Monday, December 10, 2018

Seven Days of Failures for the American Empire

The American-led world system is experiencing setbacks at every turn. 
Published
  
on
 
1,119 Views

On November 25, two artillery boats of the Gyurza-M class, the Berdiansk and Nikopol, one tugboat, the Yany Kapu, as well as 24 crew members of the Ukrainian Navy, including two SBU counterintelligence officers, were detained by Russian border forces. In the incident, the Russian Federation employed Sobol-class patrol boats Izumrud and Don, as  well as two Ka-52, two Su-25 and one Su-30 aircraft.
Ukraine’s provocation follows the advice of several American think-tanks like the Atlantic Council, which have been calling for NATO involvement in the Sea of Azov for months. The area is strategically important for Moscow, which views its southern borders, above all the Sea of Azov, as a potential flash point for conflict due to the Kiev’s NATO-backed provocations.
To deter such adventurism, Moscow has deployed to the Kerch Strait and the surrounding coastal area S-400 batteries, modernized S-300s, anti-ship Bal missile systems, as well as numerous electronic-warfare systems, not to mention the Russian assets and personnel arrayed in the military districts abutting Ukraine. Such provocations, egged on by NATO and American policy makers, are meant to provide a pretext for further sanctions against Moscow and further sabotage Russia’s relations with European countries like Germany, France and Italy, as well as, quite naturally, to frustrate any personal interaction between Trump and Putin.
This last objective seems to have been achieved, with the planned meeting between Trump and Putin at the G20 in Buenos Aires being cancelled. As to the the other objectives, they seem to have failed miserably, with Berlin, Paris and Rome showing no intention of imposing additional sanctions against Russia, recognizing the Ukrainian provocation fow what it is. The intention to further isolate Moscow by the neocons, neoliberals and most of the Anglo-Saxon establishment seems to have failed, demonstrated in Buenos Aires with the meeting between the BRICS countries on the sidelines and the bilateral meetings between Putin and Merkel.
On November 30, following almost two-and-a-half months of silence, the Israeli air force bombed Syria with three waves of cruise missiles. The first and second waves were repulsed over southern Syria, and the third, composed of surface-to-surface missiles, were also downed. At the same time, a loud explosion was heard in al-Kiswah, resulting in the blackout of Israeli positions in the area.
The Israeli attack was fully repulsed, with possibly two IDF drones being downed as well. This effectiveness of Syria’s air defenses corresponds with Russia’s integration of Syria’s air defenses with its own systems, manifestly improving the Syrians’ kill ratios even without employing the new S-300 systems delivered to Damascus, let alone Russia’s own S-400s. The Pantsirs and S-200s are enough for the moment, confirming my hypothesis more than two months ago that the modernized S-300 in the hands of the Syrian army is a potentially lethal weapon even for the F-35, forbidding the Israelis from employing their F-35s.
With the failed Israeli attack testifying to effectiveness of Russian air-defense measures recently deployed to the country, even the United States is finding it difficult to operate in the country. As the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War confirms:
“Russia has finished an advanced anti-access/area denial (A2AD) network in Syria that combines its own air defense and electronic warfare systems with modernized equipment. Russia can use these capabilities to mount the long-term strategic challenge of the US and NATO in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East, significantly widen the geographic reach of Russia’s air defense network. Russia stands to gain a long-term strategic advantage over NATO through its new capabilities in Syria. The US and NATO must now account for the risk of a dangerous escalation in the Middle East amidst any confrontation with Russia in Eastern Europe.”
The final blow in a decidedly negative week for Washington’s ambitions came in Buenos Aires during the G20, where Xi Jinping was clearly the most awaited guest, bringing in his wake investments and opportunities for cooperation and mutual benefit, as opposed to Washington’s sanctions and tariffs for its own benefit to the detriment of others. The key event of the summit was the dinner between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump that signalled Washington’s defeat in the trade war with Beijing. Donald Trump fired the first shot of the economic war, only to succumb just 12 months later with GM closing five plants and leaving 14,000 unemployed at home as Trump tweeted about his economic achievements.
Trump was forced to suspend any new tariffs for a period of ninety days, with his Chinese counterpart intent on demonstrating how an economic war between the two greatest commercial powers had always been a pointless propagandistic exercise. Trump’s backtracking highlights Washington’s vulnerability to de-dollarization, the Achilles’ heel of US hegemony.
The American-led world system is experiencing setbacks at every turn. The struggle between the Western elites seems to be reaching a boil, with Frau Merkel ever more isolated and seeing her 14-year political dominance as chancellor petering out. Macron seems to be vying for the honor of being the most unpopular French leader in history, provoking violent protests that have lasted now for weeks, involving every sector of the population. Macron will probably be able to survive this political storm, but his political future looks dire.
The neocons/neoliberals have played one of the last cards available to them using the Ukrainian provocation, with Kiev only useful as the West’s cannon fodder against Russia. In Syria, with the conflict coming to a close and Turkey only able to look on even as it maintains a strong foothold in Idlib, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States are similarly unable to affect the course of the conflict. The latest Israeli aggression proved to be a humiliation for Tel Aviv and may have signalled a clear, possibly definitive warning from Moscow, Tehran and Damascus to all the forces in the region. The message seems to be that there is no longer any possibility of changing the course of the conflict in Syria, and every provocation from here on will be decisively slapped down. Idlib is going to be liberated and America’s illegal presence in the north of Syria will have to be dealt with at the right time.
Ukraine’s provocation has only strengthened Russia’s military footprint in Crimea and reinforced Russia’s sovereign control over the region. Israel’s recent failure in Syria only highlights how the various interventions of the US, the UK, France and Turkey over the years have only obliged the imposition of an almost unparalleled A2AD space that severely limits the range of options available to Damascus’s opponents.
The G20 also served to confirm Washington’s economic diminution commensurate with its military one in the face of an encroaching multipolar environment. The constant attempts to delegitimize the Trump administration by America’s elites, also declared an enemy by the European establishment, creates a picture of confusion in the West that benefits capitals like New Delhi, Moscow, Beijing and Tehran who offer instead stability, cooperation and dialogue.
As stated in previous articles, the confusion reigning amongst the Western elites only accelerates the transition to a multipolar world, progressively eroding the military and economic power of the US.
Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!

