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ASIA Australia China Intelwars

Australia’s Self-Inflicted Economic Woes Continue

April 15, 2021 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – Australia had until recently been enjoying economic growth alongside the rise of China. This all changed when Canberra began following Washington’s lead, antagonising China, and in what would snowball into a costly, self-inflicted economic crisis. 

Today, Australia not only faces mounting barriers to trade erected by China in response to Australia’s systematic antagonism, but now is seeing what had been temporary trade disputes transform slowly into a Beijing strategy to permanently eliminate dependency on Australian imports. 

Once set into place, the ability for Australia to return to previous levels of lucrative trade with China will be unlikely. 

Australia’s Self-Inflicted Economic Ruination 

In 2018, Australia buckled under US pressure to ban Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from nationwide 5G infrastructure contracts citing still unfounded “national security concerns.”

The BBC in an article titled, “Huawei and ZTE handed 5G network ban in Australia,” would claim: 

“…the Australian government said national security regulations that were typically applied to telecoms firms would be extended to equipment suppliers.

Companies that were “likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government” could present a security risk, it said.

Even the BBC and the Australian government were clear to use the word, “could present,” versus the demonstrated security risk US-made hardware poses as revealed by the Western media itself in articles like MIT Technology Review’s, “NSA’s Own Hardware Backdoors May Still Be a “Problem from Hell”,” which would note: 

In 2011, General Michael Hayden, who had earlier been director of both the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, described the idea of computer hardware with hidden “backdoors” planted by an enemy as “the problem from hell.” This month, news reports based on leaked documents said that the NSA itself has used that tactic, working with U.S. companies to insert secret backdoors into chips and other hardware to aid its surveillance efforts.

Quite clearly then, the threat of compromised hardware is not the real reason this ban has been leveled against Chinese companies since similar bans have not been used to target US-made hardware. Instead, the most likely motivation fits in with Washington’s wider strategy of encircling and containing China, including the blunting of its economic rise as a whole, and the sabotage of individual Chinese companies poised to overtake their Western rivals. 

More recently, Australia followed suit in a US-led propaganda campaign to shift the blame for the global COVID-19 crisis on China. 

A Reuters article titled, “Africa’s miners and winemakers toast China’s row with Australia,” would not only note China’s moves to permanently resolve this growing dispute with Australia by simply finding more dependable and amicable trading partners, but also attempted to explain how this trade row recently escalated when Canberra, “led calls for an inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan.” 

Of course, this was a politically-motivated inquiry meant to insinuate China was responsible for the spread of COVID-19, and by implication, also responsible for the resulting global crisis. 

Logically, even if China had been responsible for COVID-19’s spread throughout its own territory, failing to detect, isolate, and contain its spread, it is difficult to understand how China is also responsible for it spreading in Australia or the US. 

What prevented the Australian or US governments from detecting, isolating, and containing the spread of the virus within their own borders, and how exactly would China be to blame for the fact that they didn’t? Here reveals the propaganda value of this inquiry and precisely why China responded through additional tariffs against Australian imports. 

The trade war is hurting Australia in ways it will not be able to overcome without quickly reconciling with Beijing. 

The amount of iron ore exported to China from Australia cannot simply be diverted elsewhere. Which nation possesses the same sized industrial base and demand for such ore? The answer is; no one. 

Worse still are “economic solutions” Australia is exploring to make up for its declining economic health. 

Australian state media, ABC, in an article titled, “Australia to produce its own guided missiles as part of billion-dollar defence manufacturing plan,” would claim: 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will unveil the plan later today but is warning the “changing global environment” highlights the need to create the sovereign capability.

The article also noted: 

The Department of Defence will choose a “strategic industry partner” which will be contracted to operate the manufacturing facility.

Potential partners include Raytheon Australia, Lockheed Martin Australia, Konsberg and BAE Systems Australia.

Thus, there really is no “sovereign capability” being developed, since the weapons will be made by the Australian subsidiaries of US and Western European-based arms manufacturers, using Australian tax dollars, and creating a minimum number of jobs in the process all while using technology with little to no practical application outside the realm of arms manufacturing. 

The missiles, once completed, will most likely be pointed at China by Australia, or sold to nations in the region who will likewise point them at China. 

The propaganda campaign fueling Australia’s growing antagonism toward China and creating the climate of fear among the Australian public to justify expenditures on weapons often stems from policy think tanks like the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). 

That ASPI is funded by the very same arms manufactures mentioned above, Raytheon and Lockheed, directly profiting from the growing crisis, should be no surprise.  

If the trade row wasn’t bad enough, special interests driving Australian foreign policy doubling down on “solutions” that will only expand the row (and also a wider conflict) signals to Beijing that Australia wasn’t, isn’t and likely well into the future won’t be a reliable partner. 

China Moving on Without Australia? 

Conversely, China has plenty of alternatives to choose from and has been cultivating them for years out of a desire to hedge against economic uncertainties. But it was a strategy that has clearly served Beijing well in the face of the sort of political uncertainties Australia’s antagonism now represents. 

The same Reuters article discussing Australia’s China-COVID-19 inquiry would also note: 

In the mining sector though, China has spent the past decade ramping up projects in Africa to safeguard the flow of raw materials to the manufacturing juggernaut.

Those investments are now paying off and African producer countries are pocketing the royalties as exports to the world’s second biggest economy get a boost at Australia’s expense.

The article covers a wide range of ores, minerals and other goods China is seeking to diversify away from dependence on Australia for, and toward partners in Africa. 

The article describes how in just a few years, momentum is already starting to swing in favour of African exporters at Australia’s expense. Once the process is complete, it will be very difficult for Australia’s government to repair both the political damage it has created and convince Beijing to forego its new partners in favour of a return to Australian trade, now proven to be politically unreliable. 

Like the US itself whom Australia follows the lead of, Australia finds itself needlessly rendering itself irrelevant because of a fundamental inability to accept an emerging global balance of power, correcting the unwarranted concentration of power and wealth in the hands of Western nations at the expense of the rest of the world. 

Australia’s inability to find a constructive role to play among the nations of the Indo-Pacific region and recognize China’s rise as a regional and global power, insisting instead to partner with Washington in a campaign to reassert Western primacy over the region, is not “going to be” Australia’s downfall, it already is Australia’s downfall. 

How far Australia falls, and if it arrives at depths it can never fully return from, is up to Canberra.

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

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ASIA China Intelwars propaganda

West’s Propaganda War vs. China Continues

April 10, 2021 (Brian Berletic – LD) – The West continues a malicious propaganda war against China, but China is pushing back.   

In the latest row, the BBC’s John Sudworth fled mainland China to Taiwan as Xinjiang locals began organizing legal action against his campaign of slander aimed at justifying economic sanctions and boycotts – ruining the lives of the very people the West claims it cares about. 

A look at John Sudworth’s work for the BBC reveals a transparent propaganda campaign based on disinformation spread by US government-founded “foundations” based in Washington DC with admissions throughout BBC articles that none of their claims can ultimately be proven. 

References:

RT – Beijing accuses BBC of spreading fake news and blasts reporter for ‘running’ from China as Xinjiang citizens plot legal action:
https://www.rt.com/news/519704-china-bbc-reporter-sudworth-xinjiang/
BBC – BBC China correspondent John Sudworth moves to Taiwan after threats:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-56586655
BBC – China’s ‘tainted’ cotton:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/extra/nz0g306v8c/china-tainted-cotton
Adrian Zenz – Coercive Labor in Xinjiang: Labor Transfer and the Mobilization of Ethnic Minorities to Pick Cotton (PDF):
http://newlinesinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/20201214-PB-China-Cotton-NISAP-2.pdf
The Grayzone – Reuters, BBC, and Bellingcat participated in covert UK Foreign Office-funded programs to “weaken Russia,” leaked docs reveal:
https://thegrayzone.com/2021/02/20/reuters-bbc-uk-foreign-office-russian-media/

Brian Berletic, formally known under the pen name “Tony Cartalucci” is a geopolitical researcher, writer, and video producer (YouTube here, Odysee here, and BitChute here) based in Bangkok, Thailand. He is a regular contributor to New Eastern Outlook and more recently, 21st Century Wire. You can support his work via Patreon here. 

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ASIA Australia China Intelwars

What is Australia’s Problem with China?

April 8, 2021 (Brian Berletic – LD) – Australia continues to double down on its growing trade and political row with China. 

It is costing the Australian economy significantly, and backing it into a strategic corner only greater belligerence toward China and subordination to US regional ambitions will remain as options.

I explain in this video the deadend this represents as a foreign policy, and the foreign special interests encouraging Australia’s current government to move the nation in this direction.

References: 


Nikkei Asia – China determined to build iron ore hub in Africa as Australia goes Quad: 

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Markets/Commodities/China-determined-to-build-iron-ore-hub-in-Africa-as-Australia-goes-Quad

Reuters – Africa’s miners and winemakers toast China’s row with Australia: 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-africa-china-trade-idUSKBN2AA0SO

ABC Australia – Australia to produce its own guided missiles as part of billion-dollar defence manufacturing plan: 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-31/government-weapons-facility-guided-missiles-made-in-australia/100039990

Australian Strategic Policy Institute – Funding: 

https://www.aspi.org.au/about-aspi/funding

Australian Strategic Policy Institute – Funding (PDF):

https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/ad-aspi/2021-03/ASPI%20by%20the%20numbers%2019-20.pdf?7zWjlTgji6uCH5SOC14LFLjAcsyOckue=

Brian Berletic, formally known under the pen name “Tony Cartalucci” is a geopolitical researcher, writer, and video producer (YouTube here, Odysee here, and BitChute here) based in Bangkok, Thailand. He is a regular contributor to New Eastern Outlook and more recently, 21st Century Wire. You can support his work via Patreon here. 
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ASEAN ASIA Intelwars Myanmar

Myanmar: US-backed Opposition is ARMED

April 6, 2021 (Brian Berletic – LD) – After weeks of denying the violence carried out by US-backed opposition groups in Myanmar, US-funded propaganda outlets like “Myanmar Now” are finally admitting and making excuses for the opposition fighting government security forces with war weapons. 

The opposition has announced a parallel government the US is likely going to “recognize” and offer military support to – creating a catastrophe directly on China’s as well as Thailand’s borders in a chain of events identical to the US engineered “Arab Spring” and interventions in Libya and Syria in 2011.

Armed groups linking up with US-backed anti-government protesters represent US-British backed proxies armed and trained by the West for decades – including as colonial forces used by the British to occupy Myanmar – then called “Burma.”

Now just as they were under the British Empire, these ethnic militants are key to dividing and destroying Myanmar, denying it peace and stability, and denying its neighbors – including China and Thailand – a stable and prosperous partner.  

