For Lula’s Victory to Matter: A Proposal for a Unified Palestinian Foreign Policy

November 10, 2022

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva meets the Palestinian community in Brazil, in June 2022. (Photo: Via MEMO)

By Ramzy Baroud

Palestinians and their supporters are justified in celebrating the election victory of the leftist presidential candidate, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, in Brazil’s runoff elections on October 30. But Lula’s victory is incomplete and could ultimately prove ineffectual if not followed by a concrete and centralized Palestinian strategy.

Lula has proven, throughout the years, to be a genuine friend of Palestine and Arab countries.

For example, in 2010, as a president, he spoke of his dream of seeing “an independent and free Palestine” during a visit to the occupied West Bank. He also refused to visit the grave of Theodor Herzl, the father of Israel’s Zionist ideology. Instead, he visited Yasser Arafat’s tomb in Ramallah.

Later that year, Lula’s government recognized Palestine as an independent state within the 1967 borders.

Lula’s rival, soon-to-be former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is an ideologue who has repeatedly professed his love for Israel, and had pledged in November 2018 to follow the US government’s lead in relocating his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Unlike other pro-Israel world leaders, Bolsonaro’s affection is ideological and unconditional. In a 2018 interview with the Israeli newspaper ‘Israel Hayom’, he said: “Israel is a sovereign state … If you decide what your capital is, we will follow you. You decide on the capital of Israel, not other people”.

In a final and desperate move to win the support of Brazil’s Evangelical Christians, Bolsonaro’s wife, Michelle, donned a t-shirt carrying the Israeli flag. That gesture alone speaks volumes about Bolsonaro’s skewed agenda, which is symptomatic of many of Israel’s supporters around the world.

Lula’s victory and Bolsonaro’s defeat are, themselves, a testament to a changing world, where loyalty to Israel is no longer a guarantor of electoral victory. This has proven true in the case of Donald Trump in the US, Liz Truss in the UK, Scott Morrison in Australia and, now, Brazil.

The Israelis, too, seem to have accepted such a new, albeit unpleasant reality.

Interviewed by The Times of Israel, Brazilian scholar James Green explained that it behooves Israel to revise its view of Lula. Green said that the newly-elected president should not be seen “as a radical, because he’s not, and in this campaign, he needed to show his moderation on all levels”.

The willingness to engage with Lula, though begrudgingly, was also expressed by Claudio Lottenberg, president of the Brazilian Israelite Confederation, the country’s largest pro-Israel Jewish organization who, on October 31, issued a note, expressing the group’s “permanent readiness for constructive and democratic dialogue” with Lula.

Brazil’s political transformation is sure to benefit the Palestinians, even though Lula’s ideologically diverse coalition makes it more difficult for him to explore the same radical political spaces in which he ventured during his previous presidency between 2003 and 2011.

It is also worth noting that Bolsonaro was a relatively important player in the global conservative, far-right political camp that attempted to legitimize the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Following the recent reversal by the Australian government of a 2018 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Bolsonaro’s defeat is another nail in the coffin in Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’.

True, geopolitical changes are critical to the future of Palestine and the Palestinian struggle, but without a responsible Palestinian leadership that can navigate opportunities and face up and confront growing challenges, Lula’s victory can, at best, be seen as a symbolic one.

Palestinians are aware of the massive changes underway regionally and globally. That has been demonstrated through the repeated visits by Palestinian political groups to Moscow, and the meeting between Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas with Russian President Vladimir Putin on October 13, in Kazakhstan. The latter meeting has raised the ire of Washington, which is incapable of lashing out in any meaningful way so that it may not push the Palestinians entirely into the Russian camp.

Palestine is also becoming, once again, regionally relevant, if not central to Arab affairs, as indicated in the Arab League Summit in Algeria, November 1-2.

However, for all these dynamic changes to be translated into tangible political achievements, Palestinians cannot proceed as fragmented entities.

There are three major political trends that define Palestinian political action globally:

First, the Palestinian Authority, which has political legitimacy as the legal representative of the Palestinian people, but no actual legitimacy among Palestinians, nor a forward-thinking strategy.

Second, Palestinian political groups, which are ideologically diverse and, arguably, more popular among Palestinians, but lack international recognition.

And, finally, the Palestinian-led international solidarity campaign, which has gained much ground as the voice of Palestinian civil society worldwide. While the latter has moral legitimacy, it is not legally representative of Palestinians. Additionally, without a unified political strategy, civil society achievements cannot be translated, at least not yet, into solid political gains.

So, while all Palestinians are celebrating Lula’s victory as a victory for Palestine, there is no single entity that can, alone, harness the political and geopolitical change underway in Brazil to a definite building block towards the collective struggle for justice and freedom in Palestine.

Until Palestinians revamp their problematic leadership or formulate a new kind of leadership through grassroots mobilization in Palestine itself, they should at least attempt to liberate their foreign policy agenda from factionalism, which is defined by a self-centered approach to politics.

A starting point might be the creation of a transitional, non-factional political body of professional Palestinians with an advisory role agreed upon by all political groups. This can take place via the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which has been marginalized by the PA for decades. This entity’s main role can be confined to surveying the numerous opportunities underway on the global stage and to allow, however nominally, Palestinians to speak in one united voice.

For this to happen, of course, major Palestinian groups would need to have enough goodwill to put their differences aside for the greater good; though not an easy feat, it is, nonetheless, possible.

– 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

لولا دا سيلفا.. رئيس البرازيل من طبقة الكادحين

الثلاثاء 29 تشرين اول  2022

إعداد: شروق محيدله

سياسي برازيلي بدأ من عالم الفقر والنضال النقابي وحوّل بلاده إلى قوة عالمية.. من هو لولا دا سيلفا؟

فيديوهات متعلقة

طفولة صعبة ومراهقة شاقة.. كيف عاش لولا دا سيلفا حياته؟

رماح اسماعيل 

المصدر: الميادين نت

31 تشرين اول 

عاش لولا دا سيلفا حياة قاسية، بين النشأة والطفولة والمراهقة، وصولاً إلى الرئاسة، ولأن تكوينه الأول كان في وسط فقير، كبر لولا وأخذ على عاتقه راية الفقراء، وتخليصهم من الظلم.

لولا دا سيلفا في مرحلة الشباب (أرشيفية)

قبل أن يكون رئيساً للبرازيل، إحدى الدول البارزة في أميركا اللاتينية، كان الرئيس المنتخب أمس لولا دا سيلفا طفلاً عاش في ظروف صعبة للغاية، تسبب بها الفقر المدقع الذي عانت منه أسرته. 

ثم انتقل دا سيلفا إلى مرحلة المراهقة التي لم تكن أفضل من مرحلة الطفولة، حيث كان معيلاً لعائلته، مما اضطره إلى العمل في أكثر المهن صعوبة، واحدة منها أفقدته أصبعاً في يده.

نشأت شخصية دا سيلفا في بيئة قاسية، فأثّرت بشكل مباشر في تكوين شخصيته، لكنها لم تخلق منه شخصاً فظاً، بل جعلته رحيماً بمن حوله، ذاق الفقر ومرارته فأراد أن يكون جسراً ليعبر فوقه فقراء البرازيل نحو حياة أفضل.

نشأته وطفولته

“لقد علمتني أمي كيف أمشي مرفوع الرأس وكيف أحترم نفسي حتى يحترمني الآخرون”.

نشأ دا سيلفا الذي ولد في 27 تشرين الأول/أكتوبر 1945، في أسرة فقيرة، أصلها من الشمال الشرقي للبرازيل، وكانت طفولته قاسية، حيث تعلم من والدته الكثير حول الحياة ومواجهة صعوباتها.

وكتب ريتشارد بورن في الجزء الأول من كتابه “لولا البرازيل” عن طفولة دا سلفيا، وجاء عنوان هذا الجزء بعنوان “قاسية وصعبة”، قائلاً إن لولا انتمى لأسرة مكونة من 7 أولاد وبنات، سافر والده مع ابنة عمه بعد أسبوعين فقط من مولد دا سيلفا إلى ساو باولو، للبحث عن عمل ثم انقطعت أخباره بعد فترة قصيرة، فظنت والدته أنه وجد وظيفة وبالتالي سافرت هي الأخرى إلى ساو باولو ومعها أطفالها.

ولكن سرعان ما اكتشفت أن زوجها تزوج من ابنة عمه بعد أن عاشوا قصة حب سرية، ولذلك اضطرت أن تسكن في غرفة واحدة في منطقة فقيرة في هذه المدينة، ولقد لعبت “أريستيدس” والدة دا سيلفا دوراً كبيراً في حياته وتكوين شخصيته، واعترف دا سيلفا بذلك.

بدأ لولا دا سيلفا مشواره التعليمي في سن مبكر، ولكنه توقف عن التحصيل الدراسي في سن العاشرة من عمره، عندما كان في السنة الخامسة من التعليم الأساسي بسبب الفقر الشديد والظروف الصعبة التي كانت تمر بها العائلة.

ولكن تلك الظروف الصعبة ساهمت في بناء شخصيته، وظهر هذا عندما تولى حكم البرازيل حيث وجه اهتماماً كبيراً للفقراء.

مراهقة ترافقت مع أعمال شاقة

لا بد أن شخصية دا سيلفا المناضلة تعود إلى خلفية عاشها في فترة شبابه، قاسى فيها ظروفاً صعبة للغاية، حيث عمل هذا الفتى في سن مبكرة من عمره كماسح للأحذية لفترة طويلة في شوارع ساو باولو، وكصبي في محطة وقود، ثم حرفي في ورشة.

ليعمل بعد ذلك ميكانيكياً لإصلاح السيارات، وبائع خضروات لكن كل هذه الظروف جعلت منه رجلاً قوياً، وانتهى به الحال كمتخصص في التعدين بعد التحاقه بمعمل “فيس ماترا” حيث نجح في الحصول على دورة تدريبية لمدة 3 سنوات من هناك.

وتعرض لولا لحادثة في سن الـ19 من عمره، أثناء عمله في إحدى مصانع قطع الغيار للسيارات، أدت إلى فقدانه أصبعه خنصر في يده اليسرى، وكان السبب في هذا هو إهمال صاحب المصنع الذي كان يعمل به.

وبعد هذا الحادث انضم دا سيلفا إلى نقابة عمالية بهدف تحسين أوضاع العمال، لأنه عانى الكثير ليحصل على علاج آنذاك.

وأثرت تلك الحادثة في نفسية لولا، مما دفعه للمشاركة في اتحاد نقابة العمال، بهدف الدفاع عن حقوق العمال وتحسين مستواهم وتحريرهم من قسوة أصحاب الأموال وظلمهم.

دا سيلفا خلال مشاركته في حركات العمال (أرشيفية)

حياته الأسرية

لم يكتب لزواج دا سيلفا الأول الاستمرارية، حيث توفيت زوجته الأولى “ماريا دى” عام 1970،  بسبب مرض التهاب الكبد الوبائي، أي بعد سنة واحدة فقط على زواجهما في عام 1969 لتنتهي بذلك حكايتهما معاً من دون إنجاب أطفال.

وفي عام 1974 تزوج من “ماريزا ليتسيا لولا دا سيلفا” والتي أصبحت السيدة الأولى في البرازيل وأنجب منها 5 أبناء.

محطات في حياته السياسية

صبغت ظروف دا سيلفا الصعبة حياته ومعتقداته، حتى جعلته صوتاً للمستضعفين ليس فقط في البرازيل بل حول العالم، وشكلت له قاعدة جماهيرية جلها من الفقراء والعمال وكل من يرزح تحت مظلة الظلم والاستغلال.

شارك لولا في شباط/فبراير من العام 1980، في تأسيس حزب العمال، ذو الأفكار التقدمية. وفي العام 1983، ساعد في تأسيس اتحاد نقابات (CUT). وفي العام 1984، انضم لحملات المطالبة بتصويت شعبي مباشر في الانتخابات الرئاسية البرازيلية، وهذا ما نجحوا في تحقيقه عام 1989.

وخاض دا سيلفا الانتخابات الرئاسية 3 مرات دون جدوى، قبل أن يستطيع تحقيق النصر في انتخابات العام 2002، وقد أُعيد انتخابه عام 2006.

وفي تموز/يوليو 2017، أدين بتهمة غسل الأموال والفساد في محاكمة مثيرة للجدل، وحُكم عليه بالسجن 9 سنوات ونصف. وبعد فشله في قضية استئناف الحكم، تم سجنه في نيسان/أبريل 2018 وقضى 580 يوماً في السجن.

أما في نيسان/أبريل 2021 أيّدت المحكمة العليا البرازيلية إلغاء إدانات بالفساد صادرة بحق الرئيس السابق لولا دا سيلفا ما جعله مؤهلاً للترشح للانتخابات الرئاسيّة عام 2020.

وفي أيار/مايو 2021، صرّح لولا أنه سيرشح نفسه لولاية ثالثة في انتخابات العام 2022، ضد الرئيس الحالي جايير بولسونارو، وتمكن من الفوز بولاية ثالثة في 30 تشرين الأول/أكتوبر.

اقرأ أيضاً: لولا دا سيلفا رئيساً للبرازيل بعد فوزه على بولسونارو في الجولة الثانية

Leftist Lula elected Brazil’s new President-Brazil: Bolsonaro’s Wife Wears Israeli Flag While Casting Vote

Monday 31 10 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva returns to Brazil’s highest office in an incredible political comeback.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s new President

Brazilian President-elect Lula da Silva assures that his country has returned to the international arena and will no longer be a “pariah”.

Lula won Brazil’s presidential elections, urging “peace and unity” after defeating far-right Jair Bolsonaro in a contentious runoff election on Sunday. Bolsonaro has not yet conceded loss, but leftist da Silva has concluded a historic political comeback.

The victory represents a stunning turnaround for leftist icon Lula, who returned for an unprecedented third term at 77 after leaving office in 2010 as the most popular President in Brazilian history.

“This country needs peace and unity,” Lula said to loud cheers in a victory speech in Sao Paulo.

Read next: Lula Da Silva leads in polls ahead of Sunday runoff in Brazil

“The challenge is immense,” he said of the job ahead of him, citing a hunger crisis, the economy, bitter political division, and deforestation in the Amazon.

Later, in front of a crammed audience of hundreds of thousands of supporters wearing red Workers’ Party clothing, he declared, “Democracy is back.”

Bolsonaro’s overwhelming silence 

Bolsonaro, 67, was silent in the hours after the result was declared.

After months of claiming — without providing any evidence — that Brazil’s electronic voting system is plagued by fraud and that the courts, media, and other institutions had conspired against his far-right movement, all eyes will now be on how Bolsonaro and his supporters will respond to the outcome.

“Anywhere in the world, the losing president would already have called to admit defeat. He hasn’t called yet, I don’t know if he will call and concede,” Lula told the massive crowd.

Read next: Brazilians vote with Lula leading the polls against Bolsonaro

Electoral officials proclaimed Lula the winner with 50.9% of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 49.1%.

The virulent hardline conservative known as “Tropical Trump,” Bolsonaro, lost the election.