Über Merkels DDR-Vermächtnis, ihre 'Menschlichkeit' und die deutsche Staatsraison

10 Jahre nach der Operation „Gegossenes Blei“

Eine Art Nachruf aus Potsdam am 10.12. 21018

Frau Merkels Menschenverachtung kein typisches DDR-Produkt

Wie menschenverachtend die Politik  von Frau Merkel seit Jahren ist, wurde – trotz des gegenteiligen Anscheins in Sachen Flüchtlingspolitik spätestens im Dezember 2008 während der israelischen „Operation Gegossenes Blei“ deutlich. Der Merkelsche Mangel an Ethik trat damals in aller Deutlichkeit zutage. Als die Israelis vor 10 Jahren, vom 27. Dez. 2008 – 18. Jan. 2009, also 22 Tage lang die im Gazastreifen eingepferchte und eingesperrte palästinensische Bevölkerung bombardierten, fand die barbarische Vorgehensweise die ungeteilte Unterstützung der deutschen Kanzlerin.1Die Welt schrie damals auf angesichts der Israel-seitig verübten Massaker an einer wehrlosen, 1,5 Millionen umfassenden Population, angesichts des dortigen Einsatzes geächteter Munition. Der südafrikanische Richter Goldstone und sein vom UN-Menschenrechtsrat beauftragtes Team haben nur ein Jahr später bereits auf über 800 Seiten die im Widerspruch zur UN-Charta, zur Genfer Konvention, zur Haager Landkriegsordnung stehende, unverhältnismäßige Vorgehensweise Israels dokumentiert.2

Obwohl Richard Goldstone unter massivem israelischem Druck seine Befürwortung der dortigen Darstellung später zurückzog und der Bericht trotz seiner Ausgewogenheit massenmedial totgeschwiegen wurde, bleibt dieses von Abraham Melzer auf deutsch verlegte Papier ein unvergessenes Dokument, zu dem das Kollegen-Team von Goldstone weiterhin steht.

Die Merkelsche Herzlosigkeit gegenüber den Palästinensern, ihre grenzenlose Solidarität mit dem zionistischen Projekt aus ihrer DDR Sozialisation ableiten zu wollen, wie es von rechter Seite geschieht, ist zynisch. Auch Merkels Verachtung für die sozialen Belange und Besorgnisse der eigenen, der bundesdeutschen Bevölkerung kann nicht begriffen werden mit Verweis auf ihre DDR Prägung. Solche Zuschreibung ist ebenso vermessen, als würde man das Christentum oder gar seinen Stifter für die unethische und asoziale Ader dieser protestantischen Pfarrerstochter an den Pranger stellen. Es ist dumm und politisch irreführend, wenn mit der Stasi-Keule auf die Kanzlerin eingeschlagen wird. 

Die deutsche Kanzlerin als Marionette fremder Mächte?

Der Charakter des Mädchen Angela muss früh schon auf ganz andere Weise deformiert oder zugerichtet worden sein. Vermutlich waren die Rahmenbedingungen, die ihr familiäres Umfeld bot und dessen Hintergründe im Westen daran maßgeblicher beteiligt. Nicht unwichtig ist auch auch die Instrumentalisierung protestantisch-kirchlicher Kreise für Regime Change Zwecke in der DDR, die langhändig aus dem Westen erfolgte.
Man kann und muss vielleicht auch am ersten sozialistischen Staat auf deutschem Boden vieles kritikwürdig finden. Dass die DDR aber anti-sozial ausgerichtet war oder dass ihre Außenpolitik Politik menschenrechts- und völkerrechtsverachtend war, hat wohl noch keiner überzeugend vorgetragen. Zwar hat auch die DDR an Israel Reparationen bezahlt, trotzdem brachte sie Verständnis für das palästinensische Volk auf und erklärte das Interesse Israels nicht zur deutschen Staatsraison.

Das Stichwort Reparationszahlungen, der für das kleinere deutsche Land unverhältnismäßigen Schuld-Abgleichungen, mag einen Teil des nach außen hin so düsteren Erscheinungsbildes erklären. Auch die von vielen noch immer posthum beklagte 'Mangelwirtschaft' im Osten mag damit zusammenhängen. Vergessen werden dürfen bei wirtschaftlichen Vergleichen auch nicht die Auswirkungen der erpresserischen Hallstein- Doktrin, die einem wirtschaftlichen Boykottaufruf gleichkam. Heute wissen mehr darüber, wer zu welchen mörderischen Zwecken wen sanktioniert, wirtschaftlich stranguliert und welche mörderischen Folgen das haben kann. 

