Notes On The News
By Gwydion M. Williams
March 2002 saw globalisation flouted by two very different men. Both were Presidents of their respective countries, and both were elected amidst some controversy and talk of ballot rigging.
One is powerful and white, the other black and vulnerable to outside force. So it’s hardly surprising that Presidents Bush and President Mugabe are not treated alike.
A President’s authority would be invalid, if they were elected by a ballot paper that misled people into voting for the wrong candidate? No one’s said it with regard to Zimbabwe, because it’s President Bush who owes his power to just such a happy accident that somehow happened in his brother’s state of Florida. A confusing layout led lots of people to vote for minor candidates of far-left or far-right when it was obviously Gore they wanted. And the number of errors were much bigger than Bush’s margin of victory in Florida. He also lost the nation-wide popular vote, but state by state voting is a valid feature of the system. But Florida and other places also saw rigged rules about who could vote, and non-white voters often found themselves somehow not on the register.
As for African events, the web news service Yahoo accurately reported it as Africa and West at odds over Zimbabwe. African observers agreeing it was as good an election as any African nation could manage.. The BBC included the same facts, but slanted them. It was taken for granted that Africa’s view was wrong and the West’s position totally correct. ‘Climate of fear’ in Zimbabwe poll. etc.
The Zimbabwe result is very much in line with the previous parliamentary elections, which were accepted as fair. Whereas George Bush came to power in a highly flawed election, the worst in a hundred years for the office of World Boss (which is what the US president now is).
In today’s ‘globalised’ world, the most successful economies that ignore neo-liberal ideas when it suits them. India and China continue to protect their economies. Vicious sectarianism in India as part of an attempt to dismantle the highly successful secular-socialist system that the Congress Party introduced after independence. Meantime the USA itself ignores globalist dogma when it suits them, especially over steel.
The real issue in Zimbabwe is the ‘Rights Of Money’, a concept smuggled in under the cover of ‘human rights’. Very different standards are being applied, depending on the usefulness or otherwise of a particular country to rich people. Oppression of women was unacceptable in Afghanistan but remains OK in Saudi Arabia. A whole series of dodgy elections in Africa have passed without problem, only Zimbabwe was targeted.
The issue is ‘Fungability’, global exchange value, how useful any particular thing may be to global capital. Land growing cash crops is one thing, it would be OK if black farmers replaced white but did the same thing, but that is not what Zimbabwe’s proposed land reform means. Land feeding poor farmers in Zimbabwe is not fungible, there is no money to be made by outsiders. The West prefers commercial crops like tobacco grown in Africa, and then food imported to feed the people, get them involved in global exchange even if it makes them poorer and less happy.
People living outside of the global market are unacceptable. It is also unwelcome if people limit their connection to suit their own lifestyle.
Of course the world’s most successful economies do do just that. China and India are the main successes among poorer countries, and they have opened up selectively. China has held out against globalisation more than India, and is doing better. Foreign investors cannot bold with they money, as happened in the East Asian financial crisis, because the currency is not convertible.
Meantime Bush chose to rewrite the rules on the issue of steel. His spokesmen insist he has not broken the rules, yet he’s done what the rules say he should not, clearly he can and will rewrite the rules on trade just as it suits him.
International Law as it was talked about by lawyers never has existed. But there were some norms even so, for as long as the USA was balanced by the Soviet Union and the USA had to worry about losing allies. With the Cold War over, Bush Senior flouted what rules there were to become the world’s Number One ‘Aerial Serial Killer’. Bush Senior confirmed the persistent US pattern based on avoiding any consistent or impartial law. The USA could openly rewrite the rule-book if they so wished. But the USA is not in a mood to live by any rule-book that had to be publicly acknowledged. And what Bush Senior began, Bush Junior continues.
Protectionism is part of the deal on which Bush got elected (with a minority of the popular vote). US voters been a bunch of suckers over the past couple of decades, with 90% of them making no economic progress while a rich minority took the fruits of the USA’s economic growth. But even in the USA, the working mainstream are not going to go on electing Republicans if they take ‘free trade’ seriously.
‘Free trade’ a falsehood, regardless. Free trade would be trade with no rules. This has never existed and never will. Trade regulated by an informal social framework is either ‘crony capitalism’ or a wonderful example of freedom in action, exactly the same set-up may be one or the other depending on what case the writer is making.
BBC Four acted as if they were very bold in screening a program called The Trial Of Henry Kissinger. Watching it, I found nothing of substance. Obviously Kissinger and lots of others would need to be put on trial, if international law actually existed. You might as well fantasise about the Last Judgement on classical Christian lines
Kissinger is a Jewish intellectual who is also widely disliked by other Jews, he’s a soft target. No one whom the general public would have heard of could possibly be a safer target. Would anyone dare publish The Trial of Ronald Reagan, I wonder?
I’ve said before, Reagan only pretended to be stupid. He knew he needed to get the votes of stupid bigots: the rich, whose interest he was serving, could be relied upon to vote for him regardless. His supposed lapse into senile decline may or may not be genuine, it certainly puts him out the firing line
As far as Kissinger actual actions go, he continued with Cold War habits established long before he had any significant influence. And while working for Richard Nixon, he played a major role in the two of key moves that won the Cold War—pulling out of Vietnam without total disaster, and making peace with China while Mao was still alive to sanction the process.
Torture, murder and massacre were all just as much a feature of the US global alliance as the Soviet side. Mostly it was done with suitable ‘cut-outs’, military juntas whose actions could be disowned as necessary. Devious plots were hatched—it’s been suggested recently that the supposed left-wing coup in Indonesia was a sham, a plot to give the USA’s supporters the excuse to massacre an Indonesian Communist Party that commanded about a third of the popular votes in the days when Indonesia was a functional democracy. (In Indonesia, Chile and many other places, the USA showed no respect for democratic elections that didn’t produce the result they wanted.)
Another key US victory was getting the first men on the moon, the race that showed US technological superiority at a time when it was in doubt. Most of the rocketry was supplied by Germans who’d done their best to give Hitler war-winning weapons and showed no qualms about using forced labour from Concentration Camps. But the USA decided who was and was not a war criminal, and much worse people got smuggled to Latin America if the USA thought they would be useful anti-Communists. The Nuremberg Trials were run on the assumption that the USA and USSR could work together on a common anti-German policy. When this failed and the Cold War began, there was a big reversal of ideas.
‘International law’ has so far been a completely meaningless phrase, used by the powerful to justify their acts of malice and revenge. A lot of the victims deserve no sympathy, certainly. But that would be true also of many gangland killings, the victim was pretty bad even by underworld standards.