domingo, 31 de julio de 2016

Alepo


Una de las grandes batallas de la Tercera Guerra Mundial acaba de entrar en su fase decisiva. El brazo armado de la NATO en Siria, el ISIS (foto), está a punto de ser borrado del mapa en Alepo por las fuerzas armadas de ese país. Leemos en el sitio web libanés Al Manar


Título: Ejército sirio imparable: distrito de Ashrafiyah, en Alepo, liberado

Texto: Pocas horas después de imponer el pleno control sobre el Distrito de Bani Zaid, en la ciudad de Alepo, la 4ª División Mecanizada del Ejército sirio, respaldada por la Guardia Republicana, han tomado el Distrito de Ashrafiya mientras que las defensas del Yaish al Fatah (Ejército de la Conquista) se derrumbaban.

Según informes locales de la Ciudad de Alepo, las fuerzas del Ejército sirio tomaron el distrito de Ashrafiya después de capturar la Rotonda de Al Lairamun y el Complejo Residencial Juvenil de Bani Zaid en las afueras de ambos distritos, tomados esta semana por el Ejército.

Las Unidades de Protección del Pueblo Kurdo (YPG) han jugado un papel crítico en esta batalla suministrando fuego de artillería contra los terroristas que intentaban fortificar sus posiciones.

Con la expulsión de los grupos militantes de Ashrafiyah, Al Lairamun y Bani Zaid, el distrito de Sheij Maqsud, predominantemente kurdo, ya no está flanqueado por los grupos terroristas.

En las recientes batallas, se ha producido una estrecha cooperación entre el Ejército sirio y la milicia kurda.


Kafr Hamra, próximo objetivo

Tras estas conquistas, el Ejército sirio parece dirigir ahora su atención al estratégico pueblo de Kafr Hamra, que se encuentra en el suburbio noroeste de la capital provincial. El Ejército prepara el asalto de Kafr Hamra desde dos diferentes ejes.

Kafr Hamra ha sido un área desde la que se han lanzado ataques con morteros y cohetes contra las vecindades lealistas del oeste de Alepo. Además, él reviste una importancia debido a su proximidad al Distrito del Nuevo Alepo y al Barrio de Asociación de Al Zahra, dentro de la ciudad. Su toma estrechará también el cerco a los terroristas en la misma.

sábado, 30 de julio de 2016

Esas tristes mañanitas


Típica mañana gris de un sábado cualquiera: el planeta financiero se desintegra, el dedo índice de algún psicótico del Pentágono está cada vez más cerca de la botonera nuclear, los chicos del ISIS decapitan algún niño en Medio Oriente, el petróleo sale de pozos cada vez más profundos, oscuros, escasos, y en algún lugar del Caribe se incuba un huracán grado cuatro. Acá en la colonia las noticias no son mejores: los chicos a cargo siguen hablando de la Pesada Herencia, los ayatollahs neoliberales insisten en que la lluvia de dólares está al caer, Boquita no va a ningún lado y la ronda usual de culos y oligofrénicos a sueldo sigue poblando las pantallas. Momento ideal para tomarse un mate y leer estas melancólicas reflexiones de Raúl Ilargi Meyer, esta mañana en The Automatic Earth:  


Título: Hubris, Instability and Entertainment

Texto: John McDonnell, UK Shadow Chancellor of the Treasury (at least it sounds important) appealed to his -Labour- party on Sunday morning TV to “stop trying to destroy the party”, and of course I’m thinking NO, please don’t stop, keep at it, it’s so much fun. When you watch a building collapse, you want it to go all the way, not stop somewhere in the middle and get patched up with band-aids.

It’s alright, let it crumble, it’s had its day. And if it’s any consolation, you’re not alone. Nor is that some freak coincidence. ‘Labour’-like parties (the ‘formerly left’) all over the world are disintegrating. Which is no surprise; they haven’t represented laborers for decades. They’ve become the left wing -and even that mostly in name only- of a monotone bland centrist political blob.

The other ‘half’ of that blob, the ‘conservative’ side, is disintegrating just as rapidly, as evidenced by the rise of Trump and a motley crew of Boris Johnson ilk.

The spontaneous self-immolation of the US Democratic Party mirrors that of the British Labour Party, but admittedly, it has even more entertainment value. America does entertainment like nobody else can.

In both cases, we see entire parties turn on their own candidates, it truly is a sight to behold. Especially since people like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn are the only ones who do have a tangible connection to the people left that they represent.

One might even say Donald Trump falls in that category too, though in a slightly different way. The others, whether they are from the supposed left or right -and it really makes no difference anymore- rely on pure hubris. The WikiLeaks files on the DNC make that so clear it hurts.

And if one thing exemplifies what’s going wrong, it’s that the DNC in all its superciliousness seeks to blame the fact that there were leaks for the mess, not the content of what was leaked. And replaces one chair with another who was just as guilty as the first one of trying to bring down one of their own candidates. As the leaks show.

The reason all this high value entertainment is presented to us is that the political system is toppling over in line with the economic one. As I’ve argued before, this is inevitable, because they are one and the same system. If one part falls, so must the other. I wrote 7 weeks ago:


The Only Thing That Grows Is Debt

    What we have is a politico-economic system, with the former media establishment clinging to (or inside?!) its body like some sort of embedded parasite. A diseased triumvirate.
    
    With the economy in irreversible collapse, the politico part of the Siamese twin/triplet can no longer hold. That is what is happening. That is why all traditional political parties are either already out or soon will be. Because they, more than anything else, stand for the economic system that people see crumbling before their eyes. They represent that system, they are it, they can’t survive without it.
    
    Of course the triumvirate tries as hard as it can to keep the illusion alive that sometime soon growth will return, but in reality this is not just another recession in some cycle of recessions. Or, at the very minimum this is a very long term cycle, Kondratieff style. And even that sounds optimistic. The system is broken, irreparably. A new system will have to appear, eventually. But…
    
    ‘Associations’ like the EU, and perhaps even the US, with all the supranational and global entities they have given birth to, NATO, IMF, World Bank, you name them, depend for their existence on an economy that grows. The entire drive towards globalization does, as do any and all drives toward centralization. But the economy has collapsed. So all this will of necessity go into reverse, even if there are very powerful forces that will resist such a development.
    
    
And here’s the graph that I said depicts very well what is the problem with the economic system, in an ‘all you need to know’ kind of way:





 We’d already be well aware of what’s wrong with our economies if our governments and media hadn’t consistently lied to us about it for all these years. These lies make sense from their point of view; they’d be out of a job and out of power once they would stop lying.

Outside of the media, in people’s own experience, there is no recovery, it’s a fairy tale. And there is no growth the way stock exchanges portray, or employment numbers. You can’t lie to all of the people all of the time. Again, though, the attempts are often good for many hours of solid amusement.

