Osaka G-20 and the quest for a multi-polar world


Narratives, cheers, jeers, opinions, detractors; or: the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Now you may not believe that it was a Big Deal, but you may want to finish this lunker in order to see that it was.  Now I’m not sure that Markos Moulitsas had weighed in on it, but…. (just kidding).  First up:

G-20: Russia, Iran and the Bid to End US Unilateralism’ June 30, 2019, Salman Rafi Sheik

“While the global political system can no longer be described as essentially unilateral characterising the post-cold-war era of the 1990s and early 2000s, unilateralism nonetheless continues to characterise US behaviour whereby it unilaterally withdraws from multilateral treaties and/or agreements and unilaterally threatens to “obliterate” an entire country i.e, Iran. If the global political system is to truly become multipolar, this unilateralism cannot be warranted. This is precisely what Russia’s top-most political brass had in mind when they went for the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, where Russian Vladimir Putin held a meeting with the US president Donald Trump and discussed issues, ranging from bi-lateral ties and global strategic situation to Syria, Afghanistan, and most importantly, Iran. While it is not yet clear what exactly went in that meeting, it is by far crystal-clear what Putin must have told Trump about Iran. Russian officials had, as a matter of fact, revealed their position in a few interviews before the start of the summit in Japan.

For instance, in an interview, Russian Permanent Representative to International Organisations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov called US policies a direct blackmailing saying that “by the means of blackmailing and intimidation, Washington is chasing large foreign companies, and not large alone, away from the Iranian market.”

Ulyanov sounded in favour of Iran when he said that Iran’s decision to stop implementing provisions of JCPOA was in accordance with the agreement’s own provisions and that it had every right to do if other parties were failing to fulfill their obligations. Of course, Ulyanov also called on Iran not to invoke those provisions and continue to abide by the agreement. This, of course, does not mean that Russian endorses US “blackmailing” of Iran. Russian president has already announced that they are ready to help Iran export its crude and ease restrictions on its banking system if Europe fails to launch its dollar-evading SPV, Instex (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) with Tehran.”

Now this next is key, and RT.com reported the same on June 30.

@laurnorman   “In call, US’ Hook says still doesn’t believe INSTEX will get interest from European companies. And says sanctions would only apply if it were used for sanctionable trades, NOT for “permitted transactions” — food, agri, medical devices, medicine. @eu_eeas     6:39 AM – 30 May 2019

“Europe has, as I pointed in my previous story, already sold out Iran. And, one crucial reason why Europe has failed to fulfil its commitments is the very US “blackmailing” that Ulyanov was quick enough to point to. According to western media’s own reports, the US Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Sigal Mandelker, sent a letter on May 7 warning that Instex, the European SPV to sustain trade with Tehran, and anyone associated with it could be barred from the US financial system [SWIFT] if it goes into effect.”

Sheikh then writes about some of the Euraisan Development meetings earlier in June (SCO and others), and that as Iran is a large part of them, Russia and China, neither will allow Iran to be attacked militarily since that would upset the whole Belt and Road Initiative apple cart, which implementation would eventually signal Asian domination.  I believe he’s absolutely correct on the part I’ve bolded, as even the Pentagon and CIA seem to have heard of Halford Mackinder Heartland geopolitics.

“Conversely speaking, the very reason why the US wants to hurt and “obliterate” Iran is not just Iran’s possession of ballistic missiles (although it might be the main concern of Saudi Arabia and Israel, it doesn’t directly hurt the US) or its influence in the Middle East, the main underlying reason for the US is Iran’s potential to help materialise the great potential of the Eurasian heartland and revamp the ancient silk routes to economic glory of Eurasia. This is something that directly affects the US’ own global position; hence, Russian (along with the Chinese) commitment to confront the US over Iran in a bid to protect a country that holds absolute vital importance for their route to a multipolar order, a goal that cannot be achieved unless the US unilateralism can be thwarted permanently. Iran is thus a test-case for all of these countries.”

Now there are any number of journalistic analyses of, including detractors of the Summit in Osaka, and for various reasons, especially trade with China and Climate Crisis.  I’ll offer several for your consideration.

‘The Guardian view of the Osaka G20 summit: bad as he is, Trump is not the only problem’, The climate crisis underlines the need for effective global economic leadership. The US president makes this harder, but so do China and several others Guardian editorial board, June 27, 2019

“Japan’s prime minister Shinzō Abe clearly takes this traditional view about the G20 summit which he will host in Osaka on Friday and Saturday. “We want to make it a meeting that focuses on where we can agree and cooperate rather than highlighting differences,” he said recently.

