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
Once upon a time in Pipelineistan, tales of woe were the norm. Shattered dreams littered the chessboard – from IPI vs. TAPI in the AfPak realm to the neck-twisting Nabucco opera in Europe. In sharp contrast, whenever China entered the picture, successful completion prevailed. Beijing financed a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Xinjiang, finished in... 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
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
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
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
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
Modi and Putin discuss business and joint ventures at an economic conference in the Far East
There’s no way to follow the complex inner workings of the Eurasia integration process without considering what takes place annually at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. BRICS for the moment may be dead – considering the nasty cocktail of economic brutalism and social intolerance delivered by the incendiary “Captain” Bolsonaro in Brazil. Yet RIC... 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
Moscow is proposing a diametrically opposed vision to Western sanctions, threats and economic war, one that is drawing...
Russia is meticulously advancing Eurasian chessboard moves that should be observed in conjunction, as Moscow proposes to the Global South an approach diametrically opposed to Western sanctions, threats and economic war. Here are three recent examples. Ten days ago, via a document officially approved by the United Nations, the Russian Foreign Ministry advanced a new... 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
Crimea is essential to Russia strategically and economically, but speculation over Ankara helping to boost the US presence in the Black Sea is far-fetched given Turkey’s energy deals with Moscow A power struggle over the Black Sea between Russia and the US plus NATO has the potential to develop as a seminal plot of 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
When the Ukrainian navy sent a tugboat and two small gunboats on Sunday to force their way through the Kerch Strait into the Sea of Azov, it knew in advance the Russian response would be swift and merciless. After all, Kiev was entering waters claimed by Russia with military vessels without clarifying their intent. The... Read More
Moscow hosted talks last week to promote peace in Afghanistan as neighbors and regional heavyweights eye the rewards of...
In the “graveyard of empires,” Afghanistan never ceases to deliver geopolitical and historical twists. Last week in Moscow, another crucial chapter in this epic story was written when Russia pledged to use its diplomatic muscle to spur peace efforts in the war-torn country. Flanked by Afghan representatives and their Taliban rivals, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei... Read More
Sitting alongside French President Macron during the 100th anniversary to commemorate the end of World War I, Putin and...
The Elysee Palace protocol was implacable. Nobody in Paris would be allowed to steal the spotlight away from the host, President Emmanuel Macron, during the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day marking the end of World War I. After all, Macron was investing all his political capital as he visited multiple World War I battlefields while... 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
Defense Ministry provides missile engine evidence, shifting blame to the Ukrainian military
The Russian Defense Ministry may have finally unveiled the “smoking gun” able to solve the mystery surrounding Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, shot down on July 17, 2014 over the Donetsk Oblast, a province in eastern Ukraine. The MH17 crash killed 283 passengers from 10 different countries and 15 crew members. A Joint Investigation Team (JIT)... 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
A new book details why future historians may well identify Putin’s landmark March 1 speech as the ultimate...
Future historians may well identify Russian President Vladimir Putin’s landmark March 1 speech as the ultimate game-changer in the 21st-century New Great Game in Eurasia. The reason is minutely detailed in Losing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic Planning, a new book by Russian military/naval analyst Andrei Martyanov. Martyanov is uniquely equipped for the... Read More
US President stirs up a hornet's nest with his press conference alongside his Russian counterpart, but it seems that no...
“The Cold War is a thing of the past.” By the time President Putin said as much during preliminary remarks at his joint press conference with President Trump in Helsinki, it was clear this would not stand. Not after so much investment by American conservatives in Cold War 2.0. Russophobia is a 24/7 industry, and... Read More
In a well choreographed Sochi summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin defines a peaceful future for Syria after the...
The main take away of the trilateral, two hour-long Russia-Iran-Turkey summit in Sochi on the future of Syria was expressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin: “The presidents of Iran and Turkey supported the initiative to convene an All-Syrian Congress for national dialogue in Syria. We agreed to hold this important event at the proper level... 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
With a ceasefire in southwestern Syria in the works, meeting proves diplomacy beats demonization
From the start, the “positive chemistry” in the Mother of All Sit-Downs was a given. The format – with only the four principals, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and two translators – prevented any leaks. What was originally scheduled for 35 minutes went on for 2 hours... 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
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
Putin did it. Sorry, he didn't. In the end, it was not Russia "aggression" that attacked the heart of Europe. It was a pro-style jihadi commando. Cui bono? Careful planning and preparation; Kalashnikovs; rocket-propelled grenade launcher; balaclavas; sand-colored ammunition vest stuffed with spare magazines; army boots; piece of cake escape in a black Citroen. And... Read More
The Roman Empire did it. The British Empire copied it in style. The Empire of Chaos has always done it. They all do it. Divide et impera. Divide and rule – or divide and conquer. It’s nasty, brutish and effective. Not forever though, like diamonds, because empires do crumble. A room with a view to... Read More
Are the United States, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Russia on a mad spiral leading to yet another war in Europe? Is it inevitable? Far from it. The US-propelled vassal currently starring in the oligarch dance in Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, last week advanced the proposition that Ukrainians in the near future, after his “reforms”,... Read More
These are bleak times. I’ve been in serious conversation with some deep sources and interlocutors – those who know but don’t need to show off, privileging discretion. They are all deeply worried. This is what one of them, a New York strategic planner, sent me: That may sound somewhat extreme – but it’s a perfectly... Read More
So Obama, Merkel, Cameron, Hollande and Italian Premier Matteo Renzi – let’s call them the Fab Five – get on a video conference call to muster their courage and “increase pressure” asking for a cease-fire in Gaza. Later in the day, Israel’s Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu delivers his answer, in plain language: he remains dead set... Read More
“The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” Everyone remembers the Downing Street Memo, which unveiled the Bush/Blair “policy” in the run-up to the 2003 bombing/invasion/occupation of Iraq. The “policy” was to get rid of Saddam Hussein via a lightning war. The justification was “terrorism” and (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which... Read More
Russia’s celebrations of the 69th anniversary of the defeat of fascism in World War II come just days after Ukrainian neo-fascists enacted an appalling Odessa massacre. For those who know their history, the graphic symbolism speaks for itself. And then a geopolitical chess gambit added outright puzzlement to the trademark hypocrisy displayed by the self-proclaimed... Read More
Poor NATO. Damned Soviets. The benign North Atlantic Treaty Organization has spent two decades "trying to build a partnership" with Russia. But now, "clearly the Russians have declared NATO as an adversary, so we have to begin to view Russia no longer as a partner but as more of an adversary", according to NATO deputy... Read More
The US State Department, via spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki, said that reports of CIA Director John Brennan telling regime changers in Kiev to "conduct tactical operations" - or an "anti-terrorist" offensive - in eastern Ukraine are "completely false". This means Brennan did issue his marching orders. And by now the "anti-terrorist" campaign - with its nice... Read More
By the time you read this Russia will have invaded Ukraine. Well, that's what the Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, US Air Force General Philip Breedlove, is spinning. Breedlove Supreme says the Russians are "ready to go" and could easily take over eastern Ukraine. Western corporate media have already dusted off... Read More
It's hardly a match between equals - as one is playing Monopoly while the other plays chess. It's as if Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has been postponing his checkmate, while US Secretary of State John Kerry increasingly realizes he's facing the inevitable. Lavrov has explained over and over again, a loose federation is the... Read More