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Brazil does not give up: Culture and Creativity, Solidarity and Lives

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Paraphrasing Jorge Amado, a famous Brazilian literary writer of the twentieth century, in his popular novel ‘The country of carnival’: “… Sometimes we understand that something is missing in our lives. What is missing? We don’t know.”

Today, what we do know is that the C-19 event has destabilized the world in a multi-dimensional way. Everything is upside-down. In every corner, we have experienced a shift in human behaviour and daily attitudes. 

Suddenly, the world has moved from globalization to isolation. From hugs and kisses to social distancing. From physical touch to virtual chats. From high-consumerism towards a world with a greater environmental conscience. From egocentrism towards a human-centred approach. Against this controversial background – culture, creativity and connectivity have become the backbone of society – keeping people who are physically apart, tied together.

One example of the importance of culture to Brazilian identity is Carnival, which creates not just joy but revenue, tourism and jobs. Carnival 2020 was held in February, just before the start of the pandemic, which hit Brazil in mid-March. During Carnival, the country explodes with creativity and dancing for three consecutive days. This year it injected R$8 billion into the national economy and offered 25 thousand temporary jobs. This income has helped to partially mitigate the cumulative losses so far estimated to be R$62 billion resulting from COVID-19 crisis, which is deeply affecting culture and the creative industries, destroying over a million jobs in these sectors. In contrast to the celebrations just a few months ago, tourism, culture and the creative economy, now integrated into the same Ministry, are having to join forces to overcome the current difficulties, trying to preserve jobs and anxiously preparing for post-crisis.

The economic, social and cultural consequences of this pandemic are far-reaching. The COVID-19 crisis has not only robbed us of over half million lives around the world but it is exacerbating inequality, knocking-down the global economy, re-shaping global governance and free trade, destroying national health systems and urban life and aggravating social instability. Nevertheless, probably the most profound positive legacy of this chaotic situation is the growing sense of solidarity and citizenship that is encouraging people to do better, to engage and to act.

In Brazil, the pandemic has made inequality more visible. Creative and digital industries, in particular the audiovisual sector, social media, online news and press and communications services, have been powerful in showing the cruel reality of poverty at the current time. For the most vulnerable, social isolation is considered a luxury. It is difficult to be at home to avoid contagion when there is no money to be able to afford to eat. It is difficult to be confined in social isolation when a big family lives in a small room in a shanty town. It is difficult to wash your hands several times a day and have hygienic practices when there is no water and proper sanitary conditions at home. Under these circumstances, the Brazilian government has allocated 4.6 per cent of national public budget to implement the COVID-19 emergency package that also includes fiscal and monetary measures to assist small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), micro businesses and the self-employed. The COVID-19 voucher scheme has wide coverage; 65 million beneficiaries have followed instructions for digital eligibility and are receiving financial assistance for three months as compensation for their revenue losses. At the end of June, the government decided to extend the emergency salary for two additional months until August 2020, bringing total governmental expenditures to mitigate the continuous spread of the pandemic during the first semester to nearly R$1 trillion. 

It is noteworthy that digitalization and creative services (in the form of an official mobile app) have made it possible for the government of a continental-sized country to put in place in a relatively short time a massive outreach programme. It not only captures nearly 13 million unemployed people, plus 3.7 million informal workers, but also the self-employed who are left with no income and those who were previously completely invisible (even from the family poverty reduction scheme which covers 15 million families). Hopefully, in the future this big data will be used to design appropriate public policies and more effective educational, training and cultural programmes to address the lack of economic and social inclusion. In this context, creative activities, especially those associated with arts and cultural festivities, are conducive to the inclusion of usually excluded minorities and marginalized youth.

Solidarity and citizenship

In parallel to digital innovation, a feeling of solidarity has emerged and civil society has been mobilized. Citizens have started to act in a collective manner in response to the needs of vulnerable communities. Private sector companies of all sizes have become more engaged with social responsibility. Enterprises are more committed not only to meet customers’ demand but also to be more sensitive to the socio-economic impact of their activities locally. Aid packages including basic food baskets, hygiene products and masks are being widely distributed by firms, non-profit organisations and individuals.

