Saturday 31st of July 2021

hyperbolic the first — a wise guy...

 

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The establishment media gushed over President Joe Biden’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday after Biden apologized for snapping at a CNN reporter during his solo press conference.

 

 

“I owe my last question an apology. I shouldn’t have — I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy with the last answer I gave. Anyway, thanks for being here,” he said in relation to a question offered by a CNN reporter concerning why Biden was confident Putin would change his behavior towards America.

“What the hell?… When did I say I was confident?” Biden snapped.

Back on the air, CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota then praised Biden for communicating clearly with Putin regarding cyber attacks.

“I didn’t know that President Biden would have to spell it explicitly what’s off limits, but he said that’s what he did,” she praised.

CNN later wrote an analysis piece which depicted Biden as a hero for preserving democracy “at home and abroad.”

“The talks also represent a critical early political trial for Biden and exemplify the all-encompassing challenge facing a presidency anchored on a fight to preserve democracy, which is under siege at home and abroad,” the ‘most trusted name in news’ wrote.

NPR described Biden’s solo press conference as if he “bounded onto a stage flanked by large American flags to tell U.S. journalists about his meeting with Putin, taking off his aviator sunglasses as he reached the lectern.”

Politico was not to be outdone, writing that “Putin also deemed Biden a ‘very experienced politician’ and repeatedly characterized their talks as ‘very constructive.’”

The Hill wrote the article entitled, “Biden gets what he wants from Putin summit,” which depicted “The president’s week-long trip to Europe … a marked departure from four years of Trump’s ‘America First’ doctrine,” as “Biden sought at every stop to emphasize the U.S. was back at the table as a leader in global relations, and that the country viewed its commitments to NATO and G-7 allies as critical for the survival of democracy.”

The Los Angeles Times praised Biden for drawing “red lines” in the sand with Putin, who apparently avoided describing just how strongly Biden had drawn them.

“If he drew any red lines with Putin, he was vague in describing them during a 33-minute news conference with U.S. reporters following the talks,” the California publication wrote.

The New York Times wrapped the days events by writing, “The high-stakes diplomatic engagement came at the end of a whirlwind weeklong European tour for Mr. Biden in which he sought to rebuild the traditional alliances that often bolstered the United States’ position during the Cold War.”

 

Read more:

https://www.breitbart.com/the-media/2021/06/16/joe-biden-apologizes-to-establishment-media-which-returns-favor-praising-performance-at-summit-with-putin/

 

 

praise for the emperor with no clothes...

 

 

The Russian and US presidents held the first face-to-face talks of Joe Biden's presidency in Switzerland on Wednesday, discussing a broad array of issues and coming to an agreement on several problems, including nuclear weapons and the return of ambassadors.

President Joe Biden "openly challenged" Russian President Vladimir Putin on a number of issues at their Geneva summit, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has said.

Speaking to reporters Thursday and responding to Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's suggestion earlier in the day that Biden "gave Vladimir Putin a pass" during their talks instead of "standing up" for US interests against Russia's "long list of transgressions," Sullivan said the lawmaker's comments were "belied by the voluminous evidence that President Biden challenged President Putin on a range of issues that the previous president, who Representative McCarthy supported strongly, gave President Putin a pass on."

Sullivan nonetheless characterised Wednesday's summit as unusually "productive" and substantive, with real tangible results to show for it.

"I really do not believe that it is hyperbole to say that Joe Biden returns from this trip as the clear and the consensus leader of the free world," Sullivan said of Biden's European tour, which in addition to the summit with Putin also included attendance of the G7, NATO and European Union-United States summits.

Sullivan also confirmed that Biden and Putin had discussed locally-employed staff at one another's diplomatic missions, and that the Russian president had assured his US counterpart that the US Embassy in Moscow would be properly staffed. The official said Biden encouraged Putin to be "practical and flexible" on the Embassy issue.

The official further noted that cybersecurity was one of the issues discussed, and that the US "will be able to see in the months ahead whether progress [in this area] "is possible, or whether we will simply have to take action to safeguard our interests because progress hasn't occurred."

The national security advisor also commented on other foreign policy matters, saying that Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had discussed Ankara's purchase of S-400 air defence systems, but failed to come to an agreement. Dialogue will continue, Sullivan said. The official urged Turkey not to allow Taliban warnings about the consequences of the deployment of Turkish security forces in Afghanistan following the US withdrawal to deter Ankara from doing so.

 

Sullivan also commented on US-China relations, indicating that the White House is planning to arrange a call or face-to-face meeting between Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and promising that Biden will engage with Xi "in some way" in the coming months.

