The context of radical Islamic militancy is a complex one, rooted in poverty, imperialism, desperation, and exploitation. Radical political Islam is far from being some remnant of the barbaric, ultra-religious past – it’s rise during the 20th century was simultaneously a tool of imperialism by Western powers, and a means to resist imperialism by local populations… >continue<
The human population growth that has taken place over the past few hundred years resembles nothing so much as the spikes that occur in the numbers of rabbits, house mice and plague rats."
Bob Hardy via Business Insider »
I find the recent actions and words coming from North Korea particularly ominous and would not be surprised to see an incident, Kim and his regime seem to have misread the situation and are indoctrinating the population to prepare for something grim. They have created a crisis atmosphere by announcing the end of the Armistice Agreement. This will of course mean that a state of war exists, and the fact the DPRK is cutting off all communication with the U.S. and South Korea would seem to indicate it feels it is not being taken seriously. Cutting off communications is a basic indicator of preparations for War, which I doubt will occur, but view it possible that a live fire incident could be about to occur on or about March 11th. If they recall diplomatic missions and close airports that will be a sign of war readiness. A significant change to the security situation in the region is evident… >continue<
Michael Shifter | Foreign Policy »
Whatever Chávez’s intentions, his insatiable craving for control crippled his government. For all of his effort and bravado, Chávez failed to build a coherent model that could be adopted elsewhere. His legacy in the region can be illustrated by comparing his administration with that of other countries, especially other leftist governments that are also independent of the United States and committed to a social agenda. The 2002–10 administration of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the Workers’ Party is a good example. Lula managed to combine the give-and-take of democratic politics with fiscal discipline and well-designed social policies that lifted millions out of poverty. Venezuela’s debt-ridden economy, marked by chronic shortages and high inflation, is hardly an appealing alternative. The Latin American recipients of Chávez’s beneficence were understandably grateful, but it is telling that no other government in the region has sought to replicate his example… >continue<
A new paper published earlier this week in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal warns that the first cases of “totally drug-resistant” tuberculosis have been found in South Africa and that the disease is “virtually untreatable.” >continue<
related: TB’s Drug Resistant Threat
Excerpt from “Why It’s Still Kicking Off Everywhere” | Paul Mason »
To survive, the young have become a generation of drifters, reliving the plotlines of movies from the 1930s. Without some massive and cathartic turnaround, the generation in their 20s, in the west, will never accumulate pay, conditions or savings at the level their parents did. What they are accumulating is resentment….
Here, there is a parallel with the 1930s that is worth exploring. The first four years of the crisis, from 1929 to 1933, were not marked by effective mass resistance. That happened later. The early 1930s saw social disorientation, catastrophic policy choices, dysfunctional and autocratic governments and the rapid rise of the fascist right.
It was Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 that focused minds, amid the fear that something similar could happen in France, Austria and Spain. At the same time, Roosevelt’s New Deal signalled the possibility of a progressive government after all. The events of 1933-34 forced movements that had been socially weak, divided, heavy on rhetoric and self-obsessed, to, basically, get real. Fear was the key.
Although you can – as the anarchist slogan says – “live despite capitalism”, you can’t live “despite” fascism, genocidal racism, extreme sexual counter-revolution and war. As the gears of mainstream politics and economic crisis clash and grind above their heads, I would expect this realisation to be the guiding factor in where the movements that began in 2011 turn next. >continue<