Why are Western leaders gawd awful bad and China’s so darn competent? Part II. China Rising Radio Sinoland 190807

Why are Western leaders gawd awful bad and China’s so darn competent? Part II. China Rising Radio Sinoland 190807

August 08, 2019

By Jeff J. Brown for The Saker Blog

Crosslinked with:

https://chinarising.puntopress.com/2019/08/07/why-are-western-leaders-gawd-awful-bad-and-chinas-so-darn-competent%ef%bc%9fpart-ii-china-rising-radio-sinoland-190807/

https://soundcloud.com/44-days/why-are-western-leaders-gawd-awful-bad-and-chinas-so-darn-competent-part-ii

Pictured here: my Sun Yat-Sen hat I wear, to which I have pinned the iconic Mao Zedong silhouette badge. Below his bust is his famous mantra, “Serve the People”, written in his very recognizable calligraphic style. Many people do not notice, but on the back is the millennial governance motto, “Preserve the Peace”. Walking around the streets and in buildings here, you can see Mao’s famous calligraphic chant all over the place. Nothing has changed about governance in China for 5,000 years.

In the first part of this essay, I showed why Western leaders are generally so bad (https://chinarising.puntopress.com/2019/07/30/why-are-western-leaders-gawd-awful-bad-and-chinas-so-darn-competent-part-i-china-rising-radio-sinoland-190730/). The one sentence answer is they are almost always suborned to serve the interests of the 1% at the expense of the 99%.

There is a corollary explanation for this. European cultures and their spinoffs in the rest of Eurangloland, including Israel are founded on violence and theft. If you don’t believe this goes back to the Jewish Torah/Christian Old Testament, here is a quick review of Westerners’ predilection for killing, destroying, plundering first and asking questions later (http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html and http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=21).

I created a comparative Excel table using Wikipedia’s pages on Conflicts in Europe, United States and China(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Europehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_the_United_States and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Asia#Mainland_China_(People’s_Republic_of_China). Europe’s list has 760 entries, the US’s 250 and China’s 315. Europe’s long list really starts in 1,100BC and does not include all of the genocidal horrors in the Torah/Old Testament before that. The US’s only starts in 1775, which is wishful propaganda. As Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz clearly proves in her book, A Native Peoples’ History of the United States, genocidal wars to exterminate the many millions of First Nations’ peoples started Day One with the colonial landing at Jamestown in 1607. and the killing has never stopped. China’s goes back to 2,500BC, so is over twice as long as Europe’s and compared to the US, almost ten times longer.

To sum up, Europe’s list of conflicts dates back 3,100 years and lists 760, the US’s starts 230 years ago, with 250 conflicts and China’s starts over 4,500 years ago and has 315. Interestingly, one-third of all China’s conflicts happened during its century of humiliation, 1839-1949, when the West terrorized and plundered the country, while addicting one-fourth of the people to opium, morphine and heroin.

This, while the West’s numbers are probably grossly understated, since over the centuries, it has committed thousands of government overthrows, invasions and occupations to protect colonial businesses around the world.

The above statistics speak for themselves. Eurangloland, including Israel conducts its business and trade using violence and expropriation. China, no. This contrast is even more remarkable, when looking at landmass and populations. When the Roman Empire was at its greatest expansion, 200AD, China had six times as much land and nine times as many people, but clearly was experiencing much less conflict, not nine times as much.

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As the above chart shows, China has always had many more people than Europe, yet has lived with much less violence and plunder. This is because European cultures are founded on genocide, slavery and the violent plunder of other peoples’ natural resources. For 5,000 years, Chinese civilization has been based on agriculture, animal husbandry and mutually profitable cross border trade.

Proof of this is ample. The Chinese Asian land and African maritime Silk Roads predate Jesus Christ and they did not send out armies to rape and plunder their neighbors, like Alexander the Great, the Christian Crusades and onto modern colonialism and robber baron capitalism. The Chinese conducted state diplomacy, traded goods and technology.

If the Chinese had the same DNA for violence and theft that Westerners do, we’d all be speaking Mandarin today. The Chinese were sailing the high seas many centuries before the rest of the world and had Star Wars weapons compared to Europe and elsewhere, with advanced guns, powerful cannons, rocket propelled grenades, flame throwers, sea and land mines, not to mention chemical and biological bombs. They were so far ahead of the rest of the world in military and other technologies, that they could have easily crushed every city and people they came into contact with, like defenseless bugs. Yet, they fanned out across the planet and no one was ever attacked, unless the Chinese visitors were attacked first, which happened very rarely, given what they arrived with. They just wanted to do win-win business and exchange technology.

Westerners and Israelis can only think about other peoples in terms of war and exploitation. Since that is their world vision, they cannot assimilate the Chinese’s millennia of external non-violence and, Let’s do some business ethos. Cognitive dissonance overwhelms Euranglolanders when this is shown them and they sink into denial and self-serving mythology. They fall back on moral equivalence, Well, everybody else does it too. Not true, American Natives, Africans, and Asians (excepting the Christianized Genghis Khan family and Japan adopting the Western imperial playbook during its Meiji Restoration) have not blanketed the planet like killer locusts, devouring everything within their reach. Only Euranglolanders have done this and continue to do so.

