The dissolution of the European societies Read more >>>
Acte 14: France revolt: Several demonstrators seriously wounded in Rouen (Updated 18:30) Read more >>>
The single most important event in Europe: the revolt of the French people continues. (Update 16:15 ) Read more >>>
Convictions create modern religions and do away with science Read more >>>
Act XII, the revolution in France continues. (Update 20:30) Read more >>>
The European Union has to understand finally that idealism is simply magnifying human suffering and endangering the security of all parties. There is the realist alternative, which focuses on one’s own interest instead of morality. However, such foreign policy has a highly ethical purpose, i.e. peace and stability. The EU member states have made many mistakes during Syria’s civil war, which decreased their prestige, influence and security. Through the realist lens it’s important to make a serious assessment, which side in the conflict should be supported, and to remember that the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.
The realists don’t refrain from bold proposals and suggestions when it comes to foreign policy. In 2012 Kenneth Waltz argued that Iran should have access to nuclear weapons.Three years later Stephen Walt pointed that in case of ISIS’s victory in Syria, the international community should learn how to live with it’s potential new member.Right now there are voices among realists, according to which the attempts to overthrow the al-Assad government were a mistake.Those examples result from a distinctive view of morality’s place in international relations.
The western world, its intellectual circles and academia, have barely a good word for President Donald Trump. To them he is almost a misogynist (look how very few women there are in his administration!), white supremacist (he wants to build the wall, stop the influx of immigration and deport illegal aliens!) and a proponent of autarchy (for him it is preferable to have the businesses inside the country rather than having them outsourced abroad). All the progressive ideas of the western left, like the gender parity in offices, a welcoming (guilt-ridden) culture and a free flow of people seem to have received a hit once Donald Trump has been voted into the highest office.
Since it is the American and European left i.e. epigones of the teachings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, that keeps complaining about the current United States administration, it would not be amiss to have a closer look at their leftist Asian counterparts or comrades in arms, and where should one search for them if not in the People’s Republic of China?
A cursory look at the highest echelons of the Chinese communist party reveals that there are very few women, none at the top positions. There don’t seem to be any gender quotas in the People’s Republic though the country officially pledges allegiance to the egalitarian philosophy which posits that there are no essential differences between the biological sexes and so they can be and are replaceable.
The West and especially the United States are bent on lending support to minorities, cost it what it may, even when in the future it turns out that such a policy causes more damage than profit.
Since the time when in November 2016 the Kurds launched an offensive against IS, Washington has been supporting the Syrian YPG (Yekîneyên Parastina Gel or People’s Protection Units). As President Obama has provided them with weapons, President Trump went a step further and has had a 5000-strong military base built in that region of Syria which is controlled by the Kurds.For President Erdoğan it is like a pain in the neck because the YPG can forward the munitions of war to the PKK.Paying a state visit to Washington Erdoğan is trying to dissuade Trump from the whole idea.The American generals have adopted a practical attitude to all this, though: who is there left that they might use as an ally in the war against IS and President Assad, when they have to intervene in Syria? The Turkish troops would have to cross the Kurdish-controlled regions. If the Americans decided to attack from the south, then they would expose themselves to Russian and pro-Assad (i.e. Iranian) forces. It is a fight over access to the Euphrates, Syria’s most important river, on whose banks the IS-occupied city of Rakka is located. This place could soon become the battleground where Syria’s fate might be decided, for once you have conquered Rakka, all of Syria is under your control.
On social media and YouTube, there are reports of heavy fighting and serious clashes in Al-Qatif, one of Saudi Arabia’s oil-richest regions whose inhabitants are predominantly Shia. The unrest is said to have been sparked off by the Iranian government.
In 2016 Saudi Arabia executed Sheikh Nimr, a top Shia cleric, who was a vocal supporter of the mass anti-government protests that erupted in the Eastern Province in 2011, in retaliation for which Iranian protesters ransacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran.
