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|All U.S. schoolchildren should be taught, as part of their basic civics education,
by conscientious elementary, middle school and high school teachers, that they live in an
imperialist country. The term itself ought to be popularized. This
is what politicians like Obama actually refer to, elliptically, when they call the U.S. “exceptional.
Gary Leupp, The U.S. Versus ISIS
Looks like the USA successfully managed to recreate Imperial Rome on a new level, neoliberalism level. See Empires Then and Now - PaulCraig
The idea financial imperialism is simple. Instead of old-fashion military occupation of the country, take over the countries in crisis, if necessary remove their democratically elected governments from power by claiming that election are falsified and/or official are corrupted, and/or the government is authoritarian (unlike the puppets they want to install). They use the installed puppets to mandate austerity, burden the country with debt and facilitate condition under which most of which will be stolen and repatriated to the West.
But neoliberals take this old idea to a new level -- the crisis can be manufactured. The scheme looks like the following (see IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement discussion of Greece for more information):
After installation of a puppet government, it is relatively easy to use Fifth column based government to protect foreign financial interests. Now you can recoup the costs and enjoy the profits. Much cheaper and more humane then bombing the country and killing a couple of hundred thousand people to achieve the same goals (Iraq variant) or by arming and training jihadists (using Saudi and Gulf monarchies money) and tribal elements to depose the government (Libya and Syria variants) who kill as much, if nor more.
A classic recent examples were Yeltsin's government in Russia, Yushchenko regime in Ukraine, Poroshenko-Yatsenyuk duo in Ukraine and sequence of neoliberal governments in Greece.
In other words neoliberalism is inseparable from imperialism and globalization (Neoliberalism A Critical Reader Alfredo Saad-Filho, Deborah Johnston, p. 2)
In the conventional (or mainstream) discourse, imperialism is either absent or, more recently, proudly presented as the ‘AmericanBurden': to civilize the world and bring to all the benediction of the Holy Trinity, the green-faced Lord Dollar and its deputies and occasional rivals. Holy Euro and Saint Yen. New converts win a refurbished international airport, one brand-new branch of McDonald’s, two luxury hotels, 3,000 NGOs and one US military base.
This offer cannot be refused - or else.2 In turn, globalisation is generally presented as an inescapable, inexorable and benevolent process leading to greater competition, welfare improvements and the spread of democracy around the world. In reality, however, the so-called process of globalisation - to the extent that it actually exists (see Saad-Rlho 2003) - is merely the international face of neoliberalism: a world-wide strategy of accumulation and social discipline that doubles up as tin imperialist project, spearheaded by the alliance between the US ruling class and locally dominant capitalist coalitions.
This ambitious power project centered on neoliberalism at home and imperial globalism abroad is implemented by diverse social and economic political alliances in each country, but the interests of local finance and the US ruling class, itself dominated by finance, are normally hegemonic.
...the United States, the United Kingdom and east and south-east Asia respectively, neoliberalism is a particular organisation of capitalism, which has evolved to protect capital(ism) and to reduce the power of labour. This is achieved by means of social, economic and political transformations imposed by internal forces as well as external pressure. The internal forces include the coalition between financial interests, leading industrialists, traders and exporters, media barons, big landowners, local political chieftains, the top echelons of the civil service and the military, and their intellectual and political proxies. These groups are closely connected with ‘global’ ideologies emanating from the centre, and they tend to adapt swiftly to the demands beamed from the metropolis. Their efforts have led to a significant worldwide shift in powerrelations away from the majority. Corporate power has increased, while finance hits acquired unrivalled influence, and the political spectrum has shifted towards the right. Left parties and mass organisations have imploded, while trade unions have been muzzled or disabled by unemployment. Forms of external pressure have included the diffusion of Western culture and ideology, foreign support for state and civil society institutions peddling neolibcral values, the shameless use of foreign aid, debt relief and balance of payments support to promote the neoliberal programme, and diplomatic pressure, political unrest and military intervention when necessary.
...the ruling economic and political forces in the European Union have instrumentalised the process of integration to ensure the hegemony of neoliberalism. This account is complemented by the segmentation of Eastern Europe into countries that are being drawn into a Western European-style neoliberalism and others that are following Russia’s business oligarchy model.
In sum, neoliberalism is everywhere both the outcome and the arena of social conflicts. It sets the political and economic agenda, limits the possible outcomes, biases expectations, and imposes urgent tasks on those challenging its assumptions, methods and consequences.
In the meantime, neoliberal theory has not remained static. In order to deal with the most powerful criticisms leveled against neoliberalism, that it has increased poverty and social dislocation around the world, neoliberal theory has attempted to present the ogre in a more favorable light. In spite of the substantial resources invested in this ideologically inspired make-over, these amendments have remained unconvincing, not least because the heart of the neoliberal project has remained unchanged. This is discussed in Chapter 15 for poverty and distribution, while Chapter 21 unpicks the agenda of the ‘Third Way', viewed by many as ‘neoliberalism with a human face’.
Neoliberalism offered a finance-friendly solution to the problems of capital accumulation at the end of a relatively long cycle of prosperity. Chapters 1. 22 and 30 show that neoliberalism imposed discipline upon a restless working class through contractionary fiscal and monetary policies and wide-ranging initiatives to curtail social rights, under the guise of anti-inflation and productivity-enhancing measures. Neoliberalism also rationalised the transfer of state capacity to allocate resources inter-temporally (the balance between investment and consumption) and inter-sectorally (the distribution of investment, employment and output) towards an increasingly internationally integrated (and US-led) financial sector. In doing so, neoliberalism facilitated a gigantic transfer of resources to the local rich and the United States, as is shown by Chapters 11 and 15.
The “elephant in the room” is peak oil (plato oil to be more correct) and the plato of food production. Without "cheap oil" extraction growing, it is more difficult to sustain both population growth and rising standard of living simultaneously. It became the situation of iether/or.
So the future it does not look pretty. As soon as "cheap oil" escape the current plato, Western financial system gets into trouble: private banks based fractional reserve banking requires economy expansion for survival. Essentially they add positive feedback loop to the economy, greatly increasing the instability. That connection was discovered by Hyman Minsky. Minsky explored a form of instability that is embedded in neoliberal/financialized economies resulting from the use of fiat currency and fractional reserve banking. he argued that such an economy automatically generates bubbles, bursting of which result in periodic deep economic crisis. Which are not an exception, but a feature of neoliberal capitalism (aka "supercapitalism", or "casino capitalism).
When Minsky crisis hits some, less important, banks will implode and strategically important need to be saved by government at a great expense for taxpayers. The western elite is well aware of this possibility and will steal, loot and pillage as fast as they can to prolong the agony... Neoliberal expansion and conversion of other countries into debt slaves thus serves as a substitute for economic growth.
What actually is devalued in austerity programs imposed on indebted nations via currency depreciation is the price of local labor (along with standard of living of the most population). So austerity programs caused a huge drop in the standard of living of population. For example after EuroMaydan color revolution the standard of living in Ukraine dropped to the level of the most poor countries of Africa (less then $2 a day for the majority of population).
This is a pretty instructive example. It qlso cur domestic consumption of fuels and minerals, consumer goods, and food. As wages are sticky and it is difficult to reduced them directly (via high unemployment, leading to falling wages). But the currency depreciation can do the same trick even more effectively. For example since February 22 coup d'état, grivna, the Ukrainian currency depreciated from 8 to 28 grivna to dollar, or approximately 350%.
This is how war of creditors against debtor countries turns into a class war. But to impose such neoliberal reforms, foreign pressure is necessary to bypass domestic, democratically elected Parliaments. Not every country’s voters can be expected to be as passive in acting against their own interests as those of Latvia and Ireland. The financial capital objective is to bypass parliament by demanding a “consensus” (facilitated by a huge foreign debt) to put foreign creditors first, above the national economy. This is the essence of the status of debt slave country. Civil war it a perfect tool to accelerate this process.
Buying natural monopolies in transportation, communications, and the land from the public domain for pennies on the dollar now can be called "rescue package", not the road to debt peonage and a financial neo-feudalism that is a grim reality of "debt slave" countries, where populations are indentured laborers of international capital. Let me state it very simply : "the borrower [debtor] is SERVANT to the lender" ( Wikipedia ):
An indentured servant or indentured laborer is an employee (indenturee) within a system of unfree labor who is bound by a signed or forced contract (indenture) to work for a particular employer for a fixed time. The contract often lets the employer sell the labor of an indenturee to a third party. Indenturees usually enter into an indenture for a specific payment or other benefit, or to meet a legal obligation, such as debt bondage.
The whole point of creating debt is to gain control of and rule over such countries. Prof. Hudson's article Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011) illustrates this point admirably.
At the same time then comes to bailing out bankers who overplayed with derivatives, all rules are ignored – in order to serve the “higher justice” of saving banks and their high-finance counterparties from taking a loss. This is quite a contrast compared to IMF policy toward labor and “taxpayers.” The class war is back in business – with a vengeance, and bankers are the winners this time around.
Classic, textbook example of neocolonialism was rape of Russia in 1991-1999. See Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia
One of the most interesting analysis of this new phenomena was provided by Henry C K Liu in his series of articles SUPER CAPITALISM, SUPER IMPERIALISM
Robert B Reich, former US Secretary of Labor and resident neo-liberal in the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1997, wrote in the September 14, 2007 edition of The Wall Street Journal an opinion piece, "CEOs Deserve Their Pay", as part of an orchestrated campaign to promote his new book: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Afred A Knopf).
Reich is a former Harvard professor and the former Maurice B Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He is currently a professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California (Berkley) and a regular liberal gadfly in the unabashed supply-side Larry Kudlow TV show that celebrates the merits of capitalism.
Reich's Supercapitalism brings to mind Michael Hudson's Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1972-2003). While Reich, a liberal turned neo-liberal, sees "supercapitalism" as the natural evolution of insatiable shareholder appetite for gain, a polite euphemism for greed, that cannot or should not be reined in by regulation, Hudson, a Marxist heterodox economist, sees "super imperialism" as the structural outcome of post-World War II superpower geopolitics, with state interests overwhelming free market forces, making regulation irrelevant. While Hudson is critical of "super imperialism" and thinks that it should be resisted by the weaker trading partners of the US, Reich gives the impression of being ambivalent about the inevitability, if not the benignity, of "supercapitalism".
The structural link between capitalism and imperialism was first observed by John Atkinson Hobson (1858-1940), an English economist, who wrote in 1902 an insightful analysis of the economic basis of imperialism. Hobson provided a humanist critique of neoclassical economics, rejecting exclusively materialistic definitions of value. With Albert Frederick Mummery (1855-1895), the great British mountaineer who was killed in 1895 by an avalanche while reconnoitering Nanga Parbat, an 8,000-meter Himalayan peak, Hobson wrote The Physiology of Industry (1889), which argued that an industrial economy requires government intervention to maintain stability, and developed the theory of over-saving that was given a glowing tribute by John Maynard Keynes three decades later.
The need for governmental intervention to stabilize an expanding national industrial economy was the rationale for political imperialism. On the other side of the coin, protectionism was a governmental counter-intervention on the part of weak trading partners for resisting imperialist expansion of the dominant power. Historically, the processes of globalization have always been the result of active state policy and action, as opposed to the mere passive surrender of state sovereignty to market forces. Market forces cannot operate in a vacuum. They are governed by man-made rules. Globalized markets require the acceptance by local authorities of established rules of the dominant economy. Currency monopoly of course is the most fundamental trade restraint by one single dominant government.
Adam Smith published Wealth of Nations in 1776, the year of US independence. By the time the constitution was framed 11 years later, the US founding fathers were deeply influenced by Smith's ideas, which constituted a reasoned abhorrence of trade monopoly and government policy in restricting trade. What Smith abhorred most was a policy known as mercantilism, which was practiced by all the major powers of the time. It is necessary to bear in mind that Smith's notion of the limitation of government action was exclusively related to mercantilist issues of trade restraint. Smith never advocated government tolerance of trade restraint, whether by big business monopolies or by other governments in the name of open markets.
A central aim of mercantilism was to ensure that a nation's exports remained higher in value than its imports, the surplus in that era being paid only in specie money (gold-backed as opposed to fiat money). This trade surplus in gold permitted the surplus country, such as England, to invest in more factories at home to manufacture more for export, thus bringing home more gold. The importing regions, such as the American colonies, not only found the gold reserves backing their currency depleted, causing free-fall devaluation (not unlike that faced today by many emerging-economy currencies), but also wanting in surplus capital for building factories to produce for domestic consumption and export. So despite plentiful iron ore in America, only pig iron was exported to England in return for English finished iron goods. The situation was similar to today's oil producing countries where despite plentiful crude oil, refined petrochemical products such as gasoline and heating oil have to be imported.
In 1795, when the newly independent Americans began finally to wake up to their disadvantaged trade relationship and began to raise European (mostly French and Dutch) capital to start a manufacturing industry, England decreed the Iron Act, forbidding the manufacture of iron goods in its American colonies, which caused great dissatisfaction among the prospering colonials.
Smith favored an opposite government policy toward promoting domestic economic production and free foreign trade for the weaker traders, a policy that came to be known as "laissez faire" (because the English, having nothing to do with such heretical ideas, refuse to give it an English name). Laissez faire, notwithstanding its literal meaning of "leave alone", meant nothing of the sort. It meant an activist government policy to counteract mercantilism. Neo-liberal free-market economists are just bad historians, among their other defective characteristics, when they propagandize "laissez faire" as no government interference in trade affairs.
Friedrich List, in his National System of Political Economy (1841), asserts that political economy as espoused in England, far from being a valid science universally, was merely British national opinion, suited only to English historical conditions. List's institutional school of economics asserts that the doctrine of free trade was devised to keep England rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners and it must be fought with protective tariffs and other protective devices of economic nationalism by the weaker countries.
Henry Clay's "American system" was a national system of political economy. US neo-imperialism in the post WWII period disingenuously promotes neo-liberal free-trade against governmental protectionism to keep the US rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners. Before the October Revolution of 1917, many national liberation movements in European colonies and semi-colonies around the world were influenced by List's economic nationalism. The 1911 Nationalist Revolution in China, led by Sun Yat-sen, was heavily influenced by Lincoln's political ideas - government of the people, by the people and for the people - and the economic nationalism of List, until after the October Revolution when Sun realized that the Soviet model was the correct path to national revival.
Hobson's magnum opus, Imperialism, (1902), argues that imperialistic expansion is driven not by state hubris, known in US history as "manifest destiny", but by an innate quest for new markets and investment opportunities overseas for excess capital formed by over-saving at home for the benefit of the home state. Over-saving during the industrial age came from Richardo's theory of the iron law of wages, according to which wages were kept perpetually at subsistence levels as a result of uneven market power between capital and labor. Today, job outsourcing that returns as low-price imports contributes to the iron law of wages in the US domestic economy. (See my article Organization of Labor Exporting Countries [OLEC]).
Hobson's analysis of the phenology (study of life cycles) of capitalism was drawn upon by Lenin to formulate a theory of imperialism as an advanced stage of capitalism:
"Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capitalism is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed." (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, 1916, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Chapter 7).
Lenin was also influenced by Rosa Luxemberg, who three year earlier had written her major work, The Accumulation of Capital: A Contribution to an Economic Explanation of Imperialism (Die Akkumulation des Kapitals: Ein Beitrag zur ökonomischen Erklärung des Imperialismus), 1913). Luxemberg, together with Karl Liebknecht a founding leader of the Spartacist League (Spartakusbund), a radical Marxist revolutionary movement that later renamed itself the Communist Party of Germany (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, or KPD), was murdered on January 15, 1919 by members of the Freikorps, rightwing militarists who were the forerunners of the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA) led by Ernst Rohm.
The congenital association between capitalism and imperialism requires practically all truly anti-imperialist movements the world over to be also anti-capitalist. To this day, most nationalist capitalists in emerging economies are unwitting neo-compradors for super imperialism. Neo-liberalism, in its attempts to break down all national boundaries to facilitate global trade denominated in fiat dollars, is the ideology of super imperialism.
Hudson, the American heterodox economist, historian of ancient economies and post-WW II international balance-of-payments specialist, advanced in his 1972 book the notion of 20th century super imperialism. Hudson updated Hobson's idea of 19th century imperialism of state industrial policy seeking new markets to invest home-grown excess capital. To Hudson, super imperialism is a state financial strategy to export debt denominated in the state's fiat currency as capital to the new financial colonies to finance the global expansion of a superpower empire.
No necessity, or even intention, was entertained by the superpower of ever having to pay off these paper debts after the US dollar was taken off gold in 1971.
Super imperialism transformed into monetary imperialism after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis with the creation of the petrodollar and two decades later emerged as dollar hegemony through financial globalization after 1993. As described in my 2002 AToL article, Dollar hegemony has to go, a geopolitical phenomenon emerged after the 1973 oil crisis in which the US dollar, a fiat currency since 1971, continues to serve as the primary reserve currency for international trade because oil continues to be denominated in fiat dollars as a result of superpower geopolitics, leading to dollar hegemony in 1993 with the globalization of deregulated financial markets.
Three causal developments allowed dollar hegemony to emerge over a span of two decades after 1973 and finally take hold in 1993. US fiscal deficits from overseas spending since the 1950s caused a massive drain in US gold holdings, forcing the US in 1971 to abandon the 1945 Bretton Woods regime of fixed exchange rate based on a gold-backed dollar. Under that international financial architecture, cross-border flow of funds was not considered necessary or desirable for promoting international trade or domestic development. The collapse of the 1945 Bretton Woods regime in 1971 was the initial development toward dollar hegemony.
The second development was the denomination of oil in dollars after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis. The emergence of petrodollars was the price the US, still only one of two contending superpowers in 1973, extracted from defenseless oil-producing nations for allowing them to nationalize the Western-owned oil industry on their soil. As long as oil transactions are denominated in fiat dollars, the US essentially controls all the oil in the world financially regardless of specific ownership, reducing all oil producing nations to the status of commodity agents of dollar hegemony.
The third development was the global deregulation of financial markets after the Cold War, making cross-border flow of funds routine, and a general relaxation of capital and foreign exchange control by most governments involved in international trade. This neo-liberal trade regime brought into existence a foreign exchange market in which free-floating exchange rates made computerized speculative attacks on weak currencies a regular occurrence. These three developments permitted the emergence of dollar hegemony after 1994 and helped the US win the Cold War with financial power derived from fiat money.
Dollar hegemony advanced super imperialism one stage further from the financial to the monetary front. Industrial imperialism sought to achieve a trade surplus by exporting manufactured good to the colonies for gold to fund investment for more productive plants at home. Super imperialism sought to extract real wealth from the colonies by paying for it with fiat dollars to sustain a balance of payments out of an imbalance in the exchange of commodities. Monetary imperialism under dollar hegemony exports debt denominated in fiat dollars through a permissive trade deficit with the new colonies, only to re-import the debt back to the US as capital account surplus to finance the US debt bubble.
The circular recycling of dollar-denominated debt was made operative by the dollar, a fiat currency that only the US can print at will, continuing as the world's prime reserve currency for international trade and finance, backed by US geopolitical superpower. Dollars are accepted universally because oil is denominated in dollars and everyone needs oil and thus needs dollars to buy oil. Any nation that seeks to denominate key commodities, such as oil, in currencies other than the dollar will soon find itself invaded by the sole superpower. Thus the war on Iraq is not about oil, as former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan suggested recently. It is about keeping oil denominated in dollars to protect dollar hegemony. The difference is subtle but of essential importance.
Since 1993, central banks of all trading nations around the world, with the exception of the US Federal Reserve, have been forced to hold more dollar reserves than they otherwise need to ward off the potential of sudden speculative attacks on their currencies in unregulated global financial markets. Thus "dollar hegemony" prevents the exporting nations, such as the Asian Tigers, from spending domestically the dollars they earn from the US trade deficit and forces them to fund the US capital account surplus, shipping real wealth to the US in exchange for the privilege of financing further growth of the US debt economy.
Not only do these exporting nations have to compete by keeping their domestic wages down and by prostituting their environment, the dollars that they earn cannot be spent at home without causing a monetary crisis in their own currencies because the dollars they earn have to be exchanged into local currencies before they can be spent domestically, causing an excessive rise in their domestic money supply which in turn causes domestic inflation-pushed bubbles. While the trade-surplus nations are forced to lend their export earnings back to the US, these same nations are starved for capital, as global capital denominated in dollars will only invest in their export sectors to earn more dollars. The domestic sector with local currency earnings remains of little interest to global capital denominated in dollars. As a result, domestic development stagnates for lack of capital.
Dollar hegemony permits the US to transform itself from a competitor in world markets to earn hard money, to a fiat-money-making monopoly with fiat dollars that only it can print at will. Every other trading nation has to exchange low-wage goods for dollars that the US alone can print freely and that can be spent only in the dollar economy without monetary penalty.
Japan is a classic victim of monetary imperialism. In 1990, as a result of Japanese export prowess, the Industrial Bank of Japan was the largest bank in the world, with a market capitalization of $57 billion. The top nine of the 10 largest banks then were all Japanese, trailed by Canadian Alliance in 10th place. No US bank made the top-10 list. By 2001, the effects of dollar hegemony have pushed Citigroup into first place with a market capitalization of $260 billion. Seven of the top 10 largest financial institutions in the world in 2001 were US-based, with descending ranking in market capitalization: Citigroup ($260 billion), AIG ($209 billion), HSBC (British-$110 billion), Berkshire Hathaway ($100 billion), Bank of America ($99 billion), Fanny Mae ($80 billion), Wells Fargo ($74 billion), JP Morgan Chase ($72 billion), RBS (British-$70 billion) and UBS (Swiss-$67 billion). No Japanese bank survived on the list.
China is a neoclassic case of dollar hegemony victimization even though its domestic financial markets are still not open and the yuan is still not freely convertible. With over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves earned at a previously lower fixed exchange rate of 8.2 to a dollar set in 1985, now growing at the rate of $1 billion a day at a narrow-range floating exchange rate of around 7.5 since July 2005, China cannot spend much of it dollar holdings on domestic development without domestic inflation caused by excessive expansion of its yuan money supply. The Chinese economy is overheating because the bulk of its surplus revenue is in dollars from exports that cannot be spent inside China without monetary penalty. Chinese wages are too low to absorb sudden expansion of yuan money supply to develop the domestic economy. And with over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, equal to its annual GDP, China cannot even divest from the dollar without having the market effect of a falling dollar moving against its remaining holdings.
The People's Bank of China announced on July 20, 2005 that effective immediately the yuan exchange rate would go up by 2.1% to 8.11 yuan to the US dollar and that China would drop the dollar peg to its currency. In its place, China would move to a "managed float" of the yuan, pegging the currency's exchange value to an undisclosed basket of currencies linked to its global trade. In an effort to limit the amount of volatility, China would not allow the currency to fluctuate by more than 0.3% in any one trading day. Linking the yuan to a basket of currencies means China's currency is relatively free from market forces acting on the dollar, shifting to market forces acting on a basket of currencies of China's key trading partners. The basket is composed of the euro, yen and other Asian currencies as well as the dollar. Though the precise composition of the basket was not disclosed, it can nevertheless be deduced by China's trade volume with key trading partners and by mathematical calculation from the set-daily exchange rate.
Thus China is trapped in a trade regime operating on an international monetary architecture in which it must continue to export real wealth in the form of underpaid labor and polluted environment in exchange for dollars that it must reinvest in the US. Ironically, the recent rise of anti-trade sentiment in US domestic politics offers China a convenient, opportune escape from dollar hegemony to reduce its dependence on export to concentrate on domestic development. Chinese domestic special interest groups in the export sector would otherwise oppose any policy to slow the growth in export if not for the rise of US protectionism which causes shot-term pain for China but long-term benefit in China's need to restructure its economy toward domestic development. Further trade surplus denominated in dollar is of no advantage to China.
Even as the domestic US economy declined after the onset of globalization in the early 1990s, US dominance in global finance has continued to this day on account of dollar hegemony. It should not be surprising that the nation that can print at will the world's reserve currency for international trade should come up on top in deregulated global financial markets. The so-called emerging markets around the world are the new colonies of monetary imperialism in a global neo-liberal trading regime operating under dollar hegemony geopolitically dominated by the US as the world's sole remaining superpower.
In Supercapitalism, Reich identifies corporate social responsibility as a diversion from economic efficiency and an un-capitalistic illusion. Of course the late Milton Friedman had asserted that the only social responsibility of corporations is to maximize profit, rather than to generate economic well-being and balanced growth through fair profits. There is ample evidence to suggest that a single-minded quest for maximizing global corporate profit can lead to domestic economic decline in even the world's sole remaining superpower. The US public is encouraged to blame such decline on the misbehaving trading partners of the US rather than US trade policy that permits US transnational corporation to exploit workers in all trading nations, including those in the US. It is a policy that devalues work by over-rewarding financial manipulation.
Yet to Reich, the US corporate income tax is regressive and inequitable and should be abolished so that after-tax corporate profit can be even further enhanced. This pro-profit position is at odds with even rising US Republican sentiment against transnational corporations and their global trade strategies. Reich also thinks the concept of corporate criminal liability is based on an "anthropomorphic fallacy" that ends up hurting innocent people. Reich sees as inevitable an evolutionary path towards an allegedly perfect new world of a super-energetic capitalism responding to the dictate of all-powerful consumer preference through market democracy.
Reich argues that corporations cannot be expected to be more "socially responsible" than their shareholders or even their consumers, and he implies that consumer preference and behavior are the proper and effective police forces that supersede the need for market regulation. He sees corporations, while viewed by law as "legal persons", as merely value-neutral institutional respondents of consumer preferences in global markets. Reich claims that corporate policies, strategies and behavior in market capitalism are effectively governed by consumer preferences and need no regulation by government. This is essentially the ideology of neo-liberalism.
Yet US transnational corporations derive profit from global operations serving global consumers to maximize return on global capital. These transnational corporations will seek to shift production to where labor is cheapest and environmental standards are lowest and to market their products where prices are highest and consumer purchasing power the strongest. Often, these corporations find it more profitable to sell products they themselves do not make, controlling only design and marketing, leaving the dirty side of manufacturing to others with underdeveloped market power. This means if the US wants a trade surplus under the current terms of trade, it must lower it wages. The decoupling of consumers from producers weakens the conventional effects of market pressure on corporate social responsibility. Transnational corporations have no home community loyalty. Consumers generally do not care about sweat shop conditions overseas while overseas workers do not care about product safety on goods they produce but cannot afford to buy. Products may be made in China, but they are not made by China, but by US transnational corporations which are responsible for the quality and safety of their products.
Further, it is well recognized that corporations routinely and effectively manipulate consumer preference and market acceptance often through if not false, at least misleading advertising, not for the benefit of consumers, but to maximize return on faceless capital raised from global capital markets. The subliminal emphasis by the corporate culture on addictive acquisition of material things, coupled with a structural deprivation of adequate income to satisfy the manipulated desires, has made consumers less satisfied than in previous times of less material abundance. Corporations have been allowed to imbed consumption-urging messages into every aspect of modern life. The result is a disposable culture with packaged waste, an obesity crisis for all age groups, skyrocketing consumer debt, the privatization of public utilities that demand the same fee for basic services from rich and poor alike, causing a sharp disparity in affordability. It is a phenomenon described by Karl Marx as "Fetishism of Commodities".
Marx wrote in Das Kapital:
The relation of the producers to the sum total of their own labor is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labor. This is the reason why the products of labor become commodities, social things whose qualities are at the same time perceptible and imperceptible by the senses … The existence of the things qua commodities, and the value relation between the products of labor which stamps them as commodities, have absolutely no connection with their physical properties and with the material relations arising therefrom. It is a definite social relation between men that assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things. In order, therefore, to find an analogy, we must have recourse to the mist-enveloped regions of the religious world. In that world, the productions of the human brain appear as independent beings endowed with life, and entering into relation both with one another and the human race. So it is in the world of commodities with the products of men's hands. This I call the Fetishism which attaches itself to the products of labor, as soon as they are produced as commodities, and which is therefore inseparable from the production of commodities. This Fetishism of Commodities has its origin … in the peculiar social character of the labor that produces them.Marx asserts that "the mystical character of commodities does not originate in their use-value" (Section 1, p 71). Market value is derived from social relations, not from use-value which is a material phenomenon. Thus Marx critiques the Marginal Utility Theory by pointing out that market value is affected by social relationships. For example, the marginal utility of door locks is a function of the burglary rate in a neighborhood which in turn is a function of the unemployment rate. Unregulated free markets are a regime of uninhibited price gouging by monopolies and cartels.
Thus the nature of money cannot be adequately explained even in terms of the material-technical properties of gold, but only in terms of the factors behind man's desire and need for gold. Similarly, it is not possible to fully understand the price of capital from the technical nature of the means of production, but only from the social institution of private ownership and the terms of exchange imposed by uneven market power. Market capitalism is a social institution based on the fetishism of commodities.
While Reich is on target in warning about the danger to democracy posed by the corporate state, and in claiming that only people can be citizens, and only citizens should participate in democratic decision making, he misses the point that transnational corporations have transcended national boundaries. Yet in each community that these transnational corporations operate, they have the congenital incentive, the financial means and the legal mandate to manipulate the fetishism of commodities even in distant lands.
Moreover, representative democracy as practiced in the US is increasingly manipulated by corporate lobbying funded from high-profit-driven corporate financial resources derived from foreign sources controlled by management. Corporate governance is notoriously abusive of minority shareholder rights on the part of management. Notwithstanding Reich's rationalization of excessive CEO compensation, CEOs as a class are the most vocal proponents of corporate statehood. Modern corporations are securely insulated from any serious threats from consumer revolt. Inter-corporate competition presents only superficial and trivial choices for consumers. Motorists have never been offered any real choice on gasoline by oil companies or alternatives on the gasoline-guzzling internal combustion engine by car-makers.
Reich asserts in his Wall Street Journal piece that modern CEOs in finance capitalism nowadays deserve their high pay because they have to be superstars, unlike their bureaucrat-like predecessors during industrial capitalism. Notwithstanding that one would expect a former labor secretary to argue that workers deserve higher pay, the challenge to corporate leadership in market capitalism has always been and will always remain management's ruthless pursuit of market leadership power, a euphemism for monopoly, by skirting the rule of law and regulations, framing legislative regimes through political lobbying, pushing down wages and worker benefits, increasing productivity by downsizing in an expanding market and manipulating consumer attitude through advertising. At the end of the day, the bottom line for corporate profit is a factor of lowering wage and benefit levels.
Reich seems to have forgotten that the captains of industry of 19th century free-wheeling capitalism were all superstars who evoked public admiration by manipulating the awed public into accepting the Horatio Alger myth of success through hard work, honesty and fairness. The derogatory term "robber barons" was first coined by protest pamphlets circulated by victimized Kansas farmers against ruthless railroad tycoons during the Great Depression.
The manipulation of the public will by moneyed interests is the most problematic vulnerability of US economic and political democracy. In an era when class warfare has taken on new sophistication, the accusation of resorting to class warfare argument is widely used to silence legitimate socio-economic protests. The US media is essentially owned by the moneyed interests. The decline of unionism in the US has been largely the result of anti-labor propaganda campaigns funded by corporations and government policies influenced by corporate lobbyists. The infiltration of organized crime was exploited to fan public anti-union sentiments while widespread corporate white collar crimes were dismissed as mere anomalies. (See Capitalism's bad apples: It's the barrel that's rotten)
As promoted by his permissive opinion piece, a more apt title for Reich's new book would be Superman Capitalism, in praise of the super-heroic qualities of successful corporate CEOs who deserve superstar pay. This view goes beyond even fascist superman ideology. The compensation of corporate CEOs in Nazi Germany never reached such obscene levels as those in US corporate land today.
Reich argues that CEOs deserve their super-high compensation, which has increased 600% in two decades, because corporate profits have also risen 600% in the same period. The former secretary of labor did not point out that wages rose only 30% in the same period. The profit/wage disparity is a growing cancer in the US-dominated global economy, causing over-production resulting from stagnant demand caused by inadequate wages. A true spokesman for labor would point out that enlightened modern management recognizes that the performance of a corporation is the sum total of effective team work between management and labor.
System analysis has long shown that collective effort on the part of the entire work force is indispensable to success in any complex organism. Further, a healthy consumer market depends on a balance between corporate earnings and worker earnings. Reich's point would be valid if US wages had risen by the same multiple as CEO pay and corporate profit, but he apparently thought that it would be poor etiquette to raise embarrassing issues as a guest writer in an innately anti-labor journal of Wall Street. Even then, unless real growth also rose 600% in two decades, the rise in corporate earning may be just an inflation bubble.
To be fair, Reich did address the income gap issue eight months earlier in another article, "An Introduction to Economic Populism" in the Jan-Feb, 2007 issue of The American Prospect, a magazine that bills itself as devoted to "liberal ideas". In that article, Reich relates a "philosophical" discussion he had with fellow neo-liberal cabinet member Robert Rubin, then treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, on two "simple questions".
The first question was: Suppose a proposed policy will increase the incomes of some people without decreasing the incomes of any others. Of course Reich must know that it is a question of welfare economics long ago answered by the "pareto optimum", which asserts that resources are optimally distributed when an individual cannot move into a better position without putting someone else into a worse position. In an unjust society, the pareto optimum will perpetuate injustice in the name of optimum resource allocation. "Should it be implemented? Bob and I agreed it should," writes Reich. Not exactly an earth-shaking liberal position. Rather, it is a classic neo-liberal posture.
And the second question: But suppose the people whose incomes will rise are already wealthier than everyone else. Although no one will lose ground, inequality will widen. Should it still be implemented? "I won't tell you where he and I came out on that second question," writes Reich without explaining why. He allows that "we agreed that people who don't share in such gains feel relatively poorer. Widening inequality also further tips the balance of political power in favor of the wealthy."
Of course, clear thinking would have left the second question mute because it would have invalidated the first question, as the real income of those whose nominal income has not fallen has indeed fallen relative to those whose nominal income has risen. In a macro monetary sense, it is not possible to raise the nominal income of some without lowering the real income of others. All incomes must rise together proportionally or inequality in after-inflation real income will increase.
But for the sake of argument, let's go along with Reich's parable on welfare economics and financial equality. That conversation occurred a decade ago. Reich says in his January 2007 article that "inequality is far more worrisome now", as if it had not been or that the policies he and his colleagues in the Clinton administration, as evidenced by their answer to their own first question, did not cause the now "more worrisome" inequality. "The incomes of the bottom 90% of Americans have increased about 2% in real terms since then, while that of the top 1% has increased over 50%," Reich wrote in the matter of fact tone of an innocent bystander.
It is surprising that a former labor secretary would err even on the record on worker income. The US Internal Revenue Service reports that while incomes have been rising since 2002, the average income in 2005 was $55,238, nearly 1% less than in 2000 after adjusting for inflation. Hourly wage costs (including mandatory welfare contributions and benefits) grew more slowly than hourly productivity from 1993 to late 1997, the years of Reich's tenure as labor secretary. Corporate profit rose until 1997 before declining, meaning what should have gone to workers from productivity improvements went instead to corporate profits. And corporate profit declined after 1997 because of the Asian financial crisis, which reduced offshore income for all transnational companies, while domestic purchasing power remained weak because of sub-par worker income growth.
