An occasional e-mail to friends, July 2008, # 46.
Where are we going?
The Japanese have signed a trade deal to turn the Association of Southeast Asian Nations into a common market. The Bangkok Declaration of 1967 was designed to promote trade and cooperation between Japan and the states of Southeast Asia. The similarities between ASEAN and Japan’s wartime empire are obvious. Japan is an industrial giant with huge export markets. Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines are developing economies with important natural resources. Singapore is a vital Banking and financial center. Together they can achieve self-sufficiency.
63 years after America dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki the economic forces that drove Japan to dominate the Pacific have eventually triumphed. Suppliers must find markets and manufacturers must find materials. Japan’s challenge to European and American imperialism in the 1940s was met with devastating force. It took Japan a generation to get back on her feet but this time she has built an empire founded on trade and mutual advantage.
After the war Japan went for automation and we went for immigration. Japan only admits migrants from neighbouring states and makes absolutely no concessions to alien cultures. Japanese workers are properly trained and represented and enjoy a high standard of living. Japan became an economic giant by hard work and diligent investment not by exploiting cheap labour.
Third World immigration into Britain has kept down wages, aggravated housing shortages and supplemented our native underclass of drug dealers and benefit scroungers. We have got an unemployment problem and a labour shortage at the same time. It’s all very well for the Daily Mail to scream about Polish workers but we need them. Young Britons do not want to get their hands dirty and some of them lack the basic skills necessary to hold down a job.
In 1997 Tony Blair’s New Labour government promised us “education, education, education” but all they gave us was recession, war, inflation and immigration. We cannot go on as we are. We must ask “where are we going” and take a good look at the Japanese model.
The price of oil
On 29th December 1913 Rudolf Diesel embarked on the mail steamer “ Dresden” from the Belgian port of Antwerp bound for Harwich. After dining on board he retired to his cabin at 10 o’clock and was never seen alive again. Ten days later the crew of the Dutch boat “Coertsen” found his decomposed body. After removing his watch and wallet for identification they returned his body to the sea.
Diesel patented his engine in 1892 and demonstrated it at the Worlds Fair in St Louis in 1904. Unlike the gasoline engine it needed no special fuel. It was designed to run on vegetable oil. Diesel was on his way to London to set up a British manufacturing plant. His supporters hailed the diesel engine as the motor of the future. But because it ran on the cheapest of fuels it threatened the oil industry that was already forming into powerful cartels.
Rudolf Diesel’s death remains a mystery. He had no personal, financial or health problems. He was in his prime and looking forward to the success of his invention. It took another eighty years for diesel engines to be run on bio-diesel again. Following his death the oil companies soon started marketing a fuel suitable for the diesel engine. And it came as a surprise to the modern generation that diesel engines could be run on vegetable oil.
Oil dominated the 20th century. In the First World War Britain captured the Iraqi oilfields from the Turks and fought a colonial war until 1932 to keep control of them. Despite the General Strike of 1926 and the economic collapse of 1929 Britain continued to pour British and Indian forces into Iraq. No expense was spared to enforce British ownership of Iraqi oil.
In the Second World War Germany fought desperately to capture the Caucasian oilfields. But the Russians defended them with total dedication. After they lost the Romanian oilfields the Nazis were forced to make oil from coal. But it was a slow and costly process that put them at a huge disadvantage. Oil was a crucial factor in the defeat of Germany.
In the Pacific the Japanese tried to knock out the US Fleet at Pearl Harbor in order to invade the Dutch East Indies. America had imposed an oil blockade against Japan because of her aggression against China. The Japanese had to take the Shell oilfields to keep the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere in business, even if it meant war with Britain and America.
The 21st century has started with another war about oil and the world is bracing itself for an attack on Iran. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to acknowledge the huge and growing power of the international oil companies that blatantly influence government policy throughout the world. Rudolf Diesel may have been their first victim but he was not the last.
The picture of Dorian Grey
In Oscar Wilde’s brilliant novel about human frailty a portrait took on all of the sins and vices of Dorian Grey. While he remained handsome and youthful his picture grew bloated and corrupt. Finally he couldn’t stand to look at this picture of innocence and took a knife to it. As he died his face changed places with the portrait and his servant found the body of an ugly old man clutching a dagger.
