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Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby ramana » 12 Sep 2017 21:30

X-post...
Philip wrote:Brilliant outflanking move by Japan!

Faced with US erratic policies over the NoKo situ,where the pendelum swings from "war to jaw"too frequently,endangering the entire region,Japan has cleverly and secretly hedged its bets and buried the hatchet with Russia after WW2.Apart from this historic agreement with Putin and Russia,Abe and Putin are working on a new rail link from Japan through Russian held islands like Sakhalin all the way through Russia to Europe.This would be a fantastic achievement and far faster and easier to accomplish than the Chinese version of the Orient Exp/Trans Siberian Rly. The TSR already exists all the way from Moscow to Vladivostok,one of the world's most famous railway routes/trains,Linking the TSR wiht the Japanese rail network would be averitable coup for Japan and Russia.The Chinese woul'dve been outfoxed and outflanked!

Japanese prime minister says Japan and Russia reached historical agreement
06.09.2017 | Source: Pravda.Ru
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described as "historic" recent talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Abe, when speaking on Russian television, stressed that effective negotiations could be conducted "only with the person whom you trust."

"Results can be achieved only if parties strictly follow their promises. Of course, each of us stands for the interests of our countries, and negotiations can be very difficult at times, but I treat President Putin with great respect as a partner in our dialogue," the Prime Minister of Japan said.

On September 7 Putin and Abe will meet in Vladivostok for the 19th time. The previous meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resulted in the signing of a number of strategic documents on cooperation.

Japan disputes Russian islands of Shikotan, Iturup, Habomai and Kunashir, insisting that these islands should be delivered to Japan. The parties have not reached a final solution on the problem of disputed islands, but signed a number of agreements on "joint economic activities" on the islands in such areas as fishery, tourism, medicine and ecology.

In 1964, the USSR offered Japan both the peace treaty and the delivery of several Kuril Islands, but Japan declined the offer. Today, some believe that Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe have already reached a secret agreement on the ownership of the Kuril Islands. Indeed, the meeting in December 2016 in Shinzo Abe's hometown of Nagato marked a breakthrough in the Russian-Japanese relationship. Afterwards, all of a sudden, Japanese companies evinced great interest in investing in Russia.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 22 Sep 2017 12:42

Veteran Pak journo Irfan Hussein who lives abroad on the "return of the Old World Order?"

https://www.dawn.com/news/1358321/view- ... orld-order
VIEW FROM ABROAD: A return to the ‘old world order’?
Irfan HusainSeptember 18, 2017

AS tensions escalate on the Korean Peninsula, and two juvenile leaders in Pyongyang and Washington shake their fists at each other, the world wonders if we are on the path to yet another war involving the United States. For a change, the UN Security Council is firm in its resolve to force North Korea to stop further development of its nuclear and missile capability. But even if some members had chosen to veto the resolution to impose crippling sanctions, the United States, Britain and France would have proceeded to put the squeeze on the recalcitrant Kim Jong-Un.

Over the last 20 years, the UN has become decreasingly relevant to global conflict resolution. From the invasion and occupation of Iraq to the current Western, Turkish and Arab involvement in the Syrian civil war, the UN has been bypassed and ignored when an inconvenient veto was exercised by one or more members of the Security Council. Thus, when Bush and Blair failed to obtain an enabling resolution to pursue their invasion of Iraq, the two went ahead anyway. The fact that there were no Iraqi weapons of mass destruction has failed to embarrass hawkish leaders in any way. Nor is there a mechanism in place to punish warmongers who break international law. Even the International Court of Justice has looked the other way.

And yet the whole notion that wars need approval by an international body is relatively recent. Until a century ago, wars were fought to settle claims over loans or land. History as well as old myths are full of kings and princes riding off to do glorious battle to rescue (or obtain) a beautiful princess, or to slay an evil foe. Wars of succession were commonplace. The insane slaughter that was the First World War was caused by the assassination of a German archduke in Sarajevo.

After this bloody conflict that led to millions of deaths, world leaders resolved to establish a mechanism that would prevent war. The instrument of this idealism was the League of Nations that was born after the Versailles Treaty was signed soon after the end of the war. But the League proved unequal to the task, partly because America failed to ratify the treaty although it had been in the forefront of nations pushing the plan. But when Japan invaded Manchuria, and the Italians invaded Ethiopia, the League was unable to stop them. Soon, the whole project collapsed.

It took the Second World War and 60 million deaths to concentrate minds and stiffen spines. Over the last seven decades, the United Nations has kept a semblance of peace, even though its record has been far from perfect. On balance, however, it has been a force for good, providing states with a forum where grievances can be aired. Leaders can vent in the General Assembly instead of settling scores on the battlefield. Of course there have been many failures as big powers use their clout, while weaker countries complain about double standards.

But then nobody said this was a perfect or just world. At least the frequency of wars decreased, and a global system of laws and rules was put in place. This, then, was the “new world order”, as against what Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro call the “old world order” in a recent article in The Guardian. In that era, war was just another instrument of statecraft, to be used to right a real or perceived wrong. The concept of “just war” was evoked to distinguish between wars of aggression and wars fought for a righteous cause.

The man who gave these concepts an intellectual framework was a Dutch lawyer, Hugo Grotius. Writing in the 17th century, he stated: “Where judicial settlement ends, war begins.” In the absence of an international body where conflicts could be resolved, rulers decided if and when to go to war to press a claim or settle a border dispute. Thus, ambitious or greedy warlords coveting their neighbours’ land or gold simply marched in and grabbed what they could. The history of our Subcontinent is replete with such examples, as is Europe’s blood-soaked past.

Compared to this era, the post-WW II, rules-based system is a huge improvement. But despite its benefits, it is in danger of collapse. Increasingly, it is unable to perform its peacekeeping role because all too often, the Security Council is gridlocked because of disagreements between its permanent members. Even when a resolution is passed, enforcing it depends on agreement and cooperation between members. Thus, resolutions demanding that Israel vacate Palestinian lands it had occupied in 1967 remain dead letters, ignored by Israel and its sponsor, the United States. Similarly, the resolution on Kashmir is ignored by both Pakistan and India.

Increasingly, states are taking matters into their own hands: witness Russian annexation of Crimea; the Chinese construction of military bases on disputed atolls in the South China Sea; and the repeated American attacks on Syrian soil. True, some of these unilateral military actions have been in response to provocations by non-state actors like the militant Islamic State group. But more and more, nations no longer feel constrained by international law.

The United States is the biggest contributor to UN finances, and thus far, its support has been critical to the world body’s qualified success. But Donald Trump has expressed his contempt for the organisation on numerous occasions, and might well reduce American funding. As it is, the UN is financially overstretched in an era of increasing refugee flows and humanitarian crises.

We may all criticise its failures, but the world is a better place with the UN than it would be without it. For all its flaws, the “new world order” is a big improvement over the old one.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby ramana » 23 Sep 2017 00:47

The UN order is becoming nUNGA with the end of Cold War.....
Reason is the distortion of the UN mandate by US and China to flout the norms set after world war II.

US has used the UN mechanism to attack and invade (aggression) its recalcitrants and China has flouted international treaties (NPT) which benefit it to transfer WMD and US looked aside.

And both have a charade in East Asia.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 26 Sep 2017 18:29

More evidence how western intel agencies were involved and unidentified aircraft shot down the former UN Sec-Gen. Dag Hammerskjold.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/ ... aft-attack
Plane crash that killed UN boss 'may have been caused by aircraft attack'
Exclusive: US and UK intercepts could hold answer to 1961 accident in Africa that killed Dag Hammarskjöld and 15 others
The scattered wreckage of the Douglas DC-6 carrying Dag Hammarskjöld in a forest near Ndola, Zambia.

Julian Borger World affairs editor
Tuesday 26 September 2017 10.41 BST Last modified on Tuesday 26 September 2017 12.24 BST
A UN report into the death of its former secretary general Dag Hammarskjöld in a 1961 plane crash in central Africa has found that there is a “significant amount of evidence” that his flight was brought down by another aircraft.

The report, delivered to the current secretary general, António Guterres, last month, took into account previously undisclosed information provided by the US, UK, Belgian, Canadian and German governments.

Its author, Mohamed Chande Othman, a former Tanzanian chief justice, found that the US and UK governments had intercepted radio traffic in the area at the time and suggested that the 56-year-old mystery could be solved if the contents of those classified recordings were produced.

“I am indebted for the assistance that I received, which uncovered a large amount of valuable new information,” Othman said in an executive summary of his report, seen by the Guardian. “I can confidently state that the deeper we have gone into the searches, the more relevant information has been found.”

Dag Hammarskjöld was on a mission to try to broker peace in Congo when he died in 1961.
Hammarskjöld, a Swedish diplomat who became the UN secretary general in 1953, was on a mission in September 1961 to try to broker peace in Congo, where the Katanga region had staged a rebellion, backed by mining interests and European mercenaries, against the newly independent government in Kinshasa.

His plane, a Douglas DC-6, was on the way from Kinshasa to the town of Ndola in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), where the British colonial authorities were due to host talks with the Katanga rebels. It was approaching the airstrip at about midnight on 17 September when it crashed, killing Hammarskjöld and 15 others on board.

Two inquiries run by the British pointed to pilot error as the cause, while a UN commission in 1962 reached an open verdict.
In recent years, independent research by Göran Björkdahl, a Swedish aid worker, and Susan Williams, a senior fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in London and author of a 2011 book Who Killed Hammarskjöld?, persuaded the UN to reopen the case. A panel convened in 2015 found there was enough new material to warrant the appointment of an “eminent person” to assess it. Othman was given the job in February this year.

