Farklı bir liderlik tipi

CGTN / Radhika Desai

Başkan Joe Biden Amerika Birleşik Devletleri’ni (ABD) yeniden Paris Anlaşması’na döndürmüş olabilir ama bu iddia edilen çok taraflılığın yenilenmesi Trump’ın Çin’e karşı “yeni Soğuk Savaş”ının daha sert bir uygulanmasıyla birlikte yapılıyor. ABD ve Çin’in dünyanın iki büyük ekonomisi ve yeşil teknolojilerdeki liderleri olduğu dikkate alınırsa, ABD’nin bu tür kavgacı tutumları dünyanın iklim değişikliğini idare edilebilir sınırlarda tutma gücünü tehdit ediyor.

Biden yönetiminin insan hakları ve Taiwan konusundaki tümüyle gereksiz savaş tehditlerini akıllıca göz ardı eden Çin Cumhurbaşkanı Xi, ABD İklim Temsilcisi John Kerry’nin son Shanghai ziyaretini bir başarı haline getirdi ve Başkan Biden’ın Dünya Günü’ndeki Liderler İklim Zirvesi’ne katıldı.

Batı medyasına göre, Biden’ın zirvesi ABD’nin dünya liderliğine göre dönüşünün işaretini veriyor. Ama o hayati önemdeki iklim sürecini kesinlikle nereye doğru götürüyor?

Click here to read the full article on CRI Türkçe

Radhika Desai : «L’Algérie a été parmi les principaux pays anti-impérialistes»

Mohsen Abdelmoumen : Vous avez écrit le livre Révolutions (Tiers-Monde). Pensez-vous que le moment est venu de mettre fin à ce système capitaliste mortifère ?

Radhika Desai : Le livre Révolutions est né d’une conférence que le groupe de recherche en économie géopolitique, que je dirige, a organisée en 2019. L’idée était de marquer le centenaire de la révolution russe, la première révolution mondiale contre le capitalisme et l’impérialisme.

Pour nous, c’était très important car, comme vous le savez, les révolutions ont jusqu’à présent eu lieu dans les régions les plus pauvres du monde, et non dans ses foyers impérialistes, comme l’avaient prévu les intellectuels de la Deuxième Internationale. En conséquence, la tradition marxiste occidentale, avec laquelle nous devons traiter, a eu tendance à réagir à ces révolutions avec au mieux de l’incompréhension, au pire de la condamnation. La raison principale est qu’ils n’ont jamais été capables de comprendre que Marx et Engels, et leurs meilleurs disciples, avaient compris que le capitalisme et l’impérialisme sont inséparables et que l’avancée du socialisme prendra nécessairement une forme anti-impérialiste également.

Mon propre essai pour ce volume souligne que ce manque de compréhension a beaucoup à voir avec l’abandon de l’analyse de Marx du capitalisme en tant que production de valeur contradictoire en faveur d’une tentative de faire entrer le marxisme dans le cadre de l’économie néoclassique. Cette raison intellectuelle, combinée aux avantages matériels que les classes ouvrières occidentales ont tirés de l’impérialisme, a rendu le marxisme occidental particulièrement imperméable à la compréhension de la centralité théorique et historique de l’impérialisme dans le capitalisme.

Click here to read the full interview on algeriepatriotique.

Beyond the Dollar Creditocracy: A Geopolitical Economy

Understanding of the dollar’s world role is dominated by the ideas of ‘dollar hegemony’ and ‘US hegemony’. In this paper, based on our extensive past work, we reveal how these ideas are ideologies, not theories. In their place, we reveal an understanding one that is theoretically sound and accords with the historical record, a geopolitical economy of the international monetary system of modern capitalism. We begin with a theoretical outline of how money operates under capitalism. We then consider how capitalism needs world money and, at the same time, makes its stable functioning difficult. We then go on to trace the fundamental instability of the modern international monetary systems based on national currencies of dominant countries, from the gold standard to the current volatile and predatory dollar-centred system, and their close connection to short-term and speculative.

Click here to read the full paper.

NATO: Common budget without common purpose?

