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The G20’s Balinese Dance and Biden’s Calming Words
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The esthetic of UK band Niskala is reminiscent of Balinese musical sensibilities. Photo: Ethnomusicology Review – UCLA
The esthetic of UK band Niskala is reminiscent of Balinese musical sensibilities. Photo: Ethnomusicology Review – UCLA

(From Asia Times)

Balinese culture, a perpetual exercise in sophisticated subtlety, makes no distinction between the secular and the supernatural – sekala and niskala.

Sekala is what our senses may discern. As in the ritualized gestures of world leaders – real and minor – at a highly polarized G20.

Niskala is what cannot be sensed directly and can only be “suggested.” And that also applies to geopolitics.

The Balinese highlight may have featured an intersection of sekala and niskala: the much ballyhooed Xi-Biden face-to-face (or face to earpiece).

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs preferred to cut to the chase, selecting the Top Two highlights.

1. Xi told Biden – rather, his earpiece – that Taiwan independence is simply out of the question.

2. Xi also hopes that NATO, EU and US will engage in “comprehensive dialogue” with Moscow.

Asian cultures – be they Balinese or Confucianist – are non-confrontational. Xi laid out three layers of common interests:

  • prevent conflict and confrontation, leading to peaceful coexistence;
  • benefit from each other’s development; and
  • promote post-COVID global recovery, tackle climate change and face regional problems via coordination.

Significantly, the three-and-a-half-hour meeting happened at the Chinese delegation’s residence in Bali, and not at the G20 venue. And it was requested by the White House.

Biden, according to the Chinese, affirmed that the US does not seek a New Cold War; does not support “Taiwan independence”; does not support “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”; does not seek “decoupling” from China; and does not want to contain China.

Now tell that to the Straussians/neo-cons/neoliberalcons bent on containing China. Reality spells out that Xi has few reasons to take “Biden” – rather the combo writing every script in the background – at face value. So, as it stands, we remain in niskala.

That zero-sum game

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was dealt a terrible hand: how to hold a G20 to discuss food and energy security, sustainable development and climate issues when everything under the sun is polarized by the war in Ukraine.

Widodo did his best, urging all at the G20 to “end the war,” with a subtle hint that “being responsible means creating not-zero-sum situations.”

The problem is a great deal of the G20 arrived in Bali bent on zero-sum – seeking confrontation (with Russia) and hardly any diplomatic conversation.

The US and UK delegations avowedly wanted to snub Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov every step of the way. France and Germany were a different matter: Lavrov did speak briefly with both Macron and Scholz. And told them Kyiv wants no negotiation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Bali. Photo: Sky News screenshot
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Bali. Photo: Sky News screenshot

Lavrov also revealed something quite significant for the Global South:

“US and the EU have given the UN Secretary General written promises that restrictions on the export of Russian grain and fertilizers will be lifted – let’s see how this is implemented.”

The traditional group photo ahead of the G20 – a staple of every summit in Asia – had to be delayed. Because – who else – “Biden” and Sunak, US and UK, refused to be in the same picture with Lavrov.

Such childish, un-diplomatic hysterics are profoundly disrespectful towards ritual Balinese graciousness, politeness and a non-confrontational ethos.

The Western spin is that “most G20 countries” wanted to condemn Russia in Ukraine. Nonsense. Diplomatic sources hinted it might be in fact a 50/50 split. Condemnation comes from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, UK, US and EU. Non-condemnation from Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkiye and, of course, Russia.

Graphically: Global South against Global North.

So the joint statement will refer to the impacts of the “war in Ukraine” on the global economy, and not “Russia’s war in Ukraine.”

The collapse of the EU economy

What was not happening in Bali enveloped the island in an extra layer of niskala. Which brings us to Ankara.

The fog thickened because on the backdrop of the G20, the US and Russia were talking in Ankara, represented by CIA director William Burns and SVR (Foreign Intel) director Sergei Naryshkin.

No one knows what exactly was being negotiated. A ceasefire is only one among possible scenarios. And yet heated rhetoric from NATO in Brussels to Kyiv suggests escalation prevailing over some sort of reconciliation.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was adamant; de facto and de jure, Ukraine can’t and does not want to negotiate. So the special military operation will continue.

NATO is training fresh units. Next possible targets are the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and the left bank of the Dnieper – or even more pressure in the north of Lugansk. For their part, Russian military channels advance the possibility of a winter offensive on Nikolaev: only 30 km away from Russian positions.

Serious Russian military analysts know what serious Pentagon analysts must also know: Russia has used at best only 10% of its military potential so far. No regular forces; most of them are DPR and LPR militias, Wagner commandos, Kadyrov’s Chechens and volunteers.

The Americans suddenly interested in talking, and Macron and Scholz approaching Lavrov, point to the heart of the matter: The EU and the UK may not survive next winter, 2023-2024, without Gazprom.

Next winter in Europe is looking cold due to Putin’s gas shutoff. Image: InsideGermany.co
Next winter in Europe is looking cold due to Putin’s gas shutoff. Image: InsideGermany.co

The International Energy Agency has calculated that the overall deficit by then will approach 30 billion cubic meters. And that presupposes “ideal” circumstances this coming winter: mostly warm; China still under lockdowns; much lower gas consumption in Europe; even increased production (from Norway?).

