US National Security Strategy Guide دليل استراتيجيّة الأمن القوميّ الأميركيّ

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

بثينة شعبان

Buthaina Shaaban,

Source: Al-Mayadeen Net,

March 22, 15:00

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

دليل استراتيجيّة الأمن القوميّ الأميركيّ

بثينة شعبان

بثينة شعبان

المصدر: الميادين نت 22 آذار 15:00

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speech by Prof. Bouthaina Shaaban Political and Media Advisor Syrian Presidency At the Shiller Institute Online Conference “World at a Crossroad: Two Months in the New US Administration” March 20-21, 2021

Her Excellency Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban: Reconstruction with Syrian characteristics — rebuilding a truly diverse and more secure world based on the lessons of the Syrian experience

Transcript

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban speech - Schiller Institute June 25th 2016 - YouTube
Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban is a political and media advisor to President AssadYOUTUBE/SCHILLER INSTITUTE

Good morning.

Allow me first to thank the Schiller Institute, and in particular, to thank Helga Zepp-LaRouche, for inviting me to this very important conference and for allowing me to contribute to this very important panel.

But before I begin my paper, I would like to pass on a few notes that lead me to the conclusion which I would love to conclude for this panel, and for this conference at large.

One of the major problems we face in our country, is that today, Western countries approach our countries with the feeling of exceptionalism or a feeling of righteousness, that whatever Western countries see appropriate or good, should apply to our countries without any question. The first action that was taken by Western countries, when the war on Syria started, was to withdraw their ambassadors from Syria. The question is, isn’t it the job of the ambassadors to convey the reality on the ground, and to help in opening channels of communication between countries instead of closing them?

This leads me to the role of corporate media during the war on Syria. Unfortunately, most Western media rely on Al Jazeera, Qatar-funded, and Al Arabiya, Saudi-funded, to report on events in Syria, even though both channels, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, withdrew their correspondents and relied on what are called “eyewitnesses,” which could be anybody, anywhere. This applies also to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is run by one person in Coventry, U.K., Rami Abdel Rahman.

These media outlets choose to focus on what they find which fits their agenda, ignoring the reality on the ground. For example, even the terrorist acts in Tartus and Jableh recently, which claimed the lives of 200 innocent civilians, were not noticed by Western media, and certainly did not therefore evoke any Western sympathy.

What I would like to say is that the false narrative propagated about Syria was as dangerous to the Syrian people and to the safety and security of Syrians, as the acts perpetrated by terrorists, because it isolated the reality in Syria from the public understanding in the West and in the world at large, and it prevented the creation of a level of understanding between Western countries and the Syrian people about what is going on.

Terrorism and ‘Democracy’

But before we can begin to talk about reconstructing Syria, we still face the monumental challenge of eradicating terrorism in Syria, Iraq, and the region. We have to eradicate this terrorism. And when I say “we,” I do not mean the Syrians or the Iraqis alone, but I mean the world at large, because, as we have seen, in Paris, Brussels, Orlando, and lastly, the U.K., terrorists can strike anywhere in the world; it’s a cancer that can spread anywhere in the world. However, is the world, and in particular, are Western powers, doing all they can to face this danger? This is the question that I would like to ask.

Of course if we separate out what is promoted in the media and look at actions and deeds, rather than words, we see that in the case of Syria, Western countries are not doing what needs to be done to eliminate this danger, both from Syria and from the world at large. And I would like to give you one example: On December 17, 2015, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2253, under Chapter 7, which dictates stopping the financing, arming, and facilitating of terrorists into Syria. The Vienna Group, afterwards, interpreted this resolution, that it should include closing the Turkish border and not allowing armaments and finances to cross to the terrorists. On December 18, the Security Council issued Resolution 2254, which calls for a political solution in Syria.

Now, you see that the entirety of humanity focusses on 2254, without dealing with 2253, which is a logical prerequisite for 2254, that is, for finding a political solution in Syria.

The same thing can be said about humanitarian assistance. Instead of focussing on ending the war in Syria and restoring peace and security in Syria, we see that the entire corporate media is speaking about humanitarian assistance, as if this is the issue! Syria, before this war, was able to host 2 million Iraqis and to feed itself, and to export food to 84 countries in the world. It is since the 1970s that the Syrian people have adopted the motto, “We eat from what we produce, and we wear from what we manufacture,” which means that Syria does not need humanitarian help if there is peace and stability, and if the Syrian people are able to develop their crops and attend to their factories.

Today we hear a lot of talk from the Western alliance about “containing” ISIS, “limiting” ISIS; and lastly, you all heard the speech of CIA Director John Brennan, who said that we did not succeed even in limiting the influence of ISIS. Why? Because there is no real desire and wish, really, to get rid of ISIS. There were two elements: The Russian government had called on Western countries to join efforts to defeat ISIS both in Syria and Iraq, and the agreement in Vienna was that the Turkish borders should be closed. Neither of these two elements received a positive response from the United States or the Western powers. The question is, why?—if there is a real will to fight ISIS.

The other question is, that we in Syria feel that what is needed is a real will in the international community to fight terrorism and to build real bridges. When I say “real bridges,” I mean, on an equal basis, on a basis of parity. The problem with promoting “democracy”—in quotation marks—in our part of the world, is that Western countries believe that liberal democracy is the only issue, or the only copy, or the only formula that should be applied to our countries. And this is not true, because we all have different cultures.

We have different identities, we have different habits, we have different ways of life, and I can give an example: China, India, the Persian culture, Arab culture have contributed a great deal to the world, but on a human basis, and on a basis of parity. In fact, here I would like to make an important point, that the Western world believes in opening markets to the entire world, but only to export its own goods! But not to allow other countries to export to the West, on an equal basis. And every day they invent different formulas in order not to allow equal treatment—tariff constraints and other constraints.

Intellectual Silk Road

The same thing applies to politics. The concepts, values, and ideas, coming from the West should be respected and implemented in our countries, but there is no other road that takes our culture, and our values and our ethics to the West. If we need to create a world for all, if we need to create a peaceful world, if we need to create a prosperous world for all, we need to create a conceptual, intellectual concept of one world; we need to create a conceptual concept of a Silk Road. Not only an actual Silk Road, but an intellectual Silk Road. All of you know that Aleppo and Syria were extremely crucial in the ancient Silk Road that connected Asia to Europe. Syria and the Syrian people will be more than happy to be very active also in a New Silk Road and in a political, social, intellectual Silk Road that connects Asia to the West, that connects Eurasia to the West.

The other byproduct of this war on our countries, and the other byproduct of promoting only Western exceptionalism in our country, is the distortion of the image of Islam in Western eyes. Islam, like any other religion, is a religion of love, a religion of humanity. We, as Muslims, were hardly ever, if ever, addressed in our Quran as Muslims. We are addressed as “ye human beings”: We are part of the human community. And therefore, those who kill in the name of Islam, those who destroy in the name of Islam, are not Muslims at all. They have nothing to do with Islam.

We have to address the concept that the terrorists are promoting, and the lack of dialogue that the corporate media are causing, if we want to create a truly prosperous Silk Road, not only physical, but also intellectual, social, and political. And here, I would like to conclude by thanking Russia and China, who right from the beginning of the war on Syria, took four vetoes against Western attempts to try to strike Syria militarily. And Russia, and China, and Iran, continue to support the Syrian people, to try to find a political solution.

In brief, what I would like to say here is that, in order to build these Silk Roads, we have to deal with each other on an equal basis, on an equal human basis, and dealing otherwise, as superior and inferior, as white and black, as important and less important, is producing extremism, is producing racism which is striking not only in Syria, but in Brussels, in Paris, in Orlando, and last of all in the U.K. Thus, it is in the interests of humanity to think as human beings, to think of the world as truly a human village, where people live equally, and have mutual respect for each other, and deal on the basis of parity.

But this requires a huge change in the mindset of the West, that probably requires another conference, to speak not only about the very important idea launched by China, of building a Silk Road, but to speak about the intellectual, social, and political Silk Road, that thinks and deals with all of us, as human, as brothers and sisters, rather than as superior and inferior. Thus, we can build a new world, and one world, and a much better world than the one we live in. We have an obligation to our grandchildren, wherever they are born, to leave them a better world than this one in which we live now.

Thank you very much.

Julian Assange, Prometheus Bound

Julian Assange, Prometheus Bound

By Pepe Escobar

Cross-posted with Consortium News

He is being punished not for stealing fire – but for exposing power under the light of truth and provoking the god of Exceptionalism. 

Police ejecting Assange from embassy, April 11, 2019. (YouTube)

Police ejecting Julian Assange from Ecuadorian embassy in London, April 11, 2019. (YouTube)


This is the tale of an Ancient Greek tragedy reenacted in AngloAmerica.

Amid thundering silence and nearly universal indifference, chained, immobile, invisible, a squalid Prometheus was transferred from the gallows for a show trial in a faux Gothic court built on the site of a medieval prison.

Kratos, impersonating Strength, and Bia, impersonating Violence, had duly chained Prometheus, not to a mountain in the Caucasus, but to solitary confinement in a high-security prison, subject to relentless psychological torture. All along the Western watchtowers, no Hephaestus volunteered to forge in his smithy a degree of reluctance or even a sliver of pity.

Prometheus is being punished not for stealing fire – but for exposing power under the light of truth, thus provoking the unbounded ire of  Zeus The Exceptionalist, who’s only able to stage his crimes under multiple veils of secrecy.

Prometheus pierced the myth of secrecy – which envelops Zeus’s ability to control the human spectrum. And that is anathema.

“Prometheus Being Chained by Vulcan,” 1623 oil painting by Dirck van Baburen. (Vulcan Rijksmuseum, Wikimedia Commons)

For years, debased, hack stenographers worked relentlessly to depict Prometheus as a lowly trickster and inconsequential forger.

Abandoned, smeared, demonized, Prometheus was comforted by only a small chorus of Oceanids – Craig Murray, John Pilger, Daniel Ellsberg, Wiki warriors, Consortium writers. Prometheus was denied even the basic tools to organize a defense that might at least rattle Zeus’s cognitive dissonant narrative.

Oceanus, the Titan father of the Oceanids, could not possibly urge Prometheus to appease Zeus.

Fleetingly, Prometheus might have revealed to the chorus that exposing secrecy was not what best suited his heart’s content. His plight might also, in the long run, revive popular attachment to the civilizing arts.

One day, Prometheus was visited by Io, a human maiden. He may have forecasted she would engage in no future travels, and she would bear him two offspring. And he may have foreseen that one of their descendants – an unnamed epigone of Heracles – many generations hence, would release him, figuratively, from his torment.

Zeus and his prosecutorial minions don’t have much of a case against Prometheus, apart from possession and dissemination of classified Exceptional information.

Still it was eventually up to Hermes — the messenger of the Gods, and significantly, the conduit of News — to be sent down by Zeus in uncontrollable anger to demand that Prometheus admits he was guilty of trying to overthrow the rules-based order established by the Supreme Exceptional.

CBC TV covering Assange expulsion. (YouTube)

CBC TV covering Assange expulsion from Ecuadorian embassy in London. (YouTube)

This is what’s being ritualized at the current show trial, which was never about Justice.

Prometheus won’t be tamed. In his mind, he will be relieving Tennyson’s Ulysses: “to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

So Zeus may finally strike him with the thunderbolt of Exceptionalism, and Prometheus will be hurled into the abyss.

Prometheus’s theft of the secrecy of power, though, is irreversible. His fate will certainly prompt the late entrance of Pandora and her jar of evils – complete with unforeseen consequences.

Whatever the verdict reached in that 17th century court, it’s far from certain that Prometheus will enter History just as a mere object of blame for human folly.

Because now the heart of the matter is that the mask of Zeus has fallen.

Lebanese writer explains why ‘Westerners have no remorse when killing others’

September 03, 2020

Via The Saker

Middle East Observer

Description:

Lebanese writer and researcher of Islamic Studies, Sayed Abbas Noureddine, gives two reasons why he thinks the ‘West can continue oppressing other nations without any empathy or remorse’.

Source: Islamona (YouTube)
Date: Mar 7, 2020

Transcript:

In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful. A close look at the Western psyche, the Western man’s personality, and the way he deals with matters related to us, indicates that in the foreseeable future, Western man will continue to provide the necessary fuel for his governments and regimes to continue oppressing, attacking and persecuting us.However, the problem in this context is not that the Western man is an inherently hostile being who intentionally seeks to oppress i.e. that he knows we are innocent, he knows what he is doing is wrong, yet he continues to carry it out. That is not the case. However, there are two main elements being worked on in general – of course we’re talking in general here – to keep Western man and Western societies as providers of the fuel and resources (that their rulers seek).Thus, (Western states) are able to continue developing their weapons, to continue putting forward armies and soldiers dedicated to entering our regions to fight and kill us.

See how (common it is) for professional (Western) soldiers to kill (innocent) people in cold blood. Many Westerners, when they hear that dozens or even hundreds of us have been killed, feel nothing towards this, neither remorse nor empathy. Why? Because they believe perhaps that we deserve death, or that we form a threat to civilization, or that we are simply evil.

