- (january 2017)
The Future of Fake News.
Fantastic. If you want a ticket to the Worlds Fair Nano of Jan 28-29 you have to reply to these questions. Notice that the YES to being excited about the future is mandatory.
That's the real future: a future in which what is not forbidden is mandatory.
The era of fake news is just the appetizer for the era of mandatory news that is coming.
Forget Yelp reviews where at least you were still allowed to have an opinion.
No more thinking! They will do all the thinking for you.
What a wonderful world it will be.
TM, ®, Copyright © 2016 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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- (february 2016)
Enemies of the People.
Russia's president Vladimir Putin, Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
Turkey's president Recep Erdogan and North Korea's dictator Jong-un Kim have
something in common.
These are the four national leaders who, more than anyone else, are causing
instability in the world.
All four would probably win regular elections (three of them actually just did).
They have hypnotized their home audience with Hitler-style rhetoric: justify
not-so-subtle ambitions of imperialism or at least regional supremacy based
on a revival of nationalism that results in hostility towards democracies
and violent persecution of political opponents.
The fact that their subjects love them makes them all the more dangerous.
Most dictators have to fear being overthrown, but these four political
animals are assured of their position and, in fact, the solidity of that
position largely relies on the trouble that they continously create on their
borders. Compared with my previous lists, Pakistan is no longer
in this list (it was for almost two decades) and China's president is not yet,
although China's provocations in the China Sea may win him a spot for next year.
- Jong-un Kim. He tops the list because the trouble that he is causing is
the most likely to lead to a full-fledged war. North Korea has spent more
than 60 years annoying its neighbors with pointless provocations that range
from kidnapping Japanese citizens to terrorist acts in South Korea. It has
acquired a nuclear bomb (not surprisingly after George W Bush included
North Korea in the "axis of evil"), and now it is refining its long-distance
missile capability. It will soon technically capable of threatening Alaska
and California. Even a wimp like Barack Obama is unlikely to tolerate that
North Korea points nuclear-armed missile at Silicon Valley. His successor
is likely to be even less tolerant. The USA has so far refrained from striking
North Korea for two reasons: 1. North Korea de facto holds South Korea hostage,
i.e. it would retaliate against South Korea if the USA attacked; 2. China is
theoretically an ally of North Korea and any attack against North Korea would
theoretically imply a war against China. Both these reasons are rapidly fading
away. North Korea is widely despised by the Chinese population, perhaps even
more in China than in South Korea; North Korea has repeatedly ignored
the will of China's president, a fact that is beginning to reflect badly on
China's president (if you can't stand up to a silly 33-year old dictator,
how can you pretend to be a world power?) Last but not least, China must be
fed up that North Korea offers the USA a valid excuse to stay in the China
Sea: remove North Korea, and the USA has little or no business keeping
soldiers and warships in China's part of the world.
As for the threat on South Korea,
that has always amounted to plain blackmail: if the USA attacks North Korea,
North Korea promises to drop a nuclear bomb on South Korea. The risk of
millions of casualties in South Korea has been too real for the USA to risk
any action. But the calculation changes once North Korea achieves the capability
to strike the USA. That long-range missile is a complete game changer. Now the
USA is directly threatened. The motivation and justification for a
preemptive strike is much stronger. Is the USA willing to risk one million
casualties in California tomorrow in order to avoid one million casualties
in South Korea today? North Korea is indirectly forcing the hand of the USA.
- Recep Erdogan. So many nations are directly and indirectly affected by
the turmoil in the Middle East that it is difficult not to give Erdogan
the #2 spot. In order to defeat his arch-enemy Assad,
Erdogan pretty much engineered the rise of the Islamic terrorist organization ISIS, helped recruiting
Islamic fighters by letting all sorts of crazies enter Syria from Turkey,
and helped fund ISIS by letting Turkish middlemen sell the stolen Syrian and
Iraqi oil. To this day the Turks can see the ISIS flag flying undisturbed
not far from Turkish border. Syrian men willing to fight ISIS have been
detained by Turkey, treated like terrorists for their willingness to fight
the terrorists who destroyed their villages.
Then Erdogan started fighting the very rebels who are
fighting Assad because his second (or first) obsession is the Kurds, whom
he persecutes in Turkey and who are winning in Syria. Erdogan sees Kurdish
conspiracies everywhere and, little by little, his paranoia is becoming
a self-fullfilling prophecy. His provocations have forced the PKK to resume
"terrorist" attacks (which actually should be considered military operations
because the PKK targets only military personnel) within Turkey. And Turkey
is now bombing openly the Syrian Kurdish militias that have been so successful
against ISIS. Alas, there are Kurds everywhere: Turkey, Syria, Iraq.
Alas, they also tend to be more responsible and reliable
than the powers occupying their lands (Turkey, Syria, Iraq).
Erdogan is, more than anyone else, responsible for the
millions of refugees caused by the Syrian civil war, refugees that are now
causing instability as far as Western Europe.
Of course, Erdogan denies helping ISIS, provoking the Kurds and causing the
refugee crisis. Erdogan is, after all, the man who still denies the Armenian
- Benjamin Netanyahu. One has to admire "Bibi": he is the only person in
the world who can treat the USA like a "banana republic". He goes to
Washington and tells the Republicans what to do, and the Republicans have
the majority in Congress. He used to give orders even to the president, before
Obama got elected. However, he deserves a spot on this list because of his
ability to speculate on Islamic terrorism and because his actions have killed
way more civilians than North Korea did. His invasion of Gaza was pure
ethnic cleansing based on a ridiculous pretext.
