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It’s a Nikolai Patrushev-Yang Jiechi World
As Sino-Russo-Iranophobia dissolves in sanctions and hysteria, mapmakers carve the post-unilateral order
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Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping exchange documents at the signing ceremony in the Kremlin in Moscow in a file photo. Image: Pool / Agencies
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping exchange documents at the signing ceremony in the Kremlin in Moscow in a file photo. Image: Pool / Agencies

It’s the Nikolai Patrushev-Yang Jiechi show – all over again. These are the two players running an up and coming geopolitical entente, on behalf of their bosses Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.

Last week, Yang Jiechi – the director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee – visited Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev in Moscow. That was part of the 16thround of China-Russia strategic security consultations.

What’s intriguing is that Yang-Patrushev happened between the Blinken-Lavrov meeting on the sidelines of the Arctic Council summit in Reykjavik, and the upcoming and highest-ranking Putin-Biden in Geneva on June 16 (possibly at the Intercontinental Hotel, where Reagan and Gorbachev met in 1985).

The Western spin before Putin-Biden is that it might herald some sort of reset back to “predictability” and “stability” in currently extra-turbulent US-Russia relations.

That’s wishful thinking. Putin, Patrushev and Lavrov harbor no illusions. Especially when in the G7 in London, in early May, the Western focus was on Russia’s “malign activities” as well as China’s “coercive economic policies.”

Russian and Chinese analysts, in informal conversations, tend to agree that Geneva will be yet another instance of good old Kissingerian divide and rule, complete with a few seducing tactics to lure Moscow away from Beijing, an attempt to bide some time and probing openings for laying out geopolitical traps. Old foxes such as Yang and Patrushev are more than aware of the game in play.

What’s particularly relevant is that Yang-Patrushev laid the groundwork for an upcoming Putin visit to Xi in Beijing not long after Putin-Biden in Geneva – to further coordinate geopolitically, once again, the “comprehensive strategic partnership”, in their mutually recognized terminology.

The visit might take place on July 1, the hundredth anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party – or on July 16, the 20thanniversary of the China-Russia Treaty of Friendship.

So Putin-Biden is the starter; Putin-Xi is the main course.

That Putin-Luka tea for two

Beyond the Russian president’s “outburst of emotions” comment defending his Belarusian counterpart’s action, the Putin-Lukashenko tea for two in Sochi yielded an extra piece of the puzzle concerning the RyanAir emergency landing in Minsk– starring a blogger from Belarus who is alleged to have lent his services to the ultra-nationalist, neo-Nazi-ridden Azov battalion, which fought against the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Ukrainian Donbass in 2014.

Lukashenko told Putin he had “brought along some documents so you can understand what is going on.” Nothing has been leaked regarding the contents of these documents, but it’s possible they may be incandescent – related to the fact that sanctions were imposed by the EU against Belavia Airlines even though the carrier had nothing to do with the RyanAir saga – and potentially capable of being brought up in the context of Putin-Biden in Geneva.

The Big Picture is always Eurasia versus the Atlanticist West. As much as Washington will keep pushing Europe – and Japan – to decouple from both China and Russia, Cold War 2.0 on two simultaneous fronts has very few takers.

Rational players see that the 21st century combined scientific, economic and military power of a Russia-China strategic partnership would be a whole new ball game in terms of global reach compared with the former USSR/Iron Curtain era.

And when it comes to appealing to the Global South, and the new iterations of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), emphasis on an international order upholding the UN Charter and the rule of international law is definitely sexier than a much-vaunted “rules-based international order” where only the hegemon sets the rules.

In parallel to Moscow’s lack of illusions about the new Washington dispensation, the same applies to Beijing – especially after the latest outburst by Kurt Campbell, the former Obama-Biden 1.0 assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific who is now back as the head of Indo-Pacific Affairs on the National Security Council under Obama-Biden 3.0.

Campbell is the actual father of the ‘pivot to Asia’ concept when he was at the State Department in the early 2010s – although as I pointed out during the 2016 US presidential campaign, it was Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State who claimed Mothership of the pivot to Asia in an October 2011 essay.

