Excellent US-Iran Analysis

This article is the best I found in terms of an actualized analysis of US-Iran relations and the situation in the region. The article demonstrates that the situation is unlike any under the two last American presidents and asks for another kind of action plan.

The Arab Middle East is far too weakened and divided to support a Trump administration strategy for containing the Islamic republic’s ambitions.

Vali R. Nasr

By Vali R. Nasr

Professor Nasr is a scholar of Middle East affairs.

The Saturn-Pluto Conjunction 2020

There are many articles regarding the Saturn-Pluto alignment as it started again (after 1982) now on January 12, 2020. But they regard personal astrology, not mundane astrology. (They focus on individuals, not the world at large, on personal fate, not political constellations).

In my previous post I have mentioned this important astrological alignment with a clear focus on the US-Iran conflict. I have pointed out that previously this rather abrasive planetary alignment was present and overshadowed the outbreak of both WW1 and WW2 and the Cold War, according to the analysis by Richard Tarnas, the author of ‘Cosmos and Psyche.’

And I am adding this post in order to clarify an important point. While Tarnas’ analysis is shared by other astrologer-historians, war is not the only way that this alighment possibly manifests. I think it is very important to see this, for otherwise one may misinterpret the current crisis as one that will lead to a war between the two countries. In my view, this is unlikely to happen for several reasons that I will not point out here, focusing instead on a pure analysis of how the energies of Saturn and Pluto melt and what can be expected as an outcome.

For this to see, we need to put our focus on the patterns that are characteristic for the energies of both planets. What are those patterns?

For Saturn, it is all that is and develops into a crystalline structure, a fixated something, a static condition, a configuration of events, facts and also of matter, a condensation of some kind, a structured order, an established something. When seen under the focus of mundane astrology, that means Saturn represents the established world order, or the established order of a specific country, or countries.

For Pluto, this means quite the opposite pattern, namely change, disruption of fixated conditions, breakdown of established structures, reformation, revolution, upheaval, streaks of chaos, breakup of traditional habits and ways of doing, and generally, profound and visible change!

When there is rapprochement of the two planets, especially when the Conjunction reaches 2º of orb or less, the disruptive effects of Pluto will have a direct and not-to-overlook impact upon the structures created by Saturn. That means on the level of mundane astrology that those countries affected by the alignment of the planets will go through profound changes that may be triggered by violent uprisings, reform movements, or revolutionary cells that suddenly operate in the open and bring about or accompany social upheaval and a call for reformation and lasting change.

These events will not be on a minor scale as history has shown. The energy pressure exerted by Pluto when it is closely aligned are known by all astrologers as being explosive, unpredictable and sweeping; they have lasting consequences, but those can be positive as well down the road. The final ‘intention’ of the plutonic energies is to bring about new order, to create new structures that better fit the world than the old ones.

Now, apply these insights to the Iran crisis and you will easily see that the events fall pretty much in line for political and social changes to come for Iran. The street riots are just a tiny beginning of a wake-up process that perhaps most of the young generation now is involved in Iran, with a clear tendency to shun the theocracy and their stiff, monolithic regime that is inflexible to the utmost, and stuck in the past. The downing of a passenger plane taken for a military missile shows more than anything the pitiful incompetence of Iranian military leaders and perhaps the general level of incompetence of the present government in Iran.

In my view, the plutonic energies will largely contribute to bring sweeping changes to this misdirected and unfit regime and things and events are going to pile up and accumulate that show that the old political pattern and configuration is going to break up and make leeway for new structures.

In this process, not only factors internal to Iran may take effect, but also those involved in the conflictual relations with the United States, for example. Here, the planetary alignment of Pluto with Saturn may as well make for a disruptive influence of American influence upon the political status quo of Iran in that ‘regime change’ while overly denied by the USA as a political strategy regarding Iran, will implicitly motivate and internally justify American pressure on Iran.

But of course, these planetary energies also affect the other players, the United States first of all, but also European powers such as Germany and France that are involved in the crisis in one or the other way. Germany and France now recently strongly emphasized the need for Iran to respect the 2015 Nuclear Deal, which is unlikely to happen, thus their expectations for compliance of Iran are probably way too unrealistic. On the other hand, given Pluto’s often unpredictable and unconventional disruptions and calls for change may favor the idea of a new deal negotiated by Trump, while this option seems to be even more unrealistic to political observers, and also to me. Iran is not going to play fair game now, and why should they after an act of political assassination has taken place against one of their citizens that is a clear violation of international law?