This concept of Chinese governance and international trade goes back millennia, with the Confucist-Daoist-Buddhist concept of ren, which means forbearance, relenting and retreating. You will never begin to understand how and why the Chinese live and work, until you wrap your head around ren (忍). Ren is also the Chinese foundation for governing the country and leading the people. I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read/listen/watch these articles (https://chinarising.puntopress.com/2019/07/20/wests-hong-kong-color-revolution-still-making-a-mess-of-the-place-and-totally-backfiring-china-rising-radio-sinoland-190720/ and http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/11/10/all-the-chinese-people-want-is-respect-aretha-franklin-diplomacy-on-china-rising-radio-sinoland-171110/).

Great governments in China are the ones that have (and continue to) work for the 99%, first, second and third, maintaining social harmony, economic prosperity, securing the country’s borders and avoiding war at all cost. Avoiding war and running a lean administration meant being able to keep taxes low, in the form of grain sent to government storehouses for redistribution during droughts, so the masses had enough eat well and sell their surplus to buy household goods.

In China’s pre-liberation era, this system was feudal, meaning wealthy land owners and bourgeois gentry had to be reigned in, to not demand too much grain for land use. Thus, China’s leaders were also expected to protect the 99% from local exploitation. This of course did not always happen. There were many regional conflicts and if national or local government authority weakened or was corrupt, the landlords could plunder the peasants, as well as become warlords in their areas.

Warlords on the loose were often a harbinger of a Chinese government that had lost its Heavenly Mandate. Democracy in Chinese is very responsive to the 99%’s needs. If the leaders can’t keep the peace, harmony and maintain the territorial integrity of the nation, then the masses have the right to “grab bamboo spears”, attack government centers and demand a new administration. This happened countless times over thousands of years at the local, provincial, regional and national level.

Maybe now you can have a little appreciation for why Chinese civilization has always had “big government”, from the dynastic center down to the local villages. No leaders can hope to govern effectively for the benefit of the 99% otherwise. This is why Western elites love “small government” neoliberalism, since it gives them a license to kill and plunder at will. What is important to understand, when comparing Chinese governance to Eurangloland’s is what the expectations were and are to this day. In China, it’s taking care of the little guy. In the West, it’s serving the wealthy elites, for them to accumulate more and more money property, possessions and power.

When Admiral Zheng He sailed around the world generations before Columbus and the Europeans, his massive flotilla reportedly had an anthology of China’s great books, totaling 200,000 pages, including the art of good governance. This was to show and tell with all the different governments and peoples they met, going from port to port.

China’s magnum opus for good governance comes from the 6th century AD, during the Tang Dynasty. A young emperor at the time was Taizong. Having gained the throne after his father, and having already learned to be a successful general, he realized that running a country and keeping the 99% safe and prosperous was a huge undertaking. Thus, he decided to collect all the ancient books on good governance and peacekeeping, going back to the beginnings of Chinese literature in 2,600BC and from them, generate an anthology of the best passages. The sources included 14,000 books and 89,000 written scrolls. The result was the Qunshu Zhiyao (群书治要), which can be translated as the Compilation of Books and Writings on Important Governing Principles. It totals 500,000 words and covers sixty five categories of good governance and peacekeeping.

In the preface of this 1,400 year-old collection, one of Emperor Taizong’s compiling advisors wrote,

When used in the present, (it) allows us to examine and learn from our ancient history; when passed down to our descendants,(it) will help them learn valuable lessons in life.

Taizong himself was ecstatic about the work, saying,

The collection has helped me learn from the ancients. When confronted with issues, I am very certain of knowing what to do. This is all due to your efforts, my advisors.

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Above: stylistic rendition of Tang Emperor Taizong, showing his successful military past in the background and thereafter, his forward thinking good governance and peacekeeping in the foreground.

Of course, over five millennia of civilizational history, China has had its fair share of megalomaniacs, psychopaths, corrupted and incompetents in positions of power, both government and military. But, as the Qunshu Zhiyao instructs, the ideals of good governance and peacekeeping are all about social harmony, economic prosperity and avoiding war at all cost, so politicians and leaders of this stripe are the outliers, not the mainstream, as is the case in Eurangloland. Western elites work hard to put megalomaniacs, psychopaths, corrupt and incompetent people in positions of power, since these latter can be manipulated to serve the previous’ interests. Politicians who practice ren and strive for social harmony, economic prosperity and peacekeeping are Eurangloland’s worst enemies. To wit, China’s Xi Jinping, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani, DPRK’s Kim Jong-Un and every other socialist/anti-imperialist leader across the globe.

To learn more about why Chinese leaders are often so competent – yesterday, today and tomorrow – you can download below and read a book of excerpts from the Qunshu Zhiyao, put out for free by the Malaysian publishing house, Chung Hua Cultural Education Centre. Just glancing over a few of its 1,400-year-old section titles tells you that the people’s expectations of a Chinese leader are not what the 99% usually gets in the West,

Be careful of military actions
Be frugal and diligent
Be respectful of the Dao
Be sincere and trustworthy
Benevolence and righteousness
Caring about people
Character building
Correcting our own mistakes
Emulate good deeds
Exercising caution from beginning to end
Formation of cliques
Guard against greed
Heeding troubling signs
Human sentiments
Magnanimity
Paramount impartiality
Propriety and Music
Refrain from anger
Talents and virtues
Teach and transform
The livelihood of the people
Uphold integrity

Mao Zedong’s famous mottos were,

Serve the People!
Preserve the Peace!

