لغة التسوية ولغة المواجهة والتخوين

السبت 2 تموز 2022

التعليق السياسي

عندما تستمع لفريق لبنانيّ قرّر منذ سنتين رفض لغة التسوية في الداخل اللبناني ولا يزال يعتبر أن اللغة الوحيدة التي يقبل بها هي لغة المواجهة، تتوقع أن يكون هذا الفريق أشدّ عناداً وثباتاً وتمسكاً بلغة المواجهة نفسها عندما يتصل الأمر بخلاف مع الخارج، خصوصاً عندما يصرّح هذا الخارج بأنه يحاصر لبنان ويتحمّل مسؤولية منع تزويد لبنان بالكهرباء من الأردن والغاز من مصر، كما هو حال الأميركي، فكيف عندما يكون الخلاف مع خارج آخر هو مَن يرفض هذا الفريق التشكيك باعتباره له عدواً، ويصف كل تشكيك بالتخوين، ورغم إصراره على أنه عدو يختار طريق التسوية لحل الخلاف معه، ورفض لغة المواجهة، واعتبارها تخريباً على المصلحة اللبنانية، كما هو الحال في قضية حقوق لبنان في النفط والغاز.

هذا السلوك يدل فكرياً على انفصام يعيشه أصحابه في منهج التفكير، ويدلّ على ضياع معيار الهوية الوطنيّة لديه، لكن الأخطر هو أن هذا التباين بين اختيار اللغتين، لغة المواجهة ولغة التسوية، نحو الداخل ونحو الخارج المعتدي على الحقوق، ينسجم مع ما يريده هذا الخارج نفسه في منع أي إجماع وطني لبناني حول حقوق لبنان، ومنع تشكل وحدة لبنانيّة تضغط على هذا الخارج الأميركي والإسرائيلي وتلوّح بلغة المواجهة، من موقع اعتماد لغة التسوية داخلياً لحل الخلافات أو إدارتها. فيصير هذا الفريق مجرد امتداد لموقف الخارج الذي يريد انقساماً لبنانياً بدل الوحدة، وتصعيداً وتوتراً بين اللبنانيين بدل السلام الداخلي، وتكريس الانقسام والتوتر لفرض التنازلات عن الحقوق بالاستناد إليهما. وهذا معنى تسويق لغة التسوية مع الخارج المعتدي على الحقوق كجزء من التبعية للخطاب الأجنبيّ.

التدقيق قليلاً في مواضيع الخلاف الداخلي التي ترفض حولها لغة التسوية، ويجري الإصرار على اعتماد لغة المواجهة بصددها، يكشف ما هو أخطر، فالقضايا الخلافيّة تنحصر بالموقف من المقاومة وسلاحها، وهي بالتحديد القضيّة التي يكرّس الخارج المعتدي على الحقوق كل جهده لمواجهتها. والأنكى أن أصحاب هذه المواقف ينزعجون عندما يقال لهم إنهم مجرد أبواق لهذا الخارج، ويرفعون أصواتهم برفض التخوين.

اللبنانيون يفاوضون الإسرائيلي على ترسيم الحدود بوساطة أميركية، بينما الأميركي هو نفسه الذي يحتجز كهرباء لبنان رهينة لمقايضتها بشروطه للترسيم، ورغم ذلك بين اللبنانيين من يملك وقاحة القول إنه يرفض تفاوض اللبنانيين فيما بينهم، سواء على تشكيل حكومة، أو على إدارة أزماتهم، أو حتى حول قضايا الخلاف بينهم.

الأنكى أن هناك مَن يملأون الشاشات ويطلق عليهم أسماء خبراء ومحللين ومثقفين يروّجون لهذه اللغة العمياء الصماء الـ بلا روح وبلا أخلاق، في بلد ينهار!

Israeli mercenary fighting for Ukraine taken captive by LPR

1 Jul, 2022

Source: Israeli ,media

By Al Mayadeen English 

“Israel’s” Foreign Ministry confirms that an Israeli mercenary fighting alongside Ukrainian forces was captured by LPR forces.

Israeli mercenary Vladimir Kozlovsky displaying his Israeli ID card, June 30, 2022 (Telegram)

An Israeli mercenary fighting for the Ukrainian armed forces was captured during fighting by LPR forces.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed on Thursday that it was aware of the case after videos surfaced on social media showing the captured Israeli, Vladimir Kozlovsky, showing his Israeli ID card.

Identification card of the Israeli mercenary captured by the Lugansk forces

In the video, the Israeli identified himself as a signal operator in Ukraine’s intelligence forces. He also said that he was recruited into the Ukrainian military by border officials who he claimed would not let him leave.

Earlier in April, a footage also surfaced showing several Israelis fighting alongside Ukrainian forces and thanking “Israel” for its assistance. The videos, which went viral, showed the men dressed in Ukrainian military uniforms in an unspecified forested area.

“We want to give thanks to the people of ‘Israel’ and the government of ‘Israel’ for the help they give us. We are here fighting against the Russians in this very difficult war,” said one fighter.

“I want to say thank you to the whole Jewish people who are helping us — we are here for you, for the whole nation,” said another man. “We are here for all those whose lives are in danger. We are fighting for you, doing good work.”

You’re either with us or you’re a “systemic challenge”

June 30, 2022

Source

After all we’re deep into the metaverse spectrum, where things are the opposite of what they seem.

By Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted

Fast but not furious, the Global South is revving up. The key takeaway of the BRICS+ summit in Beijing,  held in sharp contrast with the G7 in the Bavarian Alps, is that both West Asia’s Iran and South America’s Argentina officially applied for BRICS membership.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has highlighted how BRICS has “a very creative mechanism with broad aspects”. Tehran – a close partner of both Beijing and Moscow – already had “a series of consultations” about the application: the Iranians are sure that will “add value” to the expanded BRICS.

Talk about China, Russia and Iran being sooooo isolated. Well, after all we’re deep into the metaverse spectrum, where things are the opposite of what they seem.

Moscow’s obstinacy in not following Washington’s Plan A to start a pan-European war is rattling Atlanticist nerves to the core. So right after the G7 summit significantly held at a former Nazi sanatorium, enter NATO’s, in full warmongering regalia.

So welcome to an atrocity exhibition featuring total demonization of Russia, defined as the ultimate “direct threat”; the upgrading of Eastern Europe into “a fort”; a torrent of tears shed about the Russia-China strategic partnership; and as an extra bonus, the branding of China as a “systemic challenge”.

There you go: for the NATO/G7 combo, the leaders of the emerging multipolar world as well as the vast swathes of the Global South that want to join in, are a “systemic challenge”.

Turkiye under the Sultan of Swing – Global South in spirit, tightrope walker in practice – got literally everything it wanted to magnanimously allow Sweden and Finland to clear their paths on the way of being absorbed by NATO.

Bets can be made on what kind of shenanigans NATO navies will come up with in the Baltics against the Russian Baltic Fleet, to be followed by assorted business cards distributed by Mr. Khinzal, Mr. Zircon, Mr. Onyx and Mr. Kalibr, capable of course of annihilating any NATO permutation, including “decision centers”.

So it came as a sort of perverse comic relief when Roscosmos released a set of quite entertaining satellite images pinpointing the coordinates of those “decision centers”.

The “leaders” of NATO and the G7 seem to enjoy performing a brand of lousy cop/clownish cop routine. The NATO summit told coke comedian Elensky (remember, the letter “Z” is verboten) that the Russian combined arms police operation – or war – must be “resolved” militarily. So NATO will continue to help Kiev to fight till the last Ukrainian cannon fodder.

In parallel, at the G7, German Chancellor Scholz was asked to specify what “security guarantees” would be provided to what’s left of Ukraine after the war. Response from the grinning Chancellor: “Yes … I could” (specify). And then he trailed off.

Illiberal Western liberalism

Over 4 months after the start of Operation Z, zombified Western public opinion completely forgot – or willfully ignores – that Moscow spent the last stretch of 2021 demanding a serious discussion on legally binding security guarantees from Washington, with an emphasis on no more NATO eastward expansion and a return to the 1997 status quo.

Diplomacy did fail, as Washington emitted a non-response response. President Putin had stressed the follow-up would be a “military technical” response (that turned out to be Operation Z) even as the Americans warned that would trigger massive sanctions.

Contrary to Divide and Rule wishful thinking, what happened after February 24 only solidified the synergistic Russia-China strategic partnership – and their expanded circle, especially in the context of BRICS and the SCO. As Sergey Karaganov, head of Russia’s Council on Foreign and Defense Policy noted earlier this year, “China is our strategic cushion (…) We know that in any difficult situation, we can lean on it for military, political and economic support.”

That was outlined in detail for all the Global South to see by the landmark February 4th joint statement for Cooperation Entering a New Era – complete with the accelerated integration of BRI and the EAEU in tandem with military intelligence harmonization under the SCO (including new full member Iran), key foundation stones of multipolarism.

Now compare it with the wet dreams of the Council on Foreign Relations or assorted ravings by armchair strategic “experts” of “the top national security think tank in the world” whose military experience is limited to negotiating a can of beer.

Makes one yearn for those serious analytic days when the late, great Andre Gunder Frank penned ” a paper on the paper tiger” , examining American power at the crossroads of paper dollar and the Pentagon.

The Brits, with better imperial education standards, at least seem to understand, halfway, how Xi Jinping “has embraced a variant of integral nationalism not unlike those that emerged in interwar Europe”, while Putin “skillfully deployed Leninist methods to resurrect an enfeebled Russia as a global power.”

Yet the notion that “ideas and projects originating in the illiberal West continue to shape global politics” is nonsense, as Xi in fact is inspired by Mao as much as Putin is inspired by several Eurasianist theoreticians. What’s relevant is that in the process of the West plunging into a geopolitical abyss, “Western liberalism has itself become illiberal.”

Much worse: it actually became totalitarian.

Holding the Global South hostage

The G7 is essentially offering to most of the Global South a toxic cocktail of massive inflation, rising prices and uncontrolled dollarized debt.

Fabio Vighi has brilliantly outlined how “the purpose of the Ukrainian emergency is to keep the money printer switched on while blaming Putin for worldwide economic downturn. The war serves the opposite aim of what we are told: not to defend Ukraine but to prolong the conflict and nourish inflation in a bid to defuse cataclysmic risk in the debt market, which would spread like wildfire across the whole financial sector.”

And if it can get worse, it will. At the Bavarian Alps, the G7 promised to find “ways to limit the price of Russian oil and gas”: if that doesn’t work according to “market methods”, then “means will be imposed by force”.

A G7 “indulgence” – neo-medievalism in action – would only be possible if a prospective buyer of Russian energy agrees to strike a deal on the price with G7 representatives.

What this means in practice is that the G7 arguably will be creating a new body to “regulate” the price of oil and gas, subordinated to Washington’s whims: for all practical purposes, a major twist of the post-1945 system.

The whole planet, especially the Global South, would be held hostage.

Meanwhile, in real life, Gazprom is on a roll, making as much money from gas exports to the EU as it did in 2021, even though it’s shipping much smaller volumes.

About the only thing this German analyst gets right is that were Gazprom forced to cut off supplies for good, that would represent “the implosion of an economic model that is over-reliant on industrial exports, and therefore on imports of cheap fossil fuels. Industry is responsible for 36% of Germany’s gas use.”

Think, for instance, BASF forced to halt production at the world’s biggest chemicals plant in Ludwigshafen. Or Shell’s CEO stressing it’s absolutely impossible to replace Russian gas supplied to the EU via pipelines with (American) LNG.

This coming implosion is exactly what Washington neocon/neoliberalcon circles want – removing a powerful (Western) economic competitor from the world trading stage. What’s truly astonishing is that Team Scholz can’t even see it coming.

Virtually no one remembers what happened a year ago when the G7 struck a pose of trying to help the Global South. That was branded as Build Back Better World (B3W). “Promising projects” were identified in Senegal and Ghana, there were “visits” to Ecuador, Panama and Colombia. The Crash Test Dummy administration was offering “the full range” of US financial tools: equity stakes, loan guarantees, political insurance, grants, technical expertise on climate, digital technology and gender equality.

The Global South was not impressed. Most of it had already joined BRI. B3W went down with a whimper.

Now the EU is promoting its new “infrastructure” project for the Global South, branded as Global Gateway, officially presented by European Commission (EC) Fuhrer Ursula von der Leyen and – surprise! – coordinated with the floundering B3W. That’s the Western “response” to BRI, demonized as – what else – “a debt trap”.

Global Gateway in theory should be spending 300 billion euros in 5 years; the EC will come up with only 18 billion from the EU budget (that is, financed by EU taxpayers), with the intention of amassing 135 billion euros in private investment. No Eurocrat has been able to explain the gap between the announced 300 billion and the wishful thinking 135 billion.

In parallel, the EC is doubling down on their floundering Green Energy agenda – blaming, what else, gas and coal. EU climate honcho Frans Timmermans has uttered an absolute pearl: “Had we had the green deal five years earlier, we would not be in this position because then we would have less dependency on fossil fuels and natural gas.”

Well, in real life the EU remains stubbornly on the road to become a fully de-industrialized wasteland by 2030. Inefficient solar or wind-based Green Energy is incapable of offering stable, reliable power. No wonder vast swathes of the EU are now Back to Coal.

The right kind of swing

It’s a tough call to establish who’s The Lousiest in the NATO/G7 cop routine. Or the most predictable. This is what I published about the NATO summit . Not now: in 2014, eight years ago. The same old demonization, over and over again.

And once again, if it can get worse, predictably it will. Think of what’s left of Ukraine – mostly eastern Galicia – being annexed to the Polish wet dream: the revamped Intermarium, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, now dubbed as a bland “Three Seas Initiative” (with the added Adriatic) and comprising 12 nation-states.

What that implies long-term is a EU breakdown from within. Opportunist Warsaw just profits financially from the Brussels system’s largesse while holding its own hegemonic designs. Most of the “Three Seas” will end up exiting the EU. Guess who will guarantee their “defense”: Washington, via NATO. What else is new? The revamped Intermarium concept goes back all the way to the late Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski.

So Poland dreams of becoming the Intermarium leader, seconded by the Three Baltic Midgets, enlarged Scandinavia, plus Bulgaria and Romania. Their aim is straight from Comedy Central: reducing Russia into “pariah state” status – and then the whole enchilada: regime change, Putin out, balkanization of the Russian Federation.

Britain, that inconsequential island, still invested in teaching Empire to the American upstarts, will love it. Germany-France-Italy much less. Lost in the wilderness Euro-analysts dream of a European Quad (Spain added), replicating the Indo-Pacific scam, but in the end it will all depend which way Berlin swings.

And then there’s that unpredictable Global South stalwart led by the Sultan of Swing: freshly rebranded Turkiye. Soft neo-Ottomanism seems to be on a roll, still expanding its tentacles from the Balkans and Libya to Syria and Central Asia. Evoking the golden age of the Sublime Porte, Istanbul is the only serious mediator between Moscow and Kiev. And it’s carefully micromanaging the evolving process of Eurasia integration.

The Americans were on the verge of regime-changing the Sultan. Now they have been forced to listen to him. Talk about a serious geopolitical lesson to the whole Global South: it don’t mean a “systemic challenge” thing if you’ve got the right kind of swing.

Putin: Address to participants of 10th St Petersburg International Legal Forum

June 30, 2022

Address to participants of 10th St Petersburg International Legal Forum

Vladimir Putin gave a video address to greet the participants of a plenary session of the 10th St Petersburg International Legal Forum. This year’s plenary session was themed Law in a Multipolar World. The video address was recorded during the President’s recent visit to St Petersburg.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Colleagues,

I would like to welcome you to the 10th St Petersburg International Legal Forum, which, as always, has brought together leading jurists and practicing lawyers from many countries.

I am glad that after a forced interruption, the forum is again being held in person because even the most advanced communication technologies cannot replace a direct dialogue and face-to-face meetings.

Participants at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum recently discussed the most relevant political, financial, technological and cultural issues on the global agenda; many of these issues directly related to international law. It is important that you continue this conversation within this forum and discuss important topics like Law in a Multipolar World.

It is true, a multipolar system of international relations is now being formed. It is an irreversible process; it is happening before our eyes and is objective in nature. The position of Russia and many other countries is that this democratic, more just world order should be built on the basis of mutual respect and trust, and, of course, on the generally accepted principles of international law and the UN Charter.

At the same time, it is being said that law cannot adequately respond to the problems and challenges of today, to today’s turbulent and fundamental changes. There are also more radical assessments that the idea of international law is being dismantled. I fundamentally disagree with these conclusions.

Undoubtedly, the system of international law needs to be further developed, but we should not confuse cause and effect. Crises happen not because law is faulty, but because of attempts to replace law with dictate, and international standards with the national jurisdiction of certain states or groups of states in a deliberate refusal to follow essential legal principles – justice, conscientiousness, equality and humanity. These are not just legal ideals, but values that reflect the diversity of our civilisation.

Some states are not ready to accept losing their supremacy on the international stage, and they are striving to preserve the unjust unipolar model. Under the guise of what they call order based on rules, and other questionable concepts, they try to control and direct global processes at their own discretion, and hold to a course of creating closed blocs and coalitions that make decisions for the benefit of one country, the United States of America. The natural rights of others in international relations are being ignored; the fundamental principle of indivisibility of security is being used selectively. The West’s unilateral, illegitimate sanctions against sovereign states have reached an unprecedented scale.

I will add that the countries that advocate their own exceptionalism also overstep the law and cross out such concepts as inviolability of property and freedom of speech in their own domestic policy as well. In sum, the domination of one country or a group of countries on the global stage is not only counter-productive, but also dangerous and inevitably creates global, systemic risk.

The multipolar world of the 21st century does not have a place for inequality or for discrimination against states and peoples. Therefore, our country speaks for the practical realisation of the pivotal international legal principle of the sovereign equality of states and the right of each state to pursue its own development model.

The Russian foreign affairs agenda has always been and remains constructive. We develop multipolar relations with all who are interested in them and place great value on cooperation within the UN, the G20, BRICS, the SCO and other associations.

Russia is open to dialogue on ensuring strategic stability, preserving agreements on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and improving the situation in arms control. We are focused on joining efforts on crucial issues like the climate agenda, fighting famine, providing stability in food and energy markets, and fair rules in international trade and competition.