Was die „Ostblockstaaten“ und deren im Vergleich zum Westen relative 'Unterentwicklung' angeht, so ist diese insgesamt einerseits auf die Nichtteilhabe des Ostens am Marshallplan zurückzuführen. Mit dessen Hilfe haben die Amerikaner gezielt und mit politisch eindeutigen Absichten Bundesdeutschland zum Wirtschaftswunderland gemacht und auch andere NATO-Staaten wirtschaftlich favorisiert. Andererseits sind die für eine planvoll gelenkte Wirtschaft deformativen Entwicklungen in der DDR und im gesamten Osten auf absichtlich falsche, unsolidarische Lenkungen des Comecon aus der 'befreundeten' Sowjetunion unter Chruschtschow und seinen Beratern zurückzuführen. Dieser Mann, der sich nach Stalins Tod nach oben putschte, hatte Freunde jenseits des Atlantik.3Mit anderen Worten, um die Fehlentwicklungen des sozialistischen Lagers voll umfänglich zu erfassen, muss man in den Westen wandern und im Grunde zurückgehen bis in die Zeit der Entstehung der Sowjetunion. Empfohlene Lektüre dazu liefert das spannende Buch zweier US-amerikanischer Journalisten „Die Verschwörung gegen Russland“ von Michael Sayers und Albert E. Kahn aus dem Jahre 1947.
Auch muss man insbesondere im Stalingrad-Gedenkjahr daran rinnern, welcher Art die Verheerungen waren, die die Deutschen während des II.Weltkrieges in Sowjet-Russland tatsächlich angerichtet haben, auch durch die gezielte Ausrottung der edelsten Köpfe (Stichwort 'Kommissarbefehl'). Übrigens wurde auch Ulbricht durch Chruschtschow und seinesgleichen gestürzt und der weniger hellsichtige, weniger begabte Honnecker wurde von dort aus an die Spitze gehoben. Dennoch würde Honnecker gewiss keine Freude an Frau Merkels peinvoller Entwicklung gehabt haben. Von solchem Zuschnitt war der echte Antifaschist und echte Sozialist Honnecker keineswegs, das lässt sich seinen Memoiren entnehmen, die er im Moabiter Gefängnis schrieb. Diese zweite Inhaftierung Honneckers, diesmal für seine Tätigkeit als Staatschef, war, nebenbei gesagt ein himmelschreiendes Unrecht, das ihm vom 'freiheitlich-demokratischen Westen' zugemutet wurde. Angela Merkel war nun einmal „Kohls und nicht Honneckers Mädchen“. Obwohl auch der Altkanzler Kohl, wenn man Willi Wimmer glauben schenken darf, wohl weiser gehandelt hätte als seine ehemalige Umweltministerin. Vor allem schien Herr Kohl einsichtsvollere, im nationalen Interesse denkende Berater gehabt zu haben. Willi Wimmer mag stellvertretend dafür zitiert werden, dass es im bürgerlichen Lager der Regierung Kohl besonnene, rationale Kräfte gab.

Familiäre Bindungen können, müssen aber nicht charakterbildend sein 

Meine Familie mütterlicherseits lebte in der DDR. Meine Mutter hatte sich noch vor den beiden Staatsgründungen mit 16 Jahren auf die Flucht nach Westen begeben, um dort die jugendlich ersehnte Freiheit zu erlangen. Ich selbst war mit meinen Eltern und Geschwistern nur ein einziges Mal in der DDR, im Jahr des Mauerbaus, August 1961. Ich fand dort keine soziale Not, obwohl wir wegen der Urlaubssperre meiner Großmutter bei einfachen Leuten untergebracht waren. Vieles erschien uns Grau in Grau, aber die Herzen der Menschen war weit offen. Die Havelberger Nachbarn meiner Oma waren unglaublich hilfsbereit und liebenswürdig. Geduldig wurden uns Engpässe und vorhandene Schwierigkeiten erklärt.

In der Grundschule in Sigmaringen hatten wir im Handarbeitsunterricht noch Strümpfe für die armen 'Brüder und Schwestern in der Zone' stricken müssen. Meine Eltern schickten regelmäßig 'Carepakete' mit Milchpulver und Hartkäse in die Gänsefüßchen-DDR. Diese gab es vom Evangelischen Hilfswerk ebenso wie gebrauchte Kleidungstücke. Einen Teil der Sachen behielt die Mutter für uns, da sie uns, zu recht, auch für bedürftig erklärte. Wir Kinder bekamen dagegen zur Weihnacht von der DDR-Omi Spielzeug und wunderbare Kinder-Bücher. Noch heute liebe ich etwa Hans Falladas „Geschichten aus der Murkelei“; sie waren mir wie aus der Seele geschrieben. Ansonsten hatten wir keine Kontakte zu den immerhin zahlreichen Familienmitgliedern. Nach der „Wende“ änderte sich das. Meine ganz unpolitischen, überwiegend handarbeitenden Familienmitglieder hatten keinerlei Probleme mit dem Land, das über ihre Köpfe hinweg in den Westen gegangen war. In der Partei war keiner gewesen, auch in sonst keiner gesellschaftlichen Organisation. Manches erschien ihnen rückblickend besser vorher, so etwa die Verbundenheit der Kollegen untereinander am Arbeitsplatz, der nicht hierarchische Umgang miteinander und die Würdigung, die ihr Arbeitseinsatz erfuhr und natürlich die niedrigen Mieten, auch wenn die Wohnverhältnisse lange Zeit sehr beengt gewesen waren. 

Zweiteilige Deutsche Geschichte, zwei deutsche Diktaturen? 

Die DDR hat aus meiner Perspektive keine „Stasi-Monster“ herangezogen, sondern grosso modo eher bescheidene Menschen, deren Fokus die Familie, die Kollegen und die Nachbarschaft bildete. Es waren die üblichen Alltagssorgen, die die Menschen hie wie dort beschäftigten.

Auf internationalem Parkett, d.h. im Schoß der UN, lernte ich in den achtziger Jahren offizielle Repräsentanten der DDR und auch anderer Ostblockstaaten kennen. Verständigung, Friedenspolitik, soziale Rechte, Arbeit an internationalen Konventionen, solcher Art waren deren Hauptanliegen. 

Nach der „Wende“ kam ich in Kontakt mit Wissenschaftlern aus der Ex-DDR . Kurt Gossweiler wurde mir ein Freund. Er war als Historiker Mitglied der DDR Akademie der Wissenschaften gewesen. Der Faschismusforscher und seine Kollegen aus anderen Disziplinen arbeiteten für eine humanere Welt. 

Menschen vom Zuschnitt einer Angela Merkel habe ich nicht kennengelernt. Menschen, die ihre persönliche Karriere über alles stellen, sind selbstredend kein spezifisches DDR- Produkt, solche Zuschreibung wirkt posthum verleumderisch gegenüber der untergegangenen, zugrunde gerichteten DDR-Gesellschaft. Individuen vom Typ Merkel sind bedauerlicher Weise überall auf der Welt anzutreffen, siehe etwa Emanuele Macron in Frankreich, der seinem Land abspricht, über eine eigene Kultur zu verfügen und der wie Merkel darauf verzichtet, sein Land zu beschützen. Zum Glück sind derlei Menschen aber auch überall in der Minderheit und sie werden hoffentlich irgendwann entthront. Ihnen wird am Ende keiner nachweinen und eigentlich bleiben solche Menschen beklagenswerte, einsame Figuren.

Wer die Zukunft besser gestaltet wissen will, wer eine menschlichere, eine unkriegerische Ordnung anstrebt, tut gut daran, die vergangenen Versuche beim Aufbau einer gerechteren Ordnung nicht zu diffamieren, sondern ihre Fehler nüchtern zu analysieren, und zwar in ihrem geopolitischen Kontext
Die deutsche Geschichte kannte ihre Höhen und Tiefen, sie brachte Helden und Unholde hervor. Die Verkürzung des historischen Blickes auf die NS-Zeit erscheint mir vollkommen absurd, ja geradezu verhängnisvoll. Wir sind als Volk nichtalleineschuld am Faschismus, auch ist nicht das ganze Volk dafür verantwortlich gewesen, und schon gar nicht kann unsere Geschichte auf den Hitler-Faschismus reduziert werden. Wer das versucht, hat selber keine Geschichte und kein Verständnis für historische Entwicklungen. Ich halte etwa die Befassung mit den Nachtgedanken Peter Sieferles in seinem posthum veröffentlichten Büchlein „Finis Germania“ für durchaus geboten. Sein freiwilliger Abgang ist ein deutsches Politikum.
Wenn meine Vermutung stimmt, dass wir als Volk mit der Faschismus-Keule klein und vor allem davon abgehalten werden sollen, uns vom Zionisten-Projekt Israel zu entfernen, dann gilt Ähnliches auch für die Stasi-Keule. Mit beiden Keulen nimmt man uns das nationale Recht auf Widerstand gegen eine unzumutbare, uns von jenseits des Atlantik aufoktroyierte Politik, deren Instrument die Kanzlerin Merkel derzeit noch ist.

Geschichte wird nicht von Männern oder Spitze-Frauen gemacht, sondern von Völkern

Mir scheint darüber hinaus, dass bei aller Berechtigung, der verengte Blick auf die Kanzler-Kritik nicht weiterführend ist. Wir sehen schon den Schatten von Angela Merkel am Horizont. Die Frau mit dem schwierigen Namen Kramp-Karrenbauer ist ihr Double und was danach kommt, ist mit Merz ein Mann vom Zuschnitt des Medienwunders Macron. Keiner von denen wird uns aus dem Dilemma herausführen.

Mir scheint, es ist an der Zeit, die Kritik an der neoliberalen, ungerechten, zum Kriege treibenden, vom US-Imperialismus diktierten Weltordnung ins Zentrum zu rücken.

