Archive

Archive for the ‘Pax Americana’ Category

Confirmed: Russia’s Back In The Game

November 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Pax Americana needs a rival – and for now Russia is asserting itself. A circumspect Russia – with less ideology and more realpolitik.
Obama's red line finally turned out to be line in the sand  |  Cartoon by Nate Beeler on Aug 28, 2013 in media.cagle.com

Obama’s red line finally turned out to be line in the sand | Cartoon by Nate Beeler on Aug 28, 2013 in media.cagle.com

Two years ago, in November 2011, 2ndlook deciphered the Russian writing on the wall.

Syria seemed like a tempest in a teapot. Another Libya in the making. Pax Americana would stomp over Syria.

Except this time, the Russians were back.

Back again.

Does such propaganda work?  |  Cartoon by Steve Breen on August 29, 2011 in utsandiego.com

Does such propaganda work? | Cartoon by Steve Breen on August 29, 2011 in utsandiego.com

Prince Bandar bin Sultan flew into Moscow. His conversation with Vladimir Putin is a study in how diplomacy is not done. Give us Syria, said Bandar, and take the world. It was like the Biblical yarn about the Devil tempting Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. “Get thee behind me, Satan,” said Christ, refusing the blandishments. When Bandar offered all the guarantees for a “terror free” Sochi Winter Olympic games next year, Putin said we know you control terrorists.

This amazing conversation was supposed to be under wraps but one of the two sides leaked it to the Russian press. Bandar’s other startling undertaking was that whatever he offered the Russians had American backing.

This was the trump card Bandar handed Putin at the global casino’s high table.

via The US, Saudi, Israeli alliance is coming apart.


Advertisements

Questions #Snowden Has Not Asked More Important Than The Answers That He Has Given

June 30, 2013 3 comments

The close co-operation of the Anglo-Saxon Bloc to keep the world under their electronic surveillance is war by ‘other’ means.

Little Difference Between One-Party Systems and 2-Party Democracies  |  Cartoon BY SCOTT STANTIS on June 25, 2013 in chicagotribune.com

Little Difference Between One-Party Systems and 2-Party Democracies | Cartoon BY SCOTT STANTIS on June 25, 2013 in chicagotribune.com

I

f it has not shocked, the scale of electronic surveillance of India by the US certainly has surprised Indians – except 2ndlook readers.

For the last 4 years, before Bradley Manning, Wikileaks and before Edward Snowden, 2ndlook has been raising the danger-flag of the Big Brother State.

PRISM & The Boundless Informant: Why Was India Such An Important Target For America’s NSA?

To many Indians who have considered US to be a friendly country, it may still not be enough that India has been under greater surveillance by the US than proclaimed US-rivals like China and Russia.

Clues to a changing world

In March 2013 the NSA picked up 9.6 billion pieces of information from India’s computer networks, making it the fifth tracked country in the world after Iran, Pakistan, Jordan and Egypt. The top four are all Muslim countries, with Jordan also a close ally, so it’s a no-brainer why the NSA is targeting them. But has the world shifted so much on its geopolitical axis that India is now a bigger target than Russia and China?

There are two possibilities. One, the Americans are making sure India remains on its side of the fence. Secondly, if the NSA has been able to steal more data from India than from Russia and China, it only shows how powerless developing countries are against well-equipped spy agencies.

via Why there are no friends in the spy game | Russia & India Report.

In Europe, Germany occupies the dubious position of being under greater surveillance than other European countries.

The fact that US is mounting this surveillance operations in partnership with Britain has only added to the disquiet.

An Uncanny Alliance

We have Edward Snowden to thank for this insight into the interaction of an uncanny club, the Alliance of Five Eyes. Since World War II, the five Anglo-Saxon countries of Great Britain, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have maintained close intelligence cooperation, which apparently has gotten completely out of control.

It may be up to the Americans and the British to decide how they handle questions of freedom and the protection of their citizens from government intrusion. But they have no right to subject the citizens of other countries to their control. The shoulder-shrugging explanation by Washington and London that they have operated within the law is absurd. They are not our laws. We didn’t make them. We shouldn’t be subject to them.

