A gaping chasm

“A great chasm has been set in place” between the collective West and Russia, a mutually unbridgeable chasm. President Vladimir Putin’s words addressed to Plenary session of the World Russian People’s Council (November 28, 2023) illustrate this chasm exceedingly well. In his speech President Putin said among others what follows:

Russia is fighting in Ukraine “not just for Russia’s freedom but for the freedom of the whole world”, against the dictatorship of one hegemon. In this struggle, Russia is blocking “the way of those who aspired to world domination and exceptionalism.” Most of the world understands it.

Russians make up a “large Russian nation, a triune of Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians.”

Russia is “faced with the daunting task of developing vast areas from the Pacific to the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea.” To this end Russia needs to preserve and increase its population, which is a “goal for the coming decades and even generations ahead. This is the future of the Russian world, the millennium-old, eternal Russia.” This task can only be executed through large families that “become the norm, a way of life for all Russia’s peoples” because the “family is not just the foundation of the state and society, it is a spiritual phenomenon, a source of morality.” This daunting demographic challenge cannot be responded to “solely with money, social benefits, allowances, privileges, or dedicated programmes” because it is a “person’s points of reference in life matter more. Love, trust, and a solid moral foundation are what the family and the birth of a child are built on.” Which is also why

though “the Church is separate from the state […] the Church cannot be separated from society or from people.” Emphasis must be put on the “importance of the participation of representatives of all traditional Russian religions in the education and upbringing of our youth, and […] in the consolidation of spiritual, moral, and family values.”

Russia is a continuity and a total of “Ancient Rus, the Tsardom of Muscovy, the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and modern Russia.” 

A great chasm, indeed. Rather than inviting and promoting immigration, the Russian leader calls on his people to “be fruitful and multiply [and] populate the earth abundantly”; rather than promoting patch-work, or single-mother families, or same-sex marriages, the Russian leader encourages the revival of the traditional multi-child family; rather than promoting secularism, the Russian president stresses the importance of religion; rather than promoting cancel culture, Vladimir Putin holds in high regard historical continuity.

Of note are Vladimir Putin’s words heralding and lauding Russia as a freedom fighter for the whole world or at least its majority i.e. the countries that do not make up, roughly, the G7 mutual admiration society. These words are reminiscent of the roles that both the Soviet Union and imperial Russia played while liberating Europe from, respectively, Hitler’s and Napoleon’s yokes. Notable is also the description of Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians as a triune large nation, words that act like a red rag to the Western bull(y).

Indeed, Russia is everything that the collective West is not, the collective West is everything that Russia is not. A deep chasm is gaping, an unbridgeable chasm, such that does not allow either of the opponents to even understand the opposing party. A civilizational rift.


The real background to the dispute between China and the USA

It is not about politics. It’s not about the eternal struggle between Chinese pseudo-communism (with the capitalist tinge) and American pseudo-capitalism (with the neo-Marxist face). It’s all about raw materials and semiconductors.

Last week, a meeting took place between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Among other things, it was agreed that contacts between the US military and the Middle Kingdom should be resumed.

It should be remembered that the military dialog was broken off following the visit of Nancy Pelosi (then Speaker of the House of Representatives) to Taiwan at the beginning of August last year. This was the first visit by such a senior US politician to Taiwan in 25 years. China protested strongly against the visit and even threatened the US with a military response. Well, Biden’s team has always behaved like a bull in a china shop when it comes to diplomacy (see the flight of US soldiers from Afghanistan and their approach to Russia).

Although a few gestures are now being made after the meeting between Xi and Biden that could indicate a de-escalation in mutual relations, the war on the semiconductor front continues. In the middle of the year, for example, China decided to restrict exports of gallium and germanium, two important raw materials for the semiconductor industry. This was in response to the American decision to deny China access to the equipment needed for chip production. Incidentally, China is the world’s leading producer of gallium and germanium. The Middle Kingdom controls no less than 98% of the supply of gallium and 68% of the supply of germanium.

In October, Joe Biden’s administration announced that the United States would shorten the list of semiconductor types that US companies are allowed to sell to China. With this move, Washington wanted to further cut off Beijing from chips, which triggered an immediate reaction in the Middle Kingdom. This time, however, China decided to strike on a different front by announcing a restriction on the export of graphite, a raw material that is essential for the production of batteries for electric vehicles, among other things. It is worth remembering that China controls 2/3 of the world’s graphite supply. This raw material is the largest component of electric car batteries by weight. Each vehicle contains an average of 50 to even 100 kg of graphite. That is about twice as much as lithium, the processing of which is also controlled by the Chinese worldwide.

Quelle: constructafrica.com

Since many of the raw materials that are indispensable for the green revolution preached by Western decision-makers are mined in Africa, China has been focusing on colonizing the Dark Continent with the help of cheap loans and direct investments since the New Silk Road initiative began in 2013. The regimes of black dictators are happy to go into debt to their Chinese friends because they don’t talk about human rights and environmental protection. Meanwhile, Americans are investing billions in AI and high-tech, which cannot function without Asian and African raw materials. They disregard the potential collapse of supply chains that has been underway since the start of this trade war and which the Chinese can exploit as a weapon.

How are you, America?

The leading media keep quiet about it, or only express it here and there in some comments by vigilant editors, that the economic situation in the U.S. is not at all as brilliant as the stock market indications (still) suggest. The yield on U.S. bonds is always climbing upward, and U.S. citizens are massively pulling their money out of the banks to invest in the government’s debt instruments. The scale of this process has reached unprecedented levels, threatening U.S. regional banks in particular with insolvency. 

Change in deposits at U.S. commercial banks since 1973. source: Apollo

At the same time, discontent is rising in American society, and not just because of what is arguably the most unpopular president in many decades, Joe Biden. How to explain the paradox that during Biden’s administration, 12 million new jobs have been created, unemployment is at 3.5%, and yet in 2023 a wave of strikes not seen in 20 years is sweeping the country? Something must be ticking not quite right in the economy and in society. 

The number of lost workdays this year is already in the millions.

We think that the global recession has already started; it is not yet becoming the central topic in the media. They are always talking about a possible “soft landing” of the economy after the current energy and inflation crisis since the recovery after the pandemic and the first wave of inflation. If you take a close look at such accumulating statements from the bright minds of television and compare them with other periods in history when economists have reassured us en masse, you can safely conclude against the tide: Recession is inevitable. 

The graph above shows that every time Wall Street Journal articles piled up about a “soft landing,” a crisis or recession came right after.

In our latest bulletin (October issue), we analyze, among other things, the state of the two of the world’s largest economies – that of the U.S. and that of China – and show other signals that may point to a world recession.

The idea of one civilization for all is inhuman and preposterous

Putin’s Valdai speech of 5th October, 2023

On 5th October, 2023, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech during a conference of the the 20th convention of the International Discussion Club held in Sochi. His words dealt with the ongoing political events and trends, without however naming names or making a reference to Ukraine. Russia’s president made a pronouncement concerning the West’s ideology and Russia’s stance on it or Russia’s response. The speech may be divided into the part criticizing the West and the part that lays down Moscow’s view of the world politics.

Here’s the anti-Western content:

The Western world, the notion that for all intents and purposes amounts to the Anglophere, in the opinion of the Russian leader and most likely of the Russian ruling elites has a track record of always seeking to dominate the globe, of always wanting to run the show by means of imposing on the other countries rules and principles that they are expected to abide by or else those rules and principles are brought to them with a bludgeon.

The West is always in need of an enemy, a foe, a rogue state because an external enemy serves the purpose of explaining to the populace the internal problems, and because an external, formidable enemy rallies the citizens of a country around their leader or leaders.

The West is run by the elites that do not pursue the interests of their nations; rather, in their self-aggrandizement they are ready to risk the welfare of their nations in an attempt to win dominance in this or other point on the globe.

The West defines an enemy as anyone – a state, country, nation, leader, political entity – who does not wish to follow the West’s dictate, who is not submissive enough, who does not acquiesce to being bossed around, who does not sign on to the idea that there is one global central power and global values to be observed. 

President Vladimir Putin then went on to expound the world view represented by the Russian authorities.

First, there is no one civilization engulfing the globe: rather, there are many civilizations, none of them better or worse than the others, and they all deserve to be recognized and respected. Consequently, there are no universal rules to be observed by all humanity, nor can there be a political concept of a global world.

Second, international problems ought not to be solved by a selected group of political dominant entities; nor should they be approached and tackled by all nations: rather, they ought to be discussed and solved by those concerned.

Third, nations should break with this idea imposed by the West of pursuing bloc politics. Nations have their own, individual, separate interests. There are no bloc interests or the so-called bloc interests boil down to being the interests of the bloc’s hegemon.

Fourth. Russia seeks no territorial expansion (that was the only direct reference – although without naming the country – in the speech to the ongoing war in Ukraine); Russia is the largest country on planet earth and for years to come will be busy developing and managing the vast swaths of land in Siberia.

Why is this war being prolonged?

You recognize this fragment, don’t you? Suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. At the outbreak of the hostilities, Ukrainians were very much aware of the proportion of the opposing forces, and so they were willing to negotiate. Such talks even began in Turkey but – lo and behold – Kiev received a command to back out. Now the hostilities are slowly nearing its second year and the number of casualties is rising. More than four hundred thousand (FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND) Ukrainians are said to have lost their life, but despite these horrible losses and despite the ten thousand being played off against the twenty thousand – to adduce the introductory parable – the war continues and there is no sign of it coming to an end. Why? Do Ukrainians really think they can beat the Russian bear? Do Ukrainians really think they can regain lost territories? Do Ukraine’s Western supporters and guardians really think Ukraine can win and regain its lost territories? Anyone in his right senses cannot believe that, especially high-ranking officials, whether in Ukraine or in the West, because they have all the data and, consequently, they know that ten thousand is fighting a losing battle against twenty thousand. If they know it – assuming we are dealing with people in their rights senses – then why is this war being prolonged? 

The Independent

The war is being prolonged for three reasons, two of which are rather familiar to the reader. One purpose in having this war go on is to weaken Russia as much as possible, to keep it engaged in a conflict, to make Russian president less and less popular among Russians and – maybe? – have the Russian people topple him down. A highly unlikely event, considering the highest approval rates that Vladimir Putin gets as compared to all the other leaders around the globe (Western leaders are credited with less than 50% of approval). The other reason is to deplete American stockpiles of arms so as to have a pretext to replenish them i.e. so that the industrial military complex can have new government lucrative commissions for the production of replacement equipment. There is yet a third important reason why the war – a proxy-war between the United States and Russia – is being prolonged. 

The Dive with Jackson Hinkle

Up to February 14, 2022, American troops had carried out military operations or – simply put – outright wars and interventions in very many places of the world, and nowhere did they encounter an enemy to be reckoned with. Whether it was Iraq or Yugoslavia, America’s opponent was significantly weaker, smaller, and usually politically isolated. It is in Ukraine that the American military are encountering an opponent that is a match. It is not only the type and quality of the advanced weaponry that the Russians use, but also the strategy and the tactics that they employ. Americans want to learn about their rival (enemy) as much as possible from the warfare. Ukraine is their laboratory, a military area where a war game is conducted, a war game for real with this precious exception that no American soldier gets killed (save for mercenaries, but that’s a different story). Americans have their advisors there on the ground, they have American mercenaries i.e. American active duty soldiers in disguise, while obliging Ukrainians provide the Pentagon with any and all intel. The war in Ukraine is a huge opportunity to study the Russian army in action. It is a huge opportunity to make Russians reveal the most secret, the most advanced of their weapons. Wars being wars, a hope arises that some of the most advanced types weapons might be intercepted. The reader might recall how the British received the whole V-2 ballistic missile that landed in marshes in occupied Poland and was retrieved, disassembled and documented by the Polish Home Army and then sent in pieces to the United Kingdom by means of a Dakota that flew from southern Italy to Poland and back.

Ukraine cannot win this war, just as ten thousand cannot prevail over twenty thousand. Nor can the collective West win it. Still, the United States can keep one of its global rivals militarily engaged (for more information, see the geopolitical ideas developed by RAND in 61 Gefira Feb 2022), study the Russian strategy and tactics and hope for intercepting as many items of Russian military technology as it is possible. That is why Ukrainians must die.

World War One and Cold War

It is amazing how similar the outcomes of World War I and the Cold War are. Indeed, how similar the military and political realities are.

Let’s simplify the picture: In World War I, it was Germany and Austria-Hungary against the West (with Russia falling out of the picture toward the end of the war). It was the German world (Germany was almost 100% ethnically German, while in the Habsburg monarchy the German element was in the minority but still dominated the whole country) against France and the Anglophere, i.e. the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.

During the Cold War it was the Soviet Union and its satellites against the West, again mainly the Anglosphere. The Soviet Union corresponded in this comparison to Germany in that it was basically a Russian state (including Russian-speaking Ukrainians and Belorussians), while the countries of the Warsaw Pact corresponded to the Austria-Hungary or Dual Monarchy.

The two political and military camps – the German dominated Europe as opposed to the West, and the Russian dominated Europe as opposed to the West – vied for dominance. The hostilities during World War One brought about the weakening of the German-dominated alliance juts as the peaceful rivalry during the times of the Cold War brought about the weakening of the Soviet or Russian dominated part of the world. Talks were brokered, the warring parties sat at the negotiating table and slowly but surely a peace deal was worked out: Germany trusted its military and political adversaries would settle the post-war relations in a chivalrous way; so did the Soviet Union with regard for the victorious Western world. What happened next?

In the case of Germany the West – especially France – inebriated with victory began to step up demands and multiply acts aimed at humiliating yesterday’s enemy; precisely the same happened in the aftermath of the Cold War: the West – especially the United States – inebriated with its victory over the Soviet Union began stepping up demands and humiliating Russia, the core of the former Soviet Union. After 1918, Germany was forced to pay enormous contribution to the victors, cede chunks of territory and generally subjugate itself to the diktat of yesterday’s enemies. After 1991, Russia as heir to the Soviet Union lost huge chunks of territory (Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States, the Caucasus and the central Asian republics) and experienced a financial and economic plunder comparable to what Germany had gone through after World War One. What was the result in both countries?

An economic crisis that played havoc with the cohesion of society and a lingering sense of being humiliated and cheated. Yes, cheated, because the winning nations went back on their promise of jointly creating a better, peaceful world and only sought dominance and exploitation. The ten or so years of the Weimar Republic and the ten or so years of the presidency of Boris Yeltsin have much in common: both states found themselves at the mercy of the winning powers, both states were immersed in economic and political crisis, and both nations felt disillusioned with democracy made by the West. The result?

The result was in either case roughly the same: in the early 1930s in Germany and in the early 2000s in Russia, a strong leader emerged and gained popular support: in either case the strong leaders succeeded in first alleviating and then eliminating the economic, social, and political crises, and in either case both strong leaders managed to slowly restore the international high standing of their respective countries. In either case, the West’s relentless drive to expand its dominance eventually entailed war.

For all the approximations, the similarities are striking, are they not?

Chinese install themselves in Switzerland

On March 10, 2020, the Cantonal Council in Lausanne announced to the commune of Maudon that a display of the Tibetan flag on public buildings was not in accordance with the policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bern. The protesting Tibetans, who had found their new home and protection from the Chinese dictatorship in Switzerland, were not allowed to manifest their freedom of expression on this day of their traditional protest (the commemoration day of the Tibetan uprising).

In the past, Chinese diplomats were like frightened or disoriented sheep running among the Russians and Americans, the bears and sheepdogs. Now the Chinese dragon has been reborn. Now they are more like sly foxes: they infiltrate Western democracies by having their diplomats rather than spies act in the field of culture, cooperation on international projects, or free trade. Beijing achieves its goals by shaping its positive image abroad.

In 2017, protesting Tibetans were arrested during Comrade Xi’s visit. The Confederates in Bern do not mind advocating cooperation with China since the 1970s. It began in 1949 when the country of banks, cheese makers and watchmakers was one of the first to recognize the newly formed People’s Republic of China. China remained grateful and signed new treaties with the country in the mountainous heart of Europe during the Cold War and again and again in the following decades. Most important was the 2013 Free Trade Treaty, which was never challenged by Brussels or Washington. While deglobalizing measures dominated the world stage under Trump shortly thereafter, such as those against TIPP and CEFTA, Bern remained loyal to Beijing profiting from globalism. Switzerland, Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, which are on the fringes of Washington’s and Brussels’ interests, are a training ground of China in Europe. The Middle Kingdom comes and buys Piraeus (Greece’s biggest port), comes where NATO bombs shattered its embassy and the main bridge in the city and rebuilds it. It opens its cultural institutes all over the West, just as Erdoğan weaves his web through Diyanet like a spider, and Western governments swallow this hard-to-digest Chinese soup in the form of forums, NGOs, scholarships, student exchanges, an overarching cooperation. Even before the pandemic, Swiss President Maurer assured of his support for the New Silk Road during his visit to Beijing, and despite the massive repression of Tibetans and Uyghurs at the time.

Professor Ralph Weber (University of Basel) examined the connections between Swiss companies and the Chinese Communist Party: Comrades from the Far East sit on the boards of many Swiss companies – at Nestle, UBS, SWISS RE.

China forced Turkey to deport the exiled Uyghurs back to China. Switzerland doesn’t care about them either, it is mercantile as far as it goes. And where there are high-tech and innovative solutions, there are also Chinese tentacles.