A dysfunctional debt-based monetary system, massive imbalances in the markets, immunity from prosecution for those responsible for the 2007-2009 crash, and inadequate responses on the part of Western central banks and governments have created gigantic, global commodity derivatives bubbles that will most likely burst by year’s end, causing a global financial collapse (Our Dysfunctional Monetary System, Forbes, 6 Feb 2016; Analyst: Here Comes the Biggest Stock Market Crash in a Generation, Fortune, 13 Jan 2016).
In such a scenario, banks would be bailed-in and this would produce huge layoffs. The US would hit the debt ceiling earlier than foreseen and would be forced to issue debt-free money (The Trillion-Dollar Platinum Coin Is Back, Bloomberg, 13 Mar 2015) to fund job-creating government spending.
This would, in turn, cause a worldwide flight from US$, a dramatic loss of confidence in the Federal Reserve, hyperinflation in the States, and an egregious overvaluation of the € currency and precious metals.
In order to ride out the storm and break free of the unilateral “Bretton Woods” system, BRICS countries would announce a new gold-backed, electronic currency for international trade settlements, presumably issued by their New Development Bank (In uncertain times, Germany takes more gold home, Reuters, 27 Jan 2016). It would be a common counting unit calculated on the composite exchange rates of a basket of major currencies available only to the Central Banks of the participating countries (Zhou Xiaochuan, Governor of the People’s Bank of China, Reform the international monetary system, BIS, 23 Mar 2009; RMB rate to depend more on basket of currencies: PBOC economist, China Daily, 12 Jan 2016). Eurozone countries would promptly apply for membership, as they did when the AIIB was launched (AIIB will “significantly” bring together Europe, Asia: Luxembourg minister , Xinhua 5 Nov 2015).
The new currency would likely prove a stabilizing novelty in world finance and politics. By contrast, the US$ would lose its privileged reserve status and the United States would no longer be able to export debt and inflation. New rules for a new architecture for the world economy and finance (Merkel and Sarkozy call for global ‘economic security’ council, EUObserver, 9 Jan 2009), as well as new methods of risk evaluation and investment (e.g. global project bonds to recycle surpluses as investments for infrastructures and research projects), would be introduced.
Maxim Oreshkin, the deputy finance minister, said the country is drawing up plans based on a price band fluctuating between $40 to $60 as far out as 2022, a scenario that would have devastating implications for Opec
(Russia plans $40 a barrel oil for next seven years as Saudi showdown intensifies, Telegraph, 11 Dec 2015)
Such a scenario would be devastating (deadly?) for the Saudi economy, already battered by the disastrous military intervention in the Yemeni civil war (A Saudi Afghanistan – the chickens will come home to roost in Yemen).
Are the Saudi royals really willing to risk domestic instability only to keep the oil price down?
To what end?
Only to save the US economy from collapsing?
Se uno dei più brillanti eredi della famiglia reale saudita è stato inviato in Russia a stringere buoni rapporti con Mosca forse è perché i sauditi non sono più disposti a sottostare alle imposizioni di Wall Street e del Pentagono?
Mosca sta facendo la voce grossa con turchi e sauditi per costringerli a schierarsi una volta per tutte?
Sotto sotto qualcuno DEVE aver sospettato che c’è qualcosa di stranissimo nel comportamento di turchi e sauditi: prima pappa e ciccia con Mosca (con multiple visite reciproce, investimenti ingenti anche in settori ultra-strategici) e poi ai ferri corti.
Forse i sauditi sono sotto ricatto? Sono costretti a suicidare la propria economia per sostenere quella americana e danneggiare quella russa?
Per quanto a lungo tollereranno questo stato di cose che li mette a rischio di ghigliottina?
E i turchi? L’establishment turco, messo alle strette da Mosca (o con noi o contro di noi) e con la costante minaccia del separatismo curdo (fomentato dai soliti noti: guardate le “principesse curde” della famiglia Barzani dove vanno a fare shopping e che tipo di celebrity-style hanno adottato), andrà fino in fondo? Fino alla jugoslavizzazione della Turchia?
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’ : 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.
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 futurables.com.
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).
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.
■ 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.
Domestically, the chief allies of American Jewry were once the liberal Protestants; the modern Catholics, whose great achievement was the Second Vatican Council; and progressive secularists. Now organized Jewry has an alliance with those who were not so long ago embittered anti-Semites. The Protestant fundamentalists think the founding of the Jewish state means that the conversion of the Jews is imminent. Suppose the fundamentalists demand that US Jewry anticipate the end of time by beginning their conversion now? Some have welcomed the Lebanon crisis as the initiation of Armageddon. In the meantime, they combat the pluralism of the public sphere, which is indispensable to enduring rights for Jews in the United States. America is in serious danger of becoming a nation defined not by citizenship but by bargains among struggling ethnic and religious communities, united in an impossible project of global domination. Will Nobel prizes and business acumen, and seventeenth-century biblical imagery of America as a New Israel, protect the Jewish minority as our imperial project disintegrates? Its end could generate the domestic deprivation and tension conducive to renewed anti-Semitism.
Norman Birnbaum, Is Israel Good for the Jews? August 5, 2006
What the Israel lobbies, are doing is the moral equivalent of reintroducing a disease like polio – formerly a scourge that humanity had, through diligent effort, very nearly eradicated. They are doing their best to bring it back.
Thanks to the “arc of the moral universe” that Martin Luther King spoke of so eloquently, opposition to what the government of Israel does is extremely widespread and growing in the United States and around the world. Understandably – and justifiably — anti-Zionism is on the rise as well.
But genuine anti-Semitism is an historical memory.
Zionists, in and out of Israel, have always labored hard to identify anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. They have so far been unable to make the charge stick; the claim is too much of a howler to survive even casual scrutiny.
But with Netanyahu and his lobbies now making full use of all the financial and political resources they can muster, they just might finally make inroads.
For advancing their goal of turning all of Mandate Palestine into a Jewish state – economically and militarily strong enough to lord it over the entire region — a living version of classical anti-Semitism would help a lot.
Zionism, their version of it especially, feeds on anti-Semitism; it always has.
Palestinians are not the only ones who could rightfully charge Netanyahu and his allies with perpetrating historical crimes against their people; Jews could – and should – too.
ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies