Interview with Not A Dinner Party contributor, James Stuart.
From one side of Clinton's mouth.."We are not trying to curb China or anyone else,"
...and from he other side of her mouth, but in the very same breath...
"What were trying to do is, number one, to make it absolutely clear, if there were any doubt, that the United States is a Pacific power, and that we have historically been one.
"We will be for this century as well, and that means were going to be active economically, diplomatically, politically, in every way you can imagine."
A clearer threat there could not be. The "Project for a New American Century" has just been revised slightly in light of the rash, and nearly fatal over-reach of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld years. The Obama/Clinton revision as being demonstrated with the "Arab Spring" and most acutely against Libya, is in essence a reboot of the KLA/Yugolsav campaign of 1999.
The new phase of NATO military containment of China now begins in earnest. Can we expect the Islamists, now back in alliance with their old paymaster after the removal of OBL, to step up their campaign in China, esp in Xinjiang, with new attempts at a "jasmine revolution" in cosmopolitan China and perhaps the promoting of "free" unions to stir up economic unrest and destabilise the economy? And of course the liberal cause celebre of Tibet is always ready to be stirred up.
QUESTION: James Stuart, do you think they are planning to attack China? Presumably they will need to get their missile shield in place before they risk it. But is that possible? Or is the whole missile shield project all bluff?
ANSWER: While I dont think you can rule anything out, I dont think they would launch a full on war, it would be insane. However if they were going to then really the window of opportunity they have to do so and to be sure of military victory is shortening by the year, so it is a case of now or never. Leave it ten years and China will be a fair match for the US.
I think it is more likely they will either try and drag China into a regional conflict with one of their local allies and wage a proxy war to tie China down and degrade it militarily and financially. Ive often said that the US will fight China right down to the last Indian. But recently China has managed a degree of raproachment with India which has tempered the increasing hostility we were seeing just a couple of years back. Nevertheless an India-China war is a strong medium-to-long term prospect.
Rather than a direct military onslaught, I would expect to see greater econimic pressure on China, a stepping up of the "human rights" facade, the promotion of regional seperatism and an attempt to trap China into an arms race, probably by greater sales of weapons to regional rivals (which of course boosts the US economy), perhaps leading to some regional conflicts. Alongside this we will see more attempts at stirring up the "jasmine revolution" in China, and probably with greater success, in the DPRK. The Korean peninsular will remain the main flashpoint focus, alongside Taiwan.
If the western powers do go to war with Iran, and manage a swift military resolution, then I would say the chances of a direct conflict with China would rise dramatically.
However, I am not yet convinced direct military conflict with Iran is inevitable. We have been here several times over the last decade with Iran. Again, I would suggest regional conflict is more in the western powers interest, Turkey, Israel and possibly "free" Syria being obvious candidates.
Israel is sitting very pretty at the moment. I think the best evidence that the "Arab Spring" was never a genuine movement is that Israel did not move during the Egypt events. If there was a genuinely revolutionary takeover in Egypt, does anyone think Israel would allow it? Never, not ever, will Israel allow themselves to be put into that position again re Egypt. Israel would have gone all out to back Mubarak. But they sat back and kept very quiet.
The "Arab Spring" has also very effectively pacified Hamas and Hezbullah, bringing them onside in Egypt and Libya and effectively splitting them over Syria. The Muslim Brotherhood is shown toothless and compromised in Egypt. The Palestine issue looks to finally be on the verge of being settled, for now anyway, and on Israel's terms and with PLO/Fatah AND increasingly Hamas on message.
The only problem Israel really has now is Iran. Now it is wrong to overplay Iran's military capabilities. t is at least 3 generations behind Israel, let alone the US in tech. It is barely better off militarily than Iraq was in 1990, and the US is a generation futher on from then.
However, a war with Iran would be messy and hugely destabilising. Whilst it is no doubt tempting, the current US administration is wary of being trapped in the overstretch and quagmire that crippled the Bush regime. So, again we can expect to see more of what we are seeing now, increased terrorism and assassinations within Iran, international political and economic isolation, external military pressure (short of all out war but possibly including some limited strikes, possibly from Israel and/or Turkey or even NATO under pretext of UN or some other contrived cover) and a stirring up of another wave of the colour revolutions, this time marketed as the ultimate culmination of the "Arab Spring".
As regards the missile shield, whilst it is being based around Russia, and it is Russia that is, quite rightly, being most vocal in its consternation, it is actually pretty ineffective against an all out missile attack from Russia. There is no way that any missile interceptor system could reliably take out thousands of warheads. Just one nuke getting through would be enough to end it for any US or European administration.
Which is why the Obama administration is so keen on restarting the START programme, to massively reduce both US and Russian warhead stockpiles, particularly concerning ICBM megaton city killers. Whilst this might sound like a good thing, it is actually increasing the chance of nuclear way. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) wasnt so crazy after all. The US wants to have a free hand to use "small" kiloton and sub-kiloton range tactical nuclear weapons. It cannot do so if it faces any prospect of being on the receiving end of retaliatory strikes. Waging war without the prospect of any civilian casualties on home turf is essential to the western powers. Any nation that can inflict even a several thousand casualties on a western power will not be attacked.
