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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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
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
Central Asia, betweem China and Europe, is bustling
We are cruising on a pristine, 380 km-long four-lane superhighway from Almaty to Khorgos – finished in 2016 for $1.25 billion, 85% of the cost covered by a World Bank loan. And then, suddenly, riding parallel to us, there’s the real superstar of New Silk Road connectivity. Meet Yuxinou, the container cargo train plying back... 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
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
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
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
Fringe practicing wanton destruction for destruction’s sake surely have learned tactics from European black blocs
What’s going on deep down in Hong Kong? For a former resident with deep cultural and emotional ties to the Fragrant Harbor, it’s quite hard to take it all in just within the framework of cold geopolitical logic. Master filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai once said that when he came up with the idea for Happy Together,... Read More
The ultimate American imperial dream is to engineer a Chinese vassal state
There must be some kind of way outta here Said the joker to the thief There’s too much confusion I can’t get no relief Business men, they drink my wine Plowmen dig my earth None were level on the mind Nobody up at his word -Bob Dylan, All Along the Watchtower (immortalized by Jimi Hendrix)... Read More
Iran continues to sell oil, mostly to China
Complex doesn’t even begin to describe the positioning of Iran-Russia in the geopolitical chessboard. What’s clear in our current, volatile moment is that they’re partners, as I previously reported. Although not strategic partners, as in the Russia-China tie-up, Russia-China-Iran remain the crucial triad in the ongoing, multi-layered, long-term Eurasia integration process. A few days after... Read More
Readers from myriad latitudes have been asking me about Hong Kong. They know it’s one of my previous homes. I developed a complex, multi-faceted relationship with Hong Kong ever since the 1997 handover, which I covered extensively. Right now, if you allow me, I’d rather cut to the chase. Much to the distress of neocons... Read More
China’s ‘National Defense in the New Era’ white paper shows where the country aims to be by 2049
The key merit of China’s National Defense in the New Era, a white paper released by the State Council in Beijing, is to clear any remaining doubts about where the Middle Kingdom is coming from, and where it’s going to by 2049, the mythical date to, theoretically, be restored as the foremost global power. Although... Read More
Donald Trump says he’s ‘okay either way’, whether there’s war with Iran and Tehran seems to be okay with that too
All bets are off in the geopolitical insanity stakes when we have the President of the United States (POTUS) glibly announcing he could launch a nuclear first strike to end the war in Afghanistan and wipe it “off the face of the earth” in one week. But he’d rather not, so he doesn’t have to... Read More
Beijing could be forever tarnished if it does ‘dirty business’ with the Bolsonaro government in Brazil
China is South America’s top trading partner. Together, China’s policy banks – the China Development Bank and Export-Import Bank of China – are the top source of development finance for the whole of Latin America. Over the past few decades, the Brazilian government, leading national companies and multinational corporations have configured what Fernando Mires, already... Read More
… while academics in Beijing plot decoupling business with the US and teaming up with EU and ASEAN
Western economists and intellectuals obsessed with demonization of China are never shy of shortcuts glaringly exposing their ignorance. The latest outburst posits that “we” – as in Western intellectuals – “are the modern version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein,” who electro-shocked a dead body (China) into a resurrected “murderous monster.” So, welcome to the Sino-Frankenstein school... Read More
Erdogan looks set to buy Russian missile defense system in defiance of US and NATO, tying his cart to China and Russia
Turkey is a key hub in the emerging New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative. Erdogan is a master at selling Turkey as the ultimate East-West crossroads. He has also expressed much interest in joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), led by Russia-China, whose annual summit took place in Bishkek a few days before... Read More
The Trump administration is obsessively spinning the concept of a “free and open Indo-Pacific”. Apart from a small coterie of scholars, very few people around the world, especially across the Global South, know what that means since the then incipient strategy was first unveiled at the 2017 APEC forum in Vietnam. Now everything one needs... Read More
Lost in the submarine uproar, the deadline set by Tehran for the EU-3 to support Iranian crude sales expires Sunday
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the submersible was conducting bathymetric measurements, as in examining and mapping deep sea conditions. The crew on board was composed of “unique naval specialists, high-class professionals, who conducted important research of the Earth’s hydrosphere.” Now the – so far unnamed – nuclear-powered vessel is at the Arctic port of... Read More
No leaks from their trilateral at the G20, but the trend toward togetherness is clear
Japan excels in perfect planning and execution. So it’s hard to take this setup as an unfortunate “accident.” At least the – unofficial – Russia-India-China summit at the sidelines of the G20 transcended the fate of an interior decorator deserving to commit seppuku. Leaders of these three countries met in virtual secrecy. The very few... Read More
India under Modi, an essential cog in US strategy, gets cozy with China and Russia
It all started with the Vladimir Putin–Xi Jinping summit in Moscow on June 5. Far from a mere bilateral, this meeting upgraded the Eurasian integration process to another level. The Russian and Chinese presidents discussed everything from the progressive interconnection of the New Silk Roads with the Eurasia Economic Union, especially in and around Central... Read More
President Rouhani blasts US leader Donald Trump as ‘a serious threat to regional and world stability’, offers...
