I have 178 fans: Become a Fan. You'll get emails whenever I post articles on OpEdNews
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 Times Online. Born in Brazil, he's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, and has lived in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Washington, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Even before 9/11 he specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central and East Asia, with an emphasis on Big Power geopolitics and energy wars. He is the author of "Globalistan" (2007), "Red Zone Blues" (2007), "Obama does Globalistan" (2009) and "Empire of Chaos" (2014), all published by Nimble Books. His latest book is "2030", also by Nimble Books, out in December 2015.
Why Europe is afraid of the New Silk Roads
Macron has been very vocal in prodding the European Commission bureaucracy to toughen anti-dumping rules against Chinese steel imports and forcing EU-wide screening of takeovers in strategic sectors, especially from China. In parallel, virtually every EU nation -- not only France -- wants more access to the Chinese market.
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Caspian games: Central Asian "stans" vie for connectivity market
Much has to do with the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, facilitated by the late Zbigniew "Grand Chessboard" Brzezinski during the first Bill Clinton administration to bypass Iran. Baku is harboring great hopes for its new port at the desert wasteland of Alat ("Your hub in Eurasia!"), simultaneously connected to the West (Turkey and the European Union), the South (Iran and India) and the North (Russia).
Wednesday, April 18, 2018(5 comments)
Syria, Iran and "chaos in international relations"
Moscow, Damascus, Tehran and Baghdad are showing a united front even as the alleged chemical attack in Douma -- the reason for the strikes -- is being forcefully debunked. Additionally, pesky questions remain unanswered on why more than 100 missiles were necessary to destroy only three largely empty state-run scientific centers in Damascus and Homs.
Sunday, April 15, 2018(3 comments)
Draining the data swamp: who owns the "virtual you"?
Zuckerberg dodged extremely serious questions. Who owns "the virtual you?" Zuckerberg's response was that you own all the "content" you upload, and can delete that content any time you want. Yet the heart of the matter is the advertising profile Facebook builds on each user. That simply cannot be deleted. And the user cannot alter it in any way.
Friday, April 6, 2018
From Ankara to Moscow, Eurasia integration is on the move
With the prospect of Syrian reconstruction finally at hand, Beijing will turbo-charge its plans to turn Syria into a key Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) node. On the Russian front, Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak has confirmed that energy giants Lukoil and Gazprom Neft are already focused on rebuilding -- and developing -- Syria's badly damaged energy infrastructure, following a cooperation roadmap signed last February.
Friday, March 30, 2018
MBS feted in the US despite war atrocities in Yemen
MBS is racing against the clock. For the moment, he wins his PR war in the US even as he miserably loses his war on Yemen. But all bets are off on how he handles Wahhabi intolerance, Riyadh's dependence on oil and, most of all, Moscow and Beijing.
Sunday, March 25, 2018(2 comments)
Will the Putin-Xi era supersede the Western liberal (dis)order?
The Chinese constitutional amendment allowing Xi Jinping the possibility of further presidential terms -- staying in power long enough to bring "national rejuvenation" combined with the Russian election re-confirming Vladimir Putin in the presidency have assured consistency and continuity for the Russia-China strategic partnership way into the next decade.
Thursday, March 22, 2018(9 comments)
Gaddafi's ghost haunts walking-dead King Sarko
The evidence, in this case, does exist. Among other explosive pieces, an official Libyan document, obtained through an investigation conducted by the French website Mediapart, proves Gaddafi handed over no less than 50 million euros to Sarkozy's campaign.
Friday, March 16, 2018(2 comments)
It's all Putin's fault... but still he wins
Putin detailed how MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) is now back with a vengeance -- implying that the whole US missile defense apparatus may be, by now, useless. And this had absolutely nothing to do with "Russian aggression," as the usual suspects spin it. This was Moscow's response to over two decades of NATO encroaching on Russia's borders.
Thursday, March 15, 2018(1 comments)
The myth of a neo-imperial China
During the Tang Dynasty in the 8th and 9th centuries, China also had projected influence across Central Asia all the way to northeastern Iran. And that explains why Iran, now, is such a key node of the BRI and why the leadership in Tehran wants the New Silk Roads solidified. A China-Russia-Iran alliance of -- Eurasia integration -- interests that cannot but rattle Washington.
