‘The country that bombed you is your friend…

The one that built your new railway is your enemy’

This is the Western media’s bizarre messaging to the people of Laos. The nation that was carpet-bombed by America, and which is now being vilified for accepting a new $9 billion railway line paid for by China.

Tom Fowdy

is a British writer and analyst of politics and international relations with a primary focus on East Asia.

Thursday was National Day in Laos. A celebration marking 46 years since the landlocked Southeast Asian nation deposed its monarchy and became a revolutionary communist state. An effort which was supported by Vietnam.

This year, the anniversary had added significance, as it saw the opening of a major new project. It is an electrified high-speed and freight railway system connecting the capital city, Vientiane with its northern neighbour, China. 

The $9 billion project is part of the Belt and Road Initiative, and has been hailed as one of its flagship achievements. It is the first commercial and industrial railway in Laos, which, given its geography and the fact it is surrounded by mountainous terrain, has not previously had many options to expand its exports and generate economic growth.

Now, though, it has a direct rapid link into the world’s second largest economy and the world’s largest consumer market by population, and a connection to the booming ports of Guangdong. In terms of what it will bring to Laos, it is a game changer. So, what’s not to like about it?

To nobody’s surprise, the mainstream media have responded to the railway with the usual anti-China negativity. A plethora of articles sought to paint the project as a ‘debt trap’. Promoting the accusation that Beijing loans countries money for projects they cannot afford and then exerts political leverage over it. 

”China, but at what cost?”

The Financial Times, for one, ran with a cynical article headlined ‘Laos to open Chinese-built railway amid fears of Beijing’s influence’. It implied that somehow Laos feels threatened or fears the construction of this very pioneering railway project. This suggestion of ‘fears of Chinese influence’ has become a common feature on such stories. It seek to cast doubt over anything positive China may be achieving or doing. 

A common Twitter meme among pro-China users which has followed from stories like this asks: “but at what cost?” highlighting the frequency of such negative coverage.

And if you Google “China, but at what cost?” you can find a great many examples of articles published in major outlets. In producing such pieces, the broader intention is to depict Beijing’s actions as unwanted, threatening and constantly facing opposition. In the case of the Laos railway project, the ‘problem’ is it was financed by debt, and therefore it is not a positive step.

Yet this argument is as insulting as it is outright insensitive to Laos’ contemporary history. Anyone who knows anything about Laos’ relatively recent past will be well aware that China is not the country to fear, but the United States – the nation that dropped over 260 million cluster bombs on Laos and completely devastated the country as an extension of the Vietnam War, making it the most single bombed nation in history and claiming over 50,000 lives. 

What is the cost of unexploded bombs clearing?

Many of these bombs remain unexploded and litter the countryside of Laos, continuing to kill civilians. In constructing the new railway, workers first had to clear the unexploded ordnance. How is it that the world and the mainstream media remain indifferent to this atrocity? And how, by any stretch of the imagination, can they claim that China is the true threat to Laos, and that the US and its allies act in the true interests of the country?

Herein lies the problem. Such a mindset symbolizes the elitism, chauvinism and self-righteousness of the countries of the West. Countries which are ideologically inclined to believe that they stand for the ‘true interests’ of the ordinary people in the countries they profess to liberate. 

Western politics peddles the assumption that through countries’ adherence to liberal democracy, they exclusively hold a single, universal, impartial, and moralistic truth, derived from the ontological legacy of Christianity, and they must introduce it to others. The West always acts truthfully and in good faith, while its enemies do not. And therefore, so the logic goes, any policy the US or its allies direct towards Laos is motivated by sincere intent and goodwill for its interests. In turn, anything that China does is bad-faith, expansionist and power-hungry behaviour motivated by a desire to influence or control the country. 

This creates the bizarre scenario whereby Beijing is depicted as evil and sinister for building a railway to connect to its neighbour. However, we should forget America dropping millions of bombs on the country because it was done in the name of ‘freedom’. I’m sure you can imagine how the media would react if China did the latter.

