and Beijing have teamed up and appear determined to send a message to
the White House, singly and together, which translated could mean,
“Don’t mess with us” and “Stay clear of our allies.”
countries are currently playing war games together with Uzbekistan,
Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, all members of the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization (SCO), considered a buffer to US oil and gas
ambitions in the Caspian.
The SCO claims its mission is
counterterrorist but while Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia have been
invited to attend an associated Aug. 16 summit, the US has been
This comes hard on the heels of a not subtle Chinese
threat to the American economy. Last week, two Chinese officials made
statements, which did nothing to settle market jitters.
essence, they warned the US to quit pressuring China to revalue its
yuan or else it could decide to dump its dollar reserves, worth $1,330
billion and cash in its US Treasury bonds, roughly valued at $900
In the unlikely event of China following through on the
implied threat, the ensuing economic carnage could make the 1929 Wall
Street Crash look like a picnic because other countries would be
panicked into following suit. Incredibly, some 45 percent of America’s
foreign debt is held by foreigners, which leaves the US in an extremely
Not to be outdone in the audacity-stakes,
Russia claims to have buzzed a US airbase on the Pacific island of Guam
in a show of its military resurgence.
According to the Russian military, two of its bombers were intercepted by US jets.
pilots smiled at one another, says Russia, before going their separate
ways. The Pentagon denies any such interception ever took place.
new confidence derives from its friends in powerful places plus the
fact it is swimming in oil and gas wealth, partly because Bush’s wars
and aggressive Middle East foreign policy has driven up prices.
recent foray into the Arctic where divers erected rustproof titanium
Russian flag on the seabed of the North Pole was interpreted by some as
Russia having laid claim to some of the world’s largest untapped
In the past, the logistics of tapping
into those reserves were daunting, not to mention uneconomical, but now
that ice caps are melting and prices are rising, Russia sees an
It seems so does Canada and Denmark. Last week
Canada announced the opening of two military bases in the region, while
a group of 40 Danish scientists are traveling to the Arctic on an
icebreaker to stake Denmark’s claim.
Now Georgia has stepped into
the fray by asserting a Russian military aircraft has violated its
airspace, leaving behind a missile that failed to explode in a farmer’s
field, near the disputed region of Ossetia.
Russia has denied the
incident and accused Georgia of putting on a “theatrical presentation”
aimed at canceling scheduled talks over the breakaway area’s future
Russia has further made it crystal clear that it does not
approve of George Bush’s anti-missile defense shield being erected in
Poland and the Czech Republic out of concern it could be directed at it
rather than Iran and North Korea, as claimed. President Vladimir Putin
initially proposed a joint missile defense venture with the US — an
idea that was not well received.
And so he has decided to beef up
his own defense system, modernize his army and navy and, in the event
Bush’s star wars plan proceeds on his doorstep, he has threatened to
direct his missiles toward Europe.
Russia’s relations with
Britain have also gone south. Their erosion began when people Russia
termed as British spies working under cover of the British Embassy in
Moscow were filmed concealing a telecommunications device inside a
dummy rock, through which secret messages could be transmitted via a
Diplomacy succeeded in papering over that
embarrassing incident that was shown to viewers around the world on
Russian TV. But nothing could put a lid on the mysterious death of
Alexander Litvinenko who was poisoned by Polonium-210 after meeting
with two former KGB agents and an Italian friend in London.
investigation, Britain’s director of public prosecutions requested the
extradition of Andrei Lugovoi, a Russian citizen and was told in no
uncertain terms that Article 61 of Russian Constitution forbids the
extradition of Russian citizens to foreign countries and any such trial
must take place within Russia. Russia also accuses Britain of refusing
to extradite Russian citizens wanted by Moscow.
is still ongoing and has thus far resulted in the tit-for-tat
expulsions of both Russian and British diplomats. This is all a far cry
from those cozy post-Cold War years when President Bush said he looked
his Russian counterpart in the eye and sensed his soul. The only looks
they’ll be giving one another nowadays would be decidedly shifty.
seems to be a terrible shame that such a wealth of goodwill has been so
cavalierly wasted. If the Bush administration hadn’t been so intent on
pushing its global weight around to fulfill a neocon agenda of full
spectrum dominance we might have enjoyed a world where major powers
worked together for the good of all.
Together they could have
striven toward alleviating poverty and disease, reducing conflict and
tackling climate change. Instead, untold billions will go toward
weapons of death and destruction. This is Cold War Mark II folks — a
deadlier sequel to Mark I now that China is on board. Fasten your
seatbelts for an uncomfortable ride ahead!