The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>
Topics Filter?
2016 Election 9/11 Afghanistan American Media American Military Argentina Barack Obama Bolivia Brazil Capitalism China Colombia Cuba Deep State Donald Trump Economics Eurozone Financial Crisis Foreign Policy France Free Trade Gaza Globalization Greece Hillary Clinton History Hugo Chavez Ideology Imperialism Inequality Iran Iraq ISIS Israel Israel Lobby Israel/Palestine Jews Latin America Mexico Middle East Neocons Neoliberalism Obama Philippines Poverty Russia Socialism Syria Terrorism The Left Turkey Ukraine Venezuela Wall Street Working Class 2004 Election 2006 Election 2008 Election 2010 Election 2012 Election 2014 Election Academia Africa Agriculture ALCA American Left Anders Breivik Anti-Semitism Antiwar Movement Arab Spring Artificial Intelligence Asian Financial Crisis Assassinations Banking Industry Banking System Benjamin Netanyahu Benny Morris Bernie Sanders Billionaires Brexit BRICs Britain Canada Catholic Church Chile China/America Christmas Chuck Schumer CIA Civil Liberties Class Struggle Colonialism Color Revolution Communism Congress Corruption Culture Daniel Bell David Petraeus Deficits Democratic Party Dominique Strauss-Kahn Drone War Drugs Duterte Ebola Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Elections Elena Kagan Emmanuel Macron Erdogan EU European Right FBI Federal Reserve Feminism Financial Bailout Financial Times Ford Foundation Foreign Investment Germany Globalism Government Surveillance Gun Control Haiti Haredim Health Care Holocaust Hurricane Katrina IMF Immigration India Inflation Intellectuals International Law Internet Iraq War Islam Joseph Nye Justice Kurds Laurence Fink Left/Right Liberalism Libya Madoff Swindle Marine Le Pen Marxism Meritocracy Mohammed Bin Salman Mortality Mossad Nancy Pelosi Nationalism NATO Noam Chomsky Norman Finkelstein North Korea Oil Olympics Opioids Orlando Shooting Osama Bin Laden Oxytocin Pearl Harbor Peru Police State Populism Post-Communism Prescription Drugs Privatization Propaganda Race/Ethnicity Religion Reverend Wright Richard Nixon Ruling Class Russia-Georgia War Saudi Arabia Social Democracy Social Security Somalia Soviet Union Spanish Language Supreme Court Syriza Tax Cuts Tax Evasion Third World Torture Tropical Storm Sandy Unions United Nations Vietnam Vladimir Putin Welfare State White Americans White Death Workers World Cup Yemen Zionism
Nothing found
 TeasersJames Petras Blogview

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
🔊 Listen RSS

The mass murder and wounding of 97 Muslim worshipers in Christchurch, New Zealand (NZ) which took place on Friday, March 15, 2019, has profound political, ideological and psychological roots.

First and most important, Western countries led by the Anglo-American world has been at war killing and uprooting millions of Muslims with impunity over the past thirty years. Leading media pundits,political spokespeople and ideologues have identified Muslims as a global terror threat and the targets of a ‘war against terror’. On the very day of the NZ massacre, Israel launched large-scale air attacks on one hundred targets in Gaza. Israel has killed several hundred and wounded over twenty thousand unarmed Palestinians in less than two years. The Israeli massacres take place on Friday the Muslim Sabbath.

Islamophobia is a mass ongoing phenomenon which far exceeds other ‘hate crimes’ throughout the west and permeate Judeo-Christian cultural-political institutions. Western and Israeli political leaders having imposed extremely restrictive immigration policies – in some countries a complete ban on Muslim immigrants. Israeli goes a step further by uprooting and expelling long-standing Islamic residents. Clearly the NZ murderer followed the Western/Israeli practice.

Secondly, in recent years, violent fascist and white supremacy thugs have been tolerated by all the Western regimes and are free to propagate violent anti-Muslim words and deeds. Most of the anti-Muslim massacres were announced in advance on the so-called social media such as Twitter, which reaches millions of followers.