The totalitarianism of the security mindset protects itself with a sentence: If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. But firstly, that contains a presumption: We have not asked the NSA and GCHQ to “protect” us. And secondly, the sentence is a stupid one: Because we all have something to hide, whether it pertains to our private lives or to our business secrets.

No Agency Should Collect So Much Data

Thus the data scandal doesn’t pertain just to our legal principles, but to our security as well. We were lucky that Edward Snowden, who revealed the spying to the entire world, is not a criminal, but an idealist. He wanted to warn the world, not blackmail it. But he could have used his information for criminal purposes, as well. His case proves that no agency in the world can guarantee the security of the data it collects — which is why no agency should collect data in such abundance in the first place.

That is the well-known paradox of totalitarian security policy. Our security is jeopardized by the very actions that are supposed to protect it.

So what should happen now? European institutions must take control of the data infrastructure and ensure its protection. The freedom of data traffic is just as important as the European freedom of exchange in goods, services and money. But above all, the practices of the Americans and British must come to an end. Immediately.

via Jakob Augstein: Data Spying Programs Threaten German Security – SPIEGEL ONLINE.

Safety First, Privacy Essential

Apart the selection of targets (India, Germany, etc.), the joint activities of the Anglo-Saxon Bloc, the question is that of solutions. How can users be safeguarded?

  • Is some kind of browser-based, sender-receiver encryption the answer?
  • Do we need a greater variety of desktop-OS that will stop data-snooping?
  • Should we have a global protocol where routers and internet switches use open-source chips, where the encryption key is variable and user-based?
  • Do we need a combination of all the above ideas, which will secure the system, at multiple levels?

Maybe an alliance of India, Taiwan, Korea, Germany, China and Russia can define this architecture?

Terrorism? What About It!

In any one year, mosquitoes kill more Indians (malaria, dengue, chikungunya, etc.) than terrorists.

Is it time that we stopped Governments from terrorizing us with these false alarms? The answer to terrorism may also lie in checking the Anglo-Saxon Bloc.

Why is it that allies, past and present, of the Anglo-Saxon Bloc, are the source and generators of terror-factories!

Limit the Anglo-Saxon Bloc – and you anyway limit terrorism?

Less outrage and more actions will probably do the trick of making NSA into a toothless ogre.


Kilroy Was Here: National Shame Syndrome Hits China

While American graffiti has become a cult symbol – a subject of books, films, media coverage, one graffiti by a Chinese tourist has become a national shame.

Will Chinese copy the US - and paint graffiti across the world?  |  Cartoon by Stephens on Wednesday, 29 May, 2013, 6:16am in South China Morning Post

Will Chinese copy the US – and paint graffiti across the world? | Cartoon by Stephens on Wednesday, 29 May, 2013, 6:16am in South China Morning Post

During and after WWII, American soldiers were parts of invading armies that warred in more than 50 countries. With the British and Russians, Americans were victorious in WWII.

Colonialism to Neo-Colonialism

After WWII, American armies waged long and expensive wars against Asians in South East Asia to impose US hegemony over former French, Dutch and British colonies.

Using a Communist bogeyman, propped by Eisenhower’s Domino Theory, American forces killed more than 50 lakh Asians (5 million) in Cambodia, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam. After the Asian Wars and the collapse of the Soviet Union, American attention has turned to the Islamic world.

Self Goal? More than international media, it were the Chinese who declared this graffiti as a 'national' shame.  |  Harry Harrison on May 27, 2013 in South China Morning Post

Self Goal? More than international media, it were the Chinese who declared this graffiti as a ‘national’ shame. | Harry Harrison on May 27, 2013 in South China Morning Post

American Chopsuey

These American soldiers made their presence felt in countries they invaded and in those countries where American bases were set up – temporarily (like in India) or permanently (like in Japan).

In India, an early impact was ice-cream. India’s Kwality (now Kwality Walls) ice-creams started by catering to the American military forces stationed in India during WWII. Coca-Cola became a global brand, accompanying American armies across the world.

More damaging than either Coca-Cola or ice-cream, was the explosion in prostitution in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, with the arrival of American soldiers – as a well-oiled machine.

As if this was not enough, these soldiers, to leave their indelible mark, left graffiti behind. One graffiti, that became a marker of this boorish American behaviour was the text and image of Kilroy Was Here.

