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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..


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.


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.”


The Four Days when Countries Woke Up to India’s Fight against COVID-19

The Four Days when Countries Woke Up to India’s Fight against COVID-19

Apr. 26 (EIRNS)–On Thursday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, announced that China was in touch with India about emergency oxygen and other supplies. By Sunday, 800 oxygen concentrators were sent, and 10,000 more were to come within a week. (It was only months ago that China and India exchanged fire at their border, with all the consequent inflamed comments.) And over the next few days, China’s English language Global Times has made much of the lack of help from India’s erstwhile ally, the United States.

Saudi Arabia rapidly mobilized 80 metric tons of liquid oxygen. Both the UAE and Singapore are working out high-capacity oxygen-carrying tankers. Russia is sending planes with aid this week, including oxygen generators and concentrators, along with therapeutics. On Saturday, Pakistan committed for ventilators, PPE and digital x-ray machines. The UK, on Sunday, sent oxygen concentrators and ventilators On Sunday, France and Germany promised oxygen in days. On Monday, Australia joined in. The EU executive announced that they are “already coordinating with EU countries that are ready to provide urgently needed oxygen and medicine rapidly” — though it is not clear what the EU executive might mean by “rapidly.”

On Sunday afternoon, President Biden did tweet that “we are determined to help India…” in tandem with National Security Director Jake Sullivan’s announcement that the long-requested removal of the ban on raw materials (such as specialized filters, cell culture media and bioreactor bags) would be lifted and that PPE would be sent. There was no word on the tens of millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine — sitting in storage, unused, and not even approved for use in the United States.


Pandemic Gains Upper Hand in India; Biden Looks the Other Way

Pandemic Gains the Upper Hand in India; Biden Looks the Other Way

April 25 (EIRNS) – India has reported over 300,000 new COVID infections per day for the last four days – a world record. That means that {one million} people are getting infected every three days in this nation of 1.3 billion. Chinese medical authorities are estimating that the daily rate could rise to 500,000 by June, and that the real numbers are likely much higher than recorded as many homeless people infected with the virus have not been included. The country now has recorded a total of 16.6 million cases, including 189,544 deaths. Worse still, the new strain reportedly directly attacks the lungs and typically causes significant damage before it is even detected.

While much of the international media remains focused on the sheer horror of the collapse of the Indian health system, the deadly lack of oxygen, and the open-air improvised crematoria, the true scandal is that the United States, and other western nations, are not only standing by, but have actually turned their backs on India and are – so far – refusing to send desperately needed vaccines and other medical supplies to India.

Delhi medical and government authorities have been pleading with the US to supply it with Astra Zeneca jabs that have been stockpiled by the Biden administration, as well as the raw materials needed to manufacture COVID vaccines in India. India’s former Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal told Sputnik: “The attitude of the Joe Biden administration is very self-centered and selfish. India has been very generous in exporting and donating vaccines to other countries during the COVID pandemic,” said Sibal, who was previously a deputy chief of India’s Embassy in the US.

“The US, on the other hand, wants to create a stockpile to buffer itself against the next wave. Millions are being affected in India due to the virus and the US is effectively ignoring the plight of Indians”, complained Sibal. “The US is sitting on 350 million doses of COVID vaccine which India could use urgently”, he stated.

The raw materials required to manufacture COVID vaccines include bio-reactor bags, cell culture media, and filters, among others. The Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturing facility, this week tweeted out an appeal to President Biden urging him to lift the ban on the export of raw materials. The SII claims that its vaccine production has been cut by almost 50 percent due to a shortage of raw materials.

To date, the best the Biden administration has been able to do is send empty words to India: “Our hearts go out to the Indian people in the midst of the horrific Covid-19 outbreak,” Secretary of State Tony Blinken tweeted. “We are working closely with our partners in the Indian government, and will rapidly deploy additional support to the people of India and India’s health care heroes.”


Bush-leaguers Warn U.S. Would Lose a War with China Over Taiwan

Bush-leaguers Warn U.S. Would Lose a War with China Over Taiwan

April 22, 2021 (EIRNS)–Two leading members of the CFR from the Bush administrations, Robert Blackwill and Philip Zelikow, have released a document under the title “The United States, China, and Taiwan: A Strategy to Prevent War,” calling for the U.S. to stand firmly behind Taiwan against “Chinese aggression,” but also warning that the U.S. can not win a war with China. The CFR blurb promoting the report quotes the report: “We do not think it is politically or militarily realistic to count on a U.S. military defeat of various kinds of Chinese assaults on Taiwan, uncoordinated with allies. Nor is it realistic to presume that, after such a frustrating clash, the United States would or should simply escalate to some sort of wide-scale war against China with comprehensive blockades or strikes against targets on the Chinese mainland.”

