Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 15, 2013

The 'de-Americanized' World

Congress is in a game of chicken over minor domestics political issues with both sides holding the world economy as hostage. With this and its generally reckless behavior in international policies, including spying on everyone, the U.S. has displeased too many other countries to keep its position as a leading nation. As the moment of one sole superpower ends new alliances will have to be formed and new arrangements for a stable international system will have to be found.

Pepe Escobar picks up this extraordinary Xinhua editorial which I also had planned to write about.

Long gone are the Deng Xiaoping days of "keeping a low profile". The Xinhua editorial summarizes the straw that broke the dragon's back - the current US shutdown. After the Wall Street-provoked financial crisis, after the war on Iraq, a "befuddled world", and not only China, wants change.

This paragraph couldn't be more graphic:

Instead of honoring its duties as a responsible leading power, a self-serving Washington has abused its superpower status and introduced even more chaos into the world by shifting financial risks overseas, instigating regional tensions amid territorial disputes, and fighting unwarranted wars under the cover of outright lies.

The solution, for Beijing, is to "de-Americanize" the current geopolitical equation - starting with more say in the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for emerging economies and the developing world, leading to a "new international reserve currency that is to be created to replace the dominant US dollar".

That is exactly what I see coming over the next decade.

One big change will come in the Persian Gulf where China is now a bigger customer than the U.S. is. One day it will inevitably pay with Yuan instead of dollars for the oil it buys. As we foresaw, the "extraordinary privilege" of the U.S. being able to print the global reserve currency and therefore petro-dollars at will is coming to an end. Saudi Arabia, also disgruntled about the United States policies, already bought its old strategic missile force in China. Negotiations about a newer generation are rumored to be ongoing. Other weapon orders may follow. China will deliver but will be smart enough to not interfere in Gulf politics like U.S. is doing day by day.

Even the British admit that in international foreign politics the Russian foreign minister Lavrov is now the most grown up and leading voice.

The EU and the European monetary union will probably fall apart over Merkel's insane and destructive deflationary policies which destroys the southern European countries' and even the French economy. We soon may see the Frexit and a new French franc. The lunatic Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a race to the lowest possible common regulation level, is unlikely to ever get signed. The U.S. will have to look for growth elsewhere as the European countries have had enough of its predatory financial behavior.

Africa will, unfortunately, become a new ground for competition by proxy as China, the U.S. and Europe will try to grab resources as well as market shares there.

In South America those leaders who oppose U.S. influence have high popular ratings while those who work with the U.S. are disliked by their populations. There is a lesson in that.

Obama has missed the recent international Asian meetings and will have lost some face over it. It was also the third time that he canceled an announced visit to Indonesia, a country with a population of some 250 million people. While the U.S. may continue to have some control over Japan and South Korea even these two countries will see the bigger potential in good relations with China.

A deeper connection with China and Asia in general will also be good for European countries. The new currency swap agreement over some 50 billion Euro/Yuan is only a start. What is now needed is the "beer express", one of my long time dreams. An all new fast freight railroad to connect Hamburg with Qingdao ("Beer express" because the Holsten and Tsingtao breweries are sisters). Using that railroad the transport from East South Asia to Europe and on to the U.S. east coast would be faster than by any other sea and land route. There are already some rudimentary plans for such a project.

Since the demise of the Soviet Union the U.S. has been the uncontested global leader. Its behavior over the last decades has shown that it is not suited for such a role. The coming decade will see a new era arise.

Posted by b on October 15, 2013 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

Comments

"Since the demise of the Soviet Union the U.S. has been the uncontested global leader. Its behavior over the last decades has shown that it is not suited for such a role. The coming decade will see a new era arise."

These are events of world historical significance.
The decline of the US role in world affairs represents the end of the empire which began is the fifteenth century with a few Portuguese bases in Africa and Asia. Spain's conquests in America followed, then the Dutch, French and finally-250 years ago in 1763- the British consolidated their grip on the Empire. In the twentieth century power passed from London to Washington.

It is that era, of European and naval domination, which is ending. Power is passing to Mackinder's earth island, which is, as b points out, bounded by the two (mediocre) breweries. Germany has the opportunity to throw in its hand with that of Russia and Asia, a new drive towards the east. Given the alternatives I suspect that it will.

This will leave the Empire (the Five Eyes of surveillance co-operation) time to think about life.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 15, 2013 10:49:13 AM | 1

Stephen Walt agrees with me :-)

Stephen Walt ‏@StephenWalt

Appears US lacks political institutions necessary to be a responsible world power. 1st we blunder into Iraq, now we can't even pass budget.

Posted by: b | Oct 15, 2013 12:42:57 PM | 2

What exactly is going to happen to the west?

Posted by: Shoes | Oct 15, 2013 2:22:53 PM | 3

We are doomed to watch non-stop Miley Cyrus videos.

Posted by: dh | Oct 15, 2013 2:28:29 PM | 4

@Shoes @3 - the "west" does not exists. It is a nonsensical concept of "those who agree with us" ignoring different cultures, history and interests.

Posted by: b | Oct 15, 2013 2:42:19 PM | 5

If it accepts defeat gracefully, then it will merely undergo a massive credit deflation - a real one, not a phony one caused by its own bankers pumping the economy up and down to fill their own pockets, but a real one caused by externally located central bankers, let us call them the gnomes of Beijing, withdrawing a large quantity of liquidity from western banking circles. But it doesn't have to be the end of the world. Consider Britain after WW2. All of a sudden, London wasn't the centre of the world banking system any more, New York was. So the Brits underwent a decade of real penury. Food rationing didn't end until 1954. Industrial production, mainly for export, began to revive in the late fifties, and for fifteen years or so we had a lovely export-led boom. Similarly Russia after the collapse of the USSR: massive credit deflation and ten years of penury. Then a spectacular revival. In Russia's case admittedly this wouldn't have happened if it had not been for the renationalisation of oil and gas fields. But you can't hold advanced countries down forever, unless you de-industrialise them permanently, as certain parties wished to do to Germany after WW2. The advantage of disinvestment is that it opens a field for reinvestment at higher profit rates, after everything has decayed a bit and wage rates have fallen a lot.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 15, 2013 2:42:28 PM | 6

"Uncontested Global Leader", what does that mean? 'we lead others follow' or 'what we say, goes' for most states unfortunately the latter, because all nation states act in their own interests it is not surprising that the nation with the economic clout and also the greatest military power in the universe uses it to further its own interests,rather like the Cosa Nostra, in fact just like them, until a big competitor comes along to challenge the Empire, alliances will have to be formed [the BRIC's] also some short termed ones like the Russian/Chinese collaboration over Syria both at the UN and physically in the Mediterranean, I think Putin had it right when he said it is dangerous for one state to regard itself as "exceptional" I would add it is the height of arrogance to do so.

Posted by: harrylaw | Oct 15, 2013 2:48:38 PM | 7

3,5 It is very relative. Seen from Russia the US is East.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 15, 2013 3:00:38 PM | 8

In fairness there are many things 'the West' does well. Airplanes, cars, medicine, indoor plumbing etc. Western culture is popular too in some quarters. Look what Rambo movies have done for angry young jihadis.

Posted by: dh | Oct 15, 2013 3:00:46 PM | 9

The biggest threat to America today is that its citizenry believe their institutions of government are responsible for their ills rather than the forces that have corrupted it for unfair advantage.

The snake that sees his tail as the enemy doesn't last long.

Posted by: Cynthia | Oct 15, 2013 3:02:33 PM | 10

b,

Your analysis is spot on. But, it is not just the United States that has gone mad. The EU depressed Southern Europe so hard the real unemployment rate is 50% in Greece.

The only explanation that makes any sense to me is that the Plutocrats have seized power from Moscow to Washington DC. With the advent of nuclear weapons mass armies are no longer needed to protect the Elite’s estates from others and as a consequence States are being privatized and superseded by corporations. The military exists as a money making operation for the connected; not to win wars. We, the rabble, exist to be exploited, manipulated or ignored.

