Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Europe is bound to become a colony (or worse) with Trump

Trump's policies may mean that Europe will have to become a colony of the USA, to transfer even more wealth to the core of the Empire. Let me explain...

Geopolitic irrelevance

This is a real story I was told in the Montenegro of the early 90s, in first person, by a liberal (center-right) politician who had a friend in the US embassy, whom he believed was probably a CIA spy. They had the following conversation (from memory):

-- Your country [Yugoslavia] has lost its geopolitical relevance -- said the diplomat.
-- I'm glad to hear that -- replied the politician.
-- I wouldn't be happy if my country became irrelevant, honestly. 

The narrator ended the story saying that this is why, he understood, the federation was broken and war took over just a few months after that chat. 

A bit of history

Of course Europe, the European Union and associated states, is much much bigger and therefore the loss of geopolitical relevance cannot be so extreme but there is something like that going on anyhow. After World War II, Europe was pampered (Marshall plan, etc.) rather than outright exploited by the Western co-victor, the USA, because of two reasons: 
  1. It was required to prevent a "communist" or "real socialist" takeover by the desperate and disgruntled masses, which had already been leaning very strongly to the left in the pre-war period (this was countered by engineering fascist coups but in the end these caused too much trouble anyway, so some alternative was needed).
  2. A relatively wealthy Europe could then buy the excess of production of the USA, helping to keep the transatlantic hegemon affluent and happy. Later the USA would evolve towards becoming a market itself, rather than a producer and exporter, via perma-debt and dollar hegemony but that is a second phase beginning in the 1970s, when the gold standard was definitely abandoned (largely to prevent excessive independence of European powers like France, which had been hoarding gold and dumping the dollar).

Well, the USSR fell in 1991 and the likes of Thatcher had been successfully attacking the power base of the Fordist working class (mass workers) since a decade earlier. Public investment (partial "socialism") was replaced by easy credit, a lifeline for short-term prosperity without which the system would have imploded, creating the infamous bubble that burst in 2007. 

Without a "real socialist" power in Europe and with the labor unions pretty much dismantled, there was almost no resistance to the "Washington consensus" (also known as Neoliberalism), while workers were individually bribed with way-too-easy credit, credit that they would eventually pay in blood and flesh, like in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, thanks to endless small print provisions in laws and contracts nobody paid much attention to... until it was too late. 

Anyhow this "easy credit" lifeline lasted for much longer than it was probably expected to. It was meant to keep people content while the last remnants of socialist dreams were dismantled but it ended up caught in its own autonomous dynamics (those of a pyramidal scam) and persisted for maybe a decade after it was actually necessary. For more than 15 years Capitalism seemed triumphant thanks to it: "communism" had been proven wrong and Capitalism right. It was a mirage but a mirage that lasts some 16 years (or more depending on when you start counting at) is as good as hardcore reality for the short lives of people, right? 

Europe's growing irrelevance

Anyway, the USSR has been out of the picture since 1991, when a maverick politician named Boris Yeltsin declared the "independence" of Russia from its "socialist" empire, go figure! For most of the 16 year period, Russia was an ally of the Western Imperial regime, even after Putin took over (since 1999). The alternative bloc, the BRIC (later BRICS) was, quite curiously, formed between 2006 and 2009, coincident with the structural crisis that began in 2007-08 and has yet to end, and Russia was not suspended from the G8 (former G7) until 2014. 

For all this time, until this very day, Europe was an integral part of the core Western Empire, even if it was clearly subservient, growingly so, towards Washington in all the spheres. Europe did pay some hard tribute to the USA in form of a way too rigid and clearly over-valued euro, relative to the US dollar, what helped to make the mega-crisis more bearable for the North American hegemon, but otherwise the transatlantic solidarity of the 1% and their regional or "national" interests was clearly unbroken. 

This is what is changing now with Trump. Sure, people focus on the most obvious aspects of his vocal foreign policy plans: Russia, China, Iran, Mexico, etc. But in what regards to Europe only one aspect matters: Russia. If Russia is not anymore a rival for the USA and particularly if Russia is not the main rival, then Europe's strategic relevance is greatly diminished. 

