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What The Civil Protest in America Really Means

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Credit: Fibonacci Blue / flickr

The spark of this USA  turned global movement was another episode of racial injustice in America. George Floyd another Black man murdered by a White police officer with others watching the homicide. Reminiscent , it is horribly enough,  of the traditional lynch mob days where  white crowds would gather with their picnic baskets and cameras anxious to take home little pieces of the anticipated murdered  Black usual body for souvenirs indeed heirlooms.

But there has been something different about this lynching episode with a white limb on the Black neck rather than hanging the Black neck from the limb of a tree. The expected at best local Black uproar with conciliatory  neo-liberal White and Black elected officials declaring as they usually do saying justice will be done which seldom happens to murdering cops today or historically became the unexpected. The lynching this time became a national and now global event of massive protests everywhere. The President in the White House is dangerously pandering to his White nationalist base rather than paying attention to what people of all ages, classes, and ancestries in the streets in America and around the world. Police chiefs are kneeling and holding hands with protesters and so did the Prime Minister of Canada. Retired military commanders more than likely the mouthpieces of those on-duty forbidden to speak are urging reconciliation and justice. Their urgings are counter to the sterner military measures  President  Trump  threatened to employ though thank goodness in recent days is beginning to pivot from more than likely due to behind the scenes resistance from the military high command and from members of his own party and his own political base who  too are out there marching.

It is the first time this has ever happened in American history and global history at that have ao massively taken to the streets demanding justice for Blacks and for all of us. Superseding what we saw going on in the 1950s and 1960s.People are just sick and tired. Younger generations have nothing to look forward to since Baby boomers have left them with  virtually nothing except debts and now this virus thing devastating the little crumbs left for then to squander. We older people having nothing to boast of either strapped with meager pensions and healthcare and no decent housing and our support systems are lousy. At best we are like the 70 something year old protestor in Buffalo, New York the other day knocked down to pavement by the police left there bleeding. Only a video clipped made it clear he did not as the cops said fell down you know as we older people are habitually supposed to do. We older people in America these days are disposable as the virus sweeping through nursing homes is saying in a society with young people who are tired of not knowing which way they are going. 

Every one out there on the streets and their supporters off the streets where ever they are expressing not having enough to make ends meet and even when you do have means be it taxes or high consumer prices we are barely scrapping. Meanwhile the wealthy few even have the nerve to grab pandemic government funds allocated to the poor. They pay little tax and live like kings and queens while most of us are honest hard working people or hard at looking for work to live lives below poverty. Graduates working their heads off and their hearts out burning midnight oil lanterns until they melt or corrode find nothing like  job waiting for them. Youth and older people in America used to have factories and places like gas stations to work in are now finding robots and off shore phone and online laborers taking their places. 

Be it Democratic or Republican our two party system is torn to threads with the two Presidential contenders Trump there  in the White House and Biden wanting to be there posing as symptoms of the rotting White Supremacy electoral constitutional laws and traditions. Both sides like the founding fathers of this now declining White Supremacy Male nation state are desperately holding on to traditions, to rules, and regulations assuring White Male Supremacy with White women and Non-White men and women being used as their beck and call. Those days are over as the street filled marches are occurring even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic virus. Assuring speeches for peace on both sides of the aisle are doing no good. That includes the soothing words of  Republican Condi Rice  and Democratic Barack Obama who  as Black national political leaders when they were in office did not so as much as they could do about racial justice. So hardly no one is listening to them now  as well as the bleeding  white neo- liberal types, especially the young with no model of courageous racial justice leadership in sight in either of the two traditional parties. 

What the street protests which will not soon end are all about  are possibly five  things. First some  retired military and intelligence and prominent media commentator  are drawing comparisons between  the near collapse of politically traumatized nations around the world and what has been going on in America the last two weeks. The fear is Trump’s erosion of military independence through installing his yes people in the Pentagon is at a point now the military will buckle under and agree to deploying military troops to be used against protesting American citizens.  

