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Transformational Projects in Eurasia Land Space

Watching Global Infrastructure Projects Pass US By . . .


By F. William Engdahl
10 September 2016

With so much murder and destruction of infrastructure around the world from Syria to Ukraine to Venezuela and Nigeria, I want to highlight two recent projects to build new infrastructure in order to bring economic growth and prosperity to some of the least developed regions of the Earth—Eurasia, the vast land space between Russia and China. Two projects have just confirmed they are going ahead. The Moscow-Kazan-China high-speed railway via Kazakhstan is one. The second is a major railroad bridge over the Amur River to China. Both in and of themselves are not transformational. In context of the broader multi-trillion dollar infrastructure project, One Belt, One Road or the Economic New Silk Road as it is also called, the two projects are vital links in creating the next world economic center of growth for at least the next century

On June 3 Alexander Misharin, First Vice-President of the state-owned Russian Railways announced that the New Development Bank (NDB) of the BRICS countries, formally established in 2015, after hearing the presentation from Russian Railways, has agreed to provide partial financing of up to $500 million for the Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway project. China has recently confirmed plans to provide a 400 billion-ruble or $6 billion loan for Russia’s Moscow-Kazan section of what will be a far greater Moscow-Beijing high-speed rail link of the One Belt, One Road infrastructure. China will also give equity financing of 52 billion rubles and an additional $1 billion to complete the project.

As Misharin noted, the agreement from the BRICS bank, NDB, is essential. Under their rules, the second new Asian infrastructure bank, the AIIB or Asian International Infrastructure Bank, also created last year on an initiative from Beijing to aid in financing the estimated $7 trillion Asian infrastructure deficit in coming years, which has far larger lending resources, cannot be the first lender as a matter of policy.

This latest NDB decision to co-finance the Moscow-Kazan leg of the eventual Moscow-Beijing high-speed rail link, a core part of the New Economic Silk Road project, all but assures that the governments of China and Russia later this year will formally approve the project on a government level. In May 2015 the two state railways approved going ahead with the Moscow-Kazan leg and a Chinese railway construction group, China Railway Group Limited, along with two Russian companies, formed a construction consortium to complete the link. The Moscow-Kazan high-speed link will reduce travel time from 14 hours to 3 ½ hours and open entire new economic possibilities across its route. It’s due to be completed in 2018. The project was initially proposed by Misharin in 2009 in a vastly different economic and political context by Misharin. Then there was no China One Belt, One Road concept to link to and no Western economic sanctions on Russia compelling her to take a closer look at her eastern neighbors, especially, China.

Strategic Bank Alliance

Another related development will add considerable expertise and financial backing and professionalism to the new BRICS bank. On June 8, the New Development Bank (NDB) signed a strategic cooperation agreement with China Construction Bank, China’s second-largest state bank which will give NDB a framework for collaboration in several areas including bond issuance, joint financing and information exchange. China Construction Bank will also support the BRICS bank with adequate credit lines and a commitment to invest in the new lender’s first financial green bonds. The CCB is the bank that has been deeply involved in financing China’s vast domestic high-speed railways construction and other major infrastructure. In brief, the NDB is taking on serious substance as a lender.

A Bridge over Beautiful Waters

Russia has announced further that it has begun construction of a bridge over the beautiful waters of the Amur River which separates Russia from China as a border. The Amur River is world’s tenth longest river. The new bridge will make possible direct linkage with China’s One Belt, One Bridge high-speed rail line coming to Tongjiang in China’s Heilongjiang Province. On the Russian side it will link to Nizhneleninskoye in Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region.

The bridge was first proposed by in 2007 by Valery S. Gurevich, vice-chairman of Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region. The fact that the Russian side has formally begun construction is a major breakthrough from delays that had postponed the bridge completion until now and an indication of changing eastern priorities of Russia as EU and western economic sanctions weaken Russian-EU ties. In a personal discussion this month at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Alexander B. Levintal, Governor of the Jewish Autonomous Region told me that the bridge will be completed and operational within two years.

The 2,197-meter-long bridge will require investment of US $230. Its initial main cargo will be iron ore from Petropavlovsk PLC’s open-pit mine in Kimkan in Jewish Autonomous Oblast. The Petropavlovsk mining company will participate in financing the bridge. During President Putin’s visit to China in May 2014, agreement about the construction of the bridge was signed by the Russian and Chinese officials. The bridge will have both a standard gauge (1435 mm) track and a Russian gauge (1520 mm) track.

On the Chinese side the bridge is all but complete. The Russia-China railroad bridge is slated to be completed by June 2018. It will become the main economic corridor between China, Russia and Mongolia, as well as for the New Economic Silk Road route across the province of Heilongjiang.

These are the less known links that are step-by-step creating the foundations of a new world economic prosperity. In Brussels to date, the faceless bureaucrats in the Ministry of Silly Walking as Monty Python would call it, pretend the multi-trillion Eurasian New Silk Road infrastructure project doesn’t exist. A true error for Europe and the future of its economy.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

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By | December 23rd, 2016|Infrastructure|0 Comments

Democrats Rediscover an Appreciation for States’ Rights

When a party gets zapped into the minority, party leaders usually become what is known as the “loyal opposition.” Those were the standards of yesterday. “This is a classic example of where you stand depends on where you sit.” In today’s more polarized environment, the minority party is more likely to engage in all kinds of… (more…)

By | December 7th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

President Obama’s Top Foreign Policy Blunders

We are down to just over two months before we start saying “Former” President of the United States Barack Obama. America would be more excited by this if it wasn’t so scared of what was coming after. Alas. Let’s look at the biggest foreign policy failures of the Obama administration, in no particular order.

1. Fast and Furious

Hopefully no one’s forgotten this one, going all the way back to President Obama’s first term in office. It was supposed to help the ATF deal with drug cartels operating inside the US. The reason this made it on our list was because of the international ramifications of the results. What were those results? Well thanks to the Obama administration, instead of dismantling drug-trafficking routs, it ended up helping criminals south of the border gain their hands on 2,000 or so weapons. These weapons have since been used to kill citizens of Mexico and one US Citizens, a border patrol officer named Brian Terry (Source).

2. Arab Spring: Egypt an Libya

Everyone remembers the unbelievable events that started in Tunisia. People in various nations mobilizing through social media and other means to protest and rise against injustice and demand democracy. And how did it all end up? Exactly as most predicted.

President Obama had admitted that intervention in Lybia was a big mistake because he failed to consider what would happen “the day after.” As The Atlantic called it, “This was yet another act of presidential contrition for the NATO operation in 2011 that helped to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi but left the country deeply unstable.” He misjudged the situation, but blamed Lybian tribal communities and NATO for the problem.

President Obama also praised Egypt for the election of Mohammed Morsi, who was part of the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization which was responsible for the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. In December of 2012, as reported by BBC “Islamist-dominated constituent assembly approves draft constitution that boosts the role of Islam and restricts freedom of speech and assembly. Public approve it in a referendum, prompting extensive protest by secular opposition leaders, Christians and women’s groups.” Hurray for Freedom and Democracy…oops.

He has also been relatively silent on the treatment and rights (or lack there of) of Coptic Christians.

3. Interfering in Israel’s Election and General Attitude Towards Israel

You read that correctly. The President of the United States interfered in the democratic process of it’s friend and ally, Israel.  Now while Obama had not been the biggest fan of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this was by far the most active thing he did. This wasn’t his administration pushing Israel to negotiate with Mahmoud Abbas, or offhanded comments about how much it sucks to work with the Prime Minister, or just general disrespect. This was blatant and on purpose.

How did the president do this?

“There was money moving that included taxpayer U.S. dollars, through non-profit organizations. And there were various liberal groups in the United States that were raising millions to fund a campaign called V15 against Prime Minister Netanyahu,” states John McLaughlin, a Republican strategist, as reported by the Jerusalem Post.

This of course backfired and actually ended up helping Netanyahu’s win by a wider margin than what was reported in the US. Bibi’s speech to congress also reportedly helped. Obama’s actions and influence and pushing for opposition candidates who were more a bit more open to a two-state solution shows a blatant disregard of Israel’s right to its own decisions.

4. Syria

There are many possible failures here, giving money to armed rebels who’s allegiance was unclear beyond “Stop Assad”, not acting soon enough or not being tough enough, or perhaps not staying out of it and not being able to do anything regarding Russia’s involvement. But what a Diplomacy Professor mentioned as the biggest failure was the “red line”.

In 2013, Assad’s forces used Chemical weapons on the people of Damascus, killing 1,500 civilians, at least 400 of whom were children. Social Media was flooded with the most gruesome of images following these events. President Obama the year before gave a speech in which he said that if Assad used chemical weapons it would be crossing the red line. So Assad crossed it and what did President Obama do? Not much. This sent a clear message to a lot of countries around the world, that they could no longer feel safe with the US watching their backs.

Syria will follow his legacy more than some of the other things on this list.

5. The Iran Deal

You know…the deal where Iran got the better end and there’s no guarantee that it will actually curtail its nuclear aspirations. Yeah. That deal. Iran still gets to enrich uranium and merely delays the time frame of Iran’s nuclear capability. This deal was plagued by controversy and opposition from conservatives. This deal also gives money, lots of it, to the state sponsor of terrorism.

The US and Iran did not even agree to release any of the people we know are being held in Iran.

Marco Rubio covered all the basis in his questions on the Iran deal.

There you have it. These are just 5 of Obama’s biggest blunders of foreign policy. What are your thoughts on Obama’s biggest mistakes? Let us know, comment, and share.

By | November 13th, 2016|International, Politics|0 Comments

Reform your social media feed and clear out negative politics

Drop a serious filibuster on negative political jibber-jabber in your social feeds. The Maytag NO SMEAR plug-in helps you hide negative political posts on Facebook and Twitter, and replace them with the purple mountains majesty of patriotism. This Chrome plug-in helps liberate your social media from negative politics. Hide tweets that sling mud. Block Facebook posts that smear character. Then bring that smear-fighting spirit into your home with Maytag® Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel appliances.

 

 

By | September 17th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Well Said!

Image may contain: 5 people , people smiling

Dan Cincinnatus

In response to the rumors of a Seattle Seahawks team sit-down for the Star Spangled Banner on 09/11, I wrote this open letter to Russell Wilson and posted it on his Facebook page.

Dear Mr. Wilson,

My name is Dan Russell. I am a lifelong Seattle Seahawks fan, a native Washingtonian, and I have the humble privilege of serving as a Police Officer in my community.

I am the Officer in these photos – two of which went viral – taken in Dallas on 07/07 at the scene where 14 police officers were shot in an ambush; five of whom perished from their injuries.

I decided to dedicate myself to a life of Service on a Tuesday morning sitting in my parents living room on 09/11/2001, as I watched live footage of a plane crash into the World Trade Center. I woke up my brother, a serving United States Marine at the time, to give him the news – America was under attack.

On that sunny and bright Tuesday, 2,996 Americans lost their lives. 343 of those lost were firefighters, and 71 were law enforcement officers. In response to the worst terrorist attack in our Nation’s history, millions answered the call to Service – to Serve their Nation in the military, to Serve their communities as Police Officers, firefighters, dispatchers, paramedics, or as the family of one of these intrepid selfless individuals.

Every day, more choose to answer the call to Serve – inspired by those events of fifteen years ago and the selfless sacrifice of so many that came before them.

I chose to Serve on 09/11/2001. After Ferguson in 2014 I found myself questioning my choice of career and vocation. A visit to Ground Zero reminded me that I was Serving something bigger than myself – something beautiful and everlasting.

America.

I humbly ask – I beg – that you do not sit down for The Star Spangled Banner on this coming Sunday, the 15th anniversary of 09/11/2001.

To do so would be a slap in the face to millions of fans, millions of public Servants, millions of Americans, to 09/11 first responders, to the survivors, and to the families of all that were involved and impacted by that terrible day, most of all –

To those 2,996 who fell in an act of hatred towards our country and all we stand for.

You have so many avenues of making a stand, of letting your voice be one of compassion, reconciliation, and building rather than tearing down. You have shown that you are an inspiring leader, man of community, faith, family, and charity. You have a voice that will be heard.

Please, use your voice in one of those other avenues – do not allow yourself to become one that succumbs to the sensationalism and misguided choices that are currently causing so much division in our country.

Stand for The Star Spangled Banner.

We who Serve will stand with you.

Respectfully,

Dan Russell
Seahawks Fan

By | September 11th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The ONE Reason To Vote For Trump.

 Ed. note: to anyone-but-Trumps — consider how a continuation of Obama (AKA Hillary admin.) would reshape the Supreme court. If there is ONE reason to vote for Trump – think of the Supreme court.
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On the campaign trail in 2008, Barack Obama promised to fundamentally transform the United States of America. After nearly eight years as president, he has delivered on one front by reshaping the federal judiciary. That revolution has been comprehensive, dramatic, and under the radar. When Obama entered the Oval Office, liberal judges controlled just one of… (more…)

By | September 4th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Mule Trading

Curtis & Leroy saw an ad in the Starkville MS Daily and bought a mule for $100.

 

The farmer agreed to deliver the mule the next day.

The next morning the farmer drove up and said, “Sorry, fellows, I have some bad news, the mule died last night.”

 

Curtis & Leroy replied, Well, then just give us our money back.”

The farmer said, “Can’t do that. I went and spent it already.”

They said, “OK then, just bring us the dead mule.”

 

The farmer asked, “What in the world ya’ll gonna do with a dead mule?”  Curtis said, “We gonna raffle him off.”  The farmer said, “You can’t raffle off a dead mule!”   Leroy said, “We sure can! Heck, we don’t hafta tell nobody he’s dead!”

 

A couple of weeks later, the farmer ran into Curtis & Leroy at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store and asked.  “What’d you fellers ever do with that dead mule?”

 

 They said, “We raffled him off like we said we wuz gonna do.”

 Leroy said, “Shucks, we sold 500 tickets for two dollars apiece and made a profit of $998.”

 

The farmer said, “My Lord, didn’t anyone complain?”

Curtis said, “Well, the feller who won was kinda upset, so we gave him his two dollars back.”

 

Curtis and Leroy now work for the government. They’re overseeing the Medicare and Social Security Programs.

 Limit all U.S. politicians to just two Terms. One in office and one in prison

By | August 25th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments