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01 December 2015

Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?

Image result for us china relationsCHINA+XI+JINPING

The U.S. is transfixed by its multibillion-dollar electoral circus. The European Union is paralyzed by austerity, fear of refugees, and now all-out jihad in the streets of Paris. So the West might be excused if it’s barely caught the echoes of a Chinese version of Roy Orbison’s “All I Have to Do Is Dream.” And that new Chinese dream even comes with a road map.

The crooner is President Xi Jinping and that road map is the ambitious, recently unveiled 13th Five-Year-Plan, or in the pop-video version, the Shisanwu. After years of explosive economic expansion, it sanctifies the country’s lower “new normal” gross domestic product growth rate of 6.5% a year through at least 2020.

It also sanctifies an updated economic formula for the country: out with a model based on low-wage manufacturing of export goods and in with the shock of the new, namely, a Chinese version of the third industrial revolution. And while China’s leadership is focused on creating a middle-class future powered by a consumer economy, its president is telling whoever is willing to listen that, despite the fears of the Obama administration and of some of the country’s neighbors, there’s no reason for war ever to be on the agenda for the U.S. and China.
Given the alarm in Washington about what is touted as a Beijing quietly pursuing expansionism in the South China Sea, Xi has been remarkably blunt on the subject of late. Neither Beijing nor Washington, he insists, should be caught in the Thucydides trap, the belief that a rising power and the ruling imperial power of the planet are condemned to go to war with each other sooner or later.

It was only two months ago in Seattle that Xi told a group of digital economy heavyweights, “There is no such thing as the so-called Thucydides trap in the world. But should major countries time and again make the mistakes of strategic miscalculation, they might create such traps for themselves.”

A case can be made — and Xi’s ready to make it — that Washington, which, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Libya to Syria, has gained something of a reputation for “strategic miscalculation” in the twenty-first century, might be doing it again.  After all, U.S. military strategy documents and top Pentagon figures have quite publicly started to label China (like Russia) as an official “threat.”

To grasp why Washington is starting to think of China that way, however, you need to take your eyes off the South China Sea for a moment, turn off Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and the rest of the posse, and consider the real game-changer — or “threat” — that’s rattling Beltway nerves in Washington when it comes to the new Great Game in Eurasia.

Xi’s Bedside Reading

Swarms of Chinese tourists iPhoning away and buying everything in sight in major Western capitals already prefigure a Eurasian future closely tied to and anchored by a Chinese economy turbo-charging toward that third industrial revolution. If all goes according to plan, it will harness everything from total connectivity and efficient high-tech infrastructure to the expansion of green, clean energy hubs. Solar plants in the Gobi desert, anyone?

Yes, Xi is a reader of economic and social theorist Jeremy Rifkin, who first conceived of a possible third industrial revolution powered by both the Internet and renewable energy sources.

It turns out that the Chinese leadership has no problem with the idea of harnessing cutting-edge Western soft power for its own purposes. In fact, they seem convinced that no possible tool should be overlooked when it comes to moving the country on to the next stage in the process that China’s Little Helmsman, former leader Deng Xiaoping, decades ago designated as the era in which “to get rich is glorious.”

It helps when you have $4 trillion in foreign currency reserves and massive surpluses of steel and cement.  That’s the sort of thing that allows you to go “nation-building” on a pan-Eurasian scale. Hence, Xi’s idea of creating the kind of infrastructure that could, in the end, connect China to Central Asia, the Middle East, and Western Europe.  It’s what the Chinese call “One Belt, One Road”; that is, the junction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Twenty-First Century Maritime Silk Road.

Since Xi announced his One Belt, One Road policy in Kazakhstan in 2013, PricewaterhouseCoopers in Hong Kong estimates that the state has ploughed more than $250 billion into Silk Road-oriented projects ranging from railways to power plants. Meanwhile, every significant Chinese business player is on board, from telecom equipment giant Huawei to e-commerce monster Alibaba (fresh from its Singles Day online blockbuster). The Bank of China has already provided a $50 billion credit line for myriad Silk Road-related projects. China’s top cement-maker Anhui Conch is building at least six monster cement plants in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Laos. Work aimed at tying the Asian part of Eurasia together is proceeding at a striking pace.  For instance, the China-Laos, China-Thailand, and Jakarta-Bandung railways — contracts worth over $20 billion — are to be completed by Chinese companies before 2020.

With business booming, right now the third industrial revolution in China looks ever more like a mad scramble toward a new form of modernity.

A Eurasian “War on Terror”

The One Belt, One Road plan for Eurasia reaches far beyond the Rudyard Kipling-coined nineteenth century phrase “the Great Game,” which in its day was meant to describe the British-Russian tournament of shadows for the control of Central Asia. At the heart of the twenty-first century’s Great Game lies China’s currency, the yuan, which may, by November 30th, join the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights reserve-currency basket. If so, this will in practice mean the total integration of the yuan, and so of Beijing, into global financial markets, as an extra basket of countries will add it to their foreign exchange holdings and subsequent currency shifts may amount to the equivalent of trillions of U.S. dollars.

Couple the One Belt, One Road project with the recently founded, China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Beijing’s Silk Road Infrastructure Fund ($40 billion committed to it so far).  Mix in an internationalized yuan and you have the groundwork for Chinese companies to turbo-charge their way into a pan-Eurasian (and even African) building spree of roads, high-speed rail lines, fiber-optic networks, ports, pipelines, and power grids.

According to the Washington-dominated Asian Development Bank (ADB), there is, at present, a monstrous gap of $800 billion in the funding of Asian infrastructure development to 2020 and it’s yearning to be filled. Beijing is now stepping right into what promises to be a paradigm-breaking binge of economic development.

And don’t forget about the bonuses that could conceivably follow such developments. After all, in China’s stunningly ambitious plans at least, its Eurasian project will end up covering no less than 65 countries on three continents, potentially affecting 4.4 billion people.  If it succeeds even in part, it could take the gloss off al-Qaeda- and ISIS-style Wahhabi-influenced jihadism not only in China’s Xinjiang Province, but also in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. Imagine it as a new kind of Eurasian war on terror whose “weapons” would be trade and development. After all, Beijing’s planners expect the country’s annual trade volume with belt-and-road partners to surpass $2.5 trillion by 2025.

At the same time, another kind of binding geography — what I’ve long called Pipelineistan, the vast network of energy pipelines crisscrossing the region, bringing its oil and natural gas supplies to China — is coming into being.  It’s already spreading across Pakistan and Myanmar, and China is planning to double down on this attempt to reinforce its escape-from-the-Straits-of-Malacca strategy. (That bottleneck is still a transit point for 75% of Chinese oil imports.) Beijing prefers a world in which most of those energy imports are not water-borne and so at the mercy of the U.S. Navy. More than 50% of China’s natural gas already comes overland from two Central Asian “stans” (Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan) and that percentage will only increase once pipelines to bring Siberian natural gas to China come online before the end of the decade.

Of course, the concept behind all this, which might be sloganized as “to go west (and south) is glorious” could induce a tectonic shift in Eurasian relations at every level, but that depends on how it comes to be viewed by the nations involved and by Washington.

