Friday, December 2, 2016

Saving Face: America's TPP Disaster

December 2, 2016 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Long before US President-elect Donald Trump even began his presidential campaign, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was already crumbling along with the rest of America's so-called "pivot to Asia" policy.


In late 2011, then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would begin promoting what was called "America's Pacific Century." A US State Department archive containing Secretary Clinton's remarks on the subject would reveal the "pivot to Asia" being promoted as (our emphasis):

...a need for a more dynamic and durable transpacific system, a more mature security and economic architecture that will promote security, prosperity, and universal values, resolve differences among nations, foster trust and accountability, and encourage effective cooperation on the scale that today’s challenges demand. 

And just as the United States played a central role in shaping that architecture across the Atlantic – to ensure that it worked, for us and for everyone else – we are now doing the same across the Pacific. The 21st century will be America’s Pacific century, a period of unprecedented outreach and partnership in this dynamic, complex, and consequential region.

In both title and stated intentions, the "pivot to Asia" was a policy of, by and for the United States. Secretary Clinton would compare US intentions toward Asia Pacific with its alleged accomplishments across the Atlantic, even citing Afghanistan and Libya as success stories despite the fact that both nations were rendered and to this day remain decimated, dysfunctional failed states following US intervention.

From the Beginning the TPP was About Domination, Not Cooperation 

Secretary Clinton would mention the TPP specifically, claiming:
There is new momentum in our trade agenda with the recent passage of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement and our ongoing work on a binding, high-quality Trans-Pacific Partnership, the so-called TPP. The TPP will bring together economies from across the Pacific, developed and developing alike, into a single 21st century trading community. A rules-based order will also be critical to meeting APEC’s goal of eventually creating a free trade area of the Asia Pacific.
In reality, however, the TPP was never about creating a "trading community," it was about reasserting US domination over Asian-Pacific trade. Prominent US policy think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), published a paper authored by Robert Blackwill, Henry Kissinger and Ashley Tellis titled, "Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China." In it, the TPP is referred to specifically in the context of containing China, not fostering economic cooperation (our emphasis):
The congressional role in sustaining a successful U.S. grand strategy toward China is manifested primarily in three areas: giving the president trade-promotion authority so that he may quickly conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) freetrade agreements now being negotiated in Asia, reforming and providing the defense budgets necessary to maintain U.S. power projection and a credible Asian alliance system, and continuously holding U.S. administrations accountable for the implementation of their response to the rise of Chinese power.
Here, rhetoric about building stronger and more beneficial relationships with Asia-Pacific is dropped, and the reality of US policy serving a singular agenda, the containment of China's regional and global rise, is revealed. Throughout the report, the TPP is repeatedly cited as a means of competing with what US policymakers call "China’s asymmetrical economic advantages."


China's economic and geopolitical rise has in turn helped drive development across all of Asia. Immense infrastructure projects from highways connecting China to Thailand, dams powering Laos, ports and pipelines in Myanmar and rail projects region-wide alone have tangibly transformed Asia over the past decade in ways US economic and military ties have failed categorically to match.


Monday, November 28, 2016

The West's War on Thailand's Next King

November 29, 2016 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The first fatal mistake Western observers make when attempting to describe Thailand's monarchy is comparing it to European, or worse yet, Arabian institutions. It is neither.

With the passing of the universally revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the upcoming coronation of his successor, Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, Western observers are indulging deeply in this mistake once again - many doing so intentionally for politically-motivated reasons.


Thailand, a nation of nearly 70 million people, and a significant political, military, and economic power in Southeast Asia, remains the only nation in the region to avoid colonization by European powers. It managed this through the leadership of its monarchs and the unity they have historically fostered throughout Thai history.

For nations seeking to subjugate Thailand as a nation and Asia as a region, Thailand's monarchy poses a significant and formidable obstacle to their ambitions - and an obstacle they have worked for decades to eliminate through every means from propaganda to terrorism.

For nations wishing to create stronger ties with Thailand, understanding the importance of this institution, rather than attempting to judge the nation by Western standards, is key.

During this crucial transitional period, it is important for nations seeking closer relations with Thailand to avoid repeating the torrent of disinformation intentionally put out by the Western media as part of its calculated "pivot to Asia" in which it seeks to undermine regional strength and reassert Western domination by tearing down political leaders and institutions that stand in its way.

The Thai Monarchy 

Thailand's monarchy - officially a constitutional monarchy - stretches back seven centuries, with the current dynasty reigning for over 230 years. It has developed and currently rules as a uniquely Thai institution with its own history and its own social contract with the Thai people. Contrary to disinformation spread by the increasingly discredited Western media and the circles of lobbyists that have infiltrated and tainted their ranks, the reverence, loyalty, and respect Thai people view this institution with is real.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

US Still Seeks Regime Change Across Asia

November 26, 2016 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - While the US could accurately be described as a global power in decline, the ambitions of prominent special interests at the center of its economic and political power still pose a potent threat to global stability and national sovereignty worldwide. In Asia particularly, despite a clear shift in a regional balance of power that has persisted for nearly a century, the US is still actively involved in attempting to dictate which governments come to power in respective nation-states and how they rule and all in an attempt to create a balance of power in Asia that serves US interests.


From Myanmar to Vietnam, US Ambitions Still a Clear and Present Danger 

US ambition to transform Asia manifests itself in a number of ways. In Malaysia, it has been fueling for years the so-called Bersih movement and its campaign for "clean and fair elections." While the movement attempted to appear spontaneous and independent of any political party, it was quickly revealed that its core leadership was funded by the US State Department via the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Open Society. It was also revealed that Bersih was in fact an auxiliary front of a political coalition headed by US-backed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who quite literally led the protests in the streets himself.

Extensive US support has been provided to the now ruling government of Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar, including the creation of Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy's (NLD) entire media capabilities. Pro-NLD media platforms created and funded annually by the US government include the New Era Journal, the Irrawaddy, and the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB). It was also revealed that Suu Kyi's Minister of Information, Pe Myint, was quite literally trained in Bangkok by the US government-funded Indochina Media Memorial Foundation, which now co-occupies the Western media's Foreign Correspondents Club (FCCT) office in Bangkok.