sábado, 2 de febrero de 2019

Año de rupturas


El año 2019 promete ser de ruptura en el marco geopolítico. Acá van algunos argumentos. La nota es de Michael Hudson y salió publicada en nakedcapitalism.com:



Título: Trump’s Brilliant Strategy to Dismember U.S. Dollar Hegemony

Texto: The end of America’s unchallenged global economic dominance has arrived sooner than expected, thanks to the very same Neocons who gave the world the Iraq, Syria and the dirty wars in Latin America. Just as the Vietnam War drove the United States off gold by 1971, its sponsorship and funding of violent regime change wars against Venezuela and Syria – and threatening other countries with sanctions if they do not join this crusade – is now driving European and other nations to create their alternative financial institutions.

This break has been building for quite some time, and was bound to occur. But who would have thought that Donald Trump would become the catalytic agent? No left-wing party, no socialist, anarchist or foreign nationalist leader anywhere in the world could have achieved what he is doing to break up the American Empire. The Deep State is reacting with shock at how this right-wing real estate grifter has been able to drive other countries to defend themselves by dismantling the U.S.-centered world order. To rub it in, he is using Bush and Reagan-era Neocon arsonists, John Bolton and now Elliott Abrams, to fan the flames in Venezuela. It is almost like a black political comedy. The world of international diplomacy is being turned inside-out. A world where there is no longer even a pretense that we might adhere to international norms, let alone laws or treaties.

The Neocons who Trump has appointed are accomplishing what seemed unthinkable not long ago: Driving China and Russia together – the great nightmare of Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski. They also are driving Germany and other European countries into the Eurasian orbit, the “Heartland” nightmare of Halford Mackinder a century ago.

The root cause is clear: After the crescendo of pretenses and deceptions over Iraq, Libya and Syria, along with our absolution of the lawless regime of Saudi Arabia, foreign political leaders are coming to recognize what world-wide public opinion polls reported even before the Iraq/Iran-Contra boys turned their attention to the world’s largest oil reserves in Venezuela: The United States is now the greatest threat to peace on the planet.

Calling the U.S. coup being sponsored in Venezuela a defense of democracy reveals the Doublethink underlying U.S. foreign policy. It defines “democracy” to mean supporting U.S. foreign policy, pursuing neoliberal privatization of public infrastructure, dismantling government regulation and following the direction of U.S.-dominated global institutions, from the IMF and World Bank to NATO. For decades, the resulting foreign wars, domestic austerity programs and military interventions have brought more violence, not democracy.

In the Devil’s Dictionary that U.S. diplomats are taught to use as their “Elements of Style” guidelines for Doublethink, a “democratic” country is one that follows U.S. leadership and opens its economy to U.S. investment, and IMF- and World Bank-sponsored privatization. The Ukraine is deemed democratic, along with Saudi Arabia, Israel and other countries that act as U.S. financial and military protectorates and are willing to treat America’s enemies are theirs too.

A point had to come where this policy collided with the self-interest of other nations, finally breaking through the public relations rhetoric of empire. Other countries are proceeding to de-dollarize and replace what U.S. diplomacy calls “internationalism” (meaning U.S. nationalism imposed on the rest of the world) with their own national self-interest.

This trajectory could be seen 50 years ago (I described it in Super Imperialism [1972] and Global Fracture [1978].) It had to happen. But nobody thought that the end would come in quite the way that is happening. History has turned into comedy, or at least irony as its dialectical path unfolds.

For the past half-century, U.S. strategists, the State Department and National Endowment for Democracy (NED) worried that opposition to U.S. financial imperialism would come from left-wing parties. It therefore spent enormous resources manipulating parties that called themselves socialist (Tony Blair’s British Labour Party, France’s Socialist Party, Germany’s Social Democrats, etc.) to adopt neoliberal policies that were the diametric opposite to what social democracy meant a century ago. But U.S. political planners and Great Wurlitzer organists neglected the right wing, imagining that it would instinctively support U.S. thuggishness.

The reality is that right-wing parties want to get elected, and a populist nationalism is today’s road to election victory in Europe and other countries just as it was for Donald Trump in 2016.

Trump’s agenda may really be to break up the American Empire, using the old Uncle Sucker isolationist rhetoric of half a century ago. He certainly is going for the Empire’s most vital organs. But it he a witting anti-American agent? He might as well be – but it would be a false mental leap to use “quo bono” to assume that he is a witting agent.

After all, if no U.S. contractor, supplier, labor union or bank will deal with him, would Vladimir Putin, China or Iran be any more naïve? Perhaps the problem had to erupt as a result of the inner dynamics of U.S.-sponsored globalism becoming impossible to impose when the result is financial austerity, waves of population flight from U.S.-sponsored wars, and most of all, U.S. refusal to adhere to the rules and international laws that it itself sponsored seventy years ago in the wake of World War II.


Dismantling International Law and Its Courts

Any international system of control requires the rule of law. It may be a morally lawless exercise of ruthless power imposing predatory exploitation, but it is still The Law. And it needs courts to apply it (backed by police power to enforce it and punish violators).

Here’s the first legal contradiction in U.S. global diplomacy: The United States always has resisted letting any other country have any voice in U.S. domestic policies, law-making or diplomacy. That is what makes America “the exceptional nation.” But for seventy years its diplomats have pretended that its superior judgment promoted a peaceful world (as the Roman Empire claimed to be), which let other countries share in prosperity and rising living standards.

At the United Nations, U.S. diplomats insisted on veto power. At the World Bank and IMF they also made sure that their equity share was large enough to give them veto power over any loan or other policy. Without such power, the United States would not join any international organization. Yet at the same time, it depicted its nationalism as protecting globalization and internationalism. It was all a euphemism for what really was unilateral U.S. decision-making.

Inevitably, U.S. nationalism had to break up the mirage of One World internationalism, and with it any thought of an international court. Without veto power over the judges, the U.S. never accepted the authority of any court, in particular the United Nations’ International Court in The Hague. Recently that court undertook an investigation into U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan, from its torture policies to bombing of civilian targets such as hospitals, weddings and infrastructure. “That investigation ultimately found ‘a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity.”[1]

Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton erupted in fury, warning in September that: “The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court,” adding that the UN International Court must not be so bold as to investigate “Israel or other U.S. allies.”

That prompted a senior judge, Christoph Flügge from Germany, to resign in protest. Indeed, Bolton told the court to keep out of any affairs involving the United States, promising to ban the Court’s “judges and prosecutors from entering the United States.” As Bolton spelled out the U.S. threat: “We will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system, and we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system. We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”

What this meant, the German judge spelled out was that: “If these judges ever interfere in the domestic concerns of the U.S. or investigate an American citizen, [Bolton] said the American government would do all it could to ensure that these judges would no longer be allowed to travel to the United States – and that they would perhaps even be criminally prosecuted.”

The original inspiration of the Court – to use the Nuremburg laws that were applied against German Nazis to bring similar prosecution against any country or officials found guilty of committing war crimes – had already fallen into disuse with the failure to indict the authors of the Chilean coup, Iran-Contra or the U.S. invasion of Iraq for war crimes.


Dismantling Dollar Hegemony from the IMF to SWIFT

Of all areas of global power politics today, international finance and foreign investment have become the key flashpoint. International monetary reserves were supposed to be the most sacrosanct, and international debt enforcement closely associated.

Central banks have long held their gold and other monetary reserves in the United States and London. Back in 1945 this seemed reasonable, because the New York Federal Reserve Bank (in whose basement foreign central bank gold was kept) was militarily safe, and because the London Gold Pool was the vehicle by which the U.S. Treasury kept the dollar “as good as gold” at $35 an ounce. Foreign reserves over and above gold were kept in the form of U.S. Treasury securities, to be bought and sold on the New York and London foreign-exchange markets to stabilize exchange rates. Most foreign loans to governments were denominated in U.S. dollars, so Wall Street banks were normally name as paying agents.

That was the case with Iran under the Shah, whom the United States had installed after sponsoring the 1953 coup against Mohammed Mosaddegh when he sought to nationalize Anglo-Iranian Oil (now British Petroleum) or at least tax it. After the Shah was overthrown, the Khomeini regime asked its paying agent, the Chase Manhattan bank, to use its deposits to pay its bondholders. At the direction of the U.S. Government Chase refused to do so. U.S. courts then declared Iran to be in default, and froze all its assets in the United States and anywhere else they were able.

This showed that international finance was an arm of the U.S. State Department and Pentagon. But that was a generation ago, and only recently did foreign countries begin to feel queasy about leaving their gold holdings in the United States, where they might be grabbed at will to punish any country that might act in ways that U.S. diplomacy found offensive. So last year, Germany finally got up the courage to ask that some of its gold be flown back to Germany. U.S. officials pretended to feel shocked at the insult that it might do to a civilized Christian country what it had done to Iran, and Germany agreed to slow down the transfer.

But then came Venezuela. Desperate to spend its gold reserves to provide imports for its economy devastated by U.S. sanctions – a crisis that U.S. diplomats blame on “socialism,” not on U.S. political attempts to “make the economy scream” (as Nixon officials said of Chile under Salvador Allende) – Venezuela directed the Bank of England to transfer some of its $11 billion in gold held in its vaults and those of other central banks in December 2018. This was just like a bank depositor would expect a bank to pay a check that the depositor had written.

England refused to honor the official request, following the direction of Bolton and U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. As Bloomberg reported: “The U.S. officials are trying to steer Venezuela’s overseas assets to [Chicago Boy Juan] Guaido to help bolster his chances of effectively taking control of the government. The $1.2 billion of gold is a big chunk of the $8 billion in foreign reserves held by the Venezuelan central bank.”

Turkey seemed to be a likely destination, prompting Bolton and Pompeo to warn it to desist from helping Venezuela, threatening sanctions against it or any other country helping Venezuela cope with its economic crisis. As for the Bank of England and other European countries, the Bloomberg report concluded: “Central bank officials in Caracas have been ordered to no longer try contacting the Bank of England. These central bankers have been told that Bank of England staffers will not respond to them.”

