Empire, Power & People with Andrew Gavin Marshall- Episode 147

From Balance of Payments to Balance of Power

This episode attempts to take a look at the economic concepts of 'competitiveness' and the 'balance of payments' position of nations, placing them in an historical and real-world context. What do these terms mean and what are their implications? In general, this is a reference to the economic position of one nation in relation to the other nations of the world. If one country is a creditor (lender), another must be a borrower (debtor); if one country is a major exporter, others must be importers. These concepts have profound implications for the competitiveness and growth of modern economies, and thus, as these are major issues when it comes to IMF and other global financial actions and institutions, these concepts have profound implications for the balance of power in the world between nations. Ultimately, this dry and rather bland economic language reflects the underlying power structures and imperial system which exists in the age of globalization. This episode attempts to introduce listeners to this concept.

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BFP Exclusive- The Balkans Presidential December: A Test for the US-NATO Empire

Greece & Croatia: The clear presence of a political alternative to the hegemonic US-NATO Empire

 This month the presidential elections will take place in two Balkan countries: Croatia and Greece. The electoral systems in these two countries are different, but what they have in common is the clear presence of a political alternative to the hegemonic US-NATO Empire. This is yet another sign that the people of the region are beginning to resist and reject the imperial grip and are in the process of making possible a different, more autonomous political future.

Croatia

The elections in Croatia will take place on December 28. They will be the sixth presidential elections since Croatia separated from the Yugoslav Federation and became an independent state in 1992. So far there have been only three presidents: the nationalist Franjo Tudjman (1992-1999), the ex-Communist functionary Stipe Mesić (2000-2010) and the current president, law professor and composer Ivo Josipović (2010-). Josipović is also one of the candidates in the current elections. Both of his predeccesors were able to get the second mandate.

The incumbent Josipović, who is nominally an independent but is supported by the ruling Social-Democrat party (SDP) of the prime minister Zoran Milanović, has three challengers. The challenger who comes from the main opposition party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), is Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. She is the "picture-perfect" candidate of the US-NATO Empire. She was the Croatian minister of foreign affairs during the key preparatory work for NATO membership (2005-2008), the Croatian ambassador to the U.S (2008-2011) and, most recently, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Democracy.[1] She is also a member of the Trilateral Commission and hence an accomplice in the US-centric neoliberal domination of the globe. In fact, it is precisely her election results that will show the present strength of the unipolar conception of the world in the Balkans. 

The second challenger is the medical doctor Milan Kujundžić, the founder of the party Croatian Dawn, an extreme nationalist party to the right of the mainstream conservative HDZ.[2] The emergence of this party is consistent with the populist-rightist trend in the European Union, which offers what are, in essence, false solutions to the very real social problems caused by neoliberal economic policies. These solutions are false because the real culprits for the crisis remain veiled and protected while others, who are likewise victims (immigrants, minorities, etc.), are vilified and attacked. 

This serious political mistake of taking the effect for the cause is exactly what the third challenger Ivan Vilibor Sinčić does not make and that is why he is, in my opinion, the most progressive and humanist candidate in the elections. Sinčić is the 25-year old leader of a grassroot organization "Živi zid" (the literal translation is the "human wall" or "human shield"), which has become widely popular in Croatia due to their actions of helping fight the numerous evictions and other abuses of human and social rights of ordinary citizens.[3] It is very important to note that Sinčić's organization is entirely locally funded and depends on the work of volunteers. His geopolitical conceptions is likewise  straightforward: the withdrawal from all US-NATO-led international projects and adventures and the return of the sovereign decision-making to the people of Croatia. Sinčić has already acquired a wide following in the Balkans which means that the anti-imperial political conceptions are gaining ground beyond Croatia.[4] He has also received support from noted European intellectuals and alter-globalists, such as Daniel Estulin, the author of the best-selling book on the Bilderbergs.[5] 

According to one of the most recent polls, Sinčić is in the third place with 9.2 percent of the vote, while Josipović is ahead with 46.5%, trailed by Grabar-Kitarović with 34.9%.[6] What is fairly clear at this time is that no candidate will win the outright majority in the first round and that the two highest placed candidates will have to go to the second round. This means that the voters of Sinčić, who most likely will not make the second round, will be crucial in defeating the candidate of US-NATO Empire Grabar-Kitarović. The incumbent Josipović, if he means to win, will therefore have to find a way to accomodate Sinčić's ideas and will be forced to move away from the open support for the further European fragmentation plans of the US-NATO Empire. Moreover, the present strong showing of Sinčić will also enable his organization to get a head-start on the next Croatian parliamentary elections, and we may well have another SYRIZA in the making.

Speaking of SYRIZA, let's take a look at the presidential elections in Greece.

Greece

While in Croatia the president is chosen directly by the people, in Greece, the election of the president takes place in the Parliament. There are three rounds of voting (three ballots). In the first and the second ballot, the candidate has to get 2/3 of the vote to get elected (200 out of 300 deputies), and, in the third, the threshold is lowered to 180 votes. If the candidate does not win the required number of votes in the final, third ballot, the government falls and the immediate parliamentary elections are triggered.

The first round was already held on December 17 and the candidate of the coalition government of the prime minister Antonis Samaras, Stavros Dimas, failed to win the necessary 200 votes.[7] Just like Grabar-Kitarović in the Croatian case, Dimas is a favorite of the US-NATO Empire. He is truly the "member of the club," having been the Greek foreign minister (2011-2012) and the EU Commissioner for the environment for six long years (2004-2010).[8] He was also a Wall Street lawyer and the functionary of the World Bank. It appears certain that he will not get enough votes on the second ballot on December 23. The key question, however, remains as to what will happen on the final ballot on December 29.

Namely, the early parliamentary elections could endanger the plans of the US-NATO Empire and the neoliberal policies of the Troika (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund).According to the relevant public opinion polls, the likely winner of the parliamentary elections would be the progressive leftist party SYRIZA led by the charismatic young engineer Alexis Tsipras.[9]

The reason for this is simple. In the last several years, Troika's imposed policies have brought Greece to the brink of economic and social collapse, in addition to fueling violent right-wing extremism.When the implementation of these policies began, the Greek public debt was at the 115% of the GDP. Now, five years later, it is at the 175% of the GDP with the projection that it will go even beyond the 200% level.[10] It is therefore clear that the so-called austerity measures only worsened the situation.

On the hand, SYRIZA proposes radical economic changes and has a concrete political program to implement them. These policies resemble Roosevelt's "New Deal": massive infrastructure investments and employment opportunities financed by zero interest central bank credits and writing off the public debt.[11] SYRIZA also advocates the withdrawal of Greece from NATO and the radical restructuring of the EU institutions.

This is definitely something that can send the chill down the spines of the US-NATO Empire apparatchiks and their handlers in the corridors of Wall Street and other centers of neoliberal capitalism. In fact, the Empire's favorite media amplifier, the Wall Street Journal, admitted so in a recent article.[12] This is why one should not exclude the possibility of a massive corruption scheme of buying parliamentary votes for Dimas in between the second and the third ballot. This kind of the"carrot" also always goes hand-in-hand with the "stick" of blackmail.   

However, even if the dark, undemocratic forces prevail in this particular case and Dimas gets elected, SYRIZA's march to power appears unstoppable. It is grounded in the deeply felt desires of the Greek population to change the way it is treated by the powerful financial interests which have shown not to care about its wellbeing at all.

On the other hand, the defeat of the US-NATO Empire's candidates Grabar-Kitarović and Dimas will be a clear sign that the Balkan countries are beginning to chart a new, more independent geopolitical future. The political alternative offered by Tsipras and Sinčić will then be set to enlarge its electoral base in the near future. It may even be that all the other countries in the Balkans will soon have their own political equivalents. 

# # # #

Filip Kovacevic, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author and analyst, is a geopolitical author, university professor and the chairman of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro. He received his BA and PhD in political science in the US and was a visiting professor at St. Petersburg State University in Russia for two years. He is the author of seven books, dozens of academic articles. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco, and can be contacted at fk1917@yahoo.com



NOTES

[1] http://www.dnevno.hr/zivotopis/121448-kolinda-grabar-kitarovic-zivotopis-biografija.html

[2] http://www.jutarnji.hr/milan-kujundzic-osnovao-stranku-hrvatska-zora-stranka-naroda/1115511/

[3] http://www.dnevno.hr/vijesti/hrvatska/139013-predsjednicki-kandidat-ivan-sincic-zeli-van-iz-eu-ponistenje-pretvorbe-broj-zastupnika-na-100-deblokadu-racuna.html

[4]http://mnmne.org/marko-milacic-zivi-zid-kolumna/

[5]https://hr-hr.facebook.com/zivizidd/posts/10203664027149379

[6] http://www.vecernji.hr/predsjednicki-izbori2014/evo-kako-predsjednicki-kandidati-stoje-u-anketama-980297

[7] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/12/17/why-everything-is-at-stake-and-yet-nothing-will-be-decided-in-todays-greek-presidential-election/

[8] http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2014/12/09/pm-samaras-stavros-dimas-is-the-presidential-candidate/

[9]http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30481307

[10]http://rt.com/op-edge/185052-greece-crisis-eu-default/

[11]http://links.org.au/node/2888

[12]http://www.wsj.com/articles/greek-leftist-party-syriza-spooks-some-investors-1418310035

 

BFP Exclusive – “China & the Balkans: This geopolitical Battle in its Beginning Phases”

China, the Balkans and A Battle for Geopolitical Influence & Power

The presence of China in the Balkans is not new. During the years of the Cold War, China closely cooperated first with Albania and then with Yugoslavia. In fact, Albania was one of the key initiators of the UN resolution 2758 which led to the UN recognition of the People's Republic of China in 1971.[1]

Towards the end of the 1970s, the relations between Albania and China deteriorated, largely due to the opinion of the supreme Albanian Communist leader Enver Hoxha that the Chinese leadership began taking the revisionist path regarding the classics of Marxism-Leninism.[2]

As the later developments showed, Hoxha's assessment was right on the mark. It is not surprising therefore that, after the death of Mao Zedong, the Communist party of China began cultivating friendly relations with the openly revisionist and non-aligned Yugoslavia.

During the wars that followed the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, China generally took a neutral standpoint and supported the decisions made by the UN Security Council concerning the situation on the ground. This attitude changed during the NATO attack on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (the rump Yugoslav federation, consisting only of Serbia and Montenegro).

At that time, during one of the NATO raids on the Yugoslav capital Belgrade in early May 1999, NATO bombs hit and severely damaged the Chinese Embassy. Three people were killed and twenty injured, including Chinese diplomats.[3] NATO officials blamed outdated maps and other technical details, but the Chinese government was not convinced. Large-scale protest demonstrations took place all over China in condemnation of what was seen as an unprovoked aggression by NATO.[4]

It appears that this brutal infringement by NATO on the sovereign space of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade made the Chinese government re-consider its Balkan policy. Instead of more or less pronounced indifference which prevailed for a decade, it decided to accept the challenge of its Atlantic geopolitical adversary and get involved in the region more closely.

In fact, since 2000, the Chinese trade grew on average 30 percent annually not only with the Balkan countries, but also with their neighbors in Central and Eastern Europe.[5] In April 2012, the Chinese relations with this part of the world were raised on a higher level by the organization of the so-called "16+1" summit in Warsaw.

The "16" stood for the sixteen countries of the Central and Eastern Europe (11 EU members and 5 EU candidates) and "1" for China. There was even the talk of setting up a formal Secretariat and hence becoming an international organization with a legal status.

The first summit in Warsaw focused on the economic side of the relationship and especially on the possibility of Chinese large-scale investments.[6] Having just gone through a deep economic crisis, the Eastern and Central European countries were looking for ways to jump-start their economies and China was basking in the newly found but deserved role of the global player. No wonder that this summit attracted a lot of attention from the European Commission and their transatlantic US allies.

Some observers claimed that yet another rift was being created in the European Union between the so-called  "old Europe" (the EU founding members) and the "New Europe" (the former Communist countries). These two "halves" of the EU had already gone through a spate of animosity over the involvement in the Iraq war in 2003.[7]

However, most experts have been uncertain as to whether there is any cause for concern by the EU Commissioners in Brussels and the officials of the US-NATO Empire.

On the level of personalities, last year's summit in Bucharest involved a new figure on the Chinese side. In between the two summits, Li Keqiang replaced Wen Jiabao, who many consider the ideologue of the Chinese Central-Eastern European-Balkan pivot,  in the post of the prime minister. But the Chinese political line remained unchanged.

The Bucharest summit participants adopted certain formal guidelines, concerning increased cooperation in the fields of infrastructure development, science, technology, tourism, etc.[8] The key element in all of this constitute, of course, the credit lines of Chinese banks.

As far as the concrete things go, the prime minister of Hungary, the perpetual EU "rebel", Viktor Orban got a Chinese commitment to invest more than $2 billion dollars in the Budapest-Belgrade rail line and the host nation Romania was offered up to $8 billion dollars in investments.[9] This is much more than the EU could offer these countries in recent years and I think that it is likely to lead to more problems in the EU internal functioning in the future.

