Why don’t the African cosmos support the West in its sanctions war against Russia?

July 06, 2022

Source

By José Francisco Lumango

The answer may not be simple. But the memory of European colonisation in Africa, and its harmful effects, are still visible despite the independence of its states, may be a reasonable way of understanding it. An African adage teaches that “One should never forget the lessons learned in times of pain”, which seems to be the source of inspiration for the African cosmos – the set of entities that formally and materially hold the power relations in Africa – not to forget the tragic consequences of European colonisation, to protect their independence and not repeat the errors of the past. Without being simplistic or too complex, the answer to the question in question may have several reasons:

1. Historical memory of colonisation and the struggle for national liberation: Russia, heir to the Former USSR, supported ideologically, politically, economically, and militarily the national liberation struggles of several African countries, which after the achievement of independence, followed the communist model as the basis of their political, social and economic construction. Even though they later adopted Western capitalism, the mentality of the African cosmos is still of Soviet influence, because it was there that most of them did their military and political training and received economic support to finance the liberation wars to put an end to Western colonisation, with direct and indirect help from Cuba as an intermediary in some cases. The cold war between the USA and NATO against the USSR led to civil wars in African countries to conquer the spaces of influence. After the fall of the Berlin wall and the resurgence of Russia, Westerners looked at the situation as an absolute victory. Despite this, the African cosmos has not forgotten colonisation, the interference of Western countries in their internal affairs, and the rigged processes of massive indebtedness of their economies as a way of controlling their strategic natural resources.

2. Recent memory of wars at the beginning of the 21st century: Beyond colonial issues, the African cosmos has been following since 2001 the behaviour of the West (US, NATO, and EU) in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, sweetened by the Arab Springs, attempted coups in Turkey, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Egypt, etc., without forgetting the massacre in Rwanda and the war in Somalia and Yemen. These wars and coups have destroyed thousands of human lives, social infrastructure, jobs, etc. It was a catastrophe for the entire continent and nearby territories like South East Asia. The existing wars in Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, Mali, Mozambique, DRC, Ethiopia, etc, allow the African cosmos, even those with strong ties to the West like Morocco, for example, not to act frontally against Russia, a fact verified in the recent votes of the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council which suspended it. The expulsion of French forces by the military junta in Mali and their replacement by the Russians through the Wagner group, like the construction of a port for the Russian Nave Arms on the Sudanese Red Sea coast, could be a revealing symptom.

3. The damaging memory of Western unipolarity and the chance for a global multipolar alternative power: For Alfredo Jalife-Rahme, the Ukrainian war is a civil war within Slavic civilisation, through several wars within it: economic-financial, propaganda-media, cultural, biological, radiological, and military war. It is a hybrid war that has ended with globalisation, as confirmed by Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock. For Alfredo Jalife-Rahme, it is not a question of total deglobalisation, but of economic-financial, cybernetic-digital, energy, and commercial deglobalisation. The West was no longer interested in economic-financial globalisation because they lost the battle against China, and cybernetic-digital globalisation (software, etc.) was won by the Indians. This bipolarity also involves the division of the UN Security Council into two blocs: the first composed of the US, UK, France (G7/NATO), and the second of Russia and China (Shanghai Group and BRICS). This situation led to an operational dysfunction of the WTO and led to the resignation of its previous Director General, Roberto Azevedo. In this sense, Jalife-Rahme quotes Philipe Stephens’ article “The world is marching back from globalisation”, where he states that “The US does not see a vital national interest in maintaining an order that transfers power to rivals”. Thus, according to Alfredo Jalife-Rahme, “Everything that is not globalised becomes balkanised”. Thus, the end of globalisation, especially the economic-financial one, as dictated by Larry Fink, will inevitably entail its balkanisation, through two regional blocs, i.e. de-globalisation and bipolar trans-meta-regionalisation, on one side the G7/NATO and EU, and on the other side the BRICS/Shanghai Group and Eurasian Union.

The de-globalisation said by Larry Fink is “neoliberal de-globalisation”, which occurs through the gradual paralysis of global supply chains, which are founded on the reduction of operating costs through outsourcing (relocation of companies) and downsizing (lowering labour costs to increase shareholder profits and value companies in capital markets), according to Alfredo Jalife-Rahme. The African cosmos believes that if Russia, even with nuclear weapons, a continental country with Eurasian tradition, which supplies almost 40% of energy resources and other strategic raw materials to the West, is treated this way, what will become of African countries, which are visibly weaker in military terms? The destruction of Libya for trying to sell oil in Euro and rejecting the USD may be indisputable proof.

The meddling of the West in Africa, beyond colonisation, needs no introduction. The wars and coups d’état in Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sudan, the Central African Republic, the civil war in Angola and other conflicts are facts that remain in the collective memory of the African cosmos. If the colonial memory was tragic, the expressive and aggressive interference of the West in the African cosmos is breaking any remaining trust, for historical reasons (over 400 years of colonisation), by unfair competition in the exploitation of natural resources, the massive interference in internal affairs by the IMF in the financing of road and housing infrastructures, etc., and the attempt to incorporate western values aggressively through sanctions and blackmail, even if these values do not correspond to the African historical-epistemic and gnosiological cosmogony.

4. China and Russia as a financial and military alternative for the existential survival of African countries in a multipolar world in the medium and long term: The African cosmos observes with concern and caution everything that Western leaders do against Russia as a result of the technical-military operation in Ukraine, regardless of the causes, which by common sense is perceived since 2014. The reason for this concern lies in the fact that whenever the West finds itself in crisis or politically, geostrategically, and economically cornered, it uses internal or external wars as a way out, a can be seen in the Roman wars, the colonisation of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the Napoleonic wars, the First and Second World Wars. Faced with the circumstances, the African cosmos shows resistance towards sanctions against Russia, abstaining from votes at the UN, in official pronouncements, that is, maintaining certain strategic neutrality, despite the gigantic Western pressure, forcing them to choose a side as if they were still vassals or colonised. It is not that the African cosmos agrees in its entirety with Russia’s technical-military operation in Ukraine, insofar as, there is a history of invasions in Africa carried out by Westerners, Arabs, Persians, and Ottomans. The main concern is the need for an economic-financial and military alternative to the West for its own existential survival, and to protect itself from possible aggressive interference in the long term, when strategic reserves of Western raw materials reach their limit. The way the West behaved during the Covid19 Pandemic in the context of vaccine distribution policies, by buying in advance almost 80% of all vaccines in production in the world, leaving poor countries without vaccines even to buy for a certain period, and changing their position only when they realised that, the non-global distribution of the vaccines prolonged the pandemic, led to the creation of the COVAX system by the WHO, after harsh criticism from Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, stating that, “The growing gap between the number of vaccines offered in rich countries and those administered through COVAX is becoming “more grotesque by the day”. And how could it be otherwise, the gesture of Russia and China in the swift distribution of vaccines and protective medical supplies was taken into account by the African cosmos at the time of decision making. As is well known, China’s economic and Russia’s military presence in Africa is seen as an alternative guarantee to what the West is offering. Since 2002, while the West was distracted with its eternal wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Arab Spring, Syria, Libya, etc., China entered Africa in silence, massively funding road infrastructure projects etc., without interference in internal affairs, through the adoption of the “Win-Win” strategy.

Russia, on the other hand, has become the main military alternative, accounting for 49% of total arms exports to Africa by 2020, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) database, to avoid internal conflicts and protect itself from external interference. Paul Stronski confirms that “The rulers of many African countries look to Moscow from Soviet-era links, and Moscow takes advantage of this and manages to maintain its influence. In the case of Algeria [and Angola], this is done by writing off old debts. Sometimes Russia also makes generous promises, assuring that it will build workshops or facilities for manufacturing or maintenance.

The African cosmos serenely realises that a defeat of Russia in Ukraine will lead the world to a more aggressive, self-centred and militarised Western unipolarisation and the weaker countries will have no alternative for survival and existential resistance. The fear of perishing and becoming a colonial space again seems to be more important to the strategists of the African cosmos than Western values about democracy, neoliberalism, capitalism, etc. For the African cosmos, its course and future depend on the economic-financial cover of China and the military cover of Russia, so that there is a certain balance in its relations with the West.

And it considers the situation of Russia and Ukraine as an internal issue between brothers of the same homeland linked historically, culturally, linguistically, and religiously. But it does not mean that it wants a radical change in its strategic relations with the West. It is only a preventive measure of existential survival.

The way the West treats Ukrainian refugees compared to what has been done with African refugees arriving via the Mediterranean and from the Canary Islands via the Atlantic has not been forgotten, as have the Punic wars between Rome and Carthage and the destruction of Libya. These historical events may justify the fear of the African cosmos in resisting in the face of Western pressure to give up its strategic relations with Russia and China.

This neutrality and strategic ambiguity serve to prevent a geostrategic and existential risk for sovereign and independent countries in the medium and long term. And, according to an African adage “When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers”. Thus, the African cosmos realises that it is grass in this war of titans, and Ukraine only as a geostrategic, geopolitical, geoeconomic, and geofinancial singularity of the hegemonic power struggle between Eurasia and the West. So that may have been the reason they refrained from the sanctions war against Russia, for the lessons learned from their tragic experiences, old and recent, of their relations with the West.

The African cosmos does everything it can to avoid being the grass in the conflict at hand, promoted by the West since 2014, through the coup d’état against Viktor Yanukovich, and the failure to implement the Minsk I and II agreements. Soon, it seems that the African cosmos uses the proverbial philosophy of its ancestors to avoid entering into another’s war, even though it is already feeling the side effects of the increase in the prices of wheat, fertilizers, oil, gas, etc., and the risk of probable retaliations, for disobedience of political guidelines, by the West.

The claim by Macky Sall, President of Senegal and Chairperson-in-Office of the African Union on his recent visit to Russia, in demanding the West remove sanctions affecting Africa’s food security is, without doubt, a clear and unequivocal demonstration of this position. ”

A LEMMING LEADING THE LEMMINGS: SLAVOJ ZIZEK AND THE TERMINAL COLLAPSE OF THE ANTI-WAR LEFT

JUNE 23RD, 2022

JONATHAN COOK

Have you noticed how every major foreign policy crisis since the U.S. and U.K.’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 has peeled off another layer of the left into joining the pro-NATO, pro-war camp?

It is now hard to remember that many millions marched in the U.S. and Europe against the attack on Iraq. It sometimes feels like there is no one left who is not cheerleading the next wave of profits for the West’s military-industrial complex (usually referred to as the “defense industry” by those very same profiteers).

Washington learned a hard lesson from the unpopularity of its 2003 attack on Iraq aimed at controlling more of the Middle East’s oil reserves. Ordinary people do not like seeing the public coffers ransacked or suffering years of austerity, simply to line the pockets of Blackwater, Halliburton, and Raytheon. And all the more so when such a war is sold to them on the basis of a huge deception.

So since then, the U.S. has been repackaging its neocolonialism via proxy wars that are a much easier sell. There have been a succession of them: Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Venezuela and now Ukraine. Each time, a few more leftists are lured into the camp of the war hawks by the West’s selfless, humanitarian instincts – promoted, of course, through the barrel of a Western-supplied arsenal. That process has reached its nadir with Ukraine.

NUCLEAR FACE-OFF

recently wrote about the paranoid ravings of celebrity “left-wing” journalist Paul Mason, who now sees the Kremlin’s hand behind any dissension from a full-throttle charge towards a nuclear face-off with Russia.

Behind the scenes, he has been sounding out Western intelligence agencies in a bid to covertly deplatform and demonetize any independent journalists who still dare to wonder whether arming Ukraine to the hilt or recruiting it into NATO – even though it shares a border that Russia views as existentially important – might not be an entirely wise use of taxpayers’ money.

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It is not hard to imagine that Mason is representative of the wider thinking of establishment journalists, even those who claim to be on the left.

But I want to take on here a more serious proponent of this kind of ideology than the increasingly preposterous Mason. Because swelling kneejerk support for U.S. imperial wars – as long, of course, as Washington’s role is thinly disguised – is becoming ever more common among leftwing academics too.

The latest cheerleader for the military-industrial complex is Slavoj Zizek, the famed Slovenian philosopher and public intellectual whose work has gained him international prominence. His latest piece – published where else but The Guardian – is a morass of sloppy thinking, moral evasion and double speak. Which is why I think it is worth deconstructing. It encapsulates all the worst geostrategic misconceptions of Western intellectuals at the moment.

Zizek, who is supposedly an expert on ideology and propaganda, and has even written and starred in a couple of documentaries on the subject, seems now to be utterly blind to his own susceptibility to propaganda.

COD PSYCHOLOGY

He starts, naturally enough, with a straw man: that those opposed to the West’s focus on arming Ukraine rather than using its considerable muscle to force Kyiv and Moscow to the negotiating table are in the wrong. Opposition to dragging out the war for as long as possible, however many Ukrainians and Russians die, with the aim of “weakening Russia”, as US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wants; and opposition to leaving millions of people in poorer parts of the world to be plunged deeper into poverty or to starve is equated by Zizek to “pacifism.”

“Those who cling to pacifism in the face of the Russian attack on Ukraine remain caught in their own version of [John Lennon’s song] ‘Imagine’,” writes Zizek. But the only one dwelling in the world of the imaginary is Zizek and those who think like him.

The left’s mantra of “Stop the war!” can’t be reduced to kneejerk pacifism. It derives from a political and moral worldview. It opposes the militarism of competitive, resource-hungry nation-states. It opposes the war industries that not only destroy whole countries but risk global nuclear annihilation in advancing their interests. It opposes the profit motive for a war that has incentivised a global elite to continue investing in planet-wide rape and pillage rather than addressing a looming ecological catastrophe. All of that context is ignored in Zizek’s lengthy essay.

Instead, he prefers to take a detour into cod psychology, telling us that Russian president Vladimir Putin sees himself as Peter the Great. Putin will not be satisfied simply with regaining the parts of Ukraine that historically belonged to Russia and have always provided its navy with its only access to the Black Sea. No, the Russian president is hell-bent on global conquest. And Europe is next – or so Zizek argues.

Even if we naively take the rhetoric of embattled leaders at face value (remember those weapons of mass destruction Iraq’s Saddam Hussein supposedly had?), it is still a major stretch for Zizek to cite one speech by Putin as proof that the Russian leader wants his own version of the Third Reich.

Not least, we must address the glaring cognitive dissonance at the heart of the Western, NATO-inspired discourse on Ukraine, something Zizek refuses to do. How can Russia be so weak it has managed only to subdue small parts of Ukraine at great military cost, while it is at the same time a military superpower poised to take over the whole of Europe?

Zizek is horrified by Putin’s conceptual division of the world into those states that are sovereign and those that are colonized. Or as he quotes Putin observing: “Any country, any people, any ethnic group should ensure their sovereignty. Because there is no in-between, no intermediate state: either a country is sovereign, or it is a colony, no matter what the colonies are called.”

SOVEREIGN OR COLONIZED?

The famed philosopher reads this as proof that Russia wants as its colonies: “Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Finland, the Baltic states … and ultimately Europe itself”. But if he weren’t so blinded by NATO ideology, he might read Putin’s words in a quite different way. Isn’t Putin simply restating Washington realpolitik? The U.S., through NATO, is the real sovereign in Europe and is pushing its sovereignty ever closer to Russia’s borders.

Putin’s concern about Ukraine being colonized by the U.S. military-industrial complex is essentially the same as U.S. concerns in the 1960s about the Soviet Union filling Cuba with its nuclear missiles. Washington’s concern justified a confrontation that moved the world possibly the closest it has ever come to nuclear annihilation.

Both Russia and the U.S. are wedded to the idea of their own “spheres of influence”. It is just that the U.S. sphere now encircles the globe through many hundreds of overseas military bases. By contrast, the West cries to the heavens when Russia secures a single military base in Crimea.

We may not like the sentiments Putin is espousing, but they are not especially his. They are the reality of the framework of modern military power the West was intimately involved in creating. It was our centuries of colonialism – our greed and theft – that divided the world into the sovereign and the colonized. Putin is simply stating that Russia needs to act in ways that ensure it remains sovereign, rather than joining the colonized.

We may disagree with Putin’s perception of the threat posed by NATO, and the need to annex eastern Ukraine, but to pretend his speech means that he aims for world domination is nothing more than the regurgitation of a CIA talking point.

Zizek, of course, intersperses this silliness with more valid observations, like this one: “To insist on full sovereignty in the face of global warming is sheer madness since our very survival hinges on tight global cooperation.” Of course, it is madness. But why is this relevant to Putin and his supposed “imperial ambition”? Is there any major state on the planet – those in Europe, the United States, China, Brazil, Australia – that has avoided this madness, that is seeking genuine “tight global cooperation” to end the threat of climate breakdown.

No, our world is in the grip of terminal delusion, propelled ever closer to the precipice by capitalism’s requirement of endless economic growth on a finite planet. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing great ecological damage, but so are lots of other things – including NATO’s rationalization of ever-expanding military budgets.


UKRAINIAN HEROISM

But Zizek has the bit between his teeth. He now singles out Russia because it is maneuvering to exploit the consequences of global warming, such as new trade routes opened up by a thawing Arctic.

“Russia’s strategic plan is to profit from global warming: control the world’s main transport route, plus develop Siberia and control Ukraine,” he writes. “In this way, Russia will dominate so much food production that it will be able to blackmail the whole world.”

But what does he imagine? As we transform the world’s climate and its trade routes, as new parts of the world turn into deserts, as whole populations are forced to make migrations to different regions, does he think only Putin and Russia are jostling to avoid sinking below the rising sea waters. Does he presume the policy hawks in Washington, or their satraps in Europe, have missed all this and are simply putting their feet up? In reality, maneuvering on the international stage – what I have called elsewhere a brutal nation-state version of the children’s party game musical chairs – has been going on for decades.

Ukraine is the latest front in a long-running war for resource control on a dying planet. It is another battleground in the renewed great power game that the U.S. revived by expanding NATO across Eastern Europe in one pincer movement and then bolstered it with its wars and proxy wars across the Middle East. Where was the urge for “tight global cooperation” then? To perceive Ukraine as simply the victim of Putin’s “imperialism” requires turning a blind eye to everything that has occurred since the fall of the Soviet Union three decades ago.

Zizek gets to the heart of what should matter in his next, throw-away line:

Those who advocate less support for Ukraine and more pressure on it to negotiate, inclusive of accepting painful territorial renunciations, like to repeat that Ukraine simply cannot win the war against Russia. True, but I see exactly in this the greatness of Ukrainian resistance.”

Zizek briefly recognises the reality of Ukraine’s situation – that it cannot win, that Russia has a bigger, better-equipped army – but then deflects to the “greatness” of Ukraine’s defiance. Yes, it is glorious that Ukrainians are ready to die to defend their country’s sovereignty. But that is not the issue we in the West need to consider when Kyiv demands we arm its resistance.

The question of whether Ukrainians can win, or whether they will be slaughtered, is highly pertinent to deciding whether we in the West should help drag out the war, using Ukrainians as cannon fodder, to no purpose other than our being able to marvel as spectators at their heroism. Whether Ukrainians can win is also pertinent to the matter of how urgent it is to draw the war to a close so that millions don’t starve in Africa because of the loss of crops, the fall in exports and rocketing fuel prices. And arming a futile, if valiant, Ukrainian struggle against Russia to weaken Moscow must be judged in the context that we risk backing Russia into a geostrategic corner – as we have been doing for more than two decades – from which, we may surmise, Moscow could ultimately decide to extricate itself by resorting to nuclear weapons.

INTELLECTUAL CUL DE SAC

Having propelled himself into an intellectual cul de sac, Zizek switches tack. He suddenly changes the terms of the debate entirely. Having completely ignored the U.S. role in bringing us to this point, he now observes:

Not just Ukraine, Europe itself is becoming the place of the proxy war between [the] U.S. and Russia, which may well end up by a compromise between the two at Europe’s expense. There are only two ways for Europe to step out of this place: to play the game of neutrality – a short-cut to catastrophe – or to become an autonomous agent.”

So, we are in a U.S. proxy war – one played out under the bogus auspices of NATO and its “defensive” expansion – but the solution to this problem for Europe is to gain its “autonomy” by …

Well, from everything Zizek has previously asserted in the piece, it seems such autonomy must be expressed by silently agreeing to the U.S. pumping Ukraine full of weapons to fight Russia in a proxy war that is really about weakening Russia rather than saving Ukraine. Only a world-renowned philosopher could bring us to such an intellectually and morally barren place.

The biggest problem for Zizek, it seems, isn’t the U.S. proxy war or Russian “imperialism”, it is the left’s disillusionment with the military industrial complex: “Their true message to Ukraine is: OK, you are victims of a brutal aggression, but do not rely on our arms because in this way you play into the hands of the industrial-military complex,” he writes.

But the concern here is not that Ukraine is playing into the arms of the war industries. It is that Western populations are being played by their leaders – and intellectuals like Zizek – so that they can be delivered, once again, into the arms of the military-industrial complex. The West’s war industries have precisely no interest in negotiations, which is why they are not taking place. It is also the reason why events over three decades have led us to a Russian invasion of Ukraine that most of Washington’s policy makers warned would happen if the U.S. continued to encroach on Russia’s “sphere of influence”.

The left’s message is that we are being conned yet again and that it is long past the time to start a debate. Those debates should have taken place when the U.S. broke its promise not to expand “one inch” beyond Germany. Or when NATO flirted with offering Ukraine membership 14 years ago. Or when the U.S. meddled in the ousting of the elected government of Ukraine in 2014. Or when Kyiv integrated neo-Nazi groups into the Ukrainian army and engaged in a civil war against the Russian parts of its own populace. Or when the U.S. and NATO allowed Kyiv – on the best interpretation – to ignore its obligations under the Minsk agreements with Russia.

None of those debates happened. Which is why a debate in the West is still needed now, at this terribly late stage. Only then might there be a hope that genuine negotiations can take place – before Ukraine is obliterated.

CANNON FODDER

Having exhausted all his hollow preliminary arguments, we get to Zizek’s main beef. With the world polarizing around a sole military superpower, the U.S., and a sole economic superpower, China, Europe and Russia may be forced into each other’s arms in a “Eurasian” block that would swamp European values. For Zizek, that would lead to “fascism”. He writes: “At that point, the European legacy will be lost, and Europe will be de facto divided between an American and a Russian sphere of influence. In short, Europe itself will become the place of a war that seems to have no end.”

Let us set aside whether Europe – all of it, parts of it? – is really a bulwark against fascism, as Zizek assumes. How exactly is Europe to find its power, its sovereignty, in this battle between superpowers? What vehicle is Zizek proposing to guarantee Europe’s autonomy, and how does it differ from the NATO one that is – even Zizek now seems to be conceding – actually just a vassal of the U.S., there to enforce Washington’s global-spanning “sphere of influence” against Russia and China.

Faced with this problem, Zizek quickly retreats into mindless sloganeering: “One cannot be a leftist if one does not unequivocally stand behind Ukraine.” This Bushism – “You are either with us or with the terrorists” – really is as foolish as it sounds.

What does “unequivocal” mean here? Must we “unequivocally stand behind” all of Ukraine’s actions – even should, say, neo-Nazi elements of the Ukrainian military like the Azov Brigade carry out pogroms against the ethnic Russian communities living in Ukraine?

