Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sunni/Shi'a, US/Russia

As sectarian violence makes headlines once again in the Middle East, the mainstream media still fails to outline its causes, which are ideological as well as religious, thereby distorting as well the increa-singly adversarial nature of the U.S./Russia relationship.

In terms of the Syrian conflict, the main reason behind the conservative Sunni Gulf monarchies’ determination to defeat an Alawite Shi’a president is that Assad’s Ba’ath Party regime is the only secular, progressive government in the Arab world. As such it is implacably opposed by Sunni regimes, not only in the name of fundamentalism, but also because of basic ideological differences.

When Iran is referred to as Syria’s main ally, it is strictly within the context of both being Shi’ite regimes. The public is allowed to forget that the mullahs came to power in Iran through revolution, in which socialist and communist forces played a role. (In a way, what is occurring in the Arab Spring is that progressives have been willing to give the Muslim Brotherhood a chance at leader-ship because of its long-standing history of social activism.)

Similarly, though it goes unnoticed due to lack of commentary by the media, the fact that Putin’s capitalism recognizes the social legacy of Com-munism, (and should therefore be described as a particular form of social democracy in which a strong president keeps oligarchs in line), probably accounts as much as oil or seaports for Russia’s support for both Iran and Syria. From regular watching of the Russian English language news channel, RT, it is obvious that although the Com-munist regime is over and done with, its suc-cessors have not thrown the baby out with the bath water. Vladimir Putin’s media outlet to the world promotes a form of capitalism that emphasis simple pleasures rather than mindless accumu-lation of ‘stuff’.

Together with the other BRICS countries, it not only condemns interference in the internal affairs of countries (a holdover from the Soviet Union), but wars of aggression across the board. As the U.S. considers five options outlined by its top military man General Dempsey, that have as much to do with Syria’s ideological orientation as with its lack of ‘democracy’, Russia continues to campaign for talks rather than an escalation of the conflict.

The same ideological inspiration can be seen in RT’s relentless coverage of America’s sorry state, that goes beyond power politics.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Keeping Your Brother, Losing Syria to Al Qaeda

The latest McCarthyite innovation of the U.S. government is a series of directives to its employees telling the how to be on the look-out for present or future whistle-blowers. Administration officials want government workers trained to report suspicious actions of their colleagues based on the lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors – like financial troubles, odd working hours or unexplained travel – of co-workers as a way to predict whether they might do “harm to the United States.”

Security investigations can be launched when government employees showing “indicators of insider threat behavior” are reported by co-workers, according to previously undisclosed administration documents obtained by McClatchy. (//www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/07/09/196211/linchpin-for-obamas-plan-to-predict.html#.Uel7ehY9DR3#storylink=cpy) Investigations also can be triggered when “suspicious user behavior” is detected by computer network monitoring and reported to “insider threat personnel.”

Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed that the PRISM program that allows all kinds of spying on American citizens as they go about their daily lives is nothing like the infamous STASI of the former East Germany. She’s right: the STASI didn’t have anything like the sophisticated tools Obama has.

And just as the STASI couldn’t prevent the Communist regime from eventually crumbling, America’s version of ‘you are your brother’s keeper’ hasn’t stopped Al Qaeda from being in a position to soon announce the creation of an Islamist state in Northern Syria.

Or the initiatives being taken by Syria’s Kurds that could eventually upset the status quo in the Kurdish regions of Iraq, Iran and Turkey, allowing this Iranian people of 30 million to finally have its own state, wreccking havoc in the four states where they have been minorities.






Friday, July 19, 2013

Three Musketeers Against Goliath

RT’s Sophia Shevardnadze interviews Russian specialist Professor Stephen F. Cohen today about the fall-out from the Snowden case in U.S.-Russia relations. Cutting to the chase, Cohen compared the American public’s response to the Pentagon papers with what is happening today: polls indicate that about half of Americans accept to be spied upon if that will keep their children safe from terrorists, whereas in the seventies, reaction to Daniel Ellsberg’s leaking of Vietnam War documents turned the country against that war.

