Newsnotes

Notes on the News

By Gwydion M. Williams

  • NATO as ‘They Who Must Be Obeyed’?
  • MICE – a Team of Rivals
  • Down and Out in the G7
  • P&O: Britania Losing the Waves
  • Slavery: a World Heritage
  • Iran and Subversion
  • Snippets
  • Hollywood as Foe?
  • Alternative East Asia
  • The World Burns?

NATO as ‘They Who Must Be Obeyed’?

We have just seen a naked display of power by the leaders of the richest nations.  One they made when the United Nations was slow to serve US wishes. Just as it was over Iraq.

“Nato, the G7 and the EU are all holding meetings, in a display of unity rarely seen by the West.”[1]

They are a rich minority in the world.  Maybe 39% of the world’s GDP, 15% of its land area and 10% of its population.[2]

An average income of more than $43,000: the global average is under $13,000.

But ordinary people in the G7 also suffer,  thanks to pro-capitalist policies begun by Reagan and Thatcher.  The rich get a much bigger share than they did from 1950 to 1980.

And they never delivered faster economic growth.[3]  Japan’s economic miracle was blighted.  China, with a harshly authoritarian version of Keynesianism, goes from strength to strength.  

The bitterly anti-socialist world view of the New Right almost collapsed after the half-forgotten economic crisis of 1987.[4]  The immediate fix was a return to ‘social capitalism’.  The Mixed Economy: borrowing ideas of state spending and welfare from socialism.  The ideas that won the Cold War, when 1920s values were despised.

The Soviet Union never had a gifted reformer like Deng in China.  Deng successfully ended China’s own Cold War without silly denunciations of Mao.  Khrushchev and then Gorbachev talked as if they were going to change everything, but failed.

The Soviet collapse gave new confidence to the bitterly anti-socialist New Right.  And they spread poverty and war.

Rather than let Yugoslavia into the European Union as a unified moderate-socialist state, the rival nationalities were encouraged to fight each other.

Serbs were defined as villains.  

When it counted, in World War Two, Serbs were mostly anti-Nazi.  Many Croats were pro-Nazi.   They killed Serbs, Gypsies, and Jews in their own independent extermination camps.  But somehow the Western media believed that Serbs were the new Nazis.

It worked in Yugoslavia, so why not try it in Ukraine?  

The First Orange Revolution was in 2004, and was a flop.  The electorate in 2010 preferred its target, Viktor Yanukovych.  He was illegally removed by riots in Kiev in 2014, with a large visible role by Neo-Nazis.[5]  

The elected regional government of Crimea seceded.  They asked to be annexed by Russia, and were accepted.

Two regional governments in the ethnic-Russian Donetsk sought a referendum on separation.  The regular army was reluctant to attack them, so Neo-Nazis were used.

Anti-Russian Ukrainians have an attitude that is sadly common all over the world.  Our territory is sacred and eternal. We cannot give up one inch of it, regardless of who happens to be living there.  This despite Lenin and Khrushchev having added regions that were mixed, and maybe more Russian than Ukrainian.

It was done to keep Ukraine attached to Moscow.  But now these arbitrary choices are treated as sacred and eternal.

Neo-Nazis also had the sense not to be anti-Jewish while at war with Russia.  They could carry on when the non-seceding Ukrainians elected a Jew – though I assume they did not vote for him.

Zelensky and the Nazis and many others share a hostility to those Ukrainians who also feel Russian.  Such dissenters were pressured to conform to anti-Russian values.  This has been seldom mentioned in mainstream Western media: and sadly, only by the traditionalist right.[6]

A NATO guarantee of Ukrainian neutrality would have made it safe.  Likewise for Poland and the Baltic states.  The West was warned in 1997 that a NATO march to the east could provoke conflict with Russia.  Armen Martirosyan, the Ambassador of Armenia, recently reminded everyone of this.[7]

Did experienced politicians with the advice of thousands of experts and spies really miss that? 

As I see it, the developing crisis was no accident.  It fed into the selfish interests of the millionaire elites who dominate the USA and Western Europe.  

People who thought they could get away with anything.

By 2008, bitterly anti-socialist feeling had got a grip on most ordinary people.  They let the rich be bailed out when their greedy speculation caused a crisis.  Accepted austerity for themselves, and blamed the wrong people.

The crusade against Russia is not in the interests of ordinary people in the G7 countries.  

They should remember what Brooker T. Washington said about the racism of the US South.

“You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.”[8]

But sadly, poor whites in the US south stuck with a vision of themselves as part of a Superior White Race.

They stay down.

We in Britain and the rest of the G7 are being just as foolish.