As NATO leaders gather in Brussels, U.S. President Joe Biden’s “America is Back” approach is expected to revive the alliance former U.S. President Donald Trump had dismissed as “obsolete” and demoralized by demanding members fulfill their never- hitherto-enforced obligation to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense, even upping the demand to 4 percent. About then, French President Emmanuel Macron also proclaimed the alliance “brain dead.”

However, for all the pomp and circumstance about America being, in President Biden’s words, being “back at the table” and “back at leading the world,” his foreign policy has continued in much the same groove as his predecessor’s. So can he really revive NATO?

The 2021 summit is expected to adopt a new “strategic concept” to replace that of 2010. Preparatory documents reveal that, inevitably, with Biden waging Trump’s New Cold War against China just as zealously, China will feature prominently.

Indeed, we can expect the summit to reveal just how central NATO is to Biden’s strategy for the New Cold War. President Biden’s trip to Europe was supposed to signal U.S. commitment to its allies. However, the allies are not his end but his means. He means to rally them in his “alliance of democracies” against the perceived threat of China.

Although, Biden has elected not to harangue NATO allies about increasing military spending to 2 percent, part of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s ideas for the new strategic concept focused critically on China appears to involve increasing the alliance’s common budget to enhance joint military capabilities by investing “more” and “better.” The figure of $20 billion over 10 years has been discussed. Most European countries are balking. French Defense Minister Florence Parly asked why this money should be taken away from already strained budgets for unspecified purposes. A larger common budget should ideally reflect a larger common purpose. However, NATO has never been less united.

Click here to read the full article on CGTN.

Why U.S. liberal democratic governance is dysfunctional

President Biden is taking his “‘democracies’ against China” show to the London Group of Seven (G7) Summit. His agenda, set out in his op-ed piece in the Washington Post, was to convince fellow Western leaders that the U.S. can “both meet the challenges and deter the threats of this new age.” Biden wants to lead “democracies” against China on practically every major issue, from COVID-19 to climate change, to offer “a high-standard alternative to China for upgrading physical, digital and health infrastructure,” unite against “autocrats” on AI and ensure that “democracies,” “not China or anyone else, write the 21st-century rules around trade and technology.”

Can the “democracies” of which President Biden speaks bear the weight he is putting on them? Certainly, his own is in a parlous state, and so is its governance. 

What U.S. democracy professes to be and what it is are two different, if not opposite, things. The official story is that with universal franchise and competing political parties, people get the government and governance they want.

However, like its Western counterparts, the U.S. political system is a liberal democracy, an originally liberal representative system to which a certain democratic element is a late and limited add-on. Originally, capitalist societies had liberal representative governments for which only propertied men could vote. Only struggling working men and women in trade unions, political movements and political parties, turned it into a liberal democracy in the limited sense that the franchise was extended to widening circles and eventually encompassing the adult population.

Click here to read the full article on CGTN.

The inflation debate is about class

With U.S. core inflation rising past the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target last week, last year’s great inflation debate was reignited. Of the several fronts along which it has raged – Is inflation a real worry? Is it necessarily bad? Will there be a new era of inflation? Have government stimuli caused it? – the debate is most fiercely, and also misleadingly, waged on the Federal Reserve front.  

Last August, the U.S. central bank announced it would continue low-interest rates and asset purchases under Quantitative Easing (Q.E.) even if inflation overshot the 2 percent target. Inflation hawks like Larry Summers fear a 1970s scenario when the Federal Reserve could not contain inflation, whether through inattention or incomprehension.  

Only with the 1979 “Volcker Shock” jacking up interest rates to eye-watering levels – the Federal Funds Rate hit 18 percent at one point – did it decrease. Inflation doves by contrast, support the new Federal Reserve policy. The Volcker Shock is not to be repeated: It led to the deep early 1980s recession that inaugurated the deindustrialization of the U.S.  

This debate is undoubtedly about class. While no one benefits from very high or hyperinflation, mild inflation typically accompanies robust economic activity and increased employment. Inflation-intolerant policies, while ensuring that wealth does not lose its value, tend to raise unemployment, penalizing working people. The problem with the debate is that it is not about Federal Reserve policy. That is determined not so much by levels of inflation or unemployment as the financial sector needs.  

