Sunday, October 25, 2009



tags: stop Blair, Bush, EU Presidency, Sarkozy, Merkel, Iraq war, Afghanistan 

Thank you, Lord Rees-Mogg! Yes -  Blair must be stopped! How can any European leader - particularly a French or German leader - for a moment think of appointing Blair EU "President" ? 

No European has done as much harm to the EU as Tony Blair who broke with France and Germany dividing our continent by invading Iraq with the hapless G.W. Bush. No one, not G W Bush nor Cheney, was so successful in deceiving the Anglo-American politicians and peoples with his forged arguments for war.    

America's, Europe's, and NATO's desperate position in Afghanistan directly results from neglect due to the priority of the Bush/Blair folly in Iraq.  

My consultancy is a Cassandra. From Sept 2002 we warned just why "Iraq" would end in catastrophe for the West. See our for the real reasons for the war, and its the worldwide consequences. But it was Blair they heard!

Isn't it enough that myopic Bush made Blair toothless peacemaker for the Middle East he has done so much to wreck?  

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The only way forward in Afghanistan is internationalisation

The only way forward in Afghanistan is internationalisation. 24 Oct 2009

We hear all the time what America must do, what NATO must do. But, after the criminal folly of the Bush/Blair catastrophic (for Western interests) invasion of Iraq, America is in terminal decline as remaining superpower - it is now first amongst equals. And equals do not include Europe, the main part of NATO apart from the US. That's because Europe does not have a single voice in the world. And NATO is seen by the great powers as, like the US, an ailing entity. Worse - the Europeans see Afghanistan as where the US is trying to get them to pull American chestnuts out of the fire lit by Bush & Blair in Iraq (which deprived America and NATO of success in Afghanistan). Ask the chancelleries of the world if this is not privately their reading! 

But the great powers (and all the Security Council veto-bearers) have a major common interest in the stabilisation of Iraq. So do all of Afghanistan's neighbours - the ex-soviets, Iran, Pakistan, and China. This is shared by many other countries notably India, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and all the other Arab and Muslim countries.

This makes a formidable force if directed on that sole issue of Afghanistan stabilisation. Many of these countries have unique abilities to put pressure on the various parties from Taliban, warlords and others. Many, like the Saudis, have financial and other resources which they could bring to bear. 

No, the stabilisation of Afghanistan is not impossible if approached as a major national interest of so many countries. 

But America must first show clearly (if tacitly) that it has abandoned as unfeasable (after the disaster of the Iraq war) the G W Bush/Cheney/neo-conservative aim for a unipolar world, that is for US worldwide hegemony sought by the Project for a New American Century. 

Determined but sensitive diplomacy such as the US now possesses could restore at least in so far as Afghanistan concerned, that astonishing international support that G W Bush threw away by invading Iraq. It would take a good year to determine what each power could provide and to organise their co-ordinated actions. 

Meanwhile the US would have to hold the fort in Afghanistan. Of course, once this internationalisation was known to be the US objective, it would be much easier to gather the various elements of pressure to be exerted on the parties. 

Such joint efforts involving countries that are no friends of each other are possible. Study the situations in Europe after the Wars of Religion and after the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. In the latter case France, the defeated former superpower, by good diplomacy recovered much ground (only to throw it away again!). The US, as first among equals could achieve Afghanistan stabilisation although it cannot win - after the Bush era neglect and the present perception by Al Qaeda and Taliban and many others - that America is the losing once-was-superpower.

Friday, October 23, 2009



Tags: Goldstone report, Russia and Goldstone, Israel Palestine, Afganistan,
Obama & public option health, Obama and cessation settlement constuction

It is entirely the fault of the West for having allowed tiny Israel to become the tail that wags not just the US but the whole Western dog. Russia at least recognises its own self-interest. 

Most of us Europeans have immense sympathy for the Jews after WWII. But we failed to give the Jewish survivors the welcome they desperately needed. Hence the very size of the desperate rush to Palestine and the determination of the Jewish terrorists in forcing the UK to abandon the Mandate. 

The West then utterly failed in the basic humanitarian duty to look after the Palestinian victims of the establishment of Israel. 

That the West helped Israel survive the Arab wars in no way required permitting a resurgent Israel to dominate our foreign policies in the Middle East and beyond. 

But we did. And we let Israel/Palestine became an ever-worsening running sore on world affairs - the key focus of Arab and Muslim resentment and hatred against the West. 

Well we knew this but - apart from a little palliative aid - we did nothing effective until Al Qaeda woke us up. We know that Al Qaeda & Co. derived (and still does) more support and recruitment from the oppression of the Palestinians than from anything else. 

Yet we are STILL doing nothing to enforce a solution of Israel/Palestine even though the shape of a workable, fairly just, settlement has been clear for years. 

An invasion of Afghanistan may have been politically inevitable after "9/11" but it was quite obvious, as many of us pointed out, that the essential corollary was to move quickly to a solution of Israel/Palestine (which was then more attainable than ever). 

To win against Al Qaeda and Arab and Muslim resentment - the "War on Terror" syndrome - troops to Afghanistan will be far less effective than standing up to the present extremist Israeli government, AIPAC, Mossad, and its other foreign agents and force that indispensable Israel/Palestine settlement. All the powers that count know this full well.

Given the political power of Israel in the US, President Obama needs the help of all those countries and most of all Europe and Russia. 

Two litmus tests: will Obama get that public option on US health care? That would mark a major victory towards ending financiers and corporate control of US society. And will he oblige Israel genuinely to stop all further settlement in the occupied territories and in E Jerusalem? That would mark the beginning of US recovering control from Israel of large areas of its foreign policy. 

The outcome of those two political battles may well determine the Obama presidency - for the American people themselves, for US success in opening a new era of international cooperation after the catastrophe of the G W Bush years. Those were a doomed armed search for a uni-polar world - the Cheney/neo-conservative hegemonic dream set out in their Project for a New American Century. 

Final thought - it hardly needs saying (and a great many Jews are saying) that the establishment of a Palestinian state will do more for the security of Israel than any number of wars and bombs.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

OUR COMMENT on Geert Wilders' arrival in UK

OUR COMMENT on Geert Wilders' arrival in UK       17 October 2009

tags: Geert Wilders, Islam and tolerance, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, choice of religion, atheism, religion and violence, Manuel II Paleologus, political correctness 


Although Mr. Wilders expresses himself with extremist language, we favour his admission to the UK - hoping though, that during his visit he will show a decent respect for the opinions of others. 

A large number of people are interested in trying to find out if any religion can explain why we are here, or whether atheism is a more realistic position. Many others wonder whether the religion they were born into really does best explain the phenomenon of life and spirituality. 

Making up your mind about this all-important matter implies the ability to have calm discussions with people of all views, and for theologians and others to be able to write and publish, freely and without fear, why they believe as they do. In the first decade of the 21st century we are still very far from these fundamentals underlying religious freedom - the freedom to worship or not to worship.    

Unfortunately so many people are filled with hatred or resentment of anyone who does not hold their "faith" making fruitful discussion impossible. One notes too, that those least sure of the certainty of their beliefs are often the most full of hatred for "infidels" - for their  intolerance helps protect them from doubt.

People so easily forget that their "faith" is faith and not certainty. 

Islam seems to be going through a bad phase of such intolerance similar to what Christianity went through with the Inquisition and the 17th century religious wars.   

As regards Islam: no one appears to have come forward to answer the question of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus (which the present pope got so much blame for citing): "Show me just what it was that Mohammed brought that was new?" A fundamental question that surely deserves an answer? .   

Or have we lost the freedom to talk about such things both in the Muslim world and in our own Islamophobic "politically correct" environment?

US Christianity


tags: American Christians, religious right, US Catholic vote, G W Bush, Obama, politically correct, family values, Vatican foreign policy, Monica Lewinsky, Michael Moore, abortion, justice for Palestinians, US Senate voting  

The 'religious right' and the Monica Lewinsky affair together gave us Europeans (who are too divided to have much political say in the world) the 8 year disaster (for the West) of the G W Bush neo-conservative presidency. But if the Catholic vote had been less divided these two factors would not have prevailed. 

The categories of 'left' and 'right' don't help much with the Catholic vote. Almost one American in four is said to be Catholic. But this is a swing voting group: psephologists reckon 47% voted Bush in 2000, but gave him a 52% majority in 2004. 

Among Christians as a whole (other than "religious right" said to be some 14%) there is much the same division. Pulling to the 'right' is opposition to abortion on demand (which makes the Catholic bishops politically a virtually "single sin" group), respect for the family as the basic unit of society, opposition to homosexual marriage, and concern for traditional morality as a whole as opposed to leftie "political correctness". 

Pulling to the left though, is profound moral opposition to the prevailing "worship of the golden calf" - unbridled capitalism: Catholic Michael Moore's stance. There is too, a growing conviction that Christians should act to meet the existential challenges of climate change despite the cost. And recognition there is 'sin' too in aggressive war, genocide, lack of concern for the world's poor and for social justice (including justice for Palestinians), and also in failing support health care for all Americans. For Catholics that all fits in with Catholic social teaching at least since the 19th century, and with the international policies of the last two popes. Other ‘main-line’ Christians too, derive much the same convictions from the New Testament. 

From what he has said, President Obama appears to share, at least in part, this Christian dilemma and to be trying to reconcile these by no means inconsistent concerns.

Achieving even limited success is another matter - especially given the undemocratic nature of the US Senate where two votes go to each state irrespective of population. That gives an inordinate say to mid-west sparsely populated staunchly Republican states with major ‘religious right’ constituencies. Enough maybe to deprive the Democrats of the 60 Senatorial votes needed to fend off an effective veto. Indeed the whole traditional Christian ethos (however tenuous) of US governments is being stifled by dollar-heavy lobbying (‘your election expenses paid’), AIPAC and Israel Government pressure, and monumental dishonesty in the financial sector. Not to mention pervasive racism subtly sapping the authority of a non-white president. 

While working on the vital task of bringing cooperation instead of confrontation to intenrationla affairs, President Obama is now under internal attack from 'left' and 'right' and this is exacerbated by the divisions in main-line Christianity. 
Perhaps all concerned would do well to study the holistic approach to all these issues and to the Obama presidency adopted by the Vatican under Benedict XVI.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Our comment on emerging new economic organisations in the US

Our comment on emerging new economic organisations in the US: (8.10.09)

Post-capitalist developments of this sort are extremely important. Our bankers and most of the West's leaders are struggling just to get back ante-meltdown 2008, to the Era of Waste which started half a century ago with the recovery from World War II. But even if they did, that would only prolong the agony. 

The waste of finite resources, the ruin of the environment, cannot continue if mankind is to meet the existential challenges it now faces. 

Capitalism - especially decontrolled laissez-faire capitalism - was and remains the largest factor in creating and continuing this Era of Waste. The worship of the Golden Cal - of the "bottom line", must be replaced partly by far stricter controls and partly by such new economic arrangements. Instead of blindly shifting from one immediately profitable path to another we must know what we are trying to do.

Capitalism plus government and non-governmental projects brought us through the great wars because all sought victory as an end.

In a word, humanity must have a "telos" - an end or purpose - that it is consciously moving towards. And the "telos" we can surely all agree on is doing all that is required for the survival of mankind. 

The US - which took over from Britain in creating modern capitalism and is now suffering so severely from what it wrought - is surely the one country with the dynamism and imagination to lead the world toward that "telos" for survival. If the US shows a way to do that, China - already trying to re-organise for that same purpose - would join in. 

But first we have to change the mind-set of politicians, the "old" media, and all the others who are now so blindly struggling to get back to "the good old days" before 2008.That first step forward may prove the most difficult one of all!

Internationalise Afghanistan


Those of left and right with simplistic ideas about what President Obama's strategy should be for Afghanistan fail to appreciate just how complex a "Vietnam" he has inherited from President G W Bush: "Now we're in, how the hell do we get out with least damage?" 

This of course arose - as we and many other professionals, not attached to or paid by the US or UK governments, predicted in 2002 - because the invasion of Iraq by President G W Bush lost America the astonishing world-wide support it enjoyed after "9/11" and Afghanistan inevitably lost to Iraq its priority for money, troops and expertise. And now after 7 years of neglect, the US faces defeat or an endless unpopular guerilla war. At present Americans see this as an American problem that America - or rather President Obama - has to solve.  

