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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/19/18

What sanctions on Russia and China really mean

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From Asia Times

The Pentagon may not be advocating total war against both Russia and China -- as it has been interpreted in some quarter

Russian-China versus President Trump
Russian-China versus President Trump
(Image by en.kremlin.ru)
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A crucial Pentagon report on the US defense industrial base and "supply chain resiliency" bluntly accuses China of "military expansion" and "a strategy of economic aggression," mostly because Beijing is the only source for "a number of chemical products used in munitions and missiles."

Russia is mentioned only once, but in a crucial paragraph: as a -- what else -- "threat," alongside China, for the US defense industry.

The Pentagon, in this report, may not be advocating total war against both Russia and China -- as it was interpreted in some quarters. What it does is configure the trade war against China as even more incandescent, while laying bare the true motivations behind the sanctioning of Russia.

The US Department of Commerce has imposed restrictions on 12 Russian corporations that are deemed to be " acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the US ." In practice, this means that American corporations cannot export dual-use products to any of the sanctioned Russian companies.

There are very clear reasons behind these sanctions -- and they are not related to national security. It's all about "free market" competition.

At the heart of the storm is the Irkut MC-21 narrow-body passenger jet -- the first in the world with a capacity of more than 130 passengers to have composite-based wings.

AeroComposit is responsible for the development of these composite wings. The estimated share of composites in the overall design is 40%.

The MC-21's PD-14 engine -- which is unable to power combat jets -- will be manufactured by Aviadvigatel. Until now MC-21s had Pratt & Whitney engines. The PD-14 is the first new engine 100% made in Russia since the break up of the USSR.

Aviation experts are sure that an MC-21 equipped with a PD-14 easily beats the competition; the Airbus A320 and the Boeing-737.

Then there's the PD-35 engine -- which Aviadvigatel is developing specifically to equip an already announced Russia-China wide-body twinjet airliner to be built by the joint venture China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corp Ltd (CRAIC), launched in May 2017 in Shanghai.

Aviation experts are convinced this is the only project anywhere in the world capable of challenging the decades-long monopoly of Boeing and Airbus.

Will these sanctions prevent Russia from perfecting the MC-21 and investing in the new airliner? Hardly. Top military analyst Andrei Martyanov convincingly makes the case that these sanctions are at best "laughable," considering how "makers of avionics and aggregates" for the ultra-sophisticated Su-35 and Su-57 fighter jets would have no problem replacing Western parts on commercial jets.

Oh China, you're so "malign"

Even before the Pentagon report, it was clear that the Trump administration's number one goal in relation to China was to ultimately cut off extended US corporate supply chains and re-implant them -- along with tens of thousands of jobs -- back into the US.

This radical reorganization of global capitalism may not be exactly appealing for US multinationals because they would lose all the cost-benefit advantages that seduced them to delocalize to China in the first place. And the lost advantages won't be offset by more corporate tax breaks.

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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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