BBC interviews Iran’s Javad Zarif

HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi was in New York for a rare interview with Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif who was attending high level talks at the UN. Though it’s called HARDtalk, it should be called soft, because when Zarif calls out Western bs, the interviewer quickly deflects by changing the subject and is utterly uninterested in the plight of the Iranian people under US sanctions. Kudos to Zarif for giving his precious time to talk to such a lowly institution as the BBC whose so-called journalist, so thin that she looks like a zombie, is only capable of regurgitating Government talking points.

The 2nd Zimbabwean Hyperinflation

by Serban V.C. Enache

Zimbabwe is once again facing rampant inflation, a rate of almost 100 percent recorded in the month of May.

I felt the need to investigate its macros. As usual, the graphs are based on info from tradingeconomcis. An important development is that last month, the Government removed the legal tender status of foreign currencies and made the new Zimbabwean Dollar [RTGS] the sole legal tender.

The country dropped its national currency back in 2009, and replaced it with a multi [foreign] currency system in efforts to combat hyperinflation at the time. The recent reverse measure, taken by Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration, comes in response to dire commodity shortages across the country. Mnangagwa replaced Robert Mugabe as president two years ago in a coup. However, without sufficient US dollars to pay for imports, the country’s fuel stations have frequently run out and gasoline prices more than doubled between the months of January and April.

Fuel going up, coupled with the currency’s depreciation, made the cost of food, transportation, and housing utilities to soar. Due to the lack of confidence, as expected, more and more vendors set prices in US dollars.

In a milestone deal with the IMF last month, the Government agreed to cease net money creation [deficit spending] in order to pay its bills, which was a root cause of the sudden hyperinflation. The IMF is monitoring economic reforms for a year under a mutually agreed program. Debt relief was promised at the end of this year, provided the Government respects the deal. Companies are meant to trade RTGS dollars on an official market, but there were few takers. Analysts said that the Government’s gamble to force greater adoption of the RTGS might very well backfire, pushing transactions in foreign currencies underground.

With all these developments in mind, let’s see Zimbabwe’s flow of funds, and later on we’ll look at other indicators. The country has been a net exporter of Aggregate Demand and a net importer of goods for ten years straight. The Domestic Private sector [composed of domestic firms and households] has been going severely into debt for those same ten years. Only in the last two years was it able to net save financial assets, when the Government seriously expanded fiscal deficit spending.

We also see how the country’s money supply shot up, especially in 2018 and 2019. The M2 measurement [which includes cash and checking deposits + savings deposits, money market securities, mutual funds, and other time deposits] reached an all time high of 10.55 billion US dollars last March.

The unemployment figure has remained stable throughout years, but I don’t put much faith in the accuracy of this data, simply because of how the State defines being unemployed. For example, people like subsistence farmers, who consume all of their own output, are categorized as employed. And more to the point, the graph below is based on the “strict unemployed” definition [one who has been without work, is available for work and is actively seeking work]. The broader definition doesn’t require the latter condition.

Those working in the grey [informal] economy include people who do unpaid labor for a family business or paid employees who are not entitled to sick leave or paid holidays. In Zimbabwe, there are a great many who work in these circumstances. If we count as employed those workers on a payroll with taxes deducted at source and pension coverage, then the unemployment estimate is huge.

On to trade. South Africa owns the largest share of Zimbabwe’s exports. In my opinion, the country is far too dependent on its southern neighbor for commerce, and South Africa’s socio-political stability looks bleak these days. It would be better to seek out markets in different countries, in order to minimize risk and better handle potential negative demand shocks [for Zimbabwean exports] and negative supply shocks [for Zimbabwean imports].

The graph below shows Zimbabwe’s exports by countries of destination.

The graph below shows Zimbabwe’s imports by countries of source.

According to the World Bank, Zimbabwe’s exports sector as percentage of GDP last year was 22.9 percent and its imports sector 25.5 percent.

It’s safe to say that strategic bilateral relations cannot be formed, so long as Zimbabwe’s political class doesn’t compromise on a certain vector the country needs to maintain long term. Foreign investors [state and private agents] won’t be willing to come in, if they believe their investments will be at risk at the next election cycle, or if the chances for political instability and social upheaval are high. In recent years, Russia has been paying more attention to Africa, the northern states in particular, investing mostly in oil rigs and nuclear power plant deals. That’s one potential partner state with which the Mnangagwa administration should seek to do business.

Going back to Zimbabwe’s main trade partner, South Africa… that country is experiencing serious problems in rising criminality, and Ramaphosa’s land reform [confiscation without compensation] is bound to fail. In South Africa, since 1994, 21 percent of farms were put into Black African ownership. But more than 80 percent of those farms failed to remain economically active. If you ask Black farmers the reason for that miserable success rate, they blame the Government, and that’s absolutely true. That’s how you know it was a simulation of reform and not a legit effort behind it; because a singular reform, in and of itself, can’t be successful when everything else remains the same. In order to be a commercial success, an agribusiness requires access to infrastructure, to financial and physical capital, crop insurance, skilled labor, competent management, and access to markets capable of absorbing its output at a price which covers operation costs plus the markup.

South Africa [and Zimbabwe] needs a holistic approach to its national problems, and that means a combination of measures. Changing ownership doesn’t fix anything. The goal should be to decommodify land, which can be done via nationalization or [my personal preference] through site value taxation. Complementary measures should include: community land trusts, community banking, a national infrastructure investment plan, a national health care and education service, a national trade strategy, and last but not least, asset-side reform of the financial sector.

Reducing bureaucracy should be a priority as well. Currently, Zimbabwe is ranked 155th in 190 countries in the category of ‘ease of doing business.’ The more complex the laws and regulations are, the more wasteful and corrupt the system is. The State-dirigist method and Single Tax philosophy don’t require more time spent between citizen and bureaucrat, quite the opposite!

After Mugabe’s land reform, Zimbabwe isn’t out of the woods, and its population is growing too.

Using the printing press without any regard to budgetary rules, without any clear goal in mind, will only make the situation worse. The Zimbabwean Dollar [RTGS], in order to appreciate in value, requires a combination of tighter supply and higher demand for it. The Government’s specialists need to determine the country’s potential output vis-a-vis actual output and adjust fiscal policy in consequence. A negative output gap occurs when actual output is less than what the economy can produce at full capacity – while a positive output gap is the reverse and is inflationary.

The Government should aim for a near zero fiscal deficit; should temporarily ban the importation of luxury items, at least for a few years if not several years; should prioritize the importation of vital commodities – fuel, water, pharmaceuticals, grain, milk, and the like. The Central Bank should be ordered to run permanent zero interest rate policy. Reduced interest payments into the economy means a smaller supply of Zimbabwean currency. And the Government should only accept RTGS in payment of its exports, and it should only guarantee bank deposits denominated in RTGS. This combo would be sufficient to halt inflation, bring price stability and political confidence in state institutions and fuel hope for a better tomorrow.

The Duran: Ann Widdecombe causes UK meltdown

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the firestorm created by Ann Widdecombe’s speech before the EU, Strasbourg parliament, where the Brexit Party MEP compared the European Union to oppressors – and that people are rising up against their owners, their feudal masters. Widdecombe also singled out Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator.

My comment: Labour MP David Lammy, in the all too characteristic fashion of the identitarian left, was quick to exploit Widdecombe’s speech to express how offended he was by it; and made it all about race, “his ancestors” throwing off the bonds of slavery. Obviously, Lammy doesn’t know much about European history [European countries subjugating and killing each other in past epochs]. I applaud Ann Widdecombe. She’s a person who says what she thinks, and isn’t bothered if some people dislike her opinions. She’s a non-misandrist feminist and an ardent critic of misandrist ones, which is refreshing. I don’t agree with her on all issues, but if I was pro-exit, which I am, I’d be happy to have her on my side.

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The Globalists of Left & Right

by Serban V.C. Enache

In a previous article of mine [The Neo-Malthusian New Deal], I linked to Wolfgang Streeck’s review essay on ‘Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism’ by Quinn Slobodian. By condensing and summarizing the arguments of these two scholars, and giving my own thoughts on these grave matters, I hope to make the reader understand who contributed the bricks & mortar for the scheme known as globalization and how the left and right strive to achieve the same thing, the Feudal Dominion of International Shareholders.

From the very beginning, the ideological ambition was global and universal; the distinct, the particular, the unique, like customs, nationhood, and sovereign states, was and still is considered a threat to the grand design of a Weltwirtschaft [world economy] without borders, which was expected to restore the golden age of unfettered 19th century liberalism. The empires of free trade fell in 1918 and were replaced by a host of sovereign and potentially democratic nation states, which carried the prospect of ‘economic nationalism,’ a dangerous virus in the eyes of the globalists. After 1945 decolonization started and the introduction of majority voting in the UN General Assembly was introduced; these two anti-liberal political architectures, together with the Keynesian gospel of national self-sufficiency, threatened not just economic progress but the ‘open society, human freedom, and dignity,’ so it was claimed…

The new culture in which the globalists planted their seeds of ambition was called neoliberalism. This ideology was both opposed to nation states, and, at the same time, dependent on them for its very existence. It opposed the sovereign nation state as a vehicle for change, for such a vehicle has inherent tendencies to contain and or distort markets [the market being a creation of the state, though they would never admit it openly]. On the other hand, neoliberalism is dependent on the sovereign’s capacity to fend off and suppress the public’s demand for social security, which would de-liberalize the economy. I can think of no better example of such ideological thinking than Alex Jones. When referring to the New Zealand shooter’s “responsible markets” demand in his manifesto, Jones equated the adjective “responsible” with “controlled,” in his attempt to paint the criminal as a socialist, a left-winger. Going back to neoliberalism, its purpose was and is to weaken the nation state as an instrument of mass, popular will, while strengthening it as a bulwark against the ‘illiberal dispositions’ of the public – in other words, to paraphrase James Madison, the state’s role is to protect the opulent few [the rent-seekers] from the rest of humanity, from the well-organized majority to be more precise.

Democracy spreads the expectation of a more or less egalitarian outcome, some sort of real socio-economic gains for the many [likely in detriment to the ultra rich minority] – therefore, democracy had to be implemented in such a way as to prevent its entry into the realm of the economy. The state was to only patrol and enforce the institutional limits. Beyond those limits, democracy couldn’t enter – otherwise no chance for a free market; and of course, their free market idea was a bastardized version of Adam Smith’s, because Smith was referring to “free” as in free from rent-seeking. In the same spirit of sophistry, what’s commonly referred today as Keynesianism is actually the bastardized version of Keynes’ theory, popularized by Paul Samuelson and his ilk.

Friedrich Hayek cooked up constitutional designs for a democracy that couldn’t touch the economy. Mayhaps ridiculed at the time, Hayek’s institutional views of [pseudo] free markets and castrated nation states prevailed. Today, we hear the old, liberal rhetoric of the centrist-globalist factions alongside their mass media outlets, which rails against the evils of populism [ideas that resonate with ordinary people] – evil populism that will subvert the neoliberal market and the ‘freedoms’ which come with it. These freedoms are: 1) the free flow of goods, 2) the free flow of services, 3) the free flow of [financial] capital, 4) the free flow of labor. John Maynard Keynes maintained that the unrestricted [unregulated] flow of international capital endangers the self-governing experiment we call democracy. This the globalists knew and schemed for…

The globalists always knew that capitalism with democracy would result in state intervention, a majority of the population desiring to point the economy in a certain direction. They understood that democracy, inevitably national, can coexist with capitalism so long as democratic politics is restricted to the realm of traditional beliefs and customs, not accompanied by clear-cut interests of class or country. Cultural warfare was fine and desirable, as long as free trade and private property remained sacred. Neoliberalism didn’t mean disconnecting the state from the market, but, as Slobodian observed, “encasing” capitalism in state-policed institutions, where democracy had no access. In other words, an ideological and institutional bubble was created, a perpendicular realm erected on top of a society powerless to act or react to this realm.