Putin Hopes Deep State Won't Drag Biden Down

Earlier on Thursday, reflecting on his summit meeting with the US president, Putin offered praise for Biden, saying the image of him drawn by both the Russian and Western media doesn't correspond to reality, calling him a "professional" and saying he had shown himself to be in command of the issues that the two men discussed.

Putin expressed hope that Biden would be "allowed to work in peace," and that Russia-US relations would not be allowed to be dragged down in "a repeat of what happened in previous years," in a reference to the Russiagate conspiracy theory that hounded Biden's predecessor throughout his presidency.

Officials in both Moscow and Washington have indicated that they were left with a "rather positive" impression of Wednesday's summit meeting, with the two countries coming to an agreement on the need to prevent a nuclear escalation at all costs, and approving the return of ambassadors to their respective posts. The two sides also discussed cybersecurity, trade, NATO and Russian military manoeuvres, and the diplomatic and/or military conflicts in Belarus, Syria, Ukraine and other countries.

In his remarks Thursday, Putin said he was "ready to continue this dialogue" as far as the US side wants to take it, and that talks were important because "when people do not speak at all, more and more mutual claims and concerns arise where they otherwise would not exist."

 

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/world/202106171083176710-biden-openly-challenged-putin-on-range-of-issues-at-geneva-summit-white-house-says/

 

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It is safe to conclude that neither China nor Russia will be intimidated by shows of US strength or  alliance solidarity. They will keep on strengthening their military capabilities and continue to use every bit of soft and hard power to advance their vision of a multi-centric world.

Biden’s first major overseas trip as president has provided us with a fascinating insight into the thinking of the current US Administration. We can now piece together with some confidence the grand plan hatched by Biden, his senior advisers and the US security establishment more generally.

The immediate aim is to arrest the decline of US power and influence. The more ambitious goal is to restore American dominance in a rules based order, where the rules are largely set by the United States and dutifully followed by everyone else. 

In this sense, there is little difference between Trump’s “America First” vision and Biden’s “America is Back” rhetoric. The big difference is that Trump had little idea of how to prosecute his vision, whereas the Biden plan has been carefully crafted, and makes use of the extensive resources, relationships, and strategic know-how at America’s disposal. 

In a nutshell the strategy is to breathe new life into America’s strategic alliances and partnerships so that they can more effectively curb Russia’s resurgence and China’s rise. Both are seen as inimical to US interests and, if unchecked, likely to accelerate America’s economic and political decline. 

Here lies the significance of this year’s G7 and NATO summits. Within the space of a few days they brought together every major US ally and friend in Europe and Asia. This helps explain the choice of the four invitees to the G7 meeting: two close Asia-Pacific allies, South Korea and Australia, an important emerging partner, India, and one outsider, South Africa, not yet a fully fledged partner, but one the US is keen to recruit. 

The timing of these events is also revealing. First came the G7 and NATO meetings. The aim was to put on display the combined resolve and clout of America’s transatlantic and Indo-Pacific partnerships, as a prelude to the highly choreographed encounter with the Russian adversary.   

But first, the US administration had to reach a consensus with allies and friends that their collective security and economic interests were seriously threatened by Russia’s and China’s misdeeds. Biden’s geniality and sunny disposition were ideally suited for the purpose. 

The NATO communique described China’s ambitions and assertive behaviour as posing “systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security.” Adherence to a rules-based order had by now become the mantra of the Biden presidency. 

A day earlier the G7 statement pointed the finger at China for undermining “the fair and transparent operation of the global economy” and failing to respect rights and freedoms in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. It pointedly called for a second and fully transparent investigation in China of the origins of Covid-19 outbreak. The message was clear. China’s lack of transparency was seriously obstructing the global response to the pandemic. 

What then is the Biden strategy? Allies and friends are to be assiduously cultivated because they are deemed crucial to the success of a revamped containment policy. From America’s vantage point, few costs are involved in this exercise. Lofty statements extolling the virtues of democratic alliances, and pledges of support in the hour of need will do for now. 

The alliances on the other had are rather useful to the United States. First, by marshalling the combined economic and military assets of their members, they present a more potent bulwark against Russian and Chinese expansion than the United States can do on its own.  

Second, they can mount an ideological offensive centred on the contrast between democratic and authoritarian principles and practices. This was the rationale for the supplementary G7 Statement on Open Societies endorsed by all four invited attendees. For the offensive to have traction, the United Sates needs allies who are able to offer credible renditions of the democratic narrative. 

