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As the US strives to overthrow the democratic and independent Venezuelan government, the historical record regarding the short, middle and long-term consequences are mixed.

We will proceed to examine the consequences and impact of US intervention in Venezuela over the past half century.

We will then turn to examine the success and failure of US ‘regime changes’ throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Venezuela: Results and Perspectives 1950-2019

During the post WWII decade, the US, working through the CIA and the Pentagon, brought to power authoritarian client regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, Peru, Chile, Guatemala, Brazil and several other countries.

In the case of Venezuela, the US backed a near decade long military dictatorship (Perez Jimenez ) roughly between 1951-58. The dictatorship was overthrown in 1958 and replaced by a left-center coalition during a brief interim period. Subsequently, the US reshuffled its policy, and embraced and promoted center-right regimes led by social and christian democrats which alternated rule for nearly forty years.

In the 1990’s US client regimes riddled with corruption and facing a deepening socio-economic crises were voted out of power and replaced by the independent, anti-imperialist government led by President Chavez.

The free and democratic election of President Chavez withstood and defeated several US led ‘regime changes’ over the following two decades.

Following the election of President Maduro, under US direction,Washington mounted the political machinery for a new regime change. Washington launched, in full throttle, a coup by the winter of 2019.

The record of US intervention in Venezuela is mixed: a middle term military coup lasted less than a decade; US directed electoral regimes were in power for forty years; its replacement by an elected anti-imperialist populist government has been in power for nearly 20 years. A virulent US directed coup is underfoot today.

The Venezuela experience with ‘regime change’ speaks to US capacity to consummate long-term control if it can reshuffle its power base from a military dictatorship into an electoral regime, financed through the pillage of oil, backed by a reliable military and ‘legitimated’ by alternating client political parties which accept submission to Washington.

US client regimes are ruled by oligarchic elites, with little entrepreneurial capacity, living off of state rents (oil revenues).

Tied closely to the US, the ruling elites are unable to secure popular loyalty. Client regimes depend on the military strength of the Pentagon —but that is also their weakness.

Regime Change in Regional-Historical Perspective

Puppet-building is an essential strategic goal of the US imperial state.

The results vary over time depending on the capacity of independent governments to succeed in nation-building.

US long-term puppet-building has been most successful in small nations with vulnerable economies.

The US directed coup in Guatemala has lasted over sixty-years – from 1954 -2019. Major popular indigenous insurgencies have been repressed via US military advisers and aid.

Similar successful US puppet-building has occurred in Panama, Grenada, Dominican Republic and Haiti. Being small and poor and having weak military forces, the US is willing to directly invade and occupy the countries quickly and at small cost in military lives and economic costs.

In the above countries Washington succeeded in imposing and maintaining puppet regimes for prolonged periods of time.

The US has directed military coups over the past half century with contradictory results.

In the case of Honduras, the Pentagon was able to overturn a progressive liberal democratic government of very short duration. The Honduran army was under US direction, and elected President Manual Zelaya depended on an unarmed electoral popular majority. Following the successful coup the Honduran puppet-regime remained under US rule for the next decade and likely beyond.

Chile has been under US tutelage for the better part of the 20th century with a brief respite during a Popular Front government between 1937-41 and a democratic socialist government between 1970-73. The US military directed coup in 1973 imposed the Pinochet dictatorship which lasted for seventeen years. It was followed by an electoral regime which continued the Pinochet-US neo-liberal agenda, including the reversal of all the popular national and social reforms. In a word, Chile remained within the US political orbit for the better part of a half-century.

Chile’s democratic-socialist regime (1970-73) never armed its people nor established overseas economic linkage to sustain an independent foreign policy.

It is not surprising that in recent times Chile followed US commands calling for the overthrow of Venezuela’s President Maduro.

Contradictory Puppet-Building

Several US coups were reversed, for the longer or shorter duration.

The classical case of a successful defeat of a client regime is Cuba which overthrew a ten-year old US client, the Batista dictatorship, and proceeded to successfully resist a CIA directed invasion and economic blockade for the better part of a half century (up to the present day).

Cuba’s defeat of puppet restorationist policy was a result of the Castro leadership’s decision to arm the people, expropriate and take control of hostile US and multinational corporations and establish strategic overseas allies – USSR , China and more recently Venezuela.

In contrast, a US military backed military coup in Brazil (1964) endured for over two decades, before electoral politics were partially restored under elite leadership.

Twenty years of failed neo-liberal economic policies led to the election of the social reformist Workers Party (WP) which proceeded to implement extensive anti-poverty programs within the context of neo-liberal policies.

After a decade and a half of social reforms and a relatively independent foreign policy, the WP succumbed to a downturn of the commodity dependent economy and a hostile state (namely judiciary and military) and was replaced by a pair of far-right US client regimes which functioned under Wall Street and Pentagon direction.

The US frequently intervened in Bolivia, backing military coups and client regimes against short-term national populist regimes (1954, 1970 and 2001).

In 2005 a popular uprising led to free elections and the election of Evo Morales, the leader of the coca farmers movements. Between 2005 – 2019 (the present period) President Morales led a moderate left-of-center anti imperialist government.

Unsuccessful efforts by the US to overthrow the Morales government were a result of several factors: Morales organized and mobilized a coalition of peasants and workers (especially miners and coca farmers). He secured the loyalty of the military, expelled US Trojan Horse “aid agencies’ and extended control over oil and gas and promoted ties with agro business.

The combination of an independent foreign policy, a mixed economy , high growth and moderate reforms neutralized US puppet-building.

Not so the case in Argentina. Following a bloody coup (1976) in which the US backed military murdered 30,000 citizens, the military was defeated by the British army in the Malvinas war and withdrew after seven years in power.

The post military puppet regime ruled and plundered for a decade before collapsing in 2001. They were overthrown by a popular insurrection. However, the radical left lacking cohesion was replaced by center-left (Kirchner-Fernandez) regimes which ruled for the better part of a decade (2003 – 15).

 
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Understanding imperialism as a general phenomenon loses sight of its modus operandi in any specific and meaningful context. While the exercise of imperialist power is a common strategy, its motives, instruments, objectives and engagement vary, depending on the nature of the imperial ruler and targeted country.

Venezuela, the current target of US President Donald Trump, is a case illustrating the ‘peculiarities’ of imperialist politics. We will proceed to outline the background, techniques and impact of the imperial power grab.

Historical Background

The US has a long history of intervention in Venezuela primarily to gain control of its oil wealth. During the 1950’s Washington backed a military dictatorship –led by Perez Jimenez– until it was overthrown by mass alliance of revolutionary socialist, nationalist and Social Democratic parties. Washington could not and did not intervene; instead it sided with the center-left Democratic Action (AD) and center-right COPEI parties which proceeded to declare war against the radical left. Over time US regained hegemony until the economy went into crises in the 1990’s leading to popular uprisings and state massacres.

The US did not intervene initially as it felt that it could co-opt Hugo Chavez because he was unaffiliated with the left. Moreover, the US was militarily committed to the Balkans (Yugoslavia) and the Middle East and preparing for wars against Iraq and other nationalist countries which opposed Israel and supported Palestine.

Using the pretext of a global terrorist threat Washington demanded subordination to its declaration of a world-wide ‘war against terrorism’.