All of these areas require appropriate and flexible legal regulation and meticulous cooperation. With this approach, we could avoid crises such as the current one in Donbass that is happening to protect its residents from genocide – and there can be no other definition for the Kiev regime’s actions than “a crime against humanity.”

At the same time, Russia will continue to create a more democratic and just world where the rights of all peoples are guaranteed and mankind’s cultural and civilizational diversity is preserved.

I am confident that, by consistently following international law and joining our efforts, it is possible to resolve the most difficult problems that the world is facing and to provide for the stable, sustainable and progressive development of all states. Both practicing lawyers and jurists can and should bring a significant contribution to the recreation of the authority of law, strengthening its legal institutions and rebuilding trust in international relations.

I wish all of you productive work and interesting networking.

Thank you for your attention.

المقاومة وحقول الغاز آذان صماء

 السبت 2 تموز 2022

 ناصر قنديل

يخطئ الكثيرون الذين يعتقدون أن المقاومة منشغلة بمتابعة ما يُسرّب وما يدقق وما يتحقق على مستوى المسار التفاوضيّ، وأنها تتابعه عن كثب وتنتظر نتائجه، وستبني على درجة اقتراب النتائج مما تتوخاه، خطواتها، ولذلك فإن تقدير خطوات المقاومة وسلوكها يمكن أن يبدأ من استشراف اتجاهات المسار التفاوضي؛ فإذا صح الكلام المسرب عن رد إسرائيلي سلبي استنفرت المقاومة، وإذا صحت المعلومات عن ايجابية ترافق المسار التفاوضي أرخت المقاومة سلاحها، والذين يعرفون المقاومة عن كثب يعرفون أن الأمور لا تسير أبداً بهذه الطريقة. فقيادة المقاومة تتابع طبعاً كل ما يثار حول المسار التفاوضي، وتدقق بكل ما يصل من معلومات رسمية أو شبه رسمية أو مسرّبة، كحالها مع متابعة كل ما يتصل بشؤون لبنان من جهة، ومن شؤون الكيان من جهة مقابلة، فكيف عندما يتصل الأمر بالجهتين؟

ما تجب معرفته هو أن هذه المتابعة التقليدية الطبيعية عالية المستوى، فهي أشد دقة وجدية من متابعة أية جهة رسمية أو أمنية أو حزبية، لاعتبارين، الأول أن لدى المقاومة ما يتيح إدماجها بمصادر المقاومة من داخل الكيان ومتابعته لما يجري ويُسرّب ويناقش حتى داخل أروقة وكواليس صنع القرار فيه، والثاني أن المقاومة نجحت بالتحوّل إلى مؤسسة أكثر مما نجحت مؤسسات الدولة بذلك، ولأن الأمر يتصل بالصراع مع كيان الاحتلال ويدخل في صلب مسؤوليات المقاومة، فهو يخضع لمتابعة النواة الأشد صلابة وتماسكاً ومأسسة في هياكل عمل المقاومة، حيث عقول متفرّغة للبحث والتحليل وإصدار التقديرات والتحليلات، وهناك أرشيف منظم وآليات عمل وخرائط ومرجعيّات بحث شديدة التطور، ما يجعل المتابعة التي تجريها المقاومة ومنظومة التتبع والملاحقة التي تعتمدها مصدراً تبنى عليه التقديرات عند الحاجة بالنسبة لصنّاع القرار في الدولة، لكن هذا شيء، واعتبار أداء وعمل المقاومة على صلة بهذا التتبع شيئاً آخر.

قد يظنّ البعض أن التسريبات رسمية او شبه رسمية كالذي نقل عن السفيرة الأميركية في لقاءاتها الرئاسيّة عن لسان الوسيط الأميركي من إيجابيات، او كانت تسريبات إعلامية، كالذي نشر عن رفض إسرائيلي كامل للمطالب اللبنانية وإرفاق ذلك بالتهديدات، يمكن أن تؤثر على تعامل المقاومة مع ملف ما تسمّيه بالشريط الحدودي البحري، بالاستنفار على وقع الخبر السلبي، والاسترخاء على وقع الخبر الإيجابي، فهو بالتأكيد لا يعرف المقاومة. يهم المقاومة أن تعرف كل شيء، وأن تعرف أكثر عن كل شيء، خصوصاً عندما يتصل الأمر بصلب مسؤوليتها واهتماماتها، لكن المقاومة تتعامل بطريقة مختلفة، فهي منذ أن أعلن الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله حاصل الدرس والتدقيق لملف الشريط البحري المحتل، ورسم الموقف بمعادلتي، وقف الاستخراج والتحرير، مكلفاً المقاومة بوضع هذا الهدف على جدول أعمالها، انطلقت المقاومة لبناء معادلات ميدانية وترتيب هياكل تنفيذيّة لهذين القرارين، بانتظار تبلور فرضيّة استهداف متاح محقق يطلب الإذن بالتنفيذ، أو صدور القرار ببدء الاستهداف، أو تبلغ قيادة المقاومة العملياتيّة قراراً استراتيجياً آخر يلغي قرار منع الاستخراج والتحرير، وحتى تبلّغ أي من هذه القرارات، فللمقاومة أذن صماء تجاه كل ما يدور في السياسة والإعلام، خارج إطار السعي لمراكمة المعرفة، وتوفير شروط التتبع.

ما يعرفه الاحتلال وداعمو الاحتلال، وما يجب أن يعرفه أهل المقاومة وكل مَن يؤيدها، أنه لو بدأ الاحتلال بتركيب أنابيب الاستخراج لكانت المقاومة أول مَن يعلم، ولفعلت اللازم فوراً، وأنه لو توضعت وتحرّكت سفينة الاستخراج شمالا أو دخلت سواها لأغراض الاستخراج، فإن المقاومة أول من سيعلم، وأول من سيتصرف، فعلاً مباشراً أو تحذيراً معلناً، وفي هذه المرحلة والمقاومة بأعلى جهوزيتها، وبقدرات استثنائيّة يعرف العدو بعضها، بما يوازي ما تمتلكه أحدث جيوش العالم، مضافاً اليه روح الاستشهاد وخبرة أبناء العماد، وهي قادرة بما لديها وبما تعرف، على تنفيذ المهمة، واليد على الزناد.

الاحتلال مردوع ويكثر الكلام، والمقاومة تفرض معادلاتها ولا تحتاج إلى الكلام، وواثقة بأن ما طرحه الرؤساء هو آخر الكلام

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Michael Hudson interviewed by Ben Norton (Multipolarista) Update with transcript

June 30, 2022

Economist Michael Hudson on inflation and Fed plan to cut wages: A depression is coming

Transcript:

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Hey, everyone, this is Ben Norton, and you are watching or listening to the Multipolarista podcast. I am always privileged to be joined by one of my favorite guests, Michael Hudson, one of the greatest economists living today.

We’re going to be talking about the inflation crisis. This is a crisis around the world, but especially in the United States, where inflation has been at over 8%. And it has caused a lot of political problems. It’s very likely going to cause the defeat, among other factors, of the Democrats in the mid-term elections in November.

And we’ve seen that the response of the US government and top economists in the United States is basically to blame inflation on wages, on low levels of unemployment and on working people.

We’ve seen that the chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, has said that inflation is being caused by wages supposedly being too high. We’ve also seen that the top economist and former Clinton administration official Larry Summers has claimed that the solution to inflation is increasing unemployment, potentially up to 10%.

So today I’m joined by economist Michael Hudson, who has been calling out this kind of neoliberal snake oil economics for many years. And Professor Hudson has an article he just published that we’re going to talk about today. You can find this at his website, which is michael-hudson.com. It’s titled “The Fed’s Austerity Program to Reduce Wages.” and I’m going to let Professor Hudson summarize the main points of his article.

Professor Hudson, as always, it’s a pleasure having you. Can you respond to the decision by the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates by 0.75%? It doesn’t sound like a lot – it’s less than 1% – but this was the largest rate hike since 1994.

And now we’ve already seen reports that there’s going to be a depression. The Fed chair is blaming this on wages. Can you respond to the position of the Fed and the inflation crisis in the US right now.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

For the Fed, the only two things that it can do is, number one, raise the discount rate, the interest rate; and number two, spend $9 trillion buying stocks, and bonds, and real estate mortgages to increase real estate prices, and to increase the amount of wealth that the wealthiest 10% of the population has.

To the wealthiest 10%, especially the 1%, it’s not only inflation that’s a problem of wages; every problem that America has is the problem of the working class earning too much money. And if you’re an employer, that’s the problem: you want to increase your profits. And if you look at the short term, your profits go up the more that you can squeeze labor down. And the way to squeeze labor down is to increase what Marx called the reserve army of the unemployed.

You need unemployment in order to prevent labor from getting most of the value of what it produces, so that the employers can get the value, and pay that to the banks and the financial managers that have taken over corporate industry in the United States.

You mentioned that while the Fed blames the inflation it on labor, that’s not President Biden’s view; Biden keeps calling it the Putin inflation. And of course, what he really means is that the sanctions that America has placed on Russia have created a shortage of oil, gas, energy, and food exports.

So really we’re in the Biden inflation. And the Biden inflation that America is experiencing is the result basically of America’s military policy, its foreign policy, and above all, the Democratic Party’s support of the oil industry, which is the most powerful sector in the United States and which is guiding most of the sanctions against Russia; and the national security state that bases America’s power on its ability to export oil, or control the oil trade of all the countries, and to export agricultural products.

So what we’re in the middle of right now isn’t simply a domestic issue of wage earners wanting higher salaries – which they’re not particularly getting; certainly the minimum wage has not been increased – but you have to put this in the context of the whole cold war that’s going on.

The whole US and NATO confrontation of Russia has been a godsend, as you and I have spoken before, for the oil industry and the farm exporters.

And the result is that the US dollar is rising against the euro, against sterling, and against Global South currencies. Well, in principle a rising dollar should make the price of imports low. So something else is at work.

And what’s at work, of course, is the fact that the oil industry is a monopoly, that most of the prices that have been going up are basically the result of a monopolization, in the case of food, by the marketing firms, like Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland, that buy most of the crops from the farmers.

The irony is that while food prices, next to oil prices, are the major factor that is soaring, farmers are getting less and less for their crops. And yet farmers’ costs are going up – up for fertilizer, up for energy, up for other inputs – so that you’re having enormous profits for Archer Daniels Midland and the food monopolies, of the distributors, and enormous, enormous gains for the oil industry, and also of course for the military-industrial complex.

So if you look at what’s happening in the overall world economic system, you can see that this inflation is being engineered. And the beneficiaries of this inflation certainly have not been the wage earners, by any stretch of the imagination.

But the crisis that the Biden policy has created is being blamed on the wage earners instead of on the Biden administration’s foreign policy and the basically the US-NATO war to isolate Russia, China, India, Iran, and Eurasia generally.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Professor Hudson, I want to talk about the increase in interest rates by the Fed. There has been a lot of attention to this, although, again, it’s 0.75%, which is not that big. But it’s of course going to have an outsize impact on the economy.

In your article, again, this is your column at michael-hudson.com, “The Fed’s Austerity Program to Reduce Wages,” you talk about the Fed’s “junk economics,” and you say that the idea behind raising interest rates by 0.75% is that:

raising interest rates will cure inflation by deterring borrowing to spend on the basic needs that make up the Consumer Price Index and its related GDP deflator. But banks do not finance much consumption, except for credit card debt, which is now less than student loans and automobile loans. Banks lend almost entirely to buy real estate, stocks and bonds, not goods and services.

So you argue that one of the effects of this is that it’s actually going to roll back homeownership in the United States. You note that the rate of homeownership has been falling since 2008.

So can you expand on those arguments? What will be the impact of the increase of the interest rates by the Fed?

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, in order to get an economics degree which is needed to work at the Fed or at the Council of Economic Advisors, you have to take economics courses in the universities, and all of the textbooks say just what you quoted me as saying they say.

The pretense is that banks actually play a productive role in society, by providing the money for factories to buy machinery, and build plants, and do research and development, and to hire labor; and that somehow the money that banks create is all lent out for industrial economy, and that that will enable companies to make more money that they’ll spend on labor; and of course, as they spend more money on labor, that supports to bid prices up as the reserve army of the unemployed is depleted.

But that’s all a fiction. The textbooks don’t want to say that banks don’t play a productive role like that at all. And the corporations don’t do what the textbooks say.

If you look at the Federal Reserve balance sheet and statistics that it publishes every month, you’ll see that 80% of bank loans in the United States are mortgage loans to commercial real estate and mostly for home real estate. And of course the home mortgage loans have been nothing, like under 1% for the last 14 years, since 2008.

Only the banks and the large borrowers, the financial sector, have been able to borrow at these low rates. Homeowners all along have had to pay very high rates, just under 4%, and now it’s going above 4%, heading to 5%.

Well, here is the situation that the Federal Reserve has created. Suppose that you’re a family right now going out to buy a home, and you find out that in order to borrow the money to buy the home – because if the average home in America costs $600,000 or $700,000, people haven’t saved that much; the only way you can buy a home is to take out a mortgage.

Well, you have a choice: you can either rent a home, or you can borrow the money to buy a home. And traditionally, for a century, the carrying charge for financing a home with the mortgage has been about the equivalent of paying a rent. The advantage is, of course, that you get to own the home when it’s over.

Well, now let’s look at what’s happening right now. All of a sudden, the carrying charge of mortgages have gone way, way up. The banks are making an enormous gap. They can borrow at just around 1%, and they lend out at 4.5%. They get a windfall gain of the markup they have in mortgages, lending to prospective homeowners.

And of course, the homeowners don’t have enough money to be able to pay the higher interest charged on the mortgages that they take out. So they are not able to buy as expensive a home as they wanted before.

But they’ve been a declining part of the population. At the time Obama took office, over 68% of Americans owned their own home. Obama started the great wave of evictions, of 10 million Americans who lived in homes, essentially to throw them out of their homes, especially the victims of the junk mortgages, especially the lower income and racial minorities who were redlined and had to become the main victims of the mortgages.

America’s homeownership rate is now under 61%. What has happened? You’ve had huge private capital firms come into the market thinking, wait a minute, we can now buy these properties and rent them out. And we can buy them for all cash, unlike homeowners, we’re multibillionaires, we Blackstone, BlackRock.

You have these multibillion-dollar funds, and they say, well, we can’t make much money buying bonds or buying stocks that yield what they do today, now that the Federal Reserve has ground down interest rates. What we can do is make money as landlords.

And so they’ve shifted, they’ve reversed the whole shift away from the 19th-century landlordism to an economy based on financialization, and the wealthy classes making money on finance, to go back to making money as landlords.

And so they are buying up these homes that American homeowners can’t afford to buy. Because when you raise the mortgage rate, that doesn’t affect a billionaire at all. Because the billionaire firm doesn’t have to borrow money to buy the home. They have the billion dollars of their own money, of pension fund money, of speculative money, of the money of the 1% and the 10% to spend.

So what you’re having by increasing the interest rates is squeezing homeowners out of the market and turning the American economy into a landlord-ridden rental economy, instead of a homeowners economy. That’s the effect.

And it’s a windfall for the private capital firms that are now seeing that are making money as landlords, the old fashioned way, it worked for 800 years under feudalism. It’s coming back in style.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Professor Hudson, you point out in this article at your website that more than 50% of the value of U.S. real estate already is held by mortgage bankers. And of course, that percentage is increasing and increasing.

Now, you, Professor Hudson, have argued a point that I haven’t seen many other people make, although it’s an obvious, correct point, which is that there has actually been a lot of inflation in the United States in the past several years, but that inflation was in the FIRE sector: finance, insurance, and real estate.

We see that with the constant increase in real estate prices; they go up every single year; rent goes up every single year. The difference now is that there’s also a significant increase in the Consumer Price Index.

And there is an interesting study published by the Economic Policy Institute, which is, you know, a center-left think tank, affiliated with the labor movement; they’re not radicals, they’re progressives. And they did a very good study.

And they found – this was published this April – they found that corporate profits are responsible for around 54% of the increase of prices in the non-financial corporate sector, as opposed to unit labor costs only being responsible for around an 8% increase.

So they showed, scientifically, that over half of the increase of prices in the non-financial corporate sector, that is in the Consumer Price Index, over half of that inflation is because of corporate profits.

Of course, that’s not the way it’s discussed in mainstream media. That’s not the way the Fed is discussing it all. We see Larry Summers saying that we need to increase unemployment. Larry Summers, of course, was the treasury secretary for Bill Clinton.

He’s saying that the U.S. has to increase unemployment; the solution to inflation is increasing unemployment. Even though these studies show that over half of inflation in the Consumer Price Index is because of corporate profits.

I’m wondering if you can comment on why so many economists, including people as revered as Larry Summers, refuse to acknowledge that reality.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Most economists need to get employment, and in order to be employed, you have to give a picture of the economy that reflects how well your employer helped society at large. You’re not allowed to say that your employer is acting in ways that are purely predatory. You’re not allowed to say that the employer does not earn an income.

You talked about corporate profits and the classical economists. If you were a free-market economist like Adam Smith, or David Ricardo, or John Stuart Mill – these are monopoly rents. So what you call corporate profits are way above normal corporate rates of return, normal profits. They’re economic rents from monopoly.

And that’s because about 10 or 15 years ago, the United States stopped imposing its anti-monopoly laws. It has essentially let monopolies concentrate markets, concentrate power, and charge whatever they want.

And so once you’ve dismantled the whole legal framework that was put in place from the 1890s, from the Sherman Antitrust Act, down through the early 20th century, the New Deal, once you dismantle all of this state control, saying – essentially what Larry Summers says is, we’re for a free market.

A “free market” is one in which companies can charge whatever they want to charge for things; a free market is one without government regulation; a free market is one without government; a free market is a weak enough government so that it cannot protect the wage earners; it cannot protect voters. A “democracy” is a country where the bulk of the population, the wage earners, have no ability to affect economic policy in their own interests.

A “free market” is one where, instead of the government being the planner, Wall Street is the planner, on behalf of the large industries that are basically being financialized.

So you’ve had a transformation of the concept of what a free market is, a dismantling of government regulation, a dismantling of anti-monopoly regulation, and essentially the class war is back in business.

