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President Trump: Nationalist Capitalism, An Alternative to Globalization

By James Petras :: 01.27.2017

Introduction: During his inaugural speech, President Trump clearly and forcefully outlined the strategic political-economic policies he will pursue over the next four years. Anti-Trump journalist, editorialists, academics and experts, who appear in the Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal have repeatedly distorted and lied about the President’s program as well as his critique of existing and past policies.

We will begin by seriously discussing President Trump’s critique of the contemporary political economy and proceed to elaborate on his alternatives and its weaknesses.

President Trump’s Critique of the Ruling Class

The centerpiece of Trump’s critique of the current ruling elite is the negative impact of its form of globalization on US production, trade and fiscal imbalances and on the labor market. Trump cites the fact that US industrial capitalism has drastically shifted the locus of its investments, innovations and profits overseas as an example of globalization’s negative effects. For two decades many politicians and pundits have bemoaned the loss of well-paid jobs and stable local industries as part of their campaign rhetoric or in public meetings, but none have taken any effective action against these most harmful aspects of globalization. Trump denounced them as “all talk and no action” while promising to end the empty speeches and implement major changes.

President Trump targeted importers who bring in cheap products from overseas manufacturers for the American market undermining US producers and workers. His economic strategy of prioritizing US industries is an implicit critique of the shift from productive capital to financial and speculative capital under the previous four administrations. His inaugural address attacking the elites who abandon the ‘rust belt’ for Wall Street is matched by his promise to the working class: “Hear these words! You will never be ignored again.” Trump’s own words portray the ruling class ‘as pigs at the trough’ (Financial Times, 1/23/2017, p. 11)

Trump’s Political-Economic Critique

President Trump emphasizes market negotiations with overseas partners and adversaries. He has repeatedly criticized the mass media and politicians’ mindless promotion of free markets and aggressive militarism as undermining the nation’s capacity to negotiate profitable deals.

President Trump’s immigration policy is closely related to his strategic ‘America First’ labor policy. Massive inflows of immigrant labor have been used to undermine US workers’ wages, labor rights and stable employment. This was first documented in the meat packing industry, followed by textile, poultry and construction industries. Trump’s proposal is to limit immigration to allow US workers to shift the balance of power between capital and labor and strengthen the power of organized labor to negotiate wages, conditions and benefits. Trump’s critique of mass immigration is based on the fact that skilled American workers have been available for employment in the same sectors if wages were raised and work conditions were improved to permit dignified, stable living standards for their families.

President Trump’s Political Critique

Trump points to trade agreements, which have led to huge deficits, and concludes that US negotiators have been failures. He argues that previous US presidents have signed multi-lateral agreements, to secure military alliances and bases, at the expense of negotiating job-creating economic pacts. His presidency promises to change the equation: He wants to tear up or renegotiate unfavorable economic treaties while reducing US overseas military commitments and demands NATO allies shoulder more of their own defense budgets. Immediately upon taking office Trump canceled the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and convoked a meeting with Canada and Mexico to renegotiate NAFTA.

Trump’s agenda has featured plans for hundred-billion dollar infrastructure projects, including building controversial oil and gas pipelines from Canada to the US Gulf. It is clear that these pipelines violate existing treaties with indigenous people and threaten ecological mayhem. However, by prioritizing the use of American-made construction material and insisting on hiring only US workers, his controversial policies will form the basis for developing well-paid American jobs.

The emphasis on investment and jobs in the US is a complete break with the previous Administration, where President Obama focused on waging multiple wars in the Middle East, increasing public debt and the trade deficit.

Trump’s inaugural address issued a stern promise: “The American carnage stops right now and stops right here!” This resonated with a huge sector of the working class and was spoken before an assemblage of the very architects of four decades of job-destroying globalization. ‘Carnage’ carried a double meaning: Widespread carnage resulted from Obama and other administrations’ destruction of domestic jobs resulting in decay and bankruptcy of rural, small town and urban communities. This domestic carnage was the other side of the coin of their policies of conducting endless overseas wars spreading carnage to three continents. The last fifteen years of political leadership spread domestic carnage by allowing the epidemic of drug addiction (mostly related to uncontrolled synthetic opiate prescriptions) to kill hundreds of thousands of mostly young American’s and destroy the lives of millions. Trump promised to finally address this ‘carnage’ of wasted lives. Unfortunately, he did not hold ‘Big Pharma’ and the medical community responsible for its role in spreading drug addiction into the deepest corners of the economically devastated rural America. Trump criticized previous elected officials for authorizing huge military subsidies to ‘allies’ while making it clear that his critique did not include US military procurement policies and would not contradict his promise to ‘reinforce old alliances’ (NATO).

Truth and Lies: Garbage Journalists and Arm Chair Militarists

Among the most outrageous example of the mass media’s hysteria about Trump’s New Economy is the systematic and vitriolic series of fabrications designed to obscure the grim national reality that Trump has promised to address. We will discuss and compare the accounts published by ‘garbage journalists (GJ’s)’ and present a more accurate version of the situation.

The respectable garbage journalists of the Financial Times claim that Trump wants to ‘destroy world trade’. In fact, Trumps has repeatedly stated his intention to increase international trade. What Trump proposes is to increase US world trade from the inside, rather than from overseas. He seeks to re-negotiate the terms of multilateral and bilateral trade agreements to secure greater reciprocity with trading partners. Under Obama, the US was more aggressive in imposing trade tariffs that any other country in the OECD.

Garbage journalists label Trump as a ‘protectionist’, confusing his policies to re-industrialize the economy with autarky. Trump will promote exports and imports, retain an open economy, while increasing the role of the US as a producer and exporter. The US will become more selective in its imports. Trump will favor the growth of manufacturing exporters and increase imports of primary commodities and advanced technology while reducing the import of automobiles, steel and household consumer products.

Trump’s opposition to ‘globalization’ has been conflated by the garbage journalists of the Washington Post as a dire threat to the ‘the post-Second World War economic order’. In fact, vast changes have already rendered the old order obsolete and attempts to retain it have led to crises, wars and more decay. Trump has recognized the obsolete nature of the old economic order and stated that change is necessary.

The Obsolete Old Order and the Dubious New Economy

At the end of the Second World War, most of Western Europe and Japan resorted to highly restrictive ‘protectionist’ industrial and monetary policies to rebuild their economies. Only after a period of prolonged recovery did Germany and Japan carefully and selectively liberalize their economic policies.

In recent decades, Russia was drastically transformed from a powerful collectivist economy to a capitalist vassal-gangster oligarchy and more recently to a reconstituted mixed economy and strong central state. China has been transformed from a collectivist economy, isolated from world trade, into the world’s second most powerful economy, displacing the US as Asia and Latin America’s largest trading partner.

Once controlling 50% of world trade, the US share is now less than 20%. This decline is partly due to the dismantling of its industrial economy when its manufacturers moved their factories abroad.

Despite the transformation of the world order, recent US presidents have failed to recognize the need to re-organize the American political economy. Instead of recognizing, adapting and accepting shifts in power and market relations, they sought to intensify previous patterns of dominance through war, military intervention and bloody destructive ‘regime changes’ – thus devastating, rather than creating markets for US goods. Instead of recognizing China’s immense economic power and seeking to re-negotiate trade and co-operative agreements, they have stupidly excluded China from regional and international trade pacts, to the extent of crudely bullying their junior Asian trade partners, and launching a policy of military encirclement and provocation in the South China Seas. While Trump recognized these changes and the need to renegotiate economic ties, his cabinet appointees seek to extend Obama’s militarist policies of confrontation.

Under the previous administrations, Washington ignored Russia’s resurrection, recovery and growth as a regional and world power. When reality finally took root, previous US administrations increased their meddling among the Soviet Union’s former allies and set up military bases and war exercises on Russia’s borders. Instead of deepening trade and investment with Russia, Washington spent billions on sanctions and military spending – especially fomenting the violent putchist regime in Ukraine. Obama’s policies promoting the violent seizure of power in Ukraine, Syria and Libya were motivated by his desire to overthrow governments friendly to Russia – devastating those countries and ultimately strengthening Russia’s will to consolidate and defend its borders and to form new strategic alliances.

Early in his campaign, Trump recognized the new world realities and proposed to change the substance, symbols, rhetoric and relations with adversaries and allies – adding up to a New Economy.

First and foremost, Trump looked at the disastrous wars in the Middle East and recognized the limits of US military power: The US could not engage in multiple, open-ended wars of conquest and occupation in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia without paying major domestic costs.

Secondly, Trump recognized that Russia was not a strategic military threat to the United States. Furthermore, the Russian government under Vladimir Putin was willing to cooperate with the US to defeat a mutual enemy – ISIS and its terrorist networks. Russia was also keen to re-open its markets to the US investors, who were also anxious to return after years of the Obama-Clinton-Kerry imposed sanctions. Trump, the realist, proposes to end sanctions and restore favorable market relations.

Thirdly, it is clear to Trump that the US wars in the Middle East imposed enormous costs with minimal benefits for the US economy. He wants to increase market relations with the regional economic and military powers, like Turkey, Israel and the Gulf monarchies. Trump is not interested in Palestine, Yemen, Syria or the Kurds – which do not offer much investment and trade opportunities. He ignores the enormous regional economic and military power of Iran. Nevertheless Trump has proposed to re-negotiate the recent six-nation agreement with Iran in order to improve the US side of the bargain. His hostile campaign rhetoric against Tehran may have been designed to placate Israel and its powerful domestic ‘Israel-Firsters’ fifth column. This certainly came into conflict with his ‘America First’ pronouncements. It remains to be seen whether Donald Trump will retain a ’show’ of submission to the Zionist project of an expansionist Israel while proceeding to include Iran as a part of his regional market agenda.

The Garbage Journalists claim that Trump has adopted a new bellicose stance toward China and threatens to launch a ‘protectionist agenda’, which will ultimately push the trans-Pacific countries closer to Beijing. On the contrary, Trump appears intent on renegotiating and increasing trade via bilateral agreements.

Trump will most probably maintain, but not expand, Obama’s military encirclement of China’s maritime boundaries which threaten its vital shipping routes. Nevertheless, unlike Obama, Trump will re-negotiate economic and trade relations with Beijing – viewing China as a major economic power and not a developing nation intent on protecting its ‘infant industries’. Trump’s realism reflects the new economic order: China is a mature, highly competitive, world economic power, which has been out-competing the US, in part by retaining its own state subsidies and incentives from its earlier economic phase. This has led to significant imbalances. Trump, the realist, recognizes that China offers great opportunities for trade and investment if the US can secure reciprocal agreements, which lead to a more favorable balance of trade.

