Sep 292016
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

bombardement-400x224

Introduction

Bombs, domestic and foreign, are defining the nature of politics in the United States, the European Union and among radical Islamist groups and individuals. The scale and scope of bomb-politics varies with the practitioner. ‘Wholesale bombers’ are state actors, who engage in large-scale, long-term bombing designed to destroy adversary governments or movements. ‘Retail bombers’ are groups or individuals engaging in small-scale, sporadic bombings, designed to provoked fear and secure symbolic outcomes.

Apart from planned bombings, there are improvised bombings committed by deranged individuals who engage in suicide attacks without any political backing or coherent purpose.

In this paper we will focus on the nature of ‘wholesale’ and ‘retail’bombings, their frequency, political consequences and long-term impact on global political power.

Bombing as Everyday Events

The US and EU are the world’s foremost practitioners of ‘wholesale bombing’. They engage in serial attacks against multiple countries without declaring war or introducing their own citizen ground troops. They specialize in indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations – unarmed women, children, elders and non-combatant males. In other words, for the ‘wholesale bombers’, unleashing terror on societies is an everyday event.

The US and EU practice ‘total war’ from the skies, not sparing a single sphere of everyday, civilian life. They bomb neighborhoods, markets, vital infrastructure, factories, schools and health facilities. The result of their daily, ‘ordinary’ bombing is the total erasure of the very structures necessary for civilized existence, leading to mass dispossession and the forced migration of millions in search of safety.

It is not surprising that the refugees seek safety in the countries that have destroyed their means of normal existence. The wholesale bombers of the US-EU do not bomb their own cities and citizens – and so millions of the dispossessed are desperate to get in.

Wholesale bomb policies have emerged because prolonged ground wars in the targeted countries evoke strong domestic opposition from their citizens unwilling to accept casualties among US and EU soldiers. Wholesale bombing draws less domestic opposition because the bombers suffer few losses.

At the same time, while mass aerial bombing reduces the political risks of casualties at home, it expands and deepens violent hostility abroad. The mass flight of refugees to US-EU population centers allows the entry of violent combatants who will bring their own version of the total war strategies to the homes of their invaders.

Secular resistance has generally targeted enemy soldiers, whether they are imperial invaders or jihadi mercenaries. Their targets are more focused on the military. But faced with the politics of long-distance, wholesale bombing, the secular opposition becomes ineffective. When the ‘secular opposition’ diminishes, ethno-religious combatants troops emerge.

The Islamists have taken command of the resistance, adopting their tactics to the imperial policy of total serial wars.

Retail Bomb-Warfare

Lacking an air force, Islamist terrorists engage in ground wars to counter imperial air wars. Their response to drone warfare, is hand-made improvised bombs, killing hundreds of civilians. Their victims may be decapitated with hand-held swords, rather than computer-controlled missiles. They capture hostile population, committing pillage, torture and rapine, rather than bomb from a distance, to dispossess and drive into exile.

Retail bomb’ terrorists are generally decentralized and may be recruited overseas. Their bombs are crude and indiscriminate. But like the wholesale bombers, they target population centers and seek to provoke panic and despair among the civilian population.

Islamist ‘retail bombers’ seek to expand their range by attacking the home countries of ‘wholesale bombers’ – the US and Europe. These attacks are exclusively for propaganda and do not constitute any threat to strategic imperial military targets. They expose the vulnerability of their enemies’ civilian population.

While imperial bombers and Islamists bombers have been at war against each other, they have also served as allies of convenience. Several recent examples come to mind.

US-EU ‘wholesale bombing’ campaigns against Libya, Syria and Yemen worked in tandem with Islamist mercenary ground fighters. ‘Wholesale bombers’ devastated the infrastructure and military installations of the governments of Syria and Libya in support of advancing Islamist ground troops. In other words, ‘wholesale bombings’ are not sufficient to achieve targeted ‘regime change’, thus the resort to terrorist ‘retail bombers’ and jihadi ‘head choppers’ to advance on regional and local targets.

The most blatant recent example of the convergence of imperial wholesale bombers in support of Islamist retail bombers and terrorists was the September 17, 2016 US-EU attack on a Syrian military installation, killing and wounding almost two hundred Syrian soldiers who had been engaged in combat against ISIS terrorists. While Washington claimed that the hours-long aerial bombardment of Syrian government soldiers was a ‘mistake’, it allowed the jihadi ‘retail bombers’ to take the offensive and overrun the base. Acting as air-support for ISIS, the US Pentagon effective shut down any possibility for peace negotiations and sabotaged a fragile ceasefire. This was a major victory for Washington’s politics of permanent wholesale bombing and ‘regime change’.

Just as the US launched its propaganda and wholesale bombing attack against the Syrian government, an improvised ‘retail bombing campaign’ was launched in the US – in Manhattan and New Jersey! The latest series of retail bombing attacks in the US led to three dozen, mostly minor, injuries, while the brutal US wholesale bombing of Syrian troops killed over 62 government soldiers and wounded many more. The political impact and consequences of wholesale and retail terror bombings in both regions was highly significant. The US had no more right to launch an air attack on Syrian government troops engaged in defending their country, than the US-based retail terrorist (an Afghan-American) had in planting improvised bombs in US cities. Both actions are illegal.

Political Consequences of Bombing Warfare

The US-ISIS coordinated bombing of Syrian soldiers has set the stage for all-out warfare. Peace talks were violently sabotaged by the Obama Administration. Syria and Russia now face the combined forces of ISIS, Turkey and the US with no hope for a negotiated solution. The battle for control of Aleppo will intensify. Russian negotiators have failed to check their cynical American ‘allies’ in their much-ballyhooed ‘war on terror’. They have no choice but to continue to supply air cover for their Syrian government allies.

The US has embraced the Turkish invasion of Syria, betraying both their Kurdish allies and some element among their ISIS partners. Bombing continues to be Washington’s main option in the Middle East.

The recent retail terror bombing in the US has the predicted consequence – a mass media whipped into a frenzy of fear mongering. New York City is further militarized. The face of the ‘enemy’ (a young Afghan-American, whose own father had tried to turn over to the FBI for his jihadi connections) is on a hundred million TV screens continuously. The electoral campaign salivates in anticipation of a terror war for whoever wins the presidency. Blind fear rather than concrete economic demands take the place of political debate.

Immigrants, Muslims and terrorists replace Wall Street tax evaders, profiteers and speculators as the villains in a country mired in economic and social crises. Economic policies, which have created mass insecurity and misery, are obscured by the militarist rhetoric.

Militarism, war and wholesale bombing replace the incremental advances in improving peaceful productive relations with Cuba and Iran.

The politics of bombing, as a strategy and way-of-life affects domestic and foreign policy . . . even as the vast majority of American voters look for alternatives, for jobs, housing, and education and seek to live without fear and threats.

Wholesale wars lead to retail wars. Overseas bombs lead to bombs at home. Invasions and occupations provoke outrage and retaliation. The answer is not to do unto others what you don’t want done on yourself.

Sep 202016
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

monsanto-dupont-roundup-war

The concentration and centralization of the agro-business multi-nationals advances with gigantic strides: Potash Corp and Agrium have combined into a $30 billion monopoly over the world fertilizer market. Dow Chemical and DuPont combine in a $130 billion dollar deal in the seed and agricultural chemicals sector.ChemChina prepares to takeover Syngenta in a $44 billion acquisition. Bayer is preparing to buy out Monsanto for $56 billion and further concentrate control over worldwide seed and chemical markets. A quarter of a trillion dollars worth of mergers and acquisitions is poised to concentrate control of global agriculture prices, profits and markets in four directorates. Parallel to the corporate capitalist drive for world domination, the White House has embarked on a full-scale trade and maritime war against China.

This essay presents the political and social implications of the agro-business counter-revolution and the concomitant US drive to encircle and enclose China’s market.

Agro-Business Monopolies and Social Revolution

This process of agri-business monopolization will have a major impact on farmers, consumers and environmentalists worldwide. Seed and fertilizer prices will rise, devastating farmers’ income and resulting in ever more bankruptcies. Nitrogen and potash, the two biggest fertilizer inputs for farmers, will be controlled by a monopoly cartel. Farmers will have no choice – either market response or political struggle. In other words, they can try to raise food prices or organize a revolt against the cartels.

In the imperial countries, national populist movements have emerged, especially in the countryside, small towns and cities: farmers, ecologists and consumers take to the streets while urban mass opposition, responding to rising food costs, are gaining momentum.

Throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America, the agro-business control of chemical and seed inputs raises the debt burden on peasants and farmers while contaminating food with pesticides and provoking food riots and land occupation movements.

The impact of food insecurity, including debt and malnutrition, undermines community and family cohesion. This is the context in which armed insurgents have emerged, including the Islamist movements in the Middle East, North Africa and West Asia, gaining credibility and followers among the millions of dispossessed.

In response, the agribusiness multinational corporations have reduced the question of popular resistance to one of  ‘political stability’, pushing for repressive state terror to suppress revolts. The Western mass media never discusses the linkage between the monopolization of agriculture and mass exploitation with armed popular resistance. Agro –business leaders claim that mass rebellion is merely a product of  ‘ideology’ promoted by deranged extremists on the left or violent jihadis.