See more in my blogs about the G7 and its failures.[9]  And why Putin was right to call the Soviet collapse a Geopolitical Disaster.[10]

MICE – a Team of Rivals

Team of Rivals is a much-praised 2005 book about the USA’s Civil War.   

Or should we say ‘First Civil War’?  Trump supporters are wondering.

The book tells how Abraham Lincoln united in his cabinet everyone who agreed with supressing the Confederate’s bid for secession.  

Kept unity with many Northerners who had accepted slavery for the South.  Who had tried to save unity by making Kansas an additional slave state.[11]

A very different Team of Rivals is emerging in reaction to the G7’s anti-Russian crusade.  A loose grouping I’ll call MICEMiddle-East, IndiaChinaEveryone else discontented with the G7’s dominance.

The first three have very different values.  But none of them expect to change either of the others.  

The Middle East is offended by India’s treatment of its Muslim minority – but perhaps less than they should be.  They get along with China.  Beijing’s suppression of separatists and Islamic extremists in Xinjiang is fine: they themselves are just as harsh with such people.

They are likely targets if the USA / G7 alignment ever forces obedience on Russia and China.  

Most are regimes that don’t really accept citizenship: their subjects are expected to obey the ruling family.  For now, the West pretends not to notice.

Citizenship was being painfully created by the Muslim autocrats that the West took such trouble to destroy.  They were imposing a Napoleonic version of the modern world, just as Ataturk managed in Turkey.

Iraq pretends to have a parliamentary democracy.  It is a continuous communal quarrel, not a modern nation.  It is a failed state.

India and China share the modern idea of citizenship.  India keeps a copy of British politics, but hard-line Hindu culture is winning.  The sort of thing the West has denounced as ‘undemocratic’ elsewhere, even if it does happen to win a majority of the voters.

Democracy means ‘rule by the people’.  But for liberals, it has come to mean ‘directly electing a few hundred individuals, all of them left free to join the elite, if they were not already part of it’. 

Often they fail even to govern.  Or find it easier to tell one community among the voters that they have been treated badly and merit more.

As well as this, they are commanded to match current Western fashions.

In global politics, India and China are sometimes rivals.  But when Japan suggested that India was risking its place in the anti-China ‘Quod’ by not denouncing Russia, Australia hastened to reassure India.

A recent high-level meeting between senior Chinese and Indian officials confirms their soft line against Russia.[12]

Turkey plays its own game.  They previously blamed the USA for a failed coup against their current President.

Western leaders are confident that anyone cut off from them, must in the long run face ruin.

Not everyone agrees.

Down and Out in the G7

Would we have had the latest nasty Tory budget if Labour were led by a genuine heir of Corbyn?

The Labour Party was created to defend ordinary people.  Nice governmental jobs for MPs should count for less.

They should not be defenders of globalisation.  Nor be among those who whine about its weakening.

Myself, I am amused by the great diversity of whines:

“The future of the world economy is deglobalization

“If you are a globalist — someone who believes humanity can best thrive with the abundant flow of goods, ideas and people across international borders — it has been a dark decade. And getting darker.

“Driving the news: The list of affronts to a vision of liberal internationalism keeps getting longer. Xi and Putin. Brexit and Trump. Bolsonaro and Erdoğan and Orbán. Pandemic-closed borders, and now war in Eastern Europe.”[13]

Pay no attention to how most of the benefits mysteriously end up with the rich?

Accept without question that any culture that perishes under globalisation must deserve to perish?

Be extremely surprised when such people choose to fight back?

I myself regret a lot of what anti-globalists sometimes cherishes.  But I know who made the big errors:

  1. the New Right with their dominance from the 1980s.
  2. Liberals who accepted this abuse in the 1990s.

The liberal-left Guardian allows complaints, but not a blunt rejection of New Right economics:

“Under-30s pay the highest price for the UK’s cost-of-living crisis

“The group is bearing the brunt of Covid, inflation and student debt”[14]

Because a system that ran successfully in the 1950s and 1960s was rejected rather than repaired when it ran into trouble in the 1970s?  Apparently not.

“In the 70s, ‘stagflation’ – low growth coupled with high inflation – put an end to three decades of rising living standards. Now, it comes on top of a lost decade. Real wages are no higher than in 2008, when the financial crisis hit. Millions of households were already struggling to make ends meet. It does not take much to tip them into the red.”[15]

The Thatcher / Reagan decision to give more power to the capitalists was a huge error.  

The economic troubles of the 1970s led to loss of faith in a system that had run successfully since the end of World War Two.  

The Soviet alternative had ceased to be attractive from the 1960s, when the West changed and Moscow prevented change.  

Fascism seemed dead: unable to gain much despite massive non-white immigration and rising unemployment.

Fascists in Ukraine are useful front-line troops for the G7.