Trump does not want to launch a ‘trade war’ with China, but he needs to restore the US as a major ‘exporter’ nation in order to implement his domestic economic agenda. The negotiations with the Chinese will be very difficult because the US importer-elite are against the Trump agenda and side with the Beijing’s formidable export-oriented ruling class.

Moreover, because Wall Street’s banking elite is pleading with Beijing to enter China’s financial markets, the financial sector is an unwilling and unstable ally to Trump’s pro-industrial policies.

Conclusion

Trump is not a ‘protectionist’, nor is he opposed to ‘free-trade’. These charges by the garbage journalists are baseless. Trump does not oppose US economic imperialist policies abroad. However, Trump is a market realist who recognizes that military conquest is costly and, in the contemporary world context, a losing economic proposition for the US. He recognizes that the US must turn from a predominant finance and import economy to a manufacturing and export economy.

Trump views Russia as a potential economic partner and military ally in ending the wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine, and especially in defeating the terrorist threat of ISIS. He sees China as a powerful economic competitor, which has been taking advantage of outmoded trade privileges and wants to re-negotiate trade pacts in line with the current balance of economic power.

Trump is a capitalist-nationalist, a market-imperialist and political realist, who is willing to trample on women’s rights, climate change legislation, indigenous treaties and immigrant rights. His cabinet appointments and his Republican colleagues in Congress are motivated by a militarist ideology closer to the Obama-Clinton doctrine than to Trumps new ‘America First’ agenda. He has surrounded his Cabinet with military imperialists, territorial expansionists and delusional fanatics.

Who will win out in the short or long term remains to be seen. What is clear is that the liberals, Democratic Party hacks and advocates of Little Mussolini black shirted street thugs will be on the side of the imperialists and will find plenty of allies among and around the Trump regime.

January 28, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 3 Comments

DJT: TPP, RIP!

Foes of War, Now Silent, Should Celebrate

By John V. Walsh | Dissident Voice | January 25, 2017

On day one of Donald Trump’s presidency, he drove a stake through the heart of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), as he had repeatedly promised during his campaign. Foes of war should rejoice and congratulate Trump since the TPP was the economic arm of the “Pivot to Asia”, the military/economic assault on China promoted vigorously by Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, neocons and humanitarian interventionists of every stripe. It was a trade agreement that linked twelve Pacific Rim powers but pointedly excluded China in an effort to isolate and weaken it.

Thus in his first hours in office Trump has, in fact, made a move away from confrontation with China – and the goal of US global domination. Such a move should elicit support and congratulations for Trump from foes of war and Empire. So far there has not been much of that.

Let us be clear. If Donald Trump were lying during the campaign about the TTP, so beloved by corporate America and the neocons, he could have revived it – easily. After all he has a clear majority in both House and Senate whom he is increasingly bending to his will. And there are many Democrats pining to please their corporate masters who would have joined his effort at TPP resuscitation. But Trump did not do this.  He was dead serious about his promise. Expect the same on Détente 2.0 with Russia and other policies to which he has made a solid commitment.

Trump’s first full day in office was a great day for peace on another front as well. Marco Rubio, aka “Little Marco,” announced he would vote to confirm Rex Tillerson as Trump’s Secretary of State. Tillerson, a friend of Putin and someone with a clear understanding of Russia, is associated with Trump’s oft-stated desire to “get along” with Russia. Tillerson has been the target of the neocons who hoped to stop him, and Rubio tried to pressure him into declaring Putin a “war criminal” in his confirmation hearings, something that Tillerson refused to do.  Like Trump, Tillerson does not seem like the kind of person who is easily pushed around.

That was two strikes for peace on Day One of the Trump presidency.

As is well known, the TPP was opposed by many progressives and labor leaders for reasons other than a desire for peace. For these activists it was correctly seen as one more attack on democracy and sovereignty, written in secret and designed to give corporations and banks control over the terms of trade and laws of the land. Democratic Party progressives opposed it vehemently, and so it would make sense for them to hail Trump’s action.

But look at the comments at that bastion of conformist progressivism, the HuffPost, and you will find that many progressives have abruptly switched and are opposing Trump and even praising the TPP! Thankfully at least a few commenters over there are honest enough to admit the hypocrisy behind this switch.  One HuffPost commenter wrote:

OK, when Bernie was talking about how bad the TPP was almost every comment here (on Huffington Post) was how they didn’t trust Hillary to get us out of the TPP. Now that Trump pulled us out, people are taking the opposite view. … At least admit that this is a good thing. Does it matter who stops TPP? 9 months ago we all agreed it was a bad thing.

This stance is all too reminiscent of Democratic “progressives” who were out in force opposing the war on Iraq under Bush but were nowhere to be seen when Obama came into office and continued the war.

But let us give credit where credit is due.  Bernie Sanders announced his pleasure with Trump’s deep sixing of the TPP, according to the Guardian, which reported:

Sanders praised Trump’s decision, saying TPP is ‘dead and gone’….If President Trump is serious about a new policy to help American workers then I would be delighted to work with him.

Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO also praised the termination of TPP, but unlike Bernie he did not mention Trump by name as the terminator.  This is not surprising since the labor misleadership did not back Bernie, the choice of the rank and file, but instead squandered their dues on support of pro-TPP Hillary.

Sanders’s and Trumka’s concerns about TPP are economic and these concerns are the ones usually reported in the mainstream media.  But the neocon hawks understand the imperial aspects of the TPP as shown by the words of the hegemonist John McCain, again according to the Guardian:

Senator John McCain criticized the move. ‘President Trump’s decision to formally withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a serious mistake that will have lasting consequences for the American economy and our strategic position in the Asia Pacific region,’ he said.  (Emphasis, jw)

Looking abroad, TPP has been running into troubles in East Asia as well, with Vietnam, the Philippines Malaysia and possibly even the Republic of Korea (South Korea) moving toward closer ties with China and away from U.S. engineered strife between China and its neighbors. We might well regard Trump’s position and those of the East Asian countries pulling away from the U.S. as manifestations of a new view of the world and a new balance of power already in place.  From that point of view President Trump, by rejecting the TPP, is simply moving to negotiate the best deal possible for the U.S. in this new developing global arrangement.

The question for liberals/progressives is will they mindlessly oppose Trump on everything he does or support what is desirable and criticize what is not.  That question will come to the fore soon if Trump and Tillerson manage to fashion Détente 2.0 with Russia. The War Party, both its neocon and liberal interventionist wings, will fiercely oppose this. Will liberals/progressives support and defend Détente 2.0 – or oppose it simply because it comes from Donald J. Trump?

John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar@gmail.com.

January 26, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Will TPP End Up Dead Without the US?

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Sputnik – 23.01.2017

President Donald Trump said that the US will start pulling out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement to protect American jobs and kick-start economic revival.

In a statement issued after Trump’s January 20 inauguration, the White House named the planned withdrawal from the TPP as a major priority for the new administration’s effort to bring down unemployment and breathe new life into the stagnant US economy.

“This strategy starts by withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and making certain that any new trade deals are in the interests of American workers,” the White House release stated.

The TPP seeks to remove barriers to trade among its 12 signatories, which together account for 40 percent of the world’s economy: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

During his presidential campaign, Trump has repeatedly criticized the TPP and expressed the desire to shift the focus from global trade to national economic development in order to support the US economy.

Warning about the catastrophic impact the TTP pact, initiated by the Obama Administration, could have on the US economy, Donald Trump is committed to negotiating “fair trade deals” that would benefit American manufacturers and workers.

The restrictions on Asian imports proposed by Donald Trump are part of his strategy to revive domestic production and give up on the “global division of labor.”

TPP a boon to transnational corporations

The TPP began as an expansion of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement signed by Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore in 2005. Beginning in 2008, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the United States and Vietnam joined the discussion for a broader agreement, bringing the total number of countries participating in the negotiations to twelve and accounting for up to 40 percent of the global GDP.

The signing of the TPP deal led to mass-scale protests in many of the participating nations with the critics describing the agreement as an attempt to set the rules of the global economy to favor multinational corporations over domestic producers.

This, they warned, would negatively impact the situation of the domestic labor markets of the participation countries.

The TPP trade agreement consists of chapters on a range of issues dealing with trade barriers, intellectual property rights, human rights and government regulations across a host of industries, such as agricultural goods, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing.

It favors large multinational corporations which want to impose their regulations on foreign competitors.

The TPP deal also undermines domestic companies, laws, regulations and institutions with an extra-judicial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) that stacks the deck in favor of multinational corporations.

US pivot away from Asia

In its push for the TPP, the Obama Administration was also governed by political considerations. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that the agreement was meant to strengthen Washington’s alliances with the key Southeast Asian nations.

“Obama planned to create an expanded free trade zone in Asia and the Pacific US companies would benefit from,” Sergei Lukonin, a senior expert on Chinese politics and economics in Moscow, told RT.

“The TPP could also be used by the US as a counterbalance to China. If Washington gives up on its leading role in the region, this would strengthen Beijing’s hand in the ongoing talks on the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership,” Lukonin noted.

He added that America’s withdrawal from the TPP would undermine its reputation in the region.

“With the United States out, the Asian nations will have to reconsider their military alliances with Washington,” Lukonin said.

Sergei Silvestrov, a Moscow-based economic expert, said that Washington’s withdrawal from the TPP would complicate its relations with Australia, New Zealand and other countries where the TPP is now being ratified.

Silvestrov added that without the United States the TPP would become meaningless as the US and Japan alone account for a hefty 80 percent of the TPP countries’ trade turnover.

Vietnam has already responded to Trump’s statement by suspending its ratification of the TPP deal, while Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull remains all set to speed up the ratification process.

Japan has been alarmed the most by the prospect of a US withdrawal from the TPP. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pinned much hopes on the deal that would open the US market to Japanese exports. He will try to remedy the situation during an upcoming visit to Washington.Aside from the negative response from America’s Asian partners, Donald Trump will face serious opposition from transnational corporations. With the globalization process advanced as it is, it will take a country more than just canceling a single agreement to protect its domestic market.

Back to the roots

It still looks like President Trump worries more about America’s economic woes than he does about the political fallout his decision to withdraw from the TPP could create in the world, RT wrote.

During his election campaign he promised to fight unemployment and stand up for the interests of ordinary Americans and now is the right time for him to start practicing what he preached while on the stump.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump is also committed to renegotiating another trade deal, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was signed by the United States, Canada and Mexico in 1994.