Mao did exactly that for one-fourth of the human race and was simply living up to the expectations that the Chinese 99% have had for their leaders, going back 5,000 years. It is still ongoing with Xi Jinping and every leader in between. Euranglolanders cannot count themselves so lucky in the quality of their leaders and integrity of their governance.

The Governing Principles of Ancient China book in downloadable PDF:

https://lanbro-my.sharepoint.com/:b:/g/personal/jeff_brownlanglois_com/Eea_ycuK2q9NnLld2nWL3NgBMsTU9pk3f_bes24n-qWqzg?e=vAcujt

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Rouhani: War on Iran is The Mother of All Wars, Iran to Emerge Victorious Sooner or Later

By Staff

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that a possible war against Iran is “a mother of all wars”, while peace with Tehran is “the mother of all peace”.

In a speech broadcast live on state-run TV on Tuesday, Rouhani also reiterated Tehran’s readiness to sit down with Washington if it scraps all the sanctions against Iran.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran favors talks and negotiations and, if the US really wants to talk, before anything else it should lift all sanctions”, he underscored.

The Iranian President further highlighted: “We are always ready for negotiation. I tell you this hour and this moment to abandon bullying and lift the sanctions and return to logic and wisdom. We are ready.”

He added that Iran had shifted its approach from “strategic patience” to “reciprocal action” and would respond in kind to any of Washington’s steps related to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

According to Rouhani: “Certain parties in the nuclear deal have violated commitments to deprive Iran of economic benefits.”

“Zionists, reactionary states, and US hardliners sought to destroy JCPOA from the beginning,” Rouhani stated, noting that “Only certain US cronies support [US President Donald] Trump’s decision to withdraw from The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].”

In parallel, he underscored that Iran took calculated step to scale back certain commitments under JCPOA. “Our reduction to nuclear commitments is not a burden on us.”

“All US sanctions against Iran have proved to be its own detriment,” Rouhani stressed, pointing out that “The Americans have proved that their words are far from truth.”

In a clear message to the US and regional rivals, the Iranian President warned: “No one can target our security and seeks peace for himself.”

“Iran to emerge victorious from US restrictions sooner or later,” he concluded.

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Rouhani: Foreign Forces Main Source of Tension in the Region

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stressed that any presence of foreign forces in the Gulf will only cause even more tension in the region, amid reports that the UK and the US are pushing for a joint force to escort oil tankers as they pass through the Strait of Hormuz off Iran.

Iran makes constant efforts to ensure the Sea of Oman, the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz remain safe passageways for international shipping, Rouhani said during a meeting with visiting Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi in Tehran on Sunday.

“The presence of foreign forces wouldn’t help the regional security, and if anything, it would actually be the main source of tension,” he added.

The remarks come as both the UK and the US are leading two sharply different plans for patrols in the Gulf.

Washington has been pushing for a scheme whereby nations protect their own ships but partake in joint operations to monitor the waterways to prevent incidents.

The administration of US President Donald Trump claims that the patrols are needed to protect the ships from threats it says are coming from Iran, following several mysterious attacks that damaged oil tankers and cargo ships in the Sea of Oman over the past weeks.

The US and some of its allies have blamed Iran for the attacks, a claim Tehran has vehemently denied. Iranian officials have warned countries in the region to watch out for false flags by “foreign players.”

The UK, on the other hand, has been trying to put together a European force to protect vessels moving through the Strait of Hormuz, after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker this month for attempting to flee the scene of a collision with an Iranian fishing boat in violation of international rules.

Tensions flared up between London and Tehran after the UK navy seized Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 in Gibraltar, claiming that it was carrying oil to Syria in violation of the European Union’s sanctions against Damascus.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani told Bin Alawi that London’s move was illegal and would prove “costly” for them.

Rouhani asserted that Iran continues to stand against any breaches of law that endangers the safety of shipping in the Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman.

He argued that all of the regional issues were connected and, therefore, every government in the region needed to help maintain peace and stability there.

Reconstructing Syria and paving the way for Syrian refugees to return, ending the Saudi-led war on Yemen and stopping ongoing “Israeli” crimes against the people of Palestine were some of the key issues that he said had to be resolved.

Rouhani reiterated that Tehran has never started tensions in the region, unlike the American officials, whom he accused of causing frictions with their “delusions” and their decision to leave the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Bin Alawi, for his part, said Oman and Iran needed to overcome all challenges and help keep the region secure.

He emphasized that without Iran it was not possible to keep the region safe.

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Sanctions on Khamenei? Ending the myth of the ‘Millionaire Mullah’

July 27, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog (cross-posted with PressTV)

Sanctions on Khamenei? Ending the myth of the ‘Millionaire Mullah’

There are many pieces of nonsense about Iran which are fervently believed in the West but which have zero credibility inside Iran. “Millionaire Mullahs” is a concept which has captivated the Western imagination, even though it has no basis in reality.

The idea of “Millionaire Mullahs” was conceived in 2003 by the uber-capitalist magazine Forbes. What’s worse, it was created by their longtime Russia editor… Russia during the age of Yeltsin, when neoliberal capitalism was shamelessly gutting all the nations of the former Soviet Union and transferring the longtime assets of the people/state to Western high finance.

The idea “sounds right” to Western ears for three likely reasons: they are often ardently secular and suspicious of all religious authority, they assume all Muslim religious authorities are as rabidly capitalist as the Roman Catholic Church has often been, and also because they know nothing about the revolutionary (unique) and inherently anti-capitalist post-1979 changes to the Iranian economy.

