Archive for September, 2012

U.S. QE3 signals deepening credit crisis: Dagong [Xinhua]

Posted in Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, USA on September 30, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) — China’s leading credit rating agency Dagong said Thursday that the third round of quantitative easing implemented by the United States signals the country’s deepening credit crisis and dropping solvency.

Dagong Global Credit Rating Co., Ltd. said in a statement commenting on the U.S.’s third round of quantitative easing, also known as the QE3, that the policy cannot promote the country’s economic recovery and may further worsen its macroeconomic environment in the mid- and long-terms.

Dagong said the QE3 cannot alleviate the private sector’s debt burden in a short time and rid the financial system of excessive liquidity, and, thus, will not serve to provide new impetus for economic growth.

The policy will also weaken the private sector’s willingness to save and will drive up international commodity prices, Dagong said.

“It will plunge the country’s economy into a long-term recession, create reliance on loose monetary policy and expansionary fiscal policy, and lead to a rising debt burden and increased credit risks,” Dagong said.

The open-ended QE3 signals a drop in the country’s solvency and has caused the continuous decline in its national credit, it said.

On Sept. 13, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced a new round of bond-buying program and extended the duration of its ultra-low interest rates to bolster the country’s weak economic recovery.

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Bo Xilai expelled from CPC, public office [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Corruption, CPC, CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), Dalian, Law enforcement on September 28, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) — Bo Xilai has been expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and his public office, according to a decision made at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on Friday.

The meeting also decided to transfer Bo’s suspected law violations and relevant clues to judicial organs.

The decisions were made after the meeting deliberating and adopting an investigation report on Bo’s severe disciplinary violations submitted by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).

At a meeting held on April 10, members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee were briefed on the investigation into the incident of former Chongqing vice mayor Wang Lijun’s entering the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu without permission as well as the reinvestigation into the suspected murder of British citizen Neil Heywood by Bogu Kailai, Bo’ s wife.

Based on Bo’s mistakes and responsibilities in the two cases and clues to his other discipline violations found in the probe of the two cases, the CPC Central committee decided to suspend Bo’s membership in the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau and in the CPC Central Committee, and the CCDI filed the case for investigation.

Investigations found that Bo seriously violated the Party disciplines while heading the city of Dalian, Liaoning Province and the Ministry of Commerce as well as serving as a member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau and party chief of Chongqing Municipality.

Bo abused his power, made severe mistakes and bore major responsibility in the Wang Lijun incident and the intentional homicide case of Bogu Kailai.

He took advantage of his office to seek profits for others and received huge bribes personally and through his family.

His position was also abused by his wife Bogu Kailai to seek profits for others and his family thereby accepted a huge amount of money and property from others.

Bo had affairs and maintained improper sexual relationships with a number of women.

He was also found to have violated organizational and personnel disciplines and made wrong decisions in personnel promotion, which led to serious consequences.

The investigation also found clues to his suspected involvement in other crimes.

Bo’s behaviors have brought serious consequences, badly undermined the reputation of the Party and the country, created very negative impact at home and abroad and significantly damaged the cause of the Party and people.

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“Treat the seven important ideological trends correctly and make innovations in our social sciences independently” – What is ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’? [Xinhua]

Posted in CPC, CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), Economic crisis & decline, Engels, Lenin, Mao Zedong, Marx, Reform and opening up, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, U.K., US imperialism, USA on September 28, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Excellent article — with the caveat that it is badly edited, i.e. it is a 2-person interview but at times it’s unclear to whom the various statements should be attributed to. – Zuo Shou

An Interview with Professor Cheng Enfu

Interviewer: Liang Weiguo, Chinese Social Sciences Net (CSSN)

BEIJING, Sept. 11 (Xinhuanet) — [Introduction to the Interviewee] Cheng Enfu, born in Shanghai in 1950, is a professor, PhD candidate supervisor, and representative to the Eleventh National People’s Congress, as well as the director of the Marxist Academy, an affliliate of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

In May 2004, Prof. Cheng gave a lecture in a study meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee presided by Hu Jintao, general secretary. In February 2002, he presented a report on how to reform in a theoretical symposium presided by Jiang Zemin, former general secretary. He has been seen as “one of the representatives of the fourth generation of China’s economists” and “one of the most creative economists in China” by some influential newspapers in China and Japan.

