The Duran: US-China Trade War Heralds New World System

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the economic and political divorce unfolding between the US and China. President Trump announced last week he would add 10 percent tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods starting on September 1st. The move covers all goods the US buys from China. In response, Beijing allowed its currency, the yuan, to weaken to more than 7 per 1 USD, a level many analysts considered important. Trump called the slide in the Chinese yuan “a major violation.” For the first time in 15 years, the US Treasury Department proceeded to name China a currency manipulator.

My comment: Alexander Mercouris is right on the benefits inherent to mutually assured deterrence. I believe the divorce between the two super-powers is inevitable as well. And just to be clear, even though the process kicked off under Trump’s term, it was taught out well before he took office. That’s why US trade sanctions and military escalation have bipartisan support; and why pro-peace voices are labeled as “Putin stooges.” I’m also disappointed by the Chinese… they continue to put the exports sector ahead of domestic consumption. What’s the point in another devaluation of the yuan vs the USD? You retain your chunk of the US market. For what purpose? All dollars owned by the Chinese as checking and saving accounts at the US central bank are at risk, given the geopolitical situation between the two. It’s high time China recycled some of its trade surpluses in other countries, to the benefit of foreign exporters and their own citizens.

With regard to the European Union. I’m highly skeptical of any major divergence from Washington’s dictates. Western Europe is US military occupied territory. The US can strangle Europe in more ways than one – and its propaganda outlets are stronger than ever. National intelligence services of EU member states are in the USA’s pockets. A military switch of allegiance would result in economic warfare, sabotage, and widespread unrest. Regardless of who’s in the right or wrong, those who control the propaganda machine control the narrative. And unless there’s a massive economic crisis, no significant geopolitical shift will occur. The unipolar moment is gone; and new alliances are shaping the world…

Iran Should Go Its Own Way

by Serban V.C. Enache

This is a brief case of why I think Iran should leave the JCPOA, in spite of all the bad press it’s going to get on the international stage. The seizure of the Iranian oil tanker bound for Syria should be the last straw. It was nothing short of piracy, completely illegal under international law. Teheran’s strategy of patience vis-a-vis the Western powers was tried and it failed; that’s clear as daylight and any more pussyfooting around will scarcely delay the inevitable [i.e. a permanent cold war situation]. The UN and other international organizations, like the IAEA, simply don’t matter if the Hegemon has set its mind, facts and honor be damned.

The biggest pushers for an Iran-US conflict are the neoconservatives, and sadly, that course of action has support at grassroots level among the Christian Zionists – we’re talking here about the Right, not the Far Right [KKKers and Neonazis]. Despite all efforts made by the likes of Tucker Carlson to educate the Conservative American public about the real situation in the Middle East, many of them remain brainwashed by mainstream propaganda – as is evident in this particular comment section of Newsmax. Here’s a taste of it: ‘If Iran gets a nuke, it will surely use it on Israel’ – ‘Muslims will lie to everyone to get their way’ – ‘They should do what Trump tells them, or have their oil taken as war spoils’ – ‘What have the Iranians done with the billions we gave them?’

That last comment is the type of inquisitive thinking that can’t be raised to Saudi Arabia and Israel – both sponsors of regional instability, terrorist tactics, and terrorist organizations – and the latter [Israel], a big customer of US “aid”. As for the claim that the ‘crazy Iranian jihadists’ will nuke Israel if they get the A-bomb, that’s one of the more easier things to debunk. In over two hundred years, Iran has attacked, get this, ZERO countries. The same can’t be said of the USA or Israel. There is no precedent in history in which a country possessing nukes dropped nukes on another nuclear power. There is no precedent in history in which a country possessing nukes was invaded by a power that had or hadn’t nukes. There’s no better guarantee that you won’t get invaded. Can the West, or better yet, the world as a whole, deliver guarantees that a country won’t be invaded if it disposes of its nukes and nuke-manufacturing facilities? In a rational and just world, yes – such guarantees would exist de jure and de facto. But we’re not living in such a world!

The Right in the US is hungriest to do Israel’s bidding in the Middle East, geopolitical ventures popularized and waged at the expense of US capital and US soldiers’ lives. Bill Maher, years ago asked Netanyahu what’s Israel’s secret for waging speedy wars. Netanyahu answered quickly and truthfully “Our secret is the US.” And no, I haven’t forgotten about the fake doves among the Democrats. Here’s Jimmy Dore utterly destroying Kamala Harris’ hypocritical, hawkish rhetoric.