January 23, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | 1 Comment

US Still Seeks Regime Change Across Asia

By Ulson Gunnar – New Eastern Outlook – 26.11.2016

While the US could accurately be described as a global power in decline, the ambitions of prominent special interests at the center of its economic and political power still pose a potent threat to global stability and national sovereignty worldwide. In Asia particularly, despite a clear shift in a regional balance of power that has persisted for nearly a century, the US is still actively involved in attempting to dictate which governments come to power in respective nation-states and how they rule and all in an attempt to create a balance of power in Asia that serves US interests.

From Myanmar to Vietnam, US Ambitions Still a Clear and Present Danger 

US ambition to transform Asia manifests itself in a number of ways. In Malaysia, it has been fueling for years the so-called Bersih movement and its campaign for “clean and fair elections.” While the movement attempted to appear spontaneous and independent of any political party, it was quickly revealed that its core leadership was funded by the US State Department via the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Open Society. It was also revealed that Bersih was in fact an auxiliary front of a political coalition headed by US-backed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who quite literally led the protests in the streets himself.

Extensive US support has been provided to the now ruling government of Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar, including the creation of Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy’s (NLD) entire media capabilities. Pro-NLD media platforms created and funded annually by the US government include the New Era Journal, the Irrawaddy, and the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB). It was also revealed that Suu Kyi’s Minister of Information, Pe Myint, was quite literally trained in Bangkok by the US government-funded Indochina Media Memorial Foundation, which now co-occupies the Western media’s Foreign Correspondents Club (FCCT) office in Bangkok.

In Thailand, in addition to the substantial lobbying support the above mentioned FCCT provides the ousted US-backed regime of Thaksin Shinawatra and his also-ousted sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, the US government funds a large number of supposed “nongovernmental organizations” (NGOs) in a bid to create the illusion of a legitimate, pro-democracy opposition. The Shinawatra family also enjoys continued lobbying support from Washington, with influential firms having registered on their behalf every year since at least as early as 2006.

Currently, US lobbyists are still active in supporting the Shinawatra regime and their political supporters within Thailand. The Shinawatra’s themselves are still positioning themselves to retake power, and the US media is still turning out a large amount of content aimed at setting the stage for continued political conflict within the country.

In Cambodia, opposition leader Sam Rainsy has received years of support from the US government and America’s European allies, including regular political and media support from the US State Department’s Voice of America (VOA) network.

Indonesia strains under pressure put on the government and society by US and Saudi-backed groups capable of mobilizing large numbers of protesters both to augment their own political power and to put pressure on the current ruling government in a bid to roll back growing ties between Jakarta and Beijing.

And while Vietnam lacks any clearly visible, central opposition figure, the US has steadfastly built up an opposition movement with which to pressure the Vietnamese government.

Cultural Colonization via YSEALI 

Collectively, across the entire Southeast Asian region, the US is engaged in what some analysts have called “cultural colonization,” particularly with a program it calls Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) in which the US State Department actively recruits, indoctrinates and directs young Asian students and professionals toward building a pro-Western opposition front. This includes a program called “Generation: Go NGO!” in which the US creates and directs a growing network of US government funded fronts posing as “nongovernmental organizations.”

Mirroring a modern day version of the very sort of imperial networks constructed by the British Empire across Asia, America’s reach into Asia seeks to reinvent and reassert Western domination across Asia Pacific. Not only does it seek to dominate the respective people, resources, economies and politics of nations in Southeast Asia, but it also seeks the creation of a united front with which to encircle, contain and eventually displace Beijing’s growing influence in the region.

Asserting Economic Hegemony via the TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a decidedly US dominated project, sought to string Asian states together in an economic alliance opposed to China’s rising regional and global influence. The deal’s details were introduced and brokered in secret, contravening any sense of self-determination for those nations and people subjected to it. Ultimately, the inequitable conditions of the deal required coercion and bribery to move forward, and despite great efforts, it appears that it will not likely succeed.

Nations like Thailand have categorically refused to sign the deal thus far, and nations like Vietnam who had initially promised to sign it, have wavered. The US’ desperation in moving through deals like the TPP may also explain the expansive networks it has constructed and continues to construct to apply pressure on both Asia as a region, and each nation individually.

Combating US Primacy 

Such aspirations are more than mere speculation, and are instead derived from the writings of prominent US policymakers, including Robert Blackwill who in 2015 penned an entire paper about reasserting US “primacy” over Asia. Blackwill, it should be noted, served as a lobbyist for the above mentioned US proxy Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand.

For Asia collectively, and for each nation respectively, the need for an international voice as Russia’s RT or China’s CCTV has granted Moscow and Beijing , is essential for challenging and overcoming divisive and destructive narratives perpetuated by the Western media. It is also an important factor in exposing and diminishing the influence of US-backed political opposition parties and the army of US-funded fronts posing as “NGOs.”

And while instinctively, building closer ties with China may seem to be a viable formula to balancing a US that seeks to reassert itself, such ties must be done within a larger regional framework to build a sustainable balance of power. Simply trading US hegemony in for Chinese hegemony, would fail to serve the rest of Asia’s interests well. For each respective Asian state, strong domestic institutions, economies, education systems and military institutions ensures not only America’s inability of asserting its interests over those of each nation’s, but also heads off China from filling in and exploiting the void left by a retreating United States.

November 26, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The march to GLEXIT – Globalization Exit

By Wayne Madsen | Strategic Culture Foundation | 25.11.2016

The world, through the ballot box, is speaking out. From the British «Yes» vote on BREXIT – the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union – to the election of the anti-globalization Donald Trump as president of the United States, the world is speaking out against the homogenization of the world into a super-state of blurred and overlapping governments, cultural identities, religions, and politics. The U.S. presidential election was not so much an election as it was a referendum on globalization in all of its malignant manifestations: free trade, open borders, and subjugation of national sovereignty to amorphous international organizations.

From every continent, there is growing popular support for «exiting» international contrivances, from the European Union and International Criminal Court to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and even the United Nations.

In August of this year, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines threatened to pull his country out of the UN in what was the first such threat by a UN member-state since Indonesian President Sukarno successfully withdrew his nation from the UN in 1965.

Proponents of economic and political globalization have not only been dealt heavy blows in the election of Trump in the United States and the success of the BREXIT vote in the United Kingdom, but also in the decision by South Africa and other African nations to withdraw from the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The international tribunal heavily-influenced by global hedge fund viper George Soros that is increasingly seen by Africa as the «International Caucasian Court» primarily targeting African leaders for war crimes prosecutions. In October of this year, South Africa joined Burundi and Gambia in announcing that it would leave the ICC. Ironically and embarrassingly, the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, is from Gambia.

In 2015, South Africa was condemned by the usual collection of Soros-financed NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, for not arresting President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, previously indicted by the ICC, while he was on an official visit to South Africa. South Africa rejected the ICC’s interference in its internal affairs and this disgust for the court culminated in the recent decision to depart from the court.

A month later, Russia announced that it was withdrawing as a signatory to the 2000 Rome Treaty that established the ICC. After the November Asia-Pacific economic summit in Lima, Peru, Philippines President Duterte also announced his country would join Russia, South Africa, and others in leaving the ICC. Duterte said, «They are useless — those in the International Criminal [Court]. [Russia] withdrew. I might follow. Why? Only the small ones like us are battered». Other African nations are considering scrapping the ICC. They include Uganda, Kenya, and Namibia. In 2015, Namibian President Hage Geingob visited former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete to urge him to follow Namibia’s lead and exit from the ICC. At a summit of the African Union in South Africa, Geingob said, «Some people are saying we are the ones who created the ICC. However, when one creates something to be an asset but later on it becomes an abomination, you have the right to quit it since it has ceased serving its intended purpose».

The BREXIT and Trump victories have emboldened electorates in many other nations to reject contrivances that stymie national sovereign rights. December 4, 2016 represents a watershed date to reject globalist agendas. It is the date of the re-run of the Austrian presidential election of April 24, 2016, one in which the anti-EU candidate of the Austrian Freedom Party, Norbert Hofer, was narrowly defeated by pro-EU Alexander van der Bellen of the Green Party. It turned out that 77,900 absentee ballots were miscounted in what represented a typical Soros-manipulated election. The Constitutional Court of Austria ordered a new election. The outcome of the December 4 election is believed by pollsters to heavily favor Hofer, as Austria has been caught up in the anti-EU groundswell rippling through Europe. December 4 is also the date of the Italian constitutional change referendum.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has staked his political future on the referendum, which if passed, will reduce the power of the Italian upper house of parliament, the Senate, and drastically cut back the powers of the Italian regions. Renzi has tapped support for his referendum from the usual collection of those who do not represent the common people – members of the glitterati of the elite, such as actors, singers, celebrity chefs, professional athletes, film directors, and other diversionary leeches on society. The campaign for Montenegro to join NATO, backed by Soros- and CIA-funded propagandists, saw Montenegrin actors, journalists, and professional athletes appearing on television commercials urging NATO membership for the country even as many polls showed majority opposition to joining the military alliance.

Renzi, a supporter of the EU and global integration, said he will resign if his referendum fails. And fail it is expected to do as «No» voters are far ahead in opinion polls. December 4 may very well go down in history along with June 24, 2016 and November 8, 2016 – the respective dates of BREXIT and trump’s election – as a red-letter day when voters rejected globalization. Renzi will soon join other discredited globalists, including former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron, former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, French President Francois Hollande, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel as footnotes in a failed history of international integration.

Another important date for GLEXIT was November 13. With the globalists’ world still shaken from the election of Trump on November 8 came word that the pro-Russian former MiG pilot Rumen Radev, a political novice, won the Bulgarian presidential election. The election resulted in the resignation of Bulgaria’s pro-EU government. The same day, voters in Moldova elected Igor Dodon, who rejected a Moldova-EU trade agreement and favored joining the Eurasian Economic Union championed by Russia. The two elections in countries where Soros has infiltrated so much of the media and political infrastructures with pro-EU and pro-NATO acolytes were historic and another indication that the world was rejecting globalization.

In addition to the EU, NATO, and the ICC, other regional globalist-oriented organizations are also teetering on permanent disruption. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has split along pro-Indian and pro-Pakistani lines. A recent SAARC summit in Pakistan was canceled after India refused to attend. India was soon joined by its allies, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Afghanistan. The organization appears to be permanently split, with the other SAARC members of Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Nepal opposing India and generally aligning with Pakistan. Another failed international organization, the Arab League, is a vassal of Saudi and Gulf money and showed its worthlessness in 2011 when it suspended Syria and Libya as members after they were faced with NATO-backed jihadist revolutions. The League also grants membership to the Saudi puppet government of Yemen.

