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On Neo-Latin Americanism

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“Neo-Latin Americanism” is a concept I put forth, and as far as I know, I have yet to see others mentioning the same concept. Different from other researchers in China who try to understand the world, I attempted to solve the world’s problems and promote the world’s welfare supply instead. For a long time, Chinese people actually know a lot about the world, yet few provided a global voice of China. It is a pity that Chinese intellectuals, and scholars of international relations and geopolitical studies are incapable of doing this.

I first went to Latin America at the end of the last century. Since then, I am attracted to Latin America, after all the earliest practical origin of left-wing thought in the world was in Latin America, not in the Soviet Union and Russia. However, Latin America has seen its worst days, because it has always been a place to experiment different philosophies, making it an unsuccessful worldwide “thought laboratory”. It would implement whatever that is popular, yet it experiences constant failure, revolving in the cycles of left-wing to right-wing then back to left-wing again. In the end, it fails to progress, and instead it made things worse. No matter how much anger is accumulated among its people, they are helpless and can do nothing. One can’t help but wonder that Latin American countries are huge and rich in resources; the people are intelligent and they want nothing more than living their lives. Other countries in the world also have the same demands, but why do Latin American countries fail to gain substantial progress?

My answer is rather simple. As a reformist and a moderate, it is easy to think that the biggest problem for Latin American countries is that they follow too closely what is happening in the world, while seriously lacking the sense of independence. When socialism became popular, these countries, like Chile’s Salvador Allende adopted such ideology. Likewise, when capitalism became widely favored, they welcomed Milton Friedman, hence we see the like of Chile’s Augusto Pinochet. The situation in Brazil was the same, and indeed it was even more serious. After the First World War, the world needed agricultural products, and Latin American countries closely follow up such demands. Yet, the agricultural products of Latin America could not be sold and their prices became extremely low, which created an economic crisis. The post-war world needed mineral resources, and Latin America also followed this closely. Mining immediately became the pillar of Latin America’s economy. However, as long as the world economy fluctuates slightly, Latin America would be hit first, and nothing can be done to save its economy. The people could only hope to “solve” problems that cannot actually be solved at all through regime change. 

Therefore, if Latin America wants to get out of the predicament, it must be independent, not follow the trend of the world too closely, and not willingly become a mere “server” and “follower” of the world economy. To achieve the balance of Neo-Latin Americanism, balanced thinking is the intellectual assets most lacking in Latin American countries. What history has shown is very simple. The key to Latin America’s economy is serious imbalances, therefore only balancing can save Latin America. It is only through being independent that Latin America can be come truly for Latin Americans, achieving balance both internally and externally, as well as economically and socially. This is what is needed for Latin American countries to achieve global status. Of course, it is not an easy feat. Latin American countries need new leaders. This time, such leaders cannot be someone like Simón Bolívar who used the sword and guns, but rather those who can achieve enlightenment and culture in the society. Without the awakening of the grassroots societies in Latin America, no doctrines can solve the problems. Therefore, the real problem in Latin America lies in the mind and the society. Latin American intellectuals have to shoulder great responsibilities. They must first awaken and establish an independent Latin American civilization system.

Many people say that the problem in Latin America is the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the general public. This is actually an ideological explanation. It is true that there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor in Latin America; however the problem is that under the impact of the world economic trend, the bourgeoisie in Latin America does not take much advantage, and they are not the mainstream in the list of the world’s billionaires. The whole Latin American countries, from the bourgeoisie to the general public, are actually the victims of extreme tendencies, and only balanced thinking can save them. If they continue to stuck in an ideological quagmire, Latin American countries will never get out of the predicament, and instead will continue to wander between the extreme choices between left and right.

It is easy to observe how politics in left-wing Latin America shifted to the right after the first decade of this century, as in the case of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. The so-called “neoliberalism” is not new to Latin America in social practice. The Latin American economy is still sluggish and full of problems, and it is still promoting regime change. Although some Latin American countries now have internal politics that try to transcend ideological differences and the left-wing and right-wing have a sense of moving toward the center, it is definitely not that easy to achieve. When it comes to a political election, the problem will be revealed immediately. Politicians on both wings still have to promise their supporters that they will make political choices and take sides, thereby to achieve their political goals.

Latin American countries may still take time to improve the problem, but new social enlightenment must occur in Latin American countries. Latin American intellectuals must take up the mission and advocate a balanced ideological neo-Latinism. Only in this way can Latin American independence truly become the basis of mainstream social politics, and for Latin American countries to have their own voice and position in the world.

Founder of Anbound Think Tank in 1993, Chan Kung is now ANBOUND Chief Researcher. Chan Kung is one of China’s renowned experts in information analysis. Most of Chan Kung‘s outstanding academic research activities are in economic information analysis, particularly in the area of public policy.