Among Othman’s new findings are:

In February 1961, the French secretly supplied three Fouga warplanes to the Katanga rebels, “against the objections of the US government”. Contrary to previous findings, they were used in air-to-air attacks, flown at night and from unpaved airstrips in Katanga.
Fresh evidence bolsters an account by a French diplomat, Claude de Kemoularia, that he had been told in 1967 by a Belgian pilot known as Beukels, who had been flying for the rebels as a mercenary, that he had fired warning shots to try to divert the plane away from Ndola and accidentally clipped its wing. Othman said he was unable establish Beukels’ identity in the time available for his inquiry.
The UK and Rhodesian authorities were intercepting UN communications at the time of the crash and had intelligence operatives in the area. The UK should therefore have potentially crucial evidence in its classified archives
The US had sophisticated electronic surveillance aircraft “in and around Ndola” as well as spies, and defence officials, on the night of the crash, and Washington should be able to provide more detailed information.
Othman found that earlier inquiries had disregarded the testimony of local witnesses who said they saw another plane and flashes in the sky on the night of Hammarskjold’s crash. They had also “undervalued” the testimony of Harold Julien, a security officer who survived for several days who told medical staff he had seen “sparks in the sky” shortly before the DC-6, known by its registration number SE-BDY, fell out of the sky.


“Based on the totality of the information we have at hand, it appears plausible that external attack or threat may have been a cause of the crash, whether by way of direct attack causing SE-BDY to crash, or by causing a momentary distraction of the pilots,” Othman concludes.

“There is a significant amount of evidence from eyewitnesses that they observed more than one aircraft in the air, that the other aircraft may have been a jet, that SE-BDY was on fire before it crashed, and/or that SE-BDY was fired upon or otherwise actively engaged by another aircraft. In its totality, this evidence is not easily dismissed.”

Othman argues that the “burden of proof” was now on member states “to show that they have conducted a full review of records and archives in their custody or possession, including those that remain classified, for potentially relevant information”.

The Tanzanian judge said that the most relevant pieces of information were radio intercepts and called for countries likely to have relevant information, such as the UK and US, to appoint an “independent and high-ranking official” to comb the archives.

“Any such information regarding what occurred during the last minutes of SE-BDY, if verifiable, will be likely to either prove or disprove one or more of the existing hypotheses, bringing us more proximate to closure,” Othman writes.

“This is a step that must be taken before this matter, and the memories of those who perished on flight SE-BDY in the service of the organisation, may rest.”
Last edited by ramana on 28 Sep 2017 00:47, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added bold and underlines. ramana

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby ramana » 28 Sep 2017 00:50

Whoever was backing the Katanga rebels were the real murderers and the French who supplied the planes.

Belgian pilot origin is the key.
Its Belgium that is primary responsibility.
And the UK who had the radio intercepts.
----
One of these days we will hear who killed Olafe Palme the Swedish Prime Minster in the late 1980s.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby ramana » 29 Sep 2017 08:42

I think.the new British Empire is being revived. Without England.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 29 Sep 2017 13:42

I posted details of the Palme assassination recently in the context of more Bofors scam news.There were apparently two tracks in the deal.Palme had some secret election funding for his party from the group. The Austrians,their excellent gun earlier chosen by the IA during IG's time,had allegedly paid some not too large sum to some party in India,and while not averse to Bofors clinching the order,wanted their money back.RG was now in power.Palme heavily lobbied the GOI/RG.So Bofors supposedly organised the two-track method where Mr.Q was involved in one of them (the other one allegedly the H bros.),neighbour to a well-known EU fixer,for accomplishing the payback to the Austrians.Unknown to all,except Bofors,Q and co. decided to also cash in substantially for themselves.The H Bros. also allegedly looking after other vested interests aprt from their own. Bofors kept it a secret even from Palme.He was allegedly briefed of this by the Iraqi For.Min./ambassador(?) and was furious with the B co.for deceiving him.Pame obviously intended some sort of action against the group,probabl;y cancelling some def. orders for the Swedish armed forces,which it could not afford,action against some of its executives too.The revelations in the media would also affect other interested parties in the deal.The late Martin Ardbo of the B co. and his famous diaries had it all,the characters involved by their initials.Palme was also vehemently against the US war in Vietnam ,peace was Palme’s “most important task, because he saw war as the greatest threat to humankind.”

A telegram was found to have been exchanged at this time between two entities ,one telling the other not to worry as the "Swedish Palm" would be soon gone.
“Tell our friend the Swedish palm will be felled”. In 1990, an Italian television documentary claimed that the CIA paid Gelli to foment terrorism- but the CIA denied any involvement in Palme‘s death.
The entity assuring this event was none other than Licio Gelli,the Italian global mafia don,involved in the Vatican Bank scandal,who put Peron into power in Argentina,involved in the Bologna station bomb,CIA's man in Italy post WW2,etc..,etc.who was simply untouchable because of his connections and secret power..After being arrested by the Swiss,he simply walked out of prison and lived without interference ,still pulling strings all over the world until his death at his mountaintop villa in Arezzo.A few years ago it was pointed out to me when I visited Arezzo. Gelli famously said that "he was born a fascist and would die a fascist".

Gelli was the man who feared no one .He was also allegedly the man responsible for the assassination of Pope John Paul-1,as the new pope was about to clean up the Vatican Bank which Gelli and his cohorts were using to launder money and loot Italian banks as well through a corrupt Bishop Marcinkus its head.The Vatican Bank had a hole of $700M in the late '70s. The Vatican's finance controversies continue to this day."Wasting" Palme would've been child's play for Gelli and his global "familia".Who knows,perhaps Signor Q was also part of his global network!

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby ramana » 29 Sep 2017 18:46

Philip,
Palme was what is called non-Communist Left Liberal.
All were in Europe were in US hands. So no gain there.

More probable is Bofors as they have the most to lose but using plausible deniable links.

What are Vatican links to this firm?

Where would Norwegian Intel services stand in this affair?

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 02 Oct 2017 12:05

Ramana,decades ago during the last century,the Vatican appointed a brilliant civilian to handle their finances.He used the Vatican's vast funds to invest in virtually anything under the sun,making it extraordinarily rich.Through the Vatican bank,investments were made in arms cos.,contraceptive manufacturers (!),etc. contradicting the religious policies of the Vatican/Popes. No one bothered as the coffers were filling up in style. The financial wizard then boarded the plane to paradise.His eventual successor was Bishop Marcinkus,allegedly the mastermind who along with Gelli and co. started the looting and scooting,money laundering,etc. Even today,under new broom Pope Francis,trying to clean up its corridors of power,it is alleged to be the largest shareholder in the famous Beretta arms co.More on its arms connection later.Take property for iunstance.

How the Vatican built a secret property empire using Mussolini's millions
Papacy used offshore tax havens to create £500m international portfolio, featuring real estate in UK, France and Switzerland

Xcpt:
Few passing London tourists would ever guess that the premises of Bulgari, the upmarket jewellers in New Bond Street, had anything to do with the pope. Nor indeed the nearby headquarters of the wealthy investment bank Altium Capital, on the corner of St James's Square and Pall Mall.

But these office blocks in one of London's most expensive districts are part of a surprising secret commercial property empire owned by the Vatican.
Behind a disguised offshore company structure, the church's international portfolio has been built up over the years, using cash originally handed over by Mussolini in return for papal recognition of the Italian fascist regime in 1929.

Since then the international value of Mussolini's nest-egg has mounted until it now exceeds £500m. In 2006, at the height of the recent property bubble, the Vatican spent £15m of those funds to buy 30 St James's Square. Other UK properties are at 168 New Bond Street and in the city of Coventry. It also owns blocks of flats in Paris and Switzerland.

The surprising aspect for some will be the lengths to which the Vatican has gone to preserve secrecy about the Mussolini millions. The St James's Square office block was bought by a company called British Grolux Investments Ltd, which also holds the other UK properties. Published registers at Companies House do not disclose the company's true ownership, nor make any mention of the Vatican


BIshop Marcinkus,head of the IOR(Vatican Bank) was of Lithuanian origin,hence v,close to the Polish Pope JP-2. The Vatican bank sent vast sums to Poland (from the CIA) to support the Solidarity movement .Mafia/Calvi/Gelli connections saw funds for arms deals worldwide ,going through the Bank Ambrosiano (Calvi) and the IOR/VB.An individual called Pazienza was a key figure,with lInks to Kashoggi,etc. Ransom money for kidnappings another activity!

Back to arms.The Vatican was suspected in the mid-'80s of purchasing a strat. material from a German arms dealer and meant for the ...IRA! Marcinkus and the CIA were bumchums too.The Vatican post WW2 founded an anti-Commie org. called "Intermarium",with members from over 16 E,European nations bent on ousting the Commie govts. Ex-fascists like the Croatian FR. Draganovic,an alleged war criminal for his atrocities against Serbs,and principal organiser of the infamous "Ratline" that sent Nazis from Europe into safety in S.America. The VB also had financial links with the BCCI -the global terroist bank with tentacles worldwide,used by dictators,junta,helped finance the Paki N-programme,etc. There's good book with full details,"The Vatican at War-From Blackfriars Bridge to Buenos Aires".

With so many criminals using the VB,it would've been apr for the course for the VB to be involved in the financial transactions of arms dealers,manufacturers,etc.After becoming Pope,Pope Francis did shake up the VB,acking its board,new advisors,etc. One was the former famous CMan of SPore Airlines,Mr.JY Pillai ,former HC to Britain too (met him some years ago.v.nice humble man).The current hea dis a Yanqui:
The IOR, also known as the Vatican bank, is turning a new page and adding three new lay members to its Supervisory Board. According to Investment Guru at Notre Dame, Scott Malpass, this change is an "expression of a rich heritage of the Church engaging with laity.”
How far the Pope can reform the VB and Vatican finances is a debatable issue.There is still av.strong opposition to him in the Vatican and Curia.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Garooda » 02 Oct 2017 20:25

Vikas wrote:^ Singha, Just like Europe plus UK lost its soft power hold on India in one generation, I think US soft power too would dissipate once India starts getting rich and resourceful. With the world becoming flat, US is slowly losing its soft power since it is not cultural or has history to back it up. Heck uptill late 1990's, Paki soft power via TV drama, Clothes and musicians was pretty prevalent in North and Ganga-Jamuna region. I hated watching DD while PTV was the darling in my years of growing up.

