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 TeasersJames Petras Blogview

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The world is riven with class conflicts in Latin America, political conflicts between the Anglo-Americans and Russians, and economic conflicts between Washington against Europe and Asia.

The conflicts have called into question the capacity of ruling elites to promote growth, to secure international stability and to foster global as co-operation.

To understand the underlying source of conflicts it is essential to identify and unmask the underlying political and economic interests which spread and deepen class, regional and global confrontations.

Latin America: Reforms Which Deform

In recent decades throughout Latin America, rulers have spoken and demanded ‘reforms’ as essential to stimulate and sustain growth and foster equity and sustainability. The ‘reforms’ involve implementing ‘structural changes’ which require large scale privatization to encourage entrepreneurship and end state corruption; deregulation of the economy to stimulate foreign and domestic investment; labor flexibility to ‘free’ labor markets and increase employment; and lower business taxes. According to the reformers all this will lead to free markets and promote democratic values.

Over the past thirty years, ruling elites in Latin America have carried out IMF and World Bank structural reforms in two cyclical periods: between 1989-1999 and more recently between 2015-2018. In both cases the reforms have led to a series of major economic, political and social deformations.

During the first cycle of ‘reforms’, privatization concentrated wealth by transferring public means of production to oligarchs, and increased private monopolies, which deepened inequalities and sharpened class divisions.

Deregulation led to financial speculation, tax evasion, capital flight and public- private corruption.

‘Reforms’ deformed the existing class structure provoking social upheavals, which precipitated the collapse of the elite led ‘reforms’ and the advent of a decade of nationalist populist governments.

The populists restored and expanded social reforms but did not change the political and economic ‘deformations’, embedded in the state.

A decade later (2015) the ‘reformers’ returned to power and restored the regressive free market policies of the previous neo-liberal ruling elite. By 2018 a new cycle of class conflicts flared throughout Brazil and Argentina, threatening to overturn the existing US center free market order.

Anglo America Russophobes as Fake Miracle workers; the Post Christ Resurrections

As part of the propaganda campaign to discredit and isolate Russia, the UK and the Ukraine, stalwart flunkies of Washington, accused Moscow of assassinations by poison and bullets. Both alleged victims appeared live and well in due time!

On March 4, 2018, the Prime Minister of the UK Theresa May claimed that Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by Russian secret agents. Foreign Secretary Boris “Bobo” Johnson called the poison, ‘the most-deadly agent known to man’ (sic) – Novichok. According to “Terry and Bobo” the poison kills in 30 seconds. Two months later Sergei and Yulia were seen taking a stroll in a park.

The fake charges were promoted by the entire Anglo-Americans mass media. The UK proceeded to charge Putin with ‘crimes against humanity’ , backed additional diplomatic and economic sanctions, increased military spending for homeland defense and urged President Trump to take forceful action. Once the ‘victims’ ‘rose from the dead’ the media never questioned the regime’s claim of a Russian conspiracy planned at the highest level.

The UK scored a few trivial merit points from Washington, which, however, did not prevent President Trump from slapping a double-digit tariff on British steel and aluminum exports (with more to come)!

The Ukraine joined the line of toadies trying to secure President Trump’s approval by cooking up another Russian murder plot. This time Ukraine leaders claimed Kremlin agents assassinated one Arkady Babchenko, an anti-Russian journalist and self-proclaimed exile in Kiev.

On May 29, 2018, Arkady was found ‘murdered’ or so said the Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko and repeated, embellished and circulated by the entire western mass media.

On May 31, a wide-eyed ‘Arkady’ turned up alive and claiming his ‘resurrection’ was a planned plot to catch a Russian agent!

Western regimes systematic use of lies, plots and conspiracies are central to the imperial drive for world power.

In Syria, the US accused Damascus of using poisonous gas against its own people in order to justify NATO’s terror bombing of Aleppo’s civilian population!

In Libya, Obama and Clinton claimed President Gaddafi distributed Viagra to his armed forced to rape innocent civilians, precipitating the US-EU terror bombing of the country and rape and murder of President Ghaddafi.

The question is whether western leaders will seek papal recognition of CIA directed resurrections to coincide with Easter?

Appeasement and Trump’s ‘Triumph of Will’

EU kowtowing to President Trump’s grab for global power, has only aroused his desire to dominate their markets, dictate their trade relations and defense spending. Trump tells the EU that his enemies are theirs.

Trump believes in the doctrine of unilateral trade and ‘deals’ based on the principle that the US decides what you sell, how much you pay, and what you buy. The giant French oil multinational Total, which had promised to invest in Iran ,submitted to Trump and withdrew from its agreement and turned a deaf- ear to the French President

President Macron facing US tariffs on French exports bent his knee to Trump. Paris would support ‘joint efforts to reduce overcapacities, regulate subsidies and protect intellectual property’. Trump heard the ring of the EU begging cup and imposed tariffs and demanded more

The EU ‘vowed’ to retaliate to Trump’s tariffs by . . . sucking up to Trump’s trade war with China. The European Commission (EC) announced it was launching a case against . . . China! Echoing Trump’s allegations that Beijing was committing the ‘crime’ of insisting (‘forcing’ in EU rhetoric) foreign investors transfer technology as part of the basis for doing business.

Trump turned on Mexico and Canada, his flunky allies in NAFTA by slapping both with tariffs.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was ‘dismayed’ after wining and dining Trump in an embarrassing charm offensive, Trump ate, drank, and slapped a tariff on steel and aluminum and threatened to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In response Trudeau cited Canada’s century and a half military support for US imperial wars. To no avail!

For Trump, the past is the past. It’s time to move ahead and for Canada to ‘buy American’.

And when Trudeau talked of imposing reciprocal tariffs on US exports, Trump countered by threatening to break all trading agreements. At which point Trudeau proposed ‘further’ negotiations.

Trump’s tariff on Mexican steel and aluminum exports evoked the robust response of a true Treaty lackey – the Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto claimed negotiations were ‘continuing’ and US companies were ‘involved’!

The harder Trump pushed, the greater the retreat of his EU and North American ‘allies’. Facing rhetorical retaliation from the EU, Trump tweeted German Prime Minister Merkle’s nose out of shape, by threatening to slap Germany with car tariffs worth $20 billion dollars.

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Nero played his fiddle, Obama shot baskets and Trump twittered while their empires burned.

What makes empires decay and what makes empires expand has everything to do with their relations between rulers and the ruled. Several factors are decisive. These include: (1) rent, land and housing, (2) the direction of living standards, (3) the rise or fall of mortality rate, (4) decline or rise of families.

Throughout history rising empires incorporate their population into the task of empire by distributing a portion of their plunder to their masses, by providing them with land, low rents and housing. Large scale landlords facing returning young war veterans reduced excessive land concentration to avoid domestic unrest.

Rising empires raised living standards,as salaried employees, workers and artisans, merchants and scribes found employment as the oligarchies expanding conspicuous consumption and expanded the state bureaucracy running the empire.

A prosperous empire is cause and consequence of increases in families,and the growth of healthy and educated plebeians who serviced and served the rulers.

In contrast, declining empires plunder the domestic economy; concentrated wealth at the expense of the labor force, heedless of the diminution of its health and life expectancy. As a result deteriorating empires experience an increasing rate of mortality; homeownership and land is concentrated in an elite of rentiers living off of unearned wealth via inheritance, speculation, rents which degrades productive work based on skill and knowledge.

Declining empires are cause and consequence of deteriorating families composed of opioid addicted workers suffering from rising inequalities between rulers and ruled.