This led to rumors that Venezuela was selling 20 tons of gold via a Russian Boeing 777 – some $840 million. The money probably would have ended up paying Russian and Chinese bondholders as well as buying food to relieve the local famine.[4]Russia denied this report, but Reuters has confirmed is that Venezuela has sold 3 tons of a planned 29 tones of gold to the United Arab Emirates, with another 15 tones are to be shipped on Friday, February 1.[5]The U.S. Senate’s Batista-Cuban hardliner Rubio accused this of being “theft,” as if feeding the people to alleviate the U.S.-sponsored crisis was a crime against U.S. diplomatic leverage.

If there is any country that U.S. diplomats hate more than a recalcitrant Latin American country, it is Iran. President Trump’s breaking of the 2015 nuclear agreements negotiated by European and Obama Administration diplomats has escalated to the point of threatening Germany and other European countries with punitive sanctions if they do not also break the agreements they have signed. Coming on top of U.S. opposition to German and other European importing of Russian gas, the U.S. threat finally prompted Europe to find a way to defend itself.

Imperial threats are no longer military. No country (including Russia or China) can mount a military invasion of another major country. Since the Vietnam Era, the only kind of war a democratically elected country can wage is atomic, or at least heavy bombing such as the United States has inflicted on Iraq, Libya and Syria. But now, cyber warfare has become a way of pulling out the connections of any economy. And the major cyber connections are financial money-transfer ones, headed by SWIFT, the acronym for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which is centered in Belgium.

Russia and China have already moved to create a shadow bank-transfer system in case the United States unplugs them from SWIFT. But now, European countries have come to realize that threats by Bolton and Pompeo may lead to heavy fines and asset grabs if they seek to continue trading with Iran as called for in the treaties they have negotiated.

On January 31 the dam broke with the announcement that Europe had created its own bypass payments system for use with Iran and other countries targeted by U.S. diplomats. Germany, France and even the U.S. poodle Britain joined to create INSTEX — Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges. The promise is that this will be used only for “humanitarian” aid to save Iran from a U.S.-sponsored Venezuela-type devastation. But in view of increasingly passionate U.S. opposition to the Nord Stream pipeline to carry Russian gas, this alternative bank clearing system will be ready and able to become operative if the United States tries to direct a sanctions attack on Europe.

I have just returned from Germany and seen a remarkable split between that nation’s industrialists and their political leadership. For years, major companies have seen Russia as a natural market, a complementary economy needing to modernize its manufacturing and able to supply Europe with natural gas and other raw materials. America’s New Cold War stance is trying to block this commercial complementarity. Warning Europe against “dependence” on low-price Russian gas, it has offered to sell high-priced LNG from the United States (via port facilities that do not yet exist in anywhere near the volume required). President Trump also is insisting that NATO members spend a full 2 percent of their GDP on arms – preferably bought from the United States, not from German or French merchants of death.

The U.S. overplaying its position is leading to the Mackinder-Kissinger-Brzezinski Eurasian nightmare that I mentioned above. In addition to driving Russia and China together, U.S. diplomacy is adding Europe to the heartland, independent of U.S. ability to bully into the state of dependency toward which American diplomacy has aimed to achieve since 1945.

The World Bank, for instance, traditionally has been headed by a U.S. Secretary of Defense. Its steady policy since its inception is to provide loans for countries to devote their land to export crops instead of giving priority to feeding themselves. That is why its loans are only in foreign currency, not in the domestic currency needed to provide price supports and agricultural extension services such as have made U.S. agriculture so productive. By following U.S. advice, countries have left themselves open to food blackmail – sanctions against providing them with grain and other food, in case they step out of line with U.S. diplomatic demands.

It is worthwhile to note that our global imposition of the mythical “efficiencies” of forcing Latin American countries to become plantations for export crops like coffee and bananas rather than growing their own wheat and corn has failed catastrophically to deliver better lives, especially for those living in Central America. The “spread” between the export crops and cheaper food imports from the U.S. that was supposed to materialize for countries following our playbook failed miserably – witness the caravans and refugees across Mexico. Of course, our backing of the most brutal military dictators and crime lords has not helped either.

Likewise, the IMF has been forced to admit that its basic guidelines were fictitious from the beginning. A central core has been to enforce payment of official inter-government debt by withholding IMF credit from countries under default. This rule was instituted at a time when most official inter-government debt was owed to the United States. But a few years ago Ukraine defaulted on $3 billion owed to Russia. The IMF said, in effect, that Ukraine and other countries did not have to pay Russia or any other country deemed to be acting too independently of the United States. The IMF has been extending credit to the bottomless it of Ukrainian corruption to encourage its anti-Russian policy rather than standing up for the principle that inter-government debts must be paid.

It is as if the IMF now operates out of a small room in the basement of the Pentagon in Washington. Europe has taken notice that its own international monetary trade and financial linkages are in danger of attracting U.S. anger. This became clear last autumn at the funeral for George H. W. Bush, when the EU’s diplomat found himself downgraded to the end of the list to be called to his seat. He was told that the U.S. no longer considers the EU an entity in good standing. In December, “Mike Pompeo gave a speech on Europe in Brussels — his first, and eagerly awaited — in which he extolled the virtues of nationalism, criticised multilateralism and the EU, and said that “international bodies” which constrain national sovereignty “must be reformed or eliminated.”[5] 

Most of the above events have made the news in just one day, January 31, 2019. The conjunction of U.S. moves on so many fronts, against Venezuela, Iran and Europe (not to mention China and the trade threats and moves against Huawei also erupting today) looks like this will be a year of global fracture.

It is not all President Trump’s doing, of course. We see the Democratic Party showing the same colors. Instead of applauding democracy when foreign countries do not elect a leader approved by U.S. diplomats (whether it is Allende or Maduro), they’ve let the mask fall and shown themselves to be the leading New Cold War imperialists. It’s now out in the open. They would make Venezuela the new Pinochet-era Chile. Trump is not alone in supporting Saudi Arabia and its Wahabi terrorists acting, as Lyndon Johnson put it, “Bastards, but they’re our bastards.”

Where is the left in all this? That is the question with which I opened this article. How remarkable it is that it is only right-wing parties, Alternative for Deutschland (AFD), or Marine le Pen’s French nationalists and those of other countries that are opposing NATO militarization and seeking to revive trade and economic links with the rest of Eurasia.

The end of our monetary imperialism, about which I first wrote in 1972 in Super Imperialism, stuns even an informed observer like me. It took a colossal level of arrogance, short-sightedness and lawlessness to hasten its decline — something that only crazed Neocons like John Bolton, Elliot Abrams and Mike Pompeo could deliver for Donald Trump.



Notas:

[1]“It Can’t be Fixed: Senior ICC Judge Quits in Protest of US, Turkish Meddling,” January 31, 2019.

[2] Patricia Laya, Ethan Bronner and Tim Ross, “Maduro Stymied in Bid to Pull $1.2 Billion of Gold From U.K.,” Bloomberg, January 25, 2019. Anticipating just such a double-cross, President Chavez acted already in 2011 to repatriate 160 tons of gold to Caracas from the United States and Europe.

[3] ibid

[4] Corina Pons, Mayela Armas, “Exclusive: Venezuela plans to fly central bank gold reserves to UAE – source,” Reuters, January 31, 2019.

[5] Constanze Stelzenmüller, “America’s policy on Europe takes a nationalist turn,” Financial Times, January 31, 2019.

sábado, 26 de enero de 2019

Venezuela y más allá



Continuamos atentos a los dramáticos acontecimientos de estos días en Venezuela, manteniéndonos al margen de las interpretaciones esquemáticas de los hechos (e.g., estás con el Imperio o estás con la Revolución). De los centenares de notas y artículos sobre el tema, nos resulta particularmente relevante uno que alerta sobre las consecuencias que esta modalidad de toma del poder puede tener en el futuro, no sólo en América Latina sino en el resto del planeta. La nota que sigue es de Wayne Madsen para el sitio web Strategic Culture Fondation:



Título: Trump Recognition of Rival Venezuelan Government Will Set Off a Diplomatic Avalanche

Texto: The Trump administration’s January 23 recognition of Venezuela’s National Assembly leader, Juan Guaidó, as the president of Venezuela, in opposition to the “de facto” and “de jure” president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, threatens an avalanche of nations recognizing leaders of various political factions in countries around the world as legitimate governments. In reaction to Trump’s move, Maduro severed diplomatic relations with Washington and ordered all US embassy personnel in Caracas to leave the country within 72-hours. Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly declared a caretaker government as a rival to the Maduro government with Guaidó as the interim president.

Maduro was recently sworn in for a second term as Venezuela’s president, an action that has been rejected by the US-financed Venezuelan right-wing opposition. US Vice President Mike Pence declared “the United States’ resolute support for the National Assembly of Venezuela as the only legitimate democratic body in the country.” Luis Almagro, the secretary general of the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS), previously referred to Guaidó as Venezuela’s “interim president.” OAS members Canada, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, and Argentina stand ready to recognize Guaidó as president of a rival Venezuelan government. Mexico has rejected the anti-Maduro stance of the “Lima Group,” a right-wing bloc of Latin American states demanding Maduro’s ouster.

We may soon see a situation where the governments of the United States, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, and other countries declare Venezuelan diplomatic personnel accredited by the Maduro government expelled and their embassies turned over to loyalists of the Guaidó government. With the severance of Venezuelan relations with the United States, the Trump administration may turn over the keys of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington to the Guaidó-led opposition.

A similar situation has already been experienced by Syria. In 2013, the Syrian opposition established a rival “interim government” based in Azaz, Syria, that was in opposition to the “de facto” and “de jure” government of President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. The “interim government” was backed by Turkey, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and others, but it has all-but-dissolved following Assad’s overall victory in the Syrian civil war. Assad’s government retained the support of Russia, Iran, Iraq, China, North Korea, and Venezuela.