We may still love Hollywood movies, American music and burgers but they will not form the narrative as they do currently.
In probably your and mine life, we will see one of these big Holly studio being bought over by some smart Marwari :)
Special effects doesn't require big studios anymore. More like changing times.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby ramana » 02 Oct 2017 21:41

Philip<

I have done root cause analysis from trivial to very important things. What I find is, that is all good for preventing the past from repeating. Every accident is a new one because of Swiss Cheese model of process, procedures, and people. What is needed is the ability to recover from an accident or incident. This is military thinking and not understood by civilians.
Realizing this I look for spotting vulnerability and closing the gap thru which one can be hurt.
I am now looking at biological models of process and how we can study fiascos. One such model is cancer cell growth leading to metastasis that can kill the host. First a single cell mutates. Soon other cells gather and form a tumour. You can either go for chemo, radiation or surgery. However very rarely you can remove the cancer for it will metastasize and kills the host painfully.
Now apply this to businesses that went under: Baring Brothers, Enron, Lehman Brothers etc. Usually for expediency a shortcut or convenience is created. After sometime the expediency becomes the norm and starts snowballing. Then it becomes a vulnerability. Especially when there is no management oversight. This can now sink or bring down the enterprise.


So look at the Vatican Bank from this perspective.

So remove the vulnerability and learn the lesson to have transparency.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 03 Oct 2017 11:49

That is what Pope Francis was trying to do bringing in reputed intl. figures like PIllai from Spore,etc. to clean up its financial skulduggery and the cobwebs of curial power in its shadowy corridors.But to understand the Vatican you must understand its history and how it has repeatedly defeated any attempt to change the way of its functioning.It made unsavoury deals with Napoleon and Hitler to survive and all that the hardliners have to do is to wait for this Pope to inevitably collect his "boarding card" and choose a more amenable successor! That is how JP-2 was chosen after JP-1 was assassinated.He helped in large measure to bring the iron curtain down through
supporting the Polish revolt with moral and financial (CIA) support.Poland was the weak link in the Warsaw Pact.The Vatican/Pope the battering--ram that broke down the door.The Berlin Wall then collapsed on its own.

Now your deep analysis is spot on as far as the unravelling of the EU is concerned.Here is an analysis of the Catalonian struggle for independence,which the scribe says is akin to the classic Greek concepts of democracy.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... ence-flags
‘We are with you Catalunya’ – the revolt in Spain is bigger than flags and language
Paul Mason
Two million Catalans braved the threat of a police boot in the face to demand independence. As with Scotland and Greece, this was a modern, cosmopolitan form of nationalism

Monday 2 October 2017
The first group that tried to build the barricade were schookids. They linked the crash barriers together across the alleyway and tied them with an inch-thick cable. The next group, young men with wispy stubble and girls in hoodies, expressed contempt: they wanted to heap the barriers on top of some bags of cement instead. As they discussed the options, a third group arrived, dismantled the original structure and rebuilt it as a 20ft-deep fascine.

This was at the Escola Industrial on Sunday evening, a university complex serving as a polling station in Catalonia’s independence referendum. The vote had been deemed illegal by the Spanish state, but mandatory by the Catalan government, whose majority had been constructed around a single issue: independence or bust.

By now images of police violence against peaceful voters, old and young, were zipping across social media. Old people pulled to the ground; fleeing women hit with batons; a man jumped on down half a flight of stairs by a fully armoured riot cop . These pictures were horrifying Europe, but the thousands of people milling in the school courtyard did not look frightened or surprised.

Catalan leader calls for mediation with Spain over independence

After the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, and the Greek vote to reject austerity in June 2015, people who resist the economic and social order in Europe know that state-backed scare tactics are part of the deal.

Though brutal, the Guardia Civil actions on Sunday were calculated: in the selection of riot squads from outside areas, where casual hatred of Catalans is rife; in the targeting of old people and women; and in the pinpoint nature of the interventions, which people on the barricades thought were concentrated on middle-class areas.

There were thousands of riot cops on hand, on ships in the harbour. If Madrid had wanted to, it could have confiscated every ballot box within minutes and, for good measure, jammed the smartphone app the Catalan authorities were using to tally the results against the electoral roll. But prime minister Mariano Rajoy wanted to send a subtler message: let the most fervent separatists have their vote and get their heads broken, while scaring the rest of the population into non-participation, including any waverers.

At the six polling stations I visited in the north and east of Barcelona, only one had been shut down. Behind the smashed window of the Joan Fuster community centre were two 15-year-old boys in baseball caps, guarding a single ballot box they had hidden from the riot police. But voters had simply moved to other polling stations: the back end of the queue for the nearest one was just yards away.

For the whole day voting was slow, because the websites were being jammed, said election officials. But it still happened. That’s why, amid the baton slaps and rubber bullets, two million people managed to cast a countable vote, with 90% voting Yes to independence. And as they voted, it looked to me like a modern cosmopolitan nation was being born. That’s a rare event in the era of globalisation, but it might not be the last.

People who resist the economic and social order in Europe know that state-backed scare tactics are part of the deal. Photograph: UPI / Barcroft

In the El Clot district, a working-class suburb whose dense street pattern echoes its medieval origins, the polling stations were so close together that one line of a thousand people waiting to vote snaked around the block while across the street was another line for a different venue. In the few yards between the two queues, real democracy was happening.

After the Catalan referendum: what happens next?

People stood in the rain and talked in small groups – without hand gestures or raised voices – about what to do. This street-space, with its tobacco and occasional marijuana fumes, populated by wet dogs, irate pensioners and council officials demanding everyone switch their phones to airplane mode to reduce traffic to allow the voting app to work, was alive with democratic argument. If there was a consensus, it was that Catalonia should declare independence by nightfall, and have done with Spain.

If such a move seems illegitimate, backed by two million out of a potential 5.3 million votes, and in a technically disrupted poll, you have to weigh the quantity of democracy against its quality. What I saw in El Clot, and in the other districts, corresponds so closely to the original Athenian form of democracy that the parallel is worth exploring.

The Athenians had equal rights, an equal voice in the assembly, and they voted in “demes” – small geographic units. They possessed a popular literacy – in which the language of literature and drama, of the economic elite, was comprehensible to the people. Of course, women were excluded, and so were slaves – a social apartheid that tarnished the “ideal”.

In Catalonia on Sunday I saw something like a true democratic participation – and that should make the world, and the EU, think twice before dismissing the whole thing as a nationalist stunt.

Riot police prevent people entering the Ramon Llull school to vote.

Riot police prevent people entering the Ramon Llull school to vote. Photograph: Alberto Estevez/EPA
Alex, an 18-year-old law student on the barricade at the Escola Industrial told me that, for him, this was not about flags, nor even language: he saw a Catalan-sized state, free of control by the Spanish financial elite, as the best way of protecting and enlarging his human rights. “Drets humans, drets humans” – I heard that phrase buzzing through tens of conversations.

Given the fascist-style response of the police, and the incendiary claim by Rajoy that police had acted “serenely”, you can see the Catalans’ point. By going peacefully on to the streets for hours, and creating in their own communities a real democracy of co-existence, tolerance and pacifism, they showed that the quality of their democratic culture was far greater than that of the closet Francoists and Opus Dei types who pull the strings in Madrid.

*(Opus Dei RC order was v.close to JP-2 who gave it huge access to Vatican power. The backlash has been the election of Pope Francis ,the first Jesuit Pope.)

But they still face the same problem the Athenians did; whereas ancient Athens had slaves and disenfranchised women, the Catalans have a million foreign residents who can’t vote. There are tens of thousands of people in Catalonia who do not speak Catalan by choice; including the 10% of over-75s who say they cannot understand it. Plus there are up to a million non-Spanish residents – ranging from the African merchandise sellers on the street corners to the language students, from places as diverse as Japan and Wales, who hung out banners from their halls of residence declaring “We are with you Catalunya”. Though a growing number of foreigners do understand Catalan, they are a minority.

If the Catalan claim to self-determination rested on language, folklore, the ability to dance the Sardana, it would be poorly rooted in 21st-century reality. Big, successful cities like Barcelona are always open; you will always have to allow for Spanish speakers and foreigners to live, work and settle here – and to have a full stake in the polity.

But Catalan nationalism has made a sustained attempt to reconcile itself with the globalist and cosmopolitan ideologies of modern Europe. It was Montserrat Guibernau, visiting professor at Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona and one of the leading academic authorities on 21st-century nationalism, who coined the term “cosmopolitan nationalism”: a sentiment echoed in the last big demonstration before the vote, in Plaça de Catalunya on Friday night, when migrants and refugees were invited on to the stage to join a procession of “typical” members of Catalan society.

If Catalonia does declare independence this week, or sets a clear timeline for it, the success of the whole project will depend on its ability to embody cosmopolitanism – which in turn will depend on whether the generation that built the barricade can imprint their values on to the nationalism of their elders.

Play Video 0:48
Spanish PM open to talks with Catalan separatists – video
The Scottish, Greek and Catalan revolts were all driven in part by the failure of the economic model. In 2014, 45% of Scots believed they could better secure their rights, culture and economic future free of Westminster; in 2015 62% of Greeks voted to defy the economic logic of the Eurozone; now two million Catalans have braved the threat of a police boot in the face to demand independence within both the EU and the Eurozone.

This creates future challenges both for Britain and the EU. The SNP, Plaid Cymru and Sinn Féin all sent observers, invited by the Catalan government, as did the Liberal Democrats, whose leader Vince Cable condemned the repression. Fresh from a tour of the polling stations, Eoin Ó Broin, an Irish parliamentarian for Sinn Féin, was scathing about the EU’s silence: “Nobody expected them to comment on the substance of the referendum,” he told me. “But there is a genuine shock here at the absence of condemnation of the denial of the right to have the vote in the first place, and the brutality of the police and the use of digital methods to disrupt the vote. I am shocked that nobody in Brussels thought this was unacceptable.”

