Friday, February 2, 2024

New Westphalian World Order

 Neither Here Nor There,

  Michael Hudson ,  Perfecting Imperialism
​  Look at the background of the people who’ve led the World Bank. From the very beginning, John McCloy was in the army. The most notorious World Bank leader and most corrupt was Robert McNamara, of course. And then you have the last few World Bank presidents who come directly from the US national security state. So, if you look at their background, you may ask, why is it that they come from the military or the national security state?
​  Well, the reason is that they look at the World Bank as a key to the US strategic control of other countries’ economies. And there are two basic spheres economically that the United States uses as the buttress of its balance of payments and its ability to impose sanctions on other countries. The first is oil, which explains why the United States has blown up the Nord Stream pipelines and why it’s isolated Venezuela. It used oil to be able to control the energy of foreign countries. And the second point is agriculture. And that is probably the most serious and most negative, destructive element of all of the World Bank’s policies. And I have a chapter on that in my Super Imperialism.
​  The function of the World Bank is to prevent other countries from growing their own food, to make sure that the World Bank does not give economic support to domestic agriculture. One of the most fateful requirements of the World Bank is that it only makes foreign exchange loans. Now, foreign exchange loans mean they’re going to develop the export sectorthey’re going to develop roads and transportation for export commodities. The government will bear the cost of developing mining, of developing oil and minerals, of deforestation, but it won’t develop domestic industry. And if you look at agricultural development in the United States, most of this agricultural development spending is domestic...  Not a single 
(World Bank)​ loan has been made for that unless it’s for plantation agriculture and export crops. So, the idea is that other countries, Latin America, Africa, South Asia, should depend on American farmers for grain and food exports and they should export plantation products that do not compete with American agriculture...
..The World Bank has opposed land reform. It’s opposed any of the domestic rules that any country such as the United States, or the European Common Agricultural Policy, have used to support domestic food production. So, what the World Bank has done is subsidize import dependency on American grain. And the export competition with other World Bank customers to compete among themselves at products that do not compete with American or Western Europe production. So, the World Bank is basically an arm of economic warfare by the United States and NATO against the global majority...
..The important thing to know is that there was an alternative to the World Bank. It was called the World Bank for Economic Acceleration, and it was promoted by the American senator from Florida, Senator Smathers, and was called the Forgash Plan after Morris Forgash, who was the head of the containerized shipping. The World Bank for Economic Acceleration was to finance land reform, it was to finance domestic subsidy for agriculture and domestic import displacement, and of course that was opposed by the United States.
​  I found out that it was opposed because a copy of the plan was sent to my former boss at Chase Manhattan Bank, John Deaver. Deaver said, advised David Rockefeller, that every country that is engaged in land reform has ended up a political enemy of the United States. Well, that’s because the United States subsidizes assassination squads to kill any advocacy of land reform, so that the United States can control the land of the country’s most​-notorious United Fruit Company...
​..The idea of the World Bank is to turn Latin American, African, and other economies into extensions of the US economy, not serving their own domestic economy...
..You need an alternative set of international institutions whose goal will be to promote domestic development and domestic independence in food, basic consumer goods independence, energy independence, instead of dependency on the United States...
​..De-dollarization doesn’t mean having an alternative currency like the euro or the dollar or the yen. It doesn’t mean a domestic currency at all. De-dollarization means how do you avoid having to keep your reserves in dollars where the United States can simply confiscate them...
..You’ll have, of course, some holdings of other countries’ currencies, just as every country holds other countries’ currencies to stabilize the foreign exchange market.
  But the big problem is what do you do to keep your international reserves, the savings of the country, in a kind of global money? In other words, what do you do to replace the role that gold had prior to 1971? The problem is that the growth in international reserves itself is a function of American military spending. Almost all these dollars that have been ended up in the bank accounts of foreign governments have been injected into the world economy, not by foreign trade, not even by foreign investment, but by foreign military spending. Again, I showed the statistics in Super Imperialism...
..Well, the United States will not let these countries do what the United States does to them... It will only let these dollars be invested in US Treasury securities, or maybe in the stock market, or maybe you can buy scattered real estate... The problem is the fact that these reserves are unnecessary in the first place. The reserves measure imbalance in international trade, investment, and payments. And if the world worked the way it’s supposed to in the economic textbooks, countries would be in balance...
​..If you didn’t have American military spending, if you didn’t have the American looting of global south countries, you wouldn’t have this growth in reserves. And the fact is you wouldn’t need them. You would need basically some international credit..​.
..The fact is that access to international credit, to international reserves, is used as a kind of political leverage to force them to follow laws that will not tax American and European firms, that will let them use accounting stratagems to pretend not to earn any profits at all at home, but to take them in offshore tax havens and offshore banking centers..
..The whole international financial system is a massive pretense to avoid paying taxes to the countries that are the host countries for investment and to avoid making companies responsible for the economic damages that they cause to the environment and to the rest of the economy...
..Why did the United States go off gold in 1971? It’s because General de Gaulle in France and Germany were doing the same thing, were cashing in all of the dollars that were thrown off by American military spending, mainly in Southeast Asia but around the world in the 800 military bases. If you had the gold reserve or a reserve controlled by the global majority, then the United States could not simply finance its military spending by printing dollars...
..So basically, neoliberalism is financialization, privatization, untaxation, and a lot of political assassination, a lot of killing of people who oppose this...​ As the head of the CIA said, "we’re murder inc." and who do they murder? They murder people who are trying to explain and expose this whole imperialistic process​...
..In fact, all of this increase in wealth by the financial class, by the real estate class, by the insurance class and what I call the FIRE sector- finance, insurance and real estate- has been created in the form of economic rentNot wages, not profits, but land rent, monopoly rent and financial returns...​ 
​..Well, how can the rental yield go up if you’re deindustrializing the economy?​ ...  The banks will say, let’s give this mortgage to the Federal Reserve as a deposit and the Federal Reserve will give us real money for it. Let the Federal Reserve and the government take the big loss. That’s the only hope of getting out of this because 80% of bank loans are mortgage loans.​..