Bradley Manning faces life in prison for supposedly aiding the enemy by revealing past American misdeeds, Julian Assange is threatened with arrest for publishing his leaks if he sets foot outside the Ecuadoran embassy in London, and Edward Snowden is stuck in a transit no-man’s land in  Moscow facing the same charges. These three muske-teers are being hounded for exposing government wrong-doing that has cost thousands of lives as ‘the West’ crusades against terrorists and a select list of ‘dictators’ around the world.

Last Monday France 24 aired an interview with an exiled Syrian journalist who is operating a radio program for Syrians (Radio Rozana) financed by the French government. Lina Chawaf described the conditions under which she worked while still in Syria. Her private television channel was only allowed to broadcast non-political programs, and when she went to work for another channel, government minders pressured her regularly to broadcast the Assad line. Threats, veiled and otherwise eventually motivated her to leave the country.

Americans have been conditioned to condemn curtailment of press freedom in one-party states. But, call me a trouble-maker, I have a hard time seeing these situations as qualitatively different from what increasingly goes on in the United States. Granted, journalists may not receive daily threats from the FBI or the CIA, but for decades they’ve known what they can and cannot say if they want to keep their high-paying jobs, and now, new laws allow the government to jail them on the pretext that talking to sources equals aiding the enemy. Chris Hedges and several other prominent journalists just lost a law suit against these scary tactics.

In case anyone thinks activists are exaggerating the gravity of the situation, the recent death of an investigative American journalist in an automobile accident that may have been caused by a cyber attack (http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/transportation/cars/journalist-michael-hastings-body-cremated-authorities-against-familys#) should give pause. The day before his death, Michael Hastings emailed friends that he was going to have to “go off the radar for a bit” because he was on to an important story. His body was returned to his family in an urn, and no one has been allowed to examine the car that suddenly burst into flames on a Los Angeles street. Aside from the more sophisticated means employed, is this incident qualitatively different from the assassination, say, of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya a few years ago in the elevator of her apartment building?

We can expect such deaths to multiply, given the stakes for the American system and the electronic tools it has perfected. For background read Tomdispatch’s July  14th Surveillance Blowback The Making of the U.S. Surveillance State, 1898-2020  By Alfred W. McCoy, then tell me whether journalists and whistle-blowers should be prosecuted.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Making the World Safe for ‘Democracy’

In an interview this morning with France 24, the new Egyptian Minister for Trade and Industry Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, corrected the impression given by another member of the government that Egypt was no longer interested in an IMF loan since Saudi Arabia is poneying up $12 billion to ease the economic crisis in that country.  A couple of days ago  another prominent Egyptian, the former Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, said the same thing in a televised interview. Repeated use of the phrases ‘rule of law’, ‘democracy’, ‘transparency’ etc. echo the American claim that by its enlightened policies (which sometimes, regrettably, involve the use of force), it is making the world more democratic.

Woodrow Wilson famously coined the expression ‘making the world safe for democracy’ to justify American inter-vention in the First World War. The idea behind Liberal Internationalism was that deeper economic ties favor peace by creating a middle class interested in having a voice in governance. A century after the creation of the ill-fated League of Nations, in what could be described as an up-dated version of a fairy tale, force is increasingly being used to create regimes based on that supposition.

Because the capitalist system that accompanies liberal democracy has become more powerful than any government, that process is not about enabling larger groups of citizens to have a voice in the decision-making process, but about the capture of ever larger areas of world economic activity by multi-national corporations and international finance. The masses of people increasingly left without a public voice have realized that they have no other alternative but to take to the streets as part of an effort to create more genuine forms of democracy.








Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Future EU Agreements with Israel Won’t Apply to Territories

This morning I received this story that ran in Ha'aretz:

The European Union has published a binding directive to all 28 member states forbidding any funding, cooperation, awarding of scholarships, research funds or prizes to anyone residing in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The regulation, which goes into effect on Friday, requires that any agreement or contract signed by an EU country with Israel include a clause stating that the settlements are not part of the State of Israel and therefore are not part of the agreement.

Jerusalem says decree will make it impossible to sign accords with Brussels without recognizing in writing that West Bank settlements are not part of Israel.

A senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the new ruling, which was published on June 30, as an « earthquake. »

« This is the first time such an official, explicit directive has been published by the European Union bodies, » the senior official said. « Until today there were understandings and quiet agreements that the Union does not work beyond the Green Line [the pre-1967-war border]; now this has become a formal, binding policy. »

The official noted that the significance of the regulation is both practical and political: From now on, if the Israeli government wants to sign agreements with the European Union or one of its member states, it will have to recognize in writing that the West Bank settlements are not part of Israel.