President Chavez did not submit. He declared that ‘you do not fight terrorism with terrorism”. The US decided that Chavez’s declaration of independence was a threat to US hegemony in Latin America and beyond. Washington decided to overthrow elected President Chavez, even before he nationalized the US owned petroleum industry.

In April 2002, the US organized a military-business coup, which was defeated within forty-eight hours by a popular uprising backed by sectors of the military. A second attempt to overthrow President Chavez was set in motion by oil executives via a petroleum lock-out. It was defeated by oil workers and overseas petrol exporters. Chavez national-populist revolution proceeded to nationalize oil corporations who supported the ‘lock-out’.

The failed coups led Washington to temporarily adopt an electoral strategy heavily financed via Washington controlled foundations and NGO. Repeated electoral defeats led Washington to shift to electoral boycotts and propaganda campaigns designed to delegitimatize the electoral success of President Chavez.

Washington’s failed efforts to restore imperialist power, boomeranged. Chavez increased his electoral support, expanded state control over oil and other resources and radicalized his popular base. Moreover, Chavez increasingly secured backing for his anti-imperialist policies among government and movements throughout Latin America and increased his influence and ties throughout the Caribbean by providing subsidized oil.

While commentators attributed President Chavez mass support and influence to his charisma, objective circumstances peculiar to Latin America were decisive. President Chavez’s defeat of imperialist intervention can be attributed to five objectives and conditions.

  1. The deep involvement of the US in multiple prolonged wars at the same time – including in the Middle East,South Asia and North Africa distracted Washington. Moreover, US military commitments to Israel undermined US efforts to refocus on Venezuela.
  2. US sanctions policy took place during the commodity boom between 2003 – 2011 – which provided Venezuela with the economic resources to finance domestic social programs and neutralize local boycotts by elite allies of the US.
  3. Venezuela benefited by the neo-liberal crises of the 1990’s-2001 which led to the rise of center-left national popular governments throughout the region. This was especially the case for Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Honduras. Moreover, ‘centrist’ regimes in Peru and Chile remained neutral. Furthermore Venezuela and its allies ensured that the US did not control regional organization.
  4. President Chavez as a former military officer secured the loyalty of the military, undercutting US plots to organize coups.
  5. The world financial crises of 2008-2009 forced the US to spend several trillion dollars in bailing out the banks. The economic crises and partial recovery strengthened the hand of Treasury and weakened the relative influence of the Pentagon.

In other words, while imperial policies and strategic goals remained, the capacity of the US to pursue conquests were limited by objective conditions.

Circumstances Favoring Imperial Interventions

The reverse circumstances favoring imperialism can be seen in more recent times. These include four conditions:

  1. The end of the commodity boom weakened the economies of Venezuela’s center-left allies and led to the rise of far-right US directed client regimes as well as heightening the coup activities of US backed opponents of newly elected President Maduro.
  2. The failure to diversify exports, markets , financial and distributive systems during the expansive period led to a decline in consumption and production and allowed imperialism to attract voters, especially from middle and lower- middle class consumers, employees, shop keepers , professionals and business people.
  3. The Pentagon transferred its military focus from the Middle East to Latin America, identifying military and political clients among key regimes – namely Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and Chile.
  4. Washington’s political intervention in Latin American electoral processes opened the door to economic exploitation of resources and the recruitment of military allies to isolate and encircle nationalist, populist Venezuela.

Objective external conditions favored Washington’s imperial quest for domination.Domestic oligarchic power configurations reinforced the dynamic for imperial intervention, political domination and control over the oil industry.

Venezuela’s decline of oil revenue , the elite mobilization of its electoral base and its systematic sabotage of production and distribution had a multiplier effect. The mass media and the self proclaimed electoral-right embraced the US led far-right coup which manipulated democratic and humanitarian rhetoric.

Washington heightened economic sanctions to starve the low income Chavista supporters,and mobilized its European and Latin American clients to demand Venezuela’s surrender while planning a bloody military coup.

The final stage of the US planned and organized military coup required three conditions:

  1. A division in the military to provides the Pentagon and coup planners a ‘beachhead’ and a pretext for a US ‘humanitarian’invasion
  2. A ‘compromising’ political leadership which pursues political dialogues with adversaries preparing for war.
  3. The freezing of all overseas accounts and closing of all loans and markets which Venezuela continues to depend upon.

Conclusion

Imperialism is a central aspect of US global capitalism. But it cannot accomplish its goals and means whenever and how it wishes. Global and regime shifts in the correlation of forces can thwart and delay imperial success.

Coups can be defeated and converted into radical reforms. Imperialist ambitions can be countered by successful economic policies and strategic alliance.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Venezuela 
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History is told by Walls and Roads which have marked significant turning points in the relation between peoples and states.

We will discuss the story behind two walls and one road and the circumstances which surround them and their consequences.

The Berlin Wall

In the aftermath of World War II, Europe was divided between East and West. On one side the Soviet Union (SU) and its Communist allies and on the other the United States and its Capitalist partners.

The Soviets faced a formidable task in rebuilding their sector having lost tens of millions of soldiers and civilians and facing great scarcities of resources without aid from the wealthy West. North America sought to roll-back the post war agreements and proceeded to subvert the East by promising higher living standards, greater cultural and personal freedom. The East resorted to greater control and sacrifice in order to reconstruct their economies. The unequal contest between East and West in terms of personal consumption was contested by the more radical social investments in national public health, educational and social programs.

The West succeeded in attracting professionals, skilled workers and important cultural figures by offering attractive economic and individual incentive which the East could not or would not match.

In order to contain the ‘brain drain’ the East adopted repressive measures including building what was later referred to as the Berlin Wall. Despite physical obstacles Easterners fled across and under the Wall.

When the East succumbed to pressure and internal opposition, the economy was taken over by the capitalist West which incorporated most of their factories and workers under control by private foreign capitalists. Hundreds of thousands of workers in the East suffered unemployment and loss of social welfare and millions moved to western countries.

The former Eastern countries were annexed into the Western military alliance(NATO) and were incorporated into US wars in the Balkans, the Middle East and Southern Asia.

The end of the Wall strengthened the US military and increased the wealth of the European Union. The Soviet Union disintegrated, and Russia was impoverished, and its economy pillaged for over a decade. Eventually Russia recovered and regained its sovereignty , independence and its status as a world power.

The US Wall: Mexico and Central America

The mass migration of Central Americans and Mexicans was directly linked to two essential factors:

NAFTA and the US intervention in the civil wars in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.

The US coup in Guatemala in 1954, Washington’s massive million dollar a day intervention in the El Salvador revolution and the 3 decades of Pentagon support for the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua and the military coups in Honduras resulted in the killing of over 400,000 Central Americans while over 2 million Central Americans were uprooted, tortured, jailed and forced to flee across the Mexican – US border.

The flood of refuges, products of US imperial wars’, crossed into the US seeking safety and employment. The US refused humanitarian assistance, hundreds of thousands were denied entry or were expelled.

In Central America,Washington backed the military and oligarchies which controlled the land , evicted farmers and denied land to the returning peasants.

The US responded by expanding the border police and immigration security forces, seizing and expelling tens of thousands of hard working refugees. Walls were built along the Mexican frontier, to prevent refugees from crossing the border, condemning them to violence and misery.

