Tag Archives: Politics

3724 – Confusing Ways

Whatever that was in yesterday’s image, the library or not, this is definitely the library of our new University of Economics and Business.

Looks slightly confusing? Well, a good match for today’s rant. Let’s get started:

Syria is a predominantly muslim country with substantial Christian minorities. Different factions of muslims are present, a Sunni majority (as in Saudi Arabia), a Shiha minority (as in Iran), a small minority of Alawites (dominant nowhere, but also present in Turkey). Suprisingly the ruling class is dominantly Alawite and so is the family of president Bashar al-Assad. There are other small muslim factions and all sorts of Chritian churches. Syria has been a melting pot since long before the Roman Empire. It has been contested between ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, ancient Persia, ancient Greece, ancient Rome, ancient Parthia, ancient Byzance, early Islam, European crusaders, medieval Turkey, the Brits and … well, I may have forgotten a few.

Today Syria is contested again. The Ba’athist regime traditionally had close ties to the Soviet Union, and today Russia is still on their side. It’s a natural alliance, because the US have always sided with Israel, and for the Russians, Syria is their only ally in the Mediterranean offering them a Navy base.

Israel is, of course, party in the conflict, but not openly. A few bombs here, a sortie there, but other than that they seem to strive for a low profile.

Turkey, traditionally on good terms with Israel, has lost Syria when the Ottoman Empire went belly-up after World War I. An increasingly dictatorial Turkish government seems to mingle in the conflict in interesting ways. On one side the oil produced and sold by ISIS was clearly sold via Turkey, and Turkey seems to also have provided weapons and support to the so-called Islamic State. There may be some ideological overlap between the ruling Turkish party AKP and militant Islam, but there is also Erdogan’s hate agains the Kurds, an ethnic group spread out over Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. On the other side Turkey pays lip service to their NATO partners, who officially fight ISIS, and therefore Turkey officially fights ISIS as well.

The Kurds see the weakness of Iraq and Syria as a chance to achieve factual autonomy (if not complete independence), and although there are competeing Kurdish factions, they are one of the major forces against radiacl Islam. The US and Turkey are in close alliance, but while the Turks bomb the Kurds, the US most of the time support them. Everybody else, Europe included, bows before the Dictator in Turkey and calls them Terrorists.

The Russians play a pretty open game, they support Assad. They also leave the Kurds alone, because an independent Kurdish region in Syria is a fact and it does not seem to hurt Assad, to the contrary, at least for the moment both, the Kurds and the government, have a common enemy, the Islamic State and all the other “moderate” rebels.

The US game is largely opaque as Israel’s. World politics drives them to support their most dire enemies, the radical muslim factions, the offspring of Al-Quaida. Basically the West sides with those who send their killers into our cities, and all that is done in the name of fighting Terrorism.

Turkey also claims to fight Terrorism. They have been stung by a few terror attacks lately, and when they don’t accuse Erdogan’s former ally, the preacher Muhammet Fethullah Gülen and his so-called “movement”, they of course accuse the Kurds. The latest twist is, that Erdogan warns against a union of Kurdish “Terrorists” in Syria and ISIS, a rather bizarre idea, but in a country with tight control of the Internet, in a country where simple opposition against the increasingly authoritarian government is declared “Terrorism” by law, even bizarre twists of reality seem presentable to an indoctrinated people. Remember how the Jews invented both Capitalism and Communism in an attack against the Aryan race? Well, it’s that kind of logic we see at work here.

Basically the Syrian crisis is an overlay of two conflicts. The larger conflict is one between the US and Russia. It was triggered by “NATO expansion”, the “US-sponsored” coup in Ukraine and the Russian reaction, also known as “aggression”, in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. You can subscribe to any of those “truths”, but unless you’re privy to secret information only available from US and Russian secret services, there is no way to decide but to choose a belief.

