In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

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Putin just made the most important speech of his career

Posted by seumasach on October 29, 2014

“Anyone looking to Putin to lead some great crusade against the US is on the evidence of this speech going to be disappointed.  As some have noticed, what he actually wants from the US is not conflict but cooperation.”

The West Should Listen More Closely

Alexander Mercouris

Russia Insider

29th October, 2014

Last Friday, Vladimir Putin delivered the single most important speech on foreign policy since he became President of Russia in 2000.  Mikhail Gorbachev said he thought it was the best, and most significant speech Putin has ever made.

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Will China ride to the rescue of Britain’s dilapidated infrastructure?

Posted by seumasach on October 28, 2014

Telegraph

27th October, 2014

China could plough more than £100bn into Britain’s ageing infrastructure by 2025, according to economic forecasters, as questions are raised over the costs of a third high speed rail link across the Pennines in the North of England, connecting Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Hull.

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Wal Thornhill and David Talbott on Rosetta

Posted by seumasach on October 27, 2014

26th October, 2014

Today, the chief principals of the Thunderbolts Project, Wal Thornhill and David Talbott, take a closer look at the latest information from the Rosetta mission to Comet 67P.

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Who cooked the Hong Kong broth?

Posted by seumasach on October 27, 2014

Now that Britain is a strategic partner of China they have gone rather quiet on the Dalai Lama and so-called democracy protests. Now they are going a step further: the BBC report referred to below is as deadly as it is understated. Linking the Hong Kong protests as well as Pussy Riot and so much else to the Oslo Freedom Forum leaves little doubt as to who is really behind such movements: a brief google search into the family tree of that body suffices.

M.K.Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

27th October, 2014

The sensational report by the BBC that the protests in Hong Kong known as Occupy Central were in reality not spontaneous or indigenous, but were choreographed carefully two years ago and executed by foreign forces and that around 1000 Chinese activists could be “trained demonstrators” would corroborate the reports from Moscow to this effect a few weeks ago — expect that the Russian reports unwaveringly pointed finger at the US as mentoring the entire enterprise.

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The forgotten coup

Posted by seumasach on October 23, 2014

-how America and Britain crushed the government of their ‘ally’, Australia

John Pilger

23rd October, 2014

Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him.

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Gordon Brown accuses David Cameron of setting trap for Scottish voters

Posted by seumasach on October 2, 2014

It’s more a joint Cameron/Salmond trap and Brown has correctly noted its two key elements: firstly, to weaken the Labour Party and secondly, to devolve spending and tax-raising powers in such a way as to undermine central government, or Big Government as the Republican right call it. But Labour have well and truly fallen into the trap and it’s too late now to extricate itself.

Guardian

30th Septemebr, 2014

Gordon Brown has accused David Cameron of setting a trap for Scottish voters by trying to dupe them into accepting significant cuts in voting powers for Scottish MPs at Westminster.

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US openly approves Hong Kong chaos it created

Posted by seumasach on October 1, 2014

Tony Cartalucci

Activist Post

30th September, 2014

The “Occupy Central” protests in Hong Kong continue on – destabilizing the small southern Chinese island famous as an international hub for corporate-financier interests, and before that, the colonial ambitions of the British Empire. Those interests have been conspiring for years to peel the island away from Beijing after it was begrudgingly returned to China in the late 1990s, and use it as a springboard to further destabilize mainland China .

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The Scottish referendum and the decentralization of Britain

Posted by seumasach on September 28, 2014

Cailean Bochanan

28th September, 2014

When Nicola Sturgeon spoke back in January of the inevitability of change whatever the outcome of the referendum and appealed to the “No” campaign to come forward with their proposals for further devolution to Scotland she must have known that a response would be forthcoming. All political parties had been focused for some time on the issue of the decentralization of the British state and the referendum was to be the cue for these ideas to come to the fore. However, from the point of views of both campaigns this issue was to become the elephant in the room that no one wanted to see. The “Yes” campaign , notwithstanding Sturgeon’s remarks, continued to insist that it was all or nothing for Scotland, that not only was further devolution not on the agenda but that a “No” vote would see the rollback of devolution already conceded. The “No” campaign evoked the enduring stability of the union and an era of innocence in which good old Great Britain was not about to be eviscerated. As a result, it was only when “panicked” representatives of the leading UK parties came to Scotland late in the campaign, following polls suggestive of a “Yes” vote, that it became evident to all that further devolution was indeed on the agenda. The “panicked” UK leaders, far from making up policy on the hoof, were, however, merely putting forward what they had always intended in an opportune manner which would give themselves credit post-referendum. They were also shoring up the position of Alex Salmond and the SNP post-referendum who could claim that their campaign and a surge in support had forced the hand of the Westminster establishment.
That major constitutional change was on the cards was made clear in a speech in April by Labour leader, Ed Milliband, a speech which was studiously ignored by everyone. In it he blamed overcentralisation for all Britain’s ills and promised to devolve power and spending to English cities and regions. He also revealed the real point behind this “bringing of power to the people” as the Tories like to call it:
“With power of this sort comes responsibility.
These changes will only bring new jobs, greater prosperity, if the towns and cities are willing to put the private sector at the heart of decision making.”
Welsh Conservative leader Stephen Crabb was to pick up on the same theme as he launched the pre-panic, Tory devolution response in July,:
“I am very comfortable with the way devolution is developing. It is quite an exciting landscape that is emerging for devolution. So fiscal devolution I see as particularly important because of strengthening accountability for devolved government.”
This, he thought, would help to “challenge socialist orthodoxy” citing the influence of leading Thatcherite ideologue,Lord Brian Griffiths, in his conversion to devolution.

Any doubts about major constitutional change were dispelled in Cameron’s speech following the announcement of the referendum result. He called for English votes on English issues, effectively a call for English devolution. It also launched the 2015 election campaign with a shot across the bows of the Labour as Cameron sensed blood and seized the moment when the Labour/Tory duopoly gives way to a Tory/SNP axis which could dominate Britain for a long time to come. Labour’s hesitancy regarding English devolution doesn’t mean they won’t support it: they have no choice, but they wish to delay it beyond the next election. If Milliband has written their suicide note in the above mentioned speech they can be forgiven for pacing the room in a state of high agitation before finally putting the bullet through their head.
The British ruling class have embarked upon a major transformation of Britain. Milliband’s speech gives an indication of what they have in mind. The essence of this change is more easily grasped within the context of US politics and the politics of the Republican right. The goal is the end of Big Government. As Britain heads towards another crisis resembling that of 2008 it will face similar dilemmas to those they faced then. In 2008 they bailed out the banks without taking control of them. This time overwhelming popular pressure could force their hand and result in nationalization. Similar pressures could lead to renationalization of the utilities and even land and the housing stock. These measures are unacceptable and dangerous to the post-Thatcherite oligarchy. By devolving spending and tax raising powers to the regions they are vetoing that particularly noxious, in their view, outcome. Admittedly, the state is bankrupt anyway but they will not be presiding over the bankruptcy of Britain with the tax-payer as the priority creditor, the state taking on our assets and our debt to our international partners being resolved through intergovernmental negotiation as I have been proposing for some time. Instead, they will proceed through “the market”.
It could be objected that there is little left to privatize. But Britain’s privatization programme is really just a corporate welfare scheme whereby public funds are transferred to private companies. The companies would not otherwise be making money. This process is inordinately expensive to the British state and is not sustainable. The British state will then withdraw its largesse and as it does so foreign states or their agencies will take its place. This process is already well underway as James Meek has documented and is about to accelerate dramatically. The British oligarchy instead of going down for a very, very long time have opted to be bought out by the Chinese and retired to the Cayman Islands.
It is a great irony that the “yes” campaign regard further devolution as a well earned consolation prize and continue to shout betrayal in the form of its non-implimentation. They have been joining in the fun too, dancing on the the grave of the Labour Party but it is also the grave containing the corpse of their neo-Keynesian spending strategies. The active component of the “yes” campaign is basically on the left, contemptuous of Scotland’s national status except when referring to it, hilariously, as “one of the richest nations on earth”, and these heady days have been like the last faint echo of Blair’s, 1997 “Things can only get better” surge, before we finally sink into the abyss. So they’re celebrating their own demise too: it’s just one internal contradiction too far.
That the coming crisis of Western imperialism will have a neo-liberal solution is at first sight dismaying but it has its logic. I was a struck by the insistence of a Chinese academic, speaking at at Glasgow University’s Confucius Institute, on the resolution of Britain’s debt and current account deficit with China via the market. What, I thought, did we have to sell back to them. Not much, but we can let them relocate factories which produce for our market to Britain. That way, they don’t have to accept sterling fiat money in payment and we can start to correct our trade deficit. That is definitely win-win. They can also facilitate this by taking control of our utilities and building other essential infrastructure. Finally, they can take over our banking system, after its major shareholders and creditors have taken the hit,opening up control of a significant portion of Britain’s land and real estate for re-industrialization. The British government has already taken us some way down this path and we have signed a formal strategic partnership with China and are now proud issuers of Renminbi-denominated UK government bonds. Other sovereign wealth funds will, of course, participate. Just as free-market ideology furnished us with a cover for imperialism in the 18th and 19th century, so it now provides a cover for a policy for end of empire. This is anxiously sought by the Chinese and the Global South and their investments will not be just about profit but drawing the sting out of Anglo-American imperialism. In exchange for life-saving inward investment Britain will de facto renounce its imperial or hegemonic project and become a neutral, demilitarized state. Perhaps Scotland could become a Chinese concession just as we once had concessions in China. That would be poetic justice and leave us staring survival in the face.
The constitutional transformation will go through and it will also be as many have pointed out a dog’s dinner. But the goal is purely negative from the point of view of the British oligarchy: to veto Big Government. However, it contains other potentialities as Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein was quick to grasp when he pointed out that, despite the “no” vote, “the British state is not static”. Britain is not suitable for federalisation and the regionalization of England is a completely synthetic agenda which is being foisted on a reluctant people. Hence another irony: the “No” vote may be the real “break up of Britain” agenda. The constitutional agenda compromises Britain’s sovereignty and at a certain point when all the wars and tumult of empire are a fading memory that issue of sovereignty will return and, in all likelihood, resolve itself as four sovereign nations in these islands.

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Iran offers to be West’s natural ally

Posted by seumasach on September 27, 2014

The anti-IS campaign is enabling the West to bury old rivalries and completely transform its foreign policy effectively embracing multipolarity

M.K.Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

26th September, 2014

The overwhelming majority with which the House of Commons in London passed a few hours earlier the resolution endorsing the government’s proposal to join the US-led military strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq catapults Prime Minister David Cameron to a pivotal role in President Barack Obama’s strategy. With Britain by its side, US doesn’t need the ramshackle “coalition of the willing”, while without Britain, even six Saudi Arabias within that coalition wouldn’t have meant much.

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China launches a gold exchange

Posted by seumasach on September 23, 2014

China set to win Asia gold pricing race with new exchange

Times of India

18th September, 2014

SINGAPORE/SHANGHAI: China launched a gold exchange open to foreign players for the first time on Thursday, putting the world’s top bullion buyer on track to win a race to set the benchmark price in Asia.

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EU’s new sanctions against Russia delayed

Posted by seumasach on September 9, 2014

 

Apparently, it doesn’t occur to the Europeans that their own actions have an influence on the course of the ceasefire. By continuing to target Russia they may embolden Right Sector deadenders.

The News

9th September, 2014

The EU’s ambassadors agreed on the new restrictions last Friday in Newport, Wales, and the sanctions were due to be approved on Monday so that they would come into force on Tuesday. However, the representatives of some countries argued that the enforcement should be pushed back in the light of the ceasefire announced in eastern Ukraine. 

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