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U.S. Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses

U.S. Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses

Photograph Source: Trending Topics 2019 – CC BY 2.0

Today’s world is at war on many fronts. The rules of international law and order put in place toward the end of World War II are being broken by U.S. foreign policy escalating its confrontation with countries that refrain from giving its companies control of their economic surpluses. Countries that do not give the United States control of their oil and financial sectors or privatize their key sectors are being isolated by the United States imposing trade sanctions and unilateral tariffs giving special advantages to U.S. producers in violation of free trade agreements with European, Asian and other countries.

This global fracture has an increasingly military cast. U.S. officials justify tariffs and import quotas illegal under WTO rules on “national security” grounds, claiming that the United States can do whatever it wants as the world’s “exceptional” nation. U.S. officials explain that this means that their nation is not obliged to adhere to international agreements or even to its own treaties and promises. This allegedly sovereign right to ignore on its international agreements was made explicit after Bill Clinton and his Secretary of State Madeline Albright broke the promise by President George Bush and Secretary of State James Baker that NATO would not expand eastward after 1991. (“You didn’t get it in writing,” was the U.S. response to the verbal agreements that were made.)

Likewise, the Trump administration repudiated the multilateral Iranian nuclear agreement signed by the Obama administration, and is escalating warfare with its proxy armies in the Near East. U.S. politicians are waging a New Cold War against Russia, China, Iran, and oil-exporting countries that the United States is seeking to isolate if cannot control their governments, central bank and foreign diplomacy.

* Keynote Paper delivered at the 14th Forum of the World Association for Political Economy, July 21, 2019.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Starvation Sanctions Are Worse Than Overt Warfare

Starvation Sanctions Are Worse Than Overt Warfare

Image via Wikimedia Commons

“We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday,” President Trump tweeted today. “I look forward to the day that Sanctions come off Iran, and they become a productive and prosperous nation again – The sooner the better!”

Iran’s economy is already floundering due to the steadily mounting sanctions that the Trump administration has been heaping upon it since its withdrawal from the JCPOA last year. Crucial goods are four times the price they used to be, sick Iranians are having difficulty obtaining life-saving medicine, and life in general has been getting much more difficult for the poorest and frailest Iranian civilians.

For this reason, it is a very safe bet that there have been Iranians who have died because of the sanctions. Being unable to obtain enough life-saving medicine will inevitably increase mortality rates, as will inadequate nutrition and care for those whose health is at risk. There’s not really any way around that, and it’s only going to get worse.

And that’s exactly what was supposed to happen. As far as their intended purpose is concerned, the sanctions are working. They’re doing exactly what they were intended to do: hurt Iranian civilians.

How do I know this? Well for one thing America’s Secretary of State has said it openly. The New York Times reports the following:

Last week, Mr. Pompeo acknowledged to Michael J. Morrell, a former acting director of the C.I.A., that the administration’s strategy would not persuade Iranian leaders to change their behavior.

“I think what can change is the people can change the government,” he said on a podcast hosted by Mr. Morrell, in what appeared to be an endorsement of regime change.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The road to modern wars

The road to modern wars 

President Trump pursues a policy combining military threat with economic warfare and his aim is to restore American hegemony especially in view of the rising contender: China. Beijing has been acquiring technological knowledge and started expanding beyond the borders, having easier access to Central Asia and the Pacific than Americans.

In 2015, when Trump stood for election, we wrote: “Trump’s war rhetoric is very popular with his audiences and is a step beyond Obama’s statement about American exceptionalism. In New Hampshire, Trump nearly declared war on China as he stated: ‘Take a look at China what they have done, they have taken our money, our jobs, our base, our manufacturing, and we owe them 1.5 trillion dollars that’s like a magic act, they have taken everything, and we owe them money.’ Mr Trump did not tell his audience that bringing back jobs comes at a cost. China’s GDP per capita is around 7,500 dollars, while the GDP per capita of the US is about 55,000 dollars. The China rhetoric is unambiguous; China stole what belongs to the US, and there is no need to repay US debt owed to China. The world should brace for Mr Trump as the 45th president of the USA.