That’s what the Biden administration is all about. And quite frankly, it’s what the Democratic Party is all about, even more than the Republican Party. The Republican Party can advocate pro-business policies and pro-financial policies, but the Democratic Party is in charge of dismantling the legacy of protection of the economy that had been put in place for a century.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Yeah, and this is an article in Fortune that was originally based on an article in Bloomberg: “5 years at 6% unemployment or 1 year at 10%: That’s what Larry Summers says we’ll need to defeat inflation.” That’s how simple it is, you know, just increase unemployment, and then inflation will magically go away!

Now, I also wanted to get your response, Professor Hudson, to these comments that you highlighted in a panel that was organized by the International Manifesto Group – a great organization, people can find it here, their channel here at YouTube. And they held a conference on inflation. And you were one of several speakers.

And you highlighted these comments that were made by the Fed chair, Jerome Powell. And this is according to the official transcript from The Wall Street Journal. So this is not from some lefty, socialist website. Here’s the official transcript of a May 4 press conference given by the Fed chief, Jerome Powell.

In this press conference, he said, discussing inflation, he said, in order to get inflation down, he’s talking about things that can be done “to get wages down, and then get inflation down without having to slow the economy and have a recession and have unemployment rise materially.”

So this is another proposal. Larry Summers says 6% unemployment for five years, or 10% unemployment for one year. The Fed chair, Jerome Powell, says the solution is “to get wages down.” I’m wondering if you can respond to that as well.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, the important thing to realize is that President Biden re-appointed Jerome Powell. President Biden is a Republican. The Democratic Party is basically the right wing of the Republican Party, the pro-financial, the pro-Wall Street wing of the Republican Party.

Why on earth, if the Democrats were different from the Republicans, why would would Biden re-appoint an anti-labor Republican, as head of the Federal Reserve, instead of someone that would actually try to spur employment?

Imagine, here’s a party that is trying to be elected on a program of, “Elect us, and we will create a depression and we will lower wages.” That is the Democrat Party slogan.

And it’s a winning slogan, because elections are won by campaign contributions. The slogan is, “We will lower wages by bringing you depression,” is a tsunami of contributions to the Democratic Party, by Wall Street, by the monopolists, by all the beneficiaries of this policy.

So that’s why the Supreme Court ruling against abortions the other day is a gift to the Democrats, because it distracts attention from their identity politics of breaking America into all sorts of identities, every identity you can think of, except being a wage earner.

The wage earners are called deplorables, basically. And that’s how the donor class thinks of them, as sort of unfortunate overhead. You need to employ them, but it really it’s unfortunate that they like to live as well as they do, because the better they live, the less money that you will end up with.

So I think that this issue of the inflation, and what really causes it, really should be what elections are all about. This should be the economic core of this November’s election campaign and the 2024 election campaign. And the Democrats are leading the fight to lower wages.

And you remember that when President Obama was elected, he promised to increase the minimum wage? As soon as he got in, he said the one thing we cannot do is raise the minimum wage. And he had also promised to back card check. He said, the one thing we must not do is increase labor unionization with card check, because if you unionize labor, they’re going to ask for better wages and better working conditions.

So you have the Democratic Party taking about as hard a right-wing position as sort of Chicago School monetarism, saying the solution to any any problem at all is just lower wages and somehow you’ll be more competitive, whereas the American economy is already rendered uncompetitive, not because wages are so high, but because, as you mentioned before, the FIRE sector, the finance, insurance, and real estate sector is so high.

Rents and home ownership, having a home is too expensive to be competitive with foreign labor. Having to pay 18% of GDP on medical care, privatized medical care, prices American labor out of the market. All of the debt service that America has paid is pricing America out of the market.

So the problem is not that wages are too high. The problem is that the overhead that labor has to pay in order to survive, for rent, for medical care, for student loans, for car loans, to have a car to drive to work, for gas to drive to work, to buy the monopoly prices that you need in order to survive – all of these are too high.

None of this even appears in economic textbooks that you need to get a good mark on, in order to get an economics degree, in order to be suitably pliable to be hired by the Federal Reserve, or the Council of Economic Advisers, or by corporations that use economists basically as public relations spokesmen. So that’s the mess we’re in.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Professor Hudson, in your article at your website, michael-hudson.com, you have an important section about the quantitative easing policies. We were talking about how there has been inflation in the past decade, but then inflation was largely in the FIRE sector, pushing up, artificially inflating the prices of real estate and stocks.

You note that:

While home ownership rates plunged for the population at large, the Fed’s “Quantitative Easing” increased its subsidy of Wall Street’s financial securities from $1 trillion to $8.2 trillion – of which the largest gain has been in packaged home mortgages. This has kept housing prices from falling and becoming more affordable for home buyers.

And you, of course, note that “the Fed’s support of asset prices saved many insolvent banks – the very largest ones – from going under.”

I had you on to discuss, in late 2019, before the Covid pandemic hit, we know that the Fed had this emergency bailout where it gave trillions of dollars in emergency repo loans to the biggest banks to prevent them from from crashing, trying to save the economy.

I do want to talk about this as well, because sometimes this is used by right-wingers who portray Biden hilariously as a socialist. You were just talking about how the Democrats have a deeply neoliberal, right-wing economic program.

But of course, there is this rhetoric that we see from Republicans and conservatives claiming that Biden is a socialist. They claim that the reason there is inflation is because Biden is just printing money and giving money to people.

Of course, that’s not at all what’s happening. What has happened is that the Fed has printed trillions of dollars and given that to stockholders, to big corporations, and to banks.

And this is a point that I saw highlighted in that panel I mentioned, the conference on inflation that was organized by the International Manifesto Group. A colleague of yours, a brilliant political economist, Radhika Desai, she invited everyone to go to the Fed website and look at the Fed balance sheet.

And this is the Fed balance sheet from federalreserve.gov. This is the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System website. And it is pretty shocking to see this graph, which shows the total assets of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

US Federal Reserve assets balance sheet 2022

Back in 2008, the Federal Reserve had around $900 billion in assets. Now it’s at nearly $9 trillion in assets.

And we can see, after the financial crash, or during the financial crash, it increased to around $2 trillion. And then around 2014, it increased to around $4.5 trillion. And then especially in late 2019 and 2020, it skyrocketed from around $4 trillion up to $7 trillion. And since then, it has continued skyrocketing to $9 trillion in assets.

Where did all of that money go? And what was the impact on the economy, of course?

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, the impact on the economy has been to vastly increase the wealth of the wealthiest 1% of Americans who own most of the stocks and bonds.

Sheila Bair, the former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, pointed out that a lot of this $8 trillion is spent to buy junk bonds.

Here’s the problem. The problem really began with President Obama. He inherited a system where you had the largest wave of commercial bank fraud in American history.

As my colleague Bill Black at the University of Missouri at Kansas City has pointed out, everybody knew that there was a bank fraud on. The newspapers referred to junk mortgages and “NINJA” borrowers: “no income, no jobs, no assets.”

So banks had written mortgages way above the actual value of homes, especially to racial and ethnic minorities, without any ability of the borrowers to actually pay.

And then these banks had packaged these mortgages, and sold them to hapless pension funds, and other institutional investors and to the European banks that are always very naive about how honest American banks are.

You had this whole accumulation of what the 19th century called fictitious capital. Mortgages for property that wasn’t worth anywhere near as much as the mortgage is for.

So if the mortgage was defaulted, if homeowners had jingle mail – in other words, you just mail the keys back to the bank and say, ok, take the house, I find I can buy a house now at half the price that Citibank or one of these other banks lent out.

Well, normally you’d have a crash of prices back to realistic levels, so that the value of mortgages actually reflected the value of property, or the value of junk bonds issued by a corporation reflected the actual earning power of the corporation to pay interest on the junk bonds.

So by the time Obama took over, the whole economy was largely fictitious capital. Well, Obama came in and he said, my campaign donors are on Wall Street. He called in the Wall Street bankers and he said, I’m the guy standing between you and the crowd with the pitchforks, the people who voted for me. But don’t worry, I’m on your side.

He said, I’m going to have the Federal Reserve create the largest amount of credit in human history. And it’s all going to go to you. It’s going to go to the 1% of the population. It’s not going to go into the economy. It’s not going to build infrastructure. It’s not going into wages. It’s not going to reduce the price of homes and make them more affordable to Americans.

It’s going to keep the price of these junk bonds so high that they don’t crash back to non-fictitious values. It’s going to keep the stock market so high that it’s not going to go down. It’s going to create the largest bond market boom in history.

The boom went from high interest rates to low interest rates, meaning a gigantic rise in the price of bonds that actually pay interest that are more than 0.1%.

So there was a huge bond market boom, a huge stock market, a tripling of stock market prices. And if you are a member of the group that owns 72% of American stocks, I think that’s 10% of the population, you have gotten much, much richer.

But if you’re a member of the 90% of the population, you have had to go further and further into debt just in order to survive, just in order to pay for medical care, student loans, and your daily living expenses out of your salary.

So if American wages were at a decent level, American families would not be pushed more and more into debt. The reason the personal debt has gone up in the United States is because families can’t get by on what they earn.

So obviously, if they can’t get by on what they earn, and they have to borrow to get by, they are not responsible for causing the inflation. They’re being squeezed.

And the job of economists, and of Democratic Party and Republican politicians, is to distract attention from the fact that they’re being squeezed and blame the victim, and saying, you’re doing it to yourself by just wanting more money, you’re actually creating the inflation that is squeezing you.

When actually it’s the banks, and the government’s non-enforcement of the monopoly policy, and the government support of Wall Street that is responsible for what is happening.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Very, very well said.

Professor Hudson, I should have highlighted another part of this graph here. This is, again, this is at the Federal Reserve Board website. It’s even more revealing when you look at the selected assets of the Fed, and you see that all of these assets basically are securities, securities held outright by the Fed.

We see that around 2008, the Fed had less than $500 billion in securities. And you have this policy of quantitative easing. And since then, basically all of the increase has been in securities. Of the roughly $9 trillion in assets the Fed holds, about about $8.5 trillion is in securities.

US Federal Reserve assets securities balance sheet 2022

I’m wondering if you can compare this to central banks in other countries. We’ve seen, for instance, that the Western sanctions on Russia were aimed at trying to destroy the Russian economy.

President Biden claimed they were trying to make the ruble into rubble. In fact, the ruble is significantly stronger now than it was before the sanctions. To such a degree that the Russian government and Russian national bank are actually trying to decrease the value of the ruble, because they think it’s a little overvalued; it makes it a little harder to be competitive.

So how does this policy of the US Fed having $8.5 trillion worth of securities compare to the policies of other central banks?

You have experience working with the Chinese government as an advisor. Do other governments’ central banks have this policy?

And and that $8.5 trillion in securities, what are those securities? Even from the perspective of these neoliberal economics textbooks that you were talking about, that people are taught in universities, this seems to me to be totally insane. I don’t see how there is even an academic, neoliberal textbook explanation for this policy.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Very few people realize the difference between a central bank and the national treasury. The national treasury is what used to perform all of the policies that central banks now do. The national treasury would be in charge of issuing money and spending it.

Central banks were broken off in America in 1913 from the Treasury in order to shift control of the money supply and credit away from Washington to New York. That was very explicit.

The original Federal Reserve didn’t even permit a Treasury official to be on the board of directors. So the job of a central bank is to represent the interest of the commercial banks.

And as we just pointed out, the interest of the commercial banks is to produce their product: debt. And they create their product against existing assets, mainly real estate, but also stocks and bonds.

So the job of the central bank here is to support the financial sector of the economy, and that sector that holds wealth in the form of stocks, bonds, and loans, and especially bank bonds that make their money off real estate credit.

Same thing in Europe, with Europe’s central bank. Europe is going into a real squeeze now, and has been going into a squeeze ever since you had the Greek crisis.

In Europe, because right-wing monetarist designed the euro, part of the eurozone rule is you cannot run a budget deficit, a national budget deficit of more than 3% of gross domestic product.

Well, that’s not very much. That means that you can’t have a real Keynesian policy in Europe to pull the economy out of depression. That means that if you’re a country like Italy right now, and you have a real financial squeeze there, a corporate squeeze, a labor squeeze, the government cannot essentially rescue either Italian industry or Italian labor.

However, the European central bank can, by the way that it creates credit, by central bank deposits, the European central bank can vastly increase the price of European stocks, bonds, and packaged mortgages. So the European central bank is very much like the commercial bank.

China is completely different, because, unlike the West, China treats money and credit as a public utility, not as a private monopoly.

And as a public utility, China’s central bank will say, what are we going to want to create money for? Well, we’re going to want to create money to build factories; we’re going to want to create money so that real estate developers can build cities, or sometimes overbuild cities. We can create money to actually spend in the economy for something tangible, for goods and services.

The Chinese central bank does not create money to increase stock market prices or bond prices. It doesn’t create money to support a financial class, because the Communist Party of China doesn’t want a financial class to exist; it wants an industrial class to exist; it wants an industrial labor force to exist, but not a rentier class.

So a central bank in a Western rentier economy basically seeks to create credit to inflate the cost of living for homebuyers and for anyone who uses credit or needs credit, and to enable corporations to be financialized, and to shift their management away from making profits by investing in plant and equipment and employing labor to produce more, to making money by financial engineering.

In the last 15 years, over 90% of corporate earnings in the United States have been spent on stock buybacks and on dividend payouts. Only 8% of corporate earnings have been spent on new investment, and plants, and equipment, and hiring.

And so of course you have had the economy deindustrialized. It’s this idea that you can make money financially without an industrial base, without a manufacturing base; you can make money without actually producing more or doing anything productive, simply by having a central bank increase the price of the stocks, and bonds, and the loans made by the wealthiest 10%.

And of course, ultimately, that doesn’t work, because at a certain point the whole thing collapses from within, and there’s no industrial base.

And of course, when that happens, America will find out, wait a minute, if we close down the economy, we’re still reliant on China and Asia to produce our manufacturers, and to provide us with raw materials, and to do everything that we need. We’re really not doing anything but acting as a world – well, people used to say parasite – as a world rentier, as getting something for nothing, as a kind of financial colonialism.

So America you could look at as a colonial power that is a colonial power not by military occupation, but simply by financial maneuvering, by the dollar standard.

And that’s what’s being unwound today as a result of Biden’s new cold war.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Professor Hudson, you criticized the strategy of simply trying to increase the interest rates to bring down inflation, noting that it’s going to lead to a further decline in homeownership in the United States. It’s going to hurt working people. I think that’s a very valid criticism.

I’m curious, though, what your take is on the response of the Russian central bank to the Western sanctions. We saw that the chair of the Russian central bank, Elvira Nabiullina, she – actually this is someone who is not even necessarily really condemned a lot by Western economists; she is pretty well respected by even, you know, Western neoliberal economists.

And she did manage to deal with the sanctions very well. She imposed capital controls immediately. She closed the Russian stock market. And also, in a controversial move, she raised the interest rates from around 9% up to 20%, for a few months. And then after that, dropped the rates.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

A few days, not a few months. That was very short. And now she has moved the interest rates way down.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Back to 9%.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

She was criticized for not moving them further down.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Yeah, well go ahead. I’m just curious. So she immediately raised it to 20%, and then has dropped the interest rates since then. I’m curious what you think about that policy. Yeah, go ahead.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

There is very little that a central banker can do when the West has declared a war, basically, a war on a country that is completely isolated.

The response has come from President Putin and from Foreign Secretary Lavrov. And they pointed out, well, how is Russia going to going to trade and get what it needs. And this is what the recent meetings of the BRICS are all about.

Russia realizes that the world is now broken into two halves. America and NATO have separated the West. Basically you have a white people’s confederation against all the rest of the world.

And the West has said, we’re isolating ourselves from you totally. And we think you can’t get along without us.

Well, look at the humor of this. Russia, China, Iran, India, Indonesia, and other countries are saying, hah, you say we we can’t get along without you? Who is providing your manufacturers? Who is providing your raw materials? Who is providing your oil and gas? Who is providing your agriculture, and the helium, the titanium, the nickel?

So they realize that the world is breaking in two, and Eurasia, where most of the world’s population is concentrated, is going to go its own way.

The problem is, how do you really go your own way? You need a means of payment. You need to create a whole international system that is an alternative to the Western international system. You need your own International Monetary Fund to provide credit, so that the these Eurasian countries and their allies in the Global South can deal with each other.

You need a World Bank that, instead of lending money to promote U.S. policies and U.S. investments, will promote mutual gains and self-sufficiency among the countries.

So already, every day in the last few weeks, you have had meetings with the Russians about this, who said, ok, we’re going to create a mutual trading area, starting among the BRICS: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

And how are we going to pay? We can’t pay in dollars, because if we have money in a dollar bank, or a euro bank in Europe, they can just grab the money, like they grab Venezuela’s money. They can just say, we’re taking all your money because, essentially, we don’t want you to exist as an alternative to the finance capital world that we are creating.

So essentially, Russia, China, and these other countries are saying, ok, we’re going to create our own international bank. And how are we going to fund it? Well, every member of the bank will contribute, say, a billion dollars, or some amount of their own currency, and this will be our backing. We can also use gold as a means of settlement, as was long used among countries.

And this bank can create its own special drawing rights, its own bank order, is what Keynes called it. It can create its own credit.

Well, the problem is that, if you have Brazil, for instance, or Argentina, joining this group, or Ecuador, that sells almost all of its bananas to Russia, how is it going to get by?

Well, if there is a BRICS group or a Shanghai Cooperation Organization bank, obviously the Western governments are not going to accept this.

So Russia realizes that as a result of Biden’s Cold War Two, there is going to be a continued rise in energy prices. You think gasoline prices are not high now? They’re going up. You think food prices are not high now? They’re going up more.

And Europe is especially the case, because Europe now cannot buy Russian gas to make the fertilizer to make its own crops grow.

So you’re going to have a number of countries in the Global South, from Latin America to Africa, being squeezed and wanting to trade with the Eurasian group.

And the problem is Russia says, all right, we know that you can’t afford to pay. We’re glad to give you credit, but we don’t want to give you credit that you’re going to simply use the money you have to pay your dollar debts that are coming due.

Because one of the effects that I didn’t mention of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates is there is a huge flow of capital from Europe and England into the United States, so that if you’re a billionaire, where are you going to put your savings? You want the highest interest rates you want. And if the United States raises interest rates, the billionaires are going to move their money out of England, out of the euro, and the euro is going back down against the dollar. It’s almost down to a dollar a euro.