Enron infected Wall Street. Western business and government are intertwined and since 2001 completely corrupt. The Radical House Republicans may or may not realize it but they are about to torch a House of Cards.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Oct 15, 2013 3:07:16 PM | 11

9) yuk
Noun 1. Western culture - the modern culture of western Europe and North America; "when Ghandi was asked what he thought of Western civilization he said he thought it would be a good idea"

Posted by: somebody | Oct 15, 2013 3:24:19 PM | 12

Did Ghandi spend any time in the Louvre?

Posted by: dh | Oct 15, 2013 3:26:17 PM | 13

great post b. thanks! my only question is how long for things to unravel whereby the usa is no longer leader? it has divided itself so many ways, it is not hard to imagine it falling apart..

Posted by: james | Oct 15, 2013 3:43:13 PM | 14

"The solution, for Beijing, is to "de-Americanize" the current geopolitical equation - starting with more say in the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for emerging economies and the developing world, leading to a "new international reserve currency that is to be created to replace the dominant US dollar".

Come what may, the US deserves this scenario. Beware world, dying animals sometimes thrash about.

Posted by: ben | Oct 15, 2013 3:49:46 PM | 15

A very "big picture" post, which is needed every now and again. The US Empire is certainly bleeding from 1000 cuts. Have been reading a lot about the rise of China and a lot of it is breathtaking.

Europe's role will be vital. If Europe and the US stick together the Empire project will go on a bit longer (into the 2020's) but I think at some stage we will see a decoupling and an independent EU policy.

Looking into a crystal ball is always tricky but there will be a few signs that could cause a US-EU seperation:

- Another mad Republican President: As long as Obama is President things will remain rosy in US-EU ties. If a Republican wins in 2016 (and usually after two terms it is likely to switch). Relations will very rapidly go back to Bush levels. Of course a moderate Republican could win but there aren't many of them left. Chances are it would be another raving Jesus fanatic. And the geo-political scene is not the same as the 2000 when Europe had no where else to go. Nowadays Russia is back and wealthy, China is fast becoming a superpower, and others like Brazil are much more powerful.

- Another Wall St meltdown: It was the US that convinced a lot of Europe to move away from its Socialist policies and after a decade or so of going well the whole thing has become a clusterfuck. It doesn't get mentioned much in the press or by politicians but generally the European populations know that the US is the most responsible for the crash in 2008. The US pushed this "free market voodoo economics" theory, the US created the Credit Default Swaps "Weapons of Mass Financial Destruction" as Warren Buffet rightly called them. The US was where this whole thing started with Lehman Brothers. The EU is now left cleaning up the mess. Another Wall St meltdown and the EU will have to bail on the US, especially if it is self inflicted like the debt ceiling or default.

- Left-wing Turn: After the Austerity and bailouts that plagued Latin America in the 90's the continent took a sharp left wing turn and became more opposed to US financial theories and imperialism. Since Europe is now suffering under the exact same conditions, it is possible for the same result to emerge. Of course just as likely is that it could tilt to the extreme right with parties like Golden Dawn in Greece.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 15, 2013 3:52:45 PM | 16

anyone wondering about if the plan at this moment is to not let the usa get an extension of the debt ceiling so that it can start sending it on it's merry little 'not the leader anymore' role that is being suggested in this post?

Posted by: james | Oct 15, 2013 4:29:28 PM | 17

13) Quite likely he would have considered it nothing special

Being able to put up huge stones in 1200 BC just does not compare to being able to write in 2600 BC

It is a silly contest. But the truth is that Indians and Iranians somehow do look down on people whose history started only 500 years ago.

Gandhi presumably was talking about the West's massacres.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 15, 2013 4:37:35 PM | 18

Where does Stonehenge fit into that theory?

Posted by: dh | Oct 15, 2013 4:38:47 PM | 19

I guess you have a point about writing. Westerners were a little slow picking up on that. But I think you'll find there was considerable social injustice in India prior to Western arrival. Some people in the West still see the caste system as barbaric.

Posted by: dh | Oct 15, 2013 4:42:37 PM | 20

I think you are right on Cynthia #10. I try to convince “natural people” to look past the “government” and the politicians to those who put them into their offices. It is the “corporate persons” (what an obscene legal fiction) who we have to overcome before we can turn toward livable and sane cultures again. And they are ruled by those most advantaged to move to the top positions in the heap, full fledged psychopaths.

In my opinion the "West" is essentially those who adhere to the capitalist mentality, which is the ultimate ideological/economic vehicle for nurturing psychopaths. I for one am looking forward to the 'de-Americanized' World as advent toward those livable and sane cultures again.

Posted by: juannie | Oct 15, 2013 4:47:52 PM | 21

this is a consequence of bad men/women entering politics and getting into government: democracy is no protection aganist this.

Posted by: brian | Oct 15, 2013 4:51:18 PM | 22

Posted by: b | Oct 15, 2013 12:42:57 PM | 2


what it and states like UK lack are capable honest politicians

Posted by: brian | Oct 15, 2013 4:58:02 PM | 23


chinas premier in a visit to Thailand takes an interest in chinese tourists views

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2013livisiteastasia/2013-10/13/content_17028401.htm

Posted by: brian | Oct 15, 2013 5:02:10 PM | 24

Immanuel Wallerstein: Commentary No. 363, Oct. 15, 2013
"The Samson Complex"
...As there are more and more groups ready to pull the temple down, even as they themselves are crushed, the people who are most confused and uncertain about what to do are the so-called Establishment. Gone are the days when they could cynically maneuver and get their way. No longer is it true that "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose." Or, no apparent change is real; it's all window-dressing, a mere change in personnel...
We must try to understand not only the middle-run objectives of the world "right" but the nature of their profound internal splits. The so-called world left is profoundly split too. We must work to overcome this...
Nothing is easy in this time of transition from one world-system to another. But everything is possible - possible but far from certain.
http://www.binghamton.edu/fbc/commentaries/archive-2013/363en.htm

Posted by: c | Oct 15, 2013 5:25:28 PM | 25

1. Will Israel begin to call itself the beacon of EASTERN civilization?

2. Will USA fragment into states like the Italian states post-Roman empire?

Posted by: Solon | Oct 15, 2013 6:05:57 PM | 26

@ Solon

Will USA fragment into states like the Italian states post-Roman empire?

A Question of the difference between the British Empire and the Ottomon Empire.

The British experience would imply that America won't be powerful enough to rule the world, but will still be a hugely important global player. After all Britain (population 75 million) couldn't rule the world when America (population 300 million) took the stage. Similarly America couldn't rule the world when China (population 1.2 Billion) fixes its economy and begins to looks outward.

Under this experience just because the United States loses its Empire doesn't mean it won't be important. Just not dominant.

On the flip side it could go the route of the Ottomon/Roman/Mongol Empires. This has always been a threat to America. It's almost to big to be a nation state. The Dixie South has a completely different philosophy/culture/heritage to the North, even though I think the West from LA to Arizona is a melting pot with parts of both. You could divide the US into 2 nations along the lines of the confederacy and you would have two nations as different as Germany and Italy.

So naturally if the US crumbles like the Ottomans or the Mongols you will have vastly different cultures breaking off and the US will cease to exist. Maybe Britain's small size and relatively united culture is the only thing that stopped that from happening when its Empire fell. From a European perspective I think dividing the US into 2 Nations would greatly help balance the power scales in International Affairs.

