Mês: novembro 2018

USA’s Absence in Istanbul

Lost in the Memory Palace: US Leads, But No One Follows   Patric Lawrence Nov. 13, 2018   You would hardly know it from reading the U.S. press, but a summit of considerable significance took place late last month. German, French, Russian, and Turkish leaders convened in Istanbul Oct. 27 to create a comprehensive plan to end the seven-year war in Syria. On the agenda: increase humanitarian aid, rebuild ruined towns and cities, assist returning refugees, draft a new constitution and arrange internationally supervised elections. All this will take time, but the Syria story is evolving from one of conflict to one of reconciliation and reconstruction. Two features of the summit deserve special note. The four nations are not all fast friends, to put it mildly. But they drew together to find common interests in resolving what may count as the worst crisis since the Cold War’s end. Second, there was a conspicuous absence at the Istanbul gathering: the United States. Despite its prominent role in the Syrian conflict for at least the past six years, if not longer, the United States wanted no part of a many-sided summit dedicated to resolving it via negotiation. A matter of days later came the Trump administration’s sweeping new sanctions against Iran, planned for many months and put into force at midnight on Nov. 4. Never mind Washington’s adversaries: Even its traditional allies...

Ler mais

Donald Trump and Iran

Trump’s Iran Policy – Is It Normal?   Ron Paul Nov. 12, 2018   It’s not often that US Government officials are honest when they talk about our foreign policy. The unprovoked 2003 attack on Iraq was called a “liberation.” The 2011 US-led destruction of Libya was a “humanitarian intervention.” And so on. So, in a way, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was refreshingly honest last week when, speaking about newly-imposed US sanctions, he told the BBC that the Iranian leadership “has to make a decision that they want their people to eat.” It was an honest admission that new US sanctions are designed to starve Iranians unless the Iranian leadership accepts US demands. His statement also reveals the lengths to which the neocons are willing to go to get their “regime change” in Iran. Just like then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said it was “worth it” that half a million Iraqi children died because of our sanctions on that country, Pompeo is letting us know that a few million dead Iranians is also “worth it” if the government in Tehran can be overthrown. The US Secretary of State has demanded that Iran “act like a normal country” or the US would continue its pressure until Iran’s economy crumbles. How twisted is US foreign policy that Washington considers it “normal” to impose sanctions specifically designed to make life miserable...

Ler mais

US Debt

America’s Debt: A Recipe for Disaster   Bill Bonner Oct. 30, 2018   (…) So let’s look at yesterday’s trading… Selling Off The stock market began the day with a positive outlook. When we looked early in the morning, we saw green. But by noon, the Dow began selling off. It fell more than 400 points at one point. Then, late in the day, investors found their inner dogs, cats, and other animal spirits, and barked up prices a bit. But the Dow still ended the day down 245 points. That was bad news for the old-timers. It left the index below the technical levels – such as the 200-day moving average – causing them to sweat. This morning, stocks opened up… But the day ain’t over ’til it’s over. What’s going on? Why so much volatility? What next? People need an explanation. The media’s job is to give it to them – the simpler, the better. So newscasters looked around for a cause. More trade barriers, said one. Violence in America, said another. Trump, said an analyst. The Fed, countered an economist. None of these explanations are very challenging. In fact, all allow viewers to blame someone other than themselves, which is the goal of all modern media and political discussion. The commentators might just as well have offered this explanation: “Because you’ve been damned fools… spending too much…...

Ler mais

Tech Police State

Americans Will Welcome the Tech-Fueled Police State   Bill Bonner Nov. 5, 2018   Fast Company reports: Internet freedom is in decline across much of the globe as various governments crack down on dissent and so-called fake news, according to an annual report from Freedom House, a nonprofit that receives much of its funding from the U.S. government. China is not only continuing to restrict online speech within its own borders, but also providing seminars and tours to delegations from other countries, where it promotes its restrictive techniques and tools. “While it is not always clear what transpires during such seminars, a training for Vietnamese officials in April 2017 was followed in 2018 by the introduction of a cybersecurity law that closely mimics China’s own law,” according to the report. PARIS – A new, modern form of slavery is coming. We are calm. We are patient. We await developments with zen-like resignation. Que sera, sera. Let it be. Amor fati… and all that. We will soon be turned into a slave by algorithms and Big Data. But so what? Maybe we’ll like it. Galaxy of Lies Meanwhile, we continue to examine the whole cluster of dots… the galaxy of lies, misapprehensions, and myths that entertain us so much. Then, we will take our telescope and look more closely at why new technology may mean that Mr. Trump is not...

Ler mais

China-Russia Strategic Cooperation

No Full-Blown Alliance but Increasingly Close Cooperation   M. K. Bhadrakumar Oct. 20, 2018 Prime Minister Modi’s annual meeting with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe takes him to Tokyo next week. But this time around, it will be an Official Working Visit, dispensing with the frills of bonhomie. The signal is that the discussions will be largely devoted to bilateral issues. This is just as well, since the tectonic plates of the geopolitics of the Far East are shifting and India must tread softly. During the past week, within the space of three days, Chinese President Xi Jinping received two senior Russian officials – Anton Vaino, head of the Administration of the President in the Kremlin and Sergey Shoigu, Russia’s Defence Minister. Russia is the only country with which the General Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, which comes directly under Xi, has an institutionalized mechanism of interaction. This means that Vaino’s Chinese counterpart Li Zhanshu, member of the Politburo Standing Committee (ranked No. 3 in the leadership heirarchy) also acts as XI’s personal liaison to Russian President Vladimir Putin. This unique arrangement (for both Russia and China) underscores the exceptionally close relations between the two countries. Xi noted at the meeting on Wednesday with Vaino that the mechanism “serves as a special channel in bilateral exchanges… and also reflects the particularity and importance of Sino-Russian relations.” Xi’s...

Ler mais