Saturday, November 19, 2022

R - E - S - P - E - C - T, Find Out What It Means to Xi

I suppose by now we've all seen the video of Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of U.S. empire vassal state Canada, schooled by Xi Jinping at the G20 conference in Bali. Because details of their previous private talk had been leaked to the press, the Chinese President was annoyed and expressed it. Trudeau did not even bother to let the interpreter finish translating what Xi said before spouting some talking points he had memorized. To summarize, Trudeau looks forward to warm, mutually beneficial relations with China. 

Xi: "Then create the conditions."

Trudeau's talking points sounded a lot like those of  U.S. President Biden in his private meeting with Xi. According to the Associated Press, "Biden said that when it comes to China, the U.S. would 'compete vigorously, but I'm not looking for conflict' and 'I absolutely believe there need not be a new Cold War.'" He also claimed not to support Tawan independence, and to have no desire to contain Beijing.

Based on recent history, these are hollow words and empty slogans which we have no reason to believe. Not a day goes by without government-sponsored media in the West denigrating China and sabre-rattling over Taiwan (for example, here's AP's lead: "President Joe Biden objected directly to China’s 'coercive and increasingly aggressive actions' toward Taiwan during the first in-person meeting of his presidency with Xi Jinping.")

Presumably the core purpose of the meeting was to peel away China's support of Russia's defense of Crimea and the Donbas region. I doubt that happened. They did reportedly agree nukes should not be used in Ukraine.

At G20, Canada got the lecture. The times they are a changin'.

Meanwhile, countries are clamoring to join economic cooperation  group BRICS and say goodbye to dependence on the U.S. dollar. The economic sanctions the U.S. has wielded against those countries have been coming home to roost, and Russia and China (the R and C in BRICS) are already using their own currencies to for energy transactions.

Pepe Escobar's "Goodbye G20, Hello BRICS+" in The Cradle is well worth a read as a nation-by-nation analysis of who's leaving the West-dominated structures of capitalism behind and embarking on new cooperative agreements among the Global South. That link is blocked by Google this morning, but maybe your browser will let you access it. I was able to get back there on my phone to pull this quote on the G20's final statement:

The collective west, including the Japanese vassal state, was bent on including the war in Ukraine and its "economic impacts" -- especially the food and energy crisis -- in the statement. Yet without offering even a shade of context related to NATO expansion. What mattered was to blame Russia --- for everything.

It was up to this year's G20 hos Indonesia -- and the next host, India -- to exercise trademark Asian politeness and consensus building. Jakarta and New Delhi worked extremely hard to find wording that would be acceptable to both Moscow and Beijing.

Call it the Global South effect.

Some analysts have noted that China is steadily divesting from investments in dollars as a sign of one great power descending while another ascends.

Another milestone came as China came ahead of the U.S. in an international chip research venue. According to Yuki Okoshi reporting in Nikkei Asia:

This is the first time China has taken the top spot in papers accepted by the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), which is considered the Olympics of the semiconductor sector. The annual event opens in February in San Francisco.

This occurs in the context of the U.S., home to international scholars for decades now, losing researchers as brains drain back to China.

survey by the Asian American Scholar Forum of roughly 1,300 Chinese American scientific researchers in the U.S. who are involved in computer science and engineering, math, and other sciences..found that 72% did not feel safe as an academic researcher, 61% had thought about leaving the U.S., and 65% were worried about collaborations with China..

Some scientists of Chinese origin employed by U.S. universities who have used federal grant money to conduct research in the past are reluctant to apply again: 45% of the AASF study participants..

My interpretation of what Xi said to Trudeau is: Respect us if you want to work with us. Disrespect will get you nowhere and you are no longer in a position to act like that.

My interpretation of what Biden said to Xi: Here is a bunch of empty blather we both know conceals the salient facts on the ground. Subtext: We've got you surrounded.

Source: World Beyond War

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

COP-OUT27 Hastens Climate Catastrophe #COP27

Source: "Estimating the military's global greenhouse gas emissions"
report by Conflict and Environment Observatory (CEOB), November, 2022

Following international climate summit COP26 in Glasgow, with a parallel People's Summit I participated in, the focus on military emissions and their lethal undercount has faded in the war fever of the alleged battle for "democracy" and "freedom" in Ukraine. 

COP27, held in the especially brutal police state of Egypt (thanks, "Arab Spring" color revolution) was swarmed by both fossil fuel lobbyists and private jets. 

Activists temporarily blocked private jets from taking off for Egypt from Amsterdam as an expression of the new climate focus that says billionaires and their greenhouse gas emissions are THE problem.

I disagree.

Multi-millionaires who "lead" the big weapon systems manufacturers are THE problem when it comes to climate. Because the revolving door between U.S. government and the military-industrial complex is always spinning, and this ensures non-stop spending on war planes and bombs which both contribute massively to climate disaster. (And that's just the tip of the rapidly melting iceberg.)

I've been following this thread for years and compiling a collection of links I find especially useful. Groups like the Veterans for Peace Climate Crisis and Militarism Project and researchers like Dr. Neta Crawford continue to focus on the military aspect of the larger climate problem: wealthy nations cause the crisis while people living the Global South suffer the most dire impacts.

CEOBS researchers have taken on the task of monitoring military emissions by nation, reporting on this in a database we can all use.

Statistic: Countries with the highest military spending worldwide in 2021 (in billion U.S. dollars) | Statista

Since U.S. military spending is so excessive compared with all other nations, it's not surprising that the Pentagon fears what the chart at the top of this blog post would look like if military emissions were included in the national total.

It used to be said that the first casualty of war is truth.

In the 21st century, the first casualty of war might be climate.