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Eurasia

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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 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
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
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 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
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
gr-eurasia-1
Eurasia has most of the world's wealth, resources, and population — yet there is very low economic connectivity. A Sino-Russian partnership can collectively create a gravitational pull that allows them to capture the geoeconomic levers of power by creating an alternative to the Western-centric model. This entails developing new global value chains that captures the... 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
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
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
The wide-ranging Xiamen Declaration, issued in conjunction with the just wrapped-up annual BRICS summit, shows that Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, although facing internal challenges of their own, may be about to step up their collective game, big time. And they won’t be intimidated/derailed by the crumbling unipolar order. Xiamen made it clear... Read More
History will record the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing marked the juncture where the 21st century New Silk Roads assumed their full character of Globalization 2.0, or “inclusive globalization,” as defined by President Xi Jinping in Davos earlier this year. I have dealt with the monumental stakes here and here. Terminology, of course, remains... Read More
Almost six years ago, President Putin proposed to Germany ‘the creation of a harmonious economic community stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok.’ This idea represented an immense trade emporium uniting Russia and the EU, or, in Putin’s words, “a unified continental market with a capacity worth trillions of dollars.” In a nutshell: Eurasia integration. Washington panicked.... Read More
Whenever President Vladimir Putin stresses Russia’s “all-embracing and strategic partnership” with China, one can hear the proverbial howls of anger emanating from the neocon/neoliberalcon axis in the Beltway. As he met Chinese president Xi Jinping in Beijng this past Saturday, Putin even allowed himself an understatement; Why understatement? Because this really ventures way beyond a... Read More
Whenever President Vladimir Putin stresses Russia’s «all-embracing and strategic partnership» with China, one can hear the proverbial howls of anger emanating from the neocon/neoliberalcon axis in the Beltway. As he met Chinese president Xi Jinping in Beijng this past Saturday, Putin even allowed himself an understatement; «To say we have a strategic cooperation is not... Read More
The key takeaway of the 20th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) – 30 ministers from 21 nations and 880 CEOs attending – predictably was all about the key socioeconomic story of the 21st century: Eurasia integration. President Putin put it quite mildly, actually, when he said that, «with our partners, we believe the Eurasian... Read More
He came, he saw, and he pocketed all the deals that matter. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s tour of Southwest Asia – Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt – could easily be sold anywhere as your typical Chinese-style win-win. On the PR arena, Xi did a sterling job polishing China’s image as a global power. Beijing scored... Read More
Syria is an energy war. With the heart of the matter featuring a vicious geopolitical competition between two proposed gas pipelines, it is the ultimate Pipelinestan war, the term I coined long ago for the 21st century imperial energy battlefields. It all started in 2009, when Qatar proposed to Damascus the construction of a pipeline... Read More
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Silk Roads, Night Trains, and the Third Industrial Revolution in China
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... Read More
The several hundred Republicans who have thrown their hats into the ring for the 2016 presidential race and the war hawks in Congress (mainly but hardly only Republicans) have already been in full howl about the Vienna nuclear deal with Iran. Jeb Bush took about two seconds to label it "appeasement,” instantly summoning up the... Read More
The dogs of western fear and sanctions bark, while the Eurasian caravan passes. And no caravanserai could possibly compete with the 19th edition of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). Thousands of global business leaders – including Europeans, but not Americans; after all, President Putin is “the new Hitler” – representing over 1,000 international... Read More
Toward the end of the presidency of George H.W. Bush, America stood alone at the top of the world -- the sole superpower. After five weeks of "shock and awe" and 100 hours of combat, Saddam's army had fled Kuwait back up the road to Basra and Bagdad. Our Cold War adversary was breaking apart... Read More
Washington Versus China in the Twenty-First Century
For even the greatest of empires, geography is often destiny. You wouldn’t know it in Washington, though. America’s political, national security, and foreign policy elites continue to ignore the basics of geopolitics that have shaped the fate of world empires for the past 500 years. Consequently, they have missed the significance of the rapid global... Read More
Move over, Cold War 2.0. The real story, now and for the foreseeable future, in its myriad declinations, and of course, ruling out too many bumps in the road, is a new, integrated Eurasia forging ahead. China’s immensely ambitious New Silk Road project will keep intersecting with the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union (EEC). And that... Read More
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As Washington “Pivots” to Asia, China Does the Eurasian Pirouette
November 18, 2014: it’s a day that should live forever in history. On that day, in the city of Yiwu in China’s Zhejiang province, 300 kilometers south of Shanghai, the first train carrying 82 containers of export goods weighing more than 1,000 tons left a massive warehouse complex heading for Madrid. It arrived on December... Read More
Current US China policy seems to be “Who Needs Russia? We’ve got…The Philippines!” Unless President Obama has absolute faith in the ability of the United States and the Asian democracies to restrain the PRC, there would seem to be some disturbing developments for the United States in Asia. First of all, the People’s Republic of... Read More
In Ukraine, the West supported an unconstitutional putsch against an elected government perpetrated, among others, by fascist/neo-nazi storm troopers (Svoboda, Right Sector) instrumentalized by US intelligence. After a Russian counterpunch, US President Barack Obama proclaimed that any referendum in Crimea would "violate the Ukrainian constitution and violate international law." This is just the latest instance... Read More
The nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) are back this Tuesday in Vienna. The stakes couldn't be higher. It will be a long and winding road. Hidden agendas on both sides badly want the talks to fail - and will spare no effort... Read More
While everyone is concentrated on the possibility of a tectonic shift in US-Iran relations, and while a solution may be found for the Syrian tragedy in another upcoming set of negotiations in Geneva, Turkey is silently toiling in the background. Let's see what these sultans of swing are up to. We start on the internal... Read More
I've got to confess that Anna Badkhen beat me to it. Sometimes I have the feeling the world is a carpet. She went one up, writing a marvelously evocative book with the same title, centered on a village in Northern Afghanistan so remote that Google Maps cannot find it. This is a book for those... Read More
This is a version of a paper presented this week at the annual conference of the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore. SINGAPORE - Ask Western elites - oh, those were the days, in the 17th century, when the rise of European sea powers led to the collapse of the caravan trade... Read More
Neoliberal Dragons, Eurasian Wet Dreams, and Robocop Fantasies
Last December, a super-secret RQ-170 Sentinel, part of a far-reaching program of CIA drone surveillance over Iran, went down (or was shot down, or computer-jacked and hacked down) and was recovered intact by the Iranian military. This week, an Iranian general proudly announced that his country’s experts had accessed the plane’s computer -- he offered... Read More
Nabucco - the alleged gas Holy Grail from the Caspian Sea to Europe, 4,000 kilometers from Turkey to Austria - is the perennial Pipelineistan soap opera. Part of the gas to supply Nabucco may come from Azerbaijan. Another part might - a very problematic "might" - come from Turkmenistan. But every self-respecting energy analyst knows... Read More
United States Secretary of State Hillary "We came, we saw, he died" Clinton's message to Pakistan was stark; try to go ahead with the IP (Iran-Pakistan) gas pipeline, and we're going to take you out financially. Islamabad, its economy in tatters, living in power-cut land, and desperate for energy, tried to argue. Pakistan's top official... Read More
Forget the past (Saddam, Osama, Gaddafi) and the present (Assad, Ahmadinejad). A bet can be made over a bottle of Petrus 1989 (the problem is waiting the next six years to collect); for the foreseeable future, Washington's top bogeyman - and also for its rogue North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners and assorted media shills -... Read More
Bets are off on which is the great story of 2011. Is it the Arab Spring(s)? Is it the Arab counter-revolution, unleashed by the House of Saud? Is it the "birth pangs" of the Greater Middle East remixed as serial regime changes? Is it R2P ("responsibility to protect") legitimizing "humanitarian" bombing? Is it the freeze... Read More
The Decline and Fall of Just About Everyone
Pepe Escobar, that ever-energetic, globetrotting correspondent for Asia Times, has long been on the Pipelinestan beat for TomDispatch, covering the skeletal geography of energy that girds the planet. Today, however, he leaves pipelines behind to consider the planet they service -- or is it we who service them? His topic: if the West is going... Read More
Once again this week the Arab Gas Pipeline had to be shut down - with no gas flowing to Israel and Jordan. An "unknown armed gang" bombed the al-Sabil gas terminal near the coastal city of el-Arish, less than 350 kilometers northeast of Cairo in the Sinai Peninsula. On March 27, an "unknown armed gang"... Read More
None other than Zbigniew Brzezinski, eminent United States foreign policy guru and the man who gave the former Soviet Union "its Vietnam", thundered via the New York Times that the current summit between presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao is "the most important top-level United States-Chinese encounter since Deng Xiaoping's historic trip more than 30... Read More
Forget the iPad; the ultimate icon of fetishized commodity is the drone. Israelis do it - and sell them like hot cakes. Mexicans do it - to patrol their side of the border. Brazilians wanna do it - to patrol the Rio favelas. Saudis wanna do it. Uzbeks wanna do it. Everybody's singing: Let's do... Read More
Future historians may well agree that the 21st century Silk Road first opened for business on December 14, 2009. That was the day a crucial stretch of pipeline officially went into operation, linking the fabulously energy-rich state of Turkmenistan (via Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan) to Xinjiang province in China’s far west. Hyperbole did not deter the... Read More
Iran and the Pipelineistan Opera
Back before email, a world traveler who wanted to keep in touch and couldn't just pop into the nearest Internet café, might drop you a series of postcards from one exotic locale after another. Pepe Escobar, that edgy, peripatetic globe-trotting reporter for one of my favorite on-line publications, Asia Times, has been doing just that... Read More
PARIS - Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the emir of Qatar, is a man, to quote rock geopoliticos Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, "of wealth and taste". Not to mention his second wife, the ravishing Sheikh Moza, one of the most powerful women in the Middle East. It goes without saying that the Qatari royal... Read More
HONG KONG - Things get curiouser and curiouser in the Iranian wonderland. Imagine what happened last week during Friday prayers in Tehran, personally conducted by former president Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, aka "The Shark", Iran's wealthiest man, who made his fortune partly because of Irangate - the 1980s' secret weapons contracts with Israel and the US.... Read More
Pipelineistan in Conflict
Back in March, Pepe Escobar, that itchy, edgy global reporter for one of my favorite on-line publications, Asia Times, began laying out the great, ongoing energy struggle across Eurasia, or what he likes to call Pipelinestan for its web of oil and natural gas pipelines. In his first report, he dealt with the embattled energy... Read More
Category Classics
How America was neoconned into World War IV
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
Shouldn't they recuse themselves when dealing with the Middle East?
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?