The break in trends in wages occurred when the unemployment rate sank to 5%, below the 6% threshold of NAIRU (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment) as job creation was robust from 1993 onwards. The "reserve army of labor" in the war against inflation disappeared after the 1997 Asian crisis when the Federal Reserve injected liquidity into the US banking system to launch the debt bubble. According to NAIRU, when more than 94% of the labor force is employed, the war on wage-pushed inflation will be on the defensive. Yet while US inflation was held down by low-price imports from low-wage economies, US domestic wages fell behind productivity growth from 1993 onward. US wages could have risen without inflationary effects but did not because of the threat of further outsourcing of US jobs overseas. This caused corporate profit to rise at the expense of labor income during the low-inflation debt bubble years.
Income inequality in the US today has reached extremes not seen since the 1920s, but the trend started three decades earlier. More than $1 trillion a year in relative income is now being shifted annually from roughly 90,000,000 middle and working class families to the wealthiest households and corporations via corporate profits earned from low-wage workers overseas. This is why nearly 60% of Republicans polled support more taxes on the rich.
The policies and practices responsible for today's widening income gap date back to the 1977-1981 period of the Carter administration which is justly known as the administration of deregulation. Carter's deregulation was done in the name of populism but the results were largely anti-populist. Starting with Carter, policies and practices by both corporations and government underwent a fundamental shift to restructure the US economy with an overhaul of job markets. This was achieved through widespread de-unionization, breakup of industry-wide collective bargaining which enabled management to exploit a new international division of labor at the expense of domestic workers.
The frontal assault on worker collective bargaining power was accompanied by a realigning of the progressive federal tax structure to cut taxes on the rich, a brutal neo-liberal global free-trade offensive by transnational corporations and anti-labor government trade policies. The cost shifting of health care and pension plans from corporations to workers was condoned by government policy. A wave of government-assisted compression of wages and overtime pay narrowed the wage gap between the lowest and highest paid workers (which will occur when lower-paid workers receive a relatively larger wage increase than the higher-paid workers with all workers receiving lower pay increases than managers). There was a recurring diversion of inflation-driven social security fund surpluses to the US fiscal budget to offset recurring inflation-adjusted federal deficits. This was accompanied by wholesale anti-trust deregulation and privatization of public sectors; and most egregious of all, financial market deregulation.
Carter deregulated the US oil industry four years after the 1973 oil crisis in the name of national security. His Democratic challenger, Senator Ted Kennedy, advocated outright nationalization. The Carter administration also deregulated the airlines, favoring profitable hub traffic at the expense of traffic to smaller cities. Air fares fell but service fell further. Delays became routine, frequently tripling door-to-door travel time. What consumers save in airfare, they pay dearly in time lost in delay and in in-flight discomfort. The Carter administration also deregulated trucking, which caused the Teamsters Union to support Ronald Reagan in exchange for a promise to delay trucking deregulation.
Railroads were also deregulated by Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 which eased regulations on rates, line abandonment, and mergers to allow the industry to compete with truck and barge transportation that had caused a financial and physical deterioration of the national rail network railroads. Four years later, Congress followed up with the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 which provided the railroads with greater pricing freedom, streamlined merger timetables, expedited the line abandonment process, and allowed confidential contracts with shippers. Although railroads, like other modes of transportation, must purchase and maintain their own rolling stock and locomotives, they must also, unlike competing modes, construct and maintain their own roadbed, tracks, terminals, and related facilities. Highway construction and maintenance are paid for by gasoline taxes. In the regulated environment, recovering these fixed costs hindered profitability for the rail industry.
After deregulation, the railroads sought to enhance their financial situation and improve their operational efficiency with a mix of strategies to reduce cost and maximize profit, rather than providing needed service to passengers around the nation. These strategies included network rationalization by shedding unprofitable capacity, raising equipment and operational efficiencies by new work rules that reduced safety margins and union power, using differential pricing to favor big shippers, and pursuing consolidation, reducing the number of rail companies from 65 to 5 today. The consequence was a significant increase of market power for the merged rail companies, decreasing transportation options for consumers and increasing rates for remote, less dense areas.
In the agricultural sector, rail network rationalization has forced shippers to truck their bulk commodity products greater distances to mainline elevators, resulting in greater pressure on and damage to rural road systems. For inter-modal shippers, profit-based network rationalization has meant reduced access - physically and economically - to Container on Flat Car (COFC) and Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC) facilities and services. Rail deregulation, as is true with most transportation and communication deregulation, produces sector sub-optimization with dubious benefits for the national economy by distorting distributional balance, causing congestion and inefficient use of land, network and lines.
Carter's Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) approach to radio and television regulation began in the mid-1970s as a search for relatively minor "regulatory underbrush" that could be cleared away for more efficient and cost-effective administration of the important rules that would remain. Congress largely went along with this updating trend, and initiated a few deregulatory moves of its own to make regulation more effective and responsive to contemporary conditions.
The Reagan administration under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Mark Fowler in 1981 shifted deregulation to a fundamental and ideologically-driven reappraisal of regulations away from long-held principles central to national broadcasting policy appropriate for a democratic society. The result was removal of many longstanding rules to permit an overall reduction in FCC oversight of station ownership concentration and network operations. Congress grew increasingly wary of the pace of deregulation, however, and began to slow the pace of FCC deregulation by the late 1980s.
Specific deregulatory moves included (a) extending television licenses to five years from three in 1981; (b) expanding the number of television stations any single entity could own from seven in 1981 to 12 in 1985, with further changes in 1995; (c) abolishing guidelines for minimal amounts of non-entertainment programming in 1985; (d) elimination of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987; (e) dropping, in 1985, FCC license guidelines for how much advertising could be carried; (f) leaving technical standards increasingly in the hands of licensees rather than FCC mandates; and (g) deregulation of television's competition, especially cable which went through several regulatory changes in the decade after 1983.
The 1996 Telecommunications Act eliminated the 40-station ownership cap on radio stations. Since then, the radio industry has experienced unprecedented consolidation. In June 2003, the FCC voted to overhaul limits on media ownership. Despite having held only one hearing on the complex issue of media consolidation over a 20-month review period, the FCC, in a party-line vote, voted 3-2 to overhaul limits on media concentration. The rule would (1) increase the aggregate television ownership cap to enable one company to own stations reaching 45% of our nation's homes (from 35%), (2) lift the ban on newspaper-television cross-ownership, and (3) allow a single company to own three television stations in large media markets and two in medium ones. In the largest markets, the rule would allow a single company to own up to three television stations, eight radio stations, the cable television system, cable television stations, and a daily newspaper. A wide range of public-interest groups filed an appeal with the Third Circuit, which stayed the effective date of the new rules.
According to a BIA Financial Network report released in July 2006, a total of 88 television stations had been sold in the first six months of 2006, generating a transaction value of $15.7 billion. In 2005, the same period saw the sale of just 21 stations at a value of $244 million, with total year transactions of $2.86 billion.
Congress passed a law in 2004 that forbids any network to own a group of stations that reaches more than 39% of the national television audience. That is lower than the 45% limit set in 2003, but more than the original cap of 35% set in 1996 under the Clinton administration - leading public interest groups to argue that the proposed limits lead to a stifling of local voices.
Newspaper-television cross-ownership remains a contentious issue. Currently prohibited, it refers to the "common ownership of a full-service broadcast station and a daily newspaper when the broadcast station's area of coverage (or "contour") encompasses the newspaper's city of publication".
Capping of local radio and television ownership is another issue. While the original rule prohibited it, currently a company can own at least one television and one radio station in a market. In larger markets, "a single entity may own additional radio stations depending on the number of other independently owned media outlets in the market".
Most broadcasters and newspaper publishers are lobbying to ease or end restrictions on cross-ownership; they say it has to be the future of the news business. It allows newsgathering costs to be spread across platforms, and delivers multiple revenue streams in turn. Their argument is also tied to a rapidly changing media consumption market, and to the diversity of opinions available to the consumer with the rise of the Internet and other digital platforms.
The arguments against relaxing media ownership regulations are put forth by consumer unions and other interest groups on the ground that consolidation in any form inevitably leads to a lack of diversity of opinion. Cross-ownership limits the choices for consumers, inhibits localism and gives excessive media power to one entity.
Professional and workers' guilds of the communication industry (the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of TV and Radio Artists among others) would like the FCC to keep in mind the independent voice, and want a quarter of all prime-time programming to come from independent producers. The Children's Media Policy Coalition suggested that the FCC limit local broadcasters to a single license per market, so that there is enough original programming for children. Other interest groups like the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters are worried about what impact the rules might have on station ownership by minorities.
Deregulatory proponents see station licensees not as "public trustees" of the public airwaves requiring the provision of a wide variety of services to many different listening groups. Instead, broadcasting has been increasingly seen as just another business operating in a commercial marketplace which did not need its management decisions questioned by government overseers, even though they are granted permission to use public airways. Opponents argue that deregulation violates a key mandate of the Communications Act of 1934 which requires licensees to operate in the public interest. Deregulation allows broadcasters to seek profits with little public service programming.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the first major overhaul of US telecommunications law in nearly 62 years, amending the Communications Act of 1934, and leading to media consolidation. It was approved by Congress on January 3, 1996 and signed into law on February 8, 1996 by President Clinton, a Democrat whom some have labeled as the best president the Republicans ever had. The act claimed to foster competition, but instead it continued the historic industry consolidation begun by Reagan, whose actions reduced the number of major media companies from around 50 in 1983 to 10 in 1996 and 6 in 2005.
The Carter administration increased the power of the Federal Reserve through the Depository Institutions and Monetary Control Act (DIDMCA) of 1980 which was a necessary first step in ending the New Deal restrictions placed upon financial institutions, such as Regulation Q put in place by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and other restrictions on banks and financial institutions. The populist Regulation Q imposed limits and ceilings on bank and savings-and-loan (S&L) interest rates to provide funds for low-risk home mortgages. But with financial market deregulation, Regulation Q created incentives for US banks to do business outside the reach of US law, launching finance globalization. London came to dominate this offshore dollar business.
The populist Regulation Q, which regulated for several decades limits and ceilings on bank and S&L interest to serve the home mortgage sector, was phased out completely in March 1986. Banks were allowed to pay interest on checking account - the NOW accounts - to lure depositors back from the money markets. The traditional interest-rate advantage of the S&Ls was removed, to provide a "level playing field", forcing them to take the same risks as commercial banks to survive. Congress also lifted restrictions on S&Ls' commercial lending, which promptly got the whole industry into trouble that would soon required an unprecedented government bailout of depositors, with tax money. But the developers who made billions from easy credit were allowed to keep their profits. State usury laws were unilaterally suspended by an act of Congress in a flagrant intrusion on state rights. Carter, the well-intentioned populist, left a legacy of anti-populist policies. To this day, Greenspan continues to argue disingenuously that subprime mortgages helped the poor toward home ownership, instead of generating obscene profit for the debt securitization industry.
During the Reagan administration, corporate lobbying and electoral strategies allowed the corporate elite to wrest control of the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, from conservative populists. In the late 1980s, supply-side economics was promoted to allow corporate interests to dominate US politics at the expense of labor by arguing that the only way labor can prosper is to let capital achieve high returns, notwithstanding the contradiction that high returns on capital must come from low wages.
New legislation and laws, executive orders, federal government rule-making, federal agency decisions, and think-tank propaganda, etc, subsequently followed the new political landscape, assisting the implementation of new corporate policies and practices emerging from corporate headquarters rather than from the shop floor. Economists and analysts who challenged this voodoo theory were largely shut out of the media. Workers by the million were persuaded to abandon their institutional collective defender to fend for themselves individually in the name of freedom. It was a freedom to see their job security eroded and wages and benefits fall with no recourse.
1. Das Kapital, Volume One, Part I: Commodities and Money, Chapter One: Commodities, Section I.
Next: PART 2: Global war on labor
Henry C K Liu is chairman of a New York-based private investment group. His website is at http://www.henryckliu.com.
Copyright 2007, Henry C K Liu
Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance [Paperback]
William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)Hudson is a Wall Street economist who used to work at the Chase Manhattan Bank.
In Part One, he describes the rise of the American empire.
Part Two describes its institutions: the US-controlled World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, which all benefit the USA. The US has the sole veto power in all three.
Part Three describes what Herman Kahn called `the greatest rip-off ever achieved', the way the US's ruling class levies us all to pay for its aggressive wars, just as the Roman Empire levied tribute to pay for its constant wars. Similarly Britain, Germany and Japan all pay for the US's military bases in their countries.
In 1945, as in 1918, Britain led Europe's capitulation to the USA's debt demands. The British ruling class chose dependency on the US ruling class. The USA insisted that Britain ended the sterling bloc, accepted IMF controls, did not impose exchange controls, and did not devalue. As Hudson writes, "The Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelled the end of Britain as a Great Power."
The 1945-51 Labour government's huge spending on unnecessary imperial, counter-revolutionary wars robbed our industry of investment. This excessive military spending meant that we had constantly to borrow from the IMF, increasing our dependence on the USA. Now Britain is the USA's Trojan horse in Europe, against Britain's interests.
Hudson immodestly claims that his analysis supersedes Lenin. He says that the US national government's interests, not the private interests of the capitalist class, drive the system. He claims that the US government subordinates `the interests of its national bourgeoisie to the autonomous interests of the national government'. But is the US government really independent of the capitalist class? How `autonomous' are these interests?...
Joshua Malle (Seattle, WA USA)
Difficult and rewarding, Hudson is the real deal,
May 24, 2006
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This review is from: Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominanc (Paperback)Super-Imperialism is better viewed as a radical alternative to common undergraduate textbooks such as Joan Edelman Spero's, "The Politics of International Economic Relations" than as an update to the theories of Lenin or Hobson. (His background and prose style are similar to Spero's and his book covers similar ground.)
It has three sections, each which could have been a separate book.
- Chapters 1-6 are a history of U.S. international economic relations from World War I through Bretton Woods.
- Chapters 7-10 are a critique of the "The Institutions of the American Empire" (GATT, the World Bank, the IMF and U.S. foreign aid mechanisms). If you have ever wondered what all of the huge protests of the World Bank and IMF were all about these chapters are for you.
- Chapters 11-15 are about the U.S. economic transition in the late 1960s and early 1970s from running consistent balance of payments surpluses to running consistent deficits. (We used to export more than we imported; Now we import more than we export.) At the same time the U.S. stopped backing dollars with gold, which forced other countries to lend the surplus dollars created by our trade deficit back to the U.S. government (i.e. to buy treasury notes), thereby also subsidizing our chronic budget deficits. This is the "super-imperialism" of the book's title. This situation was still new and strange when the first edition was published in 1972, and the book's reputation rests on the light Hudson was able to shed on it.
The 2003 Edition has a new introduction and two new chapters at the end. The rest of the book has occasional new material, but does not appear to have been extensively re-written.
It's a difficult and rewarding book. The difficulty lies partly in the subject matter itself, partly in Hudson's convoluted prose and partly in the numerous typographical errors that mar the 2003 Pluto Press edition.
The book is rewarding because it's honest. Readers educated in the U.S. will initially regard Hudson's account with some skepticism. We can't help it; We've been systematically miseducated by pro-U.S. polemics presented in an "objective" tone.
In contrast Hudson is a strident critic of the U.S. management of the global economy. But so is any reasonably objective person who is apprized of the facts. I much prefer an author who honestly tells you the real story as he understands it to one who conceals the awful truth behind an ostensibly impartial facade. But a "revisionist" has to work twice as hard to make his case, and that is why the book contains the detailed explication of what reviewer Myers calls the "intricacies of events and negotiations that gave rise to the present order."
I think an open-minded reader will be won over by Hudson's thoughtful use of contemporaneous sources (e.g. government publications and articles in the business press) and also biographical sources to illuminate how key decision makers understood the alternatives, and their motives for pursuing the policies that they did when forging the post-war economic order. As he places these choices in context it quickly becomes evident that the motives on the U.S. side have been consistently aggressive and that U.S. policy makers have all along viewed multilateral economic institutions as instruments of national policy--to the world's detriment.
Hudson also has a keen sense of the painfully narrow horizon of human foresight. The historical sections sometimes read like a conspiracy theory in which the conspirators are not very smart. E.g., Franklin Roosevelt's stubborn insistence that World War I debts be repaid prolonged the Great Depression; When J. M. Keynes was negotiating Bretton Woods for the newly elected Labour government, he got them a terrible deal; The U.S. transition to "super-imperialism" which is the main story of the book (chapters 11 through 14) was originally an unintended consequence of the huge budget and trade deficits caused by the Vietnam War.
If you are interested in "globalization" this book is an important piece of the puzzle, but it really only covers up through 1973, and it spends more time on the relationship between the U.S. and Europe than on "North-South" relations. Having said that, Ch. 8 "The Imperialism of U.S. Foreign Aid" is very good, esp. how foreign aid benefits the U.S. balance of payments and the harmful effects of U.S. agricultural exports. China is hardly mentioned.
If you are an economics student and you sense that they aren't telling you the whole story, or just a thoughtful citizen who wants to sharpen your conceptual tools for understanding and resisting the strategies of U.S. imperialism, this book is for you.
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Salty Saltillo (from the road, USA)
An awkward argument with moments of brilliance,See all my reviews
November 3, 2004
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Hudson's historical argument in this book is both brilliant and sometimes a bit rough.
Hudson has always had a great talent for interpreting and sketching out for weaker minds like us what the US government's abandonment of the gold-standard really means. When Hudson came forward with his thesis in the mid 1970's, his thesis was outrageous among orthodox economists: to suggest that the US should be worried about the long-term consequences of running balance of payments deficits year after year, decade after decade was crazy leftist nonsense in the 1970s. As long as people continue to need the US markets more than the US needs any other one country's markets (and people still have faith in the good credit of the US government) there is no reason US could not run balance of payment deficits forever, according to the conventional wisdom.
What amazes me is that now, after having done exactly what Hudson warned the US government not to do in the 1970s, many otherwise relatively orthodox economists are beginning to worry about this. Hudson may be on the more "sky-is-falling" end of things, but his analysis was right on the nail in 1972 and is still there today: worst case scenario - massive recession and massive devaluation of the dollar (by massive I mean, unprecedented). Former US Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin was quoted in March 16, 2006 WSJ as saying that "The probabilities are extremely high that if we don't address these imbalances, then at some point, and it could be years down the road, we'll pay a very big price." We are in a limbo world where no one really knows how this problem is going to play out, but Hudson should be credited for being one of the first, and longest-running, advocates for addressing this problem. Too bad it has taken so many decades for people to recognize what he has been telling us all along about balance of payments deficits.
The rest of the argument Hudson makes in this book is a bit tough to follow, though. Essentially, Hudson attempts to show how the US has, during this century but especially since WWII, systematically sought to manipulate all of the great economic institution-building opportunities following WWII to advance the interests of the US over other countries. Coming off the gold standard and running up a balance of payments deficit was just one of many ways in which this occurred. The US largely succeeded. The GATT (now WTO), World Bank, IMF, all bear American "fingerprints".
I agree that the mega-institutions of the contemporary world economic and political machine are largely the unilateral creation of the US, imposed on the other great nations at a time when the other nations were particularly vulnerable to US force of will and not particular inclined to be heterodox visionaries. I also agree that the US in general has probably used as much leverage as it could in negotiating all of the defining institutions in which it had any hand in constructing.
And yet, how could it have been any different? National governments pursue their self-interest and the interest of their citizens, often at the expense of other national governments and their citizens. The nation-state system is set up to work that way. But is the problem really one of US bad behavior, as Hudson suggests? Isn't the problem really structural? In the nation-state world, wherein the world is divided up into pseudo-autonomous political monopolies, each individually endowed with particular strengths and weaknesses, and all pitted against each other in a laissez-faire system where the only things that keep nation-states from raping and killing each other to oblivion are, good faith and the fact that the balance of power among the nation-states is enough to keep each monopoly contained in its behavior towards the other monopolies, what sort of behavior could we have expected from the US, a nation-state that, at a series of pivotal moments in 20th century history, found itself with "golden opportunities" to take advantage of other nations' weaknesses and advance its own power? Would the French, or the Brits, or the Japanese, or the Italians, or the Germans, or the Russians have behaved any different if they found themselves holding all the cards in 1945 instead of the US?
My point is, the facts Hudson lays out are correct -- there clearly is a problem in the way in which our current world order has been put together and the US is at the middle of that problem. The conclusions Hudson draws from those facts do not go deep enough in understanding what those facts mean, however.
It isn't that the Americans behave or behaved "bad" by the standard of good behavior implicit in the nation-state system, it is that the nation-state system itself to a certain extent reflects 19th century laissez-faire values of autonomy and individuality that pit nation-states against each other in a world where each is out to improve its lot through trade and, when possible and tolerable, violence.
The system itself breaks down when one player becomes too powerful. To blame the US for the systemic problem of massive power imbalances between nation states is simply pushing any hope for correction in the wrong direction.
FT.com / Columnists / Samuel Brittan - The wrong kind of Third Way: When a book entitled Supercapitalism: the Battle for Democracy in an Age of Big Business (Icon Books) landed on my desk I took it for just another of the many anti-capitalist diatribes so beloved by publishers. Its author was Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labour who parted company from the Clinton administration on the grounds that it was not interventionist enough. But I was glad I persevered. For it turned out to be one of the most interesting books on political economy to appear for a long time.
During the postwar decades up to the early 1970s, the Bretton Woods system of semi-fixed exchange rates worked, after a fashion; and countries seemed able to combine full employment with low inflation and historically rapid growth and diminishing income differences. Reich calls them a "not quite golden age". It was "not quite" because of the treatment of women and minorities and the prevailing conformist and authoritarian atmosphere.
It has been succeeded by what Reich calls supercapitalism, in which the cult of the bottom line has replaced the cosy oligopolies of postwar decades, once-dominant companies shrink or disappear, new ones spring up overnight and the financial sector is (or was until recently) in the driving seat. He rightly dismisses many of the popular scapegoats – or heroes – of the process. The changeover began well before Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher could influence anything. Free-market economists have been preaching essentially the same message since the 18th century. It is extremely unlikely that there has been a radical change in the psychology or morality of business operators. His own candidate is the technologies that have empowered consumers and investors to get ever better deals.
Unfortunately, many of these same consumers have lost in their capacity as citizens. He cites the failure of the political process even to attempt to correct the increasing skewness of US income distribution. In later pronouncements he has attributed the subprime loan disaster in part to the failure of supercapitalism to raise the incomes of the mass of wage earners who have been impelled to resort to borrowing as a substitute. Moreover, Congress has performed abysmally in correcting market failures in environmental and other areas. He has a non-partisan explanation: the staggering increase in business lobbying expenditures affecting Democrats as well as Republicans, as a result of which the political process, far from correcting the distortions of unbridled capitalism, has made them worse.
But for me the novel point of the book is his utter dismissal of the prevailing idea of appealing to the "social responsibility" of business to improve matters. This is a notion that particularly appeals to soft centre politicians such as David Cameron's Conservatives in Britain as a new kind of Third Way. Reich argues that it is the job of the democratic political process by laws, taxes and other interventions to harmonise the pursuit of money-making with the public good. "The job of the businessman is to make profits." He is completely unabashed by the charge that he sounds like Milton Friedman and indeed quotes the late Chicago professor approvingly several times. He argues that the so-called stakeholders who insist on being consulted before legislation is drafted are increasingly companies whose interests might be affected. One result is the "corruption of knowledge". We should beware of claims that a company is doing something for the public good. Corporate executives may donate some of their shareholders' money to a genuinely good cause or forbear from polluting the atmosphere to forestall a greater legal or fiscal burden. But in that case such actions are likely to be limited and temporary, "extending only insofar as the conditions that made such voluntary action pay off continue".
Similarly we should beware of a politician who blames a company for doing something that is legal. Such words are all too often a cover "for taking no action to change the rules of the game". Above all, "corporations are not people. They are legal fictions, nothing more than bundles of contractual agreements ... A company cannot know right from wrong ... Only people know right from wrong and only people act." One example of the "anthropomorphic fallacy" is when companies are held criminally liable for the misdeeds of their executives. Not only are the genuinely guilty let off too lightly but many innocent people get hurt. For instance, "the vast majority of Andersen employees had nothing to do with Enron but lost their jobs nonetheless".
I have two reservations. One is that I cannot share Reich's confidence that a revived and effective "democracy" would be a cure-all. You only have to see where democratic pressures are driving US energy policy. Second, there is a danger that the Friedman-Reich position could inadvertently give sustenance to the "I was only doing my job" defence for evil actions. You do not have to hold shares in a company selling arms to Saudi Arabia, or work for it. But do not deceive yourself that such individual gestures can be a substitute for a change in policy.
The Balance of Capitalism and Democracy,
September 17, 2007
By Izaak VanGaalen (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)
This review is from: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Hardcover)According to Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, there was a time when capitalism and democracy where almost perfectly balanced. This was the period of 1945 to 1975, which he calls the "Not Quite Golden Age." During this period there was a three-way social contract among big business, big labor, and big government. Each made sure that they as well as the other two received a fair share of the pie. Unions recieved their wages and benefits, business their profits, and regulatory agencies had their power. It was also a time when the gap between the rich and the poor was the narrowest in our history. It was not quite the golden age because women and minorities were still second class citizens, but at least there was hope.
Fast forward to 2007, capitalism is thriving and democracy is sputtering. Why has capitlism become supercapitalism and democracy become enfeebled? Reich explains that it was a combination of things: deregulation, globe spanning computer networks, better transportation, etc. The changes were mainly a result of technological breakthroughs; unlike many leftists, he is not conspiratorial thinker. The winner of this great transformation was the consumer/investor and the loser was the citizen/wage earner. The consumer has more choices than ever before and at reasonable prices. The investor has unprecedented opportunities to make profits. The citzen, however, is not doing well. The average citizen does not have much voice - other than voting - in the body politic. And on the wage earner has been stagnating for many years. The most salient illustration of this trend is Walmart. Walmart delivers the goods at low prices, but the trade-off is low wages for their employees. We justify this dilemma, as Reich nicely puts it, because "The awkward truth is that most of us are of two minds."
As a left-leaning author, Reich makes some startling pronouncements. One, stop treating corporations as human beings. They are neither moral or immoral, they are merely "bundles of contracts." I couldn't agree more. Stop expecting corporations to be socially responsible, see them for what they are: profit-seeking organizations. Any socially responsible action is a ruse to bolster the bottom line anyway. Don't even encourage them to be socially responsible because it will wrongly lead us to believe that they are solving problems when they are not. Corporations play by the rules that they are given and it is up to citizens and their elected representatives to change the rules.
This is no easy task in the age of supercapitalism. There are currently 38,000 registered lobbyists in Washington DC in a virtual arms race of spending with each other to buy favors from our so-called representatives. The only way citizens can compete with this is not by hiring more lobbyists but advocating through new media outlets such as the internet and cable tv. This, according to Reich, is currently to most effective way to make government more responsive.
The question that remains, after reading this book, is will consumers be willing to sacrifice their low prices to achieve their goals as citizens. If the answer is yes, we can possibly rebalance the equation between democracy and capitalism; if not, we are left to the not so tender mercies of supercapitalism.
Robert Reich makes a compelling argument that supercapitalism has robbed democracy of much of its power. Supercapitalism by the definition presented in the book is simple--the consumer is king and prices ALWAYS go down. What Reich looks at is the cost of low prices to companies, society, the individual and its impact on the workings of democracy. So how is democracy compromised? Reich also points out that the rise of different lobbying groups, the cost of politics and globalization as contributing to this process. This isn't a surprise. It has just become more pronounced with time.
It's not due to some large conspiracy or any hidden political agenda as much as it is driven by consumption. Ultimately Reich argues that it robs the common citizen of any control over democracy. It's not surprising that this is a highly charged issue because the economics of what benefits society (or "the common good" as Reich calls it)often gets tangled up in the web of politics. Reich also points out that the cost of supercompetitiveness, constantly falling prices is a loss to the economic and social health of America. Reich points out that everyone wants to get the lowest price possible but he also suggests that we must balance that with our desire to have decent wages and benefits. He also points out that the move towards regulation was initiated by government and that corporations went along because it kept out competition and guaranteed a top and bottom for prices allowing companies to get a profit without fear of cutting prices so low that it would put them out of business.
I should point out that this is an oversimplification of Reich's points but it does capture some of the concepts. He also makes some suggestions that would help keep the free market afloat without undermining democracy and allowing consumers to still benefit from competitive pricing. Since this is economics we are discussing politics is mixed in and might color whether or not you agree with his points.
Reich's style is breezy for a book that looks at economics, democracy and the erosion of wages, benefits. Reich comes across as fair balanced and thoughtful even as he sells his take on what is undermining American society. Ultimately it's a worthwhile book to read simply because it opens up dialogue on the social cost of constantly lowering prices and how it impacts those who live next door to us
Every middle class American should read this book. Many observations about income disparities have been written up lately but Reich pulls the important points together in a powerful and accessible way.
Reich's main thesis is that the current transition the US economy is under is misunderstood. Many of the policy elite (Geithner, Volcker) have repeated the familiar claim that Americans are living beyond their means. Personally I don't discount that completely but Reich's insight goes much deeper and rings truer:
"The problem was not that American spent beyond their means but that their means had not kept up with what the larger economy could and should have been able to provide them."
"We cannot have a sustained recovery until we address it. ... Until this transformation is made, our economy will continue to experience phantom recoveries and speculative bubbles, each more distressing than the one before."
Anyone looking at the unemployment data since WWII has to wonder why the unemployment component of the last three recessions is so prolonged. Instead of a sharp trend up, there are long slopes of delayed returns to peak employment. (Google "calculated risk blog" and look at Dec. 2010 articles.) I believe Reich has demonstrated the main culprit this. To be clear, he is not describing the detailed mechanics of what triggered the Great Recession. (Nouriel Roubini has a good book that I would recommend for more on the financial fraud, leverage and credit risks involved - Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance. ) But Reich is taking a long term view and exposes a dysfunctional trait of the US economy that no one can afford to ignore. It is this weakness that will delay the current recovery and continue to create greater risks in the future.
Reich draws the parallels between the Great Depression and the Great Recession, particularly the imbalance of wealth concentrated in fewer hands and middle class workers with less income to convert into consumer demand. One of the fascinating devices he found to do this was the writings of Marriner Eccles (Fed chair between '34 to '48):
"As mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption, mass consumption, in turn, implies a distribution of wealth - not of existing wealth, but of wealth as it is currently produced - to provide men with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation's economic machinery. Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. This served them as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped."
Reich also shares a couple of powerful and disturbing graphs that show how the middle class has been squeezed and also how since the late 70s, hourly wages have not only not kept up with the rise in productivity but have remained essentially flat.
Another driving theme Reich presents is the "basic bargain" and he evokes Henry Ford, the man that took mass production to new heights and paid his workers well:
"[Henry] Ford understood the basic economic bargain that lay at the heart of a modern, highly productive economy. Workers are also consumers. Their earnings are continuously recycled to buy the goods and services other workers produce. But if earnings are inadequate and this basic bargain is broken, an economy produces more goods and services than its people are capable of purchasing."
I was concerned early in the book that Reich would leave out some of the important complexities of the topic but he covered related finances, politics and even consumer/voter psychology in a succinct yet informative way. His summary of changes to the labor market in the last 30+ years was very good.
His ideas for correcting this were interesting if perhaps difficult to implement politically. My take away however was that this is a strong indicator of how bad he thinks the situation really is. Many Americans may be yearning to return to "normal". Reich is the first to thoroughly convince me that it is not going to happen.
This is a very quick read of 144 pages and is well worth the time.
As Michael Hudson aptly noted in Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011)
Finance is a form of warfare. Like military conquest, its aim is to gain control of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute. This involves dictating laws to its subjects, and concentrating social as well as economic planning in centralized hands. This is what now is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight.
This attack is being mounted not by nation states as such, but by a cosmopolitan financial class. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic – and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies.
Like any monopoly or vested interest, the financial strategy seeks to block government power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to enhance and protect finance capital and "the miracle of compound interest" that keeps fortunes multiplying exponentially, faster than the economy can grow, until they eat into the economic substance and do to the economy what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.
Simon Johnson, former IMF Chief Economist, is coming out in May's 2009 edition of The Atlantic with a fascinating, highly provocative piece, on the collusion between the US' "financial oligarchy" and the US government and how its persistence will contribute to prolonging the economic crisis. Here is the summary (hat tip to Global Conditions):
One thing you learn rather quickly when working at the International Monetary Fund is that no one is ever very happy to see you (…)
The reason, of course, is that the IMF specializes in telling its clients what they don't want to hear.(…)
No, the real concern of the fund's senior staff, and the biggest obstacle to recovery, is almost invariably the politics of countries in crisis. (…)
Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason-the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit-and, most of the time, genteel-oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders (…)
Many IMF programs "go off track" (a euphemism) precisely because the government can't stay tough on erstwhile cronies, and the consequences are massive inflation or other disasters. A program "goes back on track" once the government prevails or powerful oligarchs sort out among themselves who will govern-and thus win or lose-under the IMF-supported plan. (…)
In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (…).
(…) elite business interests-financiers, in the case of the U.S.-played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.
Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better-in a "buck stops somewhere else" sort of way-on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for "safety and soundness" were fast asleep at the wheel.
But these various policies-lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership-had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector's profits-such as Brooksley Born's now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998-were ignored or swept aside.
The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
(…) the American financial industry gained political power by amassing a kind of cultural capital-a belief system. Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street was good for the country. (…)
One channel of influence was, of course, the flow of individuals between Wall Street and Washington. Robert Rubin, once the co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, served in Washington as Treasury secretary under Clinton, and later became chairman of Citigroup's executive committee. Henry Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs during the long boom, became Treasury secretary under George W.Bush. John Snow, Paulson's predecessor, left to become chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, a large private-equity firm that also counts Dan Quayle among its executives. Alan Greenspan, after leaving the Federal Reserve, became a consultant to Pimco, perhaps the biggest player in international bond markets.
A whole generation of policy makers has been mesmerized by Wall Street, always and utterly convinced that whatever the banks said was true (…).
By now, the princes of the financial world have of course been stripped naked as leaders and strategists-at least in the eyes of most Americans. But as the months have rolled by, financial elites have continued to assume that their position as the economy's favored children is safe, despite the wreckage they have caused (…)
Throughout the crisis, the government has taken extreme care not to upset the interests of the financial institutions, or to question the basic outlines of the system that got us here. In September 2008, Henry Paulson asked Congress for $700 billion to buy toxic assets from banks, with no strings attached and no judicial review of his purchase decisions. Many observers suspected that the purpose was to overpay for those assets and thereby take the problem off the banks' hands-indeed, that is the only way that buying toxic assets would have helped anything. Perhaps because there was no way to make such a blatant subsidy politically acceptable, that plan was shelved.
Instead, the money was used to recapitalize banks, buying shares in them on terms that were grossly favorable to the banks themselves. As the crisis has deepened and financial institutions have needed more help, the government has gotten more and more creative in figuring out ways to provide banks with subsidies that are too complex for the general public to understand (…)
The challenges the United States faces are familiar territory to the people at the IMF. If you hid the name of the country and just showed them the numbers, there is no doubt what old IMF hands would say: nationalize troubled banks and break them up as necessary (…)
In some ways, of course, the government has already taken control of the banking system. It has essentially guaranteed the liabilities of the biggest banks, and it is their only plausible source of capital today.
Ideally, big banks should be sold in medium-size pieces, divided regionally or by type of business. Where this proves impractical-since we'll want to sell the banks quickly-they could be sold whole, but with the requirement of being broken up within a short time. Banks that remain in private hands should also be subject to size limitations.
