The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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No less than 78.03% of Russians have just voted in support of constitutional amendments. Among these, we find the paramount Atlanticist obsession: the possibility that Vladimir Putin will be able to run for two more presidential terms. Predictably, anguished cries of “Dictator! Dictator!” have been lobbied like deadly shells all across the Beltway. They might... Read More
Greece invented the concept of barbaros. Imperial Rome inherited it as barbarus. The original meaning of barbaros is rooted in language: an onomatopoeia meaning “unintelligible speech” as people go “bar bar bar” when they talk. Homer does not refer to barbaros, but to barbarophonos (“of unintelligible speech”), as in those who don’t speak Greek or... Read More
So what’s goin’ on in Iran? How did the Islamic Republic really respond to Covid-19? How is it coping with Washington’s relentless “maximum pressure”? These questions were the subject of a long phone call I placed to Prof. Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran – one of Iran’s premier, globally recognized analysts. As Marandi... Read More
Professor Sergey Karaganov is informally known in influential foreign policy circles as the “Russian Kissinger” – with the extra bonus of not having to carry a “war criminal” tag from Vietnam and Cambodia to Chile and beyond. Karaganov is the dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs at the National Research University... Read More
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Stranger things have happened. Everyone was expecting US President Donald Trump to go nuclear by de facto sanctioning China to death over Hong Kong. In an environment where Twitter and the President of the United States are now engaged in open warfare, the rule is that there are no rules anymore. So in the end,... Read More
It would be counter-productive for BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization members India and China to come to blows on account of some extremely remote – albeit strategically important – snowy mountain passes. But when one looks at the 3,488-kilometer-long Line of Actual Control, which India defines as “unresolved,” that can never be totally ruled out.... Read More
The key takeaways of the Two Sessions of the 13th National People’s Congress in Beijing are already in the public domain. In a nutshell: no GDP target for 2020; a budget deficit of at least 3.6% of GDP; one trillion yuan in special treasury bonds; corporate fees/taxes cut by 2.5 trillion yuan; a defense budget... Read More
A Chinese anti-US propaganda poster from the Korean War era. Photo: Facebook
In 1999, Qiao Liang, then a senior air force colonel in the People’s Liberation Army, and Wang Xiangsui, another senior colonel, caused a tremendous uproar with the publication of Unrestricted Warfare: China’s Master Plan to Destroy America. Unrestricted Warfare was essentially the PLA’s manual for asymmetric warfare: an updating of Sun Tzu’s Art of War.... Read More
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Beijing is turbocharging its Belt and Road and other game-changing plans despite Covid-19 and US hybrid warfare
Amid the deepest economic contraction in nearly a century, President Xi Jinping had already made it very clear, last month, that China should be ready for unprecedented, relentless foreign challenges. He was not referring only to the possible decoupling of global supply chains and the non-stop demonization of every project related to the New Silk... Read More
A China yuan banknote featuring late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong and a computer keyboard are seen reflected on an image of Chinese flag in this illustration picture taken November 1, 2019.  REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration - RC14C5905790
A new, radical paradigm shift is in progress. The U.S. economy may shrink as much as 40% in the first semester of 2020. China, already the world’s largest economy by PPP for a few years now, may soon become the world’s largest economy even in exchange rate terms. The post-Planet Lockdown world – still a... Read More
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Hybrid War 2.0 on China, a bipartisan U.S. operation, is already reaching fever pitch. Its 24/7 full spectrum infowar arm blames China for everything coronavirus-related – doubling as a diversionist tactic against any informed criticism of woeful American unpreparedness. Hysteria predictably reigns. And this is just the beginning. A deluge of lawsuits is imminent –... Read More
As the Raging Twenties unleash a radical reconfiguration of the planet, coronavirus (literally “crowned poison”) has for all practical purposes served a poisoned chalice of fear and panic to myriad, mostly Western, latitudes. Berlin-based, South Korean-born philosopher Byung-Chul Han has forcefully argued the victors are the “Asian states like Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan... Read More
When President Xi Jinping was on a phone call in mid-March with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti, before the arrival of a China Eastern flight from Shanghai to Milan full of medical help, the key takeaway was the Chinese pledge to develop a Health Silk Road (Jiankang Sichou Zhilu). That was in fact already inbuilt... Read More
Earlier this week a delegation of Chinese medics arrived at Malpensa airport near Milan from Shanghai on a special China Eastern flight carrying 400,000 masks and 17 tons of equipment. The salutation banner the visitors rolled out on the tarmac, in red and white, read, “We’re waves from the same sea, leaves from the same... Read More
Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the cover-19 epicenter Wuhan, Hubei Province, on Mar 10. 2020.