​  Pepe Escobar,  Will the Hegemon Ever Accept a New Westphalian World Order?
​  A new book by scholar Glenn Diesen, The Ukraine War & The Eurasian World Order, out in mid-February, asks the make-or-break question of the young 21st century: will the Hegemon accept a new geopolitical reality, or will it go Captain Ahab on Moby Dick? ...
..Diesen offers a concise, easily accessible mini-history of how we got here.
​  He starts to make the case harking back to the Silk Roads: “The Silk Road was an early model of globalization, although it did not result in a common world order as the civilizations of the world were primarily connected to nomadic intermediaries.”
​  The demise of the Heartland-based Silk Road, actually roads, was caused by the rise of the thalassocratic European powers reconnecting the world in a different way. Yet the hegemony of the collective West could only be fully achieved by applying Divide and Rule across Eurasia.
​  We did not in fact had “five centuries of western dominance”, according to Diesen: it was more like three, or even two...
​..What is indeed The Big Picture now is that “the unique world order” produced by controlling “the vast Eurasian continent from the maritime periphery is coming to an end”
Mackinder is hit by a train
  Diesen hits the nail on the head when it comes to the Russia-China strategic partnership – on which the overwhelmingly majority of European intellectuals is clueless​...
..Diesen shows how “Russia can be considered the successor of the Mongolian nomads as the last custodian of the Eurasian land corridor”, while China revives the Ancient Silk Roads “with economic connectivity”. In consequence, “a powerful Eurasian gravitational pull is thus reorganizing the supercontinent and the wider world.”...
..Witte “wanted to end Russia’s role as an exporter of natural resources to Europe as it resembled ‘the relations of colonial countries with their metropolises’”.
​  And that implies going back to Dostoyevsky, who argued that “Russians are as much Asiatics as European. The mistake of our policy for the past two centuries has been to make the people of Europe believe that we are true Europeans (…) It will be better for us to seek alliances with the Asiatics.” Dostoyevsky meets Putin-Xi.
​  Diesen also needs to go through the obligatory references to Mackinder’s “heartland” obsession – which is the basis of all Anglo-American geopolitics for the past hundred and twenty years.
​  Mackinder was spooked by railway development – especially the Trans-Siberian by the Russians – as it enabled Moscow to “emulate the nomadic skills of the Scythians, Huns and Mongols” that were essential to control most of Eurasia.
​  Mackinder was particularly focused on railways acting “chiefly as feeders to ocean-going commerce”. Ergo, being a thalassocratic power was not enough: “The heartland is the region to which under modern conditions, sea power can be refused access.”
​  And that’s what leads to the Rosetta Stone of Anglo-American geopolitics: to “prevent the emergence of a hegemon or a group of states capable of dominating Europe and Eurasia that could threaten the dominant maritime power.”
​  That explains everything from WWI and WWII to the permanent NATO obsession in preventing a solid rapprochement between Germany and Russia, by any means necessary.
​  Diesen offers a succinct perspective of Russian Eurasianists of the 1920s such as Trubetskoi and Savitsky, who were promoting an alternative path to the USSR.
​  They conceptualized that with Anglo-American thalassocracy applying Divide and Rule in Russia, what was needed was a Eurasian political economy based on mutual cooperation: a stark prefiguration of the Russia-China drive to multipolarity.
​  Savitsky in fact could have been writing today: “Eurasia has previously played a unifying role in the Old World. Contemporary Russia, absorbing this tradition”, must abandon war as a method of unification.
​  Cue to post-Maidan in 2014. Moscow finally got the message that trying to build a Greater Europe “from Lisbon to Vladivostok” was a non-starter. Thus the new concept of Greater Eurasian Partnership was born. Sergey Karaganov, with whom Diesen worked at the Higher School of Economics, was the father of the concept.
​  Greater Eurasia Partnership repositions Russia “from the periphery of Europe and Asia to the center of a large super-region.” In short, a pivot to the East – and the consolidation of the Russia-China partnership.
​  Diesen dug up an extraordinary passage in the Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping, proving how the Little Helmsman in 1990 was a visionary prefiguring multipolar China:​  
​  “In the future when the world becomes three-polar, four-polar or five-polar, the Soviet Union, no matter how weakened it may be and even if some of its republics withdraw from it, will still be one pole. In the so-called multipolar world, China too will be a pole (…) Our foreign policies remain the same: first, opposing hegemonism and power politics and safeguarding world peace; and second, working to establish a new international political order and a new international economic order.”
​  Diesen breaks it down, noting how China has to a certain extent “replicated the three-pillared American System of the early 19th century, in which the U.S. developed a manufacturing base, physical transportation infrastructure, and a national bank to counter British economic hegemony.”
​  Enter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI); the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); the AIIB; the de-dollarization drive; the China International Payment System (CIPS); increased use of yuan in international trade; the use of national currencies; Made in China 2025; The Digital Silk Road; and last but not least, BRICS 10 and the NDB, the BRICS development bank.
​  Russia matched some of it – as in the Eurasia Development Bank (EDB) of the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and in advancing the harmonization of financial arrangements of BRI and EAEU projects via the SCO.
​  Diesen is one of the very few Western analysts who actually understands the drive to multipolarity: “BRICS+ is anti-hegemony and not anti-Western, as the objective is to create a multipolar system and not assert collective dominance over the West.”
​  Diesen also contends that the emerging Eurasian World Order is “seemingly based on conservative principles.” That’s correct, as the Chinese system is drenched in Confucianism (social integration, stability, harmonious relationships, respect for tradition and hierarchy)...
​  Diesen’s detailed analysis of the Ukraine proxy war, “a predictable consequence of an unsustainable world order”, is extrapolated to the battleground where the future, new world order is being decided; it is “either global hegemony or Westphalian multipolarity.”
​  Everyone with a brain by now knows how Russia absorbed and re-transformed everything thrown by the collective West after the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO). The problem is the rarified plutocracy that really runs the show will always refuse to acknowledge reality, as Diesen frames it: “Irrespective of the outcome of the war, the war has already become the graveyard of liberal hegemony.”
​  The overwhelming majority of the Global South clearly sees that even as what Ray McGovern indelibly defined as MICIMATT (military-industrial-congressional-intelligence-media-academia-think tank complex) cast the Russia-China partnership as the main “threats” – in reality those that created the “gravitational pull to reorganize the world order towards multipolarity” – they can’t bring Russia-China down geoeconomically.
​  So there’s no question “the conflicts of the future world order will continue to be militarized.” That’s where we are at the crossroads. There will be no peaceful road towards to Westphalian world order. 

