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Introduction

The decisive electoral victory of far-right Brazilian presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro startled politicians and analysts of the traditional parties of the left and right.

The possible implications for the present and near future raises a number of fundamental questions whether it represents a ‘model’ for other countries or is the result of the specific circumstances of Brazil.

We shall proceed by outlining the socio-economic events and policies of Brazil which led up to rise of the highly authoritarian, neo-liberal Bolsonaro regime. We will then discuss if similar circumstances are emerging elsewhere and whether anti-authoritarian popular-democratic politics challenge the threat. We will conclude by evaluating the future of far-right regimes and their enemies.

Brazil :Two Decades of Military Rule and the Legacy of Impunity

Brazil was ruled by a military dictatorship between April 1964 and March 15, 1985. Though the military formally withdrew from the regime it retained many powers and prerogatives, including impunity for the thousands of cases of arbitrary violations of human rights including torture and assassinations.

Horeover, during the height of the so-called ‘economic miracle’ during the 1970’s, sectors of the middle class supported the rule by the triple alliance of private business, state enterprise elites and the military. Only when the regime faced a major crisis in the early 1980’s did the military give way to electoral politics. The authoritarian legacy remained embedded in the political culture of the military and its followers. With the deepening economic crises of neo-liberalism, the corruption of civic culture and the increase of crime during the second decade of the 21st century, a militarized political movement headed by Jair Bolsonaro came to the fore.

The Social Bases of the Authoritarian regime

Most commentators have emphasized the amorphous mass of voters’ discontent with political corruption as the basis for the rise of the right. Moralism and insecurity with street crime were cited as the driving force of rightwing extremism.

Yet powerful economic power elites played a decisive role in propelling Bolsonaro to power. While masses were in the street, the Brazilian National Agricultural Confederation, the British Federation of Banks and other prominent elite associations provided the funds, the legitimacy and legislative muscle. Over 40% of the Senate and Congress was controlled by the ‘ruralist bloc’ which came out in favor of Bolsonaro. Many of the voters who previously supported ex-President Cardoso’s center-right candidate Geraldo Alickman defected to the authoritarian right reducing his estimated vote by half.

The judiciary, under the influence of the agro-business and banking elite exploited political corruption to discredit and prosecute the center-left and the traditional political parties, leading to the impeachment of the President Dilma Rousseff and the arrest and prosecution of the leading left candidate Lula Da Silva.

From Authoritarianism to Fascism

Bolsonaro’s appeal to the elite is grounded in his program to savage the working class: he promises to freeze public salaries for twenty years; lower pensions and increase retirement age up to twenty years; increase the role of the military and police in repressing strikes and land reform movements; end all restraints on pillaging the Amazon forest; lower taxes for the rich, deregulate the private economy and privatize the public sector.

In effect the Bolsonaro’s policies follow the script of a corporatist – neoliberal state: fascism with ‘free markets’. The pro-military policies are code words for mass repression; his pro-business strategy is disguised by an embrace of ‘family values’ and virulent hostility to working women, Afro-Brazilians, gays and indigenous people. His crusade against crime excludes bankers, landowners and industrialists who bribed politicians and congress- people – only the latter were prosecuted.

The Future of Neo-Liberal Fascism; Wave of the Future?

Will Bolsonaro’s version of neo-liberal fascism set the mark for other Latin American countries? Will his regime intervene and overthrow progressive countries? Will his victory in Brazil spur similar developments throughout the world?

In the aftermath of Bolsonaro’s first round electoral rout, the real (Brazilian currency) rose 3% against the dollar and the stock market jumped 4.5% in expectations of the total de-regulation of markets, and the privatization of the entire public sector.

Though Bolsonaro is compared to President Trump, there are both similarities and differences. Both share hostility to minorities, flaunt a rabidly chauvinist ideology and embrace ‘nationalist’ slogans.Yet Bolsonaro cannot embrace Trump’s protectionist policies and trade war with China. The agro-business elite in Brazil, which is an essential social bloc, would not permit him to undercut their vital export markets.

Bolsonaro’s neo-liberal fascist policy resonates with several regimes in Latin America, namely Colombia and Argentina. In Colombia large scale militarization and death squads’ collaboration in support of neo-liberalism has been in place for decades prior to Bolsonaro’s rise to power. However, Colombia’s oligarchic regime does not depend on a mass base and charismatic leadership of a ‘fascism’ regime.

Argentina under President Mauricio Macri might like to imitate Bolsonaro but his dependence on the IMF and its austerity program precludes any ‘mass base’ which might have been mobilized at the start of his neo-liberal regime.

This takes us to consider the stability and duration of the Brazilian experience of neo-liberal fascism. Several considerations are foremost.

Bolsonaro’s embrace of radical attacks of wage earners, salary employees, pensioners, debtors, small farmers and businesspeople may erode his ‘mass appeal’ and charisma.

The mass electoral fervor may not withstand the deterioration of basic socio-economic living standards.

Bolsonaro’s regime lack a congressional majority will obligate him to form alliances with the same corrupt parties and politicians which he denounced. The post-election political deal making may disillusion some or many of his ‘moral’ supporters.

If his free market program deepens social polarization and the class struggle , general strikes may result – though Brazil lacks the Argentine working-class tradition.

The agro-mineral elite, the military and the bankers will back Bolsonaro’s ‘war on crime’, and even benefit from the war in the slums, but unless he can stimulate investments, export markets and incorporate skilled workers and innovative technology, Brazil would be reduced to becoming merely an agro-mineral economy run by oligarchs and warmed over corrupt politicians.

Bolsonaro’s hostility to blacks, women, gays, trade unions, urban and rural social movements may win votes, but it does not increase profits and growth. Reactionary policies may attract amorphous middle-class voters, but it is not a program for governing nor does it serve as a coherent economic strategy.

There is no doubt that the explosive appeal of the ‘anti establishment rhetoric has initially successful. There is no doubt that the military-regime alliance can withstand and repress a popular backlash, but can the regime cannot rule sitting on bayonets?

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

The leading financial publications have misled their political and investor subscribers of emerging crises and military defeats which have precipitated catastrophic political and economic losses.

The most egregious example is the Financial Times (FT) a publication which is widely read by the business and financial elite.

In this essay we will proceed by outlining the larger political context that sets the framework for the transformation of the FT from a relatively objective purveyor of world news into a propagator of wars and failed economic policies.

In part two we will discuss several case studies which illustrate the dramatic shifts from a prudent business publication to a rabid military advocate, from a well-researched analyst of economic policies to an ideologue of the worst speculative investors.

The decay of the quality of its reportage is accompanied by the bastardization of language. Concepts are distorted; meanings are emptied of their cognitive sense; and vitriol covers crimes and misdemeanors.

We will conclude by discussing how and why the ‘respectable’ media have affected real world political and market outcomes for citizens and investors.