American graffiti left behind at national monuments, historical sites - and on the bellies of pregnant women. Does the phallic overtones of this graffiti reveal the shallowness?

American graffiti left behind at national monuments, historical sites – and on the bellies of pregnant women. Does the phallic overtones of this graffiti reveal the shallowness?

Graffiti itself goes back to ancient times. Graffiti is found in the ruins of Pompeii, on the walls of ancient Jerusalem, in ancient Egypt. Kilroy follows a long tradition, but was far more famous and all-present than any of them.

Kilroy was here” emerged during World War II, appearing at truck stops, city restaurants, and in military boardrooms. However, the first appearances seem to have been on military docks and ships in late 1939.

“The mischievous face and the phrase became a national joke,” according to author Charles Panati. In theory, he was a soldier, probably American, who travelled all over the world scrawling his immortal phrase. Clearly, the graffiti were scrawled by thousands of different soldiers, not a single one named Kilroy.

During the Forties, Kilroy was everywhere. Panati comments, “The outrageousness of the graffit was not so much what it said, but where it turned up.” He cites the torch of the Statue of Liberty, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Marco Polo Bridge in China, huts in Polynesia, and a girder on the George Washington Bridge in New York. There were contests in the Air Force to beat Kilroy to isolated and uninhabited places around the globe.

The appearance wasn’t always of GI origin, although it was largely tied to the military services. More than once newspapers reported on pregnant women wheeled into the delivery room, with the hospital staff finding “Kilroy was here” written across their stomachs. Panati says, “The most daring appearance occurred during the meeting of the Big Three in Potsdam, Germany, in July 1945. Truman, Attlee, and Stalin had exclusive use of an opulent marble bathroom, off limits to everyone else. On the second day of the summit, an excited Stalin emerged from the bathroom sputtering something in Russian to one of his aides. A translator overheard Stalin demand, ‘Who is Kilroy?'”

SDSTAFF Mac suggests Panati is a better storyteller than a scholar, though.

via The Straight Dope: What’s the origin of “Kilroy was here”?.

Low Self Image

China is whipping itself into a frenzy.

A graffiti by a Chinese teenager, discovered by another Chinese at the Egypt’s Luxor site, was taken up with a frenzy by ‘shamed’ Chinese. While American Graffiti has become a cult symbol – a subject of books, films, media coverage, one graffiti by a Chinese tourist has become a national shame.

Much like India scored a self-goal by making itself look like a country of rapists, when in fact, it has one of the lowest rape ratios in the world.

Does international media need anything more than these self-goals by the Chinese and Indians?

SHANGHAI—Parents of a Chinese junior high school student apologized on May 25 after their son’s name and graffiti were discovered defacing a wall of the ruins of the sacred Luxor Temple in Egypt, which ignited a storm of criticism on the Internet.

“My son understands that he did a bad thing,” his weeping mother was quoted by the Xian Dai Kuai Bao, a newspaper in Jiangsu province in coastal China, as saying.

“I am asking everyone to generously forgive my son (so that) this incident will not adversely affect his future,” his father was also quoted as saying.

The graffiti, written along with the student’s name in Chinese, reads, “I came here for sightseeing.”

Another Chinese tourist, who discovered the graffiti, wrote in Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, on the night of May 24, “I tried to erase this shame by rubbing it off, but my effort was in vain.” He also posted a photo of the graffiti.

Immediately after that, one poster after another criticized the graffiti on the Internet. One comment read, “I am ashamed of the graffiti as a Chinese.” Other posters also disclosed the student’s birthday and year of birth, and revealed that he is a junior high school student in Nanjing, Jiangsu province.

Parents of the student called the Xian Dai Kuai Bao on the afternoon of May 25 and met with its reporters. via Chinese student’s graffiti on Luxor Temple ignites Internet criticism – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun.


Chinese Softpower: No Answer To Hollywood

Deng’s China has decided that China must give up its pre-Maoist past – and become ‘modern’. Result – China has become a huge market for Hollywood now.

China informs the world that Hollywood film Django is being released in China. Such an important event, no!  |  ‘#Django’ might get unchained in China’s theaters in May http://bit.ly/12LwGz5  |  Twitter - globaltimesnews- ‘#Django’ might get unchained ... 2013-04-26 09-06-57  |  Click for original tweet.