The US needs to disarm Russia - but primarily the missile shield would only offer protection against a possible Iranian bomb, and of course China, which has a small nuclear deterrent, not enough to financially cripple it (as with the USSR) but enough to wipe out enough US cities and regional military bases to make an attack political and economic suicide. The missile shield is of course being built in the Pacific also, so the real target is once again clear.
Which brings us back to why it is so important that no independent country be either threatened or soft talked into giving up its ability to defend itself outwith its borders.
Having said all of the above, we are living through a very unstable period, where really all bets are off. If the western economic collapse deepens, as it looks almost certain to do, then we are back in 1930s territory. And we all know where that ended...
COMMENT TO James: Your point that war against China would have to be now/ very soon or never is a thought that I have been having often recently. Combined with your other point that all bets are off - and the fact that the West seems to be hurriedly eliminating all possible suppliers and allies of China - it seems like a possibilty they are certainly considering
ANSWER: Yes they do, but how seriously? Certainly no european power would fancy getting involved, it would be economic and military suicide, but the US most likely still fancies its chances. The US could clearly beat China in a war - on the US's terms.
This... "I think it is more likely they will either try and drag China into a regional conflict with one of their local allies and wage a proxy war to tie China down and degrade it militarily and financially." was meant to be an" either/or".I forgot to give the "or...".
The" or..." option was that the US may risk a direct military fight with China as long as it could keep the fight off the Chinese mainland - so that is where Korea and Taiwan come in. All out war including the Chinese mainland would be WWIII. But a direct conflict, kept regional based on Taiwan or Korea is fightable, and the US have strong reason to beleive winnable for them - and without risking civilian casualties on the US (obviously mass civilian casualties in Korea or Taiwan are a perfectly acceptable price to pay for "freedom.)
However, China is now in a position to seriously damage any US fleet in the region and the US will not risk losing any major naval vessels. If the US lost an aircraft carrier - a real prospect with current PLA hardware - then that would be politically and militarily untenable and would either lead to political crisis in the US - or all out war. If the US is prepared to take serious losses it can still potentially win a regional war with China. But there is no sign yet that the US is politically prepared to do so.
Coverage of the Libya: Manufacturing Consent conference of on 14 November held at Bolivar Hall, London, focussing on the mainstream media's role in facilitating the West's military campaigns on countries of the Global South
An agent working for Germany's answer to MI5 was at the scene of one of the 10 murders carried out by neo-Nazi terrorists, the domestic intelligence agency has confirmed, fuelling speculation that the killers' movements were known to the authorities during their 13 years on the run.
The undercover officer was in an internet cafe in the central city of Kassel in Hessen when a 21-year-old Turk was shot at point blank range on 6 April 2006, a spokesman for the Hessen branch of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) said on Tuesday.
The admission has added yet more controversy to an already contentious case, which the chancellor, Angela Merkel, has described as "mortifying" for Germany.
The investigation into the activities of the so-called National Socialist Underground was broadened on Tuesday to take in previously unsolved crimes across the country, amid fears that a network of supporters may have helped them carry out further attacks.
These include suspected terror attacks in Cologne and Düsseldorf from 2000 to 2004 that injured more than 30 people, most of them foreigners, and the attempted 2008 murder of a Bavarian police chief who was stabbed by a masked assailant who yelled: "Greetings from the national resistance!".
Critics say German authorities have played down the existence of rightwing extremism, concentrating instead on the threats posed by leftwing terrorists and Islamic fundamentalists. Whether they deliberately turned a blind eye or genuinely did not have a handle on the violence being wrought by neo-Nazis is open to interpretation.
Authorities in the state of Thuringia, where the three key members of the terror cell all come from, admit they have 24 ringbinders full of intelligence on the trio.
"The intelligence service has completely failed," said Hans-Christian Ströbele, a member of the parliamentary committee which monitors Germany's secret service agencies, following an emergency meeting on Tuesday. "It's probably the biggest secret service cock-up since German reunification," said the Berliner Zeitung newspaper in an editorial.
The scandal has gripped Germany for days as the country struggles to understand how the rightwing terror cell managed to evade capture for so long despite being apparently responsible for 10 murders, including the death of a policewoman, at least 14 bank robberies and two vicious nail bomb attacks between 2000 and 2007. The group has been dubbed the Brown Army Faction, a reference to the Red Army Faction, also known as the Baader Meinhof gang, a leftwing terrorist group that committed a series of murders in the 1970s and 80s. In Germany, brown remains a colour inextricably linked with the Nazi uniform.
The case came to light earlier this month when two known neo-Nazis, Uwe Mundlos, 38, and Uwe Böhnhardt, 34, were found shot dead in a burnt out campervan in what appeared to be a twin suicide pact. Hours later, their flat in the quiet suburbs of the east German town of Zwickau was blown up, an explosion detonated by alleged accomplice Beate Zschäpe, 36, who turned herself into police days later.