Tony Blair does not have a magic portrait to take on his sins and vices. They are inscribed on his face as a testament to insincerity. The good-looking young man who swept to power in 1997 has been transformed into a shifty, balding, deceitful middle-aged wreck. He is so lost to reality that he thinks he is the right man to negotiate peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Dorian Grey knew that he was a liar and a cheat. After a lifetime devoted to selfishness and deception he knew that he was no good. But Tony Blair thinks so highly of himself that he has become a Catholic. Far from having dark thoughts about his life he thinks that he is a suitable candidate for salvation. He probably imagines that God will be waiting for him with outstretched hands. His capacity for fantasy knows no bounds. His military adventures have killed many thousands of Afghans and Iraqis and aided and abetted the genocide in Palestine. Yet still he jets around the Middle East trying to persuade bemused Arabs that he is an honest broker.
It has probably not occurred to Tony Blair that he is universally hated. Even his Zionists backers do not trust him. He is a conman who would do anything for his own advancement. His friend George Bush is a halfwit controlled by the military-industrial combine that rules America and the so-called “free world.” Together they launched the “war on terror.” It has resulted in a massive increase in the price of oil and the deaths of thousands of civilians and allied servicemen.
Sir Jock Stirrup, British Chief of the Defence Staff, recently claimed that the Taliban was beaten and on the run. They responded by attacking a government prison in Khandahar and releasing hundreds of insurgents.
Gordon Brown and Dave Cameron keep on saying that we will stay until the job is done. But most people know that we are wasting our time chasing shadows around the mountains and deserts of Afghanistan. They seem to have given up on Iraq. The plan seems to be for us to creep away while nobody is looking. Perhaps the job has been done there?
In time a grim catalogue of Blair’s war crimes will be written. But in the meantime we have his spiteful countenance to remind us of his bloodstained career. If he really believes in the final judgment he should start praying for forgiveness as soon as possible.
After a decade or more of privatization Britain’s railways are undergoing a massive refit. Thousands of miles of track are being upgraded as well as signals, stations and tunnels. Since the failure of several railway companies the system has been quietly renationalized and is being subsidized by the British taxpayer.
The great sale of utilities started by Margaret Thatcher was another disaster of Poll Tax dimensions. Harold Macmillan rightly called it “selling off the family silver;” a mad scramble to capitalize every state asset in order to enrich Tory Party supporters and their friends in the City.
Now we are being told that our power stations are falling to bits as fast as the railways. The dithering government of “incapability” Brown is frightened to build new coal-fired plants because of the environmental lobby. They dare not chose oil or gas because it’s expensive and said to be running out. And they can’t go nuclear because the privatized energy companies are nearly bankrupt and we are trying to persuade the French or Spanish to invest in them.
Whatever happens to our infrastructure industries it’s certain that they will be rescued by the state. The whole privatization programme was a scam that put billions of pounds into the pockets of speculators. Apart from telecommunications we have seen little improvement in services. The old British Railways was a ramshackle structure run entirely for the benefit of the staff. Rudeness and scruffiness was the order of the day. But this was the fault of bad management and had nothing to do with nationalization.
Private capital is moving into transport, power generation, hospitals, education, prisons and old folks homes because they are a safe bet. If they need investment the state will provide it. They are simply acting as management companies for what are really nationalized industries. They can pay generous salaries and bonuses to their executives knowing that the state will keep their patched up industries in business.
We used to laugh at the old Soviet Union for publishing their plans for the future. They would announce detailed five or ten year plans for industrial or agricultural production. Some of these plans were unachievable. But some, like the nuclear weapons programme and the space race were successful.
At least the Soviets had a plan. Successive British governments have simply bumbled along from one crisis to another. Our railways and power stations did not fall apart overnight. It was obvious that our population was growing out of control because of immigration. And that utilities designed for 50 million people would not cope with 60 millions. But instead of making plans for the future our useless “guardians of democracy” did nothing. Now we must pay.
The Irish people have accepted Sinn Fein’s argument for independence and rejected the Lisbon Treaty. But the great international corporations will still dominate them. If the UK with a GDP of $2.722 trillion cannot achieve national independence a small country like Ireland with a GDP of $177.2 billion has even less chance.