Leaving economics aside for a moment, the success of the whole enterprise will require superhuman PR skills from Beijing, something not always in evidence. And there are many other problems to face (or duck): these include Beijing’s Han superiority complex, not always exactly a hit among either minority ethnic groups or neighboring states, as well as an economic pushthat is often seen by China’s ethnic minorities as benefiting only the Han Chinese. Mix in a rising tide of nationalist feeling, the expansion of the Chinese military (including its navy), conflict in its southern seas, and a growing security obsession in Beijing. Add to that a foreign policy minefield, which will work against maintaining a carefully calibrated respect for the sovereignty of neighbors. Throw in the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia and its urge both to form anti-Chinese alliances of “containment” and to beef up its own naval and air power in waters close to China.  And finally don’t forget red tape and bureaucracy, a Central Asian staple. All of this adds up to a formidable package of obstacles to Xi’s Chinese dream and a new Eurasia.

All Aboard the Night Train

The Silk Road revival started out as a modest idea floated in China’s Ministry of Commerce. The initial goal was nothing more than getting extra “contracts for Chinese construction companies overseas.” How far the country has traveled since then.  Starting from zero in 2003, China has ended up building no less than 16,000 kilometers of high-speed rail tracks in these years — more than the rest of the planet combined.

And that’s just the beginning. Beijing is now negotiating with 30 countries to build another 5,000 kilometers of high-speed rail at a total investment of $157 billion. Cost is, of course, king; a made-in-China high-speed network (top speed: 350 kilometers an hour) costs around $17 million to $21 million per kilometer. Comparable European costs: $25 million to $39 million per kilometer. So no wonder the Chinese are bidding for an $18 billion project linking London with northern England, and another linking Los Angeles to Las Vegas, while outbidding German companies to lay tracks in Russia.

On another front, even though it’s not directly part of China’s new Silk Road planning, don’t forget about the Iran-India-Afghanistan Agreement on Transit and International Transportation Cooperation. This India-Iran project to develop roads, railways, and ports is particularly focused on the Iranian port of Chabahar, which is to be linked by new roads and railways to the Afghan capital Kabul and then to parts of Central Asia.

Why Chabahar? Because this is India’s preferred transit corridor to Central Asia and Russia, as the Khyber Pass in the Afghan-Pakistani borderlands, the country’s traditional linking point for this, remains too volatile. Built by Iran, the transit corridor from Chabahar to Milak on the Iran-Afghanistan border is now ready. By rail, Chabahar will then be connected to the Uzbek border at Termez, which translates into Indian products reaching Central Asia and Russia.

Think of this as the Southern Silk Road, linking South Asia with Central Asia, and in the end, if all goes according to plan, West Asia with China. It is part of a wildly ambitious plan for a North-South Transport Corridor, an India-Iran-Russia joint project launched in 2002 and focused on the development of inter-Asian trade.

Of course, you won’t be surprised to know that, even here, China is deeply involved. Chinese companies have already built a high-speed rail line from the Iranian capital Tehran to Mashhad, near the Afghan border. China also financed a metro rail line from Imam Khomeini Airport to downtown Tehran. And it wants to use Chabahar as part of the so-called Iron Silk Road that is someday slated to cross Iran and extend all the way to Turkey. To top it off, China is already investing in the upgrading of Turkish ports.

Who Lost Eurasia?

For Chinese leaders, the One Belt, One Road plan — an “economic partnership map with multiple rings interconnected with one another” — isseen as an escape route from the Washington Consensus and the dollar-centered global financial system that goes with it. And while “guns” are being drawn, the “battlefield” of the future, as the Chinese see it, is essentially a global economic one.

On one side are the mega-economic pacts being touted by Washington — the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership — that would split Eurasia in two. On the other, there is the urge for a new pan-Eurasian integration program that would be focused on China, and feature Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, and India as major players. Last May, Russia and China closed a deal to coordinate the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) with new Silk Road projects. As part of their developing strategic partnership, Russia is already China’s number one oil supplier.

With Ukraine’s fate still in the balance, there is, at present, little room for the sort of serious business dialogue between the European Union (EU) and the EEU that might someday fuse Europe and Russia into the Chinese vision of full-scale, continent-wide Eurasian integration. And yet German business types, in particular, remain focused on and fascinated by the limitless possibilities of the New Silk Road concept and the way it might profitably link the continent.

If you’re looking for a future first sign of détente on this score, keep an eye on any EU moves to engage economically with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.  Its membership at present: China, Russia, and four “stans” (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan). India and Pakistan are to become members in 2016, and Iran once U.N. sanctions are completely lifted. A monster second step (no time soon) would be for this dialogue to become the springboard for the building of a trans-European “one-belt” zone.  That could only happen after there was a genuine settlement in Ukraine and EU sanctions on Russia had been lifted. Think of it as the long and winding road towards what Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to sell the Germans in 2010: a Eurasian free-trade zone extending from Vladivostok to Lisbon.

Any such moves will, of course, only happen over Washington’s dead body.  At the moment, inside the Beltway, sentiment ranges from gloating over the economic “death” of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), most of which are facing daunting economic dislocations even as their political, diplomatic, and strategic integration proceeds apace, to fear or even downright anticipation of World War III and the Russian “threat.”

No one in Washington wants to “lose” Eurasia to China and its new Silk Roads. On what former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski calls “the grand chessboard,” Beltway elites and the punditocracy that follows them will never resign themselves to seeing the U.S. relegated to the role of “offshore balancer,” while China dominates an integrating Eurasia.  Hence, those two trade pacts and that “pivot,” the heightened U.S. naval presence in Asian waters, the new urge to “contain” China, and the demonization of both Putin’s Russia and the Chinese military threat.

Thucydides, Eat Your Heart Out

Which brings us full circle to Xi’s crush on Jeremy Rifkin. Make no mistake about it: whatever Washington may want, China is indeed the rising power in Eurasia and a larger-than-life economic magnet. From London to Berlin, there are signs in the EU that, despite so many decades of trans-Atlantic allegiance, there is also something too attractive to ignore about what China has to offer. There is already a push towards the configuration of a European-wide digital economy closely linked with China. The aim would be a Rifkin-esque digitally integrated economic space spanning Eurasia, which in turn would be an essential building block for that post-carbon third industrial revolution.

The G-20 this year was in Antalya, Turkey, and it was a fractious affair dominated by Islamic State jihadism in the streets of Paris. The G-20 in 2016 will be in Hangzhou, China, which also happens to be the hometown of Jack Ma and the headquarters for Alibaba. You can’t get more third industrial revolution than that.

One year is an eternity in geopolitics. But what if, in 2016, Hangzhou did indeed offer a vision of the future, of silk roads galore and night trains from Central Asia to Duisburg, Germany, a future arguably dominated by Xi’s vision.  He is, at least, keen on enshrining the G-20 as a multipolar global mechanism for coordinating a common development framework. Within it, Washington and Beijing might sometimes actually work together in a world in which chess, not Battleship, would be the game of the century.
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Trump’s Embrace of Totalitarianism is America’s Dirty Little Secret

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames

Business Mogul, reality TV star, and presidential candidate, Donald Trump recently mocked Serge Kovaleski, a New York Times investigative reporter with a disability, at a rally in South Carolina. This contemptuous reference to Kovaleski’s physical disability was morally odious and painful to observe, but not to comprehend, at least not politically. Trump is a hate-monger, and spreads his message without apology in almost every public encounter in which he finds himself. ["Trump’s Embrace of Totalitarianism is America’s Dirty Little Secret": by Henery Giroux ]

Some reporters claim he stepped over the line with this act of reprehensible cruelty. That is only partly true. In this loathsome instance, he just expanded his hate-filled discourse, making clear his embrace of a politics founded on arrogance, cynicism, unchecked wealth, and a deeply ingrained racism. In actuality, he stepped over the line the moment he announced his candidacy for the presidency and called Mexican immigrants violent rapists, gang members, and drug dealers. Or for that matter when he called, along with other right-wing extremists, to put refugees in detention centers and create a data base for them. These comments sound eerily close to SS (SS chief) Heinrich Himmler’s call for camps that held prisoners under orders of what euphemistically called “protective custody. To quote the Holocaust Encyclopedia:

In the earliest years of the Third Reich, various central, regional, and local authorities in Germany established concentration camps to detain political opponents of the regime, including German Communists, Socialists, trade unionists, and others from left and liberal political circles. In the spring of 1933, the SS established Dachau concentration camp, which came to serve as a model for an expanding and centralized concentration camp system under SS management.

