Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization

News Neoliberalism Recommended Links American Exceptionalism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists as Fifth Column of Financial Oligarchy
Two Party System as Polyarchy Slightly skeptical view on US Presidential Elections of 2016 Donald Trump      
Corporatism Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on crisis of  neoliberalism Neocons as USA neo-fascists National Security State National Socialism and Military Keysianism Media-Military-Industrial Complex
The Great Transformation Neoliberalism as secular religion, "idolatry of money" Techno-fundamentalism Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure Globalization of Financial Flows Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime
Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Friedman --founder of Chicago school of deification of market Neoliberalism Bookshelf   Greenspan humor Etc

"Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy, the moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days, my friends, will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves, to our fellow men.

Recognition of that falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing.

Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, and on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live."

Franklin D. Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933

Globalization and free trade are fast becoming dirty words. That’s because they are   culprits for major  shocks—like the 2008 financial crisis. In the United States alone, median household income has been practically stagnant for about three decades, the labor market continues to be anemic, manufacturing jobs have been lost, and many have experienced a significant deterioration in living standards.

Much of the post-Brexit and primary election conventional wisdom seems to be stuck in a political narrative in which the Brexit vote and the rise of Trump_vs_deep_state in the United States are seen as symbols of the populist revolution. These symbols are combined with a nationalist tide has been sweeping not only the United Kingdom and the United States, but also many other parts of Europe, including Poland, Hungary, France, The Netherlands and Scandinavia, not to mention, Russia, Turkey, India and Israel.

According to this narrative, economic insecurity and cultural anxiety that reflect sociodemographic trends have given momentum to ethnonationalism and religious separatism in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The Rust Belt is pitted against New York City, and the Midlands against London.

All this means that the crisis of neoliberalism, which started in 2008 now obtained political dimension, when the institutions created by neoliberalism are under attacks from the disgruntled population. The power of neoliberal propaganda, the power of brainwashing and indoctrination of population via MSM, schools and universities to push forward neoliberal globalization started to evaporate.

This is about the crisis of neoliberal ideology and especially Trotskyism part of it (neoliberalism can be viewed as Trotskyism for the rich). The following integral elements of this ideology no longer work well and are starting to cause the backlash:

  1. High level of inequality as the explicit, desirable goal (which raises the productivity). "Greed is good" or "Trickle down economics" -- redistribution of wealth up will create (via higher productivity) enough scrapes for the lower classes, lifting all boats.
  2. "Neoliberal rationality" when everything is a commodity that should be traded at specific market. Human beings also are viewed as market actors with every field of activity seen as a specialized market. Every entity (public or private, person, business, state) should be governed as a firm. "Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres-such as learning, dating, or exercising-in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices." People are just " human capital" who must constantly tend to their own present and future market value.
  3. Extreme financialization or converting the economy into "casino capitalism" (under neoliberalism everything is a marketable good, that is traded on explicit or implicit exchanges.)
  4. The idea of the global, USA dominated neoliberal empire and related "Permanent war for permanent peace" -- wars for enlarging global neoliberal empire via crushing non-compliant regimes either via color revolutions or via open military intervention.
  5. Downgrading ordinary people to the role of commodity and creating three classes of citizens (moochers, or Untermensch, "creative class" and top 0.1%), with the upper class (0.1% or "Masters of the Universe") being above the law like the top level of "nomenklatura" was in the USSR.
  6. "Downsizing" sovereignty of nations via international treaties like TPP, and making transnational corporations the key political players, "the deciders" as W aptly said. Who decide about the level of immigration flows, minimal wages, tariffs, and other matters that previously were prerogative of the state.

So after 36 (or more) years of dominance (which started with triumphal march of neoliberalism in early 90th) the ideology entered "zombie state". That does not make it less dangerous but its power over minds of the population started to evaporate. Far right ideologies now are filling the vacuum, as with the discreditation of socialist ideology and decimation of "enlightened corporatism" of the New Deal in the USA there is no other viable alternatives.

The same happened in late 1960th with the Communist ideology. It took 20 years for the USSR to crash after that with the resulting splash of nationalism (which was the force that blow up the USSR) and far right ideologies.

It remains to be seen whether the neoliberal US elite will fare better then Soviet nomenklatura as challenges facing the USA are now far greater then challenges which the USSR faced at the time. Among them is oil depletion which might be the final nail into the coffin of neoliberalism and, specifically, the neoliberal globalization.

Advocates of the neoliberalism constantly repeat the refrain that "there is no alternative" (TINA). Brexit is a powerful demonstration that this is not true (Back to (our) Future)

A major crack has appeared in the edifice of globalization, and the neoliberal order that has dominated the world’s economy since the end of World War II is now in danger.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, by any means. But poisonous weeds are just as likely as green shoots to grow up through those cracks. To paraphrase John F. Kennedy: Those who make constructive evolution impossible may be making destructive devolution inevitable.

We now know that Great Britain, itself an amalgam of older nations, is divided. England and Wales voted to leave Europe, while Scotland, Northern Ireland, and ethnically diverse London voted to remain.

This vote was a stunning rejection of Great Britain’s political establishment. “Leave” prevailed despite opposition from all three major political parties. Prime Minister David Cameron, who will now step down, called on voters to “Remain.” So did socialist Jeremy Corbin, the most left-wing Labor leader in a generation. Barack Obama crossed the Atlantic to stand beside Cameron and offer his support.

Voters rejected all of them.

The uprising has begun. The question now is, who will lead it going forward?

Globalism’s Shadow Self

The world’s financial and political elites must now face the fact that resistance to their economic order, which has shaped the world since the Bretton Woods conference of 1944, is a major phenomenon. These elites are apparently more out of touch with the citizens of the industrialized world than at any time in modern memory.

Make no mistake: The “Leave” vote was a rejection of globalization, at least as it’s currently structured. This was a revolt of working class Britons who have seen their postwar prosperity erode around them and their social contract eviscerated by the corporate and financial oligarchy.

But it was also the sign of a darker and more sinister worldwide phenomenon: the resurgence of global nativism and xenophobia. This worldwide turn toward fear of the Other is globalization’s shadow self.

Revolt of the Powerless

That’s not to say that there wasn’t a legitimate left-wing case to be made for leaving the European Union. The “Left Leave” movement, or #Lexit, had its own advocates. “Why cling to this reactionary institution?” asked one.

But this near-victory wasn’t won with leftist arguments about resisting the global oligarchy. The left was too divided to make that case clearly or forcefully. It was largely won by stirring up bigotry against immigrants, cloaked in flimsy arguments about excessive regulation. Legitimate economic grievances were channeled into nationalist hostility.

Many “Leave” voters felt powerless, that they no longer had much of a say in their own destinies. They weren’t wrong. The European Union was largely a creation of transnational financial forces driven by a self-serving neoliberal ideology of “free” markets, privatization, and corporate economic governance.

But ,even at its worst, the EU is a symptom and not a cause. Great Britain’s citizens haven’t been losing control over their fate to the EU. They’ve been losing it because their own country’s leaders – as well as those of most other Western democracies – are increasingly in thrall to corporate and financial interests.

The British people have lost more sovereignty to trade deals like NAFTA and the TPP then they could have ever surrendered to the European Union. Their democratic rights are trampled daily, not by faceless EU bureaucrats, but by the powerful financial interests that dominate their politics and their economy.

Low Information Voters

This vote won’t help the middle class. British workers will no longer be guaranteed the worker rights that come with EU membership. British corporations will be less regulated, which means more environmental damage and more mistreatment of employees and customers. They will not, in the words of William Blake, “build Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land.”

Most “Leave” voters probably don’t know that, because the media failed them too. Instead of being given a balanced understanding of EU membership’s advantages and disadvantages, the British people were fed a constant diet of terror fears and trivial anti-government anecdotes meant to reinforce the notion that EU was needlessly and absurdly bureaucratic.

As Martin Fletcher explains, Boris Johnson played a key role in degrading the performance of Britain’s corporate press back in his days as a journalist. Other outlets were all to eager to mimic his anti-government and anti-Europe stereotypes. And now? It’s as if Sean Hannity’s deceptive sensationalism had made him a top presidential prospect.

Johnson and UKIP leader Nigel Farage played the same role in the Leave campaign that Donald Trump is playing in US politics. Like Trump, they have used economic fears to stoke the anti-immigrant fear and hatred that is their real stock in trade. Their slogan might just as well have been “Make England Great Again.”

The campaign’s fearmongering and hate has already claimed a victim in Jo Cox, the Labor MP who was violently martyred by a white British racist. Tellingly, her murder was not described as an act of terrorism, which it clearly was. The decision to restrict the “terrorist” label to Muslims, in Great Britain as in the United States, feeds precisely the kind of hatred that fuels movements like these.

Great Britain’s immigrant population grew by 4.5 million under EU membership. But in a just economy, that would lead to growth for the existing middle class. Britain’s immigrants didn’t wound that country’s middle class. They’re scapegoats for rising inequality and the punishing austerity of the conservative regime.

Aftershock

What happens next? Markets are already reacting, retrenching in anticipation of new trade barriers and political uncertainty.

Before the voting, estimates of a Leave vote’s effect on Britain’s economy ranged from “negative” to outright “calamitous.” The outcome will probably fall somewhere between the two.

Will the reprehensible Mr. Johnson, who pushed aggressively for Brexit, now lead his party -perhaps even his country? How much will this boost UKIP? By rejecting the EU, will Great Britain soon experience even harsher economic austerity measures than Cameron’s?

Scotland may once again pursue independence so that it can rejoin Europe. Sinn Fein is calling again for the reunification of Ireland. Suddenly anything seems possible.

There are already calls for a similar referendum in France.

British workers are likely to be worse off without EU protections, especially if the far right prevails in future elections as the result of this vote.

Trade deals will need to be negotiated between Britain and the EU, along with the terms of separation. Judging by its behavior toward Greece, Germany prefers to punish any nation impertinent enough to try guiding its own economic destiny. These negotiations won’t be pleasant.

The New Resistance

The current order is unstable. The uprising has begun. But who will lead it?

All over the world there are Boris Johnsons and Nigel Farages poised to capitalize on the chaos. The US has Trump, who was quick to tie himself to the vote. Greece has Golden Dawn. Germany has the far-right, anti-immigrant AfD party. Scandinavia has the Sweden Democrat Party and the Danish People’s Party. Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party, itself nationalistic and totalitarian by nature, is in danger of being outdone by the racist and anti-Semitic Jobbik party.

Hungary is already building a Trump-like wall, in fact, a barb-wired fence meant to keep Syrian refugees out of the country and Jobbik out of political power.

There is also also a growing democratic counterforce, poised to resist both the global elites and the nationalist bigots. It includes Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain, and the Corbin movement in Great Britain (although Corbin’s fate is unclear in the wake of this vote). In the US it has been seen in both the Occupy movement and, more recently, in the newly resurgent left inspired by Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

The global financial order is fracturing. But will it fall? It’s powerful and well organized. Even if it does, what will replace it: a more humane global order, or a world torn by nationalism and hate? Should these new progressive parties and factions form a transnational movement?

That’s the goal of economist Yanis Varoufakis, among others. Varoufakis confronted the EU’s economic leadership directly when he negotiated with them as Greece’s first Finance Minister under Syriza. They prevailed, and Varoufakis is now a private citizen.

The Greeks chose economic autonomy when they voted for Syriza. They didn’t get it. The British aren’t likely to get what they want from this vote either. No matter what happens, British citizens will still be in thrall to corporate financial forces – forces that can rewrite the rules they go along.

Greece’s fate has been a cautionary tale for the world, a powerful illustration of the need for worldwide coordinated resistance to today’s economic and political elites. We can vote. But without economic autonomy, we aren’t truly free. In the months and years to come, the people of Great Britain are likely to learn the truth: We are all Greece now.

The question is, where do we go from here?


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[Dec 16, 2018] A World of Multiple Detonators of Global Wars by James Petras

So much for peace that neoliberal globalization should supposedly bring...
Notable quotes:
"... We face a world of multiple wars some leading to direct global conflagrations and others that begin as regional conflicts but quickly spread to big power confrontations. ..."
"... In our times the US is the principal power in search of world domination through force and violence. Washington has targeted top level targets, namely China, Russia, Iran; secondary objectives Afghanistan, North and Central Africa, Caucuses and Latin America ..."
"... China is the prime enemy of the US for several economic, political and military reasons: China is the second largest economy in the world; its technology has challenged US supremacy it has built global economic networks reaching across three continents. China has replaced the US in overseas markets, investments and infrastructures. ..."
"... In response the US has resorted to a closed protectionist economy at home and an aggressive military led imperial economy abroad. ..."
"... The first line of attack are Chinese exports to the US and its vassals. Secondly, is the expansion of overseas bases in Asia. Thirdly, is the promotion of separatist clients in Hong Kong, Tibet and among the Uighurs. Fourthly, is the use of sanctions to bludgeon EU and Asian allies into joining the economic war against China. China has responded by expanding its military security, expanding its economic networks and increasing economic tariffs on US exports ..."
"... The US economic war has moved to a higher level by arresting and seizing a top executive of China's foremost technological company, Huawei. ..."
"... Each of the three strategic targets of the US are central to its drive for global dominance; dominating China leads to controlling Asia; regime change in Russia facilitates the total submission of Europe; and the demise of Iran facilitates the takeover of its oil market and US influence of Islamic world. As the US escalates its aggression and provocations we face the threat of a global nuclear war or at best a world economic breakdown. ..."
Dec 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

We face a world of multiple wars some leading to direct global conflagrations and others that begin as regional conflicts but quickly spread to big power confrontations.

We will proceed to identify 'great power' confrontations and then proceed to discuss the stages of 'proxy' wars with world war consequences.

In our times the US is the principal power in search of world domination through force and violence. Washington has targeted top level targets, namely China, Russia, Iran; secondary objectives Afghanistan, North and Central Africa, Caucuses and Latin America.

China is the prime enemy of the US for several economic, political and military reasons: China is the second largest economy in the world; its technology has challenged US supremacy it has built global economic networks reaching across three continents. China has replaced the US in overseas markets, investments and infrastructures. China has built an alternative socio-economic model which links state banks and planning to private sector priorities. On all these counts the US has fallen behind and its future prospects are declining.

In response the US has resorted to a closed protectionist economy at home and an aggressive military led imperial economy abroad. President Trump has declared a tariff war on China; and multiple separatist and propaganda war; and aerial and maritime encirclement of China's mainland

The first line of attack are Chinese exports to the US and its vassals. Secondly, is the expansion of overseas bases in Asia. Thirdly, is the promotion of separatist clients in Hong Kong, Tibet and among the Uighurs. Fourthly, is the use of sanctions to bludgeon EU and Asian allies into joining the economic war against China. China has responded by expanding its military security, expanding its economic networks and increasing economic tariffs on US exports.

The US economic war has moved to a higher level by arresting and seizing a top executive of China's foremost technological company, Huawei.

The White House has moved up the ladder of aggression from sanctions to extortion to kidnapping. Provocation, is one step up from military intimidation. The nuclear fuse has been lit.

Russia faces similar threats to its domestic economy, its overseas allies, especially China and Iran as well as the US renunciation of intermediate nuclear missile agreement

Iran faces oil sanctions, military encirclement and attacks on proxy allies including in Yemen, Syria and the Gulf region Washington relies on Saudi Arabia, Israel and paramilitary terrorist groups to apply military and economic pressure to undermine Iran's economy and to impose a 'regime change'.

Each of the three strategic targets of the US are central to its drive for global dominance; dominating China leads to controlling Asia; regime change in Russia facilitates the total submission of Europe; and the demise of Iran facilitates the takeover of its oil market and US influence of Islamic world. As the US escalates its aggression and provocations we face the threat of a global nuclear war or at best a world economic breakdown.

Wars by Proxy

The US has targeted a second tier of enemies, in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

In Latin America the US has waged economic warfare against Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. More recently it has applied political and economic pressure on Bolivia. To expand its dominance Washington has relied on its vassal allies, including Brazil, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina and Paraguay as well as right-wing elites throughout the region

As in numerous other cases of regime change Washington relies on corrupt judges to rule against President Morales, as well as US foundation funded NGO's; dissident indigenous leaders and retired military officials. The US relies on local political proxies to further US imperial goals is to give the appearance of a 'civil war' rather than gross US intervention.

In fact, once the so-called 'dissidents' or 'rebels' establish a foot hole, they 'invite' US military advisers, secure military aid and serve as propaganda weapons against Russia, China or Iran – 'first tier' adversaries.

In recent years US proxy conflicts have been a weapon of choice in the Kosovo separatist war against Serbia; the Ukraine coup of 2014 and war against Eastern Ukraine; the Kurd take over of Northern Iraq and Syria; the US backed separatist Uighurs attack in the Chinese province of Xinjiang.

The US has established 32 military bases in Africa, to coordinate activities with local warlords and plutocrats. Their proxy wars are discarded as local conflict between 'legitimate' regimes and Islamic terrorists, tribality and tyrants.

The objective of proxy wars are threefold. They serve as 'feeders' into larger territorial wars encircling China, Russia and Iran.

Secondly, proxy wars are 'testing grounds' to measure the vulnerability and responsive capacity of the targeted strategic adversary, i.e. Russia, China and Iran.

Thirdly, the proxy wars are 'low cost' and 'low risk' attacks on strategic enemies. The lead up to a major confrontation by stealth.

Equally important 'proxy wars' serve as propaganda tools, associating strategic adversaries as 'expansionist authoritarian' enemies of 'western values'.

Conclusion

US empire builders engage in multiple types of aggression directed at imposing a unipolar world. At the center are trade wars against China; regional military conflicts with Russia and economic sanctions against Iran.

These large scale, long-term strategic weapons are complemented by proxy wars, involving regional vassal states which are designed to erode the economic bases of counting allies of anti-imperialist powers.

Hence, the US attacks China directly via tariff wars and tries to sabotage its global "Belt and Road' infrastructure projects linking China with 82 counties.

Likewise, the US attacks Russian allies in Syria via proxy wars, as it did with Iraq, Libya and the Ukraine.

Isolating strategic anti-imperial power via regional wars, sets the stage for the 'final assault' – regime change by cop or nuclear war.

However, the US quest for world domination has so far taken steps which have failed to isolate or weaken its strategic adversaries.

China moves forward with its global infrastructure programs: the trade war has had little impact in isolating it from its principal markets. Moreover, the US policy has increased China's role as a leading advocate of 'open trade' against President Trump's protectionism.

ORDER IT NOW

Likewise, the tactics of encircling and sanctioning Russia has deepened ties between Moscow and Beijing. The US has increased its nominal 'proxies' in Latin America and Africa but they all depend on trade and investments from China. This is especially true of agro-mineral exports to China.

Notwithstanding the limits of US power and its failure to topple regimes, Washington has taken moves to compensate for its failures by escalating the threats of a global war. It kidnaps Chinese economic leaders; it moves war ships off China's coast; it allies with neo-fascist elites in the Ukraine. It threatens to bomb Iran. In other words the US political leaders have embarked on adventurous policies always on the verge of igniting one, too, many nuclear fuses.

It is easy to imagine how a failed trade war can lead to a nuclear war; a regional conflict can entail a greater war.

Can we prevent World War 3? I believe it will happen. The US economy is built on fragile foundations; its elites are deeply divided. Its main allies in France and the UK are in deep crises. The war mongers and war makers lack popular support. There are reasons to hope!


Per/Norway , says: December 12, 2018 at 10:29 pm GMT

I disagree. The parasitic terror regime that runs washington believe they can win a nuclear war, i have no hope left for peace. They need a culling of the "useless eaters", we are stealing the food out of their poor frightened children`s mouths by existing.
Eric Zuesse wrote a decent article yesterday at the Saker blog about the US nuclear forces and its owners wet dream.
"The U.S. Government's Plan Is to Conquer Russia by a Surprise Invasion"
The actions of nato/EU/UK/ISR/KSA etc certainly supports his article, at least in my opinion.
Anon [228] Disclaimer , says: December 12, 2018 at 11:28 pm GMT
Useful and clear article.

The US, and the West, by instigating wars elsewhere, and selling weapons to those, destroy countries and prosperity abroad. Those living in target countries find themselves miserable, with loss of everything. It is only natural that they may try to escape a living hell by emigrating to the West.

People in the US and the West in general will not want mass immigration, and with good reason; but if you were in a war torn country or an impoverished country (as a result of western "help") you would also attempt to move away from the bombs, etc.

If the West left the rest of the world alone (in terms of their regimes and in terms of their weapons), they might prosper and no longer need to run away from their home countries.

Can we build a better world, please?!

Godfree Roberts , says: December 12, 2018 at 11:32 pm GMT
The sanctions and embargoes have failed in the past, when China was much weaker, so we can be quite confident that they will fail again, and quickly, as this timeline suggests:

September 3, 2018 : Huawei unveils Kirin 980 CPU, the world's first commercial 7nm system-on-chip (SoC) and the first to use Cortex-A76 cores, dual neural processing units, Mali G76 GPU, a 1.4 Gbps LTE modem and supports faster RAM. With 20 percent faster performance and 40 percent less power consumption compared to 10nm systems, it has twice the performance of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 and Apple's A11 while delivering noticeable battery life improvement. Its Huawei-patented modem has the world's fastest Wi-Fi and its GPS receiver taps L5 frequency to deliver 10cm. positioning.

September 5, 2018 . China's front-end fab capacity will account for 16 percent of the world's semiconductor capacity this year, increasing to 20 percent by 2020.

September 15, 2018. China controls one third of 5G patents and has twice as many installations operating as the rest of the world combined.

September 21, 2018 . China has reached global technological parity and now has twelve of the world's top fifty IC design houses (China's SMIC is fourth, Huawei's HiSilicon is seventh), and twenty-one percent of global IC design revenues. Roger Luo, TSMC.

October 2, 2018 . Chinese research makes up 18.6 percent of global STEM peer-reviewed papers, ahead of the US at 18 percent. "The fact that China's article output is now the largest is very significant. It's been predicted for a while, but there was a view this was not likely to happen until 2025," said Michael Mabe, head of STM.

October 14, 2018 . Huawei announces 7 nm Ascend 910 chipset for data centers, twice as powerful as Nvidia's v100 and the first AI IP chip series to natively provide optimal TeraOPS per watt in all scenarios. Available 2Q19.

October 7, 2018 : China becomes largest recipient of FDI in H1, attracting an estimated 70 billion U.S. dollars, according to UNCTAD.

October 8, 2018: Taiwan's Foxconn moves its major semiconductor maker and five integrated circuit design companies to Jinan, China.

October 22, 2018 . China becomes world leader in venture capital, ahead of the US and almost twice the rest of the world's $53.4 billion YTD. The Crunchbase report says the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the world is undergoing a major transformation: it is now driven by China instead of the US.

peterAUS , says: December 13, 2018 at 1:02 am GMT
Apart from that "nuclear war" from:

Isolating strategic anti-imperial power via regional wars, sets the stage for the 'final assault' – regime change by cop or nuclear war

good article.
Only idiot can believe that nuclear war can be won, IMHO. Elites aren't suicidal, oh no. On the contrary.

Can they make a mistake and cause that war, definitely.

Which brings us to the important part:

Can we prevent World War 3? I believe it will happen. The US economy is built on fragile foundations; its elites are deeply divided. Its main allies in France and the UK are in deep crises. The war mongers and war makers lack popular support.

Agree, but, that's exactly the reason I disagree with:

There are reasons to hope!

No need to be pedantic, of course there is always a reason for hope.
But, I see it as so fertile ground for making The MISTAKE .

Giuseppe , says: December 13, 2018 at 1:22 pm GMT

Can we prevent World War 3? I believe it will happen. The US economy is built on fragile foundations; its elites are deeply divided. Its main allies in France and the UK are in deep crises. The war mongers and war makers lack popular support. There are reasons to hope!

It's when the elite war mongers' backs are up against the wall that they come up with a cleverly designed false flag attack to rally public support for war. They are more dangerous now than ever.

Splitpin , says: December 15, 2018 at 5:43 am GMT
Agree about Russia and China, however Iran needs to be viewed not as a play for oil or the Islamic crowd but driven wholly and solely by Israel. Iran is not a threat to US in any context, only Israel.
Wally , says: December 15, 2018 at 7:05 am GMT
question:
If the relatively small tariffs on Chinese goods amount to 'direct attacks on China', then what are the massive tariffs by China on US goods?
Biff , says: December 15, 2018 at 8:57 am GMT
The "Chess men" behind "The Wall Street Economy" have stated a few times that the only way to remain the dominant economy is to first: convince rivals that resistance is futile, and second: to atomize any potential rival (Ghaddaffi is a clear example).

Breaking up Russia has been on the to-do list for decades, and I believe that the Chess Men have no idea what to do about containing China, and are clearly flat-footed, and desperate kidnapping a Chinese business executive.

The Wall Street Economy depended on cheap Chinese labor it's own profits, and that was Ok until .?
Until the writing on the Wall became ledgible .
The smell of genuine fear is in the air.

jilles dykstra , says: December 15, 2018 at 9:18 am GMT
" The war mongers and war makers lack popular support. There are reasons to hope! "

Is popular support needed to get a people in a war mood ?
Both Pearl Harbour and Sept 11 demonstrate, in my opinion, that it is not very difficult to create a war mood.
Yet, if another Sept 11 would do the trick, I wonder.
Sept 11 has been debated without without interruption since Sept 11.
After the 1946 USA Senate investigation into Pearl Harbour the USA government succeeded in preventing a similar discussion.
Until now the west, Deep State, NATO, EU did not succeed in provoking Russia or China.
Each time they tried something, in my opinion they did this several times, Russia showed its military superiority, at the same time taking care not to hurt public opinion in the west.

annamaria , says: December 15, 2018 at 11:39 am GMT
Is not it amazing that the morally miserable US, a "power in search of world domination through force and violence," is officially governed by self-avowed pious X-tians. What kind of corruption among the high-level clergy protects the satanists Pompeo, Bush, Rice, Clinton, Obama, Blair and such from excommunication?

Russians explaining the perdition of the US deciders: https://www.rt.com/news/446533-sergey-shoigu-syria-inf/

"Washington does little to nothing to restore peace and help the devastated region to recover from the long war, while its [US] airstrikes continue to rack up civilian deaths At the same time, the US military presence at the Al-Tanf airbase and the "armed gangs" around it prevent refugees from returning home."

– Nothing new. The multi-denominational Syria has been pounded by the US-supported "moderate" terrorists (armed with US-provided arms and with UK-provided chemical weaponry) to satisfy the desires of Israel-firsters, arm-dealers and the multitude of war-profiteers that have been fattening their pockets at the US/UK taxpayers' expense.

http://www.voltairenet.org/article204373.html

"Timber Sycamore" [initiated by Obama] is the most important arms trafficking operation in History. It involves at least 17 governments. The transfer of weapons, meant for jihadist organizations, is carried out by Silk Way Airlines, a Azerbaïdjan public company of cargo planes."

-- Biochemical warfare by the UK & US

https://www.rt.com/news/424047-russian-mod-syria-statement/

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-09-23/us-history-chemical-weapons-use-complicity-war-crimes

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-five-most-deadly-chemical-weapons-war-10897

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/10/04/576081/Russia-Kirillov-US-Georgia-Richard-Lugar-chemical-weapons-lab

https://www.veteranstoday.com/2018/09/21/bombshell-secret-american-laboratory-performs-deadly-human-experiments-in-caucasus-georgia/

WHAT , says: December 15, 2018 at 12:48 pm GMT
@Godfree Roberts Huawei can announce whatever, there are much more experienced adversaries(IBM, intel and ARM) who can`t beat nV in computation, and especially in integration of silicon. Guess who`s running inference and computer vision in all these car autopilots.
Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: December 15, 2018 at 1:13 pm GMT
I do not think there will be an atomic war .

I think we could have an economic collapse like the Soviet Union had , or like Argentina had in 2001 with the " corralito " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corralito .

Being the complex and global society that we are , it would be a disaster , it would produce hunger , misery and all types of local wars .

VirtualAnon34 , says: December 15, 2018 at 1:22 pm GMT
"Notwithstanding the limits of US power and its failure to topple regimes "

Have to agree with that statement. Seriously, wherein is this vaunted "superpower" that our American politicians always yap about? All I've seen in my lifetime is our military getting its butt kicked in Cuba, Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan. What, besides insanity and hubris, makes them think they could win anything much less a war against Iran, China or Russia?

Moi , says: December 15, 2018 at 2:02 pm GMT
@Splitpin It's the other way around–Israel is a threat to Iran.
Ilyana_Rozumova , says: December 15, 2018 at 2:22 pm GMT
@WHAT What worth what? It did not help too much to GM. GM is shutting five of its plants.
SteveK9 , says: December 15, 2018 at 2:37 pm GMT
Mostly accurate, but 'closed protectionist society' ! Hardly. It's still very difficult to buy any manufactured goods made in this country. Of course this is part of the World economic circle countries use the US Dollar for all trade. They need dollars. We can print them and receive real goods in return. This has been going around and around for decades. It may come to an end in the not-too-distant future, but it has a lot of inertia.
Bill Jones , says: December 15, 2018 at 2:47 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra "Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY."

–Goering at the Nuremberg Trials

A mere piker compared to the American, Bernays

http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/bernprop.html

DESERT FOX , says: December 15, 2018 at 2:54 pm GMT
The only threat to patriotic Americans is Zionism which has ruled the U.S. since it took control over the money supply and the taxes via the privately owned Zionist FED and IRS and has given America nothing to wars and economic destruction since the FED and IRS were put in place by the Zionist banking kabal in 1913 and both are UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

The threat is not from China or Russia or Iran etc., the threat is from within the U.S. government which is controlled in every facet by the Zionists and dual citizens and is as foreign to the American people as if it were from MARS!

Until the American people wake up to the fact that we are slaves on a Zionist plantation and are used as pawns in the Zionist goal of a satanic Zionist NWO and abolish the FED and IRS and break the chains of slavery that the FED and IRS have place upon us, until then nothing will change and the wars and economic destruction by the Zionist kabal will continue!

Read The Controversy of Zion by Douglas Reed and The Committee of 300 by Dr. John Coleman and The Protocols of Zion, to see the Zionist satanic NWO plan.

wraith67 , says: December 15, 2018 at 2:57 pm GMT
Lost me at Kurd takeover of northern Iraq/Syria. The Kurds have defacto owned those areas since 1991, and earlier. Saddam gassing the Kurds didn't accomplish anything except for making himself a target, no Arab lived in those areas, the Kurds would kill them.
Agent76 , says: December 15, 2018 at 3:22 pm GMT
Nov 28, 2018 Belt & Road Billionaire in Massive Bribery Scandal

The bribery trial of Dr. Patrick Ho, a pitchman for a Chinese energy company, lifts the lid on how the Chinese regime relies on graft to cut Belt and Road deals in its global push for economic and geopolitical dominance.

Miro23 , says: December 15, 2018 at 3:26 pm GMT
I agree with Bob Sykes' commentary over on Instapundit:

Well, our "anti-ISIS" model in eastern Syria consists of defending ISIS against attacks by the Syrian government, allowing them to pump and export Syrian oil for their profit, arming them and allowing them to recruit new fighters. I suppose that means we should be arming the Taliban.

ISIS was created by the CIA to fight against Assad. But they slipped the leash and became the fighting force for the dissident Sunni Arabs all along the Euphrates Valley. We only began to oppose them when their rebellion reached the outskirts of Baghdad, and even then the bulk of the fighting was done by Iraq's Shias and Iran. Now we are transferring them, or many of them, into secure (for ISIS) areas of Iraq.

The three U.S. presidents, six secretaries of defense and five chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are, in fact, war criminals, in exactly the same sense that Hitler, Goebels, Goering, Himmler et al. were war criminals. Those presidents, secretaries and generals launched wars of aggression against Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Libya, Yemen not one of which threatened us in any way. They engineered coups d'état against two friendly governments, Egypt and Turkey. Now the fake American, anti-American neocons want to attack Iran, Venezuela, North Korea and even Russia and China.

Green needs to get his head out of his arse. We, the US, are the great rogue terrorist state. We are the evil empire. We are the chief source of death and destruction in the world. How many hundreds of thousands of civilians have we murdered in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia? How many cities have we bombed flat like Raqqa and Mosel. Putin is a saint compared to any US President.

Winston2 , says: December 15, 2018 at 4:08 pm GMT
Iran has always been at the center of the Great Game, the key square on the board to block
Eurasia.You must either control Afghanistan AND Pakistan or Iran.
With Pakistan now in the SCO, Iran is a US imperative.
Israels antipathy is secondary and a useful foil, not the primary motive.
Read MacKinder, the imperial power has changed, not the strategy.
Durruti , says: December 15, 2018 at 4:29 pm GMT
Open Letter to James Petras.

Your article has a glaring emptiness.

How is it possible for anyone to write an article titled:

A World of Multiple Detonators of Global Wars

without mentioning the Principal Detonator of Global Wars?? The Elephant!

The United States of America is no longer a Sovereign Nation.

The Local Political Power Elite (C. Wright Mills term), serve, are Minions, of the Zionist Jewish Financial Terrorist Initiators and Controllers of the Global New World Order.

I would express this point in stronger terms, but I have not yet finished my coffee. The "Mulitiple Detonators" Petras discusses are useless unless Triggered by the Global Controllers.

A Slight Digression: maybe:

Petras may have written his exposé this way, understanding that he might safely avoid mention of the anti-Semitic (they hate Palestinians and other Arabs – actual Semites), Zionist Land Thieves, because a clueless Anarchist would appear and complete his article for him. If that is the case, I want half of the $ Unz is paying Petras for this article.

In Conclusion: and by the number###:

1. The American Power Elite and servile Politicians in America's Knesset in Washington DC, do not go to the Bathroom, without permission from their Zionist Oligarch masters.

2. The American Gauleters, Quislings, (better known as Traitors), serve the Rothschild and other Foreign Oligarchs. Recently, only 1, of 100 'Senators' demanded that there be a discussion of the Bill to send another $35 Billion gift to the Zionist occupiers of Palestine. Poor Senator Rand Paul . How many ribs of his remain to be broken?

We the American people, have one Senator. And he has a great father.

3. Textbooks, Entertainment from Hollywood (key to all mind control), even Dictionaries, have been ruthlessly censored.

4. Our elected Zionist slaves in Congress, and all State and local governing bodies, live in fear of saying (accidentally), some truth, and ending up working at Walmart or 7-11, (if they are lucky).

5. Our young are effectively brainwashed in their schools; they have already been removed from their parents.

6. Our politicians are bribed with our own tax money (re-routed by the Zionists AIPAC, etc.).

7. The Zionist Entity has huge Financial Resources . They should be giving us 'Financial $$ Aid, not the other way around. Since NAFTA, we have entire cities & tons of infrastructure to rebuild.

Excuse me : Girlfriend thinks I should go to work.

Petras, I just fleshed out your, otherwise, promising article. You must understand – that the ethnic cleansing – genocide, against the Palestinian Nation, by the Terrorist Zionist Oligarchs, is the greatest single crime being committed on our Planet. All other crimes stem from this one.

We Americans must Restore Our Republic!

John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, M L King, Malcolm X. John Lennon; we are late, but we are coming.

God Bless!

Durruti

Durruti , says: December 15, 2018 at 5:09 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX Agree with all.

Worth repeating:

The threat is not from China or Russia or Iran etc., the threat is from within the U.S. government which is controlled in every facet by the Zionists and dual citizens and is as foreign to the American people as if it were from MARS!

One comment:

Until the American people wake up to the fact that we are slaves on a Zionist plantation and are used as pawns in the Zionist goal of a satanic Zionist NWO and abolish the FED and IRS and break the chains of slavery that the FED and IRS have place upon us, until then nothing will change and the wars and economic destruction by the Zionist kabal will continue!

In order to accomplish the above , we American Citizen Patriots – must Restore Our Republic – that, with our Last Constitutional President, John F. Kennedy, was destroyed by the Zionist Oligarchs and their American underling traitors, in a hail of bullets, on November 22, 1963.

jilles dykstra , says: December 15, 2018 at 5:09 pm GMT
@Miro23 " same sense that Hitler, Goebels, Goering, Himmler et al. were war criminals. "
Why were they war criminals ?
Because of the Neurenberg farce ?; farce according to the chairman of the USA Supreme Court in 1945:
Bruce Allen Murphy, 'The Brandeis/Frankfurter Connection, The Secret Political Activities of Two Supreme Court Justices', New York, 1983
Churchill and Lindemann in fact murdered some two million German civilians, women, children, old men. Not a crime ?
Churchill refused the May 1941 Rudolf Hess peace proposal, not a crime ?
FDR deliberately provoked Pearl Harbour, some 2700 casualties, his pretcxt for war, not a crime ?
900.000 German hunger deaths between the 1918 cease fire and Versailles, the British food blockade, not a crime ?
Will these wild accusations ever stop ?
Reuben Kaspate , says: December 15, 2018 at 5:17 pm GMT
I am all for the mother of all wars; however, it isn't going to come anytime soon, nay, not in our lifetime but when it does appear on the next century's horizon, it would be cathartic to all concerned. Rejoice!
Charles Carroll , says: December 15, 2018 at 5:42 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX If you want to know who rules over you, ask yourself who you are not permitted to criticize.
Bill Jones , says: December 15, 2018 at 7:49 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra ""Will these wild accusations ever stop ?"

Nah, Don't you know that being a Holohoax victim is now genetically transmitted.

"visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;"

And after the forth generation, there'll be something else.

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: December 15, 2018 at 8:17 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra They were war criminals because they lost the war. But hanging of Bock was a little bit overboard.
Ilyana_Rozumova , says: December 15, 2018 at 9:10 pm GMT
Europe is realigning. England leaving Euro. French population is in upheaval. Eventually France will leave the Euro also.Most of German tourists now are going to Croatia. Italy is loosing tourists.
Italy living standard is declining. Germany is being pushed inevitably toward cooperation with Russia. Only supporter of Ukraine will remain USA. Ukraine will be only burden.
Brussels power will evaporate. NATO will remain only on paper and will cease to be reality.
.
This will be great step toward peace in the world.
Anon [118] Disclaimer , says: Website December 15, 2018 at 9:24 pm GMT
Unexpected turn of events.

http://theduran.com/the-real-reason-western-media-cia-turned-against-saudi-mbs/

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: December 15, 2018 at 10:58 pm GMT
@Anon Outstanding analysis,

US is treating its allies as used toilet paper.
Obviously Kashogi was sentenced to death for high treason in absence. The sentence was carried out on Saudi Arabia's territory. So in reality it is nobody's business.
All hula-buu did happen because he was a reporter working for warmongering Zionist New york times.

Socratic Truth , says: December 16, 2018 at 12:58 am GMT
@Durruti I agree with you partly, especially when it comes to the US regarding Zionism and the power of the Israel lobby to influence US foreign policy and even domestic policy.
But when it comes to Global governance, you have a somewhat narrow minded approach.
Most of the ills today that happen in the world, is driven by the NEW WORLD ORDER OF NEOLIBERAL GLOBALIZATION.
Unrelated phenomena, such as the destruction in the Middle East (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria), the destruction of Yugoslavia, the coup in Ukraine and the Greek economic catastrophe are a consequence of this NWO expansion. NWO expansion is the phasing out of national sovereignty (through economic and/or military violence) and its replacement by a kind of transnational sovereignty administered by a Transnational Elite. This is the network of the elites mainly based in the G7 countries, which control the world economic and political/ military institutions (WTO, IMF, World Bank, EU, European Central Bank, NATO, UN and so on), as well as the global media that set the agenda of the 'world community'.
The US is an important part of this since it provides the Military Means to integrate countries that do not "comply" with the NWO dictates.
The Zionists carry a lot of blame and are part of that drive for this NWO, but there are others, most of them in the US and Europe.

Here's a good link to an article if you have time, with good info about NWO & Trasnational corporations that are mainly to blame about all the worlds and misery in our world today.

THE MYTHS OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER

http://www.pravdareport.com/opinion/columnists/15-12-2014/129299-new_world_order_myths-0/

anon_4 , says: December 16, 2018 at 1:18 am GMT
@WHAT back door Intel , embedded ARM Open source Red Hat-IBM Hummm?.

I am not so sure, Mr. What. Experience may not mean much to abused IAI consumers. even if IAI catches up to the exponential fundamentals achieved by Huawei consumers might prefer back-door-free equipment and Operating Systems.

Russian times reported a few weeks ago that Russia has a quite different new processor and an OS that does not use any IAI stuff and is developing a backup Internet for Russians which it expects to expand regionally,

annamaria , says: December 16, 2018 at 1:28 am GMT
Here is lengthy repost from ZeroHedge (the comment section): https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-14/leaked-memo-touts-uk-funded-firms-ability-create-untraceable-news-sites-infowar

"What we have then, are criminal syndicates masquerading as philanthropic enterprises

Norman Dodd, director of research for the (U.S.) REECE COMMITTEE in its attempt to investigate tax exempt foundations, stated:

"The Foundation world is a coordinated, well-directed system, the purpose of which is to ensure that the wealth of our country shall be used to divorce it from the ideas which brought it into being."

The Rothschilds rule the U.S. through the foundations, the Council on foreign Relations, and the Federal Reserve System, with no serious challenges to their power. Expensive 'political campaigns' are routinely conducted, with carefully screened candidates who are pledged to the program of the WORLD ORDER. Should they deviate from the program, they would have an 'accident', be framed on a sex charge, or indicted on some financial irregularity.

Senator Moynihan stated in his book, "Loyalties", "A British friend, wise in the ways of the world, put it thus: "They are now on page 16 of the Plan." Moynihan prudently did not ask what page 17 would bring.

"Tavistock's pioneer work in behavioural science along Freudian lines of 'controlling' humans established it as the world center of FOUNDATION ideology.

[MORE]
Its network extends from the University of Sussex to the U.S. through the Standford Research Institute, Esalen, MIT, Hudson Institute, HERITAGE FOUNDATION, Centre of Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown, where State Dept personnel are trained, US Air Force Intelligence, and the Rand and Mitre corporations.

(at the time of writing, 1992) Today the Tavistock Institute operates a $6 billion a year network of foundations in the U.S., all of it funded by U.S. taxpayers' money. Ten major institutions are under its direct control, with 400 subsidiaries, and 3000 other study groups and think tanks which originate many types of programs to increase the control of the WORLD ORDER over the American people.

The personnel of the FOUNDATIONS are required to undergo indoctrination at one or more of these Tavistock controlled institutions.

A network of secret groups – the MONT PELERIN SOCIETY, TRILATERAL COMMISSION, DITCHLEY FOUNDATION, and CLUB OF ROME is the conduit for instructions to the Tavistock network.

Tavistock Institute developed the mass brain-washing techniques which were first used experimentally on AMERICAN prisoners of war in KOREA.

Its experiments in crowd control methods have been widely used on the American public, a surreptitious but nevertheless outrageous assault on human freedom by modifying individual behaviour through topical psychology.

A German refugee, Kurt Lewin, became director of Tavistock in 1932. He came to the U.S. in 1933 as a 'refugee', the first of many infiltrators, and set up the Harvard Psychology Clinic, which originated the propaganda campaign to turn the American public against Germany and involve the U.S. in WWII.

In 1938, Roosevelt executed a secret agreement with Churchill which in effect ceded U.S. sovereignty to England, because it agreed to let Special Operations Executive control U.S. policies. To implement this agreement, Roosevelt sent General Donovan to London for indoctrination before setting up the OSS (now the CIA) under the aegis of SOE-SIS. The entire OSS program, as well as the CIA has always worked on guidelines set up by the Tavistock Institute.

Tavistock Institute originated the mass civilian bombing raids [against the German people] carried out by [the ALL LIES] Roosevelt and Churchill as a clinical experiment in mass terror, keeping records of the results as they watched the "guinea pigs" reacting under "controlled laboratory conditions".

All Tavistock and American foundation techniques have a single goal – to break down the psychological strength of the individual and render him helpless to oppose the dictators of the WORLD ORDER.

Any technique which helps to break down the family unit, and family inculcated principles of religion, honor, patriotism and sexual behaviour, is used by the Tavistock scientists as weapons of crowd control.

The methods of Freudian psychotherapy induce permanent mental illness in those who undergo this treatment by destabilizing their character. The victim is then advised to 'establish new rituals of personal interactions', that is, to indulge in brief sexual encounters which actually set the participants adrift with no stable personal relationships in their lives – destroying their ability to establish or maintain a family.

Tavistock Institute has developed such power in the U.S. that no one achieves prominence in any field unless he has been trained in behavioural science at Tavistock or one of its subsidiaries. Tavistock maintains 2 schools at Frankfort, birthplace of the Rothschilds, the FRANKFURT SCHOOL, and the Sigmund Freud Institute.

The 'experiment' in compulsory racial integration in the U.S. was organized by Ronald Lippert of the OSS (forerunner of CIA) and the American Jewish Congress, and director of child training at the Commission on Community Relations.

The program was designed to break down the individual's sense of personal knowledge in his identity, his racial heritage. Through the Stanford Research Institute, Tavistock controls the National Education Association.

The Institute of Social Research at the Natl Training Lab brain washes the leading executives of business and government.

Another prominent Tavistock operation is the WHARTON SCHOOL OF FINANCE.

A single common denominator identifies the common Tavistock strategy – the use of drugs such as the infamous MK Ultra program of the CIA, directed by Dr Sidney Gottlieb, in which unsuspecting CIA officials were given LSD and their reactions studied like guinea pigs, resulting in several deaths – no one was ever indicted.

(Source of info: author Eustace Mullins "The World Order: Our Secret Rulers" 2nd ed. 1992. He dedicated his book "to American patriots and their passion for liberty". note: No copyright restrictions)

Socratic Truth , says: December 16, 2018 at 1:31 am GMT
@Agent76 Excellent video. More people need to see this to understand how corrupt the China Totalitarian state works behind the scenes along with the US as part of the Globalization NWO movement to enrich the few and impoverish the rest of the world population.

[Dec 14, 2018] Short Term Thinking Dooms U.S. Anti-China Strategy

Notable quotes:
"... The US rarely arrests senior businesspeople, US or foreign, for alleged crimes committed by their companies. Corporate managers are usually arrested for their alleged personal crimes (such as embezzlement, bribery or violence) rather than their company's alleged malfeasance. ..."
"... Meng is charged with violating US sanctions on Iran. Yet consider her arrest in the context of the large number of companies, US and non-US, that have violated US sanctions against Iran and other countries. ..."
"... The Trump administration is preparing actions this week to call out Beijing for what it says are China's continued efforts to steal American trade secrets and advanced technologies and to compromise sensitive government and corporate computers, according to U.S. officials. ..."
"... Multiple government agencies are expected to condemn China, citing a documented campaign of economic espionage and the alleged violation of a landmark 2015 pact to refrain from hacking for commercial gain ..."
"... Taken together, the announcements represent a major broadside against China over its mounting aggression against the West and its attempts to displace the United States as the world's leader in technology, officials said. ..."
"... The actions come amid mounting intelligence showing a sustained Chinese hacking effort devoted to acquiring sophisticated American technologies of all stripes. A number of agencies -- including the Justice, State, Treasury and Homeland Security departments -- have pushed for a newly aggressive U.S. response. A National Security Council committee coordinated the actions ..."
"... After three centuries of anglo-american imperialism the economic center of the world is moving back to the east . ..."
"... The U.S. is way too late to prevent this move. Its best and most profitable chance is not to challenge, but to accommodate it. That again would require to respect international laws and treaty obligations. The U.S. is not willing to do either. ..."
"... Nothing except a large scale war that results in the destruction of the industrial centers of east Asia, while keeping the U.S. and Europe save, could reverse the trend. Nuclear weapons on all sides and the principal of mutual assured destruction have made such a war unthinkable. What we are likely to see instead will be proxy conflicts in various other countries. ..."
"... The current U.S. strategy is to restrict China's access to foreign markets, advanced technologies, global banking and higher education. While that may for a moment slow down China's rise it will in the long run strengthen China even more. Instead of integrating into the world economy it will develop its own capacities and international systems. ..."
"... dh posted a link on the last thread to China banning import and sale of all iPhones in China (strange, I thought they were made in China? Must be exported and re-imported?). ..."
"... This is interesting. China hits a top US company manufacturing in China by granting an injunction in a case of one US company against another US company, in which one accuses the other of intellectual property theft. China was not expected to find in Qualcomm's favour, according to the article (perhaps in part because Apple manufactures in China therefore is a client of China, so it was expected China might favour Apple). If this decision was influenced by the arrest, the US can hardly point the finger at China! ..."
"... In my opinion, China should make these criminal actions of the US extremely painful indeed, and as quickly as possible ..."
"... With Trump's utterance, he also exposed how he/his government has abused Canada's extradition law for political purposes. Officially in this extradition procedure, the US now has 60 days to submit a complete extradition request which requires far more detail. Meng's court date is set for February. In any case, Canada's rubberstamping of extradition requests (90% are by the US) was already successfully challenged once in the Diab case with France, was criticized by Canada's Superior Court (extraditions are processed at the provincial judicial level), so Trudeau's hiding behind 'judicial process' is two-faced cowardliness. ..."
"... What's even more damning for the collective absolute stupidity of capitalist bigwigs is that I could see this coming more than 20 years ago, yet these idiots blindly charged as if short-term profits were all they wanted and would be enough to ensure their eternal dominance. ..."
"... What an empire does not control they destroy. ..."
"... The "own goal" was not outsourcing manufacturing to China but in not isolating China by bringing Russia into the Western fold. Instead, they kicked Russia while it was down via capitalist "Shock Doctrine" - hoping for total capitulation. Kissinger admits(*) this when, in his typical roundabout way, he says that no one anticipated Russia's ability to absorb pain. ..."
"... Does that moron Kissinger know nothing about WW2? That Kissinger projects an inability to absorb pain onto the Russians suggests that Kissinger knows the Americans have no ability to absorb pain themselves ..."
"... Maybe now Shell executives will be arrested for crimes against humanity in Nigeria. ..."
"... After all, as you stated, these maneuvers wrt Meng are emanating from John (I am the Eggman) Bolton's office and clearly evidence his trademarked hard-boiled belligerence which of course is heartily endorsed by Trump (as an "Art of the Deal" negotiating ploy by the master debater himself) who selected The Walrus in the first place. Or second place if you count Bolton's earlier appointment by that other intellectual giant of the GOP, GW Bush. ..."
"... "Kissinger admits(*) this when, in his typical roundabout way, he says that no one anticipated Russia's ability to absorb pain." Then Kissinger is a bigger fool than I thought. He's old enough to know about WWII, and previous wars as well. I mean, he did study the Napoleonic wars... ..."
"... She's not being accused of trading with Iran. She's being accused of bank fraud (providing false information to obtain a loan). ..."
"... The charges against Meng were brought by Richard P. Donoghue, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Donoghue was appointed as Interim United States Attorney for the Eastern District by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on January 3, 2018, and as Attorney on May 3, 2018. ..."
"... The bottom line is that the bar for extradition from Canada is extremely low, which should worry Ms Meng. ..."
"... The historical West is still violently opposed to the objective rise of a fairer and more democratic polycentric world order. Clinging to the principles of unipolarity, Washington and some other Western capitals appear unable to constructively interact with the new global centres of economic and political influence. A wide range of restrictions are applied to the dissenters, ranging from military force and unilateral economic sanctions to demonisation and mud-slinging in the spirit of the notorious "highly likely." There are many examples of this dirty game...This has seriously debased international law. Moreover, attempts have been made to replace the notion of law with a "rules-based order" the parameters of which will be determined by a select few. ..."
"... We are especially concerned about the activities of the US administration aimed at destroying the key international agreements. These include withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action known as the Iran nuclear deal, the declared intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), an open line for revising the settlement principles in the Middle East, as well as sabotaging the Minsk Agreements on overcoming the internal Ukrainian crisis. The trade wars that have been launched contrary to the WTO principles are rocking the global economic architecture, free trade and competition standards. The US establishment, blindly believing in the idea of their exceptionalism, continues to appoint rivals and adversaries, primarily among the countries that pursue an independent foreign policy. Everyone can see that Washington is a loose cannon, liable to act incongruously, including regarding Russia where any steps taken by US President Donald Trump to develop stable and normal channels of communication with Moscow on the biggest current problems are promptly blocked by those who want to continue or even strengthen the destructive approach to relations with Russia, which developed during the previous US administration. ..."
"... Overall, it looks as if the Americans and some of our other Western colleagues have forgotten the basics of diplomacy and the art of dialogue and consensus over the past 25 years. One result of this is the dangerous militarisation of the foreign policy thinking. As RIAC Director General Andrey Kortunov recently pointed out at a Valdai Discussion Club meeting, the Clausewitz formula can be changed to a mirror image, "Politics is a continuation of war by other means. ..."
"... Unfortunately, the U.S. ruling class cares more about the psychic gratification it derives from dominating the world. ..."
"... The prosecutor's case against Meng is fundamentally weak. For instance, there is no identification of a "co-conspirator", necessary to a charge of conspiracy. It does not seem to have been developed much beyond the information developed in the 2013 Reuters investigation. At least half of that relies on unnamed "former employees" and unnamed persons who claimed to have dealt with Skycom in Iran. ..."
Dec 12, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

The United States issued an arrest warrant against the chief financial officer and heir apparent of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou. At issue is a six years old alleged violation of sanctions against Iran. Mrs. Meng was arrested in Canada. She has been set free under a stringent $10 million bail agreement . An extradition trial will follow in February or March.

It is unprecedented that an officer of a large company is personally indicted for the alleged sanction violations by a subsidiary company:

The US rarely arrests senior businesspeople, US or foreign, for alleged crimes committed by their companies. Corporate managers are usually arrested for their alleged personal crimes (such as embezzlement, bribery or violence) rather than their company's alleged malfeasance.
...
Meng is charged with violating US sanctions on Iran. Yet consider her arrest in the context of the large number of companies, US and non-US, that have violated US sanctions against Iran and other countries. In 2011, for example, JPMorgan Chase paid US$88.3 million in fines for violating US sanctions against Cuba, Iran and Sudan. Yet chief executive officer Jamie Dimon wasn't grabbed off a plane and whisked into custody.

The U.S. indicted dozens of banks for violating its sanction regime. They had to pay huge fines (pdf) but none of their officers were ever touched.

We called this U.S. operation a hostage taking to blackmail China . President Trump confirmed that this is indeed the case:

U.S. President Donald Trump told Reuters on Tuesday he would intervene in the U.S. Justice Department's case against Meng if it would serve national security interests or help close a trade deal with China.

The arrest of Meng is but one part of a larger political campaign against China directed out of the office of National Security Advisor John Bolton:

The Trump administration is preparing actions this week to call out Beijing for what it says are China's continued efforts to steal American trade secrets and advanced technologies and to compromise sensitive government and corporate computers, according to U.S. officials.

Multiple government agencies are expected to condemn China, citing a documented campaign of economic espionage and the alleged violation of a landmark 2015 pact to refrain from hacking for commercial gain.

In typical propaganda style the U.S. media depict the Chinese as enemies:

Taken together, the announcements represent a major broadside against China over its mounting aggression against the West and its attempts to displace the United States as the world's leader in technology, officials said.

...

The actions come amid mounting intelligence showing a sustained Chinese hacking effort devoted to acquiring sophisticated American technologies of all stripes. A number of agencies -- including the Justice, State, Treasury and Homeland Security departments -- have pushed for a newly aggressive U.S. response. A National Security Council committee coordinated the actions.

One wonders what those "mounting aggressions" are supposed to be. Is the U.S. not constantly spying and hacking for economic or political gain?

Other reports today of alleged Chinese hacking are obviously part of the concerted anti-China campaign. As usual no evidence is presented for the vague allegations:

U.S. government investigators increasingly believe that Chinese state hackers were most likely responsible for the massive intrusion reported last month into Marriott's Starwood chain hotel reservation system, a breach that exposed the private information and travel details of as many as 500 million people, according to two people briefed on the government investigation.

These people cautioned that the investigation has not been completed, so definitive conclusions cannot be drawn. But the sweep and tactics of the hack, which took place over four years before being discovered, prompted immediate speculation that it was carried out by a national government.

The new anti-China campaign follows a similar push of anti-Russian propaganda three month ago.

China has taken first countermeasures against Canada's hostage taking on behalf of the United States. It detained Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat who now works for the International Crisis Group. Beijing suggest that the ICG is operating illegally in China :

"The relevant organization has violated Chinese laws because the relevant organization is not registered in China," Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a press briefing Wednesday.

China sharply tightened its rules on NGOs operating in the country last year, ..

This will not be the sole Chinese measure against Canada for its role in enforcing extraterritorial U.S. sanctions.

The string of U.S. accusations and measures against China are partly to protect the market share of U.S. companies against better and cheaper Chinese products and partly geopolitical. Neither has anything to do with protecting the international rule of law.

After three centuries of anglo-american imperialism the economic center of the world is moving back to the east .


bigger

The U.S. is way too late to prevent this move. Its best and most profitable chance is not to challenge, but to accommodate it. That again would require to respect international laws and treaty obligations. The U.S. is not willing to do either.

Nothing except a large scale war that results in the destruction of the industrial centers of east Asia, while keeping the U.S. and Europe save, could reverse the trend. Nuclear weapons on all sides and the principal of mutual assured destruction have made such a war unthinkable. What we are likely to see instead will be proxy conflicts in various other countries.

The current U.S. strategy is to restrict China's access to foreign markets, advanced technologies, global banking and higher education. While that may for a moment slow down China's rise it will in the long run strengthen China even more. Instead of integrating into the world economy it will develop its own capacities and international systems.

The U.S. can temporarily hinder the telecommunication equipment provider Huawei by denying it access to U.S. designed chips. It will probably do so. But that will only incentivize Huawei to start its own chip production. With a few years delay it will be back and out-compete U.S. companies with even better and cheaper products.

It is typical for the current U.S. to seek short term advantage while disregarding the long term negative effects of its doing. It is a major reason for China's rise and its future supremacy.