But for years now we have urged that "Afghanistan" be internationalised through an effort (by no means impossible) to recover that world-wide consensus the calamitous G W Bush threw away. 

Why not impossible? Because, provided, the US now makes it plain (even tacitly) that it has abandoned the Cheney/neo-conservative aim of a uni-polar world (US hegemony in the 21st century) and now genuinely seeks international cooperation in place of 'Bushian' confrontation, that consensus can largely be rebuilt by determined yet sensitive diplomacy. 

For virtually all countries have a major national interest in the stability of Afghanistan - even of "Afpak". So there is a real chance of gaining and exerting immense pressure from all parties on all parties to obtain that stability.

Fortunately President Obama, unlike his predecessor, is prepared to talk and negotiate with all concerned. The principal powers with a major interest in stability in Afghanistan are Iran, Pakistan, Russia and ex-Soviet Central Asia, the European Union, non-European NATO countries (Turkey & Canada), China (increasingly), India, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, the Gulf States, other Arab and Islamic countries from Morocco to Malaysia and Indonesia. The list goes on. 

But - recovering such consensus and agreeing the part each country can play will take at least a year. And meanwhile the US (thanks to the destructive Bush legacy) will have to hold the fort and take such immediate military and reconstruction measures as are needed. 

Announcing such internationalisation would, in the interim,  greatly help in removing the present widespread expectation that Americans are about to do a bunk - so encouraging for Taliban/Al Qaeda and so bad for the morale of Afghans and US/NATO troops. Even more importantly the American people and Congress would respond if President Obama makes it clear that his military and other decisions are determined by the need to hold the situation, improving the reconstruction and security requirements while the US works to bring about the largest possible international consortium for stabilising Afghanistan.      

Probably the Europeans won't be much help with more than a dribble troops because here in Europe the perception of governments and people alike is that we're being asked to pull American chestnuts out of the fire that they themselves lit. But if we know where America is heading our governments can certainly be cajoled into doing much more, and much better, reconstruction and the training of Afghans - even at considerable cost at a time of financial woe.  . 

Successful US diplomacy rallying the key countries for the stabilisation of Afghanistan could lead to an international conference to put the seal on what had been agreed. The prospect of such a "Congress" - something on the lines of the Congress of Vienna which established a new order in Europe after the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars - could mark an important step towards the establishment of an era of international cooperation made possible by the end of the Cold War, and the ending of the neo-conservative drive for that uni-polar dream which was to have been realised by taking over Iraq - but which, ironically, the Iraq adventure has put out of reach.  

Without profound commitment by the great powers to a future of cooperation, humanity faces the Pentagon's alternative dread scenario of endless wars as neighbour struggles against neighbour for survival as the existential challenges mankind faces become more strident. So, with opposition to American hegemony out of the way, cooperation has considerable appeal. It has already shown its potential over North Korea and the world financial crisis.     

So - given determination and an all out diplomatic effort - Afghanistan could become the catalyst heralding that long elusive New World Order. President Obama has the exceptional intelligence, the pragmatism, and a profound knowledge of the world today to navigate the many shoals and rocks to bring the "Vietnam" he has inherited in Afghanistan to the best possible conclusion. 

But he faces, to us Europeans, astonishing opposition in his own country from both left and right. Apart from the two wars, he has "too many open files" -  the environment, non-proliferation, Al Qaeda and terrorism, bolshie banks, rogue and failed states, health care nihilists, the social demands of "progressives", selfish corporate lobbying, Israel's dominance in US politics, the future of the dollar, relations with China and Russia, renewing infrastructure, US investment in the future to replace the last half-century's epoch of waste  - and so on and on.  

So the new US administration needs as never before all the support it can get for enlightened policies. To our shame we in Europe are too divided by our outdated petty nationalisms to give the support we owe and should give in our own interests. Curiously it could be Russia and China that, starting with Afghanistan, will rally to help America to decline with wisdom from its age of Imperialism and use its still immense power and influence in establishing a multi-polar world capable of answering the worldwide challenges all countries  face.