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Thread: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    A few articles, analyses and opinions concerning Iran and the broader Eurasian picture.

    First, from South Front, an analysis (video - visit the link to watch - and transcript) of Iran’s growing regional importance. This is a factually oriented review and considers regional alliances and plans - well worth the time to get an up to date view of Iran.

    Quote Iran: Emerging as a Global Force

    https://southfront.org/iran-emerging-as-a-global-force/

    Based on the analysis of Dennis Nilsen, Independent Political Analyst and Adjunct Professor at George Washington University and Northern Virginia Community College, Washington, DC

    In the time of pre-Islamic Persian Empire, the capitals of its ruling Achaemenid kings – the cities of Susa, Persepolis and Ecbatana – all sat astride the great Royal Highway, built by Darius the Great in the Fourth Century BC and which connected the Persian Gulf to the Aegean Sea, bridging East and West and promoting interregional trade and movement of people. The heartland of the Persian people, now governed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, continues to extract an international interest and is one of the few countries over which the Great Powers of the world continue to divide themselves. Of the five permanent members of the United Nations’ Security Council, the United States, Great Britain and France continually oppose its policies while Russia and China habitually support it.

    Internationally, Iran stands far behind the G20 countries, with a small and relatively underdeveloped economy and with a population of nearly 80 million out of the group’s 4.5 billion. However, when considered regionally, Iran’s position enlarges significantly. Of its neighbors, it holds the lead geographically and population-wise. Militarily it possesses a multi-layered defensive network capable of launching retaliatory missile strikes and, in case of invasion, forcing any attacker to pay heavily to capture territory. The Middle East and Persian Gulf is a region where two oppositional power groups have their front line:
    (1) the USA/Israeli/Saudi/Gulf State alignment and
    (2) the Iranian/Syrian/Russian/Hezbollah alignment
    .
    ...
    From and continues here: https://southfront.org/iran-emerging-as-a-global-force/

    ==========

    And here, an article about Iran’s plans to create transport links to the Mediterranean Sea:

    Quote Iran Mulls Major Route Through 3 States to Reach the Mediterranean Sea - Reports

    Iran plans to build a highway connecting Tehran with cities in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and provide the country with access to the Mediterranean Sea, Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper reported.

    According to the media outlet, Iranian authorities have already signed bilateral agreements on the construction of a 1,700 km long land route with authorities in Baghdad and Damascus.

    The project is expected to be implemented within two years. The highway will connect Tehran with ports in Syria and Lebanon (as well as with their capitals) and is expected to be used primarily as a transit route of Iranian goods to the ports in the Mediterranean Sea for their subsequent export, the newspaper noted.
    ...
    From and continues here: https://sputniknews.com/business/201...mediterranean/

    Also covered here: https://www.silkroadbriefing.com/new...mediterranean/

    Here is a map showing a possible route, from The Economist, September 2017


    And here is one from The Guardian, June 2017


    ==========

    And here is the latest from Pepe Escobar, in which he reviews various facets of Eurasian integration and specifically the relations between Iran, Turkey and Russia.

    Quote From Ankara to Moscow, Eurasia integration is on the move

    The Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union is spreading its wings and gaining strength, with some key projects, big players and big plans in the pipeline


    Iran's Hassan Rouhani, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia's Vladimir Putin after a summit on Syria on April 4. Photo: AFP/Adem Altan

    By Pepe EscobarApril 5, 2018 12:33 PM (UTC+8)

    As presidents Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani and Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Ankara for a second Russia-Iran-Turkey summit on the future of Syria, Moscow hosted its 7th International Security Conference attended by defense ministers from dozens of nations.

    ...

    A common commitment

    The first Russia-Iran-Turkey trilateral meeting on Syria was in Sochi on November 22 last year. Sochi led to the formation of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress and a 150-strong committee tasked to draft a new constitution for Syria. All these procedures essentially follow guidelines established by the 2012 Geneva peace process. Even the UN praised Sochi as “an important contribution to a revived intra-Syrian talks process.”

    For the Ankara meeting, the foreign ministers of Russia (Sergey Lavrov), Iran (Mohammad Javad Zarif) and Turkey (Mevlut Cavusoglu) met in Astana in early April to prepare the terrain.

    The final joint statement is unmistakable, emphasizing their common commitment to the sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity of Syria.

    The fact that Ankara is Putin’s first foreign trip after reelection speaks volumes. The Russia-Iran-Turkey strategy on Syria, incrementally developed in Astana, established a delicate balance of de-escalation zones – the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta, Idlib, Homs and the Syrian-Jordanian border – and humanitarian corridors, allowing scores of civilians to leave war zones, especially in the case of Ghouta.

    ...

    The fact that the SAA-Russia offensive in eastern Ghouta happened in parallel to the neo-Orwellian Operation Olive Branch by the Turks in the Kurdish canton of Afrin spells out a complex Russia-Iran-Turkey deal worked out in Astana – as diplomats confirmed to Asia Times.

    ...

    What is certain is that Ankara does not feel inclined to leave Syria’s northwest and north-central areas anytime soon. How Moscow and Tehran – not to mention Damascus – will react is an (explosive) open question.

    Get me my S-400s on time

    The Russia-Turkey partnership is all business – centered on a crucial energy, nuclear and weapons triangle.

    Russia, “at the onset of the creation of the nuclear industry in Turkey,” according to presidential aide Yury Ushakov, will start building Turkey’s first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu at a cost of $20 billion. The first reactor is expected to be ready by 2023, and the plant will be owned by Russia.

    Following a contract signed last December, Moscow will also deliver the S-400 surface-to-air defense system to Ankara before 2020, earlier than expected, “at the request of our Turkish friends and partners,” according to Putin. NATO is not exactly pleased.

    And then there’s the $12 billion Turk Stream gas pipeline, which is a work-in-progress – with the overland segment about to receive a go-ahead permit from Ankara. Several EU members are not exactly pleased.

    All that spells out Russian diplomacy carefully strengthening relations with pinpointed EU-NATO member states. Even as the ultimate target may be to convince NATO to de-escalate from Russia’s western borderlands, or from the Cold War 2.0 Iron Curtain from the Baltic to the Black Sea, that’s still a long way from a game-changer such as Turkey actually ditching NATO.

    A stalemate would certainly be reached as a concerted Russia-China charm offensive may lead Erdogan to consider the benefits of joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Ankara is deepening its business ties with both Pakistan, a full SCO member, and Iran, now on observer status and about to become a full member.

    Russia, China and Iran are the three key vectors of Eurasia integration, which includes everything from Pipelineistan to trade connectivity networks. Erdogan does not covet the role of sideshow spectator.

    And just like clockwork, an extra Russia-Iran integration node may be added as Tehran is expected to join the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union (EEU) before the end of the year. The free trade EEU – now harboring Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Vietnam – is attracting interest from everyone from China, India and Indonesia to Serbia, Israel and South American nations. Erdogan is certainly paying attention.

    And now it’s time to rebuild

    From the start, Syria was a Pipelineistan war. A key target was to ditch the prospect of a $10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline – a memorandum of understanding was signed in 2011 – and replace it with a Qatar to Turkey pipeline via a regime-changed Syria.

    Qatar and the House of Saud ended up certified geopolitical losers in Syria. The Saudi blockade of Qatar failed miserably. The new equation reveals Qatar – supported by Oman and Kuwait – getting closer to Iran and even closer to Turkey.

    Ankara operates the Tariq bin Ziyad military base in Qatar. Iran and Qatar are deepening cooperation in South Pars – the largest gas field on the planet. Stranger things have happened than foreseeing a pipeline finally being completed in the near future, carrying Iran-Qatar gas and transiting through Turkey, even as Russia and China remain actively involved in the Qatari gas industry.

    With the prospect of Syrian reconstruction finally at hand, Beijing will turbo-charge its plans to turn Syria into a key Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) node.

    On the Russian front, Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak has confirmed that energy giants Lukoil and Gazprom Neft are already focused on rebuilding – and developing – Syria’s badly damaged energy infrastructure, following a cooperation roadmap signed last February.

    The Russian companies have been invited to upgrade the Baniyas refinery and to build a new refinery in partnership with Iran and Venezuela. Damascus and Moscow will launch a direct shipping line to facilitate trade and set up a bank controlled by their own central banks.

    According to Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi, nearly US$1 billion worth of agreements on energy, trade and finance have already been signed. Previously, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad promised that nations which helped Syria fight terrorism “have the right to be at the forefront” of those restoring the country’s economy.

    That means, essentially, Russia, Iran and China. It remains to be seen what role – if any – will be played by Erdogan’s new Ottomanism.
    From here: http://www.atimes.com/article/ankara...egration-move/

    ==========

    So it’s all business is it?
    The dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.
    (= History moves ahead, no matter the criticism it may attract. The saying is found in many languages from the Middle East to India.)

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    More on roads, canals, transport links. It seems there are moves to revive the idea of building a canal across Thailand, connecting the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean (along the lines of the Suez Canal or Panama Canal).

    This project has been considered on and off for at least 250 years! But has always fallen through due to some political consideration. Now, the Chinese are in discussion with the Thais about going ahead with the Kra canal.

    Quote Thailand's Kra Canal: China's Way Around the Malacca Strait
    Rhea Menon

    The establishment of a Kra Canal in Thailand may soon become a reality as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The canal would permit ships to bypass the Malacca Strait, a crucial maritime chokepoint, amplifying the strategic significance of the project.

    Throughout history, there have been multiple attempts by the Thai monarchy and European colonists to capitalize on the commercial and strategic importance of the region by constructing a canal across the narrow isthmus (https://www.economist.com/blogs/bany...outh-east-asia) that connects Thailand to the Malay peninsula. In recent times, China’s global vision of a new Maritime Silk Road has renewed the attention on the possibility of developing the Kra Canal. The modern Kra or Thai Canal project would be connected to the various Chinese infrastructure and connectivity projects in the region.

    The maritime portion of the BRI is an ambitious connectivity project that aims at linking Southeast Asia to Europe through the Indian Ocean. In the last two decades, the construction of new ports and maritime facilities has contributed to the increasing competition among nations in the Indian Ocean region. As China continues to expand its presence across the maritime domain, the establishment of infrastructure projects, like the Kra Canal, is likely to influence the new emerging security architecture in the Indo-Pacific.

    Most recently, the Thai-Chinese Cultural and Economic Association and the European Association for Business and Commerce participated in a conference (https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Eco...8bn-Thai-Canal) on the Kra Canal in Bangkok on September 2017 and a follow-up event (http://kracanal-maritimesilkroad.com...canalthailand/) on February 1, 2018, signaling a greater interest in executing the project.

