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The usual suspects tried everything against Yemen. First, coercing it into ‘structural reform.’ When that didn’t work, they instrumentalized takfiri mercenaries. They infiltrated and manipulated the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS. They used US drones and occasional marines. And then, in 2015, they went Total Warfare: a UN-backed rogue coalition started... Read More
Forget about the incessant drumming of Cold War 2.0 against China. Forget about think-tank simpletons projecting their wishful thinking on the perpetual “end of China’s rise.” Forget even about a few sound minds in Brussels – yes, they do exist – saying Europe does not want containment of China; it wants engagement, which means business.... Read More
The 21st century, geopolitically, so far has been shaped by the U.S.- engineered Forever Wars. Forever Wars: Afghanistan-Iraq, part 2, ranging from 2004 to 2021, is the fourth in a series of e-books recovering the Pepe Escobar archives on Asia Times. The archives track a period of 20 years – starting with the columns and... Read More
Fiercely independent, the Pashtun have famously lived for centuries on \"the margins of Great Empires,\" evolving into more sophisticated renditions, but never far from their roots.
Photo Credit: The Cradle
It was bound to happen: the remixed Saigon moment at Kabul airport and the stunning comeback of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, led by Pashtuns, has unleashed across the West a cheap Orientalization avalanche. The whole of Afghanistan is now “threatened” by the return of the “barbarians.” Once again, Afghan women need to be protected,... Read More
The 20th anniversary summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, enshrined no less than a new geopolitical paradigm. Iran, now a full SCO member, was restored to its traditionally prominent Eurasian role, following the recent $400 billion-worth trade and development deal struck with China. Afghanistan was the main topic – with all... Read More
On the demand for an “all inclusive government” Imagine if the French revolutionaries were asked to retain the elements of the kingdom of Louis XVI while forming the new republic to keep it all ‘inclusive’. Imagine that the American revolutionaries were asked to keep the British loyalists as a part of the new American republic... Read More
Massoud leaving Bazarak in the Panjshir after our interview in August 2001, roughly three weeks before his assassination. Photo: Pepe Escobar
It’s impossible not to start with the latest tremor in a series of stunning geopolitical earthquakes. Exactly 20 years after 9/11 and the subsequent onset of the Global War on Terror (GWOT), the Taliban will hold a ceremony in Kabul to celebrate their victory in that misguided Forever War. Four key exponents of Eurasia integration... Read More
The announcement by Taliban spokesman Zahibullah Mujahid in Kabul of the acting cabinet ministers in the new caretaker government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan already produced a big bang: it managed to enrage both woke NATOstan and the US Deep State. This is an all-male, overwhelmingly Pashtun (there’s one Uzbek and one Tajik) cabinet... Read More
Fatima, Maliha and Nouria
Dear reader: this is very special, a trip down memory lane like no other: back to prehistoric times - the pre-9/11, pre-YouTube, pre-social network world. Welcome to Taliban Afghanistan – Talibanistan – in the Year 2000. This is when photographer Jason Florio and myself slowly crossed it overland from east to west, from the Pakistani... Read More
In the end, the Saigon moment happened faster than any Western intel “expert” expected. This is one for the annals: four frantic days that wrapped up the most astonishing guerrilla blitzkrieg of recent times. Afghan-style: lots of persuasion, lots of tribal deals, zero columns of tanks, minimal loss of blood. August 12 set the scene,... Read More
August 12, 2021. History will register it as the day the Taliban, nearly 20 years after 9/11 and the subsequent toppling of their 1996-2001 reign by American bombing, struck the decisive blow against the central government in Kabul. In a coordinated blitzkrieg, the Taliban all but captured three crucial hubs: Ghazni and Kandahar in the... Read More
The US is on the verge of its own second Vietnam repeated as farce in a haphazard retreat from Afghanistan
Let’s start with some stunning facts on the Afghan ground. The Taliban are on a roll. Earlier this week their PR arm was claiming they hold 218 Afghan districts out of 421 – capturing new ones every day. Tens of districts are contested. Entire Afghan provinces are basically lost to the government in Kabul, which... Read More
Once upon a time in Anatolia, in the late 13th century a Turkic principality – one of many shaped in the wake of the Mongol invasion of the 1240s – consigned the Seljuk Turks to the past and emerged as the Ottoman emirate. It was named after its founder, Osman I. By the middle of... Read More
Henry Kissinger, 97, Henry the K. for those he keeps close, is either a Delphic oracle-style strategic thinker or a certified war criminal for those kept not so close. He now seems to have been taking time off his usual Divide and Rule stock in trade – advising the combo behind POTUS, a.k.a. Crash Test... Read More