Thirdly, while the local and federal police collect ‘data’ and spy on Muslims and law-abiding citizens, they apparently fail to include self-identified murderous anti-Muslim advocates.

Such as the case in the recent New Zealand mass murderer, Brenton Torrant.

The police and NZ Security Intelligence Services did not keep files and surveillance on Torrant, despite his open embrace of violent white supremacy and leading supremacists including the Norwegian Anders Brevet murderer of over 70 children-campers.

Torrant published a 74 page anti-Muslim manifesto easily available to anyone with a computer – even a dumb cop– let along the entire New Zealand security forces. Torrant planned the attack months in advance, yet he was not on any ‘watch list’.

Torrant had no trouble getting a gun license and buying a dozen high-powered weapons, including the material for improvised explosive devices (IED), which the police later discovered attached to a vehicle.

Why were the Police Late

The Al Noor Mosque which suffered the greatest number killed and wounded was in downtown Christchurch less than 5 minutes from the police headquarters – yet the police took over 36 minutes to respond. The white supremacist was allowed time to murder and maim; to leave the mosque and return to his car; reload and re-enter the mosque; empty his ammo on the Muslims worshipping—- using a civilian version of a M16; drive off to the Linwood Islamic Center and slaughter and maim several more Muslim worshipers, before the police finally appeared on the scene and apprehended him.

The mayor praised the police! One might suspect the authorities were in connivance!

What accounts for the total absence or failure of the political authorities and security forces: the lack of prior investigation; the delays at the time of the crimes; and the lack of any self-criticism?

The Rise of the Anti-Immigrant anti-Muslim Far Right

The Brenton Torrants’ are proliferating around the world and not because they are mentally disturbed or self-induced psycho paths. They are less products of white supremacy ideology and more likely products of the Western and Israeli wars against Muslims – their leaders provide the rationale, their methods (weapons) and claims of immunity.

Western regimee keep files on environmentalist and anti-war protestors but not on anti-Muslim supremacists, openly preparing war against ‘invading’ Muslim immigrants – fleeing US and EU war on the Middle East.

The police take a half-minute to respond to the shooting of a police officer. They do not allow police killers to shoot, re-arm, shoot and move on to another police target.

I do not believe the delays are local police negligence.

The massacre was a result of the fact that the victims were Muslims, in a mosque. The tears and wreaths, the prayers and flags after the fact do not and will not change the murder of Muslim people.

Educational campaigns to counter Islamophobia may help, if and only if effective state action is directed against the Western and Israeli wars against Islamic countries and people.

Only when Western elected officials end imposing special restrictions against so-called ‘invading’ Muslims, will ‘White supremacists’ and their ideological offspring cease recruiting followers among otherwise normal citizens.

Massacres at mosques and crimes against individual Muslims will cease to occur when imperialist states and their rulers stop invading, occupying and uprooting Islamic countries and people.

 
🔊 Listen RSS

Going into the third year of President Trump’s presidency, it is necessary to draw a balance sheet on who is winning and/or losing.

We will proceed by first analyzing domestic outcomes and then turn to foreign policy

Power Bases of the Parties

The Democrats secured a majority in Congress, but the Republican retained their majority in the Senate; Trump’s appointments to the Supreme Court secured a majority.

The Democrats received the support of four major television propaganda outlets (ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR), to one for the Republicans (FOX). The news print media reflected a similar advantage for the Democrats – the NY Times, the Washington Post, The Financial Times backed the Democrats while the Wall Street Journal leaned to President Trump with notable exceptions on trade policy.

Party Successes and Failures

The Democrats succeeded in diverting President Trump from most of his political agenda via prolonged ‘hearings’ on Russia, and charges of Trump collusion ; the Mueller investigation; the funding of the US-Mexico border; and other peripheral issues.

President Trump succeeded in major tax cuts for the wealthy – with the support of the Congressional Democrats – a major win.