On a daily basis, the TV news presents a list of projects, campaigns and new creative initiatives to assist those who need them. An example is the Table Brazil SESC-RJ project (SESC) which is engaged in fighting hunger and reducing food waste. The project collects food donations for the poorest while educating them on how to prepare healthier food. There is also a link here between these efforts and cultural institutions, public audiences for theatrical performances and shows presented in SESC’s theatres (before and after social isolation) can get cheaper ticket prices if they bring food for donation. This project, which already existed, was expanded on during the COVID-19 period. Another SESC project is #MesaSemFome through which well-known personalities donate their time, knowledge and experience to support solidarity in many different ways; by calling elderly people for story-telling and shopping for them, by giving musical instrument lessons, and by improving bakery skills. Every week many activities are offered through Instagram’s Lives Solidarias

Artificial intelligence and robotics are also playing a role in fighting the pandemic. With a population of 217 million people, Brazil does not have an adequate number of COVID-19 medical tests for all of its inhabitants. In order to cope with this deficit situation, the Health Ministry is using robots to call elderly people with high risk of contagion for a brief diagnosis by phone. The TeleSUS platform started in early April monitoring the flux of contagion with the aim to reach millions of people through an active search by phone and consultations by tele-medicine. Though this initiative has not been sufficient, it has been positive for enhancing a feeling of citizenship. 

Cultural policy responses

In terms of culture, all cultural spaces such as cinemas, theatres and museums have been closed and events including artistic shows, festivals and exhibitions were suspended in mid-March 2020, to comply with social distance measurese. Art and culture brings about R$170 billion annually to the Brazilian economy providing jobs to five million people accounting for nearly six per cent of the national workforce. Artists, cultural producers, technicians and creative professionals were the first to stop their activities as a consequence of the pandemic and will probably be the last to restart, making them one of the most affected categories. Thus, a Law for Cultural Emergency (Lei Aldir Blanc) was finally approved by Congress allowing the use of resources from the Federal Cultural Fund (R$3 billion) to provide emergency aid for three months to help compensate for the loss of revenue and to provide tax exemption for up to six months for the cultural industry and creative businesses.  

Guidelines for implementation of cultural projects during the COVID-19 pandemic have now been revisited. Projects should be well documented and producers should provide evidence for every action taken, in particular for projects financed by the Law for Stimulating Culture (Lei Roanet). Three measures were designed to alleviate the pandemic’s impact and guide the execution of projects: 

1. Projects will be allowed to use up to 20 per cent of the estimated capital

2. The project can now be modified at any time (previously, there was a limit)

3. Project evaluation will be more flexible in the form and use of resources. 

Furthermore, special measures were adopted related to the cancellation of services and events in the areas of tourism and culture during the pandemic. The measures cover cinemas, theatres, digital platforms, artists and all professionals contracted to work in cultural events and shows. Those affected by the lock-down who were unable to perform, will have up to one year to provide the services already contracted.

For the State of São Paulo, cultural and creative industries account for 4 per cent of GDP. This year, the loss in the state caused by COVID-19 is estimated at R$34.5 billion and over 650 thousand people have been left with no revenue. A credit line of R$500 million for SMEs and R$150 million for microcredit was offered with special conditions for micro, small and medium business in the cultural and creative sectors. In addition, Festival #CulturaemCasa is a platform launched by the Secretary of Culture and Creative Economy of São Paulo to stimulate social distancing while improving the access to virtual cultural contents from public cultural institutions. Through the platform the public can visit shows, concerts, museums, talks, conferences, read books, see films, watch theatre and plays. There are many different options for a range of ages and interests, and content is freely available and updated daily. This streaming platform was successful in reaching 850 thousand views in two months from 107 countries. All cultural content will remain available for the extent of the COVID-19 lock-down.   

The Secretary for Culture and Creative Economy of Brasilia formalized a financing scheme of R$750,000 to assist local artists and cultural creative professionals affected by the cancellation of festivals and cultural shows. The scheme provides three differentiated credit lines for micro business, self-employed artists, as well as loans and investments to support cultural and creative SMEs. The Secretary of Culture and Creative Economy in the State of Rio de Janeiro launched an official bid for online cultural production projects. #culturapresente will receive R$3.7 million from the State Fund for Culture. It will cover music, literature, visual arts, audiovisual, dance, theatre, circus, fashion, museums, typical cultural food and new cultural popular expressions. Another project “Story-telling by phone” called volunteers to contact elderly and people who live alone to tell stories, as a way to minimize the feeling of solitude. This allows poets, musicians and story-tellers to be engaged by offering hope and solidarity to lonely people.

