THE ROVING EYE US 'pivots', China reaps dividends By Pepe Escobar, World
Apr 24, '14
Let's start with a flashback to February 1992 - only two months after
the dissolution of the Soviet Union. First draft of the US government's Defense Planning Guidance.
It was later toned down, but it still formed the basis for the
exceptionalist dementia incarnated by the Project for the New American
Century; and also reappeared in full glory in Dr Zbig "Let's Rule
Eurasia" Brzezinski's 1997 magnum opus The Grand Chessboard.
It's all there, raw, rough and ready:
Our first objective is to prevent the reemergence of a new
rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere,
that poses a threat on
the order of that posed by the Soviet Union. This ... requires that we
endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose
resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate
global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the
territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia.
That's all one needs to know about the Obama administration's "pivoting
to Asia", as well as the pivoting to Iran ("if we're not going to war",
as US Secretary of State John Kerry let it slip) and the pivoting to
Cold War 2.0, as in using Ukraine as a "new Vietnam" remix next door to
Russia. And that's also the crucial context for Obama's Pax Americana
Spring collection currently unrolling in selected Asian catwalks (Japan,
South Korea, Malaysia and Philippines).
Obama's Asia tour started this week in full regalia at the famed Jiro restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo, ingesting hopefully non-Fukushima radiated nigiri sushi
(disclosure: I was there way back in 1998, when sushi master Jiro Ono
was far from a celebrity and the sushi was far from atomic). Obama's
host, hardcore nationalist/militarist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,
obviously picked up the bill. But the real bill comes later, as in Japan
bowing to strict US demands - on trade, investment, corporate law and
intellectual property rights - embedded in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP), which is code for American Big Business finally
cracking open the heavily protected Japanese market.
Abe is a tough customer. His rhetoric is heavy on "escaping the post-war
regime", as in re-weaponizing Japan and not playing second fiddle
militarily to Washington in Asia anymore. The Pentagon obviously has
other ideas. Post-sushi at Jiro, what matters for Obama is to force
Tokyo to bend over not only on TPP but also on keeping the weaponizing
subordinated to the larger US agenda.
Beijing, predictably, sees all that for what it really is, as expressed in this Xinhua op-ed;
the actions of an "anachronistic", "sclerotic" and "myopic" superpower
that needs to "shake off its historical and philosophical shackles".
The Southeast Asia leg of the Spring collection tour is all about making
sure to Malaysia and Philippines, not as strong militarily as Vietnam,
that the US Navy will never be replaced as the hegemon in the South
China Sea - or even allow China to reach parity with it. It's at the
heart of the "pivoting to Asia" as containment of China, whose aim is
preventing China from becoming a naval power simultaneously in the
Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific.
The Pentagon is predictably paranoid, accusing China of waging not only one but "three warfares"
against the US. The fact is Beijing is developing a state-of-the-art
underground base for 20 nuclear submarines in Hainan island just as
Malaysia boosts its own submarine base in Borneo and the Philippines
keeps imploring Washington for more planes, ships, airstrips and cyber
capabilities as protection for what it regards as its absolute priority:
explore for oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea to boost the
Radiate me with trade deals, baby
The Spring collection is far from derailing other pivoting - whose
latest offering is the current "anti-terrorist" campaign in eastern
Ukraine by the Kiev regime changers, which follows a most curious
calendar. CIA's John Brennan hits Kiev, and the regime changers launch
their first war on terra. Dismal failure ensues. Vice President Joe
Biden visits Kiev and the regime changers, right on cue, relaunch their
war on terra.
Thus the pivoting to Cold War 2.0 proceeds unabated, as in Washington
working hard to build an iron curtain between Berlin and Moscow -
preventing further trade integration across Eurasia - via instigation
of a civil war in Ukraine. German Chancellor Angela Merkel remains on
the spot: it's either Atlantic high-fidelity or her Ostpolitik - and
that's exactly where Washington wants her.
As for the batshit crazy factions fully deployed across the Beltway revolving door, everything goes, from "warning" China not to pull a Crimea to advocating war in Syria and even the North Atlantic Treaty Organization entering a nuclear war, as shown here by the appropriately denominated Anne Marie Slaughter. This is what she's teaching her exceptionalist students at Princeton.
How's Beijing reacting to all this hysteria? Simple: by reaping
dividends. Beijing wins with the US offensive trying to alienate Moscow
from Western markets by getting a better pricing deal on the supply of
Eastern Siberian gas. Beijing wins from the European Union's fear of
losing trade with Russia by negotiating a free-trade agreement with its
largest trading partner, which happens to the be the EU.
And then, the sterling example. Just compare Obama's Spring collection
tour, as a pivoting appendix, to the current tour of Cuba, Venezuela,
Brazil and Argentina by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. It's a
business bonanza, focused on bilateral financing and, what else, trade
It's all in the mix: Peruvian and Chilean copper; Brazilian iron and
soybeans; support for Venezuelan social programs and energy development;
support for Cuba in its interest for greater Chinese involvement in
Venezuela, which supplies Cuba with subsidized energy.
And all this against the background of a Beltway so excited that the
Chinese economy is in deep trouble. It's not - it grew at 7.4%
year-on-year for the first quarter of 2014. Demand for iron and copper
won't significantly slow down - as the Beijing-driven urbanization
drive has not even reached full speed. Same for soybeans - as millions
of Chinese increasingly start eating meat on a regular basis (soybean
products are a crucial feedstock). And, of course, Chinese companies
will not losee their appetite for diversifying all across South America.
For the large, upcoming Chinese middle class - on their way to becoming
full-fledged members of the number one economic power in the world by
2018 - this Spring collection is a non-starter. He or she would rather
hit Hong Kong and queue up in Canton Road to buy loads of Hermes and
Prada - and then strategically celebrate with Jiro quality,