This may seem like a crude and arbitrary step, but it is the best way to limit the power of individual institutions in a sector that is essential to the economy as a whole. Of course, some people will complain about the "efficiency costs" of a more fragmented banking system, and these costs are real. But so are the costs when a bank that is too big to fail-a financial weapon of mass self-destruction-explodes. Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.
To ensure systematic bank breakup, and to prevent the eventual reemergence of dangerous behemoths, we also need to overhaul our antitrust legislation (…)
Caps on executive compensation, while redolent of populism, might help restore the political balance of power and deter the emergence of a new oligarchy. (…)
(…) Over time, though, the largest part may involve more transparency and competition, which would bring financial-industry fees down. To those who say this would drive financial activities to other countries, we can now safely say: fine".
The nature of financial oligarchy is such that the government's capacity to take control of an entire financial system, and to clean, slice it up and re-privatize it impartially is almost non-existent. Instead we have growing, potentially corrupt, collusion between financial elites and government officials which is hall mark of corporatism in this more modern form on neoliberalism.
In 1998 Mark Curtis wrote The Great Deception: Anglo-American Power and World Order, a work whose stated goal was to shed light on various myths of Anglo-American power in the post-Cold War era.
Curtis attempts to demonstrate how the United Kingdom remained a key partner of the United States' effort to enforce their hegemony in the world. He analyzes what he refers to as a special relationship between the two countries and concludes that quite serious consequences exist for both states.
Trade for Life: Making Trade Work for Poor People is a work published in 2001. It is a strong critique of the function of international organizations, especially the World Trade Organization (WTO). Curtis analyzes the decisions taken by the WTO in developing states and concludes that these decisions were seldom without bias against the poor countries; he claims that certain of these decisions, notably certain structural adjustments, caused their intended benefactors more harm than good. Further, Curtis regrets that some rules are lacking when their need is called for, noting the relative lack of regulation checking the growth of power of multinational companies. A partner of Christian Aid in Zimbabwe has said that "the manner in which the WTO functions, is like placing an adult against a child in a boxing ring, like Manchester United against a local Zimbabwean team.
The WTO judges all countries on the same level, while they are not the same. The WTO must help create a situation where countries are more equal." This is a quotation that Mark Curtis recycles throughout his book.
Curtis concludes by saying that market forces can be used in a different, more egalitarian, manner than the one currently employed by the WTO. He believes that it could benefit developing nations if this goal was pursued.
His book was edited by ChristianAid while Mark Curtis was "Policy and Politics" Director and is freely available.
In 2003 Mark Curtis published Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World. This book has been his most successful to date. It offers a new academic approach to the role of the United Kingdom in the post 1945 world until the current the War on Terrorism. It further criticizes the foreign policy of Tony Blair. Curtis, defending the idea that Britain is a rogue state, describes various relations the United Kingdom undertook with repressive regimes and how he thinks these actions made the world less just.
Moreover, the book analyzes various recent actions of the British Army in the world, describing not only what he characterizes as the immorality of the War in Iraq, but also of the War in Afghanistan, and the Kosovo War. Curtis denounces equally strongly Britain's alliances with states he categorizes as repressive, such as Israel, Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, he details and criticizes the non-intervention of Britain in the Rwandan Genocide.
Curtis draws most of his research from recently declassified documents by the British secret service. He notably claims to demonstrate the role and complicity of the British in the massacre of millions of Indonesians in 1965, the toppling of the governments of Iran and British Guyana, and what he describes as repressive colonial policies in the former colonies of Kenya, Oman, and Malaysia.
In 2004, Mark Curtis published Unpeople: Britain's Secret Human Rights Abuses. This book followed a similar line of thought begun in Web of Deceit. Unpeople is based on various declassified documents from the British secret service.
Among the declassified secret service reports, Curtis asserts that the United Kingdom had given aid to Saddam Hussein in 1963 in order that he rised to power in Iraq; he further posits that the Western Powers, notably the UK, performed various arms deals with the Iraqi government while the Iraqi government was involved in the brutal aggression against the Kurdish community. Curtis asserts that these documents further indict the British government in their role played in the Vietnam War, the coup d'État against Idi Amin in 1971, the coup d'État against Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, and coups in Indonesia and Guyana.
Mark Curtis estimates that approximately ten million deaths throughout the world since 1945 have been caused by the United Kingdom's foreign policy.
From Amazon review of Blowback The Costs and Consequences of American Empire Chalmers Johnson
But Johnson is relying on the idea that "America" is a unitary entity, so that the hollowing out of industry hurts "America", not specific social groups within the country. In reality, US foreign policymakers work to advance the interests not of "America", but of those same business elites that have benefited from turning Asia into the world's sweatshop and undermining the unions that built their strength on American industry. American economic imperialism is not a failed conspiracy against the people of Asia, but an alliance between American elites and their Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, and Chinese counterparts - against the potential power of the working majority in all those countries.
But it's more complex than that, too, since the US seeks to prevent the emergence of an independent military challenge (especially China, but also Japan) to its Asia hegemony while seeking to expand the power of American commercial interests in the region, even as it tries to keep Asian elites happy enough with the status quo to prevent their rebellion against it.
In other words, the US system in Asia is more complicated than Johnson conveys, and defending America's mythical "national interests" will never address its fundamental injustices.
While Johnson seems to have abundant sympathy for the people of Asia, his nationalist framework prevents his from proposing the only real challenge to American hegemony: a popular anti-imperialist movement that crosses the barriers of nation-states.
Imperialism 101 by Micjael Parenti
Imperialism 101 By Michael Parenti
By Michael Parenti
24 June, 2011
Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become "commonwealths," and colonies become "territories" or "dominions" (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, "commonwealths" too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of "national defense," "national security," and maintaining "stability" in one or another region. In this book I want to look at imperialism for what it really is.
Across the Entire Globe
By "imperialism" I mean the process whereby the dominant politico-economic interests of one nation expropriate for their own enrichment the land, labor, raw materials, and markets of another people.The earliest victims of Western European imperialism were other Europeans. Some 800 years ago, Ireland became the first colony of what later became known as the British empire. A part of Ireland still remains under British occupation. Other early Caucasian victims included the Eastern Europeans. The people Charlemagne worked to death in his mines in the early part of the ninth century were Slavs. So frequent and prolonged was the enslavement of Eastern Europeans that "Slav" became synonymous with servitude. Indeed, the word "slave" derives from "Slav." Eastern Europe was an early source of capital accumulation, having become wholly dependent upon Western manufactures by the seventeenth century.
A particularly pernicious example of intra-European imperialism was the Nazi aggression during World War II, which gave the German business cartels and the Nazi state an opportunity to plunder the resources and exploit the labor of occupied Europe, including the slave labor of concentration camps.
The preponderant thrust of the European, North American, and Japanese imperial powers has been directed against Africa, Asia, and Latin America. By the nineteenth century, they saw the Third World as not only a source of raw materials and slaves but a market for manufactured goods. By the twentieth century, the industrial nations were exporting not only goods but capital, in the form of machinery, technology, investments, and loans. To say that we have entered the stage of capital export and investment is not to imply that the plunder of natural resources has ceased. If anything, the despoliation has accelerated.
Of the various notions about imperialism circulating today in the United States, the dominant view is that it does not exist. Imperialism is not recognized as a legitimate concept, certainly not in regard to the United States. One may speak of "Soviet imperialism" or "nineteenth-century British imperialism" but not of U.S. imperialism. A graduate student in political science at most universities in this country would not be granted the opportunity to research U.S. imperialism, on the grounds that such an undertaking would not be scholarly. While many people throughout the world charge the United States with being an imperialist power, in this country persons who talk of U.S. imperialism are usually judged to be mouthing ideological blather.
The Dynamic of Capital Expansion
Imperialism is older than capitalism. The Persian, Macedonian, Roman, and Mongol empires all existed centuries before the Rothschilds and Rockefellers. Emperors and conquistadors were interested mostly in plunder and tribute, gold and glory. Capitalist imperialism differs from these earlier forms in the way it systematically accumulates capital through the organized exploitation of labor and the penetration of overseas markets. Capitalist imperialism invests in other countries, transforming and dominating their economies, cultures, and political life, integrating their financial and productive structures into an international system of capital accumulation.A central imperative of capitalism is expansion. Investors will not put their money into business ventures unless they can extract more than they invest. Increased earnings come only with a growth in the enterprise. The capitalist ceaselessly searches for ways of making more money in order to make still more money. One must always invest to realize profits, gathering as much strength as possible in the face of competing forces and unpredictable markets.
Given its expansionist nature, capitalism has little inclination to stay home. Almost 150 years ago, Marx and Engels described a bourgeoisie that "chases over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere. . . . It creates a world after its own image." The expansionists destroy whole societies. Self-sufficient peoples are forcibly transformed into disfranchised wage workers. Indigenous communities and folk cultures are replaced by mass-market, mass-media, consumer societies. Cooperative lands are supplanted by agribusiness factory farms, villages by desolate shanty towns, autonomous regions by centralized autocracies.
Consider one of a thousand such instances. A few years ago the Los Angeles Times carried a special report on the rainforests of Borneo in the South Pacific. By their own testimony, the people there lived contented lives. They hunted, fished, and raised food in their jungle orchards and groves. But their entire way of life was ruthlessly wiped out by a few giant companies that destroyed the rainforest in order to harvest the hardwood for quick profits. Their lands were turned into ecological disaster areas and they themselves were transformed into disfranchised shantytown dwellers, forced to work for subsistence wages-when fortunate enough to find employment.
North American and European corporations have acquired control of more than three-fourths of the known mineral resources of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. But the pursuit of natural resources is not the only reason for capitalist overseas expansion. There is the additional need to cut production costs and maximize profits by investing in countries with cheaper labor markets. U.S. corporate foreign investment grew 84 percent from 1985 to 1990, the most dramatic increase being in cheap-labor countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Spain, and Singapore.
Because of low wages, low taxes, nonexistent work benefits, weak labor unions, and nonexistent occupational and environmental protections, U.S. corporate profit rates in the Third World are 50 percent greater than in developed countries. Citibank, one of the largest U.S. firms, earns about 75 percent of its profits from overseas operations. While profit margins at home sometimes have had a sluggish growth, earnings abroad have continued to rise dramatically, fostering the development of what has become known as the multinational or transnational corporation. Today some four hundred transnational companies control about 80 percent of the capital assets of the global free market and are extending their grasp into the ex-communist countries of Eastern Europe.
Transnationals have developed a global production line. General Motors has factories that produce cars, trucks and a wide range of auto components in Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, Spain, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Nigeria, Singapore, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea and a dozen other countries. Such "multiple sourcing" enables GM to ride out strikes in one country by stepping up production in another, playing workers of various nations against each other in order to discourage wage and benefit demands and undermine labor union strategies.
Not Necessary, Just Compelling
Some writers question whether imperialism is a necessary condition for capitalism, pointing out that most Western capital is invested in Western nations, not in the Third World. If corporations lost all their Third World investments, they argue, many of them could still survive on their European and North American markets. In response, one should note that capitalism might be able to survive without imperialism-but it shows no inclination to do so. It manifests no desire to discard its enormously profitable Third World enterprises. Imperialism may not be a necessary condition for investor survival but it seems to be an inherent tendency and a natural outgrowth of advanced capitalism. Imperial relations may not be the only way to pursue profits, but they are the most lucrative way.Whether imperialism is necessary for capitalism is really not the question. Many things that are not absolutely necessary are still highly desirable, therefore strongly preferred and vigorously pursued. Overseas investors find the Third World's cheap labor, vital natural resources, and various other highly profitable conditions to be compellingly attractive. Superprofits may not be necessary for capitalism's survival but survival is not all that capitalists are interested in. Superprofits are strongly preferred to more modest earnings. That there may be no necessity between capitalism and imperialism does not mean there is no compelling linkage.
The same is true of other social dynamics. For instance, wealth does not necessarily have to lead to luxurious living. A higher portion of an owning class's riches could be used for investment rather personal consumption. The very wealthy could survive on more modest sums but that is not how most of them prefer to live. Throughout history, wealthy classes generally have shown a preference for getting the best of everything. After all, the whole purpose of getting rich off other people's labor is to live well, avoiding all forms of thankless toil and drudgery, enjoying superior opportunities for lavish life-styles, medical care, education, travel, recreation, security, leisure, and opportunities for power and prestige. While none of these things are really "necessary," they are fervently clung to by those who possess them-as witnessed by the violent measures endorsed by advantaged classes whenever they feel the threat of an equalizing or leveling democratic force.
Myths of Underdevelopment
The impoverished lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America are known to us as the "Third World," to distinguish them from the "First World" of industrialized Europe and North America and the now largely defunct "Second World" of communist states. Third World poverty, called "underdevelopment," is treated by most Western observers as an original historic condition. We are asked to believe that it always existed, that poor countries are poor because their lands have always been infertile or their people unproductive. In fact, the lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America have long produced great treasures of foods, minerals and other natural resources. That is why the Europeans went through all the trouble to steal and plunder them. One does not go to poor places for self-enrichment. The Third World is rich. Only its people are poor-and it is because of the pillage they have endured.
The process of expropriating the natural resources of the Third World began centuries ago and continues to this day. First, the colonizers extracted gold, silver, furs, silks, and spices, then flax, hemp, timber, molasses, sugar, rum, rubber, tobacco, calico, cocoa, coffee, cotton, copper, coal, palm oil, tin, iron, ivory, ebony, and later on, oil, zinc, manganese, mercury, platinum, cobalt, bauxite, aluminum, and uranium. Not to be overlooked is that most hellish of all expropriations: the abduction of millions of human beings into slave labor.
Through the centuries of colonization, many self-serving imperialist theories have been spun. I was taught in school that people in tropical lands are slothful and do not work as hard as we denizens of the temperate zone. In fact, the inhabitants of warm climates have performed remarkably productive feats, building magnificent civilizations well before Europe emerged from the Dark Ages. And today they often work long, hard hours for meager sums. Yet the early stereotype of the "lazy native" is still with us. In every capitalist society, the poor-both domestic and overseas-regularly are blamed for their own condition.
We hear that Third World peoples are culturally retarded in their attitudes, customs, and technical abilities. It is a convenient notion embraced by those who want to depict Western investments as a rescue operation designed to help backward peoples help themselves. This myth of "cultural backwardness" goes back to ancient times, when conquerors used it to justify enslaving indigenous peoples. It was used by European colonizers over the last five centuries for the same purpose.
What cultural supremacy could by claimed by the Europeans of yore? From the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries Europe was "ahead" in a variety of things, such as the number of hangings, murders, and other violent crimes; instances of venereal disease, smallpox, typhoid, tuberculosis, plagues, and other bodily afflictions; social inequality and poverty (both urban and rural); mistreatment of women and children; and frequency of famines, slavery, prostitution, piracy, religious massacres, and inquisitional torture. Those who claim the West has been the most advanced civilization should keep such "achievements" in mind.
More seriously, we might note that Europe enjoyed a telling advantage in navigation and armaments. Muskets and cannon, Gatling guns and gunboats, and today missiles, helicopter gunships, and fighter bombers have been the deciding factors when West meets East and North meets South. Superior firepower, not superior culture, has brought the Europeans and Euro-North Americans to positions of supremacy that today are still maintained by force, though not by force alone.
It was said that colonized peoples were biologically backward and less evolved than their colonizers. Their "savagery" and "lower" level of cultural evolution were emblematic of their inferior genetic evolution. But were they culturally inferior? In many parts of what is now considered the Third World, people developed impressive skills in architecture, horticulture, crafts, hunting, fishing, midwifery, medicine, and other such things. Their social customs were often far more gracious and humane and less autocratic and repressive than anything found in Europe at that time. Of course we must not romanticize these indigenous societies, some of which had a number of cruel and unusual practices of their own. But generally, their peoples enjoyed healthier, happier lives, with more leisure time, than did most of Europe's inhabitants.
Other theories enjoy wide currency. We hear that Third World poverty is due to overpopulation, too many people having too many children to feed. Actually, over the last several centuries, many Third World lands have been less densely populated than certain parts of Europe. India has fewer people per acre-but more poverty-than Holland, Wales, England, Japan, Italy, and a few other industrial countries. Furthermore, it is the industrialized nations of the First World, not the poor ones of the Third, that devour some 80 percent of the world's resources and pose the greatest threat to the planet's ecology.
This is not to deny that overpopulation is a real problem for the planet's ecosphere. Limiting population growth in all nations would help the global environment but it would not solve the problems of the poor-because overpopulation in itself is not the cause of poverty but one of its effects. The poor tend to have large families because children are a source of family labor and income and a support during old age.
Frances Moore Lappe and Rachel Schurman found that of seventy Third World countries, there were six-China, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Chile, Burma, and Cuba-and the state of Kerala in India that had managed to lower their birth rates by one third. They enjoyed neither dramatic industrial expansion nor high per capita incomes nor extensive family planning programs. The factors they had in common were public education and health care, a reduction of economic inequality, improvements in women's rights, food subsidies, and in some cases land reform. In other words, fertility rates were lowered not by capitalist investments and economic growth as such but by socio-economic betterment, even of a modest scale, accompanied by the emergence of women's rights.
Artificially Converted to Poverty
What is called "underdevelopment" is a set of social relations that has been forcefully imposed on countries. With the advent of the Western colonizers, the peoples of the Third World were actually set back in their development sometimes for centuries. British imperialism in India provides an instructive example. In 1810, India was exporting more textiles to England than England was exporting to India. By 1830, the trade flow was reversed. The British had put up prohibitive tariff barriers to shut out Indian finished goods and were dumping their commodities in India, a practice backed by British gunboats and military force. Within a matter of years, the great textile centers of Dacca and Madras were turned into ghost towns. The Indians were sent back to the land to raise the cotton used in British textile factories. In effect, India was reduced to being a cow milked by British financiers. By 1850, India's debt had grown to 53 million pounds. From 1850 to 1900, its per capita income dropped by almost two-thirds. The value of the raw materials and commodities the Indians were obliged to send to Britain during most of the nineteenth century amounted yearly to more than the total income of the sixty million Indian agricultural and industrial workers. The massive poverty we associate with India was not that country's original historical condition. British imperialism did two things: first, it ended India's development, then it forcibly underdeveloped that country.
Similar bleeding processes occurred throughout the Third World. The enormous wealth extracted should remind us that there originally were few really poor nations. Countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Chile, Bolivia, Zaire, Mexico, Malaysia, and the Philippines were and sometimes still are rich in resources. Some lands have been so thoroughly plundered as to be desolate in all respects. However, most of the Third World is not "underdeveloped" but overexploited. Western colonization and investments have created a lower rather than a higher living standard.
Referring to what the English colonizers did to the Irish, Frederick Engels wrote in 1856: "How often have the Irish started out to achieve something, and every time they have been crushed politically and industrially. By consistent oppression they have been artificially converted into an utterly impoverished nation." So with most of the Third World. The Mayan Indians in Guatemala had a more nutritious and varied diet and better conditions of health in the early 16th century before the Europeans arrived than they have today. They had more craftspeople, architects, artisans, and horticulturists than today. What is called underdevelopment is not an original historical condition but a product of imperialism's superexploitation. Underdevelopment is itself a development.
Imperialism has created what I have termed "maldevelopment": modern office buildings and luxury hotels in the capital city instead of housing for the poor, cosmetic surgery clinics for the affluent instead of hospitals for workers, cash export crops for agribusiness instead of food for local markets, highways that go from the mines and latifundios to the refineries and ports instead of roads in the back country for those who might hope to see a doctor or a teacher.
Wealth is transferred from Third World peoples to the economic elites of Europe and North America (and more recently Japan) by direct plunder, by the expropriation of natural resources, the imposition of ruinous taxes and land rents, the payment of poverty wages, and the forced importation of finished goods at highly inflated prices. The colonized country is denied the freedom of trade and the opportunity to develop its own natural resources, markets, and industrial capacity. Self-sustenance and self-employment gives way to wage labor. From 1970 to 1980, the number of wage workers in the Third World grew from 72 million to 120 million, and the rate is accelerating.
Hundreds of millions of Third World peoples now live in destitution in remote villages and congested urban slums, suffering hunger, disease, and illiteracy, often because the land they once tilled is now controlled by agribusiness firms who use it for mining or for commercial export crops such as coffee, sugar, and beef, instead of growing beans, rice, and corn for home consumption. A study of twenty of the poorest countries, compiled from official statistics, found that the number of people living in what is called "absolute poverty" or rockbottom destitution, the poorest of the poor, is rising 70,000 a day and should reach 1.5 billion by the year 2000 (San Francisco Examiner, June 8, 1994).
Imperialism forces millions of children around the world to live nightmarish lives, their mental and physical health severely damaged by endless exploitation. A documentary film on the Discovery Channel (April 24, 1994) reported that in countries like Russia, Thailand, and the Philippines, large numbers of minors are sold into prostitution to help their desperate families survive. In countries like Mexico, India, Colombia, and Egypt, children are dragooned into health-shattering, dawn-to-dusk labor on farms and in factories and mines for pennies an hour, with no opportunity for play, schooling, or medical care.
In India, 55 million children are pressed into the work force. Tens of thousands labor in glass factories in temperatures as high as 100 degrees. In one plant, four-year-olds toil from 5 o'clock in the morning until the dead of night, inhaling fumes and contracting emphysema, tuberculosis, and other respiratory diseases. In the Philippines and Malaysia corporations have lobbied to drop age restrictions for labor recruitment. The pursuit of profit becomes a pursuit of evil.
When we say a country is "underdeveloped," we are implying that it is backward and retarded in some way, that its people have shown little capacity to achieve and evolve. The negative connotations of "underdeveloped" has caused the United Nations, the Wall Street Journal, and parties of various political persuasion to refer to Third World countries as "developing" nations, a term somewhat less insulting than "underdeveloped" but equally misleading. I prefer to use "Third World" because "developing" seems to be just a euphemistic way of saying "underdeveloped but belatedly starting to do something about it." It still implies that poverty was an original historic condition and not something imposed by the imperialists. It also falsely suggests that these countries are developing when actually their economic conditions are usually worsening.The dominant theory of the last half century, enunciated repeatedly by writers like Barbara Ward and W. W. Rostow and afforded wide currency in the United States and other parts of the Western world, maintains that it is up to the rich nations of the North to help uplift the "backward" nations of the South, bringing them technology and teaching them proper work habits. This is an updated version of "the White man's burden," a favorite imperialist fantasy.
According to the development scenario, with the introduction of Western investments, the backward economic sectors of the poor nations will release their workers, who then will find more productive employment in the modern sector at higher wages. As capital accumulates, business will reinvest its profits, thus creating still more products, jobs, buying power, and markets. Eventually a more prosperous economy evolves.
This "development theory" or "modernization theory," as it is sometimes called, bears little relation to reality. What has emerged in the Third World is an intensely exploitive form of dependent capitalism. Economic conditions have worsened drastically with the growth of transnational corporate investment. The problem is not poor lands or unproductive populations but foreign exploitation and class inequality. Investors go into a country not to uplift it but to enrich themselves.
People in these countries do not need to be taught how to farm. They need the land and the implements to farm. They do not need to be taught how to fish. They need the boats and the nets and access to shore frontage, bays, and oceans. They need industrial plants to cease dumping toxic effusions into the waters. They do not need to be convinced that they should use hygienic standards. They do not need a Peace Corps Volunteer to tell them to boil their water, especially when they cannot afford fuel or have no access to firewood. They need the conditions that will allow them to have clean drinking water and clean clothes and homes. They do not need advice about balanced diets from North Americans. They usually know what foods best serve their nutritional requirements. They need to be given back their land and labor so that they might work for themselves and grow food for their own consumption.
The legacy of imperial domination is not only misery and strife, but an economic structure dominated by a network of international corporations which themselves are beholden to parent companies based in North America, Europe and Japan. If there is any harmonization or integration, it occurs among the global investor classes, not among the indigenous economies of these countries. Third World economies remain fragmented and unintegrated both between each other and within themselves, both in the flow of capital and goods and in technology and organization. In sum, what we have is a world economy that has little to do with the economic needs of the world's people.
Neoimperialism: Skimming the Cream
Sometimes imperial domination is explained as arising from an innate desire for domination and expansion, a "territorial imperative." In fact, territorial imperialism is no longer the prevailing mode. Compared to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the European powers carved up the world among themselves, today there is almost no colonial dominion left. Colonel Blimp is dead and buried, replaced by men in business suits. Rather than being directly colonized by the imperial power, the weaker countries have been granted the trappings of sovereignty-while Western finance capital retains control of the lion's share of their profitable resources. This relationship has gone under various names: "informal empire," "colonialism without colonies," "neocolonialism," and "neoimperialism. "U.S. political and business leaders were among the earliest practitioners of this new kind of empire, most notably in Cuba at the beginning of the twentieth century. Having forcibly wrested the island from Spain in the war of 1898, they eventually gave Cuba its formal independence. The Cubans now had their own government, constitution, flag, currency, and security force. But major foreign policy decisions remained in U.S. hands as did the island's wealth, including its sugar, tobacco, and tourist industries, and major imports and exports.
Historically U.S. capitalist interests have been less interested in acquiring more colonies than in acquiring more wealth, preferring to make off with the treasure of other nations without bothering to own and administer the nations themselves. Under neoimperialism, the flag stays home, while the dollar goes everywhere - frequently assisted by the sword.
After World War II, European powers like Britain and France adopted a strategy of neoimperialism. Left financially depleted by years of warfare, and facing intensified popular resistance from within the Third World itself, they reluctantly decided that indirect economic hegemony was less costly and politically more expedient than outright colonial rule. They discovered that the removal of a conspicuously intrusive colonial rule made it more difficult for nationalist elements within the previously colonized countries to mobilize anti-imperialist sentiments.
Though the newly established government might be far from completely independent, it usually enjoyed more legitimacy in the eyes of its populace than a colonial administration controlled by the imperial power. Furthermore, under neoimperialism the native government takes up the costs of administering the country while the imperialist interests are free to concentrate on accumulating capital-which is all they really want to do.
After years of colonialism, the Third World country finds it extremely difficult to extricate itself from the unequal relationship with its former colonizer and impossible to depart from the global capitalist sphere. Those countries that try to make a break are subjected to punishing economic and military treatment by one or another major power, nowadays usually the United States.
The leaders of the new nations may voice revolutionary slogans, yet they find themselves locked into the global capitalist orbit, cooperating perforce with the First World nations for investment, trade, and aid. So we witnessed the curious phenomenon of leaders of newly independent Third World nations denouncing imperialism as the source of their countries' ills, while dissidents in these countries denounced these same leaders as collaborators of imperialism.
In many instances a comprador class emerged or was installed as a first condition for independence. A comprador class is one that cooperates in turning its own country into a client state for foreign interests. A client state is one that is open to investments on terms that are decidedly favorable to the foreign investors. In a client state, corporate investors enjoy direct subsidies and land grants, access to raw materials and cheap labor, light or nonexistent taxes, few effective labor unions, no minimum wage or child labor or occupational safety laws, and no consumer or environmental protections to speak of. The protective laws that do exist go largely unenforced.
In all, the Third World is something of a capitalist paradise, offering life as it was in Europe and the United States during the nineteenth century, with a rate of profit vastly higher than what might be earned today in a country with strong economic regulations. The comprador class is well recompensed for its cooperation. Its leaders enjoy opportunities to line their pockets with the foreign aid sent by the U.S. government. Stability is assured with the establishment of security forces, armed and trained by the United States in the latest technologies of terror and repression. Still, neoimperialism carries risks. The achievement of de jure independence eventually fosters expectations of de facto independence. The forms of self rule incite a desire for the fruits of self rule. Sometimes a national leader emerges who is a patriot and reformer rather than a comprador collaborator. Therefore, the changeover from colonialism to neocolonialism is not without risks for the imperialists and represents a net gain for popular forces in the world.
Chapter 1 of Against Empire by Michael Parenti
Michael Parenti is an internationally known award-winning author and lecturer. He is one of the nation's leading progressive political analysts. His highly informative and entertaining books and talks have reached a wide range of audiences in North America and abroad. http://www.michaelparenti.org/
For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section
Oct 10, 2019 | www.rt.com
Beijing is angry at Apple for allowing a police-tracking map used by Hong Kong protesters in its App Store. Pressure grows on US companies doing business in China to take a side, as virtue-signaling clashes with serving customers. "Is Apple guiding Hong Kong thugs?" the Chinese People's Daily newspaper wondered in an op-ed published on Wednesday. Beijing tore into the trillion-dollar company for offering HKmap.live, a map app that allows users to report and track police activity, warning the app "facilitates illegal behavior" and that Apple is hurting its reputation among Chinese consumers by "mixing business with politics and commercial activity with illegal activities." "
This recklessness will cause much trouble for Apple ," the People's Daily declared, advising the tech firm to " think deeply ."
The majority of Apple's products are manufactured in China, and those that aren't are assembled in Texas from Chinese parts. China is the second-largest market for Apple products, and CEO Tim Cook expects it will soon overtake the US as number one.
According to HKmap.live's developers, Apple initially rejected the app during a reviewing process, but reconsidered following an appeal. It allows users to report not only the locations and movement of police, but also the use of tear gas and other protester-specific features. The protests, which began in May over a now-shelved extradition bill, have grown quite violent, with some rioters turning on ordinary citizens who merely express solidarity with the mainland.
It's not as if Apple has a track record of defying China's wishes – the company does not include the Taiwan flag emoji on its Chinese devices, and this week has gone further by hiding the flag from users in Hong Kong and Macau. China does not recognize Taiwan as a separate country.
In the latest version of iOS, users in Hong Kong no longer have access to the Taiwan flag () on the emoji keyboard https://t.co/EDnlSsFyYF pic.twitter.com/DbvFR0O8By-- Emojipedia (@Emojipedia) October 7, 2019
Nor do people look to Apple as their moral guiding light. The Foxconn factories used by the company in China have become infamous after a wave of worker suicides, so much that Apple had "suicide nets" installed to stop the employees from jumping to their deaths.
So where did this sudden urge to stand up for rioters that have become the darlings of the West come from? Apple joins a lengthening list of American corporate entities – including the makers of adult cartoon 'South Park', the manager of NBA team the Houston Rockets, and Vans shoes – who've piled on China following the outbreak of the protests during the summer.
Virtue-signaling is almost expected of American companies in the Trump era. Celebrities who don't speak out against the president are assumed to be secretly harboring pro-Trump sympathies, for example. China probably seems like an easier target than the president – Beijing is halfway around the world and currently embroiled in a trade war with the US.
Hong Kong's cheerleaders are rapidly finding out they may have bitten off more than they can chew. It's rarely a good idea, as a global business, to alienate 1.4 billion people living in the world's second-largest economy. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who initially spoke up for Rockets manager Daryl Morey's "freedom of expression" after he tweeted in support of the protests, has modified his statement to include understanding that there are "consequences" to such freedoms and is scrambling to reach an understanding with China after the nation's largest state-run TV station dropped NBA games in retaliation.
Look for Apple to do something similar if the government controlling its manufacturing and its second-largest market decides to punish its insolence.
More importantly, most Americans don't want a side of politics when they buy a smartphone or go to a basketball game. The vast majority of consumers – those who aren't on Twitter shrieking over the latest revelation that a CEO attended a Trump fundraiser – are not interested in a company's ability to virtue signal. They want a product that works, not one that tells them what to think.
By Helen Buyniski , RT
Oct 10, 2019 | www.rt.com
China’s embassy in France has slammed the country’s reaction to protests in Hong Kong, calling it hypocritical and arguing France should show empathy as China did when Paris was trying to cope with Yellow Vests.
The diplomatic mission was commenting on a statement issued by the European Union, and swiftly repeated by the French Foreign Ministry last week, after Hong Kong police used live ammunition against a protester in self-defense for the first time in four months of demonstrations.
Oct 09, 2019 | www.rt.com
Hong Kong police have seized weapons, armor and materials used to create Molotov cocktails, which they said belonged to radical groups among the protesters labeled 'pro-democracy' by western media. According to the police, on Monday and Tuesday they targeted 48 locations throughout the city that they suspected were connected with violent protesters, who have been waging street battles against the police force for several months.
The police arrested 51 people, including seven women, who were aged between 15 and 44, and charged them with various crimes related to the rioting.
... ... ...
The authorities published photos of the items they discovered during the raid, which include several suits of body armor, various melee weapons as well as chemicals and glass bottles used in the manufacturing of petrol bombs – a weapon routinely deployed by the protesters to cause chaos in Hong Kong.
... ... ...
Mass anti-government protests first gripped the Chinese city in March, when thousands took to the streets to protest an extradition bill that they deemed an attack on Hong Kong's autonomy under the so-called "one country, two systems" arrangement. The bill has since been revoked, but the protest movement's demands have continued to grow and it has become more violent in its approach.
... ... ...
Peaceful protest demonstrations in Hong Kong, which have been the prime focus for Western media coverage, take place against the backdrop of vandalism, harassment of businesses deemed loyal to the central government and outright rioting.
Oct 09, 2019 | www.unz.com
Some interesting estimates of the numbers of foreign fighters that participated in the Donbass War from 2014-2019 from a report [PDF] by the Soufan Center. (h/t Kholmogorov)
Originally from: Census of Foreign Fighters in the Ukraine, by Anatoly Karlin - The Unz Review
AnonFromTN , says: October 7, 2019 at 8:26 pm GMTKiev-controlled Ukraine served as a destination for would-be murderers seeking impunity for years. However, inviting foreign scum will help it about as much as it helped ISIS. Maybe even less: some foreign and domestic ISIS bandits had ideology beyond raping and looting, Ukrainian bandits in Donbass do not. "True believer" Ukies are in Canada, the US, or far away from the front in Ukraine itself and studiously avoid getting into real fighting, where they can be maimed or killed.AnonFromTN , says: October 7, 2019 at 9:42 pm GMT
In contrast, many volunteers on the side of Donbass freedom fighters do have honest beliefs and are not cowards avoiding combat. Not all, though: some just look for an adventure, on the battlefield and in bed.@Korenchkin If you go by quintessence of Nazi ideology "my tribe is better than your tribe", every nation has its Nazis, including Russia.Anatoly Karlin , says: Website October 7, 2019 at 9:44 pm GMT
To its credit, tribal nationalists never got more than ~7% electoral support in Russia.
After Ukrainian experience showed that any country can be quickly ruined by primeval tribal nationalism, their support in Russia dropped to below 2%. But it still isn't zero. Then again, ~1% of any population are schizophrenics, 2-3% are gays/lesbians, etc., so single digit representation of any kind of deviation is not threatening country's survival.@Mr. Hack I asked the questions first, but I'll be generous and explain this to you on the fingers.jeppo , says: October 7, 2019 at 10:10 pm GMT
1. I used the term "Banderists" in the context of Ukraine's volunteer battalions – that is, where foreigners have the most realistic chance of getting accepted.
2. Polls show Ukrainians to generally be 50/50 on Bandera, but obviously, that number will be much higher amongst the rather self-selected sample that are volunteer battalion members. At least 80%, if not 90%.
3. Poles obviously couldn't care less for Bandera. Polish *nationalists* – even less so.
4. Nationalists are the likeliest foreigners to participate in the Donbass.
5. Do you now see why this would be a pertinent point to mention in the specific context of why 10x fewer Poles fight for the Ukraine relative to Georgians, despite having 10x the population?I'm not sure if 14 fighters is a big enough sample size to justify lumping Canada into the dreaded "Russophobe" category. But the 10 pro-Ukrainians to 4 pro-Russians ratio closely mirrors that of self-declared ethnic Ukrainians (1,359,655) to Russians (622,445) in Canada.Philip Owen , says: October 7, 2019 at 10:29 pm GMT
Though many, possibly even a majority of those "Russians" are actually Jews. The Ukrainian lobby has been disturbingly powerful in Canada for a long time (multiculturalism was their bright idea), while the Russian lobby is seemingly invisible.