China informs the world that Hollywood film Django is being released in China. Such an important event, no! | ‘#Django’ might get unchained in China’s theaters in May http://bit.ly/12LwGz5 | Twitter – globaltimesnews- ‘#Django’ might get unchained … 2013-04-26 09-06-57 | Click for original tweet.

China has long wanted to lead in soft-power – a major force in global culture and arts.

However, this objective has eluded China.

Sun Yat Sen To Now

Modern China‘s pillars are all foreign – especially from the West. Communism from Europe, social media forums like Weibo is a Twitter clone. But possibly the biggest failure is in films.

India with Bollywood films has the largest number of productions and viewers. Africa has now jumped ahead of Hollywood – and China, in production numbers and viewership.

But it was not always like that.

Shaw Brothers had built, out of Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, over the last 70 years, an enviable base of Chinese film narrative. This was based on Chinese themes – Buddhism, Boxer Revolution (China’s version of India‘s 1857 War), Kung Fu, Japanese colonialism in China. These ideas appealed not just to Chinese audiences, but even global audiences.

However, Deng’s China has decided that China must give up its pre-Maoist past – and become ‘modern’.

Result – China has become a huge market for Hollywood now.

What’s Language Got To Do …

When you ‘follow’ foreign culture, you also end up losing control over your culture. Like this recent post pointed out, how Hollywood with Kung Fu Panda-II is trying to define the future of India-China relations.

Africa’s adoption of Arabic, Jewish abandonment of their language, have made these cultures into peripheral entities in the world today. In India, government subsidies to English in higher education has extended the life of a colonial imposition to much beyond pragmatic usage.

English has become a sub-religion in India like cricket.

In India …

A very remarkable effect of this in India is the effect English has on Indian minds. For instance, Arvind Kejriwal’s Party, AAM AAdmi Party (AAP) has looked to the US for every inspiration. This inspiration-by-the-US ideas are not based on study of the US – but on the propaganda by US media.

For instance corruption.

Just one scandal in the US, is bigger than all corruption cases that have ‘allegedly’ happened in the last nearly 70 years of independent India. The nearly US$8 trillion of unaccounted /partially accounted hole in the US Department of Defense.

Yet a founder of the AAP tweets on US governance. Not surprisingly, it based on ‘optics’ – but on any critical appreciation of the US.

In the meantime, back to China. China’s prime English newspaper /website, Global Times has decided to inform the world that Chinese will be able to see ‘Django Unchained.’

A major event, I presume.

Two weeks after the Hollywood film Django Unchained was pulled from theaters on the day it premiered on the Chinese mainland, rumors began to spread on the Internet that the film had passed the country’s censorship requirements again and would return to Chinese screens.

Reliable sources said that the first film from director Quentin Tarantino to come to the Chinese mainland will be available for film lovers in May, popular movie information and ticket booking website mtime.com reported Thursday.

“The former edition to be released in cinemas is almost the same as the editions released overseas, which were edited by Quentin Tarantino. That edition had few problems generally, and after the suspension, only some nude scenes were cut from the film. I suppose it will be on screens after May Day,” sina.com.cn reported.

via ‘Django’ might get unchained in China’s theaters in May – CHINA – Globaltimes.cn.

 



 

Lessons From Record Decrease in Japan’s Population

April 17, 2013 11 comments

 

This commitment by Indian society to universal, lifelong marriage has attracted many, especially women.

Between the State and the Church, we are seeing unprecedented levels of intervention in our sexual lives  |  Cartoon by Lee Judge on February 13, 2011

Between the State and the Church, we are seeing unprecedented levels of intervention in our sexual lives | Cartoon by Lee Judge on February 13, 2011

F

ukushima, Hiroshima, Nagasaki are the not the only nuclear disasters that have hit Japan. The bigger disaster is unfolding in slo-mo.

Japan’s population has dropped by a record 284,000.

As of Oct. 1, 2012, the country’s population was estimated at 127,515,000, down 0.22 percent from the previous year, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said April 16.

The decline is the largest in both number and rate since 1950, when comparable figures were first available.

The population dropped for the second year in a row for the first time.

Japanese society continues to age, with the population of elderly, aged 65 or over, estimated at 30,793,000, up 1,041,000 from the previous year. It was also the first time that the elderly outnumbered children, aged 14 or under, in all 47 prefectures.

The natural decrease, or the difference of deaths and births, was the largest ever at 205,000. This marked the eighth straight year of natural decrease for men and the fourth straight year of natural decrease for women. By prefecture, Tokyo, Saitama and Chiba marked the first instance of a natural decrease.

via Record decrease in Japan’s population – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun.

Maya means … Propaganda … ?

The only reason India is not sitting on a demographic time bomb, is because of our देसी मन्द बुद्धि desi-mand buddhi (rustic minds). Especially from the Indo-Gangetic plains.

This देसी rustic mindset that our ruling elites look at with contempt, did not get fooled by the massive propaganda drive by the West – using the Indian State as its agent.

Not Individuals … But Families As Building Blocks Of Society

The Indian system of family stability is based on three principles: –

1. Universal marriage. In the rest of the world, the rich marry, the poor: –

2. New families funded by families and relatives with income stream from property, profession, business for groom and and start-up capital of gold to bride.

3. Since, all girls and boys, especially during periods of social chaos, political instability (like British Raj) may not find matches, marriages are arranged by social ‘intervention’ to keep the system of universal marriage functional.

People Know …

This commitment by Indian society to universal, lifelong marriage has attracted many, especially women. Indian men are seen by Russian women as ideal husband material. On the other hand, apart from the staggering levels of prostitution, sex-deprivation has triggered a wave of sexual-abuse of children across Europe and US. Widely, but not limited to the Catholic Church system.

Charity … Anyone?

This pattern of sexual misbehavior has claimed a life this time.

Peter Roebuck, a cricket player-coach-writer recently jumped to his death from his 6th floor hotel room in South Africa. After receiving a suspended sentence in an British court for not-so deviant behavior with his South African trainees, he emigrated to Australia.

Similarly, in India too, we have seen these various do-gooders use their ‘charity’ work to gain access to unwilling sexual partners.

Promoted by the Desert Bloc ‘system’ is

Sexual repression in the masses

– An impossible marriage mechanism with crazed alimony system

– Antagonistic and confrontational gender relations

– A flourishing prostitution industry

– A distorted religious system that promotes celibacy

Charity seems like a facade for gaining access to sexual partners in all these cases. The cause may be the sexual repression rather than dubious charity.

Islamic Demographics

Indian Muslim population is growing because they have persisted with the Indian family model. In West Asia, Islamic populations are meager and much below Indian growth levels. Muslim populations are increasing only in countries where Indian influence is strong – and therefore commitment to universal marriage is strong. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia.

Meher system in all these societies (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia) is nominal, weak. The day Muslims (from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia) become ‘fully’ Muslim, implement the Meher system, their populations will start decreasing.

The only two countries that has come close to India in this metrics are Indonesia and China. Thanks to Mao and Western propaganda, in China that has changed. Progressive Liberals in India are desperate to implement the Chinese model in India also – in connivance with the West.

Seems like Russian women know more about marriage …



America’s Secret Police: Who’s in control of CIA? Anyone here …

Can the CIA simply tell the American Secretary of State, that their position and authority is irrelevant – if it clashes with CIA-operations..

Over the last 40 years, the mantle of Spook King has passed on from Hoover's FBI to Director-CIA  |  Cartoonist Christopher Weyant in 2007 on CIA

Over the last 40 years, the mantle of Spook King has passed on from Hoover’s FBI to Director-CIA | Cartoonist Christopher Weyant in 2007 on CIA

I

f the ISI Chief in Pakistan were to assert his authority over the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, no one will be either shocked or surprised.

Take A Walk …

If the Israeli Mossad were to push their point of view over Israel’s Foreign Minister, it would not raise too many eyebrows.

Can the MI6 in Britain question the authority of the British Foreign Minister? Media reports make it seem unlikely.

Can the head of RAW question the policy and authority of India’s Home Minister or Foreign Minister? Such a situation has never been examined or discussed in public, by the media or polity.

