Tag Archives: Africa

Mapping the American War on Terror, by Stephanie Savell

Since terror is a tactic that can be used anywhere, the wonder is not the number of countries in which the US is fighting its war on terror, but that there are remaining where it is not. From Stephanie Sevall at tomdispatch.com:

In September 2001, the Bush administration launched the “Global War on Terror.” Though “global” has long since been dropped from the name, as it turns out, they weren’t kidding.

When I first set out to map all the places in the world where the United States is still fighting terrorism so many years later, I didn’t think it would be that hard to do. This was before the 2017 incident in Niger in which four American soldiers were killed on a counterterror mission and Americans were given an inkling of how far-reaching the war on terrorism might really be. I imagined a map that would highlight Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria — the places many Americans automatically think of in association with the war on terror — as well as perhaps a dozen less-noticed countries like the Philippines and Somalia. I had no idea that I was embarking on a research odyssey that would, in its second annual update, map U.S. counterterror missions in 80 countries in 2017 and 2018, or 40% of the nations on this planet (a map first featured in Smithsonian magazine).

As co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, I’m all too aware of the costs that accompany such a sprawling overseas presence. Our project’s research shows that, since 2001, the U.S. war on terror has resulted in the loss — conservatively estimated — of almost half a million lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan alone. By the end of 2019, we also estimate that Washington’s global war will cost American taxpayers no less than $5.9 trillion already spent and in commitments to caring for veterans of the war throughout their lifetimes.

Continue reading

Advertisements

China Won’t Be Taking Over, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

China’s got a lot of wood to chop before it can take over the world. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

In the New Year, after a close to the old one that was sort of terrible for our zombie markets, do prepare for a whole lot of stories about China (on top of Brexit and Yellow Vests and many more windmills fighting the Donald). And don’t count on too many positive ones that don’t originate in the country itself. Beijing will especially be full of feel-good tales about a month from now, around Chinese New Year 2019, which is February 5.

And we won’t get an easy and coherent true story, it’ll be bits and pieces stitched together. What will remain is that China did the same we did, just on steroids. It took us 100 years to build our manufacturing capacity, they did it in under 20 (and made ours obsolete). It took us 100 years to borrow enough to get a debt-to-GDP ratio of 300%, they did it in 10.

In the process they also accumulated 10 times more non-productive assets than us, idle factories, bridges to nowhere and empty cities, but they thought that would be alright, that demand would catch up with supply. And if you look at how much unproductive stuff we ourselves have gathered around us, who can blame them for thinking that? Perhaps their biggest mistake has been misreading our actual wealth situation; they didn’t see how poorly off we really are.

Xiang Songzuo, “a relatively obscure economics professor at Renmin University in Beijing”, expressed some dire warnings about the Chinese economy in a December 15 speech. He didn’t get much attention, not even in the West. Not overly surprising, since both Beijing and Wall Street have a vested interest in the continuing China growth story.

Continue reading

How China Colonized An Entire Continent Without Firing A Single Shot, by Tyler Durden

China grants loans to African companies and if they default, China grabs the infrastructure. That’s a strategy Western countries and governments have been employing for decades. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Back in 1885, to much fanfare, the General Act of the Berlin Conference launched the Scramble for Africa which saw the partition of the continent, formerly a loose aggregation of various tribes, into the countries that currently make up the southern continent, by the dominant superpowers (all of them European) of the day. Subsequently Africa was pillaged, plundered, and in most places, left for dead. The fact that a credit system reliant on petrodollars never managed to take hold only precipitated the “developed world” disappointment with Africa, no matter what various enlightened, humanitarian singer/writer/poet/visionaries claimed otherwise.

And so the continent languished….  until 2012 when what we then dubbed as the “Beijing Conference” quietly took place, and to which only Goldman Sachs, which too has been quietly but very aggressively expanding in Africa, was invited.

As the map below, which we first showed in 2012, in just two years after 2010 China had pledged over $100 billion to develop commercial projects in Africa, a period in which the continent had effectively become de facto Chinese province, unchallenged by any developed nation which in the aftermath of the financial crisis had enough chaos at home to bother with what China may be doing in Africa.

Continue reading→

 

Doug Casey on Syria and Afghanistan

It’s never too late to abandon a bad idea. From Doug Casey at caseyresearch.com:

Justin’s note: President Trump is pulling troops out of Afghanistan and Syria.

And frankly, it’s about damn time. After all, the U.S. government has already wasted more than $1 trillion fighting these wars, not to mention all the lives that have been lost.

Still, many people are critical of this decision. To find out why, I got Doug Casey on the phone. Below, you’ll find his take on this important development…


Justin: Doug, Trump is pulling troops out of Afghanistan and Syria. And I think most Americans would agree that this is the right thing to do.