All nation states require a common unifying message to hold it together. The US has always struggled with that.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 15, 2013 7:17:29 PM | 27

I tend to agree with the article, and many of the comments. All I can add is a Marshall McLuhan perspective and say that all our institutions are in full meltdown in the face of digital communications technology, much as the Medieval world crumbled in the face of the printing press and typography. McLuhan thought he could explain most development from the printing press to 1950 as 'when you have a hammer, it all looks like a nail.' In that time all aspects of life got 'the printing press treatment.' Processes were analyzed, broken down to their elements, then linearized and mechanized. The process was insatiable and absolute: every acre of land to be surveyed. Every 'citizen' to be counted and taxed.
The Typographical Mindset he saw as the product of mass produced books and literacy. It encompassed ALL the intellectuals of his time, 1964. Anything not written in books was simply not 'serious.' Some people still think that way, but they seem sillier and sillier by the month.
Two examples come easily to mind that might illustrate the kind of Full Sys Fail I am talking about. One is intellectual property. The notion of copyright and patent made no real sense before the printing press and industrialization, and now everywhere that our intellectual property regime makes contact with the digital world, something insane and unsustainable emerges. Our 'wealth' relies on intellectual property, yet no move is being made to save that system from collapsing, AFTER it wrecks innovation on all levels. The other example is Totalitarian NSA 'backup' of every single communication since the 80's. Anyone who has read Machiavelli will recognize the mentality. The Machiavellian cannot recognize any arbitrary point at which he thinks he knows 'enough' about all potential enemies. No such point exists. SO how much info do they want? ALL of it. What can they do with it? Not a lot, I should think, however many clever algorithms they run it thru. They have drawn a map bigger than the territory, with little way to distinguish what's important from what is not. Terrorist communique's could be disguised as misspelled spam, or as fantasy role-play games where a crew only _pretends_ to plan an attack. Plus, they are so hamstrung with ideology, it precludes them seeing anything but what they expect to see in the chaotic Rorschach of ALL THE INFO.
SO I am saying we should EXPECT most of our institutions to be totally inadequate and fold before the challenges of our time. It isn't really the fault of the people in them. They are not visionaries or they would not be in politics. And simply knowing the institutions need to be totally remade to cope with the new reality would not necessarily help, even if one were President.

Posted by: Rock | Oct 15, 2013 7:40:36 PM | 28

@Shoes, #3:

What exactly is going to happen to the west?

Brawndo: The Thirst Mutilator

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Oct 15, 2013 7:46:47 PM | 29

"...much as the Medieval world crumbled in the face of the printing press and typography..."

They were contemporary but the rise of mercantilism spelled the end of the Medieval world.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Merchant-Prato-Francesco-1335-1410/dp/0879235969

Posted by: ruralito | Oct 15, 2013 10:59:06 PM | 30

these days i see lots of rednecks letting off steam on the net coz the world seem to be gradually turning its back on the great usa.


*be careful what u wish for *
[they are pissed that more people seem to be rooting for china over fukus]

this one takes the cake......
*at least we dont kill our own people* ! [sic]
[as if committing genocides all over the world is something to crow about, unlike those chicoms who only know how to *killed their own people*]
[1], [2], [3], [4].


*do u think china would be any more kinder than the usa when they rule the world ?
[i usually tell them to relax coz china doesnt has the heart, let alone the muscle, to rule the world ]

but......
*the chinese havnt been as aggressive coz they dont've that kind of power as usa, not that they are more benign by nature.
[some people simply cant envisage a world where everybody lives as equal partner in harmony, there must be a ruler, preferably fukus of cause.
if china etc hasnt shown such inclination its coz it doesnt have the muscle yet .
how do u argue with such impeccable logic !]

*say what u want, i'd rather to be ruled by the americans than the chinese any time.*
[see, that *rule the world * obcession again.
these usually from fukusan satraps like japan, oz, uk, canada etc
i put it down to tribalism, yes, the japs do regard themselves *white*]
*******************************************

Posted by: denk | Oct 15, 2013 11:04:02 PM | 31

I'm surprised that the shutdown was allegedly the straw that broke the camel's back, and not the blatant and overt (thanks to Mssr. Snowden, anyway) hijacking of international communications. For those with an alliterative bent, here's the latest on Ladar Levison and Lavabit.

Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 16, 2013 12:17:38 AM | 32

Re-reading, I guess they did kind of mention the international breaches of trust in passing.

Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 16, 2013 12:32:36 AM | 33

31
[1]
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2008/03/taiwan-election.html
[2]
+Another example French gives is the claim made by the “Free Tibet” groups in London and Washington that 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed by the Chinese since the Dalai Lama regime was overturned in 1959. His own exhaustive research, he says, has turned up no evidence to back this claim+
http://www.workers.org/2008/world/anti-china_0424/
[3]
one of those rare moment when wikileaks the psyop actually bother to earn some street creds
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8555142/Wikileaks-no-bloodshed-inside-Tiananmen-Square-cables-claim.html
but .....in a backhanded way, by shifting the goal post !
*In 2009, James Miles, who was the BBC correspondent in Beijing at the time, admitted that he had "conveyed the wrong impression" [sic] and that "there was no massacre on Tiananmen Square. Protesters who were still in the square when the army reached it were allowed to leave after negotiations with martial law troops [ ...] There was no Tiananmen Square massacre, but there was a Beijing massacre* [sic]

so now its *beijing massacre of unarmed protestors* folks !
those with an open mind please read the following, not for the faint hearted !
http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2012/05/lets-talk-about-tiananmen-square-1989/
http://www.voltairenet.org/article177116.html

+*China, 89 China accuses people in the u.s., england and hong kong for
Conspiring in the pro-democracy demonstrations. Those elements offered more Than $1 million, including bounties to those barricading roads, destroying Military vehicles and killing soldiers. China accused especially bao tong, Head of a liberal think tank, fang lizhi and the the stone corporation, a Private high-tech firm that donated tens of thousands of dollars in Materials to the demonstrators. Wp 7/7/89
a19,24. The beijing stone Computer company singled out for criticism.
Washington post 7/6/89 a19 *+
http://tinyurl.com/49ww6zr

last but not least , the ex aussie diplomat gregory clark who , together with maxwell neville, exposed the *1962 chinese aggression against india* fraud, was the first westerner who debunked the tam lie, beating wiki the fraud by a decade !
http://gregoryclark.net/page15/page15.html

Posted by: denk | Oct 16, 2013 1:01:01 AM | 34

right on cue,

china *killing unarmed protestors * n *assasinating a highly respected monk* to boot, according to amnestyusa n rfa, ?

http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/news-item/china-end-outrageous-police-violence-against-tibetan-protesters

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/CHIN-01-101013.html
[read the comments !]
it might even be a ff,
+assuming the worst of fukus gives u tremendous preditive power+
by the *assasination press*

violence in xinjiang has been escalating in recent months.
hmm
looks like the us [usual suspects] have been very busy lately,
http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-soldiers-in-nepal-on-chinas-tibet-border-on-a-reconnaissance-humanitarian-mission/5305643

Posted by: denk | Oct 16, 2013 2:03:43 AM | 35

There's an article in today's UK Telegraph, by the always ebullient Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, saying that China's debt, if you please, has soared into unacceptable regions of 200% of GDP, about $23 trillion. He admits that China's holdings of foreign debt amount to $3.7 trillion. He says:

The evidence is that the new team of president Xi Jinping and premier Li Keqiang has yet to overcome resistance from vested interests and are still relying on the old mercantilist formula of export-led growth, promoted by an artificially cheap currency.

A quick glance at Wikipedia reveals that US debt totals $16.8 trillion, just over 100% of GDP. The PRC and Japan, it says, hold just over $1.1 trillion of US debt each.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 16, 2013 4:17:46 AM | 36

great post

b recognized, as soon as Obama grabbed the lifesaver of the OPCW that Lavrov had thrown to the him, that it was a sign of a huge turn of tide in the offing, at least at the political level: (1) the first defeat of the permanent war party in the Us; (2) Russian re-entering the international scene and finding interested parties in the western countries; (3) and now finally China raising its head calling for an end to madness and silliness; (of course caution must be exercised on all counts)

let's not forget that it was Syrian's resistance, and Assad's intelligent handling of the crisis, that with patience reached out to the people and delegitimized the rebels, that gave heart to the Russians (who abhor betting on the wrong horse) in the first place

facts on the ground determine shifts in perception; and a political collective reaction is long overdue within the western countries, if we don't want to sink under the plutocracy's weight, in this or in another world order

Posted by: claudio | Oct 16, 2013 4:43:12 AM | 37

The reality is that the debt can never be repaid. It will have to be written off. The world can continue to attempt to screw interest payments out of an increasingly impoverished population, essentially by transferring the resources of the masses- from pension funds, to social services, to transit systems to household furnishings (and even unto body parts!)- into the hands of the creditors. But in the end it will be impossible- as the usurers well understand- to collect the vast pools of debt.
So, in one way or another, from write-downs to currency inflations to audits and prioritising to jubilees the debt must be forgiven and forgotten.