But even more seriously, what does it mean for Europeans to stand “unequivocally” behind Ukraine? Must we approve the supply of U.S. weapons, even though, as Zizek also concedes, Ukraine cannot win the war and is serving primarily as a proxy battleground?

Would “unequivocal support” not require us to pretend that Europe, rather than the U.S., is in charge of NATO policy? Would it not require too that we pretend NATO’s actions are defensive rather intimately tied to advancing the U.S. “sphere of influence” designed to weaken Russia?

And how can our participation in the U.S. ambition to weaken Russia not provoke greater fear in Russia for its future, greater militarism in Moscow, and ensure Europe becomes more of a battleground rather than less of one?

What does “unequivocal” support for Ukraine mean given that Zizek has agreed that the U.S. and Russia are fighting a proxy war, and that Europe is caught in the middle of it? Zizek’s answer is no answer at all. It is nothing more than evasion. It is the rationalization of unprincipled European inaction, of acting as a spectator while the U.S. continues to use Ukrainians as cannon fodder.

MUDDYING THE WATERS

After thoroughly muddying the waters on Ukraine, Zizek briefly seeks safer territory as he winds down his argument. He points out, two decades on, that George W. Bush was similarly a war criminal in invading Iraq, and notes the irony that Julian Assange is being extradited to the U.S. because Wikileaks helped expose those war crimes. To even things up, he makes a counter-demand on “those who oppose Russian invasion” that they fight for Assange’s release – and in doing so implicitly accuses the anti-war movement of supporting Russia’s invasion.

He then plunges straight back into sloganeering in his concluding paragraph: “Ukraine fights for global freedom, inclusive of the freedom of Russians themselves. That’s why the heart of every true Russian patriot beats for Ukraine.” Maybe he should try telling that to the thousands of ethnic Russian families mourning their loved ones killed by the civil war that began raging in eastern Ukraine long before Putin launched his invasion and supposedly initiated his campaign for world domination. Those kinds of Ukrainians may beg to differ, as may Russians worried about the safety and future of their ethnic kin in Ukraine.

As with most things in life, there are no easy answers for Ukraine. But Zizek’s warmongering dressed up as European enlightenment and humanitarianism is a particularly wretched example of the current climate of intellectual and moral vacuity. What we need from public thinkers like Zizek is a clear-sighted roadmap for how we move back from the precipice we are rushing, lemming-like, towards. Instead he is urging us on. A lemming leading the lemmings.

Feature photo | Graphic by MintPress News

Jonathan Cook is a MintPress contributor. Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

Maduro: We Are All Part of Axis of Resistance

June 21, 2022

By Staff, Khamenei.ir

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the ‘Axis of Resistance’ is not just confined to certain countries across the world, but it refers to all those fighting colonialism and hegemonic powers.

“The Axis of Resistance exists throughout the world; it exists in Africa, in Asia, in the Middle East, in Latin America and in the Caribbean. The Resistance also belongs to the people who are fighting against neoliberalism, racism and various forms of colonization, political, economic, cultural colonization and cyber colonization,” Maduro said in an exclusive interview with the official website of Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei that was published on Monday.

“All of us who fight against colonialism, all of us who fight to decolonize our minds and our people, are part of the Axis of Resistance that stands against the methods of the imperialists for imposing hegemony on the world,” he added.

Maduro: We Are All Part of Axis of Resistance

Lauding the deeds of the Axis of Resistance throughout the years, Maduro said, “The 21st century is our century. It is the century of the unity of the people. It is the century in which people will be liberated. It is the century of justice and truth. Empires are in decline, and people’s projects for well-being, development and greatness have just begun. This century is our century.”

Pointing to a recent meeting with Imam Khamenei and the His Eminence’s statement about the very close relationship between Iran and Venezuela, Maduro said, “Since Commander Hugo Chavez’s first visit in 2001, Iran and Venezuela have established exemplary political, diplomatic, moral, and spiritual ties.”

“During this current trip, I’ve witnessed how there is an exemplary relationship between us in terms of our increasing cooperation. We’ve had many successes. So Imam Khamenei is right when he states that the relationship between the two countries is quite unique and extraordinary,” he noted.

Asked about his latest assertion regarding the Zionist occupation regime’s conspiracies against Venezuela through Mossad, Maduro said, “Imperialism and Zionism are conspiring against the progressive, revolutionary processes taking place in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially the Bolivarian Revolution.”

The Venezuelan president stressed, “This is because we are a true alternative, an alternative of truth and justice, an alternative of freedom, an alternative of democracy, and an alternative for realizing projects that are fully humane in the Latin American region and the Caribbean Sea. In addition to this, Mossad’s conspiracies are due to our strong position of solidarity with the Palestinian people and our support of them for their regaining their historical rights and for the Palestinian Resistance. Our support of them is strong and unique, and we will continue supporting them in this manner.”

Asked about the role of Iran’s anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani and the Quds Force over the last 20 years in strengthening the relationship between Tehran and Caracas, Maduro said he met General Soleimani in March and April of 2019 when he came to Venezuela during the time of US’ cyberattacks against the country’s power plants.

“I really didn’t know. I didn’t know him. I didn’t know how amazing he was, but the discussion I had with him was very pleasant. We reviewed everything during our meeting and he immediately suggested we get help from Iranian experts. Two or three days later, Iranian experts came to repair electrical services in Venezuela,” he added.

In response to a question regarding a saying by Imam Khamenei that, “If Prophet Issa [Peace upon Him] were among us today, he wouldn’t miss a moment to fight the leaders of global oppression and arrogance,” Maduro said, “We’re believing Christians. We’re the type of Christians who take action while praying and thinking. And Christ came into this world to fight the Empires. He came to confront the Roman Empires. He risked his life. He sacrificed his life to fight the Roman Empire.”

The Venezuelan leader said, “If there’s one good thing I can say about Christianity, it is its anti-imperialist nature and its seeking of truth and justice against the oppressors. I have no doubt that if Christ were among us today, he would have been at the forefront of the battle against imperialism, colonialism and all forms of oppression.”

During the interview, Maduro pointed to several meetings he had had with Imam Khamenei over the years as well as the meeting between Chavez and the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

“I’ve always admired Imam Khamenei’s excellent memory. That he recalls the memories of those days is important. In the talks that I have had with him, he has recalled some of the conversations he had with Commander Chavez where Commander Chavez shared some of his memories about Cuba and Commander Fidel Castro. There was a time when a hurricane was heading straight toward Cuba. It was a Category 5 hurricane. A conversation took place between Fidel and Chavez. Fidel said, “Chavez! What you need to do right now is to pray. Pray for us!” Chavez started praying. That day passed and the hurricane changed its course. It didn’t cross over Cuba. Chavez called Fidel and said, “It’s a miracle!” Fidel replied, “Yes, it’s because God helps Chavez and Chavez’s friends.” In the last talk that I had with Imam Khamenei, he told me this story in a friendly, kind way in memory of Commander Chavez and Commander Fidel Castro,” he said.

“Holding a conversation with Imam Khamenei truly fills one with spirituality and wisdom. He likes the Venezuelan people. He likes the people’s ideals, and he always offers us great ideas and recommendations,” Maduro underlined.

Algeria: Dotting the I’s in France’s colonial history

April 22 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Karim Sharara 

France’s colonial history is a barbaric one that extends from the 16th century until the liberation of Algeria in 1962. Millions of people have died, countries have had their wealth plundered, and France still refuses to recognize its dark past.

France’s 132 years of colonial presence in Algeria resulted in the deaths of millions of people and the plundering of the country’s riches

It wasn’t completely unlike Macron to deny that Algeria was ever a nation. It was surprising to hear such a statement uttered against a sovereign country in what is supposed to be a post-imperialist world order (evidently not so), but to say outright that a country that France had occupied for over a century and whose culture it helped destroy was truly flabbergasting.

You can take the colonial out of the colony but not colonialism out of the colonial, the mentality indeed persists.

It seems somewhat perplexing that France, whose Zemmours, Le Pens, and Macrons are all radically attempting to preserve what they consider to be essential to French identity by coercing Muslims into conforming, are also denying the identity of the very country they occupied, whose riches they stole, whose people they killed and posed next to their decapitated heads neatly arranged on spears, and whose culture and identity they transformed by force and coercion.

How did France’s colonial history begin and unfold, and what led it to its 100+ year occupation of Algeria?

France’s colonial empire

France’s earliest trials at colonialism happened during the 16th and 17th centuries and were part of the ongoing competition that was taking place at the time between European powers (France, Britain, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal), the main goal of all of whom was to find new routes to the East Indies in an effort to secure these routes for themselves in an attempt to monopolize the spice trade.

France first began its incursions into North America with the establishment of small colonies. The presence of French missionaries, coupled with colonization efforts, further exacerbated matters as they upset the sociological makeup by drawing Native American men into Christianity with promises of land, and then telling them they must cultivate crops, which to their societies was women’s work. These “redefinitions of manhood prompted many women to resist Christianity” and generated conflict within their communities.[1]

The Caribbean was also a region where competing European powers constantly clashed with one another. By 1697, France had colonized portions of North America stretching to the Caribbean and snatched Hispaniola (modern-day Haiti) from Spain in that same year. Most of the island’s indigenous population had died during Spain’s incursion for gold. France turned their colonies into plantations for sugar, coffee, and spice, and used slave labor on the islands, to such an extent that by the late 18th century, slaves outnumbered European colonists by 8 to 1, thus greatly transforming the demographic makeup of the region.

Amid the struggle for global empire-building between France and Britain, the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) took place between the two powers and their allies in Europe. The war resulted in a decisive win for Britain and a loss for France and Spain, and the 1763 Treaty of Paris saw a number of land exchanges in order to appease Britain. France ceded all of Canada in order to retain the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe and their valuable sources of sugar and remained somewhat inactive until after the French Revolution of 1789 and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte who returned to the task of empire-building.

France’s imperial incursions into West Asia and North Africa date back in large part to the year 1798, as Napoleon was rising in power and conquered Egypt, and then continued on when the French Empire later colonized Algeria in 1830.

After his successes in Italy, which culminated in the Treaty of Campo Formio, Napoleon turned his attention to the British Empire, France’s perennial enemy, and tried to see whether a landing on the British isles was possible; after two months of planning, he found that it was not, as the British Navy was far superior to the French. However, one thing Napoleon could do to harm the British would be to threaten their trade with India.

Napoleon’s fascination with Egypt

Another end goal envisioned by Napoleon would follow the occupation of Egypt, whereupon he would send a force to the Kingdom of Mysore in South India in order to reinforce them, as they were also enemy of the British and were fighting against their presence in India[2].  

For Napoleon, this mission also held a personal dimension, as the 29-year-old general (in 1798) had been a longtime fan of the Orient, and he always referenced Alexander the Great and Egypt in his writings and conversations. “Thus, the idea of reconquering Egypt as a new Alexander proposed itself to him, allied with the additional benefit of acquiring a new Islamic colony at England’s expense.[3]

Although Napoleon’s ships were being pursued by the British Royal Navy, he successfully evaded them, managed to land on Egypt’s shores, and defeated the Mamluk army in the Battle of the Pyramids. However, Napoleon’s armies suffered a resounding defeat at the hands of the British Navy only days later, which resulted in the decimation of Napoleon’s ships, left him stranded in Egypt, and ended his dreams of conquering West Asia. After a three-year campaign and a series of defeats, Napoleon went back to France and launched his coup d’état, leaving him in power[4].

Algeria’s story begins

France’s aspirations of colonization in the MENA region would be left unachieved until after Napoleon’s fall, and during the reign of Charles X. Although Algeria had stood by France during its difficult times, when it was shunned by all of Europe in the 1790s, Algeria had lent it money and allowed it to receive supplies from its ports. Both countries’ relations were somewhat constrained during France’s three-year invasion of Egypt, as the Ottoman Sultan requested that Algeria declare war on Egypt, which it did, but relations returned to normal as soon as the invasion was over.

Despite Algeria’s good relations with France, Napoleon had (prior to his fall) been looking for a reason to invade it because of its strategic position, the superiority of France’s fleet, and his want of a colony on the Mediterranean to strengthen France’s position. He threatened Algeria repeatedly over the years on a number of different occasions, but the plans to invade it never materialized, as he was busy with campaigns in Europe. Nevertheless, some of his commanders did go to Algeria in the early 1800s to scout it and assess how best to capture it.

The main reason behind France’s invasion of Algeria is that France did not wish to repay its debts to the Algerian Dey and Algeria’s Jewish merchants (who had come to the Dey complaining that France is refusing payment). The debt had been accumulated by France during its invasion of Egypt in 1798. France only used an incident that took place between the Algerian ruler and France’s consul (who was implicated in the affair and had received payment from the merchants in exchange for helping secure a portion of their debt, none of which found its way back to the Algerian treasury), in order to launch the war against the country and occupy it in 1830, during the reign of Charles X[5]. The incident in question came to be known as the Fly Whisk incident.

The merchants had promised France’s Foreign Minister and its consul in Algeria a portion of the funds if they managed to secure payment of France’s debts to them, which in fact happened. However, the merchants were also indebted to the Algerian state, but by the time they were paid, France paid them directly, and not through the Algerian treasury. Moreover, one of the merchants had secured French citizenship, and another Italian citizenship, and so the Algerian state was unable to pursue them for payment. 

France’s consul, as French newspapers revealed at the time, was paid two million Francs by the merchants in return. When Algerian authorities caught wind of the news, they knew the consul, who is thought to have made up the incident, was in on it, and was refusing to cooperate with Algeria in order to avoid France having to repay its debt[6].

The occupation

During the course of Algeria’s 132-year struggle for independence, nearly 5 million people were killed, and hundreds of thousands were injured. It took France nearly 70 years to gain control of Algeria after it first occupied it on July 5th, 1830, and Algeria only gained its independence after fighting a fierce war in which nearly 1.5 million Algerians lost their lives.

As far as the looting of Algeria went, France made sure to profit off the land as best it could. Even though the Treaty of Surrender signed between Algeria’s last Dey, Hussein Dey, and France included a condition that Islamic endowments not be violated, France realized that these endowments may become a source of income and confiscated them and looted them in 1843.

France’s colonial administration went a step further in 1871, enacting the Indigenous People Law, which helped them plunder Algeria’s resources by granting European settlers ownership of the lands, while Algerians working them only received 20% of the production. The Algerians could also only travel after seeking permission from colonial authorities and had their movements restricted.

Another law issued by colonial authorities was the Cremieux Decree in 1870, which turned Muslim Arabs and Berbers effectively second-class citizens, while Algeria’s Jewish population was granted French citizenship.

In terms of precious metals, more than 110 tons of Algeria’s gold and silver were stolen by the French, which are estimated today to be worth over $180 billion in today’s money.

France only recognized Algeria’s war of independence as an actual war in 1999. Today’s France, however, is still dragging its legs in recognizing Algeria’s right to reparation. In 1961, before gaining their independence, Algerians took to the streets of Paris to protest a curfew imposed on them, but a French crackdown turned the protest into a massacre, with more than 200 people being killed and scores of bodies being dumped in the Seine River.

Today, France continues to treat its Muslim population as second-class citizens who must conform, by force, to a very restricted idea of French identity. Instead of accommodating them, France is trying its best to exclude its citizens, just as it tried to force Algerians to conform to its own norms. The reasoning before was that of the White Man’s Burden, backwardness, cultural inferiority, or any number of excuses. Today, these excuses have all been repackaged under a nifty new branding called French identity.

Sources:

  • [1] Benjamin, Thomas, and Macmillan Reference USA Staff. “Encyclopedia of Western colonialism since 1450.” (2007).
  • [2] Amini, Iradj, “Napoleon and Persia”, Iran, vol. 37 (1999), British Institute of Persian Studies, p. 109-110.
  • [3] Said, Edward. “Orientalism Penguin Books.” (1978), p. 80.
  • [4] Roberts, Andrew. Napoleon: A life. Penguin, 2014, p. 188-230.
  • [5] Abu al-Qasim Sa’d Allah, Muhadarat fi Tarikh al-Jaza’ir al-Hadith (Bidayat al-Ihtilal), Al-Jaza’ir: Al Sharikah al-Wataniyyah li-n-Nashr w-at-Tawzi’, p. 13-33
  • [6] Mubarak bin Muhammad al-Mili, Tarikh al-Jaza’ir bayn al-Qadim w-al-Hadith, vol. 3, n.d, Maktabat al-Nahdah al-Jaza’iriyyah, p. 271-276.

Is Europe Really More Civilized? Ukraine Conflict a Platform for Racism and Rewriting History

April 4, 2022

CBS correspondent Charlie D’Agata has prompted backlash after comparing violence in Afghanistan to the invasion of “relatively civilized” Ukraine. (Photo: video grab)

By Ramzy Baroud

When a gruesome six-minute video of Ukrainian soldiers shooting and torturing handcuffed and tied up Russian soldiers circulated online, outraged people on social media and elsewhere compared this barbaric behavior to that of Daesh.

In a rare admission of moral responsibility, Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to the Ukrainian President, quickly reminded Ukrainian fighters of their responsibility under international law. “I would like to remind all our military, civilian and defense forces, once again, that the abuse of prisoners is a war crime that has no amnesty under military law and has no statute of limitations,” he said, asserting that “We are a European army”, as if the latter is synonymous with civilized behavior.

Even that supposed claim of responsibility conveyed subtle racism, as if to suggest that non-westerners, non-Europeans, may carry out such grisly and cowardly violence, but certainly not the more rational, humane and intellectually superior Europeans.

The comment, though less obvious, reminds one of the racist remarks by CBS’ foreign correspondent, Charlie D’Agata, on February 26, when he shamelessly compared Middle Eastern cities with the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, stating that “Unlike Iraq or Afghanistan, (…) this is a relatively civilized, relatively European city”.

The Russia-Ukraine war has been a stage of racist comments and behavior, some explicit and obvious, others implicit and indirect. Far from being implicit, however, Bulgarian Prime Minister, Kiril Petkov, did not mince words when, last February, he addressed the issue of Ukrainian refugees. Europe can benefit from Ukrainian refugees, he said, because “these people are Europeans. (…) These people are intelligent, they are educated people. This is not the refugee wave we have been used to, people we were not sure about their identity, people with unclear pasts, who could have been even terrorists.”

One of many other telling episodes that highlight western racism, but also continued denial of its grim reality, was an interview conducted by the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, with the Ukrainian Azov Battalion Commander, Dmytro Kuharchuck. The latter’s militia is known for its far-right politics, outright racism and horrific acts of violence. Yet, the newspaper described Kuharchuck as “the kind of fighter you don’t expect. He reads Kant and he doesn’t only use his bazooka.”If this is not the very definition of denial, what is?

That said, our proud European friends must be careful before supplanting the word ‘European’ with ‘civilization’ and respect for human rights. They ought not to forget their past or rewrite their history because, after all, racially-based slavery is a European and western brand. The slave trade, as a result of which millions of slaves were shipped from Africa during the course of four centuries, was very much European. According to Encyclopedia Virginia, 1.8 million people “died on the Middle Passage of the transatlantic slave trade”. Other estimations put the number much higher.

Colonialism is another European quality. Starting in the 15th century, and lasting for centuries afterward, colonialism ravaged the entire Global South. Unlike the slave trade, colonialism enslaved entirepeoples and divided whole continents, like Africa, among European spheres of influence.

The nation of Congo was literally owned by one person, Belgian King Leopold II. India was effectively controlled and colonized by the British East India Company and, later, by the British government. The fate of South America was largely determined by the US-imposed Monroe Doctrines of 1823. For nearly 200 years, this continent has paid – and continues to pay – an extremely heavy price of US colonialism and neocolonialism. No numbers or figures can possibly express the destruction and death toll inflicted by Western-European colonialism on the rest of the world, simply because the victims are still being counted. But for the sake of illustration, according to American historian, Adam Hochschild, ten million people have died in Congo alone from 1885 to 1908.

And how can we forget that World War I and II are also entirely European, leaving behind around 40 million and 75 million dead, respectively. (Other estimations are significantly higher). The gruesomeness of these European wars can only be compared to the atrocities committed, also by Europeans, throughout the South, for hundreds of years prior.

Mere months after The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed in 1949, the eager western partners were quick to flex their muscles in Korea in 1950, instigating a war that lasted for three years, resulting in the death of nearly 5 million people. The Korean war, like many other NATO-instigated conflicts, remains an unhealed wound to this day.

The list goes on and on, from the disgraceful Opium Wars on China, starting in 1839, to the nuclear bombings of Japan in 1945, to the destruction of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, in 1954, 1959 and 1970 respectively, to the political meddling, military interventions and regime change in numerous countries around the world. They are all the work of the West, of the US and its ever-willing ‘European partners’, all done in the name of spreading democracy, freedom and human rights.

If it were not for the Europeans, Palestine would have gained its independence decades ago, and its people, this writer included, would have not been made refugees, suffering under the yoke of Zionist Israel. If it were not for the US and the Europeans, Iraq would have remained a sovereign country and millions of lives would have been spared in one of the world’s oldest civilizations; and Afghanistan would have not endured this untold hardship. Even when the US and its European friends finally relented and left Afghanistan last year, they continue to hold the country hostage, by blocking the release of its funds, leading to actual starvation among the people of that war-torn country.

So before bragging about the virtues of Europe, and the demeaning of everyone else, the likes of Arestovych, D’Agata, and Petkov should take a look at themselves in the mirror and reconsider their unsubstantiated ethnocentric view of the world and of history. In fact, if anyone deserves bragging rights it is those colonized nations that resisted colonialism, the slaves that fought for their freedom, and the oppressed nations that resisted their European oppressors, despite the pain and suffering that such struggles entailed.

Sadly, for Europe, however, instead of using the Russia-Ukraine war as an opportunity to reflect on the future of the European project, whatever that is, it is being used as an opportunity to score cheap points against the very victims of Europe everywhere. Once more, valuable lessons remain unlearned.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

French Withdrawal from Mali Will Redraw the Political Map of West Africa

March 8, 2022

French President Emmanuel Macron. (Photo: Kremlin, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Ramzy Baroud

Finally, France will be leaving Mali, nearly a decade after the original military intervention in 2013. The repercussions of this decision will hardly be confined to this West African nation, but will likely spread to the entirety of the Sahel Region; in fact, the whole of Africa.

France’s decision to end its military presence in Mali – carried out in two major military operations, Operation Serval and Operation Barkhane – was communicated by French President, Emmanuel Macron. “Victory against terror is not possible if it’s not supported by the state itself,” Macron said on February 16.

The French President called the Malian leadership “out of control” and rationalized his decision as a necessary move, since “European, French and international forces are seeing measures that are restricting them.”

Macron is not fooling anyone. The French military intervention in Mali was justified at the time as part of France’s efforts to defeat ‘Jihadists’ and ‘terrorists’, who had taken over much of the country’s northern region. Indeed, northern militants, protesting what they have described as government negligence and marginalization, had then seized major cities, including Kidal and Timbuktu. But the story, as is often the case with France’s former African colonies, was more complex.

In a recent article, the New York Times said that France’s “diplomatic power” is predicated on three pillars: “its influence in its former African colonies, along with its nuclear arms and its permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.”

Mali is one of these ‘former French colonies’, largely located in what used to be called ‘French West Africa.’ Once a great kingdom, known as the Mandinka Empire, Mali was colonized by France in 1892. It was then renamed French Sudan. Though it gained its independence in 1958, Mali remained a French vassal state.