While Bolsonaro remained silent, several of his most important allies publicly endorsed the results. Arthur Lira, the speaker of the lower house of Congress, said it was time to “extend a hand to our adversaries, debate, and build bridges.”

Read next: Lula ‘threatens US interests’, Bolsonaro pleading to Biden for ‘help’

‘Restore peace’ 

Lula supporters around the country began celebrations Sunday evening.

“We’ve had four years of a genocidal, hateful government,” said Lula voter Maria Clara, a 26-year-old student, at a victory party in downtown Rio.

“Today democracy won, and the possibility of dreaming of a better country again.”

‘Biggest comeback’

Lula discussed racial and gender equality in his victory speech, as well as the pressing need to address the food crisis afflicting 33.1 million Brazilians.

“Today we tell the world that Brazil is back,” he said, adding that the country is “ready to reclaim its place in the fight against the climate crisis, especially the Amazon.”

He vowed to “fight for zero deforestation.”

Lula’s win is “one of the biggest comebacks in modern political history,” tweeted Brian Winter, editor-in-chief of Americas Quarter.             

Brazil: Bolsonaro’s Wife Wears Israeli Flag While Casting Vote

October 30, 2022

Brazil: Bolsonaro’s Wife Wears Israeli Flag While Casting Vote. (Photo: via Social Media)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Brazil’s First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro showed up at the polling station to vote in the country’s presidential elections wearing a T-shirt depicting an Israeli flag, Israeli media reported.

Her husband, current Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, is facing left-wing former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

The Times of Israel reported that “Bolsonaro, who enjoys the support of the country’s millions of evangelical Christians, pledged to move Brazil’s embassy to Jerusalem, but in the end opened a trade and investment office in the capital.”

“At a time when Brazilians vote in one of their most consequential elections in recent history, Bolsonaro shows that his priorities do not lie in the interests of the Brazilian people but in a foreign power,” Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud said.

“While this phenomenon is not confined to Brazil, as it is also the norm in American elections, it is particularly tragic in the case of Brazil, as the country faces immense socio-economic and political challenges that require true loyalty to the nation, not to Israel,” Baroud added.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Ideologies are no longer the way we know them and this means that the world is being reconfigured

July 17, 2022

Source

By Guilherme Wilbert

I try to bring a reflection in most of my texts about what competes for the international diplomatic and monetary future after Operation Z in Ukraine, but also, I always try to bring the ideological part into the discussion because this still makes many people’s heads spin. Or are Ukrainian flag-wavers not ideologized?

Capitalism and communism have always been enemies at their core, especially in their own archetypes, since communism is internationalist, while pure capitalism is just the simplest way of doing business: you give me money for what it is worth, and I give you the product.

It turns out that along with the collapse of communism after the Soviet collapse in 1991, capitalism has also spiraled, and its most vile forms are found in meta-capitalists and monopolizing companies, which distort the real meaning of free markets, open competition and more.

What happens is that some businessmen behave like communists with money because they use their companies to carry out monopolies and cartels around the world, with the simplest case being that of Brazil, which has a nation of 200 million people to more and only has 5 banks in Brazilian territory operating, these being: Banco do Brasil (created by D. João VI of Portugal during the Brazilian Empire), Caixa Econômica Federal (which is a kind of banking autarchy of the Brazilian Federal Government), Itaú, Santander and Bradesco.  Even HSBC was strong in the country, but could not stand it and closed its operation last decade.

The case of Brazil is a clear example of a country that fell victim to the metacapitalists, even though it had a leftist government like the Workers Party led by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former president of the country.

And this proves how even orthodox socialism, which is the case of the ideology-north of the Workers Party of Brazil, can be eroded by metacapitalism and its bad ways of doing business.

The point is that cartels, monopolies, oligopolies are distorted forms of capitalism, which look very much like a communist quasi-statist economy because the monopolizer behaves like a communist strong state. And this destroys the sense that is used to identify a communist or capitalist militancy in some countries because the real goals of the ideologies cited here are not made explicit up front. This makes for a dumb and innocuous militancy that sometimes is fighting for the same things without realizing it.

While the communist militant likes a strong State that monopolizes natural resources or not, the meta-capitalist also likes the State because it helps him to make and maintain his monopoly. That is why it is not rare to see people like George Soros, prominent bankers, supporting wealth taxes, for example, because it would be a way for them to continue using the state territory to carry out their monopolies and cartels.

Another practical example coming from Brazil are telephone lines: the country has only 4 cell phone companies, with one (Oi Telecomunicações) in receivership because it is in bad shape.

During Lula’s communist government in the country, the banks had the highest profits, several newspapers reported at the time.  This is a clear proof of the distortion of the communist discourse that usually carries the popular feeling but sometimes only makes its leaders richer and more powerful and more brutal.

Fidel Castro, who died richer than Queen Elizabeth II, it is said.

And a global international reconfiguration is happening right now, with the various economic blocs of countries in the Global South becoming closer together.

This is also because of the ideological capitalist exhaustion due to monopolizing meta-capitalism, or communism, when the exacerbated statization and planned economy is proving wrong again in the countries, making the real economy of production take over the discourse and making smarter heads.

Wars still happen because of ideologies, but they can be stopped by them too

When the clash of civilizations happened in 2019, with the world distrusting China for being bad at preserving Covid-19 cases, as well as trying lockdowns recently that destroyed the global supply chain of production, a lot of bad thought was given to a strong and sovereign state like China’s, especially the more ideologized ones, who blamed the country’s trademark hammer and sickle as the cause of the problems plaguing the world at the time. Except that today, 3 years later, China, which is clearly totally ideologized, may be guiding some parts of the Global South towards an inter-country integration that involves the monetary, diplomatic and trade issues. In other words, the China that would have caused the Covid-19 problem for some ideologues, may be the same country that can save the global economy when the dollar collapses. And it will collapse. It is just a matter of time.

While NATO, which carries an air of the cold war because it still exists even after the end of the Warsaw Pact, is trying to emulate a kind of international police force, going against the very name of the military organization, which in theory would only be in the North Atlantic Sea, today it is already in Asia and Oceania. In what is seen as the opposite thinking of the leaders of Eurasia and the Global South.

Some diplomats from within NATO have even talked about “Global NATO”. What is this if not a trace of colonialism ingrained in the Atlanticist organization to stand up to the enthusiasts of multipolarity, who have sometimes ended up being characterized by the flags with sickle and hammer?

The clearest point I try to make is that ideologies have been eroded by the mistakes or successes of their own leaders, distorting the orthodox common sense of centuries-old doctrines like communism for example. This was seen when the US opened the international market to China, which made them the second global economy today.

But there was also no good interpretation from the West towards Russia for example, which today is a totally different country from the Soviet Union, and could have become an ally. Which would totally change the scenario we are living today.

So ideologies can stop or make wars, either by capitalism or by communists.

Capitalism at war means monopolies arising, while communists at war means massive genocides arising.

Corroded ideology is not necessarily a bad thing, but it shows a breakdown in thinking in society

Ideologies arise as a way of trying to organize models of government, and several of them have even been criminalized around the world due to the massacres they have carried out. But at the same time, this does not mean that they will cease to exist.

When a society thinks 50% one thing and another half thinks 50% another thing, this means that there is a polarity of thoughts that can only lead to chaos and barbarism, because the people, hungry or in difficulty, are not able to come to a consensus, and then authoritarianism and popular uprisings arise.

The corrosion of ideologies, be they capitalist or communist, was something that would happen naturally because time goes on proving some points that have always been pushed by the enthusiasts of such as absolute truths, which are lies.

Several are the cases of communist countries that collapsed and several are the countries that collapse because of meta-capitalism. This is why we must abandon ideologies and simple ways of thinking when it comes to a nation, a homeland.

A homeland is much bigger than a 19th-century German writing. A nation is much bigger and means much more than a Politburo.

Capitalism and communism behave today as different sides of the same coin, with their owners and enthusiasts having the same origins.  Instead of studying the end result, look for the cause. Many coincidences can arise.


Guilherme Wilbert is a Brazilian law graduate interested in geopolitics and international law.

The disintegration of Western society – visible to the naked eye

July 02, 2022

Source

by Guilherme Wilbert

While we notice the closest integration among emerging countries, we notice a certain disparity among the richest, first-world countries, because they may not seem like it, but they also have internal problems that cannot always be fought. And the most recent of these is inflation, with an unprecedented rise in prices.

The middle class, the main target of the Great Reset enthusiasts, is beginning to feel prices rising more and more, even though they don’t fully agree with the war at the moment, which is impressive if you consider that public opinion is of little concern to the leaders who are driving the economic-military and diplomatic disaster in Europe.  The most practical example of this is recent with the Nordics joining NATO without any referendum or popular poll within the countries’ society. And the argument to be used I can already imagine: “But democracy is representative, William! If the people vote for politician x, it’s because they agree with his platform.” Yes. But that is half right. Not entirely.

Democracy, especially representative democracy, has a serious flaw, precisely in terms of representation.  Politicians who are not faithfully committed to the objectives of the nation, of the homeland, but, unfortunately, are rather vain, cause a distortion in the etymological sense of the term “representative democracy”, because who would it represent? Not the people!  And one of the causes of the wrong votes that the people usually give (considering totally clean elections) is due to the fact that it is not invested in the political conscience of these societies, usually due to a lack of interest from part of society, but also due to the lack of incentives from the State in this matter. But this is a very complex subject that I can deal with in another article.

To try to continue the reasoning of the Western disintegration and distortion of the democratic sense, I can give a practical example of Brazil, because it is closer to home. The juristocracy ended up taking over the country after Operation Lava Jato, which was nothing more than an American collusion with the Brazilian opposition to depose the Dilma Rousseff government (which does not cancel out Dilma’s mistakes, who was a terrible supposed economist and basically destroyed the country, becoming easy prey as she fell into popular disgrace). But what is this juristocracy? Simply the country’s Supreme Court overruling any take on government that the Federal Executive Branch has. And that’s just about anyone anyway.

A more emblematic case was when Jair Bolsonaro, head of the Brazilian Executive Government, tried to cheapen and cut taxes, in which he was barred by the country’s Federal Supreme Court with pious claims that did not see the welfare of the Brazilian people, but the opposite.  What is this if not a distortion of the sense of democracy with a judiciary ruling without popular vote in place of the actual president of the country? And this is seen in many parts of the globe. Jacob Zuma was arrested by order of the country’s Supreme Court as a reminder.

No wonder that what is now called lawfare has become a real weapon against legitimately elected governments.

And these phenomena happening in Brazil as in the example, or in the US, which exports this kind of practice in several parts of the world (not forgetting Pakistan which ousted Imran Khan with a motion of no confidence fomented by the US) with several groups such as Black Lives Matter, where they are nothing more than spearheads of social agitators and bankers, end up eroding the civilizational core of the country, leading to barbarism, lack of control and evil. And then you extend the reasoning now to all the countries that apply democracy as a system of government and are influenced directly or indirectly by the Northern Empire.

It is simply the total disintegration of Western society because it is not yet realized by the leaders today that the current system of government is not working, and this is causing social distortions that could be easily countered in other ways. I am not making room for dictatorships if that is what you are used to thinking, but I cannot imagine a platform of nation and homeland being put together in only 4 years. Things take much longer to happen than the terms of democracies.

We could have held on, but the thirst for war always speaks louder

It is curious to think that things could have been different, such as if Russia became a member of NATO, which would have shut up some of the mouths in Brussels and London thirsting for war, or even what I have already mentioned in an article: a document linked to international law based on multilateral coordination between the UN and other entities recognizing that Ukraine would not join NATO, respecting the Russian right to the territorial security of the Federation. If we take recent Russian history, we would understand their concerns.

In the late 1990s, Chechnya for example tried to secede from Russia as soon as the Soviet disintegration happened and Putin ascended to power, which led him to his first challenge: to reintegrate Chechnya into Russian territory. But how? Well, unfortunately, it took Chechnya going back to the stone age for that. But it has also been proven that the US used spearheads and international terrorists in some wars in the Caucasus, including in Chechnya itself, thus fostering a disintegration of Russian territory.

Putin himself has already spoken several times on this subject in speeches because he himself as director of the FSB (still KGB, just changed the name, everybody knows) had access to the documents coming from double agents which would prove that the West was using terrorists to disintegrate Russia. But it failed.

This point alone would explain the Russian fear of NATOstan as a neighbor, the most emblematic case being Ukraine, which is their gateway to Europe, basically the breadbasket of the continent. But it’s not as if the Russians didn’t give in as well, the Baltics bordering Russia are already part of NATO, and could be used as agents provocateurs against Moscow in various ways. But it was not enough. It is never enough for those who thirst for war.  And they cooked up the crisis to such a point where we got where we are today.

The US as a country supposedly allied with Ukraine (which was doing nothing more than sponsoring bio-labs for developing biological weapons in the country and laundering money through the Burisma company, which hired Hunter Biden) if they really didn’t want war, the first step to be taken was to put at least 50,000 troops in and around Kiev. They could do this, and it would cost very little compared to the financial effort currently seen. Or better: let the diplomatic arguments win and the binding anti-Ukraine document in NATO come out! It would be the most beautiful diplomatic move between countries ever seen. But things are not that sweet.

With this, they got the war, they are losing territory, part of popular opinion no longer supports them, and practically in numbers, they govern for less than 1 billion people (considering the current population of the G7). They have accelerated an integration among emerging economies, that would normally take a few years to happen. Who would have thought that not everybody likes war? That the concern of some countries is against hunger and unemployment, for example?

The integration is already happening, the train has left the station, and they will try to do what we are doing because mistakes don’t last forever. One hour you learn, even if through pain, even if it costs some genocides, even if it costs some bombed cities, even if it costs some generations, we always learn. It is not difficult to understand that you do not apply the same tactics that have already been tried when they have already been proven wrong.

Using the refrain from The Wanted:

“We’ve only just begun, hypnotized by drums
Until forever comes
You’ll find us chasing the sun
They said this day wouldn’t come, we refused to run”

The emergents have just begun and will be there chasing the sun showing that those who said the day wouldn’t come. It has come.


Guilherme Wilbert is a Brazilian law graduate interested in geopolitics and international law.

Sanctions against Russia are leading Latin America to the abyss

June 27, 2022

Machine translated from:  http://www.opciones.cu/internacionales/2022-04-13/las-extorsiones-contra-rusia-golpean-a-latinoamerica

The war situation between Russia and Ukraine, together with the numerous extortions that the United States and its allies have imposed against Moscow, not only hit economically this nation but also Latin American countries.

One of the most affected is Ecuador because if in 2021, 20% of the bananas it exported were destined to Russia (about 85 million boxes) now it has nowhere to put them and they will spoil with the consequent monetary loss.

Last year Ecuador obtained 706 million dollars for banana exports to the Eurasian giant; 142 million dollars for shrimp; 99 million dollars for flowers; 28 million dollars for fish and 17 million dollars for coffee.

Paraguay had Russia as its second buyer of beef and in 2021 it sent 79 213 tons which represented an income of 314 million dollars and now with the disconnection of Moscow from the international banking system (swift) it does not know how to collect or send the product.