    Historical Significance

    The strategic purpose of the canal was initially recognized in the 19th century under King Rama I and King Rama IV as a quick way to send Thai troops (http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a406296.pdf) to counter Burmese invaders to the north of Thailand. Under King Rama V, the French sent Ferdinand de Lesseps (http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a406296.pdf), the engineer credited with building the Suez Canal, to raise the possibility of constructing the Kra Canal again. But, in an effort to appease the British who already had a strong foothold in the Malacca Strait, especially Singapore, the Thai King declined the offer (http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a406296.pdf).

    After World War II, Thailand was forced to sign Article 7 of the Anglo-Thai treaty of 1946 (http://www.larouchepub.com/other/201..._kra_asia.html), which prevented them from constructing the canal in an effort to ensure international political stability. It wasn’t widely discussed again until the 1980s, when the potential of the project was highlighted by the American-led Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) (http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/publi...cy_for-lar.pdf) and the Fusion Energy Foundation as a major economic advantage to an increasingly industrialized and globalized world. The report included the long-term advantage of the canal to Thailand and its neighbors.

    The onset of the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 1990s provided a major setback for the Kra project and it wasn’t until Yingluck Shinawatra’s prime ministerial term that the canal came back to the limelight. Yingluck Shinawatra’s commitment to infrastructure and development projects to boost the country’s economy reinstated the country’s positive approach to the possibility of the Kra Canal.

    The Canal as a Part of BRI

    The possibility of the Kra Canal becoming a reality has been greatly increased by China’s Maritime Silk Road (https://thediplomat.com/2014/05/chin...sion-revealed/) initiative and the Thai Canal Association (TCA) (http://kracanal-maritimesilkroad.com...canalthailand/), a group of influential former top brass soldiers advocating for the project. Based on reports, the canal will cost approximately $28 billion (http://www.theindependent.sg/the-rea...nced-by-china/) and take a decade to complete. China is reportedly willing to supply the financial and technological support to Thailand in hopes that the Thai canal reaches fruition.

    The new Thai Canal project comprises two portions. The first portion is seen as a counter to the “Malacca Dilemma.” The canal will link the South China Sea to the Andaman Sea, connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean respectively, drastically diminishing transit time across the busiest maritime shipping route (http://kracanal-maritimesilkroad.com...canalthailand/). Chinese companies are extremely interested in speeding up the project as over 80 percent of Chinese oil imports (http://www.businessinsider.com/maps-...ia-2017-4?IR=T) flow pass through the Malacca Strait. The second portion is the establishment of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). The new zone includes the addition of cities and artificial islands (https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Eco...project?page=2), which will enhance new industries and infrastructure in the region. This would make Thailand into a “logistic hub” (http://kracanal-maritimesilkroad.com...economic-zone/) and link Thailand to countries from all over the world.

    While the Chinese government has refrained from making any official claims, reports state that China and Thailand signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the canal project in Guangzhou in 2015. The MoU was signed by the China-Thailand Kra Infrastructure Investment and Development company (http://www.theindependent.sg/the-rea...nced-by-china/) and Asia Union Group. Apart from the Chinese interests in the region, however, the Thai government is trying to attract other international funding from Japan, South Korea, India, and ASEAN countries (https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Eco...project?page=2).

    Challenges

    While the construction of the canal is a lucrative idea with significant strategic implications, it is not without challenges. The major concerns associated with the construction of the project are environmental effects and Thai national security (http://kracanal-maritimesilkroad.com...erns/security/). The division of the isthmus has considerable environmental implications on the flora and fauna of the region. Chinese counterparts expect the Kra Canal to be similar to other Chinese megaprojects (https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Eco...8bn-Thai-Canal) like the Three Gorges Dam in China.

    A serious concern associated with the construction of the canal is its possible impact on Thai sovereignty and security. The southern portion of the country (south of the proposed canal) has seen an increasing divide between Thai Buddhists and Thailand’s Malay Muslims. The historical animosity between the two groups stems from 1902, when Thailand first annexed the independent state of Patani (https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/mus...thern-thailand). In the last few decades, due to the mismanagement of the government, the southern part of the country has seen an increase in insurgency attacks (https://thediplomat.com/2017/07/no-e...rn-insurgency/). The construction of the Kra Canal would further exacerbate the volatile region, creating further divisions within the country.

    Rhea Menon is a researcher at Carnegie India.
    From here: https://thediplomat.com/2018/04/thai...alacca-strait/

    Here’s another detailed article from October 2017 (so before the most recent conference) covering the Kra Canal: https://www.military.com/daily-news/...kra-canal.html

    There is also a site dedicated to this project: http://kracanal-maritimesilkroad.com/

    And here is a map of the location of the canal:


    ===========


    So, the current supporters of the canal project are Thai ex-military and the Chinese OBOR planners. Previously, the British had worked to discourage the building of this canal... they essentially had control of the Malacca strait and Singapore and hence controlled maritime trade in the region.

    Some questions come to mind:
    • Do the British now support the development of the project?
    • If so, what has changed?
    • Are they perhaps participating more than is superficially apparent in the Chinese OBOR plans?

    And then there is the careful placement of information towards the end of the article about Thai “national security concerns” and potential rebellion of Muslims in the area.
    • Is this a not so subtle threat?
    Last edited by Searcher; 12th April 2018 at 16:29.
    The dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.
    (= History moves ahead, no matter the criticism it may attract. The saying is found in many languages from the Middle East to India.)

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Here’s a nice handy list of the “insane elite” driving the world according to their own motivations:

    Quote ‘The Global Elite Is Insane’ Revisited
    BY TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 26 Mar 2018

    Robert J. Burrowes, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

    21 Mar 2018 – In 2014 I wrote an article titled ‘The Global Elite Is Insane’ (http://www.pravdareport.com/opinion/...lobal_elite-0/). I want to elaborate what I explained in the earlier article so that people have a clearer sense of what we are up against in our struggle to create a world of peace, justice and ecological sustainability.

    Of course, as I explained previously, it is not just the global elite that is insane. All those individuals – politicians, businesspeople, academics, corporate media editors and journalists, judges and lawyers, bureaucrats…. – who serve the elite, including by not exposing and resisting it, are also insane. And it is important to understand this if we are to develop and implement effective strategies to resist elite violence, exploitation and destruction but also avert the now-imminent human extinction driven by their insane desire for endless personal privilege, corporate profit and political control whatever the cost to Earth’s biosphere and lifeforms (human and non-human alike).

    But first, who constitutes the global elite? Essentially, it is those extremely wealthy individuals – notably including the Rothschild family, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Amancio Ortega, Mark Zuckerberg, Carlos Slim, the Walton family and the Koch brothers – as well as the world’s other billionaires and millionaires. See ‘Bloomberg Billionaires Index’ (https://www.bloomberg.com/billionaires/).

    Testament to their secretly and long-accumulated wealth and power, a 2012 investigation concluded that rich individuals and their families have as much as $32 trillion of hidden financial assets – which excludes non-financial assets such as real estate, gold, yachts and racehorses – in offshore tax havens. See the Tax Justice Network (https://www.taxjustice.net/).

    If this sum was devoted to programs of social uplift then starvation, poverty, homelessness and other privations would vanish immediately and environmental restoration projects as well as research, development and implementation of visionary sustainability initiatives would flourish instantly. The idea of an ‘underdeveloped’ or ‘developing’ national economy would vanish from the literature on Africa, Asia and Central/South America.

    In addition to these individuals, however, the global elite includes the major multinational corporations, particularly including the following – although, it should be noted, this list simplifies the picture considerably by ignoring the conglomerate nature of many of these corporations and not including many of the (more difficult to identify) private corporations that should be listed in any comprehensive presentation:
    • the major weapons manufacturers (such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, BAE Systems, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics)
    • the major banks (including Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, HSBC Holdings, JPMorgan Chase, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Bank of America) and their ‘industry groups’ like the International Monetary Conference
    • the major investment companies (including BlackRock, Capital Group Companies, FMR, AXA, and JP Morgan Chase)
    • the major financial services companies (including Berkshire Hathaway, AXA, Allianz and BNP Paribas)
    • the major energy corporations including coal companies (such as Coal India, Adani Enterprises, China Shenhua Energy, China Coal Energy, Mechel, Exxaro Resources, Public Power, Glencore and Peabody Energy) as well as the oil and gas corporations (such as Saudi Aramco, Gazprom, Rosneft, PetroChina, ExxonMobil, Lukoil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Petrobras, Chevron, Novatek, Total S.A. and Eni)
    • the major media corporations (including Alphabet [Google owner], Comcast, Disney, AT&T, News Corporation, Time Warner, Fox, Facebook, Bertelsmann and Baidu)
    • the major marketing and public relations corporations (including Edelman, W2O Group, APCO Worldwide, Deksia, BrandTuitive, Fearless Media, and Citizen Group)
    • the major agrochemical (pesticides, seeds, fertilizers) giants (including Bayer, Syngenta, Dow, Monsanto and DuPont)
    • the major pharmaceutical corporations (including Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Pfizer, Novartis, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline)
    • the major biotechnology (genetic mutilation) corporations (again including Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Pfizer and Novartis)
    • the major mining corporations (including Glencore Xtrata, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Vale, Anglo American, China Shenhua Energy, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, and Barrick Gold)
    • the major nuclear power corporations (including Areva, Rosatom, General Electric/Hitachi, Kepco, Mitsubishi, Babcock & Wilcox, BNFL, Duke Energy, McDermott International, Southern, NextEra Energy, American Electric Power, and Westinghouse)
    • the major food multinationals (including Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland Company [ADM], Nestlé, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Associated British Foods and Mondelez)
    • the major water corporations (including Veolia, Suez Environnement, ITT Corporation, United Utilities, Severn Trent, Thames Water, American Water Works).

    Of course, the global elite also includes elite fora where various combinations of elite individuals from the corporate, political, media and academic worlds gather to plan their continuing violence against, and exploitation of, the Earth and its inhabitants. This is intended to consolidate and extend t heir control over populations, markets and resources to maximize their privilege, profit and power at the expense of the rest of us and life generally. Among intergovernmental organizations, it includes the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

    A quick perusal of the agenda of such elite gatherings – including the World Economic Forum (https://www.weforum.org/), the Bilderberg Group (http://bilderbergmeetings.org/) and the Trilateral Commission (http://trilateral.org/) – reveals a comprehensive lack of interest, despite rhetoric and the occasional token mention, of pressing issues ranging from the threat of nuclear war and the climate catastrophe to the many ongoing wars, deepening exploitation within the global economy, extensive range of environmental threats and the refugee crisis, each of which they generated and now continue to deliberately exacerbate. See, for example, the agenda of the recent WEF meeting in Davos (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/...-to-davos-2018).