The British pound is heading downwards, towards one pound per dollar.

This increase in the dollar’s exchange rate is also rising against the currencies of Brazil, Argentina, the African countries, all the other countries.

So how are they going to pay this summer, and this fall, for their food, for their oil and gas, and for the higher cost of servicing their dollar debts?

Well, for Eurasia, they’re going to say, we want to help you buy our exports – Russia is now a major grain exporter, and obviously also an oil exporter – saying we want to supply you and give you the credit for this, but you’re really going to have to make a decision. Are you going to join the U.S.-NATO bloc, or are you going to join the Eurasian bloc?

Are you going to join the White People’s Club or the Eurasian Club? And it really comes down to that. And that’s what is fracturing the world in these two halves.

Europe is caught in the middle, and its economies are going to be torn apart. Employment is going to go down there. And I don’t see wages going up very much in Europe.

You’re going to have a political crisis in Europe. But also you’ll have an international diplomatic crisis over how are you going to restructure world trade, and investment, and debt.

There will be two different financial philosophies. And that’s what the new cold war is all about.

The philosophy of US-sponsored finance capitalism, of making money financially, without industrialization, and with trying to lower wages and reduce the labor force to a very highly indebted workforce living on the margin.

Or you’ll have the Eurasian philosophy of using the economic surplus to increase productivity, to build infrastructure, to create the kind of society that America seemed to be growing in the late 19th century but has now rejected.

So all of this is ultimately not simply a problem of interest rates and central bank policy; it really goes beyond central banks to what kind of a social and economic system are you going to have.

And the key to any social and economic system is how you treat money and credit. Is money and credit going to be a public utility, or will it be a private monopoly run for the financial interests and the 1%, instead of a public utility run for the 99%?

That’s what the new cold war is going to be all about. And that’s what international diplomacy week after week is trying to settle.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Very, very well said. And I really agree about this increasing kind of bipolar order, where the US-led imperialist system is telling the world they have to pick a side. You know, as George W. Bush said, you’re either with us or you’re against us; you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists.

That’s what Biden is saying to the world. And we see the West has drawn this iron curtain around Russia. And now they’re threatening to do the same around China.

Now, of course, the difference is that China has the largest economy in the world, according to a PPP measurement. It’s even larger than the US economy. I don’t know how they can try to sanction the Chinese economy, considering China is the central factory of the world.

But this is related to a question I had for you, Professor Hudson, and this is from a super chat question from Manoj Payardha, and it’s about how Chinese banks say they’re not ready yet to develop an alternative to the SWIFT. He asked, how will the Third World pay Russia for resources?

And we’ve seen, maybe you can talk about the measures being implemented. India has this rupee-ruble system that they’ve created.

But I want to highlight an article that was published in Global Times. This is a major Chinese newspaper, and this is from April. And it quotes the former head of China’s central bank, who was speaking at a global finance forum in Beijing this April.

And basically he said, we need to prepare to replace Swift. He said the West’s adoption of a financial nuclear option of using SWIFT to sanction Russia is a wake up call for China’s financial development. And he said, “We must get prepared.”

So it seems that they’re not yet prepared. But this is something that you’ve been talking about for years. Or maybe you disagree and maybe you think they already are prepared with the SWIFT alternative?

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well they’re already using an alternative system. If they weren’t using an alternative system – Russia is adopting part of the Chinese system for this – they wouldn’t be able to have banks communicate with each other.

So, yes, they already have a rudimentary system. They’re making it a better system that can also be immune from U.S. computer espionage and interference. So yes, of course there’s already a system.

But I want to pick up on what you said about Biden, how Biden characterizes things.

Biden characterizes the war of the West against Eurasia as between democracy and autocracy. By “democracy,” he means a free market run by Wall Street; he means an oligarchy.

But what does he mean by autocracy? What he means by autocracy, when he calls China an autocracy, an “autocracy” is a government strong enough to prevent an oligarchy from taking power, and taking control of the government for its own interests, and reducing the rest of the economy to debt peonage.

An “autocracy” is a country with public regulation against monopolies, instead of an oligarchic free market. An “autocracy” uses money and credit, essentially, to help economies grow. And when debts cannot be paid in China, if a factory or a real estate company cannot pay debts, China does not simply say, ok, you’re bankrupt, you’re going to have to be sold; anybody can buy you; the Americans can buy you.

Instead, the Chinese say, well, you can’t pay the debts; we don’t want to tear down your factory; we don’t want your factory to be turned and gentrified into luxury housing. We’re going to write down the debt.

And that’s what China has done again and again. And it’s done that with foreign countries that couldn’t pay the debt. When a debt that China has come due for China’s development of a port, or roads, or infrastructure, it says, well, we understand that you can pay; we will delay payment; we will have a moratorium on your payment. We’re not here to bankrupt you.

For the Americans, to the international funds, they’re saying, well, we are here to bankrupt you. And now if we lend you, we the IMF, lends you money to avoid a currency devaluation, the term is you’re going to have to privatize your infrastructure; you’re going to have to sell off your public utilities, your electric system, your roads, your land to private buyers, mainly from the United States.

So you have a “democracy” supporting bankruptcy, foreclosure, financialization, and privatization, and low wages by a permanent depression, a permanent depression to keep down wages.

Or you have “autocracy,” seeking to protect the interests of labor by supporting a living wage, to increase living standards as a precondition for increasing productivity, for building up infrastructure.

You have these two diametrically economic systems. And, again, that’s why there’s a cold war on right now.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

And there’s another super chat question here, Professor Hudson. You mentioned the International Monetary Fund, the IMF. We have talked about that many times. This is from Sam Owen. He asked, why do countries continue to accept bad IMF loans when they have such a poor track record? Is it just the US government meddling in the national politics? Are there cases of good IMF loans?

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, what is a country? When you say a country to most people, people think, ok, let’s talk about Brazil; let’s talk about all the people in Brazil; you have a picture in the mind of the Amazon; you have a big city with a lot of people in it.

But the country, in terms of the IMF, is a group of maybe the 15 wealthiest families in Brazil, that own most of the money, and they are quite happy to borrow from the IMF, because they say, right now there’s a chance that Lula may become president instead of the neo-fascist Bolsonaro. And if Lula comes in, then he is going to support labor policies, and he may stop us from tearing down the Amazon. So let’s move our money out of the country.

Well, normally this would push the exchange rate of the cruzeiro (real) down. So the IMF is going to make a loan to Brazil to support the cruzeiro (real), so that the wealthy 1% of Brazil can move their money into dollars, into euros, into foreign currency and offshore bank incentives, and load Brazil down with debt, so that then when there is an election, and if Lula is elected, the IMF is going to say, well, we don’t really like your policies, and if you pursue a pro-labor, socialist policy, then there’s going to be a capital flight. And we’re insisting that you pay all the money that you borrowed from the West right back now.

Well, that’s going to lead Lula either to sit there, follow the IMF direction, and let the IMF run the economy, instead of his own government, or just say, we’re not going to pay the foreign debt.

Well, until now, no country has been in a strong enough position not to pay the foreign debt. But for the first time, now that you have the Eurasian group – we’ll call it BRICS, but it’s really Eurasia, along with the Southern groups that are joining, the Global South – for the first time, they can say, we can’t afford to stay in the West anymore.

We cannot afford to submit the economy to the IMF demands for privatization. We cannot submit to the IMF rules that we have to fight against labor, that we have to pass laws banning labor unions, that we have to fight against laborers’ wage, like Western democracies insist on. We have to go with the Chinese “autocracy,” which we call socialism.

And of course, when America accuses China being an “autocracy,” autocracy is the American word for socialism. They don’t want to use that word. So we’re back in Orwellian double-think.

So the question is what, will the Global South countries do when they cannot afford to buy energy and food this summer, without an IMF loan? Are they going to say, ok, we can only survive by joining the break from the West and joining the Eurasian group?

That is what the big world fracture is all about.

And I described this global fracture already in 1978. I wrote a book, “Global Fracture,” explaining just exactly how all of this was going to happen.

And at that time, you had Indonesia, you had Sukarno taking the lead, the non-aligned nations, India, Indonesia, were trying to create an alternative to the financialized, American-centered world order. But none of these countries had a critical mass sufficient to go their own way.

Well, now that America has isolated Russia, China, India, Iran, Turkey, all these countries, now it has created a critical mass that is able to go its own way. And the question is, now you have like a gravitational pull, and will this Eurasian mass attract Latin America and Africa to its own group, away from the United States? And where is that going to leave the United States and Europe?

BENJAMIN NORTON:

And we saw one of the clearest examples yet of this bipolar division of the world between, you know, the West and the rest, as they say, with this ridiculous meeting that was just held of the G7.

Of course, the G7 are the white, Western countries. And then they’ll throw in U.S.-occupied Japan in there, to pretend they’re a little more diverse.

But we saw that the G7 just held a summit, and basically the entire summit was about how can we contain China? How can we expand the new cold war on Russia into a new cold war on China?

And here’s a report in BBC: “G7 summit: Leaders detail $600bn plan to rival China’s Belt and Road initiative.” Now, I got a chuckle out of this. The idea that the US government is going to build infrastructure in the Global South, I mean, it’s pretty laughable.

It’s also absurd considering that China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which involves over half of the countries on Earth, is estimated at many trillions of dollars in infrastructure projects. So the US and its allies think that they can challenge that with $600 billion in public-private partnerships.

I should stress, of course, what they announced is going to be a mixture of so-called public initiative and then contracts for private corporations.

So it’s yet another giveaway to the private sector, in the name of building infrastructure.

But I’m wondering if if you can comment on the G7 summit that just was held.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, nothing really came out of it. They all said that they could not agree on any more sanctions against Russia, because they’re already hurting enough. India, in particular, stood up and said, look, there’s no way that we’re going to join the sanctions against Russia, because it’s one of our major trading partners. And by the way, we’re getting a huge benefit from importing Russian oil, and you’re getting a huge benefit by getting this oil from us at a markup.

So the G7 could not get any agreement on what to do. It is already at a stalemate. And this is only June. Imagine the stalemate it’s going to be in September.

Well, next week, President Biden is going to Saudi Arabia and saying, you know, we’re willing to kill maybe 10 million more of your enemies; we’re willing to help Wahhabi Sunni groups kill more of the Iranian Shiites, and sabotage Iraq and Syria. We’ll help you back al-Qaeda again, if you will lower your oil prices so that we can squeeze Russia more.

So that’s really the question that Saudi Arabia will have. America will send give it more cluster bombs to use against Yemen.  And the question is, is Saudi Arabia going to say, ok, we’re going to earn maybe $10 billion less a month, or however much they’re making, just to make you happy, and so that that you will kill more Shiites who support Iran?

Or are they going to realize that if they throw in their lot with the United States, all of a sudden they’ll be under attack from Iran, Russia, Syria, and they’ll be sitting ducks? So what are they going to do?

And I don’t see any way that Biden can actually succeed in getting Saudi Arabia to voluntarily earn less on its oil prices. Maybe Biden can say it’s only for a year, only for one or two years. But as other countries know, when America says only for a year or two, it really means forever. And if you don’t continue, then somehow they have a regime replacement, or a regime change and a color revolution.

So Biden keeps trying to get foreign countries to join the West against Eurasia, but there is Saudi Arabia sitting right in the middle of it.

And all that Europe can do is watch and wonder how it’s going to get by without without energy and without much food.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Yeah, in fact, Venezuela’s President Maduro just confirmed that the Biden administration has sent another delegation basically begging Venezuela to try to work out some deal because, of course, the U.S. and the EU have boycotts of Russian energy.

So it’s really funny to me that, after years of demonizing Venezuela, portraying it as a dictatorship and all of this, the U.S. had to decide, well, the war in Venezuela is not as important as the war on Russia right now; so we’re going to temporarily pause our war on Venezuela to stick the knife deeper into Russia.

But on the on the subject of the the G7 meeting, this was the hilarious comment made by the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in an article in Reuters titled “Europe Must Give Developing Nations Alternative to Chinese Funds.”

So echoing the same perspective that we hear from Biden, U.S. government officials constantly say that the US needs to challenge China in the Global South. So Europe pledged €300 billion – however, once again, important asterisk – “in private and public funds over five years to fund infrastructure in developing countries.”

So once again, we see another neoliberal private-public partnership. It’s going to be another public giveaway to private corporations.

And “she said that this is part of the G7’s drive to counter China’s multitrillion-dollar Belt and Road project.”

Now, this is really just tying everything together that we have been talking about today, Professor Hudson – in your article “The Fed’s Austerity Program to Reduce Wages,” you conclude the article noting that the depression that people in the United States are on the verge of facing because of these neoliberal policies – telling workers in the U.S. that they need to decrease their wages and be unemployed in order to stop inflation – you point out that:

Biden’s military and State Department officers warn that the fight against Russia is just the first step in their war against China’s non-neoliberal economy, and may last twenty years. That is a long depression. But as Madeline Albright would say, they think that the price is “worth it.”

And you talk about the new cold war against the socialist economy in China and the state-led economy in Russia.

So you predict not only a depression is coming. We have seen that in mainstream media outlets. Larry Summers said, you know, a depression could be coming for a few years. But you say, no, not only is a depression coming; it’s going to be a long depression. We could be seeing 20 years.

And basically the U.S. government and other Western leaders, as we see Ursula von der Leyen from the EU, they’re basically telling their populations, tighten your belts; we have decades of depression coming, because we have collectively decided, as Western leadership, that we are going to force the world through a long depression economically, or at least forced the West through a long economic depression, in order to try to halt the rise of China and Russia.

They’re basically telling their populations, suck it up, tighten your belts for decades, because in the end, the price is worth it in order to prevent the collapse of our empires.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

That’s right. When they’re talking about private-public initiatives, they’re talking about Pentagon capitalism. That means the government will give trillions of dollars to private firms and ask them to build infrastructure.

And if they build a port or a road in a Global South country, they will operate this at a profit, and it will be an enormously expensive infrastructure, because to make financial money off this infrastructure, you have to price it at the cost of production, which is Pentagon capitalism, hyper inflated prices; you have to pay management fees; you have to pay profits; you have to pay interest rates.

As opposed to the Chinese way of funding as equity. The Western mode of funding is all debt leverage. China takes as collateral for the infrastructure that it pays, an equity ownership in the port or whatever infrastructure in the Belt and Road that it’s building.

So you have the difference between equity ownership, debt-free ownership, where if it can afford to pay, fine; if it doesn’t make an income, there are no dividends to pay.

Or you have the debt leverage that is intended that the government cannot pay it, so that the government that will be the co-signer for the debt for all of this infrastructure will somehow be obliged to tax its whole population to pay the enormous super-profits, the enormous monopoly rents, the enormous debt charges of von der Leyen’s Margaret Thatcher plan.

Von der Leyen thinks that she can do to Europe and to America what Margaret Thatcher did to England. And if she does, then then America and Europe deserve it.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

And Professor Hudson, as we start wrapping up here, I know you have to go pretty soon, just a few short questions here at the end.

I’m wondering if what we’re also seeing is not only this fundamental crisis in the Western neoliberal, financialized economies, but it’s also this bubble that has burst, or at least this phase that is over.

At least this is my reading, I’m curious if you agree. In the 1990s, the peak of, you know, the so-called golden age of neoliberalism; we had Bill Clinton riding this wave, and it was the “end of history,” in Francis Fukuyama’s nonsense prediction and all that.

How much of that was not only based on this exorbitant privilege, as the French call it, of the dictatorship of the US dollar – we talked about that based on your book “Super Imperialism,” how the US was given this massive global free lunch economically because of dollar hegemony – but how much of it was not just that, but also the fact that in the 1990s and the first decade of the 2000s, the US and Western Europe had access to very cheap consumer goods from Asia and very cheap energy from Russia?

To me, it seems like those two factors are some of the most important reasons why this golden age of neoliberalism in the ’90s and early 2000s was even possible.

It was on the back of low-paid Asian workers, and based on this idea that Russia would permanently be, what Obama called it: a gas station.

Well, we’ve seen that, one, East Asian economies have lifted themselves up of poverty, especially China has ended extreme poverty and raised median wages significantly.

And now, of course, the West has sanctioned itself against buying Russian energy, massively increasing the cost of energy around the world.

So do you think that that bubble, or that brief moment of the end of history, the golden age of neoliberalism, that can never come back?

Because unless the West can succeed in overthrowing the Russian government and imposing a new puppet like Yeltsin, and overthrowing the Chinese government, it seems like that that the golden in the 1990s is never going to come back.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, you’ve left out the key element of the golden age: that is military force, and the willingness to assassinate any foreign leader that does not want to go along with US policy.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Of course.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

You’re neglecting what America did to [Salvador Allende]; you’re neglecting how America took over Brazil; America’s meddling and control, and in Europe, the wholesale bribery and manipulation of Europe’s political system, to put in charge of the [German] Green Party a pro-war leadership, an anti-environmental leadership, to put in charge of every socialist party of Europe right-wingers, neoliberals.

Every European socialist and labor party turned neoliberal largely by American maneuvering and meddling in their foreign policy.

So it’s that meddling that was intended to prevent any alternative economic philosophy from existing to rival neoliberalism.

So that when you talk about the end of history, what is the end of history? It means the end of change. It means stop; there will be no reform; there will be no change in the neoliberal system that we have locked in.

And of course, the only way that you can really end history is by what Biden is threatening: atomic war to blow up the world.

That is the neoliberal end of history. And it’s the only way that the neoliberals can really stop history. Apart from that, all they can try to do is to prevent any change that is adverse to locking in the neoliberal order.

So the “end of history” is a declaration of war against any country that wants to go its own way. Any country that wants to build up its own economy as a way that will keep the benefits of its economic growth in its own country, instead of letting it go to the global financial class centered in the United States and Britain.

So we’re talking about, neoliberalism was always a belligerent, implicitly military policy, and that’s exactly what you’re seeing in the proxy war of US and NATO in Ukraine today.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Yeah, very well said. That’s the other key ingredient: overthrowing any government that is a challenge, that shows there is an alternative, to try to prove the maxim that “there is no alternative.”