To appreciate French influence over Mali and other West African states long after their independence, consider that fourteen African countries, including Niger and Senegal, continue to use the West African CFA franc, a French monetary invention in 1945, which ensured the struggling African economies continued to be tied to the French currency. This has allowed Paris to wield tremendous influence over various African economies, whose resources were provided to their former colonizers at competitive prices.

Unsurprisingly, France took the leadership in ‘liberating’ Mali in 2013. Hence, France was able to reconfigure the region’s militaries and politics to remain under the direct control of France, which presented itself as West Africa’s savior in the face of terrorism. Chad, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Togo, all participated in the French-led operation, which also involved the United Nations and several Western powers.

The arrival of French soldiers to the Sahel region was meant to underscore the importance, if not indispensability, of France to Africa’s security, especially at a time when Africa was, once again, a contested space that attracted the continent’s old colonial powers and new political players, as well: Russia, China, Germany, Turkey, among others.

However, for the people of Mali, the intervention merely prolonged their misery. “Operation Serval”, meant to last a few weeks, carried on for years, amid political strife in Bamako, worsening security throughout the country, rising corruption and deepening poverty. Though initially welcomed, at least publicly by some in the south of the country, the French military quickly became a burden, associated with Mali’s corrupt politicians, who happily leased the country’s resources in exchange for French support.

The honeymoon is now over. On January 31, the Malian government ordered the French Ambassador to leave the country.

Though Macron pledged that his military withdrawal will be phased out based on France’s own outline, the Malian leadership, on February 17, demanded an immediate and unconditional French withdrawal. Paris continues to insist that its Mali decision is not a defeat, and that it cannot be compared to the US chaotic retreat from Afghanistan last August, all indications point that France is, indeed, being expunged from one of its most prized ‘spheres of influence’. Considering that a similar scenario is currently underway in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.), France’s geopolitical concessions in Africa can aptly be described as unprecedented.

While Western countries, along with a few African governments, are warning that the security vacuum created by the French withdrawal will be exploited by Mali’s militants, Bamako claims such concerns are unfounded, arguing that the French military presence has exasperated – as opposed to improving – the country’s insecurity.

The particular parallel between Mali and C.A.R. becomes even more interesting when we consider media and official reports suggesting that the two African nations are substituting French with Russian soldiers, further accentuating the rapid geopolitical shift in the continent.

Though Macron continues to argue that the shift is induced mostly by his country’s own strategic priorities, neither evidence on the ground, nor France’s own media seem to believe such claims. “It is an inglorious end to an armed intervention that began in euphoria and which ends, nine years later, against a backdrop of crisis,” wrote Le Monde on February 17.

The truth is that an earth-shattering development is underway in Mali and the whole of West Africa, ushering in, as argued in the NY Times, the “closing chapters of ‘la Françafrique’,” the centuries-long French dominance over its ‘sphere of influence’ in the resource-rich Africa.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Palestine in the face of Palestinicide

15 Jan 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Susana Khalil

Today, some Arab tyrannies, in order to perpetuate themselves in power, seek to submit to this colonial-imperial force, putting the Arab-Persian world at risk.

Palestine in the face of “Palestinicide”

Zionism is a European colonial movement. The English historian Keith Whitelam conceptualizes it as the continuation of Colonial Europe. In 1948, Zionism succeeded in imposing a colonial regime in Palestine called “Israel”. It is classic colonialism, but it differs from historical colonialism in that it does not come from a people, but from a movement that aromatically falsifies history and disguises itself as a people, i.e. the “Jewish people”. Jews, Muslims, and Christians are not peoples, they are religions, and it is sad to have to explain this, at this point in human history and to a supposedly enlightened, educated, and secular world.

The West supposedly has to its credit a worthy history of fighting for secular values, which cost them blood. Secularism is today part of its identity and culture and is a sentiment, but it is inept and structurally ignorant to believe and feel that Jews are a people. To address this issue is to be discriminated against, even by pro-Palestinians. Beyond being a rotten Western taboo, it has its reckless consequences due to sophisticated totalitarian censorship, clear Western obscurantism.

The ideologues of Zionism foresaw that in their colonial enterprise, the day the native achieves his independence, they, as colonizers who do not come from a people but from a movement that seeks to become a people, do not have a point of return as happened in classical colonialism, that they as Jews would return to their respective original homelands. That is why Zionist colonialism has as its nature the very end of that native people in order to settle and ensure the foundations of a “nation-state” called “Israel”. This principle not only remains in force but also advances. Today, some Arab tyrannies, in order to perpetuate themselves in power, seek to submit to this colonial-imperial force, putting the Arab-Persian world at risk.

The colonial and expansionist regime of “Israel” withdrew from the Sinai territories in Egypt, conditioning and subjugating the Egyptian dictatorship. There is a false withdrawal from the Palestinian territories, conditioning and subjugating a caste of Palestinian traitors of the so-called Palestinian Authority. They maintain a military invasion in the Golan Heights in Syria. They unilaterally withdrew from South Lebanon, without conditioning and subjugating the Lebanese government or any Lebanese caste, and this exception is because they were overthrown by the Lebanese armed resistance of Hezbollah. The international Zionist lobby is the mastermind of the barbaric US imperial military invasion of Iraq, for the alleged establishment of democracy, and for the alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There will be no justice in the Arab-Persian world, except through the abolition of “Israel’s” colonial expansionist anachronism.

The worst thing about the Oslo Accords is not Zionist colonialism that managed to infiltrate through the Palestinian Authority, but the “memoricide” exercised by that Palestinian Authority, erasing the essence or the raison d’être of what the cause of liberation of the native Palestinian people against the Israeli colonial yoke is. And this “memoricide” takes place when the armed struggle is abandoned, so people are encouraged to follow the “peaceful” approach of struggle, which already existed, that is to say, the cultural, legal, academic, political, financial, economic, media, intellectual, humanitarian, religious, artistic, culinary, and historical struggle, which already existed and must exist; it is vital and magical. But the point is that on the stage, in the peaceful universe, the raison d’être of the Palestinian Cause is censored, evaded. In fact, almost nobody talks about the PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization, anymore.

I do not remember the author of the phrase: “If you want peace, prepare for justice.” The Palestinian people are facing the most powerful fascist movement of our historical time. Zionism is neoliberal and non-neoliberal imperialism itself.

Armed struggle is not easy and neither is it a guarantee for the liberation of historic Palestine. The peaceful struggle is not easy; it focuses on human rights, and in many cases, it does not address the essence of the Palestinian Cause. Both fronts are important, all fronts of struggle are important.

From the peaceful stage, as a native Palestinian from the Diaspora, the daughter of peasant survivors of Al-Nakba, I fight against the colonial yoke of Israel, I fight for the National Liberation of my Palestinian people against a colonial force.

From the peaceful scenario, does the colonial regime of “Israel” have the right to exist? From the noblest of my soul, I say no. The so-called Israeli population would become Palestinian. Just to raise this is outrageous. I do understand and comprehend the reaction of not understanding; comprehending and accepting the right of native people to decide for themselves. I understand the atheists of freedom and justice.

Some might defend the existence of that colonial, imperial regime and anachronism and believe they have the right to do so, but what is not morally acceptable and constitutes an outrage to human dignity is censoring defending the others’ right to voice their rejection in the universe of debate. That is contrary to the free-thinking world.

There are those who lovingly state, I support “Israel”, and to those I say, support it in your country. why don’t you give it your homeland? There must be a debate, and this is part of the human condition.

I believe that we Palestinians must reposition ourselves, renaissance the root of our cause, be reiterative, not fall into distractions, and not submit to the reality of a contour or conjuncture. This implies intellectual courage and deep human fortitude in the face of so much censorship, fear, demonization, and threat. We must make our intellectual peaceful revolution. We must kick the table and be a rebellion of lucid intellectual light. Therein lies not only the beauty of the Palestinian Cause, but the beauty of being Palestinian.

… More than an intellectual challenge, it is to liberate intellectual fear, for Zionism itself is an intellectual, academic, media, legal, historical, moral, aesthetic, religious, archeological, sociological and philosophical fraud.

The Palestinian Liberation Cause is a direct cause for the protection of the Arab, Persian, and Kurdish world from Israeli expansionist colonialism. As I heard, it was said in the neighborhood of El Guarataro, in Venezuela, the liberation of Palestine is the liberation of the world.

Let us free ourselves from the self-censorship that sets the trap for us. We must be strategic, intelligent, and subtle. We will not receive any subsidy, if we do so, we will be rejected, demonized.

They operate an extermination plan against the Palestinian people; they not only colonized the homeland, but also its history, its cuisine, and its most popular artistic expression. And it is logical to say that, for example, they colonized the falafel and the embroidery. That is proof and sample that it is colonialism that does not come from a people, it needs to disguise itself as a people and take it from the native people. They are extermination modalities; they must expel Palestine from history.

It is all about being honest, the world, yes, the world is at risk in the face of Zionism. The Palestinians have an appointment with history and it is to liberate today, in the 21st century, their people from the anachronistic and expansionist colonial regime of “Israel”. Likewise, the Palestinians have a debt with humanity itself and it is to extirpate Zionism, the most powerful fascism of our time, for this we need everybody in, which is the struggle of our time.

Let me be riddled and demonized with the filthy and bastard accusation of the Zionist supremacy of anti-Semitism. Anyway, as Ernesto Guevara used to say, “How can my life matter if what is in danger is humanity.”

Yes, the liberation of Palestine is the liberation of the world, that is to say, taking steps against imperial, colonial atrophy and barbarism synchronized by Zionism.

The gloomy thing is that if we let the Palestinian people disappear, they will sadly exist in the echo of humanity as the cursed people, that by not liberating its noble cause, humanity remains in darkness. In this case, the outcome would be a cursed Palestinian, a traitor Arab.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

The EU, Globalization and the Road to Serfdom

December 28, 2021

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

PART 1

It might be a good idea to start with some theoretical clarifications. Firstly, nationalism should not be confused with national sovereignty. Nations which are effectively ruled by outside agents – from Greece to Honduras – are not sovereign; they are colonies or vassals of some larger agency. And since they are not sovereign, the cannot be democratic, since decision making, and policies have been abrogated to an external ruling power. Secondly, nationalism: the term which in general is generally regarded as the all-weather bête noire by the orthodox left, can be and often is aggressive, racist, imperialistic, and so forth. But this is only half the story and there are ample reasons to believe that this view is both simplistic and narrowly focussed; ‘nationalism’ can be either a reactionary or a radical/progressive force, depending on the local and political circumstances. This is simply an historical fact. The latter phenomenon is particularly true of those nations which struggled under the yoke of imperialism – from Vietnam to Algeria both ex-French colonies – and who actively engaged in national repeat, national, liberation struggles involving a broad coalition of political forces

However, according to the conventional wisdom of the hyper-globalists both nation states and the whole concept of national sovereignty are now defunct. Their reasoning is based upon the following premises. 1.Most products have developed a very complex geography – with parts made in different countries and then assembled somewhere else – in which case labels of origin begin to lose their meaning. 2. Markets when left unfettered will arrive at optimal price, allocative, and productive efficiency. 3.This means that capital, commodities and labour should be free to move around the globe without let or hindrance to achieve these goals. 4. Any barriers to this process – capital controls, trade unions, exchange rate controls, welfare expenditures, minimum wage legislation, wages and even public goods – will result in price and allocative distortions. Q.E.D.

Such globalization has come to be seen and defined by its proponents as the ‘natural order’, almost a force of nature; an inevitable and inexorable process of increasing geographical spread and increasing functional integration between economic activities. This current orthodoxy goes by various other names, Washington consensus, market liberalisation, neo-liberalism and so on and so forth. In fact, there is nothing ‘natural’ about this stage of historical development, since the whole phenomenon has been politically driven from the outset. (Of which more later).

It is important to note, however, the difference between contemporary imperialism in its present stage – i.e., globalization – and the classical imperialism of pre-1914 vintage that Hobson, Lenin, Bukharin and Rosa Luxemburg were writing about. Classical imperialism was characterised by a shallow integration manifested in arms-length trade in goods and services through independent firms and international movement of portfolio capital and relatively simple direct investment. Note also that the British state granted Charters to investment entities such as the East India Company and the British South Africa Chartered Company to ‘develop’ (exploit) these colonial possessions. Thus, even at this early stage the British state actively intervened to facilitate and open up markets for British capital in India and Africa. This was the liberal epoch trade of the 19th century. Full-on globalization did not develop, however, due to inter-imperialist rivalries and mercantilist policies being carried out by the competing imperial powers (which eventuated in WW1). The opening up and liberalization of markets – which did not at that time occur – was and still is the conditio sine qua non for the development of full-blown globalization, which even today is nowhere near total.

This generalised retreat from a classical liberal colonialism began with the First World War and lasted until the early 1970s. This statist phase of the global economy was universalized in the west after the aftermath of WW2 in the form of social-democracy and the welfare state. Suffice it to say that this period is long gone having been systematically deconstructed by the present neo-liberal counter-revolution which began circa 1979. The neoliberal phase really got going in the 1980s. This was the time of the Washington Consensus a set of ideological prescriptions based upon archaic Ricardian trade theory (comparative advantage) to be followed to the letter and by all and sundry. It was argued that this would result in an economic nirvana attendant on the removal of distortions to the market mechanism brought about by welfare capitalism. To repeat: the tripod on which neoliberalism is based consists of 1. The free-movement of labour and ‘flexible’ labour markets, 2. the free movement of capital and commodities which in essence means the loss of control of monetary policy, exchange rate policy and capital controls. The neo-liberal regimen also involves 3. downward harmonisation of wages and working conditions, involving fixed term contracts, zero-hour contracts, the weakening or in the case of the United States, the virtual elimination of trade unions, stagnant wages, structural unemployment, which in turn leads to increased indebtedness which benefits the rentier class, and ongoing and deepening structural inequality. This is sometimes called austerity, but this is putting the horse before the cart. Austerity is the effect not the cause of liberalised financial, labour and commodity markets.

The present stage of neo-liberal imperialism differs from the classical stage insofar as we currently live in a world of deep integration organized primarily within and between geographical and complex global production networks as well as other mechanisms. Moreover, a new factor became apparent in this Brave New World – financialization. There has been a massive increase in both the size and scope of financial markets, with money moving electronically around the world at unprecedented speeds, generating enormous repercussions and instability. The system of unlimited fiat currencies mainly used for purely speculative purposes is resulting in ongoing asset price bubbles particularly in stocks, bonds and property, as well as other financial instruments, e.g. derivatives.

To wit:

  1. The surge of bank loans to Mexico in the 1970s – Th tequila crisis.
  2. The bubble in stocks and Real Estate in Japan – 1985-89
  3. The 1985-89 bubble in stocks and property in Norway, Finland and Sweden
  4. The bubble in real estate, stocks and currencies in East Asia in 1992-97
  5. The bubble in over the counter (OTC) stocks in the US, including hi-tech start-ups
  6. The 2002-2008. The property bubble in the US, UK, Spain, Ireland, Iceland and Greek sovereign debt. (Manias, Panics and Crashes – Kindleberger and Aliber – 2011)

Additionally, the global institutions, which emerged from the Bretton Woods Conference of 1944, the IMF, GATT/WTO, World Bank, and increasingly central banks around the world, play a crucial role of the construction of trade policies, co-ordination, guidance, as well as providing and enforcing legal statutes designed to keep the globalist ship afloat. But it should be understood that these institutions are highly politicised and ideologically driven and not disinterested arbiters of the common weal. This is amply illustrated by the recurring breakdowns in the various rounds of trade liberalization talks conducted by the WTO when what are perceived by the developing world (with some justification) as being unfair trade agreements foisted on the them by the more affluent and controlling developed states nations who control voting procedures. In passing, it should also be noted that the EU represents a regionalised version of these global institutional structures, the ECB, EC, Council of Ministers, Eurozone Finance Ministers, European Round Table of Industrialists and so forth. Moreover, there exists a revolving door – in career terms – between state institutions and private corporations. N.B. the ease of which big-time globalist financial honchos such as Henry (Hank) Paulson, Steve Mnuchin and Mario Draghi glide effortlessly between the leading US investment bank, Goldman Sachs, and the US Treasury Department and ECB.

Power to shape/control this system is concentrated in the hands of states and/or the newly emergent Transnational Corporations (TNCs). Of course, there is not going to be a simple answer to this as the relationship between these two pillars of modern imperialism is both fractious and permanently mutating. The received wisdom, as put forward by the various spokespersons for globalization, ranging from the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) OECD, and IMF, to the globalist house journals – Financial Times, The Economist and Wall Street Journal – of the global Transnational Uberklasse is predictable enough. Namely that the state is always in a subservient position vis-à-vis the dominant TNCs.

This perhaps would qualify as a procrustean effort to make the facts fit the theory. Contrary to the image of the all-powerful TNC demanding fealty and obedience from prostrate states, the relationship is somewhat more symmetrical; corporations and states are always to a certain degree joined at the hip.

‘’ … they are both competitive and competing, both supportive and conflictual. They operate in a fully dialectical relationship, locked into unified but contradictory roles and positions, neither one nor the other partner completely able to dominate.’’ (Picciotto, S. 1991 The Internationalisation of the State – Capital and Class 43.43-63)

The widespread notion that a TNC can simply up sticks and move lock, stock and barrel to a more compatible venue if its home base no longer suits it purposes is fanciful in the extreme. All TNCs have home bases, national HQs. Here is where global strategy is determined; here is where top-end R&D is carried out; here is where design and marketing strategies take place; here is where the domestic market is situated and where long-term domestic suppliers are located; here is where overseas operations are conceived planned and carried through; here is where AGMs of the Corporations takes place with published accounts circulated to all shareholders; here is where the local workforce, at all levels, is recruited; here is where the political bureaucracy and the above mentioned institutions are situated and amenable to lobbying. Picking an obvious example, the US defence industries, Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin, Northrop-Grumman are all based domestically and are not going to move out anytime soon.

It is unquestionably true that TNCs and states often have divergent goals: TNCs’ primary function is to maximise profits and enhance shareholder value, whereas the economic role of the state should be to maximise the economic welfare of its society. But although this conflictual relationship exists, states and TNCs need and lean on each other in a variety of ways. States might wish that TNCs are bound by allegiance to national borders – and in many ways they are (see above) – but total allegiance is not an option in a liberal capitalist economy. Indeed, it would be true to say that some states regard TNC (activities) as being complementary to their foreign policy. Here economic issues merge with geopolitical imperatives. For example:

‘’American political leaders have believed that the national interest has also been served by the foreign expansion of US corporations in manufacturing and services. FDI has been considered a major instrument through which the US could maintain its relative position in world markets, and the overseas expansion of TNCs has been regarded as a means to maintain America’s dominant world position.’’ (Gilpin, R. 1987 – The Political Economy of International Relations.)

On the other hand. Businesses, Corporations, TNCs, have always needed the state to provide the necessary infrastructure without which their operations would not be possible. This infrastructure includes what are sometimes called ‘public goods’ the built environment of roads, railways, airports, ports, canals, health services, education at all levels, a legal system, a centralised government with the power to tax and spend, as well as control monetary policy by a central bank, various procurement policies – in the US particularly involving the Military Industrial Complex – publicly funded research, which played an absolutely vital role in the development of the internet and Silicon Valley. In addition, there have been a range of cultural and political goods – the media for example – some of which were provided by the state, the BBC and public service broadcasting, and some by the market, newspapers and commercial television, albeit privately subsidised.

In short, the relationship between TNCs and states is complex and symmetrical and does not conform to the simplistic ‘Me Tarzan, you Jane’ globalist trope. In fact, the relationship has betimes been the other way around. During the post-war period both Japan and South Korea were at pains to block Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from overseas TNCs entering their economies, principally by operationalising import controls. This notwithstanding the fact that both countries were export orientated. The reasoning behind this policy was that the type nation-building mercantilism being which has been and is still the only way out of under-development could not work in an open liberalised economy. Similarly, Chinese development included inward FDI by overseas Corporations, BUT this time around the state-TNC roles were reversed. Automobile firms wished to invest in China for the simple reason of access to the world’s largest growing market which served as a powerful incentive for these firms to enter. But the Chinese government, consistent with its state-capitalist, mercantilist policies had complete control over such entry and adopted a policy of limited access to foreign firms. It is customary to imagine that TNCs always have the upper hand in the bargaining process, but this time it was different. Auto TNCs whose experience had conditioned them to play off states against each other, were subjected to the humbling experience of China who – given its control of FDI entry – was able to play off one TNC against another.

In fact, the East Asian development model – which for want of a better label I will call, state-capitalist mercantilism – has been successful in enabling states such as China, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and possibly Thailand, and Malaysia to claw their way out of the trap of underdevelopment. This nation-building developmental strategy was first outlined by the German economist Freidrich List. The policy advocated imposing tariffs on imported goods while supporting free trade of domestic goods and stated the cost of a tariff should be seen as an investment in a nation’s future productivity – worked and was operationalised in the 19th century by both Germany and the United States, with a view to breaking British industrial and trade hegemony, which it did. As for free-trade, that was a policy strictly for the losers who to this day stay under-developed. It is also worth adding that the East Asian development bloc did not seek permission from the imperialist behemoth to carve out their own place in the sun.

We can say, therefore, that ultimately the negotiating relationship and outcomes between states and TNCs will depend on the relative bargaining strength in any specific instance. It is argued that if nation states are capable of so much why does the record show that they have achieved so little.

Well, South Korea was about equal to Tanzania in terms of all the economic, social and cultural indictors in the 1950s when it was just recovering from the Korean war.

South Korea is now one of the developing world’s long-term success stories. The country is now classified by the World Bank as a high-income economy, with PPP income exceeding $29,000.00 in 2010. Korean consumer electronics and other goods – auto-vehicles, Kia and Hyundai – have become synonymous with high quality and low price. Even more impressive is Korea’s achievements in social development, in education, and health. Life expectancy is now over 75 and the country’s HDI was placed 26th in 2004. As was the case in Japan inward investment was discouraged in favour of an infant protection industry and export led growth. Exports in such sectors as consumer electronics and auto-vehicles, and more recently in high technology have grown at an extraordinary rate. One very important reason for this has been a national strategy that has favoured the promotion of increasingly sophisticated exports and technology. Strong financial incentives for industrial firms to move up the value chain of skills and technology were built into most of the government’s policies. These policies included:

1. Currency Undervaluation: The effective exchange rate favoured cheaper exports and more expensive imports – an overt mercantilist approach

2. Preferential access to imported intermediate inputs needed to produce export goods

3. Targeted infant industry protection as a first stage before launching an export drive.

4. Tariff exemption on imports of capital goods needed in exporting activities

5. Tax breaks for domestic suppliers of inputs to exporting firms, which constitutes a domestic content incentive

6. Domestic indirect tax exemptions for successful exporters.

7. Lower direct taxation on incomes gained from exports.

8. The creation of public enterprises to lead the way in establishing a new industry.

9. The setting of export targets for firms.

(Todaro and Smith – Economic Development – 2009)

These policies were, of course, and still are, the exact opposite of the Ricardian free-trade comparative advantage model and are an anathema to any orthodox economists.

Herewith a development comparison Tanzania/South Korea.

Tanzania:

GDP, US$47,652 – GDP per capitaUS$857 – Education Expenditure US$1678.9, Govt Health Expenditure per capita US$24

South Korea:

GDP = US$1,411,042 – GDP per capitaUS$27,535 – Education Expenditure US$ 289,283.4 -Govt. Health Expenditure per capita US$159. (countryeconomy.com)

I think this is enough and don’t wish to labour the point, the gap is self-evidently enormous. But now the subsidiary question arises: what explains the divergent paths of development for two countries starting at the same point?

Well, according to the conventional wisdom ‘‘the incidence of wealth is only weakly related to the way in which the sovereign power of the state is exercised and is much more closely aligned to the ways in which states are aligned with the circuits of global capitalism.’’ Wrong! Political agency has everything to do with economic and social development, ‘‘and the way in which the sovereign power of the state is exercised.’’ If this were not the case East Asian development strategies would never have worked. Modernisation and development requires/required the indispensable political prerequisite of a modernising, nation-building ruling stratum which mobilises the whole nation in this revolution from above. This pattern has always been almost without exception the historical experience of capitalist development.

Such political and state institutions together with modernising class forces have/been and are, notably weak or even absent in what we generally refer to as the under-developed or developing world. ‘States’ (and I use this term advisably) such as Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo lack the political and social modern(ising), structures and institutions as we understand them which might bring about economic and social development. Crucially, the class structure of these societies is dominated by a comprador bourgeoisie, a self-aggrandising, self-serving elite whose interests are intertwined with the imperial overlord in the ongoing exploitation and looting of their own country. We also know that such nations are stuck in the production of raw materials and agricultural products – low value-added, low research-intensive, low-productivity, primary commodities – all of which are both price and income inelastic and have had a tendency toward price stagnation and decline in the long run – a structural deterioration in their terms of trade. (Oil may be an exception to this, but oil prices are notoriously volatile.) Thus, the unequal and increasing gap between the higher income and lower income countries. But is this the end of the matter? Well from a rigidly structuralist point of view it would seem to be. History, however, is an open ended and semi-voluntaristic process – as the famous quote goes, ‘Men make history, but do not do it as they please’ – and a number of possibilities for fundamental structural changes exist. But for real change to take place both economic and political/ideological conditions must be present.

‘’History has shown that the vicious circles of poverty and underdevelopment can be effectively attacked only by qualitatively changing the production structures of poor and failing states. A successful strategy implies an increasing diversification away from sectors with diminishing returns (traditional raw materials and agriculture) to sectors with constant and increasing returns (technology, intensive manufacturing and services) creating a new and more complex division of labour and new social-economic structures in the process. In addition to breaking away from subsistence agriculture, this will create an urban market for goods, which will further induce specialization and innovation, bring in new technologies, create both alternative employment and the economic synergies that unite a nation state. The key to economic development is the interplay between the sectors with increasing and diminishing returns in the same labour market.’’ (How Rich Countries got Rich, Why Poor Countries Stay Poor – Erik Reinert).

Thus, if you wish to bake a cake these are the ingredients. But comprador bourgeoisies and their imperial sponsors have other priorities and preoccupations, nation-building and economic development are not among them.

PART 2

Turning to the EU the regional prototype for the globalization project, it was Patrick Buchanan, an American conservative who once correctly stated in ‘The American Conservative’ that the US Congress ‘is an Israeli occupied zone’’ by which he meant of course that Israel and the Israeli Lobby, both external and internal, has had a huge input into the framing and operation of US foreign policy. In a similar vein the EU is also occupied territory under the tutelage of US imperialism. (This process of blatant meddling in European affairs by the US-CIA started with ‘Operation Gladio’ in the late 1940s) but the perceived enemy was not merely Soviet communism, but also sotto voce European social and political theory and practise, notably, Gaullism and social-democracy, both of which have long since been politically cleansed with the EU being reconfigured as neo-liberal, and (since the alignment of the EU security structures have been aligned with NATO) neo-conservative vassal states overseen and represented by odious little Petainist/Quisling occupation regimes. This is only too apparent when the fawning behaviours of May, Macron and Merkel vis-à-vis the US are observed. Whenever the US master says jump, the Europeans will reply ‘how high’ And this is even more pronounced by the newly arrived Eastern European states. A group which Dick Cheney once described as the ‘new Europe.’ By which meant the political force which was operationalised to fundamentally change the political direction of the EU in the late 20th century. Euro-widening was meant to prevent euro-deepening, and it worked a treat.

The ongoing Americanisation of Europe carries with it the toxic values of liberal individualism, market liberalisation, structural inequality, a philosophy of winner takes all, and a rapacious/murderous imperialism. A nightmare Hobbesian world of a ‘war of everyman against everyman’; John Stuart Mill also weighed in with considerable disdain writing ‘I confess I am not charmed with the ideal of life held out by those who think that the normal state of human beings is that of struggling to get on; that of trampling, crushing, elbowing, and treading on each other’s heels, which forms the existing type of social life are the most desirable lot of humankind … (J.S.Mill – Principles of Political Economy).

The Americanisation process has been going on for the last half century. It degrades Europe, causes it to regress, forces it to abandon everything in its progressive past contribution to the capitalist stage of production the antidotes which it allowed it to resist the liberal poison and promote democracy and equality despite it.

‘’Old Europe’’ has nothing to learn from ‘’Young America.’’ There will be no progress possible on any European project as long as the US grand strategy is not foiled.’’ (The Liberal Virus – Samir Amin)

One particular crisis in the EU – the unfolding to the denouement of the Greek debacle – has presented an archetypal learning curve for an understanding of the structural problems involved in the EU and occasioned a virtual industry of copious tracts which purport to explain the crisis, and I have no wish to repeat the whole sorry tale here. I would say, however, that if Syriza was in earnest in taking on the Troika it would have required not just an imaginary backing of a long-defunct and toothless euro social-democracy, but also a withdrawal from the euro – certainly a leap into the unknown. Assuredly this would have been a high-risk policy – and no-one should be under the illusion that there is any easy way out. The trouble is that social-democracy has vanished into history; the soft-options specialists. The SPD (Germany) PS (France) PASOK (Greece) PSOE (Spain) are political organizations which might (occasionally) refer to themselves as social-democrats, or even on occasion ‘socialists’ but of course they are nothing of the sort. ‘By their works shall thee know them.’

And,

‘’ … Syriza’s strategy was not only long-run but also attempted to incorporate the social virtues of Europe’s once dominant social-democratic heritage. What Syriza did not adequately understand, however, was that heritage was now history, buried deep under the refuse pile of new neo-liberal values.’’ (Looting Greece – Jack Rasmus)

Now we have Varoufakis going on to declare that the ‘nation is dead’. Well, that is certainly true of Greece, which is now to all intents and purposes a colony with the grotesque spectacle of Syriza now playing a governing role in a regime that at one time it stridently opposed. The assertion that nations as such are no longer sovereign – a statement which is wrong both theoretically and empirically – but has a limited application. Truth be told some states are more sovereign than others, and the sovereign nations call the shots vis-à-vis the vassal/colonies which are not sovereign. (One wonders if the United States, or Israel or indeed Syria which has been engaged in physically defending its sovereignty for some time, are not sovereign. I think they are, but Mr Varoufakis may wish to differ) Greek sovereignty and democracy disappeared when the Troika and EU finance ministers and French and German banks forced the surrender and took over the running(-down) of the Greek economy. But this was inevitable in a liberal internationalist globalist economy; open borders will simply mean that TNCs will be free to exploit the productive resources of any country in the world – particularly labour – in order to maximise their economic power at the expense of society’s. In other words, societies with open markets, will be unable to impose any effective controls to protect themselves from the rapacious incursions of TNCs as Polanyi pointed out long ago.

So, what does the ‘supra-national’ solution offer other than comforting words.

Try the following.

‘’DiEM2025 stands today as an attempt to learn the lessons of defeat, and to prepare for future struggles for building a stronger network, not of globalists, but left-wing internationalists whose strategies for advance include the dislocation of imperialist economic chains, as well as real progress in building the capacities of national societies to strengthen democracy and provide for the well-being of their nations.’’

All of which strikes this writer as a series of clichés and meaningless abstractions. Please note, the dog-eared phraseology, ‘learn the lessons of defeat’ ‘prepare for future struggles’ ‘strengthen democracy’ and ‘provide for the well-being of their populations.’ You might as well throw in motherhood and apple pie whilst you’re at it.

Then comes the dawn of realization that ‘a future Labour government which -assuming of course that the next government will be Labour – attempting to carry out its declared programme of bringing some elements of the economy under national control ‘’will come under the assault not only from the EU, but also Washington.’’ Really! Never occurred to me that! What does a Labour government do in this hypothetical situation? Surrender, Syriza style. No, we apparently need a Europe-wide supra-national strategy based upon what policies exactly? We must assume, according to the orthodoxy, that the nation state is either dead or dying, an article of faith of the globalist left and the Washington Consensus. Ergo, the policy the ‘left internationalists’ is one of inter alia ‘strengthening democracy’ – all very noble. But provided that the neo-liberal tripod of the three freedoms of movement – capital, labour, commodities – remains in place, political change will not take place. And provided the institutional infrastructure of globalized capitalism – the IMF, WTO, World Bank, the EU are overseeing and enabling the neoliberal project economic and political change will not take place. It is not the shackles of nationalism that give rise to the bureaucratic monstrosity which is the EU but precisely the opposite. The neo-liberal imperatives of open borders, liberalized markets, flexible labour markets and freedom of movement of labour, capital and commodities, might have had something to do with it. Unless these political/ideological roadblocks are addressed the status quo will continue and continue to deteriorate.

In terms of alliance building, political convergence between states cannot be constructed at regional (for example the EU) or even less so at global levels even if it is not achieved firstly at the level of nations. Because whether we like it or not, nations define and manage concrete realities and challenges, and it is only at these levels that changes in the social and political balance of forces to the advantage of the popular classes will or will not occur. Changes at the regional and global level may reflect national advances and certainly facilitate them – but nothing more.

In order to stop the onward march of globalist neoliberalism governments and state must regain control of their economies. There is no single way to achieve this critical goal, but without it hemispheric co-operation will remain little more than an empty rhetorical flourish. Moreover, everywhere electorates are looking to governments to be a counterweight to footloose corporations. It is this intuitive perception to rein-in markets that will increasingly occupy centre-stage between pro and anti the coming decade. For social-political movements the nation-state continues to be the chosen instrument for the organization of society. However much social institutions will have to adapt to new global pressures, what is not in doubt is that the nation-state remains the crucible for equality seeking movements the world over. Efficiency, profitability and competitiveness have not won the hearts and minds of the peoples worldwide.’’ (States Against Markets – Boyer and Drache)

Reform of the EU, which I understand to be the goal of the campaign of pro-EU aligned leftist factions, fails to take into consideration the fact that the EU cannot be reformed since its whole ideological structure and constitution is built upon neo-liberal technocratic assumptions which can clearly be identified in the interior belief-systems of the bureaucracy and consequently the daily practise and deliberations of its internal institutions. Being explicitly designed on a neoliberal model which was cemented by legal statutes have made such changes impossible.

‘’Any belief that the EU can be ‘democratised’ and reformed in a progressive direction is a pious illusion. Not only would this require an impossible alignment of left movements/governments to emerge simultaneously at the international level. On a more fundamental level, a system that was created with the specific aim of constraining democracy cannot be democratised. It can only be rejected.’’ (Thomas Fawzi – Lexit Digest)

Reinforcing the conservative structure of the EU’s political institutions, and here I have in mind the European Parliament, are dominated by two powerful blocs.

1. An alliance of political parties, centre-left and centre-right which form the usual centrist mish-mash, the extreme centre, as it has been called. This centrist bloc is composed predominantly of euro-enthusiasts and who command a working majority in the European parliament and other EU institutions. 2. The geo-political alliance – i.e., the infusion of members of the ‘New Europe’ into the EU, who were generally very pro-American and fanatically Russophobic, this along with the parallel expansion and incorporation of these new states into NATO has served to undermine some of the earlier Gaullist and social democratic traditions in Europe.

It seems clear, therefore, that the pro-EU bloc which dominates the political, economic and strategic agenda of the EU, in addition to the permanent institutional structures which are mandated to carry out existing policies, will continue to do so for any foreseeable future despite the pipe-dreams of the ‘left-wing internationalists’. Even Varoufakis has admitted that this approach is frankly ‘utopian’ – and if this is the case, the Remainer left can only play games and give a leftish veneer in an attempt to reform what they apparently believe is an unstoppable historical development (globalization). (Lexit Digest)

Having said all this the final outcome of this imbroglio may include elements of piecemeal reform and/and or outright rejection, which is what usually happens. We shall see. But it would be useful perhaps to have an open dialogue between all parties involved rather than highly partisan and misleading attempts to smear and shout down opponents – and we are all guilty to a degree in this respect – who may have something positive to offer.

On Haaretz: Can Settler Colonialism Be Liberal and Apartheid Be Progressive?

December 13, 2021

Palestinians at an Israeli military checkpoint. (Photo: via ActiveStills.org)

By Ilan Pappe

Can you imagine in the heyday of Apartheid in South Africa, a political movement or newspaper that would be regarded as liberal, and commended worldwide for its bravery, notwithstanding expressing their support for the Apartheid system itself? Can you imagine what would have happened if the thrust of the anti-apartheid movement in Africa would be based on the idea that Apartheid itself is fine, but some of its atrocious policies are unacceptable? Would apartheid have ever ended if this was the gist of the opposition to it? The answer is obvious – only those who opposed apartheid to the core contributed to its fall.

In the case of Israel, it seems that even pro-Palestinian outfits and activists do not fully comprehend the elasticity of liberal Zionism and its role in providing a shield of immunity to the Zionist regime itself. A case in point is the newspaper, Haaretz, entirely loyal to the Zionist ideology and part of the settler-colonial project from its very beginning and, yet, it is commended worldwide.  Its reports are used as the most authentic and truthful evidence of what goes on, in particular, in the occupied territories (it is more cautious when dealing with the more sophisticated apartheid exercised against the ‘48 Arabs, the Palestinian citizens of Israel).

It is not as if there are no alternative sources to Haaretz; there are, among others, the six human rights organizations which Israel, with American consent, declared as terrorist organizations (MERETZ, the only liberal Zionist party in the Knesset, with whom Haaretz is rightly identified with, at first raised its objections to the move, than it had a short meeting with the head of the Shaback, and has not uttered a word ever since).[i]

A recent critique, coupled with appreciation, on the usage of the term Apartheid by Betzelm (B’tselem) has shown that the difference between Palestinian human rights organizations’ reports and those of the Zionist left is in the contextualization of the facts within a wider ideological and moral discussion.[ii] These Palestinian organizations may provide similar information, as Haaretz, Betzelm or Human Rights Watch do on the Israeli abusive policies but, unlike the other sources, they contextualize their report with a profound understanding about the destructive nature of Zionism and the settler-colonial state of Israel.

Even the worst atrocity can be tolerated and explained, if it is de-contextualized – namely is not related to an ideology – and, thus, the discreet dots of Israeli criminality are not connected together to provide the full and truthful picture of the real intent of the settler-colonial project of Zionism that will not end until it is stopped – which is to eliminate the Palestinians and Palestine. I am sure we all understand that elimination can take more than one form: it could be genocide, it could be incremental ethnic cleansing, sieges, closures, blockades and starvation, as well the erasure of heritage, history and culture. It can take place in dramatic operations or on a daily basis and can be directed towards the individual or the society, as a whole.

The need to appropriate and also regulate the criticism of Israel is the major project of Liberal Zionism – sometimes referred to as the Israeli Left – and its main mouthpiece is Haaretz. The newspaper is also connected to an NGO called Akevot (footprints) and its chief historian, Adam Raz, proudly broadcasting his Zionism. Occasionally, Raz shares with the readers new evidence on the 1948 massacres or abuses of the ‘48 Arabs under military rule. He also publishes books in Hebrew on the topic and is the editor of the mouthpiece of the Berl Katzanelson Fund, Telem (Katzanelson was the chief ideologue of the Zionist Labour movement, who advocated openly and relentlessly the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians since the 1930s). Thankfully, his manipulative method was exposed recently by one of the last remaining Israeli historians with a solid moral backbone, Rona Sela, in the Jerusalem Quarterly.[iii]

Palestinians, and those who support the struggle, benefit from being exposed to the material; it would be much better to be able to access it ourselves, which we will not be able to do. Those who run the archives, as well as Haaretz, understand that liberal Zionist historians can be trusted with this damning material. Liberal Zionism has always been obsessed with finding the balance between the high moral ground and the wish to portray Israel as a civilized State that errs here and there (which usually means killing Palestinians throughout history). The message is clear: none of these mistakes, even if they are war crimes or crimes against humanity, to which the Liberal Zionist admits, should cast doubt on Zionism, or the very idea about the legitimacy of Israel to remain a racist and ethnic Jewish State at the heart of the Arab world.

When it comes to the truth, the Palestinians have nothing to lose. Even without the reports in the Haaretz on the present or past abuses against the Palestinians, there are enough sources, including this particular venue, that tell the world what it needs to know on Palestine’s past and present. These other sources contain ample information for anyone interested to form an educated and moral position on the ongoing Nakba in Palestine.

So why do I, and many others, still use Haaretz as a source? The main reason is that, unfortunately, we feel, perhaps wrongly, that we still need to legitimize or, rather, ‘Kosherize’ basic truths about Palestine through Israeli and Zionist sources. As a “new historian” in Israel, I fully understood the initial uneasiness with which our works were received by Palestinian scholars who had already worked on the subject.

The “new historians” contributed to the legitimization of the Palestine narrative; but it is outrageous that it needed to be legitimized. I have personally dealt with this dilemma and have shed the “new historian” reference and, instead of being a legitimizer, I see myself as a professional historian of Palestine, totally committed to the struggle – who contributes, rather than supplements – to the solidification of the Palestinian narrative; a narrative which is still denied in too many places, as is the Nakba altogether.

However, it is time to clarify and focus our strategy, at least as scholars and activists, at a time when the global political elites – with a handful of exceptions – still use the liberal Zionist aspect of life in Israel to justify their unconditional support for the Apartheid State of Israel. I am aware that we are all waiting eagerly, and I hope this will unfold in the near future, for a repristinate and united Palestinian collective leadership to take us forward in the struggle of liberation, either as Palestinians or as their supporters. In the meantime, a lucid and accurate language which includes a clear definition of Zionism with all its more deceiving innuendoes is as important as any other aspects of the struggle for justice and freedom in Palestine.

We can demand from our liberal Zionist friends that they walk the extra mile into anti-Zionism, as much as we demanded clear anti-Apartheid moral stances from our white friends in apartheid South Africa. There is no progressive settler colonialism, liberal ethnic cleansing or enlightened occupation. These are all forms of inhumanity that we should oppose in the name of humanity.

Footnotes: 

[i]  The last condemnation by the paper and the party was on October 23, 2021, and since then total silence.

[ii] https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/2/10/btselems-bombshell-apartheid-report-stating-the-obvious

[iii] https://www.palestine-studies.org/sites/default/files/jq-articles/A%20Question%20of%20Responsibility.pdf

– Ilan Pappé is a professor at the University of Exeter. He was formerly a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa. He is the author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, The Modern Middle East, A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples, and Ten Myths about Israel. Pappé is described as one of Israel’s ‘New Historians’ who, since the release of pertinent British and Israeli government documents in the early 1980s, have been rewriting the history of Israel’s creation in 1948. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Israeli “Educational Farm”: An Overt Attempt to Judaize Palestinian Land

Nov 4, 2021

Source: Israeli Media

By Al Mayadeen Net

How an “Educational farm” in Wadi Rababa is really another conquest for eradicating Palestinian heritage and agriculture at the hands of Israeli colonialism.

A fence was erected around the “educational farm” in Wadi Rababa

The Ir David Foundation, a right-wing organization in “Israel”, opened an “Educational farm” in Wadi Rababa, where the land is registered under the name of the “Israel” Nature and Parks Authority (INPA).

The farm, which opened in August, boasts attractions that allow visitors to learn about so-called “traditional agriculture.”

The funny part?

Many of the olive groves located in the adjacent neighborhoods of Abu Tor and Silwan neighborhoods that have been cultivated by Palestinians for years, are strategically left out of the farm in an attempt to replace the current traditions with a right-wing Jewish version.

See more: Palestine: No Justice Is Served under the Occupation, even Climate

Ir David, the supposed nonprofit organization whose funding mainly comes from transferred US funds in the form of nondisclosed donations, runs the site, and settles Jewish families in the neighboring Silwan. 

Even some Israelis were taken aback by the brazen attack on the Palestinian land. A member of the left-wing Emek Shahveh organization commented by saying, ” The infuriating thing about what’s happening in the ‘Hinnom Valley’ is that in the name of development that masquerades as an ancient agricultural landscape, they are displacing the traditional Palestinian agriculture that has preserved the historic character of the place.” 

National Park or Constructed Disaster? 

In 1974, “Israel” bestowed the area around the Old City with national park status. 

According to the INPA, development-related activity may be carried out anywhere in the area in order to protect the land and render it accessible to visitors. 

Ahmed Somrin, whose family owns property in Abu Tor and Silwan, says they “clean up this land and pick the olives that are here every year.” 

Somrin details how land near Silwan and Wadi el Joz that has been cultivated by his family for generations has been handed a landscaping order. Of course, owners of land are not permitted to interfere with “temporary gardening”.

Since a recent court decision ruled that the INPA was permitted to enter the olive tree area in order to maintain and clean it as a “fire precaution,” the INPA recently entered Somrin’s property, and broke through a wall in the process.

It is one of many of “Israel’s” colonial vandalism of lands of Palestinian livelihood and sustenance. 

ICRC data revealed that “over the period of one year (August 2020 – August 2021) more than 9,300 trees were destroyed in the occupied West Bank.”

According to a study published in 2012 by the “Applied Research Institute Jerusalem” (ARIJ), Israeli occupation forces have uprooted 800,000 Palestinian olive trees in the West Bank since 1967.

Wall broken by INPA to access Ahmad Somrin’s olive grove.

“The Nature and Parks Authority built walls there and turned over the earth and put down red dirt and planted centuries-old trees from who knows where,” Somrin said.

“They want to change the face of it to make it look not like Arab land but like Jewish nature.”

The New Orwellian World Based On Control & Surveillance

14 OCTOBER 2021

Sonja van den Ende

Source

The New Orwellian World Based On Control & Surveillance

I wrote about it many times, we can see it’s progressing, but only in the so-called developed world. A dystopian society, which is doomed to fail, eventually. A world of surveillance, health-dictatorship, QR codes, cashless payments and for most people unlivable, it resembles the old systems like fascism or totalitarian communism, in a new outfit, which I will call a technocratic based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) totalitarian system, but all systems and ideologies that become totalitarian will fall, history has learned.

A lot of evidence about the dystopian new society, based on so-called pandemic, or as I would call it a new technocratic dictatorial, including health, system has been put in place in many parts of the developed world, tests for this new worldwide including social credit system has been performed in Africa, as I wrote before experiments are conducted in Africa to implement this social credit system, based on a pandemic, with the cooperation of GAVI, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and with the World Economic Forum. They ironically call it a “Wellnes-pass”, mind you in Africa, how utopian you can get! As we all know by now (I sincerely hope many are awake) it was never about a virus, but about control, smart cities, electrical cars, where Africa will be exploited again for Lithium, also Afghanistan, this is why the Western world had to withdraw, a geopolitical conflict is going on, not about Afghanistan as a territory, or pity the people, but about Lithium. Build Back Better, depopulation of the world, which Bill Gates and especially his father are experts in doing so are all part of the new dystopian world.