What portends for Venezuela is a situation that will rapidly be copied by other countries that will rush to recognize rival presidents and governments, perhaps even extending support to the establishment of governments-in-exile. Such situations will only add to the destabilization of international relations that already permeates the globe.

There are several diplomatic “dominos” that are following the example of Venezuela. The most pressing situation is in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where opposition leader Félix Tshisekedi was declared the winner of the nation’s contentious presidential election, receiving 38.57 percent of the vote. Tshisekedi is due to replace outgoing president Joseph Kabila. However, supporters of another presidential candidate, Martin Fayulu, have called the former ExxonMobil executive the actual winner of the DRC election. Fayulu won 34.8 percent of the vote. Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, a third candidate, who was backed by Kabila, decisively lost, receiving 23.8 percent of the vote.

Already, thanks to the American example being set in Venezuela, various countries are lining up to support either Tshisekedi or Fayulu as the leaders of rival DRC governments. The DRC has a tortured history of rival governments, starting from its independence in 1960. After Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba was deposed in a Central Intelligence Agency-led coup in 1960, leftist leader and Lumumba deputy prime minister Antoine Gizenga established the Free State of the Congo in Stanleyville (now Kisangani) as a rival to the Republic of the Congo in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa). Gizenga’s government was recognized by the Soviet Union, China, Mongolia, Poland, East Germany, Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Cuba, Iraq, the United Arab Republic, Ghana, Guinea, the Algerian provisional government, and Morocco. The Leopoldville government continued to be recognized by the United States, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, and other Western countries.

A secessionist State of Katanga, led by Moise Tshombe and supported by Belgian mercenaries, was established in Elisabethville (now Lubumbashi). At the same time as the Katangan secession, the State of South Kasai was proclaimed in Bakwanga, with Albert Kalonji as president. Although no nation extended diplomatic relations to either Katanga or South Kasai, they received military support from France, Belgium, South Africa, and the Central African Federation (also known as the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland).

In a case of déjà vu, the Tshisekedi presidency is supported by South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Algeria, Russia, and China, while Fayulu has the backing of France, Belgium, United Kingdom, the United States, and the Vatican. Zambia, whose president originally backed Fayulu and called for a recount, changed its position to support Tshisekedi. The DRC seemed to have slipped into a time machine, ending up in 1960, with some of the same foreign actors lining up on the same sides in support of rival Congolese leaders.

In Yemen, there are rival governments backed by rival countries. Two leaders claim to be the leaders of the Republic of Yemen. One is led by interim president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who largely rules from exile in Saudi Arabia. The other, which has occupied the Yemeni capital of Sana’a, is led by Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the President of the Revolutionary Committee of Yemen. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council nations of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman, as well as the United States, Egypt, and Pakistan, recognize Hadi’s government as the legitimate government of Yemen. Iran, Syria, and Lebanese Hezbollah recognize al-Houthi as the legitimate government of Yemen. Supporters of the former independent South Yemen took control of Aden in January 2018 and established the Southern Transitional Council, which, although not enjoying any diplomatic recognition, enjoys the support of the United Arab Emirates.

The Trump administration, which appears to thrive on chaos and instability at home and abroad, has given a jump start to other rival governments. Washington is encouraging nationalist sentiments, both Chinese and Taiwanese, on Taiwan. The “Republic of China” on Taiwan claims to be the government of China. However, the People’s Republic of China considers Taiwan to be a renegade province. China and Taiwan have vied for diplomatic advantage by engaging in “checkbook diplomacy.” China has been successful in weaning away nations recognizing Taiwan by offering them substantial aid packages in return for establishing relations with Beijing and severing them with Taiwan.

With the Trump administration advancing the concept of extending diplomatic relations to rebellious political leaders, other effects of this dangerous policy will soon be felt in nations with rival political power centers or secessionist claims. These include Somalia, Libya, the Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Mali, Equatorial Guinea, Vietnam, Laos, Gabon, Nigeria, Niger, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Comoros.

Extending diplomatic relations to rival governments, including those in exile, rarely succeed. After the fall of the Spanish Republic in 1939 to the fascist forces of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, the Spanish Republic established a government-in-exile, first in France, and then in Mexico. During its exiled existence, the Spanish Republic was only recognized by Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Venezuela, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Albania.

The plans by the Trump administration to recognize the right-wing opposition in Venezuela as the legitimate government of that nation is as doomed as the Spanish Republic in exile in Mexico and other failed exiled governments, including the East Turkestani government-in-exile in Washington, the Western Kurdistan government-in-exile in London, and the Free City of Danzig government-in-exile in Berlin.

What Trump has unleashed with his actions directed toward Venezuela is a situation where competing governments will be fighting over seats in the United Nations, embassies and consulates abroad, and the right to speak on behalf of their countries in international forums. It is the sort of bedlam upon which Trump, a proud destroyer of institutions, thrives.

It is increasingly being said that Trump’s White House consists of a team of “morons” and “idiots.” When it comes to the White House recognizing Venezuela’s right-wing opposition as the government of Venezuela, those appellations for Trump and his administration have definite merit.

martes, 22 de enero de 2019

Militantes multiuso



Otra instructiva nota de Thierry Meyssan en Red Voltaire sobre los múltiples usos geoestratégicos de los “militantes” del Emirato Islámico, Daesh y siglas afines. La foto de arriba muestra al consejero estadounidense para la seguridad nacional, John Bolton. Acá va:



Título: El uso del terrorismo según John Bolton

Epígrafe: Después haber privado al Emirato Islámico del territorio que le había asignado en tierras de Irak y Siria, Estados Unidos pretende reciclar una parte de sus mercenarios para utilizarlos de otra manera. El consejero estadounidense para la seguridad nacional, John Bolton, ha definido nuevos objetivos, nuevos socios y nuevos métodos. El dispositivo es secreto, así que lo conocemos sólo a través de lo que ya ha comenzado a hacerse. Este trabajo explora ese mundo de violencia.

Texto: En 1978, Zbignew Brzezinski, consejero de seguridad nacional de James Carter, el entonces presidente de Estados Unidos, decidió utilizar la Hermandad Musulmana contra los soviéticos y envió árabes a luchar junto a la oposición contra el régimen comunista afgano. Este último solicitó la ayuda de la Unión Soviética y el Ejército Rojo acabó empantanado en un conflicto del cual no podía salir victorioso.

En Afganistán, la Hermandad Musulmana no recibió armamento de la CIA porque esta no logró que el Congreso le otorgara la autorización que necesitaba para una operación de aquella envergadura, así que fue Israel quien puso las armas. Ante el éxito de aquella operación, árabes y afganos fueron utilizados después en numerosos teatros de operaciones. También resultó que la Hermandad Musulmana, utilizando armas proporcionadas por Israel e Irak, decidió probar suerte contra Siria, en 1978 y 1982. Un representante de la Hermandad Musulmana fue incorporado al estado mayor de la OTAN durante la agresión contra Yugoslavia en Kosovo.

Aunque el estatus de la Hermandad Musulmana como tropa auxiliar de la OTAN se interrumpió a finales del paso de Bill Clinton por la Casa Blanca, la colaboración entre la cofradía y la CIA siempre se mantuvo. Luego se incrementó con la agresión contra Libia, bajo la administración Obama, donde la Hermandad Musulmana proporcionó prácticamente toda las tropas terrestres utilizadas por la OTAN. Un miembro de la Hermandad Musulmana fue incluso incorporado al Consejo de Seguridad Nacional de Estados Unidos. Posteriormente, durante la agresión contra Siria, el LandCom de la OTAN, con sede en la ciudad turca de Izmir (Esmirna) coordinó el uso de las fuerzas yihadistas.

La administración Trump se opuso, como cuestión de principio, a que las fuerzas armadas estadounidenses recurran al uso de grupos terroristas. Llegó entonces para la Casa Blanca el momento de redefinir el papel de la Hermandad Musulmana.

Aunque no se conoce aún la nueva estrategia trazada por el consejero de seguridad nacional, John Bolton, numerosos indicios ya permiten percibir sus contornos.


Daesh

A principios de 2018, las fuerzas especiales estadounidenses ilegalmente presentes en Siria exfiltraron a miles de miembros del Emirato Islámico (Daesh) y los enviaron al extranjero. En mayo de 2018, le general iraní Rahim Safavi, consejero del ayatola Khamenei para los temas militares, acusó a Estados Unidos de organizar el traslado de los combatientes de Daesh hacia Afganistán.

Unos 7.000 hombres de Daesh se encuentran actualmente en Afganistán, pero ya no apoyan a los talibanes. Estos últimos son ahora contrarios a cualquier presencia extranjera en Afganistán. Por consiguiente, los hombres de Daesh luchan ahora contra los talibanes afganos.

Según Qari Muhammad Yussuf Ahmadi, vocero del Emirato Islámico de Afganistán –o sea, de los talibanes–,

«Los invasores americanos y sus lacayos realizaron anoche [el 12 de enero de 2019] un ataque contra un campamento de los muyahidines, donde estaban detenidos miembros de Daesh, en Pani Bus, distrito de Jwand, provincia de Bagdis. Las fuerzas conjuntas enemigas mataron a 2 guardias y se llevaron a 40 detenidos miembros de Daesh. Parece que los invasores americanos y sus comparsas de la administración de Kabul realizaron ese ataque para ayudar a los miembros de Daesh allí detenidos. Cada vez que los muyahidines del Emirato Islámico [los talibanes] han librado combates contra Daesh, los invasores americanos han ayudado a Daesh y han bombardeado las posiciones de los muyahidines. Exactamente como cuando los muyahidines de Darzab, distrito de Jowzjan, vencieron a Daesh y estuvieron a punto de erradicarlo [en agosto pasado], los invasores americanos y la administración de Kabul vinieron juntos a ayudar a 200 miembros de Daesh sacándolos de allí en helicópteros.»

