South Africa Offers Putin Diplomatic Immunity Ahead of BRICS Summit

Armstrong Economics Blog/War Re-Posted May 31, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, Iran, China, South Africa) alliance is stronger than ever. The 15th annual meeting will be hosted in Cape Town, South Africa, and government leaders are urging all to attend. However, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has an outstanding warrant for the arrest of Vladimir Putin and South Africa is a member state.

President Cyril Ramaphosa understands the importance of the BRICS alliance and considered abandoning the ICC entirely before backtracking on his stance. Instead of leaving the ICC, South Africa now declares that it will grant diplomatic immunity to Putin to permit him to attend. “It is hereby published for general information that the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, in terms of section 6(2) of the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act 2001, has recognised (the meetings),” the department said. The terms in the United Nations Convention should prevent the ICC from arresting Putin, who is considered a war criminal for the invasion of Ukraine.

Specifically, the ICC charged Putin “for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation (under articles 8(2)(a)(vii) and 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute).” Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, is also wanted by the ICC for the same charges. The Kremlin has denied that the deportations were forced and said that they were attempting to save Russian children living in Ukraine. Ukraine only entered the ICC in March of 2022, but numerous countries, including China and the United States, do not recognize “the court of last resort.” Lvova-Belova told news outlets that she was proud of her work in removing children from an active war zone. “It’s great that the international community has appreciated the work to help the children of our country, that we do not leave them in the war zones, that we take them out, that we create good conditions for them, that we surround them with loving, caring people,” she stated.

So, will Putin take the risk? On the one hand, his presence would signal that he is unafraid of international law. On the other hand, the Neocons would delight in an opportunity to arrest the Russian president to begin WW3. A country would need to be extremely careful to arrest the head of a country with nuclear capabilities in the middle of a war.

Epic Panda!

Posted originally on the CTH on April 6, 2023 | Sundance 

This is the funniest thing in months.  Take the time to enjoy and laugh folks… Really, take the time.

French President Emmanuel Macron is in Beijing for an official state visit and his geopolitical priority is to break, or at least weaken, the China-Russia alliance. Yes, the western alliance sent diminutive Macron for this task.  That is funny enough… but what comes next is buckets funnier.

In order to give power to their position, the brilliant NATO minds decided that President Macron should take European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, as a way to express the united ‘western alliance’ message that Macron was intended to leverage in his efforts.  Obviously cunning Panda knew the intent, and the way China literally diminished the effort is not only funny in diplomatic action, but also in the optics they present.  LOOK:

Upon arrival in Beijing, and customary with keeping good panda face, Macron “was given the full red-carpet treatment this week in Beijing, fêted at a state banquet, and greeted by military parades and firing cannons on Tiananmen Square. When Macron’s plane touched down, China’s foreign minister personally welcomed him.”  However, “when European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrived, she got the ecology minister — at the regular passenger exit.” [link]

Big Panda is subtle like a brick through a window. lolol.

(Politico) – […] While Macron’s schedule was overflowing, von der Leyen’s was bare-bones. While Macron was attending a lavish state banquet Thursday night with Chinese President Xi Jinping, von der Leyen was giving a sober press conference at the EU delegation’s own headquarters. While state media trumpeted the Sino-French relationship, Chinese social media demonized von der Leyen as an American puppet.

The distinction illustrates the difficulties Europe is having in dealing with China. The EU’s 27 members have an array of opinions about how to approach China — and Beijing knows this. And in the case of Macron and von der Leyen, Beijing sees a greater chance to make headway with the French leader, rendering the EU executive to a somewhat subordinate position.

The strategy was on full display Thursday, as Xi descended the outsized steps of the Great Hall of the People to greet the French president with smiles and a handshake. Below a line of flapping red flags, the two leaders exchanged greetings with a gathering that included some of Macron’s advisers. 

Not present: von der Leyen. She would join later for the meetings, walking up the Great Hall stairs in solitude. (read more)

The only world leader who was/is able to diminute Chairman Xi Jinping, was U.S. President Donald Trump.

This entire effort by Macron and Von der Leyen is an exhibition in painful and slow-moving Panda humiliation.  Even Politico had to note the cringe factor that surrounds the diplomatic undressing.

Even if you don’t like Big Panda, and obviously we do not, you still have to give them credit.  It really is funny.

Well played, big panda… Well played. 

Col Macgregor on the Neocons

Armstrong Economics Blog/Neocons Re-Posted Apr 2, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

China wants Apple Back – China’s Davos

Armstrong Economics Blog/China Re-Posted Mar 30, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

China’s zero COVID policy isolated the nation for nearly three years and caused businesses to flee. One of the steepest losses occurred when Apple halted the production of the iPhone 14 in China. If you recall, Foxconn, once the largest iPhone producer in the world, underwent a lengthy lockdown in November 2022. In response, Apple moved a portion of its manufacturing to India and Vietnam.

In October, before the lockdown, Foxconn produced 85% of iPhone Pros. Apple experienced its steepest quarterly revenue decline in half a decade, and the company blamed China for causing production delays. Anti-China sentiment was also a factor, as cheap labor could be found elsewhere without the false label of being a “Chinese company.” However, departing from China cannot happen overnight.

China Premier Li Qiang is now attempting to stop Apple from gradually exiting China. Beijing plans to host the China Development Forum, often called “China’s Davos,” and has extended an invitation to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Aljazeera reported that attendees of this year’s event include US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Procter & Gamble Chief Executive Jon Moeller, PwC Global Chairperson Bob Moritz, and HSBC Chief Executive Noel Quinn.

China’s growth target for 2023 sits at 5%, which is unusually low for the second-largest economy. Cook has already made a visit to China ahead of the summit and expressed optimism that the supply chain issues could be repaired. Losing Apple completely would be detrimental to China’s economy and image. Time will tell how China can navigate US sanctions and retain the business it lost under the zero COVID policy.

Zuckerberg Could Not Buy TikTok So He Wants to Ban It

Armstrong Economics Blog/Censorship Re-Posted Mar 29, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

China banned Facebook in 2009, instantaneously eliminating 700 million users from the platform. Mark Zuckerberg was unwilling to give up a piece of his social media empire without a fight. Zuckerberg actually learned to speak Mandarin and toured mainland China, delivering speeches in their native tongue and attempting to align himself with the Chinese.

There was a popular app called with content reminiscent of the original version of TikTok, and Zuckerberg wanted to incorporate that platform into his empire. After 14 months of tough negotiations, ByteDance outbid Zuckerberg for to the tune of $800 million, and that app later merged with the TikTok we have in the US today.

“Until recently, the internet in almost every country outside China has been defined by American platforms with strong free expression values. There’s no guarantee these values will win out,” Zuckerberg said in a speech at Georgetown University. “While our services, like WhatsApp, are used by protesters and activists everywhere due to strong encryption and privacy protections, on TikTok, the Chinese app growing quickly around the world, mentions of these protests are censored, even in the US.”

Ironically, the feeling is mutual as China has always feared the US collecting its personal data. Zuckerberg mentioned his apps offer “strong free expression values,” but we have seen that lie explode numerous times over. He worked with the FBI to hide damning evidence against Joe Biden before his presidential campaign, de-platformed a sitting president, and wiped out hundreds if not thousands of users from the platform during the pandemic for spreading “fake news.” Zuckerberg used “fact-checkers” to ensure his version of the truth was promoted while silencing everything else. He appeased the NWO by promoting COVID-19 regulations and “the science.”

Facebook attempted to release a service similar to TikTok called Reels but failed miserably. Once he realized he could not reach China, Zuckerberg turned his attention toward banning his competitor entirely. Zuckerberg’s lobbying efforts temporarily paid off when Donald Trump signed an executive order to ban TikTok in 2020, primarily to show he was tough on China. TikTok then had an opportunity to be acquired by a US entity to avoid a ban, and Zuckerberg hoped his company would win. Around this time, US lawmakers were considering breaking up the Zuckerberg social media empire for having too much influence. This was when the propaganda against TikTok went into overdrive. He met with countless US senators and politicians to personally push his agenda.

Facebook was caught running a smear campaign against Google. In 2018, Facebook hired PR firm Definers to dig up dirt on its critics, including George Soros. They pinned that debacle on one employee and forced him to resign. Turning its sights to TikTok, the company hired a Republican consulting firm called Targeted Victory to “orchestrate a nationwide campaign” against TikTok. They hired unethical journalists to print op-eds bashing TikTok.

Meta was the largest internet lobbyist last year after spending over $20 million to sway US lawmakers. Zuckerberg hopes that his competition can be eliminated to remain the king of social media. However, the public is not rushing back to Instagram, Meta, or Facebook. In fact, people have begun deleting their accounts on those platforms to show that they will not return in the event of a TikTok ban.

Why do people love TikTok? Free speech. Political ads are banned on the platform but people may speak freely about any topic of their choosing, so long as it does not break obvious laws. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, something sinister is usually at play when both political parties unanimously agree.  Zuckerberg is more than willing to hand over all the data he collects to the US government on a silver platter. The US wants to monopolize your data and control the content you view. They cannot break into the TikTok database as easily and that is the main driving factor behind the proposed ban.

Peace in the Middle East – China Brokers Saudi Arabia-Iran Peace Treaty

Armstrong Economics Blog/Politics Re-Posted Mar 27, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

China accomplished a once unthinkable feat — a peace treaty between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The two countries have been sworn enemies since the beginning of time, representing conflicting Shiite and Sunni Muslim groups that have been battling since their religion was founded. The two nations have been fighting a proxy war in Yemen that has led to over 150,000 deaths, which is another major story not covered by the mainstream media. This story has only received negative attention in the Western media because it is a major win for China who is now seen as the adult in the room on the international stage.

The press release issued by Saudi Arabia is astonishing, given the deep hatred it had for Iran. Saudi Arabia is now keen on “developing good neighborly relations…in light of their brotherly ties.”

“The three countries announce that an agreement has been reached between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, that includes an agreement to resume diplomatic relations between them and re-open their embassies and missions within a period not exceeding two months, and the agreement includes their affirmation of the respect for the sovereignty of states and the non-interference in internal affairs of states. They also agreed that the ministers of foreign affairs of both countries shall meet to implement this, arrange for the return of their ambassadors, and discuss means of enhancing bilateral relations. They also agreed to implement the Security Cooperation Agreement.”

Rumors are swirling about what this peace treaty could entail. Saudi Arabia and Iran could join BRICs, the alliance between Brazil, Russia, India, and China. If the two nations join, all major energy exporters will be within this alliance. Half of the world’s population would be under this alliance as well. There would be absolutely no need for Western interference in this situation.

The dollar’s dominance would be at risk. The Saudis are already discussing settling oil transactions in the yuan instead of the dollar. This will seriously damage the dollar’s ability to remain the standard reserve currency. China’s rise to becoming the financial capital of the world is happening right before our eyes.

Chairman Xi and President Putin Meet in Russia, Four Hours of First Day Discussions

Posted originally on the conservative tree house on March 20, 2023 | Sundance

Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in person today for the first time since the Ukraine conflict began last February.   The public side of the conversation appeared to be very warm as the two allies outlined the nature of their relationship and the plans for their discussions.

It is being reported the private side of the discussions lasted for four hours on the first day with more talks scheduled for tomorrow. “I am pleased to once again set foot on the soil of our friendly neighbor Russia,” Xi said in a statement after arriving in Moscow on Monday for the three-day state visit.

(Via Daily Mail) – Xi Jinping said he was ready to ‘stand guard over a world order based on international law’ as he met Vladimir Putin in Moscow today.

In his first state visit to Russia since the invasion of Ukraine, the Chinese leader spent more than four hours in talks with his ‘dear friend’ Putin, discussing proposals to end the war previously outlined in a 12-point peace plan.

‘We are always open to negotiations,’ the Russian leader said, welcoming China’s plan to settle his ‘acute crisis’ in Ukraine.

Xi meanwhile hailed his ‘close ties’ with Russia as Putin said the two countries had ‘plenty of common objectives and tasks’.

Presented as a ‘journey of friendship, cooperation and peace’, the summit marks the deepening of ties between China and an increasingly isolated Russia, who have relied on Beijing to soften the impact of western sanctions by buying Russian energy and commodities. (read more)

The West Threatens China for Conspiring with Moscow

Armstrong Economics Blog/War Re-Posted Mar 13, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

China has maintained neutrality throughout the 13-month conflict between Russia and Ukraine/the West. Yet, Western powers continue to threaten China and allege they are conspiring to send aid to Russia. The heightened attacks on China make one question if Western powers are deliberately instigating a fight. CIA Director William Burns said he is “confident” China is CONSPIRING to send military aid to Russia, although there is no evidence of “actual shipments of lethal equipment.”

White House National Security Advisor and Neocon Jake Sullivan has had harsh words for China in recent appearances. Sullivan boldly stated that aiding Russia would be “a bad mistake” for China, and that the US plans to send China “a strong message.” Again, China has done nothing wrong. There is no evidence of China supplying aid to Russia, and even if they did, that is not a crime, as Ukraine is not a NATO member.

(Imagine above: William Burns, right, at the Kremlin in 2005 with Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, whom he describes as 'an apostle of payback' © Reuters)

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told the US that China would not heed to coercion. “On the Ukraine issue, China has been actively promoting peace talks and promoting the political settlement of the crisis. The US is in no position to point fingers at China-Russia relations. We do not accept coercion or pressure from the US,” Mao said. China will not support the West’s proxy war with Russia, but it seems that they are insisting China proves its innocence by ostracizing Russia.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang expressed outrage over sanctions placed on China for merely conspiring (i.e., no crime was committed) with Moscow. “[China] has not provided weapons to either side of the conflict. Why on earth are there blame and sanctions on China? This is absolutely unacceptable,” Qin said. “There seems to be an invisible hand pushing for the protraction and escalation of the conflict. Ukraine crisis is a tragedy that could have been avoided.”

This conflict could have been completely avoided had the Minsk Agreements been based on good faith. The war is a deliberate plot to usher in a new world order to eliminate energy-rich Russia from the global economy. The Kiel Institute for the World Economy in Germany estimated that $152.7 billion was provided to Ukraine as of January 15. The US has sent more aid than any other country but accuses its top trading partner of flaming the fires of international war. This is why there are no true diplomatic discussions with the current failing crop of politicians. The current agenda is to demonize Beijing as they did with Moscow to force it out of neutrality.

Huge – Iran and Saudi Arabia Agree to Resume Diplomatic and Trade Relations During Talks Negotiated by China

Posted originally on the CTH on March 10, 2023 | Sundance

This is huge in the geopolitical world.  China operated as a broker in the structurally unstable relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

  • From the Iranian perspective – With a visibly weak U.S. president, and a strengthening Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping forming a close bond with Saudi Arabia, it makes sense for Iran to move toward diplomatic relations.
  • From the Saudi Arabia perspective – With a visibly weak U.S. president, the prior assurances from Washington DC diminish, trust is tenuous, and a stronger hedge-based relationship with Chairman Xi is formed.
  • From the Chinese perspective – With a visibly weak U.S. president, and a western alliance intended to destroy itself to fulfill the desires of the WEF climate change and cultural agenda, the opportunity to expand influence is teed up.

It will be intensely interesting to see how Israel positions itself w/ this new dynamic.

BEIRUT — Saudi Arabia and Iran announced an agreement in China on Friday to resume relations more than seven years after severing ties, a major breakthrough in a bitter rivalry that has long divided the Middle East.

The agreement was a result of talks in Beijing that began Monday as part of an initiative by Chinese President Xi Jinping aimed at “developing good neighborly relations” between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the three countries said in a joint statement. The agreement, which was signed by top Iranian security official Ali Shamkhani and Saudi national security adviser Musaed bin Mohammed al-Aiban, said embassies would be reopened within two months.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2016 after the Saudi Embassy in Tehran was attacked and burned by Iranian protesters, angered by the kingdom’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr. The cleric had emerged as a leading figure in protests in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, a Shiite-majority region in the Sunni-majority nation.

[…] On Friday, John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said the United States welcomed the agreement but noted that Washington was not “directly involved.”

Kirby said it was too early to tell whether the deal would hold. “It really does remain to be seen whether the Iranians are going to honor their side,” he said. “This is not a regime that typically does honor its word. So we hope that they do. We’d like to see this war in Yemen end.”

Yemen has enjoyed a rare reprieve from fighting since April, when a truce sponsored by the United Nations went into effect. (more)

With the western alliance nations destroying their economies while simultaneously meddling around in European cultural and political affairs, the dynamic of the BRICS economic alliance also opens up within a Saudi-Iran peace process.  Economics is the oil that lubricates against geopolitical friction.

China is gaining influence, and Russia is gaining breathing room from WEF sanctions.

This will be very interesting to keep watching.

China has Warned US They Will Attack US Troops in Taiwan

Armstrong Economics Blog/China Re-Posted Feb 27, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

A commentator for the Global Times, reported a threat to the United States last Thursday night, stating that China would not hesitate to engage U.S. forces stationed in Taiwan if the Chinese launched an invasion of the island nation. Indeed, Hu Xijin, formerly the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, reacted to a Wall Street Journal report about U.S. troops traveling to Taiwan. He called it “illegal” and suggested that China would treat them as enemy combatants.

“It’s illegal for these US soldiers to go to Taiwan and the Chinese mainland won’t take any responsibility for their safety,” tweeted Hu. “If we take military action when necessary, they’ll be wiped out together with the resisting Taiwan troops. They can also be eliminated first as the invading army.”