Pro US media distorting reality

The Laos-China railway has provided a textbook example of how the media can distort a story in order to fortify an incriminating narrative, while brushing aside brutal realities. We are shown a lopsided world, where the travesty of a country being bombed into oblivion with consequences lasting decades is ignored, and the preference is to try to convince us how that same country’s first commercial railway line is, in fact, what it should really be scared of. 

It is a demonstration of how the power of the English-language, pro-US media distorts reality itself and how they can blow up an issue, yet hide the truth, by professing to care dearly about the wellbeing and interests of a country which the West poured death, destruction, and carnage upon in the name of freedom.

Moscow tries to find a balance between Beijing and Delhi

Relations with the two giants of Asia – China, and India is for Russia one of the main foreign policy plots of the year. Beijing and Delhi, which are part of the Russia-India-China (RIC) alliance. As well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and other organizations. It is a serious challenge to Russia’s strategy of turning to the East. Moscow is forced to balance the two centers of power in Asia. It must not allow their conflict to complicate strategic partnership with each side.

The intrigue in Russia’s relations with two strategic partners and implacable opponents in Asia, who are zealously following each other’s steps, reached a climax at the end of the year, when, with an interval of one and a half weeks, on December 6 and 15, the Russian-Indian, and then the Russian -Chinese Summit.

At the same time, in the short interval between them, on December 9, a Russian-American summit was also held in the format of a videoconference. It was already the second this year.

Vladimir Putin’s second foreign trip during the pandemic, who had previously flown from Moscow only once – to the summit with US President Joe Biden in Geneva in June this year, was intended not only to reaffirm the importance that Moscow attaches to relations with Delhi, which has an official status ” especially privileged strategic partnership ”.

Throughout the year, there were numerous signals that relations between Russia and India, despite their strength, are developing in an environment of heightened geopolitical turbulence and a risk zone created by both the confrontation between Russia and the United States and the aggravation of India’s relations with China.

India entering the QUAD alliance

So, this year, India entered the new Indo-Pacific alliance QUAD (USA, Japan, India, Australia), which openly aims to contain the growing influence of China. The emergence of QUAD was bad news not only for Beijing but also for Moscow. Moreover, India, which actively supported this American geopolitical project QUAD, together with China, is included in the RIC triangle (Russia-India-China). In addition, India and China are partners in the SCO, BRICS, and other organizations.

Even before the creation of QUAD, at the very beginning of the year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made a resonant statement that, in its confrontation with China, the United States is increasingly trying to make Beijing and Delhi quarrel, increasing pressure on India.

Despite the absence of an official reaction from the Indian side, this assessment caused bewilderment among many in Delhi: numerous interlocutors of Kommersant, including experts and former ambassadors to the Russian Federation, insisted that the conflict between India and China has purely internal roots and is associated with increasingly active Beijing’s attempts to change the status quo on the demarcation line with India in East Ladakh.

The ambiguity that arose, apparently, was to be eliminated by the Russian-Indian summit, the holding of which acquired special significance for each of the parties.

Drawing attention to the importance of a personal meeting between the leaders of the two countries, the aide to the Russian president, Yuri Ushakov, who accompanied him on his trip to Delhi, recalled that one of the mechanisms of their dialogue was informal one-on-one communication.

India – Russia summit

According to Mr. Ushakov, this allows Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi to discuss “the most difficult, most delicate issues of the international situation.”

The main result of the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi was the signing of a joint statement “Russia – India: partnership for peace, progress and prosperity.”

This document lists in detail the most promising areas of bilateral cooperation designed to give a new acceleration to the specially privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India.

After his trip to Delhi, Vladimir Putin held the second summit this year with US President Joe Biden.

Against this background, a certain pause in the Russian-Chinese dialogue at the highest level became more and more noticeable. The previous talks between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, held in the format of a video conference, took place on June 28 and were timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Russian-Chinese Treaty on Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, which was extended for another five years this year.

Apparently, the fears of the Chinese side that Moscow will reach some separate agreements with Washington behind Beijing’s back, and will also begin to take into account the Indian position in the region to the detriment of China’s interests, and predetermined the decision to hold the second Russian-Chinese summit. 