What trust can the Iranians put in the European powers, let alone in Washington, who betrayed the deal first? The Europeans announce Instex, a system which was developed at a crawl, and one that won’t work if it doesn’t extend to oil sales [which it doesn’t in lack of an accord between Washington and its European allies], and immediately after that, an Iranian oil tanker is seized in international waters. The European signatories of the JCPOE, the actors who allegedly desire a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the situation, haven’t condemned that blatant act of piracy. Worse still, Iran is the target of false flag operations, designed to make it appear as a rogue state that’s asking for “it” [to be bombed and or invaded]. Iran should swiftly pull out of the nuclear agreement, stating objective reasons for the move and just wish everybody a pleasant day.

The West’s double-standards and warmongering are painfully obvious, or they should be to anyone possessing a fraction of a neuron inside their heads. Countries like Pakistan, India, and Israel are not signatories of the non-proliferation treaty, and you don’t see anyone in the Western or Eastern press calling for sanctions against these countries, based on the fact they have nukes and the capability to produce more.

But won’t the Iranian economy suffer if the country pulls out? It is suffering already, and the more it tries to be patient and negotiate with parties only concerned with their own image on the international stage, who aren’t in truth interested in establishing a functional deal, Teheran’s policy will remain unsuccessful.

Iranian imports from and exports to the West aren’t insurmountable market losses. Teheran should pursue closer cooperation with the few strategic partner states it has and should dramatically expand import substitution programs. Consumers are going to pay higher bills, yes, but in the medium term the situation will stabilize, and long term Iran will benefit from fully matured industries in terms of labor skills, output capacity, and know-how [technology level]. As I wrote in a past article, The Sovereign Nation State, in reference to the wisdom of Friedrich List on historical economics, a nation’s true wealth is the full and multifaceted development of its productive powers, not its current exchange values. For example, the nation’s economic education is more important than immediate production of value, and it might be right for one generation to sacrifice its gain and enjoyment to secure strength and skill for future generations. All measure of achievement is attained through sacrifice. The art of statecraft is knowing which sacrifices to make…

Yet the threat of military confrontation remains either way. Eternal vigilance seems a cliche, but I can’t come up with anything better. Iran, through all channels, private and state-run media, especially alt-media channels, needs to debunk all the false flag operations, it needs to shed an inquisitive light on the past deeds and motivations of its would-be attackers today, the past crimes of US administrations, all the hypocrisy, all the double-dealing, all the mythology surrounding the War on Terror, everything. So long as a majority in the Western audience remains wise against the war propaganda, Western governments will have a tougher time selling their hawkish plans, a tougher time engaging in bombing campaigns and invasion. Sanctions will remain, to be sure, they’ll even get harsher – but no enemy can rob you of your will and spirit.

Sean Hannity is a TERRORIST

Alex Christoforou and Alexander Mercouris discuss the on air meltdown of Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday night, where his viewers witnessed the host screaming about how Trump [the US Government] should “bomb the hell of out Iran” for downing an American drone. Hannity lashed out at Fox News contributor and long time friend Geraldo Rivera, who advocated for restraint and diplomacy. Rivera rightfully insisted that Iran’s side of the story must be heard and even mentioned [civilian] Iranian Air Flight 655, which was downed by the US military on July 1988. “A strong message needs to be sent that a huge price will be paid if you take on the United State of America,” Hannity shouted. “Simple peace through strength, and it works.” Hannity continued, “they shot an American drone out of the air, they are not getting away with it.” Fox News’ Tucker Carlson praised the US President for resisting calls for military action.

My Comment: A great thing about the Trump presidency is that the US audience, inherently indoctrinated and tribal, have the rare opportunity to see who the warmongers and war profiteers are. These people are infiltrated in all layers of society, from the entertainment industry, to artists, journalists, politicians, think tanks, and trans-national business conglomerates. Alex Christoforou brings up the episode in which the Turkish military took down a [manned] Russian military jet near the Syrian-Turkish border; and how both parties talked to each other and diplomatically resolved the regrettable event – no trade sanctions, no bellicose statements, no military posturing against each other – on the contrary, diplomatic and military cooperation. Presumably, in the minds of sub-humans like Hannity, who foam at the mouth with fake emotion and sophistry in their satanic desire to see the US involved in another war, dialog and peaceful solutions are a blasphemy. Also notice that Hannity [a fiscal conservative] has no problem with Keynesianism [Government deficit spending] so long as the money is spent on the means of death, but should Government deficit funds be spent on the means of life [hospitals, schools, railways], that type of Keynesianism is just wrong…