But, the CIA can simply tell the American Secretary of State, that their position and authority is irrelevant – if it clashes with CIA-operations.This is what has been reported by the American newspaper, New York Times.

The perils of this approach were laid bare on March 17, 2011, the day after Davis was released from prison and spirited out of the country. C.I.A. drones attacked a tribal council meeting in the village of Datta Khel, in North Waziristan, killing dozens of men. Ambassador Munter and some at the Pentagon thought the timing of the strike was disastrous, and some American officials suspected that the massive strike was the C.I.A. venting its anger about the Davis episode. More important, however, many American officials believed that the strike was botched, and that dozens of people died who shouldn’t have.

Other American officials came to the C.I.A.’s defense, saying that the tribal gathering was in fact a meeting of senior militants and therefore a legitimate target. But the drone strike unleashed a furious response in Pakistan, and street protests in Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar forced the temporary closure of American consulates in those cities.

Munter said he believed that the C.I.A. was being reckless and that his position as ambassador was becoming untenable. His relationship with the C.I.A. station chief in Islamabad, already strained because of their disagreements over the handling of the Davis case, deteriorated even further when Munter demanded that the C.I.A. give him the chance to call off specific missile strikes. During one screaming match between the two men, Munter tried to make sure the station chief knew who was in charge, only to be reminded of who really held the power in Pakistan.

“You’re not the ambassador!” Munter shouted.

“You’re right, and I don’t want to be the ambassador,” the station chief replied.

This turf battle spread to Washington, and a month after Bin Laden was killed, President Obama’s top advisers were arguing in a National Security Council meeting over who really was in charge in Pakistan. At the June 2011 meeting, Munter, who participated via secure video link, began making his case that he should have veto power over specific drone strikes.

Panetta cut Munter off, telling him that the C.I.A. had the authority to do what it wanted in Pakistan. It didn’t need to get the ambassador’s approval for anything.

“I don’t work for you,” Panetta told Munter, according to several people at the meeting.

But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came to Munter’s defense. She turned to Panetta and told him that he was wrong to assume he could steamroll the ambassador and launch strikes against his approval.

“No, Hillary,” Panetta said, “it’s you who are flat wrong.”

There was a stunned silence, and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon tried to regain control of the meeting. In the weeks that followed, Donilon brokered a compromise of sorts: Munter would be allowed to object to specific drone strikes, but the C.I.A. could still press its case to the White House and get approval for strikes even over the ambassador’s objections. Obama’s C.I.A. had, in essence, won yet again.

via How Raymond Davis Helped Turn Pakistan Against the United States – NYTimes.com.

How serious is this?

After reading this excerpt, the question that came to my mind was – How important is the US Secretary of State?

Well …

With the Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General, the US Secretary of State are regarded as the four most important members of the US cabinet, headed by the POTUS.

But this history is not surprising.

Looking back …

J Edgar Hoover was probably the most powerful man of 20th century, who no one knew. Founder-Director of FBI, from May 10, 1924, till his death on May 2, 1972, Edgar Hoover ‘persuaded’ twelve US President’s to let him continue as FBI Director.

With a file on everyone, from John Lennon to JFK, Edgar answered to one.

During Hoover’s reign over FBI, the world was regularly fed with sleaze-and-scam about the CIA.

We now have a CIA that ‘approves’ criticism by the media on the US-President. Globally respected newspapers like the nytimes.com submit their stories to CIA for pre-clearance from CIA.

Coming Back To Pakistan

More people are killed due to gun-related violence in the US than in Pakistan.

Christian fidayeen killers roam schools, theaters, shopping malls, killing other Christians – just like in Pakistan.

People in US are proposing that US schools should become Christian madarsas – similar to Taliban proposals in Pakistan.

There have been cases in Pakistan and USA, where differences in political opinion were settled using guns – instead of ideas and words.

Thick wall of currency apart, what is the difference between US and Pakistan?



Can The Agriculture System Of The Developed West Feed the World?

Western farmers get more subsidy than the GDP of 125 countries in the world.

