The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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HONG KONG - Does it make sense to talk about a Beijing-Tehran axis? Apparently no, when one learns that Iran's application to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was flatly denied at the 2008 summit in Tajikistan. Apparently yes, when one sees how the military dictatorship of the mullahtariat in Tehran... Read More
Future historians may well agree that the 21st century Silk Road first opened for business on December 14, 2009. That was the day a crucial stretch of pipeline officially went into operation, linking the fabulously energy-rich state of Turkmenistan (via Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan) to Xinjiang province in China’s far west. Hyperbole did not deter the... Read More
This is a version of a paper presented this week at the annual conference of the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore. SINGAPORE - Ask Western elites - oh, those were the days, in the 17th century, when the rise of European sea powers led to the collapse of the caravan trade... Read More
While the whole world was terrified by the prospect of the Obama administration bombing Syria, Chinese President Xi Jinping was busy doing the Silk Road. One has to love that famous Deng Xiaoping dictum; "Always maintain a low profile". This being the second-largest economy in the world, "low profile" always packs a mighty punch. Cue... Read More
This is it. China has had enough. The (diplomatic) gloves are off. It’s time to build a “de-Americanized” world. It’s time for a “new international reserve currency” to replace the US dollar. It’s all here, in a Xinhua editorial, straight from the dragon’s mouth. And the year is only 2013. Fasten your seat belts –... Read More
If there were any remaining doubts about the unlimited stupidity Western corporate media is capable of dishing out, the highlight of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing has been defined as Russian President Vladimir Putin supposedly “hitting” on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s wife – and the subsequent Chinese censoring of the moment when... Read More
Now how do you top this as a geopolitical entrance? Eight JF-17 Thunder fighter jets escorting Chinese President Xi Jinping on board an Air China Boeing as he enters Pakistani air space. And these JF-17s are built as a China-Pakistan joint project. Silk Road? Better yet; silk skyway. Just to drive the point home –... Read More
The real Masters of the Universe in the U.S. are no weathermen, but arguably they’re starting to feel which way the wind is blowing. History may signal it all started with this week’s trip to Sochi, led by their paperboy, Secretary of State John Kerry, who met with Foreign Minister Lavrov and then with President... Read More
Now how do you top this as a geopolitical entrance? Eight JF-17 Thunder fighter jets escorting Chinese President Xi Jinping on board an Air China Boeing as he enters Pakistani air space. And these JF-17s are built as a China-Pakistan joint project. Silk Road? Better yet; silk skyway. Just to drive the point home –... Read More
He came, he saw, and he pocketed all the deals that matter. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s tour of Southwest Asia – Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt – could easily be sold anywhere as your typical Chinese-style win-win. On the PR arena, Xi did a sterling job polishing China’s image as a global power. Beijing scored... Read More
The key takeaway of the 20th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) – 30 ministers from 21 nations and 880 CEOs attending – predictably was all about the key socioeconomic story of the 21st century: Eurasia integration. President Putin put it quite mildly, actually, when he said that, «with our partners, we believe the Eurasian... Read More
Whenever President Vladimir Putin stresses Russia’s «all-embracing and strategic partnership» with China, one can hear the proverbial howls of anger emanating from the neocon/neoliberalcon axis in the Beltway. As he met Chinese president Xi Jinping in Beijng this past Saturday, Putin even allowed himself an understatement; «To say we have a strategic cooperation is not... Read More
Almost six years ago, President Putin proposed to Germany ‘the creation of a harmonious economic community stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok.’ This idea represented an immense trade emporium uniting Russia and the EU, or, in Putin’s words, “a unified continental market with a capacity worth trillions of dollars.” In a nutshell: Eurasia integration. Washington panicked.... Read More
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Almost six years ago, President Putin proposed to Germany ‘the creation of a harmonious economic community stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok.’ This idea represented an immense trade emporium uniting Russia and the EU, or, in Putin’s words, “a unified continental market with a capacity worth trillions of dollars.” In a nutshell: Eurasia integration. Washington panicked.... Read More
A half-hearted near handshake between US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin before and after they spoke «for about four minutes», standing up, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Lima, Peru, captured to perfection the melancholic dwindling of the Obama era. A whirlwind flashback of the fractious relationship... Read More
If it’s a trade war with China he would rather have, the new president will find himself on the back foot from day one Hysteria reigns supreme at the dawn of the Trump era, with the President rebranded across the whole ideological spectrum as an American Mao or even an American Hitler. Let’s step away... Read More
History will record the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing marked the juncture where the 21st century New Silk Roads assumed their full character of Globalization 2.0, or “inclusive globalization,” as defined by President Xi Jinping in Davos earlier this year. I have dealt with the monumental stakes here and here. Terminology, of course, remains... Read More
Inclusive globalization, win-win global trade, Made in China 2025 ... President Xi uses Belt and Road Forum to explain...