The principal programmatic issues proposed by both parties were never raised.

The Democrats ecological agenda and international accords were defeated by Trump; on the other hand the Republicans failed to reverse most of the existing environmental agreements.

Trump succeeded in reversing or revising US trade agreements especially the Trans Pacific Partnership, the US-Iran Nuclear (and sanctions) Agreement, and revision of NAFTA. The Democrats were divided and ineffective critics.

While both the President and Congress claimed to support a massive multi-billion-dollar federal infrastructure program to rebuild the crumbling structures, nothing was done.

The Trump administration promise to ‘re-industrialize’ the US was a failure, as several major manufacturers left, and a few returned to the US.

Growth was largely in the ‘service sector’ especially at the high end of finance and the low end – in nursing homes, restaurants and cleaners.

Democrats promoted the elite in Silicon Valley and billionaire retailers like Amazon.

In a word the economic policies of both the President and Congress failed to promote ‘structural changes’; their major tax reforms were regressive; severe income inequalities remained in place.

Trump increased gender, racial and sexual discrimination, while the Democrats opposed his policies with mixed results.

Trump encouraged the far-right to mobilize against abortion and in support of police violence against Afro-Americans; the Democratic Party provided verbal opposition to Trump’s rollback;most of their energy was directed to peripheral issues —Trump’s sexual escapades and other personality issues.

Foreign Policy

President Trump’s electoral agenda promised to end US military intervention in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. The Democrats were opposed and condemned his ‘appeasement’. The Democratic Congress joined forces with Trump’s neo-conservative cabinet and Senate hawks in reversing Trump’s agenda – he retained troop everywhere; and extended sanctions against Russia, Iran, Venezuela and China.

The Democrats joined with US multi-national corporations in defense of ‘globalization or free trade, defeating Trump’s initial protectionist “America First” policies. In the end Trump combined the worst trade policies of the Democrats in Congress with the war policies of key senior Cabinet members (Pompeo, Bolton, Abrams et al.).

Trump followed and deepened the Congressional Democrats war policies. Under Democratic pressure Trump retained US troops in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan; supported Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen; backed Israel’s conquest of Palestine; recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and increased military aid to Netanyahu.

Led by the Democrats, Trump’s administration equated criticism of Israeli war crimes with ‘anti-Semitism’ and sought to make it a criminal offense.

Trump’s original overtures to improving relations with Russia were reversed. Under Democratic pressure via the Mueller ‘show trials’ the Trump Administration joined the anti-Russia chorus.

Likewise with China, Democrats demanded a ‘turn to Asia’ which included trade sanctions and restrictions; Trump went one step further by promoting a trade war.

Trump recognized North Korea as a trading partner, the Democrats condemned his opening. Trump capitulated and embraced non-reciprocal negotiations.

Trump’s adoption of the Democrats hardline foreign policy served only as a propaganda tool for the Democrats to condemn his failure to implement it through a coalition with allies

Trump sanctions and coup policies directed against Venezuela’s elected government followed in the footsteps of the Obama regime – with greater force. The majority of both parties –with the exception of a handful of junior Democratic Congresspeople– support US intervention including a pending US military invasion.

While Trump broke the Iran nuclear agreement negotiated by Obama, many if not most of the Democrats did not object because of their close ties to Israel.

Conclusion

Neither President Trump nor the Democratic Congress have secured clear and decisive victory in their ongoing political conflicts and spats.

Trump has failed to reduce the trade deficit – in fact it has risen over the past two years.

Democrats have trumpeted the result but cannot claim that they have an alternative. Trump succeeded in raising the military budget with the backing of the Democrats, ignoring social needs. Trump succeeded in reducing taxes for the rich. Despite critics on the left of the Democratic Party, most of its leaders joined the Republicans ,simply mouthing verbal criticism of Trumps tax give away as ‘one-sided’.

Trump has been defeated on the issues of abortion, gay and minority rights but the Democrats have failed to advance the struggles, especially the issues of police violence against racial minorities.