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Americas

Democracy Or What? – And Then Climate

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Most of us were appalled to see what happened in Washington a ten days ago when a ‘mob’, incited by Donald Trump’s address, stormed the Capitol building to prevent the presentation of Joe Biden as the next President. He gave voice to a possible fraudulent (in his mind) election, by putting suspicion on the postal ballot long before the election took place, and tried to ‘engineer’ the ballot by putting his ‘own’ man in control of it. He tried to manipulate the Supreme Court by replacing vacancies with people he expected to follow his lead and must have been disappointed, if not shocked, to find that the court unanimously rejected his claim that the votes had been rigged and should be thrown out. His unruly term of office saw the greatest turnover of people of any previous presidential term as staff could only hack the unusual behaviour of a disordered mind for so long. And so on and on. Much will be written about the 4-year aberration that was Donald Trump. On a lighter note, his escapades in golf have given rise to a book, ‘Commander in Cheat’!

Concerned people have written and spoken about the state of democracy today. Those of us who have spent some time stateside appreciate the immensity of the country, how one is made welcome, but also the prejudices that one finds and the general unknowing of the world we live in by large swathes of the population. Some are still steeped in attitudes that pre-date the civil war. Donald Trump played to all of those and gave them voice. That is a big challenge facing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to get America back on track and if not ‘great again’ to stand up and join the rest of us and share and appreciate that there are billions of other people that are working away with hopes and dreams and looked to the US as a beacon.

That should be the meaning of ‘great again’, and if they can look up and truly be the land of the free and welcome the weak and downtrodden who are fleeing war and violence, as was once the way, then we can say that once more ‘you have earned the right to be the leader of democracy’, and democracy, for all its imperfections, is still the least bad form of government. It is well that the US re-joins the world as totalitarianism, in all its forms and at all levels, is on the rise again. Countries that espouse democracy and heed its precepts need to speak up loudly and be heard once again.

In November of this year is the World Climate Meeting, COP21, in Glasgow, Scotland at which the latest news on climate will be debated. Hopefully, the coronavirus will be on the decline and the US election will no longer be an issue. We can then get together on the one matter that should concentrate all our minds and separate the wheat from the chaff because there is some said that is wrong that muddies the waters, and leads the politicians to make incorrect decisions. But change is around us.

Climate is a highly complex issue, arguably the most complicated, that not all the modelling can get right, but study must go on. It is strange that it has only come to our notice since the population of the world over the past 60 years, has increased dramatically from approaching 3 billion to 8 billion. Mankind has thus significantly increased breeding himself, and thus his use of natural resources, for example cutting down trees, which need carbon dioxide to live, and vastly increased the pollution of the seas and the seas cover 70% of the planet. It has only been in comparatively recent times that we have started to pay attention to the seas and are alarmed at what we see.

However, we have the tools to put things right. We just need the will and ability to spend money wisely.

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A Disintegrating Trump Administration?

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If Donald J. Trump wanted a historic presidency, he certainly seems to have achieved it — he is now the only president to have been impeached twice.

According to the rules, the House impeaches followed by a trial in the Senate.  There is precedent for the trial to continue even when the office holder has left office.  Should that trial result in conviction, it prevents him from seeking any future elected office.  Conviction is unlikely, however, as it requires a vote of two-thirds of the members present.

It has been reported that Trump wanted to lead the crowd in the march to the Capitol, but was dissuaded from doing so by the Secret Service who considered it much too dangerous and could not guarantee his safety.

Various sources attest that Trump’s mind is focused on pardons including himself and his family members.  Whether it is legal for him to pardon himself appears to be an unresolved question.  But then Trump enjoys pushing the boundaries of tolerated behavior while his businesses skirt legal limits.

He appears to have been greatly upset with his longtime faithful vice-president after a conversation early on the day of the riot.  As reported by The New York Times, he wanted Mike Pence to overturn the vote instead of simply certifying it as is usual.  The certification is of course a formality after the state votes already certified by the governors have been reported.  Pence is reputed to have said he did not have the power to do so.  Since then Trump has called Vice President Pence a “pussy” and expressed great disappointment in him although there are reports now that fences have been mended.

Trump’s response to the mob attacking the Capitol has also infuriated many, including lawmakers who cowered in the House chamber fearful for their lives.  Instead of holding an immediate press conference calling on the attackers to stop, Trump responded through a recorded message eight hours later.  He called on his supporters to go home but again repeated his claims of a fraudulent election.

Aside from headlining the US as the laughingstock among democracies across the world, the fall-out includes a greater security risk for politicians.  Thus the rehearsal for Biden’s inauguration scheduled for Sunday has been postponed raising questions about the inauguration itself on January 20th.

