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It takes only two things to keep people in chains:
The ignorance of the oppressed
and the treachery of their leaders.

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In the unlikely possibility that President Trump has developed an international plan (other than to admire and wish to emulate dictators), his plan is to disparage other nations and to assume that cooperation is for wimps.

His bravado-laced declarations of “America first” will be unlikely to reassure dependent nations or to gain allies.

Thus, rather than America continuing as the leader, militarily, economically, and morally — a position we assumed during World War II —  Trump is thrusting us into the dark second-world backwaters. And we allow it to happen.

An absolutely wonderful article, describing our troubling future, was disseminated on 18 November 2017 by econintersect.com. Here are a few excerpts together with the link. I urge you to read it in its entirety:

The Rise Of A Not-So-New World Order
by Sarang Shidore

For decades the United States has sat atop a unipolar world, unrivaled in its influence over the rest of the globe. But now that may be changing as a new, informal alliance takes shape between China and Russia.

Russia and China are two of the dictatorships (along with North Korea and the Philippines) Trump most admires. It is unlikely they admire him, though they will continue to bedazzle his endless ego with flattery while they steal his underwear — and ours.

The two great powers have a mutual interest in overturning an international order that has long advantaged the West at their own expense.

And as the Earth’s sole superpower turns inward, they will seek to carve out bigger backyards for themselves.

Only the 35% of Americans, who confuse bluster and bigotry with strength, are happy to be led by a man who has no consistent position on anything, and who has demonstrated he cares nothing for anyone.

Foreign leaders are not as gullible. When they see weakness they are quick to fill the vacuum.

Russia and China have no obvious ideology to export, and variations of capitalism have won out worldwide. (But) they have acted virtually in lockstep on many major security issues.

Both were first neutral, then opposed to, NATO’s intervention in Libya in 2011. Both have taken nearly identical positions on the Syrian conflict and cyber governance at the United Nations.

Both have issued a joint proposal to resolve the crisis on the Korean Peninsula by freezing North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs in exchange for halting joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States.

Both are firmly opposed to undermining the Iranian nuclear deal. And both have lobbied against U.S. missile defenses in Central Europe and Asia, as well as the Western doctrine of intervention known as “responsibility to protect.”

Meanwhile China – a well-known defender of the principle of national sovereignty – has been noticeably silent on Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

China and Russia are led by tough, brave, and experienced dictators, who have honed their realpolitik skills for many years. They have defeated all adversaries in the political trenches, where errors in judgment are rewarded with prison or death.

They hold their cards close and are not deluded by flattery or promises of short-term gains. They have learned how to plan and the patience to carry out the “long con.

Trump, by comparison, is inexperienced, easily charmed by bootlickers, and whose immediate need for satisfaction is revealed by his public musings. His thoughts go directly to his tongue and his Twitter rants.

He makes no long-term plans. Rather he grabs for what he can reach now.  He demeans any who do not display sufficient admiration for his greatness.

In the international contest of skill, courage, and power, he is a child set against men.

At the same time, Beijing and Moscow have symbolically demonstrated their compact in the realm of defense. They have conducted joint military exercises in unprecedented locales, including the Mediterranean Ocean and the Baltic Sea, as well as in disputed territories, such as the Sea of Japan and the South China Sea.

Weapons deals between them are likewise on the rise. Russian arms sales to China skyrocketed in 2002. Moscow agreed to sell its most sophisticated systems, the Su-35 aircraft and the S-400 surface-to-air missile systems, to its Asian neighbor.

Related image

Which side is the prison?

While Russia and China focus on expansion, Trump turns America protectionist and isolationist. We fearfully deport “dangerous” Central and South American children.

We build a cruel “Berlin” wall of shame and cowardice that is on a path to becoming our prison.  When America is completely surrounded by a wall, who will say which way is in, and which way is out?

The two great powers have signed several major energy deals of late, too. Russian oil has made up a steadily growing share of China’s energy portfolio for years, and in 2016 Russia became the country’s biggest oil supplier.