References: 

Myanmar Now (US NED-funded) – As slaughter of civilians continues, some decide it’s time to take up arms:

https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/as-slaughter-of-civilians-continues-some-decide-its-time-to-take-up-arms

Columbia Journalism Review – Myanmar’s Other Reports (paragraph 19, Myanmar Now’s NED funding): 

https://www.cjr.org/special_report/myanmars-other-reporters.php

US National Endowment for Democracy – Burma (2020): 

https://www.ned.org/region/asia/burma-2020/

LD – West Grinds Development to a Halt in Myanmar (Burma) (2011):

https://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/12/fruits-of-globalization-regression.html

LD – Militants Threaten China’s OBOR Initiative in Myanmar (2018): 

https://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2018/07/militants-threaten-chinas-obor.html

US National Endowment for Democracy – Burma (2020):

https://www.ned.org/region/asia/burma-2020/

Brian Berletic, formally known under the pen name “Tony Cartalucci” is a geopolitical researcher, writer, and video producer (YouTube here, Odysee here, and BitChute here) based in Bangkok, Thailand. He is a regular contributor to New Eastern Outlook and more recently, 21st Century Wire. You can support his work via Patreon here. 

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ASIA China Intelwars propaganda

New Yorker Uses Cartoons to Boost “Uyghur Genocide” Myth

April 3, 2021 (Brian Berletic – LD) – The New Yorker is the latest Western media front to use cartoons in place of where real evidence should be presented – to boost Washington’s propaganda war and accusations against Beijing it is carrying out “genocide” against the population of Xinjiang. 



I expose the lack of evidence behind this myth, why it was necessary to use cartoons to sell it, and the compromised Washington-based or funded fronts that aided in the creation of this latest propaganda piece from the New Yorker. 


References: 


New Yorker – Inside Xinjiang’s Secret Detention Camps (360/VR) | Reeducated:

https://youtu.be/FGUyo5dxke8

New Yorker – “Reeducated”: 

https://www.newyorker.com/news/video-dept/reeducated-film-xinjiang-prisoners-china-virtual-reality

New Yorker – Inside Xinjiang’s Prison State 

https://www.newyorker.com/news/a-reporter-at-large/china-xinjiang-prison-state-uighur-detention-camps-prisoner-testimony

LD – Amnesty International Admits Syrian “Saydnaya” Report Fabricated Entirely in UK:

https://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2017/02/amnesty-international-admits-syrian.html

Amnesty International – Saydnaya Prison: Human Slaughterhouse (2017): 

https://youtu.be/8rcLJz5qnjY

Eyebeam – Support (the sponsors of New Yorker’s video): 

https://www.eyebeam.org/support/

Living Otherwise – Ben Mauk on Xinjiang, Kazakhstan, China & Violence (interview):

https://livingotherwise.com/2021/01/18/ben-mauk-on-xinjiang-kazakhstan-china-violence/

China File – Where Did the One Million Figure for Detentions in Xinjiang’s Camps Come From?: 

https://www.chinafile.com/reporting-opinion/features/where-did-one-million-figure-detentions-xinjiangs-camps-come

Twitter – Adrian Zenz’s profile: 

https://twitter.com/adrianzenz

Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation – Overview: 

https://victimsofcommunism.org/about/

Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation – Leadership: 

https://victimsofcommunism.org/about/leadership/

Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation – 2019 Annual Report (PDF):

https://victimsofcommunism.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/VOC-2019-Annual-Report.pdf

Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation – Trustee, Paula J. Dobriansky: 

https://victimsofcommunism.org/leader/hon-paula-dobriansky-phd/

Radio Free Asia – About RFA: 

https://www.rfa.org/about/

United State Agency for Global Media – Oversight: 

https://www.usagm.gov/who-we-are/oversight/congressional-committees/

Australian Strategic Policy Institute – Nathan Ruser:

https://www.aspi.org.au/bio/nathan-ruser

ASPI – 2019-2020 Annual Report (PDF): 

https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/ad-aspi/2021-03/ASPI%20by%20the%20numbers%2019-20.pdf?7zWjlTgji6uCH5SOC14LFLjAcsyOckue=

Xinjiang Victims Database: 

https://shahit.biz/eng/

Xinjiang Victims Database – “Primary Evidence Report” (PDF):

https://shahit.biz/primrep.php

US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – Xinjiang/East Turkestan (2020):

https://www.ned.org/region/asia/xinjiang-east-turkestan-china-2020/

World Uyghur Congress – About: 

https://www.uyghurcongress.org/en/introducing-the-world-uyghur-congress/

Associated Press – AP Exclusive: Uighurs fighting in Syria take aim at China:

https://apnews.com/article/79d6a427b26f4eeab226571956dd256e

Brian Berletic, formally known under the pen name “Tony Cartalucci” is a geopolitical researcher, writer, and video producer (YouTube here and BitChute here) based in Bangkok, Thailand. He is a regular contributor to New Eastern Outlook and more recently, 21st Century Wire. You can support his work via Patreon here. 

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ASEAN ASIA Intelwars Myanmar

Myanmar, Libya, and Syria: Dangerous Parallels

April 1, 2021 (Brian Berletic – NEO) – When protesters in the streets of Myanmar began waving signs around in English demanding “R2P” or the “responsibility to protect,” the initial reaction should have been for many – a flashback to the last time R2P was invoked – in 2011 by the West regarding Libya. 

The violence in Libya in 2011 was part of the wider US-engineered “Arab Spring” with opposition groups, fronts posing as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and even armed factions all backed by the US and prepared years in advance to carry out a region-wide campaign of destabilization, regime change, military intervention, and occupation. 

At the time, many – including US Senator John McCain – promised the “Arab Spring” would spread – deliberately and as part of Washington’s desire to encircle, contain, and eventually overthrow the political and economic orders of Iran, Russia, and China. 

The Atlantic in a 2011 article titled, “The Arab Spring: ‘A Virus That Will Attack Moscow and Beijing’,” would even note: 

…McCain dropped a pretty big zinger on the crowd.

He said, “A year ago, Ben-Ali and Gaddafi were not in power.  Assad won’t be in power this time next year.  This Arab Spring is a virus that will attack Moscow and Beijing.” McCain then walked off the stage.

Despite the ultimate failure of the US-engineered Arab Spring to achieve sweeping regime change beyond Libya – it still managed to destabilize or otherwise destroy the regions of North Africa and the Middle East – create a pretext for a permanent US military presence there, including an enduring occupation of Syria’s eastern region, and the creation of a ongoing conflict that could easily be described as a proxy war against Iran – one of the nations the 2011 Arab Spring was ultimately aimed at. 

McCain was a stalwart supporter of US military intervention amid the opening phases of the Arab Spring. He met with US-armed and backed terrorists both in Libya and Syria until his death in 2018. 

When he declared US-engineered conflict would eventually reach Moscow and Beijing – it was clear even at the time that it would – by necessity – first need to arrive in and erode the stability of nations along the peripheries of both Russia and China. 

And this is a process that has continued ever since – with US-backed “color revolution” attacking Ukraine in 2013-2014, Belarus more recently – and both within China and along its peripheries – deadly separatism in China’s Xinjiang region, violent riots in Hong Kong, opposition groups in Thailand openly opposed to close relations between Bangkok and Beijing – and now the crisis in Myanmar. 

Myanmar, Libya, and Syria: Dangerous Parallels 

The protests in Myanmar in response to the ousting of the US-backed government of Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) earlier this year – began violently. These were the same political groups that had stormed Rohingya communities years earlier – killing residents and burning homes and businesses to the ground. It is unlikely that since then, they’ve adopted “peaceful” methods.

To help spin the violent nature of the protests – the Western media has depended heavily on faux-human rights groups like Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) who provides baseless “tallies” of dead and detained. The Western media never mentions that AAPP is funded by the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy and that the AAPP’s founder and and joint secretary – Ko Bo Kyi – is also an NED “fellow.”  

Similar fronts were used by the West in Libya and Syria – including the Libyan League for Human Rights and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights respectively. 

Videos of protesters with machetes, swords, bows and arrows, Molotov cocktails, and other weapons fighting with police and soldiers were even broadcasted by the Western media – and occasional mention of police and soldiers dying in the violence was also made. But overall – the Western media maintained a narrative of a one-sided “massacre” of “peaceful protesters” by Myanmar’s security forces. 

We remember similar narratives told regarding the opening phases of the conflicts in Libya and Syria in 2011. 

Western media outlets like the BBC and Reuters attempted to portray the opposition in Libya and Syria as “peaceful” up to and including when footage of opposition groups with war weapons – including tanks – began emerging. Once it became public knowledge of just how heavily armed and organized the opposition was – and when it came time for the US and its allies to openly arm and support them – the Western media began “explaining” why “peaceful protesters” had “no choice” but to take up arms. 

The exact same narrative now plays out in Myanmar. 

Myanmar Now – funded by the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as revealed in a Columbia Journalism Review article – in a recent pieces titled, “As slaughter of civilians continues, some decide it’s time to take up arms,” would attempt to sell a similar narrative today. 

The article claims: 

Armed only with slingshots, makeshift shields, and Molotov cocktails, Ko Saung and his comrades could see that they were no match for armed forces equipped with lethal weapons and a license to murder without mercy.

That’s why they decided it was time for them to get real weapons of their own, and to learn how to use them. And to do that, they knew they would have to go to border areas, where ethnic armed groups have fought the Tatmadaw for decades.

The article then explains how – only two months into the crisis – a parallel government has already been formed and a “federal army” is already prepared to fight Myanmar’s military for control of the country.

The article explains: 

The Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), formed by MPs from Myanmar’s ousted civilian government, has offered an alternative: a federal army that includes all forces opposed to the regime.

According to the CRPH, the idea is to set up defence plans from the ward/village level to the township level. After it released a statement outlining the proposal, a number of security committees were established in various parts of the country. 

These “forces opposed to the regime” include armed ethnic groups that have for decades received funding, equipment, and weapons from the United States through fronts posing as NGOs – many of them listed on the US government’s own National Endowment for Democracy website.

Just like in Libya and Syria – the Western media and US-funded propaganda outlets like Myanmar Now are attempting to sell the idea of a “pro-democracy” force of “freedom fighters” – that in reality – is clearly composed of armed extremists driven by ethnic identity, used by the US for decades to divide Myanmar – and bound to burn the nation to the ground in deadly, protracted conflict during its fight with Myanmar’s government – and if successful – with each other in the aftermath.  

The CRPH – in the days and weeks to come – will undoubtedly be recognized by the US and its allies as the “legitimate” government of Myanmar – making it then possible for the US and others to arm, fund, and otherwise aid them in their bid to seize total power over the country. 

There will also likely be the opportunity for the US to propose limited military intervention – citing the use of Myanmar’s air force against opposition groups armed with war weapons – just as the US did in Libya and attempted (and partially did) in Syria. 

The proxy regime will be able to “invite” the US military into Myanmar’s territory – a dream scenario for a US desperate to encircle China with its military – especially by placing its troops in a nation that directly borders China as Myanmar does. 

The US promised its Arab Spring would spread – like a virus – to the doorsteps of Moscow and Beijing. For China – with Myanmar clearly infected and slowly dying on its border – that day has now come. 

Brian Berletic is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.  

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ASIA China Intelwars US

Washington’s Obsession with China Expands

March 25, 2021 (Brian Berletic – NEO) – Mid-March saw a series of events helping to measure with exactitude US foreign policy regarding China – a commitment to and a doubling down on a decades-long encirclement and containment policy that has – so far – failed to return on Washington’s immense investments in it. 