Worse, the Trump White House appears to be disintegrating as coordination diminishes and people go their own way.  Secretary of State Pompeo has unilaterally removed the curbs on meeting Taiwanese officials put in place originally to mollify China.  If it angers China further, it only exacerbates Biden’s difficulties in restoring fractured relationships. 

Trump is causing havoc as he prepares to leave the White House.  He seems unable to face losing an election and departing with grace.  At the same time, we have to be grateful to him for one major policy shift.  He has tried to pull the country out of its wars and has not started a new one.  He has even attempted the complicated undertaking of peace in Afghanistan, given the numerous actors involved.  We can only hope Biden learned enough from the Obama-Biden administration’s disastrous surge to be able to follow the same path.

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Americas

Flames of Globalization in the Temple of Democracy

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Authors: Alex Viryasov and Hunter Cawood

On the eve of Orthodox Christmas, an angry mob stormed the “temple of democracy” on Capitol Hill. It’s hard to imagine that such a feat could be deemed possible. The American Parliament resembles an impregnable fortress, girdled by a litany of security checks and metal detectors at every conceivable point of entry. And yet, supporters of Donald Trump somehow found a way.

In the liberal media, there has been an effort to portray them as internal terrorists. President-elect Joe Biden called his fellow citizens who did not vote for him “a raging mob.” The current president, addressing his supporters, calls to avoid violence: “We love you. You are special. I can feel your pain. Go home.”

That said, what will we see when we look into the faces of these protesters? A blend of anger and outrage. But what is behind that indignation? Perhaps it’s pain and frustration. These are the people who elected Trump president in 2016. He promised to save their jobs, to stand up for them in the face of multinational corporations. He appealed to their patriotism, promised to make America great again. Arguably, Donald Trump has challenged the giant we call globalization.

Today, the United States is experiencing a crisis like no other. American society hasn’t been this deeply divided since the Vietnam War. The class struggle has only escalated. America’s heartland with its legions of blue-collar workers is now rebelling against the power of corporate and financial elites. While Wall Street bankers or Silicon Valley programmers fly from New York to London on private jets, an Alabama farmer is filling up his old red pickup truck with his last Abraham Lincoln.

The New York banker has no empathy for the poor residing in the southern states, nothing in common with the coal miners of West Virginia. He invests in the economies of China and India, while his savings sit quietly in Swiss banks. In spirit, he is closer not to his compatriots, but to fellow brokers and bankers from London and Brussels. This profiteer is no longer an American. He is a representative of the global elite.

In the 2020 elections, the globalists took revenge. And yet, more than 70 million Americans still voted for Trump. That represents half of the voting population and more votes than any other Republican has ever received. A staggering majority of them believe that they have been deceived and that Democrats have allegedly rigged this election.

Democrats, meanwhile, are launching another impeachment procedure against the 45th president based on a belief that it has been Donald Trump himself who has provoked this spiral of violence. Indeed, there is merit to this. The protesters proceeded from the White House to storm Congress, after Trump urged them on with his words, “We will never give up, we will never concede.”

As a result, blood was shed in the temple of American democracy. The last time the Capital was captured happened in 1814 when British troops breached it. However, this latest episode, unlike the last, cannot be called a foreign invasion. This time Washington was stormed by protestors waving American flags.

Nonetheless, it is not an exaggeration to say that the poor and downtrodden laborers of America’s Rust Belt currently feel like foreigners in their own country. The United States is not unique in this sense. The poor and downtrodden represent a significant part of the electorate in nearly every country that has been affected by globalization. As a result, a wave of populism is sweeping democratic countries. Politicians around the world are appealing to a sense of national identity. Is it possible to understand the frustrated feelings of people who have failed to integrate into the new global economic order? Absolutely. It’s not too dissimilar from the grief felt by a seamstress who was left without work upon the invention of the sewing machine.

Is it worth trying to resist globalization as did the Luddites of the 19th century, who fought tooth and nail to reverse the inevitability of the industrial revolution? The jury is still out.

The world is becoming more complex and stratified. Economic and political interdependence between countries is growing each and every day. In this sense, globalization is progress and progress is but an irreversible process.

Yet, like the inhumane capitalism of the 19th century so vividly described in Dickens’ novels, globalization carries many hidden threats. We must recognize and address these threats. The emphasis should be on the person, his dignity, needs, and requirements. Global elites in the pursuit of power and superprofits will continue to drive forward the process of globalization. Our task is not to stop or slow them down, but to correct global megatrends so that the flywheel of time does not grind ordinary people to the ground or simply throw nation-states to the sidelines of history.

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