Archive | World

A rook exits: Global chessboard

NOVANEWS
Image result for global chessboard CARTOON
By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline 

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who died Friday, Henry Kissinger and Madeline Albright have been three foreign-born scholars who significantly influenced American policies and impacted global affairs through the past half century. For better or worse, Brzezinski and Kissinger were grand strategists too. Both left a trail of influence through their protégés.

Brzezinski was an indefatigable ‘Cold Warrior’ and was in danger of becoming an anachronism. The leitmotif of his “doctrine” was his virulent anti-Russian outlook, which could have been due to his Polish origin. (Albright, another hardliner on Russia, was Czech.) He and Albright – apart from Strobe Talbott, who served as deputy state secretary in Bill Clinton administration – were instrumental in burying whatever prospects existed for a historic rapprochement between the West and Boris Yeltsin’s Russia (which the latter was keenly seeking).

Clinton’s decision to expand NATO to the former Warsaw Pact territory was the turning point. (George Kennan, the architect of the Cold War, was prophetic in warning Clinton that such a move would be a catastrophic blunder and shut the door on any prospect of friendly ties with Russia.) Plainly put, Brzezinski and Albright ensured that Cold War flames were kept burning in the post-cold war era – although Ronald Reagan or George HW Bush were open to accommodating Russia.

Kissinger, who advocated détente, once described Brzezinski “a total whore”, someone who could be on every side of every argument. (Two years earlier, Brzezinski too gave a terse summary of Kissinger’s approach as Richard Nixon’s security advisor: “fascination with enemies and ennui with friends” – that is, supposedly Chinese and Russian enemies and Western European friends.) It has been said that for every book about international politics authored by Brzezinski, there is a corresponding book about Kissinger. Brzezinski published close to 20 books, but didn’t attempt any memoirs, and no one seems to have written his biography either. The two personalities were poles apart. Kissinger was terrific at self-promotion, while Brzezinski’s razor-sharp intellect that could be intimidating, provocative and combative (albeit unfailingly stimulating) created an aura of aloofness. As a thinker, he outstrips Kissinger.

On the other hand, his track record as a diplomatist in Jimmy Carter’s White House remains hugely controversial on two templates – during the tumultuous Soviet intervention in Afghanistan (1978-1980) and the aftermath of the historic Islamic Revolution in Iran (1979). Simply put, Brzezinski scripted the “Afghan jihad” – unabashedly deploying jihadi forces as geopolitical instrument to bleed the Red Army. (That was how the al-Qaeda – and later the ISIS – was born.) Brzezinski’s stunning memos to Carter, exulting over the tantalizing prospect of creating a “Soviet Vietnam”, are the stuff of throbbing history.

Brzezinski later admitted that the US set up a bear trap for the Russians in Afghanistan. In a frank interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, he said, “We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.” There is a riveting essay in the nature of a book review on that momentous slice of international politics written by an American historian entitled Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion in Retrospect.

Brzezinski was a cold-blooded strategist rooted in Halford Mackinder’s famous Heartland Theory regarding the Pivot Area of Central Eurasia. In his complex thought process, “The key point to bear in mind is that Russia cannot be in Europe without Ukraine also being in Europe, whereas Ukraine can be in Europe without Russia being in Europe.”

Where Brzezinski and Kissinger would agree and disagree is when it comes to China. Both advocated the need for a stable, strong, predictable Sino-American partnership as an imperative of our times and, of course, in the US’ core interests. However, whereas Kissinger envisions the desirability of a trilateral US-Russian-Chinese “balance” in the interests of global stability, Brzezinski differs. Although Brzezinski grudgingly came to accept US-Russia détente, he saw it nonetheless as a paradigm where the US must keep the upper hand. (He saw no future for Russia.) Brzezinski argued that US should focus on building up ties with China, leaving Russia out in the cold, which would inevitably pressure Moscow to compromise lest it got “isolated” in big-power politics.

The problem with Brzezinski’s logic is that it blithely assumes that China would gang up with the US to isolate Russia – or would relegate its ties with Russia to the back burner. This is delusional thinking. The Sino-Russian strategic understanding gives the partnership a raison d-etre of its own, creating more space for both to negotiate effectively with the US.

Brzezinski’s departure can be compared to the exit of a rook from the chessboard. No doubt, the rook is a “heavy piece” on a chessboard, especially in the “endgame”. Like a rook, Brzezinski also moved horizontally or vertically, but never diagonally. But then, Brzezinski’s “heaviness” can also be taken very far. Good diplomacy needs plodders.

A case in point will be Brzezinski’s disastrous advice to Carter to mount a rescue mission – code named Eagle Claw – in April 1980 to bring home the 52 American diplomats held hostage in Iran. It was a reckless move. Eagle Claw never got near the American prisoners. Helicopters that were the mainstay of the mission were disabled in an unanticipated sandstorm in the Iranian desert. Eight American servicemen died and eight aircraft were lost.

Imam Khomeini later said in a memorable message titled The mistake of Carter and its consequences that the Iranian nation got the ultimate confirmation from Carter’s “foolish mischief” that the big Satan should never be trusted. The Imam warned,

  • I admonish Carter if he repeats again such a foolish act it will be difficult for us and the government to control the Muslim fighters and youths who are guarding the (American) spies.

That tragic folly probably cost Carter his kingdom in the November 1980 election. Carter’s Secretary of State Cyrus Vance had advised against Eagle Claw. Vance was by no means a pacifist; nor had he any liking for the revolutionary government in Iran. Vance’s rival for Carter’s ear was Brzezinski who was brash, clever, ambitious and held Vance in contempt as a relic of the once-dominant WASPs. Vance was indeed a WASP, born to a prosperous family in West Virginia and expensively educated. He had a successful career as a lawyer and seemingly was without political ambition.

But Vance’s plodder’s advice was spot on: Give the revolution, like for any revolution, the time to settle down, while patiently negotiating the release of hostages. Vance eventually resigned in protest over Eagle Claw – indeed, the only American state secretary to do so over policy differences, after being outmaneuvered by Brzezinski.

Posted in WorldComments Off on A rook exits: Global chessboard

“Horrific” Increase in Worldwide Displacement

 Image result for Increase in Worldwide Displacement CARTOON

Over 30 million people were newly internally displaced in 2016 by conflict and disasters, according to a new report.

In examining trends around the world for its annual Global Report on Internal Displacement, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) found “horrific” and high levels of new displacement.

“Since we started this conversation, hundreds of families have been or are in the process of being displaced today,” said Secretary-General of NRC and former Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Jan Egeland during a press briefing.

In 125 countries, a total of 31.1 million new displacements were recorded, representing an increase of over 3 million from 2015 and translating to one person displaced every second.

“When a family is pushed out of their home, often for years, it is a sign that something is horrifically wrong in a nation, in a locality, and also in international relations,” Egeland added.

Of the total, nearly 7 million were newly displaced by conflict alone in 2016. To everyone’s surprise, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) surpassed Syria and Iraq in having the most new internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the world.

“Our eyes and our focus were very much on the Middle East,” IDMC’s Director Alexandra Bilak told IPS.

“Sub-Saharan Africa has been consistently affected by internal displacement over the years, but we just weren’t expecting that spike in the DRC and we certainly weren’t expecting higher numbers there than in Syria,” she continued.

DRC has been marred by insecurity since the 1990s when the Rwandan genocide and an influx of refugees plunged the country into the deadliest conflict in African history, killing almost 5 million civilians.