Slobodian describes the history of neoliberalism, of its doctrine and politics, as that of a group of extraordinary people — the globalists, thoroughly ‘networked’ in an era in which networking had not yet been invented. Renewing itself over three generations, the group held together from the end of WW1 (1918) to the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the 1990s, the new peak or return of the former zenith of international capitalism.

The globalizers were both academics and business men, but academics who understood that a theory can become historically true only if it is connected to the commanding heights of politics and the economy. In Mont Pelerin, Hayek assembled his sponsors and followers for his battle against Keynesianism and social democracy. Slobodian refers to these men as the ‘Geneva School,’ who sought to infiltrate the ranks of institutional power, mass media, and public awareness in their quest to make the world liberal again. The globalists took the long view and didn’t break when they faced ridicule, opposition, or failures. They were a peculiar group, slowly turning into a church of so-called organic intellectuals. During the ’70s, international capitalism began dismantling the post WW2 economic architecture. This architecture – ugly to the globalists due to things like government buffer stock policies, government owned public utilities, jobs programs, and a regulated financial system – produced the following results in the United States, as noted by Marriner Eccles in 1951.

“Unlike some countries that I could name, where the rich have been getting richer and the poor have been poorer, our own development during the past two decades has been just the opposite. […] We have gone far toward bringing about a more equitable distribution, than was the case 20 years ago, of the goods and services which we as a nation can produce. […] In 1929 the highest 5 percent of all income recipients obtained 34 percent of the total national income, while, at the present time, they received but 18 percent of the total. […] Meanwhile, the share of total income received by those in the lower income classes has increased proportionately. […] This means that we have in the years since 1929 accomplished one of the great social revolutions of history, a revolution that has developed gradually and has been, and will continue to be of great benefit to our entire nation.”

The globalist sect organized on all levels: seminars, meetings, university departments, collective publications, gave prizes for the young, made connections with sponsors while themselves bankrolling whoever might at some point prove worthy of recruitment. Dissent on theory was allowed, so long as such divergence didn’t imply differences in practice, and their theories were made flexible. With careful and sustained efforts, the Geneva globalists steered a huge number of institutions across the entire Western world — like the Rockefeller Foundation in New York, to the GATT [The General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade] in Geneva. Through these outlets, the globalists waged their war on the nation state [democratic or otherwise], which still threatened their influence over the economy.

Early on, the Right understood the full implications of the fundamental conflict between capitalism and democracy while parts of the Left were still dreaming of an international capitalism with a social dimension or human face to it. West Germany’s ordoliberals, like Franz Bohm and Wilhelm Ropke, were a major force on the international, globalist stage. They were tenacious neoliberals, contributors to the rise of anti-New Deal currents in the United States as early as the 1950s. In fact, Ludwig von Mises, one of the great theoretical economists of his age, was heavily involved in the concoction of the neoliberal blight. Hypocritically, the staunch market-liberal Mises died of old age in ’73, in New York, in the same rent-controlled apartment on the Upper West Side he had lived in for decades.

The globalists saw the European Union, in its successive incorporations, as a model of how to tame the democratic nation state through a legally enshrined supranational market, one with guaranteed property rights and an anti-interventionist competition law. Combining isonomy [equality of political rights] and supra-national law, the model was to be enforced by an international court, thereby circumventing national legal and political institutions, rendering them impotent. All these efforts were very much in line with the Hayekian federation project of the 1930s and 1940s. Slobodian clearly explains how extensive and future-orientated the neoliberal project was from the late ’30s. When German ordoliberals went to Brussels to help design the legal and institutional architecture of an integrated Europe, they were able to bring with them carefully thought-out institutional blueprints, incomprehensible in scope and consequence to many of those outside this refined cabal.

One case in point, among many, is the astonishing continuity and inner coherence of the life’s work of a true polymath like Friedrich Hayek. He was involved in the Viennese debates of the 1920s on socialist planning and its limits. Joseph Schumpeter and Karl Polanyi also participated in those debates. They continued in the ’30s, on the eve of World War II, as Hayek wrote about international federations that were to secure world peace and safely enshrine a liberal economy – albeit this latter aspect would be disguised as a byproduct of the integration. Shortly before this, Hayek had dissociated himself from Konjunkturforschung (the econometric and mathematical study of the business cycle), which he found too akin to Keynesian ambitions to ‘steer’ the economy. By doing this, he gave a clear message that Keynes was clueless about economics. Sadly for Hayek, as empirical analysis shows, it was the other way around.

As Slobodian writes, Hayek himself declared the capitalist market economy to be ‘sublime’ and beyond human comprehension, something to be left to itself – and if one interfered with it, many evils could be unleashed upon the world. This type of mysticism is not new in the history of Mankind. The early Islamic economists argued the same, in order to keep the Sultan from meddling in the affairs of the bazaar. Like Paul Samuelson confesses in this very short clip, which I encourage the reader to watch, it’s all about the establishment’s use of superstitions to control the narrative. Hayek developed wide-ranging, utopian ideas about the right kind of political institutions for [neo]liberal political economies, institutions designed to keep politics away from markets and protect the unknowable economy from the intervention of the uneducated and under-educated masses who wanted a better social contract than that offered by the establishment.

We’ll go back to Hayek in a moment, but to better understand the difference in means and the equality of ends, I must contrast the Geneva globalist approach to that of the bolsheviks. I will cite from the book/Manifesto, Der Geist des Militarismus, Stuttgart 1915, by Nahum Goldmann [a leading Zionist and founder of the World Jewish Congress], from the English translation housed in the collection of the Leo Baeck Institute, p.37 – 38.

“The historical mission of our world revolution is to rearrange a new culture of humanity to replace the previous social system. This conversion and reorganization of global society requires two essential steps, firstly the destruction of the old established order, secondly, the design and imposition of the new order, the first stage requires elimination of all frontier borders, nationhood and culture, public policy, ethical barriers and social definitions. Only then, the destroyed old system elements can be replaced by the imposed system elements of our new order.

The first task of our world revolution is destruction. All social strata and social formations created by traditional society must be annihilated. Individual men and women must be uprooted from their ancestral environment, torn out of their native milieus, no tradition of any type shall be permitted to remain as sacrosanct. Traditional social norms must also be viewed only as a disease to be eradicated. The ruling dictum of the new order is, nothing is good so everything must be criticized and abolished. Everything that was must be gone.

The forces preserving traditional society are “free market capitalism” in the social economic realm, and “democracy” in the mental political realm. The capitalist free market does not fight against the old economic order, nor does democracy lead a fierce hot battle against the forces of reaction which oppose the new order, therefore our transformative work will be imposed through the unifying principle of the militaristic spirit, the negative task of destroying the old established order will be completely solved and finished only when all the human masses are all forcibly collectivized as uniformed soldiers under imposed mass-conformity of new order culturing.

After destruction of the old order, construction of the new order is a larger and more difficult task […] We will have torn out the old limbs from their ancient roots in deep layers, social norms will be lying disorganized and anarchic so they must be blocked against new cultural forms and social categories naturally re-emerging. The general masses will have been first persuaded to join as equals in the first task of destroying their own traditional society and economic culture, but then the new order must be forcibly established through people again being divided and differentiated only in accordance with the new pyramidal hierarchical system of our imposed global monolithic new world order.