Video Conference between Xi Jinping and Putin

Like the first meeting of the two leaders, it was held in the format of a video conference, given that Chinese President Xi Jinping has never left the country in the two years of the pandemic. In addition, in September, he turned down an offer by US President Joe Biden to hold a face-to-face US-China summit to begin the process of de-escalation in relations between Washington and Beijing.

Thus, after the Russian-Indian and Russian-American summits held in the first ten days of December, Beijing still managed to retain the final say.

The “Chinese ending” of Moscow’s diplomatic year turned out to be very effective on the outside, despite the distance communication between the two leaders, which lasted an hour and a half (the summits of Vladimir Putin with Narendra Modi and Joe Biden were longer). So, with Narendra Modi, Vladimir Putin talked face-to-face for three and a half hours, and with Joe Biden, he had a two-hour conversation.

Not limiting themselves to summing up the results of 2021 and demonstrating personal friendship, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping made it clear that Moscow and Beijing, which have not entered into formal allied relations, are already acting as allies.

Speaking with his Chinese counterpart, Vladimir Putin confirmed his plans to attend the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Beijing in February.

A new page in Chinese-Russian relations

Thus, he struck a blow at the idea of ​​a political boycott of the Olympics, which the United States and its allies are calling for. “I look forward to our Olympic meeting with you. I am ready to go forward with you hand in hand, together to open a new page in Chinese-Russian relations in the post-pandemic period, “Xi Jinping reacted to this. “The world has entered a period of turbulence and great change. Sino-Russian relations, having withstood all kinds of tests, have shown strong vitality, acquired a new breath, ”he added, also thanking Vladimir Putin for not allowing the West to“ drive a wedge ”between Moscow and Beijing.

Analyzing the ambiguous situation in the Russia-India-China triangle, which is increasingly influenced by the activity of the United States, which is moving closer to Delhi and continuing to put pressure on Beijing and Moscow, Alexei Maslov, director of the Institute of Asian and African Studies at Moscow State University, notes: “We admit that India is much less interesting for American investors than China. Despite all the contradictions between Washington and Beijing, private American business relies on China, given the huge number of preferences, excellent logistics, and full vertical integration of the production of any product. In addition, many American investors choose Chinese government securities for investments as they are quite reliable, which cannot be said about Indian assets.

But the idea of ​​developing special, that is, free from one-sided bias, Russian-Indian relations can be quite productive for Moscow. India can support the idea of ​​a Greater Eurasian space, to which China is still skeptical, and integrate into a new political and economic sphere, where it can be one of the leaders outside the opinion of Washington or Beijing.”


Sergey Strokan

Indonesia mysteriously quiet on China sea incursion

Giant Chinese survey vessel spent over seven weeks in Indonesia’s EEZ but Jakarta has opted to look the other way

When Britain’s Premier Oil entered into a joint venture last year with state-owned Russian oil giant Zarubezhneft to exploit the Tuna natural gas block in the North Natuna Sea, upstream regulator SSK Migas said the deal would strengthen Indonesia’s sovereignty in the area.

Fast forward a year and almost the opposite has happened. Officials struggling to explain why a Chinese survey vessel was allowed to spend seven weeks conducting intensive seabed mapping inside Indonesia’s economic exclusion zone (EEZ) south of the Harbour Energy concession.

The 6,900-tonne Haiyang Dizhi 10 and its Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) escort pulled out of the area on October 22. Only four days before the start of the three-day virtual Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) summit.

It has done that before, sailing to the Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands for replenishment in late September before returning on October 4 to continue its unlawful research.

This time, ship-tracking data shows it heading back to its homeport of Guangzhou. Chinese Coast Guard cutter 6305 remains in the vicinity of the drilling rig. Appraisal operations will continue for at least another month.

Analysts say the survey ship’s extended stay has served as a tacit recognition of China’s vaguely-defined nine-dash line. That intrudes into Indonesia’s EEZ near its confluence with Vietnam’s maritime border.