    Primary servants of the global elite include political leaders in major industrialized countries (who legislate to progressively expand elite power, profit and privilege, such as Donald Trump’s recent tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of social programs), the judges and lawyers (who defend elite power using the elite-designed and manipulated legal system: ever heard of a wealthy individual convicted in court and given any serious punishment or of any major corporation genuinely held to legal account for its exploitation of indigenous peoples or destruction of the natural environment?), as well as corporate media editors and journalists, entertainment industry personnel, academics, industry organizations (such as the European Round Table of Industrialists) that represent the interests of major corporations, so-called ‘think tanks’ (such as the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institution) and ‘philanthropic trusts’ (such as the Rockefeller, Carnegie and Ford foundations) all of which justify, ignore or divert attention from elite violence and exploitation.

    Importantly too, primary servants of the global elite include those who work within elite-directed agencies, notably including those in the so-called ‘intelligence community’ (such as the US CIA, British MI6, Russian SVR RF, Chinese Ministry for State Security and Israeli Mossad), who perform elite functions in relation to spying, surveillance and secret assassinations (particularly of grassroots activists), ostensibly under the direction of national governments. But it also includes many lower-level servants such as those who work as political lobbyists or in the bureaucracy as well as the education, police and prison systems.
    ...
    From here: https://www.transcend.org/tms/2018/0...ane-revisited/

    I particularly like the author’s term for biotech and GMO actors: gene mutilators!

    Step one if you’d like these folk to stop playing their anti-human power games?
    Stop buying and using their products and services to the largest extent you can and support small, local suppliers.
    The dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.
    (= History moves ahead, no matter the criticism it may attract. The saying is found in many languages from the Middle East to India.)

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    It might be timely right now with the escalation in Syria of the west versus Syria, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah (and maybe China), to consider the role of “russia the enemy” as a function in USA cultural identity.

    Quote The American Mission and the "Evil Empire:" The Crusade for a "Free Russia" since 1881
    "The contemporary vilification of Russia may be less about the rationalization of U.S. interests and policies and more about the affirmation of an American identity," stated David S. Foglesong, Associate Professor of History, Rutgers University, and former Short-Term Scholar, Kennan Institute. Speaking at a 9 June 2008 Kennan Institute lecture, Foglesong said that his book, The American Mission and the "Evil Empire:" The Crusade for a "Free Russia" since 1881, explores the American concern with liberating and remaking Russia over a span of 130 years. Using a wide array of both visual and rhetorical images of Russia in the United States, from advertisements and magazine covers to political cartoons and policy idioms, Foglesong demonstrated how the political crusade for a free Russia can be seen as part of the broader missionary enterprise that reflects America's national purpose, meaning, and identity.

    Foglesong identified some of the predominant images of Russia that occur currently in the U.S., and then linked them to their historical origins. In contemporary representations of Russia, Foglesong recognized strong traditions of mission and crusade, powered by dichotomous paradigms such as good and evil, light and dark, freedom and oppression, and democracy and autocracy. According to Foglesong, U.S. politicians today denounce and disparage Russian leaders in an effort to gain favor with certain domestic groups. The U.S. media, he noted, regularly invoke the image of Russia as a prison, with former Russian president Vladimir Putin as its warden.

    This contemporary picture of Russia as a prison, Foglesong observed, strikingly resembles images of Russia that were developed more than a century ago by George Kennan the Elder in his crusade against tsarist despotism. According to Foglesong, it was during this period that Russia began to function as America's "dark double," or rather, a foil for the reaffirmation of American national identity. "Russia was especially suited for this role of dark double," Foglesong posited, "because its people were believed to be—at least potentially—very much like Americans; they were white, nominally Christian, and had shared the frontier experience of expanding across a continent." Foglesong explained that these likenesses supported the sense that Russians could easily and naturally be converted, in both a political and religious sense, by the American mission.

    The religious language that George Kennan the Elder used to mobilize the American population—against "oppressive autocracy" and "the corrupt, superstitious, Orthodox Church"—established religious liberty as crucial to the broader reformation of Russia. Foglesong explained how this linkage became a decisive and persistent fixture of the American view of Russia, shaping the prevailing messianic and Manichaean attitudes of the U.S. toward Russia.

    "By 1905," Foglesong stated, "this fundamental reorientation of American views of Russia had set up a historical pattern in which missionary zeal and messianic euphoria would be followed by disenchantment and embittered denunciation of Russia's evil and oppressive rulers." The first cycle, according to Foglesong, culminated in 1905, when the October Manifesto, perceived initially by Americans as a transformation to democracy, gave way to a violent socialist revolt. Foglesong observed similar cycles of euphoria to despair during the collapse of the tsarist government in 1917, during the partial religious revival of World War II, and during the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s

    Crucial to Foglesong's analysis was how these cycles coincided with a contemporaneous need to deflect attention away from America's own blemishes and enhance America's claim to its global mission. For example, Foglesong argued that "a vital factor in the revival of the crusade in the 1970s was the need to expunge doubts about American virtue instilled by the Vietnam War, revelations about CIA covert actions, and the Watergate scandal."

    By tracing American representations of Russia over the last 130 years, Foglesong illuminated three of the strongest notions that have informed American attitudes toward Russia: (1) a messianic faith that America could inspire sweeping overnight transformation from autocracy to democracy; (2) a notion that despite historic differences, Russia and America are very much akin, so that Russia, more than any other country, is America's "dark double;" (3) an extreme antipathy to "evil" leaders who Americans blame for thwarting what they believe to be the natural triumph of the American mission. These expectations and emotions continue to effect how American journalists and politicians write and talk about Russia. "My hope," Foglesong concluded, "is that by seeing how these attitudes have distorted American views of Russia for more than a century, we may begin to be able to escape their grip."
    From here: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/publica...ee-russia-1881

    ===========

    The idea of “negative identity”, I.e. defining oneself in reference to some “other” that you are not, is a key part of cultural historian Morris Berman’s cultural critique of the USA (he has written trilogy: Why America Failed, Dark Ages America, and The Twilight of American Culture).

    Here is Morris Berman on the idea:
    Quote “Negative identity is a phenomenon whereby you define yourself by what you are not. This has enormous advantages, especially in terms of the hardening of psychological boundaries and the fortification of the ego: one can mobilize a great deal of energy on this basis and the new nation [the US] certainly did. . . . The downside . . . is that this way of generating an identity for yourself can never tell you who you actually are, in the affirmative sense. It leaves, in short, an emptiness at the center, such that you always have to be in opposition to something, or even at war with someone or something, in order to feel real.”
    From an essay in his book, A Question of Values
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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Here is a comment that speaks to the multiple levels at work in geopolitics. I am not sure about all the statements in the comment but I do agree with the main premise that what is orchestrated in public is a surface “play” that is just a part of the much deeper machinations going on behind the scenes.


    From commenter proper grander on The Saker blog:
    Quote proper gander on April 13, 2018 · at 8:38 pm UTC
    @ mike
    The truth? Neither Russia nor Anglo press briefings are about giving you, Joe public, the truth. As if you need to know! Why do you think one side or the other cares if you know? What difference can you make? ... If you want to understand geopolitics, you knowing the truth is not relevant. Rather, leveraging public opinion is a vital tool in conducting private negotiation about things never in the public view.

    What we are watching as the west and Russia face off over this clearly fake Skripal, gouta/Douma attack is simply a public negotiation, a public leveraging exercise to strengthen a hand in a secret matter. If you think that either one side or the other is telling the truth, then you are part of the leverage mechanism by which each side negotiates. Each side tries to lever the other and also dismantle each others levers. By exposing the weakness of Britains negotiating hand, Russia strengthens its own.

    For example, the truth about Skripal or E. Gouta attack is not the issue. The possibility of war is not the issue. These are the levers that move populations. To understand what is going on, you have to imagine or figure why such extraordinarily strong levers need to be applied to Russia at this point.

    My guess is that this is less about war and more about negotiating the terms of loss of face. E. Gouta was run by UK and French militants. It was their province in the geurrilla war the west is fighting in Syria, as Helmand province was under UK command in Afghanistan. The US gave up on this district when Tillerson acknowledged that Russian special forces would be going into E. Gouta to clear it out. This was the first open deployment of Russian troops in Syria. The US knew about it and said they wouldn’t intervene. It was a huge humiliation to the UK/French that would cost our men’s lives.

    Embedded with the terrorists were a good number of UK and Fr special forces, and trapped. Skripal was a clear warning to Russia, in advance of the Russian move, that a chemical false flag would be staged in response, and it laid the public leverage groundwork. Russian Chief of Staff warned that such an attack was expected, in other words, they understood that the Skripals were the first phase of a threat specifically aimed at preventing Russia from killing UK/Fr soldiers in Syria. This had to be a covert negotiation because we are not meant to be fighting alongside ISIS, and our populations do not know.

    In response the Russians plus allies flicked the bird and went through Ghouta so fast that not only did they capture two chemical factories and stocks before they could be used, but they also captured a number of UK/Fr special forces embedded with the terrorists. I have no doubt that some are dead, being interrogated right now.

    The whole chemical scam is not about the west wanting to provoke a world war, but about stopping a humiliation in E Gouta by threatening a very emotive public response to clearing Gouta. Since this failed to stop Russia, the continued threat of war and missiles and subs has been used as the lever by which troops and their dead mates are returned to the UK administration.

    In the end, at its simplest and humanest, the UK just lost a minor battle and major war, and there are British commanders reporting to May that they are losing men and they need the bodies back because parents want to know where their son is. Because we couldn’t fight, we propagandized and leveraged to slow the effort and minimise the damage. It failed. Not only that, the Russians have clearly laid down a marker that this method does not work.

    Once the UK/French assets are out, this negotiation tactic will disappear into the ether. Until next time.
    From: http://thesaker.is/briefing-by-offic...comment-510444

    I don’t think that the East Ghouta special force assets are the whole of it.... I think the 1000 year long antipathy towards the Eastern European civilisation is an important context. It was referenced by Joseph Farrell in his latest News and Views, posted by Helvetic here:
    http://projectavalon.net/forum4/show...=1#post1219526

    And the US cultural / societal “negative identity” requirement for an “other” as I posted just above, is also a part of it.
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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Awesome series of articles Searcher, really appreciating the geo-analysis you’ve been bringing to the table.