With the above paragraph in mind, let’s return to Hayek. The man arrived at his theory of ‘complexity’, drawing on neuropsychology and general systems theory. As far as he was concerned, this delivered the ultimate proof of the levity and uselessness of any collective human attempt to intervene in the course of history, economic or otherwise, with the exception, obviously, of himself and his Mont Pelerin Society comrades. Complexity theory, as understood by Hayek, defended an aristocratic social order, those at the top being the only ones that mattered. While Hayekianism has long become the working hypothesis of neoliberalized capitalism, Slobodian’s great merit is that he helps us see the connection between the admirable scholarship, and the sinister political plot behind it. Hayek’s theory of complexity was conceived to frustrate the adepts of state interventionism [be they marxists or non-marxists] and ensure that the world continued to operate according to the market principle of cumulative advantage, as summed up in the bible of all places, “For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Matthew 25: 29). This, Hayek believed, and the neoliberals dutifully took from him, was still far better than social-democratic tampering with the mysteries of a hyper-complex global capitalism. The founder of the Austrian School of Economics, Carl Menger, didn’t have such ridiculous and esoteric beliefs regarding society. In fact, Menger was infinitely more sensible when it came to the state’s role in the economy. His view is summarized below…

Government thus has to intervene in economic life for the benefit of all not only to redress grievances, but also to establish enterprises that promote economic efforts but, because of their size, are beyond the means of individuals and even private corporations. These are not paternalistic measures to restrain the citizens’ activities; on the contrary, they furnish the means for promoting such activities; furthermore, they are of some importance for those great ends of the whole state that make it appear civilized and cultured. Important roads, railways and canals that improve the general well-being by improving traffic and communication are special examples of this kind of enterprise and lasting evidence of the concern of the state for the well-being of its parts and thereby its own power; at the same time, they constitute major prerequisites for the prosperity of a modern state. The building of schools, too, is a suitable field for government to prove its concern with the success of its citizens’ economic efforts.” Carl Menger’s Lectures to Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria (ed. by Erich W. Streissler and Monika Streissler; trans. Monika Streissler and David F. Good), E. Elgar, Aldershot.

As we can see, the Mont Pelerin method of destroying sovereignty, democracy, and nationhood is far more tactful, suave, and intellectual compared to the brutal ways of the bolsheviks. And less we forget, the opposite of feudalism is nationalism, which is why, in the beginning of the article, I described the phenomenon as the Feudal Dominion of International Shareholders.

The beauty, I think, of the so-called free market [free for rent-seekers, usurers, and private cartels] is that it’s so fantastical, it ignores history and even double-entry bookkeeping. The religion of the free market is based on three core lies. They conflated land with capital. They conflated money [records of debits and credits] with commodities [like gold, grain, wool etc]. They conflated the government/state with any other household or corporation, claiming it has the same financial limits. These myths have been thoroughly debunked by many people across time and across the political spectrum [here’s one example] – but they are called zombie myths for a reason, because they refuse to die… It’s because we are indoctrinated with these false ideas from early childhood, 24/7, which makes it very difficult for the individual to unlearn these lies and replace them with the truth or something closer to the truth. When people become aware that their entire belief system is based on lies [shattered assumptions], most simply refuse to uninstall the faulty OS from their brain and just close themselves off to anything remotely heterodox in nature.

The Left rallies behind a ‘no border’ program it believes to be anti-capitalist, unaware or unwilling to recognize that the abolition of the nation state is a dream that their political counterparts held long before them. The overriding goal of the globalists was to abolish, if not the nation state completely, then its political capacity to govern itself, by exposing it to a competitive world economy with safely enshrined property rights, rights more akin to privileges, due to the deliberate conflation of Land [the Natural Commons] with Capital [the product of spent Labor], creating in effect a system of cartelized, rentier markets and an ideology of neo-feudalism. Anything that could provoke popular opposition to this had to take second place. If immigration on a large scale threatened to wake up sleeping dogs [mass movements], the globalists didn’t push it. This restraint had pragmatic reasons behind it, in the logic that competition in global markets for goods, services, and capital sufficed to do the trick and reduce nation states to mere regions in which some colorful flags with national inscriptions are waved. Failing this, immigration across open borders as a universal human right under international law was kept in reserve as another tool to soften up national solidarity by importing the international market for labor into the national political economy.