Prof. Cheng is also a member (academician) of CASS, member of the CASS Academic Division Presidium, director of the Academic Division of Marxism Study in CASS, chairman of the World Association of Political Economy (a global academic community), chairman of the Chinese Society for Studies of Foreign Economics, president of the Institute for Studies of Regularities in China’s Economy, and an “Expert of the Marxism Discipline Appraisal Group in the Academic Degree Commission” of the State Council. He enjoys a State Council Special Allowance.

It is the premise of a firm political belief to keep ideologically sober. What ideological trends are there in the ideological realm in China today? What are their key ideas? How to understand and treat them? How to develop the philosophy and social sciences with Chinese characteristics and Chinese style? Liang Weiguo, CSSN reporter, had an interview with Prof. Cheng Enfu recently for the answers to the questions.

* To Resist the negative effects of Neoliberalism on reform *

Interviewer: It is a must to identify the true and the false through comparisons among various ideologies if we want to get clear on what are Marxism, socialism with Chinese characteristics and the socialist core value system. Director Cheng, what ideological trends are there in our society today?

Cheng Enfu: In fact, there are seven important ideological trends in the ideological realm in China today: Neoliberalism, Democratic Socialism, the New Left, Eclectic Marxism, traditional Marxism, Revivalism and Innovative Marxism. By ideological trend, I use it as a neutral concept and various studies of Marxism can also be seen as ideological trends.

In the 1870s, the UK suffered from a serious economic crisis. T.H. Green firstly created a theory which maintained the tradition of UK’s liberalism and implemented state intervention to bring the role of state into full play. After the 1890s, many radical intellectuals — who called themselves “collectivists” — within and outside the Liberal Party contended to build an equal and cooperative new society. “Neoliberalism” was the popular word which represented the theory they held. Could you please give us your understanding of “Neoliberalism”?

Neoliberalism is the ideology, economic theory and policy proposal of the monopolizing capitalist classes. Its theories and policies can be summerized as “four de- or -izations”.

Firstly, Neoliberalism stands for de-regulation of economy. It believes that planning of economy and regulation of distribution by state would ruin economic freedom and kill the enthusiasm of the “economic man”. Only by letting the market run freely can we have the best result.

Secondly, Neoliberalism stands for the privatization of economy. It contends that privatization would become the basis on which the role of market could be brought into full play, and private enterprises are the most efficient ones, and the public resources should be privatized. Neoliberalism tends to reduce public sectors, state-owned sectors and institutions to the minimum, or none.

Thirdly, Neoliberalism stands for the liberalization of economy. It claims that free choice should be the most essential principle of economic and political activities. We should have the right to possess personal property and carry out free trade, consumption and employment. But it denies the free flow of the labor force. The nature of its liberalization of economy is to protect the unfair economic globalization dominated by the US and the unjust old international economic order.

Fourthly, Neoliberalism stands for the personalization of welfare. It stands against building a welfare state and improving the welfare of the laborers. And that is a typical feature of Neoliberalism. However, it has not been clearly stated in the academic circles both in and outside China.

Zhang Weiying and Yao Yang, professors of Peking University, are leading figures of China’s Neoliberalism.

* The diversification of guiding ideologies advocated by Democratic Socialism *

The concept of Democratic Socialism was first put forward in the book “The Preconditions of Socialism” by Eduard Bernstein in 1899. In June 1951, the Socialist International passed the declaration “Aims and Tasks of Democratic Socialism” as its principles when it was founded. It clearly set “Democratic Socialism” as its program and standed openly against the scientific socialism of Marxism. How should we understand Democratic Socialism?