    M. S. King has written an excellent book called ‘The War on Putin’, which highlights how long the tension between the UK and Russia has been building. According to King the catalyst for major tensions started during the Afghan wars of the 1830’s, in what became known as ‘The Great Game’...

    http://www.britishempire.co.uk/force...nistan1839.htm
    Quote The reasons for the British invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in the late 1830s are many and varied. They mainly revolve around what one of the 'victims' of the event referred to as 'the Great Game'. This was the name given by Arthur Conolly to denote the shadow boxing between Russia and Britain for influence in Central Asia for much of the 19th Century. Relations between Russia and Britain were strained in the 1830s as the British feared the expansionist and strong armed tactics of Tsar Nicholas I who came to the throne in 1825. He sought a policy that expanded Russian influence southwards and eastwards. This was bringing Russian influence towards Britain's own 'Jewel in the Crown' India. India was still ruled by the East India Company, although the British government had constrained much of the company's freedom to act by this time and was ultimately guiding its policy on the wider international scene. The British were particularly concerned at Russian influence in Persia. They had heard reports that the Russians were helping the Shah of Persia beseige Herat on the western side of Afghanistan. If successful in taking this city, Russian influence would advance along the route that they would take if they were to invade India at any point in the future. But British alarm bells really began to ring when a rumour circulated that a Russian had arrived at the court of Dost Mohammed in Kabul. If this was true, then it was believed that Russian influence might extend to the borders of India itself. Steeped in classical education, most British decision makers knew the invasion route of India taken by Alexander the Great and assumed that the Russians would soon have the capability to make a similar incursion.
    Both world wars and a potential third on the horizon have been about the British maintaining their hegemon over India and the Middle East, and preventing Russia from establishing greater influence in the region.

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Quote Posted by Jayke (here)
    Awesome series of articles Searcher, really appreciating the geo-analysis you’ve been bringing to the table.

    M. S. King has written an excellent book called ‘The War on Putin’, which highlights how long the tension between the UK and Russia has been building. According to King the catalyst for major tensions started during the Afghan wars of the 1830’s, in what became known as ‘The Great Game’...

    ...

    Both world wars and a potential third on the horizon have been about the British maintaining their hegemon over India and the Middle East, and preventing Russia from establishing greater influence in the region.
    Thanks @Jayke for the acknowledgement and input.

    Yes, I agree that the two world wars seem to have pretty much been (at least from the Uk side) about the British need to maintain an empire and hegemony in the sea lanes for their trade empire.

    One of the things I have a growing suspicion of is that at some stage in the last century - somewhat behind the scenes of the public narrative - there was a kind of reversal of the US war of independence and the creation of a supra-state actor on the world stage, an Atlanticist faction that holds the interests of some (not all) powerful factions in the US and the UK.

    The term Atlanticist is sometimes used in media stories as a sort of loose descriptor for the “special relationship” between the UK and US (and sometimes as a kind of shorthand for the NATO alliance), but I think it’s more helpful to view it as a non-state, international actor, a kind of cartel of Anglo interests that include the money powers of the City of London and Wall Street (among others).

    I haven’t studied the Afghan War, but it certainly seems to be a good example of Great Power rivalry.

    I am busy reading a book called “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000” by Paul Kennedy. I have not got to the chapter on the Afghan War, but I’ll copy some of the key parts of the introduction on the Great Power rivalry in this period in the next post.

    Thanks for the book recommendation (The War on Putin).
    Last edited by Searcher; 15th April 2018 at 12:25.
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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    So, as mentioned above, here are some bits from the Introduction in Paul Kennedy’s book, “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers” (https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/b...9780307773562/).



    The book deals with the period from 1500 to 2000 but this part here is the summary from the introduction about the period between 1660 and just before WW1:

    Quote    The Great Power struggles which took place between 1660 and 1815, and are covered in Chapter 3, cannot be so easily summarized as a contest between one large bloc and its many rivals. It was in this complicated period that while certain former Great Powers like Spain and the Netherlands were falling into the second rank, there steadily emerged five major states (France, Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia) which came to dominate the diplomacy and warfare of eighteenth-century Europe, and to engage in a series of lengthy coalition wars punctuated by swiftly changing alliances.

    This was an age in which France, first under Louis XIV and then later under Napoleon, came closer to controlling Europe than at any time before or since; but its endeavors were always held in check, in the last resort at least, by a combination of the other Great Powers. Since the cost of standing armies and national fleets had become horrendously great by the early eighteenth century, a country which could create an advanced system of banking and credit (as Britain did) enjoyed many advantages over financially backward rivals. But the factor of geographical position was also of great importance in deciding the fate of the Powers in their many, and frequently changing, contests—which helps to explain why the two “flank” nations of Russia and Britain had become much more important by 1815. Both retained the capacity to intervene in the struggles of west-central Europe while being geographically sheltered from them; and both expanded into the extra-European world as the eighteenth century unfolded, even as they were ensuring that the continental balance of power was upheld.

    Finally, by the later decades of the century, the Industrial Revolution was under way in Britain, which was to give that state an enhanced capacity both to colonize overseas and to frustrate the Napoleonic bid for European mastery. For an entire century after 1815, by contrast, there was a remarkable absence of lengthy coalition wars. A strategic equilibrium existed, supported by all of the leading Powers in the Concert of Europe, so that no single nation was either able or willing to make a bid for dominance. The prime concerns of government in these post-1815 decades were with domestic instability and (in the case of Russia and the United States) with further expansion across their continental land-masses.

    This relatively stable international scene allowed the British Empire to rise to its zenith as a global power, in naval and colonial and commercial terms, and also interacted favorably with its virtual monopoly of steam-driven industrial production. By the second half of the nineteenth century, however, industrialization was spreading to certain other regions, and was beginning to tilt the international power balances away from the older leading nations and toward those countries with both the resources and organization to exploit the newer means of production and technology.

    Already, the few major conflicts of this era—the Crimean War to some degree but more especially the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War—were bringing defeat upon those societies which failed to modernize their military systems, and which lacked the broad-based industrial infrastructure to support the vast armies and much more expensive and complicated weaponry now transforming the nature of war.

    As the twentieth century approached, therefore, the pace of technological change and uneven growth rates made the international system much more unstable and complex than it had been fifty years earlier. This was manifested in the frantic post-1880 jostling by the Great Powers for additional colonial territories in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, partly for gain, partly out of a fear of being eclipsed.

    It also manifested itself in the increasing number of arms races, both on land and at sea, and in the creation of fixed military alliances, even in peacetime, as the various governments sought out partners for a possible future war. Behind the frequent colonial quarrels and international crises of the pre-1914 period, however, the decade-by-decade indices of economic power were pointing to even more fundamental shifts in the global balances—indeed, to the eclipse of what had been, for over three centuries, essentially a Eurocentric world system. Despite their best efforts, traditional European Great Powers like France and Austria-Hungary, and a recently united one like Italy, were falling out of the race. By contrast, the enormous, continent-wide states of the United States and Russia were moving to the forefront, and this despite the inefficiencies of the czarist state. Among the western European nations only Germany, possibly, had the muscle to force its way into the select league of the future world Powers. Japan, on the other hand, was intent upon being dominant in East Asia, but not farther afield. Inevitably, then, all these changes posed considerable, and ultimately insuperable, problems for a British Empire which now found it much more difficult to defend its global interests than it had a half-century earlier.
    ...
    So we have a multipolar Europe with intense inter state rivalry, technological transformation of the industrial base and the military, requiring robust financial resources.... and the cost of supporting empire becoming increasingly onerous....

    More on the cost of complexity in my next post.
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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    And here as mentioned above is a presentation from Professor Joseph Taintor on the costs of complexity, framed as the possible cause for societal collapse.

    He reviews how complexity is initially a helpful aspect of a society, working to synchronise activity for better productivity but that beyond a certain stage, the cost of complexity becomes increasingly difficult to bear and as a result there is a kind of downward spiral and collapse of a society. He uses the example of Rome and then infers ideas from this analysis to the US.

    This presentation was given in 2010.


    Quote The collapse of complex societies of the past can inform the present on the risks of collapse. Dr. Joseph Tainter, author of the book The Collapse of Complex societies, and featured in Leonardo Dicaprio's film The Eleventh Hour, details the factors that led to the collapse of past civilizations including the Roman Empire.

    2010 International Conference on Sustainability: Energy, Economy, and Environment organized by Local Future nonprofit and directed by Aaron Wissner
    ==========

    It seems to me that complex systems are not well understood and that our “intuitive” responses often seem to “make things worse” even though our intentions may be for the best.

    I posted earlier on this thread (http://projectavalon.net/forum4/show...1#post12112017) a link to some courses on complexity theory and systems.

    I learnt about complex systems very briefly in my engineering training (many years ago) and only very briefly, when we looked at them as part of electrical control theory (very mathematical). I again learnt about them very briefly when I worked in strategy consulting and we were trying to understand organisational and industry models. There used to be a course at MIT on what they called Business Dynamics (based on this book: https://www.amazon.com/Business-Dyna.../dp/007238915X), which used systems theories to model industries and companies.

    Whenever I have come across complexity theory and systems thinking it seems to be very helpful for gaining understanding and working out what to do and, more importantly, what not to do....

    I am interested in why more analyses are not done using systems theory.
    • Is holding a complex systems view something we don’t like to do because it somehow makes us feel smaller/less significant?
    • Or is it just that we don’t like to move beyond simple Manichaean good/bad thinking?
    • Or does it require too much “letting go” of closely held assumptions, which can be emotionally difficult?
    • Or other factors?

    More significant than these personal introspections is perhaps this:

    If we struggle with complex systems on a nationwide scale, what does that say about our ability to handle the significantly upscaled complexity we would deal with in a global system?

    And could we then infer that:
    globalisation programmes which seek to manage all this complexity (even with full technological control) may well be doomed to collapse and implosion?
    Last edited by Searcher; 15th April 2018 at 13:39.
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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Because of what I have learned here on Avalon, I would ask about the complexity of dealing with a galactic program, something that is not even factored in to our thinking. C.A. Fitts comes to mind. If what L.M. Howe was told is true, then we already are engaged in a Galatic Trading group, about which we, the public, know nothing.

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Quote Posted by Foxie Loxie (here)
    Because of what I have learned here on Avalon, I would ask about the complexity of dealing with a galactic program, something that is not even factored in to our thinking. C.A. Fitts comes to mind. If what L.M. Howe was told is true, then we already are engaged in a Galatic Trading group, about which we, the public, know nothing.
    Thanks Foxie, I’ll have to confine myself to the geosphere on this thread but I do agree with you that there is a planetary and galaxy “neighbourhood” and we really have no idea what is actually going on there. The heating up of the space industry sector in the last year or so indicates that things are picking up though so perhaps more will be come clear.
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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    A short comment with some history... all about the Middle East, Russia, The Ottomans, the British, French and recently the US Americans.... Sykes-Picot once again.

    Commenter Vuki on The Saker blog:
    Quote United Kingdom has supported the Ottoman Empire to keep Russia out of the Mediterranean. Russia claimed that her interest in the reign were mainly directed at protecting Orthodox Christians against the Muslim Turks. Britain feared that Russian domination of the Ottoman Turkey would threaten her imperial ambitions in the region. Britain and France sided with the Turks and the result was the Crimean War.

    Britain’s new ships introduced in early 1900, the HMS Dreadnought, powered by burning oil to produce steam, changed the British imperial policy in the region. The oil was easily accessible however it was controlled by the Turks. Britain Promised the Arabs independence if they came on board to fight the Turks. Because of this promise the Arabs joined the British and expelled the Turks from the region.

