*edit, March 9, 2017 – Someone read this post, which led me to read it and I see that I made a bit of a mess of it. The content is fine, but it has the look of being suddenly abandoned just as I was finishing it. I don’t recall writing it, by which I mean that, yes, I know I wrote it, but I don’t recall any details surrounding that. Half of the enclosing marks for one section are missing in one instance, now to be rectified.
*edit, July 11, 2016 – I re-read this and noticed a typo, which I proceeded to correct. Then I thought to add in a few sentences in order to strengthen my points, forgetting that my post needs to remain the same in order for my claim that it’s what was disappeared to be perfectly true. That’s what happens when I do blogging after working 14 shifts, then doing business downtown and then returning home and playing on my laptop instead of sleeping. Anyway, This is still 98% what Ricochet would have received if they were more democratic.
I had the impression that The Ricochet was a place where a progressive reader could say something. I was wrong. After reading Nick’s terrific article about compliant – to the 1%’s wishes – Canadian media, I typed the below post. When I hit send, the nasty site emptied the field of all that I had written and directed me to log in, which I did. I had the comment on my extended clipboard, fortunately, and so I tried it again. ‘Then’ the site informs me that I’m limited to 1000 characters. That can’t be many sentences. I hate being talked ‘at’, unless it’s a book.
Here’s an excerpt from the above linked-to article by Nick Fillmore followed by the response I would have attached to Nick’s article, online, had it been possible:
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Just about all traditional media provided Washington’s pre-packaged message to the Canadian public: The good guy Obama was in Hanoi to lift the U.S. arms embargo on Vietnam so it could defend itself, and to do what the U.S. could to help the country modernize. In return, the U.S., one of the worst violators of rights in the world, expects communist Vietnam to improve its human rights record.
Obama’s visit to Vietnam wasn’t a particularly important story for Canadians but, nevertheless, it is a good example of how American interests dominate international stories that appear in our mainstream media.
From what I could see, The Toronto Star was the only major Canadian news outlet to carry a substantial story clearly outlining China’s concerns over the implications of the U.S. expanding relations with Vietnam.
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Very good, Nick.
A few points if I may. If it wasn’t the United States, it would be some other great power. The US is dominant, but it’s not unique – in character. Those who comprise the US ruling class aren’t a different species than those who comprise the bloody Chinese ruling class, etc.. They are all vicious dogs eager to devour each other. They will make alliances but they are not trustworthy and, when one power sees an advantage to be gained from betraying another, it acts, for the game these Benefactors (Luke 22:24-27) play is ‘riches for the strongest’. Give Joe Allen’s “Vietnam – The (Last) War The U.S. Lost” a read for a breathtaking review of betrayals of everyone by everyone. It’s stunning.
“For God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness… because what may be known about God is clearly evident among them, for God made it clear to them… Just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a disapproved mental state, to do the things not fitting. And they were filled with all unrighteousness… false to agreements…” -the apostle Paul to the Christians in Rome regarding godless people of that day (Romans chapter 1)
The Cold War thinking alluded to, wherein some old media journos might speak of evil “Ruskies” and “Chinamen,” certainly exists (and existed). Looking back, it was evil in two ways. One, There were (and are) those who understood the way the world worked and the need to embrace and purvey the doctrinal system, at the center of which was the anti-Communist NSC 68. And then there were the masses who were to be indoctrinated and for whom the concepts of evil Russians and Chinese reflected basic truths. There were (and are) those at the top (political leaders and their advisors) and powerful people (CEOs) with whom the politicians partnered and from whom they took their direction. Then there were the cultural managers, namely the educators and journalists and generally those who were educated and saw themselves as having their interests vested in the well being of the social order that the 1% was fashioning, which meant not rocking the boat, even when such rocking was the principled thing to do. Rock the boat and you could find yourself out of it. (3 categories there.)
As we look at all the conflict and tension in the world today, including the American/Chinese and American/Russian tensions touched on above, we can imagine ways that that can get out of control and become worse and we (progressives) can imagine ways that the players can make choices that will lead to less tension and less conflict. What’s realistic?
Zoom out and you see the grand chessboard of which Zbig Brzezinski spoke and wrote. My way of looking at that is this: There’s not much wisdom in the world and the more power you possess, the less wisdom you show. In this dark world, people acquire power by breaking rules. It puts them ahead of and on top of others, and from that position they can guarantee all kinds of outcomes. When you’re decent and you have to contend with those who are ready, willing and able to break the rules, which we have no choice about (one planet, everyone together), then you’re going to get sidelined and be forced to watch as the monsters take over – everthing and everywhere. For now.
So, We see what kind of people run the world and how they came about. It’s a free universe. People can simply choose to be lawless and greedy. And they do. Only now, they do so within a dark, brutal world full of tyrants and bullies and it’s actually easier (especially for those who lack principles) to be like them than to resist them, something that the Christian Bible (Revelation chapter 13) alludes to when it talks about getting the (slave’s) mark of 666, where those who don’t get it can’t buy or sell. We are under compulsion to get that slave’s mark, to be branded as a slave of the wild beast of corporatocracy. Life is easier, or possible, for those who give in to the darkness. So the only question is: Do you resist? You won’t, of course, if you are faithless, if you have chosen to reject God and if you possess no principles other than ‘sin and survive’.
Zbig’s grand chessboard strategies are being followed by the world’s dominant power, namely the U.S.. It involves Halford Mackinder’s geopolitics (and Heartland concept) and Nicholas Spykman’s Rimland concept (built upon Mackinder’s concept), in which the world’s heartland, namely the huge resource-rich land mass that Russia covers more of than any other country, is the prize that the strong should strive for.
But this is just organized rapine. This is just orderly chaos, a plan for marauders who want some order in their godless lives so that they can effectively and efficently pursue plunder and glory – which requires taking the means of survival from others – with some expectation that they may win the prize. By following a plan, the marauders can communicate with each other and coordinate their anti-people, anti-environment attacks. Like wild wolves, they will work in packs, but only because they are clever enough to understand that sometimes they must cooperate with others (allies/contenders) to get anywhere.
Neoliberals exemplify that reality, where they in fact do socialism really well, but don’t call it that so that people who they are excluding and exploiting don’t get ideas about the different rules that exist for different classes; for example, free trade rules for the people and total freedom from rules (deregulation, liberalization of finance and capital) for the 1% and the marauders within it. Socialism for the rich exists most egregiously in the areas of susidized fossil fuels [rather than clean energy] and subsidized weapons makers. In their minds, there can never be socialism for all, for there is no glory in that. You get your glory from conquering, not sharing. That’s why neoconservative thinking has flourished. It’s already there.
And we all pay the negative consequences for the lawless marauders’ freedom to unleash aggression in the pursuit of riches, glory and power. Their doctrinal system calls it maintaining national security. They conflate capitalism with democracy. They thereby redefine democracy to mean the opposite of democracy. The West and the allied states that the US controls are anti-communist, but leaders and the indoctrinated would say that their countries are democratic. What is democracy? Isn’t it supposed to be a system in which there’s freedom? But here we see something very different. You are free to believe in Western-style capitalism (neoliberalism, which deviates from the textbook definition of capitalism), but nothing else. Why? Following World War II, the US determined to shape the world so as to allow it’s home capitalist class to flourish and the American state to dominate the world. That’s all. Communism isn’t any more bloody than capitalism, especially the neoliberal or over ripe kind we know today. But the world’s most powerful superpower just happens to find that attacking it is convenient, not to mention something to do. And along the lines of the neocon thinking that has latched onto Harold Mackinder and Nicholas Spykman’s ideas because they furnish a way for marauders to organize their rapine, so too does evil communism assist the players in the great game of ‘riches for the strongest’ by furnishing them with a pretext for the imperialism that brings them glory, power and riches when they ‘win’.
