US Sanctions: Shooting Blanks Against the Resiliency of Targeted Nations

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, October 27, 2020

As explained many times before, Security Council members alone may legally impose sanctions on nations, entities and individuals.

When used by countries against others, they breach the UN Charter, how the US, NATO and Israel operate time and again.

The Charter’s Article II mandates all member states to “settle…disputes” according to the rule of law.

US/Western sanctions are weapons of war by other means — used to pressure, bully and terrorize targeted nations into submission.

Though widely used, most often they fail to achieve intended objectives.

US sanctions war and other hostile actions against Cuba for 60 years, Iran for 40 years, Venezuela for 20 years, and against countless other nations largely shot blanks.

Most often, they’re counterproductive.

Hardships imposed on people in targeted nations fuel anti-US sentiment — blaming Washington, not their governments, for what they endure.

Under international law, nations are prohibited from intervening in the internal affairs of others.

Military action against an adversary is only legal in self-defense if attacked — never preemptively for any reasons.

Hardcore US bipartisan policy targets all independent nations unwilling to subordinate their sovereign rights to its interests.

That’s what US hostility toward China, Russia, Iran, and other targeted countries is all about.

Since WW II, no nations threatened the US militarily or politically.

Like all other empires in world history now gone, a similar fate awaits the US — because of its counterproductive geopolitical policies, over time making more enemies than allies, weakening, not strengthening, the state.

Last week in response to US sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the following:

“(T)his unfriendly and destructive policy of constant introduction of various restrictions in relation to us, our economic operators, our economy, unfortunately, this has already become an integral part of unfair competition, undisguised hostile takeover competition on the part of Washington.”

Last month, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova slammed the US, saying:

“We condemn (US) calls for forging a certain coalition against the pipeline, wherein German and other companies have already made multi-billion dollar investments.”

In response to EU sanctions on Russia over the Navalny novichok poisoning hoax, its Foreign Ministry demanded to know “who is behind the anti-Russian provocation,” adding:

“In response, we get aggressive rhetoric and outright manipulation of the facts” — by the EU in cahoots with the US.

Sergey Lavrov slammed Berlin for being in breach of its international obligations for failing to provide Moscow with information it claims to have about the Navalny incident — because none exists.

In mid-October, protesters outside the US embassy in London accused Washington of attempting to “strangle” Cuba’s economy by a virtual blockade on the island state.

The so-called Rock Around The Blockade solidarity campaign called for breaking the illegal action, chanting “Cuba si! Yankee no! Abajo el bloqueo/Down with the blockade!”

Despite annual UN General Assembly measures against US blockade of the island state, it’s been in place for decades without success because of Cuban resiliency.

Trump regime Office of Foreign Assets Control threatened to sue “anyone who trades with Cuba” or has property in the country.

Despite decades of US war on Cuba by other means, aiming to regain imperial control over the island state, policies of Republicans and Dems consistently failed.

US war on China by sanctions and other means widens the breach between both countries.US Sanctions: Weapons of War by Other Means on Targeted Nations

On October 21 in a Foreign Affairs article titled “How China Threatens American Democracy” (sic), Trump regime national security advisor Robert  O’Brien invented nonexistent threats.

Instead of fostering productive bilateral relations with all nations, policies of both right wings of the US one-party state go the other way against nations Washington doesn’t control — how the scourge of imperialism operates.

China fosters cooperative relations with other nations, threatening none — polar opposite longstanding US policy, seeking dominance over planet earth, its resources and populations.

Undeclared US initiated Cold War against China, Russia, and other targeted nations threatens to turn hot by accident or design — especially in East Asia, the Middle East, and near Russia’s borders.

On Sunday, O’Brien expressed frustration, saying:

“One of the problems that we have faced with both Iran and Russia is that we now have so many sanctions against these countries that we have very little (opportunity) to do anything about it,” adding:

“But we are looking at all possible deterrent measures that we can apply to these countries, as well as others…”

Last Thursday, the US Treasury Department announced new sanctions on Iran’s IRGC, its Quds Force, and Bayan Rasaneh Gostar Institute “for having directly or indirectly engaged in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in foreign interference” in US November 3 elections.

Fact: Throughout US history, no evidence showed that any foreign nations ever interfered in its electoral process — a US specialty against scores of nations throughout the post-WW II period.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh slammed the hostile action, saying:

Its government “strong(ly) reject(s) baseless and false claims” by the US, adding:

“(I)t makes no difference for Iran who wins the US election.”

On core domestic and foreign policy issues, both right wings of the US one-party state operate largely the same way.

Rare exceptions prove the rule.

On Monday, Pompeo announced more illegal sanctions on Iran — part of longstanding US war on the country by other means.

Tehran’s “Ministry of Petroleum and Minister of Petroleum, the National Iranian Oil Company, the National Iranian Tanker Company, and 21 other individuals, entities, and vessels” were targeted for unjustifiable reasons.

Iran, its ruling authorities, and entities foster cooperative relations with other countries — hostile actions toward none, except in self-defense if attacked, the legal right of all nations.

US imperial policy targets all countries, entities and individuals not subservient to its rage to rule the world unchallenged.

US maximum pressure on Iran and other nations is all about wanting them transformed into vassal states.

Separately on Monday, convicted felon/US envoy for regime change in Iran and Venezuela Elliott Abrams said the following:

“The transfer of long-range missiles from Iran to Venezuela is not acceptable to the United States and will not be tolerated or permitted,” adding:

“We will make every effort to stop shipments of long-range missiles, and if somehow they get to Venezuela they will be eliminated there.”

Was the above threat a possible US declaration of hot war on Venezuela, on Iran as well?

Last week, Pompeo announced new US sanctions on “the State Research Center of the Russian Federation FGUP Central Scientific Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics (TsNIIKhM).”

He falsely claimed the research institute conducts “malware attacks (that threaten) cybersecurity and critical infrastructure (sic).”

No evidence was cited because none exists, including alleged Russian malware against “a petrochemical plant in the Middle East,” along with “scann(ing) and prob(ing) US facilities.”

Pompeo falsely accused Russia of “engag(ing) in dangerous and malicious activities that threaten the security of the United States and our allies (sic).”

The above is what the US and its imperial partners do time and again — falsely blaming others for their own high crimes.

The Trump regime also imposed unlawful sanctions on Iran for supplying Venezuela with gasoline — the legal right of both nations to conduct bilateral trade relations.

Last month, former Trump regime acting DNI Richard Grenell met secretly with Venezuelan Vice President for Communications Jorge Rodriguez in Mexico, according to Bloomberg News.

It was a futile attempt to get President Maduro to step down ahead of US November 3 elections, Trump seeking a foreign policy success to tout that failed.

US war on Venezuela by other means, notably by Trump, imposed great hardships on its people alone — failing to achieve regime change.

US-designated puppet-in-waiting Guaido’s involvement in the scheme made him widely despised by the vast majority of Venezuelans.

Separately, Russia’s US embassy responded to unacceptable tightening of visas for its journalists by the Trump regime, creating “artificial barriers (that impede) their normal work,” adding:

“In particular, the limitation of the period of stay for foreign media employees to 240 days (with the possibility of extension up to 480 days) will not allow them to consistently cover local events.”

Journalists “will have to leave the United States for a considerable time to obtain a new visa.”

This new policy flies in the face of what “freedom of speech and equal access to information” is supposed to be all about.

On Monday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova slammed US accusations of alleged Moscow cybersecurity threats, calling them “unfounded,” adding:

“(T)his time (the US outdid itself) in anti-Russia rhetoric with extremely harsh statements occasionally bordering on bizarre rudeness.”

“Such an approach will not benefit the State Department and is indicative of the fact that they treat the culture and norms of state-to-state communication with disdain.”

Businessman Trump sought improved relations with Russia — the aim thwarted by surrounding himself with Russophobic hardliners.

The same holds for US hostility toward China, Iran, and other countries on its target list for regime change.

*

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from podur.orgThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

Has the US been chastised into reform, or is 4 more years of Trump needed?

Monday, 26 October 2020 9:25 AM  [ Last Update: Tuesday, 27 October 2020 5:30 AM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump leaves the polling station after casting his ballot at the Palm Beach County Public Library, during early voting for the November 3 election, in West Palm Beach, Florida, on October 24, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Has the US been chastised into reform, or is 4 more years of Trump needed?

By Ramin Mazaheri

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

There is a world of difference between “make it stop” and “make it change”, no?

In 2016 we all knew that a Trump victory would undoubtedly be terrible for Iran, Cuba and Palestine – that has been proven true.

However, being a “one-issue voter” is never advisable, but especially for those voting in the country which has more global influence than any other.

The question for those in those three countries is this: why would a victory by Joe Biden herald a major change in US policy – not merely a change from post-2016 policy, but from the United States’ policy since 1979, 1959 or 1948?

Trump-era sanctions are illegal, inhumane and war, indeed, but it would be overreaction to say they were something altogether new. Washington’s policy towards all three of these nations – undoubtedly the martyrs of the international community – has been the unbroken same for many decades: destruction of the patriotic leadership elements in those countries. (However, Palestinians can accurately add that supporting total genocide against all Palestinians is also an undeniably clear policy of Washington.)

Why would Biden reverse these policies? A temporary relenting is not a reversal.

Is not reversal the goal, or is merely “less worse” the democratic majority desire in these three nations as regards their foreign policy with America?

Worryingly, it should be assumed that Biden would certainly be more successful in galvanising Western support for “new” Iranian sections than Trump, who alienated America’s allies, if Biden chose to do so. What if these sanctions are thus even more comprehensive than the Trump era’s “US alone” sanctions?

When it comes to these three anti-imperialism-championing, leftist-inspired nations we must consider the “hope” aspect – Barack Obama won on this idea precisely because it is so critical to consider: is it possible that a Trump finally freed of election concerns could perhaps do what he was elected to do in 2016 – break with the Washington “Swamp” and all of its horrors and murders?

The world notes that Trump is – without question – the least belligerent elected president in the modern era (Gerald Ford was not elected). Considering that prior to WWII the US was still engaged in wars of imperialism in North America and beyond, and also that prior to the Civil War the US was engaged in slavery, it is not an exaggeration to say that Trump has been one of America’s least foreign-warmongering presidents. This sounds preposterous, but American history is an unbroken line of preposterous, imperialist brutality – denying that is inaccurate.

Therefore, it’s reasonable to consider that a Trump freed of election concerns, and also of trying to win over the Washington establishment, could allow his anti-belligerent tendencies to take over. Trump is not a military man, but a business man. The idea that Biden could possibly have a “Nixon moment” with Iran is absolutely out of the question – he is completely an establishment man. Indeed, this reality is the foundation of his presidential campaign – a return to “normalcy”.

But the US establishment is totally anti-Iranian Islamic Revolution, anti-Islamic conceptions of capitalism, and anti-Iranian resistance to Western invasion and imperialism. In a system dominated by lobby interests, there is absolutely no “pro-Iran” lobby and to think there is would be to misunderstand America.

The concern is that those outside of and unfamiliar with America do not understand these realities; that there are still those who think Obama was truly worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize; that think Democrats are lenient towards to the world even though they spearheaded the destruction of Yugoslavia, Libya, Honduras, Haiti, Ukraine etc. and etc. It is like a a household with two very unpleasant daughters: the family always says, “That one is the easy-going one”, when in reality she is still very unpleasant when compared with normal standards of comportment.

There is absolutely no way Biden would engineer a “Nixon moment” of (not rapprochement but) detente with Iran. Therefore, the question to ask is: are the 2016-era sanctions so bad that Iran has to throw in the towel, and not take a chance on the most successful anti-establishment candidate in the US since Andrew Jackson?

Part 2: Why would anyone, anywhere wish for the very unpleasant Washington establishment to remain in complete control?

We have established that Biden may only slightly lessen, but never end, the four decades of sanctions on Iran. About Trump – we simply cannot be so sure.

Trump, thus, is the “hope” candidate. Trump doesn’t have a real ideology, we have learned since 2016 – he’s not a real Zionist, any more than he’s a real Christian, any more than he’s a real Republican – he is a selfish business man, and that is it. These people ruin the world, but can also build great things. 

That’s the same question Americans considering voting for Trump are asking: are things so bad that the only way to advance is via retreat – i.e. four more years of the astoundingly upsetting (the French “bouleversement” is so much more accurate) Trump presidency?

Turning to America’s domestic situation: they are in a catastrophe on top of a catastrophe, i.e. the 2020 coronavirus recession is being added to the 2008 Great Recession.

The election media circus does not focus on this – they instead create nonsense like Iranians posing as “Proud Boys” and mail-in ballot hysteria – but if you are in the US and talking to people you only hear from Americans about how truly bad things are in ways totally unrelated to the election.

Visitors from Iran cannot believe their eyes when they see the US – this country is in disrepair, is technologically behind in many ways, and is in jaw-droppingly bad physical and social health (putting aside more subjective questions of moral and mental health).

How on earth can we explain the 2020 continued success and resonance of Trump, who in the 2nd debate kept reminding voters of why he won in 2016: the staggering corruption of the US political establishment, of which he is not completely a part of?

He knows that the US public has as many reasons to subvert the US political establishment as the Iranian public has: the most basic, and necessary, examination of the situation via this lens of class tells us that – of course – both publics greatly suffer under the brutality of the unwanted capitalism-imperialism foisted by the 1%.

Furthermore, we should expect that the factions thwarted in 2016 would impose even further safeguards to their power to make sure another Trump cannot happen again.

Trump has pushed things to the right, indeed, but nobody more so than the US establishment and 1%: this couldn’t be more in evidence thanks to how even the Democrats have embraced the CIA & FBI, Twitter/Facebook censorship, QE policies which keep their rich donor classes happy, and how this class demands Trump be even more warlike and employ even more policies which many used to only associate with American conservatives. The American Democrat is no leftist.

But the delusion is believing that far-right policies – both at home and abroad regarding places like Iran – started with Trump. American Democrats may believe that nonsense, but it’s vital that the world has a memory which stretches back just a mere five years. A Biden victory would immediately allow the US to sweep under the rug and to scapegoat the nation’s pre-2016 problems on Trump – many American voters will not tolerate that, as they want immediate changes to the long-running status quo.

Who knows what a second Trump presidency would do? This is both hope and risk. And as Biden said in the second election: “You know who I am” – indeed. 

What the world and the US public wants is obvious: mutually-beneficial cooperation, which is not necessarily excluded in capitalism, but it is excluded in “capitalism with Western characteristics”. “Trump term 1” was against free-trade, neoliberal capitalism-imperialism: would “Trump term 2” push aside the New York City financial elite and insist on concluding mutually-beneficial business deals which don’t have to be signed at the barrel-end of a US gun?

It’s so very, very hard to believe, but US Congresspeople spend 70% of their work day fundraising. What a terrible system, no? This explains how Americans get such poor governance – they are not occupied with the business of public service.

I think it’s fair to point out that Trump has done the same since 2016 in order to win re-election: he has spent 70% of his time complying with and being bogged down by establishment nonsense – Russophobia, a useless impeachment drive, a hostile media, etc. What would he do if he was freed from this, and given free rein to use the executive branch powers for actual policy which bypassed the Swamp? We don’t know, because we have never seen such a US president.

The question is this: does a Trump freed from re-election concerns, and confident of his mandate, still continue to turn his back on the patriotic populism which his voters expected, or do we see something even more spectacularly upsetting to the US establishment than what we have seen the past four years?

We do know Biden will re-chart the American course for Obama’s “pivot to Asia” and all the other usual capitalist-imperialist belligerence. Regarding the influence of Bernie Sanders and the fake-leftistm America has recently mustered: please don’t make me laugh at the idea that in 2021 they will be handed top cabinet posts and actual influence.

But a vote for Biden implicitly implies that the US has learned much since 2016 and will reform and correct themselves; that Biden is not an establishment man, as I asserted, but something new. To put it in Trumpian campaign terms: Biden the public servant in year 48 will be different than Biden the public servant years 1-47. Conversion, rebirth, epiphany – these are all real things, certainly, and nowhere more so perhaps than in evangelical Christian-dominated America.

But we must also remember that, as the European Union proves, Western “neo-imperialism” includes the colonisation of the Western public by an unpatriotic, international 1%. Biden is undoubtedly neoliberal and neo-imperial – Trump is… something else, no? (One cannot be anti-free trade and still neoliberal, after all.)

Thus the “hope” choice in this election is not “for” Trump – it is “anti”-US establishment, and that goes for those abroad as well as domestically.

This article does not promote Trump but merely seeks to explain his popularity, as the Western mainstream media cannot do anything but support their establishment, of course. Biden voters are “holding their nose” and voting for a candidate they don’t like – one is wrong to assume that Trump supporters aren’t doing the exact same.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

October 26, 2020

More Pressure On Russia Will Have No Effect

20 years of Vladimir Putin in power: a timeline.

Source

October 17, 2020

Over the last years the U.S. and its EU puppies have ratcheted up their pressure on Russia. They seem to believe that they can compel Russia to follow their diktat. They can’t. But the illusion that Russia will finally snap, if only a few more sanctions ar applied or a few more houses in Russia’s neighborhood are set on fire, never goes away.

As Gilbert Doctorow describes the situation:

The fires burning at Russia’s borders in the Caucasus are an add-on to the disorder and conflict on its Western border in neighboring Belarus, where fuel is poured on daily by pyromaniacs at the head of the European Union acting surely in concert with Washington.

Yesterday we learned of the decision of the European Council to impose sanctions on President Lukashenko, a nearly unprecedented action when directed against the head of state of a sovereign nation.

It is easy enough to see that the real intent of the sanctions is to put pressure on the Kremlin, which is Lukashenko’s guarantor in power, to compound the several other measures being implemented simultaneously in the hope that Putin and his entourage will finally crack and submit to American global hegemony as Europe did long ago.

The anti-Russia full tilt ahead policy outlined above is going on against a background of the U.S. presidential electoral campaigns. The Democrats continue to try to depict Donald Trump as “Putin’s puppy,” as if the President has been kindly to his fellow autocrat while in office. Of course, under the dictates of the Democrat-controlled House and with the complicity of the anti-Russian staff in the State Department, in the Pentagon, American policy towards Russia over the entire period of Trump’s presidency has been one of never ending ratcheting up of military, informational, economic and other pressures in the hope that Vladimir Putin or his entourage would crack. Were it not for the nerves of steel of Mr. Putin and his close advisers, the irresponsible pressure policies outlined above could result in aggressive behavior and risk taking by Russia that would make the Cuban missile crisis look like child’s play.

The U.S. arms industry lobby, in form of the Atlantic Council, confirms the ‘western’ strategy Doctorow describes. It calls for ‘ramping up on Russia’ with even more sanctions:

Key to raising the costs to Russia is a more proactive transatlantic strategy for sanctions against the Russian economy and Putin’s power base, together with other steps to reduce Russian energy leverage and export revenue. A new NATO Russia policy should be pursued in tandem with the European Union (EU), which sets European sanctions policy and faces the same threats from Russian cyberattacks and disinformation. At a minimum, EU sanctions resulting from hostilities in Ukraine should be extended, like the Crimea sanctions, for one year rather than every six months. Better yet, allies and EU members should tighten sanctions further and extend them on an indefinite basis until Russia ends its aggression and takes concrete steps toward de-escalation.

It also wants Europe to pay for weapons in the Ukraine and Georgia:

A more dynamic NATO strategy for Russia should go hand in hand with a more proactive policy toward Ukraine and Georgia in the framework of an enhanced Black Sea strategy. The goal should be to boost both partners’ deterrence capacity and reduce Moscow’s ability to undermine their sovereignty even as NATO membership remains on the back burner for the time being.