When investigators searched the charred remains of the van and the house, they found a number of highly incriminating pieces of evidence, including the gun carried by Michele Kiesewetter, the 22-year-old police officer believed to have been shot dead in Heilbronn, Baden-Württemberg in 2007. They also discovered a bizarre Pink Panther-inspired homemade DVD gloating that the National Socialist Underground was responsible for a series of unsolved murders known as the Döner Killings, which targeted mostly Turkish immigrants in Germany, some of whom worked in fast food stalls, between 2000 and 2006.
Until now, German detectives have suggested that foreign gangs, probably from Turkey, were responsible for the murders: their investigation was even codenamed Operation Bosphorus.
Relatives of the victims say the reputations of the dead men were besmirched by investigators. Kerim Simsek, whose father Enver was shot down on 9 September 2000, claimed police said his father "was mixed up with the mafia and smuggled drugs – no one even mentioned a rightwing extremist motive," he told Bild.
Ströbele said Germany's elite had totally underestimated the threat of rightwing terrorism. "They have been determined to play it down. Just a few weeks ago, Hans-Peter Friedrich, the interior minister, was saying there was no rightwing terrorism in Germany," he said. "They are always very quick to jump to conclusions if they think leftwing terrorists or Islamist fundamentalists are responsible for a crime and yet they didn't want to believe there could be a serious problem with neo-Nazis."
Ströbele said that 160 officers worked on Operation Bosphorus, investigating 11,000 people "Why didn't they follow the trail to rightwing radicals?" he said, as he called for a thorough investigation to discover how the terror cell managed to evade capture. More information was needed to establish how and why the secret service agent was in the Kassel internet cafe when the shots were fired in 2006, he said. Until now, the agent has insisted it was an unhappy coincidence he was at the crime scene "either during the murder or within a minute or two of it", said Ströbele.
The agent was arrested after other witnesses noticed he was the only customer who failed to call the police. After being questioned as a suspect, he confessed his identity and no charges were brought. A spokesman for Hessen's BfV said he was subsequently moved out of intelligence work and into a less sensitive department of Hessen's regional council.
The national BfV continues to deny any contact with the three suspects or any knowledge of their whereabouts since 1998, when a warrant was issued for their arrest following the discovery of a bomb-making factory in a garage rented by Zschäpe. The Hessen branch said it had found no evidence that its agents were in contact with Mundlos, Böhnhardt and Zschäpe.
Germans try to make sense of scandal
Germany has been gripped by the scandal unfolding around the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground. But so much of what has emerged so far does not quite make sense. Here are some questions ordinary Germans would like answering:
1. Why did Beate Zschäpe decide to turn herself in to the police? Is she hoping to turn supergrass and give state's evidence in return for a shorter sentence?
2. Did Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt really kill themselves? One man was shot in the head; another in the chest (the latter is an unusual form of suicide). Could Zschäpe have murdered them both? Did they set fire to their campervan before killing themselves or did someone else light the match afterwards?
3. Why did the two men burn the money they had apparently stolen from a Zwickauer bank that day rather than give it to Zschäpe?
4. How did the Pink Panther confession DVDs survive flames in the trio's Zwickau flat despite temperatures being so hot that investigators say they found melted guns?
5. How did the National Socialist Underground choose their victims? Were they all chosen at random?
6. Can the group be linked to any other unsolved crimes?
7. Did the authorities have any contact with the group during their 13 years on the run?
8. Why did investigators looking into the nine so-called Doner Killings blame foreign mafia rather than properly investigating rightwing hatred as a motive, considering that all the victims were immigrants?
As imperialism expands in Africa Libyan forces regroup to resist puppet regime
By Abayomi Azikiwe Editor, Pan-African News Wire Published Nov 14, 2011 10:22 PM As the U.S.-NATO war against Libya enters another phase, the neocolonial designs on the state with the largest oil reserves in Africa become more and more obvious. Executive decrees enacted by the imperialist-installed National Transitional Council are attempting to reverse the gains made since the beginning of the Al-Fateh Revolution of Sept. 1, 1969.
The announcement that the country will be governed by Islamic law must be examined in relationship to the actual policies of the NTC regime.
The social gains of the Al-Fateh Revolution under Moammar Gadhafi guaranteed free education, health care, housing, pensions and civil rights of the Indigenous people and women. These benefits will be targeted under the existing system. Objectively, the status of women is threatened with the repeal of the marriage act instituted under the Jamahiriya (Gadhafi’s name for the state translated as “state of the masses”) republic, which accorded women the right to divorce and inherit property.
Widespread retribution is being carried out by the NTC forces against loyalists of the former government.
Nonetheless, these changes being imposed on the Libyan people are being met with growing objections and resistance. This defiance is being revealed through graffiti painted on walls that sharply criticize and condemn the puppet government and call for its removal.
An effort is underway to formally organize opposition to the neocolonial plans for Libya. It is largely based in the southwest of the country. In the region known as the Sahel, former officials, operatives and supporters of the Gadhafi government are meeting on a daily basis to chart the next phase of the struggle to reclaim their nation.