Take the way a word like populist is (ab-)used. Grab a handful of names of people who’ve been labeled populist recently, like Putin, Trump, Tsipras, Varoufakis, Sanders, Corbyn, Chávez, Maduro, Morales, Le Pen, Beppe Grillo, Wilders, etc etc, and you notice they are very different people in more ways than one.

But they have one thing in common: they reject the western establishment, at least to a degree (many merely want to ‘tweak’ it). Which makes it tempting for establishment media to slap the populist label on them, because it has such a bad connotation. Courtesy of the same media, of course.

Still, that’s only mildly funny, more in a subtle kind of way. There are better ones. Where do you think these buttons, for example, find their origin?:



Even better, Zero Hedge and Bryan MacDonald have a nice set of ‘plagiarized’ headlines. Altogether now on the all time favorite whipping boy, Vlad V. Putin. The DNC was at him again today as well, even though by the looks of it they don’t seem to need any help at self-destructing. That’s the one thing left they’re really good at.















And this one here is excellent as well, taking on America’s other favorite enemy no. 1. Again, altogether:





Everybody thought of the word ‘dark’ at the same time! A country full of kindred spirits. Telepathy. Yeah. In China original content is now banned in the media. But China has nothing on the west. Where the system clings together to paint a picture they all want you to believe in. A kind of propaganda Putin wouldn’t dream of. And Goebbels only considered in his wildest nightmares.

These are the death throes of a system. All parts, as separate as they may seem, or want to seem, fall apart together. Maybe not at the same time, but certainly in rapid succession. Still, it’s a bit surprising to see how fast alleged journalists -and the media they work for- have turned from reporting to endless repetition of opinions, most often not even their own.

The media feel they are under threat, and for good reason. Namely, the same reason politicians are. They’ve all been painting fake pictures, and people start to see through that for the simple reason that these pictures look nothing like what goes on in their own lives.

There’s no amount of Kardashians or other Walking Dead that can change that, and unless you let people watch this stuff 24/7, they are bound to notice sooner or later.

I see people saying the system is unstable. Fine, as long as they realize it has no chance of regaining stability, not with its present components. There will have to be a big clean-up. But it will be messy. A very limited number of people, with all of their minions, control the entire now unstable edifice, and they’ll fight tooth and nail to keep their power.

Nevertheless, they’ll lose. It’s just that they’ll drag a lot of other people down with them. They’re fully prepared to go to war just to keep the illusion of power alive. The ultimate hubris.



viernes, 29 de julio de 2016

Habla Michel Chossudovsky


La señora Bonnie Faulkner es la productora y conductora del programa radial Guns and Butter ("Cañones y manteca"), emitido no demasiado regularmente por la emisora californiana KPFA, de Berkeley (kpfa.org, se puede escuchar acá: http://tunein.com/radio/KPFA-941-s34653). El programa de Bonnie es muy particular, sobre todo en el contexto de la radio y televisión argentina: la conductora hace una pregunta y luego deja hablar al entrevistado. Vieran qué cosa notable: el que conduce pregunta y eventualmente repregunta; no comenta ni opina ni te impone su particular visión del mundo ni te dice lo que comió anoche ni enfatiza lo piola, experimentado y leído que es él, su señora, sus primos o el canario de la casa. Eso queda para el entrevistado. Impactante, ¿no?

El mes pasado entrevistó a Michel Chossudovsky, intelectual canadiense que dirige el conocido sitio web Global Research. La charla comienza hablando del último golpe de estado en Brasil, ese que los medios suelen denominar "cambio institucional", si bien al ratito deriva en consideraciones más generales sobre el neoliberalismo, el poder blando de las corporaciones, y la gran mentira global de la oposición "progre" financiada desde el poder económico (lo sepan o no; generalmente lo saben). La entrevista es imperdible; acá va:  


Título: Neoliberalism and the New World Order - Michel Chossudovsky , #347

Link a la entrevista: https://soundcloud.com/guns-and-butter-1/neoliberalism-and-the-new-world-order-michel-chossudovsky-347



jueves, 28 de julio de 2016

Mientras tanto, en Alepo...


Cuando no hay noticias de Siria, es porque los chicos del ISIS la están pasando mal. Es que la prensa corporativa occidental, que todavía los llama, de tanto en tanto, "rebeldes", o "la oposición", está desconcertada. En cualquier momento veremos los titulares: "Ahora dicen que Bashar al Assad es bueno". En fin. Leemos en el portal libanés Al Manar


Título: Ejército sirio toma distrito de Bani Zaid, en Alepo, en un ataque nocturno

Texto: Menos de un día del fracaso del ataque de los grupos terroristas contra el barrio de Sheij Maqsud, poblado por kurdos, en la ciudad de Alepo y de la toma por parte del Ejército sirio de la totalidad del distrito de Al Lairamun, los militares sirios han lanzado una gran ofensiva para tomar el distrito estratégico de Bani Zaid, que había servido como plataforma para los ataques con cohetes y morteros por parte de los grupos terroristas contra otros barrios de la ciudad.

El ataque fue lanzado por sorpresa durante la noche desde Al Lairamun y Sheij Maqsud por parte del Ejército y la milicia kurda de las YPG. Los kurdos han planteado una fuerte resistencia ante los ataques de los grupos armados en Alepo y éstos se han vengado bombardeando Sheij Maqsud con morteros y cohetes y lanzando incluso un ataque químico contra el mismo.

El ataque sorpresa logró capturar la mayor parte del distrito. Los militantes que continúan atrincherados en algunas áreas han pedido al Ejército que les permita salir del área sin más lucha. La humillante derrota tendrá un gran impacto en toda la batalla de Alepo porque Bani Zaid era el distrito más fortificado de Alepo en poder de los terroristas y el primero en caer en sus manos en 2012.

Esta toma hace ya imposible para los militantes del Yaish al Fatah (El Ejército de la Conquista), dominado por el Frente al Nusra, romper el asedio impuesto sobre sus barrios en la ciudad de Alepo. Esto tiene lugar además en un momento en el que el grupo Ahrar al Sham se está movilizando junto con otras facciones para atacar al Yund al Aqsa en Idleb y en las planicies de Gaid. Yund al Aqsa ha lanzado ya una ofensiva contra las posiciones de Ahrar al Sham en la provincia de Idleb. Esta guerra intestina provocará más bajas y destrucción de equipos de los grupos militantes.

Otro factor que se está notando en el campo de batalla es el abandono de los grupos armados por parte de Turquía en un momento en el que el presidente Recep Tayyip Erdogan está profundamente inmerso en la crisis política generada por el fallido golpe de estado y en que se dispone a visitar Moscú. No cabe duda de que Rusia e Irán condicionarán cualquier avance en la mejora de relaciones con Turquía al abandono de los grupos terroristas por parte de Erdogan. Y este último, con una batalla diplomática abierta con EEUU y la UE, no tendrá más remedio que aceptar.


