West prepares to plunder post-war Ukraine with neoliberal shock therapy: privatization, deregulation, slashing worker protections

Western governments and corporations met in Switzerland to plan harsh neoliberal economic policies to impose on post-war Ukraine, calling to cut labor laws, “open markets,” drop tariffs, deregulate industries, and “sell state-owned enterprises to private investors.”

Jake Kallio and Benjamin Norton

Multipolarista | July 28, 2022

While the United States and Europe flood Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars of weapons, using it as an anti-Russian proxy and pouring fuel on the fire of a brutal war that is devastating the country, they are also making plans to essentially plunder its post-war economy.

Representatives of Western governments and corporations met in Switzerland this July to plan a series of harsh neoliberal policies to impose on post-war Ukraine, calling to cut labor laws, “open markets,” drop tariffs, deregulate industries, and “sell state-owned enterprises to private investors.”

Ukraine has been destabilized by violence since 2014, when a US-sponsored coup d’etat overthrew its democratically elected government, setting off a civil war. That conflict dragged on until February 24, 2022, when Russia invaded the country, escalating into a new, even deadlier phase of the war.

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Dollar Decline to Make Americans Poorer, Economist Hudson Says

teleSUR | July 18, 2022

Image of U.S. dollar bills. | Photo: Twitter/ @business

The de-dollarization or decline of dollar hegemony will put the United States in a slow crash and make everyday Americans poorer. Other countries have to de-dollarize because of American foreign policy, which forces them to create an alternative, said Michael Hudson, professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“Any country that supported land reform, any country that protected its economy and grew its own food, and any country that did anything the United States didn’t like, they have all the foreign exchange, and all the savings stolen,” Hudson said, adding that “so obviously, this has led countries no longer to keep their savings in the form of U.S. dollars.”

Dollar hegemony is the system where U.S. overseas military spending and other spending deficits result in U.S. dollar savings in foreign countries. Then, foreign central banks recycle their reserves in dollars in the form of purchasing U.S. treasuries. Dollar hegemony enabled Americans to have high living standards and to become rich even though the U.S. is de-industrialized.

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Ukraine’s ‘Great Game’ surfaces in Transcaucasia

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline | July 16, 2022

Presidents of Russia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Iran and Kazakhstan (clockwise from left) took part in the 6th Caspian Summit, Ashgabat, June 29, 2022

If the metaphor of the “Great Game” can be applied to the Ukrainian crisis, with the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) at it core, it has begun causing reverberations across the entire Eurasian space. The great game lurking in the shade in the Caucasus and Central Asian regions in recent years is visibly accelerating. 

The edge of the game is above everything else the targeting of Russia and China by the United States. This unfolding game cannot be underestimated, as its outcome may impact the shaping of a new model of the world order. 

Starting with the Caspian Summit in Ashgabat on June 29, the inter-connected templates of the great game in the Caucasus began surfacing. The fact that the summit was scheduled at all despite the raging conflict in Ukraine — and that Russian President Vladimir Putin took time out to attend it — testified to the high importance of the event. 

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Ukraine peace talks in the cards?

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline | July 16, 2022

A goods yard in Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave that has become increasingly isolated since the start of Ukraine war

Finance ministers are the pangolins in the world of international diplomacy, solitary animals and predatory, unlike foreign ministers who are like glowworms, mesmerising and gorgeous animals that create light through their tail. While the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attending G20 foreign ministers meeting in Bali a week ago staged a dramatic walkout when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov rose to speak, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen simply sat through the speech by Russian minister Anton Siluanov at the meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs that began in Bali on Friday. 

Indeed, Yellen said her piece — calling Russia’s war in Ukraine the “greatest challenge” to the global economy and all that — while Russian Deputy Finance Minister Timur Maksimov who was present, calmly listened. But a joint communique is unlikely, as the US is pressing G20 allies for a price cap on Russian oil, where consensus is lacking. All the same, the moderation in Yellen’s behaviour catches attention, as she realises, perhaps, that she no longer sets the global agenda. 

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Real debt trap: Sri Lanka owes vast majority to West, not China

Sri Lanka owes 81% of its external debt to US and European financial institutions and Western allies Japan and India. China owns just 10%. But Washington blames imaginary “Chinese debt traps” for the nation’s crisis, as it considers a 17th IMF structural adjustment program.

Benjamin Norton

Multipolarista | July 11, 2022

Facing a deep economic crisis and bankruptcy, Sri Lanka was rocked by large protests this July, which led to the resignation of the government.

Numerous Western political leaders and media outlets blamed this uprising on a supposed Chinese “debt trap,” echoing a deceptive narrative that has been thoroughly debunked by mainstream academics.