Mirroring the withdrawal of African states from the ICC, Venezuela in 2013 announced its withdrawal from the heavily U.S.-influenced Inter-American Convention on Human Rights (IACHR), a contrivance of the Organization of American States based in Washington, DC next to the White House. Venezuela’s withdrawal also rejected the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CorteIDH) based in Costa Rica. The Dominican Republic withdrew from the court in 2014. Trinidad and Tobago admirably led the way in rejecting the so-called «Inter-American System», that is, American hegemony over the Western Hemisphere, when it withdrew from the IACHR in 1998. Criticism of the IACHR has come from Ecuador, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Peru.

The Commonwealth of Nations, an anachronistic leftover from the British Empire that cobbles together former British colonies into a group of British royal family sycophant nations, has seen Gambia, Maldives, and Zimbabwe leave the tacitly-worthless international organization.

Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) also dealt a body blow to the globalization cause. TPP is dead with U.S. withdrawal. American rejection of TPP left other TPP signatories, such as New Zealand and South Korea, looking to expand trade agreements with China in a display of renewed preference for bilateralism over multilateralism. There is a «New World Order», but not one envisaged by the globalists. This New World Order is one of renewed national sovereignty, cultural and religious identity, and rejection of dictates from unelected international bureaucrats.

November 25, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Reported Death Of TTIP – An Abhorrent Political Deception

Reported Death Of TTIP Is Nothing More Than Political Deception Tactic

By Graham Vanbergen | TruePublica | September 9, 2016

The global mainstream media have loudly hailed the stunning success of the peoples uprising against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP in the light of its demise. In the last few years protests broke out all over Europe as the unelected bureaucrats steamed ahead with this unpopular trade deal, even after the results of the largest ever consultation study in the EU Commission’s history resulted in a 97% negative response of 150,000 people.

The emerging movement spawned enormous online activism never seen before, culminating in the largest petition in Europe’s history with a staggering collective of over 3.2 million signatures delivered by passionate foot-soldiers right to the epicentre of where the political elite inhabit in the EU. The beating heart of TTIP activism was Berlin, Paris and London. This is not to forget the huge protest effort made by citizens across almost all of the EU’s major cities.

Infographic: Corporate Europe Observatory

Infographic: Corporate Europe Observatory

When preparing for TTIP negotiations, 560 meetings took place between 2012 and 2013. Just 4% were represented by public interest and civil society. Unashamedly, the Commission allowed 92% of all TTIP meetings to be dominated by lobbyists and corporate trade associations  Today, these shadowy agitators amount to over 30,000 grey suits stalking the halls of the Commission HQ in the de facto capital of the European Union in Brussels.

In May of this year Wikileaks confirmed that TTIP amounted to “a huge transfer of power from people to big business.” Greenpeace Netherlands then leaked 248 secret pages of the controversial trade deal between the U.S. and EU, exposing how environmental regulations, climate protections and consumer rights were effectively being “bartered away behind closed doors.” Tensions amongst civil society rose to fever pitch with the devastating news.

Der Spiegel Germany wrote “Protests Threaten Trans-Atlantic Trade Deal” as the leaks became public. With concerted effort activists seemingly brought the trade agreement to the brink of collapse within days. At the same time, Merkel’s grandly staged meeting with US President Barack Obama in Hanover was nothing more than showmanship. It aimed to show the strain of negotiations, as if somehow Germany (and therefore the EU) was going to get a better deal from TTIP and pacify the building rage of her citizens.

As if to rub salt into the wounds a report by TruePublica, published in The European Financial Review confirmed that corruption in the EU trading bloc had now reached 14 per cent of GDP – a staggering €1 trillion. By now 70 per cent of all European citizens believe corruption to be at the heart of their respective governments and the EU Commission itself, and that a corporate coup d’tat is taking the place of democratic principles that Europe fought so hard for over generations.

Then, out of the blue, an unexpected announcement is made last week. The media on all sides of the spectrum is broadly going along with the story that French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel have agreed that negotiations between the EU and the US on TTIP, have essentially failed. That’s it – the deal is dead. Hoorah!

The Telegraph – “EU’s TTIP trade deal with the US has collapsed, says Germany”

The Independent – “TTIP negotiations should stop, French government says”

ZeroHedge – “The Americans Give Us Nothing”: France Effectively Kills TTIP’

RT – ‘TTIP negotiations between EU and US have de facto failed’ – German economy minister”

Not so fast. You don’t think that the American’s are going to let the biggest trade deal in human history fail just because 97% of citizens reject it do you? No, France and Germany just need a plan. After Brexit, Britain can stay out of the firing line of the protest movement for a while.

Mass protests in Japan, the second largest economy in the TPP bloc are under pressure by the US to open up its agricultural and automotive sectors.

Mass protests in Japan

So, they looked to Japan. It had the same problem with its version of the trade deal similarly called TPP. Mass protests broke out as the same secret meetings gripped the political foreground. Its Prime Minister “Shinzo Abe, instructed the coalition early in the year not to “forcibly” proceed with the TPP negotiations until after elections, Kyodo News reported. Abe genuinely “feared a voter backlash in the Upper House elections” amid the growing scandal of a 242 page leaked document laying bare the bones of the deal. Having been elected June 11th, Abe now intends to force the deal through “this fall”.

I made enquiries with sources close to the ground on the EU/US TTIP deal along the same lines; was this simply a delaying tactic until after elections in 2017 for France’s Hollande and Germany’s Merkel? The response was not wholly unexpected.

“The seemingly early celebration of the end of TTIP has also surprised us a bit. Despite last week’s statements by the German and French trade ministers and the way these have been portrayed, we are continuing to campaign against the deal.”

In another exchange:

“The declarations of French and German leaders aim to: divert attention away from CETA, reduce the numbers in the streets of Germany on 17th September, put TTIP on hold while elections take place in France, Germany and the USA. The fifteenth round of TTIP negotiations will happen in the first week of October… This has been confirmed by our US friends.”

I then contacted Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO). It is a research and campaign group working to expose and challenge the privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making. They have been exposing the misinformation and propaganda of the EU Commission for years.

The CEO response to my same question was emphatic and quite clear:

“Public opposition to CETA and TTIP has led French and German leaders to please voters with words against TTIP. Unfortunately, the next round of TTIP negotiations is scheduled for early October and no EU leader has publicly said he or she will vote against CETA in the EU Council in October. This is clearly not the end of TTIP and CETA, just the beginning of electoral campaigns in France and Germany.”

Germany and France have taken the same stance as Japan on these trade agreements, they are not dead at all – they are lying.

I then spoke to Peter Koenig, an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources and posed the same question. He said:

“Following a debate on PressTV Edition Française, where I was one of the interviewees, the focus was on the German and French Ministers’ expressed conclusion that TTIP negotiations failed. I wrote an article “The TTIP is Dead”, hoping that spreading of this ‘promise’ by the highest authorities of the two key countries in the EU would make sure among the European populace that any deviation from this ‘promise’ would be perceived as a lie and receive strongest public expressions of protest.”

“In the meantime, it has become clear that the TTIP and TISA ‘deals’ are not at all dead. In fact, shortly after the German and French announcements, Jean-Claude Juncker, the unelected President of the European Commission, declared majestically that for him the negotiations are not dead.”

Koenig continues,

“There are other means to infiltrate the TTIP into the EU, i.e. through CETA and according to Juncker, doesn’t need ratification of each EU members’ parliament. Then there is TISA, the even more secret ‘trade agreement’ between 50 countries around the globe. TISA could easily be used to clandestinely impose TTIP rules on Europe.”

Nick Dearden, Director of Global Justice Now confirmed what Peter Koenig is saying in a Guardian piece “Think TTIP is a threat to democracy? There’s another trade deal that’s already signed

“TTIP is not alone. Its smaller sister deal between the EU and Canada is called CETA (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement). CETA is just as dangerous as TTIP; indeed it’s in the vanguard of TTIP-style deals, because it’s already been signed by the European commission and the Canadian government. It now awaits ratification over the next 12 months.

The one positive thing about CETA is that it has already been signed and that means that we’re allowed to see it. Its 1,500 pages show us that it’s a threat to not only our food standards, but also the battle against climate change, our ability to regulate big banks to prevent another crash and our power to renationalise industries.

CETA contains a new legal system, open only to foreign corporations and investors. Should the British government make a decision, say, to outlaw dangerous chemicals, improve food safety or put cigarettes in plain packaging, a Canadian company can sue the British government for “unfairness”. And by unfairness this simply means they can’t make as much profit as they expected. The “trial” would be held as a special tribunal, overseen by corporate lawyers.”

What is missing from this statement is that any American corporation headquartered in Canada can sue any nation in the EU via CETA for the same reasons – namely, loss of ‘expected’ profits. They don’t actually have to be Canadian corporations.

As Global Justice also confirms, Canada has itself fought and lost a plentiful and diverse range of legal cases brought by US corporations under the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) for “outlawing carcinogenic chemicals in petrol, reinvesting in local communities and halting the devastation of quarries.” If TTIP doesn’t bring this horrific erosion of democratic power to the shores of Europe, CETA will. ‘Brexit’ will mean for nothing. It will be sold to the British people as a global trade agreement which will be heralded as a great success and supported by much of the media who themselves have a vested interest in such deals.

In the end, does it matter if it’s called TTIP, CETA, TISA and the like, they are all shadowy unaccountable acronyms designed to enrich the few via extreme neoliberal capitalism under the guise of free trade.

September 11, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Hillary Double-Talking on Trade Deals?

By JP Sottile | Consortium News | August 1, 2016

Did perennial Clinton rainmaker and current Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe let the cat out of the bag? The “cat” is the widely-held suspicion that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton isn’t really opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The “bag” is the campaign narrative that frames her election year reversal on the controversial trade accord as the outcome of an honest re-examination of a deal that she once hailed as “the gold standard in trade agreements.”

Just to add to the confusion, Hillary Clinton failed to declare her opposition to the TPP in her historic acceptance speech. Instead, she asked assembled Democrats to join her if they “believe that we should say ‘no’ to unfair trade deals” and “stand up to China.”

It was an understandable omission given the grievances of Bernie loyalists poised to pounce on her every misstep. By avoiding the minefield completely she disappointed union leaders and deferred the issue until she debates Donald Trump.

Until then, she — and notable surrogates like economist Joseph Stiglitz — will try to convince a trade-weary public that she’s truly committed to renegotiating the increasingly unpopular deal. She’ll also be beating-back the ghost of trade deals past.