When it came down to the capitalist basics, the practical men from the MPS [Mont Pelerin Society] not only abandoned ‘racist’ objections to ‘multiculturalism’ and the like, but denounced them with much the same rhetoric as their apparent opponents on the radical Left. It’s important to note that the Mont Pelerin Society, the Frankfurt School, Post-Modernism, and other groups/currents like them [on the right and left] were heavily funded by Western oligarchs and Western Secret Services. Frances Stoner Saunders makes it abundantly clear in his book, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters. The goals were fairly simple – substitute class interests and class antagonism with cultural, racial, gender, and sexuality issues, preach false solutions, and demoralize the population [the working class in particular].

Wolfgang Streeck ponders the following… Can the freedom of movement of labor [the fourth of the four trans-national freedoms of the neoliberal utopia] still be pushed while the other three are being pulled back into the confines of democratic, national politics? This also raises the issue of whether socially and economically mixed countries exposed to unfettered immigration [and migration] can muster the political will to fight internal inequality by protecting their societies from the vagaries of global markets. Is a country able to re-establish the national economic system without having control over its own immigration policy?

Wilfully neutered academics have engaged in mental gymnastics and fancy equations to come up with things like multi-level government, global governance, public choice, complexity, subsidiarity etc, taking them seriously on their face value and turning them into fashionable intellectual toys of a shallow social science, entirely unperturbed by its political irrelevance. Here there was a clear vision, a desire to make history through domesticated academics, simultaneously free and cut off from political and social responsibility. Compared to Slobodian’s globalists, the army of political scientists that specialized, mostly with funding from Brussels, in debating things like inter-governmentalism vs neo-functionalism, must appear hopelessly out of touch with the real world. But the globalists of Geneva and the Mont Pelerin Society and their audience understood what they were talking about, so well in fact they didn’t always have to be explicit about it, whereas their academic mouthpieces had no idea from which source their daily bread came. Taken out of context, however, these concepts became entirely arbitrary; they could mean whatever meaning one attributed to them. To avoid suspicion and criticism, euphemistic jargon was employed to wash out any association with capitalism – things like ‘integration’ and ‘social dimension’…

A better life for all, now or later, was enshrined in the so-called four freedoms: 1) the free flow of goods, 2) the free flow of services, 3) the free flow of [financial] capital, 4) the free flow of labor. The ‘no-borders’ Left wants to suspend the first three and keep the fourth. The economic nationalists wish to suspend all four. The liberal-dems wish to keep the first three and suspend the fourth. While the neoliberals want to keep all four. I wrote a while back on the fourth element in an article called Historical and Socialist Views on Immigration.

Capitalism was for the [mainstream] economists a sublime realm of esoteric mathematics. In contrast, the globalists had long given up on such mysticism, using the economic profession simply as a tool for propaganda to convince the dirty masses of what their ‘true needs’ were; the dictums were simple – tighten your belt if you wish to prosper – privatizing profits and socializing losses is good for the economy – usury and rent-seeking are “normal” economic activity… But the globalists had moved on to the realm of laws and political institutions, engineering the supreme instruments with which to castrate politics. Sovereign, democratic states were dangerous for them, because through these vehicles the mass of humanity would command greater bargaining power, to the detriment of the opulent minority. As such, the globalists had to turn the state vehicle into the great protector of [rentier] capitalism.

Yet hope remains and it comes from the East… I will end with this statement from April made by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: “The Western liberal model of development, which particularly stipulates a partial loss of national sovereignty – this is what our Western colleagues aimed at when they invented what they called globalizationis losing its attractiveness and is no more viewed as a perfect model for all. Moreover, many people in the very Western countries are skeptical about it.”

The Duran: Is Moldova the next Ukraine?

