Posted by seumasach on December 17, 2015
16th December, 2015
The announcement by Saudi Arabia on Tuesday regarding the formation of an Islamic military alliance to fight terrorism has caught everyone by surprise. The announcement came in the nature of a ‘joint statement’ purportedly by 34 Muslim states (here and here). The Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has personally identified himself with the initiative and held a rare press conference to claim that Riyadh would “coordinate efforts to fight terrorism” in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan. MbS announced that the alliance will be headquartered in Riyadh.
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Posted by seumasach on November 15, 2015
11th November, 2015
The paradox of the current global crisis is that for the last five years, all relatively responsible and independent nations have made tremendous efforts to save the United States from the financial, economic, military, and political disaster that looms ahead. And this is all despite Washington’s equally systematic moves to destabilize the world order, rightly known as the Pax Americana.
Posted in Global peace process | Tagged: BRICS(Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa), End of empire, global reset, new global financial architecture, Obama agenda, retreat from empire | Leave a Comment »
Posted by seumasach on November 9, 2015
“He also noted that Berlin’s interests are “more in line with those of Russia and China than those of the US,” echoing what German political scientist Matthias Küntzel in 2009 referred as the emergence of a “new constellation” of powers with USA/UK/France on one side and Russia/China/Germany on the other.
With the recent upgrade of Sino-British relationship to “comprehensive strategic partnership” and EU members clamoring to join China’s AIIB and ‘One Belt One Road’ initiatives earlier this year, the Beijing-Moscow-Berlin based constellation may actually be expanding.“
9th November, 2015
In 2003, Germany opposed US invasion of Iraq, and again in 2011 when US bombed the Gaddafi regime that tragically transformed Libya from a relatively stable country to a failed state.
Posted in Syria | Tagged: Chinese soft power, End of empire, Russian diplomacy | Leave a Comment »
Posted by seumasach on October 12, 2015
12th October, 2015
The long awaited coup against Jeremy Corbyn has finally materialized. Up to fifty Labour MPs are reported to be prepared to vote for military action in Syria were it to be put to a vote. What possessed them to put forward this woefully mistimed move is anyone’s guess. Perhaps they had been reading Socialist Worker and been inflamed by its reports of “some 10,000” barrel boms “dropped in the first six months of this year” and how Russia “wants to shore up Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which is crumbling, so it is attacking all forms of opposition.” In any case, they have decided that the time has come for another UK intervention to protect civilians by creating safe havens for them. That would involve, as Labour MP John Woodcock put it, “greater involvement from air forces to sustain a no-fly zone and will certainly require an end to the hand-wringing over President Putin’s disgraceful deceit in bombing anti-Assad rebels rather than Daesh [Isis].”
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Syria | Tagged: corbyn leadership, End of empire, Russian diplomacy | Leave a Comment »
Posted by seumasach on October 7, 2015
The operative word here is “still”: we still, despite the fact that Syrian airspace is under the control of the Russians with de facto US collaboration, are considering airstrikes against ISIL,
“But Cameron has also said he would only take the vote to parliament if he had a convincing plan for Syria after the bloody four-year civil war.’
So he won’t be taking it to a vote then! The people with a convincing plan are the Russians.
Yet, still, we hear the faint and forlorn cry of regime change:
“We need to demonstrate that we have a vision and a plan for what Syria should look like and I’m clear that means a government not led by Bashar Assad but led by someone who can bring the country together. You need a Syrian government that can appeal not just to the Alawites but to the Sunnis, the Kurds and Christians.”
Still, I agree with the last sentence, but that Syrian government is none other than that of Bashar-al-Assad!
The British government is in total disarray.
7th October, 2015
Britain is still seeking to conduct airstrikes in Syria even though Russia’s military action there is making the country extremely dangerous, Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, has said.
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Posted by seumasach on October 7, 2015
See also: New Cold War or War on Terror
“I have, for some time, been talking up a strategic alliance between Washington and Moscow as the great paradigm shift in global geo-politics. It was, admittedly, difficult to see how such a shift could come about. Indeed, the failure of Obama’s reset was just another amongst a litany of seeming failures. But if that remains a strategic goal of Obama, and I believe that it must, then War on TerrorII would be the key to its realization.”