Trump has blocked any attempt to introduce a national public health program for all. But a majority of Democratic legislators have sided with Trump, despite the fact that the voters from both parties support it.

The biggest victory for the Democrats has been to divert Trump from his political and economic agenda through public hearings and Congressional investigations into his hush money payoffs, private real estate deals, dubious tax payments and his supposed meetings and chats with “the Russians”.

Trump initially promised to reduce the US military presence but under pressure from his own Cabinet and advisors, recommitted US troops to all the losing war zones – including the US originated wars in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Libya.

Likewise, Trump opened the door to negotiations with Russia and North Korea but retracted under attack from his Cabinet and the Democratic majority.

In a perverse manner, the Democratic Congress has defeated Trump on his initial peace initiatives and scored wins in lowering funding for the President’s Mexican border wall.

In sum, the Democrats ‘victories’ have exacerbated the state’s global war agenda.

The Democrats domestic victories have led to the blocking of parts of Trump’s reactionary domestic program.

The ‘victories’ of both parties have had a regressive effect on the vast majority of workers and employees.

At most, political diversion have prevented further regression.

Clearly the so-called ‘division of powers’, ‘competitive parties’ and ‘bipartisan’ politics have not led to ‘representative government’ or democratic results.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Democratic Party, Donald Trump 
🔊 Listen RSS

Introduction

The US is currently engaged in negotiations with at least a dozen countries; which involve fundamental political, military and economic issues.

The US has adopted diplomatic strategies in the face of its ‘inability’ to secure military victories. The purpose of adopting a diplomatic approach is to secure through negotiations, in part or fully, goals and advantages unattainable through military means.

While diplomacy is less subject to military and economic losses it does require making concessions. Negotiations are only successful if there are reciprocal benefits to both parties.

Those regimes which demand maximum advantages and minimum concessions, usually fail or succeed because they are based on very unequal power relations.

We will proceed to evaluate Washington’s success or failure in recent negotiations and analyze the reasons and consequences for the outcome.

US – North Korea Negotiations

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un have been engaged in negotiations, for nearly a year. The White House has prioritized the ‘de-nuclearization’ of the peninsula which includes dismantling nuclear weapons, missiles, test sets and other strategic military objectives.

North Korea seeks the end of economic sanctions, the signing of a US-Korean peace treaty and diplomatic recognition. A decisive meeting between the two took place Feb. 26-27, 2019 in Hanoi.

The negotiations were a total failure. Washington failed to secure any gains, nor did they advance the peace process; and there are no future prospects.

North Korea offered three significant concessions which were not reciprocated. President Kim Jong-Un proposed to (1) dismantle nuclear testing sites (2) announce a moratorium on nuclear tests and inter-continental range ballistic missiles tests (3) agreed to partially dismantle missile engine test sites.

Washington offered nothing in return – instead it demanded total disarmament; no lifting of sanctions; no signing of the end of the US-Korea war.

Washington’s asymmetrical ‘negotiations’ were pre-determined to fail. The US underestimated the capacity of the North Koreans to insist on reciprocity; they believed that future verbal promises would entice the North Koreans to disarm. The Koreans were fully aware of the recent US record of reneging on signed agreements with Iran, China and its partners in the Belt and Road agreement.

Moreover, North Korea had powerful allies in China and Russia and nuclear weapons to resist added US pressure.

US – Iran Negotiations

US and Iran negotiated an agreement to terminate economic sanctions in exchange for ending nuclear weapons development. It temporarily succeeded but was quickly reversed by the Trump regime. The White House demanded Iran dismantle its missile defense program and threatened a military attack. Washington did not bargain, it sought to impose a one-sided ‘solution’. The UK,France,Germany Russia and China, co-signers of the agreement, rejected the Trump dictate, but a number of major EU multi-national corporations capitulated to the White House demand to tighten sanctions.