This is not really something new: it has been that way for the last quarter of century in fact but the sheer size of European economy, the strength of the historical alliance, the globalist "free trade" doctrine and the Russian nukes have somehow kept Europe in the loop long past the expiration date of the realistic need. It is even plausible that the Ukraine conflict was engineered with this "need" for Europe of a "Russian foe" in mind, although the inertias of Mackinderian geostrategy must have also played a role from the "insular" viewpoint of the USA, which greatly exaggerates the "threat" of Russia, a country with the GDP of Spain or Australia (although a much more independent policy and national self-respect), in spite of being much larger in size and population. 

And since the Maidan putsch it has become obvious that Russia is relatively impervious to trade sanctions and that all that Western pressure only has served to strengthen the Kremlin's alliance with China and give a determined push to "silk road" overland trade and pipeline projects China is very interested in. Trump and his advisors know that and want to reverse the trend because, after all, Russia is just a secondary power, while China is the real threat to US global hegemony. 

So Europe now has no role: keeping it affluent appears meaningless for great capitalists who do not fear revolution anymore (overconfidence can be very dangerous) and who consider that is much better to have Russia on your side (or at least neutral) than on the side of China. Worse: Europe is not that important as market for US products (other than "cultural" and computer-related ones) and instead, notably the regional power: Germany, it exports a lot to the USA, while buys from China and also invests there (transferring technology and know-how). This deal, especially now that the dollar is stronger and the euro a bit weaker, is bad for the USA: Europe must pay serious tribute or suffer the consequences.

Europe has become weak and divided

And the last decade of persistent systemic crisis, with absolute lack of statesmanship, let alone continental leadership by the regional main power, Germany, has been extremely bad for Europe: it's not just broke, it's broken, what is much worse. While in the early 21st century Europeans looked at each other growingly as almost equals, since the crisis broke up, we see each other with extreme distrust, distrust that is particularly strong towards the European institutions, which have burdened the masses and gave all kind of advantages to the mega-rich (all within the Washington consensus, it must be said). 

The European Union is so weak right now that it can easily break at any moment. Brexit may be not enough but it is a stern warning: any day now it can be Italexit, Frexit or even Spaxit (although deep inside we all hope for Germaxit, that will not happen while Germany is the main beneficiary of what some call "the postmodern IV Reich"). It may of course linger for five years or whatever but it is very severely wounded, with the camps divided between the ones who can't think of anything less bad (Grosse Koalition) and the ones who can't imagine anything worse ("nationalists" or "populists" of all kinds). Nobody is able to imagine anything better, at least within the "realism" of mere reform. 

Such a broken Union is unable to resist any pressures, especially those coming from the USA, more so if backed by covert action (Gladio is alive and kicking and it serves the Pentagon). And if anything brings together Trump and Putin is strong disrespect for the role played by European "leaders" in the global scene, something that I must agree with: it's absolutely pathetic, lackeyish, short-termist and very hostile towards European citizens, whom they have almost completely alienated from the economic redistribution and therefore from he socio-political consensus of power.

Not sure if it was Chirac or Miterrand who said: "after me they will all be petty merchants". And it was quite prophetic. And those "petty merchants", those ink-stained accountants, those swindlers who pretend to "rule" Europe only to serve global banksters and other great capitalists, without the slightest regard for the well being of Europeans ourselves, are destroying the very dream of European unity they once managed to sell to us as a great hope. 

Expectations: from bad to worse

Just wait and see: this extreme fragility of the European Union will pay into the hands of Trump soon. And it will be for the worst, because Trump main goal here is to get rid of what he considers a useless burden and an economic competitor, which just doesn't pay enough tribute (economic flows towards the USA in general) to be worth "protecting" (protection racket it is: there's no actual threat to Europe but it can be groomed if need be) and worse: it is suspect of conniving with "the enemy", China, to whom it buys trinkets and sells technology (for a profit, of course). 

So Europe, and particularly Germany, had to cut its business with Iran first, then with Russia and now it is probably expected to do the same with the remote but growingly powerful China. Furthermore, it will be now expected to prove itself useful for the USA by means of enriching it. This will not pave out well: Europe will break apart catastrophically, what will not solve anything anyhow but will be even worse almost certainly. 

There is an alternative: European socialism, real socialism of one variant or another, but Europeans are not psychologically ready for that in most cases. In fact what we see in most states is the growth of far right nationalisms, which are basically the European version of Trump and Putin, or worse, and cannot solve anything at all: they serve the rich and the rich always want more and that can only be extracted from either the masses or some neo-colonies, these extremely competed for nowadays. 