There are signs and symbols of Ukrainian nationalism everywhere (banks, festivals, flags, bumper stickers etc), while similar Russian symbols are basically non-existent. The Uke to Russkie ratio may be only 10-4, but it feels more like 10-1, or even 100-1.I expected more Russians from the Baltics. Apparently, they and Serbs were early arrivals in Girkin's group. Perhaps the ethnic Russians were counted as Russian?Anatoly Karlin , says: Website October 7, 2019 at 11:47 pm GMT
Quite a few White Russians emigrated to France. The Whites were well supported by ethnic Russians in the Donbass during the Civil War.
Many Irish Nationalist commentators supported Russia (enemy's enemy) but the table shows Ireland Pro Ukraine (anti-imperialist a stronger driver?). The Russian settlers in the Donbass are such an obvious parallel to the Orangemen.@Felix KeverichAP , says: October 8, 2019 at 1:17 am GMT
Where did they come from and what motivated them?
1. Chechens would be the obvious answer. I recall reading there were 2x as many Chechens fighting for Ukrainians than for Russians.
2. Svidomy Ukrainians in Russia.
3. And, as mentioned, Neo-Nazis and White Nationalists (~60%-70% on Ukraine's side, at least initially). The other brands of Russian nationalists were overwhelmingly pro-Russian.@AnonFromTN More foreign "scum" on Donbas side than Ukrainian side. As one would expect. It's not all bad however, Donbas should be kept apart from Ukraine.AnonFromTN , says: October 8, 2019 at 1:59 am GMT
"True believer" Ukies are in Canada, the US, or far away from the front in Ukraine itself and studiously avoid getting into real fighting, where they can be maimed or killed.
Ukrainian-American Paslawsky fought and died in the war.
A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and the only American known to have fought alongside Ukrainian forces against pro-Russian separatists has been killed in eastern Ukraine.
Mark Gregory Paslawsky, 55, died while fighting with the volunteer Donbas Battalion.
Paslawsky, who fought under the nom de guerre "Franko," was killed on August 19 during fighting in the town of Ilovaysk, near the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, according to a Facebook post by Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko.
Paslawsky was born in 1959 in New York and grew up in a tight-knit Ukrainian-American family in New Jersey. He moved to Ukraine around two decades ago and informed his family earlier this year that he planned to volunteer for the Ukrainian Army, according to his brother, Nestor Paslawsky.
The American fighting for Donbas, "Cowb0y", meanwhile was some sort of petty criminal in the USA. Like Motorola in Russia, of course.@APAnonFromTN , says: October 8, 2019 at 2:02 am GMT
Ukrainian-American Paslawsky fought and died in the war.
One out of how many millions? Even Georgian participation is much higher on the per capita basis. LOL.@APSveVid , says: October 8, 2019 at 4:06 am GMT
Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko
Just out of curiosity: Anton Herashchenko is that fatter-than-a-pig guy with five chins? The founder of the "Mirotvorets" site?@Philip Owen Well the Serbs played a major role in the defence of the territory that is today the Donbas (not particularly well known among modern Russians). So Serbian nationalists have an extra cause in regards to the DonbasSpisarevski , says: October 8, 2019 at 6:56 am GMT
Slavo-Serbia or Slaveno-Serbia, was a territory of Imperial Russia between 1753-64. It was located by the right bank of the Donets River between the Bakhmutka River (Бахмут) and Luhan (Лугань) rivers. This area today constitutes the territories of present-day Luhansk Oblast and Donetsk Oblast of Ukraine. The administrative centre of Slavo-Serbia was Bakhmut (Bahmut).@AnonFromTNanonymous coward , says: October 8, 2019 at 7:49 am GMT
In contrast, many volunteers on the side of Donbass freedom fighters do have honest beliefs and are not cowards avoiding combat. Not all, though: some just look for an adventure
Not mutually exclusive. If you feel that you're leading a meaningless life and you are looking for adventure, something radically different from a cubicle job or whatever, might as well do something like join a war where you get to defend innocent people.@Philip OwenLondonBob , says: October 8, 2019 at 8:59 am GMT
Russian settlers in the Donbass
Don't be an idiot.
The "Russian settlers" were colonizing an empty land that was previously ethnically cleansed by the Turks.Considering ex ISIS fighters are often left to go free and claim benefits it was interesting to see the fate of the fella who went to the Donbass and didn't even fight.LondonBob , says: October 8, 2019 at 9:06 am GMT
Five years and four months.@anonymous coward So was South Africa but didn't stop there being close ties between loyalists and the apartheid government, a few Ulstermen were in the the government and there was the shared settler Calvinist outlook. The IRA had quite close links to Croats, don't know if loyalists had the same with Serbs. MP Ian Paisley junior is somewhat of a Russophile.Kinez , says: October 8, 2019 at 10:59 am GMT@SveVid This is all true, but all those people are completely and utterly assimilated into Ukrainians / Russians and have been for much longer than living memory. Most people in Serbia (except history nerds etc) have no idea about this history. A much more plausible explanation for Serbs going to fight in the Donbass would make some reference to Russian (and also Greek btw) volunteer units fighting with the Serbs in the 1990s and contacts established during that time.Beckow , says: October 8, 2019 at 11:50 am GMT@Anatoly Karlin Mazepa is way up there and he joined the early 17th century Swedish invasion of Russia that ended with the defeat at Poltava. That effectively ended Sweden as a great power. Seems like Ukrainians have a thing for worshipping losers allied with anyone west of them, so there is some hope for Porky's eventual rehabilitation.nokangaroos , says: October 8, 2019 at 12:23 pm GMT
Carl Bildt's ancestors were there in high stockings among the vanquished at Poltava – the Bildts never forgave the humiliation, those Swedes can be sneaky. That explains the persistent anti-Russian attitudes among the Nordics. Swedes also tend to be simple-minded, nobody swallows the current globo-homo propaganda as eagerly or looks for Russian submarines hiding behind every whale.By and large Austria and Croatia are the only surprises – here, the history of the last century is a bit complicated. "Altösterreicher" is a popular euphemism for "Galician Jew" i.e. the current Kiew regime. The Croats are more probably channeling their recent hatred for the Serbs. [Not really] funny what the separation of East and West Rome is still doing to a people.
Oct 08, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
At first blush, the suit filed in Dallas by the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SwAPA) against Boeing may seem like a family feud. SWAPA is seeking an estimated $115 million for lost pilots' pay as a result of the grounding of the 34 Boeing 737 Max planes that Southwest owns and the additional 20 that Southwest had planned to add to its fleet by year end 2019. Recall that Southwest was the largest buyer of the 737 Max, followed by American Airlines. However, the damning accusations made by the pilots' union, meaning, erm, pilots, is likely to cause Boeing not just more public relations headaches, but will also give grist to suits by crash victims.
However, one reason that the Max is a sore point with the union was that it was a key leverage point in 2016 contract negotiations:
And Boeing's assurances that the 737 Max was for all practical purposes just a newer 737 factored into the pilots' bargaining stance. Accordingly, one of the causes of action is tortious interference, that Boeing interfered in the contract negotiations to the benefit of Southwest. The filing describes at length how Boeing and Southwest were highly motivated not to have the contract dispute drag on and set back the launch of the 737 Max at Southwest, its showcase buyer. The big point that the suit makes is the plane was unsafe and the pilots never would have agreed to fly it had they known what they know now.
We've embedded the compliant at the end of the post. It's colorful and does a fine job of recapping the sorry history of the development of the airplane. It has damning passages like:
Boeing concealed the fact that the 737 MAX aircraft was not airworthy because, inter alia, it incorporated a single-point failure condition -- a software/flight control logic called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System ("MCAS") -- that,if fed erroneous data from a single angle-of-attack sensor, would command the aircraft nose-down and into an unrecoverable dive without pilot input or knowledge.
The lawsuit also aggressively contests Boeing's spin that competent pilots could have prevented the Lion Air and Ethiopian Air crashes:
Had SWAPA known the truth about the 737 MAX aircraft in 2016, it never would have approved the inclusion of the 737 MAX aircraft as a term in its CBA [collective bargaining agreement], and agreed to operate the aircraft for Southwest. Worse still, had SWAPA known the truth about the 737 MAX aircraft, it would have demanded that Boeing rectify the aircraft's fatal flaws before agreeing to include the aircraft in its CBA, and to provide its pilots, and all pilots, with the necessary information and training needed to respond to the circumstances that the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 pilots encountered nearly three years later.
And (boldface original):
Boeing Set SWAPA Pilots Up to Fail
As SWAPA President Jon Weaks, publicly stated, SWAPA pilots "were kept in the dark" by Boeing.
Boeing did not tell SWAPA pilots that MCAS existed and there was no description or mention of MCAS in the Boeing Flight Crew Operations Manual.
There was therefore no way for commercial airline pilots, including SWAPA pilots, to know that MCAS would work in the background to override pilot inputs.
There was no way for them to know that MCAS drew on only one of two angle of attack sensors on the aircraft.
And there was no way for them to know of the terrifying consequences that would follow from a malfunction.
When asked why Boeing did not alert pilots to the existence of the MCAS, Boeing responded that the company decided against disclosing more details due to concerns about "inundate[ing] average pilots with too much information -- and significantly more technical data -- than [they] needed or could realistically digest."
SWAPA's pilots, like their counterparts all over the world, were set up for failure
The filing has a detailed explanation of why the addition of heavier, bigger LEAP1-B engines to the 737 airframe made the plane less stable, changed how it handled, and increased the risk of catastrophic stall. It also describes at length how Boeing ignored warning signs during the design and development process, and misrepresented the 737 Max as essentially the same as older 737s to the FAA, potential buyers, and pilots. It also has juicy bits presented in earlier media accounts but bear repeating, like:
By March 2016, Boeing settled on a revision of the MCAS flight control logic.
However, Boeing chose to omit key safeguards that had previously been included in earlier iterations of MCAS used on the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus, a military tanker derivative of the Boeing 767 aircraft.
The engineers who created MCAS for the military tanker designed the system to rely on inputs from multiple sensors and with limited power to move the tanker's nose. These deliberate checks sought to ensure that the system could not act erroneously or cause a pilot to lose control. Those familiar with the tanker's design explained that these checks were incorporated because "[y]ou don't want the solution to be worse than the initial problem."
The 737 MAX version of MCAS abandoned the safeguards previously relied upon. As discussed below, the 737 MAX MCAS had greater control authority than its predecessor, activated repeatedly upon activation, and relied on input from just one of the plane's two sensors that measure the angle of the plane's nose.
In other words, Boeing can't credibly say that it didn't know better.
Here is one of the sections describing Boeing's cover-ups:
Yet Boeing's website, press releases, annual reports, public statements and statements to operators and customers, submissions to the FAA and other civil aviation authorities, and 737 MAX flight manuals made no mention of the increased stall hazard or MCAS itself.
In fact, Boeing 737 Chief Technical Pilot, Mark Forkner asked the FAA to delete any mention of MCAS from the pilot manual so as to further hide its existence from the public and pilots.
We urge you to read the complaint in full, since it contains juicy insider details, like the significance of Southwest being Boeing's 737 Max "launch partner" and what that entailed in practice, plus recounting dates and names of Boeing personnel who met with SWAPA pilots and made misrepresentations about the aircraft.
If you are time-pressed, the best MSM account is from the Seattle Times, In scathing lawsuit, Southwest pilots' union says Boeing 737 MAX was unsafe
Even though Southwest Airlines is negotiating a settlement with Boeing over losses resulting from the grounding of the 737 Max and the airline has promised to compensate the pilots, the pilots' union at a minimum apparently feels the need to put the heat on Boeing directly. After all, the union could withdraw the complaint if Southwest were to offer satisfactory compensation for the pilots' lost income. And pilots have incentives not to raise safety concerns about the planes they fly. Don't want to spook the horses, after all.
But Southwest pilots are not only the ones most harmed by Boeing's debacle but they are arguably less exposed to the downside of bad press about the 737 Max. It's business fliers who are most sensitive to the risks of the 737 Max, due to seeing the story regularly covered in the business press plus due to often being road warriors. Even though corporate customers account for only 12% of airline customers, they represent an estimated 75% of profits.
Southwest customers don't pay up for front of the bus seats. And many of them presumably value the combination of cheap travel, point to point routes between cities underserved by the majors, and close-in airports, which cut travel times. In other words, that combination of features will make it hard for business travelers who use Southwest regularly to give the airline up, even if the 737 Max gives them the willies. By contrast, premium seat passengers on American or United might find it not all that costly, in terms of convenience and ticket cost (if they are budget sensitive), to fly 737-Max-free Delta until those passengers regain confidence in the grounded plane.
Note that American Airlines' pilot union, when asked about the Southwest claim, said that it also believes its pilots deserve to be compensated for lost flying time, but they plan to obtain it through American Airlines.
If Boeing were smart, it would settle this suit quickly, but so far, Boeing has relied on bluster and denial. So your guess is as good as mine as to how long the legal arm-wrestling goes on.
Update 5:30 AM EDT : One important point that I neglected to include is that the filing also recounts, in gory detail, how Boeing went into "Blame the pilots" mode after the Lion Air crash, insisting the cause was pilot error and would therefore not happen again. Boeing made that claim on a call to all operators, including SWAPA, and then three days later in a meeting with SWAPA.
However, Boeing's actions were inconsistent with this claim. From the filing:
Then, on November 7, 2018, the FAA issued an "Emergency Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2018-23-51," warning that an unsafe condition likely could exist or develop on 737 MAX aircraft.
Relying on Boeing's description of the problem, the AD directed that in the event of un-commanded nose-down stabilizer trim such as what happened during the Lion Air crash, the flight crew should comply with the Runaway Stabilizer procedure in the Operating Procedures of the 737 MAX manual.
But the AD did not provide a complete description of MCAS or the problem in 737 MAX aircraft that led to the Lion Air crash, and would lead to another crash and the 737 MAX's grounding just months later.
An MCAS failure is not like a runaway stabilizer. A runaway stabilizer has continuous un-commanded movement of the tail, whereas MCAS is not continuous and pilots (theoretically) can counter the nose-down movement, after which MCAS would move the aircraft tail down again.
Moreover, unlike runaway stabilizer, MCAS disables the control column response that 737 pilots have grown accustomed to and relied upon in earlier generations of 737 aircraft.
Even after the Lion Air crash, Boeing's description of MCAS was still insufficient to put correct its lack of disclosure as demonstrated by a second MCAS-caused crash.
We hoisted this detail because insiders were spouting in our comments section, presumably based on Boeing's patter, that the Lion Air pilots were clearly incompetent, had they only executed the well-known "runaway stabilizer," all would have been fine. Needless to say, this assertion has been shown to be incorrect.
Titus , October 8, 2019 at 4:38 am
Excellent, by any standard. Which does remind of of the NYT zine story (William Langewiesche Published Sept. 18, 2019) making the claim that basically the pilots who crashed their planes weren't real "Airman".
And making the point that to turn off MCAS all you had to do was flip two switches behind everything else on the center condole. Not exactly true, normally those switches were there to shut off power to electrically assisted trim. Ah, it one thing to shut off MCAS it's a whole other thing to shut off power to the planes trim, especially in high speed ✓ and the plane noise up ✓, and not much altitude ✓.
And especially if you as a pilot didn't know MCAS was there in the first place. This sort of engineering by Boeing is criminal. And the lying. To everyone. Oh, least we all forget the processing power of the in flight computer is that of a intel 286. There are times I just want to be beamed back to the home planet. Where we care for each other.
Carolinian , October 8, 2019 at 8:32 am
One should also point out that Langewiesche said that Boeing made disastrous mistakes with the MCAS and that the very future of the Max is cloudy. His article was useful both for greater detail about what happened and for offering some pushback to the idea that the pilots had nothing to do with the accidents.
As for the above, it was obvious from the first Seattle Times stories that these two events and the grounding were going to be a lawsuit magnet. But some of us think Boeing deserves at least a little bit of a defense because their side has been totally silent–either for legal reasons or CYA reasons on the part of their board and bad management.
Brooklin Bridge , October 8, 2019 at 8:08 am
Classic addiction behavior. Boeing has a major behavioral problem, the repetitive need for and irrational insistence on profit above
safetyall else , that is glaringly obvious to everyone except Boeing.
Summer , October 8, 2019 at 9:01 am
"The engineers who created MCAS for the military tanker designed the system to rely on inputs from multiple sensors and with limited power to move the tanker's nose. These deliberate checks sought to ensure that the system could not act erroneously or cause a pilot to lose control "
"Yet Boeing's website, press releases, annual reports, public statements and statements to operators and customers, submissions to the FAA and other civil aviation authorities, and 737 MAX flight manuals made no mention of the increased stall hazard or MCAS itself.
In fact, Boeing 737 Chief Technical Pilot, Mark Forkner asked the FAA to delete any mention of MCAS from the pilot manual so as to further hide its existence from the public and pilots "
This "MCAS" was always hidden from pilots? The military implemented checks on MCAS to maintain a level of pilot control. The commercial airlines did not. Commercial airlines were in thrall of every little feature that they felt would eliminate the need for pilots at all. Fell right into the automation crapification of everything.
Oct 05, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs , October 01, 2019 at 12:24 PM"In our modern age, the continuation of racially based violent extremism, particularly violent white supremacy, is an abhorrent affront to the nation," said Kevin McAleenan, the acting director of homeland security.ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , October 01, 2019 at 01:42 PM
Homeland Security Dept. Affirms Threat of White Supremacy
After Years of Prodding https://nyti.ms/2oTNJmQ
NYT - Zolan Kanno-Youngs - October 1
WASHINGTON -- The Department of Homeland Security is beginning to address white supremacist terrorism as a primary security threat, breaking with a decade of flagging attention after bigoted mass shooters from New Zealand to Texas took the lives of nearly 100 people in the last six months.
In a little-noticed strategy document (*) published last month to guide law enforcement on emerging threats and in recent public appearances by Kevin K. McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security, the department is trying to project a new vigilance about violent white nationalism, beating back criticism that the agency has spent a decade playing down the issue.
"I would like to take this opportunity to be direct and unambiguous in addressing a major issue of our time. In our modern age, the continuation of racially based violent extremism, particularly violent white supremacy, is an abhorrent affront to the nation," Mr. McAleenan said during an address last month, describing white nationalism as one of the most dangerous threats to the United States.
The department's new stance contrasts that of President Trump, who has repeatedly dismissed white supremacy as an insignificant fringe movement. But beyond words and documents, many officials trying to combat the threat throughout the country remain skeptical that the full weight of federal law enforcement is finally being used to give bigoted domestic terrorism the attention it deserves. ...
* (Could be this.)
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK
FOR COUNTERING TERRORISM AND TARGETED VIOLENCE
Pull out the racist cards!
Oct 05, 2019 | www.institutionalinvestor.com
A Secretive Committee of Wall Street Insiders Is the Least of the New York Fed's Concerns.
In July 17, Mary Callahan Erdoes, head of JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s $2.2 trillion asset and wealth management division, walked into the wood-paneled tenth-floor conference room at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to address some fellow Wall Street luminaries -- Bridgewater Associates' Ray Dalio, Dawn Fitzpatrick of Soros Fund Management, short-seller Jim Chanos, and LBO kingpin David Rubenstein among them.
All are members of the Investor Advisory Committee on Financial Markets (IACFM) -- a forum to provide financial insight to the New York Fed. Chairing the meeting was New York Fed president John C. Williams, vice chair of the powerful, rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee, who was a year into his tenure.
Erdoes held forth at the meeting, which included a buffet lunch.
And so on.
This is us, we have a unexhaustable desire for these secret meetings to meet, so we vote, every year to convene them. If these secret meeting did not occur then we could never do a deal with the super wealthy and our precious will not be insured.
Reply Saturday, October 05, 2019 at 06:04 PM
Oct 03, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com
Joe , October 02, 2019 at 09:07 AM'This time is different', says Xi.anne -> Joe... , October 02, 2019 at 09:32 AM
This is a safe site.
..according to two Chinese scholars who have connections to regime insiders and who requested anonymity to discuss the thinking of policymakers in Beijing, China's response has been rooted not in anxiety but in confidence.
Beijing is convinced that Hong Kong's elites and a substantial part of the public do not support the demonstrators and that what truly ails the territory are economic problems rather than political ones -- in particular, a combination of stagnant incomes and rising rents. Beijing also believes that, despite the appearance of disorder, its grip on Hong Kong society remains firm. The Chinese Communist Party has long cultivated the territory's business elites (the so-called tycoons) by offering them favorable economic access to the mainland. The party also maintains a long-standing loyal cadre of underground members in the territory. And China has forged ties with the Hong Kong labor movement and some sections of its criminal underground. Finally, Beijing believes that many ordinary citizens are fearful of change and tired of the disruption caused by the demonstrations.
Beijing therefore thinks that its local allies will stand firm and that the demonstrations will gradually lose public support and eventually die out. As the demonstrations shrink, some frustrated activists will engage in further violence, and that in turn will accelerate the movement's decline. Meanwhile, Beijing is turning its attention to economic development projects that it believes will address some of the underlying grievances that led many people to take to the streets in the first place.
This view of the situation is held by those at the very top of the regime in Beijing, as evidenced by recent remarks made by Chinese President Xi Jinping, some of which have not been previously reported. In a speech Xi delivered in early September to a new class of rising political stars at the Central Party School in Beijing, he rejected the suggestion of some officials that China should declare a state of emergency in Hong Kong and send in the People's Liberation Army. "That would be going down a political road of no return," Xi said. "The central government will exercise the most patience and restraint and allow the [regional government] and the local police force to resolve the crisis." In separate remarks that Xi made around the same time, he spelled out what he sees as the proper way to proceed: "Economic development is the only golden key to resolving all sorts of problems facing Hong Kong today."
ONE COUNTRY, TWO SYSTEMS, MANY QUESTIONS
Chinese decision-makers are hardly surprised that Hong Kong is chafing under their rule. Beijing believes it has treated Hong Kong with a light hand and has supported the territory's economy in many ways, especially by granting it special access to the mainland's stocks and currency markets, exempting it from the taxes and fees that other Chinese provinces and municipalities pay the central government, and guaranteeing a reliable supply of water, electricity, gas, and food. Even so, Beijing considers disaffection among Hong Kong's residents a natural outgrowth of the territory's colonial British past and also a result of the continuing influence of Western values. Indeed, during the 1984 negotiations between China and the United Kingdom over Hong Kong's future, the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping suggested following the approach of "one country, two systems" for 50 years precisely to give people in Hong Kong plenty of time to get used to the Chinese political system.
But "one country, two systems" was never intended to result in Hong Kong spinning out of China's control. Under the Basic Law that China crafted as Hong Kong's "mini-constitution," Beijing retained the right to prevent any challenge to what it considered its core security interests. The law empowered Beijing to determine if and when Hong Kongers could directly elect the territory's leadership, allowed Beijing to veto laws passed by the Hong Kong Legislative Council, and granted China the right to make final interpretations of the Basic Law. And there would be no question about who had a monopoly of force. During the negotiations with the United Kingdom, Deng publicly rebuked a top Chinese defense official -- General Geng Biao, who at the time was a patron of a rising young official named Xi Jinping -- for suggesting that there might not be any need to put troops in Hong Kong. Deng insisted that a Chinese garrison was necessary to symbolize Chinese sovereignty.
Statements made by U.S. politicians in support of the recent demonstrations only confirm Beijing's belief that Washington seeks to inflame radical sentiments in Hong Kong.
At first, Hong Kongers seemed to accept their new role as citizens of a rising China. In 1997, in a tracking poll of Hong Kong residents regularly conducted by researchers at the University of Hong Kong, 47 percent of respondents identified themselves as "proud" citizens of China. But things went downhill from there. In 2012, the Hong Kong government tried to introduce "patriotic education" in elementary and middle schools, but the proposed curriculum ran into a storm of local opposition and had to be withdrawn. In 2014, the 79-day Umbrella Movement brought hundreds of thousands of citizens into the streets to protest Beijing's refusal to allow direct elections for the chief executive. And as authoritarianism has intensified under Xi's rule, events such as the 2015 kidnapping of five Hong Kong–based publishers to stand trial in the mainland further soured Hong Kong opinion. By this past June, only 27 percent of respondents to the tracking poll described themselves as "proud" to be citizens of China. This year's demonstrations started as a protest against a proposed law that would have allowed Hong Kongers suspected of criminal wrongdoing to be extradited to the mainland but then developed into a broad-based expression of discontent over the lack of democratic accountability, police brutality, and, most fundamentally, what was perceived as a mainland assault on Hong Kong's unique identity.
Still, Chinese leaders do not blame themselves for these shifts in public opinion. Rather, they believe that Western powers, especially the United States, have sought to drive a wedge between Hong Kong and the mainland. Statements made by U.S. politicians in support of the recent demonstrations only confirm Beijing's belief that Washington seeks to inflame radical sentiments in Hong Kong. As Xi explained in his speech in September:
The Communist party conveniently discovered truth when Xi cam to power.
I doubt it, I think a thousand year history of this stuff is playing out and it has nothing to do with East vs West. I think Xi faces this stuff in many provinces, though not as bad. Xi is deliberately playing the 'This time is different', and old Commie trick.'This time is different', says --.
-- is deliberately playing the 'This time is different', and old Commie trick.
[ The supposed quote is false, of course.
A thoroughly racist comment, but the sneering use of the term "Commie" is intended to mask the racism. ]
Oct 01, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Daniel McAdams: "The US Has Ceased Being A Republic And Has Become A National Security State" by Tyler Durden Mon, 09/30/2019 - 23:45 0 SHARES
Authored by Mohsen Abdelmoumen via American Herald Tribune,
Mohsen Abdelmoumen: Your Twitter account has just been closed. Why?In your opinion, what exactly is the role of the CIA in the regime changes of some countries around the world?
Daniel McAdams: In August I was watching a segment of the Sean Hannity program while at a friend's house and noticed that despite an hour of Hannity ranting against the "deep state" in the US, he was wearing a lapel pin bearing the seal of the US Central Intelligence agency, which most would agree is either the center or at least an important hub of the US "deep state" itself. I tweeted about this strange anomaly and as a comment to my own Tweet on it I happened to say that Hannity is "retarded." Twitter informed me that I had committed "hateful conduct" for "promoting violence against or directly attacking or threatening other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease." It is clear on its face that I did none of these. I used a non-politically correct term to ridicule Hannity for attacking the "deep state" while wearing the symbols of the deep state on his very lapel.
It is clear that Twitter is deeply biased against any voices outside the mainstream, pro-empire perspective. As a leading Tweeter in opposition to interventionist US foreign policy, I had long been targeted by those who enable and enforce Twitter's political biases. Look at who Twitter partners with and you will understand why I was banned for a transparently false reason: the US government-funded Atlantic Council and other similar organizations are working with Twitter to eliminate any voices challenging US global military empire.When we see the generalized NSA surveillance, do you think we live in a democracy or a tenebrous fascist regime?
From its creation by the National Security Act of 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency carried the dual role of analyzing intelligence for its customers in the Executive Branch of the US government and conducting covert actions and operations in pursuit of (claimed) US foreign policy goals. The history of CIA action in post-war Europe is extensive and includes founding front organizations to prop up socialist and far-left publications and institutions as a challenge to Soviet communism as well as backing far-right groups and political parties and even violent terror organizations to directly confront communism and overturn elections where communists made gains.
After the Cold War and the defeat of Soviet Communism, where one would expect a reduction if not elimination of such a global secret warfare organization, the CIA only ramped up its operations overseas. Today the CIA is merely one arm in a multi-faceted US "regime change" apparatus that includes the US State Department, USAID, and, very importantly, US government-funded "non-governmental" organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy and its sub-grantees. This "regime change apparatus" uses CIA methods developed during the Cold War (by "experts" like Gene Sharp and others) such as mobilization, training, subterfuge, agitation, and propaganda. We saw this apparatus at work in events like the "Arab Spring" and before it in the overthrow of the Milosevic government in Yugoslavia. We saw it in the Ukraine coup of 2014 and we see it in Venezuela and in Hong Kong today.
The practical value to the United States of such operations is less than zero, the costs to the American taxpayer are enormous, and the immorality of manipulating the globe toward an outcome preferred by Washington's elites is self-evident.You mentioned one time Operation Mockingbird, where the CIA manipulated journalists in the 1950s. In your opinion, does the CIA continue to use these same practices today?
Americans have been manipulated by the elites in government and its allies in state propaganda (otherwise known as the "mainstream media") to accept, particularly post-9/11, the deeply anti-American proposition that we must yield our privacy and Constitutionally-guaranteed civil liberties to a government that promises it will not abuse its increased power over us but will only use it to keep us safe. These promises have been over and over again proven to be lies. Government is not targeting terrorism or terrorists: they are targeting average American citizens.
Americans were told that only terrorists' phone calls would be intercepted, but then Edward Snowden revealed that all of our phone calls are intercepted. Americans were mad for a few weeks but then Washington promised "reform" of the PATRIOT Act in the form of the FREEDOM Act and everybody calmed down. Even though the FREEDOM Act is actually worse than the PATRIOT Act because it legalized all of the illegal activities that were taking place under the PATRIOT Act. "Reform" in Washington means obfuscation and perception manipulation.
Likewise, Americans seeking to travel within their own country have been forced to allow strangers to invade and touch the most private areas of their bodies – and their children's bodies! American sheep just bow to the authorities and keep watching their freedoms stolen from them, murmuring to themselves as they are raped by the authorities, "well I have nothing to hide "Is not what is currently happening in Hong Kong a CIA manipulation targeting China in the context of the Trump administration's economic war?
I have no doubt that the CIA continues to maintain a close relationship with both mainstream and independent journalists. This is critical to establishing and controlling the narrative in each foreign "crisis." It is no accident that each mainstream media outlet – regardless whether left-wing or right-wing or any wing - has the exact same perspective on events like the Ukraine coup or the Venezuela attempted coup, or Hong Kong protests. Part of this is the US "deep state" or "national security state" and part of it is the increasing integration of US corporate entities into the US government. Major media outlets are owned by US corporations that also own weapons manufacturing companies and cannot be trusted to report on events objectively. Similarly, virtually every US mainstream media outlet employs "former" members of the US intelligence community to "explain" foreign events to their viewers.
When is the last time a credible non-interventionist or pro-peace analyst has been featured in any mainstream media outlet? As in Soviet times, any view at odds with Washington's "party line" is simply disappeared. When independent media outlets begin gaining traction and challenging the narrative, they are "de-platformed" on social media and even from their Internet service providers under the recommendations of US government-funded NGOs like the Atlantic Council or the German Marshal Fund.You mentioned a US-supported coup when you talked about Venezuela. In your opinion, does the US administration continue the same interventionist policy to destabilize Latin American countries?
There is plenty of evidence of US government involvement in the Hong Kong protests. That does not mean that every single body out in the street is in the pay of the CIA. That is the red herring argument of those who are determined that we never see the US government hand in unrest overseas. Or to ridicule as "conspiracy theorists" those who point out obvious US government involvement.
It is undeniable that the US government has been involved in grooming, training, and funding the anti-Beijing movement in Hong Kong for years. They don't even hide it: you can easily find on USAID and National Endowment for Democracy website the level of funding the US government provides these organizations and political parties. And when these party leaders come to Washington, they are received by the US Vice President, Secretary of State, Speaker of the House, and other high-ranking US government officials. Which foreign opposition movements that Washington does not support are given such treatment?
Imagine a movement dedicated to overthrowing the US political order that was funded by the Chinese, whose activists regularly went to Beijing for training in organization and mobilization, and whose leaders met with leading members of the Chinese Communist Party. How would such a movement in the United States be viewed by the US government? How would it be portrayed by the US mainstream media?Why in your opinion does the United States always need an enemy? Is not there a danger of world war when we see the multitude of US imperialist interventions around the world?
Any Latin American government not in Washington's constellation has been and is targeted for destabilization and overthrow. We saw this with the 2009 coup in Honduras, whose architect was then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. We see it in Cuba. We see it in Venezuela. We saw it with Ecuador, where a government wary of US persecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was "changed" in favor of a regime that handed Assange over to the authorities in exchange for a few billion dollars from the IMF. Do what Washington says and get paid; oppose Washington and get overthrown. That is the foreign policy of the US empire. And like the Soviet empire that preceded it, it is a policy doomed to failure.What do you think about the North Korean and Iranian case, where the Trump administration lacks a clear vision and where some neoconservatives are pushing for a war?
The US has ceased being a republic and has become a national security state. The US national security state enriches its elites – be they in the military-industrial complex, the think tanks, or the media – at the expense of middle class and working-class America. It does this by promoting an "enemy scenario" whereby the American people are made to believe that if they ever challenge the US military budget – larger than the next seven military budgets combined – they are not only putting themselves and their families at risk, but they are deeply unpatriotic and anti-American. The US national security state fought an 18-year "war on terror" which only seemed to generate more terrorists! Intervention in Iraq and Libya and Syria to "fight terrorism" resulted in more, not less, al-Qaeda and ISIS. It was not until Russia and Iran stood up in 2015 and began fighting these US-backed groups that there was a reduction in their power.
After the Russian and Iranian success in beating back the jihadist threat in Syria, the 2017 US national security strategy did an Orwellian about-face and abandoned the "war on terror" in favor of a declaration that our new enemies were again our old enemies: China and Russia. It is literally Orwell's 1984: "we are at war with Eastasia. We had always been at war with Eastasia."When we consider the plight of activists and whistleblowers, such as Assange, Snowden, etc. can we still talk about freedom of speech and human rights? Shouldn't we mobilize more to support these activists and others around the world?
There are few consistencies in President Trump's foreign policy. One emerging consistency, however, is that he seems genuinely reluctant to take the country into a bona fide war. He's happy with sending a few dozen Tomahawk missiles into the Syrian countryside, but when faced with an actual robust response to any US strike, he to this point has chosen de-escalation. This may be a function of his keen eye for politics rather than any philosophical or moral concerns, but it to this point seems thematic. The problem is that by surrounding himself with neoconservatives – and make no mistake his replacement for Bolton is at least as much a neocon as the Mustached One himself – the president is isolating himself from any inputs advising military constraint when facing crises overseas. That is why many of us were so much hoping that Bolton would be replaced with a Realist like Col. Douglas Macgregor. There is a big danger that the president will be cornered by a lack of non-war options to the next crisis simply because he gives no quarter to non-war voices in his administration.What is your assessment of the Trump Presidency and what do you think of its foreign policy?
The plight of Snowden and Assange and all of the persecuted whistleblowers and truth-tellers is the plight of what is life of our liberty, freedom, and even Western civilization. When all dissent is quashed, imprisoned, tortured, we are left with only the Total State. The Total State, as we know from history, brooks no dissent because it can only maintain power by continuing the illusion that it alone is the source of truth. Thus any voice challenging the Total State, as the embodiment of truth, must on its face be a lie. Why would truth allow lies to undermine it? Why would any sane person oppose "the people" as represented in their Soviet government? Surely such a person would be insane and need of treatment rather than a citizen raising a legitimate question or differing opinion.
