Thu Mar 25th, 2021 at 12:58:18 PM EST
A new face, a bit of adjustment in packaging the act.
On Defense and Security, NATO and the EU preemptively complied with the wishes of the new Biden administration ... wishful thinking there will be reciprocity.
EU envoys agree first China sanctions in three decades | Reuters - March 17, 2021 |
The European Union agreed on Wednesday to blacklist Chinese officials for human rights abuses, two diplomats said, the first sanctions against Beijing since an EU arms embargo in 1989 following the Tiananmen Square crackdown.
EU ambassadors approved the travel bans and asset freezes on four Chinese individuals and one entity, whose names will not be made public until formal approval by EU foreign ministers on March 22, as part of a new and wider rights sanctions list.
While the sanctions are mainly symbolic, the adoption marks a significant hardening in the EU's policy towards China, which Brussels long regarded as a benign trading partner but now views as a systematic abuser of basic rights and freedoms.
The 1989 EU arms embargo on China, its second-largest trade partner, is still in place.
"Restrictive measures against serious human rights violations and abuses adopted," one EU diplomat said.
The Chinese officials were accused of human rights abuses against China's Uighur Muslim minority, EU diplomats told Reuters. They said the move reflected deep concern about the Uighurs in Europe, the United States and Canada.
Europe compliant to meet American wishes for aggressive military and economic positioning vis-à-vis Russia and China. It worked so well during the First Cold War.
Blinken in Europe to Boost Alliances | VOA News |
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday the United States wants to rebuild its partnerships, "first and foremost with our NATO allies," as he expressed the Biden administration's "steadfast commitment" to the alliance.
Blinken spoke to reporters in Brussels alongside NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before the two held talks ahead of the start of a NATO ministerial meeting later in the day.
Stoltenberg said he welcomed the new U.S. administration's approach, saying there is a "unique opportunity to start a new chapter in the transatlantic relationship."
In addition to attending the NATO ministerial meetings, Blinken's schedule Tuesday also includes a separate session with his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany.
Blinken's arrival in Europe on Monday came as the United States issued coordinated sanctions with the European Union on both China and Myanmar. The Myanmar sanctions targeted top officials who are linked to last month's military coup, while the China sanctions were aimed at several Chinese officials accused of human rights abuses against the Muslim Uyghur minority in China's Xinjiang province.
Regarding the China sanctions, which were also imposed in coordination with Canada and Britain, Blinken said the United States was acting in solidary with U.S. allies.
Blinken's itinerary in Brussels also includes a meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Josep Borrell, the European Union's foreign policy chief. The State Department said agenda items include economic recovery efforts in response to the coronavirus pandemic and addressing "global challenges that come from Iran, Russia and China."
Regarding Iran, the top U.S. diplomat is expected to consult with European Union colleagues about the prospects of the United States and Iran mutually returning to the agreement signed in 2015 that limited Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Serum Institute Warns Of Vaccine Supply Hit With US Raw Materials Export Ban
A temporary U.S. ban on exports of critical raw materials could limit the production of coronavirus vaccines by companies such as the Serum Institute of India (SII), its chief executive said in a World Bank panel discussion on Thursday.
SII, the world's biggest vaccine maker, has licensed the AstraZeneca/Oxford University product and will soon start bulk-manufacturing the Novavax shot.
"There are a lot of bags, filters and critical items that manufacturers need," Adar Poonawalla said. "The Novavax vaccine, which we are a major manufacturer of, needs these items from the U.S."
He said the recent invocation of the U.S. defence production act to preserve vaccine raw materials for its own companies went against the global goal of sharing vaccines equitably.
The white house said this week it had used the act to help drugmaker Merck & Co produce Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine.
US Defence Secretary Austin Says He Raised Human Rights, Russian Missile Purchase With India
India's Purchase of the S-400: Understanding the CAATSA Conundrum
Serum CEO Adar Poonawalla leases London property for record £50,000 a week
As Boris Johnson admits: "Policy is successful because it's based on "greed" and "capitalism". Yeah ... works well in extremis for the wealthiest 1% or less.
India's vaccine giant Serum Institute warns of supply hit from US raw materials export ban
Shooting for the stars ...