Here, there are two elements which crystallized in the mind and personality of the Western man, leading him to continue to provide the fuel for these ominous policies (by Western governments). The first element is that Western man views his government through the lens of economic well-being and comfort. That is, the extent to which his government provides (him/her with) services and privileges in terms of livelihood.

In short, the issue of livelihood and economic prosperity is a central issue for the Western man in terms of evaluating his government’s (legitimacy/performance). For instance, if Trump launches wars in which millions are killed, the Western man will remain largely silent before such a scene, as long as Trump (manages through such wars) to reduce the unemployment rate in (America) for instance. By merely bringing about some economic improvements, Trump secured a great percentage of votes or support (from Americans). In other words, he gained a widely popular base within American society. This scene also takes place in say Britain, France or Germany.

The red line for Westerners vis-à-vis their governments is (precisely) this issue of (economic) wellbeing and prosperity. Therefore, you can see that Western governments work on the economic dimension whenever they intend to carry out any sinister or ominous foreign actions or policies against any world nation.

The second element regarding the Western psyche was intensively worked upon for hundreds of years, especially during the last century, by (Western) societies, institutions, media, and various forces within their culture, and that is the ‘demonization of the Other’. Meaning that according to them, we cannot be imagined as ‘good’. As far as they’re concerned, we are ‘evil’ (beings) or devils that must be killed or exterminated, or preferably, that we ought not to exist on the face of this planet. This ‘demonization of the Other’ process was worked upon intensively.

Therefore, when a Westerner feels empathy for a whale stuck between icebergs, but very rarely empathizes, if at all, with the Palestinian people, who are slaughtered, killed and subjected to all this oppression – this is because the Westerner is unable to extract these demonized images from his mind and imagination, images which (Western) media, educational institutions and (various Western) literature worked intensively on for centuries. Due to this culture, the Western man is unable to accept or view us as normal human beings, or as real people, or at least as people who deserve to live or have dignity.

Unfortunately, in this regard, we have major shortcomings that we must work on, not for the sake of the Western man, but for the sake of completing the (moral) argument against this (Western) world. If we do this, God willing the great Divine support will arrive (to change this situation).

(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here: https://www.patreon.com/MiddleEastObserver?fan_landing=true)

Read transcript: http://middleeastobserver.net/lebanese-writer-explains-why-westerners-have-no-remorse-when-killing-others/

Biden / Harris 2020: The Values That Unite the US and Israel

Source

August 13, 2020

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. (Photo: File)

By Benay Blend

Joe Biden declares that what links the United States and Israel goes beyond the exchange of weapons. It is instead the much more ephemeral notion of a “shared soul that unites our countries, generation upon generation.” He proved that notion on August 11, 2020, when he chose Kamala Harris, the former Attorney General of California and current U.S. Senator, as his running mate.

In an article aptly titled “Jim Crow Joe and Kamala the Cop: Another Blue Lives Matter Ticket,” Tatiana Cozzarelli and Ezra Brain explain that Biden’s choice rested on a desire to “co-opt a movement against anti-Black police” by picking a Black woman who “talks about racial justice.” In reality, Harris proved that she is “pro-cop and pro-prison” by “locking up and terrorizing communities of color.”

Following the murder of George Floyd, there has been an unprecedented uprising against police brutality, during which some have called for the abolition of police and prisons. It was no coincidence that support came from beleaguered Palestine, as the same militarized techniques are used in both countries. Indeed, there was speculation that police who used the knee-on-the-neck choke-hold that cost Floyd his life learned that technique as a consequence of Deadly Exchange, the training of American police forces in Israel.

It is no coincidence that Harris was Biden’s choice for running mate for they not only are united in their belief systems; they also share those ideas with the Zionist regime. Biden talks about our shared soul with Israel. Harris reports that she is “honored to join Joe Biden in the fight for the soul of our country.” Yet in a prophetic tweet on May 1, Steven Salaita pleads:

“Please stop this shit about the presidential election being a battle for the ‘soul of America.’ Settler colonies have no souls, only ruling classes that want us to feel pious about their depravity.”

Apparently, neither do the leaders who want to run the country. Joe Biden devoted his career “fighting for the American people,” Harris continues. “And as president, he will build an America that lives up to our ideals.”

Fine words, but what do they really mean? Like Israel, America prides itself on being exceptional. In particular, both Israel and America claim to be exceptional democracies. In fact, they were born in the genocide of Indigenous people in both countries.

Significantly Biden and Harris are both unqualified supporters of Israel. In her statement Harris mentions her parents, both immigrants, mother from India and father from Jamaica, and each, she says, were participants in the civil rights movement of the 60s.

“Some of my earliest memories,” she continues, “are from that time” when her parents were “attacked by police with hoses, fleeing for safety,” with baby Kamala “strapped tightly” in her stroller.

Harris claims that she inherited her “spirit of activism” from her mother, who told her not to “just sit around and complain about things. Do something.” She did just that when she served as California’s Attorney General as well as Senator.

It wasn’t to “fix a broken system from within,” as she claims, that she served in those positions, at least not in the spirit of Civil Rights. As Cozzarelli and Brain make clear, Attorney General Harris was not so “progressive” as she claimed to be. Instead, as a lawyer who was “tough on crime,” she supported the prison industrial complex by “terrorizing communities of color.”

While previously serving as San Francisco DA, she directed a “war on truancy” which resulted in the arrest and prosecution of parents of children who had missed 10 percent of school days, often leading to a year in prison or a $2000 fine, neither of which were helpful for poor communities.

If all of this and more sounds even more appalling considering that Harris is Black, and so should have more empathy for her community, remember that Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State (2005-2009) and US National Security Advisor (2001-2005), who was 8 years old at the time of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, said that afterward there was “no safe place” nor “sanctuary” for Black children in her community.

That experience, she said, led her to empathize with victims in other countries who had lost their families to war. Yet there were numerous war crimes committed under the Bush Administration, which, as Nancy Mancias explains, she condoned and covered for during her time as Secretary of State.

In a Facebook response last night, when emotions were running high, Ernesto Ayala, organizer for the Partido Nacional de la Raza Unidaasked that others organize instead of playing into what appeared to be a political game that tokenizes people of color:

“What a circus Ameriklan politics are. I’ve been on this planet 38 years and I’ve seen this ridiculous game over and over and over and it always follows the same pattern only now the empire is desperate and throwing in non white people into their game to AGAIN fool you into having hope in this decaying empire that has given us what? What on Earth has it given us only pain and misery everything we’ve been able to achieve has been in spite of and come at a cost of struggle that has cost blood NOT by this game show that produces Trump in the first place… Organize!”