Third, alliances can demonstrate in practice the superiority of US-led multilateralism in delivering global public goods. The G7 summit offered a unique opportunity to project soft power. To this end, it made commitments in three areas, each designed to impress the developing world.  

It pledged to supply poor countries one billion Covid vaccine doses, renewed the commitment to raise $100bn a year to help them cut carbon emissions, and announced the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative to meet their urgent infrastructure needs.  

These three commitments are meant to counter China’s increasing assertiveness, especially in the developing world. They stress the G7’s more transparent approach, one that does not carry with it the risks and debt trap associated with Chinese largesse. 

In the Biden era, the G7 is assuming increasing importance. The United States will probably want to see the initiative for multilateral coordination of the global economy swing decisively away from the G20 where China and Russia have a seat around the table back to the G7 from which they remain excluded.   

As for Putin’s Russia, the tone of the NATO communiqué was decidedly vitriolic. It pointed to a long list of Russia’s misdeeds. These included a major military modernisation program. a more assertive posture, provocative activities near NATO borders, continued military build-up in Crimea, military integration with Belarus, attempted interference in Allied elections and democratic processes, political and economic pressure and intimidation, widespread disinformation campaigns, malicious cyber activities, and illegal and destructive activities by Russian intelligence services on Allied territory. 

The fact that 30 NATO members were prepared to sign up to this assessment of Russia’s conduct was no doubt intended to strengthen Biden’s hand on the eve of his meeting with Putin. 

Two other aspects of the Biden strategy emerge clearly from  the three-hour US-Russian summit. One has to do with Biden’s human rights diplomacy, and the other with US plans for the dialogue with Russia. 

In the lead-up to the meeting Biden repeatedly drew attention to Moscow’s human rights violations, in particular the detention of Alexei Navalny. But it soon became clear that the airing of these concerns was meant primarily for domestic consumption. It may have also been a ploy to put the adversary at a psychological disadvantage. It was certainly not intended to be a subject of serious negotiation. 

As expected, Biden and Putin agreed to return their ambassadors to their respective postings. They had previously recalled their envoys to Washington and Moscow as relations chilled in recent months. They also agreed to proceed with cybersecurity talks and an integrated bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue “to lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures.” 

The Biden plan, then, is to systematically and forcefully advance US interests and influence, yet  somehow avoid a major military confrontation with either Russia or China. Is this dual objective achievable? Are these two adversaries willing to play by the rules set by US policy makers? Are they prepared to play second fiddle to an America intent on retaining global primacy? 

The answer to all three questions is no. 

To begin with, the consensus that emerged from the G7 and NATO summits is at best fragile. The European Union, and in particular France and Germany, are mindful of the importance of their trade and investment links with China.  

China is the EU’s biggest source of imports and its second-biggest export market. China and Europe trade on average over €1 billion a day. Europeans may be willing to make statements critical of Chinese policies and actions, but they are unlikely to do anything which jeopardises the economic relationship. 

Similarly, despite strong US opposition, Chancellor Merkel has stood firm in her government’s support for the German-Russian gas pipeline project, known as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. A few days prior to his meeting with Biden, Putin pointedly announced that the pipe-laying for the first line of the Nord Stream 2 has been fully completed. Where strong economic interests are at play, neither Europe nor Japan will easily give ground to US pressure  

As for the G7 announcements indicating support for poor countries, the reaction has been less than enthusiastic. The measures proposed to deal with climate change and the pandemic fall way short of their needs. As for the B3W initiative, it simply does not match what China has been offering. There is little incentive for these countries to jettison the China connection. 

It is safe to conclude that neither China nor Russia will be intimidated by shows of US strength or  alliance solidarity. They will keep on strengthening their military capabilities and continue to use every bit of soft and hard power to advance their vision of a multi-centric world.  

They will with increasing firmness lay down their own red lines. Russia has already made it clear it will not countenance NATO membership of Ukraine. Nor will China accept a declaration of independence by Taiwan.  

Will Biden’s America accept that NATO’s advance to Russia’s doorstep has gone far enough? Will it concede that it can no longer exercise exclusive control of the seas in the Indo-Pacific region? If it does not, the world is in for torrid times ahead

 

Read more:

https://johnmenadue.com/bidens-strategy-exposed-tempestuous-times-ahead/

 

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All the Biden words are not "his" own... He is remotely controlled like a model plane doing loop de loops. The whole thing could crash anytime and NOTHING THAT BIDEN SAYS IS VALID UNTIL JULIAN ASSANGE IS FREE. It's that simple. As soon as Biden talks about freedom this and that, while Assange is in a prison in the UK — ON BEHALF OF THE US ADMINISTRATION — we know that his word are shit-bits thrown out from his spinning craft. Democracy has to have no hypocrisy within. Not at least such an obvious hypocrisy... So, arsehole Biden, you have to release Julian Assange as soon as possible... No choice.

flatitudes...