The first indicator was the new US administration of President Joe Biden continuing without even the slightest deviation Trump-era policy regarding the targeting and banning of Chinese companies. 

German state media – Deutsche Welle – in an article titled, “US designates Huawei, four other Chinese tech firms national security threats,” would note: 

The US has labeled five Chinese tech companies, including Huawei, as national security risks. President Joe Biden may be continuing his predcessor’s hardline stance against China’s growing technological dominance.

Evidence justifying US claims of Chinese companies presenting a national security risk to the US has never been produced – and it is clear that these claims are meant to justify what is otherwise merely America’s inability to compete with rising Chinese companies. Because, in addition to banning Chinese companies from doing business in the US – the US has sought to pressure nations around the globe to similarly deny market access to China. 

This is an ongoing bid to secure US market shares through threats and intimation rather than through innovation and competitive business strategies.  

Why two apparently “opposite” political candidates like Trump and Biden have indistinguishable foreign policies is easy to explain when considering these policies are generated and promoted by unelected corporate interests who influence US foreign policy regardless of who sits in either the White House or Congress. These are the very interests who see their market shares and the associated power and influence that comes from them under threat by rising Chinese competitors. 

Another indicator was US Secretary of State Anthony Bliken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s “tour” of the Indo-Pacific, including stops in South Korea and Japan. 

Foreign Policy magazine in an article titled, “Blinken and Austin in Japan to Bolster Asian Allies,” would claim: 

The Biden administration wants to prod Japan more on defense and resolve tensions between Tokyo and Seoul.

The article would cite an op-ed by Blinken and Austin in the Washington Post claiming: 

“Our combined power makes us stronger when we must push back against China’s aggression and threats,” Blinken and Austin wrote in a joint Washington Post op-ed, citing human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Tibet, and China’s pushback on freedoms in Taiwan and Hong Kong. “If we don’t act decisively and lead, Beijing will.”

The deeply flawed notion that the US should “lead” in Asia rather than China – a nation actually residing in the region – is at the root of US-Chinese tensions – tensions driven entirely by Washington’s unreasonable pursuit of unwarranted influence in – even primacy over the Indo-Pacific Region. 

Foreign Policy would also note: 

…there is growing concern about how to nudge a politically wary Japan to boost its missile defenses, while hardening the U.S. presence that’s increasingly vulnerable to improving Chinese missiles.

And that: 

Japan already has Aegis-class destroyers equipped with SM-3 missiles offshore, which the United States helped develop, and is a co-producer in the F-35 program. But last June, Tokyo canceled delivery of the U.S. Aegis Ashore missile system, a shore-based missile-defense system, pushing instead to develop a domestically produced solution. That’s another area where the Pentagon may press the Japanese.

SM-3 missiles used on Aegis-class destroyers as well as with Aegis Ashore systems are manufactured by Raytheon – an arms manufacturer Lloyd Austin sat on the board of directors of until being brought in as Biden’s Secretary of Defense. 

In essence, a former Raytheon director will be selling missiles for Raytheon in his official capacity as Secretary of Defense – and based on the supposed threat of China – the largest economy and most populous nation in the region – “leading” rather than the US. 

To paper over the corruption at the very core of US foreign policy – the US pursues a propaganda war against China – citing manufactured and patently false claims of “repression” and “abuse” everywhere from Hong Kong and Taiwan to Xinjiang and Tibet. 

A 2019 US State Department strategy paper titles, “A Free and Open Indo-Pacific: Advancing a Shared Vision,” would repeat these false claims, stating: 

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) practices repression at home and abroad. Beijing is intolerant of dissent, aggressively controls media and civil society, and brutally suppresses ethnic and religious minorities. Such practices, which Beijing exports to other countries through its political and economic influence, undermine the conditions that have promoted stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific for decades.

It is difficult to understand what “stability” and “prosperity” the US is referring to. 

It is amid China’s rise that the region enjoys unprecedented levels of both as well as accelerated development through projects built in cooperation with China – and all in stark contrast to the decades of war triggered by US interventions on the Korean Peninsula and all across Southeast Asia as part of its Vietnam War and adjacent military operations. 

These were conflicts that have left the region permanently scarred and in several instances – such as the residual impact of chemical weapons used in Vietnam or unexploded ordnance dropped by the US over nations like Laos – are still disfiguring and killing people to this day. 

Underneath this thin and peeling layer of US propaganda lies the truth of waning American primacy around the globe and the fundamental lack of interest by Washington and Wall Street to adjust US foreign policy toward a cooperative and constructive role among the nations of the world rather than unobtainable aspirations to dominate over all other nations. 

Brian Berletic is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.  

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ASEAN ASIA Intelwars Myanmar

Myanmar: Hidden Opposition Violence

March 19, 2021 (Brian Berletic – NEO) – As is common with US-backed color revolutions around the globe, the Western media will attempt to cover up opposition violence for as long as possible until shifting the narrative toward a “reluctant civil war” in which opposition groups were “given no choice” but to take up arms. 

Of course, in every example – from Libya and Syria to Yemen and Ukraine – violence was part of US-backed political subversion from the beginning. 

This is no different in the Southeast Asian state of Myanmar where US-backed protesters are in the streets fighting with Myanmar’s police and military. 

The “Activists Say” School of Journalism

The Western media is once again relying on the “activists say” method of reporting – absolving themselves from actual, objective and factual journalism and instead reporting on the conflict from the point of view of Western-backed opposition groups who have every motivation to depict themselves as victims and Myanmar’s new government as being brutal and repressive. 

Reports are based almost entirely on information from local media funded by the US government through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – outlets like The Irrawaddy, Mizzama, DVB (Democratic Voice of Burma), as well as “monitoring groups” like the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).  

A glance at any Western media report will include at least one of these sources. 

Far from journalists or actual monitoring groups – these are components of the opposition who have every motivation to relay a narrative that serves to advance their own political agenda rather than  reporting the truth. 

Similar “activists say” reporting was used by the West for years during the Syrian conflict with the Western media attempting to cover up opposition violence up to and including junctures where militants began operating tanks, artillery, and anti-tank missiles. 

Crumbling Facade

As in Syria and Ukraine – where Western attempts to cover up violence and brutality among the opposition eventually gave way to the fact that both opposition groups were violent extremists – the truth about violence used by protesters in Myanmar is also beginning to emerge. 

An article from the Bangkok Post titled, “KNU vows protection for Karen protesting Myanmar coup,” would admit that the Karen National Union – an armed group who has waged a bloody insurrection against Myanmar’s central government for decades – has vowed to “protect” anti-government protesters. 

Images of heavily armed militants travelling in convoys allegedly on their way to protest sites were circulating in media across Asia – but these reports are still being deliberately omitted from Western media coverage.  

Similar scenes had played out in Libya and Syria in 2011 – with the public’s confusion and genuine belief that the Libyan and Syrian governments were brutalizing “peaceful protesters” owed wholly to the Western media’s deliberately misleading coverage.

US-funded fronts providing misinformation to the Western media, and the Western media’s reports themselves are being used to pressure the United Nations and the governments of countries around the globe to  in turn put pressure on Myanmar and restore the US client regime of Aung San Suu Kyi to power. 

Efforts by Myanmar’s new government to tell its side of the story have been hampered by US-based social media companies that have shut down official accounts of Myanmar’s military and government, as well as Myanmar state media services – leaving literally only opposition media’s accounts for the global public to read. 

AFP in its article, “Facebook shuts down Myanmar army ‘True News’ page,” would claim:

A Facebook page run by the Myanmar junta’s “True News” information service was kicked off the platform Sunday after the tech giant accused it of inciting violence.

Revealing is Facebook’s inaction toward opposition groups, including the KNU, who are clearly armed and engaging in violence, and using the US-based social media giant to coordinate their activities within the country and to spread misinformation abroad.

Carefully Manipulated Misinformation 

Carefully edited videos show only the moment security forces respond, with no context provided as to why Myanmar’s police and military are using force. A similar tactic is being used by US-backed protesters in neighboring Thailand – however the government and alternative media in Thailand have done a slightly better job showing the other side of the story – mainly to the Thai public and is likely one of several factors behind the protests finally fading there. 

In the days, weeks, and months to come – if Myanmar’s government cannot manage this crisis and it continues to grow – the Western media will find it increasingly difficult to ignore the armed, violent nature of the opposition – an opposition – supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi – the Western media itself had noted were violently storming Rohingya communities in past years, killing locals and burning homes and businesses to the ground. 

It is very unlikely that these same excessively violent opposition groups suddenly adopted peaceful protesting tactics since then – and even pictures in the media show them wearing body armor, holding shields, and in some cases advancing on the position of police and soldiers with clubs and metal rods – an act that would provoke violence from security forces anywhere in the world. 

Evidence has already emerged that the opposition depicted as “peaceful protesters” by the West are using violence and further evidence will eventually emerge of deadly violence that is prompting an escalation across the country. 

With reports of militant groups already mobilizing amid the protests – armed clashes are inevitable – and likely are already taking place. But – just as in Libya and Syria – the Western media will only report one side of the conflict for as long as possible – and alternative media, including state media from non-Western nations appear to have no presence in Myanmar and are instead – unfortunately – merely repeating Western reports – reports these alternative news sources should know better than to trust. 

US-backed regime change succeeding anywhere, emboldens it everywhere. 

If more voices are not raised in regards to Myanmar, demanding both sides of the story be told – the nation risks falling victim to the same chaos that consumed nations targeted by the US elsewhere – with the possibility of the violence and instability crossing over the border into Thailand and beyond. 

A destabilized Southeast Asia is the ultimate goal of Washington. A destabilized Southeast Asia denies China access to stable and prosperous political, economic, and military partners along its peripheries. If out of the chaos the US can create viable client regimes – the region can even be turned against China. 

Brian Berletic is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.  

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ASIA China color revolutions HongKong Intelwars

Angelo Giuliano: "National Security Law is the best thing that happened to Hong Kong!"

March 11, 2021 (Jingjing Li – YouTube) – [Jingjing Yi chats] with Angelo who is a Swiss Italian that had been living in both Hong Kong and Chinese mainland for a long time. 

He witnessed the whole social unrest, and he has been very vocal exposing violent protestors’ behaviors during the social unrest in Hong Kong. Some people even exposed his little son’s photo and identity to threaten him to be silent. But he never stopped. He shared with [Jingjing] what he witnessed, what he thinks about the social changes in Hong Kong, and the National Security Law.

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ASIA China FRANCE Intelwars

France Joins America’s South China Sea Adventurism

March 6, 2021 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – France has recently sent one of its nuclear attack submarines over 10,000 kilometers to the South China Sea for a “patrol.” It is the latest indicator of how strained the underlying credibility is of US foreign policy regarding the South China Sea and its growing conflict with Beijing. 

While Washington frames its involvement in the region as “championing” for claimants in the South China Sea, it is recruiting allies further and further flung from its actual waters and appears to merely be using the confrontation to undermine Beijing, not support other nations in the region. 

France24 in an article titled, “France wades into the South China Sea with a nuclear attack submarine,” would claim: 

The week in France kicked off with a Twitter thread by Defence Minister Florence Parly revealing that French nuclear attack submarine SNA Emeraude was among two navy ships that recently conducted a patrol through the South China Sea.

“This extraordinary patrol has just completed a passage in the South China Sea. A striking proof of our French Navy’s capacity to deploy far away and for a long time together with our Australian, American and Japanese strategic partners,” she tweeted along with a picture of the two vessels at sea.

The mention of Australia, America and Japan is clearly a reference to American efforts to create a united front against China in the Indo-Pacific region. The omission of India, one of the supposed “Quad Alliance” members, should not go unnoticed. Even though it is mentioned elsewhere in the article, it is done as an afterthought.  

France is the second European nation to sign up for Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy, following the UK which has pledged to send a carrier strike group to the region later this year. 

The UK Defence Journal in an article titled, “British Carrier Strike Group heading to Pacific this year,” would note that the UK’s latest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, would also become involved in the South China Sea dispute along with what the journal reported as: 

NATO’s most sophisticated destroyers — the Royal Navy’s Type 45s HMS Diamond and HMS Defender and US Navy Arleigh Burke-class USS The Sullivans as well as frigates HMS Northumberland and HMS Kent from the UK.  

It wouldn’t take much imagination to predict the reactions in the West if China, Russia and Iran created a “strike group” and sailed it thousands of miles around the globe to menace the shores of Western nations, yet the provocative and revealing nature of Washington’s policies and the participation of nations in its Indo-Pacific strategy being drawn from further and further away from the actual region is treated as entirely normal, even necessary by the Western media. 

The inclusion of the French and British in Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy is necessary because the actual nations in the region, specifically in Southeast Asia, have little interest in provoking China or turning relatively common maritime disputes into a regional or international crisis. 

The US, by attempting to do just that, is actually endangering peace, prosperity and stability in the region, despite posing as the underwriter of all three and on behalf of the very nations refusing to join its provocative naval exercises. Nations in the actual region refuse to join US military activities there specifically because they are seen as counterproductive and a needless, even dangerous escalation. 

Creating Conflict, Not Resolving It 

The US, Australia, France and the UK have contributed to the most destructive conflicts of the 21st century including the 2001 invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, the 2011-onward wars in Libya, Syria and Yemen, and numerous regime change campaigns around the globe. 

France in particular also has its military deployed across the continent of Africa, including in several of its former colonies. 

The notion that France, alongside its other partners in carrying out military aggression worldwide, is becoming involved in the Indo-Pacific to confront aggression and expansionism rather than to participate in it itself, is dubious at best. 

The France24 article would also note that: 

In this increasingly tense maritime geopolitical context, France wants to restate that it has its own interests to look out for in the region. In 2019, the French defence ministry released a policy report, “France and Security in the Indo-Pacific” recalling that around 1.5 million French nationals live between Djibouti in the Horn of Africa and the overseas territory of French Polynesia. This means that Paris views its Indo-Pacific zone as stretching from the Gulf of Aden to beyond Australia.

In other words, Paris’ mission to the Indo-Pacific is a continuation of its colonial injustices in the region in past centuries, pursuing everything and openly for itself and its own sense of hegemony, that it, London and Washington are accusing Beijing of. 

The West’s failing fortunes across Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia will not benefit from their collective economies and armed forces being stretched further still to confront an Asian nation in Asia, and one that is poised to surpass them all economically and militarily in short order. 

For Beijing’s part, it has successfully reached this point through careful and patient planning, strategy and diplomacy. It will be very unlikely that Beijing will find itself drawn into a conflict with the West and will instead continue building ties within the region, particularly with Southeast Asia, creating its own regional order, and one built on economic cooperation rather than military confrontation, a process already well under way and why Washington feels the need to recruit Western European nations for its “Indo-Pacific” strategy in the first place. 

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

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ASEAN ASIA Intelwars Myanmar

The Western Propaganda War on Myanmar

March 1, 2021 (Brian Berletic – LD) – In this video I discuss the propaganda war being waged by the Western media on Myanmar – how much of the media cited is funded by the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). 

I also describe how even media in Thailand is heavily influenced by Western propaganda – repeating conspiracy theories spun by “institutes” funded by Western weapons manufacturers trying to implicate China as being behind the new government – while ignoring documented evidence of US government support for opposition groups opposed to the new government. 

References: 

Thai PBS – Myanmar Journal: Local media defy orders to not use terms “military coup” or “military government”:
https://www.thaipbsworld.com/myanmar-journal-the-people-of-myanmar-have-bigger-things-to-worry-about/
The Strategist (The Australian Strategic Policy Institute) – What’s on the clandestine nightly flights between Myanmar and China?:
https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/whats-on-the-clandestine-nightly-flights-between-myanmar-and-china/
US National Endowment for Democracy – Burma (2020):
https://www.ned.org/region/asia/burma-2020/
The Grayzone – Reuters, BBC, and Bellingcat participated in covert UK Foreign Office-funded programs to “weaken Russia,” leaked docs reveal:
https://thegrayzone.com/2021/02/20/reuters-bbc-uk-foreign-office-russian-media/

Brian Berletic, formally known under the pen name “Tony Cartalucci” is a geopolitical researcher, writer, and video producer (YouTube here and BitChute here) based in Bangkok, Thailand. He is a regular contributor to New Eastern Outlook and more recently, 21st Century Wire. You can support his work via Patreon here. 
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ASIA China Intelwars

The Significance of China Surpassing US as EU’s Top Trade Partner

February 25, 2021 (Brian Berletic – NEO) – Over the course of last year, China surpassed the United States as the European Union’s top trade partner. It was significant news and noted as such across Chinese media. 

But in the West, this news was somewhat muted. 

One of the few articles featuring this news comes from Politico titled, “China topples US as EU’s top trade partner over 2020,” and notes that: 

In 2020, exports of EU goods to China increased by 2.2 percent and imports went up 5.6 percent, while EU trade with the rest of the world dramatically dropped (down 9.4 percent in term of exports, and down 11.6 percent in terms imports compared with 2019). The pandemic severely hit transatlantic trade, with exports of European goods to the U.S. falling by 8.2 percent year-on-year. Imports fell 13.2 percent.

As a result, the U.S. is no longer the bloc’s top commercial partner and has been replaced by China. EU exports to China in 2020 amounted to €202.5 billion while imports reached €383.5 billion.

Not only had China surpassed the US as the EU’s top trading partner, it did so with a net surplus with Europe. 

While the article attempts to blame the COVID-19 crisis for the development – and while the US and China may, over the course of the next few years, exchange places as the EU’s top trade partner, China’s growing trade with Europe and the fact that it is on par with, and at times surpassing that of the United States – is just one of many metrics indicating the inevitability of China’s rise as the world’s largest and most powerful economy. 

America’s “Solution” to a Non-Problem 

Washington and Wall Street’s answer to China’s growing economic clout has been a multifaceted strategy of encirclement and  containment involving an ongoing trade war, sanctions, propaganda, and political subversion both within China in places like Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet, as well as along China’s peripheries especially in Southeast Asia where the US is backing protests seeking to oust Beijing-friendly governments and replace them with Western-leaning client regimes. Thailand and now Myanmar both face such protests. 

The US also appears significantly invested in building up its military capabilities versus China and is attempting to place those capabilities as close to China as possible – with thousands of US troops already stationed in Japan and South Korea and a frequent US military presence both in the South China Sea and in the Strait of Taiwan. 

All of this is predicated on what US policy papers themselves admit is Washington’s desire to maintain and expand American “primacy” in the Indo-Pacific region. Iterations of this objective and the prerequisite of encircling and containing China have been expressed since as early as the Vietnam War in the leaked “Pentagon Papers.” 

The declassified “US Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific,” posted in the US White House’s “Trump archives” would begin by listing as its primary strategic challenge: 

How to maintain US strategic primacy in the Indo-Pacific region and promote a liberal economic order while preventing China from establishing new, illiberal spheres of influence…

Never once is it explained by US policymakers, or asked by the Western media, why the US believes China – a nation with many times the population of the US, with access to abundant resources, and with a massive, well-developed industrial and technological foundation – should not naturally ascend as the world’s largest and most powerful economy. 

A nation with more people, as many or more resources, and well-developed infrastructure will inevitably have a larger economy. 

Policy attempting to stop this from happening requires the use of force, the artificial inhibition of China’s economy, and the necessity for confrontation and hostility across every imaginable sphere of interaction between China, the US, and the nations of the world Washington seeks to isolate China from. 

It is a dangerous and irrational policy attempting to “solve” something that in reality is not a genuine problem. It is also a policy that is demonstratably not working. 

Blowback 

Attempts to pressure allies and adversaries alike to cut off Chinese companies from their respective markets has not been effective – especially considering the EU itself trading more with China in 2020 than with the US.

Attempts to deny Chinese companies like telecommunication giant Huawei and commercial aircraft manufacturer COMAC access to international markets has been achieved with limited success. Attempts to block companies around the world from selling components to Huawei and COMAC has also seen a limited impact. 

The short-term impact of these policies has indeed set Chinese companies back. But companies like Huawei and COMAC are not only continuing forward, they are creating more resilient business-models and logistical chains (including an increased emphasis on self-sufficiency and vertical integration) that will in the long-term not only make these companies impervious to Washington’s economic warfare – but allow them to surpass their Western counterparts nonetheless.

China’s domestic markets alone are – as described by Chinese President Xi Jinping – “a sea, not a pond.” “Storms can overturn a pond, but never a sea.”

Companies like Huawei and COMAC can continue developing and growing within China in the short-term – and because of the US’ style of economic warfare – Beijing can easily justify blocking US corporations from accessing these domestic markets. 

A company like COMAC, building commercial aircraft just for China’s massive domestic airline industry alone – would enable it to scale up to a size where it could eventually compete globally with the West’s current duopoly of Boeing and Airbus. 

And throughout this entire process, the US and the nations it convinces to join its campaign of encirclement and containment of China – will receive nothing from the rise of companies like Huawei and COMAC where, previously, Western companies had profited from selling components to both companies. 

China will inevitably surpass the United States economically. In many ways it already has. Current US policy is not going to prevent this from happening and only succeeds in guaranteeing that as China rises, no enterprise in the US will be allowed to rise with it. 

When the day comes that the US finds itself looking at a world where China – not the US – is the largest most powerful economy and thus the most powerful nation on Earth – the US will still need to find amongst the shattered remnants of its unipolar “international order” a constructive role within this new multipolar world.

Brian Berletic is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.   

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ASIA China Intelwars mass media propaganda

China Ousts the BBC Based on UK’s Own Media Standards

February 17, 2021 (Brian Berletic – NEO) – In a move that was entirely predictable after the UK’s Office of Communications (Ofcom) banned China’s CGTN from operating in the UK, China has reciprocated by banning BBC World News from broadcasting in China. 

The BBC in its own article titled, “China bans BBC World News from broadcasting,” would claim:

China has banned BBC World News from broadcasting in the country, its television and radio regulator announced on Thursday.

China has criticised the BBC for its reporting on coronavirus and the persecution of ethnic minority Uighurs.

Without any sense of irony – and following the UK’s own banning of CGTN –  UK’s foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, claimed the BBC’s banning was an “unacceptable curtailing of media freedom.” 