Political and Economic Context

The decay of the FT cannot be separated from the global political and economic transformations in which it publishes and circulates. The demise of the Soviet Union, the pillage of Russia’s economy throughout the 1990’s and the US declaration of a unipolar world were celebrated by the FT as great success stories for ‘western values’. The US and EU annexation of Eastern Europe, the Balkan and Baltic states led to the deep corruption and decay of journalistic narratives.

The FT willing embraced every violation of the Gorbachev-Reagan agreements and NATO’s march to the borders of Russia. The militarization of US foreign policy was accompanied by the FT conversion to a military interpreter of what it dubbed the ‘transition to democratization’.

The language of the FT reportage combined democratic rhetoric with an embrace of military practices. This became the hallmark for all future coverage and editorializing. The FT military policies extended from Europe to the Middle East, the Caucasus, North Africa and the Gulf States.

The FT joined the yellow press in describing military power grabs, including the overthrow of political adversaries, as ‘transitions to democracy’ and the creation of ‘open societies’.

The unanimity of the liberal and rightwing publications in support of western imperialism precluded any understanding of the enormous political and economic costs which ensued.

To protect itself from its most egregious ideological foibles, the FT included ‘insurance clauses’, to cover for catastrophic authoritarian outcomes. For example they advised western political leaders to promote military interventions and, by the way ,with ‘democratic transitions’.

When it became evident that US-NATO wars did not lead to happy endings but turned into prolonged insurgencies, or when western clients turned into corrupt tyrants, the FT claimed that this was not what they meant by a ‘democratic transition’ – this was not their version of “free markets and free votes”.

The Financial and Military Times (?)

The militarization of the FT led it to embrace a military definition of political reality. The human and especially the economic costs, the lost markets, investments and resources were subordinated to the military outcomes of ‘wars against terrorism’ and ‘Russian authoritarianism’.

Each and every Financial Times report and editorial promoting western military interventions over the past two decades resulted in large scale, long-term economic losses.

The FT supported the US war against Iraq which led to the ending of important billion-dollar oil deals (oil for food) signed off with President Saddam Hussein. The subsequent US occupation precluded a subsequent revival of the oil industry. The US appointed client regime pillaged the multi-billion dollar reconstruction programs – costing US and EU taxpayers and depriving Iraqis of basic necessities.

Insurgent militias, including ISIS, gained control over half the country and precluded the entry of any new investment.

The US and FT backed western client regimes organized rigged election outcomes and looted the treasury of oil revenues, arousing the wrath of the population lacking electricity, potable water and other necessities.

The FT backed war, occupation and control of Iraq was an unmitigated disaster.

Similar outcomes resulted from the FT support for the invasions of Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

For example the FT propagated the story that the Taliban was providing sanctuary for bin Laden’s planning the terror assault in the US (9/11).

In fact, the Afghan leaders offered to turn over the US suspect, if they were offered evidence. Washington rejected the offer, invaded Kabul and the FT joined the chorus backing the so-called ‘war on terrorism which led to an unending, one trillion-dollar war.

Libya signed off to a disarmament and multi-billion-dollar oil agreement with the US in 2003. In 2011 the US and its western allies bombed Libya, murdered Gadhafi, totally destroyed civil society and undermined the US/EU oil agreements. The FT backed the war but decried the outcome. The FT followed a familiar ploy; promoting military invasions and then, after the fact, criticizing the economic disasters.

The FT led the media charge in favor of the western proxy war against Syria: savaging the legitimate government and praising the mercenary terrorists, which it dubbed ‘rebels’ and ‘militants’ – dubious terms for US and EU financed operatives.

Millions of refugees, resulting from western wars in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq fled to Europe seeking refuge. FT described the imperial holocaust – the ‘dilemmas of Europe’. The FT bemoaned the rise of the anti-immigrant parties but never assumed responsibility for the wars which forced the millions to flee to the west.

The FT columnists prattle about ‘western values’ and criticize the ‘far right’ but abjured any sustained attack of Israel’s daily massacre of Palestinians. Instead readers get a dose of weekly puff pieces concerning Israeli politics with nary a mention of Zionist power over US foreign policy.

FT: Sanctions, Plots and Crises: Russia, China and Iran

The FT like all the prestigious media propaganda sheets have taken a leading role in US conflicts with Russia, China and Iran.

For years the scribes in the FT stable have discovered (or invented) “crises” in China’s economy- always claiming it was on the verge of an economic doomsday. Contrary to the FT, China has been growing at four times the rate of the US; ignoring the critics it built a global infrastructure system instead of the multi-wars backed by the journalist war mongers.

When China innovates, the FT harps on techno theft – ignoring US economic decline.

The FT boasts it writes “without fear and without favor” which translates into serving imperial powers voluntarily.

When the US sanctions China we are told by the FT that Washington is correcting China’s abusive statist policies. Because China does not impose military outposts to match the eight hundred US military bases on five continents, the FT invents what it calls ‘debt colonialism” apparently describing Beijing’s financing large-scale productive infrastructure projects.

 
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Introduction

In a previous article (‘US: The Century of Lost Wars”) I recorded the repeated US military defeats over the past two decades. In this discussion I will describe the role of military strategists who bear responsibility for the US defeats, but also for Israeli political successes.

The key to this apparent contradiction is to uncover how and why the destruction of Israeli adversaries prolonged costly US military invasions.

The two outcomes are inter-related. The same US military strategists whose policies lead to failed US wars in the Middle East facilitated and augmented the power of Israel.

US war strategists’ operations reflect ‘dual loyalties’. On the one-hand they receive their elite education and high positions in the US, while their political loyalties to Tel Aviv express their Israel First strategic decisions.

Our hypothesis is that dual loyalist strategists have fabricated threats, identified adversaries and committed hundreds of thousands of US soldiers to losing wars based on calculations that effectively increase Israeli power and influence in the Middle East.

We will proceed by identifying the war strategists and their policies and conclude by proposing an alternative framework for re-thinking the relationship between dual citizens and military strategy.

The ‘Best and the Brightest’: The Blind Ally of Military Defeats

There is an apparent contradiction between the high academic achievements of elite military strategists and their abominable record in pursuing military conflicts.

Most, if not all, policy makers who led the US in prolonged wars against Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Syria were Israel-firsters, either Zionists or Israeli ‘fellow travelers’.

In each of these wars, the Israel firster war strategists, (1) identified the enemy, (2) exaggerated the threat to the US and (3) grossly inflated the military capacity of the targeted country. They started with Iraq and Afghanistan and then proceeded to the other nations, all opponents of Israel.

By ‘coincidence’ all countries supported the Palestinians’ rights of self-determination and opposed Israeli annexation and colonization of Arab lands.

Driven by their loyalty to Israel’s ‘expansionist goals’, the military strategists ignored the ‘real world’ political and economic costs to the US people and state. Professional and academic credentials, nepotism and tribal loyalties, each contributed to the Israel firsters advance to securing strategic decision-making positions and elite advisory posts in the Pentagon, State Department, Treasury and White House.

Their policies led to an unending trillion-dollar war in Afghanistan; losing wars in Libya, Iraq and Syria; and costly economic sanctions against Iran.

The main beneficiary was Israel which confronted less political and military opposition; zero cost in lives and money; and substantial gains in territory.