Second , some say Trump’s tough law and order stance is a  re-election  strategy to feed his base. If he wins the protests  will more than likely continue more than likely exacerbated by a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic virus, Trump will further push the military into becoming a dictator.  If Trump  loses , he could  refuse to leave office challenging the results in court  throwing the country into a novel constitutional crisis. 

Third , related to the second possibility is Trump using the military to postpone November  elections  with the strategy to bully his way into a second term. This would allow him to tighten his grip  on the military and continue to stack the Supreme Court and the entire federal system. That is, if the Republican Party continues to hold on to the Senate after November which controls federal  judicial appointments and checks Presidential military powers.

Four, others speculate that the convergence of the COVID-19  pandemic and massive racial justice and police reform movements  are sowing the seeds for a  third party  with winning capacity; In  a declining White Supremacy Male nation. 

Even if probable Democratic Party Presidential nominee Joe Biden  chooses moderate Kamala Harris or another African American woman as his running mate as predicted it will continue to destroy the party from within with its elitist neo-liberal inclinations. Even if he wins his old fashioned White Supremacy Male neoliberalism will not be enough to sustain a coalition of the growing power of younger white and especially non-white Democratic and independent voters along with disgruntled Republicans and usual nonvoters. 

 If Trump wins re-election, it will be because  in the face of Democratic  Party nonvoters ,he is able to fire up his Mid-Western and Southern White bases along with his non-White evangelical and conservative supporters enough to  , as in 2016, win  the Electoral College vote while not necessarily the popular vote not needed to win the Presidency in the American system.

Whoever wins in November 2020 , some speculate, will represent one of the two traditional parties which will face a third party in mid-term 2022 and in the Presidential 2024 year. This party will be a Post-White Supremacy galvanizing presently composed of Americans disillusioned by the  marginal and failed  racial and class reform policies across Democratic and Republican administrations since the 1990s creating a deepening disenfranchised multiracial impoverished underclass and middle class in a nation becoming nonwhite with no traditional Party leadership in sight with skills to lead an authentic post-White Supremacy nation. Its dress rehearsal was the 2018 Midterm election which dramatically changed the gender and racial demographics of the House of Representatives. The White Supremacy attitudes of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the left towards younger women of color in her caucus along with the conformity leanings of the older Blacks and Latinos House leaders actually paved the way for White Supremacist Trump to attack them from the right. This is certainly creating conditions for third party breakaways especially if Trump wins and moves further to the right with the Democratic Party standing by hopeless and toothless. The fifth view is this  civil rights movement we are now experiencing in America is not just about America. This is more than apparent in its massive presence in other big Western  and Non-Western cities and  in rural areas. In this respect something  bigger than “race” is going on.It is global soul searching and the redemption of our societal souls. It is  a global movement atonement for the sociological sides of societal sins- slavery both historical and modern, colonialism, environmental destruction, racism, the dehumanization of girls and women, poverty induced by the greed of the wealthy, and other massive forms of degradation and suffering though we human beings are one made in the image of God. It is this fifth meaning of this  civil rights movement birthed by COVID-19 pandemic which needs most our undivided attention as a world since searching our souls and recovering our singular humanity is going to be the only way we human beings will not only survive but prosper. This includes Africa where like Asia is now in the centerfold of global power and prestige though still needs to be awakened and contend with such serious forms of structural inequalities which need more transparent discussion and effective intervention and positive transformation.  

Otherwise no matter what we say with such eloquent words and powerpoints in our fancy conference and corporate suite  garments remain irrelevant trinkets of nothingness as the soul searching world leaves Africans  behind…once again.

Director Institute for Advanced Study of African Renaissance Policies Ideas ( ASARPI) SSR Chair of African Studies University of Mauritius

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Americas

Weakness or calculation? How the pandemic undermined the US world leadership

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Anyone watching the numerous doomsday movies, happily churned out by Hollywood, will see American doctors saving the planet from space-borne viruses and the plague epidemic that turn people into zombies. However, the very first serious test in a decade has shown that the US healthcare system is actually inferior even to the Russian one, created during the Cold War years. And this despite the fact, that for the past 30 years, the Russian medical system has been suffering from “optimizations,” cuts and underfunding. Moreover, while the Kremlin, even for propaganda reasons, has managed to provide real assistance to a number of European countries, and has been the first to launch a vaccine on the market, Washington’s actions can be regarded as a sign of weakness, and a very dangerous one to its allies at that.

More than a year after the start of the global lockdown, we can already sum up the initial results, which look disappointing to Washington. The US healthcare system has collapsed under the pressure, thus laying bare the country’s inability to bring the outbreak of a less-than-deadly disease under control. As for Russia, despite its lack of America’s vast resources, it still managed to win the vaccine race and become the first to come up with a viable antidote.

More importantly, Moscow has also come out on top in the information “war” with the West, with its Sputnik V vaccine proving to have far fewer side effects than its Pfizer and Moderna counterparts. Therefore, the US and British lobbying of their own vaccines, and their attempts to close the European market for the Russian vaccine look unethical, to say the least, all the more so amid numerous European media reports about people having  died from side effects after being inoculated with Western vaccines. At the same time, there are simply no reports about similar complications caused by the Russian vaccine, even though the European Commission and Brussels have been keeping a close eye on the effects of its use in European countries, including Serbia and Hungary, which have already taken the first deliveries of the Sputnik V vaccine.

What is the reason for the US demonstrating its weakness? How come that in the midst of the epidemic Washington was unable to find the resources to demonstrate its readiness to lend a helping hand to its European allies? Unfortunately, one of the reasons was that the Americans simply freaked out. The truth is, the US healthcare system is rather decentralized and unorganized. People with good health insurance have little to worry about. However, in a situation of a pandemic, the US medical facilities are pretty hard to manage, so one has to do it manually. Compounded by the general atmosphere of panic and the fact that the poorest strata of society, who have no health insurance and constitute the main risk zone (obesity due to malnutrition, advanced chronic diseases and other COVID-inducing conditions), the system simply collapsed. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Trump administration tried to keep maximum resources at home. Moreover, the businessman-turned-president, who had openly spoken about “exporting security,” never missed a chance to make it clear to his allies that US assistance is never free. As a result, he was replaced by Biden, a Democrat who advocates maximum support for all democratic forces. However, Democrats usually provide moral or military support, but they have proved equally unprepared to line up any serious assistance to the countries hit the hardest by the pandemic.

Moreover, it was actually at the suggestion of the United States and the UK that the COVAX system, a global initiative aimed at providing equitable (but not free) access to COVID-19 vaccines for countries in need, stalled. It turned out (who might have guessed?) that both the US-developed Moderna and the British AstraZeneca vaccines are primarily needed by their own electorates, and only then by countries that need them, but are unable to produce their own vaccine. Meanwhile, India with a population of over 1 billion, managed to fulfill its obligations, and Russia is ready to launch the production of vaccines in Europe. However, bending under Washington’s pressure, the European Union has banned the import of Russian, Indian and Chinese vaccines, without bothering to explain the reasons for this ban.

A country, claiming world domination cannot lead in everything, of course.  Therefore, it is not surprising that the healthcare systems of many European countries, like Sweden and Switzerland, are way better that what they now have in the United States. That being said, the world leader still bears full responsibility for its allies and cannot leave them to their own devices, not only in the event of a military conflict, but also in the midst of a pandemic. However, this is exactly what it did…

From our partner International Affairs

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The legacy of 2020, and 2021 in the prospects of the United States and China

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usa-china
image source: cnn.com

2020 was a crucial year because of Covid-19, which disrupted the evolution of the world order in the direction of differentiation and transformation. This is the most severe crisis the human world has faced since the Second World War.

As of 10 May 2021, According to the Hopkins University Global New Crown Epidemic Statistics Report, as of May 10, 2021 there have been 158,993,826 confirmed cases worldwide and 3,305,018 deaths.

The pandemic is like a fatal global social test. On the basis of a world order that has already undergoing a crisis, it has not only caused a pause and thus a deceleration of economic development, but it has also stepped up social division and the transfer of power from the political to the technical sphere.

Although the most experienced analysts and leading research institutions have published various reports, currently none of them can accurately predict in detail the huge impact of the pandemic on the history of the 21st century.

The pandemic, however, will bring about major changes in four areas.

Firstly, it will accelerate the general trend of global economic recession and differentiation. This is due to the currency over-issue policies adopted by several countries and to intensified domestic social polarisation. Since 2018 the global economic and financial crisis has not yet been solved. On the contrary, the crisis has only been concealed by the short-term response of monetary policy.

Secondly, the pandemic will speed up internal changes and the reorganisation of the international political and economic order precisely due to internal social differentiation. Owing to the turbulent influence of domestic and international policies, economic and political risks in fragile regions of the world will intensify or have knock-on effects.

Thirdly, the pandemic will strengthen the digital society and competition between countries in building new technologies will become more intense. The most significant impact of digital society is the silent arrival of a transparent society that exists but has no human contacts.

Fourthly, the pandemic promotes the rise of vaccine nationalism and accelerates the revival of the community value of East Asian countries, which has epochal significance from the perspective of the history of world civilisation.

The most influential political and economic event in 2020 was the US elections and the related change of Administration. The US elections represented the sharpest but also the most frustrating change in US history. Although Donald Trump lost the election, 74,216,154 citizens voted for the outgoing President.

For the United States, the change in direction cannot be seen as the advent of a resolute and determined policy along one single line, as the basic reality of the highly divided American society was not changed, but indeed strengthened due to the general election. The huge impact promoted the spread of political violence and protests in the United States.

Source: The US Crisis Monitor, Bridging Divides Initiative, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs’, Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination.

First of all, Donald Trump lost the election, but the spectre of Trumpism has remained in the United States and even in Europe, which is generally not conducive to advancing the strategy of developing relations with China.

Secondly, the “antagonism” of the US strategy towards China has not changed radically. Trump hadopened a political-economic dispute with China. Itisparticularlynoteworthythat the younger generation of the Republican leadership isgraduallybecominghostile and negative towards China, and exertsgreatinfluence in Congress.Thisdoesnotfavours world peace.

Thirdly, if this attitude is not contained, it will lead to negative long-term impacts between high-tech decoupling and ideological competition. Finally, China’s policy towards the United States has been perfected and refined: although the government is still adopting a wait-and-see attitude, the voice of seeking cooperation and being rational and pragmatic is still the mainstream in China.

Besides the issue that China will reduce its dependence on the world and increase world’s dependence on China itself, China will reduce its dependence on traditional growth models and increase its care for social, green and environmental sustainability.

The year 2021 is proving that the focus of the analysis of global political and economic trends will still be competition between China and the United States. President Biden’s Administration still regards China as its main strategic competitor, but the methods of addressing the issue are quite different from those of Trump’s Administration. The main difference lies in the fact that President Biden focuses on solving domestic problems and does not exclude the most important issues with China.

President Biden’s Administration has adapted its strategy for China as the influence of major lobbies and interest groups – such as the US finance and military industry – on policy is constant compared to the previous Administration. Nevertheless, the Chinese factor in the chain of global interests keeps higher levels.

Indeed, voices from both parties in the US Congress calling for curbing China’s rise are also increasing.

In short, in terms of China’s policy direction, President Biden’s Administration is expected to oppose a trade war because it harms the core interests of the US business community. However, there are likely to be problems for Taiwan, Xianggang (Hong Kong), Xinjiang Weiwu’er (Uyghur), South China Sea, Xizang (Tibet), as well as other issues.

The possibility of renewed trade negotiations between China and the United States is expected to increase significantly in the future and the US strategy of constructive competition will be reformed.

Regardless of changes in Sino-US relations, China will certainly promote greater bilateral and multilateral investment cooperation, while seeking new development and shaping new models of cooperation.

The key areas which are currently the most important and noteworthy are, firstly, China’s joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and seeking to adhere to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which shows that China’s top leadership has decided to continue the reform strategy of internal and external promotion.

The RCEP is a free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region between the ten States of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Brunei, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and five of their free trade partners: Australia, China, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Japan and New Zealand. These Member States account for approximately 30% of world’s population and GDP, thus making it the largest trading bloc.

The CPTPP, instead, is a draft regional investment and regulatory treaty in which negotiations, until 2014, twelve Pacific and Asian countries participated: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the USA and Vietnam.

Indeed, between the RCEP and the CPTPP, there is not only the interconnection of the industrial chain and commonality -and more reasons for unity than differences – but also the influence of great powers’ strategic factors.

The main difference between the two is that the CPTPP has higher economic quality requirements, while the RECP is more inclusive. Secondly, the China-EU trade and investment agreement is likely to be signed, which has clear short-term interests for Europe and long-term strategic interests for China. China, however, still needs to take a cautious attitude towards European policy and its legal systems based on double standards. Thirdly, China and Russia are strengthening comprehensive strategic cooperation and there will be new opportunities for their cooperation in the energy and military sectors.

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Why Congress should be rough on Chris Miller at his testimony on Wednesday

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FBI director Chris Wray’s weak congressional testimony in March left most of the Capitol attack questions unanswered and most of us scratching our heads: if the chiefs of the intelligence agencies don’t know, then who does?

As I argued back in March, before Senate Wray picked the low hanging fruit questions — such as confirming that the Trump mob that stormed the Capitol was indeed Trump’s mob and not some other people — while conviniently glazing over the real questions.

This is why the congressional testimony by former acting Secretary of Defense, Chris Miller, this Wednesday matters. The national guard mystery is still the elephant in the room that’s still sitting in the corner in loud, deafening silence.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee has been looking for answers from federal intelligence agencies on Trump’s role in the Capitol insurrection since day one. They have knocked on pretty much any door they could think of, requesting information from sixteen offices in total. That brings us to Wednesday when the Committee will hear from Chris Miller, as well as Jeff Rosen, former acting Attorney General, and Robert Contee III, District of Columbia Police Chief, in a hearing titled “The Capitol Insurrection: Unexplained Delays and Unanswered Questions.”

Back in March, when Senate grilled Wray, the FBI director could not answer why the national guard was not sent in to quell the attack. Wray vaguely put the decision on local policy makers, conveniently circumventing federal responsibility.

Then months later, defense officials actually stated that the national guard was delayed for reasons of “optics” and worries over how it would look if Trump’s mob was pushed out forcefully, as they should’ve been. Miller dragged his feet for hours before giving the green light, as he wanted to imagine what exactly the national guard’s intervention will look like. The actual deployment took only 20 minutes, logistically speaking.

Miller has already spoken about Trump’s “cause and effect” words responsible for inciting the Capitol attacks. And some commentators like Sarah Burris at Raw Story already predict that Miller is about to throw Trump under the bus on Wednesday.

But that’s not enough. Where was Miller back then? The delay was his decision and no one else’s. The Congressmen and Congresswomen of the House Oversight and Reform Committee chaired by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, should not go easy on Miller only because now, after the fact, he is willing to speak up against Trump. Now it’s easy. Now it doesn’t count.

Trump removed Secretary of Defense Esper over his objection to sending the national guard on the Black Lives Matter movement that sparked up exactly one year ago. That’s why Trump replaced Esper with Miller. Miller could have also said no to Trump but he played along. That’s why Miller doesn’t get to play hero now. There are no heroes in the Trump Administration’s aftermath. Some “cause and effect” talk and hypocritical outrage after the fact don’t count. Now doesn’t count. The House Oversight and Reform Committee shouldn’t buy this. The time for cheap spins and late awakened conscience is up. Now is the time for real answers. Miller and Rosen should get a rough ride on Wednesday. Anything else would not be acceptable.

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