martes, 24 de mayo de 2016
Toda propaganda tiene su contrapropaganda. La propaganda occidental encuentra su opuesto en notas como esta, de Pepe Escobar para RT en español. Uno se pregunta: ¿existirá siquiera el sistema de defensa misilístico S-600? (en la foto de arriba, un equipo móvil S-400) En fin, pasen y vean:
Título: Beware what you wish for: Russia is ready for war
Texto: So foreign ministers from the 28 NATO member-nations met in Brussels for a two-day summit, while mighty military power Montenegro was inducted as a new member.
Global Robocop NATO predictably discussed Afghanistan (a war NATO ignominiously lost); Iraq (a war the Pentagon ignominiously lost); Libya (a nation NATO turned into a failed state devastated by militia hell); Syria (a nation NATO, via Turkey, would love to invade, and is already a militia hell).
Afghans must now rest assured that NATO’s Resolute Support mission – plus “financial support for Afghan forces” – will finally assure the success of Operation Enduring Freedom forever.
Libyans must be reassured, in the words of NATO figurehead secretary Jens Stoltenberg, that we “should stand ready to support the new Government of National Accord in Libya.”
And then there’s the icing on the NATO cake, described as “measures against Russia”.
Stoltenberg duly confirmed, “We have already decided to enhance our forward presence in the eastern part of our alliance. Our military planners have put forward proposals of several battalions in different countries in the region. No decision has been taken on the numbers and locations.”
These puny “several battalions” won’t cause any Russian planner to lose sleep. The real “measure” is the deployment of the Aegis Ashore system in Romania last week – plus a further one in Poland in 2018. This has been vehemently opposed by Moscow since the early 2000s. NATO’s argument that the Aegis represents protection against the “threat” of ballistic missiles from Iran does not even qualify as kindergarten play.
Every Russian military planner knows the Aegis is not defensive. This is a serious game-changer – as in de-localizing US nuclear capability to Eastern Europe. No wonder Russian President Vladimir Putin had to make it clear Russia would respond “adequately” to any threat to its security.
Predictably all Cold War 2.0 hell broke loose, all over again.
A former NATO deputy commander went ballistic, while saner heads wondered whether Moscow, sooner rather than later, would have had enough of these shenanigans and prepare for war.
That worthless Patriot
A case can be made that the Beltway – neocons and neoliberalcons alike – do not want a hot war with Russia. What they want, apart from racking in more cash for the Pentagon, is to raise the ante to such a high level that Moscow will back down – based on a rational cost analysis. Yet oil prices will inevitably rise later in 2016 – and under this scenario Washington is a loser. So we may see a raise of interest rates by the Fed (with all the money continuing to go to Wall Street) trying to reverse the scenario.
Comparisons of the current NATO buildup to pre-WWII buildups, or to NATO when opposed to the Warsaw Pact, are amateurish. The THAAD and Patriot missiles are worthless – according to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) themselves; that’s why they tried to improve them with Iron Dome.
Meanwhile, those new NATO army “battalions” are inconsequential. The basic thrust behind the Pentagon’s moves under neocon Ash Carter continues to be to draw Russia ever further into Syria and Ukraine (as if Moscow actually was involved in, or wanted, a Ukrainian quagmire); trap Russia in proxy wars; and economically bleed Russia to death while crippling the bulk of oil and natural gas income to the Russian state.
Russia does not want – and does not need – war. Yet the “Russian aggression” narrative never stops. Thus it’s always enlightening to come back to this RAND corporation study, which examined what would happen if a war actually took place. RAND reached an “unambiguous” conclusion after a series of war games in 2015-2015; Russia could overrun NATO in a mere 60 hours – if not less – if it ever amounted to a hot war on European soil.
The Rand Corporation is essentially a CIA outpost – thus a propaganda machine. Yet it’s not propaganda to state the Baltic States and Ukraine would completely fall in less than three days before the Russian Army. However, the suggestion that additional NATO air power and heavily armored combat divisions would make a material difference is bogus.
The Aegis changes the game in the sense that it qualifies as a launch area for US missile defense. Think US missiles with minimum flying time – around 30 minutes – from Moscow; that’s a certified threat to the Russian nation. The Russian military has also been “unambiguous”; if it is ascertained that NATO – via the Pentagon – is about to try something funny, there are grounds for a preventive strike by Iskander-M systems out of Transnistria – as in the destruction of the US missiles by conveniently armed precision weapons.
Meanwhile, Moscow has pulled a stunning success – of course, it’s far from over – in Syria. So what’s left for the Pentagon – via NATO – is essentially to play the scare tactics card. They know Russia is prepared for war – certainly much better prepared than NATO. They know neither Putin nor the Russian military will back down because of kindergarten scaremongering. As for a too conciliatory tone by the Kremlin towards Washington, things may be about to change soon.
Say hello to my S-500
The Russian military are about to test the first prototypes of the S-500 Prometey air and missile defense system, also known as 55R6M Triumfator M – capable of destroying ICBMs, hypersonic cruise missiles and planes at over Mach 5 speeds; and capable of detecting and simultaneously attacking up to ten ballistic missile warheads at a range of 1300 km. This means the S-500 can smash ballistic missiles before their warheads re-enter the atmosphere.
So in the case of RAND-style NATO pussyfooting, the S-500 would totally eliminate all NATO air power over the Baltic States – while the advanced Kornet missile would destroy all NATO armored vehicles. And that’s not even considering conventional weapon hell.
If push comes to nuclear shove, the S-400 and especially the S-500 anti-missile missiles would block all incoming US ICBMs, cruise missiles and stealth aircraft. Offensive drones would be blocked by drone defenses. The S-500 practically consigns to the dustbin stealth warplanes such as the F-22, F-35 and the B-2.
The bottom line is that Russia – in terms of hypersonic missile development – is about four generations ahead of the US, if we measure it by the development of the S-300, S-400 and S-500 systems. As a working hypothesis, we could describe the next system – already in the drawing boards – as the S-600. It would take the US military at least ten years to develop and roll out a new weapons system, which in military terms represents a generation. Every Pentagon planner worth his pension plan should know that.
Russian – and Chinese – missiles are already able to knock out the satellite guidance systems for US nuclear tipped ICBMs and cruise missiles. They could also knock out the early alert warnings that the satellite constellations would give. A Russian hypersonic ICBM flight time, launched for instance from a Russian nuclear sub all the way to the US East Coast, counts for less than 20 minutes. So an early warning system is absolutely critical. Don’t count on the worthless THAAD and Patriot to do their job. Once again, Russian hypersonic technology has already rendered the entire missile defense system in both the US and Europe totally obsolete.
So why is Moscow so worried by the Pentagon placing the Aegis system so close to Russia’s borders? A credible answer is that Moscow is always concerned that the US industrial military-complex might develop some really effective anti-missile missiles even though they are now about four generations behind.
At the same time, Pentagon planners have reasons to be very worried by what they know, or hint. At the same time the Russian military – in a very Asian way – never reveal their full hand. The key fact of the matter needs to be stressed over and over again; the S-500 is impenetrable – and allows Russia for the first time in history to launch a first strike nuclear attack, if it ever chooses to do so, and be immune to retaliation.
