Trade, sanctions, gas, people: weapons of choice in our new world war | South China Morning Post

Wednesday, January 12, 2022 6:33 PM

A century long barrage of propaganda seeps in everywhere.—Bukowski

Dear Friends + Interlocutors,

Here we go again. As my late friend Charles Bukowski noted, “It’s war all the time”. He was referring to his personal struggles in Los Angles. But I’m warming to the idea that war may be the natural condition among nation states since the beginning of time. I’ve come to this conclusion reluctantly.

Below is a recent article in the South China Morning Post, my new paper of record. It’s published in Hong Kong. Never been there. It looks crowded. It was a crown colony of the British Empire, ruled from London, in bygone days of palm and pine. 

Now it has been folded back to China proper, but the SCMP is not a propaganda outlet for the CPC, the Chicoms. 

The article is by Neil Newman, described as, “... a thematic portfolio strategist focused on pan-Asian equity markets. Experienced in the major global financial centers of Tokyo, London and New York, he is a regular commentator on commercial investment strategies that suit constantly changing investor trends. He is a long-term resident of Hong Kong.”

I send it along because it seems so well-balanced, honest, informative, and down-to-earth. It indicates that there is a lot of warfare going on worldwide, but not of the hot variety. Why? I wonder. I don’t understand the underlying motive for all these gyrations, manipulations, stratagems, etc. In particular, as it relates to Russia. 

It seems so unnecessary, a waste of time.  In retrospect, we see that a lot of past warmongering activities were counterproductive and self-destructive. For example, was the Vietnam war necessary? It was billed as vital at the time. 

The domino theory. All of S.E. Asia was going to fall like dominoes to Communism. Washington lost the war and pulled out, and nothing of the sort happened.

Now we are told by the mainstream media and the White House that Ukraine is vital, that Russia is our enemy. Just this morning an OpEd by the much-praised Neocon columnist, Bret Stephens, in the NY Times ruined my breakfast. What Putin Really Wants in Ukraine

It is hogwash. It is deplorable. Mendacious and misleading. A cartoon. No wonder the Washington establishment is off on another crusade, if this is a sample of its cracked-brained thinking. 

At bottom, I fear it all has a lot to do with Putin’s decisive intervention in Syria, which threw a monkey-wrench into Tel Aviv’s plans to remake Syria into another failed ME state, using Sunni terrorists and Washington as front men.

P.S. My emphasis in red.

It may not be ‘war’ by its standard definition, or even a cold war, but geopolitical conflict in this century is being waged through weaponisation of relationships and people Perhaps the disappointing path of globalisation in the 2020s heralds the beginning of the end of interdependencies that have ultimately come back to hurt us

The most powerful weapon in China’s arsenal is the ability to inflict economic damage. Photo: Reuters

Being the world’s largest trading nation and most populous country, the most powerful weapon in China’s arsenal is the ability to inflict economic damage. One example of this weaponisation of trade is Australia, which has been deprived of a large degree of its economic independence because of how dependent its economy has become on China.

China, through its domestic companies, has acquired substantial Australian assets such as key ports like Darwin, mines, farmland, dairy processors, real estate, schools, water and energy, whilst flooding the country with cheap manufactured consumer goods and essential chemicals. When the Australians became critical of Beijing’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis, it turned off the supply of money and chemicals, choking the country’s economy. China has also come close to bringing Australia’s logistics and trucking industry to a standstill, and could even cause its wine production to halt this year.

Lithuania found itself in China’s crosshairs when it allowed Taiwan to open a representative office in the self-ruled island’s own name. This directly led to trade problems for Lithuanian companies, whose exports have been disallowed at China’s border. To amplify the pain, multinational companies have been told that if they continue to do business with Lithuania, they may find themselves cut out of China.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, China also gained the ability to control other countries’ access to personal protective equipment (PPE). So-called “wolf-warrior” diplomats overseas have aggressively targeted governments and companies that criticised China, threatening to cut off aid, access to vaccines and PPE. As anyone who has been picking up boxes of lateral flow tests in the UK will have noticed, until September 2021, they were all “Made in China”.