Posted by b on December 12, 2018 at 07:07 AM | Permalink

Comments next page " The reason she is violating trade sanctions against Iran is because Trump suspended the Iran Nuclear treaty. How short-sighted is that?


fayez chergui , Dec 12, 2018 7:21:43 AM | link

Well, all these sanctions are pushing target countries to be self sufficient. That's wonderful. Us are pushing countries for a better production and decrease itself. Smart.
oldenyoung , Dec 12, 2018 8:03:14 AM | link
the King Liar has spoken...the boss of the mafia group U$A... The Chinese will interpret this as a kidnapping for blackmail and act accordingly...this can only get much worse...

way to go Donald...stupid is its own reward...

regards

OY

BM , Dec 12, 2018 8:42:16 AM | link
dh posted a link on the last thread to China banning import and sale of all iPhones in China (strange, I thought they were made in China? Must be exported and re-imported?). This concerns a patent dispute between US company Qualcomm and Apple, over which Qualcomm sued Apple in Chinese courts. The existence of the action in the courts must predate the Meng arrest, but the court decision to support Qualcomm could be influenced by the arrest.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/10/tech/china-iphone-ban/index.html
Posted by: dh | Dec 11, 2018 3:05:37 PM | 6

This is interesting. China hits a top US company manufacturing in China by granting an injunction in a case of one US company against another US company, in which one accuses the other of intellectual property theft. China was not expected to find in Qualcomm's favour, according to the article (perhaps in part because Apple manufactures in China therefore is a client of China, so it was expected China might favour Apple). If this decision was influenced by the arrest, the US can hardly point the finger at China!

It gets better: The Apple executive states in the article that they have stocks of all models in China and sales will not stop. How can this be, if sales are banned? Surely China can then arrest several Apple executives in China for breaking the injunction? Would depend of course on the terms of the injunction, of which the article gave no details.

In my opinion, China should make these criminal actions of the US extremely painful indeed, and as quickly as possible. One person arrested in China is not enough - it should be 10 Americans arrested for 1 Chinese, plus 5 Canadians. China should make sure the US and Canada understand that the ratio will stay constant if the US/Canada respond to the arrests in China. China should also take extremely painful action against US telecomms companies in China to compensate for the campaign against Huawei - it could include denying access to comms links, forcing US telcom communications to go through very expensive route, ceasing negotiations for investment consortia in favour of non-US companies, etc. The difficulty to navigate, of course, is the risk of inciting escalating actions against Huawei; but the Chinese will find excellent startegies I am sure.

daffyDuct , Dec 12, 2018 8:44:52 AM | link
It may be the case that the Huawei equipment is very, very secure, has much better performance. Soon, China will be the tech leader, hence the panic. I have a snippet below, but peruse the article in full on the 5G landscape.

"Huawei has been pouring money into research on 5G wireless networks and patenting key technologies. The company has hired many experts from abroad as well to decide the technical standards for the next generation of wireless communication technology.

As of early 2017, 10% of 1450 patents essential for 5G networks were in Chinese hands in which majority belongs to Huawei and ZTE.

Huawei spent around $12 Billion on R&D in 2017, which was threefold of Ericsson's spending of $4.1 Billion. This year, according to estimates, it will spend $800 million in 5G research and development alone.

The company wants to involve AI in 5G which according to them is a much more integral element of Huawei's 5G strategy. The company also plans to launch a full range of Huawei commercial equipment including wireless access networks, core networks, and devices.

Huawei has also revealed its hopes to launch smartphones ready for supporting 5G networks by 2019 and starting selling in the mid-2019. The company is also said to be working on developing a brand-new chipset for 5G services.

Huawei and Vodafone made the 5G call using non-standalone 3GPP 5G-NR standard and sub 6 GHz spectrum. The two companies built a 5G NR end-to-end test network for the trial and used 3.7GHz spectrum. They also used Huawei Radio Access Network and core network equipment to support the test with microservice-centric architecture, control plane/user plane separation, and unified access and network slicing technology.

Huawei also started manufacturing products that provide 5G services. In Mobile World Congress, Huawei launched its 5G customer-premises equipment (CPE), the world's first commercial terminal device supporting 3GPP standard for 5G. Huawei used its self-developed chipset Balong 5G01 – world's first commercial chipset supporting the 3GPP standard for 5G, with downlink speed up to 2.3 Gbps."

https://www.greyb.com/companies-working-on-5g-technology/

Josh , Dec 12, 2018 8:47:39 AM | link

With Trump's utterance, he also exposed how he/his government has abused Canada's extradition law for political purposes. Officially in this extradition procedure, the US now has 60 days to submit a complete extradition request which requires far more detail. Meng's court date is set for February. In any case, Canada's rubberstamping of extradition requests (90% are by the US) was already successfully challenged once in the Diab case with France, was criticized by Canada's Superior Court (extraditions are processed at the provincial judicial level), so Trudeau's hiding behind 'judicial process' is two-faced cowardliness.

Canada needs to amend its extradition law, become much more stringent, and arm this law against the bullying and abusive southern neighbor who prefers to lord its own laws over others than abide by any kind of international law.

Timothy Hagios , Dec 12, 2018 8:50:51 AM | link
We've been at war with Eurasia long enough. Time for Eastasia! The main question is whether Putin will remain Emmanuel Goldstein or if someone Chinese will get the honor.
bjd , Dec 12, 2018 9:02:26 AM | link
China should just dump US treasuries wholesale, and the US is done for within a week.
Russ , Dec 12, 2018 9:13:19 AM | link
Here's a counter-shot in the trade war.

China is set to introduce maximum residue limits (MRLs) of 200 parts per billion (ppb) or lower for glyphosate in all imported final food products and raw materials including grains, soybeans and other legumes before the end of 2019, according to Sustainable Pulse sources.....

It is expected that China will now import more grains from Russia, where glyphosate is not widely used as a desiccant. This also enables China to use glyphosate as a political tool in the current U.S. / China trade war, as food and raw material imports from the U.S., which often contain high levels of the weedkiller, will be put under major pressure.

https://www.gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/18647-china-set-to-shock-markets-with-low-glyphosate-residue-limits-in-food-imports

That'll hit Monsanto's Roundup pretty hard. Of course China doesn't really have any problem with glyphosate - it's long been a major producer and exporter itself. So this is obviously a trade war action.

Clueless Joe , Dec 12, 2018 9:14:45 AM | link
"It is typical for the current U.S. to seek short term advantage while disregarding the long term negative effects of its doing. It is a major reason for China's rise and its future supremacy."

Well, the economic and industrial rise of China is the ultimate proof of this. Instead of making sure China would have a limited and purely internal development and would never become such a fearsome rival, Western (specially US) capitalist fools decided to outsource their production there, creating the monster they feared and fear even more nowadays.

I've never seen such a ridiculous and brilliant own goal in any World Cup. What's even more damning for the collective absolute stupidity of capitalist bigwigs is that I could see this coming more than 20 years ago, yet these idiots blindly charged as if short-term profits were all they wanted and would be enough to ensure their eternal dominance.

V , Dec 12, 2018 9:19:57 AM | link
I think it's pretty clear to China, Russia, India, and many others, that trading in dollars is a losing strategy. Thus the dollar is very fast losing its position as the world reserve currency. The EU is not using dollars for Iran's oil. India is not using dollars for its purchase of Russia's S-400.

It's not only US anti-China strategy; but the US insistence to be the hegemon; the rest of the planet will not have it, period. The US is done dictating what the rest of the planet will do/follow... Bye, bye, American pie............

Entropy Wins , Dec 12, 2018 9:29:34 AM | link
Short term thinking dooms the US economically and politically.
dh , Dec 12, 2018 9:32:41 AM | link
BM @4 I'm not sure where Qualcomm stands in relation to China. It could be a bargaining chip...excuse the pun. The Apple ban applies to the older iPhone 8 & 7 not the new Xs & Xr......but that may change. Apple is already having trouble selling phones in China and the Huawei dispute won't help.
pasha , Dec 12, 2018 9:52:18 AM | link
What is the legal basis for Meng's arrest? What Canadian law is she alleged to have violated? Or is American wish fulfillment now part of Canadian jurisprudence?
flayer , Dec 12, 2018 9:55:11 AM | link
As a non-American I've got half a mind to find a way to purchase some Iranian products and then send the US State Department an e-mail telling them to suck it.
Fernando Martinez , Dec 12, 2018 10:11:44 AM | link
What an empire does not control they destroy.
Jackrabbit , Dec 12, 2018 10:38:23 AM | link
Posted by: Clueless Joe | Dec 12, 2018 9:14:45 AM | 10

The "own goal" was not outsourcing manufacturing to China but in not isolating China by bringing Russia into the Western fold. Instead, they kicked Russia while it was down via capitalist "Shock Doctrine" - hoping for total capitulation. Kissinger admits(*) this when, in his typical roundabout way, he says that no one anticipated Russia's ability to absorb pain.

* In his lunch interview with the Financial Times this past summer.

ralphieboy , Dec 12, 2018 10:52:25 AM | link
@pasha #14

"What is the legal basis for Meng's arrest? What Canadian law is she alleged to have violated? Or is American wish fulfillment now part of Canadian jurisprudence?"

As I understand it, the USA and Canada have an extradition agreement, and corporate fraud is also a crime in Canada.

Hoarsewhisperer , Dec 12, 2018 11:08:40 AM | link
This idiocy seems certain to increase curiosity in Huawei products by telcos worldwide. Business managers use technical experts to evaluate available technologies when contemplating upgrades to their systems. They're certainly not swayed by MSM spin doctors.

This issue could soon be overtaken by a brand new reality. China is planning to launch a worldwide free wifi internet service based on more than 100 satellites, which could be interpreted as a Commie scheme to undermine the profitability of telcos.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-30/chinese-company-to-provide-free-internet-worldwide-by-2026/10568434

Nick Baam , Dec 12, 2018 11:11:35 AM | link
Not clear exactly which officials said, "Taken together, the announcements represent a major broadside against China over its mounting aggression against the West... The actions come amid mounting intelligence showing a sustained Chinese hacking effort..." but do know it's very unusual to repeat a verb in consecutive sentences. Mantra alert! Mounting... mounting... mounting... hear the drums of war.
Ghost Ship , Dec 12, 2018 11:15:24 AM | link
he says that no one anticipated Russia's ability to absorb pain

Does that moron Kissinger know nothing about WW2? That Kissinger projects an inability to absorb pain onto the Russians suggests that Kissinger knows the Americans have no ability to absorb pain themselves

Edward , Dec 12, 2018 11:22:50 AM | link
Maybe now Shell executives will be arrested for crimes against humanity in Nigeria.
john , Dec 12, 2018 11:24:23 AM | link
Hoarsewhisperer says:

China is planning to launch a worldwide free wifi internet service based on more than 100 satellites, which could be interpreted as a Commie scheme to undermine the profitability of telcos

cool. digital nomadism and growing your own food will be the ticket.

Harry , Dec 12, 2018 11:26:07 AM | link
The story I heard was that it was a screw up. Mira Ricardel was fired because she pissed off Melania about airplane seats. She was fired before inter-agency coordination for the arrest but after the warrant for the arrest was issued - the warrant was issued back in August. That and the fact that Trudeau hates Trump explains this idiocy. Trudeau was left to weigh up the US request against the poor timing of the US request from the US point of view. No one from the WH got back to the Canadians to ask them to wait.

So Justin decided to go ahead to screw Trump. Fun, no?

Jackrabbit , Dec 12, 2018 11:32:48 AM | link
ralphieboy | Dec 12, 2018 10:52:25 AM | 18: corporate fraud is also a crime in Canada.

More specifically, she's accused of inducing banks to provide financing that was illegal due to US sanctions. It appears that as Huawei CFO, she certified that her company doesn't trade with Iran despite the fact that Huawei has an Iran-based subsidiary (SkyCom Tech).

donkeytale , Dec 12, 2018 11:44:22 AM | link
Is this an example of "US short term strategical thinking" or "Trump's-as-per-usual (non) thinking?"

After all, as you stated, these maneuvers wrt Meng are emanating from John (I am the Eggman) Bolton's office and clearly evidence his trademarked hard-boiled belligerence which of course is heartily endorsed by Trump (as an "Art of the Deal" negotiating ploy by the master debater himself) who selected The Walrus in the first place. Or second place if you count Bolton's earlier appointment by that other intellectual giant of the GOP, GW Bush.

Please, the US voted less for Trump to be our trade representative then even the British voted for their own ridiculous "alt-right" trade adventure wildride, AKA "Brexit."

And we now have another pretty solid election behind us illustrating even further that Trump's worldview doesn't represent most of the US. He represents only a dwindling "base" of mostly old white male reactionary racist very scared supporters whose presence within the GOP has terrified the GOP toadies into supporting most everything Trump wants because he delivers judges and tax cuts to the rich.

But again, the majourity of the toadies don't support Trump on China. He has them by their shriveled up balls is all.

Jackrabbit , Dec 12, 2018 11:52:01 AM | link
Ghost Ship | Dec 12, 2018 11:15:24 AM | 21:
That Kissinger projects an inability to absorb pain onto the Russians ...
This is a misreading. Kissinger is not projecting but explaining. Look at the Financial Times interview for more clarity. Also, they didn't fail to consider WWII. They miscalculated. And then they doubled down (as the neocons always do).
Clueless Joe , Dec 12, 2018 11:52:11 AM | link
Jackrabbit 17
"Kissinger admits(*) this when, in his typical roundabout way, he says that no one anticipated Russia's ability to absorb pain." Then Kissinger is a bigger fool than I thought. He's old enough to know about WWII, and previous wars as well. I mean, he did study the Napoleonic wars...
Jackrabbit , Dec 12, 2018 11:58:35 AM | link
Clueless Joe | Dec 12, 2018 11:52:11 AM | 28

You have to remember, this was economic warfare, not military. And the USA/West were pretending to be helpful. IIRC, Yeltsin was happy for this "help" too.

Jose Garcia , Dec 12, 2018 12:21:30 PM | link
"The government and us are cut from the same cloth." Sam Giancana, former Mob boss from Chicago. Deep State, you say? No way, Jose. More like the Gambino (Democrat's) and the Genovese (Republicans). You don't need "colors" to identify yourself as a gang member. You can wear double breasted suits and have the same bad intentions as any member of the Crips, Bloods, Mafia or Mexican Cartels. The US government is one great big Tammany Hall. Nothing has changed since the days of Boss Tweed. Instead of being centered in New York, it's now in our nation's capital. Mah Rohn! Forget about it!
Fidelios Automata , Dec 12, 2018 12:22:34 PM | link
This is beyond outrageous. US law is not the law of the world. The Chinese may trade with whomever they choose.
Jackrabbit , Dec 12, 2018 12:29:14 PM | link
Fidelios Automata | Dec 12, 2018 12:22:34 PM | 31:
The Chinese may trade with whomever they choose.
She's not being accused of trading with Iran. She's being accused of bank fraud (providing false information to obtain a loan).
LittleWhiteCabbage , Dec 12, 2018 12:37:53 PM | link
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2003/07/sidestepping-sanctions/

According to the above article, American firms set up foreign subsidiaries to do business with sanctioned countries. So if SkyCom is an Iranian subsidiary, what can be Sabrina Meng Wanzhou's crime? Or even if SkyCom is a Hong Kong-based subsidiary? The city-state effectively maintains its own laws and financial architecture, as part of one country, two systems.

Grieved , Dec 12, 2018 12:41:16 PM | link
It's a bit OT but this thing of Russia absorbing pain - to be fair, I always thought that producing Putin at the last moment was really stretching survival to a fine thread. The neocons almost won there. The country was almost done for. It took a man whose father nursed life back into his wife when medics figured she was done for...

Russia's ultimate salvation was way too close to the edge of the cliff for my taste.

Laura Rosiln , Dec 12, 2018 1:05:05 PM | link
two things of interest: Canadian Telecoms Face $1 Billion Cost to Remove Huawei Gear, Globe & Mail Says.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-08/canadian-telecoms-face-1-billion-to-remove-huawei-tech-g-m

South Korea to get the world's first 5G commercial network in Q1, 2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nD-FnRSqfI

karlof1 , Dec 12, 2018 1:06:33 PM | link
Ya'll know how the Chinese finger trap works, yes? Instead of his fingers, Trump's got his whole head inside, and he's stuck real good. There're only two ways out: Trump admits China can't be beaten so its better to join them or he cuts off his head to free his body--both are essentially suicide, although the former is merely political instead of actual.
BraveNewWorld , Dec 12, 2018 1:12:55 PM | link
There is zero chance she gets deported to the US because doing so would mean a Canadian court blessing the idea that the US is the sole legal authority of every thing on planet earth. There isn't a a judge in Canada that is goin g to sign off on the idea that US law trumps Canadian law and international law in Canada.
Jared , Dec 12, 2018 1:16:27 PM | link
There is a strange ambiguous nature to the post. It seems there is a reluctance to address the issues. It has long been claimed that China has a tendency to copy or steal intellectual property. Most "I/P" is horse shit anyway - e.g. Apple and the rounded corners. Apparently there has been some actual espionage, but that is probably pretty common its just that China has used it to good advantage (if we accept that they have used it - as I do).

It is quite odd to to make such a fuss in the absence of smoking gun - maybe Mueller is in need of something to investigate?

I am baffeled by the whole Iran thing and the nations in terror of U.S. sanctions. What is this "international law" of which we speak? The implication is that because Mr Trump (Bolton) does not approve of a treaty that now Iran and RoW has violated a law and are subject to sanction by the U.S.? I find it hard to comprehend.

vk , Dec 12, 2018 1:24:04 PM | link
This first paragraph from a today's Global Times op-ed nicely summarizes the 21st Century:
For a long time in the future, the international situation will evolve around the rise of China, the decline of the US and the uncertain development level of Russia.
Anya , Dec 12, 2018 1:24:42 PM | link

No arrests among the Israelis. None. The loyalty to Israel by Israel-firsters (and their corrupting influence on the US Congress) overpowers any loyalty to the US.

But to arrest a woman because of the illegal economic sanctions against Iran (on Israelis' prodding) is fine for US "deciders"

ToivoS , Dec 12, 2018 1:38:52 PM | link
Anya | Dec 12, 2018 1:24:42 PM | 40

Thanks for assembling those links. That is a good compilation. I was vaguely aware of those stories but had forgotten most of the details. It is so true. And you didn't even get to the Jonathan Pollard betrayal!

james , Dec 12, 2018 1:48:53 PM | link
thanks b! and thanks to the many informative comments.. i encourage others to read the jeffery sachs article in b's article near the top under the word 'unprecedented"...

@23 john.. thanks.. i will take a look..

@24 harry.. thanks.. that is an interesting conjecture..

@38 jared.. larvov made some comments on the use of the term 'rule of law' which is different from 'international law'.. i can't find the article from yesterday that i read on this, but essentially he is saying the usa wants to toss international law and replace it with 'rule of law', or 'law based rules' and do away with international law, as international law is not working in the usa's favour at this point..'rule of law' or 'law based rules' is something that a country can make up as it goes along.. the usa wants to drop international law essentially.. if i find larvov's comments, i will post them...

Don Bacon , Dec 12, 2018 2:41:01 PM | link
Here's the legal mumbo-jumbo from B.C. which includes details on the charges against Meng. The poor banks were "victim banking institutions."
The investigation by U.S. authorities has revealed a conspiracy between and among Meng and other Huawei representatives to misrepresent to numerous financial institutions. . . .The motivation for these misrepresentations stemmed from Huawei's need to move money out of countries that are subject to U.S. or E.U. sanctions--such as Iran, Syria, or Sudan--through the international banking system. At various times, both the U.S. and E.U. legal regimes have imposed sanctions that prohibit the provision of U.S. or E.U. services to Iran, such as banking services....

Because Meng and other Huawei representatives misrepresented to Financial Institution 1 and the other financial institutions about Huawei's relationship with Skycom, these victim banking institutions were induced into carrying out transactions that they otherwise would not have completed. As a result, they violated the banks' internal policies, potentially violated U.S. sanctions laws, and exposed the banks to the risk of fines and forfeiture. .

Michael Droy , Dec 12, 2018 2:49:03 PM | link
Very accurate. Yes of course the smart move would have been to welcome China into a multi-polar world, but it is too late now, and I doubt the US could ever have managed that. Trade war and probable actual war has been inevitable for some time. An alien visiting earth would want to view every event through the prism of imminent US-China war.

Right now we see a US circling of the wagons, with threats against outsiders. In particular Iran, NK and Russia are villified because the message is "look what happens if you don't come in on our side". We think the casual slanders about these countries are just vulgar Americans, but they are really calculated warnings to other countries.

Don Bacon , Dec 12, 2018 2:49:15 PM | link

The charges against Meng were brought by Richard P. Donoghue, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Donoghue was appointed as Interim United States Attorney for the Eastern District by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on January 3, 2018, and as Attorney on May 3, 2018.

Donoghue is one of five U.S. attorneys serving in a "working group" under the Justice Department's recently announced China Initiative. Launched by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the China Initiative is a broad-based strategy designed to counter Chinese economic espionage and a range of other national security threats. Donoghue has been leading an investigation of Huawei since 2016 for possible violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The Eastern District serves over eight million residents through its Criminal Division, with approximately 115 Assistant U.S. Attorneys, and its Civil Division, with approximately 60 U.S.Attorneys. But what the heck, forget New Yorkers, Donoghue has bigger fish to fry.

Don Bacon , Dec 12, 2018 3:00:54 PM | link
If one has an interest on seeing how the war-mongers visualize the US-China standoff, check out this blog where I regularly get roasted. (roasted bacon?)
xLemming , Dec 12, 2018 3:03:18 PM | link
@43 DB

Not to be confused with actual "victim banking" customers - of which there are legion. Great comments on this thread - always worth the drive...

William Bowles , Dec 12, 2018 3:26:48 PM | link
Posted by: Grieved | Dec 12, 2018 12:41:16 PM | 34

Hmmm... following the downfall of the drunkard Yeltsin (the first miscalculation of the Empire, hubris strikes again), they put their money on Medvedev, the 'Atanticist'. Bad move! Putin was the response. Nationalism bad? I don't think so, it's what enabled Stalin to win WW2 and it enabled Putin to pull the country, but as said, only just! Phew.

70 years of isolating the Soviet Union meant that they really didn't have a handle on the Western propaganda machine. In the 80s the North Koreans made the same mistake.

A slight aside: I and a bunch of other journos, activists were invited to a wonderful slap up meal held at the N.Korean UN delegation HQ in Manhattan. Food great but the video they showed horrendous! Imagine 1 1/2hrs of the Great Leader and endless displays in stadiums waving flags in unison. They then asked us what we thought of it (that was the purpose of 12 course meal). When they were told it would go down like a lead balloon, they just didn't get it. They lived in a different world, ditto the Soviets.

BTW, the video was made for US consumption.

On the other hand, Verso brought out a book (I have it somewhere) on the aesthetics of East European cityscapes during the Soviet period and lamented on the loss of individuality, following the fall of socialism and the rise of McDonaldism. How ironic. And we though (were taught) that E. European design and architecture was drab!

ex-SA , Dec 12, 2018 3:32:40 PM | link
MBA ideology, which is narrowly focused on the next quarter results, bottom line, and bonuses for executives has devastated / destroyed industrial base of the 5 eyes!
Jen , Dec 12, 2018 4:42:32 PM | link
Don Bacon @ 46:

I saw the discussion thread at that BreakingDefense.com post you linked to, and I must say you should seek help for that masochistic tendency that drives you to post there and risk being savaged by armchair generals whose idea of military strategy comes from playing wall-2-wall computer games.

I should think a better example from Ancient Greek history that we should heed, rather than Thucydides' Trap (discussions of which use very selective examples to "prove" its premise) is Athens' military expedition to Syracuse to conquer the city and all of Sicily in 415 BCE. How did that turn out for Athens?

http://www.livius.org/articles/concept/peloponnesian-war/sicilian-expedition/
http://www.livius.org/sources/content/thucydides/destruction-of-the-athenian-army/?

Godfree Roberts , Dec 12, 2018 4:54:40 PM | link

I should add that the US put China under total embargoes on food, ag equipment, finance, technology for 25 years during Maos' tenure. Yet he grew the economy by 7.25% annually, doubled the population, its life expectancy and literacy during that time.

Hodi , Dec 12, 2018 4:56:46 PM | link
BraveNewWorld@37...If there is any question whether Canadian courts will side with American laws you only need to google Qmar Khadr to answer the question.
james , Dec 12, 2018 4:59:06 PM | link
@46 don bacon.. thanks for the link.. in it admiral Davidson says "I see a fundamental divergence of values that leads to two incomparable visions of the future. I think those two incomparable visions are between China and the rules-based international order."

there is that ''rules-based international order'' quote again - which i was mentioning to @38 jared in my post @42..
what the fuck is ''rules-based international order'' supposed to mean? you mean like - ignore international law and replace it with ''rule-basd international order''??

i agree with jen... don, you must be a bit of a masochist!

RibCluck , Dec 12, 2018 5:03:48 PM | link
@ Don Bacon

I definitely second Jen's remark about BreakingDefense. Reading that post was very distressing and I can imagine they would roast you and many who follow and admire b. But, as the saying goes, it is also good to know "how the enemy" thinks. Or in this case how our gov + thinks.

farm ecologist , Dec 12, 2018 5:16:31 PM | link
@6 Josh

Canada's rubberstamping of extradition requests (90% are by the US)was already successfully challenged once in the Diab case with France

Not exactly. Diab was arrested in 2008 and, after a long series of legal proceedings (ending with the refusal of the Canadian Supreme Court to hear his appeal), finally extradited to France in 2014. The case against Diab was flimsy to nonexistent to begin with, but "good enough" to meet Canadian standards. In spite of the continued insistence by French prosecutors that they had a legitimate case, multiple judges disagreed and Diab was finally released earlier this year and allowed to return to Canada.

The bottom line is that the bar for extradition from Canada is extremely low, which should worry Ms Meng.

lysias , Dec 12, 2018 5:24:56 PM | link
The way the U.S. seems intent on punishing Australian Assange for exposing U.S. secrets exhibits the same determination to apply U.S. law to everyone all over the world.
Loz , Dec 12, 2018 5:35:37 PM | link
@52 James -
http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/3413324

20 November 201815:24
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's remarks at the general meeting of the Russian International Affairs Council, Moscow, November 20, 2018

"The historical West is still violently opposed to the objective rise of a fairer and more democratic polycentric world order. Clinging to the principles of unipolarity, Washington and some other Western capitals appear unable to constructively interact with the new global centres of economic and political influence. A wide range of restrictions are applied to the dissenters, ranging from military force and unilateral economic sanctions to demonisation and mud-slinging in the spirit of the notorious "highly likely." There are many examples of this dirty game...This has seriously debased international law. Moreover, attempts have been made to replace the notion of law with a "rules-based order" the parameters of which will be determined by a select few.

We are especially concerned about the activities of the US administration aimed at destroying the key international agreements. These include withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action known as the Iran nuclear deal, the declared intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), an open line for revising the settlement principles in the Middle East, as well as sabotaging the Minsk Agreements on overcoming the internal Ukrainian crisis. The trade wars that have been launched contrary to the WTO principles are rocking the global economic architecture, free trade and competition standards. The US establishment, blindly believing in the idea of their exceptionalism, continues to appoint rivals and adversaries, primarily among the countries that pursue an independent foreign policy. Everyone can see that Washington is a loose cannon, liable to act incongruously, including regarding Russia where any steps taken by US President Donald Trump to develop stable and normal channels of communication with Moscow on the biggest current problems are promptly blocked by those who want to continue or even strengthen the destructive approach to relations with Russia, which developed during the previous US administration.

Overall, it looks as if the Americans and some of our other Western colleagues have forgotten the basics of diplomacy and the art of dialogue and consensus over the past 25 years. One result of this is the dangerous militarisation of the foreign policy thinking. As RIAC Director General Andrey Kortunov recently pointed out at a Valdai Discussion Club meeting, the Clausewitz formula can be changed to a mirror image, "Politics is a continuation of war by other means."

Russia is a consistent supporter of the development of international life based on the principles of the UN Charter. We are a serious obstacle in the way of different destructive undertakings." etc

Lavrov is always an interesting read.

spudski , Dec 12, 2018 5:36:27 PM | link
Second Canadian detained in China, according to Freeland.
lysias , Dec 12, 2018 5:39:32 PM | link
Considering the eventual results of the Peloponnesian War for all combatants, Thucydides' Trap turned out to be a trap for everyone. They all would have been better off peacefully settling their differences. Same goes for World War One. And the same goes for a declining U.S. facing a rising China.

What the U.S. should do is to negotiate with China a deal which recognizes the status of China as a superpower in return for an economic relationship that preserves the U.S. standard of living.

Unfortunately, the U.S. ruling class cares more about the psychic gratification it derives from dominating the world.

Don Bacon , Dec 12, 2018 6:03:18 PM | link
@ 52 james
re: "rules-based international order"
This is widely and repeatedly used by the Pentagon; I've also seen it used by the Australia government (no surprise there from a US puppet). Of course we know that it's a code-phrase for. . .let's not change the current US-dominated world disorder with its US-led wars, assassinations and torture.

Other pet phrases, taken from my blog link above:
... revisionist great powers like China and Russia
... China's state-led, market-distorting economic model
... democratic, liberal values that draws us together with our allies and differentiates us from China."

Don Bacon , Dec 12, 2018 6:19:44 PM | link
@ 57 Loz
Russia's Lavrov is a smart guy and gets it right, as a realist, but I prefer Iran's Khamenei who always looks on the bright side.

. . .from a speech delivered on November 3, 2018, by Ayatollah Khamenei

. . . the US waged military wars and military actions,
. . .There has also been an economic war in this 40-year challenge
. . .They have waged a media war as well.
Well, there is an important truth which is sometimes not seen by some people: its dazzling clarity makes it go unnoticed. This truth is a bright and shining one, which is the fact that in this 40-year challenge, the side which has been defeated represents the US and the side which has achieved victory represents the Islamic Republic. --This is a very important truth. What is the reason behind America's defeat? The reason for their defeat was that it was they who began the attack. It was they who initiated corrupt actions. It was they who imposed sanctions, and it was they who launched a military attack, but they have not achieved their goals. --This is the reason why the US has been defeated.
And he's right, Iran has defeated the US, which is why Washington is so down on Iran. The defeats have come in Iraq, and Syria, and next in Afghanistan . . .plus in Iran itself, which has stood up to the greatest world power for forty years full of sanctions and assaults, and thereby served as a model and inspiration for other countries large and small.
jayc , Dec 12, 2018 6:46:23 PM | link
The prosecutor's case against Meng is fundamentally weak. For instance, there is no identification of a "co-conspirator", necessary to a charge of conspiracy. It does not seem to have been developed much beyond the information developed in the 2013 Reuters investigation. At least half of that relies on unnamed "former employees" and unnamed persons who claimed to have dealt with Skycom in Iran.

If these persons cannot be produced then all that evidence cannot rise above hearsay. The coincidences left to the prosecutors to suggest a shell corporation should be then overwhelmed by the perfectly legal offshore documentation, which represents common corporate practice worldwide. If the US courts still nail Huawei, the precedent could put all large businesses and business persons everywhere at criminal risk for currently accepted practices.

The exit door could be a finding by the Canadian court, tacitly ok'ed by the Americans, that the case lacks merit and Meng is freed sometime in the spring to a chorus of self-congratulatory hurrahs over "rule of law". If the intent was to damage the Huawei brand in the West, then mission already accomplished.

james , Dec 12, 2018 6:49:31 PM | link
@57 loz... thanks for finding that! that is basically it... ditto don's comments which reflect this same mindset from the exceptional nation...

@58 spudski.. thanks for the update on that.. it would seem china has been reading @4 Bm's comments!!!

james , Dec 12, 2018 6:54:41 PM | link
here is our canuck foreign affairs minister Freeland using the term as well.. "It, I think, is quite obvious that it ought to be incumbent on parties seeking an extradition from Canada, recognizing that Canada is a rule-of-law country, to ensure that any extradition request is about ensuring that justice is done, is about ensuring that the rule of law is respected and is not politicized or used for any other purpose," she said."
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/china-missing-person-questioned-1.4943591
james , Dec 12, 2018 6:55:45 PM | link
last paragraph in that link is even better - here.. ""I think in the world today, where the rule of law is under threat in some parts of the world, being a rule-of-law country is more important now than ever," Freeland said. "And what I can commit to for Canadians, and for our partners around the world, is that Canada will very faithfully follow the rule of law."
Jen , Dec 12, 2018 7:07:04 PM | link
BM @ 4:

My suggestion in the previous comments thread was noticed only by one (James) but I'm sure it still holds up well.

Huawei could undertake to pay Sabrina Meng's bail or at least her security detail when she has to leave her house. Huawei then sends the amount paid to Beijing and Beijing charges Ottawa for the amount paid ... and includes interest payment for each and every day that Ottawa declines to pay the principal.

Tit-4-tat actions against US companies, however desirable, might have unfortunate long-term consequences especially if elements in the US Deep State are expecting them and are prepared for them.

karlof1 , Dec 12, 2018 7:21:25 PM | link
Loz @57--

Thanks for reposting Lavrov's acute observations, thus revealing that Russia and China already know the what and why of the Outlaw US Empire's doings. Frankly, I was surprised nobody commented about my Monopoly Game analogy from yesterday which illustrates the situation the Outlaw US Empire finds itself in thanks to its unilateral and exceptionalisms. Indeed, for its opponents, moves made by the Outlaw US Empire can fairly well be anticipated and thus quickly countered. And thanks to the desire by most nations for multilateralism, Russia and China find receptive audiences and ready allies in their campaign to neuter the international outlaw bully.

A Must Remember: The USA has never wanted to subordinate itself to any rules other than its own that it can change whenever it suits itself. The key evidence of this is that while the Senate was ratifying the UN Charter in late July of 1945, the Executive branch was embarking on its terroristic Anti-Communist Crusade by arming and facilitating the infiltration of former Nazi SS and Gestapo agents into the Soviet-held regions of Eastern Europe thereby violating the newly negotiated international system of law and its own Constitution, and making itself THE primary International Outlaw Nation, which it proudly continues to be to this day.

donkeytale , Dec 12, 2018 7:21:36 PM | link
Don Bacon Lettuce and Tomato @ 61

Excellent post.

Brad Smith , Dec 12, 2018 7:21:46 PM | link
Great article and I would say that you are getting the political implications, the hypocrisy and the rest of it pretty much spot on.

I'll add this just for the heck of it.

This case started a while back when ZTE narked out Huawei for using third party cutouts to avoid the sanctions. The ZTE case was in England. Because Hauwei is not the legal owner of these chips or code it makes it "theft by conversion". Using banks to launder the money is bank fraud as well.

What a lot of people are missing, legally, is that this is not the same at all as violating sanctions by selling your own products. They do not own the chips or proprietary software in any legal sense. The chips and code are still owned by the parent company that developed them, China has what amounts to a licensing agreement with the parent companies. If Weng had violated the sanctions by transferring her own code and her own chips then it would be out of our jurisdiction. However, once they violated the terms and conditions of the contract they not only have committed fraud they have committed theft by conversion of a US owned product and they used US banks to launder the money. This is why she is actually being charged with fraud and not sanctions violations. I'd bet that if they go full hardball she would be charged with Bank Fraud as well. That's the one that comes with the most prison time.

In short, violating sanctions doesn't usually get you arrested because it doesn't also include theft, fraud although money laundering gets them sometimes. But of course we also know that the rest of the article is pretty much correct. She was actually arrested as part of the entire back and forth over trade and all the rest. Our government normally would not pick a top dog to do jail time, so why now and why her? 5G and access to markets are a big part but so is a real concern over the constant pirating, malware, spyware, backdoor access to the Chinese government to all the encryption they use, etc. etc.

I'm only adding my comments to remind people that the US actually does have a rock solid case against her company, so don't be at all surprised if she isn't eventually charged unless Trump does something to stop it. They were caught red handed committing fraud by using third party cut outs and lying to the banks involved as well. If the US really wants to push it they are within their legal rights under our laws to do it. She essentially stole US property and laundered the proceeds with US banks. Go ahead and try that yourself and see if you get away with it.

Transferring a product you do not own to a third party in violation of a contract is theft by conversion. It's the same as if I recorded a football game and then sold it against their wishes and then laundered the money. It's not the violation of the sanctions per se that will get her in trouble, it's transferring stolen property, fraud and money laundering that they are actually holding over her head. If they want to, they can send her away for a long time and they know it. This could get really ugly.

Ghost Ship , Dec 12, 2018 7:24:31 PM | link
Don That breakingdefence seems as broken as other neo-lib sites such as Lawyers, Guns and Money.

BTW, we are coming up for the sixtieth anniversary of the the Cuban revolutionaries kicking out the dictator Batista. Cuba, which then went on to impose massive defeats on Reagan and Thatcher by bringing down their beloved (Reagan and Thatcher's, that is) apartheid in South Africa. We are repeatedly told that it was Russian MiGs which it did but they were operated and flown by Cubans, and if Castro hadn't sent them to defeat the apartheid state in Angola, it's doubtful the conservatives in the Soviet Union would have done so. So, Cuba has been in the trenches for twenty years more than Iran and still appears to be undefeated.

Finally, the Angry Arab has an essay up at Al Akhbar about the US secret war on Communism that is worth a read. The machine translation is readable.

c1ue , Dec 12, 2018 7:30:44 PM | link
Sorry, but the readers here seem to have no clue whatsoever about Putin's past.
Putin was part of the group under the St. Petersburg mayor - it was because of this that he was put in power as Yeltsin's 2nd in command. And equally it was because of Putin's position under Yeltsin which made him acceptable to foreign powers as Russia's new head.
Medvedev has always been an Atlanticist; much like the 1% in the US, his background is global technocracy which naturally gravitates him toward the US. Having a close relative on Gazprom doesn't hurt either.
Point is, Putin didn't come out of nowhere nor was he a nobody.
That he is a very articulate and thoughtful leader - that was the only surprise.
Pft , Dec 12, 2018 7:36:17 PM | link
China just ordered a boatload or more of soybeans and says they wont let this interfere with trade talks.

Just the way Trump likes to deal. Meng will work out of her expensive Vancouver home as hostage until a trade deal is done. Then she gets released w/o extradition

Anya , Dec 12, 2018 7:37:03 PM | link
"Top Ten American War Criminals Living Freely Today:" https://rense.com/general69/tpten.htm
karlof1 , Dec 12, 2018 7:40:48 PM | link
Brad Smith @69--

How many US corporations are guilty of doing the same do ya think? As for industrial espionage, I have just one word--ECHELON.

There's an excellent reason why the Outlaw US Empire wants to change the rules of the game that it initially designed: It can no longer win using them; indeed, it can be defeated by what it emplaced. Reminds me of an old Sting hit Fortress Around Your Heart ; in fact, it's quite apt.

Pft , Dec 12, 2018 7:51:51 PM | link
From Christopher Black

http://pacificfreepress.com/2018/12/10/opinion/taking-huawei-hostage-the-canadian-angle-on-meng-arrest.html

"The pretext for her arrest is that Huawei has violated US sanctions against Iran. But the "sanctions" imposed on Iran by the US recently are illegal under international law, that is under the UN Charter that stipulates that only the Security Council can impose economic sanctions on a nation..... There is, therefore, no law that she or Huawei is violating. ....

(Trudeau stated) that this arbitrary arrest was not politically motivated ...... Article 2 of the Treaty (with the US) requires that Canada can only act on such a request if, and only if, the offence alleged is also an offence by the laws of both contracting parties. But the unilaterally imposed and illegal sanctions placed against Iran by the USA, are not punishable acts in Canada and even in the USA the "sanctions" are illegal as the are in violation of the UN Charter.

Article 4 (1) of the Treaty states:
"Extradition shall not be granted in any of the following circumstances:
(iii) When the offense in respect of which extradition is requested is of a political character, or the person whose extradition is requested proves that the extradition request has been made for the purpose of trying to punish him (or her) for an offense of the above-mentioned character.....

So, Prime Minister Trudeau cannot evade responsibility for this hostage taking, this arbitrary arrest and detention since his government had to consider the US request and consider whether it was politically motivated. ....... It was a political arrest. The rule of law in Canada has been suspended, at least in her case, and so can be in any case.

No Pasaran , Dec 12, 2018 8:08:10 PM | link
Trudeau's insinuation that extradition is a purely judicial process in Canada is simply wrong. The "International Assistance Group" in the Department of Justice works actively with the requesting state against the person sought for extradition, and this can be a hugely political process involved outright lies to the court, as the Diab case revealed. Extradition law in Canada is so politicized that even when a judge commits someone for extradition, the matter is then referred to the Minister of Justice, who has the ultimate say. All of this is to maintain Canadian political alliances at the expense of the rights of the accused. Extradition, kidnapping and extraordinary rendition are almost indistinguishable in Canada.
dh , Dec 12, 2018 8:14:16 PM | link
@75 "Canadians should be angry about their nation being led by people whose loyalty is to Washington instead of to the Canadian people whose interests they care nothing for."

So is Christopher Black suggesting Canada put Meng on a plane back to China and give Trump the finger? How would that be good for the Canadian people?

jayc , Dec 12, 2018 8:14:18 PM | link
Brad #69
She is being charged with bank fraud. That is why she is being threatened with up to 60 years in prison. But the attribution of the cut out or shell company, Skycom, with Huawei is based on anecdotal evidence which can be effectively challengd. Alleging that Meng herself knowingly conspired to make false representation is a huge stretch, and none of the evidence assembled comes close to that. Also, the sanction violation involved less than $2 million of Hewlett Packard "gear", not high-end proprietary tech.
T , Dec 12, 2018 8:16:03 PM | link
Your opinion on this? How could China win a trade war since it is relying on its large trade surplus with the US? As Trump said, trade-surplus countries suffer more in trade wars, as it is they who get hit with tariffs.

In Giant Trade War Concession, China Prepares To Replace "Made In China 2025"

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-12/giant-trade-war-concession-china-prepares-replace-made-china-2025

In First Major Purchase Since "Trade War Truce", China Buy 500,000 Tonnes Of US Soybeans

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-12/first-major-purchase-trade-war-truce-china-buy-500000-tonnes-us-soybeans

Brad Smith , Dec 12, 2018 8:17:12 PM | link
Karlof1 I agree, it's damage control at this point in time.

And yeah they have wanted "total information awareness" for a while. I think that was the term they used in the "Project for a new American Century" talking points wasn't it? They wanted to grab every bit of data produced in the entire world and store it. TOTAL information awareness. And they published that plan right out in the open for everyone to read. Then they went right ahead and built the facilities, infrastructure, hired all the people to man it and nobody did jack nothing to stop em either. (dem terrorsts might get us if we complain too much)

Why we didn't run those neo-con fools out of town on a rail is beyond me but the reality is that people will put up with damn near anything before they really demand change.

By the way which would you prefer, a phone with a backdoor by China or a backdoor by the US? Pretty lousy choice either way if you ask me. I bet if Heuwei would give our "intel" agencies the backdoor key to their devices they would be just fine with that as a "settlement".

karlof1 , Dec 12, 2018 8:20:28 PM | link
Finnian Cunningham's OP/ED serves as a complementary to b's. A taste:

"The US has increasingly been wielding its legal definitions and measures as if it is the world's judge and jury.

"In recent years, American lawmakers have created a slew of legal weapons, including the Magnitsky Act, the Global Magnitsky Act, the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which give Washington the supposed power to penalize any country it deems to be in breach of its national laws.

"The arbitrariness of US "justice" has got to the febrile point where Washington is threatening all nations, including its supposed European allies, with legal punishment if they don't toe the line on its designated policy."

His conclusion:

"Washington's lawless pursuit of its nationalistic interests is turning the globe into a seething jungle of distrust and resentment. The political chaos in Washington – where even the president is accused by domestic opponents of abusing democratic norms – is fanning out to engulf the rest of the world.

"America's erstwhile claim of being the world's sheriff has taken on a macabre twist. Increasingly in the eyes of the world, it is a renegade state which absurdly justifies its criminality with lofty claims of rule of law."

IMO, the world can do very well without the English-speaking nations of the Western Hemisphere. Containing them would be far easier than Eurasia, even with bases strewn globally, for they must trade with the rest of the world to keep their current standard of living whereas the rest of the world doesn't need to reciprocate. Yes, there's a very good reason why the USA called its late 19th Century trade policy the Open Door--a policy that continues today. Trump seems to want autarky, so give it to him by calling his massive bluff. Leave Uncle Scam sitting alone at his Monopoly Board masturbating while the rest of the world plays Diplomacy and Go! Send an unmistakable message that he's the Bullying Misfit and shatter his exceptional ego. Hopefully if the correct psychological approach is used, a planet devastating war can be avoided; but the latter cannot be feared when dealing with the International Bully as it must be taught a lesson it will never forget.

dh , Dec 12, 2018 8:20:58 PM | link
@79 I'm not sure anybody will come out a clear winner....though Trump will claim victory for sure. A large order of soy beans makes a nice gesture, so would buying a few airplanes from Boeing, but the Chinese still have a few red lines they won't cross. All depends how hard Trump wants to push.
Peter AU 1 , Dec 12, 2018 8:21:29 PM | link
"Moreover, attempts have been made to replace the notion of law with a "rules-based order"

About time this was voiced publicly and Lavrov is the man to do it. It has been very noticeable over the last few years that our western or five eyes "rule of law" narrative has been replaced by "rules based order" or so called "international norms".

Don Bacon , Dec 12, 2018 8:39:04 PM | link
@ james, in a snarky response to a warmonger at Breaking Defense, who misunderstood a previous james comment: --
. . ."thanks for yours as well.. usually the american trolls are always reminding others of how they abide by law, when in fact, it is quite the opposite..."
...a classic put-down. kudos.
karlof1 , Dec 12, 2018 8:42:08 PM | link
Brad Smitrh @80--

Thanks for your reply! I own the most fundamental of cell phones used for rudimentary texting and emergencies as I have no need for further sophistication, and I had to be talked into buying that one! So, I'd prefer to have no backdoors anywhere near my person at anytime and strive to establish that condition.

Indeed, this entire situation ought to bring governmental interference in citizen privacy to the fore so it can finally have the debate it deserves--Constitutionally, the government is in violation, it knows it, but tries to circumvent Primary Law by using the National Security canard. Should the citizen have an expectation of privacy within his/her own space or not? If not, then the entire Bill of Rights is null and void.

Don Bacon , Dec 12, 2018 8:57:49 PM | link
@ 79 T
In Giant Trade War Concession, China Prepares To Replace "Made In China 2025"
The revised plan would play down China's bid to dominate manufacturing and be more open to participation by foreign companies, these people said.

That's what the US has been complaining about, isn't it? The American manufacturers are invited in and then have to give up all their trade secrets to be allowed to manufacture in China, until the locals take over with their newly acquired knowledge.

Regarding soybeans, China needs it to feed their hogs. Apparently Brazil didn't work out in the long term.

kooshy , Dec 12, 2018 8:58:14 PM | link
@Don, Thank you for the great brave job of posting on the out of realty redneck' site. A daily dose of reality comments should really F*s the warmonger bastard' day.
Pft , Dec 12, 2018 8:59:54 PM | link
Dh@77

I fail to see how exercising their sovereign right is giving Trump the finger, or bad for the Canadian people. However Canada has basically become the US 51st state since NAFTA and the first Gulf War, so they follow orders

The new NAFTA will push up drug prices even more so they may soon join their brothers south of the border and enjoy declining life expectancy due to unaffordable Drug prices

daffyDuct , Dec 12, 2018 9:11:26 PM | link
From ZeroHedge "Below we present some pertinent thoughts on the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou from former Fed Governor Larry Lindsey and current head of the Lindsay Group."

.. Then along comes a story in the South China Morning Post about an October meeting with employees in which Meng said that there are cases where, "the external rules are clear-cut and there's no contention, but the company is totally unable to comply with in actual operations. In such cases, after a reasonable decision-making process, one may accept the risk of temporary non-compliance."

That statement is full of euphemisms, but it makes putting the corporate interest ahead of complying with the law the official position of management. Put that in the context of a four-year anti-corruption campaign by Xi and a purge of top-level tech executives who have gotten too big for their britches. In Xi's new world it may be one thing to have said that it was ok to put China's interests first, but she is putting the corporate interests ahead of China's interests.

Also note that these comments were in quotes from an internal (and closed) Huawei meeting. How did the SCMP acquire these direct quotes? The SCMP is one of the world's truly great papers, publishing candid news and commentary focused on getting to the truth in a way that is only a distant memory in American newspapers. That said, it is also like Hong Kong – one nation, two systems. If Beijing really wanted a story out, it would provide the sources and the reporters would do the rest. And if they really wanted a story spiked it probably would be spiked. Those direct quotes obviously came from Chinese authorities and the story was printed at a very inconvenient time for Meng – when she was protesting her innocence. Somebody in Beijing thinks Meng is a loose cannon.

Let's be a little conspiratorial or, more precisely, try and create a narrative that fits the facts. It arguably serves everyone's interests for Ms. Meng to be taught a lesson. It is in Bolton's and the DoJ's interest to send a message that access to power
and connections does not buy you a get out of jail free card. It is in Xi's interest, or at least in the interests of major portions of the Chinese government, to send a signal that even the extremely well-connected still have to toe the party line.

...The detention did not involve any surprises. The charges against Meng were leveled three months before her arrest. The market reaction seemed to be based on the notion that this was a last-minute surprise. As for the Chinese, Xi and Company knows where everyone is going and when. They certainly knew that Meng was traveling to Vancouver, that she had a warrant for her arrest outstanding, and that Canada extradites to the U.S. They did nothing to warn her.

... Our conspiracy theory holds that she will be released when everyone thinks the lesson has been learned. America scores a win in terms of signal value about enforcing Iran sanctions whether Meng spends two weeks, two months, or the rest of her life behind bars. Xi will have signaled what he thinks about prioritizing corporate interests over national interests and bending regulations.

... One does not have to buy this conspiracy theory in all its detail to get at the essential truth that markets need to digest. Meng's arrest is not going to affect the outcome of the trade talks. Xi (and China) have too much of a stake in this to let the antics of a close friend's naughty daughter stand in the way of him getting what he wants. And once an example is made, America also has too much to lose.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-12/larry-lindsey-something-about-huawei-cfo-arrest-doesnt-make-sense

dh , Dec 12, 2018 9:12:23 PM | link
@88 "I fail to see how exercising their sovereign right is giving Trump the finger..."

ReallY? Then you haven't been watching Trump. He would go ballistic. He would probably renegotiate NAFTA ....again. He could put thousands of Canadians out of work overnight if he felt like it.

Don Bacon , Dec 12, 2018 9:17:49 PM | link
@ 69 BS
". . .the US actually does have a rock solid case against her company,"

. . .to repeat from 43:

The investigation by U.S. authorities has revealed a conspiracy between and among Meng and other Huawei representatives to misrepresent to numerous financial institutions. . . .The motivation for these misrepresentations stemmed from Huawei's need to move money out of countries that are subject to U.S. or E.U. sanctions--such as Iran, Syria, or Sudan--through the international banking system. At various times, both the U.S. and E.U. legal regimes have imposed sanctions that prohibit the provision of U.S. or E.U. services to Iran, such as banking services....
Because Meng and other Huawei representatives misrepresented to Financial Institution 1 and the other financial institutions about Huawei's relationship with Skycom, these victim banking institutions were induced into carrying out transactions that they otherwise would not have completed. As a result, they violated the banks' internal policies, potentially violated U.S. sanctions laws, and exposed the banks to the risk of fines and forfeiture.

So if Skycom belonged to Huawei, and the banks were "induced," there were problems --
1. violation of banks' internal policies
2. potentially violated US sanctions
3. exposed banks to US punishment
But if Skycom was an independent corporation the sanctions violations would have been okay? What am I missing. And why would the US punish banks when they were knowingly duped.
Pft , Dec 12, 2018 9:21:36 PM | link
T@79

" How could China win a trade war since it is relying on its large trade surplus with the US? As Trump said, trade-surplus countries suffer more in trade wars, as it is they who get hit with tariffs."

Well, you do know tarrifs on imports are paid by the US importer and on to the consumer. China pays not a dime of US tarrifs

Now it could be hurt if US buyers could order from other countries. However, this is not an option for every import as there are production capacity, quality and price constraints. In the short term orders to China would not be affected much since there are not many good alternatives

China has some weapons of their own. US military required certain rate metals from China for weapons, China basically clothes America and of course many electronics , furniture, tools and toys come from China. Witholding or taxing these exports is a weapon they have yet to use.

Furthermore, much of the profits of US companies come from manufacturing or buying from China. Prices get marked up as much as 10 times what China receives

18% of its exports go to US. With 20% of GDP based on exports that means US is responsible for 3.6% of Chinas GDP. Tarrifs might affect 20% of exports meaning the hit on GDP would be 0.7%. With GDP growth over 6% they wont feel too much pain.

Kadath , Dec 12, 2018 9:38:57 PM | link
Re:Brad Smith @69

"hey do not own the chips or proprietary software in any legal sense. The chips and code are still owned by the parent company that developed them, China has what amounts to a licensing agreement with the parent companies. If Weng had violated the sanctions by transferring her own code and her own chips then it would be out of our jurisdiction. However, once they violated the terms and conditions of the contract they not only have committed fraud they have committed theft by conversion of a US owned product and they used US banks to launder the money. This is why she is actually being charged with fraud and not sanctions violations." -

I've heard US government make this argument in courts before and historically US courts have generally agreed with it. However, this legal argument ignores the huge practical consideration of this rule within the current international economic system (i.e. the real world). Namely, for the last 70 years (post-WW2) the US has encouraged and promoted Liberal free market world economic integration, that each country should focus on the specialization of their economies to produce a small number of goods at a low production cost and then purchase all other goods they needed from other countries that specialized in that good (i.e. internal economic self-sufficiency is bad). Generally people hear this and immediately think of how Germany specializes in mechanical engineering, Japan specializes in high-tech computer and so on. However the realty in the world today is that is specialization goes much further in that a single circuit board in a computer WILL contain transistors made in Korea, Inductors made in Japan, Capacitators made in Taiwan, Transistors made in the US and then assembled in China. At each stage of the manufacturing / assembly process costs are carefully analyzed to minimize costs based on the provider, transportation costs, etc... to produce the goods at the lowest possible cost and maximize profits. This is what people call the Global Supply chain that has for the last 30 years underpinned the entire world manufacturing economy. N(OTE: I'm not saying this is good or bad from a moral stance, merely that this is what it is and the motive for it)

What the US is doing, by asserting that US law indefinitely applies to any component (including intellectual or financial) that is made in or travels through the US and is then subsequently assembled or sold in a 3rd (or 4th or 5th or 6th....) country that is subject to US sanctions is a direct attack on the Global Supply Chain economy and is extremely dangerous to standard of living we've become accustom to in the Western world. Historically, when the US used sanctions like this against Cuba, North Korea, Iran, China and the Soviet Union, these countries were relatively much weaker than the US and not integrated into the Western World economy (nor were they well integrated with each other economically speaking), so the US was able to retard their economic development. However after more than 40 years of increasing integration the Western world (US, Canada, Mexico, Europe) is totally dependant on the Global Supply Chain, so now that the US is expanding their sanctions to everyone they are effectively sabotaging their own economy and the economies of their allies/vassals. Conversely, the US rivals (Particularity Russia, China & Iran) are become more economically integrated with each other and are already experienced with economic independence from the Western Market.

The two most likely outcomes from the US actions are 1) The non-western world becomes more integrated with each other and independent of the Western market, effectively re-dividing the world like we saw during the Cold War, only now instead of Capitalist vs Socialist, it will be Neo-Liberal Fascism vs National independence (i.e. a return to the pre-1914 concept of the state) 2) The Western World will become more divided with their economies weakened as the US asserts more direct control over their vassals, impoverishing their vassals' economies in order to consolidated wealth & power into their preferred elites who will ensure their control over their vassal countries. As the quality of life of the average citizen declines and Western countries become more politically unstable and economically stagnate, we may even see a "Prague Spring" type of event, where a Western government moves away from the US/NATO/EU alliance only to suffer a US/NATO backed invasion similar to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

dumbass , Dec 12, 2018 9:49:01 PM | link
>> Well, you do know tarrifs on imports
>> are paid by the US importer and on to
>> the consumer. China pays not a dime of
>> US tarrifs

No, I don't know that. It depends.

If China's exporters have tiny margins and the consumer can afford to pay more, then yes.

If China's exporters have big margins and fear losing market share (not necessarily to domestic American manufacturers but to other foreign manufacturers), they might choose to sell at a "lower but still profitable" price in order for the POS price to remain nearly the same and for them to retain their market share.

dumbass , Dec 12, 2018 9:54:11 PM | link
>> With GDP growth over 6% they
>> wont feel too much pain.

Pft, I agree bigly there. (And thanks for doing the math.) Despite my prior post, I doubt China cares about "maintaining market share" to ship real product to a nation that provides almost nothing but threats in payment.

dumbass , Dec 12, 2018 9:57:57 PM | link
>> we may even see a "Prague Spring" type
>> of event, where a Western government moves
>> away from the US/NATO/EU alliance only to
>> suffer a US/NATO backed invasion similar
>> to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia
>> in 1968.

As a small step in that direction, someone mentioned a few French "police" vehicles bore EU insignia.

T , Dec 12, 2018 10:01:23 PM | link
@Pft 92

"18% of its exports go to US. With 20% of GDP based on exports that means US is responsible for 3.6% of Chinas GDP. Tarrifs might affect 20% of exports meaning the hit on GDP would be 0.7%. With GDP growth over 6% they wont feel too much pain."


This 18 - 19 percent export number is not true, as in does not take into account exports to the US via Hong Kong. This is only mainland exports. But China also "exports" a lot to HK, and then these goods are exported to the rest of the world. So exports to the US are more than 18 percent.

https://tradingeconomics.com/china/exports-by-country

Second, the biggest China trade surplus is with the US. Its trade surplus with the EU or Russia is far smaller. If they lose it, they lose a lot.

As for tarrifs, they encourage companies to move away from China to other asian countries.

South-east Asia will gain from a prolonged trade war, analysts say

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/south-east-asia-will-gain-from-a-prolonged-trade-war-analysts-say

And the US is waging the trade war via other means, for example it is urging allies to drop China's IT companies. New Zealand and Japan are dropping Huawei and ZTE. EU is warning too. No doubt there will be other US allies following. So costs for China will be substantial.

Japan sets policy that will block Huawei and ZTE from public procurement as of April

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/12/10/business/japan-sets-policy-will-block-huawei-zte-public-procurement-april/

Europe should be wary of Huawei, EU official says

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-china-huawei/europe-should-be-wary-of-huawei-eu-tech-official-says-idUSKBN1O611X

What happens if the West and probably India block Chinese Tech companies? Costs for China will be substantial.