In the Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry there is great tension and anxiety over the new regulation and its implications for Israeli-EU relations. The efforts of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin to stop the move have all failed. Senior EU officials say they would like to hold talks with Israel concerning the new directive, but since it will go into effect by the end of this week, the chance of its being amended is extremely slim.

« We will have to decide what to do from this day forward, » a senior Israeli official said. « We are not ready to sign on this clause in our agreements with the European Union. We can say this to the Europeans, but the result could be a halt to all cooperation in economics, science, culture, sports and academia. This would cause severe damage to Israel. »

The new directive was published by the European Commission, which is the executive branch of the European Union. The ruling determines the parameters for cooperation between the Union, along with its member states, and Israeli private and governmental entities between 2014 and 2020.

The most significant part of the directive is its « territorial clause, » which for the first time will appear as a binding rule on all agreements between the European Union and Israel. The new clause determines the areas in Israel that are entitled to cooperation with the Union, and those that are not. The territorial clause determines that all agreements will be valid only within Israeli borders recognized by the European Union, meaning the borders prior to the 1967 Six-Day War.

The new directive forbids any cooperation by European Union members with private or governmental bodies located beyond the Green Line. It allows cooperation with Israeli government offices in East Jerusalem, such as the Justice Ministry, but only if the activities themselves are carried out within the 1967 borders.

EU: ‘Prevents boycott of Israel’

Senior European officials briefed the Israeli delegation to the European Union in Brussels about the new directive immediately after it was published, and offered to discuss how it would be implemented in pending agreements.

Thus, for example, the new regulation is already in force in negotiations between Israel and the European Union over the EuroMed Youth agreement, which deals with joint youth projects, conventions, classes and exchanges of delegations. EU negotiators told Israeli representatives that the EuroMed Youth agreement must include the ‘territorial clause’ spelling out that the pact can only be implemented within the Green Line.

EU officials said the new rules were drawn up as a result of the decision by European foreign ministers last December, which stated that « all agreements between the State of Israel and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967. »

The EU delegation is Israel further noted: « The guidelines are also in conformity with the EU’s longstanding position that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and with the non-recognition by the EU of Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied territories, irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law. »

The new rules are intended to prevent a boycott against Israel, and to enable Israel to cooperate in EU projects and benefit from the funding they bring, the delegation pointed out. The European Union « wants to be sure that Israel’s participation is not put in question so that Israel will be in a position to make use of all possibilities offered by the new financial framework, » the delegation stated.



Sunday, July 14, 2013


Yesterday I tweeted that the justice system must have known the outcome of the trial in advance, otherwise why would they have put the word out that they were ‘bracing for violence’?

But even more disturbing were the Sunday talk shows: you could hardly slip a piece of tissue paper between the words of Benjamin Jealous and Peggy a, so reluctant is the commentariat to roil the waters.  While RT reported on thousands participating overnight in demonstrations against the verdict, the American channels referred to ‘hundreds’.  In my relatively laid back city of Philadelphia, not one but two demonstrations are announced for this afternoon.

My money is on no federal action on this case, though I signed to petition to Attorney General Holder that appeared in my email this morning from Move.On and Benjamin Jealous (who apparently knew better than to refer to it in his TV appearance).

When it took police something like two months to arrest Zimmerman, it was clear he would not be convicted.  The prosecution, as several commentators pointed out on the last day of the trial, was weak, and somehow there was an agreement (?) to leave race out of the proceedings. Did they also leave out Trayvon’s conversations with his girl-friend as he was being stalked?  If so, why?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Snowden and Malala

Will the Edward Snowden affair mark the beginning of a new press paradigm in the United States?  For decades the American media has dutifully relayed the government line, renouncing its role of watchdog charged with exposing government wrong-doing.  Whistle-blowers in effect emerged to fill the void. In an unusual incident, when during a press briefing Washington accused Russia of ‘providing a platform’ for Edward Snowden by allowing him to meet with human rights activists in the transit area of a Moscow airport to launch his request for asylum, an Associated Press reporter pointed out that when a person is accused of a crime he does not lose his right to free speech.  Will we see more press independence as the Obama administration looks ever more like Hitler’s Germany?

As the United States increasingly behaves like the ‘rogue states’ it professes to combat, one week keeping a Presidential plane from European airspace, and the next affirming that Edward Snowden should have no right to defend himself against charges of treason, the grownups in the room are shaking their heads, forced to admit that the American government has taken a fatal turn toward fascist dictatorship. For those who cling to the hope that this is all a passing aberration, the latest revelation consists of detailed guidelines for government employees to denounce suspicious co-workers. I’m hoping that some historian of the Second World War will step up to the plate and educate us as to  the various methods by which Hitler subjugated his people as he turned against the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, we were privileged to witness the Pakistani student who was shot in the face by the Taliban for defending the right of girls to education, celebrating her sixteenth birthday with a stirring speech at the United Nations, affirming that “one girl, one book, one pen can change the world”. Malala was shepherded to her illustrious platform by none of the than former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who beamed in the background as the girl spoke with an assurance that belied her pink sari and headscarf.

Malala, I hope you will benefit from the same tenacity that helped you to recover from a terrifying ordeal as you  progress to a position of leadership. That you will not remain a creature of the Browns and the Obamas, but join with the Snowdens of this world, who know how superficial their goodwill gestures are, and what lies beneath them.









Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The U.S. Chooses Capitalist Muslims

Nothing about the Arab uprisings is crystal clear, however signs point to America’s preference for pro-capitalist religious groups over those that lean leftward.

A recent blog by the French activist Thierry Meyssan refers to conspiracy theories surrounding New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner’s Muslim wife, Huma Abedin, long-time Hillary Clinton associate.  Reading up on these accusations, I noticed that Ms Abedin, whose mother heads the women’s section of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim Sisterhood, has been defended by several major Republican figures, starting with John McCain, who unequivocally represent American capit-lism.

Though taking Meyssan’s convoluted assertions with a grain of salt, given the need for oil from an area long ruled by religion, it is not hard to believe that the United States took the practical decision to work with ‘moderate’ Muslims, that is pro-capitalist Muslims instead of trying to secularize them. American willingness to negotiate with the Afghan Taliban that is presently threatening to break our ties to President Karzai, our hitherto ally could not be  more eloquent. And this is just one example of an apparently incoherent Middle East policy.

Though Sunnis occasionally lean left, as was the case with Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party, leftist Muslims are usually found among Shi’as, such as the Iranian and Syrian governments.  Though Western media refer to the Iranian ‘Revolution’ of 1979, they avoid identifying it with its predecessors, the French, Russian Chinese or Cuban revolutions, all of which are associated with idea of equity.

In the case of Syria, the media never mentions that Assad’s is the only secular Arab regime, that its eduction system is modeled on the French (Syria having been a French protectorate before independence), that as under up-from-the-military-ranks dictator Saddam Hussein, women enjoy Western-style equality, from divorce to education to careers.

Whether or not Anthony Weiner’s wife is a closet Islamist or not, it is a fact that the U.S. first backed Morsi than decided to ditch him, perhaps fearing a change from the dependable policy vis a vis Israel of Mubarak. Similarly, the Egyptian military was trained in the United States (practicing Muslim General al-Sisi appearing to incarnate the ‘young dynamic’ ruler wished for by the secular opposi-tion group Tamarod...), and that responding to ‘calls from the people’ to topple rulers is right out of the US playbook.

And yet, military might cannot ensure a coherent American Middle East policy, given the myriad expediencies that cloud the region’s fundamental rivalries: secular vs. religious, Sunni vs. Shi’a, left vs. right, traditionalists vs. moderns, ‘democratizing’ Sunni’s represented by the Brotherhood vs. socializing Shi’a Alawites. We can expect more confusion in Washington as Tamarod groups gain momentum, via the internet, in Alawite Syria, Sunni Tunisia and Bahrain, which hosts the Sixth Fleet. As in Musliim Brotherhood Turkey, this phenomenon born in Egypt represents those who reject both religious rule and shopping malls.