The rest is idle babbling. Still, expect the official Pentagon/NATO narrative to remain the same. After all, the industrial-military complex is a cash-devouring hydra, and a powerful enemy is a must (the phony Daesh “caliphate” does not count).
The Threat Narrative rules that Russia has to meekly accept being surrounded by NATO. Russia is not allowed any response; in any case, any response will be branded as “Russian aggression”. If Russia defends itself, this will be “exposed” as an unacceptable provocation. And may even furnish the pretext for a pre-emptive attack by NATO against Russia.
Now let those Pentagon/NATO planners duly go back to play in their lavish kindergarten.
lunes, 23 de mayo de 2016
La Gran Guerra del Siglo XXI está próxima, chicos. Se huele en el aire. Se siente en cada página de propaganda antirrusa de cada pasquín corporativo occidental. Se acuerdan del New York Times? Pensar que el NYT era el diario “progre” del Imperio… Leemos la siguiente nota de Paul Mansfield en el sitio web Signs of the Times (www.sott.net):
Título: The New York Times has totally lost the plot on Russia
Texto: An editorial in the New York Times on 19th May illustrates clearly that this US propaganda bullhorn of choice has totally lost the plot with its anti-Russian hysteria.
The article in question is a litany of misinformation, distortion and...dare I say it, lies. Virtually every sentence is beyond the pale in misrepresenting the actions of Russia under the presidency of Vladimir Putin, the unmitigated bias serving to present the USA as a bastion of goodness and benign intention.
It is difficult to know where to start and end with this piece of full spectrum Orwellianism, but there are four paragraphs which deserve special mention, presented below:
A year after invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea in 2014, Russia signed an agreement in Minsk that was supposed to end the fighting. It is now violating that agreement; violence between Ukrainian and Russian-backed separatist forces has reached its highest level since a 2015 cease-fire.
Russia is also engaging in aggressive and dangerous behavior in the air and on the high seas. Last week, British fighter jets intercepted three Russian military transport aircraft approaching the Baltic States. On April 29, a Russian warplane came within 100 feet of an American fighter jet over the Baltic Sea and did a barrel roll over the jet, which could have been catastrophic. Two weeks earlier, two Russian warplanes flew 11 simulated attack passes near an American destroyer in the Baltic.
All this risks direct confrontation with the United States. American military forces have gone out of their way to exercise restraint, but decisions on whether oncoming planes are a threat are made in an instant, and restraint cannot be assumed.
Anxieties about Russia among NATO members in Eastern Europe had forced the alliance to make plans to deploy four combat battalions of roughly 1,000 troops each in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Two battalions will be American, one German and one British. They aren't enough to repulse a Russian invasion, but NATO hopes they will deter Moscow from crossing alliance borders. NATO is also proceeding with a European missile defense system intended to protect against Iranian missiles. Last week, a base in Romania became operational and ground was broken for a base in Poland. More and bigger military exercises are also on the agenda.
To dare to say that Russia invaded Ukraine, when in reality the US engineered an illegal coup against the democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych, then stood and applauded as the Maidan neo-Nazis went on the rampage in the south east is contemptible. In truth people in the Donbass cried out for direct Russian intervention as they hid from the bombs of Petro Poroshenko, a man who, echoing the genocidal rhetoric of Benjamin Netanyahu, called fellow Ukrainians terrorists and vowed to get "rid of the parasites."
The US, through its misinformation centrepiece, the State Department, repeatedly claimed the Kiev regime was acting to restore law and order and to protect citizens against the "pro-Russian separatists." No amount of evidence of bombing civilian areas, killing thousands, hitting schools, hospitals and workplaces, would sway the US from its dogmatic line, adopted in pursuit of using Ukraine as a pawn to weaken Russia and bring NATO right to its borders.
The facts are that there were mass border crossings, but they were Ukrainians fleeing to Russia after being ethnically cleansed from their homes. Russia for its part did venture into Ukraine, bringing life-saving humanitarian aid to a desperate, suffering people being blockaded by Kiev. The Kiev regime cut pensions, food and medication to the Donbass, making Russian humanitarian assistance imperative.
As for the "annexing of Crimea," let the facts speak for themselves. Crimea was handed over to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954 by Nikita Khrushchev, an historical error, destined to be reversed in time in accordance with the will of Crimeans.
In 1991, as the Soviet Union was breaking up, 93.2% of Crimean's voted to reunify with Russia. After the upheaval of the Soviet break-up, Russia was hardly in a position to welcome Crimea back to the motherland.
Crimeans looked on in shock and horror at the events in Maidan Square. Their fear escalated even further with the Korsun massacre when Right Sector neo-Nazis murdered peaceful anti-Maidan protestors returning to their homes.
Crimeans had to stand their ground at the parliament as Banderites literally tried to overrun and occupy it. Russian forces stationed at the Sevastopol naval base, along with local self-defence forces, protected the populace and skilfully negotiated a bloodless vacation of military bases by Ukrainian forces. This was in stark contrast to neo-Nazis deliberately sniping to death police and protestors at Maidan. US and EU political figures tried to pin the blame on Yanukovych, but when the evidence pointed to the neo-Nazis they went strangely quiet.
Russia will never let the vital naval base at Sevastapol be lost. Troops were stationed there as part of the Ukraine/Russia Black Sea Fleet agreement of 1997, allowing up to 25,000 based there. So the idea that these forces invaded is a fallacy; they invaded nothing.
As the coup was being planned, Crimea was viewed as the cherry on top, a tremendous geo-strategic achievement in the encirclement of Russia, complete with routing it from its strategic naval base. Russia could not allow Ukraine to be swallowed up by NATO. Unable to stop the Kiev junta taking power, it had to compromise, protecting a grateful Crimean people, fervent in their desire to rejoin Russia.
The attitude of Crimeans was soon expressed in a fair, democratic referendum, exercising their right to self-determination in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 96.7% voting to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia. US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said the sanctions imposed on Russia won't get lifted until it returns Crimea to Ukraine. In other words, democracy means nothing to the USA, and the sanctions will remain indefinitely.
As for violating Minsk 2, the NYT is slipping deeper into the mire of its own BS. Under Minsk 2 the Ukraine government is to adopt constitutional reforms allowing for special status for the Donbass region, with elections to follow. This has not happened. Ukraine is stalling for time, clearly with no intention of complying with an agreement 17 months old and counting.
The violent neo-Nazi proxies trained and unleashed at Maidan have come to haunt the government of Poroshenko, with Andrey Biletsky, the founder of the nationalist Azov battalion, vowing that "in case of treacherous elections (in Donbass), we will oust the parliament and the presidential administration, and find new deputies." Poroshenko, a deeply unpopular president, has a powerful incentive to walk away from Minsk, or he may find himself walking, or rather running, from the likes of Right Sector, Azov, et al.
EU countries, particularly Germany and France, are becoming increasingly frustrated. Ukraine continues to be mired in corruption, promised reforms unfulfilled and with an economy bleeding from huge unemployment, plummeting growth and a staggering inflation rate.