Let’s stop with the nonsense: being a mullah in Iran usually places one in the lower middle class. Iranian Shia clergy do not have extravagant lifestyles, and they have certainly chosen the wrong calling if that was their aim. Furthermore, the Iranian press – which casts an open and intensely critical eye on the government, contrary to Western perceptions – would absolutely have a field day were there any mullahs living the lavish lives of millionaires. The entire idea is absurd and – rather crucially – unproven.

The subject has come up again, due to the incredibly foolish sanctions by the US against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei, like his predecessor in the Leader post, Ruhollah Khomeini, and his family are known by all Iranians for living simple lifestyles and for possessing absolutely common levels of personal wealth. How does all of Iran know this? Well, doesn’t everyone in the US know the general financial background of Trump?

But first, a bit of background for non-Iranians: Khamenei is from clerical families on both sides of his parents. They were not rich clerics, but lower-middle class, like the majority of Iranian clergy. The 1979 Revolution was decidedly class-based – it was called “the revolution of the barefooted” – and this extended to the clerical class as well, so it should not be surprising that someone from Khamenei’s class background rose so high.

Because clerics are humans, they have a right to have varied personal interests: ex-Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani was rather an Iranian Islamic Revolution anomaly – a revolutionary cleric from a rich background (pistachio farmers) – and he had a personal interest in the affairs of business. It is common knowledge that Khamenei has never evinced this interest, and nor have his several brothers, who are also clerics – the family’s interests are clearly religion and politics.

Furthermore, simply check out his speeches on YouTube (and perhaps while you still can do so, as PressTV was banned from YouTube in April): Khamenei is always discussing the example of his namesake, Imam Ali, the personification of personal austerity in Islam. “Shia” means “partisan of Ali”,msm so non-Muslims should be able to easily imagine that if Khamenei was constantly exhorting everyone to follow “Pope” Ali’s worthy example, yet not following it himself… this would be cause for immediate and widespread comment among the highly-educated, very politically-involved Iranian general public.

So even the whiff of a mere rumour of personal embezzlement would be a major risk to Khamenei’s job status! Part 2 will fully quote and explain the begrudging exoneration of Khamenei by one of his biggest adversaries – Western mainstream media – that there is “no evidence” that Khamenei has used Iran’s wealth to enrich himself. And, of course, there is no logical reason why he would thus tolerate theft and fraud among his fellow lower-ranking clergy who also work as civil servants.

Khomeini’s and Khamenei’s precedents of clearly living in a manner which rejects worldly riches will certainly help produce this same type of Leader in the future, but whoever is the Supreme Leader at any time in the Islamic Republic of Iran will likely be forced to live lives of transparent piety and to display moral, spiritual and fiscal rectitude – that, combined with self-sacrificing patriotism, is the very essence of the job. The Supreme Leader post is not that of a technocrat, as Western leaders are now often merely supposed to be – he is essentially called to act as the “soul of the nation”, and, I would also add, “of the government”.

Such values are anathema to Western secularism, which is a governmental philosophy that was certainly available in 1979 for Iranians to select. However, even atheistic secularists must concede that Western-style secularism was democratically rejected by Iranians, and this fact cannot be ignored, no matter how disagreeable non-Iranians may find this fact.

To put it plainly: Does the West really think that Iranians don’t have a good sense of Khamenei’s personal morality? He has been living in the public eye longer than French President Emmanuel Macron has been alive, and the French all know about Macron’s privileged upbringing, marriage to a chocolate heiress who was his high school teacher, and Rothschild banker-paid lifestyle. An entire nation simply cannot be kept in the dark about the true personal nature of its leaders; people are not stupid, anywhere, and and the Iranian press is far from being either non-existent or totally subservient to power.

You can take the average Iranian’s word for it: if Khamenei was living lavishly – or, living like every single Western CEO does, and with absolutely zero Western media condemnation, sadly) – all of Iran would know it, and there would be serious repercussions.

This all explains why Iranians view the recent US sanctions on Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as absurd and based on both propaganda and ignorance. The sanctions put the The New York Times in a quandary – they had to choose between their iron-law Iranophobia and their equally unobjective anti-Trump editorial policy. Their jeering-but-accurate headline, “Iran Greets Latest U.S. Sanctions With Mockery”, reflects that the anti-Trumpers drowned out the Irano-/Islamophobes… on that day in their newsroom.

Beyond Khamenei, I can very briefly explain how and why the West can persist with their “Millionaire Mullah” mythology:

There are many economic principles that guide the Iranian economy which have no basis in the West – they are, after all, “revolutionary”. Many are based on principles of Islamic charity and of Islamic finance; many are also based on anti-capitalist principles which were obviously drawn from 20th century socialism. There are almost too many to list, but in Part 2 of this 3-part article I will pick a few key ones which specifically relate to clergy, and which – when added with Iranophobia – create such widespread and ignorant propaganda.

Part Two

Beyond Khamenei, I can very briefly explain how and why the West can persist with their “Millionaire Mullah” mythology:

There are many economic principles that guide the Iranian economy which have no basis in the West – they are, after all, “revolutionary”. Many are based on principles of Islamic charity and of Islamic finance; many are also based on anti-capitalist principles which were obviously drawn from 20th century socialism. There are almost too many to list, but in Part 2 of this 3-part article I will pick a few key ones which specifically relate to clergy, and which – when added with Iranophobia – create such widespread and ignorant propaganda.