As a consequence, the US deliberate sabotage of negotiations pushed Iran closer to Russia, China and alternative markets while the US remained wedded to Saudi Arabia and Israel. The former engaged in a losing war with Yemen, the latter remained an international pariah receiving billions of US handouts.

US – China Negotiations

The US has engaged in negotiations with China to downgrade its economy and retain US global supremacy. Beijing has agreed to increase its imports from Washington and tighten controls over Chinese use of US technology, but the US has not offered any concessions. Instead Washington has demanded that China end the state’s role in financing its cutting- edge technology, artificial intelligence and communication innovations.

In other words, China is expected to surrender its structural advantages in order to avoid harsh White House tariffs which would reduce Chinese exports.

There is no reciprocity. The Trump regime operates by threats to China which, however, will have negative effects on US farmers dependent on Chinese markets; on US importers, especially the retail sector which imports Chinese products; consumers who will suffer higher prices for goods purchased from China.

In addition, China will deepen its links with alternative markets in Asia, Africa, Russia, Latin America and elsewhere.

As of the most recent year (2018) China’s positive trade balance with the US rose to $419 billion dollars while the US was forced to increase its subsidies to US agro-exporters to compensate for loss of sales to China.

After several months of negotiations US representatives have secured trade concessions but failed to impose a breakdown of China’s economic model.

By the middle of 2019, while negotiations continue, the likelihood of a ‘grand bargain’ is dismal. In large part this is because Washington fails to recognize that its weakened global position requires that the US engage in ‘structural changes’, which means that the Treasury invests in technology; labor upgrades and education. The US should practice reciprocal relations with dynamic trading partners;to do so, Washington needs to invest billions to upgrade its domestic infrastructure; and reallocate federal spending from military spending and wars to domestic priorities and productive overseas agreements. US diplomatic relations with China based on threats and tariffs are failing and economic negotiations are deteriorating.

 

US – Venezuela: Non-Negotiations a Formula for Defeat

Over the past half- decade (2015 – 2019) Washington has succeeded in restoring client regimes in Latin America, by military coups, political intervention and economic pressure. As a consequence, the White House has successfully ‘negotiated’ one-sided political, economic, social and diplomatic outcomes in the region … with the exception of Cuba and Venezuela.

President Trump has broken negotiated agreements with Cuba to no advantage; US threats have led to Cuba securing greater ties with Europe, China, Russia and elsewhere without affecting Cuba’s tourist business.

The Trump regime has escalated its political and economic propaganda and social war against Venezuela. Multiple overt coup efforts have backfired beginning in April 2002 to February 2019.

While the US succeeded in the rest of Latin America in consolidating hemispheric hegemony, in the case of Venezuela, Washington has suffered diplomatic defeats and the growth of greater popular resistance.

US interventionist and sanctions policies have sharply reduced the presence of its middle and lower middle class supporters who have fled abroad. US propaganda has failed to secure the support of the Venezuelan military which has become more ‘nationalist’ with very few desertions.

The White House appointment of the convicted felon Elliott Abrams, known as the ‘butcher of Central America’, has certainly undermined any prospect of a favorable diplomatic settlement.

US sanctions of political and military leaders precludes efforts to co-opt and recruit leaders. The US appointed as its ‘interim ruler’ one Juan Guido who has little domestic support – widely seen domestically as an imperial stooge.

The US non-negotiated successes in Latin America have blinded Washington to the different conditions in Venezuela; where structural socio-economic reforms and nationalist military training consolidated political support.

In the case of Venezuela, the US refusal to enter into negotiations has led to greater polarization and multiple defeats, including the failed coup of February 23/24 2019.

US – Russia: Colluding with Failed Diplomacy

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: China, North Korea, Russia, Venezuela 
🔊 Listen RSS

The Western Hemisphere is our Region”

Michael Pompeo, US Secretary of State

Introduction

Not since the US pronounced the Monroe Doctrine proclaiming its imperial supremacy over Latin America, nearly 200 years ago, has a White House regime so openly affirmed its mission to recolonize Latin America.

