Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Some geopolitical links

Going back to my title, I quote from the 1997 book of the late Presidential advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives to make the point of what US foreign and defense policy under Trump today is. It is nothing less than application of the Brzezinski geopolitical challenge and the preventive war notion of the Bush-Wolfowitz doctrine in context of today’s emerging resistance to an American sole superpower domination.
Brzezinski, was of course architect of Jimmy Carter’s Afghan war against the Soviet Army using Mujahideen Islamic terrorists trained by the CIA, Saudi Intelligence and Pakistan ISI.
In 1997 he wrote that it was “imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America.” He further declared, “Potentially the most dangerous scenario would be an ‘anti-hegemonic’ coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances…a grand coalition of China, Russia, perhaps Iran…Averting this contingency…will require US geostrategic skill on the western, eastern, and southern perimeters of Eurasia simultaneously.”
When we add to this the recent Pentagon National Defense Strategy document that defines Russia and China as the greatest potential threat to American hegemony, then combine this with the growing ties between Russia, China and Iran since lifting of sanctions in 2015, especially in Syria, it becomes clear what Washington is doing. They are in an all-out effort to break what I call the Eurasian Challenge to the sole hegemon—Russia, China, Iran.
As Brzezinski pointed out, for American purposes of continued domination, it matters not that there are ethnic, religious and other differences between Russia, China and Iran. US foreign policy since September 2001 has increasingly forced those three to cooperate, despite those differences, for what they see as defense of their national sovereignty....
Ironically, the simultaneous opening of a de facto three-front war, even if on the level of economic warfare at present, creates a strategic imperative for the three powers to work even more closely.
Engdahl is a good geopolitical analyst, but unfortunately he doesn't know MMT and stumbles into some economic and financial blunders, although not so much in this piece. But ignoring that, he makes some good points, and he is right that the US is now at war with Russia, China, and Iran. Here we go.

NEO — New Eastern Outlook
Brzezinski’s Ghost Shapes Washington Eurasia Geopolitics
F. William Engdahl

See also
China, led by President Xi, accelerated implementation of the concept of so-called Ecological Civilization, eventually engraving it into the constitution of the country. A man who did tremendous work in China, working tirelessly on the Ecological Civilization concept in both China and in the United States, John Cobb Jr., has been, for years, a friend and close comrade of mine. A 93-year-old Whiteheadian philosopher, one of the most acknowledged Christian progressive theologians, and a self-proclaimed ‘supporter of Revolution’, John Cobb’s is a brave ‘alternative’ and optimistic voice coming from the United States.…
Excellent piece that is surprising in many ways, especially the influence in China of an American Protestant theologian deeply committed to ecology as fundamental to Christian doctrine.

NEO — New Eastern Outlook
China’s determined march towards the ecological civilization
André Vitchek in conversation with John Cobb

As of last week, Washington has assembled a considerable list of dangers and disasters, and they are of a piece. I propose we look at them this way, for it is this larger context we have to think about. The Trump administration now has a clear foreign policy, all fleshed out to see. It may be shaped by the president, or the president may be the ventriloquist’s dummy of his minders. This remains hard to discern. But either way, it comes to this: America grows ever more indifferent to alliances other than those dependent on a common adversary. Friendships with other nations seem no longer to matter, or even whether America is admired or respected. All signs indicate we now enter that late-imperial phase when power alone, raw power, is all we have to show the world....
Haspel’s confirmation as CIA director, now all but assured, completes what is effectively a kind of war cabinet, the chief members of which are John Bolton, the new national security adviser, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Widen the definition of war and you can include Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. It is true that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis looks like reason made flesh in this scrum of provincials and ignoramuses. But this is merely because, as a retired general, Mattis favors wars he is certain of winning, and there are not many of those around just now. If there were he would fight them....
After the Iran deal: A foreign policy built on arrogance, ignorance and sheer desperation
Patrick Lawrence, foreign affairs columnist for Salon

With Iran back in the news, I found this old file of mine from 1981. Thanks to The Washington Post, in 1976 I spent eight or nine weeks in Iran gathering notes for six front-page articles. The discoveries I made were eye-opening. I had married an Iranian who was raised in England and had who had never gone back to Iran.…
I kept developing sources on Iran, and in Feb. 1981, I wrote the following story. I am presenting it to you because on a military channel they had a program on the Iranian Hostage Crisis, but didn’t mention the following. With greetings to all.

"U.S. Policy in Iran: “What the Traffic Would Bear”
Iranians Killed by U.S. Marines during the First Embassy Takeover

Sic Semper Tyrannis
"U.S. Marines Shot to Kill"
Richard Sale

Insofar as imperialism is about the struggle over and capture of economic territory (which must be broadly defined to include not just geographical territory such as land and natural resources, but also the creation of new markets, sources of labor, and forms of surplus transfer such as are reflected in intellectual property), these changes have created distant demands upon imperialist structures and processes. In the absence of a world state, and in a much more complex and constantly changing politico-economic environment, how can capital (which is increasingly global in orientation) generate the superstructures through which the transfers of value are ensured and the investment risks are moderated and contained? It will be argued that there has been an endeavor to resolve this by refashioning the global institutional architecture in ways that operate to increase the conditions of “stability” for large capital while increasing its bargaining power vis-√†-vis working people and citizens, as well as nation-states and even smaller capitalist enterprises.
Neoliberalism → neo-imperialism → neocolonialism.

