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Globalization caused the rise of a new transnational capitalist class. Growing beyond national boundaries, this new class comprises a global system in which Japanese capitalists are just as comfortable investing in Latin America as North Americans are in Southeast Asia. Globalization is often promoted under the slogan of "free trade" (see also Free Markets Newspeak).
Global capital mobility has allowed capital to reorganize production worldwide for maximizing profit. As a result, production systems that were once located in a single country have been fragmented and integrated externally into new globalized circuits of accumulation. What this means, however, is not simply that factories are located overseas where labor might be cheaper, but rather that the whole production process is broken down into smaller parts and each of those parts moved to a different country, depending on where return on investment might be highest. Yet at the same time, this worldwide decentralization and fragmentation of the production process has taken place alongside the centralization of command and control of the global economy by transnational capital.
In turn, this economic organization finds a political counterpart in the rise of a transnational state. The leaders of global businesses and industries think about themselves in new ways. Hegemony in the twenty-first century, Robinson argues, will be exercised not by just by USA by by USA on behalf this new global ruling class. Robinson observes, for example, that global elites, regardless of their nationality, increasingly tend to share similar lifestyles and interact through the same networks and institutions like Bildeberg Club.
Globalization mans rise of transnational corporation with revinew exceed many countries, who conduct production in the global scale and use different countries and regions to extract maximum profit from their operations, often with blatant disregard to the environment, well-being and sometime even life of local people.
Such neoliberal globalization creates the growing rift between the global rich and the global poor. The twenty-first century is likely to harbor ongoing conflicts and disputes for control between the new transnational corporations and the expanding ranks of the poor and the marginalized states. But the state still have countervailing power:
Some analysts argue that globalization has produced a world of such economic interdependence that individual nation-states no longer have the power to regulate capital. However,
while global interdependence does create difficulties for state regulation, this effect has been greatly exaggerated. Nation-states still retain a good deal of potential power vis-a-vis capitalist firms, provided that the political will is present to exercise such power. For example, even such a small country as Malaysia proved able to successfully impose capital controls following the Asian financial crisis of 1997, despite the opposition of the IMF and the US government. A state that has the political will to exercise some control over movements of goods and capital across its borders still retains significant power to regulate business. The more important effect of globalization has been on the political will to undertake state regulation, rather than on the technical feasibility of doing so. Globalization has had this effect by changing the competitive structure of capitalism.
It appeals that globalization in this period has made capitalism significantly more competitive, in several ways. First, the rapid growth of trade has changed the situation faced by large
corporations. Large corporations that had previously operated in relatively controlled oligopolistic domestic markets now face competition from other large corporations based abroad, both in
domestic and foreign markets. In the US the rate of import penetration of domestic manufacturing markets was only 2 per cent in 1950; it rose to 8% in 1971 and 16% by 1993, an 8-fold increase since 1950 (Sutcliffe and Glyn, 1999, p. 116).
If you think that Yeltsin privatization (see Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia) and rise of organized crime in Russia are two distinct phenomenon, think again. Neoliberalism which declare profit as single and only moral value is in reality deeply interconnected with organized crime both in methods and personalities. This is not very noticed in the USA, but quite so in, say, Ukraine.
It's not accidental that Forbes magazine recently placed two Mexicans, Carlos Slim and Joaquín Guzmán, high on their list of the most powerful people in the world. Carlos Slim is the world’s third-richest man and CEO of a telecommunications company and Joaquín Guzmán is the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel.
The first who explored this uncanny relationship between that two and strong links between the neoliberal system of governance and organized crime was Michael Woodiwiss with his book Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime (Paperback):
Everyone knows what organized crime is. Each year dozens of feature films, hundreds of books, and thousands of news stories explain to an eager public that organized crime is what gangsters do. Closely knit, ethnically distinct, and ruthlessly efficient, these mafias control the drugs trade, people trafficking and other serious crimes. If only states would take the threat seriously and recognize the global nature of modern organized crime, the FBI's success against the Italian mafia could be replicated throughout the world. The wicked trade in addictive drugs could be brought to a halt.
The trouble is, as Woodiwiss demonstrates in shocking and surprising detail, what everyone knows about organized crime is pretty much completely wrong. In reality the most important figures in organized crime are employees of multinational companies, politicians and bureaucrats. Gangsters are certainly a problem, but much of their strength comes from attempts to prohibit the market for certain drugs.
Even here they are minor players when compared with the intelligence and law enforcement agencies that selectively enforce prohibition and profit from it. Woodiwiss shows how respectable businessmen and revered statesmen have seized these opportunities in an orgy of fraud and illegal violence...
This subject was also covered in The Great Transformation The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time by Karl Polanyi. Here is one review:
Chairman Luedtke, Old School Political Science January 26, 2001
Polanyi's "The Great Transformation" is a broad, sweeping work that encompasses history, sociology, economics and political science. MacIver writes that the book's particular relevance for a political scientist is that "it will help him to restate old issues and to evaluate old doctrines" (xi). However, with the recent renaissance of liberal/classical economic doctrines (what Polanyi would scornfully call the utopia of the "self-adjusting market") it seems that the issues restated and the doctrines evaluated by Polanyi are not so "old" after all. For this reason, the book has even more relevance now than it did for past readers, even just twenty years after its publication, when the heyday of planned economics appeared to be carrying out Polanyi's proposed remedies for the excesses of free marketism, and blunting the force of his critique as applied to post-transformation society.
But in the era of WTO and NAFTA, a strong case can be made that his critique has attained newfound relevance beyond even its original application. This critique can be phrased into a causal historical argument as follows: The Great Depression and two World Wars are Polanyi's dependent variable (the outcome to be explained). For Polanyi, this turmoil of 1917-1945 was a catastrophic indicator that 19th Century civilization had collapsed.
And since 19th Century civilization rested upon the "classical" economic liberal doctrine of a self-regulating market, (with accompanying balance-of-power system, gold standard, and laissez-faire liberal state that defended property rights above all else and viewed human labor as no more than a commodity) it is this doctrine that is Polanyi's independent, explanatory variable. For him, the "utopian" and unattainable ideal of the self-regulating market was in reality a destructive force that robbed humanity of its freedom, by causing one hundred years of relative peace (the veritable calm before the storm) and then unleashing heretofore unheard of levels of economic dislocation and political repression. The "Great Transformation" itself is merely the mechanism by which this causal relationship unfolded. It is the process by which the ideal of the self-regulating market utopia brought about the destruction of the old world and the dawning of a new, more dangerous world.
Polanyi's evidence for this process is both deductive and inductive. Most of the book masquerades as a straightforward historical account of the Great Transformation and its exact social processes, but at times Polanyi reads less like an empiricist and more like a deductive rationalist. For instance, he proposes a general covering law of historical causality whereby countries that are apparently "opposed to the status quo would be quick to discover the weakness of the existing institutional order and to anticipate the creation of institutions better adapted to their interests" (28). He then gives Germany in the 1930s as an example of such a process, Germany for him being one of the "catalyst" states that sped up the Great Transformation by abandoning market liberalism in favor of fascism. While the example is fascinating and has obvious historical merit, it's not clear how Polanyi arrived at the general law of which Germany is an example, not to mention whether he truly believes that such a law applies consistently throughout history, or whether he merely means to inductively show the importance of Germany's opposition to the status quo for the particular historical causal mechanism of the Great Transformation.
Polanyi's work obviously runs counter to a great deal of conventional wisdom on the topic of economic and political doctrines and their relationship to social change in the 19th Century.
For instance, the 19th century is often called the "age of nationalism," but Polanyi's Great Transformation, like the work of Marx, minimizes the role of the nation-state in shaping the lives of its own citizens, by arguing that state governments were merely pawns for the ideal of the self-regulating market and its stooges in power, both financial and political. Indeed, as a remedy to the negative effects of the Great Transformation, Polanyi seems to advocate a rise in the power of the nation-state, through the active securing of freedom and rights by its citizens in opposition to the stateless self-regulating market. One could brand Polanyi a collectivist for this reason, although he would resist such a charge precisely because of his defense of individual freedom against the market and his warnings about the dangers of erring on the other side: the potential loss of human freedom that would come from free individuals attempting to subjugate and regulate markets through government. "Regulation both extends and restricts freedom; only the balance of the freedoms lost and won is significant" (254).
In other words, Polanyi is certainly not a Marxist, because of his lack of both economic determinism and any clear theory of class conflict and revolution, but neither can he be an apologist for capitalism since he seeks to shatter the myth of the self-regulating market as being a "natural" ideal independent of social moorings and above general social welfare. Therefore, instead of these two extremes, he strikes a middle ground that is as paradoxically complex as it is eloquently defended.
We reprint the very insightful article Global Capitalism Crisis of Humanity and the Specter of 21st Century Fascism By William I. Robinson
May 27, 2014 | The World Financial Review
World capitalism is experiencing the worst crisis in its 500 year history. Global capitalism is a qualitatively new stage in the open ended evolution of capitalism characterised by the rise of transnational capital, a transnational capitalist class, and a transnational state. Below, William I. Robinson argues that the global crisis is structural and threatens to become systemic, raising the specter of collapse and a global police state in the face of ecological holocaust, concentration of the means of violence, displacement of billions, limits to extensive expansion and crises of state legitimacy, and suggests that a massive redistribution of wealth and power downward to the poor majority of humanity is the only viable solution.
The New Global Capitalism and the 21st Century Crisis
The world capitalist system is arguably experiencing the worst crisis in its 500 year history. World capitalism has experienced a profound restructuring through globalisation over the past few decades and has been transformed in ways that make it fundamentally distinct from its earlier incarnations. Similarly, the current crisis exhibits features that set it apart from earlier crises of the system and raise the stakes for humanity. If we are to avert disastrous outcomes we must understand both the nature of the new global capitalism and the nature of its crisis. Analysis of capitalist globalisation provides a template for probing a wide range of social, political, cultural and ideological processes in this 21st century. Following Marx, we want to focus on the internal dynamics of capitalism to understand crisis. And following the global capitalism perspective, we want to see how capitalism has qualitatively evolved in recent decades.
The system-wide crisis we face is not a repeat of earlier such episodes such as that of the the 1930s or the 1970s precisely because capitalism is fundamentally different in the 21st century. Globalisation constitutes a qualitatively new epoch in the ongoing and open-ended evolution of world capitalism, marked by a number of qualitative shifts in the capitalist system and by novel articulations of social power. I highlight four aspects unique to this epoch.1
First is the rise of truly transnational capital and a new global production and financial system into which all nations and much of humanity has been integrated, either directly or indirectly. We have gone from a world economy, in which countries and regions were linked to each other via trade and financial flows in an integrated international market, to a global economy, in which nations are linked to each more organically through the transnationalisation of the production process, of finance, and of the circuits of capital accumulation. No single nation-state can remain insulated from the global economy or prevent the penetration of the social, political, and cultural superstructure of global capitalism. Second is the rise of a Transnational Capitalist Class (TCC), a class group that has drawn in contingents from most countries around the world, North and South, and has attempted to position itself as a global ruling class. This TCC is the hegemonic fraction of capital on a world scale. Third is the rise of Transnational State (TNS) apparatuses. The TNS is constituted as a loose network made up of trans-, and supranational organisations together with national states. It functions to organise the conditions for transnational accumulation. The TCC attempts to organise and institutionally exercise its class power through TNS apparatuses. Fourth are novel relations of inequality, domination and exploitation in global society, including an increasing importance of transnational social and class inequalities relative to North-South inequalities.
Cyclical, Structural, and Systemic Crises
Most commentators on the contemporary crisis refer to the “Great Recession” of 2008 and its aftermath. Yet the causal origins of global crisis are to be found in over-accumulation and also in contradictions of state power, or in what Marxists call the internal contradictions of the capitalist system. Moreover, because the system is now global, crisis in any one place tends to represent crisis for the system as a whole. The system cannot expand because the marginalisation of a significant portion of humanity from direct productive participation, the downward pressure on wages and popular consumption worldwide, and the polarisation of income, has reduced the ability of the world market to absorb world output. At the same time, given the particular configuration of social and class forces and the correlation of these forces worldwide, national states are hard-pressed to regulate transnational circuits of accumulation and offset the explosive contradictions built into the system.
Is this crisis cyclical, structural, or systemic? Cyclical crises are recurrent to capitalism about once every 10 years and involve recessions that act as self-correcting mechanisms without any major restructuring of the system. The recessions of the early 1980s, the early 1990s, and of 2001 were cyclical crises. In contrast, the 2008 crisis signaled the slide into astructural crisis. Structural crises reflect deeper contradictions that can only be resolved by a major restructuring of the system. The structural crisis of the 1970s was resolved through capitalist globalisation. Prior to that, the structural crisis of the 1930s was resolved through the creation of a new model of redistributive capitalism, and prior to that the structural crisis of the 1870s resulted in the development of corporate capitalism. A systemic crisis involves the replacement of a system by an entirely new system or by an outright collapse. A structural crisis opens up the possibility for a systemic crisis. But if it actually snowballs into a systemic crisis – in this case, if it gives way either to capitalism being superseded or to a breakdown of global civilisation – is not predetermined and depends entirely on the response of social and political forces to the crisis and on historical contingencies that are not easy to forecast. This is an historic moment of extreme uncertainty, in which collective responses from distinct social and class forces to the crisis are in great flux.
