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Monday, May 30, 2016

Barack Obama’s Meager Legacy of incomplete accomplishments and of provoked wars: What happened?

 

By Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

(Author of the books “The Code for Global Ethics”, and

 The New American Empire)

 

“The evil that men do lives after them.”

William Shakespeare (1564-1616), ‘Julius Caesar’

 

“The Constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the Legislature…

—No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

James Madison (1751-1836), in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1798, (and, in ‘Political Observations’, 1795)

 

“…War is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly.”

Barack H. Obama (1961- ), Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Dec. 2009

 

“As a nuclear power, as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act… today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

Barack H. Obama (1961- ), in a speech in Prague, Czech Republic, on April 5, 2009, [N.B.: On May 27, 2016, Pres. Obama repeated essentially the same commitment at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, in Japan, calling for a "world without nuclear weapons"]

 

“As commander-in-chief, I have not shied away from using force when necessary. I have ordered tens of thousands of young Americans into combat…

I’ve ordered military action in seven countries.” [Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia]

Barack H. Obama (1961- ), in a speech at the American University, Aug. 5, 2015

 

Ever since Neocons de facto took over American foreign policy, after the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1991 and the end of the Cold war, rejecting the Peace Dividend that many had logically expected, the cry in Washington D.C. has been to impose an America-centered New World Order, mainly through military means.

 

Successive administrations, both republican and democratic, have toed the line and dutifully pursued the same policy of world domination by launching a series of unilateral, direct or covert, wars of aggression around the world, in violation of international law. This explains why the United States has over 1,400 foreign military bases in over 120 countries, and why they are being expanded.

 

First there was the Gulf War of 1991, when Saddam Hussein’s regime felt into a trap, thinking it had Washington’s tacit go ahead to integrate Kuwait, a territory that had been part of Iraq throughout the nineteenth century and up until World War I. Then there were the 1998-1999 U.S. military interventions in the Yugoslavia’s ethnic conflicts, under the cover of NATO, in order to undermine Russian influence in that region. In 2001, the “Pearl Harbor” type attack of 9/11 was also a “god-given” event on the march to the new world order. Some high-ranking U.S. officials had implicitly hoped for such an event to justify huge increases in the U.S. military budget. Nevertheless, it served as a justification to launch the 2001 war in Afghanistan, eventually leading to a U.S.-led “preventive war” to “liberate” Iraq, in 2003.

 

All this was followed by a string of covert operations to overthrow governments, elected or not, and to impose regime changes in independent countries, such as in Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Honduras, Haiti, Somalia… etc., as this has been done in other countries since 1953.

 

The election of Senator Barack Obama, in 2008, was expected to stop these destructive American military vendettas around the world, most of them under the initiative of the Executive, with little input from Congress, contrary to what is stipulated in the U.S. Constitution. After all, in 2009, President Obama accepted the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize, which carried a stipend of about $1.4 million, for his promise of creating a new climate” in international relations and of promoting “nuclear disarmament“. Instead, it can be said that “Two Full Terms of War” is the legacy of his two terms in office. Mr. Obama didn’t settle any war, and he initiated many more.

 

In accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama, referring to the more or less discredited theory of “Just War” in modern times, said that wars must be waged “as a last resort or in self-defense; if the force used is proportional; and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence.”

 

Note, however, that Obama was honest and lucid enough to acknowledge that there were people “more deserving” than him to receive such a peace prize, stating that his “accomplishments were slight”. —As it turned out, he was right. Antiwar candidate Obama did not rise to the high expectations placed on him in 2008: He did not bring peace to the world; he did not stop American wars of aggression around the world, he did not stop the American policy of overthrowing other independent countries’ governments, nor did he bring “nuclear disarmament”. In the latter case, he did just the reverse, as we will see below.

 

That is why, after a double mandate in the White House, it can be demonstrated that President Barack Obama’s legacy is indeed very slight, if not net negative. Let us look more closely, beginning with the positive side of President Obama’s legacy, and following with the severe failures of his administration.

 

Obamacare: A timid step in the right direction toward social justice

 

Before spelling out the Obama administration’s main failures, it is only fair to stress some important successes it has achieved, even though some may deplore that they have been few and far between. For one, in domestic affairs, President Obama succeeded in getting a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, passed by Congress, in 2010. That law brought health coverage to close to some 20 million Americans who previously had been left out of secured access to health services through employer-sponsored insurance. A similar attempt by Hillary Clinton in 1993 had failed.

 

Obamacare, a private-based health insurance program, was copied from a Republican program signed into law in Massachusetts, in 2006, by then Governor Mitt Romney. The initial objective was to adopt a universal health plan similar to the 1965 single-payer Medicare program for the elderly, but Republican opposition in Congress made that option impossible. It is estimated that slightly more than 30 million Americans are still lacking comprehensive health insurance. Nevertheless, it can be said that the Obamacare program, even though flawed, was a step in the right direction.

 

It is worth noting, however, that many American doctors are in favor of a Single-Payer Health system. Last May, an impressive group of 2,231 physicians called for the establishment of such a system to cover all Americans in need of medical care. The only presidential candidate, this time around, who proposes a universal single-payer health system, is Senator Bernie Sanders.

 

President Obama has, on occasion, stood up to pro-war pressures

 

In foreign affairs, President Barack Obama has taken some initiatives, which have distanced himself from President George W. Bush, by resisting pressures to enlarge some ongoing military conflicts.

 

For instance, in 2013, the governments of Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, anxious to overthrow the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, orchestrated what is widely believed to have been a false flag operation, in order to place the blame on the Assad government for having allegedly used chemical weapons against rebels. The objective was to provoke a hesitant Obama administration into getting involved militarily in the Syrian conflict. Such a gimmick had worked in 1986 in persuading the Reagan administration to bomb the country of Libya.

 

To his credit, President Obama did not fall for the plot, and resisted the “intense” pressures coming from neocons, and from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in his own administration, for a direct U.S. military involvement in Syria. He backed instead a Russian proposal to remove chemical weapons from Syria, thus avoiding the deaths of thousands of people.

 

The Iran deal as a triumph of diplomacy over waging destructive wars

 

Other neocon-inspired pressures were exerted on President Obama, coming also from the Israeli government, to have the U.S. launch military attacks against Iran, a country of 80 million people. The pretext advanced this time was that Iran was threatening Israel’s nuclear monopoly in the region in allegedly developing a nuclear weapon of its own.

 

Even though the Iranian government asserted that its nuclear program was to produce energy and was exclusively peaceful, President Obama was under strong pressure to attack Iran “preventively” to destroy its nuclear installations. To his credit, President Barack Obama resisted the pressures to launch what would have been another illegal war of aggression, similar to the one George W. Bush initiated against Iraq in 2003.

 

Instead, President Obama opted to rely on diplomacy, and on July 14, 2015, six countries (China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K. and the United States) reached an Iran deal, which removed the possibility that Iran develop nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future. Here again, an unnecessary war was avoided and thousands of lives were saved.

 

The ending of more than half a century of an American boycott of Cuba

 

President Barack Obama must also be congratulated for having accepted Pope Francis’ mediation, in 2014, to end the more than half a century of hostilities between the government of the United States and the government of Cuba, two neighboring countries. The Pope had written a personal appeal to Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro and led closed-door negotiations between the delegations of both countries. 

 

In December 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced that they would begin normalizing diplomatic relations between the two nations. On April 11, 2015, President Obama and Cuban President Castro met in Panama to finalize the new reality and declared themselves ready to “turn the page and develop a new relationship between our two countries”, in Mr. Obama’s words.

 

Since then, the two leaders have reopened embassies in each other's countries and normalized exchanges. President Obama even visited Cuba in March 2016.

 

Therefore, President Obama’s decision put an end to a sad chapter in the history of 20th Century American foreign policy, especially considering that the U.S. government has established full diplomatic relations with countries such as China and Vietnam.

_____________________________

 

The list of favorable actions by the Obama administration is not very long. There is, however, a longer list of policies that belie many of Barak Obama’s promises and the expectations he created when he ran for president in 2008.

 

President Obama enlarged the powers of the White House to launch imperial wars with no temporal or geographical limits

 

As the quote above by James Madison indicates, the U.S. Founding Fathers were well aware of the danger of giving a king or dictator the right to launch wars on his own. They feared that this would bring tyranny and oppression to their nation.

 

President George W. Bush, in power from 2001 to 2009, behaved in a way the U.S. Founding Fathers would have strongly disapproved, since he vied with the Congress to concentrate the power to wage war in his own hands, using Congress as a rubber stamp.

 

One would have thought that newly elected President Barack Obama, in a democratic spirit, would have attempted to reverse this dangerous move toward turning the U.S. presidency into an initiator of foreign wars. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama did the reverse, increasing rather than reducing the president’s discretionary powers to wage wars.

 

Indeed, Nobel Peace Laureate Obama didn’t waste any time in arguing that he had, as U.S. president, the authority to wage war in Iraq, in Syria, in Libya, or elsewhere, without U.S. Congress’s approval, contending that previous so-called ‘use of force congressional authorizations’ remain in effect indefinitely. Indeed, President Obama claimed, just as President George W. Bush had done before him, that the broad ‘Authorization for use of Military Force’ on terror (AUMF) passed by Congress after Sept. 11, 2001, and the 2002 ‘Authorization to use Military Force’ in Iraq had, in fact, no expiration date and that they authorize an American president to act like an emperor or a king, and to unilaterally use military force or wage war of his own volition.

 

This is a very serious matter, because if this theory were to be confirmed and entrenched in practice, without a formal constitutional amendment, the precedent would mean that the U.S. Constitution has de facto been pushed aside and the United States has become less of a republic, and more of an empire. [This would tend to confirm the title of my book ‘The New American Empire’]

 

What is more, President Obama has acted aggressively according to his theory of presidential war powers. He has launched eight times as many drone strikes in other countries as did President George W. Bush; and, according to his own boasting, he has “ordered military action in seven countries”. This is not a legacy he should be proud of.

 

The destruction of the independent nations of Iraq, Libya and Syria and the worsening of the chaos in the Middle East

 

As far as U.S. involvements in the Middle East are concerned, President Barak Obama did not substantially break away from the neocon-inspired imperial policies of the George W. Bush administration.

 

It is sometimes argued that president Obama’s decision to withdraw American troops from Iraq, in 2011, marked a break with the previous administration. In fact, the Bush-Cheney administration had already decided on such a withdrawal in 2008, when the Iraqi government refused to grant legal immunity to American troops in that country.

 

In supervising the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the Obama administration was simply implementing a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which had previously been signed between the U.S. government and the Iraqi government to that effect. According to the agreement, U.S. combat troops had to be out of Iraq by December 31, 2011.

 

With one or two exceptions mentioned above (the Iran deal and the normalizing of relations with Cuba), President Obama has not failed to embrace a military solution to serve the neocons’ many narratives in the Middle East and elsewhere.

 

In fact, if it can be said that President George W. Bush destroyed the country of Iraq, President Barack Obama, through his policies and actions, most of the time without the support of Congress, destroyed two other Middle East countries, i.e. Libya and Syria, while extending the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan, and while supporting an embarrassing ally, Saudi Arabia, in destroying Yemen.

 

These countries were no threat to the United States. Even though President Obama received a Nobel Peace Prize, he was no peace president, by a long shot. As a matter of fact, President Obama has been continuously at war longer than any other American president in U.S. history. With his administration, it was really more of the same and a far cry from his campaign promises to “change things in Washington D.C.

 

Under the cover of fighting terrorism, and to destabilize, divide and provoke “regime changes” in Libya and in Syria, for example, the United States—but also European countries such as France and the U.K., leading members of NATO—has relied on covert operations to support foreign mercenaries and Islamist groups of terrorists in these countries, giving them arms and logistics support, and inciting them to overthrow the established governments.

 

Thanks to the financial assistance given these terrorist groups, especially the self-proclaimed Sunni Islamist State (ISIS), by Sunni countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Turkey, the pro-Israeli neocons, who wanted to redraw the Middle East according to their mad theory of  “constructive chaos”, have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, with a devastating international refugee crisis as an extra. Ironically, European countries are, for now, the main victims of the waves of refugees resulting from the politics of chaos. 

 

As the de facto head of NATO, President Barack Obama and his neocon advisers, with the latter’s Manichean view of the world, must bear a large part of the responsibility for these disastrous results. The chaos in the Middle East is a huge failure for him, even though the neocons in his administration would deem such a manufactured chaos, a success!

 

Indeed, the countries of Iraq, Libya and Syria were considered, to different degrees, to be regional rivals of Israel, besides having large reserves of oil. Moreover, the latter countries have been on top of the list of seven countries discovered by General Wesley Clark, in late September 2001, as being the very countries the Pentagon planned to attack and destroy.

 

The destruction of Iraq can be attributed to the Bush-Cheney administration, since they are the politicians who used different subterfuges to launch an illegal war of aggression against that country, on March 20, 2003. However, what is most amazing is the fact that the Obama administration decided to follow the same policy in Libya and in Syria. Sooner or later, Mr. Barack Obama will have to explain why.

 

President Obama has sided with Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries in their efforts to spread Wahhabi extremism around the world

 

The world, and especially Western Europe, is under the threat of the most virulent brand of Islamism, i.e. Wahhabi extremism, a theo-fascist ideology, which is promoted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries, and which is, to a large extent, behind global Islamic terrorism. Instead of denouncing that curse of the 21st Century, President Obama has gone out of his way to be subservient and even to bow to the leaders of Saudi Arabia during multiple trips to that country. The question has been often raised: Why has President Obama been so cozy with the Saudi Royal Family, even when the latter snubbed him publicly?

 

There is no country in the world that violates more openly basic human rights than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. One would think the United States would be at the forefront to denounce such violations. The Wahhabi, either from Saudi Arabia or other Islamic countries, have used hundreds of billions of petro-dollars to build madrassas and huge mosques in Western countries, including in the United States, to promote their corrosive ideology. The Obama administration did not raise any objection when the largest mosque in the United States was built, in Lanham, Maryland. It is worth noting that, in 2010, Norway did refuse the construction of mosques with foreign money in that country.

 

The Obama administration has extended the neocon-inspired politics of chaos to Ukraine and Russia, and it has rekindled a Cold War II with Russia

 

Why has the Obama administration been so anxious to start a New Cold War with Russia? We see here another contradiction between what President Barack Obama says, and what he does. For a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, are an aggressive military encirclement of a country and the sending of military forces to its borders acts of peace or acts of war? Why is Obama doing precisely that to Russia? Why is he risking a nuclear confrontation with Russia? That defies logic.

 

The only stretch of logic to explain such warmongering is that it is an attempt by the U.S. government to sabotage any economic and political cooperation between Russia and European countries, in order to keep Europe under some sort of an American protectorate.

 

Why is President Obama following the neocon plan? Why did he choose Ashton Carter as Secretary of Defense, a known warmonger and the Pentagon’s former chief weapons buyer, who is on record as wanting a military confrontation with Russia?

 

These are important questions that should be addressed to Mr. Obama, and all the more so since Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has indicated she would push in the same direction, if she were elected president.

 

Let us keep in mind that in February 2014, the Obama administration eagerly jumped at the opportunity to support a coup in Ukraine to overthrow that country’s elected government. It also armed the putchists, and encouraged them to commit atrocities against Ukraine’s ethnic Russian population. Such interference in the affairs of another nation is part of a larger neocon-inspired policy of militarizing Eastern Europe under the cover of NATO.

 

President Obama’s personal contribution to the nuclear arms race and to the threat of nuclear war

 

Even though president Barack Obama promised a nuclear-free world, and pledged, in a speech delivered in Prague, on April 5, 2009, “to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” and to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy”, and again in Hiroshima, on Friday May 27, 2016, his words have not been followed by concrete steps in that direction. Instead, Mr. Obama seemed satisfied to passively pursue the same nuclear “modernization” program that involved the development of a new set of American nuclear weapons, initiated under the previous George W. Bush administration.

 

On September 30, 2004, then Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, in a debate with President George W. Bush, complained that the Bush administration was “spending hundreds of millions of dollars to research bunker-busting nuclear weapons. The United States is pursuing a new set of nuclear weapons. It doesn’t make sense. You talk about mixed messages. We’re telling other people, ‘You can’t have nuclear weapons,’ but we’re pursuing a new nuclear weapon that we might even contemplate using.

 

In a Nuclear Posture Review on April 6, 2010, the Obama administration seemed to echo Mr. Kerry and stated that the United States would “not develop new nuclear warheads or pursue new military missions or new capabilities for nuclear weapons.”

 

However, President Barack Obama wasted no time in violating his promise of not “developing new nuclear warheads” and of “reducing the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. military strategy”. Instead, he seemingly embarked on the same nuclear program, which had apparently not been stopped at all, to develop an array of new nuclear weapons that made contemplation of their use more acceptable (smaller, more accurate, less lethal), just as the Bush II administration had done before. In other words, Mr. Obama has prepared the United States to get engaged in “small nuclear wars” in the future. This is quite a “legacy”!

 

The new American nuclear weapon is, as the New York Times has reported, the B61 Model 12, a nuclear bomb tested in Nevada in 2015. This is the first of five new nuclear warhead types planned as part of an American atomic revitalization program budgeted at a cost estimated at $1 trillion over three decades. So much for “a world without nuclear weapons”!

 

Domestically, income and wealth inequalities have continued to rise to high levels and poverty to increase under the Obama administration

 

On Jan. 20, 2014, a Gallup poll found that two-thirds of Americans were dissatisfied with the way income and wealth are distributed in the U.S. —People are therefore vaguely aware that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way the economic system works, and they are right to think that the economy is rigged against the interests of the majority and in favor of special interests.

 

According to a new Pew Research Center analysis of public data, the American middle class is shrinking, its proportion among U.S. households falling from 55 percent in 2000 to 51 percent in 2014. [N.B.: An American middle class family of two adults and two children, in 2014, is one earning a minimum of $48,083]. This shift has produced a wave of discontent throughout the United States.

 

Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, on opposite sides of the electoral spectrum, reflect this deep dissatisfaction and even the anger at the economic, financial and taxation policies pursued by the U.S. government and the establishment, over the last thirty years.

 

Indeed, for the last fifteen years, from 1999 to 2014, the median income of American households globally has declined by 8 percent.

-The median incomes of lower-income families fell by 10 percent during the same period, from $26,373 to $23,811.

- The median income of middle-income households decreased by 6 percent, from $77,898 to $72,919.

- And, reflecting the large inequalities even among upper-income households, the median income in that group also fell by 7 percent, even though, as a group, the relative importance of this segment of American households went from 17 to 20 percent. The group’s median income fell from $186,424 in 1999 to $173,207 in 2014.

 

In fact, the only segment of the U.S. population that has benefited from the economic, financial and taxation policies of the last three administrations (Clinton-Bush-Obama), and from technological changes that have occurred during the period, is the top echelon of the upper-income class.

 

The super rich have raked in the most, while profiting the most from various tax loopholes, which have lowered their average tax rate from 27 percent in 1992 to less than 17 percent in 2012. In fact, America's super rich get richer and they are laughing their way to tax havens!

 

There is something fundamentally wrong and corrupt going on in the U.S. economy, and obviously, the Obama administration has been unable or unwilling to address the problem.

 

Official government statistics tend to underestimate real unemployment and real inflation

 

All those wars waged abroad and the trillions of dollars spent on them have enriched some super wealthy Americans, but not ordinary Americans. Instead, they have impoverished them. Ordinary Americans are falling behind because their incomes are stagnant or falling, and because real unemployment rates and inflation rates are higher than reported.

 

According to official statistics, the annual rates of unemployment and of inflation (the consumer price index) would seem to be under control. For the first quarter of 2016, the U.S. unemployment rate hovers around 5.0 percent, while the inflation rate is just above 1.0 percent, pushed down by the decline in oil prices and by a relatively strong U.S dollar.

 

The problem with official statistics, however, is that the method to measure them has changed over time. This doesn’t mean that the new measures are willfully misleading. It only means that the old measures may be a better indicator of how unemployment and inflation impact certain sectors of the population.

 

In fact, some economists prefer to rely on the old methods of calculating unemployment and inflation to get a more realistic picture of what ordinary people are going through. For example, U.S. economist Walter J. Williams calculates so-called “alternate” statistics of unemployment and inflation.

 

For unemployment, certain categories of unemployed people have been excluded from the published official statistics. For instance, long-term and short-term discouraged workers, not actively searching for work, were excluded from the new official measure of unemployment rates, in 1994. Neither do official statistics count part-time workers who are forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment.

 

As a consequence, when labor force participation rates drop because of the above, official unemployment figures indicate a decline in unemployment, even though this is not really exact. According to some estimates, if unemployment and underemployment were taken into consideration, the alternate rate of unemployment, in April 2016, would have been 22.9 percent, not the narrow official measure of 5.0 percent.

 

Similarly, official measures of inflation were changed in 1980 and in 1990, as a way to reduce the annual cost-of-living-adjustments for retirement benefits. For instance, when the price of certain items increases, they are replaced in the basket of consumer goods by other items, which cost less. Similarly, even if the price of some goods increases, such increase is reduced by a factor reflecting the higher quality of the goods available. If the old method of calculating inflation had been used, in April 2016, the alternate annual inflation rate would not have been 1.13 percent, as the official CPI measurements indicated, but would have been close to 5.0 percent, according to one measure, and even close to 9.0 percent according to another measure.

 

All this is to say that when people see their rents, condo fees, taxes, grocery purchases, etc., increase in price, and they experience a drop in their standard of living because of their stagnant or declining incomes, they are not necessarily hallucinating.

 

The Obama administration has allowed corporations and megabanks to offshore jobs and profits

 

A major feature of our times is that corporate profits are way up, while wages are stagnant, and corporate taxes are way down.

 

Indeed, a partial answer to the many issues raised above is the fact that the Obama administration has been guilty of pursuing and even intensifying the move toward lower taxes for corporations, and more profits for large corporations and megabanks on two accounts.

 

First, the Obama administration has initiated two mammoth international “trade deals”. Those trade “deals” were mostly kept secret because one of their main objectives is to guarantee legal protection to world corporations and megabanks against elected national governments and give them immunity from national prosecution.

 

The most recent examples of such “deals” are the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with Europe and the Transpacific Trade Partnership (TTP) with countries in Asia.

 

It must be understood by all that these so called “free trade” agreements are really not genuine free trade agreements for the unhampered movement of goods between countries, based on comparative national advantages, but are really instead corporate and banking agreements to protect corporations and megabanks against national governments, their taxation and their regulations.

 

Such agreements, negotiated in near complete secrecy, pursue geopolitical objectives. They are an attempt to build a worldwide economic and financial order that supersedes national states and they represent also an effort to protect the corporate and banking elites—the establishment 1%—against national governments. In the case of the TTIP, its geopolitical objective is to prevent European countries from developing comprehensive trade agreements with Russia. In the case of TTP, the objective is to isolate China. In the eyes of Washington D.C. neocon planners, they are part of ongoing economic warfare.

 

Second, the Obama administration has not taken the necessary steps to stop rich individuals and profitable corporations and banks from using tax havens and industrial inversion schemes to avoid paying taxes at home.

 

The Obama administration, and even more so the entire U.S. Congress, are under the influence of those interests whose objective is to build a worldwide economic and financial system that shields the 1% establishment’s wealth and power against any encroachment by national governments, at least from those governments the international elite does not yet fully control. We are talking here about an unelected world economic and financial empire with no frontiers, unencumbered by normal democratic rules.

 

This may be a big factor in explaining why the economy is languishing. Indeed, when corporate profits are not reinvested in the economy, but are hoarded and stashed away in tax havens, they do not increase domestic demand. U.S. corporations have about $1,400 billion ($1.4 trillion) sleeping in foreign tax havens. If all that money were repatriated, not only would the government have a lower deficit, but also the economy would greatly benefit from increased investments.

 

This is a somewhat scandalous situation the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress have done very little about. On the contrary, both have been slow in putting a stop to so-called corporate “inversions”, which have allowed companies to find a foreign suitor and switch their headquarters abroad to dodge taxes. Both have also extended patent protection to already entrenched corporations at the expense of startup companies. And it is only recently that they have moved to block so-called megamergers—all developments that have reduced competition, created oligopolies, increased corporations’ market power and raised prices.

 

This maybe the most glaring example of a lack of economic leadership on the part of the Obama administration, second only perhaps to the imperial wars it has initiated and encouraged. It is true that Mr. Obama has himself little competence or experience in economics and in finance, and that may explain why the above issues have not received all the attention they deserve.

 

President Barack Obama let neocons infiltrate his administration at the highest levels

 

After President Obama began making appointments to senior positions in his new administration, in late 2008, a leading neocon, Richard Perle, former chair of the Defense Policy Board under President George W. Bush and a leading architect of the Iraq war, expressed his contentment in these words: “I’m quite pleased… There’s not going to be as much change as we were led to believe.”

 

Therefore, it can be said that President Obama’s betrayal of his promises to enact change began very early in his administration. For instance, he kept George W. Bush’s Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, in his post, as an indication he wanted continuity and not a break with the previous administration.

 

Then, he went on paying his electoral debts. First, he named Rahm Emanuel as his White House chief of staff, a neocon member of the House of Representatives, and also a former assistant to President Bill Clinton and a supporter of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

 

Then, in a move that brought glee to the ranks of neoconservatives, he appointed belligerent and neocon-supported Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. The neoconservative Weekly Standard applauded her nomination, calling her a “Warrior Queen”! Even Bush’s Vice President Dick Cheney declared to be “impressed” with her nomination. As MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough branded her, Hillary Clinton is a “neocon’s neocon”, because “there’s hardly been a military engagement that Hillary hasn’t been for in the past twenty years.”

 

President Barack Obama went on to appoint a long list of other neocons to senior positions in his administration, not the least being the nomination of Ms. Victoria Nuland, a Dick Cheney adviser, as Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, in May 2013. From then on, the die was cast as to what kind of administration President Obama would lead. Real change would have to wait.

 

President Obama had zero influence in solving the secular Palestinian-Israeli Conflict (1948-  )

 

For nearly three quarters of a century now, the rotten Palestinian-Israeli conflict has endured for two main reasons: the intransigence of the Israeli government in closing the door to any new settlements, and the active pro-Israel veto of the U.S. government at the United Nations.

 

In 2008, one of presidential candidate Barack Obama pledges was to actively pursue a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. He had, as he said, a two-fold strategy: restoring America’s tarnished image among Muslims and persuading the Israeli government to stop settlement expansion on Palestinian lands. On both accounts, he failed. As it has been the case with Mr. Obama’s other promises, there was less substance behind the rhetoric and the platitudes than met the eye. For example, he did not set up a special task force to implement the policy he professed to wish to put forward.

 

Consequently, President Barack Obama has had no observable influence in stopping the far-right Netanyahu Israeli government from pursuing its illegal settlements in Palestinian territory. He did not get any success either in persuading the government of Israel to enter into serious peace talks to solve the festering conflict and end the occupation of Palestine. And the reason is obvious: President Obama did not dare withdraw the U.S. veto protecting the state of Israel at the United Nations, even though there were some rumblings to that effect.

 

Worse maybe, is the fact that President Obama let himself be publicly snubbed and humiliated by Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in early 2015, when the latter disregarded a non-invitation by the Obama administration and nevertheless entered the United States and addressed the U.S. Congress. This created a weird occurrence, because this was a violation of basic diplomatic rules. It was a public display of the Israeli government’s contempt for the American President.

 

In 2001, Benjamin Netanyahu boasted that he knew what America is. —America is a thing that you can move very easily, move it in the right direction.” What Netanyahu meant, of course, is that the pro-Israel lobby in the United States is so financially and politically powerful that an Israeli leader can publicly insult the American president, with no consequences, and even with the enthusiastic approval of an obliging U.S. Congress. President Barack Obama never looked so weak and so despondent as during this awkward and unreal situation.

 

President Obama did not release elements of proof linking Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 terrorists

 

A last point is also worthy of mention. Despite numerous requests, President Obama has refused to inform adequately the American people on the extent of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in supporting the 9/11 terrorists. The families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks and scores of others have called on Mr. Obama to release the classified 28-page portion of a special House-Senate congressional report on the 9/11 attacks, produced in 2002, and purportedly identifying individuals at the highest levels of the Saudi government as the financing agents of some of the 9/11 terrorists. In mid-April, President Obama even said that a decision to release the information was “imminent”.

 

After his trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last April, it seems that the “imminence” of the release was postponed sine die. Rather, President Obama went even further and promised to refuse to sign into law a bill that would have made the kingdom of Saudi Arabia liable for damages stemming from the September 11 terror attacks. However, he did not extend the same privilege to the Government of Iran, which is being sued by Americans for alleged damages.

 

Even though president Barack Obama promised, on January 29, 2009,a new era of transparent and open Government”, this seemingly did not apply to the rights of Americans to know who was behind the 9/11 attacks that resulted in 3,000 horrific American deaths. This has led some observers to call his administration “the least transparent in history”. This is another example of Mr. Obama saying one thing and doing the opposite. It seems to be a pattern in his modus operandi.

 

General conclusion

 

Why has there been such a contrast between President Obama’s words and his deeds? After all, he promised “to end the mindset that got us into war”.

 

There are three possible explanations. First, as a politician, Barack Obama may not have been completely sincere when he said he wanted to change the mentality in Washington D.C. He may have thought that these were only words to be soon forgotten. —Politicians are ambitious opportunists and Mr. Obama was not different. Second, those who wrote his speeches may not have been the same ones making the policies. Thus, the gulf observed between the flowery speeches and the actual policies. Third, there is possibly a less generous explanation: Mr. Obama may have been a convenient figurehead used by those who really control the U.S. government in the shadows. —It could be a mixture of all these explanations.

 

One can surely argue that the Obama administration, on the whole, was ‘less bad’ than the previous Bush-Cheney administration, both domestically and internationally. However, because elected presidential candidate Barack Obama arrived at the White House without any administrative experience and without having his own brain trust, and seemingly, without having a clear plan on how to implement his lofty promises, he had to submit himself to the same neocon advisers and warmongering interventionists who were omnipresent in the previous administration. He ended up reacting rather than acting; following rather than leading.