***

Título: Comandantes de grupos armados en Alepo huyen hacia la frontera turca

Texto: Varios comandantes del Frente al Nusra y del grupo Nureddin al Zinki han comenzado a desertar de sus posiciones y a huir del norte de Alepo hacia la frontera turca, mientras las fuerzas del Ejército sirio y Hezbolá continúan ganando terreno allí, señaló una fuente militar citada por Fars News.

“En la campaña del norte de la ciudad de Alepo, los avances significativos del Ejército sirio y de sus aliados, las Fuerzas de Defensa Nacional, apoyadas por los aviones rusos y sirios, han obligado a varios jefes terroristas a huir de Alepo, incluyendo el comandante de la 16ª División del llamado Ejército Sirio Libre, Abdul Jaliq Hayati, que ha abandonado sus tropas y huido en dirección a la frontera turca”, dijo la antedicha fuente.

“Más de 60 miembros del Frente al Nusra y del grupo Nureddin al Zinki, incluyendo una mayoría de comandantes, han dejado tras de sí numerosos equipos logísticos de procedencia saudí y turca y han huido de los campos de batalla de Al Lairamun, Bani Zeid, las Granjas de Maalah y el Castillo”, prosiguió.

Desde el martes, los soldados del Ejército sirio y los combatientes de Hezbolá han continuado atacando los bastiones de los grupos terroristas en el norte de Alepo, lo que les ha permitido tomar el distrito de Al Lairamun y realizar importantes avances en otras áreas.

“La última línea de suministro a los terroristas para transferir armas y municiones desde Afrin, en el norte de la provincia de Alepo, fue cortada por las fuerzas del Ejército durante la campaña de limpieza en Al Lairamun y el Castillo”, indicó la fuente militar. 

“El cierre de esta ruta puede ser considerado como una de las principales medidas para completar el asedio de Alepo”, añadió.


***

Título: Ejército sirio pide a los militantes cercados en Alepo que se rindan

Texto: El Ejército sirio ha prometido en una declaración a los miembros de los grupos armados en Alepo que sus vidas serán respetadas si se rinden y ellos podrán reintegrarse en la vida civil.

La declaración pide a los militantes que pongan el interés nacional por delante de sus convicciones y que contribuyan al rápido restablecimiento de la seguridad y la estabilidad en la ciudad.

El Ejército recuerda a los miembros de los grupos armados que su situación es desesperada, que todas las rutas que ellos utilizaban para abastecerse de armas, municiones y combatientes han sido cortadas y que esto llevará por si sólo al fin de la lucha.

Por otro lado, la declaración pide a los civiles residentes en los barrios ocupados por los militantes que se trasladen por su seguridad al oeste de la ciudad, a los barrios lealistas, donde recibirán toda la atención necesaria. También les invita a contribuir al cese de hostilidades y al retorno de los servicios básicos, como electricidad, escuelas y hospitales.

Ella recuerda que hay una “oportunidad real” de arreglar la situación y aquellos militantes que deseen rendir sus armas pueden aprovecharla.

No cabe duda de que la moral de los militantes en Alepo está seriamente dañada por el cerco, el corte de las rutas de suministro, el abandono de Turquía, los bombardeos sirios y rusos y otros factores que aumentan su ansiedad.

Está por ver si los militantes asediados buscarán un acuerdo para abandonar la ciudad hacia la provincia de Idleb sin sus armas, tal y como sucedió en 2014 en Homs. 

La otra opción es atrincherarse y combatir y podría ser la más probable dado que el Frente al Nusra es la facción dominante en Alepo y está integrado por fanáticos que prefieren luchar hasta morir y rechazan cualquier tipo de negociación. La otra facción, el Ejército Sirio Libre, ha dejado prácticamente de existir tras la huida de su comandante y sus subordinados y tras la toma de uno de los dos distritos, el de Bani Zaid, donde estaba presente.

Si los militantes rechazan la rendición, esto supondrá aguardar la aniquilación final que sin duda alguna llegará por tierra y aire. Lo importante a señalar aquí que la ciudad de Alepo será liberada, de una u otra forma, de terroristas.

Y las repercusiones de tal hecho se harán sentir a nivel nacional y regional. Alepo es, sin duda, estratégicamente muy importante para estos grupos y la implementación de sus objetivos. También es un símbolo de la capacidad del pueblo sirio de avanzar y hacer frente a los desafíos.

La batalla de Alepo será clave para liberar cada rincón de Siria, incluidas las provincias de Idleb y Raqqa. La liberación de Alepo, pues, significará un paso fundamental para poner fin a la guerra en Siria y asegurar su independencia y soberanía.

miércoles, 27 de julio de 2016

¿Nueva Alianza Bizantina?


Posteamos hoy una interesante nota de John Helmer, desde Moscú, aparecida en su sitio web Dances with Bears (http://johnhelmer.net). Confirma hipótesis previas sobre la inminencia de un cambio geoestratégico de proporciones importantes en el ajedrez global. A ver si les gusta:


TítuloThe new Bizantine Alliance --The Kremlin and the Porte revolutionize the centre of the world

Texto: On August 9, in St. Petersburg, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will meet Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The moment is revolutionary. There has not been a comparable political turning-point in the 67 years since the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); not in the century since the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany against Russia in World War I; nor in the two centuries since Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II and the Russian Tsar Alexander I aligned against Napoleon and the British.

Russian sources say they are sure the Russian secret services did not warn Erdogan or help his forces prevail in the July 15-16 coup against him. After Erdogan began his counter-coup, and in the fight still continuing between Erdogan’s Islamic forces and the regular Turkish military, the sources add, there has been, and there will be, Russian help. It is more for the future, they explain, than for last week’s outcome that Turkish deputy prime minister Mehmet ?im?ek told his counterpart Arkady Dvorkovich in Moscow on Tuesday: “I would like to thank you for support regarding recent events in Turkey, for supporting democracy and the Turkish government.”

The Russian sources say it is already agreed the two sides will pay a soon-to-be settled price in two-way trade; gas, nuclear and other energy projects; plus tourism. Much more is at stake, though, one of the sources adds. “Putin and his advisors believe Erdogan is still in danger. They support him now for the opportunity to reorganize the relationship with Turkey. They mean to secure Russia from encirclement on the southern frontier and the Black Sea, dismemberment of the Caucasus, and attack on the Kremlin by its enemies. Right now, as Europe collapses, the enemy is the US with NATO in support. If Turkey breaks with the US, NATO is a paraplegic. We shall see how Putin and Erdogan choose to portray the new Rome*, the new Byzantium* next Tuesday.

The new alliance agenda was formalized at a Security Council meeting on Monday afternoon. The Kremlin announced: “The President briefed the permanent members of the Security Council on his recent telephone conversations with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu in the context of preparations for the visit by the President of Turkey to Russia scheduled for early August.”

Omitted were the military and intelligence briefings Putin received from Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) chief, Mikhail Fradkov; the deputy director of the council, Rashid Nurgaliyev; and the head of the Federal Security Service (FSB), Alexander Bortnikov.

Russian sources dismiss the foreign press narrative of last week’s military coup attempt suggesting Arab and Israeli foreknowledge of the coup. “Plotting, bribing, and wishful thinking there were,” one of the sources comments. “But knowing and participating – that’s not what happened.”

In an analysis of the military operations in Istanbul and Ankara, Yevgeny Krutikov, correspondent of Vzglyad in Moscow, has reported there was no coordination between the Turkish Army, Navy and Air Force; poor command and control within each of the services; and inadequate troops and firepower on the streets to combat the turnout in Erdogan’s favour.

There were simply not enough rebels. There was no chain of command. The ‘capture units’ for important facilities consisted of a maximum of 10 people under the command of officers from captain’s rank to lieutenant colonel. Among the insurgency leadership there wasn’t anyone above the rank of colonel. The entire ‘[rebel] company’ has done what it could. To try to seize power in a highly militarized country’s forces [you need] more than a tank battalion and a pair of helicopters. For bigger divisions they [rebels] just could not give any orders — without bumping into the requirement they answer a reasonable question: who are you anyway?”

Did the Russian intelligence services help Erdogan? “That’s unreal,” according to Krutikov. “There was no agreement at all between the Russian and Turkish intelligence services. Besides, all contacts were frozen after the downing of the Russian aircraft [SU-24]. Radio signals of the manoeuvres of the coup’s armed forces were monitored by our military troops. There is a little likelihood this information was transmitted to the Turkish special services.”

Russian sources are non-committal on what role US military and intelligence agencies played during the July 15 events at the Incirlik airbase and elsewhere to encourage, or not to discourage, the attempt at overthrowing Erdogan. What is certain now, as Erdogan tries to mop up, according to Greek and Cypriot analysts, is that Turkey has turned against the US and the NATO alliance. “Turkey is now moving away from western dependence,” says a well-informed region source who asks not to be identified. “This makes sense geopolitically because the west has lost control in the Middle East. Other close western allies in the region, like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, are becoming autonomous, in the sense that they don’t obey the US. This is because the US can no longer act as a hegemon. Washington can’t dictate, or even recommend solutions to conflicts or rivalries, like Iraq, Syria, Libya, or Palestine. Now, with or without direct US involvement in the Turkish coup, Erdogan sees his chance to make Turkey more autonomous, so he is taking it.”

Russian sources agree. Referring to Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (right), whose plan of attack against Russia in Ukraine, Turkey, Syria, and Cyprus have been reported here (http://johnhelmer.net/?p=15389) and here (http://johnhelmer.net/?p=15820), a Moscow source concludes: “The Nuland plots have all failed. The US can no longer talk to the Turks. Losing Turkey to Erdogan and his Islamists also means the US can dictate no longer in the region. You can’t expect the Americans will take it lying down. There’s no government in Washington right now. But if Clinton wins, there will be a US fight-back. It will be too late.”


As French princesses and Nuland have publicly suggested, revolutions require cakes, or at least cookies. The short-term payoffs to Erdogan’s business constituents, and Putin’s, were tabled swiftly at the July 26 meeting between Dvorkovich and Simsek; and at the following meeting between Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Turkish Economic and Energy Ministers, Nihat Zeybekci and Berat Albayrak. Details of their talks can be read here (http://www.dailysabah.com/economy/2016/07/27/russian-deputy-pm-relations-with-turkey-to-be-better-than-before-crisis).

Military sources believe Erdogan’s position is still far from assured. “The numbers and the spread of the purges tell you this is a continuous coup, which could turn into ethnic or communal revolts at any time, or civil war. Russia is positioning itself, as it did in the past, in favour of the stability of the Turkish state – right now this means Erdogan. The Kremlin is against breakup. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, a weak Turkey meant to Moscow that Russia’s enemies gained control of the vital Russian interests of the time, such as the Straits.”

Greek, Cypriot and Russian sources questioned about the current course of events say the principal Russian objectives are obvious. Erdogan should stop the export of jihadis, ISIS, and sedition towards the Russian Caucasus in the form of the Chechens. He must also stop his regime-changing tactics in Syria, and not less in the Balkans and in Central Asia. The sources believe that in his current predicament Erdogan is a better bet for the Kremlin than the Turkish military, or the so-called Kemalist or Gulenist political groups, encouraged by the US. If the pro-American or NATO elements can be uprooted and destroyed, Russia is bound to feel more secure — so long as Erdogan’s Sunni Islamic orientation will make its peace with Russia, as the Shiites of Iran and Iraq are doing.

According to a Russian military historian, “Putin today can’t be different from the Tsar [Nicholas II] in 1914. Unpredictability and instability in Turkey are threats to Russia, because they let more powerful enemies in.” For a western historian’s conclusion on the same point, read this (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Towards-Flame-Empire-Tsarist-Russia/dp/1846143810).

Political economists in Moscow see the reciprocal benefit for Moscow and Ankara if the South Stream (aka Turkish Stream) gas pipeline project can be revived. Gazprom will assure the sale of larger volumes of gas south and westwards; Turkey can benefit from becoming an energy hub, not only for Russian gas, but also for new flows from Israel, perhaps Lebanon, potentially even Cyprus.

A well-known Cypriot analyst observes: “Yes, Cyprus is better off, though the situation around us is tragic. At least, hegemony, western hegemony, is finished. This is good because a large part of the [Cyprus] problem came from that [Anglo-American] hegemony and its efforts to maintain itself. Their subversion of Arab modernization has been the greatest crime of the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century.

martes, 26 de julio de 2016

Promesas (rotas) del Este


Poco antes de su receso estival el boletín GEAB, órgano de difusión del Laboratorio Europeo de Anticipación Política, publicó su editorial  pública de mediados de Junio. La misma es previa al referéndum británico sobre el Brexit, lo que no hace más que reforzar varias de las conclusiones de este informe, el que se refiere específicamente a la Europa del Este. Acá va:


Título: Pueblos en cólera, desafíos democráticos, crisis sistémica global – Balcanización y retorno de los imperios en Europa Central y Oriental: el estrepitoso fracaso de la integración europea y la crisis euro-rusa

Texto: En 2014 nuestro equipo anticipó la desintegración del flanco de Europa del Este, tras el conflicto euro-ruso. Dos años después, el daño se ha hecho visible. Si Europa y Rusia no consiguen renovar el diálogo, lo peor está por llegar a esta parte de Europa, donde están resucitando viejos demonios (Guerra Fría, guerras europeas, balcanización e imperios…) y donde todos los fracasos de la política de ampliación de la UE están saliendo a la luz.


La integración de Europa del Este es un fracaso

El mayor fracaso en los últimos 30 años de integración europea es la política de ampliación de los países del bloque soviético. Esta política, esencialmente motivada por la codicia de las empresas de Europa Occidental (y más allá), se puso en marcha en detrimento de la integración política de todo el continente y, particularmente, de las poblaciones del Este. En muchas ocasiones, hemos mencionado la baja tasa de participación de la región del Este en las elecciones europeas, una región que una vez anheló entrar en la UE. El flanco Oriental de la UE es ahora un grupo de países motivados por diferentes causas, integrados en grados diferentes y atravesados por intereses de todo tipo. El riesgo de desintegración y de conflicto es inmenso y amenaza al proyecto europeo, mucho más que la hipótesis de una salida del Reino Unido.

La crisis euro-rusa de 2014 creó las condiciones para una dislocación de la región, ya fracturada por innumerables intereses y futuros posibles. Como veremos más adelante, el aumento de adeptos a las extremas derechas, comenzó casualmente también en 2014. Conociendo estos peligros, nuestro equipo anticipa que los europeos conseguirán poner fin a las sanciones contra Rusia para finales de año (véase el artículo relacionado con este tema, en este mismo número). En caso de que fracasen, la dislocación de esta región irá de la mano de una explosión de las tensiones regionales y de los conflictos entre Europa y Rusia.

El detonante de la explosión podría estar situado en los Balcanes, una región que no se menciona en este artículo pero que está incluida en la ecuación.


Schengen, euro, UE: una integración de varias velocidades

Partiendo de estos hechos, observemos las diferencias de esta zona de ampliación post-caída del Muro.

Ciertos países son miembros de todos los niveles de integración europea (UE, euro, Schengen), como Eslovenia, Estonia, Letonia, Lituania y Eslovaquia. Esta lista revela una aberración: ver figurar los tres países Bálticos, en lugar de Polonia o la República Checa, que parecen miembros totales más lógicos. Otros países son miembros de la UE y de la zona Schengen, pero no de la zona euro: Polonia, Chequia, Hungría. Otros, solo son miembros de la UE, perfectos miembros de segunda clase, como Rumanía, Bulgaria y Croacia. Por supuesto, son los últimos en llegar, pero las reticencias de fondo, a ver estos países acceder al privilegio de la libre circulación (zona Schengen), parecen muy arraigadas.

Por otra parte, están los Estados candidatos, que no ven otro futuro que el europeo, a los que han prometido indefinidamente considerar su solicitud de adhesión. Forman indistintamente una mezcla entre miembros realmente potenciales y auténticas mentiras: países de los Balcanes, Ucrania, Turquía, Georgia…

Los niveles de integración y derechos diferentes crean el sentimiento de que es una región clasista, donde reina la desigualdad en el trato. Los países que integran la zona euro se corresponden con los señores de la región. En el lado opuesto, Rumanía (que, sin embargo, es el país que primero se presentó como candidato a la UE en 1995) y Bulgaria, al no estar en Schengen en el momento en que se refuerza, corren el riesgo de encontrarse al otro lado del muro que rodea actualmente el resto de Europa. En efecto, tal evolución de los hechos, excluiría a estos dos países, enviándolos de vuelta a una región de los Balcanes, cuya suerte debe preocuparnos, si Europa y Rusia no logran entenderse de nuevo, como ya hemos visto miles de veces.




Grandes desigualdades económicas

Siempre hablamos del eje de desigualdad entre este y oeste. Europa Central y Oriental no son para nada homogéneas. Si observamos los salarios medios, el rango se sitúa entre 350 euros en Bulgaria y 1092 euros en Eslovenia. Eslovenia se sitúa al nivel salarial de los países más pobres de Europa Occidental (Portugal y Grecia, ligeramente por encima de los 1.000 euros). Por su parte, los búlgaros reciben, de media, un tercio de esta suma, es decir, menos que los chinos [1].

En cuanto al paro, el rango se sitúa entre la República Checa (4,5% de tasa de desempleo), igual a la tasa alemana, y Croacia (15,1%), con Eslovaquia justo por encima (10,3%), cuya tasa es igual a la media de la zona euro (incluidos el 20% de paro español y el 24% de paro griego) [2].

Con respecto al crecimiento, Europa Central y Oriental no quedan mal en conjunto, lo que es normal, teniendo en cuenta el proceso de convergencia inducido por la integración a la zona económica de la UE. Sin embargo, podemos destacar a los verdaderos campeones de la UE, como Rumanía (3,8%), seguida de Polonia y Eslovaquia (3,6%)…; y a los países más lentos, como Croacia (1,6%) y Estonia, cuyo crecimiento es solo del 1,1%, pero cuyos elevados niveles salariales indican un nivel de desarrollo del tipo de Europa Occidental, probablemente en fase de estabilización [3].

Estos datos permiten constatar que no existe una coherencia entre las ventajas de estos países. Por ejemplo, Rumanía crece más rápido que Bulgaria, mientras que su nivel salarial está ya muy por encima. O Eslovaquia que, con su 10,3% de paro, llega a unos niveles salariales idénticos a los de Polonia, que solo tiene el 6,8% de paro… Los países más afligidos por la pobreza presentan una lista bastante diferente. Bulgaria, Rumanía, Letonia y Hungría son los más afectados [4], mientras que figuran en categorías muy diferentes en los indicadores de paro, nivel salarial y crecimiento. Hungría resulta especialmente desigual, si se comparan sus buenas cifras económicas con su gran riesgo de precariedad. 

Todo esto revela un fracaso en la convergencia económica, que era la motivación principal para entrar en la UE. Estas desigualdades son igualmente llamativas en Europa Occidental pero la motivación económica para entrar en la UE concierne especialmente a tres países (Portugal, España y Grecia), mientras que en Europa Central y Oriental, concierne a todos los países. El sentimiento de decepción es inevitablemente mucho más fuerte en este país. Se les ha vendido la integración, haciéndoles creer en unos rápidos beneficios que no existen. La convergencia económica, supuestamente resultante de la integración en la zona económica común, se confirma como mentira.


Ejércitos e Iglesias: Europa del Este, tierra de conquista

El fracaso de la integración y la crisis euro-rusa han transformado la Europa Central y Oriental en una competición verdaderamente feroz. Los intereses extranjeros enfrentados son, por supuesto, la UE, Rusia y EE.UU. Toda Europa Central y Oriental anhela quedarse en la UE, pero algunos perciben Europa como una simple extensión de EE.UU., de la cual exigen protección (países Bálticos, Polonia), mientras otros exigen que su participación en la UE, no implique una separación de su gran vecino ruso (Hungría, Eslovaquia, Bulgaria…). Se desencadena la hostilidad y las principales potencias hacen uso de todos sus mecanismos de influencia: la OTAN para EE.UU., la propaganda para Rusia…y también para Occidente, pues la OTAN pasa el tiempo hablando de contra-propaganda [5], mientras la religión es un mecanismo para ambos bandos.

Este último punto resulta particularmente interesante, porque rara vez se menciona. En realidad, desde el fin del comunismo, el sentimiento religioso, refrenado durante la época soviética, ha explotado en Rusia y en los países de Europa Central y Oriental. Detrás de este auténtico retorno a la fe, se encuentra un gran número de sectas evangelistas que, desde principios de los años 90, comenzaron a venir desde el otro lado del Atlántico, para asentarse en las zonas rurales de Rumanía y otros lugares [6], con montones de dinero y programas sociales, con los que fácilmente hacían que este rebaño “blanco” se olvidase de sus religiones históricas (catolicismo y ortodoxia).

La ortodoxia rusa ha tardado algo más en volver pero ya está muy presente. Por ejemplo, en Rumanía se están construyendo ahora multitud de monasterios ortodoxos [7] (más que hospitales), incluso en las regiones del oeste, históricamente católicas [8] (como Transilvania)


Notas:

[1] Salarios medios en la UE en 2015. Fuente: Reinisfischer, 2015

[2] Fuente: Statista, febrero de 2016

[3] Fuente: “La croissance en Europa”, Toute l’Europe, 11/05/2016

[4] Fuente: Euractiv, 20/02/2015

[5] “NATO looks to combat Russia’s ‘information weapon’: document”. ¿Difiere en algo la contra-propaganda de la propaganda? Fuente: Reuters, 27/01/2016

[6] Los testigos de Jehovah en Eslovaquia (fuente: CultNews, 28/08/2002) y los evangelistas en Rumanía (fuente: The Independent, 13/12/1993) son solo un par de ellos.

[7] “Romania’s costly passion for building churches”. Fuente: BBC, 07/08/2013

[8] Esta situación se desprende de la época comunista, durante la cual el ateísmo de Ceausescu, combinado con la fuerte fe del país, impuso una sola religión, la ortodoxia, con el evidente objetivo de volverse hacia el Este.

Trump, NATO y el Lado Oscuro


Tremendo revuelo armaron las declaraciones recientes del candidato presidencial estadounidense Donald Trump sobre el papel de los EEUU en el apoyo a países europeos de la NATO "...que no hayan cumplido con sus obligaciones financieras para con nosotros". Al otro día era palpable el stado de histeria generalizada en la prensa corporativa del Imperio. La palabra clave era "dark" (oscuro), meme que habría de ser repetido interminablemente y que a muchos lectores les va a recordar el clima orwelliano de "1984". Fíjense primero cómo compendia el sitio web Moon of Alabama la catarata mediática:


Título: How Clinton And Her Shallow-Brained Media Do Trump's Bidding

Texto: Clinton's negative campaign against Trump, and the media leashed to her messages, are doing Trump a huge favor. Unless they can break away from their limited framework, stop their unintended advertising for Trump's campaign, they will propel him to victory.

Here is an example: Networks on Trump: A ‘Dark Speech’ From a ‘Vengeful’ ‘Demagogue’ - Newsbuster

The three networks on Thursday night immediately derided Donald Trump’s “dark speech” as one coming from a “vengeful” “demagogue.”

The "dark speech" theme was obviously a canned response by the Clinton campaign. Her independent media (not) dutifully repeated it over and over. But that negative "dark speech" theme, supposed to condemn  Trump, only makes his point.

- His Tone Dark, Donald Trump Takes G.O.P. Mantle - NYT

- Donald Trump Takes America on a Journey to the Dark Side - NBC

- In acceptance speech, Trump’s America is a dark and desperate place - WaPo

- Trump's emotional and dark message: How it will play out - CNBC

- Will Donald Trump's dark view of America resonate with voters? - CSM

- Trump paints dark image of America - CBSNews

- Trump's dark, dystopian — and false — version of America - MinnPost

- Clinton Campaign Slams Trump For Painting A ‘Dark Picture’ Of America - IBT

- Chuck Todd: Donald Trump’s dark vision of America has risks - Today

- Obama rejects Trump's dark America - Politico

- US election: Donald Trump's dark vision of America 'doesn't really jibe' with facts, Obama says - ABC

- Clinton: Trump 'painted a dark picture of America' - The Hill

- Clinton on Trump: 'I can't really imagine him on a white horse' - CNN

- Clinton-Kaine Ticket, in First Rally, Repudiate Trump's Dark Vision of U.S. - Bloomberg

- His dark materials: After that diabolical, masterful performance, Donald Trump could easily end up president - Salon

- Donald Trump’s Dark and Scary Night - Alternet

- 'The party I worked for died tonight': Republicans decry Trump's dark vision - Guardian

- Donald Trump’s Dark And Scary Night - HuffPo

- Donald Trump’s Dark, Dark Convention Speech - The New Yorker

- The dark, frightening America of Donald Trump - Boston Globe

- Twitter found Donald Trump’s speech to be the darkest timeline - Vox

- Donald Trump’s dark speech to the Republican National Convention, annotated - WaPo


***

Ahora pasemos a la nota de Finian Cunningham para el portal Strategic Culture Foundation:


Título: Trump and the End of NATO?

Texto: If Donald Trump is elected US president it will spell the end of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. At least, that’s how a phalanx of US foreign policy pundits and establishment figures see it. 

Trump once again caused uproar recently with comments that were viewed as undermining a «cornerstone» of US foreign policy since the Second World War.

Ahead of accepting official nomination as the Republican party presidential candidate, the billionaire property magnate told the New York Times in an interview that, if elected, he would not automatically deploy American military forces to defend another member of NATO if it were attacked.

As the NYT noted Trump’s conditionality regarding NATO was the first time any senior American politician has uttered such a radical change in policy. It overturns «American cornerstone policy of the past 70 years».

Trump was asked whether he would defend Eastern European countries if they were attacked by Russia. (Hypothetical, propagandistic nonsense, but let’s bear with the argument for the underlying logic that it exposes.)

Trump did not give the customary automatic, unconditional «yes» response. Rather, he said he would have to first review whether these countries had fulfilled their «obligations to us». If they had, then, he said, US forces would defend. If they hadn’t lived up to past financial commitments to NATO, then the inference was that a would-be President Trump would not order troops to defend.

The reaction to Trump’s comments was explosive. NATO’s civilian chief, Jens Stoltenberg, was evidently perplexed by Trump’s equivocal attitude. «Solidarity among allies is a key value for NATO», said the former Norwegian prime minister. «This is good for European security and good for US security. We defend one another».

Stoltenberg was just one of the many pro-NATO figures on both sides of the Atlantic who stampeded to slam Trump for his comments.

The rightwing American Enterprise Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, and senior foreign policy makers within the Republican and Democrat parties all unanimously berated Trump over his views on NATO. 

Estonian and Latvian political leaders also expressed deep anxiety on what they saw as a withdrawal by the US from Europe’s security.

Reuters reported a joint letter from a US bi-partisan group of «national security» experts who condemned Trump’s «inflammatory remarks» for not representing the «core interests» of the United States.

«The strength of our alliances is at the core of those interests», said the group. «The United States must uphold the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s commitments to all of our allies, including Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania».