Like Rice, Harris might understand the terrorizing of a community from her childhood experiences, but she has not been able to transfer that empathy to foreign policy. Moreover, as a Palestine Chronicle blog post attests, Harris   sports “a record of fighting for civil rights, freedom, and equality in America.”

Yet, as Kyle Kulinksi, a left-wing commentator and founder of the progressive political action committee Justice Democrats, observes, by ignoring Israel’s Occupation of Palestine, Harris is showing that “her moral and ethical concerns are non-existent.”

In a July 8, 2019 article in Electronic Intifada which is resurfacing again after Biden’s pick, Ali Abunimah claims that “[Harris’] support for freedom, civil rights and equality does not extend to one group of people systematically and violently denied them: Palestinians.” On this issue, she appears very much in line with Biden, whose support for Israel has been covered by the media for several years.

Given her record in California, I would argue that Harris’ domestic and foreign policy are all of one piece, seamlessly endorsing some of the same practices as those found in Israel. As AG in California, her stance on incarcerated prisoners was that they were expendable, much like Israel views Palestinians, and really the way that any settler colonial regime views the colonized. For example, when told to reduce the population of California’s crowned prisons, AG Harris’ office responded that if non-violent offenders were released that would lower the prison system’s source of cheap labor.

Writing for In These Times, Marie Gottschalk maintains that

“A new generation of prosecutors is willing to take on the Fraternal Order of Police and the statewide associations of district attorneys and sheriffs—some of the biggest obstacles to real criminal justice reform. And powerful local coalitions are emerging to make sure that those like Harris, who aspire to be ‘progressive prosecutors,’ do not pull back once they are elected to office.”

Will these young prosecutors, though, see the close links between foreign and domestic policies, particularly with respect to America’s ties to Israel? While liberals are quick to overlook the Biden / Harris position on the Occupation, they do so at their peril. As Michael Brown observes: “Substance on Palestine and settler-colonialism also matters and speaks volumes about a person.”

In the words of Palestinian-American writer/activist Steven Salaita: “Silence about ethnic cleansing is a sacrifice much greater than any principle an American might compromise in order to arrive at a voting decision.”

As commentators said after the shooting of George Floyd, our support of such tactics in other countries has implications for the state of our government at home. In addition to the exchange of military tactics and surveillance techniques, Israel’s disregard for what it deems a disposable population was mirrored in Harris’ legal career in California.

Indeed, if Israel meets her human rights standards, as she said, what does that say for what her bar will be at home? Unless we have the courage to look at the entire picture, not just what we want to see, we are doomed to repeat the protests that are going to follow after the shooting of many George Floyds in the future.

– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona

Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona

May 13, 2020

Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

Among capitalist economists stagflation is the worst possible outcome, excepting a Great Depression.

They even admit they cannot explain it (especially Keynesians), or rather they choose not to – this is why the word has barely been broached during this very depressing coronavirus era. In exactly the same vein, the West’s intellectuals claim they cannot explain the causes of World War I (as I discussed last week here).

There is clearly something in stagflation which, like the banker collusion which orchestrated World War I, strikes at the moral heart of the Western liberal project.

They don’t know what caused the 1970s stagflation, but what’s certain is that the solution – the highest prime interest rates (20% in 1981) in US history, which provoked two recessions and a disaster for the housing market – is not available today in this age of Western ZIRP (Zero Interest Rate Policies) and Quantitative Easing. A total reversal to that type of a contractionary monetary policy would lead to bankers starting World War III; negative interest rates could reach the US as soon as this winter.

The West wants to ignore stagflation because fixing it is so very, very hard. If Weimar Germany represents the most dynamic pole of Western capitalist-imperialist socio-economic breakdown, then stagflation is its equally destructive passive pole. Stagflation was indeed put to music via the punk movement, with its trumpeting of what everyone knows: the Western capitalist dream does not work without imperialist wars, the liberal democratic neo-aristocrats are phony hypocrites, and anarchy in the UK (and the rest of the West) is needed in order to overthrow the status-quo loving “keep calm and carry on-ers”.

Cover your ears – the West is about to get punk again.

“Stagflation” is a portmanteau of “stagnation” and “inflation”: it is the combination of slow economic growth, high unemployment and price inflation. Stagnant wages is a fourth component but it is often left out because the capitalist West doesn’t want to talk about lifting wages at home, in their factories in Haiti, or even on Mars.

Astute readers should be re-reading that sentence and thinking: “Well, since the Great Lockdown started the West certainly now has all four.”

Indeed, but let’s quickly recap:

Slow economic growth – YES: This existed pre-corona in the West’s “Great Recession”: a Lost Decade for the Eurozone, while US economic growth was only in the asset classes of the 1%. As a result of their hysterical overreaction to corona Western GDP growth is going to drop probably around 5%, which is a total catastrophe for a Western system that relies on constant growth and wage-earning instead of central planning and government intervention to prevent economic catastrophe for their lower classes.

We know there will be a corona-related demand shock: the expectation of continued economic chaos will increase the desire to save and not spend. There is also the demand shock caused by their generalised consumer terror – i.e., people who remain too scared of corona to even shop or travel, which will affect businesses from luxury goods to tourism to restaurants to the mall.

High unemployment – YESThis is just as obviously another catastrophic but entirely foreseeable consequence of the Great Lockdown. Estimates range from 25-42% of all lost jobs in the US are never, ever coming back. The Eurozone already had persistently high unemployment since 2008, whereas Germany and the US falsified/degraded their unemployment rate with part-time work/minijobs/gig economy jobs.

Price inflation: YES – Just talk to any small businessman: their first goal upon reopening will be to recoup months of zero revenue – they are desperate to do so because they still had to pay costs like rent, debt servicing, utilities, wages and more during the Great Lockdown. Thus, they will raise prices and cut costs (i.e. fire workers) to not be a part of the mass bankruptcies which will arrive once the West actually gets back to work and sees how bad things are now.

Consider the effects on prices of these new Great Lockdown-inspired obstacles for business such as social distancing: If restaurants, for example, are only allowed to run at half-capacity, they have to either sell twice as much food or raise prices. Talk of supply chains moving back to the US are far-fetched, given that US corporate law requires that stockholders not lose a penny just to aid the nation, but supply chain disruptions will raise prices.

How can the price of the few remaining Western government social services go down when government tax revenue has plummeted?

This is all why nobody is expecting prices to go down in 2020, but many are predicting crashes in asset classes like homes, stocks, bonds, luxury goods, etc.