The presence of Sinn Féin and its strong support for the Catalans is not academic. The Anglo-Irish agreement includes the pledge of an all-Ireland referendum on unity – and by the middle of the 2020s it is likely that anti-Unionist voters will become the demographic majority in Northern Ireland.

Catalonia’s claim to self-determination is strong – and should have been tested in a legal referendum. Instead, the whole crisis has been driven by Madrid’s attack on autonomy, itself driven by the need to impose austerity during the Eurocrisis.

It is tragic to see European centrism, which once understood the principle of self-determination, ready to dilute it in the face of EU rules and economic rationality, and diplomatic compromise with a mendacious politician like Rajoy. Because progressive nationalism is not going away.

From George Square in Glasgow to Syntagma Square in Athens, there was always a Catalan flag waving above the crowd. I never understood until now that those flags were an essential part of the story. The “breakup” narratives of modern Europe – whether they are pulling away from nation states, currencies, free movement zones or the EU itself – are all driven by a central fact: the current settlement does not work.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby ramana » 04 Oct 2017 09:36

Philip, Was Eamon DeValera from Catalan? I know his ancestor came from the ships in Spanish Armada.

Also Poland is interesting Eastern Europe. It's the only Catholic country among the Slavs.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby AdityaM » 04 Oct 2017 10:46

The India-Canada thread is locked viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7340

Troubling rise of pro-Khalistani for the PM position in Canada implies major headache for india if he wins.

Jagmeet Singh, Trudeau's biggest political rival, could mean bad news for India
Jagmeet Singh’s rise in Canadian politics could be of concern in India

Singh was denied a visa by the Indian government in December 2013. At that time, he was (as he is now) a member of the provincial parliament (MPP) in Ontario. This made him perhaps the first sitting member of a Western legislature to have been barred from travelling to India.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 04 Oct 2017 11:32

Yes,you're right.EDV's father was of Basque origin,mother Irish,was born in the US.father died early.His uncle returned to Ireland with him where he was brought up by his grandmother,when only 2 yrs old .His name was changed from George de Valero to Edward de Valera.However,he was heavily involved in revival of Gaelic and was very pro-Irish in outlook,little Basque influence/baggage at all.

The Spanish are making all the wrong mistakes with even the Spanish King attacking the Catalonians.No better way for widening the split.It seems inevitable that Catalunya will secede unless the EU can pull a magic rabbit out of its dog-eared hat.Catalunyan civil disobedience Gandhian style would force Madrid to resort to methods of the "ancien regime",Gen.Franco and the Spanish Inquisition! Lurking close under the skin of Spaniards of the elite are the bloodthirsty ways of their infamous forbears. As they say,it's all in the blood!"

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 81756.html
Catalonia will declare independence in days, says region's president
Carles Puigdemont calls for international help to solve the crisis

Henry Austin
Carles Puigdemont called for international help to solve the crisis Reuters
Catalonia’s President has claimed the autonomous region will declare independence from Spain “at the end of this week or the beginning of next”.

Carles Puigdemont told The BBC that it would be "an error which changes everything", if the Spanish government were to take control of the region’s administration, although he admitted that there had been no contact with Madrid. The central government has described the referendum as illegal.

Appealing for international mediation to help solve the crisis, he told the corporation that he disagreed with the European Commission’s statement that it was internal matter for Spain.

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Man 'shot in the eye with rubber bullet in Catalonia'

Speaking shortly before a blistering attack on Catalonia’s politicians by Spain's King Felipe, Mr Puigdemont said his government would "act at the end of this week or the beginning of next".

In a rare nationwide address King Felipe launched a blistering attack Catalonia’s pro-independence regional government, accusing the secessionists of “breaking democratic principles” and trying to split up Spain.

“Thanks to their irresponsible behaviour, those [Catalan] authorities have put the social identity of Catalonia and all Spain at risk,” he said.

“They have shown contempt for the affection and feelings of solidarity which have united and will unite all Spaniards."
Catalonia independence referendum: Riot police clash with voters
17
show all
making no mention of the hundreds of injured as a result of police actions during the banned referendum in Catalonia - which, with an overwhelming vote in favour of independence, has brought Spain’s worst constitutional crisis in decades to a head - King Felipe accused the Catalan independence campaigners of failing to respect the Spanish constitution “repeatedly, deliberately and consciously”.

He then underlined “the crown’s unswerving commitment to the Spanish constitution and to the unity of Spain.”
But he stressed that Spain "will overcome difficult times".

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby ramana » 04 Oct 2017 19:46

Eamon De Valera would explain the Sinn Fein/Irish interest in Catalonia.

I was told that the sailors of Spanish Armada ships wrecked off the coast of Ireland settled there and names were Anglicized.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 05 Oct 2017 19:12

The Irish-Roman Catholic connection would explain pro-Irish sentiment from the Spahish who tried to invade England during the Elizabethan age and restore the "true faith" to the apostate Protestants of Henry the 8th. Close proximity to Spain also a factor.It was the superior navy of England that ensured it's independence to the present day. William the Conqueror the exception.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Prem » 06 Oct 2017 03:32

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origina ... z4ufofatNk
King Salman goes to Russia
* Bruce Ridle*
King Salman's unprecedented state visit to Russia signifies a new search for help in the kingdom's foreign policy, which is burdened with a quagmire in Yemen and a losing hand against its regional rival Iran. Riyadh has a long and tortuous relationship with Moscow that the king wants to reshape. However, Salman, who arrived in Moscow on Wednesday night, is likely to get more sympathy than action.. Relations were not renewed until after the Cold War in 1990.The Saudis were enthusiastic cold warriors, providing money to anti-Soviet insurgents from Nicaragua to Angola. The centerpiece was Afghanistan, where the Saudi intelligence service allied with the CIA and Pakistani spies to support the mujahedeen. Then-Prince Salman headed a committee to raise private funding for the Afghans. He raised hundreds of millions of dollars from the royal family and other wealthy Saudis to supplement the government money that flowed from Washington and Riyadh via Islamabad to the guerrillas.Since the Cold War, the Saudis have tried several times to establish a strong relationship with Russia. There have been efforts at establishing an arms-sales relationship and a program to share nuclear technology. Despite repeated attempts, not much has been implemented. Much-promised initiatives have failed to deliver. The most enduring agreement has been to jointly limit oil exports, but this has failed to raise prices, so both economies are hurting. Neither has much capital to invest.Since 2014, Russia has proven in Syria that it is willing to project military power in the region and prop up its clients. The Saudis are deeply disappointed by the survival of the Bashar al-Assad regime, which they had hoped was the weak link in Iran's regional alliances. The king will want to hear from President Vladimir Putin how Russia plans to use its winning hand in Syria. The Saudis have spent billions in Syria and have nothing to show for their efforts.. Russia has little influence with the Houthi rebels, however, and can offer only its goodwill to help the king escape from his greatest mistake. Finding a way out of the Yemeni morass needs decisions in Riyadh, not Moscow.
The Saudis' concerns about Iran's regional meddling and support for Shiite militias such as the Houthis and Hezbollah will find little resonance in Russia. Tehran enjoys fairly good relations with Moscow and the two cooperate closely, leaving Riyadh without leverage. In Iraq, the king has engaged this year in new and innovative ways and can also look for methods to cooperate with Russia; nevertheless, Iran retains the upper hand in Baghdad.
As the first Saudi king to visit Russia, Salman can let symbolism dominate over concrete actions. The Russians have courted the Saudi visit and have publicly laid out ambitious goals. It is billed as a follow-up to the May visit by Mohammed bin Salman, now the crown prince. Show and gestures will be easy.The king's trip is also a symbolic balance to the enthusiastic welcome he gave President Donald Trump this spring. That visit was also long on extravagant gestures and short on substantive accomplishment. No arms sales were signed despite lots of extravagant promises. The impressive show of Islamic unity against Iran was immediately undermined by the dispute with Qatar. The Saudis have been disappointed behind the scenes by the failure of the Trump administration to force Qatar to bend to their demands. Given Trump's own curious relationship with Putin, there is no risk of an American backlash for approaching the Russians.The king's visit does underscore his continued crucial role in the transition to a younger generation in the Saudi leadership. Often dismissed as merely a instrument for his son's rise to power, Salman should not be underestimated. As the symbol of continuity with the kingdom's founder and his sons, Salman's authority and legitimacy is vital to a smooth transition to the next generation. His trip to Russia is the latest in a travel program that has taken him on an extensive series of trips abroad to show the Saudi flag. By doing so the king strengthens the odds for a stable succession.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 06 Oct 2017 12:27

"All that Jazz" on the Sultan's visit to Persia.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/10/k ... 10611.html
Kurdish secession tops Erdogan's agenda in Iran visit
Analysts say Turkish president has much more at stake in his meeting with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.

Analysts say the Kurdish referendum crisis has pushed Turkey and Iran to set aside their differences [AFP]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has arrived in Iran on Wednesday to hold crucial talks with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on the outcome of the Iraqi Kurdish referendum and other regional security issues.

Erdogan's visit to Tehran comes as Ankara continues to seek regional consensus on how to block efforts by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to split from Iraq - a move Turkey fears would have a domino effect on its own 15 million ethnic Kurdish population.

Ahead of Erdogan's visit, the Turkish foreign ministry announced on Tuesday that it wants Baghdad to take over from the KRG, the control of the border between Turkey and the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

OPINION: Is there really a Turkey-Iran rapprochement?

On Sunday, Erdogan told parliament members in Ankara that he expects to draw up an agreement with Iran, on how to respond to the KRG referendum.

Erdogan's visit to Tehran has been expected since August. But his original agenda focusing on military cooperation to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), and the establishment of a de-escalation zones in Syria, has since been overshadowed by a new regional crisis following the Kurdish referendum.

Turkish and Iranian analysts agree that while Erdogan's visit is important for both countries, Ankara has much more at stake on its outcome than Tehran.