7th October, 2015
Baku – APA. The Russian Defense Ministry and the Pentagon are working on an agreement to coordinate military flights in Syria, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry, RT reported.
Posted in Global peace process, Multipolar world, Syria | Tagged: East-West alliance against ISIL, End of empire, Obama's realist turn, retreat from empire, Russian diplomacy | Leave a Comment »
Posted by seumasach on October 4, 2015
4th October, 2015
I had the impression that Osborne’s recent and startling announcement of various deals with China, including the integration of our financial markets, no less, had been met by a stunned silence. But John McDonnell, the new Shadow Chancellor made this reference to them in his speech to the Labour Party Conference:
“I found the Conservatives’ rant against Jeremy’s proposal to bring rail back into public ownership ironic when George Osborne was touring China selling off to the Chinese state bank any British asset he could lay his hands on.”
“Ironic” is putting it mildly: The Chancellor has essentially admitted the failure of the Thatcher revolution and called in the state to rescue Britain. Only it’s not the British state, which no longer knows how to run anything unless it’s into the ground. You might have thought the left would be enjoying this “irony” a bit more than they appear to be. More, for example, than William Keegan writing in the Guardian who is dismayed that Osborne is “kowtowing to a communist Chinese government” and denounces his “cloying approach to a regime notorious for its abuse of human rights”. Keegan is something of a soft left neo-keynesian and , therefore, those criticisms could be largely expected. What about the hard left?
In an article in Socialist Worker Alex Callinicos gives us the line. He is, of course, scrupulously politically correct:
“The problem here isn’t that the companies are foreign-owned.”
Why shouldn’t foreign companies take the place over? Don’t they have rights too? The problem lies elsewhere. Callinicos points out that Chinese companies are “still subject to considerable state control” and that capital “is still not allowed to flow freely in and out of the country” However, Callinicos insinuates this is changing and China is embracing the free movement of capital.
So we have two major threads in this leftist discourse: on the one hand, dealing with China is wrong because China is communist and , on the other , it is wrong because China is no longer communist.
Callinicos goes on to denounce the fact that Chinese investment will be centered on the the City of London at the expense of the “national base of companies operating in Britain.” Callinicos’ thinking in all this is particularly fuzzy. Capital exported from China can still be and is controlled by the Chinese leadership for all their rhetoric about free markets. This is particularly true of the banks. As Dend Xaoping himself used to say:”Whatever you do keep control of the financial system!” In addition, I don’t believe the behavior of Chinese banks will merely replicate that of our own: riding high on bubbles and carry trades, manipulating rates and prices and laundering funds of dubious origin. If they did China certainly wouldn’t be in the position it is today. Anyway, as Osborne announced, there is already large scale Chinese investment in the real economy, largely in infrastructure and housing. There is every reason to believe that this would increase with funding available from Chinese banks operating in the City. The principles of Chinese finance contradict completely those the City of London. We are, therefore, looking at systemic change in the British financial system.
The British left desperately need to get to grips with this issue and quickly. This is because they have essentially abandoned their neo-Keynesian perspectives and accepted the need to balance budgets. But how can they reconcile this with their claim to be anti-austerity. Balanced budgets imply genocidal austerity unless there is some countervailing tendency. That tendency is incoming investment something which, seemingly unbeknown to the left, we have been beneficiaries of for decades. All that is happening,as Osborne’s policy shows, is that the form this investment takes is changing.
For a long time China was obliged to accept fiat pounds to cover its massive trade surplus with Britain and reinvest these pounds in UK government bonds. This was win/win for Britain and largely explains the surprising prosperity of post-Thatcherite Britain. The bankruptcy of the City and its subsequent bailout changed all that. China ceased to buy new UK government bonds (note that, in addition to its massive trade deficit, Britain no longer has a current account surplus not including trade) although they agreed not to divest from existing bonds, sinking sterling. Instead, they wanted to reinvest the surplus funds in the UK. So, on the one hand, we can no longer fund our deficit with Chinese bond purchases and on the other we have the prospect of hundreds of billions worth of inward investment. So balanced budgets and Osborne’s policy are two sides of the same coin. It would be truly reckless to embrace balanced budgets without wholeheartedly welcoming the incoming investment which will render the outcome far less austere. The left are caught in a dilemma which they must resolve if they don’t want to be outflanked by the Tories.