At a gig promoted by Stanford University last week, Campbell said, “The period that was broadly described as engagement [with China] has come to an end.” After all, the “pivot to Asia” never really died, as there has been a clear Trump-Biden continuum.

Campbell obfuscated by talking about a “new set of strategic parameters” and the need to confront China by working with “allies, partners and friends”. Nonsense: this is all about the militarization of the Indo-Pacific.

That’s what Biden himself reiterated during his first address to a joint session of the US Congress, when he boasted about telling Xi that the US will “maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific” just as it does with NATO in Europe.

The Iranian factor

On a different but parallel track with Yang-Patrushev, Iran may be on the cusp of a momentous directional change. We may see it as part of a progressive strengthening of the Arc of Resistance – which links Iran, the People’s Mobilization Units in Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah, the Houthis in Yemen and now a more unified Palestine.

The proxy war on Syria was a tragic, massive fail on every aspect. It did not deliver secular Syria to a bunch of takfiris (aka “moderate rebels”). It did not prevent the expansion of Iran’s sphere of influence. It did not derail the Southwest Asia branch of the New Silk Roads. It did not destroy Hezbollah.

“Assad must go”? Dream on; he was reelected with 95% of Syrian votes, with a 78% turnout.


As for the upcoming Iranian presidential election on June 18 – only two days after Putin-Biden – it takes place when arguably the nuclear deal revival drama being enacted in Vienna will have reached an endgame. Tehran has repeatedly stressed that the deadline for a deal expires today, May 31.

The impasse is clear. In Vienna, through its EU interlocutors, Washington has agreed to lift sanctions on Iranian oil, petrochemicals and the central bank, but refuses to remove them on individuals such as members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

At the same time, in Tehran, something very intriguing happened with Ali Larijani, former Parliament speaker, an ambitious member of a quite prominent family but discarded by the Guardian Council when it chose candidates to run for President. Larijani immediately accepted the ruling. As I was told by Tehran insiders, that happened with no friction because he received a detailed explanation of something much bigger: the new game in town.

As it stands, the one positioned as the nearly inevitable winner on June 18 seems to be Ebrahim Raeisi, up to now the chief justice – and close to the Revolutionary Guards. There’s a very strong possibility that he will ask the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to leave Iran – and that means the end of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as we knew it, with unforeseen consequences. (From the Revolutionary Guards’ point of view, the JCPOA is already dead).

An extra factor is that Iran is currently suffering from severe drought – when summer has not even arrived. The power grid will be under tremendous pressure. The dams are empty – so it’s impossible to rely on hydroelectric power. There’s serious popular discontent regarding the fact that Team Rouhani for eight years prevented Iran from obtaining nuclear power. One of Raeisi’s first acts may be to command the immediate construction of a nuclear power plant.

We don’t need a weatherman to see which way the wind is blowin’ when it comes to the top three “existential threats” to the declining hegemon – Russia, China and Iran. What’s clear is that none of the good old methods deployed to maintain the subjugation of the vassals is working – at least when confronted by real sovereign powers.

As Sino-Russo-Iranophobia dissolves in a fog of sanctions and hysteria, mapmakers like Yang Jiechi and Nikolai Patrushev relentlessly carve the post-unilateral order.

(Republished from Asia Times by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: China, Iran, Russia 
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  1. More nonsense from Escobar

    Power outages in iran are due to Bitcoin mining,the religious dictatorship thinks they can get around sanctions by using Bitcoin,unfortunately this is using massive amounts of energy which the Iranian power grid cant deal with

    The irony is Chinese investment is driving Bitcoin mining and is responsible for this,and the net results are they the Iranian economy suffers even more, as the real economy has to be closed down,you know things like factories etc,plus all these Bitcoin things will end up in the hands of the corrupt dictatorship so absolutely no use whatever to the ordinary folks in Iran

    As for the Assad election,please don’t be stupid,how can you possibly class this even as an election,even the one in Belarus was better,at least the country there was whole!

  2. Rubicon says:

    Intriguing news from Mr. Escobar. Thank you, as always!
    We’re sure there are many “sidebars” to the Putin-Biden meeting. Usually, the public isn’t privy to all the machinations that go on in this meeting.