Part of China’s criticism, explained in a CGTN article titled, “China pulls BBC World News off air for serious content violation,” was that the BBC: 

…seriously violated regulations on radio and television management and on overseas satellite television channel management in its China-related reports, which went against the requirements that news reporting must be true and impartial, and undermined China’s national interests and ethnic solidarity.

The BBC’s official statement in response to China’s recent banning of the British media corporation would claim: 

The BBC is the world’s most trusted international news broadcaster and reports on stories from around the world fairly, impartially and without fear or favour. 

Yet, China’s criticism of the BBC is far from a politically-motivated tit-for-tat from Beijing. It echoes complaints against the BBC from within the UK itself – and complaints that span at least two decades. 
The BBC is Untrustworthy – Says the UK Itself
A 2003 Guardian article titled, “Study deals a blow to claims of anti-war bias in BBC news,” would reveal the BBC’s leading role in promoting the now verified lies that led to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq – a war that constitutes one of the worst crimes against humanity of the 21st century. 

A Cardiff University study showed that the BBC “displayed the most “pro-war” agenda of any broadcaster.” 
More recently, a November 2020 article from The National titled, “BBC: Ofcom report shows corporation’s impartiality score at record low,” would admit: 
Fewer people believe the BBC to be an impartial broadcaster than ever before, with the corporation’s news output falling below Sky, ITV/STV, Channel 5, and Channel 4 in the latest Ofcom report.

The results make the BBC the lowest-ranked channel in the UK, with just five in 10 Scots believing it succeeds in “providing impartial news and information to help people understand and engage with the world around them”.

Trust in the BBC is slightly higher in the other UK nations, with six in 10 people in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland saying the BBC succeeds in that task.
Thus, the UK’s own Ofcom fully refutes the BBC’s claims of being “trustworthy,” “impartial,” or “fair.”
The BBC’s Long History of Undermining China
Those familiar with the BBC’s coverage of events unfolding within China are well aware of just how untrustworthy, partial, and unfair its coverage has been. 
Whether it is reporting grisly terrorism in China’s western region of Xinjiang one year, then omitting mention of it to portray Chinese security operations in response to it as “oppressive,” or omitting any mention at all of the true historical context of Hong Kong’s “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement and Western interference deliberately organizing unrest in Hong Kong’s streets – the BBC operates more like an instrument of foreign policy somewhere between soft and hard power and even bordering the realm of an intelligence agency, than anything journalistic. 
The BBC performs a similar role everywhere it operates – begging the question as to how long it will be until other nations start following China’s example and begin expelling the BBC from within their information space as well. 
Aside from the “international norm” China is setting an example for, targeted nations could use the UK’s own Ofcom and its standards to determine the BBC as partial, unfair, politically-motivated, and acting inappropriately thus warranting expulsion. 
This is not simply the silencing of a foreign state-funded and directed media organization, it is the expulsion of one of the worst propaganda operations of its kind – if not the worst. 

Far from mere tit-for-tat – critics of China’s CGTN have yet to cite any examples of abuse that remotely matches that of the BBC over the past two decades. The BBC has directly abetted Western wars of aggression that have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the ruining of the lives of tens of millions. 
The BBC helped promote the wars of aggression against Libya and Syria in 2011 – the ongoing war in Yemen – and US-engineered regime change operations in places like Ukraine, Hong Kong, Thailand, and now Myanmar. 
No nation would tolerate another nation’s military conducting information warfare openly within their borders. 
The BBC all but does this under the guise of civilian journalism. 
The trappings of civilian journalism should not be a deterrence from effectively dealing with this form of foreign interference. Instead, these trappings should be carefully peeled away before dealing effectively with the BBC itself, using mechanisms nations like Russia and China have used to retake and/or protect their respective information spaces – and even mechanisms the UK itself uses in an attempt to portray a well-regulated and healthy media within their borders.
Brian Berletic is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”. 
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ASIA color revolutions Intelwars Thailand

The Danger of Political "Medics"

February 15, 2021 (Brian Berletic – LD) – A common feature of US-backed regime change is the creation and use of “medical” organizations that augment violent protesters and use their uniforms, vehicles, and facilities as a form of cover for subversion and sedition. 

This is of course a breach of the principle of medical neutrality and a crime under the Geneva Conventions. 

In the video above, I introduce the Thai-based “Doctors and Nurse Associate” which claims to be  a medical volunteer organization and is frequently spotted at US-backed anti-government protests in Thailand. One of their medics was allegedly chased down, subdued, and arrested by Thai police. 

A visit to their social media accounts reveals a very overt political agenda – often retweeting US government funded-fronts like iLaw, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), Prachatai, as well as fake human rights groups like Human Rights Watch.

They are using their work as medics as a means to both promote anti-government protests in Thailand, and as a means to augment and provide cover for anti-government activities. 

This should be particularly troubling for those who remember the use and abuse of medical uniforms during other US-backed regime change operations including recently in Hong Kong and during the proxy war in Syria where the notorious “White Helmets” were all but Al Qaeda terrorists dressed as medics and rescue workers and carrying out war propaganda. 

Brian Berletic, formally known under the pen name “Tony Cartalucci” is a geopolitical researcher, writer, and video producer (YouTube here and BitChute here) based in Bangkok, Thailand. He is a regular contributor to New Eastern Outlook and more recently, 21st Century Wire. You can support his work via Patreon here. 

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ASEAN ASIA Intelwars Myanmar

Myanmar Crisis Explained…

February 2, 2021 (Brian Berletic – LD) – Myanmar’s military has seized power, detained Aung San Suu Kyi and has begun rounding up members of her National League for Democracy political party. 

I explain how the US has spent decades building ASSK’s political network and installing her into power and how US-backed groups – including those in Thailand – are already mobilizing to undermine not only Myanmar’s political stability – but also that of the entire region.

For a much more in-depth explanation, please view the video below. 

I explain why the US had been placing pressure on Aung San Suu Kyi in recent years and why the US is still going to support her and the vast network the US built up in Myanmar to propel her into power regardless. 

References: 

US National Endowment for Democracy – Burma (2019):
https://www.ned.org/region/asia/burma-2019/

US National Endowment for Democracy – The 2012 Democracy Award: Award for Aung San Suu Kyi: 

https://youtu.be/UTuz4UGwl38

The White House – Statement by White House Spokesperson Jen Psaki on Burma: 

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/01/31/statement-by-white-house-spokesperson-jen-psaki-on-burma/#:~:text=The%20United%20States%20is%20alarmed,other%20civilian%20officials%20in%20Burma.

LD – Myanmar (Burma) “Pro-Democracy” Movement a Creation of Wall Street & London:

https://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/11/burmese-pro-democracy-movement-creation.html

LD – The Fruits of Globalization: Regression, Destitution, Domination: 

https://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2011/12/fruits-of-globalization-regression.html

LD – Myanmar: Trading in the Devil You Know…: 

https://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2015/12/myanmar-trading-in-devil-you-know.html

LD – Militants Threaten China’s OBOR Initiative in Myanmar: 

https://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2018/07/militants-threaten-chinas-obor.html

LD – How the US Took Over Myanmar’s Ministry of Information: 

https://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2016/08/how-us-took-over-myanmars-ministry-of.html

LD – “Pro-Democracy” Groups Behind Myanmar Refugee Attacks:  https://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2012/10/pro-democracy-groups-behind-myanmar.html

Brian Berletic, formally known under the pen name “Tony Cartalucci” is a geopolitical researcher, writer, and video producer (YouTube here and BitChute here) based in Bangkok, Thailand. He is a regular contributor to New Eastern Outlook and more recently, 21st Century Wire. You can support his work via Patreon here. 

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ASIA China color revolutions Intelwars Thailand

Thai Protests Aimed at Thai-Chinese Relations

January 29, 2021 (Brian Berletic – NEO) – Thailand has for months faced anti-government protests. While portrayed by the Western media as organic, self-organized, and “pro-democratic,” US government-funding and the protest leaders themselves openly aligning with US-funded opposition groups in Hong Kong and Taiwan have revealed the ongoing unrest as aimed at China.

The US seeks to complicate Thai-Chinese relations and either replace the current government with one willing to pivot the nation toward Washington, or sufficiently destabilize the nation and deprive China of a constructive regional partner. 

Thailand Today is not the Thailand of Cold War Past 

Despite persistent Cold War rhetoric about Thailand’s “major non-NATO ally” status with the US – Thailand today has shifted (with much of the world) eastward with its major economic, political, and even military ties now residing squarely in Asia. 

Today’s Thailand counts China as its largest trading partner with 12.29% of its exports going to China versus 10.75% to the US. The rest of Thailand’s major export partners all reside in Asia. 

20.16% of Thailand’s imports come from China versus 5.82% from the US. Again – the vast majority of Thailand’s other major import partners reside in Asia. 

China is also Thailand’s largest foreign investor providing over 13 times more direct foreign investment than the United States. 

Thailand’s tourism industry has expanded drastically owed to the huge influx of visitors from China pre-COVID-19. In fact, annually, more tourists arrive from China in Thailand than from all Western nations combined. 

There are also major infrastructure projects China and Thailand are currently involved in including the rollout of Thailand’s 5G networks and a high-speed railway that will ultimately connect Thailand to China via Laos. The completion of this project will allow the movement of people and goods more directly to and from China not only into Laos and Thailand but into the rest of Southeast Asia and will fuel further growth for the region. 

Then there are Thailand and China’s military relationship. Thailand has begun replacing its aging US military hardware with newer Chinese defense systems ranging from main battle tanks and armored personnel carriers to naval vessels including Thailand’s first modern diesel electric submarines. There are also joint-weapon programs including the DTI-1 guided missile system. 

US-Funded Destabilization Targets Thai-Chinese Relations 

Considering these economic, financial, and military ties there is little mystery as to why Washington would seek to reverse them. 

Lacking any means to offer more attractive economic, financial, or military ties – the US has opted to utilize the tools of “soft power” instead – in other words – the tools of political interference up to and including regime change. 

The protests themselves are being organized by Thailand’s billionaire-led opposition including exiled ex-prime minister now fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra and Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit. Core organizations helping drive the protests are funded by the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – an organization created by the US government, funded annually by the US Congress and overseen by both Congress and the US State Department. 

These US-funded organizations provide the protests its key leaders, legal services, support in the media, and have even organized petitions for the rewriting of Thailand’s entire constitution. 

And while they began as anti-government – they have quickly revealed their ties to Washington’s wider anti-Chinese policies. Thanathorn himself along with core protest leaders have actually travelled to Hong Kong to meet with US-funded opposition leaders there. 

Thanathorn – who at the time was a member of parliament – prompted an official protest from Beijing regarding his relationship with Hong Kong opposition leader Joshua Wong. An October 2019 article in the Bangkok Post titled, “Chinese embassy condemns Thai politician’s meeting with Hong Kong activist,” noted (emphasis added): 

“A Thai politician has contacted the group calling for Hong Kong’s independence from China, showing a sign of support for the group. This action is extremely wrong and lacks responsibility. China hopes that the relevant individual can be made aware of facts regarding Hong Kong’s problem, be cautious and do what will benefit the relationship between China and Thailand,’’ the spokesman said.