(Flatitude: Bozo dictionary — flatulent platitude...)

 

Announced at the archaic “Group of 7” summit (G7) in mid-June – the “Build Back Better World” (B3W) initiative is billed by Western governments and the Western corporate media as a plan that “could rival” China’s One Belt, One Road initiative (OBOR).

Yet even its announcement – surely the easiest phase of the overall initiative – fell flat. Not a single actual example was provided of what B3W would provide prospective partners beyond the vaguest platitudes and most ambiguous commitments.

A “fact sheet” provided by the White House for what is essentially a US-led project  – rather than clarify or solidify B3W’s vision – instead seems to suggest the “initiative” is serving as a rebranding exercise behind which US meddling abroad will continue.

The White House document mentions, “Development Finance Corporation, USAID, EXIM, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the US Trade and Development Agency,” as being involved – all of which are admittedly arms of US political interference abroad, not agencies involved in driving actual development.

USAID – for example – is mentioned by name 40 times in the US Joint Chiefs of Staff’s counterinsurgency manual (PDF) which describes the tools and techniques the US military can use to defeat insurgency abroad – tools and techniques that are admittedly just as useful at undermining, overthrowing, and replacing a targeted government with.

In many instances, “counterinsurgency” strategies are employed by the US for precisely this purpose – cementing in power a client regime selected by the US to replace a targeted government toppled by Washington. USAID’s role is augmenting the insurgency-counterinsurgency strategy, not actually spurring development in any given country.

Other pillars of B3W like the “Millennium Challenge Corporation” qualify development through influencing policymaking.

One project on the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s official website featured in a post titled, “Social Inclusion in MCC’s Mongolia Compact: Affordable Water for all in Ulaanbaatar,” illustrates that US-funded “development” in Mongolia regarding “affordable water for all” is not building physical infrastructure that actually brings affordable water for all – but instead consists of conducting surveys and pressuring policymakers.

Rather than images of American construction crews building pipelines, digging wells, or putting up permanent water towers serving entire communities, the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s website features people with clipboards knocking on doors.

Myanmar: A “Sneak Peak” at America’s B3W in Action

Instead of actual development, US “development” agencies like these often channel money into political opposition groups specifically to block the construction of national infrastructure that would solve issues like energy, water, and food shortages – often predicated on false socio-political pretexts like “human rights” and “environmental” concerns.

In Myanmar for example, US government-funded opposition groups have worked for years to block the construction of Chinese-led projects including dams that would generate electricity, contribute to flood control, and aid in agricultural irrigation.

Wikileaks in a 2010 US diplomatic cable titled, “Burma: Grassroots Opposition to Chinese-backed Dam in Northern Burma,” would reveal US diplomats discussing the success of US embassy-funded “grassroots” opposition groups blocking Chinese-initiated dams. The cable noted:

An unusual aspect of this case is the role grassroots organizations have played in opposing the dam, which speaks to the growing strength of civil society groups in Kachin State, including recipients of Embassy small grants.

Once projects like dams, roads, rails, or ports are blocked in targeted nations like Myanmar, no Western alternative is ever offered.

Instead, organizations like USAID provide provisional infrastructure like solar panels and ad-hoc water towers providing recipient communities with minimum living standards. The goal is to disrupt unifying national projects and encourage local communities to make do without modern infrastructure. This in itself aids in arresting development across entire regions – allowing the US to artificially maintain “primacy” over them. This also contributes to separatism, with communities dependent on US handouts rather than working with their own nation’s government  – which in Myanmar in particular has been the source of decades of armed conflict. This conflict also further arrests development.

All of this is in stark contrast to China’s OBOR which is building physical infrastructure that is transporting goods and people across entire regions and providing food, energy, and water for a growing number of people around the globe – all without political strings attached or armies of foreign-funded “activists” commandeering national policymaking and in turn, hijacking national sovereignty.

Nations have already tangibly benefited from Chinese-led infrastructure projects – including nations like Myanmar where projects have been completed. These include roads, bridges, and dams.