The roots of revolt and upheaval are not analyzed or even described in the narrative of respectable financial newspapers in their “Companies and Markets” section.

Global monopolization of agriculture depends on state de-regulation, privatization, and the systematic policies of blaming any political opposition on ‘outside’ hostile forces. If the opponents are not ‘Islamists’ or communists, they are unfair competitors, who do not ‘play by market rules’ and rely on state subsidies.

Trade Wars for Monopoly Agriculture

The Obama regime has launched a full-scale agricultural war against China, imposing tariffs, promoting WTO boycotts and intensifying its ideological war. Obama’s Department of Agriculture, (which provides massive direct and indirect subsidies to the enormous US agro-industry), denounces China for subsidizing it basic food producers.

Obama attacks China for ‘unfair competition’ even as US MNCs earned $20 billion in agro exports to Beijing in 2015 alone!

While leading US corporate executives look to China’s dynamic growth as a source of investments for US elites, Obama warns of Chinese ‘security threats’. While former Treasury Secretary Paulson editorializes in favor of greater commercial linkages with Beijing as a vehicle for continued US business growth, Obama works to provoke military hostilities against China among second and third tier Asian countries.

In 2015 China invests nearly $20 billion in the US, generating several hundred thousand jobs, while Obama promotes a $38 billion military giveaway program for Israel. According to Obama’s perverse calculus, Israel, the plunderer, is our dearest ally and China the donor and job-creator, is an existential threat to the US!

While China attracts Philippine President Duterte with offers of billion dollar economic aid and investment, Obama encourages its clients among the Philippine military and Manila-based oligarchs to destabilize the government.

The US overt militarist policies toward China are integral to Obama’s political effort to divert the US electorate from the effects of monopoly mergers in raising the cost of living and deepening inequalities in America.

Obama’s war agenda in Asia may have the effect of intimidating US business, especially on the Pacific Coast, which would otherwise have ‘natural trade and investment ties’ with China, not to mention cultural ties.

Conclusion

US multi-national agro-business mergers have upped the ante in provoking social upheavals, North and South. While the agro-business elite expands overseas and increases domestic profits, it does so by heightening class and national conflicts, which, in turn, provoke brutal state repression.

The alliance between agro-business and militarism is a major factor driving the global ascent of populism and nationalism, as well as Islamist radicalism.

The ‘war versus trade’ contradiction dividing the US business elite has created a disjointed political class spinning in both directions without coherence.

The electorate reacts with double negatives: hostile to their own leaders and hostile to any alternatives. The response may well be greater abstention and withdrawal by the voters.

The US and EU multi-nationals, pivoting toward greater concentration of wealth and mega-monopolies, have yet to undermine the nature of Chinese state power – the ultimate arbiter of agriculture in Asia. As Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines and Myanmar develop closer trade and diplomatic ties with China, the MNCs have to deal with new competition and challenges from non-multi-national adversaries.

Besides Japan, and possibly South Korea, the US trade war against China has few regional allies. Obama’s militarist ‘pivot’ resonates with few outside of the US presidential election rhetoric.

In the European Union, nationalist populist movements and governments are questioning Obama’s proposed ‘Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership’ (TTIP), particularly in regard to its impact on European agriculture. As the costs of food production and consumer prices increase the US-sponsored TTIP loses its supporters, because Washington’s conservative allies in Europe need the vote of small-scale farmers and middle class consumers in France, Poland, Hungary and elsewhere.

In India, the huge multinational agribusiness mergers are playing havoc with the political leaders in the BJP as they face scores of millions of devastated peasant producers.

In other words,  mega-agro powers form a two-edged sword in world capitalism: They strengthen the economies of the imperial powers while undermining their own electoral mass base. The feeble efforts to regulate these mergers have failed, as expected. When the ‘free market’ pulverizes small producers and local suppliers, it creates the conditions for class wars on many fronts, in the West and in the East, in the US and the EU, in China and in India.

Sep 112016
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

imperialism_usa

US empire building depends on regional regimes’ support, especially in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. These proxy regimes fulfill valuable military roles securing control over neighboring regions, populations and territory.

In recent times, however, we witness the same proxies developing their own tendency toward expansionist policies – in pursuit of their own mini-empires.

Client regimes with local or regional ambitions now present Washington with new points of contention. At a time when the US empire has been forced to retrench or retreat in the face of its prolonged losses, a whole new set of conflicts have emerged. The post-imperial war zones are the new focus. Often, imperial client regimes take the initiative in confronting their regional adversaries. In other cases, competing proxies will brush aside their US ‘mentors’ and advance their own territorial ambitions.

The break-up of the US-dominated empire, far from ending wars and conflicts, will almost certainly lead to many local wars under the pretext of ‘self-determination’, or ‘self-defense’ or protecting one’s ethnic brethren – like Ankara’s sudden concern for the Turkmen in Syria.

We will examine a few of the most obvious case studies.

The Middle East: Turkish-Kurdish-Syrian Conflict

Over the past years, the Turkish regime has been in the forefront in the war to overthrow the secular nationalist Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

The Turks acted as proxies for the US – providing military bases, supplies, training and protection, as well as the point of entry, for overseas Islamist terrorist-mercenaries acting on behalf of Washington’s imperial ambitions.

As the ‘independent’ Islamist threat (ISIS) gained territory, targeting US objectives, Washington increasingly turned to its allied, mostly secular, Kurdish fighters. Washington’s Kurdish proxies took over territory from both the anti-US Islamists as well as the Syrian national government – as part of their own long-standing ethno-nationalist agenda.

Turkey saw Kurdish victories in northern Syria as a rallying point for autonomous Kurdish forces within Turkey. President Erdogan intervened militarily – sending tanks, warplanes and tens of thousands of troops into Syria, launching a war of extermination against the US-proxy Syrian Kurds! The Turkish invasion has advanced, taking Syrian territory, under the phony pretext of combating ‘ISIS’. In fact, Turkey has created a wide, colonial ‘safe zone’ to control the Kurds.

The Obama regime in Washington complained but was totally unwilling to intervene as the Turks drove the Kurds out of their northern Syrian home in a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing. Thus, Turkish-Kurdish-Syrian warfare has broken out and the terms, conditions and outcome are well beyond US control.

The US quest for an imperial puppet regime in Syria has flopped: instead, Turkey gobbled up Syrian land, the Kurds resisted the Turks for national-self-determination instead of driving out the Islamist mercenaries and Damascus faces an additional threat to its national sovereignty.

This brutal regional war, started largely by the US and Saudi Arabia, will expose the extent to which the US-Middle East Empire has shrunk.

Asia: Japan, Vietnam, Philippine and China Conflict

The US Empire in Asia has seen the making and unmaking of proxy states. After WWII, the US incorporated Japan, Pakistan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand as proxy states in an effort to strangle and conquer China, North Korea and Vietnam.

More recently India, Vietnam and Myanmar have joined the US in its new militarist scheme to encircle China.

Central to the Obama-Clinton ‘Pivot to Asia’ is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a singular effort to ‘unify’ Asian nations under US control in order to isolate and diminish China’s role in Asia.

The original, post-WW2 proxies, South Korea, Philippines and Japan provided military bases, troops, material and logistic support. Vietnam, the newest ‘proxy-on-the-block’, welcomes Pentagon weapons aimed at China – despite the millions of Vietnamese deaths during the US war in Indochina.

While most of the Asian proxies continue to pay lip service to Washington’s ‘Sinophobic agenda’, many do so on their own terms: they are reluctant to provoke China’s economic wrath through Washington’s policy of direct confrontation. During the recent ASEAN Conference in Laos (2016), nations resisted Washington’s pressure to denounce China despite the ‘international court’ ruling against Beijing’s South China Sea maritime claims. The US’ ability to influence events through its Europe-based ‘international tribunals’ seems to have waned. The US cannot implement its own transpacific economic ‘blockade’ strategy (TPP) because of both domestic and external resistance. Meanwhile, new proxy relations have emerged.

The proxy-stooges in Tokyo face growing anti-proxy opposition from the Japanese people over their nation’s role as a glorified US airbase. As a result Tokyo carefully pursues its own anti-China strategy by forming deeper economic links to new or minor proxy states in Indo-China, the Philippines and Myanmar. In the course of developing its relations with these weaker proxy regimes, Japan is actually laying the ground for autonomous economic and military policies independent of the US.

Notably, the Philippines under its new President Détente, seeks to accommodate relations with China, even as its neo-colonial proxy military relations with Washington remain in place. The Western media kerfuffle over Duterte’s ‘colorful’ language and ‘human rights’ policies masks Washington’s imperial disapproval with his independent foreign policy toward China.

While India grows closer ties with the US and even offers military co-operation with the Pentagon, it is signing even greater Chinese investment and trade agreements – anxious to enter the enormous China market.

In other words, Washington’s Asian proxies have (1) widened their own reach, (2) defined autonomous spheres of action and (3) have downgraded US efforts to impose trade agreements.