Hence my concept of global crisis is broader than financial. There are multiple and mutually constitutive dimensions – economic, social, political, cultural, ideological and ecological, not to mention the existential crisis of our consciousness, values and very being. There is a crisis of social polarisation, that is, of social reproduction. The system cannot meet the needs or assure the survival of millions of people, perhaps a majority of humanity. There are crises of state legitimacy and political authority, or of hegemony and domination. National states face spiraling crises of legitimacy as they fail to meet the social grievances of local working and popular classes experiencing downward mobility, unemployment, heightened insecurity and greater hardships. The legitimacy of the system has increasingly been called into question by millions, perhaps even billions, of people around the world, and is facing expanded counter-hegemonic challenges. Global elites have been unable counter this erosion of the system’s authority in the face of worldwide pressures for a global moral economy. And a canopy that envelops all these dimensions is a crisis of sustainability rooted in an ecological holocaust that has already begun, expressed in climate change and the impending collapse of centralised agricultural systems in several regions of the world, among other indicators.
By a crisis of humanity I mean a crisis that is approaching systemic proportions, threatening the ability of billions of people to survive, and raising the specter of a collapse of world civilisation and degeneration into a new “Dark Ages.”2Global capitalism now couples human and natural history in such a way as to threaten to bring about what would be the sixth mass extinction in the known history of life on earth.
This crisis of humanity shares a number of aspects with earlier structural crises but there are also several features unique to the present:
- The system is fast reaching the ecological limits of its reproduction. Global capitalism now couples human and natural history in such a way as to threaten to bring about what would be the sixth mass extinction in the known history of life on earth.3 This mass extinction would be caused not by a natural catastrophe such as a meteor impact or by evolutionary changes such as the end of an ice age but by purposive human activity. According to leading environmental scientists there are nine “planetary boundaries” crucial to maintaining an earth system environment in which humans can exist, four of which are experiencing at this time the onset of irreversible environmental degradation and three of which (climate change, the nitrogen cycle, and biodiversity loss) are at “tipping points,” meaning that these processes have already crossed their planetary boundaries.
- The magnitude of the means of violence and social control is unprecedented, as is the concentration of the means of global communication and symbolic production and circulation in the hands of a very few powerful groups. Computerised wars, drones, bunker-buster bombs, star wars, and so forth, have changed the face of warfare. Warfare has become normalised and sanitised for those not directly at the receiving end of armed aggression. At the same time we have arrived at the panoptical surveillance society and the age of thought control by those who control global flows of communication, images and symbolic production. The world of Edward Snowden is the world of George Orwell; 1984 has arrived;
- Capitalism is reaching apparent limits to its extensive expansion. There are no longer any new territories of significance that can be integrated into world capitalism, de-ruralisation is now well advanced, and the commodification of the countryside and of pre- and non-capitalist spaces has intensified, that is, converted in hot-house fashion into spaces of capital, so that intensive expansion is reaching depths never before seen. Capitalism must continually expand or collapse. How or where will it now expand?
- There is the rise of a vast surplus population inhabiting a “planet of slums,”4 alienated from the productive economy, thrown into the margins, and subject to sophisticated systems of social control and to destruction – to a mortal cycle of dispossession-exploitation-exclusion. This includes prison-industrial and immigrant-detention complexes, omnipresent policing, militarised gentrification, and so on;
- There is a disjuncture between a globalising economy and a nation-state based system of political authority. Transnational state apparatuses are incipient and have not been able to play the role of what social scientists refer to as a “hegemon,” or a leading nation-state that has enough power and authority to organise and stabilise the system. The spread of weapons of mass destruction and the unprecedented militarisation of social life and conflict across the globe makes it hard to imagine that the system can come under any stable political authority that assures its reproduction.
Global Police State
How have social and political forces worldwide responded to crisis? The crisis has resulted in a rapid political polarisation in global society. Both right and left-wing forces are ascendant. Three responses seem to be in dispute.
One is what we could call “reformism from above.” This elite reformism is aimed at stabilising the system, at saving the system from itself and from more radical responses from below. Nonetheless, in the years following the 2008 collapse of the global financial system it seems these reformers are unable (or unwilling) to prevail over the power of transnational financial capital. A second response is popular, grassroots and leftist resistance from below. As social and political conflict escalates around the world there appears to be a mounting global revolt. While such resistance appears insurgent in the wake of 2008 it is spread very unevenly across countries and regions and facing many problems and challenges.
Yet another response is that I term 21stcentury fascism.5 The ultra-right is an insurgent force in many countries. In broad strokes, this project seeks to fuse reactionary political power with transnational capital and to organise a mass base among historically privileged sectors of the global working class – such as white workers in the North and middle layers in the South – that are now experiencing heightened insecurity and the specter of downward mobility. It involves militarism, extreme masculinisation, homophobia, racism and racist mobilisations, including the search for scapegoats, such as immigrant workers and, in the West, Muslims. Twenty-first century fascism evokes mystifying ideologies, often involving race/culture supremacy and xenophobia, embracing an idealised and mythical past. Neo-fascist culture normalises and glamorises warfare and social violence, indeed, generates a fascination with domination that is portrayed even as heroic.
The need for dominant groups around the world to secure widespread, organised mass social control of the world’s surplus population and rebellious forces from below gives a powerful impulse to projects of 21st century fascism. Simply put, the immense structural inequalities of the global political economy cannot easily be contained through consensual mechanisms of social control. We have been witnessing transitions from social welfare to social control states around the world. We have entered a period of great upheavals, momentous changes and uncertainties. The only viable solution to the crisis of global capitalism is a massive redistribution of wealth and power downward towards the poor majority of humanity along the lines of a 21st century democratic socialism, in which humanity is no longer at war with itself and with nature.
About the Author
William I. Robinson is professor of sociology, global and international studies, and Latin American studies, at the University of California-Santa Barbara. Among his many books are Promoting Polyarchy (1996), Transnational Conflicts (2003), A Theory of Global Capitalism (2004), Latin America and Global Capitalism (2008), and Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity (2014).
Jul 10, 2016 | www.theguardian.comComments from: Vitriol in American politics is holding the nation back' by Megan Carpentier
ID6808749 , 11 Jul 2016 12:03
Oh, and I suppose Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton's vitriol is okay, right? Typical [neo]liberal ranting. Point the finger at someone else, but do the same thing and it's okay.
The only difference today is that Donald Trump doesn't take the finger pointing and Democratic vitriol laying down, he fires it right back at them and guess what, he keeps winning!
Dale Roberts 11 Jul 2016 11:59Vitriolic and polemical speech has been a ubiquitous ritual since the earliest democracies. When candidates wish to distinguish themselves or appeal to various segments of the electorate, there is nothing like a lot of demagoguery and fear mongering to bring attention to a candidate and his issues. In the end, self-interest motivates voters, and fear is the biggest self-interest of all. Using the specter of the opposition to scare small children and those who think like them is a time honored tradition and well alive today. Further, as groups begin to prosper and start being assimilated into the broader society, the individual self-interests diverge and it becomes harder to hold them together as a cohesive group whose votes can be counted on. It then becomes all the more necessary to drive hysteria and to rely on fear and the hyped common threat to maintain solidarity. While some may fantasize about a society run by women, what we know from experience is that women in power act and speak just like men, that is, they also act solely in their own parochial personal political interest and say whatever is necessary to win their next election.Roger Dafremen 11 Jul 2016 3:56Noam Chomsky talked about this in "The Corporation." Our division and increased level of emotional isolation is a direct result of marketing attacks on the human psyche designed to get us to buy more products and services. I'm not sure how much of it is Machiavellian and how much is just pure greed reaping it's inevitable harvest.barbkay -> Roger Dafremen 11 Jul 2016 7:19A smart comment. Greed and fear are indeed the primary drivers of behaviour in many arenas now, and it's partly driven by corporations. This-or-that, black-and-white thinking is largely a product of high emotion, which essentially makes us 'stupid' and unable to reason.JVRTRL 11 Jul 2016 3:16
The impact of viewing - consciously or unconsciously - dozens of ads a day on the Internet, or hours of tranced staring at screens, may be shown to be a major factor in the increasingly mesmerised state of the populace.
That and, as these venerable politicos point out, the demise of political nous generally.Many excellent points. I think the divisions are easier to exploit in part because the society has become so greatly divided based of income inequality. People have completely different frames of reference in terms of their experience, and anxieties, and so it becomes easier to dismiss the concerns of others out-of-hand as illegitimate. You can also overlay racism as part of the equation, which has always been present with varying degrees of intensity in the U.S.ServiusGalba 11 Jul 2016 3:06
WWII's impact on media tended to paper over many of the differences and tensions that have been present in American life. Aside from the period during WWII and in the few decades after, vitriol has been the norm in U.S. media going back to the 1790s.
The idea of a media culture that was objective and bipartisan is a newer idea. It was codified by things like the Fairness Doctrine as well, which tended to moderate, and censor, public discussion through broadcast media. When the Fairness Doctrine fell apart you had people like Limbaugh go national with a highly partisan infotainment model.
The media became more fragmented as well. Broadcast media also used to be seen as a public service. But in the 1970s the major networks started to understand that it could also be a profit center -- and you had another shift in values, where the public function took a back-seat to profit maximization. The market also has become more cut-throat as the media environment has become more fragmented.[Neo]Liberals are largely to blame - they regarded their opponents as "uneducated" "swivel-eyed" etc. They ruthlessly played "identity politics" for all it was worth. They shut down meaningful debate. Now it's come back to bite them in the form of Donald Trump. They don't like it now they are on the receiving end.ionetranq -> ServiusGalba 11 Jul 2016 6:44sdgreen 10 Jul 2016 20:51
[Neo]Liberals are largely to blame
This is the type of over-stating a position that they are prone to. But saying that "liberals" are largely to blame is no different to them pointing the finger at "the right" for all the issues.
There's plenty of blame to go around, and it's evenly spread.
They ruthlessly played "identity politics" for all it was worth. They shut down meaningful debate.
This is very true. Screaming racist at anyone challenging the liberal orthodoxy of black = victim and white = oppressor .
A prime example of one of the issues is BLM. Pushing the view that any black person killed by the police as dying at the hand of a racist cop.
Using whole population stats to compare the chances of being shot by the police, instead of comparing socio-economic groups. It's not exactly unbiased to compare the chances of a poor black man, and a white lawyer, of being stopped or shot by the police.
The same is true of ignoring the many black lives that are ended by the type of people the police frequently come into contact with - other young black men.
Until both sides are truthful about what's happening, nothing is going to change. Both sides - police and young black men - currently approach an interaction with each other fearful of the other. This is made worse on both sides by the rhetoric.
If you listen to BLM and its supporters, then every cop is racist and wamnts to kill them. Why would you do what the police officer tells you if you think you're just opening yourself up to a racist cop killing you?
On the other side, the police apparently often assume that every young black man they encounter both has a gun, and thinks they're racist, and therefore operates on that assumption and goes for a shoot first and be safe option.
Neither of these will get any better while there is this lying and entrenched positions on either side. You could also ask why anyone who's white would support an organization which doesn't appear to care about the white victims of the police (of which AIUI there are an equal number). Or the black murder victims who aren't killed by the police.Politics: policies are never discussed in detail in ANY election. The WHAT, HOW, WHERE, WHEN, WHY and COST is never provided in detail by the politicians. Every thing in the politicians mind is open ended, and may or may not be adopted, considered, or maybe a totally different thing than what they were elected for.GorCro -> sdgreen 11 Jul 2016 15:15
That is the disaster that what current politicians totally fail. That needs to change. Will such, I doubt it. The current so called political platforms or manifestos, are basically useless and used only for propaganda.You left out WHO does the dirty work of the politicians.pipspeak 10 Jul 2016 16:26I largely blame the media (sorry Guardian) for what's happening... the endless need for attention and eyeballs creates an ever louder echo chamber of increasingly extreme opinions masquerading as news, which simply creates a similarly extreme public discourse.1iJack -> pipspeak 10 Jul 2016 22:41
Even my beloved Guardian is succumbing, publishing more and more pointless newsy opinion pieces and less and less fact-based, hard news. I don't want to read five takes on a single world event. I'd rather read the facts about five different world events and feel more informed at the end of the day.I have always wondered if "spin" is taught in journalism schools, or if it is taught by newspapers after graduation from journalism school.pipspeak 10 Jul 2016 16:26
It gets so far out, you wonder what journalists think the readers think. It would be great to be in on a backroom discussion about headlines and all paraphrasing in articles at the Washington Post and Guardian.
I'll bet they sit around and chuckle as they try to cook up positive or negative spins. Its more than facts.I largely blame the media (sorry Guardian) for what's happening... the endless need for attention and eyeballs creates an ever louder echo chamber of increasingly extreme opinions masquerading as news, which simply creates a similarly extreme public discourse.Reddenbluesy 10 Jul 2016 9:13
Even my beloved Guardian is succumbing, publishing more and more pointless newsy opinion pieces and less and less fact-based, hard news. I don't want to read five takes on a single world event. I'd rather read the facts about five different world events and feel more informed at the end of the day.I suspect we're seeing the consequences of two events... one political, the other financial (heavily determined by the political, which happened first).1iJack -> PrinceVlad 10 Jul 2016 10:37
Politically, the Reagan/Thatcher period broke the socially-democratic post-WWII consensus in favour of economic neo-liberalism, which became the new consensus... and once the Cold War was over, there was no real 'peace dividend' and the agreements for global free-trade/globalisation were struck.
That lead to the banking crisis/collapse in 2008, and to the 'solution' whereby most governments imposed 'austerity' and debt on ordinary people to keep most of the bankers 'functional' and 'solvent' ...and not only were the bankers not adequately regulated to curtail their activities, but they carried on paying themselves mega-currency bonuses for using taxpayer guarantees to rescue their dysfunctional businesses.