Cultural experiences in the digital age

Creative initiatives by artists and institutions have also emerged, and some are likely to remain post COVID-19. Two strong trends from these initiatives have been solidarity and live streaming media. These two trends may end up dominating culture in the “new normal” – the combination of live streaming and solidarity has already resulted in the “Lives Solidarias”. In Brazil, more than 120 shows online raised R$17.6 million in donations to fight COVID-19 in poor communities. The mobilization of artists brought about innovation and is a way to engage celebrities and individuals in social causes. 

Livestreaming concerts like #tamojunto became the Saturday night fever during the pandemic. Top Brazilian singers (particularly country music singers), are performing at home, attracting a huge virtual audience and millions of ‘likes’ on YouTube and Instagram. Among the top 10 most attended live concerts worldwide, seven are from Brazilian artists. Marilia Mendonça, who received 3,31 million ‘likes’, was ranked number one globally, followed by Jorge & Mateus with 3,24 million. This is partially explained by the fact that 70 per cent of the music consumed in Brazil is locally produced. Moreover, the country ranks thrid among the major producers of creative digital content and as consumers of digital services. 

During confinement, online festivals like Festival EuFicoEmCasa are bringing entertainment to people through social networks. As shows and concerts have been cancelled, musicians and visual artists are working virtually to provide entertainment and expand their audience and network via Instagram and YouTube. The first festival gathered 78 artists, providing over 40 hours of music during the first weekend at home. Thanks to its success, the same format is being used for festivals which now take place every weekend. 

In summary, after more than 100 days of social distancing, the cultural sector and creative industries without day-to-day activity are re-inventing themselves in their struggle for survival. Paradoxically, online cultural consumption and creative production are escalating. Music is leading innovative models with live concerts but theatre companies are also producing plays for web performances with no public audience. Drive-in cinemas are back. Virtual short-film festivals are attracting newcomers. E-books and a new generation of smart video games are in high demand. Auctions of visual and street art are attracting culture lovers, and TV audiences have increased with re-runs of older broadcasts and small format productions.

Web channels, podcasts, live streaming, film series, conscious donations, hybrid collaborative creative productions, crowd funding and virtual public are emerging alternatives. Certainly, there are more questions than answers. As live streamers are using social platforms that were designed to be ephemera, will live cultural experiences survive? How do we ensure that online cultural productions will resist the continuous search for novelty? If a social platform closes, will its whole cultural content disappear? Famous artists are finding big sponsors but a great majority of artists are offering their services for free or small fees. How do we ensure that artists and cultural institutions will be able to survive in the long-run?  

More than ever, creativity is needed to optimize digitalization and find feasible monetization and sustainable solutions. The present circumstances are a challenge and the future is uncertain but art and culture will always find its way in contemporary society. 

Edna dos Santos-Duisenberg, economist well-known for her pioneering work in shaping the policy and research agenda about the creative economy and its development dimension. At present, she is associated expert for the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). She is also vice-president of the International Federation on Internet and Multimedia (FIAM). She collaborates with universities in Europe, Asia, in the United States and Brazil. Ms. dos Santos had an international career of nearly 30 years at the UN in Geneva. She founded and became chief of the Creative Economy Programme at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); directed and is the chief author of numerous UN Creative Economy Reports (2008 and 2010), and set-up the UNCTAD's Global Database on Creative Economy providing world trade statistics for creative products. Ms. dos Santos graduated in economics and business from the University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and from the Sorbonne University in Paris.

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How terrible the consequences of the Cold War can be

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Image source: kremlin.ru

After World War II, the conflict over superiority between the United States and the Soviet Union began. The US-led NATO and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact were formed. Apart from this, of course, NAM is also formed. As a result, the world is divided into three parts. NATO and Warsaw Pact are in competition with each other. It caused widespread conflict and violence around the world. In many countries there is a change of power. Most countries increase military power. In this situation, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. As a result, America became the sole superpower and imposed arbitrary capitalism, free trade and domination in the world. With China’s unimaginable economic and military progress these days, it has inevitably come to dominate the United States. As a result, the United States considers China as its main rival.

It has already taken steps to suppress China by declaring its main enemy, the main tool of which is sanctions. China is also responding to America’s every move. Yet America did not give up. New President Biden has formed an anti-China military alliance – QUAD and AUKUS.  The QUAD formed on March 12 with the United States, Australia, India and Japan. On September 15, the top leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia signed the AUKUS Agreement. As a result, Australia will be able to build a nuclear-powered submarine for the first time, much faster than conventional submarines, harder to identify, submerged for months, and capable of launching long-range missiles.

Earlier, the United States gave this technology only to the United Kingdom in 1958. Currently, only six countries have nuclear submarines. Namely: 70 from USA, 40 from Russia, 19 from China, 10 from UK, 9 from France and 3 from India. Australia is going to be associated with it. In addition, there are nuclear bombs in the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, India, Pakistan and Israel.

However, many countries, including Russia and China, have strongly opposed AUKUS. Russia says AUKUS is basically a hostile move against China and Russia. The alliance’s infrastructure puts the whole of Asia at risk. China says the deal poses a serious risk of nuclear proliferation. It will also threaten regional peace and stability. This is contrary to the spirit of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Earlier, the two countries had strongly opposed the two QUAD’s. Malaysia has said it will cause tensions in the Indo-Pacific region.

Pakistan says the establishment of AUKUS reflects the mentality of the Cold War. This alliance could bring a cold war to Asia. However, Indonesia has backed AUKUS. Extreme tensions have arisen between China and Australia since the establishment of AUKUS. France is also extremely angry. That’s because France and Australia signed a 90 billion deal in 2016 to build 12 submarines, which Australia scrapped after the establishment of AUKUS. So France is extremely angry with Australia. In this regard, the Foreign Ministers of the European Union have expressed their support and solidarity with France. France is also furious with the United States.

French Foreign Minister says President Biden is pursuing former President Trump’s one-sided policy, short-sightedness, brutality and disrespect for partners. America is trying to resolve this anger of France. After the establishment of AUKUS, it seemed that the QUAD was over. But no it didn’t. The top leaders of the QUAD met at the White House on September 24. In addition to these two alliances, the United States is creating a military zone in the Middle East. The US Fifth Fleet in the Middle East announced on September 8 that the United States was forming a joint naval drone task force in the Persian Gulf with Israel and several Arab countries in the Persian Gulf. It will include airborne, naval ships and underwater drones. Apart from this, America has good relations with some other countries. Notable among them are South Korea and Taiwan.

European countries have been members of NATO since its inception. But due to the unilateral policy of the United States, the EU is now talking about leaving NATO and building its own security system. The president of France said on September 28 that the EU must build its own security system. In addition, the EU countries have good relations with China. Speaking at the 11th China-Europe Strategic Dialogue on September 28, Borel, the EU’s chief security officer, said developing relations with China was an important EU agenda. Maintaining close and smooth communication between Europe and China is very important. In this situation, the EU will not be easily involved in anti-China activities at the instigation of the US. So is Turkey, a NATO member and longtime ally of the United States. Relations between the two countries have recently deteriorated over Russia’s S-400 air defense system. Turkey is importing these weapons from Russia despite US objections.

According to the Turkish president, if the United States had sold the Patriot missile system to Ankara, Turkey would not have bought the S-400 from Russia. In this situation, the presidents of Russia and Turkey met in Russia on September 30. During the meeting, Putin said that Russia-Turkey cooperation is running smoothly. Pakistan has become closer to China by severing its long-standing friendship with the United States. The United States has withdrawn all troops from Afghanistan after losing the war to the Taliban.

In addition, it has decided to withdraw all troops from Iraq this month. The country’s foreign minister has called for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Syria. There are many American troops there. Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei has called for an end to foreign military intervention in the region. On the other hand, the United States is talking about a return to Iran’s nuclear deal. Even so, Iran-US relations will not be good. Because America has done the most damage to Iran. Meanwhile, America’s relations with most countries in South America, North America and Africa are not good. Many countries, including many Muslim countries, are unhappy with the United States for its blind support for Israel’s aggression. Many countries have been hit hard by America’s war on terror since the infernal events of 9/11. Muslim countries have suffered the most.

These countries will not easily forget that. The United States has stockpiled the Coronavirus vaccine. As a result, poor countries have been deprived. So they are extremely angry with America. In terms of global relations, the opposition is heavier than the United States. Second, the war on terror has cost the United States nearly 9 trillion over the past 20 years, in addition to killing and injuring many soldiers. But the result of this war is zero. As a result, the Americans have become extremely angry. That’s why President Biden told the United Nations on September 21, “The US military should not be used as a solution to every problem in the world.” Above all, there is NATO. In fact, President Biden’s comments seem to be deceptive. In fact, America is still pursuing a belligerent policy.