Monday, July 8, 2013

It's No Longer About 'Development'

Ever since World War II and the long period of decolonization that followed, the world has been divided not only into two ideological camps, socialist and capitalist, but into two developmental categories, developed and under-develop-ed, with a country’s weight in the political arena directly tied to its level of development. As measurements became more refined, sub-categories have included developing and over-developed nations, but the World Bank and the IMF saw to it that most nations remained in their assigned place.

The Edward Snowden affair has not only exposed American spying on anyone electronic capabilities can reach, it has revealed the emergence of a new balance of power. In a finite world threatened by the specter of nine billion people aspiring to a Western standard of living, levels of development measured by Western standards are rapidly being abandoned for a different set of criteria: community and sufficiency as opposed to individualism and growth.

As with all watersheds, this one will go unnoticed for some time, but lack of press coverage should not prevent us from realizing that a page is turning: when Turkish youth and middle classes force their government to abandon Western gentrification of an ancient city (Constantinople/Istanbul); when Brazilian youth and middle classes force their Workers’ Party president to lower transport fares and back off spending millions on sports stadia; when Evo Morales declares Bolivia will be better off without an American Embassy and its World bank and IMF satellites - and even when the Muslim Brotherhood defends demo-cratic elections - you know you’re witnessing a tectonic shift in the world balance of power.

The so-called Third World no longer has to ‘catch up’ to the over-developed world in order to command the world stage: it is writing the new definition of modernity.



Obama Should Watch RT!

The ‘end user’ of the security state’s intelligence should also get information from Russia Today, Moscow’s English language channel. He might better realize the long-term significance of his decision to order Europe to close its airspace to the plane of a Latin American president. That initiative put the crowning touch on the transformation  of the continent once known as our ‘backyard’ into a world player. The process started fifty years ago, with the Cuban Revolution, and while Washington still clings to its embargo on the island, the rest of the continent appears to have reached a Cuban level of rejection of its American hegemon.

The largest Latin American country, Brazil, is also one of the BRICS - the group of fastest growing economies. RT revealed today that together with  China and Russia it has been the object of surveillance by the United States. (No doubt India and South Africa will be added to the list, courtesy of Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald.) The BRICS are only the biggest of a growing list of nations, large and small, that have different political systems but share a couple of basic ideas: war is bad, governments have responsibilities toward the many, and nothing is forever. President Obama should beware of his own administrations’s spin that dismisses the new international consensus.

It suggests that the 20th century is only now coming to an end, the teens ushering in a new era, as they did a century ago, when the Victorian Era didn't really end until the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Coincidentally, that period marked the beginning of America’s rise as the most powerful nation the world has ever known.  Although we entered its wars late, the American policy of isolation from the affairs of an ever squabbling Europe was gradually transformed into one of domination. After coming to Europe’s rescue for the second time in 1942, from benefactor we became its economic and military tutor, guaranteeing the existence of its post-war liberal half against so-called threats of takeover by the Soviet Union. When unexpectedly, the ‘monolith’ fell apart, we assumed it was our doing and that we could go on to bigger and better triumphs ad infinitum.

Twenty years later, a God-like United States dispenses both life and death electronically. But having failed to take into account the cumulative effect of our ever bolder actions on populations around the globe, as daily reporting by a tough, talented multi-lingual staff gathered by Moscow shows, the world has reached another watershed: the American century is ending.

Ironically, Europe’s status has changed in tandem: when in the fifties Coca-Cola was introduced in France, it was so indignantly rejected by a population raised on wine that the formula had to be changed, giving French Coke a slightly different taste. Today, although French farmers led by Jose Bove represent a significant anti-globalization force, thanks to decades-long initiatives like the Fulbright Program, which brings opinion makers to the United States to experience the superiority of the American Way of Life, the French elite has largely been co-opted.

France has been alternately ruled by an Americanized (but caviar-loving) left and a no less Americanized right that knows it cannot attack the welfare state. A similar situation exists throughout Western Europe, while Eastern Europe once liberated from Soviet domination has been more willing to scrap its protections. The 2008 economic disaster probably had as much to do with Washington’s determination to finish off a welfare system that increasingly reveals America’s shame as it did with greedy banksters. But petrified by the growing threat of Islamization, Europe now puts its faith in snooping and the war on terror, just as previously it acquiesced in a growing American military presence, complete with Pershing missiles, to forestall a Soviet onslaught.