As part of this expanded effort, European allies should do more to bolster Ukraine and Georgia’s ground, air, and naval capabilities, complementing the United States’ and Canada’s efforts that began in 2014.

The purpose of the whole campaign against Russia, explains the Atlantic Council author, is to subordinate it to U.S. demands:

Relations between the West and Moscow had begun to deteriorate even before Russia’s watershed invasion of Ukraine, driven principally by Moscow’s fear of the encroachment of Western values and their potential to undermine the Putin regime. With the possibility of a further sixteen years of Putin’s rule, most experts believe relations are likely to remain confrontational for years to come. They argue that the best the United States and its allies can do is manage this competition and discourage aggressive actions from Moscow. However, by pushing back against Russia more forcefully in the near and medium term, allies are more likely to eventually convince Moscow to return to compliance with the rules of the liberal international order and to mutually beneficial cooperation as envisaged under the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act.

The ‘rules of the liberal international order’ are of course whatever the U.S. claims they are. They may change at any moment and without notice to whatever new rules are the most convenient for U.S. foreign policy.

But as Doctorow said above, Putin and his advisors stay calm and ignore such trash despite all the hostility expressed against them.

One of Putin’s close advisors is of course Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. In a wide ranging interview with Russian radio stations he recently touched on many of the issues Doctorow also mentions. With regards to U.S. strategy towards Russia Lavrov diagnoses:

Sergey Lavrov: […] You mentioned in one of your previous questions that no matter what we do, the West will try to hobble and restrain us, and undermine our efforts in the economy, politics, and technology. These are all elements of one approach.

Question: Their national security strategy states that they will do so.

Sergey Lavrov: Of course it does, but it is articulated in a way that decent people can still let go unnoticed, but it is being implemented in a manner that is nothing short of outrageous.

Question: You, too, can articulate things in a way that is different from what you would really like to say, correct?

Sergey Lavrov: It’s the other way round. I can use the language I’m not usually using to get the point across. However, they clearly want to throw us off balance, and not only by direct attacks on Russia in all possible and conceivable spheres by way of unscrupulous competition, illegitimate sanctions and the like, but also by unbalancing the situation near our borders, thus preventing us from focusing on creative activities. Nevertheless, regardless of the human instincts and the temptations to respond in the same vein, I’m convinced that we must abide by international law.

Russia does not accept the fidgety ‘rules of the liberal international order’.  Russia sticks to the law which is, in my view, a much stronger position. Yes, international law often gets broken. But as Lavrov said elsewhere, one does not abandon traffic rules only because of road accidents.

Russia stays calm, no matter what outrageous nonsense the U.S. and EU come up with. It can do that because it knows that it not only has moral superiority by sticking to the law but it also has the capability to win a fight. At one point the interviewer even jokes about that:

Question: As we say, if you don’t listen to Lavrov, you will listen to [Defense Minister] Shoigu.

Sergey Lavrov: I did see a T-shirt with that on it. Yes, it’s about that.

Yes, it’s about that. Russia is militarily secure and the ‘west’ knows that. It is one reason for the anti-Russian frenzy. Russia does not need to bother with the unprecedented hostility coming from Brussels and Washington. It can ignore it while taking care of its interests.

As this is so obvious one must ask what the real reason for the anti-Russian pressure campaign is. What do those who argue for it foresee as its endpoint?

Posted by b on October 17, 2020 at 16:31 UTC | Permalink

إيران وسيلة أميركيّة لجبر خواطر آل سعود!

د. وفيق إبراهيم

المصادفات لا تحدث في السياسات الدولية إلا في قراءة تفاعلات غير مرئية او صعود عناصر كانت كامنة.

هذا ما ظهر في التزامن المريب بين فشل السعودية في الحصول على مقعد في مجلس حقوق الإنسان وبين حوار متزامن قيل إنه استراتيجيّ جامعاً في واشنطن بين وزيري الخارجية الأميركي بومبيو والسعودي فيصل بن فرحان، وخلص إلى اعتبار إيران وكالعادة طرفاً داعماً للإرهاب في اليمن وسورية ولبنان ويجب تعزيز التعاون الأميركي – السعودي العسكري والسياسي لمجابهتها والقضاء على برنامجها النووي والصاروخي، وذلك لتأمين استقرار الشرق الأوسط، كما زعم الطرفان في تصريحاتهما التي أعقبت مباشرة خسارة السعودية في مجلس حقوق الإنسان.

للإشارة فقط فإن روسيا وكوبا فازتا بمقعدين من دون أي معارضة والصين ونيبال وباكستان وأوزباكستان بغالبية الأصوات كأن هناك تنافساً لتعبئة 15 مقعداً شاغراً من 47 عضواً يشكلون مجلس حقوق الإنسان في مقره في جينيف مع التنبيه الى أنه جزء من الامم المتحدة بقرارات غير ملزمة.

لقد بدا واضحاً أن هناك تمرداً أوروبياً تجسّد في الامتناع عن التصويت للسعودية وسط حملة كبيرة تنفذها المحققة كالامار التي تتبنى حملة تاريخية على الانتهاك السعودي لحقوق الإنسان منذ أكثر من عقد.

يكفي أن نائب المدير التنفيذي لمنظمة هيومن رايتس ووتش برونو ستاغنو اعتبر أن مجلس حقوق الإنسان اطلق في رفضه لانتماء السعودية اليه تأنيباً كبيراً لسلطات سعودية تفتك بحقوق الإنسان منذ تأسيسها، خصوصاً في مرحلة ولي العهد الحالي محمد بن سلمان، علماً ان السعودية هي البلد الوحيد الذي فشل في حيازة عضوية مجلس حقوق الإنسان في هذه الانتخابات الأخيرة.

انها اذاً نكسة معنوية ضخمة لعهد ابن سلمان الذي حاول تحسين صورته من خلال انتخابات المجلس، فكانت فشلاً ذريعاً أضيفت اليه تصريحات أوروبية اكدت ان الفشل السعودي سببه الانتهاكات الجسيمة لحقوق الانسان في السعودية واليمن وسورية.

هناك معلومات تؤكد ان ابن سلمان لم يتحمل هذه النتيجة فبدأ بإطلاق شتائم وسباب في حق الأوروبيين، محطماً أثاث مكتبه الخاص والصالونات المجاورة في مرحلة غضب شديد كان يصرخ فيها بأن فشل بلاده في مجلس حقوق الإنسان هو لمنعه من تسلم الملك بعد أبيه سلمان، متهماً الأوروبيين بهذه المؤامرة الخبيثة.

ضمن هذه المعطيات كان على الأميركيين «جبر خاطره» المكسور ورفع معنوياته المتراجعة، مكلفين بومبيو باستغلال لقائه بالوزير فيصل بن فرحان لتضميد الجرح السعودي وذلك بوسيلتين: اتهام إيران بكل ما يحدث من تفاعلات العالم السياسي وخصوصاً في الشرق الأوسط وفي جزيرة العرب واليمن وسورية بشكل أدق. اما الثانية فهي تعميق الحلف الاستراتيجي الأميركي السعودي على مستوى الأمن المشترك وتعزيز التعاون العسكري مع الاستمرار في استهداف ما أسموه برنامج إيران النووي والصاروخي ومشاريع دعمها للحوثيين والدولة السورية وحزب الله، لكن الأكثر طرافة هو إصرار بومبيو على تأسيس برنامج دائم لتسليح الجيش السعودي لأنه المتصدي الأول للإرهاب الإيراني في الشرق الأوسط على حد مزاعم بومبيو وفيصل بن فرحان الذي بدا في اللقاء وكأنه يحقق نصراً في حروب عالمية مجتمعة عدة.

بذلك يكون المستفيد الحصري من هذا اللقاء هي الدولة الأميركيّة أولاً التي تمكّنت من وضع معادلة دائمة لبيع السلاح وبشكل عمودي حتى من دون الحاجة إليه، وذلك لاختراعها دوراً دائماً للسعودية وهو حرصها على استقرار المنطقة.

اما الثاني فهو الرئيس الأميركي ترامب الذي يتجه لتوجيه خطاب للمنتخِب الأميركي يزعم فيه انه مستمر في تأمين ازدهاره الاقتصادي من خلال الإمساك الكامل بالسعودية وكامل الخليج.

لجهة بن سلمان فإنه يحاول إقناع نفسه انه مستفيد من الاتفاق الاستراتيجي مع واشنطن خصوصاً على مستوى رعاية انتقاله الى سدة الملك بعد أبيه بأمان مدعوم أميركياً ومصنعاً وقد يجد نفسه مضطراً لارتداء الجينز الأميركي للتوحّد مع المشهد الأميركي الكامل.

هنا يجوز التأكيد أن هذه المسرحيات تعجل بالتطبيع الإسرائيلي – السعودي بذريعة وجود تهديد إيراني خطير كما يدّعي آل سعود.

الامر الذي يؤكد ان الخاسر الوحيد هم سكان شبه جزيرة العرب الذين يمسك بهم واحد من أكثر الأنظمة تخلفاً ودكتاتورية.

فهل افتعلت أميركا قصة إفشال السعودية في مجلس حقوق الإنسان لمزيد من تطويعها واستعبادها؟

هناك من يقول إن الأوروبيين هم الذين اسسوا عن عمد لسقوط السعودية في الانتخاب الأخير مستغلين انهماك السياسة الأميركية بالانتخابات الرئاسية المقبلة. والحقيقة ان الأوروبيين والأميركيين يعملون على خلق وسائل تسمح لهم بابتزاز محمد بن سلمان وفي كل وقت.

لذلك فإن الرهان هو على اهل جزيرة العرب بتحرك تدريجي يستعيد لهم حقوقهم أو بسقوط ترامب في الانتخابات ما يسمح لبايدن بتبني أجنحة اخرى من آل سعود على حساب إسقاط محمد بن سلمان.

Facing Difficulties, Do not React Defensively

Facing Difficulties, Do not React Defensively

August 10, 2020

by Paul Schmutz Schaller for The Saker Blog

At the end of the year 2019, I wrote: „From my point of view, 2019 was a very positive year and I am convinced that the same will be the case for 2020.“ Unfortunately, my expectations for 2020 have turned out to be too optimistic. There is however no reason to hang one’s head. The general outlook remains positive, a Western dominated world has gone forever.

Shit Happens

The year 2020 started badly with to murder of general Soleimani. Even, US-president Trump could „proudly“ claim that he was responsible for this abominable act, without paying an appropriate prize, until now. The reaction of the Iranian people and of other peoples in the region were very impressive, but there was also this accident with the Ukrainian civil aircraft. Next, there was a very positive offensive of the Syrian army and its allies against the terrorists in Idlib. However, an impertinent invasion of Turkey, openly supporting the terrorists and partly replacing them, was able to stop the offensive. It is true that, in March, there was an agreement between Russia and Turkey concerning the situation in Idlib. But this agreement was not as positive as expected. The Syrian government and the Syrian Army did not obtain an adequate place in this agreement. Since then, the situation in Idlib and in the other parts of Syria occupied by Turkey or USA or Israel is rather blocked, the Syrian side could not make real progressses in the liberation of her country.

Next came this pandemic. Again, it is true that in the first phase, the rich European and North-American countries were the most touched. But in the sequel, the countries of the global South were more and more affected, in particular in Latin America. In Russia also, the pandemic has become a big problem. And while it is clear that the economy in the rich European countries is really suffering, the situation for the peoples in the global South is even worse, for obvious reasons. Among other things, their central banks cannot so easily provide lot of money.

And now, there is this terrible explosion in Beyrouth.

Some Positive Developments

Nevertheless, the post-Western side has made progresses, in a calm and solid way. China has adopted a key law concerning Honk Kong which gives better possibilities in order to fight against the criminals there, the latter being openly supported by the West. In Russia, important amendments of the constitution were adopted by a clear majority. An economic collaboration between Iran and Venezuela is developing, despite the stubborn opposition of the USA. A plan for a long term, big partnership between China and Iran has been elaborated. Also, Iran and Syria have formally strengthen their military cooperation. The patriotic forces in Yemen could liberate more parts of their country and are now close to the strategic city of Ma’rib.

During the pandemic, Cuba has gained many friends because of her medical system. Countries like China, Vietnam, Syria, as well as the Hezbollah in Lebanon have reacted fast and predominantly correct, better than many other countries. Due to the fact that the economy in East Asia and Southeast Asia seems to recover quite well from the pandemic, it can be expected that the Western influence in this crucial region will further weaken. And I would say that the general situation in China remains very pleasant.

Destructive Attitude of the Hegemonic West

The hegemonic West is in the defensive. Their behavior is more and more destructive. The USA are no longer capable of developing their proper strength so they just concentrate on bothering the others. The sanctions against Syria and Lebanon, against Huawei, and against the gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 are typical examples.

The West is still in a big crisis. In the USA in particular, the crisis is quite enormous. Also in Israel, with the repetitions of elections and an unstable government, the current conditions are not so well. Nonetheless, the USA and Israel remain as aggressive and as brutal as ever and, at least for the moment, they are not stopped. However, one gets the strong impression that their actions are increasingly desperate.

The rich European countries do not intend to change something important in order to do more for a world of more justice. They continue with their anti-Chinese, anti-Russian, anti-Iranian, anti-Syrian, and anti-Venezuelan politics, more or less with impunity. On the other hand, during the pandemic, the popularity of the USA in the rich European countries has got weak and the general pressure for a more autonomous European politic is clearly increasing.

Blame the West or Strengthen the Own Position ?

The combination of the occurring problems described above and the destructive attitude of the West often provoke a reaction which blames the West for all these problems. The meaning is quite popular that the Ukrainian plane was hit due to Western sabotage, that the pandemic was a US bio-attack against China, or that the Beyrouth explosion was the result of an outside strike. Of course, all this is possible. Morally speaking, Western hegemonists and Zionists are certainly able of such criminal acts, there have been enough examples in the past.

Nevertheless, there is also the question of a wise general approach to the current situation. What signifies this spontaneous leaning to see the West as the responsible? Certainly, on the one hand, there is the intention to counter the Western media for which it is inconceivable that the West is behind atrocities. On the other hand, there is also the result that the West appears as almighty. This is a defensive position which lacks confidence in one’s own strength.

Objectively speaking, Western hegemonism is much weaker now than in the past. They are not almighty. They are not at all able of planing all in advance – and of acting accordingly. They are not omniscient and they are not unbeatable masters of manipulation.

Look at Hassan Nasrallah’s speech of August 7. This is a very good example of concentrating on one’s own strength. Nasrallah focused on Lebanon and the Lebanese people. He expressed his feelings for the affected families and promised help for them. He called for solidarity and unity in Lebanon. He spoke of his conviction that Lebanon will be able to establish the causes of the explosions, to identify those who are responsible, and to hold them accountable. He insisted that this tragedy also gives opportunities for Lebanon. He spoke in positive terms of the international solidarity, which happens despite the US sanctions against Lebanon. Nasrallah finally clearly stated that all those who try to exploit this tragedy in order to attack Hezbollah, will fail.

China is another example of this mood. Since the Chinese people has stood up in 1949, China has learned to carefully analyze the own situation and to accept that not all problems come from outside.

Similarly, when you are against capitalism, it is notwithstanding wrong to blame capitalists for all economic problems. And governments in the Western countries are not always wrong and are not always corrupt. Moreover, you cannot blame the Western media for all your erroneous ideas – nor can I blame somebody else when my proper ideas turn out to be mistaken.

During the pandemic in the Western countries, the same type of questions arose. Who should be blamed, who can be made responsible? Attacking routinely the governments is rather defensive. Insisting during months on the question whether wearing a mask is a good thing, is a job for specialists, not for anti-hegemonic people. And all these claims that the whole pandemic is essentially a big manipulation, show a quite immature viewpoint.

I can only repeat: In order to build a post-Western (and post-Zionist) world, it is not enough to blame the West (and the Zionists). Own values and own concepts are required. If there are problems, one should look for opportunities.

Very probable, the difficulties inside the anti-hegemonic movement of the last months are temporary, they are not due to a reinforcement of the hegemonic camp. Remaining calm, solid, confident, and positive is an appropriate attitude.

Cuban President: Iranian Tankers Break ‘Criminal’ US Blockade on Venezuela

Cuban President: Iranian Tankers Break ‘Criminal’ US Blockade on Venezuela

By Staff, Agencies

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said that the Iranian oil tankers’ arrival in Venezuela broke the US “unacceptable and criminal” blockade against the country.

The official Cuban news agency Prensa Latina quoted Diaz-Canel as making the remarks on Monday.

Earlier, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro thanked Iranian support, stressing that Caracas and Tehran are both after peace, and have right to do free trade.

Iran’s second oil tanker, Forest, arrived in Venezuela amid the US threats.

Forest entered the Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] of Venezuela early Sunday, met by the country’s navy.

It follows the first of five Iranian vessels carrying an estimated total of 1.53 barrels of gasoline between them, Sputnik reported.

The first vessel, ‘Fortune’, successfully reached Venezuela the day before and was escorted into the port by the Bolivarian Navy.

Three more oil tankers are expected to arrive in Venezuela from Iran. The five vessels are carrying an estimated 1.53 million barrels of gasoline between them.

Iran has warned of repercussions from the potential interception of Iranian tankers by the US.

On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the country is always entitled to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and warned that if his country’s oil tankers in the Caribbean or anywhere in the world get into trouble by the Americans, Tehran will definitely retaliate.

The new cold war; The Industrial Dependence War:

May 25, 2020

By Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog

The world does not need a new cold war, or does it?

The Cold War started before the hot war was over. It was put into motion when America dropped the ‘bomb’ and Stalin declared that the USSR should ramp up its efforts to have this technology as soon as possible. And even though the Soviet Atomic Bomb Project was initiated in 1942, the first Soviet test was conducted in 1949, four years after Hiroshima.

The blame here is not on Stalin. After all, if Stalin did not take this ‘pre-emptive’ move, the West was planning to take him down next. It’s quite likely that Stalin and the USSR were saved from a Western invasion by the nukes they developed.

If the USA had the wisdom to learn from history, it should have realized that the moment it revealed to the rest of the world that it has a new cutting-edge super weapon, a rival will come and demand to have the same. In retrospect therefore, the ‘Manhattan Project’ was the real underlying trigger point for initiating the Cold War.

With both the US and the USSR, and later on Britain and France and other nations becoming nuclear powers, overtly or secretively, the deterring effect of a major direct confrontation between superpowers became obvious, though not strong enough to prevent major regional conventional proxy and hybrid wars all over the globe.

Nations of the Middle East together with Korea, Vietnam and many others, cannot claim any benefit from the deterring effect of the Cold War, but perhaps the USA, Europe (including Russia) and even Cuba can.

Unlike the story that the West wishes to peddle to the rest of the world, America did not win the Cold War neither did the USSR lose it. In reality, this was a negotiated agreement that happened prior to the breakup of the USSR; not afterwards.

With all the fear, tension, nuclear pollution, waste and plundering of resources that the Cold War generated, the world community has by-and-large won it with flying colours. It did stop WWIII from eventuating and definitely did not allow for more A-Bombs to be dropped on more cities after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Upon the breakup of the USSR, the United States had an opportunity to change direction and embark on a trajectory of demonstrating good leadership and innovation in the international community. Instead it set about promoting and installing a self-declared New-World Order that rendered the USA the sole superpower, and at all costs, ensured it stayed that way by whatever means necessary.

Nearly thirty years on, there is definitely a new cold war underway even though no one wants to give it this name. The encroachment of NATO into Eastern Europe and stationing missiles in former Warsaw Pact countries, which resulted in the development of hypersonic Russian weapons, followed by America’s unilateral cancelation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, China’s home-built aircraft carriers, not to mention fighter jets, state-of-the art weaponry and rising tension in the South China Sea are all indicative of a new cold war irrespective what name the media and politicians want to give it.