The US imperial experience over the past century embodies the trajectory of the rise and fall of empires. The past quarter century describes the relations between rulers and ruled at a time of declining empire.

Living standards of Americans have declined precipitously. Employers have ceased paying for pensions; reduced or eliminated health coverage; reduced corporate taxes thus lowering the quality of public education.

Over the past two decades, wages and salaries for the majority of households have stagnated or declined; education and health expenses bankrupting many and reducing university graduates to long-term debt peonage.

Accessibility to home ownership for Americans under 45 years has fallen dramatically from 24% in 2006 to 14% in 2017. At the same time, rents have skyrocketed especially in large cities across the country, in most cases absorbing between a third and half of monthly income.

Business elites and their housing experts divert attention to “intergenerational’ inequalities between pensioners and younger wage and salaried employees instead of reconizing rising inequalities between CEO and both workers and pensioners which have risen from 100-to-1 to 400-to-1 over the past three decades.

Mortality rates between the business elite and workers have widened as the wealthy live longer and healthier lives while workers have experienced declining life expectancy, the first time in American history! As the business elites income from profits, dividends, interest increase they can afford high cost private medical care, prolonging life, while millions of workers are prescribed death-inducing opioids, to ‘reduce pain’ and precipitate premature death.

Births are declining as a result of the high cost of medical care, the absence of day care and paid maternal or paternal leave. The most recent studies revealed that 2017 experienced the fewest babies in 30 years. The so-called “economic recovery’ following the financial collapse of 2008/9 was class based: the real estate and financial elites received over two trillion dollars in bailouts while over 3 million working class households were evicted by financial mortgage holders. The result was a rapid rise in homeless people especially in cities with the highest rate of recovery from the crises.

Homelessness and crowded overpriced rentals and minimum wages are likely causes of declining birthrates and increasing mortality rates.

Imperialism Expands, Living Standards Decline

Unlike the earlier, post WWII decades in which overseas expansion was accompanied by low-cost higher education, accessible low-cost mortgages and increasing home ownership, and employer paid pensions and health coverage, over the past two decades imperial expansion is based on forced reductions of living standards.

The empire grew and living standards declined because the capitalist class evaded trillions of taxable income via overseas tax havens, transfer pricing and tax exemptions. Moreover, capitalists received massive state subsidies for infrastructure, and cost-free transfers of public funded technological innovations.

Imperial expansion now is based on the relocation of multi-national manufacturing corporations overseas to lower labor costs, increasing the percentage of low wage service workers in the US .

The decline of living standards for the majority is a result of the restructuring of the empire, the advent of the regressive tax system, the redistribution of State welfare transfers from public social spending to private finance and real estate subsidies and bailouts.


In the beginning imperialism involved an explicit social contract with labor: overseas expansion shared profits, taxes and income with labor in exchange for workers political support for imperial overseas economic exploitation, resource plundering as well as serving in the imperial armed forces .

The social contract was conditioned by a relative balance of power: unionized workers represented the majority of manufacturing, public sector and skilled workers. But this balance of power in class relations was based on the capacity of labor to engage in class struggle and influence the state. In other words the entire imperialism and welfare configuration was based on a particular set of conditional relations intrinsic to the social pact.

Over time imperial expansion faced overseas constraints from rising national and socialist opposition which forced or encouraged corporations it to relocate capital abroad. Imperial rivals in Europe and Asia competed for overseas markets forcing the US to increase productivity, lower labor costs, relocate abroad or reduce profits. The US chose to reduce domestic living standards and relocating abroad.

Labor unions divorced from the broader community movements and lacking an independent political movement, corrupted from within and committed to a disappearing social compact, declined in number and capacity to formulate a new combatative post social pact strategy. The capital class gained total control over class relations and, therefore, unilaterally set the terms of taxation, employment, living standards and, most important, state expenditure.

Imperial military and economic expenditures grew in direct proportions to the decline of social welfare payments. Rival power groups fought over the share of capitalist budgets and political-military priorities. Economic imperialists competed with or converged with military imperialists; free market neo-liberals competed for overseas markets with national militarists pursuing territorial occupations, conquests, closed markets and submissive clients. Rival political power configuration competed over imperial priorities – powerful Zionist configurations sought regional wars for Israel while multi-nationals looked to advance their political-economic expansion in Asia – China, India and Southeast Asian markets.

• Category: Economics • Tags: Imperialism, Poverty 
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For some time, critics of President Trump’s policies have attributed them to a mental disorder; uncontrolled manic-depression, narcissus bullying and other pathologies.

The question of Trump’s mental health raises a deeper question: why do his pathologies take a specific political direction?

Moreover, Trump’s decisions have a political history and background, and follow from a logic and belief in the reason and logic of imperial power.

We will examine the reason why Trump has embraced three strategic decisions which have world-historic consequences, namely: Trump’s reneging the nuclear accord with Iran ;Trump’s declaration of a trade war with China; and Trump’s meeting with North Korea.

In brief we will explore the political reasons for his decisions; what he expects to gain; and what is his game plan if he fails to secure his expected outcome and his adversaries take reprisals.

Trump’s Strategic Framework

The underlying assumption of Trump’s strategic thinking is that ‘power works’: the more intransigent his posture, the greater his belief in a unipolar world based on US power. As a corollary, Trump interprets any ally, adversary, competitor who seeks negotiations, reciprocity or concessions is ‘weak’ and should be pressured or forced to concede greater concessions and further retreats and sacrifices, up to the ultimate goal of surrender and submission. In other words, Trump’s politics of force only recognizes counter-force: limitations in Trump’s policies will only result when tangible economic and military losses and costs in US lives would undermine US imperial rule.

Reasons Why Trump Broke the Peace Accord with Iran

Trump broke the accord with Iran because the original agreement was based on retaining US sanctions against Iran; the total dismantling of its nuclear program and calling into question Iran’s limited role on behalf of possible allies in the Middle East.

Iran’s one-sided concessions; trading military defense for market opportunities encouraged Trump to believe that he could intimidate Iran militarily by closing all its markets.

Trump views President Rohani as a rug seller not a military strategist. Trump believes that an economic squeeze will lead President Rohani to sacrifice his allies in Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Yemen (Houthi), Palestine (Hamas) and Iraq (Shia)and to dismantle its ICBM defense strategy.

Trump pursues the strategic goal of weakening Iran and preparing a regime change, reverting Iran into a client state – as it was prior to the 1979 revolution under the Shah.

The second reason for Trump’s policy is to strengthen Israel’s military power in the Middle East. The Trump regime is deeply influenced by the Zionist power configuration (ZPC) in the US, dubbed ‘the Lobby’.

Trump recognizes and submits to Zionist-Israeli dictates because they have unprecedented power in the media, real estate, finance and insurance (FIRE). Trump recognizes the ZPC’s power to buy Congressional votes, control both political parties and secure appointments in the executive branch.

Trump is the typical authoritarian: at the throat of the weak, citizens, allies and adversaries and on his knees before the powerful ZPC, the military and Wall Street. Trump’s submission to Zionist power reinforces and even dictates his decision to break the peace accord with Iran and his willingness to pressure. France, Germany, the UK and Russia to sacrifice billion-dollar trade agreements with Iran and to pursue a policy of pressuring Teheran to accept part of Trump’s agenda of unilateral disarmament and isolation. Trump believes he can force the EU multi-nationals to disobey their governments and abide by sanctions.