Something similar is happening with Brazil. In the previous period, Brazil sold soybean to Russia for 343 million dollars, 167 million for poultry meat, 133 million for coffee and 117 million for beef.

As for Mexico, it sent cars, computers, beer, tequila, among other products, and bought fertilizers. If it lacks this supply, agriculture will suffer losses and food will become more expensive.

This situation will lead to a worsening of the economic crisis in those nations, with the consequent wage cuts, layoffs of workers and price increases.

The enormous pressures exerted by the United States for Latin American nations to join the policy of Russophobia that it has imposed on the planet by controlling the main media, could aggravate these problems.

For example, an intergovernmental cooperation agreement between Russia and Argentina for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, particularly in the areas of basic and applied research, construction and operation of nuclear power plants and reactors, would be halted.

In addition, Moscow has expressed its interest in participating in a tender for the construction of a dry storage facility for spent nuclear fuel at the Atucha II nuclear power plant in the South American nation.

Washington uses all kinds of extortion to that end: political influence, economic promises and blackmail, as was the case during the recent vote at the UN General Assembly to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. After the vote, several delegates expressed that for various reasons they had been forced to vote that way.

Due to the impact of the Western “sanctions” war, the supply of fertilizers has been affected, which poses a threat to Latin American farmers, but is advantageous for the United States, which manufactures large quantities of fertilizer. Already, U.S. producers are looking to increase exports to countries in the region.

Fertilizer prices are currently at an all-time high and in the first quarter of 2022 they rose by 30%, which exceeds those reached in 2008 during the global financial crisis.

Due to the “sanctions”, shipments from Russia have been interrupted and this country is one of the main producers and exporters globally.

Moscow is the largest exporter of nitrogen fertilizers and the second largest exporter of potash and phosphorus fertilizers.

In 2021 the Eurasian giant shipped fertilizers worth $12.5 billion. Among its main buyers were Brazil and the European Union with 25% respectively, and the United States with 14%.

As is to be expected, if the fertilizers do not arrive, agricultural production in these countries will be greatly affected.

This complex scenario comes at a time when the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UNFAO) reported that the food price index reached 159.3 points in March, an all-time high, while in February it had already beaten the record since the creation of the cost index in 1990.

The agency added that among the five categories that make up the index, four have never recorded such high prices: vegetable oils (248.6 points), cereals (170.1), dairy products (145.2) and meat (120.0).

Two of the categories increased prices in February due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict: cereals by 17% and vegetable oils by 23%. These countries together export 30 % of the wheat and 20 % of the corn consumed in the world.

The present and future prospects for the Latin American economies are considered difficult because they will have to face the high costs of food products, without yet recovering from the enormous losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a corollary, it can be stated that the string of extortions imposed by the United States, not only on Russia but also on more than 30 countries in the world, are leading several Latin American nations into an abyss.

BRICS members agree on including new states – Chinese Foreign Ministry

June 28, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

A Chinese Foreign Ministry official stated that BRICS countries agree to accept new countries into the bloc.

BRICS members agree on including new states.

The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) countries agree that the bloc needs new members while retaining its original character, according to Li Kexin, Director-General of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Department of International Economic Affairs.
 
China wishes to keep the BRICS format open to new members’ participation. Despite the fact that there are no set dates for the expansion, all BRICS countries agree on this, according to Li Kexin.
 
“I believe there is a shared understanding that we need to enlarge, get ‘new faces,'” he said at a press conference dedicated to the results of the 14th BRICS summit in Beijing. The diplomat emphasized that the goal of the BRICS expansion is not to create a new bloc.
 
According to the director-general, BRICS leaders are working to reach an agreement on potential future members. “There are several countries currently ‘at the door,’ for example, Indonesia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Argentina,” he said. 
 
As stated in the Beijing Declaration of the XIV BRICS Summit, BRICS leaders support the continuation of discussions on the expansion process, particularly through the Sherpas’ channel.

Two days ago, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi expressed Iran’s readiness to use its potential to help BRICS to reach its goals.

BRICS, a group of countries consisting of emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – has been functioning on a working mechanism that runs against the tide of the economic and political isolation of Russia which is created by NATO.

At a virtual summit of the BRICS Business Forum, Raisi delivered a speech in which he spoke of Iran’s willingness to use its unique energy reserves, wealth, manpower, and transportation networks to help BRICS achieve its goals. 

He started off by congratulating Xi Jinping, China’s president, on holding the summit and inviting Iran to the dialogue, then went on to address a few points in the conference, which went under the title “Participating in Global Development in the New Era”.

Earlier in May, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated that China would initiate the process of BRICS expansion. He stated that it will demonstrate BRICS openness and inclusiveness, meet the expectations of developing countries, increase their representation and voice in global governance, and contribute more to global peace and development.

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Xi warns against ‘expanding’ military ties at BRICS summit

The BRICS+ show themselves as an alternative to the current international financial system, but still with caution

June 25, 2022

By Guilherme Wilbert

Since the beginning of Operation Z in Ukraine, unfortunately interpreted as an invasion or an occupation of Ukrainian territory by the Russians, realpolitik has accelerated integration among economic blocs of emerging countries, with several speeches by BRICS regional leaders speaking openly about the weight of emerging economies in global economic development.

Source

The last BRICS meeting on 06/23, with open criticism of western sanctions by China and Russia, showed well what the emerging economies are discussing at the moment: how to escape dollarized debt? Or better yet: how to implement an alternative system to the one established at Bretton Woods?

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president who overnight became “persona non grata” in Europe, is already talking openly about a possible basket of BRICS own currencies as an alternative to strengthen the national economies, with the most advanced countries, for example Russia itself or China, working openly with an economy of real production based on resource ballast for their national currencies, in the Russian case the Gaso-Ruble becomes a character, in the Chinese case, the PetroYuan emerges as an alternative to strengthen the Chinese currency.

Caution is walking hand in hand with haste for the emerging countries

While emerging countries are trying to gain international prominence through economic blocs that can prove to be alternative to the current international financial system, the members of these blocs, especially China, despite acting as a kind of leadership in this global turn towards de-dollarization, do not show imperialistic intentions as seen in the U.S. within their geopolitical blocks. For example, NATO, where it is clearly an aggressive military alliance led by the US to impose its policies and state interests. On the other side, this is not seen within the BRICS or Mercosur for example with a military alliance led by China or with groupings supported by the Chinese establishment for color revolutions in non-aligned countries.

Therefore the caution: BRICS cannot emerge as an alternative to do the same things in the same ways committing the same Western mistakes, in fact the opposite, if negotiating with Westerners you would be willing one day to have to deal with Uncle Sam carrying out a lawfare in its territory to overthrow a legitimate government, with China the concern is much more diplomatic regarding Taiwan for example, with criticism much more focused on humanitarian aspects by some analysts.

Brazilian diplomacy has shown concern with the political intentions of the BRICS, wanting the strategic partnership to continue in a win-win system and not to mix geopolitical meanings in order to face the old system, but this is due to the fact that Brazil is still strongly influenced by Washington, despite its recent independent foreign policy.
We are witnessing a paradigm shift in all senses with this Russian police operation in Ukraine, which revealed the face of the irresponsible weak western leaders that have hurt the global economy by causing 1. sanctions to have the reverse effect to the desired one (of breaking the Russian economy) and 2. sanctions to have the opposite effect to the desired one (of breaking the Russian economy). Many countries that carry out military offensives on their neighbors (like Saudi Arabia in Yemen) even though supported by international law and ratifying humanitarian conventions on the battlefield saw that Westerners, unfortunately, can still simply loot the wealth of some countries they consider non-aligned like Russia, Iran, Venezuela… And given this the emerging countries logically seek an alternative, with the difference being that for Westerners to do what was accomplished in Libya when Gaddafi attempted the same, they will now have to deal with a bear sitting on just over 5,000 nuclear warheads. The conversation is now essentially different.


Guilherme Wilbert is a Bachelor’s Law with interests in geopolitics and international law.

References: https://investogist.com/president-putin-says-that-brics-are-developing-global-reserve-currency/
https://noticias.uol.com.br/colunas/jamil-chade/2022/06/23/brasil-ve-com-preocupacao-ambicao-da-china-para-expandir-brics.html

Sitrep: International reserve currency based on a basket of BRICS currencies.

June 22, 2022

This news just out – MAJOR!

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that banks from BRICS nations can freely connect to the System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS), Russia’s alternative to SWIFT.

While addressing a BRICS business forum, Putin said that together with its BRICS partners – Brazil, India, China and South Africa – Russia is developing reliable alternatives for international payments.

“The Russian system for transmitting financial messages is open to connecting banks from the five countries,” he said, adding: “The geography of the use of the Russian payment system Mir is expanding.”

The Russian president also noted that work is underway to create an international reserve currency based on a basket of BRICS currencies.

https://www.rt.com/business/557620-russian-financial-messenger-brics/

St. Petersburg sets the stage for the War of Economic Corridors

In St. Petersburg, the world’s new powers gather to upend the US-concocted “rules-based order” and reconnect the globe their way

June 18 2022

The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

At St. Petersburg on Friday, backers of multipolarity pushed forward integration of their networksPhoto Credit: The Cradle

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum  has been configured for years now as absolutely essential to understand the evolving dynamics and the trials and tribulations of Eurasia integration.

St. Petersburg in 2022 is even more crucial as it directly connects to three simultaneous developments I had previously outlined, in no particular order:

First, the coming of the “new G8” – four BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China), plus Iran, Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico, whose GDP per purchasing parity power (PPP) already dwarfs the old, western-dominated G8.

Second, the Chinese “Three Rings” strategy of developing geoeconomic relations with its neighbors and partners.

Third, the development of BRICS+, or extended BRICS, including some members of the “new G8,” to be discussed at the upcoming summit in China.

There was hardly any doubt President Putin would be the star of St. Petersburg 2022, delivering a sharp, detailed speech to the plenary session.

Among the highlights, Putin smashed the illusions of the so-called ‘golden billion’ who live in the industrialized west (only 12 percent of the global population) and the “irresponsible macroeconomic policies of the G7 countries.”

The Russian president noted how “EU losses due to sanctions against Russia” could exceed $400 billion per year, and that Europe’s high energy prices – something that actually started “in the third quarter of last year” – are due to “blindly believing in renewable sources.”

He also duly dismissed the west’s ‘Putin price hike’ propaganda, saying the food and energy crisis is linked to misguided western economic policies, i.e., “Russian grain and fertilizers are being sanctioned” to the detriment of the west.

In a nutshell: the west misjudged Russia’s sovereignty when sanctioning it, and now is paying a very heavy price.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, addressing the forum by video, sent a message to the whole Global South. He evoked “true multilateralism,” insisting that emerging markets must have “a say in global economic management,” and called for “improved North-South and South-South dialogue.”

It was up to Kazakh President Tokayev, the ruler of a deeply strategic partner of both Russia and China, to deliver the punch line in person: Eurasia integration should progress hand in hand with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Here it is, full circle.

Building a long-term strategy “in weeks”

St. Petersburg offered several engrossing discussions on key themes and sub-themes of Eurasia integration, such as business within the scope of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); aspects of the Russia-China strategic partnership; what’s ahead for the BRICS; and prospects for the Russian financial sector.

One of the most important discussions was focused on the increasing interaction between the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and ASEAN, a key example of what the Chinese would define as ‘South-South cooperation.’

And that connected to the still long and winding road leading to deeper integration of the EAEU itself.

This implies steps towards more self-sufficient economic development for members; establishing the priorities for import substitution; harnessing all the transport and logistical potential; developing trans-Eurasian corporations; and imprinting the EAEU ‘brand’ in a new system of global economic relations.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Overchuk was particularly sharp on the pressing matters at hand: implementing a full free trade customs and economic union – plus a unified payment system – with simplified direct settlements using the Mir payment card to reach new markets in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Persian Gulf.

In a new era defined by Russian business circles as “the game with no rules” – debunking the US-coined “rules-based international order” – another relevant discussion, featuring key Putin adviser Maxim Oreshkin, focused on what should be the priorities for big business and the financial sector in connection to the state’s economic and foreign policy.

The consensus is that the current ‘rules’ have been written by the west. Russia could only connect to existing mechanisms, underpinned by international law and institutions. But then the west tried to  “squeeze us out” and even “to cancel Russia.” So it’s time to “replace the no-rules rules.” That’s a key theme underlying the concept of ‘sovereignty’ developed by Putin in his plenary address.

In another important discussion chaired by the CEO of western-sanctioned Sberbank Herman Gref, there was much hand-wringing about the fact that the Russian “evolutionary leap forward towards 2030” should have happened sooner. Now a “long-term strategy has to be built in weeks,” with supply chains breaking down all across the spectrum.

A question was posed to the audience – the crème de la crème of Russia’s business community: what would you recommend, increased trade with the east, or redirecting the structure of the Russian economy? A whopping 72 percent voted for the latter.

So now we come to the crunch, as all these themes interact when we look at what happened only a few days before St. Petersburg.

The Russia-Iran-India corridor

A key node of the International North South Transportation Corridor (INTSC) is now in play, linking northwest Russia to the Persian Gulf via the Caspian Sea and Iran. The transportation time between St. Petersburg and Indian ports is 25 days.

This logistical corridor with multimodal transportation carries an enormous geopolitical significance for two BRICs members and a prospective member of the “new G8” because it opens a key alternative route to the usual cargo trail from Asia to Europe via the Suez canal.

The International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC)

The INSTC corridor is a classic South-South integration project: a 7,200-km-long multimodal network of ship, rail, and road routes interlinking India, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia all the way to Finland in the Baltic Sea.

Technically, picture a set of containers going overland from St. Petersburg to Astrakhan. Then the cargo sails via the Caspian to the Iranian port of Bandar Anzeli. Then it’s transported overland to the port of Bandar Abbas. And then overseas to Nava Sheva, the largest seaport in India. The key operator is Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (the IRISL group), which has branches in both Russia and India.

And that brings us to what wars from now will be fought about: transportation corridors – and not territorial conquest.

Beijing’s fast-paced BRI is seen as an existential threat to the ‘rules-based international order.’ It develops along six overland corridors across Eurasia, plus the Maritime Silk Road from the South China Sea, and the Indian Ocean, all the way to Europe.

One of the key targets of NATO’s proxy war in Ukraine is to interrupt BRI corridors across Russia. The Empire will go all out to interrupt not only BRI but also INSTC nodes. Afghanistan under US occupation was prevented from become a node for either BRI or INSTC.

With full access to the Sea of Azov – now a “Russian lake” – and arguably the whole Black Sea coastline further on down the road, Moscow will hugely increase its sea trading prospects (Putin: “The Black Sea was historically Russian territory”).

For the past two decades, energy corridors have been heavily politicized and are at the center of unforgiving global pipeline competitions – from BTC and South Stream to Nord Stream 1 and 2, and the never-ending soap operas, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipelines.

Then there’s the Northern Sea Route alongside the Russian coastline all the way to the Barents Sea. China and India are very much focused on the Northern Sea Route, not by accident also  discussed in detail in St. Petersburg.

