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Highlighting news stories important to the Civic Republican
particularly those that are overlooked or little covered in the main media.
As the Chinese proverb tells us “May you live in interesting times”.
The way I read that is to say if you are witnessing great events, try to see it as a privilege not a sacrifice.
Of course a lot depends on whether you have a ring side seat or whether you are slugging it out in combat.
During this month all of us have witnessed three momentous events which reconfigure permanently the world order.
In my view when future historians look back on our times the events of June 2014 it will be seen as a turning point.
The world has been put on a new track. And we can only guess where it will lead.
Let me start with the momentous event which, thanks to our pathetic misinformation news media, you may not have heard about.
Bengt Saelensminde wrote about this in Moneyweek.
... while we’re busy navel gazing about our European trade bloc, we’re missing the bigger picture. Nobody seems to have noticed a giant new trade bloc taking shape in the Far East with ambitions to cover the entire continent of Asia.
This new trade bloc is likely to be four times the size of all the West put together, and it could even stretch into the continent of Europe itself, to the border of Greece.
Well, have you heard anything about this?
I think it’s about time we took a bit of notice.
The biggest trade bloc you’ve never heard of
The trading bloc I’m talking about is The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
It’s made up of China – which is the second-largest trading nation in the world – with Russia and four former Soviet states.
More interesting than those members, are some others – Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan – who were given observer status in 2010. The idea is that full membership might be offered to these countries in due course.
Closer to home, Turkey is one of the organisation’s ‘dialogue partners’ – meaning it apparently shares the bloc’s vision and wants to establish partnerships of mutual benefit.
... the SCO is very much a bloc based upon business.
In contrast, the EU increasingly resembles a bloc built upon welfare and political ambitions. The difference is stark. China and Russia emerged out of Marxism. Western ideals, based on Keynesianism and social dogma, don’t interest the emerging East.
For better or for worse, they’re clearly focused on trade and the vast political and strategic benefits it brings.
Second, and possibly most interestingly, the East is seeking a bigger share of global political influence.
It wants more seats at the table. Given that the international trade and welfare agencies are Western-focused, the emerging powers don’t feel like they are getting their fair dues.
I’m talking about all the UN institutions and the political/financial unions created following the second world war. Since then, the vast majority of power rests with the US and its allies.
America doesn’t want to let go, so the emerging East is looking to create their own supra-national institutions.
... a very plausible reason to grow the SCO. It’s about banging heads together.
“Align with us, and we can secure all of our interests… even where they clash with those of the mighty West!”
... The West’s days are numbered
... I’ve long harboured doubts about the longevity of the Western way – I think the West’s success is built on shaky, debt-soaked foundations.
Meanwhile, we’re seeing absolutely mind-blowing growth in the East. How long will the West be on top?
Bear in mind that the SCO is looking to enlarge its impact beyond China. Cross border deals are growing – especially in trades excluding the US dollar. This could lead to the USA having less global influence than it currently enjoys.
Nations of the East are increasing military capacity, too – ironically, often through deals with Western companies.
And yet, the West sits back and takes it easy. Why? I’ve often heard it said that the US holds all the trumps. That the likes of China hold far too many dollar reserves to ever want to rock the boat.
What tosh. China’s dollar reserves resemble a school child’s savings. Yes, it may be important to them right now, but in the grand scheme of things, no.
As China comes of age, it’ll soon have its own earnings capacity. In short course, it’ll be out-earning mum and dad – quite possibly in a brand new currency to boot.
So there you have it. The world map of economic power and alignment has shifted and there will be no turning back.
The west has been beholden to the libertarian political and economic agenda and we have squandered what we had.
The East has never been interested in Adam Smith and his abstract theories which have dominated the west for over two centuries. They see economies in practical terms of production and real investment.
Don’t get me wrong. I have enormous faith in the west as an economic and cultural driver.
But it is only this in spite of, not because of, the prevailing politics and economics.
We will come back but only when hard realities have been faced and a new political philosophy and a new political economics have emerged.
The present set of theoretical tools is worse than useless. This has been proven time and time again but we never learn.
This week the Jihadist organisation, ISIS, captured Mosul in Northern Iraq and is set to take more Iraqi cities.
People are stockpiling food in Baghdad in anticipation.
This is the first time that an Al Qaida inspired movement has acquired territory giving them a base to launch further offensives from.
The city came with a bounty of $450 million bounty lodged in its banks making the jihadists the richest terrorist group anywhere.
Other spoils are arms caches, amunition dumps, hospitals, administration set ups and everything you would expect to find in a major city,
The Iraqi army is disintegrating under the strain.
The control of most or all of Iraq with its wealth will provide the base for completing the task of overthrowing Assad in Syria. Assad seemed to be getting on top of the fighting but he now faces a much more formidable foe.
His allies in Iran are unlikely to help him much for their main concern will shift to maintaining the Shiite front in southern Iraq rather than throw any more aid at a lost cause.
With Syria under the jihadists, they will have a huge territory from which to operate from and will set up a Sunni Islamist state stretching from the Mediterranean to the borders with Iran.
This is the endgame of the venture began by the United States and Britain when they invaded Iraq on the pretext of being threatened by non-existent nuclear weapons.
It is the launch of a new world order where we will have to deal with a rich giant jihadist state in our midst.
And the west can do nothing having spent all its moral and political capital in the massive miscalculations it has made.
And let us not forget that the Taliban are the child of American and British policy in the 80s of trying to oust Russia from Afghanistan by supporting the mujahideen which became the Taliban.
And Saddam Hussein was created by the parallel American and British policy of backing him with military and commercial power because he was opposed to Iran.
The subsequent Iraq-Iran war cost millions of young Iraq and Iranian lives and the west must take the large share of responsibility for this. it will be generations before the scars on this on the people of Iran have healed if ever.
So to understand the reason why we now have the very strong possibility of a mighty jihadist state in our midst, you have to trace the causes back to the west.
If the west had left Russia to control Afghanistan in the 80s whatever the results of this they would probably have been relatively contained.
If the west had not embraced Saddam Hussein as a friend and ally, Iran and others would have contained his ambitions.
And the west would not be seen to be culpable - adrift without any moral authority.
And we would not have sacrificed young lives of our own - for nothing.
Some have seen this coming for some time.
But in the aftermath of the European elections it is difficult for many more to see how the EU can hang together in the medium term.
In Britain a conservative victory in 2015 (which is what I would bet on) will result in referendum which will very likely mean British withdrawal.
The conservatives are not fools and they can see this course of events would leave Labour and the Libdems and UKIP with nowhere to go.
The conservatives would be the dominant party for the foreseeable future.
In France, the anti-European Union feeling is palpable everywhere.
The French have seen their economy wrecked, their politics run from a foreign country, their currency given up and their national pride trashed by their own politicians.
The political beneficiary of this is the Front National whose performance in the presidential election of 2017 is the main issue the future hinges on.
The French have run out of patience. Fewer and fewer can see a future in Europe.
If either Britain or France left, the EU it could not survive in anything like its present form.
My own guess is that Germany would keep it going without Britain, France, Spain, Italy or Greece and it would become a union of Germany with East European states who would stay in and become part of a Greater Germany – the realisation of Hitler’s dream of a Reich incorporating the east of Europe with a frontier with Russia.
Personally, I am not alarmed by that, but we have to play our cards right in respect of Germany and Russia and frontier states like the Ukraine.
And we have to be in charge of our own destiny as a nation
Putting arms into the area and concluding pacts and sanctions as we have done is rank stupidity – the hallmark of British and American foreign strategic thinking for many decades.
We are now in a different world.
A page has been turned today.
Our leaders did not see any of it coming. They do not know what has happened in any clear way.
They will no doubt continue with the old mindset. They have nothing to offer.
They are sleepwalking into this new world order. We are adrift and we desparately need direction.
Nothing short of a revolution of the spirit of nations can put us on the right course.
May you live in interesting times.
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