Though the country declared peace in 2003, there has been a resurgence in violence between armed groups which has led to more than 900,000 new displacements over the course of 2016.

Egeland recalled his experience working in the DRC as Under-Secretary-General between 2003 and 2006, stating, “We were supposed to end that [conflict] a decade ago.”

He noted that DRC saw dwindling humanitarian resources over the years and fading attention.

“It fell off the top of the agenda and that was dangerous — that was a major mistake,” Egeland continued.

Bilak told IPS that the displacement figures found for the DRC in the report are “clearly an underestimate” as over 1 million have been newly displaced in the Central African country since the beginning of 2017.

The organizations also found that disasters displaced three times more people than conflict, documenting over 24 million new displacements in 118 countries.

Over 68 percent of all new disaster-related displacement took place in East Asia and the Pacific, including China and the Philippines, which saw the highest numbers of displacements due to heavy floods and typhoons. The effects of climate change on the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events will only further increase such displacement, the report noted.

And it is vulnerable small island states that will and continue to suffer disproportionately, Bilak said.

Haiti, which is still reeling from the impacts of the 2010 earthquake and most recently Hurricane Matthew, is among the top countries with the largest per capita disaster displacements. The Caribbean nation not only faces a high risk of disasters, but also a low capacity to respond and cope.

“This is another sad demonstration of the recurrent shocks to the system that these types of events represent and how difficult it is for certain countries to recover from them,” Bilak stated.

However, despite the fact that IDPs outnumber all refugees by two to one, much of the world’s attention and concern has been focused on refugees and migrants rather than the issue of internal displacement. For instance, more money was spent resettling refugees in donor countries than on the crises in countries of origin that forced people to flee in the first place.

“By only looking at refugees and migrants, you are essentially only really looking at the endpoint of a crisis — you are looking at the tip of the iceberg,” Bilak told IPS.

“It’s incredibly short-sighted and unstrategic to focus all political and financial attention on the symptoms of the problem rather than on the causes,” she continued.

Egeland echoed similar sentiments, stating that though there are high numbers of refugees in the world today, it is a “total myth” that people are “overflooding” Europe.

There are some links between IDPs and refugees as unresolved internal displacement can sometimes lead to cross-border movements. Countries that often have high numbers of IDPs also tend to produce many of the world’s refugees such as South Sudan and Syria.

However, it is necessary to look at the full migration and displacement picture and to acknowledge that internal displacement is an integral part of that picture, Bilak said.

Understanding patterns of displacement and movements allow for efficient and effective work on prevention, preparedness, and response efforts.

Both Bilak and Egeland called on renewed and redirected political and financial investments in this often overshadowed issue.

“The report is a tool for policymakers to help them prioritize where they should allocate their resources, both political resources and their financial resources,” Bilak told IPS.

This includes an increase in development assistance in order to reduce existing vulnerabilities and future risk, helping mitigate the long-term impacts of internal displacement and preventing cyclical crises from continuing in the future.

“Until the structural drivers of poverty, inequality, and underdevelopment are addressed, conflict and human rights violations will continue to cause displacement and impede solutions,” the report concludes.

Visit IPS news for fresh perspectives on development and globalization.

Posted in WorldComments Off on “Horrific” Increase in Worldwide Displacement

Peter Tosh: Resistance Fighter Against Racism and Apartheid

NOVANEWS
  • Reggae legend and activist Peter Tosh.
    Reggae legend and activist Peter Tosh. | Photo: Reuters
Long before activists coined and popularized the slogan, “No Justice, No Peace,” Tosh captured that sentiment of the people and immortalized it in the song “Equal Rights.”

Whenever we commemorate the Sharpeville Massacre, we are politically obligated to highlight the valiant effort of the late reggae singer, Pan-Africanist, Rastaman, revolutionary, and human rights champion Peter Tosh in creating greater public awareness of the crimes of South Africa’s apartheid system. Tosh was one of the original Wailers’ trio alongside Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer. He was a reggae superstar at the time of his assassination in Jamaica on Sept. 11, 1987. Tosh was known as a militant cultural worker and organic intellectual who did not mince words in condemning the powers-that-be.

ANALYSISBob Marley: A Revolutionary in Word, Song and Deed

March 21 was the 57th anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre that was carried out by the South African apartheid regime against protesting Africans in 1960. This protest was organized by the liberation organization the Pan Africanist Congress. It targeted the pass laws of the settler-colonial regime that regulated the movement and residential pattern of the indigenous Africans. International opinion was so outraged by the murderous behavior of the apartheid system that the United Nations’ General Assembly was inspired to declare March 21 the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

According to Tosh’s former manager Herbie Miller in the book Remembering Peter Tosh,” Tosh loved to read about international affairs and politics in general, biographies of noted Pan-Africanists as well as “literature about the origins of the apartheid system.” Tosh’s 1977 album “Equal Rights” was an anthem against racial and economic oppression and Miller said that “it was this era of legal segregation and political unrest that inspired Peter’s recording of the album.”

On this album, Tosh demonstrates his function as an organic intellectual of the international African laboring classes with the anti-apartheid song “Apartheid” that exposed the economic motivation and action of the apartheid regimes in South Africa and Namibia. The first four lines in the song bear witness to the natural resources extraction activities of the capitalist, settler-colonial regime in southern Africa:

Inna me land, quite illegal
You 
inna me land, dig out me gold, yes
Inna me land, diggin’ out me pearl
Inna me land, dig out me diamond

Tosh is not distracted by the ideological structure of white supremacy that was used in a vain attempt to mask the economic and financial imperatives behind the system of apartheid. It is not accidental and is quite instructive that this Rastafari prophetic voice went straight at the foundation of the system of apartheid in this song — the theft and occupation of Africans’ land and exploitation of its natural resources.

This militant reggae icon exposes and indicts before the court of international public opinion the vicious and murderous apartheid system for its neglect of the social needs of the oppressed. Since the apartheid regime lacks legitimacy in the eyes of the people, it was forced to invest heavily in the coercive arm of the state (the police, army, courts and prisons) in order to keep in check the people’s struggle for freedom:

You inna me land, you no build no schools for black children
You 
inna me land, no hospital for black people
You 
inna me land, you built your prison
You 
inna me land, you built your camp

OPINIONDecolonizing Culture and Politics with Derek Walcott

Peter was quite aware of the threat of the apartheid regime in South Africa and Namibia to international peace and regional stability in southern Africa. The settler-colonial regime did not confine its vile and brutal actions to inside the territories under its control. It went after the liberation movements from Namibia and South Africa in other countries. South African apartheid brought death and destruction to the people of the frontline states that gave shelter to the freedom fighters and anti-colonial forces:

You cross the border, you shoot off the children
Cross the border, shoot down women
Cross the border, you take your might
Cross the border to beat the right

Tosh told the apartheid regime that it must expect a fight from the victimized Africans. He knew that the language of force is the one in which the forces of white supremacy and Babylon were most fluent. The oppressed had no option but to fight:

Now we have to fight, fight, fight
Fight ‘gainst apartheid
Black man got to fight, fight, fight
Fight ‘gainst apartheid

Come on and you fight, fight, fight
Fight ‘gainst apartheid
We got to fight, fight, fight
Fight ‘gainst apartheid

