Friday, May 29, 2020

Drawing Battlelines: US Openly Targets China's OBOR

May 30, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Judging by US foreign policy - China is a massive global threat - and by some accounts - the "top" threat. But a threat to what? 


AFP would report in its article, "Trump nominee to lead intel community sees China as top threat," that: 
President Donald Trump's pick to lead the US intelligence community said Tuesday that he would focus on China as the country's greatest threat, saying Beijing was determined to supplant the United States' superpower position.
Were China doing this by using news agencies like AFP to lie to the public to justify invading Middle Eastern nations, killing tens of thousands of innocent people, installing client regimes worldwide, and using its growing power to coerce and control nations economically and politically when not outright militarily - US President Donald Trump's "pick" - John Ratcliffe - might be justified in focusing on China and its "determination" to "supplant the United States' superpower position."

However, this is not what China is doing.

China Building Rather than Bombing 

China is - instead - using economic progress to rise upon the global stage. It makes things. It builds things. It creates infrastructure to bring these things to others around the globe who need or want them, and enables other nations to make, build, and send things to China.

One example is China's One Belt, One Road initiative (OBOR) also referred to as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This includes a series of railways, highways, ports, and other infrastructure projects to help improve the logistical connections between nations, accelerating economic development.

Only in the US could the notion of building railways connecting people within and between nations seem like a dangerous idea.

By building such networks, people are better empowered to trade what they are making and what they seek to buy and sell. China, which possesses the largest high-speed railway network on Earth carrying 2 billion passengers a year, is extending this network beyond its borders - deep into Southeast Asia and even across Eurasia via Russia and beyond. Alongside it are a raft of other projects ranging from ports to power plants, and more.

The political and economic power China is gaining by expanding real economic activity both within its borders and beyond them, and both for China itself as well as for its trading partners - represents a global pivot away from America's century-long unipolar global order and closer toward a now emerging multipolar world order.

The US with a population of over 300 million and some of the best industrial potential in the world could easily pivot with this sea change - but entrenched special interests refuse to do so. Paying into a genuinely pragmatic method of generating wealth and stability exposes Washington and Wall Street's various rackets, making them no longer tenable. So instead, US special interests are labeling China's One Belt, One Road initiative a global threat and China itself as one of America's chief adversaries.


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The COVID-19 Chronicles: ASEAN

Author's note: This is part of The Covid-19 Chronicles Series covering how nations and regions are responding to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis. 

May 20, 2020 (Gunnar Ulson - NEO) - The ten Southeast Asian states of ASEAN with a collective population of 622 million people has weathered the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) relatively well. 


A combination of quick reactions, a hesitation to overreact and strong preexisting economic fundamentals, the region looks well on its way to returning to normal, that is, if it is able to resist the "new normal" the West seeks to impose globally. 

Health Impact

In stark contrast to reports out of the West regarding infections and deaths related to Covid-19, Southeast Asia has seen relatively fewer confirmed infections and fewer deaths. The table below illustrates just how few deaths there have been (a total of just 2,079) for a region with nearly twice the population of the United States. 

Brunei: 141 cases, 1 death
Cambodia: 122 cases, no reported deaths
Indonesia: 16,496 cases, 1,076 deaths
Laos: 19 cases, no reported deaths
Malaysia: 6,855 cases, 112 deaths
Myanmar: 181 cases, 6 deaths
Philippines: 12,091 cases, 806 deaths
Singapore: 26,891 cases, 21 deaths
Thailand: 3,025 cases, 56 deaths
Vietnam: 312 cases, no reported deaths

There have been few if any reports of overcrowded hospitals or shortages of critical medical equipment. Virtually all of the deaths reported were associated with chronic preexisting health conditions, with some cases calling into question whether Covid-19 really was the cause of death rather than merely a contributing factor, if even.

While everything from ASEAN's warmer climate to quick measures put into place cited by commentators and analysts, it is much more likely that Covid-19 simply is not as dangerous as the Western mass media has claimed and that the governments in ASEAN simply did not respond to nor feed into the wave of panic triggered by sensationalist Western headlines and overreactions in Western capitals.

Despite this, measures were put into place and these measures, more than the pathogen itself, are responsible for the impact Covid-19 is having on the region.

Measures 

While the actual impact of the pathogen was minimal, the international "peer pressure" to close borders, lockdown populations and otherwise grind national economies to a halt triggered a series of measures across ASEAN.


Friday, April 24, 2020

As Thailand Fights Covid-19, Students Vow to Continue Chaos for "Democracy"

April 24 2020 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Despite the unprecedented damage global panic over coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) has caused to nations around the world, so-called "pro-democracy" protesters have vowed to immediately resume street mobs as soon as emergency measures are lifted in Thailand.


The move will almost certainly contribute to socioeconomic instability and only compound the plight faced by average Thais whom these "student protesters" claim they represent.

The protesters, while claiming to fight for "democracy," are actually supporters of corrupt nepotist billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, his now disbanded  "Future Forward Party," and his sponsors including fugitive billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra, his "Pheu Thai Party" (PTP) and a host of foreign interests including the US and British governments.

US and British support for these protesters and the political parties they back stems from their collective opposition to the current Thai government's growing ties with nations like China and Russia who have helped to all but displace Western primacy over Asia Pacific.

The Nation in their article, "Students expected to continue democracy fight once virus situation abates," claimed:
Students are expected to resume intense political activities after the Covid-19 situation normalises and the government eases its lockdown restrictions next month.

Before the spread of Covid-19, students in universities across the country and some high schools in Bangkok had organised flash mobs in February and March to express their demand for democracy, rewriting the Constitution and ending the current military-backed coalition government.  
Noteworthy is the students' supposed demand for "democracy."

The current government is in fact a result of democratic elections carried out in 2019, the ruling party Palang Pracharath having gained several million more votes that Thanathorn's "Future Forward Party" and building a coalition government larger than that proposed by Pheu Thai of which Future Forward is merely a subsidiary.

Ironically, those currently undermining democracy now are the student protesters themselves and their sponsors, who collectively refuse to respect the results of the 2019 general elections, seeking to create social instability in a bid to coerce the majority into making concessions to them they failed to earn at the ballot box.

At a time when others are working to help the nation recover from the global Covid-19 panic, including helping medical workers, innovating, organizing charity for those in need, and those working to put the nation back on its feet economically, these "student protesters" seem only able to offer the promise of more disruptions and the predictable socioeconomic damage they will cause, in pursuit of a transparently self-serving bid for political power.

The same article in the Nation would also point out the to current activities pursued by these "student protesters" which included sitting at home at their computers creating Twitter hashtags complaining about the government's performance during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The protesters, sponsored by foreign governments and in particularly the US and UK, and their plans to leverage the socioeconomic damage caused by Covid-19 to catch the government off balance at the end of emergency measures, may point to a much larger global strategy pursued by Washington and London to likewise target off-balanced governments around the world.

As nations around the globe face the health and economic threats Covid-19 poses, they should also be fully aware of and prepared for the geopolitical threat those seeking to take advantage of Covid-19 fallout to target their recovery efforts as US and British-backed protesters in Thailand appear poised to do.

For Thais themselves, they are once again reminded as to why they voted for the current government in power in Thailand in the first place, and not for Future Forward and its dishonest army of supporters, an army of supporters who seems only capable of condemning others and complicating the nation's progress into the future rather than aiding it in any practical or pragmatic way.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.