United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams claims Hillary assured him during the primary that she’s also committed to reopening the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Like the TPP, she was for it before she was against it. And like Hillary’s campaign promise to tweak NAFTA, McAuliffe suggested in an interview with Politico that – if she wins the White House – Clinton would make a few tweaks in the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal and then support it.

These caveats fit into a long pattern of trade policy triangulation that raises the question: Is this policy reversal truly a switch or just another bait and switch? There is good reason for the buyer to beware.

“Once the election’s over, and we sit down on trade, people understand a couple things we want to fix on it but going forward we got to build a global economy,” McAuliffe said.

Trading Places

NAFTA is America’s most notorious trade deal. Although It was negotiated by the first Bush Administration, it was Bill Clinton who closed the deal. At the end of his first year in office he guided NAFTA through the House and Senate by offsetting Democratic resistance with significant Republican majorities. Its ratification fit perfectly with the “centrist” mission of the Clinton-led “New Democrat” movement incubated by the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) during the preceding decade.

From its inception in 1985, the DLC triangulated against the Democratic Party’s “liberal” moniker that the GOP so effectively turned into an epithet after Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980. The historic loss of “liberal” former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis in 1988 set the table for the DLC’s corporately-minded “New” Democrats. The election of DLC star Bill Clinton in 1992 was the turning point.

With the DLC’s best salesman and former chairman in the Oval Office, the Democratic Party was open for business. His wheeling-dealing economic team opened a whole new avenue for Wall Street to influence U.S. government policies. The Democrats were no longer a political roadblock.

Even if these New Democrats weren’t completely trading places with the GOP, Team Clinton was certainly willing to triangulate against Democrats’ traditional constituencies … particularly on trade.

The biggest signal of Clinton’s brand new deal was Al Gore’s smug dismissal of Ross Perot’s NAFTA warning on Larry King’s CNN show about the trade deal causing a “giant sucking sound” of American jobs going to Mexico. In dismissing Perot’s worries, Gore fired the starting gun for the go-go globalization of the 1990s.

The Morning NAFTA

For the first decade of NAFTA, Perot’s “sucking sound” seemed to go in reverse. As Sonali Kolhatkar detailed on TruthDig, big U.S. agribusinesses flooded Mexico with cheap, subsidized corn and seven other market-crushing products. That tidal wave put small Mexican farmers out of work. Ironically, they flooded back across the border to work in — surprise! — Big Ag’s burgeoning factory farming operations in states like Iowa, North Carolina, Alabama and Arkansas. Go figure.

According to a 2014 assessment by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Mexico is still waiting for the promise of NAFTA’s economic leveling effect to be fulfilled. It’s actually lost ground on economic growth and GDP per person. And the poverty rate remains essentially unchanged.

But NAFTA did offer another low wage alternative to manufacturing in the United States. That helps keep retail prices low enough to match the eroding purchasing power of American consumers, which suffers because their wages are, like Mexican workers, flat or declining. The one thing that hasn’t suffered? Corporate profits and the executive compensation it is predicated upon. Again, go figure.

Where Credit Is Due

Although NAFTA is the usual target of anti-trade fervor, it simply doesn’t compare with the transformative impact of Bill Clinton’s biggest “trade deal” — securing Most Favored Nation (MFN) trade status for China. Repeated approval of Chinese access to U.S. markets set off a wave of job losses in America’s industrial heartland. It stoked corporate profits and consumer debt. And it ushered in the often-lamented era of the big box store.

Rising retail titans like Arkansas-based Walmart rushed into China’s incredibly favorable labor market. The cheap products they made turned the 1990s into a decade of plenty. Big box stores were stocked with cheap plastic stuff and consumers gobbled up the bargains with one or more of the credit cards they’d been given during an unprecedented era of ubiquitous consumer credit.

A study by Demos published in 2003 found that during Bill Clinton’s tenure the “average American family experienced a 53 percent increase in credit card debt, from $2,697 to $4,126.” Low-income families experienced a “184 percent rise in their debt.” And, despite the rise in income inequality during his presidency, even “high-income families had 28 percent more credit card debt in 2001 than they did in 1989.”

Demos also found a sharp rise in credit card direct mail solicitations from 1.52 billion in 1993 to a staggering 5 billion in 2001. Monthly minimums where lowered from 5 percent to 2 percent, thus making it easier to carry debt. And the consumer credit industry “tripled the amount of credit it offered customers from $777 billion to almost $3 trillion” by the time Clinton left office. It was a bill of sale first written by Bill Clinton on the campaign trail in 1992.

Promises, Promises

When Bill Clinton ran for president, the Cold War was over; the Savings and Loan scandal had exploded; the economy was mired in a sharp recession; and incumbent President George H.W. Bush couldn’t do a damn thing right. He seemed bored by people’s “pain.” He looked woefully out of touch in a grocery check-out line. And he’d broken the infamous “no new taxes” pledge that helped him defeat “Taxachusetts” Governor Michael Dukakis in 1988.

With Reaganomics on the ropes, Team Clinton scored repeatedly with their “It’s the Economy, Stupid” campaign. But Clinton also exploited another weakness — the Bush Administration’s quick embrace of the Chinese Government after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. That embrace was sealed with a discomfiting handshake by Bush’s national security advisor Brent Scowcroft.

Shortly thereafter, President Bush renewed China’s “Most Favored Nation” trade status, which, among other things, lowered tariffs on Chinese imports into the U.S. He was widely criticized, often from within his own party, for cutting a deal with a regime some called “The Butchers of Beijing.”

In the 1992 campaign, Bill Clinton exploited Poppy’s “kowtowing” to great effect. Clinton accused Bush of “indifference toward democracy” in China. And Clinton famously said Bush was willing to “coddle dictators.” On March 9, 1992, Clinton proclaimed, “I do not believe we should extend ‘Most Favored Nation’ status to China unless they make significant progress in human rights, arms proliferation and fair trade.”

Of course, that all changed after he took office. On March 28, 1993, the cagey President announced he’d cut a deal with a Congress to extend a waiver that effectively approved MFN while deferring human rights-related conditions to the following year. Clinton even outlined other concerns, including China’s “$18 billion trade surplus” with the U.S.

But all those concerns, along with his campaign pledge, where jettisoned on March 27, 1994 when Clinton made the economy-changing decision to “de-link” China’s MFN status from human rights. That decision buried Tiananmen Square in the crowded graveyard of America’s often-trumpeted “advocacy” for human rights around the globe.

It also unleashed American corporations to dive headlong into China’s vast, cheap pool of low-wage labor. By the time Clinton made his state visit to China in the summer of 1998, MFN was becoming a footnote to the amazing story of China’s skyrocketing industrial output. Facing charges of hypocrisy on human rights, Clinton countered, “I’m going because I think it’s the right thing to do for our country.”

That may be a debatable point. What’s not in doubt is that it, like MFN, was the right thing to do for the bottom line of American business. And it was specifically beneficial for an emerging retail behemoth that had a long, close relationship with the Clintons.

The Power Greeter

Alice Walton likes Hillary Clinton. That’s a fairly safe assumption given the $353,400 check she cut for the Hillary Victory Fund during a mad dash of pre-election year fundraising at the end of 2015. And she also kicked in another $25,000 into the “Ready for Hillary” SuperPAC. Those big donations are, like the estimated $130 billion net worth of Walton family, a legacy handed-down from Walmart founder Sam Walton.

That legacy dates back to Bill’s time as Governor — when the Walton family began a long history of financial support of the Clintons, according to Bloomberg. It made sense given Walmart’s supersized role in Arkansas.

It also made good political sense that, as Michael Barbaro of the New York Times reported back in 2007, Hillary was brought onto Walmart’s Board of Directors back in 1986 at the behest of Walton’s wife Helen. That effort to add a woman to the boardroom turned into a six-year stint that cemented the long relationship between Arkansas’ most famous corporation and its most famous political family.

As Brian Ross of ABC News reported in the lead-up to her 2008 run, Hillary notably left that glass ceiling-shattering appointment out of her biography. She basically “de-linked” herself from a stridently anti-union company that was also a notoriously thrifty spender on employee wages and benefits. The ABC report also referenced a 1992 report showing her trumpeting Walmart’s “Buy America” campaign in spite of Walmart’s reliance on children working in sweatshops in places like Bangladesh. That’s a practice Walmart continued into the 1990s.

It came to a head in 1996 when All-American “sweetheart” Kathie Lee Gifford got embroiled in a child labor scandal in Honduras. Coincidentally, that scandal broke the same year Walmart entered China “through a joint-venture agreement.” And that was just two years after Bill Clinton “de-linked” human rights from MFN.

It was also the same year that he successfully renewed MFN with an overwhelming vote of support by the House of Representatives. The timing couldn’t have been better for Walmart. They’d auspiciously formed their international division in 1993 and were poised to profit off Bill’s broken promise to “not coddle dictators.”

But, as with all things Clinton, there really isn’t a “smoking gun” linking Bill’s MFN reversal with Walmart’s amazing good fortune in China. There is just the lingering miasma of happy coincidences. Bill Clinton’s crowning coincidence before exiting the Oval Office was Congressional approval of his proposal to give China permanent Most Favored Nation trading status in 2000.

The New Normal

On Oct. 10, 2000, he signed the U.S.–China Relations Act of 2000 into law. Most Favored Nation status officially became Normal Trade Relations. Also in that year, the $18 billion trade deficit he decried in 1993 ballooned to $83 billion. Meanwhile, Walmart rode low-cost Chinese manufacturing to the top of the retail heap. Walmart’s massive workforce is now the third largest in the world behind the U.S. Defense Department and, ironically, China’s People’s Liberation Army.

Amazingly, the U.S. trade deficit with China more than tripled to $263 billion in the eight years after Clinton secured “Normal” trade relations in 2000. Meanwhile, Walmart’s infamous low-wage practices at home were subsidized annually to the tune of “an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing,” according to 2015 report in Forbes.

Also amazingly, the Clintons’ wealth skyrocketed to $111 million in the years after Bill left office. Hillary spent those years in and out of “public service” and the former President turned the Clinton Foundation into a $439 million powerhouse by 2014.

While the Foundation’s philanthropy is demonstrable, criticisms of it as a de facto slush fund remain. But the link between political promises and trade policy persisted. This time it was Hillary running for president. The trade deal was with war-torn Colombia. And the campaign trail leads back to the Clinton Foundation.

Rinse, Repeat

There is a strange symmetry between China’s MFN status, the TPP imbroglio and a notable “flip-flop” on the Colombia Free Trade Agreement by first-time presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2008. Then like now, she was competing against a movement candidate in newcomer Barack Obama. And then like now, she struggled to protect her “left” flank on economic issues.

