Iranian Renaissance


On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Iran had been invited to the confab which will be held in Vienna on Thursday.  The announcement is bound to be ferociously criticized on Capital Hill, but it just shows to what extent Russia is currently setting the agenda. It was Lavrov who insisted that Iran be invited, and it was Kerry who reluctantly capitulated. Moscow is now in the drivers seat. And don’t be surprised if the summit produces some pretty shocking results too, like a dramatic 180 on Washington’s “Assad must go” demand.   As Putin has pointed out many times before, Assad’s not going anywhere.

Putin Makes Obama an Offer He Can’t Refuse, Counterpunch, 29 October 2015

There is no angst in the Iranian mind today. Its integration with the international community is well under way and the Iranian diplomats are savvy enough to develop synergy between the Syrian track and Tehran’s agenda to build up ties with Europe and America.

Iran returns to ‘Vienna Talks’ – as peacemaker, Asia Times, 29 October 2015

Russia now effectively operates a ‘no-fly zone’ over Syria, which strips Israel of access points to not only targets in Syria but also in Lebanon. Meanwhile, according to reports, Russia is dispatching to the Eastern Mediterranean a massive guided missile carrier, Moskva, equipped with an estimated sixty-four S-300 missile defence systems. All in all, the alignments in the regional politics have dramatically changed with the latest reversal in the US position signifying its willingness to sit with Iran to discuss Syria.

What it means to invite Iran to key Syria talks, Asia Times, 28 October 2015

Following the historic agreement in Vienna that could end the 12-year standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme, Iran has been for the first time invited to participate in international talks meant to put an end to Syria’s crisis. It is also likely that its bid to join the WTO once sanctions are lifted will be granted.
We are thus now having a return to multilateral diplomacy and, as a result, things are starting to move in a more cooperative and peaceful direction.

Anticipation is generally associated with such a new beginning.
Thus, it is hopefully auspicious that, on October 20-21 Roberto Poli, president of -skopìa and First UNESCO Chair in Anticipatory Systems at the University of Trento, Italy, has been invited by the Shakhes Pajouh Research Institute of the Isfahan University to teach a one-day workshop on the three levels of Futures Studies: Forecast, Foresight and Anticipation, followed by a half-day Q&A session.

This event was reported in a news broadcast by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.

A photo gallery from the event is available here.


Harvesting the high-carbon cornucopia


Rising levels of CO2 concentration (Global carbon dioxide concentration hit record high in March, scientists say, Guardian, 7 May 2015) mean a greener planet and more food for everyone.

Doubling the CO2 concentration from 330 to 660 μmol CO2/mol air resulted in a 32 % increase in grain yield. These results suggest that important changes in the growth and yield of rice may be expected in the future as the CO2 concentration of the earth’s atmosphere continues to rise.

Growth and yield responses of rice to carbon dioxide concentration, The Journal of Agricultural Science / Volume 115 / Issue 03 / December 1990, pp 313-320

Grain yields of rice crops grown under elevated CO2 were 24 % and 39 % greater than the respective ambient treatments…..The results of this study demonstrate that elevated CO2 causes significant yield increases in rice, even when it is grown in warm, subhumid tropical climates.

Response of Growth and Yield of Rice (Oryza sativa) to Elevated Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide in the Subhumid Zone of Sri Lanka, Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science,Volume 189, Issue 2, pages 83–95, April 2003

[T]he 14% increase in atmospheric CO2 (1982–2010) led to a 5 to 10% increase in green foliage cover in warm, arid environments. Satellite observations, analyzed to remove the effect of variations in precipitation, show that [green] cover across these environments has increased by 11%.

Impact of CO2 fertilization on maximum foliage cover across the globe’s warm, arid environments, Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 40, Issue 12, 28 June 2013 , Pages 3031–3035  

Averaged for both seasons, increases in CO2 concentration alone resulted in a significant increase in total plant biomass (+ 31%, + 40%) and crop yield (+ 15%, + 27%) compared with the ambient control. The combination of CO2 and temperature effects suggests that, in warmer regions (i.e., >34°C) where rice is grown, quantitative and qualitative changes in rice supply are possible if both CO2 and air temperature continue to increase.

Growth and Yield Response of Field-Grown Tropical Rice to Increasing Carbon Dioxide and Air Temperature, Agronomy Journal, Vol. 89, no. 1, 1997

Elevated CO2 further lengthens growing season under warming conditions.
Our results suggest that a longer growing season, especially in years or biomes where water is a limiting factor, is not due to warming alone, but also to higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations that extend the active period of plant annual life cycles.

Elevated CO2 further lengthens growing season under warming conditions, Nature 510, 259–262,  June 2014

Monsanto’s demise


Unless Europeans approve TTIP/TAFTA, Monsanto is doomed:

The agricultural giant that is based in St. Louis announced the reductions, which are equal to 12% of its overall workforce, as it reported a 19 cents per share loss in its fiscal fourth quarter and it warned that profit would remain weak through the end 2016.

