America’s Obsession With China: A New SATO?

Obsession

The united States has an obsession with China. Either it is to start a quarrel with the Chinese giant, or it is about protecting its investment in the indo-pacific region.

But one thing is for sure. America is afraid of China and it is showing it with President Joe Biden’s lengthy accolades in Europe.

However, the message from the Biden’s European visit is clear: Nato and Indo China are priorities.

For former President Donald Trump, none were a priority. He killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership to shreds within days after he took office. He killed President’s Barack Obama’s Asian Pivot as if it was nothing. And America lived with it as if it was nothing.

What was the consequence of America’s abandonment of the Asean region? The Chinese conquered the South China Sea? It was already a done deal under the Obama administration. The US under Trump could not restore America’s authority in that area.

NEW ASIAN PIVOT?

The Financial Times says it: Biden’s visit to Europe had more to do with the Indo-Pacific than the Atlantic.

Nevertheless, China has taken more than the South China Sea from America in the region. It won influence in Asean and will soon overtake the US in war maritime capacity. The US is aware that it will be defeated in this sphere if it engages in a military conflict against Beijing.

Thus a new Asian Pivot is in the making with the help of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD, also known as the Quad) a strategic dialogue between the United StatesJapanAustralia and India.

The aim is to contain China, beef-up the economy and security of the Japanese, Aussies and Indians.

The Indo-Pacific area connects three continents and is fast emerging as the most important geopolitical region in the world. Asia is obviously the prize for the US. China is the ogre. Though China may be a fundraiser for Biden’s son Hunter, there is enough pressure in the US for Biden to support an anti-China strategy.

NATO ALLIANCE

The United States, with the Quad will not be able to fight or contain China militarily. It will also not succeed in fighting China in trade wars because Biden does not have the guts that Trump has.

What is left is a linkage between the Indo-Pacific security needs and the need for Nato to secure a new ‘enemy’. This is necessary for both America and Europe, with their allies in Asia, to build an imaginary front line against China.

We always take it for granted that Nato will inevitably get involved in a military situation in Asia. This is not a fact. Nato’s main role is to defend Europe, not Asia. There is no talk of an Asian Nato, or SATO a so-called South Asia Treaty? Not the SEATO, Please!

But this too is dead. The Western world does not trust the military power of its Asian allies, not that the soldiers cannot fight but that the generals are not keen and the politicians are not always pro-America.

Hence, Biden’s salvation as the president who can contain China’s inevitable rise is a military alliance that may involve Nato deploying its troops on Asian territory.

Will this ever happen? China’s rise is formidable. To contain it, if one wants to, is either to join it or fight it with unconventional means. For Biden, it will be the cosying of the Europeans to the idea.

And if this is to happen, it will surely take into consideration the concerns and worries of the Aussies, Japanese and Indians.

#nato #biden #china


Biden Cuts Short Actions VS Saudi Prince

No sanctions on the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman. This is the signal Joe Biden is sending to ally Saudi Arabia.

And Biden is taking the hit from some allies for stopping short in keeping his electoral promise.

While he released the half-cooked intelligence report based on beliefs and not concrete proof, he did not act against MBS.

For the Saudi’s this is of great relief because it would have opened another conflict embroiling the country.

And this would have been a conflict with an ally and Saudi Arabia could not afford that at this moment.

Nor could the Americans because it would have, in a sense, cut the US off the Middle East.

Joe Biden’s administration believes the Saudi prince approved the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

But Biden is worried about disrupting the US-Saudi relationship.

The US faced a massive backlash from the Arab world with most countries in the ME showing support for MBS.

Critics are saying Biden’s lack of action will give the Prince more reason to continue with repressive methods.

Instead of targeting the Prince, the US is imposing travel bans and financial sanctions against some who are accused of murder.

The US also is sanctioning the Rapid Intervention Force, an elite unit that protects Prince Mohammed and answers only to him.

The US intelligence report released on Friday says that seven members of the force were part of the 15-man team that killed Khashoggi.

But it based its assertion against the Prince on observations.

UNHAPPY CRITICS

Critics are unhappy that Biden and his aides find Prince Mohammed too big to punish.