However, no doubt due to the historical as well as recent political ties, Yugoslavia's legal successor state Serbia, a non-member of the EU, was singled out by the Chinese for a particularly important bridge building project on the Danube. The construction of a 1.5 kilometer long bridge started in 2011 and, though it took longer than expected, the bridge will be officially opened during this year's "16+1" summit in Belgrade on December 16 and 17.[10] This is the biggest infrastructure project completed by a Chinese state company (in this case, China Road and Bridge Corporation) in the Balkans so far. Both the Chinese and Serbian officials are announcing "many more" projects to come and this is definitely in line with the Chinese Balkan strategy.[11]

This trend can be seen in the neighboring Montenegro as well. In October 2014, the government of Montenegro signed an agreement with the Chinese Exim Bank on a $1 billion loan for the construction of a stretch of a highway through Montenegro to be built by the already mentioned China Road and Bridge Corporation.[12] This decision, however, encountered strong dissent from the opposition parties which claimed that the loan would enormously increase the already high public debt and that the government entered into a corrupt construction scheme in order to further enrich its business cronies.[13] Many even questioned the necessity of constructing the highway at all.

However, it is not for those reasons (no matter what they say publicly) that the global economic levers of the US-NATO Empire, the IMF and the World Bank, oppose not only this particular highway project, but also other Chinese investment projects in the Balkans and the Central and Eastern Europe. They know well that what is taking place here is truly a battle for geopolitical influence and power. The US-NATO Empire has lost the aura of invincibility it had during the last two decades and the emerging multi-polarity of the world is getting its Balkan reflection as well.

This geopolitical battle is still in its beginning phases, but I expect it to intensify in the coming years, especially as China and Russia (which is a traditional ally of many Balkan countries) come to cooperate more closely not only in the economic, but also in the political and the military sphere, and as the daily functioning of the EU institutions begins to show more and more tear & wear under the pressure from the warmongering circles in Washington and London.

# # # #

Filip Kovacevic, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author and analyst, is a geopolitical author, university professor and the chairman of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro. He received his BA and PhD in political science in the US and was a visiting professor at St. Petersburg State University in Russia for two years. He is the author of seven books, dozens of academic articles. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco, and can be contacted at fk1917@yahoo.com


NOTES

[1] http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/ziliao_665539/3602_665543/3604_665547/t18013.shtml

[2]http://www.enverhoxha.ru/Archive_of_books/English/enver_hoxha_reflections_on_china_volume_I_eng.pdf

[3] http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/europe/9905/08/kosovo.03/; http://www.theguardian.com/world/1999/oct/17/balkans

[4] http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/may/9/newsid_2519000/2519271.stm

[5] http://www.eias.org/sites/default/files/EU-Asia-at-a-glance-Richard-Turcsanyi-China-CEE.pdf

[6] http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-04/26/c_123043844.htm

[7] http://www.eias.org/sites/default/files/EU-Asia-at-a-glance-Richard-Turcsanyi-China-CEE.pdf

[8] http://www.eias.org/asian-news-outlook/li-keqiang-meets-central-and-eastern-european-leaders-bucharest-summit

[9] http://www.cnbc.com/id/101237467#.

[10] http://www.24sata.rs/vesti/beograd/vest/lickaju-most-pred-otvaranje-ekipa-24-sata-presla-precicom-od-zemuna-do-borce-fotke/160023.phtm

[11] http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/874768.shtml

[12] http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/30/montenegro-highway-idUSL5N0SP4BI20141030

BFP Exclusive- “The EU and IMF Rape of Ukraine Agriculture”

Ukraine’s rogue regime lifts the ban on sale of farm land and to open its rich agriculture to Monsanto, DuPont & the GMO agribusiness cartel.

The Washington-orchestrated destruction of everything of possible value in Ukraine continues with a vengeance. On top of the deliberate ethnic cleansing of Russian-speaking citizens of the Donbass in eastern Ukraine by the psychopaths in Kiev, now the brutal dictates of the US-led International Monetary Fund (IMF) is forcing one of the world’s most precious agriculture regions into the hands of Monsanto and western agribusiness.

It is useful to recall that the ostensible trigger for the months’-long Maidan Square opposition protests against the Yanukovich government that began in November 2013 was the decision by Yanukovich to reject an EU Association Agreement. That EU agreement was tied to a $17 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Instead of the EU and IMF deal, Yanukovich choose a Russian aid package worth $15 billion plus a 33% discount on Russian natural gas and Ukrainian membership in the emerging Eurasian Economic Union with Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

The stakes for Ukraine were far more that an apparent couple of billion dollars difference, however. Here the details of the IMF loan “conditionalities” are vital to understand why Yanukovich rightly said no. When allegedly NATO-trained snipers opened fire on Maidan Square peaceful protesters as well as state police, killing many, the ensuing panic led to the flight of Yanukovich and installation of the exact government the US State Department Assistant Secretary for Eastern Europe, Victoria “Fuck the EU” Nuland told her Kiev US Ambassador she wanted. The key Prime Minister post, as she demanded, went to a former finance minister friendly to the US and the IMF, Arseny Yatsenyuk, whom she affectionately referred to as “Yats.”

Within a week after Yatsenyuk took over, the IMF sent a rush mission to Kiev to  confirm if the new government was ready to go with the IMF conditions of the $17 billion loan. The answer was a resounding Yes! IMF European Department Director Reza Moghadam declared at the end of this visit that he was “positively impressed with the authorities’ determination, sense of responsibility and commitment to an agenda of economic reform and transparency.”

On May 22, the American President of the World Bank in Washington, Jim Yong Kim, announced a $3.5 billion Ukraine aid package. Jim Yong Kim praised the Yatsenyuk government for its “comprehensive program of reforms, which they are committed to undertake with support from the World Bank Group.” [i]

Raping Ukraine Agriculture

The IMF major focus is on “opening up” Ukraine’s agriculture riches to takeover by US and EU agribusiness giants, above all, Monsanto and DuPont, the world’s largest purveyors of GMO seeds.

On May 27, 2014, the New York Times revealed the truth about the “generous” IMF credit. True to the saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” Ukraine has to pay and pay dearly. The New York Times revealed that “Western interests

are pressing for change; big multinationals have expressed tentative interest in Ukrainian agriculture.” The Times further revealed how the reforms of the Ukrainian economy and particularly of its agricultural sector that were tied to

the $17 billion IMF deal sought to “bolster the confidence of foreign investors” by addressing the Ukrainian agricultural sector’s “red tape and inefficiencies.”

Even in 2012, when then-President Yanukovich rejected the IMF and World Bank Conditionalities as too burdensome, the World Bank began a program to expand agribusiness in Ukraine through the International Financial Corporation (IFC), its private sector arm. The IFC established the Ukraine Investment Climate

Advisory Services Project to enhance the investment climate specifically for agribusiness. The project proposes to improve the agricultural business environment by “streamlining or eliminating 58 different procedures and practices by 2015.” Among the IFC demands were that Ukraine “delete provisions regarding mandatory certification of food in the listed laws of Ukraine and Government decree,” and harmonize its laws with international standards around pesticides, additives, and flavoring, to avoid “unnecessary cost for businesses.” [ii] Those are presumably now being implemented under the pro-IMF Yatsenyuk government, eliminating any governmental food safety certification, allowing free use of pesticides and herbicides and food additives like MSG.

Historically Ukraine has been known as the “Breadbasket of Europe.” According to a 2013 forecast by the US Department of Agriculture, Ukraine was poised (before the Washington-instigated February Coup) to become the world's second biggest grain exporter in the world after the US. It shipped over 30 million tons of grain out of the country last year.[iii]

Ukraine still holds some of the world’s richest black top soil. Ukraine’s vast agricultural lands, mostly in the western part, made it before the crisis the world’s third largest exporter of corn and cotton, fifth largest exporter of wheat, and largest grower of sunflowers for oil. Its rich soil gives high yields of grains and cereals. Until recently Ukrainian law has largely blocked private ownership of farmland. Ukrainian law also banned planting of GMO seeds.

EU lifts GMO Ban

Virtually blacked out of the European and Western media is a clause in the terms of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Article 404 of the EU agreement relates to agriculture. It includes a clause that has generally gone unnoticed: it indicates, among other things, that both parties will cooperate to extend the use of biotechnologies.[iv] Biotechnology is the Monsanto euphemism for Genetically Manipulated Organisms (GMO). The official text of Article 404 of the EU Association Agreement Ukraine signed reads: “AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT, ARTICLE 404: Cooperation between the Parties in the field of agriculture and rural development shall cover, inter alia, the following areas:…

(c) promoting modern and sustainable agricultural production, respectful of the environment and of animal welfare, including extension of the use of organic production methods and the use of biotechnologies, inter alia, through the implementation of best practices in those fields.” [v]

In short, Ukraine’s rogue regime has already agreed to lift the ban on sale of farm land and to open its rich agriculture to Monsanto, DuPont and the GMO agribusiness cartel. That spells devastating implications for the possibility to keep the EU relatively GMO free.

The big US grain and seed companies are already crawling over Ukraine, even before the February coup. Wall Street investment banker Michael Cox, head of research at Piper Jaffray recently wrote that today Ukraine is one of the “most promising growth markets for…seed producers Monsanto and DuPont."[vi]

Monsanto has been active in allegedly non-GMO areas in Ukraine for several years. Already in May 2013, Monsanto, now the world's largest seed company, unveiled plans to launch a “non-GMO” corn seed plant in Vinnytsya in western Ukraine. Vitaliy Fedchuk, in Corporate Affairs at Monsanto Ukraine, told Reuters, "The seeds will be for the Ukrainian market and for export."

That announcement was before Ukraine agreed to the EU Article 404 to allow GMOs and with the IMF to open land sales of agriculture lands to private investors. Around the same time DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred, another of the major GMO seeds companies announced construction of a $40 million seeds plant in Poltova in central Ukraine to produce seeds of maize, sunflower and rape. The name of the plant is «Stasi Seeds Pioneer Hi-Bred». They have also not declared if they will produce GMO seeds in the plant.

# # # #

F. William Engdahl, BFP contributing Author & Analyst
William Engdahl is author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics in the New World Order. He is a contributing author at BFP and may be contacted through his website at www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net where this article was originally published.

 


[i] Jettie Word, Alice Martin-Prével, and Frédéric Mousseau, Walking on the West Side: The World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict, The Oakland Institute, July 28, 2014, accessed in  http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/walking-west-side-world-bank-and-imf-ukraine-conflict.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Kanya DAlmeda, Is Europe’s Breadbasket Up for Grabs?, IPS, July 30, 2014, accessed in http://www.globalissues.org/news/2014/07/30/19828.

[iv] Jettie Word, et al, Op. Cit.

[v] European Union, EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, TITLE V: ECONOMIC AND SECTOR COOPERATION, Article 404, accessed in http://eeas.europa.eu/ukraine/pdf/6_ua_title_v_economic_and_sector_cooperation_en.pdf

[vi] Jettie Word, et al, Op. Cit.

 

The Kiev Putsch: Rebel Workers Take Power in the East

The power grab in Kiev will not result in a ‘knife pointed at the heartland of Russia’

Not since the US and EU took over Eastern Europe, including the Baltic countries, East Germany, Poland and the Balkans and converted them into military outposts of NATO and economic vassals, have the Western powers moved so aggressively to seize a strategic country, such as the Ukraine, posing an existential threat to Russia.

Up until 2013 the Ukraine was a ‘buffer state’, basically a non-aligned country, with economic ties to both the EU and Russia. Ruled by a regime closely tied to local, European, Israeli and Russian based oligarchs, the political elite was a product of a political upheaval in 2004, (the so-called “Orange Revolution”) funded by the US. Subsequently, for the better part of a decade the Ukraine underwent a failed experiment in Western backed ‘neo-liberal’ economic policies. After nearly two decades of political penetration, the US and EU were deeply entrenched in the political system via long-standing funding of so-called non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), political parties and paramilitary groups.

The strategy of the US and EU was to install a pliant regime which would bring Ukraine into the European Common Market and NATO as a subordinate client state. Negotiations between the EU and the Ukraine government proceeded slowly. They eventually faltered because of the onerous conditions demanded by the EU and the more favorable economic concessions and subsidies offered by Russia. Having failed to negotiate the annexation of the Ukraine to the EU, and not willing to await scheduled constitutional elections, the NATO powers activated their well-financed and organized NGOs, client political leaders and armed paramilitary groups to violently overthrow the elected government. The violent putsch succeeded and a US-appointed civilian-military junta took power.

The junta was composed of pliant neo-liberal and chauvinist neo-fascist ‘ministers’. The former were hand-picked by the US, to administer and enforce a new political and economic order, including privatization of public firms and resources, breaking trade and investment ties with Russia, eliminating a treaty allowing the Russian naval base in Crimea and ending military-industrial exports to Russia. The neo-fascists and sectors of the military and police were appointed to ministerial positions in order to violently repress any pro-democracy opposition in the West and East. They oversaw the repression of bilingual speakers (Russian-Ukrainian), institutions and practices – turning the opposition to the US-NATO imposed coup regime into an ethnic opposition. They purged all elected opposition office holders in the West and East and appointed local governors by fiat – essentially creating a martial law regime.

The Strategic Targets of the NATO-Junta

NATOs violent, high-risk seizure of the Ukraine was driven by several strategic military objectives. These included:

1.) The ousting of Russia from its military bases in Crimea – turning them into NATO bases facing Russia.

2.) The conversion of the Ukraine into a springboard for penetrating Southern Russia and the Caucasus; a forward position to politically manage and support liberal pro-NATO parties and NGOs within Russia.

3.) The disruption of key sectors of the Russian military defense industry, linked to the Ukrainian factories, by ending the export of critical engines and parts to Russia.

The Ukraine had long been an important part of the Soviet Union’s military industrial complex. NATO planners behind the putsch were keenly aware that one-third of the Soviet defense industry had remained in the Ukraine after the break-up of the USSR and that forty percent of the Ukraine’s exports to Russia, until recently, consisted of armaments and related machinery. More specifically, the Motor-Sikh plant in Eastern Ukraine manufactured most of the engines for Russian military helicopters including a current contract to supply engines for one thousand attack helicopters. NATO strategists immediately directed their political stooges in Kiev to suspend all military deliveries to Russia, including medium-range air-to air-missiles, inter-continental ballistic missiles, transport planes and space rockets (Financial Times, 4/21/14, p3). US and EU military strategists viewed the Kiev putsch as a way to undermine Russian air, sea and border defenses. President Putin has acknowledged the blow but insists that Russia will be able to substitute domestic production for the critical parts within two years. This means the loss of thousands of skilled factory jobs in Eastern Ukraine.

4.) The military encirclement of Russia with forward NATO bases in the Ukraine matching those from the Baltic to the Balkans, from Turkey to the Caucasus and then onward from Georgia into the autonomous Russian Federation.

The US-EU encirclement of Russia is designed to end Russian access to the North Sea, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. By encircling and confining Russia to an isolated landmass without ‘outlets to the sea’, US-EU empire builders seek to limit Russia’s role as a rival power center and possible counter-weight to its imperial ambitions in the Middle East, North Africa, Southwest Asia and the North Atlantic.

Ukraine Putsch: Integral to Imperial Expansion

The US and EU are intent on destroying independent, nationalist and non-aligned governments throughout the world and converting them into imperial satellites by whatever means are effective. For example, the current NATO-armed mercenary invasion of Syria is directed at overthrowing the nationalist, secular Assad government and establishing a pro-NATO vassal state, regardless of the bloody consequences to the diverse Syrian people. The attack on Syria serves multiple purposes: Eliminating a Russian ally and its Mediterranean naval base; undermining a supporter of Palestine and adversary of Israel; encircling the Islamic Republic of Iran and the powerful militant Hezbollah Party in Lebanon and establishing new military bases on Syrian soil.

The NATO seizure of the Ukraine has a multiplier effect that reaches ‘upward’ toward Russia and ‘downward’ toward the Middle East and consolidates control over its vast oil wealth.

The recent NATO wars against Russian allies or trading partners confirm this prognosis. In Libya, the independent, non-aligned policies of the Gadhafi regime stood out in stark contrast to the servile Western satellites like Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia. Gadhafi was overthrown and Libya destroyed via a massive NATO air assault. Egypt’s mass popular anti-Mubarak rebellion and emerging democracy were subverted by a military coup and eventually returned the country to the US-Israeli-NATO orbit – under a brutal dictator. Armed incursions by NATO proxy, Israel, against Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as the US-EU sanctions against Iran are all directed against potential allies or trading partners of Russia.

The US has moved forcefully from encircling Russia via ‘elections and free markets’ in Eastern Europe to relying on military force, death squads, terror and economic sanctions in the Ukraine, the Caucasus, the Middle East and Asia.

Regime Change in Russia: from Global Power to Vassal State

Washington’s strategic objective is to isolate Russia from without, undermine its military capability and erode its economy, in order to strengthen NATO’s political and economic collaborators inside Russia – leading to its further fragmentation and return to the semi-vassal status.

The imperial strategic goal is to place neo-liberal political proxies in power in Moscow, just like the ones who oversaw the pillage and destruction of Russia during the infamous Yeltsin decade. The US-EU power grab in the Ukraine is a big step in that direction.

Evaluating the Encirclement and Conquest Strategy

So far NATO’s seizure of the Ukraine has not moved forward as planned. First of all, the violent seizure of power by overtly pro-NATO elites openly reneging on military treaty agreements with Russia over bases in Crimea, had forced Russia to intervene in support of the local, overwhelmingly ethnic Russian population. Following a free and open referendum, Russia annexed the region and secured its strategic military presence.

While Russia retained its naval presence on the Black Sea … the NATO junta in Kiev unleashed a large-scale military offensive against the pro-democracy, anti-coup Russian-speaking majority in the eastern half of the Ukraine who have been demanding a federal form of government reflecting Ukraine’s cultural diversity. The US-EU promoted a “military response” to mass popular dissent and encouraged the coup-regime to eliminate the civil rights of the Russian speaking majority through neo-Nazi terror and to force the population to accept junta-appointed regional rulers in place of their elected leaders. In response to this repression, popular self-defense committees and local militias quickly sprang up and the Ukrainian army was initially forced back with thousands of soldiers refusing to shoot their own compatriots on behalf of the Western –installed regime in Kiev. For a while, the NATO-backed neo-liberal-neo-fascist coalition junta had to contend with the disintegration of its ‘power base’. At the same time, ‘aid’ from the EU, IMF and the US failed to compensate for the cut-off of Russian trade and energy subsidies. Under the advise of visiting US CIA Director, Brenner, the Kiev Junta then dispatched its elite “special forces” trained by the CIA and FBI to carry out massacres against pro-democracy civilians and popular militias. They bussed in armed thugs to the diverse city of Odessa who staged an ‘exemplary’ massacre: Burning the city’s major trade union headquarters and slaughtering 41, mostly unarmed civilians who were trapped in the building with its exits blocked by neo-Nazis. The dead included many women and teenagers who had sought shelter from the rampaging neo-Nazis. The survivors were brutally beaten and imprisoned by the ‘police’ who had passively watched while the building burned.

The Coming Collapse of the Putsch-Junta

Obama’s Ukraine power grab and his efforts to isolate Russia have provoked some opposition in the EU. Clearly US sanctions prejudice major European multi-nationals with deep ties in Russia. The US military build-up in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Black Sea raises tensions and threatens a large-scale military conflagration, disrupting major economic contracts. US-EU threats on Russia’s border have increased popular support for President Putin and strengthened the Russian leadership. The strategic power grab in the Ukraine has radicalized and deepened the polarization of Ukrainian politics-between neo-fascist and pro-democracy forces.

While the imperial strategists are extending and escalating their military build-up in Estonia and Poland and pouring arms into the Ukraine, the entire power grab rests on very precarious political and economic foundations- which could collapse within the year – amidst a bloody civil war/ inter-ethnic slaughter.

The Ukraine junta has already lost political control of over a third of the country to pro-democracy, anti-coup movements and self-defense militias. By cutting off strategic exports to Russia to serve US military interests, the Ukraine lost one of its most important markets, which cannot be replaced. Under NATO control, Ukraine will have to buy NATO-specified military hardware leading to the closure of its factories geared to the Russian market. The loss of Russian trade is already leading to mass unemployment, especially among skilled industrial workers in the East who may be forced to immigrate to Russia. Ballooning trade deficits and the erosion of state revenues will bring a total economic collapse. Thirdly, as a result of the Kiev junta’s submission to NATO, the Ukraine has lost billions of dollars in subsidized energy from Russia. High energy costs make Ukrainian industries non-competitive in global markets. Fourthly, in order to secure loans from the IMF and the EU, the junta has agreed to eliminate food and energy price subsidies, severely depressing household incomes and plunging pensioners into destitution. Bankruptcies are on the rise, as imports from the EU and elsewhere displace formerly protected local industries.

No new investments are flowing in because of the violence, instability and conflicts between neo-fascists and neo-liberals within he junta. Just to stabilize the day-to-day operations of government, the junta needs a no-interest $30 billion dollar handout – from its NATO patrons, an amount, which is not forthcoming now or in the immediate future.

It is clear that NATO ‘strategists’ who planned the putsch were only thinking about weakening Russia militarily and gave no thought to the political, economic and social costs of sustaining a puppet regime in Kiev when Ukraine had been so dependent on Russian markets, loans and subsidized energy. Moreover, they appear to have overlooked the political, industrial and agricultural dynamics of the predictably hostile Eastern regions of the country. Alternately, Washington strategists may have based their calculations on instigating a Yugoslavia-style break-up accompanied by massive ethnic cleansing amidst population transfers and slaughter. Undeterred by the millions of civilian casualties, Washington considers its policy of dismantling Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya to have been great political-military successes.

Ukraine most certainly will enter a prolonged and deep depression, including a precipitous decline in its exports, employment and output. Possibly, economic collapse will lead to nationwide protests and social unrest: spreading from East to West, from South to North. Social upheavals and mass misery may further undermine the morale of the Ukrainian armed forces. Even now, Kiev can barely afford to feed its soldiers and has to rely on neo-Fascist volunteer militias who may be hard to control. The US-EU are not likely to intervene directly with an Libya-style bombing campaign since they would face a prolonged war on Russia’s border at a time when public opinion in the US is suffering from imperial war exhaustion, and European business interests with links to Russian resource companies are resisting consequential sanctions.

The US-EU putsch has produced a failing regime and a society riven by violent conflicts – spinning into open ethnic violence. What, in fact, has ensued is a system of dual power with contenders cutting across regional boundaries. The Kiev junta lacks the coherence and stability to serve as a reliable NATO military link in the encirclement of Russia. On the contrary, US-EU sanctions, military threats and bellicose rhetoric are forcing Russians to quickly rethink their ‘openness’ to the West. The strategic threats to its national security are leading Russia to review its ties to Western banks and corporations. Russia may have to resort to a policy of expanded industrialization via public investments and import substitution. Russian oligarchs, having lost their overseas holdings, may become less central to Russian economic policy.

What is clear is that the power grab in Kiev will not result in a ‘knife pointed at the heartland of Russia’. The ultimate defeat and overthrow of the Kiev junta can lead to a radicalized self-governing Ukraine, based on the burgeoning democratic movements and rising working class consciousness. This will have to emerge from their struggle against IMF austerity programs and Western asset stripping of Ukraine’s resources and enterprises. The industrial workers of Ukraine who succeed in throwing off the yoke of the western vassals in Kiev have no intention of submitting themselves to the yoke of the Russian oligarchs. Their struggle is for a democratic state, capable of developing an independent economic policy, free of imperial military alliances.

Epilogue:

May Day 2014: Dual Popular Power in the East, Fascism Rising in the West

The predictable falling out between the neo-fascists and neo-liberal partners in the Kiev junta was evidenced by large-scale riots, between rival street gangs and police on May Day. The US-EU strategy envisioned using the neo-fascists as ‘shock troops’ and street fighters in overthrowing the elected regime of Yankovich and later discarding them. As exemplified by the notorious taped conversation between Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Kiev, the EU-US strategists promote their own handpicked neoliberal proxies to represent foreign capital, impose austerity policies and sign treaties for foreign military bases. In contrast, the neo-fascist militias and parties would favor nationalist economic policies, retaining state enterprises and are likely to be hostile to oligarchs, especially those with ‘dual Israeli-Ukraine’ citizenship.

The Kiev junta’s inability to develop an economic strategy, its violent seizure of power and repression of pro-democracy dissidents in the East has led to a situation of ‘dual power’. In many cases, troops sent to repress the pro-democracy movements have abandoned their weapons, abandoned the Kiev junta and joined the self-governing movements in the East.

Apart from its outside backers-the White House, Brussels and IMF – the Kiev junta has been abandoned by its rightwing allies in Kiev for being too subservient to NATO and resisted by the pro-democracy movement in the East for being authoritarian and centralist. The Kiev junta has fallen between two chairs: it lacks legitimacy among most Ukrainians and has lost control of all but a small patch of land occupied by government offices in Kiev and even those are under siege by the neo-fascist right and increasingly from its own disenchanted former supporters.

Let us be absolutely clear, the struggle in the Ukraine is not between the US and Russia, it is between a NATO-imposed junta composed of neo-liberal oligarchs and fascists on one side and the industrial workers and their local militias and democratic councils on the other. The former defends and obeys the IMF and Washington; the latter relies on the productive capacity of local industry and rules by responding to the majority.

# # # #

Professor James Petras, Boiling Frogs Post contributing analyst, is the author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has a long history of commitment to social justice, working in particular with the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement for 11 years. He writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo. Dr. Petras received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. You can visit his website here.

The Money Changers Serenade: A New Plot Hatches

Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, a protégé of Treasury Secretaries Rubin and Summers, has received his reward for continuing the Rubin-Summers-Paulson policy of supporting the “banks too big to fail” at the expense of the economy and American people. For his service to the handful of gigantic banks, whose existence attests to the fact that the Anti-Trust Act is a dead-letter law, Geithner has been appointed president and managing director of the private equity firm, Warburg Pincus and is on his way to his fortune.

A Warburg in-law financed Woodrow Wilson’s presidential campaign. Part of the reward was Wilson’s appointment of Paul Warburg to the first Federal Reserve Board. The symbiotic relationship between presidents and bankers has continued ever since. The same small clique continues to wield financial power.

Geithner’s career is illustrative. In the 1980s, Geithner worked for Kissinger Associates. In the mid to late 1990s, Geithner served as a deputy assistant Treasury secretary. Under Rubin and Summers he moved up to undersecretary of the Treasury.

From the Treasury he went to the Council on Foreign Relations and from there to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). From there he was appointed president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he worked to make banks more profitable by allowing higher ratios of debt to capital, thus contributing to the financial crisis.

Geithner arranged the sale of the failed Wall Street firm of Bear Stearns, helped with the taxpayer bailout of AIG, and rejected saving Lehman Brothers from bankruptcy in order to create the crisis atmosphere needed to more fully subordinate US economic policy to the needs of the few large banks.

Rubin, a 26-year veteran of Goldman Sachs, was rewarded by Citibank for his service to the banks while Treasury Secretary with a $50 million compensation package in 2008 and $126,000,000 between 1999 and 2009.

When a person becomes a Treasury official it is made clear that the choice is between serving the banks and becoming rich or trying to serve the public and becoming poor. Few make the latter choice.