Low wages: YES – This is never discussed in the West because the outlook is so perpetually depressing in a neoliberal-capitalist system which both refuses wage controls and guts stable civil service jobs in order to hand them to the unstable, profit-oriented private sector in the name of so-called “efficiency”: When the Great Lockdown ends there will be an enormous oversupply in the labor market, thus driving down wages – the Western MSM dares not discuss this inevitability. For those who kept their job: if you thought you didn’t ask for a raise from 2008-2020 because you were too shy, fear of joining the jobless ranks will keep you even quieter in 2020.

So we see that all the components are there – were already there – for Western stagflation.

A solution to stagflation would be either increased wages or increased “People’s QE”. Given that wages represent a long-term drain on the bosses’ profits, we should thus expect the Western 1% to prefer another round of direct, but one-time, government payments to individuals and households – but this would be only a temporary staving off of stagflation. However, the preference of this band-aid solution will be resolutely opposed by anti-socialist neoliberals who view government intervention as the work of Satan, as well as the existence of Austrian/Chicago/“immoral competition is normal”-capitalists who are licking their chops at the prospect of buying up the bankrupted at low prices.

From the outset I warned that the West was fooling themselves into thinking they had the same strengths and capabilities as socialist-inspired nations like China, Iran, Vietnam and others – they employed quarantining, control methods and collective-over-individualist concepts used by Asian nations, but without having similar cultures of government economic intervention nor widespread trust in their governments, and amid their economic Great Recession on top of it all.

But you hear that analysis about as often as you have heard about stagflation.

The West will continue to avoid stagflation discussions by continuing to distort the data

The West won’t discuss what it can’t explain or what threatens their cultural chauvinism, whether that is World War I, or stagflation, or how Trump doing the exact same thing Obama did is somehow only evil when Trump does it.

Slow economic growth – the excuse of Western liberal exceptionalism: “2021 economic growth rates can only go up from 2020, thus the definition of stagflation is not met.” This is a purely technical and pedantic reply – there will be both stagnation and inflation, but by taking as narrow and as uncritical a view as possible of what stagflation truly is, then Western journalists can say “claiming stagflation is wrong”. But this response can’t endlessly hold up any more than the “confidence fairy” justification for Eurozone austerity did.

High unemployment – the excuse of Western liberal exceptionalism: This will be the toughest to hide, so they will likely do something similar to what Emmanuel Macron did: stop reporting the embarrassing unemployment data every month and only give it quarterly. Perhaps they will do what the US and Germany do – pretend as if “underemployment” does not exist (even though it is the defining feature of their young adult class for over a decade) and act as if working one hour per week makes one “employed”.

Price inflation – the excuse of Western liberal exceptionalismTheir inflation gauges already exclude the biggest expenses for the average person: food & energy (too volatile to include, they say), housing, health care and education costs. Ask a German politician and they will tell you that they are watching inflation like a hawk and that it is certainly staying in their “acceptable 2% range”. But ask a normal worker – who keeps paying more for the metro, beef, fruit, housing and all those other crucial things which inflation gauges exclude – and you’ll understand why “decreased purchasing power” has been the number one French voter concern for the 11 years I’ve lived here.

Low wages – the excuse of Western liberal exceptionalismHistory is clear: It took a pandemic for Americans to finally get a barely liveable wage of $15/hour… but only via government welfare and only until July 31. What many Republicans have already ruled out is extending these benefits – which are better than the low wages their lower classes get – because that would increase unemployment and thus only worsen stagflation. Permanently increasing wages should not be expected, as that would represent a sea-change in Western economics in favor of the bottom 90%, and that hasn’t been seen in 40 years.

Increased wages would, however, increase demand for goods and thus raise revenue and demand, and thus increase employment. It would also theoretically causes prices to rise, but the more worrying near-term reason for the price rises are the hysterical restrictions imposed by new social distancing rules and corona fears which have been overblown to bits across the West.

The West can write off 2020 as a recession or a depression, but stagflation will occur after that

Among the West’s Mainstream Media the general editorial line is denialism: “How can there ever be a catastrophe in the West when There Is No Alternative?” Among the West’s fringe/alternative websites the general editorial line is, “Armageddon/a Brave New World starts tomorrow due to the Mainstream Media’s cover-ups of catastrophe!”

However, the post-Great Lockdown truth is likely a very un-Confucian middle path: 1970s-style stagnation, which is Chinese water torture for the bottom 90%, certainly, but not revolution. They say that revolutions can never be predicted and certainly nothing at all can truly be predicted until their Great Lockdown ends – but if the West’s 1% and their toadies successfully resist the call for change from capitalism-imperialism, then stagflation is the West’s future.

The Western 1% profited from the stagflation era, of course: it proved to be a perfect antidote to their political involvement of the 1960s – creating mass precariousness is a very easy way to shut workers and citizens up. The 1970s were a “long national nightmare” for the US and their Western allies – how could their 1%-controlled Mainstream Media demand a Great Lockdown so very strenuously if they honestly warned that a return of that degraded era would be the result?

The causes of the West’s stagflation era (the “Nixon shock”, going off the gold standard, colluding with the House of Saud to create the Petrodollar system, the lack of imperialist war to keep factories from Detroit to Gary, Indiana, humming, the desire to break the record-level power of organised labor, the increased capitalist fanaticism resulting from the continued refusal of peaceful coexistence with socialist-inspired nations which oppose capitalism-imperialism) and its solutions (the breaking of the housing market in order to gut the primary asset of the bottom 90%, a vast anti-union campaign, purposeful governmental ineptitude in order to provoke the rabid anti-government component of neoliberalism, the hyper-financialisation of the economy, the demand for neoliberal “free markets” in order to send good manufacturing jobs out and weaken labor further, the promotion in the US of Reaganesque jingoism in order to give lower class Whites a feeling of pride to replace their socioeconomic degradation) will require much more analysis in the coming months and years because that lousy past is the capitalist-imperialist West’s post-corona future.

See why they don’t want to talk about stagflation?

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

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.

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

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work – May 11, 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 Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

It’s No Accident Britain And America Are the World’s Biggest Coronavirus Losers

It’s No Accident Britain And America Are the World’s Biggest Coronavirus Losers

By Nesrine Malik – The Guardian

There’s something profound about the irony. The world’s highest coronavirus death tolls belong to two countries whose leaders came to power promising the restoration of greatness and control – the United States and Great Britain. Neither can claim to have been caught by surprise: both nations had the benefit of time, ample scientific warnings, and the cautionary examples of China and Italy.

The similarities are striking, the conclusions unavoidable. Here in the UK, we comforted ourselves with the belief that while our own buffoonish rightwing leader had his faults, at least he was no Donald Trump. But in the end, Boris Johnson has managed to stumble over even this lowest of hurdles. The UK government’s response to the crisis has turned out to be nearly as flippant and ill-prepared as the US’s.

Two nations that prided themselves on their extraordinary economic, historical and political status have been brought to their knees. Their fall from grace is the outcome of a damaged political culture and distinct form of Anglo-American capitalism.

Over the past four years, reckless political decisions were justified by subordinating reality to rhetoric. The cost of leaving the EU would be “virtually nil”, with a free trade agreement that would be one of the “easiest in human history”. Imaginary enemies were erected and fake fights confected as both countries pugnaciously went about severing their ties with other nations and international institutions.

Political discourse focused on grand abstract notions of rebirth and restoration, in a way that required few concrete deliverables. All the Tory government needed to do was Get Brexit Done, no matter how slapdash the job. In the US, all Trump needed to do to maintain his supporters’ loyalty was bark about a wall with Mexico every now and then, pass a racist travel ban, and savage various public figures for sport.

This is corrosive stuff – not only to the quality of public debate, but to the caliber of politicians. When the business of government becomes limited to populist set pieces, its ranks are purged of doers and populated instead with cheerleaders. This is how we ended up with the current cast of dazed-in-headlights Tory cabinet members. In the US, the very notion of an “administration” has been worn away. As the New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen puts it, “There is no White House. Not in the sense that journalists have always used that term. It’s just Trump – and people who work in the building.”

By the time Covid-19 hit their shores, the UK and US were lacking not just the politicians but the bureaucracies required to respond effectively. Prior to the crisis, Trump repeatedly attempted to defund the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. In the UK, the pandemic inconvenienced a Tory cabinet embroiled in a feud with its own civil service. The intellectual and practical infrastructure to deal with facts had been vandalized.

But there is a longer, non-partisan history that rendered both nations incapable of an adequate response to the pandemic. The special relationship is not just one of linguistic and cultural proximity, but an ideological partnership forged in the post-second world war era. Anglo-American capitalism, pursued by both right and center-left parties, rooted in small government and powered by exceptionalism, had dismantled the state. No notice or warning could have refashioned the machinery of government quickly enough to save lives. An economic and political model that hinges on privatization, liberalization and the withdrawal of labor rights created a system prone to regular crises, despite such shocks being framed as one-offs.

The economic and regulatory kinship was strengthened by the transformation of Britain’s quaint and mercantile financial sector into a replica of the US’s aggressive markets. The City caught up with Wall Street.

An interventionist foreign policy – publicly moralistic but privately cynical – gave the model an expansionist edge, which helped both nations project power abroad and defend their own financial and political interests. But the wars led to quagmires, and the rapidly expanding financial sectors to economic near-death experiences. Neither triggered significant rethinking or reflection. After the 2008 financial crisis, when this system came within “48 hours” of the “apocalypse”, two center-left leaders, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, chose to shore up the infrastructure that had brought their economies to the brink, recapitalizing the banks and revitalizing the markets, opting for more regulation rather than fundamental reform.

Just as the financial crash was treated as the malfunctioning of a particular unsupervised bug in the system rather than as a feature of it, so is the failure to grapple with the pandemic being cast as an unforeseen, exogenous event, rather than a result of an ideology that enables the state to scramble unprecedented resources to save banks but not lives. A nurse will wear a bin liner as PPE in the US for longer than a failing bank can go unfinanced.

Hollow triumphalism about making America great again and Britain taking back control becomes more and more likely in such a system. Trump and the Tories alighted on this formula not entirely out of mendacity or ideology. Without radically challenging Anglo-American capitalism, they have nothing else to offer their voters. And so they must separate economic suffering from politics, and attempt to blame it on immigrants and outsiders. They must blame other countries and international institutions – the EU, WHO, NATO – for the feelings of helplessness experienced by their own citizens. The swagger is a facade. Behind it hides a rotting national landscape.

As the bodies pile up, the failure of the US and the UK will be somehow spun into victory. The triumphalism will intensify; that is certain. The only question now is how many will continue to believe it.

The deeper roots of Chinese demonization

The deeper roots of Chinese demonization

May 03, 2020

By Pepe Escobar – posted with permission

Hegel saw history moving east to west – ‘Europe thus absolutely being the end of history, Asia the beginning’

Fasten your seat belts: the US hybrid war against China is bound to go on frenetic overdrive, as economic reports are already identifying Covid-19 as the tipping point when the Asian – actually Eurasian – century truly began.

Immanuel Kant was the first thinker to actually
come up with a theory of the yellow race. Photo: Google Images

The US strategy remains, essentially, full spectrum dominance, with the National Security Strategy obsessed by the three top “threats” of China, Russia and Iran. China, in contrast, proposes a “community of shared destiny” for mankind, mostly addressing the Global South.

The predominant US narrative in the ongoing information war is now set in stone: Covid-19 was the result of a leak from a Chinese biowarfare lab. China is responsible. China lied. And China has to pay.

The new normal tactic of non-stop China demonization is deployed not only by crude functionaries of the industrial-military-surveillance-media complex. We need to dig much deeper to discover how these attitudes are deeply embedded in Western thinking – and later migrated to the “end of history” United States. (Here are sections of an excellent study, Unfabling the East: The Enlightenment’s Encounter with Asia , by Jurgen Osterhammel).Only Whites civilized

Way beyond the Renaissance, in the 17th and 18th centuries, whenever Europe referred to Asia it was essentially about religion conditioning trade. Christianity reigned supreme, so it was impossible to think by excluding God.

At the same time the doctors of the Church were deeply disturbed that in the Sinified world a very well organized society could function in the absence of a transcendent religion. That bothered them even more than those “savages” discovered in the Americas.

As it started to explore what was regarded as the “Far East,” Europe was mired in religious wars. But at the same time it was forced to confront another explanation of the world, and that fed some subversive anti-religious tendencies across the Enlightenment sphere.

It was at this stage that learned Europeans started questioning Chinese philosophy, which inevitably they had to degrade to the status of a mere worldly “wisdom” because it escaped the canons of Greek and Augustinian thought. This attitude, by the way, still reigns today.

So we had what in France was described as chinoiseries — a sort of ambiguous admiration, in which China was regarded as the supreme example of a pagan society.

But then the Church started to lose patience with the Jesuits’ fascination with China. The Sorbonne was punished. A papal bull, in 1725, outlawed Christians who were practicing Chinese rites. It’s quite interesting to note that Sinophile philosophers and Jesuits condemned by the Pope insisted that the “real faith” (Christianity) was “prefigured” in ancient Chinese, specifically Confucianist, texts.