Democratic Socialism is the term to describe the ideological systems of social democratic parties, socialist parties, labor parties and Socialist International. A capitalist reformist ideology has become prevalent in the Western societies since the beginning of the twentieth century. It originates from the right wing of the Socialist International and Bernstein is the founder of the basic thought of “Democratic Socialism”. Nowadays, Democratic Socialism is regarded not only as a theory, but also as a form of practice. The social democratic parties have long been ruling ones or ruling in turns in many western capitalist nations, which generates a profound influence on the changes in the world today.

Firstly, Democratic Socialism is against holding Marxism as the only guiding ideology, proposing a pluralism of world-views and guiding ideologies for the diversity of socialist thoughts and origins. Secondly, Democratic Socialism advocates the multi-party system of the capital class. Social parties under different titles wipe out the working-class nature of their parties and are against the principle of democratic centralism. Thirdly, Democratic Socialism holds that socialism can be realized without changing capitalist private ownership by claiming that the principal structure of the means of production ownership is not the criterion for judging the nature of a society. Fourthly, Democratic Socialism gives up the goal of communism, and proposes to fight for a system with social justice, liberty, democracy and world peace through the bourgeois’ rationality and ethic principles, such as freedom, equality, justice and mutual assistance, etc.

Xie Tao, professor of the Renmin University of China, and Xin Ziling, professor of the National Defense University, are the leading figures of the ideological trend.

* The New Left may easily run to an extreme for its theoretical immaturity *

Since the early 1960s, those who support revolution among college students and young people in China, Japan and US began to form the New Left. When we have a scan on the ideologies of China today, we can see the ideological pattern coming into existence in the mid- 1990s has evolved into a two-side confrontation: one side is liberalism talking to itself and the other the stern New Left. Could you give us more information about the New Left?

The New Left is an loose group of intellectuals, who try to influence academia and politics by catching the eye of the public through their articles in journals or on the internet. Many in the New Left have overseas study experience and some are still living abroad.

The important theoretical battle-field of the New Left is the website “Utopia” (wuyou zhi xiang). Han Deqiang, professor of the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, is the leading figure.

* A correct attitude towards Eclectic Marxism *

Engels’ “Anti-Duhring,” “Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy,” and Lenin’s “Materialism and Empirio-criticism” are the essence of the philosophy of Marxism. It is necessary to carefully read them for the reason that it can help us systematically master the fundamental principles of Marxist philosophy and set up a Marxist scientific world-view and life philosophy. We often hear the saying “eclectic Marxism” in our daily life. Could you give us some information about the concept?

The Eclectic Marxism is an ideological trend in China. It is an idea and methodology that doesn’t differentiate the principal and secondary contraditions and juxtapose them, and mechanically mixes totally opposite viewpoints without principle. Some of the eclecticists speak highly of the basic theories of the Western Economics, regarding selfishness as the human nature and fully supporting the hypothesis of economic man for egoism. It also believes that human beings’ selfishness could lead to social collaboration and an increase of public welfare. It lays one-side emphasis on efficiency and completely neglects justice.

Wang Dongjing, professor of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, is the leading figure.

* We should pay attention to the traditional Marxism *

Marxism originated in Western Europe in the 1840s when capitalism has undergone a long development over there. Nowadays, at the moment when we are facing the serious challenges from globalization, what is the inspiration behind the spread and development of Marxism in China in modern time and today? And what is the hard lesson that we could learn from it?

We have to pay attention to the ideological trend of traditional Marxism in China. The positive side of the traditional Marxism is that it forcefully criticized some wrong ideological trends, especially Neoliberalism, Democratic Socialism and Eclectic Marxism. Some of the criticisms, however, are overdone and they are fond of “Great Criticism” (da pipan) and getting serious in terms of lines and principles (shanggangshangxian). Some senior scholars have done more than enough criticism but produced little innovation, due to not following the new resources both from home and abroad. It is wrong of them to approve the key practices during the Cultural Revolution.