Last not least, the plea of Iran in front of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, which is a justified legal procedure in order to have the assassination condemned by the Highest Court as a flagrant violation of international law will exert an important signal function. Only a signal function, however, as the USA has not recognized compulsive jurisdiction by the ICJ and thus would not be bound or directly affected by a judgment on the matter. This does not mean that the USA will not be affected indirectly, however!

The signal function if a condemnation occurs, will be strong and visible for everyone, and it will contribute, one more time, to the accumulation of evidence that America’s claim to be the moral beacon of the world will once more be revealed as a narcissistic projection and one of the most striking symtoms of the negative American dream that undermines the credibility of the nation as by and large law-abiding and morally motivated. The repercussions may be subtle or they may be striking, but down the road the negative karma that the United States has accumulated through its arrogant and aggressive foreign policy is a sure fact and will kick in once the cycle ends and the great nation gets on a downward cycle which may well coincide with a possible impeachment of Trump, and also another possible economic depression looming around corner.

Further Reading

http://www.denadecastro.com/post/the-saturn-pluto-conjunction-clearing-blocks-to-our-power

(Good explanation of the planetary characteristics and outlook on personal astrology. No explanation of the mundane astrological constellation with respect to world events)

https://timenomad.app/posts/astrology/event/2019/03/14/timeline-of-saturn-pluto-conjunction-of-2020-and-its-karmic-meaning.html

(Excellent article on the unique characteristics and the historical dimension of Saturn-Pluto Conjunctions, with special regard to the present one that started in 2019 and will last until December 2021)

An Explosive Constellation

There is an old Chinese military proverb that a says ’Never give your enemy a martyr!’ Martyrdom is what most floods all subconscious barriers leading people to give 100+ times more of their energy and zeal in any conflict than under ordinary circumstances.

Quasem Soleimani was a charismatic leader, not an ordinary military commander. He will now be treated with all the state pomp as a national symbol for survival and as a hero and religious martyr. This is very dangerous for the West for it will mobilize the hidden falcons in Iranian society and the military, let alone the hidden reserves in the people. Iran is a strong and healthy population and this was a blow to their pride that I really am at pains to find words for …

Trump has acted like the proverbial fool. Even his grimaces and face mimics now really resemble the Fool of the Tarot. The man is out of his mind. Power is infectious …

The Germans and Chinese have good intentions to mild down the conflict by engaging talks directly with Iran, but their efforts will have no success.

Mundane astrology predicts that from January, 11-12, 2020, a Saturn-Pluto Conjunction will dominate the scene of the planetary heavens: coincidentally the exact same constellation overshadowed the outbreak of WW 1, and it will reign for quite some time. It predicts a highly explosive situation for world peace and a perhaps doomed period for international relations.

Perhaps Trump has triggered the WW 3 with shooting down this military commander from Iran. To add as an international lawyer that this act was in violation of international law in several respects, also a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

Iran now has the right to fully retaliate by military means, that means they have the right to declare war to USA.

Mundane astrology for 2020 looks quite catastrophic, so are the predictions of Nostradamus. This will not be a light year for international relations, and natural disasters are equally predicted.

My personal take on it is that Trump was succumbing to voices in the American military that since long try to get him into a new war, for various reasons. He resisted first, now he signed up and will continue this new direction without knowing what he does. It is pure madness. The world may go up in flames!

And … to quote from this article … State-ordered assassinations don’t easily square with a rules-based international system, giving Iran license in its response.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alasdairlane/2020/01/04/europe-powerless-as-trump-takes-on-iran/#1faf64c72970

Press Predominantly Negative Regarding US-China Relations 2019

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2019/01/14/cramer-tech-executives-tell-me-they-support-hardline-china-policy.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2019/01/10/40-years-later-u-s-china-relations-are-rocky-or-not/

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-05/what-to-expect-in-us-china-relations-in-2019/10671434

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-01-14/china-and-the-u-s-are-in-a-new-cold-war

Xinhua View

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-01/12/c_137738764.htm

A more positive outlook by Kevin Rudd

The Honorable Kevin Rudd, Former Prime Minister of Australia
President of the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York
http://kevinrudd.com

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/united-states-china-relations-in-2019-by-kevin-rudd-2018-12

https://asiasociety.org/policy-institute/us-china-relations-2019

A balanced view on China’s Intention for 2019

https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/china-wants-to-resolve-its-trade-frictions-with-us-in-2019-1976922

