global south

Hybrid war hyenas tearing Brazil apart

Dilmagc2smFrom the keyboard of Pepe Escobar
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DilmaBrazil's President Dilma Rousseff. © Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters​

Originally published in RT on April 19, 2016


The gloomy and repulsive night when the female president of the 7th largest economy in the world was the prey of choice fed to a lynch mob of hyenas in a drab, provincial Circus Maximus will forever live in infamy.

By 367 votes for and 137 against, the impeachment/coup/regime change-light drive against Dilma Rousseff cleared the Brazilian Congressional circus and will now go to the Senate, where a “special commission” will be set up. If approved, Rousseff will then be sidelined for 180 days and a low-rent tropical Brutus, Vice-President Michel Temer, will ascend to power until the Senate’s final verdict.

This lowly farce should serve as a wake-up call not only to the BRICS but to the whole Global South. Who needs NATO, R2P (“responsibility to protect”) or “moderate rebels” when you can get your regime change just by tweaking a nation’s political/judicial system?

The Brazilian Supreme Court has not analyzed the merit of the matter – at least not yet. There’s no solid evidence anywhere Rousseff committed a “crime of responsibility”; she did what every American President since Reagan has done – not to mention leaders all across the world: along with her vice-president, the lowly Brutus, Rousseff got slightly creative with the federal budget’s numbers.

The coup has been sponsored by a certified crook, president of the lower house Eduardo Cunha; reportedly the holder of several illegal accounts in Switzerland, listed in the Panama Papers and under investigation by the Supreme Court. Instead of lording over near-illiterate hyenas in a racist, largely crypto-fascist circus, he should be behind bars. It beggars belief that the Supreme Court has not launched legal action against Cunha. The secret of his power over the circus is a gigantic corruption scheme lasting many years, featuring corporations contributing to his and others’ campaign financing.

And that’s the beauty of a regime change-light/color revolution of Hybrid War when staged in such a dynamically creative nation such as Brazil. The hall of mirrors yields a political simulacrum that would have driven deconstructionists Jean Baudrillard and Umberto Eco, if alive, green with envy; a Congress crammed with fools/patsies/traitors/crooks, some of whom are already being investigated for corruption, has conspired to depose a president who is not under any formal corruption investigation – and has not committed any “crime of responsibility”.

The neoliberal restoration

Still, without a popular vote, the massively rejected tropical Brutus twins, Temer and Cunha, will find it impossible to govern, even though they would perfectly incarnate the project of the immensely arrogant and ignorant Brazilian elites; a neoliberal triumph, with Brazilian “democracy” trampled down six feet under.

It’s impossible to understand what happened at the Circus Maximus this Sunday without knowing there’s a gaggle of Brazilian political parties that are seriously threatened by the non-stop overspill of the Car Wash corruption investigation. To ensure their survival, Car Wash must be “suspended”; and it will, under the bogus “national unity” proposed by lowly Brutus Temer.

But first, Car Wash must produce a high-profile scalp. And that has to be Lula in jail – compared to which the crucifixion of Rousseff is an Aesop fable. Corporate media, led by the noxious Globo empire, would hail it as the ultimate victory, and nobody would care about Car Wash’s enforced retirement.

The 54 million-plus who voted for Rousseff’s reelection in 2014 voted wrong. The overall “project” is a government without vote and without people; a Brazilian-style parliamentary system, without bothering with pesky “elections” and crucially, including very“generous” campaign financing flexibility not bound to incriminate powerful companies/corporations.

In a nutshell, the ultimate aim is to perfectly “align” the Brazilian Executive, Legislative, Judiciary and corporate media interests. Democracy is for suckers. Brazilian elites remote controlling the hyenas know very well that if Lula runs again in 2018, he will win. And Lula has already warned; he won’t buy any “national unity” crap; he’ll be back in the streets fighting whatever illegitimate government pops up.

We’re now open for plundering

As it stands, Rousseff runs the risk of becoming the first major casualty of the NSA-originated, two-year-long Car Wash investigation. The President, admittedly an incompetent economic manager and lacking the right stuff of a master politician, believed that Car Wash – which practically prevented her from governing – would not reach her because she is personally honest. Yet Car Wash’s not so hidden agenda was always regime change. Who cares if in the process the nation is left on the verge of being controlled exactly by many of those indicted by the anti-corruption drive?