Why did the Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Chicago, Johns Hopkins’ cum laude graduates repeatedly produce the worst possible military outcomes?

In part because the US acted as an instrument of another power (Israel). Moreover, the Israel firsters never were obliged to reflect in self-criticism nor to admit their failures and rectify their disastrous strategies..

Their refusal to assume their responsibilities resulted from several causes. Their criteria for success was based on whether their policies advanced Israeli goals, not US interests.

Moreover, while their decisions were objectionable to US citizens they were supported by the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organization including the powerful Zionist lobby, AIPAC, which dictated Middle East policy to both political parties and the US Congress.

Ordinarily, military strategists whose policies lead to repeated political disasters are denounced, fired or even investigated for treasons. In our experience nothing of the sort happened.

The best and the brightest rotated between six-digit jobs in Washington to seven-digit positions on Wall Street, or secured positions in lucrative law firms in Washington and New York (many with offices in Israel) or were appointed to prestigious academic posts in Ivy League universities.

What Should be Done?

There are countervailing measures which can lessen the impact of the strategic policies of the Israel Firsters. Academic Israel firsters should be encouraged to remain in Academia; rather than serve Israel in the State.

If they remain in the Ivory Tower they will inflict less destructive policies on American citizens and the state.

Secondly, since the vast-majority of Israel firsters are more likely to be arm chair war monger, who have not risked their lives in any of the wars that they promote, obligatory recruitment into combat zones would dampen their ardor for wars.

Thirdly, as matters stand, since many more Israel firsters choose to serve in the so-called Israeli Defense (sic) Force (IDF) they should reimburse US taxpayers for their free ride to education, health and welfare .

Fourthly, since most Israel firsters who volunteer to join the IDF prefer shooting unarmed Palestinian protesters, medics, journalists and kite flying kids they should be drafted into the US Army to serve in Afghanistan and face armed Taliban fighters surrounding Kabul, an experience which might knock a bit of realism in their dreams of converting the Middle East into an Israeli fiefdom.

Many national loyalties are forged by shared lives with families and friends of US soldiers who endure endless wars. Israel firsters dispatched to the war front would receive existential experiences that the Harvard, Princeton and Yale military strategists who make wars for Israel failed to understand.

Obligatory courses on the genocide of millions of Palestinian, Iraqi, Syrian, and Libyan people would enrich Israel firsters understanding of “holocausts’ in diverse ethno-religious settings.

Face to face encounters in life threatening military situations, where superior arms do not prevail, would deflate the hubris, arrogance and superiority complexes which fuel the tribal loyalties of Israel firsters.

In conclusion we offer modest suggestions for educated and cultured scientists, doctors, artists and entrepreneurs:

1/ Convert your skills to raising a new generation which will defend democratic values and social solidarity and eschew wars, persecution and phony claims of anti-semitism against critics of an ethnically exclusionary state.

2/ Forsake exclusive control of the mass media which glorifies Israeli war crimes and denigrates critics as ‘anti’ Semites for speaking truth to power.

Let’s join together to liberate America from military entanglements that privilege multi-billion-dollar have-nots to Israel while thirty million Us workers lack health coverage and forty percent of upstate New York children live in poverty.

Yes, there is an honorable place for everyone who joins in solidarity with the victims of Israeli First war strategists.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Israel, Israel Lobby 
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Introduction

Despite having the bigest military budget in the world, five times larger than the next six countries, the largest number of military bases-over 180- in the world and the most expensive military industrial complex, the US has failed to win a single war in the 21st century.

In this paper we will enumerate the wars and proceed to analyze why, despite the powerful material basis for wars, it has led to failures.

The Lost Wars

The US has been engaged in multiple wars and coups since the beginning of the 21st century. These include Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Palestine, Venezuela and the Ukraine .Besides Washington’s secret intelligence agencies have financed five surrogate terrorist groups in Pakistan, China, Russia, Serbia and Nicaragua.

The US has invaded countries, declared victories and subsequently faced resistance and prolonged warfare which required a large US military presence to merely protect garrison outposts.

The US has suffered hundreds of thousands of casualties- dead, maimed and deranged soldiers.. The more the Pentagon spends, the greater the losses and subsequent retreats.

The more numerous the vassal regimes, the greater the corruption and incompetence flourishes.

Every regime subject to US tutelage has failed to accomplish the objectives designed by its US military advisers.

The more spent on recruiting mercenary armies the greater the rate of defection and the transfer of arms to US adversaries.

Success in Starting Wars and Failures in Finishing Them

The US invaded Afghanistan, captured the capital (Kabul) defeated the standing army …and then spent the next two decades engaged in losing irregular warfare.

The initial victories laid the groundwork for future defeats. Bombings, drove millions of peasants and farmers ,shopkeepers and artisans into the local militia . The invaders were defeated by the forces of nationalism and religion linked to families and communities. The indigenous insurgents overcame arms and dollars in many of the villages, towns and provinces.

Similar outcomes were repeated in Iraq and Libya. The US invaded, defeated the standing armies, occupied the capital and imposed its clients—- which set the terrain for long-term, large-scale warfare by local insurgent armies.

The more frequent the western bombings, the greater the opposition forcing the retreat of the proxy army.

Somalia has been bombed frequently. Special Forces have recruited, trained, and armed the local puppet soldiers, sustained by mercenary African armies but they have remained holed up in the capital city, Mogadishu, surrounded and attacked by poorly armed but highly motivated and disciplined Islamic insurgents.

Syria is targeted by a US financed and armed mercenary army. In the beginning they advanced, uprooted millions, destroyed cities and homes and seized territory. All of which impressed their US – EU warlords. Once the Syrian army united the populace, with their Russian, Lebanese(Hezbollah) and Iranian allies, Damascus routed the mercenaries.

After the better part of a decade the separatist Kurds, alongside the Islamic terrorists and other western surrogates retreated, and made a last stand along the northern borders–the remaining bastions of Western surrogates.

The Ukraine coup of 2014 was financed and directed by the US and EU.They seized the capital (Kiev) but failed to conquer the Eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Corruption among the US ruling kleptocrats devastated the country – over three million fled abroad to Poland, Russia and elsewhere in search of a livelihood.. The war continues, the corrupt US clients are discredited and will suffer electoral defeat unless they rig the vote .

Surrogate uprisings in Venezuela and Nicaragua were bankrolled by the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED). They ruined economies but lost the street wars.

Conclusion

Wars are not won by arms alone. In fact, heavy bombing and extended military occupations ensure prolonged popular resistence, ultimate retreats and defeats.

The US major and minor wars of the 21st century have failed to incorporate targeted countries into the empire.

Imperial occupations are not military victories. They merely change the nature of the war, the protagonists of resistance, the scope and depth of the national struggle.

The US has been successful in defeating standing armies as was the case in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan , Somalia, and the Ukraine. However, the conquest was limited in time and space. New armed resistance movements led by former officers, religious activists and grass roots activists took charge…

The imperial wars slaughtered millions, savaged traditional family, workplace and neighborhood relations and set in motion a new constellation of anti-imperialist leaders and militia fighters.