Among the myriad, earth-shattering geopolitical effects of coronavirus, one is already graphically evident. China has re-positioned itself. For the first time since the start of Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in 1978, Beijing openly regards the US as a threat, as stated a month ago by Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Munich Security Conference during the... Read More
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Is the planet under the spell of a pair of black swans – a Wall Street meltdown, caused by an alleged oil war between Russia and the House of Saud, plus the uncontrolled spread of Covid-19 – leading to an all-out “cross-asset pandemonium” as billed by Nomura? Or, as German analyst Peter Spengler suggests, whatever... Read More
At the start of their discussion marathon in Moscow on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with arguably the most extraordinary diplomatic gambit of the young 21st century. Putin said: “At the beginning of our meeting, I would like to once again express my sincere condolences over the death of... Read More
The latest installment of the interminable Syria tragedy could be interpreted as Greece barely blocking a European “invasion” by Syrian refugees. The invasion was threatened by President Erdogan even as he refused the EU’s puny “offer you can refuse” bribe of only one billion euros. Well, it’s more complicated than that. What Erdogan is in... Read More
By offering asylum to the persecuted publisher of WikiLeaks, France’s Macron would enhance his status in myriad European latitudes and all across the Global South. It’s quite fitting that the – imperially pre-determined – judicial fate of Julian Assange is being played out in Britain, the home of George Orwell. As chronicled by the painful,... Read More
Nearly two decades after the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan post-9/11, and after an interminable war costing over $ 2 trillion, there’s hardly anything “historic” about a possible peace deal that may be signed in Doha this coming Saturday between Washington and the Taliban. We should start by stressing three points. 1- The Taliban wanted... Read More
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The New Silk Roads – or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – were launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, first in Central Asia (Nur-Sultan) and then Southeast Asia (Jakarta). One year later, the Chinese economy overtook the U.S. on a PPP basis. Inexorably, year after year since the start of the millennium, the U.S.... Read More
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stresses urgent need for international coordination 'to build a shared future'
Few postmodern political pantomimes have been more revealing than the hundreds of so-called “international decision-makers,” mostly Western, waxing lyrical, disgusted or nostalgic over “Westlessness” at the Munich Security Conference. “Westlessness” sounds like one of those constipated concepts issued from a post-party bad hangover at the Rive Gauche during the 1970s. In theory (but not French... Read More
The United States may be destined for a shorter historical existence than the Mongol era established by Genghis Khan
A considerable spectrum of the liberal West takes the American interpretation of what civilization consists of to be something like an immutable law of nature. But what if this interpretation is on the verge of an irreparable breakdown? Michael Vlahos has argued that the US is not a mere nation-state but a “system leader” –... Read More
Chinese President Xi Jinping is leading a scientific ‘People’s War’ against the coronavirus
President Xi Jinping formally told WHO head Tedros Ghebreyesus, at their meeting in Beijing earlier this week, that the coronavirus epidemic “is a devil and we cannot allow the devil to hide.” Ghebreyesus for his part could not but praise Beijing for its extremely swift, coordinated response strategy – which includes fast identification of the... Read More
The Middle East is the key to wide-ranging, economic, interlinked integration, and peace
Under the cascading roar of the 24/7 news cycle cum Twitter eruptions, it’s easy for most of the West, especially the US, to forget the basics about the interaction of Eurasia with its western peninsula, Europe. Asia and Europe have been trading goods and ideas since at least 3,500 BC. Historically, the flux may have... Read More
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The US targeted assassination, via drone strike, of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, apart from a torrent of crucial geopolitical ramifications, once again propels to center stage a quite inconvenient truth: the congenital incapacity of so-called US elites to even attempt to understand Shi’ism - thus 24/7 demonization, demeaning not only Shi’as by also Shi’a-led governments.... Read More
Coming decade could see the US take on Russia, China and Iran over the New Silk Road connection
The Raging Twenties started with a bang with the targeted assassination of Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani. Yet a bigger bang awaits us throughout the decade: the myriad declinations of the New Great Game in Eurasia, which pits the US against Russia, China and Iran, the three major nodes of Eurasia integration. Every game-changing act in... Read More
President Donald Trump will de-escalate the crisis with Iran when he speaks to the nation at 11 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, a U.S. intelligence source has told me. Last night Iran retaliated for the assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani with missile strikes on two U.S. military bases in Iraq. So far there have... Read More
The bombshell facts were delivered by caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, during an extraordinary, historic parliamentary session in Baghdad on Sunday. Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani had flown into Baghdad on a normal carrier flight, carrying a diplomatic passport. He had been sent by Tehran to deliver, in person, a reply to a message from... Read More
Andrei Martyanov’s latest book provides unceasing evidence about the kind of lethality waiting for U.S. forces in a...
