By James Petras
June 08, 2018 “Information Clearing House” – The world is riven with class conflicts in Latin America, political conflicts between the Anglo-Americans and Russians, andeconomic conflicts between Washington against Europe and Asia.
The conflicts have called into question the capacity of ruling elites to promote growth, to secure international stability and to foster global as co-operation.
To understand the underlying source of conflicts it is essential to identify and unmask the underlying political and economic interests which spread and deepen class, regional and global confrontations.
Latin America: Reforms Which Deform
In recent decades throughout Latin America, rulers have spoken and demanded ‘reforms’ as essential to stimulate and sustain growth and foster equity and sustainability. The ‘reforms’ involve implementing ‘structural changes’ which require large scale privatization to encourage entrepreneurship and end state corruption; deregulation of the economy to stimulate foreign and domestic investment; labor flexibility to ‘free’ labor markets and increase employment; and lower business taxes. According to the reformers all this will lead to free markets and promote democratic values.
Over the past thirty years, ruling elites in Latin America have carried out IMF and World Bank structural reforms in two cyclical periods: between 1989-1999 and more recently between 2015-2018. In both cases the reforms have led to a series of major economic, political and social deformations.
During the first cycle of ‘reforms’, privatization concentrated wealth by transferring public means of production to oligarchs, and increased private monopolies, which deepened inequalities and sharpened class divisions.
Deregulation led to financial speculation, tax evasion, capital flight and public- private corruption.
‘Reforms’ deformed the existing class structure provoking social upheavals, which precipitated the collapse of the elite led ‘reforms’ and the advent of a decade of nationalist populist governments.
The populists restored and expanded social reforms but did not change the political and economic ‘deformations’, embedded in the state.
A decade later (2015) the ‘reformers’ returned to power and restored the regressive free market policies of the previous neo-liberal ruling elite. By 2018 a new cycle of class conflicts flared throughout Brazil and Argentina, threatening to overturn the existing US center free market order.
Anglo America Russophobes as Fake Miracle workers; the Post Christ Resurrections
As part of the propaganda campaign to discredit and isolate Russia, the UK and the Ukraine, stalwart flunkies of Washington, accused Moscow of assassinations by poison and bullets. Both alleged victims appeared live and well in due time!
On March 4, 2018, the Prime Minister of the UK Theresa May claimed that Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by Russian secret agents. Foreign Secretary Boris “Bobo” Johnson called the poison, ‘the most-deadly agent known to man’ (sic) – Novichok. According to “Terry and Bobo” the poison kills in 30 seconds. Two months later Sergei and Yulia were seen taking a stroll in a park.
The fake charges were promoted by the entire Anglo-Americans mass media. The UK proceeded to charge Putin with ‘crimes against humanity’ , backed additional diplomatic and economic sanctions, increased military spending for homeland defense and urged President Trump to take forceful action. Once the ‘victims’ ‘rose from the dead’ the media never questioned the regime’s claim of a Russian conspiracy planned at the highest level.
The UK scored a few trivial merit points from Washington, which, however, did not prevent President Trump from slapping a double-digit tariff on British steel and aluminum exports (with more to come)!
The Ukraine joined the line of toadies trying to secure President Trump’s approval by cooking up another Russian murder plot. This time Ukraine leaders claimed Kremlin agents assassinated one Arkady Babchenko, an anti-Russian journalist and self-proclaimed exile in Kiev.
On May 29, 2018, Arkady was found ‘murdered’ or so said the Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko and repeated, embellished and circulated by the entire western mass media.
On May 31, a wide-eyed ‘Arkady’ turned up alive and claiming his ‘resurrection’ was a planned plot to catch a Russian agent!
Western regimes systematic use of lies, plots and conspiracies are central to the imperial drive for world power.
In Syria, the US accused Damascus of using poisonous gas against its own people in order to justify NATO’s terror bombing of Aleppo’s civilian population!
In Libya, Obama and Clinton claimed President Gaddafi distributed Viagra to his armed forced to rape innocent civilians, precipitating the US-EU terror bombing of the country and rape and murder of President Ghaddafi.