The second and smaller-scale conflict is that between the traditional rivals for middle eastern dominance, namely Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran. All of them sometimes side with or behind the scenes cooperate with Israel. All but Iran, Israel included, hate Assad with a passion. They do so for different reasons, but they do.

Confusing? You bet.

3721 – Divergence

In a comment Juha wrote

I listened on radio Elisabeth Rehn (former high-ranking UN human rights official) discuss what is happening in Aleppo, comparing it to what happened in Rwanda, Srebrenica and Sarajevo.

“This will never happen again” usually means it will happen again and again. Terrible times.

Well, I didn’t know Elisabeth Rehn even by name, but from her Wikipedia page it is very likely that she knows what she talks about and what Juha heard. Having been Minister of Defence under a conservative government in a country, that has long had a stressed relationship with Russia, that does not make her seem neutral though. Do I trust her? Can I trust her? Do I trust anybody? Can I trust anybody?

Actually I’d be happy if I could rely on anyone to thruthfully tell us what’s happening in Aleppo. Or elsewhere. Anything could be true. Or not. Anything could be a conspiracy theory. Or not. The problem with conspiracy theories is, that some of them turn out to be actually true. Basically all of what Snowden revealed was deep in the territory of conspiracy theories. Now it’s confirmed as true and his adversaries don’t even deny it. How’s that for proof?

What really happens in Aleppo and why? The Russians seem to have won it for the government. Nobody in the West seems to like that. I see western media collectively (like “with one voice”) blame the Russians and the Syrian government for fighting the very organization that instructs its members to drive trucks here in Europe into assemblies of innocent people. Our media and our politicians blame them for winning against the very organization that prides itself of beheading western journalists. How crazy is that?

People die, and that’s a tragedy, but who is responsible? I hear of evacuation buses having been blown up, but seemingly not by the government and not by the Russians. Who was evacuated anyway? I constantly read of moderate rebels and civilians. “The last rebels and civilians have left eastern Aleppo”, they say. Does that mean, the regular Syrian troops have taken a ghost town? All civilians gone? We read of around 40,000 people, around 7,000 rebels and their families.

If I search, I find a Reuters story from December 1, 2016, claiming around 200,000 people in the enclave. In my book that makes roughly 40,000 enemies of the regime, who were allowed to get away, and roughly 160,000 who now most likely celebrate their freedom from those who used them as human shields. Or not? The media don’t tell us. It does not fit into the official narrative. You find information if you look for it, but it is not what is constantly shoved down your throat. If you just skim the news, you get a totally distorted picture.

I hear of a Russian ambassador being shot by a Turkish policeman using typically islamist phrases and claiming “revenge for Aleppo”. What game is Turkey playing? Are they in line with their NATO partners? Do they play their own game? Meanwhile we have to read articles like this. It didn’t stay undisputed, but still, Kuntzman’s article is in one league with the worst of Nazi propaganda, and I find it extremely irritating, that a major newspaper publishes that kind of smut.

But this is only a symptom. I see world politics again completely overshadowing a local conflict, just like it was “normal” during the Cold War, but while Vietnam was lost for Capitalism by the US military, it was won for humanity by US journalists.

That age is gone. Since Gulf War One we have “embedded journalists”, who see what the propaganda machine wants them to see.

Whom can you trust? That’s the fundamental question of our time.

Again, I don’t want to question what Elisabeth Rehn said on radio. I haven’t even heard it, I don’t know what it was. I just have a hard time trusting anybody today.

I’d be much more happy if we’d have something like unquestionable facts again. Authorities to believe in. Politicians who actually earn their money.

And if we can’t have that, if there is nothing “unquestionable” (which truly there is not and truly there should not be, if you think about it), then I’d like to have us agree upon probabilities and temporary axioms.