One of the five pillars of Islam is to give to charity (zakat), but one of the five additional pillars of Shia theology is that businessmen must give 20% of their profits to charity (khums). Thus, it should be clear why some say that Iran has an “alms-based economy”. That’s an exaggeration, because there are state taxes as well, but this money goes directly to religious authorities and has gone there for over 1,000 years.

For example, Khamenei was raised in a family (lower middle class clerics on both sides of his parents) which would have never received this money directly – they would have been the recipients of this charity from much higher-ranking clergy.

Khamenei, through hard work, sacrifice and other virtues, is now a “Marja’” (top religious authority). He now heads various religious foundations which receive – and redistribute downwards – this zakat and khums money.

Of course, he heads these foundations, but this money cannot (and is not) be used by him to by a Ferrari for his favourite nephew, for example. The Iranian press would die of happiness at the sales prospects caused by such a sensational, unheard-of event! These are “religious foundations” not “The Clinton Foundation”: These foundations serve the poor – they do not trade high-level political access & favours in return for funding a jet-set lifestyle. Of course, most Western media cynically assume that everyone – even a Marja’, and even a Marja’ as publicly present as Khamenei – secretly operates on shameless Western capitalist principles….

Let’s clarify two key issues: zakat and khums are individual choices – they are not compelled to go to Khamenei. Iranians can send their charity to a Marja’ in Iraq if they like, and many do. Secondly, drastically changing this historic process of zakat and khums would certainly constitute a major revolution in Iran – however, for many it would constitute a rather “un-Islamic Revolution”, and there is no doubt that the democratic majority wanted an “Islamic Revolution”.

Therefore, Islamic charity is a reality of modern economics and finance in Iran. It is not something which non-Muslims can easily comprehend, perhaps, but the failure to do so will help fuel nonsense like “Millionaire Mullahs”. Unlike neoliberalism in the West, these financial principles have the virtue of being democratically-supported, and I can easily argue that they have the additional virtue of far more efficiently increasing economic equality than neoliberalism does.

Khamenei, as the Supreme Leader, is also often listed as the head of companies simply out of respect by the company’s founders. It is often purely honorary. Khamenei is not, for example, giving ideas on product improvement or production strategies to such companies (now the rare ex-president Rafsanjani – rare because he was an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary cleric from a rich, business-oriented background might have gotten involved, but Khamenei has evinced no such interest) and he is absolutely not in any control of the company’s assets. He is there in name only as a sign of respect for him, Islam, Iran, etc. Of course, this is distorted/misunderstood by Western pro-capitalist papers.

The Iranian Islamic Revolution also did something which no doubt enrages Western imperialist-capitalists, and about which they have no desire to spread honest information: the revolution took a huge chunk of the factories and industries owned by the shah and his tiny coterie and gave them to charity.

These are called the bonyads, and they are an estimated 15-20% of the entire Iranian economy. A staggeringly revolutionary concept, no?

The bonyads are thus different from the Islamic charity I have described, and the Islamic foundations which administer that charity, because the bonyads were expressly charged with getting involved in economic production.

The bonyads are not designed for capitalist profit, but are co-operatives which exist to create low-cost goods and jobs for Iranians. This planned” inefficiency” – in attaining maximum profit, but not in social cohesion and equality – is falsely branded as “corruption” by raging Western capitalists, sadly.

Khamenei heads some bonyads, and this gives him economic influence, of course… because the popular, democratic, openly-debated decision to award a significant chunk of the Iranian economy to the administration of religious authorities was a popular, democratic, openly-debated decision of the Iranian people. Oppose decisions arrived at in this manner, and you oppose democracy for Iran.

Bonyads are not specifically proscribed in The Koran, unlike zakat and the ubiquitous concepts of charity and anti-usury (high interest/compound interest), but if one tries to overturn them… well, all I can say is – prepare for a serious fight. If you think the millions of bonyad workers and recipients of bonyad lower-cost goods want all that to be replaced by (mostly-Western) stockholders… good luck with your efforts.

Very obvious, but of course not perfect, parallels can be made elsewhere: the lower class supporters of Chavismo’s collectivos have won an unprecedented number of votes (and street battles) to preserve similar anti-neoliberal economic concepts and structures. Iran is not nearly as susceptible to Washington’s meddling, in large part because such gains have been consolidating democratic support for the government for a generation longer than in Venezuela. Cuba adopted similar (though not Islamic-influenced) concepts a generation earlier than Iran did. China is a generation up on Cuba, and aren’t they doing rather well? China doesn’t have bonyads, of course, but Beijing and Tehran have such a strong and long-term alliance because they obviously have much in common… once translations are made.

So, between zakatkhums, the bonyads, generalized Iranophobia and a desire to denigrate any economic thought which is not far-right neoliberal capitalism… this is how we have arrived at Western nonsense like “Millionaire Mullahs”, and the propaganda is unrelenting.

Like, for example, the 2013 Reuters report on Setad, a bonyad headed by the Supreme Leader post, which was absurdly titled, “Khamenei controls massive financial empire built on property seizures”.

Part 3 will examine this report, which is still being cited today despite its obvious bias, misrepresentations and clear goal of spreading Iranophobic and Islamophobic propaganda.

Part Three

Part 1 of this article discussed why the recent US sanctions on Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei provoked laughter in Iran and derision even from Iranophobic Western mainstream media.