From a military and security perspective, Erdogan's visit to Iran is "very important", as Turkey considers more sanctions on the KRG and its regional capital Erbil, including the shutting of its borders, said Sinem Koseoglu, Al Jazeera's Turkey-based correspondent and analyst.

She said Turkey could leverage its warming relations with Iran to put more pressure on the KRG to backtrack from its plan to declare an independent state.

On Monday, Erdogan dispatched Gen. Hulusi Akar, the military Chief of General Staff , to Tehran, the first ever visit for a top Turkish military official since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

At their meeting, Akar and Iran's military chief, Mohammed Hussein Bagheri, condemned the Kurdish referendum as unconstitutional. In August, Bagheri also became the first ever top military official to visit Ankara since 1979.

Iran, Turkey vow to stand with Iraq against Kurdish independence

Akar also held separate talks with President Rouhani, who at the meeting warned that the deterioration of geographical boundaries, in the event of a KRG split from Iraq, would harm regional security and stability.

For his part, Akar said that Turkey and Iran, "will play an important role in the region's stability and peace with improving cooperation", following the Kurdish referendum.

On September 25, voters in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq voted overwhelmingly to back a split from Baghdad, setting off a regional crisis.

Neighbouring Turkey and Iran, as well as Iraq's central government in Baghdad have opposed the referendum, and have threatened to impose sanctions on the KRG should it decide to go ahead with its decision to declare an independent state.
The United Nations and the US, have also opposed the Kurdish referendum, saying it would distract operations against ISIL, as well as the civil war in Syria.

In the last week following the Kurdish referendum, Turkey has held joint military exercises with Iraq. Separately, Iraq also announced joint military exercises with Iran.
But so far, there have been no agreement reached on military exercises between Turkey and Iran.

Economic ties

Al Jazeera's Koseoglu said Turkey stands to lose a lot more if its relations with Iraqi Kurdistan deteriorates.
She pointed out that KRG is Turkey's largest trading partner next to Europe.
Last year trade between the two countries was estimated to be at least $7bn, and it is expected to increase to $14bn this year.

"So what if sanctions is implemented? The businessmen are going to lose, and business is a very important thing in politics as well. That is why until now Turkey has not shut down the borders. "

During his visit to Tehran, Erdogan is also expected to meet with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei [File: AP]
On Iran's part, even if it shuts down its border with Iraq's Kurdish region, it will still have other trade corridors going into Iraq, she said.

"So they can still continue to sell their products through the central government in Baghdad. So Iran is not going to lose in this case."

Within Iran, there are an estimated six to eight million ethnic Kurds, but there have been no significant separatist movement among the ethnic population within its own border.

Iran has also maintained longstanding relations with Iraqi Kurds, supporting Kurdish armed groups during the rule of the Shah before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The KRG President Masoud Barzani was born in the Kurdish region of Iran.

During the Iran-Iraq war, the Kurds sided with Iran against Saddam Hussein, and Iran opened its doors to the families of Kurdish leaders during that conflict. Saddam also targeted both the Iranian and the Kurds with chemical weapons.

In recent years Iran's peshmerga fighters fought alongside Iranian-backed militia forces against ISIL.

Uneasy alliance

The Kurdish referendum crisis has pushed Turkey and Iran to set aside their differences for the time being, Rohollah Faghihi, a Tehran-based journalist and political analyst told Al Jazeera.

"There have been no sign of secessionism seen in Iran in the two past decades," Faghihi said. "But when a crisis occurs next to Iran's borders, it is natural for Tehran to get worried about them."

Iran's Rouhani in Turkey to boost trade ties
Still he said, that a number of politicians and experts in Iran have argued that Tehran should not react "too harshly" like Erdogan did in recent days.

In response to the referendum, Erdogan warned of military action to stop the KRG splitting from Iraq and "ethnic and sectarian war".

Faghihi said that despite the warming up of relations, there remains a mutual mistrust between Tehran and Ankara.

"They are actually saying that Erdogan could not be trusted and we shouldn't follow Turkey's footsteps for countering Kurdistan, by showing muscles and military power."

Meanwhile, Sadegh Ghorbani, a Tehran-based analyst, agreed that while the Kurdish issue has drawn Turkey and Iran together, Iran "has the least concern about Kurds".

""Unlike in Iraq and Turkey, in Iran many Kurds consider themselves original Iranians," he said.

"I think the main reason behind Iran's opposition is that cessation of Kurdistan will harm the integrity of Iraq, and can create a new conflict near Iran's borders and will also distract everyone from combating ISIL."

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 06 Oct 2017 12:33

The weapons sales making China a big gun in Southeast Asia
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 October, 2017, 9:30pm

Kristin Huang

Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (second from left) and Chinese ambassador the Philippines Zhao Jianhua (second from right) inspect automatic rifles during a handover of military supplies at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon city. Photo: Reuters

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China is gradually stepping up military engagement with Southeast Asia, building on the firm economic footings it has established in the region.
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The latest move came on Thursday when China gave 3,000 assault rifles to the Philippines as a gesture of “friendly and cooperative relations”. It was Beijing’s second shipment of guns to Manila and another sign of a warming in ties between the two countries since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power last year.
The rifles, valued at about US$3.3 million, will all go to the Philippine National Police, which US legislators last year blocked from buying about 26,000 M4 rifles from the United States.
Other countries in the region are also forging stronger military ties with China.
Thailand
The Royal Thai Army is preparing to take delivery of its first batch of 28 VT4 main battle tanks from China, 18 months after agreeing to buy them for US$147 million.
Military spending: Thailand to buy Chinese tanks to replace ageing US model

The tanks, made by China North Industries, are expected to arrive at the Royal Thai Navy’s Sattahip Naval Base next week.
Thailand also put in orders for a trio of Type 039A Yuan-class diesel-electric attack submarines in late 2016 and VN1 infantry fighting vehicles in March.
Malaysia
Malaysia agreed to buy four Chinese coastal patrol vessels known as littoral mission ships when Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak visited China on November. Two will be built in China and two in Malaysia. The deal is worth about US$277 million.
Malaysia to buy navy vessels from China in blow to US

Kuala Lumpur’s push to strengthen ties with China comes after the US Department of Justice filed lawsuits implicating Najib in a money-laundering scandal. Najib has denied any wrongdoing and said Malaysia would cooperate in the international investigations.
Myanmar
China is Myanmar’s biggest supplier of weapons, providing most of its fighter aircraft, armoured vehicles, guns and naval ships.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy transferred two of its older Type 053H1 frigates to the Myanmar Navy in 2012.
In May, the navies of the two countries held their first joint exercises. The drills, involving the guided missile destroyer Changchun, guided missile frigate Jingzhou and supply ship Chaohu, signalled China’s growing naval presence in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.
The two former Chinese Type 053H1 frigates were renammed
China battles fierce competition and quality issues in fight for weapons sales

Indonesia
The Indonesian Navy last year signed a deal to buy a Chinese Type 730 shipbourne close-in weapon system.
The radar-guided, Gatling gun-style system was installed in an Indonesian frigate to bolster defences against anti-ship missiles and precision-guided munitions.
Indonesia also ordered C-802 anti-ship missiles, portable surface-to-air missiles and air search radars from China between 2005 and 2009.
In addition, the two countries have agreed to exchange technology for certain kinds of military equipment.

Philip
BRF Oldie
Posts: 17788
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 06 Oct 2017 12:33

Why haven't we also done something similar,making some small "gifts" to ASEAN nations? WE were trying to win larger orders like FFGs,but we have to start small.WE have tens of thousands of infantry weapons,our own desi assault rifles,etc.,why not present some to smaller states? Dhruv was one hoped for export,but the Ecuador deal which bombed with the crashes has never been rectified with other export sales. In the helo td. there is some speculation that the top speed can't be achieved becos of gearbox problems. jury out on the same,but considering that so many have been built for the services,it should've been a high profile export.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomac ... heast-asia
The weapons sales making China a big gun in Southeast Asia
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 October, 2017, 9:30pm

Kristin Huang

Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (second from left) and Chinese ambassador the Philippines Zhao Jianhua (second from right) inspect automatic rifles during a handover of military supplies at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon city. Photo: Reuters

DIPLOMACY & DEFENCE
China arms Philippine police for counterterrorism mission
5 Oct 2017
Related Articles
China’s base in Djibouti formally opened on August 1 this year. Photo: AFP
DIPLOMACY & DEFENCE
US intelligence expects China to build more bases around the globe
6 Oct 2017
A Chinese warship pictured off the coast of Vladivostok at the start of the joint Sino-Russian training exercise. Photo: Handout
DIPLOMACY & DEFENCE
China, Russia conclude drills after North Korea nuclear test
5 Oct 2017
One of the Chinese ships makes its way up the Thames on Tuesday. Photo: Weibo
DIPLOMACY & DEFENCE
Chinese navy docks in London for first official visit to UK capital
4 Oct 2017
China is gradually stepping up military engagement with Southeast Asia, building on the firm economic footings it has established in the region.
SCMP TODAY: HK EDITION

The latest move came on Thursday when China gave 3,000 assault rifles to the Philippines as a gesture of “friendly and cooperative relations”. It was Beijing’s second shipment of guns to Manila and another sign of a warming in ties between the two countries since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power last year.
The rifles, valued at about US$3.3 million, will all go to the Philippine National Police, which US legislators last year blocked from buying about 26,000 M4 rifles from the United States.
Other countries in the region are also forging stronger military ties with China.
Thailand
The Royal Thai Army is preparing to take delivery of its first batch of 28 VT4 main battle tanks from China, 18 months after agreeing to buy them for US$147 million.
Military spending: Thailand to buy Chinese tanks to replace ageing US model

The tanks, made by China North Industries, are expected to arrive at the Royal Thai Navy’s Sattahip Naval Base next week.
Thailand also put in orders for a trio of Type 039A Yuan-class diesel-electric attack submarines in late 2016 and VN1 infantry fighting vehicles in March.
Malaysia
Malaysia agreed to buy four Chinese coastal patrol vessels known as littoral mission ships when Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak visited China on November. Two will be built in China and two in Malaysia. The deal is worth about US$277 million.
Malaysia to buy navy vessels from China in blow to US

Kuala Lumpur’s push to strengthen ties with China comes after the US Department of Justice filed lawsuits implicating Najib in a money-laundering scandal. Najib has denied any wrongdoing and said Malaysia would cooperate in the international investigations.
Myanmar
China is Myanmar’s biggest supplier of weapons, providing most of its fighter aircraft, armoured vehicles, guns and naval ships.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy transferred two of its older Type 053H1 frigates to the Myanmar Navy in 2012.
In May, the navies of the two countries held their first joint exercises. The drills, involving the guided missile destroyer Changchun, guided missile frigate Jingzhou and supply ship Chaohu, signalled China’s growing naval presence in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.
The two former Chinese Type 053H1 frigates were renammed
China battles fierce competition and quality issues in fight for weapons sales

Indonesia
The Indonesian Navy last year signed a deal to buy a Chinese Type 730 shipbourne close-in weapon system.
The radar-guided, Gatling gun-style system was installed in an Indonesian frigate to bolster defences against anti-ship missiles and precision-guided munitions.
Indonesia also ordered C-802 anti-ship missiles, portable surface-to-air missiles and air search radars from China between 2005 and 2009.
In addition, the two countries have agreed to exchange technology for certain kinds of military equipment.