The European vision of Asia and the “Far East” was mostly conceptualized by a mighty German triad: Kant, Herder and Schlegel. Kant, incidentally, was also a geographer, and Herder a historian and geographer. We can say that the triad was the precursor of modern Western Orientalism. It’s easy to imagine a Borges short story featuring these three.

As much as they may have been aware of China, India and Japan, for Kant and Herder God was above all. He had planned the development of the world in all its details. And that brings us to the tricky issue of race.

Breaking away from the monopoly of religion, references to race represented a real epistemological turnaround in relation to previous thinkers. Leibniz and Voltaire, for instance, were Sinophiles. Montesquieu and Diderot were Sinophobes. None explained cultural differences by race. Montesquieu developed a theory based on climate. But that did not have a racial connotation – it was more like an ethnic approach.

The big break came via French philosopher and traveler Francois Bernier (1620-1688), who spent 13 years traveling in Asia and in 1671 published a book called La Description des Etats du Grand Mogol, de l”Indoustan, du Royaume de Cachemire, etc. Voltaire, hilariously, called him Bernier-Mogol — as he became a star telling his tales to the royal court. In a subsequent book, Nouvelle Division de la Terre par les Differentes Especes ou Races d’Homme qui l’Habitent, published in 1684, the “Mogol” distinguished up to five human races.

This was all based on the color of the skin, not on families or the climate. The Europeans were mechanically placed on top, while other races were considered “ugly.” Afterward, the division of humanity in up to five races was picked up by David Hume — always based on the color of the skin. Hume proclaimed to the Anglo-Saxon world that only whites were civilized; others were inferiors. This attitude is still pervasive. See, for instance, this pathetic diatribe recently published in Britain.

Two Asias

The first thinker to actually come up with a theory of the yellow race was Kant, in his writings between 1775 and 1785, David Mungello argues in The Great Encounter of China and the West, 1500-1800.

Kant rates the “white race” as “superior,” the “black race” as “inferior” (by the way, Kant did not condemn slavery), the “copper race” as “feeble” and the “yellow race” as intermediary. The differences between them are due to a historical process that started with the “white race,” considered the most pure and original, the others being nothing but bastards.

Kant subdivided Asia by countries. For him, East Asia meant Tibet, China and Japan. He considered China in relatively positive terms, as a mix of white and yellow races.

Herder was definitely mellower. For him, Mesopotamia was the cradle of Western civilization, and the Garden of Eden was in Kashmir, “the world’s paradise.” His theory of historical evolution became a smash hit in the West: the East was a baby, Egypt was an infant, Greece was youth. Herder’s East Asia consisted of Tibet, China, Cochinchina, Tonkin, Laos, Korea, Eastern Tartary and Japan — countries and regions touched by Chinese civilization.

Schlegel was like the precursor of a Californian 60s hippie. He was a Sanskrit enthusiast and a serious student of Eastern cultures. He said that “in the East we should seek the most elevated romanticism.” India was the source of everything, “the whole history of the human spirit.” No wonder this insight became the mantra for a whole generation of Orientalists. That was also the start of a dualist vision of Asia across the West that’s still predominant today.

So by the 18th century we had fully established a vision of Asia as a land of servitude and cradle of despotism and paternalism in sharp contrast with a vision of Asia as a cradle of civilizations. Ambiguity became the new normal. Asia was respected as mother of civilizations — value systems included — and even mother of the West. In parallel, Asia was demeaned, despised or ignored because it had never reached the high level of the West, despite its head start.

Those Oriental despots

And that brings us to The Big Guy: Hegel. Hyper well informed – he read reports by ex-Jesuits sent from Beijing — Hegel does not write about the “Far East” but only the East, which includes East Asia, essentially the Chinese world. Hegel does not care much about religion as his predecessors did. He talks about the East from the point of view of the state and politics. In contrast to the myth-friendly Schlegel, Hegel sees the East as a state of nature in the process of reaching toward a beginning of history – unlike black Africa, which he saw wallowing in the mire of a bestial state.

To explain the historical bifurcation between a stagnant world and another one in motion, leading to the Western ideal, Hegel divided Asia in two.

One part was composed by China and Mongolia: a puerile world of patriarchal innocence, where contradictions do not develop, where the survival of great empires attests to that world’s “insubstantial,” immobile and ahistorical character.

The other part was Vorderasien (“Anterior Asia”), uniting the current Middle East and Central Asia, from Egypt to Persia. This is an already historical world.

These two huge regions are also subdivided. So in the end Hegel’s Asiatische Welt (Asian world) is divided into four: first, the plains of the Yellow and Blue rivers, the high plateaus, China and Mongolia; second, the valleys of the Ganges and the Indus; third, the plains of the Oxus (today the Amur-Darya) and the Jaxartes (today the Syr-Darya), the plateaus of Persia, the valleys of the Tigris and the Euphrates; and fourth, the Nile valley.

It’s fascinating to see how in the Philosophy of History (1822-1830) Hegel ends up separating India as a sort of intermediary in historical evolution. So we have in the end, as Jean-Marc Moura showed in L’Extreme Orient selon G. W. F. Hegel, Philosophie de l’Histoire et Imaginaire Exotique, a “fragmented East, of which India is the example, and an immobile East, blocked in chimera, of which the Far East is the illustration.”

To describe the relation between East and West, Hegel uses a couple of metaphors. One of them, quite famous, features the sun: “The history of the world voyages from east to west, Europe thus absolutely being the end of history, and Asia the beginning.” We all know where tawdry “end of history” spin-offs led us.

The other metaphor is Herder’s: the East is “history’s youth” — but with China taking a special place because of the importance of Confucianist principles systematically privileging the role of the family.

Nothing outlined above is of course neutral in terms of understanding Asia. The double metaphor — using the sun and maturity — could not but comfort the West in its narcissism, later inherited from Europe by the “exceptional” US. Implied in this vision is the inevitable superiority complex, in the case of the US even more acute because legitimized by the course of history.

Hegel thought that history must be evaluated under the framework of the development of freedom. Well, China and India being ahistorical, freedom does not exist, unless brought by an initiative coming from outside.

And that’s how the famous “Oriental despotism” evoked by Montesquieu and the possible, sometimes inevitable, and always valuable Western intervention are, in tandem, totally legitimized. We should not expect this Western frame of mind to change anytime soon, if ever. Especially as China is about to be back as Number One.

‘This Yellow Vest carnage’ more ‘French exceptionalism’

 

July 23, 2019

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

‘This Yellow Vest carnage’ more ‘French exceptionalism’

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

At a recent demonstration against the recently fired, third-ranking French civil servant (the president of parliament), who had been caught enjoying jumbo lobster and 1,000-euro bottles of wine with his friends on the taxpayer’s centime, I chatted with a former political prisoner.

It may surprise some that he was a Westerner. The West is, of course, exceptional: everyone else has political prisoners, but there isn’t a single one in the free, free West.

He had just spent four months in prison for protesting with the Yellow Vests. In a story which appears trite but which I believed – given the fact that testimony by police cannot be questioned in France’s judicial system – he said that it was the protester next to him who had thrown something at the cops and not him. There was no falsehood in the intense bitterness with which he said, “Four months in prison – I wish that I actually had thrown it!”

He showed me the many scars and permanent knots on his wrists and forearms – defensive wounds caused by protecting himself from fiercely-armed, well-protected and ruthless riot police. I praised his sacrifice for the common good, but I did not tell him that this was exceptional: in the past eight months I had heard many similar stories. Just last weekend I saw children getting tear gassed, and yet another woman shot in the eye with a rubber bullet.

This is carnage, pure and simple, and it happens all around France every Saturday starting around 11 am.

The biggest complaint of the Yellow Vests these days may not be against the French model of government, but towards a Western Mainstream Media which acts as if such carnage doesn’t exist.

If the world believed that the French system of governance was exceptional, then the repression of the Yellow Vest movement should forever silence that false claim. It has been eight months: their media system obviously cannot report on domestic political repression, and their political system can obviously perpetuate domestic repression with an impunity unparalleled in the world. In no other country has such regular, political repression occurred this century.

This ability to inflict such record-breaking repression while talking passionately about liberté – and being believed at home and abroad! – is the true “French exceptionalism”, and it is nothing to boast about or emulate.

Western propaganda has shut down all criticism of French repression in favor of hysterical and one-sided coverage of the protests in Hong Kong. Another widespread belief among Westerners is that they are exceptional in that their systems don’t permit the creation of “propaganda”, whereas that is the only thing the journalists of most other nations can do, especially nations like Russia, Iran, Syria, etc.

One thing about exceptionalists is their certainty of its permanence: it seems that once one is exceptional, one can never stop being exceptional, no matter how immorally one acts. Exceptionalism, once bestowed by God, can never be subject to a Day of Judgment, apparently. It’s a, uh, “unique” view….

Undoubtedly, the necessarily corollary to exceptionalism’s assertion that “We are different” is rarely stated but extremely important in order to understand the exceptionalist’s mindset, and it is: “while all the rest of you idiots are all the same”.

Those in the developing world are told that there is an enormous difference between Belgians and the English, for example. Even though the former is merely a peninsula of the latter, what a mighty chasm separates the Danes and the Germans! Yet in France all Blacks are just that – Blacks – even though they hail from parts as varied as West Africa, Madagascar and the Caribbean. In the US all Latinos – whether from the southernmost tip of Tierra del Fuego or Boston – are painted with the same brush. Of course, in both countries Muslims are certainly all “Arabs”. This total nonsense illustrates an obsessive self-esteem which necessarily strains cooperation, diplomacy and true tolerance.

A difference between US and French claims for their own exceptionalism is that the US believes it is exceptional lock, stock and barrel, yet the French are more likely to claim their “cultural exceptionalism”.

It takes a bit of experience here to figure that out, but what they mean is that “White French culture” is exceptional: any influences from the nearby Muslim world, or anything their neo-imperial subjects might bring, or even the neighbouring Anglo-Saxon world – all are second-rate and somehow corruptive of an exceptionally wonderful culture which must never change.

What especially galls nations like Iran and many, many others regarding French exceptionalism are two things:

France claims to especially honor human rights… and yet how do we explain the the Yellow Vest repression? This was after we were told to believe that their bombs in Libya, their guns in the short-lived Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and their rapes in the Central African Republic are “humanitarian interventions”. We also were disgusted by the deification of the dangerous magazine Charlie Hebdo, which made millions by publishing Islamophobic pictures but never publish an anti-Jewish one.

It boggles to mind to think of the weight of the cognitive dissonance which France’s political and cultural elite must bear in their minds: they regularly imprison hundreds of protesters in the morning, and then in the afternoon talk about France being a beacon, champion and even the inventor of human rights.

It is simply intolerable to get lessons on human rights from a nation which so clearly violates them; it is intolerable because all nations must converse diplomatically, and yet France believes they can continually disrespects everyone else’s intelligence and get away with it.

Secondly, Iran is a nation which has been under hot and cold war for 40 years, therefore they have been truly living in wartime conditions, forced to have a true state of emergency in the past, and endure vast suffering caused by an illegal, homicidal blockade which aims to provoke either civil war or all-out war. France, however, suffers none of these hardships, and yet are more homicidal by multiple orders of magnitude.

How can Iran have such a very poor image and France such a positive image, given the former’s unjust handicaps and the latter’s lack of restraint, common decency and refusal to cooperate? Part of it is Iranophobic propaganda, and the other part is propaganda which champions the alleged legitimacy of “French exceptionalism”.

However, current anthropological scholarship is finally shedding their West-centric blinders to realise that France is not at all the “birthplace of human rights”: the conception of individual rights in today’s West was yet another resource stolen from the American Indians, namely the Iroquois Confederacy in the northeastern US. This fascinating subject, which academics simply must study,certainly seems logical – where was the conception of individual freedom in France’s long history of an absolute monarchy which was as absolute as anywhere in Europe? They obviously learned it from someone else, namely the Indians they came into contact with. To me, the Iroquois seemed to be about as freedom-loving as your average, ever-roaming Iranian nomad, but the point here is not to make exceptional claims about who invented human rights – the point is: the French did not invent them, as they claim.

It is inherent in countries which assert their exceptionalism – and perhaps in all Western Liberal Democracies – to deny shared authorship of the world’s many fine ideas and concepts, as they endlessly promote individualism and do not prize the communal, collective spirit.

I can report that those incredibly brave Yellow Vests who are still protesting – in the face of all the guaranteed state violence – repeatedly tell me what respect they have for Iran and its modern governmental system. They routinely tell me what shame they have in their own government. Indeed, the Yellow Vests are the new, courageous political vanguard of France. Unlike the French 1%’s support of aristocratic Western Liberal Democracy, Yellow Vests display French values which are in common with those around the world: solidarity, bravery, faith and self-sacrifice.

If the Yellow Vests could ever win political or cultural power they would certainly end the hypocrisy of “French exceptionalism”, which they correctly see as an unwanted yoke which only perpetuates France’s ongoing domestic repression.

The French have a fine saying: “One time does not make a custom.”

However, eight months does. The Yellow Vests obviously cannot be distracted with the false pride of “French exceptionalism” – they are busy defending themselves from the carnage such arrogance inevitably provokes.

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