Reuters also quoted a former US ambassador to the alliance as saying that Trump’s policy means: «It’s the end of NATO».

Robert Hunter, who was NATO envoy under President Bill Clinton, added: «The essence of NATO, more than any other single factor, is the commitment of the United States of America to the security of the other 27 members».

The Los Angeles Times quoted former NATO supreme commander, US General Wesley Clark, as saying that Trump’s stance «undercuts NATO’s deterrence in Europe». Clark said that the comments showed that Trump has a fundamental misunderstanding of how the alliance works. «It will mean the end of the European Union and the collapse of the US’s largest trading partner».

The former NATO military chief also made the snide comment that Russian leader Vladimir Putin would be «happy» with Trump’s shift in defense policy. As did Hillary Clinton’s senior policy advisor, Jake Sullivan, who made the inane assertion that «Putin would be rooting for Trump» to win the November presidential election.

It is not the first time that Donald Trump has shown an irreverent disregard for NATO and other military partnerships which have been the hallmark of US foreign policy since World War Two. Previously, during the Republican primaries in March, the presidential contender told the Washington Post he would withdraw US troops from Japan, South Korea and the Middle East if regional allies did not shoulder more of the defense burden in terms of boosting financial contributions.

Trump says that his view of drawing down overseas American military forces is part of his «America First» policy. He told the New York Times this policy means: «We are going to take care of this country first before we worry about everyone else in the world».

In a certain sense, Trump’s worldview is laudable. Given the immense challenges for fixing the US economy, impoverished communities, post-industrial unemployment and crumbling infrastructure, of course it does not make sense for the US to maintain over 1,000 military bases overseas in over 100 countries.

And, as Trump has pointed out, it is the US that pays the lion’s share of the budget for its military partnerships. In the 28-member NATO alliance, the US pays 70-75 per cent of the entire budget.

But here is where Trump gets it fundamentally wrong. His premise of the United States functioning as a benevolent protector is misplaced. If that were the case then, yes, Trump’s point about the arrangement being «unfair» would be valid.

However, NATO and the US’s other military umbrellas in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, are not motivated primarily about maintaining security and peace. These military pacts are all about providing the US with a political, legal and moral rationale for intervening its forces in key geopolitical regions. The massive expenditure by the US on military alliances is really all about maintaining Washington’s hegemony over allies and perceived enemies alike. The reality is that America’s «defense» pacts are more a source of relentless tensions and conflicts. Europe and the South China Sea are testimony to that if we disabuse the notional pretensions otherwise.

In all the heated reaction to Trump’s latest comments on NATO the over-riding assumption is that the United States is a force for good, law and order and peace.

Under the headline «Trump NATO plan would be sharp break with decades-long US policy», this Reuters reportage belies the false indoctrination of what US and NATO’s purpose is actually about. It reports: 

«Republican foreign policy veterans and outside experts warned that the suggestion by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that he might abandon NATO’s pledge to automatically defend all alliance members could destroy an organization that has helped keep the peace for 66 years and could invite Russian aggression».

Really? Maintaining peace for 66 years? Not if you live in former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, or Ukraine and Syria where NATO powers have been covertly orchestrating and sponsoring conflicts.

Also note the unquestioned insinuation by Reuters that without NATO that would «invite Russian aggression». 

If we return to the original question posed by the New York Times, which sparked the flurry of pro-NATO reaction, the newspaper put it to Trump like this:

«Asked about Russia’s threatening activities, which have unnerved the small Baltic States that are among the more recent entrants into NATO, Mr Trump said that if Russia attacked them, he would decide whether to come to their aid only after reviewing if those nations have fulfilled their obligations to us».

The NY Times, like so many NATO advocates who went apoplectic over Trump, is constructing its argument on an entirely false and illusory premise of «Russia’s threatening activities».

Unfortunately, it seems, Trump bought into this false premise by answering the question, even though his conditional answer has set off a firestorm among NATO and Western foreign policy establishments. Can you imagine the reaction if he had, instead, rebutted the false assertion about there even being Russian aggression?

But this fabrication of «Russian threat» is an essential part of the wider fabrication about what the US-led NATO alliance is really functioning for. It is not about defending «the free world» from Russian or Soviet «aggression», or, for that matter, from Iranian, Chinese, North Korean, or Islamic terrorist threats. In short, NATO and US military «protection» has got nothing to do with defense and peace. It is about protecting American corporate profits and hegemony.

Ever since its inception in 1949 by the US under President Truman, NATO is a construct that serves to project American presence and power around the world, as well as propping up its taxpayer-subsidized military-industrial complex. The most geopolitically vital theatre is Europe, where the European nations must be kept divided from any form of normal political and economic relations with Russia. If that were to happen, American hegemonic power, as we know it, is over. That’s what the alarmism among the NATO advocates over Trump is really about.

Trump’s declared aim of withdrawing US forces from overseas and of cutting down NATO is admirable, even if his reasoning is faulty and imbued with false notions of American benevolence. If he were to implement such policies, then indeed the American facade of NATO might well collapse. Which would be an immeasurably good thing for restoring peaceful international relations, especially with regard to Europe and Russia, despite what the reactionary, rightwing Russophobic European states might say.

But here’s the thing. Trump does not seem to understand how deeply important NATO or US militarism elsewhere around the globe are to American hegemony under its corporate capitalist system. If and when he does actually try to implement his policy, he will encounter formidable forces that he probably isn’t aware of yet.

Without a massive popular mobilization, Trump will not be allowed to implement such a challenge to the foundational premise of modern American power. The US military-industrial-intelligence complex will see to that.

The last American president who tried to rein in the corporate power of US militarism was John F Kennedy. He was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in broad daylight by the CIA-Pentagon and their contract killers. And for 53 years, the entire American media and law enforcement establishments have brazenly covered up that shocking truth in the fashion of a «ministry of truth».

Potentially, Trump’s stance on NATO is damaging to the military alliance, and could even precipitate a terminal decline. That is why the reaction to his comments has been so fierce, and is also why he won’t be allowed to get away with such a policy if he is elected.

This is not mean, however, to sound defeatist. Of course, US militarism and its war-mongering imperialist foreign policy could be overturned. American hegemony is not divinely ordained. But such a radical, fundamental change in direction will require a massive popular movement among ordinary Americans. It will not be achieved on the basis of one fiery politician’s words.

lunes, 25 de julio de 2016

Sobre la "americanización" de la sociedad alemana


Extraño silencio el de los mass media occidentales sobre lo que está pasando en Alemania el día de hoy. Nos cuentan sobre los hechos recientes, los homicidios, pero nada de lo que sienten y piensan los alemanes de a pie. Es que da algo de cosa pensar en el proceso qe está viviendo ese país en estos últimos meses. De nuevo, ¿quién está detrás de todo esto? ¿y por qué? ¿Cui bono?

