Newsweek: “The 500 years of Euro-Atlantic global ascendancy are over”
“We bluster, we threaten, we menace, we sanction, we send the Marines, we bomb,” says Chas Freeman, a veteran U.S. diplomat, “but we don’t ever use the arts of persuasion.” Freeman was principal interpreter for President Richard Nixon on his visit to China in 1972. Now he tells ‘Newsweek’, Washington’s “moment of diplomatic glory” is long over. “What has happened is that the American ability to coerce is declining,” he says. “We seem to be approaching the world as though we still have an unchallenged authority that we imagined we did at the end of the Cold War.”
Many nations are pursuing their own paths, sometimes called “strategic autonomy.” The concept remains a hallmark of India’s non-aligned foreign policy, even as it improves relations with the U.S. It is also gaining traction with once-close U.S. friends such as Saudi Arabia, and has appeared in comments by French President Emmanuel Macron following his April visit to Beijing.
Freeman, who once served as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, says, “The world is changing; the kaleidoscope is in motion. We’re trying to put all the pieces in place,” he says. “The basic aim of our foreign policy is retention of primacy, which is impossible. Nothing is forever. No great power is always supreme forever.”
“It’s not just that the Pax Americana, the American Century, which turned out to be about 50 years long, is over,” he adds, “but the 500 years of Euro-Atlantic global ascendancy are over.”
China has long been positioning itself to take advantage of the shift. “Since the reform and opening up in the late 1970s, China has been developing and deepening relations with other countries on the basis of mutual benefit and respect for each other,” Hongda Fan, a leading Chinese expert and professor at Shanghai International Studies University’s Middle East Studies Institute, tells Newsweek.
“China has not actively provoked conflicts with other countries for decades,” Fan adds. “This leaves China with few enemies in the world, and also enables China to obtain a good external development environment.”
Although China has several territorial disputes with key neighbors, the People’s Republic has emerged as the top trading partner of nearly 130 countries. It has promoted its economic and diplomatic clout across the Global South, including Africa and Latin America, through ventures such as Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative, a network of infrastructure projects spanning nearly 150 countries.
Courting the Middle East has proven to be particularly valuable for China, the world’s number one oil importer. Iran and Saudi Arabia both want spots in trade and security blocs BRICS Plus and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Their membership could give Beijing the ability to withstand a potential U.S. sanctions campaign like the one levied against Russia over its war in Ukraine.
Oil was at the heart of the post-World War II strategic partnership forged by the U.S. with Saudi Arabia. But President Joe Biden’s branding of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a “pariah,” together with reduced U.S. aid to a Saudi-led war effort in Yemen and attempts to revive a nuclear deal with Iran, have opened a substantial rift with Riyadh.
“The United States has indeed ignored the urgent needs of the Middle East countries for development,” Fan says, “or did not pay enough attention to it.”
“Washington needs to understand that such challenges come not only from China, but also from many other countries,” Fan adds. “More and more countries, including China, hope to control their own destiny and hope to see a multipolar world.”
In Saudi Arabia’s case, this means translating energy influence into geopolitical capital. This shift has been met with wariness by Washington, where Biden warned of “consequences” after Riyadh defied U.S. calls to increase oil production and instead joined fellow OPEC Plus states, including Iran and Russia, in cutting output last October.
Mohammad al-Sabban, former senior adviser to the Saudi energy minister, tells Newsweek, “The United States continues to think that it is the only pole in the world, and that is untrue.”
“The world has become multipolar. There is China, there is Russia, there is the United States, there is the European Union and also there is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
It’s not just oil that fuels Saudi clout. Saudi Arabia has unique status across the Muslim world as custodian of Islam’s two holiest sites, and the Kingdom, the fastest growing of the world’s major economies, is a leading member of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Sabban says, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia makes its decisions according to its interests, especially economic and political. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not care about any other opinions or the opinions that are imposed on it.”
Some diplomats worry that recent events in the Middle East and elsewhere, 30 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, show the U.S., for all its military, financial and cultural power, has lost its appeal to much of the world. Jack Matlock, the last U.S. ambassador to the USSR, says, “The example we are offering the world today is not as attractive as it might have been in 1991.”
While Washington has portrayed the world as a struggle between democracies and authoritarians (in which vital partners such as Saudi Arabia do not fit comfortably), Matlock says “ideology and form of government should not matter.”
“To have a peaceful, prosperous world able to cope with unprecedented challenges such as environmental degradation, terrorism and violence of all types, massive flows of population, the threat of pandemics and the avoidance of nuclear war or use of other weapons of mass destruction, we need to deal with all countries with respect,” he says.
He warns that, much like the doomed Soviet Union, the U.S. approach relies on the outdated belief “that the U.S. had the knowledge and power to transform the world if only it used its military and economic dominance to change other societies.”
This line of thinking, Matlock argues, propagates the notion “that ‘we won the Cold War,’ that the break-up of the USSR marked the end of the Cold War and Russia was the defeated party, and that the collapse of the Communist system proved that capitalism and ‘democracy’ were the inevitable future of mankind, that nuclear weapons made us invincible, and therefore our leadership was necessary for transforming the world.”
“These were false assumptions and impossible goals,” Matlock argues.
“Global Times”: China-Russia cooperation is broader than what US-led West can envision
On the afternoon of May 24, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin, who was on an official visit to China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Mishustin also held talks with Chinese Premier Li Qiang on the same day. China and Russia signed a series of bilateral agreements on service trade cooperation, sports, patents, and Russian millet exports to China, which shows significant results of Mishustin’s first visit to China since taking office as Russian Prime Minister. The increase in quality of China-Russia economic and trade cooperation, coupled with a full tank of oil, will drive them toward a farther and broader future, notes ‘Global Times’ in an editorial.
The size and level of the Russian team and the number of entrepreneurs accompanying Mishustin is rare in recent years. The visit mainly aimed at implementing cooperation projects and further expanding economic cooperation.
In March this year, President Xi made a successful state visit to Russia and outlined the blueprint for the development of China-Russia relations and cooperation in various fields with President Vladimir Putin. This visit by Mishustin to China is promoting the implementation of the blueprint, and with the joint efforts of both China and Russia, it will become a roadmap and construction plan, and eventually be built into a beautiful reality.
Some past problems have also been solved, and blockages and bottlenecks have been gradually cleared. Of course, the road must be taken step by step, and the all-round cooperation between China and Russia is steadily advancing.
This is the essence of the new type of major-country relationship, and we strongly suggest that Washington take it seriously. Because Washington’s narrow-mindedness cannot accommodate China or Russia, making even the vast Pacific Ocean seem cramped.
Western media, whose minds are filled with confrontation, become nervous at the sight of normal cooperation between China and Russia. They either advocate for China and Russia to “join forces to resist the West” or stir up the old tune of “Russia is dependent on China” to provoke China-Russia relations. Is it possible for the US to contain and suppress China, isolate Russia in all respects, and try to isolate China and Russia from each other as well?
The root of this divided attitude in the US lies in its uncontrollable hegemonic impulses and the fear of the so-called “China-Russia alliance,” which is considered the US’ greatest geopolitical nightmare. These two factors create an internal conflict and psychological strain that the US cannot resolve. The tense atmosphere over the Asia-Pacific region is essentially an external manifestation of Washington’s geopolitical anxieties. Discussing global affairs in front of the world map in their offices, armchair strategists in Washington can only perceive threats and adversaries. Through their meddling, they bring about a self-fulfilling prophecy, pushing countries that could have been potential partners to the opposite side of the US and creating the most severe strategic risks of the era.
We often emphasize that the cooperation between China and Russia is neither directed against third parties nor subject to third-party interference or coercion. This principle guides China’s interactions not only with Russia but also with all countries, including those from Europe, the Middle East, and neighboring regions. It stands in stark contrast to the practices of hegemonism: one emphasizes “non-targeting” and “non-interference and non-coercion,” while the other is precisely engaged in “targeting,” “interference,” and “coercion” worldwide. The former has created astonishing miracles of peace and development, while the latter has left countless scars and conflicts.
The resilience of China-Russia cooperation against interference has significantly strengthened, and the noise generated by the US and Western countries serves as a reverse motivation for us to continue moving forward.
Just as the famous Tang Dynasty poem quoted by Mishustin during his visit to China goes, “You will enjoy a grander sight, if you climb to a greater height,” quotes “Global Times”.
Newsweek: “Putin scores a win in Turkey’s election”
Russian President Vladimir Putin secured a victory in Turkey’s presidential election results on Sunday, writes ‘Newsweek’.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appeared to beat back a challenge from Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the head of the center-left Republican People’s Party (CHP), winning his third five-year term since taking office in 2014. Erdoğan claimed victory on Sunday, telling supporters in a speech, “I thank each member of our nation for entrusting me with the responsibility to govern this country once again for the upcoming five years,” the Associated Press reported.
He ultimately prevailed by roughly 5 percentage points, according to unofficial data from state-run Anadolu Agency. Turkey’s election has been defined by high voter turnout, but has also led to questions about the fairness of Turkey’s electoral system.
Erdoğan’s victory is viewed as good news for Putin, whose relations with many world leaders grew strained after he launched the invasion of Ukraine last February. Many governments viewed the “special military operation” as lacking justification and a violation of international norms, leading to swift backlash and economic sanctions against Moscow.
Turkey, however, has taken an important role in the conflict, often serving as a mediator between Kyiv and Moscow. Erdoğan himself has walked a fine line between support for Ukraine while also maintaining close diplomatic relations with Russia. Both countries lie along the Black Sea, so maintaining strong economic ties has remained a priority for both governments.
Erdoğan’s victory likely guarantees a continuation of the status quo.
Notably, Turkey’s actions in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have aligned with the interests of Russia. Turkey has previously blocked bids from Sweden and Finland to join NATO, which would bring the alliance to Putin’s doorstep. The Russian leader has also opposed the expansion of NATO, an issue that has sparked tensions with the West.
Putin congratulated Erdoğan on his victory, writing in a statement that he appreciates the Turkish president’s “personal contribution to strengthening friendly Russian-Turkish relations, mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas.”
“Winning the election was a natural result of your selfless work as head of the Republic of Turkey, evidence of the Turkish people’s support for your efforts to strengthen the state sovereignty and the pursuit of an independent, independent foreign policy,” the Russian leader wrote.
Erdoğan has previously touted his relationship with Putin during his reelection bid.
“We are not at a point where we would impose sanctions on Russia like the West have done. We are not bound by the West’s sanctions,” he told CNN earlier this month. “We are a strong state and we have a positive relationship with Russia.”
Larry Johnson: The aftermath of Bakhmut and why the CIA is in trouble
The West is desperate to avoid having any meaningful discussion or review of the Battle of Bakhmut because it was such a massive loss. Think about it — a small “private” paramilitary force backed by former Chef with no military experience, forced Ukraine’s NATO-trained and supplied Army to retreat, notes Larry C. Johnson, a veteran of the CIA and the State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism.
This is a very important point. Conventional military doctrine stipulates that an army attacking an entrenched force will need at least three times more soldiers than the defending force. Looks like Russia is very unconventional.
The Wagner Group’s 50,000 fighters defeated a Ukrainian force that employed over 120,000 troops, inflicting 70% casualties on the Ukrainians. Russia is writing new chapters for military academies and war colleges on how to attack and defeat a numerically superior force entrenched in fortifications.
Russia was not fighting Afghan shepherds or Iraqi tribesmen armed with AK-47s. It faced off with a NATO proxy force, equipped with modern weaponry, and beat it.
…Even more, I chatted with a retired CIA buddy who filled me in on the personnel disaster that is transforming the CIA into a fully woke institution. Thirty years ago an aspiring employee had to pass a polygraph and had to be drug free. Prior use of marijuana or other recreational drugs could be a show stopper. That was then. Now?
The CIA only asks if the applicant has smoked pot or taken other illicit drugs in the year prior to applying to the Agency. I would not be surprised to learn that once a former drug user is brought on board that there is no obstacle for him or her to continue to indulge the guilty pleasure of getting buzzed (hopefully while not at work).
More disturbing is the current hiring practice — in a recent class for new analysts, 92% of the new hires came from one State. If you guessed Alabama or Virginia you would be wrong. 92% of the analysts hail from one of the most liberal states in the United States. The Agency hiring standard is welcoming the Woke crowd and eschewing men and women who profess traditional values. If you hold Conservative values you need not apply. You probably will not be hired.
I have written previously about the pressure CIA managers face when they write the yearly evaluation on their employees, which plays a key role in determining who gets promoted. If an employee is a minority or openly homosexual or transgender and does not get promoted the manager is required to write an explanation why he or she did not promote said person.
Guess what happens? People get promoted because of their social justice status rather than the quality of their work. Is it any wonder that the quality of the CIA analytical product is succumbing to political pressure, writes Larry C. Johnson.
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