As the UK-EU Referendum result has proved, populist politicians spouting bullsh*t can succeed in this environment; especially when 'decent politicians' abdicate their responsibilities.I agree, its an entirely artificial construct. And the globalists are in a position to punish countries like Britain for its Brexit decision. But they cannot destroy Britain. Rather, it is the globalists who may be destroyed by the nationalism spreading across the globe. Many globalists are actually terrified by all this. General Electric has read the tea leaves and is already reacting:bluepanther -> 1iJack 10 Jul 2016 17:46
GE's Immelt Signals End to 7 Decades of Globalization http://fortune.com/2016/05/20/ge-immelt-globalization/Fascinating link. The global corporate overlords only respond to sustained political pressure. Brexit was a wakeup call for them and the November election in the U.S. may be another...
The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
Washington continues to drive Europe toward one or the other of the two most likely outcomes of the orchestrated conflict with Russia. Either Europe or some European Union member government will break from Washington over the issue of Russian sanctions, thereby forcing the EU off of the path of conflict with Russia, or Europe will be pushed into military conflict with Russia.
In June the Russian sanctions expire unless each member government of the EU votes to continue the sanctions. Several governments have spoken against a continuation. For example, the governments of the Czech Republic and Greece have expressed dissatisfaction with the sanctions.
US Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged growing opposition to the sanctions among some European governments. Employing the three tools of US foreign policy–threats, bribery, and coercion–he warned Europe to renew the sanctions or there would be retribution. We will see in June if Washington's threat has quelled the rebellion.
Europe has to consider the strength of Washington's threat of retribution against the cost of a continuing and worsening conflict with Russia. This conflict is not in Europe's economic or political interest, and the conflict has the risk of breaking out into war that would destroy Europe.
Since the end of World War II Europeans have been accustomed to following Washington's lead. For awhile France went her own way, and there were some political parties in Germany and Italy that considered Washington to be as much of a threat to European independence as the Soviet Union. Over time, using money and false flag operations, such as Operation Gladio, Washington marginalized politicians and political parties that did not follow Washington's lead.
The specter of a military conflict with Russia that Washington is creating could erode Washington's hold over Europe. By hyping a "Russian threat," Washington is hoping to keep Europe under Washington's protective wing. However, the "threat" is being over-hyped to the point that some Europeans have understood that Europe is being driven down a path toward war.
Belligerent talk from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, from John McCain, from the neoconservatives, and from NATO commander Philip Breedlove is unnerving Europeans. In a recent love-fest between Breedlove and the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by John McCain, Breedlove supported arming the Ukrainian military, the backbone of which appears to be the Nazi militias, with heavy US weapons in order to change "the decision calculus on the ground" and bring an end to the break-away republics that oppose Washington's puppet government in Kiev.
Breedlove told the Senate committee that his forces were insufficient to withstand Russian aggression and that he needed more forces on Russia's borders in order to "reassure allies."
Europeans have to decide whether the threat is Russia or Washington. The European press, which Udo Ulfkotte reports in his book, Bought Journalists, consists of CIA assets, has been working hard to convince Europeans that there is a "revanchist Russia" on the prowl that seeks to recover the Soviet Empire. Washington's coup in Ukraine has disappeared. In its place Washington has substituted a "Russian invasion," hyped as Putin's first step in restoring the Soviet empire.
Just as there is no evidence of the Russian military in Ukraine, there is no evidence of Russian forces threatening Europe or any discussion or advocacy of restoring the Soviet empire among Russian political and military leaders.
In contrast Washington has the Wolfowitz Doctrine, which is explicitly directed at Russia, and now the Council on Foreign Relations has added China as a target of the Wolfowitz doctrine.
The CFR report says that China is a rising power and thereby a threat to US world hegemony. China's rise must be contained so that Washington can remain the boss in the Asian Pacific. What it comes down to is this: China is a threat because China will not prevent its own rise. This makes China a threat to "the International Order." "The International Order," of course, is the order determined by Washington. In other words, just as there must be no Russian sphere of influence, there must be no Chinese sphere of influence. The CFR report calls this keeping the world "free of hegemonic control" except by the US.
Just as General Breedlove demands more military spending in order to counter "the Russian threat," the CFR wants more military spending in order to counter "the Chinese threat." The report concludes: "Congress should remove sequestration caps and substantially increase the U.S. defense budget."
Clearly, Washington has no intention of moderating its position as the sole imperial power. In defense of this power, Washington will take the world to nuclear war. Europe can prevent this war by asserting its independence and departing the empire.
Reprinted with permission from author's website.
Mar 18, 2015 | Russia Insider
Washington is betraying the best interests of the American people through its current foreign policy... European democracy is threatened by US, not Russian, foreign policy
The avalanche of commentary since the Ukrainian crisis erupted a year ago has overshadowed any reflections on the immense forgone benefits (technically speaking, the "opportunity cost") of what might have been if Washington had been working for peace and stability instead of war and chaos.
Imagine the following: After the unraveling of the Communist bloc, Europe, in partnership with the US, had forged a new security system in which Russia was treated as a valued and equal partner – one whose interests were respected. Russia, decimated by a century of wars and Communist imperialism, would doubtless have eagerly reciprocated in kind. Most countries of the former Soviet Union would have then proceeded to build a new Eurasian structure of which Russia would have served as the natural umbrella, given its long-standing interaction with the region's diverse nations and cultures.
Indeed, as Putin himself had proposed in his visionary October 2011 article, the Eurasian Union could have become one of the pillars of a huge harmonized economic area stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok and based on the EU's single-market rules (acquis communautaire). The rising Far Eastern economic powerhouse, with the world's most populous country, China, at its centre, would have linked up with the world's largest economy (the EU). An enormous Eurasian production and financial bloc would have been created – one that drew primarily on secure supplies of Russian energy and other natural resources. Untold investment opportunities would have opened up in Siberia and Russia's Far East as well as in Central Asia. Hundreds of millions of people in Eurasia and elsewhere would have been lifted out of poverty. And, not least, the EU would have been refashioned as an integral part of the dynamic trans-Eurasian economy (rather than as a German-centred empire, as appears to be the case today), thereby making a major contribution to overcoming the ongoing global economic depression.
All of this was not to be, however. Why not? First and foremost, because the self-proclaimed "exceptional" power (actually, a mere "outlying island" in the Atlantic, according to the founder of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder) and its dysfunctional "deep-state" officialdom did not want it to be. How could they have permitted such a thing? How could they have allowed other countries to get on with improving the lives of their citizens without being obliged to seek Washington's approval every step of the way?
European democracy is threatened by US, not Russian, foreign policy
In order to make sure that they were not side-lined, the US elites had to intervene. The Western propaganda machine started churning out all sorts of nonsense that Putin is a new Hitler who is bent on restoring the Soviet empire and who is bullying Europe, while continuing to bang on about his "increasingly autocratic rule". Deadly attacks by chauvinistic proxies were launched on the Russophone people in South Ossetia, Georgia in 2008 and more recently in Ukraine. And in what is eerily reminiscent of Stalinist "bloc discipline", the EU/NATO nomenclature was ordered to implement the absurd strategy of severing the Russian economy from the EU. For their part, the cowering Eurocrats willingly obliged by imposing sanctions on Russia that, perversely, have had a negative impact on their own economies (but, let it be stressed, not that of the US). No questions raised and no public debate on the wisdom of such a strategy permitted.
Stuck in an Orwellian nightmare, Europe has to demonstrate its unfailing loyalty to Big Brother and go along with the view that Russia, an intrinsic and valuable part of the European mainstream both historically and culturally, represents universal evil and that the Earth will not be safe until the Federation has been dismembered and Putinism wiped out once and for all.
This abuse and humiliation of Europe is unparalleled. The continent that gave the world the wonders of the Antiquity, modern democracy, the industrial revolution and what is arguably the greatest tradition of philosophy, fine arts and classical music is being bullied by its oversized offspring. Having self-destructed in two world wars, it has become an easy and even willing prey to an arrogant, ignorant and power-drunk predator that has never experienced the hardships and horrors that Europe has. War and extermination camps are etched into the European DNA. America "knows" about them only from afar – and, not least, from the Hollywood entertainment industry.
Even more terrifying, intellectually third-rate Washington viceroys such as Victoria Nuland and the freelancing armchair warrior Senator McCain are allowed to play God with our continent. The so-called European "leaders" are colluding with them in plunging Europe into the abyss and thereby risking nuclear confrontation.
America, too, is a loser
But this is not just a tragedy for Europe and Eurasia. We are also witnessing the wilful misrule of America and, by default, of the entire West. Indeed, Washington is betraying the best interests of the American people through its current foreign policy. The "democracy-promoters" running Washington's foreign-policy apparatus apparently do not understand that America has nothing to lose and a lot to gain from the Eurasian economic project: the rising tide of global economic welfare would lift everyone's boats, including its own. Why should it matter to Washington if the rising tide comes from other quarters beyond its control?
Indeed, the damage extends beyond the economy. By aligning with the forces of chaos – such as chauvinistic extremists in Ukraine – Washington and its Euro-vassals are corrupting the moral (and intellectual) core of the West. If it continues to support such forces against Russia, united Europe will lose not only its backbone but its very soul. The moral consequences of this loss will be enormous and could lead to the precipitous erosion of Western democracy.
The 'autocrats' want to work with the West, not against it
US and EU leaders believe that the Russian and Chinese "autocrats" are out to destroy the West because the latter hate freedom (as George W. Bush might have put it). And hence, they argue, the autocrats must be stopped in their tracks. The simple truth is that Western leaders are too blinkered to understand that far from desiring to destroy the West, Russia and China want it to prosper so that they can work with it to everyone's benefit. Having enjoyed a privileged position over several centuries and having attained unprecedented prosperity in recent decades, the West simply cannot understand that the rest of humanity has no interest in fomenting the "clash of civilizations" but rather craves peace and stability so that it can finally improve its economic lot.
Perhaps, however, all is not yet lost. It is still possible that reason – and economic forces – will prevail and force the West to correct the errors of its ways. What we need, perhaps, more than ever is the ability to step out of the box, question our fundamental assumptions (not least about Russia and China) and find the courage to change policies that have proved disastrous. After all, critical thought, dispassionate analysis and the ability to be open to new ideas is what made the West so successful in the past. If we are to thrive once again in the future, we must resurrect these most valuable and unsurpassed assets.
Vlad Sobell teaches political economy in Prague and Berlin
Europeans Look On as US Sows Discord on the Continent
Wed, Nov 2
What I cannot understand is the naive belief that elected politicians would act in the interests of those whom they represent. Under what other circumstances do we see human beings act with disinterested altruism? So why would a bunch of people who have been ruthlessly selected for selfishness, arrogance, and callousness - a bunch of carefully chosen psychopaths, if you will - behave in that way?
'My Ph.D. dissertation chairman, who became a high Pentagon official assigned to wind down the Vietnam war, in answer to my question about how Washington gets Europeans to always do what Washington wants replied: "Money, we give them money." "Foreign aid?" I asked. "No, we give the European political leaders bagfuls of money. They are for sale. We bought them. They report to us." Perhaps this explains Tony Blair's $50 million fortune one year out of office'.
- Paul Craig Roberts
"Washington is betraying the best interests of the American people through its current foreign policy".
Not only it's foreign policy but it's domestic policy as well. Let's call it for what it really is. The Wall Street/Corporate policy which is the driving force behind behind everything the US does
"We, the [CENSORED] people, control America and the Americans know it."
-- Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of [CENSORED]
"When we're done with the U.S. it will shrivel up and blow away."
-- Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of [CENSORED]
The welfare or future of the American people are not part of the equation.
However, when one British newspaper reporter asked him specifically about the repeated reports of Russian army troops operating in east Ukraine, Putin chose to ignore the question completely.
Puutin said that over the past two decades, the US had behaved as if it were someone "nouveau riche who had suddenly received a lot of wealth – in this case, global leadership". Instead of using its powers wisely, said Putin, the US had created a unilateral and unfair system.
The Russian president's sentiments were nothing new, but appeared to be a more concise and concentrated version of his grievances at a time when relations between Russia and the west are more strained than at any period since the cold war.
In a terse opening statement before taking questions for nearly three hours, Putin said: "The exceptionalism of the United States, the way they implement their leadership, is it really a benefit? And their worldwide intervention brings peace and stability, progress and peak of democracy? Maybe we should relax and enjoy this splendour? No!"Beginner20 , 24 October 2014 7:08pmNot only. Putin directly said: the US is NOT democracy and never was. Whole speech is here.BillGoatse -> hiiipower , 24 October 2014 9:05pmIn regards to Islamic terrorism I agree. How many potential terrorists has the USA created by starting a war which has killed over half a million people?! How can they fight a 'war on terror' by bringing terror to millions of innocent people? It's all so illogical and tragic and there seems to be no end to this killing.nobledonkey , 24 October 2014 7:31pm
It seems obvious that America isn't killing so many civilians in the middle east for the good of the middle east civilians. They have been planning this for years. This video is a much watch! It has a former four star general and supreme commander of NATO explaining America planned to invade 7 countries. Why this video isn't more widely seen is a travesty.
General Wesley Clark: Wars Were Planned - Seven C…: http://youtu.be/9RC1Mepk_SwGeorge Soros wants war with Russia and he wants the EU to help pay for it by way of inflation via the printing press i.e. further destroying the middle classes.
Are you ready to confront Russia in the name of Soros' billions?
The man has already invested quite a bit in shady NGOs like Open Society and the man was knee-deep in the theft and plundering of Russia during the 1990s by way of Renaissance Capital and other financial outfits.
How soon before Soros teams up with Khodorkovsky and his "Open Russia" NGO? Khodorkovsky wants to get back what he rightfully stole so that he can placate former business partners like Dick Cheney.
nobledonkey -> Alderbaran, 24 October 2014 9:05pmjamesoverseas , 24 October 2014 7:56pm
Nobody wants war with Russia and to suggest that Khodorkovsky is driven by a desire to placate Cheney seems ludicrous.
The point I was illustrating is that Soros wants the EU to become more confrontational with Russia, at the expense of its own security and economic well-being, the latter of which would actually help his own financial interests.
The second point is that Khodorkovsky and Cheney were business partners in the past and that much of the opposition to Putin by men such as Khodorkovsky, Berezovsky, Kasparov, and Zakayev is closely linked not only to financial players like Soros but to the neo-conservatives as well; whose media figures have been the most hawkish re: Russia and not just since Ukraine blew up (again).
Yucos was comprehensively stolen from him under the direction of perhaps Russia's second most influential man - Sechen. This was at a time when Putin wanted to prevent Khordorkovsky moving into politics and Igor Sechen had an eye on the potential spoils of Yucos. Khordorkovsky has expressed a desire to see Russia become a successful democracy.
That's why I said that "Khodorkovsky wants back what he stole in the first place".
The idea that he wants Russia to be a successful democracy is laughable, especially in light of his treatment of employees during his heyday, in particular when he had police beat striking workers.
All these figures: American neo-conservatives, western finance, and Russian 'opposition' are bound in their desire to re-open Russia like the Yeltsin days so that it be plundered once again, for varying reasons ranging from personal power to the extension of American hegemonic ambitions.You missed this nugget that explains his world viewSEARAY , 24 October 2014 7:57pm. To be fair has has a point. Syrian government not legitimate but Bahrain and Saudi governments are...can anyone explain the difference to me? (other than the syrian regime is more secular and protective towards minorities than the other two)
The world works like this: the more loyalty you have to the single centre of power in the world, the more legitimate your govt isBeckow, 24 October 2014 8:01pm
Putin might be right. Things were not so bad in Ukraine until EU was reportedly "fucked" by Victoria Nuland.What would Ukraine be like today without US-EU support for the violent revolution/coup in February in Kiev?JCBKing -> Beckow , 24 October 2014 8:07pm
- There would be by now a normal presidential election with a new government (Ukraine for all its faults had a democracy and Yanukovitch and before him pro-Western Yushenko were elected)
- There would be no war in the Russian-speaking east and south
- Crimea would be safely in Ukraine
- Gas imports and trade with Russia would go on as before accounting for 30% of Ukraine's trade
Instead, Ukraine has a "revolutionary" government with all kinds of street radicals and pro-Western oligarchs running around saying some of the more stupid things in recent memory (US is going to give Marshall Plan, EU is going to open its borders to Ukrainian migrants, Russia has used nuclear missiles in Ukraine, etc...
The economy is dropping almost 10% a year with the worst still coming. There are 3,000 dead and the blood-thirsty rhetoric is still escalating.
Yes, this is a result of US meddling and support for the Maidan street protests. This is a result of 5 billion dollars spent by US on "NGO's" in Kiev. This is a result of Nuland's cookies.
Seems to me that it is self-evident that US has supported Ukraine's revolution. It is also self-evident that it has been a failure and Ukraine will suffer for a very long time. But since Putin said it, I am sure many will scream and shout and demonize instead of rational thinking. Quite a spectacle we see among Western intellectuals.... Were you always like this? Or is it something about Russia that drives you incoherent with rage?The Ukrainians would also have 15 billion extra. It is not as if the deal with Russia would have left some of the idiots in Ukraine without any further scope for leverage between the EU and Russia.Beckow -> JCBKing , 24 October 2014 8:20pm
I'm not sure if the EU will open up it's doors or conjure up some scheme that makes it more possible for a higher number of Ukrainians to at least be able to work in Poland, the supposedly "prosperous" Baltic states or Hungary.Alderbaran -> Beckow, 24 October 2014 8:20pm
EU is not exactly suffering from labor shortages today. So more Ukrainian workers, in Poland or anywhere, would just lead to even worse labor market for everybody. Actually, Russia is suffering from labor shortage, there are 3 million Ukrainians working there already.
In any negotiation one loses power and leverage by emotionally preferring one side. Ukraine has lost any leverage over EU by so visibly "loving EU", or US (who get anything they want anyway), or Russia by showing undisguised hatred - when Ukrainian leaders make Russo-phobic speeches (Yatsenyuk) and then remain as Ukrainian leaders, well that reflects on all Ukrainians.
So today, Ukraine has no room to negotiate anything. They are left with pleading for mercy and charity. That has never led to anything good.The attempted takeover of eastern Ukraine has been way more violent and damaging than any of the protests in Kiev and I don't see how you can contest that.creel , 24 October 2014 8:03pm
Ukraine is a corrupt state but to imagine that this corruption would have gone away naturally following another election is naive. Generally I ignore posts that mention Nuland, Nazis and $5 billion but I feel compelled to disagree with you.
Months ago, many were comparing Putin's moves in Ukraine to a chess game being played masterfully. Now, many of the same voices are saying that Russia had no influence in Ukraine and that any problems there are the fault of the US.
The chess game analogy might be quite apt - Putin appears to see conflict as adversarial rather than a drive to find equilibrium and compromise. The drive to capture Crimea might have also been made in order to divert attention away from problems in Russia itself and I'm worried that he might become ever more paranoid as Russia's economy slips and that speeches such as this one might become a little more common.Putin makes a general observation that is well grounded. Over the past two decades, yes. In his ex Soviet backyard. Yet if one thinks back further the US has often acted thus - through her proxy allies such as Turkey, Israel; through a host of coup-empowered autocrats the likes of Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Chile's Pinochet and through support for failed insurrection in Cuba, Nicaragua and indeed, after a long period of misrule, in Iran.
Why do we so easily overlook Turkey's incursion into Cyprus and her continued support for militarized ethnic enclaves ..but pillory Russia for her support for similar dissident pro-Russian populations in Ukraine? Particularly when in Russia's case, there are sound strategic reasons for her apprehension about the way a potentially hostile linked-with-Nato military alliance has openly seized opportunity to place forces ever-closer to her heartland.
Umut Gezer , 24 October 2014 8:03pmkatafonia , 24 October 2014 8:07pm
I still believe Russia should have invaded Ukraine after Yanukovich who was elected by the popular vote was ousted by a western backed coup. Perhaps this was what the Nato planned so Russia would be sucked into a war, but it did not work. their plans all have been dumped into the bin.
also, on the point of Putin ignoring one British paper's question; the British media has been lying for a year on the Ukraine issue. It has been publishing bias news and has been a dark page in journalism.as Orwell said "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."shakur_420 , 24 October 2014 8:12pm
the Russian Hercules made a great speech!Anyone familiar with the context and history of NATO expansion, and the facts surrounding the US-sponsored coup in Ukraine, knows full well that the Russians have shown tremendous restraint. It has been the US who has been aggressive (along with their pathetic allies, like my country) in Ukraine, as they have been on the global stage for more than half a century.SHappens , 24 October 2014 8:15pm
The Guardian's dismissal of the facts, and their downplaying of US government behaviour is nothing new.Putin once again delivered an outstanding speech. He speaks the truth, in a straightforward manner, there is no malice nor hate. Just a fair understanding of the present situation and a clear view on Russia's future aspirations. Putin loves his country and his people rewards him a hundredfold.JCBKing , 24 October 2014 8:19pm
There is a lot of food for thoughts in his speech.
We have entered a period of differing interpretations and deliberate silences in world politics. International law has been forced to retreat over and over by the onslaught of legal nihilism. Objectivity and justice have been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Arbitrary interpretations and biased assessments have replaced legal norms. At the same time, total control of the global mass media has made it possible when desired to portray white as black and black as white.Caught some of it. Brilliant stuff from a highly intelligent and decent man.zelazny , 24 October 2014 8:20pm
It is incredible though some of the dumb questions these morons in the US and UK press ask. Not all of them but many..it defies logic. One overemotional American woman asked a stupid series of questions of pointless rhetoric that leave no scope for decent answers. The Financial Times man even worse ( a misleading question with the answer obvious) with imbecilic rudeness and fake posturing over the "accuracy" of one his reporters latest propaganda pieces .Completely out of place to mention in a meeting like this with a head of state.
I also would have liked some question from any nationality on why the US,Russia and Ukraine are all involved in obfuscation of the MH17 crash. One would assume that all 3 parties know exactly what happened from where and when and it would have been good for the President to be cornered on this,even though a direct answer would have been unlikely to have been given...everything else though was answered as usual with a great degree of detail that shames the empty headed, 15 minutes at best, nonsense from the likes of Obama and Cameron.Putin stands head and shoulders above the various western leaders, from the Pillsbury Doughboy Cameron to the "constitutional scholar" Obama.lubostron, 24 October 2014 8:28pm
Only the blind and the stupid don't understand that the US staged a neo-Nazi coup in Ukraine. The neo-Nazis then went on a campaign of slaughtering civilians, even burning them alive. The people in the eastern Ukraine said no to this psychopathy, and they in essence have won. The Kiev government trembles because it knows now that neither Nato nor the USA would come to their aid should Russia really attack them.
And a not so subtle threat underlies Putin's speech, because he basically has said Russia has had enough with US criminality. I think this foreshadows the eventually break from the petro-dollar by the BRICs, protected by Russia nuclear arms.
The federal reserve has to print out money by the untold billions in order to keep the US economy from another crash. Behind the facade of the increases in stock prices hides a cowering economy ready to crash at any unexpected event.JJRichardson lubostron , 24 October 2014 8:30pm
...And he's bloody right!
It's beyond tragi-comic belief the amount of psychophantic scaremongering, lies, half-truths and propaganda America, Britain and others use to demonise Russia.
Luckily, there seems to be a huge disconnect between what is told/reported by governments and official (corporate) media and what many, many people actually believe.And have you looked at RT? It makes Soviet propaganda look sophisticated.Nickel07 -> JJRichardson , 24 October 2014 8:38pmI have looked at RT and I can assure you that some of the reporting is less biased than this pamphlet we are currently commenting on.
AlekNevski, 24 October 2014 8:36pmThe Russian president "has won because we were not ready to die for Ukraine, while apparently he was," Ambassador Gerard Araud said yesterday at a Bloomberg Government breakfast in Washington.olddocrob, 24 October 2014 8:41pm
Donetsk is 300 miles from Volgograd (Stalingrad) where 1 million (1 million?) German soldiers died in the legendary battle. Nearly 2 million Russian died too.
And these stupid bureaucrats are surprised that the Russians are willing to fight for... their land?
This level of incompetence is hard to bear. Moronic, completely and utterly moronic.donald7063 , 24 October 2014 8:47pm
Was once told that the purpose of education was to equip one with a 100% efficient bullshit detector. There are a lot of sad, trusting folk on the site tonight; one would think uncle Jo, Adolph and their like had never trod the earth. How can anyone take seriously a man who parades half naked in front of his people looking like some extra from a homoerotic sword and saddles bash? I 'll take Putin seriously when he stops banging up journos and the singers of mildly ironic songs. Until then he's damaged goods.Is Russia a colony of the US?Justavoice01 , 24 October 2014 9:04pm
This is the opening paragraph of the National Liberation Movement of Russia's manifesto which is for the removal of unfriendly domination by the US of its economic, governmental and constitutional arrangements. For the complete manifesto go to:
The National Liberation Movement in Russia has only one goal that unites everyone regardless of their political views: the restoration of the sovereignty of the country and liberation from its occupiers. The inhabitants of Russia must break free from their chains of slavery and become free citizens in a free (non-occupied) country.
To achieve these goals, the government should become ours, i.e. we must completely change the nature of the state, including through amending the Constitution. Society is a broader concept, and in fact, it should feel necessary to partake in this goal because the national liberation struggle is a struggle of the society for the restoration of sovereign control over Russia, including control over state institutions. Today, the state in Russia, as in any colony, works for the occupier under the rules established by it, placing it under the rulers' direct control. This provision is captured in the existing Constitution. Every day the main task of those millions of officials who go to work is to improve living standards and the solve the problems of the American and European peoples. That is their main function today. At the level of daily activity, it is hard to recognize this without desire and sufficient time for the conceptualisation of our historical facts and the current state of affairs in the country as a whole.Justthefactsman , 24 October 2014 9:06pm
Since WWII, America has had plenty of wars, Committed plenty of war crimes, destabilized plenty of countries all over the world, not all for good, but for self-interest. Yet If Putin says this, it is labelled as propaganda, But it is true. America causes trouble everywhere it goes, if they don't get their way, the so called "west" defends any old stupidity they come out with. Creating chaos then try to manage it, but time and time again, it is botched up. Always defended by "compliant allies" who follows America with their follies all over the world. America has an army that don't win wars, it has too much money that is back by, god only knows, it's governance is irrational and dysfunctional, a country who votes in the dumbest individuals into positions of power and then try to dictate. I have said this plenty of time on these pages, Why do we follow them!......If the answer is WWII, the USSR won the European theatre practically by themselves.I listened and watched on RT.johhnybgood , 24 October 2014 9:08pm
"When the British reporter asked about Russian troops operating in the Ukraine, Putin did reply according to the English translation to which I was listening. he even admitted that Russian troops were used to prevent Ukranian troops from leaving there base.
Maybe Shaun Walker should have gone to Sochi, or perhaps have watched RT.
As to describe Putin as railing against the U.S.A I wonder if Shaun actually knows the definition of railing ?
This whole piece is just another stick to beat the bear with.
I am not fan of Putin but then I am no fan of Obama, but can Shaun really tell us where Putin Lied about the historical past and what the recent history has been about the Ukraine?
I think Shaun should read "A Peoples Tragedy" by Orlando FugesAs Sergei Lavrov said to the US "we are sorry our country is so close to your bases". Lavrov's recent UN speech is a masterclass in diplomatic rhetoric. He is a million miles ahead of any US spokesperson - they are all incapable of any sort of sensible dialogue. Is anyone now listening to the constant Russophobia from the MSM.? Look what is actually happening on the ground, not what the press is reporting. It is clear that Russia has been a model of self restraint in the face of many provocations. The West has only succeeded in driving Russia closer to China.RememberGiap , 24 October 2014 9:10pmAnd Putin is right . Putin's Russia does not send drones to kill on other continents . Putin's Russian did not cause chaos in Libya , Iraq and Afghanistan . Putin's Russia did not spend billions of dollars creating fundamentalist Islamic movements on the Pakistani / Afghan border in the 1980's . Putin's Russia did not invite and fund Arab Jihadists to wage war as proxies of Russia as did the USA , a price we all suffering now . Russia does not supply arms to Israel to bomb Palestinians . Russia does not give Israel its ' veto ' on the UN Security Council to give it immunity from International law . Russia does not station its military bases throughout the world . As for US activities in toppling Governments , destabilizing countries and covert operations in Southern and Central America I'd still be typing this post tomorrow without even then revealing the tip of the iceberg !!seamuspadraig , 24 October 2014 9:12pm
The USA , lovely people unfortunately living in a global Rogue State .Uncle Scam is in deep doggie-do now. Russia and China aren't just some little third-world countries that Washington can wipe its ass on then throw away. Oh no... Uncle Scam is after big game now! These two animals can defend themselves. And this time, they're on the same team.Corrections , 24 October 2014 9:13pm
I'm waiting to see what happens in Syria.Partial English transcript:EugeneGur , 24 October 2014 9:33pm
The rest of the transcript will no doubt appear over the next several hours. I suppose it's better than waiting until the whole thing is translated before posting anything.Putin said nothing in this speech that wasn't patently obvious. There is really nothing that could reasonably be denied because most statements were pure statement of facts. He just said all this very bluntly. He started his speech by saying that he was going to speak him mind, otherwise he sees no reason to speak at all.
I am old enough to remember as in early 1990s the American press cried every day all the time "We won! We won! We are the sole remaining superpower!" I thought: Aren't we supposed to be all friends now? As it became clear very soon, no, we weren't. We were expected to be servants to "indispensable" American people destined to rule the Universe. I can't speak for the rest of the Universe, but that role somehow doesn't appeal to me.This is a mistranslation. Puting didn't say anything about splendor. He did say "relax and enjoy" but he was referring to the saying" What should you do when you are being raped? Relax and try to enjoy". A somewhat different meaning, isn't it?
The exceptionalism of the United States, the way they implement their leadership, is it really a benefit? And their worldwide intervention brings peace and stability, progress and peak of democracy? Maybe we should relax and enjoy this splendour? No!"
Oct 19, 2014 : truth-out.org
"There is a lack of critical assessment of the past. But you have to understand that the current ruling elite is actually the old ruling elite. So they are incapable of a self-critical approach to the past."
Are they incapable, or merely unwilling? That is the credibility trap, the inability to address the key problems because the ruling elite must risk or even undermine their own undeserved power to do so.
I think this interview below highlights the false dichotomy between communism and free market capitalism that was created in the 1980's largely by Thatcher's and Reagan's handlers. The dichotomy was more properly between communist government and democracy, of the primacy of the individual over the primacy of the organization and the state as embodied in fascism and the real world implementations of communism in Russia and China.
But we never think of it that way any more, if at all. It is one of the greatest public relation coups in history. One form of organizational oppression by the Russian nomenklatura was replaced by the oppression by the oligarchs and their Corporations, in the name of freedom.
Free market capitalism, under the banner of the efficient markets hypothesis, has taken the place of democratic ideals as the primary good as embodied in the original framing of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.
It is no accident that the individual and their concerns have become subordinated to the corporate welfare and the profits of the upper one percent. We even see this in religion with the 'gospel of prosperity.' In their delusion they make friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, so that after they may be received into their everlasting habitations.
The market as the highest good has stood on the shoulders of the 'greed is good' philosophy promulgated by the pied pipers of the me generation, and has turned the Western democracies on their heads, as a series of political leaders have capitulated to this false idol of money as the measure of all things, and all virtue.
Policy is now crafted to maximize profits as an end to itself without regard to the overall impact on freedom and the public good. It measures 'costs' in the most narrow and biased of terms, and allocated wealth based on the subversion of good sense to false economy theories.
Greed is a portion of the will to power. And that madness serves none but itself.
This is a brief excerpt. You may read the entire interview here.Henry Giroux on the Rise of Neoliberalism
19 October 2014
By Michael Nevradakis, Truthout
"...We're talking about an ideology marked by the selling off of public goods to private interests; the attack on social provisions; the rise of the corporate state organized around privatization, free trade, and deregulation; the celebration of self interests over social needs; the celebration of profit-making as the essence of democracy coupled with the utterly reductionist notion that consumption is the only applicable form of citizenship.
But even more than that, it upholds the notion that the market serves as a model for structuring all social relations: not just the economy, but the governing of all of social life...
That's a key issue. I mean, this is a particular political and economic and social project that not only consolidates class power in the hands of the one percent, but operates off the assumption that economics can divorce itself from social costs, that it doesn't have to deal with matters of ethical and social responsibility, that these things get in the way.
And I think the consequences of these policies across the globe have caused massive suffering, misery, and the spread of a massive inequalities in wealth, power, and income. Moreover, increasingly, we are witnessing a number of people who are committing suicide because they have lost their pensions, jobs and dignity.
We see the attack on the welfare state; we see the privatization of public services, the dismantling of the connection between private issues and public problems, the selling off of state functions, deregulations, an unchecked emphasis on self-interest, the refusal to tax the rich, and really the redistribution of wealth from the middle and working classes to the ruling class, the elite class, what the Occupy movement called the one percent. It really has created a very bleak emotional and economic landscape for the 99 percent of the population throughout the world."
"This is a particular political and economic and social project that not only consolidates class power in the hands of the one percent, but operates off the assumption that economics can divorce itself from social costs, that it doesn't have to deal with matters of ethical and social responsibility."
I think that as a mode of governance, it is really quite dreadful because it tends to produce identities, subjects and ways of life driven by a kind of "survival of the fittest" ethic, grounded in the notion of the free, possessive individual and committed to the right of individual and ruling groups to accrue wealth removed from matters of ethics and social cost.
That's a key issue. I mean, this is a particular political and economic and social project that not only consolidates class power in the hands of the one percent, but operates off the assumption that economics can divorce itself from social costs, that it doesn't have to deal with matters of ethical and social responsibility, that these things get in the way. And I think the consequences of these policies across the globe have caused massive suffering, misery, and the spread of a massive inequalities in wealth, power, and income. Moreover, increasingly, we are witnessing a number of people who are committing suicide because they have lost their pensions, jobs and dignity. We see the attack on the welfare state; we see the privatization of public services, the dismantling of the connection between private issues and public problems, the selling off of state functions, deregulations, an unchecked emphasis on self-interest, the refusal to tax the rich, and really the redistribution of wealth from the middle and working classes to the ruling class, the elite class, what the Occupy movement called the one percent. It really has created a very bleak emotional and economic landscape for the 99 percent of the population throughout the world.
And having mentioned this impact on the social state and the 99%, would you go as far as to say that these ideologies have been the direct cause of the economic crisis the world is presently experiencing?
Oh, absolutely. I think when you look at the crisis in 2007, what are you looking at? You're looking at the merging of unchecked financial power and a pathological notion of greed that implemented banking policies and deregulated the financial world and allowed the financial elite, the one percent, to pursue a series of policies, particularly the selling of junk bonds and the illegality of what we call subprime mortgages to people who couldn't pay for them. This created a bubble and it exploded. This is directly related to the assumption that the market should drive all aspects of political, economic, and social life and that the ruling elite can exercise their ruthless power and financial tools in ways that defy accountability. And what we saw is that it failed, and it not only failed, but it caused an enormous amount of cruelty and hardship across the world. More importantly, it emerged from the crisis not only entirely unapologetic about what it did, but reinvented itself, particularly in the United States under the Rubin boys along with Larry Summers and others, by attempting to prevent any policies from being implemented that would have overturned this massively failed policy of deregulation.
It gets worse. In the aftermath of this sordid crisis produced by the banks and financial elite, we have also learned that the feudal politics of the rich was legitimated by the false notion that they were too big to fail, an irrational conceit that gave way to the notion that they were too big to jail, which is a more realistic measure of the criminogenic/zombie culture that nourishes casino capitalism.
Oct 24, 2014 | Bloomberg
If President Vladimir Putin is Russia, as a senior Kremlin official said this week, then this country is angry, humiliated and suffering from an almost paranoid fixation on the U.S. as the root of all the world's troubles.
In a closing speech and question-and-answer session today at Russia's annual state-sponsored Valdai conference, Putin said he was going to be frank -- he was more than that. He dived into a long list of slights and wounds inflicted by the U.S. on Russia and the world since the end of the Cold War, and gave every sign of digging in for a long period of confrontation.
The U.S., according to Putin, is a global Big Brother that blackmails and bullies its allies while producing instability and misery around the world. Because the U.S. realizes it no longer has the ability to succeed as the lone hegemon in an age of rising powers, it is trying to recoup that status by re-creating the Cold War and producing a new enemy against which to rally countries, he said.
According to Putin's tour of contemporary world history, aggressive U.S. interventionism is responsible not just for the destabilization of Iraq (which it was) and Libya, but also for Syria (where the U.S. didn't intervene against President Bashar al-Assad) and the creation of al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic State. And that's before you get to the Maidan protests and "state coup" this year in Ukraine.
As for the economic sanctions the European Union has imposed over Russia's annexation of Crimea and destabilization of Ukraine, that again was all because of pressure from the U.S., he said -- not any action Russia might have taken.
There is plenty of truth salted through Putin's complaints, enough to make him -- as one fawning Russian state TV anchor put it in what passed for a question -- "the face of resistance" for many around the world.
What is worrying is that the post 1990s narrative Putin laid out -- in which the U.S. has ignored, humiliated, encircled and isolated Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union -- is one most Russians whole-heartedly believe. They, too, can't imagine that ordinary unarmed citizens -- whether in Kiev, the Arab Spring countries or elsewhere -- might act of their own volition, rather than as pawns in a U.S. game.
"What's in his mind is what Russia is thinking. It's like you're mad at someone and just let it out," said Toby Gati, a former U.S. diplomat in the audience. Gati had told Putin she didn't recognize the U.S. he described, drawing a rare conciliatory comment that he wasn't seeking confrontation.
The wellspring of popular support Putin enjoys for any potential escalation, as unwise as that would be for Russia's long-term prosperity, allowed him to be defiant on sanctions and fatalistic on continued bloodshed in Ukraine.
Sure, Putin called for a new rule-based world order and insisted that his country had no ambitions to re-create the old empire. And no doubt he was talking, on state TV, in part to the home audience. Yet the broad thrust of his remarks was defiant, arguing that if the U.S. gets to throw its weight around and break rules, why shouldn't Russia? "What's allowed for Jupiter isn't for the bull," Putin said. "Well, the bull may not be able to, but the bear isn't going to ask anyone's permission."
There's plenty of blame to go around for allowing the situation to get this bad, but for anyone who wants to see the Ukraine crisis solved, sanctions lifted and a repaired relationship between Russia and the U.S. and EU, this was a dark and depressing performance that came close to a threat.
I can't believe I'm saying this...but Putin is right. You want to talk about a system that should cease to exist, it's this one.
And before you point to the Constitution and say "not gonna happen," there are plans out there that would render it a moot point, like states pledging to award electors to whoever wins the popular vote nationwide. And they'd easily pass constitutional muster.
Actually, Putin is right. After all these years, it is high the time a constitutional amendment changes this system for the straight voting method used in the entire world by democracies and even by dictatorships.
And while we are at it, maybe it is also high the time U.S. abandons the imperial system (it inherited from Britain - a country that already abandoned it many years ago) and finally adopts the metric system thus joining the civilized world - so to say.
And while we are at it, U.S. should get rid of the Senate. It serves no useful purpose apart from representing a unacceptable drain of public funds.
And while we are at it, .....
A constitutional amendment could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population.
Instead, by state laws, without changing anything in the Constitution, The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes, and thus the presidency, to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by replacing state winner-take-all laws for awarding electoral votes.
Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps of pre-determined outcomes. There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states that now are just 'spectators' and ignored after the conventions.
The bill would take effect when enacted by states with a majority of Electoral College votes-that is, enough to elect a President (270 of 538). The candidate receiving the most popular votes from all 50 states (and DC) would get all the 270+ electoral votes of the enacting states.
The presidential election system, using the 48 state winner-take-all method or district winner method of awarding electoral votes, that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founders. It is the product of decades of change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.
The bill has passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 rural, small, medium, large, red, blue, and purple states with 250 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.
Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc
The Washington Post
Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Friday of endangering the international order by trying to "remake the whole world" for its own, exclusive interests, and he predicted that Ukraine would not be the last conflict to embroil the major powers.
Putin charged that the United States has escalated world conflicts by "unilateral diktat" and by imposing sanctions that he said were aimed at pushing Russia toward "economic weakness," while he denied that Russia aspires to rebuild an empire or reclaim its Cold War-era stature as a superpower.
"We did not start this," Putin said of the worsening world climate. "These policies started a few years ago; it hasn't just started today because of sanctions."
The Russian president's comments, among the most incendiary he has ever directed against the United States, were made during a speech before the Valdai Club, an annual gathering of international analysts and scholars held this year in the southern Russian city of Sochi, where Russia staged the Winter Olympic Games earlier this year.
Since then, Russia's annexation of Crimea and involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine have driven relations between Moscow and Washington to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War.
Putin said the United States had adopted a Cold War victor's mindset that was clouding its view of the world, leading to "serious delusions" about what changes are needed in the international system.
"It never ceases to amaze me how our partners have been guilty of making the same mistakes time and again," Putin said. He said past U.S. support for Islamist extremists had helped to create the current crises in Iraq and Syria, and he charged that U.S. backing for revolutions in former Soviet states now contending with chaos - such as Ukraine - were tantamount to "letting the genie out of the bottle."
Trust me, if Putin weren't there, Russia would splinter into a dozen nations with half of them "Islamic States." They'd make ISIL look tame by comparison. Our interests are currently served with Russia under central control and with leadership that hate the Islamists as much as we do.
The US approach to Russia is totally idiotic and unproductive. I'm a businessman and know Russia. These "Russian scholars" from Ivy League schools know nothing. Left over neocons from the Cold War just make things worse.
Russia should be engaged and worked with. We missed a golden opportunity when the Cold War ended. We don't have to feel afraid of Russia. It just has a conscript army and can barely hold it's territory together.
What's the sense of kicking them when they are down.
from my own objective point of view, it is hard to argue with Putin, I think what he says bears a lot of truth.
It is hard to argue with Putin, because if you are a Russian citizen he will lock you up.
But since I am an American citizen that is a moot point.
Of course the U.S. is trying to remake the whole world for its own interests. It's been doing this since the early 20th century. So has Russia. So has every other country that tries to lead the world-it's always for their own interests.
... ... ...
Today's discussion took place under the theme: New Rules or a Game without Rules. I think that this formula accurately describes the historic turning point we have reached today and the choice we all face. There is nothing new of course in the idea that the world is changing very fast. I know this is something you have spoken about at the discussions today. It is certainly hard not to notice the dramatic transformations in global politics and the economy, public life, and in industry, information and social technologies.
Let me ask you right now to forgive me if I end up repeating what some of the discussion's participants have already said. It's practically impossible to avoid. You have already held detailed discussions, but I will set out my point of view. It will coincide with other participants' views on some points and differ on others.
As we analyse today's situation, let us not forget history's lessons. First of all, changes in the world order – and what we are seeing today are events on this scale – have usually been accompanied by if not global war and conflict, then by chains of intensive local-level conflicts. Second, global politics is above all about economic leadership, issues of war and peace, and the humanitarian dimension, including human rights.
The world is full of contradictions today. We need to be frank in asking each other if we have a reliable safety net in place. Sadly, there is no guarantee and no certainty that the current system of global and regional security is able to protect us from upheavals. This system has become seriously weakened, fragmented and deformed. The international and regional political, economic, and cultural cooperation organisations are also going through difficult times.
Yes, many of the mechanisms we have for ensuring the world order were created quite a long time ago now, including and above all in the period immediately following World War II. Let me stress that the solidity of the system created back then rested not only on the balance of power and the rights of the victor countries, but on the fact that this system's 'founding fathers' had respect for each other, did not try to put the squeeze on others, but attempted to reach agreements.
The main thing is that this system needs to develop, and despite its various shortcomings, needs to at least be capable of keeping the world's current problems within certain limits and regulating the intensity of the natural competition between countries.
It is my conviction that we could not take this mechanism of checks and balances that we built over the last decades, sometimes with such effort and difficulty, and simply tear it apart without building anything in its place. Otherwise we would be left with no instruments other than brute force.
What we needed to do was to carry out a rational reconstruction and adapt it the new realities in the system of international relations.
But the United States, having declared itself the winner of the Cold War, saw no need for this. Instead of establishing a new balance of power, essential for maintaining order and stability, they took steps that threw the system into sharp and deep imbalance.
The Cold War ended, but it did not end with the signing of a peace treaty with clear and transparent agreements on respecting existing rules or creating new rules and standards. This created the impression that the so-called 'victors' in the Cold War had decided to pressure events and reshape the world to suit their own needs and interests. If the existing system of international relations, international law and the checks and balances in place got in the way of these aims, this system was declared worthless, outdated and in need of immediate demolition.
Pardon the analogy, but this is the way nouveaux riches behave when they suddenly end up with a great fortune, in this case, in the shape of world leadership and domination. Instead of managing their wealth wisely, for their own benefit too of course, I think they have committed many follies.
We have entered a period of differing interpretations and deliberate silences in world politics. International law has been forced to retreat over and over by the onslaught of legal nihilism. Objectivity and justice have been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Arbitrary interpretations and biased assessments have replaced legal norms. At the same time, total control of the global mass media has made it possible when desired to portray white as black and black as white.
In a situation where you had domination by one country and its allies, or its satellites rather, the search for global solutions often turned into an attempt to impose their own universal recipes. This group's ambitions grew so big that they started presenting the policies they put together in their corridors of power as the view of the entire international community. But this is not the case.
The very notion of 'national sovereignty' became a relative value for most countries. In essence, what was being proposed was the formula: the greater the loyalty towards the world's sole power centre, the greater this or that ruling regime's legitimacy.
We will have a free discussion afterwards and I will be happy to answer your questions and would also like to use my right to ask you questions. Let someone try to disprove the arguments that I just set out during the upcoming discussion.
The measures taken against those who refuse to submit are well-known and have been tried and tested many times. They include use of force, economic and propaganda pressure, meddling in domestic affairs, and appeals to a kind of 'supra-legal' legitimacy when they need to justify illegal intervention in this or that conflict or toppling inconvenient regimes. Of late, we have increasing evidence too that outright blackmail has been used with regard to a number of leaders. It is not for nothing that 'big brother' is spending billions of dollars on keeping the whole world, including its own closest allies, under surveillance.
Let's ask ourselves, how comfortable are we with this, how safe are we, how happy living in this world, and how fair and rational has it become? Maybe, we have no real reasons to worry, argue and ask awkward questions? Maybe the United States' exceptional position and the way they are carrying out their leadership really is a blessing for us all, and their meddling in events all around the world is bringing peace, prosperity, progress, growth and democracy, and we should maybe just relax and enjoy it all?
Let me say that this is not the case, absolutely not the case.
A unilateral diktat and imposing one's own models produces the opposite result. Instead of settling conflicts it leads to their escalation, instead of sovereign and stable states we see the growing spread of chaos, and instead of democracy there is support for a very dubious public ranging from open neo-fascists to Islamic radicals.
Why do they support such people? They do this because they decide to use them as instruments along the way in achieving their goals but then burn their fingers and recoil. I never cease to be amazed by the way that our partners just keep stepping on the same rake, as we say here in Russia, that is to say, make the same mistake over and over.
They once sponsored Islamic extremist movements to fight the Soviet Union. Those groups got their battle experience in Afghanistan and later gave birth to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The West if not supported, at least closed its eyes, and, I would say, gave information, political and financial support to international terrorists' invasion of Russia (we have not forgotten this) and the Central Asian region's countries. Only after horrific terrorist attacks were committed on US soil itself did the United States wake up to the common threat of terrorism. Let me remind you that we were the first country to support the American people back then, the first to react as friends and partners to the terrible tragedy of September 11.
During my conversations with American and European leaders, I always spoke of the need to fight terrorism together, as a challenge on a global scale. We cannot resign ourselves to and accept this threat, cannot cut it into separate pieces using double standards. Our partners expressed agreement, but a little time passed and we ended up back where we started. First there was the military operation in Iraq, then in Libya, which got pushed to the brink of falling apart. Why was Libya pushed into this situation? Today it is a country in danger of breaking apart and has become a training ground for terrorists.
Only the current Egyptian leadership's determination and wisdom saved this key Arab country from chaos and having extremists run rampant. In Syria, as in the past, the United States and its allies started directly financing and arming rebels and allowing them to fill their ranks with mercenaries from various countries. Let me ask where do these rebels get their money, arms and military specialists? Where does all this come from? How did the notorious ISIL manage to become such a powerful group, essentially a real armed force?
As for financing sources, today, the money is coming not just from drugs, production of which has increased not just by a few percentage points but many-fold, since the international coalition forces have been present in Afghanistan. You are aware of this. The terrorists are getting money from selling oil too. Oil is produced in territory controlled by the terrorists, who sell it at dumping prices, produce it and transport it. But someone buys this oil, resells it, and makes a profit from it, not thinking about the fact that they are thus financing terrorists who could come sooner or later to their own soil and sow destruction in their own countries.
Where do they get new recruits? In Iraq, after Saddam Hussein was toppled, the state's institutions, including the army, were left in ruins. We said back then, be very, very careful. You are driving people out into the street, and what will they do there? Don't forget (rightfully or not) that they were in the leadership of a large regional power, and what are you now turning them into?
What was the result? Tens of thousands of soldiers, officers and former Baath Party activists were turned out into the streets and today have joined the rebels' ranks. Perhaps this is what explains why the Islamic State group has turned out so effective? In military terms, it is acting very effectively and has some very professional people. Russia warned repeatedly about the dangers of unilateral military actions, intervening in sovereign states' affairs, and flirting with extremists and radicals. We insisted on having the groups fighting the central Syrian government, above all the Islamic State, included on the lists of terrorist organisations. But did we see any results? We appealed in vain.
We sometimes get the impression that our colleagues and friends are constantly fighting the consequences of their own policies, throw all their effort into addressing the risks they themselves have created, and pay an ever-greater price.
Colleagues, this period of unipolar domination has convincingly demonstrated that having only one power centre does not make global processes more manageable. On the contrary, this kind of unstable construction has shown its inability to fight the real threats such as regional conflicts, terrorism, drug trafficking, religious fanaticism, chauvinism and neo-Nazism. At the same time, it has opened the road wide for inflated national pride, manipulating public opinion and letting the strong bully and suppress the weak.
Essentially, the unipolar world is simply a means of justifying dictatorship over people and countries. The unipolar world turned out too uncomfortable, heavy and unmanageable a burden even for the self-proclaimed leader. Comments along this line were made here just before and I fully agree with this. This is why we see attempts at this new historic stage to recreate a semblance of a quasi-bipolar world as a convenient model for perpetuating American leadership. It does not matter who takes the place of the centre of evil in American propaganda, the USSR's old place as the main adversary. It could be Iran, as a country seeking to acquire nuclear technology, China, as the world's biggest economy, or Russia, as a nuclear superpower.
Today, we are seeing new efforts to fragment the world, draw new dividing lines, put together coalitions not built for something but directed against someone, anyone, create the image of an enemy as was the case during the Cold War years, and obtain the right to this leadership, or diktat if you wish. The situation was presented this way during the Cold War. We all understand this and know this. The United States always told its allies: "We have a common enemy, a terrible foe, the centre of evil, and we are defending you, our allies, from this foe, and so we have the right to order you around, force you to sacrifice your political and economic interests and pay your share of the costs for this collective defence, but we will be the ones in charge of it all of course." In short, we see today attempts in a new and changing world to reproduce the familiar models of global management, and all this so as to guarantee their [the US'] exceptional position and reap political and economic dividends.
But these attempts are increasingly divorced from reality and are in contradiction with the world's diversity. Steps of this kind inevitably create confrontation and countermeasures and have the opposite effect to the hoped-for goals. We see what happens when politics rashly starts meddling in the economy and the logic of rational decisions gives way to the logic of confrontation that only hurt one's own economic positions and interests, including national business interests.
Joint economic projects and mutual investment objectively bring countries closer together and help to smooth out current problems in relations between states. But today, the global business community faces unprecedented pressure from Western governments. What business, economic expediency and pragmatism can we speak of when we hear slogans such as "the homeland is in danger", "the free world is under threat", and "democracy is in jeopardy"? And so everyone needs to mobilise. That is what a real mobilisation policy looks like.
Sanctions are already undermining the foundations of world trade, the WTO rules and the principle of inviolability of private property. They are dealing a blow to liberal model of globalisation based on markets, freedom and competition, which, let me note, is a model that has primarily benefited precisely the Western countries. And now they risk losing trust as the leaders of globalisation. We have to ask ourselves, why was this necessary? After all, the United States' prosperity rests in large part on the trust of investors and foreign holders of dollars and US securities. This trust is clearly being undermined and signs of disappointment in the fruits of globalisation are visible now in many countries.
The well-known Cyprus precedent and the politically motivated sanctions have only strengthened the trend towards seeking to bolster economic and financial sovereignty and countries' or their regional groups' desire to find ways of protecting themselves from the risks of outside pressure. We already see that more and more countries are looking for ways to become less dependent on the dollar and are setting up alternative financial and payments systems and reserve currencies. I think that our American friends are quite simply cutting the branch they are sitting on. You cannot mix politics and the economy, but this is what is happening now. I have always thought and still think today that politically motivated sanctions were a mistake that will harm everyone, but I am sure that we will come back to this subject later.
We know how these decisions were taken and who was applying the pressure. But let me stress that Russia is not going to get all worked up, get offended or come begging at anyone's door. Russia is a self-sufficient country. We will work within the foreign economic environment that has taken shape, develop domestic production and technology and act more decisively to carry out transformation. Pressure from outside, as has been the case on past occasions, will only consolidate our society, keep us alert and make us concentrate on our main development goals.
Of course the sanctions are a hindrance. They are trying to hurt us through these sanctions, block our development and push us into political, economic and cultural isolation, force us into backwardness in other words. But let me say yet again that the world is a very different place today. We have no intention of shutting ourselves off from anyone and choosing some kind of closed development road, trying to live in autarky. We are always open to dialogue, including on normalising our economic and political relations. We are counting here on the pragmatic approach and position of business communities in the leading countries.
Some are saying today that Russia is supposedly turning its back on Europe - such words were probably spoken already here too during the discussions - and is looking for new business partners, above all in Asia. Let me say that this is absolutely not the case. Our active policy in the Asian-Pacific region began not just yesterday and not in response to sanctions, but is a policy that we have been following for a good many years now. Like many other countries, including Western countries, we saw that Asia is playing an ever greater role in the world, in the economy and in politics, and there is simply no way we can afford to overlook these developments.
