Archive for the IMF – International Monetary Fund Category

“A decisive turning point in the crisis of American imperialism” – AIIP is here [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Assassination, Australia, Beijing, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, Denmark, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Engels, France, Germany, IMF - International Monetary Fund, India, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Obama, Pentagon, Police State, south Korea, Taiwan, Torture, Trotsky, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on April 2, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

1 April 2015

Yesterday was the deadline for countries to sign up as founding members of the China-backed Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). It will go down in history as marking a significant defeat for the global foreign policy and strategic objectives of United States imperialism.

Against strenuous opposition from Washington, more than 40 countries have now indicated they want to be part of the AIIB. Major European powers including Britain, France and Germany, as well as Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, are on board. Almost all countries in the South East Asian region, which count China as their major trading partner, have also signed up. India is also a signatory, together with Taiwan.

The most significant blow against the US was struck by Britain, its chief European ally, which announced its decision to join on March 12. It opened the floodgates for others to follow, including two key US allies in the Asia-Pacific -— Australia and South Korea. Japan is also reported to be considering joining, possibly as early as June.

The full significance of the US defeat and its far-reaching implications emerge most clearly when viewed from a historical perspective.

One of the chief objections of the Obama administration to the new bank was that it would undermine the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Together with the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944, they constituted central pillars of the global economic order established after World War II by the United States, which played the central role in rebuilding world capitalism following the devastation of the 1920s and 1930s and the wars and revolutionary struggles it produced.

Of course, both of these institutions, together with the Marshall Plan for the restabilisation of war-torn Europe, operated to the economic and strategic benefit of American imperialism.

But while America drew enormous gains from the post-war order, it was not narrowly conceived. There was a recognition in ruling political and economic circles that if American capitalism was to survive, it would have to use the enormous resources at its disposal to ensure the growth and expansion of other capitalist powers, above all, those against which it had fought a bitter and bloody conflict.

Post-war reconstruction enabled the expansion of Germany and turned it once again into the industrial powerhouse of Europe. At the same time, concessions to Japan on the value of its currency -— it was pegged at 360 yen to the dollar -— opened up export markets for its industry. The decision to build trucks and other military equipment in Japan during the Korean War laid the foundations for the development of Japan’s auto industry, as it incorporated, and then developed, the advanced production techniques that had been established in the US.

The industrial and economic capacity of the United States, even when it took reactionary forms as in the case of the Korean War, was utilised to facilitate a new phase of global capitalist expansion—the post-war boom.

What a contrast to the present situation! American capitalism is no longer the industrial powerhouse of the world, ensuring the expansion of the capitalist economy as a whole. Rather, it functions as the global parasite-in-chief, as its rapacious banks, investment houses and hedge funds scour the world for profitable opportunities, engaged not in the production of new wealth, but in the appropriation of wealth produced elsewhere, often via criminal or semi-criminal operations.

In the immediate post-war period, the US was the champion of free trade, recognising that the restrictions and beggar-thy-neighbour policies of the 1930s had produced a disaster. Today, through measures such as the Trans Pacific Partnership and similar arrangements being prepared with regard to Europe, Washington seeks to forge exclusivist agreements aimed at protecting the monopoly position of US corporations. America, Obama has stated, must write the global rules for trade and investment in the 21st century.

American influence in the post-war period was not confined to the immediate economic sphere. Notwithstanding all its contradictory features, American society appeared to have something to offer the world as a whole, which had suffered decades of war, fascism and military forms of rule, along with economic devastation.

Again, the contrast with the present situation could not be starker. American democracy, once held up as a beacon for the rest of the world, is a withered caricature of its former self, no longer capable of concealing the dictatorship of the financial and corporate elites.

Social conditions are characterised by deprivation and state violence, reflected not least in the daily police killings. America has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and in Detroit, once the centre of the American industrial economy, paying the highest wages, water shutoffs are being imposed. The US government carries out torture, abductions, assassinations and mass spying on its own people and others around the world. The country is ruled by criminals who cannot be held accountable for their crimes.