Calling itself the Libyan Liberation Front, the organization plans to activate existing popular committees established during the rule of Gadhafi to initiate a campaign to render the NTC regime ungovernable. The country is awash with sophisticated light arms, mortars and short-range missiles as a result of the wide distribution of these weapons by the Jamahiriya government in the aftermath of the U.S.-NATO onslaught on this North African state.
Also the LLF is examining ways of intervening in the supposed national elections that the NTC announced recently in Tripoli. These elections are slated to be held by mid-2012, and LLF forces are planning to field candidates — if they are not banned by the pro-Western regime.
Prospects for a national resistance movement in Libya
Despite the disaffection of certain sectors of the Libyan population from the Gadhafi government, demonstrations in support of the Jamahiriya attracted hundreds of thousands of people prior to the fall of Tripoli in late August.
With the destruction of the national infrastructure, along with the theft of the state treasury and foreign assets of Libya, anger and discontent are spreading rapidly. These factors will breed resistance to the current political situation and spark acts of rebellion that the NTC will face.
In addition, NTC forces are heavily armed by the U.S. and NATO and remain largely an undisciplined network of autonomous units. Deep divisions within rebel ranks have resulted in shootouts among various factions. The apparent political leadership of the NTC has been unable to rein in the armed militias, which have refused to unite into a single military structure controlled by the officials.
Meanwhile, reports indicate that neighboring Niger is serving as a rear base for the LLF as they organize for future actions. According to one member of the resistance movement, “More than 800 organizers have arrived from Libya just to Niger and more are coming every day.” (Franklin Lamb, counterpunch.org, Nov. 4-6)
This loyalist fighter is quoted as saying, “It is not like your Western media presents the situation, of desperate Gadhafi loyalists frantically handing out bundles of cash and gold bars to buy their safety from the NATO death squads now swarming around the northern areas of our motherland. Our brothers have controlled the borderless routes in this region for thousands of years and they know how not to be detected even by NATO satellites and drones.”
The LLF is reported to be working initially toward building a “people’s struggle employing the Maoist tactic of 1,000 cuts against the current group claiming to represent Libya.” Resistance movement organizers have access to satellite phones, laptops and other equipment that will be utilized to gather information and dispatch fighters throughout the country.
The LLF has already claimed responsibility for two major operations inside the country. The bombing of a fuel storage facility in Sirte, which was reported in the Nov. 10 issue of Workers World, resulted in the reported deaths of more than 100 NTC rebels. Also the LLF says that it carried out the assassination of NTC official, Amin al-Manfur al-Manfa, who had previously worked for Gadhafi but switched sides after the Feb. 17 rebellion began in Benghazi. (adnkronos.com, Nov. 4)
An LLF spokesperson was quoted as saying that the movement is launching a campaign of assassination targeting the 500 top officials and operatives of the NTC regime. The resistance movement stresses, “We are ready to initiate a campaign to eliminate all the leaders of the National Transitional Council, killing them one by one. This is only the first list that we intend to draw up. There are names of all the traitors that deserve the death penalty.” (feb17.info, Nov. 4)
At the same time LLF officials have denied reports that the son and heir-apparent of Moammar Gadhafi, Seif al-Islam, is seeking to turn himself in to the International Criminal Court to stand trial for alleged war crimes. Statements made by Seif al-Islam over the last several weeks have reaffirmed his commitment to resistance against the neocolonial regime now claiming to be the legitimate authorities in Libya.
The ICC issued arrest warrants against Moammar Gadhafi, Seif al-Islam and other officials during the imperialist bombing campaign earlier this year. This body, located in the Netherlands, serves as a tool of Western foreign policy in efforts aimed at regime change in various African states.
The ICC is notorious for its attempts to prosecute African leaders. It has not targeted any official from the imperialist states and their allies who have committed horrendous war crimes over the last two decades. Although the ICC made statements indicating that it would investigate crimes committed by the NATO-led NTC forces, no indictments have been issued against the rebels, let alone their supporters within the ruling classes based in Western Europe and North America.
Anti-imperialist solidarity with Africa, including Libya
The U.S.-NATO war in Libya, the installation of a puppet regime, and the large-scale theft of the treasury and national resources of the country portend much for the rest of the African continent. Africa’s strategic role of supplying oil and minerals to the world capitalist system is necessitating the expansion of militarism on the continent.
Developments in Libya cannot be viewed separately from the enhancement of the role of the U.S. Africa Command in various countries. In Central and East Africa, the Pentagon has dispatched at least 100 advisers and Special Forces commandos to four separate independent states.
In Somalia, hundreds are being killed every week by CIA-Pentagon predator drones in a military campaign to liquidate the Al-Shabaab Islamic resistance movement, which controls large sections in the center and south of this Horn of Africa nation. The U.S.-backed regime in Kenya has launched a full-scale invasion of southern Somalia, supported by Washington and Paris.
Kenyan military forces lost 15 soldiers on Nov. 6 when their battalion was ambushed by Al-Shabaab fighters in the southern town of Tabata. Kenyan air force planes have dropped bombs in southern Somalia, and the French navy has also shelled areas thought to be occupied by Al-Shabaab supporters.