With the dogs of war on full alert, something extraordinary happened at the 19th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) late last week in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Virtually unknown across the West, the SCO is the foremost Eurasian political, economic and security alliance. It’s not a Eurasian NATO. It’s not planning any humanitarian imperialist adventures.... Read More
The US ban on Huawei is pushing it to develop alternative systems that may rival Google and Android
Google cuts Huawei off Android; so Huawei may migrate to Aurora. Call it mobile Eurasia integration; the evolving Russia-China strategic partnership may be on the verge of spawning its own operating system – and that is not a metaphor. Aurora is a mobile operating system currently developed by Russian Open Mobile Platform, based in Moscow.... Read More
The Russia-China strategic partnership, consolidated last week in Russia, has thrown U.S. elites into Supreme Paranoia...
Something extraordinary began with a short walk in St. Petersburg last Friday. After a stroll, they took a boat on the Neva River, visited the legendary Aurora cruiser, and dropped in to examine the Renaissance masterpieces at the Hermitage. Cool, calm, collected, all the while it felt like they were mapping the ins and outs... Read More
If Tehran blocks the Strait of Hormuz it could send the price of oil soaring and cause a global recession
Unlike Deep Purple’s legendary ‘Smoke on the Water’ – “We all came out to Montreux, on the Lake Geneva shoreline”, the 67th Bilderberg group meetings produced no fire and no smoke at the luxurious Fairmont Le Montreux Palace Hotel. The 130 elite guests had a jolly good – and theoretically quiet – time at the... Read More
New report warns that two-thirds of glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, which feed 10 major river systems...
There was no official leak, but this must have been discussed when Presidents Xi Jinping and Emmanuel Macron met last week in Paris. After all, Macron has been posing as a staunch defender of the environment and the self-attributed MC of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. It’s certainly not being discussed as part of... Read More
Chinese nuclear bombers. Chinese hypersonic missiles. Chinese carrier killer missiles. Chinese cyberattacks. Chinese anti-satellite weaponry. Chinese militarization of the South China Sea. Chinese Huawei spying. So many Chinese “malign intentions”. And we’re not even talking about Russia. Few people around the world are aware that the Pentagon for the moment is led by a mere... Read More
Chinese nuclear bombers. Chinese hypersonic missiles. Chinese carrier killer missiles. Chinese cyberattacks. Chinese anti-satellite weaponry. Chinese militarization of the South China Sea. Chinese Huawei spying. So many Chinese “malign intentions”. And we’re not even talking about Russia. Few people around the world are aware that the Pentagon for the moment is led by a mere... Read More
Beijing is, little by little, extending its influence not only inside the EU but inside the NATO space.
Facing China’s irresistible rise all across the chessboard, and under relentless US pressure, the not exactly democratic EU leadership is on a backbreaking exercise to position itself between a geopolitical/geoeconomic rock and a hard place. The 28-member EU holds a crucial meeting next week in Brussels where it may adopt a 10-point action plan detailing,... Read More
President Xi Jinping is due to arrive in Italy for an official visit on March 22. The top theme of discussion will be the New Silk Road, or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). A day earlier, in Brussels, the EU is to debate a common strategy related to Chinese investments in Europe. A substantial... Read More
Cold War 2.0 has hit South America with a bang – pitting the US and expected minions against the four key pillars of in-progress Eurasia integration: Russia, China, Iran and Turkey. It’s the oil, stupid. But there’s way more than meets the (oily) eye. Caracas has committed the ultimate cardinal sin in the eyes of... Read More
Essay by security expert Professor Zhang Wenmu gives a glimpse of China’s geostrategic outlook, from the ‘Western Pacific Chinese Sea’ to the far side of the moon The top story of 2019 – and the years ahead – will continue to revolve around the myriad, dangerous permutations of the economic ascent of China, the resurgence... Read More
Russia is keen to push economic integration with parts of Asia and this fits in with China's Belt and Road Initiative
The concept of Greater Eurasia has been discussed at the highest levels of Russian academia and policy-making for some time. This week the policy was presented at the Council of Ministers and looks set to be enshrined, without fanfare, as the main guideline of Russian foreign policy for the foreseeable future. President Putin is unconditionally... Read More
A crucial Pentagon report on the US defense industrial base and “supply chain resiliency” bluntly accuses China of “military expansion” and “a strategy of economic aggression,” mostly because Beijing is the only source for “a number of chemical products used in munitions and missiles.” Russia is mentioned only once, but in a crucial paragraph: as... Read More
World leaders wrestle with a maelstrom of complex, burning issues as they prepare for November 30 summit