Click here to read the full article on CGTN.

The decay of U.S. democracy

President Biden has promised a Summit of Democracies during his first year in office. It will aim to shift his China policy from inconvenient trade disruptions to the high-minded plane of democracy and human rights, rope in the US allies to bolster an otherwise weakening effort and weaponized democracy in a new way. It will no longer be just a pretext for military actions abroad but also make the defence of democracy at home – against ‘Russian interference,’ ‘Chinese propaganda’ and the like – a security issue. Expect bonanzas for the military-industrial complex, particularly its information/disinformation technology companies. 

The idea could not have been worse timed: U.S. democracy’s fortunes, sinking for decades now, have sunk to a new low, as the Black Lives Matter protests, the demeaning 2020 U.S. elections, the contestation of its results and the invasion of the Capitol Hill show. No wonder we read in The New York Times that many in Biden’s own administration would prefer to ‘hold a democracy summit at home – one focused on “injustice and inequality” in the United States, including issues like voting rights and disinformation.’

The decay of U.S. democracy is easily outlined. Abraham Lincoln famously defined Democracy as the “rule of the people, by the people and for the people.” How well does U.S. democracy fare by these three standards?

Is U.S. democracy the rule of the people? Wealthy and credentialed elite dominates U.S. elected institutions. A majority of the current Congress members are millionaires and are led by the richest among them. Considering the wealth of many long-serving members, serving in Congress can be lucrative. No wonder resentment against the U.S. political establishment seethed over and carried Trump to the White House. 

Click here to read the full article on CGTN.

‘Biden leads again,’ but where to?

President Biden may have returned the U.S. to the Paris Agreement but this alleged renewal of multilateralism goes hand in hand with much harsher pursuit of Trump’s “new Cold War” against China. Given the U.S. and China’s centrality to the climate effort as the world’s two largest economies and leaders in green technologies, such U.S. belligerence threatens the world’s ability to keep climate change within manageable limits.

Sagaciously overlooking the Biden administration’s entirely gratuitous saber-rattling on human rights and Taiwan, President Xi made U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry’s recent visit to Shanghai a success and participated in President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate on the Earth Day.

According to the Western media, Biden’s summit signals the U.S.’s return to world leadership. But where exactly is he leading the existentially important climate process? \

Click here to read the full article on CGTN.

Kerry visit confirms undertow of U.S. aggression towards China

U.S. climate envoy, John Kerry, arrived in Shanghai on April 14 laden with expectations of millions who supported President Joe Biden because he promised a cooperative approach to dealing with global problems like climate change. 

“The Longer Telegram” (TLT), a foreign policy document published by the Atlantic Council, reinforced these hopes, proposing that the Biden administration approach China by carefully distinguishing U.S. “red lines” from less critical areas and even demarcating climate change as an area of cooperation. The NATO-related think tank’s commitment to Henry Kissinger-style realism, a worldview focused on the realities of power, also appeared refreshing after the unhinged militarism and unilateralism of the last two decades.

However, a powerful undertow appears to be pulling the U.S. towards an aggressive China stance. The TLT approach was already falling apart at the high-level U.S.-China talks in Alaska. Although Secretary of State Antony Blinken practically quoted TLT when he said that the U.S.’s China stance will be “cooperative when it should be, collaborative where it can be and adversarial only when it must be,” the talks broke down in acrimony. 

Now, even before Kerry stepped foot in China, the aggressive slip was showing below the realist skirts. 

Read the full article on CGTN.

Capitalism & Geopolitics

In this episode of Sweater Weather, Radhika Desai joins to discuss capitalism, geopolitics, the pandemic and more. Watch the full interview here.

How have neoliberal economies fared during the coronavirus crisis, compared to more planned economies? How does capitalism structure the geopolitics between states? What is the role of the US dollar? And as a bonus: we discuss the relationship of intellectuals to left politics, in reference to Prof. Desai’s first book, Intellectuals and Socialism (1994).