Nearly 20 years after 9/11, Germany and the German-speaking world are being hit by a formidable one-two. A ground-breaking study by gifted independent financial journalist Lars Schall, Denken wie der Feind – 20 Jahre Ausnahmezustand 9/11 und die Geopolitik des Terrors (“Thinking Like the Enemy – 20 Years State of Emergency, 9/11 and the Geopolitics... Read More
An Afghan Tale
In the beginning, they were the Bamiyan Buddhas: the Western Buddha statue, 55 meters high, and the Eastern, 38 meters high, carved for decades since 550 A.D. from porous sandstone cliffs, the intricate details modeled in clay mixed with straw and coated with stucco. Xuanzang, the legendary traveling monk of the early Tang dynasty who... Read More
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Moscow is painfully aware that the US/NATO “strategy” of containment of Russia is already reaching fever pitch. Again. This past Wednesday, at a very important meeting with the FSB board, President Putin laid it all out in stark terms: Not without a touch of wickedness, Putin added this was no exaggeration: "In fact, you don’t... Read More
Have an auspicious Year of the Ox, everybody. And to celebrate it in style, fleetingly alleviating our burden in these times of trouble, let’s plunge into a dream within a dream, going back to the future for a game-changing moment in Chinese history. Chinese New Year’s Day, 1272. At the time, that fell on January... Read More
Academic Stephen Wertheim's new book shines revealing light on the birth of US global supremacy, just as it reaches its...
As the Exceptional Empire gets ready to brave a destructive – and self-destructive – new cycle, with dire, unforeseen consequences bound to reverberate across the world, now more than ever it is absolutely essential to go back to the imperial roots. The task is fully accomplished by Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global... Read More
Let’s hit the road in the search for the real Jesus. Galilee, Year 27: baptized by an itinerant preacher, John the Baptist. That’s when the story really begins. We know virtually nothing of his life till then. Galilee is ruled by shabby client kings of the Roman empire – first Herod, then his son Herod... Read More
I have been going through my Asia Times archives selecting reports and columns for a new e-book on the Forever Wars – Afghanistan and Iraq. But then, out of the blue, I found this palimpsest, originally published by Asia Times in February 2014. It happened to be a Back to the Future exercise – traveling... Read More
A Conversation with Michael Hudson and Pepe Escobar
Alanna: So, let’s formally start. Once we start to record Ibrahim is going to introduce the Henry George school and welcome everybody then I’m going to introduce from the bios; Michael and Pepe and then Michael will start with rent and rent seeking those who have comments or questions could put that in chat and... Read More
Chinese scholar Lanxin Xiang has written a book The Quest for Legitimacy in Chinese Politics, that is arguably the most extraordinary effort in decades trying to bridge the East-West politico-historical divide. It's impossible in a brief column to do justice to the relevance of the discussions this book inspires. Here we will highlight some of... Read More
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9/11 was the foundation stone of the new millennium – ever as much indecipherable as the Mysteries of Eleusis. A year ago, on Asia Times, once again I raised a number of questions that still find no answer. A lightning speed breakdown of the slings and arrows of outrageous (mis)fortune trespassing these two decades will... Read More
Late afternoon in May 29, 1453, Sultan Mehmet, the third son of Murad, born of a slave-girl – probably Christian - in the harem, fluent in Turkish, Arabic, Greek, Latin, Persian and Hebrew, followed by his top ministers, his imams and his bodyguard of Janissaries, rides slowly towards the Great Church of St Sophia in... Read More
With hybrid warfare 2.0 against China reaching fever pitch, the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative, will continue to be demonized 24/7 as the proverbial evil communist plot for economic and geopolitical domination of the “free” world, boosted by a sinister disinformation campaign. It’s idle to discuss with simpletons. In the interest of... Read More
Fasten your seat belts: the US hybrid war against China is bound to go on frenetic overdrive, as economic reports are already identifying Covid-19 as the tipping point when the Asian – actually Eurasian – century truly began. The US strategy remains, essentially, full spectrum dominance, with the National Security Strategy obsessed by the three... Read More
Predictably eyeing the Decline and Fall of the American Empire, a serious academic debate is raging around the working hypothesis of historian Kyle Harper, according to whom viruses and pandemics – especially the Justinian plague in the 6th century – led to the end of the Roman Empire. Well, history actually teaches us that epidemics... Read More