On this side of the Irish Sea Gordon Brown supports the “war on terror” and has promised to keep British forces in the Middle East as long as necessary. Dave Cameron also supports “the special relationship.” They will back the Americans whoever they decide to attack.
Harold Wilson managed to keep British forces out of Vietnam but we supported American aggression diplomatically including the use of “Agent Orange” chemical warfare and the saturation bombing of Hanoi. Throughout the entirely useless bloody conflict we did nothing to restrain Washington’s gung-ho generals until the Viet Cong emerged victorious in 1975.
We backed America when they launched Operation Desert Storm against Iraq in 1990 and we participated in the shameful 13-year blockade that resulted in mass starvation and the deaths of thousands of Iraqi children.
We took part in the 1999 NATO attack on Serbia in support of an Albanian separatist army in Kosovo. And we even joined in the bombing of Belgrade the historic capital of a friendly European nation. This terrible war crime was designed to humble Europe to the might of American military power. It was a demonstration of the firepower of the New World Order.
Our armed forces are under NATO command and act as auxiliaries to the US army in the Middle East. Britain has been a de facto American colony since they ordered us out of Suez in 1956. Margaret Thatcher was lucky that her Falklands War of 1982 coincided with American foreign policy.
We backed America when they attacked Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom, in 2001 and when they attacked Iraq for the second time, Operation Iraqi Liberation in 2003. Our troops are still fighting and dying in both theatres and neither conflict shows any sign of resolution. Now we are making all the right noises in support of an American or Israeli attack on Iran or Syria, or both.
National independence is a fantasy in the age of global capitalism. America manipulates Europe through NATO and the World Trade Organisation. The EU lacks political cohesion because its leaders are hesitant supporters of the European project. We must remember that 60 years ago Europe was devastated and occupied. Now it rivals America as an economic power.
America is the senior partner but the EU has the potential to become an independent superstate. For that reason we should support it as a work in progress whilst encouraging European consciousness at every level. As America is forced to concentrate on the domestic economy the EU will evolve into political, economic and military self-sufficiency.
The European Parliament has its share of crooks and cheats, just like every other assembly. But its elected members represent the historic nations of Europe. Nations that cannot be created or dissolved by bureaucracy but remain uniquely different after many years of federation. Nobody has lost his or her nationality because of the European Union; the Irish are just as Irish as they always were.
Washington will not be able to sustain a worldwide military presence forever. Already they are running out of soldiers and relying increasingly on foreign volunteers and mercenaries. The Dollar has taken an almighty battering as the price of oil has been driven up by their disastrous interference in the Middle East. It’s only a matter of time before America succumbs to the law of diminishing returns that affects all colonial empires.
When it costs American capitalists more to police their empire than they can squeeze out of it they will mothball their fleets and scale down their forces. Their Israeli dependency will be forced to become a representative state that respects human rights. And Europe will resume her place as a centre of civilization and a leader in science and technology.
The real choice is not between British independence and the European Union, it’s between the EU and America. Norway is often cited as a country that survives outside of the EU. But Norway has a tiny population, full employment and massive oil reserves. Her close Scandinavian neighbours have helped negotiate favourable trade links with the EU; a sort of Eurovision old pals act that has saved her from isolation.
But Britain is not a friendly little country that everybody likes. We have invaded all of our neighbours over the years and could hardly expect them to spring to our defence. We have over 60 million mouths to feed and depleted oil reserves. The comparison with Norway is entirely bogus. Our only hope of survival outside the EU would be to follow Conrad Black’s advice and join the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Atlanticism is a perfectly legitimate opinion but it’s not the lofty vision of independence extolled by the likes of Sinn Fein and UKIP. The reality is that we are already subjected to McDonalds, Starbucks and Coca Cola. In NAFTA we would lose all trace of our cultural identity. Our national death certificate would be written in our common language.
We are fighting in Afghanistan to save the fledgling democracy of President Hamid Karzai: the man in the Karakul hat. Britain has a hereditary monarchy, an established church, an unelected House of Lords and a ban on Catholics marrying into royalty. We are giving our police the right to detain people without charge for six weeks. And we lead the world in the provision of surveillance cameras. But our parliamentarians do not see the blatant hypocrisy involved.
