Category Archives: Current events

Why the current strategy by the West cannot win

Having studied World War II in depth and reflected on the difference between those times and these, I have come to some preliminary conclusions. What were the characteristics of those times that made that victory inevitable and what are the characteristics of these times that make the ‘failures’ inevitable up to this point and how can we swing the battle, as it were, in our favour?

The rise of Adolf Hitler was not democratic, unlike the elections of these times. He did however, bring about a kind of national unity after coming to power. Until May 1940, the Great Britain was not united but going through the dark days from September 1939 and then through the Battle of Britain in 1940 had the effect of uniting the whole country overwhelmingly behind the war effort. There was no alternative.

There was intensive lobbying by the Churchill government of unity of the U.S. to back their war effort against the Axis Powers, with resistance at first, but it was only after Pearl Harbor in December 1941 that the U.S. came on board fully. The tactics of Total War were used to the full, including a possible allowing of the Japanese to carry out the attack on Pearl Harbor, despite knowing beforehand that it was coming, precisely in order to bring the wider U.S. population onside. The techniques of information warfare were employed to the maximum because the possibility of an Allied defeat was unthinkable and untenable. Some of these techniques were perhaps of dubious ethical standards or, in hindsight, even advisable. I am thinking here of the bombing offensive against Germany, the betrayal of Norway.

Techniques of deception were used very cunningly and very successfully. However, towards the end of the war, it became clear to Churchill and broadly speaking to the Americans that the post-war situation would be a face-off between the western allies and the Soviet Union. The same techniques of deception, intervention in the media, in elections and economic warfare were used extensively against the perceived foe, the communist threat, usually equated with any left-wing or progressive government.

It was here that the West lost its way. Without the truth on their side, these techniques were used to oppress rather than to liberate, even though the people employing them were the same. With this, the positive effect of having whole populations behind the war effort was no longer active, and those populations became the target of those techniques, of Cointelpro, of Operation Mockingbird, of the almost total surveillance, monitoring and manipulation of the populations by avoiding talking about the truth, covering up the truth, of pushing lies, with the belief that they continued to be in the right, but which ceased to be true from about 1945.

With the political climate tending to go against state intervention in foreign conflicts, the response from the private sector has been, let us take over where the state is unable, for whatever reason, to intervene, whether that is private military or intelligence contractors. But that does not address the real legal and political questions of our time, of rights to truth and justice.

Once the field of truth had been abandoned, unity ceased to prevail, and increasingly desperate efforts and sense of unease leave the feeling of running into a swamp and of being bogged down, without that compass to steer towards a clear objective, trying to repeat the early success, using the same tactics and techniques endlessly. Unity has become a battlefield rather than of de facto existence. With that, the lies of having moral certitude pushed as ‘right’ have become increasingly ridiculous and are demonstrated every day both in the media and ordinary life.

There can be no successful satisfactory outcome without that unity or truth. The divisions and heated arguments within our societies are evidence of our disunity and lack of truth. The current engagements by the West in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria cannot be won as long as the preferred methods of deception and lies are held to, however useful or right they may have been until 73 years ago.

The strategy used by the United States, the United Kingdom and many other countries is of soft power, of low-intensity warfare, because it worked during World War II. It has long ceased to be effective in solving problems and has become a liability and has to be dropped. It may work in the short term, but it can never work in the long term.

Current events are actually like growing pains

My apologies to the anti-Trumpistas and their similar equivalents in the various countries and regions, but please bear with me. One of problems has been the holding to fixed positions of what is best for us or for others, that we must be like this or that, we have to achieve this or that, although we are holding to an idea of something that is at best temporary, and it is urgent that we understand this and the perceptions of scale that are involved.

Taking a look at what is going on and the affect on people, I am drawn to the conclusion that we have misunderstood these difficult times, bemoaning the lack of resources, the withdrawal of so called rights, the lack of insight of this or that person, this or that group and so forth. There is an emerging pattern however.