Monday, March 12, 2018
Marco Polo in reverse: how Italy fits in the New Silk Roads
The fact is 85% of trade between Europe and Asia is maritime trade. And as far as Beijing is concerned, the Maritime Silk Road, via the Suez Canal, keeps a special focus on the ports of Piraeus and Venice. No wonder the smart money on the peninsula has already mapped how BRI offers Italy a unique position in the complex web of Chinese global supply routes.
Tuesday, March 6, 2018(1 comments)
The Italian Job: "unlikely" alliance could become reality
Italy's latest elections were a roller coaster featuring plenty of thrills. Yet the top political nugget is unmistakable: Only one coalition may aspire to an absolute majority, an -- unlikely -- alliance between the populist Five Star Movement and the extreme-right League, led by Matteo Salvini.
Friday, March 2, 2018(5 comments)
The Xi Silk Road is here to stay
Xi has all but announced his major moves. The Chinese Dream -- or China as a stable, middle-income nation. BRI as a connectivity vector integrating not only Eurasia but also Africa and Latin America. Securing the South China Sea as well as increasing a presence not only across the Indian Ocean but all the way to the Third Island -- a matter of protecting China's connectivity/supply lines.
Wednesday, February 28, 2018(1 comments)
Afghanistan ready to play connector role in Eurasian integration
The key piece of the puzzle is public recognition that Afghanistan, slowly but surely, may now be positioning itself -- finally -- as a connector between Central Asia and South Asia. The next piece will come from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) -- with Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Iran making sure the war in Afghanistan is over for good.
Sunday, February 25, 2018(3 comments)
"Quad" version of Belt and Road feels like a South China Sea Watch
What we have here is essentially Tokyo -- and the ADB -- competing head-on against Beijing and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), to extend loans around the world, including to an array of African nations (already Beijing's clients) and even to Russia.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018(1 comments)
Munich did nothing to appease Cold War 2.0 fears
Munich did absolutely nothing to center the discussion on the frightening prospect of the latest Israel versus Iran crescendo degenerating almost by inertia into a Hot War. Voltaire, the 18th-century French philosopher and writer, liked to quip that those who make you believe absurdities make you commit atrocities.
Thursday, February 15, 2018(6 comments)
China's "New Silk Roads" reach Latin America
Washington will need to invest in a much more sophisticated game if it is to compete economically against China. That would turn out to be the ideal trade and investment scenario which would profit Latin America the most. Public opinion seems to have made up its mind. Across Latin America, approval of US foreign policy has dropped from 49% in 2016 to 24% last year. Approval of President Trump stands at a dismal 16%.
Monday, February 12, 2018(4 comments)
China will not fall into the "Thucydides Trap" with India
Geopolitically, in Beijing, China-India relations are regarded very seriously, second only in importance to China's relations with the US. Lately, China-Russia relations have been in the ascendant -- mutually exhorted as a "strategic partnership." But, don't count on India and the Quad to play along.
Friday, February 9, 2018(5 comments)
China's latest move in the graveyard of empires
Beijing's strategic priority is to prevent Uyghur fighters of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), who have been exiled in Afghanistan, crossing the Wakhan Corridor to carry out operations across Xinjiang, an autonomous territory in northwest China. There is also the fear that ISIS or Daesh jihadis from Syria and Iraq may also use Afghanistan as a springboard to reach the country.
Wednesday, January 31, 2018(16 comments)
The long profitable march of digital China
A concerted Washington attack on Chinese trade policies may be all but inevitable. Complex global supply chains will suffer, while prices inflate. Naturally, Beijing will move key pieces in its global asset chessboard, which could affect US bonds and equities.
Saturday, January 27, 2018(2 comments)
Turkey plays its latest card in the New Great Game
President Tayyip Erdogan's "Olive Branch" operation appears to have support at home and in Moscow, but failure would spell problems. Internally, Operation Olive Branch is a shrewd move for Erdogan. Turkish nationalism is at fever pitch, so public opinion is largely behind the operation. For the Turkish president, this is an electoral bonanza.