In the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the removal from the scene of its global rival, the American ruling class was gripped by the idea that while its economic position had been severely weakened -— the stock market crash of 1987 was a harbinger of things to come -— American hegemony could nevertheless be maintained by military means.

But as Frederick Engels had earlier explained in refuting another exponent of “force theory,” the notion that economic developments—the advance of industry, credit and trade—and the contradictions to which they gave rise could be “blown out of existence” with “Krupp guns and Mauser rifles” was a delusion.

The past 25 years of American foreign policy, based on the use of cruise missiles and drones, combined with invasions and regime-change operations grounded on lies, have produced one debacle after another.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost, as other capitalist powers, great and small, begin to conclude that hitching themselves to the American juggernaut is the surest road to disaster. That is the historic significance of their decision to join the AIIB.

How will American imperialism respond? By increasing its military provocations, threatening to plunge the world once again into war.

Charting the rise of American imperialism in the late 1920s, Leon Trotsky noted that in the period of crisis, its hegemony would operate “more openly and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom,” and that it would attempt to extricate itself from its difficulties and maladies at the expense of its rivals, if necessary by means of war.

However there is another, and, in the final analysis, decisive, aspect to the economic decline of American imperialism, marked so powerfully by the events of yesterday.

For decades, the American working class was disoriented by the idea of a continually rising power -— that America’s “best days” were always ahead. Reality is now coming home with ever-increasing force.

Events are shattering the delusions of the past and will propel the American working class on to the road of revolutionary struggle, creating the conditions for the unification of the international working class in the fight for world socialist revolution.

Nick Beams

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/04/01/pers-a01.html

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Why U.S. rulers fear new Asian investment bank “AIIB” [Workers World]

Posted in Africa, Bill Clinton, Bolivia, China, China-US relations, Economy, Ecuador, France, Germany, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Neo-colonialism, U.K., US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Venezuela, Wall Street, World War II on March 28, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Deirdre Griswold March 24, 2015

Britain, France, Italy and Germany have agreed to join China in establishing an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. China has already announced it will put up $50 billion in initial capital.

It is too early to say what role this bank will play in helping underdeveloped countries modernize their infrastructure. Negotiations among the principals on the bank’s structure and policies are expected to take place for at least a year. What will emerge cannot be predicted at this time.

But one thing is very clear: Wall Street and Washington are fuming over the fact that the European imperialist countries are joining in, despite strong U.S. pressure to stay out.

Criticism of the new development bank by the U.S. has begun, with government officials telling the media they fear it will undermine the “good work” done by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, which, they say, have aided developing countries while imposing regulations to protect the environment and help the poor.

You’re choking on this outrageous lie right now? So are we.

Tons of both popular and scholarly analyses of these institutions, and especially of the “structural adjustment programs” they have forced down the throats of poor countries, show that the kind of “development” they foster has usually done just the opposite: stripped countries of needed government services, increased their indebtedness and hurt the environment, all to benefit the financial institutions of the imperialists.

Take the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, for example, which have been going through the most horrific public health emergency caused by the spread of the Ebola virus. These countries are so poor that, even after Liberia declared an end to new cases, a televised news report on the return of a score of students to classes pointed out that their grammar school, which when full serves 1,000 students, has no electricity and no running water.

On Dec. 22, The Lancet, a preeminent British medical journal, published a commentary called “The International Monetary Fund and the Ebola outbreak.” It reads: “A major reason why the outbreak spread so rapidly was the weakness of health systems in the region. … Since 1990, the IMF has provided support to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, for 21, 7 and 19 years, respectively, and at the time that Ebola emerged, all three countries were under IMF programs. However, IMF lending comes with strings attached — so-called ‘conditionalities’ — that require recipient governments to adopt policies that have been criticized for prioritizing short-term economic objectives over investment in health and education.”

