Category Archives: China

Violence breeds violence. When will we finally learn that?

“Our thoughts are with the victims and their relatives. Just as they are with the millions of victims that western terrorism is responsible for, by unlawful use of force and wars of aggression.

Since the terrorist deeds hitting us are, beyond reasonable doubt, induced and provoked by our violence, there is a self-evident way to counteract them: stop our own crimes.

We should instead try the Chinese – peaceful – way to conquer the world: by aid, trade and investments.”

I posted those words on the NYTimes Readers Comments to an article about the Manchester attack, with to date not one “Recommend” from readers. On the other end of the list, with almost 700 Recommends, one finds the following sentences:

“When my son heard about this horror, he looked at me and said ‘Why, Mommy? Why would somebody do such a thing?”

“in the end I just said, ‘I don’t actually know. I don’t know why.'”

“we all so desperately want this to stop and we don’t know how to make it end.”

One can’t blame this woman since she is misinformed by our media like most of us. But on the other hand it should’t take much imagination to picture oneself in the same situation as a fellow human being in the Middle East, in countries torn apart by the merciless war machine hitting them from “the free world”. And if thinking alone doesn’t work, the Internet is abundant with testimony from the suffering people.

Take the interview with the Yemeni boy in his lower teens who had lived in the U.S. and moved back to his village, where he managed to convince his countrymen that America was a fair country. Then came a drone-strike killing innocent people, and all his efforts were in vain. They then naturally hated the U.S. and lived in constant fear of the drones, praising cloudy days because drones can’t fly then.

Or take the bombed wedding parties (at least eight such U.S. bombings since 2001, according to The Nation), together killing more people than all terrorist attacks in Europe in the same time-span. The human beings we threaten with immediate death are more eligible to “don’t know how to make it end” than we are. The only response some of them can think of is terrorism (they are in other words just as vindictive as many U.S. citizens after 9/11). These are just minor examples, the number of killed in Iraq alone exceeds one million by now.

It seems impossible that their terrorism will achieve any productive goal whatsoever. It will just induce even more atrocities from “the free world”, provoking further terrorism, in a never-ending loop. Contrary to what the woman above thinks, there is a simple way to break this loop: stop our violence!

Europeans and their offshoots in America have for 500 years dominated the world with military power. We have killed millions and millions of poor, innocent people through the centuries (besides shortening the lives of hundreds of millions through economic suppression.) Violence has worked as far as the western well-being is concerned. For those at the wrong end of the club it has been detrimental in all aspects. The new terrorism by the oppressed is a clear sign that our violence doesn’t work the way it used to.

China has demonstrated a way forward, we just have to achieve the same cultural and rational level as them. It should be easy: see and learn! A new era is dawning, as long as we can prevent the lunatics from incinerating the globe into nuclear ashes, or clean the planet from human beings through a climate catastrophe.

And yes! We can!

Anti-colonialism that we call colonialism: China in Africa

Europeans and their offshoots have colonized the world for 500 years, enslaving, killing and robbing indigenous people on all continents. My schoolbooks 60 years ago taught us that the pagans should be grateful to us for giving them Christianity, which we considered the height of civilization (to which Gore Vidal famously said: yes, we gave them Christian burials). What we did was to exchange one superstition for another, destroying ancient cultures in the process.

The progress we now see in the South is closely correlated to the West losing its neo-colonial grip on the developing countries. In Asia this happened earlier and coincided with rejection of western neoliberal dogmas. In Africa and Latin America it’s a more recent phenomenon, and the pace of development is impressive. Extreme poverty is rapidly diminishing.

Now there really is a change in paradigm going on in the world, in which China is showing how a country can gain power without using power. The peaceful and large-scale “invasion” with investments and aid in Africa and elsewhere is a forceful refutation of the western idea of violence being a sustainable way to obtain influence in the world.

China’s efforts benefit themselves as well as the receiving countries. The advantages of peace will be enforced by every new railway, school, road, mine, hospital etc. that’s being built. At a first glance it could look as if pacifists’ centuries old dreams have turned into reality.

Since no one can be against such benevolent enterprises, our media has chosen its first line of defense: to ignore them. The philistine Swedish media are masters in that art, while papers like the New York Times sometimes opens a minor vent to the real world. And that’s what they did the other day on China’s industrious ventures in Africa, and particularly in the small, desert country of Namibia.

The NYT article is long (18 typed pages) and mostly informative, but naturally not lacking insidious fault-finding and hyper-criticism of the kind we save for our enemies. The story focuses on the Husab Uranium Mine, a §4.6 billion investment to construct the second largest uranium mine in the world. It’s intended to support China’s rapidly expanding nuclear power program, also casting light on another benign effort: to reduce CO­2 emissions, benefitting the environment, not just for China itself but for the entire globe. When fully operative, the mine is estimated to increase the Namibian GDP by 5 percent.

The special relationship between the two countries goes back to the 1960s when China supported the liberation movement Swapo, who struggled against an apartheid regime (ruling the country in a way that even US nowadays condemn). China is not pacifist but upholds a strict policy of non-interference, meaning that they oppose military actions against other nations. Consequently, it supports the Namibian military and its ability to defend its own country.