 

That is why the Obama administration’s policies, especially foreign policy, with a few notable exceptions, did not diverge appreciably from those imperial policies pursued by the previous Bush-Cheney administrations. President Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has failed to live up to the promises he made and the hopes he raised.

 

Both neocon-inspired administrations ended up creating an enduring mess in the world that future governments, and even future generations, will have to deal with.

COMMENTS (11)

 

_________________________________________

Economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book

The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”,

Please visit the book site

 

Posted, Monday, May 30, 2016, at 8:30 am

 

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April-May, 2016

Why Have Politicians Abandoned Economic and Financial Policies to Non-Elected Bankers?

The EUROPEAN FINANCIAL REVIEW pp 51-55

By Rodrigue Tremblay

 

 

N.B. La version franćaise de cet article suit ce texte.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Ten Reasons Why Bill and Hillary Clinton Do Not Deserve a Third Term in the White House

By Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

(Author of the books “The Code for Global Ethics”, and

 The New American Empire)

 

 “Few things are more dangerous than empires pushing their own interest in the belief they are doing humanity a favor.”
 Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012)

British historian, June 10, 2003

 

"It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq..." Bill Clinton (1946- ), The neocon-sponsored Iraq Liberation Act, signed by President Clinton into law, in 1998

 

“I’m going to ask for his ideas, I’m going ask for his advice, and I’m going use him [former President Bill Clinton] as a goodwill emissary to go around the country to find the best ideas we’ve got, because I do believe, as he said, everything that’s wrong with America has been solved somewhere in America.” Hillary Clinton (1947- ), during a debate on January 17, 2016

 

 “I'll tell you how good our military is doing under [former CIA Director] Michael Hayden and people such as this. We've been fighting wars in the Middle East for 15 years, 18 years. We were in for four or five trillion dollars; we don't know what we're doing; we don't know who we're fighting; we're arming people that we want on our side, we don't know who they are.

When they take over a country, they're worse than people they depose.” Donald Trump (1946- ), in a response to a public letter by establishment national security so-called ‘experts’

 

 

Polls indicate that most of the 2016 U.S. presidential candidates, with a few exceptions, have more than 50 % negative ratings. Also, poll after poll, after poll show that most Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are, and some are even outspokenly “angry” at the current situation. The polls also indicate a high degree of polarization.

 

That may also explain why two of the leading presidential candidates this year, Democratic Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald Trump, are both proposing anti-establishment and populist policies to get the United States out of its current rut.

 

On the domestic front, each, if elected, would advance economic policies designed to assist the American middle class, which has been decimated after nearly thirty years of economic and financial globalization and from so-called “trade deals” which have mainly benefited large corporations and mega banks, because they are essentially “investment and financial deals”, before being bona fide “trade deals”.

 

On foreign policy, both would like to extricate the U.S. from costly wars abroad that have been going on for so long. Most of these wars have been the pet projects of pro-Israel neoconservatives (shortened to neocons), inside and outside the U.S. government, ever since the latter de facto took over American foreign policy, after the end of the Cold War, in 1991.

 

It is indeed well documented that prominent neocons became very influential during the Bush I and Bush II administrations, in 1989-1993 and in 2001-2009. Many people remember how characters such as Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Elliott Abrams, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, …etc. used different tactics to push the United States into a never-ending imperialistic war, branded as “preemptive wars” in the Middle East, beginning with an unprovoked military aggression against Iraq, in 2003.

 

But, even if this has been less publicized, neocons have also played important roles in the Bill Clinton administration (1993-2001) and in the current Barack Obama administration (2009-2017), in promoting a series of wars abroad, especially in the Middle East and in Europe, and in sowing the seeds of financial crises at home.

 

Since Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has publicly declared that she intends to consult with her former-president husband, if she becomes president, it is of paramount importance to know what this means. Indeed, the question can be raised as to the likelihood that a Hillary Clinton’s presidency could be, in fact, some sort of a third term for the Clinton couple in the White House.

 

I have previously identified three major crises, which have their origin during the Bill Clinton administration.

 

Let us summarize them here and add a few more:

 

1-The de facto rekindling of a Cold War II with Russia

 

History will record that President Bill Clinton broke a promise made by his predecessor, President George H. Bush, that the U.S. government would not expand NATO into Eastern Europe, if Russia were to disband the Warsaw Pact. As we know, during his 1996 reelection campaign, on October 22,1996, President Clinton thought to be to his political advantage to promise an enlargement of NATO to include Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. Nobody realized at the time that this heralded the beginning of a new cold war with Russia.

 

What is less well known is the fact that Ms. Hillary Clinton, when she was State Secretary in the Obama administration, appointed a prominent neocon, Victoria Nuland, wife of leading neocon Robert Kagan, to the post of Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State. Ms. Nuland was promoted to Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs a few years later, in May 2013, in the same Democratic administration of Barack Obama. Previously, she had served as the principal deputy foreign policy adviser to Republican Vice President Dick Cheney in the George W. Bush administration, and later as U.S. ambassador to NATO.

 

Ms. Nuland is considered to be the key person in charge of provoking Russia into a Cold War II. (This is an indication that in Washington D.C., one can go easily from a Republican administration to a Democratic administration, provided one belongs to the neocon brotherhood).

 

2- The Clinton administration engineered the demise of the United Nations in 1998-1999

 

President Bill Clinton played a major role in undermining the credibility of the United Nations when he decided, in 1998 and in 1999, to enter the Kosovo War in Yugoslavia without an explicit mandate from the U.N. Security Council, as the 1945 U.N. Charter mandates. This was a very dangerous precedent.

 

Only a few years later, his successor, President George W. Bush invoked that precedent to launch the 2003 Iraq War, again with no outright mandate from the U.N. Security Council. Therefore, it can be said that President Bill Clinton bears an obvious responsibility for the current international state of anarchy, considering that the United Nations, for all practical purpose, has been sidelined in favor of NATO, to pursue U.S.-led imperialistic wars, which are waged outside of the international legal framework of the United Nations Charter and even in opposition to the Nuremberg Principles, which define military aggression as a crime against peace.

 

In 1991, few people anticipated that the collapse of the Soviet Union would eventually bring about the collapse of the United Nations, which has de facto been reduced to the same influence that the old League of Nations had before World War II.

 

3- Bill Clinton Sowed the Seeds of the 2008 Subprime Financial Crisis in 1999

 

On November 12, 1999, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Republican-sponsored Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which effectively removed the separation that previously existed under the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 between investment banking, which issue securities, and commercial banks that accept government insured deposits.

 

Before 1999, the Glass-Steagall Act made it illegal for a bank holding FDIC-insured deposits to invest in anything other than government bonds and similarly low-risk vehicles. With his signature, however, President Clinton allowed largely unregulated super large banks and large insurance companies to engage in risky financial practices, as they are known to have done historically and as it should have been expected. The banks and insurance companies’ new financial products collapsed, and that led to the devastating 2008 financial crisis.

 

While Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has said that he would fully reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, his opponent, former Secretary Hillary Clinton, has said that she would not reinstate the banking law, preferring instead to rely on measures to better control so-called shadow banking.

 

4- The 2003 Iraq War Began in 1998: President Bill Clinton’s Iraq Liberation Act of 1998

 

On February 19, 1998, a group of prominent neocons (Robert Kagan, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Richard Perle, …etc.), anxious to get the United States involved in wars in the Middle East, wrote an open letter to President Bill Clinton. They were offering him a strategy for “the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power” in Iraq.

 

President Clinton did not immediately go to war to please the neocons, after all he was nearing the end of his term, but he did sign the Republican-sponsored Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, on October 31, 1998, stating that "It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq…." That law opened the door for an American-led war against Iraq.

 

Indeed, President George W. Bush, in search for bi-partisan support for his planned war against Iraq, cited President Clinton’s Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 as a basis of support for the Congressional Authorization for use of Military Force Against Iraq of October 2002. We can say that President Bill Clinton set the U.S. government on a warpath against Iraq as early as 1998, and he therefore must share some responsibility for the disasters that have since resulted from that war.

 

5- Hillary Clinton’s Own Personal War of Aggression in Libya, (with false and misleading claims, and resulting in a huge refugee crisis)

 

President Barack Obama was reluctant to duplicate George W. Bush’s disaster with his military invasion of Iraq in 2003. That is why, in 2011, he hesitated to launch a new American war of aggression, this time against Libya, even though neocons inside and outside his administration were pushing hard for such a war. The latter country, headed by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, had the misfortune of having been singled out in the neocons’ grand plan as one of the Arab countries the neocons wished to overthrow and to destabilize the entire Middle East, using for that purpose the U.S. military to do Israel’s heavy lifting.

 

At the time, two heavyweights in the Obama administration, vice president Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, were both adamantly opposed to getting the U.S. government and its military involved in another neocon-inspired ‘regime-change war’ in the Middle East. That wasn’t counting on the neocons’ main ally, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

 

Indeed, Hillary Clinton overcame the Biden-Gates’ formidable opposition to a U.S. military intervention in Libya by persuading a weak President Obama that Libyan President Gaddafi had a supposed plan to carry out a “genocide” against his own people and that the U.S government had a “responsibility to protect” to avoid such a “genocide”, no matter what international law said. There is a dictum in French that “he who wants to kill his dog accuses him of having rabies”!

 

Such a proposal was in conformity with the precedent created by her president husband, Bill Clinton, who bombed Yugoslavia under similar circumstances, outside of international law, in 1998 and in 1999. It was also ironic that the President would side with her, considering that Barack Obama himself had campaigned against candidate Hillary Clinton in 2008, arguing that she had endorsed Bush's 2003 Iraq-war policies.

 

In 2011, the demonized Gaddafi government was indeed fighting some groups of rebels, supported by outside powers, who wanted to overthrow his government, but the claim of a planned “genocide” was greatly exaggerated.

 

After the U.S. intervened in Libya along with a few European nations, some rebel groups succeeded in capturing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, on October 20, 2011. They sodomized him, and they murdered him and his family. Chaos ensued and Libya is still to this day a failed state run by groups of Islamic fanatics, besides creating millions of refugees fleeing their devastated land.

 

Hillary Clinton took full credit for creating the political mess in Libya, when she appeared on a TV interview and bragged with the boast, “we came; we saw; he died!” Her neocon advisers had told her that she would be remembered as having implemented some sort of a “Clinton Doctrine”! If creating a human catastrophe counts as “experience” in a résumé, then candidate Clinton is undoubtedly ‘qualified’ to become U.S. president. Her lack of basic human empathy is evident.

 

6- Hillary Clinton: Proud Candidate of the

                                  Establishment 1%

 

As professional politicians, Bill and Hillary Clinton have become the richest political couple of all times. In 2012, their combined net worth was in excess of $112,000,000.00. In contrast, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders had a net worth of only $420,000.00. There is not a shadow of a doubt that the Clinton political family belongs to the 1% and even to the 0.1% of American taxpayers. Politics has been a most rewarding industry for them.

 

It is therefore no surprise that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is by far the establishment’s favored choice. Neocons find her a most reliable ally. If she becomes U.S. President, they will be able to continue and even accelerate their over-all plan for the Middle East. There would be joy in the land!

 

In contrast, presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are both considered outsiders who oppose neocon-inspired American involvements in foreign wars and who favor fundamental domestic reforms. Democratic candidate Sanders, for one, backs aggressive social-oriented policies while Republican candidate Trump proposes to reign in industrial and financial globalization that has resulted in the loss of millions of well paid American jobs, when U.S. corporations began investing and moving their installations and their profits abroad.

 

In the case of Hillary Clinton, the entire Democratic primary system is biased and the dice are loaded, since some 719 so-called unelected “superdelegates”, representing party officials and organizers, sitting Democratic senators and representatives, lobbyists …etc., stand to tip the balance in her favor, as the establishment candidate, even if Bernie Sanders were to obtain a majority of the people behind him during the primaries. The superdelegate system was adopted in the 1980s to give the Democratic establishment a definitive advantage in determining the party’s presidential nominee and, if need be, to cancel the choice of the people.

 

Of all the 2016 U.S. presidential candidates, none is more pro-establishment than Hillary Clinton, and none more associated to that establishment and the mess the latter has created over the last quarter of century.

 

7- Hillary Clinton’s Eagerness to Launch “Regime change” Wars and Create Chaos in other Countries

 

Belligerent Hillary Clinton appears to be a John McCain in a skirt. As a U.S. Democratic senator from New York (2001-2009), she enthusiastically supported President George W. Bush's 2003 illegal Iraq War.

 

In her many thousand personal emails containing state secrets and sent to friends when she was U.S. Secretary of State, (possibly an illegal act), and discussing American foreign policies with outsiders, Hillary Clinton indicated on numerous occasions her willingness to use the U.S. military to fulfill Israel’s objectives in the Middle East. In one revealing email of hers, for example, and sent in the spring of 2012, she spelled out her views very clearly:

The best way to help Israel deal with Iran's growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad

For Israeli leaders, the real threat from a nuclear-armed Iran is not the prospect of an insane Iranian leader launching an unprovoked Iranian nuclear attack on Israel that would lead to the annihilation of both countries. What Israeli military leaders really worry about  —but cannot talk about —is losing their nuclear monopoly…

Then, Israel and the United States might be able to develop a common view of when the Iranian program is so dangerous that military action could be warranted…

In short, the White House can ease the tension that has developed with Israel over Iran by doing the right thing in Syria.

 

There is no doubt that if and when candidate Hillary Clinton becomes U.S. president, she will be more than willing to use the United States military to do the heavy lifting and go to war so that a foreign country, Israel, could fulfill its political objectives in the Middle East. This is surely an important enough issue to warrant a discussion during a presidential election.

 

8- Hillary Clinton’s Close Ties to Wall Street and Special Interests

 

While candidate Bernie Sanders is mainly financing his campaign with small donations from supporters, and while candidate Donald Trump is self-financing his campaign, candidate Hillary Clinton has principally relied on large contributions from professional lobbyists and large corporations and mega banks. Citigroup Inc, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley are among her top contributors.

 

This should raise red flags as this could mean that she could naturally be more inclined to act in favor of big corporations and mega banks, before being the president “of the people, by the people and for the people”, in President Lincoln’s words.

 

U.S. financier and politician Simon Cameron (1799-1889) used to quip, “An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought”. Indeed, considering the importance that big money has taken in American politics after the 2010 ‘Citizens United’ (5-4) decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, stating in effect that for profit ‘corporations’ are breathing people and that the use of ‘money’ is speech, the issue of how those who control huge amounts of money can influence the results of elections cannot be swept under the rug.

 

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is the only Democratic candidate accepting donations from federal lobbyists, corporate interests and super Political Action Committees (PACs), and even indirectly from foreign donors. Any candidate to high office who primarily relies on big money to be elected should be held accountable.

 

9- Hillary Clinton’s Responsibility in Ambassador Stevens’ Assassination and the Entire Benghazi Disaster

 

There were two scandals in the Benghazi Disaster, and Secretary Hillary Clinton was involved in both of them.

 

The first was that, on September 11, 2012, U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith were left unprotected, in a hostile environment, by Hillary Clinton’s State Department. And what is worse, before they were attacked and killed by Islamic militants in the diplomatic consular compound, they had requested military assistance and had been denied that assistance. Hillary Clinton has taken responsibility for the lapse in security.

