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The FDA is Collapsing

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Political pressure and anxiety over a fourth wave of the Coronavirus is now replacing clinical data and science. President Joe Biden’s overused talking point in stating ‘science will dictate the vaccines’ seems to be going by the wayside with the White House pressuring the Food and Drug Administration following a pre-emptive announcement to rollout the COVID-19 booster (third shot) on September 20.   

The fallout from Biden’s booster push may be responsible for a major mutiny and increasing discord within the FDA. Two of the agency’s top regulators are out as increased pressure mounts to authorize vaccine booster shots and doses for young children under the age of 12.

The two regulators resigning are Marion Gruber, director of the FDA’s Office of Vaccines Research and Review (OVRR), and OVRR Deputy Director Phil Krause. Gruber has been with the FDA for more than 30 years, and Krause has been at the agency for more than a decade. Their departure is a huge loss for the agency with key roles in addressing critical vaccine-related issues and side-effects.

It may not end here with a festering rebellion within the agency who seem to be out of lockstep with the WH and the CDC over the premature decision to anoint a drug into the veins of young children who for vast majority are not at any risk of hospitalization when contracting the virus.

These key resignations may have likely been a culmination of events with the highly conspicuous, yet much heralded FDA approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 shot on August 23rd.  With Biden, the CDC, and the media’s capricious tone on the remaining nail of hesitancy pried away to induce the unvaccinated to roll up their sleeves, the president and world leaders now have their stick to mandate vaccines for all federal government employees.

This momentum has resulted in large corporations, hospitals, the travel industry, and higher education leading the way in requiring their employees and students to be vaccinated in order to return to the workplace or school. The extension of the vaccine mandate has resulted in the momentum for vaccine passports to attend civic events, restaurants, riding public transportation, and moving about freely in the marketplace.

Not so quick.

When reviewing the FDA letters sent to Pfizer, the Biological License application was simply approving to call the COVID-19 drug with the brand name Comirnaty; and still requires nearly a dozen additional clinical studies over five years with annual grade reporting – specifically noting further analysis for the younger population. Comirnaty is not a fully approved drug; but rather an approval to manufacture the drug under a brand name and further clinical studies must take place to assess side effects of the drug over longer periods of time.  

A second EUA letter from the FDA to Pfizer simply grants the stayed Emergency Use Authorization of an experimental drug now branded as Comirnaty and now permits injection of persons aged 12 through 15 years under emergency sanction. Pfizer must also include warnings of side effects related to pericarditis and myocarditis. Let’s be clear, this experimental vaccine is not fully approved for use as prescribed and perceived in the media; and the shots should not be mandated and legally forced while under further clinical reviews.

The FDA resignations of two leaders with a combined 20 years of service in reviewing vaccine-related issues may be in large part of their unwillingness to stand behind the decision to juice up additional injections for the third time and perhaps a fourth knowing immunity wanes quite quickly after the jab and those who are fully vaccinated are now falling victim to the virus.    

A recent major study by the Mayo Clinic that reviewed thousands of PCR tests found the effectiveness of COVID-19 infections dropped in July to 42% for the Pfizer vaccine and 76% for the Moderna vaccine. The effectiveness of long-term protection with the vaccine can no longer be masked with the alarming rate of breakthrough cases as demonstrated in Provincetown, Massachusetts where three-quarters of 469 residents infected during a recent COVID-19 outbreak were fully vaccinated.

Some in the FDA may be alarmed over the recent analysis by Luc Montagnier, a world top virologist and Nobel Prize winner for his work in discovering HIV as the cause of AIDs. He says the world is silent about Antibody-Dependant Enhancement (ADE) where the vaccine is creating the variants by forcing the virus to find a way to stay alive and mutate or die. We just don’t know the extent of the vaccine’s ability to manipulate variants; and yet the tracking for third doses is being prepared.

Comparatively, the cautious responses by government to previous vaccines rollouts has been far different to the rush given to this vaccine. In contrast, when the US vaccinated 45 million for the swine flu in 1976, 53 people reportedly died after the shot, and the US government immediately halted the vaccination. According to the data from Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), they have registered over ten thousand known COVID-19 vaccine related deaths. How many deaths go unreported? VAERS has also reported thousands of heart attacks, hospitalizations, tinnitus, and high rates of deep vein thrombosis associated with this vaccine, not to mention real concerns over possible fertility issues in women. In comparison, the Menveo vaccine for preventing meningitis had one known death following the vaccine over a 5-year period from 2010-2015.