Iran, Russia, China, Syria, Palestine, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, Eritrea, Laos, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Islands have formed an alliance with these 16 countries. The motto of this alliance is equality, peace and prosperity. This alliance is basically anti-US. On the other hand, after the defeat of America by the Taliban, an undeclared alliance has been formed between China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Apart from China and Russia, other countries are also anti-US. These two anti-US alliances could become one in the future. Other anti-US countries may also be involved. It is pertinent to note that in recent times, China’s activities in the field of relations, investment and trade have increased tremendously in the world. According to a BBC report, China is paying twice as much as the United States and other major world powers for development assistance.

Extremely hostile two-polar military alliances have intensified lobbying to strengthen their sphere of influence. At the same time, the military power is increasing.  According to a report by the Stockholm International Pitch Research Institute, ‘global military spending increased by 2.6% to 1,981 billion in 2020, even in the wake of the Corona epidemic. Military spending continues to rise this year. Above all, the military powers are constantly testing new modern weapons. For example, last month the United States conducted a successful test of a hypersonic missile, which is five times faster than sound. That is 6,200 km per hour.

Earlier in July, Russia said it had successfully tested a Zircon hypersonic cruise missile, which has no rival in the world, the country’s president said. China last month unveiled its state-of-the-art air defense technology, the CH-6 drone, which is used in intelligence and military operations. In addition, WZ-7 drones and J-16D fighter jets used in border surveillance and sea patrol have been flown. The J-16 aircraft is capable of creating jams in enemy electronic equipment. China has already prepared its troops to lead the global cyber war. North Korea, Iran and Turkey have occasionally conducted successful tests of sophisticated missiles.

North Korea recently conducted four successful missile tests in a week, which is a hypersonic. Greece signed a 5.8 billion arms deal with France on October 2. Turkey says the deal will pose a threat to regional stability. The Iranian military conducted a military exercise in Sanandaj province on October 1. The lawmakers called it an “extreme warning” against the presence of Zionist Israel in neighboring Azerbaijan. Recently, China has been increasing the number of troops on the Line of Control (LoC) in Ladakh.  Indian Army Chief Naravane said the matter was a matter of concern.

So far, however, four US-led military alliances and one Sino-Russian-Iranian military alliance have emerged. In addition, an alliance initiated by the EU could be a peace alliance. Countries that are reluctant to join a military alliance can join it. After all, NAM is still there. The current trade and regional alliances may be broken by the push of these alliances. The current Cold War could turn into a world war in the future. It is difficult to say who will win then. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that no one will survive to see the consequences of a future world war. That is why the UN Secretary-General has warned the United States and China about the “Cold War” and called on the two countries to rebuild their relations.

Whether it is the Cold War or the World War, it is necessary to abandon that path and focus on the solution of the current global crisis such as the rise of the atmosphere, the Corona epidemic, the global recession and the increase in poverty, and peace and prosperity. Last year, a global conference was held at the initiative of the United Nations, involving more than one million people from 193 countries. In it, 90 percent of the negotiators called for resolving the current common crises in the world through multilateralism. In the interest of world peace and security, world leaders need to pay attention to this.

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The U.S. Might Finally Be Ready to Back Down, to Avoid WW III

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Recently, tensions have been rising between, on the one hand, America, and on the other, both Russia and China. A nuclear war that includes the United States would destroy the entire world, because it would be not only nuclear, but major-power nuclear, which would entail so many nuclear explosions (perhaps all within less than an hour), so that nuclear winter would extend over not only all of the northern hemisphere, but probably also over all of the southern hemisphere (though more slowly there). Unfortunately, no scientific study has been published analyzing what the result would be of such a war, but studies have been published of likely outcomes from minor-power nuclear wars, and the results have indicated nearly as catastrophic outcomes as I’ve summarily indicated here for a major-power nuclear war.