Let’s agree on the single fact that we can’t exactly tell what facts are, but that we can pretty well tell what, based on evidence, likely facts could be, at least until one of our axioms turns out to not hold true. Let’s agree on axioms and their temporary nature. Let’s agree on an evidence-based method of looking at the world and what’s happening in it. Let’s agree on a complete ban of “Lying to the Public for the Greater Good”. Let’s agree on completely tolerating beliefs, but never basing our politics on them.

What we see at the moment, is the complete opposite though. Different propaganda machines blaming their respective Goldsteins. 1984 and Forever War. We’ve truly had times of greater hope in our pasts.

3269 – Old Industry

This is how people used to work. Those people were our parents. Things used to change and they changed fast, but it was not in any way comparable to the crazy speed we move on today.

When industrialization began, we saw many of the same extremes we see now with the follies of globalized capitalism. Things changed slow enough to allow for adaption though. The abuse of workers was met by self-organization in the form of unions, and in many parts of the world a kind of social equilibrium was reached.

Globalization changes all that. Multi-national enterprises can evade all rules, the nation states are powerless to enforce what could guarantee welfare.

What do the nation states? They sign free-trade treaties that further codify their irrelevance and formally hand all power over to the multies.

What could the nation states do? They could use the power of international treaties – to reign in the power of globalized multi-nationals. After all, the power of globalized corporations is to blackmail the nation state by threatening to go elsewhere. That’s what treaties should really be about: making an end to corporate blackmail by ensuring that there is no “elsewhere”, that there are equal conditions everywhere.

3267 – The Incomprehensible

Remember those crazy girls who wanted to go to Syria in order to marry Holy Warriers? People in the forums called for the concept of thought crime and for pre-crime punishment and that didn’t go down well with me. The concept of thought crime is destined to be abused in arbitrary ways, and pre-crime detection (or even punishment!) is a completely sick idea. Which does not mean it’s not successful among security-minded politicians and unscrupolous demagogues, but that’s another topic.

What exactly did those girls want to do? They wanted to take a trip down to Syria to marry bearded young men fighting for the IS, bear their children, cook for them. Seemingly they did not want to kill anybody, although one of them seems to have had one of the recent killing videos on her mobile. Nasty indeed.

I am well aware of the fact that what the girls did is perfectly fulfilling the definition of “Support of a terrorist organization”, a crime that has been invented only recently. The concept of “Support” is so loosely defined, that the girls certainly broke the law. No need to discuss that.

While it is clear that they intended to support people fighting for the IS, let’s call them terrorists, by marrying them (which many comments quite rightly called an incredibly stupid idea for a girl, but that’s another matter as well), they did not actually do something. Well, they did. They tried to make a trip to Syria. Had they chosen Switzerland, it would have been perfectly OK.

Had they intended to marry US soldiers, it would also have been OK, although the IS will have to be on a killing spree for quite a while to reach the numbers of deaths that the US and their “Coalition of the Willing” have caused on their battle fields in recent years.

Sure, the US are a recognized country and the IS is not. Sure, the US army is a recognized army and the IS is branded a terrorist organization, but it is also clear that this is only a matter of definition.

Menachem Begin was a terrorist long befor he received the Nobel Prize for Peace, Mandela was regarded a terrorist and I suppose so was Ghandi. The word “Terrorism” is completely meaningless now, or if how it is used means anything at all, it means everything that our governments don’t like. Just confer to the recent attempts at labeling environmentalists and Occupy protesters as “Terrorists”.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything positive to be said about the Islamic State. Their weapon of choice is a sick, violent barbarism, but I see very good reasons for their attractiveness to many and for their wide success in the region.

Cutting off the heads of innocents is barbarian, but from the point of view of someone who has seen hundreds of thousands of mostly innocent compatriots die or fall in misery, people whom he went to school with, parents, children, lovers, friends, the beheadings may look much less barbarian, maybe even like rightful revenge.