The G-20 in Buenos Aires on November 30 could set the world on fire – perhaps literally. Let’s start with the US-China trade war. Washington won’t even start discussing trade with China at the G-20 unless Beijing comes up with a quite detailed list of potential concessions. The word from Chinese negotiators is not at... Read More
Get ready for a major geopolitical chessboard rumble: from now on, every butterfly fluttering its wings and setting off a tornado directly connects to the battle between Eurasia integration and Western sanctions as foreign policy. It is the paradigm shift of China’s New Silk Roads versus America’s Our Way or the Highway. We used to... Read More
US sanctions on Iran should be interpreted as a piece in a much larger chessboard
Hysteria reigned supreme after the first round of US sanctions were reinstated against Iran over the past week. War scenarios abound, and yet the key aspect of the economic war unleashed by the Trump administration has been overlooked: Iran is a major piece in a much larger chessboard. The US sanctions offensive, launched after Washington’s... Read More
It came out as a sort of minor scandal – considering the ’24/7 post-truth news cycle.’ Of the 28 EU ambassadors in Beijing, 27, with the exception of Hungary’s, signed an internal report criticizing the New Silk Roads as a non-transparent threat to free trade, allegedly favoring unfair competition by Chinese conglomerates. The report was... Read More
The geopolitical focus of the still young 21st century spans the Indian Ocean from the Persian Gulf all the way to the South China Sea alongside the spectrum from Southwest Asia to Central Asia and China. That happens to configure the prime playing ground, overland and maritime, of the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. Belt and... Read More
New Silk Road infrastructure projects could bring back a peaceful and prosperous Eurasia
The geopolitical focus of the still young 21st century spans the Indian Ocean from the Persian Gulf all the way to the South China Sea alongside the spectrum from Southwest Asia to Central Asia and China. That happens to configure the prime playing ground, overland and maritime, of the New Silk Roads, or the Belt... Read More
Xi's extended tenure could embody the guarantee China needs to continue its anti-corruption purge and guide the ongoing...
It took only two sentences for Xinhua to make the historical announcement; the Central Committee of the CCCP “proposed to remove the expression that ‘the president and vice-president of the People’s Republic of China shall serve no more than two consecutive terms’ from the country’s constitution.” That will be all but confirmed at the end... Read More
When we find ourselves in times of trouble, we could do worse than plunge into The Academy of Western Civilization. So let me take you down on a stroll around the ultimate theo-geopolitical space: the Eternal City, a.k.a. Caput Mundi (“wonder of the world”). In Adonais, Shelley urged “Go thou to Rome” and “from the... Read More
Beijing to set up oil-futures trading in the yuan which will be fully convertible into gold on the Shanghai and Hong...
Petrodollars have dominated the global energy markets for more than 40 years. But now, China is looking to change that by replacing the word dollars for yuan. Nations, of course, have tried this before since the system was set up by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in tandem with the House of Saud... Read More
The 19th Party Congress has made it very clear that “socialism with Chinese characteristics” – as codified by President Xi Jinping – is China’s roadmap ahead. Not only the strategy graphically eschews those much-lauded “Western values”; it will, in Xi’s own words, offer “a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed... Read More
China's Belt and Road Initiative – the New Silk Road – will spark the country's development and turn the dream into...
Now that President Xi Jinping has been duly elevated to the Chinese Communist Party pantheon in the rarified company of Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory, the world will have plenty of time to digest the meaning of “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.” Xi himself, in his... Read More
Moscow has been busy building agreements that would extend Eurasian connectivity eastward. The question is how to...
The United Nations Security Council’s 15-0 vote to impose a new set of sanctions on North Korea somewhat disguises the critical role played by the Russia-China strategic partnership, the “RC” at the core of the BRICS group. The new sanctions are pretty harsh. They include a 30% reduction on crude and refined oil exports to... Read More
Putin reveals 'fair multipolar world' concept in which oil contracts could bypass the US dollar and be traded with oil,...
The annual BRICS summit in Xiamen – where President Xi Jinping was once mayor – could not intervene in a more incandescent geopolitical context. Once again, it’s essential to keep in mind that the current core of BRICS is “RC”; the Russia-China strategic partnership. So in the Korean peninsula chessboard, RC context – with both... Read More
PastClassics
How America was neoconned into World War IV
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
Our Reigning Political Puppets, Dancing to Invisible Strings