At issue in 2008 was a sweeping deal negotiated by the second Bush Administration with the U.S.-supported, civil war-wracked narco-state of Colombia. Obama “vowed” to oppose the deal. To keep pace with her high-octane opponent, Hillary repeatedly reassured labor leaders of her opposition to the deal.

The rub was two-fold. Not only did she have a decidedly pro-free trade voting record as a senator. But both her free-trading husband and her chief campaign strategist were on record supporting the deal. She ditched her Colombia-linked strategist and matched Obama’s anti-deal stance. But, just like China’s MFN before it, the trade agreement with Colombia eventually became a “big win” for a Democratic President who was for it before he was against it.

This time it was a flip-flopping President Obama. With the help of his flip-flopping former foe and then-current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he scored a trade deal trifecta on Oct. 12, 2011. That’s when Congress approved the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA) and separate deals with both South Korea and Panama. Obama called the trio of trade deals “a major win for American workers and businesses.” Alas, it turned out that there was a lot more change on trade than reason to hope Obama or Hillary would keep their promises.

Mining The Depths

Meet billionaire mining magnate Frank Giustra. According to the New York Times, the financial power-player’s global interests have included philanthropy and a $45 million stake in a deal to sell strategic uranium mines in Central Asia and the United States to the Russian atomic energy agency Rosatom. Strangely enough, those two interests — charity and strategic resources — fit together nicely. That’s because the uranium deal required U.S. agencies — including the State Department — to sign-off before it was approved.

The eight-year process for the uranium deal required approval by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment of which the State Department is a member. That approval finally came in 2010 when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and while the Clinton Foundation was continuing to collect millions of dollars from related investors.

Throughout, Giustra’s wheeling and dealing continued with his close friend and private jet-setting partner Bill Clinton, who gave a $500,000 speech to a Russian investment bank that gave the stock a buy rating.

Since 2005, Giustra has lavished the Clinton Foundation with repeated donations, adding up to in excess of $100 million. Yet, putting Bill Clinton’s oddly remunerative, but not uncommon $500,000 speech in Moscow aside, there still is no smoking gun linking then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the actual approval of the deal. Once again we just have that miasma of happy coincidences.

More troubling, though, is the coincidence that her husband’s friend Frank Giustra did benefit from the Colombia Free Trade Agreement deal’s “extreme” protections for foreign investors and special rights for corporations engaged in “resource extraction,” according to an eye-opening exposé by David Sirota, Matthew Cunningham-Cook and Andrew Perez of the International Business Times.

At issue is a company formerly known as Pacific Rubiales, an oil company founded by (you guessed it) Frank Giustra. The State Department repeatedly fielded accusations of workers’ rights and human rights abuses, particularly related to a strike targeting Pacific Rubiales in 2011. Strangely, the State Department not only ignored these accusations, but actually praised the Colombian government’s stellar progress on human rights. Was this Hillary Clinton’s “de-linking” MFN moment?

Maybe it’s worse. It looks like there’s a little smoke coming out of this gun. As Sirota, Cunningham-Cook and Perez reported:

“At the same time that Clinton’s State Department was lauding Colombia’s human rights record, her family was forging a financial relationship with Pacific Rubiales, the sprawling Canadian petroleum company at the center of Colombia’s labor strife. The Clintons were also developing commercial ties with the oil giant’s founder, Canadian financier Frank Giustra, who now occupies a seat on the board of the Clinton Foundation, the family’s global philanthropic empire.”

Those “commercial ties” include the “Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership” which its snazzy website calls a “pioneering an innovative approach to poverty alleviation” that “generates both social impact and financial returns by addressing existing market gaps in developing countries’ supply or distribution chains.”

Really, doesn’t that “pioneering approach” sound a lot like the long-term project of the Democratic Leadership Committee?

The “pioneering” privatization of “poverty alleviation” was a big part of then-President Bill Clinton’s famous “welfare reform bill” of 1996. Profitable privatized prisons grew to match the skyrocketing demand created by infamous “crime bill” of 1994. The “financial returns” flowed as the prison “market gap” was closed. And like neoliberal trade policy, deregulation of Wall Street and the media, it’s all symptomatic of the Clinton-led move of the party toward the corporate-friendly “center.”

As Frank Giustra said in a 2006 profile of Bill Clinton for The New Yorker, “All of my chips, almost, are on Bill Clinton. He’s a brand, a worldwide brand, and he can do things and ask for things that no one else can.” Based on a Giustra’s latest venture in Colombia — a big financial play in the Gran Colombia Gold Corporation — he’s still reaping the “free trade” rewards of his bank-shot bet on Hillary Clinton.

In fact, he’s not just going for the gold … but some silver, too.

Big Box Democrats

Back in 1992, the phenomenal Clinton political machine successfully sold the “new,” improved Democratic Party to Reaganomics-starved political consumers. He felt their pain. He also changed his party and opened the door to the big-box consumerism. Now that same sharp messaging machine is repackaging Hillary’s free-trading past, pulling Bill’s mixed political record from the shelves, and hard-selling her latter-day transformation on trade and economic policies.

The question is: Will suspicious voters buy her “Come to Bernie” moment as a wholesale conversion on the road to the White House? Disgruntled and disaffected voters have to buy into the idea that she’s truly changed on trade and is not, as Terry McAuliffe implied, simply repeating a well-worn pattern of bait and switch.

Simply put, she’s got a long, demonstrable history of supporting trade agreements. And by one account she specifically “pushed” the Trans-Pacific Partnership 45 times. But that was then and this now. And now she’s got a disillusioned cadre of #BernieOrBusters to her left and a new army of anti-trade Trumpsters to her right. That’s left her stuck in the “centrist” middle with the corporate donors, financiers and loyalists who’ve been shopping in the supermarket of political influence ever since the Clintons transformed the Democrats into the party of Big Box-style democracy.

August 2, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Post-Brexit, Is the EU Flaunting Its Undemocratic Tendencies?

By Joyce Nelson | CounterPunch | July 6, 2016

Stung by Brexit, the EU bureaucrats seem intent on showing just how undemocratic they can be. Here are two examples just in the last seven days.

The Glyphosate License

On June 24, EU member states again refused (for a third time this year) to approve a renewal of the license for the weed-killer glyphosate manufactured by Monsanto and other corporations involved in GMO crop cultivation. That should have meant that the license would expire by the end of June, and Monsanto’s Roundup and other glyphosate weed-killers would have to be withdrawn from Europe by the end of this year.

Instead, on June 29 the European Commission (EC) decided “unilaterally” to extend the glyphosate license for another 18 months. [1]

The decision “drew heavy criticism from the Greens in the European Parliament, who said the decision showed the Commission’s ‘disdain’ for the opposition by the public and EU governments to the controversial toxic herbicide.” [2] Belgian Green Member of the European Parliament Bart Staes said, “As perhaps the first EU decision after the UK referendum, it shows the [EC] executive is failing to learn the clear lesson that the EU needs to finally start listening to its citizens again.” [3]

Many were simply shocked that an unelected body of bureaucrats would cater so blatantly to the corporate sector’s last-minute lobbying.

The EC claims that, because of member nations’ indecision on the matter, its own decision about glyphosate was based on assessments made by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), prolonging the authorisation until a new scientific review is concluded before the end of 2017, but Greenpeace has called the EFSA study “a whitewash.” [4]

Lawrence Woodward, co-director of Beyond GM, has called the EC’s unilateral decision “reckless.” [5] It comes at the same time that dozens of individuals and organizations have signed an open “Letter from America,” urging European citizens, politicians and regulators to not adopt a “failing agricultural technology” and sharing examples of glyphosate and GMO repercussions across North America. [6]

CETA Ratification

At virtually the same time that the EC made this controversial decision on glyphosate, it made another that is even more undemocratic.

On June 28, a German news agency reported that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told EU leaders the Commission is planning to push through a controversial free trade agreement between Canada and the EU – known as CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement – without giving national parliaments any say in it. [7] According to the German press, Juncker argued that allowing national parliaments to vote on the agreement would “paralyze the process” and raise questions about the EU’s “credibility.” Juncker claimed that CETA “would fall within the exclusive competence of the EU executive” and therefore doesn’t need to be ratified by national parliaments within the 28-nation bloc, sources in Brussels told the Germany news agency DPA. [8]

Most EU members, however, view CETA as a “mixed” agreement, meaning “that each country would have to push the deal through their parliaments.” [9]

In late June 2016, the EC’s Juncker was reported as saying that he “personally couldn’t care less” whether lawmakers get to vote on CETA. [10]

Millions of Canadians and Europeans have fought against CETA for the past six years. Like the TPP and TTIP, it is a draconian agreement that would hand multinational corporations immense power to overrule elected local governments on numerous fronts. In Canada, CETA was supposed to be voted on by every Canadian provincial and territorial government before any ratification could take place, but in September 2014 (during the reign of Stephen Harper) the CETA deal was signed without there having been any public consultation whatsoever in Canada. The 2014 announcement was also the first time people in Canada and Europe were allowed to see the official text, which had been kept secret during the years of negotiations.

Unfortunately, Canada’s International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland is enthused about what the EU is doing. According to The Globe and Mail newspaper (July 3), “The British vote to exit the European Union has refocused

Europe’s attention on the need to send a message to the world that liberalized trade is the path to greater prosperity, Ms. Freeland said.” [11]

She also explained that once the European Parliament approves CETA, “a great deal of the agreement would come into force immediately, more than 90 per cent,” she said, “those portions deemed to be within the European Union’s jurisdiction, those go into force right away.” [12]

Freeland told The Globe and Mail that concerns about CETA’s investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism – which allows multinational corporations to sue governments over regulations that harm their future profits – had been addressed by a rewrite of the treaty’s investment chapter. [13] But according to Council of Canadians, those changes “actually make [the provisions] worse. The reforms enshrine extra rights for foreign investors that everyone else – including domestic investors – don’t have. They allow foreign corporations to circumvent a country’s own courts, giving them special status to challenge laws that apply equally to everyone through a [private] court system exclusively for their use.” [14]

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be in Europe this week for a NATO summit, and officials “say he will lobby hard for other European leaders not to stand in the way of [CETA’s] ratification.” [15]

The Pushback

Reportedly, the pushback in Europe has been immediate, with Germany and France wanting “their national parliaments to be involved” in CETA ratification. On July 5, Deutsche Welle reported that “Juncker appears to be backtracking,” and would propose at a July 5 EC meeting that CETA would require “both the approval of the European parliament and national legislatures.” [16]

The Globe and Mail reported on July 5 that Juncker’s “new recommendation… could call for applying those EU parts of the treaty while the ratification process [by national legislatures] is under way.” [17] That would mean (as Canada’s Chrystia Freeland had earlier explained) more than 90% of CETA could be approved by the EU as part of its “jurisdiction” and needing no national legislative approvals. Such a process would make a mockery of democratic rights on both sides of the Atlantic.