President Trump wants to dictate to the whole world, but, taking into account the fact that the United States is now in conflict with Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Syria, Russia, China and North Korea, a big war is not to be expected any time soon, so much so that the military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and Libya appear to be inconclusive. Washington has an arsenal of other measures and these include:

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Turkey Dismisses Trump’s Threat To Devastate Economy Over Kurds

Turkey has brushed off a Sunday threat by President Trump to “devastate” them economically if they attack the Kurdish militia (YPG) in northern Syria, which US forces have fought alongside against the Islamic State (IS).

Turkey regards the YPG as terrorists.


Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20 mile safe zone….


You cannot get anywhere by threatening Turkey economically,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

Trump announced in December that the US would withdraw all troops from Syria as the Islamic State had been “defeated,” a move which shocked allies and resulted in the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Concerns remain that Kurds from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are are under YPG leadership, would fall under attack by Turkey once the US withdraws.

Last week Turkey’s leaders, including the defense minister, described preparations underway for another major Turkish assault on US-backed Kurdish positions east of the Euphrates, following the exit of American advisers based on Trump’s previously announced pullout. That said, Trump said on Sunday that he would thwart any Turkish invasion plans with a “20 mile safe zone,”

Presumably this “safe zone” will be towards protecting American forces while precise exit logistics take shape, and will occur simultaneously to the US pounding remnant ISIS positions; however the details remain uncertain.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Blames Iran For Impoverishing Civilians While Prepping Further Sanctions

US Blames Iran For Impoverishing Civilians While Prepping Further Sanctions

The United States government is preparing to implement an additional level of sanctions against Iran for its refusal to meet a dozen demands that are so absurdly unreasonable that they have been called a regime change policy in all but name. The sanctions which have already been implemented have already badly hurt the Iranian economy, the sting of which is being felt first and foremost by Iran’s poor and sickly.

In an article titled “Iran’s poor to bear brunt of Trump’s oil sanctions“, Financial Times documents how poor Iranians are already strained to the breaking point from the cutbacks they’ve had to make in food and groceries. An article titled “In Iran, US sanctions are being felt, with harsher measures to come” by the Christian Science Monitor details difficulties Iranian charities are having getting medicine to sick children, including chemotherapy treatment, having already run out of four life-saving drugs. In an article titled “US fails to shield humanitarian trade with Iran as sanctions loom“, Al Monitor details the way humanitarian aid, while ostensibly exempt from the sanctions, has been severely impacted by their economic aspect because humanitarian aid costs money. The Wall Street Journal further explains the effects of America’s economic warfare on ordinary Iranian civilians in an article titled “Iran Moves to Shelter Millions as U.S. Sanctions Bite“.

This is before the US implements a new level of attacks upon Iran’s oil industry, a primary economic lifeline, which is scheduled to begin on November fifth. If Iran can’t find a way to get around these crushing sanctions in a significant way, many civilians already stretched far too thin will be pushed past the breaking point.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Hot Economic Warfare: Scrambling for Rare-Earth Minerals

Hot Economic Warfare: Scrambling for Rare-Earth Minerals

Hot Economic Warfare: Scrambling for Rare-Earth Minerals

Just like the gold rushes of California between 1848 and 1855, Canada’s Klonike of 1896 to 1899, and Western Australia’s of the 1890s, the world is experiencing a frenzy to obtain mining rights in pursuit of today’s “gold,” namely rare earth minerals. Used for components of electric vehicle batteries, mobile telephones, flat-screen televisions, flash drives, cameras, precision-guided missiles, industrial magnets, wind turbines, solar panels, and other high-tech items, rare earth minerals have become the type of sought-after commodity that uranium and plutonium were during the onset of the atomic age.

Rare earth minerals do not easily roll off one’s tongue in the same manner as gold, silver, and platinum. For example, yttrium oxide and europium, while sounding unimportant, are what provide the red hue in color televisions.

Nations around the world are scrambling to secure reserves containing rare earth minerals. China, where one-third of the planet’s rare earth minerals are currently found, has severely restricted the export of the minerals to friends and competitors. One of the largest known reserves of rare earths is the Bayan Obo deposit in China’s Inner Mongolia.