The authors add that “economic reform programs by the IMF have required reductions in government spending, prioritization of debt service, and bolstering of foreign exchange reserves.” In other words, recipient countries — which should be receiving reparations for all the wealth extracted from them by colonial rule — have instead been forced to cut back on health care, education and other services in order to pay interest on loans.

* Bretton Woods, the IMF and World Bank *

Why does the U.S. ruling class feel particularly threatened by this new China-headed development bank? Because U.S. banks have dominated the financial architecture of the capitalist world for decades. The U.S. emerged from World War II as the undisputed global industrial and financial powerhouse, while Europe and Japan were in ruins and all regions involved in the world war were suffering.

The intention of the U.S. imperialist ruling class to translate its military and industrial muscle into financial domination over the rest of the world was made clear even before the war ended, with the founding of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. This conclave in New Hampshire of the soon-to-be-victorious Allied powers was dominated by Washington and London. It established the “tradition” that the president of the World Bank would always come from the U.S.

One can read many critiques of these institutions. One was an interview by Greg Palast with Joseph Stieglitz, a former chief economist of the World Bank, member of Bill Clinton’s cabinet and chair of his Council of Economic Advisers who turned against his former bosses.

Stieglitz told Palast that when nations are “down and out, [the IMF] squeezes the last drop of blood out of them. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up.” He referred to these social explosions as “IMF riots,” pointing to what happened when the IMF eliminated food and fuel subsidies in Indonesia in 1998, when it made Bolivia increase water prices in 2000, and when the World Bank imposed a rise in cooking gas prices on Ecuador in February 2001. (“IMF’s Four Steps to Damnation,” The Observer, April 29, 2001)

In Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the people have tried to get rid of governments that served as tools of these imperialist-dominated financial institutions and have looked for other ways to climb out of poverty. In Latin America, the result has been ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) — an alliance of countries, led by Venezuela, that is trying to break free of the stranglehold over their economies imposed by U.S. imperialism for nearly two centuries.

The anti-colonial revolutions that began in Asia in the 1930s and spread throughout the so-called Third World in the 1950s and 1960s drove out the structures of direct colonial rule. Bretton Woods was the answer of the imperialists: Keep the masses of people enslaved to the banks.

Washington’s objections to the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank have nothing to do with anything except the fear of U.S. capitalists that they could be losing their grip on what has been their main tool for world domination. As a backup, of course, they have the Pentagon, making the struggle against imperialist war ever more urgent.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/03/24/why-u-s-rulers-fear-new-asian-investment-bank/

‘Cold War Two’ – excerpt from “The Anti-Empire Report” # 131 [Williamblum.org]

Posted in 9/11, Anti-communism, Assassination, Black propaganda, Corporate Media Critique, EU, European Union, Fascism, Germany, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Iraq, Malaysia, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, Nazism, Psychological warfare, Russia, State Department, Syria, Ukraine, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR, Vietnam on November 4, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By William Blum – Published August 11th, 2014

= Cold War Two =

During Cold War One those of us in the American radical left were often placed in the position where we had to defend the Soviet Union because the US government was using that country as a battering ram against us. Now we sometimes have to defend Russia because it may be the last best hope of stopping TETATW (The Empire That Ate The World). Yes, during Cold War One we knew enough about Stalin, the show trials, and the gulags. But we also knew about US foreign policy.

E-mail sent to the Washington Post July 23, 2014 about the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17:

Dear Editor,

Your July 22 editorial was headed: “Russia’s barbarism. The West needs a strategy to contain the world’s newest rogue state.”

Pretty strong language. Vicious, even. Not one word of hard evidence in the editorial to back it up. Then, the next day, the Associated Press reported:

Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia was responsible for ‘creating the conditions’ that led to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement. … the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.

Where were these words in the Post? You people are behaving like a rogue newspaper.

