Vladimir Putin: The Most Powerful Person in the World

Vladimir Putin: The Most Powerful Person in the World

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 14.06.2017

Vladimir Putin: The Most Powerful Person in the World

Paul Craig ROBERTS

Dear Friends, current problems with the website’s functionality, which are being addressed, are affecting the newsletter and email and, based on the light response to my quarterly call for donations, possibly donations as well.

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Here is today’s column:

It must be wonderful being Vladimir Putin and being the most powerful person on earth. And not even have to say so yourself. The US Democratic Party is saying it for Putin along with the entirety of the Western presstitute media and the CIA and FBI also. The Russian media doesn’t have to brag about Putin’s power. Megyn Kelly, the Western presstitutes, and Western leaders are doing it for them:Putin is so powerful that he is able to place in office his choice for the President of the United States.

I mean, Wow! What power! Americans are simply out of the game. Americans, despite a massive intelligence budget and 16 separate intelligence services plus those of its NATO vassals, are no match whatsoever for Vladimir Putin.

I mean, really! What is the CIA for? What is the NSA for? What are the rest of them for? Americans would do better to close down these incompetent, but expensive, “intelligence services” and pay the money to Putin as a bribe not to select our president. Maybe the CIA should get down on its knees and beg Putin to stop electing the President of the United States. I mean, how humuiliating. I can hardly stand it. I thought we are the “world’s sole superpower, the uni-power, the exceptional, indispensable people.” It turns out that we are a nothing people, ruled by the President of Russia.

When the Democrats, CIA, and media decided to launch their PR campaign against Trump, they didn’t realize how inconsequential it would make the United States appear by putting American democracy into Putin’s pocket. What were they thinking? They weren’t. They were fixated on making sure Trump did not endanger the massive military/security complex budget by restoring normal relations with Russia.

There is no sign that American leadership in any area is actually capable of thought. Consider Wall Street and corporate leadership. To boost share prices Wall Street forced all corporations to desert their home country and move the production of goods and services sold to Americans offshore to where labor and regulatory costs were lower. The lower costs raised profits and share prices. Wall Street threatened resistant corporations with takeovers of the companies if they refused to move abroad in order to increase their profits.

Neither Wall Street nor corporate boards and CEOs were smart enough to understand that moving jobs offshore also moved US consumer incomes and purchasing power offshore. In other words, the financial and business leadership were too stupid to comprehend that without the incomes from high value-added, high productivity US jobs, the American consumer would not have the discretionary income to continue in his role as the economy’s driver.

The Federal Reserve caught on to Wall Street’s mistake. To rectify the mistake, the Fed expanded credit, allowing a buildup in consumer debt to keep the economy going on credit purchases. However, once consumer debt is high relative to income, the ability to buy more stuff departs. In other words, credit expansion is not a permanent fix for the lack of consumer income growth.

A country whose financial and business leadership is too stupid to understand that a population increasingly employed in part-time minimum wage jobs is not a big spending population is a country whose leadership has failed.

It is strictly impossible to boost profits by offshoring jobs without also offshoring US consumer incomes. Therefore, the profits from offshoring are temporary. Once enough jobs have been moved offshore that aggregate demand is stymied, the domestic market stagnates and then declines.

As I have demonstrated so many times for so many years, as has John Williams (shadowstats.com), the jobs reports from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics are nonsense. The jobs in the alleged recovery from June 2009 are largely low income domestic service jobs and the product of the theoretical birth/death model. The alleged recovery from the 2007-08 financial crisis is the first recovery in history in which the labor force participation rate declined. Labor force participation rates decline when the economy offers scant job opportunities, not when employment opportunities are rising.

What we know about US jobs is that the jobs are increasingly part-time minimum wage jobs. According to a presstitute news report that might or might not be true, there are only 12 counties in the entirety of the United States in which a person can rent a one-bedroom home on a minimum wage income.

In response to this report, a professor at Virginia Tech suggested that the government offer increased rental assistance and boost programs such as the National Housing Trust Fund, which invests in affordable housing.

In other words, taxpayers are to pick up the costs to Americans of US corporations deserting the US labor force. Those Americans who still have middle class incomes will be taxed to cover the lost incomes that the offshoring corporations and Wall Street have snatched away from American workers who can no longer earn enough to pay for their own housing.

In other words, capitalism has reached the point in its descent that it cannot exist without public subsidies for the people dispossessed by capitalism.

On a number of occasions I have written about how many costs of production are imposed on third parties, such as the environment. A significant percentage of the profits of capitalist corporations comes from the political and legal ability of the corporations to impose their costs of production on third parties. In other words, capitalism makes money because it can impose its costs of production on the environment and on people who do not share in the profits. I have provided many examples of this, especially in the area of real estate development. The developer is able to shift a large part of his costs to others.

This cost shifting has now reached the level of inducing Armaggedon. There is an effort to impeach Trump and put the warmonger VP Pence in the presidency. As Trump campaigned on restoring normal relations with Russia, a defeat of the attempt to reduce tensions would reinforce the recent conclusion of the Russian military high command that Washington is planning a first strike nuclear attack on Russia.

This is the risk that the entire world faces due to the dependence of the power and profit of the US military/security complex on war and enemies.

In other words, there is only one remaining rationale for the existence of the United States of America — the interests of the military/security complex — and these interests require a powerful enemy whether real or orchestrated.

Former CIA official John Stockwell wrote: “It is the function of the CIA to keep the world unstable, and to propagandize and teach the American people to hate, so we will let the Establishment spend any amount of money on arms.” The hatred and distrust of Russia that the West is currently being force-fed reflects Stockwell’s revelation, as does the orchestrated hatred and distrust of Muslims that has supported Washington’s destruction in whole or part of seven countries and trillions of dollars in new US war debt.

Globalism, that is, labor arbitrage across national boundaries, and financialization, the diversion of consumers’ incomes into interest and fees to banks, have wrecked the US economy. The “opportunity society” has vanished. Children have poorer economic prospects than their parents. The offshoring of manufacturing and professional service jobs such as IT and software engineering has collapsed the growth of aggregate demand in the US. The Federal Reserve’s credit expansion was only a temporary reprieve.

