Asian fault lines of Biden’s war on Russia

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline | April 11, 2022

As relations with Tokyo sour, Moscow beefs up the coastal defence systems on the Kuril Islands that Japan claims as its own

The tremors of the United States’ tensions with Russia playing out in Europe are being felt in different ways already in Asia. The hypothesis of Ukraine being in Europe and the conflict being all about European security is delusional.

From Kazakhstan to Myanmar, from Solomon Islands to the Kuril Islands, from North Korea to Cambodia, from China to India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the fault lines are appearing.

To be sure, extra-regional powers had a hand in the failed colour revolution recently to overthrow the established government in Kazakhstan, a hotly contested geopolitical landmass two-thirds the size of India, bordering both China and Russia, Washington’s sworn adversaries. Thanks to swift Russian intervention, supported by China, a regime change was averted. 

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At doom’s doorstep: It is 100 seconds to midnight

2022 Doomsday Clock Statement

Science and Security Board | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists | January 20, 2022

Editor, John Mecklin

Editor’s Note: Founded in 1945 by Albert Einstein and University of Chicago scientists who helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock two years later, using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet. The Doomsday Clock is set every year by the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 11 Nobel laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and disruptive technologies in other domains.

To: Leaders and citizens of the world

Re: At doom’s doorstep: It is 100 seconds to midnight

Date: January 20, 2022

Last year’s leadership change in the United States provided hope that what seemed like a global race toward catastrophe might be halted and—with renewed US engagement—even reversed. Indeed, in 2021 the new American administration changed US policies in some ways that made the world safer: agreeing to an extension of the New START arms control agreement and beginning strategic stability talks with Russia; announcing that the United States would seek to return to the Iran nuclear deal; and rejoining the Paris climate accord. Perhaps even more heartening was the return of science and evidence to US policy making in general, especially regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. A more moderate and predictable approach to leadership and the control of one of the two largest nuclear arsenals of the world marked a welcome change from the previous four years.

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COVID-19 in the Two Koreas

Howard Waitzkin

Monthly Review | 2021Volume 73, Number 4 (September 2021)

S. Koreans hope to return to normal life amid slowing COVID-19 outbreak
S. Koreans hope to return to normal life amid slowing COVID-19 outbreak,” Xinhua, March 18, 2020.

Capitalist health care systems do not do well in epidemics compared to health care systems not organized around capitalist principles, and COVID-19 is no exception. As Paul Sweezy once pointed out (as relayed by Barbara Ehrenreich), if health care is the purpose of the U.S. system, it fails miserably. But, in reality, the system is successful, because the goal is something else: profit making and the accumulation of capital.1 With its corporate dominance, horrendous problems of access, high costs, lack of overall coordination, and deprioritization of public health services, the United States has confronted the pandemic with chaos. In general, government agencies and corporations have struggled to protect the previous profitable, though ineffective, arrangements, with deadly consequences.

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Prepare for both dialogue and confrontation with U.S., says N. Korea’s leader Kim

Countercurrents Collective | June 18, 2021

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said North Korea should prepare for both dialogue and confrontation with the United States, particularly confrontation, state media KCNA reported on Friday.

It was Kim’s first direct comment on the Biden administration. The remarks came during Thursday’s plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s central committee, after an earlier session where Kim called for measures to tackle the “tense” food situation arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

Kim had made a detailed analysis of the policy of the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden towards Pyongyang and laid out “appropriate strategic and tactical counteraction” with the United States, KCNA said.

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North Korea navigates economic reform in a sea of sanctions

by Bennett Guillaume

People’s World | July 24, 2019

North Korea navigates economic reform in a sea of sanctions

Song Un Pyol, manager at the upscale Potonggang department store in Pyongyang, stands in the snacks aisle on June 19, 2017. In the new DPRK, markets have blossomed and a consumer culture is taking root. | Wong Maye-E / AP

PYONGYANG—In April, a Japanese newspaper revealed a policy document purportedly detailing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s economic strategy for the 2016-2020 period.

The text’s authors stressed the need to step-up technological development, diversify the country’s trade, chiefly toward Russia, and proceed with the “full introduction of a new economic management method.”

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Geostrategy After the Deadlock in US-North-Korean Relations

by Eric Zuesse

George Friedman, the head of the ‘private CIA’ firm Stratfor, issued a report on March 5th“After Hanoi: North Korea, the US and Japan”, and it said:

The strategy since World War II, built on the assumption that US conventional forces can defeat any foe and pacify the country, is being abandoned. And in the case of the Hanoi talks, the US is following a new strategy of diplomatic deadlock without recourse to the insertion of force.

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Cuba: A warm embrace from the people of Pyongyang

by  

Granma | November 05, 2018

Photo: Estudio Revolución

Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez and the delegation accompanying him departed the Russian Federation Saturday night, after a busy visit, to arrive in Pyongyang, where a great multitude waited to greet them, cheering and waving the flags of the two countries.Read More »