T , Dec 12, 2018 10:04:52 PM | link
Btw latest estimates show Chinese GDP growth dropping below 6 % after 2020. As opposed to India's nearly 8 %.
Don Bacon , Dec 12, 2018 10:23:01 PM | link
China's trillion dollar Belt & Road Initiative will change everything, so why get hung up on the past. The BRI provides China with an opportunity to use its considerable economic means to finance infrastructure projects around the world.

[Dec 13, 2018] China accused of taking 'hostages' after Meng's arrest in Vancouver Asia Times

Notable quotes:
"... "In this case, it is clear the Chinese government wants to put maximum pressure on the Canadian government," Guy Saint-Jacques, the former Canadian ambassador to Beijing , said. Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland went on to criticize statements by US President Donald Trump, who said in an interview on Tuesday that he was ready to intervene in the Meng affair if it helped seal a trade deal with the world's second-largest economy. ..."
Dec 13, 2018 | www.atimes.com

Her case has angered Beijing and shaken Canada's relations with China, which is embroiled in a trade war with Washington.

"In this case, it is clear the Chinese government wants to put maximum pressure on the Canadian government," Guy Saint-Jacques, the former Canadian ambassador to Beijing , said. Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland went on to criticize statements by US President Donald Trump, who said in an interview on Tuesday that he was ready to intervene in the Meng affair if it helped seal a trade deal with the world's second-largest economy.

"Our extradition partners should not seek to politicize the extradition process or use it for ends other than the pursuit of justice and following the rule of law," she said at a press conference.

[Dec 13, 2018] Averting World Conflict with China by Ron Unz

Notable quotes:
"... New York Times ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... this is a clear sign that Canada no longer exists as an independent nation, but is a colony of the USA/Israeli empire. ..."
"... This story is not about an ultra-wealthy Chinese heiress enduring an odd adventure in Canada. This story is about a complete loss of Canadian sovereignty, because detaining this lady is outright insane. Canada was conquered without firing a shot! Welcome back to the royal empire run as a dictatorship. ..."
"... If only America focused its attention inward, on growth and stability, instead of transcendent American Imperialism then the world may stand a chance. ..."
"... Western positions on climate, neoliberalism, migration, in my opinion point into the same direction: critical thinking, almost gone. ..."
"... Defrauding the nation into "war of aggression" is the supreme crime one can commit against the American People. The "SUPREME CRIME"! ..."
"... Every "penny" belonging to each and every Neocon Oligarch who CONSPIRED TO DEFRAUD US INTO ILLEGAL WAR should be forfeit until the debt from those wars is paid down .. IN FULL ! ..."
"... Canada may be the obvious criminal. But on consideration, isn't it rather like the low-level thug who carries out a criminal assignment on the orders of a gang boss? And isn't it the gang boss who is the real problem for society? ..."
"... and Ms. Meng was seized on the same day that he was personally meeting on trade issues with Chinese President Xi. Some have even suggested that the incident was a deliberate slap in Trump's face. ..."
Dec 13, 2018 | www.unz.com

As most readers know, I'm not a casual political blogger and I prefer producing lengthy research articles rather than chasing the headlines of current events. But there are exceptions to every rule, and the looming danger of a direct worldwide clash with China is one of them.

Consider the arrest last week of Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei, the world's largest telecom equipment manufacturer. While flying from Hong Kong to Mexico, Ms. Meng was changing planes in the Vancouver International Airport airport when she was suddenly detained by the Canadian government on an August US warrant. Although now released on $10 million bail, she still faces extradition to a New York City courtroom, where she could receive up to thirty years in federal prison for allegedly having conspired in 2010 to violate America's unilateral economic trade sanctions against Iran.

Although our mainstream media outlets have certainly covered this important story, including front page articles in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal , I doubt most American readers fully recognize the extraordinary gravity of this international incident and its potential for altering the course of world history. As one scholar noted, no event since America's deliberate 1999 bombing of China's embassy in Belgrade , which killed several Chinese diplomats, has so outraged both the Chinese government and its population. Columbia's Jeffrey Sachs correctly described it as "almost a US declaration of war on China's business community."

Such a reaction is hardly surprising. With annual revenue of $100 billion, Huawei ranks as the world's largest and most advanced telecommunications equipment manufacturer as well as China's most internationally successful and prestigious company. Ms. Meng is not only a longtime top executive there, but also the daughter of the company's founder, Ren Zhengfei, whose enormous entrepreneurial success has established him as a Chinese national hero.

Her seizure on obscure American sanction violation charges while changing planes in a Canadian airport almost amounts to a kidnapping. One journalist asked how Americans would react if China had seized Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook for violating Chinese law especially if Sandberg were also the daughter of Steve Jobs.

Indeed, the closest analogy that comes to my mind is when Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia kidnapped the Prime Minister of Lebanon earlier this year and held him hostage. Later he more successfully did the same with hundreds of his wealthiest Saudi subjects, extorting something like $100 billion in ransom from their families before finally releasing them. Then he may have finally over-reached himself when Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident, was killed and dismembered by a bone-saw at the Saudi embassy in Turkey.

We should actually be a bit grateful to Prince Mohammed since without him America would clearly have the most insane government anywhere in the world. As it stands, we're merely tied for first.

Since the end of the Cold War, the American government has become increasingly delusional, regarding itself as the Supreme World Hegemon. As a result, local American courts have begun enforcing gigantic financial penalties against foreign countries and their leading corporations, and I suspect that the rest of the world is tiring of this misbehavior. Perhaps such actions can still be taken against the subservient vassal states of Europe, but by most objective measures, the size of China's real economy surpassed that of the US several years ago and is now substantially larger , while also still having a far higher rate of growth. Our totally dishonest mainstream media regularly obscures this reality, but it remains true nonetheless.

Provoking a disastrous worldwide confrontation with mighty China by seizing and imprisoning one of its leading technology executives reminds me of a comment I made several years ago about America's behavior under the rule of its current political elites:

Or to apply a far harsher biological metaphor, consider a poor canine infected with the rabies virus. The virus may have no brain and its body-weight is probably less than one-millionth that of the host, but once it has seized control of the central nervous system, the animal, big brain and all, becomes a helpless puppet.

Once friendly Fido runs around foaming at the mouth, barking at the sky, and trying to bite all the other animals it can reach. Its friends and relatives are saddened by its plight but stay well clear, hoping to avoid infection before the inevitable happens, and poor Fido finally collapses dead in a heap.

Normal countries like China naturally assume that other countries like the US will also behave in normal ways, and their dumbfounded shock at Ms. Meng's seizure has surely delayed their effective response. In 1959, Vice President Richard Nixon visited Moscow and famously engaged in a heated "kitchen debate" with Premier Nikita Khrushchev over the relative merits of Communism and Capitalism. What would have been the American reaction if Nixon had been immediately arrested and given a ten year Gulag sentence for "anti-Soviet agitation"?

Since a natural reaction to international hostage-taking is retaliatory international hostage-taking, the newspapers have reported that top American executives have decided to forego visits to China until the crisis is resolved. These days, General Motors sells more cars in China than in the US, and China is also the manufacturing source of nearly all our iPhones, but Tim Cook, Mary Barra, and their higher-ranking subordinates are unlikely to visit that country in the immediate future, nor would the top executives of Google, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, and the leading Hollywood studios be willing to risk indefinite imprisonment.

Canada had arrested Ms. Meng on American orders, and this morning's newspapers reported that a former Canadian diplomat had suddenly been detained in China , presumably as a small bargaining-chip to encourage Ms. Meng's release. But I very much doubt such measures will have much effect. Once we forgo traditional international practices and adopt the Law of the Jungle, it becomes very important to recognize the true lines of power and control, and Canada is merely acting as an American political puppet in this matter. Would threatening the puppet rather than the puppet-master be likely to have much effect?

Similarly, nearly all of America's leading technology executives are already quite hostile to the Trump Administration, and even if it were possible, seizing one of them would hardly be likely to sway our political leadership. To a lesser extent, the same thing is true about the overwhelming majority of America's top corporate leaders. They are not the individuals who call the shots in the current White House.

Indeed, is President Trump himself anything more than a higher-level puppet in this very dangerous affair? World peace and American national security interests are being sacrificed in order to harshly enforce the Israel Lobby's international sanctions campaign against Iran, and we should hardly be surprised that the National Security Adviser John Bolton, one of America's most extreme pro-Israel zealots, had personally given the green light to the arrest. Meanwhile, there are credible reports that Trump himself remained entirely unaware of these plans, and Ms. Meng was seized on the same day that he was personally meeting on trade issues with Chinese President Xi. Some have even suggested that the incident was a deliberate slap in Trump's face.

But Bolton's apparent involvement underscores the central role of his longtime patron, multi-billionaire casino-magnate Sheldon Adelson, whose enormous financial influence within Republican political circles has been overwhelmingly focused on pro-Israel policy and hostility towards Iran, Israel's regional rival.

Although it is far from clear whether the very elderly Adelson played any direct personal role in Ms. Meng's arrest, he surely must be viewed as the central figure in fostering the political climate that produced the current situation. Perhaps he should not be described as the ultimate puppet-master behind our current clash with China, but any such political puppet-masters who do exist are certainly operating at his immediate beck and call. In very literal terms, I suspect that if Adelson placed a single phone call to the White House, the Trump Administration would order Canada to release Ms. Meng that same day.

Adelson's fortune of $33 billion ranks him as the 15th wealthiest man in America, and the bulk of his fortune is based on his ownership of extremely lucrative gambling casinos in Macau, China . In effect, the Chinese government currently has its hands around the financial windpipe of the man ultimately responsible for Ms. Meng's arrest and whose pro-Israel minions largely control American foreign policy. I very much doubt that they are fully aware of this enormous, untapped source of political leverage.

Over the years, Adelson's Chinese Macau casinos have been involved in all sorts of political bribery scandals , and I suspect it would be very easy for the Chinese government to find reasonable grounds for immediately shutting them down, at least on a temporary basis, with such an action having almost no negative repercussions to Chinese society or the bulk of the Chinese population. How could the international community possibly complain about the Chinese government shutting down some of their own local gambling casinos with a long public record of official bribery and other criminal activity? At worst, other gambling casino magnates would become reluctant to invest future sums in establishing additional Chinese casinos, hardly a desperate threat to President Xi's anti-corruption government.

I don't have a background in finance and I haven't bothered trying to guess the precise impact of a temporary shutdown of Adelson's Chinese casinos, but it wouldn't surprise me if the resulting drop in the stock price of Las Vegas Sands Corp would reduce Adelson's personal net worth were by $5-10 billion within 24 hours, surely enough to get his immediate personal attention. Meanwhile, threats of a permanent shutdown, perhaps extending to Chinese-influenced Singapore, might lead to the near-total destruction of Adelson's personal fortune, and similar measures could also be applied as well to the casinos of all the other fanatically pro-Israel American billionaires, who dominate the remainder of gambling in Chinese Macau.

The chain of political puppets responsible for Ms. Meng's sudden detention is certainly a complex and murky one. But the Chinese government already possesses the absolute power of financial life-or-death over Sheldon Adelson, the man located at the very top of that chain. If the Chinese leadership recognizes that power and takes effective steps, Ms. Meng will immediately be put on a plane back home, carrying the deepest sort of international political apology. And future attacks against Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese technology companies would not be repeated.

China actually holds a Royal Flush in this international political poker game. The only question is whether they will recognize the value of their hand. I hope they do for the sake of America and the entire world.


Carlton Meyer , says: Website December 13, 2018 at 5:36 am GMT

This is no surprise. Anyone who follows political events knows that John Bolton is insane, so no surprise that he devised this insane idea. The problem will be corrected within a week, and hopefully Bolton sent to an asylum.

However, this is a clear sign that Canada no longer exists as an independent nation, but is a colony of the USA/Israeli empire. Canada provides soldiers for this empire in Afghanistan even today, and in Latvia. Most Canadians can't find that nation on a map, but it's a tiny unimportant nation in the Baltic that NATO adsorbed as part of its plan for a new Cold War.

This story is not about an ultra-wealthy Chinese heiress enduring an odd adventure in Canada. This story is about a complete loss of Canadian sovereignty, because detaining this lady is outright insane. Canada was conquered without firing a shot! Welcome back to the royal empire run as a dictatorship.

Cloak And Dagger , says: December 13, 2018 at 5:40 am GMT
I hope someone in China is reading this article. I would love to see Adelson and his cohorts go down in flames. This would fit right in with China's current anti-corruption foray. Xi has a reputation for hanging corrupt officials. Shutting down Adelson's casinos would be consistent with what Xi has been doing and increase his popularity, not least of all, right here in the US.
Tusk , says: December 13, 2018 at 5:43 am GMT
If only America focused its attention inward, on growth and stability, instead of transcendent American Imperialism then the world may stand a chance. The future will suffer once China's debt traps collapse and like America it begins placing military globally. America would be the one country who could work towards a Western future but this will never be the case. Better start learning Mandarin lest we end up like the Uyghurs.
Frankie P , says: December 13, 2018 at 5:55 am GMT
@Anonymous Use your brain. The Chinese elite want to use the political clout that Adelson and the other big casino Jews have with the US government. To gain lobby power from a proven expert, Shelly Adelson, they are willing to allow him to make the big bucks in Macao. They expect quid pro quo.
sarz , says: December 13, 2018 at 6:02 am GMT
Great suggestion, based on sound analysis, especially your pointing out the centrality of Zionism in Trump's foreign policy.

I wish you would blog more.

Anonymous [346] Disclaimer , says: December 13, 2018 at 6:11 am GMT
The Chinese are pussies and will always back down. The U.S. laughed in their face after they bombed and killed them in Belgrade and got crickets from the Chinamen. China can't project much power beyond its borders. They can't punch back. The Chinese (and East Asians) are only part of the global business racket because they are efficient worker bees facilitating the global financial system. They have no real control over the global market. And if they start to think they do they'll get a quick lesson. Like they're getting with Meng, who is being treated like coolie prostitute. LMAO.
Baxter , says: December 13, 2018 at 6:44 am GMT
I always enjoy fresh writing from Mr. Unz. Clarity of thought is a fine thing to witness in language. It should be stated, America is not in any danger.the empire is and is in terminal decline. As Asia's economic might grows in leaps ad bound, so does the empire scramble to thwart losing its global grip.

As Fred Reed once pointed out, declining empires rarely go quietly. Will America's leadership gamble on a new war to prevent asia's ascendancy?
I think it's possible.

But what do I know. As my father once said, "I'm just a pawn in a game."

To his credit he had the wherewithal to see that. Alas, most Americans are asleep.

renfro , says: December 13, 2018 at 8:08 am GMT
The call for Ms. Meng's arrest had to come from the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control. They enforce every thing related to sanctions, which they claim is what Meng was arrested for– sale of phones and software to Iran. But they also say they had been on her company's case since 2013 so their timing is rather suspect.

What else I don't understand is her company has research and offices in Germany, Sweden, the U.S., France, Italy, Russia, India, China and Canada ..So if what they sold or attempted to sell to Iran wasn't outright 'stolen' intellectual property from the US or even if it was why not transfer it to and or have it made in China or some country not signed onto the Iran sanctions and then sell it to Iran. I haven't boned up on exactly what kinds of phone software they were selling but I think it has something to do with being able to bypass NSA and others intercepts.

The Alarmist , says: December 13, 2018 at 8:49 am GMT
You are assuming Meng is not a sacrificial pawn in some larger game.

It would be priceless for Xi to shut down Adelson's operations in Macau for a few days or weeks, but I'm afraid Xi is very much akin to Capitain Louis Renault in Casablanca , and after walking into a Macau casino and uttering the phrase, "I am shocked- shocked- to find that gambling is going on in here!" might admit in the next breath, "I blow with the wind, and the prevailing wind happens to be from Jerusalem."

jilles dykstra , says: December 13, 2018 at 9:06 am GMT
Half a century or so propaganda like 'the USA policing the world' of course had effect. Not realised is that in normal circumstances police is not an autonomous force, but has to act within a legal framework. The illusion of this framework of course exists, human rights, democracy, whatever
anon [426] Disclaimer , says: December 13, 2018 at 9:09 am GMT
She's out on bail. Agree that Bolton blindsided Trump. Trump is going to try to turn this into some sort of PR gesture when he pardons her. No way he will let this mess up his trade deal. Which is beached until she exonerated.
jilles dykstra , says: December 13, 2018 at 9:28 am GMT
@Anonymous

What is true of these stories of course cannot be known with certainty, but it is asserted that USA military technology is way behind China and Russia. Several examples exist, but of course, if these examples tell the truth, not sure. PISA comparisons of levels of education world wide show how the west is intellectually behind the east.

Western positions on climate, neoliberalism, migration, in my opinion point into the same direction: critical thinking, almost gone.

Tom Welsh , says: December 13, 2018 at 9:41 am GMT
"I very much doubt that they are fully aware of this enormous, untapped source of political leverage".

I very much doubt whether that is the case. As far as I know, most Chinese people are distinguished by their intelligence, thoroughness and diligence. What do the thousands of people employed by China's foreign ministry and its intelligence services do all day, if they are unaware of such important facts?

However I also doubt if China's leaders are inclined to see matters in nearly such a black and white way as many Westerners. Jewish people seem to get along very well in China and with the Chinese, which could be because both have high levels of intelligence, culture, and subtlety. As well as being interested in money and enterprise.

It's certainly an interesting situation, and I too am waiting expectantly for the other shoe to drop.

Tom Welsh , says: December 13, 2018 at 9:45 am GMT
@TheMediumIsTheMassage

Yes, whatever your bias is, China is a "normal" country. In the sense of being closer to the ideal than most countries – not of being average.

You may bewail some of the "human rights" issues in China, although I believe they may be somewhat magnified for PR purposes. But when did China last attack another country without provocation and murder hundreds of thousands of its citizens, level its cities, or destroy the rule of law? (Like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya )

The Chinese seem to be law-abiding, sensible, and strongly disposed to peace. Which is something the world needs a lot more of right now.

alexander , says: December 13, 2018 at 9:47 am GMT
@Dan Hayes "why hasn't anyone before thought of it.. "

" WHY HASN'T ANYONE BEFORE THOUGHT OF IT !!"

You must be kidding me.

For over three years I have been issuing comment after comment after comment .Like a crazed wolf howling in a barren forest .That the "number one" priority of the American people should be demanding the seizure of ALL the assets of Neocon oligarchic class.

Why ?

Not because they are "oligarchs." ..or some might own "casinos" but because they "deliberately" Conspired to Defraud the American People into illegal Wars of Aggression and have nearly bankrupted the nation in the process.

That's why.

And it is the worlds BEST REASON to seize the assets a thousand times better than "bribery charges." I have issued statement after statement to that affect ,on Unz Review, in the hope that at some point it might, at least subliminally, catch on.

What I have witnessed over the past six years, is a lot of intelligent, thoughtful people "correctly diagnosing" the issues which plague the nation But no one had any idea of what to do about it. I have been pointing out, that if people really want to do something about it then do whats RIGHT: Seize the assets of the defrauders.!

Of course we can. Of course we can Its the LAW! Defrauding the nation into "war of aggression" is the supreme crime one can commit against the American People. The "SUPREME CRIME"!

(If you don't think so, go ask your local Police Officer. He will tell you FLAT OUT ..it is the Worst crime "Conspiracy to Defraud into Mass Murder! .Not good ! You can even ask him if there is a statute of limitations. He will probably say something like " Yeah .When the Sun collapses!")

And they are GUILTY as charged There is no doubt , .. not anymore. We all know it and can "prove" it ! Every "penny" belonging to each and every Neocon Oligarch who CONSPIRED TO DEFRAUD US INTO ILLEGAL WAR should be forfeit until the debt from those wars is paid down .. IN FULL !

The keys to the kingdom are right there, right in front of your noses. If you want to change things ."take action" the law is on YOUR side. We don't need China to do a damn thing ..We just need the American People to rise up,"apply the law" and take back their country and its solvency.

Tom Welsh , says: December 13, 2018 at 9:47 am GMT
@Nonny

Canada may be the obvious criminal. But on consideration, isn't it rather like the low-level thug who carries out a criminal assignment on the orders of a gang boss? And isn't it the gang boss who is the real problem for society?

Brabantian , says: December 13, 2018 at 9:59 am GMT
An article with the identical take as Ron Unz, including the idea that China has its key lever via Sheldon Adelson's casinos, was published on the Canadian website of Henry Makow also noting that USA political king-maker Adelson, is a major force behind the anti-Iran obsessions that partly grounded the arrest of Ms Meng, and so well-deserves consequences here...

In the Jeffrey Sachs article linked above, Sachs lists no less than 25 other companies which have been 'violating US sanctions' and admitted guilt via paying of fines, but never suffered any executive arrests, including banks including JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, PayPal, Toronto-Dominion Bank, and Wells Fargo.

In terms of international law, the Meng case violates numerous basic legal and United Nations norms :

This is also a significant humiliation of President Trump personally, his own advisors apparently colluding to render him powerless and uninformed

The Meng case brings to mind the story of another sanctions-violating 'target' arrested at USA request, the great USA chess master and non-Zionist Jew, Bobby Fischer (1943-2008).

Born in Chicago, Illinois, USA, Fischer impressed the world with his genius, but, like Ms Meng became criminally indicted by the USA regime, for the 'crime' of playing chess in Yugoslavia when the Serb government was under USA 'sanctions'. Harassed across the globe, Fischer was jailed in Japan in 2004-05 by embarrassed Japanese leaders, for this fake 'crime' which few people in the world thought was wrong. Fischer had been using his celebrity voice to strongly criticise the USA & Israeli governments, making him also a political target, much as Ms Meng is a political target due to her being a prominent citizen and quasi-princess of China.

The Japanese, loath to be the instrument of Fischer's USA imprisonment, finally allowed Bobby to transit to Iceland where he was given asylum and residency. Living not far from Iceland's NATO military base, Fischer became quickly and mysteriously struck with disease, and Fischer died in Reykjavik, perhaps a victim of a CIA-Mossad-Nato assassination squad.

The Chinese government, I am told, directly understands the power and role of Sheldon Adelson here, and Chinese inspectors are perhaps inside Adelson's Macau properties as you read this. Perhaps Chinese officials may show up soon in Adelson's casinos, and repeat the line of actor Claude Rains' character in the 1942 film 'Casablanca' -
"I'm shocked, shocked, to find that gambling is going on in here!"

OMG , says: December 13, 2018 at 10:24 am GMT
@renfro Seconded
LondonBob , says: December 13, 2018 at 10:32 am GMT
@renfro http://www.atimes.com/article/did-trumps-enemies-try-to-derail-a-trade-deal-with-china/

Article suggests the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence which Mr Giraldi has commented on.

http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/israels-fifth-column-2/

Heros , says: December 13, 2018 at 10:47 am GMT
@sarz Great links.

What we have to realize is that just as there is no real difference between Democrats and Republicans because they are both owned by the same people, so must we realize that in reality there is little difference between the leaders of the worlds countries because they are all owned by the same central banks. This is why Nate Rothschild famously stated "give me control of a countries money supply, and I care not who makes its laws" . All the world's central banks are tied together by BIS, WB and IMF and the US marines. This is the reason Syria, Libya, NK and Venezuela have been taken down: Rothchild central bank control.

So this Huaiwei arrest almost certainly has nothing to do with the "trade war", and is with certainly a hit by one side of the Kabal against the other. Zionist Nationalists versus Chabad Lubbovitz perhaps?

Jared Kushner has been lying pretty low lately and recently was stripped of his security clearance. He was linked to Kissilev the Russian ambassador, plus he was pushing Trump to help protect MBS in SA. I would bet that he is at the center of this storm.

AndrewR , says: December 13, 2018 at 10:54 am GMT
I'm honestly shocked no one has stated the obvious: very, very few Americans would be likely to care if Sheryl Sandberg were arrested on dubious charges in China. I cant say I would be one of those few people.

I also should note that the crown prince of KSA is Mohammad bin Salman. Salman is his father, the king. The crown prince is Mohammad, son of (aka "bin") Salman.

AndrewR , says: December 13, 2018 at 11:00 am GMT
@Nonny Lmao! Canada is a vassal state of the US. The US govt ordered Canada to arrest Meng, and Canada's govt dutifully complied.
AndrewR , says: December 13, 2018 at 11:11 am GMT
@TheMediumIsTheMassage In many ways China does deviate from international norms, but of course so does the United States. As Tom Welsh pointed out, Chinese foreign policy is downright angelic compared to the US, even if you consider Tibet and Xinjiang to be illegitimately occupied territories (an argument I'm sympathetic to). Perhaps China would act as belligerently as the US does if China were the sole global superpower, but it's not, so it's fair to judge China favorably compared to the US.
Sean , says: December 13, 2018 at 11:18 am GMT Godfree Roberts , says: December 13, 2018 at 11:20 am GMT
@TheMediumIsTheMassage It's certainly abnormal in having a functioning democracy and the trust of 90% of its citizens.

Is there anything else that disqualifies it from normalcy?

AndrewR , says: December 13, 2018 at 11:21 am GMT
@Craig Nelsen Trump deserves it for hiring Bolton at all. Perhaps one might argue Trump was blackmailed into doing so but he doesn't seem to be acting like a blackmailed man.
SimplePseudonymicHandle , says: December 13, 2018 at 12:16 pm GMT
Mr. Unz, at no time since Ms. Wanzhou's arrest have I felt myself in a position to judge that this was a strategically unwise or incautious act. It might be, but apparently I'm to be contrasted from so many of your readers, and you, simply for understanding myself to have an inadequate handle on the facts to make the call. That would be true, that my handle on the facts would be inadequate, even if I didn't have personal knowledge of Huawei's suspicious practices or their scale.

I worry that you don't seem to evidence the presence of someone trusted who will go toe to toe with you as Devil's Advocate. Too often, on affairs of too great a consequence, you come across too strongly, when the data doesn't justify the confidence. A confident error is still an error and Maimonides' advice on indecision notwithstanding, a confident error is a candidate for hubris, the worst kind of error. All of this, of course, assumes you make these arguments in good faith because if not the calculus changes mightily.
Too many of your readers evidence that they interpret this event and form an opinion of it based on nothing but this higher order syllogism:

Because I distrust the US government
[or because I distrust those I believe to control the US government]
It follows that this was an unjustified act or else a dangerous strategic error

After this higher order syllogism is accepted without due critique, evidence is sought to justify it and no further consideration of the possibilities is tallied.

At minimum you need to have run a permutation where you seriously consider that : it is well know to US operatives, if not to US citizens, you, and your readers, that Huawei is actively, constantly and maliciously waging covert war on the USA. You should at least consider this possibility. If true, this act may merely be a shot across the bow that notifies China of a readiness to expose things China may not wished exposed, and might stop endangering US citizens, if it were made aware such things stand to be exposed.

If that's true, not only are you a fishing trawler captain causing distraction with a loudspeaker yelling at the captain of the destroyer that just fired the warning shot across the bow of a Chinese vessel that is likely covert PLA/N, but now you may be positioning your trawler to block the destroyer.
Do you really have enough information to know this is wise? Do you really know as much as the destroyer captain?
I will be away today, in the off chance you reply and I don't immediately answer it is because I can't.

ariadna , says: December 13, 2018 at 12:24 pm GMT
Superb, as always, Ron Unz!
For someone who says he has no background in economics you you put your finger dead center on the money nexus of this "puppet run by another puppet controlled by another puppet dangling from the strings of a still bigger puppet" chain from hell.
I wish someone would read out the entire article, may be with photos of the culprits, on Youtube with subtitles in Chinese.
Wizard of Oz , says: December 13, 2018 at 12:26 pm GMT
@Craig Nelsen Nobody is suggesting that "the order" came from Bolton or that he could indeed give any such order. True his not telling Trump about what was about to happen bears a sinister interpretation.
lavoisier , says: Website December 13, 2018 at 12:32 pm GMT
@TheMediumIsTheMassage I think what he means by normal are countries whose leaders are interested in the well being of their nation and the people they rule. No divided or corrupted loyalties to another nation.

By this standard the United States is clearly not a normal country.

Che Guava , says: December 13, 2018 at 12:33 pm GMT
Well said, Mr. Unz.

I was finding the arrest hard to believe, too.

One angle you did not mention, Cisco (U.S. company) of course until not too many years ago had a near-monopoly on the kind of network systems Huawei is selling as number one now (actually, I did not know of Huawei's success there, thought of it as a handset maker), that may be a factor here.

There are a few Chinese or U.S. people of that descent on this site, mainly PRC-sympathetic, it would be very amusing if they were able to ignite a big discussion of your hypothetical reprisals

Ahoy , says: December 13, 2018 at 12:35 pm GMT
@ Anonymous [346] #10

For whatever is worth, if any.

During the bombing of Belgrade a missile fell on the Chinese Embassy. A local tv reporter approached a Chinese Embassy official and asked him. What are you going to do now? The answer was.

"Ask me this question forty years from now"

Strictly personal, Wow!

Durruti , says: December 13, 2018 at 12:52 pm GMT
@Brabantian Nice comment.

Yes, poor Bobby Fischer.

The Meng case brings to mind the story of another sanctions-violating 'target' arrested at USA request, the great USA chess master and non-Zionist Jew, Bobby Fischer (1943-2008).

Fischer was another victim of Zionist controlled American imperialism. Yugoslavia, the child of Woodrow Wilson, became the victim of the Imperialist war Against Russia. Russia's brother, and ally, Yugoslavia, was destroyed by the kind democrat gang administration of Wm (that was not sex), Clinton.

Nonny , says: December 13, 2018 at 12:55 pm GMT
@Tom Welsh You complicate things by bringing up the Mafia boss. Who committed the actual crime? Who kidnapped the woman?
Anon55 , says: December 13, 2018 at 12:58 pm GMT
Excellent article, and an ingenious suggestion regarding the Adelson casinos. But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a casino shutdown. Having worked in the marketing end of the casino industry myself, I can tell you the most coveted demographic lists were always the Chinese players, words like fanatical and obsessive don't even come close to describing their penchant for gambling. I could literally see casino shutdowns in China causing a national Gilet Jaune moment followed by the overthrow of the Communist Party LOL.

I would definitely welcome seeing more Ron Unz articles on current topics.

Jim Christian , says: December 13, 2018 at 1:04 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer Any chance this is Democrat, Deep State types at State and Justice manufacturing this cluster-f in order to make Trump look unaware? This is a President that respects casinos. And business. If Bolton and Company pulled this from behind the scenes without Executive knowledge or authorization, is that even legal? More treason? But given the circumstances, how does all this even GET to Iran, hurt Iran at all? What was supposedly illegal was done in 2010. Are we certain bags of cash from the Chinese and Russians and Iran weren't traveling about Democrat-ruled DC back then? Grabbing this chick helps the case against Iran? I'm at a loss as to how.

And so the thought of a more local political benefit/purpose, stirring a diplomatic shit-storm on Trump's watch, something he'd have to take responsibility for. To start a near war, sort of like the Bay of Pigs. Operatives, pulling tricks, writing checks the President then has to cover, looking like an unelectable mook throughout.

I'm happy to give the AIPAC kiddies full credit, I just don't see the damage to Iran in all this. For crying out loud, we carted $500 billion cash over to Iran under Obama's watch, what, 2013 or 2014ish? I don't know how we skip over THAT, to get to trade shenanigans in 2010, also taking place under Obama's watch. What was Holder doing when he was AG after all, why no action then? If it's Israeli-driven today, why wasn't Israel pushing Holder to take action against Huawei back in 2010?

Makes no sense.

TRASH(NOT) , says: December 13, 2018 at 1:06 pm GMT
@TheMediumIsTheMassage How is the USA a "normal" country in any sense of the word? It once was truly great among the nations of the world but that ship sailed looooong back.

We invade for fake "freedom", inject the poison of homo mania into nations that do not do the bidding of the homos and/or bend to the will of the chosen ones, pretend it's all for some good cause then invite the survivors to displace the founding stock of this country. You call that "normal"??

We are nothing more than a vehicle for every kind of degenerate (((loser))) with cash to use our men and women as their private mercenaries. We spread filth around the place, destroy nations and proclaim ourselves as the peace-makers with the shrill voice of a worn out street prostitute on kensingtion ave (philly).

We are like that hoe, living out the last days of her aids infested body, with a grudge on the world for something that was completely of our (((own))) making. Philly might have been the birthplace of this country but camden is where we are all headed. And looking at China, we are dysfunctional beyond repair. Of course we still have quite a few things the Chinese might want to emulate (no the SJW versions but the read deal) but looking at our other maladies, they probably won't who'll blame them?

Icy Blast , says: December 13, 2018 at 1:08 pm GMT
Gosh I hope Agent Orange gets a copy of this article. But I am afraid he is surrounded by Bolton-type traitors.
Anon [257] Disclaimer , says: December 13, 2018 at 1:09 pm GMT
@Anon Yes it was s Portuguese colony. Interesting that Persian traders including Jews were in Macau going back st least to 500 AD probably more.

Ron, have you sent this article to the Chinese ambassador in DC yet?

Strange that the Chinese let Adelson in. The Macau casinos have thrived for a long time. The Portuguese left valuable casinos and the Chinese let the Jews in soon after the Portuguese left.

It makes sense that foreign casino operators would want to move into Macau, but why would China let foreigners in?

Could it be that one of the largest investors in China since the mid 1970s Richard Blum husband of Dianne Feinstein has something to do with it??
She's as much the Senator representing China as a Senator representing California.

Ronnie , says: December 13, 2018 at 1:11 pm GMT
Another interesting aspect of all this is the "suicide" of Physics Professor Zhang Shoucheng at Stanford just a few hours after Meng was arrested on Dec 1. According to reliable Chinese sources and widespread reporting on social media Zhang was the conduit to China from Silicone Valley. He was richly rewarded by Chinese investment in his US companies. IMHO the Chinese understand the role of Israel and Adelson in US politics but are cautious in going this far. The Chinese are taking the light touch approach with Trump and his Adelson selected neocons. A Chinese businessman Guo WenGui with the highest connections to the Chinese elites and security services has sought political asylum in the USA. On the internet he daily speaks to the Chinese diaspora (in Mandarin) on the complex developments in Chinese official corruption. The NY Times has now started to take him seriously (good idea ) and reports that he and Steve Bannon have formed an alliance to expose Chinese government activities. You can read all this in the NY Times. Unz should translate Guo Wengui into English and publish his commentaries. In my analysis he is usually right about China and has shown remarkable predictive powers. He knows how and what the Chinese think, where the bones are buried and what comes next. He and Bannon plan to reveal the facts about the recent suicide in France of another prominent Chinese businessman Wang Jian who was Chairman of Hainan Airlines parent company.
Buzz Mohawk , says: December 13, 2018 at 1:18 pm GMT
This article by Mr. Unz is a good example of why people should read and support the Unz Review. No one is better equipped to shed light on otherwise unmentioned interests behind mainstream news events like this one.

Kudos for making a smart suggestion that no doubt will be heard by people who could carry it out.

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: December 13, 2018 at 1:37 pm GMT
Good article, but it is only scratching the surface.
Many things would be explained if somebody would find out what is the volume of US investment in China, and what percentage of it is Jewish.
That would shed light why the rabid Jewish press in US so bestially attacking Trump, after Trump started to impose tariffs on Chinese goods.
I do not know, but I could guess that Trump reached deep into Jewish profits.
We have no choice than wait what will happen to tariffs after Trump will be replaced.
RVBlake , says: December 13, 2018 at 1:40 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer Canada declared an end to participating in combat operations in Afghanistan in July 2011 and withdrew its combat forces, leaving a dwindling number of advisors to Afghan forces. The last Canadian soldier departed Afghanistan in March 2014. You are spot on regarding Bolton's certifiability.
Virgile , says: December 13, 2018 at 1:50 pm GMT
Trump has been totally phagocyted by the Neo-Cons in the foreign policy. The two pillars of the neocons foreign policy are now Saudi Arabia and Israel. Trump is benefitting from the neo-cons intelligence and their powerful financial network that he is convinced would help in his reelection.
Once he is re-elected then he may decrease his reliance on them but for the next few years the jewish lobby will prevail in Trump's foreign policy. Unless they are not able to protect Trump from falling under the democrats assaults or been eliminated from power, they are on for more wars, more troubles and more deaths. History will place Trump near Bush junior as neo-cons puppets responsible for the largest destruction of countries since WWII.
eah , says: December 13, 2018 at 1:50 pm GMT
Doesn't really address the core problem.
Anon [257] Disclaimer , says: December 13, 2018 at 2:02 pm GMT
@Brabantian Interesting that she was arrested in the Chinese colony of Vancouver BC. Maybe the Canadian government is asserting sovereignty over Vancouver at long last.

That must have been frightening. There she was sitting in the VIP lounge surrounded by deferential airline clerks as usual and suddenly she's under arrest.

Johnny Smoggins , says: December 13, 2018 at 2:02 pm GMT
The most disappointing thing about this whole incident, so far, is China's timidity in dealing with America.

Holding some C level former Canadian diplomat? Come on China, prove you're a serious nation, you can do much, much better.

Johnny Smoggins , says: December 13, 2018 at 2:06 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer Canada has been a vassal state of the U.S. since it stopped being a vassal state of the U.K. in the 1960′s.
Sean , says: December 13, 2018 at 2:10 pm GMT

Since the end of the Cold War, the American government has become increasingly delusional, regarding itself as the Supreme World Hegemon.

More delusional than when in 1957 the US government gave Iran a nuclear reactor and weapons grade uranium? In his latter years Khashoggi 's relative, the weapons dealer Adnan Khashoggi, much later mused on what the US was trying to achieve by giving Iran vast amounts of armaments, when all it did was set off an arms race in the region. America then switched to Iraq as its cop on the beat and gave them anything they asked for, and were placatory of Saddam when he started talking crazy. This was under the US government least attentive to Israel. Yes things should be more balanced as Steven Walt suggests

Averting World Conflict with China, by Ron Unz - The Unz Review If it wants to create the conditions for a final settlement of the Palestinian problem, then America should be more even handed but it must also be very cautious about Iran. We don't know who will be in power there in the future and history shows that once those ME counties are given an inch they take a mile.

Saudi Arabia seems quite sensible, its liking for US gov bonds that even Americans think offer too low a rate of interest is easily explained as payment for US protection. Killing Khashoggi that way was a dreadful moral and foreign policy mistake from someone who is too young for the amount of authority he has been given, but the victim did not beg for death like more than a few Uygurs are doing right now. The CIA agent China rounded up with the help of it's network of double agents in the US were doubtless glad to have their interrogation terminated.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-20/vancouver-is-drowning-in-chinese-money

Some sweeteners from Adelson are likely in the Tsunami of dirty Chinese money, which are amusingly being laundered in Canadian casinos. As Walt points out the Chinese elite want bolt holes and bank accounts in north America. By the way most of the ill gotten gains are from sale of opiates such as fentanyl.

Targeting Sheldon Adelson's Chinese Casinos

Yes that will work, especially when added to what China is already doing in targeting farmers who supported Trump, so he is definitely not going to be reelected now you have explained all this to them, and you are also opening up Harvard to their children, which can only redound to the detriment of white gentiles. Deliberate pouring of the vials of wrath or just accidentally spilling them? I am begining to wonder.

Silva , says: December 13, 2018 at 2:35 pm GMT
@Nonny Someone commits a crime while wearing a hat, and you blame the hat? What's wrong with you?
Almost Missouri , says: December 13, 2018 at 2:43 pm GMT
Thank you, Ron, for a clear-headed and insightful article.

There are however, two tiny infelicities, which I would not want for them to distract from the article's merit.

First, I think the Saudi Arabian Prince you are referring to is Prince Mohammed bin Salman, not "Prince Salman". "Prince Mohammed" would be the abbreviated form of his name. "Bin" is of course the Arabic equivalent of the Hebrew "ben" indicating paternity, rather than a middle name, so "Salman" is not his surname. "Prince Salman" would refer to the current Saudi King before he was King, rather than to the current Prince.

Second, maybe the hypothetical of China seizing Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook is not the best analogy since I, and I suspect others who are aware of her key role in empowering and enriching a deceptive and parasitical industry, would not be terribly troubled if China seized her. Indeed, we might consider it a public service. Admittedly, it is hard to find a good analogy for a prominent female executive of a US national champion company since so many of our prominent companies are predatory rather than productive and scorn their native country rather than serve it.

Anon [732] Disclaimer , says: December 13, 2018 at 2:53 pm GMT

and Ms. Meng was seized on the same day that he was personally meeting on trade issues with Chinese President Xi. Some have even suggested that the incident was a deliberate slap in Trump's face.

The unmistakable style is there.

Bill H , says: Website December 13, 2018 at 2:56 pm GMT
@Baxter "America is not in any danger." America is in very great danger, but only from within.

Almost half of all millenials believe that Capitalism is evil and that the Socialism should be the guiding economic principle of this nation. When you point out that it has failed for every nation in history that has tried it, notably the Soviet Union and more recently Venezuela, they retort that it is because those countries "did it wrong" and that "we will do it right." When you ask for specifics as what they "did wrong" that we will "do right" they stare at you wordlessly as if you are the one who is an idiot.

It should also be pointed out that a vast majority of Democrats think that Ocasio-Cortez is brilliant and that we need more legislators like her.

anonomy , says: December 13, 2018 at 2:58 pm GMT
What if Ms. Meng, was giving Iranian dissidents phones and other equipment to undermine the Government of Iran, starting another color revolution, that sucks in America and Israel? What if the Trump administration asked that this not be done in order to end the endless "revolutions" that have been happening and bankrupting our country and threatening Israel? What if the sanctions are benefiting Iran's government too? China was allowed to become so large at our expense when we opened up trade and moved businesses over there, but this was to keep them from being too cozy with Soviet Russia, just ask Nixon.
DESERT FOX , says: December 13, 2018 at 3:00 pm GMT
Part of the Zionist plan for a Zionist NWO was laid by David Rockefeller when he sent Kissinger to China to open up Chinas slave labor to the NWO types like Rockefeller and the Zionist controlled companies in the U.S. and part of the plan was the deindustrialization of America thus bringing down the American standard of living while raising the standard of living in China.

I will never believe the fake disagreement between the Zionist controlled U.S. and the Chinese government as long as G.M and Google and the other companies that have shut down their operations in the U.S. and opened operations in China, it is all a NWO plan to bring down we Americans to third world status and then meld all of us into a Zionist satanic NWO.

The enemy is not at the gates, the enemy is in the government and its name is Zionism and the Zionist NWO!

[Dec 13, 2018] Brexit Endgame

Notable quotes:
"... Brexit can be considered as the rebuilding of the old nation state wall between England and the Continent. To an extent, this is a repudiation of the Globalist Movement, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Neo-Liberal Experiment. In it's essence, Trumps Wall is a repudiation of the NAFTA Consensus. The American 'deplorables' support it because they see it as a means of defending their livelihoods from those hordes of 'foreign' low wage workers. In both cases, it is a looking inwards. ..."
Dec 13, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ambrit , December 13, 2018 at 5:27 am

Hadrian also built a wall.

Brexit can be considered as the rebuilding of the old nation state wall between England and the Continent. To an extent, this is a repudiation of the Globalist Movement, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Neo-Liberal Experiment. In it's essence, Trumps Wall is a repudiation of the NAFTA Consensus. The American 'deplorables' support it because they see it as a means of defending their livelihoods from those hordes of 'foreign' low wage workers. In both cases, it is a looking inwards.

Arguably, May is one of a generation of politicos in decline. Macron, (perhaps Merkel's hope of having a posterity,) has caved. Merkel has seen the face of her political mortality recently. May has her Pyrrhic victory.

The Clintons cannot even give tickets to their road show away. In all of these examples, the replacements waiting in the wings are, to be charitable about it, underwhelming. Brexit is but the opening act of a grand, worldwide crisis of governance.

How England muddles through this will be an object lesson for us all. We had better take notes, because there will be a great testing later.

makedoanmend , December 13, 2018 at 6:26 am

Impeccable summing up, if I might be so bold.

While the UK has rightly been the focus, I can't help wondering what the deeper feelings are across Europe. It's very hard to gauge how much thought the rest of Europe is giving to Brexit at this stage. The average punter seems very uninterested at this point, while a growing number (from what I'm reading from other sources) just wish they'd get it over with so the rest of Europe could be allowed to get on with its own internal concerns. I suspect the rest of the EU economies most affected must be putting their 'crash-out' plans into over-drive after this week's continuing escapades.

(Re: Sinn Féin. I was wondering if there was the remotest possibility that they would cross their biggest line just to help a Tory government, and a particularly vile Tory government from their standpoint. When speaking to veteran Belfast Republican during negotiations on the GFA (Good Friday Agreement), their viewpoint was that nearly everything could be negotiated but one thing was impossible: entering into a foreign London parliament. Symbolically and practically, it was a step beyond the pale. I also noticed lately that a couple of older Sinn Féin Republicans, who had to be persuaded into the negotiation camp all those years ago, are again contemplating running for local government positions in the North.)

PlutoniumKun , December 13, 2018 at 6:53 am

Everything I've read indicates that the rest of Europe has simply given up on Brexit – they are unwilling to expend any more energy or political capital on it. The leaders have much bigger things on their plates than Brexit, and the general population have lost interest – I'm told it rarely features much in reporting on the major media. I think they'll grant an extension purely to facilitate another couple of months preparation for a crash out, and thats it.

As for Sinn Fein, I get the feeling that after been caught on the hop by Brexit, they now see a crash out as an opportunity. NI looks likely to suffer more than anywhere else if there is a no-deal – there is hardly a business there that won't be devastated. But they are caught between trying to show their soft face in the south and their hardliner face in the North, and I think they are having difficulty deciding how to play it.

Ignacio , December 13, 2018 at 7:25 am

The British circus attracts interest and there is coverage on the motions and so on treated as UK internal politics. May and the ultra-brexiteers get almost all the attention. The only options mentioned are no deal and May's agreement.

makedoanmend , December 13, 2018 at 7:58 am

Hiya Ignacio,

Thanks for the info. Sounds like well balanced and realistic media coverage to me.

makedoanmend , December 13, 2018 at 7:05 am

I was wondering about deeper EU reactions: here from London based European diplomats.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/dec/11/whats-happened-to-you-eu27-diplomats-watch-uk-tie-itself-in-brexit-knots

" European diplomats in London watching the government's Brexit agony have conveyed a mixture of despair, and almost ghoulish fascination, at the state of British politics, with one saying it is as melodramatic as a telenovela, full of subplots, intrigue, tragedy and betrayal

Although privately many diplomats would love Brexit to be reversed, and believe it could mark a turning point against populism, there was also a wariness about the disruption of a second referendum. One ambassador suggested the French realised that European parliamentary election campaign of the French president, Emmanuel Macron, would be damaged by the sight of furious British leave campaigners claiming they had been cheated of their democratic rights by an arrogant elite who refused to listen: "What is happening in France is potentially momentous. The social fabric is under threat, and this anger could spread across the continent," the ambassador said, referring to the gilets jaunes protests ."

[Dec 09, 2018] BREAKING: UK exhausted from endless stream of Brexit bollocks so here's a picture of some puppies.

Dec 09, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Have I Got News For You @haveigotnews

BREAKING: UK exhausted from endless stream of Brexit bollocks so here's a picture of some puppies.

Theresa May told to quit by Cabinet ministers if her Brexit deal falls and she fails to get better terms from EU Telegraph

No-deal Brexit: Disruption at Dover 'could last six months' BBC. I have trouble understanding why six months. The UK's customs IT system won't be ready and there's no reason to think it will be ready even then. I could see things getting less bad due to adaptations but "less bad" is not normal

The Great Brexit Breakdown Wall Street Journal. Some parts I quibble with, but generally good and includes useful historical detail.

British MP suggests threatening Ireland with food shortages over Brexit, Twitter outrage follows RT (kevin W)

It's crunch time for Labour. Empty posturing on Brexit will no longer do Guardian. Shreds the Corbyn op-ed we criticized yesterday.

[Dec 08, 2018] Neocons Sabotage Trump s Trade Talks - Huawei CFO Taken Hostage To Blackmail China

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It was Bolton who a week ago intentionally damaged U.S. relations with China. ..."
"... Meng Wanzhou is a daughter of the founder and main owner of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, and was groomed to be his successor. The company is extremely well regarded in China. It is one its jewel pieces and, with 170,000 employees and $100 billion in revenues, an important political actor. ..."
"... The arrest on December 1 happened while president Trump was negotiating with president Xi of China about trade relations. Trump did not know about the upcoming arrest but Bolton was informed of it ..."
"... It was a trap. The arrest is a public slap in the face of China and to Xi personally. It will not be left unanswered. Whatever Trump may have agreed upon with Xi is now worthless. John Bolton intentionally sabotaged the talks and the U.S. relations with China. ..."
"... Having read this in context with the comments (especially those by Denk and others) previous on this topic, I would ask if anyone can provide a time line of US clandestine negative (and sometimes fatal) actions against high level Chinese engineers and telecoms. Again, the above summary is outstanding. ..."
"... The terrifying aspect is Bolton, Pompeo - puppets both for shadow power players - have no constraints whatsoever, and obviously operate without any constraint or regard for our severely (cognitively and emotionally) challenged president ..."
"... The timing of this arrest - while Trump and Xi are dining and Sabrina Meng is on her way to the G-20 conference gives a loud message that Trump is serves at the pleasure of his neocon staff - and son in law, the latter being instrumental in the firing of Rex Tillerson, the hiring of Bolton, Pompeo and the impending firing of Gen. Kelly. ..."
"... Trump is a global front for a different approach to maintaining global hegemony but make no mistake, Trump is not fronting for you ..."
"... Arresting US business execs by China is a mistake that would be cheered by Bolton and Navarro. The provocation of arresting Meng is designed by the Trump team to provoke China to arrest US business leaders and thus destroy their direct investment into China. ..."
"... The enemy of China is not US businesses but rather the neocon dominated US govt. To impact this group, China needs to cut off their drug supply(their financing) thru no longer buying their USTs to finance and enable their massive military spending and financial aggression. ..."
"... Canada's role in this is shocking. It is all of a piece with the surrender to the USA in the Trade negotiations whereby, inter alia, Canada is not allowed to enter into Trade agreements with 'non-market' economies. The non-market formulation being code for unapproved by Uncle Sam. No doubt the Nazi Freeland is running this show. In this she is ably seconded by the 'opposition' Tories and the social fascist NDP which is as enthusiastic for war against China as it is for an attack on the Donbas. ..."
"... Those who talk about Trump, Pompeo, Bolton, Kelly, etc. direct our attention to a shell game. They are all in on the scam. How better to say it? There is one party: the war party. Trump is a member of TEAM USA. US political maestros dance to the tune of the Deep State/neolibcon. ..."
"... With respect to Foreign Policy, how much real difference is there between Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump? They have all supported MIC, Israel, and expanding the Empire - aka Job #1 ..."
"... Bolton works for Adelson probably Pompeo does too. So Trump can't fire their crazy asses any time he chooses. ..."
"... Adelson has made millions with his gambling dens. In some ways it's a bit like what the East India Company did with opium. ..."
"... I think we can assume that the arrest was not an unwelcome surprise for Trump, or he would have reversed it. He knew, and accepts it. It's total asymmetric war on China. The arrest was on December 1. Trump twitter, Dec 7 China talks are going very well! here ..."
"... Does the fact that Huawei recently passed Apple for the number 2 phone sales have anything to do with this ..."
"... CNN: A judge in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued a warrant for Meng's arrest on August 22, it was revealed at the hearing Friday here . She was arrested on December 1. Meng didn't know about this "issued warrant?" How does this 'system of laws' work, anyhow? Perhaps the warrant issue was classified secret, for US national security? ..."
"... The problem with Iran is (as was with Iraq, Libya, Venezuela, and even Syria) that a country with an independent/non-aligned foreign policy has control of a large quantity of valuable natural resources for which there is a constant and relatively insatiable demand. If they cannot be controlled they they should be destroyed so they cannot pursue their own agenda and ignore the dictates of the west. China and Russia are this problem writ large, and they have nukes and a means of delivery to all corners of the globe... ..."
Dec 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Neocons Sabotage Trump's Trade Talks - Huawei CFO Taken Hostage To Blackmail China Willy2 , Dec 7, 2018 2:30:00 PM | link

CNN reports that White House chief of staff John Kelly is expected to resign soon . There have been similar rumors before, but this time the news may actually be true. That is bad for Trump and U.S. policies. Kerry is one a the few counterweights to national security advisor John Bolton. His replacement will likely be whoever Bolton chooses. That will move control over Trump policies further into the hands of the neo-conservatives.

It was Bolton who a week ago intentionally damaged U.S. relations with China.

The U.S. Justice Department arranged for Canada to arrest the chief financial officer of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, over alleged U.S. sanctions violations with regards to Iran. The case is not over the sanction Trump recently imposed, but over an alleged collision with the sanction regime before the nuclear deal with Iran. The details are still unknown.

Meng Wanzhou is a daughter of the founder and main owner of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, and was groomed to be his successor. The company is extremely well regarded in China. It is one its jewel pieces and, with 170,000 employees and $100 billion in revenues, an important political actor.

The arrest on December 1 happened while president Trump was negotiating with president Xi of China about trade relations. Trump did not know about the upcoming arrest but Bolton was informed of it :

While the Justice Department did brief the White House about the impending arrest, Mr. Trump was not told about it. And the subject did not come up at the dinner with Mr. Xi. Mr. Trump's national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said on NPR that he knew about the arrest in advance, ..

Bolton surely should have informed Trump before his dinner with Xi, in which Bolton took part, but he didn't.

It was a trap. The arrest is a public slap in the face of China and to Xi personally. It will not be left unanswered. Whatever Trump may have agreed upon with Xi is now worthless. John Bolton intentionally sabotaged the talks and the U.S. relations with China.

Cont. reading: Neocons Sabotage Trump's Trade Talks - Huawei CFO Taken Hostage To Blackmail China

Posted by b at 02:00 PM | Comments (76) - I almost starting to feel sorry for D.A.A.D. Trump.
- We have seen in the last years that the US has been (deliberately) ratcheting up tensions in the Far East. And the summit between Trump & Kim Jung Un was a severe threat for that (deliberate) increase of tensions. But the US & european media have told their readers/listener/watchers that China was to blame for the increase of tensions.


Jen , Dec 7, 2018 2:34:44 PM | link

The death of Shoucheng Zhang, by falling from a building, supposedly due to depression, reminded me of an incident I had read about years ago, of another scientist's death in 1953 in vaguely similar circumstances. I had forgotten the fellow's name but I remembered the incident had something to do with the CIA and the administration of LSD so I used those two terms along with "fall" and "window" and was able to dig up the details.

In 1953, CIA researcher Frank Olson was administered LSD without his consent by researchers working in the Project MK Ultra program. Olson became severely depressed and resigned from the CIA. He was later found dead, apparently after falling out of a motel building through a window, and his death was ruled a suicide. In the 1970s, his family ordered an autopsy and the autopsy showed that Olson had died from head injury trauma before falling through the window. A CIA agent was found to have been staying at the same motel in a separate room at the time Olson died. The family sued the US government and received $750,000 in compensation and an apology from the CIA.
https://thoughtcatalog.com/jeremy-london/2018/08/mkultra-conspiracy/

One wonders if Zhang's death had been, ahem, "arranged" according to that template. The description of Zhang from the Stanford University News website's obituary that B linked to in his post does not sound like a profile of someone who suffered depression on and off.

PavewayIV , Dec 7, 2018 2:35:17 PM | link
This has to be embarrassing as hell to Trump - he should be absolutely furious with Bolton and Pompeo. And all this for violating sanctions on Iran? I feel like on crazy pills. We live in interesting times.
Richard , Dec 7, 2018 2:38:20 PM | link
So, if Bolton sabotaged Trump's efforts to do some sort of deal with China, in whose interest is Bolton working. You'd think that a trade deal with China would be good for the US. Is Bolton working against US interest.

If we accept the Globalist/Nationalist framework, then does this not mean that Bolton is helping the nationalists against US interests. And what are the implications of that.

jayc , Dec 7, 2018 2:38:29 PM | link
Trump's rapid departure from Argentina may well have been motivated by receiving the information about the arrest after the well hyped dinner. If that is the case, Bolton should have been fired on the spot. The lack of any statement about this affair from Trump is curious. There may be an element of blackmail at play here too, related to Mueller's machinations ahead of the G20. A malignancy is loose, no doubt.
abierno , Dec 7, 2018 2:52:06 PM | link
Thank you for this excellent column. Having read this in context with the comments (especially those by Denk and others) previous on this topic, I would ask if anyone can provide a time line of US clandestine negative (and sometimes fatal) actions against high level Chinese engineers and telecoms. Again, the above summary is outstanding.

The terrifying aspect is Bolton, Pompeo - puppets both for shadow power players - have no constraints whatsoever, and obviously operate without any constraint or regard for our severely (cognitively and emotionally) challenged president, as this report makes clear.

The timing of this arrest - while Trump and Xi are dining and Sabrina Meng is on her way to the G-20 conference gives a loud message that Trump is serves at the pleasure of his neocon staff - and son in law, the latter being instrumental in the firing of Rex Tillerson, the hiring of Bolton, Pompeo and the impending firing of Gen. Kelly.

psychohistorian , Dec 7, 2018 2:56:18 PM | link
I can't believe that Trump did not know about the detention of Meng Wanzhou before hand. Trump is a TV actor and he is apprenticing for a higher spot for himself and family is the elite pecking order.

While we might want to give Trump credit for being who he is, the elite that fronted him know exactly what his style and penchants are. Trump is a global front for a different approach to maintaining global hegemony but make no mistake, Trump is not fronting for you nor I

freetrade , Dec 7, 2018 3:11:30 PM | link
From the perspective of China, their most appropriate response in this complicated situation IMO, should be to accelerate their gradual reduction of USTs.

All those articles about how China will hurt itself if it gradually sells down USTs are nonsense articles placed into the media to throw off attention to what is already happening. Russia and Turkey have alrdy done it on a smaller scale, it's a no-brainer that China can do it also. Why should China finance the US govt to wage war on itself?

If China and other countries gradually stop buying USTs, actual demand will collapse and many other holders will sell or reduce likewise. Mnuchin is fantasizing when he says there will still be strong demand. Any demand will be from the US Treasury buying its own USTs, like a dog licking its own rear quarters.

Arresting US business execs by China is a mistake that would be cheered by Bolton and Navarro. The provocation of arresting Meng is designed by the Trump team to provoke China to arrest US business leaders and thus destroy their direct investment into China.

The enemy of China is not US businesses but rather the neocon dominated US govt. To impact this group, China needs to cut off their drug supply(their financing) thru no longer buying their USTs to finance and enable their massive military spending and financial aggression.

How to do that without crashing the markets n decreasing China's own assets? Sell and reduce USTs gradually. And pretend u r not doing it. Eventually the lack of buying will force the Fed to raise rates or force the US Treasury to buy its own USTs, further debasing the US dollar.

In history, all empires fall this way, they keep on printing or taking out the silver content until their currency gets debased into nothing, and nobody wants it.

dh , Dec 7, 2018 3:14:42 PM | link
Looks like Bolton wants war with China. I recall he was hired during the North Korea talks to add a bit of muscle and now Trump is stuck with him whether he likes it or not.

Re. Meng....apparently she faces fraud charges related to the Skycom affair. Of course that is just what we're told. Who knows what kind of pressure she will come under once they get her in the US.

"Meng Wanzhou -- the chief financial officer for the Chinese tech giant Huawei -- is wanted in the U.S. on allegations of fraud, a bail hearing has been told." https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bail-hearing-huawei-cfo-1.4936150

chu teh , Dec 7, 2018 3:24:15 PM | link
1959, CIA disobeyed Pres Eisenhower's ban on further overflights of USSR until after his summit meeting with Khrushchev. Then the U-2 was brought down over USSR and the live pilot captured. The US officially denied it happened.

The USSR cancelled the summit meeting.

At first, Eisenhower claimed to have no knowledge of the operation and was outraged when the truth revealed. UN Ambassador Stevenson made a vehement speech at the UN denying it happened, followed immediately with USSR producing both the plane's wreckage and its pilot.

Then USSR showed the pilot and wreckage was publicly displayed. Pilot F G Powers had safely bailed-out and was put on-trial in Moscow, convicted and then allowed to return to the US.

Mission Accomplished! by the unelected leaders of the US [who were certain their man Nixon would be the next President, followed by quick re-capture of Cuba and then war in Vietnam. Both those operations already directly involved Nixon, who was fully "in" on The Bay of Pigs and, earlier, plans for US "support" of Saigon leaders in "South" Vietnam with whom he established communications during his 1953 visit as Ike's new Vice-President.]

james , Dec 7, 2018 3:30:06 PM | link

...that data on this is more shocking then i realized.. the death of prof zhang - apparent suicide, is bizarre here..

i agree that the usa has been taken over by small minded neo cons that would try to use meng wanzhou as leverage.. the fact Bolton knew and Trump didn't.. i am not buying that, or Bolton is more manipulative then i realized.. they are all that stupid though.. i hope Canada doesn't allow this, but under the wuss Justin Trudeau, i am not holding my breath..

@ 12 dh... wanted for ignoring us sanctions on iran from 2009 to 2014... what the fuck has that to do with canada?? is canada now doing book keeping, and everything else for the usa? the usa can go fuck themselves.. if Canada wasn't a 2 bit vassal state, that is what we would tell the usa..

Uncle $cam , Dec 7, 2018 3:31:59 PM | link
Flashback Friday

Oh, and what happened to the head of interpol, Meng Hongwei recently???

A. Person , Dec 7, 2018 3:46:11 PM | link
OT, but just to a degree.

Today is Dec.7, a day in 1941 that Pres. Roosevelt aptly called "A Day of Infamy," as the Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor.

We now know that the very top echelons of US government first correctly anticipated and then knew precisely when and how the attack would occur. The 3,000 (+/-) GI's who were sacrificed were considered "acceptable losses." (The 3,000 civilians who were sacrificed on 9/11 were also considered "acceptable losses.") "Infamy" is an accurate word for US .gov conduct.

(Pls, do not comment to this OT. Wait for the next open thread, if you must.)

John Gilberts , Dec 7, 2018 4:28:57 PM | link
Trudeau says he knew about the arrest in advance.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-canada-prepared-for-possible-chinese-cyber-retaliation-over-arrest-of/

Looks like Trump was out of the loop. Trudeau is mainly photo-op material only. This would have been Chrystia Freeland, the Nazi grand-daughter's file.

ashley albanese , Dec 7, 2018 5:29:38 PM | link
In Australia - endless media trumpeting the closed door to Chinese telcos from Australia and New Zealand but one has to go out of one's way to discover our neighbor Papua New GUINEA has continued using HuaHwei products albeit under U S pressure not to do so
bevin , Dec 7, 2018 5:32:00 PM | link
1/ "... the rise first of Communism and then of Islam as world forces opposing imperialism."

Has Islam, in fact, been in opposition to imperialism? For the most part, as in India/Pakistan, it has been a very useful imperialist foil against nationalism and socialism. There have been sincere and effective muslim campaigns against imperialism but equally there have been imperialist financed 'islamic' campaigns against enemies of the Empire.

2/ Canada's role in this is shocking. It is all of a piece with the surrender to the USA in the Trade negotiations whereby, inter alia, Canada is not allowed to enter into Trade agreements with 'non-market' economies. The non-market formulation being code for unapproved by Uncle Sam. No doubt the Nazi Freeland is running this show. In this she is ably seconded by the 'opposition' Tories and the social fascist NDP which is as enthusiastic for war against China as it is for an attack on the Donbas.

I used to be a member of this, once mildly socialist party. I am proud to say that I was expelled.

Rolf , Dec 7, 2018 5:38:42 PM | link
Five Eyes Against Huawei

7 DECEMBER 2018, http://www.voltairenet.org/article204264.html

Washington has asked Ottawa to arrest Meng Wanzhou and to extradite her. The motive for the war undertaken by Washington against Huawei is deep-rooted and spurious are the justifications.

The heart of the problem is that the Chinese firm uses a system of encryption that prevents the NSA from intercepting its communications. A number of governments and secret services in the non-Western world have begun to equip themselves exclusively with Huawei materials, and are doing so to protect the confidentiality of their communications.

The covers/excuses for this war are theft of intellectual property or in the alternative, trade with Iran and North Korea, and violating rules of competition by benefitting from national subsidies.

The Five Eyes is a system of electronic espionage by Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. They have begun to exclude Huawei from their auctions.

Jackrabbit , Dec 7, 2018 5:46:11 PM | link

Those who talk about Trump, Pompeo, Bolton, Kelly, etc. direct our attention to a shell game. They are all in on the scam. How better to say it? There is one party: the war party. Trump is a member of TEAM USA. US political maestros dance to the tune of the Deep State/neolibcon.

Fine distinctions between senior US govt officials make me want to tear my hair out. In US govt only whistle-blowers are white knights. Everyone else is engaging in good guy/bad guy bullshit and controlled opposition.

With respect to Foreign Policy, how much real difference is there between Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump? They have all supported MIC, Israel, and expanding the Empire - aka Job #1.

Willy2 , Dec 7, 2018 5:46:51 PM | link
- Bolton was appointed under pressure from one Sheldon Adelson, who was a (large) donor to the Trump campaign. In that regard, it was (nearly) impossible for Trump to fire Bolton.
Castellio , Dec 7, 2018 5:50:25 PM | link
Jen @2

In terms of Frank Olsen, there is a very good six part documentary series on Netflix called "Wormwood". Most important are the interviews with Olsen's son. His search for the truth took many years (too many years) and he finally uncovered the final levels of deceit. Worth the time.

dh , Dec 7, 2018 5:53:10 PM | link
@14 ".. wanted for ignoring us sanctions on iran from 2009 to 2014... what the fuck has that to do with canada?? "

Absolutely nothing james. I suspect they are using that charge, rather than getting into 5G backdoor whatever, to make the extradition process go faster. They don't want it to drag on for years.

dh , Dec 7, 2018 5:56:39 PM | link
@32 Right. Bolton works for Adelson probably Pompeo does too. So Trump can't fire their crazy asses any time he chooses.
CDWaller , Dec 7, 2018 6:18:32 PM | link
Surely it's Bolton who must go. That was an enormous betrayal. The one thing that Trump had going for him was the performance of the stock market. His neocon enemies in the form of Bolton, managed to strike two blows simultaneously; increase conflict with China and tank the market.
Daniel , Dec 7, 2018 6:32:55 PM | link
Too many posters letting Trump off the hook here. He's a brilliant 4D chess master but at the same time he's also a vulnerable naif who lets neocons, ziofascists and other hostile entities keep hijacking his administration for their own ends? Bit of a problem there. You can't have it both ways.

Occam's Razor says the Trump administration's foreign policy, possibly with Russia as an exception, is run with the full approval of Donald John Trump. He's no friend of China, remember, and Steve Bannon's plan to befriend Russia was designed to keep it from partnering with China against the United States.

It's almost 2019 and like the Obots of 2010 it's time to accept that your man is a busted flush, a fraud, an American exceptionalist through and through.

jayc , Dec 7, 2018 6:37:39 PM | link
The "fraud" charge goes back to 2009/10, and concerns an alleged misrepresentation over the relationship between a company called SkyComm and Huawei. The alleged sanction violation by SkyComm had nothing to do with Iran's nuclear or military programs, and may not have even proceeded beyond a negotiation phase. The alleged "fraud", or misrepresentation, rests on a technical interpretation of complicated interlocking corporate structures. The prosecutors and the defence will likely both be correct in their presentations, as it is a muddle, but the well has already been poisoned by the now well-publicized accusations that Huawei is a Communist trojan horse. It's very thin gruel to proceed with such a high profile arrest.
Sasha , Dec 7, 2018 8:22:10 PM | link
@Posted by: Rolf | Dec 7, 2018 5:38:42 PM | 30
The heart of the problem is that the Chinese firm uses a system of encryption that prevents the NSA from intercepting its communications. A number of governments and secret services in the non-Western world have begun to equip themselves exclusively with Huawei materials, and are doing so to protect the confidentiality of their communications.

And not only the governments and secret services, Huawei is widely popular all along EU amongst the common working class user ( which means millions and millions of users....) especially because of its advantageous price and great capabilities.... I myself own a Huawei device, my friends own Huaweis....Glad to hear that "Five Eyes" can not spy on us....I am very fidel to marks/services who do not deceive me, but after knowing this new "capability", I am thinking in keeping Huawei as my header mark....Just waiting for them to launch the laptop "Five Eyes" waterproof and I will be throwing this old one to the trash bin....

dh , Dec 7, 2018 8:58:58 PM | link
Well it seems we have to wait until Monday to see if Meng gets bail or not. That's a long time for Trump to keep his mouth shut on anything.
Glenn Brown , Dec 7, 2018 9:03:38 PM | link
@32,36
I wonder how Adelson would react to a Chinese boycott of his casinos in Macau and Singapore? A lot of his wealth has come from Chinese gamblers. Given Adelson's connections to Bolton and Trump, it would seem like an obvious pressure point.
james , Dec 7, 2018 9:29:36 PM | link
@38 lili... denk was discussing this on the open thread yesterday.. see his links @68 / 76 and etc on this page.. no one is discussing this..

@48 peter au.. it certainly appears that way.. funny thing how trump sold himself on a number of topics, but not that one.. meanwhile, i guess the loot from adelson is quite good... stick with me and you don't need any stickin russian oligarch.. what is quite amazing is how blind the average amerikkkan is to all this.. they are still stuck on the mueller investigation which has been running on empty for some time... they would never do an investigation on isreal, or zionists influence on us elections, as it is too friggin' obvious for anyone looking... better to skip that and continue to serve israel.. thus the constant fixation with iran..

james , Dec 7, 2018 9:30:59 PM | link
or russia and china, as the case may be... the top 3 evil countries, according to obama, or was that north korea.. i guess trump will have to revise it.. the usa is pathetic.. canada is not far behind..
Don Bacon , Dec 7, 2018 9:38:22 PM | link
Trump didn't know b/c the NYTimes said so?
I've got this bridge....
China's response may not be immediate, but it will come.
I'm reminded of the sudden death of Vice Adm. Scott Stearney, commander of the Navy's 5th Fleet, Persian Gulf, discovered inside his home in Bahrain last weekend, a "suspected suicide."
Iran always gets even.
psychohistorian , Dec 7, 2018 9:41:09 PM | link
To those of us that understand that all/most of the politicians are working for the same team, it should be easy to see the good cop/bad cop dynamic being used here.

If b thinks Trump is a good cop, as he presents him here (yes, b has written that he disagrees with all/most of what Trump does) as do other commenters that post here, I would posit that "they" are being successful in working that meme at this time.

China will not back down and now will play hardball back, but in a globalist sense I expect them to continue to take the high road as the West mires itself further in the muck of its religion of private finance.

Another commenter mentioned the strategy of China dumping its massive amount of US Treasuries. I think we are getting to that moment and the response of the US is to default on whomever is holding its debt...............

and then the war we have been in for some time turns serious.

The problem the elite have is making the public have the fervor to slaughter themselves for the purpose of continuing a society run by and only servicing the elite. I don't understand how they have managed all these centuries but here we are, a bit still in the dark ages of a thousand years ago.

dh , Dec 7, 2018 9:57:33 PM | link
@55. Very interesting idea. Adelson has made millions with his gambling dens. In some ways it's a bit like what the East India Company did with opium.
Don Bacon , Dec 7, 2018 10:14:47 PM | link
I think we can assume that the arrest was not an unwelcome surprise for Trump, or he would have reversed it. He knew, and accepts it. It's total asymmetric war on China. The arrest was on December 1. Trump twitter, Dec 7 China talks are going very well! here
Anunnaki , Dec 7, 2018 10:21:01 PM | link
Does the fact that Huawei recently passed Apple for the number 2 phone sales have anything to do with this
Hoarsewhisperer , Dec 7, 2018 10:21:55 PM | link
This is a 100% neocon clusterfuck. It is vital to the success of Trump's Drain The Swamp strategy that The Swampers be given every opportunity to put their anti-US influence on public display. At least now we know which weirdos are responsible for the US policy of "Let's do SOMETHING, even it it's stupid."

I've been scouring the 'News' and the www for evidence that China agreed to uphold US sanctions on Iran to an extent that would invite the US to punish China for disregarding US whims. No luck, so far.

What makes this story entertaining is that the US has not only surrendered its lead in Military Tech, from the Good Old Days, but Computer and Communications Tech too. You have to be pretty desperate to admit a blunder of that magnitude, albeit obliquely, as in this case.

slit , Dec 7, 2018 10:24:07 PM | link
Unlikely that few in Trump's cabinet or Senate Foreign Relations committee could even pass the physics section of a college entrance exam, and have little idea what quantum encryption even is (Chinese published on it first a couple of years ago).

That presumption alone suggests Pompeo Bolton etc are just finger puppets ... which oligarch has all those cia contracts again?

They are in well over their heads. They can't even keep up with the Russians. They will likely get stung by Chinese scorpions without even knowing what hit them!

dh , Dec 7, 2018 10:28:27 PM | link
@63 Indirectly yes. According to Jim Cramer....whose objectivity I am increasingly coming to respect....Apple will lose out because of the arrest.

"Top tech players like Apple, Micron, Intel and Qualcomm are all "worth less today than yesterday," says the "Mad Money" host."

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/06/cramer-huawei-cfo-arrest-just-made-companies-like-apple-less-valuable.html

Hoarsewhisperer , Dec 7, 2018 10:52:40 PM | link
Another 'unintended consequence' of the neocon gambit to embarrass Trump by by-passing him, will be renewed interest in something Vlad said in one of Oliver Stone's Putin's Interviews.

In the context of Vlad's feelings about POTUS Trump, Vlad said words to the effect that it's too soon to say. Everyone knows that AmeriKKKa has been run by the Permanent Bureaucracy (not the POTUS). A lot of people would have been 'too busy' to watch the Putin Interviews but World Leaders, everywhere, would not have been among them. So as of December 1, 2018, that cat is well and truly out of the bag and all eyes, as usual, are on Trump. Again.

Don Bacon , Dec 7, 2018 10:54:09 PM | link
CNN: A judge in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued a warrant for Meng's arrest on August 22, it was revealed at the hearing Friday here . She was arrested on December 1. Meng didn't know about this "issued warrant?" How does this 'system of laws' work, anyhow? Perhaps the warrant issue was classified secret, for US national security?

Actually, I fear, it's a conspiracy of intel agencies, security advisors and courts to conduct domestic and foreign policy. It's a non-elected "government" which elected politicians can't touch. For those that doubt it, check out this important interview with intel whistleblowers Shipp, Binney and Kiriakou which describes Washington corruption is here . (h/t Carlton Meyer)
Politicians can't touch this secret government lest their security clearances be removed.

Don Bacon , Dec 7, 2018 11:03:36 PM | link
@70
In the two-hour interview John Kiriakou points out that the intel agencies have their favorite courts. His delayed case, resurrected by Obama, was heard by a court in eastern Virginia, which had a 98% conviction rate. They got him for a couple years in prison. General Petraeus, however, who did much worse, had his case heard in a court in western Virginia, and he got probation. It appears that the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York is good for anti-China warrants.
the pessimist , Dec 7, 2018 11:48:53 PM | link
D B@70 I read that she was aware of the warrant and avoided traveling to the USA because of it as she had been doing to ?" visit her son who was in school here"? but likely thought Canada safe. Wrong.

So China seems fearful to me - detaining the head of INTERPOL for instance and re-educating the Uyghurs en mass, plus the heavy internet censorship. But they cannot disengage from the west economically without risking social upheaval. Nor can the US afford to disengage from China for roughly the same reason (unlike Russia from whom the US gets rocket engines but little else they cannot obtain from other sources).

In a few years time (2, or perhaps 3) both Russia and China will have deployed weapons that can deter anything but a full on nuclear attack, and their military capability will continue to advance. US strategy seems to be to disrupt, slow, and sabotage both to the extent it is able using economic and political weapons and military posturing. I don't believe it can catch up and this creates extra danger - the longer it waits the greater the gap will be - economic and military. Many of the responses seem borderline hysterical to me - not a good thing.

The problem with Iran is (as was with Iraq, Libya, Venezuela, and even Syria) that a country with an independent/non-aligned foreign policy has control of a large quantity of valuable natural resources for which there is a constant and relatively insatiable demand. If they cannot be controlled they they should be destroyed so they cannot pursue their own agenda and ignore the dictates of the west. China and Russia are this problem writ large, and they have nukes and a means of delivery to all corners of the globe...

[Dec 08, 2018] White House, Trudeau seek to distance themselves from Huawei move

This is about destruction of neoliberalism. Transnational financial elite under neoliberalism is above the law. the USA blatantly breaches this convention now. And will pay the price.
This is Onion-style humor is no it : White House, Trudeau seek to distance themselves from Huawei move
Notable quotes:
"... The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that the arrest could complicate efforts to reach a broader U.S.-China trade deal but would not necessarily damage the process. ..."
"... Meng's detention also raised concerns about potential retaliation from Beijing in Canada, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought to distance himself from the arrest. ..."
Dec 08, 2018 | finance.yahoo.com

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, the 46-year-old daughter of the company's founder, was detained in Canada on Dec. 1, the same day Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping dined together at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

A White House official told Reuters Trump did not know about a U.S. request for her extradition from Canada before he met Xi and agreed to a 90-day truce in the brewing trade war.

Meng's arrest during a stopover in Vancouver, announced by the Canadian authorities on Wednesday, pummeled stock markets already nervous about tensions between the world's two largest economies on fears the move could derail the planned trade talks.

The arrest was made at Washington's request as part of a U.S. investigation of an alleged scheme to use the global banking system to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, according to people familiar with the probe.

Another U.S. official told Reuters that while it was a Justice Department matter and not orchestrated in advance by the White House, the case could send a message that Washington is serious about what it sees as Beijing's violations of international trade norms.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that the arrest could complicate efforts to reach a broader U.S.-China trade deal but would not necessarily damage the process.

Meng's detention also raised concerns about potential retaliation from Beijing in Canada, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought to distance himself from the arrest.

"The appropriate authorities took the decisions in this case without any political involvement or interference ... we were advised by them with a few days' notice that this was in the works," Trudeau told reporters in Montreal in televised remarks.

[Dec 08, 2018] America's act against China borders on military aggression

Dec 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

spudski , Dec 6, 2018 12:56:44 PM | link

Michael Hudson's comment on Naked Capitalism:

December 6, 2018 at 9:47 am

I think that America's act against China borders on military aggression. The US is saying, "Don't deal with any country that we're imposing sanctions on. We want to grab Iran's oil. That's why we overthrew Mossedegh. That's why we installed the Shah and his police state. We want Saudi Arabia's money, and they told us we have to support the Sunni against Shi'ites, so our foreign policy is that of Saudi Arabia when it comes to the fate of who can and who cannot trade with Iran. China must follow our orders or we will do everything we can to stop its own development. It need only look at how we treated Iran to see what may be in store for it."
This raises the Cold Wa to a new dimension.


karlof1 , Dec 6, 2018 4:18:27 PM | link

dh @99--

Yes, guilty as charged. I expect a major challenge to the illegality of the Outlaw US Empire's attempts at Extraterritoriality which has yet to be attempted but now must be done. China has a very distinctive history regarding such treatment and will not let it pass. The Trade War will escalate and the Empire's top tier of oligarchs will lose billions.

Circe , Dec 6, 2018 4:21:24 PM | link
Blue peacock Walrus must be Boltonnnn! He just parrotted exactly the same bull about stolen property except with the caveat that it's not the reason for her arrest!!! 😉😎 It's about doing business with Iran! F.U. AMERICA!

ARREST MBS INSTEAD, DAMN YOU EFFING HYPOCRITES! I can't get over Trudeau was a pasty to this woman's arrest! THIS IS INSANE.

[Dec 08, 2018] The incident shows that the US and some other countries that follow the US didn't abide by the bottom line of international law at all. From now on, we should reduce or cancel important people's visits to the US, Canada and some other countries like the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Notable quotes:
"... The incident shows that the US and some other countries that follow the US didn't abide by the bottom line of international law at all. From now on, we should reduce or cancel important people's visits to the US, Canada and some other countries like the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The warning applies to not only Chinese citizens, but also citizens of any other country. ..."
"... Given the extreme risks of the political struggle in the US, Chinese scientists and technological experts in the West, particularly in the UKUSA countries (the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) are advised to make some risk prevention arrangements for their own sake and the sake of their children. ..."
"... Unlike China's State-owned enterprises, Huawei is a genuine private firm. But the severe political discrimination and repulsion from the US reflect an undeniable fact - the political gap between China and the US and a few other Western nations is too wide to bridge. ..."
Dec 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Dec 7, 2018 5:04:01 PM | link

Avoided a knee-jerk response, did some chores, read some other items, then went looking for English language Chinese reactions, like this one provided by Global Times , which said several different things to different audiences, although toward its bottom we find this:

" The incident shows that the US and some other countries that follow the US didn't abide by the bottom line of international law at all. From now on, we should reduce or cancel important people's visits to the US, Canada and some other countries like the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The warning applies to not only Chinese citizens, but also citizens of any other country.

" Given the extreme risks of the political struggle in the US, Chinese scientists and technological experts in the West, particularly in the UKUSA countries (the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) are advised to make some risk prevention arrangements for their own sake and the sake of their children. "

Global Times also published this editorial with its emphasis on the entire affair being an attack on Huawei's competitiveness, although suddenly in the middle it says this:

" Unlike China's State-owned enterprises, Huawei is a genuine private firm. But the severe political discrimination and repulsion from the US reflect an undeniable fact - the political gap between China and the US and a few other Western nations is too wide to bridge. "

A bit of a bombshell that seems to contradict what came before and after, which is an exploration of how "the political gap" can be narrowed. This line says:

"Meanwhile, China needs to ease its geopolitical and ideological tensions with the US and the West through expanding its opening-up to the world."

Unfortunately, the Outlaw US Empire has no interest in "eas[ing] its geopolitical and ideological tensions" with China, Russia or any other nation as its unelected helmsmen want everything for themselves a la Monopoly winners, thus rendering Chinese attempts at appeasement vacuous--Real Men want it all; sharing--Win-Win--is for wussies.

[Dec 08, 2018] Opinion Huawei bust reveals the real US-China trade war - Livemint

Export restrictions, and threats of restrictions, are thus probably not just about sanctions -- they're about making life harder for the main competitors of US tech companies
Dec 08, 2018 | www.livemint.com
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping was mainly about tariffs, especially on items like automobiles.

But the startling arrest in Canada of a Chinese telecom company executive should wake people up to the fact that there's a second U.S.-China trade war going on -- a much more stealthy conflict, fought with weapons much subtler and more devastating than tariffs. And the prize in that other struggle is domination of the information-technology industry.

The arrested executive, Wanzhou Meng, is the chief financial officer of telecom-equipment manufacturer Huawei Technologies Co. (and its founder's daughter). The official reason for her arrest is that Huawei is suspected of selling technology to Iran, in violation of U.S. sanctions. It's the second big Chinese tech company to be accused of breaching those sanctions -- the first was ZTE Corp. in 2017. The U.S. punished ZTE by forbidding it from buying American components -- most importantly, telecom chips made by U.S.-based Qualcomm Inc.

Those purchasing restrictions were eventually lifted after ZTE agreed to pay a fine, and it seems certain that Huawei will also eventually escape severe punishment. But these episodes highlight Chinese companies' dependence on critical U.S. technology. The U.S. still makes -- or at least, designs -- the best computer chips in the world. China assembles lots of electronics, but without those crucial inputs of U.S. technology, products made by companies such as Huawei would be of much lower-quality.

Export restrictions, and threats of restrictions, are thus probably not just about sanctions -- they're about making life harder for the main competitors of U.S. tech companies. Huawei just passed Apple Inc. to become the world's second-largest smartphone maker by market share (Samsung Electronics Co. is first). This marks a change for China, whose companies have long been stuck doing low-value assembly while companies in rich countries do the high-value design, marketing and component manufacturing. U.S. moves against Huawei and ZTE may be intended to force China to remain a cheap supplier instead of a threatening competitor.

The subtle, far-sighted nature of this approach suggests that the impetus for the high-tech trade war goes far beyond what Trump, with his focus on tariffs and old-line manufacturing industries, would think of. It seems likely that U.S. tech companies, as well as the military intelligence communities, are influencing policy here as well.

In fact, more systematic efforts to block Chinese access to U.S. components are in the works. The Export Control Reform Act, passed this summer, increased regulatory oversight of U.S. exports of "emerging" and "foundational" technologies deemed to have national-security importance. Although national security is certainly a concern, it's generally hard to separate high-tech industrial and corporate dominance from military dominance, so this too should be seen as part of the trade war.

A second weapon in the high-tech trade war is investment restrictions. The Trump administration has greatly expanded its power to block Chinese investments in U.S. technology companies, through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. CFIUS has already canceled a bunch of Chinese deals:

The goal of investment restrictions is to prevent Chinese companies from copying or stealing American ideas and technologies. Chinese companies can buy American companies and transfer their intellectual property overseas, or have their employees train their Chinese replacements. Even minority stakes can allow a Chinese investor access to industrial secrets that would otherwise be off-limits. By blocking these investors, the Trump administration hopes to preserve U.S. technological dominance, at least for a little while longer.

Notably, the European Union is also moving to restrict Chinese investments. The fact that Europe, which has opposed Trump's tariffs, is copying American investment restrictions, should be a signal that the less-publicized high-tech trade war is actually the important one.

The high-tech trade war shows that for all the hoopla over manufacturing jobs, steel, autos and tariffs, the real competition is in the tech sector. Losing the lead in the global technology race means lower profits and a disappearing military advantage. But it also means losing the powerful knowledge-industry clustering effects that have been an engine of U.S. economic growth in the post-manufacturing age. Bluntly put, the U.S. can afford to lose its lead in furniture manufacturing; it can't afford to lose its dominance in the tech sector.

The question is whether the high-tech trade war will succeed in keeping China in second place. China has long wanted to catch up in semiconductor manufacturing, but export controls will make that goal a necessity rather than an aspiration. And investment restrictions may spur China to upgrade its own homegrown research and development capacity.

In other words, in the age when China and the U.S. were economically co-dependent, China might have been content to accept lower profit margins and keep copying American technology instead of developing its own. But with the coming of the high-tech trade war, that co-dependency is coming to an end. Perhaps that was always inevitable, as China pressed forward on the technological frontier. In any case, the Trump administration's recent moves against Chinese tech -- and some similar moves by the EU -- should be seen as the first shots in a long war.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed)

[Dec 08, 2018] The trade war targets the entire Chinese high tech industry, especially the Made in China 2030 proj. Huawei in less than 30 years it has displaced CISCO as the world's no 1 network supplier, presently gunning Samsung for top spot in mobile phone preeminence

Dec 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

denk , Dec 8, 2018 12:12:43 AM | link

b

This is 'eight nations alliance' [1] mark2 no less. The military encirclement of China is in place, to be sprung if necessary. The trade war targets the entire Chinese high tech industry, especially the Made in China 2030 proj. Huawei is the crown jewel of emerging Chinese high tech, its rise is nothing less than astounding. In less than 30 years it has displaced CISCO as the world's no 1 network supplier, presently gunning Samsung for top spot in mobile phone preeminence.

It makes lots of people scare. [2]

They use false pretext to wage wars OF terror, now they use false pretext to launch a trade war, hyping up Huawei's 'security risk'. But nsa has been 'monitoring' Huawei since 2007, even hacked into its Shenzhen HQ, to look for incriminating evidence of CCP collaboration, it turned out naught. There'r absolutely No Evidence Huawei Spies on Americans, [3]

Just like the lack of evidence didn't prevent fukus attack on 'terrorist' countries, it sure doesn't stop Washington from mounting a frontal assault on Huawei. Huawei is currently shut out of the 5lies markets plus SK, JP, courtesy of Washington. The 'battle' has extended to the Pacifics isles,
where Washington/Oz joint force to arm twist Solomon isle to drop a undersea cable contract with Huawei.

They tried that again with PNG, asking them to renege on their contract with Huawei, but the PNG PM is made of sterner stuff, lecturing fukus on the importance of integrity and law, no less.

hhhhh

When the Meng kidnap news broke, my jaw dropped in amazement, ....They'r really getting really desperate now.

... ... ...


[1]

http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/attachments/japanese-militaria/925359d1452969003-evolution-imperial-japan-s-war-medals-1875-1945-a-17.troops_of_the_eight_nations_alliance_1900.jpg

[2]
Huawei's U.S. competitors among those pushing for scrutiny of Chinese tech firm
It was long thought that we were the number-one economy and China just supplied cheap labor,"

Guthrie said. "Now it is clear that China has lot to offer in terms of innovation and Industrial policy and state investment, and now people are scared

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/huaweis-us-competitors-among-those-pushing-for-scrutiny-of-chinese-tech-firm/2012/10/10/b84d8d16-1256-11e2-a16b-2c110031514a_story.html?utm_term=.9a08c5b5a9bb


Watch out Cisco. Huawei's coming!

https://etherealmind.com/watch-out-cisco-huaweis-coming/

China's Huawei takes aim at Cisco with SDN programmable switch Huawei Technologies is bringing its own "software-defined networking" switch globally in a bid to raise its profile and expand in a market dominated by Cisco.
https://www.computerworld.com/article/2484793/networking/china-s-huawei-takes-aim-at-cisco-with-sdn-programmable-switch.html

[3]
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/59w49b/huawei-surveillance-no-evidence

[Dec 08, 2018] Huawei's Meng Snagged Due to US Bank Sanctions

Games in US intelligence agencies are one thing, but the fact that this arrest is a severe blow, almost knockdown for neoliberalism is another.
From comments: "Spot on with your comment. As you point out, this event will cast a dark shadow over executive travel for a long time to come, including those American executives who will now be fearful of countermeasures."
Dec 08, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Moreover, John Bolton is the sort who'd love to collect a high profile scalp like the arrest of Meng, so it's credible that he would find a way to go ahead whether or not the China trade negotiation team was on board.

Meng has her bail hearing in Vancouver today, so we will probably learn more about the expected process and timetable.


Alex V , December 7, 2018 at 3:56 am

Wondering why US dollars would ever be involved in transactions between a Chinese supplier, a UK bank, and Iranian customers Assuming usage of correspondent banks in NYC? Would also be a reason for where the indictment was filed.

The conspiracy theorist in me says that transactions are being routed through the US not for any practical reason, or due to customer wishes, but only to expose them to US jurisdiction for potential prosecution. An alternative to SWIFT is desperately needed

A. A. , December 7, 2018 at 4:13 am

The FCPA is extremely expansive: a non U.S. company doing business in the U.S. must not do business with Iran directly or indirectly if it knows or has reason to suspect the business is related to Iran. So if they have the evidence it all looks like a slam dunk.

As to SWIFT, doesn't the U.S. have access to all SWIFT transactions, even those not touching U.S. banks? They'd certainly have the Five Eyes SWIFT data.

Plus apparently the U.S. has (or had) access to Huawei's email traffic.

Yves Smith Post author , December 7, 2018 at 5:26 am

Not correspondent banks. HSBC has a New York branch, as does pretty much every foreign bank with an international business. Dollar transactions clear though the US because no bank is going to run intraday balances with other banks without the end of day settlement ultimately being backstopped by the Fed. That means running over Fedwire.

Alex V , December 7, 2018 at 5:53 am

Ah, thanks for the technical detail on why it would be cleared through the US. The Masters of the Universe really are unwilling to take any risk unless it's socialized in some way. Still curious why they would ever let it touch US jurisdiction, but I guess the details of the case will eventually reveal that.

William Bowles , December 7, 2018 at 4:21 am

See Voltaire Net for the reasons: Huawei's unbreakable encryption:

http://www.voltairenet.org/article204264.html

"The heart of the problem is that the Chinese firm uses a system of encryption that prevents the NSA from intercepting its communications. A number of governments and secret services in the non-Western world have begun to equip themselves exclusively with Huawei materials, and are doing so to protect the confidentiality of their communications."

laodan , December 7, 2018 at 9:03 am

There is also this other article on Voltaire Network " Behind the US attack on Chinese Smartphones " by Manlio Dinucci. 2018-10-05

"The struggle centred around Huawei illustrates the way in which economic and military preoccupations inter-connect. Already, many States have observed that Washington is so far unable to decode this technology. Thus, as they did in Syria, they have entirely re-equipped their Intelligence services with Huawei material, and forbid their civil servants to use any others."

Taking into account this story from Syria the following dismissal, by China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying of a report in The New York Times, could be understood differently than it was initially

"China on Thursday denounced a U.S. newspaper report that it is listening to Donald Trump's phone calls as "fake news," and suggested he exchange his iPhone for a cellphone made by Chinese manufacturer Huawei".
in AP, 2018-10-26, "China denies spying on Trump's phone, suggests he use Huawei".

The Rev Kev , December 7, 2018 at 5:08 am

So I turned on the local TV network to see how the story would be spun to find out what the official line would be. There was no mention of the fact in the story that Meng was just not the CFO of Huawei but also the daughter – the daughter – of the founder. More to the point, nearly every scene showing Meng was when she was on-stage with Putin somewhere so there is your guilt by association right there. They even used close-ups of the two together though the stage was full of people seated there.
Something else in that story that I noticed. It featured the last day of the G-20 when the American and Chinese delegation were facing each other over a conference table. On the right was Trump and a bit further down was John Bolton. Now Trump has said he had no idea that this arrest was taking place but Bolton said that he know beforehand. Does it not seem strange that Bolton would not have pulled Trump aside beforehand and said 'Hey boss, we are going to do something never done before and arrest a high-level Chinese citizen which could blow up your whole agreement. You know, just so you know.'
With this is mind, it may be fairer to say that this was more a case of 'Huawei's Meng Targeted using US Bank Sanctions'. The pity is that the US Justice Department finds no trouble with targeting a corporation nearly 7,000 miles away but just can't seem to target Wall Street which is only about 200 miles away from their headquarters. And I am afraid that I am not too impressed with that internal Huawei memo as probably most international corporations want to know where they can push the envelope. Personally I would be more interested on a memo from the Clinton Foundation listing the amounts needed to gain access the SecState and how much could be purchased for that amount. Both memos would amount to the same thing.
This is new this development. The US has targeted individuals with sanctions but for the first time they are attempting the extraterritorial rendition of a foreign citizen in connection with sanctions violations meaning extraterritorial jurisdiction which means that American laws apply all over the world. Could you imagine if this became standard practice? The chill it would put on executive travel? The possibilities of tit for tat arrests? US tech execs have already been warned on China travel. Do they really want to go there? This is nothing less that a US declaration of war on firms competing with US business interests like they have done with Russia.
I would be also wary of this massive 'coincidence' in the timing of her arrest. The US Justice Department would probably know Meng's travel schedule better that she would – Bolton with his contacts would see to that. It may be that events in her calendar were pre-arranged for her. The Justice Department has a long history of setting up people. Canada's involvement is simply another member of the Five Eyes group doing active participation. It has not escaped my notice that all the countries rejecting Huawe's 5G technology – Australia, the UK, New Zealand – are also members of the Five Eyes. Not looking good.

Yves Smith Post author , December 7, 2018 at 5:33 am

This is not a rendition. Meng's extradition is all being done by the book. She is still in Canada, and will have a bail hearing today. She will have the opportunity to contest her extradition in Canada. Assuming she loses, she then goes to the US to face charges.

And I'm not keen about the CT. A top Chinese tech company like Huawei which knows it's on America's shit list would have a very well protected Intranet. The US does not have access to Chinese telcoms to locate or steal the data of Chinese citizens. Get real.

Thuto , December 7, 2018 at 6:13 am

I'm not sure I embrace the notion of all this being done by the book as much as you Yves. After all, even charades can have the appearance of procedural compliance and the following of by the book rules, in fact, perhaps the incentive to create the appearance of following the rules is even more pronounced in a high profile case such as this. As to whether she will have a fair opportunity to defend herself, this is a watershed moment for Canada and she's is in the spotlight here and no matter which way it goes, the decision to extradite or not will have irrevocable implications on her international relations.

Yves Smith Post author , December 7, 2018 at 8:08 am

This is not a rendition. Canada isn't the UK. It's not going to bend its court processes, particularly since Chinese have become big investors in Canada and Trump has been astonishingly rude to Trudeau. And it has an independent judiciary.

Marshall Auerback , December 7, 2018 at 9:00 am

I was pretty unimpressed by Trudeau's pusillanimity. He tried to give the impression that Canada was just an innocent bystander in this whole process. Get real. If there's an extradition treaty, the US has to make a formal request to the Canadian government. The idea that the PM wasn't consulted on this is nonsensical. Justin engaging in his own version of "cakeism". Wants to stay on the good side of both Beijing and Washington, which is an impossible thing to do. Trudeau is already on Trump's sh*t list, and I'm sure Xi is taking his measure of the man as well. Probably not terribly impressed with him either.

rd , December 7, 2018 at 10:07 am

I have family and friends in Canada. Trust me, Canadians would be REALLY pissed if they thought that the Canadian judiciary was rolling over for Trump and Bolton.Trump is not making Canadian friends by running around throwing tantrums over NAFTA given that US-Canada trade is one of the most balanced trade relationships in the world with very little net trade deficit for either side.

I think this is very much being done by the book. Is there a viable law that is not, by itself, a human rights violation? Is there credible evidence that this person broke this law? Those are the basic questions that will need to be answered in a Canadian court room to have an extradition move forward.

Canadians want the big powers to have coherent rational laws and treaties related to trade etc. and then follow them. They also want to have rational, coherent international plans on addressing conflicts and have historically been very strong supporters of the UN and routinely have blue helmet troops all around the world on peace-keeping missions. Canada can do this safely because it has balanced relationships with most countries around the world. It will not do these types of arrests and extraditions on a whim because that would upset Canada's role in the world.

William Bowles , December 7, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Judging from what I've read, the US are claiming she committed fraud by alleging that a company, Skycom that allegedly did business with Iran was not separate from Huawei. Here's the BBC's take:

"On Friday, US prosecutors told the Supreme Court of British Columbia that Ms Meng had used a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom to evade sanctions on Iran between 2009 and 2014 .

"They said she had publicly misrepresented Skycom as being a separate company." – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-46490053

Note the dates!!!! This is surely a setup!

Thuto , December 7, 2018 at 5:52 am

Spot on with your comment. As you point out, this event will cast a dark shadow over executive travel for a long time to come, including those American executives who will now be fearful of countermeasures.

rd , December 7, 2018 at 10:10 am

Sounds like a good reason for executives not to break laws

JTMcPhee , December 7, 2018 at 11:05 am

Whose laws, one might ask? The US says ITS laws rule the world. ISDS says corporate right to profit (by their accounting methods that discount externalities to zero) outweighs ALL national and local laws.

And having spent some years as a lawyer, and observing several different kinds of courts in operation, I would dare to challenge the assertion that "courts have to follow rules." Like they have done in the foreclosure mess, maybe? Like the shenanigans displayed via Chicago's "Operation Greylord" prosecutions? Or in traffic courts in small towns in Flyover Country? how about the US bankruptcy courts, where shall we say "bad decisions" are endemic? Remember Julius Hoffman? how about Kimba Woods, who sua sponte curtailed Michael Milken's jail term for his junk bond racket? Even FISA, of course?

And the assertion that Canadian judges are beyond political maneuvering runs up against a whole lot of reports and studies that cast the integrity of the Canadian bar into not insignificant doubt. Look to "corruption in canadian courts" for a nice assortment, like this one, https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jj-mccullough/canada-judicial-appointments_b_5264567.html , and this, http://www.waterwarcrimes.com/canadian-legal-and-judicial-corruption.html , for example, and other more scholarly views.

Yes, let us wait and see how this plays out, and then we can study what history's actors have done, judiciously as we must

Lynne , December 7, 2018 at 11:29 am

Good luck with that. It's almost impossible in the US never to break the law in some way. It just takes a cop or prosecutors motivated enough. I find it hard to believe it's not the same in China, let alone Russia or the UK, to name a few.

Geoff _S , December 7, 2018 at 1:47 pm

This law school lecture is 45mins long but really fun (it's got 2.5 million views). You should never talk to the police – one reason being that, as Lynne says, there are SO many possible offences, that you can never be sure you are not guilty of something .

Don't Talk to the Police!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE

RMO , December 7, 2018 at 7:58 pm

"Sounds like a good reason for executives not to break laws "

Yeah, I remember when all those HSBC executives were arrested, tried and thrown in jail. Good times The U.S. government really believes in the rule of law. Remember when the Chief Executive was sent to prison for life for committing "the supreme war crime" and shredding the U.S. Constitution?

Rules are for little people Meng isn't big enough to be unprosecutable apparently.

adrena , December 7, 2018 at 11:03 pm

Exactly. America is acting as the world's police.

And Trudeau has no spine.

Thuto , December 7, 2018 at 5:31 am

So the US DOJ, according to "people familiar with the matter", has been investigating Huawei for at least two years. My math tells me this is roughly since the signing of the deal between Iran and the P5+1 countries in 2016, a deal subsequently incorporated into international law by the UN. Now a bank that has run a laundry service for dirty money is suddenly thrust into victimhood and (with Uncle Sam's boot on its neck no doubt) is "cooperating" with the investigation? You couldn't make this more surreal if you tried.

If this isn't the final act in peeling off the rose tinted glasses from countries that still consider the US a trusted friend and loyal ally, one wonders how much more evidence they need to see it for what it really is, a duplicitous, hypocritical, tyrannical imperialist. The irony of this charade being undertaken by the department of "justice" makes this even more egregious. Expect development of an alternative system to Swift to go into overdrive after this.

W , December 7, 2018 at 9:38 am

The point isn't "Is the US acting legally/by the book in enforcing the law", it's "Why is the US legally enforcing the law in this case and not the million other cases equally deserving of enforcement?" When the law isn't enforced evenly, then the law just becomes a cover story for dishing out and withholding punishment by authorities.

lawrence j silber , December 7, 2018 at 10:16 am

Very interesting-actually mystifying. The powers that are- from their pronouncements,haven't a clue about modern money, and in that framework the benefits of the reserve currency they print. Maybe they do, but why, for what appears a minimal foreign corporate compliance offence, would we want China, Russia, and a host of others to find enough cause to continue their effort on a replacement reserve? Why are we so hell bent on militarising the dollar? Save it for really big fish. Sure, its extremely difficult under the current political framework for the world to organise and opt away from our dollar , but the stability and leadership America has offered since the end of ww11, maybe appears diminishing. Given Trump just made a deal with Xi, at the same time his vip citizen was being targeted- obviously kind of humiliating-,as well as the administration turning a blind eye to the murderous soprano fiefdom of Saudi Arabia; from any rational standpoint prioritising human rights over crooked bank compliance issues , this looks keystone cop like! Sure we only have a little info, but it still smells of hypocritical, imperialistic, one hand doesnt know what the other hand is doing idiots in charge. Mike Hudson sees nefarious purposes,maybe hes a bit hawkish, but this just seems so obtuse given the g20 hand shakes. Going to be very interesting watching China's response. Then again maybe this lady is a criminal.

makedoanmend , December 7, 2018 at 5:40 am

" the US Justice Department finds no trouble with targeting a corporation nearly 7,000 miles away but just can't seem to target Wall Street which is only about 200 miles away from their headquarters "

This.

Having power over others seems to be a standard condition of our species. How one uses or abuses power reveals the inner nature of the one(s) wielding the power. There need not be a conspiracy of the powerful, just a consensus of how power should be used so that the sum total exercises of the powerful reveal where their interests intersect. The rest of us just got get out of the way.

If one wants to know what interesting times look like, well, we have front row seats. And its in 3-D.

I must admit that President Trump is doing a better job than former President Obama in ramping up a new theatre of economic warfare across the globe. Former President Obama was rather crude, what with his drones. I'm thinking we have to update von Clausewitz's dictum: "War is the continuation of politics by other means." to something along the lines of "Economics is a continuation of war by other means."

The USA polity is certainly making it up close and personal.

timbers , December 7, 2018 at 8:13 am

Indeed. The possibilities for China to retaliate are seemingly endless though they won't have the long arm the U.S. has.

Perhaps China should respond by trying to arrest and indicting some of the Wall Street big wigs Obama never indicted. I'm sure China could come up with reasons why fraud Wall Street committed violated Chinese law and damaged China.

Of course, being an exporter to the U.S. I'm sure China would much rather this go away, than to retaliate.

lawrence j silber , December 7, 2018 at 10:35 am

Very interesting-actually mystifying. The powers that are- from their pronouncements,haven't a clue about modern money, and in that framework the benefits of the reserve currency they print. Maybe they do, but why, for what appears a minimal foreign corporate compliance offence, would we want China, Russia, and a host of others to find enough cause to continue their effort on a replacement reserve? Why are we so hell bent on militarising the dollar? Save it for really big fish. Sure, its extremely difficult under the current political framework for the world to organise and opt away from our dollar , but the stability and leadership America has offered since the end of ww11, maybe appears diminishing. Given Trump just made a deal with Xi, at the same time his vip citizen was being targeted- obviously kind of humiliating-,as well as the administration turning a blind eye to the murderous soprano fiefdom of Saudi Arabia; from any rational standpoint prioritising human rights over crooked bank compliance issues , this looks keystone cop like! Sure we only have a little info, but it still smells of hypocritical, imperialistic, one hand doesnt know what the other hand is doing idiots in charge. Mike Hudson sees nefarious purposes,maybe hes a bit hawkish, but this just seems so obtuse given the g20 hand shakes. Going to be very interesting watching China's response. Then again maybe this lady is a criminal.

NotTimothyGeithner , December 7, 2018 at 11:14 am

Why are we so hell bent? The U.S. hyper power status started in 1991. This is a generation where they knew nothing else, coming off 45 years where allies did what they were told.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grand_Chessboard

Whether its throwing around terms such as "American exceptionalism" or "indispensable nation", there is a religious fervor around the U.S. among American foreign policy elites.

Then there is imperial rot. The tenures in the U.S. Senate are longer than the Soviet Politburo. At a practical level the Bushes and Clintons (not exactly great people) have been responsible for who gets promoted in Washington and who develops marketable connections since 1986 with Reagan's alzheimers kicking in big time if not longer.

JTMcPhee , December 7, 2018 at 11:21 am

In many places in the US, if I jaywalk, I am a criminal. What corporate executive is not a criminal, given the mass of laws that apply (until said criminals can bribe the legislatures into de-criminalizing the bad behaviors)? Not to mention persuading the executive branch to not prosecute, for all kinds of "political" reasons? Ask Wells Fargo and the other Banksters how that works. Selective or non-prosecution for me, "the full weight of the law," that fraudulent notion, for thee, I guess. And none of that is in any way new.

Speaking of Chinese criminals, I would add an anecdote. I have not been able to find the episode, but one of the formerly investigative programs (20-20 or 60 Minutes, I believe) took part in a sting of a Chinese corp that sells counterfeit medicines. This was maybe 8-10 years ago. A very pretty if somewhat English-challenged young woman met with a bunch, maybe 10, men and women who she thought were buyers for distributors and Pharma corps in the US and I believe Canada. This meeting took place in a West Coast S city as I recall.

She offered that her company produced counterfeit meds using "latest technology" that from the shape and color and texture and markings of the pills and package inserts, right down to the packaging, holograms and all, could not be distinguished from the original. The products were touted as being biologically inactive and "safe." She averred that her company could deliver any quantity, from cartons to container loads, at very reasonable and attractive price.

But that is a little different case from what appears at this point (barring correction as the "case" develops) from the Huawei matter.

John k , December 7, 2018 at 9:15 pm

Not easy for another entity to take over the reserve currency.
China Germany etc want a trade surplus with us, so they must accept and store dollars. Very similarly. Many individuals want to save dollars because they don't trust their own currency. And some countries actually use dollars as their currency.
So the desire to accept or save dollars in exchange for their goods means the dollar is the reserve currency. This won't change until something else becomes more attractive to savers and mercantilists.

cbu , December 7, 2018 at 11:20 am

I agree that "done by the book" is irrelevant here. Selective enforcement is the issue. Wall Street crooks have committed greater sins yet none of them is really punished.

Anyone could have written an "internal memo" like that. Proving its authenticity is a different matter. After all, the biggest "smoking gun" I have ever seen in my life was the "evidence" of Iraqi WMD.

Another interesting aspect of the case is that as I suspected, it might be difficult to prove that Huawei sold Iran some specific American technologies that still have valid patents in effect.

Synoia , December 7, 2018 at 11:25 am

I personally know IBM and others breached the US arms control export laws by exporting Cryptography to Apartheid South Africa, and believe that Shell Oil has broken nearly all environmental laws in the Niger Delta for decades.

Where is the equity?

Eclair , December 7, 2018 at 11:43 am

Fascinating discussion, Yves and commenters.

Is this what happens when a government is sliding rapidly down the slope of loss of legitimacy?' We become acutely aware of the selective enforcement of its laws; a situation that our poor and black and brown citizens have known for decades.

We have even become aware that the laws themselves are not always enacted for the public good, but for the enrichment of certain small segments of the population.

This is not a good place to be. I mean this state of mind, not the NC site, which, as always, provides the opportunity for much thoughtful and creative discussion.

Carolinian , December 7, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Don't forget that the US ambassador to Germany threatened secondary sanctions against Germany if they went ahead with Nordstream2. Trump then walked that back. But as for this latest move, we know that Bolton at least was informed of the impending arrest so it's fair to say that such a sensitive action would not have happened without some form of White House approval–even if it wasn't Trump himself. It's probably not a CT therefore to say that there's more going on here than a prosecutor making a routine request. The administration hawks are firing a shot over the bow of anyone who defies them on Iran (the place "real men" go to). Given what we know about Bolton's Iran obsession it may not even have much to do with China.

And this bully boy approach to the rest of the world isn't only coming from Trump's neocons since sanctions bills are a bipartisan favorite of our Congress. Apparently being bribed on domestic matters isn't enough (unless you consider foreign policy to only be about MIC profits). Doing the bidding overseas actors and their supporters taps a whole other vein.

thepanzer , December 7, 2018 at 2:17 pm

Link to Moon of Alabama for "B"'s take on the situation.

Carolinian , December 7, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Corrected link

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/12/neocons-sabotage-trumps-trade-talks-huawei-cfo-taken-hostage-to-blackmail-china.html#more

Carolinian , December 7, 2018 at 3:39 pm

Just to add: B pretty much buys the hostage CT.

Todde , December 7, 2018 at 2:18 pm

The US doesn't apply the law equally.

Color me surprised

Harrold , December 7, 2018 at 3:31 pm

Flights that over fly US airspace are required to submit their manifests and passenger names are bounced against the National Crime Information Center databases by CBP.

I would venture that her flight overflew Alaskan airspace and that is how they found out she was on board.

[Dec 07, 2018] Huawei CFO Charged With Fraud, Deemed Flight Risk Whose Bail Couldn't Be High Enough

So the USA decided to take hostages ;-) The key rule of neoliberalism is the financial oligarchy is untouchable. This is a gangster-style move which will greatly backfire.
Now Russian financial executives would think twice about visiting UK, Canada, New Zealand or Australia. and that's money lost. Probably forever.
Dec 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Appearing in court wearing a green jumpsuit and without handcuffs, Meng reportedly looked to be in good spirits in a Vancouver courtroom where the prosecutions' case was detailed publicly for the first time. Specifically, the US alleges that Meng helped conceal the company's true relationship with a firm called Skycom, a subsidiary closely tied to its parent company as it did business with Iran.

Meng used this deception to lure banks into facilitating transactions that violated US sanctions, exposing them to possible fines. The prosecutor didn't name the banks, but US media on Thursday reported that a federal monitor at HSBC flagged a suspicious transaction involving Huawei to US authorities, according to Bloomberg. Prosecutors also argued that Meng has avoided the US since learning about its probe into possible sanctions violations committed by Huawei, and that she should be held in custody because she's a flight risk whose bail could not be set high enough. Before Friday's hearing, a publication ban prevented details about the charges facing Meng from being released. However, that ban was lifted at the beginning of her hearing. Meng was arrested in Vancouver on Saturday while on her way to Mexico, according to reports in the Canadian Press.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada's ambassador in Beijing had briefed the Chinese foreign ministry on Meng's arrest. The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa had branded Meng's detention as a "serious violation of human rights" as senior Chinese officials debate the prospects for retaliation. Freeland said McCallum told the Chinese that Canada is simply following its laws - echoing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's claim that Meng's arrest was the result of a legal process happening independent of politics.

Friday's hearing in Vancouver is just the start of a legal process that could end with Meng being extradited to stand trial in the US. Even if prosecutors believe there is little doubt as to Meng's guilt, the extradition process could take months or even years.

youshallnotkill , 39 seconds ago link

Anything involving Iran is inherently political. The US is abusing Interpol in no less brazen fashion than Russia and China when seeking the extradition of dissidents. Canada shouldn't accomodate this BS.

[Dec 07, 2018] Brexit Theresa May Goes Greek! by Brett Redmayne

Highly recommended!
" The Fleeting Illusion of Election Night Victory." that phrase sums up the situation very succinctly
Notable quotes:
"... " A Brexit Lesson In Greek: Hopes and Votes Dashed on Parliamentary Floors," ..."
"... "Brexit means Brexit!" ..."
Dec 07, 2018 | www.unz.com

It has become all too easy for democracy to be turned on its head and popular nationalist mandates, referenda and elections negated via instant political hypocrisy by leaders who show their true colours only after the public vote. So it has been within the two-and-a-half year unraveling of the UK Brexit referendum of 2016 that saw the subsequent negotiations now provide the Brexit voter with only three possibilities. All are a loss for Britain.

One possibility, Brexit, is the result of Prime Minister, Theresa May's negotiations- the "deal"- and currently exists in name only. Like the PM herself, the original concept of Brexit may soon lie in the dust of an upcoming UK Parliament floor vote in exactly the same manner as the failed attempt by the Greeks barely three years ago. One must remember that Greece on June 27, 2015 once voted to leave the EU as well and to renegotiate its EU existence as well in their own "Grexit" referendum. Thanks to their own set of underhanded and treasonous politicians, this did not go well for Greece. Looking at the Greek result, and understanding divisive UK Conservative Party control that exists in the hearts of PMs on both sides of the House of Commons, this new parliamentary vote is not looking good for Britain. Brexit: Theresa May Goes Greek! "deal" -- would thus reveal the life-long scars of their true national allegiance gnawed into their backs by the lust of their masters in Brussels. Brexit: Theresa May Goes Greek!, by Brett Redmayne-Titley - The Unz Review

Ironically, like a cluster bomb of white phosphorous over a Syrian village, Cameron's Brexit vote blew up spectacularly in his face. Two decades of ongoing political submission to the EU by the Cons and "new" labour had them arrogantly misreading the minds of the UK voter.

So on that incredible night, it happened. Prime Minister David Cameron the Cons New Labour The Lib- Dems and even the UK Labour Party itself, were shocked to their core when the unthinkable nightmare that could never happen, did happen . Brexit had passed by popular vote!

David Cameron has been in hiding ever since.

After Brexit passed the same set of naïve UK voters assumed, strangely, that Brexit would be finalized in their national interest as advertised. This belief had failed to read Article 50 - the provisos for leaving the EU- since, as much as it was mentioned, it was very rarely linked or referenced by a quotation in any of the media punditry. However, an article published four days after the night Brexit passed, " A Brexit Lesson In Greek: Hopes and Votes Dashed on Parliamentary Floors," provided anyone thus reading Article 50, which is only eight pages long and double-spaced, the info to see clearly that this never before used EU by-law would be the only route to a UK exit. Further, Article 50 showed that Brussels would control the outcome of exit negotiations along with the other twenty-seven member nations and that effectively Ms May and her Tories would be playing this game using the EU's ball and rules, while going one-on-twenty-seven during the negotiations.

In the aftermath of Brexit, the real game began in earnest. The stakes: bigger than ever.

Forgotten are the hypocritical defections of political expediency that saw Boris Johnson and then Home Secretary Theresa May who were, until that very moment, both vociferously and very publicly against the intent of Brexit. Suddenly they claimed to be pro- Brexit in their quest to sleep in Cameron's now vacant bed at No. 10 Downing Street. Boris strategically dropped out to hopefully see, Ms May, fall on her sword- a bit sooner. Brexit: Theresa May Goes Greek!, by Brett Redmayne-Titley - The Unz Review

So, the plucky PM was left to convince the UK public, daily, as the negotiations moved on, that "Brexit means Brexit!" A UK media that is as pro-EU as their PM chimed in to help her sell distortions of proffered success at the negotiating table, while the rise of "old" Labour, directed by Jeremy Corbyn, exposed her "soft" Brexit negotiations for the litany of failures that ultimately equaled the "deal" that was strangely still called "Brexit."

Too few, however, examined this reality once these political Chameleons changed their colours just as soon as the very first results shockingly came in from Manchester in the wee hours of the morning on that seemingly hopeful night so long ago: June 23, 2016. For thus would begin a quiet, years-long defection of many more MPs than merely these two opportunists.

What the British people also failed to realize was that they and their Brexit victory would also be faced with additional adversaries beyond the EU members: those from within their own government. From newly appointed PM May to Boris Johnson, from the Conservative Party to the New Labour sellouts within the Labour Party and the Friends of Israel , the quiet internal political movement against Brexit began. As the House of Lords picked up their phones, too, for very quiet private chats within House of Commons, their minions in the British press began their work as well.

Brexit: Theresa May Goes Greek!, by Brett Redmayne-Titley - The Unz Review

jim jones , says: December 5, 2018 at 4:55 am GMT

Government found guilty of Contempt of Parliament:

https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2018/12/04/uk-govt-forced-to-publish-full-brexit-legal-documents-after-losing-key-vote/

Brabantian , says: December 5, 2018 at 7:17 am GMT
This article by Brett Redmayne is certainly right re the horrific sell-out by the Greek government of Tsipras the other year, that has left the Greek citizenry in enduring political despair the betrayal of Greek voters indeed a model for UK betrayal of Brexit voters

But Redmayne is likely very mistaken in the adulation of Jeremy Corbyn as the 'genuine real deal' for British people

Ample evidence points to Corbyn as Trojan horse sell-out, as covered by UK researcher Aangirfan on her blogs, the most recent of which was just vapourised by Google in their censorship insanity

Jeremy Corbyn was a childhood neighbour of the Rothschilds in Wiltshire; with Jeremy's father David Corbyn working for ultra-powerful Victor Rothschild on secret UK gov scientific projects during World War 2

Jeremy Corbyn is tied to child violation scandals & child-crime convicted individuals including Corbyn's Constituency Agent; Corbyn tragically ignoring multiple earnest complaints from child abuse victims & whistleblowers over years, whilst "child abuse rings were operating within all 12 of the borough's children's homes" in Corbyn's district not very decent of him

And of course Corbyn significantly cucked to the Israel lobby in their demands for purge of the Labour party alleged 'anti-semites'

The Trojan Horse 'fake opposition', or fake 'advocate for the people', is a very classic game of the Powers That Be, and sadly Corbyn is likely yet one more fake 'hero'

niceland , says: December 6, 2018 at 9:13 am GMT
My theory is, give "capitalism" and financial interests enough time, they will consume any democracy. Meaning: the wealth flows upwards, giving the top class opportunity to influence politics and the media, further improving their situation v.s. the rest, resulting in ever stronger position – until they hold all the power. Controlling the media and therefore the narrative, capable to destroy any and all opposition. Ministers and members of parliaments, most bought and paid for one way or the other. Thankfully, the 1% or rather the 0.1% don't always agree so the picture can be a bit blurred.

You can guess what country inspired this "theory" of mine. The second on the list is actually the U.K. If a real socialist becomes the prime minister of the U.K. I will be very surprised. But Brexit is a black swan like they say in the financial sector, and they tend to disrupt even the best of theories. Perhaps Corbin is genuine and will become prime minister! I am not holding my breath.

However, if he is a real socialist like the article claims. And he becomes prime minister of the U.K the situation will get really interesting. Not only from the EU side but more importantly from U.K. best friend – the U.S. Uncle Sam will not be happy about this development and doesn't hesitate to crush "bad ideas" he doesn't like.

Case in point – Ireland's financial crisis in 2009;

After massive expansion and spectacular housing bubble the Irish banks were in deep trouble early into the crisis. The EU, ECB and the IMF (troika?) met with the Irish government to discuss solutions. From memory – the question was how to save the Irish banks? They were close to agreement that bondholders and even lenders to the Irish banks should take a "haircut" and the debt load should be cut down to manageable levels so the banks could survive (perhaps Michael Hudson style if you will). One short phone call from the U.S Secretary of the treasury then – Timothy Geithner – to the troika-Irish meeting ended these plans. He said: there will be no haircut! That was the end of it. Ireland survived but it's reasonable to assume this "guideline" paved the road for the Greece debacle.

I believe Mr. Geithner spoke on behalf of the financial power controlling – more or less-our hemisphere. So if the good old socialist Corbin comes to power in the U.K. and intends to really change something and thereby set examples for other nations – he is taking this power head on. I think in case of "no deal" the U.K. will have it's back against the wall and it's bargaining position against the EU will depend a LOT on U.S. response. With socialist in power there will be no meaningful support from the U.S. the powers that be will to their best to destroy Corbin as soon as possible.

I hope I am wrong.

niceland , says: December 6, 2018 at 10:07 am GMT
My right wing friends can't understand the biggest issue of our times is class war. This article mentions the "Panama papers" where great many corporations and wealthy individuals (even politicians) in my country were exposed. They run their profits through offshore tax havens while using public infrastructure (paid for by taxpayers) to make their money. It's estimated that wealth amounting to 1,5 times our GDP is stored in these accounts!

There is absolutely no way to get it through my right wing friends thick skull that off-shore accounts are tax frauds. Resulting in they paying higher taxes off their wages because the big corporations and the rich don't pay anything. Nope. They simply hate taxes (even if they get plenty back in services) and therefore all taxes are bad. Ergo tax evasions by the 1% are fine – socialism or immigrants must be the root of our problems. MIGA!

Come to think of it – few of them would survive the "law of the jungle" they so much desire. And none of them would survive the "law of the jungle" if the rules are stacked against them. Still, all their political energy is aimed against the ideas and people that struggle against such reality.

I give up – I will never understand the right. No more than the pure bread communist. Hopeless ideas!

jilles dykstra , says: December 6, 2018 at 11:27 am GMT
" This is because the deal has a provision that would still keep the UK in the EU Customs Union (the system setting common trade rules for all EU members) indefinitely. This is an outrageous inclusion and betrayal of a real Brexit by Ms May since this one topic was the most contentious in the debate during the ongoing negotiations because the Customs Union is the tie to the EU that the original Brexit vote specifically sought to terminate. "

Here I stopped reading, maybe later more.
Nonsense.

What USA MSM told in the USA about what ordinary British people said, those who wanted to leave the EU, I do not know, one of the most often heard reasons was immigration, especially from E European countries, the EU 'free movement of people'.
"Real' Britons refusing to live in Poland.
EP member Verhofstadt so desperate that he asked on CNN help by Trump to keep this 'one of the four EU freedoms'.
This free movement of course was meant to destroy the nation states

What Boris Johnson said, many things he said were true, stupid EU interference for example with products made in Britain, for the home market, (he mentioned forty labels in one piece of clothing), no opportunity to seek trade without EU interference.
There was irritation about EU interference 'they even make rules about vacuum cleaners', and, already long ago, closure, EU rules, of village petrol pumps that had been there since the first cars appeared in Britain, too dangerous.
In France nonsensical EU rules are simply ignored, such as countryside private sewer installations.

But the idea that GB could leave, even without Brussels obstruction, the customs union, just politicians, and other nitwits in economy, could have such ideas.
Figures are just in my head, too lazy to check.
But British export to what remains of the EU, some € 60 billion, French export to GB, same order of magnitude, German export to GB, far over 100 billion.
Did anyone imagine that Merkel could afford closing down a not negligible part of Bayern car industry, at he same time Bayern being the Land most opposed to Merkel, immigration ?

This Brexit in my view is just the beginning of the end of the illusion EU falling apart.
In politics anything is connected with anything.
Britons, again in my opinion, voted to leave because of immigration, inside EU immigration.
What GB will do with Marrakech, I do not know.

Marrakech reminds me of many measures that were ready to be implemented when the reason to make these measures no longer existed.
Such as Dutch job guarantees when enterprises merged, these became law when when the merger idiocy was over.
The negative aspects of immigration now are clear to many in the countries with the imagined flesh pots, one way or another authorities will be obliged to stop immigration, but at that very moment migration rules, not legally binding, are presented.

As a Belgian political commentator said on Belgian tv 'no communication is possible between French politicians and French yellow coat demonstrators, they live in completely different worlds'.
These different worlds began, to pinpoint a year, in 2005, when the negative referenda about the EU were ignored. As Farrage reminded after the Brexit referendum, in EP, you said 'they do not know what they're doing'
But now Macron and his cronies do not know what to do, now that police sympathises with yellow coat demonstrators.

For me THE interesting question remains 'how was it possible that the Renaissance cultures manoevred themselves into the present mess ?'.

jilles dykstra , says: December 6, 2018 at 11:40 am GMT
@Digital Samizdat Corbyn, in my opinion one of the many not too bright socialists, who are caught in their own ideological prison: worldwide socialism is globalisation, globalisation took power away from politicians, and gave it to multinationals and banks.
jilles dykstra , says: December 6, 2018 at 12:27 pm GMT
@niceland The expression class war is often used without realising what the issue is, same with tax evasion.
The rich of course consume more, however, there is a limit to what one can consume, it takes time to squander money.
So the end of the class war may make the rich poor, but alas the poor hardly richer.

About tax evasion, some economist, do not remember his name, did not read the article attentively, analysed wealth in the world, and concluded that eight % of this wealth had originated in evading taxes.
Over what period this evasion had taken place, do not remember this economist had reached a conclusion, but anyone understands that ending tax evasion will not make all poor rich.

There is quite another aspect of class war, evading taxes, wealth inequality, that is quite worrying: the political power money can yield.
Soros is at war with Hungary, his Open University must leave Hungary.
USA MSM furious, some basic human right, or rights, have been violated, many in Brussels furious, the 226 Soros followers among them, I suppose.
But since when is it allowed, legally and/or morally, to try to change the culture of a country, in this case by a foreigner, just by pumping money into a country ?
Soros advertises himself as a philantropist, the Hungarian majority sees him as some kind of imperialist, I suppose.

Tyrion 2 , says: December 6, 2018 at 12:49 pm GMT
@Simon in London 90% Labour party members supported remain, as did 65% of their voters and 95% of their MPs.
Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: December 6, 2018 at 12:53 pm GMT
For me THE interesting question remains 'how was it possible that the Renaissance cultures manoevred themselves into the present mess ?'.

Well , I am reading " The occult renaissance church of Rome " by Michael Hoffman , Independent History and research . Coeur d`Alene , Idaho . http://www.RevisionistHistory.org
I saw about this book in this Unz web .

I used to think than the rot started with protestantism , but Hoffman says it started with catholic Renaissance in Rome itself in the XV century , the Medici , the Popes , usury

Mike P , says: December 6, 2018 at 1:20 pm GMT
This whole affair illustrates beautifully the real purpose of the sham laughingly known as "representative democracy," namely, not to "empower" the public but to deprive it of its power.

With modern means of communication, direct democracy would be technically feasible even in large countries. Nevertheless, practically all "democratic" countries continue to delegate all legislative powers to elected "representatives." These are nothing more than consenting hostages of those with the real power, who control and at the same time hide behind those "representatives." The more this becomes obvious, the lower the calibre of the people willing to be used in this manner – hence, the current crop of mental gnomes and opportunist shills in European politics.

Wizard of Oz , says: December 6, 2018 at 1:48 pm GMT
I would only shout this rambling ignoramus a beer in the pub to stop his mouth for a while. Some of his egregious errors have been noted. and Greece, anyway, is an irrelevance to the critical decisions on Brexit.

Once Article 50 was invoked the game was over. All the trump cards were on the EU side. Now we know that, even assuming Britain could muster a competent team to plan and negotiate for Brexit that all the work of proving up the case and negotiating or preparing the ground has to be done over years leading up to the triggering of Article 50. And that's assuming that recent events leave you believing that the once great Britain is fit to be a sovereign nation without adult supervision.

As it is one has to hope that Britain will not be constrained by the total humbug which says that a 51 per cent vote of those choosing to vote in that very un British thing, a referendum, is some sort of reason for not giving effect to a more up to date and better informed view.

Stebbing Heuer , says: Website December 6, 2018 at 1:57 pm GMT
@Digital Samizdat Erm Varoufakis didn't knuckle under. He resigned in protest at Tsipras' knuckling under.
anon [108] Disclaimer , says: December 6, 2018 at 2:28 pm GMT
@Digital Samizdat Hypothesis: The British masses would fare better without a privatized government.

"Corbyn may prove to be real .. .. old-time Labour platform [leadership, capable to].. return [political, social and financial] control back to the hands of the UK worker".. [but the privateers will use the government itself and mass media to defeat such platforms and to suppress labor with new laws and domestic armed warfare]. Why would a member of the British masses allow [the Oligarch elite and the[ir] powerful business and foreign political interests restrain democracy and waste the victims of privately owned automation revolution? .. ..

[Corbyn's Labour platform challenges ] privatized capitalist because the PCs use the British government to keep imprisoned in propaganda and suppressed in opportunity, the masses. The privateers made wealthy by their monopolies, are using their resources to maintain rule making and enforcement control (via the government) over the masses; such privateers have looted the government, and taken by privatization a vast array of economic monopolies that once belonged to the government. If the British government survives, the Privateers (monopoly thieves) will continue to use the government to replace humanity, in favor of corporate owned Robots and super capable algorithms.

Corbyn's threat to use government to represent the masses and to suppress or reduce asymmetric power and wealth, and to provide sufficient for everyone extends to, and alerts the masses in every capitalist dominated place in the world. He (Corbyn) is a very dangerous man, so too was Jesus Christ."

There is a similar call in France, but it is not yet so well led.

Michael Kenny , says: December 6, 2018 at 2:29 pm GMT
This sounds like a halfway house between hysterical panic and sour grapes. The author clearly believes that Brexit is going to fail.
T.T , says: December 6, 2018 at 2:32 pm GMT
Every working Dutch person is "owed" 50k euro from the bailout of Greece, not that Greece will ever pay this back, and not as if Greece ever really got the money as it just went straight to northern European banks to bail them out. Then we have the fiscal policy creating more money by the day to stimulate the economy, which also doesn't reach the countries or people just the banks. Then we have the flirting with East-European mobsters to pull them in the EU sphere corrupting top EU bureaucrats. Then we have all of south Europe being extremely unstable, including France, both its populations and its economy.

It's sad to see the British government doesn't see the disaster ahead, any price would be cheaper then future forced EU integration. And especially at this point, the EU is so unstable, that they can't go to war on the UK without also committing A kamikaze attack.

Brett Redmayne-Titley , says: Website December 6, 2018 at 2:36 pm GMT
@Brabantian Thank you for your comment and addition to my evaluation of Corbyn. I do agree with you that Corbyn has yet to be tested for sincerity and effectiveness as PM, but he will likely get his chance and only then will we and the Brits find out for sure. The main point I was hoping to make was that: due to the perceived threat of Labour socialist reform under Corbyn, he has been an ulterior motive in the negotiations and another reason that the EU wants PM May to get her deal passed. Yes, I too am watching Corbyn with jaundiced optimism. Thank you.

[Dec 07, 2018] An important point that you hint at is that the Brits were violently and manipulatively forced to accept mass immigration for many years.

Dec 07, 2018 | www.unz.com

Che Guava , says: December 6, 2018 at 3:16 pm GMT

I agree Jilles, and with many other of the commenters.

Read enough to see that the article has many errors of fact and perception. It is bad enough to suspect *propaganda* , but Brett is clearly not at that level.

An important point that you hint at is that the Brits were violently and manipulatively forced to accept mass immigration for many years.

Yet strangely, to say anything about it only became acceptable when some numbers of the immigrants were fellow Europeans from within the EU, and most having some compatibility with existing ethnicity and previous culture.

Even people living far away notice such forced false consciousness.

As for Corbyn, he is nothing like the old left of old Labour. He tries to convey that image, it is a lie.

He may not be Blairite-Zio New Labour, and received some influence from the more heavily Marxist old Labour figures, but he is very much a creature of the post-worst-of-1968 and dirty hippy new left, Frankfurt School and all that crap, doubt that he has actually read much of it, but he has internalised it through his formal and political education.

By the way, the best translation of the name of North Korea's ruling party is 'Labour Party'. While it is a true fact, I intend nothing from it but a small laugh.

[Dec 06, 2018] Huawei CFO arrested 'Gloves are now fully off,' says Eurasia Group

Dec 06, 2018 | www.cnbc.com

The arrest of Huawei's global chief financial officer in Canada, reportedly related to a violation of U.S. sanctions, will corrode trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing, risk consultancy Eurasia Group said Thursday.

"Beijing is likely to react angrily to this latest arrest of a Chinese citizen in a third country for violating U.S. law," Eurasia analysts wrote.

In fact, Global Times -- a hyper-nationalistic tabloid tied to the Chinese Communist Party -- responded to the arrest by posting on Twitter a statement about trade war escalation it attributed to an expert "close to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce."

"China should be fully prepared for an escalation in the #tradewar with the US, as the US will not ease its stance on China, and the recent arrest of the senior executive of #Huawei is a vivid example," said the statement, paired with a photo of opposing fists with Chinese and American flags superimposed upon them.

[Dec 06, 2018] Trump-Xi trade deal What Chinese state media is saying

Dec 06, 2018 | www.cnbc.com

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met over a dinner during the G-20 summit in Argentina after months of increasing trade tensions between the two countries. The U.S. has imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, while Beijing has retaliated with duties on $110 billion of U.S. goods.

The White House's latest round of tariffs on $200 billion goods was set to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent on Jan. 1, 2019, but Trump agreed at the G-20 meeting not to do so.

The catch is, however, that Xi and Trump must find resolution on "forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture" within 90 days, according to the White House press secretary's statement.

That gives the leaders until early March -- past Christmas, New Year's and Chinese New Year -- to find a way to keep tariffs from rising.

However, official online statements about Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's briefing on the meeting did not discuss the technology transfers or the 90-day condition.

The timeframe and details on areas of disagreement also did not appear in online reports from China's state news agency Xinhua , People's Daily -- the official Communist Party paper -- and CGTN -- the English-language version of state broadcaster CCTV.

The articles did note the U.S. and China agreed to work towards mutual benefits, and generally indicated Beijing would increase purchases of U.S. goods. The state media also said the two parties discussed North Korea denuclearization. The Chinese press also said Trump upheld a "One-China Policy" regarding Taiwan -- something not mentioned in the White House statement.

On top of that, Trump tweeted late Sunday evening that "China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%."

Prior to that Twitter post, there had not been any mention of such an agreement in Chinese sources.

[Dec 06, 2018] Canada arrests Huawei CFO, who is wanted by US authorities

Dec 06, 2018 | www.cnbc.com

The arrest is related to violations of U.S. sanctions, a person familiar with the matter said. Reuters was unable to determine the precise nature of the violations. Meng Wanzhou, who is one of the vice chairs on the Chinese technology company's board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested on Dec. 1 and a court hearing has been set for Friday, a Canadian Justice Department spokesman said.

[Dec 06, 2018] UK spy chief raises questions over China's 5G rollout

Dec 06, 2018 | www.cnbc.com

The U.K.'s spy chief said that decisions still had to be made on China's role in building Britain's 5G network.

... ... ...

Last week, New Zealand banned Huawei from providing tech for its 5G rollout -- the third member of the Five Eyes security alliance to do so. At the time, New Zealand's government said it had identified a "significant network security risk."

Fellow members Australia and the U.S. have also excluded Chinese telecoms firms from providing 5G equipment for their domestic networks, leaving Canada and the U.K. as the only members not to rule out using the telecoms giant.

All three nations cited national security fears as the reason for excluding Chinese companies from their 5G rollouts, with Younger's Australian counterpart referring to them as "high-risk vendors."

... ... ...

Huawei and ZTE – another Chinese firm blocked from the U.S. 5G market – have repeatedly denied that their involvement in the rollouts would give China's government access to international networks. Warning to Russia China wasn't the only country raising security questions for MI6. Younger told his audience the U.K. faced many adversaries who regarded themselves as being in a state of "perpetual confrontation" with the nation -- including Russia.

"I urge Russia or any other state intent on subverting our way of life not to underestimate our determination and our capabilities, or those of our allies," he said.

"I should emphasize that even as the Russian state seeks to destabilize us, we do not seek to destabilize Russia. We do not seek an escalation. If we see a change in Russian behavior, we will respond positively. But we will be implacable in defense of our people and our vital interests."

... ... ...

[Dec 02, 2018] China and the United States have agreed to halt new tariffs as both nations engage in trade talks with the goal of reaching an agreement within 90 days

Dec 02, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Teamtc321 , 5 hours ago link

Update: Trump Wins

------------------------------------------------------

Reuters December 1, 2018

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - China and the United States have agreed to halt new tariffs as both nations engage in trade talks with the goal of reaching an agreement within 90 days, the White House said on Saturday after U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping held high-stakes talks in Argentina.

Trump agreed not to boost tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent on Jan. 1 as previously announced, as China agreed to buy an unspecified but "very substantial" amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products, the White House said. The White House also said China "is open to approving the previously unapproved Qualcomm Inc <QCOM.O> NXP <NXPI.O> deal should it again be presented."

The White House said that if agreement on trade issues including technology transfer, intellectual property, non-tariff barriers, cyber theft and agriculture have not been reached with China in 90 days that both parties agree that the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-china-declare-90-day-halt-tariffs-white-023232628--finance.html?.tsrc=notification-brknews

[Nov 27, 2018] Will Trump bring America down

Nov 27, 2018 | www.atimes.com

Why US allies are pushing back

US allies in Europe and Asia did not expect to be treated like vassal states, at least not openly. Succumbing to Trump's demands is an admission of being a lapdog.

US allies in Europe and Asia have no choice but to push back against Trump's bullying and condescending stances. They are elected by their citizens to protect the countries' sovereignty and interests, after all. Too, these leaders must save face and protect their legacies.

One of the first European leaders having the courage to defy Trump is French President Emmanuel Macron, calling for the establishment of a European Union army independent of the US to defend itself against Russia, China and possibly America itself. His proposal is supported by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Asian allies, particularly India, also seem to have pushed back , buying Iranian oil whether the US likes it or not.

Washington's attempt to revive the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue comprising itself and soulmates Australia, India and Japan may be losing support. Instead of joining with the US to contain China, India and Japan are seeking rapprochement with the Asian giant. Even "deputy sheriff" Australia is apparently having second thoughts, as one of its states is officially joining China's Belt and and Road Initiative.

In short, these three allies might finally realize that joining the US in containing China is harmful to their national interests. Fighting that nuclear power on their own soil might not be a good idea.

No country treats the US 'unfairly'

The fact of the matter is no country treats the US "unfairly" or is "eating its lunch." On the contrary, it could be argued that it is the other way around.

Having emerged as the world's strongest nation during and after World War II, US foreign policies have one goal: Shape the world to its image. That process began at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, insisting on using the US dollar as the world reserve currency and writing the trade rules. In this way, the US has accumulated a very powerful tool, printing as much money as it wants without repercussions to itself. For example, when a country wants to cash its US Treasury holdings, all America has to do is print more greenbacks.

To that end, the US is clearly "eating other countries' lunch." Indeed, a major reason the US can afford to build so many weapons is that other countries are paying for them.

US trade practices

On trade, the US in 1950 rejected the UK's proposal of forming an International Trade Organization (ITO) modeled after the International Monetary Fund and World Bank because it feared the ITO might have harmed American manufacturing. In its place, the US proposed and succeeded in forming the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) framework to negotiate tariff rates on goods.

Being the world's most powerful economy and biggest trading nation at that time, the US dominated the world trading system and wrote its rules. For example, it was the US that invented and implemented non-tariff trade barriers such as anti-dumping duties and national-security concerns to block imports. For example, the US imposed tariffs on Canadian, EU, Mexican and other countries' steel and aluminum from entering its market for security reasons.

It is laughable for the US to accuse Canada, the EU and Mexico of posing a national-security threat. They are, in fact, America's most staunch allies.

US foreign direct investment abroad

US companies bring with them ideas and technology (for which they charge exorbitant prices) when investing in a foreign market such as China and elsewhere. The capital needed to build factories is largely funded by the host country or other partners. For example, it is Taiwanese and Japanese investors that built Foxconn factories in China to assemble American electronic gadgets such as the iPad.

What's more, US companies charge huge prices for the products they make in China. According to the Asian Development Bank and other research organizations, Chinese labor, for example, receives a small percentage of the profits Apple takes in from gadgets it produces in China. This lopsided profit distribution raises the question: Who is "eating whose lunch?"

America has itself to blame

The US cannot blame China or any other country for its declining global influence and dominance – America, particularly under Donald Trump, did that to itself. Chinese President Xi Jinping, indeed, has advocated cooperation and dialogue as ways to defuse conflicts and attain a better world.

No country has ever even hinted at attacking the US; it is after all the world's most powerful nation, armed with enough conventional and nuclear weapons to blow up the world. The "threats" are exaggerated or invented by US neoconservatives and vested interests to scare Americans into supporting huge defense spending.

'Fake news' can only go so far

Using "fake news" to pressure countries into submission might work with those unable to fight back, but could be extremely costly against powers such as China and Russia. For example, Trump's escalating trade tensions with China are already adversely affecting the US economy, as seen in falling GDP growth, decreasing stock prices, a huge agricultural inventory, and rising poverty.

According to United Nations, the impoverished American population is being hit the hardest under the Trump administration. The US Federal Reserve and others are projecting significant economic decline in the foreseeable future if the trade war does not end.

One can only imagine what a nuclear war would bring.

Donald Trump is probably no less bullying than his predecessors (perhaps with the exception of George W Bush), but he is more open about it. Bush's outburst, "You are either with us or against us," earned America a bad reputation when he demanded that allies join him to invade Iraq.

Trump has bullied or offended everyone, friends and foes alike. Unless he shifts gear, he could alienate friends as well as foes, which could erode US geopolitical influence and economic growth or might even bring the country down. He cannot threaten sovereign nations without incurring huge costs to America.

[Nov 12, 2018] France The Incredible Shrinking President by Guillaume Durocher

Nov 12, 2018 | www.unz.com

I personally don't understand the French electorate on these matters. Macron in particular did not promise anything other than to deliver more of the same policies, albeit with more youth and more vigor, as a frank globalist. Who, exactly, was excited at his election but is disappointed now? People with a short attention span or susceptibility to marketing gimmicks, I assume.

It is hard to talk about the French media without getting a bit conspiratorial, at least, I speak of "structural conspiracies." Macron's unabashed, "modernizing" globalism certainly corresponds to the id of the French media-corporate elites and to top 20% of the electorate, let us say, the talented fifth. He was able to break through the old French two-party system, annihilating the Socialist Party and sidelining the conservatives. The media certainly helped in this, preferring him to either the conservative François Fillon or the civic nationalist Marine Le Pen.

However, the media have to a certain extent turned on Macron, perhaps because he believes his "complex thoughts" cannot be grasped by journalists with their admittedly limited cognitive abilities . Turn on the French radio and you'll hear stories of how the so-called "Youth With Macron," whose twenty- and thirty-somethings were invited onto all the talk shows just before Macron became a leading candidate, were actually former Socialist party hacks with no grass roots. Astroturf. I could have told you that.

Macron has made a number of what the media call "gaffes." When an old lady voiced concern about the future of her pension, he answered : "you don't have a right to complain." He has also done many things that anyone with just a little sense of decorum will be disgusted by. The 40-year-old Macron, who has a 65-year-old wife and claims not to be a homosexual, loves being photographed with sweaty black bodies.

... ... ...

So there's that. But, in terms of policies, I cannot say that the people who supported Macron have any right to complain. He is doing what he promised, that is to say, steaming full straight ahead on the globalist course with, a bit more forthrightness and, he hopes, competence than his Socialist or conservative predecessors.

Link Bookmark In truth there are no solutions. There is nothing he can do to make the elitist and gridlocked European Union more effective, nothing he can do to improve the "human capital" in the Afro-Islamic banlieues , and not much he can do to improve the economy which the French people would find acceptable. A bit more of labor flexibility here, a bit of a tax break there, oh wait deficit's too big, a tax hike in some other area too, then. Six of one, half a dozen in the other. Oh, and they've also passed more censorship legislation to fight "fake news" and "election meddling" and other pathetic excuses the media-political class across the West have come up with for their loss of control over the Narrative.

Since the European Central Bank has been printing lending hundreds of billions of euros to stimulate the Eurozone economy, France's economic performance has been decidedly mediocre, with low growth, slowly declining unemployment, and no reduction in debt (currently at 98.7% of GDP). Performance will presumably worsen if the ECB, as planned, phases out stimulus at the end of this year.

There is a rather weird situation in terms of immigration and diversity. Everyone seems to be aware of the hellscape of ethno-religious conflict which will thrive in the emerging Afro-Islamic France of the future. Just recently at the commemoration of the Battle of Verdun, an elderly French soldier asked Macron : "When will you kick out the illegal immigrants? . . . Aren't we bringing in a Trojan Horse?"

More significant was the resignation of Gérard Collomb from his position as interior minister last month to return to his old job as mayor of Lyon, which he apparently finds more interesting. Collomb is a 71-year-old Socialist politician who has apparently awakened to the problems of ethnic segregation and conflict. He said in his farewell address :

I have been in all the neighborhoods, the neighborhoods of Marseille-North to Mirail in Toulous, to the Parisian periphery, Corbeil, Aulnay, Sevran, the situation has deteriorated greatly. We cannot continue to work on towns individually, there needs to be an overarching vision to recreate social mixing. Because today we are living side by side, and I still say, me, I fear that tomorrow we will live face-to-face [i.e. across a battle lines].

It is not clear how much Collomb tried to act upon these concerns as interior minister and was frustrated. In any case, he dared to voice the same concerns to the far-right magazine Valeurs Actuelles last February. He told them: "The relations between people are very difficult, people don't want to live together" (using the term vivre-ensemble , a common diversitarian slogan). He said immigration's responsibility for this was "enormous" and agreed with the journalist that "France no longer needs immigration." Collomb then virtually predicted civil war:

Communities in France are coming into conflict more and more and it is becoming very violent . . . I would say that, within five years, the situation could become irreversible. Yes, we have five or six years to avoid the worst. After that . . .

It's unclear why "the next five or six years" should be so critical. From one point of view, the old France is already lost as about a third of births are non-European and in particular one fifth are Islamic . The patterns of life in much of France will therefore likely come to reflect those of Africa and the Middle-East, including random violence and religious fanaticism. Collomb seems to think "social mixing" would prevent this, but in fact, there has been plenty of social and even genetic "mixing" in Brazil and Mexico, without this preventing ethno-racial stratification and extreme levels of violence.

I'm afraid it's all more of the same in douce France , sweet France. On the current path, Macron will be a one-termer like Sarkozy and Hollande were. Then again, the next elections will be in three-and-a-half years, an eternity in democratic politics. In all likelihood, this would be the Right's election to win, with a conservative anti-immigration candidate. A few people of the mainstream Right are open to working with Le Pen's National Rally and some have even defended the Identitarians. Then again, I could even imagine Macron posing as a heroic opponent of (illegal . . .) immigration if he thought it could help get him reelected. Watch this space . . .


utu , says: November 8, 2018 at 9:55 pm GMT

How many immigrants from Africa come to Europe depends only on political will of Europeans. The demography of African has nothing to do with it. Europe has means to stop immigration legal and illegal. Macron talking about how many children are born in Africa is just another cop out.
utu , says: November 8, 2018 at 11:04 pm GMT
Armed force 'led by former MAFIA boss' causing dramatic reduction in migrants to Italy

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/844213/italy-close-migrant-shut-down-mafia-libya-Sabratha-un-election-eu-tripoli-summer-turkey

Italy passes sea rescue of 1,000 to Libya as EU nations hold informal talks on migration

https://www.thejournal.ie/migrants-italy-eu-spain-meeting-4089279-Jun2018/

FKA Max , says: Website November 9, 2018 at 8:07 pm GMT
@Dieter Kief I love Macron, too!

A few months ago I claimed that Emmanuel Macron has/holds an ""Alt Right" worldview" due to him having had interactions with an influential member of the French Protestant Huguenot minority in France: http://www.unz.com/article/collateral-damage/#comment-1955020
[...]
Macron : Germany is different from France. You are more Protestant, which results in a significant difference. Through the church, through Catholicism, French society was structured vertically, from top to bottom. I am convinced that it has remained so until today. That might sound shocking to some – and don't worry, I don't see myself as a king. But whether you like it or not, France's history is unique in Europe. Not to put too fine a point on it, France is a country of regicidal monarchists. It is a paradox: The French want to elect a king, but they would like to be able to overthrow him whenever they want. The office of president is not a normal office – that is something one should understand when one occupies it. You have to be prepared to be disparaged, insulted and mocked – that is in the French nature. And: As president, you cannot have a desire to be loved. Which is, of course, difficult because everybody wants to be loved. But in the end, that's not important. What is important is serving the country and moving it forward.

http://www.unz.com/article/the-elites-have-no-credibility-left/#comment-2042622

French army band medleys Daft Punk following Bastille Day parade

notanon , says: November 9, 2018 at 8:25 pm GMT

Who, exactly, was excited at his election but is disappointed now? People with a short attention span or susceptibility to marketing gimmicks, I assume.

people controlled by the media

the media are the main problem

[Nov 08, 2018] Trump, Gorbachev, And The Fall Of The American Empire

Gold age of the USA (say 40 years from 1946 to approximately 1986 ) were an in some way an aberration caused by WWII. As soon as Germany and Japan rebuilt themselves this era was over. And the collapse of the USSR in 1991 (or more correct Soviet nomenklatura switching sides and adopting neoliberalism) only make the decline more gradual but did not reversed it. After 200 it was clear that neoliberalism is in trouble and in 2008 it was clear that ideology of neoliberalism is dead, much like Bolshevism after 1945.
As the US ruling neoliberal elite adopted this ideology ad its flag, the USA faces the situation somewhat similar the USSR faced in 70th. It needs its "Perestroika" but with weak leader at the helm like Gorbachov it can lead to the dissolution of the state. Dismantling neoliberalism is not less dangerous then dismantling of Bolshevism. The level of brainwashing of both population and the elite (and it looks like the USA elite is brainwashed to an amazing level, probably far exceed the level of brainwashing of Soviet nomenklatura) prevents any constructive moves.
In a way, Neoliberalism probably acts as a mousetrap for the country, similar to the role of Bolshevism in the USSR. Ideology of neoliberalism is dead, so what' next. Another war to patch the internal divisions ? That's probably why Trump is so adamant about attacking Iran. Iran does not have nuclear weapons so this is in a way an ideal target. Unlike, say, Russia. And such a war can serve the same political purpose. That's why many emigrants from the USSR view the current level of divisions with the USA is a direct analog of divisions within the USSR in late 70th and 80th. Similarities are clearly visible with naked eye.
Notable quotes:
"... t is well known that legendary American gangster Al Capone once said that 'Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class', - and I have commented on the links between organised crime and capitalist accumulation before on this blog, but I recently came across the following story from Claud Cockburn's autobiography, and decided to put it up on Histomat for you all. ..."
"... "Listen," he said, "don't get the idea I'm one of those goddam radicals. Don't get the idea I'm knocking the American system. The American system..." As though an invisible chairman had called upon him for a few words, he broke into an oration upon the theme. He praised freedom, enterprise and the pioneers. He spoke of "our heritage". He referred with contempuous disgust to Socialism and Anarchism. "My rackets," he repeated several times, "are run on strictly American lines and they're going to stay that way"...his vision of the American system began to excite him profoundly and now he was on his feet again, leaning across the desk like the chairman of a board meeting, his fingers plunged in the rose bowls. ..."
"... A month later in New York I was telling this story to Mr John Walter, minority owner of The Times . He asked me why I had not written the Capone interview for the paper. I explained that when I had come to put my notes together I saw that most of what Capone had said was in essence identical with what was being said in the leading articles of The Times itself, and I doubted whether the paper would be best pleased to find itself seeing eye to eye with the most notorious gangster in Chicago. Mr Walter, after a moment's wry reflection, admitted that probably my idea had been correct.' ..."
"... The biggest lie ever told is that American hegemony relies on American imperialism and warmongering. The opposite is true. America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs, not to protect or favor the American people. ..."
"... please mr. author don't give us more globalist dribble. We want our wealth back ..."
"... America the empire is just another oligarchic regime that other countries' populations rightly see as an example of what doesn't work ..."
"... It's the ruling capitalist Predator Class that has been demanding empire since McKinley was assassinated. That's the problem. ..."
"... And who do you suppose are the forces which are funding US politicians and thus getting to call their shots in foreign policy? Can you bring yourself to name them? ..."
"... The US physical plant and equipment as well as infrastructure is in advanced stages of decay. Ditto for the labor force which has been pauperized and abused for decades by the Predator Class... ..."
Nov 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Trump, Gorbachev, And The Fall Of The American Empire

by Tyler Durden Wed, 11/07/2018 - 23:25 13 SHARES Authored by Raja Murthy via The Asia Times,

"The only wealth you keep is wealth you have given away," said Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD), last of the great Roman emperors. US President Donald Trump might know of another Italian, Mario Puzo's Don Vito Corleone, and his memorable mumble : "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse."

Forgetting such Aurelian and godfather codes is propelling the decline and fall of the American empire.

Trump is making offers the world can refuse – by reshaping trade deals, dispensing with American sops and forcing powerful corporations to return home, the US is regaining economic wealth but relinquishing global power.

As the last leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika (restructuring) led to the breakup of its vast territory(22 million square kilometers). Gorbachev's failed policies led to the dissolution of the USSR into Russia and independent countries, and the end of a superpower.

Ironically, the success of Trump's policies will hasten the demise of the American empire: the US regaining economic health but losing its insidious hold over the world.

This diminishing influence was highlighted when India and seven other countries geared up to defy Washington's re-imposition of its unilateral, illegal sanctions against Iran, starting Monday.

The US State Department granting "permission" on the weekend to the eight countries to buy Iranian oil was akin to waving the green flag at a train that has already left the station

The US State Department granting "permission" on the weekend to the eight countries to buy Iranian oil was akin to waving the green flag at a train that has already left the station.

The law of cause and effect unavoidably delivers. The Roman Empire fell after wars of greed and orgies of consumption. A similar nemesis, the genie of Gorbachev, stalks Pennsylvania Avenue, with Trump unwittingly writing the last chapter of World War II: the epilogue of the two rival superpowers that emerged from humanity's most terrible conflict.

The maverick 45th president of the United States may succeed at being an economic messiah to his country, which has racked up a $21.6 trillion debt, but the fallout is the death of American hegemony. These are the declining days of the last empire standing.

Emperors and mafia godfathers knew that wielding great influence means making payoffs. Trump, however, is doing away with the sops, the glue that holds the American empire together, and is making offers that he considers "fair" but instead is alienating the international community– from badgering NATO and other countries to pay more for hosting the US legions (800 military bases in 80 countries) to reducing US aid.

US aid to countries fell from $50 billion in fiscal year 2016, $37 billion in 2017 to $7.7 billion so far in 2018. A world less tied to American largesse and generous trade tarrifs can more easily reject the "you are with us or against us" bullying doctrine of US presidents. In the carrot and stick approach that largely passes as American foreign policy, the stick loses power as the carrot vanishes.

Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) in The Godfather. Big payoffs needed for big influence. A presidential lesson for Don Trump

More self-respecting leaders will have less tolerance for American hypocrisy, such as sanctioning other countries for nuclear weapons while having the biggest nuclear arsenal on the planet.

They will sneer more openly at the hysteria surrounding alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential elections, pointing to Washington's violent record of global meddling. They will cite examples of American hypocrisy such as its sponsorship of coups against elected leaders in Latin America, the US Army's Project Camelot in 1964 targeting 22 countries for intervention (including Iran, Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia), its support for bloodthirsty dictators, and its destabilization of the Middle East with the destruction of Iraq and Libya.

Immigrant cannon fodder

Trump's focus on the economy reduces the likelihood of him starting wars. By ending the flood of illegal immigrants to save jobs for US citizens, he is also inadvertently reducing the manpower for illegal wars. Non-citizen immigrants comprise about 5% of the US Army. For its Iraq and Afghanistan wars, US army recruiters offered citizenship to lure illegal immigrants, mostly Latinos.

Among the first US soldiers to die in the Iraq War was 22-year old illegal immigrant Corporal Jose Antonio Gutierrez, an orphan from the streets of Guatemala City. He sneaked across the Mexican border into the US six years before enlisting in exchange for American citizenship.

On March 21, 2003, Gutierrez was killed by friendly fire near Umm Qasr, southern Iraq. The coffin of this illegal immigrant was draped in the US flag, and he received American citizenship – posthumously.

Trump policies targeting illegal immigration simultaneously reduces the availability of cannon fodder for the illegal wars needed to maintain American hegemony.

Everything comes to an end, and so too will the last empire of our era.

The imperial American eagle flying into the sunset will see the dawn of an economically healthier US that minds its own business, and increase hopes for a more equal, happier world – thanks to the unintentional Gorbachev-2 in the White House.


PeaceForWorld , 3 minutes ago link

I am sure that many of us are OK with ending American Empire. Both US citizens and other countries don't want to fight un-necessary and un-ending wars. If Trump can do that, then he is blessed.

Condor_0000 , 23 minutes ago link

Imperialism and the State: Why McDonald's Needs McDonnell Douglas

By Paul D'Amato

http://www.isreview.org/issues/17/state_and_imperialism.shtml

Excerpt:

The modern nation-state was necessary as a means of creating a single, unified market that could facilitate commerce. But the state was also crucial in providing necessary infrastructure, and sometimes the pooling of capital resources, necessary for national capitalists to operate and compete effectively.

But the state as a bureaucratic institution had another, more fundamental function. Lenin, citing Engels, defined the essence of the state as "bodies of armed men, prisons, etc.," in short, an instrument for the maintenance of the rule of the exploiting minority over the exploited majority.

As capitalism burst the bounds of the nation-state, the coercive military function of the state took on a new dimension--that of protecting (and projecting) the interests of the capitalists of one country over those of another. As capitalism developed, the role of the state increased, the size of the state bureaucracy increased, and the size of its coercive apparatus increased.

Lenin was soon to refine this conception in light of the world's descent into the mass slaughter of the First World War. He argued that capitalism had reached a new stage--imperialism--the struggle between the world's "great powers" for world dominance. The central feature of imperialism was the rivarly between the great powers--whose economic competition gave way to military conflict.

Another Russian revolutionary, Leon Trotsky, put it this way:

The forces of production which capitalism has evolved have outgrown the limits of nation and state. The national state, the present political form, is too narrow for the exploitation of these productive forces. The natural tendency of our economic system, therefore, is to seek to break through the state boundaries. The whole globe, the land and the sea, the surface as well as the interior, has become one economic workshop, the different parts of which are inseparably connected with each other. This work was accomplished by capitalism. But in accomplishing it the capitalist states were led to struggle for the subjection of the world-embracing economic system to the profit interests of the bourgeoisie of each country...

But the way the governments propose to solve this problem of imperialism is not through the intelligent, organized cooperation of all of humanity's producers, but through the exploitation of the world's economic system by the capitalist class of the victorious country; which country is by this War to be transformed from a great power into a world power.5

Golden Showers , 32 minutes ago link

See a pattern here? Raja Murthy, you sound like a pro-American Empire shill. 1964 Project Camelot has nothing to do with the current administration. Raja, you forgot to wear your satirical pants.

The idea and catchy hook of 2016 was Make America Great Again, not wasting lives and resources on the American Empire. You point out the good things. Who might have a problem with the end of the American Empire are Globalists. What is wrong with relinquishing global power and not wasting lives and money?

"The only lives you keep is lives you've given away" That does not ring true. The only lies you keep are the lies you've given away. What? You're not making any sense, dude. How much American Empire are you vested in? Does it bother you if the Empire shrinks its death grip on Asia or the rest of the world? Why don't you just say it: This is good! Hopefully Trump's policies will prevent you from getting writers' cramp and being confusing--along with the canon fodder. Or maybe you're worried about job security.

America is a super power, just like Russia. Just like England. However, whom the US carries water for might change. Hope that's ok.

Captain Nemo de Erehwon , 33 minutes ago link

Trump is saving the US by destroying the empire. Both the US and the world will be happier for that.

Condor_0000 , 29 minutes ago link

No he's not.

Trump is an empirial president, just like every other US president. In fact, that's what the article is describing. MAGA depends upon imperialist domination. Trump and all of US capitalism know that even if the brain-dead MAGA chumps don't.

Capitalism can't help but seek to rule the world. It is the result of pursuing capitalism's all-important growth. If it's not US capitalism, it will be Chinese capitalism, or Russian capitalism, or European capitalism that will rule the world.

The battle over global markets doesn't stop just because the US might decide not to play anymore. Capitalism means that you're either the global power who is ******* the royal **** out of everyone else, or you're the victim of being fucked up the *** by an imperialist power.

FBaggins , 25 minutes ago link

The only thing which makes the US different from the rest of the world is its super concentration of power, which in effect is a super concentration of corruption.

ebworthen , 33 minutes ago link

Quite entertaining to be living in the modern Rome.

Condor_0000 , 28 minutes ago link

It's a cross between ancient Rome and Nazi Germany. And you're right. It's fascinating.

Condor_0000 , 34 minutes ago link

Another day and another ZeroHedge indictment of American capitalism.

And how refreshing that the article compares US capitalism to gangsterism. It's a most appropriate comparison.

--------------------

Al Capone on Capitalism

It is well known that legendary American gangster Al Capone once said that 'Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class', - and I have commented on the links between organised crime and capitalist accumulation before on this blog, but I recently came across the following story from Claud Cockburn's autobiography, and decided to put it up on Histomat for you all.

In 1930, Cockburn, then a correspondent in America for the Times newspaper, interviewed Al Capone at the Lexington Hotel in Chicago, when Capone was at the height of his power. He recalls that except for 'the sub-machine gun...poking through the transom of a door behind the desk, Capone's own room was nearly indistinguishable from that of, say, a "newly arrived" Texan oil millionaire. Apart from the jowly young murderer on the far side of the desk, what took the eye were a number of large, flattish, solid silver bowls upon the desk, each filled with roses. They were nice to look at, and they had another purpose too, for Capone when agitated stood up and dipped the tips of his fingers in the water in which floated the roses.

I had been a little embarrassed as to how the interview was to be launched. Naturally the nub of all such interviews is somehow to get round to the question "What makes you tick?" but in the case of this millionaire killer the approach to this central question seemed mined with dangerous impediments. However, on the way down to the Lexington Hotel I had had the good fortune to see, I think in the Chicago Daily News , some statistics offered by an insurance company which dealt with the average expectation of life of gangsters in Chicago. I forget exactly what the average was, and also what the exact age of Capone at that time - I think he was in his early thirties. The point was, however, that in any case he was four years older than the upper limit considered by the insurance company to be the proper average expectation of life for a Chicago gangster. This seemed to offer a more or less neutral and academic line of approach, and after the ordinary greetings I asked Capone whether he had read this piece of statistics in the paper. He said that he had. I asked him whether he considered the estimate reasonably accurate. He said that he thought that the insurance companies and the newspaper boys probably knew their stuff. "In that case", I asked him, "how does it feel to be, say, four years over the age?"

He took the question quite seriously and spoke of the matter with neither more nor less excitement or agitation than a man would who, let us say, had been asked whether he, as the rear machine-gunner of a bomber, was aware of the average incidence of casualties in that occupation. He apparently assumed that sooner or later he would be shot despite the elaborate precautions which he regularly took. The idea that - as afterwards turned out to be the case - he would be arrested by the Federal authorities for income-tax evasion had not, I think, at that time so much as crossed his mind. And, after all, he said with a little bit of corn-and-ham somewhere at the back of his throat, supposing he had not gone into this racket? What would be have been doing? He would, he said, "have been selling newspapers barefoot on the street in Brooklyn".

He stood as he spoke, cooling his finger-tips in the rose bowl in front of him. He sat down again, brooding and sighing. Despite the ham-and-corn, what he said was probably true and I said so, sympathetically. A little bit too sympathetically, as immediately emerged, for as I spoke I saw him looking at me suspiciously, not to say censoriously. My remarks about the harsh way the world treats barefoot boys in Brooklyn were interrupted by an urgent angry waggle of his podgy hand.

"Listen," he said, "don't get the idea I'm one of those goddam radicals. Don't get the idea I'm knocking the American system. The American system..." As though an invisible chairman had called upon him for a few words, he broke into an oration upon the theme. He praised freedom, enterprise and the pioneers. He spoke of "our heritage". He referred with contempuous disgust to Socialism and Anarchism. "My rackets," he repeated several times, "are run on strictly American lines and they're going to stay that way"...his vision of the American system began to excite him profoundly and now he was on his feet again, leaning across the desk like the chairman of a board meeting, his fingers plunged in the rose bowls.

"This American system of ours," he shouted, "call it Americanism, call it Capitalism, call it what you like, gives to each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it." He held out his hand towards me, the fingers dripping a little, and stared at me sternly for a few seconds before reseating himself.

A month later in New York I was telling this story to Mr John Walter, minority owner of The Times . He asked me why I had not written the Capone interview for the paper. I explained that when I had come to put my notes together I saw that most of what Capone had said was in essence identical with what was being said in the leading articles of The Times itself, and I doubted whether the paper would be best pleased to find itself seeing eye to eye with the most notorious gangster in Chicago. Mr Walter, after a moment's wry reflection, admitted that probably my idea had been correct.'

LetThemEatRand , 52 minutes ago link

This article was obviously written by someone who wants to maintain the status quo.

America would be much stronger if it were not trying to be an empire. The biggest lie ever told is that American hegemony relies on American imperialism and warmongering. The opposite is true. America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs, not to protect or favor the American people.

hardmedicine , 41 minutes ago link

exactly, please mr. author don't give us more globalist dribble. We want our wealth back and screw the rest of the world, America First

LetThemEatRand , 39 minutes ago link

I truly believe that "America First" is not selfish. America before it went full ****** was the beacon of freedom and success that other countries tried to emulate and that changed the world for the better.

America the empire is just another oligarchic regime that other countries' populations rightly see as an example of what doesn't work.

HopefulCynical , 26 minutes ago link

Empire is a contrivance, a vehicle for psychopathic powerlust. America was founded by people who stood adamantly opposed to this. Here's hoping Trump holds their true spirit in his heart.

If he doesn't, there's hundreds of millions of us who still do. We don't all live in America...

Posa , 15 minutes ago link

It's the ruling capitalist Predator Class that has been demanding empire since McKinley was assassinated. That's the problem.

CTacitus , 15 minutes ago link

LetThemEatRand:

America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs [sic], not to protect or favor the American people.

And who do you suppose are the forces which are funding US politicians and thus getting to call their shots in foreign policy? Can you bring yourself to name them? Oligarchs...you're FULL of ****. Who exactly pools all (((their))) money, makes sure the [s]elected officials know (((who))) to not question and, instead, just bow down to them, who makes sure these (((officials))) sign pledges for absolute commitment towards Israel--or in no uncertain terms-- and know who will either sponsor them/or opposes them next time around?

JSBach1 called you a 'coward', for being EXACTLY LIKE THESE TRAITOROUS SPINELESS VERMIN who simply just step outside just 'enough' the comfort zone to APPEAR 'real'. IMHO, I concur with JSBach1 ...your're a coward indeed, when you should know better ..... shame you you indeed!

pitz , 55 minutes ago link

There is little evidence, Trump's propaganda aside (that he previously called Obama dishonest for) that the US economy is improving. If anything, the exploding budget and trade deficits indicate that the economy continues to weaken.

Posa , 12 minutes ago link

Correct. The US physical plant and equipment as well as infrastructure is in advanced stages of decay. Ditto for the labor force which has been pauperized and abused for decades by the Predator Class...

the US can't even raise an army... even if enough young (men) were dumb enough to volunteer there just aren't enough fit, healthy and mentally acute recruits out there.

[Nov 05, 2018] Europe and America clash over Washington s economic war on Iran - World Socialist Web Site by Keith Jones

Notable quotes:
"... As of today, the US is embargoing all Iranian energy exports and freezing Iran out of the US-dominated world financial system, so as to cripple the remainder of its trade and deny it access to machinery, spare parts and even basic foodstuffs and medicine. ..."
"... In doing so, American imperialism is once again acting as a law unto itself. The sanctions are patently illegal and under international law tantamount to a declaration of war. They violate the UN Security Council-backed 2015 Iran nuclear accord, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ..."
"... Financial Times ..."
"... Those developing the SPV are acutely conscious of this and have publicly declared that it is not Iran-specific. ..."
"... The strategists of US imperialism are also aware that the SPV is a challenge to more than the Trump administration's Iran policy. Writing in Foreign Affairs ..."
"... With its drive to crash Iran's economy and further impoverish its people, the Trump administration has let loose the dogs of war. Whatever the sanctions' impact, Washington has committed its prestige and power to bringing Tehran to heel and making the rest of the world complicit in its crimes. ..."
"... The danger of another catastrophic Mideast war thus looms ever larger, while the growing antagonism between Europe and America and descent of global inter-state relations into a madhouse of one against all is setting the stage ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Washington's imposition of sweeping new sanctions on Iran -- aimed at strangling its economy and precipitating regime change in Tehran -- is roiling world geopolitics.

As of today, the US is embargoing all Iranian energy exports and freezing Iran out of the US-dominated world financial system, so as to cripple the remainder of its trade and deny it access to machinery, spare parts and even basic foodstuffs and medicine.

In doing so, American imperialism is once again acting as a law unto itself. The sanctions are patently illegal and under international law tantamount to a declaration of war. They violate the UN Security Council-backed 2015 Iran nuclear accord, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement that was negotiated at the behest of Washington and under its duress, including war threats.

All the other parties to the JCPOA (Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany and the EU) and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is charged with verifying Iranian compliance, are adamant that Iran has fulfilled its obligations under the accord to the letter. This includes dismantling much of its civil nuclear program and curtailing the rest.

Yet, having reneged on its support for the JCPOA, Washington is now wielding the club of secondary sanctions to compel the rest of the world into joining its illegal embargo and abetting its regime-change offensive. Companies and countries that trade with Iran or even trade with those that do will be excluded from the US market and subject to massive fines and other penalties. Similarly, banks and shipping insurers that have any dealings with companies that trade with Iran or even with other financial institutions that facilitate trade with Iran will be subject to punishing US secondary sanctions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who like US President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to attack Iran and ordered military strikes on Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard forces in Syria, has hailed the US sanctions as "historic." Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two other US client states, are pledging to ramp up oil production to make up for the shortfalls caused by Washington's embargoing of Iranian oil exports.

But America's economic war against Iran is not just exacerbating tensions in the Middle East. It is also roiling relations between the US and the other great powers, especially Europe.

On Friday, the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany and European Union Foreign Policy Chief Frederica Mogherini issued a statement reaffirming their support for the JCPOA and vowing to circumvent and defy the US sanctions. "It is our aim," they declared, "to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council resolution 2231."

They declared their commitment to preserving "financial channels with" Iran, enabling it to continue exporting oil and gas, and working with Russia, China and other countries "interested in supporting the JCPOA" to do so.

The statement emphasized the European powers' "unwavering collective resolve" to assert their right to "pursue legitimate trade" and, toward that end, to proceed with the establishment of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that will enable European businesses and those of other countries, including potentially Russia and China, to conduct trade with Iran using the euro or some other non-US dollar medium of exchange, outside the US-dominated world financial system.

Friday's statement was in response to a series of menacing pronouncements from Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other top administration officials earlier the same day. These fleshed out the new US sanctions and reiterated Washington's resolve to crash Iran's economy and aggressively sanction any company or country that fails to fall into line with the US sanctions.

In reply to a question about the European SPV, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said he had "no expectation" it will prove to be a conduit for "significant" trade. "But if there are transactions that have the intent of evading our sanctions, we will aggressively pursue our remedies."

Trump officials also served notice that they will sanction SWIFT, the Brussels-based network that facilitates secure inter-bank communications, and the European bankers who comprise the majority of its directors if they do not expeditiously expel all Iranian financial institutions from the network.

And in a step intended to demonstratively underscore Washington's disdain for the Europeans, the Trump administration included no EU state among the eight countries that will be granted temporary waivers on the full application of the US embargo on oil imports.

Germany, Britain, France and the EU are no less rapacious than Washington. Europe's great powers are frantically rearming, have helped spearhead NATO's war build-up against Russia. Over the past three decades they have waged numerous wars and neocolonial interventions in the Middle East and North Africa, from Afghanistan and Libya to Mali.

But they resent and fear the consequences of the Trump administration's reckless and provocative offensive against Iran. They resent it because Washington's scuttling of the nuclear deal has pulled the rug out from under European capital's plans to capture a leading position in Iran's domestic market and exploit Iranian offers of massive oil and natural gas concessions. They fear it, because the US confrontation with Iran threatens to ignite a war that would invariably set the entire Mideast ablaze, triggering a new refugee crisis, a massive spike in oil prices and, last but not least, a repartition of the region under conditions where the European powers as of yet lack the military means to independently determine the outcome.

To date, the Trump administration has taken a haughty, even cavalier, attitude to the European avowals of opposition to the US sanctions. Trump and the other Iran war-hawks like Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton who lead the administration are buoyed by the fact that numerous European businesses have voted with their feet and cut off ties with Iran, for fear of running afoul of the US sanctions.

The Financial Times reported last week that due to fear of US reprisals, no European state has agreed to house the SPV, which, according to the latest EU statements, will not even be operational until the new year.

The European difficulties and hesitations are real. But they also speak to the enormity and explosiveness of the geopolitical shifts that are now underway.

Whilst European corporate leaders, whose focus is on maximizing market share and investor profit in the next few business quarters, have bowed to the US sanctions threat, the political leaders, those charged with developing and implementing imperialist strategy, have concluded that they must push back against Washington.

This is about Iran, but also about developing the means to prevent the US using unilateral sanctions to dictate Europe's foreign policy, including potentially trying to thwart Nord Stream 2 (the pipeline project that will transport Russian natural gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea and which Trump has repeatedly denounced.)

As Washington's ability to impose unilateral sanctions is bound up with the role of the US dollar as the world's reserve currency and US domination of the world banking system, the European challenge to America's sanctions weapon necessarily involves a challenge to these key elements of US global power.

The European imperialist powers are taking this road because they, like all the great powers, are locked in a frenzied struggle for markets, profits and strategic advantage under conditions of a systemic breakdown of world capitalism. Finding themselves squeezed between the rise of new powers and an America that is ever more reliant on war to counter the erosion of its economic might and that is ruthlessly pursing its own interests at the expense of foe and ostensible friend alike, the Europeans, led by German imperialism, are seeking to develop the economic and military means to assert their own predatory interests independently of, and when necessary against, the United States.

Those developing the SPV are acutely conscious of this and have publicly declared that it is not Iran-specific.

Speaking last month, only a few weeks after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker used his State of the EU address to called for measures to ensure that the euro plays a greater global role, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire declared the "crisis with Iran" to be "a chance for Europe to have its own independent financial institutions, so we can trade with whomever we want." The SPV, adds French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Agnes Von der Muhl, "aims to create an economic sovereignty tool for the European Union that will protect European companies in the future from the effect of illegal extraterritorial sanctions."

The strategists of US imperialism are also aware that the SPV is a challenge to more than the Trump administration's Iran policy. Writing in Foreign Affairs last month, former Obama administration official Elizabeth Rosenberg expressed grave concerns that the Trump administration's unilateral sanctions are causing the EU to collaborate with Russia and China in defying Washington, and are inciting a European challenge to US financial dominance. Under conditions where Russia and China are already seeking to develop payments systems that bypass Western banks, and the future promises further challenges to dollar-supremacy and the US-led global financial system, "it is worrying," laments Rosenberg, "that the United States is accelerating this trend."

With its drive to crash Iran's economy and further impoverish its people, the Trump administration has let loose the dogs of war. Whatever the sanctions' impact, Washington has committed its prestige and power to bringing Tehran to heel and making the rest of the world complicit in its crimes.

The danger of another catastrophic Mideast war thus looms ever larger, while the growing antagonism between Europe and America and descent of global inter-state relations into a madhouse of one against all is setting the stage...

[Nov 01, 2018] The 2018 Globie Crashed by Joseph Joyce

Notable quotes:
"... Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World ..."
"... Grave New World: The End of Globalization, the Return of History ..."
"... Global Inequality ..."
"... Currency Power: Understanding Monetary Rivalry ..."
"... The Shifts and the Shocks: What We've Learned–and Have Still to Learn–from the Financial Crisis ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | angrybearblog.com

Each year I choose a book to be the Globalization Book of the Year, i.e., the "Globie". The prize is strictly honorific and does not come with a check. But I do like to single out books that are particularly insightful about some aspect of globalization. Previous winners are listed at the bottom.

This year's choice is Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World by Adam Tooze of Yale University . Tooze, an historian, traces the events leading up to the crisis and the subsequent ten years. He points out in the introduction that this account is different from one he may have written several years ago. At that time Barak Obama had won re-election in 2012 on the basis of a slow but steady recovery in the U.S. Europe was further behind, but the emerging markets were growing rapidly, due to the demand for their commodities from a steadily-growing China as well as capital inflows searching for higher returns than those available in the advanced economies.

But the economic recovery has brought new challenges, which have swept aside established politicians and parties. Obama was succeeded by Donald Trump, who promised to restore America to some form of past greatness. His policy agenda includes trade disputes with a broad range of countries, and he is particularly eager to impose trade tariffs on China. The current meltdown in stock prices follows a rise in interest rates normal at this stage of the business cycle but also is based on fears of the consequences of the trade measures.

Europe has its own discontents. In the United Kingdom, voters have approved leaving the European Union. The European Commission has expressed its disapproval of the Italian government's fiscal plans. Several east European governments have voiced opposition to the governance norms of the West European nations. Angela Merkel's decision to step down as head of her party leaves Europe without its most respected leader.

All these events are outcomes of the crisis, which Tooze emphasizes was a trans-Atlantic event. European banks had purchased held large amounts of U.S. mortgage-backed securities that they financed with borrowed dollars. When liquidity in the markets disappeared, the European banks faced the challenge of financing their obligations. Tooze explains how the Federal Reserve supported the European banks using swap lines with the European Central Bank and other central banks, as well as including the domestic subsidiaries of the foreign banks in their liquidity support operations in the U.S. As a result, Tooze claims:

"What happened in the fall of 2008 was not the relativization of the dollar, but the reverse, a dramatic reassertion of the pivotal role of America's central bank. Far from withering away, the Fed's response gave an entirely new dimension to the global dollar" (Tooze, p. 219)

The focused policies of U.S. policymakers stood in sharp contrast to those of their European counterparts. Ireland and Spain had to deal with their own banking crises following the collapse of their housing bubbles, and Portugal suffered from anemic growth. But Greece's sovereign debt posed the largest challenge, and exposed the fault line in the Eurozone between those who believed that such crises required a national response and those who looked for a broader European resolution. As a result, Greece lurched from one lending program to another. The IMF was treated as a junior partner by the European governments that sought to evade facing the consequences of Greek insolvency, and the Fund's reputation suffered new blows due to its involvement with the various rescue operations.The ECB only demonstrated a firm commitment to its stabilizing role in July 2012, when its President Mario Draghi announced that "Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro."

China followed another route. The government there engaged in a surge of stimulus spending combined with expansionary monetary policies. The result was continued growth that allowed the Chinese government to demonstrate its leadership capabilities at a time when the U.S. was abandoning its obligations. But the ensuing credit boom was accompanied by a rise in private (mainly corporate) lending that has left China with a total debt to GDP ratio of over 250%, a level usually followed by some form of financial collapse. Chinese officials are well aware of the domestic challenge they face at the same time as their dispute with the U.S. intensifies.

Tooze demonstrates that the crisis has let loose a range of responses that continue to play out. He ends the book by pointing to a similarity of recent events and those of 1914. He raises several questions: "How does a great moderation end? How do huge risks build up that are little understood and barely controllable? How do great tectonic shifts in the global world order unload in sudden earthquakes?" Ten years after a truly global crisis, we are still seeking answers to these questions.

Previous Globie Winners:

[Nov 01, 2018] Angela Merkel Migrates Into Retirement The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Her announcement on Monday that she will vacate the leadership of Germany's ruling center-right Christian Democrats marks the culmination of what has been a slow denouement of Merkelism. ..."
"... Long the emblematic figure of "Europe," hailed by the neoliberal Economist as the continent's moral voice, long the dominant decider of its collective foreign and economic policies, Merkel will leave office with border fences being erected and disdain for European political institutions at their highest pitch ever. In this sense, she failed as dramatically as her most famous predecessors, Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, and Helmut Kohl, succeeded in their efforts to make Germany both important and normal in the postwar world. ..."
"... "We can do this!" she famously declared. Europe, she said, must "show flexibility" over refugees. Then, a few days later, she said there was "no limit" to the number of migrants Germany could accept. At first, the burgeoning flood of mostly young male asylum claimants produced an orgy of self-congratulatory good feeling, celebrity posturing of welcome, Merkel greeting migrants at the train station, Merkel taking selfies with migrants, Merkel touted in The Economist as "Merkel the Bold." ..."
"... The euphoria, of course, did not last. Several of the Merkel migrants carried out terror attacks in France that fall. (France's socialist prime minister Manuel Valls remarked pointedly after meeting with Merkel, "It was not us who said, 'Come!'") Reports of sexual assaults and murders by migrants proved impossible to suppress, though Merkel did ask Mark Zuckerberg to squelch European criticism of her migration policies on Facebook. Intelligent as she undoubtedly is (she was a research chemist before entering politics), she seemed to lack any intellectual foundation to comprehend why the integration of hundreds of thousands of people from the Muslim world might prove difficult. ..."
"... Merkel reportedly telephoned Benjamin Netanyahu to ask how Israel had been so successful in integrating so many immigrants during its brief history. There is no record of what Netanyahu thought of the wisdom of the woman posing this question. ..."
"... In any case, within a year, the Merkel initiative was acknowledged as a failure by most everyone except the chancellor herself. ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Her refugee blunder changed the European continent in irreversible ways for decades to come. By Scott McConnellNovember 1, 2018

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Drop of Light/Shutterstock Whatever her accomplishments as pathbreaking female politician and respected leader of Europe's dominant economic power, Angela Merkel will go down in history for her outburst of naivete over the issue of migration into Europe during the summer of 2015.

Her announcement on Monday that she will vacate the leadership of Germany's ruling center-right Christian Democrats marks the culmination of what has been a slow denouement of Merkelism.

She had seen the vote share of her long dominant party shrink in one regional election after another. The rebuke given to her last weekend in Hesse, containing the Frankfurt region with its booming economy, where she had campaigned extensively, was the final straw. Her CDU's vote had declined 10 points since the previous election, their voters moving toward the further right (Alternative fur Deutschland or AfD). Meanwhile, the further left Greens have made dramatic gains at the expense of Merkel's Social Democrat coalition partners.

Long the emblematic figure of "Europe," hailed by the neoliberal Economist as the continent's moral voice, long the dominant decider of its collective foreign and economic policies, Merkel will leave office with border fences being erected and disdain for European political institutions at their highest pitch ever. In this sense, she failed as dramatically as her most famous predecessors, Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, and Helmut Kohl, succeeded in their efforts to make Germany both important and normal in the postwar world.

One can acknowledge that while Merkel never admitted error for her multiculti summer fling (beyond wishing she had communicated her goals better), she did manage to adjust her policies. By 2016, Germany under her watch was paying a healthy ransom to Turkey to keep would-be migrants in camps and preventing them from sailing to Greece. Merkel's departure will make the battle to succeed her one of the most watched political contests in Europe. She has turned migration into a central and quite divisive issue within the CDU and Germany, and the party may decide that it has no choice but to accommodate, in one way or another, the voters who have left them for the AfD.

Related to the issue of who should reside in Europe (objectively the current answer remains anyone who can get there) is the question of how are such questions decided. In July 2015, five years after asserting in a speech that multiculturalism has "utterly failed" in Germany (without addressing what policies should be pursued in an increasingly ethnically diverse society) and several weeks after reducing a young Arab girl to tears at a televised forum by telling her that those whose asylum claims were rejected would "have to go back" and that "politics is hard," Merkel changed course.

For those interested in psychological studies of leadership and decision making, it would be hard to imagine a richer subject. Merkel's government first announced it would no longer enforce the rule (the Dublin agreement) that required asylum claimants to be processed in the first country they passed through. Then she doubled down. The migrants fleeing the Syrian civil war, along with those who pretended to be Syrian, and then basically just anyone, could come to Germany.

"We can do this!" she famously declared. Europe, she said, must "show flexibility" over refugees. Then, a few days later, she said there was "no limit" to the number of migrants Germany could accept. At first, the burgeoning flood of mostly young male asylum claimants produced an orgy of self-congratulatory good feeling, celebrity posturing of welcome, Merkel greeting migrants at the train station, Merkel taking selfies with migrants, Merkel touted in The Economist as "Merkel the Bold."

The Angela Merkel Era is Coming to an End The Subtle Return of Germany Hegemony

Her words traveled far beyond those fleeing Syria. Within 48 hours of the "no limit" remark, The New York Times reported a sudden stirring of migrants from Nigeria. Naturally Merkel boasted in a quiet way about how her decision had revealed that Germany had put its Nazi past behind it. "The world sees Germany as a land of hope and chances," she said. "That wasn't always the case." In making this decision personally, Merkel was making it for all of Europe. It was one of the ironies of a European arrangement whose institutions were developed in part to transcend nationalism and constrain future German power that 70 years after the end of the war, the privately arrived-at decision of a German chancellor could instantly transform societies all over Europe.

The euphoria, of course, did not last. Several of the Merkel migrants carried out terror attacks in France that fall. (France's socialist prime minister Manuel Valls remarked pointedly after meeting with Merkel, "It was not us who said, 'Come!'") Reports of sexual assaults and murders by migrants proved impossible to suppress, though Merkel did ask Mark Zuckerberg to squelch European criticism of her migration policies on Facebook. Intelligent as she undoubtedly is (she was a research chemist before entering politics), she seemed to lack any intellectual foundation to comprehend why the integration of hundreds of thousands of people from the Muslim world might prove difficult.

Merkel reportedly telephoned Benjamin Netanyahu to ask how Israel had been so successful in integrating so many immigrants during its brief history. There is no record of what Netanyahu thought of the wisdom of the woman posing this question.

In any case, within a year, the Merkel initiative was acknowledged as a failure by most everyone except the chancellor herself. Her public approval rating plunged from 75 percent in April 2015 to 47 percent the following summer. The first electoral rebuke came in September 2016, when the brand new anti-immigration party, the Alternative fur Deutschland, beat Merkel's CDU in Pomerania.

In every election since, Merkel's party has lost further ground. Challenges to her authority from within her own party have become more pointed and powerful. But the mass migration accelerated by her decision continues, albeit at a slightly lower pace.

Angela Merkel altered not only Germany but the entire European continent, in irreversible ways, for decades to come.

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of and the author of Ex-Neocon: Dispatches From the Post-9/11 Ideological Wars .

[Nov 01, 2018] Lame Duck Merkel Has Only Her Legacy On Her Mind

Notable quotes:
"... On the other hand, President Trump is pushing Merkel on policy on Russia and Ukraine that furthers the image that she is simply a stooge of U.S. geopolitical ambitions. Don't ever forget that Germany is, for all intents and purposes, an occupied country. So, what the U.S. military establishment wants, Merkel must provide. ..."
"... But Merkel, further weakened by another disastrous state election, isn't strong enough to fend off her emboldened Italian and British opposition (and I'm not talking about The Gypsum Lady, Theresa May here). ..."
"... Merkel is a lame-duck now. Merkelism is over. Absentee governing from the center standing for nothing but the international concerns has been thoroughly rebuked by the European electorate from Spain to the shores of the Black Sea. ..."
"... Germany will stand for something other than globalism by the time this is all over. There will be a renaissance of culture and tradition there that is similar to the one occurring at a staggering pace in Russia. ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stepped down as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the party she has led for nearly two decades. Yesterday's election in Hesse, normally a CDU/SPD stronghold was abysmal for them.

She had to do something to quell the revolt brewing against her.

Merkel knew going in what the polls were showing. Unlike American and British polls, it seems the German ones are mostly accurate with pre-election polls coming close to matching the final results.

So, knowing what was coming for her and in the spirit of trying to maintain power for as long as possible Merkel has been moving away from her staunch positions on unlimited immigration and being in lock-step with the U.S. on Russia.

She's having to walk a tightrope on these two issues as the turmoil in U.S. political circles is pulling her in, effectively, opposite directions.

The globalist Davos Crowd she works for wants the destruction of European culture and individual national sovereignty ground into a paste and power consolidated under the rubric of the European Union.

They also want Russia brought to heel.

On the other hand, President Trump is pushing Merkel on policy on Russia and Ukraine that furthers the image that she is simply a stooge of U.S. geopolitical ambitions. Don't ever forget that Germany is, for all intents and purposes, an occupied country. So, what the U.S. military establishment wants, Merkel must provide.

So, if she rejects that role and the chaos U.S. policy engenders, particularly Syria, she's undermining the flow of migrants into Europe.

This is why it was so significant that she and French President Emmanuel Macron joined this weekend's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.

It ended with an agreement on Syria's future that lies in direct conflict with the U.S.'s goals of the past seven years.

It was an admission that Assad has prevailed in Syria and the plan to atomize it into yet another failed state has itself failed. Merkel has traded 'Assad must go' for 'no more refugees.'

To President Trump's credit he then piggy-backed on that statement announcing that the U.S. would be pulling out of Syria very soon now. And that tells me that he is still coordinating in some way with Putin and other world leaders on the direction of his foreign policy in spite of his opposition.

But the key point from the Istanbul statement was that Syria's rebuilding be prioritized to reverse the flow of migrants so Syrians can go home. While Gilbert Doctorow is unconvinced by France's position here , I think Merkel has to be focused on assisting Putin in achieving his goal of returning Syria to Syrians.

Because, this is both a political necessity for Merkel as well as her trying to burnish her crumbling political throne to maintain power.

The question is will Germans believe and/or forgive her enough for her to stay in power through her now stated 'retirement' from politics in 2021?

I don't think so and it's obvious Davos Crowd boy-toy Macron is working overtime to salvage what he can for them as Merkel continues to face up to the political realities across Europe, which is that populism is a natural reaction to these insane policies.

Merkel's job of consolidating power under the EU is unfinished. They don't have financial integration. The Grand Army of the EU is still not a popular idea. The euro-zone is a disaster waiting to happen and its internal inconsistencies are adding fuel to an already pretty hot political fire.

On this front, EU integration, she and Macron are on the same page. Because 'domestically' from an EU perspective, Brexit still has to be dealt with and the showdown with the Italians is only just beginning.

But Merkel, further weakened by another disastrous state election, isn't strong enough to fend off her emboldened Italian and British opposition (and I'm not talking about The Gypsum Lady, Theresa May here).

And Macron should stop looking in the mirror long enough to see he's standing on a quicksand made of blasting powder.

This points to the next major election for Europe, that of the European Parliament in May where all of Merkel's opposition are focused on wresting control of that body and removing Jean-Claude Juncker or his hand-picked replacement (Merkel herself?) from power.

The obvious transition for Merkel is from German Chancellor to European Commission President. She steps down as Chancellor in May after the EPP wins a majority then to take Juncker's job. I'm sure that's been the plan all along. This way she can continue the work she started without having to face the political backlash at home.

But, again, how close is Germany to snap elections if there is another migrant attack and Chemnitz-like demonstrations. You can only go to the 'Nazi' well so many times, even in Germany.

There comes a point where people will have simply had enough and their anger isn't born of being intolerant but angry at having been betrayed by political leadership which doesn't speak for them and imported crime, chaos and violence to their homes.

And the puppet German media will not be able to contain the story. The EU's speech rules will not contain people who want to speak. The clamp down on hate speech, pioneered by Merkel herself is a reaction to the growing tide against her.

And guess what? She can't stop it.

The problem is that Commies like Merkel and Soros don't believe in anything. They are vampires and nihilists as I said over the weekend suffused with a toxic view of humanity.

Oh sure, they give lip service to being inclusive and nice about it while they have control over the levers of power, the State apparatus. But, the minute they lose control of those levers, the sun goes down, the fangs come out and the bloodletting begins.

These people are vampires, sucking the life out of a society for their own ends. They are evil in a way that proves John Barth's observation that "man can do no wrong." For they never see themselves as the villain.

No. They see themselves as the savior of a fallen people. Nihilists to their very core they only believe in power. And, since power is their religion, all activities are justified in pursuit of their goals.

Their messianic view of themselves is indistinguishable to the Salafist head-chopping animals people like Hillary empowered to sow chaos and death across the Middle East and North Africa over the past decade.

Add to this Merkel herself who took Hillary's empowerment of these animals and gave them a home across Europe. At least now Merkel has the good sense to see that this has cost her nearly everything.

Even if she has little to no shame.

Hillary seems to think she can run for president again and win with the same schtick she failed with twice before. Frankly, I welcome it like I welcome the sun in the morning, safe in the knowledge that all is right with the world and she will go down in humiliating defeat yet again.

Merkel is a lame-duck now. Merkelism is over. Absentee governing from the center standing for nothing but the international concerns has been thoroughly rebuked by the European electorate from Spain to the shores of the Black Sea.

Germany will stand for something other than globalism by the time this is all over. There will be a renaissance of culture and tradition there that is similar to the one occurring at a staggering pace in Russia.

And Angela Merkel's legacy will be chaos.

* * *

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[Oct 22, 2018] There will be no Brexit in economic or political reality. It isn't even remotely possible, even in the unlikely event the EU collapses in the short term. There may be a pseudo "Brexit" for political face-saving purposes

Oct 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

donkeytale , Oct 21, 2018 11:17:43 AM | link

Noirette @ 3

Not to worry. Brexit is rather a textbook example of the political/economic dichotomy to which I speak @ 5.

There will be no Brexit in economic or political reality. It isn't even remotely possible, even in the unlikely event the EU collapses in the short term. There may be a pseudo "Brexit" for political face-saving purposes, true, which will consist of a similar sales effort as Trump is making to hold onto his own age-depressed plebes in flyover USArya.

"Brexit is coming! Brexit is coming! Tariffs are easy! Tariffs are easy! Hold on a bit longer, we are just trying to get it right for you little people not to suffer anymore." Lol.


dh , Oct 21, 2018 10:58:45 AM | link

@6 "Sadly many left wing ppl prefer EU neoliberal anti democratic, corrupt rule over their own sovereign democratic institutions."

I see it more as a neoliberal desire to belong to some vague bigger global entity. Plus the fact that since WW2 nationalism has become equated with fascism.

Britain has never been totally part of Europe....geographically or politically.

DontBelieveEitherPropaganda , Oct 21, 2018 10:16:20 AM | link
@dh-mtl: True that. Sadly many left wing ppl prefer EU neoliberal anti democratic, corrupt rule over their own souvereign democratic institutions. It was the national state (with its additional regional democratic institutions) that brought us democracy, not the neolibs EU. But that truth hurts, and many prefer empty slogans against the evil national state over a honest analysis.

@B: Inoreader cant find new feeds for some days, something is broken!

dh-mtl , Oct 21, 2018 9:36:55 AM | link
@2 Noirette wrote: 'England prefers a return to some mythical sovereignity / nationalism'.

The alternative to sovereignty is dictatorship from abroad. And a foreign dictatorship is never good for a country or its people.

You only need to look at Greece to see the results of 'dictatorship' by the EU. And Italy is currently fighting this dictatorship (see https://gefira.org/en/2018/10/19/the-european-financial-establishment-has-just-declared-war-on-italy/), in order to arrest the continuing destruction of Italy and the impoverishment of its citizens under E.U. rule.

With Brexit, the U.K. is trying to save itself before it collapses to a state similar to Greece.

The E.U., because it is essentially a financially based dictatorship, and is fatally flawed, will break apart. And, in this sense, I agree with you that the U.K. is ahead of the curve.

laserlurk , Oct 21, 2018 9:36:46 AM | link
Abandoning nuclear treaty is just a diversion to steer away eyes off Khashoggi case, latter being even more important as it wedges in the very depth of an internal US political demise.
UK barks there on Russia to steer its own downfall into spotlight of an importance on a world stage that is close to null. UK didn't even sign anything with Russia as basically nobody else did from within NATO, so one can render that INF as outdated and stale.
Will they come up with a new one that suits all or we will just let it go and slip into unilateral single polarity downfall of West? Answers are coming along real soon.

Right now US and a few vasal allies left are getting into dirty set of strategic games opposing far more skilled opponents and it will come around at a really high price. EU has lost many contracts lately in mid east due to America First, so a lots of sticks in US wheels are coming up. It is going to be a real fun watching all that and reading b. and others on MoA..

Noirette , Oct 21, 2018 8:41:29 AM | link
The UK will most likely crash out of the EU. Of course, one can't exclude that some last minute holding action, temp. solution, or reversal can be found - but I doubt it.

Northern Ireland will break away. The analysis of the vote has been very poor, and based on an 'identity politics' and slice-n-dice views. Pensioners afraid to lose their pension, deplorables, victims of austerity, lack of young voter turnout, etc.

NI and Scotland are ruled by a tri-partite scheme: 'home rule', 'devolution' - Westminster - and the EU. The two peripheral entities prefer belonging to and participating in the larger group (see also! reasons historical and of enmity etc.) which has on the whole been good for them. England prefers a return to some mythical sovereignity / nationalism, getting rid of the super-ordinate power, a last desperate stab at Britannia (hm?) rules the waves or at least some bloody thing like traffic on the Thames, labor law, etc. The UK had no business running that referendum - by that I mean that in the UK pol. system Parliament rules supreme, which is antithetical to the referendum approach (in any case the result is only advisory) and running it was a signal of crack-up. By now, it is clear that the UK political / Gvmt. system is not fit for handling problems in the years 2000.

Why NI and not Scotland (which might split as well ..)? From a geo-political pov, because geography bats last - yes. And also because NI is the much weaker entity. EU has stated (Idk about texts etc.): if and when a EU member conquers, annexes, brings into the fold some 'other' territory, it then in turn becomes part of the EU. Ex. If Andorra chose to join Spain it would meld into Eurolandia, with time to adjust to all the rules. Perhaps Macron would no longer be a Prince!

However, Catalonia *cannot* be allowed to split from Spain (affecting Spanish integrity and the EU) and if it did it would crash out of the EU, loosing all, so that doesn't work. Scotland is not Catalonia. NI has had a special status in many ways for a long time so it is easier to tolerate and imagine alternatives. The EU will pay for NI...

The UK is losing power rapidly and indulging in its own form of 're-trenchment' (different from the Trumpian desired one) - both are nostalgic, but the British one is more suicidal.

The only alternative interpretation I can see (suggested by John Michael Greer) is that the UK is ahead of the curve: a pre-emptive collapse (rather semi-collapse) now would put it in a better position than others 20 years or so hence. That would also include a break-up into parts.

[Oct 19, 2018] Brexit Knives Out for Theresa May (Again) Over Extending Transition Period

UK as US hand grenade tossed at EU ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... Another year wouldn't be enough additional time to achieve a trade agreement unless the UK capitulated to EU terms. And a big motivation for this idea seemed to be to try to kick the Irish border can down the road. ..."
"... Theresa May is facing the most perilous week of her premiership after infuriating all sections of her party by making further concessions to Brussels. Her offer to extend the transition period after Brexit -- made without cabinet approval -- enraged Remain and Leave Tory MPs alike. ..."
"... DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has rejected calls for the post-Brexit transition period to be extended, claiming it would cost the UK billions and not break the Irish border deadlock . ..."
"... Theresa May has conceded the Irish backstop cannot have an end date, risking the threat of fresh Cabinet resignations. The PM told Leo Varadkar she accepted Brussels' demands that any fallback border solution cannot be "time-limited". ..."
"... Merkel's effort at an intervention came off like a clueless CEO telling subordinates who have been handed a nearly-impossible task that they need to get more creative ..."
"... Emmanuel Macron, the French president, struck a more uncompromising tone. "It's not for the EU to make some concessions to deal with a British political issue. I can't be more clear on this," he said. "Now the key element for a final deal is on the British side, because the key element is a British political compromise." ..."
"... Article 50 – Treaty on European Union (TEU) 1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. ..."
"... It is accepted that all of the institutional and constitutional arrangements – an Assembly in Northern Ireland , a North/South Ministerial Council, implementation bodies, a British-Irish Council and a British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference and any amendments to British Acts of Parliament and the Constitution of Ireland – are interlocking and interdependent and that in particular the functioning of the Assembly and the North/South Council are so closely inter-related that the success of each depends on that of the other. ..."
Oct 19, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Another year wouldn't be enough additional time to achieve a trade agreement unless the UK capitulated to EU terms. And a big motivation for this idea seemed to be to try to kick the Irish border can down the road.

As we'll get to later in this post, the press has filed more detailed reports on the EU's reactions to May's "nothing new" speech at the European Council summit on Wednesday. The reactions seem to be more sober; recall the first takes were relief that nothing bad happened and at least everyone was trying to put their best foot forward. Merkel also pressed Ireland and the EU to be more flexible over the Irish border question but Marcon took issue with her position. However, they both then went to a outdoor cafe and had beers for two hours .

May's longer transition scheme vehemently criticized across Tory factions and by the DUP . Even pro-Remain Tories are opposed. The press had a field day. From the Telegraph :

Theresa May was on Thursday evening increasingly isolated over her plan to keep Britain tied to the EU for longer as she was savaged by both wings of her party and left in the cold by EU leaders

The move enraged Brexiteers who said it would cost billions, and angered members of the Cabinet who said they had not formally agreed the plan before she offered it up as a bargaining chip. Mrs May also faced a potential mutiny from Tory MPs north of the border, including David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, who said the proposal was "unacceptable" because it would delay the UK's exit from the hated Common Fisheries Policy.

From The Times, Revolt grows over Theresa May's handling of Brexit talks :

Theresa May is facing the most perilous week of her premiership after infuriating all sections of her party by making further concessions to Brussels. Her offer to extend the transition period after Brexit -- made without cabinet approval -- enraged Remain and Leave Tory MPs alike.

And Politics Home, DUP reject moves to extend Brexit transition period in fresh blow for Theresa May Politics Home:

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has rejected calls for the post-Brexit transition period to be extended, claiming it would cost the UK billions and not break the Irish border deadlock .

His comments came after Tory MPs on all wings of the party also rejected extending the transition period.

Former minister Nick Boles, who campaigned for Remain in the 2016 referendum, told the Today programme: "I'm afraid she's losing the confidence now of colleagues of all shades of opinion – people who've been supportive of her throughout this process – they are close to despair at the state of this negotiation."

Brexiteer MP Andrea Jenkyns tweeted: "Back in July, myself and 36 colleagues signed a letter to the Prime Minister setting out our red lines – and that was one of them. It's completely ridiculous."

Scottish Tories say they would veto an extension to the Brexit transition period in support of their fisherman.

And apparently the European Council didn't take the extension idea seriously. City AM reported that European Council president Donald Tusk said it wasn't discussed after May left .

And members of the hard-core Brexit faction are also up in arms about May conceding that an Irish border backstop can't be time limited. From The Sun :

Theresa May has conceded the Irish backstop cannot have an end date, risking the threat of fresh Cabinet resignations. The PM told Leo Varadkar she accepted Brussels' demands that any fallback border solution cannot be "time-limited".

But a fudge could cost Mrs May two eurosceptic Cabinet ministers, with Esther McVey and Andrea Leadsom threatening to resign if there's not a set end date.

Merkel pushes for more Brussels-Ireland flexibility while Macron disagrees . I am at risk of seeming unduly wedded to my priors, but Merkel's effort at an intervention came off like a clueless CEO telling subordinates who have been handed a nearly-impossible task that they need to get more creative . While Merkel is correct to point out that no-deal = hard Irish border, an outcome no one wants, she does not appear to comprehend that the "sea border," which is politically fraught for the UK, is the only alternative that does not create ginormous problems for the EU. Merkel's seeming lack of comprehension may reflect the fact that EU nations don't handle trade negotiations. From the Financial Times :

At an EU summit dinner and in later public remarks, the German chancellor expressed concerns about the bloc's stand-off with the UK over the Irish "backstop", a fallback measure intended to ensure no hard border divides Ireland if other solutions fail. This has become the biggest outstanding issue in the talks.

Three diplomats said that at the Wednesday night dinner Ms Merkel indicated that the EU and the Republic of Ireland should rethink their approach on Northern Ireland to avoid a fundamental clash with London.

Ms Merkel also signaled her concerns in a press conference on Thursday, highlighting that if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal a hard border for Northern Ireland could be inevitable.

"If you don't have an agreement you don't have a satisfactory answer [to the border issue] either," she said, noting that on Northern Ireland "we all need an answer" .

Diplomats said the German chancellor was more forceful about the issue at the Brexit dinner, although some other leaders remained puzzled about the chancellor's intentions.

The Financial Times also said that the UK and Germany would meet Thursday to "discuss a way out of the Brexit impasse." Given that Barnier has offered a lot of new ideas in last month, it is hard to see how anything new could be cooked up, unless the UK hopes to sell Germany on its already-rejected techno vaporware idea.

Macron made clear he was not on the same page. Again from the Financial Times:

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, struck a more uncompromising tone. "It's not for the EU to make some concessions to deal with a British political issue. I can't be more clear on this," he said. "Now the key element for a final deal is on the British side, because the key element is a British political compromise."

Vardakar also made a statement after the dinner that reaffirmed the importance of the EU affirming the principles of the single market. From The Times :

The European Union would have "huge difficulties" in agreeing to extend the Northern Irish backstop to the rest of the UK, the taoiseach has warned. Leo Varadkar said he did not think "any country or union" would be asked to sign up to an agreement that would give the UK access to the single market while also allowing it to "undercut" the EU across a range of areas including state aid competition, labour laws and environmental standards.

"I would feel very strongly about this, as a European as well as an Irishman: you couldn't have a situation whereby the UK had access to the single market -- which is our market -- and at the same time was able to undercut us in terms of standards, whether they were environmental standards, labour laws, or state aid competition. I don't think any country or any union would be asked to accept that," Mr Varadkar said in Brussels.

Robert Peston deems odds of crash out high; sees only escape route as "customs union Brexit" . Robert Peston, who is one of the UK's best connected political reporters, described in a new piece at ITV how May has at best a narrow path to avoiding a disorderly Brexit, and that is what he calls a "customs union" Brexit. I am sure if Richard North saw that, he'd be tearing his hair, since he has been describing for months why a customs union does not solve the problem that virtually everyone who talks in up in UK thinks it solves, namely, conferring "frictionless trade".

One key point in his analysis is that the UK will also have to accept "a blind Brexit," meaning a very fuzzy statement of what the "future relationship" will be. The EU had offered that in the last month or so, presumably as a fudge to allow May to get the various wings of her coalition to agree to something. But Peston says it's too late to do anything else. From ITV :

Hello from Brussels and the EU Council that promised a Brexit breakthrough and delivered nothing.

So on the basis of conversations with well-placed sources, this is how I think the Brexit talks are placed (WARNING: if you are fearful of a no-deal Brexit, or are of a nervous disposition, stop reading now):

1) Forget about having any clue when we leave about the nature and structure of the UK's future trading relationship with the EU. The government heads of the EU27 have rejected Chequers. Wholesale. And they regard it as far too late to put in place the building blocks of that future relationship before we leave on 29 March 2019. So any Political Declaration on the future relationship will be waffly, vague and general. It will be what so many MPs detest: a blind Brexit. The PM may say that won't happen. No one here (except perhaps her own Downing St team) believes her.

Erm, that alone may be a deal killer. We quoted this section of a Politico article on October 10 :

5. Future relationship – Blind Brexit

Opposed: Brexiteers, Tory Remainers, the Labour Party, Theresa May

I'll let our astute readers give their reactions to Peston's recommendation to May:

3) There is no chance of the EU abandoning its insistence that there should be a backstop – with no expiry date – of Northern Ireland, but not Great Britain, remaining in the Customs Union and the single market. That would involve the introduction of the commercial border in the Irish Sea that May says must never be drawn.

4) All efforts therefore from the UK are aimed at putting in place other arrangements to make it impossible for that backstop to be introduced.

5) Her ruse for doing this is the creation of another backstop that would involve the whole of the UK staying in something that looks like the customs union.

6) But she feels cannot commit to keeping the UK in the customs union forever, because her Brexiter MPs won't let her. So it does not work as a backstop. And anyway the Article 50 rules say that the Withdrawal Agreement must not contain provisions for a permanent trading relationship between the whole of the UK and the EU. Which is a hideous Catch 22.

7) There is a solution. She could ignore her Brexiter critics and announce the UK wanted written into the Political Declaration – not the Withdrawal Agreement – that we would be staying permanently in the customs union. This is one bit of specificity the rest of the EU would allow into the Political Declaration. And it could be nodded at in the Withdrawal Agreement.

8) But if she announces we are staying in the Customs Union she would be crossing her reddest of red lines because she would have to abandon her ambition of negotiating free trade deals with non-EU countries. Liam Fox would be made redundant.

9) She knows, because her Brexit negotiator Olly Robbins has told her, that her best chance – probably her only chance of securing a Brexit deal – is to sign up for the customs union.

10) In its absence, no-deal Brexit is massively in play.

11) But a customs-union Brexit deal would see her Brexiter MPs become incandescent with fury.

12) Labour of course would be on the spot, since its one practical Brexit policy is to stay in the Customs Union.

13) This therefore is May's Robert Peel moment. She could agree a Customs Union Brexit and get it through Parliament with Labour support – while simultaneously cleaving her own party in two.

Finally, in an elegiac piece, Richard North contends that the UK didn't need to wind up where it is:

A reader takes me to task for making comparisons between the Brexit negotiations and the Allied invasion of Normandy

Yet it is precisely because Mrs May seems to have chosen an adversarial route rather than a consensual process that I have projected her failings in militaristic terms..

In reality, it would have been best to approach the Brexit process not so much as the end of a relationship as a redefinition, where the need to continue close cooperation continues, even if it is to be structured on a different basis

Here, though, lies the essential problem. The EU, as a treaty-based organisation, does not have the flexibility to change its own rules just to suit the needs of one member, and especially one which is seeking to leave the Union. Yet, on the other hand, the UK government has political constraints which prevent it making concessions which would allow the EU to define a new relationship

But, having put herself in a position where she is demanding something that the EU cannot give, she herself has no alternative but to adopt an adversarial stance – if for no other reason than to show her own political allies and critics that she is doing her best to resolve an impossible situation.

If there is a light at the end of this tunnel, it sure looks like the headlight of an oncoming train, the Brexit end date bearing down on the principals.


PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 6:49 am

I can't help but wonder whether the proposed time extension was proposed mischievously by EU negotiators precisely to set off divisions among the Tories. While Barniers no.1 aim is a deal, the close to no.2 aim must surely be to ensure that in the event of no deal (or a clearly clapped together bad interim deal), 100% of the blame goes to London. So far, they are doing a good job with that.

Its a little concerning that Merkel was so off-message, even though she is obviously correct that a no-deal means a hard border, which is a failure by any standard. I'm pretty sure we won't see any overt disagreements among the EU 27 as they won't want to give the UK the satisfaction of having sown dissent. However, that doesn't mean there won't be frantic background pressure from some (probably pushed by business) to do some sort of deal, even a bad one. That will inevitable mean leaning heavily on Dublin, if it is seen as the last obstacle. Any such pressure will be private, not public I'm sure.

vlade , October 19, 2018 at 7:33 am

The damage limitation is there, for sure, but it's always aimed on rest of the world (i.e. all but the UK, where the EU will be target in any outcome). TBH, I'm not sure how much that's needed now..

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 7:10 am

I wonder if the various negotiating teams are reminded of that nursery rhyme I learned as a child -- "and the wheels on the bus go round and round ".

As line one of section one of Article 50 explicitly states (and would therefore be given substantial weight in any reading of the Article itself):

Article 50 – Treaty on European Union (TEU)
1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

The U.K. government cannot change the constitutional settlement for Northern Ireland without the agreement of the people of the six counties and the Republic and the rest of the U.K. "Nothing about us, without us" in popular parlance. And Republicans need to give their consent for any change affecting devolved matters (which is enforceable via a Petition of Concern). EU laws and directives are devolved matters. Constitutionally, no one can force anything on anyone in the province.

What the EU is asking the U.K. to do is impossible.

What the U.K. is asking the EU to do is impossible.

A hard border is also impossible, both as an outcome of treaty obligations and also as a practical matter.

Therefore a no-deal Brexit is inevitable. Therefore, so is a hard border. Which is an impossibility -- politically and operationally.

No wonder this can got kicked down the road last December. But now we have, oh, look, what's this here? Who left this can lying around?

David , October 19, 2018 at 7:27 am

I'm not sure. I had always read that sentence as meaning "in accordance with its own constitutional requirements for withdrawing from treaties in general" ie much more narrowly focused. Normally, any government has a sovereign right to withdraw from treaties, but it could be the case, for example, that in some countries parliament has to be informed, debates have to be held etc, and that's the case that's being covered here. Not to say that my interpretation (if correct) makes the situation any easier.
I posted a long comment on the French media reporting of Wednesday's talks yesterday. If I have a moment, I'll look to see if there's anything fresh today. One thing to look out for will be signs of tension between Paris and Brussels.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 7:41 am

I would need a lawyer well versed in international treaty interpretations to give a proper opinion and ultimately a court to rule on this.

What the wording definitely does not say (we can all read it for ourselves) is anything along the lines of " may initiate " or " may invoke its right to withdraw " or suchlike followed by the bit about constitutional adherences. Thus the requirements to act constitutionally must likely be expected to apply to Article 50 in their entirety. Apart from any lawyerly parsing, this is also common sense.

The section says a Member State may withdraw and it has to (this is so stating the obvious the treaty drafting must have had this specifically in mind to mention it) be constitutional about it. The EU cannot ask a Member State to conduct its withdrawal unconstitutionally.

disillusionized , October 19, 2018 at 9:15 am

No, that's not what it means – what it means is that as far as EU law is concerned, EU law ends there. It's wholly up to the withdrawing state to define and consider.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 9:50 am

Yes, and the Member State can't act unconstitutionally in respect of its own withdrawal proceedings. The EU is reserving the right not to accept any instruction in the matter of a withdrawal from the EU from the said Member State which is unconstitutional for that Member State. Nor can the EU foist unconstitutional acts onto a Member State in respect of the withdrawal. Its a basic principle of any legal system and any law and any jurisprudence that Party A cannot induce Party B to break the law as a result of an agreement between them and for that agreement to then remain valid.

As a simpler example, I draw up an agreement that says you'll pay me £100 in a week's time and you must get the money by whatever means possible. Fast forward a week and you don't have the £100. I can't use our agreement as an excuse for you to commit an unlawful act (say, go and steal someone's wallet) "because we've got an agreement you'll pay me, so that makes it okay no matter what, so long as you give me the money". Nor can you use your being party to the agreement to say "sorry, I don't have the money, but you can steal it from my Aunt Flossie, she's never gonna know you took it".

David , October 19, 2018 at 12:01 pm

I have a suspicion we are (nearly) saying the same thing. See the separate thread below. A country that signs the Lisbon Treaty accepts that any decision to withdraw will have to be taken according to its own constitutional arrangements. This is a national obligation, but I don't see how the EU could refuse to accept the notification on the basis that it had been unconstitutionally arrived at, or what standing they would have. I've never heard of anything similar happening elsewhere.
To rephrase your example. My partner and I lend you £100 and you say that we can have it back any time we want. I ask for it back, and you refuse to give it to me on the basis that, in your view, this has to be a joint request from my partner and me.

vlade , October 19, 2018 at 7:32 am

I buy this only partially, as Scotland has some freedom to set taxes, and NI has also diverged from other UK laws (the infamous abortion rights).

Of course, from that, to staying in single market is quite a jump, but one could argue that since majority of the NI voted "remain" (by some margin) they clearly DO wish to stay in the single market.

Also the "the rest of the UK" is dubious – it's really "without the say so from the Westminster Parliament". See Scottish Indy referendum – I didn't notice they run it in England as well? (if they did, I suspect Scots could have been independend by now).

That said, even the above can still be done by a single poll that NI republicans actually already called for i.e. if there's a hard-border Brexit, NI should get a reunification vote.

TBH, that's MY suggestion to the impasse. The backstop becomes a reunification referendum. Not time limited – once the transition period is done, it's done, nor really challengable. You want SM, you go European, or you stay within the UK. I'd like to see DUP to froth on that..

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 7:57 am

It's stated right at the top of the Good Friday Agreement absolutely explicitly:

It is accepted that all of the institutional and constitutional arrangements – an Assembly in Northern Ireland , a North/South Ministerial Council, implementation bodies, a British-Irish Council and a British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference and any amendments to British Acts of Parliament and the Constitution of Ireland – are interlocking and interdependent and that in particular the functioning of the Assembly and the North/South Council are so closely inter-related that the success of each depends on that of the other.

Treaty texts rarely get so unarguably clear.

This is why I suspect there was such a push in February to get Stormont up and running again. Without it, everything was stuck in constitutional limbo and lacking any possibility of constitutionally-authenticated approvals. Similar any possibility of a border poll. Without a vote in the Assembly, how can the U.K. government have any pretence (that would withstand a UKSC challenge) that it was responding to a democratic imperative issued by NI?

Of course, the U.K. government could do whatever the heck it likes by a reintroduced Direct Rule. At which point the Good Friday Agreement is toast (and the Republic would have to explicitly buy-in to Direct Rule being initiated). This must be one of the DUP's main game plans. They really don't care that much about borders in the Irish Sea if they can get rid of the Good Friday Agreement. The DUP would be quite happy to paint the Garvaghy Road emerald green from end to end if they could rip that up for good.

PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 8:23 am

An additional complication to this though is the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference , which explicitly gives the Irish government a say in non-devolved matters, including the Common Travel area and EU matters. So at least in theory, the British government must (if the Irish government insists on reconstituting the Council, which they haven't so far) engage with the Irish government for any change – including Brexit – to be constitutional.

Its been speculated here that Varadkar has not called for the BIIC to be held in order not to inflame matters with the DUP.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 8:28 am

Yes, I think this holds a lot of water. Especially since the Republic amended its constitution to facilitate the GFA, it shows how seriously it took the matter. While politically it may be gruesome for the U.K. to contemplate that it would not be possible to leave the EU without as a minimum consulting the Republic, I too think there is at least a possibility it was in fact legally obligated via the GFA to do exactly that.

PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 8:11 am

I read that entirely differently again – my (completely laymans) interpretation is that it means a countries request for withdrawal must be internally constitutionally based. In other words, a rogue leader can't simply say 'I'm launching A.50' in defiance of his own Parliament or courts. Or put another way – the EU can refuse to accept an A.50 application if it can be argued that it was not generated legally in the first place.

David , October 19, 2018 at 8:44 am

I think that's right, though most treaties like this contain some ambiguity in their wording. Interestingly, the French text gives a slightly different impression.
"Tout État membre peut décider, conformément à ses règles constitutionnelles, de se retirer de l'Union," which would be translated as "Any member state may decide, in accordance with its constitutional provisions, to leave the Union." The commas make it clear that, in French at least, the only decision that has to be taken constitutionally under the Treaty, is the decision to leave (alinea 1). Once that decision is taken the states has to inform the EU (alinea 2). Of course, there's a standing general requirement on governments to behave constitutionally, but that would be a matter for the domestic courts, not the EU. It must also be true that they should respect their constitutional rules during the negotiation process. Interestingly, Art 46 of the Vienna Convention on Treaties deals exactly with your point from the other end – what happens if a state signs a treaty without going through the proper procedures. I've seen some suggestions on specialist blogs that Art 50 of the Lisbon Treaty was inspired by the arguments about this point.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 9:57 am

Agreed, except it would be a matter for the CJEU if it was the EU (e.g. the Commission) which was doing the asking (or telling) of the Member State.

jabbawocky , October 19, 2018 at 8:24 am

The answer to your question has to be those that voted Leave in the referendum left the can lying around.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 9:06 am

Rubbish. The U.K. government had every right to hold a referendum. It was advisory of course. But Parliament had every right to invoke A50 as a result of the result.

What the U.K. government had no right whatsoever to do was to pretend that the Good Friday Agreement obligations could or should be fudged away. Nor that the EU or the Republic should tolerate this or go along with it. The fact that they did is, well, their bad. I'm still shaking my head as to why Barnier et al were dumb enough to go along with it at the time. There's probably a good reason we're not privy to.

Phillip Allen , October 19, 2018 at 9:29 am

There's probably a good reason we're not privy to.

Now there's some optimism and faith. Our erstwhile leaders have done very little to justify it, in my completely jaded and cynical option.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 9:58 am

I was being perhaps overly generous -- there's also an awful lot of bad reasons I can think of, too.

PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 10:46 am

A year or so ago there was a little discussion of this in some parts of the Irish media. The thinking seemed to be that the government at the time (pre-Varadkar) had calculated that it was too divisive (in terms of the potential impact on NI politics) to be seen to be taking too aggressive a stance over Brexit (with hindsight, this was very naive, the DUP don't need outside help to be divisive).

FG was also very worried about giving any electoral help to Sinn Fein.

With hindsight, I think this was a major miscalculation on a number of levels – I don't think they anticipated that the stupidity of the London government would force them to take such a strong stance on the border issue, they thought it could be finessed by way of taking a more neutral stance.

begob , October 19, 2018 at 11:22 am

I think these are May's options:
1. Canada+++ with backstop – the DUP say NO! and she loses a vote of confidence.
2. EFTA + EEA without CU – she comes back in triumph – "No CU!" – but she loses DUP and Ultras so needs Corbyn, who will probably cry "No CU!" with contrary sentiment.
3. CU with backstop – Labour says it fails test #2 (at least), but she hopes their remainers defy the whip.

Peston is at option 3, but omits the backstop.

bold'un , October 19, 2018 at 7:22 am

Labour could help vote through a {blind brexit' with an extended Transition} in exchange for a post-deal General Election. This could suit May in that it would be risky for the Tories to change leaders in an election atmosphere. The British Public can then decide WHO best can negotiate the future Trade relationship (though sadly not the WHAT as it must be negotiated).

The Rev Kev , October 19, 2018 at 7:50 am

You wonder what is in it for May to stay in her job as Prime Minister. All indications are that she is a perfect example of the Peter Principle which is how she ended up with the job. You think too that she would be tempted to chuck the whole business and say "Here Boris – it's all yours!" with all the joy of throwing a live grenade. Maybe, in the end, it is like Milton had Satan say once – "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven".

PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 8:14 am

An Irish politician once said that she was advised by an experienced colleague 'your worst day in government is better than your best day in opposition' . This is why politicians are so often incapable of turning down offers of coalition.

I don't believe it has occurred to May for one minute to resign or step aside. Power is what drives people like her (i.e. almost all politicians). Its the nature of the beast.

David , October 19, 2018 at 9:13 am

Macron's official statement after the European Council is here Interestingly, only about a third of the text was devoted to Brexit, and much of that was in turn a restatement of EU priorities – especially unity and the Single Market – and confidence in Barnier. All the technical solutions are known, said Macron, and it is for the UK to come up with some new ideas for compromises. The hope was to reach an agreement in the next few weeks, including "necessary guarantees for Ireland." The French media has essentially confined itself to reporting what Macron said.
What this shows, I think, is an increasing irritation among European leaders that Brexit, which should have been sorted out long ago, has been taking up the time that should really have been devoted to more important subjects, like migration and the deepening of economic and financial cooperation The British are regarded as a major irritant, incapable of behaving like a great power, paralysed by internal political splits and capable of doing a lot of collateral damage. The EU seems increasingly unwilling to devote any more time to Brexit until the UK comes up with some genuinely useful ideas – hence the cancellation of the November summit.

PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 10:42 am

Thats probably true, but if so, its very shortsighted. If the UK crashes out, for several months there will be nothing else on the plate of western Europe to deal with, there will be deep implications certainly from Germany to Spain. And if it causes more wobbles in the already very wobbly Italian banks, it'll be even more of a headache, to put it mildly.

David , October 19, 2018 at 12:14 pm

I agree, but I think it's at least partly the UK's doing. A modicum of common sense and political realism could have avoided this situation. The problem is that Brexit, as a subject, has the nasty twin characteristics of being at once extremely complicated and politically lunatic. I think EU leaders are focusing on the second, and in some ways May has become almost light relief. But jokes stop being funny after a while, and I think Macron is reflecting a wider belief among national leaders that only the UK can sort this out: you broke it, you fix it.

If there were issues which, whilst difficult, were potentially fixable then I think a lot more effort would have gone into the negotiations from EU leaders. But they must feel they are trapped in some Ionesco farce or (to vary the metaphor) trying to negotiate with the Keystone Cops.

Except the Keystone Cops happen to be playing with hand grenades. There's no doubt that European leaders are taking a crash-out seriously (the French have published a draft bill giving the government emergency powers to deal with such a situation) but I think there's a also widespread sense of helplessness. What can the EU actually do that it hasn't already done? All they can hope for is an outbreak of common sense in London, and I think we all know how likely that is. In the circumstances, you might as well concentrate on subjects where progress is actually possible.

MichaelSF , October 19, 2018 at 12:46 pm

A reader takes me to task for making comparisons between the Brexit negotiations and the Allied invasion of Normandy

Would Dunkirk be a better comparison?

[Oct 09, 2018] Brexit Crunch Is the EU Trying to Save the UK from Itself Is That Even Possible

Oct 09, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Brexit Crunch: Is the EU Trying to Save the UK from Itself? Is That Even Possible? Posted on October 8, 2018 by Yves Smith The UK press is all over the map on the state of Brexit. That makes making sense of things even harder than usual.

At a minimum, it show that the EU's thumping of May at last month's Salzburg conference has led to an uptick in activity, as the EU27 leaders set an earlier deadline for the UK to serve up something realistic than the UK had previously thought it had (October versus November).

But it's far from clear that all the thrashing around and messaging amounts to progress. As we'll discuss, some press reports claim the EU is showing more flexibility, but the changes appear to be almost entirely cosmetic. If so, it would represent a cynical calculation that MPs are so illiterate about technical details that adept repackaging will get the dog to eat the dog food.

Another thing to keep in mind is that negotiators are always making progress until a deal is dead. The appearance of momentum can create actual momentum, or at least buy time. But here, time is running out, so the question is whether either side has made enough of a shift so as to allow for a breakthough.

One thing that may have happened, and again this is speculative, is that more key players in the EU are coming to realize that a crash out will inflict a lot of damage on the EU. A transition period is actually much more beneficial to the EU than the UK. It would not only allow the EU more time to prepare, but also enable it to better pick the UK clean of personnel and business activities that can move to the Continent in relatively short order.

By contrast (and not enough people in the UK appear to have worked this out), the UK will crash out with respect to the EU in either March 2019 or the end of December 2020. There's no way the UK will have completed a trade deal with the EU by then, unless it accedes to every EU demand. Recall that the comparatively uncomplicated Canada trade agreement took seven years to negotiate and another year to obtain provisional approval. And Richard North points out another impediment to negotiations: " .the Commission has to be re-appointed next year and, after Brexit, it will not be fully in operation until the following November." Now there are still some important advantages to securing a transition agreement, and they may be mainly political (who wants to be caught holding that bag?) but the differences may not be as significant for the EU as the UK. The UK will wind up having the dislocations somewhat spread out, first having to contend with falling out of all the trade deals with third countries that it now has through the EU in March 2019, and then losing its "single market" status with the EU at the end of 2020. But will the UK also be so preoccupied with trying to stitch up deals with the rest of the world that it loses its already not great focus on what to do with the EU?

That isn't to say there won't be meaningful benefits to the UK if it can conclude a Withdrawal Agreement with the EU and win a transition period. For instance, it has a dim hope of being able to get its border IT systems upgraded so as to handle much greater transaction volumes, a feat that seems pretty much unattainable by March 2019.

Two more cautionary note regarding these divergent news stories. The first is that we've seen this sort of thing before and generally, the optimistic reports have not panned out. However, they have generally ben from unnamed sources. While we do have a very thin BBC article with Jean-Claude Junkcer saying the odds of a deal had improved and Tusk making cautiously optimistic noises, Leo Vardarkar was more sober and the piece even admitted, "However, there is still no agreement on some issues, including how to avoid new checks on the Irish border."

Second, they appear to be mainly about claimed progress or deadlocks on the trade front. Recall that Article 50 makes only a passing reference to "the future relationship," which is only a non-binding political declaration. However, these issue seems to have assumed more importance than it should on the UK end, because it has become a forcing device for the coalition to settle on what sort of Brexit it wants .and it remains fundamentally divided, as demonstrated by last week's Conservative Party conference. By contrast, there seems to be little news on the real sticking point, the Irish border.

So to the rumors:

The EU has offered the UK a "Canada plus plus plus" deal . Even if you take the Guardian story at face value, there is less there there than the breathless reactions in the UK would lead you to believe.

First, recall that "Canada plus plus plus" has long been derided by the EU as yet another way for the UK to try to cherry pick among the possible post-Brexit arrangements. Boris Johnson nevertheless talked it up as a preferred option to May's too-soft Chequers scheme at the Tory conference . and May did not mention Chequers . Did EU pols take that to mean May had abandoned Chequers to appease the Ultras?

However, as we read things (and we need to watch our for our priors), Donald Tusk appears to be mouthing a pet UK expression to convey a different idea:

Tusk said the EU remained ready to offer the UK a "Canada-plus-plus-plus deal" – a far-reaching trade accord with extra agreements on security and foreign policy.

That reads as a Canada style free trade agreement plus additional pacts on non-trade matters. That is not what "Canada plus plus plus" signified on the UK side: it meant the UK getting a free trade deal with other (typically not specified) goodies so as to make it "special" and more important, reduce friction.

The Ultras were over the moon to have Tusk dignify Johnson's blather, even as the very next paragraph of the Guardian story revealed the outtrade over what "Canada plus plus plus" stands for:

Boris Johnson and other hard Brexit Tories seized on Tusk's remarks, arguing they showed it was time for May to immediately switch tack and abandon her Chequers proposals for remaining in a customs union for food and goods. "Tusk's Canada-plus-plus-plus offer shows there is a superb way forward that can solve the Irish border problem and deliver a free-trade-based partnership that works well for both sides of the channel," Johnson said.

If you managed to get further into the story, it sounded more cautionary notes:

Some Brexiters overlook that the EU's version of a so-called Canada deal incorporates a guarantee to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, which would keep Northern Ireland in the EU customs union and single market. "Canada plus-plus-plus" is also a fuzzy concept that has no formal status in EU negotiating documents. Michel Barnier, the bloc's chief negotiator, mentioned the idea in an interview with the Guardian and other papers last year.

"I don't know what Canada-plus-plus-plus means, it is just a concept at this stage," Varadkar said, adding that it did not negate the need for a "legally binding backstop" – a guarantee to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland if there is no agreement on the future trading relationship.

EU to let UK super fudge on "future relationship." Another Guardian story reported that the EU might let the UK sign an even less committal version of the "future relationship" section , allowing the UK to "evolve" [gah] its position during the transition period. Frankly, this seems to be allowing for a change in government. I don't see this as that meaningful a concession, since this statement was never legally binding. However, given that Parliament must ratify the final agreement, formally registering that that section isn't set in stone probably would facilitate passage as well as any future change in direction. And if you suspect this is a big dog whistle to Labour, you be right:

An EU source said: "The message to Labour is that the UK could move up Barnier's stairs if the British government changes its position in the transition period. Voting in favour of the deal now would not be the last word on it."

May whips Labour for Chequers . You thought May gave up on Chequers? Silly you! She just had the good sense to go into her famed submarine mode while Boris was having yet another turn in the limelight. From the Telegraph :

Ministers are in talks with as many as 25 Labour MPs to force through Theresa May's Chequers Brexit deal risking open warfare with the party's own MPs.

The Government's whips' office has spent recent months making contact with the MPs as a back-up option for when Theresa May's Brexit deal is put to a vote in Parliament in early December, The Daily Telegraph has been told.

News of the wooing operation has infuriated Eurosceptic Tory MPs who are now threatening to vote against elements of the Budget and other "money bills" to force Mrs May to drop her Chequers plan.

If true, this is very high stakes poker. Brexit Central says there are 34 Tory MPs who have already declared they will oppose any "deal based on Chequers". And, to change metaphors, they appear ready to go nuclear if they have to. From the Times:

Brexiteers have issued a last-ditch threat to vote down the budget and destroy the government unless Theresa May takes a tougher line with Brussels -- amid signs that she is on course to secure a deal with the European Union.

Leading members of the hardline European Research Group (ERG) last night vowed to vote down government legislation after it was claimed the prime minister will use Labour MPs to push her plan through the Commons.

I turned to Richard North's site after I had pretty much finished this post, and he finds the Telegraph story as peculiar as I do :

Reporting of the key issue of our times gets more bizarre by the day. The latest contribution to the cacophony is the Telegraph, telling us that Ministers are in talks with as many as 25 Labour MPs "to force through Theresa May's Chequers Brexit deal".

That approaches are being made to Labour MPs is not news, but the idea that attempts to sell them the Chequers deal confounds recent indications that the prime minister is preparing to roll out "Chequers II", with enough concessions to all the Commission to conclude a withdrawal agreement.

If we are looking at such a new deal, then it cannot be the case that anyone is attempting to convince Labour MPs of the merits of the old deal. And, even if Ministers succeeded in such a task, it would be to no avail. Chequers, as such, will never come to parliament for approval because it will never form the basis of a deal that can be accepted by Brussels.

That should consign the Telegraph story to the dustbin now piled high with incoherent speculation, joining the steady flow of reports which are struggling – and failing – to bring sense to Brexit.

EU to announce "minimalist" no-deal emergency plans . Interestingly, the Financial Times has not had any articles in the last few days on the state of UK/EU negotiations. It instead depicted the EU as about to turn up the heat on the UK by publishing a set of "no deal" damage containment plans. I've never understood the line of thought, which seems to be taken seriously on both sides of the table, that acting like a responsible government and preparing for a worst-case scenario was somehow an underhanded negotiation ploy. 1 The pink paper nevertheless pushes that notion:

Brussels is planning to rattle the UK by unveiling tough contingency measures for a no-deal Brexit that could force flight cancellations and leave exporters facing massive disruption if Britain departs the EU without an exit agreement in March.

Subtext: it's the EU's fault all those bad things could happen .when it is the UK that is suing for divorce. Back to the story:

Against expectations in London, the plan is likely to encompass a limited number of initiatives over a maximum of eight months, diplomats who have seen the document told the Financial Times.

Notably, the EU is not planning special arrangements for customs or road transport and only limited provisions for financial services -- a decision that, if seen through, would cause long queues and operational difficulties at ports and airports.

The minimalist emergency plan, designed to be rolled out should there be no breakthrough in Brexit talks, would increase the pressure over already fraught negotiations between the UK and the EU ahead of a summit on 17 October. EU plans would then be firmed up by December .

The commission has thus far resisted outlining details of its plans for a no-deal Brexit for fear it would disrupt tense negotiations. But with just six months to go before Brexit, EU member states have pressed Brussels to speed up its preparations in case no deal is agreed in time.

Brussels will outline general principles for deciding the fields requiring special measures, which must only mitigate significant disruptions in areas of "vital union interest". The measures would be applied by the EU until the end of 2019 on a unilateral basis. They could be revoked with no notice, according to diplomats.

The plans are intended to enable basic air services, allowing flights to land and fly straight back to the UK, and to extend air safety certificates and security exemptions for UK travellers in transit. Visa-free travel is envisaged for British citizens, as long as it is reciprocated

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The commission has thus far resisted outlining details of its plans for a no-deal Brexit for fear it would disrupt tense negotiations. But with just six months to go before Brexit, EU member states have pressed Brussels to speed up its preparations in case no deal is agreed in time.

Brussels will outline general principles for deciding the fields requiring special measures, which must only mitigate significant disruptions in areas of "vital union interest". The measures would be applied by the EU until the end of 2019 on a unilateral basis. They could be revoked with no notice, according to diplomats.

The plans are intended to enable basic air services, allowing flights to land and fly straight back to the UK, and to extend air safety certificates and security exemptions for UK travellers in transit. Visa-free travel is envisaged for British citizens, as long as it is reciprocated.

And then we have the stories that are head-scratchers. The Sun reports that Barnier says a deal is nigh .based on:

Hopes of progress have been fuelled by expectations that Theresa May has come forward with a compromise solution to the Irish border.

The PM will propose keeping the whole of the UK in a customs union as a final fallback but allowing Northern Ireland to stick to EU regulations.

The EU has rejected having the UK collect EU customs post Brexit. Moreover, a customs union, as we've said repeatedly, does not give the UK its keenly-sounght frictionless trade. Making Northern Ireland subject to EU regulations means accepting the jurisdiction of the ECJ, since compliance is not a matter of having a dusty rule book, but of being part of the same regulatory apparatus. Aside from the fact that this solution won't be acceptable to the DUP, it would also result in a hard land border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. So are we to take this as incomprehension on the part of the Sun's reporters, or that the Government's negotiators continue to be as thick as a brick? Sadly, the Guardian tells a similar tale :

Ministers expect to discuss Brexit in a week's time when some hope that officials will have clarified how the UK proposes to handle cross-border regulatory checks if no progress is made on agreeing a free trade deal with the EU.

There has been speculation that this solution could involve the whole of the UK agreeing to be part of a common customs area with the EU in order to avoid the possibility of an invisible border separating Northern Ireland from Great Britain, in the event that no long-term deal is signed.

Richard North has the best take. He points the rumors from the UK side come from people who present themselves as being on the inside but probably aren't, or not enough to have a good feel, and continues :

Yet nothing seems to be leaking from No.10, with officials saying merely that proposals would emerge "soon". Says the Guardian, these are likely to form the basis of technical negotiations with Brussels "as officials scramble to find a form of words for the withdrawal agreement that the UK proposes to sign with the EU".

Any such timing will, of necessity, rule out any formal consideration by the October European Council. Those who understand the detail will know that, before anything can be considered by the European Council, it must first be agreed by the General Affairs Council, meeting as 27.

Currently, this is scheduled for 16 October (Tuesday week) – a day before the Article 50 European Council which starts its two-day session on the 17th. On the face of it, there doesn't seem to be enough time to factor in any last-minute proposals from London, especially as details must first be circulated to Member State capitals for comment.

This does nothing, though, but confirm that which we already know – that if there is to be a final showdown, then it is going to come at the special meeting in November (if this actually happens), or even the meeting scheduled for 13-14 December.

Even the rumor mills don't give much reason to think there is a solution to the Irish border. If May really hasn't abandoned Chequers, all the fudging to come up with a content-free "future relationship" section will be to the detriment of UK citizens, since the Government will keep holding on to a Brexit plan that the EU will never accept. But the best interests of ordinary people have gotten short shrift all along.

[Oct 02, 2018] >A Rational Backlash Against Globalization

Notable quotes:
"... By Lubos Pastor, Charles P. McQuaid Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Pietro Veronesi, Roman Family Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Originally published at VoxEU ..."
"... The vote for Brexit and the election of protectionist Donald Trump to the US presidency – two momentous markers of the ongoing pushback against globalization – led some to question the rationality of voters. This column presents a framework that demonstrates how the populist backlash against globalisation is actually a rational voter response when the economy is strong and inequality is high. It highlights the fragility of globalization in a democratic society that values equality. ..."
"... See original post for references ..."
"... Aversion to inequality thus reflects envy of the economic elites rather than compassion for the poor. ..."
Oct 02, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on September 28, 2018 by Yves Smith Yves here. Haha, Lambert's volatility voters thesis confirmed! They are voting against inequality and globalization. This important post also explains how financialization drives populist rebellions.

By Lubos Pastor, Charles P. McQuaid Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Pietro Veronesi, Roman Family Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Originally published at VoxEU

The vote for Brexit and the election of protectionist Donald Trump to the US presidency – two momentous markers of the ongoing pushback against globalization – led some to question the rationality of voters. This column presents a framework that demonstrates how the populist backlash against globalisation is actually a rational voter response when the economy is strong and inequality is high. It highlights the fragility of globalization in a democratic society that values equality.

The ongoing pushback against globalization in the West is a defining phenomenon of this decade. This pushback is best exemplified by two momentous 2016 votes: the British vote to leave the EU ('Brexit') and the election of a protectionist, Donald Trump, to the US presidency. In both cases, rich-country electorates voted to take a step back from the long-standing process of global integration. "Today, globalization is going through a major crisis" (Macron 2018).

Some commentators question the wisdom of the voters responsible for this pushback. They suggest Brexit and Trump supporters have been confused by misleading campaigns and foreign hackers. They joke about turkeys voting for Christmas. They call for another Brexit referendum, which would allow the Leavers to correct their mistakes.

Rational Voters

We take a different perspective. In a recent paper, we develop a theory in which a backlash against globalization happens while all voters are perfectly rational (Pastor and Veronesi 2018). We do not, of course, claim that all voters are rational; we simply argue that explaining the backlash does not require irrationality. Not only can the backlash happen in our theory; it is inevitable.

We build a heterogeneous-agent equilibrium model in which a backlash against globalization emerges as the optimal response of rational voters to rising inequality. A rise in inequality has been observed throughout the West in recent decades (e.g. Atkinson et al. 2011). In our model, rising inequality is a natural consequence of economic growth. Over time, global growth exacerbates inequality, which eventually leads to a pushback against globalization.

Who Dislike Inequality

Agents in our model like consumption but dislike inequality. Individuals may prefer equality for various reasons. Equality helps prevent crime and preserve social stability. Inequality causes status anxiety at all income levels, which leads to health and social problems (Wilkinson and Pickett 2009, 2018). In surveys, people facing less inequality report being happier (e.g. Morawetz et al. 1977, Alesina et al. 2004, Ferrer-i-Carbonell and Ramos 2014). Experimental results also point to egalitarian preferences (e.g. Dawes et al. 2007).

We measure inequality by the variance of consumption shares across agents. Given our other modelling assumptions, equilibrium consumption develops a right-skewed distribution across agents. As a result, inequality is driven by the high consumption of the rich rather than the low consumption of the poor. Aversion to inequality thus reflects envy of the economic elites rather than compassion for the poor.

Besides inequality aversion, our model features heterogeneity in risk aversion. This heterogeneity generates rising inequality in a growing economy because less risk-averse agents consume a growing share of total output. We employ individual-level differences in risk aversion to capture the fact that some individuals benefit more from global growth than others. In addition, we interpret country-level differences in risk aversion as differences in financial development. We consider two 'countries': the US and the rest of the world. We assume that US agents are less risk-averse than rest-of-the-world agents, capturing the idea that the US is more financially developed than the rest of the world.

At the outset, the two countries are financially integrated – there are no barriers to trade and risk is shared globally. At a given time, both countries hold elections featuring two candidates. The 'mainstream' candidate promises to preserve globalization, whereas the 'populist' candidate promises to end it. If either country elects a populist, a move to autarky takes place and cross-border trading stops. Elections are decided by the median voter.

Global risk sharing exacerbates US inequality. Given their low risk aversion, US agents insure the agents of the rest of the world by holding aggressive and disperse portfolio positions. The agents holding the most aggressive positions benefit disproportionately from global growth. The resulting inequality leads some US voters, those who feel left behind by globalization, to vote populist.

Why Vote Populist?

When deciding whether to vote mainstream or populist, US agents face a consumption-inequality trade-off. If elected, the populist delivers lower consumption but also lower inequality to US agents. After a move to autarky, US agents can no longer borrow from the rest of the world to finance their excess consumption. But their inequality drops too, because the absence of cross-border leverage makes their portfolio positions less disperse.

As output grows, the marginal utility of consumption declines, and US agents become increasingly willing to sacrifice consumption in exchange for more equality. When output grows large enough -- see the vertical line in the figure below -- more than half of US agents prefer autarky and the populist wins the US election. This is our main result: in a growing economy, the populist eventually gets elected. In a democratic society that values equality, globalization cannot survive in the long run.

Figure 1 Vote share of the populist candidate

Equality Is a Luxury Good

Equality can be interpreted as a luxury good in that society demands more of it as it becomes wealthier. Voters might also treat culture, traditions, and other nonpecuniary values as luxury goods. Consistent with this argument, the recent rise in populism appears predominantly in rich countries. In poor countries, agents are not willing to sacrifice consumption in exchange for nonpecuniary values.

Globalization would survive under a social planner. Our competitive market solution differs from the social planner solution due to the negative externality that the elites impose on others through their high consumption. To see if globalization can be saved by redistribution, we analyse redistributive policies that transfer wealth from low risk-aversion agents, who benefit the most from globalization, to high risk-aversion agents, who benefit the least. We show that such policies can delay the populist's victory, but cannot prevent it from happening eventually.

Which Countries Are Populist?

Our model predicts that support for populism should be stronger in countries that are more financially developed, more unequal, and running current account deficits. Looking across 29 developed countries, we find evidence supporting these predictions.

Figure 2 Vote share of populist parties in recent elections

The US and the UK are good examples. Both have high financial development, large inequality, and current account deficits. It is thus no coincidence, in the context of our model, that these countries led the populist wave in 2016. In contrast, Germany is less financially developed, less unequal, and it runs a sizable current account surplus. Populism has been relatively subdued in Germany, as our model predicts. The model emphasises the dark side of financial development – it spurs the growth of inequality, which eventually leads to a populist backlash.

Who are the Populist Voters?

The model also makes predictions about the characteristics of populist voters. Compared to mainstream voters, populist voters should be more inequality-averse (i.e. more anti-elite) and more risk-averse (i.e. better insured against consumption fluctuations). Like highly risk-averse agents, poorer and less-educated agents have less to lose from the end of globalization. The model thus predicts that these agents are more likely to vote populist. That is indeed what we find when we examine the characteristics of the voters who supported Brexit in the 2016 EU referendum and Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

The model's predictions for asset prices are also interesting. The global market share of US stocks should rise in anticipation of the populist's victory. Indeed, the US share of the global stock market rose steadily before the 2016 Trump election. The US bond yields should be unusually low before the populist's victory. Indeed, bond yields in the West were low when the populist wave began.

Backlash in a booming economy

In our model, a populist backlash occurs when the economy is strong because that is when inequality is high. The model helps us understand why the backlash is occurring now, as the US economy is booming. The economy is going through one of its longest macroeconomic expansions ever, having been growing steadily for almost a decade since the 2008 crisis.

This study relates to our prior work at the intersection of finance and political economy. Here, we exploit the cross-sectional variation in risk aversion, whereas in our 2017 paper, we analyse its time variation (Pastor and Veronesi 2017). In the latter model, time-varying risk aversion generates political cycles in which Democrats and Republicans alternate in power, with higher stock returns under Democrats. Our previous work also explores links between risk aversion and inequality (Pastor and Veronesi 2016).

Conclusions

We highlight the fragility of globalization in a democratic society that values equality. In our model, a pushback against globalization arises as a rational voter response. When a country grows rich enough, it becomes willing to sacrifice consumption in exchange for a more equal society. Redistribution is of limited value in our frictionless, complete-markets model. Our formal model supports the narrative of Rodrik (1997, 2000), who argues that we cannot have all three of global economic integration, the nation state, and democratic politics.

If policymakers want to save globalization, they need to make the world look different from our model. One attractive policy option is to improve the financial systems of less-developed countries. Smaller cross-country differences in financial development would mitigate the uneven effects of cross-border risk sharing. More balanced global risk sharing would result in lower current account deficits and, eventually, lower inequality in the rich world.

See original post for references


JTMcPhee , September 28, 2018 at 10:34 am

"rising inequality is a natural consequence of economic growth. " For which definition of growth? Or maybe, observing that cancer is the very model of growth, for any definition?

Nice model and graphs, though.

What kind of political economy is to be discerned, and how is one to effectuate it with systems that would have to be so very different to have a prayer of providing lasting homeostatic functions?

The Rev Kev , September 28, 2018 at 10:50 am

And what happens in a world where, due to depleted resources, growth is no longer an option and we start living in a world of slow contraction?

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 12:28 pm

Starvation pain and death absent some kind of (fair) rationing mechanisms.

Olga , September 28, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Actually, I can hardly wait. If nothing else will get folks motivated to effect change – this could (let's hope).

drumlin woodchuckles , September 28, 2018 at 3:29 pm

The global overclass can hardly wait too. They think they are in position to guide the change to their desired outcome. Targeted applied Jackpot Engineering, you know.

joey , September 28, 2018 at 5:24 pm

hoping for an alpha test tube environment or better soma in my next go round?

Bobby Gladd , September 28, 2018 at 4:12 pm

Frase's "Quadrant IV" – Hierarchy + Scarcity = Exterminism (see "Four Futures")

d , September 28, 2018 at 2:11 pm

At some point if the majority dont think they get any benefit from the economy, they will put a stake through it, and replace it with some thing that works?now that could be some thing very different, but it will happen

Olga , September 28, 2018 at 2:22 pm

I had the same thought – growth as defined in the current, neoliberal model. There is nothing inevitable about inequality – it is caused by political choices.

Tony Wikrent , September 28, 2018 at 10:44 am

It is painful to find these assumptions accepted at NC.

"the economy is strong"

Not from my perspective. Or from the perspectives of the work force or the industrial base replacing themselves. Or the perspective of a 4 to 5 trillion dollar shortfall in infrastructure funding.

"In our model, rising inequality is a natural consequence of economic growth."

Well, that simply did not happen 1946 to 1971.

"populist delivers lower consumption but also lower inequality to US agents."

REALLY? Consumption of WHAT? Designer handbags and jeans? What about consumption of mass public transit and health care services? I'm very confident that a populist government that found a way to put a muzzle on Wall Street and the banksters would increase consumption of things I prefer while also lessening inequality.

Reading through this summary of modeling, it occurred to me that the operative variable was not inequality so much as "high financial development."

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 12:32 pm

It is painful to find these assumptions accepted at NC.

"the economy is strong"

"In our model, rising inequality is a natural consequence of economic growth."

"populist delivers lower consumption but also lower inequality to US agents."

Agreed, BS but likely to be skewered as the comment section picks up steam.

There's a lot of skeptics lurking here.

JEHR , September 28, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Thanks for pointing out the weaknesses in the article.

a different chris , September 28, 2018 at 12:33 pm

Posting doesn't apply "acceptance" at NC. I think that has been made pretty darn clear on a number of occasions.

Olga , September 28, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Yes and also, let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. These days, just saying that globalisation leads to inequality and people act rationally, when they push back – even though choices are limited – is pretty revolutionary. We need other analyses along those lines, maybe with a few corrections. Thanks for posting!

shinola , September 28, 2018 at 1:01 pm

"Redistribution is of limited value in our frictionless, complete-markets model"

That's nice. But in what universe do these "frictionless, complete-markets" actually exist?

juliania , September 28, 2018 at 1:37 pm

" In our model, a populist backlash occurs when the economy is strong because that is when inequality is high. "

Yes to the above comments. This sentence really stuck in my throat. A strong economy to me is one that achieves balanced equality. Somehow this article avoids the manner in which the current economy became "strong". Perhaps a better word is "corrupt". (No 'perhaps' really; I'm just being polite.)

Otherwise some good points being made here.

juliania , September 28, 2018 at 1:41 pm

I also didn't like that the anti-neoliberalists are being portrayed as not having sympathy for the poor. Gosh, we are a hard-hearted lot, only interested in our own come-uppance and risk-adversity.

Robert Valiant , September 28, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Isn't equality just a value?

A "strong" economy is one that is growing as measured by GDP – full stop. Inequality looks to me like a feature of our global economic value system, not a bug.

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 3:29 pm

Inequality is a problem of distribution. Is a strong economy one that provides the most to a few or a fair share to the many?

High GDP growth could reflect either but which is most important?

If your neighbor is out of work it looks like a recession, if you're out of work it feels like a depression.

Synoia , September 28, 2018 at 2:22 pm

Friction-less Markets exist in where there is much lube.

Trump is probably an expert in that area.

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 3:30 pm

"Redistribution is of limited value in our frictionless, complete-markets model"

This is complete BS. So is your model.

Kit , September 28, 2018 at 5:36 pm

A universe with spherical consumers of uniform size and density.

Economics is like physics, or wants to be. If you want practicality, you need something more like engineering.

Andrew Watts , September 28, 2018 at 5:56 pm

I only read these articles to see what the enemy is thinking. The vast majority of economists are nothing more than cheerleaders for capitalism. I imagine anybody who strays too far from neoliberal orthodoxy is ignored.

Patrick , September 28, 2018 at 10:56 am

the Trump/Brexit populist thinking has nothing to do with equality. it has do do with who should get preferential treatment and why -- it's about drawing a tight circle on who get's to be considered "equal".

not sure how you can pull a desire for equality from this (except through statistics, which can be used to "prove" anything).

Outis Philalithopoulos , September 28, 2018 at 1:23 pm

I'm confused – so the evidence of statistics should be discounted, in favor of more persuasive evidence? Consisting of your own authoritative statements about the motives of other people?

In the future, please try to think about what sorts of arguments are likely to be persuasive to people who don't already agree with you.

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 3:35 pm

In the Trump/neoliberal world we get what we "deserve". Or do we deserve what we get?

The majority of the population believes the losers didn't try hard enough.

In a world full of Einsteins the bottom 20% would still live in poverty. Life is graded on a curve.

Louis Fyne , September 28, 2018 at 10:57 am

If you consider yourself an "environmentalist," then you have to be against globalization.

(From the easiest to universally agree upon) the multi-continental supply chain for everything from tube socks to cobalt to frozen fish is unsustainable, barring Star Trek-type transport tech breakthroughs.

(to the less easily to universally agree upon) the population of the entire developed (even in the US) would be stablized/falling/barely rising, but for migration.

mass migration-fueled population growth/higher fertility rates of migrants in the developed world and increased resource footprint is bad for both the developed world and developing world.

Jeremy Grimm , September 28, 2018 at 2:51 pm

The long, narrow, and manifold supply lines which characterize our present systems of globalization make the world much more fragile. The supply chains are fraught with single points of systemic failure. At the same time Climate Disruption increases the risk that a disaster can affect these single points of failure. I fear that the level of instability in the world systems is approaching the point where multiple local disasters could have catastrophic effects at a scale orders of magnitude greater than the scale of the triggering events -- like the Mr. Science demonstration of a chain-reaction where he tosses a single ping pong ball into a room full of mousetraps set with ping pong balls. You have to be against globalization if you're against instability.

The entire system of globalization is completely dependent on a continuous supply of cheap fuel to power the ships, trains, and trucks moving goods around the world. That supply of cheap fuel has its own fragile supply lines upon which the very life of our great cities depends. Little food is grown where the most food is eaten -- this reflects the distributed nature of our supply chains greatly fostered by globalization.

Globalization increases the power and control Corporate Cartels have over their workers. It further increases the power large firms have over smaller firms as the costs and complexities of globalized trade constitute a relatively larger overhead for smaller firms. Small producers of goods find themselves flooded with cheaper foreign knock-offs and counterfeits of any of their designs that find a place in the market. It adds uncertainty and risk to employment and small ventures. Globalization magnifies the power of the very large and very rich over producers and consumers.

I believe the so-called populist voters and their backlash in a "booming" economy are small indications of a broad unrest growing much faster than our "booming" economies. That unrest is one more risk to add to the growing list of risks to an increasingly fragile system. The world is configured for a collapse that will be unprecedented in its speed and scope.

Olga , September 28, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Actually, the way I see it – if one considers oneself an environmentalist, one has to be against capitalism, not just globalization. Capitalism is built on constant growth – but on a planet, with limited resources, that simply cannot work. Not long term unless we're prepared to dig up and/or pave over everything. Only very limited-scale, mom-and-pop kind of capitalism can try to work long term – but the problem is, it would not stay that way because greed gets in the way every time and there's no limiting greed. (Greed as a concept was limited in the socialist system – but some folks did not like that.)

tagyoureit , September 28, 2018 at 3:22 pm

"Capitalism is built on constant growth." I have a 'brand new' view of photosynthesis. Those plants (pun intended) are 'capitalist pigweeds'

John Wright , September 28, 2018 at 11:21 am

The paper posits:

" Given their low risk aversion, US agents insure the agents of the rest of the world by holding aggressive and disperse portfolio positions."

That low risk aversion could be driven by the willingness of the US government to provide military/diplomatic/trade assistance to US businesses around the word. The risk inherent in moving factories, doing resource extraction and conducting business overseas is always there, but if one's government lessens the risk via force projection and control of local governments, a US agent could appear to be "less risk averse" because the US taxpayer has "got their back".

This paper closes with

"If policymakers want to save globalization, they need to make the world look different from our model. One attractive policy option is to improve the financial systems of less-developed countries. Smaller cross-country differences in financial development would mitigate the uneven effects of cross-border risk sharing. More balanced global risk sharing would result in lower current account deficits and, eventually, lower inequality in the rich world."

Ah yes, to EVENTUALLY lower inequality, the USA needs to "improve the financial systems of less-well developed countries"

Perhaps the USA needs to improve its OWN financial system first?

Paul Woolley has suggested, the US and UK financial systems are 2 to 3 times they should be.

And the USA's various financial industry driven bubbles, the ZIRP rescue of the financial industry, and mortgage security fraud seem all connected back to the USA financial industry.

Inequality did not improve in the aftermath of these events as the USA helped preserve the elite class.

Maybe the authors have overlooked a massive home field opportunity?

That being that the USA should consider "improving" its own financial system to help inequality.

shinola , September 28, 2018 at 1:17 pm

In my model, eventually, we are all equally dead.

Lee , September 28, 2018 at 11:26 am

I'm glad to see that issues and views discussed pretty regularly here in more or less understandable English have been translated into Academese. Being a high risk averse plebe, who will not starve for lack of trade with China, but may have to pay a bit more for strawberries for lack of cheap immigrant labor, I count myself among the redistributionist economic nationalists.

jrs , September 28, 2018 at 1:59 pm

I suspect strawberries would be grown elsewhere than the U.S., without cheap immigrant labor (unless picking them is somehow able to be automated).

polecat , September 28, 2018 at 5:19 pm

Yes, it's called u-pickum @ home ..

Right now I'm making raisins from the grapes harvested here at home .. enough to last for a year, or maybe two. Sure, it's laborous to some extent, but the supply chain is very short .. the cost, compared to buying the same amount at retait rates, is minuscule, and they're as 'organic' as can be. The point I'm trying to make is that wth some personal effort, we can all live lighter, live slower, and be, for the most part, contented.
Might as well step into collapse, gracefully, and avoid the rush, as per J. M. Greer's mantra.

Wukchumni , September 28, 2018 at 12:45 pm

The UK had become somewhat dependent on Switzerland for wristwatches prior to WW2, and all of the sudden France falls and that's all she wrote for imports.

Must've been a mad scramble to resurrect the business, or outsource elsewhere.

My wife and I were talking about what would happen if say the reign of error pushes us into war with China, and thanks to our just in time way of life, the goods on the shelves of most every retailer, would be plundered by consumers, and maybe they could be restocked a few times, but that's it.

Now, that would shock us to our core consumerism.

Inode _buddha , September 28, 2018 at 2:11 pm

People might actually start learning how to fix stuff again, and value things that can be fixed.

polecat , September 28, 2018 at 5:39 pm

I recently purchased a cabinet/shelf for 20 tubmans, from a repurposing/recycling business, and, after putting a couple of hundred moar tubmans into it .. some of which included recycled latex paints and hardware .. transformed it into a fabulous stand-alone kitchen storage unit. If I were to purchase such at retail, it would most likely go for close to $800- $1000.00 easy !!
With care, this 'renewed' polecat heirloom will certainly outlive it's recreator, and pass on for generations henceforth.

Duck1 , September 28, 2018 at 6:24 pm

I thought a Tubman was a double sawbuck, or at least a Hamilton. Otherwise, you're doing it right kid.

HotFlash , September 28, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Oh well, Canada not on any of the charts. Again. We are most certainly chopped moose liver. Wonder what the selection criteria were?

JEHR , September 28, 2018 at 1:15 pm

Yes, thank goodness there was no mention of Canada's failure to negotiate a trade treaty with our best friend. All of a sudden, Canadians seem to be the target of a lot of ill will in other articles.

JTMcPhee , September 28, 2018 at 1:47 pm

I think it's just ill- informed jealousy. Us US mopes think Canadians are much better off than we Yanks, health care and such. You who live there have your own insights, of course. Trudeau and the Ford family and tar sands and other bits.

And some of us are peeved that you don't want us migrating to take advantage of your more beneficent milieu.

Wukchumni , September 28, 2018 at 1:54 pm

It's a different vibe up over, their housing bubble crested and is sinking, as the road to HELOC was played with the best intentions even more furiously than here in the heat of the bubble.

Can Canada bail itself out as we did in the aftermath, and keep the charade going?

Jonathan T McPhee , September 28, 2018 at 3:10 pm

Do they have a sovereign currency, and as yet not exhausted real world extractable resources?

And I guess by "Canada" you are talking about the elite and the FIRE, right? "There are many Canadas " https://www.youtube.com/user/RedGreenTV

Unna , September 28, 2018 at 3:20 pm

Feel free to fill out that 8 inch high pile of Canadian immigration documentation, so ya'all can come on up and join the party. Or just jump on your pony and ride North into the Land of the Grandmother. Trudeau wants more people and has failed to offer proper sacrifice to the god Terminus, the god of borders, so .

Just don't move to "Van" unless you have a few million to drop on a "reno'ed" crack shack. When the god Pluto crawls back into the earth, the housing bubble will burst, and it's not going to be pretty.

Wukchumni , September 28, 2018 at 3:29 pm

That's funny as our dam here is called the Terminus Reservoir, if the name fits

I'm just looking for an ancestral way out of what might prove to be a messy scene down under, i'd gladly shack up in one of many of my relatives basements if Max Mad breaks out here.

Unna , September 28, 2018 at 5:33 pm

Handwriting's been on the wall. Canada's very nice, not perfect, but what place is? And: It's not the imperial homeland.

JerryDenim , September 28, 2018 at 1:59 pm

Great article, interesting data points, but besides placing tariffs on Chinese imports there is nothing populist about Trump, just empty rhetoric. Highly regressive tax cuts for the wealthy, further deregulation, wanton environmental destruction, extremist right-wing ideologues as judges, a cabinet full of Wall Street finance guys, more boiler-plate Neo-Lib policies as far as I can tell.

I fear Trump and the Brexiters are giving populism a bad name. A functioning democracy should always elect populists. A government of elected officials who do not represent the public will is not really a democracy.

feox , September 28, 2018 at 2:43 pm

Aversion to inequality thus reflects envy of the economic elites rather than compassion for the poor.

That's ridiculous. Indeed, the Brexit campaign was all about othering the poor and powerless immigrants, as well as the cultural, artistic, urban and academic elites, never the the moneyed elites, not the 1%. The campaign involved no dicussion what's so ever of the actual numbers of wealth inequality.

When deciding whether to vote mainstream or populist, US agents face a consumption-inequality trade-off. If elected, the populist delivers lower consumption but also lower inequality to US agents.

How can anyone possibly write such a thing? The multi-trillion tax cut from Donald Trump represents a massive long time rise in inequality. Vis-à-vis Brexit, the entire campaign support for that mad endeavor came from free-trader fundamentalists who want to be free to compete with both hands in the global race-to-the-bottom while the EU is (barely) restraining them.

Trump and Brexit voters truly are irrational turkeys (that's saying a lot for anyone who's met an actual turkey) voting for Christmas.

Jonathan T McPhee , September 28, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Some of us mopes who voted for Trump did so as a least-bad alternative to HER, just to try to kick the hornet's nest and get something to fly out: So your judgment is that those folks are "irrational turkeys," bearing in mind how mindless the Christmas and Thansgiving turkeys have been bred to be?

Better to arm up, get out in the street, and start marching and chanting and ready to confront the militarized police? I'd say, face it: as people here have noted there is a system in place, the "choices" are frauds to distract us every couple of years, and the vectors all point down into some pretty ugly terrain.

Bless those who have stepped off the conveyor, found little places where they can live "autarkically," more or less, and are waiting out the Ragnarok/Gotterdammerung/Mad Max anomie, hoping not to be spotted by the warbands that will form up and roam the terrain looking for bits of food and fuel and slaves and such. Like one survivalist I spotted recently says as his tag-line, "If you have stuff, you're a target. If you have knowledge. you have a chance–" this in a youtube video on how to revive a defunct nickel-cadmium drill battery by zapping it with a stick welder. (It works, by the way.)He's a chain smoker and his BMI must be close to 100, but he's got knowledge

precariat , September 28, 2018 at 3:24 pm

The papers's framing of the issues is curious: the populace has 'envy' of the well-off; and populism (read envy) rises when the economy is strong and inequality rises (read where's my yaht?).

The paper lacks acknowledgement of the corruption, fraud, and rigging of policy that rises when an overly financialized economy is 'good.' This contributes to inequality. Inequality is not just unequal, but extremely disproportionate distributions which cause real suffering and impoverishment of the producers. It follows (but not to the writer of this paper) that the citizens take offense at and objection to the disproprtionate takings of some and the meager receipts of the many. It's this that contributes to populism.

And the kicker: to save globalization, let's financialize the less developed economies to mitigate cross-border inequalities. Huh? Was not the discussion about developed nations' voters to rising inequality in face of globalization? The problem is not cross-border 'envy.' It's globalization instrinsically and how it is gamed.

Mark Pontin , September 28, 2018 at 7:05 pm

Short version: It's the looting, stupid.

Agreed.

knowbuddhau , September 28, 2018 at 3:54 pm

I'm with Olga. It's good to see that voting "wrong" taken seriously, and seen as economically rational. Opposing globalization makes sense, even in the idiosyncratic usage of economics.

The trouble, of course, is that the world of economics is not the world we live in.

Why does the immigrant cross the border? Is it only for "pecuniary interests," only for the money? Then why do so many send most of it back across the border, in remittances?

If people in poor countries aren't willing to sacrifice for "luxuries," like a dignified human life, who was Simon Bolivar, Che Guevara, or more recently, Berta Cáceres?

Seems to be a weakness of economic models in general: it's inconceivable that people do things for other than pecuniary interests. In the reductionist terms of natural science, we're social primates, not mechanical information engines.

If this model were a back patio cart, like the one I'm building right now, I wouldn't set my beer on it. Looks like a cart from a distance, though, esp when you're looking for one.

Darthbobber , September 28, 2018 at 6:02 pm

To the extent that the backlash has irrational aspects in the way it manifests, I would suspect that it relates to the refusal of the self-styled responsible people to participate in opening more rational paths to solutions, or even to acknowledge the existence of a problem. When the allegedly responsible and knowledgeable actors refuse to act, or even see a need to act, it's hardly surprising that the snake oil vendors grow in influence.

Charlie , September 28, 2018 at 6:21 pm

I'm always leery of t-test values being cited without the requisite sample size being noted. You need that to determine effect size. While the slope looks ominously valid for the regression model, effects could be weak and fail to show whether current account deficits are the true source. Financialization seems purposely left out of the model.

[Sep 23, 2018] European Union (EU) leaders rebuffed Theresa May appeal to give at least conditional support to her Chequers proposal for a "soft Brexit."

Sep 23, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star September 22, 2018 at 11:49 am

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/09/22/euro-s22.html

From the Super Schadenfreude Press:

"UK Prime Minister Theresa May suffered political humiliation in Salzburg, when European Union (EU) leaders rebuffed her appeal to give at least conditional support to her Chequers proposal for a "soft Brexit."

May was given only 10 minutes to address EU heads of state Wednesday, after dinner at the informal summit, during which she appealed to her audience, "You are participants in our debate, not just observers."

She said she had counted on at least supportive noises for her "serious and workable" plan, given that she was seeking to head off a potential challenge from the "hard-Brexit"/Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party. She warned that the UK could be torn apart -- with respect to Northern Ireland and Scotland, as well as by social tensions; that if her government fell, Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party could win a general election; and cited the potential damage to the EU itself of lost trade, investment and military support from the UK.

Instead, her address was met with silence and her implied threats were stonewalled, as the main players within the EU combined the next day to declare her proposals to be "unworkable.

No matter how these conflicts play out, Britain and the whole of Europe face a worsening crisis that threatens to tear the EU apart. The growth of both inter-imperialist and social antagonisms found dramatic form in Brexit, which the dominant sections of the City of London, big business, all the major parties and Britain's allies in the US and Europe all opposed. Yet two years later, May is fighting a desperate struggle against her anti-EU "hard-Brexit" faction, the US is led by a president who has declared his support for the breakup of the EU, and numerous far-right governments have taken power in part by exploiting popular hostility to EU-dictated austerity."

"worsening crisis that threatens to tear the EU-(and hence NATO)- apart. " .

:O)

[Sep 22, 2018] The implications of US-China trade war - World Socialist Web Site

18 September 2018
Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Popularity of National Socialism in capitalist country like Germany was exactly due to that process of corruption of working class who embassy stoped to question system as long as provided them with goods. ..."
"... Henceforth, most goods manufactured for US consumption were to be produced abroad, from Mexico to China. Once US based multinationals started down this road, European and even Japanese ones followed. This did not mean an increase in productive forces but a substitution of one labour force for another. ..."
"... Thus the rise of Chinese industry was as much a part of this process as the deindustrialisation of formerly prosperous parts of the US and the UK. This has nothing to do with the evolution of our species and everything to do with the evolution of capitalism. This is what I mean by globalisation. ..."
"... It has not eradicated national borders but is a major factor in the recent development of far right nationalism in Europe. It is a strong contributor to the restructuring of western economies so that only a minority of British workers have full time permanent jobs. It is also used as leverage to drive down wages in western economies. ..."
"... I do not believe what I mean by globalisation is progressive at all. It has been pushed by the most reactionary political forces in western societies as an integral part of what the WSWS calls a social counter revolution. As the WSWS again points out it makes the preservation of national welfare states or a decent standard of living for working class people impossible. I am not calling for this to be reversed under capitalism. ..."
"... "...globalised production is the exploitation of lower wage rates in developing countries." ..."
"... As if domestic production were not the same thing. The author is essentially arguing for "lesser evil" exploitation in the interests of society as a whole. Reformists always do. ..."
"... "The crisis also exposed in full glare another of the central myths of the capitalist order -- that the state is somehow a neutral or independent organisation committed to regulating social and economic affairs in the interests of society as a whole." - Ten years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers ..."
"... "Keynes was a reformist and capable of formulating policies which, if followed, would make capitalism more amenable to the interests of the majority of people." ..."
"... The most important theoretical source of his thinking is his own work "The General Theory of Employment, Money and Interest" which is available to read or download free online. ..."
"... The US wants to reinforce it's declining global hegemonic position at any cost. Now they started with economic war against countries they see as not cooperating to their demands, but under current conditions this could easily transform into Global war at some point in future. ..."
Sep 22, 2018 | www.wsws.org

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis ten years ago, the leaders of the world's major powers pledged that never again would they go down the road of protectionism which had such disastrous consequences in the 1930s -- deepening the Great Depression and contributing to the outbreak of world war in 1939.

Yesterday US President Donald Trump announced tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods in what the Washington Post described as "one of the most severe economic restrictions ever imposed by a US president."

A levy of 10 percent will be imposed starting from September 24 and will be escalated to 25 percent in 2019 if the US does not receive what it considers to be a satisfactory agreement. The new tariffs, which will cover more than 1,000 goods, come on top of the 25 percent tariff already imposed on $50 billion worth of industrial products. Trump has threatened further measures on the remaining Chinese exports to the US totalling more than $250 billion.

China has threatened retaliatory action including tariffs and other, as yet unspecified measures, against the US, meaning that the world's number one and number two economies are locked into a rapidly escalating trade war that will have global consequences.

Announcing the decision, Trump called on China to take "swift action" to end what he called its "unfair trade practices" and expressed the hope that the trade conflict would be resolved.

But there is little prospect of such an outcome because, while the US is demanding that the trade deficit with China be reduced, the conflict does not merely centre on that issue. China has made offers to increase its imports from the US, all of which have been rejected. The key US demand is that the Chinese government completely abandon its program of economic development and remain subservient to the US in high-tech economic sectors.

As the position paper issued by Washington in May put it: "China will cease providing market-distorting subsidies and other types of government support that can contribute to the creation or maintenance of excess capacity in industries targeted by the Made in China 2025 industrial plan."

In other words, China must completely scrap the foundational structures of its economy so that it presents no threat to the economic dominance of US capitalism, a dominance which the US intends to maintain, if it considers necessary, by military means. This was made clear earlier this year when Washington designated China as a "strategic competitor," that is, a potential military enemy. This is the inherent, objective, logic of the latest trade war measures.

Their full significance can only be grasped when viewed with the framework of the historical development of the global capitalist economy.

After the disastrous decade of the 1930s, and as the world plunged into war, leading figures within the Roosevelt administration recognised that this situation was due in no small measure to the division of the world into rival trade and economic blocs which tariff and other trade restrictions had played a major role in creating.

Post-war planning centred on trying to overcome this contradiction between the global economy and its division into rival great powers and blocs through the development of a mechanism that ensured the expansion of world trade. This was the basis of the series of measures set in place in the immediate aftermath of the war: the Bretton Woods monetary system which tied major currencies to the dollar in fixed exchange rates, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade that sought to bring down tariff barriers and the establishment of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to ensure international economic collaboration.

These measures, however, did not overcome the inherent contradictions of capitalism, above all between the global economy and the nation-state system. Rather, they sought to contain and mitigate them within a system based on the overwhelming economic dominance of the US.

But the growth of the world capitalist economy and the strengthening of the other major powers undermined the very foundations on which they were based -- the absolute dominance of the US. Within the space of a generation, the weakening of the US position was revealed in August 1971 when it scrapped the Bretton Woods monetary system declaring that the dollar would no longer be redeemable for gold.

The period since then has seen the ongoing weakening of the position of the US, which was graphically revealed in the financial meltdown ten years ago when the US financial system was shown to be a house of cards based on rampant speculation and outright criminal activity. This situation has continued in the subsequent decade, threatening, another, even more disastrous, financial crisis.

The US is now not only confronted with the economic power of its European rivals but a major new one in the form of China. It is striving to reverse this situation. As Leon Trotsky explained some eighty years ago, the hegemony of the US would assert itself most powerfully not in conditions of boom but above all in a crisis when it would use every means -- economic and military -- against all rivals to maintain its position.

The trade war measures against China are only one expression of this process. The US has already carried out protectionist measures against Europe and Japan through the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium and has threatened tariffs on cars and auto parts, which will be invoked unless they join its push on China.

And as the China tariffs are imposed, top officials of the European Union are meeting to discuss how they might overcome the financial sanctions the US will impose against European companies if they maintain economic ties with Iran after November 4 following the unilateral abrogation of the Iran nuclear deal.

The deal was not overturned because Iran had breached the agreement -- international agencies found that it had fully complied. Rather, the United States unilaterally abrogated the treaty in order to strengthen the strategic position of the US in the Middle East by countering the influence of Iran, and because European corporations stood to benefit from the opening up of new economic opportunities in that country at the expense of their US rivals.

Now the State Department has warned that European companies are "on the railroad tracks" if they defy US sanctions and firms that deal with the "enemy" will be barred from access to the US financial system.

Writing in the 1930s, Leon Trotsky explained that the interdependence of every country in the global economy meant that the program of economic nationalism, of the kind now being practised by the Trump administration, was a reactionary "utopia" insofar as it set itself the task of harmonious national economic development on the basis of private property.

"But it is a menacing reality insofar as it is a question of concentrating all the economic forces of the nation for the preparation of a new war," he wrote five years before the outbreak of World War II.

This "menacing reality" is now once again expressed in the fact that the trade war measures against China, as well as those against Europe and Japan, have all been invoked on "national security" grounds. Just as the US prepares for war, so too do all the other major powers. This drive does not arise from the heads of the capitalist politicians -- their actions are only the translation into politics of the objective logic and irresolvable contradictions of the capitalist system over which they preside.

But there is another more powerful logic at work. The very development of globalised production, which has raised the contradiction of the outmoded nation-state system with its rival great powers to a new peak of intensity, has laid the foundations for a planned world socialist economy. And it has created in the international working class, unified at an unprecedented level, the social force to carry it out.

The latest Trump trade war measures underscore the urgency for the political and theoretical arming of the working class with the program of world socialist revolution, fought for by the International Committee of the Fourth International, if civilisation is to go forward and the plunge into barbarism averted.

Nick Beams

ReplyShare › +

Warren Duzak4 days ago

Beams excellent piece included:
"As the position paper issued by Washington in May put it: "China will
cease providing market-distorting subsidies and other types of government support that can contribute to the creation or maintenance of excess capacity in industries targeted by the Made in China 2025 industrial plan."

This issue of "government support" in China is reflected in the U.S. but in a different way. Nashville and Tennessee governments alone have given hundreds of millions of dollars in "tax incentives," payment for worker training and outright "grants" to corporations in "government support."
Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) got millions for, of all things, furniture for new offices which included thousands of dollars for a guitar-shaped table.
Gaylord's Opryland Resort got almost $14 million from the city to build a $90 million hotel Waterpark that would only be open to hotel guests!
The state and its capitol are prepared to give Amazon more than $1.5 billion to have the corporation move is second U.S. headquarters here.
Like the Chinese government and oligarchs, neither state nor city will reveal the details or total amount.
As the WSWS has so correctly observed before, "the hypocrisy is breathtaking."

Jerome_Stern5 days ago
I should say I do not agree that globalised production is a beneficial or positive economic development. I accept that as a by product there is a positive political result namely the creation and expansion of the international working class. But the only reason for globalised production is the exploitation of lower wage rates in developing countries. If the cost of labour, taking into account currency exchange rates as well as wage levels, were the same in every country and region, there would be no advantage in producing most commodities in Asia for sale in North America or Europe (or vice versa). Also, I do not accept that free trade is in everyone's interest. The only argument ever advanced in it's favour by economists, the comparative advantage argument, is spurious. Even its originators, Adam Smith and David Ricardo, accepted that the benefits would only apply if capital was immobile across national boundaries, which hardly applies today. The US economy's industrial growth, though the result of several factors, was only possible because the US rejected free trade in favour of protective tariffs which protected its infant industries from foreign competition. What is the central fallacy in the comparative advantage argument is that the prosperity of the majority of a country's citizens under capitalism depends on a strong, capital intensive, manufacturing sector, but which also requires a large labour input. Only those jobs can pay a sufficiently high wage to workers. Their spending power also invigorates the whole economy.
Kalen Jerome_Stern4 days ago
Your quite reasonable concerns are partially addressed here with Quasi-Marxist analysis:

FALLACY OF FREE MARKET AND FREE TRADE: A THEORETICAL VIEW.
https://contrarianopinion.w...

Thy major point about this issue global or local is often completely missed namely that this dispute have nothing to do with Workers Socialist Revolution but to perhaps see ways how to save capitalism in a way of sharing more wealth with working class, how to suppress class struggle with Bread and Games or War, an old Roman method of divide and conquer.

Hence, capital controls, tarrifs , barriers, subsidies are instruments of having any possibility of real social policies in capitalism system making it more livable and longer lasting than in case of intensified pressure on working class and class struggle of globalism versus nationalism.

Popularity of National Socialism in capitalist country like Germany was exactly due to that process of corruption of working class who embassy stoped to question system as long as provided them with goods.

Little did they know, that they were in 1930 confronted with no permanent political solution to their class issues via improvement of standard of living and importance of their labor on the propaganda spectrum,but with dead end politics of submission to one political sellouts or another since their forced unity was just subordinated to capitalist imperative of ufettered economic and military growth via extreme exploitation.

And that is what's wrong with nationalism namely it is shutting down paths of class struggle toward class liberation, as it neuters this struggle.

Jerome_Stern Joe Williams4 days ago
There is a difference between the growth of global productive capacity and globalisation. Prior to the latter process, manufacturing capacity was increased including by western investment in developing countries, especially in Latin America. But production in those countries was for local regional and national markets.

The US accepted competition from the German economy as a price to be paid for avoiding the postwar threat of socialism. But the Japanese export driven model of growth was eventually unacceptable. The US demanded the Japanese destroy this model by raising their own currency to a level which made their exports much less competitive. The Japanese rich were given financial opportunities in the US as compensation.

However, when the South Koreans and other nations copied the Japanese model, the US government and US multinationals radically changed their economic policy. A conscious choice was made by the Reagon administration to export manufacturing jobs en masse to developing countries as well as attacking the incomes of US workers who had jobs.

Henceforth, most goods manufactured for US consumption were to be produced abroad, from Mexico to China. Once US based multinationals started down this road, European and even Japanese ones followed. This did not mean an increase in productive forces but a substitution of one labour force for another.

Thus the rise of Chinese industry was as much a part of this process as the deindustrialisation of formerly prosperous parts of the US and the UK. This has nothing to do with the evolution of our species and everything to do with the evolution of capitalism. This is what I mean by globalisation.

It has not eradicated national borders but is a major factor in the recent development of far right nationalism in Europe. It is a strong contributor to the restructuring of western economies so that only a minority of British workers have full time permanent jobs. It is also used as leverage to drive down wages in western economies.

Of course in recent years the Chinese and Indian economies have grown under these policies so that there is now an increase of global capacity. Nor do I believe this process has led to a genuinely more efficient system of production and distribution. To produce products in one part of the world for distribution to another part half way around the world is very inefficient, if the product could be made nearer to the point where it would be used. It however becomes profitable if the labour used to produce it is much cheaper than that available where the the object is to be sold.

I do not believe what I mean by globalisation is progressive at all. It has been pushed by the most reactionary political forces in western societies as an integral part of what the WSWS calls a social counter revolution. As the WSWS again points out it makes the preservation of national welfare states or a decent standard of living for working class people impossible. I am not calling for this to be reversed under capitalism.

That seems impossible. Only the overthrow of capitalism offers the possibility of positive change. But under international socialism, globalised production chains will finally be seen for what they are, an unnecessary and inefficient encumbrance on humanity.

Joe Williams Jerome_Stern3 days ago
I think you are largely confusing globalisation with imperialism. I think you are also misunderstanding the wsws position. The wsws does not call for xenophobic or nationalist policies to close borders and keep workers imprisoned in their home countries to be used as a captive labor force by the domestic bourgeoisie. The wsws calls for an internationalist and proletarian socialist movement in conformity with that advocated by the workers movement ever since the publication of the communist manifesto.
Hermit Crab Jerome_Stern3 days ago
profitability =/= efficiency
Hermit Crab Jerome_Stern2 days ago
I really could not care less what you call it. I just want people to start treating each other better. What makes those with sticky fingers think that they are so G.D. better than everyone else that they can condemn whole segments to poverty and even death, all for the sake of their bits of imaginary ego-boosts?

ALL of the "isms" in the world have never worked out a justification for greed and the lust for power. No matter what the system, crooked people always try to exploit others, and blame justify it all on their "good genes". (edited)

Capitalism is no better or worse because it just doesn't matter what the system is, the crooks will always cheat that system to get more than everyone else.

denis ross Joe Williams4 days ago
An interesting theory to describe what is essentially creation of a world customs union based on the model that created Germany in 1871, the Zollverein. Spreading the customs union (Zollverein) worldwide was the reason for the two world wars--instead of maintaining a world federation politically and economically. The United Nations was designed to be a federation, but under post-1945 changes in the USA and subsequent pressures on the UN and its member states, it began developing into a union, not a federation. This was accompanied with creation of a global Zollverein, tariff free borders and free trade.

The difference politically between a union and a federation is that in a federation the member states award limited operating powers to a central coordinating body which does what the members want; in a union the central body holds all the powers and tells the members what to do.

sumwunyumaynotno denis ross4 days ago
The United Nations "holds all the powers and tells the members what to do" ? That's news to me. As far as I can tell, the members do what they damn well please. The UN is more like a fractured federation with a nearly impotent central body - the so-called "Security Council" - which issues edicts but has no enforcement power. Same with the World Court.
Hermit Crab sumwunyumaynotnoa day ago
The UN was designed by the victors of WWII to be "crippled", mere window-dressing as a calming salve for the developing nations. From the start, it was meant to be largely ineffective as the world's policeman and justice system .

All the nation states with any significant power are still more interested in preserving as much their own power and hegemonic control as possible.

Greg Jerome_Stern4 days ago
"...globalised production is the exploitation of lower wage rates in developing countries."

As if domestic production were not the same thing. The author is essentially arguing for "lesser evil" exploitation in the interests of society as a whole. Reformists always do.

"The crisis also exposed in full glare another of the central myths of the capitalist order -- that the state is somehow a neutral or independent organisation committed to regulating social and economic affairs in the interests of society as a whole." - Ten years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers

Hermit Crab Greg3 days ago
I suppose the determination of what constitutes the "interests of society as a whole" depends on which end of the stick one's "society" is holding.
Greg Jerome_Sterna day ago
"However my fundamental advocacy of policy would be that of international socialism the result of which would be the handing of power to the working class to be exercised democratically ."

The "handing of power" from whom exactly?

As it is now, the minority holds the power. So it's reasonable to think you mean they would hand the power over to the majority.

Which would be silly. But whether or not that was your meaning, "the handing of power to the working class to be exercised democratically" besides being exactly backwards, is an opportunist "understanding" of Marxism. It implies a perspective where the state does not need to be destroyed.

"The crucial question for Marx was what was the social material force -- the class -- created by capitalist society itself, which would be the agency, the driving force, of this transformation." - A promotion of the "life-style" politics of the pseudo-left

It's a version of the frequently and historically repeated goal of replacing one petty bourgeoisie minority with another, betraying the material interests of the working class and the revolution every time.

It seems like you might have just mentioned that phrase as an aside but it might indicate the deeper problem.

Before you start analyzing which policies might be recommended (which seems to be mainly what interests you) you have to understand the class nature of the problem. That doesn't come down only to understanding that there are two classes in struggle in society and then applying your everyday petty bourgeois thinking to it.

Have you read David North's Lenin, Trotsky and the Marxism of the October Revolution ? It was written back in March yet it's still posted on the wsws main page--for a reason.

It provides a concise explanation of some of the fundamental ideas and way of thinking you have to understand if you want to have any kind of intelligent conversation about socialism.

sumwunyumaynotno Jerome_Stern4 days ago
Nick Beams did not say that "globalised production chains employed represent a genuinely beneficial development in some deep sense." He said that such an outcome is impossible under capitalism and the system of competing nation-states.

The only "deep sense" is that he said it would be possible for globalization to have a positive effect for humanity if the international working class were able to abolish capitalism, the pursuit of private profit, warring nation-states, and institute socialism.

imaduwa5 days ago
Thank you comrade Nick Beams. US's century is 20th and a bygone one. You finely point out on the basis of Trotskysm the mortal danger that humanity faces resulting from the inter-imperialist rivalry that is escalating by the day.

Besides, the US's taking up of its rival China, the second biggest economy, in trade war pose a military confrontation to which Russia could be attracted on to China side.

Also Russia has been taken up by American imperialism independently as a target. Brexit hard or soft would also confound economic nationalism that is gathering momentum hugely. US sanctions on Iran is bound to sharpen the conflict between European imperialists. Also India appears to be in crisis on whether to abide by US dictats as per its Iranian economic connection especially on oil purchase. US's increasing protectionism has already gone out of control as per its implications to global polity and military activity. In view of this critical situation the role of the working class, national and international, should determine the future of humanity. Role of the revolutionary triumvirate, ICFI/SEP/IYSSE, is of paramount importance. I appeal to national working classes to build SEP as your national party of the socialist revolution. I appeal to youth and students to build your national chapters of the IYSSE in schools, universities etc. as quickly as possible. World war is haunting. Very existannce of the humanity on this palnet is uncertain, if we unitedly as workers, youth and students fail to empower the party of the world revolution, ICFI. Victory to international socialist revolution. Death to protectionism whose major advocate is US capitalism/imperialism. Down with the psudo left and the trade unions.

Jerome_Stern5 days ago
Keynes, who designed the Bretton Woods system, also proposed an international banking system and currency (called the Bancor). The purpose was to prevent the kind of unbalanced world trade which now dominates the global economy. Under his proposed system, countries with chronic trade surpluses would be penalised, thus preventing a situation like the present with some nations being massive exporters and others massive importers. Instead, all countries would hover around balanced trade where their imports equaled their exports in value. The US government told Keynes to shut up about this plan or they would cancel their promised postwar loans to the UK. The reason was that at the time the US planned to be a net exporter. Incidentally, Keynes warned that if the system of managed currency exchange rates were abandoned, the financial markets would become a "virtual senate" which would have the power to dictate economic policies to nation states.
Greg Jerome_Stern4 days ago
"Keynes, who designed the Bretton Woods system, also proposed an international banking system and currency (called the Bancor). The purpose was to prevent the kind of unbalanced world trade which now dominates the global economy."

Perpetually caught in a "lesser evil" loop of some variety or another from which the reformist never escapes, applying the same failed (ruling class) logic over, and over and over and over...

"But this solves nothing because, as Marx's analysis showed, the crises of capitalism cannot be overcome by reforms to the monetary system because, while they necessarily express themselves there, they were rooted in the very foundations of the capitalist economy, in its DNA so to speak -- that is, in the social relations based on profit and the market system." -Ten years after Lehman: New financial crises in the making

Jerome_Stern Greg4 days ago
Keynes' suggestion would have "solved" or rather prevented one problem, but not every problem of capitalism. Keynes was a reformist and capable of formulating policies which, if followed, would make capitalism more amenable to the interests of the majority of people.

He was consciously trying to save capitalism from itself and said so. But you rightly point out there is a major problem with this thinking, namely that it ignores the self interest of governments and capitalists alike, who ignore such concepts of "enlightened" self interest in favour of short term advantage.

Political reality intruded in Keynes' well-intentioned designs immediately as I've mentioned and the whole Bretton Woods edifice was knocked down as soon as it proved inconvenient for US interests.

Similarly, I strongly suspect Keynes would have disapproved of financial deregulation, but the underlying development of US capitalism led to unstoppable political pressure for its implementation.

Greg Jerome_Stern3 days ago
"Keynes was a reformist and capable of formulating policies which, if followed, would make capitalism more amenable to the interests of the majority of people."

For the life of me I can't figure why you'd praise a policy that more effectively persuades or controls the masses to their own detriment and to the economic benefit of a minority--other than to conclude that like Keynes and the rest of the petty bourgeoisie, you're a reformist.

Jerome_Stern Warren Duzak4 days ago
The most important theoretical source of his thinking is his own work "The General Theory of Employment, Money and Interest" which is available to read or download free online.

I only recently learned of his Bancor proposal in an article by George Monbiot originally published in the Guardian. I read it on the Znet website, but I can't remember when.

As for his quote about the financial markets becoming a virtual senate, I read that in some article about finance but don't remember the source. Sorry I can't be more helpful. There could be other books on his theories but he is somewhat unfashionable as mainstream economics has mostly reverted to a more ideologically driven right wing position.

Charlotte Ruse5 days ago
"In January, while Trump was requesting Congress to allocate funds for the US-Mexico border wall, China sent delegates to Chile, inviting Latin American leaders to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative. Months later, as Trump bullied US allies at the NATO summit, China was wrapping up the "16+1 summit" in Bulgaria, where Chinese investment and diplomatic relations were marketed to Central and Eastern European leaders. And most recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his travels throughout Africa, where he was visiting with heads of state and deepening China's relationships with the continent of the future, while America picks a one-sided trade fight with Rwanda."

The US "makes war" while China makes business deals. Pick your poison--two capitalists countries controlled by oligarchs which can only offer the working-class continued exploitation.

https://www.geopoliticalmon...

Sebouh805 days ago
An Excellent piece of article that explains clearly the trajectory that got us into US-China trade war, and what this means for the Global Capitalist System going forward. If we remember when trade war topic was first brought into picture Trump administration officials were saying imposing tariffs on China and Europe were the only way to correct the unfair trade balances. However, as the months progressed it quickly became known that US officials were using unfair trade practices of China as a scapegoat to demand further concessions from the Chinese authorities. These concessions include complete dismantlement of Made in China 2025 program and put a hold to their Silk Road initiative. In other words, Donald Trump and the entire American ruling circles see China as an existential long term threat and they are using trade war as a weapon to contain China's rising political and economical ambitions.

For now Trump is increasing the tariffs so as to force the Chinese leadership to acquiesce to his conditions. Of course, I would expect in the coming days Chinese authorities to rebuff this latest round of sanctions and that they would retaliate their own tariffs.

On the other hand, the Trump administration has put Iran under severe sanctions, and they also warned all big European Multinational corporations like Total and others to stop doing business with Iran after November. So as we can see we are in a very precarious Global situation right now due to rising contradictions between the needs of Global economy and nation states.

The US wants to reinforce it's declining global hegemonic position at any cost. Now they started with economic war against countries they see as not cooperating to their demands, but under current conditions this could easily transform into Global war at some point in future.

[Sep 22, 2018] A confidential report by Belgian investigators confirms that British intelligence services hacked state-owned Belgian telecom giant Belgacom on behalf of Washington

Sep 22, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al September 21, 2018 at 1:28 pm

Euractiv with AFP: Belgian inquest implicates UK in phone spying
https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/belgian-inquest-implicates-uk-in-phone-spying/

A confidential report by Belgian investigators confirms that British intelligence services hacked state-owned Belgian telecom giant Belgacom on behalf of Washington, it was revealed on Thursday (20 September).

The report, which summarises a five-year judicial inquiry, is almost complete and was submitted to the office of Justice Minister Koen Geens, a source close to the case told AFP, confirming Belgian press reports

The matter will now be discussed within Belgium's National Security Council, which includes the Belgian Prime Minister with top security ministers and officials.

Contacted by AFP, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office and the cabinet of Minister Geens refused to comment .
####

NO. Shit. Sherlock.

So the real question is that if this has known since 2013, why now? BREXIT?

[Sep 21, 2018] On Brexit, UK Negotiators Have Adopted a Hard Bargaining Strategy

Notable quotes:
"... The EU is not perfect and has costs, but measured against what it has achieved, it is a great success. ..."
"... The EU has brought peace to Europe for the longest period since Pax Romana (and that was not entirely peaceful). ..."
"... You're funny. The EU makes war by other means. The burden of disease in Greece, health loss, risk factors, and health financing, 2000–16: an analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanpub/PIIS2468-2667(18)30130-0.pdf ..."
"... The mortality rate for Greece is up approximately 50,000. All so Merkel in Germany, and Sarkozy and Hollande didn't have to go before their electorates and admit they were bailing out French and German banks through the backdoor. ..."
"... I guess all those little Balkan unpleasantnesses, the former Czechoslovakia and Bosnia and such, are not wars -- but then those are layable at the feet of NATO (that collection, as I recall it, of what, now, 29 member countries including all the Great Powers of the West) and the US imperium. ..."
"... The NATO establishment is about "making war," ..."
"... All of which is linked in significant ways to the economic "health" of the EU, from which lots of weapons flow in exchange for favors and money from the Destabilizers. ..."
"... In the meantime, the various stages are set, the players in the game of statism and nationalism and authoritarianism and neoliberalism are on their marks, the house lights are going out, and the long slow rise of the curtain is under way ..."
"... The period from the end of WWII to the Balkan Wars is still the longest period of peace since the Romans. I doubt you have ever lived through a war so I can't expect you to appreciate the difference between the Horrors of the Brussels Bureaucracy and the Horrors of Shelling and Bombing. ..."
"... I am not defending poor governance per se for the sake of defending the EU. But it is facile and fun to criticize it because one can make up all kinds of counter fantasies about how wonderful life would be without it. ..."
"... in the real world ..."
"... in the real world ..."
"... Ultimately, it's that simple. Merkel, Sarkozy, Hollande, and whoever else among the EU elites who chose to be complicit in killing substantial numbers of people so they could maintain themselves in power are scum. They are scum. They are scum. ..."
"... Fine, our elected leaders are all scum, but why does this mean that the EU is evil specifically. Why single it out? Why not advocate the overthrow of all centralized or unifying government? Move out to Montana to a cult and buy lots of guns or something. ..."
"... Ons should be very aware that EU directives comes mainly from the member states and that especially bad things that would never fly past an election could – and often is – spun by local government as "Big Bad Bruxelles is forcing poor little us to do this terrible thing to you poor people". Ala the British on trade deal with India and immigration of east-european workers. ..."
"... The EU does not have that much in the way of enforcement powers, that part is down-sourced to the individual member states. When a member state doesn't give a toss, it takes forever for some measure of sanctioning to spin up and usually it daily fines unto a misbehaving government, at the taxpayers expense (which of course those politicians who don't give a toss, are fine with since most of their cronies are not great taxpayers anyway). ..."
"... The solution is, patently, Tories out of power. Which I think will happen, certainly between now and 31 March 2019. Now would be better. Anyone thinking strategically in other parties in the UK (an oxymoron of a formulation, to be sure) would call for a no confidence vote the instant May's feet are on British soil. ..."
"... I doubt that this is personal, but what do I know. May is a nincompoop. The other heads of state patently, and quite rightly, don't respect her. Her presence has been useful to them only insofar as she could deliver a deal. ..."
"... I'd agree with your analysis of what happened – just glancing through the news today it seems that Macron in particular just lost patience, and the other leaders were happy to help him put the boot in. The EU has been trying to shore May up for a long time – the December agreement was little more than an attempt to protect her from an internal heave. This is a common dynamic in the EU – however much the leaders may dislike each other, they will usually prefer the person at the seat than the potential newcomer. ..."
"... But I think the EU has collectively decided that May is simply incapable of delivering any type of agreement, so there is no point in mincing words. They simply don't care any more if the Tory government collapses, or if they put Rees Mogg or Johnson in power. It makes absolutely zero difference to them. In fact, it might make it easier for the EU if the UK goes politically insane as they can then wash their hands of the problem. ..."
"... A colleague told me today he knows of several Northern Irish Republicans who voted leave, precisely because they thought this would create constitutional havoc and lead to a united Ireland. It seems at least some people were thinking strategically . ..."
"... British politicians apparently were supposed to negotiate Brexit among themselves. And once they had reached a (tentative) consensus the foreigners (the EU) were apparently supposed to bow down and accept the British proposal. ..."
"... Which means I never understood why the British media was treating the Chequers proposal as a serious proposal? And spending lots of time and articles discussing on how to convince the EU / the member states. ..."
"... As a Scot can I point out that it is English politicians who are responsible for this mess? ..."
Sep 21, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on September 20, 2018 by Yves Smith Yves here. While the specific observations in this post will be very familiar to readers (you've said the same things in comments!), I beg to differ with calling the Government's Brexit negotiating stance a strategy. It's bad habit plus lack of preparation and analysis.

And the UK's lack of calculation and self-awareness about how it is operating means it will be unable to change course.

By Benjamin Martill, a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Dahrendorf Forum where he focuses on Europe after Brexit. He is based at LSE IDEAS, the London School of Economics's foreign policy think tank. The Dahrendorf Forum is a joint research venture between LSE and the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Originally published at openDemocracy

But is this the best strategy for advancing British interests? Here is the argument based on the findings of a recent Dahrendorf Forum working paper .

All eyes in British politics are on the negotiations between the UK and the EU over the terms of the forthcoming British withdrawal from the Union, or Brexit. Surprisingly, questions of bargaining strategy – once the preserve of diplomats and niche academic journals – have become some of the most defining issues in contemporary British politics.

The New Politics of Bargaining

Cabinet disagreements over the conduct of the negotiations led to the resignation of David Davis and Boris Johnson in early July 2018 and the issue continues to divide the ruling Conservative party. Theresa May's most recent statements have all addressed the question of how hard she has pushed Brussels in the talks.

But is the hard bargaining strategy appropriate, or will it ultimately harm the UK? The salience of this question should occasion deeper analysis of the fundamentals of international bargaining, given the extent to which the course of British politics will be determined by the government's performance (or perceived performance) in the Brexit talks.

Driving a Hard Bargain

A hard-bargaining strategy isn't necessarily a poor one. To the extent it is workable, it may even represent the sensible option for the UK.

Hard bargaining is characterised by negative representations of negotiating partners, unwillingness to make concessions, issuance of unrealistic demands, threats to damage the partner or exit the negotiations, representations of the talks in zero-sum terms, failure to provide argumentation and evidence, and withholding of information. From diplomats' portrayal of the EU as an uncooperative and bullying negotiating partner to a set of demands recognised as unrealistic in Brussels and Britain alike, the UK's approach to the Brexit negotiations scores highly on each of these measures.

The consensus in the academic literature is generally that hard bargaining works only where a given party has a relative advantage . Powerful states have an incentive to engage in hard bargaining, since by doing so they will be able to extract greater concessions from weaker partners and maximise the chance of achieving an agreement on beneficial terms.

But weaker actors have less incentive to engage in hard bargaining, since they stand to lose more materially if talks break down and reputationally if they're seen as not being backed by sufficient power,

So which is Britain?

Power Distribution

The success of hard bargaining depends on the balance of power. But even a cursory examination would seem to confirm that the UK does not hold the upper hand in the negotiations. Consider three standard measures of bargaining power: a country's economic and military capabilities, the available alternatives to making a deal, and the degree of constraint emanating from the public.

When it comes to capabilities, the UK is a powerful state with considerable economic clout and greater military resources than its size would typically warrant. It is the second-largest economy in the EU (behind Germany) and its GDP is equal to that of the smallest 19 member states. And yet in relative terms, the combined economic and military power of the EU27 dwarves that of the UK: the EU economy is five times the size of the UK's.

Next, consider the alternatives. A 'no deal' scenario would be damaging for both the UK and the EU, but the impact would be more diffuse for the EU member states. They would each lose one trading partner, whereas the UK would lose all of its regional trading partners. Moreover, the other powers and regional blocs often cited as alternative trading partners (the US, China, the Commonwealth, ASEAN) are not as open as the EU economy to participation by external parties, nor are they geographically proximate (the greatest determinant of trade flows), nor will any deal be able to replicate the common regulatory structure in place in the EU. This asymmetric interdependence strongly suggests that the UK is in greater need of a deal than the EU.

Finally, consider the extent of domestic constraints. Constraint enhances power by credibly preventing a leader from offering too generous a deal to the other side. On the EU side the constraints are clear: Barnier receives his mandate from the European Council (i.e. the member states) to whom he reports frequently. When asked to go off-piste in the negotiations, he has replied that he does not have the mandate to do so. On the UK side, by contrast, there is no such mandate. British negotiators continually cite Eurosceptic opposition to the EU's proposals in the cabinet, the Conservative party, and the public, but they are unable to guarantee any agreement will receive legislative assent, and cannot cite any unified position.

Perceptions of Power

But the real power distribution is not the only thing that matters. While the EU is the more powerful actor on objective criteria, a number of key assumptions and claims made by the Brexiteers have served to reinforce the perception that Britain has the upper hand.

First, on the question of capabilities, the discourse of British greatness (often based on past notions of power and prestige) belies the UK's status as a middle power (at best) and raises unrealistic expectations of what Britain's economic and military resources amount to. Second, on the question of alternatives, the oft-repeated emphasis on 'global Britain' and the UK's stated aim to build bridges with its friends and allies around the globe understates the UK's reliance on Europe, the (low) demand for relations with an independent Britain abroad, and the value of free trade agreements or other such arrangements with third countries for the UK. Third, on the question of domestic constraint, the post-referendum discourse of an indivisible people whose wishes will be fulfilled only through the implementation of the Brexit mandate belies the lack of consensus in British politics and the absence of a stable majority for either of the potential Brexit options, including the 'no deal', 'hard', or 'soft' variants of Brexit. Invoking 'the people' as a constraint on international action, in such circumstances, is simply not credible.

Conclusion

Assumptions about Britain's status as a global power, the myriad alternatives in the wider world, and the unity of the public mandate for Brexit, have contributed to the overstatement of the UK's bargaining power and the (false) belief that hard bargaining will prove a winning strategy.

Britain desperately needs to have an honest conversation about the limits of the UK's bargaining power. This is not 'treasonous', as ardent Brexiteers have labelled similar nods to reality, but is rather the only way to ensure that strategies designed to protect the national interest actually serve this purpose. Power is a finite resource that cannot be talked into existence. Like a deflating puffer fish, the UK's weakness will eventually become plain to see. The risk is that before this occurs, all bridges will be burned, all avenues exhausted, and all feathers ruffled.

The arguments in this blog are based on the findings of a Dahrendorf Forum working paper by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger titled ' Cultures of Negotiation: Explaining Britain's Hard Bargaining in the Brexit Negotiations '.

The opinions expressed in this blog contribution are entirely those of the author and do not represent the positions of the Dahrendorf Forum or its hosts Hertie School of Governance and London School of Economics and Political Science or its funder Stiftung Mercator.


larry , September 20, 2018 at 10:30 am

I tend to agree that there is no real strategy on the UK's part. May resembles a broken record, where she says much the same thing over and over again, seemingly expecting a different response each time. Although Einstein said that he probably never made the claim about what insanity consists of, it is often attributed to him -- doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is the very definition of insanity. How the government expects that this sort of behavior will bring desirable results is beyond me.

Schofield , September 20, 2018 at 10:35 am

Both UK and EU politicians are talking past each other. Neither side understands there are two key issues. Firstly, not understanding the economic effects stemming from the failure to understand how money is created and how it can be manipulated for global trading advantage. Secondly, that the UK is high up the list for "cultural tightness" and the reasons for this.

https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/6df109_a5da34d6a9ae4114be82ccf4b024a2b2.pdf

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 10:37 am

The other element of course of a negotiation is getting potential allies to roll up behind you. At the start of this the UK had a series of potential 'friends' it could call on – eurosceptics governments in Eastern Europe, close historic friends and political like minded governments in Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland. And of course non-EU countries like India or the US with historic links.

They somehow managed to anger or frustrate nearly all of those though its heavy handed negotiations or laughable lack of political empathy.

It must be emphasised that the current Irish government is ideologically and instinctively very pro-London. And yet, today RTE is reporting about the latest meeting between May and Varadkar:

The source said there was "an open exchange of views" between both sides, with the Irish delegation emphasising that the time was short and "we need to get to the stage where we can consider a legal text" on the backstop.

The source described British proposals so far as "only an outline, and we haven't seen specific proposals from the British side."

This can only be translated as 'what the hell are they playing at?'

The Indians of course were amusedly baffled by the British assumption that they would welcome open trade (without lots of new visas for Indian immigrants). Trump just smelt the blood of a wounded animal. The Russians are well

Jim A. , September 20, 2018 at 12:40 pm

"an open exchange of views" Which is a diplomat's way of saying that there was a shouting match and no agreement.

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 3:31 pm

I imagine it as being a little like this (not work safe if you have audio on).

HotFlash , September 20, 2018 at 8:27 pm

Mercy! I will save and share this. Thank you, Pu-kun.

Fazal Majid , September 20, 2018 at 3:37 pm

The British cited the EU's inability to conclude a free-trade agreement with India as one example of the EU's failings a revitalized Global Britain would no longer be shackled by. That's quite rich considering the FTA was torpedoed when the British Home Secretary vetoed increased visas for the Indians. Her name was Theresa May.

HotFlash , September 20, 2018 at 8:34 pm

True? Comedy gold!

fajensen , September 21, 2018 at 5:20 am

They somehow managed to anger or frustrate nearly all of those

Somehow?

The brits basically said: We are special people, much, much better, richer and stronger than you sorry lot of Peons to Brussels(tm), so now you shall see sense and give us what we want this week; you can call it your tribute if you like (because we don't care what you like :)

Half the Danes are fed up with the whole thing and the other half would be egging on a hard Brexit if only they could – knowing it will likely take out at least some of the worst and most overleveraged (and gorged with tax-paid subsidies) Anti-Environmentalist Danish industrial farmers, their bankers too. And diminish the power of their lobbyists: "Landbrug & Fødevarer"!

The good part is that: the British and the Danish governments have managed to make "being ruled by faceless bureaucrats in Brussels" look like a pretty much OK & decent deal, considering the alternative options: Being ruled by our local crazies, straight-up nutters and odious nincompoops (a word i like), half of whom, to top it up, are probably mere soulless proxies for those ghouls that are running Washington DC.

Tom Stone , September 20, 2018 at 11:11 am

Always bet on stupid.
Because human stupidity is infinite.

JTMcPhee , September 20, 2018 at 11:30 am

Though it often fits neatly into one of four categories, described here:

"The basic laws of human stupidity,"

http://harmful.cat-v.org/people/basic-laws-of-human-stupidity/

Seems we humans are pretty good at inventing negative-sum games that we belieeeve are zero-sum

Watt4Bob , September 20, 2018 at 12:27 pm

It seems more and more to me, that never ending class warfare, and its current emphasis on austerity, leaves us unable to envision alternate routes to economic health.

The neo-liberal consensus mandates that our ruling class never questions its own tactics, ie dog-whistle racism to distract and divide the lower classes to enable all the looting.

So on both sides of the Atlantic, the rulers of English speakers stir up resentment amongst those at the bottom in order to secure votes, and maintain power, while never intending to follow through on promises to provide tangible material benefits to their constituents.

The looting goes on, the trail of broken promises grows longer, and the misery deepens.

The issue being ignored is that the folks at the bottom have reached the limit of their ability to maintain life and limb in the face of downward economic pressure.

We've finally reached the end game, we in America have been driven to Trumpism, and in Britain they've been driven to Brexit by the clueless efforts of pols to maintain power in the face of electorates who have decided they have had enough, and will absolutely not take the SOS anymore.

So we have the nonsensical situation of pols on both sides of the Atlantic flirting with economic collapse, and even civil war rather than moderate their irrational fixation on making the insanely rich even richer.

In both cases we have a cast of alternating villains robbing and beating us while waving flags and loudly complaining that we aren't showing the proper level of enthusiasm.

Which leaves me with one question for those villains;

Where you gonna hide.

Hayek's Heelbiter , September 21, 2018 at 8:09 pm

Yup.

Why no one, especially the punditocracy seems to realize this, is astonishing.

I also cannot believe the Old Gray Lady killing millions of trees in its shrill efforts to prove the Russians cost Hilary the election and nary a word about how totally fed up and voiceless (with the exception of a single presidential vote) are those in the Great Flyover.

Also find it amazing that the Beeb with rudimentary linguistic forensic analysis identified Mike Pence as almost certainly the author of the scathing anti-Trump memo the NYT published anonymously, without a single mention of this now widely-known fact.

disillusionized , September 20, 2018 at 12:28 pm

The problem is that brexiteers, almost to a man, thinks that the EU and the UK are equals.
That's what determines UK negotiating strategy, the ones who don't want to play hardball can't see the point in leaving, and the ones who wan't to leave, can't see the point of negotiating.
for all intents and purposes this is a accession negotiation in reverse, "then Sir Con O'Neill, the chief negotiator at official level in 1970-2, who commented that the only possible British approach to existing Community body of rules was 'Swallow the lot, and swallow it now'."

On a related note, while this was about the tactics of leaving, there has been some movement on the end state front, though not by the UK. Rather it seems that the EU has made up it's mind, and in my mind definitively scrapped the EEA option.
Several EU leaders (Pms of Malta and the Czech republic) have clearly stated that they wish to see a new referendum, and Macron said the following:
"Brexit is the choice of the British people pushed by those who predicted easy solutions. Those people are liars. They left the next day so they didn't have to manage it," Macron said on Thursday, vowing to "never" accept any Brexit deal, which would put the EU's integrity at risk.

I think the bridges have been burned, now it's surrender or revocation that's left to the UK, or stepping off the cliff edge.

tegnost , September 20, 2018 at 10:49 pm

The problem is that brexiteers, almost to a man, thinks that the EU and the UK are equals.
from a very great distance this does seem to be the case

TheScream , September 20, 2018 at 12:35 pm

It is astonishing to see that the UK still does not accept that the EU doesn't want it to go on principle more than for practical reasons. May and the others cling to the notion that without Great Britain, the EU will collapse or something. This is the same nation that has been foot-dragging on everything about Europe and slagging off the continent at every turn while pretending they are a Great Power and the BFF of the US. Trump does not care about Great Britain unless he needs some sort of zoning permission for his gold course, in which case he will cut a deal on trade or arms with May.

The Irish Border, assuming it remains open, is a massive concession and likely to lead to future problems as other EU nations try to have open borders or trade with their pet countries.

Brits on the Continent are worried about many things ranging from driver's licenses to residency visas! Not every Brit wants to live on that damp little island! Some like the sun and Continental cuisine.

JTMcPhee , September 20, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Is the EU a Great Idea to be Protected and Advanced, one that will inexorably result in ever greater benefits for the common people of the fainting nations that have been cat-herded into submitting to the "political union" that many very personally interested parties are always working toward? Like NATO is a Great Idea, not just a mechanism for global mischief and chaos? NATO gives "warfighters" a place to sit and play their games. Brussels gives "rules," at least some of which are sort of for public benefit, until the regulatory capturers work their magic. Profit and impunity, always for the few.

What is the organizing principle in all this? Likely can't be stated. Just a lot of interested parties squabbling over gobbets from the carcass torn from the planet

Maybe the 14th Century was not so very horrible after all? If one looks in "A Distant Mirror" at it, given where humanity seems to be, on the increasingly fleshed-out timeline of collapse?

OF course, one can always summon up the demoness TINA, to trump any efforts to take different paths

TheScream , September 20, 2018 at 1:09 pm

NATO was created to make war. The EU was created to make peace and prosperity. Comparing one to the other is unjust.

The EU is not some sacrosanct construct that must be worshiped, but it has brought peace to Europe for the longest period since Pax Romana (and that was not entirely peaceful). It has also promoted trade and prosperity. Europe has been even farther ahead of economic and regulatory integration than the US (phones and credit cards come to mind). Free movement of labor and travel have dropped costs for businesses and individuals immensely.

Now, whether or not human foibles enter into it is really another discussion. Is Brussels at times a giant Interest Machine and Bureaucratic Nightmare? Yes, but that is the negative face we see portrayed by anti-Europeans like the Brexiteers. The EU does a terrible job of self-promotion; citizens rarely know just how much the EU contributes to their lives. Perhaps the EU is afraid of drawing attention to itself. But the people making up the EU are not extraterrestrials; they are Europeans who make the same mistakes and commit the same fraud on a national level.

Many Americans criticize Europe while vaunting their own Federation. Why should California and Alabama share a currency, a passport and a Congress? There are more differences between those states than between France and Belgium or Italy and Spain.

The EU is not perfect and has costs, but measured against what it has achieved, it is a great success.

Mark Pontin , September 20, 2018 at 6:54 pm

The EU has brought peace to Europe for the longest period since Pax Romana (and that was not entirely peaceful).

You're funny. The EU makes war by other means. The burden of disease in Greece, health loss, risk factors, and health financing, 2000–16: an analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanpub/PIIS2468-2667(18)30130-0.pdf

The mortality rate for Greece is up approximately 50,000. All so Merkel in Germany, and Sarkozy and Hollande didn't have to go before their electorates and admit they were bailing out French and German banks through the backdoor.

TheScream , September 20, 2018 at 7:22 pm

If you want to start accounting for economic death by economic war, we can look at the US as recently as the financial crisis, though I doubt there are studies on the Homeland of this sort. Or US embargoes of vital medication and food in Iraq which led to hundreds of thousands of deaths. And so on.

My point is not that the EU is perfect, but there has not been a war in Western Europe since 1945. You are welcome to spin and fiddle and search for anything you like (Gosh, all that free travel led to increases in traffic deaths! Ban the EU!). Of course, we would also need to examine what the EU has done for Europe and how many lives have been saved by improved infrastructure and exchange of information.

I am not defending poor governance per se for the sake of defending the EU. But it is facile and fun to criticize it because one can make up all kinds of counter fantasies about how wonderful life would be without it. Let's see how Great Britain does and then we can discuss this in a few years.

JTMcPhee , September 20, 2018 at 8:58 pm

I guess all those little Balkan unpleasantnesses, the former Czechoslovakia and Bosnia and such, are not wars -- but then those are layable at the feet of NATO (that collection, as I recall it, of what, now, 29 member countries including all the Great Powers of the West) and the US imperium.

The NATO establishment is about "making war," largely now displaced to other Woggish and Hajji places where the huge number of refugees that are moving into Eurospace are coming from (as a result of the largely economically driven (oil and other extraction interests) and Israeli and Saudi-enhanced large scale destabilizing war prosecution.

All of which is linked in significant ways to the economic "health" of the EU, from which lots of weapons flow in exchange for favors and money from the Destabilizers.

Yes, the EU notion of reducing the conflict generators of the past seems to be a good one. But surprise! In practice, you got your German hegemon and your French strutters and now of course the British bomb throwers pointing out, along with the renascent nationalism triggered in part by the hegemon's bleeding of other nations via Brussels and EU institutions, like Greece and Spain and Italy and so forth.

And of course the warring that the seamless economies of the EU (that includes their particpation in NATO) foster and participate in that drives the exodus of mopes from the Mideast and Africa. And how about the fun and games, with possible nuclear war consequences, that are playing out with EU and NATO and of course US Imperial Interests activity in Ukraine? And I see that the Krupp Werks has delivered a bunch of warships to various places (hasn't that happened a couple of times in the past? Thinking how particularly of Dolphin-class submarines paid for by Uncle Sucker, as in the US, and delivered to the Israel -ites who have equipped them with many nuclear-warhead cruise missiles? And thanks to the French, of course, and other Great Nations, the Israelis have nuclear weapons in the first place.

It's nice that the science parts of the EU structure are sort of working to keep US-made toxins and genetically modified crap and other bad stuff out of the Holy EU Empire. But hey, how many VW diesel vehicles on the road (thanks to some combination of corruption and incompetence on the part of the EU?) equals how much glyphosate and stacked-GM organisms barred by EU regulations? Lots of argument possible around the margins and into the core of the political economy/ies that make up the EU/NATO, and the Dead Empire across the Channel, and of course the wonderful inputs from the empire I was born into.

I guess the best bet would be to program some AI device to create a value structure (to be democratically studied and voted on, somehow?) and measure all the goods and bads of the EU, according to some kind of standard of Goodness to Mope-kind? Naw, power trumps all that of course, and "interests" now very largely denominated and dominated by supranational corporations that piss on the EU when not using its institutions as a means to legitimize their looting behaviors that sure look to me like an expression of a death wish from the human species.

There are always winners and losers in any human game, because at anything larger than the smallest scale, we do not appear wired to work from comity and commensalism. You sound from the little one can see of you from your comment as a person among the winners. Which is fine, all well and good, because of that "winners and losers" thing. Until either the mass vectors of human behavior strip the livability out of the biosphere, or some provocation or mischance leads to a more compendious and quicker, maybe nuclear, endpoint. Or maybe, despite the activities of the Panopticon and the various powers with forces in the polity to tamp it down, maybe there will be a Versailles moment, and "Aux Armes, Citoyens" will eventuate.

In the meantime, the various stages are set, the players in the game of statism and nationalism and authoritarianism and neoliberalism are on their marks, the house lights are going out, and the long slow rise of the curtain is under way

tegnost , September 20, 2018 at 10:45 pm

a worthy parlimentarian rant if I ever heard one

vlade , September 21, 2018 at 4:07 am

I suggest you read up on your recent European history. Czechoslovakia split entirely peacefully and it had exactly zero to do with either NATO or USA.

Yugoslavia had its problems ever since it was Yugoslavia in early 20th century – all Tito managed was to postpone it, and once he was gone, it was just a question of when, and how violent it would be. Serbian apologistas like to blame NATO, conveniently ignoring any pre-existing tensions between Croats and Serbs (not to mention ex-Yugoslavian muslims). Did NATO help? No. But saying it was the cause of the Serbo-Croat war and all the Yugoslavian fallout is ignorance.

What gets my goat is when someone blames everything on CIA, USA, NATO (or Russia and China for the matter), denying the small peoples any agency. Especially when that someone tends to have about zilch understanding of the regions in question, except from a selective reading.

Yep, CIA and NATO and the Illuminati (and Putin, to put it on both sides) are the all-powerful, all seeing, all-capable forces. Everyone else is a puppet. Right.

Lambert Strether , September 21, 2018 at 4:37 am

> I guess all those little Balkan unpleasantnesses, the former Czechoslovakia

TheScream , September 21, 2018 at 6:34 am

The period from the end of WWII to the Balkan Wars is still the longest period of peace since the Romans. I doubt you have ever lived through a war so I can't expect you to appreciate the difference between the Horrors of the Brussels Bureaucracy and the Horrors of Shelling and Bombing. From your lofty armchair, they might be the same but then again, perhaps you blame the socialists when your caramel latte is cold.

JTMcPhee , September 21, 2018 at 10:19 am

Lofty armchair? I actually volunteered and got the opportunity to go be a soldier in an actual war, the Vietnam one. So I have a darn good idea what War is in actuality and from unpleasant personal experience. And I don't have either the taste or the wealth for lattes. And forgive my aging failure of typing Czech instead of Yugo -- my point, too, is that the nations and sets of "peoples" living and involved in United Europe do in fact have "agency," and that is part of the fractiousness that the proponents of a federated Europe (seemingly under mostly German lead) are working steadily at suppressing. Not as effectively as a Federalist might want, of course.

Mark Pontin , September 20, 2018 at 10:03 pm

TheScream wrote: I am not defending poor governance per se for the sake of defending the EU. But it is facile and fun to criticize it because one can make up all kinds of counter fantasies about how wonderful life would be without it.

Wake up. I'm talking about what the European elite in the real world deliberately chose to do.

They chose to do a backdoor bailout of German and French banks specifically so Merkel, Sarkozy and Hollande and the governments they led didn't have to go to their electorates and tell them the truth. Thereby, they maintained themselves in power, and German and French wealth structures -- the frickin', frackin banks -- as they were. And they did this in the real world knowing that innocent people in Greece would die in substantial numbers consequently.

This is not a counterfactual. This happened.

There's a technical term for people who plan and execute policies where many thousands of people die so they themselves can benefit. That term is 'scum.'

Ultimately, it's that simple. Merkel, Sarkozy, Hollande, and whoever else among the EU elites who chose to be complicit in killing substantial numbers of people so they could maintain themselves in power are scum. They are scum. They are scum.

Don't get me started on people who defend such scum with threadbare waffle about 'I am not defending poor governance per blah blah it is facile and fun to criticize blah blah.' Nor interested in whataboutery about US elites, who as the main instigators of this 21st century model of finance as warfare are also scum.

TheScream , September 21, 2018 at 6:30 am

Fine, our elected leaders are all scum, but why does this mean that the EU is evil specifically. Why single it out? Why not advocate the overthrow of all centralized or unifying government? Move out to Montana to a cult and buy lots of guns or something.

My point is not that EU leaders are charming people working exclusively for the good of the people. My point is that the EU is not as bad as most of you believe and no worse than most other governments. It is simply an easy target because it is extra or supra-national. We can get all frothy at the mouth blaming Nazis and Frogs for our woes and ignore our personal failures.

I would love to insult you personally as you have insulted me, but I sense you are just ranting out of frustration. You hate the EU (are you even European or just some right-wing nutcase from America involving yourself in other's business?) and take it out on me. Go for it. Your arguments are irrelevant and completely miss the point of my comments.

fajensen , September 21, 2018 at 7:09 am

The EU does a terrible job of self-promotion; citizens rarely know just how much the EU contributes to their live

The EU is, very simplistically, set up like a shared Civil Service. Civil Services are to be seen rarely and never heard, less they take shine and glamour from the Government they serve.

What "Bruxelles" can do is to advise and create Directives, which are instructions to local government to create and enforce local legislation. The idea is that the legislation and enforcement will be similar in all EU member states.

Ons should be very aware that EU directives comes mainly from the member states and that especially bad things that would never fly past an election could – and often is – spun by local government as "Big Bad Bruxelles is forcing poor little us to do this terrible thing to you poor people". Ala the British on trade deal with India and immigration of east-european workers.

The EU does not have that much in the way of enforcement powers, that part is down-sourced to the individual member states. When a member state doesn't give a toss, it takes forever for some measure of sanctioning to spin up and usually it daily fines unto a misbehaving government, at the taxpayers expense (which of course those politicians who don't give a toss, are fine with since most of their cronies are not great taxpayers anyway).

ape , September 21, 2018 at 2:42 pm

"Maybe the 14th Century was not so very horrible after all?"

Hopefully sarcastic?

Dude -- black plague! 75 to 200 million dead! At a tie with a world population of 400 million, and 40 million of those may as well have been on Mars! China, ME, North Africa and Europe depopulated!

Time to really reconsider one's assumptions when one wonders whether the 14th century was "that bad".

JTMcPhee , September 21, 2018 at 3:15 pm

Dude, yes, sarcastic. And ironic. Doesn't change the horribleness of the present, does it now? Or the coming horrors (say some of us) that may have been inevitably priced in to the Great Global Market, does it

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 12:51 pm

And in todays news:

Chequers Plan is Dead, says Tusk as Macron calls Brexiters Liars.

Donald Tusk, the European council president, has ratcheted up the pressure on Theresa May by rejecting the Chequers plan and warning of a breakdown in the Brexit talks unless she delivers a solution for the Irish border by October – a deadline the British prime minister had already said she will not be able to meet.

The stark threat to unravel the talks came as the French president, Emmanuel Macron, broke with diplomatic niceties and accused those of backing Brexit of being liars. "Those who explain that we can easily live without Europe, that everything is going to be all right, and that it's going to bring a lot of money home are liars," he said.
"It's even more true since they left the day after so as not to have to deal with it."

The comments came at the end of a leaders' summit in Salzburg, where May had appealed for the EU to compromise to avoid a no-deal scenario. She had been hoping to take warm words over Chequers into Conservative party conference.
Tusk, who moments before his comments had a short meeting with the prime minister, told reporters that he also wanted to wrap up successful talks in a special summit in mid-November.

But, in a step designed to pile pressure on the prime minister, he said this would not happen unless the British government came through on its commitment to finding a "precise and clear" so-called backstop solution that would under any future circumstances avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

"Without an October grand finale, in a positive sense of this word, there is no reason to organise a special meeting in November," Tusk said. "This is the only condition when it comes to this possible November summit."

It seems the EU leaders aren't even pretending anymore. Its pretty clear they have run out of patience, and May has run out of options. I wonder if they'll even bother with having the November summit.

begob , September 20, 2018 at 2:01 pm

He didn't call May a liar, so we'll have to see how her life support algo in the Daily Mail responds to this new input.

vlade , September 20, 2018 at 2:05 pm

If there's no November summit (which would make no-deal Brexit almost certainty), then the game becomes fast a and furious, as sterling will drop like a stone – with all sorts of repercussions. TBH, that can already be clear after the Tory party conference, it's entirely possible that that one will make any October Brexit discussions entirely irrelevant.

I think that EU overestimated May in terms of sensibility, and now accept that there's no difference between May and Johnson (in fact, with Johnson or someone like that, they will get certainy, so more time to get all ducks in row. Entirely cynically, clear no-deal Brexit Johnson would be better for EU than May where one has no idea what's going to happen).

Either way, this crop of politicians will make history books. Not sure in the way they would like to though.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:27 pm

Announced post-summit in Salzburg: no November summit absent a binding exit deal on the table by the end of October. So no: no November dealing.

I don't know that EU politicos overestimated May. She is what they had, and all they had, so they did their absolute best to prop up Rag Sack Terry as a negotiating partner, hoping that they could coax her to toddle over their red lines with enough willingness to listen to her hopeless twaddle first. She just shuffled and circled in place. So they've given up on her ability to deliver anything of value to them. One could see this coming in June, when she couldn't even get the sound of one hand clapping to her chipper nonsense over dinner.

I think that deciding heads in Europe have accepted the probability that crashout is coming. That was clear also in June. If something better happens, I suppose that they would leap at it. Nothing in the last two years engenders any hope in that regard, so hard heads are readying the winches to hoist the drawbridge on We're Dead to You Day.

If the Tories fall, which I think and have long thought is probable, it would be up to a 'unity government' to either initial a settlement surrender and keep the sham going, or flinch. My bet has been on pulling together some kind of flinch mechanism on aborting exit. It's the kind of year, as I model these, where wild swings of such kind are possible, but I couldn't predict the outcome anymore than anyone else.

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 5:35 pm

My feeling for a while is that the government would never fall, whatever happened, simply because the Tories (and DUP) fear a Corbyn government too much, so would never, ever pull the trigger, no matter how bad things got. But if May falls at the Party Conference and is replaced with a hard Brexiter, I don't think its impossible that there may be a temptation that to see if they could whip up a nationalistic mood for a snap election. Some of them are gamblers by instinct. Anything could happen then.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:52 pm

I think Tory Remainers bolt, choosing keeping their own wallets rather than handing those over to the worst of their lot with everything else. But they would find a unity coalition more palatable than passing the microphone to Jerry the Red, yeah, so that's a bit sticky. A snap election is the worst kind of crazy town, and wolldn't improve negotiating or decision outcomes in the slightest -- so of course that may be the likeliest near term course! Won't get settled in a few weeks. Probably not until 20 March 2019.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:06 pm

This is just wowsers. Tusk, Macron, and Merkel baldly state that Chequers is mated -- "unacceptable" -- and furthermore gave the Tories a drop-dead date of 31 October to initial the divorce settlement. The process is a flat abandonment of Theresa May, concluding the obvious, that she and her government are incapable of negotiating exit. Going over her head to Parliament and public, in fact if not in pre-consisdered intent. -- And about time. I was worried that the EU would eat fudge in November with the Brits again on another pretend-to-agree accord like that of December 2017, which, as we have seen did nothing to induce the Tories to negotiate a viable outcome.

What was May's reaction? That she's perfectly prepared to lead Britain over the crashout cliff if the EU doesn't see fit to capitulate. I'd roll on the floor laughing but I can't catch my breath.

The next two weeks are going to be lively times in Britain indeed. I can't see how 'Suicide Terry's' government can survive this situation. -- And about high time. Put the poor brute out of her misery; she's delusional, can't they see how she's suffering? Push has come, so it's time to shove. Crashout or Flinch, those are the outcomes, now plainer than ever. All May can do is thrash and fabulate, so time to bag the body and swear in another fool; lesser or greater, we shall see.

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 5:28 pm

Yes, I wonder was that planned, or (as is suggested in the latest Guardian articl e), motivated by anger at Mays criticism of Barnier?

EU sources said the move had been made on the bidding of Macron, who urged taking a hard line over lunch. The French president had been infuriated by May's warning earlier in the day to Varadkar that she believed a solution on the issue could not be found by October, despite previous promises to the contrary.

The tone of the prime minister's address to the EU leaders on Wednesday night, during which she attacked Michel Barnier, is also said by sources to have been the cause of irritation.

This obviously makes her very vulnerable at the party conference. Its hard to see what she can do now. She is toast I think.

I can only think of two reasons that they've closed the door firmly in her face. Either they have simply lost patience and now accept there is nothing can be salvaged, or they have lost patience with May personally, and hope that a new leader might do a deal out of desperation. The latter seems highly unlikely – a sudden Tory challenge is more likely to bring a hardliner into power.

Whichever way you look at it, things look certain to come to a head very soon now. The EU may have a hope that the UK will blink when staring into the abyss and agree to the backstop, but I don't see how politically this a capitulation is possible, at least with the Tories in power.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:44 pm

The solution is, patently, Tories out of power. Which I think will happen, certainly between now and 31 March 2019. Now would be better. Anyone thinking strategically in other parties in the UK (an oxymoron of a formulation, to be sure) would call for a no confidence vote the instant May's feet are on British soil.

I doubt that this is personal, but what do I know. May is a nincompoop. The other heads of state patently, and quite rightly, don't respect her. Her presence has been useful to them only insofar as she could deliver a deal. Macron looked at his watch and the date said, non on that. Just looking at his ambitions and how he operates, I would think he wanted to go this route quite some time ago, but the 'softly, softly' set such as the Dutch and Merkel wouldn't back that, and he was too smart to break ranks alone. That the Germans have given up on May is all one really needs to know. This was May's no confidence vote by the European Council, and she lost it over lunch.

PlutoniumKun , September 21, 2018 at 4:19 am

I'd agree with your analysis of what happened – just glancing through the news today it seems that Macron in particular just lost patience, and the other leaders were happy to help him put the boot in. The EU has been trying to shore May up for a long time – the December agreement was little more than an attempt to protect her from an internal heave. This is a common dynamic in the EU – however much the leaders may dislike each other, they will usually prefer the person at the seat than the potential newcomer.

But I think the EU has collectively decided that May is simply incapable of delivering any type of agreement, so there is no point in mincing words. They simply don't care any more if the Tory government collapses, or if they put Rees Mogg or Johnson in power. It makes absolutely zero difference to them. In fact, it might make it easier for the EU if the UK goes politically insane as they can then wash their hands of the problem.

ChrisPacific , September 20, 2018 at 5:20 pm

At this point it might actually be a blessing if that happened. There is likely to be a great deal of practical difference between a no-deal Brexit with six months of planning and preparation and a no-deal Brexit that takes everyone by surprise at the very last minute. (Yes, they will both be a nightmare, but some nightmares are worse than others). All this pretense that the other side is bluffing and will roll over at the 11th hour is starting to look like a convenient excuse for not facing reality. I don't think either side is bluffing.

Comments like "Britain desperately needs to have an honest conversation about the limits of the UK's bargaining power" might very well be true, but they're also irrelevant at this point. Certainly it would have been very useful if it had happened two years ago. Right now it's time to break out the life jackets.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:35 pm

Most Brits don't seem capable of mentally accepting how irrelevant they actually are internationally. They are NOT a 'power' in any other respect than that they have nuclear weapons under their launch authority (which they are never going to use). They have no weight. The City is, really other people's money that predominantly foreign nationals at trading desks play with, loose, steal, hide, and occasionally pay out. The UK economy isn't of any international consequence. Brits are embedded in the international diplomatic process, in a dead language speakers kind of way, which makes them seem important. But they are not.

So there was never going to be a reassessment of the weaknesses of Britain's negotiating position, nor will there be now exactly, because most in Britain cannot get their heads around the essential premise to such a discussion, the Britain is now essentially trivial on the power scale rather than of any real consequence. The Kingdom of Saud has more real power. Turkey is a more consequential actor. Mexico has more people. &etc.

orange cats , September 20, 2018 at 12:53 pm

If one is to accept the convictions of master bloviator Niall Ferguson and other Brexiteers, the issue is issue. Brexit is about immigration, period. The EU claims it will not bend on free movement of people, Brexiteers will not accept anything less. There was such a huge outcry when May mentioned the possibility of 'preferential' treatment for EU citizens back in July she threatened any further public dissent in the party would result in sackings. The EU insists there can be no trade deals, no freed movement of goods without free movement of people, for good reasons. Hard to imagine them climbing down.

vlade , September 20, 2018 at 1:58 pm

No.

There's about as many reasons why people voted Brexit as there's different Brexits they wanted. Immigration is just one of the convenient scapegoats peddled by both sides, although for different reasons.

If you want a better (but still not complete) reason, try decreasing real income.

orange cats , September 20, 2018 at 2:27 pm

I'd like to know what those "many different reasons" are. Sovereignty? Well, that rolls off the tongue more easily than "immigration" which, leavers know, sounds a bit racist. "Control of borders" works for leavers like Nigell, although he went on at great length about how it's all about immigration, after talking to all the 'real' folks in the provinces.

vlade , September 21, 2018 at 4:08 am

I don't do other people's homework – the unwilligness to do so tends to be a reliable indicator of not being open to aruments in the first place.

begob , September 20, 2018 at 4:47 pm

My Irish/Brit family's Own Private Brexit: the grandparents are entitled to naturalisation and voted Leave, the children are subjects/citizens and voted Remain (and almost all vote Tory), the grandchildren are compromised subjects/citizens and didn't have a vote. Everyone's happy to be entitled to an EU passport. The Pakistan offshoot has a less complex variation (fewer rights), but I believe their family voted Leave on balance. Life.

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 5:31 pm

A colleague told me today he knows of several Northern Irish Republicans who voted leave, precisely because they thought this would create constitutional havoc and lead to a united Ireland. It seems at least some people were thinking strategically .

Mike Barry , September 21, 2018 at 3:37 am

Not that immigration has anything to do with that,

vlade , September 21, 2018 at 8:27 am

Majority of the drop in real income is NOT driven by immigration. You may find it surprising, but there were times with large (relatively speaking) immigration and the real incomes going up.

orange cats , September 21, 2018 at 10:25 am

I don't believe it is either, you seem to think these views are my own. I am speculating, with some basis, that a majority of leavers think so. Anti-immigration attitudes are entrenched and growing. Just the other day a teacher, no less, spouted off about how immigrants were causing crime and stealing jobs. This is in a blue city in a blue state. I was shocked.

ape , September 21, 2018 at 2:49 pm

People come up with fantasy explanations when they've been reduced from realistic assessments to fantastic ideologies. If there's a clear answer but you are ideologically constrained from considering it, you need to invent some answer, the nuttier the better.

Detlef , September 20, 2018 at 5:45 pm

I think a major part of the problem is that British politicians and media seem to believe that Brexit is mainly (or exclusively) a British topic.
One British politician publishes one proposal, another British politician shoots it down. With the British media reporting about it gleefully for days. Newspaper articles, opinion pieces. Without even mentioning what the EU might think about it. The EU seems to not exist in this bubble.

Just remember the more than 60 "notices to stakeholders" published by the EU months ago. And freely available for reading on the Internet. I´ve read British media online for a long time now but somehow these notices never made any impact. It was only when the first British impact assessments were published (not that long ago) that British media started to report about possible problems after a no-deal Brexit. Problems / consequences that were mentioned in the EU notices months ago.
It´s almost unbelievable. It looks like if something isn´t coming from London (or Westminster) then it doesn´t exist in the British media.

And it´s the same with British politicians.

David Davis and the back-stop deal in late 2017?. He agreed with it during the negotiations, returned home and then said that it wasn´t binding, just a letter of intent. Or Michael Gove a few days ago? Regardless of what agreement PM T. May negotiates now with the EU, a new PM can simply scrap it and negotiate a new deal? Or send government members to the EU member states to try and undermine Barnier as reported in British media? How exactly is that building trust?

Have they never heard about the Internet? And that today even foreigners might read British media?

Brexit supporter Jacob Rees-Mogg might be the MP for the 18th century but surely they know that today there are faster methods for messages than using pigeons?

What about foreign investment in the UK? The gateway to the EU? Japanese car companies?
The drop in foreign investment was reported, to be sure. But after a few days it was immediately forgotten.

T. May according to British media articles apparently developed her Brexit strategy (and her red lines) together with her two closest political advisers back in late 2016 / early 2017. No cabinet meeting to discuss the strategy, no ordering of impact assessments which might have influenced the strategy (and the goals). And apparently – in my opinion – no detailed briefing on how the EU actually works. What might be realistically possible and what not.

The resignation of Ivan Rogers seems to support my speculations. Plus the newspaper articles in early 2017 which mentioned that visitors to certain British government ministries were warned not to criticize Brexit or warn about negative consequences. Such warnings would result in no longer being invited to visit said ministry and minister.

If they actually went through with that policy they created an echo chamber with no dissenting voices allowed.

Which might explain why they had no plan to deal with the EU.

British politicians apparently were supposed to negotiate Brexit among themselves. And once they had reached a (tentative) consensus the foreigners (the EU) were apparently supposed to bow down and accept the British proposal.

And now when the EU hasn´t followed the script they don´t know what to do?

I´m not an expert but it was pretty clear to me that the Chequers deal would never work. It was pretty obvious even when EU politicians were somewhat polite about it when T. May proposed it.

It might have been a good starting point for negotiations if she had introduced it in 2017. But in July 2018? Just a few months before negotiations were supposed to be concluded? And then claiming it´s the only realistic proposal? It´s my way or the highway?

It was obvious.

Which means I never understood why the British media was treating the Chequers proposal as a serious proposal? And spending lots of time and articles discussing on how to convince the EU / the member states.

I really think the EU member states have finally concluded that T. May is incapable of producing (and getting a majority in the House of Commons) for any realistic solution. Therefore helping her with statements to keep her politically alive doesn´t make sense any longer. The EU would probably really, really like a solution that gives them at least the transition period. Another 21 months to prepare for Brexit. But fudging things only get you that far .

The UK apparently never understood that it´s one thing to bend rules or fudge things to get the agreement of a member state. It´s quite another thing with a soon -to-be ex-member state.

I am a German citizen, living in Germany.
The (German weekly printed newspaper) Zeit Online website did have three articles about Brexit in the last few days. Which is noteworthy since they normally have 1-2 articles per month.

And the comments were noteworthy too.

Almost all of them now favor a hard-line approach by the EU.

The UK lost a lot of sympathy and support in the last two years. Not because of the referendum result itself but because of the actions and speeches of British politicians afterwards.

The UK had a rebate, opt-outs and excemptions. All because successive British governments pointed to their EU-sceptic opposition. Now the population voted for Brexit the British want a deal that gives them all (or most) of the advantages of EU membership without any of the obligations. To reduce the economic consequences of their decision.

No longer. Actions have consequences. And if it means we´ll have to support Ireland, we´ll do it. The German commentators quite obviously have lost their patience with the UK.

Anonymous2 , September 21, 2018 at 3:22 am

As a Scot can I point out that it is English politicians who are responsible for this mess?

Yves Smith Post author , September 21, 2018 at 3:25 am

Yes, Nicola Sturgeon has comported herself vastly better than anyone in the Tory or Labour leadership not that this is a high bar.

VietnamVet , September 20, 2018 at 7:45 pm

This is the first article that I have seen that talks about power. The ability to influence or outright control the behavior of people. Money has power. It is needed to eat, heal and shelter in the West. But, it is never talked about. This is because it would raise inconvenient truths. The wealthy are accumulating it and everyone else in the West is losing it. The neo-liberal/neo-conservative ideologies are the foundation of this exploitation. It is the belief that markets balance and there is no society. "Greed is good. Might is right." Plutocrats rule the west. Democracy died. There are two versions of similar corporate political parties in the USA. The little people matter not. Politicians are servants of the oligarchs. Global trade is intertwined and not redundant. What will happen will be to the benefit of the very few in power. Donald Trump is raising the price of all Chinese goods shipped into the USA and sold at Walmart and Amazon. A Brexit crash seems inevitable.

Buckeye , September 20, 2018 at 10:40 pm

Amen! It is ALWAYS about power. And the only way to deal with the elites is "Lord of the Rings" style:
their money must be cast into a financial version of Mount Doom, breaking their power once and for all. You folks in the UK need to make douchebag Brexiteers like Nigel Farrage suffer total loss of power for forcing this disaster on you.

RBHoughton , September 20, 2018 at 10:47 pm

There is a huge source of wealth that UK monopolises from Treasure Islands that operate the City's tax havens. That money goes straight back to City banks and flows into the market economy, independently of trade and commerce. It underwrites the derivatives biz that keeps the market economy afloat, paying pensions and profits and Directors' options.

Leaving the EU might have an effect but not a big one. Is that why UK seems so blithely unconcerned?

PlutoniumKun , September 21, 2018 at 4:13 am

The offshore wealth is certainly why the core hard Brexiters are unconcerned, because thats where they store their cash. They don't care if the UK goes down.

But in the longer term, they are under threat – within the EU the UK consistently vetoed any attempts to crack down on internal tax havens. The internal political balance of the EU is now much more firmly anti tax avoidance with the UK gone, so there would be little to stop a series of Directives choking off the Channel Island/Isle of Man option for money flows.

fajensen , September 21, 2018 at 8:59 am

Split Brain Syndrome: They seem think that the EU is Lucifer's Army Incarnate and then they apparently also think at the same time, that "The Army of Darkness" once unleashed from the responsible British leadership into the hands of those per-definition also demonic French and Germans will still "play cricket" and not come after their tax-havens ASAP, like in 2020 or so.

TheScream , September 21, 2018 at 10:51 am

May now demanding that the EU respect Great Britain. We are back to the beginning again. May has no leverage beyond the EU wanting Britain to stay in . But if Britain goes out, then it's out. The only way for May to get any concessions would be to offer to stay in! And even then I am not sure the EU would accept since it would simply open the way for any member to have a tantrum and demand better terms.

GB should leave, wallow in their loneliness a while and then ask to come back. I suspect that the EU would reinstate them fully without the usual processes. Check back here in 24-36 months.

[Sep 18, 2018] Neoliberal EU faces the same crisis as the USA -- rejection of globalization by the majority of population

Neoliberalism like Bolshevism in 60 tries to crush dissenters.
Sep 18, 2018 | www.unz.com

the obligatory four freedoms of the EU are free movement of goods, services, persons and capital throughout the Union. Open borders. That is the essence of the European Union, the dogma of the Free Market.

The problem with the Open Border doctrine is that it doesn't know where to stop. Or it doesn't stop anywhere. When Angela Merkel announced that hundreds of thousands of refugees were welcome in Germany, the announcement was interpreted as an open invitation by immigrants of all sorts, who began to stream into Europe. This unilateral German decision automatically applied to the whole of the EU, with its lack of internal borders. Given German clout, Open Borders became the essential "European common value", and welcoming immigrants the essence of human rights.

Very contrasting ideological and practical considerations contribute to the idealization of Open Borders. To name a few:

This combination of contrasting, even opposing motivations does not add up to a majority in every country. Notably not in Hungary.

It should be noted that Hungary is a small Central European country of less than ten million inhabitants, which never had a colonial empire and thus has no historic relationship with peoples in Africa and Asia as do Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium. As one of the losers in World War I, Hungary lost a large amount of territory to its neighbors, notably to Romania. The rare and difficult Hungarian language would be seriously challenged by mass immigration. It is probably safe to say that the majority of people in Hungary tend to be attached to their national identity and feel it would be threatened by massive immigration from radically different cultures. It may not be nice of them, and like everyone they can change. But for now, that is how they vote.

In particular, they recently voted massively to re

Like the Soviet Union, the European Union is not merely an undemocratic institutional framework promoting a specific economic system; it is also the vehicle of an ideology and a planetary project. Both are based on a dogma as to what is good for the world: communism for the first, "openness" for the second. Both in varying ways demand of people virtues they may not share: a forced equality, a forced generosity. All this can sound good, but such ideals become methods of manipulation. Forcing ideals on people eventually runs up against stubborn resistance.

There are differing reasons to be against immigration just as to be for it. The idea of democracy was to sort out and choose between ideals and practical interests by free discussion and in the end a show of hands: an informed vote. The liberal Authoritarian Center represented by Verhofstadt seeks to impose its values, aspirations, even its version of the facts on citizens who are denounced as "populists" if they disagree. Under communism, dissidents were called "enemies of the people". For the liberal globalists, they are "populists" – that is, the people. If people are told constantly that the choice is between a left that advocates mass immigration and a right that rejects it, the swing to the right is unstoppable.


Johnny Rottenborough , says: Website September 17, 2018 at 11:17 pm GMT

Orban's reputation in the West as dictator is unquestionably linked to his intense conflict with Hungarian-born financier George Soros

And not only Soros, of course:

'I know that this battle is difficult for everyone. I understand if some of us are also afraid. This is understandable, because we must fight against an opponent which is different from us. Their faces are not visible, but are hidden from view; they do not fight directly, but by stealth; they are not honourable, but unprincipled; they are not national, but international; they do not believe in work, but speculate with money; they have no homeland, but feel that the whole world is theirs.' -- Viktor Orbán

Carlton Meyer , says: Website September 18, 2018 at 4:30 am GMT
Watch the great Hungarian foreign minister repel attacks by the BBCs arrogant open borders propagandist, rudely treating him like an ignorant child and calling him a racist for defending his nation.
Anonymous , [224] Disclaimer says: September 18, 2018 at 5:34 am GMT

Economic liberals maintain that because Europe is aging, it needs young immigrant workers to pay for the pensions of retired workers.

Not gonna happen. Their 80 IQ skills are uncompetitive and useless in Europe even before Automation erases those low-skilled positions in the coming decade or two. Meanwhile, (real) European youth unemployment rate is 20%. Young Europeans are not making babies because they don't have a stable future. This can only get worse as the hostile invaders get preferential, Affirmative Action treatment, in schools and workplaces. None of this is accidental.

... ... ...

jilles dykstra , says: September 18, 2018 at 7:19 am GMT
There are, in my opinion, two reasons for letting the mass immigration happen:
- the Brussels belief, expressed in a 2009 official document, not secret, that the EU needs 60 million immigrants.
- a Merkel belief dat the Germans are bad, they caused two world wars and perpetrated the holocaust, so the German people must be changed through mass immigration.

The Brussels belief seems to be based mainly on the increasing average age in the EU.
It is incomprehensible to me, at the same time fear that robots slowly will do all simple jobs.

The Merkel belief, on the other side of the Atlantic, where few understand German, and cannot or do not watch German tv, I wonder how many understand that the 20th century propaganda of the victors still is decisive in German daily life and politics.
The danger of neonazi's and fascism is everywhere.
Nationalism, the equivalent of building gas chambers.

The EU also is based on the 20th century fairy tales, only the EU prevented wars in Europe after WWII.
The idea that Germans were victims in two world wars, and, until Hitler became power in 1933, also between the world wars, in unthinkable.
The idea that Endlösung meant deportation to Madagaskar, even more unthinkable.

That jews, as one Rothschild wrote to another around 1890, have and had but one enemy, themselves, the world unthinkable is too weak.
Yet
'From prejudice to destruction', Jacob Katz, 1980, Cambridge MA
explains it, things as 'close economic cooperation, intermarriage, ostentious behaviour'.
In this respect
'Christianity and the Holocaust of the Hungarian Jewry', Moshe Y Herclz, 1993 New York University press
also is