What is truly sad, dangerous, and even cowardly is how few people along with the corporate media and his intellectual defenders recognize that Trump is symptomatic of the brutal seeds of totalitarianism now being cultivated in American society. Donald Trump represents more than the anti-democratic practices and antics of Joe McCarthy.[1]

On the contrary, he signifies how totalitarianism can mutate and take different forms in specific historical moments. Rather than being dismisses as a wild-card in American politics, it is crucial to recognize that Trump’s popularity represents a dangerous “political space…in both the wider culture and in recent history.”[2] This is evident not only in his race baiting, but in his increasing support for violence against protesters at his rallies, and his call to “make American great again” by any means necessary, none of which is new to American society.

What is new is the degree to which this endorsement of violence, racism, and the call to violate civil liberties are expressed so visibly and without apology. How else to explain the muted criticisms, if not almost non-existent public and media response, to his comments that: “we’re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule… And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago…”[3] This call to do “the unthinkable” is a fundamental principle of any notion of totalitarianism, regardless of the form it takes.

For instance, Trump’s recent call to bring back waterboarding and to support a torture regime far exceeds what might be called an act of stupidity or ignorance. Torture in this instance becomes a means of exacting revenge on those considered “Other,” un-American, and inferior—principally Muslims, immigrants, and members of the Black Lives Matter Movement. We have heard this discourse before in the totalitarian regimes of the 1930s and later in the dictatorships in Latin America in the 1970s. Heather Digby Parton is right when she writes that Donald Trump “may be the first openly fascistic frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination but the ground was prepared and the seeds of his success sowed over the course of many years. We’ve had fascism flowing through the American political bloodstream for quite some time.”[4]

This is a discourse that betrays dark and dangerous secrets not simply about Trump, but more importantly about the state of American culture and politics. Trump’s brutal racism, cruelty, and Nazi-style policy recommendations are more than shocking, they are emblematic of totalitarianism’s hatred of liberalism, its call for racial purity, its mythic celebration of nationalism, its embrace of violence, its disdain for weakness, and its anti-intellectualism. This is the discourse of total terror. These elements of totalitarianism have become the new American normal. The conditions that produced the torture chambers, intolerable violence, extermination camps, squelching of dissent are still with us. Totalitarianism is not simply a relic of the past. It lives on in new forms and it is just as terrifying and dangerous today as it was in the past.[5]

Trump is not just a fool or an idiot, or ethically dead, he is symptomatic of a long line of fascists who shut down public debate, attempt to humiliate their opponents, endorse violence as a response to dissent, and criticize any public display of democratic principles. America has reached its endpoint with Trump, and his presence should be viewed as a stern warning of the nightmare to come. This is not the discourse of Kafka, but of those extremists who have become cheerleaders for totalitarianism.

Trump is not a straight talker as some writers have claimed, he is a monster without a conscience, a politician with a toxic set of policies. He is the product of a form of finance capitalism and a long legacy of racism and violence in which conscience is put to sleep, democracy withers, and public values are extinguished. This is truly a time of monsters and Trump is simply the most visible and certainly one of the most despicable.

Totalitarianism destroys everything that makes politics possible. It is both an ideological poison and a brutal mode of governance and control. It puts reason to sleep and destroys and viable elements of democracy. Trump reminds us in the most exacerbated and dramatic forms of totalitarianism’s addiction to tyranny, its attachments to the machineries of death, and its moral emptiness.

What is crucial to acknowledge is that the stories, legacies, and
violence that are part of totalitarianism’s history must be told over and over again so that it becomes possible to recognize how it appears in new forms, replicated under the banner of terror and insecurity by design, and endlessly legitimated by in the image making of the corporate disimagination machines.

Dark times are here but history is open and Trump’s presence—along with his fellow extremists and supporters– should be a rallying cry for a struggle not simply against a crude and reactionary popularism, but against the tyranny of totalitarianism in its new and offensive forms.



[1] John Kiriakou, “Donald Trump and the Legacy of Joe McCarthy,” Reader Supported News, [November 15, 2015]. Online:

[2] Victor Wallis, “The Trump Phenomenon,” Monthly Review, [November 25, 2015]


[3] Zaid Jilani , “Donald Trump Won’t Rule Out Special ID Cards For Muslim Americans,”

AlterNet (November 19, 2015). Online:

[4] Heather Digby Parton, “The Unprecedented Nightmare of Donald Trump: He’s Actually a Fascist,” Alter Net, [November 25, 2015]. Online:

[5] See, especially, Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York: 2001).

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University. His most recent books are America’s Education Deficit and the War on Youth (Monthly Review Press, 2013) and Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education (Haymarket Press, 2014). His web site is

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Turkey’s top religious body tackles misinterpretation of Islam

Following the recent attacks in Paris and Beirut by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Turkey has shouldered an increased responsibility, as a key Muslim country in the region, to fight against Islamist extremism and terrorism.

Turkey’s top religious body, the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), dedicated a Friday sermon on Nov. 20 to global terror, saying ISIS was “marching on the same path as the Crusaders.”

The sermon was read at some 80,000 mosques across the country, and over 2,000 mosques abroad that are linked to the directorate.

“It is not only innocent people that are killed in Ankara, Paris, Beirut, Baghdad and Nigeria... but also Islam’s holy values, which were sent as a mercy to mankind,” stated the sermon, entitled “The religion that is targeted by global terror.”

The sermon added that those who kill innocent people in the name of religion are killing all humanity.

A report released by Diyanet in August explained ISIS’s recruitment tactics, slogans and interpretation of Islam to influence especially Muslim youth.

Turkish imam Ahmet Muhsin Tuzer said he explained to people the real spirit of Islam each time he came across a wrong interpretation by ISIS members.

“My disadvantage is not to have a young community in the mosque I currently serve, but I’m in active dialogue with my entourage to clear up their mindset about real Islam,” Tuzer told Al Arabiya News.

“For instance, many people were impressed by the latest sermon of Diyanet, and began asking me questions about ISIS’s misinterpretations of the religion.”

He said Diyanet officials “and particularly imams have a serious responsibility to shoulder under these critical circumstances. We have to gain back those youth who are brainwashed, and give them the real inspiration of Islam.”

ISIS carried out attacks in the southeastern town of Suruc and the capital Ankara this year, killing more than 100 citizens.

Public opinion
According to a poll by the Pew Research Center, published on Nov. 17, 8 percent of the population have a favorable opinion of ISIS, and 73 percent unfavorable.

A July survey by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) found that 91 percent of Turks think ISIS is a terrorist organization while 7 percent do not, and 82 percent think it is a threat to Turkey while 16 percent do not.