 

The second scandal is the fact that Secretary Hillary Clinton had seemingly accepted that the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya be merged with the CIA’s covert operations in that country, thus placing the State Department personnel in harm’s way. As early as March 2011, Ambassador Stevens had been named the first liaison with the Libyan opposition made of Islamic rebels, to whom the CIA was channeling weapons and providing tactics to overthrow the Libyan government.

 

According to investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, “The [U.S.] consulate’s only mission [in Benghazi] was to provide cover for the moving of arms. It had no real political role.” And those arms and weapons were not only supplied to Islamic rebels to overthrow the Libyan government of President Gaddafi, they were also smuggled into Syria to other Islamic rebels in their attempt to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad.

 

This is a very murky affair considering that all those covert operations were illegal under international law, and this casts a long shadow on Hillary Clinton’s record and ‘experience’.

 

10- Hillary Clinton is Publicly Committed to U.S.-led Imperial Wars, Especially in the Middle East

 

In her 2016 speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), on March 21, candidate Hillary Clinton stated clearly her intentions to push the United Nations aside when she declared, I would vigorously oppose any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution [to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict], including by the U.N. Security Council.” In a similar speech during the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania, in April 2008, when she was also a presidential candidate, she went as far as to declare, that to defend Israel, If I’m President, we will attack Iran… We would be able to totally obliterate them.”

 

Only a political psychopath could make such an outlandish statement to annihilate a country of 80 million people. That frame of mind should disqualify any person running to become American president. Her Democratic opponent at that time, candidate Barack Obama, accused Hillary Clinton of sabre-rattling and pointed out that this was the kind of language used by the George W. Bush administration.

 

Hillary Clinton has all the credentials as a pro-perpetual war candidate. That is probably because she adopts the self-serving and dangerous myth of American Exceptionalism. In her biographical book ‘Hard Choices’ and in various interviews, she has proclaimed her belief that “America remains the ‘indispensable nation.’ ” This is a dangerous posture by politicians who control nuclear arms. The history of the 20th Century and the rise of Nazi Germany should teach any democratic leader to refrain from brandishing the superiority of their nation over others.

 

For example, candidate Hillary Clinton is still on the record as supporting a U.S. imposed no-fly zone in Syria, similar to the one she advocated in Libya, in 2011, with disastrous results, since Islamist terrorists have taken over that country. It seems that Hillary Clinton has learned nothing from the Libyan fiasco she created. That shows very bad judgment.

 

Conclusion

 

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), said, in 2015, "Hillary Clinton is a neocon, [because] she supported the war in Iraq, in Afghanistan…

If Hillary Clinton is president, we will be back at war in the Middle East."

 

Considering Hillary Clinton’s numerous hawkish statements over the years and her dismal record at the State Department, the question whether she is, or she is not, a neoconservative should be squarely put to her to be answered in a proper forum. From her statements, there is no doubt that candidate Hillary Clinton would be a pro-perpetual war American president. This is a perspective that Democrats and the American electorate in general should ponder.

 

Even more fundamentally, perhaps, considering the questionable legacy that President Bill Clinton left behind during his two presidential terms, in 1993-1997 and in 1997-2001, and considering that the former president is most likely going to be a close adviser to his wife, if she becomes president, Americans should ask themselves if they want to support the Clinton couple for a third term (2017-2021) in the White House.

 

 

COMMENTS (13)

 

________________________________________

Economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”,

Please visit the book site at:

http://www.thecodeforglobalethics.com/

and his blog at:

http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog.htm

 

Posted, Sunday, April 17, 2016, at 7:30 am

 

To write to the author:

rodrigue.tremblay1@gmail.com

 

 

Le vendredi 29 avril, 2016

Élections américaines : Dix raisons pour lesquelles Bill et Hillary Clinton ne méritent pas un troisiŹme mandat ą la Maison-Blanche

Par le Professeur Rodrigue Tremblay

Auteur du livre « Le Code pour une éthique globale »

et du livre « Le nouvel empire américain »

 

« Peu de choses sont plus dangereuses que les empires poussant leurs propres intérźts dans la croyance qu'ils font ą l'humanité une faveur. » Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012), 'historien britannique, le 10 juin, 2003

 

« Il devrait źtre la politique des Etats-Unis de soutenir les efforts visant ą supprimer le régime dirigé par Saddam Hussein du pouvoir en Irak... » Bill Clinton (1946- ), tiré de la loi inspirée des neocons, et appelée l‘Iraq Liberation Act’, promulguée par le Président Clinton, en 1998

 

« Je vais solliciter ses idées, je vais lui demander des conseils et je vais l’utiliser [l’ancien président Bill Clinton] en tant qu’émissaire de bonne volonté pour faire le tour du pays afin de trouver les meilleures idées que nous avons, parce que je crois aussi, comme il l’a lui-mźme dit, qu’on a déją résolu quelque part en Amérique ce qui ne va pas avec l'Amérique. » Hillary Clinton (1947- ), candidate démocrate ą la présidence américaine, lors d'un débat le 17 janvier, 2016

 

« Je vais vous dire ce que font nos militaires sous la responsabilité de  [l’ancien directeur de la CIA] Michael Hayden et de gens comme lui. Nous sommes en guerre au Moyen-Orient depuis 15 ans, 18 ans. Nous avons dépensé quatre ou cinq mille milliards de dollars ; Nous ne savons pas ce que nous faisons; Nous ne savons pas contre qui nous nous battons. Nous armons des gens que nous voulons de notre côté, mais nous ne savons pas qui ils sont.

Quand ils prennent le contrôle d’un pays, ils sont pires que ceux qu'ils ont renversés. » Donald Trump (1946- ), candidat républicain ą la présidence américaine, en réponse ą une lettre ouverte de soi-disant « experts » en sécurité nationale

 

En démocratie, les citoyens connaissent en général peu de choses sur les candidats pour qui ils votent, en bien ou en mal, au-delą de l’image officielle créée par la propagande. Dans le cas de la candidate démocrate Hillary Clinton, cela fait environ 40 ans qu’elle et son mari, l’ex président Bill Clinton, sont en politique active. Cet article vise ą éclairer quelque peu la réalité qui se cache derriŹre les impressions parfois superficielles que l’on a d’eux.

 

Disons pour commencer qu’il existe présentement aux États Unis un grand mécontentement populaire ą l’endroit des politiciens associés ą l’establishment politique et corporatif du pays. Sondage aprŹs sondage montrent une grande insatisfaction, sinon une certaine colŹre, de l’électorat ą l’endroit des politiciens en place, et mźme ą l’endroit des candidats qui veulent les remplacer. Il y rŹgne aussi une grande polarisation de l’électorat.

 

Il n’y a donc rien de surprenant ą ce que deux candidats présidentiels, le démocrate Bernie Sanders et le républicain Donald Trump tiennent un discours anti establishment, et proposent des politiques de nature populiste pour sortir leur pays du marasme relatif qui perdure.

 

En politique intérieure, les deux candidats populistes Sanders et Trump mettent tous deux de l’avant, ą leur faćon, des politiques favorables ą la classe moyenne. Cette derniŹre a subi les contrecoups de quelques trente ans de mondialisation économique et financiŹre et de l’implantation d’accords de ‘libre échange’, lesquels sont, en définitive, des accords pour les investisseurs et les grandes banques, bien avant d’źtre des ententes purement commerciales.

 

En politique extérieure, les deux se dissocient des guerres étrangŹres, coěteuses et facultatives, dans lesquelles le gouvernement américain s’est lancé au cours des derniŹres décennies. La plupart de ces guerres, surtout celles encore en cours au Moyen Orient, furent entreprises sous la pression des néoconservateurs pro-israéliens (connus sous l’appellation abrégée de néocons), lesquels sont fort influents tant ą l’intérieur qu’ą l’extérieur du gouvernement américain, et lesquels dominent la politique étrangŹre étatsunienne depuis la fin de la Guerre froide, en 1991.

 

Il est bien connu, en effet, que des néo-conservateurs de premier plan sont devenus trŹs influents dans les hautes sphŹres des administrations Bush I (1989-1993) et Bush II (2001-2009). Beaucoup se souviennent de la faćon dont des personnages tels que Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Elliott Abrams, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, ... etc., usŹrent de différentes tactiques pour impliquer les États Unis dans une guerre sans fin de type impériale, présentée comme une série de « guerres dites préventives » au Moyen-Orient. La premiŹre fut, bien sěr, l’agression militaire non provoquée de George W. Bush contre l'Irak, en mars 2003.

 

Mźme si cela est moins connu, les néocons ont également joué un rôle important dans l'administration de Bill Clinton (1993-2001) et dans l’administration actuelle de Barack Obama (2009-2017). Dans les deux cas, ils se sont faits les promoteurs d'une série de provocations et de guerres ą l'étranger, en particulier au Moyen-Orient, mais aussi en Europe de l’est, en plus de préparer le terrain pour des crises financiŹres futures, en mettant de l’avant des législations bancaires risquées.

 

Néanmoins, la candidate présidentielle qui a les meilleures chances, selon les sondages, d’accéder ą la présidence américaine, lors des élections du 8 novembre prochain, est Hillary Clinton. Celle-ci a d’ailleurs précisé qu’advenant son élection, elle n’hésiterait point ą consulter son mari, l’ancien Président Bill Clinton. (L’élection de Hillary Clinton deviendrait d’ailleurs une certitude si l’establishment républicain réussissait ą priver le milliardaire Donald Trump de l’investiture républicaine, alors qu’il a remporté le plus grand nombre de primaires).

 

Dans les circonstances, on peut se demander, primo, si l’élection de Hillary Clinton ą la présidence ne serait pas, en quelque sorte, un troisiŹme mandat du couple Clinton ą la Maison-Blanche, et secundo, ce que l’on peut attendre d’une telle éventualité. La boutade de Bill Clinton, en 1992, qu’avec le couple Clinton, les USA pouvaient avoir « deux présidents pour le prix d’un » n’a guŹre perdu de sa pertinence.

 

Il y a quelque temps, j’avais identifié trois crises majeures de ce début de siŹcle, dont les origines remontaient ą des décisions prises sous le rŹgne du Président Bill Clinton (1993-2001).

 

Nous pouvons peut-źtre les rappeler ici et en rajouter un certain nombre qui s’appliquent davantage ą la candidate Hillary Clinton:

 

1- La premiŹre crise a trait ą la relance d’une deuxiŹme Guerre froide avec la Russie

 

L'histoire retiendra que le président Bill Clinton prit sur lui-mźme de briser une importante promesse faite par son prédécesseur, le président George H. Bush, ą l’effet que le gouvernement américain n’allait pas agrandir l'OTAN en accueillant dans son sein des pays de l’Europe de l'Est, si la Russie acceptait de dissoudre le Pacte de Varsovie. Comme on le sait, au  cours de sa campagne de réélection, en 1996, plus précisément, le 22 octobre 1996, le président Clinton crut retirer un avantage électoral en  promettant d’élargir l'OTAN pour y englober la Pologne, la Hongrie et la Tchécoslovaquie. ň cette époque, peu de gens se rendaient compte que cette promesse brisée marquait le début d'une nouvelle guerre froide avec la Russie, comme l’a fait remarquer George F. Kennan (1904-2005), un diplomate américain et spécialiste de la Russie.

 

On connaĒt encore moins le fait que Mme Hillary Clinton, quand elle était secrétaire d'État dans le gouvernement démocrate de Barack Obama, nomma une personne néoconservatrice de premier plan, Mme Victoria Nuland, épouse de l’idéologue néoconservateur Robert Kagan, au poste de porte-parole du Département d'État américain. Mme Nuland fut par la suite promue au poste de secrétaire d'État adjointe aux affaires européennes et eurasiennes, soit en mai 2013, toujours dans la mźme administration démocrate de Barack Obama. Auparavant, elle avait travaillé pour Dick Cheney, alors vice président républicain dans le gouvernement de George W. Bush. Elle agissait alors comme conseillŹre principale de politique étrangŹre. Par aprŹs, elle fut nommée ambassadrice auprŹs de l'OTAN.

 

C’est la mźme Mme Nuland qui dirige présentement le programme américain qui vise ą provoquer la Russie dans une nouvelle guerre froide. (On a lą une preuve qu’ą Washington D.C., on peut transiter avec facilité d'une administration républicaine ą une administration démocrate, pourvu qu'on appartienne ą la confrérie des néo-conservateurs).

 

2- Le gouvernement de Bill Clinton s’est employé ą réduire le rôle des Nations Unies dans le monde, ą compter de 1998-1999

 

Le président Bill Clinton a miné considérablement la crédibilité des Nations Unies quand il décida d’ignorer le Conseil de Sécurité de l’ONU pour impliquer les États Unis dans la guerre du Kosovo, en 1998-1999, en lanćant une campagne de bombardements en Yougoslavie. Il s’agissait alors d’une violation flagrante de la Charte des Nations Unies, cette derniŹre proscrivant toute guerre d’agression qui ne rećoit pas son imprimatur. Ce fut un précédent dangereux.

 

En effet, quelques années plus tard, son successeur encore plus belliqueux et encore plus méprisant de la loi internationale, le président George W. Bush, invoqua le précédent mis de l’avant par Bill Clinton pour lancer une guerre d’agression contre l’Irak, en mars 2003, toujours sans recevoir l’aval du Conseil de Sécurité.

 

C’est pourquoi, on peut dire que le président Bill Clinton doit assumer une part évidente de responsabilité pour le chaos qui prévaut présentement dans le monde. En pratique, les Nations Unies ont dě céder leur place ą l’organisation de l’OTAN, laquelle dorénavant sert de caution plus ou moins ouverte aux guerres impériales que les États Unis mŹnent dans le monde. Cela est une violation du cadre légal de l’ONU et mźme des principes prévus dans la Charte de Nuremberg, cette derniŹre définissant une agression militaire comme étant un « crime contre la paix et la sécurité de l’humanité ».

 

En 1991, peu de gens virent que l'effondrement de l'Union soviétique finirait par provoquer l'effondrement de l'Organisation des Nations Unies, laquelle, peu ą peu, en est réduite au mźme niveau d’influence qu’avait l'ancienne Société des Nations, durant les années qui ont précédé la Seconde Guerre mondiale.

 

3- Bill Clinton a permis un retour aux abus bancaires d’avant la Grande Dépression, et il prépara le terrain pour la crise financiŹre de 2007-2009

 

En effet, le président Bill Clinton promulgua, le 12 novembre 1999, une loi parrainée par les sénateurs républicains Gramm, Leach et Bliley, laquelle loi éliminait, en pratique, la plupart des dispositions qui établissaient une séparation entre les banques d’affaires (lesquelles émettent des titres et d’autres produits risqués), et les banques commerciales (qui acceptent des dépôts assurés par le gouvernement), une séparation qui existait depuis 1933, en vertu de la Loi Glass-Steagall.

