THE LEAD

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

A Showdown Moment Approaches

June 21, 2016
A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress leads a formation of aircraft including Polish, German, Swedish forces over the Baltic Sea, June 9, 2016. NATO allies conduct a series of realistic training missions on Russia's borders. (U.S. Air Force photo)

An intense series of diplomatic engagements is scheduled over the next two weeks, that may decide, whether the world moves safely into the New Paradigm of development — as most clearly spelled out by President Vladimir Putin's call, at the June 16-18 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, for a "Greater Eurasia Plan,'' and by Chinese President Xi Jinping's One Belt, One Road program — or goes to war of annihilation, as London and its Obama pawn are promoting.

On Thursday, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will be convening its annual summit in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan are to be inducted as full members, and Iran will be given elevated status beyond observer, now that the UN sanctions have been lifted following the P5+1 agreement. From Tashkent, Russian President Putin will travel to China for an official state visit with President Xi. Already, Russian Deputy Premier Dmitry Rogozin is in China, preparing the visit with China's Deputy Premier Wang Yang. Agreements on space technology cooperation, on the possible sale of an $11 billion stake in Russia's state oil company, Rosneft, and possible Chinese investment in the Moscow-to-Kazan high-speed rail line, which will eventually go all the way to Beijing, are all being worked out.

On Thursday, June 23, the long-awaited Brexit vote takes place in Britain. On June 28, European Union heads of state will decide whether to extend the sanctions against Russia over Ukraine for another six months. The French Foreign Minister on Monday made clear that he does expect the sanctions to be extended, but he indicated that France will force a debate on a timetable for reducing and eliminating them. Sometime, perhaps before the June 28 vote, the Normandy Four (Putin, Merkel, Hollande and Poroshenko) are expected to meet to attempt to kick-start the stalled Minsk II process, which is key to the Russian sanctions issue.

The war provocations coming out of NATO against Russia are clearly causing deep ruptures inside the European ruling institutions. The harsh attack on NATO by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Sunday's Bild am Sonntag is clearly an indication of such splits. The appearance of Italian Prime Minister Renzi and European Commission President Junckers at St. Petersburg was another.

A further review of last week's NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels, in preparation for the July 7-8 NATO heads- of-state summit in Warsaw, shows the insanity that has gripped the Alliance. The participating ministers agreed to add cyberspace as an additional military domain — in addition to air, land, sea and space. What this means concretely, is that an alleged cyber attack against a NATO member state could trigger an invoking of the common defense clause (Article V) of the NATO Charter, leading to a NATO military attack on the country held responsible for the cyber attack. This is the height of madness, and can be a new hair-trigger for war with Russia or China— two countries that have been repeatedly accused of conducting cyber warfare against the US and Europe (last week's hacking into the Democratic Party data base, originally "proven'' to have been conducted by the Russian state, was later found to have been carried out by a hacker with no links to Russia).

Commenting on this succession of diplomatic events, Lyndon LaRouche made the basic point: We do not yet know what will come out of these events. We do know, however, that Putin has his own clear strategy and agenda, and he will act on that. While we do not know specifically what Putin is going to do, we know that it will be a shaping factor in the global situation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

SUPPORTING MATERIAL


Steinmeier Blows Apart NATO's Narrative of Russian Aggression

According to a posting, Sunday, on Zerohedge, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier's criticism of NATO's warmongering was a surprise, because it came from a completely unexpected direction.

"And just like that, the entire fictional narrative of 'innocent' NATO merely reacting to evil Russian provocations has gone up in flames," says ZH. "As AFP adds, Steinmeier merely highlighted all those things which rational persons have known about for a long time, namely the deployment of NATO troops near borders with Russia in the military alliance's Baltic and east European member states."

ZH shows that Steinmeier hit the nail on the head by quoting the CFR's Stephen Sestanovich, who tweeted,

"If Steinmeier calls it 'warmongering' to push back against Putin, he should step down — that's not German policy."

Bloomberg News sees Steinmeier's statement as evidence of a split in the German government coalition.

"It's Russia, not western nations, that needs to contribute more to rebuild trust,"

said Juergen Hardt, the foreign-policy spokesman of Merkel's parliamentary faction, in a statement on Sunday. Steinmeier's comments could lead to "misunderstandings or even glee in Moscow," he said. The public dispute between Merkel's CDU and Steinemeier, whose SPD is the junior partner in the coalition

"reflects growing tension within Merkel's coalition over how to deal with the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine," reports Bloomberg.

On top of this comes Gerhard Schroeder, the former chancellor, also of the SPD. Schroeder, in a June 18 interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung, warned NATO that its policies could lead to a new arms race with Russia, saying that they "will help neither to mitigate conflicts with Russia nor restore good relations." He ridiculed the idea that Russia "may be nurturing a plan to invade NATO-countries," stressing that the notion is completely out of touch with the real state of affairs. Schroeder also praised Steinmeier's call to lift the sanctions on Russia gradually. He also argued that it's inappropriate for Germany top participate in the NATO military build-up in the Baltic states, particularly as the 75th anniversary of Operation Barbarossa—Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941—comes on June 22.

"Seventy-five years after German troops attacked the Soviet Union, they are going to be placed at Russia's borders again," Schroder said. "What kind of response can this bring? Looks like NATO isn't thinking about that." 


Xi Jinping in Poland To Expand Silk Road Connectivity

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Poland, Sunday, for a three-day visit, following his highly successful visit to Serbia. In an article published in the leading Polish newspaper, Rzeczpospolita, on June 17, Xi referred to Copernicus, Madame Curie, and Chopin as Poles who have made great contributions to mankind's progress, and who are known and respected in China. He also noted the Polish Jesuit priest and scientist Michal Boym (a loner who tried to defend the last Ming Emperor in the 1640s against the Manchurian Qing, but who also published works on Asian flora and fauna).

Xi praised Poland's historic collaboration with China, one of the first to recognize the PRC, and the first Central Asia country to join the AIIB. China and Poland are each other's leading trading partners in their respective regions, with two-way trade of over $17 billion in 2015. There are five Confucius Institutes in Poland, and Xi said that a growing number of Chinese universities are teaching the Polish language.

He pointed out that Poland is on the crossroads of the New Silk Road and the ancient Amber Road (the north-south trade route from St. Petersburg and the Baltic nations through Poland to Venice), and that several Chinese rail routes to Europe either terminate in, or pass through, Poland.

Xi and President Andrzej Duta signed about 40 deals and MOUs on Monday, mostly in construction, raw materials, energy, finance, and science. Duta said he hoped that Poland would be China's "gateway to Europe," pointing both to the Gdansk port and the land ports for the rail connections.

Xi and Duta welcomed a train arriving in Warsaw on Monday from China. Polish freight group PKP Cargo operates 20 trains per week between Poland and China, each trip taking 11-14 days, twice as fast as ship and far cheaper than air.

Xi and Duta agreed to upgrade their relationship to a "comprehensive strategic partnership."

It is notable that, although Poland has been pulled into Obama's geopolitical military confrontation with Russia, neither Russia nor China view the world geopolitically, but rather as win-win relationships with all nations — what Helga Zepp-LaRouche calls the common aims of mankind. Thus Xi is going next to Tashkent for an SCO summit, where he will meet with Vladimir Putin, and Putin will go on to Beijing after the SCO for a state visit to China.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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