The contrast between the St. Petersburg debates on a possible re-wiring of our world – and the Three Stooges Taking a Train to Nowhere to tell a mediocre Ukrainian comedian to calm down and negotiate his surrender (as confirmed by German intelligence) – could not be starker.

Almost imperceptibly – just as it re-incorporated Crimea and entered the Syrian theater – Russia as a military-energy superpower now shows it is potentially capable of driving a great deal of the industrialized west back into the Stone Age. The western elites are just helpless. If only they could ride a corridor on the Eurasian high-speed train, they might learn something.

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

Europe´s mad ban on Russian oil

May 08, 2022

Source

By Jorge Vilches

Ursula von der Leyen

Cognitive scientists would concur in that the current performance of European leadership could be diagnosed as either myopic ignorance or — most probably — full intellectual blindness. In the case of so far happy-go-lucky Ursula von der Leyen there is no doubt it´d be the latter… but only if we first dismiss her warm on-the-record support for Bundeswehr colonial policies and military involvement… plus her praise of Third Reich famous general Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, Commander of the Führer Headquarters. But leaving that possible Nazi whiff aside, full ´intellectual blockage´ is the only kind way to dare explain a most strategic project as foolish and doomed to fail as banning Russian oil sales worldwide. Why so you may ask ? Ref #1 https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/06/20/vond-j20.html

asymmetrical retaliation

The short answer is massive — ´Russian´ massive – unmitigated “asymmetrical non-military retaliation” through surgical and divisive optional sales of natural gas – and other key commodities – just leaving EU sanctioned Russian oil for sale to and re-sale by third parties. And, oh yes, weaponization is not limited to any particular means as various European war schools should have internalized already. War means war and pretty much anything is fair game. But apparently, it´d be as if through the centuries, uppity European leaders – most especially German, French, Swedish, British and Poles — have not learned a single thing despite the über-high costs already paid for by their nations large-caliber warfare experiences most especially with Russia. By the way, the UK also has the additional ( unsolvable? ) burden of its current Brexit ballast… Ref # 2 https://www.zerohedge.com/energy/eu-proposes-ban-russian-oil-imports

La candidata a presidir la Comisión Europea dijo estar dispuesta a un nuevo aplazamiento del Brexit si hay "una buena razón" - Infobae

Ursula´s softball

May I call you Ursula ? Thank you. “We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion [… a phenomenal bad joke of sorts… ] in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and minimises the impact on global markets” you said. Question: will the Russians just idly watch you trying to execute such enormity at the EU´s preferred speed and political and geopolitical sequencing? And the Russians would never dare to strike back with natural gas or other restrictions no? For starters, what about nickel, uranium, and lithium? Not having them would be like trying to prepare tasty food without salt, pepper or mustard. Without uranium no nuclear power is possible, did you know? [ more on that later ]. Ursula, your pink unicorn wishful thinking is unfathomable gal.

EU kelpers

This mad-ban requires EU approval with conditional support from Hungary, Greece, and others. So some special EU members will be exempted while regular EU ´kelpers´ will not. Now could that lead to serious friction ? How many years will it take all of Europe to reconvert its industry and supply chains? “This is why we will phase out Russian supply of crude oil within 6 months and refined products by the end of the year.” Okay, so Aunty Ursie you believe the Russians are dumb enough to let you phase this idea out nice and easy at your own pace and whenever you decide to act per your own special EU schedule. No market dynamics involved as Europe plays everybody else´s pieces too as grandpas would do with 3-year-old grandkids. Ref # 3 https://www.rt.com/business/555065-russia-oil-ban-exemption-eu/

Russian DNA

No way Ursula, the Russians play world-class professional chess while you play elementary school checkers, not even being good at that either. The instant Russia perceives the initial execution of your game plan regarding banning of Russian oil, they´ll make their moves, not yours. And those Russian moves will not be nice and pretty. For one, Europe will not have anywhere nearly ready its own diesel refining capacity by the end of 2022 while the middle distillate market is ever much tighter everywhere as demand recovers from the Covid pandemic. So the EU “plan” is to frantically search for hard-to-find or simply non-existent substitutes while investing tons of time, money, effort and risk. Well, the Russians know that already even before you start. Diesel is already in critically short supply in the EU.

Furthermore, Europe will continue buying Russian oil and distillates via third countries once it introduces any embargo only that at much higher prices than today. Such old, quick and dirty business is known as “triangulation” Ursula.

Russian hardball

The existential threat imposed on Russia by the EU with its macabre “Ukraine Plan” and sanctions has not left Russia any way out other than playing hardball for keeps. Furthermore, the Russian non-military retaliation domain is actually unlimited due to the full-scale and open-ended addiction that Europe has developed for Russian imports of different sorts including commodities of any and every imaginable type. Without such, Europe will cease to exist as we know it in a matter of a very few months, if not weeks. As Francis Fukuyama should posit, Europe´s dependency on Russian commodities is the end of its own history. The unipolar world is dying, admit it Frank. Hint: write a new book guy.

Ref # 4 https://www.zerohedge.com/energy/trump-was-right-putins-gas-strategy-gives-germany-only-bad-worse-choices

Ref # 5 https://www.rt.com/business/554968-moscow-toughens-response-western-sanction

not your dog

It seems that Ursula von der Leyden has convinced the EU that feeding a refinery or a chemical plant is pretty much like feeding your dog. But nothing can be further from the truth. Chemical plants and refineries are very closely matched and subtly calibrated to very specific supply feeds very difficult to substitute. Changes can and have been made, but it requires lots of time, effort, money, dedicated facilities, experimentation, specific expertise, risk, and most important fixed, unchanging feeds always complying with specs. This means that Russia today supplies Europe with exclusive unreplaceable oil & gas grades of very specific chemical content (even coal grades) that would be impossible to get from third parties fast enough and cheap enough. So it´s a very delicate and tight matching already achieved between European facilities and Russian fuels and other inputs that cannot be altered or replaced that easily, let alone all at the same time !! Are EU countries aware of all this ? Ref #6 https://www.ifo.de/en/node/69417

expensive divorce

So maybe after investing years, money, expertise, trials & errors, risk and lots of hard work Europe may possibly and eventually be able to partially switch from current to dirtier or far more inefficient options. But that would be (a) against the EU´s Green Deal compliance and (b) a very short-term non-sustainable “solution” (c) against the whole world.

So how can Europe transition to a 0% Russian supplies end-point as swiftly and safely as Chinese plate spinners?  Ref # 7 https://www.rt.com/business/555087-energy-warning-russia-sanctions/

No minimally informed no-nonsense mindset has thought out the foolish idea of coordinating the whole European continent in this self-destructive mission. Taking matters to an extreme, let´s assume that Europe completely weans itself – or is cut off — from Russian oil & gas imports tomorrow morning and everything else sourced in Russia. In that hypothetical case, Moscow may feel the financial problem possibly within 6 months… or maybe never. But if such event were to happen, the timing would be quite different as the EU would necessarily start imploding in 6 days and would achieve full implosion in 6 weeks. With the oil mad-ban Europe would badly need to find substitutes for Russian imports. The problem is such need cannot ever be satisfied fast enough and right enough no matter how it is diced or sliced. Triangulation means Europe will buy quality Russian imports via third countries only that at much higher prices

plug & play (not)

No, it is not anywhere near “plug & play” either. No. Several EU landlocked countries can only import nat-gas thru existing Russian pipeline unless a nightmarish and highly risky sea-land supply lines are established by different means going across complicated mountain ranges sometimes, a project which no one wants to entertain. Replacing Russian feeds & supply lines is an incommensurable task that Russia will not help out with either. Once Russia withstands the “ban Russian oil” idea, Europe will find itself in the worse of both worlds not being able to rewind back.

tit-for-tat ?

Also, the impact of the Russian reaction may most probably result to be disproportionate to the damage inflicted by an EU worldwide ban on Russian oil. Hence, ´asymmetrical´, simply because an exact ´tit-for-tat´ result is impossible to calculate for and let alone effectively achieve. If ever implemented, the unintended consequences of a haphazard decision such as proposed will necessarily mean for the EU either to (1) instantly back-pedal to square one or (2) finally suicidal Europe would follow through and achieve its goal. I kid you not. Other commodities could be included.

human food

And food for thought, as Europe would face famine in-its-face if grains from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and elsewhere are tied up or absent by Russian retaliation or impossibility to deliver. And the lack of cheap diesel and natural gas from Russia means that farmers everywhere face sharply increased costs, whereby fertilizer is either not available at all, or too expensive to use, and thus crop yields will fall worldwide increasing the price of food products. Greenhouse producers in many parts of Europe have already shut down over high energy costs as prices stand today, not even thinking of the possibility of having Russian oil banned worldwide. Banning Russian oil from Europe can only back-fire.

Ref # 8 https://www.zerohedge.com/commodities/worlds-largest-fertilizer-company-warns-crop-nutrient-disruptions-through-2023

Russian leverage

It´s impossible to approach all aspects involved at once, so let´s briefly touch upon part of Russia´s bargaining power.

  1. Russia does not want, let alone need, to defeat all of Europe. Just turning Germany — or Poland for that matter — into a messy mess would be more than enough for the whole EU to focus and reason out basic stuff.
  2. No uranium from Russia means the 3 remaining German nuclear power stations cannot be re-commissioned. Not having already scheduled substitute delivery of finely-tuned Russian uranium means an adaptive retro-fit with newly-sourced feed, which technically is risky and mission almost impossible which would take years.
  3. China + India + Brazil have ´free-patent-IP´ investments plans in Russia kicking off an entirely new ball game
  4. 60% of German gas consumption is Russian. Today German industry would not survive without Russian gas.
  5. A partial or total reduction of Russian nat-gas and coal supply in retaliation for banning Russian oil would negatively and instantly impact Europe in many ways and the rest of the world with irregular market dynamics.
  6. If not delivered to the EU, the Russian nat-gas can be vented or flared at well-heads as there is plenty more.
  7. Russian oil can be sold elsewhere and/or stockpiled relatively rapidly and easily, or production can be slowed down without damaging reservoirs or wells. Russia will actually increase its “drill baby drill” policy.
  8. Paraphrasing former US Secretary of Treasury John Connally “Sorry, Russian commodities, your problem
  9. Russia´s market is 85% of the world population largely under growth and just as fed up with the US-dollar reserve currency system. The EU trade embargo on Russia does not work per parallel imports from 3rd parties
  10. The defiant Russian economy is doing just fine, the Ruble is as strong as ever. US President Biden vowed “to make sure the pain of our sanctions hits the Russian economy, not ours” as if he were getting the picture…
  11. China and others definitely back Russia while the rest of the world de-dollarizes and does not sanction Russia
  12. There are $ 500 billion worth of physical Western assets in Russia that can be confiscated at any time.

Ref # 9 https://www.rt.com/business/555076-moscow-allows-foreign-goods/

Ref # 10 https://www.rt.com/business/553038-russia-lifts-ban-parallel-imports/

Ref # 11 https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/russia-and-china-unveil-a-pact-against-america-and-the-west

Ref # 12 https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=39ef25c3-1bf0-4029-bac2-de0ac11965da

Ref # 13 https://www.rt.com/business/555097-russia-sanctions-recession-economist/

Ref # 14 https://www.rt.com/business/555119-russia-india-oil-sales-increase/

eyes wide shut

Agreed, it´s a multi-variable environment in a context of constant change with plenty of moving parts interacting on each other. But, for starters, no ( or less) Russian nat-gas and no Russian oil means many unsolvable things for the EU today. We´d also need to add the impact of having no oil, coal, or gas substitutes fast enough in large enough quantities. All of that put together means no (or less) refined products, no intermediate distillates, no heavy-duty machinery (think mining) no nickel nor aluminum, cobalt or lead or magnesium, no neon, no grains or edibles at large, wheat, corn, barley, rye, soybeans, timber, paper, titanium, rocket engines, nitrogen fertilizer, crop nutrients, potash, less petrochemicals, iron ore, minerals and rare-earths, uranium for nuclear power plants, lithium for batteries, no inputs for production of metals, plastics, fabrics, pharmaceuticals, fertilizer, chemicals, etc., no manganese, chromium, platinum, essential palladium for catalytic converters, copper, tin, mica, wolfram, bismuth, kaolin, talcum, tungsten, diamonds, phosphates, sulphur… and even no gold. By the way, as we should all know, none of these can be printed.

Russian vacations

By the way, fewer distillates such as diesel and fuel oil means that private and public transportation and freight would slow down lots, also affecting heavy-duty vehicles, industrial machinery, and airplane travel. Also far lower tourism. So might as well shut down the EU and go away on vacation to beautiful Russia right? You won´t find that much food or heating or A/C either, just new massive unheard of migrations all around you. With less Russian imports, very huge German industrial giants run the certainly serious risk of shutting down otherwise continuous year-round processes which cannot be re-started and would mean irreparable harm & negative impact on the German economy and the rest of the world. And it’s not only Russian produce that would be missing. Also from Belarus and Ukraine itself + the Stans

mission impossible

Only mediocre light-brained European leadership can propose such suicidal move 100% guaranteed to blowback in-their-face much harder and faster than their original strike. It´d be like poking a bear ( sound familiar ? ) with a sharply pointed pole and pretending the beast to continue munching fish unbothered by the aggression itself and the presence of the aggressor, both. Not even young unexperienced teen-aged urban Canadians would think of doing such a thing. Of course, they would know that the bear will necessarily focus attention first ( already done that… ) then would rise on his hind legs and swing his sharp deadly paw wide and fast sooner than the EU can react to what just happened.

It isn´t European David vs. Russian Goliath either. It´s a well-fed and rested Russian Goliath with hypersonic weapons under his arm vs. a worn-out underweight European David with a worn-down sling and lots of very small stones…

to “Schwedt” or not to “Schwedt

Schwedt is a key refinery for which the German government better find fast good & reliable sources of substitute Russian oil. If Schwedt does not deliver as usual, problems will be felt throughout Germany, Poland, and elsewhere.

But one problem is that Schwedt is majority-owned by Rosneft, the Russian state oil company which has control.