President Xi Jinping, in his keynote speech that opened the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, did his best to explain the future of the New Silk Roads. Xi said that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – that what was once “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) – is a multilateral... Read More
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Amid the proverbial doom and gloom pervading all things Syria, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune sometimes yield, well, good fortune. Take what happened this past Sunday in Beijing. The China-Arab Exchange Association and the Syrian Embassy organized a Syria Day Expo crammed with hundreds of Chinese specialists in infrastructure investment. It was a... Read More
China's Belt and Road Initiative – the New Silk Road – will spark the country's development and turn the dream into...
Now that President Xi Jinping has been duly elevated to the Chinese Communist Party pantheon in the rarified company of Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory, the world will have plenty of time to digest the meaning of “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.” Xi himself, in his... Read More
Xi's extended tenure could embody the guarantee China needs to continue its anti-corruption purge and guide the ongoing...
It took only two sentences for Xinhua to make the historical announcement; the Central Committee of the CCCP “proposed to remove the expression that ‘the president and vice-president of the People’s Republic of China shall serve no more than two consecutive terms’ from the country’s constitution.” That will be all but confirmed at the end... Read More
New Silk Road infrastructure projects could bring back a peaceful and prosperous Eurasia
The geopolitical focus of the still young 21st century spans the Indian Ocean from the Persian Gulf all the way to the South China Sea alongside the spectrum from Southwest Asia to Central Asia and China. That happens to configure the prime playing ground, overland and maritime, of the New Silk Roads, or the Belt... Read More
The geopolitical focus of the still young 21st century spans the Indian Ocean from the Persian Gulf all the way to the South China Sea alongside the spectrum from Southwest Asia to Central Asia and China. That happens to configure the prime playing ground, overland and maritime, of the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. Belt and... Read More
It came out as a sort of minor scandal – considering the ’24/7 post-truth news cycle.’ Of the 28 EU ambassadors in Beijing, 27, with the exception of Hungary’s, signed an internal report criticizing the New Silk Roads as a non-transparent threat to free trade, allegedly favoring unfair competition by Chinese conglomerates. The report was... Read More
US sanctions on Iran should be interpreted as a piece in a much larger chessboard
Hysteria reigned supreme after the first round of US sanctions were reinstated against Iran over the past week. War scenarios abound, and yet the key aspect of the economic war unleashed by the Trump administration has been overlooked: Iran is a major piece in a much larger chessboard. The US sanctions offensive, launched after Washington’s... Read More
Russia is keen to push economic integration with parts of Asia and this fits in with China's Belt and Road Initiative
The concept of Greater Eurasia has been discussed at the highest levels of Russian academia and policy-making for some time. This week the policy was presented at the Council of Ministers and looks set to be enshrined, without fanfare, as the main guideline of Russian foreign policy for the foreseeable future. President Putin is unconditionally... Read More
These days, the trade “war” between the Trump administration and China is regularly in the headlines and, sometimes, so are the bases the Chinese are building in the South China Sea, the ships the U.S. Navy is sending ever more provocatively close to them, and the potential clashes that might result. But the global nature... Read More