El texto que sigue fue escrito por Christoph Vandreier y Peter Schwarz para el sitio World Socialist Web Site (WSWS). Los autores se preguntan sobre el significado de la matanza del viernes en Munich, y advierten sobre un creciente fenómeno: la "americanización" de a sociedad europea. Pasen y vean:


Título: The Munich shooting spree and the Americanization of German society

Texto: The Munich shooting spree has unleashed a wave of consternation and sympathy throughout Germany. It was a heinous act. Late on Friday afternoon, an 18-year-old youth shot dead nine, mainly young people, injuring a further 27, ten seriously, in a McDonald’s restaurant and a popular shopping center.

A massive police response followed. Some 2,300 members of the security forces were brought into the city, including special units from other federal states, the GSG 9 anti-terrorist unit of the federal police and the Austrian Cobra Task Force. Armored vehicles and helicopters were also deployed. On Saturday, it became clear that Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen had also considered using the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces), placing a military police unit on standby, although such a deployment is unconstitutional.

The security forces brought the city of Munich, with its population of 1.5 million, literally to a standstill. The Central Station was cordoned off, train and underground traffic halted and tram drivers instructed to urge their passengers to leave the vehicle and return to their depots. Thousands ended up on the streets without any means of getting home, and this was despite the police calling on the population to return home on safety grounds. The situation only calmed down after Munich residents, in a spontaneous initiative under the hashtag #opendoor, offered to take those who had become stranded into their homes.
In the panic triggered by the huge police operation, reports of other shootings in the city began circulating, all of which proved to be false alarms. Between 6 p.m. and midnight, the police registered 4,310 emergency calls, as many as are usually received in four days.

On Sunday, when the police finally announced that the attack had been a classic mass shooting, carried out by a single perpetrator who had no political background or links to Islamic State, the population felt “something approaching relief,” as the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung put it. Following the recent attacks in Nice and Wurzburg, many people were clearly afraid that a similar vicious circle to the one in France would develop, where terrorist attacks, tougher state powers, the destruction of democratic rights and the growth of far-right forces each aggravated the other.

Nevertheless, the individual killing assault in Germany raises fundamental social and political issues. Such a brutal act by a teenager cannot be understood outside of more general social developments. The police response, as well as the reaction of many media outlets and politicians, shows that the tragic event is being used to justify a new law-and-order campaign.

The 18-year-old offender, David S., who killed himself after the rampage, held both German and Iranian passports and grew up in Germany. He lived with his parents in Maxvorstadt, a better-off suburb of Munich, where areas of public housing also exist. His father works as a taxi driver, and neighbors described the family as “down-to-earth.” David was said to be quiet, to have had problems at school and, according to the public prosecutor, to have suffered from a depressive illness.

In his room, police found documents suggesting that the teenager was fascinated by mass shootings in Germany. The fact that last Friday was the fifth anniversary of the attack by Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway, has led investigators to believe there is a connection.

There are also indications that David S. used a fake Facebook account, under the name “Selina Akim,” to lure teenagers to the McDonald’s restaurant where he began his rampage, indicating he had carefully planned and prepared it. Eight of his nine victims were aged between 14 and 20 years old.

Little is known at this point about the motives of the perpetrator. In an exchange with a local resident, who filmed David S., he screams, “Because of you I have been bullied for seven years. And now I have had to buy a gun to bump you all off.”

The Munich rampage is not the first in Germany: in 2002, a teenager killed 17 people at an Erfurt school. Four years later, a similar case took place in Emsdetten. The same year, a minor stabbed 30 people in a Berlin underground train. In 2009, a 17-year-old killed 15 people in Winnenden, and only last week, a 17-year-old attacked travelers with an axe on a regional train in Würzburg. Nevertheless, the frequency of such violence has so far been regarded primarily as an American phenomenon.

According to the web site “Gun Violence Archive,” there were 18 mass murders with firearms in the United States just this June. In 2014, the FBI reported 8,124 homicides with firearms. In the US, about the same number of people are killed by firearms as in car accidents.

The World Socialist Web Site has repeatedly insisted that such recurring mass violence can only be the “expression of something deeply diseased within society.” A month ago, the WSWS stressed the connection between the Orlando massacre, in which 49 people were killed, and the ongoing US-led wars, the militarization of social life, and the attacks on the jobs, wages and living conditions of the working class.

“It is almost impossible to exaggerate the impact of this daily reality within the borders of the United States, especially on the most unstable social elements,” we wrote. “Political reaction, national chauvinism, anti-immigrant racism—the most backward sentiments have been systematically cultivated in order to pursue an agenda of imperialist war and the impoverishment of the working class.”

A similar social development is underway in Germany. When David S. was born, the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) were being deployed on their first foreign combat mission, in Yugoslavia. When he was 16, the German government announced the “end of military restraint.” In the meantime, the Bundeswehr has participated in the NATO deployment against Russia and a total of 16 foreign missions, including in Iraq and Syria. Militarism is increasingly influencing domestic policy.

Last year, David S. would have directly experienced how refugees from the Middle East had initially been welcomed by the Munich population and then vilified by politicians. The campaign against this “welcoming culture,” led mainly by the Christian Social Union (CSU) Bavarian state government, would not have been without its effect on a mentally unstable young man with an Iranian background, who felt bullied. Of course, all these circumstances motivate brutal acts only in extreme cases. But without them, his actions would have been inconceivable.

Politicians and the media have responded to the Munich rampage by demanding an accelerated militarization of society and a further political shift to the right. They are trying to outdo one another in praising the massive police operation and demanding a further expansion of the security forces.

Chancellor Angela Merkel directed remarks at the police, saying, “They were and are, in the best sense, helpers and protectors of the citizens.” The leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Sigmar Gabriel, tweeted that what the police had done was “great.”

The far-right Alternative for Germany immediately called for the complete closure of the country’s borders to refugees even though the background to the Munich attack was still unclear. Its chairman in Saxony-Anhalt, André Poggenburg, expressed his disgust with Merkel and the “Left-wing idiots who share the responsibility.”

Some Christian Democratic politicians are singing the same tune. CSU federal parliamentary deputy Florian Hahn said on Twitter that the Bundeswehr would be needed in the next few days for the “establishment of security in public spaces.” And the Dresden Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politician Maximilian Krah wrote, “I am in Munich. This must be the turning point: The welcoming culture is deadly. It’s about our country!”

The Süddeutsche Zeitung saw in the assault “a very worrying foretaste of next year’s [general] election campaign.” If the world situation failed to calm down abruptly in the next few months, “security” would be the “mega-theme” of the election. “Namely, both internal and external security, because these can no longer be separated from each other.”

In other words, the newspaper assumes that even the German election campaign will be “Americanized” and will take on forms similar to those in the US, where a fascistic real estate mogul and a politician with extremely close ties to Wall Street and the Pentagon are conducting a dirty, mud-slinging fight for the presidency.