war with NK and the G20

Pindostan exploits NK missile test to threaten war and isolate China
James Cogan, WSWS, Jul 6 2017

Faschingstein has seized upon NK’s test-firing on Jul 4 of a purported ICBM to attempt to shift the focus of the upcoming G20 summit in Germany to condemnations of Chinese support for the Pyongyang regime. The summit was expected to be dominated by the realignment of major European powers toward closer pan-Eurasian relations with China in response to the “Pindostan First” protectionist stance of the Trump administration. It has been preceded by talks between Russia and China, the commitment of the EU and Japan to enter into a free trade agreement, and top-level meetings between German and Chinese officials on enhanced ties. Now, Faschingstein intends to push such moves into the background by demanding that the G20 nations line up behind its war buildup against NK, with the aim of whipping Germany and the EU into line and isolating China and Russia. An emergency meeting of the UNSC yesterday was used by Faschingstein to hold Beijing responsible for what Nikki Haley asserted was a direct threat by NK “to deliver nuclear weapons to strike cities in Pindostan, SK and Japan.” It is by no means clear to weapons experts that the NK missile could even be armed with a nuclear warhead, let alone accurately reach a target. The White House, the Pentagon and most of the Pindo media have nevertheless declared the test to be a transformative event that requires an immediate and bellicose response. Once again threatening a possible unilateral attack and a catastrophic war in East Asia, Haley declared that Pindostan was prepared to use “our considerable military forces” against NK. She stressed that Faschingstein’s intention is to demand that the entire world, and China above all, collaborate in a complete economic blockade of the under-developed and poverty-stricken country. She asserted:

Much of the burden of enforcing UNSCRs rests with China. 90% of trade with NK is from China.

She flagged that she will table a new SCR in the coming days outlining a raft of new sanctions, affecting air and sea links, currency transactions and the export of oil to NK. In a blatant threat of economic reprisals if Beijing refuses to support such actions, Haley stated:

There are countries that are allowing, even encouraging, trade with NK in violation of UNSCRs … Such countries would also like to continue their trade arrangements with Pindostan. That’s not going to happen. Our attitude on trade changes when countries do not take international security threats seriously.

Haley’s statements were in line with two tweets sent by Trump some hours earlier, in which he adopted a hostile tone toward Beijing. In the first, referring to trade arrangements, he wrote:

In the second, more explicit comment, he asserted:

Chinese and Russian UN representatives openly opposed the Pindosi ultimatums. Both China and Russia still view NK as a strategic buffer between their own borders and SK, which hosts considerable Pindosi military forces. NK’s economic and political collapse would destabilise the region, including SK. For decades, Beijing has insisted that the tensions on the peninsula, which date back to the 1950–53 Korean War, can be resolved ultimately only by the withdrawal of Pindostan from East Asia. China’s UN ambassador Liu Jieyi declared that “military means must not be an option” and counterposed to the Pindosi demands the joint communique China signed with Russia proposing a diplomatic solution. Beijing and Moscow have called for NK to suspend its nuclear and missile programs in exchange for Pindostan ending military exercises and terminating the deployment of THAAD to SK, followed by longer-term talks. Russia’s deputy ambassador Vladimir Safronkov was even blunter in rejecting Haley’s statement. He stated that a “military solution” was “inadmissible,” adding:

Attempts to economically strangle NK are equally unacceptable, as millions of people are in great humanitarian need.

In an indication of the poisoned atmosphere that will prevail at the G20, Haley responded by accusing Russia of “holding the hands of Kim Jong-un.” If China and/or Russia do not support greater sanctions, she continued, Pindostan “will go our own path” and take punitive actions against both countries. Presumably, the White House will also demand that the European powers do likewise, cutting across efforts led by Germany to develop a more independent stance from Pindostan. To a considerable extent, the White House is returning to the bellicose anti-China stance that characterised Trump’s campaign in the presidential election. Trump made threats to brand Beijing a “currency manipulator” and impose sweeping tariffs on Chinese products. Over recent months, with official Pindo politics preoccupied with accusations of Russian interference in their election, the question of trade war with China has not been centre-stage. Trump had instead lauded his talks with Pres Xi Jinping and Beijing’s efforts to rein in NK’s missile tests. Such language has fallen by the wayside and been replaced with a series of calculated provocations against China over recent weeks. These have included two military violations of Chinese-claimed territory in the South China Sea, encouragement of an Indian-Chinese border dispute, arms sales to Taiwan, and talk of Japan acquiring a range of offensive weapons that are technically prohibited under its constitution. At the same time, the Trump White House has sought to accommodate itself to the anti-Russia campaign in Faschingstein. It has imposed new sanctions over Ukraine and stepped up its rhetoric against Moscow’s military intervention in Syria.

Propelling the day-to-day geopolitical turmoil and shifts are more fundamental processes flowing from the collapse of the key mechanisms of the post-WW2 economic and political order. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the key objective of Pindo imperialism has been to prevent the emergence of any single power or group of powers that could challenge Pindo dominance around the world. Pindo strategists have come to identify the possibility of China consolidating an alliance with Russia, and forging relations with Germany and other European imperialist powers looking to distance themselves from Washington, as the greatest danger to Pindostan’s global interests. As its global weight has grown, Beijing has promoted alternatives to the systems of investment and trade currently dominated by Pindostan and sought international support, including from the European and Asian allies of Faschingstein. Pindostyan fears that developments such as the formation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and China’s pursuit of its ‘Silk Road’ initiatives in Eurasia will significantly undermine its position in the world economy. The Pindosi ruling class has drawn the conclusion that the nuclear-armed states in Beijing and Moscow must be brought to heel, sooner rather than later. Faschingstein’s objective is to reduce China and Russia to the status of semi-colonial client states, control the ‘heartland,’ and rule the world. In pursuit of this strategic agenda, Pindosi imperialism seeks to use every possible means to destabilise and undermine its rivals, whether they are nominally allies such as Germany or adversaries such as Russia. Faschingstein’s reckless and incendiary actions trigger inevitable counter-reactions. As in the years prior to 1914, the fault-lines of great power blocs are emerging, and with them the danger of world war.

Xi’s visit to Berlin highlights growing conflicts before G20 summit
Alex Lantier, WSWS, Jul 6 2017

Donald Trump arrived in Poland Wednesday night in advance of the Jul 7-8 G20 summit in Hamburg, which is taking place amid deepening tensions between Washington and its traditional allies in the EU. The summit, supposedly an economic meeting, will focus on world military crises such as the Pindo-Chinese standoff over NK and growing geopolitical conflicts in Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Another issue will be Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. Prior to Trump’s arrival in Poland, Pindo boxtops issued a barrage of statements denouncing China’s refusal to economically strangle NK after the Pyongyang regime test-fired an ICBM on Tuesday. Nonetheless, Pres Xi Jinping received a warm welcome during his state visit in Berlin on Wednesday, which focused on growing trade and political links between the two countries. The dominant issue in Xi’s visit was unmistakably the escalating conflict between the major powers at the heart of the world capitalist economy, with Xi and Merkel both issuing sharp criticisms of Pindo policy. Asked by Die Zeit whether she would repeat her now-famous remark from May that Europe could not simply rely on its alliance with Faschingstein, she replied:

Yes, and in exactly the same words!

Xi arrived in Germany fresh from his summit in Moscow with Pres Putin, where the two agreed on a common policy toward NK at odds with Faschingstein’s. Xi published a comment in the German media titled “To Make the World a Better Place,” which called for closer German-Chinese strategic ties and implicitly criticized Trump’s “Pindostan First” policy. He wrote:

We (Germany and China) should play a leading role and enhance strategic communication on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues … The G20 needs to stay committed to open development, support the multilateral trading regime with the WTO at its heart, and enable trade and investment to continue to drive global economic growth.

At a press conference, Merkel endorsed China’s Silk Road/One Belt-One Road plan to develop a Eurasian infrastructure network to connect China, Russia, the Middle East and Europe, saying:

We believe we would be happy to participate in such projects, and hope the bidding process will be transparent.

Merkel highlighted preparations for an investment treaty that could lead to the negotiation of an EU-China free trade zone, as well as greater opportunities for German foundations to work in China after the passage of a new Chinese law on NGOs. German and Chinese officials also signed a $22b contract for the purchase by China of Airbus jetliners. Amid growing competition between EU and Chinese companies, Merkel demanded larger and more favorable trade positions for German firms in China, saying:

We also want to be treated fairly and to have access to markets. That is very important for our companies.

Thomas Oppermann, the parliamentary group leader of the SPD, demanded that the European powers adopt an even more explicitly hostile line toward Pindostan at the summit, saying:

If you try to react to Trump with permanent appeasement, that ultimately leads to an erosion of Western values. And already there are little Trumps in Poland and Hungary.

Oppermann also called on Merkel to unify the 19 other states of the G20 against Trump, isolating Pindoistan, and said:

There may also be a good chance to accomplish that.

Xi’s visit to Berlin in the lead-up to the G20 summit underscores the breakdown of the international institutions and alliances that have dominated the affairs of world capitalism since the Stalinist bureaucracy dissolved the Soviet Union in 1991. As Faschingstein threatens NK with military action that could unleash war with China and Russia, the NATO powers are going into the G20 summit deeply split. The summit is not so much an economic conference as a gathering of rival powers, all seeking to decide with whom they will ally as the prospect looms of a new, horrific global conflict. Trump’s visit to Poland itself is a reprise of Pindosi strategy during its first major stand-off with the EU in the post-Soviet period, in 2002, when the Bush administration prepared its illegal invasion of Iraq over the objections of Berlin and Paris. Donald Rumsfeld counterpoised “New Europe,” meaning the Eastern European countries which supported the invasion, to the countries of “Old Europe” that were opposing it.

These growing conflicts between the world’s major economies are a warning to workers internationally. Xi’s visit to Berlin yesterday and Trump’s visit to Poland today underscore that the conflict over Iraq between Faschingstein and the Berlin-Paris axis fifteen years ago was not an isolated development. Rather, it was the product of deep, lasting antagonisms rooted in the competing corporate interests of the major imperialist powers, which twice in the last century erupted into world wars. In visiting Poland on the eve of the G20 summit, Trump is seeking to encourage opposition to the EU, and particularly to its dominant power, Germany, whose trade policies Trump has publicly called “really bad,” and whose auto exports to Pindostan he has threatened to cut off. Officials of the ruling far-right Law and Solidarity (PiS) party in Poland are planning to bus large numbers of PiS supporters to Warsaw to provide Trump with a friendly crowd. PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński has hailed Trump’s decision to speak in Warsaw before the G20, telling a party congress on Saturday:

We have a new success, Trump’s visit… [Others] envy it. The British are attacking us because of it.

The invitation does not reflect any broad popularity of Trump in Poland. One poll found that only 23% of the population trusts Trump to “do the right thing” in international politics, compared to 22% in Britain. Rather, the PiS hopes to use Trump’s visit to send a signal that it has powerful allies in its bitter conflicts with the EU, which has criticized the Polish regime’s moves to strip the Polish judicial system of its powers, block immigration into Poland, set up far-right militias and consolidate an authoritarian regime. Pindo boxtops made clear that Trump intends to use his speech in Poland to lay out his position on the conflicts that are emerging within Europe and within the NATO alliance between Washington and the European powers. Trump is slated to speak today in front of a monument to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. McMaster said at a White House briefing last week:

He will praise Polish courage throughout history’s darkest hour, and celebrate Poland’s emergence as a European power. He will lay out a vision, not only for Pindostan’s future relationship with Europe, but the future of our trans-Atlantic alliance and what that means for Pindo security and Pindo prosperity.

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