These attacks on the sovereignty and independence of Africa will continue. African peoples will inevitably organize politically and militarily to meet this renewed challenge on the part of imperialism to solidify its neocolonial control of the continent.
The pro-Western regimes in Africa are economically and socially fragile and are therefore subject to pressures exerted by the U.S. and other imperialist states. The anti-war movement inside North America and Europe must categorically oppose this new wave of military interventions in Africa.
These struggles in Africa against imperialist militarism are closely connected with the worsening economic crisis inside the capitalist states. Resources that should be utilized for the creation of jobs, adequate housing, universal health care and quality education in the Western countries are being squandered in repeated failed attempts to dominate Africa, Central and South Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
Consequently, progressive forces in the Western countries must demonstrate their maximum solidarity with the African peoples in their fight against military intervention and exploitation by the imperialist states. This international unity of purpose and action can ensure the necessary advancement needed during this period to further the liberation of humanity throughout the world.
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While US imperialism has turned its attention from Libya to Iran and Syria, it has not taken its eyes off the threat that it sees in China.
As referred to in previous articles on this website, China presents US imperialism with a potential challenge to its global dominance, as China’s continuing rapid growth threatens to catch up and overtake the stagnating US economy.
A top priority for the US and its imperialist allies is doing everything possible to prevent this.
In the aftermath of its victory in Libya, imperialism has stepped up its offensive against China on both the economic and military front.
There are a number of key planks in the US’s economic offensive against China: blocking high technology exports to China, using claims of ‘dumping’ to put tariffs on some Chinese imports, vetoing Chinese companies’ proposals to takeover US companies, pushing for rapid RMB revaluation with the aim of reducing the competitiveness of Chinese imports, discouraging FDI into China on a variety of grounds. Alongside there is a continuous ideological intervention against China’s high rate of investment which has powered its economic growth.
Since the victory in Libya it has renewed this offensive. In the run up to the G20 meeting, new legislation attacking China for alleged currency manipulation was introduced in Congress, agreed by the Senate, debated by the powerful Ways and Means committee and become an issue for all the Republican presidential hopefuls.
At the same time, a new front in the economic and propaganda war was also opened, explicitly aimed at China’s hugely successful state-owned enterprises.
A report was produced in late October by the Congressional review group, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which sets out an attack on China’s state sector, alleging the Chinese state-owned companies compete unfairly as – according to the report – they get preferential interest rates on loans from state-owned banks, tax breaks and capital injections if they hit trouble.
Potential sanctions against the ‘unfair advantages’ of state owned companies – meaning Chinese companies – was raised by the US at the recent Trans-Pacific Partnership talks negotiating a nine-nation trade agreement in the Pacific region. China is not one of the current nine negotiating nations, but had been flagged as a future participant.
Alongside building up external pressure, this attack on the state sector in China is also aimed at making a pro-Western ally out of the Chinese private sector, whipping up opposition within the country to the alleged ‘unfair advantages’ of the state sector.
This whole offensive was rather a damp squib in the context of the G20 dominated by the Eurozone crisis, where the European imperialists were desperately courting China to contribute funds to the new European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).
On the eve of the G20, Klaus Regling, the head of the fund, went to China to seek support, offering preferential protection for Chinese loans. In this context it was not likely that the G20 would be singling out China as a ‘currency manipulator’, and the US did not push for it.
However, despite retreating from direct criticism at the G20, the US has clearly blocked the EU from making any economic or political concession to China that might persuade it that there was an upside to a very risky investment of China’s sovereign wealth in Eurobonds.
There are three areas where it is known that China would like to see progress: greater influence at the International Monetary Fund and the inclusion of the RMB in the IMF’s special drawing rights (SDR) currency unit, market economy status in the World Trade Organisation, and the lifting of the European arms embargo (which China desires for diplomatic reasons not because it has any intention of buying European arms at this point in time).
The US is hostile to all of these. Increasing the weight of China in the IMF, and including the RMB in the SDR, would correspondingly reduce the weight of the US and the role of the dollar. Granting China market economy status would make it harder to impose embargoes or sanctions against Chinese goods. Lifting the arms embargo would give China increased diplomatic and international political status.
With no hint of progress on any of these, Beijing’s support for the bail-out fund is on hold!
Reuters reported a senior Chinese source saying, quite rightly: ‘We are willing to help, but we are not a charity’. ‘The United States and the IMF also attach conditions (when they help financially troubled countries). It is not unreasonable for China to do the same.’
While the imperialist world economy stumbles from stagnation to crisis to stagnation, economic pressure on China is difficult to achieve. The US would like a major economic offensive against China, but China’s growing domestic market and its financial firepower mean that this is contradictory for the US itself, let alone its embattled European allies.
Unsurprisingly therefore, the Autumn has also seen a new round of US military initiatives in the Pacific aimed at China.
As spelled out in more detail in this article on this web-site, the US is developing – and arming – a series of strategic military alliances around China, immediately aimed at heating up regional and border tensions forcing China to redirect resources towards military defence.
