obama is desperate to have TPP approved
during a short window of opportunity, the lame-duck session of
Congress from November 9 to January 3.
China, the Hegemon alliance in fact hinges on Australia, India and
about instrumentalizing BRICS member India – which will never fall
into the trap of a war against China (not to mention Russia, with
which India traditionally enjoys very good relations.)
imperial instincts were reawakened by Shinzo Abe. Yet hopeless
economic stagnation persists. Moreover, Tokyo has been prohibited by
the US Treasury Dept. to continue unleashing quantitative easing.
Moscow sees as a long-term objective to progressively draw Japan away
from the US orbit and into Eurasia integration.
Zbig does Desolation Row
Pentagon is terrified that RC is now a military partnership as well.
to Russia’s superior high-tech weaponry, NATO is a kindergarten
mess; not to mention that soon Russian territory will be inviolable
to any Star Wars-derived scheme. China will soon have all the
submarines and “carrier-killer” missiles necessary to make life
for the US Navy hell in case the Pentagon harbors funny ideas. And
then there are the regional details – from Russia’s permanent air
base in Syria to military cooperation with Iran and, eventually,
disgruntled NATO member Turkey.
wonder such exceptionalist luminary ideologues as Dr. Zbig “Grand
Chessboard” Brzezinski – foreign policy mentor to President Obama
Brzezinski looks at progressive Eurasia integration, he simply cannot
fail to detect how those “three grand imperatives of imperial
geostrategy” he outlined in The
simply dissolving; “to prevent collusion and maintain security
dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and
protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.”
GCC vassals – starting with the House of Saud – are now terrified
about their own security; same with the hysteric Baltics. Tributaries
are not pliant anymore – and that includes an array of Europeans.
The “barbarians” coming together are in fact old civilizations –
China, Persia, Russia – fed up with upstart-controlled unipolarity.
to “contain” RC, defined as “potentially threatening” (the
Pentagon considers the threats are existential) Brzezinski suggests –
what else – Divide and Rule; as in “containing the least
predictable but potentially the most likely to overreach.” Still he
doesn’t know which is which; “Currently, the more likely to
overreach is Russia, but in the longer run it could be China.”
one should definitely expect Hillary’s “project” to be all-out
hegemony expansion all across Eurasia. Syria and Iran will be
targets. Even another war on the Korean Peninsula could be on the
cards. But against North Korea, a nuclear power? Exceptionalistan
only attacks those who can’t defend themselves. Besides, RC could
easily prevent war by offering some strategic carrots to the Kim
many aspects, not much has changed from 24 years ago when, only three
months after the dissolution of the USSR, the Pentagon’s Defense
Planning Guidance proclaimed:
first objective is to prevent the reemergence of a new rival…This
requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from
dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated
control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions
include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet
Union and southwest Asia.”
about a prescient road map of what’s happening right now; the
“rival”, “hostile” power is actually two powers involved in a
strategic partnership: RC.
this Pentagon nightmare, the endgame keeps drawing near; the next
manifestations and reverberations of the never-ending 2008 financial
crisis may eventually torpedo the fundamentals of the global “order”
– as in the petrodollar racket/tributary scam.
will be blood. Hillary
Clinton smells it already – from Syria to Iran to the South China
question is whether she – and virtually the whole Beltway
establishment behind her – will be mad enough to provoke RC and buy
a one-way ticket to post-MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) territory.
by the Saker: I
have to admit that I still am rather puzzled by the Turkish
“invasion” of Syria. There are several hypotheses about
what the Turks are really up to and what their real goal is.
Since my friends Alexander Mercouris and Mark Sleboda seem
to have a much better understanding of what is happening than I, I
submit to your attention their analysis rather than to exposes you to
my confused guesses.
furious at Turkish move to set up rebel “safe zone” inside Syria
to assist Jihadi rebels there, putting the recently announced
“normalisation of relations” between Russia and Turkey in
the immediate aftermath of the Turkish capture of Jarablus in Syria
Turkish President Erdogan telephoned his “friend Putin” on Friday
27th August 2016.