Formerly prosperous areas are in ruins. States’ budgets and pension systems are failing. There is no payoff to a university education. Americans’ economic prospects have been erased by globalism. Getting ahead requires connections as it did in the aristocratic systems. The high concentration of income and wealth has negated democracy. The government is only accountable to the rich.

American political and business leadership not only destroyed the image of US sovereignty by placing American democracy in Putin’s pocket, but also destroyed the formerly vibrant American economy, once the envy of the world.

Where can Americans find leadership? Certainly not in the Democratic Party, nor in the Republican Party, nor in the media, nor in the corporate community. How then does the US compete with Russia and China, two countries with good leadership? Is war the only answer to the question?

Being In Time: Gilad Atzmon’s journey through post-modern crises

May 22, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

By Adam Garrie, theduran.com/

In Being In Time, author and musician Gilad Atzmon explores the historical and psychological basis for the many crises gripping the western world.

Many of the same people lament the state of a broad, however amorphous western society that has succumbed to the trends of hyper-identity politics, political and economic sectarianism, brutal financial capitalism and the death of industry and censorship in societies that still preach the self-righteous yet vague cause of ‘freedom’.

In Being In Time, author Gilad Atzmon offers a philosophical explanation for how these divergent trends are actually systematic outgrowths of societies simultaneously bewitched and confused by the abject failures of the three domineering ideologies of the 20th century: communism, fascism and liberalism.

Atzmon approaches how an uneasy calm in mid-20th century western states has given way to a world where the dams of free speech, prosperity and political predictability have been burst open leading to a flood of insecurity, third world style poverty and perhaps most importantly for Atzmon, the poverty of ideas.

Atzmon who has previously written about his personal struggles with and opposition to Jewish identity politics in The Wandering Who, takes his dialectical approach further, subjecting many contemporary and post-modern trends to the same scrutiny.

Such trends include, post-modernism, Cultural Marxism, post-Freudian social theory, the sexual identity agenda, post-modern attitudes to race and religion and the so-called populist political phenomena of Brexit and Donald Trump.

Atzmon calls his book a post-political manifesto, but it could equally be called a post-dogma manifesto. Atzmon laments a western world that has forsaken the Socratic method of embracing wisdom based on a combination of logic and ethics. Instead, Atzmon sees a western society obsessed with legal minutiae that he traces to strict Talmudic jurisprudence.

The book is very much in the tradition of the great secular conservative leaning sceptics and metaphysicists of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Those who have read Nietzsche or Spengler will recognise familiar diagnosis to modern problems combined with Atzmon’s unique world view shaped by the rejection of the Zionist creeds of his Israeli place of birth.

One might be so bold as to say that a great deal of geo-political philosophical commentary in the 21st century is largely shaped by people trying to either debunk or revise the manifestly ludicrous hypothesis of Francis Fukuyama.

At the dawn of the 1990s, Fukuyama in The End of History and the Last Man stated that history had ceased to move forward and was comfortably numbed to the neo-liberal realities that everyone had accepted.

The problem is that not everyone accepted them and even those who did, have largely been failed by them both materially and spiritually.

Atzmon doesn’t merely lacerate the post-Fukuyama developments in the metaphysical crisis currently gripping an increasingly hysterical liberal western establishment, but instead explains the root of these problems from the perspective of an historic prism illuminated through a combination of late-modern cultural analysis and Atzmon’s own unique trials and tribulations with the crises inherent in intra-Zionist Jewish identity.

I personally rarely recommend such books. I highly recommend this one.

The book can be ordered on Amazon.co.uk  & Amazon.com

The book is now available here

 

Being in Time reviewed by June Terpstra

May 21, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

https://www.opednews.com/

Firmly rooted in the Western intellectual tradition, Gilad Atzmon’s “Being In Time” opens doors to shed light on the particular ideological constructs that influenced the schools and movements of left and right political wings that have produced a world in poverty and war, offering a matrix of controlled opposition embedded in modern, Jewish, secular politics to distract and destroy from within. Atzmon’s analysis, written like an intellectual jazz composition, celebrates Athenian philosophical calls to reason while urging the unpacking of political ideology to reveal the con-game being played to keep power in the hands of those who already have it.

In the first half of the book Atzmon offers a brilliant decoding of left and right wings of the Imperial Houses of Domination. On the left, he gives the reader Marx, Adorno, and the Frankenfurters defending principles of utopianism and what ought to be. To the right, are Breitbart, Murry and Hernnstein, playing Johnny one note for conserving the structures of power in hopes to hold on to their piece of that pie. Atzmon suggests that, “instead of looking at the world through the lens of the Right/Left dichotomy, or a particular ideological perspective, it will be more instructive to impose a meta-ideological method that juxtaposes ‘the humane’ i.e. the human condition and the political spectrum as a whole. Instead of imposing any particular ideology, be it Right, Left, Marxism, Capitalism, Liberalism, Fascism and so on I want to examine the relationship between a political system and the human condition.”

Atzmon engagingly utilizes the controversial Bell Curve of the Right Wing to show how a Jewish “cognitive elite” attempted to separate itself from the rest of society’s “unchosen” through selective breeding conflating genetic determination with heritability to fit what scientists call a power distribution so that a small group of exceptional performers overtake the rest. Atzmon poses that rather than increasing the performance of cognitive elites, the ideology of the curve has actually been constraining how all people perform.

A Return to Athens

In the post-political neighbourhood in which we live, much of humanity has been reduced to serving the interests of big money, mammon and oligarchy, with Left and Right, those two familiar poles of politics as we have always understood them to be, now indistinguishable and irrelevant. The freedom to think openly and speak clearly are but nostalgic concepts. Our Western Liberal Utopia has turned into an Orwellian dystopia. Gilad Atzmon

Atzmon, taking philosopher, Pierre Hadot’s advice, models the determinate individual separating himself from the All, be they Left or Right, by adding a difference which, as Plotinus says, is a negation. The best life depends upon becoming one’s true self via the intellect, which means to step away from identity politics, which teaches us to identify ourselves by our victimhood and oppressions in a competition for least powerful giving us an excuse not to act.

“Being in Time” is a peripatetic walk, from the man who brought us The Wandering Who,through the present post-political narrative. Intendedto make the ideologies driving the narrative available to all, thereby depriving it of its power, the book takes us on path to build moral courage. The chief consideration is how to popularize the walk of “being in time”, and to provide the individual, in a time of general confusion and dissolution, with a living and breathing moral basis for practical life.

The book can be ordered on Amazon.co.uk  & Amazon.com

The book is now available here

Saudi America

May 18, 2017

by Jimmie MogliaSaudi America

As a European commentator noted recently, it is symbolic that the president of the most advanced democracy in the world makes his first foreign trip to the most feudal among Arab monarchies.

On the other hand, US citizens at large see happening what they vaguely expected, and probably wanted when they voted for Trump. Namely, that the curtain of elitist euphemisms and contrived metaphors masking the lying and the rudeness of previous administrations, would be dropped in favor of greater coarseness of expression and less palpable disguise.

This is apparent even in the body language and voice of (at least some) members of the Cabinet. I think particularly of the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. With his cowboy name, he may not have an Eastwood smile and a Robert Redford hair, but when he begins to speak, it is as if he said, “I am sir Oracle, and when I ope my lips, let no dog bark.”

Still, for unbiased observers of the worldly scene, the de-facto alliance between Israel, the US and the Saudi monarchy, however thinly disguised, is unspeakable, unbelievable and unimaginable. It is a truly unholy trinity where Israel is God, the US the Son, and Saudi Arabia the hellish Ghost.

For while everybody knows who did 9/11 but is not allowed to say it, everybody is now allowed to say who financed it. And, equally, who set up, funds and finances the mercenaries of the so-called ISIS and their associates with sundry other names.

It will be the task of a courageous and dedicated historian to trace the seeds of the faked resurgence of a Mohammedan Sect – Salafists or Wahabis or whatever – and of its conversion into a well funded and organized mercenary army and state, with an actual political and economic infrastructure to boot.

For no one, unless he be a cultured Muslim, heard of Sunnis, Shias, Salafists and Wahabis, until after Reagan financed the plot to remove the lay government in Afghanistan that had called the Soviet Union to its aid. And apart from the spilled blood of thousands, it is ironic that the emblem image of “pre-freedom” Afghanistan is the picture of young girls in European skirt and uniform walking to their school. Whereas the iconic image of “post-freedom” Afghanistan is the dynamiting of the 5th centuries “Buddahs of Bamiyan,” by the US-financed and now somewhat unruly “freedom fighters.” And most recently, the footprint left by the explosion of the American “mother of all bombs,” and alleged consequent hecatomb of “insurgents.”

As for Saudi Arabia, I can say I know something about the country through direct experience. During my first job, my employer sent me to Saudi Arabia to explore the option, the difficulties and the opportunities of opening a branch office in Riyadh, the capital.

While still on the plane, I had bought a Glen Fiddich in one of those mini bottles shaped like the original. Then, through the speaker, passengers were reminded that no alcoholic beverages were allowed off the plane after landing in Dhahran, the port of entry. Still infused with some of the goliardic spirit, I decided on the spot to conduct a test – partly a student’s prank and partly a sociological experiment.

Waiting in the lounge for the next connection, I positioned the unopened mini Glen Fiddich in the geometrical center of an empty seat in a row of empty seats, and waited at a distance for what would happen next.

After a few minutes an Arab in his night-gown (which experts call jillaba, but it still looks like a night gown to me), began to circle the seats, much as a bird of prey hovers over the center of its killing field.

After two rounds, the Arab sat down on the chair and when he got up the Glen Fiddich had disappeared.

Later in Riyadh I was struck by the almost total absence of women in the streets. Of course women could not (and still cannot) drive. No doubt a sign of progress for die-hard male chauvinists.

My other discovery was that, in the world of local business people dealing with American and European counterparts, there were few who were not either sheiks or princes, as printed on their business card.

My immediate reference was a sheik who could not speak English but used the services of his factotum-manager for interpretation. He was a Pakistani, who spoke an amusing English, with words reminiscent of Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” made even more amusing by his Pakistani accent.

In fairness, the sheik entertained me in a way that seemed royal to me, given my humble expectations. His house was richly decorated with the beautiful intricate Arabic geometrical mosaics and scripts, and with enormous rugs.

He organized a banquet, held in the center of his house-compound, under the stars, with guests customarily accommodated on the ground. Several of them spoke English, and throughout the dinner I was vaguely aware of some black moving shadows hardly standing out against the obscured background of the other inner side of the building.

As we stood up at the banquet’s end, a group of several uncounted children jumped out from the dark and eagerly partook of the large quantity of unconsumed food. The black, hardly-noticeable shadows, I learned later, were the four wives of the sheik and the children were his offspring.

After the initial introductions and discussion, the sheik left me in the hands of his interpreter-manager who accompanied me through the length of my stay in Riyadh. And he also told me something about local customs and culture.

From the notes of my faded diary, I read that at one time he said,

“Here in Saudi Arabia, if you kill a man they cut your head. If you are a thief and make a theft, they cut your hand. And if you go with a girl and do an evil thing…. “

“Hold it – I said – you need not go any further. I think I’ve got the picture.” “No – he said – you have an evil mind. If you go with a girl and do an evil thing, they stone you to death.”

Of course I had no intention to do any evil thing of the sort, especially in Saudi Arabia, but my host’s lecture strengthened my determination. Even if…. “all this the world well knows, yet none knows well how to shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.”

But I digress. It seems, however, that so many years later, little has changed as far as Saudi Arabia-American relations. And if it did, I think it did for the worse – compounded with a widespread perception that, for the Western-Zionist-Saudi cabal, the world at large is a den of fools, save the 1% or equivalent.

Circumstances of no elegant recital concur to raise disgust. One example, as clear as the summer’s sun, is the election of the Saudi Mr. Abdulaziz Alwasil as representative of the UN Human Rights Council. And, notwithstanding Saudi Arabia’s record on religious freedom and justice at large, this worthy official will have vote and oversight, among other things, on “freedom of religion and belief” and “integrity of the judicial system.”

That could even pass for a joke. But, apart from the President’s visit to Saudi Arabia, the US driven cabal is dropping ever more rapidly the myth of America as a custodian of liberty. It is not an exaggeration that whatever US foreign policy touches becomes scorched earth, with victims in the millions, assassination of progressive leaders and annihilation of the soul of nations. To pay homage to the genocidal murderers of Yemen says much about what is loosely called the American image.

As evident at large, to destroy the capacity of independent thought, the cabal has completely subjugated academia, through the lure of money or the threat of harm. For no one really understands the true nature of fawning servility until he has seen an academic who has glimpsed the prospect of money, or personal publicity.

The Constitution is still held as an untouchable symbol of American democracy. In practice it is a myth, quoted for effect or convenience, and more honored in the breach than in the observance.

There is a universe of lies, distortions and deformations that the capitalist world wraps around the masses – masses it despises and detests. It is the reflection of the pervading subservience to the interests of the 1%, and of a mythical and in itself distorted vision of the Western world.

As observed recently in France, a ruthless Fascism won the elections pretending to be anti-Fascist. And as a journalist noted, the European Union is but a media dictatorship, practicing the utopia of supreme selfishness.

To peddle the European Union as a means to prevent European nations waging war against each other is a sick joke. Sick because it implies that without the EU, Europeans were and would continue to seethe with lust at the idea of killing each other. Whereas, it was two fascisms – different in name but not in kind, and competing with each other for supremacy – that led Europe to slaughter, twice.

Furthermore, the famed prosperity that the EU should deliver to its citizens is a senseless euphemism to mask the implementation of extreme capitalism, imposed by the local servants of the transatlantic master.

For a while, the presence of the Soviet Union forced so-called Keynesian policies across the European continent. They led to the greatest growth and income distribution in the Western world. It’s no wonder that it was necessary and indispensable to destroy the only remaining obstacle to the end of history.

We are living in the final winning stage of neo-liberal capitalism, primitive, ruthless, instinctive, though masked in its spirit and action by the airy and almost meaningless lexicon of academic lackeys and economists. Neo-liberal philosophy spreads misery at large, more often not by a heavy crush of disaster, but by the corrosion of less visible evils, which undermine security and by building anxiety inject a chronic fear of life.

All this has slowly, inadvertently but steadily become custom. And established custom is not easily broken, till some great event shakes the whole system of things, and life seems to recommence upon new principles.

Meanwhile, a “super-centrist”, multi-level, multi-form and multi-faceted world government, meaningfully renamed ‘governance’ is clearing away the remnants of democracy, while the democrats applaud. On both sides of the pond, and probably in Saudi Arabia as well.

Remembering Malcolm X on his 92nd Birthday

 

On May 19, 2017, tens of millions of Muslims around the world will celebrate the 92nd birthday of America’s top human rights defender Malcolm X who was assassinated at young age of 40 on February 21, 1965.

American historian William Manning Marable, PhD (died 2011) had blamed FBI and CIA for the assassination of Malcolm X at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem over his political views on American racism, hatred toward non-Whites and blind support for the Zionist entity.

The organized Jewry has never stopped comparing Malcolm X with civil right movement leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a Friend of Israel. The only time Malcolm X bumped into Martin Luther King was at the Capitol Hill on March 26, 1964. The meeting lasted only for a minute. Professor David Howard-Pitney (Jewish) who witness the meeting noted in his book, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and the Civil Rights Struggle of the 1950s and 1960s, that King learned militancy from Malcolm X.

On February 21, 2017, Iran’s Spiritual Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei offered special prayers on the 52nd anniversary of Malcolm X martyrdom.

I have posted several articles here highlighting Malcolm X’s contributions to human rights and speaking truth to the Authority based on Islamic traditions. US-born Canadian writer and musician Norman (Otis) Richmond, however, in his May 17, 2017 article, entitled, Malcolm X in the 21st Century, claims Malcolm X was a socialist.

We do know that Malcolm X was on top of the technology of the time of his departure and was deeply interested in studying languages to bring Africa, Africans, Bandung forces (The first large-scale Afro–Asian Conference— a meeting of Asian and African states, most of which were newly independent, which took place on April 18–24, 1955 in Bandung, Indonesia), and the oppressed period together to create a better world. We know that he was leaning heavy towards Socialism and was attempting to unite the many to divide the few,” Richmond said.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of Islam – Islamic socialism took root in the Middle East and North Africa and was most successfully used as an ideology in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq. Reformists saw Islamic socialism as a cure for economic backwardness, human exploitation, and moral bankruptcy. Spiritual and economic improvement were not possible until the lives of people could be improved and the decent treatment and justice stipulated by the Islamic Shari’ah could be provided to them. Islamic socialism allows the public sector to exist side by side with the private sector, advocating harmonious relations between social groups, not class warfare. The basis of social solidarity in the Islamic socialist model is a combination of equality, justice, mutuality, and responsibility.

Reputed Islamic revolutionary thinkers such as Sayyid Abul ‘Ala Maududi (Pakistan), Sayyid Qutb (Egypt), Dr. Ali Shariati (Iran), etc. all ridiculed Marxism, Western Socialism and Capitalism.

 

China: Rise, Fall and Re-Emergence as a Global Power

The Lessons of History

First published on GR in March 2012

The study of world power has been blighted by Eurocentric historians who have distorted and ignored the dominant role China played in the world economy between 1100 and 1800.  John Hobson’s[1] brilliant historical survey of the world economy during this period provides an abundance of empirical data making the case for China ’s economic and technological superiority over Western civilization for the better part of a millennium prior to its conquest and decline in the 19th century.

China ’s re-emergence as a world economic power raises important questions about what we can learn from its previous rise and fall and about the external and internal threats confronting this emerging economic superpower for the immediate future.

First we will outline the main contours of historical China ’s rise to global economic superiority over West before the 19th century, following closely John Hobson’s account in The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization.  Since the majority of western economic historians (liberal, conservative and Marxist) have presented historical China as a stagnant, backward, parochial society, an “oriental despotism”, some detailed correctives will be necessary.  It is especially important to emphasize how China , the world technological power between 1100 and 1800, made the West’s emergence possible.  It was only by borrowing and assimilating Chinese innovations that the West was able to make the transition to modern capitalist and imperialist economies.

In part two we will analyze and discuss the factors and circumstances which led to China ’s decline in the 19th century and its subsequent domination, exploitation and pillage by Western imperial countries, first England and then the rest of Europe, Japan and the United States .

In part three, we will briefly outline the factors leading to China’s emancipation from colonial and neo-colonial rule and analyze its recent rise to becoming the second largest global economic power.

Finally we will look at the past and present threats to China ’s rise to global economic power, highlighting the similarities between British colonialism of the 18 and 19th centuries and the current US imperial strategies and focusing on the weaknesses and strengths of past and present Chinese responses.

China:  The Rise and Consolidation of Global Power 1100 – 1800

In a systematic comparative format, John Hobson provides a wealth of empirical indicators demonstrating China ’s global economic superiority over the West and in particular England .  These are some striking facts:

As early as 1078, China was the world’s major producer of steel (125,000 tons); whereas Britain in 1788 produced 76,000 tons.

China was the world’s leader in technical innovations in textile manufacturing, seven centuries before Britain ’s 18th century “textile revolution”.

China was the leading trading nation, with long distance trade reaching most of Southern Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe .  China’s ‘agricultural revolution’ and productivity surpassed the West down to the 18th century.

Its innovations in the production of paper, book printing, firearms and tools led to a manufacturing superpower whose goods were transported throughout the world by the most advanced navigational system.

China possessed the world’s largest commercial ships.  In 1588 the largest English ships displaced 400 tons, China ’s 3,000 tons.  Even as late as the end of the 18th century China ’s merchants employed 130,000 private transport ships, several times that of Britain . China retained this pre-eminent position in the world economy up until the early 19th century.

British and Europeans manufacturers followed China ’s lead, assimilating and borrowing its more advanced technology and were eager to penetrate China ’s advanced and lucrative market.

Banking, a stable paper money economy, manufacturing and high yields in agriculture resulted in China ’s per capita income matching that of Great Britain as late as 1750.

China ’s dominant global position was challenged by the rise of British imperialism, which had adopted the advanced technological, navigational and market innovations of China and other Asian countries in order to bypass earlier stages in becoming a world power[2].

Western Imperialism and the Decline of China

The British and Western imperial conquest of the East, was based on the militaristic nature of the imperial state, its non-reciprocal economic relations with overseas trading countries and the Western imperial ideology which motivated and justified overseas conquest.

Unlike China , Britain ’s industrial revolution and overseas expansion was driven by a military policy.  According to Hobson, during the period from 1688-1815 Great Britain was engaged in wars 52% of the time[3].  Whereas the Chinese relied on their open markets and their superior production and sophisticated commercial and banking skills, the British relied on tariff protection, military conquest, the systematic destruction of competitive overseas enterprises as well as the appropriation and plunder of local resources.  China ’s global predominance was based on ‘reciprocal benefits’ with its trading partners, while Britain relied on mercenary armies of occupation, savage repression and a ‘divide and conquer’ policy to foment local rivalries.  In the face of native resistance, the British (as well as other Western imperial powers) did not hesitate to exterminate entire communities[4].

Unable to take over the Chinese market through greater economic competitiveness, Britain relied on brute military power.  It mobilized, armed and led mercenaries, drawn from its colonies in India and elsewhere to force its exports on China and impose unequal treaties to lower tariffs.  As a result China was flooded with British opium produced on its plantations in India – despite Chinese laws forbidding or regulating the importation and sale of the narcotic.  China ’s rulers, long accustomed to its trade and manufacturing superiority, were unprepared for the ‘new imperial rules’ for global power.  The West’s willingness to use military power  to win colonies, pillage resources and recruit huge mercenary armies commanded by European officers spelt the end for China as a world power.

China had based its economic predominance on ‘non-interference in the internal affairs of its trading partners’.  In contrast, British imperialists intervened violently in Asia , reorganizing local economies to suit the needs of the empire (eliminating economic competitors including more efficient Indian cotton manufacturers) and seized control of local political, economic and administrative apparatus to establish the colonial state.

Britain ’s empire was built with resources seized from the colonies and through the massive militarization of its economy[5].  It was thus able to secure military supremacy over China .  China ’s foreign policy was hampered by its ruling elite’s excessive reliance on trade relations.  Chinese officials and merchant elites sought to appease the British and convinced the emperor to grant devastating extra-territorial concessions opening markets to the detriment of Chinese manufacturers while surrendering local sovereignty.  As always, the British precipitated internal rivalries and revolts further destabilizing the country.

Western and British penetration and colonization of China ’s market created an entire new class:  The wealthy Chinese ‘compradores’ imported British goods and facilitated the takeover of local markets and resources.  Imperialist pillage forced greater exploitation and taxation of the great mass of Chinese peasants and workers.  China ’s rulers were obliged to pay the war debts and finance trade deficits imposed by the Western imperial powers by squeezing its peasantry.  This drove the peasants to starvation and revolt.

By the early 20th century (less than a century after the Opium Wars), China had descended from world economic power to a broken semi-colonial country with a huge destitute population.  The principle ports were controlled by Western imperial officials and the countryside was subject to the rule by corrupt and brutal warlords.  British opium enslaved millions.

British Academics:  Eloquent Apologists for Imperial Conquest

The entire Western academic profession – first and foremost British  imperial historians – attributed British imperial dominance of Asia to English ‘technological superiority’ and China’s misery and colonial status to ‘oriental backwardness’, omitting any mention of the millennium of Chinese commercial and technical progress and superiority up to the dawn of the 19th century.  By the end of the 1920’s, with the Japanese imperial invasion, China ceased to exist as a unified country.  Under the aegis of imperial rule, hundreds of millions of Chinese had starved or were dispossessed or slaughtered, as the Western powers and Japan plundered its economy.  The entire Chinese ‘collaborator’ comprador elite were discredited before the Chinese people.

What did remain in the collective memory of the great mass of the Chinese people – and what was totally absent in the accounts of prestigious US and British academics – was the sense of China once having been a prosperous, dynamic and leading world power.  Western commentators dismissed this collective memory of China ’s ascendancy as the foolish pretensions of nostalgic lords and royalty – empty Han arrogance.

China Rises from the Ashes of Imperial Plunder and Humiliation:  The Chinese Communist Revolution

The rise of modern China to become the second largest economy in the world was made possible only through the success of the Chinese communist revolution in the mid-20th century.  The People’s Liberation ‘Red’ Army defeated first the invading Japanese imperial army and later the US imperialist-backed comprador led Kuomintang “Nationalist” army.  This allowed the reunification of China as an independent sovereign state.  The Communist government abolished the extra-territorial privileges of the Western imperialists, ended the territorial fiefdoms of the regional warlords and gangsters and drove out the millionaire owners of brothels, the traffickers of women and drugs as well as the other “service providers” to the Euro-American Empire.