China and Russia both pursue mysterious policies and pose challenges to Western diplomats. Their relations are one of the most important topics in modern international politics.
The Sino-Russian relations did not develop smoothly. In 19th century, the Russian Empire used China’s weakness and seized a great amount of its territory, which caused indelible resentment among the Chinese. Although the Soviet Union helped Mao’s regime to come to power and both countries were communist, it did not averted conflicts in the mutual relations. Following the ideological tensions after Stalin’s death due to more liberal new Soviet policy and border wars in 1960s, China perceived Russia as a bigger enemy than the USA; the latter, by the way, also decided to ally itself with China against the strong USSR. A normalization in the Sino-Russian relations came in 1980s. In 1996 a “strategic partnership” was established and in 2001 a Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation was signed.In September 2016, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi proclaimed that “the depth and scope of coordination between both countries are unprecedented.” One of the reasons, China sees Russia as a partner is that the latter does not criticize the Chinese political system.
Geopolitically, both countries want to deprive the US of its globalleadership and bring about a multi-polar world with corresponding spheres of influence. China would concentrate on Asia and Russia on Eastern Europe.The two countries have already made steps against the present world order. Russia annexed Crimea and started supporting pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine; China resurrected maritime territorial disputes in the Chinese Sea and makes its military exercises, annoying the USA.An attempt to create a global governance without Western powers was the BRICS group, where Russia and China are the most influential actors.
Wars are preceded by orchestrated incidents. It took the USS Maine to be sunk to allow the United States to enter a war against Spain; then RMS Lusitania had to be sunk to prod the United States to participate in World War One; World War Two required the sinking of a number of US warships at Pearl Harbor; the Gulf of Tonkin incident allowed Americans to intensify their presence in Vietnam; President Bush needed the twin towers of the World Trade Center to tumble down to have the right pretext for the war against Afghanistan; President Bush senior used the hearsay that Baghdad stored weapons of mass destruction to invade Iraq; President Clinton needed mass graves and concentration camps to give the poor Serbs a sound thrashing; President Barrack Hussein Obama almost began escalating war in Syria after reports on poison gas use against civilians; based on similar reports, President Donald Trump did not shy away from giving the order to launch missiles against President Assad’s troops. So it goes.
When you need to win support of the people for a war, you have to shock them into action. Hence reports of insidious attacks, heinous atrocities and use of prohibited weapons that the enemy has allegedly resorted to. The most potent of them all is the suffering-children card; it was used during World War One: German soldiers allegedly thrust their bayonets through Belgian children’s bodies’; it was used in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq: Iraqi soldiers allegedly disconnected incubators with new-born babies in Kuwait, thus bringing about their instant death; it was used to make Europeans accept the flood of the Third World masses: the visual media bombarded them with the picture of a drowned boy. Now the same trump card has been used by Trump, the president: he pours his heart out to the sorry plight of – how on earth otherwise – children.
Never mind the prospective detente with Russia; never mind the election promises of pulling America out of policing the world; never mind the gratuitousness of a poison gas attack: someone in Washington saw it fit to take action and action was taken. Qui prodest?
The People’s Republic has 2,8 million troops at its disposal i.e. the world’s largest army. There are also 3,8 million reservists. For years China has been investing billions in its armed forces: in 2016 it was 216 billion dollars.Only the United States can afford to spend more on armaments. The task that China has set itself is to be able to win regional wars, for China is in conflict with many of its neighbours.
A bone of contention in the high mountains
In July 2016 China’s ground forces encroached upon Indian territory,which was not an isolated event since the 1960 war on the Indian-Chinese border or rather a demarcation line that had been drawn by the withdrawing British Empire. As in 2005, India entered into a nuclear agreement with the United States, China perceived it as a hostile act. On the other hand India did not like the fact that China leased a whole island from the Maldives, where it intended to build a port for nuclear-powered submarines.The border conflict at the foot of the Karakorum should be seen as a part of a broader picture: Pakistan, India’s ally, has been battling against India in Kashmir for years.