Kremlin’s account of
the conversation is remarkable even by its standards for its
two leaders discussed the development of Russia-Turkey trade and
political and economic cooperation in keeping with the agreements
reached in St Petersburg on August 9. Vladimir Putin and Recep
Tayyip Erdogan exchanged opinions on developments in Syria and
pointed out the importance of joint efforts in fighting terrorism.
They agreed to continue their dialogue on the issues of the
bilateral and international agenda.”
true subject of the discussion will in fact have been the Turkish
capture of Jarablus in northern Syria.
it seems the Turks did inform the Russians of this move in advance,
it is clear that the Russians are to put it mildly unhappy about
it. Though the Turks appear to have tried to arrange talks
with the Russian military leadership presumably to discuss this move
– even announcing a visit to Turkey by General Gerasimov, the Chief
of the Russian General Staff – no such talks are taking place, with
the Russians denying that a visit to Ankara by their Chief of General
Staff was ever agreed, and the Turks now saying that the visit has
Russian media meanwhile is carrying articles making clear the extent
of Russian anger. An article in the Russian newspaper
Kommersant, which is clearly based on official briefings, is accusing
Turkey of “going further than promised in Syria”. That
this article reflects official thinking in Moscow is shown by the
fact that the semi-official English language Russian news-site
“Russia Beyond the Headlines” hasrepublished
it in English.
article makes it clear that Turkey did not coordinate the Jarablus
operation with Moscow or Damascus, and that it was much bigger than
Moscow was led to expect. The Russians are also clearly
annoyed by the extent to which the operation has been coordinated by
Turkey with the US, which is providing air support.
Moscow, Ankara’s operation was an unpleasant surprise,
demonstrating that the
expectations for a convergence of
the countries’ positions on Syria that emerged after the meeting
between Putin and Erdogan were premature. In deciding
about the operation in Jarabulus, the
Turkish leader has sent a signal that relations with the U.S. remain
a priority for
him, and he
prefers to act in the framework of the antiterrorist coalition led
not by Moscow, but Washington.”
have repeatedly warned against over-high expectations that the recent
rapprochement between Turkey and Russia amounted to any sort of
realignment. I have also said that despite Turkish
annoyance with the US over the recent coup attempt, Turkey remains a
US ally, continues to be committed to regime change in Syria, and is
not going to throw the US out of Incirlik or allow Russia to use the
base. My only surprise is that judging from this comment
it appears there were some people in Moscow who thought otherwise.
Kommersant article then continues ominously
to Kommersant’s information, in case of aggravation of the
situation, the Russian military and diplomats are ready to
channels of communicationwith
their Turkish counterparts, as well as express their concerns to the
U.S. if necessary. According to Vladimir Sotnikov, director of
the Moscow-based Russia-East-West centre,Ankara’s
actions could seriously affect the process of normalisation of
bilateral cooperation that
was agreed by presidents Putin and Erdogan in St. Petersburg”.
suggests that behind the mild public language strong complaints have
been made in private by Moscow to Ankara. Erdogan’s call
to Putin looks like an attempt to assuage Russian anger, to reassure
Moscow about Turkey’s intentions in Syria, and to keep the “process
of normalisation” between Turkey and Russia on track. The
terse Kremlin summary of the conversation suggests that Putin in
response made Russian feelings and concerns perfectly clear, and that
there was, in the diplomatic language of the past, “a full and
frank exchange of views” ie. a row.
are the Russians so angry about the Jarablus operation?
I acknowledge my heavy debt to the geopolitical analyst Mark Sleboda
who over the course of a detailed and very helpful discussion has
corrected certain errors I have previously made about the Jarablus
operation and has greatly enlarged my understanding of it.
my two previous articles discussing the Jarablus operation I said
that it looked to be targeted principally at the Kurds, whose
militia, the YPG, has over the last year significantly expanded the
area in north east Syria under its control. I also
discounted the possibility that the Turkish seizure of Jarablus was
intended to affect the course of the battle for Aleppo by providing
supplies to the Jihadi fighters trying to break the siege there. In
my latest article I
said the following
it is not obvious that the rebels actually need a “safe zone” in
this area. They already have a corridor to send men
and supplies to Aleppo through Idlib province, which they already
control. Why add to the problems of setting up a “safe
zone” much further away in north east Syria when the rebels already
control territories so much closer to Aleppo?”