The US has taken a series of diplomatic and military initiatives around China’s extensive land and sea borders: on the Korean peninsula, in the islands of the East China sea disputed with Japan, selling arms to Taiwan, stirring up confrontations with Vietnam and other Southern neighbours over disputed gas, oil and mineral rights in the archipelagos of the South China Sea and with India over long-disputed borders.
Leon Panetta, Obama’s recently appointed new defence chief, went on an October tour of Indonesia, Japan and Korea to reassure the US’s key regional partners that the current drive to reduce American military spending will not lead to a reduction in its presence in the Pacific against China.Spelling out the US position, he said: ‘I want to make very clear that the United States is going to remain a presence in the Pacific for a long time. That means, just so you understand, that we are not anticipating any cutbacks in this region. If anything, we’re going to strengthen our presence in the Pacific.’
Pentagon officials have reinforced this saying there are no plans to reduce the 85,000 US servicemen stationed in the Pacific, nor the 7 aircraft carriers and 18 nuclear submarines in the region.
The pressure of this military capacity on China is clear. The US may be a declining power, but it is still the greatest military power on the planet by a very large margin.
China is being forced to take defensive steps and increase its military spending in response.
However, while China’s total military budget may have roughly tripled since the 1990s to an estimated $160bn last year, the US spent more than $500bn, or nearer $700bn if the costs of Iraq and Afghanistan are included. The Peoples’ Liberation Army may be the largest in the world with an estimated 1.25m troops compared to around 750,000 US Army soldiers and Marines. But the US army is vastly better trained and equipped and has recent experience of active duty.
However, technologically the Chinese are catching up, particularly developing land-to-sea missiles and recently test flying the J-20, a new-generation stealth jet fighter. The US is therefore deepening its military engagement with its regional allies. The Panetta tour of the region underlined that while the US may be pulling out of Iraq, scaling down in Afghanistan, and trying to limit its role in interventions like that in Libya, the same does not apply to its pressure on China.
Imperialism’s attention for the moment remains focused on the Gulf and the Middle East, seeking to reverse the setback it suffered through the overthrow of Mubarak in Egypt earlier in the year by advancing in Libya, Syria and Iran.
But it has not taken its eyes off the rise of China.
Typical upper-class, tory scum. These are your future rulers. This is the same Oxford Tory Club that produced David Cameron and the rest of the Bullingdon boys. Born and bred to be psychopathic, immoral, lecherous, greedy parasites.
These are "the elite". An oligarchic perversion.
If these people where born into a different class, a different section of society, they would be neds, getting pissed on Bucky instead of Bollinger, bullying old folk and spraying racist graffiti on the local asian run shop. In the working-class these dregs sink to the bottom and fester like a cancer in our communities. Among the rich, through patronage and privilege, they rise to the top and are groomed for power.
Their bare faced hypocrisy is on a such an incredible scale that it would be almost impressive in its arrogance were these not the people who end up deciding our fate.
These are the future judges, officer corps, corporate directors and politicians of England. And England votes for them in its millions. - Not A Dinner Party
Oxford University launches inquiry after drunk Tory students 'sang song saluting Nazi killings'
One video said to show student singing 'Dashing through the Reich' to tune of Jingle Bells
By TOM KELLY AND ELEANOR HARDING Last updated at 11:47 AM on 5th November 2011
Oxford University last night launched an investigation into claims that Tory students sang a ‘despicable’ song celebrating Nazi massacres during meetings. Members of the university’s Conservative Association were alleged to have given renditions of the song that revels in the killing of Jews during ‘port and policy’ nights.
One video, filmed in the common room at Corpus Christi college, is said to show a student drunkenly chanting: ‘Dashing through the Reich’, before being silenced by another member.
Oxford University Conservative Association president James Lawson with a friend. They were not involved in the alleged racist singing
The song’s full version, to the tune of Jingle Bells, continues: ‘Dashing through the Reich / in a black Mercedes Benz / killing lots of kike / ra ta ta ta ta.’ The word ‘kike’ is a derogatory term for Jewish people.
One member of the Conservative Association, who declined to be named, told the Oxford Student newspaper: ‘Lots of people were singing it that night, and indeed on many other nights, and the general attitude is that that was OK.
‘The thing is, lots of members do find that song, and songs like that one, absolutely despicable, though little is done to stop it. I am very worried with the direction the society is going in at present.’
Pictures taken from ‘port and policy’ nights during the past year also showed members of the society rolling around drunk on the floor.
One was photographed pouring port into a friend’s mouth through a pith helmet.
Excess: A member drinks port poured through a pith helmet. Neither was involved in the Nazi singing
Another photo shows two members dressed as Margaret Thatcher next to a coal miner outfit bearing an offensive placard which reads: ‘I love shafting.’
Last night, Joe Cooke, a former president of the Oxford University Conservative Association, told the Daily Mail he was resigning from it in protest about the ‘debauched’ behaviour of many of his fellow members.
The third year PPE student said: ‘It is disgusting and goes against everything the Conservative Party stands for. I am completely disillusioned.
'I came from a single-parent family and went to a state school and had to work for everything I have achieved.