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Yes.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Here’s an interesting comment from Christopher Dobbie. He points out that in Australia, the average age for their first homeowner was 27 in 2001; now it’s 35, and increasing more and more by the year.

Now, in the last few minutes here, Professor Hudson, here’s another brief question that I got from someone over at patreon.com/multipolarista – people can go and support this show. One of my patrons asked this question: who who is hurt most by the Fed or other central banks raising interest rates? People, average consumers, or companies?

And obviously, you talked earlier about how the US Federal Reserve is different from other central banks, but it’s kind of an open question. Who is hurt more by raising interest rates?

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, companies are certainly hurt because it means that any possibility of getting productive credit is raised. But they’re also benefited, because if interest rates raised go up high enough, then it will not pay corporate raiders to borrow money to take over and raid companies and empty them out, like they did in the 1980s.

So everything cuts both ways. Raising the interest rates have given commercial banks an excuse to raise the interest charges on credit card loans and mortgage debts.

So raising interest rates, to the banks, have enabled them to actually increase their margin of monopoly profits on the credit that they extend.

And that certainly hurts people who are reliant on bank credit, either for mortgages or for consumer debt, or for any kind of loans that they want to take out.

Basically, raising interest rates hurts debtors and benefits creditors.

And benefiting creditors very rarely helps the economy at large, because the creditors are always really the 1%; the debtors are the 99%.

And if you think of economies, when you say, how does an economy benefit, you realize that, well, if the economy is 1% creditors and 99% debtors, you are dealing with a bifurcation there.

And you have to realize that the creditors usually occupy the government, and they claim we are the country. And the 99% are not very visible.

Democracy can only be afforded if they population’s voting has no effect at all on the government, that it’s only symbolic. You can vote exactly which oligarch you want to rule your country. Ever since Rome that was the case, and it’s the case today.

Is there really any difference between the Republicans and Democrats in terms of their policy? When you the same central bank bureaucracy, the same State Department blob, the same military-industrial complex, the same Wall Street control, what does democracy mean in a situation like that?

The only way that you can have what democracy aims at is to have a government strong enough to check the financial interests, to check the 1%, acting on behalf of the 99%. And that’s what socialism is.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Very well said.

Here is another brief question from patreon.com/multipolarista – people can become a patron and help support the show over there.

This question, Professor Hudson, is about the proposal of an excess profits tax as an alternative to try to contain inflation. What do you think about the proposal of an excess profits tax?

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, only the little people make profits. If you’re a billionaire, you don’t want to make a profit; you want to essentially take all of your return in the form of capital gains. That’s where your money is.

And the way you avoid making a profit is you establish an offshore bank or creditor, and you pay out all of your profits in the form of interest, which an expense. You expense all of what used to be, what really is, income. And you show no profits at all.

I don’t think Amazon has ever made a profit. You have huge, the biggest corporations, with all the capital gains, have no profits. Tesla is a gigantic stock market presence, and it doesn’t make a profit.

So the key is capital gains, is financial gains, stock market gains, gains in real estate prices, unearned income. That’s what the free lunch is.

You want to prevent profits being paid out in the form of interest. So I would vastly increase profits, by saying you cannot deduct interest as a business expense. It’s not a business expense. It’s a predatory parasitic expense. So you’re going to have to declare all of this as profit, and pay interest on it.

Pricing your output from a foreign offshore banking center, so that you don’t seem to make any profit, like Apple does, pretending to make all its money in Ireland, you can’t do that anymore. You’re going to have to pay a real return.

So the accounting profession has made profits essentially tax free. So the pretense of making money by taxing profits avoids talking about capital gains and all of fictitiously low profits that are simply pretended not to be profit, like interest, depreciation, amortization, offshore earnings, management fees.

All of these should be counted as profits, and taxed as such as they were, I’d say back at the Eisenhower administration levels.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

And finally, the last question here, Professor Hudson, someone asked about the U.S. government pressuring countries in Africa not to buy Russian wheat. And the U.S. is, of course, claiming that this wheat is supposedly stolen from Ukraine.

This article, this headline at Newsweek, it summarizes pretty well: “U.S. Warns Starving African Nations to Not Buy Grain Stolen by Russia.” Again, that “stolen” is alleged by the U.S.

But you actually have a really good column about this over at your website, which again is michael-hudson.com: “Is US/NATO (with WEF help) pushing for a Global South famine?

I know this could be a long point of discussion; it could be the entire interview. And I know you have to go soon. But just concluding here, I’m wondering if you could comment.

The United Nations itself has warned that there could be a famine, especially in Global South nations.

What do you think the role of these neoliberal policies and Western sanctions are in fueling that potential crisis?

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, the wealthiest families in the world used to go every year, now they go every few years, to Davos, to Klaus Schwab’s Davos World Economic Forum. And they say, the world is overpopulated; we need about 2 billion human beings to starve, preferably in the next year or two.

So it’s as if the wealthy families have got together and say, how can we thin out the population that really we, the 1%, don’t need?

And in all of their policies, it is as if they’ve decided to follow the World Economic Forum and deliberately shrink the world population, especially in Africa and Latin America.

Remember, these are white people at the World Economic Forum, and that is their idea of how to retain equilibrium.

They’re always talking about “equilibrium,” and equilibrium is going to be for countries that cannot afford to grow their own food, because they have put their money into plantation crops and cotton to sell to the West, instead of feeding themselves – they’re just going to have to starve to contribute to world “equilibrium.”

BENJAMIN NORTON:

And while we’re on the subject of the World Economic Forum, I guess I should just briefly add – we’ve talked about this a little bit, but I just feel remiss not mentioning it – it’s interesting to see how right-wingers have seized on the World Economic Forum and begun criticizing it a lot.

Obviously, it’s worth criticizing. It’s a horrible neoliberal institution that represents the Western capitalist class. But we’ve even seen, you know, Glenn Beck, the right-winger, former Fox News host, he published a book about the Great Reset and the World Economic Forum.

I’m just wondering really quickly if you could respond to the idea that the World Economic Forum is like some “socialist” organization. Obviously, it’s the exact opposite.

But what do you say to these conservatives who have a right-wing critique of the World Economic Forum, and think it’s like secretly socialist, and Biden is a socialist.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

They look at any government or managerial power as socialist, not drawing the distinction between socialism and oligarchy.

The question is government power can be either right-wing or left-wing, and to say that any government power is socialist is just degrading the word.

However, as I mentioned before, almost all of the European “socialist” parties are neoliberal. Tony Blair was the head of something that called itself the British Labour Party. Gordon Brown was the head of the British Labour Party.

You can’t be more neoliberal and oligarchic than that. And that’s why Margaret Thatcher said her greatest success was creating Tony Blair.

You have the same thing in France; the French “socialists” are on the right-wing of the spectrum. The Greek “socialist” party, on the right-wing of the spectrum.

You have “socialist” parties around the world being neoliberalized.

So what does the word socialism mean? You want to go beyond labels into the essence.

And the question is, in whose interest is the government going to be run for? Will it be run for the 1% or the 99%?

And the right wing wants to say, well, the 1% can be socialist, because they’re taking over the government and that’s the big government, and we’re against it.

Well, the right-wing is taking over the government, but it’s not really what the world meant by socialism a century ago.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Yeah, very well said. I just always laugh when I see these right-wing critiques of the World Economic Forum. I mean, the World Economic Forum is the embodiment of capitalism. It is the group of the elite capitalists who get together to talk about how they can exploit the working class and help monopolize the global economy on behalf of Western capital.

So with that said, there still are many questions, but I know you have to go, and we’re already at an hour and a half.

I do want to thank everyone who joined. We’re at 1200 viewers right now, so it has been a really good response.

Professor Hudson, you’re very popular. You should do your own YouTube channel. Maybe we can talk about that, because every time I have you on, it’s always an amazing response that I get. And hopefully we can do this again more in future.

Aside from people going to your website, michael-hudson.com, is there anything else that you want to plug before we conclude?

MICHAEL HUDSON:

Well, the book that I just wrote, “The Destiny of Civilization,” is all about what we’ve been talking about. It’s about the world’s split between neoliberalism and socialism. So that was just published and is available on Amazon. And I have two more books that are coming out very shortly.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

Yeah, for people who are interested, I did an interview with Professor Hudson here at Multipolarista a few weeks ago about his new book, The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism or Socialism.”

And of course, anyone who wants to support this show, you can go to patreon.com/multipolarista. And as always, this will be available as a podcast, if you want to listen to the interview again. I’m certainly going to listen to this discussion again. You can find that anywhere there are podcasts.

Professor Hudson, it’s always a real pleasure. Thanks so much for joining me.

MICHAEL HUDSON:

I enjoyed the discussion.

BENJAMIN NORTON:

And like I said earlier at the beginning, for me, I truly think it’s always a privilege, because I do think you’re one of the greatest living economists. So I always feel very privileged to have the opportunity to pick your brain about all of these questions.

And I want to thank everyone who commented, who watched, and who listened. I will see you all next time.

The Hamas-Syria Reconciliation: A ’Source of Concern’ For ‘Israel’

July 1, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

A recent report that Hamas and Syria reestablished relations after a decade of rupture between them is a source of concern for ‘Israel,’ according to comments made by senior researcher at the ‘Institute for Counter-Terrorism’ in Herzliya, Michael Barak, to the Jewish News Syndicate.

According to Barak, the reports of a new breakthrough in ties between Damascus and Hamas appear credible.

“Hezbollah in Lebanon was involved in this reconciliation,” he said. “The efforts led to a green light from Hamas and the Syrian regime. Why did it happen now? It took time for Hezbollah to mediate and for relations to thaw.”

“This is a source of concern for ‘Israel’ because we know that Hamas is building up its presence in the north of Lebanon. If Hamas opens a headquarters in Syria, it can start building capabilities in Syria, too,” cautioned Barak.

Looking ahead, Barak posited a scenario in which Hamas could act as the arrowhead of Palestinian resistance groups in Syria with the blessing of Hezbollah and Iran.

On June 23, Hamas’ Political Bureau Head Ismail Haniya met with Hezbollah Secretary-General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut in their first meeting in a year.

The two resistance leaders discussed the anti-‘Israel’ Axis of Resistance.

Also in Beirut recently, Hezbollah has held a series of meetings with other Palestinian resistance factions.

“The goal is to find a way to unite ranks and to discuss how to strengthen the Palestinian ‘bloc’ in the resistance axis,” Barak said.

“Hamas is trying to create a command and control mechanism with other Palestinian factions in Lebanon so that it can operate in a more efficient manner from Lebanon, and now, Syria’s door is open, too. This is a force multiplier,” he stated.

أميركا تحزم أمرها: نحو عسكرة العالم

الجمعة 1 تموز 2022

 سعيد محمد

أهمّ القرارات الصادرة عن القمة كان زيادة تعداد القوّة الضاربة للحلف في أوروبا من 40 ألف جندي إلى 300 ألف (أ ف ب)

لندن انتهت قمّة «حلف شمال الأطلسي» (الناتو) المنعقدة في مدريد، مع انتصاف نهار أمس، وغادر رؤساء دول وحكومات الغرب إلى بلدانهم، وفي جُعبهم خطط لمزيد من الإنفاق الحربي والتجنيد والتصعيد، فيما تُواجه اقتصاداتهم أزمات تضخّم وركود لم يشهد مثلَها العالم منذ الحرب العالمية الثانية. وبدت الولايات المتحدة، في خلال إعلان مخرجات القمّة، وكأنها ألقت على نفسها رداء العسكرة، وعزمت على أخذ العالم برمّته نحو الحرب، وذلك بعدما بثّت الروح في جسد «الناتو»، وفرضت تضخيم عديده في شرقيّ أوروبا إلى ضِعف حجم الجيش الروسي، وأعادت توجيه بوصلته نحو عدوّ مباشر آنيّ (روسيا)، وتحدّ استراتيجي (الصين)، إضافة إلى تجديد الالتزام بـ«مكافحة الإرهاب» في العالم العربي والساحل

وافق رؤساء دول وحكومات «حلف شمال الأطلسي»، في قمّتهم الطارئة التي عُقدت في العاصمة الإسبانية مدريد، على صياغة جديدة لفلسفة الحلف، تُحدّد استراتيجياته ومهامه الأساسية للعقد المقبل. وفي تحوُّل كبير عن وثيقة الاستراتيجية السابقة (قمّة لشبونة 2010) التي كانت اعتبرت روسيا شريكاً محتملاً، فإن موجز الوثيقة التي تمّ التوافق عليها في مدريد يقول إن روسيا تظلّ «التهديد الأكثر أهمية ومباشرة لأمن الدول الأعضاء وللسلام والاستقرار»، كما يضع الصين، لأوّل مرّة، في خانة «التحدّي الرئيس لأمن الحلفاء ومصالحهم وقيمهم». واعتَبر المجتمعون أن بيئة الأمن الأوروبي تغيّرت كليّاً نتيجة «العدوان» الروسي على أوكرانيا، و«انتهاك المعايير والمبادئ» التي ساهمت في ضمان استقرار تلك البيئة لعقود، ولم يستبعدوا «احتمال شنّ هجوم روسيّ في أيّ وقت ضدّ سيادة الحلفاء وسلامة أراضيهم»، مستشهدين بجهود موسكو لتحديث قوّتها النووية، ورفضها الامتثال للالتزامات الدولية للحدّ من التسلح، وما وصفوه بمحاولاتها «زعزعة استقرار الدول المجاورة على الجناحَين الشرقي والجنوبي للناتو».

كما تعهّدوا بـ«العمل معاً في التصدّي للتحدّيات المنهجية التي تفرضها الصين على الأمن الأوروبي – الأطلسي جرّاء طموحاتها المعلَنة وسياساتها القمعية التي تهدّد مصالح الغرب، ومحاولاتها الحثيثة للسيطرة على التقنيات والصناعات الرئيسة، مع تجاهل القواعد واللوائح الدولية». ومع ذلك، لم ينصّ الاتفاق على وصف الصين بالعدو، بل أكد أن الحلف لا يزال منفتحاً على إمكانية بناء علاقات بنّاءة معها، ربّما في حالة تخلّيها عن شراكتها الاستراتيجيّة مع روسيا، والتي عدّها المجتمعون «طليعة التصدّي الاستبدادي» لقواعد النظام الدولي. وفي الواقع، فإن الشراكة الصينية – الروسية تبدو أخطر تهديد لهيمنة الغرب منذ انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي، وانتهاء الحرب الباردة، إذ نجحت روسيا في عقدَين من حُكم الرئيس فلاديمير بوتين في استعادة حيويتها، فيما تقدّمت الصين بشكل مطّرد لتُنافس الولايات المتحدة اليوم على مكانة أكبر اقتصادات العالم، وهما اليوم تتعاونان في غير مجال، في ما من شأنه التمهيد لنشوء بيئة بديلة لا تخضع لرغبات نُخبة واشنطن، وقادرة على استيعاب شعوب أخرى في الجنوب.

ستتعيّن على ستولتنبرغ متابعةُ الحلفاء للحصول على تعهّدات منهم بالمساهمة بقوات إضافية ومعدّات وتمويل


وبالعودة إلى الوثيقة الصادرة عن القمّة، فإن «الإرهاب لا يزال يشكّل تهديداً مستمرّاً غير متكافئ لأمن الدول الأعضاء» (الثلاثين)، فضلاً عن تغيّرات المناخ، والتكنولوجيات الحديثة المخلّة بالاستقرار، وانتشار الأسلحة. كما شدّد المجتمعون على حق الردّ المسلّح على الهجمات الهجينة (السايبرية وعبر الفضاء) التي قد تستهدف دول الحلف، وعلى دور الأخير في الردع والدفاع ومنع الأزمات وإدارتها، كما التعاون الأمني (الاستخباراتي)، والذي يقتضي استدامة عملياته. وتضمّنت الوثيقة عدّة إشارات إلى شمال أفريقيا والشرق الأوسط ومنطقة الساحل، بحجّة أن أيّ «صراع أو عدم استقرار» في هذه المناطق يمكن أن «يؤثّر بشكل مباشر على أمننا»، وهو ما سيثير ارتياح أعضاء «الناتو» في جنوبي أوروبا، ولا سيما إسبانيا وإيطاليا واليونان التي طالما طالبت بدعمها لمواجهة تدفّق اللاجئين من الجنوب. كذلك، أشار الموجز إلى أن المناطق المذكورة تُواجه «تحدّيات أمنية وديموغرافية واقتصادية وسياسية عميقة ومترابطة ومرشّحة للتفاقم»، مضيفاً أن «هذه الديناميكيات توفّر أرضاً خصبة لانتشار الجماعات المسلحة، بما في ذلك المنظّمات الإرهابية، وتشرّع الأبواب لتدخّلات تزعزع الاستقرار من قِبَل المنافسين الاستراتيجيين» – في إشارة إلى الصين وروسيا -.
إلى جانب ذلك، قرّرت القمّة دعوة فنلندا والسويد، رسمياً، للانضمام إلى «الناتو»، علماً أن التحاقهما به سيعزّز تواجده في بيئة بحر البلطيق، ويسهّل «الدفاع» عن لاتفيا وليتوانيا وإستونيا القابعة تحت هاجس «الغزو» الروسي. لكن أهمّ القرارات الصادرة عن المجتمعين في مدريد، كان زيادة تعداد القوّة الضاربة للحلف في أوروبا من 40 ألف جندي حالياً، إلى 300 ألف، وفق مقترح الأمين العام لـ«الناتو»، ينس ستولتنبرغ. على أن هذا القرار يظلّ مجرّد إطار عمل، فيما ستتعيّن على ستولتنبرغ متابعة الحلفاء للحصول على تعهّدات منهم بالمساهمة بقوات إضافية ومعدّات وتمويل. وقالت ألمانيا إنها ستخصّص 15 ألف جندي لهذه الغاية، وتعهّدت كندا برفع تواجدها الأوروبي من نحو 1375 جندياً حالياً إلى مستوى لواء. لكنّ الاندفاعة الأكبر أتت من الرئيس الأميركي، جو بايدن، الذي أعلن أن بلاده ستُعزّز تواجدها في كلّ أوروبا، وستُخصّص أسلحة ومعدّات متطوّرة لدعم حضور «الناتو» بحراً وبرّاً وجوّاً في مواجهة روسيا. وتشمل الخطط الأميركية المعلَنة مقرّاً دائماً في بولندا، و5000 جندي إضافي في رومانيا، وسربَين من طائرات «إف-35» في المملكة المتّحدة، ومعدّات دفاع جوي متقدّم في إيطاليا وألمانيا، ومدمّرتَين بحريتَين في إسبانيا. وتمتلك الولايات المتحدة وجوداً عسكرياً دائماً في 13 بلداً أوروبياً، ويصل تعداد جنودها في مختلف القطاعات عبر القارّة إلى 70 ألفاً الآن، فيما يمكن أن يبلغ بعد القمّة 100 ألف، وفق تقديرات الخبراء.

من جهتها، أعربت إسبانيا عن راحتها لحصولها على ضمانات من «الناتو» لحماية سبتة ومليلة، وهما مدينتان عربيتان تحتلّهما في شمال أفريقيا. ونُقل عن رئيس هيئة الأركان الإسبانية، تيودورو لوبيز كالديرون، قوله إن التزام الحلف بالدفاع عن «السلامة الإقليمية» للدول الأعضاء يشمل أيضاً ممتلكات إسبانيا في القارة الأفريقية. بريطانياً، أعلن بوريس جونسون، رئيس الوزراء، عن دعم مسلّح إضافي بقيمة مليار جنيه إسترليني لأوكرانيا، وهو ما من شأنه أن يرفع مجموع ما قدّمته لندن لكييف منذ شباط الماضي، إلى 2.3 مليار جنيه إسترليني (2.8 مليار دولار أميركي)، الأمر الذي يجعلها أكبر مموّلي النظام الأوكراني بعد الولايات المتحدة. وتعهّد جونسون، الذي يواجه ضغوطاً داخلية شديدة للاستقالة، بزيادة حجم الإنفاق العسكري لبلاده داخل «الناتو»، إلى 2.5% من مجموع الناتج القومي، أي بزيادة 20% عن الحد الأدنى. لكنّ سخاء الرئيس من جيوب البريطانيين لن يكون من دون عواقب محلّية على الأقل، حيث يشتكي وزير الدفاع من عدم توفّر الاعتمادات الكافية للجيش البريطاني، فيما تملأ الصحفَ التي سيقرأها أثناء رحلة العودة إلى لندن تصريحات محبطة من أندرو بيلي، محافظ بنك إنكلترا (المركزي)، الذي قال في مؤتمر في البرتغال إن المملكة المتحدة – من الناحية الاقتصادية – في أسوأ وضع ممكن -، وتعاني من أزمة طاقة أكثر من بقيّة أوروبا، وقد تعيش حالة تضخّم أعلى لفترة أطول.
وحضرت اليابان – مُمثَّلة برئيس وزرائها فوميو كيشيدا – القمّة، وذلك لأوّل مرّة في تاريخ الحلف الذي تأسّس قبل 73 عاماً. وشارك كيشيدا زعماء الحلف مخاوفهم من صعود الصين، وقلقهم على مستقبل تايوان، لكنّ مراقبين أعربوا عن خشيتهم من أن الأميركيين سيعيدون عسكرة اليابان، كما شرعوا بالفعل في عسكرة ألمانيا، مع كلّ ما يحمله هذا من كوابيس فاشيات القرن العشرين. وحضرت القمّةَ أيضاً مجموعة ممّن تسمّيهم واشنطن شركاء «الناتو»، ومن هؤلاء رؤساء دول وحكومات أستراليا، وأوكرانيا (عن بعد)، وجورجيا، وكوريا (الجنوبية)، فضلاً عن رئيس المجلس الأوروبي ورئيس المفوّضية الأوروبية والسويد وفنلندا. وتَمثّل الأردن وموريتانيا من خلال وزيرَي خارجيّتهما، في حين سُجّل حضور وزير الدفاع في البوسنة والهرسك.

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‘Israel’ murders young Palestinian in Jenin Camp

June 30, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Muhammad Maher Marei succumbed to the serious wounds that he sustained by Israeli occupation forces during their storming of the neighborhood of Jenin at dawn today.

Young Palestinian martyr Muhammad Maher Marei

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) directly opened live fire at young Palestinian Muhammad Maher Marei, 25, during a raid on Jenin Camp at dawn today.

The director of Khalil Suleiman Governmental Hospital confirmed to local Palestinian media that the young man from Jenin camp died as a result of being shot by occupation forces at dawn during confrontations in the city.

Using excessive force, the IOF arrested two young men, Yahya Yousef Al-Jaafar and Ahmed Asaad Nabhan, after raiding the homes of their relatives in Al-Marah neighborhood in Jenin.

Simultaneously, Palestinians participated in a mass rally in protest of the Israeli violations through Jenin’s neighborhoods.

Protesters held the body of the martyr on their shoulders and chanted slogans condemning the occupation’s crimes and its ongoing aggression against Jenin.

They also called for national Palestinian unity and the continuation of the struggle against the Israeli enemy.

The Israeli occupation forces have been actively storming Jenin Camp, aiming clearly at killing Palestinians and arresting others who, in turn, are confronting the occupation forces.

This is happening as Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet has recently given a green light for killing Palestinians.

“There are not and will not be limited for this war. We are granting full freedom of action to the army, the Shin Bet [domestic intelligence agency], and all security forces,” Bennet said last April.

Since the beginning of 2022, the IOF killed more than 70 Palestinians, 27 of them from Jenin and its camp including Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was covering an Israeli raid in Jenin.

The assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh

When talking about Jenin, the name of Shireen Abu Akleh, famed Al Jazeera journalist and veteran reporter, comes to mind. Shireen was murdered on May 11 when Israeli occupation forces storming the Jenin refugee camp, north of the West Bank, shot her with a live bullet to the head as she was covering the events of the storming.

Read more: Forensic analysis proves IOF deliberately killed Shireen Abu Akleh

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موسكو: أي محاولة لعزل إقليم كاليننغراد سيتنهي باشتباك عسكري

 الأربعاء 29 حزيران 2022

تعهّد الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، أمس، بأنّ تفعل بلاده كل شيء من أجل ترتيب الأوضاع في أفغانستان، مشيراً إلى أنّ موسكو لديها اتصالات بجميع القوى السياسية هناك.

وذكر بوتين، خلال لقائه مع الرئيس الطاجيكي إمام على رحمن، بحضور وفد يمثل أفغانستان في منتدى سان بطرسبورغ الاقتصادي الدولي، مشدداً على أنّ “جميع العرقيات في أفغانستان يجب أن تشارك مشاركة كاملة في إدارة البلاد”.

وأفادت وسائل إعلام روسية أنّ بوتين سيتوجّه إلى تركمانستان بعد إكمال زيارته إلى طاجيكستان، للمشاركة في أعمال قمة بلدان منطقة بحر قزوين، كأول جولة خارجية له منذ بدء العملية العسكرية الروسية في أوكرانيا.

من جهته، قال المتحدث باسم الكرملين، ديمتري بيسكوف، إنّ العملية العسكرية الخاصة لحماية دونباس تسير وفقاً للخطة المرسومة، مضيفاً أنّه يمكن أن تنتهي خلال يوم إذا ألقت القوات الأوكرانية سلاحها، دون أن يحدد جدولاً زمنياً محدداً على هذا الصعيد.

وتعليقاً على تصريحات الرئيس الأوكراني فلاديمير زيلنسكي، التي أعرب فيها عن أمله في أن تنتهي العملية العسكرية الخاصة قبل حلول الطقس البارد، قال بيسكوف: “يمكن للجانب الأوكراني أن يوقف كل شيء قبل نهاية اليوم الحالي، فنحن بحاجة إلى أمر لكتائب القوميين بإلقاء أسلحتها، وأمر للجيش الأوكراني بإلقاء أسلحته، وتنفيذ شروط روسيا الاتحادية”.

وكان بيسكوف صرّح منذ أيام بأنّه لا يستبعد استئناف المفاوضات بين روسيا وأوكرانيا، لافتاً إلى عدم “تحقق أي تقدّم في هذا المسار بعد”.

وعن إجراءات الحكومة الليتوانية بشأن إقليم كاليننغراد الروسي، المحاذي لحدودها، لفت بيسكوف إلى أنّه “لم يحدث أي تقدم في مسألة عبور البضائع الخاضعة للعقوبات عبر ليتوانيا إلى منطقة كالينينغراد الروسية”.

وفي الإطار عينه، اعتبر النائب الأول لرئيس لجنة مجلس الاتحاد للشؤون الدولية، فلاديمير جباروف، أنّ “أي محاولة لعزل كالينينغراد عن روسيا ستنتهي باشتباك عسكري معها”، مؤكداً أنّ “موسكو لن تتنازل عن شبر واحد من أراضيها”.

وأعرب البرلماني الروسي عن اعتقاده بأنّ “الناتو يفهم ذلك جيداً”، داعياً حكومتي ليتوانيا وبولندا إلى إعادة التفكير في الانضمام إلى “الناتو”، مع تأكيده أنّهما “أول من سيدخل في مفرمة اللحم”.

وكانت السلطات الليتوانية أرسلت رسالة إلى رئيس المفوضية الأوروبية أورسولا فون دير لاين، ورئيس دبلوماسية الاتحاد الأوروبي جوزيب بوريل، تتضمن نداءً بعدم السماح بعبور البضائع إلى كالينينغراد.

بموازاة ذلك، أعلنت وزارة الخارجية الروسية، إضافة 25 شخصاً إلى قائمة الممنوعين، من بينهم أفراد من عائلة الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن.

وأصدرت الخارجية الروسية بياناً جاء فيه: “رداً على العقوبات الأميركية المتزايدة باستمرار ضد الشخصيات السياسية والعامة الروسية، تمّ إدراج 25 مواطناً أميركياً في قائمة المحظورين من بين أعضاء مجلس الشيوخ المسؤولين عن تشكيل دورة رهاب روسيا، والمشاركين في ما يسمى بمجموعة ماكفول – يرماك التي تضع توصيات بشأن القيود المعادية لروسيا، وكذلك أفراد من عائلة الرئيس جو بايدن”.

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Gonzalo Lira: The Sitzkrieg We’re In

JUNE 28, 2022

Behind the Tin Curtain: BRICS+ vs NATO/G7

June 28, 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

The west is nostalgically caught up with outdated ‘containment’ policies, this time against Global South integration. Unfortunately for them, the rest of the world is moving on, together.

The Cradle

Once upon a time, there existed an Iron Curtain which divided the continent of Europe. Coined by former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the term was in reference to the then-Soviet Union’s efforts to create a physical and ideological boundary with the west. The latter, for its part, pursued a policy of containment against the spread and influence of communism.

Fast forward to the contemporary era of techno-feudalism, and there now exists what should be called a Tin Curtain, fabricated by the fearful, clueless, collective west, via G7 and NATO: this time, to essentially contain the integration of the Global South.

BRICS against G7

The most recent and significant example of this integration has been the coming out of BRICS+ at last week’s online summit hosted by Beijing. This went far beyond establishing the lineaments of a ‘new G8,’ let alone an alternative to the G7.

Just look at the interlocutors of the five historical BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa): we find a microcosm of the Global South, encompassing Southeast Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, Africa and South America – truly putting the “Global” in the Global South.

Revealingly, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s clear messages during the Beijing summit, in sharp contrast to G7 propaganda, were actually addressed to the whole Global South:

– Russia will fulfill its obligations to supply energy and fertilizers.

– Russia expects a good grain harvest – and to supply up to 50 million tons to world markets.

– Russia will ensure passage of grain ships into international waters even as Kiev mined Ukrainian ports.

– The negative situation on Ukrainian grain is artificially inflated.

– The sharp increase in inflation around the world is the result of the irresponsibility of G7 countries, not Operation Z in Ukraine.

– The imbalance of world relations has been brewing for a long time and has become an inevitable result of the erosion of international law.

An alternative system

Putin also directly addressed one of the key themes that the BRICS have been discussing in depth since the 2000s — the design and implementation of an international reserve currency.

“The Russian Financial Messaging System is open for connection with banks of the BRICS countries.”

“The Russian MIR payment system is expanding its presence. We are exploring the possibility of creating an international reserve currency based on the basket of BRICS currencies,” the Russian leader said.

This is inevitable after the hysterical western sanctions post-Operation Z; the total de-dollarization imposed upon Moscow; and increasing trade between BRICS nations. For instance, by 2030, a quarter of the planet’s oil demand will come from China and India, with Russia as the major supplier.

The “RIC” in BRICS simply cannot risk being locked out of a G7-dominated financial system. Even tightrope-walking India is starting to catch the drift.

Who speaks for the ‘international community?’

At its current stage, BRICS represent 40 percent of world population, 25 percent of the global economy, 18 percent of world trade, and contribute over 50 percent for world economic growth. All indicators are on the way up.

Sergey Storchak, CEO of Russian bank VEG, framed it quite diplomatically: “If the voices of emerging markets are not being heard in the coming years, we need to think very seriously about setting up a parallel regional system, or maybe a global system.”

A “parallel regional system” is already being actively discussed between the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and China, coordinated by Minister of Integration and Macroeconomics Sergey Glazyev, who has recently authored a stunning manifesto amplifying his ideas about world economic sovereignty.

Developing the ‘developing world’

What happens in the trans-Eurasian financial front will proceed in parallel with a so far little known Chinese development strategy: the Global Development Initiative (GDI), announced by President Xi Jinping at the UN General Assembly last year.

GDI can be seen as a support mechanism of the overarching strategy – which remains the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), consisting of economic corridors interlinking Eurasia all the way to its western peninsula, Europe.

At the High-level Dialogue on Global Development, part of the BRICS summit, the Global South learned a little more about the GDI, an organization set up in 2015.

In a nutshell, the GDI aims to turbo-charge international development cooperation by supplementing financing to a plethora of bodies, for instance the South-South Cooperation Fund, the International Development Association (IDA), the Asian Development Fund (ADF), and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Priorities include “poverty reduction, food security, COVID-19 response and vaccines,” industrialization, and digital infrastructure. Subsequently, a Friends of the GDI group was established in early 2022 and has already attracted over 50 nations.

BRI and GDI should be advancing in tandem, even as Xi himself made it clear during the BRICS summit that “some countries are politicizing and marginalizing the developmental agenda by building up walls and slapping crippling sanctions on others.”

Then again, sustainable development is not exactly the G7’s cup of tea, much less NATO’s.

Seven against the world

The avowed top aim of the G7 summit in Schloss Elmau at the Bavarian Alps is to “project unity” – as in the stalwarts of the collective west (Japan included) united in sustainable and indefinite “support” for the irretrievably failed Ukrainian state.

That’s part of the “struggle against Putin’s imperialism,” but then there’s also “the fight against hunger and poverty, health crisis and climate change,” as German chancellor Scholz told the Bundestag.

In Bavaria, Scholz pushed for a Marshall Plan for Ukraine – a ludicrous concept considering Kiev and its environs might as well be reduced to a puny rump state by the end of 2022. The notion that the G7 may work to “prevent a catastrophic famine,” according to Scholz, reaches a paroxysm of ludicrousness, as the looming famine is a direct consequence of the G7-imposed sanctions hysteria.

The fact that Berlin invited India, Indonesia, South Africa and Senegal as add-ons to the G7, served as additional comic relief.

The Tin Curtain is up

It would be futile to expect from the astonishing collection of mediocrities “united” in Bavaria, under de facto leader of the European Commission (EC), Fuehrer Ursula von der Leyen, any substantial analysis about the breakdown of global supply chains and the reasons that forced Moscow to reduce gas flows to Europe. Instead, they blamed Putin and Xi.

Welcome to the Tin Curtain – a 21st century reinvention of the Intermarium from the Baltic to the Black Sea, masterminded by the Empire of Lies, complete with western Ukraine absorbed by Poland, the Three Baltic Midgets: Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Czechia and even NATO-aspiring Sweden and Finland, all of whom will be protected from “the Russian threat.”

An EU out of control

The role of the EU, lording over Germany, France and Italy inside the G7 is particularly instructive, especially now that Britain is back to the status of an inconsequential island-state.

As many as 60 European ‘directives’ are issued every year. They must be imperatively transposed into internal law of each EU member-state. In most cases, there’s no debate whatsoever.

Then there are more than 10,000 European ‘rulings,’ where ‘experts’ at the European Commission (EC) in Brussels issue ‘recommendations’ to every government, straight out of the neoliberal canon, regarding their expenses, their income and ‘reforms’ (on health care, education, pensions) that must be obeyed.

Thus elections in every single EU member-nation are absolutely meaningless. Heads of national governments – Macron, Scholz, Draghi – are mere executants. No democratic debate is allowed: ‘democracy,’ as with ‘EU values,’ are nothing than smokescreens.

The real government is exercised by a bunch of apparatchiks chosen by compromise between executive powers, acting in a supremely opaque manner.

The EC is totally outside of any sort of control. That’s how a stunning mediocrity like Ursula von der Leyen – previously the worst Minister of Defense of modern Germany – was catapulted upwards to become the current EC Fuhrer, dictating their foreign, energy and even economic policy.

What do they stand for?

From the perspective of the west, the Tin Curtain, for all its ominous Cold War 2.0 overtones, is merely a starter before the main course: hardcore confrontation across Asia-Pacific – renamed “Indo-Pacific” – a carbon copy of the Ukraine racket designed to contain China’s BRI and GDI.

As a countercoup, it’s enlightening to observe how the Chinese foreign ministry now highlights in detail the contrast between BRICS – and BRICS+ – and the imperial AUKUS/Quad/IPEF combo.

BRICS stand for de facto multilateralism; focus on global development; cooperation for economic recovery; and improving global governance.

The US-concocted racket on the other hand, stands for Cold War mentality; exploiting developing countries; ganging up to contain China; and an America-first policy that enshrines the monopolistic “rules-based international order.”

It would be misguided to expect those G7 luminaries gathered in Bavaria to understand the absurdity of imposing a price cap on Russian oil and gas exports, for instance. Were that to really happen, Moscow will have no problems fully cutting energy supply to the G7. And if other nations are excluded, the price of the oil and gas they import would drastically increase.

BRICS paving the way forward

So no wonder the future is ominous. In a stunning interview to Belarus state TV, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov summarized how “the west fears honest competition.”