China’s export restrictions have sent nations around the world on search missions to secure both known and untapped rare earth deposits. One such mother lode of rare earth minerals has been discovered in the eastern southern Pacific Ocean. The estimates are that the deep ocean region contains twice the amount of rare earths than found in China.

Some of these deposits are in undersea geologically active zones, where deep sea floor vents spew rare earth minerals from expulsions of lava and hot gases. The discovery that the South Pacific region is rich in rare earths has led European nations, including France and Britain, which maintain colonies in the area, re-staking their colonial footprints.

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Economic Armaments and China’s Global Ambitions

The world continues to move in potentially dangerous directions. A leading component of this threat is the use of economic armaments by governments to gain political and market advantages in their foreign relations with other countries. Among the leading participants in the use of such economic armaments is the government of China.

First, what are “economic armaments”? In the 1930s, the term was used in reference to attempts for economic self-sufficiency. For instance, the Swiss classical liberal economist and political scientist William E. Rappard (1883–1958) gave the following definition in a 1936 lecture delivered in London titled “The Common Menace of Economic and Military Armaments”:

By economic armaments we mean all those legislative and administrative devices intended to restrict imports and develop domestic production with a view of reducing international interdependence. Economic armaments are the tools of economic nationalism. Economic nationalism may be defined as the policy of national self-sufficiency.…

As, in spite of all their efforts, all States must continue to import and as none can live on the charity of its neighbors, they must all continue to export in order to secure the foreign exchange necessary for the purchase abroad of what they lack at home. Economic nationalism therefore everywhere recommends both the promotion of exports and the restriction of imports.… Considered from that of the world community, economic nationalism is obviously a self-contradictory policy.

Clearly, today, there are few, if any, proponents of economic nationalism who propose that their respective nations follow a policy of national self-sufficiency. Fortunately, that economic irrationality has not yet experienced a rebirth.

Economic Weaponry for Import and Export Planning

But, nonetheless, governments do attempt to use various economic policy tools — economic weapons — to attain what they consider political and economic advantages for their own nation at the expense of their global rivals.

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US vs. China–Is it ‘Art of the Deal’ or Economic Warfare?

If monetary tightening remains the main risk for global stock markets, the threat of a trade war continues to dominate the headlines.THE DONALD’S DEALMAKING

Some of those in Washington pushing this policy view China as some kind of strategic rival for global leadership. For such people this is about far more than just tariffs.

The question raised by Donald Trump’s trade agenda with China remains, in essence, extremely simple. It is whether The Donald is engaged in a typical ‘Art of the Deal’ negotiation, where he can suddenly turn on a dime and declare a ‘win’, or whether he is really seriously trying to stop Chinaupgrading its economy by targeting ‘Made in China 2025’.

Such a stance would amount to an act of economic warfare. On this point, it should be understood that some of those in Washington pushing this policy view of China as some kind of strategic rival for global leadership. For such people this is about far more than just tariffs.

The markets had been assuming that the American president would not take this too far. But, as discussed here before, concerns have grown as it has increasingly looked like Trump is supporting Robert Lighthizer’s (US Trade Representative) and Peter Navarro’s (White House Economic Adviser) agenda.

HOW LIKELY IS ECONOMIC WARFARE?

On July 6, first the US and then Chinese 25% tariffs on US$34 billion worth of goods are due to go into effect. If bilateral negotiations do not resume before that date, then the chances of the US and China entering a so-called trade war grow significantly.

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Why Special Interests Sacrifice the Future for Short-Term Gain

Why Special Interests Sacrifice the Future for Short-Term Gain

106813209_c9e1c73045.jpg

The special interests that dominate politics dominates to produce a form of economic warfare. The more some can manipulate the political machinery, the more they can feather their own nests. They even use similar propaganda techniques.

In wartime, we are always defined as the good guys, ennobled by our moral cause. “They” are the bad guys, to be demeaned and dehumanized, so few will be bothered by what is done to them. Similarly, in domestic politics, representatives of each group paint themselves as particularly worthy or needy, making their advocacy morally superior, contrasted with their opponents whom they tar as selfish or unprincipled.