– William Blum

I don’t have to tell you whether the Post printed my letter. I’ve been reading the paper for 25 years – six years during Vietnam (1964-1970) and the last 19 years (1995-2014) – usually spending about three hours each day reading it very carefully. And I can say that when it comes to US foreign policy the newspaper is worse now than I can remember it ever was during those 25 years. It’s reached the point where, as one example, I don’t take at face value a word the Post has to say about Ukraine. Same with the State Department, which makes one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s wholly inconclusive and/or unsourced or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation. 1 Do they have something to hide?

The State Department’s Public Affairs spokespersons making these presentations exhibit little regard or respect for the reporters asking challenging questions. It takes my thoughts back to the Vietnam era and Arthur Sylvester, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, the man most responsible for “giving, controlling and managing the war news from Vietnam”. One day in July 1965, Sylvester told American journalists that they had a patriotic duty to disseminate only information that made the United States look good. When one of the reporters exclaimed: “Surely, Arthur, you don’t expect the American press to be handmaidens of government,” Sylvester replied: “That’s exactly what I expect,” adding: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? – stupid.” 2

Such frankness might be welcomed today as a breath of fresh air compared to the painful-to-observe double-talk of a State Department spokesperson.

My personal breath of fresh air in recent years has been the television station RT (formerly Russia Today). On a daily basis many progressives from around the world (myself included occasionally) are interviewed and out of their mouths come facts and analyses that are rarely heard on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR, PBS, Fox News, BBC, etc. The words of these progressives heard on RT are typically labeled by the mainstream media as “Russian propaganda”, whereas I, after a long lifetime of American propaganda, can only think: “Of course. What else are they going to call it?”

As for Russia being responsible for “creating the conditions” that led to the shooting down of Flight 17, we should keep in mind that the current series of events in Ukraine was sparked in February when a US-supported coup overthrew the democratically-elected government and replaced it with one that was more receptive to the market-fundamentalism dictates of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the European Union. Were it not for the coup there would have been no eastern rebellion to put down and no dangerous war zone for Flight 17 to be flying over in the first place.

The new regime has had another charming feature: a number of outspoken neo-Nazis in high and low positions, a circumstance embarrassing enough for the US government and mainstream media to turn it into a virtual non-event. US Senator John McCain met and posed for photos with the leader of the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, Oleh Tyahnybok (photos easily found on the Internet). Ukraine – whose ties to Naziism go back to World War Two when their homegrown fascists supported Germany and opposed the Soviet Union – is on track to becoming the newest part of the US-NATO military encirclement of Russia and possibly the home of the region’s newest missile base, target Moscow.

It is indeed possible that Flight 17 was shot down by the pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine in the mistaken belief that it was the Ukrainian air force returning to carry out another attack. But other explanations are suggested in a series of questions posed by Russia to the the Secretary-General of the UN General Assembly, accompanied by radar information, satellite images, and other technical displays:

“Why was a military aircraft flying in a civil aviation airway at almost the same time and the same altitude as a civilian passenger aircraft? We would like to have this question answered.”

“Earlier, Ukrainian officials stated that on the day of the accident no Ukrainian military aircraft were flying in that area. As you can see, that is not true.”

“We also have a question for our American colleagues. According to a statement by American officials, the United States has satellite images which show that the missile aimed at the Malaysian aircraft was launched by the militants. But no one has seen these images.” 3

There is also this intriguing speculation, which ties in to the first Russian question above. A published analysis by a retired Lufthansa pilot points out that Flight 17 looked similar in its tricolor design to that of Russian President Putin’s plane, whose plane with him on board was at the same time “near” Flight 17. In aviation circles “near” would be considered to be anywhere between 150 to 200 miles. 4 Could Putin’s plane have been the real target?