If the call to arms against the forces of exploitation and the disastrous consequences for them are not clear enough, Tosh outlines the desperate situation in which the oppressors will find themselves in the decisive and final moments of the triumph of the oppressed. In the song Downpressor Man from the “Equal Rights” album, he informs the exploiter of his fate:

Downpressor man
Where you gonna run to
Downpressor man
Where you gonna run to
Downpressor man
Where you gonna run to
All along that day

You gonna run to the sea
But the sea will be boiling
When you run to the sea
The sea will be boiling
The sea will be boiling
All along that day

You gonna run to the rocks
The rocks will be melting
When you run to the rocks
The rocks will be melting
The rocks will be melting
All that day

Long before activists coined and popularized the slogan, “No Justice, No Peace,” Tosh captured that sentiment of the people and immortalized it in the song “Equal Rights.” He knew that the foundation of peace is justice and equality. The absence of peace and equal rights would ensure the continuation of predatory warfare by the oppressor and the necessity of revolutionary violence or armed self-defense by the oppressed:

Everyone is crying out for peace, yes
None is crying out for justice
Everyone is crying out for peace, yes
None is crying out for justice

Idon’t want no peace
I need equal rights and justice
I need equal rights and justice
I need equal rights and justice
Got to get it, equal rights and justice

Tosh was an internationalist who linked the fight of Africans against racism, settler-colonialism and apartheid in southern Africa with the struggle of the Palestinians against zionism and Israeli apartheid. In the song “Equal Rights,” he proclaims that “Palestinians are fighting for equal rights and justice.” This reggae and Rastafari revolutionary took the opportunity at the 1977 No Nukes concert in Madison Square Garden, New York, to demonstrate his solidarity with Palestinians and others from the Middle East against Israeli colonial and military aggression.

Tosh’s expression of internationalist solidarity with the cause of Palestinians and others in the Middle East caused the withdrawal of his invitation to address the relevant United Nations’ committee on apartheid. He would have been the first reggae cultural worker to do so.

We should share Tosh’s legacy of principled resistance and solidarity against apartheid, racism and economic exploitation with young people. Tosh used his art to turn the people on to the struggle for justice, equal rights and world peace.

Posted in WorldComments Off on Peter Tosh: Resistance Fighter Against Racism and Apartheid

Artificial Intelligence: ‘Frankenstein’ or Capitalist Money Machine

NOVANEWS
Image result for BANK CARTOON
By James Petras 

Introduction

The Financial Times’ Special Report (2/16/2017) published a four-page spread on the ‘use and possible dangers of artificial intelligence (AI)’. Unlike the usual trash journalists who serve as Washington’s megaphones on the editorial pages and political columns, the Special Report is a thoughtful essay that raises many important issues, even as it is fundamentally flawed.

The writer, Richard Walters, cites several major problems accompanying AI from ‘public anxieties, to inequalities and job insecurity’. Walters pleads with those he calls the ‘controllers of autonomous systems’ to heed social and ‘political frictions’ or face societal ‘disruption’. Experts and journalists, discussing the long-term, large-scale destruction of the working class and service jobs, claim that AI can be ameliorated through management and social engineering.

This essay will proceed to raise fundamental issues, questions leading to an alternative approach to AI relying on class analysis. We will reject the specter of AI as a ‘Frankenstein’ by identifying the social forces, which finance, design and direct AI and which benefit from its negative social impact.

Basic Questions: Demystifying AI

The best and the worst of the experts reporting on AI assert that it is an autonomous system, devoid of any link to the class structure within which it operates. Their version of technological determinism, above and beyond the needs and demands of capitalists, fits neatly with the corporate ideology of the trash journalists and pundits.

The fundamental questions that must be raised include: 1) ‘AI’, for whom?; 2) How are the productivity gains of AI to be distributed between capital and labor? 3) How are work time, income and pensions distributed between the owners of technology and the labor force?; and 4) What kinds of socio-economic activity does AI serve?

‘Artificial Intelligence’ and related technological innovations are financed, designed, controlled and ultimately applied by the major corporations and financial institutions in order to reduce the cost of labor and to enhance profits and competitiveness between capitalist rivals.

AI and similar capitalist technological changes, along with the overseas relocation of information technology and manufacturing production are the principal destroyers of workers’ employment and living standards in the US.

AI technology, alongside vast spending for imperial wars and military procurement, multi-billion dollar bank-bailouts and the promotion of finance-over-productive capital represent the forces driving down wages, salaries, living standards, pensions and, lately, life expectancy for the marginalized working class and rural population.

The innovators and promoters of AI, whether individuals or small groups, seek capitalist support to finance, market and ‘acquire’ their ‘discoveries’. In fact, the entire industry has been built upon large-scale, tax-funded public research centers and university laboratories, which have paid for the buildings as well as the scientists’ and professors’ salaries.

Most of IT and AI related profits are distributed among the military-industrial complex, the chemical agro-industrial monopolies and the transport and consumer goods manufacturing elites. While garbage journalists and experts cite ‘AI’s contribution to health, education and social services, they forget to clarify that these ‘innovations’ are controlled by private health corporations, private ‘charter’ schools and public sector education elites intent on increasing profits, lowering teachers’ salaries, slashing programs and undermining student learning. The dismal, fragmented and mal-distributed state of healthcare and education in the United States is never seriously discussed because it puts the lie to the absurd claims made about the benefits of AI and IT for the broader population.

Far from being ‘autonomous’ and subject to abstract ‘controllers’, AI, IT and high technology serve to concentrate wealth, power and profits for multiple sectors of the ruling class who determine how such technologies will be used.

The financiers of AI and their partners direct the scientists, engineers and marketers. The garbage journalists are paid to proclaim the arrival of ‘history-making’ innovations. The media describe AI as ‘machine learning, a form of advanced pattern recognition technology to make judgments by analyzing large amounts of data (which) could supplement human thought’ (FT Special Report 2/17/2017).

Contrary to the above-mentioned assumptions, the ‘judgments’ are made by the ruling class, using parameters and metrics determined by the elite, deciding on what kinds of ‘patterns are to be recognized’ in order that they can derive the kind of information they need to enhance profits, make war, maximize killing and engineer massive layoffs of workers. In a word, class assumptions dictate AI, IT and the use of these innovations.

Conclusion: Alternatives

If class determines AI, and in present-day America that means the ruling class, then only changes in the class structure can pose different questions and answers to our originally stated problems. Only by sharpening the class struggle, which changes who rules the banks, factories and social institutions, will new assumptions direct AI and IT and other innovations.

Only workers, professionals and scientists, who replace the prioritizing of profits with meeting social needs, can produce an AI that lowers the retirement age, increases national health care, facilitates workers’ decision making, distributes high quality education and information to the citizenry, reduces inequalities and shifts earnings from capital to labor.

Posted in WorldComments Off on Artificial Intelligence: ‘Frankenstein’ or Capitalist Money Machine

Analyzing the Emerging World Order: The Future of Globalism

NOVANEWS
 
GLOBAL-ECONOMY

The global community today is clearly in a state of flux. This is not an aberration – we are in the midst of a normal and periodic global reordering. We shall briefly take a “big picture” look at this phenomenon and attempt to glean an understanding as to the direction that we are heading as citizens of a global society. It is my hope that these observations can foster a more in depth discussion between reasonable people; leading to the development of ideas which can then be implemented to improve the human condition.

