Tag Archives | Geopolitics & Globalization

The Less Americans Know About Geography, The More They Favor Overseas Military Invasions

american eagleToday’s looming evidence that we are living in the Idiocracy, via the Washington Post:

Our results are clear, but also somewhat disconcerting: The less people know about where Ukraine is located on a map, the more they want the U.S. to intervene there militarily. Even controlling for a series of demographic characteristics and participants’ general foreign policy attitudes, we found that the less accurate our participants were, the more they wanted the U.S. to use force [and] the greater the threat they saw Russia as posing.

On March 28-31, 2014, we asked a national sample of 2,066 Americans what action they wanted the U.S. to take in Ukraine, but with a twist: we also asked our survey respondents to locate Ukraine on a map as part of a larger, ongoing project to study foreign policy knowledge. We wanted to see where Americans think Ukraine is and to learn if this knowledge (or lack thereof) is related to their foreign policy views.

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How America Is Militarizing Borders Around The World

borderTomDispatch on the ballooning border-military-industrial complex:

CESFRONT is an outgrowth of a U.S. effort to promote “strong borders” abroad as part of its Global War on Terror. An overlooked manifestation of U.S. imperial policy in the post-9/11 era [is that] militarized borders are becoming ever more common throughout the world, especially in areas of U.S. influence.

In a seminal article “Where’s the U.S. Border?,” Michael Flynn, founder of the Global Detention Project, described the expansion of U.S. “border enforcement” to the planet in the context of the Global War on Terror as essentially a new way of defining national sovereignty. “U.S. border control efforts,” he argued, “have undergone a dramatic metamorphosis in recent years as the United States has attempted to implement practices aimed at stopping migrants long before they reach U.S. shores.”

In this way, borders are, in a sense, being both built up and torn down. Just as with the drones that, from Pakistan to Somalia, the White House sends across national boundaries to execute those it has identified as our enemies, so with border patrolling: definitions of U.S.

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WikiLeaks Releases Full Text Of Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)

P-4 Countries 162EThe perceived ills of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) has been well documented here at disinformation, but until now the text has not been publicly available. WikiLeaks has rectified that:

Today, 13 November 2013, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The WikiLeaks release of the text comes ahead of the decisive TPP Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013. The chapter published by WikiLeaks is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents. Significantly, the released text includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states.

The TPP is the forerunner to the equally secret US-EU pact TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), for which President Obama initiated US-EU negotiations in January 2013.

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How Feminism Was Co-Opted By Capitalism

LandscapeVia the Guardian, Nancy Fraser on reclaiming the ideals of feminism that have been co-opted by the dominant economic system:

As a feminist, I’ve always assumed that by fighting to emancipate women I was building a better world – more egalitarian, just and free. But lately I’ve begun to worry that our critique of sexism is now supplying the justification for new forms of inequality and exploitation.

Feminist ideas that once formed part of a radical worldview are increasingly expressed in individualist terms. Where feminists once criticised a society that promoted careerism, they now advise women to “lean in”. A movement that once prioritised social solidarity now celebrates female entrepreneurs. A perspective that once valorised “care” and interdependence now encourages individual advancement and meritocracy.

What lies behind this shift is a sea-change in the character of capitalism. The state-managed capitalism of the postwar era has given way to a new form of capitalism – “disorganised”, globalising, neoliberal.

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Now Is The Greatest Time In History To Get High

drug_dogEsquire declares that the War on Drugs is over, and drugs won:

The world’s most extensive study of the drug trade has just been published in the medical journal BMJ Open, providing the first “global snapshot” of four decades of the war on drugs. You can already guess the result.

To sum up their most important findings, the average purity of heroin and cocaine have increased, respectively, 60 percent and 11 percent between 1990 and 2007. Cannabis purity is up a whopping 161 percent over that same time.

Not only are drugs way purer than ever, they’re also way, way cheaper. Coke is on an 80 percent discount from 1990, heroin 81 percent, cannabis 86 percent. After a trillion dollars spent on the drug war, now is the greatest time in history to get high.

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Secret Agenda in Syria?

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Is there a secret agenda afoot in America’s rush to war in Syria?
In an August 2013 article titled “ Larry Summers and the Secret ‘End-game’ Memo,” Greg Palast posted evidence of a secret late-1990s plan devised by Wall Street and U.S. Treasury officials to open banking to the lucrative derivatives business. To pull this off required the relaxation of banking regulations not just in the US but globally. The vehicle to be used was the Financial Services Agreement of the World Trade Organization.
The “end-game” would require not just coercing support among WTO members but taking down those countries refusing to join. Some key countries remained holdouts from the WTO, including Iraq, Libya, Iran and Syria. In these Islamic countries, banks are largely state-owned; and “usury” – charging rent for the “use” of money – is viewed as a sin, if not a crime. That puts them at odds with the Western model of rent extraction by private middlemen.

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Neo-Colonizing Africa Through GMO Crops

african_farm

Via This Is Africa, Paula Akugizibwe on conquering the world through the food chain:

While the science of GMOs may remain murky, the economics are crystal clear. The most obvious and direct of these is the matter of seed ownership and control.

Unlike traditional agriculture, in which seeds are the property of nobody in particular and nature at large, GMO farming places the ownership of seeds firmly in the hands of corporations, and entitles them to a share of profits from crop sales. GMO farmers are not allowed to save seed produced through their crops for use in the coming season, as they have always done.

Meanwhile, in some African countries such as Nigeria, genetically modified cotton is viewed as an ideal entry point for GMOs. “We don’t eat our clothes, so people are less concerned about cotton. This would be the first way in for GMOs,” explained Kola Masha, a Nigerian agribusiness advisor, earlier this year.

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On Sovereignty And Double Standards

double standardVia The New Inquiry, Aaron Bady explains that acting arbitrarily is the point:

American foreign policy is full of double standards. But if we observe the hypocrisy of our leaders and are scandalized by it—John Kerry lunching with the Assads, Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein—then we actually misunderstand what “foreign policy” is and is for.

If American foreign policy is anything, it is not even-handed and impartial. It is a state arrogating to itself the right to make arbitrary choices, to make the rules while other countries only follow them. And to prove that distinction the US must not only establish “red lines,” and enforce them, but it is the very arbitrary nature of those red lines which allows them to function as signs on the international stage. Lawlessness is how a state proves itself sovereign; submission to law is the sign of the weak.

“Legality” only obscures the real issue, which is why we are hearing so much talk about it, why so many commentators are pretending it matters.

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CIA Acknowledges Role In 1953 Overthrow Of Iran’s Democracy

iran_map1Via George Washington University’s National Security Archive:

Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States’ role in the controversial operation.

American and British involvement in Mosaddeq’s ouster has long been public knowledge, but today’s posting includes what is believed to be the CIA’s first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup.

The explicit reference to the CIA’s role appears in a copy of an internal history, The Battle for Iran, dating from the mid-1970s. The agency released a heavily excised version of the account in 1981 in response to an ACLU lawsuit, but it blacked out all references to TPAJAX, the code name for the U.S.-led operation. Those references appear in the latest release. Additional CIA materials posted today include working files from Kermit Roosevelt, the senior CIA officer on the ground in Iran during the coup.

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Who Are The Experts Urging Us To Bomb Syria?

Waterwheels_in_Hamma,_SyriaLawyers, Guns & Money points out that we should no longer be listening to these people:

The Weekly Standard has an open letter explaining that blowing up lots of stuff in Syria is a great idea: The signatories on the letter addressed to President Obama inlcude Senator Joe Lieberman, Bernard-Henri Levy, Karl Rove, Bill Kristol, Elliott Abrams, Leon Wieseltier, and many others.

The “other people” include Max Boot, Paul Berman, Dr. Clifford D. May, Marty Peretz, and Danielle Pletka. I suppose it’s not literally true that the endorsement of these people means that bombing and/or invading Syria is a bad idea, but…let’s just if there was some way of betting that these people would be wrong you could be living in your own $32 million apartment complete with $160,000 wine cellar and million-dollar apartments for your many domestic servants.

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