Es entonces cuando el Centro de Lucha contra el Terrorismo de la academia militar estadounidense de West Point publica un estudio histórico sobre las divergencias entre los muyahidines durante la guerra contra los soviéticos en Afganistán. Ese documento recuerda que en 1989, durante la retirada del Ejército Rojo y cuando Osama ben Laden regresó a Arabia Saudita, jóvenes miembros de la Hermandad Musulmana cuestionaron la falta de rigor religioso de sus jefes. Aquellos jóvenes crearon la «Escuela de Jalalabad», mucho más estricta, que comenzó a acusar a estos y aquellos de «falta de religiosidad» y a excluirlos de la religión (takfir), fue ese –según dicen– el conflicto que resurgió en 2014, provocando la ruptura entre al-Qaeda y Daesh.

Esta mirada al pasado no debe hacernos olvidar que la Hermandad Musulmana siguió acogiendo no sólo a los talibanes sino a todos los muyahidines afganos, hasta que fue asesinado Ahmed Chah Massud (quien también había sido miembro de la Hermandad Musulmana), el 9 de septiembre de 2001, justo 2 días antes de los atentados de Nueva York y el Pentágono. Durante dos décadas, Afganistán se convirtió en el lugar donde se formaban combatientes provenientes del Cáucaso ruso. Hoy en día, los talibanes son mucho más cuidadosos en la selección de sus aliados y amigos. Actualmente controlan el 60% del territorio afgano y ya no se basan en criterios religiosos sino nacionalistas.

Durante la guerra contra los soviéticos, la Hermandad Musulmana estuvo vinculada principalmente al ex primer ministro Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, quien la representaba en Afganistán. El 22 de septiembre de 2016, con el respaldo de la administración Obama, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar obtuvo el perdón del nuevo Estado afgano y la ONU retiró su nombre de las listas de terroristas.

La llegada de Daesh a Afganistán se produce en momentos en que, desde julio de 2018, la administración Trump trata de negociar con los talibanes. Contactos preliminares tuvieron lugar en Qatar entre estos y la embajadora estadounidense Alice Wells, asistente de Mike Pompeo para el Asia Central. Las negociaciones se desarrollaron bajo la dirección del embajador estadounidense Zalmay Khalilzad, en septiembre y octubre, a pesar de la inquietud del gobierno afgano, que envió un representante sin que este fuese admitido en el diálogo. Antes de convertirse en estadounidense, Khalilzad luchó contra los soviéticos junto a los talibanes, pashtunes como él. Después de hacerse estadounidense, Khalilzad se convirtió en neoconservador y fue nombrado embajador en la ONU. Eso fue en 2007, cuando el Senado rechazó la nominación de John Bolton.


Los Muyahidines del Pueblo

La semana pasada, la jefa de los Muyahidines del Pueblo (MEK), Maryam Radjavi, residente en Tirana, la capital albanesa, llegó a Kabul en visita oficial. Allí se reunió con el presidente del Consejo Nacional de Seguridad y ex embajador afgano en Estados Unidos, Hamdullah Mohib. La señora Radjavi debe viajar próximamente a Herat, en el distrito de Shindans, para establecer allí una base militar de MEK. Según el diario pakistaní Ummat, el Pentágono entrenó allí 2.000 Muyahidines del Pueblo en octubre de 2012.

A pesar de que tienen denominaciones similares, los muyahidines de la Hermandad Musulmana, que son árabes sunnitas, no tienen nada que ver con los Muyahidines del Pueblo (MEK), que son persas chiitas. Lo único que estos dos grupos tienen en común es el hecho de haber sido manipulados por Estados Unidos y la práctica del terrorismo.

Desde el año 2013, los Muyahidines del Pueblo, que estaban en Irak, se trasladaron a Albania con ayuda de Estados Unidos. Varias empresas israelíes construyeron para ellos una pequeña ciudad en suelo albanés. Pero el 23 de junio de 2014, ante 80 000 miembros de MEK y 600 personalidades occidentales, Maryam Radjavi pronunció un largo discurso donde se regocijaba ante la conquista de Irak por parte de Daesh. Es importante recordar que la progresión de Daesh en Irak había sido organizada con ayuda del general iraquí Ezzat Ibrahim al-Douri, antiguo brazo derecho de Saddam Hussein y, bajo ese estatus, protector de los Muyahidines del Pueblo.

El estadounidense John Bolton mantiene vínculos con los Muyahidines del Pueblo desde la época de la administración Bush. Y esos vínculos se fortalecieron con la participación de Bolton –específicamente en 2010 y en 2017– en las concentraciones que los Muyahidines del Pueblo realizan anualmente en la localidad francesa de Villepinte, participación que le valió ser remunerado con 40.000 dólares. Hoy convertido en consejero de seguridad nacional, Bolton está reuniendo a los yihadistas de Daesh con los Muyahidines del Pueblo encabezados por Maryam Radjavi para luchar contra un objetivo común.

El blanco más inmediato de esa alianza debería ser Irán, que tiene una larga frontera con Afganistán, frontera que por demás muy difícil de defender.



lunes, 21 de enero de 2019

Africa


La lucha por Africa y sus riquezas continúa, alejada de las primeras páginas de los diarios. Todos se disputan a este sufrido continente, algunos con plata, otros con fierros y organizaciones "humanitarias". La nota que sigue es de Manlio Dinucci para el sitio web Red Voltaire:



Título: «El arte de la guerra»

Epígrafe: Creado en 2007, después de un estudio realizado por Israel, el AfriCom (mando de las fuerzas militares de Estados Unidos en África) no ha logrado instalar su cuartel general en el continente africano. Es desde Alemania que el AfriCom –con la colaboración de Francia en la región del Sahel– realiza operaciones terroristas en África. A cambio, las transnacionales estadounidenses y francesas gozan de acceso privilegiado a las materias primas africanas.


Leyenda de la figura: En junio de 2018, la directora del US Institute of Peace (USIP), Nancy Lindborg, visitaba la sede del AfriCom en Sttugart (Alemania). El USIP es la NED del Departamento de Defensa y realiza acciones “humanitarias” exactamente como la NED cuando promueve la “democracia”. Por supuesto, el USIP no es una fundación filantrópica del Pentágono sino una herramienta de los servicios de inteligencia de Estados Unidos.


Texto: Los militares italianos que cumplen misión en Yibuti donaron máquinas de coser a la organización humanitaria que asiste a los refugiados en ese pequeño país del Cuerno de África, estratégicamente posicionado en la principal vía comercial entre Asia y Europa, a la entrada del Mar Rojo y frente a Yemen. Italia tiene allí una base militar que, desde 2012, «aporta apoyo logístico a las operaciones militares italianas que se desarrollan en el área del Cuerno de África, del Golfo de Adén, de la cuenca somalí y del Océano Índico».

Por consiguiente, en Yibuti, los militares italianos no sólo se ocupan de máquinas de coser.

Durante el ejercicio Barracuda 2018, realizado en noviembre de 2018, tiradores seleccionados de las fuerzas especiales (cuyo mando está en Pisa) se entrenaron, bajo todo tipo de condiciones ambientales –incluso nocturnas– con los fusiles de precisión más sofisticados, capaces de abatir un blanco a 1 o 2 kilómetros de distancia. Dado que sus misiones son secretas, se ignora en qué tipo de operaciones participan las fuerzas especiales [italianas]. En todo caso, es seguro que esas misiones se desarrollan principalmente en un marco internacional y bajo las órdenes de militares estadounidenses. 

En Yibuti está Camp Lemonier, la gran base militar estadounidense desde donde opera, desde 2001, la “Fuerza de Tarea Conjunta para el Cuerno de África”, que se compone de 4.000 especialistas en misiones altamente secretas, como los asesinatos selectivos ejecutados por comandos o por drones [aviones no tripulados], principalmente en Yemen y en Somalia.

Mientras los aviones y los helicópteros que participan en las operaciones especiales despegan desde Camp Lemonier, los drones están concentrados en el aeropuerto de Chabelley, a una decena de kilómetros de la capital. Allí se construyen más hangares, trabajo que el Pentágono ha puesto en manos de una empresa de Catania [Italia] que ya utiliza en otros trabajos en Sigonella [en Italia], la principal base de los drones que Estados Unidos y la OTAN utilizan en las operaciones realizadas en África y en el Medio Oriente ampliado.

También hay en Yibuti una base militar japonesa y otra francesa. Esta última recibe tropas de Alemania y España. En 2017 se instaló allí una base militar china, la única existente fuera de las fronteras chinas. Aunque el objetivo de la base china es fundamental de naturaleza logística, como dar albergue a las tripulaciones de los buques de la marina china que escoltan los barcos mercantes y poder disponer de almacenes para su aprovisionamiento, su existencia misma constituye una señal significativa de la creciente presencia china en África.

Esa presencia china es esencialmente económica, pero Estados Unidos y las demás potencias occidentales le oponen una presencia militar cada vez más importante, intensificando las operaciones del AfriCom (el mando de las fuerzas militares estadounidenses en África), que tiene en Italia 2 importantes mandos subordinados: la US Army Africa (¡Ejército de Estados Unidos para África!), en el cuartel de Ederle, provincia de Vicenza; y las US Naval Forces Europe-Africa (Fuerzas Navales de Estados Unidos para Europa y África), con cuartel general en la base de Capodichino (Nápoles), que se compone de navíos pertenecientes a la Sexta Flota estadounidense, con base en Gaeta (Italia).

En ese marco estratégico se incluye otra base estadounidense para drones armados, actualmente en proceso de instalación en Agadez (Níger), donde el Pentágono ya está utilizando para sus drones la base aérea 101, en Niamey. Esa base se utiliza en las operaciones militares que Estados Unidos viene realizando desde hace años con Francia, en el Sahel, principalmente en Mali, en Níger y en Chad. Estos dos últimos países fueron visitados la semana pasada por el primer ministro italiano Giuseppe Conte.