The typical media of traditional Marxism is “maoflag net”. Li Cunrui, ex-director of National Statistics Bureau, is the leading figure of the traditional Marxism.

* Revivalism trying to govern the country through such traditions as Confucianism, Buddhism and Taosim [sic] *

Revivalism means to restore the ancient systems, customs and ideas in an attempt to achieve cultural identification or cultural recreation. So how should we view Revivalism? And how should we deal with it?

Revivalism, also called the worship of ancient classics and styles, advocates governing the country with the ideas from such traditions as Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. Jiang Qing is regarded as the most eloquent grassroot figure in the mainland. He published Political Confucianism (Sanlian Publishing House, 2003). Deng Xiaojun published Confucianism and Democracy (Sichuan People’s Publishing House, 1995).

* Innovative Marxism promoting the practical development of Marxism *

In October 1938, at the Sixth Party Plenum, Mao Zedong criticized dogmatism and called on the whole Party to lauch a learning campaign, asking all communists with research ability, especially the high-rank cadres of the Party, should study theory, history and current affairs and carry on the precious heritages “from Confucius to Sun Yat-sen,” so as to sinicize Marxism. During the process, Innovative Marxism played an important role. Could you give us more information?

The first leading figures of Innovative Marxism is Liu Guoguang, Special Adviser and former Vice-president of CASS. Me and Fang Keli, chairman of the History of Chinese Philosophy Society, are also the leading figures. In terms of general theory and guiding principles, Innovative Marxism in the academic circle is to keep in high accord with the CPC Central Committee and emphasizes making innovations independently in the teaching and studies in the social sciences in China, stands against rigidly following the “foreign”, “indigeneous” and “Marxist” dogmas. The social sciences in China should advocate the following academic principles and thinking ways: “the world conditions are regarded as background, the national conditions as ground, Marxism as body with the West ideas as references, ancient Chinese learning as our root, so as to synthesize and innovate.” We should take Marxism, Leninism and their sinicized versions as the principal and the dominant to modernize the social sciences in China through innovations, rather than “connecting our trains with international ones by following foreign dogmas” or “return to the ancient by following indigeneous dogmas.”

The journals such as Marxism Study, Review of International Thought (English) and Review of Political Economy in the World, edited by me, are the representative media of Innovative Marxism. Digest of Marxism and the website Academy of Marxism ( also reflect the latest theoretical trends of Innovative Marxism.


(Disclaimer: This article only represents the author’s viewpoint. It does not necessarily represent the editorial opinion of Xinhuanet.)

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Belling the Cat — the BBC role in fabricating the Pussy Riot affair [Strategic Culture Foundation

Posted in BBC bias, distortions and lies, Corporate Media Critique, Media smear campaign, Russia on September 27, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

It was obvious to me that the video making the rounds purportedly showing the performance of PR at the Moscow Cathedral was a rather bad edit job, raising questions about what actually happened that day, why the video was edited as it was and presented under false pretenses. This article attempts to examine these issues, which were patently ignored by the biased Anglosphere media — a media which this article suggests played a central role in the manipulating the images for propaganda purposes. See original article for live links (indicated by ‘here’ in the article). – Zuo Shou

Sept. 19, 2012

A British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) correspondent in Moscow named Steven Rosenberg staged and filmed a rehearsal of what he claims Pussy Riot told him they were planning at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral at least a day, possibly several days before February 21. That is the day when three of the group members committed the acts for which they were convicted in a Moscow court on August 17, and sentenced to prison for two years.

The BBC’s role in encouraging these acts, coaching them in rehearsal in front of a camera, and then acting as an international megaphone for their songs and claims, was not called in evidence during the court proceedings, nor mentioned in the judgement. But the BBC is now refusing to answer questions about what they have done to promote Pussy Riot in media that have been circulating worldwide since February.

The video clip Rosenberg directed and produced on or before February 20 shows four women he has identified as the Pussy Riot band. They appear to be miming through their balaclavas. The soundtrack, which includes a drum and a tambourine not visible in the filming, appears to have been added after Rosenberg and his cameraman took the women through their act.