Britain, Spain and Greece are rather exceptional and look like they could actually lean towards socialism but, as we see in Greece, the road to emancipation is paved of all kinds of obstacles: external pressures which can be most extreme but also internal weaknesses when the very leaders are pretty much in the dark about what needs to be done, flirting too much with a reformism that is nowadays impossible.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Killed in "mysterious circumstances" the judge that scared Brazilian putschists

The Brazilian neo-colonial coup that aims to put the South American giant back into square one of corruption and submission to "western" corporations has gone one step further into the achievement of its goals: Supreme Court judge Teori Zavascki (pictured) died in "mysterious" airplane accident, along three other people, near Rio. 

Zavascki was investigating the so called Lava Jato scandal, which deals with corruption in state-owned Petrobras. This upcoming week 77 executives were going to be interrogated, enjoying partial immunity for reporting on corruption of high officers, many of whom are believed to be supporters of putschist "president" Temer, and quite possibly most of the cabinet and the "president" himself.

Interestingly it is Temer the one who is supposed to chose his successor in the investigation, what basically means the end of the case. There is an exception in case of "conflict of interests" but it is unclear if it will be used at all. 

Once again evil wins, wake up people, sharpen the pitchforks! Or do you really want your sons and daughters to become slaves in the hell-on-earth that is being forged by the oligarchs?

Source: Público[es].

Letter to a US-American: the very sad Obama legacy and the perilous new 'Trumpland' regime

This is a real letter (well, e-mail to be precise) that I wrote the other day to a friend in the United States and then thought maybe worth publishing. She was so kind as to even provide some corrections to my spontaneous and sometimes exotic English, some of which I'm adopting in this version (for the rest, I like to believe I'm just anticipating future English -- nothing remains static, everything changes and we should proudly accept the fact that we are agents of such change):

Obama looks like a human being: he has presence and charisma but he has lied at least as much as any other and he has been involved in as many wars, most of them very dirty and destructive, as the worst president you can imagine:

1. Libya: toppling an authoritarian regime with Islamist militias only to leave a chaos and redistribute oil concessions to the Anglo-Saxon companies. This happened under Hillary Clinton's direct and quite scandalous "leadership".

2. Yemen: systematic drone-bombing of alleged "terrorists" (often civilians in fact) and later support of Saudi-led absolutely terrorist intervention, still ongoing and unlikely to succeed.

3. Ukraine: artificially creating a "fake revolution" with the use of armed fascist militias, which ended in a full fledged coup, only to put brutal pressure on Russia (Ukraine is just some 800 km away from Moscow, closer to the Russian heartland than Cuba ever was to the US one). This resulted in the Russian-speaking Crimea autonomous republic declaring independence (with a perfectly democratic referendum) and requesting incorporation to Russia afterwards, which was swiftly granted, as the territory is not just historically Russian but also a key naval hub. Other Russian-speaking regions attempted to do the same with two succeeding, out of sheer determination and in spite of strict neutrality from Russia. Elsewhere it was terror by the fascist militias and political persecution for any dissident, from communists to independents, with many brutally murdered. All this was used as pretext for sanctions and war-mongering against Russia.

4. Syria: the USA and allies (European powers, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel) used Al Qaeda (the very same Al Qaeda which allegedly attacked the USA in 9/11/2001) to create a very artificial civil war in Syria. Maybe at the beginning there were some more or less legitimate groups but soon only the Kurdish communists remained as such, in unstable alliance with "the regime". "Regime" that was moving swiftly towards greater democratization and held widely respected elections in the midst of the war in which Assad was reelected by massive majority (also among the refugees who could vote, mostly in Lebanon, as Europe and Turkey forbade the elections in their territories). Even Qatari opinion polls agree that Assad has a massive backing inside Syria. Later a splinter group of Al Qaeda, the so-called Islamic State (DAESH) invaded Iraq in what many see as an attempt to weaken its pro-Iran and pro-China elected government (the very same government imposed by the USA, shit happens) and soon became infamous for their unprecedented acts of terror and slavery that could almost shame even the worst of talibans. DAESH is officially rejected by everyone but also effectively backed by everyone (Turkey beyond any doubt, Saudi Arabia has transported many of their cells to Yemen, the USA has definitely financed their equipment and Israel buys their dirty oil). The ceremony of confusion has gone many steps in the zone of total excess and probably farce with the attacks against civilians in France and Germany, probably in order to rally the masses around the banners of war and the police state, but the worse affected are definitely Arabs and Kurds (Turkey has used the "Syrian" jihadists as death squads in the genocidal repression in North Kurdistan, and also indirectly in the South).

5. Latin America: if under the Bush administration the focus was so exclusively in the Middle East that Latin American more or less "leftist" experiments could thrive rather unmolested, since Obama arrived it has been one indirect intervention after another. It began in Honduras in 2009, with the country being given to the "Libertarian" mafiosi (free trade nazis), continued with a coup in Paraguay and growing pressure against the Venezuelan "bolivarian" social-democracy, only to culminate this year with a "soft" coup in Brazil that is clearly a major blow to the BRICS and to Latin American sovereignty.

6. Persecution of dissidents and whistleblowers at home and abroad. The very fact that Snowden had to find refuge in Putin's Russia and that the presidential airplane of Bolivia was forced to undergo a search by European NATO allies (France and Spain notably) because of slight suspicion that Snowden could be traveling in it, says it all. The situation of Assange is not a bit better after five years besieged in Ecuador's embassy in London just because the USA wants him extradited on most unclear charges (the Swedish case is just an intermediate pretext: persecution for having consensual sex without condoms, go figure!) And then of course the Manning case, to whom Obama did not even given a full pardon but only a partial one.

7. The police state has been reinforced: not only do all the practices against privacy in communications remain untouched but Obama just signed a decree allowing the NSA surveillance to be shared with other intelligence agencies (CIA, FBI, etc.) upon request. Guantanamo torture camp was never closed.

8. Monopolistic concentration of power in way too few hands has remained absolutely unchecked, affecting all sectors but most visibly the mainstream media, which has become today a mere propaganda mouthpiece of the imperial regime. All that power is of course being transferred to Trump or whoever holds the oval office throne, because they need those oligarchs as allies.

In brief: the USA under Obama has been extremely aggressive outside and inside. All he can claim as achievement is "Obamacare", and even that is so mild and oriented to private profit that those who criticize it have it very easy.

Yes, he has style, manners and charisma but that's not enough to make a statesman, much less to claim he has honored even slightly his "Change" campaign. Unlike him or Hillary, Sanders was really for some real change and he would have beaten Trump, no doubt, but the regime would not allow him to run, he never had a chance. And they are still doing it: with Sanderist personalities being pushed out of the Democratic Party apparatus as we speak, just for being serious about social-democracy and change, about social and civil rights.

I would even dare to forecast that the Democratic Party camp is going to head internally divided into the next Presiential elections because of this, with the "Sanderists" creating a new party even because it is obvious that the Dem apparatus will not give them any room whatsoever. And,  barring a surprise victory (everything can happen when the window of chaos is open but I feel it's a bit too early), that will allow Trump (or Pence if Trump gets removed) to get a second term, because of the winner-takes-all and voting restrictions system.

Furthermore, it can be even worse: it can be as Moore forecast in his documentary that there will be no more elections until a revolution topples the new "Trumpland" regime. But I doubt it will turn out that way: elections can be easily manipulated in the USA (electronic voting is totally opaque to begin with), so they can keep the pretense for the time being. This slow-motion coup is totally like what happened in the Roman Republic some 2000-plus years ago: the Empire was never officially inaugurated, just someone became way too powerful and the old institutions (more or less representative) were just gradually displaced, step by step.

However it is at the same time that transition from Republic to Empire and the late Empire's transition to feudalism (corporate post-industrial feudalism it is now, they call it "libertarianism"). So it is like repeating all Roman history packed in just a few decades or even years and in totally unrelated conditions of a highly educated and connected population with actual power to disrupt everything if they do ever get serious. It just cannot work: it is a mirage, it is just the last attempt ever to resurrect the Roman Empire and, as all the previous attempts, it will fail strenuously.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The bilionaire behind Trump's sucess

So much noise, fake news, about Putin and then we find out that the real guy behind Trump's success is 100% made in the USA, as everything behind the blondie elderly far-right decadent phenomenon.

From The Real News:

Also it seems already that all that spam about "getting along with Russia" was just electoral propaganda: his appointees are now clearly saying that Russia is the enemy to beat. So once again there was no choice in foreign or imperial policies in this US election, the Deep State always wins:

→ Finian Cunnigham (op-edge at RT): 'Deep State' wins… Trump is being tamed to toe the line.