    Of particular note, wouldn’t we love to know how Germany is jockeying towards the finished Pipeline with Russia. Meaning, there’s much more going on behind the stage. German trade with China continues to accelerate; a fact that the US Hegemon is not in favor of.

    Another important player includes Italy. Under the Conti govt. it opened up its markets to China. This year, that govt. was forced to resign with Count Dracula-Draghi going down there – to smash as much Italian trade with China.

    So there’s a lot of scenarios being played out in this upcoming meeting.

    • Replies: @Notsofast
    , @alwayswrite
  3. Notsofast says:

    agree, the biggest news here is iran building a nuclear power plant, if the israelis try to do what they did to saddam, bye bye dimona.

  4. The main problem with this article is that it ignores the campaign of lies and calumny that are systematically and constantly churned out against these three countries and the Putinist regime “restraint ” that is now a ludicrous liability, but which – despite “break their teeth” talk – seems still fully in place.

  5. anon[381] • Disclaimer says:

    WASHINGTON — When Communist Chinese forces began shelling islands controlled by Taiwan in 1958, the United States rushed to ….
    American military leaders pushed for a first-use nuclear strike on China, accepting the risk that the Soviet Union would retaliate in kind on behalf of its ally and millions of people would die, dozens of pages from a classified 1966 study of the confrontation show. The government censored those pages when it declassified the study for public release.

    Americans possibly were told that it was in the national interest that pages had been hidden /redacted or censored. American live in a bubble created by the media military and, by passive post -Reagan politicians.
    India and Pakistan are two extant examples of living and paying for living in the bubbles. Long ago Saddam did but the Iraqis couldn’t have done anything about it.

    What we see everywhere is American retreat or humiliation or mouthful description of these as reorientation . When one look back at decayed corpse of US,one would be forced to connect the body to that of British whose empire could still be standing if it were not for stupid WW 1 and 2 fought for Zionist .American death is not happening any faster than the time between WW1 and WW2 of Britain .But the proximal causes can be traced to ME conflicts . ( Didn’t Macron say something in this vein to the assembly of the ambassadors last year ? His own ambassador told Atlantic that US role as policeman was over. Now the police doesn’t know what to do with the badges.)

    Iran will kick out IAEA and it is the end of the organization whose role was to suck up to Herzilya .

    Meanwhile China and Indian borders frictions are getting busy again .Indian and Myanmar borders are getting hotter with restlessness across the borders for settling the ethnic demands on both sides with fire powers .
    Taliban has told in no uncertain terms to the neighbors not to think of hosting any US base.

    Ethiopians have sent the message to USA not to mess with its internal politics .
    US’s only hope is to sustain and recruit ISIS again for creating more problem in Africa. Will Saudi Qatar UAE join? They have no reason .

    Meanwhile economist look at a distorted data and ignore the external cost imposed on the world and say how great the future is .

  6. History is a funny show when you can see it in the making!

    The question I have is about how the European vassals feel about the quantum chaos governing international relations these days.

    During the final hours of the last suzerain in D.C, there was an atmosphere of revolt in the French and German political circles. Now all that has evaporated with the new overlord in D.C despite the fact that Germany is still under sanctions (NorthStream2) and the French backyard in Africa is overrun by the suzerain for bio-weapons labs, drone wars and natural resources theft (the same like in Syria!).

    China is already well established in Africa (French or Brutish backyard), Russia is making inroads into those same countries militarily and economically and the hegemon is bent to fight them there before they fight “us” here.

    Palestine has just crossed a punctum saliens in the Middle East and nothing will be the same from now on. In fact, I don’t even think that Israel can survive the metastatic effects of the 11 day war that it has just lost against Palestine( It was not about Hamas but about all Palestinian people in refugee camps, the 1948 occupied territories, Gaza and West Bank).

    During this historical moment, we saw Germany and Austria raise the Israeli flags in their capitals when Israel was committing war crimes in Gaza. So, Europe is now a land of war criminal apologists that can even dare to utter “Assad Must Go” after every false flag chemical attack that they perpetrated against the Syrian people… What a shame for a continent that pretends to defend “human rights…”… Laurent Fabius (French Foreign Minister) in 2012 dared to utter publicly that “Al Nosra fait du bon boulot”. i.e “Al-Nostra is doing a good job” in Syria – Al Nostra is one of the “Moderate Rebels” financed by France and its allies in the Persian Gulf.

    We’re at the dawn of a new quantum leap in international relations and I bet that Pepe has a good grasp of where that will originate from. The “New World Order” in the making will NOT be George H.W. Bushe’s NWO . ie the Freemasonic NWO.

    Stay tuned.

    • Replies: @showmethereal
  7. @Rubicon

    The only scenario is Russia is desperate,China is sinking into a demographic decline just like Russia due to its huge and very unpleasant eugenics programme which slaughtered 300 million unborn children,now they’re paying the price!

    As for Iran,FFS, it a religious dictatorship! Come on folks wake up,Syria is a secular dictatorship,why do people want these mad regimes,people like Escobar,he should report on the effects of neo liberalisation in those countries instead of this endless blather about countries of resistance,or whatever he calls

    Currently its the “resistance “,is flavour of the month,it was BRICKS a few years ago,that doesn’t seem to be doing to well now does it!

    • LOL: Notsofast
    • Troll: Mulga Mumblebrain
    • Replies: @anon
    , @Mulga Mumblebrain
  8. anon[357] • Disclaimer says:

    Basher Assad and Maduro have demanded answers from Russia and Cuba on Spying report .

    Donbass,Crimea,Abakazia ,Chehnya Dagetsan and Tibet,-Xinxiang region have returned to newly declared states of sovereignties under NATO or under Quad .—-www.blahblahblah/

    GOP can’t find anyone breezier than s(f)unny Trump bathing in Florida to help them sail to victory . This is true of Modi’s India and of Bolsorno’s effort copying Trump for survival while another friend of Trump is burning in the streets of Cali Colomobo.

    At home a riot is brewing the moment one is terminated by the gang from Trump or from the back street of new Orlenas or St Louis.
    Official inflation is 4 % Unofficial is 13 % in USA . Its a statistics that is like CPI – trim here ,trim there and soon no inflation and we are talking of real economic progress .

    Bank is exposed to 120 trillion derivative’s active

    World GDP is 90 trillion . American GDP is 20 trillion Debt is 26 trillion and we just have spent 8 trillion on war

    Hoorah ! Bring it on . While we are writing a shooting took the life of a 4 week old baby somewhere and a mass shooting killed 5 in some churches or in so market or schools.

  9. I generally admire and appreciate Pepe Escobar’s insights. But hating on the West does not make Iran any less of a loose cannon theocracy and Lukashenko any less of a sclerotic authoritarian hack.

    Politics makes for strange bedfellows, even for Putin and Xi. Having Iran and Belarus as allies is nothing to crow about.

  10. anon[225] • Disclaimer says:
    @Neutral Observer

    Speciation is evolution is distinctly differnt process than what is usually seen in the appearnces of differnt lineages,variants,or strains . New species survive . Lineages ,strains or variants die or get swapmed by the dominant one.
    If it were capitalism of 30 th, Russia and China woukd have bben nothing but a giant Denmark or Panama or Colombo or Italy or Kosovo or Latvia of today or may be India.
    Ideas are flags to seperate from the enemis and the friends who can easiky tutn into enemies.
    Theocracy doesnt rule Iranian lives anymore than does democracy American or Canadian lives other than choosing lifestyle,doing drugs,or spewing nonsense self glorification on social media.
    But that theocracy prevents neoliberalsm from destroying Iranin society,economy,and reintroducing SAVAK .

    Lebanon is the clearest example of one more where economic destruction has been brought into by the abuses of neutral international orgganization like WB, IMF,abuses of UN investigation on death of Harrari,support to fioreign attacks and by mikitary threats from West.