 

Avant l’adoption de la loi de 1999, sous le régime de la précédente loi Glass-Steagall, il était illégal pour une banque acceptant des dépôts assurés par la FDIC d’investir dans d'autres avoirs que des obligations gouvernementales et dans d’autres titres ą faible risque. Avec sa signature, cependant, le Président Clinton se trouva ą permettre aux super grandes banques et aux grandes compagnies d'assurance, dorénavant trŹs peu réglementées, d’adopter des pratiques financiŹres risquées, un penchant fort connu au cours de l’histoire et qu’il était facile de prédire qu’il allait se répéter si on enlevait les garde-fous. Comme on le sait, les nouveaux produits financiers des banques et des compagnies d'assurance se sont effondrés en 2007-2009, et cela a conduit ą la grande crise financiŹre dite des « subprimes ».

 

Alors que le candidat démocrate Bernie Sanders a déclaré vouloir rétablir pleinement la loi Glass-Steagall, son adversaire, l'ancienne secrétaire Hillary Clinton, s’oppose pour sa part au rétablissement la loi bancaire de 1933, préférant introduire des mesures pour mieux encadrer les pratiques du systŹme bancaire parallŹle qu’on appelle le «shadow banking».

 

4- La guerre américaine de 2003 contre l’Irak a véritablement commencé en 1998, avec la signature par le président Bill Clinton de la loi de la ‘Libération de l’Irak’

 

Le 19 février 1998, un petit groupe de néoconservateurs américains (Robert Kagan, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Richard Perle, …etc.), désireux de pousser les États Unis dans une guerre au Moyen Orient, écrivirent une lettre ouverte au président Bill Clinton. Ils l’incitaient ą prendre les moyens nécessaires pour « renverser le régime de Saddam Hussein » en Irak.

 

Le président Clinton ne se lanća pas en guerre immédiatement pour faire plaisir aux néocons, aprŹs tout il était en fin de mandat, mais il accepta de faire sienne, en la signant le 31 octobre 1998, une loi concoctée par les Républicains et il promulgua la loi dite de ‘Libération de l’Irak’ (The Iraq Liberation Act). La loi stipulait que dorénavant, ce serait : « la politique des États Unis de soutenir les efforts pour renverser le régime de Saddam Hussein en Irak…». Bill Clinton fit mźme voter un montant de $97 millions de dollars pour l’entraĒnement et l’équipement militaire de l’opposition irakienne. Tout cela ouvrit la porte ą une guerre d’agression des États Unis contre l’Irak.

 

Ce ne fut donc pas une surprise quand le président George W. Bush, ą la recherche d’un appui bi partisan pour la guerre qu’il projetait contre l’Irak, se référa explicitement ą la loi de Libération de l’Irak de 1998, signée par le président Bill Clinton. Il s’en est servi pour faire adopter par le CongrŹs américain, le 2 octobre 2002, une loi qui autorisait le recours ą la force contre l’Irak. On peut donc dire que le président Bill Clinton mit la machine de guerre étatsunienne en marche contre l’Irak dŹs 1998, et il doit assumer une part de responsabilité pour tous les désastres humains et autres qui ont découlé de cette premiŹre guerre d’agression, au début du 21Źme siŹcle.

 

5- Hillary Clinton a ą son crédit sa propre guerre d’agression, (soit la guerre américaine en Libye menée sous de fausses représentations et laquelle créa des millions de réfugiés)

 

Mais Hillary Clinton n’est pas en reste sur son président de mari puisqu’elle a, elle aussi, puissamment contribué ą détruire un autre pays, cette fois-ci, la Libye.

 

En effet, malgré les pressions, le président Barack Obama se montrait réticent ą copier George W. Bush avec son invasion militaire de l’Irak en 2003.

 

Voilą pourquoi, en 2011, il hésitait ą lancer une nouvelle guerre d'agression étatsunienne, cette fois contre la Libye, mźme si les néocons ą l'intérieur et ą l'extérieur de son administration poussaient fort pour une telle guerre. Ce dernier pays, dirigé par le colonel Mouammar Kadhafi, avait eu le malheur d’źtre identifié dans le grand plan des néo-conservateurs comme l'un des pays arabes dont les néo-conservateurs voulaient renverser le gouvernement dans leur campagne de déstabilisation du Moyen Orient, en utilisant ą cette fin, la force militaire étatsunienne au profit d'IsraĎl.

 

ň l'époque, il y avait deux poids lourds dans le gouvernement de Barack Obama qui s’opposaient avec véhémence aux pressions des néocons pour une nouvelle intervention militaire américaine pour renverser le gouvernement de la Libye, soit le vice-président Joe Biden et le secrétaire ą la Défense Robert Gates. Mais c’était sans compter sur l’apport de la principale alliée des néoconservateurs ą l’intérieur du gouvernement, soit la secrétaire d'État Hillary Clinton.

 

En effet, Hillary Clinton réussit ą surmonter la formidable opposition du duo Biden-Gates ą une intervention militaire américaine en Libye en persuadant un président Obama faible et irrésolu que le président libyen Kadhafi avait un supposé plan de « génocide » contre son propre peuple et que le gouvernement américain avait la « responsabilité de protéger la population libyenne » et empźcher un tel « génocide », peu importe ce que dit la loi internationale sur les agressions militaires. Il y a un dicton qui dit que « celui qui veut noyer son chien l'accuse de la rage »!

 

Ce faisant, Hillary Clinton ne faisait rien d’autre que suivre le précédent créé par son mari, le président Bill Clinton, quand ce dernier bombarda la Yougoslavie, en 1998-1999, en dehors du droit international. Il y avait quelque chose d’ironique ą ce que le président Obama se range du côté d’Hillary Clinton et des néocons alors que lors de la campagne électorale qui l’opposait ą Mme Clinton en 2008, il avait dit que cette derniŹre empruntait le langage de George W. Bush.

 

En 2011, il est vrai que le gouvernement de Mouammar Kadhafi était aux prises avec une rébellion, soutenue par des puissances étrangŹres, mais l’accusation d’un « génocide » appréhendé était fort exagérée.

 

Suite au bombardement de la Libye par les États Unis et une poignée de pays européens, des groupes rebelles réussirent ą capturer le colonel Mouammar Kadhafi, le 20 octobre 2011. AprŹs l’avoir sodomisé, ils l’assassinŹrent, lui et sa famille. Il s’en est suivi un grand chaos en Libye, et ce pays en déroute est encore la proie de combats entre différents groupes de fanatiques islamiques. De plus, la Libye désorganisée est la source de millions de réfugiés fuyant leur pays dévasté vers l’Europe et d’autres parties du monde.

 

On peut se surprendre que Hillary Clinton se soit publiquement vantée d’un pareil désastre. Dans les jours qui ont suivi le renversement du gouvernement Kadhafi, en effet, elle déclara ce qui suit sur un plateau de télévision : « nous sommes venus; nous avons vu; il est mort! »

 

Ses conseillers néocons lui avaient dit qu'on se souviendra d’elle comme l’instigatrice d’une nouvelle « Doctrine Clinton »! Si la création d'une catastrophe humaine de haute échelle compte comme « expérience » dans un curriculum vitae, la candidate Hillary Clinton est sans aucun doute « qualifiée » pour devenir présidente des États-Unis. Cependant, il est évident qu’elle souffre d’un déficit d'empathie humaine élémentaire.

 

6- Hillary Clinton: la candidate de proue de l’establishment du 1%

 

En tant que politiciens professionnels, Bill et Hillary Clinton sont devenus le couple politique le plus riche de tous les temps. En 2012, leur patrimoine combiné dépassait 112,000,000.00 $. En revanche, le candidat démocrate Bernie Sanders avait des avoirs qui ne dépassaient guŹre 420,000.00 $. Il n'y a pas l'ombre d'un doute que la famille politique Clinton appartient ą l’establishment du 1% et mźme du 0,1%, parmi les contribuables américains. La politique a été une industrie des plus enrichissante pour eux.

 

On ne doit donc guŹre se surprendre que la candidate démocrate ą la présidentielle soit de loin le choix privilégié de l'establishment. Les néocons trouvent en elle une alliée trŹs fiable. Si elle devient présidente des États-Unis, ils peuvent espérer continuer et mźme accélérer la réalisation de leur plan d'ensemble pour le Moyen-Orient. Ce serait la joie dans certains quartiers!

 

En revanche, les deux candidats ą la présidentielle Bernie Sanders et Donald Trump s’opposent aux guerres étatsuniennes tous azimuts d'inspiration néoconservatrice, et ils mettent de l’avant des politiques et des réformes favorables ą la classe moyenne. Pour sa part, le candidat démocrate Bernie Sanders propose des politiques sociales agressives, tandis que le candidat républicain Donald Trump ambitionne de renverser la marche vers une mondialisation industrielle et financiŹre toujours plus poussée, laquelle s’est traduite par la perte de millions d'emplois rémunérateurs aux États Unis, suite au déplacement des installations de production et des profits de sociétés étatsuniennes vers l'étranger.

 

La candidate Hillary Clinton peut cependant bénéficier d’un systŹme vicié de sélection du candidat démocrate ą la présidentielle. En effet, l’establishment du parti démocrate s’est réservé un nombre de 719 « superdélégués » non élus, soit 15 pourcent de l’ensemble des délégués ą la convention démocrate des 25-28 juillet prochains, lesquels peuvent faire pencher la balance dans le sens de leurs intérźts. Dans ces conditions, mźme si le candidat Bernie Sanders obtenait une légŹre majorité des délégués élus, suite aux résultats des primaires, ses chances d’źtre choisi représentant démocrate ą l’élection présidentielle sont presque nulles.

 

Tout cela pour dire qu’il n’y a pas de candidat plus associé ą l’establishment politique aux Etats-Unis, et au gČchis que cet establishment laisse derriŹre lui, que Madame Hillary Clinton.

 

7- L’intention arrźtée de Hillary Clinton de poursuivre la politique étatsunienne de provoquer des changements de gouvernement dans les autres pays et de créer le chaos dans ces pays

 

Hillary Clinton, par ses faits et gestes, est une va-t-en-guerre invétérée, laquelle fait penser au sénateur John McCain, le candidat républicain ą la présidence en 2008. Quand elle siégeait comme sénatrice de l’État de New York (2001-2009), elle se rangea avec enthousiasme derriŹre la guerre d’agression de George W. Bush contre l’Irak, et quand elle était secrétaire d’État (2009-2013), elle a admis avoir joué un rôle important dans le coup d’état qui renversa, le 28 juin 2009, le président démocratiquement élu du Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, par l’armée de ce pays.

 

De mźme, le soutien de Hillary Clinton pour IsraĎl est sans nuances. Dans les milliers de courriels personnels qu’elle a envoyés ą des amis alors qu’elle était secrétaire d'État, certains contenant des secrets d'état, (peut-źtre un acte illégal), elle a nombre de fois affirmé sa volonté d'utiliser l'armée étatsunienne pour réaliser les objectifs du gouvernement israélien au Moyen-Orient. Dans un courriel révélateur, par exemple, et envoyé au printemps de 2012, elle exprime son point de vue trŹs clairement en ces termes :

« La meilleure faćon d'aider IsraĎl ą faire face ą la menace nucléaire de l'Iran est d'aider le peuple syrien ą renverser le régime de Bachar al-Assad ...

Pour les dirigeants israéliens, la véritable menace d'une Iran nucléarisée n’est pas la crainte qu'un dirigeant iranien devenu fou lance une attaque nucléaire non provoquée contre IsraĎl, ce qui mŹnerait ą l'anéantissement des deux pays. Ce que les dirigeants militaires israéliens craignent vraiment —mais ils ne peuvent pas le dire —est la perspective de perdre leur monopole nucléaire ...

Par la suite, IsraĎl et les États-Unis pourraient źtre en mesure de développer une vision commune quant au moment oĚ le programme nucléaire iranien deviendrait tellement dangereux qu’une action militaire s’imposerait ...

En bref, la Maison-Blanche peut apaiser la tension qui existe entre IsraĎl et l'Iran en faisant le bon choix en Syrie. »

 

Il ne fait aucun doute que si Hillary Clinton devenait présidente des États Unis, elle n’aurait aucun scrupule ą employer la puissance militaire américaine pour appuyer les objectifs d’un pays étranger, IsraĎl, au Moyen Orient. Cela devrait faire partie des débats dans une campagne électorale.

 

8- Hillary Clinton entretient des liens étroits avec la haute finance de Wall Street et d’autres puissants intérźts

 

Tandis que le candidat Bernie Sanders finance sa campagne électorale, dans une large mesure, ą partir de petits dons individuels, et alors que le candidat Donald Trump finance sa campagne ą mźme ses propres fonds, la candidate Hillary Clinton compte principalement sur l’apport important de riches lobbyistes professionnels, de grandes sociétés et de méga banques. Le financier milliardaire Georges Soros, par exemple, a contribué ą hauteur de 8 millions de dollars ą la campagne de Hillary Clinton. Des méga banques, telles Citigroup Inc, Goldman Sachs et Morgan Stanley, figurent parmi ses principaux donateurs. Hillary Clinton est de loin celle qui dépense le plus parmi tous les candidats présidentiels.

 

Un recours aussi systématique ą de riches donateurs devrait soulever des soupćons, car cela pourrait vouloir dire que ces derniers auront son oreille lorsqu’elle occupera la Maison-Blanche. Le rôle central que joue l’argent dans les élections étatsuniennes rend de plus en plus difficile d’élire un gouvernement « du peuple, par le peuple et pour le peuple », selon les mots du président Lincoln.

 

Un financier et politicien américain, Simon Cameron (1799-1889), a déją lancé en boutade qu’ « un politicien honnźte est celui qui, une fois acheté, reste acheté ». En effet, depuis la décision fatidique de la Cour Suprźme étatsunienne, en janvier 2010, dans la cause dite de « Citizens United », par un vote serré de 5 contre 4, cette derniŹre statuant que les sociétés incorporées faisaient partie du « peuple » et que dépenser de l’argent ą des fins électorales faisait partie de la « liberté d’expression », l’importance que prend l’argent dans l’issue des élections est devenu une question centrale aux États Unis.

 

Dans le cycle électoral en cours, Hillary Clinton est la seule candidate chez les démocrates qui rećoit des montants élevés de riches donateurs, ą hauteur de 77 pourcent de tous les dons recueillis. Certaines de ces contributions lui viennent indirectement de donateurs étrangers. Tout candidat qui fait reposer sa campagne électorale sur les dons provenant de richissimes individus ou sociétés devrait avoir des comptes ą rendre.

 

9- La responsabilité personnelle de Hillary Clinton dans l’assassinat de l’ambassadeur Stevens lors du désastre de Benghazi

 

Il y a deux scandales dans le désastre de Benghazi, en Libye, et l’ex secrétaire d’État Hillary Clinton est impliquée dans les deux.

 

Le premier tient au fait que le Département d’État que présidait Mme Clinton n’a pas fourni une protection suffisante au consulat oĚ se trouvaient l’ambassadeur J. Christopher Stevens et l’officier de renseignement Sean Smith. Et pire, avant d’źtre attaqués et tués par des militants islamistes, le 11 septembre 2012, ils avaient demandé une protection militaire de toute urgence, ą trois reprises, et cette aide leur avait été refusée. Hillary Clinton a dit assumer sa part de responsabilité dans ce fiasco.