My point is, once a person has experienced enough violence through unprovoked bombs in a war he didn’t cause or wish for, in a war that was forced upon him by recklessly criminal politicians of another country, by politiciancs who will never be held accountable for their deeds, by politicians who abused him as a scapegoat in a game that he does not understand and never could or would actively play, once that line is crossed, the resulting bitterness must destroy even the most peaceful attitude.

This is a conflict that the US have conjured up and that can only get more crazy the less its victims have to lose. It is a conflict that can only spread and that will invariably reach the US as it now is beginning to reach the EU. It is a conflict that has already changed our own attitudes and our own culture, a conflict that has already taken away much of our own freedom. Just look at what it meant to fly fifteen years ago and what it means now. This conflict is insanity fueled perpetually. It has to be stopped.

Can I imagine a way out of that mess? Can I imagine the US led “Coalition” backing out of the Middle East? Can I imagine ever seeing peace in that region?

Well, whatever is done, pumping more weapons into the conflict will not end it. Using factions in these wars against each other will not cause any decisive victory. The recent loss of cartloads of weapons by US-trained fighters to those they were intended to fight impressively proves it.

Does this mean abandoning Israel? No, of course not. It just means stop messing around in countries where the US and the EU have no business. For all means let’s make sure Israel stays a safe haven for the Jews in the world. We just need to stop “bringing freedom” to the world by bombing its peoples.

I mean, really, Irak was a totalitarian state and so was Syria and so was Lybia. But still, can anyone pretend that people there are better off now than with their corrupt, petty dictators? The whole notion is totally absurd and disgustingly colonialist.

What does that mean? The damage is already done. There is not much left to plunder – except oil, but oil is past its peak anyway. We need to get out of oil as much as we need to stop meddling with oil-producing countries. There is no reason but oil to support Saudi Arabia, one of the most backward tyrannies in the world, one of the most violent enemies of democracy and free speech, one of the most important financers of terrorism.

Only by getting out of oil we will gain the independence that will finally allow us the do the right thing, to stop waging wars in other people’s countries. It does not mean to completely stop supporting right causes and fighting against injustice, it does not mean to stop giving humanitarian help and giving shelter to refugees, but it means to act what we pretend. It means to fight for freedom, not for oil.

I’ve already said we need to protect Israel, at least as much as it needs protection. Sad as it is, the Arabian world will have to ultimately battle it out. We are their problem, we can’t be their solution. It may well be that a real Islamic State arises, but when I look at the history of Arab countries and all their attempts at a pan-Arabian union, the IS may as well fall apart. Most likely it only exists while we fight it anyway.

We will have to watch closely, support wisely, help graciously, wait patiently. And still, with all the carnage past, there is no guarantee. There can only be hope.

3266 – Morning At The Ferry

Imagine for a moment living a normal life in some medium-sized country. You are not rich, certainly not by first world standards, but you get along. Your dictator does not bother you, your kids go to school, your mother gets her insulin, war has been over for ten years, things seem to get better or at least not worse. It’s the only life you have and you have decided it’s good.

Then something strange happens. Some idiots fly planes into skyscrapers, somewhere in a city that you only know from TV. It has no connection to you or to anybody you know, even your dictator did not do it or support it, but for some insane reasons you get punished for it. Your country gets bombed, your dictator killed (good riddance at least), your country gets occupied, insulin (just like other medication) gets incredibly expensive. Your mother dies, your two surviving kids have no school any more and you hunger.

Would you feel justly treated? Or would you probably applaud an uprising, led by people from your own culture and religion, people who promise to throw out the occupants and their puppet regime?

Or, say you live in a country that for some years has experienced the worst drought in recorded history. For the last 42 years your country has been formally at war with a neighboring country, but at your age of 35 years you can’t remember anything but peace. Your dictator does not bother you, and although you are not rich, your country’s economy is rising.

Then one big super-power, a long-standing ally of that neighboring country, decides to bully every other country on this planet into grave economic sanctions against you. Additionally they support rebels against your government, incite a war in your country, all with the aim of forcing you to overthrow your own government.