Philip
BRF Oldie
Posts: 17788
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 12 Oct 2017 14:54

Facsim alive and kicking in Franco's Spain.
The similarities between Spanish fascism and the UKR's Right Sector is all too evident.Unlike the other EU nations afflicted with hordes of Islamic refugees ,carrying with them the baggage of mayhem of their countries,the Spanish neo-fascists in power today have more in common with their UKR neo-Nazis in that they've attempted to derail genuine democracy in their countries. In the UKR an elected leader was overthrown in a right-wing coup with help from many EU nations and the US,while in Spain the EU is turning a blind eye to genuine Catalyunan democracy at work.The duplicity of Western nations is appalling and is being exposed in all its sordid ugliness.

https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/10/f ... -in-spain/
Franco’s fascism is alive and kicking in Spain
Jake Wallis Simons

Demonstrators give the fascist salute during a protest against the independence of Catalonia on October 7, 2017 in Madrid, Spain (Photo: Getty)
Jake Wallis Simons
10 October 2017

The conservative case against Catalonia’s separatist narrative
Diego Zuluaga
Barcelona

After the demonstration in Barcelona on Sunday, I happened to walk past the city’s main police station. A unionist crowd had gathered to praise the officers who had so brutally suppressed the Catalan referendum the previous week. Wrapped in Spanish flags, they were chanting Viva España and throwing flowers. Then they started performing the Nazi salute.

I hung around to report on it (a video that I shot on my phone was retweeted many thousands of times). The fascists, I realised, had based themselves in a pub next door. I went in, filming on my GoPro, and saw police drinking with far-Right thugs, smiling as they were serenaded with Sieg Heils.

Later, a masked activist tried to burn a Catalan flag. This time, however, a skinhead spotted me filming and I almost had my head kicked in (as another journalist had earlier that day). Again, no intervention from the cops.

Far-right activists hand-in-glove with police: it’s hard to think of a clearer illustration of the rude health of fascism in modern Spain. For this was not just a one-off. In recent decades, Francoism has been viewed with a blind eye by the Spanish state, which has harnessed it for political advantage.

Understanding this begins with Franco’s deathbed. One peaceful night in November 1975, at the age of 82, El Generalísimo breathed his last. He had presided over concentration camps, ordered the murder of hundreds of thousands of his countrymen, installed a regime of state terror and brainwashing, ordered the mass kidnap of the children of his opponents, yet he had clinched a natural death as a free man. Worse than that: the levers of power were still tight in his pale and cooling fist.

It is true that by the Seventies, the regime was declining and had begun to be seen as outdated. But not for Franco the cyanide capsule in the Berlin bunker. Not for him the summary execution outside the Villa Belmonte. The Germans and Italians learned the hard way that fascism ends in humiliation, but the Spanish strongman was never beaten. Consequently, although Spain soon transitioned to democracy, a reckoning with its fascist past never followed.

Such a reckoning has been dodged ever since by Madrid, for the sake of political expediency. Parliamentary attempts to retrospectively delegitimise the Franco years have been blocked by the ruling Partido Popular (PP). As a result, although not praised in schools, Francoism remains in the official annals of the national story.

In 2007, the Law of Historical Memory – an attempt to formally acknowledge Franco’s victims and limit public adulation of him – was passed by the then-Socialist government. But its impact was limited. It did not, for example, stop the former minister and MEP Jaime Mayor Oreja from describing Spain’s fascist experiment as ‘an extraordinarily peaceful period’.

His nostalgia was not unusual. Franco brought death and repression, but also stability and rising living standards. When seen from the economic doldrums that Spain finds itself in today, some harbour the unarticulated belief that the fascist years were the golden ones.

Even today, symbols of dictatorship are still intact. Churches still display the yoke and arrows, Spain’s answer to the swastika. Streets remain named after Franco’s henchmen, and few visitors could forget the monstrous, 500 foot cross that marks El Caudillo’s resting place.

As in architecture, so in parliament. Spain’s political DNA includes potent strains of fascism. The original incarnation of the PP, the Alianza Popular, was founded by one of Franco’s former ministers. Unsurprising, perhaps, that it has been so reluctant to condemn both the dictator and nationalist street violence.

A vivid example of this came on Monday, when anti-Catalonia thugs rampaged through Valencia, beating up passers by and performing the Nazi salute in massed ranks. One nationalist pensioner threw a cup of hot tea in a journalist’s face. When the dust settled, the only party to fail to condemn the violence was – you guessed it – the PP, which is in charge of the country.

Last year, when a journalist asked Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s Prime Minister, whether it was ‘reasonable that thousands of Spanish citizens still don’t know where their grandfathers are buried,’ he replied: ‘I’m not sure that what you’re saying is true, nor that the government could do anything about it.’ In this, Rajoy was echoing the sentiments of former prime minister José María Aznar, who famously said, ‘let us not disturb their graves or throw their bones over our heads.’

Which brings us to Catalonia, where the political exploitation of Spain’s history is most vivid, and where many bones lie buried.

Under Franco, Catalan language and culture were banned, and aspirations of independence repressed. Franco maintained this stance up until his death. Just eight months before the dictator shuffled off his mortal coil, a young Catalan revolutionary anarchist, Salvador Puig Antich, had his coil shuffled off for him by a State executioner armed with a garrotte. The killing took place at the notorious La Model prison, which was located about a mile from where those thugs were Sieg Heiling on Sunday.

Rajoy has no more desire to see Catalonia break away than had Franco. Not only would it risk depriving Spain of a fifth of its economic output and a quarter of its exports, but secession would seriously undermine the country’s identity – and the government’s authority.

If push came to shove, Madrid has vowed to impose direct rule on Catalonia. If this came to pass, the full winds of popular nationalism would be needed in Rajoy’s sails. Thus, the government’s recent rhetoric has conjured Spain’s bold, fascist past.

Extraordinarily, on Monday, the PP’s spokesman, Pablo Casado, warned that if the Catalonian president dared to declare independence, he could ‘end up like’ Lluís Companys – a Catalonian leader executed by Franco in 1940.

Almost no Madrid official has condemned the police brutality which the world witnessed last week. Spanish loyalists have continually praised the police. Moderate patriots – the overwhelming majority – ascribe the violence to a few bad apples, exaggerated by Catalan propagandists. But the radicals haven’t bothered with the exegesis. After all, there is nothing a fascist relishes more than the sight of a jackbooted policeman beating up a granny with a baton.

Which returns us to the police station in Barcelona. On Sunday night, when the black-clad officers smirked at the Sieg Heil, with Catalan blood fresh on their boots, this was Spain’s Janus-faced politics in microcosm. Fascism has been allowed to flourish in the shadow side of a European liberal democracy. Or to put it another way, Generalissimo Francisco Franco is not dead.

Jake Wallis Simons is Associate Global Editor at the Daily Mail Online

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 12 Oct 2017 15:32

The Vatican's links to fascism in Spain and elsewhere in Europe.
http://churchandstate.org.uk/2015/04/go ... d-pavelic/
God and the Fascists: The Vatican Alliance with Mussolini, Franco, Hitler, and Pavelić

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby sunnyP » 12 Oct 2017 18:26

AdityaM wrote:The India-Canada thread is locked viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7340

Troubling rise of pro-Khalistani for the PM position in Canada implies major headache for india if he wins.

Jagmeet Singh, Trudeau's biggest political rival, could mean bad news for India
Jagmeet Singh’s rise in Canadian politics could be of concern in India

Singh was denied a visa by the Indian government in December 2013. At that time, he was (as he is now) a member of the provincial parliament (MPP) in Ontario. This made him perhaps the first sitting member of a Western legislature to have been barred from travelling to India.



He’s not even willing to condemn the bombers of Air India Flight 182. What a piece of work he is.



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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 13 Oct 2017 12:43

Simple,simply declare him a terrorist and deny him entry,send out an Interpol "red flag",etc.,etc. Kick out any Canadian diplomutts who are being troublesome as well. Canada is one of the "5-eyes" of the Anglo-Saxon clique. Like Norway,they often p*mp for their master.This joker's US links should also be probed. Typical spook tactic to create trouble using another national.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby vijaykarthik » 16 Oct 2017 11:07

^ I think thats been the biggest advantage of the NDA regime - the guys realised that they found some soft interconnected bony parts as a part of the government infra and on deeper investigation and research, realised that its the backbone and placed it in the right place.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 16 Oct 2017 11:49

I shudder to think of what would've happened if Snake-Oil-Singh was at the helm of affairs.However,I strangely feel that Doklam may not have happened as the Chins well-know that the toothless serpent has no venom. This was a definite test of Mr.Modi's will by the Chins,similar to that which happened when ABV was FM and visited Beijing.The Chins launched their attack against Vietnam while he was there,tangentially a direct snub to India close friend of Vietnam,he returned immediately. Remember that the BRICS summit was at hand and this was an attempt to unsettle the PM.It failed after we,the PM analysed the situ militarily and felt that we could handle any major mischief from the other side.