President Xi Jinping is due to arrive in Italy for an official visit on March 22. The top theme of discussion will be the New Silk Road, or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). A day earlier, in Brussels, the EU is to debate a common strategy related to Chinese investments in Europe. A substantial... Read More
Sleepy, landlocked Laos is undergoing rapid changes as China builds connections to mainland Southeast Asia
The small wooden boats slowly make their way down the brown waters of the Mekong at sunset. Flowing meditation – just enjoying the silence, watching the river flow. Then, suddenly, in the distance, an apparition – a row of cement Ts. Like a high-tech divinity, the 21st century irrupts across the immemorial Mekong, which in... Read More
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Your Geopolitical Quiz for the Day: Two countries are embroiled in a ferocious rivalry. One country's meteoric growth has put it on a path to become the world's biggest economic superpower while the other country appears to be slipping into irreversible decline. Which country will lead the world into the future? Country A builds factories... Read More
While the United States has been intimidating dozens of countries all over the world, two cuddly Chinese giant pandas – a three year old male called Ru Yi, and a female one year younger, named Ding Ding – were settling down in their new home, inside the legendary Moscow Zoo. Chewing bamboo shoots, and obviously... Read More
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Since our media have confined themselves to unsupported allegations, I’ve collected several first-hand accounts of happenings in Xinjiang, an area of China I myself have never visited. Many Chinese consider Uyghurs the descendants of a marooned, white imperialist army living on land that was China’s long before they arrived. Edgar Snow[1] visited Xinjiang in 1937... Read More
Erdogan looks set to buy Russian missile defense system in defiance of US and NATO, tying his cart to China and Russia
Turkey is a key hub in the emerging New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative. Erdogan is a master at selling Turkey as the ultimate East-West crossroads. He has also expressed much interest in joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), led by Russia-China, whose annual summit took place in Bishkek a few days before... Read More
Most of the people in the West or in North Asia usually never think about it, but Southeast Asia is one of the most depressed and depressing parts of the world. It has been through genocides, wars and atrocious military regimes. Then, those monstrous income disparities. According to The Bangkok Post, in 2018, “the 10%... Read More
Modi and Putin discuss business and joint ventures at an economic conference in the Far East
There’s no way to follow the complex inner workings of the Eurasia integration process without considering what takes place annually at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. BRICS for the moment may be dead – considering the nasty cocktail of economic brutalism and social intolerance delivered by the incendiary “Captain” Bolsonaro in Brazil. Yet RIC... Read More
Biggest story at ASEAN was convergence of moves toward Asia integration, leaving Delhi out for now
A pan-Asia high-speed train has left the station – and India – behind. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which would have been the largest free trade deal in the world, was not signed in Bangkok. It will probably be signed next year in Vietnam, assuming New Delhi goes beyond what ASEAN, with diplomatic finesse... Read More
US-Australia-Japan alternative to Belt and Road helps explain why the US sent a junior delegation to Thailand and why...
Chinese President Xi Jinping six years ago launched New Silk Roads, now better known as the Belt and Road Initiative, the largest, most ambitious, pan-Eurasian infrastructure project of the 21st century. Under the Trump administration, Belt and Road has been utterly demonized 24/7: a toxic cocktail of fear and doubt, with Beijing blamed for everything... Read More
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Eurasia has most of the world's wealth, resources, and population — yet there is very low economic connectivity. A Sino-Russian partnership can collectively create a gravitational pull that allows them to capture the geoeconomic levers of power by creating an alternative to the Western-centric model. This entails developing new global value chains that captures the... Read More
The pros and cons of being the Heartland in the 21st century
Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Crossing Tajikistan from west to northeast – Dushanbe to the Tajik-Kyrgyz border – and then Kyrgyzstan from south to north all the way to Bishkek via Osh, is one of the most extraordinary road trips on earth. Not only this is prime Ancient Silk Road territory but now is being propelled as a... Read More
Central Asia, betweem China and Europe, is bustling
We are cruising on a pristine, 380 km-long four-lane superhighway from Almaty to Khorgos – finished in 2016 for $1.25 billion, 85% of the cost covered by a World Bank loan. And then, suddenly, riding parallel to us, there’s the real superstar of New Silk Road connectivity. Meet Yuxinou, the container cargo train plying back... Read More
Chinese container cargo trucks after crossing the Kulma pass at the Tajik-China border. Photo: Pepe Escobar / Asia Times
This is arguably the ultimate road trip on earth. Marco Polo did it. All the legendary Silk Road explorers did it. Traveling the Pamir Highway back to back, as a harsh winter approaches, able to appreciate it in full, in silence and solitude, offers not only a historical plunge into the intricacies of the ancient... Read More
Chinese cargo truck coming from the Kyrgiz-China border. Photo: Asia Times / Pepe Escobar
This journey into the past also reaches the heart of 21st century China’s New Silk Roads strategy
At the start of the Tang dynasty, in the early 7th century, a young wandering monk embarked on a 16-year long voyage from the imperial capital Chang’an (today’s Xian) to India to collect Buddhist manuscripts. At the time Chang’an was six times bigger than Rome at its height, with a population of over one million... Read More
Coming decade could see the US take on Russia, China and Iran over the New Silk Road connection
The Raging Twenties started with a bang with the targeted assassination of Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani. Yet a bigger bang awaits us throughout the decade: the myriad declinations of the New Great Game in Eurasia, which pits the US against Russia, China and Iran, the three major nodes of Eurasia integration. Every game-changing act in... Read More
The Middle East is the key to wide-ranging, economic, interlinked integration, and peace
Under the cascading roar of the 24/7 news cycle cum Twitter eruptions, it’s easy for most of the West, especially the US, to forget the basics about the interaction of Eurasia with its western peninsula, Europe. Asia and Europe have been trading goods and ideas since at least 3,500 BC. Historically, the flux may have... Read More
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The New Silk Roads – or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – were launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, first in Central Asia (Nur-Sultan) and then Southeast Asia (Jakarta). One year later, the Chinese economy overtook the U.S. on a PPP basis. Inexorably, year after year since the start of the millennium, the U.S.... Read More
When President Xi Jinping was on a phone call in mid-March with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti, before the arrival of a China Eastern flight from Shanghai to Milan full of medical help, the key takeaway was the Chinese pledge to develop a Health Silk Road (Jiankang Sichou Zhilu). That was in fact already inbuilt... Read More
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Beijing is turbocharging its Belt and Road and other game-changing plans despite Covid-19 and US hybrid warfare
Amid the deepest economic contraction in nearly a century, President Xi Jinping had already made it very clear, last month, that China should be ready for unprecedented, relentless foreign challenges. He was not referring only to the possible decoupling of global supply chains and the non-stop demonization of every project related to the New Silk... Read More
The key takeaways of the Two Sessions of the 13th National People’s Congress in Beijing are already in the public domain. In a nutshell: no GDP target for 2020; a budget deficit of at least 3.6% of GDP; one trillion yuan in special treasury bonds; corporate fees/taxes cut by 2.5 trillion yuan; a defense budget... Read More
Two of the US’s top “strategic threats” are getting closer and closer within the scope of the New Silk Roads – the leading 21st century project of economic integration across Eurasia. The Deep State will not be amused. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi blasted as "lies" a series of rumors about the “transparent roadmap”... Read More
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Wherever there is mass murder in the Middle East, there you find the Israeli fingerprint. And it was always forever thus. Time and time again, since 1948, Israel has demonstrated that it solves all its regional problems with violent terroristic solutions that change the political and geostrategic equation in its favor. Time and time again,... Read More
PastClassics
The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
Our Reigning Political Puppets, Dancing to Invisible Strings