Symptomatic of the decay of US ‘proxy power’ is the ‘disinclination’ among Washington’s clients to express overt hostility to Beijing. In frustration, the Washington-New York financial mouthpieces (New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal) provide bully pulpits for the most obscure, marginal characters, including a minor Hong Kong politician, a decrepit exiled Tibetan ‘holy man’ and a gaggle of Uighur terrorists!

Washington’s Ephemeral Proxies in Latin America

One of the most striking aspects of US empire-building is the ease with which it has secured proxies in Latin America … and how quickly they are undermined!

Over the past three decades the US propped up proxy military regimes, which were overthrown and replaced by independent governments in the last decade. These are currently being replaced by a new wave of neo-liberal proxies – a motley collection of corrupt thugs and elite clowns incapable of establishing a sustainable imperial-centered region.

A proxy-based empire is a contradiction in terms. The Latin American proxies are too dependent on outside support, lacking mass internal popularity and roots. Their very neoliberal economic and social policies are unable to stimulate the industrial development required grow the economy. The Latin American proxies are mere predators, devoid of historical entrepreneurial skills of the Japanese and the disciplined nationalist ideology of the Turks.

In that sense, the Latin American proxies more closely resemble the Philippine ruling oligarchy: They preach submission and breed subversion. Proxy instability and policy shifts emerge as powerful forces to challenge the US empire – whether the Chinese in Asia or domestic internal conflicts – like the Trump phenomenon in the US.

Conclusion

Imperial wars continue … but so does an upsurge in domestic instability, mass rejection of imperial policies, regional conflicts and national wars. The decline of the empire threatens to bring on an era of intra-proxy wars – multiple conflicts, which may or may not benefit the US empire. The war of the few against the many is becoming the war of the many against the many. But what are the choices in the face of such historic shifts?

Only the emergence of truly class-conscious organized mass movements can offer a positive response to the coming deluge.

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Please see James Petras latest book: The end of the Republic and the Delusion of EmpireClarity Press 2016 ISBN 978-0-9972870-5-9

Sep 092016
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

Big six: Tax woes

Big six: Tax woes

Introduction

Large-scale political and economic challenges are confronting the US multi-national corporate elite. Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Pfizer and scores of other multinational tax evaders are facing the triple threat of multi-billion dollar fines, the redistribution of their wealth and the possible reintroduction of equitable socio-economic programs, which could undermine their power.

Washington-backed exporters and financiers, eager to impose free trade agreements on European and Asian business classes, have been faced with stiff resistance and outright rejection.

In Latin America, the Obama administration recently installed neo-liberal regimes in Argentina and Brazil, provoking massive opposition from small and medium sized firms driven into bankruptcy by their harsh policies.

Intense intra-capitalist rivalries are no longer confined to the conference table: Open warfare, involving large-scale transfers of capital, has undermined the foundation of international capitalist class solidarity. While working class movements and mass protests still occur, the fundamental internal capitalist antagonism toward the US Empire has become the driving force of the current upheavals.

We will identify the alignment of forces and the implications of these challenges to the power and wealth of the multi-national corporations. We will then highlight the break-up of the free trade treaties and the demise of US dominance in Europe and Asia. In the final section, we will focus on the rise and decline of the latest US interventions to subordinate Latin America to its domination, starting with the legislative coup in Brazil and the conflicts in Argentina.

The European Commission and Apple ‘s Tax Evasion

The European Commission (EC) imposed an initial $13 billion penalty on the Apple Corporation for tax evasion – with tens of billions of more fines to come. The EC announced that Apple’s ridiculous 0.005% corporate tax rate in Ireland was a form of theft, exposing its phony posture as a defender of human rights and a paragon of corporate social responsibility. Scores of the biggest US multi-nationals have set-up overseas operations, especially in Ireland, specifically to avoid paying taxes. These include Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Pfizer and scores of others among the   ‘Fortune five hundred’.

Apple’s multi-billion-dollar tax scams were possible because of support from the US Treasury, Commerce and Trade Departments. Indeed, Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, launched a tirade against the European Commission, threatening retaliation, claiming that these US tax swindles were vital to the security of world trade. Wall Street flunky, Senator Charles Schumer called the EU penalty ‘a cheap money grab’ and threatened to start a trade war with Europe if the Democrats regain power in the upcoming Senatorial and Congressional elections.

The entire US imperial edifice operates through corrupt multi-national corporate tax swindlers who control and direct their politician stooges who, in turn, intimidate, submissiveEuropean regimes (like Ireland). The system is now being challenged by rival European economic powers intent on reducing the US tax advantages to increase their competitiveness. The growing competition over profits, markets and tax receipts has important political implications as the US dominance of Europe depends on the supremacy of its multi-nationals.

US taxpayers subsidize the US multi-nationals even when they relocate jobs abroad to cheap labor markets and move their corporate head offices to low-tax countries. The result is that the US government has to increase the tax burden on wage- salaried workers and small businesspeople to finance social programs and critical infrastructure because the US multinationals have moved their ‘addresses’ to tax havens.

As Europe tightens the squeeze on the US billionaire tax fraudsters, Washington will retaliate by mobilizing its own stable of European flunkies and the ever-compliant US Senators. Capitalist warfare may increase ‘nationalist’ rancor and undermine Atlantic trade treaties.

The End of Atlantic and Pacific Trade Agreements

In demanding an end to negotiations with the US over the trans-Atlantic trade deal, the French minister for foreign trade summed up his country’s position: “There is no political support from France for those negotiations . . . the Americans give nothing or just crumbs”. Throughout Europe politicians of the Left and Right have pointed out that closer ties with the US undermine their business deals with Russia and China, dilute environmental protection and abolish workers’ rights.

Parallel developments are taking place in Asia with regard to the trans-Pacific trade deal: The US has failed to convince Asian countries to sign bilateral and multilateral trade pacts designed to exclude China.

Asia’s increasing use of China’s currency (the renminbi) shows that the Anglo-American bloc has declined as the center of foreign exchange markets and trade. The US no longer dominates Asia: Even its former colony, the Philippines, has made overtures to China. Cambodia has granted China extended use of a deep-water port, strengthening Beijing’s position as the dominant maritime power in Asia. The US ally, Australia increasingly depends on trade with Beijing. China’s mix of public-private capitalism has out-muscled the US in Asian markets while deepening its trade links with Russia, Iran, the Gulf States, Africa and Latin America.

To the extent that international capitalism has ‘recovered’ from the economic crisis of the recent past, it is thanks to Chinese–Asia capitalism. The policy failures of the US Treasury, Commerce and Trade departments have led to calls for protectionism – domestically with the Trump campaign – and growing militarism among both candidates.

Increasingly the struggle for world markets among regional capitalist blocs- Anglo-American, European and Sino-Asian –defines the nature of global instability.

Latin America: The Rebellion of the Middle Class

On the surface, Washington and Wall Street have gained some important political victories: In Argentina, the Mauricio Macri regime has imposed an economic agenda totally in line with Washington’s free trade demands. In Brazil, Washington successfully promoted the legislative coup impeaching the center-left government of President Dilma Rousseff and installing the corrupt Vice President Temer. The proxy regime is dedicated to de-nationalizing and privatizing strategic, lucrative sectors of the economy.

In Venezuela, Washington’s proxies who have gained control of the congress are organizing to oust the left-of-center Maduro government through street protests, sabotage and the hoarding of vital commodities.

Nevertheless the image of middle class and local capitalist support for Washington’s agenda is proving ephemeral. Once installed at the top, the US-backed local proxies are rapidly imposing brutal austerity policies that undermine middle class and, of course, working class support.

After merely nine months in power, Argentine President Macri and his Washington backers face open opposition from the entire range of small and medium size businesses.

Inflation and deflation, utility price increases of 400% to 1000% have bankrupted at least a fourth of small-scale commercial and medium-size business firms in Argentina. Thousands have massed in the streets. On September 2, a broad based multi-class demonstration of several hundred thousand took over the famous Plaza de Mayo in the center of Buenos Aires to denounce Macri’s devastating neo-liberal agenda.

Similar mass actions are erupting in Brazil, as the US-backed Temer regime slashes government budget subsidies, credit and public investments. His public approval rating (never high because of his own corruption) has dropped to a single digit.

In a short time the business class has become deeply divided between the top tier, linked to international capital, and the middle and lower tiers. The initial consensus opposing the left-populist government has rapidly disintegrated while the unity of the capitalist class has collapsed.

Conclusion

In the current phase of global capitalism, the most striking socio-economic dynamics are located in the deepening intra-capitalist conflicts between regions, nations and among segments of the capitalist class. The ideologues of capitalist globalization and  regional integration are finally exposed as false prophets. Attempts by the US to impose a new world order that subordinates Europe and Asia have failed; the US now faces internal dissension, notably in US Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s ‘American First’ campaign, pressing for ‘national solutions’.

The European capitalist elite is now only willing to collaborate with Washington where US-Europe trade agreements can be mutually beneficial – they openly reject being reduced to ‘reaping crumbs.’ National capitalism has emerged as the new reality on both sides of the Atlantic and across the globe in Asia, as China emerges as the dominant economic force in the region. China’s quest to secure global markets and investment sites has set in motion rival nationalist alignments, which threaten US regional power.