Wir müssen alle oppositionelle Kräfte, woher sie auch kommen mögen, daran messen, ob sie sie sich dem anti-sozialen Neoliberalismus verweigern. Die Menschen müssen sich für ihre Belange furchtlos zusammenfinden, um nicht überrollt zu werden. Gewähltes Personal ist an seinen Auftrag dem Volk gegenüber zu erinnern, auch daran, auf welche Verfassung, auf welche Rechtsordnung es vereidigt ist. Die rückwärtsgewandte anti-Stasi-Nummer ist demgegenüber kontraproduktiv, wie auch die gesamte neurechte, antisozialistische, 'anti-linke' Grundhaltung am Ende nur den Zusammenhalt des Volkes schwächen wird. Das Volk besteht nun einmal mehrheitlich aus Habenichtsen, aus Menschen, die darauf angewiesen sind, ihre Arbeitskraft auf den Markt zu werfen. Diese Mehrheit des Volkes wird den Fortgang der Geschichte definieren. So oder so. Frankreich, das Land, in dem moderne Revolutionen ihren Ausgang nahmen, zeigt gegenwärtig, wohin es führt, wenn die Eliten die Besorgnisse der Mehrheit zu lange und zu rabiat außer Acht lassen. Ob dabei die Eliten arrogant wie Macron auftreten oder pseudo-fortschrittlich, pseudo-tolerant wie Merkel mit ihrem 'Ehe für alle Quatsch', ist dann Nebensache.

Das Bewusstsein auf der Seite der überwältigenden Mehrheit zu stehen und deren gerechtes Anliegen auf Frieden und bescheidenen Wohlstand im eigenen Lande zu teilen, ohne dabei fremde Völker zu überfallen, wird uns Kraft geben und für den nötigen langen Atem sorgen, besser als das Wühlen in der Vergangenheit von Spitzenpolitikern dies vermöchte. Wenden wir also unseren Blick nach vorne und fordern wir die Einhaltung rechtmäßiger Verträge. Fordern wir in unser aller Interesse, die Fortführung von Nordstrom II, die endliche Durchsetzung des Minsker Abkommens, den Aufhalt kriegerischer, interventionistischer, grundgesetzwidriger Einsätze deutscher Bundeswehrsoldaten im Ausland, widersetzen wir uns der Erhöhung von Militärausgaben, fordern wir dagegen deren Umwidmung für zivile Zwecke. Kandidaten, die sich zur Wahl stellen und unsere Stimme wollen, müssen sich diesen gerechten Forderungen stellen.

Brot und Frieden – am Ende läuft alles darauf hinaus.

Irene Eckert
-------
Fußnoten

1In der „Operation gegossenes Blei“, welche am 27. Dezember 2008 startete und 22 Tage dauerte, wurden vorwiegend durch israelische Bombenangriffe aus der Luft nach Angaben des ZEIT-Magazins rund 1000 arabische Palästinenser durch Israel umgebracht. Viele sprechen auch heute noch in der UNO von Mord – von einem illegalen Massenmord.https://www.kriegsberichterstattung.com/id/3057/massenmorde-israel-in-gaza-2008-1000-tote-nach-operation-gegossenes-blei-erinnerung/http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/nahost-konflikt-israel-greift-uni-und-innenministerium-in-gaza-an-a-598595.html
Die deutsche Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel sah in einem Telefonat mit dem israelischen Ministerpräsidenten Ehud Olmert die Schuld für die Eskalation des Nahostkonflikts allein bei der Hamas. Sie bekräftigte Israels Recht auf Verteidigung...“[194]https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Gegossenes_Blei
Merkel sieht die islamistische Hamas als alleinige Schuldige für den Beginn der Kampfhandlungen. Die Kanzlerin und Israels Premier seien sich einig gewesen, dass die Verantwortung für die jüngste Entwicklung "eindeutig und ausschließlich" bei der Hamas liege, sagt Vizeregierungssprecher  Steg.
 Israel habe das Recht, seine Bevölkerung zu schützen und sein Staatsgebiet zu verteidigen. Dabei gehe die Bundesregierung davon aus, dass die israelische Regierung alles dafür tue, um zivile Opfer zu vermeiden.
Sogar dem Spiegelfällt Merkels "Parteinahme für das israelische Dauerbombardement" auf und weiter fällt dem Blatt auf, „dass sich Merkel diesmal mit ihrer Schuldzuweisung gegenüber der Hamas deutlicher positioniert hat - auch im Vergleich zu London und Paris. Frankreichs Staatspräsident Nicolas Sarkozy wirft Israel unverhältnismäßigen Gewalteinsatz vor, der britische Premierminister Gordon Brown zeigt sich "zutiefst besorgt" über die Angriffe aus dem Gaza-Streifen auf Israel und die Antwort Israels darauf.“ "Die Sicherheit Israels zu schützen, ist Teil der Staatsraison Deutschlands", so Merkel zuletzt anlässlich des 70. Jahrestags der Pogromnacht. http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/israel-hamas-konflikt-merkels-schuldzuweisung-provoziert-kritik-a-598901.html(30.12.08)
2„Der Goldstone-Bericht erhebt schwere Vorwürfe gegen die israelischen Armeeeinsätze während der Gaza-Offensive „Gegossenes Blei“. In zahlreichen Fällen wird die Armee der Kriegsverbrechen und Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit sowie zahlreicher Verletzungen des humanitären Völkerrechts beschuldigt.“http://dip21.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/17/024/1702418.pdf
3Kurt Gossweiler hat in seiner zweibändigen „Taubenfußchronik“ und in anderen Schriften darüber Buch geführt.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

frances-meltdown-macrons-disdain

Yellow Vests Rise Against Neo-Liberal 'King' Macron


Yellow Vests Rise Against 
Neo-Liberal 'King' Macron

For a couple of centuries, the “left” hoped popular movements would lead to changes for the better. Today, many leftists seem terrified of popular movements for change, convinced “populism” must lead to “fascism.” But it needn't be so, says Diana Johnstone.


