Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. May 2018
Blog No. 155.
Suddenly, the arena of global affairs is filled with multiple gladiatorial spectacles. In the recent period we have had major summits in Quebec, Singapore and Qingdao. In the Middle East, the US has torn up the Iran nuclear deal, there are plausible reports that the US neo-con faction is contemplating the waving of yet another White Helmet-enabled, falsely-flagged chemical outrage (the gift that keeps on giving) to justify a US military resurgence in Syria and the war in Yemen has suddenly come to a critical point. To add icing to the Arabs’ bowl of bliss, under the doublespeak rubric of ‘Middle East peace plan,’ Trump is about to announce his and Netanyahu’s final solution to the Palestinian problem. Other informed observers are anticipating that spectator interest might be further enhanced by a fresh round of neo-con/NATO inspired hostilities to be instigated in eastern Ukraine.
This blog will deal with the three conferences; the next, with Israel’s effective manipulation of President Trump, as it anticipates its impending triumph over its unfortunate neighbours. A later blog may look at the Ukrainian situation. In parallel to the three summits covered in this blog, it should be noted that a fourth important international get-together, the annual St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) also took place at the end of May. Needless to say, like the SCO summit, this event gets scant reportage in the western media, but its potential global significance, though yet to dawn on western politicians, is well illustrated in a footnote below that relates primarily to the outcome of the Quebec conference.
Qingdao. President Trump held centre stage in both the Quebec meeting of the fractious G-7 and the Singapore Summit with Kim Jong-Un. The only one of the three summits that took place without Trump at centre stage was the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in China’s coastal city of Qingdao in Shandong province (1.)
Pepe Escobar has written an informative, but probably overly-enthusiastic article on the subject of this latter meeting (2.) He chose to emphasise the growing relationship between Presidents Putin and Xi. Quoting Xi: “President Putin and I both think that the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership is mature, firm and stable.” Escobar regards this as a highly significant statement “because officially, so far, this was a “comprehensive partnership.” It’s the first time on record that Xi has put the stress on “strategic”. Again, in Escobar’s words: “It is the highest-level, most profound and strategically most significant relationship between major countries in the world.” Evidently Xi had just previously referred to Putin as “my best, most intimate friend.”
It is worthy of note that the same summit saw both India and Pakistan being accepted into full membership of the SCO, which makes it into the world’s most significant geo-political bloc in terms of both population and land mass. Though the original stated intent of the SCO was to counter terrorism, in contrast to NATO, the SCO is most definitely not a military alliance. It has come to concentrate heavily on economic integration and development. It remains to be seen if it will be able to use its good offices to overcome the ever-threatening enmity and nuclear confrontation between India and Pakistan.
Singapore. If President Xi of China regards the continuing growth and development of the SCO, as demonstrated in Qingdao, as a major source of satisfaction, his cup of delight will have brimmed over after Trump’s Singapore summit with the North Korean leadership. This provided a clear indication of Trump’s pragmatism prevailing over the war-crazies of the Washington elite. Thanks to Trump’s conceit (or his courage; take your pick) the chances of hostilities on the Korean peninsula have been greatly reduced – at least for the time being.
I have to admit to having underestimated Trump in my previous blog on this subject. He clearly wasn’t looking for a straight and impossible win and had already decided on a win-win outcome in the pre-summit negotiations. From the practical point of view, given the recent advances in North Korean missile technology and the continuing uncertainty of the efficacy of the USA’s homeland missile defences, Trump was faced with a choice: either risk the annihilation of one or more major US cities, or find a peaceable modus vivendi with North Korea.
A freeze on the escalation of mutual military threats was urgently needed and was achieved. Trump entered the negotiations well aware that a US military assault on North Korea was no longer a serious option. Both Trump’s pre-summit military bluster and his post-summit attempts to limit the inevitable and damaging neo-con claims of a sell-out, by giving the impression that the de-nuclearisation of N.Korea was now en train, should be viewed as nothing more than eye-candy to dampen the disappointment of the American public’s unrealistic and neo-con nurtured expectations.
Likewise, Kim entered the negotiations only after he had ensured that his American partners were fully aware that there was no possibility of him agreeing to the de-nuclearising of his state until, at least, a cast-iron defensive guarantee, such as one with China, was in place and until both the major political factions that might come to power in the USA had abandoned their demented ambitions of global military domination.
Footnote (3) shows how this pragmatic outcome was arrived at as a result of intelligent strategising by the North Korean leadership. Footnote (4) explains the actual outcome of the summit and should enable readers to ignore much of the neo-con inspired rubbish in the media on the subject of Trump having failed as a negotiator. (For those, who enjoy light entertainment, the first few minutes of the accompanying video clip is highly recommended!) Trump did what Hillary Clinton could never have done – arrived at a sensible understanding, which should allow diplomacy to move forward over the next fifteen or so years.
His problem has been to present the reality of his triumph in reversing decades of American folly in the conduct of its Korean policy, in a light that prevents the false perceptions generated by the neo-con controlled media gathering such force as to make his re-election to the presidency impossible.
I think Trump’s performance in Singapore does indeed deserve a Nobel Peace prize. Watch now for the howls of outrage as the neo-cons and their brain-washed media try to destroy the agreement and reinstate their policy of military confrontation.
To this end, even NZTV was moved to show archived pictures of famine-afflicted N.Korean children as an indication of the N. Koreans’ monstrous regime with whom, by implication, no deals should be done. (No mention that the malnutrition was the consequence of Western sanctions on an economy reduced to diverting too much of its limited economic resource to defend itself from the massive and constant military threat posed by the Pentagon.)