The culminating public event displaying that a U.S. backdown has occurred would be Biden’s granting Putin’s bottom-line red line (which, if not granted but instead crossed, would precipitate a Russian attack against the U.S.), committing the U.S. to never crossing that line, and this back-down would consist of a mutually accepted and implemented agreement regarding Ukraine and its two break-away regions (the currently independent Donbas, and Russian Crimea). In the case of China, Biden would also need to grant Xi’s bottom-line red line, which would be for Biden publicly to accept the 28 February 1972 U.S.-China agreement called the “Shanghai Communique”, in which the U.S. Government agreed with China to the promise and commitment that “The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position. It reaffirms its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves.” However, there would also need to be an addendum made to the Shanghai Communique, to the effect that if the Government of Taiwan refuses to publicly and officially acknowledge that it is part of China — no longer a colony of Japan, such as it had been during 1895-1945 (and it had been a province of China during 1683-1895), and also not a separate (i.e., independent) nation — then the United States will not oppose a militarily imposed restoration of Taiwan as being a Chinese province.

The Shanghai Communique goes considerably further than that, however, to commit the U.S. Government to never doing some other things that, during the past decade, the U.S. Government has increasingly blatantly violated (done); and, so, the three most crucial Shanghai Communique commitments regarding Taiwan will be specifically quoted here (and one of them has just been quoted but will be quoted again, in the context of the other two, so that readers may more clearly recognize the blatancy with which the U.S. Government has recently been violating the Shanghai Communique):

“the two sides agreed that countries, regardless of their social systems, should conduct their relations on the principles of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states, nonaggression against other states, noninterference in the internal affairs of other states, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.”

“Both sides are of the view that it would be against the interests of the peoples of the world for any major country to collude with another against other countries, or for major countries to divide up the world into spheres of interest.”

“The U.S. side declared: The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position. It reaffirms its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves. With this prospect in mind, it affirms the ultimate objective of the withdrawal of all U.S. forces and military installations from Taiwan.”

For the United States to accept either of those two red lines — Russia’s and/or China’s — (i.e., to agree that the U.S. accepts it, and will not oppose it), would be for the U.S. to back down in order to avoid a WW III. In other words: it would display the U.S. Government’s current decision that its #1 national-security goal isn’t to expand its current empire, but to avoid any WW III (avoid any U.S. war against either Russia or China).

This now seems likely to happen regarding Russia’s red line, as was indicated by Russia’s RT News on October 13th, under the headline “Kremlin says US & Russia agree Ukraine must give Donbass special autonomous status”. That would be Biden’s granting compliance with Putin’s bottom-line red line regarding Donbass. The next day, RT headlined “Strained relations between US & Russia could soon be on mend, Moscow says”. It stated that, after meeting with Kremlin officials in Moscow, “Victoria [Nuland] took with her to Washington a rather long list of those issues that were identified by the Russian side for the need to resolve them as soon as possible.” Nuland is the queen of the neoconservatives (or U.S. imperialists, or “super-hawks,” or “MIC darlings”), and had been sent to Moscow in order to push as hard as possible to get concessions from Russia. She was previously instrumental in the 2014 U.S. coup against Ukraine that captured Ukraine for military training and aid, and potential inclusion in the EU and in NATO — which coup (that she principally organized) actually sparked the current active restoration of the U.S.-Russia Cold War. This is probably why Biden chose her for that assignment. (It’s like sending a victim’s torturerer to find out what what the victim needs.) Whether Biden will decide in accord with her recommendations is unknown. If he does, then he will be continuing with President Obama’s plan (that she had designed) to ultimately place U.S. missiles on Ukraine’s border with Russia, so as to achieve “Nuclear Primacy”: the ability for the U.S. to destroy Moscow within less than ten minutes — too short a time for Russia to launch any retaliation. This would also indicate that China likewise is in severe jeopardy; it would warn China that it needs to presume the worst about the U.S. Government’s intentions.

If the United States will not comply, then one possible result would be that Russia and China will, then, jointly, and publicly, announce that any invasion against either, will be dealt with as constituting an invasion against both.

On the other hand, if Biden caves regarding Russia, then China, too, would likewise be much safer. For him to cave would be for him to accept not only that Ukraine must comply with the Minsk accords regarding Donbass, and that Crimea (which the Soviet Union’s dictator had arbitrarily transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1954) is a province of Russia, but also that Taiwan is a province of China. (If Biden were to comply with Russia’s demand but not with China’s, then his subsequently invading China would almost certainly be met by Russian forces, and not only by Chinese ones, and thus America will likely experience yet another defeat — or else the entire world will, by means of a nuclear war between superpowers.) If he won’t agree with at least those three requirements (red lines), then avoiding WW III will be unlikely, if not impossible. That refusal would indicate the U.S. Government’s placing higher priority upon expanding yet further its empire, than upon avoiding a global nuclear war. 

Neither Russia nor China will accept being a part of the U.S. empire. The question now is whether or not the U.S. Government will finally accept that fact. For it to do so would violate all U.S. international policy since FDR died on 12 April 1945. This would be a turning-point in world history — the apogee of the American empire, which was first imposed by Truman and Eisenhower (mainly via coups). But, so, too, would Biden’s continuing forward with the Nuland-led Obama policy on Ukraine produce the apogee, which then would mean WW III (effectively, the end of human history). The American empire might end by the U.S. Government’s accepting that it’s downhill from here on, and the empire’s gradually fading away. Or else, it will end with WW III. This is the choice that now faces Biden. That decision will probably come under this President — and maybe very soon.

On October 15th, the highly informed and extraordinarily honest analyst of geostrategic diplomatic affairs, Alexander Mercouris, headlined “Nuland’s Moscow Trip Ends with Disagreement on All issues, Russia Considers Freezing Relations with US”, and he provided an extensive description of the results from Nuland’s negotiations this past week in Moscow with the Kremlin (and of the U.S. news-media’s virtual blacking-out of even the fact that she was there — and the little U.S. coverage that there was, was mocking Russia, and presented nothing of what the Russian negotiators had said, but only what Russia’s enemies were saying, such as “Apparently, Moscow’s misogynists would rather not deal with a woman at all”). Mercouris’s take on the matter was that Biden will likely continue doing what Nuland and other extreme neoconservatives against Russia want to be done. If Mercouris is correct, then we’re now at the brink of WW III. But whether that war would start against Russia, or against China, one can only guess.

If this sounds crazy, WW I also started as being crazy, and the publics in the respective combatting countries were kept in the dark about everything except the propaganda. The publics overwhelmingly believe the propaganda, no matter how consistently it has subsequently become documented to have been based on lies. For example: this news-report is being simultaneously submitted to virtually all news-media in the U.S. and allied countries. Let’s see how many of them publish it. After all: it’s definitely not propaganda. Everything in it is documented via the links, all of which are to extraordinarily relevant and reliable sources. Propaganda does not do that. But few people even notice this. That’s how imperialists routinely get away with mass-murders, such as in Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine.

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How The West Subdue Us: An Approach of Colonial and Development Discourse

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Talking about development and colonial discourse, I am reminded the story of John Perkins in his book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”. This book was written in 1982 when the tension between the west and east blocks is heating up. Two blocks are vigorously fighting to get influence over third world countries. The book contains a dramatic confession. He told how the financial donors institutions together with America conspired, regulated, and designed in order to control the resource in third world countries. John Perkins himself worked at one of these institutions. He was tasked with seducing leaders to accept debt loans through the World Bank, USAID, and other foreign aid organizations. This mission was carried out with a group called as the Economic Hit Man.

Further, the Economic Hit Man (EHM) have to ensure the targeted countries fall into the debt trap. After they owed were no longer able to pay the debts, it were obliged to surrender the concession of their natural resources. The trap which EHM uses to capture prey include: by making misleading financial reports through economic calculations and predictions, manipulating fraudulent elections by supporting candidates Pro-American interests, bribery, extortion, sex, and even murder. The last case happened to Jaime Roldos, the former President of Ecuador who was nicknamed “Castro” in his country. He was killed in a helicopter accident that he was riding. The helicopter crashed and caught fire on May 24, 1981. Many media at that time accused the CIA behind the murder.

Besides Ecuador, other countries that finally entered America’s debt trap were Indonesia. After the crisis hit Indonesia’s finances between 1997-1998, inevitably it signed a new IMF debt pact with various provisions and conditions were detrimental to the country. The pact which reflected on the Washington Consensus is an American strategy to subjugate troubled economic countries.

Ecuador and Indonesia case is only a small example of how the world condition after colonialism ended. It does not mean they reached independence as a whole since the occupation is no longer focused on exploitation and physical violence rather through structural hegemony and various infiltration. To understand how hegemony works comprehensively, there are two discourses framing the history of subjection namely colonial and development discourse.

