US-China Relations: The Pentagon vs. High Tech

The White House has been pushing for a fight with China ever since Obama announced his so-called ‘pivot to Asia’

Step by step, Washington is inexorably setting up a major provocation against China. Until now, the Obama regime tightened a military encirclement of China, expanding its armed forces agreements with Japan, the Philippines and Australia. In addition, it has promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a regional trade agreement which openly excludes China.

Obama has ordered a major naval build-up in the South China Sea and embarked on extensive cyber-espionage of Chinese industries and the government via major US high-tech companies, as revealed by Edward Snowden in his release of confidential NSA document.

As President Xi Jinping prepares for his first US visit as China’s leader on September 25, with the aim of extending economic ties between Chinese and US business (especially with the high tech corporations in Seattle and Silicon Valley), the Obama regime has threatened to impose a series of punitive sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals for ‘cyber-espionage’, essentially undermining the purpose of his trip.

Characterizing the Chinese as ‘cyber-thieves’ and imposing sanctions on Chinese businesses on the eve of Xi’s visit will be justifiably seen as a deliberate humiliation and a provocation, designed to treat China as a mere vassal state of Washington.

This will force the Chinese government to retaliate on behalf of Chinese businesses – and President Xi is fully capable of imposing retaliatory sanctions against multi-billion dollar high tech US corporations, which had been flourishing – up to now – in China.

Obama’s decision to provoke China on multiple fronts reflects the overwhelming influence of the militarist power configurations in Washington: the Pentagon, the NSA and the Zionist –militarist ideologues.

In contrast to Washington’s aggressive policy, the major US high tech corporations are almost unanimous in their opposition to Obama’s ‘military pivot’ and are appalled by the threat of cyber sanctions, rightly calling them a “needless provocation”.

For its part, Wall Street has taken an intermediary position – hoping Washington will coerce China into ‘opening’ its protected financial markets to the big US banks. It doesn’t necessarily support aggressive sanctions, which could provoke a response from China closing off lucrative opportunities in the world’s biggest financial market.

Background to a Momentous Confrontation

China’s growth and overseas economic expansion has increasingly challenged US market supremacy in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

China’s relationship with the US, EU and Japanese multi-national corporations has changed due to its recent technological advances in its manufacturing and service sectors moving its production up the value chain. Increasingly, the Chinese have been demanding technology transfers from their multinational partners and an increasing use of locally manufactured parts in their assembly plants.

China’s economic expansion and industrial maturation has evoked divergent responses from the elites in Washington, Silicon Valley and Wall Street.

US Elites Diverge

The Pentagon and the White House developed the ‘military pivot’ to deal with China’s ascendency as an economic world power. This is essentially a policy of strategic confrontations, including military encirclement through regional base agreements, deliberate economic exclusion through regional trade agreements and political provocation through threatened sanctions. US military bases have expanded and a huge naval armada patrols China’s maritime frontier. There are US fighter planes flying over Beijing’s reclaimed island installations while the US State Department goads China’s neighbors to stake their own territorial claims in the South China Sea.

The White House and its highly militarized State Department have launched a full-scale propaganda campaign through the US mass media, criminalizing China with unsubstantiated charges of espionage. The range, intensity and frequency of these accusations indicate that this campaign is not some clever diplomatic ploy intended to squeeze out concessions in an otherwise peaceful relation. Rather Washington’s criminalization of China is meant to provoke a full rupture in diplomatic, political and economic relations and prepare for harsh military confrontations.

Washington’s campaign to criminalize China includes the hysterical claims that China has engaged in the long-term, large scale theft of US intellectual property rights. By falsely attributing China’s technological advances to ‘theft’ Washington denigrates China’s endogenous scientific and technological achievements as well as criminalizing the Beijing and Chinese companies.

In the last few years, the US arrested several Chinese scientists and issued warrants for others, publicly accusing them of spying on US companies. The charges against several of the scientists were later quietly dropped by the FBI for lack of evidence but not before the scientists had seen their careers destroyed. The negative propaganda impact on the US public was successful – Chinese scholars and scientists were depicted as spies. Whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations of National Security Agency’s documents clearly show that it was the US which was engaged in large-scale spying on Beijing, using major US IT corporations operating in China as a principal vehicle for data theft.

The US has accused China of violating international norms regarding the governance of the internet – claiming that Chinese authorities exercise censorship and control over US IT companies as well as its own citizens. In other words, Washington denies Chinese sovereignty by claiming extra-territorial jurisdiction over the internet! Along the same lines, Washington asserts that China has blocked US market access by insisting that public agencies rely on Chinese suppliers and that US firms store their data in China. China’s new policies developed after they discovered that US multi-national corporations were working hand-in-glove with the NSA and other US intelligence agencies. Is it any wonder that China sought to protect its industrial and trade secrets, as well as national security, by limiting access for US IT corporations?

The “Financial Press”: Wars over Markets

Washington’s provocative campaign to criminalize China and Chinese industries has been amplified in the financial pages of the respectable US and British press. The degree to which the leading Anglo-American financial newspapers, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, have become rabid advocates of Obama’s militarist confrontational policy instead of serving the business community’s market interests, evaluating the impact of sanctions on US high tech multi-nationals and presenting the much more moderate position of the major high-tech multi-nationals is striking.

The financial press’s shrill campaign is designed to paint China as a corporate criminal and ignores major US corporate opposition to any rash military actions. This propaganda campaign is warning the US IT elite of an imminent barrage of economic sanctions against China’s burgeoning cyber industries. These Sanctions could be announced prior to or even during President Xi Jinping’s visit to the US– if the militarists have their way.

White House Sanctions: The Divergences in US Policy

Despite White House rhetoric and anti-China hysteria, most US IT corporations have reaped huge profits from their sales and business arrangements with the Chinese state and Chinese businesses. According to one executive, “Apple is the standout success story, with sales of the iPhone rising 75 percent in China over the past year (2014)’. (FT 9/12 – 9/13/15).

Senior IT executives have expressed their willingness to accommodate China’s demands a change in the way they do business, including technology transfers, because they see “huge opportunities (for profit) in the near term”. The last thing Silicon Valley wants is for Washington to provoke hostile retaliation from China if Obama imposes sanctions: That would entail the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars!

In the highly militarized-‘Zionized’ Obama administration, immersed in the politics of provocation and war, the multi-nationals do not have the final say.

China’s Maturing Capitalism: Indigenous Innovations

China’s maturing capitalism has been accompanied by significant changes. And in 2006, the Chinese leadership announced a new policy promoting ‘indigenous innovation’. The purpose of the policy was two-fold: to become less dependent on foreign technology and to combat the growing threat of Washington’s espionage via US high tech corporations operating in China.

In line with these strategic goals, in 2009 China ruled that only companies with locally developed technology would be allowed to bid for public procurement contracts.

In 2010, Google’s operations in China were shutdown when it was revealed that the company had acted as a ‘transmission belt’ transferring sensitive Chinese data to the NSA. Washington immediately denounced China for what it termed “censorship” of Google.

As the endogenous innovation policy gained momentum, the US MNC monopoly of China’s high tech market was undermined. The MNC’s called for Washington to intervene and force China to “open” its markets to US dominance.

In strategic terms, the tie-in between the US IT MNCs and Washington boomeranged: While spying for NSA may have gained short-term favors for the high tech sector, it undermined strategic relations with China and its lucrative market. The IT moguls re-thought the strategy and sought greater autonomy from the NSA to regain China’s trust and re-enter its market.

High Tech Diplomacy

The high tech multinational corporations are eager to welcome China’s President Xi on his visit, viewing it as an opportunity to mend and expand relations. The Silicon Valley-Seattle corporate elite oppose sanctions against while the White House claim to be acting on their behalf.

The US high tech elite are aware that American IT companies must accommodate China’s demands to transfer and share technology. They have adopted a realistic perspective that if they do not share markets, technology and sales – they can lose out entirely.

Apple, IBM, CISCO, Qualcomm have declared that they would rather cooperate with China’s indigenous innovations policy than face big losses or total exclusion from the Chinese market.

Even Google, which served as the NSA’s willing accomplice and was expelled for espionage against China, is now seeking approval for a limited re-entry.

Wall Street Diplomacy: Pressure not Provocation

The big Wall Street bankers, on the other hand, want the White House to pressure China to de- regulate its financial markets. They want China to allow American hedge funds and speculators to sell short and artificially drive down the value of Chinese stocks, increasing volatility and discouraging investors.

It is questionable whether Wall Street’s idea of US “pressure” extends to applying punitive economic sanctions. After all, limited financial access under present circumstances is still far more lucrative than total exclusion which could result from Chinese retaliation in response to White House sanctions.

Conclusion

The divergent interests and approaches among US imperial elites, between high powered IT corporate CEO’s and Pentagon and White House militarists is evident in two parallel meetings taking place during President Xi’s visit.