​  US Created Ukraine Conflict to Keep Europe ‘Under Its Thumb’
​  On Thursday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban relented to pressure from the EU and finally allowed €50 billion in military and financial aid to be transferred to Ukraine after blocking the funding for more than a month. The funds are ostensibly planned to fund Ukraine until 2027 and came as US aid remains stalled in Congress.
​  Before the latest aid package was approved by the EU, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg remarked at a Monday news conference in Washington, DC, that “weapons are – in fact – the way to peace [in Ukraine],” but that's not quite the case, an analyst told Sputnik.
​  Dr. David Oualaalou told Sputnik’s Critical Hour on Wednesday that Stoltenberg’s assertion “defies logic” and asserted that Ukraine is already “gone.”
Oualaalou argued that Europe was pushed into supporting Ukraine by the US, which is not “paying the price” of that support in the same way Europe is. He added that the economic situation in Europe, largely brought on by the consequences of their support of Ukraine and sanctions on Russia, makes the continent reliant on the US.
​  He added that his family members in Europe acknowledge that European countries are “going down faster than we can even imagine,” and pointed to the farmer and worker protests breaking out across the continent.
​  Complicating matters further, Oualaalou argued, is that even with monetary aid being sent to Ukraine, Europe is too short on ammunition to give Ukraine much that will help them on the battlefield.