The Diplomat

https://thediplomat.com/tag/u-s-china-relations/

https://thediplomat.com/2018/12/us-china-relations-at-40/

Asia Times

http://www.atimes.com/prospects-for-us-china-relations-in-2019/

Trump Has No Middle East Strategy. He Acts on Impulses.

https://theconversation.com/no-trump-is-not-like-obama-on-middle-east-policy-109223

https://tcf.org/content/report/making-unmaking-syria-strategy-trump/

https://www.businessinsider.de/trump-vs-obama-middle-east-2019-1

http://www.css.ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/gess/cis/center-for-securities-studies/pdfs/CSSAnalyse233-EN.pdf

(PDF)

SUMMARY REPORT: U.S.-China 21

https://www.belfercenter.org/publication/summary-report-us-china-21

The Future of U.S.-China Relations Under Xi Jinping: Toward a New Framework of Constructive Realism for a Common Purpose

The future relationship between China and the United States is one of the mega-changes and mega-challenges of our age. China’s rise is the geopolitical equivalent of the melting polar ice caps – gradual change on a massive scale that can suddenly lead to dramatic turns of events.

In this Summary Report of a longer forthcoming work, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a senior fellow at the Belfer Center, asks if this defining trend of the 21st century can be managed peacefully. He argues that it can – if Washington and Beijing commit to placing their relationship on a stable, long-term footing.

Rudd’s findings emerge from a major study he led at the Belfer Center on the possibilities and impacts of a new strategic relationship between China and the United States.

The choice is stark: Either China and America will author a common narrative of mutually beneficial achievements, or they will drift toward conflict. While the likelihood of near-term conflict is low, leaders on both sides of the Pacific are well aware of “Thucydides’ Trap,” the historical pattern of conflict when rising powers rival ruling ones.

Avoiding that trap means answering key questions about U.S.-China relations:

  • Is China’s economic rise sustainable?
  • How will China exert power differently under Xi Jinping?
  • What does Beijing regard as Washington’s grand strategy toward China – and vice versa?
  • What are the risks of armed conflict?
  • How will China’s growing clout impact the regional and global order?
  • Can both sides develop a common strategic narrative?

There is no deficit of analysis about these issues. The purpose of this report is to help policymakers synthesize that analysis to better anticipate and respond to one of the great challenges of our day.

Conclusion

As to whether recommendations contained within this report are adopted by the two governments is a matter for them. The report argues that a new conceptual framework for the relationship is necessary that is capable of embracing, simultaneously, apparently intractable problems with real opportunities for policy progress in difficult areas, without one becoming permanently hostage to the other. The report also argues for the evolution over time of a substantive sense of common purpose for the relationship centered around the idea of preserving and reforming a functioning global order for the future, as opposed to the incremental drift toward the absence of order and the emergence of chaos. Finally, the report argues for a partial reform of the bilateral machinery of the relationship in order to achieve the above. The last two years of President Obama’s second term, and the rapid consolidation of President Xi Jinping’s political authority during his first term, provide a unique political opportunity to place the U.S.-China relationship on a stable, mutually beneficial long-term footing.

There is a range of different scenarios for U.S.-China relations. The difficulty lies in the fact that these are very much shaped by different assumptions, different variables and their interaction with one another. Nonetheless, given what we know, a number of broad scenarios suggest themselves for the decade ahead.

First, we can imagine a cooperative scenario in which the dynamics of an increasingly globalized economy, and growing interdependencies between the United States and China across multiple policy domains, encourage both leaderships to: avoid any possibility of armed conflict; focus on their respective domestic policy priorities; and maintain a geopolitical status quo in the region. This scenario could also feature more concerted action on individual global challenges like climate change.

A second more collaborative scenario is possible, one which resembles a more ambitious and activist version of the first scenario above. In this, both Beijing and Washington conclude that, in order to deal with a range of underlying, structural difficulties in the relationship, they must not only manage their differences, but also collaborate in difficult policy domains to resolve them. This might include: a bilateral or multilateral agreement on cyber security; an agreed strategy on North Korea with the objective of achieving the denuclearization of the peninsula; and a joint determination to rejuvenate the G20.

Third, a competitive scenario in which fundamental differences are managed, but not resolved. In this case, China and the United States would compete for strategic influence across Asia and around the world, with both sides accelerating their military preparedness to guard against the possibility of long-term conflict.