During his visit to the US, Xi will stop over in Seattle to confer with top IT executives, coinciding with the US-China Internet Industry Forum. The timing and location (Seattle) of the Forum is not coincidental. Its timing was planned by the Chinese and reflects their influence and capacity to play-off powerful US economic elites against Washington’s war mongers and Pentagon militarists.

The White House has been pushing for a fight with China ever since Obama announced his so-called ‘pivot to Asia’. The saber rattling has escalated over the past two years, aided and abetted by an all-out propaganda campaign denigrating China’s scientific and economic performance and exaggerating fears of its defense modernization programs. When one reads the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times, one would think the Chinese economy is on the verge of collapse. They describe the drop in China’s projected annual growth from 7.3% to 7% as ‘catastrophic’! If the EU and US grew at half that rate, the financial scribes would claim an ‘economic miracle’!

Denigration of the Chinese economy; screeds and characterizations of the Chinese as industrial thieves engaged in spying and criminal behavior and the wild paranoid warnings about the growing ‘Chinese military threat’ are part of a systematic build-up to counter lucrative economic relations between China and IT corporations and other leading US economic sectors.

Washington’s projected sanctions on China will be many times more costly to US MNC than its current sanctions on Russia. White House sanctions on Moscow mainly damaged European-based industries and businesses. However sanctions against China will have a massive impact on the US economy.

The White House’s version of the “yellow peril” has no redeeming features for any sector of the US economy. It is the purest expression of militarism run amok. It over-rides any rational economic interest in pursuit of unadulterated geo-political military supremacy. Even on its own terms military supremacy is unattainable as Washington will soon discover, as China deepens its military ties with Russia!

If and when Washington raises the specter of sanctions against China, (with the accompanying gratuitous insults and unsubstantiated accusations of state sponsored “cyber theft”) the Chinese government will respond.

President Xi will take reprisals as he has done before, faced with lesser threats. And he will have the support of the vast majority of Chinese from all regions and classes.

US IT corporations are aware of this potential debacle and have openly and forcefully conveyed their views to Washington. For them, the so-called ‘cyber theft’ is a minor issue compared to the lucrative long term strategic opportunities in working with China.

So far the militarists in the Obama White House have commanded US-China policy. Up to now they have disregarded corporate American interests; whether it is US oil interests in Iraq and Libya, or IT corporations in China.

If Zionist officials in the Executive influence the militarists on Middle East policy, the hard core militarists influence the Zionists in the Far East.

If the US military-driven Middle East policy has been a failure, a similar policy toward China will be catastrophic.

US sanctions and humiliation against China and the consequent falling out of relations will play out in slow motion. Beginning with the precipitous decline of joint ventures and exports, it will lead to lifeless cranes in empty Pacific coast ports and rusting container ships; profit losses and vacant country clubs in Silicon Valley and lost sales for US auto companies. The list is endless but the consequences are clear.

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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 Doctrine of ‘Superior People’: The Bond between Israel & World Zionism

The root problem is not genetic, it is collective political dementia

Introduction: The single greatest feat of Israel and its overseas missions has not been material success, or the military conquest of millions of unarmed Palestinians, it has been ideological – the widespread acceptance in the US of a doctrine that claims ‘Jews are a superior people’.

Apart from small extremist rightwing sects who exhibit visceral anti-Semitism and denigrate everything Jewish, there are very few academics and politicians willing to question this supremacist doctrine. On the contrary, there is an incurable tendency to advance oneself by accepting and embellishing on it.

For example, in August 2015, US Vice-President Joseph Biden attributed ‘special genius’ to Jews, slavish flattery that embarrassed even New York’s liberal Jewish intellectuals.

Israel’s dominant role in formulating US Middle East policy is largely a product of its success at recruiting, socializing and motivating overseas Jews to act as an organized force to intervene in US politics and push Israel’s agenda.

What motivates American Jews, who have been raised and educated in the US to serve Israel? After all, these are individuals who have prospered, achieved high status and occupy the highest positions of prestige and responsibility. Why would they parrot the policies of Israel and follow the dictates of Israeli leaders (a foreign regime), serving its violent colonial, racist agenda?

What binds a majority of highly educated and privileged Jews to the most rabidly rightwing Israeli regime in history – a relationship they actually celebrate?

What turns comfortable, prosperous American Jews into vindictive bullies, willing and able to blackmail, threaten and punish any dissident voices among their Gentile and Jewish compatriots who have dared to criticize Israel?

What prevents many intelligent, liberal and progressive Jews from openly questioning Israel’s agenda, and especially confronting the role of Zionist zealots who serve as Tel Aviv’s fifth column against the interest of the United States?

There are numerous historical and personal factors that can and should be taken into account to understand this phenomenon.

In this essay I am going to focus on one – the ideology that ‘Jews are a superior people’. The notion that Jews, either through some genetic, biologic, cultural, historical, familial and/or upbringing, have special qualities allowing them to achieve at a uniquely higher level than the ‘inferior’ non-Jews.

We will proceed by sketching the main outline of the Jewish supremacist ideology and then advance our critique.

We will conclude by evaluating the negative consequences of this ideology and propose a democratic alternative.

Jewish Supremacism

Exponents of Jewish Supremacism (JS) frequently cite the prestigious awards, worldly successes and high honors, which, they emphasize, have been disproportionately achieved by Jews.

The argument goes: While Jews represent less than 0.2% of the world population, they have produced 24% of the US Nobel prize winners; over 30% of Ivy League professors and students; and the majority of major US film, stage and TV producers.

They cite the ‘disproportionate number’ of scientists, leading doctors, lawyers and billionaires.

They cite past geniuses like, Einstein, Freud and Marx .

They point to the founders of the world’s great monotheistic religions – Moses and Abraham.

They lay claim to a unique learning tradition embedded in centuries of Talmudic scholarship.

Jewish supremacists never miss a chance to cite the ‘Jewish background’ of any highly accomplished contemporary public figures in the entertainment, publication, financial fields or any other sectors of life in the US.

Disproportionately great accomplishments by a disproportionate minority has become the mantra for heralding a self-styled ‘meritocratic elite’…. and for justifying its disproportionate wealth, power and privileges – and influence…

Challenging the Myths of Jewish Supremacists

There are serious problems regarding the claims of the Jewish Supremacists.

For centuries Jewish ‘wisdom’ was confined to textual exegesis of religious dogma - texts full of superstition and social control, as well as blind intolerance, and which produced neither reasoned arguments nor contributed to scientific and human advancement.

Jewish scholarship of note occurred among thinkers like Spinoza who revolted against the Jewish ghetto gatekeepers and rejected Jewish dogma.

Notable scientists emerged in the context of working and studying with non-Jews in non-Jewish institutions – the universities and centers of learning in the West. The majority of world-renowned Jewish scholars integrated and contributed to predominantly non-Jewish (Moslem and Christian) and secular institutions of higher learning.

Historically, highly talented individuals of Jewish origin succeeded by renouncing the constraints of everyday Jewish life, rabbinical overseers and Jewish institutions. Most contemporary prestigious scientists, including the frequently cited Nobel Prize winners, have little or nothing to do with Judaism! And their contributions have everything to do with the highly secular, integrated culture in which they prospered intellectually – despite expressions of crude anti-Semitism in the larger society.

Secondly , Jewish Supremacists persist in claiming ‘racial credit’ for the achievements of individuals who have publically renounced, denounced and distanced themselves from Judaism and have dismissed any notion of Israel as their spiritual homeland. Their universal prestige has prevented them from being labeled, apostate or ‘self-hating’. Albert Einstein, often cited by the Supremacists as the supreme example of ‘Jewish genius’, denounced Israel’s war crimes and showed disdain for any tribal identity. In their era, Marx and Trotsky, like the vast majority of emancipated European Jews, given the chance, became engaged in universalistic organizations, attacking the entire notion that Jews were a ‘special people’ chosen by divine authority (or by the latter-day Zionists).

Thirdly, Supremacists compile a very selective list of virtuous Jews, while omitting areas of life and activity where Jews have disproportionately played a negative and destructive role.

After all is it Jewish ‘genius’ that makes Israel a leading exporter of arms, high tech intrusive spy systems and sends military and paramilitary advisers and torturers to work with death squad regimes in Africa and Latin America?

Among the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize are three Israeli Prime Ministers who waged wars of ethnic cleansing against millions of Palestinians and expanded racist ‘Jews only’ settlements throughout the occupied Palestinian territories. These include Menachem Begin (notorious career bomber and terrorist), Yitzhak Rabin (a militarist who was assassinated by an even more racist Jewish terrorist) and Shimon Peres. Among Jewish American Nobel ‘Peaceniks’ is Henry Kissinger who oversaw the brutal and illegal US war in Indo-China causing 4 million Vietnamese deaths;who wrote the ‘template for regime change’ by overthrowing the democratically elected government of Chilean President Allende and condemned Chile to decades of police state terror; and who supported Indonesia’s destruction of East Timor!

In other words, these Nobel recipients, who Supremacists cite as ‘examples of Jewish Supremacy’, have sown terror and injustice on countless captive peoples and nations – giving the Nobel Peace Prize a dubious distinction.