Once in a blue moon an indispensable book comes out making a clear case for sanity in what is now a post-MAD world. That’s the responsibility carried by “The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs,” by Andrei Martyanov (Clarity Press), arguably the most important book of 2019. Martyanov is the total package — and he comes... Read More
Chinese cargo truck coming from the Kyrgiz-China border. Photo: Asia Times / Pepe Escobar
This journey into the past also reaches the heart of 21st century China’s New Silk Roads strategy
At the start of the Tang dynasty, in the early 7th century, a young wandering monk embarked on a 16-year long voyage from the imperial capital Chang’an (today’s Xian) to India to collect Buddhist manuscripts. At the time Chang’an was six times bigger than Rome at its height, with a population of over one million... Read More
Chinese container cargo trucks after crossing the Kulma pass at the Tajik-China border. Photo: Pepe Escobar / Asia Times
This is arguably the ultimate road trip on earth. Marco Polo did it. All the legendary Silk Road explorers did it. Traveling the Pamir Highway back to back, as a harsh winter approaches, able to appreciate it in full, in silence and solitude, offers not only a historical plunge into the intricacies of the ancient... Read More
A fuel tax hike set the country ablaze and triggered a social backlash
On November 15, a wave of protests engulfed over 100 Iranian cities as the government resorted to an extremely unpopular measure: a fuel tax hike of as much as 300%, without a semblance of a PR campaign to explain the reasons. Iranians, after all, have reflexively condemned subsidy removals for years now – especially related... Read More
The pros and cons of being the Heartland in the 21st century
Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Crossing Tajikistan from west to northeast – Dushanbe to the Tajik-Kyrgyz border – and then Kyrgyzstan from south to north all the way to Bishkek via Osh, is one of the most extraordinary road trips on earth. Not only this is prime Ancient Silk Road territory but now is being propelled as a... Read More
Foreign Minister Zarif sketches Iran-US relations for diplomats, former presidents and analysts
Just in time to shine a light on what’s behind the latest sanctions from Washington, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a speech at the annual Astana Club meeting in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan delivered a searing account of Iran-US relations to a select audience of high-ranking diplomats, former Presidents and analysts. Zarif was the main... Read More
Kazakhstan’s first president has road map for 21st century: global alliance of leaders for nuclear-free world
The Astana Club is one of the most crucial annual meetings in Eurasia, alongside the Boao forum in China and the Valdai discussions in Russia. China, Russia and Kazakhstan are all at the forefront of Eurasia integration. No wonder, then, that the 5th meeting of the Astana Club had to focus on Greater Eurasia –... Read More
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva greets his followers after his release from prison. Photo: Roberto Stuckert
Better not mess with the former Brazilian president; Putin and Xi are his real top allies in the Global Left
He’s back. With a bang. Only two days after his release from a federal prison in Curitiba, southern Brazil, following a narrow 6×5 decision by the Supreme Court, former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva delivered a fiery, 45-minute long speech in front of the Metal Workers Union in Sao Bernardo, outside of Sao Paulo,... Read More
US-Australia-Japan alternative to Belt and Road helps explain why the US sent a junior delegation to Thailand and why...