In reality, the vast majority of the South Asian nation’s foreign debt is owed to the West.

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The Deeper Meaning of Ukraine

Alastair Crooke

Orinoco Tribune | July 09, 2022

The wider Ukraine meaning lies in this insight: Other leaders are no longer naïve when the West offers glass beads (or paper dollars) in exchange for their real riches

The West, in its cavalier manner, entered upon war with the Russia-China axis, without due care.  It expected easy ‘wins’ with sanctions imploding the Russian economy, and with military urban-war tactics borrowed from Syria, bleeding out the Russian army. Instead, it is turning-out to be a monumental débacle. More than that, its multiple failures and insultingly-cocksure propaganda are proving a breakpoint, ushering-in a new era rather than nailing down the old order, as the West had hoped.

Why is this new era so grave?  Firstly, because of that which lies ‘beneath’. The structural weaknesses and ‘dry rot’ that have been accumulating over decades, in damp basements. It was kept away, out of sight. The ‘children’ were removed from earshot, when ‘adults’ spoke amongst themselves, to acknowledge the decay and rot affecting their Mansions.

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The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation in Latin America and Beyond

Actuality and Pertinence

EDITED BY LORENZO FUSARO AND LEINAD JOHAN ALCALÁ SANDOVAL – CONTRIBUTIONS BY ROSSANA CILLO; LUIS FELIPE DOCOA; ROBERTO FINESCHI; ABELARDO MARIÑA FLORES; LORENZO FUSARO; CARLOS ALBERTO DUQUE GARCÍA; SERGIO CÁMARA IZQUIERDO; MATARI PIERRE MANIGAT; LUCIA PRADELLA; WILLIAM I. ROBINSON; SIBYL ITALIA PINEDA SALAZAR AND LEINAD JOHAN ALCALÁ SANDOVAL

This edited collection engages with Marx’s General Law of Capitalist Accumulation, examining the relevance and actuality of Marx’s propositions for the analysis of contemporary capitalism in Latin America and beyond. The contributors offer an original and updated interpretation of Marx while also examining important topics in political economy. The contributors bring critical insights into scholarly debates on imperialism, exploitation, labor, and development.

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Ukraine Update: Former U.S. Special-ops Soldiers Train Ukrainian Soldiers, Says New York Times

Countercurrents | July 06, 2022

A number of U.S. veterans are reportedly training Ukrainian soldiers near the frontlines of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, said the New York Times in an article — In Ukraine, U.S. Veterans Step In Where the Military Will Not — on July 3, 2022, Sunday (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/03/us/politics/american-combat-volunteers-ukraine.html).

“Americans are in Ukraine,” states the New York Times, noting that the exact number of U.S. citizens fighting on the front lines of the conflict is unknown.

The New York Times adds that some of these Americans are also volunteering for casualty evacuation teams and to be bomb disposal specialists, logistics experts and instructors.

The New York Times also claims that there are currently small teams of former special operations members providing training to Ukrainian soldiers and, in some cases, helping Kiev’s forces plan combat missions.

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EU economies are down on their knees

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline | July 05, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), at a meeting with Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu, revealed proposals of army commanders in Ukraine “for the development of offensive operations”, Moscow, July 4, 2022

On July 1 at the White House, US President Joe Biden made a startling disclosure that “the idea we’re going to be able to click a switch, bring down the cost of gasoline, is not likely in the near term.” 

American gas exporters have positioned themselves accordingly to fill the gap as Europe turns away from Russian imports. FT reported recently that “US liquefied natural gas producers have announced a string of deals to boost exports as the industry capitalises on shortages that have left Europe with a mounting energy crisis.” 

The deals are so lucrative that Cheniere, America’s leading gas exporter, has taken an investment decision to push ahead with a project that will boost its capacity more than 20 per cent by late 2025, anticipating long-term supply deals and locked in purchases of US gas over the coming decades. The US producers of gas are reportedly running plants flat-out to increase supplies to the EU. 

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West at inflection point in Ukraine war

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline | June 19, 2022

(L-R) Romanian President Iohannis, Italian PM Draghi, Ukrainian President Zelensky, French President Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz held a press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, on 16 June 2022.

Henry Kissinger predicted some three weeks ago that the Ukraine war was dangerously close to becoming a war against Russia. That was a prescient remark. The NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in a weekend interview told Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper that in the alliance’s estimation, the Ukraine war could wage for years. 

“We must prepare for the fact that it could take years. We must not let up in supporting Ukraine. Even if the costs are high, not only for military support, also because of rising energy and food prices,” Stoltenberg said. He added that the supply of state-of-the-art weaponry to Ukrainian troops would increase the chance of liberating the Donbass region from Russian control.

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