As a wise man once said, opposition makes you stronger. However, it is worth reflecting that, although those opposing us are in fact helping us to grow stronger, that our opposition of another or others also makes that something or someone stronger, which may be an idea, a group, say the much vaunted elite, the cabal, the concept of the other, ‘them’.

The way I use it is that I see no point in opposing something that will be inevitable, and of course the question arises, what is not inevitable, what can be the positive influence brought to bear that will either bring about a learning situation or favour an outcome.

This was made apparent to me when I started my blog to raise awareness of the situation in Brazil as Dilma was being manoeuvred out of power. In a brash move, I repeated a phrase that was current at the time, “Não vai ter golpe’, or ‘There will be no coup’. However, events proved me wrong, but if one looks back at it and the stages of life and learning, one can see it as a process, and stop being attached to a preconceived idea of what should happen or what one must do.

There are benefits to be had from what we have taken as ‘bad’ and learning from what we have taken to be ‘good’. We have seen esteemed institutions and people being exposed as other than we thought, we have all felt disillusion at this or that. For myself, speaking personally about what I have felt and not about those I am speaking of, this has been the lack of fulfilment of the promises of Obama, the U.S. Supreme Court, the BBC, the apparent success of the bringing down of Dilma in Brazil, the exposure of widespread corruption in Brazil, and others. We are being forced to take a long hard look at our values.

However, disappointment in anything is the lack of fulfilment of an expectation that we have, and nothing more than that. It is not a reflection, necessarily in those people or institutions. That can only be ascertained after questioning, acceptance and only then deciding on how to approach something.

What we have seen is that people do not value something they have until they lose it, whether that be rights, privileges, gifts. Nor have we paid sufficient attention to that which is held to be good and already in place. We learn to value democracy when we thought it to be challenged. Was America great or any less great than before? Was it because we thought it was or it wasn’t? I suggest the answer is all of the above and none of the above, for various reasons and in different circumstances. Is he UK really united? I think these are good and useful questions to consider.

Trump is acting as a mirror for us, and to the extent that he provokes horror or a certain hope that this is for the better, we should take a more careful look at what we see and why we see it. He is showing buffoonery and dishonesty, using words that do reflect what we are like. He is like the medieval court jester, entertaining the king, but the court is also spellbound, but when those who are unable to bear what they see speak out against it, it is not that they are completely wrong, rather that the situation is so terrible that it must change, eventually finding some equilibrium and harmony.

The question of Brexit has been bothering me ever since it became obvious to some people that the bureaucracy was having a detrimental effect on the conducting of business in the broadest sense of the word, in my case about twenty years ago. However, the idea of being included in something with international scope will inevitably bring up complicated issues for many people, involving us in change, which can be uncomfortable and having to re-assess what we had taken to be true or ´right` and so forth.

I briefly celebrated the referendum decision, saying to myself or others that we, the Brits, have given the blighters a bloody nose, which we did, but a lot of people felt hurt or shocked by that result, and now we have to grow up and actually settle this like civilised people, if we are able, rather than on the school playground. Resentment is not a good basis for making decisions, although some people must see the reasons that brought the situation about.

We are in a learning situation, for the Brits that like it or not, we have a role to play in the world, for the Europeans that we have legitimate concerns, for the neoliberals and overly wealthy, that things must and will change into a more beneficially distributed system of doing things, for the anti-neoliberals, that the crystallised forms of thinking about national or class issues no longer work, for the Trumpistas, that America already is great, so why not learn that there is a whole other world out of real, actual people out there beyond the U.S. borders, for the anti-Trumpistas, that opposing something because it comes in the guise of your pet dislikes or hates does not mean that your knee-jerk reactions to it are correct or properly thought out.

On the question of national sovereignty, it is sobering to reflect that there is a kind of sovereignty already, that the Brits have the kind of government and balanced Parliament that reflects the current situation, and similarly for the U.S. and Brazil, leading us to recognise our crystallised way of thinking.