However, advocates for such causes do not always occupy the moral high ground they try so hard to create. They advocate coercing those who have done no harm to others to justify it. Further, the policies proposed often benefit existing members of a group, but harm those who will be members of that group in the future.

In such cases, justifying the political plunder to deliver a group’s demands because they are particularly deserving is self-contradictory. If membership in a group justifies special treatment, the same must apply to future members as well. Therefore, policies that benefit current members, while harming equally deserving future members, necessarily violate their own rationale.

The first example of how this works is the use of minimum wage laws.

Much in the news of late, these laws are promoted as helping low-skill workers. It is true that those lucky enough to keep their existing jobs, hours, working conditions, on-the-job training, promotion possibilities, etc., can gain. But other low-skill current workers, who lose jobs, hours or training, are harmed.

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This Is How Government Dealt With Dissent And Revolt In Collapsing Venezuela – “Soldiers Shooting Civilians In The Streets, Paramilitaries Roaming Neighborhoods”

This Is How Government Dealt With Dissent And Revolt In Collapsing Venezuela – “Soldiers Shooting Civilians In The Streets, Paramilitaries Roaming Neighborhoods”

Editor’ Note: The initial report about this incident was printed in error. While the videos and images below were believed to be recently recorded, several readers contacted us to report that these incidents occurred in February 2014 and not February 2016. 

We have modified portions of this article but have left the majority of this report intact. In terms of possible responses and consequences of economic collapse in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, the events in Venezuela could happen anywhere when governments lose control of the populace.

venezuela-paramilitary-motorgangs

Venezuela is in complete chaos as a result of their economic collapse.

And as a result, state-rationed food and groceries have run out, prices are hyper-inflated and millions of people are waiting in huge lines for any goods that are available. Black markets have gone boom, with neighbors making necessities available to other neighbors, but they must avoid crackdown from a jealous State that is desperate to hang onto power.

The free-fall of oil prices on the global stage has snapped the South American socialist nation into sudden and harsh disaster. Venezuela has slightly more oil than Saudi Arabia, and trades the second largest volume, after OPEC, and was even more vulnerable than Russia to the economic warfare that has taken place in the last few years.

Things are very bad now, and they were already falling apart. Nicolas Maduro took over after Hugo Chavez’ death in 2013, but without the force of Chavez’ cult of personality, he has been unable to hold an already unrealistic economy together any longer – and the people are on the verge of complete revolt.

*Editor’s Note: The following reports were taken in 2014 but are as relevant to the conversation today as they were then*

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Interview Willem Middelkoop About The Big Reset

The very reason I became interested in gold after the financial crisis in 2008 was because of Dutch gold guru, authorjournalist, entrepreneur, and fund manager Willem Middelkoop. When I started reading his books I was immediately obsessed with economics and the gold market – along with thousands of others across the world.  Who would have thought that I would become a precious metals analyst a few years later?

It was an honor to have contributed to Willem’s latest book The Big Reset with translations from Chinese policy makers that stimulate their citizenry to accumulate physical gold and my initial research into the Shanghai Gold Exchange that revealed Chinese gold demand was approximately twice a large as what was previously thought in the English-speaking world.

When The Big Reset was first released in January 2014 I’ve conducted an interview with its author about the inevitable reset of the international monetary system (the interview was published in two parts on this blog – onetwo). Since then a lot has happened in the global realm of economics and at the same time The Big Reset became an international best seller. As we speak The Big Reset has been translated in Dutch, German and Chinese and is expected to appear in Portuguese, Arabic, Polish and Vietnamese.

To keep up with the most recent developments Willem has added 70 pages in the revised edition of The Big Reset. For me a reason to have another chat with him about what he saw has happened in the past two years:

The Big Reset

J: Is it a coincidence that after the financial crisis more tensions between the West and East emerged and is there a financial war played by the US?

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US-NATO Military Deployments, Economic Warfare, Goldman Sachs and the Next Financial Meltdown

US-NATO Military Deployments, Economic Warfare, Goldman Sachs and the Next Financial Meltdown

Is There a Relationship?

What is the relationship between war in a military theater and “economic warfare”? 

An act of war is invariably an economic undertaking which supports dominant corporate interests. The conduct of US-NATO military operations is carried out on behalf of powerful financial institutions. 

