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Alastair Crooke

Big Gambles Heading Into Gusting Headwinds


The economic forces – those post war strong tailwinds – that have shaped the last 35 years, and which accelerated gilded journeys through the western “plentiful era,” are no longer blowing in a favourable direction. They were already slowing, but now are reversing.
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Decent Into Débâcle: Pyrrhic Victories, Lies and Strategic Miscalculations


The sense that things are bad, and getting worse, is palpable. There is an undeniable eschatological tint to today’s zeitgeist. Spiralling geo-political factors all suggest extreme turbulence ahead.

Biden and the Democrats discover – to their surprise – that they are in a “bind”: Having thought to run in 2024 on “the Biden economic record,” Biden’s Team finds prospects dissolving in the face of accelerating events.

And Ukraine – which was to be precursor to the toppling of Russia per se – looks more likely to descend into débâcle. With defeat on two fronts (the financial “war” and diplomatic) already established, and with the Ukrainian entity now incrementally atrophying under Russian military attrition on yet another front, Washington frets whether or not to run a Ukrainian offensive at all – fearing it might seal a Ukrainian catastrophe.

Kiev hears Washington’s equivocation on the likely outcome of the Ukrainian offensive; Kiev understands too that this could mean “curtains” for the Zelensky “project” – were Biden to decide that it is time to draw a line under it, and to complete the pivot to China. It would mean literally “the end” for most of the Kiev leadership.

The change in strategy is already evident: John Kirby (Sullivan’s spokesperson) has been brandishing highly exaggerated Russian losses in Bakhmut/Artyomovsk. At the same time that he suggests that though Russia somehow may seem to be “winning,” in reality it has been defeated. Blinken followed up on this theme the following day with “Russia has failed in its objective to erase Ukraine,” and therefore, has “lost” – having failed to achieve its objectives.
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Europe Has Lost Its Guiding Myth


The message sent by the Chinese Defence Minister’s three-day visit to Russia is clear. His reception – a high-profile event – was intentionally invested with high visibility. And at its symbolic centre was a meeting with President Putin on (Orthodox) Easter Day which was consequential, both for being far beyond the norms of protocol, and for occurring on Easter Day, when Putin would not customarily work.

Its key message may be surmised from remarks earlier framed by Hu Xijin, the former editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times: “The US repeatedly claims that China is preparing to provide “lethal military aid” to Russia in the ongoing Ukraine conflict”. But that war has “has been going on for more than a year: And according to the West’s previous calculation, Russia should have already collapsed by now … And, whilst NATO is supposed to be much stronger than Russia, the situation on the ground doesn’t appear as such – which is why it causes [such] anxiety in the West …”.

Hu Xijin continues: "If Russia alone is already so difficult to deal with, what if China really starts to provide military aid to Russia, using its massive industrial capabilities for the Russian military? [If] Russia alone … is more than a match for the Collective West. If they [the West] really forces China and Russia to join hands militarily – the question that haunts them is that the West will no longer be able to do as it pleases. Russia and China together, would have the power to check the US."
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We are Closening to a Move Through the Cycle – But First Will Come Disorder


The question posed at this point is: Is the collective West nearing the end of a cycle? Or are we still in mid-cycle? And is this a four-generational mini-cycle, or an epochal point of inflection?

Is Russo-Chinese Entente and the global tectonic discontent with the “Rules Order” – on the heels of a long trajectory of catastrophes from Viet Nam, through Iraq to Ukraine – sufficient to move the West on to the next stage of cyclical change from apex to disillusionment, retrenchment and eventual stabilisation? Or not?

A major inflection point is typically a period in history when all the negative components from the outgoing era “come into play” – all at once, and all together; and when an anxious ruling class resorts to widespread repression.

Elements of such crises of inflection are today everywhere present: Deep schism in the US; mass protest in France, and across Europe. A crisis in Israel. Faltering economies; and the threat of some, as yet undefined, financial crisis chilling the air.
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L’Entente Is a Bitter Pill for the West


Consequential Strategic Change – Upon leaving his meeting with Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping said to Putin, “Change is coming that hasn’t happened in 100 years – and we are driving this change together”.

The ‘Entente’ was sealed during hours of talks over two days, and amidst a plethora of signed documents. Two powerful states have formed a duality that, in marrying a gigantic manufacturing base to the pre-eminent raw materials supplier and the advanced weaponry and diplomatic nous of Russia, leaves the US in the shade. A seat in the shadows (assumed through volitation, or inability to contemplate such radical transition) reflects the US with its back turned towards participation in the unfolding multipolar world.

With the US in thrall to hegemony, the emergence of a global trifurcation is inevitable – including the three spheres of trade war: Eurasia, led by Russia China; Global South influenced by India – and with the US dominating over the EU and Anglo-Sphere.

But that was not the essence of what President Xi meant by ‘change’; trade, military interchange and monetary system change were already ‘baked in’. What Xi and Putin are suggesting is that we must cast aside the old spectacles of western orientalism, by which we have been accustomed to view the world, and to think it differently and in diverse ways.
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Endgame for Ukraine: America vs America


Hysterics at the Chinese balloon overflying the US – taken to volume 11 – through scrambling a hush-hush Raptor jet (F-22) to ‘pop’ it, and then bally-hooing the ‘pop’ as Raptor’s first ever ‘air-to-air kill’, may be a source for quiet derision around the world, yet paradoxically this seemingly trivial event may cast a long shadow over the US war-timetable for Ukraine.

For it is the US political calendar that may yet determine what happens next in Ukraine – from the western side.

Seemingly nothing important occurred – it was an instant of spy frenzy, leaving Biden’s ‘tough task’ unchanged: He needs to convince the American voter, facing collapsing standards of living, that they misread the ‘runes’; that rather than gloom, the economy – contrary to their lived experience – is ‘working well for them’.

Biden needs to perform this magic against polls that say only 16% of Americans feel better off since the start of his tenure, and 75% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters wish him to not stand in 2024. Significantly, this message is coming today from the Democratic-leaning media, suggesting thoughts of replacing him are already in circulation.

For now, Biden’s allies in the party establishment (the DNC) continue to clear the way for his candidature – postponing initial primaries (in which Biden could be expected to be trounced) for a later South Carolina primary election, where Black and Latino voters would reflect demographics in which Biden might (possibly) shine. It may work; it may not.
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‘At War with Russia’, Europe Peers Down the Abyss


There is too much ‘noise’ in the system, and it is obscuring the view.

Davos has always been ‘weird’. But this year, the kookier aspects were so obvious. The WEF is dying on the vine. The ‘vision’ seems ever more fantastical, and the hubris – inherent in the ‘behavioural conditioning’ to make people make the ‘right choices’ – stands naked. The schism between life, as experienced in the round, and the WEF’s bleak prescription, has never been more stark. The gap will only widen as sharply falling living standards focus the great majority on immediacy and family survival.

One may dismiss this happening as a curiosity. But that would be wrong. The Davos vessel may have struck a large credibility iceberg, but it has not yet sunk.

Rather, the fact of Davos sinking into creepy idiosyncrasy is significant – highly significant.

It is significant because it marks a discontinuity in that ‘odd couple’ spectrum of the European climate zealots teaming up with the US and British neocon Russophobes. It was always an oddity that the German Green Party – once anti-war – has become such an avid supporter of war with Russia.
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Waiting Upon Structures to Crack


Jeffrey Tucker, in a piece entitled How Close Is Total Social and Economic Collapse?, writes, “Economies and societies fall apart slowly, then a bit more, then all at once. We seem to be in the middle period of this trajectory [in the US]. The slow part began March 2020 when politicians around the world imagined that it would be no big deal to shut down the economy and restart it once the virus went away”. What a beautiful display of the power of ‘science-driven’ government it would be – Technocracy on a war-footing.
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