“This survey was before the Suruç, Ankara and Paris attacks, and one would expect that the image of ISIS would become even more negative, which the Pew survey highlights hasn’t happened,” Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, Ankara office director of the GMF, told Al Arabiya News.

“I think the favorable opinion of ISIS shared by just 8 percent of Turkish society, according to the Pew survey, is an indirect function of Turks’ unfavorable opinion of the West.”

Unluhisarcikli said this way of thinking - called Sevres Syndrome, in reference to the treaty the Ottoman Empire was forced to sign upon losing World War I - is prevalent among ordinary Turkish citizens.

“On top of this, there’s the Islamist way of thinking, which perceives developments from the prism of a conflict between Islam and the Judeo-Christian world.”

Murat Erdogan, director of Hacettepe University’s Migration and Politics Research Center (HUGO), said furthering cooperation and integration with the West would be crucial for Turkey to boost its position, as a Muslim country, against ISIS threats.

“However, the social influence of Diyanet and its appointed local imams remains limited among Muslim youth in Turkey, because there’s still social support for this terrorist group, although limited to a low percentage,” Erdogan told Al Arabiya News.

Unluhisarcikli agrees:“Although Diyanet has recently begun efforts to create awareness about the evil of ISIS in Friday prayers, I’m not sure those Turks who have sympathy for ISIS are followers of the Diyanet interpretation of Islam.”

Erdogan said the Paris attacks were likely to undermine social perceptions of Muslims in Europe.

“This requires Turkey and Turkish immigrants in Europe to show solidarity with Western countries, and display a sincere attitude without reservations against ISIS. Turkey should clearly and credibly declare that it’s against Islamist terror,” he added.

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30 November 2015

Enlightened Islam against jihadist ideology

Image result for enlightened islam against terrorismImage result for enlightened islam against terrorism
Image result for enlightened islam against terrorism

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve urged French Muslim leaders on Sunday to develop an "enlightened Islam" to confront what he called the obscurantist views of Islamic State that lead young Muslims into violence.

At their first meeting since the Nov. 13 killings of 130 people, he told about 400 Muslim leaders, imams and activists that France would do everything it could to track criminals, but only they could win the battle of ideas within Islam.

The unusual meeting of 10 Muslim federations and five grand mosques was arranged to "cry loud and clear our condemnation of these acts," Anouar Kbibech, head of France's Muslim Council (CFCM), said of the massacre in Paris by mostly French and Belgian recruits to the Syrian-based Islamic State movement.

It swore allegiance to France and ended with the French national anthem, La Marseillaise. France's five-million-strong Muslim minority, Europe's largest, makes up about 8 percent of the population. Two-thirds of them are French citizens.

Cazeneuve, whose portfolio includes religious affairs, recalled Islam's "Golden Age" of prominent philosophers and cooperation among religions, which was a far cry from what he called the perverted Islam of today's jihadists.

"It is your responsibility to revive this enlightened Islam to denounce the spiritual duplicity of the terrorists and those who follow them," he told the meeting.

"You are the most legitimate and qualified to fight these deadly ideas ... we must protect our youth from the spread of this stupidity," he said. "Just think what effect this progressive Islam would have on the rest of Islam in the world."

France is home to many Muslim intellectuals who write long treatises about reforming Islam to make it fit better into western society. Most have only faint resonance among practicing Muslims here or in the Muslim world.


Since the late 1980s, successive Paris governments have tried but failed to nurture a liberal "Islam of France" that would help integrate the faith into this mostly secular society.

The French Muslim community, torn apart by ethnic divisions and power politics, has for its part failed to unite to oppose radical Salafist groups that have established their presence in some mosques and neighborhoods as well as on the Internet.

Recently elected as CFCM president, Kbibech brought together the often rival federations and grand mosques to pledge to do more to train imams, fight radicalization and educate young Muslims in the principles of Islam.

"After the time for emotion, for condemnation and compassion, now is the time for action," he said. "French Muslims are ready to play their part ... to understand and prevent the drift of some of our youths into violence."

Islam played a part in this radicalization, even if only as a source for religious pretexts misused to justify violence, he said, but many political, economic and social factors also pushed young Muslims to extremism.

"We are witnessing an Islamization of their radicalism, not a radicalization of Islam," he said, citing a recent analysis by Olivier Roy, a leading French academic expert on Islam.

Cazeneuve, who announced a meeting with Muslim leaders about radicalization for early January, said French Muslims should develop a "Gallican Islam, that keeps abreast of modern society's concerns and resolves issues that (Islam) never had to resolve in its societies of origin".

Salafist Islam, the puritan literalist interpretation of the faith that is the basis for Islamic State's violent ideology, says Muslims must return to the practices of early Islam in the seventh century and shun many aspects of modern western life.

Cazeneuve said Paris would continue cracking down on what he called obscurantism and told the meeting that two mosques had been shut down and about 20 more searched since Paris decreed emergency powers to allow it to track down militants.

He praised the meeting for its unequivocal denunciation of extremism and allegiance to France and its values, calling a statement it passed "a declaration of love for the republic and for France".

(Reporting by Tom Heneghan)
Read more at Reuters

Islam is already enlightened, its against terrorism, the misguided terrorists are using name of Islam to kill the innocent people. If a bad driver bangs new Mercedes car, its not fault of Mercedes but of driver, who needs training. Keep reading >>> 

Read more on:  Islam & Terrorism

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Wow, Seth Meyers just stripped down Donald Trump’s lies and Islamophobia so clearly even your racist uncle will get it now

Wow, Seth Meyers just stripped down Donald Trump's lies and Islamophobia so clearly even your racist uncle will get it now
"When confronted about his lies, he doubles down," Meyers says, before answering back with reality.

Wow, Seth Meyers just stripped down Donald Trump's lies and Islamophobia so clearly even your racist uncle will get it now
“Late Night” host Seth Meyers was on fire Tuesday night when he lit up Donald Trump for spending the weekend lying to justify his racism and Islamophobia.

Trump swears that he saw Muslims in New Jersey celebrating on 9/11, a claim that Meyers says has been universally debunked. “But even when he was confronted about the lie by George Stephanopoulos, Trump stood his ground,” Meyers said. He then ran the clip of Trump doubling down saying that he saw it with his own eyes.

“But let’s remember Trump also said he met Vladimir Putin when they were on the same episode of ’60 Minutes’ even though they filmed their segments thousands of miles apart. So, Trump’s understanding about how TV works is not entirely trustworthy.”

Meyers said it would be like Trump claiming he knew the Dallas Cowboys really well because just that weekend they played a game in his living room.

Trump even quoted a Washington Post report that alleged that “these people” were celebrating in the streets, however, the reporters who wrote the story have now come out saying that 1.) they never said hundreds or thousands of people were celebrating and 2.) the reporter could never verify the report.

Of course, Trump doesn’t care about any of that. “When confronted about his lies, he doubles down,” Meyers said. “And much like the KFC Double Down, each one is getting harder to digest. Because, Washington Post article or not, Trump claimed to have seen these events with his own eyes.”

