Two Roads Diverged in a Digital Wood

 

By now it’s no longer restricted to individual companies or even to the internet sector. It has spread across a wide range of products, services, and economic sectors, including insurance, retail, healthcare, finance, entertainment, education, transportation, and more, birthing whole new ecosystems of suppliers, producers, customers, market-makers, and market players. Nearly every product or service that begins with the word “smart” or “personalised”, every internet-enabled device, every “digital assistant”, is simply a supply-chain interface for the unobstructed flow of behavioural data on its way to predicting our futures in a surveillance economy.

– From the must read piece: ‘The Goal Is to Automate Us’: Welcome to the Age of Surveillance Capitalism

A lot of my content over the past couple of years has focused on the momentous geopolitical changes I see on the horizon, and this macro perspective reaches two significant conclusions. First, that the planet is moving away from a unipolar world dominated almost entirely by the U.S. toward a more multi-polar world. Second, that this fundamental shift in geopolitical landscape, coupled with what appears to be a forthcoming reckoning with the largest global debt bubble in human history, will lead to a once in a generation reset of the world economy and the global financial system that keeps it functioning. Continue reading

The ingredients for civil war

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Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the US Presidential Election and the Brexit win here in 2016 brought the social divisions of both countries to the fore.

James Bartholomew was quick to highlight the dangers of Britain’s new great divide. In a Spectator article after the EU referendum result, he showed how it had exposed a split Britain – geographically between city and country, and socio-economically between the haves and the have-nots; and one overarching divide: between the metropolitan elite and the rest.

Changes brought about by globalisation and large-scale immigration had affected different classes in contrasting ways. Continue reading

Europe, China, Japan and the New World Order

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A stunning fulfillment of a specific Bible prophecy

We are witnessing a shift in the world order that happens only once in a generation. The global system of alliances is being shaken. Such turmoil usually indicates a massive shift in global power. These shifts often trigger major wars.

For most of the 19th century, Britain’s top enemy was Russia. Britain’s whole system of alliances was built to isolate and oppose Russian power. But at the turn of the century, other powers were rising, most notably Germany. This development triggered a complete shake-up. Russia veered from enemy to ally in 1907. World War i followed on the heels of this upheaval.

That shift in alliances did not cause World War i. But it was a symptom of some of the other long-term causes. Continue reading

China on Pace to Dethrone the US

 

(ANTIMEDIA Op-ed) — “Not sure whether China will be nice to self-ruled Taiwan? Wait until after the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party. What’s in store for the hotly disputed, resource-rich South China Sea, where Beijing has taken a military and technological lead since 2010? Wait until after the Congress. Coffee maker wouldn’t start today? Wait until after the Congress. Wait. But you get the idea: This event, due to start Oct. 18, is monumental enough to put a lot of Asia on hold — and make it worry.”

That’s how Ralph Jennings opened his piece for Forbes on Wednesday. Humor aside, the point he’s making is the same one I made at the end of September — that China’s upcoming National Congress is a really big deal. China sets the regional tone on nearly all matters, as Jennings points out in his article:

“Chinese foreign and economic policies shape much of Asia. China’s ever-growing efforts to build and fund infrastructure around the subcontinent through initiatives such as One Belt, One Road have obvious impact on smaller countries that might otherwise struggle to finance their own projects. Neighbors from Japan to India are watching China for foreign policy cues that affect their iffy diplomatic relations with the region’s major power.”

Continue reading

Russia’s Real Endgame

 

Russia’s Putin has never taken his eye off the ball. His ambition is not global hegemony or European conquest. Putin seeks what Russia has always sought: regional hegemony and a set of buffer states in eastern Europe and central Asia that can add to Russia’s strategic depth.

It is strategic depth — the capacity to suffer massive invasions and still survive due to an ability to retreat to a core position and stretch enemy supply lines — that enabled Russia to defeat both Napoleon and Hitler. Putin also wants the modicum of respect that would normally accompany that geostrategic goal.

Understanding Putin is not much more complicated than that. Continue reading

China eyes global economic leadership as U.S. turns inward

In this photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, Kenyan laborers and a Chinese foreman work to finish the construction of an existing bridge that goes across a corner of Nairobi National Park in Nairobi, Kenya. A controversial Chinese-built railway project involving an even larger 6km bridge that would go all the way over the beloved protected area in Kenya’s capital has divided conservationists in this East African country. (Photo: Ben Curtis, AP)

 

This year, a 300-mile railway will begin slicing through Kenya, cutting travel time between the capital, Nairobi, and one of East Africa’s largest ports, Mombasa, from 12 to four hours and breeding hopes of an economic and tourism revival in the region.

The country’s most significant transportation project since its independence in 1963 is being built courtesy of China.  China Road and Bridge, a state-owned enterprise, leads construction of the $13.8 billion project, which is financed nearly 100% by the Export-Import Bank of China.

The railroad is one of a host of infrastructure projects China spearheads around the world in an ambitious quest to reinforce its emergence as the world’s next economic superpower while President Trump turns his back on globalization. Continue reading

Diplomat says China would assume world leadership if needed

 

  • China’s response came over Trump’s pledge to put “America first”.
  • In Davos, President Xi Jinping portrayed China as leader of a globalised world.
  • China is the world’s second-largest economy after the US.

BEIJING: China does not want world leadership but could be forced to assume that role if others step back from that position, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Monday, after US President Donald Trump pledged to put “America first” in his first speech.