Part 2 proved that – between zakatkhums, the bonyads, generalized Iranophobia and a desire to denigrate any economic thought which is not far-right neoliberal capitalism – it is easily understandable how we have arrived at Western nonsense like “Millionaire Mullahs”.

Part 3 will show (NOTE: these three links go to the PressTV versions) how this propaganda is unrelenting.

Like the 2013 Reuters report on Setad, a bonyad headed by the Supreme Leader post, “Khamenei controls massive financial empire built on property seizures”.

Uhhh… yes, confiscating the ill-gotten property of the king and his 1% was undoubtedly the democratic choice of Iran. Iran is a rare country to have done that, but it was not the first. Economically right-wing Reuters, of course, opposes every such occasion where this has happened.

Reuters’ report spends just ten miserly words to describe for their readers both bonyads and khums, which is certainly not enough to give a sympathetic, much less objective, rendering of these rather vital parts of the Iranian economy. Reuters makes apparent its total disinterest in admitting Setad’s universally-known, multi-billion charitable functions with the brief and dismissive: “It’s unclear how much of its revenue goes to philanthropy.” It’s a report which openly airs the grievances of lawyers based in Beverly Hills, California, because talking about the economically-redistributive concepts at work in the Iranian economy are expressly against Reuters’ editorial policy.

As Reuters admitted, with a brief sentence that indicates their maximum disappointment: “Reuters found no evidence that Khamenei is tapping Setad to enrich himself.” Exactly. All Iran already knew that. Reuters’ buried a sentence which has been a headline in Iran.

Beyond the role of Islamic charity, the usury-banning role of Islamic finance, and the unique (revolutionary) economic principles installed after 1979, the widest-view statement I can give about the Iranian economy is this: because it is (Islamic) socialist-inspired when it comes to handling the economy, the Iranian state controls the Iranian economy even more completely than today’s “hosting tourists is ok” Cuba. Both nations control their economies in a patriotic way, though Iran has, thankfully, far more oil wealth; both nations reject foreign control (neoliberal/globalist capitalism); and both nations have been incredibly successful at improving the lives of their average citizen despite decades of murderous sanctions by the US and Europe.

The revolutionary Iranian economy is thus most succinctly described (this is “daily journalism”, after all) as “Iranian Islamic Socialism” because it is exactly that, and in exactly that order of importance: first come the patriotic needs of Iran, then adherence to the principles of Islam as much as possible, and then the clear rejection of capitalism-imperialism and neoliberalism/globalism. Importantly – at least to those who believe Iranians have a democratic right to choose their own path – Forbes, Reuters and Washington are resolutely dead-set against the success of all of these principles, and their actions and stances show that they view tolerance, accommodation and limited cooperation as impossible.

But this – the enormously anti-neoliberal aspects and the enormously successful redistributive aspects of the Iranian economy – is something the West can never admit because… they might be copied! Indeed, when Washington talks about Iran’s “destabilising behaviors”, there is nothing more destabilising to US and Israeli hegemony in the Muslim world than the very example of Iranian democratic success.

What works usually is copied, but Iranian economic solutions do not “work” for the aristocratic readers of Forbes. Therefore, “Millionaire mullahs” has been the Western editorial line, and they are sticking to it.

It should be clear: it is a well-known reality is that Khamenei does not personally have much to sanction at all; the Iranian economy is so unique (revolutionary) that it is easily distorted and rarely attempted to be understood; the guiding economic concepts democratically installed after the Iranian Islamic Revolution will always be the subject of massive Western propaganda efforts.

Therefore, pity Trump and his New York City slumlord/Pentagon gun-runner advisors – by foolishly sanctioning Khamenei all they did was insult him, and insult his tens of millions of often-ardent supporters, and show their total ignorance of how the Iranian economy actually works!

How did they get so misled? Simple: they read too much Western propaganda, which since 1979 has had an editorial line of “100% fake news, 24/7” when it comes to Iran. Such an editorial line is designed by their 1%-owners to push Trump, and others, to wrongly assume that Iran is some sort of dystopian, totalitarian regime where the top leader owns everything and can liquidate anything at any time for their personal profit.

Such a system only exists in comic books… and in the Arab monarchies. And are sanctions on these Arab despots arriving next? LOL, not likely. Forbes and the neoliberal-loving, English-Canadian Reuters are likely in the middle of preparing their latest puff-piece on yet another Arab monarch-dictator.

It is ironic that the only type of millionaires these rabidly capitalist media seem to have a problem with are of the Iranian clerical variety, a variety which Forbes was the first to ever claim even existed. But the phenomenon they allege does not exist, and Khamenei is often held up as a standard of good and moral leadership in many nations for very justified reasons.

What is certain is that Washington’s ignorance of and opposition to the nature of the Iranian economy will cost them dearly – sanctions on Khamenei will be totally ineffective in reaching their totally unjust aims. Such sanctions are amusing… but that is actually a sad commentary: the decades of murderous sanctions on Iran, Cuba, Korea and others shouldn’t be funny at all.

(Ramin Mazaheri 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 “I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China”.)

IN MAJOR THREAT TO DOLLAR’S RESERVE STATUS, RUSSIA OFFERS TO JOIN EUROPEAN SWIFT-BYPASS

Three weeks after a meeting between the countries who singed the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was ditched by US, French, British and German officials said the trade mechanism which was proposed last summer – designed to circumvent both SWIFT as well as US sanctions banning trade with Iran – called Instex, is now operational.