As Michael Hudson has informed us, the goal of the financial sector has always been to convert all income, from corporate profits to government tax revenues, to the service of debt. From the bankers standpoint, the more debt the richer the bankers. Rubin, Summers, Paulson, Geithner, and now banker Treasury Secretary Jack Lew faithfully serve this goal.

The Federal Reserve describes its policy of Quantitative Easing — the creation of new money with which the Fed purchases Treasury debt and mortgage backed securities — as a low interest rate policy in order to stimulate employment and economic growth. Economists and the financial media have parroted this cover story.

In contrast, I have exposed QE as a scheme for pumping profits into the banks and boosting their balance sheets. The real purpose of QE is to drive up the prices of the debt-related derivatives on the banks’ books, thus keeping the banks with solvent balance sheets.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal (“Confessions of a Quantitative Easer,” November 11, 2013), Andrew Huszar confirms my explanation to be the correct one. Huszar is the Federal Reserve official who implemented the policy of QE. He resigned when he realized that the real purposes of QE was to drive up the prices of the banks’ holdings of debt instruments, to provide the banks with trillions of dollars at zero cost with which to lend and speculate, and to provide the banks with “fat commissions from brokering most of the Fed’s QE transactions.” (See: www.paulcraigroberts.org )

This vast con game remains unrecognized by Congress and the public. At the IMF Research Conference on November 8, 2013, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers presented a plan to expand the con game.

Summers says that it is not enough merely to give the banks interest free money. More should be done for the banks. Instead of being paid interest on their bank deposits, people should be penalized for keeping their money in banks instead of spending it.

To sell this new rip-off scheme, Summers has conjured up an explanation based on the crude and discredited Keynesianism of the 1940s that explained the Great Depression as a problem caused by too much savings. Instead of spending their money, people hoarded it, thus causing aggregate demand and employment to fall.

Summers says that today the problem of too much saving has reappeared. The centerpiece of his argument is “the natural interest rate,” defined as the interest rate at which full employment is established by the equality of saving with investment. If people save more than investors invest, the saved money will not find its way back into the economy, and output and employment will fall.

Summers notes that despite a zero real rate of interest, there is still substantial unemployment. In other words, not even a zero rate of interest can reduce saving to the level of investment, thus frustrating a full employment recovery. Summers concludes that the natural rate of interest has become negative and is stuck below zero.

How to fix this? The way to fix it, Summers says, is to charge people for saving money. To avoid the charges, people would spend the money, thus reducing savings to the level of investment and restoring full employment.

Summers acknowledges that the problem with his solution is that people would take their money out of banks and hoard it in cash holdings. In other words, the cash form of money provides consumers with a freedom to save that holds down consumption and prevents full employment.

Summers has a fix for this: eliminate the freedom by imposing a cashless society where the only money is electronic. As electronic money cannot be hoarded except in bank deposits, penalties can be imposed that force unproductive savings into consumption.

Summers’ scheme, of course, is a harebrained one. With governments running huge deficits, who would purchase bonds at negative interest rates? How would pension and retirement funds operate? Would they also be subject to an annual percentage confiscation?

We know that the response of consumers to the long term decline in real median family income, to the loss of jobs from labor arbitrage across national borders (jobs offshoring), to rising homelessness, to cuts in the social safety net, to the transformation of their full time jobs to part time jobs (employers’ response to Obamacare), has been to reduce their savings rate. Indeed, few have any savings at all. The US personal saving rate is currently 2 percentage points, about 30%, below the long term average. Retired people, unable to earn any interest on their savings from the Fed’s zero interest rate policy, are being forced to draw down their savings in order to pay their bills.

Moreover, it is unclear whether the savings rate is an accurate measure or merely a residual of other calculations. With so many people having to draw down their savings, I wouldn’t be surprised if an accurate measure showed the personal savings rate to be negative.

But for Summers the plight of the consumer is not the problem. The problem is the profits of the banks. Summers has the solution, and the establishment, including Paul Krugman, is applauding it. Once the economy officially turns down again, watch out.

# # # #

Paul Craig Roberts, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author, is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has been reporting on executive branch and cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. He has written or co-written eight books, contributed chapters to numerous books, and has published many articles in journals of scholarship. Mr. Roberts has testified before congressional committees on 30 occasions on issues of economic policy, and has been a critic of both Democratic and Republican administrations. You can visit his website here.

© PaulCraigRoberts.org

Egypt Under Empire, Part III: From Nasser to Mubarak

The United States Has Been a Major Sponsor of the Egyptian Dictatorship

Between 1952 and 2011, Egypt was ruled by three military dictators: Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak. Nasser placated labour unrest and imposed many social programs that benefited the population. Sadat subsequently began to break down the ‘social contract’ with Egyptian society, and when Mubarak came to power in 1981, the following three decades witnessed the imposition of a neoliberal order, complete with crony-capitalists, corrupted bureaucracies and a repressive police force. Three decades of increased poverty, polarized wealth and power, and increased labour unrest all laid the groundwork for the 2011 popular uprising.

As Nasser came to power in Egypt in 1952, he successfully crushed labour militancy in the country, and even executed two labour leaders as a symbol of the new regime’s lack of tolerance for radical labour actions. [Read more...]

The Tale of a Turkish Summer: Is there a link between Occupy Gezi and the IMF?

The Turkish leader now faces an Arab Spring of his own—actually a “Turkish Summer.

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s fall from grace has manifested itself in Istanbul’s Taksim Square. Taksim Square now resembles Egypt’s Tahrir Square. What is interesting to note is that the timing of the massive protests comes a month after Turkey paid its debts off to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Taksim Gezi Park (or simply Gezi Park) was once part of Istanbul’s Armenian cemetery. Today, it is essentially the last green space inside Istanbul. The park is situated within Taksim Square, which itself is considered the heart of Istanbul, Turkey’s business centre and largest, most populous city. As a gathering place, Taksim is the equivalent of London’s Trafalgar Square, the Place de la Bastille in Paris, Kiev’s Nezalezhnosti (Independence) Square, Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, and Cairo’s Tahrir Square. It serves a similar function as London’s Hyde Park and New York City’s Central Park for the residents of Istanbul. Aside from its ecological value and aesthetics, it has historically been an important and indispensable spot for political and social rallies and protests of all stripes and colours. Traditionally, Turkey’s largest May Day rallies take place in Taksim and it is an important gathering place for Turkish trade unionists and activists. [Read more...]

The EyeOpener- Can South America Avoid the Globalist Trap?

BFP VideoAlthough usually ignored altogether by the English-language media, Latin America enjoyed a period of economic growth and growing international trade during the very time that the wheels were coming off of the American-led G8 economies in the collapse and crisis of the Lehman Brothers-Quantitative Easing era. Now, the region is founding trade agreements and even intergovernmental unions that may just play directly into the hands of the same oligarchs they claim to be resisting. Despite the abject failure of the European Union and its increasingly certain demise, Latin America is now seeking to work toward a common currency.

In this second episode of our Latin America series James Corbett takes a closer look at the latest trend in the Latin America economy, and examines economic and trade agreements such as Mercosur, UNASUR, and proposals such as the FTAA.

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The EyeOpener- Argentina: In the Shadow of the IMF

BFP VideoIt's funny how quickly perceptions can change on the global stage. Just a few years ago, Argentina was being hailed as a remarkable tale of success snatched from the jaws of defeat. After suffering an economic crisis in 1999-2002 that saw widespread unemployment and riots, the fall of the government, and a national default on foreign debt, analysts in recent years have been pontificating on the re-stabilization of the Argentinian economy. But it appears they spoke too soon. As a result, on February 1st, Argentina became the first nation in history to be censured by the IMF.

The IMF has given the country until September to bring its statistics up to international standards or face expulsion from the world body. Ironically, this will be welcome news to Argentinians, who have long understood that it was the international financial elite at the IMF and in the so-called Washington consensus who put the country on this path of economic collapse in the first place. The roots of the current crisis go back at least as far as the US-backed military coup in the 1970s which “disappeared” an entire generation of political activists and instituted a bankster-friendly regime that paved the way for an era of neoliberal reforms and cooperation with the IMF.

In this episode James Corbett examines the rock-and-hard-place nature of Argentina's current collapse, the neoliberal policies imposed on the country in decades past, and the irrational, politically-motivated lies spun by the government in reaction to those policies.

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Geopolitics with Ryan Dawson-Africa Wars: How Much of Blowback is Really Unintended?

Ryan Dawson Presents Rob Prince

GPRob Prince a Lecturer - University of Denver, and writer for the Colorado Progressive Jewish News, join us today to discuss neocolonialism in North Africa. Why are the French really intervening in Mali? How are the arms and drug trades connected? How independent are some of these 'Islamic' groups from state intelligence agencies? Is there a tug-of-war with China over the Western IMF client states exploiting African resources? How much of blowback is really unintended? Tune in Rob Prince and Ryan Dawson discussion.

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Empire, Power, and People with Andrew Gavin Marshall- Episode 26

The Frankfurt Group & the Economic Colonization of Europe

EPPLittle-known outside the financial press, the EU experienced an elite coup - a political putsch - by a small group of eight individuals who call themselves the 'Frankfurt Group'. The informal group was formed in October of 2011, and within a matter of weeks, they had orchestrated the technocratic coups - ousting democratically-elected leaders to be replaced with unelected bankers, economists, and technocrats - in Greece and Italy. The Frankfurt Group had become too frustrated with formal democratic procedures, and so they had to do away with the democratic process in two countries in order to implement their programs of 'fiscal austerity' and 'structural adjustment,' which amount to a form of economic colonization over Europe. So meet the Frankfurt Group: Angela Merkel (Chancellor of Germany), Nicolas Sarkozy/Francois Hollande (President of France), Jean-Claude Juncker (Prime Minister of Luxembourg and head of the Eurogroup), Jean-Claude Trichet/Mario Draghi (President of the European Central Bank), Jose Manuel Barroso (President of the European Commission), Herman Van Rompuy (President of the European Council), Olli Rehn (European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs), and Christine Lagarde (Managing Director of the IMF). Their mission is to impose total domination of Europe, through economic colonialism, structural adjustment, fiscal austerity, and to expand and deepen the integration of the European Union. Their method of choice: Technocratic coups. Welcome to the European Union.

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The Geopolitical Stakes in Nigeria—Part I: The Curious Role of the IMF

 What’s in the Store for the 5th Largest Supplier of Oil to the United States?

By William Engdahl

nigeriansNigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and its largest oil producer, is from all evidence being systematically thrown into chaos and a state of civil war. The recent surprise decision by the government of Goodluck Jonathan to abruptly lift subsidies on imported gasoline and other fuel has a far more sinister background than mere corruption and the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) is playing a key role. China appears to be the likely loser along with Nigeria’s population.

The recent strikes protesting the government’s abrupt elimination of gasoline and other fuel subsidies, that brought Nigeria briefly to a standstill, came as a surprise to most in the country. Months earlier President Jonathan had promised the major trade union organizations that he would conduct a gradual four-stage lifting of the subsidy to ease the economic burden. Instead, without warning he announced an immediate full removal of subsidies effective January 1, 2012. It was “shock therapy” to put it mildly. [Read more...]

Podcast Show #70

The Boiling Frogs Presents Richard Moore

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This is Part 5 of our interview series on the New World Order. You can listen to the previous interviews in this series here: Part I, Part II, Part III , and Part IV.

Richard Moore shares with us his unique perspective on the working of the political world at the highest levels, the matrix of a fabricated collective illusion, how this matrix of unreality is formed for us, and his proposals for escaping it. He discusses consensus reality, as generated by official rhetoric and amplified by mass media, and how this perspective on the political process, and on the roles of left and right, bears very little relationship to actual reality, and remain as a fabricated collective illusion. Mr. Moore further discusses the new post World War II paradigm which was designed and planned in a series of meetings, by a handful of people selected from the Council on Foreign Relations, to specifically serve the interests of central bankers. He talks about the recent rise in collective activism energy such as the Arab Spring uprisings, the Occupy Movement, and various protests in Europe, the left and right as illusions foisted on us to keep us divided, the importance of localism and inclusiveness in pursuit of real changes, and more!

RichardMooreRichard K Moore, an expatriate from Silicon Valley, retired and moved to Ireland in 1994 to begin his ‘real work’ – trying to understand how the world works, and how we can make it better. Many years of researching and writing culminated in his widely acclaimed book Escaping the Matrix: How We the People Can Change the World (The Cyberjournal Project, 2005). His Cyberjournal email list has been going since 1994 (cyberjournal.org). The book’s website is http://escapingthematrix.org, and his website is http://cyberjournal.org. He can be contacted via email at rkm@quaylargo.com.

 

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BFP Select Nightly News & Editorials

Wall Street-ers Top Obama Re-election Supporters… more than 2008, 'Israeli Style' Airports in Ex America, The Development of 'Privacy Killing Technologies', Libya Transitional Council Rebels in Total Disarray, Mongolia Military Trains with US- Buys Fighters from Russia, US Grows a Tree of Tension with Iran, Video: War by Other Means & More!

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 “The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don't have to waste your time voting.”-Charles Bukowski  

International Newsworthy

Mullen Demands Pakistan Launch a Military Offensive Against North Waziristan

Egyptian Army Clears Tahrir Square with Force

Libya Transitional Council Rebels in Total Disarray

China Blames Pakistan for Harboring Uyghur Terrorists

Russia Accuses US of Fueling Georgian 'Revanchism'

Mongolia Military Trains with US, Buys Fighters from Russia

US Grows a Tree of Tension with Iran

Turkey: Military Resignation Strategy Backfires

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[Read more...]