Due to the sanctions your economy breaks down, your factories have to close because of a lack of raw materials and spare parts. The health system goes down the drain, hunger and poverty plague millions of internal refugees.

Who would you think is right? The super-power with its politics that you don’t understand, acting like an alien god without mercy? Your own government, increasingly brutal and desperate, trying to stay in power? Or maybe a new “State” that arises from the turmoil and seems to be surprisingly successful?

You can call this post “Support of a terrorist organization”, but it is not. It’s a challenge to think outside of your convenient place in a safe country and show a little empathy. How does it feel?

3265 – Croatian Night

I’ve read two articles recently, both about the IS, both on the website of a newspaper allowing for comments, and both made me wonder.

The first article was about a man getting sentenced to four years for recruiting IS fighters among Chechnyan refugees in Austria and transporting them to Syria. Everybody agreed that this man’s actions were obviously going too far. So do I. Less did I agree with all the hate and blind rage in the forums.

The second article was about the case of two girls, 16 and 17 or something like that, both from Chechnyan origin. I believe they came to Austria at an age of about four. Both are devout believers and both have had something like an online wedding via Skype with some guys fighting in Syria for the Islamic state.

The girls had intended to travel to Syria and either didn’t make it out of Austria or were caught in Turkey and returned. They were sentenced to 12 and 14 months each and put on probation for three years. The crime in question was “Support of a terrorist organization”.

The general tone of the comments to this second article disturbed me, I joined the conversation and soon found it even more disturbing. Here’s why:

Most of the comments found the sentences much too mild. Many called for at least five years without probation, best followed by life-long psychiatric treatment.

Someone stated that everybody even sympathizing with the IS should be incarcerated for at least one year.

Someone else asked “Would you really let (potential) IS barbarians in Austria get away unchallenged“?

Would you really let (potential) killers in Austria get away unchallenged?
Would you really let (potential) rapists in Austria get away unchallenged?
Would you really let (potential) bankrobbers in Austria get away unchallenged?
Would you really let (potential) shoplifters in Austria get away unchallenged?
Would you really let (potential) music pirates in Austria get away unchallenged?
Would you really let (potential) agitators in Austria get away unchallenged?
Would you really let (potential) dissidents in Austria get away unchallenged?

I am perfectly capable of doing all that. At every moment civilized society is only one step away from my violence getting unleashed. Would you let me get away with that? Or yourself, if you think about it?

3264 – Croatian Sunsets

We’ve seen furious ad hominem attacks on Yanis Varoufakis, and of course he was unprepared for that.

Well, I wonder how the new leader of British Labour, Jeremy Corbyn, will and can do. I’ve seen an interview with him on Channel 4, and actually I was shocked about how aggressive the interviewer was and how obvious his agenda. It was pretty disgusting and reminded me of Nazi “judges” at the “Volksgerichtshof”. But then, nobody can say that Corbyn did not know what to expect.

Still, it is unclear if any person could withstand a concerted attack of the mainstream media. We’ve seen in Italy how mighty a media monopoly can be, and how an obvious criminal can use the media to attack political enemies and to thwart all attempts to bring him to justice.

Cameron is not Berlusconi and Corbyn is not opposed by a media monopoly, but still, the media are in the hands of rich people. There is no conspiracy, but then, no conspiracy is necessary either. A concerted action would arise simply out of common interest.

Could Corbyn survive even until 2020, the time of the next general elections in the UK? Can any political leader stay in power and still oppose the real powers in this world? Corbyn wants to reign in corporate tax evasion and he wants to get rid of the UK’s nuclear weapons. Neither will be in the interest of the US.

The question is, can any person have a completely clean browsing history? No inconvenient and exploitable secrets? And even if so, governments and secret services have all means necessary to plant false evidence on everybody’s computer. If they want to present Corbyn as a child pornography consumer, they can do that.