Now supposedly Schwedt has already dramatically reduced its dependence on Russian oil. But there´s a rub.

data laundromat

The rub is that EU member countries are very good at data laundering practices since inception of EU membership acceptance proceedings. Don´t trust me, ask Goldman Sachs they should know. So, for example, if imported Russian oil stays stationary in an EU depot for a couple of months it is “nationalized” and it is no longer considered to be ´Russian´.  Also, the official oil inflow figures cheat, as for partial mixtures of Russian oil 45%+ 55% ´oil from somewhere else´ it is considered to be non-Russian, see? So Russian oil import substitution is a topic not yet anywhere close to being solved. And if Russian oil is banned right here, well Russians might deny delivery of either Russian oil or Russian gas – or whatever — over there. They defend their interests, not the EU´s. Ref # 15 https://www.rt.com/business/555059-europe-needs-russian-gas/ Ref # 16 https://www.rt.com/business/555022-germany-petrol-shortages-russia-oil/

two to tango

Which brings us to the fact that the EU cannot dream of moving its pieces in a vacuum as if the Russian enemy were not there also playing in the same theater scenarios and moving its pieces alternatively. The instant the EU makes any headway whatsoever regarding the possible banning of Russian oil, then Russia will respond in kind or possibly before so as to carry out a pre-emptive deterrence sort of like a taste of things to come such as in Poland and Bulgaria

We have every right to take a matching decision and impose an embargo on gas pumping through the [existing] Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline. So firstly, Russia may reduce or cut off its gas exports if the West goes ahead with a ban on Russian oil”. Understand? The EU attacks Russian oil and Russia counter-attacks reducing or cutting off Russian natural gas, etc. In other words, asymmetric non-military retaliation. Ref # 17 https://www.bbc.com/news/58888451

Prices

If the Russian oil ban attempt goes ahead, agreed that the first thing that Russia may do is reduce or cut off nat-gas supplies – or other key commodities — with the stroke of a keyboard.. And it would be impossible to find replacements for Russian oils fast enough also. It would take years of adaptation and readjustments and it will still be much more expensive for European consumers. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak left on record that a “rejection of Russian oil would lead to catastrophic consequences for the global market causing oil prices to more than double to $300 a barrel”…possibly up to $ 500 pundits say assertively in specialized blogs. Be it $300 or $500 does the EU actually want that ? And Russia would end up earning much more by exporting far less. Trust US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, she said it, not me. And the higher the price, the higher the inflationary pressure and the higher the prices at the supermarkets already at approx. 35% p.a.. I can´t believe having to explain all this, really…

Ref # 18 https://www.bbc.com/news/business-60656673

Despite sanctions, Russia has almost doubled its monthly earnings from selling fossil fuels to the EU, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. The EU has imported about $23 billion dollars of fossil fuels per month from Russia since March 2022 as oil and gas prices have soared, compared with an average of about $ 12 billion in 2021. Meanwhile, transfers of oil between tankers have surged as buyers take advantage of discounted Russian crude. Different crude blends shipped from Russia may also contain oil from elsewhere which would also be affected.

logistics & freight

Banning Russian oil also means a logistics major reversal from-East-to-West to from-South-to-North. Such cardinal change is costly and risky. New shipping freighters are unprepared for unknown delivery schedules and product specs. Ports and oceans are different, shipping lanes are different, climate is different, seasonal availability of product and ship size and type are also different. That also involves lots of negotiating time, coordination, money, expertise, risk, permanent costs, and new dependencies with yet unknown trade and business partners, new modus operandi, brokers, insurance companies, etc. That is why every EU government has failed to build a realistic energy strategy that does not depend on Russia. Continuity, LNG & LPG terminal bottlenecks, and processing, availability, cost, no weather restrictions when needed. Pipe delivery is safe, dependable, and cheap, sea freight is risky and cost-prohibitive

nuclear blues

Germany had 15 nuclear plants in operation. The last 3 operating nuclear plants in Germany were scheduled to be decommissioned permanently in 2022. Part of the “Green Agenda” in the EU is to eliminate nuclear plants. France does not approve this, but is having technical trouble with its nuclear plants. France has said it will shut down 50% of its nuclear plants for critical maintenance this year at the worst possible timing imaginable.

Ref # 19 https://www.bbc.com/news/business-61298791

military impact

No readily available fuels of the right type (careful) mean no deployment no planes or other aircraft which means pretty much being stuck. Bad logistics, less food, no (or less) supplies, no heating to speak of. The European conventional military dependence on Russian fuels is beyond overwhelming, close to checkmate. Fuel imports are not anywhere near a military solution, just a way for civilians to survive if and when available and at a terribly high price.

“So the EU better be prepared to continue paying (many) billions of euros each week to Russia, supporting the Ruble and subsidizing its military in the process. It’s not just a short-term problem, either. If Germany manages over time (many years ?) to find adequate replacements for Russian natural gas, oil and coal, it will be at (tremendously) much higher prices. The era of cheap-Russian natural gas fueling the German economy is over. German energy-intensive companies, like its chemical giants, could not compete in the global market. Germany will face painful choices about the future of its industrial economy”. So without very specific and unreplaceable exclusive Russian grades of natural gas and oil and coal the European military are pretty much game-over.

Ref # 20 https://www.zerohedge.com/energy/trump-was-right-putins-gas-strategy-gives-germany-only-bad-worse-choices

unmanageable world finances

The camel is 990% overloaded and this one foolish decision may break its back. The world already rides on a wild $ 600+ trillion of a derivatives tiger that can only survive provided the corresponding counterparties do not fail.

“ Clearly, central banks in conjunction with their governments will have no option but to rescue their entire financial systems, which involves yet more central bank credit being provided on even greater scales than seen over Covid, supply chain chaos, and the provision of credit to pay for higher food and energy prices. It must be unlimited.”

Ref # 21 https://www.goldmoney.com/research/goldmoney-insights/financial-war-takes-a-nasty-turn?gmrefcode=gata

So unless something dramatically favorable happens very soon, economic-financial considerations will have highly negative socio-political impact driving the crisis to a high-pitch climax with the pitchforks roaming about European streets. Per Rabobank: “ When the ´food system´ breaks down, everything will break down with it”.

Per The Guardian, “…Come October, it’s going to get horrific, truly horrific … a scale beyond what we can deal with”.

Europe´s mad ban on Russian oil is just another perfect example of sheer Anglo-Saxon European puppeteering.

Ref # 22 https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/apr/19/energy-chiefs-fear-40-of-britons-could-fall-into-fuel-poverty-in-truly-horrific-winter

Ref # 23 https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/rabobank-when-food-system-breaks-down-everything-will-break-down-it

The fog of war and the global paradigm shift

April 13, 2022

Source

By Fabio Reis Vianna

Perhaps the maxim of the Brazilian thinker José Luís Fiori that “expansionism and war are two essential parts of the machine that produces power and wealth in the interstate system” has never been so pertinent and seems to be confirmed at the exact historical moment we are witnessing.

The extraordinary events that resulted from the Russian intervention in Ukraine, which began on February 24, leave indelible marks and confirm some of the perceptions that have already been mentioned in other articles by us.

The western-led international order is clearly being questioned in its hierarchy of power, and the war in Ukraine is a clear symptom of this questioning.

What really causes astonishment, however, is the perception that this war aims at something much bigger than it might seem at first sight, because it would not be a regional war, but a war of global proportions: a hegemonic war.

The paradigm shift represented by the Russian intervention in Ukraine consolidates, therefore, the path of a new international system, more fragmented, and where Western power is weakened. In this scenario, the tectonic plates of the international system are slowly moving in the face of the new, and unprecedented, world that is unfolding.

Therefore, like it or not, the elites of countries like Brazil, so subservient to the security strategy of the United States, are being pushed towards a consensual solution in the direction of the Eurasian experience through the BRICS. In this way, the brazilian military, so reactionary and obedient to Washington, is facing a new world, apparently already understood by the diplomatic tradition of “Itamaraty”, and even by the powerful Brazilian agrobusiness lobby.

In the opposite direction, the blindness of the European elites causes astonishment by feeding a game that plunges Europe back into what it has always been: the great stage of military interstate competition of the last 500 years.

Therefore, taking this terrible premise into consideration, the armistice that made possible the creation of the European Union, as well as the common currency, would have been a mere interregnum of peace, until the next war.

Retaking its tragic place in the classical international system, Europe is once again the scene of the old theater of death, and the maxim that “peace is almost always a truce which lasts for the time imposed by the expansive compulsion of the winners, and the need for revenge of the losers,” has never been more apposite.

In this context, the german humiliation represented by the American veto of the Nord Stream II gas pipeline is paradigmatic. On February 7, in the middle of the White House, and even before the Russian intervention in Ukraine, Joe Biden publicly disavows the newly appointed german chancellor Olaf Scholz, stating categorically that the Nord Stream II pipeline would be stopped.

This attitude could be considered the trigger for Russian intervention and the opening of Pandora’s Box for the new world that is opening. Besides representing, in symbolic terms, the humiliation of Germany as a sovereign country, it consolidates the definitive “Coup d’Etat” in the European integration project.

With Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky being a kind of spokesman of a script written in Washington – or, who knows, Hollywood – the repeated attacks on European leaders who have worked so hard for the normalization of Russian-European Union relations, as is the case of the recent attack on former chancellor Angela Merkel, indicate that the instruments of fourth generation war, already used by the United States in other regions of the planet, are intensifying in the heart of the western alliance.

Not only the maintenance, but the deepening of the continuous and unlimited reproduction and expansion of the American military empire is a reality that became even clearer after the first Russian tank entered Ukrainian territory, even if this meant destabilizing, or even destroying, old and loyal allies.

In this sense, the old premise carried by many scholars of the “realist” school of International Relations, as well as by great thinkers of the World System, that the concentration of global power in a single state would be an essential condition for lasting world peace, falls to the ground.

The “Hyperpower Paradox” is confirmed as a slap in the face of the enormous theoretical consensus developed since the mid-1970s of the last century.

In other words, since the first minute of the US bombing of Iraq in 1991, which followed the 48 military interventions of the 1990s, and the 24 interventions in the first two decades of the 21st century – which in turn culminated in 100,000 bombings around the globe – the International System is immersed in a somber process of permanent, or infinite, war, which contradicts the Kantian utopia of perpetual peace reflected in the idea of hegemonic stability.

Thus, it was a mistake to consider that the unipolar global power that emerged with the victory in the cold war could exercise its hegemony in the name of peace and global stability, assuming, therefore, a responsible leadership and in the name of a great global governance.

On the contrary, what we have witnessed over the last 30 years is the escalation of interstate competition, with the reaction of other states to the insane and inconsequential process of power expansion carried out by the American military empire.

As a result, we find ourselves before a world that seemed to belong only to the history books; where the national interests of the great powers return with the force that, as it turns out, they never stopped having, but were only dormant.

This new (old) geopolitics of nations, therefore, leaves its clearest mark with what Russia imposes in its intervention in Ukraine: contesting the primacy that only westerners have the legitimacy to impose their will through war.

This is the novelty that shakes the structures of the International System.

In the face of this imminent war of global proportions, resulting from the Russian challenge and the intensification of the arms race – with the alarming return of Germany and Japan to the game – we are inexorably heading for a deepening of the interstate systemic chaos, as well as the escalation of systemic social conflict, particularly in Europe.

As in other moments in the history of the World System, Europe is once again the nerve center of the global power struggle. And as in other tragic moments in history, the behavior of European leaders is once again irrational; in the midst of a negative-sum game. The Europeans lose.


Fabio Reis Vianna, lives in Rio de Janeiro, is a bachelor of laws (LL.B), MA student in International Relations at the University of Évora (Portugal), writer and geopolitical analyst. He currently maintains a column on international politics at the centennial Brazilian newspaper Monitor Mercantil.

استماتة أميركيّة لمنْع التغيير: برازيليا… ظِلّ دا سيلفا يقترب

الجمعة 24 كانون الأول2021

يُدرك الأميركيون أن حَجر الرحى في المعادلات اللاتينية يتمثّل في البرازيل (أ ف ب )

علي فرحات

قد يكون كلّ ما واجهته الولايات المتحدة من انتكاسات في دول أميركا الجنوبية أخيراً، في كَفّة، وما يَنتظرها في عاصمة القرار اللاتيني، برازيليا، في كَفّة أخرى. ذلك أن كلّ المؤشّرات تتعاضد وتتكاثف في اتّجاه ترجيح عودة الزعيم العمّالي، لويس إيناسيو لولا دا سيلفا، إلى رئاسة البلاد، بعد حرب أميركية شعواء ضدّه، لم تستثنِ أيّ وسيلة من وسائل الإقصاء والترهيب. وإذ تُدرك واشنطن أن عودة دا سيلفا تعني انبعاث النموذج المُلهِم، الذي سيَدفع بمشروع التحرُّر في جنوب القارّة قُدُماً، فهي بدأت من الآن العمل على استراتيجية سياسية وإعلامية – وأمنية ربّما إذا ما اضطرّها الأمر -، من أجل إضعاف حظوظ «حزب العمّال»، والحيلولة دون إمساكه بالسلطة. لكنّ الأخير، الذي يَعرف أن المعركة لن تكون سهلة، يبدو متمسّكاً بتحقيق الفوز، الذي يَعتقد أنه سيفتح له الباب على رسْم خريطة حُكم جديدة، لا مكان فيها لعصابات واشنطنلم تكن تجربة اليسار في أميركا اللاتينية مثالية، كما لم تَنْجُ من الوقوع في بعض المحظورات السياسية، لكنّ تيّار الفقراء بَقِي ابن بيئته، ومُحافِظاً على القِيَم السيادية وإرثٍ طويل من التضحية والنضال. هكذا يقول سكّان أميركا الجنوبية كلّما أخذتهم الخيارات نحو انتخاب شركاء الاستعمار وأحفاد الإقطاعيين، الذين رهنوا البلاد والعباد لمصالح الشركات الأجنبية، ومكّنوا السفارات الغربية من رسْم السياسات الداخلية والخارجية، مثلما فعَل ماوريسيو ماكري الذي دمّر اقتصاد الأرجنتين برهْنها لوصاية «البنك الدولي»، وسباستيان بنييرا الذي عاث في أرْصن الاقتصادات اللاتينية فساداً، وحَوّل ساحات سانتياغو إلى تجمّعات مليونية تَستذكر زمن ميشال بشلين، الجميل، وخروجَها من قصر الرئاسة على وقْع الدموع في وداع أمّ التشيليين، وأيضاً جانايينا أنيز التي صعدت على جُثث البوليفيين المرميّة في الأزقّة، بعد انقلاب عسكري وحشي دبّرته سفارة واشنطن في لاباز، وألغت على إثره أكثر الانتخابات مصداقية وشفافية، فضلاً عن خوان غوايدو الذي تَقلّد رئاسة مزوّرة مقابل شدّ الخناق على شعبه كي يعلِن الاستسلام. لكنّ إرادة اللاتينيين لفظت كلّ هذه اللائحة في سنوات حُكمها الأولى، لتَسقط معادلات واشنطن واحدةً تلو أخرى، في انتظار لحظة الحسم في عاصمة القرار اللاتيني، برازيليا.

يُدرك الأميركيون أن حَجر الرحى في المعادلات اللاتينية، يتمثّل في البرازيل. وعليه، فإن التَّحوّلات السياسية المعادية لوصاية واشنطن قد يتمّ احتواء تداعياتها ما لم تصل إلى الرأس، ومصمّم السياسات في القارّة اللاتينية. ذلك أن تجربة الزعيم العمّالي، لويس إيناسيو لولا دا سيلفا، في الحُكم ما بين عامَي 2002 و2010، سَجّلت أكبر التحدّيات للسياسات الأميركية واستثمارات شركاتها في البرازيل ومحيطها. تجربةٌ ما زالت عالقة في الذاكرة الأميركية، خصوصاً لناحية ما تَخلّلها من ثورة في العلاقات الخارجية، وانضمام إلى تكتّلات الشرق، وانفتاح على الدول المُسجَّلة خطراً على لائحة الولايات المتحدة. حينها، فهمت واشنطن أن ضرْب الرأس سيشكّل إعاقة استراتيجية لمشروع التحرّر في محيطها الإقليمي.

وعلى الرغم من المواجهة الأميركية الصريحة في فنزويلا وكوبا على سبيل المثال، إلّا أن الحرب الحقيقية كانت في برازيليا، حيث هيّأت وكالة الاستخبارات الأميركية العدّة والعتاد لإدارة أضخم صراع داخلي، يتمثّل في تجنيد نُخب سياسية وقضائية وأمنية، ما أعطاها اليد الطولى في العبث بالمسرح السياسي البرازيلي، وتجيير منظومة متكاملة لِشَلّ حركة التغيير، عبر تنظيم الانقلابات الدستورية، وفبركة ملفّات قضائية تطاول السياسيين المناهضين للتدخُّل الأميركي، بالإضافة إلى كبرى عمليات التسويق الإعلامي التي تتولّاها المؤسّسات النافذة. ولعلّ التسريبات الأميركية التي نُشرت أخيراً عن التدخّلات في عدد من انقلابات أميركا الجنوبية، ودعم ميليشيات الانفصال في العقود الماضية، ستتْبعها تسريبات مستقبلية ستكشف حجم المؤامرات التي تحيكها السفارة الأميركية في برازيليا، والتي جُهّزت منذ عام 2007 بطاقم من الخبراء والمستشارين المتخصّصين في إدارة الانقلابات وإشعال الصراعات الداخلية.

بناءً على ما تَقدّم، يبدو أن المشهد السياسي البرازيلي مُقبِل على اشتعال هذه المواجهة، بعد فشل ذريع لـ«البولسنارية» السياسية، وسقوط مشروع المحافظين الجُدد المتمثّل في «أدلجة البرازيل» وتحويلها إلى بيئة مناهضة لمشروع التغيير اللاتيني، والأهمّ عودة قائد الثورة اللاتينية الجديدة، لويس إيناسي لولا دا سيلفا، ليتصدّر المشهد الانتخابي، ويَتقدّم استطلاعات الرأي على تنوّعها، وآخرها استطلاع «داتا فوليا» الذي كَشف اعتبار غالبية البرازيليين، دا سيلفا، الرئيسَ الأنجح في تاريخ الدولة اللاتينية، ومفتاحَ الإنقاذ الوحيد بعد التداعيات الخطيرة، الاقتصادية والسياسية والاجتماعية، لحُكم بولسنارو، الذي أعاد البرازيل عقوداً إلى الوراء، من خلال تفشّي البطالة وعودة الجوع الذي طاول أكثر من عشرين مليون برازيلي، وارتفاع نسب التضخّم وفقدان العملة الوطنية لقدرتها الشرائية، والسياسات الكارثية في مكافحة فيروس «كورونا» الذي حصد أكثر من نصف مليون ضحية خلال عامَين. أمّا في الأرقام النهائية، فقد حَلّت البرازيل في المرتبة الـ26 للأداء الاقتصادي هذا العام، بينما كانت تحتلّ المرتبة السادسة عالمياً – مُتفوّقةً على بريطانيا -، إبّان حُكم الرئيس الأسبق دا سيلفا، قبل عقد من الزمن.

سيرجيو مورو… مُجدّداً

في دراسة شاملة للمشهد السياسي البرازيلي، باتت واشنطن مقتنعة بأن الرأي العام في هذا البلد قد حسم خياراته السياسية في اتّجاه إعادة انتخاب دا سيلفا. وعليه، بدأت ماكينة السفارة الأميركية بدرْس الخيارات المطلوبة لهَزْم اليسار مجدّداً بأيّ ثمن. لكنّ الأميركيين يعرفون أيضاً أن حليفهم جايير بولسنارو، غير قادر على مواجهة دا سيلفا، وأن المرحلة القادمة تحتاج إلى شخصية مختلفة موثوق في ولائها السياسي، ليستقرّ الأمر على اختيار وزير العدل السابق، القاضي سيرجيو مورو، ليكون مرشّح البيت الأبيض في البرازيل. ذاع صيت مورو، القاضي في المحكمة الفيدرالية في مدينة كوريتيبا – ولاية بارانا -، عام 2014، حين تولّى «عملية لافا جاتو» (غسيل السيارات) المُختصّة بملاحقة ملفّات الفساد. لكنّ النقطة الفارقة في مسيرته، والتي جعلته يتصدّر المشهدَين السياسي والإعلامي، كانت عام 2017، حين حُوّلت إليه قضية الزعيم العمالي، دا سيلفا، بتهمة حيازة الأخير شقّة فارهة شمال ساوباولو، لتتمّ إدانة الرئيس السابق بحُكم مُشدَّد وصل إلى السجن مدّة تسع سنوات ونصف سنة، في واحد مِن أغرب الأحكام في تاريخ القضاء البرازيلي.

كشفت الوثائق والتسجيلات المُسرَّبة التي نشرها موقع «ذا إنترسبت» الأميركي، لاحقاً، أن القاضي مورو، وصديقه المدّعي العام دلتان دالاغنول، فتحا خطّاً ساخناً مع جهاز المخابرات الأميركي (FBI)، الذي كان يشرف على التحقيق وإدارة الملفّ الاتّهامي، الأمر الذي وصفته صحيفة «لوموند» الفرنسية بأنه «أكبر فضيحة قضائية في التاريخ». وبحسب التقرير الصادر في نيسان الماضي، فقد تمّت دعوة مورو للمشاركة في اجتماع تُموّله وزارة الخارجية الأميركية عام 2007، بمشاركة عدد من مُمثّلي مكتب التحقيقات الفيدرالي ووزارتَي العدل والخارجية، حيث اتُّفق على إنشاء لجنة قضائية متخصّصة برئاسة كارين مورينو تاكسمان، المُتخصّص في مكافحة غسل الأموال والإرهاب، تعمل داخل السفارة الأميركية، لمتابعة الملفّات الداخلية بالتعاون مع عدد من القضاة البرازيليين.

بعد إدانة لولا، وإبعاده عن السباق الرئاسي عام 2018، حصد مورو ثَمن جُهده، بتولّيه وزارة العدل، ومن خلاله شرَع الأميركيون في فتح الملفّات القضائية الخاصّة بشركة النفط البرازيلية الرسمية «بتروبراس»، لإضعافها، بُغية الشروع في تخصيصها، بعد ضمانات من الرئيس الجديد، جايير بولسنارو، بإعطاء الشركات الأميركية الأولوية في هذا الاستثمار. حَقّق مورو الطموح الأميركي إلى نفوذ يطاول وزارة العدل – وبُنيتها الإدارية -، التي شهدت اجتماعات حضرها رئيس مكتب التحقيقات الفيدرالي الأميركي، وعُقدت خلالها اتفاقات ثنائية أخطرها اتفاقيةٌ تتيح للأميركيين الحصول على بيانات وبصمات مواطنين برازيليين «مشبوهين». بعد افتضاح أمر مورو، ونشْر موقع «إنترسبت» الوثائق والتسجيلات التي تُثبت الاتصالات الثنائية بينه وبين جهات أمنية أميركية، وعملية التلفيق التي قادها فريق التحقيق ومكتب المدّعي العام، قَدّم وزير العدل استقالته من منصبه بذريعة تدخّل بولسنارو في تعيينات الشرطة الفيدرالية. لكنّ مصدراً مقرّباً من الرئيس اعتَبر أن قاضي التحقيق قد فقد مصداقيّته القضائية تماماً، وبالتالي سيتوجّه إلى العمل السياسي مدعوماً من رؤسائه في السفارة الأميركية.

استراتيجية التعويم

بدأت خلية العمل التابعة للسفارة الأميركية في برازيليا، مِروحة من الاتصالات السياسية مع عدد من الأحزاب والمؤسّسات الأمنية لتغطية ترشيح سيرجيو مورو. واعتَمدت خريطة الطريق، بدايةً، على إضعاف جايير بولسنارو من خلال رعاية حملات مضادّة له، قادها حليفه السابق، قائد الجيش البرازيلي إدسون بوجول، الذي اتّهمه بالتسبُّب بسقوط عدد كبير من الضحايا جرّاء سياساته المتهوّرة. وذكّر بوجول بعشرات الآلاف من الجنود البرازيليين الذين وقفوا في الخطوط الأمامية، وخاطروا بحياتهم لمكافحة الوباء، بينما كان الرئيس يسخر من المرض واللقاح بإصرار. لم تقتصر حركة واشنطن على محاولة التصفية السياسية لبولسنارو وتجييرها لمصلحة «الابن المدلّل» سيرجيو مورو، بل عمدت إلى مدّ خطوط سياسية مع معارضي بولسنارو، وأهمّهم حاكم ولاية ساوباولو جواو دوريا، الذي استُدعي إلى واشنطن في محاولة أميركية لمنْعه من الترشّح للرئاسة وتجيير قُوّته الانتخابية إلى مورو.

بدأت خلية العمل التابعة للسفارة الأميركية في برازيليا مِروحة من الاتصالات مع الأحزاب والمؤسّسات الأمنية


كذلك، يتخوّف قياديون في «حزب العمال» من محاولة خلْط الأوراق الانتخابية في الأيام الأخيرة قبل التصويت، عبر إعادة فتح الملفّات القضائية التي سقطت بعد تكشُّف عمليات التلاعب والتزوير فيها؛ إذ إن سلوك واشنطن وتاريخها في التدخّلات عبر ملفّات مختلَقة، يُبقيان المحاذير قائمة من إعادة الكَرّة من خلال قضاة مرتبطين بالسفارة الأميركية في برازيليا. إلّا أن خبراء قانونيين يستبعدون تمكُّن الولايات المتحدة وحلفائها من إقناع الرأي العام البرازيلي بالسيناريو السابق نفسه، ما قد يفتح الباب أمام سيناريو أسوأ، يتمثّل في استهداف أمني قد يطاول دا سيلفا، ويُوضع في خانة الانتقام الشخصي، مع تنامي التيّارات الدينية المتطرّفة التي تكنّ العداء الشديد لـ«حزب العمال» والتيار اليساري يشكل عام. وفي هذا الإطار، ينبّه أمنيون إلى خطورة مشاركة دا سيلفا في الحملات الانتخابية، من دون اتّخاذ أعلى درجات الحماية، بالنظر إلى أن احتمالات تَعرُّضه لاعتداء مباشر عالية جدّاً. ومن بين الأوراق التي تحتفظ بها واشنطن أيضاً، هي رفض المؤسّسة العسكرية ترشيح دا سيلفا، وهو ما قد يدفعها إلى اتّخاذ الإجراء نفسه الذي فعّلته عام 2018، عندما قرّر القاضي روجيريو فافريتو إطلاق سراح دا سيلفا وقانونيّةَ عودته إلى المنافسة الانتخابية، حيث عَقدت قيادة الجيش اجتماعاً مفتوحاً، وهدّدت بإجراءات صارمة، ما استدعى تدخُّل القاضي جبران نيتو ليُلغي قرار زميله، ويفتح المجال واسعاً أمام فوز بولسنارو.

أمام هذا المشهد، يبدو أن الحرب الأميركية ستستعر في الأشهر المقبلة، بالاعتماد على سلسلة من الإجراءات والخطط، ومَدّ إعلامي غير مسبوق لإعادة احتلال البرازيل سياسياً، ومَنْعها من قيادة المنطقة المحيطة بالولايات المتحدة الأميركية. أمّا «حزب العمال»، الذي يتّجه إلى تشكيل أكبر تكتّل سياسي يَجْمعه مع حلفائه اليساريين ويمين الوسط، عبر إمكانية ترشيح جيرالدو ألكمين كنائب لدا سيلفا، فيدرك شراسة المعركة القادمة وأهمّيتها. فهذه المرّة، سيكون الانتصار بطَعم آخر، ومدخلاً لسياسات مختلفة، أبرزها إغلاق منافذ التسلّط الأميركي في الداخل، ورسْم خريطة حُكم جديدة تُقتلع بموجبها عصابات واشنطن من مؤسّسات القضاء والأمن والإدارات العامة.

Facts and expectations of the triumph of the elected president of Chile, Gabriel Boric

23 Dec 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Mikhael Marzuqa

What is the political meaning of the recent victory at the polls of the Chilean left-wing?

The victory of Gabriel Boric in the recent presidential elections in Chile represents the triumph of the aspirations for more social rights of the postponed classes; it is the recovery of the course towards a social state of rights that sometime, 50 years ago, we called “the Chilean way to socialism”, with president Salvador Allende, murdered during the military coup in 1973. Paradoxically, the result of the current election was similar to the plebiscite of 1988 to decide Yes or No for the recovery of democracy in Chile.
 
Gabriel Boric’s success is the remedy for the failure of the neoliberal experiment in Chile that has lasted for decades. Although we had progressive governments in the previous 30 years to the government of the right man president Sebastián Piñera, who ends his mandate next march, those governments, supposedly center-left tendency, did make social reforms, but maintained the structural capitalism basis.

The victory of Boric also represents the generational change of politicians and diplomats anchored in ambiguous visions of what development with equity is. Therefore, it is a sample of the political maturity of the Chilean youth and the students that have promoted social and political reforms since 2004 and then in 2011 and more recently in 2019. Boric´s government program represents the concern for the conservation of the planet against the denial of its contender José Antonio Kast about the existence of climate change. 
 
The triumph of Boric means to recognize the equal rights of men and women, in front of Kast’s intentions to close the Ministry of Women; also means the hope of the originating peoples to recover their rights, the rights of the minorities and, what is very important, powerful support to the constituent process initiated this year to write a new constitution and to establish a social state of rights. 
 
The new constitution will be submitted to the scrutiny of the Chilean people through a plebiscite in the mid of this year. 

The youngest president in the history of Chile

A young candidate was successful because the drivers of social and political change in Chile have been the young generations for decades but with much more strength since the early 2000s.

Boric was one of the main leaders of those movements, he had their support and he came to congress and proved to be a politician of great national agreements. I presume that he is an intelligent leader who knew how to understand that the power of the business and political elites is so powerful, that to achieve significant changes, national majority agreements to face them are needed. It has also been known to recognize that financial power is global and that the interests of the Chilean elites are connected and coordinated with the global elites.

In Latin America and in much of the world, inequalities have widened and in countries like Chile and others in Latin America and the Caribbean, social classes have seen their contradictions increase. The most dispossessed have been aware of the concentration of wealth and that they must fight for their rights, even though their aspirations are not properly of a social class, but they have been subdivided into different groups of social, economic, environmental, gender, ethnic interests, and so on.

Meanwhile, with their ambition, the rich classes are blinded and cannot see that they must give up privileges to avoid a social crisis.

Those last two statements will constitute a challenge for the young deputy and recently elected president Gabriel Boric.

Some reasons for the defeat of the economic and political right and far-right

The defeat of candidate Kast, an ally of Washington, is the defeat of the main test laboratory of the neoliberal system in Latin America. But I clarify that it is not precisely a defeat of Washington only, but that it is a failure of the world’s predominant economic elite, with their project of a planetary mega-state where to establish their supremacy not only economic but also ethnic and sometimes religious, as is the case of “Israel” Zionism which imposes Jewish fanatic supremacism against pluralism and the rights of the Palestinian people.
 