    While making promises to the Arabs the British and the French were meeting in secret and dividing the region into spheres of influence. After WWI this secret agreement (Sikes-Picot) Britain took control of Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Palestine, France took Syria and Lebanon and with it the oil resources. Arabs rebelled when they saw that they were lied to. Britain used Chemical weapons “to spread lively terror “as Churchill called the chemical attack in Iraq.

    From 1920 to the present Britain and France were joined by USA as imperial powers in the Middle East. Any democracy that demanded self-rule in the Arab world was replaced by US backed regimes which were in most cases a brutal dictatorship.

    So here we are back to Sikes-Picot agreements but now US has joined the other two liars France and Britain to continue the lies which the whole world can see.
    From here: http://thesaker.is/u-s-u-k-france-co...comment-511309
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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    On another track, here is some speculation on China’s geopolitical moves:

    Quote The die is cast.
    One never knows if China is involved or not, until it’s too late.

    Recommend: The Art of War, Sun Tzu
    “nobody wins a protracted war“.

    We (the Empire, that is) has gone too far for China not to have made/continue to make provisions.
    The worst thing for business is unpredictability, and with the arrival of Trump, the biggest difference to his opponent in the election is the ‘predictability’ factor.
    Read:
    a. lack of any coherent policy, domestic or foreign
    b. lack of central command
    therefore,
    c. complete lack of accountability and oversight
    d. absence of any expectation to keep to terms of any negotiation! (there was some Russian expression…)
    etc…..

    So we may assume that China, the country with the most coherent long term strategy, that we know of, is continuing to make provisions and likely (reluctantly) accelerating long-laid plans, i.e. advancement of petro-yuan as primary trade currency.

    testable predictions:
    1. expect accelerated interest and adoption of yuan as trade currency, noticeable in 2018
    2. expect increasing instability in the fiat-US$ based economy(ies) of the Empire, measurable by major stock indices, especially NY and London
    3. I think we can see increased downward pressure on ‘bubbled-out‘ real estate prices
    which will…
    4. put further downward pressure on ‘financial stability‘ of the entire empire’s ‘house-of-cards‘ economic system.
    5. I think we can clearly see the biggest collapse of the empire’s financial infrastructure during 2018!

    But ‘they’, the 0.1% already know this, and are in fact readying for it!

    Back to China, they surely know what is coming and are indeed taking active measures to mitigate fallout.

    They’ll need Russian military coordination for a while as the fragments of the Empire may well be even more dangerous, with some of them being completely infected by the parasite, and thus, even more willing to inflict wanton destruction upon the planet, ....

    China will enter into overt actions, if/when they have to.
    I believe that leaves us with just one variable, when.
    From here: http://thesaker.is/alas-this-is-far-...comment-511996

    I see an additional layer here: some portion of the UK establishment is working not so visibly (but not really secretly either) with some factions of the Chinese establishment. Witness their early joining of the Chinese Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a founding member in 2014:

    Quote UK to join China-backed Asian development bank
    LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said it has sought to become a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), making it the first Western nation to embrace the China-backed institution, but the United States reacted frostily to the development.

    The AIIB was launched in Beijing last year to spur investment in Asia in transportation, energy, telecommunications and other infrastructure. Analysts have said it could challenge the Western-dominated World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

    However, Britain’s finance ministry said on Thursday that the AIIB could complement work already done in the region by those organizations.

    Britain would meet other founding members this month to agree on the principles of the bank’s governance and accountability arrangements, the ministry said.

    Finance minister George Osborne said joining the bank would boost the country’s push to foster business and investment ties with countries in the region, chief among them China.

    “Joining the AIIB at the founding stage will create an unrivalled opportunity for the UK and Asia to invest and grow together,” he said in a statement.

    ...
    From here: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-br...0M82S720150313

    So the money power in UK (City of London?) is represented in the largest infrastructure build out globally, One Belt One Road.

    More about the AIIB here:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia...nvestment_Bank
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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Quote Posted by Searcher (here)
    It seems to me that complex systems are not well understood and that our “intuitive” responses often seem to “make things worse” even though our intentions may be for the best.

    I posted earlier on this thread (http://projectavalon.net/forum4/show...1#post12112017) a link to some courses on complexity theory and systems.

    I learnt about complex systems very briefly in my engineering training (many years ago) and only very briefly, when we looked at them as part of electrical control theory (very mathematical). I again learnt about them very briefly when I worked in strategy consulting and we were trying to understand organisational and industry models. There used to be a course at MIT on what they called Business Dynamics (based on this book: https://www.amazon.com/Business-Dyna.../dp/007238915X), which used systems theories to model industries and companies.

    Whenever I have come across complexity theory and systems thinking it seems to be very helpful for gaining understanding and working out what to do and, more importantly, what not to do....

    I am interested in why more analyses are not done using systems theory.
    • Is holding a complex systems view something we don’t like to do because it somehow makes us feel smaller/less significant?
    • Or is it just that we don’t like to move beyond simple Manichaean good/bad thinking?
    • Or does it require too much “letting go” of closely held assumptions, which can be emotionally difficult?
    • Or other factors?

    More significant than these personal introspections is perhaps this:

    If we struggle with complex systems on a nationwide scale, what does that say about our ability to handle the significantly upscaled complexity we would deal with in a global system?

    And could we then infer that:
    globalisation programmes which seek to manage all this complexity (even with full technological control) may well be doomed to collapse and implosion?
    The application of systems theory to group psychology is actually one of my core disciplines of research. If you’ve not heard of Clare Graves before, his books Levels of Human Existence (the best primer for the overall topological framework) and The Neverending Quest (goes deeper into descriptions of each of the levels) are essential.

    Globalisation comes out of the level 6 archetype, driven by ideology without regard to practicalities, it’s the level of bloated beurocracies, hedonistic waste, inefficiency and groupthink. Joseph Farrell would call these the ‘one-track mind’ people, only able to hold one generalised conception in consciousness at a time and as a result become blinded by their cognitive biases to real world problems. These are the people who are drawn to subjectivism, modern art, anti-music, a levelling of the hierarchies etc. I liken them to that stage in the development of a butterfly, where the caterpillars old structure begins to break down into a cellular soup (the swamp) from which the imaginal cells trigger a reorganisational pattern of development, a process from out of which, the caterpillar transforms into a butterfly.

    The imaginal cells in the Clare Graves system, would be the Level 7 and above, these are the people who see the world through a ‘multi-track’ lens, which means it isn’t until these higher octaves of consciousness have been activated within a persons neurology, that their brain becomes wired up to perceive the potential for systems theory and systems thinking.

    I’ve tried looking back through history to figure out who the good guys are and the bad guys are. I came to the conclusion that good and bad occur within every organisation and every social structure. The bloated beurocracies always precede a fall of social coherence, but from that fall several seeds of higher organisational thinking seem to sprout. I call the overall pattern, “fractals of excellence and cycles of decay”. The Nobel structures eventually succumb to greed, power and reckless waste. But as the social fabric begins to rot, that’s when people start to think about the values of nobility again, reorganise and form new institutions based on high values that progress societies forward. It’s how empires fall and new civilisations flourish. The Clare Graves system imo, would be a key component in Joseph Farrells topological metaphor, acting as a fractal propagation pattern that seems implicit in how the cosmos operates. And it certainly makes discerning what’s happening in geopolitics a hell-of-a-lot more transparent.
    Last edited by Jayke; 17th April 2018 at 06:56.

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    Quote Posted by Jayke (here)
    The application of systems theory to group psychology is actually one of my core disciplines of research. If you’ve not heard of Clare Graves before, his books Levels of Human Existence (the best primer for the overall topological framework) and The Neverending Quest (goes deeper into descriptions of each of the levels) are essential.
    Thanks for the recommendations @Jayke.

    I see the books can be purchased from Spiral Dynamics, which I have come across before in a programme I attended with the Leadership Circle assessment. It was one of about 20 different models of development that were suggested as further reading.... I will have to look more closely at it, thanks.

    Quote Posted by Jayke (here)
    Globalisation comes out of the level 6 archetype, driven by ideology without regard to practicalities, it’s the level of bloated beurocracies, hedonistic waste, inefficiency and groupthink. Joseph Farrell would call these the ‘one-track mind’ people, only able to hold one generalised conception in consciousness at a time and as a result become blinded by their cognitive biases to real world problems. These are the people who are drawn to subjectivism, modern art, anti-music, a levelling of the hierarchies etc. I liken them to that stage in the development of a butterfly, where the caterpillars old structure begins to break down into a cellular soup (the swamp) from which the imaginal cells trigger a reorganisational pattern of development, a process from out of which, the caterpillar transforms into a butterfly.
    Thanks for the various descriptors here. It sounds like a person at this level is a “prisoner” of his or her own ideology or system of thought.

    One of the things that is interesting is how CAPTIVating systems of thought are. Is it because these systems of thought are so often about abstract ideas, which because they are expressed in language, by their nature confine us to language... and then our language can become a mindspace from which it is almost impossible to escape if one continues to stay inside the system of language?

    Does this point to a side benefit of learning several languages? One then has several different systems of thought to compare and one can more easily “escape” the confines of just one? Interesting....

    Quote Posted by Jayke (here)
    The imaginal cells in the Clare Graves system, would be the Level 7 and above, these are the people who see the world through a ‘multi-track’ lens, which means it isn’t until these higher octaves of consciousness have been activated within a persons neurology, that their brain becomes wired up to perceive the potential for systems theory and systems thinking
    What are “imaginable cells”? Does this mean people / individuals or something else?

    When you speak of octaves here, this prompts me to think of harmonic doubling (octaves) and perhaps also the creation of 4ths, 5ths, 6ths etc. and their harmonics which allow music to have probably infinite light and shade, nuances and expression. Maybe the higher levels are about holding many shades/tones?

    Those Leonard Bernstein lectures (“The Unanswered Question”, here for those interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB7Z...jrbu6XHchNDCv9) that Dr Farrell sometimes refers to might be pertinent here - I will have to rewatch them (I tend to be a visual rather than auditory thinker so I find them quite tough!).

    Quote Posted by Jayke (here)
    I’ve tried looking back through history to figure out who the good guys are and the bad guys are. I came to the conclusion that good and bad occur within every organisation and every social structure.
    Yes, certainly, I don’t think there is any one person, organisation or programme that is perfect (despite our hopes and hero worship ideas that they might be) and, if one takes the Christian view, all individuals are redeemable from sin if they ask forgiveness. Whether systems and programmes are “redeemable from sin”, is another question: since a programme or structure is not a person and so perhaps cannot raise its own awareness level, perhaps such a system could be said to be “bad” and irredeemable?