Rebellions by capitalist political elites are the ‘new norm’ everywhere. Multi-national rivalries over tax evasion and its consequences are leading to ‘tit-for-tat’ reprisals, which can rupture historical ties.

Latin American capitalist triumphs over the left are short-lived, as the different segments engage in violent divisions and realignments.

The ultra-militarist US is incapable of establishing a stable world capitalist order under its direction. Instead, we now find a multiplicity of capitals and competing state regimes with subordinate and divided segments of the capitalist class. Trans-Atlantic and Pacific unity fractures, and each sub-region seeks its own socio-economic partners. Trade talks cease and acrimony reigns.

Given the US total reliance on military-driven empire building, this post-imperial emergence of national and class rivalries is more likely to lead to war than to a new just social order.

Aug 292016
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

#yankeegohome

#YankeeGOHome

Introduction

The Financial Times editorial page carries a logo that proclaims: “Without fear and without favor”. Indeed the editors have shown no fear when it comes to . . .  fabricating lies, promoting imperial wars decimating countries and impoverishing millions, whether in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and now Venezuela. The fearless “Lies of Our Times” have been at the forefront forging pretexts for inciting imperial armies to crush independent governments.

Despite its pretentious scribblers and prestigious claims, the FT is seen by the Anglo-American financial class as a belligerent purveyor of militarist policies designed for the most retrograde sectors of the ruling elite.

What is most striking about the FT fearless fabrications on behalf of imperial militarism is how often their political and economic prognostications have been incompetent and flat out wrong.

For the past ten years, the FT editorial pages have described  China in economic crisis and heading for a fall, while in reality, the Chinese economy has grown at between eight and six percent a year.

For over a decade and a half, the FT editors claimed Russia under President Vladimir Putin presented an international existential threat to ‘the West’. In fact, it was the ‘Western’ armies of NATO, which expanded military operations to the borders of Russia, the US, which financed a neo-fascist coup in Kiev and the US-EU which promoted an Islamist uprising in Syria designed to totally undermine Russia’s influence and relations in the Middle East.

The FT’s economic gurus and its leading columnists prescribed the very catastrophic deregulatory formulas which precipitated the financial crash of 2008-09, after which they played the clownish role of “Mickey the Dunce” – blaming others for the failed policies.

The fearless FT scribes are currently leading a virulent propaganda campaign to promote the violent overthrow of the democratically elected Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro.

This essay will identify the FT’s latest pack of fearless lies and fabrications and then conclude by analyzing the political consequences for Venezuela and other independent regimes.

The Financial Times and Venezuela: From War in the Suites to Terror in the Streets

In covering the crisis in Venezuela, the FT has systematically ignored the ongoing campaign of assaults and assassinations against elected officials, security officers, military and police who have been murdered by the FT’s favored ‘opposition’.

The FT did not cover the horrific murders of an elected Chavista congresswoman and her two young children, who were executed (shot in the head) in broad daylight by opposition-paid hitmen.

These ongoing opposition terror campaigns against the elected government and the general public are systematically ignored in the FTs ‘reports’ and on its editorial pages, which focus more on the shortages of consumer items.

The FT cover-up of rightwing terror extended to inventing a ‘possible’ army or National Guard plan to open fire on opposition demonstrators. In this case, the FT anticipated rightwing violence by laying the blame on the government in advance.

The FT covers-up the opposition business elite’s campaign of hoarding essential goods to create artificial shortages and panic buying. They deny the ongoing price gouging and pin the blame for shortages and long consumer lines exclusively on ‘regime mismanagement’.

The FT conveniently omits to mention that the decline in world oil prices has affected not only the economy of Venezuela but all countries dependent on commodity exports, including the Financial Times favorite neo-liberal regimes in Brazil and Argentina.

The Financial Times cites bogus ‘opinion’ polls, which wildly exaggerate the government’s declining popularity: In the recent elections Maduro’s supporters secured 40% of the popular vote while the FT claims his support to be 7%!

US client regimes (Mexico, Peru, and Colombia) are the largest producers of illegal drugs and US banks are the largest launderers for narco-money. Yet the FT reports on “Venezuela’s role as a conduit for illegal drugs smuggled north to the US and east into Brazil, Africa and thence to Europe”. Drug enforcement experts all agree that Colombia, home to seven US military bases and with a regime closely linked to paramilitary-narco gangs, is the source of drugs smuggled through Venezuela. That Venezuela has become a victim of the violent Colombian narco-trade is never acknowledged by the elegant City of London pen-prostitutes.

The FT blames the re-emergence of ‘malaria and  other possible diseases’ on the leftist Maduro government. In fact the recent ‘malaria outbreak’ (also cited by the New York Timespropagandists) is based on a single illegal gold miner.

The FT ignores how the US- backed neoliberal regimes in Argentina and Brazil, which rule by presidential decree, have slashed public health programs setting the stage for much greater public health crises.

The Financial Times: Big Lies for Mass Murder

The Financial Times is waging an all-out propaganda war with one goal: To incite the violent seizure of power in Venezuela by US political clients.

In line with the Obama-Clinton ‘regime-change by any means’ policies, the FT paints a deceptive picture of Venezuela facing ‘multiple crises’, representing a ‘destabilizing’ threat to the hemisphere, and on the brink of a global ‘humanitarian crisis’.

Armed with these deadly clichés, the FT editorial pages demand “a new government soon and certainly before the 2018 elections”.

Recently, the FT proposed a phony legal gimmick – a recall referendum. However, since the opposition cannot initiate the vote in time to oust the elected President Maduro, the FT calls for “events which precipitate changes sooner” – a violent coup!

FT’s scenarios aim to precipitate a violent rightwing “march”, eventually provoking civil bloodshed in early September of this year.

The FT expects that “blood in Caracas will require an active Latin America response”(sic). In other words, the FT hopes that a US-backed military invasion from neighboring Colombia would help eliminate the Chavistas and install a rightist regime.

The Financial Times, which actively promoted the NATO-led destruction of the government in Libya, now calls for a US-led invasion of Venezuela. Never ones to re-assess their promotion of  ‘regime change’, the FT now calls for a violent coup in Venezuela, which will exceed that of Libya in terms of the loss of thousands of Venezuelan lives and  the brutal reversal of a decade of significant socio-economic progress.

Without fear and without favor”, the FT  speaks for imperial wars everywhere.

Conclusion

The US presidential elections take place just as the Obama-Clinton regime prepares to intervene in Venezuela. Using bogus ‘humanitarian’ reports of  widespread hunger, disease, violence and instability, the Obama will still need Venezuelan thugs to provoke enough violent street violence to trigger an’ invitation’ for  Washington’s Latin American military partners to ‘intervene’ under the auspices of the UN or OAS.

If  ‘successful’, a rapid overthrow of the elected government in Caracas could be presented as a victory for Hilary Clinton’s campaign, and an example of her policy of ‘humanitarian-military interventions’ around the world.

However, if Obama’s allied invasion does not produce a quick and easy victory, if the Venezuelan people and armed forces mount a prolonged and courageous defense of their government and if US lives are lost in what could turn into a popular war of resistance, then Washington’s intervention could ultimately discredit the Clinton campaign and her ‘muscular’ foreign policy. The American electorate might finally decide against four more years of losing wars and losing lives.  No thanks to the ‘fearless’ Financial Times.

The hashtag #YankeeGoHome has gone viral. – Photo: Twitter

The hashtag #YankeeGoHome has gone viral. – Photo: Twitter

Aug 242016
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

Luka Robotics - While the US has spent trillions in the Middle East for wars on behalf of Israel, China has invested similar amounts in Germany for advanced technology, robotics and digital innovations.

Luka Robotics – While the US has spent trillions in the Middle East for wars on behalf of Israel, China has invested similar amounts in Germany for advanced technology, robotics and digital innovations.

Introduction

China and the United States are moving in polar opposite directions: Beijing is rapidly becoming the center of overseas investments in high tech industries, including robotics, nuclear energy and advanced machinery with collaboration from centers of technological excellence, like Germany.

In contrast, Washington is pursuing a predatory military pivot to the least productive regions with collaboration from its most barbaric allies, like Saudi Arabia.

China is advancing to global economic superiority by borrowing and innovating the most advance methods of production, while the US degrades and debases its past immense productive achievements to promote wars of destruction.

China’s growing prominence is the result of a cumulative process that advanced in a systematic way, combining step-by-step growth of productivity and innovation with sudden jumps up the ladder of cutting edge technology.

China’s Stages of Growth and Success

China has moved from a country, highly dependent on foreign investment in consumer industries for exports, to an economy, based on joint public-private investments in higher value exports.

China’s early growth was based on cheap labor, low taxes and few regulations on multi-national capital. Foreign capital and local billionaires stimulated growth, based on high rates of profit. As the economy grew, China’s economy shifted toward increasing its indigenous technological expertise and demanding greater ‘local content’ for manufactured goods.

By the beginning of the new millennium China was developing high-end industries, based on local patents and engineering skills, channeling a high percentage of investments into civilian infrastructure, transportation and education.

Massive apprenticeship programs created a skilled labor force that raised productive capacity. Massive enrollment in science, math, computer science and engineering universities provided a large influx of high-end innovators, many of whom had gained expertise in the advanced technology of overseas competitors.

