From Syria to Korea: The Rush to Crush Multipolarism

April 30, 2017 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - A recent, unilateral, unjustified military strike on Syria by US cruise missiles, coupled with the deployment of a US naval fleet to the Korean Peninsula as well as terrorist attacks carried out by terrorist fronts worldwide associated with US-backed opposition groups signifies a worldwide push-back from Wall Street and Washington amid its crumbling "international order."

Like all hegemons before it, Wall Street and Washington have found themselves expending more time and resources maintaining their current geopolitical order than on either further expansion or domestic development. What has developed is a vicious cycle of aggression, conflict, and retrenchment. Throughout the process, there is the expenditure of irreplaceable political capital.

For example, while US policymakers rightly noted their "international order" built by and for Wall Street and Washington would suffer immensely had their attempts to overthrow the Libyan government in 2011 been reversed, their "success" was equally damaging. Before an increasingly capable world of alternative systems, blocs and an emerging multipolar order, the destruction of Libya and its current status as a failed state along with the protracted nature of the US campaign to topple the government was more a sign of growing weakness than a warning of American strength.

Struggling in Syria 

The subsequent conflict in Syria only reinforced suspicions of serious and growing American weakness. The conflict has dragged on for 6 years, and US attempts at regime change have been met by direct Russian military intervention along with a significant role played by another obstacle to US regional and global hegemony, Iran.

Such a scenario, 20-30 years ago, would have been unimaginable.

The recent missile strikes in Syria, then, were not a masterstroke of strategic strength and brilliance, but rather an act of desperation amid a crumbling policy within its crumbling "international order."

Analysts and policymakers the world over should not, however, get the impression that a retreating America poses no threat. On the contrary, the US in its current state of wounded pride, retracting influence and waning power is more dangerous than ever.

As the window closes on any possibility of a US-maintained order in the Middle East, attempts to permanently damage whatever remains and whoever presides over it becomes more tempting than ever.

While the US poses as "fighting" terrorist organizations like the "Islamic State" and other Al Qaeda affiliates, it has all but openly armed, funded, trained and supported these groups, including with, now, direct military intervention. Indeed, the military targets the US hit recently with its cruise missiles were engaged on the front lines against both the Islamic State and US State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization, the al-Nusrah Front.

Continued support for these terrorist groups either directly or through America's regional allies (Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others), along with the persistent threat of unilateral military action in direct defiance of the very international law Washington claims its own "international order" is built upon, may be a grievous threat for years to come.

Along the peripheries of this conflict include Egypt who has also just recently experienced terrorist attacks aimed at dividing the nation along sectarian lines and undermining Cairo's ability to administer its own nation let alone participate in any meaningful way in any emerging alternative regional order.

Proxy War on the Korean Peninsula 

North Korea poses little threat to the United States. Any first strike carried out by North Korea against either the US or South Korea would result in the immediate and absolute destruction of the isolated nation. Despite this reality, the United States has purposefully and disingenuously built it up into a national, even global security threat that conveniently requires an ever increasing military build-up both on the Korean Peninsula itself, as well as across the rest of East Asia.

However, the Korean Peninsula is just one of several fronts amid the actual target of US ambitions, China and the ruling political order in Beijing.

We Already Live in a Free Market - Here's Why It's No Utopia (Yet)

April 30, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci - LD) - The fundamental problem with free market proponents is that many fail to realize we already have an absolutely, 100% free market. Within that free market, a clique of incredibly wealthy, well connected, and well organized individuals have decided to use their freedom to create "governments" they influence, media they control, police who impose by force their will upon populations, a military to either protect their racket or project it beyond their current areas of operation, and all else we associate with "statism."

The fact is, should we be able to push a button and suddenly render Earth a government-free planet, the first order of business wealthy, well-connected, well-organized individuals will do is band together to create gangs, then mafias, then governments, then supranational blocs, until they then move on to pursue global hegemony as they chaff against competing factions doing likewise - entrapping the rest of us within their self-serving struggle.

This of course does not render void the ideology of agorism or anarchy. Neither does it negate the positive, practical aspects of the modern nation-state. What it does is illustrate a matter of practicality versus principles and the necessity to balance them realistically.

Might Makes Right 

The above scenario unfolds the way it demonstrably does on a daily basis and since the beginning of time because wealthy, well-connected, well-organized individuals are able to successfully hone and wield the tools of physical force better than any of their competitors.

Imagining again the scenario where the world is suddenly rendered government-free, these individuals would simply eliminate by force those attempting to impose upon them limitations preventing them from imposing their will involuntarily upon others.

Without a sufficient means of deterrence, gangs, mafias, governments, and supranational blocs will run roughshod over any and all who stand between them and greater wealth and influence.