The second decade of the 21st century has witnessed, in word and deed, the most thorough and successful US recolonization of Latin America, and its active and overt role as colonial sepoys of an imperial power.

In this paper we will examine the process of recolonization and the strategy tactics and goals which are the driving forces of colony- building. We will conclude by discussing the durability, stability and Washington’s capacity to retain ownership of the Hemisphere.

A Brief History of 20th Century Colonization and Decolonization

US colonization of Latin America was based on direct US military, economic, cultural and political interventions with special emphasis on Central America, North America (Mexico) and the Caribbean. Washington resorted to military invasions, to impose favorite trade and investment advantages and appointed and trained local military forces to uphold colonial rule and to ensure submission to US regional and global supremacy.

The US challenged rival European colonial powers – in particular England and Germany, and eventually reduced them to marginal status, through military and economic pressure and threats.

The recolonization process suffered severe setbacks in some regions and nations with the onset of the Great Depression which undermined the US military and economic presence and facilitated the rise of powerful nationalist regimes and movements in particular in Argentina, Brazil, Chile Nicaragua and Cuba.

The process of ‘decolonization’ led to, and included, the nationalization of US oil fields, sugar and mining sectors; a shift in foreign policy toward relatively greater independence; and labor laws which increased workers’ rights and leftwing unionization.

The US victory in World War II and its economic supremacy led Washington to re-assert its colonial rule in the Western Hemisphere. The Latin American regimes lined up with Washington in the Cold and Hot wars, backing the US wars against China, Korea, Vietnam and the confrontation against the USSR and Eastern Europe.

For Washington, working through its colonized dictatorial regimes, invaded every sector of the economy, especially agro-minerals; it proceeded to dominate markets and sought to impose colonized trade unions run by the imperial-centered AFL-CIO.

By the early 1960’s a wave of popular nationalist and socialist social movements challenged the colonial order, led by the Cuban revolution and accompanied by nationalist governments throughout the continent including Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. US multi-national manufacturing firms were forced to engage in joint ventures or were nationalized, as were oil, mineral and energy sectors.

Nationalists proceeded to substitute local products for imports, as a development strategy. A process of decolonization was underway!

The US reacted by launching a war to recolonize Latin America by through military coups, invasions and rigged elections. Latin America once more lined up with the US in support of its economic boycott of Cuba,and the repression of nationalist governments. The US reversed nationalist policies and denationalized their economies under the direction of US controlled so-called international financial organizations – like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB) Inter-American Development Bank.

The recolonization process advanced, throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, under the auspices of newly imposed military regimes and the new ‘neo-liberal’ free-market doctrine.

Once again recolonization led to highly polarized societies in which the domestic colonized elites were a distinct minority. Moreover, the colonial economic doctrine allowed the US banks and investors to plunder the Latin countries, impose out- of -control debt burdens, de-industrialization of the economies, severe increases in unemployment and a precipitous decline in living standards.

By the early years of the 21st century, deepening colonization led to an economic crisis and the resurgence of mass movements and new waves of nationalist-popular movements which sought to reverse – at least in part – the colonial relationship and structures.

Colonial debts were renegotiated or written off; a few foreign firms were nationalized; taxes were increased on agro-exporters; increases in public welfare spending reduced poverty ; public investment increased salaries and wages. A process of de-colonization advanced, aided by a boom in commodity pieces.

Twenty-first century decolonization was partial and affected only a limited sector of the economy; it mainly increased popular consumption rather than structural changes in property and financial power.

De-colonization co-existed with colonial power elites. The major significant changes took place with regard to regional policies. Decolonizing elites established regional alliance which excluded or minimized the US presence.

Regional power shifted to Argentina and Brazil in Mercosur; Venezuela in Central America and the Caribbean; Ecuador and Bolivia in the Andean region.

But as history has demonstrated, imperial power can suffer reverses and lose collaborators but while the US retains its military and economic levers of power it can and will use all the instruments of power to recolonize the region, in a step by step approach, incorporating regions in its quest for hemisphere supremacy.