Understanding Discourse

Discourse is a term created by Foucault. Foucault defines it as a way and means to uncover what is not visible with the naked eye. In the discourse, there are knowledge and strength which form a shared power. The hidden power in it was unconscious to hegemony the subject for how they act as expected. Discourse itself does not come from a vacuum, it exists and is produced, organized, deliberately controlled by the authorities and disseminated as an instrument of subjugation (Arturo Escobar, 1984). It was spread by the west to the third world countries through forced civilization. Western try to place the third world as a slave over their prevails values and knowledge imposed since the colonialism period. So that many countries in the third world fall into the western grip. Then its image becomes an elegant illustration in the mind people of the third world. From here, discourse appears as a tool for hegemony and it was intensively launched along with the colonial and post-colonial period.

How Do Colonial and Developmet Discourse Run

Gradually, discourse topic was inspired many scholars to examine and uncover the hidden interests of such submission processes. One of them is Edwar Said. Edwar Said wrote about what he called in the colonial discourse as Orientalism. For him, Orientalism is a study about eastern world carried out by western people (Europe) with a focus not only on their history and culture but also to a phenomenon political epistemology that contains broader historical consequences ( Eiman Osman, Postcoloniality and Development: Development as a Colonial Discourse). In short, colonial discourse is an extension of the narrow meaning of oppression. Colonial is not just physical exploitation rather attacks and deprivation of the cultural, political, economic and institutional values towards the colonized countries where local values are replaced by the new one brought and instilled by western. They lose their identity. Then they were born with a new “western” identity. It was considered as a strategy to perpetuate the power relations of western state over third world countries. This is clearly illustrated for example in the process of institutionalizing English language education in India and South Africa and it was a part of colonial government politics, as examined by Gauri Viswanathan (1990) and David Johnson (1996).

While colonial discourse emphasizes aspects of attack on culture, ideas, value systems in society – which go hand and become an inseparable part of physical violence, development discourse is a prolongation of new style of occupation beyond physical coercion. It was a new form of conquest. The expansion of this kind of discourse is rife after the cold war in which the West turned to focus on providing economic stimulus to third world countries, as well as a counter to communism.

Explicitly, development discourse is a western manipulation strategy that frames their good intentions by pretending to participate and help the third world in post-colonialism. The debt bondage which occurred in Ecuador and Indonesia that described above is a simple model of how development discourse works. It is a new imperialism under development guise.

Therefore, to understand a whole about development discourse is the best way to realize how western perceives the third world or vice versa. In fact, the perception as most civilized country had encouraged western to be a patron to control economic, political, social, and cultural systems within these countries. Its aim is not only to degrade the progress of development but also to shape the reality and self-image of the third world according to western will. Escobar neatly defines development discourse as follows: In this way, development will be seen, not as a matter of scientific knowledge, a body of theories and programs concerned with the achievement of true progress, but rather as a series of political technologies intended to manage and give shape to the reality of the Third World (Arturo Escobar, 1984).

Dismantling Development Discourse

According to Escobar, there are three important factors to analyze and dismantle development discourse in third world countries. First, through historical conditions, second, restructure of discourse, and third, the deployment of development.

Historical conditions lead us to the portrait of the world at the end of the cold war where capitalism holds control of the course of the global economy. The third countries which are now adopting the same political system (imposed by the west) were initially given the hope that they would be assisted by international institutions that would deal with development issues in their country. Economic studies in newly independent countries are actively carried out. This is the initial phase of transition control in a more subtle direction. In this stage, many of them volunteered to receive program and debt assistance offered by international financial institutions before finally entering the trap of their power.

While restructure of discourse is operated not only to change the old structure that applies in third world countries as well as to focus on the economic structure but to touch all aspects, including social and politics so that these aspects will become institutionalized which perpetuate and sustain western domination over the lives of third world. This happens at all levels, from rural to urban, local-regional, national-international.

In the deployment of development, there are several main strategies. First, through a variety of labeling. Initially by perceiving that the third world is backward, uneducated, abnormal, and embedding other negative terms. Second,  through the formation of professional fields. Here various types of specialization are formed which are directed at their respective fields. Specialization in the field of science, including economics, politics, is intended to make science look neutral so the course of development which is much assisted by elements of science is not deemed politically. The third is through the institutionalization of development. As Escobar calls it “This process took place at various levels, ranging from the international organizations and national planning bodies to local level development agencies. These institutions became the agents of the deployment of development, the network of new sites of power which, taken as a whole, constituted the apparatus of development “(Arturo Escobar, 1984).

In short, everything that we believe so far is the fruit of our past and the cultivation of western values. So do not be surprised if some of us still consider the west as the center of civilization orientation.

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