Thursday, January 25, 2018(3 comments)
Davos: Inequality Rocks the Magic Mountain
As inequality reigns supreme, Davos 2018 preaches the necessity of striving towards a common future in a fractured world; a poor euphemism for the stark fact of a wealthy happy few getting much wealthier while untold masses of poor veer toward dirt poor.
Saturday, January 20, 2018(3 comments)
Rome: A Eulogy
Italy's debt is at 130 percent of GDP -- the second highest in the eurozone after Greece. Non-performing bank loans are the stuff of legend. The economy will grow by only 1.3 percent in 2018 -- nearly half of the EU average (2.1 percent). Polls show voters are so angry there's a strong possibility of an anti-euro coalition taking power.
Thursday, January 18, 2018(11 comments)
"Make Trade, Not War" is China's daring plan in the Middle East
Beijing's strategy is to avoid a geopolitical collision in the Middle East. Its aim is to: Make Trade, Not War. From the United States' point of view, the National Security Strategy document highlighted how China and Russia are trying to shape a new geopolitical environment in the region, which contrasts sharply from Washington's aims and interests.
Finding the answer to a riddle shrouded in a mystery
Beijing's position is in favor of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. This would start with a "double freeze" mechanism, allowing for dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang. Beijing is acutely aware that containing the North's nuclear program will have a direct effect on the military upgrading of Japan and South Korea. China is also keen to improve relations with Seoul.
Wednesday, January 3, 2018(6 comments)
Why there won't be a revolution in Iran
What is happening now in Iran is that legitimate protests related to economic hardships have been hijacked by the usual suspects in a move to influence the minority. After all, Rouhani's administration is comparatively liberal compared to the populist Ahmadinejad government.
Tuesday, December 26, 2017(6 comments)
In an age of Hollow Men and existential angst, re-read Sartre
Jean-Paul Sartre was one of the last towering giants of a Renaissance pantheon concerned with the whole spectrum of human existence. Sharp, independent minds have always enjoyed the Sartrean glow that permeates Western culture (or at least those particles of it not fossilized by academia).
Thursday, December 21, 2017(4 comments)
China plans to break petrodollar stranglehold
China is making a move to break the United States petrodollar stranglehold. The plan is to set up oil-futures trading in the yuan, which will be fully convertible into gold on the Shanghai and Hong Kong foreign exchange markets.
Wednesday, December 20, 2017(2 comments)
China shows its green roots on road to contradictions
Beijing is targeting an upgrade of the real estate market and the environment. Then there are projections that by 2027, China could be the global leader on research and development when it comes to eco-friendly vehicles. This will boost the manufacture of de-carbonized vehicles, which is part of the Made in China 2025 initiative. For five years now, state subsidies have helped fund extensive battery charging networks.
Sunday, December 17, 2017(8 comments)
Vladimir Putin takes spotlight as Eurasia connector
At his trademark annual year-end press conference in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin once again let drop selected foreign-policy nuggets essential to understanding what lies ahead on the turbulent Eurasian geopolitical chessboard.
Thursday, December 14, 2017(4 comments)
Silk Road fever grips the Russian Far East and boosts economy
This is just the latest example of Russian and Chinese cooperation geared around the New Silk Roads or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Beijing is the world's largest importer of copper and iron ore, and virtually the entire output from Bystrinsky will go to the world's second largest economy.
Wednesday, December 13, 2017(2 comments)
China and India sail into choppy waters in New Great Game
This is a heady vortex churning with power projections, spheres of influence, security and commerce. In the end, the only certainty is this shadow play involving China, India, Iran and Pakistan, with the US as an active third party, is at the heart of the New Great Game in Eurasia.
From the Caucasus to the Balkans, China's Silk Roads are rising
Chen Gang's analysis touches on what, by now, is obvious: "The international game around BRI has just begun." And it goes almost without saying that Beijing's BRI-driven foreign policy strategy, by turbo-charging China's cooperation with the "Global South," is leaving the US, at best, marginalized.
Friday, November 24, 2017(1 comments)
Syria war, Sochi peace
Russian, Iranian and Turkish foreign ministries and defense departments are tasked to "gather delegates from various political parties, internal and external opposition, ethnic and confessional groups at the negotiating table."