Lowly Brutus Temer – a vanity case version of Argentina’s Macri – is the perfect conduit for the implementation of regime change. He represents the powerful banking lobby, the powerful agribusiness lobby and the powerful federation of industries in Brazil’s economic leader, the state of Sao Paulo.

The neo-developmentalist project for Latin America – uniting at least some of the local elites, invested in developing internal markets, in association with the working classes – is now dead, because what may be defined as sub-hegemonic, or peripheral, capitalism is mired in crisis after the 2008 Wall Street-provoked debacle. What’s left is just neoliberal restoration. TINA (“there is no alternative”). This implies, in the Brazilian case, the savage reversion of Lula’s legacy; social policies, technological policies, the drive to globally expand large, competitive Brazilian companies, more public universities, better salaries.

In a message to the nation, Brutus Temer admitted as much; “hope”after impeachment will be absolutely swell for “foreign investment”, as in let them plunder the colony at will; back to the trademark history of Brazil since 1500.

So Wall Street, US Big Oil and the proverbial “American interests” win this round at the circus – thanks to the, once again proverbial, vassal/comprador elites. Chevron execs are already salivating with the prospect of laying their hands on the pre-salt oil deposits; that was already promised by a trusted vassal in the Brazilian opposition.

The coup goes on. The real hyenas haven’t yet pounced. So it's far from over.


PepePepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

NATO Attacks!!

Off the keyboard of Pepe Escobar
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THE ROVING EYE

Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen walks past a guard of honour at the Czech government HQ

Originally published in Asia Times on September 3, 2014
Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

First thing we do, let’s kill all the myths. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is nothing but the Security Council of the Empire of Chaos. 

You don’t need to be a neo-Foucault hooked on Orwellian/Panopticon practices to admire the hyper-democratic“ring of steel” crossing average roads, parks and even ringing castle walls to “protect” dozens of NATO heads of state and ministers, 10,000 supporting characters and 2,000 journalists from the real world in Newport, Wales – and beyond. 

NATO’s summit in Wales also provides outgoing secretary-general Anders “Fogh of War” Rasmussen the chance to display his full attack dog repertoire. It’s as if he’s auditioning for a starring role in a remake of Tim Burton’s epic Mars Attacks! 

Fogh of War is all over the place, talking “pre-positioning of supplies, equipment” – euphemism for weapons; boosting bases and headquarters in host countries; and touting a 10,000-strong, rapid reaction “spearhead” force to respond to Russian “aggression” and deployable in a maximum of five days. 

Meanwhile, in a bad cop-bad cop routine, outgoing president of the European Commission, outstanding mediocrity Jose Manuel Barroso, leaked that Russian President Vladimir Putin told him over the phone later last week he could take Kiev in a fortnight if he wanted. 

Well, Putin could. If he wanted. But he doesn’t want it. What matters is what he told Rossiya state TV; that Kiev should promote inclusive talks about the future statute of Eastern Ukraine. Once again, the Western spin was that he was advocating the birth of a Novorossiya state. Here, The Saker analyzes in detail the implications of what Russia really wants, and what the Novorossiya forces really want. 

With Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite predictably spinning that Russia is “at war with Europe”, and British Prime Minister David Cameron evoking – what else – Munich 1938 (Chamberlain appeasing Hitler), Fogh of War has had all the ammo he needs to sell his Einsatzgruppen. Cynics are excused to believe NATO’s spearhead force is actually The Caliph’s IS goons raising hell in “Syraq”. 

Warmongering, though, is not an easy sell in a crisis-hit EU these days. Not only Germany, but also France, Italy, Spain, Romania, Hungary and even Poland have expressed “reluctance” one way or another to back NATO’s strategy of a more “robust” presence in Eastern Europe and the Baltic. Moreover, the Empire of Chaos and its Brit junior partner in the “special relationship” want everyone to shell out more cash (a minimum of 2% of GDP). Even as the EU is facing no less than its third recession in five years. 

The bottom line is there will be no more rotation on NATO’s Eastern front. Legally, the set up cannot be defined as “permanent”, because it will go against a 1997 NATO-Russia pact. But it will be permanent. That applies to Szczecin, in Poland, near the Baltic, and the so-called multinational Corps Northeast – land, air and sea. Estonia and Latvia for all practical purposes are being touted as “Putin’s next targets”. And defending them from “Russian aggression” is NATO’s new red line. 