Fourth, a confrontational scenario, which sees Asia dividing between groupings increasingly aligned to either Beijing or Washington because creative ambiguity on both security and economic issues on the part of regional states is no longer tenable. In such a scenario, incidents in the East and South China seas would increase and escalate to the point that conflict between China and a regional friend or ally of the United States would become increasingly conceivable. A fully internationalized RMB would begin to challenge the privileged status of the USD as one of a number of global reserve currencies. Globally, the contest between China and the United States would become increasingly ideological between their respective democratic capitalist and state capitalist models.

Fifth, and last of all, there is the implosion scenario. In this hypothetical future, political tensions and structural economic imbalances within the Chinese system would ultimately fracture, causing China to comprehensively and radically adjust its national development strategy. This report does not regard this outcome as a credible possibility.

National political leadership in both Beijing and Washington, and the leadership they choose to deliver to the future direction of their bilateral relationship, can have a major, and possibly decisive, effect on which of these scenarios, or blend of scenarios, becomes the more probable. There is nothing determinist about the future relationship between China and the United States. It is a matter for leaders to decide on an approach, and to execute it, either con-jointly or separately. That is why the narrative they use to describe their relationship to each other, and to their respective political constituencies, is important. And that is where the current U.S.-China relationship is lacking.

This report has focused on one such possible scenario for the future (namely the second scenario), and how it might in practical terms be brought about. If a new approach of “Constructive Realism for a Common Purpose” is to have any real chance of success, it will require a change in the political psychology or the “way of thinking” of the relationship. As noted above, the Chinese call this “siwei.” At present, the “siwei” between the two is overwhelmingly “realist” to the point that it is almost Hobbesian in its fatalism. The Chinese equivalent would be to run international relations according to the most pessimistic tradition of the “Legalist” (fajia 法家). This permanently assumes the worst of the other party and over time becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The report does not argue for the abandonment of skepticism in international relations. In fact, it argues for the retention of a realist premise concerning the hard security issues that currently separate the U.S. and China and will continue to do so for a considerable time. However, the report also argues that we should leaven the realist loaf with a level of constructive cooperation at multiple levels to build strategic trust over time. This will not require the wholesale abandonment of traditional strategic thinking or “siwei.” But it will require an adjustment to allow for the possibilities of constructive engagement changing deeply grounded strategic mindsets over time.

The report also departs from traditional strategic thinking in another way. At one level, there is a debate in the international community today about the type of global order we would like for the future: minimalist, maximalist global governance, realist, liberal internationalist, so-called “variable geometry,” etc. This seems to miss the point in the present international environment. We may no longer have the luxury of a sumptuous global smorgasbord of options to choose from. In truth, we now find ourselves confronted by multiple external challenges to an international order of any description. The enemies of “order” are there for all those with eyes to see:

• Violent, global jihadism seeking to destroy the very notion of secular states or any society of states;

• New weapons of mass destruction in the form of cyber terrorism, cyber crime and state-based cyber attack against critical infrastructure;

• A new generation of global pandemics;

• Existential threats to the planet through irreversible climate change; and

• Associated crises in food, water and basic energy supply.

These are attacks against “order” itself. They should, as a matter of both reason and emotion, cause states to conclude that whatever differences they have between them, these are now smaller than the common threats we now face together as a society of states and our U.S.-China 21: The Future of U.S.-China Relations Under Xi Jinping common need to defend the order itself. This should particularly apply to both the United States and China, given their respective levels of national vulnerability to all the above, as well as their sense of responsibility to other members of the international community. It is this consciousness, driven by the realities of globalization and interconnectedness, and the opportunities and now extreme vulnerabilities that arise from the same, that form a rational basis for at least some change in the traditional American and Chinese strategic mindsets or “siwei.” And that is the ultimate basis for the type of “Constructive Realism for a Common Purpose” recommended in this report for the two most powerful countries in the world today, who now share unique responsibilities on behalf of us all. In other words, to work together to defend and strengthen “an order” against those forces, political, climatological or biological, that would destroy order altogether.


Full Summary Report: U.S.-China 21 (PDF)

Chinese Version: Full Summary Report: U.S.-China 21 (PDF)

Why Britain [Was] Protesting Trump

Insider article.

https://www.belfercenter.org/publication/why-britain-protesting-trump

—Begin of Quote—

Some thought naively that the White House would change Donald Trump, but high office doesn’t change your character, it reveals it. Only last month, he ordered US government agents, on the southern border, to separate migrant children from their parents. Frightened and helpless toddlers were held in wire cages, with no proper registration. There’s reason to fear that many of these almost 3,000 children may never again see their parents. As a parent myself, this conscious cruelty appalls me.

Yet, what was Trump’s response?

He said: “These aren’t people, these are animals.”

—End of Quote—