    From my own experience working in a global role in an multinatoinal company, I can definitely say that good intentions and a desire to “make things better” can definitely create a lot of havoc and chaos leading to bad outcomes overall.

    Can we forgive ourselves for having good intentions but insufficient wisdom?

    Quote Posted by Jayke (here)
    The bloated beurocracies always precede a fall of social coherence, but from that fall several seeds of higher organisational thinking seem to sprout. I call the overall pattern, “fractals of excellence and cycles of decay”. The Nobel structures eventually succumb to greed, power and reckless waste. But as the social fabric begins to rot, that’s when people start to think about the values of nobility again, reorganise and form new institutions based on high values that progress societies forward. It’s how empires fall and new civilisations flourish.
    Although this sounds obvious and, if one looks at the cycle of birth, growth, decay and death in nature, it should BE fairly obvious that this is a process that’s needed... it’s not easy to come to terms with the fact that we and our various projects are also subject to this cycle.

    Maybe the real problem is in systems/programmes/structures/things “overstaying their welcome”?

    Quote Posted by Jayke (here)
    The Clare Graves system imo, would be a key component in Joseph Farrells topological metaphor, acting as a fractal propagation pattern that seems implicit in how the cosmos operates. And it certainly makes discerning what’s happening in geopolitics a hell-of-a-lot more transparent.
    Ah yes, the topological metaphor.... I don’t feel confident enough of my grasp of this nor do I know enough about Graves’ system to have a hope of answering this! But I’ll think about it.

    Thanks for the philosophical opening.
    The dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.
    (= History moves ahead, no matter the criticism it may attract. The saying is found in many languages from the Middle East to India.)

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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    So I came across a speech given by Qiao Liang, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Major-General in China, which although long, is a very good explanation and outline of how economic war is waged in the Great Game of geopolitics.

    I will post it here but am going to split it into parts since it is so long. The talk was given in before September 2015, which is when it was published in China.

    ============
    Side note:

    Qiao Ling was the co-author along with Wang Xiangsui of a book called “Unrestricted Warfare”, published in China in 1999. The book challenged the accepted ideas of war:
    Quote Qiao was quoted as stating that "the first rule of unrestricted warfare is that there are no rules, with nothing forbidden." Elaborating on this idea, he asserted that strong countries would not use the same approach against weak countries because "strong countries make the rules while rising ones break them and exploit loopholes . . .The United States breaks [UN rules] and makes new ones when these rules don't suit [its purposes]...
    ===========
    Back to the speech.

    Part 1:
    Quote PLA Strategist: The U.S. Uses Its Dollar to Dominate the World
    Reports | | September 20, 2015 | Report
    [Editor’s Note: In April, Qiao Liang, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Major-General, gave a speech at a book study forum of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) Central Committee and government office. Qiao is the PLA strategist who co-authored the book, “Unrestricted War.”
    In his speech, Qiao explained that he has been studying finance theories and concluded that the U.S. enforces the dollar as the global currency to preserve its hegemony over the world. The U.S. will try everything, including war, to maintain the dollar’s dominance in global trading. He also discussed China’s strategy, to rise as a super power, amid the U.S.’s containment.

    The following are excerpts from his speech.] [1]


    I. The Situation Surrounding China and the Secret of the U.S. Dollar Index Cycle

    A. The First Financial Empire in History

    People working on economics or in the finance field are probably more suited to talk about this topic. I will discuss this topic from the [national] strategy angle.

    On August 15, 1971, when the U.S. dollar stopped being pegged to gold, the dollar ship threw away its anchor, which was gold.

    Let’s take a step back. In July 1944, to help the U.S. to take over the currency hegemony from the British Empire, President Roosevelt pushed for three world systems: the political system – the United Nations; the trade system – the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which later became the World Trade Organization (WTO); and the currency financial system – the Bretton Woods system.

    The Americans’ desire was to establish the U.S. dollar’s hegemony over the world via the Bretton Woods system. However, from 1944 to 1971, the dollar didn’t gain that power. What blocked the dollar? It was gold.

    When the Bretton Woods system was set up, the U.S. promised the world that the U.S. dollar would be pegged to gold while every other country’s currency could peg to the dollar. One ounce of gold was fixed at US$35. With this promise, the U.S. couldn’t do anything according to its own will. In other words, the Americans couldn’t print an unlimited number of dollars. Whenever it printed a dollar bill, it had to add one additional ounce of gold into its treasury as a reserve.

    The U.S. made that promise to the world because it held eighty percent of the world’s gold reserve at that time. The Americans thought that, with that much gold in hand, it was enough to support the U.S. dollar’s creditability.

    However, it was not that simple. The U.S. stupidly got involved in the Korean War and the Vietnam War, which cost it dearly. The Vietnam War especially cost US$800 billion. The cost became so much that the U.S. couldn’t bear it. Based on the U.S.’s promise, every time it spent US$35, it meant a loss of one ounce of gold.

    By August 1971, the Americans had about 8,800 tons of gold left. They knew they were in trouble. Other people continued creating new trouble for them. For example, French President De Gaulle didn’t trust the U.S. dollar. He asked the French Finance Minister and Central Bank President and was told that France had about US$2.3 billion dollars in reserve. He told them to sell all of that for gold. Some other countries followed suit.

    Thus, on August 15, 1971, then U.S. President Nixon announced that the U.S. stopped pegging the dollar to gold. It was the beginning of the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, and also a way in which the Americans cheated the world. However, the world didn’t realize it.

    People trusted the U.S. dollar because it was supported by gold. The U.S. dollar had been the international currency, the settlement currency, and the reserve currency for over 20 years. People were used to the dollar. When the U.S. dollar suddenly lost its tie to gold, it then, in theory, became a pure piece of green paper. Why did people still use it?

    In theory people could stop using it., Bbut in practice what would people use for international settlement? Currency is a measure of value. If people stopped using the U.S. dollar, was there any other currency they trusted?

    Thus, the Americans took advantage of people’s inertia and forced the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to accept the U.S. condition that the world’s oil trade must settle in U.S. dollars. Previously, oil trades were settled in any international currency, but, since October 1973, settlement was limited to the U.S. dollar only.

    After unpegging from precious metal, the Americans linked their dollar to oil. Why? The Americans were very clear: people might dislike the U.S. dollar, but they could not live without energy. Every country needed development and thus needed to consume energy. In this way, the need for oil translated into the need for the U.S. dollar. For the U.S., this was a very smart move.

    Not many people had a clear understanding of this at the time. People, including economists and financial experts, didn’t realize that the most important thing in the 20th century was not World War I, World War II, or the disintegration of the USSR, but rather the August 15, 1971, disconnection between the U.S. dollar and gold.

    Since that day, a true financial empire has emerged, the U.S. dollar’s hegemony has been established, and we have entered a true paper currency era. There is no precious metal behind the U.S. dollar. The government’s credit is the sole support for the U.S. dollar. The U.S. makes a profit from the whole world. This means that the Americans can obtain material wealth from the world by printing a piece of green paper.

    This has never happened in the world before. Throughout mankind’s history there have been many ways for people to obtain wealth: an exchange with currency, gold, or silver, or using war to grab things (however, war is very costly). When the U.S. dollar became just a piece of green paper, the cost for the U.S. to make money became extremely low.

    Without the restriction of gold, the U.S. can print dollars at will. If they keep a large amount of dollars inside the U.S., it will certainly create inflation. If they export dollars to the world, the whole world is helping the U.S. to deal with its inflation. That’s why inflation is not that high in the U.S.

    However, once the U.S. exports its dollar to the world, it doesn’t have much money. If it continues to print money, the U.S. dollar will keep devaluating, which is not good for the Americans. Therefore, the U.S. Federal Reserve is not, as some people have imagined, a central bank that prints money irresponsibly. The Federal Reserve knows what “restriction” means. From its establishment in 1913 through 2013, the Federal Reserve only printed US$10 trillion.

    This may lead people to criticize China’s Central Bank, which has printed 120 trillion yuan (around US$20 trillion using an exchange rate of 6.2 yuan per dollar) since 1954. Actually this does not mean China is printing money without any restriction either. Since its opening up, China has earned a lot of U.S. dollars and also a large amount of dollars has flown into China as investments.

    China’s foreign currency control prevents the U.S. dollar from circulating in China. When the U.S. dollar comes, for circulation in China, China’s Central Bank has to print a corresponding amount of renminbi instead.

    However, a foreign investor can withdraw its money out of China after making money. Also we need to spend our foreign reserves to buy energy, products, and technology. As a result, a large amount of U.S. dollars has flown out of China, but a corresponding amount of renminbi has stayed in China. You can’t destroy those renminbi, so China ends up with more renminbi than its foreign reserve.

    China’s Central Bank admitted that it overprinted 20 billion yuan. This huge amount all stayed in China. This is a topic that I will discuss later – why we should make the renminbi an international currency.
    From here: http://chinascope.org/archives/6458/76

    Part 2 in the next post.
    Last edited by Searcher; 17th April 2018 at 09:32.
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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    And here is Part 2 of the talk:

    Quote B. The Relationship between the U.S. Dollar Index Cycle and the Global Economy

    The U.S. avoided high inflation by letting the dollar circulate globally. It also needs to restrain the printing of dollars to avoid a dollar devaluation. Then what should it do when it runs out of dollars?

    The Americans came up with a solution: issuing debt to bring the dollar back to the U.S. The Americans started to play a game of printing money with one hand and borrowing money with the other hand. Printing money can make money. Borrowing money can also make money. This financial economy (using money to make money) is much easier than the real (industry-based) economy. Why will it bother with manufacturing industries that have only low value-adding capabilities?

    Since August 15, 1971, the U.S. has gradually stopped its real economy and moved into a virtual economy. It has become an “empty” economy state. Today’s U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has reached US$18 trillion, but only $5 trillion is from the real economy.

    By issuing debt, the U.S. brings a large amount of dollars from overseas back to the U.S.’s three big markets: the commodity market, the Treasury Bills market, and the stock market. The U.S. repeats this cycle to make money: printing money, exporting money overseas, and bringing money back. The U.S. has thus become a financial empire.

    Many people think that imperialism stopped after the U.K. became weak. Actually, the U.S. has conducted a hidden imperialism through the U.S. dollar and has made other countries its financial colony. Today, many countries, including China, have their own sovereignty, Constitution, and government, but they are dependent on the U.S. dollar. Their products are measured in dollars and they have to hand over their material wealth to the U.S. in exchange for the U.S. dollar.

    This can be seen clearly in the cycle of the U.S. dollar index over the past 40 years. Since 1971, when the U.S. started to print money freely, the U.S. dollar index has been dropping in value. For ten years, the index has kept going down, indicating that it was overprinted.

