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Subscription December 2017

Alfred McCoy - 2030: The End of U.S. Empire

It’s most likely historians will mark the War on Terror, declared by George W. Bush in 2001, as when the U.S. went into precipitous decline. The rapid military expansion into multiple countries was classic imperial overreach. The era of the U.S. as the sole superpower is drawing to a close. China is challenging U.S. global hegemony. And it is doing so primarily on the economic front. It lets Washington spend trillions on wars and the pricey weapons to fight them. China, in the meantime, is constructing long term economic partnerships and alliances with countries all over the world. It is also building up its military but will not risk a war with the U.S. China had a bad couple of centuries, but it’s back, big time. The trends all point to 2030 when China passes the U.S.

Eric Sirotkin - War or Peace in Korea

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. What can you say? They are lightweights fighting in the heavyweight division while the fate of possibly millions are at risk. Two heads of state trading taunts and insults back and forth like kids in a schoolyard. Trump declared that talking with North Korea is a “waste of time” and threatened to “totally destroy” that country by unleashing “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” On his trip to Asia he softened his line a bit by inviting North Korea to “come to the table” and “make a deal.” He then reverted to more saber-rattling. The U.S. military has been in South Korea since 1945. There is no peace treaty formally ending the 1950-53 Korean War. Maybe that would be a good place to start. Tensions must be defused. The alternative is catastrophic war.

Jason Stanley - How Propaganda Works

What is fascism? Michael Parenti, author and historian says, “Fascism historically has been used to secure the interests of large capitalist interests against the demands of popular democracy. Then and now, fascism has made irrational mass appeals in order to secure the rational ends of class domination.” Fascism flourishes in times of economic insecurity and cultural backlash. Opportunistic politicians offer up a platter of racism, xenophobia and hyper-nationalism. They stoke fear and resentment using simplistic slogans such as “Drain the Swamp” and “Build the Wall.” In the U.S. today, there is a whiff fascism in the air. Witness the march of white supremacists with torches held high in Charlottesville chanting “Blood and Soil,” an old Nazi slogan and “Jews Will Not Replace Us.” The president called them “very fine people.”

Noam Chomsky - Neoliberalism: An Accounting

Neoliberalism is an odd term when you think about it. It is hardly new and it is not particularly liberal. It has been a great economic success story-for the 1%. The detritus of neoliberalism litters the landscape from smashed unions to shredded safety nets, and deregulation of everything from airlines to banking to telecommunications. And how does one measure the human costs of shattered dreams and broken lives? The consequence? A backlash. Many working people are angry. Keep squeezing them and they will be prey for charlatans and demagogues who exploit their vulnerability and fear with scapegoating and false promises. As The Nation magazine observes, “Alongside growing economic inequality, we have suffered growing political inequality, with a Princeton study declaring that the influence of ordinary citizens on policy is ‘negligible.’ The United States,” The Nation says, is becoming “an oligarchy.”

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