Yellow Vests Rise Against Neo-Liberal ‘King’ Macron



Merken
For centuries, the “left” hoped popular movements would lead to changes for the better. Today, many leftists seem terrified of popular movements for change, convinced “populism” must lead to “fascism.” But it needn’t be so, says Diana Johnstone.
Every automobile in France is supposed to be equipped with a yellow vest. This is so that in case of accident or breakdown on a highway, the driver can put it on to ensure visibility and avoid getting run over.
So the idea of wearing your yellow vest to demonstrate against unpopular government measures caught on quickly. The costume was at hand and didn’t have to be provided by Soros for some more or less manufactured “color revolution”. The symbolism was fitting: in case of socio-economic emergency, show that you don’t want to be run over.
As everybody knows, what set off the protest movement was yet another rise in gasoline taxes. But it was immediately clear that much more was involved. The gasoline tax was the last straw in a long series of measures favoring the rich at the expense of the majority of the population. That is why the movement achieved almost instant popularity and support.
The Voices of the People

Against the voice of the people. (Guillaume Souvant/AFP/Getty Images)
The Yellow Vests held their first demonstrations on Saturday, November 17, on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. It was totally unlike the usual trade union demonstrations, well organized to march down the boulevard between the Place de la République and the Place de la Bastille, or the other way around, carrying banners and listening to speeches from leaders at the end. The Gilets Jaunes just came, with no organization, no leaders to tell them where to go or to harangue the crowd. They were just there, in the yellow vests, angry and ready to explain their anger to any sympathetic listener.
Briefly, the message was this: we can’t make ends meet. The cost of living keeps going up, and our incomes keep going down. We just can’t take it any more. The government must stop, think and change course.
But so far, the reaction of the government was to send police to spray torrents of tear gas on the crowd, apparently to keep the people at a distance from the nearby Presidential residence, the Elysee Palace. President Macron was somewhere else, apparently considering himself above and beyond it all.
But those who were listening could learn a lot about the state of France today. Especially in the small towns and rural areas, where many protesters came from. Things are much worse than officials and media in Paris have let on. 
There were young women who were working seven days a week and despaired of having enough money to feed and clothe their children.
People were angry but ready to explain very clearly the economic issues.
Colette, age 83, doesn’t own a car, but explained to whoever would listen that the steep raise of gasoline prices would also hurt people who don’t drive, by affecting prices of food and other necessities. She had done the calculations and figured it would cost a retired person 80 euros per month.
“Macron didn’t run on the promise to freeze pensions”, recalled a Yellow Vest, but that is what he has done, along with increasing solidarity taxes on pensioners. 

(Guillaume Souvant/AFP/Getty Images)
A significant and recurring complaint concerned the matter of health care. France has long had the best public health program in the world, but this is being steadily undermined to meet the primary need of capital: profit. In the past few years, there has been a growing government campaign to encourage, and finally to oblige people to subscribe to a “mutuelle”, that is, a private health insurance, ostensibly to fill “the gaps” not covered by France’s universal health coverage. The “gaps” can be the 15% that is not covered for ordinary illnesses (grave illnesses are covered 100%), or for medicines taken off the “covered” list, or for dental work, among other things. The “gaps” to fill keep expanding, along with the cost of subscribing to the mutuelle. In reality, this program, sold to the public as modernizing improvement, is a gradual move toward privatization of health care. It is a sneaky method of opening the whole field of public health to international financial capital investment. This gambit has not fooled ordinary people and is high on the list of complaints by the Gilets Jaunes. 
The degradation of care in the public hospitals is another complaint. There are fewer and fewer hospitals in rural areas, and one must “wait long enough to die” emergency rooms. Those who can afford it are turning to private hospitals. But most can’t. Nurses are overworked and underpaid. When one hears what nurses have to endure, one is reminded that this is indeed a noble profession.
In all this I was reminded of a young woman we met at a public picnic in southwestern France last summer. She cares for elderly people who live at home alone in rural areas, driving from one to another, to feed them, bathe them, offer a moment of cheerful company and understanding. She loves her vocation, loves helping old people, although it barely allows her to make a living. She will be among those who will have to pay more to get from one patient to the next.
People pay taxes willingly when they are getting something for it. But not when the things they are used to are being taken away. The tax evaders are the super-rich and the big corporations with their batteries of lawyers and safe havens, or intruders like Amazon and Google, but ordinary French people have been relatively disciplined in paying taxes in return for excellent public services: optimum health care, first class public transport, rapid and efficient postal service, free university education. But all that is under assault from the reign of financial capital called “neo-liberalism” here. In rural areas, more and more post offices, schools and hospitals are shut down, unprofitable train service is discontinued as “free competition” is introduced following European Union directives – measures which oblige people to drive their cars more than ever. Especially when huge shopping centers drain small towns of their traditional shops.
Incoherent Energy Policies
And the tax announced by the government – an additional 6.6 cents per liter for diesel and an additional 2.9 centers per liter of gasoline – are only the first steps in a series of planned increases over the next years. The measures are supposed to incite people to drive less or even better, to scrap their old vehicles and buy nice new electric cars.

(Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
More and more “governance” is an exercise in social engineering by technocrats who know what is best. This particular exercise goes directly opposite to an earlier government measure of social engineering which used economic incitements to get people to buy cars running on diesel. Now the government has changed its mind. Over half of personal vehicles still run on diesel, although the percentage has been dropping. Now their owners are told to go buy an electric car instead. But people living on the edge simply can’t afford the switch.
Besides, the energy policy is incoherent. In theory, the “green” economy includes shutting down France’s many nuclear power plants. Without them, where would the electricity come from to run the electric cars? And nuclear power is “clean”, no CO2. So what is going on? People wonder.
The most promising alternative sources of energy in France are the strong tides along northern coasts. But last July, the Tidal Energies project on the Normandy coast was suddenly dropped because it wasn’t profitable – not enough customers. This is symptomatic of what is wrong with the current government. Major new industrial projects are almost never profitable at first, which is why they need government support and subsidies to get going, with a view to the future. Such projects were supported under de Gaulle, raising France to the status of major industrial power, and providing unprecedented prosperity for the population as a whole. But the Macron government is not investing in the future nor doing anything to preserve industries that remain. The key French energy corporation Alstom was sold to General Electric under his watch. 
Indeed, it is perfectly hypocritical to call the French gas tax an “ecotax” since the returns from a genuine ecotax would be invested to develop clean energies – such as tidal power plants. Rather, the benefits are earmarked to balance the budget, that is, to serve the government debt. The Macronian gas tax is just another austerity measure – along with cutting back public services and “selling the family jewels”, that is, selling potential money-makers like Alstom, port facilities and the Paris airports. 
The Government Misses the Point

(Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Initial government responses showed that they weren’t listening. They dipped into their pool of clichés to denigrate something they didn’t want to bother to understand.
President Macron’s first reaction was to guilt-trip the protesters by invoking the globalists’ most powerful argument for imposing unpopular measures: global warming. Whatever small complaints people may have, he indicated, that is nothing compared to the future of the planet.
This did not impress people who, yes, have heard all about climate change and care as much as anyone for the environment, but who are obliged to retort: “I’m more worried about the end of the month than about the end of the world.”
After the second Yellow Vest Saturday, November 25, which saw more demonstrators and more tear gas, the Minister in charge of the budget, Gérard Darmanin, declared that what had demonstrated on the Champs-Elysée was “la peste brune”, the brown plague, meaning fascists. (For those who enjoy excoriating the French as racist, it should be noted that Darmanin is of Algerian working class origins). This remark caused an uproar of indignation that revealed just how great is public sympathy for the movement – over 70% approval by latest polls, even after uncontrolled vandalism. Macron’s Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, was obliged to declare that government communication had been badly managed. Of course, that is the familiar technocratic excuse: we are always right, but it is all a matter of our “communication”, not of the facts on the ground.
Maybe I have missed something, but of the many interviews I have listened to, I have not heard one word that would fall into the categories of “far right”, much less “fascism” – or even that indicated any particular preference in regard to political parties. These people are wholly concerned with concrete practical issues. Not a whiff of ideology – remarkable in Paris!
Some people ignorant of French history and eager to exhibit their leftist purism have suggested that the Yellow Vests are dangerously nationalistic because they occasionally wave French flags and sing La Marseillaise. That simply means that they are French. Historically, the French left is patriotic, especially when it is revolting against the aristocrats and the rich or during the Nazi Occupation. ( The exception was the student uprising of May 1968, which was not a revolt of the poor but a revolt in a time of prosperity in favor of greater personal freedom: “it is forbidden to forbid”. The May ’68 generation has turned out to be the most anti-French generation in history, for reasons that can’t be dealt with here. To some extent, the Yellow Vests mark a return of the people after half a century of scorn from the liberal intelligentsia.) It is just a way of saying, We are the people, we do the work, and you must listen to our grievances. To be bad, “nationalism” must be aggressive toward other nations. This movement is not attacking anybody, it is strictly staying home.
The Weakness of Macron
The Yellow Vests have made clear to the whole world that Emmanuel Macron was an artificial product sold to the electorate by an extraordinary media campaign.
Macron was the rabbit magically pulled out of a top hat, sponsored by what must be called the French oligarchy. After catching the eye of established king-maker Jacques Attali, the young Macron was given a stint at the Rothschild bank where he could quickly gain a small fortune, ensuring his class loyalty to his sponsors. Media saturation and the scare campaign against “fascist” Marine LePen (who moreover flubbed her major debate) put Macron in office. He had met his wife when she was teaching his theater class, and now he gets to play President.

(Charles Platiau/AFP/Getty)
The mission assigned to him by his sponsors was clear. He must carry through more vigorously the “reforms” (austerity measures) already undertaken by previous governments, which had often dawdled at hastening the decline of the social State. 
And beyond that, Macron was supposed to “save Europe”. Saving Europe means saving the European Union from the quagmire in which it finds itself.
This is why cutting expenses and balancing the budget is his obsession. Because that’s what he was chosen to do by the oligarchy that sponsored his candidacy. He was chosen by the financial oligarchy above all to save the European Union from threatening disintegration caused by the euro. The treaties establishing the EU and above all the common currency, the euro, have created an imbalance between member states that is unsustainable. The irony is that previous French governments, starting with Mitterrand, are largely responsible for this state of affairs. In a desperate and technically ill-examined effort to keep newly unified Germany from becoming the dominant power in Europe, the French insisted on binding Germany to France by a common currency. Reluctantly, the Germans agreed to the euro – but only on German terms. The result is that Germany has become the unwilling creditor of equally unwilling EU member states, Italy, Spain, Portugal and of course, ruined Greece. The financial gap between Germany and its southern neighbors keeps expanding, which causes ill will on all sides.
Germany doesn’t want to share economic power with states it considers irresponsible spendthrifts. So Macron’s mission is to show Germany that France, despite its flagging economy, is “responsible”, by squeezing the population in order to pay interest on the debt. Macron’s idea is that the politicians in Berlin and the bankers in Frankfurt will be so impressed that they will turn around and say, well done Emmanuel, we are ready to throw our wealth into a common pot for the benefit of all 27 Member States. And that is why Macron will stop at nothing to balance the budget, to make the Germans love him.
So far, the Macron magic is not working on the Germans, and it’s driving his own people into the streets.
Or are they his own people? Does Macron really care about his run of the mill compatriots who just work for a living? The consensus is that he does not. 

(Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Macron is losing the support both of the people in the streets and the oligarchs who sponsored him. He is not getting the job done.
Macron’s rabbit-out-of-the hat political ascension leaves him with little legitimacy, once the glow of glossy magazine covers wears off. With help from his friends, Macron invented his own party, La République en Marche, which doesn’t mean much of anything but suggested action. He peopled his party with individuals from “civil society”, often medium entrepreneurs with no political experience, plus a few defectors from either the Socialist or the Republican Parties, to occupy the most important government posts. 
The only well-known recruit from “civil society” was the popular environmental activist, Nicolas Hulot, who was given the post of Minister of Environment, but who abruptly resigned in a radio announcement last August, citing frustration.
Macron’s strongest supporter from the political class was Gérard Collomb, Socialist Mayor of Lyons, who was given the top cabinet post of Minister of Interior, in charge of national police. But shortly after Hulot left, Collomb said he was leaving too, to go back to Lyons. Macron entreated him to stay on, but on October 3, Collomb went ahead and resigned, with a stunning statement referring to “immense problems” facing his successor. In the “difficult neighborhoods” in the suburbs of major cities, he said, the situation is “very much degraded : it’s the law of the jungle that rules, drug dealers and radical Islamists have taken the place of the Republic.” Such suburbs need to be “reconquered”.
After such a job description, Macron was at a loss to recruit a new Interior Minister. He groped around and came up with a crony he had chosen to head his party, ex-Socialist Christophe Castaner. With a degree in criminology, Castaner’s main experience qualifying him to head the national police is his close connection, back in his youth in the 1970s, with a Marseilles Mafioso, apparently due to his penchant for playing poker and drinking whiskey in illegal dens. 
Saturday, November 17, demonstrators were peaceful, but resented the heavy teargas attacks. Saturday November 25, things got a big rougher, and on Saturday December 1st, all hell broke loose. With no leaders and no service d’ordre (militants assigned to protect the demonstrators from attacks, provocations and infiltration), it was inevitable that casseurs (smashers) got into the act and started smashing things, looting shops and setting fires to trash cans, cars and even buildings. Not only in Paris, but all over France: from Marseilles to Brest, from Toulouse to Strasbourg. In the remote town of Puy en Velay, known for its chapel perched on a rock and its traditional lace-making, the Prefecture (national government authority) was set on fire. Tourist arrivals are cancelled and fancy restaurants are empty and department stores fear for their Christmas windows. The economic damages are enormous.
And yet, support for the Yellow Vests remains high, probably because people are able to distinguish between those grieved citizens and the vandals who love to wreak destruction for its own sake.
On Monday, there were suddenly fresh riots in the troubled suburbs that Collomb warned about as he retreated to Lyons. This was a new front for the national police, whose representatives let it be known that all this was getting to be much too much for them to cope with. Announcing a state of emergency is not likely to solve anything.
Macron is a bubble that has burst. The legitimacy of his authority is very much in question. Yet he was elected in 2017 for a five year term, and his party holds a large majority in parliament that makes his destitution almost impossible. 
So what next? Despite having been sidelined by Macron’s electoral victory in 2017, politicians of all hews are trying to recuperate the movement – but discreetly, because the Gilets Jaunes have made clear their distrust of all politicians. This is not a movement that seeks to take power. It simply seeks redress of its grievances. The government should have listened in the first place, accepted discussions and compromise. This gets more difficult as time goes on, but nothing is impossible.
For some two or three hundred years, people one could call “left” hoped that popular movements would lead to changes for the better. Today, many leftists seem terrified of popular movements for change, convinced “populism” must lead to “fascism”. This attitude is one of many factors indicating that the changes ahead will not be led by the left as it exists today. Those who fear change will not be there to help make it happen. But change is inevitable and it need not be for the worse.
Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western DelusionsHer new book is Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. The memoirs of Diana Johnstone’s father Paul H. Johnstone, From MAD to Madness, was published by Clarity Press, with her commentary. She can be reached at diana.johnstone@wanadoo.fr .
If you enjoyed this original article please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one.