Millions of Mexican peasants were displaced by the NAFTA agreement which promoted US agro-exports which undercut Mexican staples. NAFTA undermined US industrial workers as multi-nationals sought low wages .

Bankrupted farmers in Mexico sought to cross the border.

They were joined by tens of thousands of Mexicans who fled from the drug cartels which were protected by US allies among the corrupt Mexican politicians, police and army. The drug cartels reaped tens of billions of dollars by laundering their drug profits in the leading New York, Miami and Los Angeles banks. The Wall kept Mexican workers out while the US government allowed drug money in– to flow to US bankers which profit from the drug laundering.

The conflict in the US between the two parties is an argument over the methods of denying the refugees entry– “walls” versus “barriers”– but not over US bank laundering and NAFTA. The US Wall protects profiteering and punishes its victim by keeping them out.

China’s Belt and Road: Opening Borders

Contrary to the US mania for Wall building on the Mexican border blocking refugees, President Xi Jinping has allocated $900 billion dollars for roads and infrastructures to open China extend links with South and Central Asia, the Middle East, East Africa and Europe. China is building sea ports, roads, airports,– opening trade,and increasing the flow of labor to markets and investments.

China does not face refugees fleeing from US invasions as is the case of the Central Americans. Nor are Chinese agricultural exports displacing farmers, as is the case of Mexicans bankrupted by NAFTA.

China’s One belt, One Road (OBOR) promotes regional and international integration – in contrast to US imposed disintegration of Central American linkages. China promotes free trade agreements with its Asian partners in opposition to US protectionist tariffs and walls.

China’s OBOR policy is based on promoting the upgrading of underdeveloped countries in order to complement China’s advanced technological exports.

Conclusion

Walls are built by the US to constrain the fallout from its Central American wars and unequal trade agreements with Mexico. The Soviet Wall was constructed to protect is backward, uncompetitive economy.

China needs infrastructure, breaking walls, to facilitate the flow of goods and services across borders and incorporating labor, not arresting and expelling it.

The Walls reflect backward and regressive policies; global roads and belts link countries to peaceful and productive global integration.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: China, Immigration, Soviet Union 
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Introduction

The US embraces a regime doomed to failure and threatens the world’s most dynamic economy. President Trump has lauded Brazil’s newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro and promises to promote close economic, political, social and cultural ties. In contrast the Trump regime is committed to dismantling China’s growth model, imposing harsh and pervasive sanctions, and promoting the division and fragmentation of greater China.

Washington’s choice of allies and enemies is based on a narrow conception of short-term advantage and strategic losses.

In this paper we will discuss the reasons why the US-Brazilian relation fits in with Washington’s pursuit for global domination and why Washington fears the dynamic growth and challenge of an independent and competitive China.

Brazil in Search of a Patron

Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro from day one, has announced a program to reverse nearly a century of state directed economic growth. He has announced the privatization of the entire public sector, including the strategic finance, banking, minerals, infrastructure, transport, energy and manufacturing activities. Moreover, the sellout has prioritized the centrality of foreign multi-national corporations. Previous authoritarian civilian and military regimes protected nationalized firms as part of tripartite alliances which included foreign, state and domestic private enterprises.

In contrast to previous elected civilian regimes which strived – not always successfully – to increase pensions, wages and living standards and recognized labor legislation, President Bolsonaro has promised to fire thousands of public sector employees, reduce pensions and increase retirement age while lowering salaries and wages in order to increase profits and lower costs to capitalists.

President Bolsonaro promises to reverse land reform, expel, arrest and assault peasant households in order to re-instate landlords and encourage foreign investors in their place. The deforestation of the Amazon and its handover to cattle barons and land speculators will include the seizure of millions of acres of indigenous land.

In foreign policy, the new Brazilian regime pledges to follow US policy on every strategic issue: Brazil supports Trump’s economic attacks on China, embraces Israel’s land grabs in the Middle East, (including moving its capital to Jerusalem), back US plots to boycott and policies to overthrow the governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. For the first time, Brazil has offered the Pentagon military bases, and military forces in any and all forthcoming invasions or wars.

The US celebration of President Bolsonaro’s gratuitous handovers of resources and wealth and surrender of sovereignty is celebrated in the pages of the Financial Times, the Washington Post and the New York Times who predict a period of growth, investment and recovery – if the regime has the ‘courage’ to impose its sellout.

As has occurred in numerous recent experiences with right wing neo-liberal regime changes in Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador, financial page journalists and experts have allowed their ideological dogma to blind them to the eventual pitfalls and crises.

The Bolsonaro regime’s economic policies ignore the fact that they depend on agro-mineral exports to China and compete with US exports …Brazilian ago-business elites will resent the switch of trading partners.. They will oppose, defeat and undermine Bolsonaro’s anti-China campaign if he dares to persists.

Foreign investors will takeover public enterprises but are not likely to expand production given the sharp reduction of employment, salaries and wages, as the consumer market declines.

Banks may make loans but demand high interest rates for high ‘risks’ especially as the government will face increased social opposition from trade unions and social movements, and greater violence from the militarization of society.

Bolsonaro lacks a majority in Congress who depend on the electoral support of millions of public employees, wage and salaried workers ,pensioners,and gender and racial minorities. Congressional alliance will be difficult without corruption and compromises …Bolsonaro’s cabinet includes several key ministers who are under investigation for fraud and money laundering. His anti-corruption rhetoric will evaporate in the face of judicial investigations and exposés.

Brazil is unlikely to provide any meaningful military forces for regional or international US military adventures. The military agreements with the US will carry little weight in the face of deep domestic turmoil.

Bolsanaro’s neo-liberal policies will deepen inequalities especially among the fifty million who have recently risen out of poverty. The US embrace of Brazil will enrich Wall Street who will take the money and run, leaving the US facing the ire and rejection of their failed ally.

The US Confronts China

Unlike Brazil, China is not prepared to submit to economic plunder and to surrender its sovereignty. China is following its own long-term strategy which focuses on developing the most advanced sectors of the economy – including cutting edge electronics and communication technology.

Chinese researchers already produce more patents and referred scientific articles than the US. They graduate more engineers, advanced researchers and innovative scientists than the US based on high levels of state funding . China with an investment rate of over 44% in 2017, far surpasses the US. China has advanced, from low to high value added exports including electrical cars at competitive prices. For example, Chinese i-phones are outcompeting Apple in both price and quality.

China has opened its economy to US multi-national corporations in exchange for access to advanced technology, what Washington dubs as ‘forced’ seizures.

China has promoted multi-lateral trade and investment agreement ,including over sixty countries, in large-scale long-term infrastructure agreements throughout Asia and Africa.

Instead of following China’s economic example Washington whines of unfair trade, technological theft, market restrictions and state constraints on private investments.

China offers long-term opportunities for Washington to upgrade its economic and social performance – if Washington recognized that Chinese competition is a positive incentive. Instead of large-scale public investments in upgrading and promoting the export sector, Washington has turned to military threats, economic sanctions and tariffs which protect backward US industrial sectors. Instead of negotiating for markets with an independent China, Washington embraces vassal regimes like Brazil’s under newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro who relies on US economic control and takeovers.

The US has an easy path to dominating Brazil for short-term gains – profits, markets and resources, but the Brazilian model is not viable or sustainable. In contrast the US needs to negotiate, bargain and agree to reciprocal competitive agreements with China ..The end result of cooperating with China would allow the US to learn and grow in a sustainable fashion.