Events in the ME are rapidly changing,with the Russian star on the ascendant.Putin has displayed great statesmanship,victor of the Syrian War,Conqueror of the Crimea,etc.etc.,which has been noted and understood by the despots of the ME region. They want their regimes to survive and are queuing up to pay tribute (read buying Russian arms) to the Czar.

http://russia-insider.com/en/tectonic-g ... th/ri21238
Tectonic Global Shifts From Russia This Friday the 13th
The elephant in the room is US debt and the ability to QE (print money) as resolution to infinity, or until others refuse to play that game any longer.

Paul Goncharoff

Never a dull moment
One refreshing aspect of living in Moscow is that the number 13 is just that, a number. As a native New Yorker, I took for granted that 13th floors were just not fated to exist or be built. There is even a word in the English lexicon, triskaidekaphobia: the extreme fear or suspicion of number 13. This fascination with 13 even had its role when I was trading on the COMEX/NYMEX exchanges, the locals and the traders made jokes, all the while rubbing their rabbits feet, coddling charms or crossing fingers especially when the 13th was a trading day. That being said, there is enough developing in the world geopolitically and economically to justify getting with the spirit of the day and see how weird fortune may play out.

Much has happened here in Russia in these first 13 days of October. King Salman of Saudi Arabia together with his retinue of 1,500 and their 459 tons of luggage made his first official visit to the Kremlin. :rotfl: A number of take-a-way’s happened because of the visit, one of the more apparent is the understanding that Russia has begun to displace the United States as the go-to power broker politically and militarily in the Middle Eastern neighborhood, or as some call it the Arc of Evil.

The visit also promoted Russian support for his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is expected to inherit the throne. It goes without saying that strategizing on the oil price, which is a bouquet of geopolitical balancing acts essential for both countries was doubtlessly picked over. After all, Saudi Arabia and Russia together produce 25% of all the oil used in the world today. That brings up the neighborhood again, namely Iran and its allies. A thorn in the side of Saudi Arabia to be sure and in need of a Putin-like arbiter if Saudi national development plans over the next two decades are to be realized. Iran and its allies are the only oil, political and religious groups able to attract and/or push the various Shiite minorities throughout the Sunni Middle East to rebellion - including Saudi Arabia’s biggest oil region.

Ever since the Nixon era birth of the Petrodollar and the US-Saudi umbrella defense quid-pro-quo the Saudi’s were and are a major and consistent client for US weapons systems. Just this year Saudi military spending alone has accounted for 61 billion US dollars, namely 21% of that country’s current budget.
As relationships begin to slowly change it is not coincidental this meeting was also to purchase a specific Russian weapons system more advanced than the United States equivalent, and that can defend against its missiles. This may be a logical response to the amount of US-made missiles available to various Middle East countries that may pose a threat. The new relationship between the Saudi’s and Russia is also viewed as positive by Israel, who as the saying goes - is Russia’s "sub-rosa ally" in the Middle East.

While Russia is interested in this new relationship with Saudi Arabia, it has no wish or reason to disregard Iran, a long term commercial partner. The interests shared between Russia and Iran are firm in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Russia will not risk her standing in these regions by any overwhelming desire to cuddle with Saudi Arabia. In many ways the role of bridge between Sunni and Shiite states stretching from the Central Asian region through to the Greater Middle East is one where the interests of many local players today hinge on Russia more than ever.

Taking this a large step further, and it involves the dollar, Saudi Arabia’s biggest trading partner is now China. The Chinese have been absorbing US treasuries, and with them, US inflationary/disinflationary volatility for years. All the world’s emerging markets have been on a rollicking ride with the US dollar. Eventually, probably rather soon, players like China and the Saudis will grow tired of this ride. The Russians are already there, and steps have already been taken to eventually de-dollarize trade with China as well as Saudi Arabia (where the 1974 petrodollar was born), and with it the One Belt One Road group of countries stretching from India throughout Eurasia and the Middle East

With current stresses in relationships within NATO, like Turkey, the US could find itself at an inflection point with regard to several traditional allies, which in turn may well nudge trade contracting away from the dollar in consequence. When we think of NATO, it largely mirrors member states of the EU, and that entity is not having a stress free time of late. There are the frictions of Spain vs. Catalonia and Basque, Italy where strains exist between Padania and Mezzogiorno, France with Corsica, and of course, Greece keeps simmering away. The UK Brexit event is also in ongoing process and has its support and opposition forces sniping and bickering in Brussels. Then there are the US led economic sanctions against Russia, which have led to a world of economic pain in the EU, while not affecting the US or its dollar trade in the least, nor have sanctions worked to bring Russia to “heel”, or Ukraine to “democracy”. They have instead succeeded in enabling further more detailed questioning of the hegemony of the US dollar especially as it is so closely tied to US mandated unipolar political and economic behavior not necessarily in the interests of independent sovereign nations or their indigenous peoples.

Traditional US diplomatic and military ties have encouraged America’s allies to hold dollars. States with their own nuclear arsenals tend to hold fewer dollars than countries that depend on the US for their security. Being in a military alliance with a reserve-currency-issuing country has been said enhances the foreign exchange reserves held in that currency (US Dollar) by roughly 30 percentage points. The converse than indicates that the share of reserves held in dollars would fall appreciably should such ties erode. The current political, military and diplomatic overtures from Washington have not been well received in several parts of the planet. From North Korea, to Venezuela, and from China, and Russia and even NATO ally Turkey. There seems to be an unthinking autopilot switched on as the US diplomatic front not only aims its traditionally historic vitriol at Russia and China, but at America’s allies as well, even neighboring NAFTA participants, not to mention Central or Latin America.

Estimates are that South Korea and Japan together hold about 80% of their international reserves in dollars. It is therefore expected that the financial behavior of these and other countries would change dramatically, negatively influencing the dollar’s exchange rate and US borrowing costs, if America’s close military alliances with such allies start to unravel as well due to current foreign policies.

The world is looking for alternatives to the dollar for several reasons; one of them is to get out from under the influence of the US and its brand of globalized vision. Today we can see the trend starting from the large oil producing nations to countries who make significant exports; they are slowing, even stopping their accumulation of US debt securities. For instance when China and Russia find alternatives for their bilateral trading activity, they will require far fewer dollars. The same applies to European countries, which have adopted the euro since 1999. The elephant in the room is US debt and its historical reliance and ability to QE (print money) as resolution to infinity, or until others refuse to play that game any longer. That and mandating behavior to align with US preferences and unipolar interests.

Some nations have attempted in the past to escape the dollar hegemony, but failed largely due to prompt US action. One example was Iraq's former dictator Saddam Hussein who wanted to sell Iraqi oil for euros; another was Libya's Muammar al-Gaddafi who planned to issue a pan-African gold currency. Both attempts would have resulted in tiny bites at the dollars dominance. Today the man drivers of de-dollarization are Moscow and Beijing. Both the Russians and the Chinese have openly supported the key role of gold in this transition from the dollar. The process of moving away from the dollar, originally initiated in Europe and today taken up by China and Russia can no longer be stopped. Despite the fact that it is Friday the 13th, I doubt the demise of the almighty dollar will happen today, but the trend is set, and in time, multi-polar currencies will occupy key seats at the world economic table. Probably with gold as a “supra-national” reserve asset. We will see how this unwinds down the road, but one thing is certain – we are living in an era of tectonic geopolitical and economic shifts that are tailor made for any Friday the 13th . Buckle up!

Paul Goncharoff
Chairman, Disciplinary Committee, National Association of Corporate Directors, Russian Federation.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby akashganga » 17 Oct 2017 17:30

Philip wrote:The Vatican's links to fascism in Spain and elsewhere in Europe.
http://churchandstate.org.uk/2015/04/go ... d-pavelic/
God and the Fascists: The Vatican Alliance with Mussolini, Franco, Hitler, and Pavelić

Catholic church has been one of the worst victimiser in the history but has very successfully played as victim. The mainstream media in america portrays catholics as victims. Look at what catholics have done to latin america. The native incas, mayas, and aztechs have almost disappeared. Look at US mexico border. This is far more violent and results in far more deaths than india pak border.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 18 Oct 2017 20:37

Very true.The Spanish destroyed culture and scientific knowledge of S.America thousands of years old,belonging to the global super-civilisation that was almost totally destroyed by the asteroid/comet strike between 11000-12000 BC.We are only now discovering the remnants of this epoch of human history with sites like Gobekli Tepe in Turkey 12000+ yrs old.

The Spanish burnt all writings and scrolls of the S.Am civilisations as they were blinded by the most fundamentalist deviation of Christianity promoted by the Vatican.We must thank the bloodthirsty Spanish for the Inquisition too! The Portugese were no saints,equally brutal and unforgiving of alien faiths,but the Spanish outclassed them.

Spain's entrance into the scientific and modern world was thanks to the Moors, who brought with them the wisdom of the east. They're reverting back to their RC fascist ways
over the Catalonian demand for freedom and self-expression with traditional brutality.We can expect more from them.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby akashganga » 20 Oct 2017 01:37

Philip wrote:Very true.The Spanish destroyed culture and scientific knowledge of S.America thousands of years old,belonging to the global super-civilisation that was almost totally destroyed by the asteroid/comet strike between 11000-12000 BC.We are only now discovering the remnants of this epoch of human history with sites like Gobekli Tepe in Turkey 12000+ yrs old.