And while we await for the White House to threaten Europe with even greater tariffs unless it ends this special purpose vehicle – it already did once back in May when it warned that anyone associated with the SPV could be barred from the U.S. financial system if it goes into effect – a response from the US is now assured, because in the biggest attack on the dollar as a reserve currency to date, on Thursday, Russia signaled its willingness to join the controversial payments channel, and has called on Brussels to expand the new mechanism to cover oil exports, the FT reported.

Moscow’s involvement in the Instex channel would mark a significant step forward in attempts by the EU and Russia to rescue a 2015 Iran nuclear deal that has been unravelling since the Trump administration abandoned it last year.

“Russia is interested in close co-ordination with the European Union on Instex,” the Russian foreign ministry told the Financial Times. “The more countries and continents involved, the more effective will the mechanism be as a whole.”

… and the more isolated the US will be as a currency union meant to evade SWIFT and bypass the dollar’s reserve currency status will soon include virtually all relevant and important countries. Only China would be left outstanding; after the rest of the world’s would promptly join.

On Thursday, the Kremlin confirmed the foreign ministry’s take:

“We are tracking the information regarding this. If I’m not mistaken, there have already been statements from our side that, taking into account the first experience of using this system, when it is activated, we cannot rule out interaction in this regard,” Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, told reporters.

“This is an important project. It is aimed at protecting the interests of European economic operators against the background of illegal attempts to restrict their activities by third countries,” he added.

Earlier, the Russian foreign ministry hinted at precisely what will take place next, when it said that “The full potential of Instex will only be able to be deployed if it will be open to the participation of countries which are not members of the European Union.” Such as Russia and China.

Ironically, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, has previously described Instex as “not sufficient” even though Russia was far more promise, and said Instex was “a good tool in the implementation of projects . . . that the United States has strongly torpedoed” but called for it to be expanded to include crude oil.

“If the encouraging statements by the EU . . . will be backed up by concrete steps and practical advances, including in relation to the use of Instex for servicing trading in Iranian oil, it will help stabilise the difficult situation created around the JCPOA,” it said.

Russia has strengthened its ties with Iran in recent years as part of Moscow’s increased geopolitical importance in the Middle East, including its role of propping up the Assad regime in the war in Syria.

At a meeting with Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani last month, Russian president Vladimir Putin vowed to continue developing trade ties with Tehran and said Moscow was committed to a project to expand the Bushehr nuclear plant in Iran. As the FT correctly notes, efforts to rescue the nuclear deal have been a rare area of co-operation between Brussels and Moscow, whose relations have soured in recent years.

* * *

Since US president Donald Trump pulled out of the deal last May, its other signatories — Germany, France, UK, China and Russia — have scrambled to find ways to maintain trade with Iran. But they have been stymied by companies’ reluctance to risk Washington’s wrath.

As a reminder, Instex was launched in January but subsequently delayed by bureaucratic hurdles and the complications caused by the US sanctions. It only became operational last month and has been criticised by both Tehran – for having big limitations – and the US – for existing.

Iran has a more valid point: just 10 EU states are members and the mechanism’s initial credit line of several million euros is a fraction of EU-Iran trade, which stood at more than €20bn annually before the US sanctions.

Meanwhile, it appears that Moscow will get an invite because as the FT adds, Brussels is interested in bringing Russia into Instex, but it would first seek to get the channel up and running with humanitarian aid trades before potentially expanding its scope or membership.

Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy head, said this week that the trade mechanism “has always been conceived to be open to third countries . . . and we are already seeing interest by some of them to participate in that”, although she did not identify them. “The issue of whether or not Instex will deal with oil is a discussion that is ongoing among the shareholders,” she added.

And while Iran wants Europe to buy its oil so that it can use the hard currency earnings to import basic commodities and medicines through Instex, Russia is seeking to find ever more creative ways to chip away at US global dominance, with a focus on the dollar’s reserve currency status.

Additionally,  Moscow previously said that it would look into ways to facilitate or finance Iranian oil exports if Instex was not launched or proved to be ineffective.

As we discussed extensively last summer, the idea behind Instex was to set up a mirror image transaction system that replaces potentially sanctionable international payments between Europe and Iran with payments that do not cross Iran’s borders, nor are they denominated in dollars to avoid giving the US veto rights.

As a final point, the FT quotes analyst who said that China, which has repeatedly defied US sanctions on Iran, has greater potential to hand Tehran an economic lifeline by continuing to purchase Iranian crude exports; it has yet to be seen if China will also join Instex.

Source

Idiots Driving World to War

A view of the Grace 1 super tanker in the British territory of Gibraltar, Thursday, July 4, 2019
Finian Cunningham
10620

Like a person going up in an escalator while asserting they are going down, the British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has a bizarre way of trying to assure Iran that war is not on the cards.

Hunt, who is vying to become Britain’s new prime minister, stated on camera that “he wants to de-escalate” the danger of a military confrontation with Iran over mounting tensions in the Persian Gulf.

That was only days after he vowed to dramatically increase Britain’s military spending and in particular, boost the country’s naval firepower  – citing Iran as the main threat to British commercial shipping interests.

It also follows news that London has ordered a second warship to patrol the Persian Gulf. Earlier this week a British Royal Navy frigate reportedly challenged Iranian military vessels (three small boats) after they allegedly tried to impede a British oil tanker entering the narrow Strait of Hormuz. Iran vehemently denied any such interference by its boats and claimed that Britain and the US were engaging in a provocation.