The criticism came after pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong recently posted on social media a photograph of himself and Future Forward leader Thanathorn Jungroongruangkit.

China’s rare criticism for Thailand was prompted by Thanathorn’s open support for Joshua Wong – with Thanathorn leading protests within Thailand itself modelled after Hong Kong’s unrest. Thanathorn and his opposition political party ahead of Thailand’s 2019 general elections would also propose cancelling the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway in favor of non-existent “hyperloop” technology from America – according to Bloomberg

The protests in Thailand now openly align themselves with the so-called “Milk Tea Alliance” – a united front of US-funded opposition groups aimed at undermining China’s regional rise. 

Thai protests now regularly feature chants declaring Hong Kong as “a country” and include protesters flying flags of the so-called “Milk Tea Alliance” including those of the Taiwanese independence movement, Tibetan rebels, Uyghur separatists, and the Hong Kong rioters. 

The irony is that among the many complaints made by Thai protesters is the current state of the Thai economy. Yet by attacking Thailand’s relationship with China – the nation’s largest and most important economic partner – protesters are attempting to cut economic ties that cannot be replaced and thus ensuring economic hardship brought on by the COVID-19 crisis extends long after other nations in the region recover.

The protesters’ other demand includes the resignation of the current government in the hopes of Thanathorn and his political opposition party coming to power. Thanathorn’s openly anti-Chinese policies would likewise be disastrous for the country – if for nothing else their economic implications. 

It is clear that anti-government protests not only in Thailand but across the region are being stoked by US political interference. The US and its “Milk Tea Alliance” are determined to turn the region upside down just as the US did in 2011 during the so-called “Arab Spring.” It stands to reason that nations in the region should create their own form of cooperation to defend against this interference – both in terms of physical security and across the region’s information space. 

Brian Berletic is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.  

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ASIA China Intelwars

US Targets China over Tibet

January 26, 2021 (Brian Berletic – NEO) – The US Congress has recently passed the so-called Tibetan Policy and Support Act (TPSA) – slipped into a COVID-19 relief package and a 1.4 trillion dollar government spending bill, US State Department-funded Voice of America reported in their article, “US Congress Passes Landmark Bill in Support of Tibet.” 

The article would claim: 

The U.S. Congress on Monday passed a bill that is expected to upgrade U.S. support for Tibetans in key areas, including sanctioning Chinese officials if they try to appoint the next Dalai Lama.

VOA would also report that: 

It will pave the way for the U.S. government to issue economic and visa sanctions against any Chinese officials who interfere with the succession of the Dalai Lama, and will require China to allow Washington to establish a consulate in Lhasa — the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region – before Beijing can open any more consulates in the U.S.

VOA quoted the exiled “Central Tibetan Administration” (CTA) – who commended the US move. Little was mentioned about how problematic this US support was for an exiled political movement that cannot and does not represent the actual people living inside China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.
The bill is a blatant act of US interference in China’s internal affairs – and the continuation of over half a century of such interference by the US in Tibet in particular. 
Washington’s Long History of Meddling in Tibet 
This most recent move by Washington adds to a long and sordid history of meddling in Tibet, China. 
The US State Department’s own Office of the Historian includes in its online collection a 1968 document titled, “Memorandum for the 303 Committee,” with the subject noted as, “Status Report on Tibetan Operations.”

It discusses “the CIA Tibetan program, parts of which were initiated in 1956,” which includes, “political action, propaganda, paramilitary and intelligence operations.” 
The document mentions the Dalai Lama and commitments made to him by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 
It also discusses a “nucleus of new young leaders” as well as “widespread sympathy for the Tibetan cause,” all deliberately engineered results of the US government’s deep investment in Tibetan separatism.
The document also admits to – even then – a full spectrum propaganda campaign pushing for Tibetan independence. 
It claims:

In the political action and propaganda field, Tibetan program objectives are aimed toward lessening the influence and capabilities of the Chinese regime through support, among Tibetans and among foreign nations, of the concept of an autonomous Tibet under the leadership of the Dalai Lama; toward the creation of a capability for resistance against possible political developments inside Tibet; and the containment of Chinese Communist expansion—in pursuance of U.S. policy objectives stated initially in NSC 5913/1.2 [6 lines of source text not declassified]. 

And that is precisely what the US government has been doing ever since – for decades – manifesting itself most recently in the form of the “Tibetan Policy and Support Act.” 
The US National Endowment for Democracy – created by the US government in the 1980s, funded annually by US Congress, and overseen jointly by the US Congress and the US State Department – lists at least 17 programs it is funding regarding Tibet. 
They include groups like the “International Tibet Independence Movement” and  “Students for a Free Tibet” – two organizations openly promoting separatism regarding China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. 
Other programs – like “Empowering a New Generation of Tibetan Leaders” and “Campaigning and Leadership Training” – are direct continuations of programs described in documents archived by the US State Department’s Office of the Historian, carried out by the CIA in the 1950s and 1960s. 
The fact that the US NED is now carrying out the work previously and admittedly carried out by the CIA regarding Tibet lends further credibility to claims by critics of the US government’s foreign policy like William Blum who noted that the whole purpose of the NED was to “do somewhat overtly what the CIA had been doing covertly for decades, and thus, hopefully, eliminate the stigma associated with CIA covert activities.” 
US interference in Tibet is just one part of a much wider strategy by Washington of containment, provocation, encirclement, and the undermining of China both within Chinese territory and surrounding it. 
Washington’s  propaganda campaign against China regarding its western region of Xinjiang continues, as does attempts to place pressure on China regarding its successful attempts to restore order in Hong Kong. 
Various US-sponsored color revolutions continue to brew within the borders of close allies of China – including across Southeast Asia – and in nations like Thailand in particular. “Pro-democracy” protesters in Bangkok’s streets had in recent weeks become increasingly anti-Chinese in nature – openly linking themselves to opposition groups in Hong Kong and regularly flying the separatist flags of both Tibet and Xinjiang’s Uyghur extremists. 
The US Senate had passed a resolution openly siding with the anti-government protesters in Thailand who are also backed by US NED-funded organizations – some of which make up the anti-government movement’s core leadership. 
Tying it all together is the US State Department’s meddling all along South East Asia’s Mekong River which actually originates in Tibet. VOA’s article even mentions this, stating: 

…the TPSA addresses Tibetan human rights, environmental rights, religious freedoms and the democratic Tibetan government in exile. It also calls for a regional framework to water-security issues, following years of concerns from environmental activists and neighboring countries that ambitious Chinese hydropower projects are diverting water, threatening regional ecosystems.

The scale and interwoven nature of Washington’s anti-Chinese campaign – thus – is not confined to a sole point of pressure in Tibet. Tibet is just one of many interconnected pressure points the US is using against China. As China reacts – the US and its still large and capable media network portrays this reaction as “aggression” and even “expansion” – omitting any mention of Washington’s initial and continuous provocations.  
China’s control over Tibet – a region that has been under Chinese control on-and-off for centuries – has never been as strong as it is now. Its drive to develop the region in unprecedented socioeconomic ways almost entirely ensures that the notion of an “independent” Tibet is but a fading fiction clung to in the halls of Washington and in the offices of separatist Tibetan organizations based in Washington DC.  
Washington’s insistence in continuing to chase a failed foreign policy – regardless of its massive scale -will only further undermine its credibility upon the global stage, isolate it politically and perhaps even economically as it attempts to enforce a new round of “sanctions” against China regarding Tibet, and even risks escalating the threat of conflict with China itself.  
The question remains whether Washington’s hard and soft political power can truly compete with China’s brand of international relations focused instead on economic trade, infrastructure projects, and the sale of military hardware minus the entangling political subordination required by Washington in order to do business.   
And if the answer is that Washington’s foreign policies cannot compete – what steps will it take next as its power continues to fade globally, and China’s power continues to fill the voids it leaves behind? 
Brian Berletic is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.
References: 

Voice of America – US Congress Passes Landmark Bill in Support of Tibet: 

https://www.voanews.com/east-asia-pacific/voa-news-china/us-congress-passes-landmark-bill-support-tibet

US State Department, Office of the Historian – 342. Memorandum for the 303 Committee: 

https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1964-68v30/d342

US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – Tibet (China) 2019: 

https://www.ned.org/region/asia/tibet-china-2019/

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ASIA Intelwars US

Continuity of Agenda: Trump’s was Obama’s will be Biden’s Asia Strategy

January 19, 2021 (Brian Berletic – LD) – The US has claimed to have “unclassified” US President Donald Trump’s Indo-Pacific strategy. 

I explain how it is indistinguishable from the Obama-era “Pivot to Asia” and why US foreign policy never changes no matter how is voted into office and no matter what they promise during their election campaign. 

Brian Berletic, formally known under the pen name “Tony Cartalucci” is a geopolitical researcher, writer, and video producer (YouTube here and BitChute here) based in Bangkok, Thailand. He is a regular contributor to New Eastern Outlook and more recently, 21st Century Wire. You can support his work via Patreon here. 

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ASEAN ASIA China Intelwars

Is the US Isolating China? Or Itself?

January 15, 2021 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – Washington’s predictable answer to Beijing’s ongoing efforts to uproot US-funded unrest in its Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has been more sanctions. 

The New York Times in its article, “U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Chinese Officials Over Hong Kong Crackdown,” would report: 

The United States imposed travel bans and other sanctions on 14 high-level Chinese officials over the continuing crackdown on the opposition in Hong Kong, as the police in the Chinese territory arrested more pro-democracy figures on Tuesday.

The US move demonstrates America’s unrepentant foreign policy of deliberately destabilizing a targeted nation or regions within a nation, then punishing nations for taking measures to restore order. 

Hong Kong had suffered since 2014 on-and-off, and sometimes violent protests that continued until last year. 

With the passing of Hong Kong’s strict National Security Law those involved in the protests were finally held accountable, including those working with foreign interests (especially with Washington) to foment unrest. Opposition politicians in Hong Kong’s legislation have been removed from their positions, while protest leaders including Joshua Wong have been jailed for protest-related cases. 

US Interference in China’s Internal Political Affairs 

The US move also continues to set a precedent of US interference in China’s internal political affairs.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would be quoted by Reuters as saying: 

Beijing’s unrelenting assault against Hong Kong’s democratic processes has gutted its Legislative Council, rendering the body a rubber stamp devoid of meaningful opposition.

Secretary Pompeo’s comments regarding Hong Kong’s internal political affairs, coupled with documented US interference there, is entirely at odds with both international law and norms, including the UN Charter itself which prohibits one nation from infringing on the political independence of another. 

The US by doing this, thus undermines its own self-appointed role as underwriter of what it calls a “rules-based international order.” 

The United States is also undermining the trust of nations around the globe who are left wondering what the US will do, and to what extent it will go, if it decides to interfere in their internal political affairs as well. 

Chinese officials facing travel bans and the seizure of any assets within reach of the US government serves as an example and warning to others across Eurasia. But perhaps it is not a warning about not attracting US ire, but instead, of ever being so dependent on the US in the first place so as to risk serious disruption if and when Washington turns its attention toward them in a similar manner. 