Even the Catholic Church is involved in this great experiment, in Africa of course since many years, but also in the Western world, after years of child abuse and pedophilia scandals, they are just continuing with their unchristian policies. But we must not forget that the Catholic Church is an outgrowth of the Roman Empire, or as many these days call it the British Empire, basically it’s the same, it’s all about the Western unipolar ideology and colonialism with all their excesses. So the church, i.e. the Catholic, is involved in this dystopian new world, because they have a lot of money and have their own state called the Vatican. The Protestant church is not in this position and is now seen as an ‘enemy’ of the state, especially in the Netherlands. The Dutch government has now started their ‘soft approach’ to persecute the Protestants, a deja-vu is emerging about the times of the Huguenots, it is actually the descendants of these Huguenots, who will suffer the same fate again, now in the countries they had chosen centuries ago, to be free and where people are tolerant. In the Netherlands these Protestants will be forced into lockdowns, because many of them, on religious grounds, won’t be vaccinated. Also, the Dutch government has started (with organizations) a research project, to establish if the Protestant church was involved into slavery in the Dutch East Indies. Of course they were, the whole of society was in these days, but the biggest criminals, just like now, are the rich, the elite and the Dutch royal family, who pretend to be Christian, but this Christianity is just a show, a performance for the ignorant citizens.

The Dutch parliament rejected a motion that various parties, including Forum for Democracy (FVD) submitted against the introduction of a social credit system in the Netherlands, the government can now legally introduce the social credit system, which they have already started, of course, by introducing the so-called QR Corona pass. The next step is the Co2 level and the measurement of eating meat and eventually censor the Internet, by introducing a digital pass, put on your existing pass to use the internet. The European Union (EU) Social Credit System will me much worse than the Chinese experiment, which was only conducted in a few cities. The EU social credit system is about total control, about your body, your behaviour, your private life and eventually about your physical life, when you don’t comply, there will be no mercy and no help, your life will be like a wanderer, without any benefits or life as you used to know it, be prepared.

In other parts of the Western world, like in Australia, the dystopian society has become reality already. Australia with its past and present and being part of the British Empire (BE) and under the influence of the US, preparing for a conflict with China, Australia is closest to China and we all know their new “AUKUS” a new so-called security pact between The UK, US and Australia, in what’s seen as an effort to counter China. To be prepared and outsmart China, they already started with their draconian social credit system and moreover and most worse their surveillance state has become reality, alarming reports come out of the country which was once called the land of the free is now the most repressive country in the Western world and I wonder where Amnesty International or Human Right are? Of course, they will not report, they are a tool from the same Western world, reporting only about non-complying countries like Russia, Syria or the underdeveloped countries. But Australia was always a ‘racist’ country built on the principles of murdering the Aboriginals and sending criminals to their conquered land. Canada is another example, in a different way than Australia but withe the same ideology. Of course, the uttermost worst country is the so-called democracy of Israel, where life is “hell” for most citizens, it was already worse for Palestinians, but now especially for the Orthodox Jews.

Conclusion

I would like to write a conclusion, but can we make a conclusion? I guess not, the world as we are experiencing it today, is unstable, full of conflict and polarization, with many geopolitical differences. I am afraid we are back, like the roaring twenties of the last century resulting in the grim thirties, unemployment, the introduction (by force) of a new system, designed by the elite of the Western world. Like now It’s ripe for conflict and most likely war, not like WWII but a different war, biological warfare (maybe we are already experiencing this), depopulation agenda, implemented by vaccinations and biological warfare and the introduction of AI. Eugenics (not new) is necessary according to the elite, like in the two world wars were eugenics happened through killing of soldiers on the battlefield and of course the holocaust. Now according to the elite there are too many mouths to feed and no jobs (AI) and of course the elite will not share their money with the poor. A dark time in human history has come again.

إعلان نهاية زمن القوة وتفكك الناتو والولايات المتحدة


الخميس 18 آب 2021

ناصر قنديل

تقول القرون الثلاثة الماضية أنّ الدول الغربية التي تولت بالتتابع قيادة الغرب بمشاريع استعمارية لم تبنِ قوتها العسكرية لحفظ أمنها، أو الدفاع عن جغرافيتها، أو ردع من يستهدفها، فالبرتغال وهولندا وإسبانيا وبريطانيا وفرنسا، وقد ورثتهم جميعاً وتولت توحيدهم وقيادتهم أميركا، بنوا قواهم العسكرية وحرصوا على فائض قوة هائل، لمنح المشروع الاستعماري الذي ظهر مع النهضة الصناعية  كتتمة لا بد منها للسيطرة على مصادر المواد الخام، والمعادن خصوصاً والنفط والغاز لاحقاً، والإمساك بالأسواق الاستهلاكية ولاحقاً باليد العاملة المهنية الرخيصة، وبدا واضحاً أيضاً أنّ كل تغيير شهدناه كان في شكل المشروع الاستعماري وعناوينه وليس في جوهره، فالحديث عن تصدير الديمقراطية هو تتمة الحديث عن تعمير بلدان ما وراء البحار، والقوة العسكرية كانت دائماً هي أداة الإخضاع والردع وبناء الحكومات التابعة، وحول هذه القوة تمّ بناء الأحلاف، ورُسمت السياسات، وجرى تحديد الاستراتيجيات.

عندما يقف الرئيس الأميركي ومن خلفه النخبة الحاكمة للإعلان عن أنّ الانسحاب من أفغانستان هو إيذان بنهاية زمن صناعة السياسة بواسطة القوة العسكرية، وأن هذا الانسحاب يترجم معادلة جديدة قوامها عدم استعمال القوة العسكرية لبناء دول تتبع النموذج الغربي، فهو يعلن نهاية قرون شكلت خلالها هذه القوة العسكرية صانع السياسة الأول، وكانت مهمّتها الرئيسية بناء حكومات تابعة في دول العالم، وهذه النهاية ستطرح أسئلة كبرى حول نوع القوة التي يحتاجها الغرب الذي تقوده أميركا للمهمة الجديدة التي قال الرئيس الأميركي أنها تنحصر بحماية الأمن القومي من خطر الإرهاب، وردع أي محاولة للاعتداء على الداخل الأميركي، كما يطرح السؤال حول مبرر الاحتفاظ بتلك القوة التي كانت لازمة لإخضاع العالم وخوض حروب السيطرة والهيمنة، واستطراداً ما هو مبرّر بقاء حلف الأطلسي الذي قال قادته أنه يحصد أكبر هزيمة في تاريخه، وقال قادته أنّ زعيمة الحلف قد خذلتهم، وأنهم عاجزون عن رسم سياسات بديلة من دونها، والسؤال حول  مستقبل حلف الأطلسي ليس مبالغة، فالدول المنضوية في الحلف لا تخشى من غزو خارجي بل كانت تتطلع لغزو بلاد الآخرين، فإذا كان هذا زمن مضى فلم تحتفظ بتمويل ولم تخصص الجهود والجنود للحفاظ على هذا الحلف؟

في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية ستتم عملية فكّ وتركيب اقتصادية وسياسية وفقاً للمنظور الاستراتيجي الذي فرضته الهزيمة في أفغانستان، فالقطاعات الاقتصادية المرتبطة ببناء الجيوش وتجهيزها وتخديمها، غير تلك الخاصة بالأسلحة النووية، باتت بلا جدوى، وحجم الجيوش صار موضع نقاش، والانتشار العسكري في العالم صار بحاجة إلى تدقيق، لصالح نظرية الحفاظ على بعض الوجود النوعي المتحرك بحرياً لحماية الملاحة في الممرات والمضائق، وترك اليابسة، وفي ظل فشل حروب السيطرة والصعود الروسي العسكري التقليدي، والصعود الصيني الاقتصادي، بالإضافة لذلك وتداعياته البنوية، وفي ظلّ هذه التحولات، يحقّ للشركات الأميركية التي كانت تستثمر على القوة العسكرية طلباً للسيطرة على المواد الخام والأسواق، وفرض معادلات التسعير في هذين المجالين بما يناسبها ويضعف فرص منافسة خصومها، أن تسأل عن مبرر مواصلة ذلك، وبمثل ما كانت عملية نهب المستعمرات وتحويلها إلى أسواق استهلاكية، مصدر الرفاه الداخلي في بلدان الغرب، ستخرج الولايات الغنية في أميركا ومثلها الولايات البيضاء العنصرية، لتسأل عن مبرّر البقاء تحت ظل الدولة الفدرالية والقيام بتمويلها، طالما أن هذه الدولة الفدرالية تستقيل من المهمة الرئيسية التي كانت تبرّر وجودها، وهي مهمة الهيمنة على العالم، تحت شعارات الديمقراطية.

الهزيمة الأميركية والغربية في أفغانستان زلزال عالمي أكبر من زلزال فييتنام، وتداعياته على الداخل الغربي والأميركي، أكبر من تداعيات الانسحاب على أفغانستان ودول الجوار، فالتداعيات الإقليمية تبدو تكتيكية وقابلة للاحتواء من القيادات الأفغانية ودول الجوار، بخلاف التداعيات الغربية والأميركية  التي تبدو استراتيجية إن لم تكن وجودية أصلاً، ويبقى السؤال الكبير الذي يطرحه قادة كيان الاحتلال هل يشمل هذا التغيير فرضية القتال الأميركي دفاعاً عن الكيان إذا ظهر مهدّداً بالزوال ومعرضاً للتفكك؟

مقالات متعلقة

From Judaism to Fascism: How Zionists Turned Their Backs on Their Own Culture

July 15th, 2021

By Eleanor Goldfield

Source

For the Zionists, the drive to climb the blood-soaked ladder of imperialism, to no longer be on the bottom rungs, shrouded not only their humanity but their own cultural teachings.

WASHINGTON — In late June of this year, New Scientist blandly reported that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had “used a swarm of small drones to locate, identify and attack Hamas militants,” the first documented case of a drone swarm being used in so-called combat.

In his book, “Exterminate All The Brutes,” Sven Lindqvist contextualizes Adolf Hitler’s atrocities in the imperialist violence of the nineteenth century, and in one chapter outlines how European artillery advancements gave colonizers both emotional and physical distance from the indigenous Africans they slaughtered. Europeans were an “invisible and unreachable opponent,” capable of being “victorious without even being present.” This can’t really be called combat, and indeed even Winston Churchill referred to it as “only a sporting element in a splendid game.” Combat was something gentlemen did and in the imperialist mindset, of course, the Africans were savages, barely even human.

There’s a thread that links this kind of “sport” from the atrocities in Africa to the Holocaust and now, so ironically, to the state of Israel.

Your Lebensraum, my Lebensraum

In the 1890s, a German zoologist named Friedrich Ratzel coined the term “Lebensraum,” which literally translates to living space. Those who have studied the Holocaust might be familiar with it as the Third Reich’s reasoning for invading Central and Eastern Europe. Well, this is where they got the idea. Besides the European Scramble for Africa, Ratzel had been inspired by his travels to North America, where he saw how white colonizers were taking land by force. Seeing this as a positive and indeed necessary transgression, Ratzel fashioned a brutal Darwinian ideology: in order to acquire sufficient Lebensraum, inferior races have to be displaced, which incidentally often means they will die and leave the space entirely. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The whole concept of Zionism is that Jews need specific and exclusive Lebensraum. Therefore, others must be displaced. This displacement, far from being a negative or even cruel endeavor, merely proves the supremacy of the displacer, thereby proving the necessity of exterminating the displaced. As Lindqvist writes “during Hitler’s childhood, a major element in the European view of mankind was the conviction that ‘inferior races’ were by nature condemned to extinction; the true compassion of the superior races consisted in helping them on the way.”

During the Holocaust, Jews were an ‘inferior race.’ Today in Israel, Palestinians are an ‘inferior race.’ As reporter and The Electronic Intifada Associate Editor Nora Barrows-Friedman told me when I asked her how Zionists respond to Jewish teachings of solidarity with the oppressed: “When you talk to Zionists about Jewish teachings and how that relates to the Palestinians, they say ‘well we’re not oppressing them, they’re not even people,’” a line that could have easily been taken from Hitler himself. And when Adolf was still just a young lad in Austria, that same sub-human paradigm fueled the celebratory reports of European barbarity in Africa, as well as the U.S. and Canadian genocide of indigenous peoples in North America.

Jude (jew)
The word Jude (Jew) is scrawled on a Jewish-rub shop in Berlin following Nazi-incited mass riots in 1938. Photo | AP

It’s important to place Israel’s atrocities in historical context, for we can only know where we are by understanding where we’ve been. Hitler did not exist in an ideological vacuum. He simply looked around at the world he was born into and pulled from already existing ideologies, tried and true tactics. He was inspired by people like imperialist sycophant Ratzel, who was inspired by the U.S. Hitler too was a big fan of U.S. domestic policy, not least of all the Jim Crow laws that he simply repackaged into yellow fabric Stars of David. Even the concentration camp predates Hitler’s rise to power. The concept was originally used by Spaniards in Cuba then moved north to the U.S., then across the pond to England during the Boer War, and finally a hop and a skip down to Germany. And today, the U.S. carries on that tradition via the PR-polished “detention centers” for migrants.

Zionists were likewise inspired by their socio-political surroundings and, as Barrows-Friedman notes, “were explicit about their colonialist aims. In the original documents that Zionists drew up, they specifically say ‘this is a colonial project,’” she explains. “Everyone was doing the colonialism thing, and they [Zionists] wanted in on it.” This wasn’t about ‘going home.’ Yes, some Jews have always lived in the area now known as Israel, and there were plenty living there quite peacefully as Palestinians up until 1948. Jews have also lived almost everywhere else. We are not a people without a home; we are a people with many homes.

Zionism and supremacy: paying oppression forward

Indeed, this concept of borderless solidarity is something that has inspired many Jews to be active in liberation and justice movements. And while Zionism is packaged as the need for a safe space for Jews, it’s clear that this wasn’t about safety. There is no safety in terrorism. Rather, it was about supremacy. Having been shunned from so many communities for so long warped the perspectives of some Jews into believing that what they really needed wasn’t basic human rights but the right to thwart others’ basic human rights. The drive to climb the blood-soaked ladder of imperialism, to no longer be on the bottom rungs, shrouded not only their humanity but their own cultural teachings.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of attending a Seder (you’re always welcome to my house for our anti-capitalist, anti-Zionist extravaganza!), the primary theme of the evening is “don’t be an oppressive asshole, for you know what it is to have assholes oppress you.” I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the basic gist. And Passover is just one example. Throughout Jewish traditions and teachings, the voices and experiences of the oppressed are uplifted in order to highlight the need for Jews to not just stand up for our own human rights, but for the human rights of all. We were exiled, we were driven out, we were genocided, we were persecuted just for being ourselves. Our place is therefore in the struggle for a world beyond those atrocities. None are free till all are free. To be Jewish is to be a fighter for liberation, for justice. As Barrows-Friedman explains, “the term ‘Never Again’ is not selective. It has to be universal.”

How Zionism is profoundly anti-Semitic

Zionism is therefore anti-Semitic — in both theory and practice. First and as noted above, it flies in the face of Jewish teachings and traditions. Second, it suggests that we only belong in one place — that we are not welcome in places that we have learned to call home, from New York to Shanghai. It pigeon-holes us into a homogeneous monolith, a singular stereotype. These points were the main drivers of the loud Jewish tradition of anti-Zionism. Again, inspired by teachings and experience, many Jews in early twentieth-century Europe were loud and proud leftists.

As John Merriman writes in his book “Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits,” a popular term for Jews in turn-of-the-20th-century Europe was “Cosmopolitan Anarchists.” Which I actually really love. These Jews were vehemently opposed to the ideas of imperialism, nationalism and colonialism — aspects they saw as intricately linked with any sort of Zionist endeavor. Furthermore, they didn’t like the idea of appeasing anti-Semites in Europe by just disappearing. As one early twentieth-century poster shared in a recent interview with scholar Benjamin Balthaser asserts, “Where we live, there is our country!” Yet, appeasing anti-Semites was a cornerstone of Zionism from the beginning. Theodore Herzl, known as the ‘father of modern political Zionism,’ wrote in his diaries that “[t]he anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies.” To quote my Jewish grandmother, “What a schmuck.”

A Yiddish poster reads: “There, where we live, there is our country! ” Credit | Jewish Labor Movement’s Bund Archives

It’s no wonder that Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer calls himself a “white Zionist.” And while Zionist-friendly media was quick to jump on the 2017 Israeli TV comment as totally misguided and a twisting of Zionism, the sad fact of the matter is that the Neo-Nazi got it right (not least of all because Israel is a very racist state, placing light-skinned Jews in higher positions of power while black Jews are considered to be just above Palestinians). Zionism is colonialism, it is imperialism, it is terrorism and apartheid — all things that Neo-Nazis, and original Nazis, hold in very high regard. Where both Zionists and their anti-Semitic pals get it so wrong is the conflation of Judaism with Zionism.

Zionism didn’t get rolling until the end of the nineteenth century and from the outset clearly pulled from imperialist, white-supremacist ideologies, not from Jewish traditions and teachings. Jews, on the other hand, have been around for roughly 6,000 years or so (it’s currently Year 5781 in the Jewish calendar). To conflate Judaism with Zionism is like conflating humanity with iPhones. It’s ahistorical and it paints a picture of Jews that fits rather too comfortably with old caricatures of the conniving Israelite.

And of course, this works out really well for the anti-Semites. I’ve gone to more than one Neo-Nazi rally where I’ve overheard fascists complain about Israel’s control over our government, our economy. “They control everything,” one guy in a MAGA hat loudly proclaimed. I assume the guy standing next to him agreed, as he was wearing a “Hitler Missed a Few” t-shirt. Now, if you’re a Zionist, you can’t disagree with him — because you feel that Israel = Judaism. The only way you can push back against this fascist dumbshittery is to starkly and resolutely separate Israel from Judaism.

Why Fascists love Zionists (and hate Jews)

Israel does have a disturbing stranglehold on our government — be it demands of loyalty from U.S. citizens, truckloads of arms and weapons, or the cozy relationship our police have with Israeli forces. Judaism does not. Indeed, Jews have a long history of not being welcome in the U.S., much like other immigrants, while fascism — well, that’s as American as apple pie. Hitler got plenty of ideas from the U.S. and a lot of people in the U.S. returned the favor.

In 1939, Madison Square Garden in New York City was filled with 20,000 Nazis sieg heiling a massive portrait of George Washington flanked by giant swastikas. In October of that year, the same organization that was behind the MSG event, the German American Bund, held a massive parade through the streets of New York. Two years earlier, nearly 1,000 Jewish refugees were turned away from both Canada and the U.S. and were forced to return to Europe just as the Nazi’s Final Solution was unfolding. Three years before that, the Wall Street-backed American Liberty League plotted to overthrow the government and install a fascist dictatorship. IBM, Coca-Cola, Kodak and other corporations found in Nazi Germany ready customers — and why let a speedbump like genocide stand in the way of a bottom line? Indeed, IBM didn’t just sell to the Nazis, they facilitated mass murder by supplying Nazi Germany with punched-card technology, making it possible to track the Jews — if you ever wondered why Jews in the Holocaust were tattooed with numbers. Thanks, IBM.

20,000 Americans attend a Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden, February 20, 1939.

Again, this historical context matters. We need to understand this history in order to see how events like Charlottesville in 2017 are far from unique or surprising. Rather, they’re part of a long history of American fascism — or, as Mussolini suggested fascism be called, corporatism. This history also shows us the vast disparities between Zionism and Judaism.

Reclaiming what Judaism has always been

Both ideologically and in lived experiences, Zionism and Judaism are at odds. They exist on opposite ends of the power dynamic spectrum. “We have to dismantle Zionism — the way we work to dismantle imperialism and white supremacy, and racism and patriarchy,” Barrows-Friedman says. “It’s all part of the same project. Israel is a project of exploitation of Jewish suffering to further an imperialist Western role.” Therefore, one of the main ways we do this, she says, is to “reclaim what Judaism has always been, going toward Jewish tradition as open and proud anti-Zionists.”

This means taking back our history, and our present as Jewish people. It means highlighting the twisted use of Jewish suffering to claim an inalienable right to oppress. It means taking our place on the side of the oppressed, never the oppressor. Here, less than a century after the Holocaust, Israel has proven that it too can be fascist. To whose glory? What have we Jews gained by Israel’s appeal to fascist ideologies?

Furthermore, why desperately try to affirm your humanity by following a fascist’s description of your lack thereof? Because of course, it won’t ultimately matter. Inferiority is an always-moving target. It always has been — be they the Irish under British terror, the Congolese under Belgian terror, the Indigenous and African-Americans under U.S. terror, Jews in the Holocaust, or today’s War on Terror, any and every people, culture, tradition and belief can be marred and maligned in order to fit the needs of oppression. Jews will never gain peace and safety through terrorism. We will find no supremacy on the other side of brutality. We will always be inferior to the fascist. The question is why then is it so important for Zionists to appeal to fascists?

As Frantz Fanon wrote, “The oppressed will always believe the worst about themselves.” In the case of Zionists, this must be true. They must have believed that they were inferior because they were a “landless people,” just like the imperialists said of Africans; or indeed as Francis Bacon wrote of his perceived “monsters” in the 1600s, that they were mere “swarms of people” who were unavowed by God. They must have believed that they were inferior, weak. It is not uncommon to hear a Zionist talk of the “weak Jews” in the concentration camps who should’ve fought back against their captors. And if you accept that you are inferior based on the claims of the oppressor, the only way to rectify that is to become like the one who oppresses you. Of course, in the process, you will lose yourself. You will lose all that it is to be human. You will become the sick and grotesque creation of your new master — a hideous fascist Frankenstein — and still the inferior.

Fanon also wrote about the colonization that colonizers impose on themselves — the violence that they inflict that is also inflicted upon them. Joseph Conrad, the author of “Heart of Darkness,” wrote graphically of this concept in his first short story, “An Outpost of Progress,” a story of two Europeans who are stationed at an outpost in the jungles of Africa in the 1890s. They gradually lose their minds, and the story ends in a murder-suicide, with Kayerts, one of the European men, hanging from a cross above his predecessor’s grave:

Progress was calling to Kayerts from the river. Progress and civilization and all the virtues. Society was calling to its accomplished child to come, to be taken care of, to be instructed, to be judged, to be condemned; it called him to return to that rubbish heap from which he had wandered away, so that justice could be done. 

As Lindqvist writes, these characters represent a European identity, a “[p]rogress that presupposes genocide.”

There is no glory in the oppressed becoming the oppressor. We who are of European descent must grapple with our genocidal history, unpack what horrors have been passed down from colonizers, and confront that trauma. We must confront that history that has become our present, as children of this Empire, so that we may stop it from becoming the future. And as Jews, we must grapple with Israel’s present for the very same reasons.

Jewish Voice for Peace
A Jewish activist protests Israeli apartheid, in north Jersey. Screenshot | NorthJersery.com

As James Baldwin explained in a 1963 interview:

What white people have to do, is to try to find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a nigger in the first place, because I’m not a nigger, I’m a man, but if you think I’m a nigger, it means you need it. Why?”

Zionists need it because they seek to emulate their own oppressors. Someone must replace the Jew in their shitty remake. For they do not wish to be the Jew any longer. As reporter and host, Jacquie Luqman said recently on By Any Means Necessary: “If anybody in the Black community is supporting anybody else in our community who preys on other people, then those people are not our people.” Zionists are not our people.

“I like being Jewish. I really hate the way it’s been co-opted,” Barrows-Friedman explains. “The beauty of Jewish culture is the tradition, the stories, the songs, the education about no one is free if anyone’s oppressed. Zionism cannot dictate how we are Jews. We can’t let them win.”

As Jews, we stand with the oppressed — that is what our own history and our teachings demand. We must bring forward the past because, to yet again quote Baldwin, “history is not the past, it is the present.” We should be proud of our heritage, proud of our culture and the thick bonds of solidarity that bolster our fight and inspire our build.

To be proud to be Jewish is a good thing, so long as we don’t lose sight of what that means. We have a lot of work to do, and the enemies we face will claim to want the same things that we do, to believe in the same teachings we believe in. The fight against Zionism is deeply personal for many Jews, but it is a part of the vital, all-embracing work of dismantling colonialism — in our own communities and likewise in the world. As Simone de Beauvoir wrote, “A freedom that is interested only in denying freedom must be denied.” For the sake of our liberation as Jews — as human beings — we must deny Zionism. In short: Be Jewish. Be proud. Be anti-Zionist.

The Chinese Miracle, Revisited

The Chinese Miracle, Revisited

June 30, 2021

Western exceptionalists may continue to throw a fit 24/7 ad infinitum: that will not change the course of history.

By Pepe Escobar with permission and widely distributed

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) centennial takes place this week at the heart of an incandescent geopolitical equation.

China, the emerging superpower, is back to the global prominence it enjoyed throughout centuries of recorded history, while the declining Hegemon is paralyzed by the “existential challenge” posed to its fleeting, unilateral dominance.

A mindset of full spectrum confrontation already sketched in the 2017 U.S. National Security Review is sliding fast into fear, loathing and relentless Sinophobia.

Add to it the Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership graphically exposing the ultimate Mackinderian nightmare of Anglo-American elites jaded by “ruling the world” – for only two centuries at best.

The Little Helmsman Deng Xiaoping may have coined the ultimate formula for what many in the West defined as the Chinese miracle:

“To seek truth from facts, not from dogmas, whether from East or West”.

So this was never about divine intervention, but planning, hard work, and learning by trial and error.

The recent session of the National People’s Congress provides a stark example. Not only it approved a new Five-Year Plan, but in fact a full road map for China’s development up to 2035: three plans in one.

What the whole world saw, in practice, was the manifest efficiency of the Chinese governance system, capable of designing and implementing extremely complex geoeconomic strategies after plenty of local and regional debate on a vast range of policy initiatives.

Compare it to the endless bickering and gridlock in Western liberal democracies, which are incapable of planning for the next quarter, not to mention fifteen years.

The best and the brightest in China actually do their Deng; they couldn’t care less about the politicizing of governance systems. What matters is what they define as a very effective system to make SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) development plans, and put them in practice.

The 85% popular vote

At the start of 2021, before the onset of the Year of the Metal Ox, President Xi Jinping emphasized that  “favorable social conditions” should be in place for the CCP centennial celebrations.

Oblivious to waves of demonization coming from the West, for Chinese public opinion what matters is whether the CCP delivered. And deliver it did (over 85% popular approval). China controlled Covid-19 in record time; economic growth is back; poverty alleviation was achieved; and the civilization-state became a “moderately prosperous society” – right on schedule for the CCP centennial.

Since 1949, the size of the Chinese economy soared by a whopping 189 times. Over the past two decades, China’s GDP grew 11-fold. Since 2010, it more than doubled, from $6 trillion to $15 trillion, and now accounts for 17% of global economic output.

No wonder Western grumbling is irrelevant. Shanghai Capital investment boss Eric Li succinctly describes the governance gap; in the U.S., government changes but not policy. In China, government doesn’t change; policy does.

This is the background for the next development stage – where the CCP will in fact double down on its unique hybrid model of “socialism with Chinese characteristics”.

The key point is that the Chinese leadership, via non-stop policy adjustments (trial and error, always) has evolved a model of “peaceful rise” – their own terminology – that essentially respects China’s immense historical and cultural experiences.

In this case, Chinese exceptionalism means respecting Confucianism – which privileges harmony and abhors conflict – as well as Daoism – which privileges balance – over the boisterous, warring, hegemonic Western model.

This is reflected in major policy adjustments such as the new “dual circulation” drive, which places greater emphasis on the domestic market compared to China as the “factory of the world”.

Past and future are totally intertwined in China; what was done in previous dynasties echoes in the future. The best contemporary example is the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – the overarching Chinese foreign policy concept for the foreseeable future.

As detailed by Renmin University Professor Wang Yiwei, BRI is about to reshape geopolitics, “bringing Eurasia back to its historical place at the center of human civilization.” Wang has shown how “the two great civilizations of the East and the West were linked until the rise of the Ottoman Empire cut off the Ancient Silk Road”.

Europe moving seaward led to “globalization through colonization”; the decline of the Silk Road; the world’s center shifting to the West; the rise of the U.S.; and the decline of Europe. Now, Wang argues, “Europe is faced with a historic opportunity to return to the world center through the revival of Eurasia.”

And that’s exactly what the Hegemon will go no holds barred to prevent.

Zhu and Xi

It’s fair to argue that Xi’s historical counterpart is the Hongwu emperor Zhu, the founder of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). The emperor was keen to present his dynasty as a Chinese renewal after Mongol domination via the Yuan dynasty.

Xi frames it as “Chinese rejuvenation”: “China used to be a world economic power. However, it missed its chance in the wake of the Industrial Revolution and the consequent dramatic changes, and was thus left behind and suffered humiliation under foreign invasion …we must not let this tragic history repeat itself.”

The difference is that 21st century China under Xi will not retreat inward as it did under the Ming. The parallel for the near future would rather be with the Tang dynasty (618-907), which privileged trade and interactions with the world at large.

To comment on the torrent of Western misinterpretations of China is a waste of time. For the Chinese, the overwhelming majority of Asia, and for the Global South, much more relevant is to register how the American imperial narrative – “we are the liberators of Asia-Pacific” – has now been totally debunked.

In fact Chairman Mao may end up having the last laugh. As he wrote in 1957, “if the imperialists insist on launching a third world war, it is certain that several hundred million more will turn to socialism, and then there will not be much room left on earth for the imperialists; it is also likely that the whole structure of imperialism will utterly collapse.”

Martin Jacques, one of the very few Westerners who actually studied China in depth, correctly pointed out how “China has enjoyed five separate periods when it has enjoyed a position of pre-eminence – or shared pre-eminence – in the world: part of the Han, the Tang, arguably the Song, the early Ming, and the early Qing.”

So China, historically, does represent continuous renewal and “rejuvenation” (Xi). We’re right in the middle of another one of these phases – now conducted by a CCP dynasty that, incidentally, does not believe in miracles, but in hardcore planning. Western exceptionalists may continue to throw a fit 24/7 ad infinitum: that will not change the course of history.

The rapid Zionist colonisation of Palestine

By: Dr. Ghulam Habib How did Palestine turn into a war-torn land after Palestinian Muslims, Christians, and Jews were living in harmony and peace among themselves? This visual documentary presents historical perspective to shed light on how the first Zionist colony was built in Palestine in 1878 to where we are today with continued illegal occupation, massacres, destruction, and expansion in oppressed Palestine.

Music in this video: ‘The Feeling Begins’ by Peter Gabriel Licensed to YouTube by: itspetergabriel, WMG (on behalf of Real World Records); LatinAutor – SonyATV, SOLAR Music Rights Management, LatinAutorPerf, CMRRA, BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., EMI Music Publishing, UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA – UBEM, and 8 Music Rights Societies. Original post here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcKUx…

Abbas Statements are Complicit with Israeli Settler-Colonialism

April 22, 2021

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: Kremlin, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Ramona Wadi

Known for belatedly spouting known truths, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas was true to form in his address to the J Street conference recently, which revealed the extent of his collaboration with the international community over Palestine’s loss, and his complicity with Israeli settler-colonialism.

Mentioning “apartheid” as he did cannot gloss over the fact that Abbas is still championing a paradigm that has facilitated Israel’s colonial expansion and de-facto annexation of Palestinian land.

US President Joe Biden’s two-state policy is still unclear. The strategy has worked well for Israel, while advocates of the internationally-imposed paradigm can once again make themselves useful. But the two-state “solution” has already been declared dead in the water and pressuring the US administration to heed a matter of international consensus that still harms Palestinians should not be deemed “the only solution”, as Abbas is fond of claiming. In doing so, he is on the same page as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who insists that “There is no Plan B.”

If Abbas thought that by mentioning the A word he would be doing a service to the Palestinians, he is wrong. Not only has the Israeli NGO B’Tselem beaten him to it declaring that the colonial state has already passed the apartheid threshold, but Palestinians have also been trying to raise awareness regarding Israel’s apartheid policies for years. The PA, meanwhile, was busying itself with the international community’s state-building illusions and tacitly approving Israel’s settlement expansion.

“Moving away from the two-state solution will eventually lead to a de facto one-state solution, an apartheid state, and this is something neither, we nor the entire world would accept,” Abbas said. “A one-state solution will only perpetuate the conflict.”

This is not necessarily true. Moving away from moribund two-state politics can give a chance to the Palestinian people, but only if they have a leadership worthy of the name and cause. The two-state solution, remember, came back into vogue with the announcement of the so-called Abraham Accords, which saw some Arab countries normalize relations with Israel in return, they claimed, to halt Israel’s annexation plans.

Annexation, as Israel has made clear, was simply “postponed”. Nevertheless, the UN had no qualms about endorsing the diplomatic game that facilitated the de-facto annexation of the occupied West Bank.

The Trump administration’s “deal of the century” shifted focus on what would happen if Abbas and the international community keep insisting upon the two-state compromise. Saying that the one-state solution would entrench apartheid is valid only because Palestinians have not been given the political freedom to construct their own independence and liberation process.

Israel has leverage over the one-state concept because it has secured its narrative within the international community. The Palestinian people, though, are burdened with a leadership whose main interest is to impose the international paradigm and call it a “solution”.

So what is the use of the PA participating in such seminars, if it only serves to strengthen the Israeli narrative and colonial expansion? Abbas had the opportunity to speak to J Street — a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” liberal US advocacy group — about the Palestinian concept of a single, democratic state, but he did not take it. It is possible, of course, that his invitation to address the group was conditional upon his promotion of the two-state compromise because there is purportedly no other option for the Palestinian people.

To speak where the funding lies is to maintain two-state politics, now defunct in terms of implementation yet favorable for Israel and its de-facto annexation — aka theft — of Palestinian land. The Palestinian leadership embarked yet again upon another spectacle that revealed its allegiance to external entities over and above the people of occupied Palestine.

– Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor, where this article was originally published. She contributed this article to the Palestine Chronicle.

US National Security Strategy Guide دليل استراتيجيّة الأمن القوميّ الأميركيّ

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

بثينة شعبان

Buthaina Shaaban,

Source: Al-Mayadeen Net,

March 22, 15:00

On the threshold of reality produced by the new U.S. administration, we see that the world is heading for a hot cold war of a new kind, because one side, the capitalist West, considers it a battle of existence.

The rule in China has been described as autocratic, and in Russia as an aggressor.

This March, signed by President Joseph Biden, the U.S. National Security Strategy for the current phase was issued in 23 pages covering all the key issues that are a priority in U.S. policy.

On the other hand, the strategy emphasizes the focus on cooperation and partnership with transatlantic allies, on expanding NATO’s base and inviting all countries that believe in this path to join it in the face of China and Russia. The NATO group has been considered to be democratic states and promoters of good governance and human rights, while those who do not join this pat. The ruling in China has been described as autocratic, and in Russia as an aggressor, before using descriptions that are unworthy of any diplomat or politician to describe the President.

The study confirmed that it would support Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang in the face of China, under the pretext of supporting democracies and democratic orientations in the world.

It also becomes clear to the observant reader that the West feels a real threat to this hegemonic system, and is trying in this strategy to seek ways and means that curb its rivals and ensure its continuity on the same rules and foundations that it has been used to for decades, meaning that this strategy is to some extent a search for a path of salvation. From a reality that has become a real threat to the West’s exceptionalism and supremacy in many areas after centuries of plundering the world’s wealth and using it to fuel its hegemony and power over states and countries all over the globe, but this reading of the course of history is a misreading, because the Western capitalist system has lost its prestige after the exposure of the real foundations on which it is based, namely, to fuel war and create chaos, to control the capabilities of peoples and use them to strengthen this capitalist system.

In addition, especially in recent years, the truth of the statements made by Western regimes, from freedom of the media to human rights to good governance, has also been revealed. The reality of the situation has shown that the media in the West is a mouthpiece for the ruling companies and their interests, and that human rights are a slogan used as needed, without any real concern for the human being and his rights.

The terrorist war on Syria, with all its Western hypocrisy and the inability of the West to match China or Russia in the face of the epidemic, contributed to the detection of the truth of Western regimes that use the media in a thoughtful and generous way to inflate their capabilities and dwarf the capabilities of others.

As the media in Russia and China began to gain access to the West, the Platforms of the United Nations and the world, it began to reveal the truth of the falsification that the Western media had adopted for centuries in order to continue to control the bag of money and opinion throughout the world. Therefore, In the face of this thunderous and dangerous exposure, Western countries resorted to using their tools, from locals in different countries buying their consciences with money, to followers who were fascinated by the West and its model, and unable to break free from this illusion, so they continued to encourage and serve the Western model, thinking that it is the best in the world, because colonialism had entered their minds and not only occupied the land. And when colonialism is gone, it left colonized minds ready to carry out orders, because they see in the colonialism a master good in thinking and performance and does not make mistakes, and its a great honor submit and obey orders.

On the threshold of this reality produced by the new U.S. administration, we see that the world is heading for a hot cold war of a new kind, because one of the parties, the capitalist West, considers it a battle of existence, and the rise of China and the expansion of Russia are an existential threat to it, and it is necessary to gather forces, alliances and partners to change the direction of this new reality.

Since the West will not be able to change the direction of the Chinese dragon, and it will not be able to turn back the clock, the international arena is likely to engage in dangerous confrontations, and no one knows yet the serious prices that will be paid as a result, but these prices will be paid by all of humanity, because we are we all share a life on this planet,

It is clear that the U.S. strategy leading a transatlantic bloc and NATO considers itself exceptional in visions, strength and thinking, and that anyone who disagrees with it is an autocracy or aggressor who has no other choice but to return to the path of guidance or to be killed or out of the conflict. These are dangerous concepts for the whole world, and they must be understood with awareness and patience, in order to be addressed with wisdom, composure, cooperation and alliance, to save all humanity from any real and potential dangers.

دليل استراتيجيّة الأمن القوميّ الأميركيّ

بثينة شعبان

بثينة شعبان

المصدر: الميادين نت 22 آذار 15:00

على عتبة الواقع الذي أفرزته الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة، نرى أنّ العالم يتّجه إلى حرب باردة ساخنة من نوع جديد، لأنّ أحد الطرفين، وهو الغرب الرأسمالي، يعتبر أنها معركة وجود.


تمّ وصف الحكم في الصين بأنّه أوتوقراطيّ، وفي روسيا بأنّه معتدٍ

صدرت في شهر آذار/مارس الحالي، وبتوقيع من الرئيس جوزيف بايدن، استراتيجية الأمن القومي الأميركي للمرحلة الحالية، وذلك في 23 صفحة شملت كلّ المسائل الأساسية التي تحظى بالأولوية في سياسة الولايات المتحدة. وبعد قراءة النصّ أكثر من مرة، والتوقّف عند التكرار والتأكيد من فقرة إلى أخرى، لا يُخطئ القارئ المهتمّ بالاستنتاج إذا وجد أنّ الصين تشكّل الهاجس الأكبر لهذه الإدارة، وأنّ سياستها يمكن تلخيصها بمعاداة روسيا ومحاولة كبح جماح تقدّم الصين في النموّ، وخصوصاً في مجال التكنولوجيا والتقدّم العلميّ. 

من جهة أخرى، تؤكّد الاستراتيجيّة التركيز على التعاون والشراكة مع الحلفاء عبر الأطلسي، وعلى توسيع قاعدة الناتو ودعوة كلّ الدول المؤمنة بهذا المسار للانضمام إليه في وجه الصين وروسيا. وقد تمّ اعتبار أن مجموعة “الناتو” هي الدول الديمقراطية والمروّجة للحكم الرشيد وحقوق الإنسان، بينما يعتبر كلّ من لا ينضمّ إلى هذا المسار أوتوقراطياً ومعتدياً. وقد تمّ وصف الحكم في الصين بأنّه أوتوقراطيّ، وفي روسيا بأنّه معتدٍ، وذلك قبل استخدام أوصاف لا تليق بأيّ دبلوماسي أو سياسي لوصف رئيس روسيا. 

وأكّدت هذه الدراسة أنّها سوف تدعم تايوان وهونغ كونغ وشينجيانغ في وجه الصين، بذريعة دعم الديمقراطيات والتوجّهات الديمقراطية في العالم. إنَّ الانطباع الذي يصل إليه القارئ بين السطور هو الخوف الحقيقي من صعود الصين، إذ إنها ذُكرت 18 مرة، والخوف من أن يقدّم أنموذجها بديلاً حقيقياً للنظام الرأسمالي الغربي، بحيث تتبنّاه الشعوب وتقلع عن تبعيتها للغرب، ما يشكّل خطراً على استمرار الهيمنة الغربية وقدرتها على نهب ثروات البلدان والشعوب لتغذية نموها وسيطرتها والاستمرار في بسط سلطتها وهيمنتها على المؤسَّسات الدولية ومقدّرات الشعوب.

 كما يصبح واضحاً للقارئ المتابع أنّ الغرب يشعر بتهديد حقيقيّ لنظام الهيمنة هذا، ويحاول في هذه الاستراتيجية أن يتلمّس الطرق والوسائل التي تكبح جماح منافسيه وتضمن استمراريته على القواعد والأسس ذاتها التي درج عليها منذ عقود، أي أنّ هذه الاستراتيجية تعتبر إلى حدّ ما بحثاً عن طريق خلاص من واقع بات يشكّل خطراً حقيقياً على استثنائية الغرب وتفوّقه في مجالات عدّة بعد قرون من نهب ثروات العالم واستخدامها لتغذية هيمنته وسطوته على الدول والبلدان في كلّ أنحاء المعمورة، ولكنّ هذه القراءة لمسار التاريخ هي قراءة مغلوطة، لأنّ النظام الرأسمالي الغربي فقد هيبته ومكانته بعد انكشاف الأسس الحقيقية التي يقوم عليها، ألا وهي تأجيج أوار الحرب وخلق الفوضى، من أجل السيطرة على مقدّرات الشعوب واستخدامها بما يعزّز نظامه الرأسمالي هذا.

 كما انكشفت، وخصوصاً في السنوات الأخيرة، حقيقة المقولات التي تطلقها النظم الغربية، من حرية الإعلام إلى حقوق الإنسان إلى الحكم الرشيد، وأظهر واقع الحال أنّ الإعلام في الغرب بوق للشركات الحاكمة ومصالحها، وأنّ حقوق الإنسان شعار يستخدم بحسب الحاجة، من دون أيّ حرص حقيقيّ على الإنسان وحقوقه. 

وقد ساهمت الحرب الإرهابية على سوريا، بكلّ ما اعتراها ورافقها من نفاق غربيّ، كما ساهم انتشار “كوفيد 19” وعجز الغرب عن مضاهاة الصين أو روسيا في مواجهة الوباء، في الكشف عن حقيقة النظم الغربية التي تستخدم الإعلام بشكل مدروس وسخيّ كي تضخّم مقدراتها وتقزّم قدرات الآخرين وإمكانياتهم.

ومع انطلاق الإعلام في روسيا والصين ونفاذه إلى الغرب ومنصات الأمم المتحدة والعالم، بدأ يكشف حقيقة الزّيف الذي اعتمده الإعلام الغربي على مدى قرون من أجل الاستمرار في تحكّمه بحقيبة المال والرأي في العالم برمّته. ولذلك، وفي وجه هذا الانكشاف المدوّي والخطير، لجأت الدول الغربية إلى استخدام أدواتها، من سكّان محلّيين في بلدان مختلفة تشتري ضمائرهم بالمال، إلى التابعين الذين خلقوا مبهورين بالغرب وأنموذجه، ولم يتمكّنوا من التحرّر من هذا الوهم، فاستمرّوا في غيّهم وخدمتهم للأنموذج الغربي، ظنّاً منهم أنّه الأفضل في العالم، لأنّ الاستعمار دخل إلى عقولهم ولم يكتفِ باحتلال الأرض. وحين رحل جسداً، ترك وراءه عقولاً مستعمَرَة ومستعدّة لأن تنفّذ أوامره، لأنها ترى فيه السيد الذي يحسن التفكير والأداء ولا يخطئ، كما ترى شرفاً كبيراً في الانقياد له والانصياع لأوامره. 

على عتبة هذا الواقع الذي أفرزته الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة، نرى أنّ العالم يتّجه إلى حرب باردة ساخنة من نوع جديد، لأنّ أحد الطرفين، وهو الغرب الرأسمالي، يعتبر أنها معركة وجود، وأنّ صعود الصين وتمدّد روسيا يعتبران خطراً وجودياً عليه، ولا بدّ من أن يستجمع القوى والتحالفات والشركاء لتغيير وجهة هذا الواقع الجديد.

وبما أنّه لن يتمكن من تغيير وجهة التنين الصيني، كما أنّه لن يتمكَّن من إعادة عقارب الساعة إلى الوراء، فإنّ الساحة الدولية مرشّحة لخوض تجاذبات خطيرة لا يعلم أحد بعد الأثمان الخطيرة التي سيتمّ دفعها نتيجة لها، ولكنّ هذه الأثمان سيدفعها أبناء البشرية جمعاء، لأننا جميعاً نتقاسم العيش على هذا الكوكب، بخلاف النظرة الفوقية الغربية التي تعتبر وجودها ورفاهها الضامن الأساس لبقية البشر الذين يجب أن يكونوا تابعين لها.

من الواضح أنّ الاستراتيجية الأميركية التي تقود كتلة عبر الأطلسي و”الناتو” تعتبر ذاتها استثنائية في الرؤى والقوة والتفكير، وأنّ كلّ من يخالفها الرأي والتوجّه هو أوتوقراطيّ أو معتدٍ لا حلّ لديه سوى أن يعود إلى سبيل الرشاد أو أن يقتل أو يخرج من حلبة الصراع. إنها مفاهيم خطيرة على العالم برمّته، ولا بدّ من فهمها بوعي وأناة، كي يتمّ التصدّي لها بحكمة ورباطة جأش وتعاون وتحالف، لإنقاذ البشرية جمعاء من أي أخطار حقيقية محتملة.