Conclusion

Why has the US chosen the road of embracing a backward-looking Brazil rather than a future leader- nation?

Basically, the US is structurally embedded in a high militarized political system which is driven by the quest for world domination – ‘imperialism’. The US does not want to compete with an innovative China, it seeks to coerce China to dismantle the institution, policies and priorities which make China great.

 
• Category: Economics, Foreign Policy • Tags: Brazil, China, Donald Trump 
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We face a world of multiple wars some leading to direct global conflagrations and others that begin as regional conflicts but quickly spread to big power confrontations.

We will proceed to identify ‘great power’ confrontations and then proceed to discuss the stages of ‘proxy’ wars with world war consequences.

In our times the US is the principal power in search of world domination through force and violence. Washington has targeted :top level targets, namely China, Russia, Iran; secondary objectives Afghanistan, North and Central Africa, Caucuses and Latin America.

China is the prime enemy of the US for several economic, political and military reasons: China is the second largest economy in the world; its technology has challenged US supremacy it has built global economic networks reaching across three continents. China has replaced the US in overseas markets, investments and infrastructures. China has built an alternative socio-economic model which links state banks and planning to private sector priorities. On all these counts the US has fallen behind and its future prospects are declining.

In response the US has resorted to a closed protectionist economy at home and an aggressive military led imperial economy abroad. President Trump has declared a tariff war on China; and multiple separatist and propaganda war; and aerial and maritime encirclement of China’s mainland

The first line of attack are Chinese exports to the US and its vassals. Secondly, is the expansion of overseas bases in Asia. Thirdly, is the promotion of separatist clients in Hong Kong, Tibet and among the Uighurs. Fourthly, is the use of sanctions to bludgeon EU and Asian allies into joining the economic war against China. China has responded by expanding its military security, expanding its economic networks and increasing economic tariffs on US exports.

The US economic war has moved to a higher level by arresting and seizing a top executive of China’s foremost technological company, Huawei.

The White House has moved up the ladder of aggression from sanctions to extortion to kidnapping. Provocation, is one step up from military intimidation. The nuclear fuse has been lit.

Russia faces similar threats to its domestic economy, its overseas allies, especially China and Iran as well as the US renunciation of intermediate nuclear missile agreement

Iran faces oil sanctions, military encirclement and attacks on proxy allies including in Yemen, Syria and the Gulf region Washington relies on Saudi Arabia, Israel and paramilitary terrorist groups to apply military and economic pressure to undermine Iran’s economy and to impose a ‘regime change’.

Each of the three strategic targets of the US are central to its drive for global dominance; dominating China leads to controlling Asia; regime change in Russia facilitates the total submission of Europe; and the demise of Iran facilitates the takeover of its oil market and US influence of Islamic world. As the US escalates its aggression and provocations we face the threat of a global nuclear war or at best a world economic breakdown.

Wars by Proxy

The US has targeted a second tier of enemies, in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

In Latin America the US has waged economic warfare against Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. More recently it has applied political and economic pressure on Bolivia. To expand its dominance Washington has relied on its vassal allies, including Brazil, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina and Paraguay as well as right-wing elites throughout the region

As in numerous other cases of regime change Washington relies on corrupt judges to rule against President Morales, as well as US foundation funded NGO’s; dissident indigenous leaders and retired military officials. The US relies on local political proxies to further US imperial goals is to give the appearance of a ‘civil war’ rather than gross US intervention.

In fact, once the so-called ‘dissidents’ or ‘rebels’ establish a foot hole, they ‘invite’ US military advisers, secure military aid and serve as propaganda weapons against Russia, China or Iran – ‘first tier’ adversaries.

In recent years US proxy conflicts have been a weapon of choice in the Kosovo separatist war against Serbia; the Ukraine coup of 2014 and war against Eastern Ukraine; the Kurd take over of Northern Iraq and Syria; the US backed separatist Uighurs attack in the Chinese province of Xinjiang.

The US has established 32 military bases in Africa, to coordinate activities with local warlords and plutocrats. Their proxy wars are discarded as local conflict between ‘legitimate’ regimes and Islamic terrorists, tribality and tyrants.

The objective of proxy wars are threefold. They serve as ‘feeders’ into larger territorial wars encircling China, Russia and Iran.

Secondly, proxy wars are ‘testing grounds’ to measure the vulnerability and responsive capacity of the targeted strategic adversary, i.e. Russia, China and Iran.

Thirdly, the proxy wars are ‘low cost’ and ‘low risk’ attacks on strategic enemies. The lead up to a major confrontation by stealth.

Equally important ‘proxy wars’ serve as propaganda tools, associating strategic adversaries as ‘expansionist authoritarian’ enemies of ‘western values’.

Conclusion

US empire builders engage in multiple types of aggression directed at imposing a unipolar world. At the center are trade wars against China; regional military conflicts with Russia and economic sanctions against Iran.

These large scale, long-term strategic weapons are complemented by proxy wars, involving regional vassal states which are designed to erode the economic bases of counting allies of anti-imperialist powers.

Hence, the US attacks China directly via tariff wars and tries to sabotage its global “Belt and Road’ infrastructure projects linking China with 82 counties.

Likewise, the US attacks Russian allies in Syria via proxy wars, as it did with Iraq, Libya and the Ukraine.

Isolating strategic anti-imperial power via regional wars, sets the stage for the ‘final assault’ – regime change by cop or nuclear war.

However, the US quest for world domination has so far taken steps which have failed to isolate or weaken its strategic adversaries.

China moves forward with its global infrastructure programs: the trade war has had little impact in isolating it from its principal markets. Moreover, the US policy has increased China’s role as a leading advocate of ‘open trade’ against President Trump’s protectionism.

Likewise, the tactics of encircling and sanctioning Russia has deepened ties between Moscow and Beijing. The US has increased its nominal ‘proxies’ in Latin America and Africa but they all depend on trade and investments from China. This is especially true of agro-mineral exports to China.

Notwithstanding the limits of US power and its failure to topple regimes, Washington has taken moves to compensate for its failures by escalating the threats of a global war. It kidnaps Chinese economic leaders; it moves war ships off China’s coast; it allies with neo-fascist elites in the Ukraine. It threatens to bomb Iran. In other words the US political leaders have embarked on adventurous policies always on the verge of igniting one, too, many nuclear fuses.

It is easy to imagine how a failed trade war can lead to a nuclear war; a regional conflict can entail a greater war.

Can we prevent World War 3? I believe it will happen. The US economy is built on fragile foundations; its elites are deeply divided. Its main allies in France and the UK are in deep crises. The war mongers and war makers lack popular support. There are reasons to hope!

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, China, Russia 
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Introduction

Over the past three decades, the US government has engaged in over a dozen wars, none of which have evoked popular celebrations either before, during or after. Nor did the government succeed in securing popular support in its efforts to confront the economic crises of 2008 – 2009.

This paper will begin by discussing the major wars of our time, namely the two US invasions of Iraq . We will proceed to analyze the nature of the popular response and the political consequences.

In the second section we will discuss the economic crises of 2008 -2009, the government bailout and popular response. We will conclude by focusing on the potential powerful changes inherent in mass popular movements.