No protest by Indonesian government so far

The Indonesian government has yet to protest the incursion. Chinese ships were being watched most of the time by up to nine Indonesian Navy and Maritime Security Agency (BAKIMLA) patrol craft. However, with apparent orders not to intervene.

“I think Indonesia is hedging its bets and not doing anything that will lead to increased tensions,” Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) analyst Malcolm Davis told Asia Times. “If the presumption is that China will be satisfied with that, then Indonesia is in for a big shock. Give the Chinese an inch and they will take a mile.” It is worth saying that ASPI by default pushes anti China opinion.

Bill Hayton, an associate fellow at London’s Chatham House and author of a book on rising tensions in the South China Sea, agrees. “If the Indonesian government has not already sent a protest, then it needs to do so urgently or it will risk creating a precedent and losing its rights,” he was quoted as saying this week.

Diplomats have been unable to determine why the Indonesians have kept quiet. As one put it: “We  share your perceptions and concerns, but some think it may not be the time to anger our ‘northern friends’ given the recent moves in the South China Sea.” 

Although the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) have always enjoyed a much closer relationship with the United States, China did join the unsuccessful effort to salvage the Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala-402, which sank with all 53 hands aboard north of Bali last April.

Chinese companies are very important for Indonesian economy

More importantly, Chinese companies are playing a leading role in Indonesia’s entry into the global supply chain, with its flourishing nickel industry acting as the foundation of a highly-promising lithium battery and electric vehicle industry.

He said the Indonesian government respected freedom of navigation in the North Natuna Sea, adding: “We have discussions with our contact partners in China. We agree to disagree in some areas,. I think we’re able to manage so far.”

“We don’t feel we have issues with China. It’s like brothers and sisters. Sometimes you have problems, but don’t make it into a big problem. I don’t see it as a big deal as long as they don’t claim officially that it belongs to us (China). That’s different.”

Davis and other maritime experts point out that freedom of navigation is not the issue. They note that apart from an incident in 2016, in which a Chinese Coast Guard vessel seized back a captured trawler in Indonesia’s territorial waters, Jakarta has appeared to back off when confronted with more robust pressure.

“This is quite serious,” says Davis, a former Defense Department strategist. “The Indonesians may not want to rock the boat, but at some point, Jakarta is going to have to decide what to do with China. The Chinese are using soft power very successfully.”

In addition to its economic value, the Tuna block has a strategic geopolitical role because it is located close to the border with Vietnam.

China hopes Russian coal will help fill energy shortages

Key points

– The Suifenhe railway junction in northeastern Heilongjiang province is improving logistics as coal supplies increase.

– Electricity supplies from Russia to China through the Amurskaya-Heihe power transmission line tripled last week.

China is trying to solve the problem of electricity shortages, and in this it has been helped by Russia. Russia is increasing its exports of coal and electricity, as reported by state media and government departments.

The Chinese customs administration said Wednesday that total coal purchases in September increased 17% to 32.9 million tonnes, the highest in a year. The government is making further efforts to ensure a stable supply of energy resources before the winter peak in demand.

Fueled by fuel shortages and record high prices, the energy crisis has forced the government to take various measures to increase coal production and regulate electricity demand. Electricity rationing measures have been introduced in some provinces.

From October 1 to October 7, more than 5,000 tons of coal were transported through this hub every day.

Last week, the Chinese state-owned electricity company said that the supply of electricity from Russia to China through the Amurskaya-Heihe transmission line had been increased from five to 16 hours a day.

On Sunday, over 50,000 tons of coal were also delivered to China’s eastern province of Zhejiang.

The energy crisis in China and Europe has demonstrated that the transition from fossil fuels to green energy has turned out to be much more difficult and time-consuming than many expected.

For the foreseeable future, there are simply no real alternatives to coal and gas as the main sources of electricity and heating.

Energy alliance between Moscow and Beijing

The energy shortage in China should strengthen the energy alliance between Moscow and Beijing. Russia is China’s closest external source of coal, gas and oil. Beijing may give the go-ahead for the construction of the Power of Siberia-2 gas pipeline. Through that Russian gas from Western Siberia will be supplied to China via Mongolia. “

There are several reasons for China’s electricity shortage. One is that coal prices are not regulated. However, electricity prices are regulated. That makes generating companies reluctant to get involved in generating electricity as it gives them less profit.

