Vladi’s World: A Look Inside Putin’s Plans for Russia

With the monetarists silent and the Keynesian policies being passed over, the Stolypin Club may have Putin’s ear, now.

In a previous piece about events in Eurasia I focused on Russia’s larger geopolitical goals and only briefly mentioned the New Silk Road Initiative and its economic implications. Now, we shall delve further into the latter. This article is from Mr. F. William Engdahl, whose research is admirably impeccable in its thoroughness.

Putin: Nyet to Neo-liberals, Da to National Development

The focus of the article is the Stolypin Club, an economic think tank inspired by the ideas of 19th century German-American economist Friedrich List. Compared to Putin’s other advisors, Alexei Kudrin the flustered Keynesian and the monetarist sect who recommend no action be taken, the Stolypin Club have developed a plan to reinvest in Russian education and healthcare to bolster their economy with skilled workers, the cessation of debt-based money, and the deliberate hording of gold (along with ally China) to use as a backing for the Ruble in opposition to the Dollar.

Friedrich List was the developer of “National Systems,” an old concept very much opposed by the Globalists in London, Berlin and Washington. List believed that the touting of international free trade (think TTIP, TPP, and NAFTA) was really a ruse to make the economies of less developed nations dependent on first world manufacturing or services. Instead, List suggested that an economic or customs union be developed for the region first, and when economic, technological, and cultural parity or near-parity is attained between the members of the union, the whole may be solidified under one government, treaty, or set of laws. Friedrich List’s ideas were rather well-received in his time, as Prussia used his principles to develop the massive Zollverein, a 164,000 square mile economic union controlling tariffs and economic policy between the German states in the 1800’s. By 1871, the region had solidified itself into the German Empire, the economic colossus that took the world four years to subdue in World War I. What’s more, List’s ideas would go on to inspire the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the EU.

Therefore, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a penchant for economic and customs unions among the members of the Stolypin Club, and we find just that.

Both Titov and Glazyev, an adviser to Putin on Ukraine and other matters, are founding members of the Stolypin Club in Russia. In 2012 Glazyev was named by Putin, then Prime Minister, to coordinate the work of federal agencies in developing the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia, today the Eurasian Economic Union.

Combine this outlook with Putin’s offer of partnership to Turkey along with the rest of Eurasia, it’s even more proof that Russia is attempting to free up and organize trade in Central Asia. Connecting Russia and China to this potential Zollverein would be the New Silk Road Initiative, an infrastructure project creating highways, rail lines, and communications systems throughout Asia and the Middle East. With the prospect of establishing a continent-wide trade system and a possible economic union in the South China Sea, China and Russia may have an economic basis to sustain their currencies outside of the Dollar system, which the Ruble had been pegged to for 24 years after the State Bank of Russia was privatized in 1990. The use of gold as a backing, however, has nearly no effect on the Dollar, but would be very useful in a time of war or in the aftermath of an economic collapse.

With the monetarists silent and the Keynesian policies being passed over, the Stolypin Club may have Putin’s ear, now. Given these clearly anti-Globalist policies and Nationalist tendencies, we can certainly expect the Globalists to gnash their teeth and shake their fists at Russia. If Putin decides to carry out these proposals, and attempt to break out with the Ruble, expect to see a sudden surge of counterfeiting of the Russian currency. Also expect to see sudden glitches and hacks in the BRICS global payment system, which competes with the West’s SWIFT system. Either way, it would be a good idea to keep an eye, or maybe both eyes, on the Stolypin Club.

EU Leaders Caught on the Back Foot as Refugee Crisis Threatens to Intensify

Refusing to compromise on immigration policy is creating a lose-lose situation for the leaders of the European Union.

The Brexit referendum may soon be known as the first loud, reverberating “No” to the dictates of the non-elected bureaucrats running the EU. Although immigration policy and the Syrian refugee crisis was the primary issue motivating the vote to leave, the EU continues to demand that Britain acquiesce to their own border policies to access the EU market.

EU Nations Demand Britain Keep Unlimited Immigration After Brexit

Even though many analysts see the lack of flexibility over migration rules as one of the key factors that made Britons vote for Brexit, there is little evidence EU states are willing to compromise. Only Denmark, Austria and Bulgaria said they shared Britain’s concerns about open borders.