Let me say again that everyone is doing this, and we will do so to, all the more so as a large part of our country is geographically in Asia. Why should we not make use of our competitive advantages in this area? It would be extremely shortsighted not to do so.
Developing economic ties with these countries and carrying out joint integration projects also creates big incentives for our domestic development. Today's demographic, economic and cultural trends all suggest that dependence on a sole superpower will objectively decrease. This is something that European and American experts have been talking and writing about too.
Perhaps developments in global politics will mirror the developments we are seeing in the global economy, namely, intensive competition for specific niches and frequent change of leaders in specific areas. This is entirely possible.
There is no doubt that humanitarian factors such as education, science, healthcare and culture are playing a greater role in global competition. This also has a big impact on international relations, including because this 'soft power' resource will depend to a great extent on real achievements in developing human capital rather than on sophisticated propaganda tricks.
At the same time, the formation of a so-called polycentric world (I would also like to draw attention to this, colleagues) in and of itself does not improve stability; in fact, it is more likely to be the opposite. The goal of reaching global equilibrium is turning into a fairly difficult puzzle, an equation with many unknowns.
So, what is in store for us if we choose not to live by the rules – even if they may be strict and inconvenient – but rather live without any rules at all? And that scenario is entirely possible; we cannot rule it out, given the tensions in the global situation. Many predictions can already be made, taking into account current trends, and unfortunately, they are not optimistic. If we do not create a clear system of mutual commitments and agreements, if we do not build the mechanisms for managing and resolving crisis situations, the symptoms of global anarchy will inevitably grow.
Today, we already see a sharp increase in the likelihood of a whole set of violent conflicts with either direct or indirect participation by the world's major powers. And the risk factors include not just traditional multinational conflicts, but also the internal instability in separate states, especially when we talk about nations located at the intersections of major states' geopolitical interests, or on the border of cultural, historical, and economic civilizational continents.
Ukraine, which I'm sure was discussed at length and which we will discuss some more, is one of the example of such sorts of conflicts that affect international power balance, and I think it will certainly not be the last. From here emanates the next real threat of destroying the current system of arms control agreements. And this dangerous process was launched by the United States of America when it unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, and then set about and continues today to actively pursue the creation of its global missile defence system.
I want to point out that we did not start this. Once again, we are sliding into the times when, instead of the balance of interests and mutual guarantees, it is fear and the balance of mutual destruction that prevent nations from engaging in direct conflict. In absence of legal and political instruments, arms are once again becoming the focal point of the global agenda; they are used wherever and however, without any UN Security Council sanctions. And if the Security Council refuses to produce such decisions, then it is immediately declared to be an outdated and ineffective instrument.
Many states do not see any other ways of ensuring their sovereignty but to obtain their own bombs. This is extremely dangerous. We insist on continuing talks; we are not only in favour of talks, but insist on continuing talks to reduce nuclear arsenals. The less nuclear weapons we have in the world, the better. And we are ready for the most serious, concrete discussions on nuclear disarmament – but only serious discussions without any double standards.
October 20, 2014 | foreignaffairs.com
With sanctions beginning to bite, Russia is starting to play a new economic game. To alleviate the pain of Western restrictions on its financial and energy sectors, Russia is turning for help to non-Western partners. Last week alone, Russia and China signed over 40 agreements that provide Russian firms with lines of credit worth billions of dollars and establish strategic partnerships in the energy sector.
The United States, in turn, is looking to step up its own game. Policymakers are considering giving global companies a choice: stop providing long-term financing and energy assistance to major Russian companies or be kicked out of the U.S. financial system. Such measures resemble the sanctions the United States placed on Iran a couple of years ago. But Iran was a different problem. And treating Russia the same way would be a mistake.
Sanctions can be an effective tool for forcing engagement and negotiation. But the pace and implementation must be tailored to the target. In the case of Iran, the United States was able to tighten the screws by pressuring foreign firms to stop dealing with the country. That move created some angry blowback, but it generally worked. And partially as a result, Tehran is at the negotiating table. When it comes to Russia, though, the political pushback that would come from blacklisting dealings with the strategic Russian energy and banking sectors would be much more severe because Russia is a more important market. Further, more companies would likely be willing to forego access to U.S. markets in order to continue working with the Russians. And that would undermine the sanctions' effectiveness.
More generally, policymakers in the United States should be wary of continually relying on sanctions that penalize foreign firms by preventing their access to U.S. markets. Ultimately, such a strategy could backfire. At some point, foreign companies may decide that doing business in U.S. markets -- and being subject to U.S. sanctions policies -- is simply not worth it. That would hurt the U.S. economy and diminish the United States' ability to use economic levers to advance its foreign policy.
Oct 21, 2014 | nytimes.com
A casing carrying cluster munitions that landed in a shed. Press officers for the Ukrainian military denied that their troops had used cluster weapons in the conflict. Credit Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
DONETSK, Ukraine - The Ukrainian Army appears to have fired cluster munitions on several occasions into the heart of Donetsk, unleashing a weapon banned in much of the world into a rebel-held city with a peacetime population of more than one million, according to physical evidence and interviews with witnesses and victims.
Sites where rockets fell in the city on Oct. 2 and Oct. 5 showed clear signs that cluster munitions had been fired from the direction of army-held territory, where misfired artillery rockets still containing cluster bomblets were found by villagers in farm fields.
The two attacks wounded at least six people and killed a Swiss employee of the International Red Cross based in Donetsk.
If confirmed, the use of cluster bombs by the pro-Western government could complicate efforts to reunite the country, as residents of the east have grown increasingly bitter over the Ukrainian Army's tactics to oust pro-Russian rebels
... ... ...
On the morning of Oct. 5, Boris V. Melikhov, 37, was chopping wood outside his house in the Gladkovka neighborhood of Donetsk when he heard the loud clap of an explosion from the street.
His first sensation was "a strong push in the back," and he sprawled onto the grass. More explosions followed, showering Mr. Melikhov with dust and dirt. Unable to stand, he crawled toward a spigot in the garden, bleeding profusely and desperate for water.
"I felt the blood running down my back, down my leg," he recalled in an interview last week from his bed in a hospital, where his uncle took him after the attack. Doctors there found several identical metal fragments in his leg, chest, shoulder and hand.
Hundreds of such fragments, each about the size of a thumbtack, were sprayed out by at least 11 cluster bomblets that exploded on Mr. Melikhov's street that morning. The 9N210 bomblets are carried in surface-to-surface Uragan (Hurricane) rockets that are fired from the backs of trucks and have a range of roughly 22 miles.
Part of one of the rockets smashed into a street a few blocks away, and the impact crater indicated it had come from the southwest.
The same morning, sunflower farmers near Novomikhailovka, a small village about 20 miles southwest of Mr. Melikhov's house, saw rockets sailing almost directly overhead toward Donetsk. Local people said in interviews that the army had been launching Uragan rockets from there for more than a week.
"Trust me, when it is day after day after day, you get to know your Grad launches from your Uragan launches," said one farmer, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution for discussing Ukrainian military positions.
... ... ...
Uragan rockets can carry 30 of the submunitions, which look like metal cans with fins. Those bomblets in turn hold small pieces of chopped steel rod. The rocket releases the bomblets over a wide area, and the bomblets either explode on impact, flinging out lethal steel fragments, or land unexploded and effectively become land mines. Children often mistake them for toys.
At the Red Cross headquarters in Donetsk, Human Rights Watch researchers accompanied by a Times reporter documented 19 distinct impacts of cluster submunitions from the Oct. 2 attack. Judging by impact craters from rockets fired in the same salvo, the researchers said, the strike came from the southwest.
A witness to the Oct. 2 launch in Novomikhailovka told the reporter about the malfunctioning rockets in the fields. Other witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch on the evening of Oct. 2 confirmed that rockets had been fired from just south of the village toward Donetsk.
An advocacy group called the Cluster Munitions Coalition has been pressing Ukraine to join the international convention banning the stockpiling or use of the weapons. (Russia and the United States have not joined it, either.) The group's director, Sarah Blakemore, wrote to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry in July after images were published appearing to show the use of cluster munitions against rebel positions in the cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk.
She said in a telephone interview that she had received no reply. "When I say they neither confirmed or denied, I mean they really just did not do anything," Ms. Blakemore said.
... ... ...
In Donetsk, doctors in a city hospital and morgue said they had found cluster-munitions fragments in several patients, including Mr. Melikhov, whose spine was nicked by one on Oct. 5. He was lucky not to have been paralyzed, but the injury made it very painful to sit, stand or lie flat, he said.
"I see it as the senseless destruction of the southeast," he said of the attack. "There's something wrong in their head."
Sep 27, 2014 | mid.ru
...There is growing evidence of the contradiction between the need for collective, cooperative efforts to provide adequate responses to challenges common to all, and the aspirations of a number of countries for domination and the revival of archaic bloc thinking based on military drill discipline and the erroneous logic of "friend or foe."
The US-led Western alliance that portrays itself as a champion of democracy, rule of law and human rights within individual countries，acts from a completely opposite position in the international arena, rejecting the democratic principle of the sovereign equality of states enshrined in the UN Charter and tires to decide for everyone what is good or bad.
Washington has openly declared its right to the unilateral use of force anywhere to uphold its own interests. Military interference has become common, even despite the dismal outcome of the use of power that the US has carried out in recent years.
The sustainability of the international system has been severely shaken by NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia, intervention in Iraq, the attack against Libya and the failure of the operation in Afghanistan. Thanks only to intensive diplomatic efforts, an aggression against Syria was averted in 2013. There is the involuntary impression that the goal of various "colour revolutions" and other goals to change unsuitable regimes is to provoke chaos and instability.
Today, Ukraine has fallen victim to such an arrogant policy. The situation there has revealed the remaining deep-rooted systemic flaws of the existing architecture in the Euro-Atlantic area. The West has embarked upon a course towards "the vertical structuring of humanity" tailored to its own hardly inoffensive standards. After they declared victory in the Cold War and the "end of history," the US and the EU opted for expanding the geopolitical area under their control without taking into account the balance of legitimate interests of all the people of Europe. Our Western partners did not heed our numerous alerts on the unacceptability of the violation of the principles of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act, and time and again avoided serious cooperative work to establish a common space of equal and indivisible security and cooperation from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The Russian proposal to draft a European security treaty was rejected. We were told directly that only the members of the North Atlantic Alliance could have the legally binding guarantees of security, and NATO expansion to the East continued in spite of the promises to the contrary given previously. NATO's change toward hostile rhetoric and to the drawdown of its cooperation with Russia even to the detriment of the West's own interests, and the additional build-up of the military infrastructure at Russian borders made the inability of the alliance to change its genetic code embedded during the Cold War era obvious.
The US and the EU supported the coup in Ukraine and reverted to outright justification of any act by the self-proclaimed Kiev authorities that used suppression by force on the part of the Ukrainian people that had rejected the attempts to impose an anti-constitutional way of life to the entire country and wanted to defend its rights to a native language, culture and history. It was precisely the aggressive assault on these rights that compelled the population of Crimea to take destiny into its own hands and make a choice in favor of self-determination. This was an absolutely free choice no matter what has been invented by those who were, in the first place, responsible for the internal conflict in Ukraine.
The attempts to distort the truth and to hide the facts behind blanket accusations have been undertaken at all stages of the Ukrainian crisis. Nothing has been done to track down and prosecute those responsible for February's bloody events at Maidan and the massive loss of human life in Odessa, Mariupol and other regions in Ukraine. The scale of appalling humanitarian disaster provoked by the acts of the Ukrainian army in southeastern Ukraine has been deliberately underscored. Recently, new horrible facts have been brought to light as mass graves were discovered in the outskirts of Donetsk. Despite UNSC Resolution 2166 a thorough and independent investigation of the circumstances into the loss of the Malaysian airliner over the territory of Ukraine has been protracted. The culprits of all these crimes must be identified and brought to justice. Otherwise it is unrealistic to expect a national reconciliation in Ukraine.
... ... ...
Let me recall the not too distant past. As a condition for establishing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in 1933 the U.S. government demanded of Moscow the guarantees of non-interference in the domestic affairs of the US and obligations not to take any actions with a view to changing political or social order in America. At that time Washington feared a revolutionary virus and the above guarantees were put on record and were based on reciprocity. Perhaps, it makes sense to return to this item and reproduce that demand of the US government on a universal scale. Shouldn't the General Assembly adopt a declaration on the unacceptability of interference into the domestic affairs of sovereign states and non-recognition of a coup as a method for changing power? The time has come to exclude from international interaction the attempts of illegitimate pressure of some states on others. The meaningless and counterproductive nature of unilateral sanctions is obvious if we review the US blockade of Cuba.
The policy of ultimatums and philosophy of supremacy and domination do not meet the requirements of the 21st century and run counter to the objective process of development for a polycentric and democratic world order.
Russia is promoting a positive and unifying agenda. We always were and will be open to discussion of the most complex issues no matter how unsolvable they would seem in the beginning. We will be prepared to search for compromises and the balancing of interests and go as far as to exchange concessions provided only that the discussion is respectful and equal.
... ... ...