The Recolonization of Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, and the Lima Pact Against Venezuela

As the first decade of the 21st century unfolded numerous Latin American governments and movements began the process of decolonization, displacing US client regimes, taking the lead in regional organizations, diversifying their markets and trading partners.

Nevertheless, the leaders and parties were incapable and unwilling to break with local elites tied to the US colonization project.

Vulnerable to downward movements in commodity prices, composed of heterogeneous political alliances and unable to create or deepen anti-colonial culture, the US moved to reconstruct its colonial project.

The US struck first at the ‘weakest link’ of the decolonization process. The US backed coups in Honduras and Paraguay. Then Washington turned to converting the judiciary and congress as stepping stones for launching a political attack on the strategic regimes in Argentina and Brazil and turning secondary regimes in Ecuador, Chile, Peru and El Salvador into the US orbit.

As the recolonization process advanced, the US regained its dominance in regional and international organizations. The colonized regimes privatized their economies and Washington secured regimes willing to assume onerous debts, previously repudiated.

The US advances in recolonization looked toward targeting the oil rich, dynamic and formidable anti-colonial government in Venezuela.

Venezuela was targeted for several strategic reasons.

First, Venezuela under President Chavez opposed US regional and global colonial ambitions.

Secondly, Caracas provided financial resources to bolster and promote anti-colonial regimes throughout Latin America especially in the Caribbean and Central America.

 
🔊 Listen RSS

Introduction

In these times, when the United States pursues an unprecedented military build-up, promotes coups and trade wars, breaks weapons agreements, organizes the illegal seizure of overseas financial accounts, building barriers and walls along the southern border, Washington can count on the mass media to provide a variety of propaganda messages, ranging from the predictable ‘yellow ’ to the sophisticated ‘serious press’ .

While the political class dismisses the sensational press, they are avid readers of the ‘prize winning’ propaganda newspapers and their columnists

Among the perceptive readers who follow the serious press one can hear periodical outburst of laughter or observe cynical smiles.

The ‘serious’ newspapers which draw the greatest attention include the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. Though they vary in the style and quality of their writers, they all follow the same political line, especially on issues pertaining to US imperial power.

For our purposes – and because I have been a long-time subscriber of the Financial Times (FT)—, this essay will concentrate on its journalists and their articles.

 

Armchair Militarists and “Western Values”

Gideon Rachman is a senior columnist for the FT who travels around the world and has a unique ability to preach ‘western values’ . . . selectively. Commentating on contemporary US and EU politics, Rachman attributes to them ‘western values’– representative democracy, individual freedom and the rule of law…. overlooking two decades of imperial invasions, several hundred US bases around the world and countless violations of international law.

According to Rachman’s notion of ‘western values’ there is a historical legacy a long tradition of constitutional government, – overlooking the conquest of five continents.

Moreover, while Rachman has consistently condemned Syria for human rights violations, he systematically avoids Israel’s weekly murder and wounding of hundreds of unarmed Palestinian protestors. Most knowledgeable writers wink and grin as they read his selective labeling of western values.

John Paul ‘Ratface’ Rathbone is one of FT leading contributors on Latin America who specializes in celebrating murderous regimes and promoting US policies which overthrow freely elected democracies. During the first decade of the 21st century, “Ratface” (as some of his loyal readers refer to him), wrote eulogies about Colombia’s murderous President Alvaro Uribe (2002 – 2010) as he slaughtered hundreds of thousands of insurgents and activists.

While Uribe’s death squads rain amok driving millions of peasants from their villages, Ratface frolicked in downtown night clubs and high-end bordellos enjoyed by oligarchs and tourists.

Consistent with the Ratface’s version of Colombia’s death squad democracy he condemned ‘the populist’ popularly elected democracies of Brazil and Venezuela.

Having distant ties to Cuba, Rathbone reminisces about the good times in pre-revolutionary Havana, its stately mansions and the fun city, as he ignores the common police practice of pulling fingernails of political dissidents.

Rathbone evokes occasional cynical smiles from columnists who are embarrassed by his toadying to Washington’s intelligence operatives.

Columnist Philip Stephens in the perennial bleeding-heart liberal who sheds tears for all of his pro-western martyrs, except those Downing Street designates as pro-Russian terrorists. Stephens wears his ‘liberal democratic’ credentials on his backside – from which he emits his gaseous defense of UK imperials wars in Syria, Libya and Iraq.

Stephen’s uncovers ‘undemocratic values’ in Putin’s poisonous operations even in provincial English villages.

Russian journalists are not excited by Philip’s journalistic ejaculations. He is the occasional butt of after work banter and laughter.

The Dean of the Times economic reportage is Martin “Marty” Wolf, who is well-known throughout the craft as the thoughtful advocate of welfare plutocracy. Martin advocates equality, justice . . . free markets for everybody but only the rich can meet his criteria. Marty finds and condemns populists of every hue. He engages in serious debate with leftists and rightists. But Marty like Gideon has yet to condemn Israel’s settler ‘populists’ who practice ethnic cleansing.

Despite his statistical tables, Marty never links his facts with the western imperial pillage of Africa, Asia and Latin America. His concerns and moral indignation is very selective and flourishes when he finds colonized people who call into question his western values.

Marty’s hostility to China is more than a broken financial love affair (that never was). It is part of the FT propaganda war to downgrade Beijing’s economic advances in the world economy. In the January 14, 2019 issue the entire editorial board went on a rampage, ranting about China’s technological theft, its ‘slow down’ and pending crises … always reaching gloomy conclusions.

The FT expert observers note ‘big facts’ — that China is declining . . . all of one tenth of one percent over the previous year. Most China observers chuckle over the FT’s China ‘crises’ and wonder how the EU is ‘robust’ when it touches two percent and the US a shade higher?

China’s so-called economic crises is, in the eyes of the FT, a product of its bloated state sector even as it promotes science and high-tech growth—- but they are part of a total war.

Jamil Anderlini tags China as a ‘colonial power’ . . . with its single base in Djibouti and for financing hundreds of billions in infrastructure, while the colonialism label is not applied to the US with several hundred military bases in five continents. China’s crackdown of US funded Uighur terrorists, who have murdered hundreds of Chinese citizens, is described as genocide, a term more apt for the US intervention in Libya, Iraq, Somalia and Syria.

The FT has a stable of journalist hacks who specialize in ignoring US economic warfare against China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela etc.

All the economic ‘slowdowns’ among US adversaries are attributed to internal mismanagement never US intervention.

The one-sided propaganda pieces written by the FT leading hackers— Hornby, Feng, Politi, Kynge, Mallet, Anderlini, Bozorgmehr etc— are notoriously repetitive: China’s economy is on the verge of crises–which prediction never occurs and smart investors ignore while smirking all the way to their bank accounts.

The FT would offer its subscribers plenty to laugh about over late afternoon beers, if it were not for the war crimes it endorses. Their apologies of bloody western imperial invasions in the Middle East are not laughing matters.

The FT joins the Anglo-American chorus accusing Russia of political assassinations on British soil, without evidence or witnesses.

The FT has yet to chastise their US and British paymasters for their prolonged economic war against the elected governments in Venezuela.

The upwardly mobile FT scribes ,scrambling for senior posts, ignore the laughter at their pious claims of ‘democratic values’ because their columns reek of lies and denials of China’s advances, Russia’s economic recovery from the catastrophic decline which the Times celebrated alongside the oligarchs’ plunder during the lost decade of the nineties.

 

Conclusion

 
🔊 Listen RSS

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).

 
🔊 Listen RSS

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 
🔊 Listen RSS

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 
🔊 Listen RSS

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 
🔊 Listen RSS

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 
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.


PastClassics
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?
Hundreds of POWs may have been left to die in Vietnam, abandoned by their government—and our media.