Sleboda has explained to me that the principal corridor to supply the
rebels in Syria has always been through the area of north east Syria
around Jarablus. In his words
is not an acceptable supply route from Turkey to forces in Aleppo
province because the Turkish-Syrian border in Idlib is mountainous
terrain – small and bad roads and then long routes all the way
through Idlib past SAA held territory into Aleppo province. The
Jarablus Corridor north of Aleppo is and has always been absolutely
vital for the insurgency,. That’s why Turkey, Brookings, etc have
always placed so much priority on a no fly zone there. Now its come
other words the Turkish capture of Jarablus before it could be
captured by the YPG was not primarily intended to prevent the linking
together of two areas within Syria under Kurdish control – though
that may have been a secondary factor – but was primarily intended
to secure the main supply route (or “ratline”) Turkey uses to
supply the Jihadi fighters attacking Aleppo.
that it is now clear that Turkish ambitions go much further than
Jarablus. Various Turkish officials have over the last two
days been speaking to the Turkish media of Turkey establishing a
large rebel controlled “safe zone” in this area of Syria.
Moreover – as Mark Sleboda says – they have now secured US
support for it, as shown by the very active role the US air force is
taking in supporting the Turkish move on Jarablus.
Mark Sleboda has also pointed out to me, creating this rebel “safe
zone” within Syria has been a declared Turkish objective for over a
year. The Turks have up to now been prevented from
realising it because of US reluctance to provide the necessary
support, and because of concern in Washington and Ankara about a
possible Russian military reaction. With the move to
Jarablus and beyond now carried out with US support and through
Russian acquiescence obtained by stealth, the Turks have now achieved
implications does this have for the war in Syria and for the
continuation of the Russian – Turkish rapprochement?
back to the war in Syria, my own view remains that this will not in
the end decide the outcome of the battle of Aleppo, where reports
suggest that the Syrian army is continuing to gain ground despite the
uninterrupted – and in fact increasing – flow of supplies to the
Jihadi fighters across the Turkish border. My longer term view
also remains that if the Syrian government succeeds in recapturing
the whole of Aleppo and eventually Idlib, then it will have won the
war. However what this episode shows is that the war is
far from won, and that the Turks and their US backers are still
prepared to go on escalating it in order to prevent the Syrian army
that I think the British reporter Patrick Cockburn may turn out to be
right, that by trying to establish a “safe zone” within Syria
Turkey is overplaying
its hand and
is taking a step that
embroil Turkey in the lethal swamp lands of the Syrian-Iraqi war.”
there are indications that the Turkish move is provoking a local
reaction from the YPG and the Kurds. Despite earlier
reports that the YPG was withdrawing all its forces back across to
the eastern bank of the Euphrates, there are now credible reports of
scattered resistance to the Turkish move by Kurdish militia aligned
with the YPG, and there are also reports of mobilisation against the
Turkish move in the Kurdish areas of Syria.
my recent article I made
the following point about
the potential ability of the YPG to wreck any scheme to set up a
rebel “safe zone” in this part of Syria
east Syria is a bitterly contested area in which the dominant force
is not the rebels but the YPG. It does not look like a
credible “safe zone” for the rebels or a credible launch area
from which to launch attacks on Aleppo. On the contrary an
attempt to create a rebel “safe zone” in this area would
antagonise the YPG, and would restore the alliance between the Syrian
government and the YPG to full working order, leading to constant
fighting in the area of the so-called “safe zone” between the
Syrian rebels and the YPG. That would surely defeat the
whole purpose of the “safe zone”, rendering it unsafe and
effectively worthless as a “safe zone”. Of
course the Turkish military could try to garrison the area to defend
whatever “safe zone” it created inside it. That would
however require an incursion into Syria that went far deeper than the
one to Jarablus, and which would risk the Turkish army becoming
bogged down in a lengthy guerrilla war on Syrian territory with the
YPG. I doubt Erdogan, the Turkish military or the US would
his article discussing
the Turkish incursion Patrick Cockburn makes essentially the same
may be able to prevent the Kurds permanently extending their rule
west of the Euphrates, but it would be a very different and more
dangerous operation to attack the de facto Syrian Kurdish state,
which has spread itself between the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers
since the Syrian Army largely withdrew from the region in 2012.”