The imperial forces beheaded established leaders and decimated their followers. They raided and pillaged ancient treasures. The resistance followed by recruiting thousands of uprooted volunteers who served as human bombs, challenging missiles and drones.

The US imperial forces lack the ties to the occupied land and people. They are ‘aliens’ serving time; they seek to survive, secure promotions and exit with a bonus and an honorable discharge.

In contrast, the resistance fighters are there for the duration. As they advance, they target and demolish the imperial surrogates and mercenaries. They expose the corrupt client rulers who deny the subject people the elementary conditions of existence – employment, potable water, electricity etc.

The imperial vassals are not present at weddings, sacred holidays or funerals, unlike the resistance fighters. The presence of the latter signals a pledge of loyalty unto death. The resistance circulates freely in cities ,towns and villages with the protection of the local people; and by night they rule enemy terrain, under cover of their own people, who share intelligence and logistics.

Inspiration, solidarity and light arms are more than a match for the drones, missiles and helicopter gunships.

Even the mercenary soldiers ,trained by the Special Forces, defect from and betray their imperial masters. Temporary imperial advances serve only to allow the resistance forces to regroup and counter-attack. They view surrender as a betrayal of their traditional way of life, submission to the boot of western occupation forces and their corrupt officials.

Afghanistan is a prime example of an imperial ‘lost war’. After two decades of warfare and one trillion dollars in military spending, tens of thousands of casualties, the Taliban controls most of the countryside and towns; enters and takes over provincial capitals and bombs Kabul. They will take full control the day after the US departs.

The US military defeats are products of a fatal flaw: imperial planners cannot successfully replace indigenous people with colonial rulers and their local look-alikes.

Wars are not won by high tech weapons directed by absentee officials divorced from the people: they do not share their sense of peace and justice.

Exploited people informed by a spirit of communal resistance and self-sacrifice have demonstrated greater cohesion then rotating soldiers eager to return home and mercenary soldiers with dollar signs in their eyes.

The lessons of lost wars have not been learned by those who preach the power of the military – industrial complex– which makes, sells and profits from weapons but lack the mass of humanity with lesser arms but with great conviction who have demonstrated their capacity to defeat imperial armies.

The Stars and Stripes fly in Washington but remain folded in Embassy offices in Kabul, Tripoli, Damascus and in other lost battlegrounds.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military 
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Introduction

Business writers, neo-liberal economists and politicians in North America and the EU heralded Latin America’s embrace of a ‘new wave of free markets and free elections’. Beginning in 2015 they predicted a new era of growth, stability and good government free of corruption and run by technocratic policy-makers.

By early 2018 the entire neo-liberal edifice was crumbling, the promises and predictions of a neo-liberal success story were forgotten. The ‘naysayers’ were in ascendancy.

This paper will discuss the recent rise of a so-called ‘neo-liberal wave’ or right turn and the regimes directing it.

We will critically re-evaluate the initial claims – and their fragile foundation.

We will outline the promise and program which were promoted by the neo-liberal elite.

We will then evaluate the results which ensured and the ultimate debacle.

We will conclude by examining why neo-liberalism has always been a crisis ridden project, a regime whose fundamentals are structurally unstable and based on capitalisms easy entry and fast departures.

The Neo-liberal ‘Wave’

By the beginning of 2015 and extending to 2018 a series of rightwing neo-liberal regimes came to power in some of the most important countries of Latin America. These included Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia. They joined a cluster of existing ‘free market’ regimes in Mexico, Peru, Honduras and Paraguay.

Wall Street, the financial press and the White House hailed the regime changes as a ‘rightwing wave’, a return to ‘normalcy’ and a rejection of ‘populism’, corruption and economic mismanagement.

Leading investment houses looked forward to technocratic economists’ intent on following the precepts of neo-liberalism.

Bankers and investors looked forward to long-term stability, dynamic growth and lucrative opportunities.

The Neo-liberal Program

The formulae uniformly applied by the neo-liberal regimes included de-regulation of the economy – lowering tariffs, elimination of subsidies on energy, fuels and public utilities; the firing of thousands of public employees and the privatization of entire sectors of the mining, energy telecoms and infrastructure sectors.

Debt moratoriums ended and bankers were rewarded with lucrative billion dollar payments for loans they had purchased, pennies on a dollar.

The neo-liberal rulers promised that foreign investors would flock through the ‘open doors’ with long-term large-scale investments. Lucrative capital gains , benefiting from tax exemptions, would encourage the return of overseas holdings of domestic speculators.

Neo-liberal regimes claimed privatized firms could end corruption, increase employment and mass consumption. They argued that deficits and unemployment, would decline and the ‘neo-liberal wave’ would last a generation or two.

Neo-liberalism: Wave or Wash-out?

Within a year of coming to power, the neo-liberal regimes entered a terminal crisis.

In the first place most regimes came to power through authoritarian paths. In Brazil, Michel Temer took-over the presidency via a congressional coup, based on President Dilma Rousseff’s supposed administrative mismanagement. In Honduras a US backed military coup ousted the progressive liberal government of President Jose Manuel Zelaya, as was the case in Paraguay with President Fernando Lugo. In Argentina, Mauricio Macri exploited the provincial patronage machine, capitalized by a banker-media-agro-mineral alliance, to take power based on a Mexican-style ‘electoral’ process.

In Ecuador newly elected President Lenin Moreno followed a “Trojan Horse” ploy – pretended to follow in the footsteps of national populist President Rafael Correa, but once elected, embraced the Guayaquil oligarchs- Wall Street bankers.

Neo-liberalism’s democratic credentials are of dubious legitimacy.

The socio-economic policies quickly undermined optimistic promises and led to social-economic disasters. The neo-liberal regime in Argentina multiplied unemployment and under-employment twice over while living standards declined precipitously. Tens of thousands of public employees were fired. Interest rates rose to world highs at 65% – effectively eliminating business loans and financing.

Initially business enterprises which were eager to back the neo-liberal regime; but faced with devaluation, debt and depression, investors fled to safer havens after pocketing windfall profits.

In Brazil trucker strikes paralyzed activity and forced the Temer regime to retract its petrol prices.

Popular discord has blocked Temer’s regressive privatization and pension program.

Michel Temer’s popularity fell to single digits. The orthodox economic presidential replacements to Temer lag the Workers’ Party popular leader Lula Da Silva by 30% .The highly neoliberalized judiciary , faced with repudiation, has framed and barred and jailed Lula

In Colombia regime corruption led to a popular referendum, opposed by the far right. Social movements charge the new neo-liberal President Ivan Duque of ignoring and encouraging the assassination of over three hundred social activists over the past three years.

In Honduras and Paraguay, economic stagnation and social regression has driven tens of thousands to flee abroad or engage in militant movements occupying fallow fields.

In Ecuador the fake reform regime’s embrace of the business elite and IMF style ‘adjustments’ has led to wide spread disillusionment. President Moreno’s austerity program has reduced GDP to 1% and has dismantled public programs, as he lays the groundwork for privatizing mines, telecoms and banks.

As the neo-liberal regimes face the abyss, they increasingly rely on a militarized state. In Brazil the military has taken over the favelas; in Argentina military operations have proliferated—- while formerly productive capital has fled, replaced by speculative swindlers.

Conclusion

Neo-liberal regimes take power with Wall Street cheers and collapse with barely a whimper.

While financial journalists and private investment consultants express surprise and attribute the ensuring crises to regime ‘mistakes’ and ‘mismanagement’, the real reasons for the predictable failure of neo-liberal regimes is a result of fundamental flaws.

De-regulation undermines local industries which cannot compete with Asian, US and EU manufacturers. Increases in the costs of utilities bankrupt small and medium producers. Privatization deprives the state of revenues for public financing. Austerity programs lower deficits, undermining domestic consumption and eliminate fiscal financing.

Capital flight and rising interest rates increases the cost of borrowing and devalues the currency.

Devaluations and capital flight deepen the recession and increase inflation. Finance ministers raid reserves to avoid a financial crash.

Austerity, stagnation, unemployment and social regression provokes labor interest and public-sector strikes. Consumer discontent, bankruptcies lead to deep decline of regime popularity.

As the crises unfolds, the regime reshuffles ministers, increases repression and seeks salvation with IMF financing.

Financiers balk sending good money after bad. The neo-liberal regimes enter in a terminal crisis.

While current neo-liberal regimes appear moribund, they still retain state power, a modicum of elite influence and a capacity to exploit internal divisions among their adversaries.

The anti-neoliberal opposition demonstrates its strength in challenging socio-economic policies but have difficulty in formulating an alternative political economic strategy for state power.Financial editors worry that pressure is building for a social explosion –a reply of Argentina 2001,when the President fled in a helicopter.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Latin America, Neoliberalism 
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Introduction

Republicans and Democrats are befuddled by President Trump’s attacks on Canada and Prime Minister Trudeau; has repudiation of NAFTA; the bilateral agreement with Mexico; tariffs, trade quotas and threats of trade constraints of billions more to come.

Many are the experts, political leaders and media commentators who have offered a variety of explanations. The most frequent explanation is that the White House is pursuing a nationalist – protectionist policy to weaken and dominate Canada and to increase the US competitive position. The problem with that argument is that for the better part of a century Canada has followed US imperialism in global and regional wars and interventions on four continents – even where Ottawa has paid a high military, financial, political and human cost. Canada has always been considered a bulwark of the US led NATO alliance, a reliable trading partner and staunch defender of cross border controls.

Trump critics attribute his hostility to his unruly, impulsive and unstable temperament which blocks him from an understanding the ongoing historical legacy. Paramount long-term links are sacrificed for short-term economic gains according to some academics.

Most senior diplomats ,accustomed to friendly negotiations, have privately expressed objections to Trump’s ultimatums and his effort to brow- beat Canada into submission, believing that a few genial tweaks over a re-packaged NAFTA would secure Canadian compliance and submission.

Yet Trump refuses to accept Canada’s partial submission to a modified NAFTA. Apparently, Trump is after long-term, large scale changes which will have a major political, economic and social impact on the US competitive position in the world economy.

Trump’s War Against Canada’s National Health and Education Programs

The US economic elite and workers spend hundreds of billions of dollars in a failed private health system. Canada’s capitulation to Trump’s conditions for a bilateral trade agreement will eventually shift the burden of healthcare from a low cost universal public program to the high cost exclusionary private sector — reducing the competitiveness of Canada’s economy especially its exports.

Trump is neither a demagogue nor an irrational nationalist. He has succeeded in changing Mexico’s trade terms in favor of the US economy, increased the share of US exports and retained a dominant role in setting the terms for re-negotiating agreements. Trump aims for the same result with Canada.

He sizes up Trudeau as an easy mark-‘very dishonest and weak’. The Saudi Arabian reprisals over a human rights issue caused Trudeau to retract. Trump’s on and off the record remarks are intended to humiliate Trudeau and force him to plea for mercy. Trump’s disparaging remarks of Prime Minister Trudeau ,presiding at the 2018 G-7 meeting in Quebec Canada—accusing Canada of ‘robbing the [US] piggy bank’- and his unilateral slapping of tariffs– went uncontested.

Trump’s aggressive posture is directed at eliminating those features of Canadian society and economy which are appealing for US working families. Trump’s strategy is to lower Canada’s competitiveness not raise US living standards. US prescription drugs are 60% higher than Canada; the US private health bureaucracy costs the economy five times more than Canada’s public health administration.

Conclusion

Trump’s trade rules are intended to pressure Canada to lose competitiveness and reduce its attractiveness to the US public. If he succeeds Trump will reduce pressure from the ‘single payer’ majority and gain support from US exporters to Canada.

In sum, from a US capitalist perspective, Trump is using his political bullying to increase profits and exports markets.

The vast majority of Canadians back their public administered and financed health system. They will resist any effort to reduce it via incremented ‘rulings’ by bilateral US-Mexican-Canadian bodies. They will realize that the deck is loaded in Trump’s favor. If Canada is to retain what remains of its welfare state it will have to break with its dependence on Washington – including its support for overseas wars, trade sanctions and Washington’s drive for world domination. A new political leadership in the fashion of Tommy Douglas will need to replace Justin Trudeau. The question is where will it come from?

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Canada, Health Care 
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Introduction

The mass media and political leaders of the US have resorted to denouncing competitors and adversaries as spies engaged in criminal theft of vital political, economic and military know-how.

The spy-mania has spread every place and all the time, it has become an essential element in driving national criminal hearings, global economic warfare and military budgets.

In this paper we will analyze and discuss the use and abuse of spy-mongering by (1) identifying the accused countries which are targeted; (2) the instruments of the spy conspiracy; (3) the purpose of the ‘spy attacks’.

Spies, Spies Everywhere: A Multi-Purpose Strategy

Washington’s ‘spy-strategy’ resorts to multiple targets, focusing on different sectors of activities.

Russia has been accused of poisoning adversaries, using overseas operatives in England. The evidence is non-existent. The accusation revolves around an instant lethal poison which in fact did not lead to death.

No Russian operative was identified. The only ‘evidence’ was that Russia possessed the poison- as did the US and other countries. The events took place in England and the British government played a major role in pointing the finger toward Russia and in launching a global media campaign which was amplified in the US and in the EU.

The UK expelled Russian diplomats and threatened sanctions. The Trump regime picked up the cudgels, increasing economic sanctions and demanding that Russia ‘confess’ to its ‘homicidal behavior’. The poison plot resonated with the Democratic Party campaign against Trump , accusing Russia of meddling in the Presidential election, on Trump’s behalf. No evidence was presented. But the less the evidence, the longer the investigation and the wider the conspiratorial net; it now includes overseas business people, students and diplomats.

US conspiracy officials targeted China, accusing the Chinese government of stealing US technology, scientific research and patents. China’s billion dollar “Belt and Road” agreement with over sixty countries was presented as a communist plot to dominate countries, grab their resources, generate debt dependency and to recruit overseas networks of covert operatives. In fact, China’s plans were public, accepted by most of the US allies and …membership was even offered to the US.

Iran was accused of plotting to establish overseas terrorist military operations in Yemen, Iraq and Syria – targeting the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia. No evidence was ever presented. In fact, massive US and EU supplied arms and advisors to Saudi Arabia’s overt terror bombing of Houthi-led Yemen cities and populations. Iran backed the Syrian government in opposition to the US backed armed mercenaries. Iranian advisers in Syria were bombed by Israel – and never retaliated.

The US policy elite resort to conspiratorial plots and spying depends heavily on the mass media to repeat and elaborate on the charges endlessly, depending on self-identified experts and ex-pats from the targeted country. In effect the media is the message. Media-state collaboration is reinforced by the application of sanctions— the punishment proves guilt!

In the case of Russia, the conspirators demonize President Putin; he is ‘guilty’ because he was an ex-official of the police; he was accused of ‘seizing’ Crimea which voted to rejoin Russia. In other words, plots are linked to unrelated activity, personality disorders and to US self-inflicted defeats!

Labeling is another tool common to conspiracy plotters; China is a ‘dictatorship’ intent on taking over the world— therefore, it could only defeat the US through spying and stealing secrets and assets from the US.

Iran is labelled a ‘terrorist state’ which allows the US to violate the international nuclear agreement and to support Israeli demands for economic sanctions. No evidence is ever presented that Iran invaded or terrorized any state.

The Political Strategy Behind Conspiracy Terrorists

There are several important motives for the US government to resort to conspiracy plots.

By accusing countries of crimes, it hopes that the accused will respond by revealing their inability or unwillingness to engage in the action falsely attributed to them. Pentagon plots put adversaries on the defensive – spending time and energy answering to the US agenda rather than pursuing and advancing their own.

For example, the US claims that China is stealing economic technology to promote its superiority, is designed to pressure China to downplay or modify its long-term plan for strategic growth. While China will not give general credence to US conspiracy practitioners,

it has downplayed the slogans designed to motivate its scientists to “Make China Great’.

Likewise, the US conspiracy practitioners accusation that Iran is ‘meddling’ in Yemen and Syria is designed to distract world opinion from the US military support for Saudi Arabia’s terror bombing in Yemen and Israel’s missile attacks in Syria.

Plot accusations have had some effect in Syria. Russia has demanded or asked Iran to withdraw fifty miles from the Israeli border. Apparently Iran has lowered its support for Yemen.

Russia has been blanketed with unsubstantiated accusations of intervening in the Ukraine, which distracts attention from Washington’s support for the mob-led coup.

The UK claim that Russia planted a deadly poison, was concocted in order to distract attention from the Brexit fiasco and Prime Minister May’s effort to entice the US to sign a major trade agreement.

How Successful are Conspiratorial Politics?

The greatest success of the US conspiracy practitioners has been in convincing the US mass media to act as an arm of the CIA-Pentagon-Congressional and Presidential interventionist agenda.

Secondly, the conspiracy has had an impact on both political parties – especially the Democratic leadership, which has waged a political war accusing Trump of plotting with Russia, to defeat Clinton in the presidential elections. However, Democratic conspiracy advocates have sacrificed their popular electorate who are more interested in economic issues then in regime plots – and may lose to the Republicans in the fall 2018 Congressional elections.

Thirdly, the plot and spy line has some impact on the EU but not on their public. Moreover, the EU is more concerned with President Trump’s trade war and made overtures to Russia.

Fourthly, China , Iran and Russia have moved closer economically in response to the conspiracy plots and trade wars.

Conclusion: The Perils of Power Grabbers

Conspiratorial plots have a narrow audience, mostly the US mass media and elite . They seem to have a short-term impact in justifying sanctions and trade wars. The media plotters having called wolf and proved nothing ,have lost credibility among a wide swath of the public.

Moreover, the conspiracy has not resulted in any basic shifts in the orientation of their adversaries, nor has it shaped the electoral agenda for the majority of US voters.

The conspiracy advocates have discredited themselves by the transparency of their fabrications and the flimsiness of their evidence. In the long-run, historians will provide a footnote on the bankruptcy of US foreign and domestic policy based on plots and conspiracies.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Media, Deep State, Russia 
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Introduction

Few, if any, believe what they hear and read from leaders and media publicists. Most people choose to ignore the cacophony of voices, vices and virtues.

This paper provides a set of theses which purports to lay-out the basis for a dialogue between and among those who choose to abstain from elections with the intent to engage them in political struggle.

Thesis 1

US empire builders of all colors and persuasion practice donkey tactics; waving the carrot and wielding the whip to move the target government on the chosen path.

In the same way, Washington offers dubious concessions and threatens reprisals, in order to move them into the imperial orbit.

Washington applied the tactic successfully in several recent encounters. In 2003 the US offered Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi a peaceful accommodation in exchange for disarmament, abandonment of nationalist allies in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In 2011, the US with its European allies applied the whip – bombed Libya, financed and armed retrograde tribal and terrorist forces, destroyed the infrastructure, murdered Gaddafi and uprooted millions of Africans and Libyans. . . who fled to Europe. Washington recruited mercenaries for their subsequent war against Syria in order to destroy the nationalist Bashar Assad regime.

Washington succeeded in destroying an adversary but did not establish a puppet regime in the midst of perpetual conflict.

The empire’s carrot weakened its adversary, but the stick failed to recolonize Libya ..Moreover its European allies are obligated to pay the multi-billion Euro cost of absorbing millions of uprooteded immigrants and the ensuing domestic political turmoil.

Thesis 2

Empire builders’ proposal to reconfigure the economy in order to regain imperial supremacy provokes domestic and overseas enemies. President Trump launched a global trade war, replaced political accommodation with economic sanctions against Russia and a domestic protectionist agenda and sharply reduced corporate taxes. He provoked a two-front conflict. Overseas, he provoked opposition from European allies and China, while facing perpetual harassment from domestic free market globalists and Russo-phobic political elites and ideologues.

Two front conflicts are rarely successful. Most successful imperialist conquer adversaries in turn – first one and then the other.

Thesis 3

Leftists frequently reverse course: they are radicals out of office and reactionaries in government, eventually falling between both chairs. We witness the phenomenal collapse of the German Social Democratic Party, the Greek Socialist Party (PASOK), (and its new version Syriza) and the Workers Party in Brazil. Each attracted mass support, won elections, formed alliances with bankers and the business elite – and in the face of their first crises, are abandoned by the populace and the elite.

Shrewd but discredited elites frequently recognize the opportunism of the Left, and in time of distress, have no problem in temporarily putting up with Left rhetoric and reforms as long as their economic interests are not jeopardized. The elite know that the Left signal left and turn right.

Thesis 4

Elections, even ones won by progressives or leftists, frequently become springboards for imperial backed coups. Over the past decade newly elected presidents, who are not aligned with Washington, face congressional and/or judicial impeachment on spurious charges. The elections provide a veneer of legitimacy which a straight-out military-coup lacks.

In Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela, ‘legislatures’ under US tutelage attempted to ouster popular President. They succeeded in the former and failed in the latter.

When electoral machinery fails, the judicial system intervenes to impose restraints on progressives, based on tortuous and convoluted interpretation of the law. Opposition leftists in Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador have been hounded by ruling party elites.

Thesis 5

Even crazy leaders speak truth to power. There is no question that President Trump suffers a serious mental disorder, with midnight outbursts and nuclear threats against, any and all, ranging from philanthropic world class sports figures (LeBron James) to NATO respecting EU allies.

Yet in his lunacy, President Trump has denounced and exposed the repeated deceits and ongoing fabrications of the mass media. Never before has a President so forcefully identified the lies of the leading print and TV outlets. The NY Times, Washington Post, the Financial Times, NBC, CNN, ABC and CBS have been thoroughly discredited in the eyes of the larger public. They have lost legitimacy and trust. Where progressives have failed, a war monger billionaire has accomplished, speaking a truth to serve many injustices.

Thesis 6

When a bark turns into a bite, Trump proves the homely truth that fear invites aggression. Trump has implemented or threatened severe sanctions against the EU, China, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, North Korea and any country that fails to submit to his dictates. At first, it was bombast and bluster which secured concessions.

Concessions were interpreted as weakness and invited greater threats. Disunity of opponents encouraged imperial tacticians to divide and conquer. But by attacking all adversaries simultaneously he undermines that tactic. Threats everywhere limits choices to dangerous options at home and abroad.

Thesis 7

The master meddlers, of all times, into the politics of sovereign states are the Anglo-American empire builders. But what is most revealing is the current ploy of accusing the victims of the crimes that are committed against them.

After the overthrow of the Soviet regime, the US and its European acolytes ‘meddled’ on a world-historic scale, pillaging over two trillion dollars of Soviet wealth and reducing Russian living standards by two thirds and life expectancy to under sixty years – below the level of Bangladesh.

With Russia’s revival under President Putin, Washington financed a large army of self-styled ‘non-governmental organizations’ (NGO) to organize electoral campaigns, recruited moguls in the mass media and directed ethnic uprisings. The Russians are retail meddlers compared to the wholesale multi-billion-dollar US operators.

Moreover, the Israelis have perfected meddling on a grand scale – they intervene successfully in Congress, the White House and the Pentagon. They set the Middle East agenda, budget and priorities, and secure the biggest military handouts on a per-capita basis in US history!

Apparently, some meddlers meddle by invitation and are paid to do it.

Thesis 8

Corruption is endemic in the US where it has legal status and where tens of millions of dollars change hands and buy Congress people, Presidents and judges.

In the US the buyers and brokers are called ‘lobbyists’ – everywhere else they are called fraudsters. Corruption (lobbying) grease the wheels of billion dollars military spending, technological subsidies, tax evading corporations and every facet of government – out in the open, all the time and place of the US regime.

Corruption as lobbying never evokes the least criticism from the mass media.

On the other hand, where corruption takes place under the table in Iran, China and Russia, the media denounce the political elite – even where in China over 2 million officials, high and the low are arrested and jailed.

When corruption is punished in China, the US media claim it is merely a ‘political purge’ even if it directly reduces elite conspicuous consumption.

In other words, imperial corruption defends democratic value; anti-corruption is a hallmark of authoritarian dictatorships.

Thesis 9

 
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Introduction

For decades and longer, the United States and Europe lectured and encouraged countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia to welcome and accept foreign investment as the virtuous path to modernization, growth and prosperity.

With few notable exceptions western leaders and academics promoted unlimited flows of capital (and the outflows of profits). No section of the targeted economies was off-limits – agriculture, mining, manufacturers, utilities, transport and communication were to be ‘modernized’ through US and European ownership and control.

Third World leaders, whether generals, bankers or landowners who abided by the ‘open markets’doctrine and ‘invited’ foreign ownership, were praised, whether they were dictators or elected by hook or crook. Nationalism and nationalists were condemned as restricting the wheels of progress and blocking the March of History.

To be fair, the western regimes encouraged all countries to open their doors to capital flows – but of course only the imperial countries had the capital, technology and political power to do so.

Economists preached the doctrine of specialization in ‘comparative advantage’: the West to invest, profit and dominate markets and the South to accept low wages, junior partnerships and dependent industries.

This system worked very well for the West as long as they were the dominant power and shaped the markets, flows of capital and the terms of exchange.

Nationalist leaders were condemned, sanctioned, ousted and demonized throughout the time of Anglo-American ascendancy.

Through time and efforts, Third World countries followed another path – through revolutions or reforms, through state direction and national entrepreneurs, they invested, innovated, borrowed and transformed their economies. Over time, some like China, began to successfully compete with Western powers for markets, minerals and technology.

Role Reversal: Imperial Washington Denounces China for Colonizing the Economy

As the US Empire failed to out-compete China, not only in overseas markets, but in sectors of the domestic economy, local manufacturers relocated to China and Mexico or went bankrupt or merged or were acquired by foreign capital – notably China.

Nationalism replaced neo-liberalism and globalism among sectors of the ruling class especially among political ideologies grouped around President Trump.

The nationalists forged a national pluto-populist alliance, linking Wall Street, backward sectors of the capitalist class with displaced and under and unemployed workers under the umbrella of ‘protectionist rhetoric’: massive business tax cuts and tariffs, quotas and taxes on European, Asian and North American competitors. Gone were Washington lectures on free markets and the virtues of globalization and multi-lateral trade agreements.

The new protectionism echoed the rhetoric of 18th and 19th century America and the Great Depresion era Smoot-Hawley tariff. Earlier the US claimed tariffs were necessary to protect and foster so-called ‘infant’ industries; twenty-first century protectionism claims it is to protect ‘national security’ from cross oceanic rival (China) and cross border (Canada, Mexico)—-mortal military threats………..

President Trump adopted the ideology of Third World national liberation governments to undermine its—imperial competitors. Washington,s ersatz ‘nationalist’ empire builders were abated by their media allies, who spilled tons of ink attacking ‘imperial’ China’s overseas investments as ‘plundering’ Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Washington projected an image of the US surrounded by enemies everywhere, who were ‘taking advantage’ of their privileged position in order to exploit a ‘weak America’.

President Trump reverted the nationalist slogans of Third World liberation into imperialist calls to “Make Americas Empire Strong” “

Third World nationalism is an ideology to create domestic markets and industries in largely agro-mineral economies, through public-private investment and state ownership, oversight, regulation and subsidies.

Nationalism of declining empires is the ideology of authoritarian militarists and fascist regimes which no longer can compete in the market place.

Imperial countries in decline have several options.

  1. They can adapt to the new realities by upgrading their economies , reducing overseas military commitments, reallocating budgets and investments and educating their labor force to productive activity.
  2. They can form partnerships with emerging competitors via power sharing, innovations, joint ventures and multi-lateral trade agreements.
  3. They can engage in trade wars, overseas military conquests or encircle emerging rivals through sanctions, tariffs and protectionist fiats.

Nostalgia for the past ‘glory’ of unipolarity , economic supremacy and unquestioned ideological superiority, is a formula for losing wars and a Hobbesian world of all against the predator.

Conclusion

In the beginning a nationalist-populist revival can stimulate growth as rivals will appease the aggressor; the imperial classes will prosper through lower taxes; the ‘deplorables’ may glory in the rhetoric of nationalism and expectation of ‘great thing are coming’.

But tax gains mean bigger debts; appeaser nations in the face of permanent losses of vital exports will retaliate .. and succumb to the protectionist contagion. Imperial globalists will turn into nationalists.

Nationalist will replace impotent neo-liberal social democrats. Workers will turn to nationalists to recover their lost workplace and neighborhood solidarity; nationalists will exploit downward mobility and appeal to images of past prosperity.

National plutocrats will turn to authoritarians who speak to popular grievances in order to deflect class antagonism.Nationalists will gain a popular audience in the face of a left that avoids , dismisses or rejects the shared values of local communities. Liberal and progressive support of overseas wars which increase the flow of immigrants , alienates the working and middle class taxpayers

The declining empire will not die early.

The nationalist revival can revive imperial ‘last hurrah! The fear and loathing of being colonized is the driving force for the new imperial revival.The lies and hypocrisy accompanying the older imperial claims of conquest in the name of ‘defending western values’ no long works.

A consequential opposition can only emerge if it links class and nationalist appeals to community values and social solidarity.

 
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Introduction

Political leaders, media moguls and journalists have saturated the public throughout the world with claims and accusations that President Trump is destroying the World Order, undermining historic alliances, western values, the world trade organizations and violating national and international constitutions and institutions.

In the United States, legislators, judges and leaders from both parties have accused President Trump of being a traitor for fraternizing and serving as a tool of Russian President Putin.

This paper will analyze and discuss these claims and accusations. We will begin by comparing and discussing the actions and reactions of President Trump’s predecessors to determine whether there has been a ‘break’ with the past. This requires an examination of his ‘inheritance’ – what actions preceded his Presidency.

Secondly, we will evaluate what President Trump has said and what he has done and their significance.

We will conclude by examining whether the conflicts are of world historical significant or a tempest in a teapot and whether President Trump has acted against the current World Order in search of a new world order.

President Trump’s Inheritance: What ‘World’ what ‘Order”?

To speak of a “World” is an abstraction – our life is built around many micro, local, regional and macro ‘worlds’ which are connected and disconnected. The world of President Trump is the imperial world, centered in US supremacy; the regional world is centered in its allies and satellites. In so far as Trump has forced divisions with the European Union, and threatened China he has called into question the existing world order. However, he has failed to construct a new ‘world order’.

Trump inherited a world disorder riven by prolonged regional wars in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Under the previous four presidents imperial values replaced democratic ideals as witnessed by the millions slaughtered in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Palestine over the past two decades.

President Trump is attempting to reconfigure a world order based on economic pressure, military threats and political bluster.

In the process of ‘remaking’ a US centered world order Trump generates chaos and disorder in order to strengthen his hand in future negotiations and settlements. Trump’s so-called ‘craziness’ is a tactic to secure a ‘better deal’, as is the case today in the agreement with the EU . An approach with short term gains unforeseen middle term consequences.

In fact Trump has done little to unmake the existing order. The US militarily surrounded China under ex-President Obama a policy Trump follows to the letter. Washington remains in NATO and trades with the EU. The Pentagon continues wars in the Middle East. Treasury finances Israeli ethnic cleansing.

In other words, Trump has been un willing and unable to extricate the US from the political mess of his predecessors.

He has increased the military budget but has not been able to project power. Trump has threatened trade wars across the globe but in fact trade has increased and deficits remain in place.

Despite Trump’s claims of a ‘great’ transformation and his enemies’ charges of systematic destruction, the question remains —what has really changed?

Rhetoric is Reality under Trump and Anti-Trump

Few signposts changes have taken place despite the bluster and the rhetoric in the political ‘playpen’.

Despite changes in personalities the underlying political structures remain in place and promise to continue, despite elections and unending investigations and revelations.

The so-called ‘trade war’ has failed to reduce world trade; employment remains unchanged; inequalities persist and deepen.Policies threatening war alternate with peace overtures.Increases in military budgets are spent by and for armchair generals.

Democrats and Republicans denounce each other ,and share coctails and dinner, believing they have done an ‘honest day’s work’…

Immigrants are seized, interned and expelled to nations run by death squads funded by elected US politicians from both parties.

Trump threatens a catastrophic war against Iran while sanctions fail to deter Teheran from developing ties with Europe and Asia.

Domestic agendas promising ‘transformations’ come and go, while trillion dollar infrastructure promises disappear down the memory hole.

Rousing denunciations echo in the legislative chambers but are suspended, to secure bi-partisans’ approval, so that multi billion dollars can be added to the military budget.

Tax giveaways to the very rich provoke inconsequential debates.

Armchair assassins pretend to be journalists and direct the Pentagon to disobey the ‘traitor’ President and launch a war, evoking a response by the President— threatening new wars. Neither of whom will risk their own skin!

Employers claim there is a shortage of skilled workers, forgetting to fund vocational education or raise wages and salaries.

Candidates for office spend millions but the more they spend, the fewer the voters.

Abstention is the majoritarian response to phony trade wars, fake Russian meddling, bipartisan charades, porn politics, and tweets as hand shaped turds.

Conclusion

The overwhelming reality is that ‘chaos’ is like foam on a stale beer: very few, if any, changes have taken place.

The World Order remains in place, unmoved by inconsequential trade tiffs between Europe, and North America .

Washington’s angry voices are hollow farts compared to China’s multi-billion dollar infrastructure expansion of the Belt and Road across West Africa.

In the ongoingworld order, Washington increases its Israeli handouts to 38 billion for the next decade and budgets 4% of its GNP to robotize the military-industrial complex.

The President alternates tweets commands on war and peace, to his trusted and disloyal cabinet members,and honest and dishonest intelligence operative.

Under the same tent, investigators investigate each other.

All of which is not a bad thing – because nothing changes— for the worst at least up to now: no treason or impeachment trials; no peace or new wars in the Middle East, no trade or nuclear wars!

But there is no reason to believe that threats could not become a reality.

Netanyahu can lead Trump by the nose to a catastrophic war against Iran.

Trump can provoke a trade war with China.

Climate change can lead to the seven plagues of Biblical proportions.

Economic bubbles can burst and central banks may be unable to bail out the banks too big to fail.

Every disaster that has been promised and not happened can become reality.

In the meantime, prophets of doom and gloom cash their weekly checks and tick off the list of inequities of their chosen adversaries. The ten percent who defend or opposes the world order still determine who rules the rest of the ninety percent. No wonder there is bipartisan support to increase police powers!

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, Neoliberalism 
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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