Reasons for Trump’s Trade War with China

Prior to Trump’s presidency, especially under President Obama, the US launched a trade war and ‘military pivot’ to China. Obama proposed the Trans-Pacific Pact to exclude China and directed an air and naval armada to the South China Sea. Obama established a high-powered surveillance system in South Korea and supported war exercises on North Korea’s border. Trump’s policy deepened and radicalized Obama’s policies.

Trump extended Obama’s bellicose policy toward North Korea, demanding the de-nuclearization of its defense program. President Kim of North Korea and President Moon of South Korea reached an agreement to open negotiations toward a peace accord ending nearly 60 years of hostility.

However, President Trump joined the conversation on the presumption that North Korea’s peace overtures were due to his threats of war and intimidation. He insisted that any peace settlement and end of economic sanctions would only be achieved by unilateral nuclear disarmament, the maintenance of US forces on the peninsula and supervision by US approved inspectors.

Trump’s unilateral declaration of a trade war against China accompanied his belief that military threats led to North Korea’s “capitulation” – its promise to end its nuclear program.

Trump slapped a trade tariff on over $100 billion dollars of Chinese exports in order to reduce its trade imbalance by $200 billion over two years. He demanded China unilaterally end industrial ‘espionage’, technological ‘theft’ (all phony accusations) and China’s compliance monitored quarterly by the US.

Trump demanded that China not retaliate with tariffs or restrictions or face bigger sanctions.

Trump threatened to respond to any reciprocal tariff by Beijing, with greater tariffs, and restrictions on Chinese goods and services.

Trump’s goals seek to convert North Korea into a military satellite encroaching on China’s northern border;and a trade war that drives China into an economic crisis.

Trump believes that as China declines as a world economic power, the US will grow and dominate the Asian and world economy.

Trump believes a successful trade war will lead to a successful military war. Trump believes that a submissive China, based on its isolation from the ‘dynamic’ US market, will enhance Washington’s quest for uncontested world domination.

Trump’s Ten Erroneous Thesis

Trump’s political agenda is deeply flawed!

Breaking the nuclear agreement and imposing harsh sanctions has isolated Trump from his European and Asian allies.

His military intervention will inflame a regional war that would destroy the Saudi oil fields. He will force Iran to pursue a nuclear shield against US-Israeli aggression and lead to a prolonged, costly and ultimately losing war.

Trump’s policies will unify all Iranians, liberals and nationalist, and undermine US collaborators.

The entire Muslim world will unify forces and carry the conflict throughout Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Tel Aviv’s bombing will lead to counter-attacks in Israel.

Oil prices will skyrocket, financial markets will collapse, industries will go bankrupt.

Trump’s sanctions and military aggression against Iran will lead to mutual economic destruction.

Trump’s trade war with China will lead to the disruption of the supply chain which sustains the US economy and especially the 500 US multi-nationals who depend on the Chinese economy for exports to the US.

China will increase domestic consumption, diversify its markets and trading partners and reinforce its military alliance with Russia.

China has greater resilience and capacity to overcome short-term disruption and regain its dominant role as a global economic power house.

Wall Street will suffer a catastrophic financial collapse and send the US into a world depression.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: China, Donald Trump, Iran, North Korea 
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Over the past half-century, I have been engaged in research, lectured and worked with social movements and leftist governments in Latin America. I interviewed US officials and think tanks in Washington and New York. I have written scores of books, hundreds of professional articles and presented numerous papers at professional meetings.

In the course, of my activity I have discovered that many academics are frequently engage in what government officials dub ‘de-briefing’! Academics meet and discuss their field-work, data collection, research finding, observations and personal contacts over lunch at the Embassy with US government officials or in Washington with State Department officials.

US government officials look forward to these ‘debriefings”; the academic provided useful access to information which they otherwise could not obtain from paid, intelligence agents or local collaborators.

Not all academic informants are very well placed or competent investigators. However, many provide useful insights and information especially on leftist movements, parties and leaders who are real or potential anti-imperialist adversaries.

US empire builders whether engaged in political or military activities depend on information especially regarding who to back and who to subvert; who should receive diplomatic support and who to receive financial and to military resources.

De-briefed academics identify ‘moderate’ and ‘radical’ adversaries, as well as personal and political vulnerabilities. Officials frequently exploit health problems or family needs to ‘turn’ leftists into imperial stool pigeons.

US officials are especially interested in academic gate-keepers who exclude ‘anti-imperialist’ critics, activists , politicians and government officials.

At times, US State Department officials claim to be sympathetic ‘progressives’who oppose ‘Neanderthals’ in their institution, in order to elicit inside information from leftist academic informants.

Debriefing is a widespread practice and involves numerous academics from major universities and research centers, as well as non-governmental ‘activists’ and editors of academic journals and publications.

Academic participates in debriefing frequently do not publicize their reporting to the government. Most likely they share their reports with other academic informers. All claim they are merely sharing research and diffusing information for ‘science’ and to further ‘humane values’.

Academic informers always justify their collaboration as providing a clear and more balanced picture to ‘our’ policymakers, ignoring the predictable destructive outcomes likely to ensue.

Academics in the Service of Empire

Academic informants never study, collect research and publicize reports on US covert, overt and clandestine policies in defense of multi-nationals and Latin American elite which collaborate with empire builders.

US officials have no interest in ‘debriefing’ academics conducting anti-imperialist research.

US officials are keen to know any and all reports on ‘movements from below’: who they are, how much influence they have, their susceptibility to bribes, blackmail and invitations to the State Department, Disneyland, or the Wilson Center in D.C.

US officials fund academic research on militant trade unions , agrarian social movements , feminist and ethnic minorities engaged in class struggle ,and anti-imperialist activists and leaders, as they all serve as targets for imperial repression.

The officials are also keen on academic reports on so-called ‘moderate’ collaborators who can be funded, advised and recruited to defend the empire , undermine the class struggle and split movements.

Academic informants are especially useful in providing personal and political information on Latin American leftwing intellectuals, academics, journalists, writers and critics which allows US officials to isolate, slander and boycott anti-imperialists, as well as those intellectuals who can be recruited and seduced with foundation grants and invitations to the Kennedy Center at Harvard.

When US officials have a difficult time understanding the intricacies and consequences of ideological debates and factional divisions within leftist parties or regimes, ex-leftist academic informers, who collect documents and interviews , provide detailed explanations and provide officials with a political roadmap to exploit and exacerbate divisions and to guide repressive policies, which undermine adversaries engaged in anti-imperialist and class struggle.

The State Department works hand and glove with research centers and foundations in promoting journals which eschew all mention of imperialism and ruling class exploitation; they promote ‘special issues’ on ‘class-less’ identity politics, post-modern theorizing and ethnic-racial conflicts and conciliation.

In a study of the two leading political science and sociological journals over a period of fifty year they published less than .01% on class struggle and US imperialism

Academic informants have never reported on US government links to narco-political rulers.

Academic informants do not research widespread long term Israeli collaboration with death squads in Colombia, Guatemala, Argentina and El Salvador, in cases because of their loyalties to Tel Aviv and in most cases because the State Department is not interested in debriefings which expose their allies and their joint complicity.

Academic Informants: What do they want and what do they get?

Academic informers engage in debriefing for various reasons. A few do so simply because they share the politics and ideology of the empire builders and feel it is their ‘duty’ to serve.

The great majority are established academics with ties to research centers who inform because it fattens their CV– which helps secure grants, prestigious appointments and awards.

Progressive academics who collaborates have a Janus face approach; they speak at Leftist public conferences , especially to students and in private they report to the State Department.