The Iraq War and the US Public

In the run-up to the two US wars against Iraq, (1990 – 01 and 2003 – 2011) there was no mass war fever, nor did the public celebrate the outcome. On the contrary both wars were preceded by massive protests in the US and among EU allies. The first Iraqi invasion was opposed by the vast-majority of the US public despite a major mass media and regime propaganda campaign backed by President George H. W. Bush. Subsequently, President Clinton launched a bombing campaign against Iraq in December 1998 with virtually no public support or approval.

March 20, 2003, President George W. Bush launched the second major war against Iraq despite massive protests in all major US cities. The war was officially concluded by President Obama in December 2011. President Obama’s declaration of a successful conclusion failed to elicit popular agreement.

Several questions arise: Why mass opposition at the start of the Iraq wars and why did they fail to continue?

Why did the public refuse to celebrate President Obama’s ending of the war in 2011?

Why did mass protests of the Iraq wars fail to produce durable political vehicles to secure the peace?

The Anti-Iraq War Syndrome

The massive popular movements which actively opposed the Iraq wars had their roots in several historical sources. The success of the movements that ended the Viet Nam war, the ideas that mass activity could resist and win was solidly embedded in large segments of the progressive public. Moreover, they strongly held the idea that the mass media and Congress could not be trusted; this reinforced the idea that mass direct action was essential to reverse Presidential and Pentagon war policies.

The second factor encouraging US mass protest was the fact that the US was internationally isolated. Presidents George H. W. and George W. Bush wars faced hostile regime and mass opposition in Europe, the Middle East and in the UN General Assembly. US activists felt that they were part of a global movement which could succeed.

Thirdly the advent of Democratic President Clinton did not reverse the mass anti-war movements.The terror bombing of Iraq in December 1998 was destructive and Clinton’s war against Serbia kept the movements alive and active To the extent that Clinton avoided large scale long-term wars, he avoided provoking mass movements from re-emerging during the latter part of the 1990’s.

The last big wave of mass anti-war protest occurred from 2003 to 2008. Mass anti-war protest to war exploded soon after the World Trade Center bombings of 9/11. White House exploited the events to proclaim a global ‘war on terror’, yet the mass popular movements interpreted the same events as a call to oppose new wars in the Middle East.

Anti-war leaders drew activists of the entire decade, envisioning a ‘build-up’ which could prevent the Bush regime from launching a series of wars without end. Moreover, the vast-majority of the public was not convinced by officials’ claims that Iraq, weakened and encircled, was stocking ‘weapons of mass destruction’ to attack the US.

Large scale popular protests challenged the mass media, the so called respectable press and ignored the Israeli lobby and other Pentagon warlords demanding an invasion of Iraq. The vast-majority of American, did not believe they were threatened by Saddam Hussain they felt a greater threat from the White House’s resort to severe repressive legislation like the Patriot Act. Washington’s rapid military defeat of Iraqi forces and its occupation of the Iraqi state led to a decline in the size and scope of the anti-war movement but not to its potential mass base.

Two events led to the demise of the anti-war movements. The anti-war leaders turned from independent direct action to electoral politics and secondly, they embraced and channeled their followers to support Democratic presidential candidate Obama. In large part the movement leaders and activists believed that direct action had failed to prevent or end the previous two Iraq wars. Secondly, Obama made a direct demagogic appeal to the peace movement – he promised to end wars and pursue social justice at home.

With the advent of Obama, many peace leaders and followers joined the Obama political machine .Those who were not co-opted were quickly disillusioned on all counts. Obama continued the ongoing wars and added new ones—Libya, Honduras, Syria. The US occupation in Iraq led to new extremist militia armies which preceded to defeat US trained vassal armies up to the gates of Baghdad. In short time Obama launched a flotilla of warships and warplanes to the South China Sea and dispatched added troops to Afghanistan.

The mass popular movements of the previous two decades were totally disillusioned, betrayed and disoriented. While most opposed Obama’s ‘new’ and ‘old wars’ they struggled to find new outlets for their anti-war beliefs. Lacking alternative anti-war movements, they were vulnerable to the war propaganda of the media and the new demagogue of the right. Donald Trump attracted many who opposed the war monger Hilary Clinton.

The Bank Bailout: Mass Protest Denied

In 2008, at the end of his presidency, President George W. Bush signed off on a massive federal bailout of the biggest Wall Street banks who faced bankruptcy from their wild speculative profiteering.

In 2009 President Obama endorsed the bailout and urged rapid Congressional approval. Congress complied to a $700-billion- dollar handout ,which according to Forbes (July 14, 2015) rose to $7.77 trillion. Overnight hundreds of thousands of American demanded Congress rescind the vote. Under immense popular protest, Congress capitulated. However President Obama and the Democratic Party leadership insisted: the bill was slightly modified and approved. The ‘popular will’ was denied. The protests were neutralized and dissipated. The bailout of the banks proceeded, while several million households watched while their homes were foreclosed ,despite some local protests. Among the anti-bank movement, radical proposals flourished, ranging from calls to nationalize them, to demands to let the big banks go bankrupt and provide federal financing for co-operatives and community banks.

Clearly the vast-majority of the American people were aware and acted to resist corporate-collusion to plunder taxpayers.

Conclusion: What is to be Done?

Mass popular mobilizations are a reality in the United States. The problem is that they have not been sustained and the reasons are clear: they lacked political organization which would go beyond protests and reject lesser evil policies.

The anti-war movement which started in opposition to the Iraq war was marginalized by the two dominant parties. The result was the multiplication of new wars. By the second year of Obama’s presidency the US was engaged in seven wars.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Media, American Military 
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Introduction

We need an objective evaluation of the President’s foreign and domestic polices – the means, the goals, their results and consequences. The Trump performance requires we discuss the style and substance of foreign and domestic policies.

We will ignore the fly swatting by Trump critics who ply peripheral issues – the state investigation of the fading Russian conspiracy tales— and focus on strategic issues that purport to transform global economic, political and social relations.

Trump at Work’: Foreign Policy

President Trump has a strategy and he works hard at realizing it.

High on Trump’s agenda is, first and foremost, asserting US global supremacy by word and deed.

In pursuit of world power, he utilizes multiple weapons: he believes in the magic powers of weapons and words. He asserts that prior Presidents ‘were weak and allowed others to exploit us’. Today, under Trump’s leadership, he claims we are strong and flexing our power everywhere at all time.

How does the President reveal strength? Through multiple wars, severe sanctions, increased military spending and greater concentration of wealth, in strategic locations.As a result, according to Trump, we intimidate rivals, competitors and adversaries.

Trump cites numerous examples. In Syria, we occupy regions, build new military bases, hire and arm more mercenaries and drop larger bombs on more Syrian cities. Trump boasts that he weakens Iran by ending the nuclear agreement, increasing sanctions precipitating an imminent collapse and regime change. Trump trumpets the success of the economic trade war against China and the downfall of Russia by encircling them with nuclear missiles , military bases and economic sanctions.

Trump hails new political successes and military allies in Latin America. Argentina,Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Ecuador are viewed as Trump’s market successes and providing a vassal army to overthrow the governments of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

Trump brags about his success in ‘renegotiating’ NAFTA, renaming it and claiming more favorable trade ‘deals’ with Mexico and Canada.

The European Union and each of its members have felt the wrath of Trump’s threat of trade wars, and his demands for greater military contributions to NATO.