“China’s gravitational pull can be felt today in every nook of the globe” says NYT article. Then it devotes considerable space to ransack all kinds of problems that inevitably follows from international operations on this scale. Friction between cultures, assiduous strangers giving orders, there are all kinds of possible difficulties, most thoroughly examined by the author.

“Is China the World’s New Colonial Power?” the headline to the article reads. To compare China’s efforts of improving the economies in poor countries with our enslaving, robbing and murdering colonialism is of course a disgrace. It’s equivalent to compare a surgeon with a knife killer.

This patronizing and contemptuous attitude in our mainstream media and public narrative is of course despicable. We are overrun by China’s peaceful offensive, while we continue to destroy everything that gets in our way. The West has turned the entire Middle East into a complete disaster, bombing it to rubbles, leading to the death of millions and forcing even more millions to join a refugee flood. And we are still unable to show even a trace of humility (except among dissidents in the margin).

Our way of treating the world is not sustainable in the long run. Luckily the human species has been endowed with a rather potent brain which inevitably will figure out that China’s way is far better than ours. When that materializes maybe even the future of the human species can be saved.

Violence at the end of the road?

It seems as if the background and the motives for the driver of the truck in Nice two days ago are still unclear. He may perhaps have been a socially troubled castaway, abandoned by his wife and just bursting with senseless violence. But possible ties with known terrorist groups are obviously searched for by authorities. And today ISIS took credit for the bloodbath, with their contorted sense of PR.

Assuming that he is a madman acting on his own, it appears that my comments yesterday on the roots of terrorism are irrelevant in his case. But does that make our societies totally free from guilt? The notion that we have to accept an outcome like this in any community is in itself a proof of something dysfunctional. In a society where we all cared for each other no one would have been pushed to the limit like this disturbed driver in Nice. There would have been solutions for his and other people’s grievances of all kinds.

Violence as such has obviously decreased in the world over a long period of time. But individuals committing atrocities on such a large scale as we see nowadays was formerly unheard of. Apart from jihadist motives there are obvious reasons for grievances and unrest. The watershed in recent history was the takeover of the world economy by “the masters of mankind” under the banner of neo-liberalism, bending the class struggle sharply in favor of the wealthy, leaving the majority to struggle with deteriorating living conditions. The situation can be caught in one telling picture: the obscene fact that 70 individuals own and control more resources than half of the world’s population.

Terrorist groups have also expanded their activities, and the reasons are seemingly self-evident. They have clearly had enough of western violent encroachment into their lands, their resources, their everything. Neo-colonialism has come to the end of the road, a fact clear at least for everyone with their heads screwed on. Continued violence will be self-defeating in more ways than one.

The future belongs to countries that follow the present Chinese example: conquer the world peacefully by means of investments, aid and cooperation.

When will we learn that war is complete idiocy?

“When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?…”

129 brutally killed in Paris: western media on fire. 43 brutally killed in Lebanon: the usual short notices in our media. 1,000,000 killed in Iraq: the root of the evil seldom mentioned.

Bernie Sanders cursed in church during Saturday’s Democratic candidate debate by saying that ISIS was created by the Iraq war, although it should be self-evident for anyone with an IQ above 30. It means that only top level reactionary pundits, journalists and politicians can ignore such a clear fact. Sanders’ outspoken view on this topic may very well be what disqualifies him as a candidate for the Democrats (if not all his other less housetrained opinions do). Implicitly he says that the Paris massacres can be put on Bush’s and Blair’s account (as war criminals).

When will we learn? For 500 years European powers have sought to subdue the entire world with military power. Initially these immoralities may have had some profitable effect for Europe. Assets of all kinds – technology, raw materials, slaves – could be stolen and enrich the masters of the world. At the same time the subdued countries could be withheld, their often superior products banned from competition by trade barriers and their own cultures undermined from within.

If this immoral behavior once could be said to work – for us – that is since long not true. The conquered colonies back then had no weapons that matched ours, which was the decisive factor, but that’s not how it works today. We can no longer intimidate people with threat and use of violence: they can hit back in all kinds of ways, and they do. If we don’t rise above this imperialist thinking once and for all, we can look forward to perpetual massacres from all sides: a mutual suicide and destruction that will end our era as masters of the world.

As we are pathologically fixated on killing as a means to achieve power, a country such as China is conquering the world behind our backs with peaceful and constructive methods, such as trade deals and all kinds of contribution to development, not least important infrastructure projects.

The Chinese cannot be intimidated. Their prime principle of foreign policy is non-interference in other countries internal affairs. When the West someday reaches the same level of political maturity, war will become a rarity.

Until then we have to sit with jaws dropped and watch our profit fixated business leaders and their bought politicians handle a dysfunctional economic system which funnels obscene wealth to a few at the expense of the majority and their need of fair living conditions and a decent society.

McCain’s perpetual wars, and Swedish naivety

Last week John McCain visited Sweden in his official capacity as a US congressman. (Whenever he visits Ukraine the slaughtering of civilians by the Nazi battalions intensifies afterwards; interesting to see what his visit here will imply, hmmm…) He was greeted very respectfully as Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Armed Services, and taken care of by the Swedish Minister of Defense, a Social Democrat by the way. No impertinent questions have been asked, no demonstrations rallied, everything just peaceful and quite.

The important US guest gave an improvised press conference on his way to a helicopter, during which he stressed that Vladimir Putin is aggressive, and therefore a danger to surrounding countries. This said by certainly one of the most aggressive politicians from undoubtedly the most aggressive nation on earth the last 70 years. Our brain washing works so well that no one even hears the screaming hypocrisy.

Swedish politicians use deceitful tactics when they lure their countrymen into NATO. They know that Swedes at heart don’t want to see a full membership, so the process proceeds incrementally. During a former Social Democratic government we suddenly found Swedish combat troops engaged in the Afghan war. Without any debate a 200 years long era of peace had been broken furtively.

Recently we welcomed NATO troops to a large joint exercise in the northern parts of the country and similar cooperation in the whole area has become more or less a routine procedure. And all of it takes place without much public debate or (as far as I know) decisions in parliament.

It’s significant to contrast the reverent reception of McCain by Swedish media with the scornful treatment of him by American comedians. He advocates violent solutions to nearly every conflict on earth, and want his country engaged actively in spite of the embarrassing failures of the two last wars (as well as most previous ones).

Another interesting comparison can be made between McCain’s ideal USA and the competing Chinese power. When USA spends (printed) money on perpetual wars, the Chinese conquers the world with giant infrastructural projects in developing countries, financed through aid and trade. These massive civilian campaigns serve as antidotes to war in that they tie countries together in fruitful dependencies (just like the idea behind EU).

When will we realize that wars are obsolete means to achieve world dominance? Do we have to wait until China has taken the definite economic lead, and the dollar is rejected as reserve currency? In that case: let’s just hope that the world exists by then.

My collected reader’s comments to NYT articles

Follows a collection of commentaries I’ve made in the New York Times Reader’s Comments section on different articles (mostly for me keeping track of them myself). They’ll be accessible as long as NYT keeps the links alive, I suppose.

31 January 2015. A comment on the vaccine debate that followed the recent outbreak of measles in U.S.:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/31/us/as-measles-spreads-in-us-so-does-anxiety.html?comments#permid=13989276
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25 March 2015. On signs of increasing poverty albeit growing wealth in the society (Sweden) as a whole:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/25/opinion/how-poor-are-the-poor.html?comments#permid=14521337
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30 March 2015. On the horrific number of deaths in China during the Mao era, which we constantly are reminded of, compared to the even larger mortality caused by capitalism in India – which we very seldom hear of:

http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/30/cambodian-historians-call-for-china-to-confront-its-own-past/?comments#permid=14562852:14581199
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3 April 2015. Another complete imbalance in our fields of interest: our laser-like scrutiny of terrorism carried out by others, compared to the forbearance with our own, much graver and deadlier terrorist activities:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/03/world/africa/garissa-university-college-shooting-in-kenya.html?comments#permid=14598017:14604023
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9 May 2015. This article appeared simultaneously in NYT and Dagens Nyheter (Sweden), not surprisingly. It’s that kind of text our propaganda model loves: a Russian author who more or less regrets that his country defeated Nazi Germany in WWII. He just thinks that one oppression was replaces by another, obviously unaware of the Nazi’s Generalplan Ost which aimed at exterminating most people in Russia and enslaving the rest. This was not some high-flying Nazi plan or empty threat, it was implemented from day one of the German invasion. The existence of the special Sonderkommando with the explicit task to exterminate Jews, Communists and other unwanted humans was the terrible evidence of that reality.

One could have hoped that NYT and DN had been kind enough to save the poor ignorant (or just propagandistic) author from his embarrassment, but the temptation to publish his sentimental excesses was maybe to overwhelming. As some Readers’ Comments point out, the article was also a slap in the face on Putin and Russia, on the very day, sacred for Russians, of commemorating the death of 27 million people which Russia had to sacrifice to defeat the most atrocious and inhuman ideology in all history: Nazism.

An interesting difference: Dagens Nyheter didn’t open its comment section on this article, as opposed to New York Times. This is one reflection on the difference in effective freedom of expression which is taken much more seriously in the U.S. than in Europe. My comment, like some other critical ones, was listed as “NYT Pick” by the editor, another sign of openness for critique. But on the other hand: the propaganda gain was taken home by the printed article. (I suppose that the reader’s comments are mostly read by the commentators themselves.)

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/09/opinion/mikhail-shishkin-how-russians-lost-the-war.html?comments#permid=14915384
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11 May 2015. A comment on one of Paul Krugman’s many enlightened columns in NYT.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/11/opinion/paul-krugman-wall-street-vampires.html#permid=14932711
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17 May 2015. An article on the prospects for western economy after the last collapse, with discussions about singularities, neglecting the overall picture.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/upshot/dont-be-so-sure-the-economy-will-return-to-normal.html?comments#permid=14975427