Used food tins with overwhelming propaganda branding stacked near the town of Dadaab, Kenya, on Tuesday, July 26, 2011. |  Image source - AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam; courtesy - theatlantic.com

Used food tins with overwhelming propaganda branding stacked near the town of Dadaab, Kenya, on Tuesday, July 26, 2011. | Image source – AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam; courtesy – theatlantic.com

Looking at butter mountains, lakes of wine and milk, in Europe and US after the starvation and famine in Africa, it can be easy to jump to wrong conclusions.

Just 60 years ago, Europe was dependent on food imports – and was on limited rations.

Food aid is frequently a market seeding program to create markets for Western food multinationals. A Somali refugee with a high-energy biscuit at the Ifo refugee camp on July 24, 2011 in Dadaab, Kenya.  |  Image source - Oli Scarff/Getty Images; courtesy - theatlantic.com

Food aid is frequently a market seeding program to create markets for Western food multinationals. A Somali refugee with a high-energy biscuit at the Ifo refugee camp on July 24, 2011 in Dadaab, Kenya. | Image source – Oli Scarff/Getty Images; courtesy – theatlantic.com

Today the story is different.

The price of a ton of skimmed-milk powder, which in the summer of 2007 was above €3,000, had fallen roughly in half. In Germany it is currently around €1,400.

Farmers had been hit by a slump in demand for commodities caused by the global financial slowdown, and by the strength of the euro.

“We export a lot to Russia in terms of butter, cheese to the United States and milk powder to Africa and Asia, and all these are hit by the strength of the euro”.

Though the EU managed to dispense with its butter stocks in 2007, grain mountains and wine lakes still exist.

The latest figures show that 717,810 tons of cereals is piling up, along with 41,422 tons of sugar and 2.3 million hectoliters of wine, according to the European Commission.

via EU’s butter mountain is back – The New York Times.

Graphic source & courtesy - economist.com on Jul 1st 2010

Graphic source & courtesy – economist.com on Jul 1st 2010

Currently, there is belief that food shortages in the West were an exception – maybe even an aberration.

This confidence and belief has grown to the extent that the West seriously asks itself.

“But can we feed the world this way?”

following World War II, with the onset of the “Green Revolution,” feeding the world became a national mantra. It was a ubiquitous “good” that handily justified the discovery that the petrochemicals used in warfare could find postwar applications if dumped on our food supply.

However, 75 or 100 years ago, such a question would never have entered into our dialogue. To ask a local farmer or homesteader how his or her production methods were going to feed the world would have been absurd. The local producer’s job was to support the family, the community, and his or her bioregion–not the world.

Feeding the world” was the background tune playing in the bank, on the car radio of the seed salesman, in the office of the accountant as farmers were counseled to “get big or get out,” to expand their production and change their growing practices to participate in a global food supply, rather than a regional one.

Can the local, sustainable food movement in the United States feed the world? Hell, no. Nor can the industrial agricultural paradigm. No one can feed the world. One country cannot do it, nor can any specific model of production.

Thus, I leave you with one question: What can you do today that will enable the world to feed itself?

via The Downside of Expecting America’s Agriculture System to Feed the World | Alternet.

As Europe & US play out a charade of negotiations, it is Africa and Asia which is suffering from food shortages. | Cartoon by Peter Nicholson; on July 5, 2005; source & courtesy - nicholsoncartoons.com

As Europe & US play out a charade of negotiations, it is Africa and Asia which is suffering from food shortages. | Cartoon by Peter Nicholson; on July 5, 2005; source & courtesy – nicholsoncartoons.com

Truthfully?

Forget about the world. Forget about pollution, environment, green-planet, ecology, rain forests et al.

Think of yourself.

Between the US and the EU, the agricultural system gets close to US$100 billion dollars. Western farmers get more subsidy than the GDP of 125 countries in the world.

Western governments subsidize their farmers by a sum greater than the GDP of countries like Morocco, Oman, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, Kenya, Libya, Tanzania among many others.

The West can afford this subsidy regime for now. One more crisis like the ongoing Great Recession – and these subsidies will have to go. When agricultural subsidies to Western farmers go, food from dinner tables across the West will also vanish. As subsidies decline, Western consumers may see food shortages and nearly 50% increase in food prices.

Go.

Worry about that.

Levels of total farm income and total subsidy over the years in the US

Levels of total farm income and total subsidy over the years in the US


%d bloggers like this: