China’s President Xi Jinping (C-L) speaks to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (C) as they walk across a garden prior to a dinner banquet at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, eastern China on September 4, 2016 © AFP Johannes Eisele

G20 Summit: For the First Time the West Couldn’t Dictate, but Had to Listen

China has spent months organizing the G20 Summit in Hangzhou. They had their own ideas and it was a sort of coming out for Chinese, showing to the international community that they are a real global power politically and economically.

Even before the start of the Summit, President Xi Jinping was trying to discuss the trend of backlash against globalization and against economic integration. Chinese have a completely different view on how economic relations in the world should be practiced. For the previous period of globalization, they have profited in many areas: foreign investments, exporting all over the world. China developed so much and so fast, that now it can also be a part of club that will govern the global economy. This is what they wanted to explain to other nations, especially to the Western countries.

Chinese globalization is directed towards IT technologies and electronic platforms. Everybody all across Eurasia is involved in a new Silk Road: South-East Asia, East Asia, Central Asia, South-West Asia, which includes Iran and Turkey, and of course, Russia. One of the parts of the new Silk Road includes the Trans-Siberian Railway, which involves Russia directly. Also, closer integration of Russia and South-China involves all of them. Moscow and St. Petersburg will be platforms for Asian-European communication. It is the only long-term wide range economic project in the world right now. Nothing else can even compare with it. This is the next big thing for the next twenty years at least. The West has nothing to offer. The Europeans are stagnated; they are living in the atmosphere of fear and paranoia, fighting with Islam, when it is not real Islam, but an ultra-radical minority actually. The US is a mess, regardless of who will become President.

At G20 the Eurasian integration was discussed under Chinese terms. More integration between the West and Asia, more voice for international institutions. China was also talking about the WTO. They want the expansion of the global economy to work inside the mechanism of the WTO and they don’t like what US is trying to do right now. The US is trying to change geopolitics with the TTIP agreement, they want to control trade between the US and Europe and trade between US and Asia, bypassing China and bypassing Russia. They are forgetting that Russia and China now have a strategic partnership; they are both involved in a lining of Europe and Asia.

If we look at the body language of G20, we can see how Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are very good with each other, and see the difference with the Western leaders. That is because they know that the West has nothing to offer. China wants to be more or less the leader of the developing world. As as the second largest economic power in the world they turn towards more convergence globally, starting with integration between Asia and Europe that benefits a lot of developing countries.

This G20 Summit is very important because the West, maybe for the first time went there to listen, not to dictate anything.

One of the political questions, which were discussed, was about Syria. Putin and Obama met face-to face for an hour and a half, which is long. Before, there was a four-hour discussion between the two delegations and there also had been a meeting between Kerry and Lavrov.

It is impossible, even with so many hours, to find a solution for Syria, especially in the middle of such a complex Summit. They hadn’t found the solution for months of negotiations. The Obama administration doesn’t know what to do with Syria anymore. There are only three months left for Obama as a President. The real decisions will be taken by the next US President. The margin of maneuver for Obama is very limited because Americans don’t even agree among themselves. We have this CIA battling with the Pentagon in Syria. They are fighting among themselves. They don’t know anymore which groups they are supporting, because the groups they used to “defend” don’t exist anymore. Al-Nusra was defended by Washington but now they finally discovered that Al-Nusra is dangerous, that it is Al-Qaeda. Also, there are Kurds. They are supported by the Americans, they are supported by the Russians, but the Turks are fighting against them. Now we have Turkey invading northern Syria. And Erdogan is at the G20, trying to sell the idea of so-called “safe” zone in northern Syria, so he could repatriate some Syrian refugees, who are now in Turkey. It looks like nobody is taking to Syria as a sovereign state. They should be asking Damascus about it first, not Washington or Moscow. It’s is getting more and more crazy. We have a lot of players who are fighting among themselves and against each other. It is very complex.

To find a consensus, something should be done. Syria should remain as a unified country; everybody has to fight against the same enemy which is the Islamic State and jihadists. Only after these steps the political process could be started. But America is trying to establish a political process first: Assad stays for the next few months and then we get everybody together, Assad goes away and we have elections. But it doesn’t work like this. First the war on the ground has to be finished. It is impossible to solve all this in two or three hours of negotiations in China.

By Pepe Escobar

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