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Lame duck out of the Silk Road caravan

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Reprinted from RT

From youtube.com/watch?v=OmUc3M4mWmI: Beijing rolls out red carpet for Apec leaders
Beijing rolls out red carpet for Apec leaders
(Image by YouTube)
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There's hardly a more graphic illustration of where the multipolar world is going than what just happened at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing.

Take a very good look at the official photos. This is all about positioning -- and this being China, pregnant with symbolic meaning. Guess who's in the place of honor, side by side with President Xi Jinping. And guess where the lame duck leader of the "indispensable nation" has been relegated. The Chinese can also be masters at sending a global message.

When President Xi urged APEC to "add firewood to the fire of the Asia-Pacific and world economy," this is what he meant, irrespective of inconclusive decisions out of the summit.

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1) Beijing will go no holds barred for the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) -- the Chinese vision of an "all inclusive, all-win" trade deal that really promotes Asia-Pacific cooperation, instead of the US-driven, corporate-redacted, and quite divisive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

2) The blueprint is on for "all-round connectivity," in Xi's words -- which implies Beijing setting up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; Beijing and Moscow committing to a second mega gas deal -- this one through the Altai pipeline in Western Siberia; and China already funneling no less than $40 billion to start building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

From youtube.com/watch?v=e9QFO_hXK9s: Trade dominates APEC agenda
Trade dominates APEC agenda
(Image by YouTube)
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Once again, everything converges towards the most spectacular, ambitious and wide-ranging pluri-national infrastructure offensive ever attempted: the multiple New Silk Roads -- a complex network of high-speed rail, pipelines, ports, fiber optic cables and state of the art telecom that China is already building through the Central Asian -stans, linked to Russia, Iran, Turkey and the Indian Ocean, and branching out to Europe all the way to Venice and Berlin.

That's Beijing interlinking Xi's "Asia-Pacific Dream" way beyond East Asia, with eyes set on pan-Eurasia trade -- with the center being, what else, the Middle Kingdom.

The "Go West" campaign was officially launched in China in the late 1990s. The New Silk Roads are a turbo-charged "Go West" -- and "Go South" -- expanding markets, markets, markets. Think of near future Eurasia as a massive Chinese Silk Belt -- in some latitudes in a condominium with Russia.

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As Beijing dreams, Noam Chomsky has been very vocal about a 1914-style chain reaction of catastrophic blunders -- by the West -- that could fast spin out of control; and the stakes, once again, are nuclear. Moscow absolutely abhors this gruesome possibility -- and that explains why Russia, under relentless US provocation, as well as sanctions, has exercised titanic restraint. Not only can Russia not be "isolated" as the US attempted with Iran; Moscow also called the US neo-cons' bluff in Ukraine.

At the Valdai Club meeting in Sochi, President Putin, in a crucial speech (text plus Q&A) obviously ignored by Western corporate media, drew the necessary conclusions. The Washington/Wall Street elites have absolutely no intention of allowing a minimum of multipolarity in international relations. What's left is chaos. That's what I've been arguing, over different strands, during the Obama administration years, and is at the center of my new book "Empire of Chaos."

Moscow knows all about the complex interlinks with Europe -- especially Germany -- and with the still fading, but still influential, Washington Consensus. And yet Russia holds the trump card of being a Eurasian power; when in trouble, there could always be a pivoting to Asia.

Gorbachev was spot on in Berlin when he stressed how, breaking the promise personally made to him by Bush the father, NATO embarked on an eternal eastward expansion; and how the West -- essentially the US plus a few European vassals -- now seems obsessed in launching a new cold war, with the new Berlin Wall -- metaphorically -- transplanted to Kiev.


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Moscow pivoting away from the West and towards East Asia is a process developing on many levels -- and for months now, for all to see. Acres of forest can be further devastated to print how the outcome has been directly influenced by Barack Obama's self-described "Don't Do Stupid Stuff" foreign policy doctrine, which he christened aboard Air Force One when coming from a trip to -- once again - Asia last April.

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)
 

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