“Teacher d’assumption’s statement – Reframing the racism debate”

November 11, 2020

“Teacher d’assumption’s statement – Reframing the racism debate”

By Leo Abina – A concerned World Citizen – for the Saker Blog

Going back as far as I can remember, the story of what my dad’s 1930s primary school teacher would say at the start of every school day has been ingrained in my family’s narrative for half a century. “Whites build locomotives. Negroes can’t produce a needle. Whites are civilized. Negroes are savages.” As he would recount this story, my dad would always add, with a mischievous chuckle, “my few other African classmates in that class would be outraged by this statement; but not me. For me, d’Assumption’s ‘greeting to the class’ became a source of motivation to excel, especially in mathematics and science, just to prove him wrong.” Over the years, teacher d’Assumption’s[1] statement would never fail to ignite passionate debates, emotions, and reactions among family members; me included.

During my childhood, in the 60s and 70s, I lived the life of a privileged West-African boy from a well-to-do family, growing up in multi-racial social networks, attending private schools in Africa and Europe, oblivious to the vicissitudes of both subtle and raw racism. During these early years, teacher d’Assumption’s statement felt like a distant, no longer relevant, piece of nasty colonial history that I did not fully understand but felt needed to just be forgotten.

As a youngster coming of age and completing tertiary education in the 80s and 90s, I lived through the collapse of the Soviet Union, the uninhibited advent of market-driven globalization, and the shift towards finance, rather than ‘goods and services’ -dominated economies. My thoughts about teacher d’Assumption’s statement during those years were that “aspiring to build African locomotives out of pride was wasteful and misguided development strategy.” What would be smarter, I argued, was “investing African capital to own shares in railway manufacturing companies, so as to better facilitate the deployment of railway infrastructure in Africa; while at the same time, striving to build competence in railway technology.’

Then came the beginning of my expat years. My first forays into the ‘real world’ of business, outside the manicured lawns and precious wood paneled walls of US Ivy League campuses. Those years brought my first encounters with the realities of ‘subtle,’ though at times not so ‘subtle,’ corporate double standards. I had up to then bought into the neo-liberal ethos about free and fair markets; only to discover that in reality, most markets, even within the western sphere of influence, were neither free nor fair. Corporate battles within the western world are testimony that strategic technologies are protected; Boeing vs Airbus, Apple vs Microsoft, Siemens vs GE, are but a few legendary examples of this reality. These examples helped me realize that my earlier thoughts about how Africans should use capital in order to play the economic game to their advantage might have been overly naive – state interventions do play a major role in today’s so called ‘free markets’, and the bigger the state, the stronger the interventions. Even in the apparently ‘leveled playing field’ of our modern world, teacher d’Assumption’s worldview seemed as entrenched and relevant as it ever was.

As I look back through the eyes and battle scars of a 50-something, I get an uneasy sense that humanity has remained stuck on this all-important racism issue. On one side of the issue, white folks are conditioned to inherently hold a sense of superiority, backed by centuries of modern western world dominance. While on the other side of the issue, brown folks, no matter where they live in the world, their place in society, or their achievements, feel a sense of injustice, inadequacy, and alienation, in a historical period dominated by the modern western construct; a construct in which they can at best live as ‘acceptable strangers,’ or at worst as victims or rebels.

Taking a closer look at these perspectives on racism might provide a better premise to bring the two main conflicting parties – the white, western European dominant side, and the non-white (brown) global-south side, nearer each other.

Let us begin with the white perspective. Looking at the advent of modern western civilization over the past 300 years, as well as today’s global power dynamics, one can easily understand why a 21st-Century white person might have an innate sense of superiority. Why in our times, even an unaccomplished, hopeless, inept white person of European descent would still feel superior to an accomplished, gifted, and successful brown person.

In a nutshell, this frame of mind stems from the observation that for the past few centuries, the modern western civilization managed to subjugate much of the rest of our world. Through naval supremacy and superior weaponry resulting in tremendous military might, small European nations with tiny territories and lesser populations were able to project power globally and overwhelm much larger, usually brown, peoples. These past conquests still resonate in the psyche of many modern Europeans, and in the view of many, bear witness to the greater ingenuity of the white race. Once the lands of the brown people were subdued and a colonial order was established to channel vast amounts of natural resources from the colonies to the colonial capitals, in the eyes of many Europeans, this exploitative world order was, and is to this day, justified.

For in their narrative, it is Europeans, in the first place, who knew and understood the value of these natural resources. Whereas the brown natives, who might have been sitting on these natural resources for centuries, a. did not have an industrial base to know the value of what was under their feet b. did not have the technology and means to access and exploit these natural resources, and c. did not have the capacity and strength to protect them. Therefore, it is only natural that those who have the knowledge, technology, and power to access natural resources should also have the nature-given right to exploit them.

Then comes the moral aspect, especially as it relates to one of the most gruesome episodes in the long racism saga: the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In public and in the name of political correctness, most white people who only have a passing acquaintance with slavery do feel a sense of guilt about it. However, upon greater scrutiny through which they come to understand the historical context of slavery, and in view of recent south-to-north emigration dynamics, in private, many other white people do not share that sense of guilt.

The rationale here is twofold. First, there is the very controversial observation that during the slave trade, Africa was not occupied; therefore and by-enlarge, it was mostly African chieftains who sold other Africans into slavery. If brown people were ready to sell their own kind into slavery while Europeans needed labor to build ‘the new world in the Americas,’ why should only one of the two parties lose the moral high ground? Second, decades after slavery and colonization, we live in a time of massive south-north migration where millions of brown people are ready to leave their own independent countries and risk their lives across deserts and seas in search of a better life in the white man’s ‘land of milk and honey.’ Isn’t that further testimony of the white man’s more aspirational, and therefore superior, way of life?

This old, profound inter-racial legacy explains why an unaccomplished white person would still feel superior to a gifted brown person. The white indigent person sees brown people parading in fancy clothes, fancy cars, fancy homes, and thinks, “this high life these brown people aspire to and are so fond of, was brought about by us.”

Let us now turn to the brown perspective. The brown person’s experience in today’s modern western civilization is an experience filled with contradictions. On one hand there is an attraction to the outward semblance of freedom, equality and fraternity professed by the West. On the other hand there is a rejection of the inward reality of coercion, double standards, and racism perpetrated by that very same West. In this context, the brown person’s best option often consists in navigating these contradictions as deftly and quietly as possible, with no overt defiance to the established order. I once attended an event where the condition of black Brazilians came up in the discussion; a white Brazilian businessman who was present casually responded; “we do not have a racial problem in Brazil because in Brazil, brown people know their place!”

Besides the cruelty, hurtful meaning, and Brazilian frame of reference of this remark, it basically captured the essence of brown peoples’ lives everywhere in the modern world. No matter where they live, what their personal circumstances are, whether they are conscious of it or not, racism is an integral part of brown peoples’ day-to-day reality. Of course, in the modern era the crude state-sanctioned form of racism that prevailed up to the 1960s has rescinded, but nonetheless racism is still alive and well in today’s world context, albeit in different forms according to different environments.

The western-dominated world order dates back to at least three centuries. Its latest, modern iteration was established at the end of World War II by the victorious powers. On the economic front, western dominance happened de facto through the establishment of the Bretton Woods institutions in 1944 – the World Bank and the IMF. On the political front, the United Nations was founded with the noble mandate to prevent future wars, and a 5-nations Security Council made up of the most powerful nations was formed to protect this mandate, as well as approve or veto United Nations resolutions. In reality, this system and the highly biased, misrepresentative nature of its governing body, the Security Council, has been used outwardly for the benefit of the ‘international community,’ but inwardly for the interests of a tiny, West-led, part of the world. On the cultural front, dominance pretty much occurred by default through the ubiquitous reach of western media, western movies, and western broadcasting power.

In a second phase spanning through the 70s, 80s and 90s, the post-war world order was further reshaped with the formation of a new, dollar-based monetary system (no longer backed by gold), a massive shift in geo-politics with the fall of the USSR, a series of international trade agreements, and the advent of satellite-based communications and information technologies. Last but not least, the West’s military dominance was further strengthened by the eastern expansion of NATO, and the broad deployment of military bases around the world – nearly a thousand for the US alone, with a $900b yearly military budget that is larger than all European countries’ military budgets put together, and 10x Russia’s.

In recent years this unipolar, US-dominated world order is being challenged by a re-emerging modern Russia, and by regional powers such as China, India and Brazil. Nonetheless, western power remains formidable and remains overwhelmingly white. As a result of this reality, for most brown people around the world the real question has not so much been about whether the modern western ethos harbors racism or not. It has been about the extent to which racism affects them directly and experientially, and the extent to which racism limits their opportunity to strive.

Some people in the West find it difficult to conceive of this, but the reality is that even brown people who live in their own countries, under their own government, are affected by racism. Such assertions, as is now the case for any dissenting assertions even backed by forensic evidence, are often dismissed as ‘conspiracy theories.’ Nonetheless, in order to understand how this is possible, it is important to understand that in today’s world order, years after colonization, most brown countries in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, are still not free. Sure, these countries are recognized as independent administrative entities, with their own flags, national anthems, and emblems, but in reality, western powers still exercise a tremendous amount of hegemonic political, economic, and cultural power on them.

Recent history around the world has shown that brown leaders who try to defy the status quo and defend the interest of their own people at the expense of western hegemony, do not last long. In order to survive in their positions, most brown leaders have to make political and economic choices that are not favorable to their nation. Although most of the time, leaders in brown countries are quite happy to become stooges of the West, pledge allegiance to their western overlords, and enjoy the monetary benefits that come with that allegiance – often at the expense of their own nation, just like the African chieftains who used to sell fellow Africans into slavery.

In such subservient brown countries, discord often grows between the state and the citizens, repression intensifies, and the leaders find themselves increasingly isolated and paranoid of their own people. The leaders then start trusting and favoring only people from their closest circle, as well as foreigners, more than all other locals. Soon in this process, all significant opportunities in business, in government, and especially the security and intelligence branches of government, become the preserve of a small, predatory clique with foreign and carefully selected local elements. Of course, the various aspects of this scenario play out differently from brown country to brown country, but the general outcome is usually the same; frustration, limited opportunities, and second-class citizenship for the local brown people, in their own country.

For brown people living in the West, the situation is also not ideal, albeit for different reasons. The list of day-to-day racism related life challenges brown people face in western countries is just too long to enumerate here. The worst such challenges such as police brutality, discrimination in the workplace, and the ghettoization of brown communities have been rampant in the West, and have once again become prominent through the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. In the same vein as the civil rights movement of the 1960s, these recent developments have the merit of exposing the pain and hardships brown people in the West have been experiencing for decades. Huge protests are erupting to demand the downing of statues depicting historical ‘white racist’ figures, to demand that people kneel as a sign of outrage to the George Floyd killing, to demand reparations for the ill treatment brown peoples have endured in the past. Brown peoples’ tempers and frustrations are once again reaching boiling point in front of western oppression and injustice. However, to many well-intended observers, the types of demands brown people in the West are making to correct the situation and hopefully crush the scourge of racism seem superficial, ineffective, and perhaps even naive.

In order to defeat something as entrenched and deep as racism, a different premise might be needed. Perhaps each side of the racism issue, the western, white dominant side, and the global south, brown subjugated side, needs to re-examine its own frame of reference?

Today, as in teacher d’Assumption’s time in the 1930s, modern western civilization remains dominant and continues to exercise disproportionate power on the world; with each of the leading western countries exercising strong influence on specific ‘brown’ regions – the US in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and parts of the Middle East, the UK in Africa, Asia, and other parts of the Middle East, France mainly in its former African territories. That power is still derived from the West’s advances in technology, applied in various, more sophisticated fields of control; be it in surveillance and intelligence (via military satellites and cyber-tracking technology), subversive regime change methods (via color revolutions, co-opted local protests, or mainstream media ‘manufactured consent’ and leader-demonization campaigns), or good old, albeit more targeted, military operations (via drones, bombing campaigns, inter-ballistic missiles, or special ops interventions). On the economic front, the enactment of sanctions on brown countries that do not ‘toe the line’ has been a widely-used tool in recent years; with a flip side to this approach being the granting of western currency-denominated loans, with monies ‘created-out-of-thin-air’ and lent by western Treasury Ministries (or DFIs) to brown countries to ensure debt-driven ‘loyalty.’ On the political side, in a context of outward democracy since the 1980s, the use of data analytics and social media has been used to foster favorable, or at least non western-interest-threatening, electoral outcomes.

In light of all this, a modern-day teacher d’Assumption would say, “whites send satellites into space, blacks can’t make a bicycle. Whites are civilized. Blacks are savages.” The ‘satellites’ versus ‘bicycle’ part of that statement may be partly true, but it also infers important presumptions and omissions that should be brought to light and honored. As for the ‘civilized’ versus ‘savages’ part, it is a plain fallacy that should be exposed as such.

The presumption many westerners have about their technological superiority is that it came about exclusively from the brilliance and higher intellectual order of the white race. In reality, technological advancements truly surfaced in the 1500s in the European West, a period many would consider quite late in the historical process.

Ancient Greece, from which the modern western European civilization is thought to have emerged, learned extensively from ancient Egypt. Ancient Greece scholars in the fields of mathematics, philosophy, and medicine, learned from the ancient Egyptians. In other words, the way today’s scientists and technologists travel to Europe and the US to gain knowledge, is the same way ancient Greeks would travel to Egypt to gain knowledge. The great ’embarrassment’ western tradition has tried to keep under wraps for centuries, has tried to ‘deflate’ through Hollywood misrepresentation, has fought in bad faith in the academic arena, is that the ancient Egyptians were black, and were the real ancestors of modern day Africans, from across the continent and in the diaspora. Today’s core Egyptian population comes from a mix between different successions of historically newcomers to Egypt; notably Turks and Arabs. In the ancient world, black people from Egypt, who became ‘browner’ during the later Pharaonic dynasties after centuries of conquests and ‘métissage/mixing’ with lighter conquered people (we’re seeing the reverse today), dominated the world. This question should be finally settled and taught. Not out of pride to claim some ancient glory, but for humanity to learn and reflect on the lessons of the past, without falsifying the past.

‘Western’ mathematics and in particular algebra, without which modern technology would not have come about, were initiated by the Persians and later developed by the Arabs. To understand the importance of just this contribution, one should just try and write, never mind calculate, 10,354 x 726 in Roman numbers! This fact although it is more widely known and better accepted than the ‘ancient Egypt was black’ cover up, has also been largely ignored and set aside by the modern West. Once again, perpetuating the idea that white western ingenuity solely deserves the credit for the technical advances humanity now enjoys in the modern world, is a criminal cover-up that impairs progress in the racism discussion.

In any case, and perhaps from a more philosophical perspective, scientific and technological advancement should not be boasted over for as long as it hasn’t resolved the ultimate human aspiration, which is the avoidance of death. In our modern times, the dominant West should reflect upon the true extent of its power. As a spiritual leader once declared in the course of an argument with a western materialist, during which the latter was marveling at the supremacy of rationale epistemology, technology and science, “if you’re so smart, don’t die!” It might thus be helpful for today’s dominant group who prides itself for the preeminence of its technology, and thus for the preeminence of its power, to reflect on the reality that despite these advances, despite a particular group living in better material conditions than others, the finality of all humans on this earth has remained the same. It is also perhaps the reason why the ancient Egyptians were so obsessed with immortality; the ultimate frontier of their power. To this day, that frontier has not been reached.

When it comes to the notion that having greater mastery of technology makes a particular group more ‘civilized’ than another, despite the many lessons we have from History on this assertion, most of today’s dominant West appears to not have taken heed. Just looking at recent history, one could reflect on how in the first few months of WW2, the Wehrmacht conquered Europe through its ‘blitzkrieg/lightning war’ and superior military technology. Did those accomplishments make the Third Reich more ‘civilized’ than the rest of Europe? Why then carry this contention that dominance over brown people all over the world by means of higher technology, and thus power, makes one more ‘civilized?’ On the moral and civilizational spectrum, justice administered with crude weaponry will forever remain higher than injustice committed with ballistic missiles and drones.

After all, power, then and now, whatever its source and whatever its form, when it is exercised unjustly for the sake of a few, rather than justly for the sake of many, has a name: it is called tyranny.

On the brown side of the discussion, the re-framing might begin with a sharper sense of reality.

Despite proclamations to the contrary and an urge to lecture the world about freedom, democracy, equality for all, modern western civilization does not practice what it preaches. It likes to act as the victim when it is the aggressor. It co-opts a mainstream press compromised by special corporate and ideological interests. It supports brutal regimes that do its bidding and decries legitimate other regimes that defy the current order. It establishes states through genocide of indigenous populations, tolerates discrimination against second-class minority groups, talks about liberty but expects everyone to conform to western cultural norms. Yet, many brown people the world over, perhaps as a coping mechanism, pretend not to see the huge gap between the outward western assertions on freedom, liberty, and justice, and the inward reality of western power.

Once brown people realize that the modern western world order does function on the basis of quasi- imperial power dynamics with a dominant group and a subjugated group, they might also realize that progress will not happen on the racism question for as long as the technological gap between the parties does not subside. The reason for that comes from the other reality that the opposite of racism is mutual respect. If the West sees itself better than others because of its technological advances and the power that derives from it, while others seem incapable of matching western technology but aspire to the same living standards that this technology provides, there can be no mutual respect. The process of acquiring one’s own technology is essential not just to earn respect, but also to earn one’s real freedom. It is also an endeavor that is hard, complicated, onerous, and at times extremely dangerous. Brown people, just like other non-western Europeans have done, should consider this reality in their re-framing of the racism issue.

Between 1941 and 1945, the Allies, despite adhering to different political ideologies, worked together in order to defeat Nazism and had to catch up with German military technology as a matter of survival; it was an extremely arduous process. In the post-war era, being prevented from political and military autonomy, a humiliated and damaged Japan decided to catch up with western consumer technologies; it was also an extremely arduous process. Today, China is following and perhaps surpassing Japan’s footsteps on not just consumer, but on all commercial technologies. While post-Soviet/post-1990s Russia is doing the same on the military front. None of these countries were given a free pass to ‘catch up’! Nor did they waste time adding insult to injury by turning to others in plea for help and apologies. Brown people then, must learn those lessons and take heed.

A journalist once asked an African father-of-independence leader “what was,” in his view “the worst thing that can happen to a human being?” The old man paused for a short while, and then replied, “losing one’s dignity!”

Being poor and over-powered is not a degrading state to be in and of itself; most peoples at some point in their history have experienced that. However, looking for sympathy and apologies for one’s misfortune, expecting others to relinquish power and provide for one, being unwilling to make sacrifices in order to uplift oneself, is degrading and makes one the laughing stock of the world. In order to regain some respect that will help close the gap in the racism discussion, brown people and leaders in brown countries must make all necessary efforts to ‘catch up’ and regain some dignity. Brown people who pretend not to care for the benefits of modern life tend not to be very genuine and thus not deserving of respect. Brown people who are not prepared to make the efforts and sacrifices needed to ‘catch up,’ but are so keen to flock in and emulate institutions built by others instead of building their own, are also not deserving of respect. Then brown people who do manage to regain some level of power, and who in turn, for the sake of correcting past injustices, themselves become unjust, perpetrate the downward cycle of racism.

Perhaps, through this reframing of the racism issue, primary schoolteachers the world over will one day begin the day with a different statement?

“Satellites, locomotives and bicycles are the result of human ingenuity over the ages. They make our daily lives better and they can be a source of great power. However, these technological and material achievements, however great they maybe, should not make us arrogant or make us think ourselves better than those who have not reached them. They should become a means to bring justice and peace to the entire world.”

  1. Note: my father’s primary school teacher at the Lycée Faidherbe in 1930s St Louis, Senegal. 

Why Today’s India is on the Wrong Side of History

Why Today’s India is on the Wrong Side of History

September 13, 2020

by Allen Yu for the Saker Blog

Recently, I wrote a short comment in the piece India’s border policies line with Thalassa noting that “India is on the wrong side of history.” It was too “conclusory” a comment deserves to be better explained. So I’d like to take a brief time why I think India is on the wrong side of history in siding with America against China today.

I’d first like to take a larger view of history.

Historical Context

Human history has for the most part gotten better over the last few tens of thousands of years. Our technology has advanced. Our life expectancies have increased. The last 200 or so years have seen the most explosive advances. The pace of scientific and technological advances has created a world beyond the wildest dreams of our ancestors.

And if we believe that the human spirit of ingenuity will continue, as there is no reason not to, then the best is still yet to come. 90% of all scientists that have ever lived are alive today. If we can have peace and the world allowed to be free from hegemonic oppression, I’d say the future is bright for the human species.

Unfortunately, ominous dark clouds have hung over the world despite all the positive momentum of history. We live in a time of great paradoxes. Though the world is currently in a “time of peace,” with technologies and economies fast advancing, in relative overall prosperity, sponsored Color Revolutions and civil wars have been unleashed upon many nations, devastating regions from Iraq to Afghanistan to Ukraine to Egypt to Syria to Hong Kong. Economic sanctions have ravaged whole generations of peoples in regions from N. Korea to Turkey to Iran to Venezuela.

WWII by most accounts represents a righteous high point in history. It represents the defeat of the axes of fascism and colonialism. Yet, fascism and colonialism never left us. It got transformed and embedded into our new world.

The more things changed, the more we realize that many things haven’t changed. The poor and disposed of the colonial era are for the most part still poor and dispossessed. Russia is still the target of Western aggression after hundreds of years of antagonism. Even China – the presumed challenger to the West – has not escaped the trajectory of this history. Western powers – with their allies – are now actively scheming and working hard to suffocate China economically and technologically in an attempt to shove it back to a place of perpetual subservience to Western interests.

Some may argue say that Russia and China’s problems are that both had overplayed their hands. Russia had overextended itself in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and crossed the West’s “red line” in Ukraine. China has crossed the “red line” in the S. China Sea, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, etc.

The truth is that it is the West that has crossed the line in Europe, the Middle East and in Ukraine … and in S. China SeaHong Kong, and Xinjiang.

India’s Strategic Blunder

It is at this critical juncture that India has decided to pivot toward the West. India is making a gigantic strategic mistake. Here are some reasons why.

