Pepe Escobar's "New Silk Road" Oasis or Desert Illusion? That was the question which I asked several years back, in writing a detailed response to his presentation of the NEW BRICS AND THE SILK ROAD meme. Now, he's back with a new dose of toxic smoke and mirrors; the ingredients of which have forced me to rather radically change my impression of the man's standing and allegiances!
The myth of a neo-imperial China
by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author)
It's a 'trifecta' of truly terrifying trickery! The formerly fabulous Brazilian scribbler who - at some point over the last three years met 'an offer he couldn't refuse' - the internet platform of the RUsso-talmudic 'spy who came in from the cold' of mother Russia - for warmer digs in Florida...
and the original "mouthpiece of the new world ordure" "ASIA TIMES"... All harnessed in unison
to give us the latest 'insight' into the way the world works... according to Beijings' international finance capital-controlled political agenda! Could we ask for anything better?
Well we could ask. But that's not likely to make much difference. So... let's work with what we got!
This latest piece from Pepe is a new low in the never ending lowering of bars... of integrity...insight... and a whole lot more! But on the bright side, in going back in my archives to dig out the antidote to this torturous shilling, I found some compelling timelines which witnessed to that subtheme of our site - STUDIES IN DISSIMULATION. In fact, I'd totally forgotten about how... in writing this fantastically in depth response to previous editions of escobarian agit-prop... I'd bent over backwards to present the case that he was still - somehow - a credible fellow journalist, no matter his being 'lost in the fog' as I over-politely put it at the time!
Pepe Escobar's "New Silk Road" Oasis or Desert Illusion?
How far away those days seem now.
Here's the jist of his latest smoke n mist. You may - in the absence of a gas mask... wish to hold a delicately scented hankerchied over thy probiscus - in order to avoid unpleasant odors.. of new world ordures!
"The geopolitical focus of the still young 21st century spans the Indian Ocean from the Persian Gulf all the way to the South China Sea alongside the spectrum from Southwest Asia to Central Asia and China.
That happens to configure the prime playing ground, overland and maritime, of the New Silk Roads, or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The epicenter of global power shifting East is ruffling feathers in some US political circles – with a proliferation of parochial analyses ranging from Chinese “imperial overstretch” to Xi Jinping’s Chinese Dream provoking “nightmares.”
The basic argument is that Emperor Xi is aiming for a global power grab by mythologizing the New Silk Roads.
The BRI is certainly about China’s massive foreign exchange reserves; the building know-how; the excess capacity in steel, aluminum and concrete production; public and private financing partnerships; the internationalization of the yuan; and full connectivity of infrastructure and information flows.
Yet the BRI is not a matter of geopolitical control supported by military might; it’s about added geopolitical projection based on trade-and-investment connectivity.
The BRI is such a game-changer that Japan, India and the “Quad” (US, Japan, India, Australia) felt forced to come up with their own “alternative”, much-reduced mini-BRIs – whose collective rationale essentially lies in accusing the BRI of “revisionism” while emphasizing the need to fight against Chinese global domination.
Kazakhstan is the key link uniting BRI, EAEU and the SCO. Russia and Kazakhstan are part of one of the top overland connectivity corridors between East Asia and Europe – the other going through Iran and Turkey.
As for Moscow’s drive to be part of the BRI/EAEU economic connectivity, that’s only one vector of Russian foreign policy. Another one, as important, is enhanced German-Russian trade/investment relations, a priority also for German industrialists.
China for its part is now the top foreign investor in all five Central Asian “stans.” And it’s crucial to remember that Central Asia is configured not only by the five “stans” but also by Mongolia, Xinjiang and Afghanistan. Thus the SCO drive to solve the Afghan tragedy, with direct participation of major players China, Russia, India, Pakistan and Iran.
The BRI strategy of forging a pan-Eurasian connectivity/logistical grid naturally poses the question of how Beijing will manage such an open-ended project. The BRI is not even in its implementation phase, which officially starts next year.
It’s useful to compare the accusations of “revisionism” with Chinese history. When Marco Polo reached the Yuan court in the late 13th century he saw a multicultural empire thriving on trade.
It was the Silk Road trade routes and not the projection of military power that epitomized Pax Mongolica. The 21st century Pax Sinica is its digital version. Is Xi a new emperor or a post-modern version of Kublai Khan?
The Yuan dynasty did not “control” Persia, Russia or India. Persia, a superpower then, linked the Nile, Mesopotamia and the Indus with trade with 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 cannot but rattle Washington; after all, the Pentagon defines all those geopolitical actors as “threats.”
Historically, China and Persia were, for centuries, wealthy, settled agricultural civilizations having to deal with occasional swarms of desert warriors – yet most of the time in touch with each other because of the Silk Road. The Sino-Persian entente cordiale is embedded in solid history.
And that brings us to what lies at the heart of non-stop BRI dismissal/demonization.
It’s all about preventing the emergence not only of a “peer competitor,” but worse: a New Silk Road-enabled trade/connectivity condominium – featuring China, Russia, Iran and Turkey – as powerful across the East as the US still remains across the much-troubled “Western Hemisphere.”
That has nothing to do with Chinese neo-imperialism. When in doubt, invoke Kublai Khan.
"It was the Silk Road trade routes and not the projection of military power that epitomized Pax Mongolica. The 21st century Pax Sinica is its digital version. Is Xi a new emperor or a post-modern version of Kublai Khan?
It's hard to imagine a more duplicitous, less historically accurate summation of the Asian situation vs a vis its temporal poles of C14th and C21st as referenced! Just how could anyone remotely conversant with Asian history NOT be able to grasp that the continent referred to was a far flung network of MONGOL imperial expansion in the form of Empires both competing and cooperating at the same time -
The GOLDEN HORDE of the russ hinterlands - extracting tribute, slaves and oaths of fealty from the weak heirs of the Varangian states which had previously ruled to the Black Sea.
The heirs of Hulugu who - having converted to Islam had extended by sword and script their own version of Kublais' eastern Imperial dreaming over Persia and the Mesopotamian heartlands?
A swath of space as big as the putative SCO-BRICS master plan today... all controlled by a group of Turco-Mongol inheritors of the man who called himself 'the Scourge of God!'
Frightful to see that - this total ignorance of Asian history when - turned upon it's head - may just be giving us a preview of what the future does hold in store! But - with one important change to the script; instead of the Mongol speaking "Emperors of Heaven" of that past era, the new imperial masters will be the Yiddish speaking scions of the traveling peddlers who once roamed those same spaces with a secret plan to overthrow all the powers on earth... in order to form their own TIKKUM OLAMMY dominion over the sorry remnants of our races.
Reading this sort of tripe from the pen of one who only short years back I still regarded as worthy of respect... I am reminded of the devilish workings of that fervid mind which had done so much to bring about the incredible bloodbaths within the very Russia, China, and other parts of Asia of which we are now talking =
one Karl Marx
In his poem "Der Spielmann" ("The Fiddler"), he admitted:
That art God neither wants nor wists,
It leaps to the brain from Hell's black mists.
Till heart's bewitched, till senses reel:
With Satan I have struck my deal.
At least that devil was honest with himself.
El Pepito - no so much. His new silk road is a roadmap to kabbalistic hell - and he appears to have arrived there himself.