There is as well other serious and plausible questioning of the official story of Russia and/or Ukrainian anti-Kiev militias being responsible for the shootdown. Is Flight 17 going to become the next JFK Assassination, PanAm 103, or 9-11 conspiracy theory that lingers forever? Will the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the Syrian chemical weapons be joined by the Russian anti-aircraft missile? Stay tuned…

Excerpted; full article link (with footnotes): http://williamblum.org/aer/read/131

World Federation of Trade Unions says Ebola virus deaths facilitated by imperialism [Workers World]

Posted in Africa, Cuba, IMF - International Monetary Fund, U.K., US imperialism, World Health Organization on November 1, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Workers World staff on October 21, 2014

Following is an edited statement issued by the World Federation of Trade Unions’ Secretariat in Athens, Greece, on Oct. 15.

The Ebola epidemic that has struck mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea of West Africa and threatens the entire world has killed thousands of people and caused panic to millions of others.

As high level officials of the World Health Organization confess, the epidemic has severely expanded over the last weeks and 70 percent of the people affected die because of the lack of proper health care facilities.

This epidemic brings in the forefront in the most tragic way the chronic and deep wounds in the African continent caused by colonialism, by the continuous plundering of the wealth-producing resources and by the high public debts that keep African states and their economies enslaved to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and monopoly cartels.

Crucial problems that in extraordinary conditions such as the one today can create an explosive atmosphere are: poverty, malnutrition, the lack of basic health care infrastructure and social welfare, the limited access to a system of public and free education capable of eradicating illiteracy and the effects of prejudices and superstitions, the slums that continue to exist being a disgrace for humanity and a danger to public health, the militarization and the state violence that are the answer of the panicked state mechanism.

The World Federation of Trade Unions expresses its indignation at the current situation in the existing health care facilities in the above-mentioned countries which result in medical personnel offering their services while risking their own lives without any safety measures (gloves, masks). As a result, deaths amongst medical personnel have risen to extreme levels.

The World Federation of Trade Unions and its members worldwide have in the past, with two International Action Days, denounced the role of the multinational pharmaceutical companies which profit from the people’s suffering.

State budget cuts in the funding of public institutions in the field of research, pharmaceutical production and health care in the USA and the European Union are aggravating the problems while working in favor of the privatization of those fields, the expansion of the control of the monopolies over the industry and against the satisfaction of the people’s needs.

It is very clear in the case of Ebola as well that as long as research, production and health care are ruled by the laws of monopoly competition and the profit system, the people will be suffering from diseases that should have long been extinct or adequately controlled.

Furthermore, in complete contrast to the imperialist policy of the USA and Britain, which in the midst of the crisis have seized the opportunity to send new troops to Africa, the World Federation of Trade Unions feels the need to congratulate the heroic decision of the Cuban government and the Cuban people to show in the most humanitarian way their solidarity with the people of Africa by sending to Liberia and Guinea a large group of doctors and medical personnel in order to assist in the efforts for the relief of the Ebola patients. More than 50,000 Cuban doctors and medical personnel working in 66 countries around the world and specifically 4,000 in 32 African countries, are offering high level health services as a form of practical solidarity.

We congratulate our affiliate, the CTC Cuba [the Cuban Workers’ Central Union] and its members in the health sector who heroically prove their international solidarity.

The World Federation of Trade Unions, representing 90 million workers in 126 countries, reaffirms its consistent position that preventive health care on a framework of a public, free and adequate health care system is the best solution in all health issues.

The WFTU struggles for:

The creation of contemporary, adequate and fully equipped institutions of health care in all countries that will be part of a broad, public, free and centrally designed health care system to offer to all the population proper health care services at all stages of their lives. The sufficient number of medical personnel, the satisfaction of the labour rights and the proper conditions of hygiene and safety are important factors.

The formation of public institutions of research, production and distribution of free or cheap pharmaceutical supplies, medicine and vaccination to all the people.

The eradication of illiteracy by securing access for all people to a public and free education.

For state policy that will solve the housing problems in many countries.

The elimination of poverty and hunger. The African continent is rich in natural resources and agricultural capabilities. If those are put in the control and the service of the people, it would help greatly in the rapid improvement of the living standards of the ordinary people and to the drastic elimination of diseases and poverty.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/10/21/world-federation-trade-unions-says-ebola-virus-deaths-facilitated-imperialism/

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The Failure of the South Korean National Security State: The Sewol Tragedy in the Age of Neoliberalism [The Asia-Pacific Journal]

Posted in IMF - International Monetary Fund, Seoul, south Korea, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA on October 13, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 40, No. 1, October 6, 2014.

Jae-Jung Suh

The Sewol ferry carrying 476 passengers including a group of high school students on a field trip to Jeju Island capsized on April 16, 2014, and sank to the bottom of the sea off Korea’s southern coast. Most of the crew, including the captain, were rescued by the Korean coast guard. Some of the passengers, who happened to be on the deck or escaped soon after the capsizing, were saved by fishing boats and commercial vessels that came before the ROK Coast Guard or Navy. 304 passengers, however, were trapped inside and drowned.

On September 21, Japan’s Fuji TV broadcast a program that reconstructed a heart-wrenching tragedy of the Sewol’s sinking on the basis of survivors’ testimonies and footage from recovered cell phones. One of the survivors states “I hope the coverage [by the Japanese media] helps shed light on why this happened and who was at fault,” alluding to the lack of adequate coverage by the Korean media.

The ship’s sinking may seem an unfortunate accident, the operation to save the passengers a heroic drama enacted in seas, and the passengers’ death its tragic ending. Once the surface is scratched, however, a complicated picture emerges. The Sewol sank under the weight of the neoliberal state that diminished its role in safety regulation and oversight. The rescue operation was weighed down by an irresponsible state that relegated its responsibility to a private salvage firm. When questions arose about the state’s responsibility, however, it was not shy about mobilizing its resources to evade and deny responsibility. The whole tragedy serves as a reminder of how neoliberal deregulation and privatization puts people’s safety and life at risk through processes of state collusion with business interests and how a powerful national security state may fail to protect its own people from internal dangers it helps create…

…The accident serves as a vivid reminder of what tragic consequences can result from government-business collusion. While collusion had existed under previous authoritarian regimes that sometimes sacrificed people’s safety for profits, the Sewol incident reveals that the nature of the collusion shifted to give more power to business interests. The authoritarian developmental state shed some of its power as part of the IMF-imposed structural adjustment after the 1997 financial crisis. As the government transferred some of its power to plan, manage, and oversee the economy to private entities, its relative power gradually declined. By the time of the Sewol disaster, the government took a hands-off approach to overseeing such “private” entities as the KRS. Privatized entities with increasing boldness ignored government directives and warning, and became more independent and aggressive in pushing their agenda…

Full article link: http://japanfocus.org/-Jae_Jung-Suh/4195

How International Financial Elites Change Governments to Implement Austerity [counterpunch]

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Allende, Bolivia, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Chile, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hugo Chavez, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nicaragua, Nukes, Somalia, Syria, Thailand, U.K., Ukraine, US imperialism, USA, Venezuela, Yemen, Zelaya coup on March 7, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Feb. 28, 2014

by ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH

Many countries around the world are plagued by all kinds of armed rebellions, economic sanctions, civil wars, “democratic” coup d’états and/or wars of “regime change.” These include Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria, Thailand, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Somalia and Lebanon. Even in the core capitalist countries the overwhelming majority of citizens are subjected to brutal wars of economic austerity.

While not new, social convulsions seem to have become more numerous in recent years. They have become especially more frequent since the mysterious 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 and the 2008 financial collapse in the United States, which soon led to similar financial implosions and economic crises in Europe and beyond.