Given that the Pentagon has announced plans to send an international coalition of warships to the Gulf “over the next two weeks”, under the guise of protecting commercial shipping from alleged Iranian threats, it must certainly look to Iran like the “war escalator” is speeding upwards.

Hunt has previously asserted that British forces would join in any American military attack on Iran. The resonance of past Anglo-American skullduggery against Iran is no doubt palpable to most Iranians.

There seems little doubt that Hunt is playing the “hard military man” card in his grubby contest with Boris Johnson to become the next prime minister. Conservative Party members are due to vote later this month on who is to replace the hapless Theresa May.

Bumbling Boris is the favourite to win the party race. But Hunt is making a last-gasp bid to rally the rank-and-file with seeming credentials of being a “tough leader”.

This week he wrote in a newspaper oped: “As the son of a naval officer, I know a little of the sacrifices of these individuals and of their families back home.”

He then promised that, if elected prime minister, he would ramp up military spending by 25 per cent, or by £15 billion, over the next five years. He claimed the tensions in the Gulf with Iran are “proof” that Britain needs to overhaul its maritime forces.

That exorbitant indulgence of military spending will likely wreak havoc on public services and prolong years of economic austerity on ordinary Britons. But such is the ambition of Hunt to get into 10 Downing Street, it’s a devastating price he seems willing to make British citizens pay.

However, more damning is Hunt’s reckless gamble from inflaming tensions with Iran. Sending more naval forces to the Gulf at a time of knife-edge fears about a war breaking out is ludicrous, if not criminally irresponsible.

Over the past two months, there have already been numerous incidents of alleged sabotage on shipping in the strategically important Gulf which the US has blamed on Iran. An American spy drone was shot down on June 20 by the Iranians after it allegedly violated Iran’s airspace. That incident nearly resulted in, reportedly, Trump ordering airstrikes.

The seizure last week by British commandoes of an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar has added to fraught nerves in the region. More so because Tehran contends that seizure to be an illegal “act of piracy” orchestrated by Washington and London. The refusal by Britain to release the cargo of two million barrels of oil – based on dubious claims of enforcing EU sanctions against Syria – would also seem to be a calculated insult to provoke Iran.

From Iran’s point of view, the British are permitted to hijack oil ships, but whenever its patrol boats even as much as approach a British tanker near its territorial waters, then London and Washington are crying “foul”. The flagrant hypocrisy is in itself another provocative goading.

Let’s be clear: the Buffoonish Boris Johnson would be equally as deplorable as the Silly Hunt. Both of them are unscrupulous sycophants to America’s President Trump and his crazed warmongering towards Iran.

Russia has warned that the escalating tensions in the Gulf could spark a catastrophic war. Potentially a war in the tinderbox region could lead to World War III.

Lamentably, Britain’s shambolic politics and its venal politicians are playing with fire in their pathetic plans for personal self-aggrandizement of power.

Hunt’s double-think posturing of “escalating to de-escalate” is a sure sign that this Tory toff should not be heading to Downing Street, but rather to a padded cell. Johnson could also qualify for a cell next door.

The backdrop to resolving the current madness for endangering global peace seems blindingly obvious. Washington needs to abide by the 2015 international nuclear treaty with Iran, lift the sanctions crushing the Iranian economy, and remove all warships from the Persian Gulf.

As Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said this week, there would be no need for the US or Britain to “protect shipping” in the Gulf if these two states simply respected international law and norms of diplomacy.

It is insane and gut-wrenchingly tragic that world peace is being jeopardized by idiots like Hunt, Johnson and their puppet master in Washington. The only long-term solution is for the whole rotten political class in Britain, and the US, to be thrown out by popular revolt.

Views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Iran Keeping Window of Diplomacy Open – AEOI

By Staff, Agencies

Spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran [AEOI] Behrouz Kamalvandi said on Monday that the reduced commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] is not made out of pertinacity, rather it aims to open a window to diplomacy and awaken the other states parties to the deal to honor their obligations.

“The JCPOA was a trading deal that what Iran gave was much more than what it received, because the other side, particularly after the US withdrawal from the deal, forgot their obligations,” Kamalvandi said.

“What Iran is doing in terms of nuclear measures is aimed at reminding the signatories with their obligations,” Kamalvandi said.

Recently, Tehran said that at the second phase of its measures to preserve the nuclear deal, it officially launches enriching uranium beyond the 3.67 percent limit that is set by the deal. The first stage came on the anniversary of the US withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018 when Iran announced the reduction of its commitments to the deal.

Referring to President Rouhani’s letter to the signatories to the deal, Kmalavandi said, “The president has reminded that if the chances given by Iran are not used, the Islamic Republic will reduce its commitments based on the content of the deal through two-month periods.”

He added that at the end of the first period, Iran exceeded the 300 kg ceiling for stockpiling enriched uranium and heavy water, breaking the limit of 3.67 percent in enrichment and producing enriched fuel for nuclear power plant with a purity of 5.4 percent.

The measures are not taken out of stubbornness, rather it is meant to keep the window of diplomacy open for the other side, he said.

“If the European signatories and the US do not stick to their commitments, we will strike a balance in the deal by reducing our own commitments and roll back the situation to what it was in four years ago,” Kamalvandi explained.

“In the meantime, let’s keep in mind that Iran has fulfilled all its obligations, as the reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] also verified,” he stressed.

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