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Muslims need to take a firm stand against Terrorists who are killing in the name of Islam

If the whole Muslim population is placed under a restive “judgment” of mistrust, it is not the fault of the “other” but our own “private bomber” who believes that they are going to “paradise” if they blow up a cathedral or an opera house full of people

Image result for say no to terrorism posters

I am a Muslim and I do not approve of what some “Muslim terror groups” are doing to the world in their frenzied state of heedless revenge against an enemy which is not even there. The Islamic State group for instance, brings shame to me being a Muslim. I was shocked the day Paris was attacked for it was only innocent people who got killed and maimed. It is always the innocent who get killed in majority (or should I say all) of the attacks perpetrated and then heretically owned by Muslim terror outfits. The policy makers, the aggressors and the assumed “proponent enemies” are seated behind fortresses while our Muslim brothers kill unassuming people who are out to earn their living or by all means live a happy life. This is terrorism and there is no running away from it. If the whole Muslim population is being blamed and is placed under a restive “judgment” of mistrust, it is not the fault of the “other” but our own “private bomber” who is persistently focused on the belief that he or she is going to “paradise” if he or she manages to blow up a cathedral or an opera house full of people. It is our own people who make lives difficult for us.

Image result for say no to terrorism posters

As for me, I am a man of simple faith and I believe in the ideals that my religion teaches me. But I am not frenzied; I am not out to hit out every person from a distinct faith to secure my position in paradise. I am far away from that, because first I am a human being and my religion teaches me love and compassion for not only other humans but even “inanimate” objects like the roads I walk on. My religion teaches me to feed the hungry rather than stuffing my own abdomen with loads and loads of food and I need to weigh, intrinsically, how focused I am on such “deeds”. I have to look out for my neighbours the way I look out for my father and mother. If I am a Muslim I have to abide by all that my religion preaches and not stay obscurely focused on “how to eliminate” the “other”. I would not mind if I may be hurting the sentiments of people who believe in a different, “conjured Islam” because it is high time that Muslims who love their religion for everything good it has to offer stand up against those who are out to disfigure the very instinct of it.

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I do not see the West as an oppressor of Muslims specifically since the West has intervened in the internal affairs of almost every nation and has poked its nose into “everyone else’s business”. The fact that most of the regions that have been hit by Western diktats and unwanted intervention were predominantly Muslim territories owes allegiance to the fact that these territories are home to exhaustive oil and mineral reserves. Talking of that we find that the West has intervened in almost every territory that had or has the potential to precursor hegemony over Caspian oil and natural reserves and these interventions can genuinely be classified as “intrinsic” to the power play of such nation-states, for instance the US which has kept its position as a world super-power secure for a long time now owing to its power politics mediated through its aggressive armed interventions into Iraq and Afghanistan. In order to maintain its “hegemony” the US had to categorically maintain “lockdowns” on resource-rich territories or at least tried to do, lest it only witness its fall from “glory”. We must also realize as a population that the world has evolved since monarchs and emperors would engage themselves in sword-fights to conquer new lands and the changed world order has set the economic precedent for everyone. It is monopoly over markets and economies that lay the route for greater stability and super-powerfulness. If we hold grudges over that then maybe some of us need a dozen or so teleportation machines to be transferred back to the recesses of savagery.

Image result for say no to islamophobia

So who are we fooling? Rather than laying a well-planned economic siege over magnates, who own disastrously wealthy corporations, and media giants who twist the “game” into their favour away from public discourse, why are groups like the IS irrationally disposed only to murder innocent people? My answer to my own question is that their vision is too blurred by fanatic ideologues and their ideologies to see where the world is actually heading. They are too desensitized to realize that instead of reeling in disastrous amounts of flak which puts the future of world Muslims at the crosshairs of missile launchers and snipers they could be the agents of change.

Resource hungry magnates drive opinions aided by debauch media houses which lead to aggressive interventions on part of the West in the rest of the world while our aimless armed “treatments” help them draft their courses of action. Common people are as innocent as ever and they have no idea what is generally going on. So, why should they be targeted? It would have made much more sense if our terror outfits, which in the name and under a misrepresented and misinterpreted emblem of Islam blow up the credentials of every living or dead Muslim on the face of the earth with every bombing they execute to achieve a miscalculated “revenge”, sat down with their very own people and tried to solve things by first solving their anger issues, setting their priorities right and then evolving mechanisms to eliminate disparities amongst the Ummah and then addressing the world as a singular, sane and rational voice which I am sure would be heard. Acting out of unwarranted trust-issues at the behest of blood-soaked petro-dollars pumped in by our own elite and maintain a steady body count of the “other” as segregate groups is only rendering the writing on the wall bolder – that all Muslims are ‘heedless terrorists’.
By Arshid Malik:

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China pivot fuels Eurasian century

A specter is haunting Washington, an unnerving vision of a Sino-Russian alliance wedded to an expansive symbiosis of trade and commerce across much of the Eurasian land mass - at the expense of the United States.

And no wonder Washington is anxious. That alliance is already a done deal in a variety of ways: through the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa); at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Asian counterweight to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; inside the Group of 20; and via the 120-member-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Trade and commerce are just part of the future bargain. Synergies in the development of new military technologies beckon as well. After Russia's Star Wars-style, ultra-sophisticated S-500 air defense anti-missile system comes online in 2018, Beijing is sure to want a version of it. Meanwhile, Russia is about to sell dozens of state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-35 jet fighters to the Chinese as Beijing and Moscow move to seal an aviation-industrial partnership.

This week should provide the first real fireworks in the celebration of a new Eurasian century-in-the-making when Russian President Vladimir Putin drops in on Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

You remember "Pipelineistan," all those crucial oil and gas pipelines crisscrossing Eurasia that make up the true circulatory system for the life of the region. Now, it looks like the ultimate Pipelineistan deal, worth US$1 trillion and 10 years in the making, will be signed off on as well. In it, the giant, state-controlled Russian energy giant Gazprom will agree to supply the giant state-controlled China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) with 3.75 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas a day for no less than 30 years, starting in 2018. That's the equivalent of a quarter of Russia's gas exports to all of Europe. China's present daily gas demand is around 16 billion cubic feet a day, and imports account for 31.6% of total consumption.

China's New Silk Road Promises Prosperity Across Eurasia ...

For centuries the historical Silk Road connected Asia and Europe by land and by sea. The new proposal of China, while ...

Gazprom may still collect the bulk of its profits from Europe, but Asia could turn out to be its Everest. The company will use this mega-deal to boost investment in Eastern Siberia and the whole region will be reconfigured as a privileged gas hub for Japan and South Korea as well. If you want to know why no key country in Asia has been willing to "isolate" Russia in the midst of the Ukrainian crisis - and in defiance of the Obama administration - look no further than Pipelineistan.

Exit the Petrodollar, enter the Gas-o-Yuan
And then, talking about anxiety in Washington, there's the fate of the petrodollar to consider, or rather the "thermonuclear" possibility that Moscow and Beijing will agree on payment for the Gazprom-CNPC deal not in petrodollars but in Chinese yuan.

One can hardly imagine a more tectonic shift, with Pipelineistan intersecting with a growing Sino-Russian political-economic-energy partnership. Along with it goes the future possibility of a push, led again by China and Russia, toward a new international reserve currency - actually a basket of currencies - that would supersede the dollar (at least in the optimistic dreams of BRICS members).

Right after the potentially game-changing Sino-Russian summit comes a BRICS summit in Brazil in July. That's when a $100 billion BRICS development bank, announced in 2012, will officially be born as a potential alternative to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as a source of project financing for the developing world.