The majority of EU member states (two-thirds) have decided to “opt-out” of genetically modified (GM) food cultivation after new legislation brought into force this Spring gives individual member state the power to restrict GM cultivation in their own territories.

Following the deadline of the 3 October 2015, European Commission spokesperson Enrico Brivio confirmed that 19 of the 28 members that belong to the EU block have requested ‘opt-outs’ [1]: Austria, Belgium for the Wallonia region (constituting over half of Belgium’s territory), Britain (for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia. Germany has a partial opt-out that will still allow research into GM crops without commercial cultivation. Altogether these nations represent ~70 % of the EU population and over two-thirds of its arable land.

Serbia and Russia, not members of the EU, have also made a point of rejecting the technology, with Serbia now marketing itself as an exclusively non-GM soy producer [2-4]. Switzerland, not a member of the EU, has a moratorium against GM crops already in place.

Similar opt-out proposals are under consideration for imports of GM food and animal feed but are yet to be finalised…
The fortunes of ag-biotech giants including Monsanto have been flagging since at least 2014, when China the world’s largest importer of grain and GM produce began rejecting major shipments of maize on account of contamination with non-approved GMOs. At the same time, the rising popularity of non-GMO and organic food, and increasing problems with glyphosate-resistant weeds and Bt-resistant pests have prompted record numbers of US farmers to switch back to non-GMO or to organic production.

sponsored by WazArs store

Stefano Fait, Ph.D.
Trento — Italy
Social forecaster, political scientist and anthropologist.
Strategy consultant, communications and social media relations manager for WazArs and -skopìa.
Arts and Culture reporter for “Trentino” & “Alto Adige”. Professional translator.
Editor-in-chief of
Peer reviewer and contributor for Routledge, Palgrave Macmillan, University of British Columbia Press, IGI Global, Infobase Publishing, M.E. Sharpe, Congressional Quarterly Press, Greenwood Press.
Laurea in Political Science — University of Bologna (2000).
Ph.D. in Social Anthropology — University of St. Andrews (2004).
Co-author of “Contro i miti etnici. Alla ricerca di un Alto Adige diverso” (2010).


Twilight of Empire: Inside the Crumbling Atlantic Bloc


NATO expansion

The time has come to review the agreements concerning the U.S. bases [on Italian soil]. I do not think that Italy should continue to host on its territory, without much needed revisions, American military enclaves, as policy tools that are not always in our best interest.

Sergio Romano, A che cosa servono le basi americane in Italia, Corriere della Sera, 10 October 2015

Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan and head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asia Department Zamir Kabulov told a Russian newspaper that Afghanistan’s first Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum has requested Moscow’s support to fight against ISIS insurgents.

Russia to Sell Modern Attack Helicopters to Afghanistan, the Diplomat, 9 October 2015

Baghdad intends to lean on Russia in the war on Islamic State after U.S.-led coalition airstrikes produced limited results. Russian military action in Iraq would deepen U.S. fears that it is losing more strategic ground to rivals in one of the world’s most critical regions.

Iraq leans toward Russia in war on Islamic State, Reuters, 7 October 2015

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that President Bashar al-Assad should be involved in any Syrian peace talks

Merkel: Assad must be included in Syria peace talks, Al Jazeera, 24 September 2015

I know from my conversations with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin that he (does not accept) phrases like when Barack Obama said Russia was a regional power. What does that mean? You can’t talk about Russia like that. We must, I say frankly, treat Russia properly. Russia should be treated as an equal.

The West must ‘treat Russia properly’: Juncker, Yahoo News, 8 October 2015

French President Francois Hollande has said that following recent ceasefire progress in Ukraine he hopes to see the end of sanctions against Russia.

Ukraine conflict: France hopes to end Russia sanctions, BBC, 7 September 2015


France and Germany have both expressed reservations about the way in which the negotiations have been conducted on several occasions. Faced with increasing concern over the direction of the negotiations, Matthias Fekl announced that France would be prepared to abandon the whole process if it does not receive the concessions it wants. “If nothing changes, that will show that there is no willingness to ensure a mutually beneficial negotiation process,” he explained.

“France is examining all its options, including abandoning the negotiations all together,” Matthias Fekl said. This option may strike a chord with some other member states, as the European Commission has taken responsibility for the negotiations upon itself, leaving the 28 countries on the side-lines.

France threatens to pull out of TTIP negotiations, EurActiv, 29 September 2015


The TPP does not include:

South Korea, nominal gross domestic product $1.4-trillion.

Indonesia, nominal GDP $900-billion.

Taiwan, nominal GDP $500-billion.

Thailand, nominal GDP $400-billion.

Colombia, nominal GDP $380-billion.

The Philippines, nominal GDP $330-billion.


China, nominal GDP $10.5-trillion.

Russia, nominal GDP $ 1.860-trillion.


A Biden-Warren ticket against the neocon march to World War III


Wolfowitz Doctrine, 1992

Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.

The U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. In non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.