This is what we are facing in the US today. A Total State, where opposing views are de-platformed and disappeared. Where truth-tellers are jailed and tortured – pour servir d'avertissement aux autres (to serve as a warning to others).You have been an advisor to Congressman Ron Paul and you are doing an excellent job as Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Can you explain to our readers what the missions of this institute are?
The Trump Presidency thus far has been an enormous disappointment. The president had the opportunity to name a top-notch foreign policy and national security team that would reflect and carry out his stated policies as a candidate – getting along with Russia, NATO skepticism, opposition to endless war, etc – but once in power he has again and again drawn from that same neoconservative cesspool that no matter who is elected always find its way to positions of power and influence. He did not chart a wise course in building a solid administration of professionals who agree with him – and there are plenty to choose from – and instead he actually hired an entire team of people who not only disagree with his stated positions, but they actually publicly ridicule them and work against them. It is unprecedented in my memory to see those who serve the president publicly undermining his stated positions, yet Bolton and Pompeo never hesitated or hesitate to do just that. This is an enormous missed opportunity for President Trump and for the United States.
Our mission as a non-profit educational institution is to make the case for a non-interventionist foreign policy and the restoration of our civil liberties at home. We are the continuation of the Ron Paul liberty movement. To that end, we publish thousands of articles making the case for non-interventionism on our website, we broadcast a daily Ron Paul Liberty Report, and we hold conferences throughout the country bringing together a broad coalition of Americans – and non-Americans – to learn and promote peace and prosperity!
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Daniel McAdams is executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and co-host of the "Ron Paul Liberty Report," a daily live broadcast. He served for 12 years on Capitol Hill as foreign affairs and national security advisor to former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. From 1993-1999 he worked as a journalist based in Budapest, Hungary, and traveled through the former communist bloc as a human rights monitor and election observer.
Sep 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,
Millions of people are uniting in demonstrations worldwide against our civilization's ecocidal march toward extinction, which makes me so happy to see. It's really encouraging to see so many young people burning with love for their planet and a hunger to reverse the damage that has been done to our ecosystem by the refusal of previous generations to turn away from our path of devastation. This must continue if we are to survive as a species.
The challenge now is the same perennial challenge which comes up every single time there is a massive and enthusiastic push from the public in a direction that is healthy: such movements always, without exception, become targeted for manipulation by establishment interests. I write all the time about how this has happened with the intrinsically healthy impulse of feminism; I just finished watching an MSNBC pundit proclaim that anyone who still supports Bernie Sanders over Elizabeth Warren is a sexist. This corralling of healthy energy into the advancement of corrupt establishment interests happens with feminism, it happens with the healthy fight against racism and antisemitism, and of course it happens with environmentalism.
Of course it does. People get very emotional when you say this, even if you fully support environmentalism and don't have any objections to the overall scientific consensus about what's happening to our environment, but environmentalism is not destined to be the one and only popular movement which establishment interests don't move mountains to co-opt.
We know that our oligarchic empire will do literally anything, up to and including murdering a million Iraqis, to secure control over energy resources. We know this with absolute certainty. Therefore we can also know with certainty that they are working to ensure that when new energy systems are put in place, they are put in place in a way which allows the oligarchs to retain their power, and ideally to expand it, without losing their thrones to rival plutocrats, to governments, or (worst case scenario) to the rank-and-file public gaining control over their own energy. This agenda is on the table. It is happening.
The ruling elites have many advantages over us, but one of the greatest is the fact that they know exactly what they want and exactly where they're trying to push things, whereas we the general public, on average, do not. If we only had one positive anti-establishment direction to push in there'd be no stopping us, and as soon as we find one the oligarchs will be done. But in general and on average what we have is a few clear ideas about what we don't want and a great many vague, frequently contradictory ideas about what we do want. This lack of clarity in direction always leaves us highly susceptible to the influence of any well-funded narrative manager who steps forward to say "Oh yeah I know exactly where we're going! It's this way, follow me!"
Luckily for us, there's a very clear demand we can add into the mix in this new push for environmentalist reforms which runs directly counter to the interests of the empire that is trying to manipulate our healthy impulses: de-fund the Pentagon.
There is no single, unified entity that is a larger polluter than America's dishonestly labeled "Department of Defense". Its yearly carbon output alone dwarfs that of entire first-world nations like Sweden and Portugal ; if the US military were its own country it would rank 47th among emitters of greenhouse gasses, meaning it's a worse polluter than over 140 entire nations. That's completely separate from the pollution already produced by the US itself. None of the sociopathic corporations whose environmental impact is being rightly criticized today come anywhere remotely close to that of the Pentagon. They are going under the radar.
And that's just greenhouse gas emissions, which the Pentagon's poisonous effects on our environment are in no way limited to. As journalist Whitney Webb highlighted in an excellent article for Mintpress News about the wildly neglected subject of the US military's ecological toxicity:
"Producing more hazardous waste than the five largest US chemical companies combined, the US Department of Defense has left its toxic legacy throughout the world in the form of depleted uranium, oil, jet fuel, pesticides, defoliants like Agent Orange and lead, among others."
Webb documents how the US "has conducted more nuclear weapons tests than all other nations combined", how US military interventionism in Iraq "has resulted in the desertification of 90 percent of Iraqi territory , crippling the country's agricultural industry and forcing it to import more than 80 percent of its food," and how "US military bases, both domestic and foreign, consistently rank among some of the most polluted places in the world."
"While the US military's past environmental record suggests that its current policies are not sustainable, this has by no means dissuaded the US military from openly planning future contamination of the environment through misguided waste disposal efforts," Webb writes.
"Last November, the US Navy announced its plan to release 20,000 tons of environmental 'stressors,' including heavy metals and explosives, into the coastal waters of the US Pacific Northwest over the course of this year."
This is all a massive environmental burden to take on for a branch of the government which provides no other service to anyone beyond bullying the rest of the world into obedience , wouldn't you agree? So get rid of it.
Surely with all this talk about the huge, sweeping changes that are required to avert climate catastrophe we're not going to overlook the world's single worst polluter just because a few think tankers and their plutocratic sponsors believe it's important for the US-centralized power alliance to retain total global hegemony? If we're making huge, sweeping changes, the completely needless globe-spanning US war machine would be the obvious place to start.
That's something we can inject into the mainstream dialogue as this environmental movement grows, and the cool thing about it is that the establishment manipulators can't reject it or they'll expose themselves. It's something we can demand that they can't legitimately say no to. We can surf this clear, concrete, exciting and utterly indisputable idea on the surging momentum of these climate demonstrations, and the same healthy impulse to save our planet that these budding activists are now embodying will lift it right up and carry it to the top of mainstream awareness. No sane person will reject this, so if anyone pushes back against it to say "No, not that," they'll immediately spotlight the insane agendas they serve.
The US does not need any more military power than what other normal nations have: enough to defend its own easily defended shores from unprovoked attack. Anything beyond that, and certainly the hundreds of environmentally toxic military bases circling our planet, exists solely for the benefit of murderous dominating imperialists and sociopathic war profiteers. Demanding a reversal of US military expansionism as a part of the environmental movement is sane on its face and will benefit everyone, and it will also help highlight all unwholesome elements of empire loyalism.
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Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website , which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported , so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook , following my antics on Twitter , checking out my podcast on either Youtube , soundcloud , Apple podcasts or Spotify , following me on Steemit , throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal , purchasing some of my sweet merchandise , buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone , or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers . For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I'm trying to do with this platform, click here . Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I've written) in any way they like free of charge.
Sep 28, 2019 | www.unz.com
nsa , says: September 28, 2019 at 11:17 am GMT@d dan " ..media biased Hong Kong reporting ."d dan , says: September 27, 2019 at 4:12 pm GMT
How would American cops react to punks tossing Molotov Cocktails at them? Arson is a felony but there would be no need for a trial just a coroner.@Godfree Roberts "The weird result of this enormous, expensive effort is that, while we were busy lying to ourselves about China "Godfree Roberts , says: September 27, 2019 at 10:57 pm GMT
At this stage, any one who still believes in the western propaganda about China is simply too brain-washed and not too smart for any cure. Excuse me, I should say "too dumb for any cure".
For example, Nathan Rich's recent video shows how media biased reporting of Hong Kong compare with Ukraine riots. The contrast can't be anymore stark:
https://www.youtube.com/embed/-2Rr8hZK2aQ?feature=oembed@Tusk "Radio Free Asia reports .". RFA is a US Government propaganda outlet. 100% WMD, 24×7.Ber , says: September 28, 2019 at 2:19 am GMT@Godfree Roberts Here is a good analysis of how the main stream media (MSM) gang up to give propaganda, and how I wish they have objective comments about China or any country they do not like.
All these so-called anti communist slant against countries, I suspect, have its origins in the Vatican. People seem to forget that they should bear false witness
Sep 26, 2019 | www.unz.com
The conservative movement's unwholesome obsession with Israel is not an entirely organic obsession to be sure. There is a whole lot of dark kosher oligarch money lurking behind the neoconservative cause, Christian Zionism, and the Reagan/Zioboomer battalion. Nevertheless, whether organic or not, the boomer generation's excessive regard for Israel is today authentic and undeniable. A strong fealty to Israel is deeply entrenched amongst boomer-generation conservatives. Indeed, when it comes to defending Israel and its conduct, many of these types are like samurais on meth. They don't seem to care at all if their entire state or city should devolve into a semi-anarchic New Somalia, but god forbid some Somali congresswoman should lambaste the sacred Jewish state. That simply can't be countenanced here in the land of the free!
Mind you, this article is not meant to constitute a polemic against Israel, or Jewish ethnopolitics for that matter. The BDS movement is just as wrongheaded as Ziocuckoldry, in my humble opinion. Although there is much wrong with Israel, there is plenty right with it as well. Despite what the modern left may believe, there is nothing inherently illegitimate about a state like Israel, one rooted in history, in genes, in religion, and in race. States built around a shared ethnicity or a shared religion (or, as in Israel's case, an ample helping of both) are generally more stable and successful than diverse societies erected upon propositions most people and peoples don't really accept, or leftist values that have ideological quicksand for their foundations.
With that said, there is something awfully peculiar, almost disturbing about the old guard's infatuation with Israel. I mean, why are American boomers so concerned about the Jewish state and its survival? How exactly does a tiny apartheidesque ethnostate half-way around the world affect their everyday lives? Are they simply mind-slaves to a mainstream media dominated by powerful Jews and powerful Jewish interest groups? Is this all really about scripture as Christian radio likes to contend? Or is there something else afoot here? Well, in short, there is.
White Westerners, white Americans in particular, are a thoroughly vassalized, deracinated people. We aren't allowed to celebrate our own race's host of historic accomplishments anymore. That would be racist. We aren't allowed to put our own people first either, as all other peoples do. That would likewise be racist. White Western peoples aren't even allowed to have nations of our own any longer, nations which exist to advance our interests, and which are populated by and overseen by people like us, who share our interests and our attitudes. That also would be, you guessed it, racist. Our very existence is increasingly little more than an unfortunate, racist obstacle to a brighter, more diverse future, in the eyes of the Cultural Marxist sociopaths who rule the Western World. Needless to say, most white Americans would rather be dead than racist, and so we are naturally, quite literally dying as a result.
The white American psyche has been tamed, broken as it were. Ziocucking is a symptom of that psychic injury. Because white boomers possess no group/tribal identity any longer, or collective will, or sense of race pride, or civilizational prospects, because they have been enserfed by a viciously anti-white Cultural Marxist overclass, they have opted to live vicariously through another race. White Americans can not, they must not, stake claim to an identity or a future of their own, so they have essentially committed themselves to another people's identity and future instead of their own. Indeed, just as the cuckold doesn't merely permit another man to penetrate his wife, but actually takes a kind of perverse pleasure in the pleasure of that other man, in large measure by fetishizing his dominance and sexual prowess, the Ziocuck likewise doesn't merely allow his civilization to be debased, he takes an equally perverse pleasure in the triumphs of other peoples and nations, and by so doing imagines, mistakenly of course, that America itself is still as free and proud a nation as those foreign nations he fetishizes.
Actually, Donald Trump's electoral victory is at least partially attributable to a very similar psychological phenomenon. White Americans, who have largely lost the self-confidence to stand behind their traditions and convictions, still had the gumption to vote for a man who possesses in oodles and cringy oodles, the self-same self-confidence they lack. White Americans are thus engaged in an almost unstated, indirect, vicarious defiance of Cultural Marxism via Trump/Trumpism, a tangible, albeit somewhat incoherent, symbol of open revolt against Western elites. The repressed group will of whites is longing for an authentic medium of civilizational expression, but can only find two-bit demagoguery and Israel worship. The weather is not fair in the white, Western mind.
Through this sordid, vicarious identitarianism, threats to Jewish lives become threats to their own white lives. Jewish interests become tantamount to their own interests. It is a sad sight to behold anyhow, a people with no sense of dignity or shame, too cowed by political correctness to stand up for their own group interests, too brainwashed to love themselves, too reprogrammed to be themselves, idolizing alien peoples. Nevertheless, the need for belonging in place, time, and history, and for collective purpose, doesn't just go away because Western elites say being white signifies nothing but "hate". As white civilization aborts and hedonizes itself into extinction, as whites practice suicidal altruism and absolute racial denialism, atomized white individuals seek out other histories, other stories, other peoples to attach themselves to and project themselves onto.
White Americans have thus foolishly come to see their own destiny as inseparable from the destiny of a people whose destiny they don't really share. After all, the birthrates of Jews in Israel are at well above replacement level . Israelis are optimistic about the future. As whites in the West fall on their proverbial sword to atone for their racist past, Jews in Israel are thriving. As whites in America suffer from various epidemics of despair , their fellow white Americans seem more interested in the imaginary plight of Israelis who can't stop winning military skirmishes, embarrassing their Arab enemies, and unlawfully acquiring land and resources in the Levant. The actual, visceral plight of their own people seems almost an afterthought to most white Americans. The whole affair is frankly bizarre and shameful.
This peculiar psychological phenomenon of vicarious identitarianism is at least partially responsible for the Zioboomer's undying devotion to Israel. Furthermore, that unwholesome obsession will not dissipate until whites reclaim their own history, rediscover their roots, learn to take their own side, and demand a place in the planet's future (yes, I said demand , since the white race's many enemies have no intention of saving a place for them or willingly handing them a say in that future). Until whites have a story and a spirit of their own, they will only, and can only, live through the identities and triumphs of other races. And perhaps most critically, they will continue to be a ghost people on the march to extinction.
nymom , says: September 26, 2019 at 4:24 am GMTWell you are almost right.silviosilver , says: September 26, 2019 at 4:59 am GMT
We can say Israel is the canary in the coal mine for the US. Might be closer to the truthA related phenomenon is Russia-cucking. White American conservatives who have seen through Jewish bullshit often seem to conclude that the racial predicament in America is hopeless, so they switch to Russia-cucking. Being pro-Russia is obviously more sensible than being pro-Israel, but it's nationalism by proxy all the same.
Sep 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
brian , Sep 25 2019 22:01 utc | 70He should be impeached. His latest outrage:
'US President Donald Trump has moved to suspend Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's senior officials, relatives, and others who receive financial benefits from entering into the US in Wednesday press release from the White House.
Citing a "political and humanitarian crisis" committed by Caracas, the White House Office of the Press Secretary issued a "suspension of entry as immigrants and nonimmigrants of persons who threaten Venezuela's democratic institutions."
The move comes as the latest effort from the Trump administration to oust Venezuela's president. '
Trumps Suspends US Entry for Iranian, Venezuelan Government Officials - Sputnik International
Sep 25, 2019 | www.unz.com
A presentation and reading by Hamilton Gregory, author of "McNamara's Folly: The Use of Low-IQ Troops in the Vietnam." Because so many college students were avoiding military service during the Vietnam War, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara lowered mental standards to induct 354,000 low-IQ men. they were known as McNamara's "Moron Corps." Their death toll in combat was appalling. Gregory indicates at the end of his talk that the situation didn't really change. The same practice is taking place nowadays.
McNamara's Folly The Use of Low-IQ Troops in the Vietnam War - YouTube
England patriot says: September 24, 2019 at 5:27 pm GMT 100 Words A lot of people mistake low IQ brutishness for genuine bravery and strength, which is why blacks are considered by many whites to be the toughest race and probably why they are favoured by the military.
A big weakness of the US and UK militaries is the assumption that street thugs make the most effective and capable troops, in reality such people are often the most useless and cowardly in an actual war zone. Read More Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
niteranger , says: September 24, 2019 at 5:52 pm GMTThe story is definitely true. Not only were there low moron troops but even the so called West Point graduates with no experience in war were complete idiots. It was a two fold fiasco because these graduates couldn't read coordinates on maps and the morons couldn't find them and thus they often bombed our own troops.SafeNow , says: September 24, 2019 at 6:21 pm GMT
There were a lot "friendly fire" deaths that were never reported. The carnage of Vietnam was a disgrace from poor military strategies to morons and incompetents running them. We were not prepared for the "Jungle Type Gorilla War" our leaders got us into and the results are told forever on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington. What did they die for? Another "Communist" are taking over Domino Policy when the true Communist Jews were running the stuff in the USA and destroying us.Two destroyers were recently collided into by slow-moving merchant ships. Someone said that this is like a Chevy Corvette being struck by a bulldozer on the Bonneville Salt Flats while a team of trained experts had the job of keeping the Corvette from being hit.mark green , says: September 24, 2019 at 6:32 pm GMT@A123 Any civilization that sends their Best and Brightest to the front lines is taking huge risks. Cannon fodder troops generally come (and should come) from the lower tiers of society. This promotes a nation's long-term health and vitality.Blankaerd , says: September 24, 2019 at 6:45 pm GMT
There is no starvation–only fasting–during Ramadan. Fasting occurs each day from sunrise to sundown. On the other hand, Israel's high fertility rates among Orthodox and Sephardic Jews has dysgenics written all over it. This explains why Israel's average IQ average remains below 100. Highly religious and less-intelligent Jews are producing a disproportionate number of the births inside Israel.It's a lesson the US could've learned back in World War II. The US deployed black troops in France, and instead of proving that the blacks were just as capable fighters as the whites, the blacks engaged in typical black behavior of rape and thievery. It got so bad in areas like Cherbourg that the local population preferred the Germans over their supposed 'liberators'.Paul , says: September 24, 2019 at 7:18 pm GMT
The same thing happened earlier in the war when the Allies deployed Moroccan mercenaries in Italy.
After the battle of Monte Cassino, these savages could rape Italian women with impunity, they wouldn't be stopped by the French, the British or indeed the Americans, and as a result more than 30.000 Italian women became victims of these vicious assaults.
But I bet it was all in good faith of course, after all the US was making Europe safe for stali I mean, 'democracy'Politicians did not want the war to become an issue among the affluent. It was the old adage about wars: "Rich men start them; poor men fight them." There were plenty of chicken hawks around.peterAUS , says: September 24, 2019 at 7:25 pm GMTThe article and comments, so far, are interesting.HJay , says: September 24, 2019 at 8:44 pm GMT
A military is a tool of the ruling class/caste/layer/whatever. What is moronic, or not, is for them to decide. The only principle: is the tool good for the job?
There are several very good reasons to have "low-level IQ" troops in the military, a modern war/combat in particular.
In an infantry company of, say, 160 men, a smart O.C. would love to have 10-20 of those types. Plenty of jobs/assignments for them and definitely attributing to combat efficiency of the unit.
Even better in logistics, especially in higher units/rear areas. Comparison: warehouse/storage facilities employees in civvy street.
BTW, those guys, if/when properly treated (LEADERSHIP) can be utterly loyal and dependable. For "experts" around, there are plenty of miserable, mind-numbing jobs/tasks in the military, plus quite dangerous, which those guys shall do when others won't. If .treated properly
And, one more element, especially in contemporary wars: certain moral attitude, "relaxed" approach to human life and limb etc. Ability to commit acs of war other, more, say, smart, "sensitive" troops, are reluctant to do.
Israel. IDF as the state tool to keep Palestinians under control.
Occupation forces of The Empire in Afghanistan and Iraq.
And one more thing: for suppressing possible internal unrest in a Western country ..For that job you really don't want very intelligent/sensitive people.
Big topic but, of course, not for this thread, for obvious reasons. Program.
Sorry for the interruption, guys. Feel free to resume the "bashing".Who will write a book about the U.S. police force?anon  Disclaimer , says: September 24, 2019 at 8:58 pm GMT
https://thefreethoughtproject.com/court-police-departments-refuse-hire-smart/Infantry in Vietnam was known to be awful. Everyone in the military knew to avoid it. It was openly used as a threat for non-compliance to troops elsewhere.Oscar Peterson , says: September 24, 2019 at 9:47 pm GMT
There were certainly exceptions. Some Marines, people wanting or needing to get their ticket punched, etc. But before anything, Vietnam Infantry was getting the dregs. Not that I doubt McNamera leaned into it as an opportunity.
Why in the world did they want or need all these troops? Westmorland kept asking for more and more. After 500,000, per the pentagon papers, the JCS mood Westmorland that given US presence in Europe, Japan, Korea, etc., there were no more extra troops.
Too bad that the US military has made a cottage industry out of revisionist accounts regarding how it could have been "won". Showing a remarkable lack of insight into what it means to win.@A123 Interesting to see how a conniving Jew takes a piece about Vietnam and uses it to further his objective of trying (quite unsuccessfully, one infers) to generate sympathy for the Judenreich. He then doubles down with a further tangent leading somehow to Ramadan (!) It's almost comical how transparent Jew scheming has become. It makes one wonder if the Hasbara brigades have had to go low-IQ at this point?Kolya Krassotkin , says: September 24, 2019 at 9:50 pm GMTI look forward to seeing the effect all those affirmative action US military academy graduates have on US combat readiness.Oscar Peterson , says: September 24, 2019 at 9:58 pm GMT
All those Navy ships running into each other in Asia last year? A bucket of the Colonel's extra crispy says that we were seeing diversity in action.@anon Not true.steinbergfeldwitzcohen , says: September 25, 2019 at 12:32 am GMT
Both in terms of IQ and class background, infantry in Vietnam were generally representative of the general population. As one author assessed, "If they [soldiers in combat units] were not the social and intellectual cream of American youth, neither were they its dregs or castoffs."nI saw the author of the book give at talk. I believe it was at a Tennessee Unversity. What he described he saw as an enlisted man if I remember correctly. He was sent to OCS later and sounded a very decent man. The conditions were awful for these guys. They were treated as expendable by peers and officers alike.Kratoklastes , says: September 25, 2019 at 12:47 am GMT
I wonder how the IDF works this issue out. The Israelis are masters of the universe at everything don't you know. They are utter geniuses.@Hunsdon Or the line in a movie I watched a few years ago about the British savagery in Northern Irelandanarchyst , says: September 25, 2019 at 1:19 am GMT
War is rich cunts sending thick cunts to kill poor cunts.
War is a racket – Smedley Butler was right. But so was Randolph Bourne: war is the health of the State. https://www.panarchy.org/bourne/state.1918.html@Blankaerd Emmett Till's father was executed by the U S military for multiple rapes
Sep 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jackrabbit , Sep 25 2019 21:52 utc | 64Further to my comment @56
Those who thought that timing of the attack on Saudi oil installations had not benefited Netanyahu might want to reconsider.
Netanyahu Tapped By Israel's President To Form Government After Deadlocked Election .
Netanyahu's coalition was given the nod because they have 55 seats to the other side's 54.
There's still some question about whether Netanyahu can form a governing coalition.
But Netanyahu now has 42 days to convince his former Defense Minister(!) Lieberman (who heads the Yisrael Beiteinu Party) to join the coalition led by Likud.
<> <> <> <> <> <>
The Countdown to War with Iran has begun?
Sep 24, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com
Paine , September 14, 2019 at 04:38 PMHave some fun with raguramanne -> Paine ... , September 14, 2019 at 04:43 PM
"The US served as a benevolent hegemon, administering the occasional rap on the knuckles to those acting in bad faith"
". Meanwhile, the system's multilateral institutions, especially the International Monetary Fund, helped countries in dire need of funds, provided they followed the rules."https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/trump-trade-war-damage-by-raghuram-rajan-2019-09likbez -> anne... , September 14, 2019 at 08:30 PM
September 5, 2019
The True Toll of the Trade War
Behind the escalating global conflict over trade and technology is a larger breakdown of the postwar rules-based order, which was based on a belief that any country's growth benefits all. Now that China is threatening to compete directly with the United States, support for the system that made that possible has disappeared.
By RAGHURAM G. RAJAN
CHICAGO – Another day, another attack on trade. Why is it that every dispute – whether over intellectual property (IP), immigration, environmental damage, or war reparations – now produces new threats to trade?
For much of the last century, the United States managed and protected the rules-based trading system it created at the end of World War II. That system required a fundamental break from the pre-war environment of mutual suspicion between competing powers. The US urged everyone to see that growth and development for one country could benefit all countries through increased trade and investment.
Under the new dispensation, rules were enacted to constrain selfish behavior and coercive threats by the economically powerful. The US served as a benevolent hegemon, administering the occasional rap on the knuckles to those acting in bad faith. Meanwhile, the system's multilateral institutions, especially the International Monetary Fund, helped countries in dire need of funds, provided they followed the rules....ilsm -> likbez... , September 15, 2019 at 07:21 AM"The US served as a benevolent hegemon, administering the occasional rap on the knuckles to those acting in bad faith"
USA foreign policy since 70th was controlled by neocons who as a typical Trotskyites (neoliberalism is actually Trotskyism for the rich) were/are hell-bent of world domination and practice gangster capitalism in foreign policy. Bolton attitude to UN is very symptomatic for the neocons as a whole.
Madeline "not so bright" Allbright was the first swan. As well as Clinton attempts to bankrupt and subdue Russia and criminal (in a sense of no permission from the UN) attack on Yugoslavia. Both backfired: Russia became permanently hostile. The fact he and his coterie were not yet tried by something like Nuremberg tribunal is only due to the USA dominance at this stage of history.
The truth is that the dissolution of the USSR the USA foreign policy became completely unhinged. And inside the country the elite became cannibalistic, as there was no external threat to its dominance in the form of the USSR.
The USA stated to behave like a typical Imperial state (New Rome, or, more correctly, London) accepting no rules/laws that are not written by themselves (and when it is convenient to obey them) with the only difference from the classic imperial states that the hegemony it not based on the military presence/occupation ( like was the case with British empire)
Although this is not completely true as there are 761 US Military Bases across the planet and only 46 Countries with no US military presence. Of them, seven countries with 13 New Military Bases were added since 09/11/2001. In 2001 the US had a quarter million troops posted abroad.
Still as an imperial state that is the center of neoliberal empire the USA relies more on financial instruments and neoliberal comprador elite inside the country.
I recently learned from https://akarlin.com/2010/04/on-liberasts-and-liberasty/ that the derogatory term for the neoliberal part of the Russian elite is "liberasts" and this term gradually slipping into English language ( http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/liberast ;-)
With the collapse of neoliberal ideology in 2008 the USA centered neoliberal empire experiences first cracks. Brexit and election of Trump widened the cracks in a sense of further legitimizing the ruling neoliberal elite (big middle finger for Hillary was addressed to the elite as whole)
If oil price exceed $100 per barrel there will yet another crack or even repetition of the 2008 Great Recession on a new level (although we may argue that the Great Recession never ended and just entered in Summers terms "permanent stagnation" phase)
Although currently with unhinged Trump at the helm the USA empire still going strong in forcing vassals and competitors to reconsider their desire to challenge the USA. Trump currently is trying to neutralize the treat from China by rejecting classic neoliberal globalization mechanism as well as signed treaties like WTO. He might be successful in the short run.
In the long run the future does not look too bright as crimes committed by the USA during triumphal period of neoliberalism hangs like albatross around the USA neck.
EU now definitely wants to play its own game as Macron recently stated and which Merkel tacitly supports. If EU allies with Russia it will became No.1 force in the world with the USA No. 2. With severe consequences for the USA.
If Russia allied with China the USA No.1 position will hinge of keeping EU vassals in check and NATO in place. Without them it will became No.2 with fatal consequences for the dollar as world reserve currency and sudden change of the USA financial position due to the level of external debt and required devaluation of the dollar.
Looks like 75 year after WWII the world started to self-organize a countervailing force trying to tame the USA with some interest expressed by such players as EU, Russia, China, India, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and even Saudi Arabia. As well as ( in the past; and possibly in the future as neoliberal counterrevolutions in both countries probably will end badly) by Brazil and Argentina.
Only Canada, Australia and probably UK can be counted as the reliable parts of the USA empire. That's not much."If Russia allied with China the USA No.1 position "........ilsm -> Paine ... , September 14, 2019 at 06:43 PM
Think Italy moving into the Axis in 1937? Or the Soviet German Non Aggression Pact. Nuclear weapons removes the incentive for large "rearmaments" or not?
Would the Britain to France 1938 relationship describe the US to EU? Thinking in 1939 (1914?) terms Europe is less stitched together than in 1936."Beliefs" must be sustained by trust and justice... Which are clearly missing in the US' sacred cold war and post history "postwar rules-based order".
Sep 23, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com“We hope that before Communist China’s National Day on Oct. 1, our friends in Taiwan can express their support for Hong Kong through street protests,” Wong said at a news conference on September 3. "A lot of people in the past have said 'today Hong Kong and tomorrow Taiwan.' But I think the most ideal thing we'd say is 'Taiwan today, tomorrow Hong Kong.' Hong Kong can be like Taiwan, a place for freedom and democracy." Advertisement
Such sentiments by themselves are enough to enrage Beijing. But Wong also urged Taiwan's government to let Hong Kong protesters seek political asylum. Worse from Beijing's standpoint, he made those statements not in Hong Kong or some neutral location, but in Taipei following meetings with Taiwan's governing, pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Communist Chinese leaders are likely to interpret such a venue as further evidence of a Hong Kong-Taiwanese political alliance against the People's Republic of China (PRC).
Beijing’s persistent attempts to undermine Hong Kong’s political autonomy under its “one county, two systems” arrangement has caused Taiwanese attitudes to turn emphatically against such a formula for their island. Most Taiwanese were never enthusiastic about that proposal, but the proposed Hong Kong extradition law (just now withdrawn) that would have enabled Chinese authorities to try Hong Kong-based political dissidents in mainland courts has soured Taiwanese public opinion even more. A poll that Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council published in late July found that 88.7 percent of respondents rejected one country, two systems, up from 75.4 per cent in a January survey.
The Hong Kong democracy campaign is strengthening hardline, anti-PRC factions in Taiwan. Incumbent President Tsai appeared to be in deep political trouble earlier this year. Taiwan’s continuing economic malaise had undermined her presidency, and the DPP suffered huge losses in November 2018 local elections. Indeed, the losses were so severe that Tsai had to quit her post as party chair. She also faced a strong primary challenge for the DPP’s presidential nomination from her onetime prime minister, James Lai.
But Tsai has shrewdly exploited public anger at Beijing’s crude attempts to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy to rebuild her domestic political support. “As long as I am here, I will stand firm to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty,” Tsai pledged in July. “As long as I am here, you would not have to fear, because we will not become another Hong Kong.” That message resonated with voters, and not only did she defeat Lai, but her fortunes against the opposition Kuomintang Party in the upcoming general election appear far more favorable than they did a few months ago.Is America Prodding Taiwan Towards Conflict With China? How China Weaponizes Mass Migration Against Hong Kong
The Hong Kong developments have created a political nightmare for the Kuomintang. The party’s nominee, Han Kuo-yu, the maverick populist mayor of Kaohsiung, had long advocated closer relations with the mainland. To that end, he sought to resume the policy that the last Kuomintang president, Ma Jing-jeou, pursued from 2008 to 2016. Earlier this year, Han visited China and had cordial meetings with Communist Party officials. He has always seemed highly favorable to the PRC’s one country, two systems arrangement for Taiwan as well as Hong Kong. Both the Chinese government and pro-Beijing media outlets in Taiwan (the so-called red media) were decidedly enthusiastic about Han’s candidacy against more moderate opponents in the Kuomintang Party’s primary election this summer.
But the popularity of the Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrations among Taiwanese voters has thrown Han on the defensive, and he is beating a very fast retreat from his previous position. In a desperate attempt to rebut allegations that he would embrace an appeasement policy toward Beijing, Han even asserted that, if he is elected president, Taiwan would only accept China’s one country, two systems proposal “over my dead body.” It is not clear how credible his eleventh-hour political transformation is with Taiwanese voters.
Chinese leaders also suspect that the United States is fomenting much of the trouble in Hong Kong.
... ... ...
As much as Americans are understandably pleased with the democratic factions in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Washington must temper its enthusiasm—and especially avoid any manifestations of meddling. We must not give PRC leaders reason to believe that the United States is waging a campaign to force China into a corner and inflict major geopolitical defeats. Caution in both capitals is imperative. The next few months, perhaps even the next few weeks, may determine whether East Asia remains at peace.
The United States already is entangled in the dispute over Taiwan’s political status. Under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, Washington made a commitment to provide Taipei with “defensive” weaponry and to regard any coercive moves by Beijing as a threat to the peace of East Asia. Under the Trump administration, U.S. policy has become even more supportive of Taiwan’s de facto independence. American officials complained about the decision of the Solomon Islands to recognize Beijing instead of Taipei and threatened to reconsider aid to that country.
Even more significant, for the first time since Washington severed formal diplomatic ties with Taipei and switched them to Beijing in 1979, high-level U.S. security officials, including former national security adviser John Bolton, have met with their Taiwanese counterparts . The Trump administration has also approved an $8 billion arms sale that includes F-16 fighters . Beijing protests all U.S. weapons sales to Taipei, but the reaction this time seems especially angry.
Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at , is the author of 13 books, including his latest, Gullible Superpower: U.S. Support for Bogus Foreign Democratic Movements , and more than 800 articles on international affairs.
tweets21 • 9 hours agoUS foreign policy has never been our strong suit. We change government every 4 years or 8, meaning the State Department has a lot of turnover and is politically influenced to the political doctrine in vogue, for any elected party. My personal best current day example is North Korea. NK fears if they sign on with the US, their leaders fate will follow that of Saddam and Gaddafi. Friends one day , next we turn on them. Even invade.Steve Smith • 4 hours ago
Reality is we have zero influence with Beijing, or Moscow. China has their hands full for sure consuming Hong Kong, and Taiwan.Wow---so Ted Galen Carpenter is going full propagandist now. N o doubt that swaying the upcoming Taiwan election was one of the goals of the "protest" apparatus and its backers. Tsai was looking weak until the "protests." ...Taras77 • 3 hours agosub-title: and especially avoid any manifestations of meddling. Not sure how that can be accomplished, my understanding is that NED et al are up to their eyeballs in meddling, taxpayer funded, and Chinese govt is well aware of that.May Loo • an hour agoThe mainland Chinese government expects acquiescence to its one China policy. Too bad Hong Kong's Chinese people and the Taiwanese already have their own identities. Not.cka2nd • an hour ago"Chinese leaders also suspect that the United States is fomenting much of the trouble in Hong Kong. It is tempting to dismiss such accusations as nothing more than typical propaganda and scapegoating on the part of a beleaguered communist regime."
Well, thank goodness one of the articles Mr. Carpenter linked to mentioned the U.S. government's National Endowment for Democracy, which distributed over $400,000 to three groups in Hong Kong last year. Said agency was the subject of an article here at TAC only a year or so ago, which can be found at https://www.theamericancons... .