But there is a balloon-puncturing problem with Mr Abe’s approach, and it answers to the name of Donald Trump. If there is one issue on which this year’s summit clearly ought to be showing global leadership, it is the climate crisis. The subject is indeed on the Osaka agenda but, in spite of efforts by countries including France, there is no prospect of serious or effective action. That is no surprise from a group of nations which almost tripled the subsidies they gave to coal-fired power plants between 2013 and 2017, with China, India and Japan itself leading the way. But it is Mr Trump’s decision to walk away from climate accords and to back fossil fuels that creates the wider permission for these other terrible derelictions.”

‘Platitudes at the G20 can’t mask a world on the brink of war’, Nick Beams, wsws.org, July 1, 201
After offering his considerations of Trump’s continual gyrations on war, no war the next day, deals then no deals, maybe limited deals…, Beams writes:

“They are an expression of a crisis-riven geopolitical order tending inexorably toward a new outbreak of war.

This was underscored with the passage last Thursday of the massive $750 billion Pentagon authorization bill that went through the US Senate in an 86-8 bi-partisan vote. The aim of the legislation was set out by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe.

Describing the world as “more unstable and more dangerous than at any period in my lifetime,” he emphasised that the National Defense Strategy, setting out “strategic competition” with Russia and China as well as threats from “rogue countries” such as Iran and North Korea, had given “it to us straight.”

I’m embarrassed to say that I hadn’t realized what the genesis of the G-20 Summits had been:

“The G20 summit meetings were initiated after the global financial crisis in 2008 to establish a mechanism to try to regulate the affairs of the global economy and prevent the eruption of the kind of conflicts that paved the way for World War II, most notably restrictive trade measures and protectionism. The summit meeting demonstrated that these efforts have ended in total failure.”

He writes that Boss Tweet had been hitting out at economic rivals China, even Japan, the European Union and Germany, and demanding that they must submit to his ‘America First’ mandate, he references Chairman Shinzo Abe’s having warned that recent trade tensions were a risk to the global economy and that the post-war free trade system ‘may be wobbling’. He then mocks Abe for his wishy-washiness:

“But previous commitments to “resist protectionism” were scrapped and the communiqué simply adopted a series of bland statements on the need for freedom and fairness. As Abe put it: “Rather than playing up the differences between the G20, we strove to find common ground.”

That is, to paper them over as the trade and economic clashes—and behind them the preparations for military conflicts—intensify.

On the crucial issue of the trade war against China, there were direct parallels with Trump’s pull-back on Iran ten days earlier. At a sideline meeting with China’s president Xi Jinping, Trump held off from imposing additional tariffs, possibly as high as 25 percent, on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, on top of the $200 billion already subject to these measures.”

Then he further features Trump’s continual wobbles on trade with China: percentages, possibilities, backtracking, and spends a lot of ink on the dreaded Huawei and the Dept. of Commerce’s that the subject would only open again after negotiations were over, exactly the opposite of Beijing’s position, while Trump made vague statements that some Amerikan components could be shipped to Hauwei (iirc, micro-processor chips China hopes to engineer in-country soon.)

“But as far as the intelligence and military apparatus, as well as its spokesmen in both the Democratic and Republican parties, are concerned, the very existence of Huawei and what it signifies about China’s push to enhance its industrial and technological development, constitute “a great national emergency” that the US is determined to meet by all means necessary.

Trump’s “concession” on Huawei was immediately attacked from both sides of the political aisle.” (Schumer and Rubio)

As I remember it, the NSA is unable to break Hauwei’s 5-G phones’ encryptions.

‘The G20 Summit in Osaka: The war of all against all’, Andre Damon, wsws.org, 29 June 2019  Similar,  to Nick Beam’s above in many respects, but more incendiary; I’ll add a few outtakes.

“World leaders gathered in Osaka, Japan Friday for the G20 summit amid the relentless promotion of trade war, protectionism and militarism.

The climate at the G20, formed to coordinate an international and multilateral response to a series of global financial crises in the late 1990s, could be described with the phrase coined by Thomas Hobbes: Bellum omnium contra omnes ( “the war of all against all”).”

Damon includes a seven bullet point narrative re: post-G-20 2018 unleashed by the White House and Pentagon.

“In all of the member nations of the G20, the eruption of trade war and protectionism has coincided with an outpouring of nationalism, xenophobia and antirefugee policies.”

…then references Putin on ‘the death of liberalism; which is indeed creepy;  I’d read some of it at MoA…

“In the immediate aftermath of Trump’s election as president, he was proclaimed by newspaper columnists and foreign policy commentators as an accidental figure or an aberration in an otherwise healthy “liberal world order.” But in the subsequent two-and-a-half years, it has become clear that Trump is merely the foremost expression of a general international process: the turn by all factions of the ruling elite, in every country, to trade war, protectionism, military conflict, xenophobia and authoritarianism amid the breakdown of the postwar geopolitical order.”

Pepe Escobars ‘The Russia-India-China(RIC) Will Be the Big G-20 Summit Hit, India under Modi, an essential cog in US strategy, gets cozy with China and Russia’, June 29, 2019, 21cir.com  is too wide-ranging for me to feature much, as he begins with a meeting of Putin and Jinping on June 5 on One Belt, One Road Eurasia integration and other cooperative initiatives I’d brought in an earlier diary.  Note: Modi was hedging his bets, and likely to go with a US-sponsored anti-Chinese ‘deal’.  Barf-worthy paragraph:

“Crucially, RIC – Russia-India-China – not only held a trilateral but also scheduled a replay at the upcoming Group of Twenty summit in Osaka. Diplomats swear the personal chemistry of Putin, Xi and Modi worked wonders.”

“India, an essential cog in the Indo-Pacific strategy, has been getting cozy with “existential threats” Russia-China, that “peer competitor” – dreaded since geopolitics/geo-strategy founding father Halford Mackinder published his “Geographical Pivot of History” in 1904 – finally emerging in Eurasia.”

He spends a lot of ink on thug Modi’s vacillations and prevarications, coming joint invitations, then adds these squibs:

“One of Modi’s key decisions ahead is on whether to keep importing Iranian oil – considering there are no more US sanctions waivers. Russia is ready to help Iran and weary Asian customers such as India if the EU-3 continue to drag the implementation of their special payment vehicle.

India is a top Iran energy customer. Iran’s port of Chabahar is absolutely essential if India’s mini-Silk Road is to reach Central Asia via Afghanistan.”

“Russia-India is already blossoming as a strategic partnership. And Xi-Modi seemed to be in sync. Osaka may be the geopolitical turning point consolidating RIC for good.”

Me, I reckon Modi should be in prison at the Hague for genocide in Gujarat Province.  You also may be interested in these titles on a different day:

Monsters Walk the Earth. Why These Three Countries Are the Real Troika of Evil’; Americans, Saudis and Israelis have become monsters in the eyes of the rest of the world even if in their own minds they are endowed with special privilege due to their being “Exceptional,” “Chosen by God” or “Guardians of Mecca and Medina.”, Philip Giraldi, June 27, 2019, strategic-culture.org

NY Times Admits It Sends Stories to US Government for Approval Before Publication,  The New York Times casually acknowledged that it sends major scoops to the US government before publication, to make sure “national security officials” have “no concerns.”, Ben Norton, June 30, 2019, journal-neo.org

‘Russians Help Iranians Dig in as Final Battle Against Great Satan Looms’, John Helmer, June 27, 2019, russia-insider.com

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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wendy davis's picture

i'm out, and the closing song will be 'babylon run'. in rasta tongue babylon is the great satan, western imperium. hence: café babylon.

there might have been a better world, except we weren't different (h/t the late, most estimable alchemist john trudell. still, we can dream of a world not ruled by this vicious nation and its allies. 'got to reach...mount zion'....

sleep well, dream well...or if not, instructively so you know your internal life...more intimately.

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Pricknick's picture

@wendy davis
Why was I drawn to a picture.
All of the tie emboldened masses that represent the best the world has to offer, with the lone exception of a female in blue and one in black or blue with white.
In the middle, front and center, a likely murderer, dressed in white.
But who am I to declare a murderer, as the picture is full of them.
That photo should be a christmas card.
Many children will be turned to coal this year.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

wendy davis's picture

@Pricknick

and theresa may. (i'd had to click the photo for larger.) but as i remember it, there was some sort of jostling ahead of the family photo, although i don't remember the particulars, save that at the 2018 summit, protocol had required trump to be on the outer fringes with his poodle macron.

but ah, that grin on crown prince bin salman's mug, reflecting his awareness that he's in the catbird seat with this administration. murders can be long or slow, mass or individual, so yes, many in the photo can be classified as such, though opinions vary as to the names.

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wendy davis's picture

@Pricknick

but still... a gag-worthy report: ‘Saudi Crown Prince Feted at G20 Despite Criticism Elsewhere’, newsmax, june 28, 2019 Bidness is bidness. a few outtakes:

"He posed with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and a group of flag-waving kids ahead of an earlier signing ceremony for $8 billion in deals.

