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The Cat Is Out of the Bag

Nov. 10, 2022 (EIRNS)—The gatherings at the Association of South Eastern Asian Nations (ASEAN) and at the East Asia summits come together in Cambodia over Thursday, Nov. 10 to Sunday, Nov. 13. It is a question, at this otherwise annual gathering, whether the senile British/U.S./NATO/”Western” song and dance can compete with the demonstrated projects around the Belt and Road, and the new set of regional organizations taking on an international role—the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the BRICS, the Eurasian Economic Union, etc.

Even the Council of Turkic States Summit, meeting today in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, where mutual customs protocols are on the table to streamline trade amongst countries, finds Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan taking on an increased role. Large projects involving energy, rail, and ports are on the minds of the developing world. Uzbekistan is looking at the Trans-Afghan Rail Corridor, connecting it to Pakistan and seaports.

Russia is sending a high-level delegation, led by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, to Cambodia, where, the Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova made clear, the meetings are “an important element of the multipolar architecture of regional security with the potential to develop mutually beneficial multilateral cooperation.” Russia, she emphasized, welcomes the upgraded interaction with “other constructively oriented alliances of the Eurasian space and supports inviting the SCO Secretary General (Zhang Ming) to ASEAN’s events in Phnom Penh.” ASEAN’s contacts with the SCO “enable it to lay the foundation to build sweeping continental cooperation directed at achieving sustainable development, wellbeing and prosperity for our countries.”

President Joe Biden has been set to show up, trotting out a package labeled the “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework”—and in years past, countries would have to smile and pay lip service to the empty package. Zakharova warned that they would not allow such distractions as the “non-inclusive so-called India-Pacific projects” to sabotage the real work that has to be done.

There are signs of a healthy resistance everywhere one looks. Eight CEOs of top German industrial firms, having just returned from their trip to China with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, explained to the country that China had brought 800 million people out of poverty, that economic cooperation with China is necessary, practical, and in the “genuine” interest of Germany. Germany has been averaging 500 demonstrations, and over 100,000 demonstrators, each week for the last months. The population are turning toward calling for a negotiated peace in Ukraine, and an end to sanctions against Russia and the attendant rising prices in Germany. Australia, one of the most obedient “Western” allies, finally refused to vote against banning nuclear weapons. For simply abstaining, they occasioned the wrath of the U.S. Embassy in Canberra, which schooled them that the U.S. nuclear umbrella would no longer protect such wayward miscreants.

Is it possible that some in the West would entertain a Plan B? This morning, the White House announced that Biden would meet at the G20 summit on Nov. 14, in Bali, with China’s Xi Jinping. And the language was toned down from the usual geopolitical rhetoric. As a senior administration official explained, “[T]he President believes it is critical to build a floor for the relationship and ensure that there are rules of the road that bound our competition.” Earlier, Biden had said that what he wanted to discuss with Xi “what each of our red lines are—understand what he believes to be in the critical national interests of China, what I know to be the critical interests of the United States and determine whether or not they conflict with one another. And if they do, how to resolve, and how to work that out.” While that is still quite a long way from either wanting to, or actually, controlling the warhawks seeking to take down Russia and China, it awakened a few ears. Imagine if anytime in the last 20 years, a U.S. leader had acted as if Russia’s had “critical national interests” and “red lines” that should not be toyed with.

If the rank idiocy, venality, mediocrity, and mean-spiritedness of recent years has destined the senile old West to simply cursing in the dark or to daring a nuclear confrontation, perhaps today, occasioned by the birthday of the patriot of his nation, and citizen of the world, Friedrich Schiller, it might actually be possible to rise above our “destiny” and rejoin the brotherhood of mankind. If the cat can get out of the bag, so might we.

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