‘But unfortunately the majority of members are rich former public schoolboys with a great sense of entitlement who are far more interested in drinking port than discussing policy.’
A former treasurer of the association recently wrote to members to complain about the ‘excessive and crass’ singing at meetings.
He wrote: ‘The dissonance is enough to inflict pain as short, spotty, still-pubescent boys struggle to fix their unsteady voices on any pitch at all. ‘This unbridled clamour is disturbing finalists who live near the Union, many of whom are sounder Conservatives than most, but who don’t feel the need to dress up in ridiculous clothes or pretend that we still have an empire.’
David Cameron and former Tory leaders Michael Howard and Iain Duncan Smith have all given talks to the association in recent years.
Its former presidents include Cabinet members William Hague and Jeremy Hunt. The OUCA is affiliated with Conservative Future, the party’s youth wing, and regularly supports candidates in local elections.
During last year’s General Election, five former presidents stood for parliamentary seats.
The Nazi song allegation is just the latest controversy to hit the association in recent years.
Two years ago it was temporarily banned from using Oxford University in its title after members were urged to compete to see who could tell the most offensive racist joke.
Yesterday an Oxford University spokesman said: ‘The university proctors, who are responsible for discipline, have been made aware of the [Oxford Student] article and will be considering whether there are grounds for further investigation. ‘The university strongly condemns any form of racism or discrimination.’ James Lawson, the current president of the Conservative Association who took over after the alleged racist singing took place, said he had started an investigation into the allegations.
He said: ‘If it turns out this person is a member we will take immediate action to expel them from the association. Racism has no place in the association or our society.’
An absolutely brilliant text produced as a leaflet for the Occupy protests from the blog Rebel Griot. Essential reading. Share far and wide...
Leaflet for the "Occupy" demonstrations The problem is not lack of money
According to the Sunday Times “Rich List”, the 1000 wealthiest individuals in Britain increased their wealth by £60billion between May 2010 and April 2011. This is not on the back of economic growth; the economy, as we all know only too well, has been stagnant. Therefore, this money has come directly from other sections of society; a redistribution of wealth from the working and middle classes to the very richest (75% of British people saw their real incomes decline in the same time period). Warren Buffet, the world’s third richest man, put it very clearly: “It’s class warfare. But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war. And we’re winning.”
Three years ago, the banks were bailed out with public money, to the tune of hundreds of billions of pounds. We are now told that we need to lose the bulk of our hard-won public services in order to pay off the huge debt this bailout incurred. Cameron said “frontline services” would not be affected, but this was a lie, as is now becoming more and more obvious. Bristol Council has already announced plans to close ten of its twelve residential nursing homes, and to abolish homecare services for the elderly completely. Even the NHS, who Cameron told us would be exempt from cuts, has now been told to find £20billion “efficiency savings”.
We are often told that there is “no alternative” to public spending cuts, because we need to “reduce the deficit”. This is nonsense. The total private wealth in Britain amounts to £9000 billion (£9 trillion). Just under half of this - £4trillion – is owned by the richest 10% of the population. A one-off wealth tax of just 20%, to be paid only by the richest 10%, would pay off the entire national debt of the country (£800billion) in one go. A Yougov poll commissioned by the Glasgow Media Group found that 74% of the British population supported this idea. But this alternative does not even get an airing anywhere in the mainstream media. Instead, we are told that public spending cuts are the only solution, despite the fact that they will not only cause misery and unemployment to millions, but will not even begin to pay off the national debt, and will in fact plunge the economy into an even deeper recession.
So why is the establishment (all three mainstream parties and the entire media circus) so committed to this path, and so deaf to the calls to do something to challenge the power of the banks? In a word, because they are all owned by the banks (in the case of the media) or sponsored by them (in the case of the politicians). They rely on them for election campaign donations and for advertising income. They will not bite the hand that feeds them. But they do not feed us; they rob us – and we most definitely should be biting their hand.
The problem is too much capital
So why do the banks want the government to close down all our public services? The big problem for the banks at the moment is that they have more money than they know what to do with. If money cannot be profitably invested, it loses its value. But in a recession, there are very few places to profitably invest. They are nervous of investing in the housing market, because another big crash is looming. There is no point investing in manufacturing (e.g. the car industry etc), because markets are already glutted- there are already too many products that cannot be sold. This is where public spending cuts come in. Cameron says he expects the private sector to step in where the public sector gets cuts back. Put into plain English, this means you will increasingly have to pay private companies to do what you used to get for free from the state (good quality schooling, weekly rubbish collections, a local library, decent healthcare provision, etc). All of this will open up whole new avenues of investment for those billionaires desperately looking for somewhere to invest their money, as once-public services are turned into profit-making concerns.