The Evangelical Christians [the Christian Zionists] who have brain orgasms over fulfilling their [heretical and genocidal] end times prophecy by having the US destroy any sovereign nation state that Israel deems a “threat,” need to look themselves in the mirror and see that they’re in fact worshiping Mammon, not Jesus Christ, for Mammon is the god of greed and unlawful gain, and I can’t think of a more serious crime than war profiteering, which translates into death and misery. War profiteering truly is the apex of all sin. The struggle against these [inhuman] preachers of war will never be powerful enough if it rests purely on utilitarian arguments and perspectives – the struggle MUST also be spiritual, otherwise, it will not succeed…

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Trump vs Iran, Reality vs PR

In this podcast from June 20th, Alexander Mercouris and Alex Christoforou of the Duran discuss the Iranian strike against the US automated spy plane [whom Teheran says it was violating the country’s sovereign air space, while Trump maintains it was in international waters], the involvement of foreign powers into the conflict [Russia and China], plus other implications, like Trump’s re-election campaign and the international price of crude. Tucker Carlson is invoked as a [lone] voice in the mainstream media, a voice of reason, which nails the neocons as the crazy, warmongers they are.

My Comment: Trump’s schizoid foreign policy will be his downfall. In a piece by Elijah Magnier, the following scenario is asserted – that Trump tried to get Teheran’s blessing to bomb two or three sites, so that the US could save same face after the spy plane’s knockdown. Elijah Magnier’s source says that the Iranian Government categorically rejected the offer, even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.

I use the term schizoid to refer to Trump’s policy because that best describes it, in my opinion. The Donald is trying to serve more than one master and ancient wisdom tells us what comes about from such foolish attempts. Donald Trumps puts the most deranged mercenaries and war criminals in charge of key Government positions, ditto for all the corporate stooges he put in charge of economic policy, and then tries to comport himself as a rude, hard-ass, but ultimately sensible and even-handed guy. There’s nothing honorable in this strategy. In fact, this type of behavior is called political prostitution. Ironically enough, Trump’s not the best at it [political whoring]. Other US presidents have engaged in it, even with Iran, and had better outcomes than Trump – who pushed his usual strong-man approach and got tangled up in the nets instead.

Even if the automated US spy plane was approaching the end of its [functional] life, as a rumor goes, Iran has clearly shown its capabilities and – more importantly – the will to defend the sovereignty of its borders, land, water, and air. Lindsey Graham, the terrorist US senator, has made more bellicose statements against Iran, and Tucker Carlson rightly taxed him for it.

In the end, Trump will have no choice but to pick a master, and I’m convinced he will dump all the reasonable pledges made on foreign policy in order to save his hide and fortune, which ultimately rest in the hands of Wall-Street and the Deep State.

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Apples of Discord, RT Documentary

Russia’s 2014 embargo on European food imports cut European farmers out of their second biggest export market. At first, they hoped the measure, taken in response to Western financial sanctions following Crimea’s adherence to Russia, would be temporary. Five years down the road, the consequences for farmers throughout Europe are dreadful. RTD travels around the continent to meet Spanish, Italian, French, Polish, German and Dutch farmers and Farmers’ Union Reps. They explain how the embargo dramatically hit their turnover and bargaining power. They worry about whether they still have a future in agriculture and question the European Union’s response to the crisis.

This particular situation is the best argument, I think, for bringing back the tradition of buffer stock policies. This prudent custom had been scrapped in favor of neoliberal market reforms; but we all know that foreign interests don’t necessarily coincide with the national interest. The role of a buffer stock policy is to ensure an acceptable base level price for both consumers and producers, irrespective of the business cycle. During times of exceptional harvests, when supply exceeds demand and prices favor consumers to the detriment of producers, the Government steps in with a bid to purchase this excess. It’s not mandatory for them to sell the unsold produce they have left, so the Government’s action in this sense cannot be labeled as coercive. The opposite occurs during periods of poor harvests. The Government steps in to sell from its stockpiles to cover the gap in supply and, in so doing, normalize prices. It’s not a silver bullet policy by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s better to have a safety net for consumers and producers.

Another good policy for agriculture, set in a fully phased in Land-Value Tax [LVT] system [also known as the single tax system], land taken out of production for soil or water regeneration purposes would no longer be considered productive land and would be exempt from the LVT, thus helping disadvantaged farmers and protecting nature at the same time. Under the present system, however, it’s the norm for farmers to put all their available land under cultivation just to pay the bills. For more info on the subject of agriculture under the LVT system, see this short video.

Prudence should come before ideology; and make no mistake, many of these trans-national accords are based on ideology. The EU political class must come to grips with the fact that European geopolitics cannot ignore the fate of neighbouring countries, unlike the US geopolitical mentality, based on the island nation context. And making bad decisions on Washington’s behalf hurts not only Russia, but the EU states as well.