They also question whether the US will remake its relations with the Saudis.

During a campaign debate in November 2019, Biden’s words were harsh towards the Saudis.

He did say he would make the Saudis into “the pariah that they are.”

or there is “very little social redeeming value in the present government”.

He promised that his administration would not “sell more weapons to them”. This may hold for some time but we know the US is an arms seller.

Writing in the Guardian, Mohamad Bazzi, a journalism professor at New York University barely holds his anger against Biden and the Saudi prince.

He says Biden and his aides seem to be relying on wishful thinking.

“That the prince would no longer try to hunt down, kidnap or kill dissidents outside the kingdom, fearing that a future crime could instigate US sanctions or other punishment.”

He adds Saudi Arabia has since the murder of the journalist, has continued its crackdown on political opponents at home and abroad.


Biden’s threat v/s Saudi Prince is Bogus Says Arab World

The Arab world on Saturday thrashed US President Joe Biden’s attempt to knock-off Saudi Prince Mohammad Bin Salam from power.

In unison, they are saying the FBI report is without substance.

“It is only an opinion from an agency and it is devoid of any conclusive evidence.”

This is what the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Dr Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajjraf says.

The Arab defence of the Saudi Prince came as the US Cabinet downplays Biden’s attacks against Saudi Arabia.

The US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, says Washington’s relationship with Saudi Arabia was important.

He says the relationship reflected shared interests and values between the two countries.

“The relationship with Saudi Arabia is an important one. We have significant ongoing interests. We remain committed to the defence of the Kingdom,” Blinken says.

The secretary of state also reiterated the United States’ interests to continue doing business with the Kingdom.

Biden stated his intentions to limit arms sales to Saudi Arabia in a strategy to get rid of MBS.

But Blinken says the relationship with Saudi Arabia “bigger than any one individual.” The good cop and the bad cop?

His statement is supposed to show support to Saudi Arabia while whispering MBS should go.

MORE ARAB SUPPORT

Al-Hajraf says he will support any measures the Kingdom takes to preserve its rights.

For most Arab leaders and observers, the issue is one of foreign interference in Saudi affairs. This got them raising their voices against the ‘bullying’ Biden.

None of them expressed their opinions on the murder of Adnan Khashoggi. The killing of the journalist is the main reason for Biden’s expected onslaught against MBS.

Bahrain, UAE, Pakistan, Kuwait, Yemen, Oman, the Muslim World League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab Parliament were all on the offensive.

Perhaps with a little surprise, Pakistan’s foreign ministry sides with MBS.

The Ministry notes the Saudi government termed Khashoggi’s murder as an “abhorrent crime.”

“Pakistan underscores adherence to the rule of law, respect for national sovereignty, and protection and promotion of human rights by all states,

“All in accordance with their respective constitutional frameworks and international obligations,” it adds.

The Secretary-General of the OIC categorically rejects “the incorrect conclusions contained” in the US report. They say it is “devoid of any conclusive evidence.”

Kuwait and other Arab nations categorically reject any attempts to affect the Kingdom’s sovereignty.

PENTAGON TOO?

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby says Saudi Arabia remained “a strategic partner in the region.”

“From a military perspective, as I’ve said many times, we take seriously our security commitments to Saudi Arabia with respect to their ability to defend themselves.

“And they do need to defend themselves, particularly along that southern border.”

Indeed, the Pentagon is allowed to make statements that will salvage the billions of dollars the Saudi regime plans to send the US for weapons purchase.

This, despite Biden’s front showing he does not care about the money but he cares about his son Hunter Biden’s deal with the Chinese and the Ukrainians!

Photo Credit: Prince Muhammad Bin Salam Twitter


Biden Backs Iran Deal

US President Joe Biden is already in business with Iran, backing a new nuclear deal or something like it, say news networks.

Biden delegated his Secretary of State Antony Blinken to have a conference call with the three European partners in the deal with Iran. 

The US is also willing to hold more negotiations with Iran and Russia, China to solve what they are calling ‘the Iran problem’.

“The United States is ready to begin negotiating with Iran in an attempt to reestablish the 2015 nuclear deal or something like it”, Blinken says.

The video conference with France, Germany and the UK meant all the partners are ready to restore the deal botched by former President Donald Trump.

Trump had torn the deal apart saying it was a very bad deal that gave Iran a lot of powers and that his government feared the Persian nation was secretly building a nuclear bomb.

The three European countries or E3 stressed that Iran must return to full compliance with commitments under the nuclear deal. 

Blinken urged Iran to resume strict compliance with its obligations set in the 2015 deal sealed by the Barack Obama administration.

The U.S. will also comply with its commitments, though the U.S. commitments were unspecified, say sources.

The allies also asked Iran to halt the implementation of the “additional protocol” of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty starting February 23.

The additional protocol would reduce Iran’s cooperation with the UN and the Europeans and Americans do not want that to happen.

They would want the International Atomic Energy Agency to have full rights to monitor Iran’s nuclear programme.

The question is whether Iran has plans to suspend the permission of inspectors to conduct unannounced visits to Iran’s nuclear sites?

Recently news report stated Iran was not complying with the deal anymore.

Two days ago, IAEA found uranium traces at two sites Iran barred it from, Reuters report, adding that the U.N. nuclear watchdog found the uranium particles at sites it inspected after months of stonewalling.

Iran had refused to allow the experts to enter the country. 

The Europeans and the US are showing concerns that Iran’s production of 20 percent enriched uranium and uranium metal has increased since the deal was off.

They say this is in violations of the 2015 deal.

Iran defended its position saying the Biden regime should put an end to Trump’s legacy of economic terrorism against Iran.”

It did not give any explanations on the traces of uranium found in the two sites and the increase of its production of uranium in violation of the 2015 deal.


Biden Promises Repercussions Against China on Human Rights Abuse

Joe Biden says China will pay a heavy price if it continues to abuse rights in the country

China will pay a price for its human rights abuses, United States President Joe Biden has warned, showing the intention to set the US back in a global role abandoned by former President Donald Trump.

Saying the US would reassert its global role in speaking up for human rights, Biden emphasised to China the priority of preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

 

He was responding to queries during a televised event on China’s bullying and persecution of Muslim minorities in its far western region of Xinjiang.

Today, Worldfuture carried a story on China’s bullying of another Muslim community in the city of Sanya.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is facing criticism for holding the minority Uyghurs in internment camps.

China has rejected all claims that it is torturing the Muslims or curbing their rights. It says its plan to stop radicalisation in Xinjiang is working through the camps.

“Well, there will be repercussions for China and he knows that,” Mr Biden said of Mr Xi on CNN.

“China is trying very hard to become a world leader and to get that moniker and be able to do that they have to gain the confidence of other countries,” Mr Biden said on his first official trip since taking office as President in January.

‘A very personal thing for me’

“As long as they are engaged in activities that are contrary to basic human rights, it is going to be hard for them to do that,” he adds.


Biden Should Not Overlook India’s Fast-Declining Democratic Standards

The arrest of Disha Ravi, a 21-year-old climate activist, has Time magazine questioning US President Joe Biden on his ignorance of the state of India’s democracy.

Time is now asking whether Biden and the United States can overlook India’s fast-declining democratic standards.

The daily assaults on civil liberties and the threats to India’s Muslim minority under Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party have noticeably increased since Modi’s re-election in 2019, says Time. 

The global publication also says hate speech is rife, peaceful dissent is criminalized, freedom of expression and association faces new constraints.

Not to mention the jails are filling up with political prisoners and peaceful dissenters as a servile judiciary looks away.

India slipped two more places to 53rd in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index.

The country was 27th in 2014. What a fall from grace!

On the other hand, Sweden’s V-Dem Institute now lists India among the top 10 countries most quickly becoming autocracies.

The Swedish Institute also says India is on the verge of losing its status as a democracy.

Modi’s government reacted virulently against Rihanna, Greta Thunberg, Susan Sarandon and Vice President Kamala Harris’ niece Meena Harris after giving their support to farmers.

The farmers are demonstrating since last year against new laws they say are detrimental to them. But the Modi regime is not going to budge on the issue.

However, President Biden has other things in mind. Just like the Americans ignored the abuses against a segment of the Myanmar population America is not concerned with abuses in India.

Biden is counting on the Quad, a strategic forum of four Indo-Pacific democracies—the U.S., Japan, Australia and India—to contain China.

HYPOCRITES?

But the problem is India’s democracy is failing. If America insists on having India in the Quad, it will be equivalent to admitting China’s lack of democracy is acceptable.

“Pressing China on human rights while ignoring gross violations by allies is not a good look for the new Leader of the Free World,” is what the writer in the Time says.

It is clear Modi and Aung San Suu Kyi conned former President Barack Obama.

While Modi lured Obama in a public “bromance,” Myanmar’s new leader Suu Kyi conned him believe she was a democrat.

But Biden is hopeless too.

In their phone conversation, Modi and Biden spoke on agreeing, “the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld in Burma!”

And Time concludes:

“But if Modi’s India doesn’t find a way to reverse its democratic decline, the couple will find themselves in much the same limbo of the Kissinger years—neither separate, because of the China compulsion—nor able to get along.”


US to crawl back to Saudi Arabia on arms sale?

Saudi Arabia faces a dilemma. Where to buy weapons to improve and modernise its army with the threats of war growing around its borders?

The United States under President Joe Biden is making a U-turn in blocking the sale of weapons to the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates.

The Saudi’s have all the money that can buy all the weapons they want, but there is an international treaty on arms sale and the Biden fuss that’s stopping them.

Will this push them to fund the illegal arms trade? May be and no one will ever know until the weapon is used in some wars where children are casualties.

This is how it goes, though. There are many other countries, including India and Israel, and the United Kingdom or France that will sell arms to the Saudis and their allies.

Reports are saying Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will likely seek alternative arms suppliers if the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden follows through on cancelling arms shipments.

But there is also the lobby business in the big swamp that former President Donald Trump wanted to cut down in Washington. With Biden now in power, the swamp is back and business will boom for the Pentagon.

Lobbyists will likely push for a no-blockade of sales to Saudi Arabia. They will lose a lot of bucks. They will argue that the US will also lose clout in the Middle East if Iran is growing its weapons arsenal while the US blocks the Saudis and their allies.

This argument will be strategic to the lobbyists and there are people in the administration that will listen to these talks while the Pentagon will also press for the money-making machine to continue to roll the dice in Saudi Arabia.

GIVING YEMEN TO IRAN

Nevertheless, to recap, in Biden’s first major foreign policy speech on Feb. 4, he announced the end of American military support for Saudi and Emirati intervention in Yemen.

He also announced the termination of offensive arms sales to Saudi Arabia, weapons that could be used to conduct their operations in Yemen.

But it is not a blanket ban because his speech specifically mentioned some offensive systems, which shows the Americans are still keen to sell ‘defensive’ weapons.

This tactic from the US is equivalent to a victory for the Iranians because cutting Saudi attack plans will practically mean the US is pressing Ryadh to capitulate in Yemen and hand it over to Iran.

Which is not going to end the war in the country but will make the Saudi frontiers with Yemen even more vulnerable. This could be a strategy to press the Saudis to buy more defensive weapons from the US, thus maintaining their sales agenda.

Supposedly end the war in Yemen to sell more of the ‘less’ criticized weapons?

Biden is tying the sale of offensive weapons to Saudi with his government’s plan to end the war in Yemen.

He announced the appointment of a new envoy for Yemen. This is veteran diplomat Timothy Lenderking and his job is to help the UN-led diplomatic process to end the civil war in the country.

“The weapons we sold to Saudi Arabia and UAE have been used to kill schoolchildren, transferred to extremist militias, and fueled a dangerous arms race in the Middle East,” tweeted Sen. Chris Murphy. “This is the right move. The time is now to reset our relationships with Gulf allies.”

The Yemenis are divided between the Houthi movement and the internationally recognized President Mansoor Hadi. They have been at war for a very long time and the Saudi’s are not in favour of a Houthis-led Yemen.

Biden will also remove the Houthis from the list of terror organisation which will make it easier for them to get offensive weapons to fight the ‘recognised’ government in Yemen. Thus potentially sparking more wars and casualties and no peace in the country.

FRENCH OFFENSIVE?

Nevertheless, the American move will also possibly start a French offensive in weapons sale in the region. France is a major stakeholder in the Qatari weapons overhaul.   The French will not necessarily listen to the Americans in the arms sale directions because this is their industry and they make money from it. Last year, reports say 9.1 billion euros of weapons were sold by France in 2018. Most of it was from a sharp increase in sales to France’ European allies.   France sold about 1 billion euros worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, with the main item being patrol boats used partially to help the Saudi’s in a blockade of ports in Yemen later decried as a means to starve the Houthis.

France sold more than naval vessels. They sold tanks, artillery and munitions to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. This increased their sale of weapons to the Middle East in 2018 to 4 billion euros.

The bulk of those sales came from Qatar, which ordered Rafale-fighter jets and helicopters accounting for about 2.4 billion euros. Qatar is a rival of Saudi Arabia and is not part of the coalition fighting in Yemen, says Reuters.

THE UK IS BACK

The United Kingdom signed off on arms exports worth nearly 1.4 billion pounds ($1.9bn) to Saudi Arabia between July and September 2019. This follows the lifting of a ban on weapons sales to the Gulf country.   In the three-month period following the restart, the UK authorised weapons exports worth 1.4 billion pounds which includes missiles and bombs accounting for 1.36 billion pounds ($1.88bn) of the sales.  

Hence, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies will either spark a frenzy on the illegal weapons market (but they cannot buy heavy weaponry there) or seal some deals with the French, British, Germans and others!


The SWAMP is back!

Saudi Arabia could well be the main focus of the Biden administration and this will increase efforts by lobbyists to dampen attacks against the Royals

When Donald Trump came to power, one of his mission was to clean the swamp.

The swamp is the lobbying power of various grouping that represent local or foreign bidders.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEgGF75Ern4

The lobbyists will bid for a certain project or country.

In the U.S. most foreign powers and countries of influence have their lobbyists gyrating the White House to push their client’s projects or demands and requests.

During the last election campaign, Trump campaigned to win votes on the basis he will continue to clean the swamp.

MAR-A-LAGO SWAMP

But he lost the elections and despite the 70 million votes he received, he has to take the swamp mower with him back to Mar-a-Lago near the Florida swamps.

IRAN

The question now is whether the pro-Iranian lobbyists will be strong enough to get another deal with the Biden administration?

A deal that could get them to be on the better side in their nuclear development programme?

Trump killed the deal by calling it a one-sided affair. But the Iranians vowed they will get it back after the Americans kick Trump out of power.

SAUDI ARABIA

The Saudis are now in trouble. The Biden administration, just like any other Democratic administration, will put emphasis on human rights.

It will not be surprising to see intermittent attacks against the Saudi Royals from the Biden administration.

The Barack Obama administration did not shy itself from proclaiming the Saudis as the main responsible party for the 911 attacks.

Obama wanted to start the ball rolling for a compensation fee in the billions for the victims’ families. He ended his term before that could happen.

Will the Biden government bring it up?

Nevertheless, reports say Saudi Arabia spent at least $7.5 million lobbying against the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.[166]


Tight race but Trump is doing good in key states

It is a tight race for the Presidential elections but Donald Trump seems to be doing very well in key states.

Joe Biden and Trump have each won numerous states they were favored to win. But there are tight races unfolding in major swing states where Trump has the lead.

For the Democrats who were hoping for a landslide, it is turning sour with a tight race shaping up.

At the time of writing Trump has 174 electoral votes against 213 for Biden. But nothing is done while Trump is still leading in the key states. These are the states that will deliver the most electoral votes in the end.

It is not a repudiation of Trump just as many people would expect. It is on the contrary, a succession of shock results shaping up.

Trump has leads in 7 out of the 8 key states of Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan and Philadelphia. Biden has practically won Arizona.

But this is not the only terrible news for the Dems. The Republicans are leading in the Congress according to a New York Times count.

The Dems and the Republicans are neck and neck in the Senate race.

Democrats gained a Senate seat in Colorado but lost one in Alabama and the Dems have also won one swing state so far.

TRUMP’S LEAD

One thing is certain. Just like in 2016, the pollsters were wrong. They are way off from the reality.

While they gave Biden a double digit lead for most of the campaign, Trump appears to have narrowed the lead in the last days.

According to Associated Press, Biden has:

49.6%60,471,742

Trump has:

48.6%59,627,199

AP gives Biden 223 electoral votes, which means he is short of the 270 crucial number by 40. He is very close to winning the presidential elections.

However, with Trump’s lead in the key states, which could earn him another 144 electoral votes. This will bring his total to 289. He currently has 145.

Only a last minute change in the trend and a comeback from Biden in these states can salvage his bid to become President.


Are we seeing the final days of the Trump era?

Are we witnessing the final days of the Trump era? This is the big question but if it is not, then are the Dems in crisis?

President Donald Trump is a rare specie. He is not a politician and did not act like one for four years.

Instead, he acted like a novice at time while most of the time he was just the business man chasing a deal.

We are in the final hours of the American presidential election campaign and voting has already started.

SCANDAL RIDDEN PRESIDENCY

But one thing will mark Trump’s presidency. It was scandalous. There were no end to scandals surrounding Trump at the White House.

Unlike the Clinton era, Trump did not get caught with a Lewinsky. Yet, the White House saw a fair share of firing and resignations.

The meddling in investigations, the leaks and the wall of shame with the cages for children at the border with Mexico. They will remain part of the ugly moments in Trump’s rule.

Altogether, how to forget the days when Trump decided to tear deals apart and sign decrees to by-pass the Congress.

Since winning four years ago, in a fluke of our electoral system, he has been the most omnipresent, overexposed President in American history.

susan-b-glasser – Newyorker

And this overexposure did not help Trump win more support. Instead, it got him a longer list of enemies.

There are many celebs who used their platform to criticize Trump’s policies. Some attacked him personally. No other president in our time faced such criticism like Trump.

He is called all sorts of names while politicians made fun of him and even told him publicly to ‘shut up’.

If George W. Bush Jr was a drag and was overrated, Trump is perhaps an inch below the crusader.

ECONOMIC MAESTRO

At the start of his reign, Trump proved to be an economic maestro.

As of September 2020, compared to the levels when Trump was inaugurated in January 2017, real GDP was 3.7% higher, the number of persons employed was 3% lower, the unemployment rate was 3.2 percentage points higher, the number of persons without health insurance was 16% higher, and the stock market was 48% higher.

The stock market was Trump’s glorious moment. But the Mexico wall and the banning of Muslim countries were his dim moments at that time.

Perhaps the trade war with China did not help Trump as he would have expected.

It dragged on far too long and Trump seemed not prepared to face the response from China. He wanted to sell them a deal, that is to work with America and not to steal from America.

But the Chinese seemed more prepared and counter-attacked with some fine arguments and tactics.

Nevertheless, we all know there are no winners in a war and as of today, Trump did not defeat China in the trade war.

THEN CAME COVID-19

When Trump took power in 2016, WFTV.LIVE said his foreign policy will be one of the carrot and the stick.

It was and it worked in some cases but it did not in others. It went well with North Korea and some Arab countries.

But it failed with the Chinese, perhaps because the Chinese has more support in the U.S. than expected.

Beijing also have more support in the international arena, unlike Pyongyang or Amman and Dubai.

But COVID-19 may be the last straw for Trump. It destroyed everything he had built in the three years in power.

It also got China free from Trump’s trade war and damaged the Trump’s resolve to fight China at all cost.

Trump showed he was still after China but with the limitations imposed in fighting COVID-19, he had to abandon half of his tactics against China.

The economy is now in doll drums and it is not Trump who should take the blame.

But the people can be pitiless and who ever is in power in a time of crisis will pay the price of their anger.

The end of the Trump era sounds like the end of Communist rule in the USSR or Russia.

But for the Dems and for China, it may sound like the tanks and the troops marching towards Berlin!

A win for Joe Biden will liberate both the Dems and Beijing from a burden that only COVID-19 could undo for them!