Additionally, Finland and Sweden may sign NATO Host Nation agreements. This implies NATO forces may use Swedish and Finnish territory in the future on the way to what’s hazily referred to as “operations”. At least deployment of foreign troops still needs parliamentary approval – and Swedes and Finns are bound to raise eyebrows. 

No R2P for you, buddy 
Even with all this Mars Attacks! hysteria, NATO in thesis won’t discuss Ukraine in depth in Wales – or an imminent R2P (“responsibility to protect”) Ukraine from the remixed “Evil Empire” (copyright Ronnie Reagan). But there will be “military consultations” and a bit of cash shelled out to the Kiev military – who are having their (bankrupt) collective behind solemnly kicked by the federalist/separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine as much as NATO had theirs kicked by a bunch of Pashtuns with Kalashnikovs in Afghanistan. 

By the way, the latest US$1.4 billion the International Monetary Fund shelled out to Ukraine – the Mobster-style interest will hit much later – will be used by an already bankrupt Kiev mostly to pay for a bunch of T-72 tanks it bought from Hungary. Money for nothing, tanks for free. 

Ukraine, it must be stressed, is not a NATO member. Technically, every NATO bureaucrat in Brussels admits that a candidate country must request membership. And countries with regions mired in an international dispute are not accepted. So Ukraine would only be considered if Kiev gave up Crimea. It’s not going to happen. 

Still, Washington’s obsessive play to annex Ukraine to NATO will keep marching on (in the matter of accession, by the way, the European Union would issue a firm “no”). Outgoing Prime Minister Arseniy “Yats” Yatsenyuk as well as President Poroshenko, are desperate for a NATO intervention, or at least Ukraine being accepted as some form of privileged ally. Yats expects “monumental decisions from our Western partners at the summit”. In vain. 

NATO somehow is already in Ukraine. A NATO cyber center group has been in Kiev since March, operating in the building of the Council of National Security and Defense. So it is a bunch of NATO bureaucrats who actually determine the news agenda in Ukraine – and the non-stop demonization of all things Russia. 

Ukraine is all about Germany now. Berlin wants a political solution. Fast. Berlin wants Russian gas flowing via Ukraine again. Fast. Berlin does not want US missile defense in Eastern Europe – no matter what the Baltic states scream. That’s why Poroshenko’s latest “Invasion! Invasion! Invasion!” craze is nothing but pure desperation by a lowly, bankrupt vassal of the Empire of Chaos. Of course that does not prevent Fogh of War – who got the NATO job because he was an enthusiastic cheerleader of the rape of Iraq – to keep crying “Invasion!” till all Danish retrievers come home. 

Real deal
And then there’s NATO’s recent record. An ignominious defeat in Afghanistan. A “humanitarian” bombing that reduced once-stable Libya to a miserable failed state immersed in total anarchy and ravaged by rabid militias. Not exactly fabulous PR for NATO’s future as a coalition assembly line with global “vocation”, capable of pulling off expeditionary wars all around the world by creating the appearance of a military and political consensus unified by – what else – an Empire of Chaos doctrine: NATO’s “strategic concept” approved at the 2010 Lisbon summit. (See US a kid in a NATO candy store, Asia Times Online, November 25, 2010.) 

Since those go-go “Bubba” Clinton years; through the “pre-emptive” Dubya era; and now under the R2P dementia of Obama’s warring Medusas (Rice, Power, Hillary), the Pentagon dreams of NATO as global Robocop, dominating all the roles embodied by the UN and the EU in terms of security. This has absolutely nothing to do with the original collective defense of NATO signatories against possible territorial attacks. Oh, sorry; we forgot the attacks by those (non-existent) nuclear missiles deployed by evil Iran. 

The Ukraine battleground at least has the merit of showing the alliance is naked. For the Full Spectrum Dominance Pentagon, what really matters above all is something that’s been actually happening since the fall of the Soviet Union; unlimited NATO expansion to the westernmost borders of Russia. 