    Oneday students would look into these as they now look into the Mongol ,Nazi, and European occupation of Latin America.
    It takes time for ideas ,conceots,and legitimacy to develop. Histriy then is rewritten with vengeance and with certain new distortion

  11. Verity says:
    @Neutral Observer

    And it doesn’t make the USA any less of an oligarchy with a sheen of republicanism on some very troubled waters.

  12. @Neutral Observer

    According to Jimmy Carter, the US is a Plutocracy. He left the WH in 1980 and no longer recognizes the country that he used to lead.

    In practice, the US is a kleptocracy, a plutocracy, an oligarchy, a fiefdom and a serfdom. And all of this was hugely influenced by Reagan’s Trickledown economics called Reaganomics that started in the 80s. How is this system better than a Theocracy?

    • Replies: @Mulga Mumblebrain
  13. @alwayswrite

    Probably the stupidest and most vicious troll hereabouts-with quite a deal of competition.

    • Replies: @alwayswrite
  14. @Moderate Rebel

    Don’t forget ‘pathocracy’ rule by the psychopaths and ‘kakistocracy’ rule by the worst in society. America is all that and more.

  15. Rahan says:

    As for the Assad election,please don’t be stupid,how can you possibly class this even as an election,even the one in Belarus was better,at least the country there was whole!

    Cyprus, Ireland, Georgia, the Ukraine, Moldova, Korea, Taiwan.

  16. PJ London says:
    @Neutral Observer

    “loose cannon theocracy”, please tell us how many countries Iran has attacked.
    “sclerotic authoritarian hack”, please explain WTF that is supposed to mean, and how it would be relative.
    Iran, as in the USA, the real power lies with the Military-Industrial group.
    The USA calls the power front “The Senate” in Iran it is the Mullahs. Look at the Senate and ask “How the heck are these people still elected and who the heck do they represent”. Iran bypasses the hypocrisy and self appoints Mullahs.
    The fact that Belarus does not want to submit to a CIA paid Colour revolution is somehow a “Bad” thing?

    • Thanks: showmethereal
  17. @Mulga Mumblebrain

    Facts are vicious things,and I’ve been exceedingly restrained in presenting the facts especially this whole Escobar disinformation ecosystem thing going on,basically Escobar looks and sounds like a Russian/ Chinese propaganda agent,and not a bona fide journalist

    So no,not trolling,just facts,you should learn to deal with it,instead you choose to kick back and resist you’ve been sucked into a propaganda world of the worst kind,but then what would one expect from Russia and China,and those useful idiots who support those terrible countries!

    • Troll: Notsofast
    • Replies: @Mulga Mumblebrain
  18. @Neutral Observer

    Please clarify exactly what makes Iran a “loose cannon”….

  19. As for Iran, the drought is a sign of things to come. Within decades much of the torrid and near torrid zones will be facing severe agricultural failures due to anthropogenic climate instability, and then we will reach the wet bulb limit of 35 degrees C, whereupon human existence is impossible because we can no longer cool ourselves through perspiration. And thereafter the mind trembles at the thought of the horrors awaiting us in the second half of this century.

  20. @alwayswrite

    Right, you wouldn’t know a fact if it was surgically inserted up you-a delicious prospect.

    • Replies: @alwayswrite
  21. @Mulga Mumblebrain

    Mulga ,that’d be only a delicious prospect if you’re a pervert

  22. @Nostradamus

    To piggyback on what Mr. Escobar report… See this report on the BRICS information web site (originally from a research foundation):

    • Replies: @alwayswrite
  23. @showmethereal

    BRICS doesn’t exist,its basically just China and its junior partner,Russia!

    If you go through the news stories from your link most of it has a Russian flag next to it,strange?

    But basically the link you’ve given demonstrate how powerful China is and how Russia will become it’s vassal because Putin hasn’t created the world class economy he promised,just the opposite

    Besides which booth are authoritarian states,and such states never last,especially if they think they can take on the free world

    • Troll: showmethereal
  24. @alwayswrite

    Would you even look twice upon your comment? A sizable country as Iran went power outage for bitcoin mining? How would that possibly enter your pizza-crammed brain? Dude people like you are just too ignorant and hilarious to make your kike-charged regime survive the ongoing confrontation with China and Russia .

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