More BRICS cooperation meant to bypass the dollar is reflected in the "Gas-o-yuan", as in natural gas bought and paid for in Chinese currency. Gazprom is even considering marketing bonds in yuan as part of the financial planning for its expansion. Yuan-backed bonds are already trading in Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and most recently Frankfurt.

Nothing could be more sensible for the new Pipelineistan deal than to have it settled in yuan. Beijing would pay Gazprom in that currency (convertible into roubles); Gazprom would accumulate the yuan; Russia would then buy myriad made-in-China goods and services in yuan convertible into roubles.

It's common knowledge that banks in Hong Kong, from Standard Chartered to HSBC - as well as others closely linked to China via trade deals - have been diversifying into the yuan, which implies that it could become one of the de facto global reserve currencies even before it's fully convertible. (Beijing is unofficially working for a fully convertible yuan by 2018.)

The Russia-China gas deal is inextricably tied up with the energy relationship between the European Union and Russia. After all, the bulk of Russia's gross domestic product comes from oil and gas sales, as does much of its leverage in the Ukraine crisis. In turn, Germany depends on Russia for a hefty 30% of its natural gas supplies. Yet Washington's geopolitical imperatives - spiced up with Polish hysteria - have meant pushing Brussels to find ways to "punish" Moscow in the future energy sphere (while not imperiling present day energy relationships).

There's a consistent rumble in Brussels these days about the possible cancellation of the projected 16 billion euro (US$22 billion) South Stream pipeline, whose construction is to start in June. On completion, it would pump yet more Russian natural gas to Europe - in this case, underneath the Black Sea (bypassing Ukraine) to Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Greece, Italy, and Austria.

Bulgaria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have already made it clear that they are firmly opposed to any cancellation, and cancellation is probably not in the cards. After all, the only obvious alternative is Caspian Sea gas from Azerbaijan, and that isn't likely to happen unless the EU develops its own construction projects.

In any case, Azerbaijan doesn't have enough capacity to supply the levels of natural gas needed, and other actors like Kazakhstan, plagued with infrastructure problems, or unreliable Turkmenistan, which prefers to sell its gas to China, are already largely out of the picture. And don't forget that South Stream, coupled with subsidiary energy projects, will create a lot of jobs and investment in many of the most economically devastated EU nations.

Nonetheless, such EU threats, however unrealistic, only serve to accelerate Russia's increasing symbiosis with Asian markets. For Beijing especially, it's a win-win situation. After all, between energy supplied across seas policed and controlled by the US Navy and steady, stable land routes out of Siberia, it's no contest.

Pick your own Silk Road
Of course, the US dollar remains the top global reserve currency, involving 33% of global foreign exchange holdings at the end of 2013, according to the IMF. It was, however, at 55% in 2000. Nobody knows the percentage in yuan (and Beijing isn't talking), but the IMF notes that reserves in "other currencies" in emerging markets have been up 400% since 2003.

The Federal Reserve is arguably monetizing 70% of the US government debt in an attempt to keep interest rates from heading skywards. Pentagon adviser Jim Rickards, as well as every Hong Kong-based banker, tends to believe that the Fed is bust (though they won't say it on the record). No one can even imagine the extent of the possible future deluge the US dollar might experience amid a $1.4 quadrillion Mount Ararat of financial derivatives.

Don't think that this is the death knell of Western capitalism, however, just the faltering of that reigning economic faith, neoliberalism, still the official ideology of the United States, the overwhelming majority of the European Union, and parts of Asia and South America.

As far as what might be called the "authoritarian neoliberalism" of the Middle Kingdom, what's not to like at the moment? China has proven that there is a result-oriented alternative to the Western "democratic" capitalist model for nations aiming to be successful. It's building not one, but myriad new Silk Roads, far-reaching webs of high-speed railways, highways, pipelines, ports, and fiber-optic networks across huge parts of Eurasia. These include a Southeast Asian road, a Central Asian road, an Indian Ocean "maritime highway" and even a high-speed rail line through Iran and Turkey reaching all the way to Germany.

In April, when President Xi Jinping visited the city of Duisburg on the Rhine River, with the world's largest inland harbor and right in the heartland of Germany's Ruhr steel industry, he made an audacious proposal: a new "economic Silk Road" should be built between China and Europe, on the basis of the Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe railway, which already runs from China to Kazakhstan, to continue through Russia, Belarus, Poland, and finally Germany. That's 15 days by train, 20 less than for cargo ships sailing from China's eastern seaboard. Now that would represent the ultimate geopolitical earthquake in terms of integrating economic growth across Eurasia.

Keep in mind that, if no bubbles burst, China is about to become - and remain - the number one global economic power, a position it enjoyed for 18 of the past 20 centuries. But don't tell London hagiographers; they still believe that US hegemony will last, well, forever.
Despite recent serious financial struggles, the BRICS countries have been consciously working to become a counterforce to the original and - having tossed Russia out in March - once again Group of 7, or G-7. They are eager to create a global architecture to replace the one first imposed in the wake of World War II, and they see themselves as a potential challenge to the exceptionalist and unipolar world that Washington imagines for our future (with itself as the global robocop and NATO as its robo-police force). Historian and imperialist cheerleader Ian Morris, in his book War! What is it Good For?, defines the US as the ultimate "globocop" and "the last best hope of Earth". If that globocop "wearies of its role", he writes, "there is no plan B".

Well, there is a plan BRICS - or so the BRICS nations would like to think, at least. And when the BRICS do act in this spirit on the global stage, they quickly conjure up a curious mix of fear, hysteria, and pugnaciousness in the Washington establishment.

Take Christopher Hill as an example. The former assistant secretary of state for East Asia and US ambassador to Iraq is now an advisor with the Albright Stonebridge Group, a consulting firm deeply connected to the White House and the State Department. When Russia was down and out, Hill used to dream of a hegemonic American "new world order". Now that the ungrateful Russians have spurned what "the West has been offering" - that is, "special status with NATO, a privileged relationship with the European Union, and partnership in international diplomatic endeavors" - they are, in his view, busy trying to revive the Soviet empire. Translation: if you're not our vassals, you're against us. Welcome to Cold War 2.0.

The Pentagon has its own version of this directed not so much at Russia as at China, which, its think tank on future warfare claims, is already at war with Washington in a number of ways. So if it's not apocalypse now, it's Armageddon tomorrow. And it goes without saying that whatever's going wrong, as the Obama administration very publicly "pivots" to Asia and the American media fills with talk about a revival of Cold War-era "containment policy" in the Pacific, it's all China's fault.

Embedded in the mad dash toward Cold War 2.0 are some ludicrous facts-on-the-ground: the US government, with $17.5 trillion in national debt and counting, is contemplating a financial showdown with Russia, the largest global energy producer and a major nuclear power, just as it's also promoting an economically unsustainable military encirclement of its largest creditor, China.

Russia runs a sizeable trade surplus. Humongous Chinese banks will have no trouble helping Russian banks out if Western funds dry up. In terms of inter-BRICS cooperation, few projects beat a $30 billion oil pipeline in the planning stages that will stretch from Russia to India via Northwest China.

Chinese companies are already eagerly discussing the possibility of taking part in the creation of a transport corridor from Russia into Crimea, as well as an airport, shipyard, and liquid natural gas terminal there. And there's another "thermonuclear" gambit in the making: the birth of a natural gas equivalent to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that would include Russia, Iran, and reportedly disgruntled US ally Qatar.