So again, in our current surveillance state, in our sick travesty of democracy, in this nightmare of uncontrolled and uncontrollable secret services, secret courts and secret laws, is it even thinkable that a politician makes real decisions based on real facts? Honestly, I admire those who still try.

3263 – Croatian Ways

We’ll be having elections in Vienna on October 11. Of course FPÖ, our right-wing populist party, the former party of late Jörg Haider, now led by some blue-eyed clone named Heinz Christian Strache, profits from the recent wave of refugees.

There is hardly anything disgusting that they don’t try (how about Facebook campaigns against corporations and organizations helping refugees?), but immoral behavior does not seem to disqualify them in the eyes of a large part of the general public.

There is nothing wrong at all in Vienna, but for some reason the newspapers seem to be in a frenzy. Nobody wants Strache in government (nobody in his right mind wanted Hitler either), but everybody seems to be fascinated by the idea, that Strache could win the elections and “take Vienna”.

Even the idea causes me nightmares. The last time this party was in government, we ended up with a series of completely incompetent ministers and wide-spread corruption. The courts are still busy. Nevertheless people seem to fail recognizing continuity.

Vienna currently is the stable tower, the mighty fortress of the Social Democrats (SPÖ), a party that has ruled Vienna since after World War II. At the moment they are in a coalition with the Green party and that’s what I’ll vote again. Green can only go with Red, and the stronger Green is, the more likely it is, that Red can only go with Green. Seems to be a safer bet than voting Red 🙂

If Vienna really falls, the repercussions would likely tear SPÖ apart. The result would unfailingly be another coalition of Conservatives and Far Right, just as we had it in 2000, only this time it would be a much longer night of corruption, austerity for the poor and lower taxes for the rich.

But then, I still hope that there is an upper limit to stupidity 🙂

3262 – Wood, Rocks And A Bar At The Sea

It’s Sunday evening while I write this. I’ve just read the news: SYRIZA has again won the elections in Greece. I wonder what this could mean and if, after Tsipras’ defeat in June (or was it July?) there could be any effect at all, regardless of the outcome of elections.

Today or yesterday I’ve also read another comment about Greece. I can’t remember the newspaper, most likely it was the Austrian “Der Standard“, but like in so many comments the blame for everything that went wrong in Greece was put on Yanis Varoufakis.

I can’t hear it any more, it’s so stupid. Fact is, Varoufakis was outstandingly competent for the job, but what he said, although logically correct, was not what his peers wanted to hear. I guess exactly the same principle was at work, that a study from Duke University just described, namely that humans tend to deny a problem when they don’t like the solution. You’ve invested in oil or coal? Simply deny climate change! You’re opposed to a cut of Greece’s debt? Just pretend that another credit of a hundred billion Euros will magically fix the preoblem! I really grow tired of seeing so many decisions (in politics as well as in business) based on ideology and not on facts.

But let’s get back to Greece. Tsipras seems to have won his bet. SYRIZA is first, the left splinter group seems to have failed entirely, and although he’ll need a coalition, he will have at least one or two options.

But then? I think his biggest problem is, that he has lost every degree of freedom. He tried to negotiate a better and socially more acceptable deal than the conservative governments before, he failed, gave in, and I can’t see any further option.

If, on the other hand, we ignore the outcome of the elections and assume a victory for Nea Dimokratia, the traditional party of the old oligarchy, how could that have been a change? Therefore I suppose SYRIZA is regarded the best option in an election without real choice. At least they try to put up a fight.

All in all it looks real bad for democracy, with only one bright spot: at least the Nazis of “Golden Dawn” did not take over. It’s bad enough that they’re in third place again.

3235 – Crossing Borders

Europe’s southern and south-eastern borders are beleaguered by refugees from the Middle East and from Africa. The most common reaction is xenophobia and a political shift to the right, but of course the right won’t solve the problem either. Neither will the proto-nazis. They only try to channel public frustration, try to increase the fear and to turn that into cheap political advantage.