Among the greatest billion dollar swindlers in recent US history, we find a disproportionate percentage of American Jews – curiously not mentioned by the Supremacists in their usual litany: Bernard Madoff pillaged over $50 billion from his clients, Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken and Marc Rich are well-known names adding the distinction of ‘Jewish genius’ to a list of financial mega-felons.

Among the less respectable notables whose material successes have been tarnished by personal weaknesses – we have the billionaire and pedophile pimp, Jeffry Epstein; IMF President, rapist and debaucher Dominic Strauss Kahn, entrepreneur and ‘nudist’ Dov Charney, New York Governor and ‘repeat customer’ Elliot Spitzer, Congressman and exhibitionist Anthony Weiner and the fun-loving sports impresario who brought down FIFA, the piratical Chuck Blazer. Curiously, none of these extraordinarily successful notables have been cited as examples of Jewish Supremacy.

As we contemplate the millions of war refugees driven from the Near East and North Africa, we should credit the role of US neo-liberal and neo-conservative ideologues and policymakers –a disproportionate percentage of whom are Jews. Millions of Chilean workers suffered as Milton Friedman and his Chicago Boys ‘advised’ Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet on dismantling the welfare state (even if it required the murder of trade unionists!). Ayn Rand (Alyssa Rosenbaum) and her fanatical free market epigones have savaged all progressive social legislation and turned the most retrograde forms of selfishness into a religion of ‘superiority’!

The disastrous US war against Iraq was largely organized, promoted and justified by a disproportionate percentage of US Jews (Zionists), including leading policymakers in the Bush and Obama administration – Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams, Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, David Frum, Shulsky, Levey, Cohen, Rahm Emanuel etc… They continue to push for war against Iran and should be seen as the ‘godfathers’ of the tragedies of Iraq, Syria and Libya where millions have fled.

The biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression was largely due to the financial policies of Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan. The trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street by Ben Shalom Bernacke and Stanley Fischer, while Janet Yellen ignored the plight of millions of Americans who lost their homes because of mortgage foreclosures. In sum, Jewish Supremacists should proudly take credit for the American Jews who have been disproportionately responsible for the largest economic and foreign policy failures of the contemporary period – including the horrific suffering these have entailed!

Back in the more normal world of crime, Russian-Jewish mobsters dominate or share supremacy with the Italian Mafia in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami and scores of cities in between. They display their unique genius at extortion and murder – knowing they can always find safe haven in the ‘Promised Land’!

On the cultural front, the finest Jewish writers, artists, musicians, scientists have emerged outside of Israel. A few may have immigrated to the Jewish state, but many other intellectuals and artists of note have chosen to leave Israel, repelled by the racist, intolerant and repressive apartheid state and society promoted by Jewish Supremacists.

Conclusion

The record provides no historical basis for the claims of Jewish Supremacists:

What has been cited as the disproportionate ‘Jewish genius’ turns out to be a two-edged sword - demonstrating the best and the worst.

Claiming a monopoly on high academic achievement must be expanded to owning up to the Jewish authors of the worst financial and foreign policy disasters – they too are ‘high achievers’.

Donations from financial billionaires, all ‘geniuses’, have financed the war crimes of the Israeli state and made possible the expansion of violent Jewish settlers throughout occupied Palestine – spreading misery and displacement for millions.

In fairness, the most notorious Jewish swindler in contemporary America was even-handed: ‘Bernie’ Madoff swindled Jews and Goys, Hollywood moguls and New York philanthropists – he wasn’t picky about who he fleeced.

The latest fashion among Jewish Supremacist ‘geneticists’ is to extoll the discovery of uniquely special ‘genes’ predisposing Jews to experience the ‘holocaust’ and even inherit the experience of suffering from long dead ancestors. Such ‘scientists’ should be careful. As Jazz artist and essayist, Gilad Altzmon wryly notes, ‘They will put the anti-Semites out of business’.

Ultimately, Jews, who have assimilated into the greater society or not, who inter-marry and who do not, are all products of the social system in which they live and (like everyone else) they are the makers of the roles they decide to play within it.

In the past, a uniquely disproportional percentage of Jews chose to fight for universal humanist values – rejecting the notion of a chosen people.

Today a disproportionate percentage of educated Jews have chosen to embrace an ‘ethno-religious’ Supremacist dogma, which binds them to an apartheid, militarist state and ideology ready to drag the world into a global war.

Never forget! Racialist supremacist doctrines led Germany down the blind ally of totalitarianism and world war, in which scores of millions perished.

Jews, especially young Jews, are increasingly repelled by Israel’s crimes against humanity. The next step for them (and for us) is to criticize, demystify and stand up to the toxic supremacist ideology linking the powerful domestic Zionist power configuration and its political clones with Israel.

The root problem is not genetic, it is collective political dementia: a demented ideology that claims a chosen elite can forever dominate and exploit the majority of American people. The time will come when the accumulated disasters will force the Americans people to push back, unmasking the elite and rejecting its supremacist doctrines. Let us hope that they will act with passion guided by reason.

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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 Age of Imperial Wars

The War Epidemic Is Not Receding

2015 has become a year of living dangerously. Wars are spreading across the globe. Wars are escalating as new countries are bombed and the old are ravaged with ever greater intensity. Countries, where relatively peaceful changes had taken place through recent elections, are now on the verge of civil wars.

These are wars without victors, but plenty of losers; wars that don’t end; wars where imperial occupations are faced with prolonged resistance.

There are never-ending torrents of war refugees flooding across borders. Desperate people are detained, degraded and criminalized for being the survivors and victims of imperial invasions.

Now major nuclear powers face off in Europe and Asia: NATO versus Russia, US-Japan versus China. Will these streams of blood and wars converge into one radiated wilderness drained of its precious life blood?

Living Dangerously: The Rising Tide of Violent Conflicts

There is no question that wars and military threats have replaced diplomacy, negotiations and democratic elections as the principal means of resolving political conflicts. Throughout the present year (2015) wars have spread across borders and escalated in intensity.

The NATO allies, US, Turkey and the EU have openly attacked Syria with air strikes and ground troops. There are plans to occupy the northern sector of that ravaged country, creating what the Erdogan regime dubs a ‘buffer zone’ cleansed of its people and villages.

Under the pretext of ‘fighting ISIS’, the Turkish government is bombing Kurds (civilians and resistance fighters) and their Syrian allies. On Syria’s southern border, US Special Forces have accelerated and expanded operations from their bases in Jordan on behalf of the mercenary terrorists - funded by the monarchist Gulf States.

Over 4 million Syrians have fled their homes as refugees and over 200,000 have been killed since the US-EU-Turkey-Saudi-sponsored war against the secular Syrian government was launched four years ago.

Dozens of terrorist, mercenary and sectarian groups have carved up Syria into rival fiefdoms, pillaged its economic and cultural resources and reduced the economy by over ninety percent.

The US-EU-Turkish military intervention extends the war into Iraq, Lebanon and…. Turkey – attacking secular governments, ethnic minority groups and secular civil society.

The feudal, monarchist Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have invaded Yemen with tanks, launching air strikes against a country without any air defenses. Major cities and towns are devastated. Saudi ground troops and armored carriers are killing and wounding thousands – mostly civilians. The brutal Saudi air and sea blockade of Yemen’s ports have led to a humanitarian crisis, as ten million Yemenis face starvation deliberately imposed by a grotesque and obscenely rich monarchy.

The Yemeni resistance fighters, driven out of the major cities, are preparing for prolonged guerrilla warfare against the Saudi monsters and their puppets. Their resistance has already spread across the frontiers of the absolutist Saudi dictatorship.

The brutal Israeli occupation troops, in collaboration with armed ‘settler’ colonists, have accelerated their violent seizure of Palestinian lands. They have stepped up the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, Bedouins, Druze and Christian inhabitants replacing their communities with racist ‘Jews-only’ colonial settlements.

Daily assaults against the huge ‘concentration camps’ of Gaza accompany an armed blockade of land, air and water, preventing the reconstruction of the tens of thousands of homes, schools, hospital, factories and infrastructure, destroyed by last year’s Israeli blitzkrieg.

Israel’s continued annexation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian territory precludes any diplomatic process; colonial wars have been and continue to be Israel’s policy of choice in dealing with its Arab neighbors and captive populations.

Africa’s wars, resulting from earlier US-EU interventions, continue to ravage-the Continent. Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Libya are riven by bloody conflicts between US-EU backed regimes and armed Islamic and nationalist resistance movements.

Throughout North and Sub-Sahara Africa, US-EU backed regimes have provoked armed upheavals in Libya, Nigeria (Boko Harem), Egypt (ISIS, Moslem Brotherhood et al), Chad, Niger, South Sudan, Somalia and elsewhere.

Imperial client Egyptian and Ethiopian dictators rule with iron fists – financed and armed by their EU and US sponsors.