The real deal this September is not NATO. It’s the SCO’s summit. Expect the proverbial tectonic shifts of geopolitical plaques in the upcoming meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – a shift as far-reaching as when the Ottoman empire failed at the gates of Vienna in 1683. On the initiative of Russia and China, at the SCO summit, India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia will be invited to become permanent members. Once again, the battle lines are drawn. NATO vs SCO. NATO vs BRICS. NATO vs Global South. Therefore, NATO attacks! 

 

 

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

The Geopolitics of the World Cup

Off the keyboard of Pepe Escobar

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fifa world cup

Originally published in Asia Times on June 12, 2014
Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

 

By Pepe Escobar

SAO PAULO – One of the defining images of the World Cup – so far – has been the sight of the Mannschaft – aka the German team – fraternizing with Pataxo Indians a few hundred meters away from the spot where Brazil was “discovered” in 1500. Call it a European re-discovery of the exotic tropics.

Then there’s the English Team frolicking by the seaside, inside a military base, with the Sugarloaf as gorgeous backdrop, backed up by a scientific expert in humidity and industrial ventilators aplenty (after all there’s the Rumble in the Jungle against Italy this Saturday “deep in the Amazon rainforest”, as British tabloids tell it.)

The World Cup – the greatest show on earth – kicks off just as a relentless Made in the West (client states included) anti-Chinese and anti-Russian propaganda/downright vilification shatters all known hysteria levels.

And that means the BRICS are a target; in the case of Brazil, an emerging power sitting strategically over the bulk of the Amazon rainforest just as progressive Latin American integration has dared to turn the Monroe Doctrine into (branded) toilet paper.

Recently, Brazil brought at least 30 million people out of poverty. China invests in medical care and education. Russia refuses to be bullied as in the drunkard Yeltsin years. In the past few years, the World Cup has been all about the BRICS: South Africa in 2010, Brazil now, and Russia in 2018. Qatar in 2022 – if it ever happens – is more like a Gulf petrodollar-fueled bribery racket gone wrong.

It’s amusing to check how the City of London – which loves Russian cash, craves Chinese investment and has a soft spot for Brazilian soft power – takes it all in. With an added strand of British humor, they could easily have interpreted the Rumble in the Jungle as NATO battling it out in the middle of the much-coveted rainforest (think the water wars of the near future).

That other World Cup 
And then, just two days after the start of the World Cup, Brazilian neighbor Bolivia hosts no less than a G-77+ China summit – actually 133 UN member-nations, the whole thing presided over by Evo Morales, who is a sort of Andean distant cousin of the Pataxos who so fascinated the Germans.

Call it also the meeting of ALBA (the Bolivarian Alternative to the Americas, which includes Cuba) and the BRICS (only Russia won’t be present). American exceptionalists are furious that the BRICS are spearheading the transition towards a multipolar world – something that’s already at play in football (think Spain, Germany, Italy on one side, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay on another).

Emulating football, a South-to-South counterpunch to the hegemony of the industrialized North is also in play. Brazil, China, and Russia, in their different strategies, are all betting on more South-South integration – from the Banco del Sur (the Bank of the South) to the upcoming BRICS development bank (there’s a crucial BRICS summit next month in Brasilia), on the way to a more egalitarian system that ideally could be financed by a percentage of foreign debt, a percentage of military expenditure and a global tax on speculative financial transactions.

And it’s never enough to remember that the G-77 is about decolonization; no Empire of Bases; and no interference of the NSA-coordinated Orwellian/Panopticon complex in the Global South.

Now compare it with the official Adidas Coca-Cola Hyundai Kia Motors Emirates Sony Visa Anheuser-Busch InBev (Budweiser) Castrol Continental Johnson & Johnson McDonald’s Itau FIFA-sanctioned entertainment and fun 2014 World Cup Brazil – which industry bible AdvertisingAge broke down as “the Super Bowl every day for an entire month“.

Firmly opposing it, we find an array of South-South associations/solidarity/social movements denouncing everything arguably embedded with the mighty enterprise, from hardcore post-capitalist neo-colonization to outright criminalization of the poor.

And among these movements we find, not surprisingly, Global South icon Diego “Hand of God” Maradona, who said this week, “FIFA gets $4 billion (out of the Cup) while the champion nation gets $35 million. This is wrong. The corporation is delivering a death blow to football”.

Football is war 
Much has also been made of the parallel between hyper-capitalist globalization – as graphically expressed by the World Cup and the mega-business of contemporary football – and nationalism.