Neoliberalism is a political theory based on economic liberalism as dominant over social and political liberalism and in which state power, captured by capital, is used to promote the interests of capital and rent-seeking. Neoliberalism uses financial and economic power backed by military power to dominate weaker states and to create vassals and colonies under the cover of economic theory.

Monthly Review
The Creation of the Next Imperialism — The Institutional Architecture
Jayati Ghosh | Professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India and executive secretary of International Development Economics Associates


Konrad said...

F. William Engdahl writes, “The new sanctions punish any Western banks or investors holding shares in sanctioned Russian companies even if they were bought before the new sanctions. It is the US Treasury’s new form of financial war, every bit as deadly as shooting wars, if not more so.”

Indeed. Shooting wars are horrible, but financial wars are statistically worse, although the violence of financial wars is quieter and less visible. A financial war causes hunger, unemployment and a depressed economy. This in turn causes a dramatic increase in murder, suicide, robbery, burglary, substance abuse, domestic violence, physical illness, homelessness, imprisonment, police brutality, and so on.

When we add all these up, we see that, statistically, financial wars cause more death, destruction, and depression than do most shooting wars.

A corollary to this is that, statistically speaking, poverty is the worst form of violence, and austerity is genocide (literally).

The BDS campaign against Israel is a type of financial war. BDS is the only thing that Israel fears, and the only thing that can dampen Israeli atrocities. Therefore Israel has managed to get BDS outlawed in more and more places. On 23 March 2017, AIPAC submitted its “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” to the U.S. Senate as S. 720, and to the U.S. House as H.R. 1697.

AIPAC’s bill will make it a federal felony to give any verbal or written support for BDS. Anyone caught violating AIPAC's law will be fined $250,000 to $1 million, and will be imprisoned for 20 years.

AIPAC’s bill has 55 co-sponsors in the U.S. Senate and 285 co-sponsors in the U.S. House. This shows how desperate the U.S. government is to serve Israel.

The current congress will end on to 3 Jan 2019. By that time, AIPAC’s bill must be passed by both houses and signed by Trump, or else AIPAC will have to submit its same demands to the next Congress.

Some U.S. states and cities have already outlawed support for BDS. This is always done quietly, so when the SWAT team kicks open your door, you will not know why. And since “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” you will not get clemency in court. And since most Americans (not all) are Israel’s little bi*ches, you will not get sympathy from the public.

And speaking of little bi*ches, I’m waiting to see if China joins the crowd. F. William Engdahl writes, “As part of the latest Trump tearing up of the nuclear agreement with Iran, the USA gives other countries like China or Japan or EU countries 180 days to end any purchase deals for Iran oil. European companies like Airbus that have multi-billion aircraft purchase orders from Iran will be forced to cancel. On 6 August, the purchase of US dollars, trade in gold and certain other metals, as well as aviation and the car industry will be sanctioned. After 4 November US sanctions will target Iran’s financial and oil institutions and sanctions reinstated against individuals previously on the US Treasury sanctions list.”

So the question is whether China will oppose this economic warfare, or else submit to it, and become Israel’s little bi*ch.

We already know that Russia is Israel’s little bi*ch. In response to Israel’s bombardment of Syria, the Russians invited Netanyahu to be honored in Moscow. There, Netanyahu ordered the Russians to not give the S-300 defensive systems to Syria. The Russians fell on their faces and said yes my lord. Then Putin held Netanyahu’s hand as they watched a vast parade of Russian military bi*ches go by.

Europe too is Israel’s bi*ch. Israel is not in Europe, and yet, four days ago, Europe awarded its Eurovision top prize to obese Israeli singer Netta Barzilai. (To award a European prize to a European would be “anti-Semitic.”)

Tom Hickey said...

China will assess its options and when it chooses to go to war with the US unless the US backs China into a corner or attacks.

Very dangerous times.

But TTB seem to have decided that the time to break China, Russia, and Iran is now or never. The window is closing fast.

Moreover, at least some of the US military people get that the US could lose bigly even if it went to war today.

The US politicians don't get it and assume it is a slam dunk.

China is bidding its time but in extremis it will act strongly and decisively, as will Russia.

Iran has the ability to destroy the Saudi and Gulf state oil fields, which would grind the global economy to a halt as the price of oil skyrockets.

Being energy independent, the US would be affected somewhat minimally but Europe would be knocked out of the game unless the US stepped in by shipping oil and gas. But that would decrease the amount available for use domestically.

This is very nuanced and complex game and no one is in a position to game it out accurately. There are also a lot of wild cards in the deck (both known unknowns and unknown unknowns).

Add to this that Americans are arrogant, rash, and victims of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Conversely, China and Russia are careful thinkers and strategists.

Time to get out Sunzi's The Art of War.

Bad scene.

Konrad said...

I think you are correct. The USA is still able to bully other nations, but the USA gets weaker each day as it is consumed by the cancer that is oligarchs and Wall Street. Most empires fall for the same reason: they get cancer.

Some Empires are destroyed by war (e.g. the Russian, German, Ottoman, Japanese, and Austro-Hungarian Empires). Some are destroyed by drought (e.g. the Mayan civilization). Most empires die from cancer. The British and French empires died from cancer. The U.S. empire has advanced stage 4 cancer, and it is inoperable.

Perhaps Russia and China are simply waiting for the inevitable death.