Pepe Escobar
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Qatar chaos sends ripples of economic anxiety across the region China’s cardinal foreign policy imperative is to refrain from interfering abroad while advancing the proverbial good relations with key political actors – even when they may be at each other’s throats. Still, it’s nothing but gut-wrenching for Beijing to watch the current, unpredictable, Saudi-Qatari standoff. […]

US President Donald Trump could not possibly have predicted the game-changing after-effects of his triumphal sword dance in Riyadh. Or could he? The fact is the House of Saud went amok, in a flash, going after Qatar and bombing from the inside that glorious Arab NATO project – call it NATOGCC — sworn with pomp […]

Let’s start with 28 EU leaders discussing the Western Balkans at a recent summit and blaming – what else – “Russian aggression” in the EU’s backyard. Cue to a Montenegro prosecutor raging that “Russian state bodies” staged a coup attempt during the October 2016 elections to stop the country from joining NATO. And cue to […]

Beijing hopes its top-level two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, starting this [past] Sunday, will be a game-changer for globalization Let’s cut to the chase. China’s new ‘Silk Road’ initiative is the only large-scale, multilateral development project that the 21st century has seen so far. There is no counter-offer from the West. Which is why the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, starting this Sunday in Beijing, is being set up as a game-changer for the global economy. Here the initiative looks likely to switch to Mark II mode, accelerating into what President Xi Jinping dubbed, at Davos in January, “inclusive globalization.” The big ideas behind this grand Chinese plan, however, are still getting lost in translation. At first this trans-Asian trade expressway was billed as One Belt, One Road (OBOR), a literal translation from the Chinese yi dai yi lu. Now it’s the Belt and Road

So in the end the West was saved by the election of Emmanuel Macron as President of France: relief in Brussels, a buoyant eurozone, rallies in Asian markets. That was always a no-brainer. After all, Macron was endorsed by the EU, Goddess of the Market, and Barack Obama. And he was fully backed by the French ruling class. This was a referendum on the EU – and the EU, in its current set-up, won. Cyberwar had to be part of the picture. No one knows where the MacronLeaks came from – a last minute, massive online dump of Macron campaign hacked emails. WikiLeaks certified the documents it had time to review as legitimate.

In the end, there was hardly a reset; rather a sort of tentative pause on Cold War 2.0. Interminable days of sound and fury were trudging along when President Trump finally decided NATO is “no longer obsolete”; still, he wants to “get along” with Russia. Just ahead of meeting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson […]

The Russia-China strategic partnership, uniting the Pentagon’s avowed top two “existential” threats to America, does not come with a formal treaty signed with pomp, circumstance – and a military parade. Enveloped in layers of subtle sophistication, there’s no way to know the deeper terms Beijing and Moscow have agreed upon behind those innumerable Putin-Xi Jinping high-level meetings. Diplomats, off the record, occasionally let it slip there may have been a coded message delivered to NATO to the effect that if one of the strategic members is seriously harassed — be it in Ukraine or in the South China Sea – NATO will have to deal with both. For now, let’s concentrate on two instances of how the partnership works in practice, and why Washington is clueless on how to deal with it.

Here’s the Commander-in-chief of the Beautiful Piece of Chocolate Cake School of Foreign Policy, expanding on his next move regarding North Korea: “We are sending an armada. Very powerful. We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That I can tell you.” As if bombing nuclear-armed North Korea would be as […]

CENTCOM commander Army Gen. Joseph Votel channeled his full Dr. Strangelove in front of the US House Armed Services Committee this past Wednesday. “We need to look at opportunities where we can disrupt [Iran] through military means or other means.” As Orwellian as our times may be, this still ranks as a declaration of war. With the inbuilt consequence of smashing to bits the UN nuclear deal struck with Iran in the summer of 2015. Joseph Strangelove did not bother to chainsaw his words. Iran is one of the greatest threats to the US today (Pentagon official doctrine; number four after Russia, China and North Korea). Iran has increased its “destabilizing role” and poses “the greatest long-term threat to stability” in the entire Middle East.

James Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Emerging Threats at NATO – now that’s a lovely title – recently gave a talk at a private club in London on the Islamic State/Daesh. Shea, as many will remember, made his name as NATO’s spokesman during the NATO war on Yugoslavia in 1999. After his talk Shea engaged […]

Nothing so trivial as the technical proof we’re all being spied upon can be allowed to threaten or add nuance to established narrative The massive WikiLeaks Vault 7 release is an extremely important public service. It’s hard to find anyone not concerned by a secret CIA hacking program targeting virtually the whole planet – using malware capable of bypassing encryption protection on any device from iOS to Android, and from Windows to Samsung TVs. In a series of tweets, Edward Snowden confirmed the CIA program and said code names in the documents are real; that they could only be known by a “cleared insider;” the FBI and CIA knew all about the digital loopholes, but kept them open to spy; and that the leaks provided the “first public evidence” that the US government secretly paid to keep US software unsafe. If that’s not serious enough, WikiLeaks alleges that “the CIA has lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal;” several hundred million lines of code — more than what is used to run Facebook.

The shift in the global balance of financing power towards Russia, India and China — especially China — is opening up opportunities for Tehran It’s a beautiful late winter morning, the snowy Alborz mountains glittering under the sun, and Professor Mohammad Marandi from the faculty of world studies at the University of Tehran is taking […]

The Iranian Parliament just hosted its annual conference on Palestine and, among the dignitaries – that included Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani – and the 700 foreign guests from more than 50 countries was Asia Times columnist Pepe Escobar. The art of the deal, when practiced for 2500 years, does lead […]

Lots of Shouting, Tiny Stick Donald Trump won’t be winning any wars against Islamist terror if he imagines dismantling the Russia-China-Iran alliance is possible. His saber-rattling against Iran is pointless Here we go again. General “Mad Dog” Mattis, the US Secretary of Defense, declares Iran “is the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the […]

The raid by two dozen SEAL Team 6, a dozen Emirati Special Forces, attack helicopters, Marine MV-22 tiltrotor planes, drones, assorted intel assets, a ship off the coast launching Harrier jets, you name it – was a MAJOR operation. They had loads of intel. Yet they were detected. By a barking dog. They screwed up […]

Straight after the “extreme vetting” blitzkrieg – which, technically, is not a “Muslim ban” – President Trump called the lucidity-impaired King Salman of Saudi Arabia and “requested, and the king agreed to support” (in the words of the White House), safe zones in Syria and Yemen. No wonder serial eyebrows were raised facing the prospect […]

If it’s a trade war with China he would rather have, the new president will find himself on the back foot from day one. Hysteria reigns supreme at the dawn of the Trump era, with the President rebranded across the whole ideological spectrum as an American Mao or even an American Hitler. Let’s step away from […]

The Trump era starts now – with geopolitics and geoeconomics set for a series of imminent, unpredictable cliffhangers. I have argued that Trump’s foreign policy guru Henry Kissinger’s strategy to deal with the formidable Eurasia integration trio – Russia, China and Iran — is a remixed Divide and Rule; seduce Russia away from its strategic partnership with China, while keep harassing the weakest link, Iran. In fact that’s how it’s already playing out – as in the outbursts of selected members of Trump’s cabinet during their US Senate hearings. Factions of US Think Tankland, referring to Nixon’s China policy, which was designed by Kissinger, are also excited with the possibilities of containment regarding at least one of those powers “potentially arrayed against America”.

Incoming US Secretary of State «T Rex» Tillerson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that China should be denied access to islands in the South China Sea. Militarization of the islands, he said, was «akin to Russia taking Crimea» from Ukraine. Incoming Pentagon head James «Mad Dog» Mattis told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the […]

Chinese leader profits from a geopolitical vacuum only days before Donald Trump’s inauguration He did it, his way; Chinese President Xi Jinping descended on the Swiss Alps; profited from a geopolitical vacuum only three days before Donald Trump’s inauguration with the Atlanticist West mired in stagnation and/or protectionism; unleashed a charm offensive; and deftly positioned […]

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