Readers of this report might find it of worth, and might consider the other countries in which the NED "promotes" "democracy."
Sep 23, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Northern Star September 16, 2019 at 2:37 pmAn overlooked battle :Northern Star September 16, 2019 at 2:55 pm
Like LikeWow Learn something new..at least to some!Patient Observer September 20, 2019 at 4:10 am
Like LikeInteresting and new to me as well. I do recall reading several articles that the Mig 15 was a huge leap in military technology and the Mig 17 was the best subsonic fighter ever fielded.Moscow Exile September 20, 2019 at 4:26 amFancy a flight down MiG Alley , chaps?Patient Observer September 20, 2019 at 5:51 pm
The MiG Alley battles produced many fighter aces. The top aces were Russian. Nikolay Sutyagin claimed 21 kills, including nine F-86s, one F-84 and one Gloster Meteor in less than seven months. His first kill was the F-86A of Robert H. Laier on 19 June 1951 (listed by the Americans as missing in action), and his last was on 11 January 1952, when he shot down and killed Thiel M. Reeves, who was flying an F-86E (Reeves is also listed as MIA). Other famous Soviet aces include Yevgeni G. Pepelyayev, who was credited with 19 kills, and Lev Kirilovich Shchukin, who was credited with 17 kills, despite being shot down twice himself.
During the Korean War, NATO Allies wanted so badly to examine a MiG at close quarters that they offered a US$100,000 reward for any pilot who would defect and bring his MiG-15 with him. When a North Korean pilot, Lt. Ro Kun Suk, did defect in September of 1953, he was not aware of the reward, but was given it anyway.
Like LikeI had heard that the Mig 17 was deliberately kept out of the war as it would have decimated the US Air Force forcing them to do something really stupid like drop a nuke. Could be an urban legend.
Sep 23, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs , September 22, 2019 at 05:05 PMWhy can't the US learn from its foreign policy failures?Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , September 22, 2019 at 05:09 PM
https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2019/09/22/why-can-learn-from-its-foreign-policy-failures/QSyAglf85iK9XuGT1RKK1J/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe
H.D.S. Greenway - September 22
After more than 17 years of the United States pouring blood and treasure into the effort to build an Afghan army and government, why is it that the Kabul government continues to lose ground against the Taliban? Further, why were we unsuccessful creating an Iraqi army that could stand on its own against the Islamic State?
Before that, of course, came Vietnam.
Nor was that the start of the failure of American-backed armies. I was a teenager in 1949 when Chiang Kai-shek's American-backed Nationalist army lost to the Communist forces of Mao Zedong in China. The American secretary of state, Dean Acheson, having conducted a study on why our side lost, declared: "The Nationalist armies did not have to be defeated; they disintegrated. History has proved again and again that a regime without faith in itself, and an army without morale, cannot survive the test of battle."
Forty-four years ago, the American-trained and American-supplied army of South Vietnam simply melted away before the less-well-equipped but better-motivated army of North Vietnam. In 1975, I watched South Vietnamese soldiers taking off their uniforms and running away in their underwear as the North Vietnamese closed in on Saigon.
Five years ago, the world watched another American-trained and American-equipped Iraqi army bolt and run when the better motivated Islamic State forces overran Mosul in Northern Iraq.
Why, over and over again, does the side America has backed in these civil wars end up defeated? Four threads connect these lost wars of the last 70 years: corruption, patriotic nationalism, a misplaced belief in American exceptionalism, and self-deception.
I saw corruption on a grand scale in Saigon. Generals and government officials were funneling America's tax dollars into bank accounts abroad, fielding ghost armies in which there were fewer soldiers on the ground than on the official payrolls. In Baghdad during the American occupation, I learned that billions of American taxpayer dollars were bleeding out to the Persian Gulf and Jordan, causing a laundered money real estate boom in the Jordanian capital. In Afghanistan I learned that Afghan officers and soldiers routinely robbed the villages they were sent to protect. Corruption sapped the people's belief in their US-backed government in all four wars. Soldiers saw no reason to die for corrupt officials.
A second thread is that our side always appeared to be fighting on the side of foreigners, while the Communists in China and Vietnam, as well as the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, always had a better grip on patriotic nationalism and resistance to foreigners. The anti-colonial struggle was more important than the threat of Communism in most of the post-World War II world, and the Islamist insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan knew how to exploit the traditional resistance to foreign rule. The Taliban could appeal to patriotism while trying to expel the infidel forces of the United States, just as their fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers had resisted the Russians and the British before that in the name of jihad.
A third thread is a curiously American trait of willfully ignoring other people's history and cultures. I remember asking an American officer in Vietnam if he had read anything of the French experience in Vietnam. His answer: "No, why should I? They lost, didn't they?" Robert McNamara, defense secretary and an architect of our Vietnam War, said in later life that Americans had never understood the Vietnamese. There were plenty of people who could have helped him understand, but he wasn't interested. We were Americans -- exceptional, and therefore not susceptible to the same forces that thwarted other efforts.
I met Americans in the Green Zone in Baghdad who knew nothing about the great schism between Sunnis and Shia Muslims that was tearing the country apart. American-style democracy was the answer to all ills, they felt. In Afghanistan I met Americans who thought purple ink on the fingers of Afghans who had voted was the answer to a thousand years of tribal and ethnic rivalries.
The fourth thread is self-deception. In Saigon, in Baghdad, and in Kabul I attended briefings in which progress was always being made, the trend lines were always favorable, and we were always winning wars we were actually losing. Wishful thinking is no substitute for reality. Americans can train and assist the armies of those whom we want to support in the civil wars of others, but we cannot supply the motivation and morale that is necessary to survive the test of battle.Related:ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , September 22, 2019 at 05:28 PM
The 'forever war' that began on 9/11
https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2019/09/10/the-forever-war-that-began/ONoP7zmI9uaxiBD3clIkDL/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe
Stephen Kinzer - September 10
As we observe another anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack that shattered American life 18 years ago, its full impact is still unfolding. Those who planned it succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. The airborne assaults that took nearly 3,000 lives on that day may now be seen as the most diabolically successful terror attack in history. That attack not only wreaked carnage at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in rural Pennsylvania. It wound up dragging the United States into an endless state of war that has drained our treasury, poisoned our politics, created waves of new terrorism, and made us the enemy of millions around the world.
The apparent chief perpetrator of the 9/11 attack, Osama bin Laden, presumably cackled with joy when he heard news of his success on that stunning day. He lived for another 10 years, long enough to cackle with even greater glee at Washington's self-defeating response to the attack. Using the 9/11 attack as a pretext, the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. Bin Laden died knowing that he had lured us into the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history.
It is a truism that our lives are shaped not by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens to us. The same applies to nations. Devastating as the death toll was on Sept. 11, 2001, it turned out to be only a taste of what was to come. The United States has been at war ever since. Thousands of Americans have died. So have hundreds of thousands of civilians in the Middle East and beyond. This nearly two-decade-long spasm of attacking, bombing, and occupying countries has decisively shaped the United States and its image in the world. Every day that our "forever war" continues is a triumph for bin Laden. So is every wounded veteran who returns home, every newly minted terrorist infuriated by an American attack, every citizen of the world who recoils at what US forces are being sent to do. We did not simply fall into bin Laden's trap, we raced in at full speed. Even now, we show little will to extricate ourselves.
America's determination to strike back with devastating force after 9/11 was understandable given our shared sense of ravaged innocence. We might have launched a concentrated strike against the gang of several hundred criminals whose leaders attacked the United States, and then come home. Instead we have used the 9/11 attack to justify wars and military deployments around the world.
On Sept. 14, 2001, Congress passed an "authorization for the use of military force" against the perpetrators of that week's attack and against their "associated forces." Three presidents have used that authorization to deploy troops across the Middle East and in countries from Kenya to Georgia to the Philippines. Every call for US withdrawal from Afghanistan or Iraq or Syria is met by warnings that ending wars could produce "another 9/11." This has become the paralyzing mantra that prevents us from halting the hydra-headed military campaign we have been waging for 18 years. We also use it to justify atrocities at prisons like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Bin Laden has succeeded even in colonizing our minds.
Soon after passing its highly elastic authorization for military action against "associated forces," Congress approved another, even more sweeping law: the Patriot Act. It gave the government broad new power to monitor people and businesses, and has become a foundation stone of our emerging "surveillance state." The 9/11 attack led us to distort not only our approach to the world, but also the balance between freedom and security at home.
Another pernicious aftereffect of the terror attack has been the deepening of our national us-against-them narrative. This began with President George W. Bush's assertion that every country in the world had to be "either with us or against us." Crusader rhetoric posits the United States as the indispensable guardian of civilization, entitled to act as it chooses in order to fend off a threatening tide of barbarism. Now this approach has leaked back into the United States. Racist attacks that tear at our social fabric are the domestic reflection of foreign policies that see the rest of the world as a hostile "other" bent on destroying our way of life.
Last month it was announced that the five surviving alleged plotters of the 9/11 attack will finally be brought to trial in 2021. If they are aware of what is happening in the world, they will arrive in court with a deep sense of satisfaction. Their great triumph was not the attack. It was the damage the United States has since inflicted upon itself.Acheson is parroting Napoleon: "In war the moral is to the material as 3 is to 1."
He is wrong in the matter of "faith", unless the Chiang's army lost faith in Chiang's moral poverty, what he stood for.
A better quote about Chiang losing is written by George C. Marshall, who went over and came back sure Chiang was done for.
He said: "The US would not be dragged through the mud by those reactionaries". Meaning Chiang was not the moral power in China.
Same for Vietnam US puppets were not and had no moral power/authority.
In Afghanistan same!
Iraq is split in moral authority, the areas populated by Shi'a are okay as long as the central government does not pander to the Sunni 1/3 (Baathists were suppressing Shi'a).
I do not agree with quoting Acheson when there is plenty of professional soldier writings that say it more clearly.
After Korea the professional soldiers were no longer expressive when it cme to propping thugs, with no moral power in their own borders (granted many of the borders surround fictional counties).
US has stood with thugs for most of its quagmire experience.......
This week US is looking for a way to start a new quagmire with Iran for royal murderers' sharing their oil company!
Sep 23, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com
JohnH -> JohnH... , September 16, 2019 at 11:58 AM"The Israeli military is armed with the latest fast jets and precision weaponry, yet it has turned to its fleet of drones to hit targets in Iraq. Deniability has played a big factor – the ability of drones to elude radar and therefore keep targets guessing about who actually bombed them is playing well for Israeli leaders who are trying to prevent an increasingly lethal shadow war with Iran from developing into an open conflict."JohnH -> Paine ... , September 17, 2019 at 01:34 PM
Israel has the means, plus the motive (Bib's reelection), and might have taken the opportunity to attribute the attack to Iran and force Trump's hand.Right! If you get into the cui bono game, the list is pretty long including US shale oil companies.JohnH -> JohnH... , September 17, 2019 at 01:42 PM
Russia, too. I'm surprised that the 'Russia dun it crowd' (Team Pelosi) hasn't blamed it all on Putin. I mean, isn't everything bad that happened since Nov. 2016 Putin's fault.
But now it would appear that Iran is the villain du jour. Maybe they'll even get blamed for Trump's reelection next year!In terms of cui bono, you can group Wall Street investors and banksters in with shale oil companies they desperately need the shale oil companies to finally start generating some profits. What better way than to knock out shal oil's biggest competitor?ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , September 16, 2019 at 11:53 AM
But, as I said, Iran has become the villain du jour, even though they have the deterrent capability of closing the Strait of Hormuz and taking most ME oil off line. To hear the neocons, even that deterrence is not enough to dissuade them from a war on Israel's behalf. To them war is certainly preferable to trying to make room for Iranian sovereignty and assure the flow of ME oil to world markets.if Saudi deliveries are not up andFred C. Dobbs said in reply to ilsm... , September 16, 2019 at 07:43 PM
running by Wednesday Riyadh time,
someone ampin' up crude oil futures!
Or the Brits and Americans
working for ARAMCO not qualified.
which flows to the quality of
strategic management in the oil cabal
defended by $350B a year of
pentagon trough fillin'
an PRC service company
should be called inCould this be the sort of false-flagPaine -> ilsm... , September 17, 2019 at 10:07 AM
op where explosives are planted by
non-foreign operators to make a lot of
smoke and minimal real damage, and make
it look like the work of 'enemy missiles',
sort of like the 'Wag The Dog' plot. It
might be well worth it to Certain Parties
to even do a modest amount of real damage.Short run oil markets are spec controlledPaine -> Paine ... , September 17, 2019 at 10:08 AM
Takes weeks to sort out real flow impacts
By then house of Saud busters will be ready for another attack
My guess the hole in Saud House's crotch
is not uncle fixable
In less then a years timeOf course my sources are allFred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , September 19, 2019 at 08:10 AM
traitors pinkos and goblinsIran's Foreign Minister Vows 'All-Out War'
if US or Saudis Strike https://nyti.ms/2AxMgFi
NYT - Richard Pérez-Peña - September 19
A military strike against Iran by the United States or Saudi Arabia would result in "an all-out war," Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said on Thursday, repeating his government's denial of responsibility for an attack last week that damaged Saudi oil facilities.
The Houthi rebel faction in Yemen -- supported by Iran in its fight against a Saudi-led coalition -- claimed responsibility for the Saturday attack. But Saudi and American officials blamed Iran, raising the threat of military retaliation. But so far it is not clear how they will react.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of carrying out an "act of war" with the aerial attacks, but President Trump has appeared reluctant to order a military strike. ...
Trump's National Security Aides to Meet on
Possible Iran Options https://nyti.ms/2QgO2pa
NYT - Eric Schmitt - September 19
WASHINGTON -- Senior national security officials from across the government are scheduled to meet Thursday to refine a list of potential targets to strike in Iran, should President Trump order a military retaliation for missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabian oil fields last weekend, officials said.
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are to present the updated options to Mr. Trump at a National Security Council meeting scheduled for Friday, a senior American official said.
In advance of being presented with the newest set of options, Mr. Trump has sent different signals on his intentions. He has threatened to order "the ultimate option" of a strike on Iran to punish the nation for its behavior, but also has made clear his continued opposition to ordering the United States into another war in the Middle East.
The Pentagon is advocating military strikes that one senior official described as at the lower end of options. The official said that any retaliation could focus on more clandestine operations -- actions that military planners predict would not prompt an escalation by Iran. ...
Sep 23, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Northern Star September 21, 2019 at 10:39 amhttps://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/09/21/iran-s21.htmlNorthern Star September 21, 2019 at 10:48 am
"The Russian Foreign Ministry issued an immediate response to the new US measures denouncing them as "illegitimate."
"This will not affect our approaches to Iran," said Zamir Kabulov, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry Second Asian Department. "As we planned, we will continue to cooperate with Iran in the banking sector. This will have no effect [on Moscow's position] "
While Beijing, which counts Saudi Arabia as its second-largest source of oil imports, was somewhat more circumspect, it is highly unlikely that any new measures will affect its own ties to Iran. China accounts for half of Iran's sharply reduced oil exports, and Beijing and Tehran this month signed $400 billion worth of deals connected to Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of which Iran is a key component.
The sanctions imposed by the Trump administration after ripping up the nuclear agreement in May 2018 amount to an economic blockade, tantamount to a state of war. They have led to shortages of food and medicines, leaving cancer patients to die."
"Tehran has vehemently denied these accusations. The Houthi rebels, who control the bulk of Yemen, claimed responsibility, declaring the attacks an act of self-defense against the murderous US-backed war that the Saudi monarchy has waged against Yemen for nearly four-and-a-half years, killing nearly 100,000 Yemenis and driving 8 million more to the brink of starvation."
"The cost of the Patriot missile defense systems run into the billions while the price of each missile that they fire is estimated at $5 million. This massively expensive weaponry proved useless in countering drones costing a few thousand dollars that devastated the world's largest oil refining facility."
"useless in countering drones"
So why deploy more of the "useless" system???First rate article on this American Hero
"Authoritarian Western governments like the US, the UK, and Sweden preach an enlightened, exalted rhetorical reverence for "the rule of law" and absolute dedication to "justice", civil rights and due process. Meanwhile, whenever it serves their interests, their actions are heinously and ruthlessly tyrannical, brutal, hypocritical, and capricious.
As we have seen over and over with Julian Assange, governments and their ministers of (ostensible) justice will simply run roughshod over any technicalities and niceties that ordinarily compel the release of incarcerated persons."
and their links are also spot on:
Sep 23, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Patient Observer September 19, 2019 at 4:40 pmPepe Escoabar (via Saker) has an interesting take on the Houthis capabilities and potential. He suggests that they could destabilize Saudi Arabia via a lightning grab of Mecca and an uprising of Shia in the eastern provinces. The recent successful drone attacks certainly must have brought a smile to the Shia in that region and shown the ineptness of the Saudi military and their US backers.Jennifer Hor September 20, 2019 at 1:32 pm
It is amusing to watch the US squirm over the failure of its radars and missile systems to detect the attack. Also, if there any doubt, it was clearly the Houthis's handiwork likely with help from Hezbollah. There was a good story on the drone's technical capabilities which IIRC, carries a 100 pound warhead, flies at about 120 miles per hour and has a 1,000 mile range approximately. Presumably, it uses GPS for guidance. Here is the link to the Escobar story:
https://thesaker.is/how-the-houthis-overturned-the-chessboard/Mecca and the Red Sea port city of Jeddah are well within the range of drone and missile strikes by the Houthis. They are not much farther away from the Yemeni border than Abqaiq is. The Abqaiq attack serves as a warning to Riyadh of how vulnerable Mecca and Jeddah are, and that warning could even have been the original intention of the attack.davidt September 20, 2019 at 2:46 pm
Like LikeI notice that Andrei Martyanov says that the Patriot systems have blind zones since they are restricted to operate 7 degrees above the horizontal. According to Martyanov, this is in contrast to the Russian S-series AD systems where missiles are launched vertically and then take "a ride on the beam" towards the target. (This seems to explain the launch pattern of these missiles where they are "popped" out vertically, whence their engines ignite sending the missile off, (often) very low and flat towards their targets.Mark Chapman September 20, 2019 at 6:25 pm
From what Martyanov writes, it would seem that the US stuff has very serious design flaws.
Like LikeContrast what the public is told with what the government is told.
From 100% hit probability down to 9%.
You would think having so much smoke blown up one's ass would be a cancer risk.
Sep 23, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Northern Star September 18, 2019 at 2:58 pmStooges should definitely watch this CrossTalk on the drone strike!!!!!yalensis September 19, 2019 at 3:24 pm
As the kids say: "It's On"
Like LikeThanks for posting, I LOVED this episode of Crosstalk, because it was so contentious.Mark Chapman September 19, 2019 at 4:11 pm
That delicious catfight between the "Arab" and the "Persian".
Arab guy clearly a vicious moron.
Persian guy seemed rational and logical compared to Arab guy, and then he goes on that delicious rant about "What we will do to you, fucking Saudis, if you attack us!"
And not only Saudi Arabia will descend into Dante's hell, but AmeriKKKa too!
Chill goes down my spine, Viva Persia!In complete fairness, though, Peter does simply talk over panelists he doesn't like until they have to stop talking, because listeners can't make sense of two people talking loudly at the same time. CrossTalk has its own politics, and the Arab was never going to get equal time or have his viewpoints uncritically aired. He should have been allowed the same courtesy everyone else was. I disagree strongly with what he was saying, but the immediate rejection of his views and shouting him down did absolutely nothing to make the Kingdom look like the party in the wrong.
Sep 23, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Mark Chapman September 18, 2019 at 3:55 pmWashington now claims cruise missiles were involved as well as drones. What bullshit. (a) An enemy who was able to strike the Saudi oil fields with cruise missiles sent over drones as well? (b) The Saudis had 50% of their damaged capacity back online in only a day, driving the oil price spike back down? After a cruise-missile strike? Did they carry a warhead the size of an orange? The Saudi oil fields are defenseless against a cruise-missile attack?et Al September 19, 2019 at 11:23 am
https://www.theledger.com/news/20190918/saudi-arabia-says-iran-cruise-missiles-drones-attacked-oil-sitesIt's hard to say because some stuff is clearly being held back from public scrutiny. We don't even know which weapons were fired at what targets.et Al September 19, 2019 at 12:31 pm
My only thoughts about the domes is that they only need to be punctured by a high speed delayed incendiary. If it is a weight trade off for range fuel v. warhead, then range wins if popping a hole and igniting the gas is the aim. I don't know enough about the other targets.
As others have pointed out, what is the intent behind these attacks? Is it an 'act of war', a 'warning shot' or other? There are games within games and bluffs within bluffs being played here.
Like LikeVia Moon of AlabamaMark Chapman September 19, 2019 at 3:37 pmMichael Duitsman @DuitsyWasHere
You know who I feel sorry for in Saudi Arabia right now? The Air Defense Forces officer in charge of the short range air defenses at the Abqaiq oil facility. He'll be lucky to get out of this with his life.On the one hand, elements within the USA want war with Iran really, really badly. Of slightly greater value, though, is the opportunity to portray Trump as weak and dithering because he hesitates to commit to it. But usually if Washington claims to have 'evidence it cannot reveal publicly' , that's because it is making it up. When it makes up evidence which it claims clearly demonstrates this or that, it always has a reason. I'm not sure yet what it is, but the USA is very serious about putting Iran in the frame for it. They may have had something to do with it, but like the so-convenient 'chemical attacks' in Syria. Iran would have been beyond foolish to do something like that right now, while their attitude suggests if they had done it, they'd be quite happy to own it.
Sep 23, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Patient Observer September 17, 2019 at 4:34 pmIt was a mystery to me how cruise missiles, drones or whatever could have evaded detection, much less engagement, by US-supplied air defense systems. Per MOA, it was easy – US systems such as the Patriot stare in one direction.Mark Chapman September 17, 2019 at 4:55 pm
The PAC-2 and PAC-3 systems are sector defenses as their radars do not rotate. They can only see an arc of 120°. In the case of the Saudis those radars only look towards the east to Iran whcih is the most likely axis of attack. That left the crude oil processing plant in Abqaiq completely unprotected against attacks from any other direction. Neither Saudi Arabia nor the U.S. know from where the attack really came.
The foregoing explains why the US is unsure where the missiles originated despite the knee-jerk braying by Pompeo. Moreover, it be be assumed that US Navy ships in the Gulf certainly were scanning the skies yet apparently detected nothing from Iran. So it really does look like the missiles originated from Yemen way.
Like LikeI'd be careful about blaming Iran, in view of the allegation that the US-supplied air defenses are focused in that direction and apparently did not even see the attack coming. It also casts doubt on American bellowing that they have loads of new evidence that Iran was responsible. If they had, why didn't they try to stop it?Jen September 17, 2019 at 5:06 pm
Like LikeWhat I find really amazing in that paragraph quoted from MoA is that these radars have such a limited capability in surveying the skies. A 120° arc is about the same as the vision span / field of view of one human eye. Two eyes working together increase the span to 210° or just over. How is it that current US radar defence technology development can't produce a system of radars so that each can rotate at least 180° and can be paired with another radar to provide a full 360° range of surveillance?Patient Observer September 17, 2019 at 5:37 pm
Like LikeMOA suggests that the US has become stuck in the mindset that it will be always on the offense thus has no need for a real defensive capability. That sort of worked with Iraq and Grenada but against a country that can hit back, not so much. That profoundly inept piece of junk Patriot missile system is proof positive.davidt September 18, 2019 at 6:07 pm
Like LikeI am not sure that stupidity is ever amazing- after all, it is very easy to do stupid things. (Think Singapore, 1941) In all this, what took me a long time to accept is how technologically advanced the Russian missile technology is- for example, it seems that frequent swarm attacks by drones on the Russian air base at all been destroyed. Many decades of research have clearly gone into the development of this technology. I suspect that the key to this development was the strategic decision made by the Soviets back in the 70's to develop missiles to destroy US carrier groups. Over a long period of time their missiles became supersonic, and eventually the manoeuvrable hypersonic missiles that they have today. Putin seems very confident that it will take many years for the US to catch up. He might be right: "even 9 women cannot produce a baby within a month".
Sep 23, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Northern Star September 17, 2019 at 3:42 pm@PO .Pretty sure you in particular will get a chuckle out of these comments from the wsws articlePatient Observer September 17, 2019 at 5:50 pm
Kalen • 16 hours ago
There is no doubt that growing global tensions provocative rhetoric, erratic reckless behavior of leadership , irrationality in global diplomatic , political or economic relations permeating official propaganda narratives serve overall purpose of stoking nationalism as counteroffensive to exploding class struggle worldwide.
In case of Saudis though it is all about destabilization of outdated medieval regime by US and Israel via enticing trained in cruelty MbS to unnecessary useless and most of all un-winnable Yemen war that in fact presents existential threat to the very existence of Saudi puppet regime itself.
It is likely that Saudis regime will be at some point swept from power in the name of progressive .. nationalism in fact fascism one way or another via sort of Arab color revolution, as this medieval circus of flaccid clowns is too easy target for socialist revolution.
In fact Saudi Arabia is ironically the prime place with required conditions for socialist revolution to erupt not only because class division is so sharp and visible even embedded into state law but also because working class there is truly international from Philippines, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and entire MENA and level of their exploitation is horrific practically amounts to slavery.
The fragility of Saudi regime was clearly shown by this attack on practically unprotected critical oil infrastructure from low intensity warfare threat Saudi are engaged in fact by proxy in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere, while spending $billions on useless junk that in fact does not work at all as Houti ballistic missile attacks proved as while Soviet era shor range ballistic missile missed the targets most of damage was done by falling patriot II missiles falling down after missing their targets.
And hence Saudis and Turkey long wanted to buy Russian air defense systems already bought by China, India and others triggering US sanctions against companies and individuals involved.
US Empire is already a technical and scientific failure founded on fraud in military area as well.
The question if quite primitive Houti forces were possibly able to pull of such attack of about twenty armed drones (claimed by Houties 1500 km range) must be answered yes, with recent technical support of Iranians (after reimposition of embargo) and local spotters/controllers on the ground.
The similar swarm drone attacks was pulled by AQ terrorist affiliated forces (with US training) several times against Russian Air and Navy base in Syria all unsuccessfully mostly due to Russia electronic warfare capability and Panzir 2 system purposefully designed to defend from drone swarm attacks.
The rather meek and balanced response of markets and politicians so far to this on its face conditions imminent regional war involving nuclear powers tells me that there is no real intention so far to start a war not because of better angel of ruling elites nature but because they do not yet feel directly threatened by socialist revolution.
For them much valuable counterrevolutionary tool is inspiring nationalism simple threat of war rather than war itself as it always unleashing law of unforeseen consequences and fuels real political instability potentially threatening their own empires of domination.
Best way to prevent war is not defending national elites but engaging in international socialist revolution.
jplotinus Kalen • 12 hours ago
In my view, the fact that Saudi Arabia's air defense system was unable to thwart an attack on major oil infrastructure is quite damning and worthy of being the leading element of this incident. However, as the Saudis have bought and paid for the very expensive but apparently ineffective Patriot air defense system means that as little coverage as possible of this aspect of the story will likely ensue in mainstream media.
I've noticed Putin has publicly offered to sell Saudi Arabia Russia's S-300 and S-400 air defense systems. Hmmm
Like LikeThere will be no major war against Iran. The US will continue to try to strangle Iran but success is becoming increasingly unlikely.
If there were to be a serious attack on Iran and Iran responded with its full capacity, KSA could kiss its ass goodby. Desalination facilities would be targeted, oil infrastructure would be destroyed including pipelines and loading facilities and power plants knocked out all by missiles, US warships in the Gulf would be in dire straits as well. Yes, a social revolution could then take place. I do wonder about the UAE. I hear that they are distancing themselves from the Saudis lately.
Sep 23, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Northern Star September 16, 2019 at 1:48 pmMore on the drone strike on KSA oil production facilities.Mark Chapman September 16, 2019 at 11:17 pm
Like LikeOh, well, then; speculation over. It was Iran. Nobody else could have executed it incredibly well.Northern Star September 17, 2019 at 3:36 pm
Like Liked by 1 personThe article and the comments..Absolute must read!!! (IMO)Jen September 17, 2019 at 4:00 pm
"Whatever the exact circumstances of the attacks on the Saudi oil facilities, they are being exploited for the purpose of dragging the American people and all of humanity into a war that can rapidly escalate into a regionwide and even global conflagration.
US strikes against Iran carried out under the pretext of retaliation for the attacks on Saudi Arabia can trigger Iranian counterstrikes, sending US warships to the bottom of the Persian Gulf and wreaking havoc on American military bases throughout the region.
The prospect of thousands of US soldiers and sailors dying as a result of Washington's conspiracies and aggression carries with it the threat of the US government assuming emergency powers and implementing police-state measures in the US itself in the name of "national security."
This would, by no means, be an unintended consequence. The buildup to war is driven in large measure by the escalation of social tensions and class struggle within the United States itself, which has found fresh expression in the strike by 46,000 autoworkers against General Motors. "
"Charlotte Ruse • 12 hours ago
"If there is, as Washington claims, "no evidence' that the attacks were launched from Yemen, one could, with equal if not greater justification, observe that there is likewise "no evidence' that they were not launched by the US itself, or by its principal regional ally, Israel.
If one proceeds from the age-old detective maxim of Cui bono? or Who benefits? Tehran is the least likely suspect. There is clearly more to Washington's rush to judgment than meets the eye."
Yes, Cui bono–who benefited most by this attack–all the usual neoconservative warmongers who've been biting at the chomp for decades to go to War with Iran–the "non-interventionist buffoon" may grant them their wish.
And undoubtedly, the usual Wall Street scum secured a financial "killing" as "Oil prices rose 10 percent on Monday.
I think Tulsi Gabbard's tweet perfectly sums up who's in-charge of US foreign policy:
"Trump awaits instructions from his Saudi masters. Having our country act as Saudi Arabia's bitch is not "America First."
Like LikeIran having carried out the attack on the Abqaiq facilities from a southwest direction (when it is to the northeast of the area of the attack) was a stunning achievement. How could Saudi defences, aided by US satellites – and Israeli defences for that matter – have possibly missed the Iranian drones or missiles as they circled around the entire Middle Eastern region without being shot down before hitting those oil storage tanks?Northern Star September 16, 2019 at 1:59 pm
Like Like"The barbaric war waged by Saudi Arabia on Yemen, with US military assistance, has been all but omitted from the media coverage of the drone strikes. Since 2015, Saudi-led air strikes on towns and cities in Houthi-held areas have killed tens of thousands of civilians, while leaving 80 percent of the population in need of food aid and several million on the brink of starvation.
Saudi war planes, armed with US and British bombs and provided with targeting information by US officers based in Saudi Arabia, have carried out repeated attacks on civilian targets, including schools, hospitals, residential areas, mosques and markets. Up to the end of last year, the US also provided mid-air refueling for the Saudi-led onslaught.
Saudi Arabia has a huge military budget. Last year it ranked as the world's third highest spender on military equipment, splurging for an estimated $67.6 billion. The ability of the Houthi rebels to penetrate Saudi defences and strike crucial oil infrastructure has heightened fears of further attacks."
The Trump administration & entire US political establishment must line-up behind the narrative that Iran is responsible for this devastating drone strike. As noted in this excellent article, Saudi Arabia now spends ~$68 billion annually on its military, and most of this comes in the form of sophisticated weaponry from the US. But these expensive instruments-of-death were unable to stop a coordinated drone attack from Yemeni rebels. This calls into question the usefulness of Saudi Arabia-US alliance, and the sustainability of the global petrodollar market.
A scapegoat is needed, and quickly. Look for an all-out war drive in the media, against Iran, as a cover-up to this disaster. Gasoline prices will rise by at least a dollar a gallon within a month, which is another embarrassment for political leaders during an election cycle, and an added expense for workers who commute by vehicle."
Sep 23, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Moscow Exile September 21, 2019 at 1:43 am
The head of the White House, Donald Trump, declared that American policy towards the Ukraine was senseless of and added that Moscow should be a friend of Washington, and that no one cared about the Ukrainians. The day before, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid said that the European Union was experiencing fatigue from the Ukraine.
Media: Trump considers senseless US actions in Ukraine
9/21/2019, 9:29:23 AM
US President Donald Trump considers US actions in the Ukraine senseless, which actions at the same time aggravate relations with Russia, The Washington Post reports, citing a former senior White House official.
According to the newspaper interlocutor, the president takes the position that "Russians should be our friends".
"What we do in the Ukraine is pointless and annoying Russia", he said, describing the president's opinion.
Earlier, former US Vice President Joe Biden called on Trump to publish a transcript of a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.
So there you have it!
Trump is a Kremlin Stooge.
Sep 23, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Moscow Exile September 19, 2019 at 10:46 pmKiev Accepts "Steinmeier Formula" For Peace In DonbassJames lake September 19, 2019 at 11:12 pm
So Volker can shut his gob and go back to where he came from.
Like LikeMajor issue with this formula is "The transfer of the border"Moscow Exile September 19, 2019 at 11:58 pm
Ukraine have never kept to the ceasefire and have been destroying settlements -- once they get control of the border – Donbass is finished.
You mention the killing in Mariupol. The assassinations will continue and the people of Donbass will be made to pay.
Five years has shown that real hatred has been unleashed – this is not going to go away.
Germany in my view plays a double game – they want this to happen – the Steinmeir formula is a con to hasten the end of Donbass. This was the guy who signed the agreement with Yanukovich on early elections etc and then stood back when he was overthrown.I agree. The filth will swarm into the Donbass from Galitsia as soon as an agreement has been made and the killings will then begin.yalensis September 20, 2019 at 1:37 pm
Like LikeI also agree. This is a trap. No treaty should be signed unless DPR/LPR are guaranteed to control the border with Russia.Mark Chapman September 20, 2019 at 3:28 pm
Like LikeWe'll see. According to the Minsk Agreement, the elections and the autonomous status were supposed to be settled before the border was returned to Ukrainian control. That has always been an issue for Kuh-yiv. It wants to be trusted to have control over the Donbas before the other elements are fulfilled. But as His Nibs Shaun Of The Dead Walker has pointed out before now, 'the border' in that region is largely an illusion, and checkpoints are for those who have to travel by road. Military units, especially heavy armor, do not.Moscow Exile September 20, 2019 at 12:02 am
I think what is most likely to happen is little troublesome uprisings across a broad front, initiated by Azov Battalion and other Ukie militias and making use of 'loyal' Ukrainians in Donbas and Lugansk.
This would create a governance problem for the regions, and be portrayed in the western press as an earnest desire among the inhabitants to return to Ukraine, 'now that the Russians have gone'.
The best defense against that would be the vote, which must take place first and under OSCE supervision, without Ukrainian meddling or coercion. If the vote indicated that a majority wants to return to Kiev's control, then that's what should happen. But I don't see it going that way.But what of the Russian army that has supposedly been entrenched in the Donbass these past few years?Moscow Exile September 20, 2019 at 12:40 am
Surely, the Russian Army will not allow this ethnic cleansing to happen, for that surely is what will happen, albeit "ethnic" is not the right word, even though the brain-dead Nazi "true Slavs" from the West believe it is.And if it comes to the worst, that shite Snyder can add another chapter to his "Bloodlands" -- or would he?Moscow Exile September 20, 2019 at 3:50 amUkraine's Ambassador to Serbia Urged the World to Destroy Russia :Moscow Exile September 20, 2019 at 4:10 am
September 20, 2019 Stalker Zone
"Our actions have to become offensive and have the disintegration of the Russian Federation as a conscious ultimate goal. This is the only effective long-term solution that the vast majority of countries will benefit from.
attempts to pacify Russia lead only to the growth of its arrogance, as was was the case with the return of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Attempts to reach an agreement in a civilised way with the Russian Federation are also doomed to fail, "since such a decision contradicts the main expansionist thinking of the Kremlin regime".