The alacrity with which three European countries acceded to Washington’s demand to deny their airspace to President Morales’ plane right after learning they were being extensively spied on by the United States, is related to the start of negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which they hope will solve their unemployment problems without too many negative side-effects.  Delaying yet again a long-deferred adulthood, Europe has chosen to ignore the fact that in the twenty-first century, a finite planet calls for less trade and more self-reliance - as Bolivia’s president Evo Morales stated.






Thursday, July 4, 2013

Raining on our Parade - and Europe's

On this 237th anniversary of the adoption of the American Declaration of Independence from the British crown, the nations of Latin America have declared their indepen-dence from the United States.

The plane carrying Bolivian president Evo Morales home from a conference in Moscow saw its overflight permis-sions cancelled in mid-flight by France, Spain and Portugal, on American suspicions that Edward Snowden might be on board. Noting that no presidential plane has ever been denied airspace in the world since 1945, Latin American leaders have called a special meeting of their organization, UNASUR for tomorrow. (UNASUR includes virtually every Latin American country and is headquar-tered in Quito, Ecuador and Cochabamba, Bolivia, two countries considering granting asylum to Snowden....)

Meanwhile, France’s President Hollande reminded me of a childhood protest that amused my family when someone tickled me: “Stop it I like it!” France’s - and to a certain extent Europe’s - ‘street walker’ relationship to the United States belies affirmations of independence.  This particular instance of government kowtowing has infuriated all sides of the French political spectrum, who point out that France drafted the original Declaration of Human Rights. Lamely apologizing for ‘faulty intelligence’ about Morales’ plane, Hollande reacted to Snowden’s revelations of outrageous spying by the U.S. with an unconvincing call for the EU - also copiously spied upon - to delay the start of negotiations on the monumental transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) destined to replace NATO as America’s controlling organization in Europe.

The extent of U.S. spying on countries it touts as allies underlines the fact that the Cold War is not over but has simply gone underground. No European took seriously the Soviet Union’s references to a ‘Common European House’ under Gorbachev. Twenty some odd years later, Russia pipes gas to Europe and signs all manner of economic deals with individual countries ever less keen to support America’s wars in the Middle East (except for Syria). The monumental spy scandal involving a country, not an individual, mock America’s tireless assertions of morality and respect for international law, providing Russia with a golden opportunity to defend them.

Sadly, it is unlikely that this irrefutable proof of American duplicity will give Europe the spine to free itself and join the  movement of the most populous countries of the world toward independence from the American Empire.










Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Unraveling on Steroids

Unravelling on Steroids

I cannot remember any time when so many things have gone wrong for one country.  Anti-American energy is accelerating in so many places around the globe that it’s hard to keep up. Starting with the most recent event and working backwards:

- The US leaned on European allies to deny their airspace to the plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales home from a conference in Moscow.  The plane was forced to land in Vienna for fuel problems, and was searched for fugitive whistle-blower Edward Snowden. South American bigwigs like the Argentine president are calling for a special summit.

- The same European allies who denied airspace to Morales threatened to cancel a monumental free trade pact with the U.S. after learning they had been copiously spied upon by Washington’s security apparatus as much for economic reasons as terrorism.  Even EU headquarters in Brussels was bugged.

- Russia refuses to hand over Edward Snowden, allowing him to remain in a Moscow airport transit zone until he finds a safe haven.  They have no extradition treaty with the U.S. and if they did they would not comply because the U.S. has the death penalty.

- The Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi, representing the moderate Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, was ousted by a popular revolt that has been gathering steam for several weeks over ineffective governance.  The U.S. cannot withdraw support for the army, as required by legislation, because Egypt is too important to the safety of Israel.

- Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan bowed to countrywide demonstrations lasting several weeks in opposition to his plans to sacrifice a park in central Istanbul to build a mall and a replica of an army barracks, as part of his commitment to what we could call ‘financial urbanization’.

- Reports of atrocities committed by radical Islamists fighting Syria’s secular president Assad make Washington’s commitment to arm the Syrian rebels look increasingly rash.

- President Obama’s trip to three African countries provided foreign media with an opportunity to showcase Africa’s preference for Chinese-style investment that comes without preaching or economic conditionalities, the ultimate example of a worldwide trend away from U.S. hegemony.