It’s Zbig’s grand chessboard, probably until this system of things is destroyed. But that’s only by chance. It might not have been such a plan or vision. But the form of the aggression, or plan, followed by the wild beast of corporatocracy, isn’t the problem. It’s all the self-modified people who have been allowed (by God, for a purpose, and temporarily) to make their moral choices and face no proper penalty for making wrong ones. They’ve been allowed to affect society around them. It’s our – principled, caring people – test. We can choose a false god, who is man. Or we can be loyal.
From pages 38 & 39 of “Ukraine – Zbig’s Grand Chessboard & How The West Was Checkmated” by Natylie Baldwin and Kermit Heartsong, the following:
Brzezinski’s Eurasion thesis appears to have been inspired by Nicholas Spykman’s Eurasian Rimland concept, which was, in turn, built upon Halford Ma[c]kinder’s Heartland Theory, first formulated in 1904. Spykman’s Rimland emphasized the geostrategic importance of the densely populated coastal perimeter surrounding the Heartland of Eurasia. Spykman justified focus on the Rimland instead of the Heartland by arguing that the Rimland contained the majority of the world’s people, a large swathe of its resources and an industrial base. Additionally, it served as an entryway to the seas, situated as a buffer zone between the Heartland (source of land power) and sea power. These two theories, like Brzezinski’s Grand Chessboard, are widely acknowledged to represent an imperialistic offensive posture dressed up as a defense strategy (Nazemroaya 2012; Wikipedia. “Rimland”; Wikipedia – “Geographical”).
In The Grand Chessboard, Brzezinski reiterates the factors cited by Spykman and Makinder:
About 75 percent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both it its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about 60 percent of the world’s GNP and about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources. (Brzezinski 1997)
He speaks throughout the book with a sense of entitlement on behalf of the US that the American empire should never cede control of these resources to those living near them who may strangely assume a claim to benefit from them.
See pgs 28 & 29 of “What We Say Goes – Conversations On U.S. Power In A Changing World – Interviews With David Barsamian.” In it, Noam Chomsky said the following, in 2006:
…Iraq. Its much too valuable. Not only in itself – Iraq has the second-largest oil reserves in the world, and very accessible ones – but because of its position right in the center of the world’s main energy-producing regions. Iraq borders Iran and Saudi Arabia. It would be a nightmare for them to leave Iraq to its own population, which would, of course, have a Shiite majority and would tighten its relations with Iran, as it’s already begun doing.
By a strange accident of geography, the major energy reserves of the world happen to be in Shiite-dominated areas. Saudi Arabia has the world’s major energy reserves. Saudi reserves are concentrated mostly right on the border with Iraq, which has a very large Shiite population that has been bitterly repressed by the U.S.-backed tyranny and is being spurred to move for greater rights, maybe even autonomy, by the fact that Iraqi Shiites are now gaining some degree of control over policy in Iraq. So you have the possibility of a kind of loose Shiite alliance – including mostly Shiite Iran, Shiite Iraq, and the Shiite corner of Saudi Arabia – independent of Washington and controlling most of the world’s energy.
As if that isn’t bad enough, this alliance could well turn toward the East. The United States can intimidate Europe, but it can’t intimidate China, which is one of the reasons for the fears about China. The Chinese have been around for three thousand years, and just won’t be intimidated. The United States tells the Chinese to back off in the Middle East, but they continue to invest. When President Hu Jintao of China visited here last year, the Bush administration thought they could insult him by denying him a state dinner; they could have just a state lunch. He was polite. Then he turned the insult around very elegantly by flying from Washington to Saudi Arabia, where he was royally welcomed. He made new investment and trade relations with Saudi Arabia. China is now one of Saudi Arabia’s leading trading partners and is providing them with military equipment. This must terrify the civilian planners in the Pentagon. Saudi Arabia is the chief jewel.
Frustrated, not terrifed.
“You cannot slave for God and for Riches.” – Jesus Christ (Matthew 6:24)