Tikrit and Najaf: Agony and Ecstasy in Iraq
Millions of souls -- Iraqis, Iranians, Afghans, Pakistanis, northern Africans, Central Asians, Persian Gulf nationals -- are being soothed via the massive, cathartic walk from Najaf to Karbala. A pilgrim captured the spell -- spiritual redemption merging with political statement -- as he told me, with the flicker of a smile, the walk is also "a protest against terrorism."
Friday, November 10, 2017(1 comments)
Saudi Crown Prince poised to take over as King: sources
The Saudi "anti-corruption" crackdown led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, initially netted 11 princes and a few dozen ministers and former ministers, has caught up with hundreds of businessmen, who are being detained in the luxurious Ritz Carlton and other hotels in Riyadh. The Wall Street Journal reports the Crown Prince is targeting an astonishing $800 BILLION in assets believed to be held in 1,700 frozen bank accounts.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017(3 comments)
How the DPRK Riddle is Freaking out the US Establishment
Asia-Pacific is where the real action is -- geopolitically and geo-economically. And once again, the number one issue in the intractability stakes will be the DPRK. At a recent meeting with top US military and intelligence chiefs Trump, referring to the DPRK, asked to be provided "with a broad range of military options, when needed, at a much faster pace."
Monday, November 6, 2017(5 comments)
The inside story of the Saudi night of long knives
The House of Saud's King Salman devises an high-powered "anti-corruption" commission and appoints his son, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, a.k.a. MBS, as chairman. Rumors have been swirling for months about a coup against MBS in the making. Instead, what just happened is yet another MBS pre-emptive coup.
Sunday, October 22, 2017(1 comments)
Xi's road map to the Chinese Dream
Xi has clearly understood that global leadership implies being a top provider, mostly to the global South, of connectivity, infrastructure financing, comprehensive technical assistance, construction hardware and myriad other trappings of "modernization." It does not hurt that this trade/commerce/investment onslaught helps to internationalize the yuan.
Thursday, October 19, 2017(1 comments)
Why Trump Has Gone Nuclear on Iran
Iran will continue to do solid business with the rest of Asia -- especially Japan and South Korea. Iran and Qatar may eventually become natural gas providers to Europe in the next decade. And Iran will continue to be -- alongside Russia and China -- at the forefront of bypassing the US dollar in energy trade.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017(1 comments)
Kirkuk redux was a bloodless offensive. Here's why
What we have just witnessed is the near breakout of warfare between two alleged US "clients" in Southwest Asia. And yet civil war -- along with the balkanization of Iraq -- was prevented. The facts on the ground speak for themselves.
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Iraqi Kurdistan the fly to regional spiders Turkey, Iraq, Iran
It's easy to forget that even when Ankara was denouncing Tehran as a "state sponsor of terrorism," at the height of the war in Syria, the two countries kept diplomatic relations. Moreover, the liberation of Aleppo by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) only happened with the relative speed that it did because Ankara ordered its proxies to back off.
Tuesday, October 3, 2017(3 comments)
The future of the EU at stake in Catalonia
Crimea was part of a legitimate reunification drive to rectify Nikita Khrushchev's idiocy of separating it from Russia. London did not send goons to prevent the referendum in Scotland; an amicable negotiation is in effect. No set rules apply. Neocons screamed in vain when Crimea was reunited with Russia after shedding tears of joy when Kosovo was carved out of Serbia.
Friday, September 29, 2017
Wheels and deals: trouble brewing in the House of Saud
The Islamic State project was conceived as the ideal tool to force Iraq to implode. It's now public domain that the organization's funding came mostly from Saudi Arabia. Even the former imam of Mecca has publicly admitted ISIS' leadership "draw their ideas from what is written in our own books, our own principles."
Wednesday, September 27, 2017(2 comments)
Unravelling the riddle of the Kurds' Iraqi pipedream
Baghdad is actually getting stronger -- as part of the "4+1" (Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq plus Hezbollah) that for all practical purposes has won the war in Syria. None of these actors -- or Turkey, which is involved in the Astana negotiations -- wants partition of either Syria or Iraq. Moreover, Russia is also back as Iraq's partner on the military front, selling it a "large batch" of T-90 tanks for US$1 billion.