Have they thought that there might be blow-back when that war ends, however it ends?  Just as there was with Islamic Extremists used against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

P&O: Britannia Losing the Waves

P&O, the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.  Aptly described by the Wikipedia as ‘a former British shipping and logistics company’.[16]

A heritage of the British empire, long in decline.

In the latest scandal, Britons have been discarded.  Other European workers still have their jobs.

“P&O retained staff employed under Dutch and French contracts because these countries’ employment law protections were stronger than those of the UK, said Procter at the RMT.

“The company’s action exposed the weakness of the UK’s labour market enforcement regime, given ‘a situation where you have very large, well-resourced employers that make decisions to deliberately flout the law’”.[17]

The Tories weakened protection for workers.  Labour under Blair accepted this.

“Why did P&O not fear political blowback over mass sackings?…

“What should concern ministers is that P&O appears not to have worried about political blowback. Why did it think it could get away with it? And what could — and should — ministers have done to stop something like this from happening in the first place?…

“This is a government that has pinned its vision for post-Brexit Britain on becoming a high skill, high wage economy. If a major employer wants to cut hundreds of precisely those kind of jobs and bus-in lower paid agency workers with more precarious employment, it should know it risked severe repercussions.”[18]  

A sensible explanation is that the talk was never serious.  And de-skilling continues:

“Unions warn of job losses if rail firms close ticket offices”.[19]

Slavery: a World Heritage

“Prince William expresses ‘profound sorrow’ over slavery in Jamaica speech”.[20]

Which is overdue.  But also not a simple matter of White Guilt.

Slavery was a crime by the whole of humanity.  Probably starting when humans started growing crops and staying in one place.  It is also found among modern hunter-gatherers, but not always.

For many centuries, African kings sold neighbours and even their own people as slaves to the much richer Islamic world.  The occasional ruling queens were no better.

Europeans in sailing ships were just another market – though selling guns did make matters worse.

Back in Europe’s Dark Ages – not so dark outside of Europe – our ruling class was just as bad.  Christian Europeans sold other Christian Europeans to whoever paid well.  There was a 12th century complaint about selling English slaves from Bristol to Ireland.[21]  But most would have gone to the much richer Islamic world.  And within Europe, the norm was a milder form of slavery that was renamed ‘serfdom’ in the 19th century.  They said slaves at the time, as with Richard II putting down the Peasants Rebellion.

Race-based slavery was worse, because the slaves were mostly not allowed to better themselves.  It was a result of more democratic attitudes in European society: the poorer people had to be persuaded they were part of a privileged White Race.  That they should help keep the non-white population in subjection.

Slavery based on cash crops was also terrible, because it often made economic sense to work slaves to death.  A majority of slaves went to the West Indies, and most perished without descendants.  African slaves in what became the US South were relatively lucky, they were mostly kept alive and encouraged to breed.  But marriages and families were mostly not recognised or respected. 

Tobacco exhausted the land, so more labour was needed for new lands in the west.  The desire for western expansions to slavery led to the US Civil War.

‘Woke’ culture seems to skip over such complexities.  Their proper task in rooting out White Racism would be done better with a more accurate account of history.

Iran and Subversion

Now that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is safely home, I feel free to ask if Iran had a case.

She said she was just on holiday, which may well be true.

But Boris Johnson said that she was ‘simply teaching people journalism’.[22]  Didn’t he know that Iran saw this as ‘propaganda against the regime’?  And criminal under their laws?

I’ve always believed that Reagan acted the bumbling idiot because he knew it gained him the votes of the unintelligent.  Clever liberals never could oppose him effectively.

Governments do sometimes sacrifice innocents, to protect those they value more.

Some Britons were certainly out to subvert Iran, and any other country that dared assert its own values: 

“BBC Media Action…  “The charity was founded in 1999 and grew out of earlier BBC initiatives, including a charity called ‘Marshall Plan of the Mind’. This was set up to encourage ‘high standards of journalism’ in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the 1990s…

“In 2011 there was controversy in America over the American government’s discussion of funding the BBC World Service Trust to combat censorship in China and censorship in Iran using anti-jamming technology.”[23]

*

Snippets

Hollywood as Foe?

“Younger Chinese more likely to hold unfavourable view of US  … “Researchers say that those born after 1990 are more likely to express negative views compared with previous generations.”[24]

The article blames Trump.  But Hollywood is mostly hostile to Trump, and also losing:

“China Has Turned Its Back on Hollywood. What Does That Mean for ‘Uncharted’ and Other New Movies?

“The Chinese government, which has absolute control over which movies play in its theaters (and when they debut), has recently been ultra-selective about the non-Chinese films it allows to screen in the country’s tens of thousands of venues…

“As of late, the select movies that China’s censors have approved ultimately failed to connect at the box office.