Current Paradigm:

We live in a world subdivided by societies: nations and their respective subdivisions. As a matter of fact, there are over 200 nations recognized by the United Nations (UN). We are taught that a society must conform to a binary label such as “free” or “unfree”, “democratic” or “non-democratic” and so on. This is done principally for two reasons – to provide a tautological definition, also for easier control of the masses via manipulation.

The current overarching narrative provides that we are divided between the “western” and “eastern” worlds. What does this really mean? We can distill this down to one principal root: economics. What do we mean by economics? We can say that in it’s purest form, it is simply the structured allocation of finite resources.

Today we are observing the transition from a so called unipolar world, one in which a single nation (or group of allied nations) dictates the terms of life for all global citizens, to a more balanced and natural multipolar world.

The current dominating group, the “western” bloc of nations, is led by the United States along with numerous vassal states; this order has persisted since the end of the Second World War. This construct is held together using a combination of supranational organizations (UN,WTO,World Bank, IMF, et cetera), propaganda (mainstream media complex), armed might (MIC,NATO, private mercenary forces) and chiefly economics (central banks, corporations).

The true “rulers” of this bloc are a cabal of very wealthy and powerful oligarchs that work in the background (shadow banking, dark pool finance, shadow governments, think tanks, NGO’s) to subvert the various sovereignties to their advantage. These oligarchs are the principal owners of, not just the industries and corporations that front for them, but the governments that rule over the masses. Most importantly this cabal owns the means by which real wealth extraction is carried out: fiat currency, chiefly the “worlds reserve currency”- the United States dollar and it’s derivatives. These currencies are backed not by equitable assets; such as natural resources, precious metals or productive capacities; instead they are backed by the creation of debt. Debt that represents a claim on real assets that virtually all participants in global commerce must pay.

How did this cabal come into power? This is a complex question that is subject to many possible answers and interpretations. Briefly, we know from historical fact that a global empire is a central part of this construct, today the United States empire holds that role (previously British, French so on…). This provides the controlling force behind such a cabal. The privately owned quasi-governmental western central banks are at the heart of this operation. They form the crucial nexus between sovereign governments and the financial world in which they derive their revenue stream, and by extension, their power. The current seat of this construct (United States) was founded as a Constitutional Republic. Unfortunately, the United States Constitution is quite amorphous. Using many acts of legislative, executive and even judicial fiat, this cabal has been able to effectively take over the reigns of the nation. With that feat accomplished, near world domination was made possible. A complex web of regulations, laws, and rules; coupled with a financial system few fully comprehend has been put into place across the west. This became the mechanism by which this “new world order” has been enforced.

The unsolvable problem here is that this debt based system is really just an elaborate pyramid scheme predicated on ever increasing amounts of debt in a world where sources of real wealth are finite. At present, the growth rate and the total amount of debt issuance, is outpacing the extraction rate and amount of available reserves of resources on the planet.

A Path Forward?…..

A new bloc of nations has been pushed toward an alliance. This bloc of nations consists of principally China, Russia and Iran (“eastern bloc”). These nations are led by various actors who seem to comprehend the likely nature of the end game inherent to the current financial construction. They are out of necessity seeking a path toward a different and more balanced and hopefully sustainable economic and global governance paradigm.

Not individually formidable, these nations collectively are quite powerful. Lets take a look at the derivation of that power. Firstly we examine a crucial metric: energy, it is well documented that these nations collectively possess enough energy resources to adequately power their economies for a long time. They also possess much of the worlds’ known stores of natural commercial use resources (metals, minerals, rare earth elements).

Additionally, owing in part to technological advances and also to long term changes in the earth’s climate, they possess the means to adequately feed their populations. They are also taking advantage of the fact that scientific knowledge and technological innovation (the key to a sustainable and competitive economy) are geographical location independent, as scientific axioms are immutable and provable anywhere on the planet. Lastly, the differences between these nations is paradoxically what makes them a powerful bloc. As example: China has become the world’s workshop and an innovation leader whilst Russia proper contains large deposits of natural resources, carries very low external debt levels and possesses a very technologically advanced war machine.

Initiatives led by China such as the OBOR (One Belt One Road) infrastructure project, the AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) and the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) are aimed at providing distinct alternatives to western backed organizations such as the World Bank, IMF, UN, et cetera. The key piece of this strategy seems to be the use of the fiat system itself to fund the accumulation of tangible assets (businesses, technologies, resources, PM’s).

These assets can be then be utilized as a hedge against probable future turbulence with the current western based fiat regime. Why are these nations not publicly clamoring for this system to be dismantled sooner rather then later? First of all, this is a dangerous proposition, as they would likely be economically punished (Greece, Brazil) or worse, suffer an armed attack/invasion (Iraq, Libya). One just needs to observe the large amount of vitriol directed toward these nations in the western mainstream press to connect theses dots – these nations surely get the message. Secondly, they are slowly dissolving this system on their own terms (direct bilateral trade agreements via own currencies, accumulation of PM’s as a potential partial backing to their respective currencies). As of now, these nations are taking advantage of the current system to build up their economies and national infrastructures for the long term. As an example, Russia and China have begun co-developing a wide body passenger aircraft using their respective indigenous technologies and knowledge bases. These activities are made possible by their embedment into the current monetary system.

Conclusion:

For the human condition to improve, the following possible actions should be taken under serious consideration.

The western fiat currency regime should be dissolved, most outstanding debts should be extinguished (debt jubilee, massive write offs, large scale revaluations), and national sovereignty must regain prominence across the entire globe.

A balanced financial system based principally on equitable assets must take the place of the current debt based system. Sovereign governments should look to take on the crucial role as their own primary issuer of currency; this of course would require much more honest and transparent governments’ than we currently have in place.

A new system of loose decentralized global governance should be constructed to act as an impartial arbiter in geopolitical and economic affairs. These are but a few of the possible reforms that could be made to affect a more intelligent paradigm of globalism. Whether the alternative system(s) being pursued by the emergent eastern bloc will fulfill these objectives still remains to be seen, as big challenges remain, e.g. environmental degradation.

The best outcome for the world at large is a general reset of sorts. A new paradigm in which malinvestments are discouraged and cleared away, success and effort are rewarded, and opportunity for all is sought as a societal virtue, should be pursued. Worse case is a long term continuation of the current system. This outcome is likely to lead to increasing levels of civil and political unrest, and possible widespread conflict as the planet’s capacity to support the growth rates demanded by a debt based system is diminished by a declining real ROI.

Posted in Politics, WorldComments Off on Analyzing the Emerging World Order: The Future of Globalism

The Global War on Terrorism from Two Perspectives

NOVANEWS

Understanding the Global War on Terrorism from the perspective of the Militarist, the Mythic perspective, and the Rationalist, the sensory perspective

The Militarist (Mythic) Perspective:

A Preemptive War* to combat terrorism, uphold American values, defend freedoms, and to fulfill a sacred and noble responsibility to liberate and bring democracy (and Christianity?) to the oppressed peoples of the world.

The Rationalist (Sensory) Perspective:

A Preventive War** initiated and sustained by multiple Presidential Administrations; enabled and financed by a rubber stamp and spineless Congress, many of whom continue to influence policy and decisions of state despite their ineptitude and errors in judgment; orchestrated by the Defense Department’s arrogant and headstrong civilian leadership who consistently ignored the lessons of history and the advice of many military and civilian experts.

• The implementation of the misguided strategy of Full-Spectrum Dominance conceptualized by The Project for the New American Century (PNAC)*** that destabilized the Greater Middle East creating what Hillary Clinton referred to in the second primary debate as the Arc of Instability for which she must bear a measure of responsibility.