British forces are fighting in Iraq because Tony Blair thought that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction.” He now admits that he never had such weapons but says we were still right to wage war. At the Nuremberg war crimes trial we hanged the Nazi leaders for the very same crime. The UN states that no nation is entitled to invade another. The only legitimate reason for war is in defence. Again our pompous politicians fail to see the irony.
Israel is reported to have rehearsed a long-range air strike on Iran to destroy nuclear research facilities. Naturally George Bush and his groveling minion Gordon Brown will support the Zionists. But Mohamed Al-Baradei the UN weapons inspector reports that Iran has no nuclear weapons. Israel on the other hand is known to have hundreds of nuclear warheads and a fleet of submarines capable of delivering missiles throughout the Middle East and Europe.
Iran is not occupying a centimeter of foreign soil. She has signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and allows UN inspection of her nuclear industry. Israel is occupying Palestine and parts of Lebanon and Syria. In the recent past she has waged war on Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. When asked about nuclear weapons Israeli politicians always say that they do not discuss such matters. So that’s all right then.
The British government supports American foreign policy all over the world. We have good relations with China despite their well-documented abuse of human rights. We sell arms to Saudi Arabia, a feudal autocracy where basic freedoms are unknown. And we prop up dictatorships in Africa that conscript children into the army and withhold food aid from their enemies. We turn a blind eye to all sorts of crimes against humanity when it suits us. But in defence of the New World Order we mobilize our forces and start screaming about “dictatorship.”
A policy of institutionalized double standards.
Tony Blair promised to follow an “ethical foreign policy.” Instead he tied Britain even more firmly to America and committed British forces to a catalogue of foreign wars. A country that disregards internationally accepted restraints on police powers is in no position to point the finger at others. And a country with a well-deserved reputation for making and selling top-quality arms and munitions should not be lecturing other countries about “peace and democracy.”
Views on the news
Labour’s abysmal performance at the Henley by-election came as no surprise. It was bad enough to come fifth and lose their deposit but they were even beaten by the Greens and the BNP. Of course Henley is not a typical seat. It ‘s a staunch Tory town with high incomes and property prices. Labour was never going to win the seat but the result shows how badly Gordon Brown is doing.
The question is can he survive until the next election or will he be stabbed in the back by one of his loyal lieutenants. David Miliband the ambitious foreign minister has pledged his loyalty. His grandfather Samuel Miliband was a Polish volunteer in Leon Trotsky’s ill-fated Red Army that attacked Warsaw in 1920. The Poles under Jozef Pilsudski routed the invaders. Let’s hope that young David has not inherited his grandfather’s treachery. Gordon might not be so lucky.
The media calls Robert Mugabe a bloodthirsty tyrant. But he is just another politician who has gone mad from being surrounded by yes men. The same thing happened to Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. Politicians are egotists by nature who are easily unhinged by the attentions of fawning lickspittles. Mugabe ordered the land seizures that destroyed Zimbabwe’s agriculture and reduced the country to poverty. He stays in power by using the police and the security forces. That’s the same formula used by Thatcher and Blair to impose their own “one party state.” Maggie destroyed the trade unions by smashing the Miners’ strike with baton-wielding cops. As a result an entire industry was wiped out and the mining villages were plunged into despair. Blair took the country to war with a pack of lies that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people including the scientist Dr David Kelly. Thatcher and Blair have done a lot more damage than Robert Mugabe.
Speaking in Berlin the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stressed that Russia is a European power. In fact she is the largest European power with huge gas and oil reserves. The new Russian leader wants to establish European solidarity and move away from Cold War propaganda. America has now removed the last of its freefall nuclear bombs from British bases. They will rely on missiles sited in Italy and Turkey to defend Europe. It’s not clear whom they are defending us from but it’s certainly not Russia. We have nothing to fear from modern Russia and there is no longer any point in NATO. It was designed to counter a perceived Soviet threat that has passed into history. It’s now time to scrap NATO just as the Russians have scrapped the Warsaw Pact. We should encourage commercial contacts and sign a treaty with Moscow. Let America concentrate on her own affairs and leave us in Europe to pursue our destiny. We will always remember America’s help in two world wars and their generosity following each of them. But times change and we must change too. We face no threat from an expansionist totalitarian power and there’s no sense in tailoring our armed forces to fight a disbanded alliance. The current threat comes from an unstable Middle East and rocketing fuel prices. Russia can help with both of these problems.