Biden sets new Covid vaccine goal of 200 million shots within his first 100 days: 'I believe we can do it' | CNBC - 3 hrs ago |
Back to Germany and further sanctions on the Gazprom cooperation ... #Navalny
Democratic US senators urge Biden to speed sanctions over Nord Stream 2 | Reuters - March 23, 2021 |
Senators Bob Menendez, the influential chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Jeanne Shaheen, who chairs the panel's Europe subcommittee, asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken to implement sanctions under existing laws.
"This pipeline must be stopped and your leadership is required towards that end," they wrote in a letter.
"We do ... urge that the effort to build strong Nord Stream 2 sanctions packages be accelerated to meet the urgency of the moment," they said, noting that the pipeline will be completed this year if construction continues unimpeded.
The $11 billion project is about 94% complete and analysts say it could be finished between June and September.
US Republicans warn Biden against Nord Stream 2 `backdoor deal' | EurActiv - March 9, 2021 |
US to unveil Nord Stream 2 pipeline report, but sanctions may take time: sources | Reuters - Feb. 17, 2021 |
The pipeline would bypass Ukraine, through which Russia has sent gas to Europe for decades, depriving it of lucrative transit fees and potentially undermining its struggle against Russian aggression.
Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers want sanctions on the project, which has become even more politicized after Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who was poisoned in Siberia, was imprisoned by Russia this month. Some of the lawmakers also come from states producing gas that could be sold to Europe as an alternative to pipelined fuel from Russia.
Gazprom says the project with western partners to pipe Russian gas under the Baltic Sea to European customers will be finished this year. But it still requires tricky pipe-laying in deep waters off Denmark.
The administrations of former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump opposed Nord Stream 2, believing it would increase Russian President Vladimir Putin's political and economic influence on Europe.
... the Atlantic Council that proclaimed Russia to be named a #pariah state back in 2006. In 2020, China is added as a dangerous economic power aiming to rule the Indo-China region ... Do I hear a call for Quad-Quad?
The American days of the Golden Triangle and Agent Orange under President Lyndon Baines Johnson are all forgotten. Protests calling Johnson a murderer were forbidden by European nations.
A long read ...
Biden must freeze Putin's pipeline and prevent this "bad deal for Europe" | The Atlantic Council |
In August 2016, then US Vice President Joe Biden stood in Stockholm and declared the Kremlin-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline project to be a "bad deal for Europe." In doing so, Biden added vital policy leadership against Putin's pipeline to his role as the Obama administration's point person supporting Ukraine's struggle against Russian aggression.
Five years later, President Biden delivered a powerful address to the Munich Security Conference declaring that "standing up for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine remains a vital concern for Europe and the United States." Add to that his refreshing truth-telling that "the Kremlin attacks our democracies and weaponizes corruption to try to undermine our system of governance," as well as his team's reiteration that his position on the pipeline remains unchanged, and Biden's commitment to stopping Nord Stream 2 would seem assured.
But as followers of this six-year policy saga know, nothing to do with Nord Stream 2 is ever straightforward. Despite scant evidence, commentators appear to be ignoring Biden's own position on the debate, and are putting forth narratives to re-frame the issue instead.
Their angle? Casting Nord Stream 2 as a concern solely related to the Washington-Berlin relationship. This ignores the persistent and widespread criticism the project has received throughout the transatlantic community, including multiple resolutions by the European Parliament calling for an immediate stop to Nord Stream 2.
They have furthermore opened the question of what kind of "deal" the current German government might be able to offer the White House to give a pass to the most prominent vehicle of Russian malign influence in Europe. Not to mention the pipeline's enduring threat to Kyiv's economic and strategic stability at a time when the Kremlin continues to occupy large swaths of Ukrainian territory.
Apparently, this isn't the first time Berlin has tried to offer up a package to save the Kremlin project. According to documents released by the NGO Environmental Action Germany, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz in August 2020 allegedly suggested to the then US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that Germany would commit EUR 1 billion in public support for the construction of German LNG terminals in exchange for the Trump Administration allowing "unhindered construction and operation of Nord Stream 2."
Disturbingly, the alleged offer called for the Trump administration to not only fail to enforce existing Congressional sanctions legislation, but also "future legislation, which could be the basis for sanctioning" the project.