    Actually, it was not necessarily a bad thing for the world when the U.S. dollar index went down. It meant an increase in the supply of dollars and a large outflow of dollars to other countries. A lot of U.S. dollars went to Latin America. This investment created the economic boom in Latin America in the 1970s.

    In 1979, after flooding the world with U.S. dollars for nearly 10 years, the Americans decided to reverse the process. The U.S. dollar index started climbing in 1979. Dollars flew back to the U.S. and other regions received fewer dollars. Latin America’s economy boomed due to an ample supply of dollar investment, but this suddenly stopped as its investments dried up.

    The Latin American countries tried to save themselves.

    Argentina, which once had its per capita GDP among the ranks of the developed countries, was then the first to drop into a recession. Unfortunately, then Argentine President Galtieri, who came to power through a military coup, chose to use a war to solve the problem. He turned his eyes toward the Malvinas Islands (which the British called the Falkland Islands), which are 400 miles away from Argentina. These islands had been under British rule for over 100 years. Galtieri decided to take them back.

    Of course, he couldn’t take on a war without the U.S.’s blessing. He sent an intermediary to inquire about the U.S.’s opinion. U.S. President Reagan answered it lightly: it was between you and the U.K.; the U.S. had no position and would stay neutral. Galtieri took it as acquiescence by the U.S. He started the war and took over the islands with ease. The Argentinians were crazy.

    However, then U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher claimed that they would absolutely not accept it and forced the U.S. to speak out. Reagan tore off his neutral mask, issuing a statement to blame Argentina for the invasion and to stand by the U.K. The British dispatched a task force with an aircraft carrier, travelling 8,000 miles, to take the Malvinas Islands back.

    At the same time, the U.S. dollar appreciated and international capital flew back to the U.S. just as the U.S. wished. When the Malvinas Islands War started, investors around the world concluded that a regional crisis had started in Latin America and the Latin American investment environment would deteriorate. So investors withdrew their capital from there. The Federal Reserve, at the same time, announced an increase in interest rates, which further accelerated the withdrawal of capital from Latin America.

    The Latin American economy dropped to the bottom. The capital leaving there went to the U.S.’s three big markets. It gave the U.S. the first bull market since the dollar had been unpegged from gold. The U.S. dollar index jumped from 60 to 120, a 100 percent increase.

    The Americans didn’t stop after making big money from their bull market. Some took the money they just made and went back to Latin America to buy the good assets whose prices had just fallen to the ground. The U.S. harvested handsomely from Latin America’s economy.

    If this had happened only once, it could be argued as a small probability event. As it has occurred repeatedly, it indicates an intended pattern.

    In 1986, after the first “ten years of a weak U.S. dollar following six years of a strong dollar,” the U.S. dollar index started to decline again. Ten years later, in 1997, the dollar index started climbing. This time, the strong dollar also lasted for six years.

    During the second ten-year weak U.S. dollar cycle, U.S. dollars went mainly to Asia. What was the hottest investment concept in 1980s? It was the “Asian Tigers.” Many people thought it was due to Asians’ hard work and how smart they were. Actually the big reason was the ample investment of U.S. dollars.

    When the Asian economy started to prosper, the Americans felt it was time to harvest. Thus, in 1997, after ten years of a weak dollar, the Americans reduced the money supply to Asia and created a strong dollar. Many Asian companies and industries faced an insufficient money supply. The area showed signs of being on the verge of a recession and a financial crisis.

    A last straw was needed to break the camel’s back. What was that straw? It was a regional crisis. Should there be a war like the Argentines had? Not necessarily. War is not the only way to create a regional crisis.

    Thus we saw that a financial investor called “Soros” took his Quantum Fund, as well as over one hundred other hedge funds in the world, and started a wolf attack on Asia’s weakest economy, Thailand. They attacked Thailand’s currency Thai Baht for a week. This created the Baht crisis. Then it spread south to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Then it moved north to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and even Russia. Thus the East Asia financial crisis fully exploded.

    The camel fell to the ground. The world’s investors concluded that the Asian investment environment had gone south and withdrew their money. The U.S. Federal Reserve promptly blew the horn and increased the dollar’s interest rate. The capital coming out of Asia flew to the U.S.’s three big markets, creating the second big bull market in the U.S.

    When the Americans made ample money, they followed the same approach they did in Latin America: they took the money that they made from the Asian financial crisis back to Asia to buy Asia’s good assets which, by then, were at their bottom price. The Asian economy had no capacity to fight back.

    The only lucky survivor in this crisis was China.
    From here: http://chinascope.org/archives/6458/76

    ==========

    A side note here: an aspect not addressed in this analysis are the actions of Nazi International (Dr Farrell’s term), or other non-state actors. Aside from from this, I think this is a helpful outline of the surface moves and plays.

    ==========

    Part 3 in the next post.
    Last edited by Searcher; 17th April 2018 at 09:43.
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    Default Re: Geopolitics, Culture, History,.... Things to explore about the world

    And here is Part 3:

    Quote C. Now, It Is Time to Harvest China

    It was as precise as the tide; the U.S. dollar was strong for six years. Then, in 2002, it started getting weak. Following the same pattern, it stayed weak for ten years. In 2012, the Americans started to prepare to make it strong. They used the same approach: create a regional crisis for other people.

    Therefore, we saw that several events happened in relation to China: the Cheonan sinking event, the dispute over the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Islands in Chinese), and the dispute over Scarborough Shoal (the Huangyan Island in Chinese). All these happened during this period. The conflict between China and the Philippians over Huangyan Island and the conflict between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands, might not appear to have much to do with the U.S. dollar index, but was it really that case? Why did it happen exactly in the tenth year of the U.S. dollar being weak?

    Unfortunately, the U.S. played with too much fire [in its own mortgage market] earlier and got itself into a financial crisis in 2008. This delayed the timing of the U.S. dollar’s hike a bit.

    If we acknowledge that there is a U.S. dollar index cycle and the Americans use this cycle to harvest from other countries, then we can conclude that it was time for the Americans to harvest China. Why? Because China had obtained the largest amount of investment from the world. The size of China’s economy was no longer the size of a single county; it was even bigger than the whole of Latin America and about the same size as East Asia’s economy.

    Since the Diaoyu Islands conflict and the Huangyan Island conflict, incidents have kept popping up around China, including the confrontation over China’s 981 oil rigs with Vietnam and Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” event. Can they still be viewed as simply accidental?

    I accompanied General Liu Yazhou, the Political Commissar of the National Defense University, to visit Hong Kong in May 2014. At that time, we heard that the “Occupy Central” movement was being planned and could take place by end of the month. However, it didn’t happen in May, June, July, or August.

    What happened? What were they waiting for?

    Let’s look at another time table: the U.S. Federal Reserve’s exit from the Quantitative Easing (QE) policy. The U.S. said it would stop QE at the beginning of 2014. But it stayed with the QE policy in April, May, June, July, and August. As long as it was in QE, it kept overprinting dollars and the dollar‘s price couldn’t go up. Thus, Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” should not happen either.

    At the end of September, the Federal Reserve announced the U.S. would exist from QE. The dollar started going up. Then Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” broke out in early October.

    Actually, the Diaoyu Islands, Huangyan Island, the 981 rigs, and Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” movement were all bombs. The successful explosion of any one of them would lead to a regional crisis or a worsened investment environment around China. That would force the withdrawal of a large amount of investment from this region, which would then return to the U.S.

    Unfortunately, this time the American’s opponent was China. China used “Tai chi” movements to cool down each crisis. As of today, the last straw to break the camel’s back has yet to occur and the Camel is still standing.

    The camel didn’t break. Therefore, the Federal Reserve couldn’t blow its horn to increase the interest rate, either. The Americans realized that it was hard for them to harvest China, so they looked for an alternative.

    Where else did they target? Ukraine, the connection between the EU and Russia. Of course there were some problems under Ukraine President Yanukovych’s administration, but the reason that the Americans picked it was not simply because of his problem. They had three goals: teach a lesson to Yanukovych who didn’t listen to the U.S., prevent the EU from getting too close to Russia, and create a bad investment environment in Europe.

    Thus, a “color revolution,” took place, which the Ukrainians themselves appeared to have led. The U.S. achieved its goal unexpectedly: Russian President Putin took over Crimea. Though the Americans did not plan it, it gave the Americans better reasons to pressure the EU and Japan to join the U.S. in sanctioning Russia, adding more pressure to the EU’s economy.

    Why did the Americans do this? People tend to analyze it from the geo-political angle, but rarely the capital angle. After the Ukraine crisis, statistics showed over US$1 trillion in capital left Europe. The U.S. got what it wanted: if it couldn’t get dollars out of China, it would get dollars out of Europe.

    However, the next step didn’t occur as the Americans planned. The capital out of Europe didn’t go to the U.S. Instead, it went to Hong Kong.

    One reason was that the global investors preferred China, which claimed the world’s number one economic growth rate, despite the fact that its economy started to cool down. The other reason was that China announced that it would implement the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect. Investors over the world wanted to get a handsome return through the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect.

    In the past, Western capital was cautious about entering China’s stock market. A key reason was China’s strict foreign currency control: you can come in freely but you can’t get out at will. After the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, they could invest in Shanghai’s market from Hong Kong and leave immediately after making a profit. Therefore, over US$1 trillion stayed in Hong Kong.

    This is why the hand behind “Occupy Central” has kept planning a comeback and has not wanted to stop. The Americans need to create a regional crisis for China, to get the money back to the U.S.

    Why does the U.S. economy rely so desperately on capital flowing back to its market? It is because, since 1971, the U.S. has given up producing real products. They called the real economy’s low-end or low-value-creating manufacturing industries garbage industries or sunset industries and transferred them to developing countries, especially China. Besides the high-end industries, such as IBM and Microsoft, that it kept, 70 percent of its people moved to finance and financial services industries. The U.S. has completely become a hollow state which has little real economy to offer investors a big return.

    The Americans have no choice but to open the door of the virtual economy, which is its three big markets. It wants to get the money from the world into these three markets so that it can make money. Then it can use that money to harvest other countries.

    The Americans only have this one way to survive now. We call it the U.S.’s national survival strategy. The U.S. needs a large amount of capital flowing back to sustain its daily life and its economy. If any country blocks that capital flow, it is the enemy of the U.S.
    From here: http://chinascope.org/archives/6458/76

    Part 4 coming in the next post.
    The dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.
    (= History moves ahead, no matter the criticism it may attract. The saying is found in many languages from the Middle East to India.)

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    Here is Part 4:

    Quote II. Whose Lunch Will China Take If China Rises Quickly?

    A. Why Did the Birth of the Euro Lead to a War in Europe?

    On January 1, 1999, the euro was officially born. Three months later, NATO started its war against Yugoslavia. Many people thought the U.S. and NATO fought the war to stop the Milosevic administration’s genocide of the Albanians, a scary humanitarian tragedy. After the war, this was soon proved to be a lie. The Americans acknowledged it was a setup, done jointly by the CIA and the Western media. The goal was to attack the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

    However, was the Kosovo War really to attack the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia? The Europeans first overwhelmingly believed in this theory. However, after this 72-day war, they found they had been cheated.

    When the euro was first created, the Europeans had a lot of confidence. The euro’s exchange rate to the U.S. dollar was 1:1.07. After 72 days of bombing, the Europeans found something was not right: Their euro was ruined. The euro lost 30 percent of its value; one euro could only get 0.86 dollars. The Europeans realized that they had been cheated. This was why later, when the U.S. insisted on having a war with Iraq, France and Germany were strongly against it.

    Some people say that the Western democratic countries don’t fight among themselves. It is true that, since World War II, the Western countries haven’t fought among themselves, but that does not mean they do not have any military conflicts or economic or financial wars among themselves.

    The Kosovo War was an indirect financial war that the Americans fought against the euro. On the surface it was against Yugoslavia, but the euro got the real hit. This was because the birth of the euro touched the U.S. dollar’s lunch. Before, the U.S. dollar was used to commanding 80 percent of the international transaction market. It dropped to 60 percent of the market. The euro cut a big pie from the dollar.

    The European Union (EU), a US$27 trillion economy when formed, surpassed the economy of the North American Free Trade Area (FTA) with a size of US$24-25 trillion, becoming the world’s largest economic zone. For such a large economy, of course the EU didn’t want to use the dollar to handle its trades, so it created the euro. The introduction of the euro took away one third of the dollar’s settlement business – as of now, 23 percent of the world trade is settled in euros.

    In the beginning, the Americans were not vigilant about the euro. It was a bit late when they found out that it would challenge the dollar’s hegemony. So the U.S. needed a way to press down the EU and the euro, as well as other possible challengers.

    B. What Is the U.S. Trying to Balance with Its “Asia-Pacific Rebalance” Strategy?

    China’s rise made China the new challenger [to the dollar’s global dominance]. The fights over the Diaoyu Islands and the Huangyan Island were the U.S.’s latest attempt to suppress its challenger.

    Though these two political events around China’s border didn’t cause a large amount of capital to flee out of China, the Americans achieved their partials goals – two of China’s efforts died. At the beginning of 2012, China, Japan, and South Korea were close to reaching an agreement on the negotiation of the Northeast Asia FTA. In April 2012, China and Japan had also reached a preliminary agreement on currency exchange and on holding each other’s national debts. However, the conflict over the Diaoyu Islands and Huangyan Island occurred, blowing away the FTA and the currency exchange.

    A few years later, China finally finished the negation with South Korea on the bilateral FTA, but it does not have much significance. Why? The original Northeast Asia FTA, once established, would include China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. It would be the third largest economy in the world, with a size of over US$20 trillion. Furthermore, it would likely expand south to integrate with the ASEAN FTA, forming the East Asia FTA. That would become the largest economy in the world, with a magnitude of over

    US$30 trillion in size.

    We can further imagine that the East Asia FTA could continue expanding: adding India and South Asia in the south, the five Central Asian countries in the north, and the West Asia countries (part of the Middle East) in the west. This Asia FTA would then have a scale surpassing US$50 trillion, more than the EU and U.S. combined. For such a big FTA, would it use the euro or the dollar to settle its internal trade? Of course not. This meant that the Asian Dollar would be born.

    I think, if indeed there is an Asia FTA, we should promote the renminbi to be the primary currency of Asia, just as the U.S. dollar first became the currency of North America and then the currency of the world. Pushing the renminbi to the international stage is far more than what we talked about previously with the “Renminbi going abroad” or letting the renminbi play a role in the “One Belt, One Path.” It will, along with the dollar and the euro, share the world.

    If the Chinese could think of this, couldn’t the Americans think of it? When the Americans announced that they would shift their focus to the East, they pushed the Japanese to create an issue over the Diaoyu Islands and they supported the Philippines to have a confrontation with China over the Huangyan Island. We can’t be so naive as to think this was just caused by the right-wing Japanese or by the Philippines President Aquino.

    It was the Americans’ deep and careful thought to prevent the renminbi from being a challenger to the dollar. The Americans were very clear about what they were doing. If the Northeast Asia FTA were formed, with its chain reaction, the renminbi, the euro, and the dollar each would claim one third of the world trading market. Then for the U.S., would it still have the currency hegemony if it had only one third of it? Without a real economy, if it were to lose its currency hegemony, how could the U.S. remain as the world’s dominator?

    Once one understands this, he will know why, behind every one of China’s problem, the U.S. is there. The U.S. is preventing China’s “trouble” [to the U.S.] up front. Thus it has created troubles for China everywhere. What does the U.S. try to “rebalance” in the Asia-Pacific? Does it really want to play the role of balancer between China and Japan, China and the Philippines, and China and other countries? Of course not. It has only one goal in mind: nullify the trend of China’s rise.
    From here: http://chinascope.org/archives/6458/76

    Part 5 in the next post.
    The dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.
    (= History moves ahead, no matter the criticism it may attract. The saying is found in many languages from the Middle East to India.)

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    And here is Part 5:

    Quote III. The Secret That the U.S. Military Is Fighting for the Dollar

    A. The Iraq War and Whose Currency Was Used for Oil Trades


    People all say that the strength of the U.S. is based on three pillars: currency, technology, and military force. Actually today we can see that the real backbone of the U.S. is its currency and military force. The backing of its currency is its military force.

    Every country in the world spends a large amount of money when it has a war. The U.S., however, is unique. It can also make money while spending money on a war. No other country can do that.

    Why did the Americans fight a war in Iraq? Many people would answer, “For oil.” However, did the Americans truly fight for oil? No. If they indeed fought for oil, why didn’t they take a single barrel of oil out of Iraq? Also, the crude oil price jumped to US$149 a barrel after the war from a pre-war price of $38 a barrel. The American people didn’t get a low oil price after its army occupied Iraq.

    Therefore, the U.S. fought the war not for oil, but for the dollar. Why? The reason was simple. To control the world, the U.S. needed the whole world to use the dollar. It was a great move in 1973 to force Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries to install the dollar as the settlement currency for oil trades.

    Once you understand that, you can understand why the U.S. fought a war in an oil producing country. The direct result of fighting a war in an oil producing country was to increase the price oil. Once the oil price shot up, the demand for the dollar also went up.

    For example, if you had US$38, you could buy a barrel of crude oil before the war. After the war, the price went up over four times to $149. Your $38 could only get you a quarter of a barrel. How could you get the other three quarters? You had to use your products and resources to trade the Americans for dollar. Then the U.S. government could openly, legitimately print more dollars. This was the secret.

    I also want to tell everyone, the U.S.’s war in Iraq was not only for that goal. It was also to keep the dollar’s hegemony. Saddam didn’t support terrorists or Al-Qaeda, nor did it have weapons of mass destruction. But why was he still hung? It was because he played a game between the U.S. and EU. After the euro was created in 1999, he announced that Iraq’s oil trade would be settled in euros. This angered the Americans, especially when many other countries followed suit. Russian President Putin, Iranian President Ahmadinejad, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez all made the same announcement. How could the Americans accept this?

    Some people may think what I said was a fairy tale. Let’s take a look at what the America did after it won the Iraq War. Before they arrested Saddam, the Americans rushed to form the temporary Iraqi government. The first order that the temporary government published was to announce that the Iraqi oil trade switched from the euro back to the dollar for settlement. This showed that America was fighting for its dollar.

    B. The Afghanistan War and the Net-flow of Capital

    Someone may say, “I can see that [the Americans fought] the Iraq War for the dollar. Afghanistan does not produce oil. Then it shouldn’t be for the dollar that the Americans fought the Afghanistan War. Also the war was after the September 11 attack. The whole world knew it was to revenge the Al-Qaeda and punish the Taliban which supported the Al-Qaeda.”

    Was that true? The Afghanistan War started a month after September 11. It started in a rush. By the middle of the war, American used up all of its cruise missiles. As the war continued, the U.S. Defense Department had to open its nuclear weaponry. It took out 1,000 nuclear cruise missiles, replaced the nuclear warheads with conventional warheads, and fired another 900 cruise missiles to win the war. Obviously the Americans were not ready for this war. Why did they rush into it?

    That’s because the Americans couldn’t wait any longer. Their financial life was in big trouble. In the early 21st Century, as a country without real material producing industries, to keep it running at the current level, the U.S. needed to have a net inflow of US$700 billion from other countries every year. After the September 11 event, the global investors showed great concern about the investment environment in the U.S. As a result, US$300 billion fled from the U.S.

    This forced the U.S. to fight a war quickly to stop the fleeing. It was not only to punish the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, but also to rebuild the global investors’ confidence. After the first cruise missiles exploded in Kabul, the Dow Jones index jumped up 600 points in one day. The capital that left the U.S. started to flow back. By the end of 2001, US$400 billion came back to the U.S. This showed again that the Afghanistan War was fought for the dollar and for capital.

    C. Why Will the Prompt Global Strike System Replace Aircraft Carriers?

    Many Chinese have great hope for China’s aircraft carrier. They have seen aircraft carrier’s importance in the past and China’s Liaoning ship let China join the rank of owners of aircraft carriers.

    However, though the aircraft carrier is still a symbol for a major power in the world, it is now only a symbol.

    That is because the aircraft carrier is a product of the logistics era. When Great Britain was at its peak, it pushed for global trade – it sent its products to the world and took back the world’s resources – so it needed a strong navy to ensure safety over the water. The creation of the aircraft carrier also served to control the ocean and the sea path. At that time the saying was, “Logistics is the key.” Whoever controlled the ocean controlled the flow of global wealth.

    Now capital is the key. A few strokes on a computer keyboard can move billions or even trillions [of dollars] of capital from one location to another. An aircraft carrier can keep up with the speed of logistics, but it can’t keep up with the flow of capital. It is thus unable to control global capital.

    Then today, what measure can keep up with the direction, speed, and volume of the flow of global capital over the Internet? American is developing a huge prompt global strike system that will allow it to hit any capital-concentrated region with ballistic missiles, supersonic planes, and cruise missiles that travel at five or ten times sonic speed. The U.S. claims that it can hit any place on the earth in 28 minutes. No matter where capital is, as long as the Americans do not want it to be there, its missiles can go there in 28 minutes and drive the capital out. This is why the prompt global strike system will inevitably replace aircraft carriers.

    Of course, the aircraft carrier also has its own value, such as safeguarding the sea path or conducting a humanitarian mission. It is a good platform over the sea.
    From here: http://chinascope.org/archives/6458/76

    And Part 6 in the next post (the last one).
    The dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.
    (= History moves ahead, no matter the criticism it may attract. The saying is found in many languages from the Middle East to India.)

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