Aunque están entre los más pobres del mundo, se trata de países muy ricos en materias primas –coltán, uranio, oro y petróleo, entre otros recursos naturales. La explotación de esos recursos está en manos de transnacionales con sedes en Estados Unidos y en Francia, cada vez más temerosas de la competencia de las empresas chinas ya que estas últimas ofrecen a los países africanos condiciones mucho más favorables.


Los intentos de detener el progreso económico chino mediante soluciones militares –tanto en África como en otras latitudes– están fracasando. Al extremo que es muy probable que las máquinas de coser que los militares italianos donaron en Yibuti sean «Made in China».



sábado, 19 de enero de 2019

Cristianos de Siria



La nota que sigue habla del peligro que se cierne sobre las comunidades cristianas de Medio Oriente, en particular las de Siria. Es de Elias Samo y salió publicada en el sitio web Strategic Culture Foundation:


Título: Historic Eastern Christianity: An Uncertain Future

Texto: The survival of historic Eastern Christianity has never been as urgent as it is today. Christianity saw its beginning in Greater Syria which was subdivided by France and Britain after WWI into modern day Syria, Lebanon, Palestian/Israel and Jordan. The land that housed, nurtured and spread the teachings of Jesus Christ for over two millenniums, now threatens children of that faith. The survival of historic Eastern Christianity, particularly in Syria, is critical for several reasons:

1. Greater Syria is the homeland of Jesus and Christianity. Abraham was from modern day Iraq, Moses from Egypt, and Muhammad from Mecca; Jesus was from Syria.

2. Paul converted to Christianity and saw the light while walking through ‘The Street Called Straight’ in Damascus.

3. Jesus’ followers were called Christians for the first time in Antioch, formerly part of Syria.

4. One of the earliest churches, perhaps the earliest, is in Syria.

The potential demise of historic Eastern Christianity is reflected in the key question Christians ask: should we stay or emigrate? The urgent question – in the face of the ongoing regional turmoil – precipitated with the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 and escalated since the Arab uprisings in 2011. Historic Eastern Christians’ fears were further magnified when Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Archbishop Paul Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church, both of metropolitan Aleppo, were kidnapped on April, 22, 2013; with no traces of their whereabouts, dead or alive, since. For many years, I was deputy, friend, and advisor to the Archbishop Ibrahim, which provided me an opportunity to meet many Christians. I have, over time, noticed the change in their sentiment, with more considering emigration after the uprising and the kidnapping of the two Archbishops. Historic Eastern Christians survived the Ottoman Genocide in 1915 and thereafter; they multiplied and thrived in the Fertile Crescent despite some atrocities until the start of the misnamed “Arab Spring” in early 2011. Prior to the “Arab Spring”, historic Eastern Christians were victims of violence on several occasions. In the mid-1930s, the historic Assyrian community in Iraq suffered violent onslaughts and were driven to Syria. In the 1970s and 1980s, during the Lebanese Civil War, Christians were victims of sectarian violence. During the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, Christians were victims of widespread sectarian violence which led to mass migration. The “Arab Spring” began with great hope for the right of the people to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. 
However, it was swiftly hijacked by Islamists and Salafists and turned into an “Islamic Spring, an Arab Fall and a Christian Winter”; bringing along with it a new massacre of Christians. Presently, Eastern Christianity is at the mercy of clear and identifiable domestic, regional, and international, historic and contemporary conflicts in the Fertile Crescent, namely:

1. Jihad vs. Ijtihad: A long standing conflict amongst Muslims between the sword vs. the pen.

2. Sunni vs. Shiite: A conflict which began following the death of the Prophet Muhammad.

3. Arabism vs. Islamism: The former has territorial limitations, the later has no territorial limitations.

4. Syria vs. Israel: It is an essential component of the Palestinian problem, not the presumed Arab- Israeli conflict.

5. West vs. East: A throwback to the Cold War, or its revival.

6. Historic Persian, Ottoman and Arab Empires animosities: Each seeking regional hegemony.


One is reminded of the proverbial saying, “When the elephants fight, the grass suffers.” Certainly, Eastern Christianity is suffering and threatened with extinction.

Syria was a model of religious tolerance, common living and peaceful interaction amongst its religious, sectarian, cultural and ethnic components. Seven years of turmoil, in which various international and regional powers manipulated segments of Syrian society by supplying them with an abundance of weapons, money and sectarian ideologies, has heightened Eastern Christians’ fears. During the seven-year turmoil in Syria, the entire society has suffered; Sunnis, Shiites, Alawites, Yazidis, Kurds, Christians and others. Christians, being a weak and peaceful component of the society, have suffered immensely. Ma’aloula; a religious treasure for Christians globally, and the only city in the world where Aramaic – the language of Jesus Christ – is spoken, was attacked and besieged by ISIS. Numerous historic Churches were damaged, and many destroyed. Christians in Raqqa were forced by ISIS into one of three options: 1. Pay a penalty in pure gold – known as a ‘Jizya’ to keep their life and practice their faith – albeit in secret only; 2. Convert into Islam; or 3. Face immediate death. To top their pain, the kidnap of the two prominent Archbishops meant no Eastern Christian believer was safe.

Amidst all the doom and gloom, however, there remains hope. The survival of Christianity depends on the actions and reactions of three parties:

Eastern Christians: During the last hundred years, 1915-2015, since the Ottoman Genocide, Eastern Christians have been victims of a history of massacres, which meant that every Eastern Christian was a martyr, a potential martyr or a witness of martyrdom; if you fool me once, shame on you, if you fool me twice, shame on me. The ongoing regional turmoil has heightened their sense of insecurity. The answer to an age-old question Eastern Christians had on their mind: To flee Westwards or remain in their land, in the face of death, is increasingly becoming the former.

Eastern Muslims: There is a difference in perceptions between Eastern Christians and mainstream Muslims regarding the massacres committed against Christians. When certain violent groups or individuals kill Christians, while shouting a traditional Islamic profession: “No God but one God and Muhammad is God’s messenger”, it is reasonable for Christians to assume the killers are Muslims. However, for mainstream Muslims, the killers do not represent Islam; they are extremists, violating basic Islamic norms such as Muhammad’s sayings, “Whoever hurts a Thummy – Christian or Jew – has hurt me”, “no compulsion in religion” and other Islamic norms regarding just treatment of people of the Book; Christians and Jews. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the Muslim elites to impress upon their fellow Muslims that:

a. The three monotheistic religions believe in one God and all ‘faithfuls’ are equal in citizenship, rights and duties.

b. Christians participated in the rise of Arab Islamic civilization. They were pioneers in the modern Arab renaissance and they joined their Muslim brethren in resisting the Crusades, the Ottomans and Western colonialism.

c. Christians are natives of the land and they provide cultural, religious, educational, and economic, diversity.

d. Christians are a positive link between the Muslims and the Christian West, particularly in view of the rise of Islamophobia. Massacres of Christians and their migration provide a pretext for the further precipitation of Islamophobia.

e. Civilization is measured by the way it treats its minorities.

The Christian West: The Crusades, Western colonialism, creation and continued support of Israel, support of authoritarian Arab political systems, military interventions, regime change, and the destabilization of Arab states made Muslims view Eastern Christians ‘guilty by association’. The Christian West helped Jews come to Palestine to establish Israel. Shouldn’t the same Christian West also help Eastern Christians remain in their homeland, rather than facilitate their emigration? Western Christians, particularly Christian Zionists, believe that the existence of Israel is necessary for the return of Jesus to his homeland. However, it would be a great disappointment for Jesus to return to his homeland, Syria and not find any of his followers.

Prior to 2011, Eastern Christian religious leaders were encouraging Syrian Christians in the diaspora to return to Syria, their homeland, where life was safe and secure with great potential. Now, the same leaders are desperately trying to slow down Christian emigration. Eastern Christians’ loud cries for help to remain are blowing in the wind.




miércoles, 16 de enero de 2019

Neocolonialismo



 ¿Un giro hacia políticas neocoloniales por parte de las potencias europeas? Esa parece ser la lectura que Gran Bretaña, Francia y Turquía hicieron de la desaparición del mundo unipolar. La nota que sigue es de Thierry Meyssan para Red Voltaire:


Título: Recolonización

Epígrafe: Thierry Meyssan estima que una de las consecuencias de las desapariciones sucesivas del mundo bipolar y del mundo unipolar es la reaparición de proyectos coloniales. Uno tras otro, los dirigentes de Francia, Turquía y Reino Unido han expresado públicamente el regreso a sus ambiciones coloniales. Está por saber qué forma tomarán esas ambiciones en pleno siglo XXI.

Texto:

El imperio francés

Hace 10 años que venimos señalando como un disparate la voluntad francesa de reinstaurar la autoridad de Francia sobre sus ex colonias. Esa era la lógica de la nominación de Bernard Kouchner como ministro de Exteriores, decisión tomada por el presidente Nicolas Sarkozy al llegar al poder. Sarkozy echó a un lado la noción de «Derechos Humanos» de los revolucionarios franceses y adoptó la de los anglosajones [1].

Posteriormente, el también presidente francés y amigo de Sarkozy, Francois Hollande, declaró en una conferencia de prensa, cuando asistía a la Asamblea General de la ONU, que era hora de reinstaurar un mandato sobre Siria. Más claramente aún lo dijo después el ex presidente francés Valery Giscard d’Estaing, sobrino del embajador Francois George-Picot (el de los acuerdos Sykes-Picot). Y es evidentemente en ese sentido que hay que interpretar la voluntad del actual presidente de Francia, Emmanuel Macron, de continuar la guerra contra Siria, aún sin Estados Unidos.

Siempre hubo en Francia un «partido colonial», en el estaban representados todos los partidos políticos y que actuaba como un grupo de influencia o de cabildeo al servicio de la clase rica. Como siempre ha sucedido cada vez que a los capitalistas sin escrúpulos se les hace difícil controlar impunemente la fuerza de trabajo nacional, hoy resurge en Francia el mito de la conquista colonial. El principio es el siguiente: Si los “Chalecos Amarillos” se rebelan, continuamos la «explotación del hombre por el hombre» usando a los sirios.

En el pasado, esa forma de dominación se escondía tras «el deber de difundir la civilización», invocado por el político francés Jules Ferry –a cuya memoria Francois Hollande dedicó su ceremonia de investidura presidencial [2]. Hoy en día, el pretexto es proteger a los pueblos cuyos dirigentes son calificados de «dictadores».

Francia no es la única ex potencia colonial que actúa de esa manera. Turquía no tardó en seguirle los pasos.


El imperio otomano

Tres meses después del intento de derrocarlo y asesinarlo frustrado en julio de 2016, el presidente turco Recep Tayyip Erdogan pronunciaba un discurso en la inauguración de la universidad que lleva su nombre (RTEU). Y exponía entonces una muestra de las ambiciones de la República Turca desde que fue creada, así como de las ambiciones de su nuevo régimen [3]. En referencia explícita al «Juramento Nacional» (Misak-i Milli) [4], adoptado el 12 de febrero de 1920 por el Parlamento otomano, Erdogan justificaba su irredentismo. 

Ese juramento, que constituye la base del paso del Imperio Otomano a la República Turca, reclama los territorios del noreste de Grecia (Tracia Occidental y Dodecaneso) [5], todo Chipre, el norte de Siria (incluyendo las regiones de Idlib, Alepo y Hassakeh), y el norte de Irak (incluyendo Mosul).

Hoy en día, ese imperio en fase de reconstitución ya ocupa el norte de Chipre (la seudo «República Turca de Chipre del Norte»), el noroeste de Siria y una pequeña parte de Irak. Para todas esas zonas, donde Turquía impone el uso de su propia lengua y su moneda, se ha nombrado un wali (gobernador), que tiene una oficina en el palacio presidencial (el Palacio Blanco) que Erdogan hizo construir para sí mismo en Ankara.


El imperio británico

Por su parte, el Reino Unido se ve indeciso, desde hace dos años, sobre su futuro después del Brexit.

Poco después de la llegada de Donald Trump a la Casa Blanca, la primer ministro británica Theresa May viajó a Estados Unidos. Dirigiéndose a los responsables del Partido Republicano, la señora May propuso reinstaurar el liderazgo anglosajón sobre el resto del mundo [6]. Pero el presidente Trump fue reelecto precisamente por los opositores de los sueños imperiales y para liquidar estos últimos, no para compartirlos.

Presa de la decepción, la señora May viajó entonces a China para proponer al presidente Xi Jinping controlar con él los intercambios internacionales. Le dijo que la City estaba dispuesta a garantizar la convertibilidad de las monedas occidentales en yuanes [7]. Pero el presidente Xi no fue electo para entrar en negocios con la heredera de la potencia que desmanteló su país y que le impuso la guerra del opio.

La señora May trató entonces de aplicar una tercera fórmula con la Commonwealth [8]. Algunas de las ex colonias de la Corona, como la India, registran hoy un fuerte crecimiento y pudieran convertirse en valiosos socios comerciales. Simbólicamente, el delfín de la Corona, el príncipe Charles, fue nombrado presidente de la Commonwealth. Y la señora May anunció que por fin se vería un Reino Unido «global» (Global Britain).

En una entrevista concedida al Sunday Telegraph –edición del 30 de diciembre de 2018– el ministro británico de Defensa, Gavin Williamson, expuso su análisis de la situación. Desde el fiasco del Canal de Suez –en 1935–, el Reino Unido aplicaba una política de descolonización y retiraba sus tropas del resto del mundo. Hoy mantiene bases militares permanentes sólo en Gibraltar, en Chipre, en la isla Diego García y en las islas Malvinas (Islas Falklands, según la denominación imperial). Hace 63 años que Londres viene contando con la Unión Europea, entidad que Winston Churchill imaginó pero sin intenciones de que Inglaterra entrara en ella. El Brexit viene a poner fin a la política del Reino Unido como miembro de la Unión Europea. En lo adelante, «el Reino Unido regresa como potencia global».

Y ya Londres está tratando de abrir dos nuevas bases militares permanentes. La primera estaría en Asia (en Singapur o Brunei) y la segunda en Latinoamérica, probablemente en Guyana, para participar en la nueva etapa de la estrategia Rumsfeld-Cebrowski de destrucción de las regiones del mundo no implicadas en el proceso de globalización. La guerra en Latinoamérica comenzaría con una invasión contra Venezuela por parte de Colombia (país con un régimen proestadounidense), Brasil (país con un régimen proisraelí) y Guyana (país bajo control británico).

Sin molestarse, como Francia, en inventar grandes discursos, el Reino Unido construyó un imperio con ayuda de las transnacionales, poniendo los ejércitos británicos al servicio de estas últimas. Los británicos dividieron entonces el mundo en dos. Su soberano era rey de Inglaterra –donde tenía que someterse a la tradición política– y emperador de las Indias –donde reemplazaba a la antigua Compañía de Indias y actuaba como autócrata.

La descolonización fue consecuencia de la guerra fría, fue impuesta a los países de Europa occidental por el dúo Estados Unidos-URSS, se mantuvo durante la etapa del mundo unipolar pero su cuestionamiento ya no encuentra obstáculo desde que Estados Unidos anunció que se retira del «Medio Oriente ampliado» (o «Gran Medio Oriente)».

Es difícil prever qué forma adoptará la colonización futura. Las diferencias en los niveles de educación hicieron posible la colonización del pasado. ¿Y ahora?


Notas:

[1] La diferencia entre ambas nociones de los derechos humanos fue el principal tema de debate durante la Revolución Francesa. La incompatibilidad entre ambas nociones fue incluso tema del The Rights of Man de Thomas Paine, que llegó a ser el más vendido durante la Revolución Francesa.

[2] «Francia, según Francois Hollande», por Thierry Meyssan, Red Voltaire, 31 de julio de 2012.

[3] «La estrategia militar de la nueva Turquía», por Thierry Meyssan, Red Voltaire, 13 de octubre de 2017.

[4] «Juramento Nacional turco», Red Voltaire, 28 de enero de 1920.

[5] «Erdogan da a entender que Turquía se prepara para invadir Grecia», Red Voltaire, 20 de febrero de 2018.

[6] “Theresa May addresses US Republican leaders”, por Theresa May, Voltaire Network, 27 de enero de 2017.

[7] «El Brexit redistribuye las cartas de la geopolítica mundial», por Thierry Meyssan, Red Voltaire, 27 de junio de 2016.

[8] «La nueva política exterior británica», por Thierry Meyssan, Red Voltaire, 4 de julio de 2016.



lunes, 14 de enero de 2019

Los términos del lenguaje



A medida que se recalientan las relaciones del Imperio con todos los demás, adversarios o vasallos, notamos un aumento proporcional en la retórica belicista de comentaristas y analistas. Términos como “S-400” o “B-52” comienzan a hacerse habituales en diarios, sitios de opinión y  publicaciones on-line.  En un mundo en estado de guerras regionales permanentes (en particular en Medio Oriente), podría parecer relativamente natural. Sin embargo, resultan llamativas las (cada vez más) frecuentes referencias a eventuales conflictos nucleares entre los EEUU y sus adversarios más potentes (Rusia y China). Leemos, por ejemplo, la siguiente nota de un tal Phillyguy para el blog The Vineyard of the Saker:



Título: War Essay- The consequences of nuclear war on US society

Texto:

Summary: The US emerged from WWII as the world’s leading economic and military power. Since that time US hegemony has been predicated on: 1) unrivaled military strength, 2) control of world’s energy reserves and 3) primacy of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. All of the pillars supporting US global dominance are now being threatened by continuing US economic decline coupled with ongoing economic development of China and other Asian countries, who are increasingly using currencies other than the US dollar, for international trade. US economic decline is fueling global instability and increasing the possibility of conflicts erupting between global powers. Thus the threat of nuclear war hangs over the world.


How did we get here?

The US emerged from WWII, with its manufacturing base intact and was the world’s dominant economic power. This began to change in the mid-1970s, as US corporate profits began to stagnate/decline, a consequence of increasing competition from rebuilt economies in Europe- primarily Germany (Marshall Plan), Japan and Korea (US wars in Korea and Vietnam) and later China (1). To deal with these structural economic problems confronting US capitalism, the directors of economic policy in the government and large corporations faced a decision that would play a major role in shaping global geopolitics for the next 5 decades. They could make large investments in the domestic economy, developing state of the art manufacturing facilities and equipment that would enable US corporations to effectively compete with those in newly emerging economies, or abandon manufacturing and change the structure of the US economy. As we now know, policy makers chose the latter route. This policy was based on economic attacks on poor people and labor, financial deregulation, increased spending on the military and war and rampant financial speculation.

In November 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected president and during his administration, began a frontal assault on organized labor by firing members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) who went on strike over grievances concerning working conditions in 1981. Reagan also instituted tax cuts for the wealthy, which have continued under succeeding administrations (2). In 1993, Bill Clinton entered office and proceeded to attack poor people by cutting public assistance to poor families- signing the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 and pledging to “end welfare as we know it” (3), facilitated job outsourcing (passage of NAFTA) and deregulated finance by signing the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA) aka Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, which also repealed the Glass–Steagall act, a component of the depression era 1933 Banking Act (4). In 2001, George (“W”) Bush became president and immediately signed legislation cutting taxes for the wealthy, including major cuts to inheritance taxes. Following the 911 attacks on the World Trade Center in NYC, President GW Bush sent US troops to Afghanistan, to ostensibly find Osama bin, head of al-Qaida and alleged leader and organizer of the 911 attacks. In his 2002 State of the Union address, the President gave his now famous “axis of evil” speech, which included North Korea (DPRK), Iran and Iraq (5). This list was later expanded to include Cuba, Libya, Syria and Venezuela (6). In 2003, President Bush invaded Iraq and deposed their leader, Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein.


2008 Financial Crash

The policies instituted above combined to create the 2008 financial collapse, the largest financial disaster since the Great Depression. In an attempt to contain the economic damage resulting from this financial implosion, the US FED bailed out Wall St banks and to prevent further falls in the Stock market, has provided Wall St with a nearly unlimited supply of ultra-cheap funds (circa $4 trillion) for share buybacks and MA deals in what has been referred to as an “orgy” of corporate debt. Despite multiple tax cuts for the wealthy and financial largess of the US FED, and other Central banks including Bank of Japan (BOJ) and European Central Bank (ECB), global capitalism is confronted with slack demand, high levels of excess capacity and skyrocketing debt. In addition, economies in the US and EU are challenged with high employment and anemic job growth.

The economic policies shaped over the last four decades have been continued under Obama and Trump and have played a decisive role in directing US foreign policies since the mid-1970s. The relatively rapid economic decline since 2000 directly threatens US global hegemony and in response the Pentagon has engaged in an increasingly reckless, bellicose and astronomically expensive foreign policy (7, 8). Indeed, the US is currently involved in wars stretching from the Levant, to Caspian Basin, South-west Asia, Persian Gulf, China Sea, Indian Ocean, Horn of Africa, the Maghreb, to Eastern Europe and Russian border. The staggering economic costs of these wars can be seen with conflicts in Afghanistan (longest running war in US history) and Iraq being estimated to have cost US taxpayers $ 6 trillion (9).


Focus on China

The emergence of China as a potential competitor to US hegemony was recognized by the Obama administration and in response, reoriented US foreign policy with his “Asia Pivot” in 2012 (10). Harvard Professor Graham Allison has warned that the US and China are in “Thucydides Trap” using Athenian historian Thucydides analysis of the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), where “it was the rise of Athens, and the fear that this inspired in Sparta, that made war inevitable” (11). Tensions with China have been heightened by the Trump administration’s protectionist trade policies, tariffs on Chinese exports to the US and out right thuggish behavior, an example being the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, Canada (12, 13). The anti-China campaign is being ratcheting up further with vague accusations of “China’s attempts to obtain trade secrets and intellectual property through a state-coordinated cyberespionage campaign….. a brazen effort by the Chinese to obtain Western technology and other proprietary information”, featured in a prominent piece in the “paper or record” (NYT) by David Sanger (14). Sanger is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (www.cfr.org) which plays a major role in influencing US foreign policy.

Not surprisingly, most of the “analysis” of US-China relations presented by establishment academics such as Graham Allison or corporate media pundits like David Sanger present an accurate picture of economic relationships between the US and China. Unfortunately, consistently lacking is a critical and comprehensive examination of how and why this happened- i.e., decades of deliberate US government and corporate policies which facilitated China’s economic rise and accelerated US economic decline (see above). This is not surprising as intuitions like the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Council on Foreign Relations, Rand Corporation and related “think tanks” along with corporate media are all committed to supporting policies which promote corporate interests and maximize corporate profits.

Thus, campaigns against China and Russia share broad support among the directors of US foreign policy. Collectively, these polices have exacerbated international relations, greatly increasing the threat of a direct military confrontation between the Global powers and potential use of nuclear weapons, as President Trump laid out in his recent National Security Strategy (NSS) speech (15). In his traditional Christmas message Pope Francis stated “The winds of war are blowing in our world and an outdated model of development continues to produce human, societal and environmental decline”. Indeed, The Pope specifically mentioned the decision by US President Trump to recognize Jerusalem (Al-Quds) as Israel’s capital and his bellicose rhetoric towards North Korea, setting up potential new global flashpoints (16). By closely aligning themselves with US policies which increasingly threatens China and Russia with military attack, US “allies”- members of NATO, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, will likely be targeted by Russian and Chinese nuclear weapons in the event of hostilities.

While there has been extensive analysis of US foreign policy and ongoing US wars, there has been surprisingly little inquiry of the consequences of a nuclear attack on the US. Such a discussion is made all the more urgent by the expansion of US/NATO into Eastern Europe and close to the Russian border, the US/NATO supported coup in Ukraine in 2014 (17), conflicts in the Middle East and Trump’s bellicose rhetoric towards the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Iran, China and Russia, US withdrawal from the Paris Climate accord, JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal) and most recently, exiting the INF treaty with Russia.


Vulnerability to War

The job of military strategists, like that of prosecuting and defense attorneys in a legal case is to assess the strength and weakness of their opponent(s) and design strategies taking into account these features (18). In the case of the US, the strengths are pretty obvious. The US possesses formidable military power, albeit being gradually confronted by Russia and China, and the dollar is still the dominant currency in the international monetary system, although its strength is being eroded by growing US debt and competition from the Euro and Chinese renminbi, which was recently added to IMF’s basket of reserve currencies. The primacy of the dollar is also seeing competition from bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies (19).

The structural features of US society make it extremely susceptible to nuclear war. Some of these attributes include: population density, energy dependence, reliance on information technology and social instability.

1. Population Density A dozen regions comprise the major economic centers which drive the US economy (20). Approximately 2/3 of the US population lives on littoral areas of the country- 38% on the East Coast (Atlantic Ocean), 16% on West Coast (Pacific Ocean) and 12% on the Gulf Coast (21).

2) Energy US society is highly energy dependent. The US has 5% of the world’s population but consumes 18% of the world’s energy. Approximately 65% of electricity is generated from fossil fuel (oil, natural gas and coal) while 20% is obtained from nuclear power (22, 23). Nuclear power plants rely on electrically powered pumps to circulate water around the reactor cores to keep them from overheating. When these pumps cease functioning, the reactor cores overheat and literally undergo a “meltdown” releasing highly radioactive uranium fuel assemblies into the environment, which occurred during the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant accident in Ukraine (24) and the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan (25).

3) Transportation and Agriculture. Our transportation “system” relies on energy inefficient automobiles and planes as the primary means of local and distant travel. US agriculture is extremely energy-dependent, requiring 10 calories of energy to produce 1 calorie of food (26). Further, the average food commodity transits 1500 miles from production point to consumption site- e.g., California strawberries in PA (usually transported on diesel fueled trucks; 27).

4. Information Technology – The functioning of our society- industries and businesses which provide jobs and keep our economy running, healthcare, educational system and the government all rely on information flow to function (28). This system encompasses local computers, the internet and fiber optic cables serving as data pipelines, computer server farms and “cloud” storage facilities, all of which consume lots of electricity (29).

5. Social Instability Our society is extremely polarized- exemplified by the election of Donald Trump in November, 2016. Following Trump’s election, there has been a rise in racist, neo-Nazi groups as we saw in Charlottesville, VA (30).


Likely Targets

In the case of a major conflict, key targets in the US will include military installations, major cities and energy infrastructure, the last two being “soft” targets, easily hit and difficult to defend. Attacks on energy related facilities will include electrical generating stations, oil and natural gas production sites and refineries, storage facilities, pipelines and loading docks. Also targeted will be fiber optic cables and computer server farms and storage facilities. When this happens, the US economy and society will completely cease normal functioning. Electrical generation will stop and the pumps required for distribution of potable water and operation of sewage treatment plants stop working, resulting in the rapid development of Cholera epidemics, as observed in Yemen (31, 32). Rapidly dwindling supplies of gasoline and diesel fuel mean that transportation is greatly restricted, businesses, hospitals and education facilities, heavily reliant on electricity and information technology completely stop functioning. Energy intensive agricultural production rapidly declines resulting in food shortages and starvation. Lack of electricity causes the electric pumps circulating water around reactor cores of the 98 nuclear power plants currently operating in the country (23) to stop, resulting in core meltdowns, producing Fukushima and Chernobyl- like nuclear disasters across the US. These economic and social disruptions will likely lead to vast social panic and unrest across the country, resulting in violent confrontations such as occurred in Charlottesville, VA, 2017.

There is no way an energy intensive, technologically advanced society like the US can adapt to conditions following a major war. This will likely lead to complete destruction of the US as a country and may well lead to extinction of the human species. With the exception of a handful of journalists such as Professor Michel Chossudovsky, director of the Centre for Research on Globalization, Steve Lendman, Geopolitical analyst, Helen Caldicott, Australian physician and anti-nuclear activist, and discussion of a “nuclear winter” following a nuclear war (33), there has been little discussion about the direct impact of a major war on US society by mainstream media outlets.


Concluding Remarks

The US is very vulnerable to any nuclear attack, and from my perspective, it is doubtful that US society will survive such an event. Unfortunately, it appears that the only approach the US is following to address its structural economic decline is an increasingly bellicose and belligerent foreign policy. Indeed, in September, 2017, President Trump gave a speech in front of the UN, referring to DPRK leader Kim Jong-un, as “Rocket Man” and stating he would “totally destroy North Korea”.

Not to be outdone, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said at a recent UNSC meeting “if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed”. Russia and China share a border with North Korea and thus will be directly affected by any war on the Korean Peninsula, potentially leading to a nuclear war, as recently pointed out by William Polk (34, 35). Rather than toning down their bellicose rhetoric, the Trump administration, along with members of Congress have continued issuing threats against China and Russia. Speaking to the UN General Assembly in September, 2018, President Trump and his top advisors delivered “fiery” speeches against Iran (36).


Final Points

1. The US is the only county in the world to have used nuclear weapons, which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan at the end of World War II (37). Following the “success” of these attacks, the Pentagon had detailed plans to use over 200 atomic bombs to strike 66 “strategic” targets in the Soviet Union (38) and since that time, plans to attack Russia have been continuously upgraded (39, 40).

2. The ruling elite in the US are well aware of continuing (accelerating?) US economic decline and looming strategic debacles confronting the Pentagon in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria (7-9). At the same time Russia, China and Iran are incorporating increasingly sophisticated military hardware into their armed forces (for an excellent analysis see 41, 42). The US response has been an increasingly reckless, bellicose and astronomically expensive foreign policy.