Impossible or unsustainable situations must be differentiated from the unthought of possibility that something has happened, is happening or will happen. These are often confused and although sometimes it is distasteful, we do not recognise good food unless we have known what bad food is like or its effects on us.

After I wrote this piece, I found this video by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, which echoes my thoughts.

Lula, Brasil, e o Mundo


Foto: Francisco Proner

Lula liderou o mais bem sucedido projeto de redistribuição econômica democrática que o mundo moderno tem visto, mas foi condenado pelo Tribunal Superior Federal, em total descordo com a Constituição que essa Corte está encarregada de manter ou qualquer conceito de justiça natural. Por quê? Bem, qualquer um que procure entender o assunto com profundidade chega a conclusão que a condenação está relacionado com dinheiro, que aqueles que manipulam as pessoas através do dinheiro e mentiras fundamentadas nas emoções, sobre limpar a corrupção e semelhante, não querem abrir mão de ferramentas tão poderosas que lhes serviram tão bem durante os últimos quinhentos anos, seja na Europa, os Estados Unidos ou Brasil.

O problema é que as pessoas que utilizam essas ferramentas não estão preocupadas com a Verdade. Porque deveriam? Parecem funcionar muito bem. Mas, como um amigo me falou ontem, tudo mundo sabe que estão mentindo, as próprias pessoas, a mídia, os juízes, as cabeças atrás do golpe, o povo todo, tudo mundo sabe.

Uma intervenção militar foi imposta na cidade do Rio de Janeiro num esforço de manipular o eleitorado que tem talvez agora a sensação, enfim, de segurança.

Infelizmente, ninguém falou com os Russos, para os assassinos da Marielle Franco, a vereadora de esquerda, que havia acabado de ser indicada para supervisionar a intervenção militar pelo e para a cidade, e de repente os olhos do mundo voltados para o Brasil, porém a ideia não deu muito certo.

Logo em seguida, Michel Temer, o Presidente atual, anunciou sua intenção de se candidatar à Presidência na eleição de outubro. De acordo com as pesquisas de opinião Temer tem em torno de três por cento das intenções de voto, mas estão dizendo por aí que ele implementou a medida esperando que a intervenção militar pudesse aumentar sua popularidade suficientemente para ele ganhar.

O problema é que os neocons da direita não têm um candidato que esteja palatável com a população, e que o único no país com qualquer chance de ganhar acabou de ser preso sob acusações falsas e sem provas.

Quando declaram Lula sem idoneidade para se candidatar pela Presidência, que com certeza vai acontecer, independentemente de qualquer base jurídica, a pessoa que ele indicar como seu candidato preferido tem uma boa chance de ganhar. Mas isso reverteria o processo inteiro do golpe e a venda de bens públicos, uma vez que os neocons, em Washington, Londres e Brasília, que não tiveram resposta democrática aos sucessos econômicos e sociais dos governos Lula/Dilma.

Assim estão numa saia justa, sem margem de manobra, e todo mundo está esperando para os eventos que estão se desdobrando ante dos nossos olhos.

Uma História Instrutiva

Tem uma história engraçada do Brasil, que pelas aparências está rachado em dois lados, como aparece que os Estados Unidos e o Reino Unido estão rachados nesse tempo atual. Os dois lados nesse caso brasileiro são pró-intervenção militar e anti-corrupção e os tipos pró-democracia e desenvolvimento social. De qualquer forma, um desses tipo durão, aparentemente tinha falado que estava em favor da volta de tortura etc. Então um desses grupos pequenos de pró-democratas, cataram ele na rua e lhe deram uma surra, nada séria demais, uma lição só. A forma que enxergo isso, não deve berrar muita alta acerca de que acha seria bom para as outras pessoas se não tiver estômago para ter que viver aquilo.

Digo isso para todas as pessoas em todas as situações, os pró e anti, intervenção militar e corrupção e os tipos pró-democracia etc., Brexit e Trump também.

An Instructional Story

There was a funny story from Brazil, which is seemingly torn between two sides, a bit like the US and the UK are torn at the present. These two sides are the pro-military intervention and anti-corruption die-hards and the pro-democracy social development types. Anyway, one of these die-hards had apparently said that he was in favour of bringing back torture and so on. Then one of these small pro-democratic groups went out and gave him a beating, nothing too serious or anything, just a lesson. As I see it the lesson was, don’t shout too hard about what you think is right for others unless you are willing to have to live up to that.

This is addressed to all sides in all such situations, pro and anti Trumpists, pro and anti Brexiteers as well as pro and anti Lulistas.

Left – Right Paradigm

The Left is about Care and the Right about Rights. I see a similar fight against Lula as against Trump in the U.S., and even of the American left and right against Putin, each for their own reasons.

The Left is about a singular concept and the Right about plural. The Word is All. However, we have been, and are, fighting over interpretations of situations, people and places. And that is about it. It is about who has more, sincerity, power or authority, numbers, weight and so on.

English has a saying, “enough is enough”, which means basically, the measures have been taken and were found just, true, fair, balanced and so forth, and may also mean “OK, so let’s move on”. Other forms, in their singular simplicity say Basta, Assez or Quite.

If one looks at language structure, in this case of verbs, one sees first, second and third person, singular and plural. This fits all of us.

There are Us and Them, first and third persons plural. May Peace be upon us, and them, His Messengers. All of Us.

Then again, there are mine ours, his and hers, yours theirs and so on.

We are talking about, thoughts, beliefs, things, inclusion and exclusion, in and out. In may be within a group or nation, in the open, in prison, in love, in work or in the person, in the know, whereas out may be in the street, of the closet, out of ideas, out of money, out of pocket, out of sorts, out of the loop.

Another thought to consider are types of places, high low, left right, in out, right wrong, hot cold, all the extremes and variations in between.

Thinking back, perhaps I should have entitled this piece The Mathematics of Politics, but then who would have read it?

Lula, Brazil, and the World

Lula has led the most successful democratic economic redistribution project the world has seen in the modern world, yet he has been sentenced by the Brazilian Supreme Court in complete disregard of the Constitution this Court is supposed to uphold and any concept of natural justice. Why? Well anyone who looks into this in any depth, comes to a conclusion that it has to be about the money, that those who manipulate people through money and emotionally backed lies about cleaning corruption and the like, do not wish to relinquish such powerful tools which have served them well for about the last five hundred years, whether that be in Europe, the United States or Brazil.

The problem is that those who use such tools are not concerned with the Truth. Why should they? It appears to work well. But as one friend said to me yesterday, everyone knows they are lying, the people themselves, the media, the judges, the heads behind the coup, the people, everyone knows it.

A military intervention has been imposed on the city of Rio de Janeiro in an effort to manipulate the electorate into feeling that now, at last, there is a feeling of security.

Unfortunately, someone didn’t tell the assassins of Marielle Franco, the left-wing city councillor, who had just been appointed as overseer of that military intervention by and for the city, and suddenly the eyes of the world were back on Brazil, and that rather backfired.

Soon afterwards, Michel Temer, the incumbent President, announced his intention to run for the Presidency in the October election. His popularity ratings hover around the three per cent mark, and the talk is that he was hoping of that military intervention would boost his ratings enough to see him to victory.

The problem is that the right-wing neocons do not have any candidate that is palatable to the populace, and the only one in the country with any chance of winning has just been imprisoned on cooked up charges and no evidence.

When they declare Lula unfit to stand for President, which they certainly will, regardless of any legal basis, the person he indicates as his preferred candidate will stand a very good chance of winning. But that would reverse the whole process of the coup and the sell-off of public assets which the neocons, in Washington, London and Brasilia, which had no democratic response to the economic and social successes of the Lula/Dilma governments.

So they are now in a tight position, without room to manoeuvre, and everyone is waiting for the events that are unfolding before us.