In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Speech by Cristina Fernandez, President of Argentina at UN

Posted by seumasach on October 9, 2014

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New silk roads and an alternate Eurasian century

Posted by seumasach on October 6, 2014

Pepe Escobar

Tom Dispatch

5th October, 2014

During Iraq War II (2003-2011), I used to imagine that the Chinese leadership would gather weekly in the streets of the Forbidden City, singing and dancing to celebrate American idiocy.  Year after year, when the U.S. might have faced off against a rising China, as its leaders had long had the urge to do, it was thoroughly distracted by its disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq.  I can’t help but think that, with a bombing campaign revving up in Iraq and now Syria, the boots of 1,600 military personnel ever closer to the ground, and talk of more to come, with Iraq War III (2014-date unknown) predicted to go on for years, they are once again rejoicing.  For all the talk in recent years about the Obama administration’s military “pivot” to Asia, there can be no question that its latest Middle Eastern campaign will put a crimp on its Pacific “containment” planning.

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Europe, NATO (re)engage Russia

Posted by seumasach on October 3, 2014

M.K.Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

3rd October, 2014

I wrote ten days ago that I could hear the faint sound of the West beating the retreat in Ukraine. Now I can say the retreat is gathering momentum. The Barack Obama administration may have signaled that the worst is over in the standoff with Russia.

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Biden blames US allies in Middle East for rise of ISIS

Posted by seumasach on October 3, 2014

Biden spins a likely tale but sometimes, for example, when you’re completely reversing your foreign policy, some rewriting of history is necessary

RT

3rd October, 2014

US Vice-President Joe Biden has accused America’s key allies in the Middle East of allowing the rise of the Islamic State (IS), saying they supported extremists with money and weapons in their eagerness to oust the Assad regime in Syria.

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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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Ukraine back to square one

Posted by seumasach on September 28, 2014

Lavrov: Kiev Decision to Delay EU Association Agreement in Line With Yanukovych’s Proposal

RIAN

28th Septemebr, 2014

MOSCOW, September 28 (RIA Novosti) – The decision of the Kiev authorities not to enact the Association Agreement with the EU immediately is similar to the proposal made by Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovych 10 months ago, at the time when it was possible to avoid the bloodshed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday.

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“The information war for Ukraine”

Posted by seumasach on September 27, 2014

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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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President expresses concern about globalized terrorism

Posted by seumasach on September 27, 2014

IRNA

25th September, 2014

New York, Sept 25, IRNA — President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday expressed concern about the globalized terrorism and questioned the world leaders whether they have been united against the extremists?

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