​  ‘We Shot Ourselves in the Head’: Mass European Farmer Protests Blowback for Ukraine Support
Elijah Magnier told Sputnik’s Fault Lines on Wednesday that the root causes of the protests stem from Europe’s decision “to follow the United States policy and join the war against Russia.” “We shot ourselves in the foot, basically that’s very soft – we shot ourselves in the head and now we are paying the price,” Magnier said.
​  He noted how everything from energy to consumer food prices has skyrocketed in Europe, but that has not caused European leaders to change course“Now, they are attacking the heart of Europe that are the farmers … they can no longer stand on their feet with the difference of prices, with the increase of price [for consumers and] the lower price that the markets are buying off of them.”
​  Co-host Jamarl Thomas asked Magnier what demands the farmers have. Magnier replied that they want protection from cheap products coming out of Ukrainesubsidies on diesel fuel to be reinstated, the rollback of European Green New Deal regulations that limit when and what crops are allowed to be planted and a fair price from the supermarket that matches the cost of living increases in Europe.
​  Part of the issue, says Magnier is that the EU hamstrings what the individual countries’ leaders can do to respond to their population.
In particular, Magnier explained, farmers are angry that they have to follow the new regulations but Ukraine is allowed to skirt them under the guise that they are at war.
“The farmers today are waking up [to] the consequences of the Ukrainian conflict and they are saying 'we have to be completely detached from what is happening in Ukraine because this is not our war​.'

​  Zelensky Wants Zaluzhny Out Over Alleged Effort to Pursue Ceasefire With Russia - Hersh
​  On Monday, Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksiy Goncharenko said, citing sources, that Zaluzhny was allegedly ordered to resign. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry and Zelensky's spokesman denied the claims.
"Zelensky’s desire to fire his commanding general is the result, some Americans believe, of his knowledge that Zaluzhny had continued to participate - whether directly or through aides is not known - in secret talks since last fall with American and other Western officials on how best to achieve a ceasefire and negotiate an end to the war with Russia," Hersh said on Thursday.​..
According to reports, Zelensky was forced to reverse his decision as international partners, including the United States and the United Kingdom, expressed concern about Zelensky's actions.
Zelensky reportedly met with Zaluzhny to inform the general of the decision to fire him. Instead, Zelensky offered Zaluzhny the post of secretary of the country’s security council, but Zaluzhny turned it down.
The head of Ukraine's military intelligence service, Kyrylo Budanov, and the commander of the Ukrainian ground forces, Oleksandr Syrsky, were named candidates for the post of commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, the report added.