Here is the BBC-staged version, dated February 20, in which the Russian language voice-over claims the cathedral performance was to take place the very next day, and that the purpose of the “rehearsal” was get the timing right for the cathedral.

Here is the purported cathedral performance by three women on February 21. On the 2.15-minute tape, less than 60 seconds was filmed in Christ the Saviour Cathedral; film from another church, in Elohovsky Epiphany Cathedral, shot earlier with other participants, was spliced into the running to make it appear to be part of the same cathedral sequence; the soundtrack was fabricated and added afterwards.

And here is Rosenberg’s report, dated February 28, in which he claims that earlier that same month eight members of Pussy Riot, standing on top of Lobnoye Mesto, “had conquered Red Square.” Other press reports, including Pussy Riot support groups, say this incident happened on January 20. The discrepancy was either a mistake on Rosenberg’s part, or a sign that the February 28 commentary was prepared much before its broadcast date, and delayed for some reason. In voiceover, Rosenberg claims the women had performed a “concert” at the Red Square monument lasting two minutes before the police arrived. But the BBC film of the women, and of the police reaction, runs for less than 60 seconds.

Rosenberg didn’t report that they were arrested; apparently they weren’t. Nor did Rosenberg reveal there was no concert – the guitar sounds were faked.

The Wikipedia history of Lobnoye Mesto, which dates to the 16th century, was modified on August 17 to include a photograph of Pussy Riot on the monument. From the positional evidence this image appears to have come from the same source as provided the footage edited into the BBC broadcast on February 28.

Rosenberg’s version of what was shouted during the “concert” came from him; it is impossible to verify his claim from the soundtrack of the tape. Just 40 seconds of the “rehearsal tape” were shown again. It’s possible that both pieces of film were prepared for broadcast before the cathedral incident had actually taken place. Either that, or else Rosenberg knew the cathedral incident had happened, but didn’t want to report that news. By February 28, according to Rosenberg, Pussy Riot had “asked us not to reveal where they are, or who they are. It’s all very hushhush.” Rosenberg and the BBC didn’t explain why. If Pussy Riot was Rosenberg’s idea of a poster for freedom of speech, he was being strangely coy himself…

By John Helmer, Moscow,

[Excerpted by Zuo Shou]

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Is the Afghan Surge Really Over? [FAIR]

Posted in Afghan quagmire, Afghanistan, Corporate Media Critique, Media cover-up, Obama, Pentagon, USA on September 26, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Posted on 09/21/2012 by Peter Hart

Misleading media reports today are announcing the end of the U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan [presumably based on Obama White House propaganda].

USA Today: [“Obama’s surge in Afghanistan ends”]

And the Washington Post: [“Final surge troops leave Afghanistan”]

There are many more along the same lines.

It’s important to understand that the troop reductions are only part of the total troop surge that happened under Obama.

As FAIR noted last year (Media Advisory, 6/23/11) there were two major increases in the number of U.S. troops in 2009:

When Obama took office in 2009, the U.S. had about 34,000 troops in Afghanistan. Obama has initiated two major troop increases in Afghanistan: about 20,000 additional troops were announced in February 2009, followed by the December 2009 announcement that an another 33,000 would be deployed as well; other smaller increases have brought the total to 100,000.

The surge that is “ending” today refers to the 33,000 that were sent in December. But the troops that were sent in the earlier Obama surge are still there. As the USA Today article notes, there are still 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, roughly double the number that were in the country when Obama took office.

These headlines might give the impression that the Afghan War is winding down. Based on the troop levels alone, that would be highly misleading.

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New Gini figures show instability risks in China [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Income gap on September 26, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Du Liya (Global Times)
September 17, 2012

The widening gap between rich and poor continues to pose a challenge to stability in China, with the latest figures showing that the Gini coefficient reached 0.438 in 2010, which exceeds UN warning levels.