See The art of inventing inexistent wars. His continued humiliation of the Palestinians has only one goal: to provoke
"terrorist" actions by young Palestinians so that he is justified in killing
more Palestinians and in claiming to the Israeli voters that he keeps them
safe. The USA is stuck with a very unpleasant ally in the region, an ally
that routinely plots to harm the reputation of the USA. The Arabs would love
to love the USA, if it weren't for the fact that the USA arms and defends
Netanyahu's rogue apartheid regime. This sends millions of Arabs into the
arms of the Muslim Brotherhood and worse. Israel is, indirectly, the main
recruiter of Islamic terrorists in the world because its actions create
so much resentment among young Muslims all over the world. Last but not least,
extremists like Netanyahu are the reason that the USA cannot restore friendly
ties with Iran. Iran is the victim, not the aggressor, in the story that
begins with the 1953 coup engineered by Britain and the USA to overthrow
the democratically elected leader of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, and continues
with the 1980 support by the USA for Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran,
and reaches an all-time low with the 1988 missile fired by a US warship against
an Iranian civilian airplane that killed all 290 passengers aboard.
Israel has capitalized marvelously on the protracted Iran-USA rift,
and Netanyahu is cynical enough to stoke tensions between the two because
he knows that Israel would not benefit from peace (Iran, not Israel, used
to be the USA's main ally in the region).
- Vladimir Putin. Putin is a gangster who rose thanks to help from gangsters.
If you are scared that a demented dictator like Kim has nuclear weapons,
you should be ten times more scared that a gangster like Putin has thousands
of nuclear weapons. To be fair, Putin is more rational than Kim because, like
all mobsters surrounded by gangsters, Putin is sensitive to money: economic
sanctions do work with Putin, especially when they target his closest (and
Putin, however, has often showed a more rational mind
than his western counterparts: he was right on Georgia (it was Georgia that
attacked its runaway republics, and those runaway republics should
have the same right to secession that the West granted to Kosovo) and he
was sort of right in annexing Crimea (a Russian-speaking region of
ethnic Russians, given to Ukraine when the border didn't mean much because
Ukraine and Russia were both part of the Soviet Union). But nobody is so naive
to believe that he does what he does for a sense of justice. He is on a mission
to weaken NATO and the European Union. His policies are meant to foment
trouble in Ukraine and elsewhere in weak European countries like Moldova,
and to threaten the countries that left the Soviet Union (notably
the Baltic countries). He has turned Chechnya into a terror state run
by one of his fellow gangsters.
He has been wildly unsuccessful in his efforts to build alliances.
No matter how much he "licks China's butt" (to use the expression he used
to define Erdogan's alliance with the USA), China is the country that is
growing and Russia is the one that is declining. He is obviously determined
to win Syria, no matter what. He is fully aware that Syria's Assad would not
be able to hold the territory that Russia wins back with its bombings, which
means that Putin is prepared to deploy Russian soldiers in Syria like it has
done in eastern Ukraine, Tajikstan, and in the self-declared independent
countries of Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Putin is betting
that ISIS will be defeated and then Syria will be up for grab. And Syria
has always been the gateway to Iraq. Basically, Putin is destabilizing Europe
(via Ukraine and assorted secessionist regions), Asia (via his deals with
China and Central Asia) and the Middle East (via the civil war in Syria).
Strategically speaking, he is a genius. That only makes him more dangerous.
Incidentally, the European Union is also indirectly destabilized by
Putin's bad influence.
Kaczynski in Poland and Orban in Hungary came to power using tactics very
similar to Putin's (notably a revival of ethnic and religious nationalism), and intending to establish very similar quasi-dictatorial perpetual regimes.
And those who studied history probably notice the similarities with
Pilsudski's Poland and Horthy's Hungary before World War II.
Note that all four use the same tactic to demonize their enemies. First,
they charge the enemy with a crime that someone else has committed. Secondly,
they punish their enemy for the crime that it has not committed. Thirdly,
they accuse the enemy of terrorism when the enemy retaliates. And, finally,
they crack down on the enemy who has now officially become a terrorist.
That is what Israel did to Hamas in Gaza (the pretext was the murder of two
Israeli teenagers, whom Israel already knew had not been killed by Hamas).
That is what Turkey does to the Kurds. That is what Putin did to the Chechens
(the first pretext was a terrorist attack in Moscow that every independent
investigation has shown was engineered by Putin's own men) and to the
Ukrainians. Admittedly, North Korea only does it with words, promising
war against the USA every time the USA responds to one of North Korea's
Barack Obama's inaction is routinely blamed (from different quarters)
for the rise of these four monsters. Unfortunately each of these four people
knows that, for now, Obama's hands are tied. He can't quite bomb North Korea
without risking a conflict with China and millions of casualties in South
Korea, especially since no US ally in the region (neither Japan nor South Korea)
is likely to help out.
He can't quite invade Syria or Ukraine risking a direct war with Russia,
especially since no US ally in the region (neither the Arabs nor the Europeans)
is likely to help out.
He can't quite overthrow Netanyahu or reduce his influence in the USA.
He can't quite kick Turkey out of NATO at a time when Turkish bases are
essential for US operations in the Middle East.
TM, ®, Copyright © 2016 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
See also What Netanyahu and Putin have in common and What Netanyahu and Putin have in common, part II.
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