That appears to be what is happening.

Following the July 5 EC meeting in Strasbourg, France, the CBC reported: “Legal opinions advanced by the commission suggest that most of the agreement – perhaps as much as 95 per cent – falls comfortably with the European Union’s jurisdiction… ‘This is an agreement that Europe needs,’ EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a statement. ‘The open issue of competence for such trade agreements will be for the European Court of Justice to clarify, in the near future. From a strict legal standpoint, the commission considers this agreement to fall under exclusive EU competence. However, the political situation in the council is clear, and we understand the need for proposing it as a ‘mixed’ agreement, in order to allow for a speedy signature’.” [18]

But as nations gear up to wrangle with the EU (in the European Court of Justice) over what parts of the CETA treaty fall within their jurisdiction, and what parts “fall under exclusive EU competence,” the EC could approve 95% of CETA before elected legislatures even vote.

The Council of Canadians warns on its website (July 5): “One important concern to note, ‘The commission may recommend provisionally applying the EU-parts of the Canada deal while full ratification is pending.’ The French newspaper Le Monde has previously reported that even if CETA is deemed to be a ‘mixed’ agreement, the deal could enter into force ‘provisionally’ even before EU member state parliaments vote on it. It notes, ‘If EU ministers agreed at the signing of the CETA on its provisional application, it could come into effect the following month. Such a decision would have serious implications. Symbolically, first because it would send the message that European governments finally [have] little regard for the views of parliamentarians and thus of European citizens strongly against the agreement’.” [19]

Council of Canadians National Chairperson Maude Barlow stated after the EC meeting in Strasbourg, “Like many Canadians, Europeans are worried about CETA’s attacks on democracy, its weakening of social and safety standards, its contribution to privatization and attacks on public services. After the Brexit vote, policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic would be better counseled to listen to voters, rather than pushing discredited [trade] solutions down people’s throats.” [20]

Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden has called CETA a “toxic deal” and says that the way the EC is acting “reinforces the widely held suspicion that the EU makes big decisions with harmful consequences for ordinary people with very little in the way of democratic process,” he said. “Rather than take a step back and question why there is hostility to the EU, they try to speed up this awful trade deal.” [21]

Union members, environmentalists, social activists and “fair trade” groups say CETA is just as dangerous as the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal between the EU and the U.S., which hands massive power to multinationals and is a direct threat to democracy on both sides of the Atlantic. The way the EC is handling CETA is a stark clue to what’s in store for TTIP.

Footnotes:
[1] “European Commission Extends Glyphosate License without Real Restrictions,” Sustainable Pulse, June 29, 2016.

[2] Frederic Simon, “EU muddling on glyphosate fuelled Brexit populism,” EurActiv.com, July 1, 2016.

[3] Quoted in ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Katie Pohlman, “Neil Young: Say No to GMOs on ‘Behalf of All Living Things’,” EcoWatch, July 1, 2016.

[6] Quoted in ibid.

[7] “EU Commission Seeks to Push Through Free Trade Agreement with Canada (CETA) without Parliamentary Approval,” Deutsche Welle, June 28, 2016.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Reuters, “EU Commission to opt for simple approval for Canada deal: EU official,” June 28, 2016.

[10] “EU Commission: CETA should be approved by national parliaments,” Deutsche Welle, July 5, 2016.

[11] Robert Fife, “Despite Brexit vote, key EU powers vow to ratify CETA deal,” The Globe and Mail, July 3, 2016.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Council of Canadians, “CETA changes make investor-state provisions worse,” February 3, 2016.

[15] Fife, op cit.

[16] “EU Commission: CETA should be approved by national parliaments,” Deutsche Welle, July 5, 2016.

[17] “EC set to scrap plans to fast-track CETA deal: report,” The Globe and Mail, July 5, 2016.

[18] “Canada gets clarity on how Europe will ratify trade deal,” CBC, July 5, 2016.

[19] Council of Canadians, “CETA to be considered a ‘mixed’ agreement, now more vulnerable to defeat,” July 5, 2016.

[20] Council of Canadians, “CETA vulnerable to defeat: Council of Canadians,” July 5, 2016.

[21] Lamiat Sabin “Brexit ‘Might Not Stop Awful Ceta’,” Morning Star, July 5, 2016.


Joyce Nelson is an award-winning Canadian freelance writer/researcher working on her sixth book.

July 6, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Trade Agreements Have Exacerbated a Humanitarian Crisis in Central America

By Manuel Perez-Rocha | IPS | June 29, 2016

U.S. trade negotiators continue to claim that free trade agreements help to support security, but in reality, they exacerbate the root causes of instability in the Mesoamerican region, IPS’s Manuel Perez-Rocha said in a speech at the AFL-CIO conference on U.S. trade policy.

“Real security encompasses economic, human, financial, and political security,” he said.

Today the Northern triangle of Latin America is one of the most dangerous places in the world. In Mexico alone, there are more than 27,000 people reported missing on top of the 100,000 killed in the so-called war on drugs, Perez-Rocha said.

He explained that the origins of this crisis are rooted in structural adjustment policies that the IMF and the World Bank imposed on Central America to pave the way for free trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and now the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“Instead of bringing prosperity, [NAFTA] took away domestic protections from Mexico’s food production, leading to greater food insecurity and the widespread loss of our agricultural livelihoods,” he said.

Perez-Rocha said the abandonment of national production of food to favor imports, brought on by NAFTA, has meant the fall of production, employment, and income and the increase of inequality, poverty, and migration. He said this abandonment of the countryside by the government propelled the vacuum that has become occupied by organized crime.

“NAFTA is responsible,” he said. “for the increase of violence and public insecurity in the countryside and in all of Mexico.”

Ten years later, CAFTA was imposed in Central America, ushering in what Perez-Rocha called “the deterioration of economic conditions for working people and major new threats to the environment.”

Perez-Rocha offered one of the most egregious examples in the case of the Pacific Rim mining company which is demanding millions of dollars from El Salvador for protecting its environment.

“This is a deep humanitarian crisis that should be recognized as such,” he said. He quoted U.S. Vice President Biden as saying ‘confronting these challenges requires nothing less than systematic change, which we in the United States have a direct interest in helping to bring about.’

However, the proposal in the Alliance for Prosperity Plan does not address the roots of the crisis, Perez-Rocha said.

“The goal of the alliance, as we see it,” Perez-Rocha said, “is to attract foreign direct investment for the exploitation of natural resources.”

The alliance and agreements like the TPP, on top of the destruction already brought on by NAFTA and CAFTA, will only mean an acceleration of the race to the bottom for the region’s working families, further dislocation and displacement, and regional insecurity, he said.


Read Manuel Perez-Rocha’s full essay on page 43 [PDF).

July 5, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Australian Foreign Policy: An Eerie Silence

By James ONeill – New Eastern Outlook – 27.06.2016

Australia has now completed more than six weeks of an eight-week election campaign. There have been the usual claims and counterclaims from the major parties, dubious statistics, hyperbole, and a relentless focus on peripheral issues at the expense of clarity and insight.

Expenditure promises totaling billions of dollars have been made, with the principal beneficiaries being electorates with very small majorities, and therefore most susceptible to changing allegiance with the vagaries of shifting sentiment for or against the governing party or the main opposition party.

What is completely missing from the election campaign rhetoric or promises however, is any discussion of foreign affairs, defence or refugee policy.

This coyness is not unique to this election. The past several decades have seen major decisions taken without discussion as to their strategic context, the objectives of the policy, any exit strategy when the decision involves foreign wars (invariably at the behest of the Americans). This is currently the case with the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Neither is there any discussion by the major parties as to whether the decisions taken about going to war, or taking steps that may lead to war, are advantageous or prejudicial to the national interest.

Also completely absent from debate is any attempt to understand and respond to a rapidly changing geopolitical context. The Asia-Pacific region is in a major state of realignment, but one would not know that from listening to the political leaders or reading the mainstream media.

The dilemma Australia’s foreign policy faces and which urgently needs addressing was set out by the former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser when he said that Australia’s relationship with the United States had “become a paradox. Our leaders argue we need to keep our alliance with the US strong in order to ensure our defence in the event of an aggressive foe. Yet the most likely reason Australia would need to confront an aggressive foe is our strong alliance with the US It is not a sustainable policy.”

It has become impossible in the Australian context to even contemplate, let alone discuss, a possible foreign policy stance independent of that alliance with the US. This is notwithstanding a series of foreign policy disasters and quagmires that are a direct result of that alliance, including but not limited to Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria.

That another potential disaster was only narrowly avoided has come to light in a lengthy essay by James Brown (Quarterly Essay #62, 2016).

Brown, a former Army Captain who happens to be the son-in-law of the current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, recounts how former Prime Minister Tony Abbott sought planning contingencies from the Australian military about the possible deployment of a brigade (about 3000 troops) to Eastern Ukraine in the aftermath of the shooting down of MH17 on 17 July 2014.

The initiative by Abbott was apparently taken without reference to the Cabinet, without debate in Parliament, and certainly without reference to the Australian public.

Abbott was dissuaded from this hare-brained scheme on the advice of the Dutch Prime Minister Rutte and his own military advisers alarmed at the prospect that it could potentially lead to a direct conflict with Russia.

Although rightly critical of the lack of strategic planning in Australian foreign and defence policy, Brown is himself equally a victim of the Anglo-American mindset that bedevils Australian strategic thinking.

He refers for example, to what he says are the “brutal geopolitics” of Russian actions in Ukraine, and a “war for conquest remains a threat.” (at pp39-40).

That such a proposition could be seriously advanced is of deep concern. Brown completely ignores for example, the February 2014 American financed and organized coup d’état that violently overthrew the legitimate Yanukovich government of Ukraine.

Further, he ignores the fascist nature of the present regime in Kiev, its systematic discrimination against the Russian-speaking citizens of Eastern Ukraine, and the Kiev regime’s persistent violation of the Minsk accords. He also fails to note what is an extraordinary lack of judgment by Abbott in joining Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s Council of Advisers.

Brown is on stronger ground when he criticizes the procurement of 12 submarines and 72 F35 fighter aircraft. The submarines, which will not be delivered before 2030, are said to cost $50 billion, not including the additional $5-6 billion for their armaments.

The cost of the F35 fighters has been variously quoted at between $17 and $25 billion dollars.