“That was the case with the latest James Bond sequel ‘No Time to Die,’ which made $64 million in China, and director Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ remake, which earned $39 million in China — far less than their studios would have hoped when they were greenlit years ago. ‘Death on the Nile’ continued that trend, debuting to a paltry $5.9 million over the weekend.”[25]

I also noticed a shortage of anyone who looked East Asian in the latest Dune.  Some excellent black characters, which is an advance.  Re-watching the inferior 1984 version, I saw what I had missed before – almost everyone fits what racists call the White Race.  ‘Fremen’ do not look remotely like Arabs.

The Jackson films of Tolkien were all white, except some of the masked villains.

I wrote last month about the howl some people make about the Amazon Tolkien series being diverse.  Now expanded as a blog.[26]

*

Alternative East Asia

“‘Devastated’: gender equality hopes on hold as ‘anti-feminist’ voted South Korea’s president…

“Yoon has blamed the country’s low birthrate on feminism. He has called for the abolishment of the gender equality ministry, which he says focuses too much on women’s rights and is no longer necessary. He has promised to enhance punishments for false accusations of sexual violence, a step campaigners say will deter even more women from coming forward.

“An exit poll showed only 34% of women in their 20s marked Yoon on their ballot paper, compared with 59% of men in their 20s, and 53% of those in their 30s.”[27]

And it is part of the Free World, in the G7 view.

*

The World Burns?

“Wildfires likely to increase by a third by 2050, warns UN

“The report said governments were putting their money in the wrong place by focusing on the work of emergency services when preventing fires would be a more effective approach.”[28]

“Extreme wildfires are set to become more frequent, increasing by around 50% by the end of this century, according to a new UN report…

“There’s an elevated risk in the Arctic and other regions previously unaffected by fires.

“The scientists define extreme fires as extraordinary conflagrations that occur roughly once in a hundred years.”[29]

If you get two or three ‘rare’ events per decade, you need to worry.

“U.S. fires four times larger, three times more frequent since 2000.”[30]

*

Old newsnotes at the magazine websites.  I also write regular blogs – https://www.quora.com/q/mrgwydionmwilliams


[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-60849917

[2] https://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/groups/Group-of-7-countries-(G7)

[3] https://labouraffairsmagazine.com/problems-magazine-past-issues/the-mixed-economy-won-the-cold-war/

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Monday_(1987)

[5] https://labouraffairsmagazine.com/m-articles-by-topic/46-globalisation/ukraine-kievs-five-day-war-machine/

[6] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-10581335/PETER-HITCHENS-saw-coming-Thats-wont-join-carnival-hypocrisy.html

[7] https://www.ft.com/content/fbfc34eb-d722-43af-b160-63d5cd9604f5 (pay site)

[8] https://quoteinvestigator.com/2019/12/08/hold/

[9] https://mrgwydionmwilliams.quora.com/Ukraine-the-G7-as-They-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed

[10] https://mrgwydionmwilliams.quora.com/Ukraine-the-Soviet-Fall-was-a-Geopolitical-Disaster

[11] https://labouraffairsmagazine.com/m-articles-by-topic/52-usa/both-sides-were-racist-in-the-us-civil-war/

[12] https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202203/1256836.shtml

[13] https://news.yahoo.com/future-world-economy-deglobalization-161549777.html

[14] https://www.theguardian.com/money/2022/mar/21/under-30s-pay-the-highest-price-for-the-uks-cost-of-living-crisis

[15] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/mar/18/cost-of-living-crisis-big-business-economy-prices-wages

[16] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%26O

[17] https://www.ft.com/content/707d708a-bf0d-494fb54a-ffd754152bca (pay site)

[18] https://www.ft.com/content/0aacbfa0-0958-40bd-985e-0c69d0db1446  (pay site) 

[19] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-60729901

[20] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-60856763

[21] https://labouraffairsmagazine.com/past-issues/before-2018/isolated-labour-affairs-pages-before-2015/slavery-in-the-british-empire/

[22] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/06/boris-johnson-mistake-could-harm-case-for-nazanin-zaghari-ratcliffe-say-family

[23] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Media_Action

[24] https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3170714/younger-chinese-more-likely-hold-unfavourable-view-us-says

[25] https://variety.com/2022/film/news/china-hollywood-uncharted-1235186627/

[26] https://mrgwydionmwilliams.quora.com/Tolkien-Race-and-an-Amazon-Blessing

[27] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/11/south-korea-gender-equality-anti-feminist-president-yoon-suk-yeol

[28] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/23/climate-crisis-driving-increase-in-wildfires-across-globe-says-report-aoe

[29] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-60483431

[30] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/03/220316145723.htm

The photo above shows the new president of South Korea, Yoon Suk-yeol

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