In the Middle East and Southwest Asia, our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region’s oil.

■ Zbigniew Brzezinski, How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen, Counter Punch, 1998

According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

■ Robert Dreyfuss Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, 2005

The first complete account of America’s most dangerous foreign policy miscalculation: sixty years of support for Islamic fundamentalism

Devil’s Game is the gripping story of America’s misguided efforts, stretching across decades, to dominate the strategically vital Middle East by courting and cultivating Islamic fundamentalism. Among all the books about Islam, this is the first comprehensive inquiry into the touchiest issue: How and why did the United States encourage and finance the spread of radical political Islam?

■ Ian Johnson A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA, and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West, 2010

In the wake of the news that the 9/11 hijackers had lived in Europe, journalist Ian Johnson wondered how such a radical group could sink roots into Western soil. Most accounts reached back twenty years, to U.S. support of Islamist fighters in Afghanistan. But Johnson dug deeper, to the start of the Cold War, uncovering the untold story of a group of ex-Soviet Muslims who had defected to Germany during World War II. There, they had been fashioned into a well-oiled anti-Soviet propaganda machine. As that war ended and the Cold War began, West German and U.S. intelligence agents vied for control of this influential group, and at the center of the covert tug of war was a quiet mosque in Munich—radical Islam’s first beachhead in the West.

■ Zbigniew Brzezinski

The Russian naval and air presences in Syria are vulnerable, isolated geographically from their homeland. They could be ‘disarmed’ if they persist in provoking the US.

Brzezinski: Obama should retaliate if Russia doesn’t stop attacking U.S. assets, Politico, 5 October 2015

■ Ashton Carter

Russia will pay price for Syrian airstrikes, says US defence secretary, Guardian, 8 October 2015

■ Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina endorses waterboarding ‘to get information that was necessary’, Guardian, 28 September 2015

Fiorina: ‘We must be prepared’ to use force on Russia, The Hill, 1 October 2015

■ Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio Would Risk War With Russia In Order To Enforce Safe Zone In Syria. What could go wrong? Huffington Post, 5 October 2015

■ Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton calls for no-fly zone in Syria, 1 October 2015

■ Joe Biden

Let me risk ridicule by mentioning the ruthless Vladimir Putin and the clueless Joe Biden in the same sentence: The emergence of Putin abroad and Biden at home could reshape the 2016 Republican presidential race…And if Republicans don’t win, we face the prospect of living in Vladimir Putin’s world and Joe Biden’s America.

William Kristol [co-founder of the Project for the New American Century with Robert Kagan], Putin, Biden, and the GOP, Weekly Standard, 5 October 2015


A chance for peace in a multipolar world


No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be an enemy, for all humanity shares the common hunger for #‎peace‬ and ‪#‎fellowship‬ and #‎justice‬. No nation’s security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in effective #‎cooperation with fellow-nations. Every nation’s right to a form of government and an economic system of its own choosing is inalienable. Any nation’s attempt to dictate to other nations their form of government is indefensible. A nation’s hope of lasting peace cannot be firmly based upon any race in armaments but rather upon just relations and honest understanding with all other nations.
U.S. President #‎Eisenhower, ‘Chance for Peace’ address, 1953


In today’s multicultural world, the truly reliable path to coexistence, to peaceful coexistence and creative cooperation, must start from what is at the root of all cultures and what lies infinitely deeper in human hearts and minds than political opinion, convictions, antipathies, or sympathies – it must be rooted in self-transcendence: ‪#‎transcendence as a hand reached out to those close to us, to foreigners, to the human community, to all living creatures, to nature, to the universe; transcendence as a deeply and joyously experienced need to be in harmony even with what we ourselves are not, what we do not understand, what seems distant from us in time and space, but with which we are nevertheless mysteriously linked because, together with us, all this constitutes a single world; transcendence as the only real alternative to #‎extinction.
Czech President Vaclav #‎Havel‬, 1994


The common home of all men and women must continue to rise on the foundations of a right understanding of universal ‪#‎fraternity and respect for the sacredness of every human life, of every man and every woman, the poor, the elderly, children, the infirm, the unborn, the unemployed, the abandoned, those considered disposable because they are only considered as part of a statistic. This common home of all men and women must also be built on the understanding of a certain sacredness of created nature.
Such understanding and respect call for a higher degree of #‎wisdom‬, one which accepts #‎transcendence, rejects the creation of an all-powerful élite, and recognizes that the full meaning of individual and collective life is found in selfless service to others and in the sage and respectful use of creation for the common good. To repeat the words of Paul VI, “the edifice of modern civilization has to be built on spiritual principles, for they are the only ones capable not only of supporting it, but of shedding light on it” (ibid.).
El Gaucho Martín Fierro, a classic of literature in my native land, says: “Brothers should stand by each other, because this is the first law; keep a true bond between you always, at every time – because if you fight among yourselves, you’ll be devoured by those outside.”
Pope #‎Francis‘s speech to the UN, 25 September 2015