The NYT is correct in saying violence has escalated across the contact line and there are ongoing breaches of the cease fire. In the last week this escalation has taken the form of daily violations of the cease fire by Ukrainian forces using heavy weaponry, as reported by Dontesk in their daily defense situation reports:
Over the past week the Ukrainian military intensified its daily shelling the Donetsk People's Republic. Overall, Kiev forces shelled the territory of the Republic two thousand eighty-six times, including a thousand forty-forty times with heavy weapons.
In additional violation of the Minsk agreements, Ukraine has concentrated forbidden arms along the line of contact, including 120mm, 122mm and 152mm mortar shells. It has deployed 152 mm howitzers, tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and Grad rocket launcher units. Aidar, Azov and Right Sector, responsible for so much ultra-nationalist violence, maintain their threatening presence.
The people of the Donbass are tired of the blockade. They live in constant fear of massed Ukrainian military forces and genocidal neo-Nazi militias waiting for the opportunity to cause mass deaths.
The European Union and the US need to pressure Kiev to fulfill its obligations to enable the holding of local elections as stipulated under Minsk 2. The head of the Donetsk People's Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, said if Ukraine fails to implement the Minsk Agreements until this autumn, the country will hold a plebiscite, stating, "In any case, I have already said many times that we need the local elections for ourselves, to finish the state building. This means that we will not tolerate this situation forever. If the European Union and the United States do not force Kiev to fulfill its obligations in an acceptable and reasonable period of time, we will hold the elections ourselves, by our own laws."
This is in opposition to the view of Victoria Nuland, US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, who said, "we will not recognize the results or will anybody else in the international community of any elections held in Donbass outside of the Minsk framework."
By "international community," Nuland means, of course, the US and anyone else it can bully, bribe and cajole into its lawless camp. Worrying times lie ahead, but I am sure we can rely on "objective" NYT reporting.
The "American destroyer in the Baltic" was the USS Donald Cook, armed with the Aegis combat system, a missile system capable of attacking Russian nuclear, as well as non-nuclear, missile batteries on land, sea, and in the air.
The destroyer was only 70 kilometers from the Kaliningrad naval base. What sane nation interested in its own preservation would not respond to such dangerous provocation? But no, this is "aggressive and dangerous behaviour" by Russia in the mystifying world of the NYT.
The newly opened US Aegis Ashore missile system in Romania and the one in Poland due for completion by 2018 are designed to counter the "Iranian threat" according to Washington and Brussels. Only in Washington's groupthinkistan can such claims be treated with anything other than disdain.
Iran will attack whom exactly? Poland? France? Estonia perhaps? Iran has not been at war since the war with Iraq in the 1980's. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has ensured it will not have the capacity to develop nuclear weapons for many years to come. Iran has always maintained it does not intend to produce nuclear weapons and there has never been evidence to the contrary.
The Aegis system is offensive in nature, capable of launching cruise missiles at Russia, the real target. If the US is able to intercept Russian ballistic missiles, it can adopt a first strike doctrine, confident in the knowledge it can neutralize Russian retaliation.
While the US anti-ballistic missile system is currently far too small to counter Russia's nuclear arsenal, expansion of the system poses a real threat. When George W. Bush withdrew the US from the ABM Treaty in 2002, it left the door open for just such an expansion.
An ABM system which potentially carries cruise missiles, sitting on Russia's borders with a flying time of a matter of minutes, threatens the annihilation of the Russian state and has tilted the balance of power in an extraordinarily dangerous provocation.
Vladimir Putin, normally calm and conciliatory in his remarks, was understandably frank in his reaction, saying, "Those people taking such decisions must know that until now they have lived calm, fairly well-off and in safety. Now, as these elements of ballistic missile defense are deployed, we are forced to think how to neutralize the emerging threats to the Russian Federation."
NATO is steadily encircling Russia with no signs of slowing down. It has announced the deployment of the biggest build-up of troops since the end of the cold war; continually conducts drills on Russia's borders, and sea and air operations in the Baltic and Black Seas, which is why Russian aircraft intercept US destroyers and fighter jets; because they are provocative and aggressive to Russia.
Russia is no threat to the US. The real motivation behind the Aegis system is the profits of the military/industrial complex. The military/industrial complex needs wars and "existential" threats to justify billions of dollars in defence spending. It controls US military policy and will continue to do so. Barack Obama and Ash Carter function as lobbyists for the complex, with Carter hyping up the Russian "threat" conveniently when announcing a four-fold increase in defence spending in Eastern Europe.
Robert Parry, in a recent article said:
Does any intelligent person look at a New York Times article about Russia or Vladimir Putin these days and expect to read an objective, balanced account?
How true Mr. Parry, how true.
Paul Craig Roberts, un viejo conocido de este blog, escribe notas cada vez más sombrías en su sitio web sobre la eventualidad de un conflicto nuclear entre los EEUU y Rusia. Harían bien nuestros países en prestarle atención al tema. Nuestra lejanía a los focos actuales de conflicto no nos excluye automáticamente del mismo. Menos aun con un gobierno como el actual. Pasemos a su último post, de hace apenas cuatro días (http://www.paulcraigroberts.org):
Título: Can Russia Survive Washington’s Attack?
Texto: It is not only American generals who are irresponsible and declare on the basis of no evidence whatsoever that “Russia is an existential threat to the United States” and also to the Baltic states, Poland, Georgia, Ukraine, and all of Europe. British generals also participate in the warmongering. UK retired general and former NATO commander Sir Richard Shirreff, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe until 2014, has just declared that nuclear war with Russia is “entirely possible” within the year (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3596977/The-outbreak-nuclear-war-year-West-Putin-entirely-plausible-says-former-NATO-chief-promoting-novel-2017-war-Russia.html).
My loyal readers know that I, myself, have been warning for some time about the likelihood of nuclear war. However, there is a vast difference between me and the Western generals. I see the war as the consequence of the neoconservative drive for US world hegemony. The neoconservative drive for world hegemony is acknowledged by the neoconservatives themselves in their public position papers, and it has a 15 year record of being implemented in America’s many and ongoing wars in the Middle East and Africa. Although the Presstitute media does its best to keep our focus away from the known facts, the facts remain known.
The position of the Western generals is that “Russian aggression” is driving an innocent America/NATO to nuclear war.
Here is General Shirreff’s list of “Russian aggressions”: “He [Putin] has invaded Georgia, he has invaded the Crimea, he has invaded Ukraine. He has used force and got away with it. In a period of tension, an attack on the Baltic states… is entirely plausible.” Shirreff is talking about make-believe happenings that even if real would be taking place inside what were until recently Russia’s long-standing national boundaries.
General Shirreff strikes me as either uninformed or a dissembler. It is the United States and Israel who use force and get away with it. The Russian invasion of the former Russian province, Georgia, was a response to the American puppet government’s invasion of South Ossetia in which the American and israeli trained and equipped Georgian troops killed Russian peace-keeping troops and a large number of South Ossetian civilians while the Russian government was at the Beijing olympics.
It only took a small fraction of the Russian Army a few hours to roll up the American and Israeli trained Georgian Army. Putin had the former Russian province in his hand. He could have hung the American puppet president and reincorporated Georgia back into Russia, where if probably belongs, having spent all of modern history in that location.