Imperial wars rage throughout the Middle East and South Asia. Hundreds of experienced Baathist Iraqi military officers, who had been expelled or jailed and tortured by the US Occupation army, have now made common cause with Islamist fighters to form ISIS and effectively occupy a third of Iraq and a strategic swath of Syria.

There are daily bombings in Baghdad undermining its US client. Strategic advances by ISIS are forcing the US to resume and escalate its direct combat role

The US-Baghdad retreat and the defeat of the US-trained Iraqi military in the face of the Baathist-Islamist offensive is the opening salvo of a long-term, large-scale war in Iraq and Syria. The Turkish air-war against the Kurds in Iraq will escalate the war in Northern Iraq and extend it into southeast Turkey.

Closer to ‘home’, the EU-US-backed coup (‘regime change’) in Kiev and the attempt to impose dictatorial-pro-West oligarchic rule in Ukraine have detonated a prolonged civil-national war devastating the country and pitting NATO’s proxies against Russian-backed allies in the Donbas.

US, England, Poland and other NATO powers are deeply committed to pushing war right up to Russia’s borders.

There is a new Cold War, with the imposition of wide-ranging US-EU economic sanctions against Russia and the organizing of major NATO military exercises on Russia’s doorsteps. It is no surprise that these provocations are met with a major counter-response – the Russian military build-up. The NATO power grab in Ukraine, which first led to a local ethnic war, now escalates to a global confrontation and may move toward a nuclear confrontation as Russia absorbs hundreds of thousands of refugees from the slaughter in Ukraine.

The US puppet regime in Afghanistan has faced a major advance of the Taliban in all regions, including the capital, Kabul.

The Afghan war is intensifying and the US-backed Kabul regime is in retreat. US troops can scarcely advance beyond their bunkers.

As the Taliban military advances, its leaders demand total surrender of the Kabul puppets and the withdrawal of US troops. The US response will be a prolonged escalation of war.

Pakistan, bristling with US arms, faces a major conflict along its borders with India and permanent war in its semi-autonomous Northwest frontier states with Islamist and ethnic Pashtu guerrilla movements backed by mass regional political parties. These parties exercise de facto control over the Northwest region providing sanctuary and arms for Taliban militants operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Armed ethno-religious conflicts persist in western China, Myanmar and northern India. There are large-scale popular resistance movements in the militant northeast Thailand opposed to the current military-monarchist dictatorship in Bangkok.

In the 21st century, in South and Southeast Asia, as in the rest of the world, war and armed conflicts have become central in resolving ethnic, social, tribal and regional differences with central states: diplomacy and democratic elections have been rendered obsolete and inefficient.

Latin America – On the Verge

Burgeoning violent extra-parliamentary right-wing movements, intent on overthrowing or ‘impeaching’ elected center-left Latin American governments face major confrontations with the state and its mass supporters.

In Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil, US-backed opposition groups are engaged in violent demonstrations, directed toward ousting the elected regimes. In the case of Ecuador, ‘popular sectors’, including some indigenous leaders and sectors of the trade union movement, have called for an ‘uprising’ to oust President Correa. They seem oblivious of the fact that the hard-right oligarchs who now control key offices in the three principal cities (Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca) will be the real beneficiaries of their ‘uprisings’.

The resurgent Right envisions violent ‘regime change’ as the first step toward ‘wiping the slate clean’ of a decade of social reforms, independent regional organizations and independent foreign policies.

‘Civil war’ may be too strong a word for the situation in Latin America at this time – but this is the direction which the US-backed opposition is heading. Faced with the mess and difficulty of dislodging incumbent regimes via elections, the US and its local proxies have opted for the choreography of street violence, sabotage, martial law and coups - to be followed by sanitized elections – with US-vetted candidates.

War and violence run rampant through Mexico and most of Central America. A US-backed military coup ousted the popularly elected, independent President Zelaya in Honduras. The ensuing US-proxy regime has murdered and jailed hundreds of pro-democracy dissidents and driven thousands to flee the violence.

The 1990’s US-brokered ‘Peace Accords’ in El Salvador and Guatemala effectively blocked any agrarian reform and income redistribution that might have led to the rebuilding of their civil societies. This has led to over two decades of mass disaffection, the rise of armed ‘gangs’ numbering over 100,000 members and an average of six to ten thousand homicides a year with El Salvador becoming the ‘murder capital of the hemisphere’ on a per capita basis. The annual murder toll under the US-brokered ‘Peace Accords’ now exceeds those killed each year during the civil war.

The real ‘carnage capital’ of the hemisphere is Mexico. Over 100,000 people have been murdered during the decade-long, US-backed ‘war on drugs’ – a war which has become a state-sponsored war on the Mexican people.

The internal war has allowed the Mexican government to privatize and sell the crown jewels of the national economy – the petroleum industry. While thousands of Mexicans are terrorized and slaughtered, the US and EU oil companies are curiously shielded from the drug lords. The same Mexican government, its police, officials and military, who collaborate with the drug lords in dividing up the billions of drug dollars, protect foreign oil companies and their executives. After all, narco-dollars are laundered by banks in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and London to help fuel the speculation!

From Regional to Nuclear Wars

Regional and local wars spread under the shadow of a looming world war. The US moves its arms, planes, bases and operations to the Russian and Chinese borders.

Never have so many US troops and war planes been placed in so many strategic locations, often less than an hour drive from major Russian cities.

Not even during the height of the Cold War, did the US impose so many economic sanctions against Russian enterprises.

In Asia, Washington is organizing major trade, military and diplomatic treaties designed to exclude and undermine China’s growth as a trade competitor. It is engaged in provocative activities comparable to the boycott and blockade of Japan which led to the Second World War in Asia.

Open ‘warfare by proxy’ in Ukraine is perhaps the first salvo of the Third World War in Europe. The US-EU-sponsored coup in Kiev has led to the annexation of Western Ukraine. In response to the threat of violence toward the ethnic Russian majority in Crimea and the loss of its strategic naval base on the Black Sea, Russia annexed Crimea.

In the lead-up to the Second World War, Germany annexed Austria. In a similar manner the US-EU installed a puppet regime in Kiev by violent putsch as its own initial steps toward major power grabs in Central Asia. The military build-up includes the placement of major, forward offensive military bases in Poland.

Warsaw’s newly elected hard-right regime of President Andrzej Duda has demanded that Poland become NATO’s central military base of operation and the front line in a war against Russia.

Wars and More Wars and the Never-ending Torrents of Refugees

The US and EU imperial wars have devastated the lives and livelihoods of scores of millions of people in South Asia, North and Sub-Sahara Africa, Central America, Mexico, the Balkans and now Ukraine.

Four million Syrian refugees have joined millions of Afghan, Pakistani, Iraqi, Yemeni, Somali, Libyan, Palestinian and Sudanese refugees fleeing US-EU bombs, drones and proxy mercenaries ravaging their countries.

Millions of war refugees escape toward safety in Western Europe, joining the millions of economic refugees who have fled free market destitution in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, the Balkans and other EU satellites.

Panic among the civilian population of Western Europe sets in as hundreds of thousands cross the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Balkans.

Droves of refugees perish each day. Tens of thousands crowd detention centers. Local labor markets are saturated. Social services are overwhelmed.

The US builds walls and detention camps for the millions trying to escape the harsh consequences of imperial-centered free markets in Mexico, narco-terror and the fraudulent ‘peace accord’-induced violence in Central America.

As Western wars advance, the desperate refugees multiply. The poor and destitute clamber at the gates of the imperial heartland crying: ‘Your bombs and your destruction of our homelands have driven us here, now you must deal with us in your homeland’.

Fomenting class war between the refugees and ‘natives’ of the imperial West – may not be on the agenda . . . for now, but the future for ‘civil’ society in Europe and the US is bleak.

Meanwhile, more and even bigger wars are on the horizon and additional millions of civilians will be uprooted and face the choice of starving, fleeing with their families or fighting the empire. The ranks of seasoned and infuriated resistance fighters are swelling in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Ukraine and elsewhere.

The US and EU are becoming armed fortresses. US police deal with the marginalized citizenry as an occupying army, assaulting African-Americans, immigrants and dissidents – while looting poor communities . . . and protecting the rich…

Conclusion

War is everywhere and expanding: No continent or region, big or small, is free from the contagion of war.

Imperial wars have spawn local wars . . . igniting mass flights in a never-ending cycle. There are no real diplomatic success stories! There are no enduring, viable peace accords!

Some pundits may protest this analysis: They point to the recent US – Cuba rapprochement as a ‘success’. They conveniently forget that the US is still subverting Cuba’s biggest trading partner, Venezuela; that Washington’s major regional proxies are demanding regime change among Cuba’s allies in Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia and that Washington is increasingly threatening Cuba’s alternative markets in Russia and China. The vision of the US flag flapping in the breeze outside its embassy in Havana does little to cover Washington’s iron fist threatening Cuba’s allies.

Others cite the US – Iran peace accord as a major ‘success’. They ignore that the US is backing the bloody Saudi invasion of neighboring Yemen and the massacre of Shiite communities; that the US has provided Israel with a road map detailing Iran’s entire defense system and that the US and EU are bombing Iran’s Syrian ally without mercy.

As for the US – Cuba and Iranian agreements– are they enduring and strategic or just tactical imperial moves preparing for even greater assaults?

The war epidemic is not receding.

War refugees are still fleeing; they have no homes or communities left.

Disorder and destruction are increasing, not decreasing; there is no rebuilding the shattered societies, not in Gaza, not in Fallujah, not in the Donbas, not in Guerrero, not in Aleppo.

Europe feels the tremors of a major conflagration.

Americans still believe that the two oceans will protect them. They are told that placing NATO missiles on Russia’s borders and stationing warships off China’s shores and building electrified walls and laying barbed wire along the Rio Grande will protect them. Such is their faith in their political leaders and propagandists.

What a packet of lies! Inter-continental missiles can ‘rain down’ on New York, Washington and Los Angeles.

It is time to wake up!

It is time to stop the US – EU headlong race to World War III!

Where to start? Libya has been irrevocably destroyed; it is too late there! Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are aflame. We are being plunged deeper into war while being told we are withdrawing! Ukraine sucks in more guns and more troops!

Can we really have peace with Iran if we cannot control our own government as it dances to the Israelis tune? And Israel insists on war – our waging war for them! As the Israeli war criminal General and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon once told some worried American Zionists: “Trouble with the US? We lead them by the nose . . . !”

Just look at the terrified families fleeing carnage in the Middle East or Mexico.

What is to be done?

When will we cut our losses and shake off the bonds of these war makers – foreign and domestic?

# # # #

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.

De-Manufacturing Consent- War & Empire: The Instruments of 21st-Century Tyranny

Guillermo Jimenez Presents Abigail Hall

On this edition of De-Manufacturing Consent: Guillermo is joined by Abigail Hall, a research fellow at the Independent Institute and a graduating PhD student at George Mason University. We discuss Abigail's latest paper published in the Independent Review titled "Perfecting Tyranny: Foreign Intervention as Experimentation in State Control."

Abigail explains how coercive foreign interventions can produce a "boomerang effect" that leads to a loss of liberty for the domestic population. We discuss how war and the expansion of the American empire have given rise to the police and surveillance state in the United States.

What does the US invasion and occupation of the Philippines in 1898 have to do with the NSA and the modern-day domestic surveillance apparatus? How did the Vietnam War lead to the creation of SWAT teams and the militarization of local police? How can the public cope with the "paradox of political power," and retrain the US government internationally and domestically?

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Not All Lives are Equal-According to the Inhabitants of the Barbarically Civilized Nation

I rarely accept invitations for speaking arrangements. It is not my cup of tea. When I rarely do I insist in dividing my allocated time into 1/3 for speaking and 2/3 for Q & A. I don’t like canned speeches, but I happen to truly like lengthy Q & A sessions. Why? Because: It enables me to talk about what my audience really wants to hear about, it gives me a chance to get to know others’ points of view and perceptions, and let’s face it, it just makes the whole process less boring, more interactive, less predictable, thus more fun.

Two months ago, during one of my very rare speaking arrangements, the topics of discussion took many spontaneous turns and twists and ended up in the area of our wars- our never-ending, perpetual wars. Of course you know where I stand on that. And most likely you won’t be surprised to hear that not many people share my stand; at least not as bold and vehemently.  Most public figures who engage in public speaking know how to frame their talking points and answers very diplomatically so that they will get uniformed nods from their audience; at least most of them. And they do. I know the trick, and I know how it is done. But I never use it. Meaning, I do not engage in public speaking for the purpose of being liked and admired uniformly, and to play it safe. It is not me. In fact I do exactly the opposite, meaning, I actually try to push buttons, and as a result bring out the real inner thinking of my audiences.  So what if that makes me not-so-popular and not likely to be invited again? I ain’t running for public office!

Now that we have established my modus operandi when it comes to public speaking, let’s go back to my Q & A session from my latest ‘engagement.’

We began discussing our latest wars-our wars since September 11, 2001. One lady raised her hand and proposed that these wars were highly justified based on what took place on 9/11. After all, she said, we were attacked, thus, we had to defend ourselves.

I provided her with the conservative estimate of our civilian casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. She responded to that: ‘Don’t take me wrong. I am sorry that these innocent people had to die, but we had to do what we had to do, and the loss of innocent people does not change this reality.’

I asked her: ‘Would you see the reverse as justified? Meaning, would you see it as justified when those people attack us in defending against our perpetual attacks on them, and as a result kill tens of thousands of our innocent people?’ She said: ‘But that is not the same. They are terrorists. We are not. Wars are not the same as terrorism.’

Basically, she was entering the many-times-argued ‘One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ area. So I kept pushing, respectfully, until the real her began surfacing. She said: ‘What we are seeing is an inevitable clash. It is the clash of civilized democratic people with the barbaric third world countries’ inhabitants.’

And that, my friends, brings me to one of the macro topics we frequently discuss here at Boiling Frogs Post: Why don’t we see major backlash and protests in the face of our atrocious wars waged around the globe?

Sure. We can talk about how awful the media has been in framing, thus justifying our unjustifiable wars. We can discuss the fear-mongering factor being played by all our politicians and media outlets. We can talk about all that, but let’s talk about another factor that is rarely discussed: The Us versus them. The civilized vs the barbaric. The White vs Yellow or Olive or Black. The Christians vs the Muslims. The Superior  Westerners vs the Inferior Easterners or Southerners. The superiority complex that says not all lives are equal. The Exceptionalism that says we are far more superior, valuable and worthy of life and liberties.

I usually don’t cover the highly polarizing, and frequently misused notions of racism, sexism, religion-ism, classism, etc. Not because these factors and notions are not highly prevalent in our daily lives, including in our media, politics, education, and yes, foreign policy. But because there are only so many topics and areas I can possibly cover, it is due to not wanting to get into one of those highly polarized discussion areas where tempers and biases and hatred easily boil to the top, and also it is due to not considering myself an expert in sociology and or psychology. All that said, this topic keeps coming up. In one form or another. It ends up being one of those gigantic elephants in the room. So, let’s go ahead and discuss it, and then, face it.

The over a million deaths caused by our Vietnam War did not mean anything compared to 50,000+ deaths of our soldiers. Was that war in self-defense? No. But, that doesn’t matter. Was it a justified war? Surely not, but that doesn’t matter. Who were those people anyway? They were not like us. They didn’t look like us. They didn’t eat like us, and didn’t talk like us.

The estimates of killed and wounded in Hiroshima (150,000) and Nagasaki (75,000) are overly conservative. The atomic bomb we dropped in Hiroshima alone was the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT. Was it justified to use the worst kind of weapons of mass destructions and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians, and affecting their offspring to come? No. Should it be categorized as a type of genocide and war atrocity? Yes. Do most people in our nation see it as such? No. We can go around the world and point fingers at nations who may or may not possess WMD, and begin bombing the hell out of them. On the other hand, it is perfectly okay for us to have the world’s biggest WMD cache, and be the only nation that has repeatedly used WMD, and atrociously killed hundreds of thousands using them. Why? Because we consider ourselves civilized. However barbarically. Even when we engage in the most barbaric atrocities, we are still civilized- barbarically civilized, that is.

Here is an example of how we can be Barbarically Civilized, or Civilized Barbarically:

The Volume of American bombing in Vietnam exceeded the 2.7 million tons of bombs dropped by the Allied Forces in all theaters during World War II. The estimated war casualties range from 195,000 to 430,000 civilian war deaths. The lowest total estimate is 1,234,000 military and civilian deaths from 1965 to 1974.

It is a fact that we, the world civilized super power nation, have been the world’s most atrocious WMD possessor and user:

In Korea over a three-year period, U.S./UN forces flew 1,040,708 sorties and dropped 386,037 tons of bombs and 32,357 tons of napalm. If one counts all types of airborne ordnance, including rockets and machine-gun ammunition, the total tonnage comes to 698,000 tons

For South Vietnam, the figure is 19 million gallons of defoliant dropped on an area comprising 20 percent of South Vietnam—some 6 million acres. In an even briefer period, between 1969 and 1973, 539,129 tons of bombs were dropped in Cambodia, largely by B-52s, of which 257,465 tons fell in the last six months of the war (as compared to 160,771 tons on Japan from 1942–1945). The estimated toll of the dead, the majority civilian, is equally difficult to absorb: 2 to 3 million in Korea; 2 to 4 million in Vietnam.

Three million tons were dropped on Laos, exceeding the total for Germany and Japan by both the U.S. and Great Britain.

Did Vietnam or Laos attack our nation, or even threaten to attack our nation? No. Does it matter? No. Why not? Because our super government of our super civilized nation knows best. Because let’s face it: who are these people anyway? They are yellow, and most of them are Buddhist or something like that, they eat too much rice …and they are not civilized like us. As simple as that. So the massive civilian casualty number doesn’t bother us; it doesn’t move us. We may be ‘sorry,’ and that is, later, a little sorry, that is, but that’s all.

That brings us to olive colored people. The barbaric Muslims. The Arabic speaking third world Easterners. The Middle Easterners. We have killed massive numbers of them as well, and we continue killing:

The first household survey that appeared was published in The Lancet in October 2004, measuring the war-related mortality in the war's first 18 months. The researchers--mainly epidemiologists from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and medical personnel in Iraq--estimated 98,000 "excess deaths" due to war.

The second household survey, conducted by the Hopkins scientists again, was completed in June 2006 and published four months later in The Lancet. Its findings: 650,000 people (civilians and fighters) died as a result of the war in Iraq.

More conservative (biased?) reports estimate that Afghanistan and Iraq wars have killed 132,000 Civilians.

Did Iraq have anything to do with 9/11? Of course not. Did Iraq in any way threaten us? Nope. Then, why did we go invade them a few months after 9/11? Who cares! They are olive colored, most of them have beards, they speak a language that sounds like a terrorist language, they are Muslims … and all that make them: Barbaric. Not civilized like us. Why should we be moved by tens of thousands of their children and women being blown to bits? Really? As that woman said during my last speaking event: ‘Let’s face it, they are not like us. They are barbaric terrorists.

A few days ago, as I was researching, I came across a very-well written editorial on this topic. To my shock the source was none other than the awful Washington Post. As you know I do not cite anything from propaganda publications such as the Washington Post. In fact, we even call it a boycott here at Boiling Frogs Post. Maybe it was one of those rarities buried in the back pages somewhere. Maybe an aberration? Whatever it was, I was impressed, and I am going to quote a few excerpts:

Even civilian atrocities tend to fade quickly from view, or else become rallying points for the accused troops. My Lai, where about 400 Vietnamese were murdered by a U.S. Army unit in 1968, at first shocked the nation, but Americans quickly came to support Lt. William L. Calley Jr. — who was later found guilty of killing 22villagers — and the others involved. More recently, eight Marines were charged in the 2005 Haditha massacre in Iraq, and none has been convicted. (The last defendant’s trial started this past week.) Indeed, each atrocity that fails to alter public opinion piles on to further prove American indifference.

Why the American silence on our wars’ main victims? Our self-image, based on what cultural historian Richard Slotkin calls “the frontier myth” — in which righteous violence is used to subdue or annihilate the savages of whatever land we’re trying to conquer — plays a large role. For hundreds of years, the frontier myth has been one of America’s sturdiest national narratives.

When the challenges from communism in Korea and Vietnam appeared, we called on these cultural tropes to understand the U.S. mission overseas. The same was true for Iraq and Afghanistan, with the news media and politicians frequently portraying Islamic terrorists as frontier savages. By framing each of these wars as a battle to civilize a lawless culture, we essentially typecast the local populations as the Indians of our North American conquest. As the foreign policy maven Robert D. Kaplanwrote on the Wall Street Journal op-ed page in 2004, “The red Indian metaphor is one with which a liberal policy nomenklatura may be uncomfortable, but Army and Marine field officers have embraced it because it captures perfectly the combat challenge of the early 21st century.”

Politicians tend to speak in broader terms, such as defending Western values, or simply refer to resistance fighters as terrorists, the 21st-century word for savages. Remember the military’s code name for the raid of Osama bin Laden’s compound? It was Geronimo.

This well-written editorial piece makes a very troubling and reality-based point: Our apathy towards mass civilian casualties and atrocities caused by our nation is mainly due to a strong sense of Superiority and Exceptionalism. We see it with our aggression and atrocities around the world. It is the barbaric tribal black people in Africa. Or it is the yellow savage communist Asians. Or the bearded olive terrorist Muslim Arabs. We see it in our domestic events as well. Does the media cover a murdered black child as extensively and dramatically as a blue-eyed blond one like Jan Benet Ramsey? Of course not. Not all murdered or abused children are equal. Does our media cover the Palestinian children killed by Israeli terrorism as in-depth and extensively as the Israeli children who fall victim to the terrorism by the other side? Of course not. Not all destructions and deaths caused by terrorism and savagery are equal.

That lady whose button I pushed is not alone. Unfortunately many, even if subconsciously, share this arrogant sense of superiority. Our majority believes our nation to be a civilized one, even if barbarically civilized. We see our barbarism justified, and do not consider all lives and liberties equal. And as long as this remains the case we shall not see the needed logical reaction and opposition to the atrocities committed around the globe and at home in our name, and in our behalf.

# # # #

Sibel Edmonds is the Publisher & Editor of Boiling Frogs Post and the author of the Memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy” Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.

The Changing Contours of US Imperial Intervention in World Conflicts

Following the Vietnam War, US imperial intervention passed through several phases: In the immediate aftermath, the US government faced a humiliating military defeat at the hands of the Vietnamese liberation forces and was under pressure from an American public sick and tired of war. Imperial military interventions, domestic espionage against opponents and usual practice of fomenting coups d’état (regime change) declined.

Slowly, under President Gerald Ford and, especially President ‘Jimmy’ Carter, an imperial revival emerged in the form of clandestine support for armed surrogates in Southern Africa – Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau— and neo-liberal military dictatorships in Latin America. The first large-scale imperial intervention was launched during the second half of the Carter Presidency .It involved massive support for the Islamist uprising against the secular government of Afghanistan and a mercenary jihadist invasion sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the US (1979). This was followed by direct US invasions in Grenada (1983) under President Reagan; Panama (1989) and Iraq (1991) under President Bush Sr. and Yugoslavia (1995 and 1999) under President Clinton.

In the beginning, the imperial revival involved low cost wars of brief duration with few casualties. As a result there were very few voices of dissent, far diminished from the massive anti-war, anti-imperial movements of the early 1970’s. The restoration of direct US imperial interventions, unhindered by Congressional and popular opposition, was gradual in the period 1973-1990. It started to accelerate in the 1990’s and then really took off after September 11, 2001.

The imperial military and ideological apparatus for direct intervention was firmly in place by 2000. It led to a prolonged series of wars in multiple geographical locations, involving long-term, large-scale commitments of economic resources, and military personnel and was completely unhampered by congressional or large-scale public opposition – at least in the beginning. The ‘objectives’ of these serial wars were defined by their principal Zionist and militarist architects as the following: (1) destroying regimes and states (as well as their military, police and civil governing bureaucracies) which had opposed Israel’s annexation of Palestine; (2) deposing regimes which promoted independent nationalist policies, opposing or threatening the Gulf puppet monarchist regimes and supporting anti-imperialist, secular or nationalist-Islamic movements around the world. Blinded by their imperial hubris (or naked racism) neither the Zionists nor the civilian militarists within the US Administrations anticipated prolonged national resistance from the targeted countries, the regrouping of armed opposition and the spread of violent attacks (including terrorism) to the imperial countries. Having utterly destroyed the Afghan and Iraqi state structures, as well as the regime in power, and having devastated the economy as well as any central military or police capacity, the imperial state was faced with endless armed civilian ethno-religious and tribal resistance (including suicide bombings), mounting US troop casualties and spiraling costs to the domestic economy without any “exit strategy”. The imperial powers were unable to set up a stable and loyal client regime, backed by a unified state apparatus with a monopoly of force and violence, after having deliberately shredded these structures (police, bureaucracy, civil service, etc) during the invasion and early occupation. The creation of this “political vacuum” was never a problem for the Zionists embedded in the US Administrations since their ultimate goal was to devastate Israel’s enemies. As a result of the US invasions, the regional power of Israel was greatly enhanced without the loss of a single Israeli soldier or shekel. The Zionists within the Bush Administration successfully blamed the ensuing problems of the occupation, especially the growing armed resistance, on their ‘militarist’ colleagues and the Pentagon ‘Brass’. ‘Mission Accomplished’, the Bush Administration Zionists left the government, moving on to lucrative careers in the private financial sector.

Under President Obama, a new ‘cast’ of embedded Zionists have emerged to target Iran and prepare the US for a new war on Israel’s behalf. However, by the end of the first decade of the 21st century, when Barak Obama was elected president, the political, economic and military situation had changed. The contrast in circumstances between the early Bush (Jr.) years and the current administration is striking.

The 20-year period (1980-2000) before the launching of the ‘serial war’ agenda was characterized by short, inexpensive, low-casualty wars in Grenada, Panama and Yugoslavia, and a proxy war in Afghanistan. Israeli invasions and attacks against Lebanon, the occupied West Bank and Syria .One major US war of short duration and limited casualties against Iraq (the First Gulf War). The First Gulf War succeeded in weakening the government of Saddam Hussein, fragmenting the country via ‘no fly zones’, establishing a Kurdish client ‘state’ in the north while ‘policing’ was left to the remnants of the Iraqi state – all without having to occupy the country.

Meanwhile, the US economy was relatively stable and trade deficits were manageable. The real economic crisis was still to come. Military expenditures appeared under control. US public opinion, initially hostile to the First Gulf War was “pacified” by its short duration and the withdrawal of US troops. Iraq remained under aerial surveillance with frequent US bombing and missile strikes whenever the government attempted to regain control of the north. During this period, Israel was forced to fight its own wars and maintain an expensive occupation of southern Lebanon – losing its own soldiers.

By the second decade of the 21st century everything had changed. The US was bogged down in a prolonged thirteen year war and occupation in Afghanistan with little hope for a stable client regime in Kabul. The seven-year war against Iraq (Second Gulf War) with the massive occupation, armed civilian insurgency and the resurgence of ethno-religious conflict resulted in casualties and a crippling growth in US military expenditures. Budget and trade deficits expanded exponentially while the US share of the world market declined. China displaced the US as the principle trading partner in Latin America, Asia and Africa. A series of new ‘low intensity’ wars were launched in Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan which show no prospect of ending the drain on the military and the US Treasury.

The vast majority of the US public has experienced a decline in living standards and now believes the cost of overseas wars are a significant factor contributing to their relative impoverishment and insecurity. The multi-trillion-dollar bailout of the Wall Street banks during the economic crash of 2008-09 has eroded public support for the financial elite as well as the militarist-Zionist elite, which continue to push for more imperial wars.

The capacity of the US imperial elite to launch new wars on Israel’s behalf has been greatly undermined since the economic crash of 2008-09. The gap between the rulers and ruled has widened. Domestic economic issues, not the threat of external terrorists, have become the central concern. The public sees the Middle East as a region of unending costly wars – with no benefit to the domestic economy. Asia has become the center of trade, growth, investment and a major source of US jobs. While Washington continues to ignore the citizens’ views, accumulated grievances are beginning to have an impact.

A Pew Research report, released in late 2013, confirms the wide gap between elite and public opinion. The Pew Foundation is an establishment polling operation, which presents its questions in a way that avoids the larger political questions. Nevertheless, the responses presented in the report are significant: By a vast margin (52% to 38%) the public agree that the US “should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own”. This represents a major increase in public opposition to armed US imperialist intervention and the 52% response in 2013 contrasts sharply with 30% polled 2002. A companion poll of elite policy advisors, members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), highlights the gap between the US public and the ruling class. The elite are described by the Pew Report as having a ‘decidedly internationalist (imperialist-interventionist) outlook’. The American public clearly distinguishes between ‘trade’ and ‘globalization’ (imperialism.): 81% of the public favor ‘trade’ as a source of job creation while 73% oppose ‘globalization’ which they see as US companies relocating jobs overseas to low wage regions. The US public rejects imperial economic expansion and wars for the harm done to the domestic economy, middle and working class income and job security. The members of the Council on Foreign Relations, in contrast, are overwhelmingly in favor of ‘globalization’ (and imperial interventions). While 81% of the public believe the principle goal of US foreign policy should be the protection of American jobs, only 29% of the CFR rate US jobs as a priority.

The elite is conscious of the growing gap in interests, values and priorities between the public and the imperial state; they know that endless costly wars have led to a mass rejection of new imperial wars and a growing demand for domestic job programs.

This gap between the imperial policy elite and the majority of the public is one of the leading factors now influencing US foreign policy. Together with the general discredit of the Congress (only 9% favorable), the public’s rejection of President Obama’s militarist foreign policy has seriously weakened the empire’s capacity to begin new large-scale ground wars at multiple sites.

Meanwhile, Israel (Washington’s foreign patron), the Gulf State clients and European and Japanese allies have been pushing the US to intervene and confront ‘their adversaries’. To this end, Israel and the Zionist Power Configuration within the US government have been undermining peace negotiations between the US and Iran. Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf monarchies, as well as Turkey are urging the US to attack Syria. The French had successfully pushed the US into a war against the Gaddafi government in Libya and have their sights on their former colony in Syria. The US has given only limited backing to the French military intervention in Mali and the Central African Republic.

The US public is aware that none of Washington’s ‘militarist’ patrons, clients and allies has paid such a high price in terms of blood and treasure as the US in the recent wars. The Saudi, Israeli and French “publics” have not experienced the socio-economic dislocations confronting the US public. For these ‘allied’ regimes, the cheapest way to resolve their own regional conflicts and promote their own ambitions is to convince, coerce or pressure the US to “exercise its global leadership”.

Washington’s imperial policymakers, by background, history, ideology and past experience, are sensitive to these appeals – especially those from the Israelis. But they also recognize the growing “intervention fatigue” among the American public, the CFR’s euphemism for rising anti-imperialist feelings among the American majority, which is saying ‘no’ to further imperial military interventions.

Faced with choice of acting as an unfettered imperial power with global interests and facing rising domestic discontent, Washington has been forced to revise its foreign policy and strategies. It is adopting a more nuanced approach, one less vulnerable to external pressures and manipulations.

Imperial Foreign Policy in a Time of Domestic Constraints & External Pressures

US empire builders, with increasingly limited military options and declining domestic support, have begun to (1) prioritize their choice of places of engagement, (2) diversify their diplomatic, political and economic instruments of coercion and (3) limit large-scale, long-term military intervention to regions where US strategic interests are involved. Washington is not shedding its militarist polices by any means, but it is looking for ways to avoid costly long-term wars which further undermine the domestic economy and intensify domestic political opposition.

In order to decipher US imperial policy in this new context, it is useful to first (1) identify the regions of conflict, (2) estimate the significance of these countries and conflicts to the empire and, (3) analyze the particular interventions and their impact on US empire building. Our purpose is to show how the interplay between domestic and external countervailing pressures affects imperial policy.

Conflicts which Engage US Empire Builders

There are at least eleven major or minor conflicts today engaging US empire builders to a greater or lesser extent. A major premise of our approach is that US empire builders are more selective in their aggression, more conscious of the economic consequences, less reckless in their commitments and have a greater concern for domestic political impact. Current conflicts of interest to Washington include those taking place in the Ukraine, Thailand, Honduras, China-Japan-South Korea, Iran-Gulf States/Israel, Syria, Venezuela, Palestine-Israel, Libya, Afghanistan and Egypt.

These conflicts can be classified according to whether they involve major or minor US interests and whether they involve major or minor allies or adversaries. Among the conflicts where the US has strategic interests and which involve major actors, one would have to include the territorial and maritime dispute between Japan, South Korea and China. On the surface the dispute appears to be over economically insignificant pile of rocks claimed by the Japanese as the Senkaku Islands and by the Chinese as the Diaoyu Islands. In essence, the conflict involves the US plan to militarily encircle China by provoking its Japanese and Korean allies to confront the Chinese over the islands. Washington’s treaties with Japan will be used to come to the ‘aid’ of its most important ally in the region. The US support of Japan’s expansionist claims is part of a strategic shift in US policy from military commitments in the Middle East to military and economic pacts in Asia, which exclude and provoke China.

The Obama Regime has announced its ‘Pivot to Asia’ in an attempt to deal with its largest economic competitor. China, the second biggest economy in the world, has displaced the US as the principle trading partner in Latin America and Asia. It is advancing rapidly as the principal investor in developing Africa’s natural resources. In response, the US has (1) openly backed Japan’s claims, (2) defied China’s strategic interests in the East China Sea by flying B52 bombers within China’s Air Defense Identification Zone and (3) encouraged South Korea to expand its ‘air defense’ zones to overlap with those of the Chinese. History teaches us that inflexible assertions of dominance by established imperial powers against rising dynamic economies will lead to conflicts, and even disastrous wars.

Imperial advisers believe that US naval and air superiority and Chinese dependence on foreign trade give the US a strategic advantage in any armed confrontation. Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” is clearly designed to encircle and degrade China’s capacity to outcompete and displace the US from world markets. Washington’s militarists, however, fail to take account of China’s strategic levers – especially the over two trillion dollars of US Treasury notes (debt) held by China, which, if dumped on the market, would lead to a major devaluation of the US currency, panic on Wall Street and a deeper economic depression. China could respond to US military threats by (1) seizing the assets of the 500 biggest US MNCs located in the country which would crash the stock market and (2) cutting off the source for major supply chains, further disrupting the US and world economy.

Imperialist ambitions and resentment over the loss of markets, status, and supremacy is pushing Washington to raise the stakes and confront China. Opposing the militarists, Washington’s economic realists believe the US is too exposed and too dependent on credit, overseas earnings and financial revenues to engage in new military interventions in Asia, especially after the disastrous consequences of wars in the Middle East. Current US policy reflects an ongoing struggle between the militarist imperialists and the defenders of imperial economic interests. For the market-oriented policy advisers, it makes no sense to confront China, when mutual gains from rising trade and economic inter-dependence have proven far superior to any marginal territorial gains offshore. These conflicting outlooks find expression in the alternating bellicose and conciliatory rhetoric of Vice President Biden during his December visit to Japan, China and South Korea.

The second area involving major actors and interests is the Persian Gulf, especially Israel-Iran-Saudi Arabia and the US. Having gone through costly and disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and fully aware that US intelligence agencies have found no evidence of an Iran nuclear weapons program, the Obama Administration is eager to reach an agreement with Iran. Nevertheless, US strategists are pursuing an agreement that would (1) weaken Iran’s defense capability, (2) undermine Iranian support for popular revolts among Shiite populations living in the Gulf Monarchies, (3) isolate President Bashar Assad in Syria and (4) facilitate a long-term US presence in Afghanistan by destroying Al Qaeda operations throughout the region. In addition a US – Iran agreement would lift the harsh economic sanctions and (1) allow US oil companies to exploit Iran’s richest oil fields, (2) lower the cost of energy and (3) reduce US trade deficits.

A major stumbling block to any US-Iran agreement is from the well-entrenched Zionist strategists and advisers among policy-makers, especially in the Executive Branch, including such Department heads and Secretaries as Treasury Undersecretary (for ‘Terrorism’) David Cohen, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, US Trade Representative Michael Froman, ‘Special Adviser for the Persian Gulf’ Dennis Ross among others. An even greater obstacle to the agreement comes from the Zionist-controlled US Congress, which acts more on behalf of Israel’s regional ambitions than for US interests. Israel’s megalomaniacal rulers seek military, political and economic supremacy throughout the Middle East (from Sinai to the Gulf) and have so far successfully used the US military to destroy and weaken its adversaries at no cost to Israeli soldiers or economy.

Israel has taken a direct hand in setting the terms, which the US will demand from Iran. According to the Financial Times (12/8/13, p. 4), “A team of senior Israeli officials led by Yossi Cohen, national security adviser, is due to visit Washington … to begin detailed discussions with the Obama Administration to use its influence in shaping the negotiating agenda.”

Secretary of State John Kerry has already caved in to Israeli pressure stating, “We will be stepping up on enforcement (of existing sanctions) through the Treasury Department,” (FT 12/18/13, p. 4). Israel and its top Zionist agent within the Obama Administration, Dennis Ross, are pushing for a joint Israeli-US “working group” to discuss tightening sanctions on Iran and punishing any government or business which tries to do business with Iran during the “interim agreement”, a position pursued by David Cohen and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (FT 12/ 13/13). Israel is behind the US demand that Iran convert its Arak Facilities from a heavy water into a light-water reactor and reduce its centrifuges by 95% from 19,000 to 1,000.

In other words, Israel dictates terms to the US negotiators that will effectively sabotage any possible agreement and put the US on a course toward another war for Israel. Surprisingly, Israel’s hardliners and its agents within the US Administration have an important and unlikely ally – Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javid Zarif, the chief negotiator in Geneva, who has downplayed Iran’s military capabilities and exaggerated US military capabilities and seems quite willing to dismantle Iran’s peaceful nuclear program. In justifying his far-reaching concessions and meager returns, Foreign Minister Zarif publicly declared that ‘the US could destroy the country’s (Iran’s) defense system with one bomb!” (FT, 12/10/13, p. 2) Zarif, in effect, is preparing to sell out Iran’s nuclear industry, in advance, without any objective consideration of Iran’s military power or recognition of US strategic weaknesses.

Saudi Arabia’s rulers influence US policy through their contracts with the military – industrial complex – amounting to over $20 billion dollar arms purchase in 2013. In addition, the Saudi Monarch has allowed the construction of US military bases on its territory and maintains close ties with Wall Street investment houses. Saudi opposition to any US – Iran rapprochement arises from Riyadh’s fear of Iranian influence over its oppressed Shia minority and Tehran’s critique of the absolutist monarchy.

The positive gains, in terms of US strategic military and economic interests from an agreement with the liberal Iranian regime, are offset by the negative pressures from Saudi and Israeli-Zionists interests. As a result, Washington’s policy oscillates between peaceful, diplomatic overtures to Iran and bellicose threats to appease Israel and Saudi Arabia. Washington is desperate to avoid being dragged into another “war for Israel”, in order to secure its hegemony in the Persian Gulf region and avoid a major domestic political and economic crisis. The Obama Administration has yet to exhibit the high degree of statesmanship necessary to restrain and neutralize the deeply embedded Zionist Power Configuration, within its ranks and in the Congress, which places Israeli interests over those of the US.

Regional Conflicts: Minor Interests & Major Actors

The Ukraine – European Union (EU) – Russian conflict involves minor US economic interests but potentially major military interests. The US supports the EU’s policy of incorporating the Ukraine into its economic and trade system. The EU will be the major beneficiary in the plunder of Ukraine’s economy, penetrating its market and reaping mega financial returns. The US is content to watch the EU play the major role in stoking Ukrainian civil unrest. If and when Ukraine joins the EU, it will become another client regime subject to the dictates of the bankers and bureaucrats in Brussels, just like Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy). The US is mainly interested in bringing the Ukraine into NATO as part of its policy of surrounding Russia.

Syria, like Libya, Mali, Central African Republic and Egypt, are of secondary interest for the US. Washington has let the European Union, especially France, England and their allies, lead and direct military operations directly and through proxies. The Obama Administration already faced intense “intervention fatigue” – widespread popular opposition to war - when it joined the EU in bombing Tripoli to rubble, but it refused to commit ground forces and left Libya a broken country without a viable economy, stable society or functioning state! So much for ‘humanitarian intervention’! Intervention in Syria has faced even greater domestic opposition from Congress and the US public – except for the Israeli and Saudi lobbies. Obama was clearly not willing to act as ‘Al Qaeda’s Air Force’ by bombing Damascus and facilitating a jihadist takeover. It chose diplomatic solution and accepted the Russian proposal to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons. It appears to support a Geneva-based negotiated solution. Another war, this time with Syria, would inflame US domestic discontent and further erode the economy, with no positive gain for US imperialism. In fact, US military victory over Damascus would expand the territory of operation for Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant. It was US public opinion that overcame the massive pro-Israel media barrage and pressure from the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations that had been actively pushing the Obama Administration into a ‘Syrian Quagmire’!

French President Francoise Hollande is the new face of imperial militarism and interventionism in Africa with its massive bombing in Libya and invasion and occupation in Mali and the Central African Republic. The US is content to play a ‘supporting role’ to France. It has no strategic involvement in Africa apart from its proxy wars in Somalia.

With public opinion strongly against any more major direct military intervention Washington has turned to military proxies for conflicts in ‘strategic’ and marginal countries and regions. Even where significant imperial interests may be involved, Washington increasingly relies on local elites to act on its behalf in conflicts in countries as diverse as Yemen, Thailand, Honduras, Venezuela, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Egypt. Sending drones and dispatching teams of Special Forces in clandestine operations have been the US Administration’s intervention of choice in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. In Afghanistan, Special Forces combine with the US military, NATO troops and local client military proxies, as well as drones.

In Honduras, the US-backed military coup, which unleashed death squads with the killing of over 200 dissident activists in a two year period was followed by a fraudulent election which reclaimed ‘power’ for a US client regime. In Venezuela, the US continues to finance opposition parties who support violent street mobs, the sabotage of public services like electricity, while relying on local business elites to hoard basic goods and inflate prices. So far, these efforts to undermine the Venezuelan government have failed.

Conclusion

US Empire builders have relied on a wider variety of interventions than their predecessor under President George W. Bush. They are much less prone to launch large-scale ground operations and more likely to turn to local client elites. They have shown a far greater sense of priorities in selecting targets for direct intervention.

Washington relies more on its imperial European allies, especially the French, to take the lead in Africa, without relinquishing its key interest in maintaining Egypt tightly under US-Israeli control. There is a shift in priority toward the Far East, especially the countries bordering China, like Japan and South Korea, as part of the long-term US strategy to encircle and limit China’s economic expansion. The US ‘Pivot to Asia’, under the Obama Administration, is characterized by alternating economic negotiations with growing military encirclement.

Controlling the Persian Gulf and undermining Iran continues to be a high priority for US Empire builders, but the costly and disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq under George W. Bush and its adverse domestic fallout, has led Washington to rely less on military confrontation with Tehran and more on economic sanctions, military encirclement and now diplomatic negotiations to secure collaboration from the new Rouhani regime.

The principle strategic weakness in US empire building policy lies in the absence of domestic support. There is a growing demand for better paying jobs to reverse the decline of US living standards and greater protection for social services and livelihoods. The second strategic weakness is found in the incapacity of the US to create a viable economic “co-prosperity sphere”, which would win allies in Asia and Latin America. The so-called “Pivot to Asia” is overly and overtly reliant on military(mostly naval) power, which functions in times of ‘territorial conflicts’ with China, but does not create stable, structural links with local productive elites – who rely on China for trade.

In the end the most serious obstacle to effectively adapting US foreign policy to the current realities is the influential Israel-linked-Zionist Power Configuration embedded in the Congress, the Administration and the mass media. Zionists are deeply committed to pushing the US into more wars for Israel. Nevertheless the shift to negotiations with Iran, the refusal to bomb Syria and the reluctance to get involved in the Ukraine are all indications that Washington is less inclined to launch more large-scale military intervention and more receptive to the public opinion constraints on the exercise of imperial power.

 

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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.

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