"The Russian Federation, in its present borders and with its present resources, is never capable of becoming a normal civilised state", said the diplomat.
Aleksandrovich emphasises that "ways of disintegrating the Russian Federation don't demand conducting military operations".
The ambassador lists a number of tools via which it is possible to "pacify Russia":
1. personal sanctions against bosses with the freezing of assets and a ban on entrance;
2. tight restrictions for energy, bank, and financial-military and technical sectors;
3. a ban on the sale of modern technologies;
4 .a collapse in oil prices.
"There comes a time when the last evil empire has to fall," summarized the Ukrainian diplomat.
Oh please, not a ban on modern technologies!!!!!!
Brain dead?He's a bit of a shit, is Oleksandr Oleksandrovych, and has upset the Serbs on more than one occasion.Mark Chapman September 20, 2019 at 3:33 pm
Belgrade outraged at Ukrainian ambassador's stance regarding Russia-Serbia relations
In his recent interview, Oleksandr Oleksandrovych claimed Russia 'uses Serbia to destabilize situation in Western Balkans and thereby destroy Europe'
09:15, 3 November 2017
Ukrainian ambassador's views on Russia-Serbia relations and Russia's role in continental security, all the more expressed publicly, are unacceptable. Ivica Tonchev, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia said this as quoted by Frontnews International, commenting on the statement recently made by the Ukrainian diplomat.
'The main role of ambassadors is to do everything to improve bilateral relations, primarily political and economic, as well as all other forms of cooperation. The Ambassador of Ukraine to Serbia, Oleksandr Oleksandrovych, seems to be constantly forgetting this, since all his activities are reduced to fruitless attempts to break relations between the Republic of Serbia and the Russian Federation. In the latest series of scandalous interviews he gave, he said that the Republic of Serbia does not pursue an independent foreign policy, that is, it is in the hands of Russia, thus destabilizing the entire region of the Western Balkans, thereby 'destroying Europe,' Tonchev said.
He also called on the Ukrainian government to take action on the Ambassador and his unacceptable behavior so that Serbia 'was not forced to make the usual steps in such situations.'
In recent interviews with Serbian media, Ukraine's Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Alexandrovich said that Russia is using Serbia to destabilize the situation in the region, in particular, encouraging separatism in Bosnia and trying to influence Macedonia. The ambassador also mentioned the Serbian mercenaries fighting on the side of the Russian armed formations in Donbas.
Oleksandr Oleksandrovych: he might be better suited to playing Count Dracula in horror movies.
In fact, the ambassador stepped so much out of line in November 2017 that even Rumpleklimkin, then Banderastan Foreign Minister, was forced to call him to hold consultations in Kiev because of his statements to the Serbian media.
At the same time, Ivica Toncev, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, stated that the Ukrainian Ambassador Oleksandr Oleksandrovych's statements concerning Russian influence on Serbia were unacceptable and threatened him with possible consequences in accordance with the Vienna Convention.Let him sign out a rifle and tin hat, and get to the front.Moscow Exile September 20, 2019 at 6:59 am
Like LikeMeet Anna Novosad: Representative of Ukraine's "New" Liquidation CommitteeMark Chapman September 20, 2019 at 6:06 pm
September 19, 2019 Stalker Zone
Novosad is a graduate of the humanitarian lyceum in Kiev, and in 2011 she ended a bachelor degree at the National University "Kiyevo-Mogilyansky Academy" as a "political scientist". Two years later she received a master's degree in the Dutch Maastricht. She studied in Spain and the Czech Republic, and was a scholar of the Soros fund. In addition, as Novosad wrote on Facebook, she took part in the Ukrainian-Canadian administrative program, within the framework of which she attended a special course ran by the Canadian authorities.
I.e., as we see, Anna Novosad is the classical representative of the new "Ukrainian elite", which was raised and brought up abroad and which already is almost not connected to Ukraine even at the mental level. And the reset of the Ukrainian authorities in the form of "Zelensky's victory" was started to a large extent for the mass invasion of such artificially grown mankurts that are supposed to completely remove people with a Soviet past and any ties (family, friendly, business) with Russia from the country's governance structures.
And they absolutely do not need either knowledge of Ukrainian, knowledge of national history, or understanding of what's admissible. Even intellectual qualities aren't especially required from them, because their task is relaying the will of their masters and to control their implementation.
And Farion doesn't like her because she can't talk the shitkicker Slav dialect as good as she can. In fact, it's debatable whether Novosad can talk Yukie with any competence at all.Yes, what's the matter with her? Real Ukrainians ride sturdy ponies and wear their hair in the khokol style. Government superiors are referred to as 'Hetman'. And there's a lot of kneeling. The age of machines is an utter betrayal of Kievan ideals.
Sep 23, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Northern Star September 18, 2019 at 4:18 pmStoogesJen September 18, 2019 at 4:48 pm
Any thoughts on this?
Like LikeSeeing that both the Canadian ambassador to Banderastan and his boss the Canadian Foreign Minister having family histories rooted in western Ukraine / Banderastan Ground Zero – Waschuk's father and Freeland's maternal grandmother both from Ivano-Frankivsk – what thoughts are we expected to have on Waschuk's participation and Freeland's approval for him to attend other than that cliche: "Birds of a feather flock together?"Moscow Exile September 18, 2019 at 8:48 pmIvano-Frankivsk; formerly Stanyslaviv, Stanislau, or Stanisławów. Became part of the UkSSR within the USSR as per the shifting of the pre-WWII Eastern Polish frontier (set by the Treaty of Versailles, 1919, but ignored by Poland) westwards and the transference of the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire's Kronland of Galitsia, capital Krakow and administrative language Polish and not German as in other Kronländer , with the exception of Hungarian in the Hungarian part of the dual Hapsburg Empire.Mark Chapman September 18, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Religion: Roman Catholic or Greek Uniate, depending whether you are a Polish Pan or a Ruthenian peasant shitkicker.
Built in the mid-17th century as a fortress of the Polish Potocki family, Stanisławów was annexed to the Habsburg Empire during the First Partition of Poland in 1772, after which it became the property of the State within the Austrian Empire.
The fortress was slowly transformed into one of the most prominent cities at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. After World War I, for several months, it served as a temporary capital of the West Ukrainian People's Republic.
Galitsia, as Porky Poroshenko said, is the essence of
Like LikeWhat a disgrace.Moscow Exile September 19, 2019 at 1:47 am
Like LikeThe descent into a regime of terror:et Al September 19, 2019 at 8:56 am
Ukrainian Nazis Celebrate the Murder of a DPR Militiaman, Western "Human Rights Defenders" Silent
September 17, 2019 Stalker Zone
"Higher Justice is always done Once again, using humanistic principles, I address the enemies of the Ukraine: 'Surrender to Ukrainian law enforcement! Voluntarily go to Ukrainian prisons and don't leave them! Because God's punishment will inevitably come! Glory to the nation! Death to enemies!'" -- Dmitry Yarosh, commenting on his Facebook page on the murder of a DPR militiaman in Mariupol.
What can be said about this? A day has already passed since this extremist statement was made, but no human rights organisation or international observer has reacted. The murder of a DPR militiaman in Mariupol is obviously on the hands of nationalist battalions, but this case, like many others, will be registered as unsolved or fabricated. The fact of the exemplary punishment of people who supported the creation of the People's Republics testifies to the true attitude of Kiev towards the residents of Donbass. That is why Zelensky is against amnesty and wants elections after the People's Militia lays down their arms. As soon as the UAF come here, objectionable persons will be simply slashed and killed, and Yarosh only confirms this
The Mother of the DPR Militiaman Killed in Mariupol Named the Organiser of Her Son's Execution
September 17, 2019 Stalker Zone
About the Exaltation of Banderist Murderers
September 18, 2019 Stalker Zone
Like LikeI'll say it again, the world's great democracies don't have a problem with little nazis and extremists. After all, they can be put back in their boxes when time is due, just as they did with Adolf Hitler and just as they did with ISIS in Syria.Northern Star September 19, 2019 at 3:18 pm
You wonder how many times these countries go around this bush of backing 'small groups' that they then 'lose control of' leading to a much larger conflagration.
Accidental? Unintended? Repetitive? You won't have the great and good democratic institutions or the representatives of the great free press publicizing cause and effect much at all. What a bunch of Britneys!
Like LikeWell it seems to me that the solution to a particular individual problem rests upon removing the problem permanently.Northern Star September 19, 2019 at 3:28 pm
Like LikeAs I understand it if a scope equipped assault automatic weapon can be targeted at point A to point B, its versatility enables it to operate the other way 'round..from B to A.Northern Star September 19, 2019 at 3:43 pm
Like LikeMoscow Exile September 19, 2019 at 6:53 am
Like LikeMoscow Exile September 19, 2019 at 6:56 am
Typical Times twat!
Pay, if you wish, to gain access to the shite that he has written!
Funny, though, how a state that he and his ilk consider to be weak, failed and "isolated" from the "World Community" always seems to win.
Like LikeAnd as regards the "crimes" in the Ukraine that he mentions, I should not imagine that amongst those he includes the very recent and public murder of a Mariupol "Vatnik" and the praise for which crime the murderer/s has/have very publicly received in Banderastan.Moscow Exile September 19, 2019 at 7:13 am
Like LikeThe clipped paragraph in Boyes' Times article above reads:Moscow Exile September 19, 2019 at 7:39 am
Now we're at it again. Thirty-five Ukrainians, including a film director and two dozen hapless sailors, were this month traded for some hardnut separatists including Vladimir Tsemakh, the commander of a Russian-backed unit in Donetsk which shot down the civilian MH17 airliner in 2014.
Plenty of Dutch and Australian relatives of the victims of that Malaysian Airlines flight are unhappy that Tsemakh is
Like LikeIf anyone should wish to do so, Boyes' article can be back translated from its Russian translation that is at, inosmi.ruMark Chapman September 19, 2019 at 3:19 pm
The Times (Великобритания): Путин нужен Трампу, чтобы побеждать за рубежом
which ends with:
Perhaps it seems to Trump that Putin is the lever that will raise his moral weight and authority. Perhaps he seems to him to be a useful partner in times of extreme global confusion and volatility. It is possible that, in the opinion of the American president, a rapprochement with Putin will strengthen his reputation in the world, and will by no means will look like a fatal retreat. However, the principle should be that relations with Russia cannot return to normal, as long as it keeps the Crimea, cynically taken away from the Ukraine five years ago.
The Kremlin will try to fool the new and inexperienced president of the Ukraine, hoping that Western leaders will put pressure on him and forget a lot. However, the country where Sergey Skripal and his daughter were poisoned right before everyone's eyes should not silently watch this rehabilitation.
[back translation from the Russian]
Hear him, hear him, I say!
Let's hear it again for Great Britain!!!!
Those British are no fools and know full well what those damned Russkies are up to!
Like LikeOr the ubiquitous "Agent 404" and his well-earned down-time for killing journalists in Ukraine.Mark Chapman September 19, 2019 at 3:16 pm
Like LikeWell, there must be some truth to what he says – western food actually does plump you up.
Sep 22, 2019 | www.unz.com
Who Launched That Mystery Attack? Eric Margolis September 21, 2019 700 Words 14 Comments Reply Email This Page to SomeoneList of Bookmarks
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The Mideast has its own variety of crazy humor. The Saudis have been blasting and bombing wretched Yemen, one of this world's poorest nations, since 2015.
These US-supported attacks and a naval blockade of Yemen imposed by Saudi Arabia and its sidekick ally, the United Arab Emirates, have caused mass starvation. No one knows how many Yemenis have died or are currently starving. Estimates run from 250,000 to one million.
The black humor? The Saudis just claimed they were victims of Iranian `aggression' this past week after the kingdom's leading oil treatment facility at Abqaiq was hit by a flight of armed drones or cruise missiles. The usual American militarists, now led by State Secretary Mike Pompeo after the demented warmonger, John Bolton, was finally fired, are calling for military retaliation against Iran even though the attack was claimed by Yemen's Shia Houthi movement.
This drama came at roughly the same time that Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of US president Donald Trump, vowed to annex Palestine's entire Jordan Valley if elected. Not a peep of protest came from the US, which recently blessed Netanyahu's annexation of Syria's Golan Heights while scourging Russia's leader, Vladimir Putin, for annexing Crimea – a Russian possession for over 300 years.
I studied US photos of the damaged Saudi oil installations. Its oil tanks appear to be precisely hit at the same place. After the attack, the Saudis claimed half of their oil production was knocked out; but a day later, they vowed production would be resumed within a week. Parts of so-called drones were shown that appeared way beyond the technological capabilities of Yemen or even Iran. The missiles may have been supplied by Ukraine.
The Saudis, like their patron in Washington, have a poor record for truthfulness. Remember the Saudi denials about the murder of journalist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi? More important, we have been waiting for more false flag attacks in the Gulf designed to justify a US attack on Iran.
The pattern of so-called drone attacks against the Saudi oil installations is just too neat and symmetrical. The Israelis have a strong interest in promoting a US-Saudi War. The attacks in Saudi came ironically right after the anniversary of 9/11 that plunged the US into war against large parts of the Muslim world.
As a long-time military observer, I find it very hard to believe that drones could be guided over such long distances and so accurately without aircraft or satellites to guide them. In Yemen, which is just creeping into the 12th century, changing a flat tire is a major technological achievement. To date, Iran's missile arsenal has poor reliability and major guidance problems.
Adding to the questions, the Saudis have spent billions on US-made air defense systems. They failed to protect the oil installations. The Saudis would have been better off buying air defenses from the Russians, at a quarter of the US selling price.
ORDER IT NOW
Trump at least showed some wisdom by so far rejecting demands from the neocons that surround him to launch major attacks on Iran. Blasting Iran would not serve much purpose and would expose US forces in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Somalia, and Syria to Iranian guerrilla attacks. Saudi oil installations – after what we saw last week – are vulnerable.
Attacking Iran, even if just from the air, risks a much wider Mideast war just as the Trump administration – which originally campaigned against 'stupid' Mideast wars – faces next year's elections. But the administration is under intense pressure from its pro-Israel base to go after Iran.
Bombing Iran's oil infrastructure would be relatively easy and has been intensively planned since early 2002. But what next? So-called 'regime change' (Washington's favorite euphemism for overthrowing disobedient foreign governments) rarely works as planned and can get the US into horribly messy situations. The CIA overthrew Iran's democratic government in 1953 and look where we are today.
Perhaps the attacks on Abqaiq may cause the reckless Saudi leaders to stop devastating Yemen and throttle back on their proxy war against Iran which has gone on since 1979. But don't count on it.
Alistair , says: September 21, 2019 at 3:16 pm GMT"WHO LAUNCHED THAT MYSTERY ATTACK? "Miro23 , says: September 22, 2019 at 12:25 am GMT
The so called "Zionist Hawks" in Israel and Washington, who want to start a war between the USA and Iran.
These Hawks are under delusional assumption that an American led war against Iran would be a "Cakewalk", and that Iranians have no means to defend themselves, will capitulate – these are of course delusional assumptions – only found in disturbed minds of a bunch of Go-Getter Zionist Think-Tanks in Washington, DC who are eager to serve their own tribal interests at the US expense.
The US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and Iraq in 2003, both are still ongoing – have long proven how delusional are these ridiculous assumptions – Iran will be at least 10 times harder nut to crack than Iraq was under Saddam Hussein – at least not without serious consequences to the security of Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and the US itself, along with serious ramification to the post WWII international order under the USA; established since 1945.
By now, president Trump knows too well that he is being poorly served by these so called "Zionist Hawks" – who have instigated the US unilateral withdrawal from the Iranian Nuclear Agreement – but thanks to Trump's own instinct, and his close relationship with Emmanuel Macron; Shinzo Abe; and of course Vladimir Putin – so far, Trump has resisted the temptation of going to all out war against Iranians.
President Trump should ban these" Go-Getter Zionist Hawks" from the White House; they are "Disloyal Jews" – who are eager to serve their own tribal interests at the US expense.Rabbitnexus , says: September 22, 2019 at 1:42 am GMT
Trump at least showed some wisdom by so far rejecting demands from the neocons that surround him to launch major attacks on Iran.
He doesn't want to get involved in another Iraq (or worse) which makes excellent sense for the US and himself on many levels.
However, if the US Deep State (with the Israelis) could set up 9/11 without President Bush in the loop, then they could also arrange a False Flag attack on these oil installations, without Trump's knowledge.
The CIA looks very much like an independent international criminal enterprise, and they're used to working with their Israeli and Saudi friends.This is a seriously flawed analysis of Yemen's and Iran's actual capabilities. We've already seen Iran's precision strike capability in Iran and Syria and we've seen Yemen's homemade drones and missiles do similar to this at slightly lesser differences. The parts shown by SA are matches to Yemeni made missiles and drones such as Iran has been sharing around with their allies. The reason they avoided the US defences was that they came from a direction these do not cover, being pointed as they are at Iran. I'd say this was a Houthis attack and as they say, more will be coming if the aggression from SA against Yemen does not stop. One thing this attack has done is cool the heels of US, Saudi and Zionist warmongers. The damage done here by relatively small attack and cheap means gives some inkling of what things might look like after an attack on Iran. This was doubtless supported by Iran and as such a masterstroke. We enter a new paradigm.steinbergfeldwitzcohen , says: September 22, 2019 at 2:34 am GMTSaudi Arabian oil pipelines have always been vulnerable to attack. They are not well guarded at all. This is well known by Security Experts worldwide but not well known, it would seem, by hack 'journalists'.Stan , says: September 22, 2019 at 2:57 am GMT
Saudi Arabia is attacking Yemen as part of a long term plan to reroute it's oil pipelines to the other side of it's country, the Red Sea side, so that it is no longer vulnerable at the Strait of Hormuz 'choke point'. In order to get rid of the Iranian threat to it's oil as it leaves port in the Persian Gulf, the Saudi's must sustain huge costs and PR losses to "stabilize" Yemen by a brutal war and then transit it's oil via the Red Sea. This is also well known by Security Experts but not 'hack journalist'.
... .. ...Trump rejected neocon demands for a war with Iran as he saw his chances for re-election vanish in the smoke of an US-Iran war. If Trump is reelected Americans will have to worry every day about a US-Iran war.animalogic , says: September 22, 2019 at 8:23 am GMTI love this comment by Margolis, that the KSA & US have a "poor record for truthfulness"Justvisiting , says: September 22, 2019 at 4:34 pm GMT
Priceless. Apparently Genghis Khan had a poor record for brushing his feet on the mat before entering a town for a bit of light shopping.
Margolis also says the KSA's US made air defences "failed" to protect their oil installations. This maybe so. But apart from the fact that their air defences are orientated away from Yemen there's a good chance the defences were turned OFF -- apparently this is common practice in the KSA, esp on weekends.
I don't believe that Margolis's "mystery" is anywhere as deep as he suggests. The Houthis have received weapons & training from Iran/Hezbollah & have demonstrated an ability to hit KSA targets with unmanned aerial weapons.
Until better evidence appears, I'm willing to give it to the Houthis -- if for no other reason than that they deserve to get in some good licks against that vile "Kingdom" (I'd suggest they next hit the water purification plants that serve Riyadh with all its water – apparently, the city has about 3 days of water stored. Evacuating 6 million from the Capital, the Sauds would be exposed as the corrupt, negligent, incompetent, stupid, vicious frauds we all know they are.@Alistair
These Hawks are under delusional assumption that an American led war against Iran would be a "Cakewalk"
What they do know for sure is that the military industrial complex will increase its budget during and after such a war. Follow the money!
Sep 22, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Mark Chapman September 16, 2019 at 10:54 amI think the EU may have just fucked Nord Stream II. An EU General Court overturned the 2016 EU Commission decision to allow Gazprom to use more than 50% of the Opal pipeline, a critical choke point for both legs of Nord Stream II to get gas to the hub. If that decision can't be reversed again, a reasonable argument will be made that Nord stream II is not necessary, as Nord Stream alone can easily supply 50% capacity. The kicker is they do not have any other exporter who could make up the other 50% to use the pipeline to capacity. But this is a very shrewd move, as the Opal pipeline was always the weak link.et Al September 17, 2019 at 12:38 am
Ukraine, of course, will be dancing in the streets with delight. But I wouldn't be too quick to do that. Russia might still decline to renew the contract with Ukraine, and just let Europe go short, to teach it a lesson. Past time, in my opinion. Of course Uncle Sam will see that as the opportunity long looked for, and offer to step up with LNG imports. And that might be good, too, for a couple of years – let the Yurrupeans pay extortionate gas prices, and learn to be wary of America's temper tantrums translated to supply 'problems' which can only be resolved by making political concessions. Russia has always pretty much let Europe do its thing without pressuring it much, despite the hysterics you see in the media about weaponization of energy.
It is absolutely typical of Europe to wait until the pipeline is almost complete to offload that bomb. I suppose they figure Russia will have to agree to anything they say so as not to waste all that work and money. It also showcases Europe's complete unreliability in any business relationship, exactly in lock-step with American unreliability.I saw that news too. But then remember the original Nord Stream had a cap that was then lifted. If the EU insists on paying top $$$ for imported LNG from the US rather than lifting any sort of cap, I'd be interested to see how they justify that to EU citizen consumers.Moscow Exile September 17, 2019 at 9:55 am
I think the point is, again, not to react immediately to whatever outrage Brussels or its friends pick out of their ass. I could well imagine that NSII partners may well sue Brussels about this, actually file the papers. Brussels would argue 'But it's not us, it's the court', to which the lawyers would say 'We specifically asked you, and you came up with nothing in law'.
I think we will find the general court has taken a certain 'interpretation' of competition law that was 'advised' by Brussles. How NSII could get this far after all of these years and have a court come out with such a ruling. Expect egg on face and 'It's not me!'. I don't see how this 'ruling' can stand.
Like LikeThe Europeans Physically Shut Off the "Nord Stream" Tap – Everything Is Lost?Mark Chapman September 17, 2019 at 3:09 pm
Like Like"The Europeans apply antitrust legislation, which is designed to develop the competition. Why it is necessary to free up 50% of the gas pipeline's capacity? According to the idea of the legislators, it has to allow competition to arise. But when nobody can physically come to the start point of the OPAL gas pipeline, alternative suppliers have nowhere to come from. There physically isn't and can't be another supplier in OPAL!!! It's like banning water from being carried in full buckets!"et Al September 18, 2019 at 3:27 am
The very inspiration of competition is the introduction of anti-monopoly procedures to establish a lowest price by pitting the competitors against one another. I am pretty confident that Russia has always had the lowest prices, and can usually be induced to do a deal for lower prices yet in exchange for other considerations. When other countries do it, it's what dealing's all about – when Russia does it, it's weaponizing energy.
If you have a reliable supplier who has access to years of reserves and who consistently sells to you at a reasonable price, why do you have to impose a raft of new rules to bring in competitors who cannot match its prices and do not have access to plentiful supplies? Once again, for Yurrupeans who do not get it, competition is to arrive at a low price. If you start from a low price, it is stupid to mandate room for competitors who cannot get under it.
I suspect the Poles are behind this latest charade. But why is Germany going along with it? Opal lies entirely within Germany, and anything that risks constraining available supply risks Germany's status as a gas hub.
Anyway, as I suggested earlier, it would do Europe a world of good for Russia to short them gas for a little while and let them pay prices for outside supplies that would have their hair on fire. A period of throwing money away when you know there is a cheaper supply to which you cannot get access can be extremely educational. Uncle Sam would jump at the chance to sell Europe LNG and, at least in the beginning, would cut prices to the bone in order to establish market share. But it would still insist on making a profit, and it can't do that and match Russian prices, while its lengthy logistic chain depends on a lot of factors. If it became confident that its market share was both secure and relied upon, Europeans would quickly see how it was leveraged against them to American advantage.
Like LikeBut why is Germany going along with it?Mark Chapman September 18, 2019 at 3:15 pm
Indeed, why now ?
Helping the Ukraine in it's gas talks fit in my opinion. This 50% cap can be lifted, reintroduced/whatever and whenever by Brussels. It's a gangsta move.
Like LikeWell, actually, it can't. Be lifted and re-imposed willy-nilly, I mean. If it is, it would be pointless to build the pipeline in the first place, as Opal would merely take the place of Ukraine. The western tacticians want to keep Ukraine in the mix because they can use it to introduce complications and problems in gas delivery from Russia, which can at the same time be used to paint Russia as an unreliable partner. If Opal can't be relied upon to supply the opportunity to transit major volumes, Russia will have to make a deal with Ukraine so as to preserve a Plan B option. It would have been better to not build the pipeline, and still cease transit through Ukraine, labeling it instead as the unreliable part of the logistics chain, and Europe would just have to be satisfied with what it could get out of existing pipelines – minus Ukraine – running flat-out. After all, Europe maintained that a twin line for Nord Stream was not needed; mind you, when they said that, they were envisioning continued transit through Ukraine, complete with the prima donna antics Ukraine exhibits when it believes it has leverage.et Al September 19, 2019 at 11:51 am
The price of gas would go through the roof, and Russia would probably make just as much money, while the Europeans were weeping and tearing out their hair.
Ukraine's offer for the gas talks is 60 Billion Cubic Meters transit annually for 10 years. Russia will tell them to go fuck themselves. They're basically asking for a contract to transit the same amount they're transiting now, when there is no alternative, for ten more years.
Of course Sefcovic will pull out all the stops to get Russia to sign on, because he's a Ukraine partisan.
Like LikeWell, actually, it can't.Mark Chapman September 19, 2019 at 3:54 pm
I wish I could be so sure. Brussels likes to think it is kleva (sic 'field pipes'/TAP exemptions). I've looked for more details, and it is appealable (is that a word)?
For several years, Russia could use only 50% of the pipeline's capacity, as prescribed in the EU's Third Energy Package. Gazprom asked for permission to use OPAL's 100% capacity,
.In the summer of 2017, the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court decided to remove interim measures on Gazprom's use of Opal's facilities imposed by the lawsuit. Poland finds that now the decision of the European Court of Justice will not allow Gazprom to abandon gas transit through the territory of Ukraine.
On September 10, on considering Poland's lawsuit, the EU Court of Justice overturned the European Commission's decision of 2016, according to which Gazprom could fully use the capacities of the OPAL gas pipeline. The Russian company reserves the right to use 50% of OPAL's capacity, but it will no longer be able to participate in auctions for the remaining 40%.
So it is a continuation of previous legal ding-dongs.
The ruling is also important because of the reasoning behind it. The justices said the main reason for their decision was not to preserve third-party access to pipelines that run through Europe but to maintain the EU's energy-solidarity policy. This opens the door to future litigation based on such policy
WTF? So it's not about allowing 3rd party access after all. The Court is ruling on a completely different aspect! So this is about a different rule of the EU's Third Energy Package that a) post dates the original Nord Stream; b) ignores that NSII follows the same route and is not substantially different to NS1. The Third Energy Package entered in to legislation in September 2009.* Excuse me, but 10 years late?
So it looks to me that the multipronged offensive against NSII though it has failed to stymie off-shore NSII because it is almost completely outside the EU (well, we'll see what happend with Denmark), it's temporarily struck gold with OPAL because it is on-shore EU.
Buuut, in leverageing against Russia to the benefit of Ukraine, it will directly impact Russia-EU-Ukraine talks:
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak "I think that, in terms of negotiations, this situation will be taken into account," **
Yet: Šefčovič said the decision was still very fresh, that his services were still studying it, and that it underlined how important the principle of energy solidarity is for Europe.
The ECJ ruled that the 2016 decision is "in breach of the principle of energy solidarity" because it failed to properly assess how to balance Germany's interests against the negative impacts on other EU member states .
Šefčovič avoided a direct answer, but insisted in the need of long-term contracts with Gazprom .
He explained that the Ukrainian side was willing to apply European law, saying this would bring clarity, transparency and efficiency. The letters sent by the Commission to both parties also stressed the importance of long-term contracts, he said . ***
Cake and eat it, Brussels? Kiev complying with 'European Law' when even EU member states do not? Ha ha ha! It all rather looks like vague horseshit to me. Open to creative interpretation a la Marcel Marceau.
Like LikeWhen I said, "Actually, it can't", I didn't mean Europe can't do it, I meant that the uncertainty it introduces will not likely prove satisfactory for Russia to play the game, since Brussels could arbitrarily decide to apply the cap any time it wishes Russia to transit more gas through Ukraine, and pay it more money. The only real solution for Russia is to make it crystal clear to Brussels that it is not going to sign a big fat transit contract with Ukraine, and then business as usual, with Ukraine getting up to its monkeyshines and demanding cheaper gas against the possibility of restricting exports to Europe. Ukraine has demonstrated that it is just like the United States in the sense that if it has any leverage over you, it will use it for its own ends. The west has made it clear it approves of these tactics, even when they cause a temporary shutdown of gas exports to Europe.Patient Observer September 18, 2019 at 7:32 pm
Brussels thinks it is being cute, and that Russia will now have to do as Brussels wants it to. Russia has little choice but to play hardball, and let it be known that it has no intention of signing a long-term agreement with Ukraine to transit the same volumes of gas it always did – what the fuck was Nord Stream II all about? If Europe – and especially those perfidious krauts – want to cap the amount going through the Opal line at 50% of capacity, so be it. Europe will just have to adjust to 60 BcM less supply; maybe Uncle Sugar can send a fleet of LNG tankers to make up the difference, at double the cost. But if Russia signs on to transit 60 BcM annually through Ukraine, it is right back where it started, and built an expensive pipeline for nothing. Stand firm, Russia. Europe does not have an alternative gas supplier, and nothing would teach it that lesson like a year or so of scraping to find enough gas, and paying through the nose for it. It's always chunnering about alternative suppliers – go and find them!
Like LikeAbsolutely insane. The EU/Anglo/US fascists are making their last stand and forcing Russia into a corner with the only way out to continue transit through Ukraine. Oh, the humiliation will be so sweet!Mark Chapman September 19, 2019 at 3:47 am
I think the Russian reaction will be a big Fuck You. Its all about LNG and the need to save the US gas frackers and their debt. Oh, and to drive a wedge to further separate Russia from Europe. Perfect, Russia can now focus on its future and forget that rotting corpse of Western civilization.
Like LikeOh, I think Nord Stream II will still go through anyway, in the end. But a great deal depends on Russia not signing another 10-year gas deal with Ukraine for 60 BcM annually. If it does that, then there really is no difference from today, and Nord Stream II would just be an extra line for use in emergencies. I can't believe any of the partners want that, as there would be little opportunity for them to profit, which is why I wonder why Germany is being so passive. Have they been persuaded to take one for Team Ukraine? Again, I find that hard to believe. It is essentially a question of Ukraine being Europe's gas hub, or Germany. And it should be more than plain to Europe by now that Ukraine will happily toss a wrench in the transit works any time Washington tells it to.
Europe needs Russian gas. But it wants it on entirely its own terms, with Brussels in control. Apparently it is not obvious that Europe is already in control – it is the buyer. If it doesn't want gas, it doesn't need to buy it. But it does want it. It just wants to wave the rule-book around every time it makes a purchase. Which would be obvious to it, if ever there came a time when it wanted it and couldn't get it.
Sep 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
in response of how NK treats journalists, Eva Bartlett of Syria fame did a number of reports from NK and she said she had more freedom than in many western countries. As long as you dont show fake propaganda and show the NK'ians in favorable ie real light, they have no problems. They were not asked to take particular shots or taken to particular places but left to do everything themselves.
I remember cops pulling me over for taking pics of barns in south dakota.. Many such events.. I remember cops pulling me over so many times I can write a book on it. Once for having a white bag on the front seat.. For looking too young.. For looking like a car bugler because I was under the dash fixing speaker wires.. For having driving lights on before they had those on cars as standard.. For changing lanes to avoid police.. Free country my testicles..
A User , Sep 14 2019 6:59 utc | 44I dunno how many have been following the issue of the 'brit-australian' trio who are in custody in Iran, but there are some oddities about these cases which suggest MI6/ ASIS are moronic and barefaced enough to try and propagandise the inevitable result of their own hamfisted stupidity.Norwegian , Sep 14 2019 7:36 utc | 46
No one had heard of Kylie Moore-Gilbert, Jolie King and Mark Firkin a week ago, then John Bolton copped the flick and suddenly australians & englanders are told that Iran has more than British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe slotted up, that two pom/oz types and a genuine Australian were also being held.
Jolie King and Mark Firkin had been arrested relatively recently and charged with espionage. They had been apprehended while flying a drone around a military establishment not far from Tehran.
They claim to be innocent civilians who had been flying their drone, taking vids with it and publishing them online in every country they drove through on the overland/sea jaunt from Darwin to London. Apparently both are University graduates who claim they didn't see the harm in doing what they were doing . . . yeah right, I guess it is possible to be that stupid but it is pretty unlikely. I'm old enough to remember that it wasn't that long ago when going into many of the nations between Oz and Iran with a ghetto blaster that would allow you to record and which had an AM or FM radio receiver would get you into the slammer quick smart.
Although the internet & associated cryptography has likely made such laws irrelevant, I cannot believe that a couple of months ago when the Grace II thing was kicking off any brit or australian could think flying drones around Iranian bases wouldn't get them into trouble.
Would anyone care to imagine what would happen to someone on holiday from Iran who got spotted flying a drone around Fort Dietrick or similar? No matter how many posts they had made about doing the same in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Panama & Mexico. Wouldn't that appear as if it were just cover lest something did go wrong?
But that is nothing cos up until today we have been told that nothing is known about another woman who has been in prison for a year on 'unknown charges'.
According to today's graun we still don't know the charges, but we do know she is another pom/oz type, Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a Cambridge-educated academic who we are told:"The University of Melbourne's website lists Dr Moore-Gilbert on its "Find an expert" page as a lecturer at the university's Asia Institute.
It says she "specializes in Middle Eastern politics, with a particular focus on the Arab Gulf states," and that she had published work on the 2011 Arab uprisings, authoritarian governance, and on the role of new media technologies in political activism."
Well don't her specialties line up closely with another brit educated woman caught teaching local Iranians how to stir trouble online in Iran, one Zaghari-Ratcliffe convicted of espionage after now england PM, then secretary of foreign affairs B Johnson, slipped up and admitted she had been training Iranians, in Iran.
This attempt to propagandize the arrests of spies may even succeed I suppose as most people just don't follow this stuff closely enough and the praised to the max western media is unlikely to disabuse them of their ignorance.Peter AU 1 @44Would anyone care to imagine what would happen to someone on holiday from Iran who got spotted flying a drone around Fort Dietrick or similar? No matter how many posts they had made about doing the same in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Panama & Mexico. Wouldn't that appear as if it were just cover lest something did go wrong?They were well aware that using drones could get them into trouble, they said so themselves talking about Cambodia, so in no doubt the same applied to Iran. https://www.instagram.com/p/BngpgAIHqpD/
The ruins of Angkor Wat Cambodia are a sacred place and you are warned that no drones are permitted, but you still are flying your drone and that all females must be fully covered, but you don't care, you just think you are untouchables, but you will fly your drone once too often in a restricted area and be caught.
Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Don Bacon , Sep 17 2019 21:06 utc | 19It's become standard procedure for the US and its MSM to consider that Iran is totally responsible for all anti-US events in the Middle East because of actions by Iran's "proxy forces" in other countries. While these events usually have more diverse objectives, it's often Iran did this and Iran did that. But there's no legal basis for that.Jackrabbit , Sep 17 2019 21:07 utc | 20
Here's some words on proxy relationships from DefenseOne: (excerpts)Iran's proxy relationships have given it an extraordinary ability to impose costs on its adversaries while obscuring its role. Doing so allows it to manage its risks while politically constraining its adversaries' response. It might seem intuitive to simply declare Iran responsible, and satisfying to retaliate against it directly. But international law sets a high bar for holding a proxy's benefactor responsible for the actions of its proxy, making it difficult to build the kind of international consensus necessary to the legitimacy for any retaliation.
Under international law, a state is accountable for the unlawful actions of a proxy only if an organ of the state ordered the proxy to commit the act. It is not sufficient simply to have provided material support or even encouraged the unlawful act. For example, in the 1980s, the International Court of Justice found the United States not liable for Contra violations of international humanitarian law, even after concluding that the United States had "financed, organized, trained, supplied, equipped and armed" the Contras, even to the point of providing training materials that discussed "shoot civilians attempting to leave a town, neutralize local judges and officials, hire professional criminals to carry out 'jobs,' and provoke violence at mass demonstrations to create 'martyrs'."
Setting the bar so high establishes perverse incentives. A state that employs proxies is discouraged from moderating their behavior, since any attempt at moderation could imply effective control, and even from acknowledging the proxy relationships. So without proof that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which typically manages Iran's proxy relationships, ordered or participated in the attacks, there is little for which Saudi Arabia or the United States can hold Iran legally accountable.. . herePeter AU 1vk , Sep 17 2019 21:10 utc | 23
Yeah. USA+allies still have a soft blockade via sanctions. And every attack that is attributed to Iran strengthens that.
It doesn't make sense that Iran participated in the attack.
And it doesn't make sense that Houthi did the damage we see by themselves.
Either they increased the damage to create a reason for war OR they increased the damage to help Netanyahu and increase oil prices.@ Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 17 2019 20:50 utc | 16uncle tungsten , Sep 17 2019 21:12 utc | 24
9/11 doesn't even compare to the Houthi attack.
In 2001, drones were just a distant dream. It also involves a chain of once in a lifetime of human errors by at least three governmental institutions (CIA, FBI and Pentagon).
What the Houthi did in 2019 is not that far fetched. Drones are a much more developed and cheap technology, and Saudi Arabia is a basket case of a country. Surprise is how much soft power they did enjoy in the West, since many commenters here still insist Saudi Arabia is some kind of fascist utopia that couldn't be tricked by a bunch of stone age cave dwellers (which the Houthi aren't any way). Looks like the USA's aura of invincibility is contagious.Jackrabbit #16. Perhaps increased tensions are enough to get Nuttyahoo elected (which I think fits with the supposition that this attack is false flag). However My guess is that the Houthis will prosecute this war to the very doorsteps of the holy mosques in KSA and exact immense retribution if they can. They are responding to 5 years of geocidal assault and cannot but fight to the death.
Trump and his immaculate surrounds of holy zionists and pentecostal towel boys are in thrall. Mesmerised by their inspired service to the holy writ. No doubt they consult daily with their personal rabbi who talks through his fedora as O would have it. But they are beholden to something evil and beneath the dignity of humankind.
Perhaps war will be avoided by dithering and too elaborate plotting but I still consider that justice might manifest in a meteor strike on their heads.
Sep 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Needless to say, the news from Afghanistan is always murky, and the U.S. is far from gone. Still, the BBC headline from September 3 tells us a lot: "Afghanistan war: US-Taliban deal would see 5,400 troops withdraw." U.S. negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad has hammered out an agreement, "in principle," with the Taliban.
He has now shared some of the details with the Afghan government -- which, revealingly, hasn't been involved in the negotiations -- and with the world as well. In other words, the U.S. has been bypassing its Kabul client regime in pursuit of a deal with the Taliban. Obviously, the fact that our Afghan ally has been left out of the negotiations is not a good sign for its relevance -- or its viability.
To be sure, even if those 5,400 American troops leave, another 8,600 would remain, plus an unknown number of contractors and operatives. Yet it's obvious that if the U.S. couldn't pacify Afghanistan with 100,000 troops at the beginning of this decade, it's not going to do much with a tiny fraction thereof. In fact, our current dealings with the Taliban recall our dealings with North Vietnam in the early '70s.
Back then, President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser Henry Kissinger were looking to negotiate with North Vietnam to find a way out. Their hope was for "peace with honor." Yet the appearance of "peace with honor" is not necessarily the same thing as the reality . Behind the scenes, it was grubbier. Nixon and Kissinger understood that the South Vietnamese government was deathly afraid of a U.S. deal with North Vietnam because Saigon understood that any such agreement would leave it in the lurch, unable to defend itself. North Vietnam, after all, was supported by both the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. And so Nixon and Kissinger simply pushed South Vietnam out of the loop. Indeed, South Vietnamese fears would have been fully confirmed had they heard Kissinger speaking to Nixon inside the White House in October 1972, as recorded by the notorious secret taping system.
As Kissinger put it, the U.S. should be hoping for a "decent interval" between the American departure and the inevitable fall of the Saigon government. And that's what happened: the Paris Peace Accords were signed on January 27, 1973, and barely more than two years later, on April 30, 1975, Saigon fell. Understandably, millions of South Vietnamese sought to flee the communists, and that, again, is how D.C. -- and the U.S. as a whole -- gained so many new restaurants. All that history is familiar to the policymakers and pundits of today. And so inside the Beltway, the debate over the future of Afghanistan -- more precisely, U.S. involvement in the conflict -- is far from over.
As TAC contributor Doug Bandow noted on August 29, the foreign policy establishment, a.k.a. "the Blob," is perpetually in favor of staying in Afghanistan, because, well, establishments are always perpetually in favor of doing everything that they're doing, perpetually. After all, who wants to admit a mistake? Especially when establishmentarians can snugly oversee the war from their armchairs in a Massachusetts Avenue think-tank? In the meantime, American losses continue to mount. On August 29, another G.I. was killed in Afghanistan; that would be Army Sergeant First Class Dustin B. Ard of Idaho Falls, Idaho. He leaves behind his pregnant wife Mary and daughter Reagan. Ard's death was the 15th this year, bringing the total of American military deaths in Afghanistan to nearly 2,400 .
Yet in spite of all this American sacrifice, the Taliban controls more territory than at any time since 2001. Indeed, the Taliban has proven its ability to strike anywhere, including inside Kabul; just on September 3, suicide bombers struck an international compound, killing at least 19. Tellingly, local Afghans now want the international residents out of their neighborhood, because they know the presence of foreigners is a magnet for Taliban killers -- whom nobody seems able to stop.
We can pause to observe that such popular fatalism dooms a regime. It makes people -- especially those with links to the West -- likely to flee. To be sure, there's no telling exactly when the Kabul government will crumble, as well as how, exactly, it will crumble.
After all, President Trump hasn't even signed off on Khalilzad's draft deal, and even if he does, he could always change his mind. The ability of the Blob to swallow presidents is not to be underestimated -- and Trump is a case in point. For decades, reaching back to his career as a businessman, Trump had been a skeptic of foreign military engagements, and he explicitly campaigned against "endless wars" in 2016.
Yet since then, the Blob has been extending pseudopods of keep-the-status-quo cajolery deep within his administration. Trump has thus been persuaded to keep the U.S. engaged, or, if one prefers, quagmired .
Remarkably, in August 2017, Trump even delivered a primetime speech on Afghanistan in which he pledged "victory." Even if Trump doesn't talk up victory anymore, nobody can say what exactly he will do. Does he want to get credit for extricating the U.S., finally, from an unpopular war?
Or does he not want to see a foreign capital fall on his watch? Whatever the case, it seems evident that the remaining sand is running out of the Afghan hourglass.
In the two years since that go-get-'em speech, Trump has expended zero rhetorical effort in support of the Afghan mission; instead he and his administration have shifted their focus to China. (And yes, there's also that fascination with Iran, although there again, because Trump is Trump, it's hard to know what will come of it. It could be anything from an armed conflict to a Kim Jong-un-ish summit.) In the meantime, the Democrats, too, have moved on. It wasn't that long ago that Barack Obama was referring to Afghanistan as the "good war," while surging American troops; Obama, too, was pseudopod-ed by the Blob. And while the 44th president soon enough realized that the new doctrine of counter-insurgency wasn't working any better than the old doctrine of counter-terrorism, he chose not to get cross-wise with the Blob -- and so American troops stayed. Yet today, nobody in the 2020 Democratic presidential field -- not even Obama alum Joe Biden -- has any enthusiasm for the Afghan mission. So whether it's a re-elected Trump or a newly elected Democrat in the White House in 2021, the U.S. is going to be looking for that fig-leafy "decent interval." It could come in the form of a bilateral agreement, or perhaps an international conference, complete with the promise of U.N. peacekeepers (although unless they're Pakistani or Chinese "peacekeepers," any foreign force will likely wilt in the face of the Taliban, which is nothing if not good at killing). Yes, it's intriguing to note that Afghanistan has trillions of dollars' worth of natural resources waiting to be mined. And so if a stable regime could ever be established in that war-crossed land, great wealth could spring forth. But that's a manifest destiny for someone else, not Uncle Sam. What we're going to get stateside when this misadventure finally comes to an end is a lot of new refugees -- and a lot of new restaurants.
James P. Pinkerton is an author and contributing editor at . He served as a White House policy aide to both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Peter913 • a day agoIMHO, we should have left Afghanistan years ago. I'll settle for yesterday. To hell with the Rare Earth and our warmongers running/ruining foreign affairs!Late Jan 2021 • 21 hours agoToo late. The "decent interval" ended well over fifteen years ago.EliteCommInc. • 10 hours ago
I'm actually surprised that Trump isn't getting us out of there. He's told a lot of lies and broken a lot of promises, but that's one that would have been easy to keep, and he didn't do it. No spine.This all depends on one simple factor. The integrity of the Taliban verses the integrity of the communists in North Vietnam.Sid Finster • 10 hours ago
And trying to hedge a "we lost in Vietnam" slip and slide assail has no more veracity here than it had in 1975.
The Taliban are not an invading military force. The struggle as it is has been one of internal forces and players sharing the land and never having been but various communities that fought, lived and negotiated agreements all nearly all of the countries history, unlike Vietnam which has almost entire history had a North/South division.
We are going to have foreign restaurants regardless, but interventions just invite more of them.Quit calling the Kabul regime a "client". It's a puppet. The minute US forces leave Afghanistan, the puppet government in Kabul will fall. Don't be surprised if it collapses before the last US transport has its landing gear all the way up. Notwithstanding 2., yes, it's over. Time to pack up and move on. However, Trump can't do that.Patrick O'Connor • 6 hours ago
a. If Trump were to order a withdrawal from Afghanistan, his political opponents would pounce. Expect lots of cries of "Putin puppet", angry denunciations of "Who lost Afghanistan?" and heart-rending images depicting the fates of suffering girls. Not to mention the grisly fates those persons so foolish as to cooperate with the United States.
Let us not kid ourselves - some of these images will in fact be genuine.
Also, Sunni Islamicists will be emboldened. It took some 18 years, but in the end, they sent the Americans home packing.
No matter how you spin it, they won and we lost. Yes, the much hyped and much bloated United States military was unable to defeat some medieval farmers in flip flops, who cannot boast so much as a Piper Cub to their name, much less a drone or a cluster bomb.
If Trump had really wanted to leave Afghanistan, the time to do it was when he first entered office. Blame his predecessors and wash his hands of the situation while the political price was at its lowest. But Trump is weak, stupid and easily manipulated. He listened to the generals, and the price of leaving has only risen and will only keep rising.
b. They aren't much good for anything but staging, but Trump wants those Afghan outposts for the war on Iran that his Saudi owners and Israeli masters so crave.
Of course, eighteen odd years and countless dollars, only to be defeated by peasants without a single fighter jet or drone is not exactly great PR for the folks trying to convince us that they really can win this time, why, Iran will be a walk in the park!
Trump is an imbecile, of course, but he is doing about the only thing he can do in Afghanistan, which is, to try and maintain a semblance of control over major population centers and pretend we're not losing.All the Democrats should be on the bandwagon for withdrawal yesterday because Trump's October Surprise could be announcing peace in our time and getting the hell out. It is a promise he can actually keep. It is not like he is getting his wall.stevek9 • 6 hours ago'Does he want to get credit for extricating the U.S., finally, from an unpopular war? Or does he not want to see a foreign capital fall on his watch?'Clyde Schechter • 6 hours ago
Any politician with sense knows that the American public could not care less about the fall of Kabul (what's a kabul?). That's the American people. Campaign contributions from the MIC is a different matter.Trump has become, himself, part of "the Blob." By hiring Pompeo and Bolton to head his foreign policy team he has abandoned any pretense of being an anti-war pro-restraint president. He's gone full neo-con and it's long past time conservatives stop pretending he hasn't.Rossbach • 4 hours agoWho gets to decide how many "refugees" the US will get from Afghanistan? Some of us would gladly forgo all these wonderful new restaurants to protect our communities from yet another "refugee" surge.
Sep 17, 2019 | caucus99percent.com
gjohnsit on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 6:22pm Congress is looking to impose new sanctions on Russia and any company that works with Russia.Two bills in the House and the Senate, instead of penalizing the major gas companies involved, would target a perceived weak link: the specialized pipe-laying companies working on Nord Stream 2 (and on the Russian state-controlled gas company Gazprom's TurkStream project, which will bring Russian gas across the Black Sea to Turkey and eventually to Europe). The bills would sanction pipe-laying companies involved in the project, freezing their U.S. assets and prohibiting them from doing U.S. business.
One problem with these sanctions is that they are largely after-the-fact when it comes to laying underwater pipe. Turkstream is already done. Nord Stream is about 75% done, but Congress still believes they can stop it .President Donald Trump has recommended Germany buy U.S. liquefied natural gas. That would benefit Cruz's home state of Texas, the country's largest producer of natural gas.
A second problem is that Germany doesn't want us dictating their foreign policy. According to a recent survey, only 19 percent of Germans considered the United States a trustworthy partner (well behind Russia).
Pluto's Republic on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 6:42pm snoopydawg on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 7:27pmCongress put sanctions on Russia aluminum remember?Linda Wood on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 8:51pm
Oleg D.....something had a part in the Russia Gate saga and so his aluminum factory was punished. But then Trump relaxed them after Oleg sold his part. Now McConnell is allowing Oleg to build a huge aluminum plant in Kentucky so off course he too is under Vlad's thumb. I recently found out that Oleg has had ties to Mueller and others in our intelligence agencies. I don't think there is one supposed Russian bad man involved in Russia Gate that doesn't have connections to Mueller and his goons. Misfud, Halpern (?), and too many other people who played "the spy who loved me" game. Most of them tried to entrap someone in Trump's campaign.
If Europe wants to spend more money importing our gas and make their citizens pay higher prices then they need to be voted out. Do their citizens even know about this? Do the people in Ukraine know why they are expected to freeze this winter or pay higher prices for gas? Russia does seem to be made of teflon. Nothing seems to stick to them.Deripaska?MrWebster on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 9:52am
Oleg D.....something had a part in the Russia Gate saga and so his aluminum factory was punished. But then Trump relaxed them after Oleg sold his part. Now McConnell is allowing Oleg to build a huge aluminum plant in Kentucky so off course he too is under Vlad's thumb. I recently found out that Oleg has had ties to Mueller and others in our intelligence agencies. I don't think there is one supposed Russian bad man involved in Russia Gate that doesn't have connections to Mueller and his goons. Misfud, Halpern (?), and too many other people who played "the spy who loved me" game. Most of them tried to entrap someone in Trump's campaign.
If Europe wants to spend more money importing our gas and make their citizens pay higher prices then they need to be voted out. Do their citizens even know about this? Do the people in Ukraine know why they are expected to freeze this winter or pay higher prices for gas? Russia does seem to be made of teflon. Nothing seems to stick to them.And it was Europeans that complained on that one.jim p on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 10:32pm
I remember TOP making a big point about the aluminium saying it was Trump really kowtowing to Putin as sanctions were lifted. Turns about that the majority of production was in Western Europe in particular Ireland. Something like upwards of 30K people would end up losing their jobs.I've readThe Voice In th... on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 10:42pm
around the web that Russia has become self-sufficient in food following a push by government. Food, btw that has no GMOs by law. I think even their food exports have grown greatly. If true, even when Europe shakes off the leash, EU farmers won't have the Russian market anymore.
What I know for a fact is that conscious enemy moles hell-bent on destroying the US could all retire; comforted that job is being done by swiftly and completely by our rulers (both visible and not).Last year (?) I read about a big trade dealedg on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:25pm
between Russia and China. Russian oil and gas in exchange for Chinese chickens. At the time I wondered at a nuclear power that can't raise chickens as any peasant in America (and China) can.
around the web that Russia has become self-sufficient in food following a push by government. Food, btw that has no GMOs by law. I think even their food exports have grown greatly.
If true, even when Europe shakes off the leash, EU farmers won't have the Russian market anymore.
What I know for a fact is that conscious enemy moles hell-bent on destroying the US could all retire; comforted that job is being done by swiftly and completely by our rulers (both visible and not).Russian ChickensMrWebster on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 9:46am
@The Voice In the Wilderness
That gas for chicken deal can't be right. Russia produces twice as much chicken meat as the world average. In fact, they're overproducing so much they've started slowing down production.
As of early 2019, Russia was manufacturing 33.7 kg of poultry per capita, the fourth-highest rate in the world, said Elena Stepanova, deputy director of Rosptitsesoyuz, speaking at the Russian Meat and Feed Industry conference in Moscow.
The world's 2019 average rate is 16.2 kg per capita, and current production in Russia was already equal to domestic demand, Stepanova said.
"In 2019, we forecast some increase in production, but this growth will be attributed primarily to exports. We consider the balance on the domestic poultry market as fully built," Stepanova said, adding that overall poultry production in Russia in 2019 was expected to grow by 2.7% compared to the previous year, to 5.11 million tons.
Source: Russian Poultry Production Down 6.2% in First Quarter Y/y
between Russia and China. Russian oil and gas in exchange for Chinese chickens.
At the time I wondered at a nuclear power that can't raise chickens as any peasant in America (and China) can.Some Russians say thanks to sanctions for food independencehumphrey on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 2:02am
@jim p Russia really played the long game when Putin put a halt to all EU food imports. Besides the food ban, the Russian government began an investment program to bolster domestic production of its own food replacements. Russian cheese anybody? And the programs just did not go to Russia's version of Big Agriculture factory farms--it went to small farmers also.
around the web that Russia has become self-sufficient in food following a push by government. Food, btw that has no GMOs by law. I think even their food exports have grown greatly.
If true, even when Europe shakes off the leash, EU farmers won't have the Russian market anymore.
What I know for a fact is that conscious enemy moles hell-bent on destroying the US could all retire; comforted that job is being done by swiftly and completely by our rulers (both visible and not).Putin is pretty good at giving a shiv to the MIC. LOLPricknick on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 3:27am
Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested Saudi Arabia should buy Russian air defense systems to protect its oil facilities from drone attacks, pointing to Iran and Turkey, who operate S-300 and S-400 missiles, respectively.
"Saudi Arabia needs to make a smart decision, as Iran did by buying our S-300, and as Mr. Erdogan did by deciding to buy the most advanced S-400 Triumph air defense systems from Russia," Putin told reporters in Ankara on Monday. "These kinds of systems are capable of defending any kind of infrastructure in Saudi Arabia from any kind of attack."
Putin was answering a question about the recent drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, which Washington has blamed on Iran, though Yemen's Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility. A coalition led by Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen in 2015 and has fought the Houthis there since.Had to laugh.The Liberal Moonbat on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 4:42am
the most advanced S-400 Triumph air defense systems
According to some, these are the advanced Trump air defense systems. Guaranteed to put out lots of hot air with stench of aftereffect.
He who dealt it.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested Saudi Arabia should buy Russian air defense systems to protect its oil facilities from drone attacks, pointing to Iran and Turkey, who operate S-300 and S-400 missiles, respectively.
"Saudi Arabia needs to make a smart decision, as Iran did by buying our S-300, and as Mr. Erdogan did by deciding to buy the most advanced S-400 Triumph air defense systems from Russia," Putin told reporters in Ankara on Monday. "These kinds of systems are capable of defending any kind of infrastructure in Saudi Arabia from any kind of attack."
Putin was answering a question about the recent drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, which Washington has blamed on Iran, though Yemen's Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility. A coalition led by Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen in 2015 and has fought the Houthis there since.Hey, I know how we can beat Russia...TheOtherMaven on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 7:31am
... CLEAN ENERGY THAT OBSOLETIZES FOSSIL FUELS, ASSHOLES!!!
WE COULD LITERALLY SAVE THE WORLD, BE EVERYONE'S HEROES AGAIN, RESURRECT OUR ECONOMY, END OUR WARS, AND PULL THE FLOOR RIGHT OUT FROM UNDERNEATH RUSSIA AND ALL THOSE GOSHAWFUL ISLAMIC TERRORISTS!At the rate and in the direction things are goinglizzyh7 on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 1:01pm
@The Liberal Moonbat
China will get there first.
... CLEAN ENERGY THAT OBSOLETIZES FOSSIL FUELS, ASSHOLES!!!
WE COULD LITERALLY SAVE THE WORLD, BE EVERYONE'S HEROES AGAIN, RESURRECT OUR ECONOMY, END OUR WARS, AND PULL THE FLOOR RIGHT OUT FROM UNDERNEATH RUSSIA AND ALL THOSE GOSHAWFUL ISLAMIC TERRORISTS!But "we" have no real desireThe Wizard on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 8:43am
@The Liberal Moonbat to stop Islamist terrorists, we fund them to keep the forever wars going. I realize you know that, I just could not help myself there. Whenever I hear we must "fight terrorism" my brain automatically goes back to all the things I have read showing how we not only actively created those terrorists to fight our enemies who will not accept our American interests dominating the world, but how many more we make every day we are there destroying their countries.
... CLEAN ENERGY THAT OBSOLETIZES FOSSIL FUELS, ASSHOLES!!!
WE COULD LITERALLY SAVE THE WORLD, BE EVERYONE'S HEROES AGAIN, RESURRECT OUR ECONOMY, END OUR WARS, AND PULL THE FLOOR RIGHT OUT FROM UNDERNEATH RUSSIA AND ALL THOSE GOSHAWFUL ISLAMIC TERRORISTS!Nice summary gjohnsitMrWebster on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 11:17am
The Russian economy is arguably the healthiest in the world. It's national debt barely shows as a blip on a bar graph with other nations. She has enough cash to pay it off all her debt today. She sold almost all of her US government bonds.
Elvira Nabuillina, head of the Russian Bank, is perhaps the most competent national economic manager in the world. The feeling in Russia is that she is too conservative and high interest rates are the major factor in slower economic growth.
Russia is the largest grower and exporter of wheat in the world, passing the US by a factor of two.
The energy sector is down to 10% of the economy. However all three new pipelines will turn on by the end of the year generating huge cash streams. Russia has solid trading partnerships with nations representing the vast majority of the people and trade on the planet. Food in Russia is great, and I mean really great. It's also very eclectic with cuisine from all over the world and produced to extremely high standards. GMO is illegal. No weird proteins in your cereal in the morning. American fast food tastes better in Russia because it's made with locally grown produce.
My impression is that Russia is a continuing work in process in construction and reconstruction, everywhere. The stuff that is done is above Western standards, it amazes in gigantic scope and innovativeness.
I just visited the new aquarium in Vladivostok. It towers above the ones in Boston and LA, maybe by an order of magnitude.
The tallest building in Europe is in St. Petersburg, the next 5 tallest in Moscow City Center.
The longest bridge in Europe is in Russia. My impression is that Russia is a dynamic fast growing country and in contrast the US can't do anything new. The US must have that gigantic defense budget, ten times that of Russia, to protect it from what? (hmmm). There is nothing, I repeat nothing, that the US congress can do to slow down Russia today.
Some day soon we will need Russia as a friend. At that point we will have to deal with the incredibly bad karma that we created, out of irrational pure hatred and meaness.When did Russia use gas pipelines to blackmail Europe?
So the xenophobes claim that Nord Stream 2 would allow Russia to manipulate Europe's gas supply for political and other devious purposes. I searched and could not find any example in the past. But I was using Google which has become increasingly useless when searching on a number of topics. I did find articles about the Ukraine stealing the gas. Russia needs the money. I highly doubt they will screw over their investment.
But to the Europeans I say, go fer it. You want to see manipulation of your energy: start up a heavy reliance on American LNG.
Sep 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
For days we've been treated to MSM insinuations that President Trump may have betrayed the United States after a whistleblower lodged an 'urgent' complaint about something Trump promised another world leader - the details of which the White House has refused to share.
Then, we learned it was a phone call.
Then, we learned it was several phone calls.
Now, we learn it wasn't Russia or North Korea - it was Ukraine!
Here's the scandal; It appears that Trump, may have made promises to newly minted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky - very likely involving an effort to convince Ukraine to reopen its investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter, after Biden strongarmed Ukraine's prior government into firing its top prosecutor - something Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani have pursued for months . There are also unsupported rumors that Trump threatened to withhold $250 million in aid to help Ukraine fight Russian-backed separatists.
And while the MSM and Congressional Democrats are starting to focus on the sitting US president having a political opponent investigated, The New York Times admits that nothing Trump did would have been illegal , as "while Mr. Trump may have discussed intelligence activities with the foreign leader, he enjoys broad power as president to declassify intelligence secrets, order the intelligence community to act and otherwise direct the conduct of foreign policy as he sees fit."
Moreover, here's why Trump and Giuliani are going to dig their heels in; last year Biden openly bragged about threatening to hurl Ukraine into bankruptcy as Vice President if they didn't fire their top prosecutor , Viktor Shokin - who was leading a wide-ranging corruption investigation into a natural gas firm whose board Hunter Biden sat on.
In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees , sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn't immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. - The Hill
"I said, ' You're not getting the billion .' I'm going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ' I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money, '" bragged Biden, recalling the conversation with Poroshenko.
" Well, son of a bitch, he got fired . And they put in place someone who was solid at the time," Biden said at the Council on Foreign Relations event - while insisting that former president Obama was complicit in the threat.
In short, there's both smoke and fire here - and what's left of Biden's 2020 bid for president may be the largest casualty of the entire whistleblower scandal.
And by the transitive properties of the Obama administration 'vetting' Trump by sending spies into his campaign, Trump can simply say he was protecting America from someone who may have used his position of power to directly benefit his own family at the expense of justice.
Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, are acting as if they've found the holy grail of taking Trump down. On Thursday, the House Intelligence Committee chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) interviewed inspector general Michael Atkinson, with whom the whistleblower lodged their complaint - however despite three hours of testimony, he repeatedly declined to discuss the content of the complaint .
Following the session, Schiff gave an angry speech - demanding that acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire share the complaint , and calling the decision to withhold it "unprecedented."
"We cannot get an answer to the question about whether the White House is also involved in preventing this information from coming to Congress," said Schiff, adding "We're determined to do everything we can to determine what this urgent concern is to make sure that the national security is protected."
According to Schiff, someone "is trying to manipulate the system to keep information about an urgent matter from the Congress There certainly are a lot of indications that it was someone at a higher pay grade than the director of national intelligence," according to the Washington Post .
On thursday, Trump denied doing anything improper - tweeting " Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself. "
"Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially 'heavily populated' call. "
me title=Giuliani, meanwhile, went on CNN with Chris Cuomo Thursday to defend his discussions with Ukraine about investigating alleged election interference in the 2016 election to the benefit of Hillary Clinton conducted by Ukraine's previous government. According to Giuliani, Biden's dealings in Ukraine were 'tangential' to the 2016 election interference question - in which a Ukrainian court ruled that government officials meddled for Hillary in 2016 by releasing details of Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's 'Black Book' to Clinton campaign staffer Alexandra Chalupa.
And so - what the MSM doesn't appear to understand is that President Trump asking Ukraine to investigate Biden over something with legitimate underpinnings.
Which - of course, may lead to the Bidens' adventures in China , which Giuliani referred to in his CNN interview. And just like his Ukraine scandal , it involves actions which may have helped his son Hunter - who was making hand over fist in both countries.
Journalist Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash and now Secret Empires discovered that in 2013, then-Vice President Biden and his son Hunter flew together to China on Air Force Two - and two weeks later, Hunter's Journalist Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash and now Secret Empires discovered that in 2013, then-Vice President Biden and his son Hunter flew together to China on Air Force Two - and two weeks later, Hunter's firm inked a private equity deal for $1 billion with a subsidiary of the Chinese government's Bank of China , which expanded to $1.5 billion
Meanwhile, speculation is rampant over what this hornet's nest means for all involved...Dan Bongino ✔ @dbongino
The latest intell hit on Trump tells me that the deep-state swamp rats are in a panic over the Ukrainian/Obama admin collusion about to be outed in the IG report. They're also freaked out over Biden's shady Ukrainian deals with his kid.
blindfaith , 18 seconds ago linkn0vocaine , 24 seconds ago link
Hunter's firm inked a private equity deal for $1 billion with a subsidiary of the Chinese government's Bank of China , which expanded to $1.5 billion
Lets clarify this a bit. The 1 billion came from the RED CHINESE ARMY, lets call spade a spade here. And why? To buy into (invest in ) DARPA related contractors. The RED CHINESE NAVY was so impressed with little sonny's performance (meaning daddy's help), that they handed over an additions 500,000.
Without daddy's influence as VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and that FREE PLANE RIDE on Air Force TWO with daddy holding sonny's little hand, little sonny never would have gotten past the ticket booth.Tom Angle , 1 minute ago link
"House Democrats are also looking into whether Giuliani flew to Ukraine to 'encourage' them to investigate Hunter Biden and his involvement with Burisma."
LOL looking into someone looking into a crime that may have been committed by a Democrat... they're some big brained individuals these dummycrats.TahoeBilly2012 , 2 minutes ago link
Putting him in the hot seat would be to ask why he sponsored a coup and backed a neo Nazi party. When he starts to lie, put up images of the party he back wearing inverted Das Reich arm bands and flying flags. Now that would be real journalism.Everybodys All American , 12 minutes ago link
"Blame your enemies for your crimes"NotGonnaTakeItAnymore , 13 minutes ago link
It's awfully clear that the US department of justice is not going to do a damn thing about the Biden family's corruption.The EveryThing Bubble , 14 minutes ago link
The Bidens show precisely that power corrupts. They both need to be investigated and then jailed. To the countries of the world that depend on the USA for any kind of help, they had to deal with Joe 'what's in-it-for-me' Biden? What a disgrace for America.
I think every sitting President, Vice President, senator, and representative needs a yearly lie-detector test that asks but one question: "did you do anything in your official duties that personally benefited you or your family?"
Didn't you ever wonder how so many senators and representatives end up multi-millionaires after a couple terms in office?RozKo , 11 minutes ago link
Why the fuuk do we have have to put up with this jackass. All the talk on cable, etc, is all ********. Trump is a fuuking crook, and Barr is his bag man,. He has surrounded hinmself with toadies, cowards , incompetents and a trash family. Rise up, call your representatives, March on DC get this crook out of office.
Call anyone you can think of, challenge them to overcome their cowardice, including members of congress, cabinet, your governor
And finally Vote this bastard out in 2020RabbitOne , 14 minutes ago link
Same could be said for the Democrats and all their Russian collusion lies and Beto wants to FORCE people to sell their weapons to the government, right.......turbojarhead , 58 seconds ago link
" ...The complaint <against the president> involved communications with a foreign leader and a "promise" that Trump made, which was so alarming that a U.S. intelligence official <who monitored Trumps call> who had worked at the White House went to the inspector general of the intelligence community, two former U.S. officials said. ..."
What this tells:
1. If president Trump is monitored this way our spooks know the number of hairs in our crotches...
2. If we convicted on promises most in congress would be hung by the neck til dead for treason for not following the constitution...Gold Banit , 15 minutes ago link
Anybody that thinks that Trump, having had Roy Cohn as his mentor, and working in cut-throat NY real estate for years, AND having dealt with political snakes for many years..would allow himself to be taped saying something on a call that he KNOWS the Intel Community is listening in, is not paying attention.
This will backfire on the Dems and the media. Trump set them all up again..
My guess is the Dems will be hounding the IC for the complaint, will call Barr and the DNI in an investigation ran live on CNN and MSNBC..that will show how corrupt Biden was. Everytime you hear Alexandra Chalupa's name come up, look for the MSM to go ballistic..she is the tell in this one also. It cannot be allowed for the plebes to find out how Manafort was setup, Ukraine assisted the DNC in the fake Russian election interference farce..hey, guess what, guess who is an ardent Ukraininan nationalist? The head of Crowdstrike. Chalupa and Alparovich, the names that will bring down more dirty Dems than anyone in history.schroedingersrat , 21 minutes ago link
I have a trick question for for all of the DemoRats posters here!
Who is your President and will be for the next 6 years?
It is not your Hillary or your Putin......Fact......LMFAOblindfaith , 27 minutes ago link
For days we've been treated to MSM insinuations that President Trump may have betrayed the United States
Trump is a traitor, but he does not work for either Ukraine nor Russia but instead he works for Israel first and foremost! He even admits it himself. Lol he doesn't even give a shite when Israel taps his phone :)otschelnik , 25 minutes ago link
House Democrats are also looking into whether Giuliani flew to Ukraine to 'encourage' them to investigate Hunter Biden and his involvement with Burisma.
This bunch of filthy swine should be looking up each others asses for answers. Actually the Ukrainians have been screaming for over a year at the DOJ and FBI to take the evidence they have. But the rotten to the core Democrat socialist lefties wanted to block it.Ex-Kalifornian , 27 minutes ago link
Six ways to Sunday. This is another **** bomb that'll blow up in the dimocrat's faces, it will take Biden down.
Warren = Trump 2020.vasilievich , 27 minutes ago link
This does nothing to Biden because he gets a free pass on corruption like every other dem.....
This is all beginning to read like one those Roman histories of the decay of the Empire.
Sep 16, 2019 | nationalinterest.org
The United States cannot resist the urge to meddle. Worse, U.S. officials can't seem to decide which faction they want to back.
The Western-created disaster in Libya continues to grow worse. Fighting between Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar's so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) and the even more misnamed Government of National Accord (GNA) has intensified in and around Tripoli. The LNA boasted on September 11 that its forces had routed troops of the Sarraj militia, a GNA ally, killing about two hundred of them. That total may be exaggerated, but there is no doubt that the situation has become increasingly violent and chaotic in Tripoli and other portions of Libya, with innocent civilians bearing the brunt of the suffering.
An article in Bloomberg News provides a succinct account of the poisonous fruits of the U.S.-led "humanitarian" military intervention in 2011. "Libya is enduring its worst violence since the 2011 NATO-backed ouster of Muammar el-Qaddafi, which ushered in years of instability that allowed Islamist radicals to thrive and turned the country into a hub for migrants destined to Europe. Haftar had launched the war as the United Nations was laying the ground for a political conference to unite the country. It is now more divided than ever." The country has become the plaything not only of rival domestic factions but major Middle East powers , including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Those regimes are waging a ruthless geopolitical competition, providing arms and in some cases even launching airstrike