The Looming U.S.-India Trade War

The Looming U.S.-India Trade War

All seems simpatico between New Delhi and Washington. But with the Trans-Pacific Partnership on the horizon, tensions between the two are certain to boil over.

If international relations were about cultivating personal chemistry, you might assume that the U.S.-India relationship has never been stronger. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington last September, full of warm and fuzzy moments and buoyed by a sense of bonhomie, suggested a growing camaraderie between the nations. Following closely on the heels of that meeting, President Barack Obama became the first sitting president in history to visit India twice, and the first to be named guest of honor at its Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2015.

But look past the veneer of chumminess, and you’ll see that the era of good feelings is likely to be short-lived, as simmering disputes between Washington and New Delhi retake their place at center stage. Among the most important are likely to be their vastly differing trade priorities, as each competes for a piece of the world market and plays a high-stakes game to ensure that its businesses and workers get a larger share of the pie.

One of the key sticking points is a trade disagreement that has now reached the dispute settlement body of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The United States alleges that India’s domestic procurement requirements for solar cells and modules violate WTO rules, which mandate fair and non-discriminatory access to both foreign and domestic firms, while India contends that the United States unfairly subsidizes its own solar technology manufacturers. Typically, a case under the dispute settlement body runs anywhere from a year to a year and a half, and the decision is binding for the losing party.

It’s difficult to see how India and the United States will find common ground on this issue. Obama has made it abundantly clear that one of his administration’s key goals is to create high-quality jobs by pushing U.S. exports and manufacturing in overseas markets. This was a central theme in the State of the Union address, which he delivered just before coming to India, and one he reiterated at a summit of American and Indian business leaders in New Delhi. Washington will not take kindly to being shut out of a large and growing market for solar technology in India, a key plank in Modi’s plan to increase the share of renewables in India’s energy mix.

For its part, the Indian government has made it very clear that promoting domestic manufacturing under the “Make in India” program is a cornerstone of its policy to jumpstart growth and generate millions of new jobs. For better or worse, domestic procurement rules are one of the time-tested tools that governments around the world use to even the competition for domestic manufacturers.

New Delhi and Washington’s positions seem downright irreconcilable. In fact, shortly after Obama’s visit, reports in India suggested that the state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation would soon put out bids for new solar projects, available only to domestic manufacturers. That’s unlikely to help resolve things.

But the solar dispute is only one piece of a much larger philosophical divide. An equally important, unresolved source of friction between India and the United States is their positions on intellectual property protection (IPP), and on the relationship of IPP and international trade agreements.

Large, deep-pocketed American pharmaceutical companies with powerful lobbies in Washington want India to strengthen its regulatory regime. For instance: they want India to extend patent protections to new drugs and not allow compulsory licensing, whereby makers of generic drugs are allowed to manufacture patented pharmaceuticals.

Here, India appears to have made a fairly major concession to the United States. Its long-standing position has been that IPP is a domestic matter, not one to be negotiated with trading partners. But during Modi’s visit to the United States last fall, India agreed to discuss its evolving IPP regime in a joint working group with U.S. experts. The report from those discussions has yet to be released, perhaps suggesting some difficulty in reaching a consensus.

On the other side of the fence, Indian generics manufacturers — the largest source of generics in the world — fear that they will lose much of their business if India adopts U.S.-style patent protection, which privileges the inventors of new drugs and limits availability of cheaper generic alternatives. What’s more, public health advocates and non-governmental organizations fear that moving to a tougher regime would raise the cost of life-saving drugs for those both in India and in developing countries that depend on its generics instead of the costly American originals.

The IPP issue resides at the heart of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement among 12 nations in the Asia Pacific accounting for 40 percent of world gross domestic product and one-third of world trade. Pointedly, the TPP includes neither China nor India.

If India remains outside the TPP — the likely outcome, as there is no indication that the original 12 wish to open up to potential new members until they have first struck a deal among themselves — India is likely to lose out on major market access. One study from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, a think tank, released in May 2014 finds that the TPP’s big winners would be countries like Japan, Korea and Malaysia. India, meanwhile, is likely to end up a loser, due to what economists call “trade diversion.” This occurs when a free trade area shifts production away from more efficient suppliers locked out of the agreement, to less efficient suppliers that are part of the agreement. This would hurt India. Its textile manufacturers, for example, worry that they will lose out on the lucrative U.S. market, in favor of suppliers in Vietnam, a TPP member.

Intellectual property regulations would be at the core of the TPP’s potential negative impacts on India. If India joined the TPP in the future, it would almost certainly have to replicate the patent regime built into the agreement. This would extend and worsen the difficulties India faces on pharmaceuticals into a range of sectors where trademark and copyright laws are important, including publishing, music, and film production — the TPP’s IPP regulations, after all, are more stringent. Another study, also by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in May 2014, concludes: “the costs of conforming to the TPP’s [intellectual property regime] Chapter are greater than any potential market access gains from joining the TPP.”

The TPP also includes a host of stringent labor and environment standards that India — and, for that matter, most emerging economies — would fail to meet. There’s no indication that the Modi government has any plans to cave on these standards, the adoption of which would seriously erode India’s competitiveness, anymore than it has shown any inclination to cave on climate change — yet another area where India and the United States remain at logger heads.

It’s very hard to see how the new-found friendship between Obama and Modi can resolve these tensions. Now that he’s unburdened by the need to win another election or help his party win, Obama is free to be as aggressive as he wishes in pursuing his policy agenda. In search of a legacy, bringing the TPP to fruition would be a feather in his cap, much as the India-US civil nuclear accord became a late foreign policy triumph for George W. Bush back in 2009.

Obama’s State of the Union was quite striking for the strength of its rhetoric. Indeed, when it comes to the rules of global commerce, he said: “We should write those rules.” This may play well in Peoria. But leaders of other major economies like India are unlikely to sit back and accept dictation from Washington on how to run their own economies.

Saul Loeb / AFP

Fonte: Foreign Policy

Putin: Anything US touches turns into Libya or Iraq

RT – Obama: ‘We don’t have a strategy, yet’ – US & UK in ISIS response slow-mo

Pepe Eecobar: Obama’s ‘stupid stuff’ legacy

obama putin
By Pepe Escobar

But whether people see what’s happening in Ukraine, and Russia’s aggression towards its neighbors in the manner in which it’s financing and arming separatists; to what’s happened in Syria – the devastation that [President Bashar al-]Assad has wrought on his own people; to the failure in Iraq for Sunni and Shia and Kurd to compromise – although we’re trying to see if we can put together a government that actually can function; to ongoing terrorist threats; to what’s happening in Israel and Gaza – part of peoples’ concern is just the sense that around the world the old order isn’t holding and we’re not quite yet to where we need to be in terms of a new order that’s based on a set of different principles, that’s based on a sense of common humanity, that’s based on economies that work for all people.President Barack Obama

Looks like US President Barack Obama made a royal mess of what his mentor Dr Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski taught him. 

Dr Zbig always quotes Sir Halford John Mackinder’s three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy; to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals; to keep tributaries pliant and protected; and to keep the barbarians from coming together.

After dabbling briefly with “leading from behind” – a non-starter – Obama finally went Mackinderesque with his stellar “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” foreign policy doctrine.

Nevertheless, an always alert former secretary of state Hillary Clinton said “Don’t do Stupid Stuff” isn’t a “foreign policy organizing principle”. Yet “Stupid Stuff” is all that the Obama foreign policy team knows how to do.

Starting with Obama treating Russia under President Vladimir Putin the way Hillary’s husband treated Russia under vodka container Boris Yeltsin. Then came the decision – without any public debate – to start bombing Iraq all over again. And soon Syria. Bombs Away in Syraq!

So “protect” Yazidis, yes. Protect Gazans, no. “Protect” Kiev’s bunch of neo-Nazis, fascists and shady oligarchs, yes. Protect Russophones in Eastern Ukraine, no.

It all started with protecting Irbil – already protected by Sumerian goddess Ishtar for millennia. Then protecting Irbil and Baghdad. Then protecting all “strategic” sites in Iraq.

Retired General Carter Ham of AFRICOM/”We came, we saw, he died” fame, was adamant that it will be “very difficult” to pull off so much protecting with only a few fighter jets. So drones will be needed. And troops on the ground.

From protecting ExxonMobil and Chevron to double bombing in Syraq. No wonder the Return of the Living (Neo-Con) Dead are so excited. It’s the Greater Middle East all over again. And guess who will be part of the coalition of the willing to fight the Caliph? Britain, Australia, Turkey, Jordan and Gulf Cooperation Council stalwarts Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Almost the same bunch (five among seven) that enabled the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the first place, from “Assad must go” to “good” and “bad” jihadis, and finally to ISIS (now the Islamic State) configured as the sprawling abode – complete with flush private army – of Caliph Ibrahim.

And no, there’s no strategy. Hee haw!

Bye bye petrodollar
Now let’s see the dividends of “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” as applied to Ukraine.

Back to the Mackinderesque Dr Zbig. Some vassals – the usual NATO/GCC suspects, but not all of them – may still believe they profit from “security dependence”, while others remain nervously pliant and, in theory, feel “protected” by the Empire of Chaos.

But then the Empire of Chaos “encouraged” a de facto coup. And gave the green light for the new Kiev mob to do in Eastern Ukraine roughly what Israel does in Gaza. The idea in Ukraine was to bog down Russia in its western borderlands and cut off the economic/trade link between Russia and Germany. Cut Eurasia in half.

But then Obama launched a Cold War 2.0 that could easily turn hot. He destroyed the relationship with chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany and amplified the strategic embrace between the Bear and the Dragon, with the result that Beijing started paying less attention to the “pivoting to Asia” because now it enjoys even more backing from Moscow. Meanwhile, Moscow further stalls Washington’s advances in Central Asia.

Sanctions on Russia not only reinforce its internal market but also boost its foreign trade – way beyond European shores. Yet still it was not enough to totally sell out to Wall Street and totally wreck US foreign policy. With aides/advisors like National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Deputy National Security Advisor Benjamin Rhodes, US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who needs enemies?

Obama’s sanctions hysteria is leading the way to the progressive end of the US dollar as reserve currency, and the end of the petrodollar.

Witness this – the most important news of these last few months after the Russia-China “gas deal of the century”.

Obama is accelerating the now uncontrolled collapse of the Empire of Chaos. The new axis of the future – Beijing, Moscow, Berlin – is slowly but surely coming together. There’s nothing “barbarian” about them. And the bulk of the Global South supports them.

“The old order isn’t holding” – indeed. “The Caliph is evil. So I’m applying more sanctions on Russia.” How’s that for Empire management? Good boy. Now pivot. With yourself. And with no strategy.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

(Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

Fonte: Asia Times

 

TPP Unraveling? President Obama returns from East Asia empty-handed after Japan rejects bilateral agreement – but if the TPP moves forward, will it be in the interest of most Americans?

Vídeo

Fonte:

RT: Mutually Assured Destruction? The EU, US sanctions backfire threat (ft. Patrick Young)

Vídeo

Publicado em 17/03/2014
US President Barack Obama has ordered that sanctions be applied against 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials, the White House said. Earlier, the EU imposed sanctions against 21 officials after Crimea declared its independence. READ MORE: http://on.rt.com/al3dzv

Putin’s Demonizers

WEEKEND EDITION MARCH 14-16, 2014
Imagem
A Dangerous Ploy

Putin’s Demonizers

by ANDREW LEVINE

Democrats and Republicans are at each other’s throats most of the time.  There are many reasons why.  Fundamental philosophical or ideological differences are not among them.

This is not the accepted view.  The conventional wisdom has it that they adhere to different philosophies — that Democrats are liberals and Republicans are conservatives.  Maybe something like that was more or less true once upon a time.  Nowadays, the contention rings hollow.

For one thing, it gives Democrats and Republicans too much credit.  It also insults liberalism and conservatism.

Lately, the idea that Vladimir Putin is one of the “bad guys” has also become conventional wisdom; on this, Democrats and Republicans agree.  This is remarkable — not just because it is their custom to disagree, but also because it wasn’t long ago that the opposite was the case.

George W. Bush looked Vladimir Putin in the eye, beheld his soul, and saw that it was good.  Only unreconstructed Cold Warriors gainsaid him.  Now Hillary Clinton, echoing the media consensus, likens Putin to Hitler.  As every kindergartener knows, this is shorthand for evil incarnate.

On this, she speaks for the entire political establishment.

However real liberals and conservatives have no reason to demonize Russia’s leader.  Liberals should welcome him in under their capacious tent.   Conservatives should embrace him.

Nevertheless, Democrats and Republicans demonize him.

Since philosophical differences don’t explain this, there must be some other reason.  Could it be because Russia is the country Putin leads?

Neither Americans nor Europeans are genetically anti-Russian, and neither are they disposed to denigrate Russian culture.  But their political and economic elites are sensitive to any and all suggestions that the economic system from which they benefit is not, as it were, a blessing unto the nations.

This makes Russia a problem for them inasmuch as, even today, the conventional wisdom has it that Russia’s relation to capitalism is problematic.

Ironically, conservatism’s is too.  Liberalism’s is not.

Indeed, liberalism has been joined to capitalism from Day One.

Intimations of both emerged in the Netherlands and England as early as the sixteenth century, and the two developed almost in tandem — joined, before long, by capitalist centers in Western Europe and North America.

Early liberalism was, in effect, capitalism’s justifying theory.

Political philosophers have been advancing views of what liberalism is ever since, and liberal politics has assumed a wide variety of forms.

Still, in all its varieties, there is a common core.  As the name suggests, it has to do with liberty or freedom.   More precisely, it has to do with distinctively liberal views of this core value.

The conception of liberty to which liberals are most wedded, historically and conceptually, is individualistic and negative; individuals are free to the extent that they are free from coercive interferences.

This understanding sometimes melded into more positive conceptions, according to which individuals are free to the extent that they are able to do the things they want to do, and it has lately been joined to less individualistic understandings derived from seventeenth and eighteenth century (small-r) republican political theory.

The idea has also lent itself to a wide range of philosophical elaborations, bearing on notions of equality and justice and on other deep problems of moral philosophy.

But as a political doctrine, liberalism’s underlying emphases have remained fairly steady over the years: its focus is and always has been to minimize coercive, state interferences.

Liberalism is therefore a theory of limited government.  In earlier times, it opposed absolutist theories according to which the sovereign’s power is in principle unlimited.  It won that battle long ago.

It is therefore fair to say that except for a handful of unreconstructed devotees of defunct illiberal ideologies, everyone is a liberal nowadays.  Conservatives are liberals too.

In common parlance, illiberalism and “dictatorship” are sometimes conflated.  This is understandable, but it can also be misleading.

There are regimes in weak or failed states that have dictatorial characteristics, and there are political leaders who sometimes act “dictatorially.”

That is how our media now portray Vladimir Putin.   And it is how some Tea Partiers, exceptionally deluded ones, portray Barack Obama.

But regardless of the merit of these charges, the fact remains: where the sovereign’s power is restricted by enforceable laws, liberalism is all there is.  This holds for the United States, and it holds for Russia as well.

The first liberals were mainly concerned with commerce; their goal was to substitute the invisible hand of the market for the visible hand of the state, and to replace feudal property relations with a private property regime.

Liberalism’s old mercantile and feudal enemies are gone, but its doctrinal commitments remain.

“Libertarians” continue to echo positions taken by the first liberals; their faith in free markets and private property is unbounded.  Conventional wisdom places them in the conservative camp but, in reality, they are as liberals can be.

Mainstream liberals are less doctrinaire or, as conventional wisdom has it, more “pragmatic.”

That word too has philosophical roots that bear only a vague relation to how it is used in our political culture.  There, “pragmatic” just means “open-minded” or “flexible.”

In that sense, mainstream liberals generally are pragmatic.  Within the broad limits set by their overriding commitment to liberal principles, they are fine with whatever works.

Partly for this reason, they are not interested in promoting classical liberal economic doctrines.  A more important reason is that their main concerns are not economic at all.

They are advocates of tolerance, and all it implies.

This focus is hardly new.  It predates the French and American Revolutions.

Many factors combined to turn liberalism into a philosophy of tolerance.  The devastation brought on by the wars of religion that followed the Protestant Reformation was perhaps the most important.

The shift in emphasis has been so profound and its consequences so far-reaching that hardly anyone these days, outside libertarian circles, still thinks that economic and political liberties comprise a seamless web.

Indeed, mainstream liberals generally favor regulated markets and restrictions on property rights.  But, for them, these are only secondary concerns.  Their main interest lies in defending such rights and liberties as are elaborated in, say, the American Constitution’s Bill of Rights and in The Declaration of the Rights of Man.

If only to make their lives easier, political officials are constantly tempted to run roughshod over these protections.  But where the rule of law is maintained, there are limits to how far they can go.  This is true in Russia, it is true throughout the EU, and it is true in the United States as well.

Is Putin qualitatively worse than ordinary leaders of liberal states?  Is he worse than Obama?  The answer is of course, or so we are told.

After all, how could a graduate of the Harvard Law School and a teacher of Constitutional law at the University of Chicago be less liberal than a former official of the KGB?

But when the final reckoning comes, the obvious answer may not seem obvious anymore.

What has Putin done that is worse, from a liberal point of view, than putting the entire planet under 24/7 surveillance?  Has he ordered assassinations without any semblance of due process, the way Obama has?   Has he deported some two million people?  Has he protected kidnappers and torturers?

And then there is the Edward Snowden question, where the views of Obama et. al. on transparency and press freedom stand revealed, and where Putin has been on the side of the angels.

 

It is almost axiomatic that free expression is better protected in Obama’s America than in Russia today.  But is it true?  Compare America’s corporate media with RT (Russia Today) TV, the television service now derided as Putin’s propaganda network.

The level of commentary and analysis on RT is far superior, and the diversity of views is greater.   If that is what a propaganda network is like, then bring it on.

Putin is said to be violating international law in the Crimea.  This is surely a mark against his liberalism because support for the rule of law is central to liberal politics.

But, in this too, is he worse than Obama? At least he is not a serial offender.

Of course, Democrats are notoriously spineless, and also reluctant to stand up for liberal values when one of their own is in the White House.  So when the call goes out to demonize, they demonize.  No surprise there.

Were they better liberals, though, they would surely resist the call.  They might not be on Putin’s side in the Crimea, but they would have to regard him, at worst, as one of their own; one who has gone astray.  They would regard Obama that way too.

Then there are the conservatives.

At its most fundamental level, conservatism is a frame of mind that accords a high priority to conserving things as they are.  In much the way that liberals accord pride of place to the absence of state interference, conservatives value stability and order above all.

They are therefore change-averse, and they are especially loath to tamper with fundamental institutional arrangements.  Change is disruptive; the more radical the change, the more disruptive it is likely to be.

No doubt, this temperament is more widespread in Republican than Democratic ranks.

But as a full-fledged political philosophy, conservatism hardly exists in our political culture.  How could it when what we have to conserve is inherently destabilizing!

Since the dawn of the Christian era, conservative thinkers throughout Christendom have drawn upon theological notions, like the doctrine of Original Sin, that imply support for institutions that maintain order through political and moral coercion.

Because many of the first settlers in British North America were religious refugees, this strain of conservative thought has been a presence on the American scene from the time the first Europeans arrived.  But the situation evolved, and pre-Enlightened ways of thinking waned.

Indeed, the republic established in the aftermath of our War of Independence was liberal from birth, and its founding principles were those of the Enlightenment.

This is one reason why strains of thought that have anti-liberal implications have had a hard time taking hold.  Another is that we have no feudal past and therefore no historical memory of non-capitalist ways of life that enhance stability and order.

Capitalism, after all, is a revolutionary economic system; it overthrows and reconstructs everything it encounters.  As The Communist Manifesto famously proclaimed, under its aegis, “all that is solid melts into air.”

Conservatives today, real ones, live in capitalist societies and therefore accommodate to its destabilizing consequences.  But the tension can never be entirely overcome.

This is why our conservatives are, at best, only risible facsimiles of the genuine article.

Nevertheless, nearly all Republicans and alarmingly many Democrats call themselves “conservatives.”

They are not entirely wrong because there is at least one characteristic of authentic conservatism that they share with the real deal.

Contemporary conservatives are liberals; everyone is.  But liberals on the self-identified liberal side of the liberal consensus, the ones who take tolerance more seriously than what the libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick called “capitalist acts between consenting adults,” typically want the state to be as neutral as possible — not just towards competing religions and ways of life but towards all conceptions of the good that are in any way contentious.

For them, the state’s role is not to promote particular conceptions of the good, but rather to treat competing conceptions fairly.

Conservatives, on the other hand, genuine ones, are still true, or true as they still can be in modern pluralistic societies, to particular conceptions of the good; conceptions that accord with their underlying philosophical commitments.

Liberals have conceptions of the good too, of course; but they regard them as matters of individual conscience only.  Conservatives are inclined to want to use state power to promote the conceptions they favor.

Our self-styled conservatives are like them in this respect.

But is this not what Putin is accused of by those who call him a dictator?  And, for that matter, are not the conceptions of the good that Putin is charged with wanting to promote basically the same as the ones his demonizers uphold?

To hear Republicans and Democrats tell it, Putin is running the show for reactionary Russian clerics – either for opportunistic reasons or because he believes their gobbledegook or both.  But why is that a problem for American politicians, especially for the self-styled conservatives among them?  Apart from theological niceties of no political significance, our home grown theocrats are on the same page.

Real conservatives should therefore embrace Putin, not vilify him; and not just for his purported pre-Enlightenment sympathies.

Being pessimists about human nature, real conservatives tend to favor authoritarian political styles and hardheaded, realist diplomacy.  They like strong leaders, and despise floundering, clueless moralizers – like the ones now making foreign policy in the United States.

They have a point:  liberal internationalists – humanitarian interventionists especially – are more dangerous.

But, then, why demonize Putin for being the kind of leader real conservatives admire?

It was telling that one of the less fatuous attendees at the recently concluded Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington effectively, though grudgingly, agreed.

Rudolph Giuliani took his turn disparaging Obama by praising Putin’s leadership.  Instead of muddling along like Obama from one situation to another, Putin, Giuliani pointed out, knows where he is going.

Like other great conservative leaders of the past – Charles de Gaulle comes immediately to mind – Putin approaches politics and diplomacy like a game of chess, envisioning the larger situation and anticipating the right move several steps ahead.

And so, when it suits his purpose, he will bail Obama out, as he did when he had backed himself into a corner from which, without Putin’s intervention, he would have gotten the United States bogged down in Syria’s civil war – to the detriment of everyone involved.

Or, when doing so is in his interest, he can prevail over the American president, notwithstanding the fact that the United States has a stronger hand to play.

Under the true conservative tent, there is evidently still room for a kind of greatness that is lacking in the liberal wing of the larger liberal fold.

Greatness, but not goodness.  On this, as on almost everything else, George W. Bush was wrong.  Hillary Clinton is wrong too.

Putin is the closest approximation the world now has to the great conservative leaders of the past.  Conservatives should appreciate this about him.  But the gap between real conservatives and the self-styled ones around us is extreme; they might as well be different species.

Still, though, the question remains: why is Putin demonized?

I would venture that the fact that Putin is the leader of Russia has more than a little to do with it.

Even in what Gore Vidal aptly called the United States of Amnesia, it registers at some level that, a century ago, Russians moved history forward; that they broke free from the capitalist system.

The Communists who led the Russian Revolution then went on to organize and oversee the construction of a historically unprecedented, ostensibly socialist, order.  It was a valiant effort – undertaken in an economically backward country and in the face of the relentless opposition of far stronger enemies.

Tragically, what they concocted turned out to be a mixed blessing at best.  Seven decades later, it all fell apart.

But Communism – in Russia, and then in Eastern Europe and China — was a living presence throughout much of the twentieth century; its effects on politics and reflections on politics were profound.

Even in a country and at a time when Republican-leaning states and regions are described as “red,” the memory of Communism lingers at some level.

Putin is no less pro-capitalist than anyone else in the liberal fold, and he is as fine a conservative leader as one can be in today’s world.

The east –the Russian part as much as the Chinese – is no longer even remotely red (except perhaps in the sense that Republicans are), but the memory persists in our collective consciousness.

And so, when a Russian leader becomes an obstacle in America’s way, the empire strikes back.  Step one is to vilify the leader.  And if there is anything our foreign policy establishment and our compliant corporate media are good at, vilification tops the list.

Demonizing Putin may be useful in the short run to the empire’s “bipartisan” stewards.

But, they are dealing with someone more formidable than themselves, and they are getting in over their heads.  It is a cynical and dangerous ploy from which incalculable harm could follow.

ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What’s Wrong With the Opium of the People. He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park.  He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

Fonte:Counterpunch

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/14/putins-demonizers/#.UyMjREdNMSM.facebook