The (unstated) BRICS long-term plan involves the creation of an alternative economic system featuring a basket of gold-backed currencies that would bypass the present America-centric global financial system. (No wonder Russia and China are amassing as much gold as they can.) The euro - a sound currency backed by large liquid bond markets and huge gold reserves - would be welcomed in as well.

It's no secret in Hong Kong that the Bank of China has been using a parallel SWIFT network to conduct every kind of trade with Tehran, which is under a heavy US sanctions regime. With Washington wielding Visa and MasterCard as weapons in a growing Cold War-style economic campaign against Russia, Moscow is about to implement an alternative payment and credit card system not controlled by Western finance. An even easier route would be to adopt the Chinese Union Pay system, whose operations have already overtaken American Express in global volume.

I'm just pivoting with myself
No amount of Obama administration "pivoting" to Asia to contain China (and threaten it with US Navy control of the energy sea lanes to that country) is likely to push Beijing far from its Deng Xiaoping-inspired, self-described "peaceful development" strategy meant to turn it into a global powerhouse of trade.

Nor are the forward deployment of US or NATO troops in Eastern Europe or other such Cold-War-ish acts likely to deter Moscow from a careful balancing act: ensuring that Russia's sphere of influence in Ukraine remains strong without compromising trade and commercial, as well as political, ties with the European Union - above all, with strategic partner Germany. This is Moscow's Holy Grail; a free-trade zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok, which (not by accident) is mirrored in China's dream of a new Silk Road to Germany.

Increasingly wary of Washington, Berlin for its part abhors the notion of Europe being caught in the grips of a Cold War 2.0. German leaders have more important fish to fry, including trying to stabilize a wobbly EU while warding off an economic collapse in southern and central Europe and the advance of ever more extreme rightwing parties.

On the other side of the Atlantic, President Obama and his top officials show every sign of becoming entangled in their own pivoting - to Iran, to China, to Russia's eastern borderlands, and (under the radar) to Africa. The irony of all these military-first maneuvers is that they are actually helping Moscow, Tehran, and Beijing build up their own strategic depth in Eurasia and elsewhere, as reflected in Syria, or crucially in ever more energy deals. They are also helping cement the growing strategic partnership between China and Iran. The unrelenting Ministry of Truth narrative out of Washington about all these developments now carefully ignores the fact that, without Moscow, the "West" would never have sat down to discuss a final nuclear deal with Iran or gotten a chemical disarmament agreement out of Damascus.


US implementing project to capture Eurasia landmass: Pund

“To implement this project both Russia and China have to be destabilized, fragmented and converted into willing vassals of US imperialism,” Dennis Etler, a professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, told Press TV on Sunday ...
When the disputes between China and its neighbors in the South China Sea and between that country and Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyou islands meet the Ukraine crisis, the inevitable conclusion will be that both Russia and China consider their borderlands and sea lanes private property and aren't going to take challenges quietly - be it via NATO expansion, US military encirclement, or missile shields. Neither Beijing nor Moscow is bent on the usual form of imperialist expansion, despite the version of events now being fed to Western publics. Their "red lines" remain essentially defensive in nature, no matter the bluster sometimes involved in securing them.

Whatever Washington may want or fear or try to prevent, the facts on the ground suggest that, in the years ahead, Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran will only grow closer, slowly but surely creating a new geopolitical axis in Eurasia. Meanwhile, a discombobulated America seems to be aiding and abetting the deconstruction of its own unipolar world order, while offering the BRICS a genuine window of opportunity to try to change the rules of the game.

Russia and China in pivot mode
In Washington's think-tank land, the conviction that the Obama administration should be focused on replaying the Cold War via a new version of containment policy to "limit the development of Russia as a hegemonic power" has taken hold. The recipe: weaponize the neighbors from the Baltic states to Azerbaijan to "contain" Russia. Cold War 2.0 is on because, from the point of view of Washington's elites, the first one never really left town.

Yet as much as the US may fight the emergence of a multipolar, multi-powered world, economic facts on the ground regularly point to such developments. The question remains: will the decline of the hegemon be slow and reasonably dignified, or will the whole world be dragged down with it in what has been called "the Samson option"?

While we watch the spectacle unfold, with no end-game in sight, keep in mind that a new force is growing in Eurasia, with the Sino-Russian strategic alliance threatening to dominate its heartland along with great stretches of its inner rim. Now, that's a nightmare of Mackinderesque proportions from Washington's point of view. Think, for instance, of how Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security adviser who became a mentor on global politics to President Obama, would see it.

In his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard, Brzezinski argued that "the struggle for global primacy [would] continue to be played" on the Eurasian "chessboard", of which "Ukraine was a geopolitical pivot". "If Moscow regains control over Ukraine," he wrote at the time, Russia would "automatically regain the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia."

That remains most of the rationale behind the American imperial containment policy - from Russia's European "near abroad" to the South China Sea. Still, with no end-game in sight, keep your eye on Russia pivoting to Asia, China pivoting across the world, and the BRICS hard at work trying to bring about the new Eurasian Century.

By By Pepe Escobar
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

Pepe Escobar "The New Grand Chessboard: Power ... - Vimeo

The New Grand Chessboard Energy and power in the heart of Eurasia In the 19th century, there was the ...
In his commentary today, The Real News Network's, Pepe Escobar ... "The GrandChessboard" in 1997 ...

The Best of Escobar: 

Words US 'thinkland' dare not speak Winston Churchill lamented the absence of war - and the loss of empire. His successor, the Empire of Chaos, faces the same quandary, particularly as some wars, as in Ukraine by proxy, are not going so well. No wonder US Think Tankland is contorting itself to produce "forecasts" that dare not reveal the most likely future, with China, Russia and Germany at the helm. - Pepe Escobar (Mar 9, '15)

Germany's future lies East
Germany, sooner or later, must answer a categorical imperative - how to keep running massive trade surpluses while dumping its euro trade partners. The only possible answer is more trade with Russia, China and East Asia. It will take quite a while, but a Berlin-Moscow-Beijing commercial axis is all but inevitable. - Pepe Escobar (Mar 3, '15)

Year of the Sheep, Century of the Dragon?
Seen from the Chinese capital as the Year of the Sheep starts, the malaise affecting the West seems like a mirage in a galaxy far, far away. On the other hand, the China that surrounds you looks all too solid and nothing like the embattled nation you hear about in the Western media, with its falling industrial figures, its real estate bubble, and its looming environmental disasters. - Pepe Escobar (Feb 23, '15)

Turkey - the ultimate crossroads
Casanova wrote that as Constantine arrived in Istanbul by the sea, seduced by the sight of Byzantium, he instantly proclaimed: “This is the seat of the empire of the world." More recently,Turkey under the AKP party and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been busy positioning itself as the ultimate crossroads between East and West, between Eurasia and NATOstan - on Erdogan's own terms. - Pepe Escobar (Feb 2, '15)

Who profits from killing Charlie?
Who gains from killing Stephane Charbonnier and his colleagues at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo? Only those whose agenda is to demonize Islam. Not even a bunch of brainwashed fanatics would pull off the Charlie carnage to show people who accuse them of being barbarians that they are, in fact, barbarians. French intel at least has concluded that this is no underwear bomber stunt. This is a pro job. - Pepe Escobar (Jan 8, '15)

Russia, China mock divide and rule
A case can be made that the geopolitical shift towards Russia-China integration and a trade/commerce alliance of the pair with Germany is the greatest strategic maneuver of the past 100 years. As Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping build a new economic reality on the Eurasian ground, Western economic attacks rage like hurricanes. Someone should tell the West that "divide and rule" tactics are not working, and will only make 2015 a hair-raising year. - Pepe Escobar (Dec 23, '14)

Go west, young Han
If everything happens according to plan (and according to the dreams of China's leaders), the "New Silk Road" will become the project of the new century and the greatest trade story in the world for the next decade. Washington may be intent on "pivoting to Asia", but Beijing has its own plan to pirouette to Europe across Eurasia. -Pepe Escobar (Dec 17, '14)

Russia, Turkey pivot across Eurasia
Russia's decision to use Turkey as a transit country for gas destined for Europe sends geopolitical shockwaves all across Eurasia. Turkey is the obvious gainer, but how the fragile Balkans will feel about being subordinated to the whims of Ankara for their energy supplies is one big unknown. - Pepe Escobar (Dec 8, '14)

Will Russia, Germany save Europe from war?
Are the United States, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Russia on a mad spiral leading to yet another war in Europe - one in which the quality of armed power stands firmly against the West? Such a hair-raising Apocalypse Now scenario can be avoided - by returning to borders altered by the likes of Stalin, Hitler and Lenin. Everyone would win - except for the Empire of Chaos. - Pepe Escobar (Dec 1, '14)

Washington plays Russian roulette
Washington loaded the gun long before Vladimir Putin accused the United States of provoking him to pick it up - and long before most watching the game of Russian roulette could identify the weapon as caliber Cold War 2.0. With the bullet marked once for "Eurasian integration" and twice to target "regime change", Barack Obama is holding tensions high. When Hillary Clinton seizes the day, all bets will be off. - Pepe Escobar (Nov 21, '14)

China's silky road to glory
Any remaining doubts about the stupidity of Western corporate media should have been banished by the puerile coverage of Russian President Vladimir Putin's gentlemanly conduct at the APEC summit in Beijing. Infinitely more relevant to the real world, and largely ignored, was the fact that China got what it wanted - on all fronts. - Pepe Escobar (Nov 14, '14)

Lame-duck Obama's brave new world
Barack Obama, fresh from his shellacking in Congressional elections, now heads for more of a roasting in Beijing, where he may - or may not - get stuffed by Vlad "the Hammer" Putin, but will for sure face another thrilling round in the titanic battle over rival Asian trade deals. However the lame duck is sliced, the APEC sauce will go to the gander, China's President Xi Jinping. - Pepe Escobar (Nov 7, '14)

The Caliph fit to join OPEC
Caliph Ibrahim's Islamic State is now for all practical purposes an oil major worth of OPEC membership, with US$2 million in profits a day from juicy energy deals and prices to die for. All its gains would not even be remotely possible without US/Western overt/covert complicity, proving once and for all that The Caliph is theultimate gift that keeps on giving in the Global War On Terror. - Pepe Escobar (Oct 31, '14)

The loser in Brazil is neoliberalism
Irate Brazilian taxpayers are desperate for decent roads, urban security, better public hospitals and schools and less red tape and bureaucracy. But a slim majority still decided to stick with President Dilma Rousseff and her Xi Jinping-style anti-corruption drive over a turbo-neoliberalist challenger promising a "capitalist shock" that would see macroecomic policy run like a Wall Street fantasy. - Pepe Escobar (Oct 28, '14)

The Kobani riddle
The barbarians, in the form of Islamic State goons, are at the gates of Kobani, the bombed-out city in northern Syria which is also the epicenter of a non-violent experiment in local democracy. But don't expect the US, Turkey and the administration of Iraqi Kurdistan to save Kobani: the city is now an easy-to-lose pawn in a pitiless game because it embodies a people-power challenge to the hegemony of the nation-state. - Pepe Escobar (Oct 24, '14)

Do the Trans-Siberian shuffle
Take a trip back in time on a rumbling Trans-Siberian rail journey in the early years of the 1990s, then leap forward to the modern-era, circa 2020, with the route linked to a Chinese-driven high-speed rail network flashing across Eurasia. It's as if we were still frozen in time: both Russia and China remain pariahs in the eyes of the world's unipolar, imperial elite. - Pepe Escobar(Oct 17, '14)

A Caliph in a wilderness of mirrors
Islamic State goons are taking over the whole, notorious Baghdad belt - the previous "triangle of death" in those hardcore days of US occupation circa 2004. Yes, Donald Rumsfeld's "remnants" are back, razing Ramadi and Fallujah to an accumulation of bombed-out schools, hospitals, homes, mosques and bridges. How could the Pentagon's spectacular Full Spectrum Dominance possibly not see any of this happening? - Pepe Escobar (Oct 15, '14)

Pure War in Tehran
Paul Virilio's 1983 classic Pure War turned out to be the perfect companion during a frantic week in Tehran revisiting the symbiotic twists that entwine the military-industrial complex and large-scale terrorism, in a city where Virilio's assertion that "peace" merely extends war by other means rings particularly true. - Pepe Escobar (Oct 8, '14)

China, Russia hold US in Eurasian squeeze
Think of China as a magnet for a new world order in a future Eurasian century in which the United States might find itself progressively squeezed out of Eurasia, with a future Beijing-Moscow-Berlin strategic trade and commercial alliance emerging as a Great Game-changer. Place your bets soon. They’ll be called in by 2025. - Pepe Escobar (Oct 6, '14)

Operation Tomahawk The Caliph
So the Tomahawks are finally flying again, targeting the self-declared leader of Islamic State and even greater bad-asses in the mysterious Khorasan group. As the militants dissolve Maoist-style, The Pentagon will soon be bombing vast tracts of desert for nothing - if that's not the case already, while the people who are really capable of defeating The Caliph's goons don't tomahawk. - Pepe Escobar (Sep 24, '14)

Obama's 'stupid stuff' turned upside down
First US President Barack Obama promised there would be no ground troops to fight The Caliph - as in a re-invasion of Iraq. Then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey argues that if Obama's self-defined "Don't So Stupid Stuff" foreign policy doctrine does not work he'll go for ground troops. "Don't Do Stupid Stuff" changes its tune like surfing on iTunes. And the tune now is the "Syraq" offensive remixed. - Pepe Escobar(Sep 18, '14)

Will NATO liberate Jihadistan?
Even as North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state gather for a confab in the United Kingdom, Islamic State leader Caliph Ibrahim broadcasts his disdain of Western military power with the beheading of another American journalist - then declares that Russia's Vladimir Putin is next - which would kind of place him as a NATO contractor. And in return? The Pentagon couldn't care less. - Pepe Escobar (Sep 5, '14)

NATO attacks!
The Ukraine battleground at least has the merit of exposing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as naked, even as the alliance's summit this week will showcase outgoing secretary-general Anders "Fogh of War" Rasmussen baring his teeth and straining one last time to cross multiple battlelines as if trying to remake Tim Burton'sMars Attacks! - Pepe Escobar (Sep 3, '14)

Obama's 'stupid stuff' legacy
Dr Zbigniew Brzezinski, the grand old man of geopolitical strategy and long-time adviser to White House inhabitants, has long delivered his own version of sage advise to present incumbent Barack Obama. Yet what a mess has been made of such "wisdom". As always alert former secretary of state Hillary Clinton said: "Don't do stupid stuff". Yet "stupid stuff" is all that the Obama foreign policy team knows how to do. -Pepe Escobar (Sep 2, '14)
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