New dividing lines in Europe should not be allowed, even more so given that under globalization these lines can turn into a watershed between the West and the rest of the world. It should be stated honestly that no one has a monopoly on truth and that no one can tailor global and regional processes to one's own needs. There is no alternative today to the development of consensus regarding the rules of sustainable global governance under new historical circumstances - with full respect for cultural and civilizational diversity in the world and the multiplicity of the models of development. It will be a difficult and perhaps tiresome task to achieve such a consensus on every issue. Nevertheless the recognition of the fact that democracy in every state is the "worst form of government, except for all the others" also took time to break through, until Winston Churchill passed his verdict. The time has come to realize the inevitability of this axiom including in international affairs where today there is a huge deficit of democracy. Of course someone will have to break up centuries-old stereotypes and abandon the claims to eternal uniqueness. But there is no other way. Consolidated efforts can only be built on the principles of mutual respect and by taking into account the interests of each other as is the case, for example, under the framework of BRICS and the SCO, the G20 and the UN Security Council.
The theory of the advantages of cooperative action has been supported by practice: this includes progress in the settlement of the situation around the Iranian nuclear program and the successful conclusion of the chemical demilitarization of Syria. Also, regarding the issue of chemical weapons, we would like to obtain authentic information on the condition of the chemical arsenals in Libya. We understand that our NATO colleagues, after bombing this country in violation of a UNSC Resolution, would not like to "stir up"" the mayhem they created. However, the problem of uncontrolled Libyan chemical arsenals is too serious to turn a blind eye to. The UN Secretary General has an obligation to show his responsibility on this issue as well.
What is important today is to see the global priorities and avoid making them hostages to a unilateral agenda. There is an urgent need to refrain from double standards in the approaches to conflict settlement. Everybody largely agrees that it is a key issue to resolutely counter the terrorists who are attempting to control increasingly larger territories in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and the Sahara-Sahel area. If this is the case then this task should not be sacrificed to ideological schemes or a desire to retaliate. Terrorists, no matter what their slogans, should remain outside the law.
Moreover, it goes without saying that the fight against terrorism should be based solidly on international law. The unanimous adoption of a number of UNSC Resolutions including those on the issue of foreign terrorist operatives became an important stage in this fight. And conversely, the attempts to act against the Charter of our Organization do not contribute to the success of cooperative efforts. The struggle against terrorists in Syria should be structured in cooperation with the Syrian government, which has clearly stated its willingness to join it. Damascus has already proven its ability to work with the international community by delivering on its obligations under the programme to dispose of its chemical weapons.
... ... ...
By Michael, on October 21st, 2011
Right now, there is a lot of talk about the evils of "capitalism". But it is not really accurate to say that we live in a capitalist system. Rather, what we have in the United States today, and what most of the world is living under, is much more accurately described as "corporatism". Under corporatism, most wealth and power is concentrated in the hands of giant corporations and big government is used as a tool by these corporations to consolidate wealth and power even further. In a corporatist system, the wealth and power of individuals and small businesses is dwarfed by the overwhelming dominance of the corporations. Eventually, the corporations end up owning almost everything and they end up dominating nearly every aspect of society. As you will see below, this very accurately describes the United States of America today. Corporatism is killing this country, and it is not what our founding fathers intended.
The following is the definition of "corporatism" from the Merriam-Webster dictionary….
the organization of a society into industrial and professional corporations serving as organs of political representation and exercising control over persons and activities within their jurisdiction
Corporatism is actually not too different from socialism or communism. They are all "collectivist" economic systems. Under corporatism, wealth and power are even more highly concentrated than they are under socialism or communism, and the truth is that none of them are "egalitarian" economic systems. Under all collectivist systems, a small elite almost always enjoys most of the benefits while most of the rest of the population suffers.
The Occupy Wall Street protesters realize that our economic system is fundamentally unjust in many ways, but the problem is that most of them want to trade one form of collectivism for another.
But our founding fathers never intended for us to have a collectivist system.
Instead, they intended for us to enjoy a capitalist system where true competition and the free enterprise system would allow individuals and small businesses to thrive.
In an article that was posted earlier this year on Addicting Info, Stephen D. Foster Jr. detailed how our founding fathers actually felt about corporations….
The East India Company was the largest corporation of its day and its dominance of trade angered the colonists so much, that they dumped the tea products it had on a ship into Boston Harbor which today is universally known as the Boston Tea Party. At the time, in Britain, large corporations funded elections generously and its stock was owned by nearly everyone in parliament. The founding fathers did not think much of these corporations that had great wealth and great influence in government. And that is precisely why they put restrictions upon them after the government was organized under the Constitution.
After the nation's founding, corporations were granted charters by the state as they are today. Unlike today, however, corporations were only permitted to exist 20 or 30 years and could only deal in one commodity, could not hold stock in other companies, and their property holdings were limited to what they needed to accomplish their business goals. And perhaps the most important facet of all this is that most states in the early days of the nation had laws on the books that made any political contribution by corporations a criminal offense.
Our founding fathers would have never approved of any form of collectivism. They understood that all great concentrations of wealth and power represent a significant threat to the freedoms and liberties of average citizens.
Are you not convinced that we live in a corporatist system?
Well, keep reading.
The following are 7 things about the monolithic predator corporations that dominate our economy that every American should know….
- Corporations not only completely dominate the U.S. economy, they also completely dominate the global economy as well. A newly released University of Zurich study examined more than 43,000 major multinational corporations. The study discovered a vast web of interlocking ownerships that is controlled by a "core" of 1,318 giant corporations.
But that "core" itself is controlled by a "super-entity" of 147 monolithic corporations that are very, very tightly knit. As a recent article in NewScientist noted, these 147 corporations control approximately 40 percent of all the wealth in the entire network….
When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a "super-entity" of 147 even more tightly knit companies – all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity – that controlled 40 percent of the total wealth in the network. "In effect, less than 1 percent of the companies were able to control 40 percent of the entire network," says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.
Unsurprisingly, the "super-entity" of 147 corporations is dominated by international banks and large financial institutions. For example, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America are all in the top 25.
- This dominance of the global economy by corporations has allowed global wealth to become concentrated to a very frightening degree.
According to Credit Suisse, those with a household net worth of a million dollars or more control 38.5% of all the wealth in the world. Last year, that figure was at 35.6%. As you can see, it is rapidly moving in the wrong direction.
For a group of people that represents less than 0.5% of the global population to control almost 40 percent of all the wealth is insane.
The dominance of corporations is also one of the primary reasons why we are witnessing income inequality grow so rapidly in the United States. The following comes from a recent article in the Los Angeles Times….
An economic snapshot from the Economic Policy Institute shows that inflation-adjusted incomes of the top 1% of households increased 224% from 1979 to 2007, while incomes for the bottom 90% grew just 5% in the same time period. Those in the top 0.1% of income fared even better, with incomes growing 390% over that time period.
You can see a chart that displays these shocking numbers right here.
- Since wealth has become concentrated in very few hands, that means that there are a whole lot of poor people out there.
At a time when technology should be making it possible to lift standards of living all over the globe, poverty just continues to spread. According to the same Credit Suisse study referenced above, the bottom two-thirds of the global population controls just 3.3% of all the wealth.
Not only that, more than 3 billion people currently live on less than 2 dollar a day.
While the ultra-wealthy live the high life, unimaginable tragedies play out all over the globe every single day. Every 3.6 seconds someone starves to death and three-quarters of them are children under the age of 5.
- Giant corporations have become so dominant that it has become very hard for small businesses to compete and survive in the United States.
Today, even though our population is increasing, the number of small businesses continues to decrease.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006. Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.
This is the exact opposite of what should be happening under a capitalist system.
- Big corporations completely dominate the media. Almost all of the news that you get and almost all of the entertainment that you enjoy is fed to you by giant corporations.
Back in 1983, somewhere around 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the United States.
Today, control of the news media is concentrated in the hands of just six incredibly powerful media corporations.
- Big corporations completely dominate our financial system. Yes, there are hundreds of choices in the financial world, but just a handful control the vast majority of the assets.
Back in 2002, the top 10 banks controlled 55 percent of all U.S. banking assets. Today, the top 10 banks control 77 percent of all U.S. banking assets.
The "too big to fail" banks just keep getting more and more powerful. For example, the "big six" U.S. banks (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo) now possess assets equivalent to approximately 60 percent of America's gross national product.
- Big corporations completely dominate our political system. Because they have so much wealth and power, corporations can exert an overwhelming amount of influence over our elections. Studies have shown that in federal elections the candidate that raises the most money wins about 90 percent of the time.
Politics in America is not about winning over hearts and minds.
It is about who can raise the most cash.
Sometimes this truth leaks out a bit in the mainstream media. For example, during a recent show on MSNBC, Dylan Ratigan made the following statement….
"The biggest contributor to Barack Obama's presidential campaign is Goldman Sachs. The primary activities of this president relative to banking have been to protect the most lucrative aspect of that business, which is the dark market for credit default swaps and the like. That has been the explicit agenda of his Treasury Secretary. This president is advocating trade agreements that allow enhanced bank secrecy in Panama, enhanced murdering of union members in Colombia, and the refunding of North Korean slaves."
Later on, Ratigan followed up by accusing both political parties of working for the bad guys….
"But I guess where I take issue is, this president is working for the bad guys. The Democrats are working for the bad guys. So are the Republicans. The Democrats get away with it by saying, 'Look at how crazy the Republicans are; at the Democrats pretend to care about people.' BUT THE FACT IS THE 2-PARTY POLITICAL SYSTEM IS UTTERLY BOGUS."
Wow – nobody is actually supposed to say that on television.
Today, most of our politicians are bought, and most of them actively help the monolithic predator corporations accumulate even more wealth and even more power.
In fact, as I wrote about recently, the big Wall Street banks are already trying to buy the election in 2012.
Fortunately, it looks like the American people are starting to wake up. According to one recent survey, only 23 percent of all Americans now trust the financial system, and 60 percent of all Americans are either "angry" or "very angry" about the economy.
Unfortunately, many of them are joining protest movements such as Occupy Wall Street which are calling for one form of collectivism to replace another.
The American people are being given a false choice.
We don't have to choose between corporatism and socialism.
We don't have to choose between big corporations and big government.
Our founding fathers actually intended for corporations and government to both be greatly limited.
The following is a famous quote from Thomas Jefferson….
"I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
Unfortunately, things did not turn out how Jefferson wanted. Instead of us controlling the corporations, they now control us.
This next quote is from John Adams….
"Banks have done more injury to the religion, morality, tranquility, prosperity, and even wealth of the nation than they can have done or ever will do good."
But who dominates our economy today?
The big banks.
Perhaps we should have listened to founding fathers such as John Adams.
Lastly, here is another quote from Thomas Jefferson….
"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."
How prescient was that quote?
Last year, over a million American families were booted out of their homes by the big banks. The financial institutions actually now have more total equity in our homes than we do.
Unemployment is rampant, but corporate profits are soaring. The number of Americans on food stamps has increased by more than 70 percent since 2007, and yet the incomes of those at the top of the food chain continue to increase.
We need a system that allows all Americans to start small businesses, compete fairly and have a chance at success.
Instead, what we have is a corporatist system where the big corporations have most of the wealth, most of the power and most of the advantages.
We need to get the American people to understand that corporatism is not capitalism.
Corporatism is a collectivist system that allows the elite to accumulate gigantic amounts of wealth and power.
The answer to such a system is not to go to a different collectivist system.
Rather, we need to return as much power as possible to individuals and small businesses.
Our founding fathers intended for us to live in a country where power was highly decentralized.
Why didn't we listen to them?
My dialogue with Monti, to the extent that it was a "debate", focused on the whole issue of structural reform; not on whether it's a good thing (of course it depends on what's being reformed, but surely every economy has structural problems that need work), but on whether it deserves the kind of star billing it gets in discussions of crisis response. More on that in another post, I think.
What I want to talk about right now is a different issue that cropped up (not with Monti, but elsewhere); the assertion that globalization has changed the rules for macroeconomics.
Now, there were some assertions to the effect that this crisis was totally different from 1929, because that wasn't a global crisis - which those of us who know a bit about the history found jaw-dropping. Of course 1929 was global. And in general people tend to be strangely unaware of the extent to which a global system of trade and finance existed before World War I. Keynes memorably wrote about this system in The Economic Consequences of the Peace:
What an extraordinary episode in the economic progress of man that age was which came to an end in August, 1914! … The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, in such quantity as he might see fit, and reasonably expect their early delivery upon his doorstep; he could at the same moment and by the same means adventure his wealth in the natural resources and new enterprises of any quarter of the world, and share, without exertion or even trouble, in their prospective fruits and advantages; or be could decide to couple the security of his fortunes with the good faith of the townspeople of any substantial municipality in any continent that fancy or information might recommend.
Yet it would be wrong to suggest that all we have done is return to a pre-World War I level of globalization. That was arguably true into the early 1970s, but since then trade in manufactured goods –driven largely by falling transport costs and the advent of containerization - has indeed reached previously unseen levels (pdf):
The question is, does this change macroeconomics in a fundamental way? In particular, does it mean that nations no longer have much control over their own destiny, even if they retain their own currencies?
I say no. There are several reasons for this, but one important point is the nature of that rapid growth in manufactures trade. For it mainly involves vertical specialization, breaking up the value chain, so that in the course of producing $1 of final consumer goods one may have several dollars' worth of trade. The gains from this trade are as real as those from any kind of trade; but the macro implications are different. Put it this way: while we trade a lot more than we used to, we probably if anything spend a higher share of our income on nontraded goods and (mostly) services than we did a few decades ago, and maybe even more than in 1913.
As a result, statements you commonly hear, like "Stimulus doesn't work, because all the money ends up being spent on stuff made in China", are just not true. Actually, even a dollar spent on Chinese-made consumer goods has a large U.S. value-added component. Yes, some demand leaks abroad - but not nearly as much as people imagine. In general, I'd argue that the rules for macro policy have changed relatively little since the 1930s, and globalization certainly hasn't produced a qualitative change.
A while back Mark Thoma joked that "new economic thinking means reading old books". And it should: those old books remain deeply relevant.
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Last modified: March 03, 2020