Many academics believe they can influence and change government policy. They seek to impress self-identified ‘progressive’ officials with their inside knowledge on how to ‘turn’ Latin critics into moderate collaborators. They invent innocuous academic categories and concepts to attract graduate students to further collaboration with imperial colleagues.

The Consequence of Academic Debriefing

Former leftist academic informers are frequenly cited by the mass media as a reliable and knowledgeable ‘expert’ in order to slander anti-imperialist governments, academics and critics.

Ex-leftist academics pressure rising scholars with a critical perspective to adopt ‘moderate’ reasonable critiques , to denounce and avoid anti-imperialist ‘extremists’ and to disparage them as ‘polemical ideologues’!

Academic informants in Chile helped the US Embassy identify neighborhood militants who were handed over to the secret police (DINA) during the Pinochet dictatorship.

US academic informants in Peru and Brazil provided the Embassy with research projects which identified nationalist military officials and leftist students who were subsequently purged, arrested and tortured.

In Colombia, US academic informers were active in providing reports on rural insurgent movements which led to massive repression. Academic collaborators provided detailed reports to the embassy in Venezuela on the grass roots movements and political divisions among Chavista government and military officials with command of troops.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Academia, CIA, Imperialism 
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In recent years US imperial strategy has sought to lessen the cost of defeating and overthrowing independent countries.

The means and method are fairly straight forward. World-wide propaganda campaigns which demonize the adversary; the enlistment and collaboration of European and regional allies (England, France, Saudi Arabia and Israel); the recruitment, contracting, training and arming of local and overseas mercenaries dubbed “rebels”, or ‘democrats’; economic sanctions to provoke domestic social tensions and political instability of the government; proposals to negotiate a settlement; negotiations which demand non-reciprocal concessions and which include changes in strategic weapons in exchange for promises to end sanctions, diplomatic recognition and peaceful co-existence.

The strategic goal is disarmament in order to facilitate military and political intervention leading up to and beyond defeat, occupation, regime change; the impositions of a‘client regime’ to facilitate the pillage of economic resources and the securing of military bases, international alignment with the US empire and a military springboard for further conquests against neighbors and independent adversaries.

We will apply this model to recent and current examples of US tactical and strategic empire building in diverse regions, especially focusing on North Africa (Libya), the Middle East (Iraq, Palestine, Syria and Iran), Asia (North Korea), and Latin America (FARC in Colombia).

Case 1: Libya

After several decades of failed efforts to overthrow the popular Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi via local tribal and monarchist armed terrorists, and international economic sanctions , the US proposed a policy of negotiations and accommodation.

The US opened negotiations to end sanctions, offered diplomatic recognition and acceptance in the ‘international community’,in exchange for Gaddafi’s demobilization and abandonment of Libya’s strategic arms including its long-range ballistic missiles and other effective deterrents. The US did not reduce its military bases, ready and alert, targeting Tripoli.

In 2003 Gaddafi signed off on the agreement with the George W. Bush regime. Major US Libyan oil agreements and diplomatic accords were signed. US security adviser Condoleezza Rice visited President Gaddafi as a symbol of peace and friendship, even as US military aid was channeled to armed US clients.

In February 2011 the US led by President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined with their EU allies (France, UK . . .) and bombed Libya – its infrastructure, ports, transport centers, oil facilities, hospitals and schools… US and EU backed terrorists seized control of the major cities, and captured, tortured and murdered President Gaddafi. Over 2 million immigrant workers were forced to flee to Europe and the Middle East or return to central Africa.

Case 2: Iraq

Iraq under Saddam Hussein received arms and support from Washington to attack and invade Iran. This de facto agreement, encourage the Iraqi leader to assume that collaboration between nationalist Iraq and imperial Washington reflected a shared common agenda. Subsequently Baghdad believed that they had tacit US support in a territorial dispute with Kuwait. When Saddam invaded, the US bombed, devastated, invaded, occupied and partitioned Iraq.

The US backed the Kurds territorial seizure in the North and imposed a no-fly zone. Subsequently, President William Clinton engaged in several bombing attacks which failed to dislodge Saddam Hussein.

Under President G. W. Bush, the US launched a full-scale war, invasion and occupation ,killing several hundred thousand citizens and displeasing millions of Iraqis. The US dissolved the modern secular state and fomented religious and ethnic wars between Shia and Sunni.

The attempt by Iraq to collaborate with Washington in the 1980’s against its nationalist neighbor Iran, led to the invasion, the dismantling of the country, the killing of the secular leaders including Saddam Hussein, and the conversion of Iraq into a vassal state of the empire.

Case Three: Syria

Syria’s President Bashar Assad, unlike Gaddafi and Hussein, retained a degree of independence from Washington’s overtures, even as he sought to accommodate US incursions in Lebanon and its support for the largely minority christian and pro-western opposition.

In 2011, the US broke its tacit accommodation and provided arms and financing to its local islamic clients for an uprising which seized control of most of the countryside and major cities, including half of Damascus. Fortunately, Assad sought the support of Russia, Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah fighters. Over the next seven years, the US-EU backed terrorists were defeated and forced to retreat, despite massive military, financial and logistic support from the US, EU, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Syria has survived and reconquered most of the country, where Libya and Iraq failed, because it was able to secure an armed-alliance with strategic allies who succeeded in neutralizing domestic insurgents.

Case 4: FARC ( The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia)

The FARC was formed in the early 1960’s as a largely peasant army which grew,by 2001,to nearly 30,000 fighters and millions of supporters, mostly in the countryside.In effect a dual system of power predominated outside the major cities.

The FARC made several attempts to negotiate a peace settlement with the Colombian oligarchical regime. In the late 1970’s a temporary agreement led sections of the FARC to shed arms, form an electoral party, the Patriotic Union, and participate in elections. After several electoral gains, the oligarchy abruptly broke the agreement, unleashed a campaign of terror, and assassinated 5,000 party activists and several presidential and congressional candidates and elected officials. The FARC returned to armed struggle.

During subsequent negotiations, between 1980-81, the oligarchical regime broke off talks and raided the meeting site in an attempt to assassinate the FARC representatives, who successfully evaded capture. Despite the repeated failures ,in 2016 the FARC agreed to enter into ‘peace negotiations’ with the Colombian regime of President Juan Manuel Santos, a former Defense minister who was a leading force during the extermination campaign in the countryside and urban slums during between 2001-2010 . However major political changes took place within the FARC. During the previous decade the historic leaders of the FARC were killed or died and were replaced by a new cohort who lacked the experience and commitment to secure agreements which advanced peace with justice, while retaining their arms in the eventuality that the untrustworthy oligarchical regime, which had repeatedly sabotaged negotiations, reneged on the so-called ‘peace agreement’.

In blind pursuit of peace, the FARC agreed to demobilize and disarm its revolutionary army; it failed to secure control over socio-economic reforms, including land reform; it turned security over to the regime’s military forces linked to landlords, the seven US military bases and narco-death squads.

The ‘peace agreement’ destroyed the FARC. Once disarmed the regime reneged on the agreement: dozens of FARC combatants were assassinated or forced to flee; the oligarchs retained total control over land from dispossessed peasants,natural resources, public funding and elite controlled elections; FARC leaders and activists were jailed and subject to death threats and a constant barrage of hostile public and private media propaganda.

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“I think the Monroe Doctrine is as relevant today as it was the day it was written (two centuries ago)”.
Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, Feb. 2, 3027-March 31, 2018.


President Trump cancelled his attendance at the Summit of the Americas meeting of all the 35 presidents of the region designed to debate and formulate a common policy. Trump delegated Vice President Michael Pence in his place. VP Pence a known nonentity with zero experience and even less knowledge of Latin America – US relations indicates the Trump regime’s disdain and low opinion of the eighth meeting of the tri-annual Summit.

President Trump does not feel obligated to attend, because the agenda, decisions and outcome already had been decided in accordance with the best interests of the empire. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made clear that Latin America is Washington’s backyard: the Monroe Doctrine was alive and well.

The revival of the Monroe Doctrine is a work in progress – a collective effort that preceded the Trump regime and which is now in full display.

Monroeism is a joint venture involving Washington empire-builders and Latin American oligarchs, congressional coup-makers, presidential narco-swindlers and military-paramilitary thugs. To understand the ascendancy of the two century old Monroe Doctrine requires we examine the process – the means and methods which installed Trump’s satraps.

Many Roads Common Outcomes

The Twenty-First century began with a series of upheavals which challenged incumbent neo-liberal client states and installed a series of center-left regimes who increased social spending and declared their independence from the US. The progressive politicians wrote premature death certificates for the Monroe Doctrine, as they were co-signed with the local bankers, generals and business oligarchs. In other words, Latin America experienced a series of temporary reforms based on oligarchical foundations.

By the end of a decade and a half , the Trump regime proclaimed the resurrection of Monroeism: puppets, pillage and plunder,became the new order of the day throughout Latin America.Client legislators successfully ploted a series of coups, ousting elected Presidents in Brazil, Paraguay and Honduras replacing them with bona fide US approved satraps.

The Secretary General of the Organization of American (Colonies) States, Luis Almagro a former Foreign Minister of a center-left regime in Uruguay blessed Washington’s mouthpieces.

Rigged elections in Mexico and Guatemala ensured Washington a pair of reliable flunkies.

Death squads and a narco-President Santos in Colombia provided the Pentagon seven military bases and US investers several oil fields.

Swindlers and fraudsters with intimate ties to Wall Street took office in Argentina and Peru. An ex-leftist in Ecuador Lenin Moreno appealed to the people to win an election and ,once taking office worked for the oligarchs.

In other words, through diverse routes which combined rigged elections and political violence, Presidents Bush and Obama set the stage for President Trump to inherit a servile entourage of self-styled democratic. . . satraps.

President Trump need not join the Latin Americas to the Summit. Since the Donald’s scribes wrote the program and policies to be followed

In the run-up to the Summit, the Latin American Presidents spent their time in office demonstrating their fealty to the Trump version of the up-to-date Monroe Doctrine.

Argentina President Mauricio Macri on taking office paid $6 billion dollar to a Wall Street speculator; contracted a $100 billion debt to US and UK bankers; lowered and/or eliminated corporate taxes, for agro-exporters ; quadrupled charges on gas, electric and water utilities for households and small and medium business; privatized mines and oil fields; fired several thousand public sector medical and educational professionals impoverishing health and educational facilities; extended US military bases across the country ;and welcomed toxic chemical companies to contaminate the countryside.

In exchange Trump overlooked Macri’s swindles and overseas bank accounts and praised his police state measures.

Brazil’s President Michel Temer was installed in the presidency via a congressional coup, promising to privatize the entire public transport, infrastructure, mining, oil, and electrical sector as well as the financial and banking system. Temer and his Congressional and judicial allies ensure that military and diplomatic alliances will serve Washington’s drive to overthrow the Venezuelan, Cuban and Bolivian governments. Temer and his judicial allies have jailed the leading opposition presidential candidate, Lula Da Silva.

Trump’s satraps in the Brazilian military have joined the US in policing the Continent.

In exchange President Temer with 95% popular disapproval and facing jail has secured President Trump’s permission to secure asylum in Miami and membership in his golf club once he is out of office.

Mexican President Peña Neto has privatized the national patrimony – the oil fields, mines and banks. Neto has collaborated with police, military and paramilitary groups murdering dozens of opposition students , critical journalists and human rights workers. Neto allowed drug trafficking , bankers and business leaders to launder billions of dollars in overseas accounts to evade taxes. President Peña Neto has been an active supporter of Washington’s international policies in particular its efforts to isolate and overthrow the Venezuelan government.

Because of Peña Neto’s subservience to Washington, President Trump has demanded further concessions including US control of the Mexican border, immigration and internal policing.

Colombia under Presidents Uribe and Santos provided the US with seven military bases. President Santos signed a peace agreement with the FARC, and proceeded to disarm and murder over 50 former FARC guerrillas and has ordered the jailing and extradition of one of their leader, Jesús Santrich.

President Santos signed off on lucrative oil concessions with US and other multi-nationals.

Newly elected Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno followed Brazilian , Mexican, Peruvian, Argentine and Chilean presidents in handing over strategic natural resources to US multi-nationals.

All of these political clients supported US efforts to exclude Venezuelan President Maduro from the Summit of the Americas for opposing coups,Trump and the Monroe Doctrine

The oligarhs back Washington’s efforts to de-legitimize the Venezuelan elections in May 2018 and to paralyze its economy in order to overthrow the elected president.

The Triumph of Neo-Monroeism

President Trump presides over the Americas with the exception of Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia. Washington successfully orchestrated the conversion of Latin America into a major political, military and diplomatic launch-pad for US global domination.

None of the regimes have any legitimacy. They all came to power through illicit means – their elections fueled by corruption, force, violence and US complicity.

The Americas receive 42% of US manufacturing exports, (mostly to Mexico and Canada) and is a major US market for arms and toxic agro-chemicals. However, Washington is losing its economic competition with China in the rest of Latin America – and as a result, Trump is attempting to pressure its clients to reduce their ties, accusing China of being ‘imperialist’. Latin America’s rulers, however, want to serve both powers the US politically and China economically.


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Political leaders and the mass media deluge the public with a constant stream of frightening incidents caused by the enemy-of-the-week: nerve gas killing dozens of little babies in Syria, Russian-directed poison assassination attempts in England and terror incidents throughout Europe, requiring an increase in domestic police state surveillance and spying. Extensively monitored bank records, intrusive workplace controls, and all personal and, especially, political communications, are in the hands of state security officials or corporate security contractors.

Hundreds of prosecuting attorneys look forward to career-enhancing investigations in perpetuity, tracking the complex networks of extended personal and family links, including long forgotten acquaintances and the contents of casual conversations. Everyone may be subject to interrogations without warrant or explanation. And the ‘media’ cheers on the process.

Political trials and convictions in court and the media are rampant. Social, work-place and academic self censorship and blacklisting of dissident voices have become pervasive and accepted.

Elections and appointments are rigged by corporate and special interests to favor the most bellicose ideologues who manufacture the pretexts for war.

Political intimidation, trade wars and sanctions run amok .

‘Exceptional’ people in authority are defined by their power to bludgeon the majority into passive submission. Corporate mass media propaganda repeats brief and lurid messages calling for the death and destruction of the latest ‘fill-in-the-blank’ enemy.

War fever is everywhere infesting the weak minds of local opinion leaders, who echo the rants and raves of psychotic leaders without pausing to question.

Last week, the Mexican immigrant workers were described as dangerous invaders, drug dealers, rapists and threats to the every day life of ordinary citizens. Walls are being constructed and thousands of National Guard are called to the border to confront the invading agricultural workers and their families.

Before that, Muslims were broadly described as brainwashed terrorists, programed to plant bombs at their first opportunity anywhere and everywhere – on mass transport, in congested amusement parks, in any public space where the innocent may be harmed. A draconian ban of the entry of Muslims has been instituted – including elderly parents joining their citizen sons or daughters.

After the latest maniac massacre of students, understaffed public schools, (but not private, elite schools), are urged to arm the teachers with baseball bats, rocks and guns. Instead of multiplication drills, terrified teachers hold daily and weekly drills in their over-crowded classrooms – stuffing their pupils into closets and bathrooms. Elementary school lunchtimes have become prison-like exercises in ‘total silence’ drills as if to fool the would-be shooter. Images of little Oliver Twist meekly whispering to an armed guard for a bathroom pass come to mind. Haunting some outraged parents is the fear that a mad intruder might set fire to the school suffocating scores of children locked in closets and bathroom stalls because ‘fire-drills’ have been superseded by ‘shooter-drills’.

Fear stalks the land! Where will it end?

An Empire Built on Fear

Domination is the driving force of US Empire builders. But today’s empire is built on fragile economic foundations. An Empire, which has aimed to dominate the world for the long duration, now stumbles over a series of military defeats abroad and increasingly relies on instilling fear, intimidation and propaganda on its domestic citizenry to regain its dominance.

Inculcating fear, especially at home, is the method of choice.

Since the ruling class of ‘the 1%’ seeks to maintain its world domination, based on increasing exploitation and widening inequalities, voluntary submission of the majority cannot be taken for granted.

The vast majority of citizens no longer trust the ruling elite. The school lessons in democracy and civic responsibility have lost their credibility. How can public school children, who now cower in closets, believe in citizen and constitutional rights?

Unending economic insecurity and the increasingly phony patriotic sideshows are beginning to stir up popular discontent. Large scale, long-term trillion-dollar bank bailouts and exorbitant military budgets are financed by the slash and burn of workers’ wages, job security, public services and the social safety net. Soaring medical costs are the primary cause of personal bankruptcy among the working and lower middle classes. A physician-pharmaceutical industry fueled opioid addiction crisis is narcotizing millions and killing well over one hundred Americans each day. The unemployed are prescribed multiple mood altering drugs to numb their anxieties about the future. Fear, incompetent medical care, self-destruction, despair and pain all lead to premature death causing the life expectancy among workers to drop for the first time in US history.

Professionals and opinion leaders, from teachers and physicians to journalists, have abandoned their ethics and enabled the mass deception and oppression of their students, patients and readers.

An empire, which fails to reward its supporters, like President Trump’s marginalized voters, and repeatedly reneges on its promises, can only rely on fear.

The fear we experience is brought about by the ruling class; repeated and embellished by the mass media; and made legitimate by local opinion leaders through face-to-face daily encounters. Teachers and terrified parents instill this fear into the very young without stopping to analyze the origins and motives behind the fear mongering.

The mass message tells us that we face daily threats from terrorists; that we must increase our vigilance; that we must constantly strengthen police state powers; that we must accept the use of advanced lethal police weaponry on our streets; that we must turn to informing on our neighbors and co-workers as potential terrorists, militants, activists, critics and immigrants embedded in offices, factories, schools, churches and neighborhoods. Meanwhile our oligarch-leaders bless themselves with massive tax-cuts and enjoy the greatest concentration of wealth in history.

Fear diverts attention from the imperial state as it engages in dozens of wars and occupies several hundred overseas military bases. The simplest comment that this has resulted in countless thousands of deaths and countless millions of destroyed lives, not to speak of the countless billions of dollars funneled into the bulging pockets of the ruling class, is censored from all public debate.

Fear permeates society: Communications are bugged and manipulated. People are afraid to discuss, let alone move to solve, their common socio-economic problems for fear of reprisals. The message to the many is ‘keep it to yourself or to your closest kin”.

Fearful people are compelled to publicly demonstrate their loyalty to the State – wear flag-pins and repeat illogical propaganda about the ‘enemy of the week’.

Peaceful objections to worshipping the symbols of the State are demonized and non-conformists, even among talented athletes, are punished by the State and see their careers demolished before the eyes of the entire society – collective punishment for any who resist injustice.

Fear and hopelessness feeds the opioid epidemic –with millions of workers addicted, a direct result of work place injury and job insecurity, as well as of incompetent medical care in the absence of a truly accountable national health care system. Physicians may have been ‘pressured’ to prescribe highly addicting drugs to workers, but they grew rich in the process.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Russia, Syria 
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As of April 7, nearly three thousand unarmed Christian, Muslim and secular Palestinians have been wounded, over three dozen are in critical condition and at least twenty-five unarmed protestors, including children have been assassinated by hundreds of Israeli snipers and heavily armed troops shooting tank shells into crowds of civilians protesting their decades of incarceration by the racist Israeli state.

The Israeli government praised the ‘restraint and morality’ of the IDF, as did the fifty-two Major Jewish American Organizations (MJAO) who largely control the US Congress. These grotesque massacres began during the Christian Holy Week on Good Friday and Easter, coinciding with the Jewish Passover. The self-righteous officials of the MJAO and their relatives and friends broke matzos at joyful Seders as the blood of Palestinians soaked into ground at the fence containing the largest open-air prison camp in history, Gaza.

While tribal loyalties bonded the Israeli and Jewish American leaders, the politicians of the Western oligarchic electoral regimes refrained from criticizing the shocking display of brute force and even defended Israel’s cold blood mass killings of Palestinian civilians in their Gaza prison.

This paper will discuss and analyze the reasons for Israel’s willing Western accomplices and the centrality of its fifth column in the United States.

Israel’s Willing Accomplices

Because of the US veto power, the United Nations Security Council refused to condemn or even discuss Israel’s wanton slaughter in Gaza. The Secretary General of the UN meekly mentioned ‘violence’ and the need for an ‘investigation’ into the killings. The United States Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, prevented any investigation into the ongoing Israeli war crimes. She characterized Israel’s mass murder of unarmed Palestinians as ‘defensive action against terrorists’.

Both major US political parties defended Israel’s crimes against humanity and threatened critics, labeling them as ‘hypocrites’, while deflecting attention away from the state slaughter of Palestinian civilians, pointing to the behavior of the Arab countries.

With the notable exception of Bernie Sanders, both legislative houses and the executive branch expressed unconditional support for Israel’s ongoing slaughter.

The mass media, including all the major television, newspaper and radio outlets echoed the vituperative speeches of Israel’s Ziofascist leaders.

All the major political lobbies in Washington followed the leading arm of the US-Israel lobby, the ‘52 MJAO’.

The key question is what explains the power of Israel to continuously commit crimes against humanity with impunity?

Clearly Israel, by itself, lacks the economic, political and media power to influence international organizations. Nor does Israel exercise sufficient ‘soft power’ or cultural influence to neutralize the tens of millions of critics around the world with any persuasive arguments . . . except in the United States.

Where does the power that protects Israel from any consequences for its brutal crimes reside?

The key to Israel’s impunity lies in a chain of command beginning with the local grass roots of hundreds of fanatical, unconditional Zionist-Israel First organizations in the US.

Every major and minor US city has local Zionist-councils who use their influence to intimidate local professional, business, political and media groups into ensuring that critics are censored and Israel’s war crimes are covered up. The tactics range from ‘friendly’ influence within local civic organizations to outright threats, bullying and slander.

Local Zionist organizations are linked to state-wide and national political and economic confederations that influence the nomination and financing of all candidates, the elected officials and the composition of editorial boards of the major media outlets.

