One new alliance grows stronger, while an old alliance continues to fracture:
While the Obama Administration is preoccupied with keeping an increasingly unhappy EU firm on further economic sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Putin is busy outflanking an increasingly desperate Washington. Rather than fixate on the deliberate US and NATO provocations in Ukraine, Russia is deepening its strategic ties with the other Great Eurasian land-power, the Peoples’ Republic of China. Far from Putin going begging to Beijing for money, the two powers are weaving a closer strategic counterweight to an Anglo-American elite gone bonkers as its empire slips from its hands.
Unimportant are all diplomatic declarations by Chinese deputy Prime Ministers and others in recent weeks about how China so deeply respects the unique role of the United States as sole superpower. The reality on the ground speaks of a tectonic and well-thought-through change in the geopolitical world order is underway. Not only are Russia and China signing gigantic oil and gas agreements that insulate Russia from the negative effects of a potential loss of the EU energy markets in coming months.
Now the two powers have agreed on one of the world’s largest-ever infrastructure projects that will create huge new markets across Eurasia
Russia and China have agreed to build a 7,000-kilometer high-speed rail link from Beijing to Moscow, at a cost of $242 billion, almost a quarter trillion dollars, according to the Beijing city government. The journey from Beijing to Moscow would take two days on a route passing through Kazakhstan. It will take take eight to 10 years to build. The rail project is the most ambitious rail infrastructure project in the Eurasian history, even surpassing the Trans-Siberian Railway project across Russia
Then last November as US sanctions and the US-engineered oil price collapse added a new urgency to the project, Alexander Misharin, vice-president at state-owned OAO Russian Railways, said a section would cost $60 billion to reach Russia’s border, and would cut the Beijing-Moscow journey from five days to 30 hours. Misharin at the time compared the new transport network to the Suez Canal “in terms of scale and significance.” In reality, it has the potential to far exceed the Suez Canal as it serves to unify a high-speed transport network integration vast new markets across Eurasia from Beijing to Moscow that draw in some 4.4 billion of the world population.
A close look at the new railway map by German politicians might be useful, in order for them to graphically realize where the future of Germany and of the European Union lies. A hint: it doesn’t lie with a dying American debt-bloated economy that only offers Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment scams to Europe. From Berlin, the four horses atop the historic Brandenburg Gate are symbolically pointed east, to Moscow. Sanctions cut German industry from participation in one of the largest construction projects in the world history. One might ask why?
That Eurasian integration, formal via Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union and the Sino-Russian led Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as informal via an escalating series of bilateral economic and military cooperation agreements between the two Eurasian Great Powers—Russia and China—is precisely what NATO and the neo-conservative war-hawks of the Obama Administration desperately try to prevent in Ukraine and with the Obama military Asia Pivot against China. The problem, for those poor loveless souls in Washington and Wall Street, is that wars don’t work the way they used to. The world is getting fed up dying in the wars of the One Percent.
The Netanyahu government and the Obama administration have had no shortage of spats over the years, but this time around, neither Jerusalem nor Washington is reportedly doing much to fix the rifts that emerged surrounding the prime minister’s planned March 3 speech to the US Congress on Iran, a visit US officials said breached protocol as it was not coordinated with the White House
According to a report in the New York Times on Saturday, the current row reflects “six years of suspicion and mistrust and grievance, wounds from past brawls easily reopened by what might otherwise be small irritations.”
“It reflects resentment on the part of Obama, who watched Netanyahu seemingly root for his Republican opponent in the 2012 election and now sees him circumventing the Oval Office to work with a Republican Congress instead. And it reflects a conviction on the part of Netanyahu that Obama may sell out Israel with a bad deal and may be trying to influence the coming Israeli elections,” set to take place March 17, two weeks after the PM’s expected speech.
Netanyahu is widely expected to urge US lawmakers to pass a new sanctions bill against Iran to force to it comply with international demands it curb its nuclear program — a bill Obama strongly opposes and has vowed to veto, urging that such a move would hinder the P5+1 negotiations under way to secure a deal with Tehran. Officials in Jerusalem said Friday, however, that Netanyahu would focus less on sanctions and more on the dangers of a bad deal with Iran.
The row over the planned Congress speech has set off an ugly, ongoing public spat between the Netanyahu government and the Obama administration, with senior US officials charging that the Israeli leader had “spat” in Obama’s face and could not be trusted.
Officials in the Netanyahu government told Israeli media Friday that theUS has already agreed in principle to a deal that would leave Iran capable of enriching enough uranium for a nuclear bomb within “mere months. A Channel 10 report quoted unnamed Jerusalem sources saying the terms of the deal would leave Iran “closer than was thought” to nuclear weapons, “mere months from producing enough material for a bomb,” and that the US has agreed to 80% of Iran’s demands.
The fallout from the row may result in a “virtual freeze in the relationship at the very top until after the 2016 American presidential vote,” according to the New York Times.
A former US ambassador to Israel told the paper that a major policy shift is not expected until after 2016. “There just seems to be too much baggage there,” said Edward Djerejian.
Richard Haass, a former US State Department official and president of the Council of Foreign Relations, told the paper that it seemed Netanyahu and his government has “written off” the Obama administration, placing all their bets on the Republicans. “They have made the calculation that to the extent possible, they will use Congress as the channel to conduct their relationship,” he said.
Netanyahu on Friday downplayed the diplomatic spat, terming it a “procedural issue” that can be resolved — unlike a “bad” deal with Tehran, which cannot be so easily mended. “We can resolve procedural issues with regard to my appearance in the US, but if Iran arms itself with nuclear weapons, it will be a lot harder to fix,” Netanyahu said.
Those remarks came shortly after The New York Times reported that Netanyahu had reached out by phone to leading Democrats in an effort to quell the tensions around his scheduled address on Iran.
“We can resolve procedural issues with regard to my appearance in the US, but if Iran arms itself with nuclear weapons, it will be a lot harder to fix,” Netanyahu said.
Last week, a senior Obama administration official charged that Dermer has been working to advance the political fortunes of Netanyahu at the expense of the US-Israel relationship, according to The New York Times. The accusation marked a striking escalation in the rhetorical spat between the White House and the Netanyahu government over the Congress speech.
The “unusually sharp criticism” by the senior official, who was not named in the report, reflected “the outrage the episode has incited within President Obama’s inner circle,” the Times suggested. “Such officially authorized criticisms of diplomats from major allies are unusual.”
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