 

Le deuxiŹme scandale vient du fait que l’ex secrétaire Hillary Clinton avait semble-t-il accepté que la mission diplomatique de son ministŹre en Libye serve de couverture aux opérations secrŹtes de la CIA dans ce pays. Cela plaćait automatiquement les employés du ministŹre en danger. L’ambassadeur Stevens avait été désigné, dŹs mars 2011, agent de liaison avec les rebelles opposés au gouvernement libyen. Son rôle était de faciliter l’acheminement des armes et proposer des tactiques pour renverser le gouvernement du président Mouammar Kadhafi.

 

Selon les recherches du journaliste américain d’investigation, Seymour Hersh, « la seule responsabilité du consulat américain [ą Benghazi] était de fournir une couverture pour acheminer des armes. Il n'avait aucun rôle politique réel assigné. » Et ces armes n’étaient pas seulement transmises aux rebelles islamiques qui combattaient le gouvernement libyen du président Kadhafi ; elles étaient aussi acheminées clandestinement vers la Syrie et remises ą d'autres unités rebelles islamistes dans leur tentative de renverser le gouvernement de Bachar al-Assad.

 

Tout cela est une affaire bien trouble lorsque l’on sait que toutes ces opérations secrŹtes étaient illégales en vertu du droit international, et cela jette un certain éclairage sur la responsabilité de Hillary Clinton et sur son « expérience ».

 

10- Hillary Clinton promet de nouvelles guerres américaines de type impérial, notamment au Moyen Orient

 

Lors d’un récent discours devant des délégués de l’organisation de l’AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), le 21 mars, la candidate Hillary Clinton a fait part clairement de ses intentions de contourner les Nations Unies, quand elle a déclaré: « Je m’oppose vigoureusement ą toute tentative par des tiers pour imposer une solution [au conflit israélo-palestinien], y compris par le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU. » Dans un discours similaire, au cours de la primaire démocrate en Pennsylvanie, en avril 2008, Hillary Clinton avait dit jusqu’oĚ elle était prźte ą aller pour défendre IsraĎl, « Si je suis présidente, nous allons attaquer l'Iran ... Nous serions en mesure de les rayer complŹtement de la carte. »

 

Il faut vraiment avoir un esprit psychopathique pour faire pareille déclaration, c’est-ą-dire soulever la perspective d’anéantir un pays de 80 millions de d’habitants. Un tel état d'esprit devrait disqualifier toute personne qui aspire ą devenir président des États Unis. Son adversaire démocrate ą ce moment-lą, le candidat Barack Obama, avait accusé Hillary Clinton de rodomontades et avait remarqué qu’elle utilisait une rhétorique qui collait ą celle de George W. Bush.

 

Hillary Clinton a toutes les qualités pour źtre une propagandiste de la guerre perpétuelle. C'est probablement parce qu'elle est imbue du dangereux mythe de l'exceptionnalisme américain. Dans son livre biographique ‘Hard Choices’ et dans diverses entrevues, elle a clamé haut et fort sa conviction que « l'Amérique reste la ‘nation indispensable’ ». C’est lą un état d’esprit dangereux, surtout venant de politiciens qui contrôlent des armes nucléaires. L'histoire du 20Źme siŹcle et la montée de l'Allemagne nazie devraient enseigner ą toute personne démocratique qu’il est dangereux de brandir le mythe de la supériorité de leur nation sur les autres.

 

Rappelons que la candidate Hillary Clinton a réaffirmé récemment son soutien ą l’imposition par les États Unis d’une zone d'exclusion aérienne en Syrie, semblable ą celle qu’elle avait proposée en Libye, en 2011, avec les résultats désastreux que l’on sait. En effet, ce sont des terroristes islamistes qui ont pris le relais dans ce pays. Elle semble n'avoir rien appris du fiasco qu’elle a créé en Libye. C’est le signe d’un trŹs mauvais jugement.

 

Conclusion

 

Le sénateur américain du Kentucky, le républicain Rand Paul a soutenu, en 2015, que selon lui « Hillary Clinton est une néoconservatrice, [parce que] elle a appuyé la guerre en Irak, et en Afghanistan ...

Si Hillary Clinton devient présidente, nous serons de nouveau en guerre au Moyen-Orient. »

 

Si on se fie ą toutes les déclarations guerriŹres d’Hillary Clinton, et elles sont nombreuses, et considérant son passé trouble au Département d’État, il est normal que l’on s’interroge sur la possibilité qu’elle soit effectivement une néoconservatrice de cŌur. On devrait le lui demander carrément lors d’un débat ou lors d’une entrevue. Tout ce que l’on sait, c’est qu’une présidente Clinton pousserait les États Unis vers la guerre perpétuelle. C’est lą une considération ą méditer pour les Américains qui l’appuient.

 

Si on pousse les choses un peu plus loin, et si on prend en considération l’héritage controversé que le président Bill Clinton a laissé derriŹre lui, suite ą ses deux mandats présidentiels de 1993-1997 et de 1997-2001, de mźme aussi que la forte possibilité que ce dernier agisse en tant que proche conseiller de son épouse, on peut certes s’interroger si ce serait une bonne idée que les Américains gratifient le couple Clinton d’un troisiŹme séjour ą la Maison-Blanche.

 

COMMENTAIRES (13)

__________________________________________________

Rodrigue Tremblay est professeur émérite d'économie ą l'Université de Montréal et on peut le contacter ą l'adresse suivante : rodrigue.tremblay1@gmail.com

Il est l'auteur du livre du livre « Le nouvel empire américain » et du livre « Le Code pour une éthique globale ».

PriŹre de visiter son blogue international ą l'adresse suivante : http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog.htm.

 

Sites Internet de l'auteur : http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/

http://www.thecodeforglobalethics.com

http://www.lecodepouruneethiqueglobale.com

 

Pour plus d’informations concernant le dernier livre du professeur Tremblay intitulé : "Le Code pour une éthique globale", voir : http://www.lecodepouruneethiqueglobale.com/

 

PriŹre de faire suivre l’article :

http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/francais51.html

 

 

__________________________________

© 2016 Big Picture World Syndicate, Inc.

 

 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Lies, Fabrications and Forgeries of the Bush-Cheney administration to Go to War Against Iraq, for Oil and for Israel

By Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

(Author of the books “The Code for Global Ethics”, and

 The New American Empire)

 

We [the United States] spent $2 trillion, thousands of lives. ... Obviously, it was a mistake… George W. Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East…

—They [President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney] lied… They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.

Donald Trump (1946- ), during a CBS News GOP presidential debate, on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016.

 

[George W. Bush] wants to remove Saddam Hussein, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

—But the intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy.

Richard Dearlove (1945- ) Head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), (in ‘Downing Street memo’, July 23, 2002).

 

There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.

Dick Cheney (1941- ), comment made at the Veterans of Foreign Wars 103rd National Convention, Aug. 26, 2002

 

Spinning the possible possession of WMDs as a threat to the United States in the way they did is, in my opinion, tantamount to intentionally deceiving the American people.

Gen. Hugh Shelton (1942- ), former Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 2001, (in his memoirs ‘Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior’, 2010)

 

We [the USA] went to war [in Iraq] not just against the Iraqi forces and insurgent groups but also against a large part of the Arab world, scores and scores of millions…It is a strategic error of monumental proportions to view the war as confined to Iraq… [The Iraq war] is turning out to be the greatest strategic disaster in our history.

Gen. William E. Odom (1932-2008), in a testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, January 18, 2007

 

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has rendered a great service to the truth and to historians in stating publicly, on Saturday, February 13, 2016, what most people by now know, i.e. that the US-led war of aggression against Iraq, in March 2003, was not only illegal under international law, it was also an exercise in pure deceptive propaganda, and it was promoted thanks to well-documented lies, fabrications and forgeries.

 

I personally published a book in early 2003 detailing how the Bush-Cheney administration, with the help of pro-Israel neocons in the higher echelons of the U.S. government, built a case for war under false pretenses.

 

The publishing house ‘Les Intouchables’ in Montreal, initially published the book in Canada, in French, under the title of ‘Pourquoi Bush veut la guerre’. It was then published in the U.S., by Infinity Publishing, in English, under the title ‘The New American Empire’. The book was also published in Europe by l’Harmattan in Paris under the title ‘Le Nouvel Empire Américain’, and later on translated into Turkish by Nova Publishing in Ankara, under the title ‘Yeni Amerikan Imparatorlu›u’.

 

The machinations and deceptions behind the disastrous war against Iraq, which have resulted in literally hundreds of thousands of deaths and created millions of refugees, and which has completely destabilized the entire Middle East, constitute therefore a topic that I have been studying for many years.

 

It is no surprise that I was pleased to hear Mr. Trump forcefully conveying the truth to the American people, even though those who have engaged in war crimes under the Nuremberg Charter and the United Nations Charter have never been indicted for gross negligence and duplicity—if not outright treason—let alone prosecuted. Worse still, there has never been a serious public inquiry into this sordid episode at the beginning of the 21st Century and how the Bush-Cheney administration planned a pre-meditated military attack against Iraq in order to bring about a political “regime change” in that country.

 

Let us summarize the sad series of events that have led to what American General William Odom has dubbed “the greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history”. We may add that this has also led to a great disaster for the Middle East populations, and it could also prove to have been a disaster for Europe and the world as a whole, if the current mess in that part of the world were to lead to World War III.

 

1- DECEPTION: When George W. Bush took power in January 2001, his Treasury Secretary, Paul H. O'Neill (1935- ), the former CEO of Alcoa, recalls that the goal of removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq was raised by Bush during the very first cabinet meeting of the new administration. In O’Neill’s biography written by journalist Ron Suskind and titled The Price of Loyalty, it is stated that George W. Bush fully intended to invade Iraq and was desperate to find an excuse for pre-emptive war against Saddam Hussein. As Mr. Suskind writes it, there was even a Pentagon document, dated March 5, 2001, and entitled “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield contracts”, which included a map of potential areas in Iraq for oil exploration. Such a detailed plan for a U.S.-led military take-over of Iraq had never been mentioned during the 2000 U.S. presidential election, let alone debated.

 

However, a pro-Israel neoconservative think-tank, The Project for the New American Century, had drafted a blueprint for regime change in Iraq as early as September 2000. The fundamental goal was to secure access to Iraq’s oil reserves and remove a potential enemy to the state of Israel. This think-tank, founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan, was mainly run by vice-president Dick Cheney; by defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld; by Paul Wolfowitz, (Rumsfeld's deputy at the Defense Department); by George W. Bush's younger brother Jeb Bush, then governor of Florida; and by Lewis Libby, Cheney’s deputy.

 

Their document about Iraq was entitled “Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century”. It stated clearly that: “The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein”. It was this plan that the newly elected Bush-Cheney administration obviously intended to implement in secret, eight months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

 

It is also most relevant to mention that the document on Iraq mentioned above was mimicking a previous report written in 1996 for the Benjamin Netanyahu Israeli government and titled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm”. The latter outlined a strategy for the state of Israel in the Middle East in these terms:

“Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq –an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right –as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.”

 

In 2001, the Bush-Cheney administration seemed to have made its own the proposed strategy.

 

2- POSSIBLE NEGLIGENCE: To what extent was the Bush-Cheney administration negligent in not preventing the 9/11 terrorist attacks? This is a legitimate question, considering that the George W. Bush White House received, on Monday August 6, 2001, 36 days before the terrorist attacks, a confidential report by the CIA entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US”. Mr. Bush was then on a month-long vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, and no special security steps seem to have been taken to alert various authorities of the threat.

 

3- A PARALLEL GOVERNMENT: Early on, the new Bush-Cheney administration established a special bureaucratic agency for intelligence gathering, propaganda and war preparations. This was the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plan (OSP) placed under the supervision of Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense. It was designed, as reported by renowned journalist Seymour Hersh, to circumvent the CIA and the Pentagon’s own Defense Intelligence Agency, the DIA, and to serve as President Bush’s main source of intelligence regarding Iraq’s possible possession of weapons of mass destruction and its possible connection with al-Qaeda. That is also where various fake arguments were invented to steer the United States into a war against Iraq. Douglas Feith, a defense undersecretary, ran the shadow agency with the assistance of William Luti, a former navy officer and an ex-aide to Vice President Dick Cheney.

 

Something that should have been investigated, but has not been, is how some Israeli generals had free access to the OSP, as reported by Karen Kwiatkowski who worked in that agency.

 

4- WAR PROPAGANDA: After 9/11, few Americans were blaming Iraq for the terrorist attacks, since none of the 19 terrorists involved had any connection with Iraq. In fact, the 19 hijackers in the September 11 attacks of 2001 were affiliated with the Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda. Fifteen out of 19 were citizens of Saudi Arabia, 2 were from the United Arab Emirates, and the other 2 came from Egypt and Lebanon. None were from Iraq. And their training camps had been in Afghanistan.

 

That is why in polls taken soon after Sept. 11, 2001, only 3 percent of Americans mentioned Iraq or Saddam Hussein as the dark forces behind the attacks. Obviously, such a perception had to be changed if the Bush-Cheney administration were to start a war with Iraq. That is when the fear of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the possible links of Saddam Hussein with al-Qaeda were invented, with the active assistance of neocon media. By September 2003, the propaganda had worked so well that, according to a Washington Post poll, 69 percent of Americans had come to believe that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the attacks carried out by al-Qaeda, even though there had been no proof of such a link between the two. Such is the force of government propaganda when the mass media collaborate in the exercise.

 

This propaganda was instrumental in building a case for a war with Iraq, without regard to factual evidence. History will reckon that the United States did not retaliate against Saudi Arabia, a country that had a lot to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but it did react viciously against Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the attacks.

 

All these facts are well documented and corroborated. Future historians will have numerous sources to establish the historical truth.

 

Conclusion

 

The fact that presidential candidate Donald Trump has alerted the American people to the treachery used by the Bush-Cheney administration to go to war against Iraq is a welcome development. Undoubtedly, the Iraq War has unleashed untold destruction and misery in Iraq and in the entire Middle East. And the sequels to the initial disaster continue today, thirteen years after the 2003 U.S.-led military invasion of Iraq.

 

The only recent comparable historical event, when a powerful country invaded militarily another weaker country, was the decision by the German Chancellor Adolf Hitler to invade Poland on September 1, 1939, thus plunging Europe into chaos for many years. Let us hope that the current turmoil in the Middle East, with so many countries conducting military operations in the devastated countries of Iraq and Syria, will not lead to even greater catastrophes.

 

COMMENTS (13)

__________________________

Economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”,

Please visit the book site at:

http://www.thecodeforglobalethics.com/

and his blog at:

http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog.htm

 

Posted, Saturday, January 20, 2016, at 7:30 am

 

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_____________________________________

© 2016 by Big Picture World Syndicate, Inc.

 

 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Financial Turmoil and Increasing Risks of a Severe Worldwide Economic Recession in 2016-17

By Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

(Author of the books “The Code for Global Ethics”,

and The New American Empire)

 

“May you live in interesting times.”

Popular curse, purported to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse

 

"The sources of deflation are not a mystery. Deflation is in almost all cases a side effect of a collapse of aggregate demand —a drop in spending so severe that producers must cut prices on an ongoing basis in order to find buyers. Likewise, the economic effects of a deflationary episode, for the most part, are similar to those of any other sharp decline in aggregate spending—namely, recession, rising unemployment, and financial stress."

Ben S. Bernanke (1953- ), on November 21, 2002

 

“I’m about to repeat what I said at this time last year and the year before…Sooner or later a crash is coming and it may be terrific. The vicious circle will get in full swing and the result will be a serious business depression. There may be a stampede for selling which will exceed anything that the Stock Exchange has ever witnessed. Wise are those investors who now get out of debt.

Roger Babson (1875-1967), on September 5, 1929

 

The onset of 2016 has been most chaotic for global financial markets with, so far, a severe stock market correction. As a matter of fact, the first month of 2016 has witnessed the most severe drop in financial stocks ever, with the MSCI All-Country World Stock Index, which measures major developed and emerging stock markets, dropping more than 20 percent, as compare to early 2015. For sure, there will be oversold rallies in the coming weeks and months, but one can expect more trouble ahead.

 

Many commentators are saying that the epicentre of this unfolding financial and economic crisis is in China, with the Shanghai Composite Index beginning to plummet at the beginning of the year. In my view, reality is more complex and even though China’s financial and economic problems are contributing to the collapse in commodity prices, the epicenter of the crisis is still in Washington D.C.

 

That is because the current unfolding crisis is essentially a continuation of the 2007-08 financial crisis which has been temporarily suspended and pushed into the future by the U.S. central bank, the Fed, with its aggressive and unorthodox monetary policy of multiple rounds of quantitative easing (QE), i.e. buying huge quantities of financial assets from commercial mega-banks and other institutions, including mortgage-backed securities, with newly created money. As a consequence, the Fed’s balance sheet went from a little more than one trillion dollars in 2008 to some four and a half trillion dollars when the quantity easing program was ended in October 2014. Other central banks have followed the Fed example, especially the central bank of Japan and the European central bank, which also adopted quantity easing policies in monetizing large amounts of financial assets.

 

Why did the Bernanke Fed adopt such an aggressive monetary policy in 2008? Essentially for three reasons: First, the lame-duck Bush administration in 2008 was clueless about what to do with the financial crisis that had started with the de facto failure of Bear Stearns in the spring of 2008 and of Merrill Lynch in early September 2008, culminating on September 15, 2008, with the failure of the large global investment bank of Lehman Brothers. So the U.S. central bank felt that it had to step in. In fact, it financed the merger of the two first failed mega-banks with the JPMorgan Chase bank and the Bank of America respectively. (For different reasons, it did not intervene in the same way when the Lehman Brothers bank failed.)

Secondly, bankers who have a huge influence in the way the Fed is managed did not want the U.S. government to nationalize the American mega-banks in financial difficulties, as it had been done in the 1989 when the George H. Bush administration established the government-owned Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) to take over some 747 insolvent savings and loans thrift banks.

 

Thirdly, the Bernanke Fed was very worried that the 2007-08 banking crisis would lead to a Japanese-style deflation that would wreak havoc with an overleveraged economy. The hope was to avoid a devastating debt-deflation economic depression like the one suffered in the 1930s.

 

By injecting so much liquidity in the system, the Bernanke Fed created a gigantic financial bubble in stocks and bonds, even though the real economy has grown at a somewhat languishing 2 percent growth rate. Stock prices went into the stratosphere while interest rates fell as bond prices rose. Last December 16, the Fed announced officially that it will no longer blow into the financial balloons and that it was raising short-term interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis, setting the target range for the federal funds rate to between 1/4 to 1/2 percent. This was a signal that the financial party was over. And what’s more, this means that the stock market and the bond market will once again go in different directions, as a reflection of the state of the real economy, no matter what the Fed does.

 

Since 2008, the U.S. Fed has painted itself into a financial corner from which I personally felt it would be difficult to extricate itself. Indeed, it would be extremely difficult to correct the financial bubbles it has created —as an unintended consequence of salvaging the mega-banks in creating trillions of free money —without damaging the real economy of production and employment. If global stock markets collapse and if price deflation accelerates, making it more difficult to service the debt of consumers, corporations, and government alike, a repeat on a larger scale of what has happened in Japan over the last twenty-five years can be feared. This, at the very least, could lead to a global economic recession in 2016-17. If we go back in history, it could also be a repeat of the 1937-38 crash and recession, eight years after the crash and financial crisis of 1929-32.

 

One thing can be made clear: The creation of the Fed in 1913, as a semi-public American central bank, has not prevented the occurrence of financial crises. It has, however, been a boon to large banks because it has served as an instrument to socialize their losses.

 

Stay tuned.

 

COMMENTS (4)

_______________________________________________

Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay, an economist, is the author of the book

The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”,

Please visit the book site at:

http://www.thecodeforglobalethics.com/

and his blog at:

http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog.htm

 

Posted, Saturday, January 23, 2016, at 5:30 am

 

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Send contact, comments or commercial reproduction requests (in English or in French) to:

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articles.

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To write to the author:

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N.B.: This article is distributed privately and without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the

included information for research and educational purposes,

and is not intended in any way as

personal advice of any sort.

_____________________________________

© 2016 by Big Picture World Syndicate, Inc.

 

 

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Confused Situation as to Syria and ISIS

By Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

(Author of the booksThe Code for Global Ethics”,

and  The New American Empire)

 

 

[There are] “three ways to be influential in American politics: make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets.”

Haim Saban, Pro-Israel billionaire and major political contributor, and adviser to Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, (2009)

 

[There] “is a memo [at the Pentagon] that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”

General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO (1997-2000), (March 2, 2007)

 

“Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them.”

Mark Twain (1835-1910), American author and satirist

 

"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." 

Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.), (in a Dec. 20, 2007 interview with the Boston Globe)

 

“Our objective is clear, and that is: degrade and destroy ISIL [ISIS] so that it’s no longer a threat, not just to Iraq but also to the region and to the United States.”

Pres. Barack H. Obama, (at a news conference on Sept. 3, 2014)

 

The chaotic situation in Syria, a country of 22 million, source of some 220,000 Syrian deaths and of between 6 to 8 million refugees fleeing to Europe, is most confusing.

 

On the one hand, the Obama administration has been openly violating international law in actively supporting and arming a rebellious insurrection and a civil war against the established Assad government. On the other hand, the same administration seems to consider the Sunni-dominated and foreign-supported terrorist Islamic State organization (ISIS) opposed to Assad as illegitimate, and declares to want to “degrade and destroy” it through bombings.

 

If a foreign government wanted to destroy a country and turn it into ruins, that is probably what it should do, considering that the same Obama administration has for years supported protests and fanned the rebellion in Syria, as part of the color revolutions the CIA has sponsored in many countries, and it has facilitated the rise of Islamic extremism directly and indirectly in the hope that it would succeed in toppling the secular Syrian regime. From the start, this has been a most ambivalent, a most irresponsible, a most inconsistent, a most incoherent, a most misguided, a most indecent, a most insane, a most destructive and a most immoral policy, because it has destabilized both Iraq and Syria, because it has resulted in millions of victims and because it has contributed in a big way to creating the psychopathic monster that is the ISIS.

 

Indeed, the ongoing provoked chaos in Syria seems to be a repetition of what the Obama-cum-Hillary Clinton administration did in nearby Libya when that country was destabilized and destroyed from top to bottom through outside intervention, and reduced to a state of anarchy. It also followed the illegal military incursion by the Bush-Cheney administration in Iraq in order to engineer illegally a regime change in that country, at the same time that it left it completely destroyed and dysfunctional. All these interventions have resulted in unmitigated disasters.

 

Destroying countries in violation of international law and with no empathy for the human suffering of millions of people seems to have been the official policy of the US government over the last twenty years, whoever happened to sit in the White House at any given time, be he a Republican or a Democrat.

 

There is a pattern here that even the most ignorant and the most dishonest or obtuse brains cannot help but notice. We all know that this has been the well-publicized plan of the pro-Israel neocon clique that has been advising successive US governments ever since the George H. Bush administration of 1989-1993. Their overall objective was to reshape and transform (i.e. destabilize and destroy) the entire Middle East by provoking the downfall and breakup of Israel’s neighboring Arab countries (Iraq, Syria, Libya, etc.), and by using American military power and NATO to do it.

 

And now, the Obama administration is working hard to deliberately and immorally destroy the country of Syria to please the Israeli government and other allies such as the totalitarian Wahhabist regime of Saudi Arabia and the increasinglly Islamist regime in Turkey. Just as there was no al-Qaeda organization in Iraq before the Bush-Cheney administration invaded the country in 2003, there was no Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria before the US and its allies supported the insurrection against the Assad regime, beginning in 2011.

 

Surrounded by his neocon advisers, who are presumably recommended to their posts by deep pocket political campaign contributors, President Barack H. Obama gives the sad spectacle of a politician who has morphed into a repeat of George W. Bush, using lies and false pretenses to justify an incoherent and destabilizing US policy in the Middle East. One day he says that his government’s policy is to contain and destroy the murderous ISIS Califate; the next day he gives a tacit or explicit go ahead to the demagogue President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to attack with F-16 fighter jets the only credible force on the ground fighting ISIS, besides the armed forces of the Iraqi and Syrian governments, the Kurdish militias.

 

And when the Russian government brings some assistance to the embattled Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad—still the legitimate government of that country, ravaged by outside intervention by the way—President Barrack H. Obama not only denounces such assistance, but he warns Russia not to do it, curiously asserting that Russia’s efforts to back the Syrian government against ISIS are “doomed to failure”! What strategy and what failure? One would like to know.

 

Indeed, if President Obama were really serious in wanting to eradicate the medieval terrorist cancer that is ISIS, as he claims he does, one would think that he would logically welcome any assistance to reach that objective, whether it comes from Russia or from Iran, or anybody else. But no, Mr. Obama rather says that such assistance is not at all welcomed, at the same time that the killers of ISIS consolidate their control over a large part of Syria and of Iraq, and continue decapitating and persecuting Christian Assyrians, Shiites and other ethnic groups. The result is the creation of millions of refugees that only Europe seems ready, albeit reluctantly, to accept, after they have been expelled from Turkey, Lebanon or Jordan, and while the other richest Arab nations, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, close their doors to them.

 

This does not make any sense. When is Mr. Obama sincere? When he says that his NATO ‘coalition’ attacks in Syria are aimed at eradicating ISIS, or when he says that he has no legal authority for provoking a neocon-inspired regime change in Syria?

 

If Pres. Obama does not want to fight al-Qaeda—the group behind the 9/11 attacks, and its close ally the Islamic State (ISIS)—he should at the very least let those who want to fight them do it. Nowadays, he seems much more anxious to train and arm small groups of so called “moderate” Islamist Syrian rebels, (who have not a chance in hell to take control of the Syrian government), than to really fight the terrorists of al Qaeda and of the Islamist State (ISIS), who are the ones who would take over Syria if the Assad government were to fall. On the contrary, for months now Mr. Obama has done his best to prevent the Kurds, the Iranians and the Russians, along with the al-Assad government, from fighting the Islamist terrorists. Why? Could somebody ask him why? And, for what purpose?

 

US-led airstrikes in Iraq and in Syria against the Islamist terrorists have been judged ineffective from the start, and ISIS has demonstrated it by pursuing its expansion, presumably because such very selective bombings were never a priority and were rather a covert and dishonest show to fool people about the real objective of the US-NATO bombings.

 

That objective appears not as a priority to destroy ISIS or push it back, but rather to illegally provoke a regime change in Syria. This is done by backing different sets of Islamist rebels over time. This is a dangerous game. And all this is for mainly crass economic motives, i.e. to facilitate the construction of pipelines from the Middle East toward Europe, Turkey and Israel.

 

This Machiavellian policy is not only destabilizing and destroying the entire Middle East, it is now about to destabilize and destroy Europe itself with millions of migrants and refugees fleeing the mess that has resulted ever since the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the US and its allies’ support for the Syrian insurrection since 2011. European countries have already suspended the Schengen Agreement regarding freedom of movement within the European Union (EU), and other similar policy decisions of European disintegration by member states are to be expected in the coming months if the avalanche of migrants and refugees continues unabated from the Middle East and northern Africa.

 

Ever since the neocons have dominated US foreign policy, American-led interventions in the world have been a source of great instability and of devastating destruction. They have resulted in creating disaster upon disaster, with hundreds of thousands people dead and many millions displaced and impoverished, and forced into exile.

 

So far, at least three countries have been completely destroyed, i.e. Iraq, Libya and Syria, and the carnage goes on in Afghanistan and in Yemen, with the US supporting Saudi Arabia’s bombing of the latter country. American politicians and the US government cannot close their eyes and wash their hands of this chaotic mess because they started it, and because of that, they have a special responsibility to correct it and contribute to bringing back peace and order in that part of the world.

 

If the secular al-Assad government is ever toppled and is replaced by one led by fanatical Islamists, and if revenge killings and massacres of the Syrian Christians, Alawites, and Druze ensue—a possible result of the confused imperialistic US-NATO foreign policy—Barack H. Obama and other American and European politicians will have to place a large part of the blame on themselves. This is not a trivial matter.

 

COMMENTS (6)

____________________________________________

Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is an international economist and author, whose last two books are:

The Code for Global Ethics, Prometheus Books, 2010; and

The New American Empire, Infinity Publishing, 2004.

 

To read Dr. Tremblay’s blog, please visit:

www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog

The author can be reached at:

 rodrigue.tremblay1@gmail.com.

 

Posted Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, at 5:30 am

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Pitfalls of Economic Globalization

By Rodrigue Tremblay

(Author of the books “The Code for Global Ethics”, and

 The New American Empire)

 

 

‘Nations that trade with each other make themselves mutually dependent: if one has an interest in buying, the other has an interest in selling, and all unions are based on mutual needs.

Montesquieu, (Charles Louis de Secondat), (1689-1755)

 

‘An agreement [with the U.S.] to harmonize trade, security, or defence practices would, in the end, require Canada and Mexico to… cede to the United States power over foreign trade and investment, environmental regulation, immigration, and, to a large degree, foreign policy, and even monetary and fiscal policy.

Roy McLaren (1934-), former Canadian liberal trade minister, (1983)

 

‘The greatest happiness principle: The greatest happiness of the greatest number of people is the foundation of morals and legislation.’

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)

 

One of the most important phenomena of the last quarter century, and without a doubt the most significant in the economic field, but also in the political field, has been the rise of economic globalization. This has brought the increased interdependence of national economies and a rise in competition, not only between corporations but also between countries.

 

This interdependence and competition have increased much more quickly than could have been envisaged, 25 or 30 years ago, with the result that international economic integration today greatly exceeds the realm of international trade to encompass the international mobility of corporations and the integration of financial and money markets. In some areas dominated by technology, especially in the field of digital and information technology, we already live in a world almost without national borders. The consequences of increased globalization are not only economic; they are also political and social.

 

But globalization also means a greater complexity of economic relations and an increased vulnerability of national economies to shocks from outside. This requires, for a given country, that the net benefits resulting from globalization must be greater than the net losses of any nature arising from such greater complexity and greater vulnerability.

 

Beside the purely economic costs of complexity, there are social and political costs that arise from such enhanced global economic complexity.

 

Indeed, the increased complexity of international economic and financial relations has had the effect of increasing the costs of political transactions and may have impaired the good functioning of domestic democratic systems by reducing the possibility for citizens to be adequately informed about issues that concern them and, if necessary, to be able to raise objections. Socially, it has also meant that the economy is less embedded in a larger social system; it is rather the social system that has been compressed and has become embedded in an increasingly globalized economy.

 

A primarily political global project has also been grafted upon economic globalization, mainly under American auspices, with the avowed purpose of weakening and subverting the national consciousness of people in their sovereign nation states, through the promotion of "multiculturalism" within countries and through the equally important aim of dismantling the welfare state system and the social safety net erected after the Second World War in most Western countries, and replace them with an essentially anti-democratic and oligarchic globalist system.

 

In the end, we shall conclude that the increased complexity of the global economic system over the last quarter century has had a general consequence: it has resulted in increasing the power and incomes of the CEOs of large corporations and of mega banks as never seen before, as well, to the lesser extent, of those of politicians and bureaucrats, at the expense of the less educated segments of the population and the less mobile people generally, thus weakening the democratic spirit and practices in many countries.

 

I- Main causes of economic globalization

 

There have been two revolutions behind the phenomenon of economic globalization.

-The first was the digital technology revolution, which can be seen as a new industrial revolution. This appeared with basic innovations that were, among others, the computer, the Internet as a global computer network, and telecommunications satellites, the latter enabling communication almost instantly to the four corners of the planet.

-The second revolution was the collapse, in 1991, of the Soviet empire and its centralized communist economic system. It has been said that this politico-economic revolution heralded the "triumph of (corporate) capitalism" worldwide and its decentralized and scarcely regulated markets.

 

Over the last quarter century, the rush towards economic globalization has accelerated. Its three main components are:

- Firstly, the globalization of trade relations;

- Secondly, the industrial and technological globalization; and

- Thirdly, the overall financial globalization (financial, banking and monetary).

 

These three sides of economic globalization have not had the same effect on all people and on every country.

 

It is therefore necessary to identify the net effects for each of these three components of overall economic globalization. Indeed, it was expected, at least in theory, that the move towards economic globalization would strengthen the economic integration of countries, generate some convergence of national economies by increasing their productivity levels and their economic growth, reducing global poverty, and creating, in addition, a better climate for world peace.

 

In practice, we can say today that this view was perhaps too optimistic, and we must recognize that the results of economic globalization in the past quarter century have been more complex and less inevitable than some would have believed.

 

That is because economic globalization and enhanced international competition have resulted in consequences that have certainly been positive for some people, but they have also created perverse effects for certain categories of workers, as well as for governments and their populations, because of the increased international mobility of corporations and of financial and banking institutions, and not just for those that are inherently ‘multinational' in nature.

 

In other words, economic globalization has created net winners and net losers, and it would be good to establish a provisional assessment of these results, even if it is only a partial synopsis of a complex phenomenon.

 

II- The globalization of trade relations

 

The establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994 marked an acceleration of the movement towards multilateral trade liberalization of the previous decades that had been undertaken under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the latter having been created in 1947.

 

Indeed, during the last quarter century, world exports have grown at an exponential rate of 6.0 percent in volume, a much faster rate than the average annual rate of growth in world real output, which progressed at the pace of a little less than 4.0 percent between 1990 and 2010. However, we observe that since the financial crisis of 2008-09, there has been a break in world trade growth, global exports growing presently at a pace that approximates overall world economic growth, which ranges from two to four percent annually.

 

Of the three components of the phenomenon of economic globalization, trade globalization is probably the least deserving of criticism. There is even a fairly broad consensus among economists that, all things considered, its net effects have been more positive than negative.

 

Consumers have benefited greatly, as a result of lowered prices and better quality for a wider range of imported products and services. The other big winners of the growth in multilateral trade are owners of capital in general (higher yields) and officers of large corporations (increased incomes and revenues).

 

On the negative side, in many industrialized countries, least skilled workers have faced personal losses due to unemployment and stagnant or falling real wages. The same can be said about some industries that have faced increased international competition and have suffered contractions, relocations and some form of de-industrialization.

 

Overall, empirical studies on these issues have arrived at the conclusion that the gains reaped by industrialized countries from a better international division of labor have outweighed the losses, and that this has created a win-win situation for most countries.

 

It would appear that for industrialized countries, the problems arising from enhanced international trade are primarily a problem of distribution of the net gains in order to compensate the losers in proportion to their losses.

 

In other words, this is a matter of public policy and of social justice. It is thus up to a government, for example, to make sure that workers displaced by international competition are compensated and retrained.

 

If we consider all countries, the newly industrialized countries of Asia (China, Japan, South Korea, etc.) have profited greatly from increasing trade globalization, and they have also been on the receiving end of industrial globalization, as we will discuss later. Their rates of economic growth and of industrial catching up have simply been all but phenomenal.

 

III- Industrial and technological globalization

 

Alongside the globalization of trade relations of the last quarter century, the world has also experienced a similar explosion in foreign direct investment (direct capital inflows and outflows). Thus, the share in GDP of all countries of foreign direct investment has increased from 11 percent on average in 1980 to 34 percent on average in 1998. Since the financial crisis of 2008-09, however, foreign direct investment has also experienced a sharp downturn. It reached a historical high in 2007 of 2,000 billion$. Six years later, in 2013, foreign direct investment had dropped 30 percent from its 2007 peak.

 

The international mobility of corporations, their technologies and their capital, is much more problematic than trade globalization as such, which is based on the comparative advantages of trading countries, in a general context of international immobility for people between countries and of currency fluctuations to equilibrate each country’s balance of payments.

 

We cannot put on the same footing free trade, with rules against dumping and unfair competition and fluctuating exchange rates, and the free international movement of corporations, their technologies and their capital when labor is mostly immobile.

 

In the first case, we are dealing with international trade of goods and services based on comparative advantages in resources, manpower and technology in each country, which encourages specialization in production and which generates economies of scale, productivity gains and increases in living standards in all countries, even if the net gains are not evenly distributed among countries.

 

On the other hand, when corporations transfer their capital and their technologies from one country to another, this has the potential of modifying the economic comparative advantages of each country. This is a much more problematic component of economic globalization than simply free trade, because it is not impossible then that one country ends up a net loser while another is a net winner of such transfers.

 

Outsourcing production from one country to another could become a substitute to international trade between countries. The exception is when international trade within a corporation increases both ways.

 

A process of deindustrialization can result for the country losing its most productive industries, thus translating into problems of productivity and of economic growth, while national governments are unable to face the challenge properly. As I have alluded to before, this is not inevitable. When industrial globalization translates into more intra-firm trade and if a country’s total exports increase, a country can be a net winner of industrial globalization. For example, if a car manufacturer in a developed country transfers an assembly activity in a low-wage countries but exports from its national base engines and other specialized parts, the country can emerge a net winner from such production outsourcing. This becomes an empirical question. That is why a national government should monitor the situation closely.

 

It is a fact, however, that industrial globalization has made it increasingly difficult for a national government to pursue its own industrial policy. Indeed, nowadays, most of so-called 'free trade agreements' are in fact 'agreements for the free international movement of corporations' and have clauses that prevent national governments from actively pursuing an industrial policy to boost a country’s industrial productivity and raise the real wages of its workers. Moreover, these 'agreements on free movement of companies' are usually negotiated in secret and are often adopted by blindfolded politicians. It goes without saying that such an industrial disarmament by nations may erode the benefits expected from trade globalization and industrial specialization.

 

We may have here a reason why popular sentiment, especially in Western countries, is turning against comprehensive de facto ‘trade and investment agreements’ because they are wrought in secrecy, because they gave too much weigh to corporate prerogatives and their gimmicks to avoid paying taxes to local governments, because they have resulted in wage stagnation, unemployment, income inequalities and deindustrialization in many advanced economies, without compensations for the net losers, and because the governments of some large nations cannot resist dangerously mixing economics and politics and pushing smaller nations around.

 

Industrial globalization can also raise a tax fairness issue and one about income and wealth inequalities between different categories of taxpayers when corporations and the most internationally mobile workers insist on tax cuts from national governments. The latter are thus obliged to increase regressive tax rates on the incomes of ordinary workers and on their consumer spending.

 

National governments may also be called on to compete downward between themselves when the time comes to formulate some industrial regulations, or implement social policies or environmental preservation policies.

 

IV- Financial globalization (financial, banking and monetary)

 

If industrial globalization is problematic in its effects, financial globalization, (financial, banking and monetary), is even more dubious, considering the high level of speculation that surrounds the international movements of finance capital.

 

International borrowing and lending have been around for a long time. For instance, in the 19th century, savers from rich countries made it possible to fund major infrastructure projects in poorer countries. The inflows and outflows of portfolio capital (bonds, stocks, etc.) benefit both savers and borrowers and encourage trade. Indeed, a country that is a net borrower is also a net importer, and the opposite is true from a lender country’s perspective. Such international borrowing and lending are factors of economic efficiency and should be encouraged.

 

The international integration of financial markets reflects an objective reality, i.e. the reality that some countries generate external surpluses and other external deficits. The international mobility of savings is in itself a good thing from an economic point of view. What is important is that countries can retain their power to regulate their financial and money markets, and maintain domestic control over their banking sector.

 

In recent decades, however, mega banks and other financial institutions have exerted enormous political pressure to be exempted from national regulations. In the United States, for example, lobbies have succeeded in having the 'Glass-Steagall Act' abolished by the Clinton administration in 1999. That important law had been put in place in 1933 in order to avoid a repeat of the financial crisis of 1929. History will record that the abolition of the Glass-Steagall Act played a major role in paving the way to the financial crisis of 2008-09, a crisis whose harmful effects continue to be felt around the world.

 

When a nation loses its national sovereignty over financial, banking and monetary regulation, it largely loses the option to rely on price adjustments to correct imbalances in its external accounts, and it must instead rely on quantity adjustments through layoffs, cuts in public spending, tax increases, etc. This is a much more costly way, in terms of welfare, to improve a balance of payments.

 

For example, when a country suffers a drop in the external demand for its products while placed in the straightjacket of price rigidity, domestic prices and wages cannot move downward to correct an external deficit (and, conversely, cannot move upward to correct an external surplus).

 

Instead, the country must then resort to implementing so-called ‘austerity policies’ (cuts in public spending, increases in taxes, etc.), the latter having the negative consequences of slowing down domestic demand on top of the drop in international demand. As a result, the economy suffers two blows instead of one. Such an adjustment process to outside economic shocks creates an economic downturn that could translate into an economic recession (a drop in production and employment), hurting more severely some segments of the population than others.

 

This is a major structural problem within badly structured monetary unions, as it is currently the case in Europe within the euro zone, which encompasses economies with very high productivity levels, such is the case with the German economy, and other less productive economies, such as those of Greece or Portugal.

 

When no institutional mechanisms have been designed to transfer purchasing power between surplus countries and deficit countries, the rigidities of the single currency, (whatever its microeconomic benefits to businesses and consumers), can result in major macroeconomic problems. For instance, the common currency may be simultaneously undervalued for surplus economies and overvalued for deficit economies. Deficit economies must then rely on austerity measures to lower imports and increase exports, while surplus economies are more or less left outside the adjustment process.

 

Another severe drawback to financial integration (financial, banking and monetary) is the greater vulnerability of countries to external economic shocks and the transmission of economic and financial crises from one country to another.

 

The 2008-09 financial crisis is a good example of this phenomenon wherein a financial or a banking crisis originating in one country spreads quickly through financial and money markets from one country to another and affects the entire global economy. Financial crises are often the result of risky banking practices and of poorly regulated international financial and money markets.

 

Indeed, one of the consequences of increased financial integration has been the increased vulnerability of fragile economies to negative outside influences and a certain globalization of economic and financial crises, in a context where domestic governments are losing many of their instruments of intervention.

 

V- General conclusions

 

Is the world a better place today than it was twenty-five years ago? In certain aspects, the answer is yes; in some other aspects, the answer is no.

 

We can say that the overall economic globalization of the past quarter century has certainly had positive economic effects for several countries and their people, but that such globalization has perhaps gone too far, too fast, in some countries, especially since the global financial crisis of 2008-09.

 

Indeed, on one hand, trade globalization has resulted globally in economic benefits for consumers, for large corporations, their CEOs and for the most skilled workers. Some newly industrialized economies, such as the Chinese one, have also derived substantial benefits from economic globalization.

 

On the other hand, industrial globalization has set into motion a process of deindustrialization in many developed countries—especially in Europe—which has hurt small and medium businesses.

 

It has also concentrated the benefits of economic globalization on the most mobile factors of production (capital, corporations, new technologies) to the detriment of more immobile factors of production (labor, labor organizations and especially less-skilled workers).

 

Similarly, financial globalization has reduced the national sovereignty of most countries and lowered their governments’ capability to react to economic and social crises. The weakening of nation states and the disarmament of national governments in the face of international corporations and globalized mega banks are also important features or pitfalls of the overall movement towards economic globalization during the last quarter century.

 

How can we weigh the various elements of economic globalization? Have they benefited primarily an economic elite and left behind a trail of net losers, or have they benefited everybody to various degrees? It depends if we look at things from the viewpoint of a particular country or if we consider the entire world economy, and whether or not there are institutional mechanisms for the net winners of economic globalization to compensate the net losers.

 

For the global economy as a whole, the move towards economic globalization of the last quarter century has encouraged the spread of economic activity geographically, and it has resulted in a certain convergence of living standards, especially as the newly industrialized countries of Asia are concerned. On the other hand, this was made possible at the cost of a certain deindustrialization in many industrialized countries and of a rise in income and wealth inequalities in many countries. At the level of the particular country, the net economic results of economic globalization are an empirical question.

 

However, one thing stands out: globalization has profoundly changed the structure of social and political power within each country by strengthening corporate power and their leaders’ influence, and by decreasing the power of workers in general and of labor organizations in particular. There are indications that it has hurt the functioning of democracy in several countries.

 

One general conclusion in terms of economic policy: in the context of economic globalization, it would appear essential that national governments retain control over their financial and banking sectors, as well as over their monetary policies, if they want to avoid, in times of crisis, that their economies behave like a ship without a captain, without direction on a rough sea.

 

More generally speaking, because of so many hazards, I am afraid that the all-out economic globalization that is currently being imposed on nations and people alike risks imploding, sooner or later. This is a model that has too many economic and political pitfalls to persist without profound reforms. That is because it de facto transfers the real power in our societies from legitimate elected officials to officers of large corporations and of mega banks, and to owners of capital in general who, in turn, can use it to corrupt the political system to their advantage. —There exists a basic economic and democratic deficit to economic globalization that will not be easily corrected.

 

__________________________________________________

* Drawn from a conference by the author at the Humanist Symposium on Human Nature, held in Montreal, Saturday June

6, 2015.

 

Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is an international economist and author, whose latest books are:

The Code for Global Ethics, Prometheus Books, 2010; and The New American Empire, Infinity Publishing, 2003.

To read Dr. Tremblay’s blog, please visit: http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog.htm

The author can be reached at: rodrigue.tremblay1@gmail.com.

 

Posted Thursday, June 21, 2015, at 5:30 am

Email to a friend: Article #1169

 

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