Enter COVID-19.

I will not argue for or against the numerous theories that make different readings about its nature, scope, extent of danger and what mileage some parties are allegedly trying to achieve from it. COVID-19 however did expose a previously unseen and unspoken-about form of cold wars; the industrial dependence war.

Growing up in the Middle East in the 1960’s, I clearly remember how the then Egyptian President Nasser took great pride in industrializing Egypt. As a matter of fact, when Egypt built its car-assembly plant under license from Italian manufacturer Fiat, the brand name given to Egyptian product was Nasr; meaning victory.

On a much larger scale of course, who could forget the insatiable desire for Chairman Mao to industrialize China? I remember going to a Chinese industrial expo in Beirut in 1973. The manufacturing of heavy machinery in China was still in its infancy, but the Chinese officials manning the expo, as well as local supporters of Communist China, could not hide their broad smiles and feelings of pride and rejoice seeing the Chinese achievements.

And long before any of this, the manner in which European nations were able to conquer the rest of the world and turn it into colonies was because Europe was technologically advanced and industrialized; otherwise nations like Britain and the Netherlands would have never been able to conquer and rule much larger nations like India and Indonesia.

Presently whilst it is still a guarantee of quality to see the words ‘Made in Germany’ on a manufactured product, there was a time not long ago when similar assurance came from labels such as ‘Made in England’, or ‘Made in Great Britain’.

Isn’t this what the industrial revolution was all about, or has the world forgotten?

When Asian products began to appear in the Western markets, their quality was shockingly inferior. They were competing on price and price only. Japan took the lead, and in a short time produced high quality goods, especially in the areas of photography, sound equipment and motor vehicles; and the rest is history.

The West often ridicules ‘totalitarian regimes’ and advocates the principles of capitalism, private enterprise, and recently globalism. These principles, alongside democracy, are considered sacrosanct. Criticizing them is tantamount to blasphemy and reflects tendencies of Communism and even Fascism.

For fairness, for as long as the Western nations had viable economies that were underpinned by highly developed industrial prowess, the above doctrines proved to be successful. However, it seems that the initial efforts behind the Western rise were forgotten and that Westerners in general expect on-going success to come effortlessly.

Western manufacturers were eventually unable to compete, and many of them either closed down or moved their manufacturing base to Asia.

The model that the West developed over the last three decades or so was structured on turning its economy into one that is based on finance and service. In almost no time at all, the concept of manufacturing took a backstep and was regarded as something that only developing nations need to do in order to develop their own economies. This in fact reflects a Western covert arrogant elitist supremist vision of manufacturing as being tantamount to slavery; something that should only be done in foreign cheap labour camps. And a new type of slavery did develop indeed. Sports shoes sold in the West for $200 a pair were manufactured in sweat shops in Asia by workers paid around $2 a day.

Western industrialists were drawn to the benefits of paying for manufacturing in Yuans and Rupees and selling the goods in Green Backs. And when an imported T-shirt bought from Asia for $1 gets sold in the West for $20, it makes its own humble contribution to the national economy, and it is little wonder therefore as to why Western governments were joyful to partake in the spoils, after all, such arrangements produced high GDP’s, albeit that they were not based on actual domestic productivity.

Once again, enter COVID-19.

All of a sudden, the West found that it was crippled and unable to provide its citizens with basic hygiene necessities any faster that it could import them from China. But importation meant having to compete with other importers, and ‘begging’ suppliers for priority status, and when all failed, shipments going to other clients were confiscated and hijacked.

In an instant, the Western economic giant found itself in dire need of the manufactured goods it had considered itself too superior to produce.

Unable to produce ventilators, unable to provide facial masks for its citizens; the repercussions of the downfall of Western de-industrialization have never before been made so obvious for all to see.

And when President Trump enacted the Defense Production Act to demand that 3M should produce more masks, the production had to be done in 3M’s factories in China. How ridiculous is this!

These revelations certainly indicate that the West may not only be dependent on China for imports of the above. Certainly, this should shock the West into urgently examining the multi-faceted vulnerable position it has put itself in.

COVID-19 has exposed the West as a paper tiger with dependence on China on multiple levels. But the real questions to ask are the ones that haven’t yet surfaced.

What other vital supplies does the West depend on China for? And if the West was unable to deal with COVID-19 -related supplies in peacetime, how will it be able to deal with supplying its citizens with basic needs in wartime?

What about food security? What about pharmaceutical security?

Fleets, aircraft carriers, air-forces and off-shore military bases do not put food on the tables of citizens in wartime.

And speaking of military hardware, how do we know for certain whether or not Western military hardware does not use imported components? After all, even in peacetime, the USA buys Russian-made rockets to put satellites into orbit because it is unable to manufacture its own. But what other simple commodities is America no longer able to produce? This begs the question of what would America have to rely on for China in wartime? Socks? Blankets?

What is interesting to note here is that whilst the West was scrambling to import its needed supplies from China, almost overnight Russia was able to reach self-sufficiency and even be able to extend aid to other nations. And when Italy was expecting to receive such aid from its EU and NATO allies, those allies were too inept to even be able to look after themselves, and the aid ended up coming from Russia. Russian aid included the USA, with little appreciation from the receiver.

With free economy and free enterprise considered sacred in the dictionary of Western modus operandi, Western governments can neither fill in the missing industrial gap nor coerce private companies to do so. Will the West reflect on where they went wrong with their once successful model? Such self-examination is unlikely to happen because any Western political party that evaluates and proposes solutions to this failure will be accused of Socialism and even Fascism. One of the biggest ironies here is that Western political rivals are only interested in making political scores against each other; scores that can get them elected. They are not at all necessarily interested in what is good for their nations.

The world certainly does not need a new cold war, but the West is unknowingly deeply engaged in one already. If lessons are to be learnt is for the future to reveal. COVID-19 did not trigger a war. It did however expose the reality of an existing and on-going war, a cold war, a war no one paid much attention to before, one not based on buildup of military arsenals, but rather one of industrial dependence; a war the West has already lost to China.

إيران وأميركا وجهاً لوجه: أزمة الكاريبيّ تتكرّر بعد 60 عاماً!

ناصر قنديل

عام 1960 أي قبل 60 عاماً قامت وحدات من المخابرات الأميركية بمحاولة إنزال على شواطئ كوبا، وانتهت المحاولة بالفشل كما انتهت المحاولة المماثلة التي شهدتها السواحل الفنزويليّة قبل أسبوعين، والعملية التي عرفت باسم منطقة الإنزال، خليج الخنازير كانت فاتحة لتطورات تصاعدية وصلت عام 1962 إلى أعظم أزمة عالمية كادت تؤدي إلى أول مواجهة نووية بين واشنطن وموسكو منذ نهاية الحرب العالمية الثانية، وكان محورها نشر صواريخ نووية متبادلة سوفياتية وأميركية في كوبا وتركيا بالتوازي، لكن المواجهة كانت مرشحة للانفجار مع الحظر الذي فرضته واشنطن على السفن التي تقصد كوبا، ونشرها لمدمرات حربية في البحر الكاريبي لتطبيق قرار الحظر ومنع السفن السوفياتية الحاملة للصواريخ من بلوغ كوبا، وهو ما يحدث اليوم تحت عنوان منع وصول ناقلات مشتقات النفط الإيرانية إلى فنزويلا.

التحوّل الأول الذي تحمله الصورة الراهنة للنزاعات الدولية قياساً بما كان، هو أن واشنطن التي كانت تقود مشروع السيطرة بالصواريخ النووية على العالم، وقد بدأ انحدار زعامتها العسكرية بعد بلوغها ذروة القوة في منتصف فترة السنوات الستين الفاصلة، حيث كان عام 1990 موعد واشنطن مع التخلص من نفوذ موسكو، وفي العام 2020، بدأت واشنطن بإخلاء قواتها العسكرية من الكثير من نقاط التوتر، خصوصاً في العالمين العربي والإسلامي، بحصيلة مواجهات كانت إيران في واجهتها وروسيا والصين في خلفيتها الداعمة لإيران ضمن حلف عالمي لإضعاف النفوذ الأميركي، تقاسم الأدوار في المجالات الاقتصادية والسياسية والعسكرية.

التحول الثاني هو أن التسلح النووي ونشر الصواريخ، رغم بقائهما جزءاً من الخطة الأميركية، إلا أن فشل المواجهات التقليدية التي خاضتها واشنطن، لم يدفعها لتصعيد نووي، كما حدث قبل ستين عاماً، بل جعلها تعتمد على سلاحها المالي، الذي تطور وتعاظم شأنه بعد أزمة الكاريبي، قبل ستين عاماً، وبعدما صارت الحركة المالية المصرفية عصب الحياة الاقتصادية الدولية، وصارت نيويورك مركزها العالمي، والدولار الأميركي أداتها الحصرية، وصارت العقوبات الأميركية المالية أشد وطأة وتأثيراً من العقوبات الأممية، بحيث يتكفل الحصار المالي الناجم عنها إلى تهديد أي بلد بمواجهة المجاعة، وانهيار العملة الوطنية، ووقف الصادرات، ومثال إيران وفنزويلا المنتجتين للنفط، والواقعتين تحت الحصار الأميركي المالي، يبرز حجم تأثير هذا السلاح الجديد الفاعل.

التحوّل الثالث، هو أن طهران التي خرجت في موقع الرابح بالنقاط على واشنطن في المواجهات الإقليمية في البلاد العربية والإسلامية، خصوصاً في سورية واليمن، تنتقل بالتحدّي إلى الساحة الدولية، وفي الحديقة الخلفية لواشنطن، فتقرّر تبادل المشتقات النفطيّة بالذهب مع فنزويلا، في أهم نقلة إيرانيّة على لعبة الشطرنج في مواجهة مع الحصار المالي الأميركي، الذي خرجت المدمرات الأميركية إلى الكاريبي لحمايته، بينما التهديد الإيراني بالردّ في حال التعرض للناقلات المتجهة إلى فنزويلا، ما يعيد مشهد المدمّرات الأميركية تنتظر في الكاريبي السفن السوفياتية، مع فارق حمولة السفن، وما تشير إليه من تغيّر مضمون عناصر القوة، من الزمن النووي إلى الزمن المالي، وميزة النقلة الإيرانية أنها تأتي في زمن تفشي كورونا، وصعوبة تسويق التجويع كسياسة دولية مقبولة في لحظة شديدة القسوة على الصعيد الإنسانيّ.

الرد الإيراني المعلوم في حال التعرّض لناقلات النفط في الكاريبي، سيعيد التصعيد إلى المنطقة التي يرغب الأميركيون بالتهدئة فيها، وهي منطقة القوة الإيرانية، التي يتهم الأميركيون إيران بالسعي لاستدراجهم للمواجهة فيها، وكل ترجمة أميركية للتهديد، تصبّ الماء في طاحونة إيران بالذهاب نحو التصعيد بمشروعية حق الرد، وكل تراجع أميركي يفتح الباب لمعادلة بديلة للحصار المالي يكتشفها المحاصرون، وهي المبادلة السلعية ذات القيمة العالية، من دون المرور بالمصارف وبالدولار، والرئيس الأميركي المحرج بين الخيارين، محرج أكثر مع كورونا، ومحرج أكثر وأكثر مع اقتراب الاستحقاق الانتخابي الرئاسي، ومشروع ولايته الثانية، وطريق التسوية مع إيران أو طريق مواجهتها، سالكتان كمشاريع احتمالية للفوز بالرئاسة، فيما النتائج غير مؤكدة، بينما إيران جاهزة للاحتمالين بصيغة رابح رابح مكرر. وقبل ستين عاماً فازت لغة التسوية بنزع متبادل للصواريخ، فهل تفتح أزمة الكاريبي مجدداً الباب لنزع صواريخ الحرب المالية، سواء بالذهاب للمواجهة التي ستعقبها تسوية أم بالذهاب مباشرة للتسوية؟

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Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory?

May 09, 2020

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory?

By Ramin Mazaheri – for the Saker Blog

A party built around climate change is a luxury only the West can afford, and like most luxuries it is a corrupting influence.

While covering a protest in France several years ago a union member told me how she hoped Iran would stop selling its oil in order to protect the environment.

“Sure,” I told her, “how many billions of euros can we expect France to send us so we can buy food?” I assume she is still ignoring this inconvenient truth and enormous flaw in climate change demands on non-Western countries.

Nobody knows how things will shake out in May 2020 – just how bad the West’s Double Bubble + Great Lockdown economy will soon be – but prior to coronavirus green parties were poised to become a top two party across the West for the first time. In 2019 European Parliament elections they shockingly won 10% of seats and 13% of France’s.

That’s not a majority, but the up-to-the-minute reality is that everybody else has been discredited across the Eurozone: the conservatives, the fake-leftists/pseudo-socialists, the nouveau centrists like Emmanuel Macron, the real-but-disliked leftists. Voters who don’t go far-right have only one choice, and that’s a Green party.

The corona overreaction is throwing a spanner into the works, but are we really predicting a revolution in the Western political trajectory?

It’s certain that the neoliberal response cannot possibly satisfy the lower classes, thus incumbents aren’t going to survive their next election: the next five years should be the same as pre-corona – green parties will play the role of ineffectual opposition/status quo-enforcers to far-right corporate fascists who are more jingoistic than patriotic. That’s what politics will be in much of the West, though not in the two-party Anglophone world.

And yet greens will do what fake-leftists always do: screw up, sell out and falsely claim total ownership of the moral high ground.

Given that greens are the political force most poised to profit in the post-corona profit we should ask: Why are the greens such fake-leftists and so unable to provide adequate solutions for the Western lower classes?

Thomas Piketty and why we have to remind hippies that humans have feelings too, just like crystals do

On a moral level greens are human-hating Malthusians at heart – who could deny that? They put rocks and squirrels ahead of people.

On a political level the problem with handing the greens power amid an economic crisis is how very neoliberal their economics are: capitalism-imperialism fringed with a green garland is still rapacious capitalism-imperialism, after all. Perhaps because they are such animal and nature worshippers greens have totally swallowed the idea that “animal spirits” are the only thing which can possibly guide the economy. Which totem animal corresponds to the spirt of compound debt, I wonder?

We can now understand how very easy it will be for the Western 1% to pivot and embrace green parties as a “solution” to pacify the masses post-corona, much like Barry Obama rebranded the US in 2008.

To prove my point: take this extended interview from April 27 with economist-of-the-decade Thomas Piketty by The Intelligencer, which is part of the fake-leftist New York Media digital empire: here we can witness fake-leftist Westerners have it dawn on them that… oh yeah, it seems politics actually can shape economic outcomes?

Piketty is known as the “scholar of inequality”, and while such issues are the focus of leftists it does not mean he automatically is a socialist and not a capitalist. In the interview he discusses his new book and its solution to the Great Recession-cum-Great Depression 2: “participatory socialism”.

Much like Bernie Sanders (the Democratic Party chiefs he repeatedly bows to surely think: “Thank God we have a donkey like him!”) and his “democratic socialism”, Piketty also misunderstands socialism so very much that he thinks he needs a modifying adjective. At best, we can say that these fake-leftists only grasp the primary aspect of socialism (economic redistribution), but not its second, twin pillar (political power redistribution).

The idea that socialism is not “participatory” is easily and overwhelmingly disproven:

Last year Cuba approved a new constitution: “Some 133,680 meetings were held in neighborhoods and places of work and study. There were 8,945,521 participants, with an estimated two million attending more than one, so that the participation rate was approximately three-quarters of the population. There were 1,706,872 commentaries by the people, with 783,174 proposed modifications, additions, or eliminations.  On the basis of the opinions and proposals of the people, the Constitutional Commission revised the draft.  More than 50% of the proposals of the people were included in the modifications; nearly 60% of the articles were modified in some form.

Is that not “participatory” enough?

Piketty seems to have swallowed the lie that socialism has no second pillar which upholds political empowerment of the humble citizen? We see how millions of Cuban hands wrote their constitution in a bottom-up manner, as opposed to the top-down technocracy/aristocracy of Western liberalism.

Fake-leftists fear socialism because they made no personal effort to understand it, thus their conception of socialism is based on ignorance, propaganda and self-interest, and not logic or history. We see all of these things on display from the otherwise estimable Piketty in this interview.

The West gives Piketty a chance: if he doesn’t seize the moment now then he is an idol in an ivory tower

What can we expect New York Media to say when confronted with the rapacity of neoliberalism anything but, “We had no idea?!”

We should expect more from Piketty – we can judge here if he is more than just a detached theoretician who poses no threat to status quo capitalism-imperialism.

The Intelligencer: One of the main responses to the last book, at least among the American audience, was to treat r > g (Piketty’s shorthand for the fact that the returns to capital have been greater than the growth of the economy as a whole) as though it were a law of nature that could be modified only very occasionally through exceptional political change. But actually, the fact that a rich person’s bank account grows faster than the national GDP, that’s just a phenomenon created by a particular political structure too. It’s a creation of politics.

This illustrates my point: Western fake-leftists – from those approved by investor banker scions to write for New York Media group to the greens – have no idea about how politics shapes economics even though this is the very stuff which socialism’s first pillar is made of. Yes, of course economics are created by a political structure! We see that the neoliberally-indoctrinated never question their core beliefs and “animal spirits” until it is too late.

Piketty’s mildest-of-responses – apologetic and inexplicably guilty – shows why he is so appealing to fake-leftist Westerners: the West’s favourite “leftist economist” shows how his values are not based around socialist critiques but the values of diversity drawn from cosmopolitanism, and culminating in a relativistic moral nihilism which is absolutely unacceptable in the black and white field of economics, with its measurable outcomes.

Piketty: It is.

Probably I was not sufficiently clear about that.

I must say in general I have learned a lot from all the discussion from my previous book. I have learned a lot by traveling to many countries to which I had not traveled sufficiently before. I think by broadening the scope of countries and historical trajectories I look at, it also made me realize this incredible diversity of human ideologies and human imagination to restructure all the time the societies. And that’s probably the main lesson of history, that the idea that there is only one way and there is no alternative is just wrong. 

The Intelligencer: You heard that a lot starting in the 1990s and all through 2008: There’s only one way. (The standard formation of this is ‘TINA: There Is No Alternative (to neoliberalism and neo-imperialism)’.)

PikettyIt’s wrong.

We “heard that a lot” from Westerners – everywhere else people who were not aspiring to being Western clients/puppets were disagreeing… and getting bombed/blockaded for it.

Being “wrong” on this issue merits a lot of public admission of shame and guilt, but Piketty is content to allow decades of deadly mismanagement to be summarised with two words! I wish my teachers had been so leniently brief when I was wrong.

He doesn’t have to be a political firebrand or a raging poet, but we need more than just two words here: Piketty’s reticence is both culturally self-serving (Piketty is French) and also dangerous because the West’s refusal to let anyone go their own way has had such deadly and impoverishing results. Their conversation continues:

The Intelligencer: Since the crash, there has been a sort of acknowledgment from places like the IMF, World Bank, Financial Times, The Economist, all these voices of elite globalized neoliberalism saying, “Okay, there are some real problems here.” But they still aren’t thinking much about alternative models.

PikettyIf you look at how things happen, you’ll see a potential for political mobilization and historical change through social and economic and political processes, which always happen much faster than what the dominant discourse tends to imagine.

The journalist is essentially saying to Piketty: give us an alternative model, please! But Piketty backs away and exonerates those entities by saying, “Well, life moves fast.”

That’s his whole answer – it isn’t much. It’s as if Piketty wants to stay on the good side of these institutions and media – to keep getting book reviews, praise and invites to speak.

Today is the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day – do you know the socialist version of what happened?

It only takes a few paragraphs…

What Piketty does not say is that we need to learn from the history of socialism, which is an alternative model that has been in practice for over a century but which neoliberalism violently opposes.

Western fake-leftists know what waits for them if they say that history openly: blacklisting, de facto censorship, no more invites to speak, no more fawning reviews – it’s the same glass ceiling/first-to-be-fired which vocal union members face in their jobs. This is partially why Piketty wants to invent a “new” socialist model and thus erase a century of global history – he doesn’t want to risk his position.

Another component is that for Westerners socialism in any form is not an “alternative model” but a dead model, even though – gasp! – it clearly is a victorious model. This historical revisionism/ignorance goes back to the millions-murdering formative years of industrial capitalism (the last third of the 19th century), as I wrote about last week in The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy?

Crucially, Piketty’s generation – and the one before it and the one after it – was taught that US-led “freedom” defeated fascism. Please note neither has an economic component – it is good versus evil, liberty versus repression – whereas socialism always has a loaded economic component; the pity is that its political component (democracy both direct and indirect, like in Western democracies) was caricatured into a totalitarian dictatorship by a capitalist-imperialist 1% waging perpetual war.

Thus, 75 years later the West still does not realise that WWII saw corporate fascism defeat other corporate fascists – the US, full of Jim Crow and a military-industry complex, was indeed a corporate fascist state which defeated the German and Japanese corporate fascists.

However, even that view is false propaganda! It is the Soviet and Chinese socialists who bore the brunt of the effort to topple corporate fascism in Europe and East Asia. Western ideology rejects the obviously exponentially-larger WWII sacrifices of socialist- inspired nations, and thus for them socialism is a tragic experiment instead of a victorious concept. US corporate fascism continued unabated – it began regrowing corporate fascism (now rebranded as “neoliberalism”) in Japan, Germany and the Eurozone.

This socialist analyst crucially shows how “Corporate fascism with American characteristics” was thus never discredited, until 2008.

This illogical historical analysis is why the West is so at a loss to deal with their problems caused by modern corporate fascism (neoliberalism), and why they scratch their head say “Gee, maybe politics can influence economic outcomes?” “Of course!” is what I would have said if I only was given two words, but Piketty says, almost lamenting, “It’s true.”

We can pick up directly with the interview, continuing with the journalist’s intellectual ignorance/faux-shock with Piketty’s academic detachment/indifference. They were discussing the failure of neoliberalism’s leading lights and the possibility of “thinking” about – not discussing nor implementing – alternative models.

Piketty is not about to stand up for human, suffering Yellow Vests, but he will for Mother Nature

The Intelligencer: But of course it’s also true that those people can help design the system and how it evolves, especially in the case of something like the Great Recession. How much did that recovery worsen inequality, in your view? A layman might look at the history and say, “It’s those who have access to capital who can buy distressed assets, and, as a result, unless there is really dramatic intervention, it will always be the forces of capital that benefit from the crisis.” Is that a fair read of how we emerged from the recession?

The journalist suggested the truth – capitalism is always collusion – but Piketty does not rise to the occasion.

PikettyYou’re right that the people at the top have done better once again than average. How do you explain this? I think it’s because if you take the whole compact of fiscal, social, legal, competition policy, there has been insufficient change. In the end, probably the only lesson from the 1929 crisis both from the right and the left, if you look at economist Milton Friedman, monetary economists, everybody agreed that the Federal Reserve and the central banks in Europe made a huge mistake in the 1930s by letting banks fall one after the other. The only lesson from history in a way was “We are going to do whatever it takes, we are going to print whatever money needs to be printed, in order to save the financial sector.” Indeed, it allowed us to avoid the worst, which is a complete fall in economic activity of the kind we had in the 1930s. It’s good news in a way. We have learned something from history.

The problem, of course, is that we are not going to solve everything with central banks. There was nothing else, really, in store. What I’m a bit concerned with today is that even though there’s a lot of motivation to address structural problems, in particular the climate crisis or today’s pandemic crisis, I think there’s insufficient thinking about how to change the economic rules, the organization of property relations in particular, how much private property we want. We need to take seriously the fact that the distribution of the burden has to be discussed from a democratic viewpoint, has to be distributed across income groups. Sometimes, the climate activists, environmental activists, are so convinced that the No. 1 problem is the climate that they don’t want to hear about anything that sounds like income or wages.

Piketty does, however, agree with the thesis of my 10-part series last winter: that Western bankers are the West’s vanguard, enlightened party which is tasked to “solve everything”. But Infinity QE proves that the Western “bankocracy” model cannot promote anything new – there is “nothing else, really, in store”. We should not expect any vanguard party to admit otherwise either, including the Chinese Communist Party or the Iranian Basij, because all three groups view themselves as their system’s champions and saviors. The latter two, of course, have the advantages of being grassroots in composition, thus embodying political power redistribution, who are then tasked with enforcing economic redistribution, which goes a very long way in explaining their enduring popular support. Bankocrats… not so much.

Right after “central banks” was when Piketty could have proposed a “Western, secular Basij” or a “Party for Socialism with European Characteristics”, but not only does he totally ignore these examples – he thinks he has to reinvent the wheel, which is far worse: Piketty dismissed as insufficient the century of theory and practice socialists have already given “about how to change the economic rules, the organization of property relations in particular, how much private property we want.”

If this is what this academic is teaching his 18-year old students he is letting them believe that something called “socialism” never even existed. But, for Piketty, socialism is both a dead idea and one that may make his own career dead. The interview continues:

The Intelligencer: Some climate activists think the solution is to shrink our economies. They call it “degrowth.”

And now we see clearly the reason for this article – the danger of letting greens run the corona recovery. Piketty just hinted at this when he discussed the “climate crisis or today’s pandemic crisis” (clearly, in terms of urgency the latter is the bigger crisis, yet it is secondary for Piketty) – the open Malthusianism of the Greens, which can never satisfy the 99%.

What is posited by The Intelligencer is that humans are the problems – not the tools they use nor choice of systems. It’s a fake-leftist tack which says the problem is not unfair distribution of economic and political power, but the mere act of production. Rather then perfecting socialism – let’s choose de-progress? Piketty knows he is treading on revolutionary ground with such a (dumb) idea:

PikettyWhich has to be discussed very precisely because then you need to be very careful about what exactly you are proposing to the bottom 50 percent in societies. I think it’s possible to design a plan, but we have to be very careful. In France, we had the yellow-vest movement. The government said that it was going to raise the energy tax and carbon tax for the good of the climate….

Piketty then reaches back to a Sarkozy-era initiative of carbon pricing – he has only brought up the Yellow Vests as a cautionary tale, not to relate their socioeconomic views. That is even though – despite the constant propaganda campaigns which glorified the weekly repression of them – (the rarely commissioned) polls showed the Yellow Vests have always been supported by at least 50% of the country. Piketty believes the Yellow Vests exist not as equals, peers and co-leaders but as a wild force who exist to menace the status quo as a sort of way to keep the Western elite honest.

Piketty knows, though would never say it, that if he regularly marched among the Yellow Vests he’d no longer be invited for interviews by New York Media, The Economist, the World Bank, etc. Piketty gets these calls because even as he calls for change he supports the status quo – he is as much an “EU patriot” as Emmanuel Macron and so many of their elite peers. Piketty admits later that EU patriotism is a fundamentally-elitist waste of time:

PikettyWhat this shows is that we should all be concerned about how we rewrite the system. Many people find this very boring, and I can tell you when you try to talk about the transformation and the democratization of European institutions, most people stop listening after five minutes. 

We can now elucidate the main problem of the Western left: they cannot galvanise anybody. They have no ideas and no language to excite people to support this status quo that arrived via unbloody “velvet revolutions” and which have continued via an apathy and anti-democratic disconnect built into the US-written pan-European project.

In Iran, for example, they created a new language: people like Ali Shariati combined the revolutionary language of socialism with the revolutionary language, symbols and heroes of Islam (with an emphasis on Shia heroes) to inspire the masses. Forty years later the staunchest Zionist must concede that the ability of “Revolutionary Shi’ism” to galvanise is succeeding in a broad enough manner so as to thwart any neoliberal “velvet (counter) revolution” in Iran. Contrarily, if they’d actually honor democratic votes the EU might be dissolved this very day.

Semi-pantheistic, human-hating Western greens are not about to die for change, nor are they about to inspire anyone in the lower classes (or the Yellow Vests, who expertly dissect French and EU politics).

Therefore what is interesting is not the upcoming multiyear battle between green parties and far-right parties as the new “two mainstream parties” in the West, but what comes after this: What does Europe do when their fake-leftists prove to be the same old neoliberals who sell out the masses, but this time give you more flowers?

Do they finally turn to socialism, or return to corporate fascism & neo-imperialism? Even with corona, we may need another five years to find that out.

The times make the man – who is left and who is not will be crystal clear post-corona

Piketty is not a fake-leftist on the level of the New York Media group, but he is certainly not a socialist: he supports MMT (modern monetary theory) and its notion that QE can actually be given without banker middlemen directly to the people, but not nationalising banks; he supports a basic universal income which hardly sounds like the massive redistributions enacted in the USSR, China, Iran, etc.; he laments that to pay for that “you have to have progressive taxation” instead calling for taxing only capital and the rich (in Iran, because of this fundamental socialist principle, half the country pays no taxes and no farmer does).

Piketty should be lauded for documenting inequality and some of his ideas go left of the mainstream, but he doesn’t go much further than that. The upcoming months of chaos will tell if he is an “objective” intellectual, just as journalists are supposed to be in the West – stuck in an ivory tower, where they have no social responsibility; despite their greater awareness of a problem, they are told not to feel any personal responsibility as well. The same goes for Western pop culture stars – any political involvement contrary to the 1%’s stances means no fawning airtime.

Yes, Piketty cares about inequality and changing economic structures – “Over the past ten years, we’ve been saving banks, but have we solved our problem with rising inequality, with global warming?” – but he also cares about saving the planet a tremendous, tremendous amount. He cares about it so much that he has apparently not had time to actually examine socialism and become persuaded that class warfare is continuously waged by the capitalist-imperialist 1% against the 99%.

Bottom line: In the 21st century there is no major issue which is so class-neutered as ecology.

Thus, I refuse to play along: a global ecological solution obviously requires global cooperation, which is something only socialism can offer and which is impossible under a capitalist system, as it is based instead on competition.

Talk about the environment is thus just empty talk until capitalism-imperialism is eradicated – this is why a Green party takeover will be welcomed by the Western 1% as a brand change as effective as Barack Obama was in 2008.

It’s not hard for a neo-pantheist to grasp: The West could profit from Iranian oil for decades, but once we get it – oh, the time for oil is over? Either fork over many, MANY scores of billions or: Pump away, Iran!

The reality is that if Piketty ever consistently marched with the Yellow Vests he’d realise they also care deeply about the environment. But Earth will not be destroyed before “la fin du mois” (“the end of the month” – the primary slogan of the Vesters, which illustrates how they struggle to pay their most basic bills at the end of each month) whereas the lives of millions of Frenchmen will be destroyed amid this corona hysteria. Mother Nature is not the problem – Western politics are.

It should be clear: green parties are a useless distraction – they should not be accepted as a substitute for true leftism. Maybe the Double Bubble + Great Lockdown will set off a revolution, but for now neoliberal, Malthusian, pantheistic, fake-leftist green parties remain the West’s political trajectory.

***********************************

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20, 2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26, 2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020

Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020

The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020

May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 2020


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

Venezuela: A Failed US Invasion in the Midst of a Pandemic

By Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

Global Research, May 08, 2020

In the midst of a massive global pandemic that has killed tens of thousands of people and wrecked economies all over the world leaving millions jobless, some terrorists and mercenaries allegedly backed by certain governments had on 3rd May 2020 attempted to invade the independent, sovereign state of Venezuela. Organised and trained in neighbouring Colombia, they had landed on the coast of Macuto close to the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. The invasion was foiled by the Venezuelan military and police with the support of the people. Several of the invaders were killed and a couple captured. The captured, both Americans, confessed on Venezuelan TV, that their aim was not only the overthrow of the legally constituted government but also the assassination of the president, Nicolas Maduro. Though the invasion has been thwarted, the captured Americans made it clear that the ouster of the Maduro government was an on-going operation.

It will be recalled that a year ago, in 2019, there was a coup attempt led by an opposition political leader which failed miserably. In April 2002, a coup against the then president, the late Hugo Chavez succeeded momentarily but the people through mass mobilisation restored Chavez to his seat of power. It was the most dramatic expression of genuine ‘people power’.

Coups against leaders who are determined to preserve the independence of their nation and defend the sovereignty of their people orchestrated and engineered by the Deep State in the United States often with the connivance of their allies in the region is the sad saga of Latin American politics. A number of governments have been subjected to this manipulation over the decades. One of the most infamous was the ouster of president Salvador Allende of Chile on the 11th of September 1973. The most recent was the overthrow of the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales in November 2019. There is no need to repeat that the Cuban revolutionary, Fidel Castro, was the target of numerous such attempts during his long stewardship all of which failed spectacularly.

Venezuela: A Threat to US National Security? An Absurd Political Pronouncement

Cuba, like Venezuela, is also the victim of all-encompassing economic sanctions initiated and imposed by the US. As a result, both economies and the people have suffered immensely. It is remarkable that in spite of the sanctions, both Cuba and Venezuela have managed to protect their people in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed they have done a million times better than the nation that has punished them with sanctions which incidentally has the highest number of fatalities and infections in the world. Cuba has not only maintained a low number on both scores but has also extended generous medical assistance by way of medical personnel and equipment to numerous countries including those in Europe to enable  them to fight the pandemic. In the case of Venezuela it is important to observe that as of 4th May it had only 10 deaths and 357 infections. Apart from help from Cuba, Venezuela has also benefitted from the supply of equipment and the cooperation of medical personnel from China and Russia.

The success of this cooperation is one of the factors that has emboldened president Maduro to propose at the recent virtual Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) chaired by the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, that NAM help to organise the distribution of medical equipment and medicines among its member states. NAM he suggested could even set up an international humanitarian fund for this purpose — an idea first mooted by Chavez years ago. A humanitarian fund whose primary goal would be financing not only the purchase of medicines and equipment especially for NAM’s poorer members but also sponsoring doctors and nurses  if the need arises.

When NAM is directly involved in a concrete programme of this sort in an emergency situation, it would have a tangible role. The citizens of NAM would be able to identify with the movement. The Venezuelan proposal should be pursued until it becomes a reality. It is actual manifestations of cooperation that will bring people together in the post coronavirus era and establish the basis for a new just and compassionate global civilisation.

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Dr Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST). He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image: Activists gather in front of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC in March, 2019.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, Global Research, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance

April 30, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

It was very pleasant and informative to read Mr. Gary Littlejohn’s April 19 article, Strengthening the US Dollar: Comments on Ramin Mazaheri. I am very happy that he agreed with my article No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all, which sought to temper the eager glee of those whom I call the “dollar demisers” with some historical facts and socialist-based analysis.

What it seems Mr. Littlejohn essentially did was combine my analysis with a very popular article from “high finance dissident” site ZeroHedge, “Down The Rabbit Hole” – The Eurodollar Market Is The Matrix Behind It All, penned by Michael Every of the Netherlands’ Rabobank, and then add his own considerable insights and commentary.

Mr. Littlejohn wrote such a fine article that I am happy to respond to both his and ZeroHedge’s articles.

He began, ”This supportive response aims to provide recent relevant evidence that many of the likely changes Mazaheri describes are already happening very quickly.”

Things are indeed happening very quickly, but they could also be arrested quicker than people think. My article was a counterweight to the idea that the US (and their Western allies, and their client/puppets) is somehow entirely out of control of this process – it is not. I hope that I have overestimated a prediction of 20-30 years more of dollar dominance, but my article demonstrated how from 2008-20 they have more than just weathered a Great Recession they primarily caused. There will be a true anti-dollar revolution, but nobody can accurately predict any revolution – who could have even predicted this Great Lockdown hysteria?

I’m very glad Mr. Littlejohn agrees with the class-based analysis that the 1% is indeed international – it is not some tinfoil-hat conspiracy claim. This fundamental tenet of socialist analysis seems odd in the West only because it is so rarely said – after all, hedge funds, billionaires and wannabe-billionaires decide the editorial policy of Western media.

But, above all, this remains a competition between two ideologies: capitalist-imperialist cultures (and their repressed client states) and socialist-inspired cultures. The latter culture acknowledges this openly – the former hide and denies it, famously declaring an ideological “end of history“. Both of these cultures remain supranational in scope and reach, even if capitalist-imperialists continue to falsely assume their global political dominance and persist with their “clash of civilisations” (which first came for the Muslims) with a book of self-flattering “universal values” at the tip of their spear.

What Westerners have started to realise – 2008 began this process and the looming 2020 crisis will accentuate it – is that the neoliberal empires they cheered on always intended to come for their 99% as well. For proof just look at Greece, the Yellow Vests and the decade-long austerity self-cannibalisation of the Eurozone. There are those who believe the upcoming explosion of this critical mass will cause the revolution implied by the fall of the dollar – this article will pose an alternative view; it’s a view which Westerners cannot even conceive of much less discuss because – of course – they have no enemies, There Is No Alternative, their ideology conquered even before their armies arrived, they are so willing to die for their own rightly-guided governments… right?

Mr. Littlejohn was right to marvel at the primacy of Western/international high finance in his discussion of the enormous consequences of the recent decisions by the Fed & ECB to purchase corporate bonds.

If we care about our nation, then we must ensure corporations and individuals (and in the US corporations are now legally treated as individuals, in a major 1%er victory) are legally and fiscally subservient to not only our nation’s laws but our nation’s moral values (i.e. the spirit of the law). Capitalist-imperialist ideologies do not have this type of patriotism: their patriotism, due to a system predicated on competition and not cooperation, cannot be displayed via this positive defense but only via a very negative attacking – be it Putin, Russia, Muslims, those on the other side of the political aisle, socialists, the Iraqis, the Vietnamese, the Algerians, etc.

Mr. Littlejohn writes of the corporate debt purchases: ”This seems to allow the development of a possible strategy that discriminates against foreign-owned companies (such as Chinese-owned Huawei) to be starved of Fed funds.

Indeed it does. But nations have a right to defend themselves (like with protectionism), after all; contrarily, national aggression (like with blockades) is the cardinal sin of international law. The new Fed-Treasury open alliance, with BlackRock as their bureaucratic arm, is a problem for the American citizen in that the priority is not the elevation of American corporations/individuals, but of Western/international high finance.

This lack of patriotism is rightly offensive to the many Tyler Durdens of ZeroHedge, but because they reject socialist analysis they don’t fully understand it nor can they proffer actual solutions instead of a useless, destructive Fight Club-esque rage.

ZeroHedge: the West does not rule the whole world, try as they might

It’s important to note the very fair criticism often made of “dissidents-but-not-really” like ZeroHedge: they have been wrong for years. They keep saying that capitalism is about to collapse because just look at this excellent data we culled and this fine analysis… and yet it has not collapsed. This doesn’t make ZeroHedge permanently wrong, necessarily – it could make them ahead of the curve. Mr. Littlejohn was quite right in relying on them as he did.

I also wonder if ZeroHedge would do any better if they were put in charge of the Western economy? ZeroHedge’s editorial line is resolutely Austrian/Chicago economics. They do not publish any articles advocating socialist reforms, but they do publish many anti-socialist diatribes which may or may not be reprinted from the 1930s. Indeed, I am always flattered when they do occasionally reprint some of my geopolitical articles, and I definitely find it very amusing because many of the comments are – and this is a direct quote: “This is the worst thing I have ever read on ZeroHedge!” LOL!!! Well, they are based around socialism, not Austrian/Chicago economic brutality, selfishness and egotism. But when it comes to economics ZeroHedge is not about providing balance and objectivity – they are trying to protect their investments.