China has begun to substantially invest in Russia’s upstream industry while its state-run banks have heavily bankrolled pipelines connecting the two countries. Beijing, for instance, recently acquired a large stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft.

Russian exports of natural gas to China are climbing as well. These moves are rooted in a grand strategy: Russia and China are privileging each other in energy trade and investment to reduce their dependence on locations where the United States is dominant.

Like an infant, Trump has no grand strategy.  He reaches and grabs for women, dollars, and adulation, and also like an infant, he is unable to maintain a consistent direction. His beliefs, if one can call them that, change hourly.

He hires and fires — employees, wives — at whim. His inability to read or retain anything of length has become legendary.

China and Russia have also begun pushing for greater financial and monetary autonomy by distancing themselves from the dollar-dominated order of international trade and finance.

China has already partially seceded from the SWIFT system of global banking transactions by creating its own system, CIPS. Russia is following suit, and it too has started to build an alternative network.

Moreover, the Chinese yuan recently entered the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights currency basket. Now most Asian currencies track far more closely with the yuan than the dollar in value.

China plans to introduce an oil futures contract in yuan that can be fully converted to gold as well. The seriousness of their effort indicates their determination to move away from a system ruled by the U.S. currency.

Trump’s response is to fire someone who may be the best Fed Chairperson in history — Janet Yellen — for no discernable reason other than Trump wanted his own person, who presumably will be more willing to grovel and flatter.

Meanwhile, he has left the State Department under-manned. Other departments also are under-manned or led by incompetents, or both.

China makes substantial investments into sunrise technologies such as renewable energy, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence.

The projection of power to every corner of the globe probably isn’t the immediate goal.

Rather, the two powers seem to be aiming for maximum autonomy and a proximate sphere of influence that encompasses Eastern Europe and parts of the Middle East and Asia.

Those may be Russia’s and China’slong-term goals. Trump has none. While China invests heavily in renewable energy, Trump denies the need for renewable energy. Rather, he claims global warming is a Chinese hoax, and he backs the burning of coal polluting and the building of leaky oil pipelines.

They also seek to overhaul international rule-making with the intention of gaining greater influence in multilateral institutions, securing vetoes over military interventions, increasing global governance of the internet (albeit for their own self-interest), ending U.S. pressure regarding democracy and human rights, dethroning the reigning dollar and accounting for their interests in the design of the global security order.

As for Trump, he has turned the military over to the generals whom he earlier had dismissed as knowing less about the military than him.

Even here in America, let alone overseas, Trump has no concern for democracy and human rights (other than in Cuba), and being an isolationist, he can’t even comprehend a “global security order.”

Over the years,  Russia has become the leading security guarantor in Central Asia by founding the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a formal alliance with a mutual self-defense clause, and by building military bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.  Russia has also integrated Kazakhstan into its air defense system.

China is rapidly emerging as the leading energy and infrastructure partner in the region. The country’s Belt and Road Initiative is well underway, and several oil and natural gas pipelines connecting China to its Central Asian neighbors are already functional.

Both powers have a stake in the region’s security and economic integration, as evidenced by the presence of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union and the China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization there.

In contrast, “America first” Trump demands that other countries pay us for our assistance, a demand that not only is unnecessary financially (the U.S. doesn’t need their dollars), but is unwise politically (nations will drift toward the helping hand).

Russia seems to have largely accepted the reality of China’s rising power – an acceptance that is key to the formation of a compact between them.

Beijing, for its part, has tactfully walked back from its historical claims to Outer Manchuria, paving the way for the settlement of its long-standing border dispute with Moscow.

China has also worked to keep its economic competition with Russia from degenerating into political antagonism.

Trump, by contrast, has ruined what had been improving relations with Cuba, and repeatedly has insulted another neighbor and friend Mexico (Mexicans told they are criminals and rapists) and has angered Canada.

The “bull-in-a-china-shop,” despot approach has not frightened any enemies, as witness North Korea’s Kim Jon Un’s responses. It only has cost America prestige and moral leadership. Taking “the high road” does not seem to appear on Trump’s GPS.