• The invasion and occupation of sovereign nations based upon contrived and/or faulty intelligence, deception, and lies; characterized by huge corporate profits and tax cuts for the wealthy; in defiance of the objections and protestations of many long time allies and a significant proportion of its own citizenry; acquiesced to by a compliant corporate mainstream press and media.

• A war of aggression in violation of International Law, numerous Treaties, Conventions, and the Constitution of the United States; fought by children who lacked “other priorities” and influential families, as part of a compliant and dedicated military, inadequate in strength of numbers and disgracefully ill-equipped, many of whom were ill-prepared National Guardsmen, Guardswomen, and Reservists, the rest overtaxed by multiple deployments, misled and deceived into believing their sacrifices to be in behalf of freedom and a necessary response to the heinous attacks of September 11th.

• The American Imperial Project the intent of which was to establish a Pax Americana (the American Empire) but instead substantially increased terrorism in the world, created the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II, prompting the closing of American borders to fleeing refugees; costing thus far approximately $ 5 trillion in treasure, 6,852 American lives, 4 million Muslim lives, 52,448 American injured, an additional 320,000 suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury, 400,000 more with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; all in the name of a generally apathetic and ill-informed citizenry.

_________

*Preemptive War: a war initiated to repel or defeat a real and imminent threat, offensive, or invasion shortly before that attack materializes.
**Preventive War: (also termed the Bush Doctrine) a war initiated without real and imminent provocation therefore lacking justification, in response to an anticipated, though unsubstantiated (perhaps delusional and/or contrived) future threat.
***The Project for the New American Century is an American neoconservative think tank, whose members included many people who served in various capacities of government during the George W. Bush administration, such as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Richard Armitage, Jeb Bush, Elliott Abrams, Eliot A. Cohen, and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby among others.

Posted in WorldComments Off on The Global War on Terrorism from Two Perspectives

Understand the Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order

NOVANEWS

Look Inside this Bestselling Book!

 
Understand the Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order

The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order

by Michel Chossudovsky

In the expanded second edition of Chossudovsky’s international best-seller, the author outlines the contours of a New World Order which feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the environment, generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife and undermines the rights of women. The result as his detailed examples from all parts of the world show so convincingly, is a globalization of poverty.

This book is a skillful combination of lucid explanation and cogently argued critique of the fundamental directions in which our world is moving financially and economically.

In the enlarged second edition, the author reviews the causes and consequences of famine in Sub-Saharan Africa, the dramatic meltdown of financial markets, the demise of State social programs and the devastation resulting from corporate downsizing and trade liberalisation.

“This concise, provocative book reveals the negative effects of imposed economic structural reform, privatization, deregulation and competition. It deserves to be read carefully and widely.”
– Choice, American Library Association (ALA)

“The current system, Chossudovsky argues, is one of capital creation through destruction. The author confronts head on the links between civil violence, social and environmental stress, with the modalities of market expansion.”
– Michele Stoddard, Covert Action Quarterly

Click to learn more about The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order by Michel Chossudovsky


Preface to the Second Edition

Barely a few weeks after the military coup in Chile on September 11, 1973, overthrowing the elected government of President Salvador Allende, the military Junta headed by General Augusto Pinochet ordered a hike in the price of bread from 11 to 40 escudos, a hefty overnight increase of 264%. This economic shock treatment had been designed by a group of economists called the “Chicago Boys”.

GOP .jpg

At the time of the military coup, I was teaching at the Institute of Economics of the Catholic University of Chile, which was a nest of Chicago trained economists, disciples of Milton Friedman. On that September 11, in the hours following the bombing of the Presidential Palace of La Moneda, the new military rulers imposed a 72-hour curfew. When the university reopened several days later, the “Chicago Boys” were rejoicing. Barely a week later, several of my colleagues at the Institute of Economics were appointed to key positions in the military government.

While food prices had skyrocketed, wages had been frozen to ensure “economic stability and stave off inflationary pressures.” From one day to the next, an entire country was precipitated into abysmal poverty: in less than a year the price of bread in Chile increased thirty-six times and eighty-five percent of the Chilean population had been driven below the poverty line.

These events affected me profoundly in my work as an economist. Through the tampering of prices, wages and interest rates, people’s lives had been destroyed; an entire national economy had been destabilized. I started to understand that macro-economic reform was neither “neutral” – as claimed by the academic mainstream – nor separate from the broader process of social and political transformation. In my earlier writings on the Chilean military Junta, I looked upon the so-called “free market” as a wellorganized instrument of “economic repression”.

Two years later in 1976, I returned to Latin America as a visiting professor at the National University of Cordoba in the northern industrial heartland of Argentina. My stay coincided with another military coup d’état. Tens of thousands of people were arrested and the Desaparecidos were assassinated. The military takeover in Argentina was a “carbon copy” of the CIA-led coup in Chile. Behind the massacres and human rights violations, “free market” reforms had also been prescribed – this time under the supervision of Argentina’s New York creditors.

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) deadly economic prescriptions applied under the guise of the “structural adjustment program” had not yet been officially launched. The experience of Chile and Argentina under the “Chicago Boys” was a dress rehearsal of things to come. In due course, the economic bullets of the free market system were hitting country after country. Since the onslaught of the debt crisis of the 1980s, the same IMF economic medicine has routinely been applied in more than 150 developing countries. From my earlier work in Chile, Argentina and Peru, I started to investigate the global impacts of these reforms. Relentlessly feeding on poverty and economic dislocation, a New World Order was taking shape.

Meanwhile, most of the military regimes in Latin America had been replaced by parliamentary “democracies”, entrusted with the gruesome task of putting the national economy on the auction block under the World Bank sponsored privatization programs. In 1990, I returned to the Catholic University of Peru where I had taught after leaving Chile in the months following the 1973 military coup.

I had arrived in Lima at the height of the 1990 election campaign. The country’s economy was in crisis. The outgoing populist government of President Alan Garcia had been placed on the IMF “black list”. President Alberto Fujimori became the new president on the 28th of July 1990. And barely a few days later, “economic shock therapy” struck – this time with a vengeance. Peru had been punished for not conforming to IMF diktats: the price of fuel was hiked up by 31 times and the price of bread increased more than twelve times in a single day. The IMF – in close consultation with the US Treasury – had been operating behind the scenes. These reforms – carried out in the name of “democracy” – were far more devastating than those applied in Chile and Argentina under the fist of military rule. In the 1980s and 1990s I traveled extensively in Africa. The fieldresearch for the first edition was, in fact, initiated in Rwanda which, despite high levels of poverty, had achieved self-sufficiency in food production. From the early 1990s, Rwanda had been destroyed as a functioning national economy; its once vibrant agricultural system was destabilized. The IMF had demanded the “opening up” of the domestic market to the dumping of US and European grain surpluses. The objective was to “encourage Rwandan farmers to be more competitive”. (See Chapter 7.)

From 1992 to 1995, I undertook field research in India, Bangladesh and Vietnam and returned to Latin America to complete my study on Brazil. In all the countries I visited, including Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco and The Philippines, I observed the same pattern of economic manipulation and political interference by the Washington-based institutions. In India, directly resulting from the IMF reforms, millions of people had been driven into starvation. In Vietnam – which constitutes among the world’s most prosperous rice producing economies – local-level famines had erupted resulting directly from the lifting of price controls and the deregulation of the grain market.

Coinciding with the end of the Cold War, at the height of the economic crisis, I traveled to several cities and rural areas in Russia. The IMFsponsored reforms had entered a new phase – extending their deadly grip to the countries of the former Eastern bloc. Starting in 1992, vast areas of the former Soviet Union, from the Baltic states to Eastern Siberia, were pushed into abysmal poverty.

Work on the first edition was completed in early 1996, with the inclusion of a detailed study on the economic disintegration of Yugoslavia. (See Chapter 17.) Devised by World Bank economists, a “bankruptcy program” had been set in motion. In 1989-90, some 1100 industrial firms were wiped out and more than 614,000 industrial workers were laid off. And that was only the beginning of a much deeper economic fracturing of the Yugoslav Federation.

Since the publication of the first edition in 1997, the World has changed dramatically; the “globalization of poverty” has extended its grip to all major regions of the World including Western Europe and North America.

A New World Order has been installed destroying national sovereignty and the rights of citizens. Under the new rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) established in 1995, “entrenched rights” were granted to the world’s largest banks and multinational conglomerates. Public debts have spiraled, state institutions have collapsed, and the accumulation of private wealth has progressed relentlessly.

The US-led wars on Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003), mark an important turning point in this evolving New World Order. As the second edition goes to print, American and British forces have invaded Iraq, destroying its public infrastructure and killing thousands of civilians. After 13 years of economic sanctions, the war on Iraq plunged an entire population into poverty.

War and globalization go hand in hand. Supported by America’s war machine, a new deadly phase of corporate-led globalization has unfolded. In the largest display of military might since the Second World War, the United States has embarked upon a military adventure, which threatens the future of humanity.

The decision to invade Iraq had nothing to do with “Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction” or his alleged links to Al Qaeda. Iraq possesses 11 percent of the World’s oil reserves, i.e. more than five times those of the US. The broader Middle East-Central Asian region (extending from the tip of the Arabian peninsula to the Caspian sea basin) encompasses approximately 70% of the World’s reserves of oil and natural gas.

This war, which has been in the planning stage for several years, threatens to engulf a much broader region. A 1995 US Central Command document confirms that “the purpose of US engagement. . . is to protect US vital interest in the region – uninterrupted, secure US/Allied access to Gulf oil” .

In the wake of the invasion, Iraq’s economy has been put under the jurisidiction of the US military occupation government led by retired General Jay Gardner, a former CEO of one of America’s largest weapons producers.

In liaison with the US administration and the Paris Club of official creditors, the IMF and World Bank are slated to play a key role in Iraq`s post-war “reconstruction”. The hidden agenda is to impose the US dollar as Iraq’s proxy currency, in a currency board arrangement, similar to that imposed on Bosnia-Herzegovina under the 1995 Dayton Accord. (See Chapter 17.) In turn, Iraq’s extensive oil reserves are slated to be taken over by the Anglo-American oil giants.

Iraq’s spiralling external debt will be used as an instrument of economic plunder. Conditionalities will be set. The entire national economy will be put on the auction block. The IMF and the World Bank will be called in to provide legitimacy to the plunder of Iraq’s oil wealth.

The deployment of America’s war machine purports to enlarge America’s economic sphere of influence in an area extending from the Mediterranean to China’s Western frontier. The US has established a permanent military presence not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it has military bases in several of the former Soviet republics as well. In other words, militarization supports the conquest of new economic frontiers and the worldwide imposition of the “free market” system.

Global Depression

The onslaught of the US-led war is occurring at the height of a global economic depression, which has its historical roots in the debt crisis of the early 1980s. America’s war of conquest has a direct bearing on the economic crisis. State resources in the US have been redirected towards financing the military-industrial complex and beefing up domestic security at the expense of funding much needed social programs which have been slashed to the bone.

In the wake of September 11, 2001, through a massive propaganda campaign, the shaky legitimacy of the “global free market system” has been reinforced, opening the door to a renewed wave of deregulation and privatization, resulting in corporate take-overs of most, if not all, public services and state infrastructure (including health care, electricity, water and transportation).

Moreover, in the US, Great Britain and most countries of the European Union, the legal fabric of society has been overhauled. Based on the repeal of the Rule of Law, the foundations of an authoritarian state apparatus have emerged with little or no organized opposition from the mainstay of civil society.

The new chapters added to this second edition address some of the key issues of the 21st century : the merger boom and the concentration of corporate power, the collapse of national and local level economies, the meltdown of financial markets, the outbreak of famine and civil war and the dismantling of the Welfare State in most Western countries.

In Part 1, a new Introduction and a chapter entitled “Global Falsehoods” have been added. Also in Part 1, the impacts of “free markets” on women’s rights are examined. In Part II, on sub-Saharan Africa, the chapter on Rwanda has been expanded and updated following fieldwork conducted in 1996 and 1997. Two new chapters, respectively, on the 1999- 2000 famine in Ethiopia and on Southern Africa in the post-Apartheid era have been added. The chapter on Albania in Part 5, focuses on the role of the IMF in destroying the real economy and precipitating the breakdown of the country’s banking system.

A new Part 6 entitled “The New World Order” includes five chapters. Chapter 18 centers on the “structural adjustment program” applied in Western countries under the surveillance of the World’s largest commercial and merchant banks. The ongoing economic and financial crisis is reviewed in Chapters 19 and 20. Chapters 21 and 22 examine, respectively, the fate of South Korea and Brazil in the wake of the 1997-1998 financial meltdown, as well as the complicity of the IMF in furthering the interests of currency and stock market speculators.

Posted in Human Rights, WorldComments Off on Understand the Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order

January 2017 in Numbers

NOVANEWS

Image result for world news cartoons

3 new rounds of illegal settlement construction were announced by Israel in January. On Jan. 22, the government announced plans for 566 new housing units in occupied East Jerusalem. On Jan. 24, plans for 2,500 new housing units in the West Bank were announced. On Jan. 31, approval was given for 3,000 additional housing units in the West Bank. The Trump administration declined to condemn the announcements. David Friedman, Trump’s pick to be the next U.S. ambassador to Israel, formerly served as president of a group that raises funds for settlements.

137 Palestinian structures in the West Bank and East Jerusalem were demolished by Israeli forces in January, according to figures from the United Nations, displacing 237 people, including 134 children. These demolitions build upon the 1,093 Palestinian structures that Israel destroyed last year—the highest number since the U.N. began keeping records in 2009.

2 people—an Israeli Bedouin and an Israeli police officer—were killed in clashes on Jan. 18 after Israeli officials entered the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran with demolition orders. Israeli-Palestinian Knesset member Ayman Odeh was injured and hospitalized after being hit by a foam-tipped bullet during the clashes. Israel regularly demolishes Bedouin villages it does not recognize in order to build new towns for Jewish Israelis only.

20-year-old Israeli Sgt. Elor Azaria was found guilty of manslaughter by an Israeli court in early January. In March 2016, Azaria was filmed fatally shooting a wounded and incapacitated Palestinian attacker in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Azaria’s conviction was a rare moment of justice for Palestinians, as IDF soldiers rarely face severe consequences for crimes committed against Palestinians.

6 months: the amount of time Israeli-Palestinian Knesset member Basel Ghattas has been suspended from the Knesset after he was caught allegedly smuggling cell phones, SIM cards and documents to prisoners convicted of terrorism. Ghattas will still be permitted to vote during his suspension.