But in most newspapers the best, objective hard news about foreign countries is actually found in the business section – they need some truth because they are trying to protect their investments. ZeroHedge is indeed indispensable during this economic crisis because of their excellent taste in culling key hard business news from around the world – we can never find such contrarian-yet-factual, everything-is-not-100%-rosy, up-to-the-minute hard news at any of the Mainstream Media business sections or websites. ZeroHedge knows what to look for regarding Western economic problems and it wants them fixed – they are trying to protect their investments.

One of the favourite sources of analysis for ZeroHedge is Rabobank. Perhaps it is because they are Dutch, and their “junior partner” status in the North European strangulation of Latin Europe gives them some pause regarding the ruthlessness of the Germanic-Austrian-Chicagoan mindset? Perhaps because it is a bank based not only around cooperatives but agriculture as well that they have a very un-New York City view on the desirability of empire? Or maybe not… anyway.

As Mr. Littlejohn wrote of their “Rabbit Hole” article: “It treats the global market for Dollars under a single label, namely Eurodollars, but if one adopts that approach then it tends to downplay the historical significance of the rise of the petrodollar….” Indeed to both assertions – calling the eurodollar the “matrix behind it all” is rather magical thinking – it would be nice if the flaws of capitalism-imperialism could be entirely sourced to this one issue but, alas…. I think Mr. Littlejohn may agree with me that Every overrates the exceptionalism and risk of eurodollars. It’s very name is misleading – “globodollars” would be more accurate than “westdollars”, as socialist countries have participated. Eurodollars are a key part of offshore banking money laundering – they are not some new development – and I will discuss later how they are still, in application and spirit, dollars.

Yet the Rabobank analysis of the future of dollar dominance by Every is useful and has great merit. Here is how Every sees the possible outcomes of this QE Infinity post-corona hysteria world:

“Indeed, look at the Eurodollar logically over the long term and there are only three ways such a system can ultimately resolve itself:

  1. The US walks away from the USD reserve currency burden, as Triffin said, or others lose faith in it to stand behind the deficits it needs to run to keep USD flowing appropriately;
  2. The US Federal Reserve takes over the global financial system little by little and/or in bursts; or
  3. The global financial system fragments as the US asserts primacy over parts of it, leaving the rest to make their own arrangements.”

Thus, the first possibility is for the US to abandon dollar dominance via essentially declaring bankruptcy/refusing to pay debts.

The third possibility is for the global financial system to collapse and for the US to assert primacy over parts of it. But this idea is inherently flawed: socialist-inspired systems would NOT fragment, due to the independent, anti-capitalist, anti-Western nature of their systems.

Argue all you want about how China, Iran, Cuba, Vietnam and others would be negatively impacted by the Great Depression II, but I will argue just as long about how all their laws, governmental economic control, and a culture of interventionism will allow socialist-inspired nations to weather this storm EXACTLY as they have weathered Hot War, Cold War and Western blockades. This report for PressTV I did from Havana on “How the Cuban blockade works” opens with a rare sight in Cuba: a billboard. It reads “The blockade: the longest-running genocide in human history.” What is Great Depression 2 compared to that, at least for Cubans?

So I would not be arguing small points, indeed: Cuba exists, Iran exists, China exists – all resist. Every fatally assumes that the West and the entire globe are synonymous – they absolutely are not!

Thus, option three’s critical mistake is seemingly caused by common Western arrogance: It is not “The global financial system fragments” but the “WESTERN financial system fragments”. Again, this is not a small difference between our analyses: the West does not run the entire globe, try as they might and as self-flattering as that has been for them to insist. Here is the new, corrected option #3:

The WESTERN financial system fragments as the US asserts primacy over parts of it, leaving the rest to make their own arrangements.

The West’s incestuous 1% will maintain their primacy over the West and their most-favoured puppets, i.e. no change, except for the obvious, looming degradation of THEIR financial system.

Yet Every seems to believe some clients will perhaps slip away from the US/West – really? When he writes “leaving the rest to make their own arrangements” he is completely vague, probably because he is used to equating “the West” with “the world”: how can a nation leave the world, after all? No wonder he is vague. What Every fails to see is that any nation making “arrangements” outside of the West’s orbit can only go over to a necessarily China-focused – which is to say, a socialist-inspired bloc-focused – arrangement which is indeed already in place.

How can it not be binary in this fashion?

Is Every saying that some nations will soon adopt the 1979 slogan of the Iranian Islamic Revolution – “Neither East nor West but the Islamic Republic of Iran”? That would be quite interesting and I would cheer very loudly… but I do not expect that many nations will reclaim their sovereignty in such an emphatic fashion in 2020. Every is predicting revolutions (and many of them), which is even riskier than predicting a date for a Covid-19 vaccine.

And why should we be optimistic, when all it takes is some bribes and just a couple thousand soldiers to hold a nation’s capital, transportation hubs and sources of natural wealth (as in all over West Africa with France) – why would the Western 1% just “leave the rest” alone? That would be terrible for the capitalist bottom line: if France stops getting African uranium for peanuts then the consumer costs of their nuclear-dependent energy system will skyrocket, to give a single example among many. Thus, any nation which says to the West that they want to “make their own arrangements” will either need strong patrons (i.e., the anti-Western socialist-inspired bloc), or 1979-Iran style determination for true independence.

Anyway, no nation is a (geopolitical) island – Iran’s turn away form the West necessarily implied a turn to the East, and today they are China’s most trusted non-Oriental ally. Every, in a historical nihilist fashion, negates the existence and reality that There Is An Alternative… sorry Westerners, this IS real and is not some mere fad.

While the US (which leads the Western 1%) may say, “You want your money? Come get it,” (option 1) they will definitely not abandon neo-colonialism (option 3), which is so very, very profitable.

Thus, we appear to be stuck with option 2 – “The US Federal Reserve takes over the global financial system little by little and/or in bursts;”.

But we are not: Every is entirely mistaken to present that as some sort of new development!

The Western central banker collusion which was the “solution” to the 2008 crisis was based around following the diktat of top US bankers regarding when to issue QE and when to enact ZIRP (Zero Interest Rate Policies). Discussing this evidence that the Fed has colluded with the central banks of their allies was the basis of my 10-part series on the Western “bankocracy” from last winter, but the idea that bankers collude is not at all a new development in socialist thought.

Therefore what will happen is his third option, but accurately modified: The global Western financial system fragments, as the West asserts primacy over as many puppets/clients as possible, but the persistent economic success of the socialist-inspired camp attracts fresh allies.”

Such a development is entirely in keeping with my original article’s thesis of continued, but not endless, dollar dominance. The competition between two ideologies has never ended: the fallout from the corona hysteria may indeed bust out capitalism-imperialism but it cannot & will not cause the socialist-inspired camp to suddenly quit just as their popularity and relative strength is about to peak; just as after 2008 China peaked so high that they were able to end the (allegedly) “unipolar” world.

So where do we go from here? Answer: a slow decline for the West, which – again – is NOT the entire globe

I will keep saying it because it is true: Even if we judge via their own capitalist metrics, China, Vietnam, Iran – these countries have soared over the past four decades while the real economy of the West has been trashed. Iran only began to have postwar hardship when the inhuman Western blockade ramped up with the EU, US, UN triple sanctions of 2011. Even Cuba has had more economic growth and stability since the end of the Special Period (the fall of the USSR) than the West! ZeroHedgers will protest, “But we said not THIS capitalism (the neoliberal form)”, but it’s not like they have remained anywhere but the powerless fringe and, anyway, that is not my problem.

So a “slow decline” is imprecise journalism – it is a continued decline. Maybe a drastic plummeting in dollar dominance is indeed around the corner, but anyone in April 2020 who says they can predict the future is lying.

So what was Every’s take on the most certain scenario? We should learn it because despite its flaws, caused by its unbalanced and blinkered pro-“capitalism with Western characteristics”, it’s a very fine article.

“In other words, the BIS (Bank for International Settlements) is making clear that somebody (i.e., the Fed) must ensure that Eurodollars are made available on [a] massive scale, not just to foreign central banks, but right down global USD supply chains. As they note, there are many practical issues associated with doing that – and huge downsides if we do not do so. Yet they overlook that there are huge geopolitical problems linked to this step too.

Notably, if the Fed does so then we move rapidly towards logical end-game #2 of the three possible Eurodollar outcomes we have listed previously, where the Fed de facto takes over the global financial system. Yet if the Fed does not do so then we move towards end-game #3, a partial Eurodollar collapse.”

Again it’s a fine analysis but hobbled by the same two flaws: Every does not realise that #2 (“where the Fed de facto takes over the global financial system Western financial system”) has already happened, although it certainly must increase in order to forestall #3; and he does not realise that the Fed will NOT take over the financial systems of the “socialist-inspired bloc” with any amount of QE due to the laws, culture and modern history of said bloc. I hope it’s clear where Every goes astray and why.

This is also not my problem, but: To preserve the Western system we should assume that the long, LONG-awaited downloaning of Western QE “right down global USD supply chains” has finally come. However, it has come too late, and it has only finally arrived on top of the economic disaster which is the suicidal (for the West’s lower classes) Great Lockdown, and it will be expressly designed to be just enough downloaning to forestall mass domestic revolt yet not enough to prohibit the endless increasing of the 1%’s market concentration.

QE Infinity (barring an absurd amount of downloaning, which is politically impossible and would amount to a debt jubilee) cannot forever forestall a dollar collapse, but the “dollar demisers” falsely believe that fiscal policy/money issuance is the only tool the Western elite has. The end-of-the-dollar-revolution will not occur after, as I wrote in my first article, rounds of QE are rotated among different allies, and – as needed – massive Western propaganda campaigns, very watered-down but socialist-inspired concessions to the 99%, debt moratoriums, military distractions and maybe even World War III. Maybe even World War IV, too, and this is why I don’t exaggerate against a culture which believes deeply in their “clash of civilisations”:

The Western 1% simply cannot get “in” the socialist-inspired bloc or the yuan – after all, the aristocratic class in Iran, Cuba, China and elsewhere was totally expelled (to the West) – think they won’t make the dollar their “last stand” and use all their tools? As always, the West underrates the totalitarian nature of their most successful sons and daughters, but Iranians, Cubans and others do not. Yes, the economic scale of the crisis in 2020 is (potentially) revolutionary, but anyone who says it has already gone beyond the capacity of the Western 1% to rein it in and keep profiting… all this accuracy-driven journalist can say is, “Maybe, it’s still early.”

At the heart of Every’s argument, ZeroHedge’s complaints, Austrian/Chicagoan indignation that a national economy is indeed the same as a household, and also the West’s many “dissidents but not really” is a common theme that capitalism will implode because they cannot keep “rolling the debt over”. This is essentially echoed by Trotskyism, which holds that capitalism will eventually crumble under the weight of its own contradictions. (It is also notable that all these Westerners also think that the West – which has no enemies, which has no competition, to which no credible alternative exists – can never be defeated, only implode. More arrogance, but I have digressed.)

But they can keep rolling it over.

Again, they can keep rolling it over.

Every believes that the “eurodollar” is so very risky and exceptional because, “They (are dollars which) are not under the US’ legal jurisdiction, nor are they subject to US rules and regulations.” What he has ignored is that the high-finance holders of these dollars and markers are still very, very much informal upholders of the US-led Western system: Every has ignored culture, psychology and history in favor of a purely legal view of these eurodollars, instead of how the owners of these eurodollars operate in practice.

The Caymans, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore (all in the top 13 for eurodollar-dependant nations) – we should be worried that these tax havens will disobey the US and jeopardise the system? We should believe that they are even being honest about their claimed dollar reserves? We should be worried that the 1% is going to start sending their dollars to the average person instead of into these tax havens, creating a liquidity crisis? Anyone who has their money in the Caymans is certainly a parasite on society – we should worry for them, or fear them creating a “moral hazard” reckoning-implosion of the Western financial system? If all these eurodollars in the Caymans disappeared the real global economy would be fine – some rich people would be forced to get by on what’s in their Swiss bank accounts. Eurodollars are a problem – they are often the imaginary credit used by the elite who manipulate the West’s imaginary FIRE/QE economy – but there are bigger fish to fry in April 2020.

However, at root the Eurodollar system is based on using the national currency of just one country, the US, as the global reserve currency. This means the world is beholden to a currency that it cannot create as needed,” – exactly: a large percentage of these tax-haven eurodollars are hoarded, immorally stolen dollars, but they are still dollars. Again, they are not being held by the types of people who can be called “revolutionaries” or “patriots” or “moralists”, LOL – they will not be used in international warfare against the West because they are part of a truly supranational 1% Western financial system. They are held by people who are very over-leveraged, true, but these are not people whom repo men visit, eh? Again – it’s still the dollar which is in charge, and the dollar is on the 1%’s side, not America’s side.

Every’s “nationalist” view – that the Caymans are about to make a geopolitical power play – lacks the wider, better perspective provided by the socialist lens: the Western 1% can indeed collude to create more dollars as they need, and they have since 2008. This group can, “keep USD flowing out or else a global Eurodollar liquidity crisis will inevitably occur”, which Every mistakenly fears. They can indeed keep “rolling it over” via QE Infinity – the fact that QE Infinity is a term which journalists finally devised came up after years of foolish waiting for QE to end shows that the Western 1% has a very sound, but immoral, grasp on reality.

Fundamental question: Why would the West stop rolling it over?

If you ask ZeroHedge they might say – with an oxymoronic “capitalist idealism”: because we can’t reward excessive greed nor failure. LOL….

But who among the West’s high-finance 0.01% will be the class traitor who calls in the marker which implodes the system? He or she would implode his or herself, as well. The West is so big it is not just one person who can implode it, anyway: there is no single marker with a “quadrillion” after the number.

And forget mass domestic protests (which will be banned for months and months in the few Western countries which actually have a protesting culture) because whoever heard of mass protests for “reformism” (which is all Western semi-dissidents propose)? That is nonsensical – mass protests either lead to revolution or they fizzle quickly in the “can’t we all just get along”, middle-class, political status quo-ism which defines the West’s eternally anti-socialist culture.

Thus there is no saviour – individual or national – to be had – there is only long, hard opposition via socialism, which is an entirely new system that has fixed the errors of the old capitalism-imperialism system. Therefore the only entity which could cause the system to explode – if we are being pragmatic – is a bloc led by China. Only they have they weight, combined with their allies, to ever break the dollar’s dominance. But they are not going to do that next Tuesday:

They are not economically strong enough, nor are their few allies, nor do they have enough allies, nor could they be aided within a Western society which has nearly no “5th columnists” but merely “semi-dissidents” whose greatest minor achievement is to not want more war/blockades with the socialist-inspired bloc (because it could blow up the planet, negatively affect the rainforest, trigger negative emotions, disrupt the avocado-toast supply chain, etc.). Look at where we are in April 2020: it is a radical, unheard of idea to be reading of any “socialist-inspired bloc” – how can we say that China today is anywhere as omnipresent and dominant as the USSR-led bloc was in, say, 1945, ’55, ’65, ’75 or ‘85? Many of you right now are denying this idea that in 2020 there is any possible “socialist-inspired bloc” – remember that your (likely) reactionary grandfathers and grandmothers had no such illusions of their total victory.

This relative weakness, this inability to provide an alternative to dollar dominance, is why Iranians will tell you: China is not going to “save” anyone except for China, because they are not strong enough. Iran was the first non-Oriental country to learn this fact, even if some in Iran haven’t learned it yet.

However, what China will do is work with you – they will create long-term plans with you (as China and Iran have done on the Belt and Road Initiative) if you prove your socialist and anti-imperialist bonafides. They will work with you even if you are imperialist-capitalists – it is the only way to gain strength and ultimately beat them.

Every, ZeroHedge, the countless Western Rabobanks – they believed the socialist-inspired bloc had been crushed; they are incredibly upset that the 2008 Great Recession and the phony QE “solution” has permitted China to rise and have the temerity to question their neoliberal, neo-imperial, greedy “universal values”. China is indeed now a threat to the West but it is not yet what the USSR was for decades – a concrete alternative which was willing to foot your bills (the USSR was the only empire where the centre bled for the periphery) while your national culture reforms itself away from imperialist ideals in order to (don’t you get this yet?) break the grip of international high finance on your people.

Thus, the dollar will not be beaten next Tuesday.

This is why corona hysteria will ultimately be manipulated by the Western 1% to strengthen the dollar, i.e. – their dollar and not America’s dollar. Barring reforms – and I have seen none which hyper-financialisation did not take advantage of since 2008 – 2008 will only largely repeat itself.

Indeed, it would take a revolution for a Western crisis to be unsuccessfully manipulated… but “semi-dissidents”, i.e. liberal reformists, hold out that mere false hope. They don’t see – like China, Iran, Cuba and others – that the Western 1% will do, like Mario Draghi of the ECB, whatever it takes to maintain their neoliberal empire.

The proof that this analysis is correct could not be more clearly illustrated than by World War I: a war started by international high finance to forestall the victory of socialism and to defend capitalism-imperialism despite its failure for their 99%.

Mr. Littlejohn grasps these historical concepts, and their political-moral implications, far more than the rabidly capitalist ZeroHedge and their preferred analysts.

Mr. Littlejohn and the dream of Eurasia, a concept which strikes down European exceptionalism

I disagree with Mr. Littlejohn where he gives his extension of Every’s three-outcome analysis:

Even a partial Eurodollar collapse would do serious damage to those countries (more than half) which have sought emergency IMF support, and so this new power gives the Fed enormous political leverage over most major economies and over multilateral agencies such as the IMF, the World Bank or even the European Union [EU]. Given that Trump sees the EU as a potential competitor to the USA, and given the low proportion of US Dollars that its major economies have in relation to their trading needs, the EU is very vulnerable to US economic pressure in the present circumstances.”

Indeed, the developing world who are Western clients and not socialist-inspired clients will have huge problems very shortly. The impact of the Great Lockdown hysteria on the developing world is another article I have been meaning to write, but it will be an extension of Part 3 from the “bankocracy” series: QE paid for a foreign buying spree: developing countries hurt the most.

However, while Trump (who looks even riskier post-corona to the 1% free-trade globalists than he did in November 2016, when they did all the could to prevent his election and his protectionist ideas) may personally see the EU as a competitor, the many people richer than him know that this is not the case – the US and EU will continue to collude. Ergo, not only does the Fed want that “enormous political leverage” but the European 1% wants the Fed to have it, too. The dollar needs to remain in charge for the Western financial system to profitably continue for Europe’s 1% – the structure of the Eurozone was penned by the US for precisely this reason, as was the Plaza Accord for the yen. (As I wrote in the final part of a 7-part series in 2017, which socialistically examined the QE crisis in the Eurozone, “With the Plaza Accord of 1985, Japan adopted the US-orchestrated neoliberal changes that were designed to suck the surpluses from Japan back into the United States.”)

Thus the Fed’s sidelining (outspending) of the IMF and World Bank (but not the ECB, as they can print money) should be viewed as what it is – increased market concentration which will profit the Western 1%, as predicted by Marx. Every’s analysis is so unblinkered-capitalist that he likely cannot see this Eurogroup-Fed alliance, but the fine analyst Alastair Crooke alludes to it; however, Crooke still fails to use the socialist class analysis lens and instead fundamentally looks at such global political changes via a slightly-wider but still outdated nationalist lens.

