Marco Rubio, the American politician, attorney and former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives once said; “Every nation on the Earth that embraces market economics and the free enterprise system is pulling millions of its people out of poverty. The free enterprise system creates prosperity, not denies it.”
Statements such as these are common amongst politicians, especially wealthy ones who hold wealth driven values. But one man’s prosperity is another man’s misery in a world blighted by an economic model that demands eternal growth.
The only one constant that sits well with this model is that world population continues to increase, but even that is tailing off. Global population currently sits at 7.5 billion and rising at a rate of 80 million per year. The rate of population increase was 2.19 percent at its peak in 1963, which has now halved.
Concerns of the Fourth Industrial Revolution fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, and impacting all disciplines, economies and industries emanate from the corporations who now see their future declining revenue potential being rescued through reduced reliance on human labour.
To keep prosperity on a perpetual upward trajectory in the backdrop of a continually shrinking and less well off consumer base, the most politically influential now work in concert with the corporate behemoths – the new rulers of the world.
The strategies adopted to keep the ball rolling over the last few decades centre around a financial architecture that requires drastic anti-democratic political support. As Noam Chomsky warns “The very design of neoliberal principles is a direct attack on democracy.”
One does not have to look far to see these principles at work. Trillions of desperately needed taxes to support a decaying system of civil society are illegally offshored by household named corporations and individuals. Unfortunately, this form of extreme neoliberalism still isn’t enough to keep the ball rolling.
Naomi Klein’s 2007 book ‘Shock Doctrine, the rise of Disaster Capitalism’ exploded the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Klein highlights how the “puppet strings behind the world-changing crises and wars of the last four decades is the real story of how America’s “free market” policies came to dominate the world, through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.”
Then, one year later, Klein’s prognosis saw the 2008 financial crisis offering up more disaster shocked peoples at the global level as neoliberalism wriggled free from the remnants of regulation to reach a new pinnacle for the few and a created an even greater crisis of daily life for the hundreds of millions left behind.
This erroneous ideology delivered little more than world economic stagnation, crippling austerity, peak inequality, a global environmental crisis, the slowest economic recovery in history and monumental debt of every country it infected. This was no mistake, no unforeseen event, that we were told stunned our leaders and their captains.
The problem always existed that extreme wealth was never going to come from a global post-war peace through globalisation – so a ‘strategy of tension’, an Anglo/American innovation, was invented to keep the exploitation model alive.
The actual definition of this strategy is that “Western governments during the Cold War used tactics that aimed to divide, manipulate and control public opinion using fear, propaganda, disinformation, psychological warfare, agents provocateurs, and terrorist actions in order to achieve their strategic aims.”
Amongst many, one of those aims was financial domination.
During the closing days of the Cold War, the UK, US and other western governments along with the secret services colluded to engineer terrorist attacks inside Western Europe, to be blamed on Russia. This is now so well documented it needs no elaboration here (1).
However, the objective was always clear. By mobilising public opinion against left-wing parties (and their policies) and legitimising war, capitalism was to be forever invigorated. Ultimately though, this required the denying of national independence movements, mainly in the third world, to fund new forms of Western wealth.
The Cold War, stoked and fuelled by a deliberate strategy of tension gave us ‘Red Russia’ and the potential for nuclear Armageddon. When that ran its course, imaginary foes such as Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi were invented. The war on terror was used as a means to an end. Today, Red Russia is back on the agenda once again.
Dr Nafeez Ahmed, the award winning investigative journalist wrote about this Strategy of Tension:
“The immense fear and chaos generated by the impact of this phenomenon throughout Western Europe was instrumental in legitimising the interventionist policies of the Anglo-American alliance throughout the Cold War period. The number of people killed across the third world as a consequence of this militarisation process is shocking, its implications genuinely difficult to absorb.” (2)
Ahmed goes on to say that 12 to 15 million people since WW2 have been sacrificed for this strategy with many millions more suffering as their economies were destroyed and denied the right to restructure whilst Western corporations made fortunes at their ultimate expense.
Dr Daniele Ganser, a Swiss historian who specialises in contemporary history, international politics, covert warfare, resource wars and geo-strategy confirms that this strategy is very much alive and in use to this day.
“What you may have, if you translate our experience from the Cold War to the current day situation, is that a strategy of tension is still being implemented, but this time against Muslims,” Ganser says. “We all know that the west is dependent upon oil, and a pretext is needed to develop more operations in Iran, Iraq etc. We can’t just go there and invade them, so we have to have this idea that they’re trying to kill us, then it’s possible, or at least imaginable that a strategy of tension in which the Muslims are playing the role that the communists played in the Cold War, is happening.”