The wisdom of these purchases, their strategic value if any, and the implications of their potential use in an actual war, is not open for discussion in the present election campaign. Nor are they likely to be properly analysed by whoever wins the 2 July election. Perhaps needless to add, public discussion and media coverage are conspicuous by their absence.

The 2016 Defence White Paper identified China as the most likely potential threat to Australia. Quite how this threat would manifest itself is unclear. China has no history of imperialism or military aggression in the Pacific region. Nothing in its present policy stances or conduct would suggest that is likely to change.

Australia actually fighting a war with China on its own is unthinkable. Any such conflict could only be as part of an American war, which takes one straight back to Fraser’s paradox quoted above.

When one looks at actual US behaviour in relation to China, then there is significant cause for concern that Australia could become embroiled in an American provoked war. The basis for such concern would include, for example, the American’s provocative behaviour in the South China Sea that Australia has publicly supported. Australian navy vessels take part in an annual exercise, Operation Talisman Sabre that practices blocking the vital Malacca Straits essential to Chinese trade.

Other developments, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership, specifically exclude China, and are designed to assert American commercial interests at the expense of the national sovereignty of the non-American participants to the TPP.

America’s strategic policy, as set out in the 2002 Defence Department document Vision 2020 is based upon the assumption that America should exercise “full spectrum dominance” over the entire world, including for present purposes the Asia-Pacific region.

To this should be added the progressive increase in American military bases in the Asia-Pacific region, with nuclear weapon capability, and an American provoked war with China is far from unthinkable. There is of course historical precedent for current US policy, and that was the encirclement and economic warfare waged on Japan in the late 1930s early 1940s specifically designed to provoke a Japanese attack upon the US. That is exactly what happened.

American policy in the Asia-Pacific region is replicated in Europe, where it is pursuing equally provocative and dangerous policies on the Russian borders.

If Australia did become involved in a shooting war with China, as its current military and strategic posture would almost certainly guarantee, it is very difficult to see what role the hugely expensive submarines and F35 fighters would play.

That they would play any role at all would seem to depend on a number of assumptions. The war would have to start after 2030, as that is the earliest possible date for the delivery of the submarines.

It further assumes that the F35 fighter might actually fly in a combat effective manner. Neither assumption seems to have an evidential foundation.

Any Australian involvement in a war with China also appears to seriously underestimate the effectiveness of modern Chinese weaponry. Their supersonic cruise missile for example, would quickly eliminate the aircraft carrier based system the US Navy is built around.

Similarly, a single Dong Feng 41 supersonic ICBM missile would destroy the two crucial American military installations at Pine Gap and North West Cape that are a vital component of military communications and targeting. The Dong Feng 41 has 8-10 independently targetable nuclear warheads that would eliminate Australia’s major cities in addition to the specifically military targets noted.

Australia’s involvement in such a war would therefore last at most about 30 minutes, with huge casualties and its major cities smoking ruins. That is the very real risk Australia runs with its present alliance with the US. It is something that deserves proper debate, and this election, with both major parties complicit, is not providing such a debate.

The refusal to contemplate and discuss these military and geopolitical realities has a number of possible bases. An unspoken but potent spectre over Australian politics is the fate of the 1975 Whitlam Labor government. Whitlam had made clear his intention to close the Pine Gap spy installation, which while located in Australian territory was and is completely American controlled.

The evidence is now overwhelming that Whitlam was removed in a CIA orchestrated coup (Rundle 2015). After Whitlam was re-elected in 1974, the White House sent Marshall Green to Canberra as the US ambassador. Green was known in American circles as the “coupmaster.” He had been instrumental in the coup against the Sukarno government in Indonesia in 1965 and Allende in Chile in 1973. His presence in Canberra in 1975 was not a coincidence.

It is doubtful if such an extreme step would be necessary in the foreseeable future. Both main political parties go to extraordinary lengths to remain on side with whoever occupies the White House.

This goes well beyond participating in the aforementioned wars of choice. It includes Australia’s voting record in the United Nations where it is a regular supporter of the Israeli regime, contrary to the overwhelming weight of opinion expressed in that body. Israel’s constant breaches of international law are never criticized by either the Australian government or the Opposition.

None of this is the subject of informed discussion and debate. It is not an overstatement to suggest a conspiracy of silence by the major parties to avoid asking what should be the obvious questions.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to point to any actual material benefit to Australia that flows from this ritual obeisance to American wishes. The illusion of security that it fosters, is as Fraser pointed out, a paradox and unsustainable as a policy.

The likelihood of a disastrous outcome for Australia from the American alliance is many times greater than any assumed benefit. The inconsistency of present foreign and defence policy with Australia’s national interests should be a matter of debate. It is not.

The geopolitical centre of the world is re-establishing itself in Eurasia, just as Halford Mackinder predicted more than a century ago. Russia and China, and other members of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are forging a new military, economic, financial and political framework. These changes are undermining the unipolar American centred world that has dominated for the past 70 years.

The question for Australia is whether it recognises the geopolitical realities dictated by its geography, its trade, and the wishes of its people for peace and stability ahead of the destruction being wrought by its traditional ally.

These are questions that need to be addressed. The major political parties and the media are failing in their obligations by refusing to discuss these issues. Their resolution is vital to the peace and prosperity of this nation.

Wilful blindness, strategic incoherence, and a misalignment of national interests are not a sound policy basis.

June 27, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Clintons Accept Money From TPP Supporters

Sputnik – 21.05.2016

As the current Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton was entering the presidential race, her husband and former US President Bill Clinton received millions of dollars from special interest groups, including $325,000 from a group lobbying for the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership).

In October 2015, Hillary Clinton was pressured by her Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, to openly oppose the controversial global deal to deregulate trade. The Vermont Senator did not hesitate to condemn the deal early in his campaign, claiming that it favors the corporate elite at the expense of American jobs.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Manufacturers, from which Bill Clinton received a substantial fee just one month before his wife announced her campaign, backs the TPP.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), the manufacturing business group affirmed its support for the hotly-debated deal three months before turning to Bill Clinton. The CRP called the proposed deal “a significant improvement over the status quo” for corporations.

Another $300,000 was donated to candidate Clinton from technology firm Oracle, when the former Secretary of State’s Democratic primary was in full swing. Disclosure forms reveal that Oracle supports ratification of the TPP.

Previously Hillary Clinton indicated that she would support the global deregulation deal, calling it the “gold standard” of free trade.

May 21, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Canadian politicians controlled by the transnational oligarchy?

By Mark Taliano | American Herald Tribune | March 31 ,2016

Canada is being colonized by a Washington-led, transnational oligarchy. As with any colony, we are losing our political and economic self-determination and sovereignty.

We are increasingly a cog in an imperial apparatus of top down control and exploitation, and our economy is being re-structured to serve transnational oligarch interests. Wealth and power is increasingly concentrated upwards into the criminal hands of domestic and foreign oligarch classes.

We are being driven like cattle by a “full spectrum” apparatus of domination and control.

Synthetic terror events are engineering our consent to impoverishment, police state oppression, and criminal, genocidal foreign policy decisions.

We are supporting and inciting terrorism when we sell military armaments to Wahabbi Saudi Arabia. We are committing war crimes when we support and enable the neo-Nazi junta in the Ukraine, and when we support and enable ISIS in Syria. Writer Sharmine Narwani decodes the Syrian crisis here.

 Interview starts at 3:00

All of this passes beneath the radar of public awareness because the oligarch class has,  increasingly, “full spectrum” control: Corporate mainstream messaging is increasingly an engineered façade of lies, distortions, and omissions that furthers a pre-ordained agenda of permanent, globalized war and poverty.

Transnational corporate sovereignty deals are an economic arm of the transnational ruling class. Agreements such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) entrench oligarchic control and supremacy over our political economy through Investor- State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses, mechanisms wherein supranational secret tribunals and appointed lawyers are the final adjudicators.

An article by David Korten, in Yes magazine, “A Trade Rule that Makes It Illegal to Favor Local Business? Newest Leak Shows TPP Would Do That And More,” identifies and explains the impacts of the TPP, should it be ratified, using these headings:

  • Favouring local ownership is prohibited
  • Corporations must be paid to stop polluting
  • Three lawyers will decide who is right in secret tribunals
  • Speculative money must remain free
  • Corporate interests come before national ones

This predatory political economy creates poverty and disemployment in a myriad ways – the TPP alone is predicted cost Canada 58,000 jobs — as public dollars are funnelled to the transnational oligarchs through privatization schemes, de-regulated exploitation of national resources, reduced taxes, and military expenditures.

Instead of embracing P3 schemes, Canada should insist on (100%) publicly- funded hospitals and healthcare.  In an article entitled “ ‘Privatization’ Is the Problem, Not the Solution,”  the author demonstrates the wasteful squandering of public resources in the healthcare field alone:

  • Ontario paid 75 per cent more to for-profit labs than it had to non-profit community labs over the previous 30 years, for the same tests.
  • Public-private partnerships are 83 per cent costlier to finance than public projects.
  • Canadians spend roughly half of what the private U.S. system spends per person and we get better coverage and outcomes.
  • Studies comparing U.S. and Canadian outcomes for heart attacks, cancer, surgical procedures and chronic conditions show that Canada does at least as well, often better.
  • A recent Canadian study found that expedited knee surgery in a for-profit clinic costs $3,222 compared to $959 in a public hospital (with worse return-to-work outcomes).

We are also being exploited by the financial sector. Instead of borrowing from private international and domestic institutions, and paying compound interest on government loans, Canada should be borrowing interest-free from its publicly-owned Bank of Canada – as it did until 1974 — when the debt and deficit were miniscule compared to today. Murray Dobbins explains in “Liberate the Bank of Canada, Intrepid Think Tank Urges|Canadians have been fleeced for billions, but no traction in media for complex banking case,” that by 2012, Canadians had paid one trillion (CAN) dollars in interest to private banks.

What additional steps can we take to de-colonize this country from its transnational colonizers?

  • First, we should reject the TPP agreement and any transnational agreement that is bundled with an Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause.
  • Second, we should (continue to) decode and reject the lies and distortions of the criminal warmongers and the military-industrial-media complex.
  • Third, we need to establish an independent foreign policy that complies with the rule of international law.

Each of these steps would help us break free from the toxic shackles of globalized war and poverty that “benefits” only a miniscule oligarch class.  The current neo-con misgovernance is creating and perpetuating catastrophes – such as the 911 wars — instead of productively addressing catastrophes – such as catastrophic global warming. A global shift towards common sense and the common good is long overdue.

March 31, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | 1 Comment