The Isolating Effect of America’s Confrontation with China

US sanctions are unlikely to have any impact on China’s domestic policy and will only spur Beijing to continue pushing out America’s unwarranted influence within its territory. It will also force China to diversify its economic activity away from not only America but also allies of the US who are likely to follow suit with sanctions and other anti-Chinese policies. A good example of this is Canada and their arrest of Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in 2018 on Washington’s behalf. 

Beyond China’s borders includes nations facing similar pressure from the US not only to bend to the interests driving US foreign policy regarding the people and resources within their respective borders but also in regards to Washington’s desire to isolate China. 

A prime example of this has been a US-led campaign to push Chinese telecom giant Huawei out of global markets. The US has placed pressure on nations around the globe to exclude Huawei in major infrastructure projects including the rollout of 5G technology. 

Nations across Southeast Asia, for example (with the exception of Vietnam) have so far ignored or otherwise sidestepped this pressure. Because of this and many other reasons, virtually every nation in Southeast Asia (and ironically, also Vietnam) have continued to suffer under US “soft-power” in an attempt to coerce regional governments to take a harder line against Beijing. The US also seeks to remove uncooperative governments in the region and replace them with ones that will cooperate in regards to isolating China. 

But rather than convince nations in the region to pivot Westward, Washington’s strategy of coercion and even regime change, instead, appears to be having the exact opposite effect. It is driving nations into deeper ties with China, with their respective neighbours in Southeast Asia and across wider Eurasia. 

In essence, the US, in its attempt to isolate China and punish all nations continuing to do business with China, the US is increasingly isolating itself instead. 

America’s Deadend Strategy 

The economic fundamentals that convince nations to choose China over the US are not being addressed seriously among US foreign policy circles. 

Because of this, America finds itself in a vicious cycle where its coercive and unwelcomed foreign policy, coupled with a lack of economic incentives to tolerate these polices, particularly in Southeast Asai, are increasingly driving away potential allies. 

America’s once credible military prowess and soft-power apparatus has dulled in recent years as well. 

In other words, the US is waving around a broken stick and has run out of carrots. China on the other hand, waves around a big stick and one not aimed at players in the region, but at America and its retreat across the Pacific. China is also enjoying an abundance of carrots which to offer potential allies. 

For all of these reasons, the US, through its own foreign policy, is isolating itself, not China and it is a trend that will only continue into the foreseeable future until the US is able to forego its position above all other nations and accept a constructive position among them instead. 

 References: 

  1. New York Times – U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Chinese Officials Over Hong Kong Crackdown (December 8, 2020)
  2. Reuters – U.S. sanctions 14 Chinese officials over HK; Beijing says it will retaliate (December 8, 2020)
Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.  
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ASEAN ASIA cambodia China Intelwars

Cambodia Demolishes US-built Naval Facility

January 6, 2021 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – For the second time, Cambodia has demolished a US-constructed naval facility at Ream Naval Base, operated by the Royal Cambodian Navy. 

The facility, built in 2017, was a relatively small boat maintenance building. 

US State Department-funded media outlet Voice of America in an article titled, “Cambodia Demolishes Second U.S.-Built Facility at Ream Naval Base,” would note: 

The Cambodian defense minister on Tuesday said that another United States-built facility at the Ream Naval Base had been demolished recently, confirming satellite images released by a think-tank early this week.

The article also noted: 

The U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh on Tuesday expressed its displeasure at the demolition of facilities it had funded at the Ream Naval Base.

“We are disappointed that Cambodian military authorities have demolished another maritime security facility funded by the United States, without notification or explanation,” said U.S. Embassy spokesperson Chad Roedemeier in an email.

US media and the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies who first broke the story have speculated that the move was made in preparations for Chinese-built facilities to take their place, though Cambodia itself has so far denied this. 

Inroads by China in Cambodia, particularly if they were military in nature, would further check US attempts to reassert itself in the Indo-Pacific region. It would also provide China a strategic location to protect the passage of vessels engaged in commerce (mainly carrying Chinese-made goods abroad and raw materials back home) especially if progress is made regarding nearby Thailand and the much-discussed Kra Canal or an alternative land bridge that would allow ships to bypass the lengthy trip around Singapore and through the Malacca Strait more than 1,000 km to the south.  

Explaining Cambodia’s Undeniable Tilt Toward Beijing 

Whether or not Cambodia replaces US facilities with those built by China, one thing cannot be denied and that’s the hard pivot from West to East Cambodia has made in recent years. 

The expanding ties between Cambodia and China have only been spurred further by coercive strategies adopted by Washington in an attempt to halt or reverse this trend. Similar pressure on Cambodia from the European Union has prompted statements from Phnom Penh openly vowing to replace any gaps in trade with further and closer ties with China. 

The simmering tensions are best illustrated by an episode in late 2019 mentioned in a Reuters article titled, “Cambodian PM says China ready to help if EU imposes sanctions,” which stated:

China will help Cambodia if the European Union (EU) withdraws special market access over its rights record, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday as he announced a 600 million yuan ($89 million) Chinese aid package for his military.

More recently, the EU has continued attaching political obligations to economic relations with Cambodia, only further encouraging greater ties between it and nearby China. 

DW in an article titled, “EU to slap sanctions on Cambodia over human rights,” would claim: 

The EU “will not stand and watch as democracy is eroded,” the bloc’s top diplomat Josep Borrel said while announcing trade sanctions on Cambodia. The Asian country has been ruled by strongman Hun Sen for 35 years.

The article cites Kem Sokha and his disbanded political party as one key issue the West is pressuring Cambodia over. But what is not mentioned is the extensive US and European support that has created and directed Kem Sokha’s opposition party over the years, constituting foreign interference in Cambodia’s internal affairs, a matter Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen addressed directly, as the article noted: 

The nation’s leader Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia since 1985, previously said that the country would “not bow its head” to EU criticism. He also said that it was more important to maintain independence and sovereignty than retaining trade privileges.

While both the US and EU have insisted this pressure is owed to “human rights concerns,” in reality the West has been funding and supporting opposition figures like Kem Sokha within Cambodia for decades in the hope of eventually ousting the current government in Phnom Penh headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and replacing it with a pro-Western regime. 

Snowballing Effect of Multipolarism 

China’s offer of economic trade, investment, military hardware and infrastructure development absent of Western-style political interference has shifted the calculus in Phnom Penh increasingly in favour of its continuous shift from West to East. 

What is working in Cambodia’s favour is the fact that China is rising economically both in the region and around the globe. At the same time, the West, who insists on adhering to its dated and coercive brand of foreign policy and international relations, is fading economically and even militarily. 

When nations like Cambodia express upon the global stage indifference to Western threats of sanctions and appear able or even willing to replace trade gaps left by Western stubbornness and coercion with greater trade with China, it sends a signal to other nations in the region and around the world that tolerating such stubbornness and coercion is no longer necessary. 

As smaller nations once fearful of Western pressure and even retaliation begin slipping out from under the shadow of Washington’s once formidable global hegemony, the process of transforming the world from a Western-dominated unipolar order to a more multipolar world will only accelerate further. 

Cambodia’s decision to knock down a rather simple structure shouldn’t have been a news item in the West, but apparently the realization of just how much the US has alienated the region may finally be beginning to sink in. 

What remains to be seen is if the US and its European allies can recognize the global tidal changes taking place and can find a constructive place within this new world to work alongside other nations rather than insisting on ruling above them all, a prospect all but entirely relegated to history.  

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

References: 

VOA – Cambodia Demolishes Second U.S.-Built Facility at Ream Naval Base:
https://www.voacambodia.com/a/cambodia-demolishes-second-us-built-facility-at-ream-naval-base-/5655162.html
Reuters – Cambodian PM says China ready to help if EU imposes sanctions:

https://br.reuters.com/article/us-cambodia-china-idUSKCN1S50N7
DW – 
EU to slap sanctions on Cambodia over human rights: 
https://www.dw.com/en/eu-to-slap-sanctions-on-cambodia-over-human-rights/a-52358123

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ASIA China Intelwars New Zealand Pacific

New Zealand’s New Foreign Minister Refuses to Join West’s China-Bashing

December 17, 2020 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – New Zealand, despite being among the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance alongside the US, Canada, the UK and Australia has resisted attempts by the Eyes’ larger members to join the ongoing and ever-expanding propaganda campaign being waged against China. 

There are several reasons for this, but the fact that China is New Zealand’s largest trade partner, is among the most important. 

New Zealand has also enjoyed a much closer relationship with China than the other “Eyes” over the last several decades. It was the first to enter into a free trade deal with China. It is home to a large and growing ethnic-Chinese population making up 5.3% of New Zealand’s population as of 2018. 

New Zealand is also the only “Eye” who has signed onto China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). 

So close are China’s and New Zealand’s ties that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had suggested the possibility of the “Five Eyes” “disconnecting” from New Zealand if its ties with China and its involvement in Beijing’s BRI posed a “security risk” to the national security of the remaining “Eyes,” New Zealand’s Stuff would report in its article, “NZ still plotting place in China’s Belt and Road.” 

New Zealand’s New Foreign Minister Putting National Interests First 

Providing a microcosm of New Zealand’s increasingly paradoxical relationship with China and its status among the “Five Eyes” was a recent news segment on Qatari state media, Al Jazeera, where Al Jazeera’s Richelle Carey needled New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta over New Zealand’s refusal to pressure China over allegations made regarding Uyghurs in Xinjiang and the crackdown on anti-government protesters in Hong Kong. 

Foreign Minister Mahuta was firm in stating that China was New Zealand’s largest trade partner and that while New Zealand has made it clear to China (and that China fully understands) how New Zealand views matters of human rights and governance, it was not an issue that should interfere with the ties between the two nations. 

Not mentioned by Al Jazeera is that many of the claims made against China are being pushed by the United States government and media organisations (including Al Jazeera) that it influences or funds and directs. Also not mentioned was the US’ history of fabricating such claims to help advance US foreign policy objectives against a targeted competitor. 

China’s security operations in Xinjiang, for example, are taking place after years of deadly terrorism which killed hundreds and at a time when thousands of Uyghur extremists are still waging war against the Syrian government in a conflict they will eventually return to China from. 

The threat in Xinjiang is serious and attempts by the West to frame China’s efforts to reduce this threat as “human rights abuses” is particularly cynical especially when both the terrorist threat inside China and the training and arming of Uyghur extremists in Syria are both being funded and organised by the West and its allies themselves. 

The same can be said of accusations of China’s supposed abuses in Hong Kong which hinge on claims that the protests were simply expressions of free speech and the aspirations for “democracy” by the people of Hong Kong. In reality, the protesters were funded and organised by the US specifically to create yet another security threat for Beijing to react to and another opportunity for the West to cite that reaction as “repression.” 

While New Zealand’s Foreign Minister will unlikely call out others in the West for these blatant provocations aimed at China, she has clearly decided she would not play part in using these provocations and China’s reactions to them as an opportunity to “bash” China. 

In this there is a hopeful sign that some in the West are slowly realising the tidal change taking place geopolitically and that the rise of China is an opportunity rather than a threat. It is also a sign of hope that some are abandoning pretending the current prevailing international order presided over by Washington, London and Brussels, the same order that brought us the Iraq war in 2003 and the destruction of a region of the earth stretching from North Africa to Afghanistan in Central Asia from 2011 onward is every much as bit the threat in reality that the West claims China is in fiction. 

