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NYT Opinion Writer: Biden’s Taiwan Policy “Reckless,” Threatens “Catastrophic War”

May 6 (EIRNS)–Under the title: “Biden’s Taiwan Policy Is Truly, Deeply Reckless,” the New York Times Opinion writer Peter Beinart warned on May 5 that the Administration’s policy is bringing us very close to war, and quotes experts that the war would become nuclear. He also quotes military experts that the U.S. could not win such a war — simply driving home that such a war would likely become nuclear by a desperate and crazy U.S. leadership.

Beinart writes: “Like the Trump administration before it, the Biden team is now progressively chipping away” at the One China policy, which has prevented war over these past decades. 

He notes: “Last summer, Democrats removed the phrase `one China’ from their platform. In January, Mr. Biden became the first American president since 1978 to host Taiwan’s envoy at his inauguration. In April, his administration announced it was easing decades-old limitations on official U.S. contacts with the Taiwanese government. These policies are increasing the odds of a catastrophic war. The more the United States and Taiwan formally close the door on reunification, the more likely Beijing is to seek reunification by force.”

Beinart quotes Harvard’s Graham Allison: “No Chinese national security official I have ever met, and no U.S. official who has examined the situation, doubts that China would choose war over losing territory it considers vital to its national interest.” He quotes Fareed Zakaria: “The Pentagon has reportedly enacted 18 war games against China over Taiwan, and China has prevailed in every one.” He notes: “Within 500 miles of the island, mainland China boasts 39 air bases. The United States possesses two. To come to Taiwan’s aid, U.S. forces would need to cover huge distances, and China has built an arsenal of advanced anti-ship missiles, sometimes called “carrier-killers,” which are designed to make such a rescue mission hideously costly.” 

In other words, the U.S. can not win such a conventional war. Beinart notes: “Some of America’s most experienced China experts — including former ambassador to Beijing J. Stapleton Roy and Chas Freeman, who served as Richard Nixon’s interpreter on his 1972 trip to China — believe such a conflict would risk nuclear war. He adds that, according to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 85 percent of Republican leaders support defending Taiwan militarily, but “only 43 percent of Republicans among the public agree.”

 He concludes: “What’s crucial is that the Taiwanese people preserve their individual freedom and the planet does not endure a third world war. The best way for the United States to pursue those goals is by maintaining America’s military support for Taiwan while also maintaining the “one China” framework that for more than four decades has helped keep the peace in one of the most dangerous places on earth. Hawks will call this appeasement. So be it. Ask them how many American lives they’re willing to risk so the United States can have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan.”

Beinart is a professor of journalism and political science at The Newmark School of Journalism at The City University of New York, and is editor-at-large of the “progressive” Jewish Currents..


An Underprepared India Is Teetering Under Covid-19’s Second Attack

May 5 (EIRNS)—Having withstood the first wave of the Covid-19 attack in 2020 rather commendably, India’s Modi administration declared “victory” and virtually ignored the threat waiting around the corner — the second wave of the virus attack. India is now paying dearly with lives and general chaos caused by global pandemic.

On May 4, WHO figures indicated India accounted for nearly half of the COVID-19 cases reported worldwide in the past week. The WHO said in its weekly epidemiological report that India accounted for 46% of global cases and 25% of global deaths reported in the past week. New daily infections in the country numbered 382,315 on May 5, health ministry data showed, the 14th straight day of more than 300,000 cases. Officially, India has reported more than 3,500 deaths every day throughout the last week.

On May 4, Allahabad High Court (AHC) in Uttar Pradesh observed that the death of Covid-19 patients just because of the lack of oxygen in hospitals, which is widespread throughout the country, is a criminal act and is “no less than a genocide.” The AHC stated that the authorities- in-power are responsible for not taking measures to ensure maintenance of the oxygen supply chain.

In January-February of this year, the first wave of Covid-19 had waned in India and the official numbers showed a 90 percent drop from the peak of 96,000 per day in September 2020. The daily death toll dropped from 1,200 to 80. A sense of triumphalism began to emerge, led by a pack of cheerleaders close to Prime Minister Modi who unleashed vigorous political campaigns in five states going to the polls in March-April. On February 21, the senior leaders of the ruling party, BJP, thanked Prime Minister Modi for his “visionary leadership” that effectively weathered the Covid attack. Addressing the annual conference of Delhi Medical Association on March 7, Modi’s Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan triumphantly declared : “We are in the end game of the Covid-19 pandemic in India.”

By April 4, the second wave of Copvid-19 attack became evident, when daily new cases exceeded the peak load of September 2020. Other than banning exports of vaccines at the end of March, the Modi administration did not take any new measure to either ramp up vaccine production or the production and supply chain of oxygen. Foreign vaccine developers that applied for authorization were told to carry out bridging trials that would take a few months before emergency use authorization could be given. The dam broke loose in mid-April.

It became evident on April 15 that India’s fragile health infrastructure, under the second attack of Covid-19, had collapsed. Oxygen shortages were causing deaths at hospitals throughout India and the vaccination rates dropped from about 3.5 million jabs a day to below 2.5 million, reflecting a looming vaccine crunch.

From one million active cases a week during the last peak, India already has 3.2 million active cases, and the peak lies somewhere in the future. The second wave of Covid-19 has hit India like a tsunami and the Modi government is wholly paralyzed, leaving the people unprotected to face this deadly wave.


West Sends Thimbles Full of Aid to India

West Sends Thimbles Full of Aid to India

May 5 (EIRNS)–According to India Today, 3,000 tons of aid has arrived in the country so far. That may sound like a lot; but what it boils down to is that this nation of 1.4 billion people, with over 20 million cases of COVID which are growing at the rate of more than a million new cases every three days, has received a grand total of 1,656 oxygen concentrators, 20 large-sized oxygen concentrators, 965 ventilators, and an unknown number of pulse oximeters, Remdesivir packets and some PPE. The Indian government claims that, in some cases, the aid is still in transit. They added that the limited amount of the foreign aid also meant that splitting it up equally was not optimal; so the hardest-hit states were preferred.

This is hardly a serious response to a nation in peril from a global pandemic.

A particular problem is that India’s vaunted vaccine production capacity has been crippled by the Biden administration’s ban on export of vital components, which was only lifted a few days ago after major pressure was brought to bear on Washington. Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of the Serum Institute of India, said that their production of Covishield (AstraZeneca) is now about 60-70 million doses per month, and is able to rise up to 100 million/month by July.

Vaccine doses are desperately needed, given that only 2% of the Indian population has been vaccinated. Last month the government announced that they were now fast-tracking vaccine approval, and on Monday Pfizer announced that they were in discussions with India on providing vaccines. Russia began sending in the first portion of three million doses in May of Sputnik V. And pressure continues to mount on Biden to release the 60 million doses of AstraZeneca warehoused, unused, in the US. That stockpile by itself would double the vaccination program in India this month – nowhere near what is actually needed in this emergency, but certainly helpful.


Zakharova Warns of Pitfalls of Western ‘Sanctions War’

May 4, 2021 (EIRNS)–“Diplomacy is being replaced by sanctions,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned in an interview with RT Television yesterday, and this is “undermining mutual trust and darkening the prospects for normalizing relations” between Russia and the collective West.

“The vicious practice of imposing unilateral political and economic restrictions, especially the extraterritorial application of such measures, is an infringement on the sovereignty of states and interference in their internal affairs aimed at keeping, at any cost, their [imposers’–ed.] dominant position in the global economy and international politics, which they are gradually losing,” she charged.

She discussed various measures which Russia is taking to defend itself: consolidating its national financial system, searching for new international partners, diversifying foreign economic ties while developing advanced, competitive domestic industries which lay the basis for substituting domestic products for what was previously imported. New legal mechanisms are being worked on, and legislation “providing for measures to counter new potential unilateral steps by the United States and other countries” is being drafted.

RT asked several questions about ways Russia might protect itself from restrictions on its access to Western financial systems. Zakharova noted that cutting Russia off from the SWIFT system for international settlement of payments “is so far considered a hypothetical scenario.” That said, work is underway on reducing Russia’s dependence on the dollar, a discussion that has been underway for at least a decade, she noted. She referenced that the 2007-2008 crisis “called into doubt the sustainability of the world currency system based on the supremacy of one national monetary unit.”

 Zakharova made clear that such discussions are not taking place just in Russia, as finding ways to secure “the independence and sustainability of the financial system to external threat is increasingly becoming a priority for any state.” Russia will not be driven by the “hostile foreign policy” of others to shut out the outside world; it is discussing measures that can be taken with regional neighbors, the BRICS, and others.

Once again, Zakharova, as other high-ranking Russian officials have consistently been doing, proposed that Western nations change course, and come to the table to reach agreements which defend everyone’s interests: “We have repeatedly made it clear that we did not start this sanctions war, but we are ready, at any point, to do our part in order to end this pointless confrontation, in which there will not be and cannot be any winners…. We strongly support a broad international discussion of ways to counteract the illegitimate unilateral measures. We are confident that a systematic dialogue should help reduce the business community’s concerns regarding the uncertainty and instability in global affairs, which are provoked by the West’s one-sided and inconsistent policy.” The RT coverage can be found here.

The Foreign Ministry carries the transcript of the interview on its website.


Kissinger on U.S.-China War Threat

Kissinger on U.S.-China War Threat

May 2 (EIRNS)–Henry Kissinger warned that pushing the conflict with China is threatening the extinction of humanity. Speaking to the McCain Institute’s Sedona Forum on April 30, said: “For the first time in history, humanity has the capacity to extinguish itself in a finite period of time. We have developed technology beyond what anyone imagined 70 years ago.”  This is not only a nuclear issue as it was then, Kissinger said, “but also a high-tech issue with artificial intelligence, now based on the fact that we are now a partner of machines, and machines can make their own decisions.”   

Kissinger also observed that while the Soviet Union was a major nuclear power, it was not, like China today, a major technological power. “A conflict today with such a high-tech power would be of such colossal input and significance…. It’s the biggest problem for America; it’s the biggest problem for the world. Because if we can’t solve that, then the risk is that all over the world, a kind of Cold War will develop between China and the United States.” 

While the U.S. must remain “true to its principles,” Kissinger said, there must be “continual negotiations with China,” as well as with Russia. It was a mistake, he said, “that we haven’t had serious negotiations with Russia for over a decade.” Diplomacy cannot always resolve the problems, he said, but if it fails, “we have to be sure that we have tried all options.” 
Russia had a powerful nuclear military capacity, he said, but they “didn’t have developmental technological capacity as China does. China is a huge economic power in addition to being a significant military power.”


India: a Belated Mobilization Begins

Apr. 30 (EIRNS)–Friday was yet another new record with over 386,000 official new cases. New Delhi hospitals are beyond capacity and patients are sharing beds and using the floors of corridors. In the next two weeks, 1,200 more intensive care beds are to be added, but New Delhi has about 24,000 new cases/day with approximately 3,600/day needing hospitalization. The Army Chief, M. M. Naravane, opened the military hospitals and invited those in distress to approach a military base. One military hospital with 500 beds was opened, and three hours later was all filled up.

Also on Friday, two planeloads of equipment arrived from Russia, including 20 oxygen concentrators, 75 ventilators, 150 bedside monitors and 22 tons of medicine. The first U.S. shipment arrived with some oxygen cylinders, N95masks, and rapid antigen tests. Bangladesh provided 10,000 vials of anti-virals and 30,000 PPE kits. On Saturday, the German Air Force will arrive with supplies, and Taiwan is delivering 150 concentrators this weekend. Finally, Friday also saw China’s head, Xi Jinping, call India’s Prime Minister Modi, offering condolences and expressing willingness to strengthen cooperation with India. Global Times reports that China has sent 26,000 ventilators and oxygenators, 15,000 patient monitors and about 3,800 tons of medicine to India so far this month.


Linking Up Scandinavia and Europe to the Belt and Road via Pakistan

STOCKHOLM, April 29, 2021 (EIRNS)–The Zoom webinar meeting of the Belt and Road Institute in Sweden, together with the Embassy of Pakistan in Sweden, and the Embassy of China in Sweden, was an extraordinary success. More than 130 participants were present at the height of participation. The first part of the program was moderated by the Commercial Counsellor of Pakistan for Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland. The focus was on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the tremendous potential for European and Scandinavian business interests to invest in Special Economic Zones (SEZ) that are connected to the current industrialization phase of CPEC.

There were welcoming remarks by the Ambassadors of Pakistan to Sweden and Denmark, and by the Ambassador of China to Sweden. The Chinese-language website of the Foreign Ministry the next day highlighted the BRIX event, printing the greetings of Chinese Ambassador Gui Congyou at the event.

There were several leading governmental agencies from Pakistan, like the Board of Investment, as well as regional officials, who outlined the great potential for investments and business in all areas when the basic infrastructure, especially electric power, is built. There were also important presentations from Business Sweden, Innovation Norway, and the Trade Council of Denmark to welcome and provide support and help for Scandinavian businesses that are ready to invest in Pakistan. The significance of Pakistan’s cooperation with China on the BRI was highlighted, and many business interests from China also participated.

The second part of the webinar was focused on the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and how the work of the Belt and Road Institute in Sweden continues to present truthful and accurate information on BRI, despite deliberate distortions by Western media and other institutions.

This section was moderated by Stephen Brawer, the Vice Chairman of the Belt and Road Institute in Sweden, and the responsible leader of BRIX for webinars and seminars. His preliminary remarks summarized three of the most important points on the BRI as a global development policy, open to all nations, and the necessity of eliminating extreme poverty worldwide as has been achieved in China in 2020. He also noted the importance of the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, as a principle for cooperation, in which the interests of the other are primary, as opposed to only serving your own interests, i.e., geopolitics.

There were four speakers in the afternoon session. Professor Michele Geraci of Italy pointed to the primacy of commercial relations behind the much discussed and dramatic geopolitical controversies. Mr. Henry Tillman of the UK reported from his own investigations the meteoric rise of the Chinese pharma industry in just one year, showing how China and India are now the main suppliers of vaccine to the world, as the USA and Europe have limited their deliveries to their domestic markets. In the UK the entire vaccine production has been kept 100 percent for the British people.

Dr. Maria Sultan of Pakistan situated the CPEC in the global landscape of container trade and digital transmissions, showing the tremendous growth in the Asia-Europe and Asia Pacific corridors with the Pakistani ports of Karachi and Gwadar in the crossroads. Hussein Askary of the BRIX highlighted the Health Silk Road as the only possible approach to counter the current and future pandemics, providing the necessary infrastructure needed for a modern health system.


China Launches Core Module of its Space Station

April 29, 2021 (EIRNS)–With the successful launch today of the Tianhe core module of its space station, China begins to carry out the third phase of its manned space program. That series of missions was a 30-year program, culminating in the operation of an Earth-orbiting space station in 2020.

The first phase had the goal of demonstrating that manned space flight was safe. That was accomplished in 2003.The second phase, which lasted from then until now, demonstrated many of the technologies needed for long-duration spaceflight, such as extravehicular activity and refueling.

The space station will be under construction, requiring eleven launches of spacecraft. These include Shenzhou launches with crews and cargo deliveries. Mid- to late-May the Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft is scheduled to dock with Tianhe, after which three astronauts in the Shenzhou-12 mission will arrive at the station in June. As a first, the space station will carry out nine experiments from 17 countries. And China has worked very closely with the United Nations to provide experiments which are for developing countries.


Lyle Goldstein Asks “Uncomfortable Question:” Why Is the U.S. Threatening Nuclear Russia on So Many Fronts?

Lyle Goldstein Asks an “Uncomfortable Question:” Why Is the U.S. Threatening Nuclear Russia on So Many Fronts?

April 28 (EIRNS)–U.S. Naval War College analyst Lyle J. Goldstein again today sounded an alarm over the insanity of the United States treating fellow nuclear powers China and Russia as adversaries. Under the title, “Parsing Putin’s Red Lines,” Goldstein warns in an article posted on the American Committee for U.S.- Russia Accord blog, that people have failed to register the full import of Vladimir Putin’s warning last week to the United States and others not to cross Russia’s red lines, and specifically Putin’s own emphasis on the fact that Russia “will determine ourselves where these red lines are according to the circumstances of each situation.”

Goldstein wrote in his personal capacity, as a qualified military strategist:

“When it comes to fully bulked up nuclear powers like China and particularly Russia, the issue is absolutely grave, since we are talking about countries that can `end’ the U.S., perhaps in a matter of hours, even if we have the solace that we would take our adversary down in flames with us….

“Americans should ask the uncomfortable question: why do the U.S. and its allies appear to be encroaching upon so many different Russian red lines in so many `situations’ simultaneously? Indeed, Russian interests are now directly engaged against U.S. interests, or those of our allies, in a zero-sum pattern on a vast front stretching from the Arctic, to the Baltic, through Belarus to the Donbass and Crimea, and all the way down to the Caucasus and beyond.

“A common sense notion of peace, and indeed survival, for the 21st century must incorporate limits and crucially the principles of realism and restraint. We should not be touching the red lines of other major, nuclear armed powers on a daily basis. The fact that Western strategists seek to probe Russia’s red lines in Eastern Europe is itself a powerful indictment of U.S. foreign policy since the end of the Cold War….

“We must learn to live amicably with Russia or risk a continuing succession of showdowns on the pattern of the Cuban Missile Crisis– this time on Russia’s doorstep, with a Kremlin that has an infinitely more capable nuclear arsenal when compared to the early 1960s. In that unfortunate case, we may again be taught some lessons about red lines.”


Rosatom Launches `Atoms for Humanity’

April 28 (EIRNS) — According to Nuclear Engineering International, this “global nuclear awareness” initiative by Rosatom will be launched April 30. The theme is that modern nuclear technology is clean and reliable, but is much more than green electricity. It is a versatile tool to solve the most urgent challenges.

“Rosatom believes that it is high time to put a human at the center of nuclear debate. The Atoms for Humanity is a unique collection of stories capturing ordinary people from all over the world sharing how nuclear transforms their lives and helps fulfil dreams, both big and small,” the agency said in a release.

The project launch event, “Why Humanity Needs Nuclear”, will take place on 30 April. Kirsty Gogan, an internationally sought-after expert with over 15 years in advising the government on climate and energy, will host the discussion. Other speakers include Rosatom and World Nuclear Association executives, environmental experts, and “heroes of Atoms for Humanity documentaries”.


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