The result is that the world is facing a new desperate multi-faceted game of thrones – as it morphs into something even more destructive.
Conflict and change is now the new norm. Global peace and domestic security is fading as the world order spirals out of control. This engineered spiral is going to prove to be a disaster for everyone, in what looks a lot like a coming global collapse on every front.
Civil society is now shrouded in a cycle of fear, terrorism, surveillance and experiencing a perpetual loss of rights and liberties as the world order disintegrates.
Today, we are now unable to make reasonable predictions of our near future as war, lawlessness, terrorism and now threats of nuclear annihilation become ever more real.
Even hope is diminishing. People of the West are now so afraid they want to stop perceived threats from foreigners, they want them expelled. Manufactured geo-political tensions have created a migration of people in the 21st century even greater than mankind’s greatest tragedy – the last world war. This is no mistake, no unforeseen event either.
China was once the greatest economic power on earth, followed by India, Britain and then America. Not once has the continent of Africa produced a global GDP exceeding 5% in its history, with 16% of the world’s population.
Having deprived this entire continent any possible chance of progression, a migrant surge is now destabilising the very regions responsible for pillaging it.
Alongside all of these pressures, environmental collapse seems inevitable when extreme capitalism sees natural catastrophic events such as the oil industry viewing melting ice caps as nothing more than an investment opportunity.
America is still fighting wars in the Middle East, threatening China, Iran, Korea, India, and even the European Union. The EU is breaking down into four distinct regions as the fifty-year unity project is visibly disintegrating. Is this just a fight for dwindling resources or something else?
Total global debt is now $227 trillion – or 327 percent of global GDP and something like 45 percent higher than the 2008 apex of the financial meltdown.
The Bank of International Settlements urged just two months ago that policymakers need to press on with rate rises notwithstanding the financial market turbulence it will cause.
The world’s six largest pension saving systems – the US, UK, Japan, Netherlands, Canada and Australia – are expected to reach a $224 trillion gap by 2050, a new study by the World Economic Forum shows. Implosion is its only obvious trajectory as there is nowhere near than amount of money anywhere in the world to plug such a gap as that (3).
Total US household debt surged by $460 billion last year, the sharpest one-year rise ever, with an eye-watering $13 trillion outstanding (4). Britain’s household debt is rising at 10 percent per year, five times the rate of earnings growth and has just surpassed the 2008 level of debt as households struggle to keep afloat (5).
The World Economic Forum has also determined that unemployment, an energy price shock, fiscal crisis, failure of national governance and profound social instability makes up the top five global risks to economic performance (6).
To rid the world of its debt’s, kick-start the world economy and take advantage of the shifting global chess board, some believe conflict is the only consequential route left. NATO’s threats to Russia supported by mass media hysteria only adds to the WEF global risks list.
We have a lot to be fearful of. The fact that any combination of the risk list could happen at the same time in today’s world is no longer the conspiratorial thinking of doom-mongers but the architecture of a strategy that the world has seen before.
Public intellectual Tariq Ali wrote a warning in his 2010 book “The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad:
“This is the permanent tension that lies at the heart of a capitalist democracy and is exacerbated in times of crisis. In order to ensure the survival of the richest, it is democracy that has to be heavily regulated rather than capitalism.”
Seven years after Ali’s book we are experiencing a never-ending relay of crisis after crisis; democracy under threat, capitalism out of control and the very real threat of facing another human catastrophe.
In his sobering analysis, Professor Ugo Bardi, a professor in Physical Chemistry at the University of Florence and president of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO), dissects historical statistics on war to unpick the patterns of the violence of the past. He warns that statistical data suggests we are on the brink of heading into another round of major wars resulting, potentially, in mass deaths on a scale that could rival what we have seen in the early 20th century. This is confirmation indeed that a ‘Strategy of Tension’, controlled or not, is heading towards its ultimate apogee. At this juncture, it is reasonable to conclude we are all in trouble.
(1) Operation Gladio (see Post war creation) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Gladio
(2) Nafeez Ahmed – Strategy of Tension: http://www.nafeezahmed.com/2007/05/strategy-of-tension.html
( 3 ) Global pension funding gap: https://www.weforum.org/press/2017/05/global-pension-timebomb-funding-gap-set-to-dwarf-world-gdp/
(4) US household debt: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/02/20/debt-f20.html
(6) World Economic Forum – Global Risks: http://reports.weforum.org/global-risks-2017/global-risks-of-highest-concern-for-doing-business-2017/