Hello Yellow “Silk Road”

Pres. Trump has proposed a multi-billion dollar infrastructure plan…..but it is pale in comparison to the plan from China.

A huge Chinese project to enhance trade……

China’s president calls it the “project of the century:” a sweeping new version of the ancient Silk Road designed, according to China, to promote global development. Leaders from 30 nations issued a joint endorsement Monday as part of a 2-day meeting that counted Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan among attendees but saw no major Western leaders present, the AP reports. (The US delegation was led by the National Security Council’s Asia director.) Reutersreports Xi Jinping on Sunday pledged another $124 billion for the “Belt and Road” initiative, which was first announced in 2013. China’s line is that it’s a purely commercial effort. Some foreign diplomats and political analysts aren’t so sure. What you need to know:

  • What it is: As Sky News puts it, the initiative’s goal is to “recreate the trading routes of old overland and sea through central Asia, to Europe and beyond.” The recreating part means investing massive sums in everything from high-speed railways and ports to airports and telecom projects in more than 60 countries, in what would be China’s most ambitious foreign project ever.
  • The numbers: “The scope is always changing,” reports the Washington Post, so the estimates run the gamut from $900 billion and up—way up. NBC News puts the estimated price tag at $1.4 trillion, and notes that’s 11 times the cost (converted into today’s dollars) spent rebuilding post-WWII under the Marshall Plan.
  • Specific plans: One vision is to lay so much high-speed rail track that you could go from Beijing to London in two days, notes NBC. It also flags a port effort in Pakistan that would facilitate new trade routes to China’s western Xinjiang region, and a China-Myanmar pipeline that will give Beijing a new way to access Middle East crude.
  • From Xi’s mouth: He hopes the plan “will unleash new forces for global economic growth” free of a political agenda. That claim has raised eyebrows among Western diplomats who wonder if China is making a move to boost its exports at the expense of US influence in Asia.
  • The skepticism: Al Jazeera’sAdrian Brown’s take: It’ll cost a “phenomenal sum of money, so many people are asking where is this money going to come from and [saying] that China is acting out of self-interest [as it] needs to get its own economy moving again and helping the economy of countries that depend on China.”
  • Africa-specific skepticism: A post at Quartz likens the new Silk Road to colonial Britain’s trade routes, and says a major goal is to open up new markets for China. Except “African countries are already flooded with Chinese products.” There’s already an imbalance, with not even 20% of sub-Saharan African countries having a trade surplus with China based on 2015 data.
  • Another concern: What Reutersterms the “lending program of unprecedented breadth” that’s facilitating all this construction. It reports that two Chinese policy banks have already doled out hundreds of billions in loans to, in some cases, “heavily indebted, poor countries” at generous terms. The banks say they’ve made moves to limit risk, but Reuters warns of the potential for a “hangover.”
  • The foils: As far as the world stage goes, there’s a bit of a clash between President Trump’s “America First” stance and China’s desire to come off as a global player. The Post observes that “at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this year, Xi, the authoritarian leader of a one-party state, positioned himself as a champion of free trade.”
  • Semantics: Sky notes the initiative is “slightly awkwardly titled,” and the Post notes that, rather inscrutably, “road” refers to a sea route and “belt” references land.

Marco……… Polo…….the name rings trade.

You see Polo went on an adventure to the East and opened up trade between Europe and Asia…….China wants to re-open the Silk Road…..and there is my opening for a history lesson……(come on…you knew this would happen)…..

The Silk Road was originally opened up by Zhang Qian and it gradually formed in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD).

In the Han Dynasty, the ancient road originated from the historical capital of Chang’an (now Xian). This China trade route ran through Gansu Province via Tianshui, Lanzhou, Wuwei, Zhangye, Jiuquan, Jiayuguan (an important military garrison and barrier of the Great Wall) and Dunhuang along the Hexi Corridor. Dunhuang is famous for its Mogao Caves and other cultural relics. It was also a key point of the route, where the trade road divided into three main branches: the southern, the central and the northern.

The three main routes spread all over the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The Southern Route wandered west along the northern foot of the Kunlun Mountains, passing Ruoqiang (Charkhlik), Qiemo (Cherchen), Hetian, Yecheng (Karghalik), Shache (Yarkand) and reached Kashgar (the last point of the Silk Road in China). Then this route crossed the snow-covered Pamirs, reached Pakistan and India via Kashmir; it could also reach Europe through Islamabad, Kabul, Mashhad, Baghdad and Damascus.

The Central Route ran west along the southern foot of Tianshan Mountains, passing Loulan (now Ruoqiang), Turpan , Korla, Kuche (Kuqa), Aksu and Kashgar, afterwards went over the freezing Pamirs, wound to Mashhad via the Fergana Basin, Samarkand, Bukhara and finally joined the Southern Route.

The Northern Route went west along the northern foot of Tianshan Mountains, taking merchants westwards to Hami (Kumul), Urumqi and Yining, and then reached the areas near the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

According to some experts, the total length of the historically important trade route is about 10,000 kilometers (6,214 miles), among which approximately 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) of the route are inside China’s territory. Nowadays, the immemorial Silk Road spreads over the five provinces in the Northwest Territories including Shaanxi Province, Gansu Province, Qinghai Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The road made a great contribution to the political, economic and cultural exchange between China and Central Asia, West Asia, India, Roman and Europe.

When this project is complete will there be a trade war brewing between the US and China?