Chinese President Xi Jinping six years ago launched New Silk Roads, now better known as the Belt and Road Initiative, the largest, most ambitious, pan-Eurasian infrastructure project of the 21st century. Under the Trump administration, Belt and Road has been utterly demonized 24/7: a toxic cocktail of fear and doubt, with Beijing blamed for everything... Read More
Biggest story at ASEAN was convergence of moves toward Asia integration, leaving Delhi out for now
A pan-Asia high-speed train has left the station – and India – behind. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which would have been the largest free trade deal in the world, was not signed in Bangkok. It will probably be signed next year in Vietnam, assuming New Delhi goes beyond what ASEAN, with diplomatic finesse... Read More
Compare US pillaging with Russia-Iran-Turkey’s active involvement in a political solution to normalize Syria
What happened in Geneva this Wednesday, in terms of finally bringing peace to Syria, could not be more significant: the first session of the Syrian Constitutional Committee. The Syrian Constitutional Committee sprang out of a resolution passed in January 2018 in Sochi, Russia, by a body called the Syrian National Dialogue Congress. The 150-strong committee... Read More
He died like a dog.” President Trump could not have scripted a better one-liner as he got ready for his Obama bin Laden close-up in front of the whole world. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, fake caliph, ISIS/Daesh leader, the most wanted man on the planet, was “brought to justice” under Trump’s watch. The dead dog caliph... Read More
The presidential election in Argentina pitted the people against neoliberalism and the people won. What happens next will have a tremendous impact all over Latin America and serve as a blueprint for assorted Global South struggles. The presidential election in Argentina was no less than a game-changer and a graphic lesson for the whole Global... Read More
Russia-Turkey deal establishes ‘safe zone’ along Turkish border and there will be joint Russia-Turkey military patrols
The negotiations in Sochi were long – over six hours – tense and tough. Two leaders in a room with their interpreters and several senior Turkish ministers close by if advice was needed. The stakes were immense: a road map to pacify northeast Syria, finally. The press conference afterwards was somewhat awkward – riffing on... Read More
Neoliberalism is – literally – burning. And from Ecuador to Chile, South America, once again, is showing the way. Against the vicious, one-size-fits-all IMF austerity prescription, which deploys weapons of mass economic destruction to smash national sovereignty and foster social inequality, South America finally seems poised to reclaim the power to forge its own history.... Read More
Following the Damascus-Kurdish alliance, Syria may become the biggest defeat for the Central Intelligence Agency since...
What is happening in Syria, following yet another Russia-brokered deal, is a massive geopolitical game-changer. I’ve tried to summarize it in a single paragraph this way: Syria may be the biggest defeat for the CIA since Vietnam. Yet that hardly begins to tell the whole story. Allow me to briefly sketch in broad historical strokes... Read More
Forget an independent Kurdistan: They may have to do a deal with Damascus on sharing their area with Sunni Arab refugees
In the annals of bombastic Trump tweets, this one is simply astonishing: here we have a President of the United States, on the record, unmasking the whole $8-trillion intervention in the Middle East as an endless war based on a “false premise.” No wonder the Pentagon is not amused. Trump’s tweet bisects the surreal geopolitical... Read More
Deciphering who’s behind the violence leads to a long list of possibilities
“If we burn, you burn with us.” “Self-destruct together.” (Lam chao.) The new slogans of Hong Kong’s black bloc – a mob on a rampage connected to the black shirt protestors – made their first appearance on a rainy Sunday afternoon, scrawled on walls in Kowloon. Decoding the slogans is essential to understand the mindless... Read More
Lawyer Lawrence Ma claims the US has been supporting the protests via groups such as the NED
Lawrence YK Ma is the executive council chairman of the Hong Kong Legal Exchange Foundation and director of the China Law Society, the Chinese Judicial Studies Association and the Hong Kong Legal Exchange Foundation. He also finds time to teach law at Nankai University in Tianjin. Ma is the go-to expert in what is arguably... Read More
More attacks on Saudi Arabia appear inevitable unless it agrees to stop war against Houthi rebels
Never underestimate the power of blowback. Right now, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), the de facto ruler of the House of Saud, is staring at it, an ominous abyss opened by the Houthis in Yemen. This past weekend, Yemeni Armed Forces spokesman Brigadier Yahya al-Sari clinically described how Ansarallah, also known as the Houthi... Read More
“It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation. We support ongoing investigations to establish further details.” The statement above was not written by Franz Kafka. In fact, it was written by a Kafka derivative: Brussels-based European bureaucracy. The Merkel-Macron-Johnson trio, representing Germany, France and the... Read More
PastClassics
Our Reigning Political Puppets, Dancing to Invisible Strings
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
Talk TV sensationalists and axe-grinding ideologues have fallen for a myth of immigrant lawlessness.