Europe’s 1% may publicly gripe against the Fed’s decisions but they cannot go against them without effectively declaring war on the dollar. The US, Eurozone, Japan, and Saudi economies, plus their clients, are all intertwined – happily, for their 1%. If they did declare war on the dollar they would only have two options:

  1. Join the socialist-inspired bloc – this means renouncing capitalist-imperialist culture, and that will never happen.
  2. Europe carves out a “Third Way”, in a drastic revolution to the binary ideological system which has raged for over a century. This revolution has been so very often discussed in Europe but it has never, ever happened precisely because Europeans are so very devoted to their capitalist-imperialist culture. They have proven that they don’t want a Third Way, should one even exist. Talk of a “Third Way” has proven to be merely a way for Europeans to arrogantly assert their alleged exceptionalism/chauvinism. At some point they will give up and embrace “Eurasia”, but that is a ways away.

I think Mr. Littlejohn need not worry about “if the Euro collapses as a currency in the coming depression” – the euro, the yen and the dollar will all strengthen in a crisis because that is when investors seek safe havens and these are three of the four biggest global economies in what is soon to be an increasingly economically-depressed global market. All three also collude to fix their currencies relative to each other, due to the interconnected nature of the Western 1%, so while they will jockey for position for export power it is only within agreed-upon limits as it is as a fundamentally-united trio, and also fundamentally (as of 2008) united against the yuan, the champion currency of the socialist-inspired bloc.

So, overall, I think perhaps Mr. Littlejohn underestimates the way the euro/EU can burst free of these bonds to become a sovereign counterweight to the dollar/US, and also that Europe will embrace a culturally-unwanted idea of Eurasia anytime soon. Crooke does a good job in his article of linking the actions of the Fed with what I wrote about in Part 3 of the 2017 series, The hopelessly corrupt structure of the Eurozone & the Eurogroup. I think we simply have to look at how then-Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron organised the takeover of national giant Alstom Energy for GE in 2015 to show that Europe’s leaders will prioritise the US 1% (who are richer and thus have more influence ) than the EU’s 1%. It’s not a “new” or “slow” decline for Europe, but a “continued” decline as well.

Europe does not want sovereignty, which is a modern concept; sovereignty has become “modern” because it has been wiped out by Western-led globalisation. The neoliberal (and thus also neo-imperial) empire which is the EU does not respect sovereignty but suppresses it, as Europe is obviously NOT modern.

It’s difficult to change the matrix which modern Western commentators place the world upon – nationalism, imperialism-as-inevitable, chauvinism against non-Western cultures, existentialism (the feeling of being trapped due to not perceiving any alternative) and the historical & political nihilism which is the legacy of WWII.

It’s thus a radical, unheard of concept which still easily upends Every’s analysis – the West is NOT the entire world. New York, London, Paris and Tokyo will grow even more powerful post-corona due to even-greater wealth/market concentration, but their Greeces, “Flyover Country” and their developing world clients will continue to be bled. And as Western inequality, dominance, militarism and market concentration re-doubles amid their supranational financial system chaos, a whole other bloc is poised to not just weather the storm but thrive amid the post-corona chaos precisely because they rejected the Western legal and cultural system.

It’s not that as if these entities didn’t all collude to try and stop China’s rise – WWII was only more murderous to the Soviets, after all – it’s that they could not. It’s not as if they didn’t beg the CCP to change their laws to allow foreign control of Chinese industries – it’s that China would not. The West finally gave up because the CCP made the Western 1% too much money while still retaining control and serving the Chinese people. It’s not as if the West hasn’t tried to get Iran to go “neoliberal” (LOL) and sell off the 90% of the non-Black Market, non-carpet economy which the Iranian government controls – it’s that they could not. It’s not as if the West hasn’t tried to break Cuba, North Korea and others – it’s that they could not.

You cannot stop an idea, especially a superior idea.

My original article was aimed at the hasty, gleeful “dollar demises” and sought to, as the French say, “put some water in your wine”. The West’s “double bubble economy + Great Lockdown hysteria” crisis now is indeed enormous, but it cannot possibly ruin the socialist-inspired bloc – only themselves because that is THEIR economy, not ours.

That is a very sober – and not immoderately gleeful – analysis from the socialist-inspired bloc.

Mr. Littlejohn is on the right track and hopeful that Europe will come around – who would argue with hope in right action? I would remind Mr. Every that there IS an alternative and that it is not new. I would remind ZeroHedge that socialism does not ban competition and that socialism WILL win the binary ideological struggle, as they have been doing since 1980 (as ZeroHedge keeps pointing out via their fine documenting of the West’s continued economic failures).

I thank Mr. Littlejohn for his time, consideration and efforts.

***********************************

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20, 2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26, 2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

Palestinians unveil mural honoring Venezuelan, Cuban figures

By News Desk -2020-04-16

From left to right: Houari Boumédiène, Hugo Chávez, Yasser Arafat, Che Guevara, Fidel Castro.

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:10 P.M.) – A new photo released this week showed Palestinian activists unveiling a mural in honor the Venezuelan “spirit of resistance”.

The mural was painted 10 meters wide and 3 meters high near the city of Dora, in the southern part of the West Bank region. 

The mural was created in honor of Cuba and Venezuela’s solidarity with Palestine. Aside from sending medical brigades around the world, now to fight coronavirus, Cuba has also trained many Palestinian doctors. ⁠

Cuba has been a long-standing critic of the Israeli state and has often expressed its solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Venezuela, starting under the late President Hugo Chavez, maintained close ties with the Palestinian people. The South American nation helped fund a hospital in the city of Ramallah, which is now called Hugo Chávez Hospital.

“Madam, How Can I Have Any Plans?”

By Barbara Nimri Aziz

Global Research, April 15, 2020

“I am searching for medicine for my mother; I’ve no money to repair my car; I have my sister asking me to help her son; I have come to the end of our food ration for this week.”

A reply Americans, Italians, Indians, Brazilians, or Iranians—everyone across the globe– might offer a curious (or naïve) journalist covering the crisis. (Not to exclude testimonies from exhausted healthcare and other service workers.)

However, the respondent I quote here lived his uncertainty in a different era:—a quarter of a century ago, in Iraq. He’s Ali Al-Amiri, erstwhile poultry inspector for Nineveh’s provincial department of agriculture. We met in 2001, in Mosul, at the height of an epidemic there, namely the 13-year embargo imposed on his nation.

I’d been covering the devastation created by that global blockade since 1990. So my question was indelicate, if not guileless.

I knew conditions there well.

During a decade of assignments to that besieged, forlorn place, I’d witnessed deaths resulting from a scarcity of medicines and stress-related diseases; I’d been recording burn victims scarred by fires from makeshift stoves, rising cancer infections, low-birth-weight newborns, unchecked spread of infectious diseases, the collapse of industry and the flight of desperate young people. (All well documented for anyone caring to investigate (including my account from Iraq  joined early field reports from the International Action Center and a belated Harvard Study based on secondary sources.)Advice for People Fearful and Under Duress

Yes, my question to this and other besieged Iraqis may have been misplaced. Nevertheless Al-Amiri’s reply was instructive to those with a limited perception of war. It pointed to a frightfully blank tomorrow.

If Americans (and others who complied with Washington’s policy to force Iraq to its knees) did not grasp the concept then, today we know it: “What are your plans for the weekend? Your graduation prom? Your annual colonoscopy? Your son’s wedding? Grandfather’s 80th birthday?” They’re all on hold; we’re just trying to keep the children entertained, get through another day with a testy partner, stock up on non-perishables, learn to connect by Zoom, gather papers for an insurance claim or patch a cracked windshield.

This blank calendar is as intimate for us as it was for Iraqis. Of course it’s not the same; Iraq was completely cut off through a media blackout, a ban on flights, and by diplomatic and economic blockades. By contrast, in the midst of COVID-19, we have teleconferences and phone networking apps; we have sympathizers around the country and across the world; we can learn from others’ experiences; we can share resources and expertise.

My point here is not to assign blame or compare sufferings. It’s to question the war model invoked by media commentators and politicians to interpret our dilemma; this hinders our understanding of what we’re experiencing. That embargo on Iraq was a fierce assault but it wasn’t interpreted by outsiders as war; embargo-deaths were largely unseen and uncounted by western historians. Just as 20 years of sanctions imposed on Vietnam after the U.S. defeat there, just as decades of embargo against Cuba, Iran and Syriacontinue, just as the crippling of Venezuela intensifies. Those sieges, like the current pandemic raise deeper moral questions.

It would help to drop our concept of war in this crisis where media commentators and politicians invoke ‘911’ and the 1941 Pearl Harbor attacks. The military model (including the commander-in-chief criterion for president) is the U.S. default solution to a problem, whether drugs or a pandemic or a perceived threat to national interests. ‘Smash it to bits. Hit them with all we have.’

Let’s see if Americans can emerge from today’s dilemma with a newly defined compassionate model of responsibility and leadership?

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Anthropologist and journalist BNimri Aziz covered Iraq during the 13-year sanction period. The author of Swimming up The Tigris, 2007, U. Press Florida, she also hosted a radio program on Pacifica- WBAI, NYC. See www.RadioTahrir.org

Featured image was produced by Oli AgramaThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Barbara Nimri Aziz, Global Research, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism

April 14, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker blog

I’m only three years from being a Millennial myself but, wow! They sure have had a much rougher go of it:

Most of them were teenagers when the “victory” of the “leader of the free world” came crashing down on 9/11. Jingoistic hysteria against (fictitious, always Pentagon-supported) Islamic radicalism was followed by the Great Recession. The alleged “economic recovery” was always limited to the 1%, and now we have the coronavirus panic. Ever since 2008, when my elders start to decry the alleged character flaws of the Millennial generation I always point out how they were handed so many handicaps.

“The only Millennials with a decent job and no debt were those selected in the first round of the NBA draft,” is my usual attempt at pithiness. It’s surprising that the phrase “Ok, boomer” took so long to develop, frankly?

So what’s going to happen to this beleaguered bunch post-corona? It seems like even more burdens will be heaped on them, and I can think of five important ones:

First, there will be no growth-rebuilding “corona reconstruction” because infrastructure is not destroyed in a pandemic. When the corona craziness dies down the neoliberals in the US and the austerity-evangelicals in the Eurozone are going to be just as resistant to taxing the rich in order to give useful jobs to the poor as they have been for the past four decades.

Second, there are many fearful Mainstream Media articles detailing how after the Black Plague workers in Europe were emboldened to demand more wages and rights. This is merely an interesting historical vignette – there are no mass deaths in 2020. Therefore, once the corona hysteria ends you will have a flood of workers competing with each other for jobs. In a parallel, compounding development, good jobs will also be even more scarce than in 2008 (although maybe the NBA will expand?) because the corona overreaction is creating such enormous economic devastation with mass bankruptcies, closures and reduced government tax revenue sure to result. Due to a lack of socialist controls and planning, the law of supply and demand will rule unfettered – wages are sure to drop.

Third, the very sectors where Millennials can be most often found – restaurants, retail, tourism, hospitality and creative – will be the most decimated by corona lockdowns. What’s more, this age group has – necessarily – the least seniority, experience and skills and thus they will be the first to be fired in every sector. Labor participation rate for Millennials had only just returned to pre-2008 levels, but – as I stressed to my often-dismissive elders – levels “returned” only via terrible part-time jobs, gig economy work and short-term contracts in Europe. How long will it take to return to (these fundamentally inferior) pre-2020 levels?

Fourth, in these lousy, poorly-paid pieces of under-employment “benefits” like health care, pension contributions and unemployment insurance were often non-existent. The US bailouts have thrown them some unemployment insurance for a few months, but will it be enough? Not to pay the overhead for the moderate-to-successful Millennial classes – that is absolutely certain. Dirt-poor Millennials will, at best, not stop being dirt-poor, and certainly will return after these modest “bailouts” quickly finish. Millennials were already worse off in every major economic indicator compared to their Generation X, Baby Boomer and Silent Generation counterparts.

Fifth, if you thought Millennials were too sensitive before, then imagine how they will be after the corona trauma? There is no “victory” to be had here for the survivors – all they did was cower at home, sometimes snitch on their neighbors, and often couldn’t even risk trying to volunteer to help the elderly and vulnerable. This is going to create guilt and shame personally, mistrust and resentment socially, and a desire to save, hoard and not take risks economically.

And, please note, this is the bad situation for the White youth class in the West – imagine being non-White, or Muslim, or (gasp!) both non-White and Muslim?

To summarise briefly, the same logic will hold true for individuals as for businesses: anyone without savings or stable access to credit NOW is about to be dragged under. Millennials have the least amount of savings, social credit or economic credit.

So what is to be done?

There is a lot of fear among the corporate MSM, conservatives and corporate neo-fascists that the economic downturn caused by the corona lockdown will cause the Millennials and younger to embrace socialism.

To this I respond: Well, it would be about time.

A hugely common Western misconception during the 1950s and 60s was that the youth class would carry the day and float the elderly off on icebergs to the North Pole. We now know much more about modern Western capitalism: this was undoubtedly misguided, because in the West it is the elder classes which dominate the economic assets and political power, and are just as weighty arbiters of cultural power.

As I have repeatedly discussed, only in China and Iran did the upheavals of the 1960s translate into actual political and economic power for the youth class, and thanks to (the world’s only two) state-sponsored Cultural Revolutions. Contrarily, in the West their victory was limited to the pop culture sphere – their Cultural Revolution was repressed and halted, yes, because the real failure lay within the populace: they simply weren’t real, class-warfare, anti-imperialist leftists, apparently.

Maybe this will change now?

However, (truly) fake-leftist Bernie Sanders just bowed out (hilarious timing from a reliable Democratic Party toady); Jeremy Corbyn’s (fake-leftist) anti-Brexit stance failed (of course) and his replacement is far more conservative; France’s (fake-)left wants four things: wine, pornography, no religion whatsoever and to smash the superb Yellow Vest movement’s call for a French Cultural Revolution by any means necessary.

So what is to be done?

The political nihilists – who are stupid, wrong, lazy and cowardly – insist that leftism has failed everywhere in 2020, but there are a dozen or so examples which prove them wrong (simply look to the countries the US organises Western sanctions against). The West, being evangelical, chauvinistic and used to leading for two centuries, ignores and/or denigrates all of these examples.

Now one thing I always try to do is to shoot myself in the foot – as far as getting my articles rebroadcast, retweeted and the like – by praising Iran when deserved. I mean, what surer way is there today to terrify fake-leftist, rabidly-secularist Anglophones and Westerners than to stick up for not just Iran but also (and I’m not sure which is worse to them) Islamic Socialism?

But I feel compelled to point out that the corona-situation of Iranian Millennials (i.e. their youth class) is not anywhere as dire as for their Western counterparts, and I need only one reason to prove why: most of them live at home until they are married or around 30.

Iranian young adults who aren’t working now – at least they aren’t racking up rent/mortgage debt, eh?

What’s more: there are no Western credit card companies in Iran due to the Western blockade, and formal interest rates are constrained by the morals of Islamic finance, so what credit card debt? University eduction is widespread and cheap, so what university debt? The medical system is the best in the region and, while absolute poverty has not been totally eradicated anywhere, it is undoubtedly within the reach of Iran’s lower class, so what medical debt? Europeans usually enjoy the latter two realities, at least, so you can’t say I am talking about impossibilities. Corona quarantines are hardest on the lower class everywhere, but Iran is a socialist-inspired society so political policy actually addresses their needs first and has done so since 1979.

Unlike Europeans (especially Anglo-Saxons), Iran’s entire (allegedly) “failed to launch” youth class also have far more emotional support than in atomised Western households. This is not a small thing for some people during the corona crisis, but also post-corona.

However Iran is not the only example of success amid the post-1980 neoliberal era: it’s grounds for calls of “traitor” in the US, but is not Russia’s amazing rebound after the tragedy of the USSR’s implosion not worthy of interest? How did they do that? They are a socialist-inspired culture to some degree, but what about the continent of China and tiny Cuba as well? The point here is: the primary obstacle Millennials have to overcome are lifetimes of Gen X, Boomer and Silent Generation TINA (There Is No Alternative (to neoliberalism)) to realise that socialism is an actual, still-viable, never-going-away source of solutions.

Without openly promoting socialism all the complaints and public disavowals of Western imperialism-capitalism ultimately reach a dead end, after all. Millennials need to learn that class warfare exists, but in the West only the 1% is cognisant of this reality.

Unfortunately, to see how wide the political-intellectual gap is simply consider: US imperialism more dangerous than coronavirus for international community: Iran president. What other national leaders would say such thing in 2020?

How many actually did say it in 1918 amid the Spanish Flu pandemic? In 2020 you would be crucified for saying that – despite its obvious accuracy – and certainly not retweeted.

But Western Millennials are free to ignore existing examples, and also to go on hating God, Mom, Dad, socialism, central planning, strong social safety nets, all governments etc.; they are perfectly free to stay focused on the current corona “War on Dying” and to not immediately demand socialist-inspired policies for a youth class which keeps being forced to bear the domestic brunt of Western neoliberalism and (never even broached domestic) neo-imperialism.

They’re still young – maybe they’ll get drafted by the NBA?

***********************************

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020 – April 13, 2020

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

كورونا والأزمة الكاشفة ….بقلم د بثينة شعبان

المصدر

أول ما يجب الاعتراف به في الحديث عن أزمة  كورونا العالمية هو أن هذه الأزمة كاشفة بامتياز، كاشفة لحقيقة قوّة البلدان وأولوياتها وقدرة القيادة في هذه البلدان وعلاقتها بالشعب الذي تحكمه، ومدى تجاوب هذا الشعب مع أوامر قيادته واقتناعه بها.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is n1586770005.jpg

 فقد قسّمت هذه الأزمة العالم وفق خطوط غير تقليدية أبداً وغير معروفة من قبل، وطرحت معادلاتٍ جديدة على الساحة الدولية، لا بدّ وأن تؤخذ بعين الاعتبار كي يتمّ إرساء الأسس السليمة للمرحلة المستقبلية المقبلة. فمن كنا نعتقد أنه قويّ أظهر علامات ضعف مؤكّدة لا جدال فيها، ومن كنّا نعتقد أن تصنيفه يأتي في آخر السلّم قفز إلى أعلى السلّم بقدراته التي لم نكن نعرف عنها شيئاً.
ولا شكّ في أنّ الإعلام الغربي المضلّل يتحمّل جزءاً كبيراً من مسؤولية هذه المفاجآت لأن الإعلام الغربيّ ما فتئ يكرّر مفاهيم لسنوات طوال حتى آمن الناس بأنّ هذه المفاهيم هي الحقائق بعينها إلى أن اصطدمت هذه المفاهيم اليوم بوقائع مغايرة تماماً على الأرض فتهشّمت. وهذا أيضاً مصدر أساسيّ من مصادر المفاجآت الكاشفة التي تتعرّض لها البشرية اليوم. فقد كان معظم البشر يعتقدون أنّ #الولايات المتحدة، والتي ما زالت البلد الأقوى عسكرياً واقتصادياً، هي الأقدر اليوم على مواجهة أيّ جائحة أو وباء، وأنّ مؤسساتها وأساليب عملها ستكون النموذج الأهمّ في العالم، ولكنّ الواقع الحقيقي أظهر أنّ هذه الدولة القويّة ذات القواعد العسكرية المنتشرة في العشرات من دول العالم لا تملك إلّا نسبة ضئيلة مما تحتاجه من الأقنعة #الطبية مثلاً، ولا تملك الألبسة الطبية لممرضيها، ولا اختبارات كافية لهذا الفيروس الذي ينتشر كالنار في الهشيم، فضلاً عن الأزمة الاقتصادية الخانقة التي سبّبها الحجر، وتسريح العمال والموظفين من أعمالهم، وتضخّم دائرة الفقر والعَوَز في بلد يعتبر من أغنى بلدان الأرض.