We must be clearly aware that the monster, the neoliberal system, is big and has hundreds of tentacles, and every time it loses benefits, it returns to the charge to regain or increase its privileges. Progressive movements should seek to build governments of majorities that force the powerful to yield. Otherwise, they will not be able to sustain strong democracies with social rights guaranteed for those who have less. If not so, there would be no other alternative than the armed struggle with its highest costs that has been proven to bring ephemeral fruits because imperialism takes care of blocking its objectives as much as possible.
 
One of the main reasons for the defeat of the ultra-right and the right in these elections in Chile was that Kast wanted to present this opportunity as a choice between communism and democracy, between chaos and progress, between freedom and authoritarianism. That was exactly the same speech of the military dictatorship but the representative of the far-right, José Antonio Kast, apparently did not duly consider that such speech didn’t work so well 50 years ago and less would it at this time.
 

What is expected of the Boric government and progressivism in Latin America?

Boric´s government will be a government for the majority but he is not a populist leader like there are others in Latin America. Coordination among progressive governments is necessary for this region. I hope there can be a political alignment with Argentina, a greater rapprochement with Bolivia to end the maritime dispute and move forward to a regional collaboration, as well as with Peru and hopefully Ecuador and Colombia in the short term, depending on the presidential elections in that countries. We have high expectations that Lula da Silva be elected president in Brazil.

We must keep in mind that although Chile is a political reference, because of its magnitude and presence in international instances, Brazil sets the tone for relationships in Latin America with the rest of the world, even though many times it manages its own agenda.

I also hope that the election of Xiomara Castro will mean an alignment of South America’s progressivism with Central America. This will facilitate the rebuilding of the “American Nation” (Patria Grande) and of stable democracies in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The advancement of progressive and democratic governments in Latin America will depend on the strengthening of their republican institutions because we must learn to live in a world where diversity is the main characteristic. In that sense, an important thing will be to take care that there is no place for some to impose their ambitions on others by the force of arms or economic power.

Regional cooperation and the exchange of democratic experiences are important and necessary in Latin America and the Caribbean. This will most importantly depend on building solid constitutional and political foundations in our nations so that progressivism can continue to govern and prevent setbacks in social and political achievements, as was the risk if candidate Kast had been elected.

The imperious need to break the ties of neoliberalism, untie the authoritarian knots and open the way to new models of development are the main reason to prevent the extension or return of the conservative and neoliberal governments in Latin America. That is why the great challenge of progressive is to know how to conceive and develop an alternative model, based on a well-being state with political balances and a constitution that prevents the supremacy of a few over the great majority. Otherwise, we will be exposed to the risk of losing social and political conquests and being subject to the great financial power and its political expression, neoliberalism, with its consequences of poverty and planetary desolation.

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

“We Have a Pro-Palestinian Lobby in Latin America” – Interview with Simán Khoury

December 22, 2021

Siman Khoury. Photo provided by Khoury.

INTERVIEW BY YOUSEF M. ALJAMAL

When Arabs arrived in Central and South America, they had nothing but the clothes they wore. They were called “Turcos” as they carried Ottoman passports. 

When Arabs arrived in Central and South America, they had nothing but the clothes they wore. They were called “Turcos” as they carried Ottoman passports. Today, they are wealthy and occupy important positions. Are they “sons who lost their mothers,” as a poet once put it? Do they maintain their ties to Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, the lands of their ancestors? Yousef M. Aljamal of Politics Today spoke with Simán Khoury, a Palestinian-Salvadorian, who serves as the president of the Palestinian Federations in Latin America, about the ethnically Arab populations in Latin America today.

Q. When people of the Levant arrived in Latin America in the late nineteenth century, they were called “Turcos.” Can you tell us about this? What does it mean and how do South Americans perceived the term?

The Arab immigration, especially from the Levant or Greater Syria, to Latin America was mostly in the late nineteenth century during the period of the Ottoman Empire. All those immigrants held Ottoman passports. So basically, people there did not distinguish between Arabs and Turks, and they called us all “Turcos” (Turks).

Q. What is the reason for this contempt of “Turcos”?

The majority of those who immigrated at that time were poor and ordinary people, mostly peasants. Ordinary Latin Americans, who lived and thought in feudal structures, considered them as inferior, lower-class people.

When our grandparents and our great-grandparents arrived there, four, five, or six generations back, they did it barefoot, which means that they were in a dire economic situation.

Read: Iran missile strikes a ‘slap in the face’ for US, says Khamenei 

Q. What was the stereotype in the minds of immigrants about Latin America? I mean economically.

They were men of modest substance. Everyone wanted to go to America, meaning North America, and had no idea about possible differences between North, Central, and South America. They thought that they were going to North America. However, they arrived at Puerto Colombia, in Colombia, or in Cuba, where they split up. Some went to Chile, some went to El Salvador, and from there to other places, especially the places where they had relatives, if any.

Q. Why are Levant immigrants mainly concentrated in Chile, El Salvador, and Honduras?

There are about a million Palestinian immigrants in Latin America. The majority almost are from Palestine, especially from Bethlehem. In addition, the majority of those immigrants were Palestinian Christians from the city of Bethlehem. Chile has about half a million Palestinians, and there are maybe some 200,000 in Honduras, and 120,000 in El Salvador. Although there are people who say that these numbers are exaggerated, I am sure that they exist and we have statistics supporting that.

Chile has about half a million Palestinians, and there are maybe some 200,000 in Honduras, and 120,000 in El Salvador.

Q. There is a saying, which goes “In every town in Chile, there is a priest, a policeman, and a Palestinian.” Can you tell us more about Palestinians’ impact in Latin America today? What are their positions, their economic status, their cultural, political, and societal status?

When immigrants arrived, they were in a miserable economic situation and suffered from extreme poverty, but they managed to integrate. First, they worked as street vendors and this contributed to their marginalization by the feudal and wealthy classes. But they managed to set up shops and work in textile factories. Gradually, their financial situation improved, which led to an improvement in their social situation. These immigrants struggled for their children to live a better life. They sent their children to schools and universities, and were able to obtain a better social status.

The Palestinians have done a great job for Colombia, in particular. Colombia has Syrian and Lebanese populations as well. All the Levantines have integrated in the Latin American societies of the countries they live in. They have become both loyal citizens and haven’t forgotten their home countries.

Q. Can you give me examples of Arabs, be they Syrian, Lebanese, or Palestinian, who have occupied important cultural, political, and economic positions in Latin America?

In El Salvador, Arabs could obtain very good cultural and scientific positions, so we have doctors, engineers, artists, politicians, and bankers among them. In the agriculture sector, there is a large group of people, Palestinians, who are responsible for almost 44% of the production in the industrial and trade sectors of El Salvador. This means that 44% of the country’s production is in their hands, although they make up 1.5% of the population (nearly 120,000 people). This includes both the industrial and the trade sectors. Furthermore, they make important contributions and influence the medical laboratories and healthcare sector.

In the agriculture sector of El Salvador, there is a large group of Palestinians, who are responsible for almost 44% of the production in the industrial and trade sectors of El Salvador.

In Honduras, the number of Palestinians is much greater. I remember in 2005, when the presidential elections took place after the end of the civil war, Elías Antonio Saca González was the candidate for the right wing and from the left there was Schafik Handal – both were of Palestinian origin and President Saca González won the election.

In 2009, municipal elections for the capital took place and the capital mayors are generally accepted as future presidential candidates. A young man from the Samoura family, which has roots in the city of Bethlehem, ran as the representative of the right against the current president, Nayib Bukele, who represented the left. The mayor of the municipality was a Salvadorian Palestinian. Bukele succeeded him at that time, which paved the way for him to be the current president of El Salvador.

Q. You have spoken about the relations that still link the Latin American Levantines with the Middle East. How do you see the new generation, especially with the Internet and easy access to information? Do they try to restore this relationship and the link between them and their countries of origin? If yes, how do they express this?

Although these migrations took place a long time ago, 80, 100, or 120 years ago – for example, I immigrated 41 years ago – the link between Palestinians and their homeland, despite the fact that they belong in the countries they are currently in, is excellent. They visit their homelands, whether Palestine, Syria or Lebanon – especially the Lebanese, who live in large numbers in Brazil, reaching 7 million.

They still send money and other kinds of aid, whether from Chile, Brazil, or El Salvador to their families there and continue to visit them. As an expression of our cultural identity, we participate in pro-Palestine political and cultural events on every possible occasion and follow the latest news. We have activities, including political ones, to support the Palestinian cause. We have many people in El Salvador who are politically active and support the cause.

Read: Iran missile strikes a ‘slap in the face’ for US, says Khamenei 

Q. Historically, the relationship between South and Central America and the Middle East is strong, but recently, there has been a rise of the right wing in South and Central America. This, of course, also applies to the whole world. Do you observe any impact of this trend on South American interest in Middle Eastern affairs?

This has a great impact on our relationship. In 2017, with the presence of a left-wing government and the activism of the Palestinian community, we were able to close the Israeli embassy in El Salvador. However, the current situation is different due to the economic power of the Jewish lobby in South America.

In 2017, with the presence of a left-wing government and the activism of the Palestinian community, we were able to close the Israeli embassy in El Salvador.

At present, Palestinian embassies are not showing enough effort to influence these countries diplomatically and win their support. This is surprising because this cause is fundamental, it is about displaced people who are being expelled from their lands by brutal force. I personally blame Palestinian diplomacy because there are many countries, even when Chile was ruled by the right, which are still supportive of Palestine. For example, the President of the Republic of El Salvador Elías Antonio Saca González visited Palestine and he was a right-wing politician. He visited his family, the city of Bethlehem and Palestine, while currently, there are leftist countries that try to destroy these relations.

About healthy conservatism

November 08, 2021

by Quantum Bird* for the Saker Blog

After addressing a number of challenging and current issues, the President of the Russian Federation, Vladmir Putin, in his extensive and detailed speech at the XVIII Valdai Discussion Club Meeting in Sochi, explained that:

“I have already mentioned that, in shaping our approaches, we will be guided by a healthy conservatism. That was a few years ago, when passions on the international arena were not yet running as high as they are now, although, of course, we can say that clouds were gathering even then. Now, when the world is going through a structural disruption, the importance of reasonable conservatism as the foundation for a political course has skyrocketed – precisely because of the multiplying risks and dangers, and the fragility of the reality around us.
This conservative approach is not about an ignorant traditionalism, a fear of change or a restraining game, much less about withdrawing into our own shell. It is primarily about reliance on a time-tested tradition, the preservation and growth of the population, a realistic assessment of oneself and others, a precise alignment of priorities, a correlation of necessity and possibility, a prudent formulation of goals, and a fundamental rejection of extremism as a method.”

Putin’s speech, which deserved close scrutiny across the global geopolitical spectrum, was relatively ignored by Brazilian alternative and corporate media outlets – which is rather worrying, given the pertinence of the president’s remarks for the Brazilian political conjuncture. Still, the contents of some discussions in popular Telegram groups, on the left or on the right of the ideological spectrum, suggests that the statement may have been widely misunderstood.

For those interested, Pepe Escobar and Andrei Raevsky have written excellent analyses of the entire speech, from geopolitical and domestic perspectives, respectively. This text exclusively examines the excerpt quoted above, from a perspective closer to the Brazilian public.

The impact of postmodernism on the Western cultural and philosophical landscape is no secret. Much less discussed, however, is the relationship between politics, values and the methodology of postmodernist thought, which notoriously privileges discourse and subjectivism, often radically detached from objective reality.

Therefore, it is in this relationship that are the crucial elements to understand Putin’s speech and its relation to the current Brazilian political and cultural situation. In recent years, cognitive relativism — another notorious postmodernist ingredient — has given rise to supposedly liberal political doctrines, which reform from the notion of the state to parameters of individual identity. As Putin explained very well, once consensual characteristics such as biological genders, cultural identities, idiomatic expressions, the importance of family and natality have been reformulated.

This changing landscape is far from static. It’s not even partially static, with changes followed by periods of stability. Indeed, it is the fluidity with which values and definitions change that is its most striking feature. The recurrence of changes is another factor. Together, these aspects have produced a mass of individuals confused about the most varied aspects of their existence: their gender, racial identities, ideological profile, etc. Not surprisingly, once subjected to this whirlwind of change, the individual loses his references. The result is, on the one hand, a diffuse anomie, and on the other, an amorphous social unrest. Both favor the proliferation of extremisms that foster fragmentation and political instability.

In the Brazil of 2021, for example, the political spectrum is polarized between an extremist pseudo-national-conservatism, represented by the current president and supported by military sectors and Pentecostal churches of dubious reputation, and a predominantly liberal left, mainly interested in identity politics and the local replication of North American’s woke agenda. In political institutions, morality, privileges for minorities, (non) vaccination against COVID-19 are warmly discussed, while the country’s assets are being liquidated, amidst the most complete corruption, without any popular mobilization or minimal public debate about it. It is worth remembering that not so long ago, the political agenda was dominated by left and right punitivism.

Needless to say, a country with an alienated population, without clear references and a precise civilizing paradigm, becomes fertile ground for intervention by foreign actors, via hybrid and cognitive wars, color revolutions and other efforts that always result in social chaos, economic devastation and regime change. The healthy conservatism, to which Putin referred, would do very well to Brazil at this time, as it would deny, at a structural level, the opportunities for developments that have severely degraded life in the country, without suppressing, or undermining, the efforts to consolidate a safe and prosperous nation for its people.

——-

*Quantum Bird is a computer scientist and experimental particle physicist, working a CERN and other major scientific collaborations.

Notes:

1) The article in Portuguese is available at:

https://resistir.info/russia/putin_26out21.html

http://sakerlatam.es/conocimiento-libre/sobre-o-conservadorismo-saudavel/

2) Translation to English by Quantum Bird and Lady Bharani.

Speech by President of Russia Vladimir Putin at the BRICS summit + New Delhi Declaration

September 10, 2021

Speech by President of Russia Vladimir Putin at the BRICS summit + New Delhi Declaration

The theme of the summit is “BRICS@15: Intra-BRICS cooperation for continuity, consolidation and consensus.”

The summit was attended by President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, President of China Xi Jinping, and President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa.

The key agreements have been laid down in the New Delhi Declaration.

* * *

Speech by President of Russia Vladimir Putin at the BRICS summit

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Prime Minister Modi, President Xi Jinping, President Ramaphosa, President Bolsonaro,

Ladies and gentlemen,

First, I would like to join my colleagues who spoke before and thank Prime Minister Modi and all our Indian friends for the active work conducted by India as the BRICS chair this year.

Despite the special conditions related to the coronavirus pandemic, India as the chair has done everything it could to ensure the progressive development of strategic partnership of the BRICS countries without any setbacks.

I agree with my colleagues who expressed this opinion that the authority of our association is growing. Its role in international affairs is on the rise and it is substantial. This is a logical result of the BRICS ability to develop effective cooperation in the entire range of topical global and regional issues during 15 years of our joint activities.

Such close partnership of the BRICS countries is greatly in demand, considering that the global situation still remains very turbulent. The risks of the coronavirus pandemic are obvious to all of us, and my colleagues have just spoken about this. This threat has affected practically all aspects of our life, impeding the development of the global economy and exacerbating many social problems.

In addition to this, what is happening around the world remains very tense. Global security is subjected to serious trials and the system of strategic stability has noticeably deteriorated. Far from being settled, long-standing regional conflicts are flaring up with renewed force.

The withdrawal of the US and their allies from Afghanistan has led to a new crisis situation, and it remains unclear how it will affect regional and global security, so it is absolutely right that our countries pay special attention to this issue.

Understandably, just like its BRICS partners, Russia has consistently advocated the establishment of long-awaited peace and stability in Afghanistan, where the people have been fighting for many decades and have earned the right to independently determine what their state will be like.

At the same time, we are not interested in Afghanistan remaining a threat to neighbouring countries or having terrorism and illegal drug trafficking coming from the Afghan territory threaten us. We are interested in stopping the migration flow and we want the Afghans to be able to live a peaceful and dignified life in their own country.

I have mentioned many times that the current round of the crisis in Afghanistan is a direct consequence of irresponsible extraneous attempts to impose someone else’s values on the country and to build “democratic structures” using socio-political engineering techniques, ignoring the historical and national specifics of other nations and the traditions by which they live.

All of that leads to nothing but destabilisation and, ultimately, chaos, after which the masterminds behind these experiments hastily retreat leaving their charges behind. The entire international community then has to face the consequences.

I am convinced that peaceful progress in international relations can be guaranteed only through ensuring the existence of states with different political and social systems, their own national interests and spiritual and moral values, but with mandatory observance of the fundamental principles of international law enshrined in the UN Charter, including non-interference in internal affairs and respect for sovereignty.

It is likewise important to maintain and promote mutually respectful, constructive and meaningful interaction at the global level, to strengthen the emerging multipolar system which comprises independent centres of economic growth and political influence, of which BRICS is, of course, a part.

In this context, we consider very relevant the topic of our meeting and the topic of the entire year in BRICS that was chosen by our Indian partners and the Indian chairmanship which is promoting cooperation on the basis of continuity, consolidation and consensus. In fact, the entire international community is facing this challenge, and five BRICS countries are playing a significant and noticeable role in addressing it.

I hope our work today will be substantive and productive. I would like to emphasise once again that Russia stands ready to continue close interaction with the BRICS countries in all areas.

Thank you.

Empire warns Brazil: it’s our NATO way or Huawei

August 12, 2021

Empire warns Brazil: it’s our NATO way or Huawei

By Pepe Escobar and Quantum Bird – Special for The Saker Blog

The Empire of Chaos could never be accused of deploying Sun Tzu subtlety. Especially when it comes to dealing with the satrapies.

In the case of Brazil, former BRICS stalwart reduced to the status of a proto-neo-colony under an aspiring Soprano-style “captain”, the Men Who Run the Show applied standard procedure.

First they sent the Deep State, as in CIA’s William Burns. Then they sent National Security, as in advisor Jake Sullivan. Both visits delivered the same message: toe the line – or else.

Nuances do apply. The Deep State wants the current proto-neo-colony status of Brazil unchanged, and hopefully deepened – as it strikes the “B” in BRICS out of deeper cooperation with the Russia-China strategic partnership.

Sullivan for his part is just a cog in the Dem dementia wheel that previously conspired alongside the NSA to destroy Dilma Rousseff’s presidency, throw Lula in jail and place Bolsonaro in charge.

Lula is not the Dem’s horse for the 2022 Brazilian presidential election. But despite some woke-ish characters coming out of the closet, there’s no viable third way in the horizon acceptable for the Empire – at least not yet.

Still, the proverbial “offer you can’t refuse” had to be delivered to the people that matter: the men in uniform. Do what you gotta do, strike a deal with Lula, whatever. In the end, what we say, goes.

That poisoned carrot

The cover story for Sullivan’s trip was what amounts for all practical purposes to the Ukrainization of Central America/the Caribbean. Notorious vampire Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland, number 3 in the State Dept., had already been dispatched to assorted chihuahuas in the region to lay down the law.

Sullivan followed the script, banging on notorious anti-imperial recalcitrants such as Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua and extolling the platitude du jour: “The need to preserve and protect democracy in the hemisphere.” He met face to face with two of the military brass who are part of the deciding circle, Gen Augusto Heleno, who heads the all-powerful Institutional Security Cabinet, and Defense Minister Braga Netto, both under fire for corruption.

Unlike Burns, who stuck to “security” CIA interests, stressing that Brazil escaping from the Empire’s sphere of influence simply won’t be tolerated, Sullivan actually offered a carrot: drop Huawei out of the 5G auction later this year, and you may be accepted as a NATO partner.

This carrot bears similarities with the Empire offering BRICS member India to become a – lesser – member of the Quad, alongside US, Japan and Australia, to “contain” China.

So it’s always about the imperial sphere of influence: smashing BRICS from the inside, turning members into “partners”.

NATO’s “partnerships” are euphemisms for “we own you, bitch”. All “partners” have to strictly follow the parameters of the NATO 2030 agenda, which has been designed to promote a planetary Robocop patrolling/containing vast swathes of the Global South.

Even if Brazil seems to be, in fact, already a lowly NATO “partner”, as its Navy was invited to be part of the recent Sea Breeze exercise in the Black Sea, which was a major pro-Kiev, “containment of Russia” operation, it is not granted the carrot will be taken.

Indeed, an upgrade would only mean a little extra terminological glamour, as in “major non-NATO ally” or “global partner”.

The real question is who among the Brazilian men in uniform will approve this lethal blow to sovereignty. Significant dissent does exist. The Brazilian Navy, for example, will be against it – as it would be reduced to the role of patrolling the South Atlantic on behalf of the Empire, and even becoming a hostage were the Empire to turbo-charge the militarization of the South Atlantic.

If this “partnership” ever happened, the Navy’s concept of the “Blue Amazon” would be buried deep in the ocean. Not to mention that NATO does not even recognize the concept of a South Atlantic. Brazil’s own sphere of influence actually extends from the Andes to the western coast of Africa via the South Atlantic.

The “price” to be paid to accept such a Mafioso “offer you can’t refuse” is to bluntly antagonize China. Talk about the Brazilian military falling on their own tropical sword.

Brazil and China commercial affairs are intense – and multifaceted. Since the mid-1990s, the presence of Chinese commercial interests has been significant in the Brazilian economy, ranging from mining companies to huge infrastructure projects such as the bridge over the Baia de Todos os Santos.

China is also the top buyer of the huge native soy production, which is managed by the quite politically active agrobusiness Brazilian community, which is not going to stay idle while its interests are being eroded.

Brazil also boasts the largest telecommunication market in Latin America. Rebuilding and updating the Brazilian telephony and internet network, jeopardized by 1990s privatizations and 2000s business mistakes, is an opportunity Huawei simply can’t ignore.

That also configures a huge win for Brazil, able to profit from some hardware the NSA can’t easily spy on.

So basically to close the doors to Huawei would push Beijing to fiercely retaliate in myriad ways. The most painful consequence would be the end of Brazilian soy imports; that will drive agrobusiness honchos absolutely nuts, with unforeseen consequences.

In the end, Sullivan’s “offer you can’t refuse” actually smacks of desperation. As the Empire of Chaos is being slowly but surely expelled from Eurasia by the Russia-China strategic partnership, the imperial ace in the hole amounts to renewing control over the Monroe doctrine satrapies.

All bets are off on whether the tropical men in uniform really understand the high stakes in play.

Brazilians March to Demand Bolsonaro’s Impeachment

Today 25/07/21

Source: Al Mayadeen

Demonstrators in several Brazilian cities demand the impeachment of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for alleged corruption and Covid mismanagement.

Visual search query image
Protests sparked by Bolsonaro’s handling of Covid-19

Tens of thousands of Brazilian protestors took to the streets in several Brazilian cities on Saturday to demand Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s impeachment, as the pandemic exacts a disturbing toll, according to AFP.

It was the fourth weekend of anti-Bolsonaro protests organized by leftist political parties, labor unions, and social groups. Bolsonaro is being investigated in the senate, which is probing the possibility of corruption tied to the purchase of coronavirus vaccine.

In Rio de Janeiro, thousands of Brazilians dressed in red and wearing face masks marched with banners bearing slogans such as “No one can take any more” and “Get out corrupt criminal.”

Organizers called for nationwide protests “in defense of democracy and the lives of Brazilians and the removal of Bolsonaro” from power. 

In the afternoon, the local press reported that demonstrations took place in 20 out of 26 Brazilian states.

Furthermore, it is suspected that the Brazilian president ignored corruption suspicions raised by a Ministry of Health employee. When this employee testified before a Senate investigation committee, he stated that he was subjected to “extraordinary pressure” to approve the import of inflated doses of the Indian “Cofaxin” vaccine.

The Brazilian Public Prosecutor’s Office publicized the start of a preliminary investigation into the charges leveled against the president by three senators, who accused him of “breaching his duties” in this case.

Bolsonaro, who took office in 2019, denied all allegations of government corruption and condemned the parliamentary investigation, calling it a political “movement” aimed at forcing him to resign.

The Brazilian President’s approval rating has fallen to 24%, and opinion polls suggest he will lose the presidential election in October to former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of the Labor Party, who supported Saturday’s protests.

On June 30, the opposition filed a complaint outlining 20 different charges for the president’s impeachment, but Bolsonaro still has enough support in Congress to prevent such moves.

Entranced Earth: the hegemonic dispute engulfs Brazil

July 13, 2021

Entranced Earth: the hegemonic dispute engulfs Brazil

By Fabio Reis Vianna for The Saker Blog

Even if the rhetoric and the interim security strategy of the Joe Biden administration itself tries to give a multilateralist veneer to the idea that the benevolent hegemon would be back, the reality imposed by the increase in competitive pressure, which deepens after the outbreak of the pandemic, and acquires dramatic contours in the so-called “vaccine war”, reveals a challenging scenario for the coming years.

The gradual increase in competitive pressure, symptom of a phenomenon justified in the theory of the Expanding Universe, would have its origins after the September 11 attacks, when the “universal war on terrorism” unveils a world where the power of an omnipotent hegemon revealed itself in the need for the permanent expansion of power through the use of its military infrastructure.

Then arises the figure of the “terrorist enemy”, which could be any person or group, inside or outside the United States, a universal enemy that could be destroyed anywhere, even if that meant violating individual rights or the sovereignty of other states.

The unilateral power expansionism carried out by the Americans after September 11 would therefore have generated the seed of escalation in conflicts, leading to increased destabilization and consequently to a reactive movement of the other states in the world system.

As if in a movement of self-protection, former powers of the interstate system return to a game that seemed dead, but in practice was only sleeping: the old geopolitics of nations, where national interest and the resumption of sovereignty would return to play the cards against the dogmas of globalization and liberal order.

The return of Russia, which in 2015 intervened in the Syrian war – demonstrating a warlike power not seen for some time – represented a turning point, which apparently began with the reelection of Vladimir Putin himself in 2012, but also with the coming to power of the current Chinese president Xi Jinping in 2013. From then on, the interstate dispute would have accelerated considerably with the rise of these two Eurasian giants.

The spread of international competition and instability would be, therefore, in line with the idea that for international political actors the effort for changes in the system would be preponderant for the achievement of their own interests.

The appearance of new emerging actors in the world system, even if considered a destabilizing factor of the system itself, on the other hand, would boost in the hegemonic state the expansionist impulse necessary for it to remain at the top of the system.

The global instability caused by the clash between the powers that would be benefiting from the instituted international order, and those states that would aim to climb the power ladder, would suggest the end, or at least an interruption of the minimum consensus necessary for harmonious coexistence within what Hedlley Bull would call a “society of states”.

From this perspective, the hypothesis of war would emerge as an almost inevitable expedient to resolve the tensions caused by power imbalances and global instability. It is from war, therefore, and especially from the so-called hegemonic war, that the state or coalition of states that would lead the new international order would emerge.

At the moment in which the crisis or the end of the so-called liberal order created in the 20th century and led by the United States of America is being discussed, what seems evident is the occurrence of an increasingly deeper questioning of the current international order by other nations.

In this sense, the global instability reflected in the increase of competitive pressure would be explicit in the context of a generalized conflictive ambience, or on the way to generalization.

To better conceptualize this idea, Robert Gilpin’s Theory of Hegemonic War would indicate that a generalized conflictive environment, even if not configured in an apparent hegemonic war, would already suggest such a situation if we think that what differs a hegemonic war from other categories of war would be precisely the systemic conception existing in the relations between individual states. This being so, and given that it is a systemic relationship, the whole structure itself would be affected by it.

What has been happening internally in a country like Brazil is a very peculiar and local-scale example of this global phenomenon that has spread throughout the interstate system.

Therefore, just as the pandemic accelerated and deepened the global systemic crisis, internally it had a devastating effect by fusing conflicts and contradictions within societies in many countries around the world.

At a time when the parliamentary commission investigating the pandemic crisis is exposing the viscera of corruption in the Bolsonaro administration, exposing the Armed Forces to a public embarrassment not seen for some time, the repudiation note of the three military commands in a clear threat to the National Congress confirms the thesis that the internal war within the institutions and oligarchic elites is something real and increasingly out of control.

The strange visit of the CIA director to Brasilia, and his meeting behind closed doors with Bolsonaro and the head of Brazilian espionage, General Augusto Heleno, sounded like an intimidating message to Brazilian civil society that the Biden administration would endorse a hypothetical regime closure in Brazil.

As it happened during the Jimmy Carter administration – when the military dictatorship was strongly pressured by the United States -, even if the pressure of American public opinion may lead the Biden administration to abandon the nefarious Bolsonaro administration, it is still very useful for the current American security strategy that a vassal government like the Brazilian one ensures the removal of the Eurasian presence in the “Western Hemisphere”, and even contributes to the destabilization of hostile countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba.

The erratic way in which the privatization of Eletrobrás is being carried out – which will lead to an unprecedented increase in costs – as well as the energy crisis that is looming, signal a growing distancing of powerful sectors of the business elites from a government that reveals an openly militarized, authoritarian face that is oblivious to reality.

The fraying, therefore, of social relations at the top of the Brazilian pyramid reveals a scenario that finds historical precedent only in that period that led to the so-called Revolution of 1930, when the dispute between the oligarchies of the time reached its peak.

Following the example of what is happening at this very moment in Cuba and South Africa, the escalation of systemic social conflicts seems to have no end, and even if for different reasons, it would be the result of the pandora’s box opened by the pandemic.

Even if at first glance it doesn’t seem relevant, certainly the deepening of tensions at a global level – within the universe of the great hegemonic dispute – will be decisive for the future of the much debilitated Brazilian democracy.

The classic “Entranced Earth”, by the great filmmaker Glauber Rocha, never came so handy for the Brazilian reality.


Fabio Reis Vianna, lives in Rio de Janeiro, is a bachelor of laws (LL.B), MA student in International Relations at the University of Évora (Portugal), writer and geopolitical analyst. He currently maintains a column on international politics at the centennial Brazilian newspaper Monitor Mercantil.

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