(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
There is a reason why China doesn’t give a damn to retaliatory measures by the United States, Europe, India or anyone else for that matter.
Individuals or nations don’t turn their back on overflowing coffers and even if they make noise, there is little by way of action on the ground—or ocean if you have South China Sea in mind.
The world today is a buyers’ market and China is stuffing yuan in mouths which open up with the honest intention of registering their protests against the Beijing.
The latest trade figures of China in June are breathtaking. When the world is said to be angry at Coronavirus pandemic and neighbours are traumatized by the Middle Kingdom’s bullying, China’s exports have picked up. The biggest shock though is that its imports have risen by 2.7 per cent too, implying that more money is reaching the pockets of distressed economies of the world.
This is not Cold War II—as analysts are fond of saying these days. Soviet Union was an empire cut off by the liberal or western world. China, in contrast, doesn’t have an empire. It just has found a way to every central bank and command structure of the nations.
This is more than geopolitics. This is geo-economics.
We all had thought that it’s payback time for a boorish China, induced by the pandemic. Well, it imported $167.15 billion worth of goods in June 2020 and made a nonsense of the Bloomberg prediction of a 10 per cent slump. China meanwhile exported $213.6 billion which is a hike of 0.5 per cent.
If China could import as much as it exports—presently some $46.2 billion adrift—it could scoff at punitive actions by the rest of the world as not just economies but the global industrial chain and trade won’t move without its consent.
China’s imports have taken off since their domestic market today is worth 41.2 trillion yuan. It has grown at a breakneck speed in last six years, contributing 57.8 percent to GDP growth during this spell.
Interestingly, its trade surplus hasn’t dropped by much against the United States. In June, it was $29.41 billion compared to $29.91 a year ago at the same stage.
China’s imports of copper concentrate from the United States is its highest in nearly two years. It’s purchase of iron ore has jumped to 35.3 per cent since October 2017. The arrival of soybeans has climbed by 71 per cent. It has imported record meat, including offal, which is nearly 74 per cent up to the same period a year ago.
And this is cutting across all ideologies, without distinction between friends and rivals. For instance, China is about to open its money reserves for beleaguered Iran. Yet, the arch rivals of the Islamic Republic—Saudi Arabia—is the biggest exporter of oil to Beijing. China’s crude oil imports from the Saudi kingdom has risen by 15% in June. This record import is in the shadow of price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, the world’s top oil exporters. This is when Moscow, as we know, is said to be the blood-brother of Beijing these days. On top of it, China has also boosted its inflows from Brazil, Norway and Angola.
India of course is a very minor trading partner for China since it imports a mere 3% of China’s overall exports. New Delhi could hurt mega business houses of China, especially the digital kind, but it’s not to say it is bringing beads of sweat on Beijing’s forehead.
India could feel that it has favourable neighbouring relations with the governments in Afghanistan and Bangladesh but China, against it, has brought Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal in its fold. It’s planning to invest $50 billion in Bangladesh over the next couple of years.
China, further, has deployed its military infrastructure around Indian Ocean. It already has eight naval ships in these waters. It has sold 10 submarines to India’s neighbours—8 to Pakistan and 2 to Bangladesh. It has a naval base in Djibouti and a military surveillance capability on Myanmar’s Coco island. It’s offering land exchange to Myanmar.
So even though one keeps hearing the angst of world against China, in effect little is changing on the ground. It would take more than mere rhetoric to keep China honest. So far there is little to suggest that the world is walking the talk.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Who visit India most? Bangladeshis. And I am not talking about illegal immigrants which are vote banks in Bengal and Assam, for instance. Most take the visa route, mainly for shopping or medical care but quite a few have work visas and they overstay.
All of this would have been routine but for the news that Bangladeshis who work abroad are acquiring fake Corona Virus negative certificates through a friendly specialist hospital and zipping off to their destinations. They of course don’t mind putting their lives at risk—or spreading infection in countries who are their hosts.
On Wednesday, the Bangladeshi authorities had one Mohammad Shahed arrested at the India border who had disguised himself as a woman and covered himself in a back burqa from head to toe.
The authorities didn’t swoop down on Shahed because he had a long criminal record—which he did have—but for the repugnant act of issuing fake Corona certificates to anyone who could cough up $50 per person. He could do this because he ran a hospital in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.
Millions of Bangladeshis work in Europe and elsewhere.
Malaysia, for instance, was willing to pay visa fee, airfares, medical recruitment agency commissions and levies for Bangladeshi workers before the Corona-induced break didn’t allow pen-to-paper over the agreement. Malaysia has as many as eight lakh Bangladeshis working in their country.
In Europe, it’s a common sight to see them filling up the grocery stores, cleaning tables, cooking in Tandoori restaurants or just selling bottled water on the streets. While walking in Florence last year, I saw a stream of Bangladeshis on the road leading up to iconic Duomo cathedral. Most of the stuff bore the mark of world-famous Italian brands which of course were fake.
The makers of such duplicates are once again seeking out customers now that roads have begun to fill up and shutters are going up in Italy and elsewhere in Europe. They require the affable Bangladeshis to return, who are all keen to oblige, and are circumventing the rules through such men of compassion as Shahed.
Many of such workers of course are a great help to their mother country, bringing in billions of dollars of remittance but Corona Virus pandemic has been a body blow, most who came back home haven’t been able to return and live the good life again.
Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, makes up for 20 percent of India’s all foreign visitors. Last year, the Indian embassy in Dhaka issued 15 lakh visas to locals. So much so that Dhaka alone has three of seven Indian visa centres in Bangladesh. These are legal visitors and must not be confused with millions of illegals who sneak into India, your proverbial car-cleaner or maids whose presence in home chores keep your wife in good humour.