up a rebel “safe zone” inside Syria in the teeth of the
opposition of the YPG is however what Erdogan and the Turks –
backed by the US – have now decided to do.
recent days there has been some renewed talk of Russia becoming
bogged down in the war in Syria. In my opinion the country that
runs by far the greatest risk of getting bogged down in Syria is not
Russia but Turkey, which already has to deal with an Islamist
terrorist campaign and a Kurdish insurgency on its own territory –
both in large part consequences of the war in Syria – and which
cannot afford to add a war between the Turkish army and the
potentially Russian backed YPG in Syria to its mounting problems.
That however is what Turkey by its latest move now risks.
remains the outstanding puzzle of US policy. The US
actively encouraged the YPG to capture the town of Manbij – which
lies west of the Euphrates – from ISIS, and provided heavy air
support for the YPG operation to the capture Manbij. It is
now demanding that the YPG withdraw from Manbij and from all areas
west of the Euphrates, and is providing air support for a Turkish
military operation that is at least in part targeted against the YPG.
is impossible to see any logic in these moves. As I said
in my previous article
is impossible to see any coherent strategy here. Rather it
looks as if CIA and military officials on the ground in Syria have
been going their own way, encouraging the YPG to expand as fast as it
can, heedless of the larger consequences. The political
leadership in Washington, when it finally woke up to what was
happening, then had to take disproportionate steps to bring the
situation back under control.”
of this, the Turkish move into Syria should bury once and for all any
idea that Turkey is in the process of undertaking a geopolitical
realignment away from the West and towards the Eurasian powers. Not
only is Turkey still a US and NATO ally, but it is now
conducting an illegal military operation against Russian opposition
in Syria with US military support. That is not the action
of a country in the process of carrying out a realignment and
preparing to switch alliances from the West to Beijing and Moscow.
Russians and the Turks are now talking to each other, which for
several months they had stopped doing. The Kremlin’s
summary of Friday’s conversation between Putin and Erdogan shows
that they are still talking about improving their trade links and
economic ties. However, as the Kommersant article shows,
even that limited progress now appears to be in jeopardy as the two
countries’ conflicting stances in the Syrian war once again
threaten to pull them apart.
other words Turkey remains, as it has always been, an ally not of
Russia and the Eurasian powers, but of the US and the West, and its
actions in Syria are a clear demonstration of that.
US and India are expected to sign a logistics agreement which allows
both sides access to each other's military facilities for refueling
and replenishment. Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar has
departed on a visit to the US and will sign this historic pact with
his US counterpart Ashton Carter.
is undoubtedly a leap forward in US-India military cooperation. US
media highly applauded this deal, with Forbes hailing it as a "war
pact" and believing that India is shifting away from Russia, its
Cold War ally, toward a new alliance with the US.
Indian side has adopted a prudent attitude. Some defense analysts
expressed worries that India may lose strategic independence and
warned that the pact may render New Delhi a "follower" of
has practiced the principles of non-alignment since independence,
which have been advocated by Indian elites. However, in recent years,
Washington has deliberately wooed New Delhi to become its quasi ally
so as to impose geopolitical pressure on China.
is possible that the Modi administration is trying an unconventional
way to lean toward the US with the logistics agreement.
how close the US-India relationship can be and what geopolitical
values it can get remains a question.
holds dear its independence and sovereignty after squeezing out of
the UK's colonialism. It views itself as a major power and is
developing on the wave of the emerging countries. It attaches high
importance to national security. It feels it is an urgent task
because its defense levels are a necessary condition of being a major
power, rather than out of a sense of crisis that requires an intimacy
to the US.
India hastily joins the US alliance system, it may irritate China,
Pakistan or even Russia. It may not make India feel safer, but will
bring strategic troubles to itself and make itself a center of
geopolitical rivalries in Asia.
to its non-alignment policy, India has been given attention from all
the major powers such as the US, Japan, China and Russia in recent
is arguably a time when India has the most room for strategic
maneuvering. During Shinzo Abe's first tenure as Japan's prime
minister, Japan hyped the concept of a quadrilateral alliance between
the US, Japan, Australia and India; however, New Delhi remained cool
to the idea.
India will not lean toward the US, because it will not only hurt
India's self-esteem, more importantly, India can gain more strategic
benefits by striking a balance between China and the US.
China does not resort to regional expansion, the US' maneuvers in
Asia will prove futile. The primary field of competition for China
and the US is the economy. As long as China can keep its fast growth,
the US' strategic deployment will go nowhere.
just have to see what Turkey will do and what Britain will do. Could
they actually manage to get out of NATO? Two years is a long time,
Washington could try to work on the British government. If the
British will successfully leave the EU, this could encourage other
countries. And if Turkey will leave NATO, this could start other
countries leaving. But I think it would be a mistake for Russians to
simply assume that is going to happen. It is hopeful.
drilling plan “in freefall” as NZ’s biggest offshore oil
30, 2016 at 13:25 - In the wake of last week’s reports that oil
giant Shell is having a firesale of its New Zealand assets,
prospecting company ION Geophysical has also now relinquished its oil
surveying permits, which covered almost half of New Zealand’s
bid, lodged last September, was the largest application ever to be
made for prospecting in New Zealand’s EEZ. It involved surveying
1.6 million square kilometres of ocean.
add to the mass pull-out, another Houston based company, TGS, also
yesterday withdrew its application for its major offshore prospecting
permit off the West Coast of the North Island.
New Zealand’s senior campaign advisor, Steve Abel, said the growing
list of oil companies bailing are a solid indication that the
Government’s oil programme is dying a death.
is the essential first step of offshore drilling. These companies
gain data that is on-sold to the oil companies, but if there is poor
indication of possible oil or there aren’t buyers for the data then
the prospectors aren’t going to waste their time and money on
surveying,” he said.
ION and TGS departures are another critical blow to John Key’s
offshore oil prospects. I think it’s safe to say the New Zealand’s
offshore oil industry is in freefall. International petroleum players
are dropping like flies.
high time for Key to give up on this waste of taxpayers money and
make good on the promises he made at the Paris climate conference by
quitting support for oil drilling and properly backing the clean
innovative sectors that should be powering and providing jobs and
income for New Zealanders.”
The months of March, April and May were the second warmest autumn ever, with the warmest May on record, according to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).
NIWA forecaster Ben Noll said more records were set to fall in the coming months.
You'll need sunblock come Thursday. Photo: 123RF
He said it would be good to break out the 30+ sunblock, with Thursday and Friday's temperatures on the country's east coast set to rise between five and 10 degrees above normal.
"Some places may approach 25°c as a classic foehn wind [dry, warm, down-slope wind that occurs on the downwind side of a mountain range] develops," Mr Noll said.
Mr Noll said 2016 had been the hottest start to any calendar year since records began in 1909.
Warm seas around New Zealand were primarily responsible for the summer-like heat, with above-average temperatures.
"We've seen that through much of 2016 so far and it seems to want to repeat itself here, even into the middle and latter stages of the year.
"You have this big high pressure system forming over warm waters and it brings winds from sub-tropical or even a tropical direction from the north, from near New Caledonia, even near the Coral Sea."
The atypical warmth was expected to expand across the North Island by the weekend, and could see records tumble from Sunday, said Mr Noll.
"It may repeat itself a couple of times in the first half of September, so if we don't break records this time around we'll have another chance around September 10, so a couple of rounds of this December-like weather," said Mr Noll.
It was time to put away electric blankets in the east of the country, he said, with parts of the country experiencing warm overnight temperatures for September.