Even as rebukes pile up elsewhere — a U.N. expert has called for an investigation of his alleged role in the killing of a prominent journalist, and a growing number of Americans are questioning their nation's support for his kingdom and its role in the war in Yemen — some leaders in Osaka have gone out of their way to make sure the prince feels comfortable.

The U.S. president sees a close relationship with Saudi Arabia as a lynchpin to Washington's Middle East strategy to counter Iran. Trump has brushed aside Khashoggi's killing and said it has already been investigated. A Saudi pledge to spend billions of dollars on U.S. military equipment, Trump said, "means something to me."
(lots more on kashoggi)

South Korea gets more than 70% of its crude oil from the Middle East. Seoul is the world's fifth largest importer of crude oil and Saudi Arabia has been its biggest supplier. Prince Mohammed, during his meetings with Moon, promised to help with possible fuel shortages in case of supply disruptions caused by Middle East turmoil.

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Cassiodorus's picture

Just kidding. Anyway, the Abe approach to world affairs is clearly hegemonic at this point and has been so from at least forty-five years back. Its main principle is the notion that a bunch of narcissists running PR for the capitalist system can effectively rule the world if they portray the illusion of agreement on some sort of continual basis. Now, Trump disturbs that illusion, if only because he's an extreme example of the narcissism which characterizes the political class as a whole.

Anyway, is this Mikhail Ulyanov related to the famous Ulyanov, who called himself "Lenin"?

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"Advertising? Wow! So, people need help figuring out what to buy and then y-you help them?" -- Rick J19Zeta7

wendy davis's picture

@Cassiodorus

is that one, but i did discover an actor by the same name. while i absolutely agree that all of these 'leaders' represent capital, i will say that i'm tickled witless at the major challenges to this empire. and as is often said, dying empires are at their most dangerous, seeing enemies everywhere, making up allies if there are none. (Nato for instance).

but of course trump is only hastening the new alliances, a fact that he may live to regret, or we everyday amerikans will. but it's alright, ma; he's makin' a tank and flyover parade for the 4th of July to show off the size of his ___.

but my stars, how good it is to see you, cass. i hope your absence meant that you'd been finding more productive things to do do with your life than keyboard-warrioring.

ah, my moulitsas jest was cuz his most recent mention here had gleaned...104 comments.

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Steven D's picture

of the perils of attempting to double down on US gov't's attempt to preserve the empire through military and economic coercion.

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

@Steven D @Steven D It's usually the last chance resort of a player who is otherwise about to go bust. Looking at the upward bulge of U.S. debt and the downward slope of the Federal Reserve balance sheet, we've arrived at that last hand.

We had some markers to call in during the game in 2008. Alas, no more bail-outs from Asia.

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wendy davis's picture

@leveymg

insight. or: '♫ ya gotta know when to hold 'em...know when to fold 'em...♫ ♪

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wendy davis's picture

@Steven D

it's quite a tome, but instructive of what you divine from it, especially the foolishness of failing to cede to a multi-polar world authored by 'our great competitors!'. it of course began with obomba's 'pivot to asia', as did the sanctions on iran, russia, of course ('stealing our elections, aggression in ukraine, and stealing crimea')

so...now with trump's incoherent tariffs bombast and threats of war...he's driving others into both military and economic alliances at an ever-increasing speed. me, i hate seeing genocidaire narendra modi in the mix. remember? last month he'd sent battleships into the gulf of oman to protect his cargo ships from 'iranian missiles and/or limpet mines. but, bidness is bidness, as the sainted molly ivins used to say about 'amerikan bidness'. ; )

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wendy davis's picture

but i reckon there won't be any more comments tonight. ; ) so i'll close with iris dement some call 'amerika's conscience'.

how many amerikans are homeless, including chirren, livin' in cars, shelters when there's room, while hundreds of thousands of house stand empty because: foreclosures with no deeds (so many were diced and spliced into derivatives)... ...how many kids go hungry every night when there's tons of food thrown away, and suicides are rampant...NO HOPE...as are opioid addictions...while military budget for ONE year would pay for everyone to have their basic needs met. ah, fukkit, rant over, but most of us are livin' in the wasteland of free.

iris says it right, bless her big heart and soul. g' night.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@wendy davis she's pretty serious.

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"Advertising? Wow! So, people need help figuring out what to buy and then y-you help them?" -- Rick J19Zeta7

wendy davis's picture

@Cassiodorus

but that's just when it was published on youtube, so maybe even earlier than that. serious: yes, outraged, even. 'that sounds like crap to me.' anyhoo, nice to see you again, fellow zapatista admirer.

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@wendy davis
Funny how opportunity, free and poverty rhyme.
Or not.

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May we be united and strong -- laurel