Chinese investment in Iran has started to rise. And though Iran and Russia have their differences, they have closely coordinated their Syria air and ground operations.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative is partly intended to draw Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Turkey, Sri Lanka and Thailand into its orbit. 

Meanwhile, all is not going as planned within the United States’ own bloc. Washington’s treaty ally, South Korea, staunchly opposes any U.S. military action against North Korea. The United States’ ties with another major partner, Turkey, are deteriorating.

The Philippines is trying to balance between the United States and China, as is Thailand. Australia is increasingly torn between its deep economic dependence on China and its commitments to the United States.

Wide rifts have opened between the United States and Europe over trade, climate action, and Iran. Hungary has moved closer to Russia as populist nationalism – in some cases laced with support for Russian President Vladimir Putin – rises across the Continent.

Then there is Germany, which the United States has long worried is less than fully committed to balancing against Russia.

On top of all this, a nationalist upswing in U.S. politics has made the superpower more hostile to trade agreements and foreign entanglements.

Trump’s xenophobic administration wants walls, not agreements, possibly because Trump’s history is one of repeatedly cheating on his own agreements, both business and personal.

The upshot of these changes is that bipolarity, though not inevitable, is likely a foundational feature of the future: Russia, China, probably Iran and plausibly Pakistan, on one side, and the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, probably Japan and plausibly India and Australia on the other.

Consider the irony of American dollars and lives spent to protect Pakistan from religious extremists. Japan has been told to “pay up” for U.S. military protection.

In a world in which many major powers are uncommitted and have large degrees of freedom, tools like open-ended military interventions, unilateral sanctions, and hostility to trade will likely yield diminishing returns.

Hmmm . . . “military interventions, unilateral sanctions, hostility to trade.” Sound familiar?

By comparison, incentivization, integration, innovation and adroit agenda-setting can be smarter and more effective options. The United States historically has been a pioneer of these approaches, and it may prove able to wield them persuasively once again.

Except the Trump administration has no idea how to do these things. Tweeting threats and insults is their modus operandi.

But perhaps most important, the American superpower will have to resolve its internal polarization if it hopes to position itself as a cohesive leader of the international community.

Only then will it once again become, as former U.S. President Ronald Reagan so eloquently put it, “a shining city upon a hill.”

While our President’s backers cheer his hate-filled, insult-laden, thoughtless tweeting, they do not understand the serious costs of dissembling, the failure to lead, to accept responsibility, to compromise, and to plan intelligently.  They cannot understand the dangers of an American President who is self-focused rather than world-focused.

As a result of Trump’s truth denials and isolationist bent, a once-great America is becoming more isolated. Our “thousand points of light have dimmed.

Traditional American compassion has been replaced by contempt. Mass murder has become more frequent. Guns are everywhere, as our leaders preach a “fear-and-hate” doctrine.

The Constitution is being attacked. A national election has been undermined by a foreign enemy, with the complicity of our political leaders. Emotional outbursts have become the standard replacement for thought.

We are diminished, externally and internally. Our poor are poorer. Our rich are richer. Our military is rudderless. Our Congress is polarized and inert. Our long-term planning is non-existent.  We are more divided as a nation than any time since the Civil War.

It is happening, right before our eyes.

What can save us? Only we can save us by electing a real leader, who can pursue a truly American all-encompassing direction and bring us together as a nation — not by bitter hatred, but by the compassionate belief that all people, not just the very rich, have value.

That belief, not the twitterings of a pathetic martinet, was what made America great and can make us great again.

Until then, we are losing, and will continue to lose . . . badly.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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THOUGHTS

•All we have are partial solutions; the best we can do is try.

•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.

•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money no matter how much it taxes its citizens.

•The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes..

•No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth.

•Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.

•A growing economy requires a growing supply of money (GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)

•Deficit spending grows the supply of money

•The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control. The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.

•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.

•Progressives think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.

•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Austerity is the government’s method for widening the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY