Not surprisingly, my last blog attracted only a handful of visits, but included one who went out of his way to say something nice or polite and more interestingly who repeated the sentiments when we accidentally met yesterday. I had never intended to post anything too serious – it would require more reading and original research, for which I have yet the motivation. Coincidentally, a friend forwarded me an interview on YouTube with Jeff Sachs apparently recorded last week with the title which I have adopted for this blog, which began with Sachs saying that his country, the USA, was not under the control of the POTUS. Sachs, of course, is Jeffery David Sachs, an American economist, academic, public policy analyst, and former director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, where he holds title of University Professor. He is now 68. Earlier, in 1980, he joined Harvard, and at the age of 28, became a professor of economics with tenure at Harvard. He is also renowned for his work and involvement on sustainable development and the fight to end poverty. He is Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development at Columbia University and had been appointed special advisor to at least two UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon and Kofi Annan. He had been advisor to Gorbachev and Yeltsin. In short, his credentials are impeccable. In the phone interview which lasted about 21 minutes and which was conducted when he was in a cafeteria in Athens at 6am, Sachs said he had been in the game (as economic advisor) for 43 years such that he knows most if not all of the key players very well, but he finds it disheartening that ”the world has gone mad, at least in the Anglo Saxon part of the world.” He lamented that the US has become unrecognizable since 20 years ago and that the POTUS has allowed his country to be ruled by generals and security establishments which are dominated by people with mediocre intellect at best who are motivated by self-interests by making wars through the creation of “military industrial complexes” which have taken over all think tanks, at least in the East Coast, so as to perpetrate the lies and mistruths which the mainstream media will never examine or investigate in any depted, if at all, being far too busy to repeat the government propaganda spoon-fed to them.
For example, the military has spent over US$113 billion on the Ukrainian war so far, without any consultation or debate at any level, and for that matter, the US public or voters have never been consulted on the spending or on any aspects of US foreign policy. Sachs has attributed the core of the US and hence the world madness to the US desire to keep US hegemony forever, having had enjoyed the experience and position since the end of World War II. The US is aided amicably by the UK, the number one cheerleader, which would reinforce whatever US does or decide to do. He described as idiocy the position of Australia and New Zealand for following suit, for no apparent purpose or gain. All such developments will further pave the path to war with China.
With the clear object of staying in the global primacy position, the US has therefore designed a series of policies and strategies to keep China out of the running or to slow her down, through trade – beginning with Obama unsuccessfully trying to introduce TPP in his terms – IT and other means. It follows that the NATO enlargement to include Ukraine is but part and parcel of the game plan that had been forged decades ago, or at least eight to ten years ago. Sachs referred to a 2015 report in which Robert Blackwill wrote in his “Revising US Grand Strategy Towards China” that “China represents and will remain the most significant competitor to the United States for decades to come. As such, the need for a more coherent US response to increasing Chinese power is long overdue.”
It follows that the strategy to get Ukraine into NATO and more recently to try to bring NATO to Asia is not a haphazard or incidental move, but a well-conceived one overtime. Let us go back to the origin of NATO, NATO was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union. There were 12 member nations then. Four were added between 1952 and 1982; and three more in 1999; such that there were 14 nations added after 1997, bringing the number of member nations in NATO to 31, with promises of more to come. The important milestone to note however is that when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, the US and the West were not interested in helping Russia in any manner. Instead, NATO has continued its expansion.
Indeed, the US has been adamant to expand NATO as early as 1992 and to encircle Russia with NATO members. The US made no effort to hide their involvements to overthrow the Ukrainian Administration in 2014, and the process was “disgusting and unnerving” in Sachs’ words. Still Russia had been patient for a while and had offered to negotiate with NATO and the USA, only to be told flat in the face that NATO was non-negotiable. Sachs went on to say categorically that the war in Ukraine could have ended in March 2022, but the USA declined to negotiate.
On the other hand, we have The Economist, of which I was a subscriber some years back, which argues and predicts the demise of Russia and Putin in no time, but which Sachs categorically said would not happen, for very real and practical reasons. It would trigger a nuclear war if it appeared that Russia was not in control or if Russia suffered severe defeats. Sachs also added that all the earlier US and NATO plans and strategies were predicated on keeping Russia and China apart, but that was not happening. Meanwhile, Sachs was amused and dumbfounded to see Japan being played into the game and offer to open up an office for NATO.
Sachs was rambling on and he knew it; so he tried to summarize by giving a few pointers towards the end, including, first, the war in Ukraine could end as soon as Biden said Ukraine would not join NATO; second, stop expanding NATO towards the East, which incidentally was echoed today by Alex Lo in SCMP, editorializing that the ambitions of NATO in Asia are simply a delusion of grandeur; third, the US actions and stance on Taiwan are provocative and dangerous and would not be conducive to long-term healthy US-China relations; and fourth, more regional dialogues between and within Asian nations should be encouraged and would be conducive to maintaining stability in the region. In the final analysis, Asian problems are to be resolved between Asian nations and in Asia, beginning with issues revolving around climate, energy and trade.
I am getting ready for my weekend visit, and I hope to talk to you afterwards.