Foreign companies are sounding the alarm over the deficit. Representatives of the European Union Chamber of Commerce said that firms sometimes receive notifications in just an hour about the need to redistribute shifts. And this is in enterprises where a thousand people work. “We need to better communicate with the government to help our companies cope with problems,” said Jörg Wuttke, head of the chamber. – We are not asking for privileges. We just want clarity. “

The Chamber of Commerce has asked the authorities to reconsider their decisions on which companies should cut or stop production. They are urging them to take a “scientific, transparent approach” and better communicate their decisions.

China wants to build a kilometer-sized starship!

While major technical hurdles stand in the way, an extra-large spacecraft (starship) could have broad applications

By DAVE MAKICHUK

In an effort to galvanize NASA’s return to the forefront, then-US Vice President Mike Pence sought to re-create the 1960s Cold War space race. Then the United States beat the Soviet Union to the lunar surface, The Washington Post reported.

But this time the role of rival was played not by the Soviet Union, but by China. Pence warned that China was trying “to seize the lunar strategic high ground.”

Bill Nelson, President Biden’s new NASA administrator, has carried on that hawkish rhetoric. He is casting China as “a very aggressive competitor” that has big ambitions in space and is challenging America’s leadership. The question one should ask is – what American leadership is he talking about?

“Watch the Chinese,” he recently warned.

Watch them, indeed!

They have now announced one of the most ambitious space projects in human history. It is a plan to build a kilometer-level starship at least be 10 times the length of the International Space Station (ISS). The news that will likely reverberate with NASA and the Pentagon, The Global Times reported.

Experts say that a number of major technical and management hurdles stand in the way. However, the in-orbit assembly of an extra-large spacecraft could have broad applications, such as the building of a space power plant that will generate electricity for the planet.

China is studying the project as part of its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period. It is expected to become a major strategic vehicle for its future use of space resources, deep-space explorations and long-term human stays in outer space.

Deep Space Nine 

As soon as the news came out, it lit up the Chinese internet, especially among space sci-fi fans. Some thrilled netizens jokingly compared it to the “starships” in movies and TV series, such as Deep Space Nine.

However, space experts say that there will be a great deal of challenges that must be overcome, apart from the huge demand for manpower and resources, considering the tremendous size and complexity of the spacecraft.

“Take the ISS as an example. Due to thrust limitations of launching vehicles, it also adopted the approach to assemble the parts in-orbit, which were delivered in separate spaceflights over a number of years,” Pang Zhihao, a Beijing-based space expert and researcher from the China Academy of Space Technology, told the Global Times.

“It took the ISS 12 years — from 1998 to 2010 — to finally complete the construction. And by the time of completion, the first module that was launched more than a decade prior had almost reached its lifespan.

“It can be speculated that the kilometer-level spacecraft will take even longer to build. And it will have much higher requirements for the lifespan of its core components, and the ability to replace components flexibly,” he added. 

Researchers will be tasked to minimize the weight of the modules and the number of launches to reduce construction costs, Pang said.

They also must ensure the controllability of the overall structure, so that attitude drifts, deformation and vibration can be limited during in-orbit assembly.

The complexity not only rests on technical issues, but also the overall planning and management of the project. It must also consider the threats of space debris.

Many difficulties but massive potential

The difficulties to construct such a spacecraft are great. However, experts say it has massive scientific and military potential.

It could be used for building a space power plant. Therefore enabling a large-scale all-weather power generation by transferring solar power to electricity and beaming it down to Earth. 

China has also made breakthroughs in developing its new super-heavy-lift carrier rocket. It is rolling out the country’s first 9.5-meter-diameter rocket tank bottom and liquid booster engine earlier this month. 

The launch vehicle may point to the Long March 9 carrier rocket. It will be used for future crewed lunar missions, deep space exploration and space infrastructure.

China launched the core of its space station in April, and sent three astronauts up in June.

The space station probably won’t be complete until late 2022. However, there is already a long queue of experiments from across the world waiting to go up, Nature.com reported.

Scientists say that the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) has tentatively approved more than 1,000 experiments, several of which have already been launched.

Before April, the International Space Station (ISS) was the only space laboratory in orbit. Many researchers say Tiangong (or “heavenly palace”) is a welcome addition for astronomical and Earth observation, and for studying how microgravity and cosmic radiation affect phenomena such as bacterial growth and fluid mixing.

Are crewed space stations too costly?

However, others argue that crewed space stations are costly, and serve more of a political than a scientific purpose.

Increased scientific access to space is of scientific benefit globally. It does not matter who builds and operates platforms.

“We need more space stations, because one space station is definitely not enough,” adds Agnieszka Pollo, an astrophysicist at the National Centre for Nuclear Research in Warsaw who is part of a team sending an experiment to study Y-ray bursts.

Meanwhile, don’t look for any international cooperation any time soon.

NASA has been barred by law since 2011 from partnering with China! No Chinese astronaut has ever been aboard the ISS, which has been host to astronauts from nearly 20 nations.

There is no prospect of that changing anytime soon in a Washington where China is seen as a fierce competitor in a wide range of technological endeavors, from quantum computers to the rollout of 5G.

That is especially true for space, because the technologies used in space also are used for national defense.

“These deep concerns about China as a military competitor forestalls cooperation in dual-use technologies. There are no technologies used in space that aren’t dual-use,” he said.

US and Chinese cooperation in space would require the kind of detente that the US and Soviet Union achieved during the Cold War.

“But we are very far from that.”


Sources: The Global Times, The Washington PostCenter for Strategic and International StudiesNature.comChina Academy of Space Technology

The AUKUS preparing a nuclear war to sustain Taiwan

The official reactions to the announcement of the Australian-British-US pact (AUKUS) are only about the termination of the Australian-French arms contract. As terrible as this is for the shipyards, it is only a collateral consequence of a reversal of alliances aimed at preparing for a war against China

by Thierry Meyssan

The announcement of the Australian-British-US (A-UK-US) pact was like an earthquake in the Indo-Pacific region.

There is no doubt that Washington is preparing for a long-term military confrontation with China.

Until now, the Western deployment to contain China politically and militarily has involved the United States and the United Kingdom as well as France and Germany. Today, the Europeans are left out. And tomorrow the area will be controlled by the Quad+ (US and UK, plus Australia, India and Japan). Washington is preparing a war in one or two decades.

France and Germany have not been consulted on this strategy. Nor even warned of its public announcement! However, some other countries had been warned, such as Indonesia.

It is logical that London and Washington should rely on Camberra rather than Paris. Australia is a member of the “Five Eyes” with which France is just associated. The entry into the game of Japan and especially India puts an end to a long period of uncertainty. More troubling is the role assigned to Germany. Germans could join the “Five Eyes”, but not the Quad. Meaning – spying on telecommunications, but not military action.

Alliances shaken up

The A-NZ-US, which linked Australia, New Zealand and the United States, has not been in operation since 1985. It has been definitively buried. New Zealand had affirmed its policy of nuclear disarmament and consequently refused entry to its ports to nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered ships. Since the Pentagon refuses to reveal these “details”, no US warship has entered the country. Future Australian submarines will also be banned.

For the moment, the European Union has not reacted. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who was giving a state of the Union address on the same day the AUKUS pact was announced, is paralyzed. She was talking about her new strategy in the Indo-Pacific area! All while the Brexit Brits were pulling the rug out from under her. Not only is the European Union not a military power, but those of its members who are, will no longer have a say.

NATO is silent. It had ambitions to expand in the Indo-Pacific and understands that it will not be part of the game.

ASEAN has not reacted either, but the Indonesians who host its general secretariat have already expressed their disappointment. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations was conceived during the Cold War like ANZUS or the EU to contain the communist bloc. However it evolved afterwards. Unlike the EU, which has become a supra-national bureaucracy, ASEAN, influenced by the ideology of the Non-Aligned Movement. It aspires to form a vast free trade area that includes China. Without delay, many Indonesian intellectuals have denounced the torpedoing of this dream of peace by the AUKUS.

Beijing is offering economic exchanges to all, while Washington is offering war

China and Russia, the main enemies designated by the Anglo-Saxons, have not yet reacted. Unlike the West, they never communicate about their intentions. But they communicate about the decisions they have already taken and implemented. Speaking for itself, China has expressed indignation at the Anglo-Saxon mentality of forming the broadest and most powerful alliances possible without regard to the intricacies of each player. This is not a communication trick: the Chinese consider everyone as an equal with their own particularities. The day after the AUKS announcement, China formally applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). It is the successor organization to President Obama’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. The coincidence of the two events is officially purely fortuitious. In practice, Beijing is offering economic exchanges to all, while Washington is offering war.

The nuclear Spectre

Until now, and probably still today, the United States considers that having nuclear-powered ships opens the way quickly to the construction of atomic bombs. This is why it has only offered nuclear propulsion technology to its British ally. Therefore – and whatever the Australians say – building nuclear-powered submarines prepares Australia for entry into the club of atomic powers. The war against China will be a nuclear war!

From this point of view, Japan’s entry into the Quad after the traumas of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is an achievement.

Until now, only the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council had nuclear-powered submarines. India has become the sixth and Australia is expected to be the seventh.

Since the United States can no longer maintain its rhetoric of dual-use nuclear technology, it can no longer claim that Iranian nuclear research is for military purposes. This should pave the way for open cooperation between Washington and Tehran, which Israel immediately anticipated.

THE downgrading of the Europeans

The first loser in this new architecture is France. It has lost its status as a global power. It still retains its permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The decline of Paris was foreseeable since its armies were placed under U.S. command within NATO’s Integrated Command in 2009. Today, they are no longer able to defend the entire French territory. Instead they send expeditionary forces to defend US interests in Africa. Indeed, the United States has still not managed to deploy AfriCom on the black continent. It uses French ground troops, which it supports with its air surveillance system.

Paris reacted… by canceling a gala event at its embassy in the United States. The Quai d’Orsay asked the State Department for urgent explanations in the hours preceding the AUKUS announcement. In the end, it considered that Australia had knowingly hidden this project from it, which was instigated by the United States. He therefore recalled his ambassadors in Canberra and Washington. France decided to communicate about the contract of the century cancelled by the Australians. This $90 billion agreement is not much compared to what is at stake and what it has lost.

Paris is all the more stunned because it had thought it had established a privileged relationship with London. Secret negotiations were under way to move the base of the British nuclear-powered submarines (Trident) to France in the event of Scotland’s secession from the United Kingdom.

France can take comfort in the fact that its downgrading is taking place in the context of the more general downgrading of all Europeans. The fact that Germany may eventually fare less badly is incidental. Berlin is only allowed to be an economic power and never since the Second World War to be a global political power.

French presence in Indo-Pacific region

France is not only a European metropolis. It is also a constellation of territories all over the world that gives it the second largest maritime domain in the world (after the United States). In the Indo-Pacific region, it has the departments of Reunion and Mayotte, the communities of New Caledonia and French Polynesia, the territory of Wallis and Futuna, the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF). All of this is inhabited by 1.6 million French nationals.

France is therefore a power in the Indo-Pacific. As such, it has offered to help its European Union partners, which it has taken care to place outside the US-China strategic rivalry. It is a member of the Indian Ocean Commission. France participates in the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ summits, in its police and intelligence coordination (ASEANAPOL) and should soon join the Regional Cooperation Against Piracy (RECAAP). Ultimately, France, which is to assume the presidency of the European Council during the first half of 2022, planned to make use of its roots in the Indo-Pacific as one of the European Union’s challenges.


Here is the LINK to the original article

United States is losing Europe for alliance with Australia

Was Biden wrong in upseting the oldest ally of United States – France?