The IEA ‘s models are working with two or three waves of price increases in the next 12 months. EU budgets are already on red alert – compensating for the losses caused by the current energy suicide. By the end of 2023, that may reach 1 trillion euros.

Any additional, unpredictable costs throughout 2023 mean that the EU economy will completely collapse: industry shutdown across the spectrum, euro in free fall, rise of inflation, debt corroding every latitude from the Club Med nations to France and Germany.

Dominatrix Ursula von der Leyen, leading the European Commission, of course should be discussing all that – in the interests of EU nations – with global players in Bali. Instead her only agenda, once again, was demonization of Russia. No niskala here; just tawdry cognitive dissonance.

(Republished from Asia Times by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: China, EU, G20, Russia, Ukraine 
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  1. What the senses, sekala, should be able to discern is the pattern to history. But world leaders appear to be blind to it – cut off from the niskala. If that could be grasped our problems might be solved and WWIII averted.
    https://patternofhistory.wordpress.com/

    • Thanks: Rahan
    • Replies: @JR Foley
  2. pyrrhus says:

    In the words of Martin Armstrong, this is the dumbest bunch of Western leaders in our lifetime, and possibly ever…Are they even capable of grasping the disastrous consequences of their actions?

    • Agree: Realist
  3. @pyrrhus

    Xi had to face down – “one-on-one” – (((Blinken))), (((Sullivan))), (((Yellen)))
    and the geriatric emergency, for two hours.
    What has emerged from the transcript is the same sanctimonious dog whistles
    that have made the (real) World retch for what seems like an eternity.
    If Xi hasn´t been preparing for war (fat chance) he sure as hell is now.

    ´s ist fatal, bemerkte Schlich –
    hehe! aber nicht für (((mich)))

    (Wilhelm Busch; note that in the end it is Schlich´s turn too)

    • Replies: @mulga mumblebrain
  4. Wokechoke says:

    Very very difficult to believe the US (((Deep State))) would allow the chinks to become #1 economy.
    They cant even allow Russia to control Crimea without invoking Hitler. Xi can’t possibly take such reassurances seriously.

    • Disagree: Rubicon
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @boomerfeed
  5. Cook says:

    The U.S is so childish, are they really the country we want to rule over us? They have shown us in Ukraine they are unfit for world hegemony.

    Its getting cold in Europe now lets see the U.S scramble to keep Europe war as well as their own people.

    How do cold Americans feel about warm Ukrainians been kept warm with their gas?

    • Replies: @boomerfeed
  6. Xi laid out…

    promote post-COVID global recovery, tackle climate change and face regional problems via coordination

    I say:

    God save us from “Global Problems” that require “Global Solutions”.

    • Agree: Bro43rd, Kali
    • Replies: @Kali
  7. Wokechoke says:

    Basquiat, The son of a Haitian Diplomat. Nice signal Lavrov.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  8. Anonymous[304] • Disclaimer says:
    @Wokechoke

    They cant even allow Russia to control Crimea without invoking Hitler. Xi can’t possibly take such reassurances seriously.

    The Chinese know their Sun Tzu, (and other strategists), like the backs of their hands, so I’ll quote from the old sage himself:

    “When a potential enemy talks peace, but is making preparations, he is getting ready to attack.”

    The collective West is trying to reassure China, but the Chinese, unlike their Russian friends, have never had any illusions about who they’re dealing with. So, they smile, play the game, pretend to relax and believe the US/EU bullshit.

    China reminds me of the way the United States was on the eve of Pearl Harbor. Not in a war posture, with a defense budget much lower as a percentage of their economy than that of the likely aggressor, the AUKUS nations.

    The Chinese better have a plan to fend off the initial assault while they finally mobilize their country. Look for a false flag in Asia, perpetrated by us (the U.S.)

    The false flag will be somewhere in the South China Sea, I’d bet.

    • Replies: @Mary Marianne
  9. Athena says:

    The Western spin is that “most G20 countries” wanted to condemn Russia in Ukraine. Nonsense. Diplomatic sources hinted it might be in fact a 50/50 split. Condemnation comes from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, UK, US and EU. Non-condemnation from Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkiye and, of course, Russia.

    Shame on Canada, considering that it helped to prepare the US/UK-backed bloody masscre in East Timor (1999-2001). It has no right to lecture Indonesia. Canada also collaborated in the mssacre of Russian-speaking civilians in Ukraine since 2014, and therefore has no right to lecture and condemn other countries that have the FUNDAMENTAL right to defend themselves.

  10. JR Foley says:
    @peter mcloughlin

    Young Justin Trudeau—–makes the scene–a real legend in his own mind….



  11. Video Link

    Self-loathing Sub-Nazi Slavs must die.

    What a surreal world we live in.

    Self-Loathing Slavs larp as ‘nazis’ and murder other Slavs… at the behest of Jews and homos whose grand design for Ukraine is another San Fran.

    At this point, Russians should just exterminate all self-loathing Slavs in Ukraine. Let proud Slavs join Russia.

    And then, Russia should target Poland, the posterboy of Slavic self-loathing. Those cuck lowlife Polacks fancy themselves as ‘westerners’. They need to be wiped off the map.

    I used to sympathize with Poles because of what happened in WWII. Now, what Germany and USSR did to Poland was about right. Poles have no right to exist, those self-loathing Slav scum.

    • LOL: Kali
    • Replies: @Rubicon
  12. @nokangaroos

    Perhaps Xi should just learn Hebrew, to smooth matters.

  13. anonymous[206] • Disclaimer says:
    @Wokechoke

    Basquiat son of Haitian but American … just like Lavrov’s watch and phone

    Sergey Lavrov indeed ‘signalling’ … that he is at heart a USA consooomer

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  14. Why would Kiev want to negotiate considering they’re currently beating the people who illegally invaded their country and attempted to steal their land? Would China, Russia or the US negotiate in this situation? lol.

    • Troll: mulga mumblebrain
  15. @Cook

    If anything, the war in Ukraine shows why the US is the world hegemon. For under $100bn it cut off Russia from Europe as an energy market and the US will export gas and guns to Europe instead along with getting Russia to waste hundreds of thousands of men in this illegal invasion. Bankrolling this entire war cost the US less than the frozen assets of the Russian central bank. LOL!

    I guess we will have a generation or two more of Russian women taking their clothing for us online thanks to Putin’s idiocy.

    • Replies: @Old Prude
    , @Cook
  16. @Wokechoke

    The reality is that the Chinese Navy is a joke so Xi’s opinions don’t matter. He better keep his slaves busy making us products though.

  17. Kali says:
    @Thomas Faber

    God save us from “Global Problems” that require “Global Solutions”.

    They’re basically fighting over who gets a slice of the global totalitarian pie to shove down the throats of the peasants.

    My hope is that the peasants wake up in time to do their own baking. Thereby to empower themselves, disempower the “ruling class”, and create a better world for everyone.

    The reality is that way too many peasants are mesmorised by spin, befuddled by stress and weakened by what passes for medicine.

    But for those of us who are not, we have a chance, granted by our intelligence and will to freedom, to secure at least our own independence from the macro-economic mind/soul/planet-fuck that is the New [multipolar] World Order of technocratic inhumanity.

    Godspeed!
    Kali.

    • Agree: Thomas Faber
  18. @pyrrhus

    They are a polycephalic hydra, all whipped into the same animal frenzy from fear and helplessness at what they have already wrought, which they fight with the mad conviction that the only way out is through the fanatical reassertion of the same TINA positions that have brought us to this pass, for only then will the rightness of their vision prevail. It is utter madness.

    • Agree: Kali, Rubicon
  19. Decoy says:
    @pyrrhus

    Western leaders are definitely not capable of “grasping the disastrous consequences of their actions “. Washington D.C. is the ultimate bubble and starting with the Kennedy presidency just about every American who entered the bubble chose to stay in it. D.C. has gained power at an alarming rate, and of course, along with power comes money. Boatloads of money. Just look at a list of counties with the highest per capita income. They are not in states that build autos, drill for oil, or plant corn and soybeans. They are near the location where federal laws are passed.

  20. BOMBSHELL: Clown Schwab Announces Restructuring Of World At G20!

  21. Rubicon says:
    @Priss Factor

    Here is a segment of what our W. European friend observed about the group you’re referring to:

    “The fall of the USSR gave them back their independence, but since that year they have completely embraced Western capitalism and entered NATO, and their governments whip up the shrillest, most hysterical anti-Russian sentiments, in a sort of competition with Poland about who screams the loudest against Russia and who is the best friend of the US neocons over that part of the world. Being little dwarves compared with much larger States around them and the Russian giant, they play buddy-buddy with the US and NATO to attract attention and money. And to please US neocons, they act as the spearhead of the anti-Russian crusade. Just like Poland does.”

    • Replies: @nokangaroos
  22. Cook says:
    @boomerfeed

    Its not over to its over.

    Yes the U.S has got exactly what it wanted so far…but they say be careful for what you wish for because you may just get it…and more.

    We will see the cost to the U.S once the dust settles.

  23. @anonymous

    C’mon. Those Apple products were made in Xi’s country, not Joe’s. The shirt may have been loomed right there in Indonesia. If not, then almost certainly in one of her neighbors.

    Haven’t you noticed all the hot places on the tags in your winter wear?

  24. @Rubicon

    Clausewitz (On War was written during the Second Partition) already noted
    that history had shown it to be a disaster to let the Poles have their own state;
    now, the consciousness of squatting on East Germany makes them even
    more unbearable (Stalin wanted to make damn sure they could never ally
    with the Germans against their Sugar Daddy – and it´s still working).

  25. @Anonymous

    I’m not saying that the USA’s military isn’t impressive, but we do need to keep in the neck of our minds that its budget is rather inflated. Just check how much a hammer or a screw costs the USA military versus that of the Chinese military.

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