The question is whether western leaders will seek papal recognition of CIA directed resurrections to coincide with Easter?
Appeasement and Trump’s ‘Triumph of Will’
EU kowtowing to President Trump’s grab for global power, has only aroused his desire to dominate their markets, dictate their trade relations and defense spending. Trump tells the EU that his enemies are theirs.
Trump believes in the doctrine of unilateral trade and ‘deals’ based on the principle that the US decides what you sell, how much you pay, and what you buy. The giant French oil multinational Total, which had promised to invest in Iran ,submitted to Trump and withdrew from its agreement and turned a deaf- ear to the French President
President Macron facing US tariffs on French exports bent his knee to Trump. Paris would support ‘joint efforts to reduce overcapacities, regulate subsidies and protect intellectual property’. Trump heard the ring of the EU begging cup and imposed tariffs and demanded more
The EU ‘vowed’ to retaliate to Trump’s tariffs by . . . sucking up to Trump’s trade war with China. The European Commission (EC) announced it was launching a case against . . . China! Echoing Trump’s allegations that Beijing was committing the ‘crime’ of insisting (‘forcing’ in EU rhetoric) foreign investors transfer technology as part of the basis for doing business.
Trump turned on Mexico and Canada, his flunky allies in NAFTA by slapping both with tariffs.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was ‘dismayed’ after wining and dining Trump in an embarrassing charm offensive, Trump ate, drank, and slapped a tariff on steel and aluminum and threatened to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement.
In response Trudeau cited Canada’s century and a half military support for US imperial wars. To no avail!
For Trump, the past is the past. It’s time to move ahead and for Canada to ‘buy American’.
And when Trudeau talked of imposing reciprocal tariffs on US exports, Trump countered by threatening to break all trading agreements. At which point Trudeau proposed ‘further’ negotiations.
Trump’s tariff on Mexican steel and aluminum exports evoked the robust response of a true Treaty lackey – the Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto claimed negotiations were ‘continuing’ and US companies were ‘involved’!
The harder Trump pushed, the greater the retreat of his EU and North American ‘allies’. Facing rhetorical retaliation from the EU, Trump tweeted German Prime Minister Merkle’s nose out of shape, by threatening to slap Germany with car tariffs worth $20 billion dollars.
The German Prime Minister and the head of Volkswagen broke ranks with the EU, and forgot all talk of retaliation and EU ‘unity’. They embraced negotiations and proposed ‘bilateral trans-Atlantic agreements based on Trump’s terms!
Trump is not improvising’, nor is he ‘erratic’. He wields power; he knows that his competitors’ spinelessness is accompanied by mutual back-stabbing and he is exploiting their appeasement, by encouraging their belly crawling.
President Trump exhibits a ‘will to power’.
Appeasement in the nineteen thirties allowed Germany to defeat and occupy Europe. President Trump ,in the 21st century. is defeating the EU and conquering its markets.
The language of politics is the politics of dominant world powers. Trump’s ‘reforms’ have deformed all past and present treaties,alliances and agreements in his drive for world domination.
While the UK and the Ukraine run errands, fabricating Russian assassinations and resurrecting victims, Trump has his eyes on the prize; the world’s biggest markets — the EU and China.
Yes, Trump may thank the Canadians for dying for US wars in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, but he tells Prime Minister Trudeau ‘ business is business Justin, now bend over and sing, ‘God Bless America’.
The same goes for Theresa May and Boris Johnson: close your eyes and enjoy watching our tariffs close steel mills now and auto plants tomorrow.
Trump knows his prostrate allies. He moralizes: ‘the more you screw them the better they like it’!
That’s the Trump doctrine. And its not only his personal views: the stock market loves it; the Silicon billionaires and the manufacturers are cashing in on protection at home and free markets overseas.
Trump will be entertained by the quartet of Trudeau, Macron, Merkel and May who will perform an original composition; “Making America Strong in a World of Wimps”.
James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. https://petras.lahaine.org