China’s strategy has been based on the practice of borrowing, learning, upgrading and competing with the most advanced economics of Europe and the US.

By the end of the last decade of the 20th century, China was in a position to move overseas. The accumulation process provided China with the financial resources to capture dynamic overseas enterprises.

China was no longer confined to investing in overseas minerals and agriculture in Third World countries. China is looking to conquer high-end technological sectors in advanced economics.

By the second decade of the 21st century Chinese investors moved into Germany, Europe’s most advanced industrial giant. During the first 6 months of 2016 Chinese investors acquired 37 German companies, compared with 39 in all of 2015. China’s total investments in Germany for 2016 may double to over $22 billion dollars.

In 2016, China successfully bought out KUKA, Germany’s most innovative engineering company. China’s strategy is to gain superiority in the digital future of industry.

China is rapidly moving to automate its industries, with plans to double the robot density of the US by the year 2020.

Chinese and Austrian scientists successfully launched the first quantum-enabled satellite communication system which is reportedly ‘hack proof’, ensuring China’s communications security.

While China’s global investments proceed to dominate world markets, the US, England and Australia have been trying to impose investment barriers. By relying on phony ‘security threats’, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May blocked a multi-billion dollar Chinese investment-heavy nuclear plant (Hinckley Point C). The pretext was the spurious claim that China would use its stake to “engage in energy blackmail, threatening to turn off the power in the event of international crises”.

The US Committee on Foreign Investment has blocked several multi-billion dollar Chinese investments in high tech industries.

In August 2016 Australia blocked an $8 billion-dollar purchase of a controlling stake in its biggest electricity distribution network on specious claims of ‘national security’.

The Anglo-American and German empires are on the defensive. They increasingly cannot compete economically with China, even in defending their own innovative industries.

In large part this is the result of their failed policies. Western economic elite have increasingly relied on short-term speculation in finance, real estate and insurance, while neglecting their industrial base.

Led by the US, their reliance on military conquests (militaristic empire-building) absorb public resources, while China has directed its domestic resources toward innovative and advanced technology.

To counter China’s economic advance, the Obama regime has implemented a policy of building economic walls at home, trade restrictions abroad and military confrontation in the South China Seas – China’s strategic trade routes.

US officials have ratcheted up their restrictions on Chinese investments in high tech US enterprises including a $3.8 billion investment in Western Digital and Philips attempt to sell its lighting business. The US blocked ‘Chen China’s planned $44 billion takeover of Swiss chemical group ‘Syngenta’.

US officials are doing everything possible to stop innovative billion dollar deals that include China as a strategic partner.

Accompanying its domestic wall, the US has been mobilizing an overseas blockade of China via its Trans-Pacific-Partnership, which proposes to exclude Beijing from participating in the ‘free trade zone’ with a dozen North America, Latin American and Asian members. Nevertheless, not a single member-nation of the TPP has cut back its trade with China. On the contrary, they are increasing ties with China – an eloquent comment on Obama’s skill at ‘pivoting’.

While the ‘domestic economic wall’ has had some negative impacts on particular Chinese investors, Washington has failed to dent China’s exports to US markets. Washington’s failure to block China’s trade has been even more damaging to Washington’s effort to encircle China in Asia and Latin America, Oceana and Asia.

Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Chile, Taiwan, Cambodia and South Korea depend on Chinese markets far more than on the US to survive and grow.

While Germany, faced with China’s dynamic growth, has chosen to ‘partner’ and share, up-scale productive investments, Washington has opted to form military alliances to confront China.

The US bellicose military alliance with Japan has not intimidated China. Rather it has downgraded their domestic economies and economic influence in Asia.

Moreover, Washington’s “military pivot” has deepened and expanded China’s strategic links to Russia’s energy sources and military technology.

While the US spends hundreds of billions in military alliances with the backward Baltic client-regimes and the parasitical Middle Eastern states, (Saudi Arabia, Israel), China accumulates strategic expertise from its economic ties with Germany, resources from Russia and market shares among Washington’s ‘partners’ in Asia and Latin America.

There is no question that China, following the technological and productive path of Germany, will win out over the US’s economic isolationist and global militarist strategy.

If the US has failed to learn from the successful economic strategy of China, the same failure can explain the demise of the progressive regimes in Latin America.

China’s Success and the Latin American Retreat

After more than a decade of growth and stability, Latin America’s progressive regimes have retreated and declined. Why has China continued on the path of stability and growth while their Latin American partners retreated and suffered defeats?

Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Ecuador, for over a decade, served as Latin America’s center-left success story. Their economies grew, social spending increased, poverty and unemployment were reduced and worker incomes expanded.

Subsequently their economies went into crisis, social discontent grew and the center-left regimes fell.

In contrast to China, the Latin American center-left regimes did not diversify their economies: they remained heavily dependent on the commodity boom for growth and stability.

The Latin American elites borrowed and depended on foreign investment, and financial capital, while China engaged in public investments in industry, infrastructure, technology and education.

Latin American progressives joined with foreign capitalist and local speculators in non-productive real estate speculation and consumption, while China invested in innovative industries at home and abroad. While China consolidated political rulership, the Latin American progressives “allied” with strategic domestic and overseas multi-national adversaries to ‘share power’, which were, in fact, eagerly prepared to oust their “left” allies.

When the Latin commodity based economy collapsed, so did the political links with their elite partners. In contrast, China’s industries benefited from the lower global commodity prices, while Latin America’s left suffered. Faced with widespread corruption, China launched a major campaign purging over 200,000 officials. In Latin America, the Left ignored corrupt officials, allowing the opposition to exploit the scandals to oust center-left officials.

While Latin America imported machinery and parts from the West; China bought the entire Western companies producing the machines and their technology – and then implemented Chinese technological improvements.

China successfully outgrew the crisis, defeated its adversaries and proceeded to expand local consumption and stabilized rulership.

Latin America’s center-left suffered political defeats in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, lost elections in Venezuela and Bolivia and retreated in Uruguay.

Conclusion

China’s political economic model has outperformed the imperialist West and leftist Latin America. While the US has spent billions in the Middle East for wars on behalf of Israel, China has invested similar amounts in Germany for advanced technology, robotics and digital innovations.

While President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “pivot to Asia” has been largely a wasteful military strategy to encircle and intimidate China, Beijing’s “pivot to markets” has successfully enhanced its economic competitiveness. As a result, over the past decade, China’s growth rate is three times that of the US; and in the next decade China will double the US in ‘robotizing’ its productive economy.

The US ‘pivot to Asia’, with its heavy dependence on military threats and intimidation has cost billions of dollars in lost markets and investments. China’s ‘pivot to advanced technology’ demonstrates that the future lies in Asia not the West. China’s experience offers lessons for future Latin American leftist governments.

First and foremost, China emphasizes the necessity of balanced economic growth, over and above short-term benefits resulting from commodity booms and consumerist strategies.

Secondly, China demonstrates the importance of professional and worker technical education for technological innovation, over and above business school and non-productive ‘speculative’ education so heavily emphasized in the US.

Thirdly, China balances its social spending with investment in core productive activity; competitiveness and social services are combined.

China’s enhanced growth and social stability, its commitment to learning and surpassing advanced economies has important limitations, especially in the areas of social equality and popular power. Here China can learn from the experience of Latin America’s Left. The social gains under Venezuela’s President Chavez are worthy of study and emulation; the popular movements in Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina, which ousted neo-liberals from power, could enhance efforts in China to overcome the business- state nexus of pillage and capital flight.

China, despite its socio-political and economic limitations, has successfully resisted US military pressures and even ‘turned the tables’ by advancing on the West.

In the final analysis, China’s model of growth and stability certainly offers an approach that is far superior to the recent debacle of the Latin American Left and the political chaos resulting from Washington’s quest for global military supremacy.

Aug 102016
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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“Many of our interlocutors have been purged or arrested”.

James Clapper, US Director of Intelligence on Turkish Coup (Financial Times 8/3/16, p. 4)

Introduction

Washington has organized a systematic, global, no holds barred campaign to oust Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump from the electoral process. The virulent anti-Trump animus, the methods, goals and mass media resemble authoritarian regimes preparing to overthrow political adversaries.

Comparable propaganda efforts led to political coups in Chile in 1973, Brazil 1964, ad Venezuela in 2002. The anti-Trump forces include both political parties, a Supreme Court judge, Wall Street bankers, journalists and editorialist of all the major media outlets and the leading military and intelligence spokespeople.

Washington’s forcible and illegal ouster of Trump is part and parcel of a world-wide campaign to overthrow leaders and regimes which raise questions about aspects of the imperial policies of the US and EU.

We will proceed to analyze the politics of the anti-Trump elite, the points of confrontation and propaganda, as a prelude to the drive to oust opposition in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

The Anti-Trump Coup

Never in the history of the United States, has a President and Supreme Court Judge openly advocated the overthrow of a Presidential candidate. Never has the entire mass media engaged in a round-the-clock one-sided, propaganda war to discredit a Presidential candidate by systematically ignoring or distorting the central socio-economic issues of their opposition.