This is the first part of the strategy. The other big problem now facing the owners of massive wealth is that their use of the third world as a source of dirt cheap labour and raw materials is seriously threatened by the shifting balance of power in the world. For five hundred years, the ruling elites running the Western world have been able to use their overwhelming firepower and technical superiority to force their own terms of trade onto the nations they impoverished in Africa, Asia and Latin America. However, this period of history is now coming to an end with the rise of places like China, India and Brazil as powerful, economically developed countries. They are not only less reliant on the export markets of the West to sell their goods, but are also increasingly demanding higher wages and fairer prices for their raw materials – and giving a lead to the rest of the global South in doing so. This threatens the ability of the world’s richest to continue making money out of global poverty in the way they have been doing for generations. All this is increasingly pushing the billionaire bankers and the governments to which they dictate policy in the direction of war. Only war can reverse the tide of economic development in the third world, and ultimately only war can destroy enough of the world’s surplus capital (products, housing, factories etc) to pave the way for a successful new round of profitable investment.
We have been here before. Capitalism always has periodic booms and crashes, but there have only been two crashes gigantic enough to bring about the near total collapse of the world economy similar to that we face today. The first was the “Great Depression” of 1870 – 1896, and the second the “Great Depression” of the 1930s. Both had the same causes as today’s crisis – the drying up of profitable avenues for investment – and both were ultimately ‘solved’ by colonialism and world war, the second of which was so successful a solution, that it paved the way for the “golden era” of capitalism – an unprecedented two-decade long boom period of growth based on rebuilding what had been destroyed in the world’s biggest ever mass slaughter.
This is the context in which we have to see Britain, the USA and France’s destruction of Libya. Anyone who thinks the British ruling class was momentarily distracted from dealing with its profitability crisis by a small group of Arabs in distress is living in cloud cuckoo land. 50,000 bombing raids were carried out against Libya, totally destroying huge swathes of advanced infrastructure, not to mention entire cities (in the case of Sirte) and at least 35,000 people. Within days of the conquest of Tripoli, Britain’s Defence Minister Philip Hammond was calling on British companies to “pack their suitcases and head for Libya” in search of the lucrative “reconstruction” contracts that will soon be dished out by NATO’s puppet government. Furthermore, in destroying Libya – a wealthy oil state which was continent’s leading force pushing for African unity and economic independence, and had $30billion set aside for African development and a new African currency – the old imperial states are intending to put the clock back on African development for generations. Most importantly of all, Libya will soon host the first sizable African base for the USA’s new AFRICOM section of the US army, set up in 2007 to invade African countries. This is part of the overall drive to use war in order to resolve this crisis of profitability, a war ultimately aimed at China, but likely to take in Syria, Iran, Algeria, South Africa and Venezuela along the way.
David Cameron is, for once, telling the truth, when he says “Whatever it takes to help our businesses take on the world – we’ll do it.” ‘Whatever it takes’ means not only the destruction of our public services; it also means the destruction of entire countries. We need to recognise that the attacks on public services and living standards here in Britain is part of a much bigger picture - the class warfare being waged by the rich against the poor, and especially against the most organised and independent sections of the third world. The constant warfare waged by the Western world for the last ten years has all been part of this struggle to maintain the class power and privilege of the dominant elites.
Their only solution is poverty and war
There are many in the third world who are resisting this onslaught, and we need to make common cause with them. When the next victim is being lined up for destruction by the media propaganda machine, we need to stand in solidarity with those under attack. We should learn the lessons of the destruction of Libya, a war which was sold to us with lies even more preposterous than those used to justify the destruction of Iraq. Do you remember the stories about 10,000 killed by Gaddafi in Benghazi? According to Amnesty International, the true figure was 110 - including those killed by the rebels - who we now know were armed from the first day of the insurrection. Do you remember the claims that Gaddafi was feeding his soldiers Viagra so they could carry out mass rape? Again, after looking into these allegations for months, Amnesty could not find a single credible case of rape by government troops. Do you remember the claims that Gaddafi had carried out aerial assaults against Tripoli? This too was false – as later verified by Russian satellite pictures. Do you remember the reports about rebel militias rounding up and lynching innocent African migrant workers by the dozen, from the very start of the revolt? Of course you don’t – although true, they were rarely reported. “But surely Gaddafi was a bad man” many people say. Even if this were true – and there are millions of Libyans who would dispute this – it is surely better to live in a functioning, peaceful and prosperous country with a bad leader, than in a dysfunctional wreck of a society like those that have been created in Iraq or Afghanistan.
But there is plenty of hope in the world. Latin America has been at the forefront of a successful, popular and organised rejection of the rape of their continent by the financial institutions of the Western world. Every major economy on the continent – with the sole exception of Colombia – is now governed by popular movements committed to the use of their natural wealth and labour to raise living standards for all, rather than simply as sources of profit for financial vampires. Venezuela’s slum dwellers now have free healthcare and education – and a constitution they actually helped to draft – for the first time ever. These governments have been involved in discussions with other independent-minded third world countries – including China, Iran and Libya before the invasion - about how to defend themselves against the war and poverty long imposed on them. We need to learn from and unite with these movements – and, above all, to reject any attempts by our own government to try to destroy them by force.
The views expressed here are only those of myself and (sadly!) do not necessarily represent those of the movement as a whole…
The Occupy movement provides a forum for all those disgusted with the exploitation, degradation and war they see being imposed by the world’s financial elites to come together and share their thoughts, analyses and strategies. Get involved and join the movement to end the dictatorship of capital.