Well, the world is not and will never be flat; it’s a Himalaya/Pamir/Hindu Kush of varied inequality altitudes, subjected to snow avalanches including trade, commerce, immigration flows and technology breakthroughs. None of these are able to shatter national fibers. It’s still “us” against “them”, as much in the Global South defining Americans and Europeans as “gringos” as in swathes of the industrialized North patronizing/profiting from the “exotic” Global South.

There’s nothing post-national about the World Cup. In the terrain of hardcore geopolitics, the highly centralized European Union is fragmenting under the weight of a bunch of right-wing or extreme right-wing nationalist parties; in football, the major difference, compared to hardcore geopolitics, is that there’s not only one exceptionalist power but a handful, from Spain to Brazil, from Germany to Italy, from Argentina to France.

Rinus Michels, coach of the Clockwork Orange, the Dutch national team that startled the world in 1974 (alas, they didn’t win), once said that football is war (compare it to maverick director Samuel Fuller, who said cinema is a battlefield). The World Cup is war by other means; an officially sanctioned, ritualized clash of nationalisms. So it’s all about Pick your Tribe; only that after your tribe is out of play you switch to another, replacement tribe – which any effete epicurean would arguably define as Italy. After all they have the most stirring national anthem. They’ve got the best food and the best clothes. And of course, they’ve got Andrea “the Magician” Pirlo.

A new way of playing ball?
Brazil, widely praised as The Land of Football, also happens to be the global leader in reduction of carbon emissions, according to recent research published by Science magazine, managing at the same time to increase agricultural production while saving more rainforest.

And yet, and as usual with all things Brazil, all things World Cup got incredibly messy – a running metaphor of the typical assortment of ills faced by the struggling Global South. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been forced to appeal to the historical stereotype of the Brazilian “cordial man” and stress tolerance, diversity, dialogue and even sustainability, as well as condemning racism and prejudice, to exhort the population to forget about their troubles and welcome an army of foreign visitors.

That’s a given, considering the average Brazilian is heartwarming and exceedingly friendly; the devil is in the details – as in, for instance, at least 200,000 poor people evicted from their places or at least threatened with eviction, to make way for major works bound to increase “urban mobility”. Well, only 10% of these works were finished, due in most cases to massive corruption. In Rio, not a single real was invested in a chaotic transport system serving the proletarian peripheral sprawl.

Wildly popular Lula, when he was still the president of Brazil in 2009, said that no taxpayer money would be spent on the World Cup. Well, not directly; most of the funding came from the National Bank for Economic Development, a bank that lends money to banks. Builders of new stadia also benefited from generous tax exemptions.

The bottom line is that Rousseff’s government ended up losing the media battle. Over and over, Rousseff has had to explain that the Cup will cost a fraction of what is invested in health and education (that’s open to debate.) Virtually half of the Brazilian population is not convinced.

And still what’s certain is that a Brazilian World Cup win automatically ensures Rousseff’s re-election.

But the recent wave after wave of protests has in fact transcended the current administration. It’s as if all these diverse social movements have been manifesting the ultimate utopian desire; to erase, in one go, centuries of injustice perpetrated by Brazil’s notoriously rapacious and arrogant/ignorant elites – which have always implemented total political and economic exclusion based on noxious race and class prejudice.

So this whole drama is not simply about “anti-neoliberal” or “anti-capitalist” stirrings. It goes way beyond nationalism. And it could be way more transcending than the textbook for a revolution using football as a pretext. Whatever the final result of this war revolving around a football, Brazil could yet teach a lesson to the whole Global South.

In victory, and even in glorious defeat, Brazil may end up finding the stamina to pursue a new strategic overture – a new, non-arrogant, non- neocolonial, non-weaponized, non-exceptionalist way to lead and exercise power, build alliances and clinch grand geopolitical agreements in a multipolar world. A new way of playing ball. So let this New Great Game begin.

 

***

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

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SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

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Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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Technical Journals

Climate change imposes great challenges on the built heritage sector by increasing the risks of ener [...]

Deterministic–stochastic empirical mode decomposition (EMD) is used to obtain low-frequency (n [...]

At the sub-national level, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) proposes [...]

The recent droughts in the American Southwest have led to increasing risks of wildfires, which pose [...]