  • It does not make sense to make an enemy of 1.4 billion people. It’s is one thing to fight a border war, but it is quite another to actually join a group of others to contain the development and growth of 1.4 billion people. The wrath and actions coming out of the U.S. against China has been truly surprising and depressing. It is against the basic rights and dignity expressed in the UN charter. Why should India join that chorus? Chinese have no animosity toward the Indian people. However, the Indian populace – fanned by an irresponsible media with much rumors and fake news – has allowed itself to be whipped into a giant anti-China frenzy.
  • America – and the broader West – will not help India to develop. Many Indians fancy that India – after America decouples from China – will take the place of China and that the West is going to help pull India out of poverty the way it has helped to pull China out of poverty. That is just not going to happen. There are a few reasons for this.
    • First, America has squandered much of its capital since becoming the sole superpower with its endless wars since the fall of the Soviet Union. America today thinks the world as set up after WWII is set against it, with much of the world leaching off America’s largess. America will have no more of it. Enough has been enough! Never again will America work for another country!!! America now wants the world to serve it, not the other way around. If Indians think America had pulled China out of poverty (Chinese mince at that notion since they believe it is they themselves who pulled themselves out of poverty), they can rest assured America will not be able to do the same for India.
    • Second, the West has come to see the world not in win-win terms, but in zero sum terms. For a brief while, the West did experiment with some version of win-win globalism. While it infused globalism with its own suffocating ideologies and rules to benefit itself, it did for a while work on a flatter world. In this “flat world,” people the world over get to exchange ideas and goods and services with each other, for each other’s own benefits, all in a win-win fashion. But that period soon ended. It’s not just Trump. It’s the whole establishment and populace. The jealousy by which the West has come to guard their knowhow, markets, and manufacturing resources for Covid-19 vaccines represents just the tip of the ice berg. The West used to think of itself as a shining beacon for the world. It had first rate technology and science that attract the world over to learn and disseminate back to the world. Now, it considers people coming to learn and bring back knowledge as “stealing.” It considers manufacturing abroad as stealing. It considers R&D abroad as “stealing.” Whatever India hopes to get from America and the West, it is not going to be good jobs or know-how. America wants its manufacturing back. It has drawn from China’s rise the (incorrect) lesson that it should never help or allow another power rise. It doesn’t want to depend on China – or anyone else – to make anything but the lowest value items. It becomes suspicious when others make its masks, medical equipment, pharmaceutical products, software, cars, computers, etc. It will think twice, thrice, about ever helping to create a new peer competitor again.
    • America – and the broader West – is in decline. The West is in decline. There is no doubt about it. The writing is on America’s economic wall – or more accurately, in its Fed balance sheet. An economy cannot go on printing money. An economy cannot stay productive with prolonged low interest rates and paper printing, where the most productive and valuable thing it produces are military weapons. Many people talk about America’s “soft power.” I say B.S. If you take away America’s military, do you think America’s “soft power” will stand on its own? No. America’s “software power” will vaporize. American soft power stands on its military power. And America’s military power stands on the might of its economic power. Recently, that economic power is buttressed in part by China (through trade). But now America no longer wants to rely on faraway lands for anything. Once it starts decoupling from China, it will soon realize how weak it economically is. An economic reckoning will come. Such a inflection point would not necessarily bad for the American people. Stripped of its imperial duties and obligations, Americans can focus on the important things that had made America “America” again. But it means the days of the American Empire are ending. The days of America helping to lift another nation from poverty has long gone.
  • America – and the broader West – is not capable of negotiation. The West cannot keep any agreement that goes against their interests. When even the slightest of circumstances change, they find a reason to tear up the agreements, with the Iran nuclear deal but one example. Whatever deal India think it is going to get, it is not going to get what it thinks it will get. The relationship will only work song as so India gives up much more than it receives. This is the Western way. Forget about getting a fair deal. Forget about even getting a good deal. India is thinking about forging a long-term deal … I say be realistic. There is nothing special about India that will make the West change. Beggars can’t demand change. The West is not going to change its fundamental ways for you.
  • India will miss the boat in the rising Asian Century. The engine of the new global growth for the foreseeable future will be China and its surrounding neighbors. No one doubts that. Many ASEAN nations – despite having intractable territorial disputes with China in the S. China Sea – have decided to join China in building a shared future. India too has been invited but it has decided time and time against joining China because of its territorial disputes with China. This is short-sighted. China and India are old sister civilizations that have long interacted with each other. The notion of a straight line fixed territory is a Western concept. When we fixate on boundaries to the exclusion of everything else, we get led down a zero-sum intractable dispute.

China’s “community with shared future for mankind”

China is pushing forward a framework of “community with shared future for mankind” for foreign relations. This is a rejection of both traditional ideological based framework of international relations as well as the cold “realist” approach.

It is a rejection of traditional ideology in the sense it is truly agnostic about what forms of government or other ideologies other nations follow. As Deng Xiao Ping has been quoted to say, “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” It doesn’t matter if you have a left leaning or right leaning, or capitalistic or socialist, or “democratic” or “authoritarian” government, what matters is if you deliver good governance for the people.

It is a rejection of traditional realistic approach because it doesn’t really view might as the end and be all. While China acknowledges cold realism, it also aspires for a new world order that promotes global justice – which can be summarized as true sovereignty of each nation to develop as it chooses for its people.

The way to a stable world then – according to China – is to create an environment where we can raise the water for each other, shelving all conflicts as much as possible. Once everyone is better off enough – hopefully much better off than today – many issues – including territorial disputes – will become much easier to resolve.

Why Shelf Territorial Dispute?

So if we go back to the India and China territorial dispute: sure, the two neighbors can always fight to the death over a piece of territory, but that is missing the forest for the trees. What they need – above all else – is to develop each other’s society, to pull its peoples from poverty, to provide a better future for its people. What they need then is to meet each other somewhere in the middle and to enable each other to cooperate with each other. China’s faith – which should be India’s as well – is that the benefits of cooperation will in the future outweigh – far outweigh – any territorial concession each can make. It will outweigh territorial concessions because the sky is the limit to where each nation can develop.

If you think lifting 800 million out of poverty over 4 decades is amazing, think lifting 1 .4 billion between India and China over the next 4 decades! That’s the kind of vision and possibility we are looking at!!!

The way out of today’s intractable territorial dispute is to shelf it and to focus on things both sides can cooperate on, leaving the problem for a much more prosperous generation to settle on. The important thing is to build a bigger pie for our future generations instead of bickering over today’s limited pie.

Unfortunately India has decided to not only reject that vision, but to ally with U.S. to suppress China’s win-win shared common future from arising.

From China’s view, the world has been held hostage by the West for too long. Too many nations either cannot or do not want to stand up for their right to develop. The cost of standing up to the hegemon just seems too high. Many actually want to work with the hegemony, hoping to for fleeting crumbs of good will and vague rewards, even if it means enabling the hegemon to continue its pillaging and oppression over them.

The human psyche is a strange thing. While human beings have been known to rise to the highest of braveries in defense of justice, righteousness, honor, and faith, they can also be exceedingly weak and feeble. There are too many stories of a man or woman being beaten to death by a criminal, with passive crowds and strangers watching and passing by, doing nothing.

“Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime.” The world must go beyond taking short-term benefits from the West and learn to fish by themselves. It cannot always beg for a fish scrap here and there. It cannot keep fighting against or sabotaging each other for favors from the rich.

Too many of the areas of the world with territorial conflicts have arisen from their colonial legacy. The China-Indian territorial disputes arose from British colonial legacy (others that come to mind include the Palestinian issue, Cyprus, Kashmir, Pakistan-India animosity, etc.). The world must be able to through this trap to free themselves collectively from their colonial legacy.

The West – despite all its follies – continue to be strong. It has the most wealth, technologies, and strongest military. It can buy allies anywhere around the world. It can bribe and corrupt most governments around the world. But in the long term, it cannot last. The rest of the world must learn to stand up by itself.

Freedom and Development with Strings Attached

As the world currently stand, if nothing major is done, much of the fruits of science and technology will continue to accrue only to a few nations. The U.S. and the “West” has been the undisputed leader across a wide swath of science and technology in the 20th and 21th century. By their actions throughout history and today, we know Western dominance rests exclusively on their scientific and technological prowess. If their ideological prowess, not their technological prowess, is the source of their power, why are they so quick to demand others adopt their ideologies while remaining so protective of their technologies?

I mean … have you wondered why the West would want to shove down the rest of the world’s throat their version of “democracy” and “rule of law” … but get so worked up when others learn from them knowledge about science and technology?

Today, China is the only power capable of challenging all dimensions of the Western grip on of scientific and technological dominance – at least in the foreseeable future. But just as China begins to appear to be a credible competitor or alternative, the West is mounting an all spectrum attack on China to suppress its ability to access technology and markets around the world.

Thus we see that the West’s preaching of “free markets” and “rule-based economy” has always been a mirage. The British demanded “freedom” because they wanted the “freedom” to pillage on their own terms. They know that since they had the best technology and companies, the world is there for their picking if the barriers are broken down. Hence they worked to knock those barriers down!

The U.S. took on their mantle … and demanded “freedom” … too, also for the U.S. to pillage the world on their own terms. But when their dominance is threatened, the veil of “free markets” and “rule-based” trade systems has come down too.

From the Chinese view, the U.S.’s lack of confidence about China’s rise shows how insincere and hypocritical the West has always been about the world. Many Chinese have long seen through the façade of “ideologies,” and “norms” and “rules” masquerading hegemony real politik.

China’s dreams for win-win shared future are not false ideals. After all, it is not completely devoid of precedence. After U.S. helped to rebuild Europe and/or Japan, has the U.S. not received benefits from those regions? Of course! Not only have they contributed to advances in science and technology, they also provided a market for the U.S.

But there is a critical limit about American good will. Europe and Japan were allowed to succeed – but only up to a certain level. The main value of allowing Europe and Japan some prosperity is not in making those regions better off per se. The main value was in using those regions to contain Soviet Union / Russia and China. Europe and Japan understand their roles as subservient powers – and their roles as first lines of containment against Russia and China.

A Disgruntled West

Today, with U.S.’s political system and social fabric deteriorating, the U.S. is going through a fundamental rethink. The U.S. now openly thinks allies like Japan and Europe have been “taking advantage” of the U.S. The U.S. now wants payback. From its allies, it seeks better trade deals and more “protection money.”

And against China, it is on a crusade to stop its development. In China’s view, this is a red line and truly tragic. China believes the fundamental right of every people is the right to develop. It is the right of the U.S. to want to decouple from China. But to try to form an alliance to constrain the growth of 1.4 billion, as it had already with lesser powers such as N. Korea, Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela is to cross China’s fundamental red line.

India is on the wrong side of history because it is siding with a West that is going to such levels to extend its grip on dominating the world. Some time ago, I remember seeing Trump tweet out an edited version of Time’s cover of Trumpism outlasting Trump … lasting “4EVER”! There is an important kernel of truth to that video!

The West has changed. It is now open about wanting to dominate the world through suppression instead of being the light that draws the world.

Painting Itself into a Corner

In wanting to join the Western crusade against China, India too has crossed to the wrong side of history. In the coming multipolar world, India is positioning itself in a place where it will be difficult for it to develop. The capital and knowhow that can flow from a renewed China will no longer flow to India. By rejecting the Belts and Road Initiates and the RCEP, India is decoupling from Asia’s coming century.

Losing all that, but what does India have to gain? India will not be able to tease more territory out of China by playing tough. If India believes it can hang on the disputed territories against China, so too can China hang on to its disputed territories against India. Whatever India thinks it can do against China, China can do the same to India. This should be beyond any doubts!

So no new territories will be gained (or lost) through India’s current posture. What is lost however is the space for cooperation and mutual growth. India’s rejection of strategic cooperation perceived tactical gain is India’s tragic mistake today.

China is strong enough to go along without India if necessary. It is moving full steam ahead with its Belts and Road Initiative, RCEP, CJK, etc. It has formed a formidable relationship with Russia not based on ideology, alliance, political preferences, etc. – but based on building up and emphasizing common interests between two previous competitors. China and Russia will be friends not necessarily because the people “like” each other – although Chinese generally do have overwhelming positive feels toward the Russian people – but because their leaders have worked hard to ensure that they have develop and enhance many overlapping common interests.

A Relationship of Mutual Respect and Shared Common Future

Russia and China represents the sort of respectful, cooperative give and take relationship that China believes will represent the future of man-kind. They will succeed because such thinking not because you either join China or get kicked out on the high way. No, it will succeed because it will create far more than the West’s zero sum approach.

Now, don’t think everything is jolly good between Russia and China. I am sure the leaders have had many “frank” discussions about their differences … often. Historically China and Russia has had many issues. But rather than just hyping up (or burying, which is just as bad) their past, they have chosen to work on cooperating with each – to each other’s mutual benefits.

There is still time for India to join China. For eons China and India have coexisted with each other without a clearly demarcated border. Yes, in our modern world, we all long for clearly defined boundaries. But if that’s not possible, it should not be the end all and be all! Through cooperation, India and China can build a bright, shared future together, notwithstanding the territorial disputes. Now is the time for India’s leaders to decide if petty adventures on the border and allying with a dying hegemon are truly in India’s interest. Will India go down defiant, proud, and loud – but weak, petty, and trapped in the history of time?


Allen Yu is an IP attorney in Silicon Valley, a founding blogger at blog.hiddenharmonies.org, as well as an adjunct fellow at the Chunqiu Institute for Development and Strategic Studies. He holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a D. Engr., M.S., and B.S. from UCLA Samueli School of Engineering.

An Attack on Edward Said’s Legacy

Source

by Lawrence Davidson

Lawrence Davidson | Author | Common Dreams

Part I—Meeting Caroline Glick

I traveled to Israel and the Occupied Territories in the early 2000s with the progressive group Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. We made an effort to gain insight into most of the players in the conflict, and so a series of interviews was arranged with members of the Israeli right wing. I remember that one of them was Caroline Glick, an ardent American-Israeli Zionist. She lectured us on the positive personal relationships allegedly prevalent between Israeli Jews and Palestinians. 

It was an interesting and somewhat embarrassing experience. Glick and I are both American and both Jewish. Growing up, I had this understanding that American plus Jewish always meant being anti-racist. To be so was, in my mind, the prime lesson of modern Jewish history. What being anti-racist meant to Glick was unclear. She spent the better part of an hour giving us a defense of Israeli-Jewish treatment of Palestinians based on the classic “some of my best friends are Black” (read Palestinian) defense. In the words of the New York Times journalist John Eligon, this line of argument “has so often been relied on by those facing accusations of racism that it has become shorthand for weak denials of bigotry—a punch line about the absence of thoughtfulness and rigor in our conversations about racism.” And so it was with Glick, who explained that she, and many other Israeli Jews, had Palestinians who do small jobs for them and are treated well, and that this proves a lack of cultural and societal racism. It was such a vacuous argument that I remember feeling embarrassed for her. 

Things haven’t gotten much better when it comes to Ms. Glick’s worldview. She is now a senior columnist at Israel Hayom (Israel Today, a pro-Netanyahu newspaper owned by the family of Sheldon Anderson) and contributor to such questionable U.S. outlets as Breitbart NewsShealso directs the Israeli Security Project at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. There can be little doubt that she continues to see the world through the distorting lens of a particularly hardline variant of Zionism.  

Part II—Glick’s Attack on Edward Said’s Legacy 

Recently, Caroline Glick launched an attack on the legacy of the late American-Palestinian scholar and teacher Edward Said. Entitled “Edward Said, Prophet of Political Violence in America,” it was recently (7 July 2020) published in the U.S. by Newsweek—a news magazine with an increasingly pro-Zionist editorial stand. As it turns out, one cannot find a better example of how ideology can distort one’s outlook to the point of absurdity. Below is an analysis of Glick’s piece in a point-by-point fashion. Ultimately, the ideological basis for her argument will become clear. 

1. Glick begins by resurrecting a twenty-year-old event. “On July 3, 2000, an incident occurred along the Lebanese border with Israel that, at the time, seemed both bizarre and … unimportant. That day, Columbia University professor Edward Said was photographed on the Hezbollah-controlled Lebanese side of the border with Israel throwing a rock at an Israel Defense Forces watchtower 30 feet away.” She goes on to describe this act as “Said’s rock attack on Israel” and the “soldiers protecting their border.”

We need some context to put all of this in perspective: Israel is an expansionist state, and the original Zionist aim (as presented to the Paris Peace Conference following World War I) was to incorporate parts of southern Lebanon into what is now Israel. Southern Lebanon also briefly became a staging area for Palestinian retaliatory attacks into Israel. Thus, Israel invaded Lebanon multiple times only to be forced to withdraw in the face of resistance led by Hezbollah, a strong Lebanese Shiite militia in control of much of southern Lebanon.  

Said relates that during his 2000 visit to the Lebanese border with his family, he threw a pebble (not a “rock”) at a deserted Israeli watchtower (no Israeli soldiers were “defending their border”).  Said saw this as a symbolic act of defiance against Israeli occupation. Over the years stone throwing by Palestinian youth had become just such a symbolic act. And, it was from their example that Said might have taken his cue.

2. However, Glick wants to draw highly questionable consequences from Said’s act. She tells us that “with the hindsight of 20 years, it was a seminal moment and a harbinger for the mob violence now taking place in many parts of America.” By the way, the “mob violence” in America she is referring to is the mass protests against police brutality that followed the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on 25 May 2020.

3. Now that sounds a bit odd. How does Glick manage this segue from Edward Said’s symbolic stone toss in the year 2000 to nationwide inner-city rebellions against police brutality in 2020 America? Here is the contorted sequence she offers: 

a. Said was a terrorist because he was an influential member of the alleged “terrorist organization,” the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). “Terrorist organization” is a standard Zionist descriptor of most Palestinian organizations. Actually, the PLO is the legally recognized representative of the Palestinian people and as such has carried on both a armed and a diplomatic struggle to liberate Palestine from Israeli Occupation. In 1993, the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist. This made little difference to the Zionist right wing who, like Glick, continued to use the terrorist tag for propaganda purposes. It is to be noted that all liberation movements are considered to be “terrorist” by those they fight against. And, indeed both sides in such a struggle usually act in this fashion on occasion. Certainly, Israel is no innocent in this regard. 

b. For Glick, Said’s alleged terrorist connection transforms his “rock attack” into a terrorist act. This is simply an ad hominem assertion on Glick’s part. There is no evidence that Said ever engaged in any act, including the tossing of stones, that can sanely be characterized as terrorism.

c. Glick tells us that, at the same time Said was ‘committing a terrorist attack’ on Israel, he was also “the superstar of far-Left intellectuals.” It is hard to know what she means here by “far-Left.” It is seems to be another ad hominem slander. Said was a scholar of Comparative Literature and, when not in the classroom, he advocated for the political and human rights of oppressed Palestinians—how “far-Left” is that?

d. Nonetheless, Glick goes on to assert that as a “far-Left” academic, Said waged a “nihilistic” and “anti-intellectual” offensive against Western thought. He did so in a well-known work entitled Orientalism published in 1978.

What does Orientalism actually say? Using mostly 19th century literary and artistic examples, the book documents the prevailing Western perception of the Near East and North Africa, which stands in for the Orient. This perception reflects a basically bipolar worldview—one which, according to Said, reserved for the West a superior image of science and reason, prosperity and high culture, and for the Orient an inferior somewhat mysterious and effeminate image of the “other” fated for domination by the West. Over time this view became pervasive in the West and influenced not only literary and artistic views of the Orient, but also impacted political, historical, anthropological and other non-fictional interpretations. Having helped create a superior sense of self, this orientalist perception served as a rationale for Western world dominance. It should be said that whether one agrees with every one of Said’s details or not, there is no doubt his well researched and documented work has made most scholars more aware of their biases.

e. Glick refuses to see Orientalism asjust an influential academic work. Instead, in what appears to be a pattern of illogical jumps, she claims that “in Orientalism, Said characterized all Western—and particularly American—scholarship on the Arab and Islamic worlds as one big conspiracy theory” designed to justify empire. This then is the heart of Said’s alleged “nihilistic” repudiation of Western scholarship. She particularly points to Said’s claim that “From the Enlightenment period through the present every European, in what he could say about the Orient, was a racist, an imperialist and almost totally ethnocentric.” While this is a far-reaching generalization, it basically reflects an equally pervasive, very real Western cultural bias. What Glick describes as a “conspiracy theory” is Said’s scholarly demonstration of how that bias has expressed itself. And, it should be noted that such pervasive biases are not uniquely American nor even Western. Chinese, Japanese, Arab/Muslim, Hindu and Jewish civilizations have their own variants of such biases. Yet, it is Said’s effort to expose and ameliorate the orientalism of the West that seems to madden Caroline Glick.

f. For Glick, Said’s suggestion that both past as well as many present scholars have culturally biased points of view of the Orient becomes an accusation that any “great scholar” with a classical Western worldview “is worse than worthless. If he is a white American, he is an agent of evil.” Glick is now building a real head of steam and her account becomes more and more grotesque. She now claims that Said’s work is “intellectual nihilism.” How so? Because it “champions narrative over evidence.” What Glick is implying here is that Said’s work is an anti-Western screed presented without evidence. This is demonstrably wrong, but nonetheless provides a platform for Glick’s further assertion that Said’s fantastical narrative is told in order to “manipulate students to engage in political violence against the United States.”

Part III—What Is This All About?

Caroline Glick makes repeated illogical jumps. As egregious as these are they actually point the way to her larger ideological agenda.

  1. Said is a terrorist because he opposes Israel and supports the Palestinians. Participation in the PLO is her proof of this. 
  2. Because Said is a terrorist, his throwing of a stone at the southern Lebanese border is a terrorist attack against Israel and its defense forces. 
  3. Somehow, Said’s throwing the stone was also “a harbinger for the mob violence now taking place in many parts of America.” The connector here is Said’s tossing of an intellectual “rock”—his thesis presented in Orientalism.
  4. Just as his “rock attack” was terroristic, so Said’s book, Orientalism, is itself an act of terrorism as well as a “nihilistic” project. 
  5. It is all these nasty things rolled into one because it calls into question established cultural assumptions that had long underpinned colonialism and imperialism, and which also just happens to underpin Israel’s claim to legitimacy.
  6. But there is more. Glick tells us, “Said’s championing of the Palestinian war against Israel was part of a far wider post-colonialist crusade he waged against the United States. The purpose of his scholarship was to deny American professors the right to study and understand the world [in an orientalist fashion] by delegitimizing them as nothing but racists and imperialists.”
  7. And finally, “Orientalism formed the foundation of a much broader campaign on campuses to delegitimize the United States as a political entity steeped in racism.”

Part IV—Conclusion

Glick’s attack on Edward Said’s legacy is beset with leaps of illogic. So let me conclude this analysis with my own leap, hopefully a logical one, to an explanation of what may be Glick’s larger agenda. Glick is attempting to turn the ideological clock back to a time before decolonization. Specifically, she wishes to resurrect an overall acceptance of Western colonialism as a benevolent endeavor whereby progress and civilization was spread by a superior culture. 

Why would she want to do this? Because if we all believe this proposition, then Israel can be seen as a legitimate and normal state. After all, Israel is the last of the colonial settler states—the imposition of Western culture into the Orient. It rules over millions of Palestinian Arabs as the result of a European invasion made “legal” by a colonial document, the Balfour Declaration, and its acceptance by a pro-colonial League of Nations. Our post-colonial age in which Edward Said is a “superstar intellectual,” is seen as a constant threat to Zionist Israel’s legitimacy. 

Edward Said’s legacy provides a strong theoretical foundation for understanding why the Western imperialists thought and acted as they did, and hence helps both Western and non-Western peoples to confront their own modern historical situation. However, Glick cannot see any of this except through the Zionist perspective. Thus, Said’s legacy is just part of an anti-Israeli conspiracy—an attack on those scholars who support the legitimacy of an orientalist point of view and of the Zionist state. 

She also suggests that Said’s undoing of historically accepted biases lets loose the “mob violence” seen in the U.S. There is no evidence for this, but it may be Glick’s  roundabout way of undermining student support for Palestinian rights on American campuses. 

Ultimately, what Glick is interested in is preserving the image of Israel as a Western democratic enclave in an otherwise uncivilized sea of Arab and Islamic barbarians. That fits right into the traditional orientalist belief system and justifies the continuing U.S.-Israeli alliance. Said has successfully called that perspective into question. Hence Glick’s assault on his legacy. 

Finally, Glick’s present attack on Said, and her attempt to tie his work into the protests that followed George Floyd’s murder, shows how frightened the defenders of one racist state, Zionist Israel, become when their principle ally, the United States, comes under attack for racist practices. Said as a “superstar” foe of all racism becomes the lighting rod for that fear. 

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