Friday, September 22, 2017(2 comments)
Brute isolation: Trump and the art of unraveling the Iran deal
Trump's fateful decision in fact conditions and frames how he will deal with North Korea. Pulling out of the JCPOA will send an unmistakable message to Pyongyang and also complicate the efforts of "RC" to defuse the situation. The DPRK will never bother to even consider negotiating with a "compassionate nation" that refuses to live up to multilateral commitments.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017(9 comments)
Unmasked: Trump Doctrine vows carnage for new axis of evil
This script runs as follows: Iran must be isolated (by the West, only now that won't fly with the Europeans); Iran is "destabilizing" the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, the ideological foundry of all strands of Salafi-jihadism, gets a free pass); and Iran, because it's developing ballistic that could -- allegedly -- carry nuclear warheads, is the new North Korea.
Saturday, September 16, 2017(4 comments)
Mr Trump, tear down this (Korean) wall
In the larger geopolitical chessboard, those US "nuclear capabilities" threats voiced by Trump and his generals are not just aimed at Pyongyang. The real, long-term, ultimate target is "RC" (Russia-/China). THAAD missile radars are able -- at least in theory -- to "see" up to 3,000km into "RC" territory. For "RC," this is an absolute no-no.
Thursday, September 14, 2017(5 comments)
The Russia-China plan for North Korea: stability, connectivity
The crucial point is that both Seoul and Pyongyang went to Vladivostok, and talked to Moscow. Arguably the key question -- the armistice that did not end the Korean War -- has to be broached by Putin and the Koreans, without the Americans. The larger strategy of "RC" is clear -- a drive aimed at Eurasian connectivity. The question is how to convince the DPRK to play along.
Thursday, September 7, 2017(10 comments)
The real BRICS bombshell
"To overcome the excessive domination of the limited number of reserve currencies" is the politest way of stating what the BRICS have been discussing for years now; how to bypass the US dollar, as well as the petrodollar. Russia -- as well as Iran, the other key node of Eurasia integration -- may bypass US sanctions by trading energy in their own currencies, or in yuan.
Sunday, August 27, 2017(27 comments)
Afghanistan and the CIA Heroin Ratline
The Russian Foreign Ministry is tracking how tons of chemicals are being illegally imported into Afghanistan from, among others, "Italy, France and the Netherlands," and how the US and NATO are doing absolutely nothing to contain the heroin ratline.
Thursday, August 24, 2017(14 comments)
Korea, Afghanistan and the Never Ending War trap
That "plan for an enveloping fire" around Guam remains on Kim Jong-un's table. It is essential to remember the plan was North Korea's response to Trump's "fire and fury" volley. Kim has stated that for diplomacy to work again, "it is necessary for the US to make a proper option first."
Sunday, August 20, 2017(5 comments)
Bannon The Barbarian Goes "Thermonuclear"
The narrative that the US deep state -- which now de facto controls the Trump presidency -- banished Bannon forever to the "deplorables" badlands tells only part of the story. The Swamp may decide on policy -- but the Breitbart guerrilla surge will take no prisoners.
Thursday, August 10, 2017(6 comments)
North Korea: fire, fury and fear
Western corporate media would hardly refrain from metastasizing pure speculation into a "North Korea has miniaturized nuclear weapons" frenzy consuming the cable news cycle/ newspaper headlines. Talk about hearts and minds comfortably numbed by the fear factor.
Friday, August 4, 2017(5 comments)
Against all odds, BRICS nations get their act together
What the proverbial Cassandras don't understand is that the BRICS group aims to work with a different template, as an "aggregating platform," something that is being discussed at the highest levels, especially in the framework of the Russia-China strategic partnership.
Friday, July 28, 2017(75 comments)
When in doubt, nuke China
What Admiral Swift actually said, in code, is, if a civilian order comes, the US military will start WWIII (or WWIV, if one counts the Cold War), duly applying the Pentagon's first-strike doctrine. What Swift did not say is that President Trump also has the power to pull a Truman and fire any run-amok, aspiring MacArthur clone.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
China and India torn between silk roads and cocked guns
The current stand-off at Doklam, or Donglang, is little more than a sideshow in the bigger picture as South Asia's tectonic plates shift in a direction that makes New Delhi's resistance to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) look increasingly futile.