US led wars in the Middle East under the humanitarian mantle of the “global war on terrorism” largely serve the interests of Wall Street, the Anglo-american oil conglomerates, the so-called ‘defense contractors”, the biotech conglomerates (Monsanto et al), Big Pharma and the corporate media.

But modern warfare is by no means limited to the sphere of military and intelligence operations. Washington not only imposes economic sanctions on countries which do not support its imperial agenda, it also fosters the outright destabilization of national economies. While the Pentagon and NATO coordinate military operations against sovereign countries, Wall Street carries out concurrent destabilizing actions on financial markets including the rigging of the oil, gold and foreign exchange markets directed against Russia and China.

It’s called “financial warfare”, it’s part of the same global agenda, it’s implemented alongside and in coordination with the Worldwide deployment of the US-NATO’s military machine.

In this regard, Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” directed against China involving the deployment of US naval forces in the South China Sea, is reinforced through concurrent destabilizing actions on the Shanghai stock exchange. The ultimate intent is to undermine –through non-military means– the national economy of the People’s Republic of China.

War and Financial Warfare

Is financial warfare coordinated with political decision-making pertaining to major military and intelligence operations?

 

Acts of financial warfare require intelligence;  they often require consultation and coordination at the highest levels of government. While the decision making process between the military-intelligence apparatus and the corporate financial system is by no means integrated, it nonetheless overlaps through a system of cross appointments and consultations.

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Financial War: US Wants to Trigger Wave of Russian Bankruptcies

Financial War: US Wants to Trigger Wave of Russian Bankruptcies

[translated by Eric Zuesse, from German Economic News:]

http://deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de/2015/02/23/finanz-krieg-usa-wollen-pleite-welle-von-russischen-unternehmen-ausloesen/

Financial War: US wants to trigger wave of Russian bankruptcies

German Economic News  |  Published: 02/23/15 12:55 clock  

The US government insists on a tightening of sanctions against Russia, and demands that the EU follow suit. Washington now wants sanctions that will have a “devastating” effect, which Russia must “suffer.” Financial measures are planned to trigger a wave of bankruptcies in Russia.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond over the weekend had a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry, concerning the US plan. Washington expects the EU to cooperate to force the Russian economy to its knees.

The US will drastically tighten sanctions against Russia: US Secretary of State John Kerry said this weekend in London that Russia was “guilty of gravely violating the Minsk truce.” Kerry said Russia had the city Debalzewo attacked, and supported paramilitary warriors in the region, and contracted new troops near Mariupol. Kerry said: “This is a violation of the ceasefire. We are serious: there will be more actions that cause additional pain in the Russian economy.”

He went on: “There is a serious discussion between us and our European allies, as to what sanctions we will bring next and when they are due to come into force. I am confident that there will be additional measures in response to Russia’s violations of the ceasefire.”

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond fully backed the remarks by Kerry. A few months ago American Vice President Joe Biden explained how the US created the EU’s role in the strategy directed against Russia. The collaboration now appears to function somewhat smoother than it did at first.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Goes the War?

How Goes the War?

 

Oh, you didn’t notice that World War Three is underway, actually has been for more than year? Well, that’s because most of it has been taking place in the banking sector, which for most people is just an alternative universe of math. The catch, which many people either miss or don’t care about, is that the math doesn’t add up.

For instance, the runaway choo-choo train of linked European sovereign bond obligations with its overloaded caboose of interest rate swaps and other janky derivatives of mass destruction. That train left the station in Athens a few weeks ago bound for Frankfurt. Ever since, the German government and its cohorts in the EU, the ECB, and the IMF have been issuing reassurances that the choo choo train will not blow up when it reaches its destination.

Few people grok that Greece is an entity with an economy not much bigger than North Carolina’s, yet it is burdened with roughly $350 billion of old debt that will never be paid back. The only thing at issue is how it will not be paid back, that is, what mode of pretense will be employed to disguise the inability to pay back this debt. The mode du jour has been the crude one of lending Greece more money to pay back the interest on the old debt. A seven-year-old ought to be able to understand where that leads.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

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