In every sense of the word, the Communist revolution forged  the modern Chinese state.  The new leaders then proceeded to reconstruct an economy ravaged by imperial wars and pillaged by Western and Japanese capitalists.  After over 150 years of infamy and humiliation the Chinese people recovered their pride and national dignity.  These socio-psychological elements were essential in motivating the Chinese to defend their country from the US attacks, sabotage, boycotts, and blockades mounted immediately after liberation.

Contrary to Western and neoliberal Chinese economists, China ’s dynamic growth did not start in 1980.  It began in 1950, when the agrarian reform provided land, infrastructure, credits and technical assistance to hundreds of millions of landless and destitute peasants and landless rural workers. Through what is now called “human capital” and gigantic social mobilization, the Communists built roads, airfields, bridges, canals and railroads as well as the basic industries, like coal, iron and steel, to form the backbone of the modern Chinese economy.  Communist China’s vast free educational and health systems created a healthy, literate and motivated work force.  Its highly professional military prevented the US from extending its military empire throughout the Korean peninsula up to China ’s territorial frontiers.  Just as past Western scholars and propagandists fabricated a history of a “stagnant and decadent” empire to justify their destructive conquest, so too their modern counterparts have rewritten the first thirty years of Chinese Communist history, denying the role of the revolution in developing all the essential elements for a modern economy, state and society.  It is clear that China ’s rapid economic growth was based on the development of its internal market, its rapidly growing cadre of scientists, skilled technicians and workers and the social safety net which protected and promoted working class and peasant mobility were products of Communist planning and investments.

China ’s rise to global power began in 1949 with the removal of the entire parasitic financial, compradore and speculative classes who had served as the intermediaries for European, Japanese and US imperialists draining China of its great wealth.
China’s Transition to Capitalism

Beginning in 1980 the Chinese government initiated a dramatic shift in its economic strategy:  Over the next three decades, it opened the country to large-scale foreign investment; it privatized thousands of industries and it set in motion a process of income concentration based on a deliberate strategy of re-creating a dominant economic class of billionaires linked to overseas capitalists.  China ’s ruling political class embraced the idea of “borrowing” technical know-how and accessing overseas markets from foreign firms in exchange for providing cheap, plentiful labor at the lowest cost.

The Chinese state re-directed massive public subsidies to promote high capitalist growth by dismantling its national system of free public education and health care.  They ended subsidized public housing for hundreds of millions of peasants and urban factory workers and provided funds to real estate speculators for the construction of private luxury apartments and office skyscrapers. China ’s new capitalist strategy as well as its double digit growth was based on the profound structural changes and massive public investments made possible by the previous communist government.  China ’s private sector “take off” was based on the huge public outlays made since 1949.

The triumphant new capitalist class and its Western collaborators claimed all the credit for this “economic miracle” as China rose to become the world’s second largest economy.  This new Chinese elite have been less eager to announce China ’s world-class status in terms of brutal class inequalities, rivaling only the US .

China:  From Imperial Dependency to World Class Competitor

China ’s sustained growth in its manufacturing sector was a result of highly concentrated public investments, high profits, technological innovations and a protected domestic market.  While foreign capital profited, it was always within the framework of the Chinese state’s priorities and regulations.  The regime’s dynamic ‘export strategy’ led to huge trade surpluses, which eventually made China one of the world’s largest creditors especially for US debt.  In order to maintain its dynamic industries, China has required huge influxes of raw materials, resulting in large-scale overseas investments and trade agreements with agro-mineral export countries in Africa and Latin America .  By 2010 China displaced the US and Europe as the main trading partner in many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America .

Modern China ’s rise to world economic power, like its predecessor between 1100-1800, is based on its gigantic productive capacity:  Trade and investment was governed by a policy of strict non-interference in the internal relations of its trading partners.  Unlike the US , China did initiate brutal wars for oil; instead it signed lucrative contracts.  And China does not fight wars in the interest of overseas Chinese, as the US has done in the Middle East for Israel .

The seeming imbalance between Chinese economic and military power is in stark contrast to the US where a bloated, parasitic military empire continues to erode its own global economic presence.

US military spending is twelve times that of China .  Increasingly the US military plays the key role shaping policy in Washington as it seeks to undercut China ’s rise to global power.

China’s Rise to World Power: Will History Repeat Itself?

China has been growing at about 9% per annum and its goods and services are rapidly rising in quality and value.  In contrast, the US and Europe have wallowed around 0% growth from 2007-2012.  China ’s innovative techno-scientific establishment routinely assimilates the latest inventions from the West (and Japan ) and improves them, thereby decreasing the cost of production.  China has replaced the US and European controlled “international financial institutions” (the IMF, World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank) as the principle lender in Latin America .  China continues to lead as the prime investor in African energy and mineral resources.  China has replaced the US as the principle market for Saudi Arabian, Sudanese and Iranian petroleum and it will soon replace the US as the principle market for Venezuela petroleum products.  Today China is the world’s biggest manufacturer and exporter, dominating even the US market, while playing the role of financial life line as it holds over $1.3 trillion in US Treasury notes.

Under growing pressure from its workers, farmers and peasants, China ’s rulers have been developing the domestic market by increasing wages and social spending to rebalance the economy and avoid the specter of social instability.  In contrast, US wages, salaries and vital public services have sharply declined in absolute and relative terms.

Given the current historical trends it is clear that China will replace the US as the leading world economic power, over the next decade,  if the US empire does not strike back and if China ’s profound class inequalities do not lead to a major social upheaval.

Modern China ’s rise to global power faces serious challenges.  In contrast to China ’s historical ascent on the world stage, modern Chinese global economic power is not accompanied by any imperialist undertakings.  China has seriously lagged behind the US and Europe in aggressive war-making capacity.  This may have allowed China to direct public resources to maximize economic growth, but it has left China vulnerable to US military superiority in terms of its massive arsenal, its string of forward bases and strategic geo-military positions right off the Chinese coast and in adjoining territories.

In the nineteenth century British imperialism demolished China ’s global position with its military superiority, seizing China ’s ports – because of China ’s reliance on ‘mercantile superiority’.

The conquest of India , Burma and most of Asia allowed Britain to establish colonial bases and recruit local mercenary armies.  The British and its mercenary allies encircled and isolated China , setting the stage for the disruption of China ’s markets and the imposition of the brutal terms of trade.  The British Empire’s armed presence dictated what China imported (with opium accounting for over 50% of British exports in the 1850s) while undermining China ’s competitive advantages via tariff policies.

Today the US is pursuing similar policies:  US naval fleet  patrols and controls China ’s commercial shipping lanes and off-shore oil resources via its overseas bases.  The Obama-Clinton White House is in the process of developing a rapid military response involving bases in Australia , Philippines and elsewhere in Asia .  The US is intensifying  its efforts to undermine Chinese overseas access to strategic resources while backing ‘grass roots’ separatists and ‘insurgents’ in West China, Tibet, Sudan, Burma, Iran, Libya, Syria and elsewhere.  The US military agreements with India and  the installation of a pliable puppet regime in Pakistan have advanced its strategy of isolating China .  While China upholds its policy of “harmonious development” and “non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries”, it has stepped aside as US and European military imperialism have attacked a host of China’s trading partners to essentially reverse China’s  peaceful commercial expansion.

China’s lack of a political and ideological strategy capable of protecting its overseas economic interests has been an invitation for the US and NATO to set-up regimes hostile to China .  The most striking example is Libya where US and NATO intervened to overthrow an independent government led by President Gadhafi, with whom China had signed multi-billion dollar trade and investments agreements. The NATO bombardment of Libyan cities, ports and oil installation forced the Chinese to withdraw 35,000 Chinese oil engineers and construction workers in a matter of days.  The same thing happened in Sudan where China had invested billions to develop its oil industry.  The US, Israel and Europe armed the South Sudanese rebels to disrupt the flow of oil and attack Chinese oil workers[6].  In both cases China passively allowed the US and European military imperialists to attack its trade partners and undermine its investments.

Under Mao Tse Tung, China had an active policy countering imperial aggression:  It supported revolutionary movements and independent Third World governments.  Today’s capitalist China does not have an active policy of supporting governments or movements capable of protecting China ’s bilateral trade and investment agreements.  China ’s inability to confront the rising tide of US   military aggression against its economic interests, is due to deep structural problems.  China’s foreign policy is shaped by big commercial, financial and manufacturing interests who rely on their ‘economic competitive edge’ to gain market shares and have no understanding of the military and security underpinnings of global economic power.  China ’s political class is deeply influenced by a new class of billionaires with strong ties to Western equity funds and who have uncritically absorbed Western cultural values. This is illustrated by their preference for sending their own children to elite universities in the US and Europe .  They seek “accommodation with the West” at any price.

This lack of any strategic understanding of military empire-building has led them to respond ineffectively and ad hoc to each imperialist action undermining their access to resources and markets.  While China ’s “business first” outlook may have worked when it was a minor player in the world economy and US empire builders saw  the “capitalist opening” as a chance to easily takeover China ’s public enterprises and pillage the economy.  However, when China (in contrast to the former USSR) decided to retain capital controls and develop a carefully calibrated, state directed “industrial policy”  directing western capital and the transfer of technology to state enterprises, which effectively penetrated the US domestic and overseas markets, Washington began to complain and talked of retaliation.

China ’s huge trade surpluses with the US provoked a dual response in Washington :  It sold massive quantities of US Treasury bonds to the Chinese and began to develop a global strategy to block China ’s advance. Since the US lacked economic leverage to reverse its decline, it relied on its only “comparative advantage” – its military superiority based on a world wide  system of attack bases,  a network of overseas client regimes, military proxies, NGO’ers, intellectuals and armed mercenaries.  Washington turned to its vast overt and clandestine security apparatus to undermine China ’s trading partners.  Washington depends on its long-standing ties with corrupt rulers, dissidents, journalists and media moguls to provide the powerful propaganda cover while advancing its military offensive against China ’s overseas interests.

China has nothing to compare with the US overseas ‘security apparatus’ because it practices a policy of “non-interference”.  Given the advanced state of the Western imperial offensive, China has taken only a few diplomatic initiatives, such as financing English language media outlets to present its perspective, using its veto power on the UN Security Council to oppose US efforts to overthrow the independent Assad regime in Syria and opposing the imposition of drastic sanctions against Iran .  It sternly repudiated US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s vitriolic questioning of the ‘legitimacy’ of the Chinese state when it voted against the US-UN resolution  preparing  an attack on Syria[7].

Chinese military strategists are more aware and alarmed at the growing military threat to China .  They have successfully demanded a 19% annual increase in military spending over the next five years (2011-2015)[8].  Even with this increase, China’s military expenditures will still be less than one-fifth of the US military budget and China has not one overseas military base in stark contrast to the over 750 US installations abroad.  Overseas Chinese intelligence operations are minimal and ineffective.  Its embassies are run by and for narrow commercial interests who utterly failed to understand NATO’s brutal policy of regime change in Libya and inform Beijing of its significance to the Chinese state.

There are two other structural weaknesses undermining China ’s rise as a world power. This includes the highly ‘Westernized’ intelligentsia which has uncritically swallowed US economic doctrine about free markets while ignoring its militarized economy.  These Chinese intellectuals parrot the US propaganda about the ‘democratic virtues’ of billion-dollar Presidential campaigns, while supporting financial deregulation which would have led to a Wall Street takeover of Chinese banks and savings.  Many Chinese business consultants and academics have been educated in the US and influenced by their ties to US academics and international financial institutions directly linked to Wall Street and the City of London .  They have prospered as highly-paid consultants receiving prestigious positions in Chinese institutions.  They identify the ‘liberalization of financial markets’ with “advanced economies” capable of deepening ties to global markets instead of as a major source of the current global financial crisis.  These “Westernized intellectuals” are like their 19th century comprador counterparts who underestimated and dismissed the long-term consequences of Western imperial penetration.  They fail to understand how financial deregulation in the US precipitated the current crisis and how deregulation would lead to a Western takeover of China ’s financial system- the consequences of which would reallocate China ’s domestic savings to non-productive activities (real estate speculation), precipitate financial crisis and ultimately undermine China ’s leading global position.

These Chinese yuppies imitate the worst of Western consumerist life styles and their political outlooks are driven by these life styles and Westernized identities which preclude any sense of solidarity with their own working class.

There is an economic basis for the pro-Western sentiments of China ’s neo-compradors.  They have transferred billions of dollars to foreign bank accounts, purchased luxury homes and apartments in London , Toronto , Los Angeles , Manhattan , Paris , Hong Kong and Singapore . They have one foot in China (the source of their wealth) and the other in the West (where they consume and hide their wealth).

Westernized compradores are deeply embedded in China ’s economic system having family ties with the political leadership in the party apparatus and the state. Their connections are weakest in the military and in the growing social movements, although some “dissident” students and academic activists in the “democracy movements” are backed by Western imperial NGO’s.  To the extent that the compradors gain influence, they weaken the strong economic state institutions which have directed China ’s ascent to global power, just as they did in the 19th century by acting as intermediaries for the British Empire .  Proclaiming 19th Century “liberalism” British opium addicted over 50 million Chinese in less than a decade.  Proclaiming “democracy and human rights” US gunboats now patrol off China ’s coast.  China ’s elite-directed rise to global economic power has spawned monumental inequalities between the thousands of new billionaires and multi-millionaires at the top and hundreds of millions of impoverished workers, peasants and migrant workers at the bottom.

China ’s rapid accumulation of wealth and capital was made possible through the intense exploitation of its workers who were stripped of their previous social safety net and regulated work conditions guaranteed under Communism.  Millions of Chinese households are being dispossessed in order to promote real estate developer/speculators who then build high rise offices and the luxury apartments for the domestic and foreign elite.  These brutal features of ascendant Chinese capitalism have created a fusion of workplace and living space mass struggle which is growing every year.  The developer/speculators’ slogan  “to get rich is wonderful” has lost its power to deceive the people.  In 2011 there were over 200,000 popular encompassing urban coastal factories and rural villages.  The next step, which is sure to come, will be the unification of these struggles into  new national social movements with a class-based agenda demanding the restoration of health and educational services enjoyed under the Communists as well as a greater share of China’s wealth. Current demands for greater wages can turn to demands for greater work place democracy.  To answer these popular demands China ’s new compradore-Westernized liberals cannot point to their ‘model’ in the US empire where American workers are in the process of being stripped of the very benefits Chinese workers are struggling to regain.

China , torn by deepening class and political conflict, cannot sustain its drive toward global economic leadership.  China ’s elite cannot confront the rising global imperial military threat from the US with its comprador allies among the internal liberal elite while the country is  a deeply divided society with an increasingly hostile working class.  The time of unbridled exploitation of China ’s labor has to end in order to face the US military encirclement of China and economic disruption of its overseas markets.  China possesses enormous resources.  With over $1.5 trillion dollars in reserves China can finance a comprehensive national health and educational program throughout the country.

China can afford to pursue an intensive ‘public housing program’ for the 250 million migrant workers currently living in urban squalor.  China can impose a system of progressive income taxes on its new billionaires and millionaires and finance small family farmer co-operatives and rural industries to rebalance the economy.  Their program of developing alternative energy sources, such as solar panels and wind farms – are a promising start to addressing their serious environmental pollution.  Degradation of the environment and related health issues already engage the concern of tens of millions.  Ultimately China ’s best defense against imperial encroachments is a stable regime based on social justice for the hundreds of millions and a foreign policy of supporting overseas anti-imperialist movements and regimes – whose independence are in China ’s vital interest.  What is needed is a pro-active policy based on mutually beneficial joint ventures including military and diplomatic solidarity.  Already a small, but influential, group of Chinese intellectuals have raised the issue of the growing US military threat and are “saying no to gunboat diplomacy”.[9]

Modern China has plenty of resources and opportunities, unavailable to China in the 19th century when it was subjugated by the British Empire . If the US continues to escalate its aggressive militaristic policy against China , Beijing can set off a serious fiscal crisis by dumping a few of its hundreds of billions of dollars in US Treasury notes.  China , a nuclear power should reach out to its similarly armed and threatened neighbor, Russia , to confront and confound the bellicose rantings of US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton.  Russian President-to-be Putin vows to increase military spending from 3% to 6% of the GDP over the next decade to counter Washington’s offensive missile bases on Russia’s borders and thwart Obama’s ‘regime change’ programs against its allies, like Syria[10].

China has powerful trading, financial and investment networks covering the globe as well as powerful economic partners .These links have become essential for the continued growth of many of countries throughout the developing world.  In taking on China , the US will have to face the opposition of many powerful market-based elites throughout the world.  Few countries or elites see any future in tying their fortunes to an economically unstable empire-based on militarism and destructive colonial occupations.

In other words, modern China , as a world power, is incomparably stronger than it was in early 18th century.  The US does not have the colonial leverage that the ascendant British Empire possessed in the run-up to the Opium Wars.  Moreover, many Chinese intellectuals and the vast majority of its citizens have no intention of letting its current “Westernized compradors” sell out the country.  Nothing would accelerate political polarization in Chinese society and hasten the coming of a second Chinese social revolution more than a timid leadership submitting to a new era of Western imperial pillage.

Notes

[1] John Hobson, The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization ( Cambridge UK :  Cambridge University Press 2004)
[2] Ibid, Ch. 9 pp. 190 -218
[3] Ibid, Ch. 11, pp. 244-248
[4] Richard Gott, Britain’s Empire:  Resistance, Repression and Revolt ( London : Verso 2011) for a detailed historical chronicle of the savagery accompanying Britain ’s colonial empire.
[5] Hobson, pp. 253 – 256.
[6] Katrina Manson, “South Sudan puts Beijing ’s policies to the test”, Financial Times, 2/21/12, p. 5.
[7] Interview of Clinton NPR, 2/26/12.
[8] La Jornada, 2/15/12 ( Mexico City ).
[9]  China Daily (2/20/2012)
[10]Charles Clover, ‘Putin vows huge boost in defense spending’, Financial Times, 2/12/2012

CrossTalk: Le Pen vs. Macron (ft. Pepe Escobar)

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