I believe it is worth returning to this topic as it is significant on a very broad – global scene. New alliance between Australia, United Kingdom and United States (AUKUS). It would be wrong to see this not really new alliance as “Asian NATO”. Counting remaining two members of the “Quad” (India and Japan) would be, in my opinion premature. That particularly applies for India. India does not want to abandon its Non-Aligned status in return of irritating China. Anyone planning to see Japan as part of that alliance is forgetting enormous historical burden it would bring with it. Not even South Korea would want to join it. Not to mention other Asian states that were victims of Japanese aggression during WWII.

It might turn that by taking his first step towards creation of “Asian NATO”, Joe Biden unintentionally made the first step towards dismantilng NATO! If this turns to be correct prediction then we are witnessing geopolitical change comparable to the fall of Berlin Wall. The “Old Europe” and France in particular are shocked and speachless. Not much is happening behind the closed doors right now but that will change soon. Results of German election for federal parliament are still coming in. As soon as there is new government formed in Germany, there will be very active talks regarding future positioning of “Old Europe”. I have no doubts about that.

What if Washington’s hopes of Green Party in Germany holding country firmly under control? Those curious to see what the real “elections meddling” looks like should pay attention – pressure on all major actors on German political scene will be applied from Washington, Moscow, Beijing and Paris.

Franco-American relations worse since 1778

Defence alliance with the UK and Australia makes sense for United States. These are two countries that followed military adventure of US without exception. However, linking it to France – and the EU – makes no sense in the process. If this announcement was made without breaking contract for submarines between Australia and France, there would be no problems. Appart from countries involved it would be noticed only in Beijing and with mild reaction. With submarines being part of it the new alliance became global news. Reactions from Paris and Beijing were almost equaly lous. And, nobody should be surprised with that.

Biden administration has found itself embroiled in an avoidable conflict with Paris over the canceled multibillion-dollar defense contract between France and Australia. This gap is significant in the annals of Franco-American relations. For the first time since 1778, France recalled its ambassador from the United States. And it is unlikely that all this will soon subside. Inevitably, this will have serious consequences for the entire American alliance with France, the European Union and NATO. Ultimately, China and Russia will benefit from this turn of events.

Lack of sophistication

In fact, the United States and the United Kingdom needed to strengthen their military relations with Australia. It is the most powerful English-speaking democracy in this part of the world. Biden should be credited for doing something truly grandiose. Offering Australia patented American nuclear submarine technology – which Washington hasn’t done for another country since 1958 – to build a strong military alliance to curb China’s rise to India in the Pacific Ocean.

However, nowhere was it written that this union was to be created at the expense of a democratic France. In France, Washington has a capable military partner. The strongest on the European continent.  Like the United States and Britain, France also has interests in the Indo-Pacific.

Five years ago, Australia wanted to replenish its submarine fleet. Its Collins-class diesel submarines were in need of replacement. French defense contractor Naval Group was tasked with replacing six Australian Collins-class diesel submarines with 12 French Barracuda-class diesel submarines.

The deal began to collapse at least 15 months before the intervention of the Americans and British. It also became clear that Australia’s leaders really didn’t want another set of diesel submarines.

Ultimately, however, if Australia does not intend to use nuclear warheads on its submarines, then a nuclear submarine may not be worth the investment and time that Australia requires. Especially given that Australia lacks the infrastructure needed to build and maintain nuclear submarines.

It never occurred to anyone in Canberra or Washington to warn their friends in Paris about Australia’s imminent abandonment of French submarines in favor of Anglo-American ones. Was there really nothing that the Biden administration could not offer as comfort for Paris? It seemed like “adults” were ruling Washington again!

Losing Europe to win Australia?

Biden’s indifference to the interests of France provoked the outrage of the French. In my opinion, combined with some other factors, it could well lead to a serious collapse of the Euro-American alliance.

The severing of Franco-American relations over the Australian submarine deal may have been just the latest in a long string of incidents in which Europe’s leaders needed to take the final step in charting a new course further away from Washington. It will not happen soon but possibility of very different relationship between EU and Russia is quite realistic. Are we going to see Eurasia from Lisbon to Vladivostok without sanctions and walls?