In fact the problem can’t be solved by the right at all and it can’t be solved by capitalism, the eternal sponsor of the right. It is a problem of capitalism itself.

Some argue there has always been migration. We don’t know exactly what caused the massive migrational waves that finally brought down the mighty Roman Empire of the west, but there was without a doubt pressure from the east. Maybe it were already the Huns, who reached western Europe in the fifth century, maybe it were some unknown precursors. It does not make a difference, we see the pattern all through history.

From time to time, every few centuries, the saturated and sophisticated empires of the Middle East and Europe were overrun by central-Asian warriors, seemingly living on the backs of their horses, mighty experts of sword and bow. Huns, Mongolians, Turks, most came, destroyed, plundered and then vanished again, having over-stretched their ressources, having expanded their territories far over their capacities. They could conquer, but most were unable to permanently occupy. Still, some stayed. The Hungarians and the Turks are good examples. In any case the Germanic and the Slavic movements seem to have been caused by pressure from the east, maybe amplified by famines due to bad harvests.

There are also earlier examples, examples from different parts of the world, and obviously none of these phenomenons were caused by capitalism. So why insisting on a role of capitalism at all? This needs some more explanation, so I beg you to bear with me.

The root-cause of all migration is that, for one reason or another, people in some part of the world live a miserable life, and at some point the need to escape their wretched condition is so great, that they see no other way than to leave behind their homeland, the graves of their families, their languages, their customs, their history. They become refugees.

All through history people have fled natural disasters, wars and plagues, and they have always turned to the fabled lands where rich merchants had come from, to the rich lands that were the equals of today’s Europe, of today’s North America.

Did the Romans cause the Huns to force the Germanic tribes turn westward, against their own borders? Obviously not. Neither did the Emperor of Byzance cause the Turkish onslought on his empire. Something outside of their known world had happened, something likely never written down or at least long lost in history. Egypt, Mesopotamia, Rome, Byzance, they occupied isolated parts of the world. Their world was open, it’s ultimate borders unknown. Cause and effect were not yet necessarily linked together.

All that has changed. Our world is a known entity, no white areas exist on the maps of our age. The enormous expansion of European empires from late Renaissance on has unified the world – and divided it. Columbus came to Hispaniola and soon began slaughtering and enslaving the people he found. Cortez tumbled the Aztec empire, Pizarro destroyed that of the Incas, they and the whole of Africa were conquered and enslaved.

Basically the beginnings of modern capitalism can be seen in high-mediaval Venice and the trade that was established with the temporarily re-conquered Holy Land. The Templars were early bankers. The Spanish and Portuguese conquests were capitalist ventures, financed by a banking system, and the British conquest of India was a private venture as well.

The world is not infinite, and at some point in time the whole of it had been conquered. Naturally shares got re-shuffled. The Spanish and Portuguese yielded to England and France, and much later, from the ashes of two world wars in the last century, rose the United States and the Soviet Union as the two dominant world powers. The Soviets failed, capitalism triumphed, and here we are: in a small, densely populated, highly interconnected world where no more a cause can stay without effect, where the chickens always come home to roost.

In history it is almost always impossible to find the origin of a conflict or of a phenomenon like migration. One of the most popular narratives, trying to explain the mess we’re in, begins with the CIA-supported coup against Mohammad Mosaddegh, the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran. When he tried to nationalize the oil industry, he confronted the capitalist interests of the UK and the USA. He, a strong supporter of a secular democracy, was replaced by Shah Reza Pahlevi, a willing tool of the USA, a totalitarian dictator, a suppressor of his people.

When in the late 1970s the people of Iran tried to get rid of him, where should they have turned to? The USA? Europe? Ridiculous, because these were the powers that had destroyed their democracy and replaced it with a fascist dictatorship. The Soviet Union and Communism? It could have went that way and that would have caused an entirely different conflict, but it didn’t. They turned to a religious leader. Instead of seeking recourse in communism, they sought it in their own traditions, in their own culture. They invented Political Islam.

Iran was important for the US and the West. It bordered on the Soviet Union, it had natural ressources that the West wanted to fuel its own industries and not that of the Soviets, thus losing Iran came hard. Since then, everything the US do in that region makes the situation only worse.

In the 1980s the US supported their buddy Saddam Hussein, a primitive dictator who could be turned into a weapon against Iran. He failed though. More than a million people were killed in eight years, but Iran stood against Iraq, and Saddam, deep in financial struggle, turned to a seemingly easier victim: Kuweit.

Suddenly friendship was over, Saddam turned into the “New Hitler” (a fate shared with almost everybody whom the Americans have disliked over the last 70 years; Putin is the current “New Hitler”). In order to fight Saddam, the US moved massive troops into the Gulf region, into the Holy Lands of Islam.

At that point the fanatic islamist warriers that the US had recruited from all over the Islamic world, financed, equipped and supported against the Soviets in Afghanistan, turned against those who had thought to control them. The age of islamist terror had begun.

But that is not all. There were some old allies of the Soviets in the region, the Assads and the Gaddafis, and the US had tried for ages to overturn them. Assad’s Syria was always under a strong protection of the Soviet Union and later Russia, and Gaddafi was popular, rich and independent.

Once again, already after their traumatic experience with 9/11 and the nightmare in Iraq, the US tried to use Islamists. Once again it worked – in a way. Lybia has been turned from a stable and rich country into the complete chaos of a failed state. Northern Iraq and parts of Syria have mutated into an “Islamic State”, an entity that seems to draw ist esteem from cruel beheadings of scientists, photographers, journalists, doctors and foreign workers.

Capitalism? Really?

Well, ultimately yes. We live in an interconnected world where only one political dogma is left, namely the natural dominance of capitalism. “Socialist” is a dirty word now, communism is dead. This is a capitalist world, a world shaped by the excesses of private enterprise, a world where the idea of regulation by a state borders on blasphemy. We live in a world where the dominating power insists that “There Is No Alternative”.

Well, there are no excuses either. Mosaddegh was unseated by the CIA, but the CIA was only the tool. Big Oil was the driving force. Korea and Vietnam? Greece and Chile? Every coup in South America? Big Capital’s fear of communism.

The US system of politics has made it almost impossible for anybody but the rich and their puppets to advance to any position of power. US foreign politics and US wars have been, are and will be for the interests of the rich.

But let’s take a step back. Does that mean the US are the original “Evil Empire”, its people sucking blood from the world? Far from that. The US are just in control of the dominant military force on the planet, and they themselves are controlled by the dominant social class on this planet, the rich.

The US military is a tool and so are US media. These tools are used by a comparatively small group of extremely influential and mighty people, partly in the US, partly in the other centers of financial dominance. Those people are no secret order. They are just a bunch of egoists struggling for control and power, everyone against every other, and at the same time in always shifting alliances. It’s the chaotic rule of self-interest, something that the apologets of capitalism (rightly so) deem its biggest strength.

The US are the tool, but the forces that control the US and their power are truly globalized like the economy that feeds them. US politics have long stopped to be in the interest of their population. Recently H-1B visa have been introduced, that allow big corporations to replace their US workforce by cheaper foreign workers, only increasing the effects of outsourcing. Some US politicians mime surprise now, but it is ridiculous as everybody knew it beforehand. And then it is shrugged off anyway because, you guess it, There Is No Alternative.

Here we are, that’s the situation. Nobody is in real control, the asylum is run by the inmates, and the only sure thing is, that the system known as capitalism wrecks the lives of more and more people on the peripheries of our world, makes them so miserable, that at one point they see no other way than to cross borders and become refugees.

Capitalism can’t solve that problem. Capitalism has created it. Capitalism has likely priced it in.

It’s about time to realize that there is always an alternative.