But both Democrat and Republican politicians have been highly critical of this decision. Why is that?

Doug: It’s more clear evidence of how the Deep State has totally captured the U.S. government. Recall that the Deep State is not a formal conspiracy of any type. It’s composed of perhaps a couple thousand powerful congressmen, bureau chiefs, lobbyists, corporate heads, generals, lawyers, academics, and media people that share a common worldview.

The character of the U.S. has changed a lot since the Vietnam War. And quite radically over the last generation or so. Constant low-grade war is today’s leitmotif. The U.S. is actively at war in at least two countries, has something on the order of 700 or 800 bases in over 100 other countries, and is constantly prodding the Russians, the Chinese, and the Iranians, among others.

U.S. soldiers are not welcome in any of the places where they’re stationed – except by local quislings, professional cronies, and lickspittles. So pulling out of Afghanistan and Syria – however belatedly – is one of the few intelligent things that Trump said he was going to do and may actually do. But I’ll believe it when I see it.

Continue reading

Reporter Quits NBC Citing Network’s Support for Endless War, by Caitlin Johnstone

Somebody has finally stepped out from mainstream media and said enough to his employer acting as a propaganda organ for endless war. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

A journalist with NBC has resigned from the network with a statement which highlights the immense resistance that ostensibly liberal mass media outlets have to antiwar narratives, skepticism of US military agendas, and any movement in the opposite direction of endless military expansionism.

January 4 is my last day at NBC News and I’d like to say goodbye to my friends, hopefully not for good,” begins an email titled ‘My goodbye letter to NBC’ sent to various contacts by William M Arkin, an award-winning journalist who has been associated with the network for 30 years.

“This isn’t the first time I’ve left NBC, but this time the parting is more bittersweet, the world and the state of journalism in tandem crisis,” the email continues. “My expertise, though seeming to be all the more central to the challenges and dangers we face, also seems to be less valued at the moment. And I find myself completely out of synch with the network, being neither a day-to-day reporter nor interested in the Trump circus.”

Continue reading

John Bolton Wants To Protect Africa From ‘Predatory’ Chinese Behavior. What About Washington’s? by Netfa Freeman

The US wants to stop other countries from colonizing Africa so it will have the field open to itself. From Netfa Freeman at antiwar.com:

John Bolton’s recent unveiling of the Trump Administration’s “Prosper Africa” plan did what is typical of such U.S. foreign policy announcements. It performed the balancing act of admitting motives to protect vague “US interests” while dishonestly claiming benevolent intentions for the other country, region, or continent concerned. In this case the continent is Africa.

The “new” Africa policy, National Security Advisor Bolton suggested, is an adjusted US strategy to “assist” African economic independence from the predatory designs of China and Russia. In reality it is the Trump’s administration taking the baton from the Obama administration in the new Scramble for Africa, a sequel to the proliferation of conflicting European claims to African territory during the New Imperialism period, between the 1880s and the start of World War I.

Bolton admits as much when he calls the administration’s new plan a response to “predatory practices pursued by China and Russia [that] stunt economic growth in Africa; threaten the financial independence of African nations; inhibit opportunities for US investment; interfere with US military operations; and pose a significant threat to US national security interests.”

He divulged this and the “new” U.S.-Africa policy in a speech he gave at the far-right Heritage Foundation.

It should be obvious that Bolton cares little about predation – he just doesn’t want other predators to compete with. He made no mention of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), which has put most African nations under the effective military control of the United States. AFRICOM is the re-colonization of Africa by the US, with thousands of US troops now stationed in some 30 African countries and dozens of US bases across Africa. The total estimated cost for AFRICOM in 2018 is $236.9 million.

Continue reading

Hot Economic Warfare: Scrambling for Rare-Earth Minerals, by Wayne Madsen

A bunch of rocks you probably have never heard of are the subjects of intense geopolitical competition. From Wayne Madsen at strategic-culture.org:

Just like the gold rushes of California between 1848 and 1855, Canada’s Klonike of 1896 to 1899, and Western Australia’s of the 1890s, the world is experiencing a frenzy to obtain mining rights in pursuit of today’s “gold,” namely rare earth minerals. Used for components of electric vehicle batteries, mobile telephones, flat-screen televisions, flash drives, cameras, precision-guided missiles, industrial magnets, wind turbines, solar panels, and other high-tech items, rare earth minerals have become the type of sought-after commodity that uranium and plutonium were during the onset of the atomic age.

Rare earth minerals do not easily roll off one’s tongue in the same manner as gold, silver, and platinum. For example, yttrium oxide and europium, while sounding unimportant, are what provide the red hue in color televisions.

Continue reading