But Putin did not see Georgia as a prize, and having made his point, let the Americans have their puppet state back. The president at the time, a scummy scoundrel, was thrown out of the country by Georgians and now serves the American puppet state of Ukraine, like so many others who are not Ukrainian. Apparently, Washington can’t find enough Ukrainians who will sell out their country for Washington and has to bring in foreigners to help Washington rule Ukraine.
There has been, alas, no Russian invasion of Ukraine. Putin would not even accept the pleas of the Russian majority populations in the breakaway provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk to be reincorporated back into Russia where they belong. If Putin actually wanted Ukraine, he doesn’t need to send in an army. He can take back the eastern and southern parts just by accepting the pleas of the people to again be a part of Russia.
The only plea that Putin accepted was that of the Crimeans, who with an extremely high turnout never experienced in “western democracies” voted 97.6 percent to rejoin Russia, where Crimea resided for longer than the US has existed, until Khrushchev, a Ukrainian, transferred Crimea from the Russian Soviet Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic when both were provinces of the Soviet Union.
Little doubt that Putin accepted Crimea’s plea because Russia’s only warm water port and entrance into the Mediterranean Sea is Russia’s naval base in Crimea, and little doubt that Putin refused Donetsk and Luhansk in order to deflect Washington’s propagandistic charges, such as those of former general Shirreff. Putin reasoned, mistakenly in my view, that his refusal to accept Donetsk and Luhansk would reassure Washington’s NATO puppet states and lessen Washington’s influence over Europe. For the corrupt Europeans, facts are of no consequence. Washington’s money prevails.
Putin doesn’t understand the power of Washington’s money. In the entire West only money counts. There is no such thing as Washington’s word, government integrity, truth, or even empirical facts. There are only well-propagated lies. The entire West is a lie. The West exists for one reason only–corporate profits.
The retired general Shirreff claims, without any evidence, which is typical, that Putin “used force and got away with it.”
What force is the general talking about? Can he identify the force? The independent international observers of the Crimean voting report that it was completely fair, that there was no intimidation, no troops or any Russian intimidation present.
The former NATO general Shirreff believes that a Russian attack “on the Baltic states is entirely possible.” For what reason? The Baltic states, former provinces of the Soviet Union, comprise no threat whatsoever to Russia. The Russians have no reason whatsoever to attack the Baltic states. It was Russia that gave the Baltic states their independence. Just as it was Russia that gave Ukraine and Georgia their independence.
Imperial Washington is leveraging the reasonableness of the Russian government to put Russia in a propagandistic light. The Russian government has permitted itself to be put on the defensive and has given the attack to Washington.
Russia has not attacked anyone except the terrorist group ISIS. Allegedly, Washington is opposed to terrorism, but Washington has been using ISIS in an effort to overthrow the Syrian government with terrorism. Russia has put a halt to that. The question before us is whether the Russian government so desires to be accepted by the West that Putin sells out Syria to Washington/Israeli dismemberment in order to show that Russia is a good partner for the West.
If Russia doesn’t get over its affection for the West, Russia will lose its independence.
My understanding is that Russia has been resurrected as a Christian, morally principally country, perhaps the only one on earth. The question that the Russian people and their Russian government need, desperately, to ask themselves is: Do we want to be associated with the War Criminal West that disobeys not only its own laws, but also international laws?
The vast majority of the evil in the world resides in the West. It is the west with its lies and greed that has devastated millions of people in 7 countries during the new 21st century. This is the most threatening beginning of a new millennium in modern times.
Unsatisfied with its looting of the Third World, South America, Greece, Portugal, Latvia, Argentina, and now Brazil and Ukraine, the Western Capitalists have their sights set on Russia, China, India, and South Africa.
What a prize it would be to get Russia with all that vast expanse of Siberia that can be environmentally brutalized and destroyed for capitalist profits. The Russian government’s offering of free land in Siberia had better be limited to Russian citizens Otherwise, the land is likely to be bought up by the West, which will use its ownership of Russia to destroy the country.
The Russians and the Chinese are blinded by the fact that they lived for decades under oppressive and failed regimes. They look to the West as success. Their misreading of the West endangers their independence.
Neither Russia nor China seek conflict. It is a gratuitous and reckless act for Washington to send the message to Russia and China that they must choose vassalage or war.
Como es sabido, la Unión Europea fue creada para (a) servir a los intereses del Imperio, (b) fortalecer la NATO, (c) eliminar esas molestas barreras comerciales, (d) facilitar la circulación de capitales desde y hacia paraísos fiscales, (e) desdibujar la práctica democrática hacia adentro de los Estados-nación, y (f) producir la ilusión de que hay un bloque homogéneo capaz de “contener” a la “hostil” Rusia. Claro, cuando comienzan a verse los resultados de tamaña empresa (piensen, por ejemplo, en la "crisis" de los refugiados), muchos pueblos comienzan a inquietarse. Comenzando por los más ricos, como Austria. Les cuento que estas inquietudes suelen resolverse por derecha más que por izquierda (ya pasó, chicos; piensen en Hitler). La cuestión es que la ultraderecha acaba de hacer una elección histórica en ese país; de hecho, todavía no se sabe si ganó realmente las elecciones a Jefe de Estado su líder Norbert Hofer (foto de arriba). Así lo cuenta Sara Velert para El País:
Título: El auge de la ultraderecha parte en dos a Austria e inquieta a Europa
Subtítulo: El candidato verde Van der Bellen y el ultranacionalista Hofer rondan el 50% cada uno
Texto: Austria ha dejado este domingo la jefatura del Estado en el aire. En una tarde electoral inédita, el ultraderechista Norbert Hofer (FPÖ) y el independiente apoyado por Los Verdes Alexander Van der Bellen apenas se despegaron en el recuento y protagonizaron un empate técnico que deja la decisión pendiente del voto por correo. El auge de la ultraderecha divide en dos a la sociedad austriaca —polarizada por la crisis migratoria y el descontento con la falta de reformas para reactivar la economía— y causa profunda inquietud en Bruselas.
La ultraderecha austriaca partía con una clara ventaja en la carrera presidencial. Con Norbert Hofer como candidato, el partido antiinmigración y euroescéptico FPÖ logró el mejor resultado de su historia al ganar la primera vuelta de las elecciones presidenciales austriacas el pasado 4 de abril con un 35% de apoyos. Las urnas dejaron en segundo lugar a Alexander Van der Bellen, con una diferencia de 14 puntos que ayer se desvaneció ya con las primeras proyecciones de voto. Los candidatos a ocupar la presidencia se intercambiaron varias veces el primer puesto sin que ninguno lograra la ventaja suficiente para proclamarse ganador.
A última hora de la tarde, el Ministerio del Interior austriaco anunciaba un resultado provisional sin las papeletas enviadas por correo que da una ligera ventaja al aspirante ultranacionalista con un 51,9% frente al 48,1% de su contrincante.
Ahora los candidatos deberán esperar a la decisión que este lunes arroje el recuento de los votos por correo, del que —según el ministro del Interior, Wolfgang Sobotka— ha hecho uso cerca de 750.000 ciudadanos que suponen un 14% del electorado.
Tanto Hofer como Van der Bellen se mostraron sorprendidos por lo ajustado del resultado y al mismo tiempo confiados en ocupar finalmente la presidencia del país cuando hoy se despeje la incógnita. “Nunca he vivido una noche electoral así”, reconoció el dirigente del FPÖ.
La larga campaña ha abierto brechas entre los ciudadanos austriacos y les ha dejado ante dos opciones contrapuestas. El auge de la ultraderecha ha protagonizado el debate después de la victoria del FPÖ en la primera vuelta, que causó un terremoto político al dejar fuera de la carrera presidencial por primera vez en más de 50 años a socialdemócratas (SPÖ) y democristianos (ÖVP), los socios de Gobierno que han dominado la escena política austriaca desde el final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial.
La debacle electoral forzó poco después la caída del canciller socialista Werner Faymann, acosado por las críticas internas, tras el endurecimiento de la política de asilo y el ascenso de una ultraderecha que ha logrado capitalizar el descontento de la población por la ausencia de reformas que impulsen la economía y la preocupación por la entrada en el país de miles de refugiados. Austria registró el año pasado cerca de 90.000 solicitudes de asilo y las encuestas reflejan una creciente inquietud con la que ha conectado Hofer con un discurso contra la inmigración y a favor de cerrar las fronteras a los “falsos refugiados”.
La posible victoria de Hofer, que ha hecho campaña bajo el lema de “Austria y los austriacos primero” frente a la migración y el rechazo a las decisiones políticas tomadas desde Bruselas, es seguida de cerca por otras formaciones populistas y radicales europeas como el Frente Nacional o Alternativa por Alemania, que ven en el ascenso del FPÖ un impulso a sus intereses.
Bruselas también está pendiente del resultado austriaco ante la posibilidad de que la presidencia la ocupe un partido euroescéptico cuyo candidato afirma que hoy votaría en contra del ingreso del país en la UE. El presidente de la Comisión, Jean- Claude Juncker, no ha ocultado su rechazo a una victoria de la ultraderecha en Austria. “No me gusta. Sé que los austriacos no quieren oír esto, pero no me importa: con la extrema derecha no hay debate ni diálogo posible”, declaró el pasado viernes en una entrevista al diario francés Le Monde.
Los comentarios de Juncker y también del presidente del Parlamento Europeo, Martin Schulz, que ha afirmado que una victoria del FPÖ y partidos similares cambiará el carácter de Europa, no han pasado desapercibidas en Austria, que quedó marginada durante meses por sus socios cuando en 2000 la ultradererecha —liderada entonces por Jörg Haider— formó una coalición gubernamental con los democristianos.
La situación, no obstante, ha cambiado desde entonces y el FPÖ continúa su curso ascendente a cuenta del retroceso constante de los partidos tradicionales. Ha ampliado su base de votantes con mensajes sobre el empleo, la inseguridad y advertencias contra la islamización de Austria con la llegada de migrantes.
Las urnas premiaron su estrategia en la primera ronda de las elecciones. Pero no solo castigaron a los dos grandes partidos tradicionales —socialdemócratas y democristianos, juntos en la actual coalición gubernamental— que no lograron reunir entre ambos más de un 22%, sino que también enviaron por primera vez a la segunda ronda a un candidato que, si bien se declara independiente, cuenta con el apoyo y la financiación de Los Verdes, de los que fue portavoz en el Parlamento.
Van der Bellen, de 72 años, apeló a los votantes a apostar por una Austria abierta y europea, y denunció que el candidato ultranacionalista pretende convertir el país en una “república autoritaria” bajo el mando de su líder, Heinz-Christian Strache.
Su mensaje parece haber movilizado al electorado que rechaza la idea que la extrema derecha ocupara por primera vez desde la Segunda Guerra Mundial la presidencia de un país de Europa occidental. El candidato se ha acercado así a Hofer, quien mantiene su base de votos pero ha visto complicarse una elección en la que partía como favorito.
Toda la política europea queda pendiente de un resultado con un valor especial en medio de un marcado auge de fuerzas de ultraderecha y un declive de las familias políticas tradicionalmente en el poder.
domingo, 22 de mayo de 2016
Parte de los destinos del mundo se está jugando en Siria. El país ha sido invadido por la NATO por medio de varias decenas de miles de "rebeldes", como gusta denominarlos la prensa occidental; en realidad, son fanáticos islámicos dispuestos a cometer cualquier carnicería con tal de volver a la Edad Media, a la Ley de la Sharia (según ellos la interpretan, claro). Todavía quedan muchas escaramuzas en lo que se llamará, en el futuro, La Batalla de Siria. Leemos en RT:
Título: Al Qaeda y el Estado Islámico se preparan para la 'gran guerra' por Siria
Epígrafe: Al tiempo que el Estado Islámico sufre pérdidas, Al Qaeda inicia una discreta 'invasión' de Siria, donde planea crear un 'emirato' propio más próximo a Europa.
Texto: Los líderes de Al Qaeda en Pakistán han llegado a la conclusión de que el futuro de esta organización terrorista se encuentra en Siria, por lo que han enviado a este país árabe a decenas de combatientes veteranos para establecer sedes, informa 'The New York Times' citando altos cargos de la inteligencia de EE.UU. y de Europa.
Además de estar más cerca de Europa para atacarla, Al Qaeda podría gozar en Siria del apoyo de yihadistas de Irak, Turquía, Jordania y Líbano, explica la publicación.
En Washington se escuchan ya propuestas de ayudar a Al Nusra, ya que probablemente lucharía contra el EI.
Por ello, Al Qaeda prepara una base para la futura guerra contra el Estado Islámico (EI) por la hegemonía en el país presidido por Bashar al Assad. El Frente al Nusra actuaría como aliado de Al Qaeda en Siria, que pretende establecer en esta su propio 'emirato' una vez certifique que goza del apoyo suficiente entre los sirios según el diario estadounidense.
Sin embargo, no será una tarea fácil, ya que el EI tiene más combatientes, entre 19.000 y 25.000, los cuales estan divididos entre Siria e Irak. Entretanto, Al Nusra cuenta únicamente con unos 5.000-10.000 milicianos, aunque todos se encuentran en Siria. Pero la ventaja de Al Nusra es que su estrategia es completamente diferente a la del EI.
Mientras el EI optó por ocupar rápidamente grandes territorios férreamente y unilateralmente controlados, Al Nusra optó por ejercer influencia sobre las zonas que quiere controlar en Siria y sobre distintos grupos de rebeldes armados, escribe 'The New York Times' citando la opinión que comparten varios expertos.
Pese a que ambos grupos comparten la misma "ideología brutal", Al Nusra actúa de manera paciente, buscando ganarse apoyo entre los sirios, mientras el EI está "haciendo simplemente cosas disparatadas, muy violentas", para atraer combatientes a sus filas, explica el experto Ali Soufan en una conferencia del Centro de la Seguridad Nacional de la Universidad de Forham el mes pasado
Esta táctica le hizo ganarse numerosos seguidores al principio y también mucha atención desde los países occidentales, que centraron su lucha antiterrorista en su contra, pero ahora la organización sufre no solo pérdidas en combates y de territorios, sino también defecciones.
Las atrocidades del EI han servido de "cortina de humo" a Al Qaeda para ocultar sus planes en Siria, algo que esta está aprovechando, explica Ali Soufan, citado por Business Insider. Con el EI de telón de fondo, a ojos de muchos Al Nusra parece un "buen tipo", lo que hace que incluso en Washington se puedan escuchar propuestas de "apoyar" a la organización radical, ya que "probablemente lucharía contra el EI", lamenta el experto.
"Al Qaeda, vía el Frente Al Nusra, es una organización que se ha llevado los últimos cinco años echando profundas y duraderas raíces entre la oposición siria y la sociedad revolucionaria", mientras el EI "tiene raíces poco profundas, ya que fue diseñado no para ganarse el apoyo popular, sino para controlar a las poblaciones", afirma el experto Charles Lister, del Instituto de Oriente Medio, en declaraciones citadas por Business Insider.
viernes, 20 de mayo de 2016
Dale, largá el twitter y meditá un rato sobre los niveles de organización en los imperios postcoloniales modernos. Lo que sigue es un ensayo de James Petras aparecido en el sitio web Global Research el 16 de Mayo pasado. No vas a estar de acuerdo con todo, pero igual te va a resultar interesante. Lo de "imperios imperiales" suena horrible, ya lo sé. Acá va:
Título: America’s Imperial Empire: The Sun Never Sets but the Mote remains in the Emperor’s Eye
Epígrafe: Post-colonial empires are complex organizations. They are organized on a multi-tiered basis, ranging from relative autonomous national and regional allies to subservient vassal states, with variations in between. In the contemporary period, the idea of empire does not operate as a stable global structure, though it may aspire and strive for such. While the US is the major imperial power, it does not dominate some leading global political-economic and military powers, like Russia and China.
Texto: Imperial powers, like the US, have well-established regional satellites but have also suffered setbacks and retreats from independent local economic and political challengers.
Empire is not a fixed structure rigidly embedded in military or economic institutions. It contains sets of competing forces and relations, which can change over time and circumstances. Moreover, imperial allies and clients do not operate through fixed patterns of submission. While there is submission to general agreements on ideology, military doctrine and economic policy identified with imperial rulers, there are cases of vassal states pursuing their own links with non-imperial markets, investors and exporters.
If the global world of imperial power is complex and indeterminate to some degree, so is the internal political, economic, administrative and military structure of the imperial state. The imperial political apparatus has become more heavily weighted on the side of security institutions, than diplomatic and representative bodies. Economic institutions are organized for overseas markets dominated by multi-national corporations against local markets and producers. ‘Market economy’ is a misnomer.
Military-security institutions and budgets utilize most state functionaries and public resources, subordinating markets and diplomatic institutions to military priorities.
While imperial state operations function through their military and civilian administrative apparatus, there are competitive socio-political-class, ethnic and military configurations to consider.
In analyzing the effective or ‘real power’ of the principle institutions of the imperial state, one must distinguish between goals and results, purpose and actual performance. Often commentators make sweeping statements about ‘imperial power and dominance’, while in fact, some policies may have ended in costly losses and retreats due to specific national, local or regional alignments.
Hence it is crucial to look closely at the imperial interaction between its various tiers of allies and adversaries in order to understand the immediate and long-term structures and direction of imperial state policy.
This essay will first describe the leader-follower imperial relationships in four zones: US-Western Europe-Canada, Asia-Pacific, Middle East-Africa and Latin America and identify the terrain of struggles and conflict. This will be followed by an examination of the contemporary ‘map of empire’. We will then contrast the alignment of forces between Western imperial allies and their current adversaries. In the final section we will look at the sources of fragmentation between the imperial state and economic globalization as well as the fissures and fallout between imperial allies and followers.
Tiers of Imperial Allies in the West
Western imperialism is a complex pyramidal structure where the dominant United States interacts through a five-tier system. There is a vertical and horizontal configuration of leader and follower states that cannot be understood through simplistic ‘solar system’ metaphors of ‘centers, semi-peripheries and peripheries’.
Western imperial power extends and overlaps from the first tier to the second, that is, from the United States to France, England, Germany, Italy and Canada. The scope and depth of US military, bureaucratic, political and economic institutions form the framework within which the followers operate.
The second tier of empire ties the top tier to the bottom tiers by providing military support and economic linkages, while securing autonomous levers to enlarge its own geo-political spheres.
The third tier of imperialism in the West comprises Poland, Scandinavia, the Low Countries and Baltic States. These are geographically and economically within the sphere of Western Europe and militarily dependent on US-NATO military dominance. The third tier is a heterogeneous group, ranging from highly advanced and sophisticated welfare-states like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Holland and Belgium to relatively backward Baltic dependencies like Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and Poland. They exercise few independent power initiatives and depend on protection from the Tier 1 and 2 imperial centers.
‘Tier four’ states include countries like Greece, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania. These are essentially satellite nations, who follow the leader imperial countries, providing bases, troops and tourist resorts. In general, they have no independent voice or decision-making presence in regional or global conflicts. Despite their instability and the occasional outbursts of radical dissent, , the lower tier countries have yet to break with the higher tiers controlled by the EU and NATO hierarchy.
The fifth-tier satellites include recently fabricated mini-states like Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Slovenia and Croatia, which act as military bases, tourist havens and economic dependencies. They are the outcome of the first-tier and second-tier policies of ‘regime change’ and state dismemberment through NATO-led wars designed to destroy any remnant of the multi-ethnic social welfare states and degrade Russian influence, especially in Yugoslavia.
Mapping the leader-follower structure of the Western empire depends on the distribution of military resources and their location along the Russian border. The US-EU Empire faces the problem of meeting rising economic demands from the multi-tiered empire, which has exceeded their capacity. This had led to shifting trade alliances and independent pressure to ‘go beyond’the dictates of the imperial leaders.
Leader imperial states have tightened economic and political control over their followers – especially when the military consequences of empire have disrupted everyday life, security and the economy. An ongoing example is the flood of millions of desperate refugees entering Europe, as a result of US imperial war policies in the Middle East and North Africa.
This mass influx threatens the political and social stability of Europe. Following the US putsch in the Ukraine and the inevitable response from Moscow, Washington ordered an economic blockade of Russia. The economic consequences of US-imposed sanctions against the giant Russian market has severely affected European exports, especially agriculture and heavy industry and caused instability in the energy market which was dominated by the now banned Russian petroleum and gas producers.
The Eastern Imperial Empire
The US imperial design in East Asia is vastly different in structure, allies and adversaries from that in the West. The leaders and followers are very heterogeneous in the East. The multi-tier US Empire in Asia is designed to undermine and eventually dominate North Korea and China.
Since the Second World War, the US has been the center of the Pacific empire. It also suffered serious military setbacks in Korea and Indo-China. With the aid of its multi-tiered auxiliaries, the US has recovered its influence in Indo-China and South Korea.
The US position, as the first-tier imperial power, is sustained by second-tier imperial allies, such as Australia, New Zealand, India and Japan.
These second-tier allies are diverse entities. For example, the Indian regime is a reticent latecomer to the US Empire and still retains a higher degree of autonomy in dealing with China. In contrast, while Australia and New Zealand retained their dependent military ties with the US, they are increasingly dependent on Chinese commodity markets and investments.
Japan, a powerful traditional economic ally of the US, remains a weak military satellite of the US-Asian Empire.
Third-tier countries include South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. South Korea is the US’s most important military dependency, despite which it has moved steadily closer to the Chinese market, as has the populous Indonesian Republic.
Taiwan, while a military dependency of the US, has stronger ethnic and economic links to China than the US.
The Philippines is a backward US military vassal-state and former colony, which retains its legacy as an imperial enclave against China. Thailand and Malaysia have remained as third-tier imperial auxiliaries, subject to occasional nationalist or democratic popular upsurges.
The fourth-tier countries within US East Asian Empire are the least reliable because they are relatively ‘new associates’. Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar have transformed from independent statist economies to US-Japanese and Chinese-centered markets, financial and military dependencies.
The US Empire has focus on confronting China through its military, controlling its South China trading routes and trying to form regional economic trade agreements, which exclude China. However, the imperial multi-tiered structure has been mostly limited to various US military harassment and joint ‘war games’ exercises with its clients and ‘allies’. This has had minimal economic input from even their closest allies. The US Eastern Empire has lost significant economic counterparts because of its confrontational approach to China. Its provocative trade-pacts have failed to undermine China’s dynamic economy and trade.
The US Eastern Empire may dominate its multi-tiered allies, vassals and recent converts through its military. It may succeed in provoking a serious military confrontation with China. But it has failed to re-establish a dominant structure within Asia to sustain US imperial superiority in the event of a war.
China drives the growth and dynamism of Asia and is the vital market for regional products as well as a crucial supplier of minerals, precious metals, industrial products, high tech and service activity throughout the region.
The US has occasionally turned to its ‘fifth-tier’ allies among non-state entities in Tibet and Hong Kong and among ethno-Islamist terrorist-separatist groups in Western China, using ‘human rights’ propaganda, but these have had no significant impact in weakening China or undermining its regional influence.
The Eastern Empire can wield none of the economic leverage in China that the Western empire has with Russia. China has established more effective economic relations in Asia than Russia has with the West. However, Russia has greater military capability and a more committed political will to push back Western imperial military threats than China. In recent years, Beijing has adopted a policy of strengthening its high tech military and maritime capabilities. In the wake of the US putsch in the Ukraine and the West’s economic sanctions against Russia, Moscow has been forced to bolster strategic military-economic ties with China. Joint security exercises between Russia and China , as well as greater trade, pose formidable counter-weights to the multi-tiered alliances linking the US and EU to Japan, Australia and South Korea.
In other words, the diverse geographic multi-tiered US imperial structures in the East do not and cannot, dominate a strategic top-tiered alliance of Russia and China, despite their lack of other strong military allies and client states.
If we look beyond European and Asian spheres of Empire to the Middle East and Latin America, the US imperial presence is subject to rapidly evolving power relations. We cannot simply add or subtract from the US and Russian and Chinese rivalries, because these do not necessarily add up to a new ‘imperial’ or ‘autonomous’ center of power.
Imperial Power in the Middle East: The Multi-Tiered Empire in Retreat
The US imperial empire in the Middle East occupies a pivotal point between West and East; between the top and secondary tiers of empire; between Islamic and anti-Islamic alliances.
If we extend the ‘Middle East’ to include South Asia and North Africa we capture the dimensions of the Western imperial quest for supremacy.
The imperial empire in the Middle East reflects US and Western European tiers of power as they interact with local counterparts and satellite states.
The US-EU top tiers link their goals of encircling and undermining Russia and regional adversaries, like Iran, with the regional ambitions of their NATO ally, Turkey.
Imperial powers in the Middle East and North Africa operate through local allies, auxiliaries and satellites as they compete for territorial fragments and power bases following the US ‘wars for regime changes’.
With the US at the top, the European Union, Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia comprise the second-tier allies. Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq and Jordan, which are financial and political dependencies of the empire, rank as third-tier. The fourth-tier includes the Gulf states, the Kurd war lords, Lebanese and Yemeni local puppets of the Saudi Monarchy and Israel’s client Palestinian Bantustan in the West Bank.
Saudi and Western-funded regional terrorist groups aspire to fourth-tier membership following a successful ‘regime change’ and territorial fragmentation in Syria. The terrorist enclaves are located in Syria, Iraq and Libya and play a ‘specific and multi-purpose’ role in undermining adversaries in order to restore imperial dominance.
The Middle East Empire is the least stable region and the most susceptible to internal rivalries.
Israel exercises a unique and unrivaled voice in securing US financial and military resources and political support for its brutal colonial control over Palestine and Syrian territories and captive populations. Saudi Arabia finances and arms autonomous Islamist terrorist groups as part of their policy of advancing the kingdom’s political- territorial designs in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran and the Gulf. Turkey has its own regional ambitions and terrorist mercenaries. Within this volatile context, the US Empire finds itself competing with its auxiliaries for control over the same Middle East clients.
The Middle East Empire is fraught with powerful adversaries at each point of contention. The huge, independent nation of Iran stands as a powerful obstacle to the West, Saudis, and Israel and competes for influence among satellites in the Gulf, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Hezbollah, a powerful nationalist group within Lebanon, has played a crucial role defending Syria against dismemberment and is linked with Iran against Israeli intervention. Russia has military and trade relations with Syria and Iran in opposition to the Western imperial alliance. Meanwhile, the US imperial satellite states in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Egypt are rapidly disintegrating in the face of gross corruption, Islamist resurgence, policy incompetence and economic crises.
To speak formally of a ‘Western imperial empire’ in vast sections of the Middle East and North Africa is a misnomer for several reasons:
-In Afghanistan, the Nationalist-Islamist Taliban and its allies control most of the country except for a few garrison cities.
-Yemen, Libya and Iraq are battleground states, contested terrain with nothing remotely resembling a functioning imperial domain. Iraq is under siege from the North by Kurds, the center by ISIS, the South by nationalist Shi’a militias and mass organizations in contention with grossly corrupt US imperial-backed puppets in Baghdad.
-The US-EU mercenaries in Syria have been defeated by Syrian-Russian-Hezbollah-Iranian forces aided by independent Kurds.
-Israel behaves more like a militarist ‘settler’ predator usurping historical Palestine than a reliable imperial collaborator.
So far, the empire project in the Middle East and North Africa has been the costliest and least successful for Western imperialism. First and foremost, responsibility for the current Middle East imperial debacle falls directly on the top tier political and military leaders who have pursued policies and strategies (regime change and national dismemberment) incompatible with imperial precepts that normally guide empires.
The top tier of the US imperial-military elite follows Israeli military prerogatives, as dictated by the Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) embedded within the US state apparatus. Their policy has been to destroy Islamic and Arab-nationalist structures and institutions of power – not conquer and reconfigure them to be absorbed into Western imperial institutions . . . as the US was able to do in Asia and Europe. This parrots the Israeli- settler policy of ‘erasure’ and has made the region totally unstable for imperial trade. The wanton dismemberment of the whole social-political-security institutional structure of Iraq is a prime example of the Israeli policy of ‘erasure’ promoted by US Zionist advisers on a grand scale. The same advisers remain within the top tier imperial decision-making apparatus despite 15 years of abject failure.
Western empire’s multi-tier structure, from the US and Western Europe at the top to Kosovo at the bottom, have followed imperial imperatives. In contrast Israeli imperatives direct US military power into perpetual war in the Middle East through the influential ZPC.
This divergent path and the inability to change course and rectify imperial policy has brought disastrous defeats, which have repercussions throughout the global empire, especially freeing up competitors and rivals in Asia and Latin America.
Tiers of Empire in Latin America
The US imperial empire expanded in Central America and the Caribbean during most of the 19th CENTURY and reigned supreme in the first half of the 20th century. The exceptions included the nationalist revolutions in Haiti in the early 19th century and Paraguay in the mid-19th century.
After the US Civil War, the British Empire in Latin America was replaced by the US, which established a dominant position in the region, except during the successful Mexican Revolution.
Several major challenges have emerged to US imperial dominations in the middle of the 20th century.
-The centerpiece of anti-imperialism was the Cuban Revolution in 1959, which provided political, ideological and material backing to a continent-wide challenge. Earlier a socialist government emerged in Guyana in 1953 but was overthrown.
-In 1965, the Dominican Revolution challenged a brutal US backed-dictator but was defeated by a direct US invasion.
-In 1970-73 a democratic socialist government was elected in Chile and overthrown by a bloody CIA coup.
-In 1971 a ‘workers and peasants’ coalition backed a nationalist military government in Bolivia only to be ousted by a US-backed military coup.
-In Argentina (Peron), Brazil (Goulart) and Peru (Alvarez), nationalist-populist governments, opposed to US imperialism, were elected between the middle 1960’s to the mid 1970’s. Each were overthrown by US-military coups. Apart from the Cuban revolution, the US Empire successfully counter-attacked, relying on US and local business elites to back the military juntas in repressing anti-imperialist and nationalist political parties and movements.
The US Empire re-established its hegemony, based on a multi-tiered military and market directorate, headed at the top by the US. Argentina, Brazil and Chile comprised the second-tier, a group of military dictatorships engaged in large-scale state terror and death squad assassinations and forcing hundreds of thousands into exile and prison.
The third-tier was based on US surrogates, generals and oligarch-families in Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay.
The fourth-tier of satellite regimes included Central-America, except Nicaragua, and all of the Caribbean, except Cuba and (briefly) Grenada.
The US Empire ruled through predator allies and satellite oligarchs and successfully imposed a uniform imperial structure based on neo-liberal policies. US-centered regional trade, investment and military pacts ensured its imperial supremacy, through which they sought to blockade and overthrow the Cuban revolution. The US imperialist system reached its high point between the mid-1970’s to the late 1990’s – the Golden Age of Plunder. After the pillage of the 1990’s, the empire faced a massive wave of challenges from popular uprisings, electoral changes and the collapse of the corrupt auxiliary neo-liberal regimes.
The US imperial empire faced powerful challenges from popular-nationalist regimes from 1999 to 2006 in Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador. Dissident liberal-nationalist governments in Uruguay, Honduras and Paraguay posed their own challenges to imperial control.
The US empire was bogged down in multiple imperial wars in the Middle East (Iraq, Libya, Syria) Asia (Afghanistan) and Europe (Ukraine, Georgia, Yugoslavia), which undermined its capacity to intervene militarily in Latin America.
Cuba, the hemispheric center of the anti-imperialist politics, received economic aid from Venezuela and strengthened its diplomatic, trade and security alliances with the anti-interventionist center-left. This provided an impetus to the formation of independent regional trade organizations, which traded heavily with US imperial rivals, China, Iran and Russia during the ‘commodity boom’.
While the US imperial empire in Latin America was in retreat, it had not suffered a strategic defeat because it maintained its powerful business, political and state auxiliary structures, which were ready to regroup and counter-attack at the ‘right moment’ – the end of the ‘global commodity boom’.
By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the US Empire counter-attacked, with their political-military clients taking power in the weakest links, Honduras and Paraguay. Since then, neo-liberal extremists have been elected to the presidency in Argentina; a corrupt oligarch-led congress has impeached the President of Brazil; and the ground is being prepared to seize control in Venezuela.
The US Empire re-emerged in Latin America after a decade-long hiatus with a new or re-invigorated multi-tier structure.
At the top-tier is the United States, dependent on enforcement of its control through satellite military and business elites among the second-tier countries, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.
At the third-tier are Chile, Peru, Uruguay and the business-political elites in Venezuela, linked to the US and tier-two countries.
The fourth-tier is dominated by weak submissive regimes in Central America (Panama, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador), the Caribbean (especially Santa Domingo, Haiti and Jamaica) and Paraguay.
The US has re-assembled its imperial structure in Latin American rapidly, creating an assemblage which is extremely fragile, incoherent and subject to disintegration.
-The new neo-liberal regime in Argentine, the centerpiece of the empire, immediately faces the triple threat of mass unrest, economic crisis and a weak regime under siege.
-Brazil’s new US neo-liberal constellation of characters are all under indictment for corruption and facing trials, while economic recession and social polarization is undermining their ability to consolidate imperial control.
-Venezuela’s rightwing auxiliaries lack the economic resources to escape the demise of the oil economy, hyperinflation and the virulent internecine conflicts within the Right.
The US imperial empire in Latin America could best operate through links with the Asian-Pacific trade pact. However, even with new Asian ties the Latin satellites exhibit none of their Asian counterparts’ stability. Moreover, China’s dominant economic role in both regions has limited US hegemony over the principal props of the empire.
The Myth of a US Global Empire
The ‘narrative’ of a US global empire is based on several profound misconceptions, which have distorted the capacity of the US to dominate world politics. The US regional empires operate in contested universes where powerful counter forces limit imperial dominance.
In Europe, Russia is a powerful counterforce, bolstered by its growing alliances in Asia (China), the Middle East (Iran) and, to a limited extent, by the BRIC countries.
Moreover, Washington’s multi-tiered allies in Europe have occasionally followed autonomous policies, which include Germany’s oil-gas independent agreements with Russia, eroding US efforts to undermine Moscow.
While it may appear that the ‘imperial military, banking, multi-national corporate structure’, at a high level of abstraction, operates within a common imperial enterprise, on issues of everyday policy-making, budgeting, war policies, trade agreements, diplomacy, subversion and the capitalist market-place there are multiple countervailing forces.
The empire’s multi-tiered allies have their own demands as well as sacrifices imposed on the US imperial center.
Internal members of the imperial structure define competing priorities via domestic power wielders.
The US Empire has extended its military operations to over 700 bases across the world but each operation has been subject to restraints and reversals.
US multi-nationals have multi-billion dollar operations but they are forced to adjust to the demands of counter-imperial powers (China). They evade almost a trillion dollars of US taxes while absorbing massive assets from the US Treasury in the form of subsidies, infrastructure and security arrangements.
In sum, while the sun may never set on the empire, the emperors have lost their sight.