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the crisis in Moldova, where President Igor Dodon has now overturned a decree dissolving parliament, which was instituted by the pro-EU Democratic Party. Following the elections in February, Moldova’s parliament failed to establish a ruling coalition government, and on Saturday avoided the dissolution of Parliament after the Party of Socialists, supporting Moldovan President Igor Dodon, agreed to govern together with the other pro-EU bloc ACUM, in order to oppose the pro-EU Democratic Party led by the oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, which controlled the former parliament and the cabinet.

The leader of the Party of Socialists Zinaida Greceanii was elected the parliament’s speaker, and the government was formed with Maia Sandu, who heads the Party of Action and Solidarity, a part of the ACUM bloc, as prime minister. The Democratic Party initially refused to recognize the new government, but in the end they had to cave in. Alexander Mercouris raises the alarm on the increasingly polarized situation in Moldova and Alex Christoforou asks what the EU has to gain from another problem state. The militarized, separatist republic of Transnistria is also mentioned.

My Comment: I have to bring in a little historical background before giving my 2 cents on contemporary events. The Principalities of Moldova and Wallachia united between 1856 and 1862. The key moment of unification was in 1859 when Alexandru Ioan Cuza became ruler. This covered the historical regions of Oltenia, Muntenia, western Moldova, and southern Bessarabia. The political union between the two Principalities was the first step towards the creation of the Kingdom of Romania. The country joined the Russo-Turkish war [1877-1878], and at the end of that conflict, Romania alongside Montenegro and Serbia gained their independence from the Ottoman Empire. Later on, Romania entered World War 1 on the side of the Entente, with the goal of forming Greater Romania, which happened in 1918, when Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Transylvania joined the Romanian Kingdom.

In 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, which divided Eastern Europe into the German and Soviet spheres of influence. Bessarabia was among those regions assigned to the Soviets. Article 3 of this secret protocol stated, “With regard to Southeastern Europe attention is called by the Soviet side to its interest in Bessarabia. The German side declares its complete political disinterest in these areas.”

In the month of March 1940, Molotov declared, “We [the USSR] do not have a pact of non-aggression with Romania. This is due to the presence of an unsolved issue, the issue of Bessarabia, the seizure of which the Soviet Union never recognized although it never raised the issue of returning it by military means.” The Romanian state viewed such statements as a threat and rightly so – for on June 26 that same year, the same Molotov, as Soviet People’s Commissar, gave an ultimatum to the Romanian plenipotentiary minister to Moscow, in which the Soviet Union demanded the evacuation of the Romanian military and civil administration from Bessarabia and from the northern part of Bukovina. The state had no choice but to do as ordered. Romania not only lost those regions to the Soviets, but Hitler’s arbitration of the claims held by Hungary over Romanian territory made matters worse. Under the Vienna Dictate of August 30th 1940, Northern Transylvania was ceded to the Hungarians [who were not pleased and wanted more].

Fast forward to today’s events, unionist sentiments remain pretty strong among both countries, more so in Romania, however, the political class in both states is wholly unconcerned with such aspirations. From my understanding, Maia Sandu is only pro-EU and not a unionist. I agree with Mr. Mercouris that the Constitutional Court’s decision was a political coup. It seems this Vladimir Plahotniuc of the Democratic Party is firmly in control of Moldova’s police and justice systems. The popular uproar was triggered when the Constitutional Court basically annulled the elections’ result, suspended Igor Dodon as President, and named Pavel Filip as the interim President. This new coalition of opposites between [pro-Russian] Dodon and [pro-EU] Sandu put an end to Plahotniuc’s gambit, at least for now.

I do believe Moldova and Romania can unite to re-form Greater Romania [leaving the separatists of Transnistria to their own fate], but only if unionist forces manage to convince Washington and Moscow to agree to a settlement. One major point necessary for Russia to give its blessing is for Moldova’s territory to remain unintegrated with NATO’s military forces and infrastructure. I don’t think Russia would have a problem with Moldova becoming part of the EU, so long as the EU normalizes financial and economic relations with Moscow and NATO tones down its provocative statements and military exercises. I fear that such an outcome is just implausible, at least with the current US administration.

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