Balance of Power 

To prevent a gang, mafia, government, or supranational bloc from expanding further, it requires an equal but opposed center of organized power arrayed against it.

Imagining the scenario where the world is suddenly rendered government-free, in order to prevent wealthy, well-connected, well-organized individuals from imposing their will upon others, an equitable balance of power would need to be established.

This could entail various means of decentralization where individuals were able to possess equal but opposed means of self-defense, monetary exchange, manufacturing, communication, energy production, and all other essentials currently monopolized by the world's existing centers of power.

French "Investigation" in Syria Neither Impartial nor Independent

April 28, 2017 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - After any crime, regardless of scale, a swift, impartial and independent investigation is required if any accountability at all is desired. The French government, in the wake of an alleged "chemical weapons attack" near Syria's northern city of Idlib, has claimed that it is “committed to ensuring that the perpetrators of this heinous attack are held accountable.”

The LA Times in an article titled, "Syrian chemical attack bears Assad's signature, France says," would report:
A six-page report by French intelligence services claims the nerve agent came from hidden stockpiles of chemical weapons that Damascus was supposed to have destroyed under an U.S.- and Russian-brokered deal in 2013.
Were it the case that France was seriously committed to holding the perpetrators of the alleged attack accountable, the French government would need to call for an impartial, independent investigation into the attack, and as soon as possible. Instead, it decided to carry out its own "investigation," ensuring neither impartiality nor independence, and by consequence, achieving no accountability.

Neither Impartial nor Independent  

France is one of several nations directly involved in a multi-year US-led effort to violently overthrow the Syrian government.

Terrorist organizations fighting in and along Syria's borders have, for 6 years now, brandished the black, green, white and red colonial flag of French-occupied Syria.

France itself has admittedly supplied militant groups fighting the Syrian government with financial, military and political support with many prominent members of the so-called residing within French territory, leading political efforts to overthrow the Syrian government remotely.

In a 2014  France 24 article titled, "France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms," its revealed that:
President Francois Hollande said on Thursday that France had delivered weapons to rebels battling the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad “a few months ago.” 

The deliveries took place “a few months ago, when the Syrian rebels had to face both the armies of the dictator Bashar al-Assad and this terrorist group Islamic State,” Hollande told reporters on a tour of the French island of La Reunion. 

“We cannot leave the only Syrians who are preparing a democracy ... without weapons,” he added.
And French warplanes are flying over Syria, without a UN resolution or invitation by the Syrian government, bombarding its territory in an alleged effort to wage war on the very militant groups it has flooded with arms, cash and others forms of material support.

A nation directly involved in efforts to violently overthrow a government cannot in any rational way conduct an impartial, independent investigation into the actions of that targeted government.

France, by all legal metrics, is a compromised party with a direct stake in finding the Syrian government "guilty." The evidence France claims to possess must be verified by an impartial, independent party, but even at face value, French "evidence" appears illogical and intentionally misrepresented amid its most recent claims.

Afghanistan Mazar-e Sharif Attack: US-Backed Regime Suffers Another Setback

April 25, 2017 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - It was just recently that the United States deployed its GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) weapon against alleged tunnels belonging to the Islamic State terrorist organization in Afghanistan. The strike was meant to project US strength amid an increasingly challenged and contracting "international order."

However, striking a terrorist organization's tunnel complex in a country the organization did not even exist in until after the US established a presence there over 16 years ago, does not seem to project "strength" at all, but rather weakness, or perhaps even conspiracy.

The growing complexity of the Afghan conflict and America's mired presence there also fails to project the sort of "strength" Washington appears intent on demonstrating worldwide.

And if the use of a GBU-43/B weapon was meant to project "strength" to America's enemies, the message failed to reach Afghanistan's Taliban, who has consistently challenged, confounded and even reversed American objectives in the Central Asian state for over a decade and a half.

Over 100 Afghan soldiers have recently perished in an attack allegedly carried out by the Taliban, following the wake of the GBU-43/B's deployment. The BBC in an article titled, "Afghan casualties in Taliban Mazar-e Sharif attack pass 100," would report:
More than 100 Afghan soldiers were killed or wounded in a Taliban attack on an army base on Friday, the defence ministry has confirmed. 

Fighting lasted for several hours near the city of Mazar-e Sharif in northern Balkh province.
The BBC would also report that:
The raid shows the Taliban can plan and carry out complex attacks. The militants said four of the attackers had served as soldiers for a long time and had knowledge of every corner of the base.
The BBC would also note that the Taliban have made much more significant gains elsewhere, including taking back an entire district:
Also in March the Taliban said they had captured the crucial south Afghan district of Sangin after a year-long battle. 
The attack along with other activities of the Taliban, then, bears the hallmarks of a deeply rooted resistance against both the US occupation and the US-backed regime and the military forces propped up to protect it both in Kabul and across the country. That the base targeted by the recent attack also reportedly garrisoned German troops is also significant. The prospect of ending such attacks or securing any sort of "victory" over the Taliban and the local tribes allied to it is as unlikely now as a US victory was in Vietnam during the 1970's.