​  Ukraine's ground forces commander Oleksandr Syrskyi was offered the job of replacing his boss Valeriy Zaluzhnyi as commander of the armed forces, but declined, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

​  Nuland arrives in Kiev to look into Zelensky-Zaluzhny conflict — Russian diplomat​ 
Konstantin Gavrilov also believes that Nuland does not have the task of reconciling Zelensky and Zaluzhny

​  ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 119: Israel vows to push forward into Rafah, leaving Palestinians with nowhere left to flee
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant declares the Israeli ground invasion will continue into Rafah, where 1.9 million civilians are currently sheltering. One Palestinian tells Reuters, “If the tanks storm in, it will be a massacre like never before.”

​  Israel and Hamas appear to be inching closer towards a deal for a ceasefire and a release of some of the hostages still being held by the militant group in Gaza, while the UN children’s agency has warned that 17,000 children have been left without families or been separated from them by the conflict.​..
​..However, while an aide to Hamas’s political leader said the group had received details of the proposed deal, it had yet to deliver a reply.​  Qatari official later clarified to Reuters that there was “no deal yet” and that although “Hamas has received the proposal positively”, Qatar was “waiting for their response”.

​  South Africa calls on world to take urgent action following Israel’s disregard for ICJ’s decisions
Newzroom Afrika website quoted South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor in a press conference in the administrative capital, Pretoria, as saying: “Countries must act immediately to prevent the Zionist enemy from committing genocide, and ensure that those countries do not violate the Convention against Genocide by financing and assistance.”

  Meryl Nass MD ,  The WHO Constitution is at Odds with the WHO's Attempted Power Grab
​..Article 23 states that the WHA can make recommendations to members about any issue in which it has competence, but it fails to say that it can issue regulations over as broad a range of issues.
​  I conclude that the extent of the powers that will accrue to the WHO as proposed in the amendments to the IHR exceed the scope for which the WHO is permitted to issue regulations.  Therefore, if the WHO wishes to ask the WHA to approve the amended IHR, it must do so as a treaty, agreement or convention, and not as amendments to the IHR.  This would require a 2/3 vote of the WHA.​..
..Articles 59 and 60 specify how votes will occur.  Within the WHO Constitution there is no delegation of authority to committees or to consensus processes in lieu of voting by the WHA.  Yet decisions on past IHR amendments appear to have been delegated to committees that used a so-called 'consensus procedure' without a vote.

​  He was always right, of course...   TORONTO: The Democracy Fund (TDF) announces that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) today formally withdrew charges against Dr. Jean Marc Benoit, which alleged that his posts on X (formerly Twitter) during the COVID-19 pandemic were “disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional.”  
  Dr. Benoit is a family and emergency physician who works in various clinical and hospital settings. During his career, he has assumed leadership roles, including appointments as Acting Chief of Staff and President of the Medical Staff Association at the Brantford General Hospital. Dr. Benoit also has academic and research interests and has been published in peer-reviewed medical literature.
  During the early days of the declared pandemic, Dr. Benoit followed the latest data and stayed on top of COVID-19 developments. He was proactive in engaging with officials, from the hospital level through to government, asking them to employ best practices in pandemic management.

​  Study: COVID-19 vaccination is 'strongly associated with a serious adverse safety signal of myocarditis' 
​  Pharmacotherapy journal Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety has thrown some more cold water on that persistent narrative, indicating that "COVID-19 vaccination is strongly associated with a serious adverse safety signal of myocarditis, particularly in children and young adults resulting in hospitalization and death."
​  "COVID-19 vaccines induce an uncontrolled expression of potentially lethal SARS-CoV-2 spike protein within human cells, have a close temporal relationship of events, and are internally and externally consistent with emerging sources of clinical and peer-reviewed data supporting the conclusion that COVID-19 vaccines are deterministic for myocarditis, including fatal cases," the study claims.
​  The study is the result of an effort on the part of Texas cardiologist Peter McCullough, biologist Jessica Rose, and researcher Nicolas Hulscher to further explore links between COVID-19 vaccination and heart inflammation using the vaccine adverse events report system.

​Advocating Common Decency (pictured before dawn in Austin garden at winter-minimum, with greens, garlics and onions)  

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