Posted in British economy | Tagged: bankrupt Britain, China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership, Chinese soft power, End of empire | Leave a Comment »
Posted by seumasach on September 28, 2015
28th September, 2015
Once again I have been proved to be wrong. I had interpreted the decentralization of the British state as the key development linked to inward, especially Chinese, investment and predicted that a Tory/SNP duopoly would dominate Britain in the coming years. But Osborne’s barnstorming performance in China, following on from Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, opens up completely different perspectives. His idea of integrating our financial markets with those of China suggests nothing less than a Chinese takeover of the City of London rather than piecemeal investment in Britain’s devolved regions/nations. This chimes in too with Corbyn’s plan for a National Development Bank which is tantamount to central planning, hitherto an absolute taboo. It is not difficult to see that the kind of infrastructure overhaul that Britain requires cannot be done merely through devolved assemblies and combined councils but must be Britain wide and centrally planned. It also makes much more sense for China to finance the whole thing through the banks which can issue credits for projects as required just as they would do in China. And so we go from the Panarin-type post-imperial scenario of fragmentation to one of systemic transformation of Britain as a whole.
Such a radical revolution is inconceivable without opposition. It is striking that as Osborne blazes the trail down China way, the knives are out for Cameron back home. Cameron has been until recently vociferous in his claim that Assad must go. He obviously had an intuition that someone must go: but it has turned out to be himself. He has called it a stab in the back but the blows are coming from all sides, decisively from Michael Ancram, et tu Ancram, who has raised the specter of Libya, hitherto the politically correct war, ominously drawing the parallel between Cameron and Libya and Blair and Iraq. This is deadly and given the reality of what was done to that once thriving country and its catastrophic consequences for Africa and Europe this just won’t go away. Of course, just about all of us were implicated, but all the more need for a scapegoat.
An excellent analysis of recent events in Australia by WSWS focuses on a conflict between the ardently pro-Chinese Malcolm Turnbull and “powerful sections of the Australian military and intelligence apparatus as well as the media and political establishment, not least within the Liberal-National Coalition”This presumably parallels tensions here and it looks like Cameron has found himself on the wrong side of this argument. In other words, the proposed financial merger with China will go ahead over the dead bodies of assorted dead-enders, security state and MIC interests and neocons. In these historic September days the Blairites and the Cameronites have commenced their exit from the British political scene.
Is this another Glorious Revolution? In 1688 certain Dutch financial interests were invited to take over Britain to establish a financial system orientated towards war and empire. This time we have invited a foreign power in the to rebuild an economy gutted by a failed hegemonic project. We have come a full circle since this marks decisively the end of empire and a new historical époque in which war will no longer be the normal state of affairs
Posted in British economy, Multipolar world | Tagged: China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership, Chinese soft power, End of empire, National Investment Bank | Leave a Comment »
Posted by seumasach on September 7, 2015
6th September, 2015
It’s my overarching thesis that the world is in the waning days of a historic multi-decade experiment in unfettered finance. As I have posited over the years, international finance has for too long been effectively operating without constraints on either the quantity or the quality of Credit issued. From the perspective of unsound finance on a globalized basis, this period has been unique. History, however, is replete with isolated episodes of booms fueled by bouts of unsound money and Credit – monetary fiascos inevitably ending in disaster. I see discomforting confirmation that the current historic global monetary fiasco’s disaster phase is now unfolding. It is within this context that readers should view recent market instability.
Posted in Financial crisis | Tagged: financial collapse, End of empire | Leave a Comment »
Posted by seumasach on August 22, 2015
4th March, 2015
One of the very first Indian words to enter the English language was the Hindustani slang for plunder: “loot”. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, this word was rarely heard outside the plains of north Indiauntil the late 18th century, when it suddenly became a common term across Britain. To understand how and why it took root and flourished in so distant a landscape, one need only visit Powis Castle.
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Posted by seumasach on July 22, 2015
15th July, 2015
The historic agreement signed by the P5+1 and the government of Iran marks a turning point in America’s relations with the world. It reverses the momentum of nearly fifteen years of constant warfare and puts us on a path to peace.
Posted in Iran, Global peace process | Tagged: End of empire, Obama agenda, Obama's realist turn, retreat from empire | Leave a Comment »