The index, which represented the first local release of these figures in five years, was published by a Chinese NGO, the International Institute for Urban Development on Friday, as part of the Blue Book on China’s Social Management.

The Gini coefficient, an index measuring inequality of income with a scale of zero to one (zero being totally equal and one being totally unequal), suggests that a country with a figure higher than 0.4 has dangerous levels of wealth inequality. According to reports in the Beijing News, the figure went from 0.275 in the 1980s to 0.438 at the end of 2010.

The report pointed out that the new index indicated that there have been risks of instability associated with the great achievements of the reform and opening-up policy, such as the increasing gap between the rich and poor and intensifying contradictions between government officials and the public.

“The widening gap will bring instability as the poor are eager to fight for equality. The index sends a warning to the government to pay attention to the large income disparity,” Xia Xueluan, a sociological professor at Peking University told the Global Times.

No official statistics have been released by the National Bureau of Statistics since 2000. The bureau offered an explanation for this in a monitoring report in 2011, which said that the Gini index couldn’t be calculated as the incomes of urban and rural residents are calculated separately.

A report released by the China Development Research Foundation in July said that the Gini index was 0.45 in 2001 and rose to 0.48 in 2007.

“In some developed countries such as the US, whose Gini index sometimes reaches 0.4, contradictions in income distribution are eased step by step through increasing taxation on the wealthy and improving the welfare system to help the poor,” said Ding Yuanzhu, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, adding that China could learn from them in some way…

[Excerpted by Zuo Shou]

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America As Self-Appointed Avenging Angel: A Self-Made Illusion []

Posted in 9/11, Afghan quagmire, Afghanistan, Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Anti-communism, Anti-Islam hysteria, DPR Korea, Iraq, Islamophobia, NATO invasion, Nukes, Pakistan, Palestine, U.K., US "War on Terror", US drone strikes, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, Vietnam on September 26, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Roedad Khan [The News International {Pakistan}]

Sept. 19, 2012

Alexis De Tocqueville once said: “I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America”. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in his acceptance speech, did not say a word about the war in Afghanistan, as if it were a non-event, although the US still has about 90,000 troops in that country and over 2,000 Americans have died fighting a totally unjustified war.

There is clearly a conspiracy of silence about this totally unnecessary and unwinnable war. That neither Republicans nor Democrats see the war in Afghanistan as a fit subject for debate, is salt in the wound. Both seem to have adopted a collective amnesia about the war and the untold misery and havoc it has wrought.

Robert McNamara, the secretary of defence [sic] for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, helped lead America into Vietnam. McNamara believed that the fight against communism in Asia was worth sacrificing American lives, and yet he eventually came to believe that America had stumbled into a war – in which it had lost over 58,000 men and women – that was, in fact, unnecessary and unwinnable. The lessons of Vietnam were forgotten.

Iraq, a secular, socialist state, was not involved in 9/11, had no links with the Al-Qaeda. Baghdad presented no clear and present danger to its neighbours, and none to the US or Britain. The truth is that what was at stake was not an imminent military or terrorist threat but the economic imperatives of US growth. Iraq has 112 billion barrels of proven resources, or roughly 11 percent of the world’s proven supply. That is more oil than the resources of Europe and South America put together, and more than Africa and the Asia-Pacific region combined. That oil has global strategic, political and economic significance. The temptation to grab it must have been irresistible.

North Korea has admitted it has nuclear capability but it is not invaded as Iraq was. If Saddam didn’t have oil, he could torture his citizens to his heart’s content. Other leaders in the Islamic world do it everyday with the blessings of the United States. Opposition to the war in the US is growing, although the primary cause for this opposition is that the cost of the war is too great and unacceptable to the American people. It is deplorable, but nonetheless, true, that what has changed public opinion in the US and its domestic political picture, is not the efforts of its intellectuals but rather the Afghans resistance which simply will not yield to American force.