In adding further concern on whether the employees embedded at the FDA are fully committed to the COVID-19 vaccines was the compelling response by Peter Marks, director of Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA, when he was questioned by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on May 11 on what percentage of the employees in the FDA have been vaccinated. Marks said he could not tell the exact number but probably a little bit more than half, probably around 60 percent of his employees are vaccinated. Do they know something we don’t know?

Western democracies, specifically the United States, have refrained from an authoritarianism level of control or pressure similar to that of the Chinese communists on independent regulatory agencies. It is a dangerous precedent to see the FDA become weaponized by the political arm of government in their effort to coerce and force entire populations to inject emergency use medicines still subjected to long-term clinical studies.

If the government runs roughshod over the FDA with key voices of objection now removed, what guarantee does society have that other invasive treatments or unconstitutional compliance measures are not enforced in the future? We are already witnessing the fallout with the government’s nod to the private sector and institutions to implement mandatory vaccination and passports; along with social media platforms doing the bidding of government by censoring opposing positions and freedom of speech.

Vaccination efforts that penalize the non-compliant with social and economic limitations is inherently oppressive. Physicians, nurses, and those in the private sector who express opposing opinions or refuse this vaccine are being threatened with the loss of their license, suppressed, and their employment will be terminated. In short, the unvaccinated will be left behind in society.  

Society is breaking down into a divisive us and them situation where the political and news media mantra has repeatedly stated this virus has become a pandemic of the unvaccinated, anti-vaxxers are responsible for the lockdowns, and in some cases being refused medical care and labeled as murders. The climate for persecution against the unvaccinated is becoming evident while the temperature for domestic unrest is rising. 

History has shown time after time that government’s excessive state control by creating an environment where there is a lack of access to employment and a means to survive, a denial of freedom to move about in the community or travel, and imposed isolation can create the potential for civil unrest. While protest in a democracy is healthy, no one should advocate or participate in unruly unrest, however medical coercion is wrong and should be illegal in removing one’s ability to live, work, and provide.   

With the high-profile resignations at the FDA, there is growing friction and mistrust between the regulators and the Biden administration’s third shot booster plan. The government’s resolve to push forward without the FDA’s full approval of the vaccines as a safe medicine for all ages of the population may result in a further mutiny among the FDA’s employees and the agency’s collapse under political pressure.   

Rich Berdan is a freelance writer out of Detroit, Michigan. Rich often provides perspectives that are unique and thought provoking.

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China And U.S. Are On the Brink of War

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Right now, the neocons that Biden has surrounded himself with are threatening to accuse him of having ‘lost Taiwan’ if Biden backs down from his many threats to China, threats that the U.S. Government will reverse America’s “One China” policy, which has been in place ever since the 28 February 1972 “Shanghai Communique”, when the U.S. Government signed with China to the promise and commitment that “The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position. It reaffirms its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves.” If Biden sticks with that, and fails to follow through on his threats that America will invade China if war breaks out between Taiwan and China, then the neocons will say that the U.S., under Biden, has failed to ‘stand up for our allies’, and that therefore China will have effectively beaten America to become the #1 power, on his watch — merely because he had refused to change U.S. policy in the way that the neocons (America’s “Military-Industrial Complex” or “MIC” or weapons-manufacturers — and their many lobbyists and supporters in Congress, the press, and elsewhere) have recently been demanding. 

The Truman-created CIA edits, and even writes, Wikipedia; and, so, Wikipedia’s article on “Taiwan” opens by saying “Taiwan,[II] officially the Republic of China (ROC),[I][h] is a country in East Asia.[21][22]” But that assertion of Taiwan’s being “a country,” instead of a province of China, is a lie, not only because Taiwan (despite its propaganda urging the U.N. to accept it to become a member-nation of the U.N.) has not been accepted by the U.N. as a member-nation, but also because the U.S. Government itself promised, in 1972, that both in fact and in principle, the U.S. opposes any demand that might be made by any government of Taiwan to become a separate nation — no longer a part of China. Ever since 1972, any such demand by a government in Taiwan violates official U.S. Government policy since 1972, and is merely another part of the MIC’s wishful thinking, that America will invade China. So: the demand by the neocons, for America’s Government to support a public declaration by Taiwan’s government that it is no longer a part of China, is part of the pressure upon Biden, to yield to the Pentagon lobby (which largely made him the President). Biden’s threats might be made in order to satisfy his financial backers, but, if he fulfills on any of those threats, there will then be a war between America and China.

China is insisting that the anti-communist Chinese who in 1945 escaped to China’s island of Formosa or Taiwan — which Japan had conquered and militarily occupied between 1895 and 1945 — illegitimately controlled that land just as the Japanese had illegitimately controlled it between 1895 and 1945, and so China claims that Taiwan remains and has remained a province of China, as it has been ever since at least 1683, when China’s Qing Dynasty formally declared it to be a part of China. Taiwan was ruled that way until 1895, when Japan conquered China and one provision of the peace-treaty was that Taiwan would henceforth be part of Japan’s territory, no longer Chinese. 

After WW II, when FDR’s America was allied with China against Japan, Truman’s America (the source of neoconservatism, or overt U.S. imperialism) supported the anti-communist Chinese, not mainland China, and therefore generally backed Taiwan’s independence from the mainland. However, that intense Trumanesque U.S. neoconservatism ended formally with the 1972 Shanghai Communique. And Biden is now considering whether America will go to war in order not only to restore, but now to further intensify, Truman’s neoconservative, imperialistic, U.S. thrust — going beyond even Truman.

Here is how that is currently playing out:

On September 10th, the Financial Times headlined “Washington risks Beijing ire over proposal to rename Taiwan’s US office” and reported that the neocons were pressing for Biden to change the diplomatic status of Taiwan’s “representative office in Washington” so as to become, in effect, a national Embassy. “A final decision has not been made and would require President Joe Biden to sign an executive order.” This executive order would, in its implications, terminate the Shanghai Communique, and go back to the hard ‘anti-communist’ (but actually pro-imperialistic) policy in which the U.S. Government will be bringing its weapons (and maybe also its soldiers) close enough to China so as to be able to obliterate China within ten minutes by a surprise nuclear attack which would eliminate China’s retaliatory capabilities. It would be even worse than the 1963 Cuban Missile crisis endangered America. So, of course, China’s Government wouldn’t tolerate that. And they don’t.

On September 12th, the Chinese Government newspaper Global Times issued “Teach the US, Taiwan island a real lesson if they call for it: Global Times editorial”, which stated that:

If the US and the Taiwan island change the names, they are suspected of touching the red line of China’s Anti-Secession Law, and the Chinese mainland will have to take severe economic and military measures to combat the arrogance of the US and the island of Taiwan. At that time, the mainland should impose severe economic sanctions on the island and even carry out an economic blockade on the island, depending on the circumstances. 

Militarily, Chinese mainland’s fighter jets should fly over the island of Taiwan and place the island’s airspace into the patrol area of the PLA. This is a step that the mainland must take sooner or later. The name change provides the Chinese mainland with sufficient reason to strengthen our sovereign claim over the island of Taiwan. It is anticipated that the Taiwan army will not dare to stop the PLA fighter jets from flying over the island. If the Taiwan side dares open fire, the Chinese mainland will not hesitate to give “Taiwan independence” forces a decisive and destructive blow.

More importantly, if the Chinese mainland turns a blind eye to the US and the Taiwan island this time, they will definitely go further in the next step. According to reports, Joseph Wu, leader of the external affairs of the Taiwan island, participated in the talks between senior security officials from the US and the island in Annapolis on Friday. Next time, they may publicly hold the meeting even in the US State Department in Washington DC. As the US will hold the “Summit for Democracy” by the end of this year, if we do not contain the insolence of the US and the Taiwan island, Washington might even really invite Tsai Ing-wen to participate in the summit. It will be much worse in nature than former Taiwan regional leader Lee Teng-hui’s visit to the US as an “alumnus” in 1995.

Will peace come if the Chinese mainland puts up with all this and swallows its anger for the sake of peace? If the mainland doesn’t strike back decisively, US warships will dock at the island of Taiwan, its fighter aircraft will land on the island and its troops may be stationed in the island again. At that time, where will be China’s prestige as a great power? How can the country maintain its system of defending its interests on the international stage?

So: either the U.S., or else China, must back down — or else, there will be war between China and the U.S.

Of course, each side has its allies. Perhaps UK will put its neck on the line to conquer China, and perhaps Russia will put its neck on the line to conquer America, but in any case, the result if Biden yields to the neocons, will be World War III.

They press him hard. For example, the British neocon, Niall Ferguson, wrote in the Economist, on August 20th:

There is nothing inexorable about China’s rise, much less Russia’s, while all the lesser countries aligned with them are economic basket cases, from North Korea to Venezuela. China’s population is ageing even faster than anticipated; its workforce is shrinking. Sky-high private-sector debt is weighing on growth. Its mishandling of the initial outbreak of covid-19 has greatly harmed its international standing. It also risks becoming the villain of the climate crisis, as it cannot easily kick the habit of burning coal to power its industry.

And yet it is all too easy to see a sequence of events unfolding that could lead to another unnecessary war, most probably over Taiwan, which Mr Xi covets and which America is (ambiguously) committed to defend against invasion. …

The ambitions of China’s leader, Xi Jinping, are also well known — along with his renewal of the Chinese Communist Party’s ideological hostility to individual freedom, the rule of law and democracy. … If Beijing invades Taiwan, most Americans will probably echo the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, who notoriously described the German bid to carve up Czechoslovakia in 1938 as “a quarrel in a far away country, between people of whom we know nothing”. …

That brings us to the crux of the matter. Churchill’s great preoccupation in the 1930s was that the government was procrastinating — the underlying rationale of its policy of appeasement — rather than energetically rearming in response to the increasingly aggressive behaviour of Hitler, Mussolini and the militarist government of imperial Japan. A key argument of the appeasers was that fiscal and economic constraints — not least the high cost of running an empire that extended from Fiji to Gambia to Guiana to Vancouver — made more rapid rearmament impossible.

It may seem fanciful to suggest that America faces comparable threats today — not only from China, but also from Russia, Iran and North Korea. Yet the mere fact that it seems fanciful illustrates the point. The majority of Americans, like the majority of Britons between the wars, simply do not want to contemplate the possibility of a major war against one or more authoritarian regimes, coming on top of the country’s already extensive military commitments.

Scholars get well paid to write such propaganda for the MIC (companies such as Lockheed Martin). Comparing China’s Government with that of Nazi Germany, and proposing that Biden become, for present-day America, what (the equally imperialistic) Churchill was for Britain’s in the late 1930s, might be stupid enough, in just the right way, to inspire someone like Biden, in precisely the wrong way, as it’s intended to do. If so, there will be WW III.

On September 14th, the Editor-in-Chief of Global Times wrote that “China has absolutely no way to retreat. The one-China principle is the fundamental principle that we must insist on.” Similarly, in the 1963 Cuban Missile Crisis — when the Soviet Union was about to place its missiles on an island near America’s coast — America was willing to go to WW III if necessary in order to prevent that from happening. America established its “red line,” and the Soviet Union did not cross it. We’ll see what Biden does. And, if he makes the wrong decision, we’ll then see what Russia does.

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Biden Overstates by 700% Effectiveness of Covid Vaccines

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Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith

The White House said on September 9th that “recent data indicates there is only 1 confirmed positive [covid-19 disease] case per 5,000 fully vaccinated Americans per week.”

Its announcement fails to link to any source on that allegation. However, if Biden got that estimate from the New York Times, then he was definitely overstating it by 700%. And America’s ‘news’-media, at press conferences, don’t ask politicians, “Where do you get those data? What assurance do you have that they are trustworthy?” Instead, mere allegations by public officials are reported as if they should be accepted as being facts.

All of America’s recent Presidents have been similarly casual and untrustworthy about the truthfulness of their allegations, such as they were about “Saddam’s WMD.” The whole world therefore has good reasons to distrust what America’s Presidents say. It’s certainly the case with this President. Why do people trust them any longer? Either the U.S. official builds policies on the basis of his/her falsehoods, or aims to deceive people; and, in either case, what that person says won’t be trusted by any intelligent person.

In this particular instance, another dubious news-source (besides Biden), the New York Times, had headlined, two days earlier, on September 7th, “One in 5,000: The real chances of a breakthrough infection.” However, that allegation (“One in 5,000”) likewise failed to link through to its source and to describe the methodology behind that estimate, though it did allege that the estimate was somehow based upon “statistics from three places that have reported detailed data on Covid infections by vaccination status: Utah; Virginia; and King County, which includes Seattle, in Washington state. All three are consistent with the idea that about one in 5,000 vaccinated Americans have tested positive for Covid each day in recent weeks.”

Perhaps President Biden had read that headline (from two days before), and didn’t read the Times’s news-report itself, which said not “1 confirmed positive case per 5,000 fully vaccinated Americans per week” but instead “that about one in 5,000 vaccinated Americans have tested positive for Covid each day in recent weeks.” In other words: Biden’s estimate, of a one-in-5,000 chance per week, is overstating by 700% the Times’s news-report’s estimate, which said per daynot per week.

The Times’s news-report then upped its own ante to only a one-in-10,000-per-day chance in America’s largest cities, which are more-leftist, less rightist, than most of America, and which therefore believe more in government-regulation (such as to control covid) and so have a higher percentage of vaccinated population: “Here’s one way to think about a one-in-10,000 daily chance: It would take more than three months for the combined risk to reach just 1 percent.”

Consequently, if that’s correct, then for a person in the more-rural America (assuming that the Times’s data and calculations are sound), the likelihood, at one-in-5,000, would have an average resident there facing a 2% chance of becoming sick with covid-19 during a 3-month period, if “fully vaccinated.” Furthermore, the Times alleges that “The infection rates in the least vaccinated states are about four times as high as in the most vaccinated states.” If that is true, then a reasonable assumption would be that vaccination is effective, and that therefore the Republican Party position on this matter — that the government shouldn’t impose penalties against unvaccinated individuals as part of a program to protect the public’s health (the health of the entire public) — is false, and the Democratic Party’s position on this matter is true.

The Morning Consult poll of residents in 15 countries recently headlined and reported:

“The U.S. Has a Higher Rate of Vaccine Opposition Than Any Country Tracked Besides Russia”

2 September 2021

#1: Russia: 27% unwilling, 16% uncertain.

#2: U.S.: 17% unwilling, 10% uncertain.

#15(last): China: 1% unwilling, 1% uncertain.

Previously, these had been the figures:

“The U.S. Has a Higher Rate of Vaccine Opposition Than Any Country Tracked Besides Russia”

10 June 2021

#1: Russia: 32% unwilling, 24% uncertain.

#2: U.S.: 20% unwilling, 12% uncertain.

#15(last): China: 2% unwilling, 4% uncertain.

Ever since those polls started on 13 May 2021, Russia has been #1 and China has been #15. However, U.S. hasn’t consistently been #2.

How, then, do those countries rank on performance regarding covid-19?

That’s shown by going to worldometers and clicking there twice onto the column that’s headed “Tot cases/1m pop”. Of the 223 ranked countries: 

China is #9, the ninth-best country, at 66 cases per 1 million population. 

Russia is #132, at 48,645 cases per million.

U.S. is #209 at 124,729 cases per million. It is the only non-small country that performs this poorly. Every one of the yet-worse countries has below 5 million population except Czechia, which has a population of 10,732,613.

As regards current covid trends: 

China has extremely few new cases.

Russia’s new cases have been declining since July 16th.

America’s new cases have been declining since August 27th.

As regards Czechia, all of its bad performance ended in June. On 1 March 2021, Czechia introduced a draconian lockdown; and, after March 3rd, the raging epidemic began its decline. On 15 March 2021, Al Jazeera headlined “Czech Republic: What’s behind world’s worst COVID infection rate?” and reported: 

Leading expert in viral sequencing, Jan Pačes from the Academy of Sciences, talks to Al Jazeera about the severity of the pandemic and calls on the government to take stricter precautions.

Al Jazeera: How did the country go from having some of the lowest infection rates in Europe to the highest in the world?

Jan Pačes: The Czech Republic is currently in its fourth wave of the pandemic and the healthcare system is reaching its limits.

The Czech government has consistently showed incompetent leadership, failing to protect public health, governing through populism rather than taking on expert advice.

As regards China (which arguably has the world’s best performance at controlling covid-19): the New York Times indicates vaccination-rates throughout the world, which shows, for China 78% of its residents as having received one shot, and 69% two.

U.S. is 63% and 53%.

Russia is 31% and 27%.

Czechia is 56% and 55%.

Vietnam is 21% and 3.9%. 

Vietnam had been, for a long time, the country that had the world’s lowest covid-19 infection-rate, but they were left flat-footed and drastically unprepared for the Delta variant, with virtually no access to vaccines, and Vietnam’s covid-19 infection-rate started soaring in May 2021 and peaked on August 26th. During that time, Vietnam’s performance fell from #1 to #67 on infection-rate (“Tot cases/1M pop”). Vietnam’s Government, which previously had been so proud of its performance, is now intensively struggling with the pandemic.

Within the United States itself, the worst-performing states, in order, as-of September 10th, are Tennessee (163,936), Florida (160,016), North Dakota (159,064), Rhode Island (156,183), Arkansas (155,735), Mississippi (154,667), South Dakota (153,909), Louisiana (152,814), South Carolina (151,474), and Alabama (150,212). (Nine of those ten states had voted for Donald Trump.)

For comparison, see these nations: U.S. (124,729), China (66), Czechia (156,763), Russia (48,645), Vietnam (5,991).

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Don’t Magnify America’s Failures

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According to America’s gleeful enemies, the hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan is merely a foretaste of the world to come, a place where smaller countries seeking to join a Western community of prosperity and political freedom are instead damned to disappointment and defenselessness.

For regions from the Baltic to the Black and Caspian seas, as well as the great states and island nations of East Asia, where America’s security guarantees play a crucial role in containing revisionist powers, it is a time to take stock and consider what has changed. For Russia and China, this clearly seems like a happy time.

Yet despite the often-heartrending television coverage, America’s weaknesses have been exaggerated. There are certainly lessons for U.S. allies to draw from the Afghan exit, but the Russo-Chinese message of imperial decline, the time-honored theme of panicked legions returning to Rome, is too simplistic. Something more subtle is happening.

The vulnerable flanks vary in importance to the U.S.’s geopolitical calculus. True, Georgia and Ukraine are less likely to receive decisive military support from the U.S. than, for example, Japan or South Korea, but the space from the Baltic to the South Caucasus is nevertheless critical to the West. Abandoning it would be tantamount to inviting Russian military and coercive economic action against the neighbors.

The political elites in Ukraine and Georgia are more focused on America’s long-term posture. After all, the withdrawal from Afghanistan fits into the overall recalibration of U.S. foreign policy away from parts of western Asia and eastern Europe to the Indo-Pacific.

This certainly opens up the space for China’s greater engagement in Europe’s periphery. China is a natural candidate because of the willingness of the communist regime to invest in strategic infrastructure in geopolitically important regions. Both Georgia and Ukraine have long seashores on the Black Sea which makes them attractive to China’s communist grand planners. Both also seek investment for their decrepit railway, ports, and road infrastructure. The unsuccessful Chinese bid in 2016 to build the Anaklia deep sea port was just an example of the likely future Chinese involvement in the region.

All in all, against the widely circulated view that China will remain a minor player in the South Caucasus, everything points to the conclusion that it is just getting started. The Black Sea and the South Caucasus are a part of the trade corridor from Central Asia to the EU. Therefore, Chinese efforts in the Black Sea cannot be viewed in separation from the developments in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea.

Changes are also taking place in Ukraine and Georgia as both countries seek alternative options to their geopolitical fixation on the West. Take, for example, Ukraine. On June 30, China and Ukraine signed an agreement proposing a revamp of the country’s decrepit infrastructure. Coming at the same time that the U.S. prioritized Germany by stepping away from the dispute over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, despite longstanding concerns of Ukraine and other CEE nations, this may foreshadow a future in which Central and East European states recognize a growing unwillingness in the West to advance their aspirations and act accordingly.

In Georgia, similar processes are at play. Over the past several month’s tensions with the European Union (EU) have grown in intensity. In the latest move, the ruling Georgian Dream party rejected a €75m euro credit. Like Ukraine, Georgia is being encouraged to limit its dependence on the West.

This, however, does not mean Georgia and Ukraine are reneging on their pro-Western aspirations. Rather, both are making a more realistic assessment. And realism in this case means a multi-vector foreign policy slowly emerging as an order of the things to come. It will provide space for maneuverability and opportunities elsewhere. The Western card no longer provides sufficient financial or security incentives for Georgia and Ukraine to stand unwaveringly against Russian influence. And while Iran, Turkey, India, and others provide some alternative options, none are as powerful and attractive as China.

Even so, even at this difficult time, there are positives. Ukraine and the U.S. have just signed an intergovernmental agreement on a strategic defense framework and a $60m security assistance package including Javelin anti-tank missiles. In Georgia, the depth of the relationship with the U.S. is wide-ranging and is likely to remain so.

Both Georgia and Ukraine rely on the U.S. since it is the only viable defense against Russia. And America’s shift of attention from eastern Europe to the Indo-Pacific region is not complete. The U.S. might be less hawkish when it comes to further NATO expansion to the Black Sea region and some level of rapprochement with Russia could be sought. But extrapolating America’s failures in Afghanistan onto other regions is self-defeating, and most importantly, analytically incorrect.

Author’s note: first published in cepa

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