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Guangzhou — Another Demonstration of China’s Superior Public Health

Guangdong is reopening after fully containing the latest COVID-19 outbreaks without losing one single life. Global TImes reports today that the virus has been brought under control, with no cases being reported the last ten days as of Friday.

Since May 21,  three separate outbreaks in Guangzhou, nearby Shenzhen and Dongguan. All were caused by imported virus variants, including the Delta strain. After isolating the three areas and conducting extensive testing and treatment, followed by a further 60 million nucleic acid tests on high risk groups in mid June, no positive results were found, according to the Guangdong provincial government.

Before today, residents in the three regions were required to provide negative nucleic acid test results from within the last 48 hours before they could leave the regions. Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province, has reopened with some restrictions on closed public places, including cinemas, theaters and indoor stadiums, to reopen with a 75 percent capacity limit.

An expert team under China’s joint prevention and control mechanism have also withdrawn from Guangdong on Friday Global Times reports. Again, China has set the example to the world of competent public health measures to protect its population.


President Bukele to Nuland: “Thanks, but We Have Our Own List”

It took just two days for El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele to deliver his public response to the imperious orders he had been delivered by Biden’s Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, notorious neo-Nazi supporter Victoria Nuland. Nuland threatened that all Salvadorans identified as “corrupt” and “anti-democratic” on the State Department’s “Engel’s List,” must be investigated and prosecuted—or else. The list of those names, released as Nuland was meeting with Bukele in San Salvador, was egregiously weighted towards allies of the Bukele government, including naming four top officials in his government. Note that Nuland’s other theme was to lecture Bukele against accepting “malign influences” from the Peoples’ Republic of China.

“Thanks for the list, but in El Salvador we have our own,” Bukele tweeted yesterday.

And then: the Prosecutor General, with the authorization of the relevant court, ordered National Civilian Police units to search and seize the headquarters of the ARENA party, the rightwing party founded by death squad commander Roberto d’Aubisson, the man accused of planning the assassination at the altar of the now-sainted Bishop Oscar Romero during a mass in the national cathedral in 1980. The grounds for the action was the long-known but never prosecuted “Taiwan Case,” in which the ARENA government in 2003 channeled at least $10 million donated by Taiwan in the name of helping victims of an earthquake into the party’s 2004 presidential election campaign and the pockets of several top party leaders. The “Taiwan case” was so egregious that some ARENA party officials admitted to it after it became public in 2013-2014. (El Salvador’s diplomatic ties with Taiwan were only cut the year before Bukele took office in 2019.)

Bukele’s government recovered $3.9 million in assets from ARENA: two buildings, 17 vehicles and $2.9 million in public electoral funds the ARENA party had received in February this year for the legislative elections. Bukele reports that the money will be used to remodel 15 schools, and one of the seized buildings will be converted into a gym.

As for the life-size bronze statue of Roberto d’Aubuisson found inside ARENA’s headquarters: Bukele proposed to melt it down, and use the metal to make sewer manhole covers. “Sublime…” he tweeted!


Beasley Calls on Branson, Musk, and Bezos for $6 Billion To End Starvation

Over the weekend, World Food Program Director David Beasley sent out a tweet, reiterating his frequent call on billionaires to step up to meet the $6 billion more needed this year to roll back hunger and prevent starvation. But this time he named names. He included in his tweet the June 26 CNN video story, “Bezos vs. Branson: Billionaires Battle Over Being First in Space.” Beasley tweeted June 26:
            “Hey, Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, so excited to see you compete on who gets to space first! BUT, I would love to see you TEAM up together to save the 41 million people who are about to starve this year on Earth! It only takes $6 billion. We can solve this quickly!”

The financial worth of these three, according to Global Citizen: Branson, $6.3 billion; Musk, $165.9 billion; and Bezos $192.6 billion.


G20 Matera Summit: Long on Rhetoric, Short on Solutions

Foreign and Development Ministers of the Group of 20 and representatives of UN agencies met today in a one-day summit in Matera, Italy, hosted by Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio as Italy is currently the rotating president of the group. Several of the ministers appeared in person, but China’s, Russia’s, Brazil’s, and other ministers attended virtually. The major emphasis of the summit, whose unimaginative title was “People, Planet, Prosperity,” was combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as food insecurity, famine, poverty, disease, and promoting “sustainable development,” and “sustainable” health systems–especially for Africa. Di Maio said in the closing press conference that the G20 has a special responsibility to help Africa to emerge from a “difficult period.” This must be done in such a way, he said, that people won’t feel the need to leave their countries and migrate to Europe.

The “Matera Declaration on Food Security, Nutrition and Food Systems,” announces a number of initiatives for addressing the developing sector’s most urgent problems, but all are couched in terms of “sustainability,” respecting biodiversity and gender equality, and adapting “agriculture and food systems to climate change.” The statement ends with a call for a “global mobilization” to solve these problems, while it presents none of the solutions that might actually yield results. This document cries out for the Schiller Institute and LaRouche Organization’s programmatic proposals for building a global health system, bankruptcy organization of the global financial system, and reconstruction of the world’s economies with major infrastructure projects.

During the conference itself, there was much rhetoric about “multilateralism,” loudly advocated by Secretary of StateTony Blinken, who had the audacity to say that the U.S. is leading the multilateral effort for vaccine distribution, to which Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi tweeted in response that “multilateralism is not a high-sounding slogan, let alone gift-wrapping for the implementation of unilateral acts.” In his public statements, Wang called for an end to the “zero-sum game” in foreign relations. For example, he said, in fighting the pandemic it is to everyone’s benefit that those nations which have vaccines and vaccine capacity lift their export restrictions. Forget about ideology, and get to work on stabilizing vaccine production and supply lines, he said. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas ignored that advice when he complained that Russia and China are only using their “vaccine diplomacy” for political leverage in the countries they aid. “We must openly discuss the fact that we do not think much of their vaccine diplomacy,” he harrumphed.

Michele Geraci, former Undersecretary of State at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, said in an interview with CGTN that there is a lot of talk about multilateralism, but if it means that 200 nations do their own thing, and there is retrenchment, this doesn’t work. It hurts production, people-to-people contact, international education, etc. What is needed is real collaboration, he insisted.

Di Maio and other Italian participants pointed out that in terms of protecting health, Rome is home to a number of international food organizations–World Food Program, Food and Agriculture Organization, etc.–and that they and Italy will host the July 26-28 World Pre-Summit of the Food Systems meeting that will be held at the UN in September. As this news service has pointed out, the Rome affair in July is terribly organized as a gathering of “stakeholders” — women, youth, climate, and biodiversity groups, etc. — and that its solutions are nature-based, not focused on ending famine. This is precisely the World Economic Forum/Davos model announced by Charles Schwab last January.


Wang Responds to Biden Opening, Presents the Needed Changes To Begin Productive Dialogue and Cooperation

Foreign Minister Wang Yi was the keynote speaker at a Monday event titled the Lanting Forum on Promoting Dialogue and Cooperation and Managing Differences, focused on the restoration of civil and productive relations between China and the US. Wang Yi pointed to the following extensive list of divisive, and in many cases illegal, policies implemented by Trump’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Wang urged the new Biden Administration to:

Stop smearing the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese political system;

Stop supporting separatists in Taiwan;

Stop interfering in China’s sovereign affairs in Tibet, Hong Kong, and Taiwan

End the unreasonable tariffs;

Lift the sanctions;

Abandon the irrational suppression of Chinese tech companies;

Lift the restrictions on educational, cultural and media institutions;

Support research exchange. 

Seeing the list in one place provides a shocking sense of the madness and criminality of the Pompeo belief that the US could abandon international law and decency to act as a global dictator. 

The Global Times coverage of the event noted that President Biden had stated in his speech to the G7 and the Munich Security Forum last week, “We cannot and must not return to the reflexive opposition and rigid blocs of the Cold War.” They also took note that Biden has already taken several steps to reverse some of the Trump-Pompeo anti-China policies (although reports on these steps were largely blacked out of the US press): He paused the ban on Wechat and Tik Tok, the Chinese apps; he withdrew the order for universities to disclose financial arrangements with the Confucius Institutes; and he sponsored a dialogue between the leading epidemiologists of the two nations, Dr. Fauchi and Dr. Zhong Nanshan, who have spoken by phone about cooperation in the fight against COVID-19, and will meet at an international conference on March 2.


Unprecedented Support for Nuclear Power in Sweden

A new survey has shown unprecedented support for nuclear power in Sweden, this is despite a referendum in 1980 mandating an eventual total exit and closure of nuclear power stations. A new study by pollster Novus revealed that 46 percent of respondents agreed that nuclear power should be expanded if necessary, which is up from only 28 percent in 2017. While 31 percent believe that while it should not necessarily be expanded, existing nuclear power plants should remain in use. By contrast only 14 percent wanted to phase out nuclear power. Support for Nuclear power is higher then support for wind and solar combined.

“That answer is higher than the other two together. This has never happened before”, Mattias Lantz, a researcher at Uppsala University and chairman of the Analysis Group, said according to an article in Sputniknews.

It also showed that almost six out of ten still think that nuclear power can be a means of meeting climate goals.

Men, the elderly, and Moderate or Sweden Democrat voters tend to be the most positive about new reactors. By contrast, women, those with lower incomes, and Social Democrat voters tend to be in favor of decommissioning nuclear power. Even more interesting is the trend that younger people are now tending to be more positive about nuclear power despite, or maybe because of, the antics of juvenile delinquent Greta Thunberg.

Lantz attributed the change to the surfacing of shortcomings of the power grid systems in southern Sweden as well as the fact that the liberal-conservative Moderates, the Christian Democrats, and the national-conservative Sweden Democrats have raised the need for nuclear power.


U.S. Naval Scholar Criticizes Philosophy Behind the Indo-Pacific Strategy

Lyle Goldstein had never been afraid to “sail against the current” with regard to his vision of a sane U.S. defense policy, and it is hoped that his view is also shared by a number of U.S. defense intellectuals, who have some awareness of how the world is changing. In his latest article, entitled “The Indo-Pacific Strategy is a Recipe for Disaster,” Goldstein scores the malarkey dreamed up by U.S. policy planners based on the notion that the U.S. has now entered a period of intense rivalry with China and with Russia.

Goldstein goes back to a 1992 strategy document that asserted that the goal of U.S. policy was “to insure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge” and to maintain the continuity of “the unipolar moment.” He also notes that the DoD declassified, long before it was normal, the U.S. Strategic Framework for the Indo-Paciific, which built on the same basic notion. “The authors of the Trump administration’s framework were evidently so pleased with the work that they thought it necessary to declassify it before leaving office and share it with the public, even though the general custom is to wait 30 years before declassification,” Goldstein writes. “But surely they also intended that the document might constrain and direct the Biden administration’s approach to U.S. strategy heads.”

“The strategy represents a fusion of neoconservative and neoliberal thinking and may satisfy large segments of the foreign policy elite, orchestrating the design for a new cold war—this time focusing on China,” Goldstein writes. And what are the problems that this strategy represents? While harping a lot on the “alliance of democracies”, the strategy is meant to include countries like Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore, all of which fall into that category only with great effort. Even with South Korea and Japan, traditional U.S. allies, he argues, it will be difficult for them to follow in the wake of a U.S. man-of-war heading for China.

More serious, he notes, is the situation with changing the policy toward Taiwan. “The island has befuddled American strategists for decades and their clever solution has been ‘strategic ambiguity,’ balancing a general acceptance of China’s claim with a subtle hint of deterrence in the hope that the complex issue could be settled peacefully. The newly declassified strategy overtly codifies the deterrence aspect without even the slightest nod to Chinese claims—something acknowledged by American presidents going back to Franklin Roosevelt. The attempt to shift the policy during the Trump Administration put the U.S. on a clear collision course with China.

“Some Americans seem to welcome that possibility, but they are not well informed about the military balance and likely scenarios. The truth is that the United States could very well lose such a war, a fact admitted in early 2021 by a senior Air Force official, and there is no telling whether nuclear weapons would be used or not.”

And then there is India. Goldstein notes that India’s military potential is not what it is cracked up  to be and that any attempt to promote trouble on the India-China border could lead to a disaster for India similar to that in 1962. And promoting an Indian presence in the South China Sea, he notes, has already led to a major Chinese naval build-up. He also notes the folly for India in pushing a major military build-up with so much of its domestic needs crying for attention.

“In the end,” Goldstein writes, “the Indo-Pacific framework proved long on rhetoric and ideology, but failed to grapple seriously with the underlying changes in the regional balance of power that must occasion a new U.S. strategy based on realism and restraint. The Biden administration should not overlook the former strategy’s foundational weaknesses. The new team would be wise to junk the old strategy and start fresh.”

Good advice from a defense scholar with great experience. Goldstein set up the China Maritime Studies Institute at the U.S. Naval War College. But his article was published in a lesser known internet site, the “lawfareblog.” It is hoped that it will be transmitted further. For although Lyle Goldstein may be a lone voice, in a cacophony of disparate—and mostly outlandish—voices, it does remain the voice of reason, and therefore deserves to be heard.

Read the full article: https://www.lawfareblog.com/indo-pacific-strategy-recipe-disaster


Henry Jackson Society: Britain Should Show Leadership Against `Russian Aggression’

NATO is not addressing “Russian aggression” sufficiently. It is out-of-control and Britain, within the NATO construct, must lead the way in countering it. So writes Henry Jackson Society fellow Robert Clarke in a June 23 paper — apparently written just before the incident with the HMS Defender the same day — published in the {UK Defence Journal}. Clarke claims that Russia, with restrictions imposed on some waters of the Black Sea around the Crimean peninsula and the Sea of Azov, is working to isolate Ukraine from NATO. “Britain is doing the right thing increasing maritime patrols in this increasingly important region, as {HMS Defender} alongside the Dutch frigate {HNLMS Evertsen} from the U.K.-led Carrier Strike Group begin to patrol the Black Sea over the coming days in support of NATO ally Ukraine,” Clarke writes. In his mind, it seems, Ukraine is already a member of NATO.

In light of Russia’s recent behavior, “the U.K. should seek to incorporate the Black Sea region as a geostrategic priority. This must include joint maritime patrols with both Ukrainian and NATO allies. The joint patrol conducted with the Dutch frigate {HNLMS} Evertsen in the coming days is a good example of this bilateral engagement,” Clarke writes. “Building from this, the U.K. should develop a more permanent and consistent leadership presence, ultimately within a NATO framework. Both French and Dutch navies have recently been deployed or are soon to deploy to the Black Sea, with Turkey a major regional actor and close NATO ally.”

Clarke concludes: “As the U.K.-led Carrier Strike Group deployment fulfils the vision of a Global Britain as the eminent European naval power, it is to this strategic corner of southern Europe which the U.K.’s and NATO’s attentions must turn, in order to counter an increasingly assertive and emboldened Russia.”

Read the article in the {UK Defence Journal}.


Gabon Made To Mortgage Its Future for `Carbon Credits’

The otherwise nondescript nation of Gabon made history last week as the first African country to “get paid” to preserve its rainforest. At the end of an arduous, four-year process of “conforming,” on June 24, the Norwegian government distributed a $17 million payment, with the fantastic sum of $150 million still in the wind. The payment was allocated under the UN-initiated Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI). While not technically a part of UN Climate czar Mark Carney’s over-hyped “climate offset” scheme, this deal provides a window into the process, and will likely serve as a model.

In June of 2017, under the CAFI program, the nation of Gabon signed a Letter of Intent with the nation of Norway, and the Multi Partner Trust Fund of the United Nations Development Program, under which Gabon would agree to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% below the 2005 level, as well as agree to perform a series of “milestones”– which ultimately saw Gabon creating 13 “national parks”– effectively locking up the vast majority of its land area, prohibiting logging and other access to resources. Only at the end of the long process would Gabon get paid. That final “millstone” was passed in 2019, with an announcement at the Climate Action Summit in New York. For all its efforts and sacrifices, Gabon would receive $150 million over the next 10 years (assuming continued compliance). Last Thursday’s $17 million payment was the first evidence that its years of sacrifice would amount to anything at all.

First established in 2015, the CAFI brought together European governments, specifically Norway, France, Germany and the UK, along with six central African (rainforest) countries, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, the Central Africa republic, Cameroon, and both “Congos.” The “rationale” behind CAFI was the reduction of carbon emissions. The year before had seen Norway sign a deal promising $150 million to Liberia, a model which CAFI then extended across the mid-section of the entire continent. In 2019, timed with the signing of Gabon in New York, a similar deal worth $65 million — between France and the Republic of Congo — was announced in Paris. There are likely similar efforts afoot in South America and the Indo-Pacific, the other “rainforest regions” of the world, which need to be investigated.

However, the idea that Africa needs to {reduce} its carbon emissions is farcical on the face of it, something which is slowly dawning on African leaders, as more and more evidence of this type of exploitation emerges. Africa’s total greenhouse gas emissions are 4% of the global total, yet CAFI used that global mantra to convince these six LNI (Low National Income) countries to mortgage their future with the promise of mere pennies.

The other hidden force at play here is the elusive “carbon market.” Norway, which now “owns” the Gabonese forests for the next ten years, now has an amount of carbon offset equivalent to 3X the national output of the entire United Kingdom. (The Gabon deal is celebrated for “setting a floor price of carbon” at $10 per certified ton.) Could Norway, for example– at some date in the future– put this “asset” (or a derivative based on it) up for sale, to be bought by a carbon-belching airline or steel foundry? If they did, and got a higher price for it, would Gabon see any of the profits?

These are the questions currently weighing down the heads of Mark Carney and friends in Davos, Switzerland. The weight may yet draw them down to Hell.


Rick Perry — the Green New Deal Is Anti-science and Kills

Rick Perry, the former Governor of Texas and  Energy Secretary under President Trump, spoke from power-less Texas Monday night on the Tucker Carlson show on Fox News, blasting the Green New Deal as anti-science ideological disaster which is killing people, and will kill more everywhere if not stopped. 

With over 4 million people without power in Texas — including Perry, whose power went down just as he appeared on TV (he was able to turn on a generator) — Perry described the freezing up of the wind turbines and the failure of the solar panels in Texas, adding: “We started taking down the coal plants, then the nuclear plants.If the country is going to continue to grow, to have an economic base which is competitive in the world, we’ve got to have a diverse energy supply which will be there when you call on it. That means fossil fuels, LNG, compact nuclear reactors. We have to look at fusion reactors — there’s great progress being made in that field right now. I don’t hear the new administration, the Green New Deal, talking about anything other than solar and wind. That’s fine, but you have to be thinking long term — there are not enough people thinking long term. You have a group of people so bent on their ideology — they don’t care about the future, they don’t care about your lives.”

He looked ten years ahead to life in an “AOC world” with only solar and wind. “What happens when we have this kind of event? It’s 9 degrees in Round Top, Texas. If you don’t have power to keep warm, you’re going to die! There are countless lives that can be lost with the kind of reckless adhering to a philosophy like that. It’s not scientific. We heard all the time during the campaign, `You have to stick with the science.’ Well, the science tells us, if you have just wind and solar, it’s going to get awfully cold in the winter, and awfully hot in the summer.”  


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