56 percent of Americans oppose moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to a January poll conducted by the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy. President Donald Trump seemed poised to announce the move within his first week in office, but has since put any such announcement on hold.

31 percent of Democrats polled by the Pew Research Center in January said they sympathize more with Palestine than with Israel. 33 percent of respondents said they sympathize more with Israel. These findings mark the first time in Pew Research history that Democrats are as likely to sympathize with Palestinians as they are with Israelis. The poll found that Republican support for Israel remains strong.

342 members of the House of Representatives—233 Republicans and 109 Democrats—voted in favor of a resolution objecting to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemns Israel’s ongoing settlement enterprise. President Barack Obama refused to veto the resolution in December, thereby allowing the resolution to pass and leading to criticism from pro-Israel groups in the U.S.

41 men remain at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, after former President Obama failed to fulfill his promise to close the prison. Obama transferred 18 men from the facility in January—10 to Oman, 5 to Saudi Arabia and 3 to the UAE. During his eight years in office he transferred 197 detainees from the facility.

26,172 bombs were dropped in seven countries by the United States in 2016, according to an estimate conducted by Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations. The vast majority of bombs were dropped in Syria (12,192) and Iraq (12,095). The remainder were dropped in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. “This estimate is undoubtedly low,” Zenko points out, “considering reliable data is only available for airstrikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya, and a single ‘strike,’ according to the Pentagon’s definition, can involve multiple bombs or munitions.”

3 U.S. drone strikes were carried out in Yemen in January, reportedly killing between 6 and 13 militants, according to data complied by New America. Two of the strikes were authorized by President Donald Trump. According to the Director of National Intelligence, the U.S. conducted 526 counter-terror strikes (most of them drone strikes) during President Obama’s tenure in office. The U.S. government estimates 64 to 117 civilians were killed in the strikes, though independent estimates put this number much higher. This official data do not include strikes in areas of “active hostilities,” including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, where it is believed U.S. drone strikes have been particularly devastating to civilians.

30 Yemenis, most of them civilians, were killed on Jan. 29 when U.S. commandos carried out a raid targeting al-Qaeda militants in southern Yemen. Among those killed in the first military raid authorized by President Trump was 8-year-old American citizen Nawar al-Awlaki, the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, who was extrajudicially killed by a drone strike in October 2011 and whose 16-year-old son Abdulrahman was killed in a drone strike two weeks later. An American service member was also killed in the January raid, which the president described as “successful.”

1,000 Yemeni children die every week from preventable diseases, according to UNICEF. An estimated 2.2 million children in the poor, war-torn nation suffer from malnutrition, according to the agency.

7 years after being jailed for leaking American military and diplomatic documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Chelsea Manning had her sentence commuted by President Obama on Jan. 17. Manning’s leaks led to a greater public critique of U.S. military action in the Middle East. Manning is set to be released on May 17, after originally being scheduled for release in 2045.

1,363 civilians were killed in violence in Iraq in January, according to Iraq Body Count.

64 percent of Americans oppose the U.S. withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran, according to a poll conducted by the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation in late December.

82-year-old Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died of a heart attack on Jan. 8 in Tajrish, Iran. The two-time president and former chairman of the Assembly of Experts was one of the most influential politicians in Iran. A leader of the 1979 revolution, Rafsanjani was a mentor to current President Hassan Rouhani and used his power to give greater legitimacy to more “moderate” forces within Iran.

Posted in WorldComments Off on January 2017 in Numbers

Economic, Geopolitical, Military and Diplomatic Trends in 2016. What Prospects for 2017

NOVANEWS
 
Brexit R-U

2016 marked by important of diplomatic, political and military developments around the world.

Britain voted to leave the European Union by 52% to 48% in a national referendum. The outcome of the Brexit referendum has caused strong reaction at home and worldwide. Brexit was supported by the popular majority of Britain and a significant portion of the UK national elite. Even the use of lobbying clout by Cameron’s cabinet did not allow EU supporters to attain victory.

Indeed, leaving the EU would allow the UK to control immigration more efficiently, save billions of pounds in membership fees and advocate its own trade deals while leaving all trade conditions between the UK and the EU relatively unchanged – all while getting rid of restrictive EU regulations, bloated Brussels bureaucracy and run down Eastern and South European economies. In fact, the UK has simply jilted continental Europe. After all, it was Britain that was an active supporter of many decisions that have had a negative impact on the current situation of refugees in the EU and the economic issues of the Member States.

As to the trade cooperation and conditions, the EU could hardly proceed without British industry, technologies and investments. At the same time Britain acquires the first chance to jump in the US-backed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership freely without intra-European debates.

However, EU lobbyists now have moved beyond just the information campaign and diplomatic pressure. They have started to use bureaucratic technologies and well-known “color revolutions” technologies, previously field-tested in Eastern Europe and the Arab countries, to attempt to rip the referendum results to shreds. As a result, the process of the UK exit from the EU was de-facto frozen, ignoring the people’s choice. However, the BREXIT became an important step in the ongoing confrontation between EU citizens and the European bureaucracy.

Following the Brexit, Donald J. Trump won the US presidential elections. While on the campaign trail, President-Elect Donald J. Trump made a range of statements suggesting a shift away from a policy of interventionism, combined with a focus on safeguarding US borders and jobs at the expense of the dominant ideology of globalism. Can and will he deliver on these promises? There are many reasons to believe he will genuinely push US foreign policy in this direction, but at the same time he will face obstacles on his path.

One of the factors clearly helping him is the increasingly indisputable fact that globalism as an ideology has been discredited, except, ironically, among the liberal “creative classes” and among the financial elites. The rest of the society and of the elite is increasingly skeptical of such policies if not downright opposed to them, which means they are willing to experiment with economic nationalism and even isolationism.

At a minimum, the “global elites” will attempt to find as much compromising information concerning Trump, his family, and close associates as possible, in order to make him an “offer he can’t refuse” backed up by a sizable financial “consolation prize”.

If Trump refuses to succumb to direct and indirect pressure and attempts to pursue even part of what he promised during the campaign, Trump’s opponents will embark on more drastic measures, including a Maidan-like permanent demonstration aimed at tarnishing Trump’s reputation or even an assassination attempt. While the former is highly likely, the latter is somewhat less plausible because it would result in elevate Trump to martyrdom and also set a precedent for future assassinations, which is something the US elite fears greatly.  However, Trump will have to deal with tremendous and constant psychological pressure that will be exerted on him through his close associates, family, and of course the media, in order to disorient him and throw him off course.

Moreover, Trump’s political foes will pursue an international approach, using NATO and EU as means of exerting pressure on the new administration, through military provocations if need be. US, being a relatively sparsely, resource-rich country not unlike Russia, can pursue a “Fortress America” strategy. The EU would find it much more difficult to do so without embracing authoritarian governance, as it requires a “Lebensraum”-like sphere of influence that will provide natural resources which the continent lacks. But this Europe has no Grande Armee or Wehrmacht– it has to rely on US military power and subversion. Hence the  hysterical European reaction to the US election, for the adoption of a “Fortress America” strategy by the US renders EU’s own strategy of expansion obsolete.

Deciding what to do about the US relationship to Europe that has become a major net drain on US resources will therefore be a major challenge for the Trump Administration. If it is pulled down the same path as its predecessor, it will ultimately be because of its inability to redefine its relations with an increasingly burdensome and costly set of allies on the other side of the Atlantic, and for this reason the outcome of the upcoming elections in Germany and France is of critical importance.