The call for the ouster of a freely elected candidate is nothing more or less than a coup d’état.

Leading television networks and columnists demand that the elections be annulled, following the lead of the President and prominent Republican and Democratic Congressional and Party leaders.

In other words, the political elite openly rejects democratic electoral processes in favor of authoritarian manipulation and deception. The authoritarian elite relies on magnifying tertiary, questionable personal judgement calls to mobilize coup backers.

They systematically avoid the core economic and political issues which candidate Trump has raised – and attracted mass support – which challenge fundamental policies backed by the two Party elites.

The Roots of the Anti-Trump Coup

Trump has raised several key issues which challenge the Democratic and Republican elite.

Trump has drawn mass support and won elections and public opinion polls by:

(1)  rejecting the free trade agreements which has led major multinationals to relocate abroad and disinvest in well-paying industrial jobs in the US

(2)  calling for large scale public investment projects to rebuild the US industrial economy, challenging the primacy of financial capital.

(3)  opposing the revival of a Cold War with Russia and China and promoting  greater economic co-operation and negotiations.

(4)  rejecting US support for NATO’s military build-up in Europe and intervention in Syria, North Africa and Afghanistan.

(5)  questioning the importation of immigrant labor which lowers job opportunities and wages for local citizens.

The anti-Trump elite systematically avoid debating these issues; instead they distort the substance of the policies.

Instead of discussing the job benefits which will result from ending sanctions with Russia, the coupsters screech that ‘Trump supports Putin, the terrorist’.

Instead of discussing the need to redirect investment inward to create US jobs, the anti-Trump junta mouth clichés that claim his critique of globalization would ‘undermine’ the US economy.

To denigrate Trump, the Clinton/Obama junta resorts to political scandals to cover-up mass political crimes. To distract public attention, Clinton-Obama falsely claim that Trump is a ‘racist’, backed by David Duke, a racist advocate of “Islamophobia”. The anti-Trump junta promoted the US- Pakistani  parents of a military war casualty  as victims of Trump’s slanders even as they rooted for Hillary Clinton, promotor of wars against Muslim countries and author of  military policies that sent thousands of US soldiers to their grave.

Obama and Clinton are the imperial racists who bombed Libya and Somalia and killed, wounded and displaced over 2 million sub-Saharan Black-Africans.

Obama and Clinton are the Islamaphobes who bombed and killed and evicted five million Muslims in Syria and one million Muslims in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

In other words, Trump’s mistaken policy to restrict Muslim immigration is a reaction to the hatred and hostility engendered by the Obama- Clinton million-person Muslim genocide.

Trump’s “America First” policy is a rejection of overseas imperial wars – seven wars under Obama-Clinton. Their militarist policies have inflated budget deficits and degraded US living standards.

Trump’s criticism of capital and job flight has threatened Wall Street’s billion-dollar profiteering – the most important reason behind the bi-partisan junta’s effort to oust Trump and the working class’s support for Trump.

By not following the bi-partisan Wall Street, war agenda, Trump has outlined another business agenda which is incompatible with the current structure of capitalism. In other words’ the US authoritarian elite does not tolerate the democratic rules of the game even when the opposition accepts the capitalist system.

Likewise, Washington’s quest for ‘mono-power’ extends across the globe. Capitalist governments which decide to pursue independent foreign policies are targeted for coups.

Obama-Clinton’s Junta Runs Amok

Washington’s proposed coup against Trump follows similar policies directed against political leaders in Russia, Turkey, China, Venezuela, Brazil and Syria.

Russian President Putin has been demonized by the US propaganda media on an hourly basis for the better part of a decade. The US has backed oligarchs and promoted economic sanctions; financed a coup in the Ukraine; established nuclear missiles on Russia’s frontier; and launched an arms race to undermine President Putin’s economic policies in order to provoke a coup.

The US backed its proxy Gulenist ‘invisible government’ in its failed coup to oust President Erdogan, for failing to totally embrace the US Middle East agenda.

Likewise, Obama-Clinton have backed successful coups in Latin America. Coups were orchestrated in Honduras, Paraguay and more recently in Brazil to undermine independent Presidents and to secure satellite neoliberal regimes. Washington presses forward to forcibly oust the national-populist government of President Maduro in Venezuela.

Washington has escalated efforts to erode, undermine and overthrow the government of China’s President Xi-Jinping through several combined strategies. A military build-up of an air and sea armada in the South China Sea and military bases in Japan, Australia and the Philippines; separatist agitation in Hong Kong, Taiwan and among the Uyghurs; a US- Latin American- Asia free trade agreements which excludes China.

Conclusion

Washington’s strategy of illegal, violent coups to retain the delusion of empire stretches across the globe, ranging from Trump in the US to Putin in Russia, from Erdogan in Turkey to Maduro in Venezuela to Xi Jinping in China.

The conflict is between US-EU imperialism backed by their local clients against endogenous regimes rooted in nationalist alliances.

The struggle is ongoing and sustained and threatens to undermine the political and social fabric of the US and the European Union.

The top priority for the US Empire is to undermine and destroy Trump by any means necessary. Trump already has raised the question of ‘rigged elections’. But each elite media attack of Trump seems to add to and strengthen his mass support and polarize the electorate.

As the elections approach, will the elite confine themselves to verbal hysteria or will they turn from verbal assassinations to the ‘other kind’?

Obama’s global coup strategy shows mixed results: they succeeded in Brazil but were defeated in Turkey; they seized power in the Ukraine but were defeated in Russia; they gained propaganda allies in Hong Kong and Taiwan but suffered severe strategic economic defeats in the region as China’s Asian trade policies advanced.

As the US elections approach, and Obama’s pursuit of his imperial legacy collapses, we can expect greater deception and manipulation and perhaps even frequent resort to elite-designed ‘terrorist’ assassinations.

Aug 082016
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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Introduction

For the past decade, the US intelligence agencies operating in Turkey have worked closely with the increasingly influential parallel government of Fethullah Gulen. Their approach to power was, until recently, a permeationist strategy, of covertly taking over political, economic, administrative, judicial, media, military and cultural positions gradually without resort to elections or military coups. They adopted flexible tactics, supporting and shedding different allies to eliminate rivals.

In 2010 in support of Erdogan, they played a major role in arresting and purging 300 Kemalist – military officials.  Subsequently the Gulenists moved to prosecute and weaken the Erdogan regime via revelations of family corruption uncovered by their intelligence officials and publicized by its mass media outlets.

The Gulenists shared several important policies with Washington which favored “the convergence” that led up to the July 15, 2016 coup.

The Gulenists backed US-Israeli policies in the Middle East; opposed the ‘independent’ and erratic power projections of Erdogan; favored pro-Western free market policies; accepted US relations with the Kurds; rejected any accommodation with the Russians.

In other words, the Gulenists were far more reliable, dependent and subject to the dictates of EU-NATO-US policy throughout the Middle East than the Erdogan regime.

Erdogan was aware of the growing power of the Gulenists and their growing links to Washington.  Erdogan moved decisively  and successfully, to pre-empt the Gulenist power grab by forcing a premature coup.

Erdogan Power Bloc Defeats Gulenist Presence

The Gulenists were a powerful force in the Turkish state and civil society. They had a strong presence in the civil bureaucracy; among sectors of the military, the mass media and educational installations; and among technocrats in the financial agencies. Yet they were defeated in less than twenty-four hours, because Erdogan had several undeniable strengths.

First and foremost, Erdogan was an unmatched political leader with a strategy to retain power and a powerful active mass popular base. The Gulenists had nothing comparable.

Erdogan had a superior intelligence and military command which infiltrated and undermined the Gulenists who were totally unprepared for a violent confrontation.

The Gulenists ‘permeationist’ strategy was unprepared and totally incapable of seizing power and mobilizing ‘the street’.

They lacked the cadres and organized grass roots support which Erdogan had built from the bottom-up over the previous two decades.

Erdogan’s insider and outside Islamic-Nationalist strategy was far superior to the Gulenist insider-pro-US liberal strategy.

US Miscalculations in the Coup

The Gulenists depended on US support, which totally miscalculated the relations of power and misread  Erdogan’s capacity to preempt the coup.

The major flaw among the US advisers was their ignorance of the Turkish political equation: they underestimated Erdogan’s overwhelming party, electoral and mass support. The CIA overestimated the Gulenists support in their institutional elite structures and underestimated their political isolation in Turkish society.

Moreover, the US military had no sense of the specifications of Turkish political culture – the general popular opposition to a military-bureaucratic takeover. They failed to recognize that the anti-coup forces included political parties and social movements critical of Erdogan.

The US strategists based the coup on their misreading of the military coups in Egypt, Libya, Iraq and Yemen which ousted nationalist and Islamic civilian regimes.

Erdogan was not vulnerable in the same way as President Mohamed Morsi (June 30, 2012 – July 3, 2013) was in Egypt – he controlled intelligence, military and mass supporters.

The US-Gulenists military intelligence strategy was unplanned, uncoordinated and precipitous – Erdogan’s counter-coup forced their hand and struck decisive, sweeping blows that demoralized the entire Gulenist super-structure. Thousands of supporters fell like clay pigeons.

The US was put on the defensive – the rapid dissolution of their followers forced them to disown their allies and fall back on general, unconvincing ‘humanitarian’ and ‘security’ criticisms of Erdogan. Their claims that the Erdogan purge would weaken the fight against ISIS had no influence in Turkey. Washington’s charges that the arrests were ‘mistreating and abusing’ prisoners had no impact.

The key political fact is that the US backed an uprising which had taken up arms and killed Erdogan loyalist military personel and innocent unarmed civilians opposed to the coup undermined Washington’s feeble protests.

In the end the US even refused refugee status and abandoned their Gulenist General’s to Erdogan’s fate. Only Fethullah Gulen himself was protected from extradition by his State Department handlers.

Consequences of the US-Gulen Coup

Washington’s failure to bring down Erdogan could have enormous repercussions throughout the Middle East, Western Europe and the United States.

Erdogan ordered seven thousand troops to encircle the strategic NATO airbase in Incirlik, Turkey, an act of intimidation threatening to undermine NATO’s major nuclear facility and operational base against Syria, Iraq and Russia.

Turkish intelligence and cabinet officials have called into question ongoing political alliances, openly accusing the US military of treason for its role in the coup.

Erdogan has moved to reconcile relations with Russia and has distanced his ties with the European Union.

If Turkey downgrades its ties with NATO, the US would lose its strategic ally on the Southern flank of Russia and undermine its capacity to dominate Syria and Iraq.

Washington’s leverage in Turkey has been dramatically reduced with the decimation of the Gulenist power base in the civilian and military organizations.

Washington may have to rely on the anemic, unstable and servile Syriza – Tsipras regime in Greece to ‘anchor’ its policies in the region.

The failed coup means a major retreat for Washington in the region – and a possible advance for Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Russia.

There are two caveats to this proposition. After Erdogan ‘completes’ the purge of Gulenists’ and condemns Washington, will he be willing and able to pursue a new independent policy or will he simply tighten internal control and ‘renegotiate’ a NATO agreement?

Will Erdogan consolidate political control over the army or will the defeat of the Gulenists be a temporary outcome which will unleash new military factions which will destabilize the political regime?

Finally, Erdogan depends on Western finance and investment which is highly resistant to backing a regime critical of the US, the EU and NATO. If Erdogan faces economic pressures from the West can he turn elsewhere or will he, in the face of capitalist ‘realities’ retreat and submit?

Erdogan, temporarily may have defeated a US coup, but history teaches us that new military, political and economic interventions are on Washington’s agenda.

Jul 242016
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan prepared a list of targets for arrest even before the coup (sic) was launched”, European Commission official on Turkey (FT 7/19/2016).

Introduction

The coup in Turkey was made to order. A group of military officers and police officials were set-up to seize power by senior intelligence operatives in the Erdoğan regime. They were allowed to drop a few bombs, seize bridges and buildings before they were encircled, rounded-up and arrested using a list of targets for arrest prepared even before the so-called coup. In the midst of this fake coup, the ‘vacationing’ Erdoğan flies into Istanbul unharmed, of course, because his vacation resort was bombed after he had left. He seizes the mass media, denounces the coup, rouses the Muslim masses and sets about on a mass purge of Turkish society, concentrating on the civil service, teachers and administrators, the military, the courts and judges. Indeed every institution capable of independent action or reputedly critical of Erdoğan is closed. After a week over 60,000 people had been purged.

Why did Erdoğan resort to a coup? Why did Erdoğan purge Turkish society? What policies will follow Erdoğan’s power grab?

Prelude to the Coup

Over the past 5 years Erdoğan has suffered a series of political, economic and diplomatic failures and defeats, seriously undermining his dictatorial and territorial ambitions. His air force shot down a Russian military jet operating within Syrian territory. The images of Turkish jihadi mercenaries murdering a Russian pilot as he parachuted to safety, as well as a member of the Russian rescue party, caused the Russian government to halt the multi-billion-dollar Russian tourism industry in Turkey and cancel lucrative business deals. He broke relations with Israel, which undercut a lucrative gas and oil offshore contract. His support for ISIS and other violent Salafist mercenary groups operating in Iraq and Syria provoked a rupture with Syria and Iran. His subsequent effort to disavow Turkey’s links with ISIS led to a series of horrific terror bombings by jihadi cells implanted in the country. Turkey’s diplomatic position in Egypt deteriorated as Erdoğan sought to maintain his ties with the Muslim Brotherhood after it had been ousted from power by a US sponsored Egyptian military coup.

Domestically, Erdoğan alienated the secular Kemalist military and civilian political-economic elite via trumped up trials and media purges. Erdoğan’s heavy-handed assault on liberal and leftist protestors over environmental issues increased Western concern. His brutal handling of the labor protests following the 2014 Soma coal mine disaster, when over 300 workers were killed, further isolated him.

Erdoğan’s war on the Kurdish independence movements in Turkey, Iraq and especially in Syria, where they were allied with the US against the jihadi terrorist ISIS, added to domestic unrest and international isolation.

In order to consolidate his executive power, Erdoğan had first allied with the extensive Gulenist-Islamist networks in Turkey in order to undermine the Kemalists and then he turned around to purge his former allies.

Faced with enemies and adversaries at home and overseas, Erdoğan decided on a dual strategy of improving his ties abroad, especially his links with Russia and Israel while launching a total war on domestic critics.

Fabricated Coup and the Permanent Purge

Erdoğan’s intelligence operatives within the military command encouraged or even provoked his critics in the General Staff, who were fed up with his bungling and disastrous policies, to mount a coup. They gave the rebellious military sufficient space and resources to provide a semblance of authority while retaining strategic control over the air force and key ground troops. They may have feigned sympathy to the launching of a premature uprising … doomed to defeat. Once the heavily infiltrated rebel units moved, the entire Erdoğan operation struck. Hapless conscripts thought they had been called out for military exercises, only to find themselves encircled, arrested and even lynched. The dissidents were isolated, their advances paralyzed, their leaders incapacitated. Erdoğan’s loyalist within the Turkish Air Force flew the triumphant president into the ‘liberated’ Istambul International airport to the cheers of his adoring civilian supporters.

Erdoğan immediately decreed a massive purge – in the name of the fatherland. A real coup had indeed taken place – Erdoğan’s total power grab. The entire political, military, judicial and police system was stripped of personnel within hours. There were over 20,000 arrests, beatings and disappearances. There were calls to re-introduce the death penalty.

Erdoğan’s power grab eliminated key US assets among the Gulenist and eliminated independent Supreme Court officials and secular republican officials. The president was free to rebuild an entire civil, governmental and military apparatus with his own loyalists. His control over the media and the educational institutions was total.

Rule Under Erdoģan

Erdoğan’s pre-emptive coup, purge and power grab will result in a monolithic state which Erdoģan will shape into his long-sought version of an Islamist regime. The new regime announced a ‘State of Emergency’, which places all Turks under strict compliance with Erdoğan’s policies.

Erdoğan’s “New Order” will launch large-scale operations against the Kurds, with no respect for the Syrian or Iraqi national borders. Erdoğan will ensure compliance with Islamist decrees designed to enforce conformity. He will succeed in imposing a dictatorial ‘Presidential’ regime. And parliament, if necessary will be bypassed; his ‘electoral’ mandate will be ensured.

In the immediate aftermath, mass detentions will strengthen the state – and Erdoğan’s generals, allied religious authorities and street thugs will call the shots.

Unleashing force and violence against his domestic enemies, however, may lead to internal disputes among the new predators over the spoils of victory. The economic elite may accept the New Order, but only if and when Erdoğan tones down his rhetorical attacks on the US and the EU.

Erdoğan has yet to develop a strategy on replacing the purged (‘Gulenist’) professionals within the civilian economy and public bureaucracy – especially the schools and judiciary. The impetuous reversals of his reckless policy of confrontation with Russia, Syria, Israel, Iran, Iraq and the Kurds are likely to generate new layers of discontent, especially among his current military commanders.

Erdoğan’s New Order arises from the breakdown of civil society and long-term alliances. He may remain in power in Ankara but he will be viewed as more of a local political thug than a partner among the regional big powers.

Erdoğan’s external allies will exploit his isolation and radical bombast to forge lucrative alliances.Israel will push for favorable gas and oil deals; Russia will insist that Erdoğan abandons his ISIS allies. The US will demand he cease attacks on the Kurds. The EU will use the ongoing purge and re-institution of the death penalty to finally declare Turkey unfit to join the European Union. Bankers and foreign investors will wait for Erdoğan to stop his rampage over the financial sector and ‘get serious’ about the economy.

Erdoğan’s dream of lifetime rulership presiding over an Islamic Neo-Ottoman caliphate, buttressed by street mobs, praetorian guards and crony capitalists makes for an unstable and unruly Turkey. Erdoğan’s military loyalists have their own rivalries and ambitions. Now that Erdoğan has established his ‘military road to power’, he has set a clear precedent for other ‘Erdoğan’s’ to take the same route.

In the short-run Erdoğan needs to restart the economy, stabilize the political system and establish a semblance of international order.