The Spanish burnt all writings and scrolls of the S.Am civilisations as they were blinded by the most fundamentalist deviation of Christianity promoted by the Vatican.We must thank the bloodthirsty Spanish for the Inquisition too! The Portugese were no saints,equally brutal and unforgiving of alien faiths,but the Spanish outclassed them.

Spain's entrance into the scientific and modern world was thanks to the Moors, who brought with them the wisdom of the east. They're reverting back to their RC fascist ways
over the Catalonian demand for freedom and self-expression with traditional brutality.We can expect more from them.

The root cause of spanish and portugese behavior is their religion the same way the root cause of the behaviour of al-queda and isis is islam. Religions which are founded by one individual and claiming to represent true god (or whatever) will always turn fanatical. The founders of both islam and christianity claimed theirs is the only true religion and all world must follow their true religion. They sugar coated their message with some nice stuff which are quoted to justify their religion. The nicer messages in these religions do not really belong to these religions, humans had practiced these nice things well before their founders time. These two religions had used extreme violance to survive and spread for centuries. Now they are using schools and charities to survive and spread. They both tried to wipe out jews and jews have survived. But the core of their core is very dangerous. My 2 cents.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby JE Menon » 21 Oct 2017 15:21

>>But the core of their core is very dangerous.

Whose core? Not clear from above Christians, Muslims or Jews? Or all three?

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby chetak » 21 Oct 2017 15:56

^^^^^^^

The wicked point of the sword was/is wielded only by two bloodletting abrahamic hordes.

not much to choose there.

one is exclusive but not bloodletting and the other two are exclusive and bloodletting.

only foolish us are in the lonely group of "not exclusive and not bloodletting"

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 26 Oct 2017 13:25

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... e-mohammed
The House of Saud is still in denial
Nesrine Malik
Despite crown prince Mohammed’s pledge of reform there is no honest acknowledgement yet of what lies behind Saudi Arabia’s malaise
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
‘The crown prince has presented himself as the pivot around which the country’s long-awaited transformation would take place.’ Photograph:
Wednesday 25 October 2017 19.27 BST Last modified on Wednesday 25 October 2017 23.40 BST
Something is definitely afoot in Saudi Arabia this time. For decades, the Saud ruling family has followed a policy of promise but never deliver. They make the right noises in an attempt to polish the country’s much-tarnished global image – and yet when it comes down to it, they rarely come up with the goods.

I will return Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam, says crown prince

But perhaps this time is different. In an interview with the Guardian, Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman made statements that would make even the most hardened cynic take note. He directly addressed “what happened”, saying that the Iranian revolution triggered copycat religious regimes across the region, and that now it was time to “get rid of it” in Saudi Arabia.

“We are simply reverting to what we followed – a moderate Islam open to the world and all religions. Seventy per cent of Saudis are younger than 30. Honestly, we won’t waste 30 years of our life combating extremist thoughts, we will destroy them now and immediately.”

The crown prince is a masterful marketer, beloved of the western media. So familiar are journalists with him now that he is often referred to as MBS. He has presented himself as the pivot around which the country’s long-awaited transformation would take place. For a while, it seemed that he had become just that, an expectation – good fodder for those long, glossy state of the kingdom exposés but not much else.

But these recent comments, combined with the lifting of the ban on women driving – a move about which I was initially cynical but does appear to have been carried out – suggest that Prince Mohammed, and a number of the royal establishment whom he has managed to recruit, are serious. His public position is being echoed by senior figures: this is not a one-man initiative.

Low oil prices and an undiversified economy has taught the ruling family that the state can not sustain their patronage
It is not only the apparent millennial sincerity of the young prince that is the driving force. Crucially, there is an economic underpinning to this as well. An era of low oil prices in an undiversified economy has taught the ruling family that the state’s general coffers can no longer sustain the current system. There is no better instinct than preservation to kill off old habits. The regime’s mistake in the past has always been to think only in terms of preserving its own power in the short term, extending generous subsidies to citizens and protecting itself from the wrath of the religious establishment by giving it extensive freedoms.

During the years I lived in the country in the late 1990s and 2000s, terrorist activity on Saudi soil was reaching its peak. It was always frustrating to see the religious police harass and intimidate the public, enforcing the strictest of religious laws while the government scrambled to combat the rise of extremism, failing to make or address the link between the two. But the hand of the powerful public order vigilantes who dragged men to prayer and yelled at women to cover their faces has been weakened since then.

Perhaps the most astonishing of the latest statements from the House of Saud was in reference to the boredom and inertia of Saudi youth, noting that the country’s hinterlands do not understand their asphyxiating effect. Prince Mohammed has always been big on social transformation, insisting that without striking a new deal between citizen and state, economic rehabilitation would fail.

“This is about giving kids a social life,” said a senior Saudi royal figure. “Entertainment needs to be an option for them. They are bored and resentful. A woman needs to be able to drive herself to work. Without that we are all doomed. Everyone knows that – except the people in small towns. But they will learn.”

Saudi society is rigid, its youth restless. The prince’s reforms need to succeed

Such a public suggestion of a schism between Saudis “in the small towns” and the ruling regime is unheard of. It indicates the government is beginning to get over its fear of alienating religious traditionalists in their old feud with the royal family and elite – who the hardliners see as under the influence of the corrupt, ungodly west.

Inevitably, there is still some denial at play. The history of extremism in Saudi Arabia does not start with the Iranian revolution. It was the result of a cynical use of religion that meant hardline clerics had a free hand to run everything from the school curriculum to public order laws. For the royal family, this appeased a religious establishment that, if alienated, could foment serious discord (such as the siege of Mecca by religious extremists in 1979); and it also helped to establish an authoritarianism that could not be questioned.

Yet there is still no honest reckoning over what lies at the heart of the Saudi malaise. It’s not anything as trite as a lack of democracy; it is the failure to confront the fact that expropriating religion for political purposes will always backfire. Things look promising, but only once that lesson is learned will there be real hope.

• Nesrine Malik is a writer who has lived and worked in Saudi Arabia

Topics

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby ramana » 26 Oct 2017 19:03

I want the House of Saud to collapse for they have done a lot of damage to India and the world.

I don't care if they are in denial or worse.

Right now the CP of KSA is behaving like Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II who launched the modernization program.
Mahmud's religious traditionalists (RT) were the janissaries whom he suppressed violently.

Soon KSA will have a revolt by these RT.

His new city is the baroque Istanbul.

Lets see how long this Ozymandias will last.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 27 Oct 2017 05:13

The KSA is supposedly going to spend $500B on a futuristic new city which will be non-dependent on oil for its energy needs.Its restless youth need to be taken care of.The Bahrein entertainment centre not good enough!

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby ramana » 27 Oct 2017 23:34

Philip, I request you to think what this $500B new city means to KSA, future of Middle East and Islam.

There is a concurrent IPO for 30% of ARAMCO worth $1T being processed.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby JE Menon » 29 Oct 2017 13:45

Latest article in Swarajya...Ramana, speaks to your question above to some extent

https://swarajyamag.com/world/saudi-cro ... ay-succeed

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby Philip » 29 Oct 2017 14:11

Handling KSA's new generation of youth,many studying in the west who want greater socio-religious freedom but are being made to work in despotic KSA thanks to its declining economy,and replacement of foreign workers by locals in many govt. jobs ,is going to be a massive task. The ruling elite happily escape these harsh restrictions and enjoy the fleshpots of Europe,etc. Their degenerate hypocritical lifestyle is well-known to the Saudi people who are increasingly critical of the royal elite.Sops like allowing women to drive won't last long or satisfy the demand for true reform of Saudi society.

As "keepers of the two holy places", Mecca and Medina, sacred to the Muslim world, the Saudis must still maintain the veneer of strict adherence to Islamic law which needs to be displayed for local and foreign consumption.Hence the mediaeval nature of Saudi society.

Stifling dissent and outright revolt ,acts of terror from the other point of the compass,and countering extreme Wahaabi-jihadism is also impinging upon the reformers who get caught in the crossfire. The regime is trying to be selective with pinpoint action against its opposition .How successful its going to be is v.uncertain.

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby panduranghari » 29 Oct 2017 15:23

ramana wrote:I think.the new British Empire is being revived. Without England.


You can bet all your money that the funding originates from the square mile in the city of London who were basically British EIC who in turn were Dutch EIC.

If we believe the story that US insisted Britain give up India as a precondition that US would enter the war effort against the Axis powers, I would like to assume US was hoping to be the next overlord over India. If they knew India was not going to comply with the US expectations, they activated their fall back plan of Pakistan.

If Hammarskjold was truly assassinated as the news report claims, it seems what the west hoped to achieve in Indian subcontinent with imminent break up as predicted by all and sundry did not materialize. So it was necessary for the new empire to get foot soldiers for their global fights through Africa. Perhaps Hammarskjold was going to make a truce between the fighting factions a reality. It would have been a death knell for the empire builders.

If British empire needs to be revived without Britain, who supplies the cannon fodder foot soldiers.Do Only boots on the ground wins battles? India is not going to sign up to these western wars. Hopefully. In spite of the cajoling by Tillerson.

The square mile also needs to come up with new revenue streams. The gig is up and are they hitching the cart to the Chinese horse?

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Re: Geopolitics/Geoeconomics Thread- June 2015

Postby panduranghari » 29 Oct 2017 15:30

ramana wrote:I am now looking at biological models of process and how we can study fiascos. One such model is cancer cell growth leading to metastasis that can kill the host..


Another model-

Ice-nine is a fictional material that appears in Kurt Vonnegut's novel Cat's Cradle. Ice-nine is described as a polymorph of water which instead of melting at 0 °C (32 °F), melts at 45.8 °C (114.4 °F). When ice-nine comes into contact with liquid water below 45.8 °C (thus effectively becoming supercooled), it acts as a seed crystal and causes the solidification of the entire body of water, which quickly crystallizes as more ice-nine. As people are mostly water, ice-nine kills nearly instantly when ingested or brought into contact with soft tissues exposed to the bloodstream, such as the eyes or tongue.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice-nine


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