Like a shot ricocheting at Heaven’s Door, Bob Dylan has released a masterpiece dissecting JFK's assassination
What spectacular timing. Like a shot ricocheting at Heaven’s Door as a virus pandemic rages and Planet Lockdown is the new normal, Bob Dylan has produced a stunning 17-minute masterpiece dissecting the November 22, 1963, assassination of JFK – releasing it at midnight US Eastern Standard Time on Thursday. For baby boomers, not to mention... Read More
The United States may be destined for a shorter historical existence than the Mongol era established by Genghis Khan
A considerable spectrum of the liberal West takes the American interpretation of what civilization consists of to be something like an immutable law of nature. But what if this interpretation is on the verge of an irreparable breakdown? Michael Vlahos has argued that the US is not a mere nation-state but a “system leader” –... Read More
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The US targeted assassination, via drone strike, of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, apart from a torrent of crucial geopolitical ramifications, once again propels to center stage a quite inconvenient truth: the congenital incapacity of so-called US elites to even attempt to understand Shi’ism - thus 24/7 demonization, demeaning not only Shi’as by also Shi’a-led governments.... Read More
After years of reporting on the Great War on Terror, many questions behind the US attacks remain unresolved
Afghanistan was bombed and invaded because of 9/11. I was there from the start, even before 9/11. On August 20, 2001, I interviewed commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, the “Lion of the Panjshir,” who told me about an “unholy alliance” of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the ISI (Pakistani intel). Back in Peshawar, I learned that something... Read More
Get ready for a major geopolitical chessboard rumble: from now on, every butterfly fluttering its wings and setting off a tornado directly connects to the battle between Eurasia integration and Western sanctions as foreign policy. It is the paradigm shift of China’s New Silk Roads versus America’s Our Way or the Highway. We used to... Read More
The nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) are back this Tuesday in Vienna. The stakes couldn't be higher. It will be a long and winding road. Hidden agendas on both sides badly want the talks to fail - and will spare no effort... Read More
LONDON - There's a brand new dance but I don't know its name/that people from bad homes do again and again/It's big and it's bland full of tension and fear/They do it over there but we don't do it here. Tension and fear; oh, that's so Europe 2013. But people from bad homes, you bet... Read More
ON THE PYONGYANG-BEIJING TRAIN - It's 11:30 am on a cold, sunny February day in Pyongyang's central station, and train number 5 to Beijing, with one stop in Dandong at the Chinese border, is about to leave. The train is roughly an hour late due to snow on the tracks. Foreigners mingle with locals in... Read More
PANMUNJON, Korean demilitarized zone - Panmunjom is the graphic symbol, frozen in time, of the absurdity of the separated Koreas. It's all there: the table where the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27, 1953; the copies of the armistice bound in red in both English and Korean; the fading black and white photos... Read More
PYONGYANG - North Korea, for the West, and especially the United States, is the absolute epitome of "the other''; the ultimate all-around, top-to-bottom, no-holds-barred antithesis to neo-liberalism and post-modern turbo-capitalism on show in the whole world. Cuba embraces one with its tropical warmth; after all it is located in the "Western hemisphere", according to the... Read More
PYONGYANG - It's a cold, crisp, sunny morning in the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), and there could not be a more important game in town. Billboards bearing the numbers "2.16 [February 16]" - usually decorated with huge red flowers - are all over the place. The flowers are the only... Read More
It was forty years ago on October 8 when he was executed by a Bolivian Army subjected to CIA orders - sprinkled with Bolivian Rangers trained by US instructors imported from Laos. Ernesto "Che" Guevara de la Serna might have been an austere, serious nemesis of the Western capitalist order. Or he might have been... Read More
HANOI - Just as it took a few years for the Americans to lose the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese, it took them only a few weeks to lose the hearts and minds of the majority of Iraqis - which ultimately means losing the war, whatever the strategic final result. Topographic denials -... Read More
HO CHI MINH CITY - A Vietnamese TV crew is shooting a soap opera in a park behind the late 19th-century Notre Dame cathedral. The leading lady, clad in a beautiful crimson ao dai, sobs uncontrollably despite the efforts of her partner, against the background of the city's usual non-stop parade of motorbikes. Nguyen Phuoc... Read More
PastClassics
The Shaping Event of Our Modern World
Analyzing the History of a Controversial Movement