Russia and China: Frenemies

China and Russia both pursue mysterious policies and pose challenges to Western diplomats. Their relations are one of the most important topics in modern international politics.

The Sino-Russian relations did not develop smoothly. In 19th century, the Russian Empire used China’s weakness and seized a great amount of its territory, which caused indelible resentment among the Chinese. Although the Soviet Union helped Mao’s regime to come to power and both countries were communist, it did not averted conflicts in the mutual relations. Following the ideological tensions after Stalin’s death due to more liberal new Soviet policy and border wars in 1960s, China perceived Russia as a bigger enemy than the USA; the latter, by the way, also decided to ally itself with China against the strong USSR. A normalization in the Sino-Russian relations came in 1980s. In 1996 a “strategic partnership” was established and in 2001 a Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation was signed.In September 2016, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi proclaimed that “the depth and scope of coordination between both countries are unprecedented.” One of the reasons, China sees Russia as a partner is that the latter does not criticize the Chinese political system.

Geopolitically, both countries want to deprive the US of its globalleadership and bring about a multi-polar world with corresponding spheres of influence. China would concentrate on Asia and Russia on Eastern Europe.The two countries have already made steps against the present world order. Russia annexed Crimea and started supporting pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine; China resurrected maritime territorial disputes in the Chinese Sea and makes its military exercises, annoying the USA.An attempt to create a global governance without Western powers was the BRICS group, where Russia and China are the most influential actors. Continue reading

How securities are fabricated causing the real estate bubble to grow

The European Commission has resorted to STS’s with which it intends to effectively cope with the financial crisis. Yet, on closer analysis STS’s are likely to spark off another crisis.

What’s the mechanism? Banks grant credits and then they sell them on the general market as securities. In this way they avoid having bad credits on their hands while these are foisted on other entities. What do the banks do with the financial means they earn in this way? Well, they turn them into more credits and so the bubble becomes larger and larger. The securities created from the sale of credits are referred to as securitization; their American counterparts were the root cause of the 2008 financial crisis. Still, the European Commission wishes to make use of securitization, only this time is is supposed to be safe, simple, transparent, standardized; hence the abbreviation STS. The Commission says they will make it easier for small and medium businesses to gain financial resources and simultaneously will reduce the systemic risk (like bad credit). The risk, however, is only transferred from banks to other financial institutions. This will make it more difficult the supervisory institutions to fulfil their duties, since such securities are not open to the public nor is it easy to gather information which of the financial entities is running up excessive debt. It may turn out that the said transparency will only remain in words.

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We woke up another day and we found ourselves at war

Wars are preceded by orchestrated incidents. It took the USS Maine to be sunk to allow the United States to enter a war against Spain; then RMS Lusitania had to be sunk to prod the United States to participate in World War One; World War Two required the sinking of a number of US warships at Pearl Harbor; the Gulf of Tonkin incident allowed Americans to intensify their presence in Vietnam; President Bush needed the twin towers of the World Trade Center to tumble down to have the right pretext for the war against Afghanistan; President Bush senior used the hearsay that Baghdad stored weapons of mass destruction to invade Iraq; President Clinton needed mass graves and concentration camps to give the poor Serbs a sound thrashing; President Barrack Hussein Obama almost began escalating war in Syria after reports on poison gas use against civilians; based on similar reports, President Donald Trump did not shy away from giving the order to launch missiles against President Assad’s troops. So it goes.

When you need to win support of the people for a war, you have to shock them into action. Hence reports of insidious attacks, heinous atrocities and use of prohibited weapons that the enemy has allegedly resorted to. The most potent of them all is the suffering-children card; it was used during World War One: German soldiers allegedly thrust their bayonets through Belgian children’s bodies’; it was used in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq: Iraqi soldiers allegedly disconnected incubators with new-born babies in Kuwait, thus bringing about their instant death; it was used to make Europeans accept the flood of the Third World masses: the visual media bombarded them with the picture of a drowned boy. Now the same trump card has been used by Trump, the president: he pours his heart out to the sorry plight of – how on earth otherwise – children.

Never mind the prospective detente with Russia; never mind the election promises of pulling America out of policing the world; never mind the gratuitousness of a poison gas attack: someone in Washington saw it fit to take action and action was taken. Qui prodest? Continue reading

Heresies or Inexplicable Collective Behaviour

As we watch the so-called migration crisis, we pose to ourselves questions. What’s the sense, what’s the purpose? We are told we need workforce, yet there are millions of unemployed young Europeans; we are told we are paying for the sins of the yesteryear of colonialism, yet drawing people from the Third World, we strip the countries of origin of brains and hands i.e. act as colonialists. We are told these are refugees, yet we must get down to work to integrate them as if refugees by definition were not people who plan on returning to their war-torn countries after the conflict is over. We are told the Third-World immigrants are enriching us, yet we observe street riots, crime rate increase, reinforced police units in our streets and a number of East European countries defending themselves from being blessed with this enrichment. Continue reading

China – a powder keg

The People’s Republic has 2,8 million troops at its disposal i.e. the world’s largest army. There are also 3,8 million reservists. For years China has been investing billions in its armed forces: in 2016 it was 216 billion dollars.Only the United States can afford to spend more on armaments. The task that China has set itself is to be able to win regional wars, for China is in conflict with many of its neighbours.

A bone of contention in the high mountains
In July 2016 China’s ground forces encroached upon Indian territory,which was not an isolated event since the 1960 war on the Indian-Chinese border or rather a demarcation line that had been drawn by the withdrawing British Empire. As in 2005, India entered into a nuclear agreement with the United States, China perceived it as a hostile act. On the other hand India did not like the fact that China leased a whole island from the Maldives, where it intended to build a port for nuclear-powered submarines.The border conflict at the foot of the Karakorum should be seen as a part of a broader picture: Pakistan, India’s ally, has been battling against India in Kashmir for years. Continue reading

Europe’s Last Stand?

Bulgaria is torn between three forces. A third of the population is leaning towards the European Union, another third would like to have stronger ties with Russia, and some ten percent of the population are Turks, loyal to Erdoğan. All this is reflected in the results of the latest election that was held in this poorest country of the European Union.

On 26 March 2017 long-postponed elections were held in Bulgaria, and the pro-European GERB Party emerged victorious.The Bulgarian Socialist Party, a successor to the former Bulgarian Communist Party, hence pro-Russian, came second. The DOST (Turkish for friend) Party, which is the representation of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria, won 8,44% of the vote. Continue reading

Patchwork family, tradition, religion, state, race: patchwork everything.

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it. (Karl Marx)

The Frankfurt school united Marx and Freud to become the most influential thinkers of the 20th century left. (The Guardian)

Marx had a dream. A dream of changing the capitalist society. With this dream he managed to inspire hundreds and thousands of intellectuals. Some of those intellectuals formulated their own proposals of implementing Marxian dream in real life. One of such proposals that turned out to be most attractive at the turn of the century was communism. After WWII, however, it became obvious that Marxism practised in communist countries not only failed to transform societies after the desired Marxist fashion but also suffered an economic defeat, whereas in western countries capitalism seemed to be thriving and the affluence placated the working class. Latter day Marxists came to the realisation that workers no longer made the revolutionary force in modern western societies and began looking for a new proletariat. The dream of creating a brave new world with a new awareness was still waiting to come true.

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