Efforts to "rebuild" Afghanistan have suffered from a lack of genuine participation and shared vision from among the Afghans working with foreign contractors. In turn, foreign contractors seek to fulfill their contracts and spend their money back home, clearly indifferent to whether or not their efforts "transform" Afghanistan into the ideal client state Washington envisions. Corruption both among local Afghans participating in the US-backed regime, and the contractors charged with working beside them has grown to a pandemic. Record amounts of money have been lost with little "on the ground" to show for it.

With the very heart of US efforts undermined by America's own self-serving drive for power and wealth, and with the Taliban weathering America's longest war in its history and still carrying out "complex attacks" and taking back entire districts, America and its client regime face what is clearly an insurmountable battle against a determined, indigenous enemy.

Compounding this is the fact that Afghanistan's neighbors (those nations actually sharing a border with Afghanistan, unlike the US), are determined to broker peace deals within the country between various groups for the sake of internal and regional stability. By doing so, the Taliban have been able to work toward achieving a certain degree of political legitimacy both within Afghanistan, and more importantly, beyond its borders, securing them bases of support beyond America's and its client regime's ability to strike, all but ensuring perpetual resistance.

The real question is; how many lives more will be spent, both among Afghanistan's US-trained security forces and the US-led coalition forces supporting them, and the civilian population subjected to attacks from US drones, Western warplanes and the largest non-nuclear weapon in America's arsenal until the US accepts it is once again fighting (and losing) another "Vietnam War?"

Also worth asking is; why the so-called "international community," and in particular, the United Nations, remains indifferent to America's occupation of Afghanistan and its 16 years of warfare there, or the US coalition devastation of Yemen, and instead, so focused on obstructing Syria's efforts to restore order and security within its borders?

The US-led "international order" is suffering serious setbacks, increasing resistance from alternative centers of global power and appears increasingly unstable. But an "international order" indifferent to both human life and global stability most likely should be undermined and dismantled, and with all possible expediency.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.    

Thailand: Crushing Localism Threatens National, Regional Stability

April 22, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Street vendors of all kinds are facing a complete ban of their livelihood across Bangkok, the capital of Southeast Asia's Thailand. While it may appear to be a minor move falling in line with many other nations within the "developed world," the significance of it both to Bangkok, Thailand, and the rest of Asia in socioeconomic terms is indeed, major.

Just like the "developed" nations the new ban seeks to emulate, it is driven not by a genuine desire to clear sidewalks, beautify the city, or enhance consumer health and safety.

Cui Bono? Not for Safety or Health

Instead, it is driven by larger corporations both foreign and domestic, and in particular, agricultural giant Charoen Pokphand Group (CP) which is connected to the massive and ever-expanding network of 7-Eleven convenience stores and Lotus retailers dotting every corner and crevice in both Bangkok and beyond.

The ban is in fact another salvo fired by special interests at Thailand's considerable "informal economy." Bloomberg in its article, "Thailand's Unemployment Rate is a Ridiculously Low 0.6%. Here's Why," would report that:
The informal sector of the Thai economy, comprising anyone who's not covered by formal work arrangements, accounted for more than 64 percent of the total workforce in 2013. It includes street vendors and taxi-motorbike drivers, the self-employed and those operating in gray areas of the economy. They are largely counted as employed.
And as technology further empowers the self-employed and is already disrupting economic monopolies in the "developed world,"  such trends in a nation like Thailand with a sizable informal economy already stand to transform Bangkok into a regional, even global "grey market capital" and model for economic alternatives, start-ups, and other disruptive economic models springing up elsewhere around the world.

While rational leaders within Thailand's government have seen this as an immense opportunity, investing in start-ups, small businesses, the leveraging of technology to empower independent entrepreneurs, other interests appear threatened by the prospect of an economy shifting decisively in favor of independent business owners who are increasingly able to compete against established monopolies across multiple industries.

While the actual number of users employing disruptive technology to compete against established business monopolies is small at the moment, as solutions are employed into markets, Thailand's substantial informal economy is likely to adopt them as well.

CP Group's Vision for the Future

For CP executives and investors, they envision a monopoly over Thai agriculture, food, beverages, retail, telecom, and other sectors. With the prospect of street vendors being swept from Bangkok's roads, CP's network of convenience stores would remain one of the remaining competitors, open 24 hours a day, and providing all the amenities currently provided for by street vendors.