كما أنّ إيطاليا و إسبانيا قد فاجأتا العالم بعجز النظام الصحي في كلتيهما، وارتفاع نسبة الوفيات فيهما وفي الولايات المتحدة بشكل أثار دهشة العالم واستغرابه. بينما أبلت البرتغال واليونان مثلاً بلاءً ممتازاً نتيجة الإجراءات الاستباقية التي اتخذتاها، وتكاتف الحكومة والمجتمع لمواجهة هذا الخطر الداهم على الجميع.

وفي هذا المجال برهنت ألمانيا أيضاً اختلاف نظامها عن النظم الغربية من خلال تقديم الفحص مجاناً للجميع؛ الأمر الذي ساعدها على تخفيف حدّة الإصابات، واحتواء الجائحة إلى حدّ بعيد. ولكن ولا شكّ، فإنّ النموذج الأبرز والأهمّ في التصدّي لهذا الفيروس بخطوات متناسقة بين الحكومة والشعب والمؤسسات والعمل الطوعي هو الأنموذج الصينيّ، والذي أدهش العالم أولاً بحرص القيادة الصينية على وضع إنقاذ حياة البشر فوق كلّ اعتبار مهما كلّف ذلك الدولة من أعباء، كما أدهش العالم بالتقدم التكنولوجي الذي وصلت إليه  الصين، والذي تمّ استخدامه بذكاء ومهارة بالغَين لاكتشاف انتشار الفيروس وحصر الحالات وتضييق دائرة الانتشار.

كما أدهشت الصين العالم باستعداد شعبها للتطوّع والتضحية ووضع المصلحة العامة فوق كلّ اعتبار، وكذلك بتصرّفها المسؤول دولياً؛ بحيث وضعت نتائج أبحاثها في متابعة الأصول الجينية لهذا الفيروس في خدمة علماء العالم من أجل توفير الوقت واستكمال الأبحاث التي توصل العالم إلى اختراع اللقاح أو الدواء. وكانت الخطوات الصينية المتّخذة دائماً متاحة للجميع كي يتعلّموا منها، كما منعت السفر إطلاقاً خارج البلاد.

وحين انتشر الوباء في إيطاليا وإسبانيا وغيرها قدّمت الصين و روسيا و كوبا المساعدات السخية لهذه البلدان لمساعدتها على احتواء الجائحة والحدّ من انتشارها. لا شكّ في أنّ هذا المسار للأحداث قد كشف للعالم أجمع شخصية جمهورية الصين كبلد متقدّم حديث، ومع ذلك محافظ على إنسانيته وعلى دوره على الساحتين الإقليمية والدولية كعامل مساعد للأسرة الدولية وكعنصر فاعل فيها لمواجهة هذا الخطر القاتل.

ولا شكّ في أنّ الناس في كلّ أنحاء المعمورة بدأوا بإجراء المقارنات بين القوة العظمى، وهي الولايات المتحدة والتي تحاول دائماً تشويه صورة الصين، وبين الصين التي تظهر للمرّة الأولى على الساحة الدولية بكلّ مقدّراتها، ليس فقط الاقتصادية وإنما التعبوية والإنسانية والأخلاقية والقيمية التي تحكم كلّ تصرفاتها وأعمالها. بالمقابل، فإنّ الولايات المتحدة وإلى حدّ اليوم لم تستجب لنداءات العالم لرفع العقوبات عن الجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية، وعن الجمهورية العربية السورية، ودول أخرى أيضاً لتمكين هذه الدول من مواجهة هذا الوباء.

ومع أنّ المسؤولين في الولايات المتحدة يمارسون قوّتهم وسلطتهم لمنع الدواء عن هذه الدول، فهم لا يعلمون مدى خسارتهم الأخلاقية والقيمية، إذ لا يوجد عاقل في العالم يمكن أن يؤيدهم في استمرار هذه الإجراءات العقابية الظالمة أصلاً في الوقت الذي يعرفون فيه أنهم يسبّبون الموت لأناس أبرياء. وفي هذه الحال، وحالات لا تُحصى يُدرك الجميع في قرارة أنفسهم أنّ النظام الليبرالي يعيش أسوأ أزمات حياته وتاريخه، وأنّ الإعلام الغربي الذي كان يمجّد هذا النظام قبل كورونا لن يتمكّن من فعل ذلك بعد كورونا، وأنّ زمن كورونا قد يكون الإنذار الحقيقي لصلاحية الأنظمة الليبرالية، والتي برهنت خلال هذه الفترة أنها غير جديرة بأن تكون مؤتمنة على حياة البشر، وخاصةً الفقراء منهم.
ولعلّ إدراك مراكز الأبحاث الغربية لعمق هذه الحقيقة وأهميتها والتي ستزداد حضوراً في كلّ الساحات العالمية، هو الذي دفعها إلى تحويل الأنظار عمّا يجري في بلدانها، واختلاق التهم للصين، ورفع الدعاوى القضائية على الصين بذرائع وحجج واهية لا تصمد أبداً أمام المنطق السليم. وبدلاً من التركيز على نقاط ضعفها، والتي جعلت الولايات المتحدة الرقم الأول في عدد الوفيات، تلقي بأخطائها على الآخرين، وتحاول التعرّض للصين من خلال مسارين،الأوّل هو اتهام الصين بالمسؤولية عن انتشار الوباء، والثاني هو محاولة سحب الصناعات الأميركية من الصين كي يسهل استهدافها، وفي الحالتين وقبلهما بكثير، من الواضح أنّ مسؤولي الولايات المتحدة قلقون، وعلى مدى السنوات الأخيرة من التقدّم المطّرد الذي تحققه الصين في المجالات كافة، وخاصة في مجال التطوّر التكنولوجي والـ 5G على وجه التحديد. والسجالات الأميركية مليئة بمقولة: الصين هي العدوّ. وحتى حين تتمّ مقابلة مسؤول في  الكونغرس السؤال عن الصين هو سؤال أساسي لمعرفة موقفه من هذا الموضوع الأساسي الذي يشغل بالهم.

لا شكّ في أنّ البشرية اليوم على مفترق طرق، وفي الوقت الذي يصارع فيه معظم دول العالم للتخلّص من هذا الوباء، فإنّ الأمر الذي لا يقلّ أهمية هو إلى أين يتّجه العالم بعد القضاء على هذا الوباء؟ هل سيتّجه إلى الإفادة من الدروس التي وفّرتها هذه الأزمة، بحيث يعكف كلّ بلد أو طرف على معالجة نقاط ضعفه، وترميم جدرانه التي توشك على الانهيار؟ أم سيحاول إنكار الواقع والعودة إلى المكابرة والتضليل الإعلامي والذي دفعت البشرية ثمنه أرواحاً بريئة وفي أكثر من مكان، وإلقاء عبء المسؤولية على الآخرين، والدفع باتجاه حروب كي تغطّي نقاط الضعف هذه، وتشغل أذهان العالم بمعارك مصطنعة هدفها الهروب من الواقع وعدم مواجهته؟ إذا كانت المراجعة ضرورية في هذه المرحلة، فيجب أولاً مراجعة قرارات الحرب غير المشروعة، والتي دمّرت بلداناً بكاملها من أفغانستان إلى العراق وليبيا واليمن.

وإذا كان هناك من عدالة على الأرض، فيجب أن نرى هذه الشعوب البريئة والتي لم تقترفْ ذنباً تنال حقّها، كما يجب أن نرى وقف أسلوب العقوبات وتهديد سيادة الدول وسلامتها، سواء من خلال أدوات إرهابية مصطنعة، كما كانت الحال في سوريا وليبيا واليمن، أم من خلال التهديد المباشر لفنزويلا دولة وحكومة وشعباً اليوم، وللجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية أيضاً. وعلى الولايات المتحدة دفع تعويضات لضحايا حروبها الإرهابية والاقتصادية على سوريا والعراق وليبيا واليمن وكوبا وإيران وفنزويلا.

إذا كانت هناك دروس مستفادة يجب أن نستخلصها من أزمة كورونا الكاشفة، فهي أولاً وقبل كلّ شيء دروس يجب أن تعيد الاعتبار إلى كرامة الإنسان وإلى المنظومات القيمية والأخلاقية التي تعزّز سيادة الدول وكرامتها، وأن تُنتزع القدسيّة عن الإعلام الغربيّ الذي ينشر الأوهام عن النظم الليبرالية الغربية، والذي برهن خلال هذه المحنة أنه لا يتقن إلّا فنّ صناعة الثروات، وأنّ البشر والذين هم خلائف الله على الأرض يقعون في أدنى سلّم اهتماماته. في الوقت الذي أشرقت فيه شمس الصين على العالم من خلال هذه المحنة، وأظهرت التزاماً أخلاقياً ومجتمعيّاً، وتقدّماً مهنياً وتكنولوجياً، ومواكبة عراقة الحضارة لتسخير آخر مبتكرات الإنسان لإنقاذ حياة البشر وتأمين صحتهم وسلامتهم، لن يتمكّن أحد من إطفاء هذا الضوء الساطع. ومن العبث الانشغال بترّهات محاسبة أو محاولة تهميش ما أثبت الواقع أنّه حقيقة أكيدة ومقنعة، وفي هذا الإطار تبدو الحاجة ماسّة إلى تعاون دولي غير مسبوق يناقش كلّ هذه المعطيات والمستجدات، ويرسم خارطة طريق لتعاون دولي مستقبلي يستند إلى الرّكائز الواقعية التي أفرزها زمن كورونا بعيداً عن الإعلام الغربيّ المضلّل، وادّعاءات الديمقراطيات الليبرالية الغربيّة، التي استنزفت أسباب وجودها، وأصبحت الحاجة ملحّة اليوم إلى اجتراح نظام عالمي  جديد تسوده  الحكمة و  الإنسانية، وليس  المال والثروات المادّية.
 
   ( الاثنين 2020/04/13 SyriaNow)  

Solidarity in the Age of Coronavirus: What the Arabs Must Do

April 8, 2020

Using humble means, a refugee worker sterilizes the streets in Al-Shati refugee camp. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Ramzy Baroud

While the Coronavirus continues to ravage almost every nation on earth, Arab countries remain unable, or unwilling, to formulate a collective strategy to help the poorest and most vulnerable Arabs survive the deadly virus and its economic fallout.

Worse, amid growing international solidarity, we are yet to see a pan-Arab initiative that aims to provide material support to countries and regions that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 disease.

The lack of collective Arab responsiveness is not unique as it mirrors Europe’s own systematic failure, exhibiting ‘solidarity’ when it is financially convenient, and turning its back, sometimes at its own brethren, when there are no economic incentives.

For example, when Greece defaulted on its debt to international donors in 2015, Germany, and other European Union countries, pounced on the opportunity to dismantle the country’s major financial institutions and to profit from Athens’ mounting miseries.

All the talk of European solidarity, fraternity and community floundered at the altar of greed and unhindered profits.

That was not the first – nor will it be the last – occasion when the opportunistic EU showed its true colors. In truth, Europe is united, not by common history or unbreakable social bonds, but rather by the shared belief that a united Europe is a stronger economic unit.

The same sordid scenario was recently repeated. As Italy began buckling down under the unbearable burdens of the deadly Coronavirus, it immediately, and naturally, sought the help of its European sister states. To no avail.

Despite its sizable debt, Italy is a major player in the economic arena of Europe and, in fact, the world. Indeed, Italy is the world’s 8th largest economy. But the country’s economy is now experiencing a rare freefall, especially in the poorer regions of the South, where people are literally going hungry.

The first country to come to Italy’s aid was neither France, nor, unsurprisingly, Germany, but China, followed by Russia, then Cuba, and others.

This palpable lack of solidarity among European countries has further empowered the ethnocentric view already prevailing in Europe, and championed by far-right movements like Italy’s League Party of Matteo Salvini. For years, the latter has advocated against European integration.

It will take months, if not years, for the political fallout of the Coronavirus to be fully assessed. But what is already clear is that international and regional economic hubs are actively hedging their bets to consolidate their geopolitical positions in the post-Coronavirus world.

Despite bashful American attempts to join the politically-motivated international solidarity, US President Donald Trump’s humble moves arrived too little, too late. In fact, a sign of the times is that Chinese and Russian aid is pouring in to help the United States, which now has the world’s largest number of COVID-19 cases.

A compelling question, however, is where are the Arabs in all of this?

Italy and Spain, in particular, share historical and cultural bonds, and broad political interests, with many Arab countries, interests that will remain long after the Coronavirus is eradicated. Failing to register on the radar of international solidarity with Italy and Spain will prove a strategic miscalculation.

Israel, on the other hand, is activating its aid agency, IsraAID, which has previously worked in Italy between 2016 and 2019, after a major earthquake killed nearly 300 people and left behind massive infrastructural damage.

Israel uses ‘humanitarian aid’ as a political and propaganda tool. Israeli missions are often under-funded and short-lasting, but their impact is greatly amplified by a powerful, official media machine that tries to project Israel as a ‘peace-maker’, not a war-monger.

The truth is, some Arab governments do, in fact, provide badly needed funds and aid to countries that are devastated by wars or natural disasters; alas, these efforts are often disorganized and self-centered – and frankly, not at all motivated by true solidarity.

That said, the absence of Arab initiatives in the field of international humanitarian solidarity dwarf in comparison to the lack of Arab solidarity within the Arab world itself.

According to United Nation estimates, there are “101.4 million (people) in the region who already live in poverty, according to official criteria, and around 52 million undernourished.”

A new policy brief issued on April 1 by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), projects that an additional 8.3 million people are set to join the poor and undernourished masses throughout the Arab world.

Aside from empty rhetoric and useless press releases, we are yet to witness a major collective Arab initiative, championed by, for example, the Arab League, to provide an Arab equivalent to the many economic stimulus plans that have been set into motion in many other countries and regions around the world.

Late March, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, issued a ‘global ceasefire appeal’, pleading to the world, especially to warring Middle Eastern nations, to cease fire and to unite all efforts in one single war against the Coronavirus.

Sadly, that call has so far gone unheeded. The war in Libya is escalating, not subsiding; Israeli killing of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank continues unabated; the flood of refugees out of Syria, Turkey, and other Middle Eastern countries is yet to slow down.

Times of crisis, especially the kind that targets all of us regardless of race, religion, or geography, often constitute a wake-up call, present an opportunity for a new beginning, a new social contract so that we may resurrect from the ashes of our collective pain to build a better world.

Let COVID-19 be that opportunity that will allow all nations, especially in the Middle East, to take a stance against war, hunger and disease, to share their wealth and to extend the hand of solidarity to Africa and our historic allies throughout the world.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

China rolls out the Health Silk Road

China rolls out the Health Silk Road

April 02, 2020

by Pepe Escobar – Posted with permission

In the Belt and Road framework, China is supplying much of the world including virus-hit Europe with medicine and healthcare items

When President Xi Jinping was on a phone call in mid-March with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti, before the arrival of a China Eastern flight from Shanghai to Milan full of medical help, the key takeaway was the Chinese pledge to develop a Health Silk Road (Jiankang Sichou Zhilu).

That was in fact already inbuilt in the Belt and Road Initiative playbook since at least 2017, under the framework of enhanced, pan-Eurasian health connectivity. The pandemic only accelerated the timeline. The Health Silk Road will run in parallel to the multiple overland Silk Road corridors and the Maritime Silk Road.

In a graphic demonstration of soft power, so far China has offered Covid-19-related equipment and medical help to no fewer than 89 nations – and counting.

That covers Africa (especially South Africa, Namibia and Kenya, with Alibaba in fact announcing it will send help to all African nations); Latin America (Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Peru); the arc from East Asia to Southwest Asia; and Europe.Key recipients in Europe include Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Serbia and Poland. But Italy, most of all, is a very special case. Most are donations. Some are trade – like millions of masks sold to France (and the US).

Less than a year ago Italy became the first G-7 nation to sign a memorandum of understanding formally joining Belt and Road – much to the displeasure of Washington and the Atlanticist galaxy in Brussels and beyond.

Earlier this year in Sicily, I discussed these intricacies in detail with Enrico Fardella, Professor of History at Peking University  and an expert on China-Mediterranean relations.

Italy is supported on myriad fronts – not only at the highest political level but also via the Chinese Red Cross, Sino-Italian associations, tech/logistics Chinese companies and donations from Alibaba, Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo. There are three Chinese medical teams in Italy at the moment.

This all ties up with the larger Belt and Road picture, featuring investments in Genoa and Trieste, two key ports and future Belt and Road nodes.

A performance of a Puccini opera whose story focuses on the illness and death of a lovely seamstress is canceled, ironically due to coronavirus, at the Verdi theater in Trieste. China has made investments in Trieste and Genoa, two key ports and future Belt and Road nodes, and now it is providing medical aid to Italy as part of its newer, parallel Health Silk Roads scheme. Photo: AFP / Jacopo Landi / NurPhoto

This Chinese soft power offensive is carefully calibrated to offset the current paralysis of global supply chains. China is now working overtime to supply many parts of the world with medicine and related healthcare items – always with the Belt and Road framework in mind, as if doubling down on Globalization 2.0.

That spells out the interconnectivity of nations that badly need development and infrastructure along with the need for good health systems and practices.

And that prepares the terrain for, when Covid-19 is more or less tamed and the Chinese economy fully recovered, the Belt and Road reboot: an inexorable historic trend based on a new economic model that Beijing deems more equitable, and in the interests of the Global South.

‘Chinese lie

A Health Silk Road is already in effect when we see China, Russia – and Cuba with its first-class health system – sending teams of doctors and virologists as well as planes with medical equipment to Italy, and China sending drugs, test kits and supplies to illegally sanctioned Iran.

China immediately understood what was at stake as it saw Covid-19 ravage many hot points of world-famous Made in Italy. With its offer of skilled, cheaper manufacturing, China had initially lured key Italian fashion houses to outsource their production to China, and most of all to Wuhan.

The connectivity – which has been there for decades – works both ways. Chinese investors started to arrive in northern Italy in the early 1990s. They bought a string of factories; renovated them; created their own, top Made in Italy brands; and brought in tens of thousands of skilled Chinese seamstresses to work in these factories.

There are plenty of direct flights from Wuhan to Lombardy – to serve at least 300,000 Chinese who have moved permanently to Italy to work in Chinese-owned factories producing Made in Italy.

So it’s no wonder Doctor Giuseppe Remuzzi, director of the Mario Negri Pharmacology Institute in Milan, became a superstar in China.  In an interview that went viral, Remuzzi talks about his explosive findings in conversations with general practitioners in Lombardy.

Here’s Dr. Remuzzi, at 4:19:  “Do you know what happened? Certain family doctors, who have the best antennas in the territory, at least the most able and attentive ones, have told me recently that they were seeing grave cases of pneumonia, which we had never seen in other years.

These pneumonia cases had nothing to do with typical flu pneumonia, they were interstitial pneumonias, they had to do CT, radiography [to diagnose it], and this was seen in October, November, December. So this virus has been circulating a long time.”

That was indeed in parallel with or even before the first coronavirus cases in Wuhan in mid-November. It’s been already scientifically established that the virus strains in Wuhan and in Lombardy are different. Which came first, and where from, remains a matter of incendiary debate.

Inevitably the Health Silk Road would have to be dismissed by the Atlanticist gang as a disinformation ploy exploiting the pandemic to “destabilize” and weaken Europe. That’s the narrative promoted by EUvsDisinfo, an NGO whose personnel love to blast Russia and China for a living.

So for the Brussels bureaucracy, the Health Silk Road is not about saving lives; it’s about “destabilizing” the EU and improving Xi Jinping’s domestic image after China lied, lied and lied again about the extent and severity of coronavirus. That happens to be the exact same narrative of the Trump administration, US corporate media and US intelligence.

Does it matter? Not for those 89 nations that are receiving much-needed help and equipment. The dogs of demonization bark while the Health Silk Road caravan passes.

The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Another Reminder of Western Barbarianism

The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Another Reminder of Western Barbarianism 

By Darko Lazar

During the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999, the Western military alliance devastated the country’s civilian infrastructure. The long list of targets included 19 hospitals, 18 kindergartens, 176 cultural monuments and 44 bridges. 

Several weeks into the military campaign, which was fiercely opposed by Russia and China, a total of five satellite-guided bombs, delivered by American B-2 bombers, slammed into the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. 

The attack on the symbol of Chinese sovereignty in the heart of the Balkans killed three Chinese nationals and wounded twenty others. 

Washington and Brussels claimed the attack was a mistake. But NATO’s increasingly bloody push eastwards would have unintended consequences. 

The Belt and Road Initiative vs. Western dictates 

Just a few months after the bombing of Serbia, Russia’s President Boris Yeltsin was quietly pushed out of office and replaced by the relatively unknown Vladimir Putin.

When Putin won his first election in 2000, he is rumored to have had two inauguration ceremonies. One was held in full view of the global media and another unfolded in the Kremlin’s underground chambers. 

There he was joined by a small group of Russian military officers and operatives from the country’s security apparatus. These men understood that it was only a matter of time before NATO bombs started falling on downtown Moscow, and the decision had been made to confront Western expansionism. 

In the years that followed, China and Russia would join hands with Iran to suppress American influence though the creation of a Eurasian union made up of sovereign and independent nations. 

This ambitious scheme reached Serbia in the form of Russian military hardware and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. 

Beijing found a reliable partner in the government of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, and in less than a decade, the Chinese poured billions of dollars in investments into the Balkan state. 

The investments propped up critical industries in Serbia, including a copper mine, a steelmaker, and a thermal power plant. While safeguarding tens of thousands of jobs and driving much-needed growth, the Chinese were also building new bridges, roads, and ports. 

Meanwhile, Vucic adopted an intelligent foreign policy – one made possible by the reemergence of a multipolar world. He reached out to both east and west and then took the best deal on the table. But the West had little to offer. 

Most of the exchanges with Brussels consisted of dictates. No longer able to bomb embassies, the West demanded Belgrade introduce ‘political reforms’ and restrict Chinese investments. 

Western political elites remained convinced that China and Russia have nothing to offer countries like Serbia that could rival joining ‘democratic’ Western alliances. 

The coronavirus pandemic delivered yet another serious blow to this arrogant and abominable point of view.     

Solidarity and fairytales

As coronavirus infections spiked dramatically across Europe earlier this month, Vucic declared that “European solidarity does not exist.” 

“This was a fairytale on paper,” Vucic said as he announced a state of emergency in his country. “Today I sent a special letter to the only ones who can help, and that is China.” 

He explained that he asked Chinese President Xi Jinping “not only as a dear friend, but as a brother” to provide Serbia desperately needed assistance after the EU imposed a ban on exports of medical equipment.  

Once again, when time came for building bridges instead of destroying them, the great humanitarians of the West had nothing to offer. Meanwhile, Chinese gear and experts flooded Serbia virtually overnight.

Beijing’s assistance and strict measures imposed by the government early on helped Serbia stave off disaster.   

But Serbia isn’t the only country receiving planeloads of supplies from the east. Chinese medical equipment is being sent to Iran, Iraq, and a number of European states including Italy where over 10,000 people have thus far perished due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Italy – the first EU state to embrace the Belt and Road Initiative in 2019 – turned to China after its plea for help from its European neighbors was refused. 

Similar acts of solidarity came from the Russians and some Latin American states. The Cubans flew their doctors to Italy and were asked to return to Brazil where they were expelled in 2018 and labeled “Communist spies” by the right-wing government of Jair Bolsonaro. 

Meanwhile, Western powerhouses are looking inwards. As they cling onto stocks depleted by years of healthcare cuts, the Trump administration was reportedly caught offering piles of money for ‘exclusive rights’ to a Covid-19 vaccine.

Imprisoned by their own twisted interpretations of human rights, many of these governments were slow to react. They hesitated in following the Chinese model and imposing drastic restrictions on freedom of movement. Instead they were worried about profits and how the stock markets would react. 

And even as the U.S. becomes the new epicenter of this pandemic, President Donald Trump expressed his readiness to potentially risk millions of American lives by reopening the country in just a few weeks.

This brutal face of capitalism is also on full display for Washington’s adversaries, namely Iran and Venezuela, where unilateral sanctions are preventing the delivery of desperately needed medical supplies.  

As such, Western governments and their policies are not only endangering individual nation states. At a time when a highly infectious disease is spreading at an unprecedented speed, these policies are threatening the entire global population. 

De omnibus dubitandum est

Despite extensive global coverage of this pandemic, very little is actually known about Covid-19. We don’t know how dangerous the virus is or its concrete consequences. And we certainly don’t have tangible details about what caused the outbreak. 

This leaves plenty of room for speculation, conspiracy theories, and even talk about aliens. Whatever the truth, biological warfare involving powerful political currents can never be ruled out. 

In an op-ed published more than two years ago, Al-Ahed pointed to the existence of hundreds of American military biological laboratories across the Eurasian continent. The labs were being used by the Pentagon to gather intelligence on microorganisms – vital for the creation of highly effective biological weapons. 

There is no doubt that the coronavirus transcends borders and religions and doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor. But that doesn’t mean that the virus isn’t helping further certain political agendas. 

The coronavirus has done what “Israel’s” politicians have failed to do for over a year. It’s brought an end to the political deadlock with indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set to form the next government. 

By bringing the global economy to a screeching halt, Covid-19 has given birth to another Great Depression and paved the way for the collapse of certain governments. 

Equally important is the fact that the virus has the potential to determine the outcome of every single election process in the Western world for some time to come, including the U.S. presidential race. 

At times like these, it would be wise to remember the words of the late Danish philosopher Soren Aabye Kierkegaard who titled one of his books, De omnibus dubitandum est or “everything must be doubted”. 

Al-Jaafari calls for lifting economic coercive measures imposed on Syria in the light of coronavirus outbreak globally

Monday, 30 March 2020 17:15 

ST

New York, (ST)_Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, called for lifting the illegitimate economic, coercive measures imposed on Syria and other states, particularly after the spread of Coronavirus in the world. 

Al-Jaafari, speaking at a UN Security council session on the situation in Syria via video, said that the continuation of the economic sanctions stresses the hypocrisy adopted by some sides in dealing with the humanitarian situation in Syria and those states. 

He thanked the People’s Republic of China, for presiding over the work of the Council in these difficult and exceptional circumstances, and for China’s efforts in assisting 89 member states affected by the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, in a true embodiment of the values and meanings of international cooperation, humanitarian feeling and impartial implementation of the responsibility of the Presidency of the Council in maintaining international peace and security under the provisions of the Charter. 

Al-Jaafari expressed hope to jointly overcome the catastrophic repercussions of this pandemic. This pandemic has united our peoples away from the efforts of some governments to create a rift between them, and revealed the fragility of the international structures that have existed since the end of the Second World War, and their inability to serve humanity and mankind. 

In this context, the Syrian delegation reiterated its strong condemnation of the unilateral economic coercive measures used by some governments of member states of this organization as a weapon in their sinful war against Syria, and on other member states, which prevent, among other things, the Syrians and their medical healthcare workers from obtaining their basic needs to prevent this pandemic and dealing with possible cases of infection, as well as preventing the provision of food needs and basic services to Syrians. 

“Persistence of imposing these unjust coercive measures that violate international law, the Charter of the United Nations and human rights instruments, and not responding to our repeated requests to end them, the most recent of which is contained in the joint letter sent by the Permanent Representatives of eight countries: China, Cuba, DPRK, Nicaragua, Iran, Russia, Syria and Venezuela to His the Secretary-General on 25 March 2020, demonstrate once again, what we have always emphasized in terms of hypocrisy that some have adopted in dealing with the humanitarian situation in my country and other countries. In this regard, my delegation welcomes the prompt positive response of the Secretary-General to the initiative of the eight countries,” al-Jaafari said. 

He added that Syria has received recently a number of high ranking officials of international organizations partnering with the Syrian government in humanitarian work, including Mrs. Henrietta Four, UNICEF Executive Director, and Mr. David Paisley, Executive Director of the World Food Program, Mr. Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The discussions with them were positive, and included stressing the pursuit of joint cooperation, in a manner consistent with the principles of non-politicized humanitarian action, and the willingness of the Syrian government to facilitate access to all parts of the country from within Syrian territory and through a mechanism that includes alongside the Syrian state both the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to ensure that aid reaches those who deserve it and that it does not reach terrorists. 

“Syria has affirmed to its partners the necessity to compel the Turkish regime and its affiliated terrorist organizations to stop their crimes, and to enable the Syrian civilians detained by these terrorist organizations in some areas of Idleb to return to their homes in areas liberated from terrorism, and to provide immediate assistance to them from inside Syria, and support national efforts to normalize life once again,” al-Jaafari affirmed. 

He went on to say that Syria stresses that it is unacceptable to allow the terrorism-sponsoring Turkish regime to take advantage of the suffering of the Syrian refugees and use them as a bargaining card to blackmail Europe and pressure European governments to support this regime militarily under the umbrella of NATO or to give it advantages and privileges of European Union countries. It is also unacceptable to tolerate the Turkish regime’s support for terrorism and to transfer publicly, without shame, terrorists from Idleb to Libya and to other countries, after it had transferred, several years ago, many terrorists from Libya to Syria. 

“The Syrian delegation again draws the kind attention of the Security Council to the fact that the doors of Syria are wide open to receive Syrian refugees to return to their homeland, and that the Syrian state has created all conditions to ensure a dignified return to them,” al-Jaafari said. 

He condemned the prevention by the American forces and their affiliated terrorist gangs, which occupy al-Tanf area in which the Rukban camp is located, of the return of displaced persons in the camp to their chosen areas of residence. The Syrian government reaffirms its full readiness to facilitate their return and rid them of the inhuman conditions in which they live, and the exploitation of American occupation forces and their tools, which claim that they are unwilling to return. 

“The terrorist organizations supported by the Turkish regime still impose their control on some areas of Idleb Governorate,” al-Jaafari added. 

He went on to say that on Monday, March 16th, 2020, those terrorist organizations, supported by the Turkish occupation forces, attacked the facilities of humanitarian NGOs in the cities of Idleb and Ariha in northwest Syria, looting and seizing their assets, and assaulting their volunteers. 

“In my letter sent to your good self on March 24th, 2020, I conveyed to you that Erdogan’s regime and its terrorist proxies continue to use water as war weapon against civilians in Al-Hassaka city and surrounding congregations north-east Syria. It keeps cutting of the water from Allok station and its wells which prevents million Syrian civilians, the majority of which is children and women, from drinking water. This is a war crime especially in the time we are all trying to avoid the spread of COVID-19 pandemic,” al-Jaafari said. 

He stressed that some member states and OCHA were dead silent in dealing with such information, while they broke all hell loose because of alleged rumors of Gaziantep office, which became a hub for terrorist organizations and their supporting countries with the sole aim of tarnishing the image of the Syrian government. 

“In the phone call between the Syrian and the Russian presidents, on March 6th 2020, my government welcomed the achievements of the Russian leadership on March 5th, that adds to the efforts aiming to guarantee the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria expressed in the latest agreement. Furthermore, the agreement stressed the necessity of combating terrorism. The Syrian government has been fully committed to all ceasefire agreements that were concluded previously, and this also applies to the recent Moscow agreement concerning Idleb. Although we do not trust the Turkish part, that has not honored the two year- old Astana agreements, nor Sochi agreement that was concluded a year and a half ago before Moscow agreement, we are looking forward to the full and timely implementation of Moscow agreement by the Turkish regime’s terrorist groups, since it has guaranteed their commitment, the Syrian diplomat said. 

He underlined that Pederson has just conveyed to the UN that the Syrian national delegation accepted the agenda to continue the work of the constitutional committee. “Thus, the other party no longer has any excuse to evade its responsibilities, especially that its empty maneuvers and futile attempts were behind the impediment of the constitutional committee work. We were also informed that during the last period, the Syrian national delegation has suggested many proposals for an agenda according to the rules of procedure, but they were all rejected without any explanation, which led to the disruption of the Committee’s third session, until now,” al-Jaafari concluded.

«كورونا» حليف حميمٌ للعقوبات الأميركيّة

د. وفيق إبراهيم

مئات ملايين البشر تخضع دولهم لعقوبات أميركيّة اقتصادية فيجدون صعوبات قاسية في مجابهة جائحة الكورونا، لكنهم لا يدّخرون وسيلة لمقاومته، ويسجلون عجزاً تدريجيّاً متصاعداً بسبب الحصار الأميركي المفروض عليهم والذي تلتزم به معظم البلدان الخاضعة للنفوذ الأميركي او التي ترتبط معهم بعلاقات اقتصادية قوية.

هذا الوضع يتيح لكورونا فرصة الانتشار فلا يكتفي بالقضاء على المسنّين في الدول المحاصرة بل بدأ بضرب الشباب ومتوسطي الأعمار بما يهدّد بكوارث على مستوى تدمير الدول بأسرها وقد تتّسع لتصيب برذاذها أجزاء واسعة من الحضارة الإنسانية.

أمام هذه المخاطر الواسعة تزعم الدول الكبرى أنها بصدد القضاء على كورونا، وتكشف نفسها عندما يتبين أن مشاريعها لمجابهة الوباء تقتصر على مجالها الوطني، وتجهد لاكتشاف لقاحات سريعة وعلاجات للاستثمار الاحتكاري فقط وليس لمكافحته على مستوى الإنسانية.

ألم تظهر قمة العشرين التي انعقدت بطريقة الإنترنت والهواتف في السعودية للتنسيق في مجابهة هذه الجائحة، وتبين أنها ليست إلا قمة افتراضية لوضع خطط تحتاج الى بضع سنين لتنفيذها، وترمي الى المحافظة على النفوذ الأميركي المهدّد من كورونا من جهة والتراجع الأميركي في الشرق الاوسط من جهة ثانية.

اما اللافت في هذه القمة فكانت الكلمة التي طالب فيها الرئيس الروسي بوتين بفتح طرق الغذاء والدواء والإمدادات لكل الدول المصابة والمحاصرة، فيما تجاهل رئيس القمة الهاتفية الملك سلمان هذا الأمر وتولى إعلامه التركيز على رفض تأمين فرص لعودة الإرهاب من جديد داعياً الى استمرار العقوبات على أكثر من بلد على رأسها إيران.

فما لم يكشفه سلمان بصراحة أوضحته وسائل إعلامه مع الاعلام الاميركي – الانجليزي بإصرارهم على عدم الربط بين مجابهة كورونا وإلغاء العقوبات الأميركية على أكثر من سبع دول يصل بعضها الى حدود الخنق. فكيف تكافح هذه الدول المستهدفة هذا الوباء المدمر والوباء الاميركي المفترس في آن معاً، فالحصار يمنع استيراد إمكانات لمقاومة الوباء، لكن اميركا ومعها السعودية لها رأي آخر يزعم بأن من يريد الاستسلام للنفوذ الاميركي بالإمكان السماح له باستيراد ادوات المجابهة.

مَن هي هذه الدول المعرّضة لانتشار واسع لكورونا فيها؟

إنها سورية واليمن والعراق وإيران وغزة في فلسطين المحتلة وفنزويلا وكوريا، وهناك أيضاً عقوبات تضرب الصين وروسيا، لكنها لا تؤثر فيهما كثيراً.

لجهة سورية، فتخضع لحصار أميركي – أوروبي يمنع عنها استيراد الغذاء والدواء والمحروقات بذريعة انتشار الإرهاب وتهريب السلاح.

وتساهم تركيا باحتلالها معظم المناطق الحدودية بهذا الحصار أيضاً مع قوات أميركية وأخرى كردية، تقطع أيضاً حدودها مع العراق، هذا بالاضافة الى مراقبة أميركية دقيقة لحدودها مع الاردن، ولبنان بدوره يطبّق التعاليم الأميركية بالامتناع عن التعامل الاقتصادي مع سورية.

فتصبح كامل حدودها البحرية من جهة جبل طارق والبرية من لبنان الى الاردن فالعراق وتركيا كلها مقفلة امام حركة الدواء والغذاء والامدادات الاخرى.

كذلك فإن إيران تخضع لعقوبات أميركية مدمّرة تطبقها أيضاً اوروبا والهند وبلدان أخرى خوفاً من الضغط الأميركي عليها وتشمل الغذاء والدواء وبيع النفط والإمدادات المختلفة، حنى تكاد تكون أسوأ عقوبات معروفة في التاريخ، لذلك فإن الصراع الاميركي – الإيراني يشمل بمداه المنطقة بأسرها.

وبما ان إيران بلد مترامي الأطراف فقد تمكنت حتى الآن من الصمود على الرغم من انتشار وباء كورونا فيها.

وهذا لم ينجح في تليين العقوبات الأميركية عليها والتحريض السعودي – الإماراتي الذي يستهدفها.

بدوره اليمن يتعرض لحصار اميركي – سعودي مدعوم من الاساطيل المصرية والاسرائيلية والطيران الانجليزي.

فتصبح صورة دولة صنعاء بحدود مقفلة من الشمال والشرق والجنوب وليس لديها إلا شريط ساحلي ضيق في الساحل الغربي عند مدينة الحديثة، لكن الحصار البحري عليها يمنعها من نقل مواد غذائية وادوية لمجابهة كورونا.

كذلك فإن العراق الذي تحتل القوات الاميركية قسماً منه لا يستطيع مجابهة كورونا بسبب الإقفال الاميركي لحدوده مع سورية والاردن والسعودية والكويت.

فتبقى غزة في فلسطين المحتلة فتتعرّض لأسوأ حصار اميركي – اسرائيلي مصري يقفل البر الفلسطيني في وجهها والبحر المتوسط وحدودها مع مصر ما يجعلها عاجزة عن مقاومة كورونا، كما ان الاميركيين يحاصرون فنزويلا وكوبا ويمنعان عنهما الاستيراد والتصدير إلا بشكل نسبي، وبدوريهما تسجلان عجزاً عن مكافحة وباء الكورونا الا بالقليل مما يمتلكانه من مواد تعقيمية وعلاجية.

بذلك يتبين علاقة الحصار والمقاطعة الاميركية في اضعاف امكانية العديد من البلدان في مكافحة كورونا. فتحاول الاستفادة من انتشاره لإسقاط هذه الدول التي تقف عائقاً دون السيطرة الكاملة على الشرق الاوسط. الامر الذي يؤكد السقوط الكامل لعصر الاخلاق والقيم الانسانية وسياسة عصر الرأسمالية المتوحشة.

هناك دول تتعرّض لعقوبات اميركية مثل تركيا وروسيا والصين، لكنها عقوبات خفيفة تمس بعض المرافق في هذه الدول بشكل لا يخنقها بل يحاول تأديبها فقط.

فهل تظهر حركة تمرد دولية على هذه العقوبات الاحادية الاميركية؟ هناك بداية تضعضع في جبهة الغرب الصناعية مع دعوات روسية الى إلغاء العقوبات لمجابهة جائحة العصر، الأمر الذي يشجع على ولادة عالم متعدد القطب هو الآلية الوحيدة القادرة على إنهاء العقوبات والعودة الى القانون الدولي.

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