He has demanded the Germans buy US oil and gas instead of Russian; he threatens to sanction European corporations who dare to abide by agreements with Iran; Trump boasts of hundred-billion-dollar arms sale with Saudi Arabia, while affirming US supremacy in the Middle East and North Africa.

President Trump, according to his bluster and boisterous self-acclaim, has won every war, conquered all competitors and has laid the groundwork for an ‘American Century’.

How many of Trump’s foreign policy twitters correspond to the real world and how many are empty-handed ejaculations?

President Trump: Claims and Reality

Trump’s foreign policy strategy is more bluster than conquest, more boisterous than business, more bluff than success.

Let’s start with Russia. Trump’s sanctions and military encirclement have failed to weaken Russia. Berlin deepens trade ties with the Kremlin – buys more oil and gas, builds pipelines and affirms EU autonomy in dealing with Russia. Military encirclement involves third rate Baltic partners, and missile bases stationed in Poland. In contrast Russia has deepened multi-billion-dollar military and economic agreements with China, a world power.

Russia has responded to Trump’s ending of nuclear missile agreements by building superior weaponry. By any measure, Russia has defeated Trump’s sanctions and military threats.

Despite Trump’s bombast about ‘squeezing China’ with tariffs, China’s trade surplus with the US has increased, while the US trade deficit has risen.

The US has grown by 2.8%, China’s by 6.5%. The US has failed to convince any of its Asian allies to join its trade war against China. On the contrary, US so-called trade war has encouraged Asia to replace US exporters. While Trump’s economic advisers threaten Wall Street’s largest bankers to stop making billion dollar deals with China, most have brushed Trump off. The bankers ignore Trump’s ‘trade war’ because profits count more than gaseous rhetoric.

Saudi Arabia signs a $110 billion-dollar military agreement with Trump and then buys only 10% . . . ‘fake deals’ to paraphrase the President.

Trump’s claim that the Saudis are a great ally ,yet it boycotts Qatar, which houses the biggest US military base in the region. Israel, Trump’s Middle East ally, ignores Trump’s economic sanctions with Russia and trade war with China, two of its biggest high-tech trade partners.

The US wars are losing propositions. Afghan rebels control most of the country, surround the provincial capitals and force US generals to seek withdrawal. US allies in Syria have retreated. He relies on Kurdish separatists who have their own agenda, not Trump’s.

In Latin America, Trump collects kudos from far-right regimes in Brazil and Argentina which hover on the verge of economic collapse, social crisis and political upheaval.

Domestic Success of Dubious Value

Trump trumpets his big tax cut for billionaires with overseas holdings. He claims it is a success story – creating jobs and producing growth. In fact, over three quarters of the returned profits have resulted in buy-backs increasing corporate dividends not investment in productive activity,

Trump’s trade war with China has not added jobs – it has added cost for consumers through higher prices.

His pro-business policies have strengthened the leverage of corporations in securing multi-billion-dollar concessions from local and state governments. Jeff Bezos the multi-billion dollar owner of Amazon, received over $10 billion dollars in tax exemptions, in addition to state financed concessions.

In effect Trump’s large scale, long-term income transfers benefit the rich over the poor, increase inequalities and lowering public funds for education, health and welfare.

Trump’s opposition to public health for all, international climate change agreements, national infrastructure investments and regulation of bank oversight, has increased the risk of natural disasters , financial crises and transport breakdowns.

Despite his retrograde domestic program, Trump retains electoral support and does not face an immediate political threat —for one basic reason: The Democrats offer no alternatives.

The corporate Democrats who lead the Party, back all of his retrograde policies: they support Trump’s increases in military spending; support tax reduction for the rich; oppose a national health program for all.

Moreover, during Democratic President Obama’s two terms in office, trillions of dollars bailed out the biggest banks while 3 million households suffered foreclosures; minimum wages remained below the poverty level; inequalities widened ,as did racial disparities.

Under President Obama 2 million immigrants were seized and expelled, establishing a precedent for Trump’s anti-asylum policies.

In other words, Trump’s policies are a continuation and exacerbation of the Obama regime.

Conclusion

Trump’s domestic and foreign policy demagogically capitalized on the failures of the Democratic Party’s corporate socio-economic programs and multiple wars.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump 
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Introduction

In the contemporary world, western imperialist propagandists, particularly journalists and editors of the mass media, have resorted to perverting everyday concepts

and the language of politics.

The use and abuse of the language of politics has served to blame victims and to justify imperial aggressors. The consequences are multiple, both in legitimizing war crimes and economic plunder, as well as neutralizing domestic opposition.

We will proceed by identifying the key terminology which furthers imperial aggression. We will then describe the economic and political objectives of linguistic imperialism.

We will conclude by examining the political/cultural alternatives.

Critique of Concepts: Nationalism and Populism

The most abused and obfuscated concept in the modern imperial lexicon is ‘populism’.

In its original meaning ‘populism’ referred to mass movements composed of exploited workers. Popular movements fought oligarchical bankers and media moguls.

At the turn of the 19th and the early decades of the 20th century, populists formed powerful political movements and electoral parties in the US, Canada, Russia and Western Europe.

By the mid 20th century, populist parties and movements multiplied, and in some cases, came to power in Asia and Latin America. Populist movements gained mass support in Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Mexico. In the United States populist parties and movement represented farmers who fought railroad monopolies, bankers and corrupt political bosses. Their objective was to secure fair market prices for transport , moderate interest rates from banks and honest elections, free of corruption by political bosses.Populists elected several governors,scores of mayors and several state legislaturers.

In Latin America, populist parties in Peru (APRA) fought for indigenous rights, opposing neo-colonial and oligarchical rule.In Argentina, Brazil and Mexico populist parties led by Juan Peron, Getulio Vargas and Lazaro Cardenas fought and secured workers’ rights, and national ownership of essential resources (especially the oil fields). They successfully launched national industrialization programs.

Similar developments took place in China, the Philippines, Indo-China and India. Nationalism and populism were the twin motors of independence and social justice.

Nationalism was based on ending imperial domination and recovering national cultural values free from colonial impositions. By the turn of the 21st century with the rise and advance of post-colonial regimes, the western imperial powers sought to denigrate the movements and parties which questioned their legitimacy.

No longer could the imperial powers rely on the ideology of beneficent empires (“the white mans’ burden”). Nor could they claim that foreign capital exploitation and pillage were serving ‘nation-building’.

Imperial ideology resorted to distorting and reverting the positive concepts associated with liberation struggles into their opposite. Instead they associated populism with oppressive and authoritarian doctrines of regressive regimes.

Populism was emptied of its original emancipatory content and replaced by, and associated with reactionary, racist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant, fascist ideology.

Any and all popular mass movements, independent of their socio-economic content, were painted with the same regressive content. Likewise, nationalism was linked with neo-fascists who expelled minorities and migrants.

As a corollary the imperial ideologies presented US and European empire builders as inclusive upholders of democratic values who fought against ‘nationalists’.

The Use and Abuse of Populism and Nationalism

The principal enemies of ‘populism’ are staunch western neo-liberal ruling classes and their venomous scribes in the Financial Times, New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

Anti-populism in defense of ‘western democratic values’ serves as pseudo-progressive propaganda in favor of imperialism. The anti-populist rhetoric amalgamates rightists and leftists, chauvinists and defenders of national independence.

The purpose was to justify US and EU multiple imperial wars and coups throughout Asia, the Middle East, North and East Africa and Latin America.

While the ‘virtuous’ anti populist and anti-nationalist rabble-rousing media, condemn the populists they promote and defend murderous western wars and coups in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Honduras, Somalia, South Sudan, Venezuela and the Ukraine.

‘Anti-nationalism’ serves to disarm pro-independence critics of imperialism and to ‘legitimize’ western leaders. Media ideologues attacked rightists, ‘nationalists’, who attack immigrants but obfuscated the fact that the immigrants were victims of western imperial military invasions.

Rightist domestic nationalists and neo-liberal imperialists reflect two-sides of the same coin. One excited the nationalist passions of the masses, the other proceeded to satisfy the voracious appetite for capitalist profits.

Anti-populism and nationalism, were the driving force of neo-liberal elites which exploits the domestic workforce and attacks social welfare and workplace democracy. They portrayed popular social movements as versions of ‘populism to be condemned as enemies of free-markets and free elections.

Nationalists opposed to imperial wars are denigrated as authoritarian enemies of western security, globalization and democratic values.

Conclusion

US and EU imperialism face adversaries from within and without. Domestic opposition has turned against costly wars and financial profiteering and has turned in favor of greater welfare.

In desperate need for a new ideological defense, the western powers have fabricated new enemies, labeled ‘populists’, a disguise for supporting economic oligarchs. The western elites seek to undermine anti-imperialists by lumping them with far-right nationalists.

The ideologists of western imperialism have other propaganda tools. National independence militants are equated with ‘terrorists’. Russian defenders of secure borders are described as authoritarian expansionists. China’s international economic networks are dubbed ‘colonial debts collectors’.

The mass media’s drum beat is necessary to obfuscate reality. The US and EU have nearly 200 overseas military bases throughout the world. China has a tiny base in East Africa.

The US has a string of military bases surrounding China. Beijing lacks a single overseas military base surrounding the US.

While western colonial and neo-colonial elites plunder Asia, Africa and Latin America, China finances infrastructure, invests in productive enterprises and does not operate military bases to intervene in Third World countries.

The US and Europe hijack progressive concepts like populists and invert their meaning, into regressive reactionary movements, parties and personalities.

Pro-imperial colonialist racist labels are pinned on ‘nationalists’ many of whom are defenders of national sovereignty and oppose imperial hegemony. Political language at the service of empire is no virtue!

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Media, American Military, China 
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Introduction

Bankers, agro-business elites, commercial mega owners, manufacturing, real estate and insurance bosses and their financial advisers, elite members of the ‘ruling class’, have launched a full-scale attack on private and public wage and salary workers, and small and medium size entrepreneurs (the members of the ‘popular classes’). The attack has targeted income ,pensions, medical plans, workplace conditions, job security, rents, mortgages, educational costs, taxation,undermining family and household cohesion.

Big business has weakened or abolished political and social organizations which challenge the distribution of income and profits and influence the rates of workplace output. In brief the ruling classes have intensified exploitation and oppression through the ‘class struggle’ from above.

We will proceed by identifying the means, methods and socio-political conditions which have advanced the class struggle from above and, conversely, reversed and weakened the class struggle from below.

Historical Context

The class struggle is the major determinant of the advances and regression of the interests of the capitalist class. Following the Second World War, the popular classes experienced steady advances in income, living standards, and work place representation. However by the last decade of the 20th century the balance of power between the ruling and popular classes began to shift, as a new ‘neo-liberal’ development paradigm became prevalent.

First and foremost, the state ceased to negotiate and conciliate relations between rulers and the working class: the state concentrated on de-regulating the economy, reducing corporate taxes, and eliminating labor’s role in politics and the division of profits and income.

The concentration of state power and income was not uncontested and was not uniform in all regions and countries. Moreover, counter-cyclical trends, reflecting shifts in the balance of the class struggle precluded a linear process. In Europe, the Nordic and Western European countries’ ruling classes advanced privatization of public enterprises, reduced social welfare costs and benefits, and pillaged overseas resources but were unable to break the state funded welfare system. In Latin America the advance and regression of the power, income and welfare of the popular class, correlated with the outcome of the class and state struggle.

The United States witnessed the ruling class take full control of the state, the workplace and distribution of social expenditures.

In brief, by the end of the 20th century, the ruling class advanced in assuming a dominant role in the class struggle.

Nevertheless, the class struggle from below retained its presence, and in some places, namely in Latin America, the popular classes were able to secure a share of state power – at least temporarily.

Popular Power: Contesting the Class Struggle from Above

Latin America is a prime example of the uneven trajectory of the class struggle.

Between the end of World War Two and the late 1940’s, the popular classes were able to secure democratic rights, populist reforms and social organization. Guatemala, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela were among the leading examples. By the early 1950’s with the onset of the US imperialist ‘cold war’, in collaboration with the regional ruling classes launched a violent class war from above, which took the form of military coups in Guatemala, Peru, Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil. The populist class struggle was defeated by the US backed military- business rulers who, temporarily imposed US agro-mineral export economies.

The 1950’s were the ‘golden epoch’ for the advance of US multi-nationals and Pentagon designed regional military alliances. But the class struggle from below rose again and found expression in the growth of a progressive national populist industrializing coalition,and the successful Cuban socialist regime and its followers in revolutionary social movements in the rest of Latin America throughout the 1960’s.

The revolutionary popular class insurgency of the early 1960’s was countered by the ruling class seizure of power backed by military-US led coups between 1964-1976 which demolished the regimes and institutions of the popular classes in Brazil (1964), Bolivia (1970), Chile (1973), Argentina (1976) , Peru (1973) and elsewhere.

Economic crises of the early 1980s reduced the role of the military and led to a ‘negotiated transition’ in which the ruling class advanced a neo-liberal agenda in exchange for electoral participation under military and US tutelage.

Lacking direct military rule, the ruling class struggle succeeded in muting the popular class struggle by co-opting the center-left political elites. The ruling class did not or could not establish hegemony over the popular classes even as they proceeded with their neo-liberal agenda.

With the advent of the 21st century a new cycle in the class struggle from below burst forth. Three events intersected: the global crises of 2000 triggered regional financial crashes, which in turn led to a collapse of industries and mass unemployment, which intensified mass direct action and the ouster of the neo-liberal regimes. Throughout the first decade of the 21st century, neo-liberalism was in retreat. The popular class struggle and the rise of social movements displaced the neo-liberal regimes but was incapable of replacing the ruling classes. Instead hybrid center-left electoral regimes took power.

The new power configuration incorporated popular social movements, center-left parties and neo-liberal business elites. Over the next decade the cross-class alliance advanced largely because of the commodity boom which financed welfare programs, increased employment, implemented poverty reduction programs and expanded investments in infrastructure. Post-neoliberal regimes co-opted the leaders of the popular classes, replaced ruling class political elites but did not displace the strategic structural positions of the business ruling class..

The upsurge of the popular class struggle was contained and confined by the center-left political elite, while the ruling class marked time, making business deals to secure lucrative state contracts via bribes to the ruling center-left allied with the conservative political elite .

The end of the commodity boom, forced the center-left to curtail its social welfare and infrastructure programs and fractured the alliance between big business leaders and center-left political elites. The ensuing economic recession facilitated the return of the neo-liberal political elite to power.

The big business ruling class learned their lessons from their previous experience with weak and conciliating neo-liberal regimes. They sought authoritarian and, if possible rabble rousing political leaders, who could dismantle the popular organizations, and gutted popular welfare programs and democratic institutions, which previously blocked the consolidation of the neo-liberal New Order.

The Neo-Liberal New Order

The neo-liberal “New Order” differed substantially from the past in several significant features.

First neo-liberal programs under the New Order were based on highly repressive leaders – they did not merely depend on ‘market discipline’ and state promoted programs. Authoritarian political regimes established a framework to finance, protect and promote the consolidation of neo-liberal systemic changes.

Secondly, political ascendancy of the New Order relied on a coalition of ruling class elites, conservative upper middle-class property and professional groups and downwardly mobile lower middle classes fearful of personal and economic insecurity and the breakdown of the old social order.

 
• Category: Economics, Foreign Policy • Tags: Neoliberalism 
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Introduction

In recent weeks the White House has embraced the contemporary version of the world’s most murderous regimes. President Trump has embraced the Saudi Arabian “Prince of Death” Mohammad bin Salman who has graduated from chopping hands and heads in public plazas to dismembering bodies in overseas consulates – the case of Jamal Khashoggi.

The White House warmly greeted the electoral success of Brazilian Presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, ardent champion of torturers, military dictators, death squads and free marketers.

President Trump grovels, grunts and glories before Israel, as his spiritual guide Benjamin Netanyahu celebrates the Sabbath with the weekly murders and maiming of hundreds of unarmed Palestinians, especially youngsters.

These are President Trump’s ‘natural allies’. They share his values and interests while each retains their particular method of disposing of the cadavers of adversaries and dissenters.

We will proceed to discuss the larger political-economic context in which the trio of monsters operate. We will analyze the benefits and advantages which lead President Trump to ignore and even praise, actions which violate America’s democratic values and sensibilities.

In conclusion, we will examine the consequences and risks which result from Trump’s embrace of the trio.

The Context for Trump’s Tripler Alliance

President Trump’s intimate ties with the world’s most unsavory regimes flows from several strategic interests. In the case of Saudi Arabia, it includes military bases; the financing of international mercenaries and terrorists; multi-billion-dollar arms sales; oil profits; and covert alliances with Israel against Iran, Syria and Yemen.

In order to secure these Saudi assets, the White House is more than willing to assume certain socio-political costs.

The US eagerly sells weapons and provides advisers to Saudi’s genocidal invasion, murder and starvation of millions of Yeminis. The White House alliance against Yemen has few monetary rewards or political advantages as well as negative propaganda value.

However, with few other client states in the region, Washington makes do with Prince Salman ‘the salami slicer’.

The US ignores Saudi financing of Islamic terrorists against US allies in Asia (the Philippines) and Afghanistan as well as rival thugs in Syria and Libya.

Alas when a pro-US collaborator like Washington Post journalist and US resident Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated, President Trump was forced to adopt the pretense of an investigation in order to distance from the Riyadh mafia.He subsequently exonerated butcher boy bin Salman: he invented a flagrant lie-blaming ‘rogue elements’in charge of the interrogation,—read torture.

President Trump celebrated the electoral victory of Brazilian neo-liberal fascist Jair Bolsonaro because he checks all the right boxes: he promises to slash economic regulations and corporate taxes for multi-national corporations. He is an ardent ally of Washington’s economic war against Venezuela and Cuba. He promises to arm right-wing death squads and militarize the police. He pledges to be a loyal follower of US war policies abroad.

However, Bolsonaro cannot support Trump’s trade war especially against China which is the market for almost forty percent of Brazil’s agro-exports. This is especially the case since agro-business bosses are Bolsonaro’s principal economic and congressional supporters.

Given Washington’s limited influence in the rest of Latin America, Brazil’s neo-liberal fascist regime acts as Trump’s principal ally.

Israel is the White House’s mentor and chief of operations in the Middle East, as well as a strategic military ally .

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has seized and colonized most of the West Bank and militarily occupied the rest of Palestine; jailed and tortured tens of thousands of political dissidents; surrounded and starved over a million Gaza residents; imposed ethno-religious conditions for citizenship in Israel, denying basic rights for over 20% of the Arab residents of the self-styled ‘jewish state’.

Netanyahu has bombed hundreds of Syrian cities, towns, airports and bases in support of ISIS terrorists and Western mercenaries. Israel intervenes in US elections, buys Congressional votes and secures White House recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the jewish state.

Zionists in North America and Great Britain act as a ‘fifth column’ securing unanimous favorable mass media coverage of its apartheid policies.

Prime Minister Netanyahu secures unconditional US financial and political support and the most advanced weaponry.

In exchange Washington considers itself privileged to serve as foot solders for Israeli targeted wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia . . . Israel collaborates with the US in defending Saudi Arabia , Egypt and Jordan. Netanyahu and his Zionist allies in the White House succeeded in reversing the nuclear agreement with Iran and imposing new and harsher economic sanctions.

Israel has its own agenda :it defies President Trump’s sanctions policies against Russia and its trade war with China.

Israel eagerly engages in the sales of arms and high-tech innovations to Beijing.

Beyond the Criminal Trio

The Trump regime’s alliance with Saudi Arabia, Israel and Brazil is not despite but because of their criminal behavior. The three states have a demonstrated record of full compliance and active engagement in every ongoing US war.

Bolsonaro, Netanyahu and bin Salman serve as role models for other national leaders allied with Washington’s quest for world domination.

The problem is that the trio is insufficient in bolstering Washington’s drive to “Make the Empire Strong”. As pointed earlier, the trio are not completely in compliance with Trump’s trade wars; Saudi works with Russia in fixing oil prices. Israel and Brazil cuts deals with Beijing.

Clearly Washington pursues other allies and clients.

In Asia, the White House targets China by promoting ethnic separatism. It encourages Uighurs to split from China by encouraging Islamic terrorism and linguistic propaganda. President Trump backs Taiwan via military sales and diplomatic agreements. Washington intervenes in Hong Kong by promoting pro-separatist politicians and media propaganda backing ‘independence’.

Washington has launched a strategy of military encirclement and a trade war against China .The White House rounded-up Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and South Korea to provide military bases which target China. Nevertheless, up to the present the US has no allies in its trade war. All of Trump’s so-called Asian ‘allies’ defy his economic sanctions policies.

The countries depend on and pursue trade with and investments from China. While all pay diplomatic lip service and provide military bases, all defer on the crucial issues of joining US military exercises off China’s coast and boycotting Beijing.

US efforts to sanction Russia into submission is offset by ongoing oil and gas agreements between Russia , Germany and other EU countries. US traditional bootlickers like Britain and Poland carry little political weight.

More important US sanctions policy has led to a long-term, large-scale strategic economic and military alliance between Moscow and Beijing.

Moreover Trump’s alliance with the ‘torture trio’ has provoked domestic divisions. Saudi Arabia’s murder of a US resident-journalist has provoked business boycotts and Congressional calls for reprisal. Brazil’s fascism has evoked liberal criticism of Trump’s eulogy of Brazilia’s death squad democracy.

 
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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