Erdoğan cannot and probably will not prolong tensions with the US over the Gulen affair. Glen will remain in Pennsylvania, in the CIA’s ‘regime change’ pocket. Meanwhile, he has eliminated most of the Gulenist agents capable of working with the US as a fifth-column. The question is whether he now moves back to his role as a ‘valued’ NATO junior partner, or if he will launch an intensified war against the US’s strategic Kurdish allies?

Erdoğan’s ties with Russia are precarious. There is no reason for the Russians to trust him. He has fallen somewhere between the need for reconciliation with Russia and the desire to continue his proxy war against the government of Syria.

In the end Erdoğan may have secured power and undertaken a vast domestic purge of his enemies, but he has lost the regional war while bearing the consequences of millions of war refugees and a deeply entrenched jihadi terrorist threat within Turkey.

Jul 172016
 

By James Petras99GetSmart

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Introduction

The European Union is controlled by an oligarchy, which dictates socio-economic and political decisions according to the interests of bankers and multi-national business. The central organs of power, the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have systematically imposed austerity programs that have degraded working conditions, welfare programs, and wages and salaries.

EU policies demanding the free immigration of non-unionized workers to compete with native workers have undermined wage and workplace protections, union membership and class solidarity. EU financial policies have enhanced the power of finance capital and eroded public ownership of strategic economic sectors.

The European Union has imposed fiscal policies set by non-elected oligarchs over and against the will and interests of the democratic electorate. As a result of EU dictates, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland have suffered double-digit unemployment rates, as well as massive reductions of pensions, health and educational budgets. A huge transfer of wealth and concentration of decision-making has occurred in Europe.

Rule by EU fiat is the epitome of oligarchical rule.

Despite the EU’s reactionary structure and policies, it is supported by Conservatives, Liberals, Social Democrats, Greens and numerous Leftist academics, who back elite interests in exchange for marginal economic rewards.

Arguments for the EU and their Critics

The pro-EU power elite base their arguments on concrete socio-economic interests, thinly disguised by fraudulent ideological claims.

The ideological arguments backing the EU follow several lines of deception.

They claim that ‘countries’ benefit because of large-scale transfers of EU payments. They omit mentioning that the EU elite secures the privatization and denationalization of strategic industries, banks, mass media and other lucrative national assets. They further omit to mention that the EU elite gains control of domestic markets and low wage labor.

The EU argues that it provides ‘free movements’ of capital, technology and labor – omitting the fact that the flows and returns of capital exclusively benefit the powerful imperial centers to the detriment of less advanced countries and that technology is controlled and designed by the dominant elites which also monopolize the profits. Furthermore, the ‘free flow of labor’ prejudices skilled productive sectors in less developed countries while reducing salaries, wages and benefits among skilled workers in the imperial centers.

The EU: A Self-Elected Dictatorship of Empire Builders

‘Integration into the EU’ is not a union of democratic participants; the decision-making structure is tightly controlled by non-elected elites who pursue policies that maximize profits, by relocating enterprises in low tax, low wage, non- unionized regions.

European integration is an integral part of ‘globalization’, which is a euphemism for the unimpeded acquisition of wealth, assets and financial resources by the top 1%, shared, in part, with their supporters among the top 25%.

The EU promotes the concentration of capital through the merger and acquisition of multi-national firms which bankrupt local and national, medium and small scale industries.

Political and Academic Satraps of the EU Elites

The European Union’s oligarchy has organized a small army of highly paid politicians, functionaries, advisers, experts and researchers who support the European Union in a manner not unlike NGO workers in the developing world – answerable only to their ‘foreign’ paymasters.

Numerous Social Democrats draw stipends, travel expenses, lucrative fees and salaries as members of commissions and serve on impotent ‘legislative’ assemblies.

Academics advise, consent —and draw duplicate salaries from membership in the EU bureaucracy. Journalists and academics ‘front’ for the EU oligarchy by playing a leading propaganda role. For example, they have been busy slandering British pro-democracy, anti-EU voters by (1) calling for a new referendum and (2) questioning the right of the working class electorate to vote on issues like the recent EU referendum.

The leading financial press adopts a demagogic pose accusing the pro-democracy voters of being ‘racists’, ‘nativists’, or worse, for ‘opposing Eastern European immigration’.

In fact, the vast majority of workers do not oppose immigrants in general, but especially those who have taken once-unionized jobs at wages far below the going rates for established workers, on terms dictated by employers and with no ties or commitment to the community and society. For decades British workers accepted immigrant labor from Ireland because they  joined unions at wage rates negotiated by union leaders, won by long workers struggle and voted with the majority of English workers. Under the EU, Britain was flooded with Eastern European workers who acted as ‘scabs’ displacing skilled British workers who were told it was ‘progress’. This acted to destroy the prospects of their own children entering a stable, skilled labor market.

The financial press’s lurid descriptions of the British workers’  anti-EU ‘racism’ against Polish immigrant labor ignores the long history of Warsaw’s virulent hostility to immigrants–namely the refugees from the wars in the Middle East. The Polish government and population exhibit the most furious opposition to sheltering the thousands of Middle East and African war refugees, while claiming that they are not ‘Christians’ or might pose cultural or even terrorist threats against the ethnically pure Polish population.

Some of the British workers’ hostility toward Polish workers has a recognized historical basis. They have not forgotten that Polish strike breakers took the side of  ‘Iron Lady’ Thatcher’s militarized assault against unionized UK miners during the great coal strikes and even offered to export coal to aid the Conservative government in breaking the strike. As such, EU-Polish immigrant workers are not likely to integrate into the militant British working class culture.

The Polish regime’s aggressive promotion of the economic sanctions against Russia has further undermined English jobs linked to that large and growing market.

The financial press ignores the fact that Polish immigrants ‘scab’ on unionized British workers in the construction industry, undercutting long-established UK plumbers, electrical workers, carpenters and laborers – who have multiple generational ties to their communities and work. The EU elites use the importation of Polish workers to strengthen the reactionary labor policies of the employers

After the fall of Communism, Polish workers backed a succession of right-wing regimes in Warsaw, which privatized and denationalized industries and eroded their welfare system leading to their own impoverishment. Poles, instead of fighting against these neo-liberal regimes at home, headed for England and have been helping the British bosses ever since in their own anti-labor campaigns to reduce wages and decrease worker access to decent, affordable housing, public services, education and medical care.

The Eastern Europeans became the willing recruits of the EU reserve army of labor to raise profits for industrial and finance capital thus further concentrating wealth and power into the hands of the British oligarchs.

To label British workers’ antipathy to these EU policies over the free entry of cheap immigrant labor, as ‘racist’, is a blatant case of blaming workers for opposing naked capitalist profiteering. It is not hard to imagine how the Poles would react if skilled Syrian electricians were taking their jobs!

The pro-EU prostitute press claims that the pro-democracy voters are ‘anti-globalization’ and a threat to England’s living standards and financial stability.

In fact, labor votes in favor of trade but against the relocation of English industry overseas. Labor votes for for greater investment in the UK and greater regional diversity of productive, job-creating sectors, as opposed to the concentration of capital and wealth in the parasitic finance, insurance and real estate sectors concentrated in the City of London.

The EU-City of London-financial oligarchy have priced labor out of the housing market by promoting the massive construction of high-end luxury condos for ‘their kind of immigrant’, i.e. the millionaire and billionaire Chinese, Russian, Indian, Eastern European and US plutocrats who flock to London’s famous tax-evasion and money-laundering expertise.

The scribes of the EU-City oligarchy who claim that exit from the EU will lead to a cataclysmic breakdown are blatantly scaremongering. In fact, the stock and bond market, which declined for less than a week, rebounded sharply, as trade, production and demand were scarcely affected by the vote.

The hysteria-peddlers among the financial press resounded . . . in the minds and pockets of the City of London speculators. They rightly feared that their own lucrative financial operations could relocate overseas.

Conclusion

If and when the EU – City end their oligarchical control over the British economy, workers will gain an opportunity to debate and elect freely their own representatives and have a say in their own government. Leaving the EU is just the first step. The next move will be to change the rules for immigrant labor to accord with the standards of wages and conditions set by UK trade union organizations.

The following steps would include subordinating the banks to the needs of industry, investment in public housing for workers and the development of local technology for domestic producers.

The cleavage between productive labor and the EU parasites and their political hangers-on requires a new political leadership with a democratic foreign policy, which precludes overseas wars and imperial alliances.

The break with the EU logically and persuasively argues for a break with NATO and an opening toward free trade with Russia, China and the new dynamic global markets. The end of the EU can help weaken the strategic partnership between the European and City of London oligarchs. No doubt, the latter will not go without a class war of unprecedented ferocity, involving financial lockouts, manufactured fiscal crises, street mobs and parliamentary coups at the top of their agenda.

Only if the democratic electoral majority becomes a cohesive and combative class movement, in and out of Parliament, can they convert the referendum from a temporary electoral win to a stable basis for structural transformation.

Only a democratic majority can implement a fair and equitable immigration policy that strengthens labor and welfare policies and which would be based on the traditional values of British trade unionism and not on some criteria parroted by the ‘house servants’ for the lords of the EU-London ‘Downton Abbey’.