Silk Road Map

Just a little something to consider…that’s all……will it degrade into a trade war? How many wars in history began over trade disputes?

Source: The Return of Marco Polo’s World and the U.S. Military Response « CNAS Stories

I do hope that the president has someone watching this situation….we do not need to be caught with our drawers down, right?

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Chuqs News

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Syria: More News You Cannot Use

As the war in Syria for the hearts and minds of the Syrian people the news that comes out is nothing more than the Rah Rah propaganda employed to gain public acceptance.

So the ideology-driven Western media, in allying themselves with the armed opposition in Syria, have helped to create a situation in which it pays to kidnap and murder people who seek to report the truth. Ergo, they have violated the canons of their profession in the most egregious manner possible. And you’ll have noticed that they’re totally shameless about it. None of this gives them a moment of pause.

They keep pumping out the propaganda, day in, day out, never stopping to reflect on the potential consequences. When one story falls apart, they move on to the next one.

The most, or perhaps only, important thing is to manipulate public opinion so that it corresponds to government policy. Beyond that, who cares?

The list of media half-truths and outright lies in the context of Syria is endless. Take chemical weapons. Numerous incidents have been cited in the news, most of them small-time (meaning crude attacks with no casualties), all of them blamed on the government. And yet the UN has documented numerous cases in which terrorist outfits, including ISIS, used chemical weapons against civilians and Syrian soldiers. It also heard testimony from witnesses on the ground that opposition fighters were staging chemical attacks with the goal of framing the Syrian military. And contrary to every major media outlet in the West, the UN did not blame Assad for the infamous sarin attack of August 2013, stating after an investigation that “surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used” by one of “the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic.” The culprit was not identified. But all of this is irrelevant. We want Assad to be responsible for every chemical incident; therefore, he is. See Trump’s Tomahawk salvo.

Source: Let’s Call Western Media Coverage of Syria By Its Real Name: Propaganda :: Politics :: Features :: Syria :: Paste

What can we expect when the Trump admin turns Syria into a joke?

Speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference on Monday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Rossrecalled the scene at Mar-a-Lago on April 6, when the summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping was interrupted by the strike on Syria.

Just as dessert was being served, the president explained to Mr. Xi he had something he wanted to tell him, which was the launching of 59 missiles into Syria,” Ross said. “It was in lieu of after-dinner entertainment.”

As the crowd laughed, Ross added: “The thing was, it didn’t cost the president anything to have that entertainment.”

That is the type of thing you expect from a coward that has not served his country or know what it is like to suffer in a war zone……

A story from Syria that has not got much play in the US is the fact that US allies (jihadists) are fighting each other now……

The jihadist entities in the East Ghouta region of rural Damascus are once again at odds, despite the fact they are losing territory in the eastern part of the capital city.

According to local activists from Damascus Now, Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and Faylaq Al-Rahman launched another attack against their former allies from Jaysh Al-Islam today, striking the latter in the towns of Zamalka and Hazzah.

No advances have been reported thus far; however, the jihadist infighting has plagued their allies in the Al-Qaboun and Tishreen districts recently, as the Syrian government forces are now on the verge of splitting the east Damascus pocket in two.

(Al-Masdar News)

syrian civil war map who controls what

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

American troops are being used to stop ally in-fighting……(as written in antiwar.com)

Early deployments of US special forces in Syria were intended to support the Kurdish YPG in fighting against ISIS, and while the continued increase of ground troops is officially presented as part of the ISIS war, a growing number of US troops find themselves deployed as “buffers” to try to prevent fighting between US allies.

There are many stories that are reported about Syria….however most are nothing more than “fluff” pieces that ignore the realities on the ground.

There is so much more to the relationship the US has with Assad than has been reported……

Like a badly written series of romance novels, the plot template remains fixed while just the names of the characters and places rotate through the template. The story of Syria that Americans and Canadians ingest from the mainstream media is the same simplistic narrative of good and evil told by Washington about each new enemy. Every action committed by the Syrian government is evil and every reaction by Washington is good. Guilt can be assumed and assigned to Syria without investigation because the antagonist in the story is always guilty and can always be blamed. America is always the innocent observer who is shocked by Syrian brutality and feels compelled to respond to protect the innocent victims and defend the world.

But the story of Syria in not so simple, and history shows that the assignation of guilt should be much more judiciously distributed.

Source: The Syrian Side of the Story You Never Hear by — Antiwar.com

All is not well in Syria…..it has become a vicious cycle that looks unbreakable……but is it?

As tensions escalate between Turkey and Kurdish militias in northern Syria, I’m reminded of a lengthy conversation I had with a Kurdish friend five years ago about the best direction for the eastern half of the country. We agreed that various demographics living in the region – stretching from Aleppo to the Iraqi border – historically governed themselves, and the best way forward would be a decentralised system.

Those areas are geographically separated from Damascus. A trip on a coach for several hours through an empty desert is a constant reminder that the region is a disjointed part of Syria. Even when this part is ruled centrally from Damascus, people in those areas continued to trade with each other as they did throughout history. Merchants from eastern Syria would sell their agricultural produce and livestock in Aleppo, and purchase manufactured goods, furniture and clothing from there.


There is so much more going on in Syria than is reported by the western media.….propaganda does a good job at prolonging the conflict and making the M-IC an essential part of the equation for the Middle East.

How serious is the West on their rhetoric of democracy and peace in Syria? The MSM reporting leads me to believe….not so much…..not as serious as one would think.

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Chuqs News

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