With the danger of war now removed from the Korean peninsula, the N. Korean economy might start to recover to a point where North and South can contemplate cooperation rather than confrontation.
In the meantime, the US Military-Industrial complex and the neo-cons will be spending trillions of tax-payer money to perfect their anti-missile defences and thus once again be able to pose the threat of a pre-emptive first strike against N.Korea and force the N. Koreans to once again divert their resources into finding an alternative means of deterring USA aggression. Such a deterrent solution for the North Koreans might indeed be to de-nuclearise their country – by putting their nuclear warheads in sea containers and concealing them among the many millions of sea containers scattered around the USA! (5.)
Quebec. The final summit (and aftermath) to be considered was the spectacular G-7 meeting that Trump attended in Quebec immediately before his departure to Singapore. The final collapse of the G-7 summits, as forecast at the end of this history of its rise and fall, (6) now looks certain. Quebec would appear to mark the expiry of its use-by-date.
I searched the web for a detailed account of what had occurred that wasn’t going to subject the reader to one of the financial crisis-stricken western MSM’s paywalls. The most detailed article I could come up with was this one, posted on the communist World Socialist Web Site (7.) The detailed reporting appears to be accurate – whether or not you go for the interpretation is your choice!
The other members of the G-7, Canada, France, the UK, Italy, Germany and Japan were quite deliberately baited and infuriated by Trump who, in effect, announced to them the end of the liberal free trade era that had been initiated by the USA at the end of WWII and on which the economies of these lesser allies and hangers-on have been predicated. To understand Trump’s foreign policy one has to listen to his multiple explanations of his world view and understand the economic position facing both the USA, as an indebted nation, and Trump, as an indebted individual.
Trump likes dealing with foreign leaders on a one-to-one basis, where the USA’s superior military and economic assets and his own imposing and bullying personality can be deployed to maximum effect. He doesn’t like multilateral negotiations, or the institutions, such as the UN or the G-7, that conduct them, as his voice and his chances of gaining his way are diluted commensurately. He likes dealing with decision-makers who are free of the constraints imposed by having to pay too much attention to colleagues. In short, he prefers to deal with an autocrat than with a democrat.
An observer, seeing how North Korea arose from total destruction to become a nuclear power in the face of the mountainous obstacles placed in front of its progress by the USA’s own deeply flawed democracy and those of its allies, might appreciate his point. So too would anyone comparing the spectacular growth in the standard of living in one-party decision-making China with the decline of that of the USA’s middle and working classes living in their dysfunctional, plutocratic ‘democracy.’
Other Trump characteristics are his impatience with detail and theory. He remains unimpressed by, or incapable of grasping, scientific arguments about climate change or the intricate theories of global economics. He appears unconcerned with the welfare of humanity as a whole. His default ideological position is that of right-wing, one-nation nationalism. It is up to each nation to look after its own and, for those who have made the mistake of allowing themselves to become unable to manage their own self-interest, let the law of the jungle prevail.
The good news corollary to this is that the Trumpian world-view is in marked contrast to that of his world domination seeking, neo-con rivals, who have spread so much grief around the world in their unremitting search for regime change against governments that are not ‘free’ (‘free,’ in the sense of not having any particular concern for human rights and democracy, but open unreservedly to Wall Street penetration, occupation, expropriation and exploitation.)
While neo-con Democrats set up their hypocritical and self-serving wail regarding the human rights records of governments that don’t mirror the perfect human rights records of such paragons of democratic virtue as the USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia, Trump, will talk to any leader on a one-to-one basis – provided he sees the prospective outcome to be in the USA’s best interest. He appears not to be interested in the USA’s world domination as an end in itself – but only to the extent that grandiose military expenditure boosts the local economy. (Which standpoint is as good a demonstration as any, of his lack of economic understanding!)
He understands that America is on the brink of a severe crisis of indebtedness and his unthinking instinct is to attempt to extract if from the hole it has dug itself by playing zero sum games with other nations. Trump is not of a naturally cooperative disposition unless forced to be so. For his personal fortune, his business indebtedness and for his re-election to the presidency, he is heavily dependent on the Zionist Rothschilds banking facilities and on other Jewish American funding. For this reason, while the rest of the world faces a selfish and uncooperative Trump, the Middle East sees a President of the USA with an uninhibited and total commitment to Israeli interests.
So what will be the outcome at the end of the Quebec meeting of the G7 (or G6+1, as the French delegation described it?)
As this blog has gone on long enough, I will end it with two footnotes. (8) Is an article by F. William Engdahl which not only offers an analysis of the increasingly dire state of the US economy and the risks facing those nations so persistent in their adherence to their dependence on it, but also suggests the possible impact of these events on the EU. The second article (9) reporting on the St Petersburg International Economic Conference, is a lengthy read, but I cannot recommend it strongly enough for those wishing to understand the forces at play in the current realignments in global geo-politics. Readers will note how readily Macron is adopting the Trumpian nationalistic world-view and is, in turn, intent on making France great (and independent) again. The teasing question is – will it be Germany alone, or Germany and France (and possibly others such as Italy) together, who desert the UK, leaving it and other EU/NATO muppets floundering in their own and Washington’s mire while they seize the opportunity to enter the seemingly more rosy economic future offered by the East?
This final article on the St Petersburg conference, also reports on Japan’s current inability to adapt to these changing circumstances. However, Trump’s Singapore deal changes everything. Almost instantly Putin has seized the opportunity to press Japan to make the move to reconciliation with its Western neighbours, China and the Koreas (10.) Certainly, Trump’s boorish performance at the G-7 will have encouraged Abe to listen to Putin’s words of encouragement.