Hence, the apex of cancel culture, and “suppression of everything that contradicts in some way the neoliberal vision and arrangement of the world.” Lavrov also summarized the roadmap ahead, for the benefit of the whole Global South:

“We don’t need a new G8. We already have structures…primarily in Eurasia. The EAEU is actively promoting integration processes with the PRC, aligning China’s Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian integration plans. Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are taking a close look at these plans. A number of them are signing free trade zone agreements with the EAEU. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is also part of these processes… There is one more structure beyond the geographic borders of Eurasia.”

“It is BRICS. This association is relying less and less on the Western style of doing business, and on Western rules for international currency, financial and trade institutions. They prefer more equitable methods that do not make any processes depend on the dominant role of the dollar or some other currency. The G20 fully represents BRICS and five more countries that share the positions of BRICS, while the G7 and its supporters are on the other side of the barricades.”

“This is a serious balance. The G20 may deteriorate if the West uses it for fanning up confrontation. The structures I mentioned (SCO, BRICS, ASEAN, EAEU and CIS) rely on consensus, mutual respect and a balance of interests, rather than a demand to accept unipolar world realities.”

Tin Curtain? More like Torn Curtain.

BRICS+: It’s Back with Scale and Ambition

June 28, 2022

http://infobrics.org/post/36006/

By Jaroslav Lissovolik

After several years of being relegated to backstage of the BRICS agenda, in 2022 the BRICS+ format is back and is at the very center of the discussions surrounding China’s chairmanship in the grouping. With the return of the BRICS+ paradigm the BRICS is going from introvert to extrovert and its greater global ambition raises hopes across the wide expanses of the Global South of material changes in the global economic system. The main question now centers on what the main trajectories of the evolution of the BRICS+ framework will be – thus far China appears to have advanced a multi-track approach that targets maximum scope and diversity in the operation of the BRICS-plus paradigm.

One of the novelties of China’s BRICS chairmanship in 2022 has been the launching of the extended BRICS+ meeting at the level of Ministers of Foreign Affairs that apart from the core BRICS countries also included representatives from Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal in Africa, Argentina from Latin America, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Thailand. And while the inclusion of Saudi Arabia and Indonesia may reflect their role in the G20 and overall size of their economies in the developing world, the inclusion of countries such as Senegal (chairmanship in the African Union in 2022), United Arab Emirates (chairmanship in the Gulf Cooperation Council in 2022) and Argentina (chairmanship in CELAC in 2022) is suggestive of a regional approach to building the BRICS+ platform.

That regional approach was also evidenced in the Forum of political parties, think-tanks and NGOs that was held on May 19th in BRICS+ format – among the countries invited to participate were Cambodia (chairmanship in ASEAN in 2022) as well as Senegal and Argentina that represented Africa and Latin America respectively. In effect China thus presented an inclusive format for dialogue spanning all the main regions of the Global South via aggregating the regional integration platforms in Eurasia, Africa and Latin America. Going forward this format may be further expanded to include other regional integration blocks from Eurasia, such as the GCC, EAEU and others.

During the meeting of foreign ministers of BRICS countries China also announced plans to open up the possibility of developing countries joining the core BRICS grouping. This approach differed to some degree from the line pursued by BRICS in the preceding years, when any expansion outside of the BRICS core was deemed to be the purview of the BRICS+ format. It remains to be seen whether the expansion in the core BRICS grouping is going to be supported by other members, but at this stage it appears unlikely that a speedy accession of any single developing economy is likely in the near term.

One important consideration in the future evolution of the BRICS+ format is its evenhandedness and balance observed between the main regions of the Global South. In this respect the inclusion of several countries into the “core BRICS” group may be fraught with risks of imbalances and asymmetries in terms of the representation of the main regions of the developing world in the core BRICS grouping. There is also the risk of greater complexity in arriving at a consensus with a wider circle of core BRICS members. While the option of joining the core should be kept open, there need to be clear and transparent criteria for the “BRICS accession process”.

Another issue relevant to the evolution of the BRICS+ framework is whether there should be a prioritization of the accession to the BRICS core of those developing economies that are members of the G20 grouping. In my view the G20 track for BRICS is a problematic one – the priorities of the Global South could get weakened and diluted within the broader G20 framework. There is also the question about the efficacy of G20 in coordinating the joint efforts of developing and developed economies in the past several years in overcoming the effects of the pandemic and the economic downturn. Rather than the goal of bringing the largest heavyweights into the core BRICS bloc from the G20 a more promising venue is the greater inclusivity of BRICS via the BRICS+ framework that allows smaller economies that are the regional partners of BRICS to have a say in the new global governance framework.

The next stage in the BRICS+ sequel is to be presented by China in June during the summit of BRICS+ countries. The world will be closely gauging further developments in the evolution of the BRICS+ format, but the most important result of China’s chairmanship in BRICS this year is that BRICS+ is squarely back on the agenda of global governance. The vitality in BRICS development will depend to a major degree on the success of the BRICS+ enterprise – an inert, introvert BRICS has neither global capacity, nor global mission. A stronger, more inclusive and open BRICS has the potential to become the basis for a new system of global governance.

Valdai Discussion Club

Source: Valdai Discussion Club

مشروع بايدن: «ناتو إسرائيليّ» بأموال العرب بلا قنبلة إيرانيّة!

 الثلاثاء 28 حزيران 2022

الأحلاف، السياسية منها والعسكرية، كانت بين أبرز مرتكزات الهيمنة الأميركية على العالم (أ ف ب)
 محمد صادق الحسيني

كلّ شيء يتحرك بسرعة وفجأة من أجل تنفيذ تعليمات السيد الأميركي المختنق في الشرنقة الأوكرانية!

تتزاحم الزيارات والمصالحات بين عواصم المتخاصمين، وتعود طاولة المفاوضات النووية الى الانتعاش بشكل سريع، وتنقل بحركة أوروبية انقلابية من فيينا لتصبح على مقربة من عرش ابن سلمان المهدّد بالباليستي اليمني ويُستدعى «الحاجب «

العراقي ليقوم بدور التهدئة بين الرياض وطهران.

وتتحرك «المقاصة» المالية القطرية لتحلل ما هو محرّم على بايدن داخلياً في الوقت الراهن بخصوص إطلاق سراح الأموال الإيرانية المجمّدة.

وقد يتوّج ذلك في مسقط لتحضر بريطانيا كشريك فاعل!

إنها حركة «دمج» قرار الدولة الأميركية العميقة المهزومة عالمياً والمنسحبة من منطقتنا بحالة الضعف والهزال الصهيوني وعجزه عن حماية أمنه بنفسه لينبلج عملياً الإعلان عن «مشروع بايدن الإسرائيلي الجديد» من إحدى مدن الملح في منتصف تموز المقبل.

ودائماً على قاعدة «الضرورات تبيح المحظورات» سيبرّر الأميركي كلّ هذا للرأي العام لديه، مع تقديم ضمانات لأيتام ترامب من تل أبيب الى الرياض بأن لا قنبلة نووية ايرانية في الأفق.

ولما كان منسحباً من المنطقة كما فعل مع أفغانستان لذلك سيقول لهم جميعاً :

 تفضلوا قلعوا شوككم بأيديكم وأطلقوا نظام الدفاع الجوي المشترك، وشركاتنا المتعددة الجنسية ستؤمّن لكم كلّ ما تريدون لينتعش مجمع الصناعات الحربية الأميركي بأموال العرب…

واما عن آلية حصول ذلك، فقد أفاد مصدر دبلوماسي متابع للتحركات الجارية، بما يلي:

أولا ـ انّ الهدف الأساسي للرئيس الأميركي، من زيارته المقبلة للشرق الأوسط، هو إعادة ترتيب المنطقة من جديد، اقتصادياً وسياسياً وعسكرياً، وهو الأمر الذي يستدعي جعل إيران جزءاً لا يتجزأ من هذه الترتيبات الجديدة .

ثُانيا ـ يرى بايدن أنّ العودة الى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران هي الخطوة الأساسية لإنجاح مشروعه.

وعليه فإنّ هدف الرئيس الأميركي من وراء سعيه لدمج إيران، في مشروع إعادة صياغة الشرق الاوسط، يتمثل في ما يلي:

أ ـ تهدئة خواطر الدول الخليجية وطمأنتها على أمنها في المستقبل .

ب ـ ضبط إيقاع إيران في الشرق الأوسط مستقبلاً، من خلال تقديم إغراءات اقتصادية وتجارية لها، في إطار مشروع الدمج المُشار إليه أعلاه.

ثالثا ـ يرى بايدن انّ أمام إيران خيارين هما:

أ ـ أن تكون جزءاً من هذه الترتيبات المستقبلية.

ب ـ أو تواجه التحدي العسكري من الولايات المتحدة وحلفائها.

رابعا ـ يعتبر الرئيس الأميركي انّ معيار نجاح زيارته للشرق الأوسط هو نجاحه في العودة الى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، والاتفاق معها على الترتيبات المستقبلية، لمنطقة الشرق الأوسط، من خلال تفاهمات ثنائية، بينها وبين واشنطن، خارج الاتفاق النووي.

خامسا ـ اما بخصوص الترتيبات العسكرية، التي يريد بايدن العمل على الشروع بتنفيذها، بين الدول العربية و»إسرائيل»، فإنّ مواقف الأطراف المعنية بهذا المشروع، هي مواقف متباعدة وليس من السهل حشدها لقبول التنفيذ.

سادسا ـ إذ انّ دولة الإمارات العربية مثلاً الدولة الأكثر اندفاعاً للمشاركة «الإسرائيلية» في التحالف العسكريّ المقترح من الولايات المتحدة لمواجهة إيران.

 بينما ترفض كلٌّ من مصر والكويت وعُمان الدخول في تحالف معادٍ لإيران وذلك لأنها لا ترى انّ إيران تشكل ايّ تهديد لأمن هذه الدول او لمصالحها العربية والاقليمية .

سابعا ـ وفي إطار موقفها، من إنشاء تحالف عسكري ضدّ إيران في الشرق الأوسط، فإنّ الإمارات و»إسرائيل» تنويان البدء بإقامة قواعد الإنذار «الإسرائيلي» المبكر في الإمارات بعد انتهاء زيارة بايدن مباشرة.

علماً انّ الجهات «الإسرائيلية» المعنية قد انتهت من نقل المعدات والتجهيزات العسكرية اللازمة لذلك الى الإمارات العربية المتحدة.

كما انّ الخبراء العسكريين «الإسرائيليين» والفنيين والمهندسين، التابعين لشركات الصناعات الجوية «الإسرائيلية»، موجودون أيضاً في الإمارات ويقومون بتنفيذ الترتيبات التحضيرية لإقامة تلك القواعد.

ويمكرون ويمكر الله، والله خير الماكرين.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

The west’s Plan B: Secure the realm

Having failed in preserving the unipolar order, the west will resort to Plan B – reviving a bipolar world based on the ‘civilized’ west and the ‘barbarian’ rest.

June 27 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Fadi Lama

Plan A: Global Hegemony

By the late 1990s, it was clear that a China-led Asia would be the dominant economic, technological and military power of the 21st century.

The late Polish-American diplomat and political scientist Zbigniew Brzezinski spelled out in 1997 that the way to control Asian growth, and China’s in particular, was to control global energy reserves.

The attacks on 11 September 2001 provided the “catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor” to set military intervention plans in motion. As noted by US General Wesley Clark, “in addition to Afghanistan, we’re going to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.”

Energy reserves of these countries – in addition to those already controlled by the west – would result in western control over 60 percent of global gas reserves and 70 percent of global oil reserves.

However, the west’s direct military intervention wars failed, and subsequent proxy wars using assorted Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamists failed as well.

Rise of the ‘RIC’

In the two decades since Brzezinski laid out his strategy and the west immersed itself in failed wars, the Eurasian sovereignist core of Russia, Iran, and China (RIC) were heavily focused on national development in all arenas, including the economic, technological and military fields, and physical and social infrastructure development.

By 2018, it was clear that plans for western control of global energy reserves had failed and that the RIC had overtaken the west in many, if not most, of the aforementioned sectors.

As a result, the RIC were able to project power, protecting sovereign nations from western interventionism in West AsiaCentral AsiaSouth America and Africa. In Iran’s case this also involved a direct military response against US forces, following the assassination of the late General Qassem Soleimani. Making matters worse, the gap between the west and the RIC is widening, with little chance for the former to catch up.

The impossibility of sustaining western global hegemony had become evident amid continuous erosion of western power and global influence, which coincide with a commensurate expansion of RIC global influence, both of which necessitated an alternative strategy: a Plan B, as it were.

Plan B: Securing the realm

In view of the irreversible widening of this gap, and the growing global influence of the RIC, the only feasible strategy for the west would be to ‘terminate the competition’ by splitting the world into two regions, one in which the west has ironclad control, where western “rules” reign, and is divorced from the RIC-influenced region.

The current geostrategy of the west is the imposition of an Iron Curtain with the inclusion of as many resource rich nations as possible. Only by realizing the west’s actual geostrategic objective is it possible to understand the reason behind its apparently self-defeating actions, specifically:

  • Imposition of draconian sanctions on Russia that hurt the west far more than Russia.
  • Increasing tensions with China and Iran whilst engaged in a proxy war with Russia.

While the world is fixated on the conflict in Ukraine, the geostrategic objective of the west is being steadily advanced.

Sanctions: the catalyst of crises and coercion

The widely accepted explanation is that the west imposed draconian sanctions with the expectation that it would turn the ruble into “rubble,” create a run on banks, crash the Russian economy, weaken President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power, and pave the way for a more amenable president to replace him.

None of these expectations materialized. On the contrary, the ruble strengthened against the dollar and the euro, and the Russian economy is faring better than most western economies, which are witnessing record inflation and recessionary indicators. To add insult to injury, Putin’s popularity has soared while those of his western counterparts are hitting record lows.

The west’s after-the-fact explanation that sanctions, and their repercussions, were not well thought out, do not hold water.

Often overlooked though, has been the devastating impact of these sanctions on the Global South. US economist Michael Hudson argues that the Ukraine war is merely a catalyst to impose sanctions that would result in global food and energy crises – allowing the US to coerce the Global South to be “with us or against us.”

Indeed the impact of these crises are compounded by the earlier detrimental impact of Covid lockdowns. Food, energy and economic crises are further exasperated by the US Federal Reserve raising interest rates which directly impact the debt servicing ability of Global South countries, placing them on the edge of bankruptcy and at the mercy of the western-controlled World Bank and International Monetary Fund — the instruments for effectively locking these nations within the western realm.

Thus, despite the very negative impact of sanctions on western countries, these nevertheless fit perfectly with the strategic objective of locking in as many Global South countries within the western sphere of influence.

Tensions with China and Iran:

Driving a wedge between Eurasian powers has been an axiom of western geostrategy, as expressed eloquently by Brzezinski: “The three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are:

  • to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals,
  • to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and
  • to keep the barbarians from coming together.”

In this regard, raising tensions with Beijing and Tehran, while the west is involved in a proxy war with Russia, appears contradictory.

However it starts to make more rational sense when contextualizing the strategy as one aiming to establish an “Iron Curtain” that separates the world into two: one is the western Realm, and the other is Brzezinski’s ‘Barbaria,’ at the core of which are the RIC.

Two worlds

The western realm will continue on its path of neoliberalism. Yet due to significantly smaller populations and resources under its control, it will be significantly impoverished compared to present, necessitating imposition of police states for which Covid-19 lockdowns provide a glimpse into the socio-political future of these states.

Global South countries under the western realm will continue down a path of increased poverty, requiring management by dictatorial governments. Political turbulence is expected as a result of deteriorating socioeconomic conditions.

‘Barbaria,’ as reflected in the very diverse political and economic models of the RIC, will have a variety of development models, reflecting the civilizational diversity within this realm and the mutually beneficial cooperation which currently exists between the RICs, and between the RIC and others.

What about the Global South?

Facing the perfect storm of food, energy, inflation and debt servicing crises, many Global South countries will be in a very weak position and may be readily coerced into joining the western realm. This will be facilitated by the fact that their economic, and consequently, political elites, have their interests aligned with the western financial construct – and will thus wholeheartedly embrace joining the west.

The inability of west to provide effective solutions to these crises, coupled with their colonial past, will make joining Barbaria more attractive. This can be further influenced by the RIC providing support during this crisis period.

Russia has already offered to assist in the provision of food to Afghanistan and African countries, while Iran notably provided gasoline to Venezuela during its fuel crisis. Meanwhile, China has a successful track record of infrastructure development in Global South countries and is spearheading the world’s most ambitious connectivity project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

As Russian economist and Minister of Integration for the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) Sergey Glazyev already hinted when describing the emerging alternative global financial network: “Countries of the Global South can be full participants of the new system regardless of their accumulated debts in dollars, euro, pound, and yen. Even if they were to default on their obligations in those currencies, this would have no bearing on their credit rating in the new financial system.”

How many Global South nations can the western realm realistically expect to hold onto when Barbaria offers a clean slate, with zero debt?

Where does this leave West Asia?

The Axis of Resistance will be further aligned with Barbaria; however, political elites in Iraq and Lebanon favor the western realm. Thus, a politically turbulent period is expected in such countries. Due to the inability of west to offer economic solutions, coupled with the clout of local Resistance parties in these countries, the end game for Iraq and Lebanon is ultimately to join Barbaria, along with the de-facto government of Yemen.

Oil sheikhdoms of the Gulf are creations of the west and therefore belong in the western realm. However due to events of the past two decades, this may not necessarily be where they all line up.  The west’s debacles in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen have convinced the sheikhdoms that the west has lost its military edge, and is no longer able to offer long term protection.

Furthermore, unlike the west, Barbaria has a track record of not directly meddling in the internal affairs of nations, a factor of significance for the sheikhdoms. Recent diplomatic tensions with the west have been evidenced by Saudi and UAE leaders rejecting the oil production demands of the US administration – an unprecedented development. If offered convincing protection by Barbaria, oil sheikhdoms may decide to join it.

End of an Era

Retrenchment of the west marks the end of a long era of western expansionism and oppression. Some date this era back six centuries to the start of European colonization in the fifteenth century. Others date it even further back to the Great Schism and the subsequent Crusades.

The latter are supported by a statement attributed to British Field Marshal Edmund Allenby on entering Jerusalem in 1917:  “only now have the crusades ended,” and the fact that church bells chimed worldwide in celebration of the occupation of Jerusalem.

During this era, hundreds of millions all over the globe were massacred, civilizations were wiped out, billions suffered and still suffer. To state that we are living in epochal times is a gross understatement.

Naturally the end of such an era cannot happen peacefully; the wars of the past 30 years are witness to this.

The regression of western initiated wars from direct military intervention (Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq) to wars by proxy (Syria, Iraq, Ukraine) augurs well, as it reflects the realization by the west that it is no match militarily to the RIC. Had there been any lingering doubts, the war in Ukraine has put them to rest. Thus it can be concluded that the worst is over.

Internal instability in some Global South countries will exist in the near future; a consequence of the struggle between diverging interests of populations and neoliberal ruling elites. Decline and impoverishment of the west vs. the rise of RIC will favour the resolving these struggles in favour of the peoples and alignment with RIC.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

الحكومة والمحور الأميركيّ وجماعة أميركا

 الثلاثاء 28 حزيران 2022

ناصر قنديل

إذا استثنينا التيار الوطني الحر الذي سيكون مشاركاً في الحكومة الجديدة من خلال رئيس الجمهورية، على الأقل، إذا قرّر عدم المشاركة، وإذا ولدت الحكومة، تلفت الانتباه مواقف الكتل النيابية التي قرّرت رفض المشاركة في الحكومة ومقاطعتها.

إذا نظرنا للغة التي يتحدث بها هؤلاء سنسمع كلاماً كثيراً عن نظرية وجود لبنان في محور إقليمي يرفضونه، والمقصود طبعاً هو محور المقاومة، واتهامات هؤلاء مكررة بالحديث عن سيطرة حزب الله على الدولة، ومؤسساتها، وهم دعاة أن يكون لبنان ضمن محور آخر، تحت شعار الحياد، طلباً لموقع لبناني أقرب الى واشنطن والرياض باعتبارهما مرجعية القرار بدعم لبنان مالياً، كما يقولون.

نتحدث هنا عن حكومة الرئيس نجيب ميقاتي المقبلة قياساً بحكومته الحالية التي تصرف الأعمال، والمتهمة بأنها حكومة حزب الله والواقعة تحت سيطرته، والتي نجح حزب الله عبرها بضم لبنان الى ما يسمّونه بالمحور الإيراني، وبعضهم يقول بالوقوع تحت الاحتلال الإيراني.

اذا استعملنا الوقائع كأداة للقياس سنكتشف أن الحكومة دفعت بوزير إعلامها للاستقالة بلا سبب وجيه سوى طلب الرضا السعودي، فهل يحدث هذا في بلد آخر أو في حكومة أخرى؟

بالوقائع أيضاً وقف رئيس الحكومة بقوة ضد أي طلب الإعفاء ولو مؤقت لحاكم المصرف المركزي، حتى تنتهي الملفات القضائية المرفوعة عليه، والحاكم هو نفسه الذي أعلنته السفيرة الأميركية خطاً أحمر خلال فترة حكومة الرئيس حسان دياب، ويصفه الرئيس ميقاتي بالضابط الذي لا يمكن الاستغناء عنه خلال الحرب.

  بالوقائع أيضاً جمّد رئيس الحكومة نجيب ميقاتي أعمال حكومته لشهور، حتى تراجع ثنائي المحور، حزب الله وحركة أمل، عن اشتراط المشاركة في الاجتماعات الحكوميّة حتى تتم تنحية القاضي طارق بيطار، الذي أصدرت لجان في الكونغرس الأميركي بيانات واضحة لمساندته، ولم يعترض عليه إلا وزراء ونواب «المحور»، وتمسك الرئيس ميقاتي بالقاضي حتى تراجع وزراء «المحور»، وموقف الحكومة ورئيسها ليس مجرد دعم لفكرة استقلال القضاء، بينما تشترك الحكومة بتغطية ملاحقة القاضية غادة عون لأنها تجرأت ولاحقت حاكم المصرف.

بالوقائع أيضاً تدير الحكومة التي يقاطع مثيلتها اصدقاء أميركا والرياض ملف الحدود البحرية للبنان بالتنسيق والتشاور مع وسيط عيّنته الإدارة الأميركية اسمه عاموس خوكشتاين يحمل الجنسية الإسرائيلية وخدم في جيش الاحتلال.

بالوقائع أيضاً في حروب المنطقة والعالم، حربان، حرب في اليمن، وحرب في أوكرانيا، وفي الحربين تقف الحكومة دون الكثير من حلفاء أميركا، حيث تقف السعودية وأميركا.

بالوقائع أيضاً وأيضاً لا تبحث الحكومة ومثلها التي ستليها أي عروض تقدّمها أية شركات لا تحظى بقبول أميركي، وهذا هو مصير كل العروض الروسية والصينية والإيرانية، الإهمال وإدارة الظهر بذرائع مختلفة.

يرفضون المشاركة بالحكومة ويتهمونها بالمحور، لأن مهمتهم المقررة هي استثمار المنصات السياسية والنيابية والإعلامية للتحريض على المقاومة، ولو بالأكاذيب، لأن المطلوب نيل المزيد من الالتحاق المهين والمذل بالإملاءات الأميركية، ولبنان بالمناسبة في أسفل قائمة الذل في العلاقة بالأميركيين، فتطبق القرارات الأميركية المالية في لبنان قبل أميركا، بينما يجرؤ حلفاء أميركا في المنطقة بقول لا، كما تفعل تركيا ودولة الإمارات بخصوص العقوبات على إيران وروسيا، وكما تفعل السعودية بخصوص العقوبات على روسيا، وكما تفعل الإمارات بالعلاقات مع سورية، ولبنان الذي يحتاج التواصل مع الحكومة السورية لحل سريع لقضية النازحين السوريّين ينتظر الإذن الأميركي بزيارة وفود حكوميّة رفيعة الى سورية، كما انتظر ليتجرأ وفد حكوميّ على زيارة سورية لبحث التعاون في ملف الكهرباء.

المذلّة لا تكفي، وجب أن يزيّنها النفاق، فنصدق أن لبنان الرسمي في محور المقاومة، ونجهد لنثبت البراءة بمزيد من الذل، مبارك للسيادة والاستقلال.

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Talks on Iran’s Nuclear Program to begin on Tuesday in Qatar – Reports

27 Jun 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Iran’s Foreign Ministry revealed that JCPOA talks would resume on Tuesday in Doha, Qatar.

Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program to lift US sanctions will begin on Tuesday in Qatar.

Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program will begin on Tuesday in Qatar, according to the IRNA news agency, citing an Iranian Foreign Ministry source.
 
“Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program to lift US sanctions will begin on Tuesday in Qatar,” the source told IRNA.

Since 2018, when then-US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it and began reimposing harsh economic sanctions on Iran, the nuclear deal has been hanging by a thread.

Although US President Joe Biden’s administration has sought to return to the agreement, saying it is the best way forward with the Islamic republic, it has expressed growing pessimism in recent weeks.

The talks, according to Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh, will take place “in an Arabian Gulf country in the coming days, later this week” and will focus on the lifting of US sanctions.

Separately, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported, citing an unnamed foreign ministry source, that Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri would visit Qatar on Tuesday for “negotiations on lifting sanctions,” and that the US-Iran indirect talks would take place there.

A State Department spokesperson in Washington confirmed that the talks would take place this week in the Gulf.

“We are prepared to immediately conclude and implement the deal we negotiated in Vienna for mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA,” he said, referring to the deal’s formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Khatibzadeh voiced hope for “positive results” from the talks.

Exclusive: Qatar may host indirect talks between Washington and Iran

Seyed Mohammad Marandi, A media advisor to the Iranian nuclear team, said earlier to Al Mayadeen on Monday, that Qatar will host indirect talks between Iran and the United States regarding reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Speaking with Al Mayadeen, Marandi stated that Qatar is one of the options offered to host indirect negotiations between Iran and the US.

During EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell’s visit to Iran, Tehran and Brussels are discussing the location for the coming JCPOA talks.

According to reports, Borrell had stated that Vienna would not host the next talks. “Talks between Iran, the United States, and European Union will not take place in Vienna because talks will not happen in US+P4+1 format,” Borrell said.

He explained that the negotiations will be held in the coming days and that they will be similar to the indirect negotiations between Iran and the US in Vienna.

حماس في قلب محور المقاومة

الثلاثاء 28 حزيران 2022

فلسطين 

ابراهيم الأمين 

الضغوط التي تتعرض لها حركة حماس من جهات فلسطينية أو عربية أو دولية تكاد تكون الأولى من نوعها في تاريخ الحركة. ورغم أن التنظيم الإسلامي الفلسطيني لم يكن بعيداً عن التأثيرات السلبية لانهيار تجربة الإخوان المسلمين في الحكم في عدد من الدول العربية، إلا أن تثبيت حماس قاعدة تفكيرها ونشاطها وبرنامجها على أساس أولوية المقاومة ضد الاحتلال، ساعدها على البقاء في قلب المشهد، وفتح لها الأبواب لترميم شبكة واسعة من العلاقات العربية والإسلامية وحتى الدولية من باب المقاومة.

في السنوات العشر الماضية، غرقت الحركة في موجة من المواقف السياسية التي أدت الى تضرّر صورتها كحركة مقاومة. ومثلما تعرّض حزب الله في لبنان لحملة بسبب وقوفه الى جانب الدولة السورية في مواجهة الحرب عليها، تعرضت حماس لحملة من التيار المقابل، واتُّهمت بمجاراة برنامج الإخوان المسلمين الهادف الى الاستيلاء على الحكم في عدد من الدول العربية، حتى إن قواعد من الحركة دعمت الحروب الأهلية التي وقعت في أكثر من بلد عربي؛ منها سوريا.
لكنّ تبدلاً جدياً طرأ منذ ما بعد حرب عام 2014، وتطور الأمر بعد انتخاب قيادة جديدة للحركة عام 2017. وبعد استرداد كتائب القسام المبادرة وجعل الأولوية المطلقة للمقاومة، بدا أن الحركة تتقدم خطوات سريعة باتجاه الخروج نهائياً من دائرة التجاذبات حيال ما يجري داخل كل دولة عربية، وهو ما سهّل لها استئناف التواصل مع مصر ومع حكومات عربية أخرى في بلاد الشام أو الخليج أو المغرب العربي. ورغم أن تركيا سهّلت للحركة إقامة مريحة لقيادتها السياسية، إلا أن حماس بدت أكثر تصميماً على الانخراط في الجبهة التي تعدّ المقاومة خياراً وحيداً وإلزامياً ومجدياً لتحقيق التحرير.

سيكون محور المقاومة أمام وقائع جديدة بعد التفاهمات التي توصّل إليها هنيّة ونصر الله


خلال العامين الماضيين، تقدمت حماس خطوات كبيرة الى الأمام في سياق التموضع ضمن محور المقاومة. وجاءت معركة سيف القدس لتختبر التفاعل العملاني مع القوى الأساسية في المحور. وأظهرت تطورات الأشهر القليلة الماضية أن السعي الأميركي – الإسرائيلي – السعودي – الإماراتي لبناء جبهة سياسية واقتصادية وأمنية وإعلامية تعمل على مواجهة محور المقاومة، أن على حماس تعزيز خيارها وموقعها داخل محور المقاومة. وهي اتخذت قرارات كبيرة، لا تدخلها في صدام مع أحد، وخصوصاً مع تركيا وقطر، ولكن لا تمنعها من تعزيز علاقتها مع قوى المقاومة بدءاً بإيران، وصولاً الى حزب الله في لبنان وأنصار الله في اليمن، وحتى إطلاق اتصالات أولية مع فصائل المقاومة في العراق. ولكن الخطوة الأهم تمثلت في قرار المكتب السياسي استئناف العلاقة مع سوريا، وإفساح المجال أمام الوسطاء الذين ينشطون بين القيادة السورية وقيادة حماس للتقدم أكثر صوب تحقيق المصالحة التي تقول قيادة الحركة إنها تحتاج إليها من أجل تعزيز المقاومة.

حماس اليوم أمام تحديات جديدة. وكلما زاد تمسكها بخيار المقاومة، ستجد أنها أكثر ثباتاً داخل فلسطين وأكثر حضوراً وفعالية في المنطقة العربية، وسيكون محور المقاومة أمام وقائع جديدة بعد الزيارة الأخيرة لرئيس الحركة إسماعيل هنية لبيروت وطبيعة المناقشات والتفاهمات التي توصّل إليها مع الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله بعد سلسلة من اللقاءات بينهما…

Raisi: Normalization of Relations Will Not Bring Security to Zionist Regime

June 28, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi says normalization of relations with a number of regional Arab countries will not bring security to the Zionist regime of the “Israeli” entity.

Raisi made the remarks in a joint presser with the visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Tehran on Sunday.

“During this meeting, we discussed trade and political and economic relations [between the two countries], and decided to boost economic ties. We discussed the rail connection between Shalamcheh [in Iran] and [Iraq’s] Basra [port], which can play a great role in facilitating trade between the two countries. We also discussed facilitation of monetary and banking relations between Iran and Iraq,” he said.

Reflecting on the efforts made by the Zionist regime’s official during past years to normalize relations with some Arab states in the region, Iran’s chief executive said, “The efforts made by the Zionist regime to normalize relations with regional countries will by no means bring security to this regime.

“We and Iraq believe that peace and tranquility in the region depends on all regional officials doing their parts, and normalization [of relations] with the [Zionist] regime and the presence of foreigners in the region will solve none of the regional people’s problems,” Raisi said.

Highlighting the importance of relations between Iran and Iraq and the role played by the two countries in regional developments, Raisi said, “We stood by people of Iraq when the country was going through dire straits and will continue to stick together. This friendship and relations will never go cold and will further develop on a daily basis. There is no doubt that the visit by Mr. Kadhimi and his accompanying delegation can be a turning point in development of relations between the two countries.

He said that during his meeting with Kadhimi they discussed the existing relations among regional countries, adding, “We believe that dialog among regional countries can solve regional problems, [but] the presence of foreigners in the region only creates more problems and does not help solve those problems.”

Back in 2020, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed United States-brokered agreements with the entity to normalize their ties with the regime. Some other regional states, namely Sudan and Morocco, followed suit soon afterward.

Spearheaded by the UAE, the move has sparked widespread condemnations from the Palestinians as well as nations and human rights advocates across the globe, especially within the Muslim world.

Other regional countries have also been fraternizing with the entity, including Saudi Arabia, which received a visit by the regime’s former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in November 2020.

Earlier this month, Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei said the Arab governments that chose to normalize relations with the “Israeli” entity against the will of their people will end up being exploited by the occupying regime.

Elsewhere in the presser, the Iranian president said the two sides have underlined the need for establishing a durable ceasefire in Yemen, lifting the economic blockade, and facilitating intra-Yemeni talks as the solutions to the existing problem in the impoverished country.

“Undoubtedly, we consider the continuation of this [Saudi-led] war fruitless and believe that this war has no outcome but the suffering of the people,” Raisi said, emphasizing that ceasefire can be a “step towards resolving issues in Yemen.”

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.

The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.

While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Kadhimi, for his part, said that during his talks with Iranian officials, the two sides discussed bilateral historical, cultural, and religious relations.

The Iraqi premier added that Baghdad attaches great importance to its relations with Tehran on the basis of common interests.

He noted that Iran and Iraq agreed to make further efforts to serve their nations’ interests and boost trade ties.

Kadhimi said Iran and Iraq also agreed to set a timetable to facilitate the huge annual Arbaeen procession.

He added that while Iranian pilgrims have already been able to receive visas at Iraqi airports, it is now possible for a specific number of Arbaeen pilgrims to obtain visas through border crossings.

The Iraqi prime minister said, “We also discussed major regional challenges and agreed to make a joint effort to help establish stability and calm in the region. We also talked about fateful issues facing the regional nations. We decided to support the Yemen ceasefire and agreed to support dialogue in Yemen in order to put an end to a war that has brought a lot of suffering to Yemeni people.”

Iran After Strong, Sustainable Deal in JCPOA Talks: Shamkhani

June, 26, 2022

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani reaffirmed Tehran’s push for a strong, sustainable and reliable agreement in the talks for saving the 2015 nuclear deal and lifting the anti-Iranian sanctions.

In a meeting with the European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, held in Tehran on Saturday, Shamkhani slammed Europe’s inaction and the US’s lack of commitment to its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Iran’s remedial measures in the nuclear sector are merely a legal and rational reaction to US unilateralism and Europe’s inaction and will continue as long as the West’s illegal practices persist,” he stated.

Shamkhani noted that the illegal withdrawal of the US from the HCPOA has caused the Iranian nation to lose trust in the West and Washington.

“We have fulfilled all our commitments under the JCPOA and have never left the negotiating table and we are still looking for a strong, lasting and reliable agreement,” the top security official said.

Shamkhani emphasized that the removal of illegal sanctions and full and lasting realization of the economic benefits of the JCPOA are Iran’s main objectives in engaging in the talks with the P4+1 group of countries.

“Iran does not favor an agreement that fails to meet the two above-mentioned principles in providing a reliable guarantee from the US and Europe,” he said.

He emphasized that the participants in the Vienna talks failed to reach a final agreement on the JCPOA revival because of the US’ contradictory behavior and its sticking to threats and sanctions.

“The language of force cannot be used in addressing a country that has overcome the most difficult conditions of sanctions with vigorous resistance and the sympathy and support of its people,” the SNSC secretary said, Press TV reported.

The senior EU diplomat, for his part, said the possible JCPOA revival under the current global circumstances can be regarded as a very important security achievement in the international system.

Borrell criticized Trump for pulling the United States out of the multilateral agreement and said all the parties to the JCPOA must look ahead to the future to reach a good final deal.

Pointing to his talks with US officials before traveling to Tehran, he added that the administration of Joe Biden is keen to reach an agreement on the JCPOA revival.

Negotiations have been held in the Austrian capital of Vienna since April last year to restore the JCPOA, which was ditched by former US president Donald Trump in May 2018.

In quitting the agreement, Trump unleashed what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign to bring Iran to its knees. Tehran maintains that the policy has failed dismally. The Biden administration agrees, yet it has not taken any tangible steps to deliver on its promise of repealing the policy.

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