The Irrawaddy Bridge (also known as the Yadanabon Bridge) built by China CAMC Engineering and completed in 2008 – for example – finally allows heavy vehicles to cross the Irrawaddy River from the nation’s northwest to Mandalay and the nation’s interior beyond without using cumbersome ferries.

Also built with China’s help is the Yeywa Dam commissioned in 2010. It includes the nation’s largest hydroelectric power plant, providing energy to nearby Mandalay. It also significantly contributes to flood control.

Opposed to its construction was the so-called “Burma Rivers Network” – an extension of “International Rivers” – funded by Western corporate foundations like Open Society, the Ford Foundation, and the Sigrid Rausing Trust – all admittedly working in parallel with fronts like USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy to advance US government foreign policy objectives.

Burma Rivers Network made claims regarding the dam including that the power would “likely” be “transmitted to China” – a claim that was and is completely false. The network also made baseless claims that villagers were “forcibly relocated without compensation” and that the dam would jeopardize their livelihood. This livelihood included unsustainable fishing and logging along the river – a livelihood necessitated by a previous lack of infrastructure needed for modern and sustainable economic opportunities.

As other adjacent projects to the Yeywa Dam are either proposed or in the process of being built – these same US-backed networks work tirelessly to derail compensation, relocation, and even public hearings to discuss either in the first place.

In some cases – like the proposed and partially constructed Myitsone Dam – work has been halted by not only US-funded opposition groups politically obstructing progress, but also by armed attacks by US-backed separatist groups.

The Guardian in a 2014 article titled, “Burmese villagers exiled from ancestral home as fate of dam remains unclear,” would admit:

As work got underway, the Kachin Independence Army broke a 17-year-old ceasefire to attack the dam site. In 2010, 10 bombs exploded around the dam site, killing a Chinese worker.

Kachin separatism is openly encouraged by the US as revealed through a series of leaked cables and the US government’s funding of Kachin separatist groups listed on the National Endowment for Democracy’s official website.

While the example of US interference in Myanmar and its open determination to arrest development is an extreme one – it is essentially the same process used around the globe to address – as the White House “fact sheet” regarding B3W calls it, “competition with China.”

It is also a “sneak peak” at what B3W will actually entail. Were it a genuine infrastructure drive – actual projects would have been showcased upon its inauguration. Instead, hand-waving and platitudes were used as stand-ins where real infrastructure projects should have been – an assurance that the US was merely rebranding its ongoing efforts to derail not just Chinese-led development worldwide – but development itself.

For a declining empire to maintain “primacy” over areas of the planet as the US insists it must do regarding the Indo-Pacific region – the only way to remain on top is to make sure everyone is declining at an equal or greater rate than the US – even if it means Washington knocking these nations down itself.

 

Brian Berletic is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 

Read more:

https://journal-neo.org/2021/06/22/what-is-biden-s-build-back-better-world-b3w/

 

Read from top.

 

The US is in need of humility.

 

MEANWHILE:

 

In an interview to NBC last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin described NATO as a relic of the Cold War-era, adding that he was not sure why it still existed.

Russia is concerned about the build-up of NATO's military infrastructure near its borders, as well as the fact that the alliance is reluctant to constructively consider proposals to de-escalate tensions, thus reducing the risk of unpredictable incidents, President Vladimir Putin said, addressing the ninth Moscow Conference on International Security on Wednesday.

"We expect that common sense and the desire to develop constructive relations with us will eventually prevail," Putin added.

In a statement echoing Putin's remarks, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told the participants of the meeting that the alliance was also considering routes to quickly transfer troops to the borders of the union state of Russia and Belarus. 

Shoigu cited the Defender Europe drills, during which offensive operations on NATO's eastern flank were practised, as an example.

He also stressed that the recent NATO summit in Brussels confirmed that the bloc is being transformed into a global military and political alliance, aimed at containing Russia and China.

"The decisions taken at the summit to increase the military spending of the member states and to boost the potential of nuclear deterrence will consolidate the military confrontation in Europe for years," Shoigu told the conference.

Shoigu expressed the belief that the formal dialogue that Brussels proposes to continue within the framework of the Russia-NATO Council does not reduce tensions in bilateral relations, especially given that some European countries are interested in escalating the conflict.

During his interview to NBC last week, Putin was asked a question about Russia's troop movements near the Ukrainian border. He responded saying that Russia carries out its military exercises on its own soil, whereas NATO routinely conducts manoeuvres near the Russian border.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/world/202106231083215660-putin-says-nato-keeps-building-up-its-military-potential-close-to-russian-borders-rejects-dialogue/

 

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