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

References: 

Al Jazeera – Is New Zealand putting economic interests above human rights? | UpFront: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kDVKu-MZFE

Washington Post – Watch live: Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong testifies to U.S. lawmakers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9Modr_sVr0

US National Endowment for Democracy – Hong Kong (China): 

https://www.ned.org/region/asia/hong-kong-china-2019/

US National Endowment for Democracy – Xinjiang/East Turkestan (China): 

https://www.ned.org/region/asia/xinjiang-east-turkestan-china-2019/

Stuff (New Zealand) – NZ still plotting place in China’s Belt and Road:  https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/300036015/nz-still-plotting-place-in-chinas-belt-and-road

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ASEAN ASIA China Intelwars Thailand US

US Struggles for Relevance in Southeast Asia

December 4, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – While many around the globe are hopeful that a change at the White House means a change for US foreign policy – many of the most contentious and disruptive aspects of US foreign policy carried out over the last 4 years were simply a continuation of policy that had already been in motion for years beforehand – and are policies that are unlikely to change any time soon.

This applies especially to Washington’s desire to reassert itself in Asia and Southeast Asia specifically in its increasingly desperate bid to “contain” China. 

Lacking any sort of actual incentive for Southeast Asian nations to tilt from China toward the US and its Transatlantic partners in Europe – the US has instead invented a series of “crises” and “concerns” with the two centerpieces being “conflict” in the South China Sea and US “concerns” over nations downstream of Chinese dams built along the Mekong River. 

These downstream nations include Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. 

Just as is the case with America’s interference in the South China Sea – nations along the Mekong are constantly pressured to share Washington’s “concerns” and work toward “addressing” them by adopting frameworks developed by Washington. 

However, with the exception of Vietnam, these nations all have solid and growing relationships with China – and even Vietnam depends heavily on China economically.

Whatever issues dam construction along the Mekong River may be creating – there is more than enough incentives for all nations involved including China to resolve them bilaterally and without interference from disingenuous mediators with transparent motivations aimed at amplifying tensions, fraying ties, and inhibiting the collective rise of Asia. 

And because of this obvious fact it is no surprise that nations along the Mekong have not taken Washington’s efforts seriously. Instead, they appear to be paying them mostly lip service to buy time and avoid additional coercive measures from Washington. 

However, it is clear that Washington has already included additional coercive measures alongside its South China Sea and Mekong strategies. This includes funding opposition groups pursuing regime change to remove governments across the region who refuse to adopt US frameworks and proposals regarding these issues, and replace them with client regimes eager to cut ties with China regardless of the self-inflicted and irreversible damage it will most certainly cause. 

An advocate of US interference in Southeast Asia and in Thailand specifically is Associate Professor Thitinan Pongsudhirak of Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University. 

In  a recent op-ed he penned for Bangkok Post titled, “China-US rivalry on Mekong mainland,” he noted specifically (emphasis added): 

As a US treaty ally, Thailand stands out for its pivot to China under a military-backed regime since its military coup in 2014, but this trend could change directions if a genuinely democratic system comes into place as per the demands of the protesting youth movement. Similarly for Cambodia, if the younger generation and oppositional supporters can rise up, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s “all-in” approach to China may go on a different path. But for the foreseeable future, the Mekong mainland is likely to gravitate further into China’s orbit.

Here – Thitinan is admitting that the governments of Southeast Asia have pivoted to China and will only continue building further ties with Beijing regardless of the supposed urgency the US claims surrounds issues like the South China Sea and Mekong River. 

He also admits that the only way this will change is if “a genuinely democratic system comes into place as per the demands of the protesting youth movement.” 

Thitinan is referring to ongoing anti-government protests in Thailand who aim to overthrow the current government as well as Thailand’s traditional institutions and who have in recent months displayed increasingly extreme anti-Chinese views

What Thitinan omits is that these protests are backed by organizations funded by the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – a front whose board of directors are lined with some of the most prominent architects of US regime change projects around the globe including in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, and most recently, Hong Kong.  

And this is ultimately the only card the US has left to play – attempted regime change across Southeast Asia to either install client regimes that will cut ties with China – or create sufficient instability as to transform Asia’s collective rise into decades of internal conflict followed by a long, painful phase of reconstruction as North Africa and the Middle East has since suffered in the wake of a similar regime change campaign – the “Arab Spring” – starting in 2011. 

While many continue depicting protests and unrest from Hong Kong to Thailand as isolated, internal political disputes or even semi-connected “pro-democracy” movements – in reality they are part of a cynical, singular, and regional campaign by Washington to reassert itself vis-à-vis a rising China – with even “associate professors” advocating US foreign policy in Asia admitting the protests serve as the only vector through which US success can emerge.

For Southeast Asia, foiling US interference and preventing a potentially region-wide crisis similar to the 2011 “Arab Spring” is a matter of ensuring Asia’s continued rise in the years to come versus spending the next several years containing conflict and costly rebuilding in its aftermath. 

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”. 

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ASIA China Intelwars taiwan

Taiwan: A US Foothold Before a Chinese Tidal Wave

November 27, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – Taiwan has found itself increasingly in the middle of the growing power struggle between a waning US and a rising China. 

Taiwan is recognized by both the UN and the vast majority of the world’s nations including (officially) the United States under the One China policy – but Taiwan’s pro-independence circles have nonetheless enjoyed large amounts of financial and political support from Washington and has been a point of contention in the region and between Beijing and Washington for decades. 

The most recent example of this – reported by the Taipei Times in their article, “Two Washington-based pro-democracy NGOs to establish offices in Taipei,” – was the increased footprint of Washington’s notorious regime change front – the National Endowment for Democracy. 

The article would claim (emphasis added): 

Two Washington-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), are to establish offices in Taiwan after they were sanctioned by Beijing last year.

The two institutes, along with the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Freedom House and Human Rights Watch were sanctioned last year after speaking in support of Hong Kong democracy activists and as well as being part of China’s tit-for-tat reaction against US President Donald Trump signing the US’ Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. 

Of course the US NED was not simply “speaking in support” of Hong Kong opposition groups – but was a primary conduit through which US government funding passed to these opposition groups. 

Making the purpose behind the US NED’s expansion in Taiwan much clearer was IRI president Daniel Twining’s comments claiming (emphasis added): 

From our Taipei base, we will work with our partners to highlight Taiwan’s hard-won democratic lessons, strengthen networks of Asia’s democratic actors and build resilience against malign authoritarian influence in the region… As the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] becomes more aggressive in violating the global rules-based order, now is the time for all democracies … to invest in strengthening ties with Taiwan.

In other words, the US NED’s move in Taiwan is meant to contribute to Washington’s wider campaign of encircling and containing not only China but to fuel US-funded unrest targeting China’s closest regional allies. 

Independence movements in Taiwan have identified themselves as part of the so-called “Milk Tea Alliance” – a united front of US-funded opposition groups from across the region attempting to coerce their respective governments into a confrontational posture toward Beijing. Most recently this has included the opposition in Hong Kong and anti-government protests in Thailand. 

And while the US is clearly banking on its heavy investments in “soft power” – essentially region-wide political interference – China’s strategy focuses instead on economic ties underpinned by principles of non-interference. 

It is no surprise that the Asian region has responded positively to the latter instead of the former. 

Taiwan’s Future is Inevitable 

The US and the wider Western media have promoted narratives of an impending Chinese invasion of Taiwan. This narrative has been used to justify the sale of US weapons to Taiwan’s military including a recent arms deal worth several billion US dollars. 

The Business Insider in an article titled, “A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would not be easy, and the 400 anti-ship missiles the US plans to sell to Taiwan would make it even harder,” would note: 

Less than a week after it authorized a $1.8 billion arms sale to Taiwan, the US Department of State notified Congress on Monday of another possible Foreign Military Sale to Taiwan for $2.4 billion that includes hundreds of Harpoon anti-ship missiles and launchers.

The big sale, if approved by Congress, would give Taiwan 100 Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems (HCDS) and 400 RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II Surface-Launched Missiles, very capable all-weather weapons that can search for and take out ships as far as half-way across the Taiwan Strait.

The sale of the additional missiles would later be approved

The weapons are for a “Chinese invasion” that will likely never come and in addition to the US “soft power” networks Taiwan now serves as a base for – the US still lacks any means to confront or contain China’s influence – both in regards to Taiwan and in regards to the wider region. 

The need for a “Chinese invasion” of territory already recognized as part of China by the UN makes so little sense on so many levels. But the clearest level is economically where mainland China now stands as Taiwan’s largest trade partner and investor.  

Mainland China has been the key to Taiwan’s economic growth throughout recent years and had helped drive the easing of cross Strait tensions. 

Because of Taiwan’s economic ties with the mainland, the most recent drive by the US to re-introduce a wedge between the two has come at high cost to Taiwan’s economy. The government fulfilling Washington’s desire to restrict mainland investment and  oppose Beijing’s decisions regarding Chinese territory has cut Taiwan off from economic inflows the US – and even the wider West – are unable to compensate for. 

A look at Taiwan’s foreign investment and trade over the last two decades reveals an obvious and unavoidable trend regarding Taiwan’s near to intermediate future.  It is a trend of a shrinking Western role in Taiwan’s economy replaced by a rising mainland China – and a trend that inevitably impacts Taiwan geopolitically. 

Twenty years ago only 4% of Taiwan’s exports headed to mainland China while 18% headed to the United States. Today, 34% of Taiwan’s exports head to China versus 10% to the United States. Taiwan’s imports reflect a similar shift in economic power. Both China’s economic rise and its proximity to Taiwan means that this trend will only continue. 

US efforts to build up Taiwan’s independence movement is meant to deliberately disrupt this trend – and it is doing so not by providing Taiwan with economic alternatives but instead baiting the island into a growing political and even military standoff with the mainland and its regional allies. This is being done specifically at the expense of Taiwan’s economic ties to both.

Just like Australia and others being drawn into Washington’s anti-Chinese foreign policy – such a stance is not sustainable. As long as China can avoid provocations and conflict and continue offering the benefits of economic prosperity and peace as an alternative to Washington’s strategy of tension – patience and time will run out for Washington’s style of Indo-Pacific hegemony and the interests in the region abetting it will be displaced by those interested in a more constructive regional architecture. 

Perhaps on a more global scale a similar process can play out within the United States itself – where current circles of power pursuing this counterproductive foreign policy are displaced by those with a more constructive vision of America’s role not only in Asia but around the globe.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”. 

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ASIA China Intelwars Thailand US war on terror

US vs China: Why the US Delisted Uyghur Terrorists

November 16, 2020 (Brian Berletic – LD) – The US recently delisted a Uyghur terrorist network, but not because it is no longer active or no longer dangerous – but precisely so the US can provide more support and do so more directly.


I explain what this means for China and its allies including Thailand. Link: “US De-Lists Uyghur Terrorist Organization Aimed at China” https://journal-neo.org/2020/11/11/us-de-lists-uyghur-terrorist-organization-aimed-at-china/

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