China is taking cautious international steps, following its national interests. Much to the Western man’s regret, it did not let itself be dictated to how to respond to the Russian incorporation of Crimea. Still, China kept Ukrainian economy alive in the aftermath, thus strengthening the Ukrainian-Chinese cooperation.
The New Silk Road
As the EU and USA cannot finance all the infrastructural projects in Ukraine, the country is turning to China for help, which in turn is interested in Ukraine as an indispensable part of the New Silk Road. Already in 2013 former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych signed a number of agreements with China,among them one that with the aid of China’s $13 billion envisaged turning Crimea into a huge transit hub. The Russian military actions thwarted these plans, which were later shifted to Southern Ukraine.
The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it. (Karl Marx)
The Frankfurt school united Marx and Freud to become the most influential thinkers of the 20th century left. (The Guardian)
Marx had a dream. A dream of changing the capitalist society. With this dream he managed to inspire hundreds and thousands of intellectuals. Some of those intellectuals formulated their own proposals of implementing Marxian dream in real life. One of such proposals that turned out to be most attractive at the turn of the century was communism. After WWII, however, it became obvious that Marxism practised in communist countries not only failed to transform societies after the desired Marxist fashion but also suffered an economic defeat, whereas in western countries capitalism seemed to be thriving and the affluence placated the working class. Latter day Marxists came to the realisation that workers no longer made the revolutionary force in modern western societies and began looking for a new proletariat. The dream of creating a brave new world with a new awareness was still waiting to come true.
Almost 1000 years ago, Turkish tribes started settling in Anatolia, beginning the formation of the Turkish state. How did it happen? Many jump to quick conclusions and simplify the matter pointing to the Byzantine defeat at Manzikert in 1071. The reality is different: in the aftermath of the battle, Emperor Romanos Diogenes reached a peace agreement under which the Turkish Seljuk sultan was handsomely rewarded with money while the Byzantine Empire did not suffer territorial loss. The Byzantine elite in Constantinople, however, decided to unseat Romanos and not to adhere to the agreement. In the subsequent squabble over the throne, one of the competing factions would hire a relative of the Turkish sultan, Suleiman to increase its chances to seize the throne. As the Byzantine elite rushed to Constantinople, Suleiman was left with his troops to control one of the biggest Byzantine cities of Anatolia, Nicaea. The resulting Sultanate of Rum, the first presence of the Turkish people in Anatolia, was born not by conquest, but by the shortsightedness of the Byzantine ruling class.
“There will not be Obama Care repeal and replace. There will be no tax cut. There will be no infrastructure stimulus. There will be just one giant fiscal bloodbath over a debt ceiling.”These are the words of David Stockman, a former Reagan Administration White House Budget Director, who insists that a market bloodbath is imminent as the debt ceiling holiday will have been finished by March 15, 2017.
“We will have a government shutdown,” said Stockman to CNBC. “It is totally unexpected, unpriced in by Wall Street, [and] it will spook everybody.“March 15 is also the day of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting during which a rate hike decision is expected to be taken; the Dutch election is slated for the same day. Will it be the beginning of the great financial turmoil?
Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) was an Italian engineer, philosopher, economist, sociologist and political scientist, famous, among other things, for his theories about “the elites”.
In his theory of the “circulation of the elites” he argues that social mobility is fundamental for the peaceful continuity of social order: as long as the elite is open to the influx of capable elements from the lower classes, the system is able to rise up to the challenges it faces. When the elites shut themselves off and do not assimilate exceptional individuals from the lower social strata, an imbalance is created that can result in a violent overthrow of the ruling class by a new one capable of governing.
Drawing on that theory we argue that democratic systems have evolved in a way that an overthrow of the elite can happen without violence, but by democratic vote. Lack of social mobility, says Pareto, results in an elite detached from the daily challenges of the common man and a sense of disenfranchisement of the voters.