Equally important, Zionist activists pressure and recruit leaders of civil society groups through guided propaganda tours to Israel. They enforce obedience and submission to Zionist objectives by blacklisting critics, contacting their places of employment and demanding they be fired. They employ even more repressive tactics against perceived threats to Israel’s interests, including threatening phone calls and unwelcome ‘visits’. At the commanding heights of the Zionist pyramid, hundreds of billionaires and millionaires finance and influence the corporate mass media, the political parties and conservative and liberal religious and educational institutions and demand adherence to Israel’s agenda.

The Zionist power configuration (ZPC) parlays its influence far beyond its dues-paying members, who, in reality, comprises only a very tiny fraction of the US population.

Wider networks extend and magnify the Zionist presence, multiplying power centers up to the highest levels of public policy making. The ideological influence of the Israel Fifth Column is concentrated on a single issue: Defending Israel and its crimes against humanity. They succeed because of their enormous impact on the US role in world politics, including Washington’s trade and military policy in strategic regions, especially in the Middle East.

The members of Israel’s Fifth Column may be liberal or conservative on a broad spectrum of domestic socio-cultural issues, (gay rights, immigration reform, racial and cultural identity, feminism, the environment, etc . . . ) while, at the same time, they provide unconditional support for Israel’s oppression, imprisonment, expulsion and massacre of tens of thousands of Palestinians.

In fact, the Fifth Column’s primary commitment to Israel has guaranteed that the US would wage a sequence of catastrophic wars against Israel’s regional rivals and targeted adversaries – Iraq, Libya and Syria – even at enormous cost in US lives and wasting multi-trillion dollars of US taxpayers funds. This Zionist-promoted drain on the US treasury to finance disastrous wars has completely undermined any policies to address the domestic needs of US working people (which the progressive Zionists have loudly claimed to support!) The consequences have been tragic to the people of the Middle East and to the increasingly impoverished and desperate American working poor and minorities.

Israel’s power to freely murder unarmed civilians in Gaza is derived from the Fifth Column’s influence in the US. Without it Israel would have no power to block the UN from imposing sanctions, or the International Court of Justice from convening a tribunal for war crimes. Israel would not have nuclear weapons or advanced missiles to threaten its neighbors and destabilize the hundreds of millions of civilians who live in the greater Middle East, were it not for the its US-based Zionist power configuration. The nation of Israel would be ‘confined’ within internationally agreed borders and it would be forced to reverse its policy of ethnic cleansing. Israel would have to become a diverse – society based on laws, instead of a lawless, apartheid ethno-fascist police state dedicated to oppressing half of the people within its declared and occupied territories.

The key to Israel’s power is found in its leaders’ command structure, which dictates policy to its tribal diaspora. Their overseas accomplices command the regional, state and local organizations to relay “the message” and apply various means to enforce it. Dissent by Jews and non-Jews are swiftly and viciously punished, adherence to Zionist dictates is rewarded.

Opponents are ostracized, blacklisted and slandered – without recourse.

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During his recent visit to New Hampshire on 3/20/18, President Trump declared once again that the US is facing a ‘drug epidemic’. This time he advocated the death penalty for criminal drug dealers as the solution to a national crisis that has killed over 1 million Americans since the 1990’s (when the blockbuster prescription opiate Oxycontin was first released on the market). Trump promised that the Justice Department would develop the most severe penalties for criminal drug traffickers, by which he meant foreigners. He argued that his proposed “Wall” (between the Mexican- US border) would cut the flow of drugs responsible for the ongoing addiction of millions of US citizens – as though the prescription opiate addiction epidemic resulted from a foreign invasion, and not corporate decisions from Big Pharma.

President Trump’s claim that 116 ‘drug deaths’ occur every day (42,000 a year) is a major underestimate. In 2017, alone over 64,000 drug overdose deaths were reported in official statistics (with many unreported cases signed off as natural or undetermined, especially in counties too poor to afford autopsies and expensive forensic toxicology). Another 4 million Americans, at least, are currently addicted to opioids and at risk for overdose.

In comparative terms, more American workers have been killed or devastated by narcotics (mostly via prescription) in 2017 alone, than in the entire decade of the Vietnam War with its 58,000 dead and 500,000 wounded. In 2017, 40,000 Americans died in motor vehicle accidents and another 39,000 by gun violence – and these statistics are not broken down to include vehicular accidents due to drug intoxication or gun violence over drugs. Prescription or illegal opiates, alone or mixed with other sedative drugs, like Valium, or alcohol, are the most prominent and preventable cause of premature death in the United States today.

This pattern is unique to the United States, where the irresponsible medical prescription of highly addicting narcotics has been the primary portal of entry into the degrading life of addiction for millions. Despite President Trump’s claims, the addiction crisis is not a product of urban Afro-American street dealers or Mexican narco-traffickers: This uniquely American crisis has been created and fueled by billionaire-owned US pharmaceutical corporations, which produced, distributed and wildly profited from legal narcotics. They were aided by the irresponsible prescription practice of tens of thousands of doctors and other ‘providers’ who introduced millions of vulnerable patients to the world of narcotic dependency – including youngsters with sports injuries and workers with job-related pain. These are physicians and medical providers who rarely stopped to examine their own responsibility, even when their otherwise healthy patients overdosed or were destroyed by addiction. It is especially outrageous that doctors and ‘Big Pharma’ worked hand in hand for over 20 years to create this epidemic, enjoying wild profits and almost total legal immunity. Few have dared to openly question their irresponsibility and greed. In the poorest and most vulnerable areas of this country, the most irresponsible and unaccountable incompetence has replaced real medical care and created a health care apartheid.

The Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have protected the corporate drug traffickers and ensured the manicured and cultured narco-bosses the highest rates of return on their products. These polished pushers have their names engraved on the walls of museums and opera houses around the country.

The majority of Presidential, Federal, State and municipal candidates from both major parties have received millions of dollars in electoral campaign funds from these huge legal narcotic manufacturers and distributors, as well as from physicians and other representative of the ‘pain-treatment industry’. Over the past decades, politicians have openly or secretly opposed or weakened legislation designed to address this crisis.

Why not just ask President Trump to direct his Justice Department to impose the death penalty on the board of directors of the big corporate narcotic manufacturers or distributors or on the CEOs of major ‘pain clinics’ or on the owners of local rural ‘health centers’ that drove the villagers of West Virginia into their life-destroying downward spirals?

When will the DEA finally storm the medical centers to arrest the over-prescribing ‘providers’ of narcotics and benzodiazepine tranquilizers (a very common deadly combination)?

When will the SWAT teams seize the vacation homes of the CEOs of major US hospitals where the convenient and fake ideology of promising a ‘pain-free’ experience (‘make it Zero on the Pain Scale’) led to the generalized promotion of highly addicting narcotics for minor injuries, arthritic pain, or chronic back discomfort due to work or obesity? Responsible alternatives existed and were used in the rest of the world – largely untouched by this prescription-fueled crisis.

No doubt what President Trump has in mind is something else: the expulsion of Latin American workers under the pretext of going after the drug dealers and the even more massive incarceration of petty street dealers in the African American community.

Trump will then turn to further monitoring and arresting small-scale American marijuana farmers, who earn a basic income from growing a product that many believe is safe, non-addicting, and significantly reduces demand for dangerous narcotics.

As ugly as this all seems, the complicity of the political, economic and the medical elite in exponentially spreading deadly narcotics among the poor, working class and downwardly mobile middle class, points to a deeper and more sinister policy goal: the systematic elimination of millions of American workers made redundant in the new economy. This is a ‘gentler genocide’, where millions of workers die prematurely seeking an escape from pain as they have been replaced by a new technology and a new ideology: Robots, artificial intelligence and digitalization have rendered them disposable, while the out-sourcing of work to low paid overseas laborers and immigrants have guaranteed unimaginable profits for the elite decision makers.

This highly profitable process, benefiting the political, pharmaceutical, financial, police and judicial elites, conveniently blames the victims, a significant proportion of whom come from the poor and working class in this country, including white rural and small town addicts, especially youth, stuck at minimum wage jobs with no prospects of a decent future – injured construction workers, 15% of whom abuse prescription narcotics for work-related injuries, as well as the marginalized petty drug dealers from the urban slums and desperate Latino immigrants forced to accommodate the cartels. These people have little rights and are easily monitored, incarcerated, expelled and just written-off in one-line obituaries.

The narcotic-fueled genocide had grown out of a calculated corporate strategy meant to cull and subdue a huge population of potentially restive marginalized workers and their families, blaming the overdosing victims for their own ‘irresponsible’ choices, their reliance on prescription opiates, their lack of access to competent medical care, and their untimely deaths as though this were all a collective suicide as the great nation marches forward.

• Category: Economics • Tags: Drugs, Opioids, Oxytocin, Poverty, White Death 
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US Presidents, European leaders and their academic spokespeople have attributed China’s growing market shares, trade surpluses and technological power to its “theft” of western technology, “unfair” or non-reciprocal trade and restrictive investment practices. President Trump has launched a ‘trade war’, – raising stiff tariffs, especially targeting Chinese exports – designed to pursue a protectionist economic regime.

The China-bashers of the western world ignore the developmental experiences of the past two hundred and fifty years, starting with the post-revolutionary United States policy of protecting ‘infant industries’.

In this essay we will proceed to criticize the model underlying the current western attack on China. We will then turn to outlining the experience of countries which overcame backwardness in the course of successfully industrializing their economies.

Development in Historical Perspective

Western ideologists claimed that ‘backward economies’ should follow a development path originally established by successful countries, namely the UK.

They argued that ‘stages of development’ begin by embracing liberal free market policies, specializing in their ‘comparative advantages’, namely exporting raw materials. Economic ‘modernization’ would lead, stage by stage to a mature high consumption society.

The advocates of the liberal stage theory dominated the economic departments of major US universities and served as the planning strategy advocated by US policy makers.

Early on, dissenting economic historians pointed out serious anomalies. For example the ‘early developers’ like the UK secured trade advantages, products of a world-wide empire which forced colonies to exporting raw materials under unfavorable terms of trade, an advantage which ‘later countries’ lacked.

Secondly the post-revolutionary US led by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton successfully promoted protectionist industrial policies to protect US “infant industries” from the established UK Empire. The US civil war was fought precisely to prevent US plantation owners from linking their exports to British liberal free traders and manufacturers.

In the mid-19th and early 20th century, developing countries like Germany, Japan and Soviet Russia rejected the ideology of free trade and open markets in favor of state-centered protected industrialization. They succeeded in overcoming backwardness, competing and overtaking the ‘early developers’ like the UK.

In the post-World War 2 period, after unsuccessful attempts to follow the ‘western free market’ model, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia successfully pursued statist, protectionist export models of development.

Regions and countries which followed western free-market policies specializing in primary goods exports like Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the Philippines failed to overcome stagnation and backwardness.

A leading economic historian Alexander Gerschenkron argued that economic backwardness provided emerging countries with certain strategic advantages which involved systematic substitution of imports by domestic industries leading to dynamic growth and subsequently competitive export strategies. (Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective: A Book of Essays)

The successful late developing countries borrowed and acquired the latest productive techniques while the early developed industrializer remained with the existing outmoded methods of production. In other words, the developing countries, guided by the state, ‘jumped’ stages of growth and surpassed their competitors.

China is a superb example of Gerschenkron’s model. Through state intervention, it overcame the constraints imposed by the monopoly controls of existing imperial countries and rapidly advanced through borrowing the most advanced technology and innovations and then moved on to become the most active filer of advanced patents in the world. In 2017 China surpassed the US filing 225 patents in 2017 while the US lagged behind with 91 (FT 3/16/18 p. 13).

An excellent example of China’s advances in technological innovation is the Huawei Group, which spent $13.8 billion on research and development in 2017 and plans to increase its annual R&D budget to $20 billion a year. Chinese companies will lead standard setting in next-generation technologies, including networking (FT 3/31/18 p 12). Washington’s resort to excluding China from US markets has nothing to do with China ‘stealing’ US patents and secrets and everything to do with Huawei’s R&D spending directed at obtaining talent, technology, equipment and international partnerships. The White House’s protectionist Sinophobia is driven by its fear of Chinese advances in fifth generation high-speed data networks, which are undermining the US ability to compete in cutting edge technology.

China’s competitive excellence was the result of the state’s systematic substitution of advanced technology, which allowed the economy to gradually liberalize and out-compete the US in global and domestic markets.

China has followed and exceeded the example of earlier late developing countries (Germany and Japan). It combined advanced industrial export growth as the leading sector with a relatively backward agricultural sector providing cheap labor and low-cost foodstuffs.

China is now moving up the development ladder, deepening its domestic market, advancing its high technology sector and gradually reducing the importance of the low value consumer and rust belt industries.

Cry-Baby Economies Revert to Protectionism

The US failure to compete with China and its resulting trade deficits are a result of its inability to incorporate new technologies ,apply them to domestic civilian production, increasing income and upgrading and incorporating the labor force into competitive sectors which could defend the domestic market.

The state has surrendered its leading role to the financial and military elites which eroded US industrial competitiveness. Moreover, unlike China the state has failed to provide leadership in identifying priority targets compatible with intensified competition from China.

While China exports economic products, the US exports arms and wars. The US has a surplus of arms exports and a growing commercial deficit.

China has multi-billion-dollar infrastructure investments in over fifty countries that enhance trade surplus. The US has multi-billion-dollar expenditures in over 800 overseas military bases.


US charges that China has emerged as a world-economic power by unfair trade and theft of US technology ignores the entire history of all late developing countries, beginning with the US rise and eclipse of the UK during the 19th century.

The US attempt to turn back the clock to an earlier stage of protectionism will not raise US competitiveness nor increase its share of the domestic market.

US protectionism simply will result in higher prices, unskilled labor, war debts and financial monopolies. A US “trade war” will simply allow the Chinese state to divert trade from the US to other markets and re-direct its investments toward deepening its domestic economy, and increasing ties with Russia , Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceana.

The US ‘blame game’ with China is misplaced. Instead it should re-examine its reliance on a laissez faire economy with neither plan nor reason. Its resort to tariffs will increase costs without raising income and improving innovation.

• Category: Economics • Tags: China, Donald Trump, Free Trade 
James Petras
About James Petras

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York.

He is the author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review, TempsModerne, Le Monde Diplomatique, and his commentary is widely carried on the internet.

His publishers have included Random House, John Wiley, Westview, Routledge, Macmillan, Verso, Zed Books and Pluto Books. He is winner of the Career of Distinguished Service Award from the American Sociological Association’s Marxist Sociology Section, the Robert Kenny Award for Best Book, 2002, and the Best Dissertation, Western Political Science Association in 1968. His most recent titles include Unmasking Globalization: Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century (2001); co-author The Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America (2000), System in Crisis (2003), co-author Social Movements and State Power (2003), co-author Empire With Imperialism (2005), co-author)Multinationals on Trial (2006).

He has a long history of commitment to social justice, working in particular with the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement for 11 years. In 1973-76 he was a member of the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Repression in Latin America. He writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo. He received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

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