The EU’s ultimatum effectively banishes the UK, as no political leader would immediately flip flop on the border issue (and disobey the Queen). The proposal highlights the European Union’s current geopolitical struggles, and their single-track mission to disperse the influx of refugees. This unreasonable demand may have tipped the EU’s hand, however, as Erdogan decided afterwards to issue his own ultimatum:

Turkey Threatens To Reopen The Refugee Floodgates To Europe

Realizing the EU’s quandary, Erdogan gives quite an ultimatum, as Turkey wants to advance its inclusion into the EU on its own terms. Erdogan’s recent public commitment to reinstating the death penalty, his post-coup consolidation of dictatorial power, and his rejection of Ataturk’s secularist Turkey flies directly in the face of the Europe’s policy and culture. By threatening to unleash an estimated 2 million refugees over the border, Turkey is attempting to strong arm the EU in what could only be seen as an open challenge to the EU globalists. Capitulating to Turkey means that the standards for entrance into the EU, and EU policy, can be waived or ignored at a convenient time, undermining the authority of the bankers and bureaucrats calling the shots. Refusing Turkey’s terms could be even worse, as Europe and the West will lose an important ally in Eurasia and potentially force a breach in the strategic wall that has contained the Russians since the end of World War II. With Denmark, Austria, Bulgaria, and also Italy, Greece, and Hungary now expressing fear and deep displeasure at the thought of an uncontrolled influx of refugees and migrants, the political disaster that awaits Merkel and the Euro-Globalists is very real. Refusing to compromise on immigration policy is creating a lose-lose situation for the leaders of the European Union.

Italy launches anti-refugee campaign to warn asylum seekers against coming to Europe

In wake of Turkey unrest, Greece grows nervous about a potential spike in influx of refugees

BRUSSELS CRISIS: Hungary set to REJECT migrant quotas in huge blow to EU project

The first defiant “No” that was sounded by the Brexit is growing into a cacophony as Southern Europe winces at the thought of bearing the brunt of a refugee influx, and the ensuing political, economic, and social upheaval that follows. Turkey’s open defiance of EU leadership is a stern rejection of the top-down management of the globalists. As the EU’s position appears to become more and more untenable by the day, will Mr. Global yield, for once?

After Rejecting the EU, Will Britain Reject Climate Change Too?

The purpose of all of this consensus building is not as a means to an end, it’s the forming of a consensus itself that is the goal.

If the leaders of the Western world aren’t already stressed out about the Brexit decision a little over a month ago, they will be absolutely tearing their hair out at the possibility of the “Clexit.”

Rejection of experts spreads from Brexit to climate change with ‘Clexit’

With widespread dissent against EU immigration policy already creating nasty geopolitical blow back with Turkey and Southern Europe, a wholesale rejection of the climate change argument is yet another potential sociopolitical contagion that the West is going to have to contain. Climate change acceptance is a crucial component of the soft power cultural revolution the West has been operating since the end of the Cold War, an operation that has began to seriously lose steam in the years following 9/11 and the Iraq War.

So what’s the problem with climate change? Well, there are a few red flags that are apparent from the outset to anybody who is paying attention. Without even looking at the facts or the reasoning, a close look at the language of the debate is somewhat revealing, if off-putting. One will notice a lot of alarmism, oversimplifications, divisive rhetoric, and silencing and shaming tactics. The actual academic, scientific argument, all of those scientific studies and whitepapers laced with technical terms and jargon, are not an actual argument, but an appeal to the authority of the scientific establishment as nobody but them can translate and comprehend their own theories and ideas. Without a real, understandable argument to convince the laymen, oversimplified rhetoric is needed. Hence the term itself “climate change,” which is a description of an ongoing process rather than something explicitly new. It is broadly similar to “Earth rotating,” or “moon orbiting” in its all-encompassing vagueness. No need to get bogged down in debate over the finer details, or any debate, really. The other oversimplification is the 97% scientific consensus figure. Notwithstanding the fact that referencing a poll is not a real argument but an appeal to popularity and the bandwagon approach, the scientists taking the poll were asked to simply acknowledge whether or not humans have had an effect on the climate of the planet. Fair enough. But none of the scientists were asked about how urgent or dire the threat of climate change is. If one were to poll the appropriate scientists for a consensus on “imminent climate change apocalypse,” there would not be a 97% consensus. So what’s up with the alarmism? How does the time metric factor into all of this? We’ll cover that later.

There are a few finer points that go unnoticed in the rancor of the debate. The very fact that there is a scientific consensus on any aspect of climate change is exceptional and worth noting on its very own. Considering the interpretation of the Greenland ice cores samples, the Earth has been through some dramatic, actually scary climate changes just in the past 20,000 years or so. Scientists have not reached a consensus, or even a solid theory on why the Earth entered, and just as abruptly exited, the last major ice age.

greenland-18kyr

But the biggest anomaly in this mess of a cultural conversation is the question of why there is even a debate in the first place. If the rhetoric is true, and the threat of climate change is truly grave, why even wait for a consensus? Why not just ignore the naysayers and go save the world? The leaders of the Western world are not, and have never been, in the habit of justifying, let alone asking for consent, for their decisions and policies in response to strategic geopolitical realities. They never asked for consent on the war on terror and the surveillance state. They never asked for consent for the financial bailouts and the infringement of our civil liberties. They usually don’t care about what you think, so why do they care now?

The purpose of all of this consensus building is not as a means to an end, it’s the forming of a consensus itself that is the goal. In other words, the widespread rejection of oil consumption, and therefore, an end to buying and trading on the global oil markets, is the true geopolitical goal of this western soft power strategy. With Russia and China entering the oil markets, setting up the BRICS system, and threatening the petrodollar hegemony the US has enjoyed since the Nixon days, a change had to be made. In response, the western bankers dumped oil stocks from their portfolios and have begun funding alternative energy. Giving the oil industry away to China and Russia meant that the value of the dollar had to be pegged onto another commodity. I believe food was chosen as that commodity and the GMO process has sought to create crops that are hardier, longer lasting, and more bountiful than normal to make for a more stable trading commodity.

So why hasn’t this plan worked? It’s because the soft power strategy relies on actually having something that people want, IE the carrot rather than the stick. The GMO carrots of the West, and their bee-killing pesticides, have not gone over well. There are now 38 countries who have banned GMO food or products, compared to the 28 who have accepted them. Russia is also investing in agriculture to offer a regular alternative to GMO crops. Worse yet, the western bankers are prepared to leave oil but have no widespread alternative energy infrastructure or framework to offer to the world. Sure, electric-powered cars are common now, but the electricity powering your home probably comes from a massive coal-fired power plant. Maritime trade, a crucial component to every economy, still uses a huge amount of fossil fuels everyday. The globalists in Washington, London, and Berlin have painted themselves into a corner. For the first time in a long time, the music is going to stop and it will be the globalists who won’t have a chair to sit in.

This explains the alarmism, the decisive rhetoric, and the building of consensus for the sake of consensus. It’s clear that the West needs the climate change dialectic to work, otherwise Russia and China win the soft power game with their lucrative offers of oil exploitation and the eclipse of the petrodollar. Therefore, geopolitics demands that the “climate denier” be done away with, and the rhetoric is cranked up to the max setting. The very term “denier” denotes either a mental problem or ulterior motives, suggesting a lack of virtue or a lack or morality on those given the epithet. It’s a shaming tactic, and it is not scientific in any way as science has always valued a plurality of ideas. All of the shaming, intellectual bullyism, and mind games have the opposite of their intended effect. Rather than acquiescing, people have become suspicious and combative. And for good reason, in my opinion. Will climate change denial spread like a contagion in Europe? I seriously doubt it, but the response of the Western elites have shown just how desperate and out of touch they have become. Their only option is to spread divisive rhetoric in order to divide and obfuscate the argument, and hold what little ground they still have.

 

 

 

Are Sunnis Planning a Reform of Islam?

“El-Sisi warned against those exploiting sectarian or ethnic differences to cause division in the Muslim world.”

The suggestion of reforming Islam had almost always been met with violent disapproval in the past, but the idea is now being entertained in the middle east. About a month ago, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi didn’t just call for reform, he asked for revolution:

Egypt’s Sisi calls for purging religious discourse of extremist ideas

Egyptian president: Time to reform Islam, purge ‘discourse of extremism’

El-Sisi cites as motivation the threat of fundamental Islam to the international community via terrorism and a negative perception of Islam from the violence committed in its name. This would seem obvious to anybody who has watched the news in the past decade or so, but el-Sisi’s third reason is not as readily apparent.

“The Muslim world is going through a dangerous turning point and is facing unprecedented challenges targeting its existence and people, [and facing this] requires concerted efforts from all of us while putting all differences aside,” Al-Sisi said in the address.