Despite their many differences, these social turbulences share two common features. The first is that they are largely induced, nurtured and orchestrated from outside, that is, by the Unites States and its allies—of course, in collaboration with their class allies from inside. And the second is that, contrary to the long-established historical pattern of social revolutions, where the desperate and disenfranchised masses rebelled against the ruing elites, in most of the recent struggles it is the elites that have insigated insurgencies and civil wars against the masses. The two features are, of course, integrally intertwined: essentially reflecting the shared interests and collaborative schemes of the international plutocracies against the global 99%.

Fighting to Make Austerity Economics Universal

The official rationale (offered by the U.S. and its allies) that the goal of supporting anti-government opposition forces in places such as Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela is to spread democracy no longer holds any validity; it can easily be dismissed as a harebrained pretext to export neoliberalism and spread austerity economics. Abundant and irrefutable evidence shows that in places where the majority of citizens voted for and elected governments that were not to the liking of Western powers, these powers mobilized their local allies and hired all kinds of mercenary forces in order to overthrow the duly elected governments, thereby quashing the majority vote.

Such blatant interventions to overturn the elections that resulted from the majority vote include the promotion of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine (2004 and 2014), Rose Revolution in Georgia (2003), Cedar Revolution in Lebanon (2005), Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005) and the Green Revolution in Iran (2009). They also include the relentless agitation against the duly elected governments of the late Hugo Chavez and now his successor Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, as well as the rejection (and effective annulment) of the duly elected Hamas government in Palestine.

So, the real driving forces behind wars of regime change need to be sought elsewhere; specifically, in the imperatives of expansion and accumulation of capital on a global level. Socialist, social-democratic, populist or nationalist leaders who do not embrace neoliberal economic policies, and who may be wary of having their markets wide open to unbridled foreign capital, would be targeted for replacement with pliant leaders, or client states. This is, of course, not a new explanation of economic imperialism; it is as old as the internationalization of trade and investment.

What is relatively new, and seems to be the main driving force behind the recent wars of regime change, is that, as the U.S. and other major capitalist powers have lately embarked on austerity economic policies at home they also expect and, indeed, demand that other countries follow suit. In other words, it is no longer enough for a country to open its markets to investment and trade with Western economic powers. It seems equally important to these powers that that country also dismantle its public welfare programs and implement austerity measures of neoliberalism.

For example, after resisting imperialist pressures for years, the late Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi eventually relented in 1993, and granted major oil and other transnational corporations of Western powers lucrative investment and trade deals. Under pressure, he even dismantled his country’s nuclear technology altogether in the hope that this would please them to “leave him” alone, so to speak. None of the concessions he made, however, proved satisfactory to the U.S. and its allies, as his regime was violently overthrown in 2011and he was literally butchered by the thuggish gangs that were trained and armed by Western powers.

Why? Because the U.S. and its allies expected more; they wanted him to follow the economic guidelines of the “experts” of global finance, that is, of the U.S. and European economic “advisors,” of the International Monetary Fund and of the World Trade Organization—in short, to dismantle his country’s rather robust state welfare programs and to restructure its economy after the model of neoliberalism.

The criminal treatment of al-Gaddafi can help explain why imperialist powers have also been scheming to overthrow the populist/socialist regimes of the late Hugo Chavez and his successor in Venezuela, of the Castro brothers in Cuba, of Rafael Correa Delgado in Ecuador, of Bashar Al-assad in Syria and of Evo Morales in Bolivia. It also helps explain why they overthrew the popularly elected nationalist governments of Mohammad Mossadeq in Iran, of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, of Kusno Sukarno in Indonesia, of Salvador Allende in Chile, of Sandinistas in Nicaragua, of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti and of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras.

The imperialist agenda of overthrowing al-Gaddafi and other “insubordinate” proponents of welfare state programs abroad is essentially part of the same evil agenda of dismantling such programs at home. While the form, the context and the means of destruction maybe different, the thrust of the relentless attacks on the living conditions of the Libyan, Iranian, Venezuelan or Cuban peoples are essentially the same as the equally brutal attacks on the living conditions of the poor and working people in the US, UK, France and other degenerate capitalist countries. In a subtle way they are all part of an ongoing unilateral class warfare on a global scale. Whether they are carried out by military means and bombardments or through the apparently “non-violent” processes of judicial or legislative means does not make a substantial difference as far as their impact on people’s lives and livelihoods is concerned.

The powerful plutocratic establishment in the core capitalist countries does not seem to feel comfortable to dismantle New Deal economics, Social Democratic reforms and welfare state programs in these countries while people in smaller, less-developed countries such as (al-Gaddafi’s) Libya, Venezuela or Cuba enjoy strong, state-sponsored social safety net programs. Plutocracy’s intolerance of “regimented” economies stems from a fear that strong state-sponsored economic safely net programs elsewhere may serve as “bad” models that could be demanded by citizens in the core capitalist countries.

In a moment of honesty, former U.S. President Harry Truman is reported as having expressed (in 1947) the unstated mission of the United States to globalize its economic system in the following words: “The whole world should adopt the American system. The American system can survive in America only if it becomes a world system” [1].

In a similar fashion, Lord Cecil Rhodes, who conquered much of Africa for the British Empire, is reported to have suggested during the heydays of the Empire that the simplest way to achieve peace was for England to convert and add the rest of the world (except the United States, Germany and few other Western powers of the time) to its colonies.

The Mafia equivalent of Truman’s or Rhodes’ statements would be something like this: “You do it our way, or we break your leg.”ismaelhz

The mindset behind Truman’s blunt statement that the rest of the world “should adopt the American system” has indeed served as something akin to a sacred mission that has guided the foreign policy of the United States ever since it supplanted the British authority as the major world power…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/02/28/how-international-financial-elites-change-governments-to-implement-austerity/

Ukraine: Coup Staged, New Order Established, First Steps Taken, Tendencies Taking Shape [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in Anti-communism, EU, European Union, Fascism, Germany, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Nazism, Russia, Ukraine, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on February 26, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Pavel DMITRIEV | 25.02.2014

The coup in Ukraine has taken place. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (Ukrainian Parliament) has voted to set early presidential elections for May 25 and done so in violation of Constitution and established order. The former President escaped from Kiev having betrayed his voters, the party, those who stood on guard of law and order and the people. Kiev and a larger part of Ukraine, including Volyn and Galicia regions, have moved under the control of rebels.

The south-eastern part of Ukraine and the Republic of Crimea, excluding the Dnepropetrovsk region, are still loyal to the Constitution and have actually refused to recognize the new regime. [Even so], it is unclear how long will the local powers in the country’s south-east be able to keep the situation under control…

The Kharkov (or Kharkiv) local governors’s meeting took place on February 22; the final document vaguely stated loyalty to the Constitution and refused to recognize the rebels’ rule…

The regional councils are only legal power structures in the south-eastern part of Ukraine unconditionally recognized by local population that have authority within the limits of their territories. The fates of the people who counter the coup depend on how decisive and resolute the local powers will be. These are the structures that can organize local population and militia to make it maintain law and order and prevent the attempts to seize local administrative buildings.

Until now, the situation in the south-east has been under local powers’ control. Anti-fascist self-defense formations are actively formed in Donetsk, Kharkov and Lugansk, the population there is adamant in its desire to resist…

…The head of Maidan neo-fascists posted an instruction of the Pravy Sector headquarters saying that the Party of the Regions and the Communist Party of Ukraine are criminal organizations and their activities should be stopped…

…Having staged the coup, the West has made Ukraine destitute of its sovereignty. The country is ruled from outside. Washington and Brussels are consulted before taking any decision of significance…

…The world community should fully realize that Ukrainian Neo-Nazi[s] have become an instrument of US foreign policy…

Edited and excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/02/25/ukraine-coup-staged-new-order-established-first-steps-taken-tendencies-taking-shape.html