Then there are factory workers who you would think India doesn’t need having an abundance of poor and destitute men of their own. Yet they come, like Mohammed Saidul Rahman (22), Mohammed Abdul Wahab (28) Mohammed Emdadul (35) and Mohammed Alittan Ali (42) who were arrested in Kollam, Kerala in the midst of Corona Virus in May for continuing to work in a cashew nut factory even though their visas had expired.
Having such an obliging neighbour like India, you would think, keeps Bangladesh grateful. Not the least. Bangladesh foreign minister A.K. Abdul Momen cancelled his visit to India just before lockdowns on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Interestingly, the argument by the VVIP was not the exclusion of his native Muslims from acquiring Indian citizenship, it was to contend that India was awarding citizenship to minorities even though they were not persecuted in the Islamic republic of Bangladesh, as they were in two other Islamic neighbourhood nations, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Corona certificate scam should sober up those who clamour that India is discriminating against Muslims under CAA. Leave aside Rohingya Muslims for whom copious tears are shed, Corona carriers on fake certificates from across the border could be a serious health hazard emanating from such compassion.
Hope hinges on two critical meetings European Union (EU) member-nations will have over the next few days. But it would be of little use. Borders could open; refugees could be accepted but the overwhelming numbers would mark a return to present-day “Fortress Europe” soon. Then what? Newsbred looks at 10 frightening scenarios which could confront humanity:
- West and NATO could attack Syria in a bid to “liberate” it from Assad/ISIS/Free Syrian Army. They would resort to “humanitarian-bombing,” like they did with Serbia and others, install a puppet regime and ask refugees to return home.
- Only if it was that easy though. The Security Council of the United Nations would certainly not approve it. Yes, United States and its cohorts are contemptuous of international laws and fight wars without the UN approval regularly but the present crisis is too overwhelming. Russia and China would certainly confront the move.
- So far, since the Second World War, imperialism has come in the cloak of international financial “terrorism”—the so-called free trade, globalization, the IMF-World Bank-WTO etc—or stoking civil unrest that turns into raging civil wars followed by installation of puppet regimes. But this could be different. US/NATO vs Russia/China would be gloves off: a conventional war could turn into a thermonuclear war. A burning inferno awaits humanity
- Mass media, the cloaked enemy of humanity, would be feverishly at work. Lies and propaganda would spread. Falsehoods such as they used on Iraq’s so-called possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), helping the debilitating war in 2003, would be back in force. As it is, fake news on Russia’s military intervention in Syria has raised heat this week. The stooge puppies would wag the tail of their Western masters.
- The dream of Europe’s political union would be over. The European Union was formed in order to first achieve an economic unity followed by a political centrality where all governments and people would cede their power to a single authority in Brussels. It doesn’t seem feasible now. The bluff of EU and Euro would be over. Each to its own, Europe divided more than ever.
- Europe, not yet out of the 2008 economic crisis, would stumble further into a morass. Social welfare states would be a thing of the past. Raging unemployment, Islamophobia, xenophobia, racism, riots could hit the streets of London, Berlin and Paris. Fascist forces, already rearing their heads in European nations, such as Portugal, Greece, Spain and France, would gain momentum. Days of dozens of Hitlers are about to dawn.
- The candidates waiting for inclusion in European Union (EU), nations such as Serbia, would certainly now hedge their bets. They have been badly stung by the present refugee crisis. Their humanitarian approach to the crisis hasn’t been backed by fellow Balkan (read Croatia) and northern neighbours (Hungary). A few more days to the present crisis and it would again earn hostility of its other neighbours—such as Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and even Montenegro. Serbia’s plea for increased financial assistance from EU has fallen on deaf ears. It’s been surrounded by NATO countries—a reminder which is sure to send Serbs into heightened anxiety. Serbia has always been a victim of evil designs and monstrous propaganda. Another one such round, god forbids, awaits them.
- Turkey is somehow forced to keep the refugees in its camp and not release them as it did recently and caused the present refugee crisis. It would be like putting the genie back in the bottle. Impossible. You don’t change political positions so quickly and yet avoid the fallout. President Recep Erdogan can’t take chances in the general elections which are only six weeks away.
- And for Greece? That’s a double whammy. Crushed under fiscal austerity, loss of its public assets and betrayal by Alexis Tsipras, they have no way to monitor their 1000-plus islands in a bid to stop refugees from crossing the Mediterranean Sea. All they can do is to shepherd refugees to Athens. Like Serbia, nobody has come to their aid. Let’s get it clear, it’s not Serbia or Greece’s problem. Refugees are using these countries, and Macedonia, for transitional journeys to “developed” Europe. They are paying the price without being offered an increased financial assistance.
- The crisis is great news for notorious Balkan criminal networks. This network is more powerful than most nations. It offers a safe passage to opium/heroin from Afghanistan and Central Asia to Europe and to the United States across the Atlantic. Opium trade is almost as big as oil and gas trade. Now with Europe shutting its door, the refugees have nowhere to turn but to do them. Helpless women and girl-children would be turned into flesh trade; young boys into petty thieves and organ-smuggling would receive an impetus. Such crime would be in European neighbourhoods.
Leaving one’s home is never an easy choice. Worse is to be attributed with ulterior motives of terrorism and seeking jobs. European Union’s so-called free borders and championing of human equality is in tatters. We now know what it always was–a sham.
So, all in all, it’s doomsday ahead for humanity. If you have read thus far, please look for my recent book “HOW UNITED STATES SHOT HUMANITY: Muslims Ruined; Europe Next.” Knowledge of how this tragedy has shaped out is the best way to be prepared when the crisis hits you in the face. At present, no solution—only holocaust—appears on the horizon.