It would seem that the third reason has to do with unity. The Ahram Online article puts it even more bluntly:

El-Sisi warned against those exploiting sectarian or ethnic differences to cause division in the Muslim world.

Taking into consideration Israel’s new found desire to normalize relations with its neighbors, Erdogan’s about-face on Assad, and Russia’s campaign on ISIS, a push is being made to bring stability back to the middle east. An unusual coalescence of interests converging around Russia involving Sunni-majority countries has suggested, to me at least, that a power bloc of Sunni nations is in the works. It is very likely that Russia has facilitated this since over half of its economy relies on oil sales, and a stable middle east is necessary if Russia plans on using its oil industry to take over the global energy market. Russia has been a strategic ally with Iran and has had close relations with India and Iraq, three nations who contain a majority of the Shiites in the world. If Russia can broker a peace (only temporarily) between the two sects of Islam, possibly involving Muslims willing to reform Islam, and succeed in the campaign against ISIS, a more stable middle east looks entirely possible. Considering China’s slow-motion take over of the South China Sea, they are looking to control trade, and stability is needed for a renewal of the silk road trade route running from Russia to China to Egypt.

Peace in the middle east? Sounds like a crackpot theory, alright.

Russia Eclipsing Western Influence in the Middle East, Sunni Alliance Forming

A Sunni power bloc could bring stability and order to the region for a short time, but the sectarian conflict could very easily escalate into a regional war in the future.

Witnessing the shock waves of the Brexit vote still reverberating throughout Europe and especially Turkey, the regional powers of the middle east seem to be vying for… peace?

Saudi delegation to Israel: Ending Palestinian conflict critical for ties with Arab states

Being historical allies of the US and new allies in the region, Israel and Saudi Arabia have begun discussing normalizing relations between Israel and the region at large. The key concessions are a resolution to the Palestinian conflict and a return to pre-1967 borders, which Israel has claimed to be strategically dubious and indefensible (probably correctly). Israel has sought to normalize relations first with moderate nations such as the Kingdom of Jordan and Egypt.

Israel would like to normalize ties with its moderate Arab neighbors first, with the idea that it would help pressure the Palestinians to arrive at a peace deal with Israel.

Considering the conspicuous absence of the US, middle eastern states have seemingly begun to focus on short-term stability and order in the area. However, it is Russia’s presence and activities in the middle east that indicate the waning influence of the west. Russia has offered an oil market to Israel and arms deals to Egypt after the US cut military aid following the fall of President Mohamed Morsi. But Russia’s most valuable offering, to the entire region, is a real, believable campaign to destroy ISIS and other fundamentalist Islamic groups. The US’s reluctance to coopt such a campaign and an insistence on picking and choosing which terrorists were “moderate” showed that the US’s concern was toppling Assad rather than preventing terrorism. Now that the west is busy trying to get its financial house in order following the Brexit, the rejection of TTIP and GMOs, and a possible disintegration of the EU, Russia is attempting to fill the vacuum. The fact that middle eastern powers are attempting stability, Europe is developing its own continental military outside of NATO, and Japan is rearming signals a lack of confidence in America’s ability to project military force and defend its allies.

On top of that, is there an even larger nexus within this tenuous structure of shifting alliances? As it happens, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt all have Sunni majorities. Syria has a Sunni majority also, but Assad is a member of the smaller Alawite sect. It should be noted that the Erdogan’s would-be usurper, Fethullah Gulen, also studied Sunni Islam, but is non-denominational. Are these indications of a Sunni power bloc?

‘The govt should give asylum to Turkish opposition figure Gulen,’ says Egypt MP

A Sunni power bloc could bring stability and order to the region for a short time, but the sectarian conflict could very easily escalate into a regional war in the future. Is there a possibility that Russia is attempting to stabilize the middle east to profit on its oil and gas industry before crude is obsolete? Now that the western bankers have decided to peg the dollar on something other than oil, the race is on.

 

Russia Investing in Agriculture to Compete With Future GMO’s

What seems like a relatively mundane effort is really an insight into Russia’s plans to exploit the distrust of GMO’s and replace the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

Despite sanctions and a slowing economy, Russia has allocated $3.5 billion to boost agricultural output in 2016.

Agricultural machinery production in Russia surges 35%

What seems like a relatively mundane effort is really an insight into Russia’s plans to exploit the distrust of GMO’s and replace the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency.  Considering how the west has vociferously pushed GMO foods with all of their accompanying proprietary products and pesticides, the legal strings attached to using intellectual property, and other reasons (the TTIP among them), only 28 countries have adopted GMO’s and 38 have banned them outright. So why is the west still pushing GMO’s so much? It has to do with the dollar and oil.

The status of the dollar as world reserve currency and the Saudi-American petrodollar scheme set up under Nixon and OPEC has been under seige since 2009. The BRICS bloc is now competing directly with the petrodollar, OPEC, the IMF, and even the SWIFT payments system, but the west has a plan. Now that the world’s oil markets can no longer be monopolized via US foreign policy, the west will relinquish control of this market and establish a new commodity to tie the dollar to. In March, the Rockefeller Foundation dumped all of their shares in Exxon.

That new commodity, I suggest, will be food, and I suspect that this is one of the reasons why the west has pushed for the adoption of GMO’s so doggedly. By creating crops that are more regular in output and resistant to bugs and bad weather, food as a commodity is more stable, predictable and easier to trade and profit from. When the dollar is separated from it, oil as a commodity will be devalued as much as possible in order to tank the Ruble and the Yuan. All of the talk about carbon emissions and climate change will see to that, and there are already investments by the Rockefellers and Jeff Bezos into new types of propulsion and clean energy sources.

But there is still one problem in all of this. A lot of people around the world still don’t trust GMO foods or Monsanto, and Russia has taken note of that. In the event that all of the effort and coordination behind the BRICS oil scheme was for nothing, Russia is still planning to compete with the west in agricultural exports. Unless the western powers can make GMO work, Russia may already have an advantage in offering an organic alternative. That is, if my crackpot theory is correct.

 

 

South China Sea a Chessboard of the Far East

Time will tell how many steps the west is ahead of China and Russia.

Adding to yesterday’s piece on Japanese rearmament, the situation in South East Asia develops further as the International Criminal Court has just rejected China’s claims over the South China Sea.

Beijing’s South China Sea Claims Rejected by Hague Tribunal

If Japan has reasons to rearm, a potential conflict in this area would be a prominent one. Control of the South China Sea means control over a vital resource of food in the form of fish, shipping lanes for maritime trade, and an untapped oil field that, by the most optimistic estimates, could be larger than Kuwaiti reserves. China’s commitment to the BRICS system and Russia means that the international oil markets, and therefore currency reserves, are being shaken up. Russia’s economy relies primarily on oil exports, and China has been gaming oil markets by filling its strategic reserves at opportune times. With oil being a crucial component of foreign policy, it would not be illogical for China to slowly take control of the South China Sea.

The tribunal cited interference with fishing and oil exploration, “irreparable” damage to the environment and the construction of a large artificial island in Philippine waters. China has built a military airstrip, naval berths and sports fields on the island, known as Mischief Reef, but the panel said that it was in Philippine waters.

China’s strategy of creating artificial islands as platforms to quickly project military force in the region is just the foundation for a much larger scheme. If the above image from a 2006 report to Congress is accurate, China intends to establish two things with its two barrier-like island chains. The first island chain incorporates all the oil reserves and excludes all other nations south of Japan. The second extends from the east coast of Japan and ends in eastern Indonesia, and effectively cuts off the South China Sea from the Pacific, and the western powers. It’s clear that one purpose of the first island chain is to facilitate Chinese exploitation of the oil reserves, but I believe the purpose of the second chain is to extend Chinese influence, and control over trade, beyond territories like the Philippines and South Korea and to solidify China as the dominant player in an economic union similar to Germany’s position in the European Union. By creating a territorial dispute over undefined maritime boundaries and obfuscating the issue in arbitration, China was expanding its influence without overtly breaking international law similar to Putin’s “slow motion invasion” of the Ukraine. Rulings like the one coming from the Hague today are going to make it harder for China to maintain its innocence.

However, all of this maneuvering and calculating may have come too late as the banking class have recently dumped oil from their portfolios and popular science is all over carbon emissions. Time will tell how many steps the west is ahead of China and Russia. If the Chinese are ultimately successful, don’t be surprised to see an alliance with Japan as Japan has already cooperated with Russia on Siberian oil investments. Having previously demonstrated an understanding of the importance of controlling the trade of a region in their Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere concept of WWII, the Japanese have seen the writing on the wall and have started to feel a little uncomfortable.