The rationale for Obama’s war in Afghanistan is phony. American soldiers fighting in Afghanistan know it. No wonder army morale is dropping. How long is it going to take for America to recognise that the war in Afghanistan is a fiasco – tragic, deeply dehumanising and ultimately unwinnable? One thing is clear, peace and stability will never resume as long as aggression continues and American soldiers remain on Afghan soil. Instead of enacting a charade, America should…get out. America has dug itself into a deep, deep hole. Playing the world’s policeman is not the answer to the catastrophe in New York. Playing the world’s policeman is what led to it.

Anti-American sentiment, now at its highest, has metastasised into violent demonstrations all over the Islamic world… The US government has warned its citizens against travelling to Afghanistan because of the fear of being kidnapped or killed. Democracy in Afghanistan is a self-made illusion. It is a Western-imposed farce that will be swept away if America and its allies stop propping it up with their bayonets.

The Islamic world contains the world’s greatest concentration of un-elected monarchs, military dictators, and usurpers, all supported by America. None would survive without American help. Where, then, is the symbol of hope in a Muslim world ruled by US-protected and coddled, corrupt despots? We in Pakistan have suffered four military coups, all supported by the US. The result is what we have now: moving from misery to poverty and a corrupt president sitting on top of a sham democracy.

Obama has placed America on the wrong side of history. Today US foreign policy finds itself at the bottom of a slippery slope. It has assumed many of the very features of the ‘rogue nations’ against which it has rhetorically and sometimes literally done battle over the years. The legitimacy of US action in Afghanistan has vanished. Its war on terrorism has no support in the Islamic world and is fast becoming unpopular in the rest of the world. There is an old Russian saying: Once you let your feet get caught in a quagmire, your whole body will be sucked in. Today the United States seems trapped in a bad story, with no way to change the script.

Today the United States is at war in Afghanistan and our tribal area. However you title or define it, it is war, a war it cannot win. Today nationalism is among the most potent phenomena of political life in this part of the world. In the past, nationalism had succeeded in disrupting the British, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires. If the United States persists in waging this totally unnecessary and unjustified war, it would suffer a similar fate. If America wants to make headway against Muslim rage, it will have to relieve the suffering of the Palestinian people. It will have to vacate its aggression in Afghanistan and withdraw its support of tyrannies in the Muslim world.

John Quincy Adam’s caution to America not to go abroad to slay dragons they do not understand in the name of spreading democracy or securing American interests has been thrown to the winds. Neither Washington, nor Madison nor Jefferson saw America as the world’s avenging angel. The lesson of history is that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

In a memorandum addressed to the Chairman Science Board, Paul Wolfowitz, then deputy secretary of defense, wrote: “Our military expedition to Afghanistan and Iraq are unlikely to be the last such excursion in the global war on terrorism. We may need to support an ally under attack by terrorists determined to replace the legitimate government; we may need to effect change in the governance of a country that is blatantly sustaining support for terrorism; or we may need to assist an ally who is unable to govern areas of his own country – where terrorists may recruit, train and plan without interference by the legitimate government”! It is scary.

Today the United States is once again in an expansionist mood. Iraq was but a “breakfast”. Afghanistan is “picnic lunch”. Where will Americans dine? The United States has strong teeth but a weak stomach. No wonder, it has digestive problems with Afghanistan. Be that as it may, America seems intent on using the September 11 attacks to impose what is called a ‘civilisation of fear’. Both Iran and Pakistan are now in gun sights. Obama has made it abundantly clear that American special forces in Afghanistan will strike into Pakistan, if Pakistan fell into the “wrong hands”. America is already at war with Pakistan in Waziristan. American drone attacks are a clear violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and are perceived quite literally as an act of war.

“The single greatest threat to (Pakistan)”, Obama said recently, “comes from Al-Qaeda and their extremist allies”. This is not true. All our major problems stem from the American occupation of Afghanistan and its frequent intrusions into our tribal territory. It has turned our tribal area into a protracted ulcer, a quagmire – a place where Pakistan is spending blood and treasure to protect American interests.

The writer is a former federal secretary. Edited by Rick Rozoff, Stop NATO

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