3. Once nuclear weapons are used, the chances of a rapid escalation are very high.

4. The use of mini-nukes has been pushed by US military planners as representing “less risk” to the civilian population. Indeed, the US is currently undertaking a $1.3 Trillion upgrade of existing nuclear weapons, which began under the Obama Administration (43). Trump has announced the US will leave the INF treaty unless Russia discontinues certain missile programs (44).

5. In the event of a nuclear war, the devastation will be rapid and very widespread and there is no preparation for such an event. US infrastructure will be completely destroyed, which will likely tear our society apart.

I was a “baby boomer” and grew up when the US and Soviet Union were testing atomic bombs. I recall my Mom, a member of “Women for Peace”, putting a bumper sticker on our family car that read “Our Only Shelter is Peace”. This is still true today.


Notas:

1. The “Decline” of U.S. Economy: A Historical Comparison. By Chen Dezhao, China Institute for International Studies; Link: www.ciis.org.cn/english/2011-11/18/content_4635120.htm

2. Reagan insider: ‘GOP destroyed U.S. economy’. By Paul B. Farrell Market Watch Aug 10, 2010; Link: www.marketwatch.com/story/reagan-insider-gop-destroyed-us-economy-2010-08-10

3. The End of Welfare as We Know It- America’s once-robust safety net is no more. By Alana Semuels The Atlantic, Apr 1, 2016; Link: www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/04/the-end-of-welfare-as-we-know-it/476322/

4. Banking Act of 1933 (Glass-Steagall) June 16, 1933. Federal Reserve History; Link: www.federalreservehistory.org/essays/glass_steagall_act

5. Text of President Bush’s 2002 State of the Union Address. Washington Post, Jan. 29, 2002; Link: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/onpolitics/transcripts/sou012902.htm

6. Global Warfare: “We’re Going to Take out 7 Countries in 5 Years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran..” Video Interview with General Wesley Clark By General Wesley Clark and Amy Goodman Global Research, May 14, 2018; Link: www.globalresearch.ca/we-re-going-to-take-out-7-countries-in-5-years-iraq-syria-lebanon-libya-somalia-sudan-iran/5166

7. Losing by “Winning”: America’s Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria By Anthony H. Cordesman Aug 13, 2018; Link: www.csis.org/analysis/losing-winning-americas-wars-afghanistan-iraq-and-syria

8. The Costs of War: counted in TRILLIONS. Dec 13, 2017 by Phillyguy for the Saker blog; Link: thesaker.is/the-costs-of-war/

9. United States Budgetary Costs of the Post-9/11 Wars Through FY2019: $5.9 Trillion Spent and Obligated by Neta C. Crawford Nov 14, 2018; Link:

watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/files/cow/imce/papers/2018/Crawford_Costs%20of%20War%20Estimates%20Through%20FY2019%20.pdf

10. The president’s Asia legacy is not worst in recent history. But it’s not the best either. By Michael J. Green Sept 3, 2016; Link: foreignpolicy.com/2016/09/03/the-legacy-of-obamas-pivot-to-asia/

11. The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War? By Graham Allison, The Atlantic, Sept. 24, 2015; Link: www.belfercenter.org/publication/thucydides-trap-are-us-and-china-headed-war

12. Trump could make Obama’s pivot to Asia a reality By Josh Rogin Washington Post January 8, 2017; Link:

www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trump-could-make-obamas-pivot-to-asia-a-reality/2017/01/08/a2f8313a-d441-11e6-945a-76f69a399dd5_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.4a446c392185

13. Washington using legal cover to conceal economic banditry by Finian Cunningham RT Dec 12, 2018; Link: www.rt.com/op-ed/446285-china-us-economy-huawei/

14. U.S. Accuses Chinese Nationals of Infiltrating Corporate and Government Technology By David E. Sanger and Katie Benner Dec. 20, 2018; Link: www.nytimes.com/2018/12/20/us/politics/us-and-other-nations-to-announce-china-crackdown.html

15. Trump’s National Security Strategy: The return of “great power” military conflict By Bill Van Auken 20 Dec 2017; Link: www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/12/20/pers-d20.html.

16. Pope laments ‘winds of war’ blowing around the world in Christmas message. Chicago Tribune. Dec 25, 2017; Link: www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-pope-francis-christmas-message-20171225-story.html

17. It’s not Russia that’s pushed Ukraine to the brink of war By Seumas Milne. The Guardian Apr 30, 2014; Link: www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/30/russia-ukraine-war-kiev-conflict

18. Striking a Strategic Balance – Putin’s Preventive Response By Rostislav Ishchenko [Translated by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard] Oct 22, 2018; Link: www.stalkerzone.org/rostislav-ishchenko-striking-a-strategic-balance-putins-preventive-response/

19. 21st century reserve currencies – (how long) will the dollar-euro dominance prevail? Kevin Koerner and Franziska Winkler Deutsche Bank Nov 15, 2017; Link: www.dbresearch.com/servlet/reweb2.ReWEB?rwnode=RPS_EN-PROD$HIDDEN_GLOBAL_SEARCH&rwsite=RPS_EN-PROD&rwobj=ReDisplay.Start.class&document=PROD0000000000455549.

20. The Dozen Regional Powerhouses Driving the U.S. Economy by Richard Florida

Mar 12, 2014; Link: www.citylab.com/life/2014/03/dozen-regional-powerhouses-driving-us-economy/8575/

21. People- Geographic Distribution of US Population; Link: www.theusaonline.com/people/geographic-distribution.htm

22. What is U.S. electricity generation by energy source? Link: www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3

23. Nuclear Power in the USA (Updated Oct, 2018); Link: www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-t-z/usa-nuclear-power.aspx

24. Backgrounder on Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Accident; Link: www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/chernobyl-bg.html

25. Fukushima Daiichi Accident; Link: www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/fukushima-accident.aspx

26. How to Feed the World By Michael Pollan. Newsweek, May 19, 2008; Link: michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/how-to-feed-the-world/

27. How Far Does Your Food Travel to Get to Your Plate? Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA); Link: cuesa.org/learn/how-far-does-your-food-travel-get-your-plate

28. More Dependence on Internet Leads to More Cyberattacks Worldwide by Elizabeth Lee. VOA, Aug 26, 2017; Link: www.voanews.com/a/dependence-on-internet-leads-to-more-cyberattacks/4001728.html

29. The Surprisingly Large Energy Footprint of the Digital Economy. Our computers and smartphones might seem clean, but the digital economy uses a tenth of the world’s electricity — and that share will only increase, with serious consequences for the economy and the environment. By Bryan Walsh. Time, Aug. 14, 2013; Link: science.time.com/2013/08/14/power-drain-the-digital-cloud-is-using-more-energy-than-you-think/

30. Charlottesville rally violence: How we got here. By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Aug. 14, 2017; Link: www.cnn.com/2017/08/14/us/charlottesville-rally-timeline-tick-tock/index.html

31. Yemen is currently facing the largest documented cholera epidemic in modern times. A new report warns it could get worse. By Alanna Shaikh, MPH UN dispatch May 08, 2018; Link: www.undispatch.com/yemen-is-currently-facing-the-largest-documented-cholera-epidemic-in-modern-times-a-new-report-warns-it-could-get-worse/

32. Cholera epidemic in Yemen, 2016–18: an analysis of surveillance data. By Anton Camacho, et al. The Lancet Global Health Lancet Glob Health 2018; 6: e680–690; Link: www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S2214-109X%2818%2930230-4

33. The Risk of Nuclear Winter by Seth Baum May 29, 2015; Link: fas.org/pir-pubs/risk-nuclear-winter/

34. America on the Brink of Nuclear War: Background to the North Korean Crisis By William R. Polk Sep 6, 2017;

Link: www.counterpunch.org/2017/09/06/mayday-korea-america-on-the-brink-of-nuclear-war

35. America on the Brink of Nuclear War: What Should We Do? By William R. Polk Sep 7, 2017; Link: www.counterpunch.org/2017/09/07/america-on-the-brink-of-nuclear-war-what-should-we-do).

36. President Trump’s Efforts to Isolate Iran at the U.N. Backfired By W.J. Hennigan Sep 26, 2018 Time; Link: http://time.com/5407295/donald-trump-iran-united-nations/

37. Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Gratuitous Mass Murder, Nuclear War, “A Lunatic Act” By Stephen Lendman Global Research, Aug 09, 2018; Link: www.globalresearch.ca/hiroshima-and-nagasaki-gratuitous-mass-murder-nuclear-war-a-lunatic-act-2/5467504

38. “Wipe the Soviet Union Off the Map”, 204 Atomic Bombs against 66 Major Cities, US Nuclear Attack against USSR Planned During World War II When America and the Soviet Union Were Allies. By Prof Michel Chossudovsky Global Research, Oct 27, 2018; Link: www.globalresearch.ca/wipe-the-ussr-off-the-map-204-atomic-bombs-against-major-cities-us-nuclear-attack-against-soviet-union-planned-prior-to-end-of-world-war-ii/5616601

39. The U.S. Government’s Plan Is to Conquer Russia by a Surprise Invasion by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog Dec 11, 2018; Link: thesaker.is/the-u-s-governments-plan-is-to-conquer-russia-by-a-surprise-invasion/

40. The US is Planning a Major War with Russia and China. By James ONeill, Global Research, Dec 24, 2018; Link: www.globalresearch.ca/the-us-is-planning-a-major-war-with-russia-and-china-reports/5663819

41. Losing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic Planning Byby Andrei Martyanov, 2018 (Book); Link: www.amazon.com/Losing-Military-Supremacy-American-Strategic/dp/0998694754

42. Solari Report- quarterly interview with The Saker Nov 21, 2018; Links: thesaker.is/solari-report-quarterly-interview-with-the-saker-2; www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDsL2Fm2Ddc

43. U.S. Nuclear Modernization Programs. Arms Control Association Aug 13, 2018; Link: www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/USNuclearModernization

44. US demands Russia ‘end or modify’ missile it doesn’t like to save INF treaty RT. Dec 7, 2018; Link: www.rt.com/usa/445791-usa-demands-russia-scraps-missile-inf/