The great problem with the decline of the imperial system is that, on the way down, its rulers are likely to stretch out their hands to the rulers of the rising international axis and arrange for a global debt collecting exercise which will involve the enslavement of humanity, under the malign gaze of the panopticon.
We aren't far from that now and the truth is that, if it occurs, we will look back longingly on the old days when there was resistance to the Empire, supported in extremis by rival powers like Russia or China.

Another world is not just desirable but necessary if human civilisation is to thrive: barbarism is all around us and very close to overwhelming the last shreds of liberty, privacy and personal, family and local autonomy. The political reaction is, as claudio says, long overdue.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 16, 2013 10:17:21 AM | 38

@bevin -

The reality is that the debt can never be repaid
I think debt could easily be renewed and repaid, with a little help from devaluation and inflation; of course they should start taxing people and corporations in the Us like in the rest of the world

problem is, that inflation (and taxing capital gains) breaks the current non-written neolib social contract that protects investors at the expense of everyone else

most of the increase in public spending in western countries after the 2008 crisis is towards the banking system, which maintains the stranglehold finance has over our societies; we should simply nationalize (at zero costs) bankrupt banks, and use public spending to sustain production and consumption

The great problem with the decline of the imperial system is that, on the way down, its rulers are likely to stretch out their hands to the rulers of the rising international axis and arrange for a global debt collecting exercise
indeed; shortsighted, as b also says of Merkel's policies, but very possible

Posted by: claudio | Oct 16, 2013 11:01:58 AM | 39

The Chinese statement has caused a few ears to prick up on the ordinarily tin-eared Capitol Hill, so there's that. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) had this to say about it:

“What we have already witnessed is a blow to our position in the international community. In our foreign relations, we should not be surprised that the United States government is now the laughing stock of the world. Can we really be the ‘strongest country on earth’ when we shut down the government and do not pay our bills? The Chinese, our biggest creditor, are now openly talking about the need to “de-Americanize” international affairs because of the constant brinksmanship by U.S. politicians over the possibility of a debt default."

Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 16, 2013 11:14:51 AM | 40

Errata: Senator Sanders is an Independent, not a Democrat (although he caucuses with the Democrat party)as previously reported. We're sorry for any inconvenience this error might have caused.

Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 16, 2013 11:20:00 AM | 41

It's probably almost worth going through WWIII to end the US of A's Double Trouble influence on the world. It is ridiculous to see the US as an Empire "builder." It has diminished the lives of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world and destroyed infinitely more social and physical infrastructure than it has created.

It's ironic that the final target for destruction seems to be almost every aspect of the American Way of Life which made it the envy of the world. Since Yankees, themselves, have got the destruction ball rolling, it would be disingenuous and thoughtless of the rest of us not to pitch in and give them a helping hand ... in Our Hour of need.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 16, 2013 11:23:25 AM | 42

@b

The lunatic Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a race to the lowest possible common regulation level, is unlikely to ever get signed.
what makes you think so? afaik, Barroso is pushing for a super-fast track, while the matter was barely discussed in recent German elections; wouldn't this show that German politicians are aware of the fact that they don't have the option to say 'no'?

Posted by: claudio | Oct 16, 2013 2:28:38 PM | 43

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 15, 2013 7:17:29 PM | 27


You could divide the US into 2 nations along the lines of the confederacy and you would have two nations as different as Germany and Italy.

Do you not think that Germany and Austria might be a better comparison for a split USA that way they could even keep the mutual contempt for each others' accents/dialects.

Dubhaltach

Posted by: Dubhaltach | Oct 16, 2013 3:06:09 PM | 44

@ Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 16, 2013 11:20:00 AM | 40

Re: Your erratum*.

My understanding was that Sanders is the single solitary socialist in the US Senate and that he's politically isolated and therefore without influence. If that's the case - and I'm very open to correction, then so what? He'll just be yet another left-winger whose warnings were casually ignored by the a ruling class in the grip of Tuchmanian folly.

Dubhaltach

* This piece of ludicrously inconsequential nitpicking about the singular and plural forms of a word borrowed from a dead language is brought to you by that side of me that can resist everything but temptation :-)

D

Posted by: Dubhaltach | Oct 16, 2013 3:21:50 PM | 45

The Xinhua perspective is reminiscent of that old Evergreen about hypocrites...

The day Ol' China socked it to
The Harper Valley PTA.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 16, 2013 4:03:20 PM | 46

Look what Rambo movies have done for angry young jihadis.

Posted by: dh | Oct 15, 2013 3:00:46 PM | 9


in fact one of the Rambo movies praises the afghan mujhadeen as freedom fighters!

http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/item/9410-there-is-no-honor-here-what-rambo-taught-us-about-afghanistan

Posted by: brian | Oct 16, 2013 4:36:42 PM | 47

@b

The lunatic Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a race to the lowest possible common regulation level, is unlikely to ever get signed.
b, what makes you think that? Barroso is pushing for a rapid approval, and no one is putting obstacles, not even when the Snowden revelations could have given excuses to European governments;

afaik, TTIP wasn't discussed in recent German election, and this seems to me a sign that an approval (in secrecy as usual, in UE affairs) is probable, however lunatic (everything is lunatic in EUland nowadays)

[3rd attempt to post this evening!]

Posted by: claudio | Oct 16, 2013 5:13:40 PM | 48

Interesting reading...wouldn't you say?...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 16, 2013 5:42:30 PM | 49

China has never had a reputation of intervening actively in the outside world; their last intervention was a fleet of junks in the Gulf in the 14th century. Back then, and before, they made products specially oriented to the Middle Eastern market, with Arabic inscriptions.

Today they make iPhones. No difference. Produce what the foreigner wants.

Chinese intervention politically would be quite outside their experience, and thus to question if it occurs.

Posted by: alexno | Oct 16, 2013 7:19:56 PM | 50

That is very interesting news on Tiananmen Square.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 16, 2013 9:51:00 PM | 51

I can't figure out what this new Creenwald/Scahill/Poitras venture is to be, but here is the man funding it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Omidyar

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 16, 2013 9:54:35 PM | 52

"China has never had a reputation of intervening actively in the outside world; their last intervention was a fleet of junks in the Gulf in the 14th century..."

You mean C15th. Alexno, I suspect.
At any rate, while it was true that most Chinese dynasties felt that they had plenty to do at home and that overseas adventures were unprofitable, China was far from being a "hermit" empire. China was so far advanced, so wealthy and so populous that it had little need to go abroad: other countries came to it, some to trade, some to plunder, all to wonder. At the size of its cities, the fertility of its agriculture, the ingenuity of its craftsmen, the living standards of its people. And the power of its government.
The Yuan dynasty sent a vast fleet to conquer Japan. And the Qing dynasty, in the C17th and C18th, conquered most of central Asia, incorporating vast regions into the Empire. Gains which it still has to a large extent.
As to that "fleet of junks" it was enormous, as were the large warships and treasure ships, which were safer, faster and better navigated than any in Europe. And carried an army, on board, of thousands armed with gunpowder weaponry.

In a word you couldn't be more wrong. China, throughout most of the past two thousand years has dominated much of the world, collected tribute, traded commodities-highly prized luxuries such as porcelain and silks- and swallowed vast amounts of silver bullion, largely because its trading partners, including Europe, had few goods that it did not produce more cheaply itself. Hence, in the end opium, and the Opium wars.

Don't be misled by what happened in the C19th and the years before 1949, China has a very long tradition of political intervention and was counting its armies in the millions in eras when European armies rarely involved more than a few thousands.

Mind you China's government is very happy that it is regarded as historically pacific and reserved.

"I think debt could easily be renewed and repaid, with a little help from devaluation and inflation; of course they should start taxing people and corporations in the US like in the rest of the world."
Many European countries, Claudio, actually have tax rates and breaks comparable to those in the US. I agree with b about the TTIP, and with Pepe about the very similar Trans Pacific negotiations. The days of the unequal treaties imposed under the guns (and bombers) of the Empire with bought and paid for quislings agreeing with the big boss, are over.
As to the possibility of repaying the debt, you seem to agree with me. The question is how much currency depreciation and how much inflation. And, given them, is it not likely that other adjustments will be made, with much debt being written off as odious, which, in a legal sense it most certainly is.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 16, 2013 9:59:24 PM | 53

@ Dubhaltach (#43): Your correction is appreciated. That makes two errata for me. ;)

On the issue of Senator Sanders, politically isolated he may be, however he is also sporting a higher profile with the accompanying credentials than a great many of the rest of us whose warnings go unheeded. He also sets a wonderful precedent for Americans who continue to fall into line with the "throw your vote away" rhetoric which has entrenched the current complicit duocracy.

While it is probably inevitable (as well as intellectually lazy)for non-Americans to write off America and Americans and call that a day, there are those whose concerns must gravitate towards reform and rehabilitation. I suppose that if someone else's grandmother were an alcoholic, it would be easier for one to join the kill-it-with-fire club.

Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 16, 2013 10:46:11 PM | 54


bevin 50

thru out china's long history, most of the time it was the victim of aggressions from
the north, hence the construction of the great wall to stem the huns, mongols, manchus hordes.
its imperial expansion was mainly done when china was itself ruled by the mongols[yuan dynasty] n manchus [qing dynasty]

one example was the mongols attempt to invade japan during the yuan dynasty.
some clueless japs cited this as evidence of *chinese aggression* against japan
fact is , the chinese saved their ass !
http://info.japantimes.co.jp/text/rc20100819a3.html
those ingrates !
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2013/10/open-thread-2013-21.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef019affc8c32a970b

*As to that "fleet of junks" it was enormous, as were the large warships and treasure ships, which were safer, faster and better navigated than any in Europe.
And carried an army, on board, of thousands armed with gunpowder weaponry*

that was during the peak of the ming dynasty, but those fleet which went as far as
africa, was not there to conquer n plunder.
the ships were brimming with manufactured products n delicacies, the purpose of
the expedition was to explore the outside world n trade with the locals.
http://larouchepac.com/node/28459
http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/zxxx/t1085199.shtml
definitely not ur typical spanish or british armada of later yrs !

thos who sniff that china isnt as aggressive as the west coz it doesnt has that power dont know what they r talking about.
china was a super power before yet it sent out an armada not to conquer , but to fraternise with the outside world !

most objective historians would say china has been a benign power, especially when compared to the euros.

Posted by: denk | Oct 17, 2013 1:26:21 AM | 55

@ Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 16, 2013 10:46:11 PM | 51

That's interesting, thanks. To what extent is it either possible or likely that Sanders' higher profile will or could be translated into part of that reform/rehabilitation effort you mention?

Dubhaltach

Posted by: Dubhaltach | Oct 17, 2013 1:35:39 AM | 56

bevin, debt doesn't have to be repaid, but renewed; if you want to reduce your debt, you need to repay it only in little part, gradually; the problem stems from lack of GDP growth and deflationary policies; with "Keynesian" policies (but this word today is used very improperly) you should have both growth and inflation, and debt takes care of itself under these circumstances;

the constraint would on the balance of payments, because inflation makes your products less competitive, so these policies should be pursued collectively; devaluation can help, up to a certain point, beyond which it adds too much inflation in a vicious circle;

in conclusion, regarding the European monetary union, if Germany (whose balance of payments is positive towards all other European countries, and who willfully implemented deflationary policies to this end) doesn't implement expansionary policies, it's necessary for the other countries to exit the Euro - fast

Posted by: claudio | Oct 17, 2013 3:02:11 AM | 57

Re 57: That's what I was thinking, basically, after I posted the item about the debt figures. On the one hand, China's debt is about twice its GDP, whereas the US's debt is just over once its GDP; but on the other hand, thanks to what Ambrose Evans-Pritchard disparagingly calls its "mercantilist" policy, China has an ever-expanding, export-led manufacturing sector, producing just about everything and particularly electronics. The US has nothing really except its weapons industry, which precisely because it is an oligopoly, selling direct to governments, and fiercely protected by patents and state secrecy provisions, is rapidly losing its edge. So it is an easy bet that China will continue to earn whatever passes worldwide for 'hard money', but the US may well not do so once it loses its imperial leverage. PS: I just bought an Ethernet-to-USB adaptor made in China which works perfectly. I mention that because I am delighted at having thus reclaimed a notebook which has no Ethernet socket for network connection, only USB sockets.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 17, 2013 5:04:33 AM | 58

Dubhaltach (#56)asked: "To what extent is it either possible or likely that Sanders' higher profile will or could be translated into part of that reform/rehabilitation effort you mention?"

Likelihood is an odd kind of question when we live in a world of self-fulfilling prophecies. If there is a will to reform, it is very likely that he could be pointed to as someone who has broken the "lesser of two evils" paradigm seizing the voting public of the USA. If people simply want to continue with their protracted meltdowns, histrionics, and completely lose their grip on reality (Seriously? Freemasons? Had her rant been about lizard people and grey aliens, I think we would all have understood and let it slide) then there is no likelihood of anything except for more of the same, sooner or later.

This is kind of what I meant when I mentioned that the majority of the anti-Americanism (or de-Americanization... that's more trendy) is "intellectually lazy." Of course the sentiment behind chants of "Down with the USA!" is easily understood, and the USA has no business being in the position it has arrogated for itself. But it's not going away in a flash of public disgust in any event. The United States could theoretically be militarily defeated if faced with the combined force of the rest of an increasingly disgusted world, but as long as we're juggling "likelihoods," it bears mentioning that you will probably win several lotteries and be hit by several asteroids before the United States is physically conquered, due to quirks of geography. The fact is that no matter how much face is lost and how many currencies are shifted around, the USA is going nowhere and will continue to be governed internally, no matter how things play out. Just as the former Soviet Union has turned it's own fortunes around since it's collapse of 1989, we will hear more from the USA after the dust has settled here in some more or less crazy capacity. Unless a will to reform/rehabilitate is made more likely, the only other option to avoid a wash-rinse-repeat scenario is to completely annihilate the USA and completely subjugate the survivors. And that's just not going to happen, despite the wet dreams of so very many well-meaning people.

So my short answer to your question about how likely the reform/rehabilitation is would be this: It's in everyone's best interests to start making it more likely than it might seem to be presently.

Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 17, 2013 5:34:11 AM | 59

@RB - mercantilism is a solution till others (and the domestic working class) accept it, in the long run it isn't acceptable; indebted (foreign debt, not public debt) countries are said to live above their means; well, mercantilist countries like China and Germany are living below their means; only a minority benefits from this situation

in the long run, net exporters discover that indebted countries can't sustain their foreign debt, exports diminish, and the export-oriented-economies must be re-oriented towards internal consumption, so the conclusion is the same (the necessity of balance of payments in substantial equilibrium in the long run, and public policies for a domestic demand-led growth) except that it comes through competitive (sometimes predatory) and uncooperative approaches, and much suffering, instead of healthy cooperation

the Fmi's original mission was to ease such cooperation helping countries that accumulated foreign debt and restore equilibrium to the system, instead it has become an instrument for predatory policies of western capitalism

the only alternative to the coming world-wide economic recession will be a concerted return to Keynesian policies (no, bank bailouts and tax cuts for the rich don't fit in this category); TTIP seems to be a continuation of the present zero-sum games countries have been playing under neoliberal policies

Posted by: claudio | Oct 17, 2013 5:38:32 AM | 60

But China will also find other export markets. For instance, first off the bat, Saudi has become China's main oil supplier, and Saudi will need a multitude of things that China can make. Saudi needs to expand its consumer market, it can't go on in its old mock-feudal style with a dirt-poor sub-proletariat, and it is doubtless aware of that fact. Similarly, China is getting all sorts of stuff from various African countries, to which the same applies. The problem with the western imperial system was "terms of trade", ie that currency exchanges were rigged, and so were commodity prices, so the supplying countries could never earn enough to repay the original investments made by the west in developing their basic industries. But those debts are 'odious', and I'm sure that if a new system sans dollars is finally allowed to develop (because the US & Co no longer have the power to prevent it), then the debts from the old dollar system will just quietly be written off, cos what can the US do? Bomb the entire "third world"?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 17, 2013 8:56:33 AM | 61

@13: "Did Ghandi spend any time in the Louvre?" No, but I beleive he was fond of contemplating the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum. Of course, the Rosetta Stone was stolen from France, wasn't it?

Posted by: Snake Arbusto | Oct 17, 2013 9:53:18 AM | 62

Egypt. It was written in Egyptian hieroglyphs and Greek about 200 BC.

Ghandi went to London to study law. Then he turned the British laws back on the British. Smart fellow.

Posted by: dh | Oct 17, 2013 9:59:34 AM | 63

Dagong downgrades US credit rating to A-
Xinhua, Oct 17 2013

BEIJING – Dagong Global Credit Rating, a Chinese credit rating agency, on Thursday downgraded the local and foreign currency credit ratings of the US to A- from A, maintaining a negative outlook. Dagong noted:

The fundamental situation that the debt growth rate significantly outpaces that of fiscal income and GDP remains unchanged. US solvency is vulnerable as old debts are still repaid through raising new debts. Hence the government is still approaching the verge of default crisis, a situation that cannot be substantially alleviated in the foreseeable future. The partial US government shutdown is an inevitable outcome of its long-term failure to pay excessive debts. During the fiscal years from 2008 to 2012, the ratio of the federal government’s stock of debts to fiscal income increased from 4.0 to 6.6. To avoid the debt default, the US government has been taking advantage of the international currency dominance of the US dollar to monetize its debts and has been taking quantitative easing monetary policy to maintain its government solvency, which directly damaged creditors’ interests. The depreciation of the US dollar caused an estimated loss of $628.5b for foreign creditors during 2008 to 2012. Since Obama’s inauguration in 2009, the US Congress has extended the debt ceiling five times, reaching a total volume of $5.1 trillion. The latest raise of the debt ceiling shows the government’s incapability in improving its solvency by improving the basic economic and fiscal elements.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 17, 2013 10:48:42 AM | 64

@RB 61

cos what can the US do? Bomb the entire "third world"?
they didn't bomb Argentina, after all; I believe third world debt could be written off without any suffering whatsoever, since it has been returned multiple times already;

@RB 64 - what do the Chinese want, after all? what are they waiting for to make the yuan freely convertible, and ask Us to buy Chinese commodities in yuan, and getting rid of that huge dollar-denominated credit? they are accomplishes of the looming disaster

anyway, returning to your #61: paying for raw materials with commodities isn't an example of mercantilism: China is a net exporter (and therefore net creditor) through a policy of low salaries and yuan devaluation;

actually, in theory, the Us-China relationship could last forever (barring total deindustrialization of the Us), with the Us accumulating an ever increasing debt of ever decreasing value with which to buy foreign-produced commodities, and China accumulating credit with which to buy oil and raw materials; the model would collapse if the dollar area reduces - this is why China's "menaces" don't worry the Us too much: the Chinese are tied to the present system (where the Us provide two global services: a currency and military "protection"); they would have their part to play, if they wanted, in de-americanizing the global system (the Xinhua editorial, if taken purely on the economic level, would resonate a bit like the current German literature against the "lazy PIIGS")

Germany, on the other hand, doesn't need to artificially keep its currency devalued: the Euro automatically prevents a "German currency" to inflate as a result of a positive balance of payments; whereas German trade with the rest of the world is substantially balanced

so you have a general decline in which some countries manage to cannibalize others, but nothing is done to invert the general trajectory

while Europeans take another attempt at suicide, Asia looks warily at its gigantic dollar credit, and BRIC ponders over the 3-5% GDP growth prediction (which for developing countries is quite disappointing), the whole world's economy hinges on the Us Federal Reserve's decision to "print money"; recent assertions that quantitative easing will gradually cease, because the economy is returning to "normality", would be the umpteenth idiotic decision taken by a Us institution in these times; how can they demand others to open up their economies to foreign investment, and then not buy back their exports?

but de-americanizing the world won't be enough if present plutocratic and mercantilistic policies remain in place, where everyone expects economic recovery to come from someone else's debt - and ready as a predator to capitalize on it as soon as he is perceived to be unable to repay it; after all, the Us is the only country at present that can afford to drown in debt without having to bear consequences (barring a tea party-induced suicide)

so, finally: as I said in #60, the only alternative to the coming world-wide economic recession will be a concerted return to Keynesian policies

(sorry to all for the rant, I'm trying to figure out the general picture as I write)

Posted by: claudio | Oct 17, 2013 11:25:24 AM | 65

after a hard day, time to unwind.
the muricuns never disappoint.....

a redneck on the shut down
*Perhaps it is the world who could learn a lesson from America in that we had a serious internal struggle over the direction of the government without a drop of blood was shed. Watch and learn, world. Democracy does not eliminate conflict but resolves it peacefully.*

an aussie blowhard
*Yes, if only the terrible, terrible west [in snark mode] had the glorious human rights record of say, China (military dictatorship; no rule of law; no freedom of speech; forced abortions; systematic genocide in Tibet and other regions), Russia (murder of opposition and journalists; sham parliament; government assault of sexual freedoms; military repression of Chechnya) or most of South East Asia. Or maybe the middle east has a better human rights record? No, wait, I have no idea where you are implying does better. At least the west, while appalling in its overseas endeavours, has a basic level of respect for human rights at home.*
[that at least we dont kill our own kind mmeme !]

an *my country right or wrong * muricun
responding to the *de-muricunising* hullabaloo
*As a 'European' you are probably a knee-jerk America hater, and without moral compass, unable to distinguish between the ruthless totalitarianism of China vs. the 'blunt' justice of America.

You should once again be thankful that the Americans saved your asses twice in the last century alone - and are the only reason South Koreans are free - that Japan doesn't occupy most of SE Asia.

China is - and will forever be - one of the most toxic, corrupt places on earth. They deserve a degree of sovreignty - but 'as a European' your political view of the world is naive and stupid.

Every neighbor of China is scared to death of their militarization - I can assure you that neither Mexico nor Canada are 'scared' of our American partners - other than their sheer size relative to us.

Enough with the absolute moral ambibuity: America has been a positive force on the world, and will continue to be so for at least 50 years.

The Chinese have a long way to go before we would consider having them be responsible for anything.

Funny to see all the self-hating Americans and anti-American bigots and their blowhard posts.

America is not going to grow as quickly as it did, and it will not be a 'hedgemon' like in the last quarter century - but thank God it will always be a better and stronger place than the toilet that is China.*

n these just the tip of an iceberg

when i read stuff like these, dunno whether to laugh or cry
these guys r damn pround of their *freedom of speech*
without realising that they r the most brainwashed suckers on earth !!

Posted by: denk | Oct 17, 2013 12:59:04 PM | 66

claudio, what you say about debt is not untrue. We are in agreement, so far as I can see.

The problem is that the nature of debt, particularly public debt, is that it results from decisions taken by a ruling class to charge working people for their emoluments, policy priorities and profits.

The role of debt is easily understood by looking at the debts run up during, for example, the 1980s by dictatorial governments buying arms to repress their populations, making corrupt contracts involving bribes put into offshore accounts and selling off public property to their cronies.

The point is that all government debt is accumulated in the same way: the British debt grew just as the Argentinian debt did. The USA charges the working class with the bills for policies designed solely to benefit the tiny governing elite.
Most government debt is odious and is designed, in the end, to milk the poor to enrich the powerful, and to tighten their grip on power.

Debt repayment depends upon a constantly expanding capitalist system. Modern capitalism can no longer expand into new markets, mobilising new raw material supplies and exploiting virgin labour pools. It has to expand so it expands inwardly devouring the wealth and resources of the public, turning social services and duties into profit centres. This means that the 99% who pay the interest on the debt face increasing difficulties in doing so: tax revenues decline, for example, as incomes and living standards decline. In the end the debt can only be paid if the powerful are taxed. Why would they tax themselves to pay interest on the debt that they own?

Posted by: bevin | Oct 17, 2013 1:48:15 PM | 67

bevin, sorry but this time we disagree :-(

- public debt can rarely be defined as "odious", except maybe for the part due to the recent bank bailouts, but mainly for third-world countries whose debt soared for reasons unpredictable and entirely out of their control (for example, OPEC's policies in the 1970's); it was debt denominated in a foreign currency, and those countries should simply have been allowed to default (or the debt written off), like Argentina did later

- public debt is never an unmanageable problem for an advanced, developed country with an industrial base, as long as it retains all its options in terms of monetary and fiscal policy; the Eurozone countries instead abdicated their powers in favor of the ECB

- Argentina defaulted, and southern European countries are today considered "unreliable" by the markets, because of foreign debt (for the most part private) accumulated through a negative balance of payments, and this in turn because of the decision to peg the national currency to a stronger foreign one (a move intended to give "credibility" to a country that decided to rely on the new plutocratic paradigm of counting on foreign investment and exports rather than domestic consumption); the Euro is equivalent to the peg of European currencies to the German mark, and the dynamics of the crisis are analogous

the Argentinian economist Roberto Frenkel wrote a very important paper on this:
Lessons from a comparative analysis of financial crises (PDF)

The paper is presented in two parts. The first part presents a comparative analysis of a set of financial crises that occurred in the period of financial globalization, which lasted from the late 60s of past century up to present times. The second part focuses on the recent Argentine experience of crisis, foreign debt default and recovery (late 1990s and early 2000s)

- public debt would grow higher with "democratic" (or populist, as they say now) policies than with the current neoliberal ones, but so would the possibilities of repaying it, as long as public spending produces growth

- it's the search for profits in the current dominating paradigm, not debt repayment, that
pushes capitalism to "expand inwardly devouring the wealth and resources of the public, turning social services and duties into profit centres"

Posted by: claudio | Oct 17, 2013 7:38:53 PM | 68

opss

when I wrote "public debt would grow higher with "democratic" (or populist, as they say now) policies" I meant: public expenditures, not debt; with a central bank that allocates and buys itself low-yield bonds, the debt would easily diminish, at least in those countries (like the PIIGS) whose debt is soaring because of high interests; and this even without considering the problem of the huge and recurring bank bailouts

Posted by: claudio | Oct 17, 2013 7:51:35 PM | 69

guest77 51

the tam caper set china's economy back by at least one decade, when many
major corp left china under pressure from the *hr* crowds.
else they faced boycott by the *international communities* for *abetting the
butchers in beijing* !
china became a pariah state overnight, its leaders, especially li peng were reviled
as *butchers *, persona non grata in the *democrazies*.
while the real butchers continued their rampage all across the world with
impunity.
brilliant !
chinese diplomats who went abroad on official missions had to run thru a gauntlet
of harrassment from journos, *hr* protestors.
china was screwed big time, even tho the us [usual suspects] failed to incite a full
fledged *revolution*
tam was in fact the mother of all subsequent *color revolutions*
the stigma stick with china until this very day !


anybody knows that fukus hogs the top one hundred spots in the *top lies of the
century* chart ?
almost 80% targets china !
*chinese aggression against india, 1962* surely must count as one of the top lie
of the century ! %
some clown wrote in the japan times recently
*china attacked india in 1962, it still occupies large swathe of indian
territory
! wtf
guess what, *democracy* is nothing but a hotbed for mushrooms
*kept in the dark n fed bushit all day*

talking about western disinfo, er journalism,
a bevy of jurnos flocked to india to interview indian pow released by china after
the war, their mission...to garner all about chinese atrocities on the indian
soldiers. when the indians had nothing but praises for their captors, these
*journos* lost interest n flied home by the next flight. sobs #

#
*If these men ever reached home or any place where they could talk freely, the
Western reporters in India have been lax on their job. The only mention I have
found was in the Sunday Telegraph, March 17 (British) which said that some
people tried to get anti-China statements from the returned captives but gave it
up, because the men had nothing but praises for their treatment and wishes for
Sino-Indian reconciliation*
http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/strong-anna-louise/1963/letters_china/ch08.htm

%
http://www.workers.org/marcy/cd/samwith/within/pcnvrt05.htm

p.s.
[banned by japan *all the news without fear n favor* times, newyork*all the news
fit to print* times ]

Posted by: denk | Oct 18, 2013 2:36:29 AM | 70

the formatting seems ok in the preview !

Posted by: denk | Oct 18, 2013 2:38:35 AM | 71

Before you get all hyped up about Chinese braggado, watch 'Last Train Home'.
India leads all nations with 14 million slaves. China calls them 'IT temps'.
Cumulatively, USA, China and India have more slaves than all other nations.

Global grain reserves stocks are at the lowest levels since the mid-1970s.
USA is burning six BILLION bushels of food grains for AGW Biofuels MANDATE.
About a THIRD of the total U.S. grain harvest now goes to biofuel production.

We have huge new reserves of fossil fuels, with nothing to produce but junk.
Since Enron and 2000 Coup, we've let Pop Politics skew a rational worldview.
A rational worldview is that we're on a highway to hell, with a drunk driver.

Posted by: PeeDee | Oct 18, 2013 6:55:18 AM | 72

PeeDee 72

what *braggado* r u talking about ?
i've been debunking fukus bs
only fukusans indulge in *braggado*


Posted by: denk | Oct 18, 2013 7:18:46 AM | 73

The reality is that the debt can never be repaid - bevin at 38 (about the US)

Yes, considered in isolation. No, because defaults are common (and the US has ‘defaulted’ in some ways before see link) and debt can be cancelled by swaps of IOUs ... With collaboration and willingness to stabilize, strides forward could be made (see e.g. claudio at 39.) In theory. Don’t think this line is worth pursuing really but it is a point I like to make, to overcome the ‘inevitability’ associated with the mess.

Debt is a bet on the future, an allocation by banks to the economy as judged to be safe for future revenues, mostly earning money for themselves which has supported ersatz growth, paper, financial growth, as 'real' growth was AWOL.

It was a mechanism to compensate steadily lowering GDP per capita (industry, exports, agri, etc.) and went out of hand, awarding ‘growth’ gains to financial experts and bots, who are just scammers, not to mention bubbles that one can ride to the top and then crash. (e.g. MERs scandal -sub prime mortgages -, today Cameron supporting house buying.) Without even going into derivatives and shadow banking. The accounting mechanism is faulty, and purposely so, keeping ppl asleep, willing to believe that money has a mysterious source, or rather springs from connections, savvy deals, hard work, fame, high social status, legislation, re-distribution, all correct, but all resting on politics and power relations. One might also call it a form of new colonialism and / or a spur to globalisation - slave labor is but one tiny insignificant piece of extracting resources, other methods (debt among them, see IMF) are more efficient.

The ‘debt ceiling’ flap in the US will not go away. Right now I expect that the bond market will crash in less than 1.5 years. (I might change my mind about that in the following months.)

The underlying demon is rising population, lack of energy, or high energy costs that don’t furnish a return that permits survival of the biz whatever it is. Something has to give, but nobody knows quite what. War is a common response. This is Act II of the Financial Crisis, and it ain’t over. Or possibly Act III, if one is willing to call 9/11 Act I.

Enforcing slave labor may lead to revolution, which is dangerous for the powerful. Mind you, the US has kept it’s pop. quiet with heavy re-distribution, if ppl can’t produce or work (there is nothing for them to do) it is perhaps best to pay them a bare minimum for survival or imprison them. High earners pay thru taxes to imprison low or zero earners, one ridiculous non-solution amongst many...

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article36523.htm

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 18, 2013 9:57:19 AM | 74

Noirette

[...] don’t furnish a return that permits survival of the biz whatever it is. Something has to give
there wasn't really a hard fight over it, was there? more like the teacher returning in the classroom and announcing "ok boys, recreation time is over"; leads me to believe that the "decerebralization" of the democratic forces happened before the big paradigm shift

Enforcing slave labor may lead to revolution [...] pay thru taxes to imprison low or zero earners
yes, the kind of public debate we'll have if things don't change; liberals will be for indentured serfdom, conservatives for slavery

Posted by: claudio | Oct 18, 2013 10:34:40 AM | 75

20) We are all made from the same cloth. I doubt the Indian caste system compares badly to slavery and serfdom. European nobility basically was a caste system.

Problem with British massacres in India was they had no right to be there in the first place. To top that with massacres was beyond the pale.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 18, 2013 6:07:22 PM | 76

@76 I'm not sure why you keep bringing this up. I'm not making excuses for the British.

Check out what Nadir Shah did to Delhi sometime. And he was Persian.

Posted by: dh | Oct 18, 2013 6:27:08 PM | 77

@76 OK I got it. You mentioned Ghandi's little quip about Western Civilization. As if the Moghul civilization or the Ming or the Egyptian were somehow superior because they are older than the Greek or the Roman or the Byzantiune. Well I guess it depends on how you define civilized right? The British have a lot to answer for and certainly the US has been behaving in barbaric fashion for the last few years. But they have produced a few useful items. And don't tell me massacres are anything new.

Posted by: dh | Oct 18, 2013 7:00:10 PM | 78

comparing china to fukus,
some *progressive* on ich recently sniff that
*at least the west dont kill their own kind* [another fucking brainwashed mushroom]
i told him this must be the most pathetic excuse for western imperilasm , ever. !

dh 78
*But they have produced a few useful items*

surely u gives that brat a good run for his money !


*As if the Moghul civilization or the Ming or the Egyptian were somehow superior because they are older than the Greek or the Roman or the Byzantiune.*

ming ?
did u read my posts above ?


*And don't tell me massacres are anything new*

funny u dont see the difference.
fukus is the only culture thats still doing industrial scale massacres , aka genocides, in the 21 century.

Posted by: denk | Oct 18, 2013 10:30:50 PM | 79

@79 Of course I see the difference. It's the idea that one civilization is superior to another that I have a problem with. I'm not even sure how civilization can be defined. It always seems to be achieved at someone's expense.

Posted by: dh | Oct 18, 2013 11:00:47 PM | 80

dh 80

the statement
*they produced some useful stuff*
insinuate that the west is one up over the rest, which can only *do massacres* but nothing else.

Posted by: denk | Oct 18, 2013 11:13:29 PM | 81

It doesn't 'insinuate' anything. A lot of useful stuff has been developed in the West. That's just a fact. I'm using a PC that was made in Taiwan and I drive a car that was made in Korea. That doesn't mean one country is more civilized than another.

It does suggest to me that the world economy has become very interdependent. I understand why a reduced role in world affairs by the US would be desirable but barring another major war I think it will be a long slow process.

Posted by: dh | Oct 18, 2013 11:33:29 PM | 82

dh 82

i rest my case.

Posted by: denk | Oct 18, 2013 11:36:30 PM | 83

I agree with Bevin that the fundamental flaw of the present financial system is its insistence on unbounded expansion. The fact that new credit ... money ... is loaned into existence seems the basis of the debt problem. See Creating new money for a radicle ... for the rootwise rather than bomb-throwing sense of the term ... prescription. I am reading Hannah Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism and note her quote in her section on Imperialism ...


I would annex the planets if I could.

—CECIL RHODES


Of course neither he nor anyone else ever could or ever can. Arendt wrote that in the 1950s, and the point's being hammered home in the real, physical sphere even more pointedly 50 years later. Photosynthetic hydrogen seems an answer there.

It is their deadly perverse commitment to unboundedness that has the 1% driving the rest of us over the cliff.

We are many, they are few ... we just need to pull up our socks and do what needs to be done.

Posted by: john francis lee | Oct 19, 2013 2:48:06 AM | 84

"they are few"

But they are well-trained, well-armed and rich. They own the press, the entertainment industry and the educational system.

We are a rabble shouting at each other.

Posted by: ruralito | Oct 19, 2013 1:18:48 PM | 85

82,83
agree, nationalism is not the solution, it is the problem.

Though the US/Europe just do not have the role everybody in this forum seem to think they have. They are something like 5% of the world's population. Europe 10%. The technological advantage is slim probably will be non-existent soon. There is no military advantage in the age of guerilla warfare.

We are all ethnocentric. We might be at the receiving end soon.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 19, 2013 4:07:42 PM | 86

@somebody

We are all ethnocentric. We might be at the receiving end soon.
well, some are more ethnocentric than others, it seems; guess who? by the great M. Shahid Alam, Professor of Economics at the Northeastern University, in Racism Across Civilizations: Greece, Western Europe, Islam and China:
It would appear that the Europeans—or the West, more generally—are the exceptions to this. The evidence suggests that stronger groups in Europe, starting as early as the twelfth century, rather quickly moved towards the language of superiority, denigrating the weaker groups as culturally and, just as often, racially inferior. This may be observed in their relations with subjugated populations—the Irish, Slavs, Conversos, Moriscos, American Indians and Africans— both inside and outside Europe. More to the point, the autocentric myths were translated into discriminatory policies—sometimes, genocidal policies—against the weaker groups.
a must read

oh, and credit where's due: I first read it on Counterpunch in 2003; a very important essay when I was reshaping my world view

Posted by: claudio | Oct 19, 2013 8:09:11 PM | 87

Meet the Ex-Politically Isolated Bernie Sanders :
Paul Ryan’s Worst Nightmare Comes True as Bernie Sanders Is On The Budget Committee

Majority Leader Harry Reid has shattered Paul Ryan’s dreams of killing Social Security and Medicare by putting Sen. Bernie Sanders on the budget conference committee.

Posted by: juannie | Oct 20, 2013 5:25:49 AM | 88

It is somewhat disillusioning to consider that the only politician I have consistently voted for, because I didn’t think I was throwing away my vote, is “politically isolated and without influence”.

Therefore I was quite happy to meet the Ex-Politically Isolated Bernie Sanders :

Paul Ryan’s Worst Nightmare Comes True as Bernie Sanders Is On The Budget Committee

Majority Leader Harry Reid has shattered Paul Ryan’s dreams of killing Social Security and Medicare by putting Sen. Bernie Sanders on the budget conference committee.

Posted by: juannie | Oct 20, 2013 7:52:36 AM | 89

@denk "some *progressive* on ich recently sniff"

The comments on ICH are filled with morons, nazis, and cranks.

The site itself is fantastic. The breadth of information is astonishing.

But the comments? Forget it. Don't even bother.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 20, 2013 9:13:49 AM | 90

I agree with Bevin that the fundamental flaw of the present financial system is its insistence on unbounded expansion. The fact that new credit ... money ... is loaned into existence seems the basis of the debt problem... Posted by: john francis lee | Oct 19, 2013 2:48:06 AM | 84
You are making Bevin subscribe to the theory that there is nothing wrong with capitalism except its 'financial system', which is wrong.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 20, 2013 9:31:20 AM | 91

The sooner Osbourne and his whole class are strung up from London lampposts the better.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/china-business/10390164/Osborne-Britain-must-up-its-game-to-compete-in-global-economy.html

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 20, 2013 9:31:55 AM | 92

guest77 90
just see ur post !
ich commments were awesome about a decade back, but it sucks these days.
the articles are mostly good tho.
******************************************

the land destroyers r at it again, there's no spot in the world thats spared the grubby paws of fukus, they always have their rationale ready....
*the Marines have characterized Pagan Island as being desolate and uninhabitable*
http://space4peace.blogspot.com/2013/10/consequences-of-expanding-militarism.html

now where did we hear that one before ?
+To get rid of the population, the Foreign Office invented the fiction that the islanders were merely transient contract workers who could be "returned" to Mauritius, 1,000 miles away. In fact, many islanders traced their ancestry back five generations, as their cemeteries bore witness+

http://www.antiwar.com/orig/pilger.php?articleid=3702

http://johnpilger.com/videos/stealing-a-nation

Posted by: denk | Oct 27, 2013 11:24:31 AM | 93

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