Zhang Jun,, director general of the Chinese foreign ministry’s international economics department, made the comments during a briefing with foreign journalists to discuss President Xi Jinping’s visit to Switzerland last week. Continue reading

Turkey, ‘Axis of Gold’ and the End of US Dollar Hegemony

 

Introduction

With a ‘Hard Brexit’ looking more likely and Trump’s inauguration this week, 2017 is well and truly under way.

What we expect the year to hold is probably not even half of what it really will. But from what we know, the upcoming French and German elections, referendums, geopolitical crises, steps towards reverse globalisation and a third of global government debt yielding negative interest rates, governments are already prompting central banks and investors to turn to the one asset that has survived millennia of financial and monetary crises.

One that is highly liquid and convertible into other currencies – gold. Continue reading

Jack Ma: America has wasted its wealth

 

Jack Ma, one of China’s most successful and richest entrepreneurs, has responded to America’s growing globalization backlash, arguing that the superpower has benefited immensely from the process – but that it has largely squandered its wealth.

“American international companies made millions and millions of dollars from globalization,” Ma – the founder of Alibaba, the world’s largest online retailer – told participants on the second day of Davos. “The past 30 years, companies like IBM, Cisco and Microsoft made tons of money.”

The question is: where did that money go? It was wasted, Ma explained. Continue reading

China’s Xi Jinping Speech Seen as Move to Fill Global Leadership Role

China’s President Xi at the World Economic Forum, in Davos. He portrayed further globalization as a historical trend and outlined China’s contributions that had benefited the rest of the world. PHOTO: LAURENT GILLIERON/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

 

DAVOS, Switzerland—Chinese President Xi Jinping’s strong defense of globalization at a speech at the World Economic Forum was depicted here as an effort to fill a vacuum being created by the U.S. stepping back from a global leadership role.

Mr. Xi was seen as reacting to growing concerns that the incoming U.S. administration of Donald Trump would shift the world’s largest economy toward protectionism. Continue reading

Europe’s Far-Right Anger Is Moving Mainstream

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Anti-immigrant, anti-Europe, anti-Muslim sentiment is resonating with more and more voters in Europe.

In the wake of the Brexit vote in Britain and the recent Italian referendum, and with national elections looming in 2017 in the Netherlands, France, and Germany, there is concern that Europe may be inundated by a populist wave, driven in large part by right-wing parties exploiting anti-globalization, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim sentiments. Indeed, the strategy seems to be working: Polls show that people who have a favorable view of the National Front (FN) in France, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Germany, and the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands tend to be more negative about immigrants, refugees, and Muslims than their fellow countrymen. In addition, they are more euro-skeptic and more wary of globalization than their compatriots. Continue reading

China eyes ‘The Art of War’ as Trump signals battle on trade

There’s a Chinese saying that stems from the philosophy in Sun Tzu’s ancient text “The Art of War”: You can kill 1,000 enemies, but you would also lose 800 soldiers.

Centuries later, the proverb is suddenly apt again, being mentioned frequently in discussions around Beijing. Now, it highlights the potential damage U.S. President-elect Donald Trump could inflict if he makes good on his threat to start a trade war with China, the world’s second-biggest economy.

Having backed off some other campaign pledges, it’s unclear if Trump will end up slapping punitive tariffs on China — and Beijing has signaled some optimism he will be more pragmatic in office. Still, the message from China is that any move to tax Chinese imports would bring retaliation: The U.S. economy would take a hit and America would damage its long-standing ties with Asia. Continue reading

The Power Struggle Unfolding Before Our Eyes

A remarkably diverse array of “explanations” of Donald Trump’s presidential election victory have been aired, representing both the conventional political spectrum and well beyond.

Let’s start with the conventional mainstream media “explanations”:

#1: Trump was elected by intolerant Americans, i.e. “deplorables” who are intolerant of immigrants, Muslims, women’s rights, gays, etc. while being overly attached to firearms and the Christian religion. Continue reading

China Could Control the Global Internet After Oct. 1

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ICANN Chairman Steve Crocker speaks during the opening of the ICANN meeting in Singapore on Feb. 9, 2015. The U.S. plan to relinquish control of ICANN opens the door for China to have greater influence over the global internet. (Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

 

The handover of ICANN, the body that governs domain name registration, fits into a strategy by the Chinese regime to determine how the Internet is run

In November 2014, Li Yuxiao, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Cyberspace, stated, according to the state-run China Daily, “Now is the time for China to realize its responsibilities. If the United States is willing to give up its running of the internet sphere, the question comes as to who will take the baton and how it would be run?”

“We have to first set our goal in cyberspace, and then think about the strategy to take, before moving on to refining our laws,” he said.

Li’s comments were in response to news, also in 2014, that the United States would relinquish its remaining federal government control of the internet by ending its contract between the Commerce Department and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which is scheduled for Oct. 1. Continue reading

Merkel says migrant influx a fallout from globalisation

Addressing a congress of the giant IG Metall metalworkers’ union in Frankfurt, Merkel said: “Your experience of globalisation has, until now, basically been: our economy goes into other countries, builds factories, sells products and the results are positive for German employment and business.”

“And now we’re witnessing an inverse movement: globalisation is coming to us,” the chancellor, who has thrown Germany’s doors open to hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the war in Syria, said. Continue reading