The year 2014 proved the West cannot yield power to emerging powers

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As the world sadly ends the year 2014, perhaps capped off with another air travel disaster in Indonesia, the geopolitical situation between the West and the East (Russia, China, and the Rest) has perhaps made the world a more difficult place to live in.

The economic implications of trying to isolate Russia (and to a lesser extent, China) have had a profound effect not only in Europe and South East Asia, but also back to the energy lands of the Middle East. Not to be heard in the mainstream media to be sure, the petroleum kingdoms of the Middle East are unsure whether they can really stand the lowest oil prices not seen in many years.

The ever sluggish economic performance of the EU has not really made the peoples of Europe more prosperous.  The search for decent jobs is still a struggle for millions, while economic activity in the continent almost solely relies on a resurgent Germany. It is widely accepted that if it weren’t for Berlin, the entire EU project could’ve fallen apart.

South East Asia remains a hotspot for territorial brawls, with China on one side, and South East Asian countries becoming more ‘assertive’ and being emboldened by the ever-present United States on the other. The situation in South America, especially with the anti-West stance of Brazil and other major economies there, is a little more bearable as the recent major elections have maintained the Leftist attitude of Latin leaders.

And yet, everywhere you look at the headlines, from the resurgent Islamic movements in Syria and Iraq, to energy uncertainties transiting the Russian-Ukraine border all the way to Europe, or to expanded American military presence in Australia, Japan and the Philippines to ‘contain’ China, the West has shown it is reluctant to yield to the powers of ‘the Rest’. The problem with this of course is the intensifying clashes from the Middle East to Ukraine, which has resulted in countless lives lost.

The scandals between the NSA and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have not even put a stop to the continued moral violations the United States is committing to the world. For instance, Guantanamo Bay still exists (which is surprising especially since Obama promised he will close it during his presidency) and those curious personalities like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange continue to be described in the West as ‘traitors’.

Drone attacks, which kill significant numbers of civilians, continue pursuing their own little “Mission Accomplished” strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Under Obama, the United States has committed more of these drone sorties than his supposedly war hungry predecessor.

As the geopolitical situation in most parts of the world remain unresolved, and with no resolution in sight, we can only expect to remember this year as perhaps the major turning point in a future global conflict that might finish the human populace for good. Whether that catastrophic future will arrive or not, we can only admit that the West will still play the greater role in helping foster another century of peace, or whether they will not relinquish their centuries-old power to emerging powers and risk global annihilation.

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Emerging economies and realities: Despite their reliance, US keen on halting China’s economic influence

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The recent Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Beijing has once again highlighted the United States’ fervor for grandstanding acts of stealing the spotlight away from its rivals, or at least halting the advances of emerging economies and political powers beyond the Western hemisphere, whether it be at home or abroad.

Just a day before the APEC summit, US President Obama gathered participants to the US-led but China-excluded Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) held in the US embassy in Beijing. The TPP is essentially a regional trade agreement that aims to undermine China’s own Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific, which is a broader framework for bringing closer integration of Asian economies.

This display of intent comes at a time when the TPP is yet to resolve long standing issues that has halted it from becoming a fully functional economic bloc. There are still protectionist issues to be settled between Washington and Tokyo, for instance, and New Zealand’s intention to “pull out of the negotiations if politicians in the US used them as a vehicle to try to contain the rise of China.”

IMF and World Bank: Tired economic powerhouses

As the United States’ economic and military influence further erodes, the vacuum it is creating is more and more being filled by emerging powers consisting of China, Russia, Indian, and Brazil, which together in July 2014, account for roughly 20% of the world’s economy based on GDP and 30% based on Purchasing Power Parity, which is a more accurate measure of world economy. In July, BRICS proposed a $100bn New Development Bank to meet infrastructure and development projects at a time when the West continues to erode its role in global trade.

The ongoing shift in global influence from West to East has rendered the traditional economic clout of the West, through the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, unable to meet the enormous investments that are required by developing economies in the Asia Pacific region and Latin America. Indeed, both lending institutions have become hostage to their colonialist approach to development, such as in leadership, voting rights, capitalization, headquarters, and staffing, which are all dominated by the United States.

The perception that emerging economies are still heavily reliant on advanced economies for market access and demand is quickly coming to a pass. In its International Trade Statistics 2014, the World Trade Organization concluded that “more than half the exports from developing economies were sent to other developing economies in 2013.” It also revealed that “countries in Asia sent more than 60% of their exports to other nations in Asia and to Africa and the Middle East, compared with just over 15% each to North America and Europe.”

As has been observed in the past decade, this tectonic shift in global economic activity will only continue to progress to reach other economies not held hostage by the traditionally two-edged economic and political policies of the West.

Washington focuses on media disinformation to offset Ukraine failure

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The United States and NATO can’t be more incorrect in their foreign policy than in Russia’s sphere of influence, which happen to include Ukraine. Indeed, the arch rival of the West, standing alone against the combined might and influence of its enemy, Russia continues to show it is not the easiest rival, be it in the issue of the emerging economies (BRICS) or military interventions in Africa, the Middle East, and most importantly in Ukraine.

The sorry story of the overthrow of Ukraine’s legitimately-elected president Yanukovych in 2013, the economic sanctions, and the Malaysian Airlines tragedy has shown that where Russia might be compromised, the West is there to fuel the fire.

What the West accuses Russia of; the West has done in the past–plain and simple. In their latest disinformation against Moscow, the West is spreading new war mongering news that Moscow is building up troops in Ukraine’s border. Besides the fact that Russia has the inalienable right do anything within its borders, this is nothing new, as fears always play the prime time in the Western press’ psyche: Cold War-style, fear sells.

This week, A NATO official was quoted as saying that Moscow could use “the pretext of a humanitarian or peacekeeping mission as an excuse to send troops into Eastern Ukraine.” These words via email, from NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu, will sound fresh if it was published during the NATO bombing campaign in Serbia, Yugoslavia, or to more contemporary interventions led by the West themselves: Iraq, Libya, Syria, and other pseudo-humanitarian interventions around the planet.

Having shown no backing down despite Western pressure, Vladimir Putin is keen to show that the Russian bear is not ready to be pushed and bullied around especially in its own sphere of influence. Now on its 3rd round of toothless Western sanctions, Moscow has shown that it can rally other emerging players who are willing to avoid the elitist West, pursuing new economic possibilities with South America, more commitment to a new Silk Road to China, and the canceling of Cuba’s Soviet-era debt.

Russia has withstood it all: double-edged economic (and now military) sanctions, NATO exercises in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea, Sochi Olympics terrorism fears spread by Western media, and the fateful downing of Malaysian Air flight MH 17, wherein the complex truth is just materializing as we speak.

Indeed, what makes Washington and NATO busy in these days of their empire-centric decline is to at least slowdown their decay down the waste bin of history. Despite having the biggest firepower and military budget in the world, the United States has shown it is not ready to fight a final war with nuclear-armed Russia. Instead, together with its cronies in Europe, the United States is waging its fundamentally envy-centric battle with economic, political, and media war against Russia, and other countries further East (China).

As the infrastructure and experience in disinformation is well established in the West, we can only see this war of words to further intensify as more and more of those born beyond the original Cold War admit a new irreversible rivalry has already taken hold between the West and Russia. As the world pays its respects to the immense heroism and tragedy of World War I, we can only fear history does not repeat itself.

Regardless of the sorrow caused by both World Wars, there are just facts that remain inconvenient to admit for those in the West, including the fact that World War I and World War II have been instigated by Germany and Japan, the latter of which is being encouraged by the United States to change its constitution so it can rearm and military engage its neighbor China. The fact remains that Russia, from Napoleon to Hitler, has been on the right side of history. If past acts make a good lead to the future, then we can only hope that Russia is on the right side of history once more.

Understanding Russia’s Near Abroad Foreign Policy

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Much has been going on in Russia’s borders in recent months:  from last year’s violent “Euromaindan” protests sponsored by the West, to the annexation of Crimea, the Eastern and Southern Ukraine’s invalid independence referendum, the sorry (at least in the Western eyes) Sochi Olympics, the relentless economic and political sanctions, and the stepping up of military patrols in Eastern Europe by NATO.

Not long ago did the West portray Russia as rebuilding a “Soviet empire” when it went to war with Georgia in August 2008. Since then, Western politicians and the mainstream media have spread their usual fear-mongering propaganda against Russia.

What’s missing from this narrative is the question of why Russia is forced to tackle its present challenges, especially along its borders. For one, centuries of Russian empire and the 20th century’s Soviet experiment solely points to the immense and legitimate influence Russia has on its near abroad frontier, be it in greater Eastern Europe or former Soviet republics, which include Ukraine.

What the West fails to understand is Moscow’s right and obligation to protect ethnic Russians outside the country, especially in the former Soviet republics. When the USSR collapsed in 1991, millions of Russian suddenly found themselves second-class citizens in other former Soviet republics, including in Ukraine.

For instance, back in February, one of the first “legislation” of the new illegitimate government of Kiev was to ban Russian language in Ukraine. Seriously, can language alone be of matter national security concern? The judgment and intentions of those in power can be in doubt especially if your country’s new leaders do not even know the right flag for a country he is visiting. And yet the West has the nerve to spread lies about Russia being the aggressor in the Ukraine crisis rather than the other way around.

And how Western politicians and mainstream media portray Russia’s fictitious ambitions is pretty much the same as how they portray China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea: that hot foreign policy conceals and overrides domestic concerns; a way to consolidate public support against a foreign aggressor while forgetting the troubles at home.

And yet all that protection for minorities outside Russia is seen as part of Vladimir Putin’s “empire building”, which in contrast to the West’s military and covert interventions abroad pretty much vilifies those accusing the Russian president instead.

Now that Russia is firmly out of the G8, eyes are focused on where Russia’s economic potentials will go instead. Indeed, Russia is part of the greater and more important G20, as well as the economic collective known as the BRICS. For at least the past decade now, Russia and China has been busy building new pipelines to transport energy to countries East of Russia, which will help Moscow diversify its economy to where the global economy is happening most: in Asia.

And of course talks of a new Cold War with Russia (and China) has been circulating in the Western mainstream media. Politicians up to the highest levels, including Barack Obama himself, are trying to blame (or deny) the new Cold War. Indeed, for some politicians in the West, the old Cold War with the Soviet Union really did not go away.

A Reemerging Russia is indeed what they fancy; after all, the fear of enemies abroad means the sustainment of the military industrial complex which Eisenhower feared will sustain America’s insatiable appetite for a permanent war economy.