They state that Taiwan ”is becoming the most dangerous flash point in the world for a possible war that involves the United States, China, and probably other major powers.” They express a level of panic that the U.S. can no longer dictate global policy, and their proposals for U.S. actions show significant desperation. The U.S., they say, should: “affirm that it is not trying to change Taiwan’s status; work with its allies, especially Japan, to prepare new plans that could challenge Chinese military moves against Taiwan and help Taiwan defend itself, yet put the burden of widening a war on China; and visibly plan, beforehand, for the disruption and mobilization that could follow a wider war, but without assuming that such a war would or should escalate to the Chinese, Japanese, or American homelands.”

They conclude: “The horrendous global consequences of a war between the United States and China, most likely over Taiwan, should preoccupy the Biden team, beginning with the president.”


Chas Freeman: Strong Warning on Deteriorating U.S.-China Relations

Chas Freeman Issues Strong Warning on Deteriorating U.S.-China Relations

April 21 (EIRNS)—Chas Freeman, a former Defense official and diplomat with extensive knowledge of China-U.S. relations, issued a strong warning to the U.S. on the deterioration of relations between the two superpowers in an April 15 speech to the University of Idaho. He noted: “China is now in some ways more connected internationally than the United States. It is the largest foreign trade partner of most of the world’s economies, including the world’s largest—the European Union (EU). Its preeminence in global trade and investment flows is growing. The 700,000 Chinese students now enrolled in degree programs abroad dwarf the less than 60,000 students from the United States doing the same. American universities still attract over one million foreign students annually but nearly half a million international students now opt to study in China. China’s role in global science and technological innovation is growing, while America’s is slipping.

On militarily matters, he says the U.S. “containment” of China in the past, especially regarding Taiwan, was based on an overwhelming advantage on the U.S. side. This containment prevented China from “effectively asserting ancient claims to islands in its near seas, while opening the way for other claimants to occupy them.” Now, however, “the Chinese military can now defend their country against any conceivable foreign attack. They also appear to be capable of taking Taiwan over American opposition—even if only at tremendous cost to themselves, Taiwan, and the United States.” The U.S. military presence in the region today, Freeman said, “has the effect of backing and bolstering Taiwan’s refusal to talk about—still less negotiate—a relationship with the rest of China that might meet the minimal requirements of Chinese nationalism and thereby perpetuate peace.” 

As to the U.S. rallying its “friends and allies” to join in opposing China, “it will discover that few of them share the all-out animus against China to which so many Americans have become committed….

On the BRI, Freeman makes the interesting point: “The Greeks invented the concept of a ‘Europe’ distinct from what they called ‘Asia.’ Chinese connectivity programs (the ‘Belt and Road’) are recreating a single ‘Eurasia.’ Many countries in that vast expanse see an increasingly wealthy and powerful China as an ineluctable part of their own future and prosperity. Some seem more worried about collateral damage from aggressive actions by the United States than about great Han chauvinism. Few find the injustices of contemporary Chinese authoritarianism attractive, but fewer still are inclined to bandwagon with the United States against China….”

He notes China’s major advances in science and education, compared to the U.S., which is in “chronic fiscal deficit, immobilized by political gridlock, and mired in never-ending wars that divert funds needed for domestic rejuvenation to preeminence in global science, technology, and education.” The foolish U.S. move of “excluding Beijing from international cooperation in space (has) led to an increasingly robust set of indigenous Chinese space-based capabilities, many of which are of military relevance.

On U.S. sanctions, he adds: “It is generating an active threat to the U.S. dollar’s seven-decade-long command of international trade settlement. Increased use of other currencies menaces both the efficacy of U.S. sanctions and the continued exemption of the American economy from balance of trade and payments constraints that affect other countries…. The domestic and foreign purchasers of U.S. government debt could conclude that it is backed by little more than ‘modern monetary theory’ and cease to buy it. This alone would end the ‘exorbitant privilege’ of the United States, deprive Washington of the ability to enforce unilateral sanctions, and make the American dominance of the Indo-Pacific economically unsustainable.” 

There is much more; a full transcript of Freeman’s speech is here.


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