The development of conflicts in the Middle East was the alternate side of the changes in the EU and the US. While backers of Syrian terrorists were trying to hold the power at their home, the Russian-Syrian-Iranian alliance made significant steps aimed on combating terrorism in Syria.

The provinces of Latakia, Homs, Hama, Aleppo and the Damascus countryside wre the main areas of operations against terrorists. The joint anti-terrorism forces achieved a series of significant victories in these areas, liberating waste areas near the Syrian capital, the important town of Qaryatayn and the key Syrian city of Aleppo. They also temporarily liberated the ancient city of Palmyra from ISIS, but lost it as result of a large-scale ISIS attack in December.

On October 1, 2015, SouthFront predicted that the Russian military operation in Syria will likely lead to the establishment of a permanent Russian air and naval base in eastern Mediterranean. By October 2016, Moscow expanded its military facilities in Syria, launching a program of transforming the Khmeimim Air Base into a full-fledged military base with a permanent contingent of the Russian Aerospace Forces and announced plans to turn its naval facility in Tartus into a fully-fledged permanent naval base.

Summing up the gains of pro-government forces across the country within the past year and the growing military presence of Russia in Syria, it’s easy to conclude that the course of the Syrian war was dramatically changed and the Syrian-Iranian-Russian forces delivered a devastating blow to terrorists and saving the Assad government from the military defeat. Now, the strategic initiative of the war is in the hands of Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance.

Another key player in the conflict was Turkey that had entered northern Syria to combat ISIS and Kurdish YPG forces in August. Turkey’s aim was to build a buffer zone with pro-Turkey militant groups and to prevent Kurdish forces from creation a semi-autonomous state in Syria. Turkey’s decision to intervene in Syria was made amid the rapprochement with Russia and Iran. This allowed many experts to suggest that Turkey, Iran, Russia and Syria had some unpublicized agreements over the ongoing crisis. The Turkish-Russian-Iranian negotiations that excluded the US-led block of the so-called “friends of Syria” and took place in Moscow in December contributed to this version. The military coup attempt that took place in Turkey in July and was allegedly supported by some part of the US elite became the main reason of Ankara’s decision to increase cooperation with Moscow and Tehran.

The Russian anti-terrorist operation also pushed the US to take more active steps in combating ISIS in Iraq and Syria that led to the start of advance on Raqqah, Fallujah and Mosul. While Fallujah was liberated, Mosul remained a major ISIS stronghold in Iraq despite the US-led attempts to retake the city from terrorists.

It appears that the pre-election project of the Democratic Party of the USA, under the title “Quick Capture of Mosul” has, seemingly, failed together with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Now, the tactics of the USA administration have changed. This may mean that Donald Trump gets dragged into a quagmire of a war. That being stated, high-ranking Pentagon officials no longer believe that the Iraqi military is capable of taking Mosul, and have been preparing a plan with greater participation of the US Armed Forces.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) also launched an advance on the ISIS self-proclaimed capital in Syria, Raqqah. However, until now, they have not even reached the city.

Conflicts in Yemen and Libya continued to flare in the Middle East with almost no chances to be solved with diplomatic measures, contributing to instability in the region. The Saudi-led intervention turned Yemen into a zone of instability and set conditions for the growth of local al-Qaeda branch. Even despite this, Saudi-led forces failed to achieve their military goals in the area and to inflict a defeat to the Houthi-Saleh alliance backed by Iran.

The rapidly developing relations between Russia and Egypt have been overshadowed by the more prominent relationships between Russia and Syria, as well as Russia and Iran. Nevertheless, the Russia-Egypt relationship deserves closer scrutiny because, unlike the country’s relations with the other two Middle Eastern powers, it concerns a country that until recently appeared to be firmly in Western orbit. The abrupt shift of its geopolitical vector toward Eurasia therefore represents a far bigger change for the region than Russia’s successful support of the legitimate Syrian government, or the close relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran, both of which have been on the Western “enemies list” for decades. The reasons for this shift are twofold, and have to do with the way Western powers interact with Middle Eastern powers in the context of a systemic economic crisis, as well as with Russia’s demonstrated attractiveness as an ally.

From the Russian perspective, Egypt represents yet another bulwark of security against Western encroachment, a symmetric response to NATO expansion, “Eastern Partnership”, and color revolutions. Combined with the military presence in Syria, Cyprus’ general pro-Russian orientation, and the neutralization of Turkey which was also facilitated by an abortive West-promoted coup attempt, the Egyptian-Russian cooperation would impact the balance of power in the Mediterranean.

In 2016, the whole Middle East was affected by the major crisis with Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Turkey in its core. Turkey faced a military coup attempt, economic decay and Kurdish insurgency that almost turned into a full-scale civil war.

2016 witnessed a sharp escalation in the militarization of the South China Sea. The cause of the escalation is multifaceted and comes from both regional and international quarters. The militarization has been initiated and exacerbated by both China and the United States, both bearing responsibility for the current level of tension in the region. As land reclamation and building efforts on the part of the Chinese continue at Fiery Cross Reef and Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands with no signs of slowing down in the immediate future, the US increases the size and tempo of future patrols in the area and expands its cooperation with regional powers to counter the Chinese claims.

The Central Asia also remained the point of instability that attracted attention of the key regional players: Russia, the US and China. While Afghanistan remained the main source of instability, neighboring central Asian countries also faced various terror and security threats, strengthened by an instable internal political situation.

Security threats are growing in Europe. The ongoing migration crisis and acute situation with a terrorism threat didn’t force the EU elite to change their failed foreign and internal policy and the union was plunged into shock by the continued series of terror attacks.

If this situation is not to get worse, it would require the adoption of a revised approach, namely a unified, well-funded and comprehensive EU-level migration policy, consisting of combating organized crime among ethnic groups, screening new arrivals, guaranteeing access to social services and labor markets, etc.  Otherwise the EU is risking a massive social explosion provoked by growing inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflict, and the constant perception of a growing terrorist threat. Unless addressed rapidly, these problems could be sufficient to destroy the already fragile EU common security framework.

The general security situation in Europe was further worsened with the smoldering conflict in eastern Ukraine, where the recent escalation took place in December. The situation is worsening due to the economic collapse in Ukraine and the Kiev’s government inability to negotiate and unwillingness to follow the Minsk agreements. Ukraine remained the point that can be used by some powers to instigate destabilization in the whole Europe.

In general, 2016 was a very complicated year in military and diplomatic terms. The reactive processes were observed the international relations at all levels. The number of local conflicts didn’t reduce and even grew involving more and more regional and world powers. The diplomatic, military and security trends formed in the end of 2016 year will shape 2017. It will be the year of continued geopolitical standoff of global powers amid the reducing US influence around the world.

Posted in USA, Politics, WorldComments Off on Economic, Geopolitical, Military and Diplomatic Trends in 2016. What Prospects for 2017

NEW YEAR 2017

 NOVANEWS
Image result for images of peace and harmony
Teresinka Pereira

We wish that in 2017

all will be consequences

of LOVE!

We wish that each one

of the 366 days will be

filled with flames

of happiness,

flights of inspiration

and the diamond

of personal PEACE.

Happy 2017 are our

wishes from my house

to your house!

Posted in WorldComments Off on NEW YEAR 2017

Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING

June 2017
M T W T F S S
« May    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930