G - 20, APEC & The Extreme Unction Of Credibility
According to Roman Catholic practice, when someone is deathly ill, they make their confession and then receive extreme unction. This is what has happened with United States credibility in the almost simultaneous meetings of the G-20 and APEC. On the basis of this, we don’t know what’s coming next. Perhaps they shall give a Christian burial or cremation to the remains of the absurd illusion that it is possible to keep alive a social system that is incompatible with the life of humanity whose members today, on November 14th, 2010, according to rigorous international calculations, now total 6,884 million 307,685 inhabitants. The number of people living on the planet is growing just over 77 million a year.
When I was looking over the list of APEC member countries, I noticed that it was headed by the US and Japan, two of the wealthiest nations in the world; they were followed by Canada, Australia, Singapore and South Korea, considerably industrialized; it includes Russia, a powerful state with important natural, scientific and technical resources, and a group of the most important emerging countries is added to the list, like China, Indonesia and others in South-east Asia that are washed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean, thus reaching the number of 21 countries who are meeting together in Japan on the 13th and14th, almost simultaneously as the G-20, 9 of which had been at the Seoul meeting to discuss the most important problems. All the countries at both forums are capitalist, with the exception of China and Vietnam; these two had been under attack of blood and fire by the US to prevent their revolutionary transformation.
On the list of APEC members, there appears a very poor state that has nothing in common with the rest of the 20: Papua New Guinea. I looked for information on that country, situated at the far north end of the Australian continent. Its capital today, Port Moresby, was where MacArthur landed in 1942, very far away from the Japanese, after they had invaded and occupied the main US base on their colony of the Philippines, located at Luzon just a few miles from Manila.
What do we know about the country included at number 17 on the APEC list? That its first settlers arrived there 45 or 50 thousand years ago, coming from south-east Asia in the Pleistocene ice age; they were hunters and gatherers. A second wave of migrants arrived more than 40,000 years later, approximately 3,500 B.C., and they brought with them a more advanced culture that practiced farming and fishing, had navigation skills and mastered pottery in the same era that saw the growth of ceramics in Babylon.
Europeans arrived in Polynesia, both from the east and the west; five thousand years later: the Spanish, Portuguese, English and Dutch imposed colonization based on firearms and iron swords, they conquered the territories, their resources and enslaved their inhabitants.
Even should we admit that they brought knowledge and the advances of societies having greater cultural development than some of the human communities that inhabited isolated territories washed and separated by the waters of the Pacific; nevertheless, much of Asia and the Middle East had civilizations that were much more advanced than Europe at that time. The conquerors, by the strength of their weapons, forced their way into territories such as China, India and the Middle East, the birthplaces of ancient civilizations, when Europe was just a territory being fought over by barbarian tribes.
The colonial powers deigned to grant independence to Papua New Guinea in September of 1975.
According to the census of 2000, the population of Papua New Guinea totalled 5 million 190 thousand and 800 inhabitants, and its territory covers 462,840 square kilometres.
Despite its enormous natural resources: oil, copper and gold, constituting 80 percent of its exports, Papua New Guinea is the country having the lowest life expectancy rate at birth. Their abundant fishing is exploited by foreign companies and it is very much affected by the climatic changes of the Pacific Ocean currents. Between 1995 and 1997 the production of coffee, cacao, tea, sugar and coco considerably dwindled due to the effects of the droughts.
It is the country that has the greatest number of languages, up to 820, equivalent to 12% of the 7,536 languages estimated by experts to exist in the world. In many villages, people speak their own language.
Not far from there, we find the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste with its dramatic and heroic history. It was conquered by the Portuguese in 1512, along with Guinea Bissau, the Cabo Verde islands and Sao Tomé y Príncipe, Angola and Mozambique, all Portuguese colonies which for centuries suffered the same fate, but no other colony suffered more.
When the Carnation Revolution in 1974 defeated the Salazar tyranny in Portugal, a member of NATO and a close ally of the US, the Revolutionary Front of Timor-Leste proclaimed their independence on November 29th, 1975. It was only able to enjoy it for 9 days. On December 7th of that same year, the bloody tyranny of Suharto –who in complicity with the CIA had overthrown the Constitutional Government of Sukarno in Indonesia and assassinated hundreds of thousands of Communists and progressive militants – sent an expedition with Indonesian army troops to invade Timor-Leste, following an earlier agreement with the US. After 27 years of heroic struggle, the people of that country, under the leadership of the FRETILIN, once again installed a constitutional government in Timor-Leste.
I do not need to explain the close historical ties existing between our country and the former Portuguese colonies; our battles against the apartheid troops – supplied with strategic nuclear weapons by the Reagan government - grant our country the moral authority to have an opinion about APEC decisions when the US government imposes measures that strike at the interests of all countries, including the other members of that institution.
It has attempted to impose the re-evaluation of the Yuan (Reimimbi, Chinese currency) on China, without taking into account that since China began its administrated policy of the Yuan in July 2005 it has been re-evaluating; from 8.28 Yuan for a dollar, today it is at less than 6.70.
The Chinese premier, according to an article published in the Financial Times on October 6 this year, declared during a visit to Brussels that the appreciation of the Yuan is now taking place, but that China was refusing to give any guarantees about the speed with which this process would proceed. He stated firmly: `Don`t pressure us about the Reimimbi exchange rate”. He explained that a precipitated action in this matter could cause the bankruptcy of several Chinese companies that are producing for export, creating serious consequences for his economy, and he concluded: “If China were to go through economic and social unrest, this would be a disaster for the world”.
It is very clear that all the Third World countries who have China as a safe market for their exports – destined to satisfy the needs of a population that, at the recent 2008 census, topped 1,324 million 655,000 inhabitants, almost a billion more than the population of the United States, and an economy growing at an average rate of no less than 10% annually – would obtain less products for their exports to that country and, in turn, all those being exported to the rest of the world, paid in dollars, would obtain a paper currency that would be worth less and less.
Eighty percent of US exports are services: those in the so-called leisure industry and many others that do not satisfy the basic needs of our peoples, urgently needed for the necessities of development and vital services for society.
In an article on the internet, “The West Perfecting Its Techniques To Hurt China” by André Vltchek, among other interesting aspects, explains:
“Tactics that were at work – to first discredit and then destroy all Communist and Socialist, progressive and nationalist states, governments and movements including Soviet Union, Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea, Chile, Tanzania, and recently Venezuela – are considered useful until this day. Now they are more refined, (more people and technology are involved) […] After all, the task that Western global dictatorship defined for itself is tremendous: China – the most populated nation on earth. The fact that China is historically peaceful … and very successful makes the task much more difficult. […]the West is presently (indirectly) involved in massacres in Congo/DRC (at least 5 million have died there), in destabilizing entire Horn of Africa and parts of Latin America and in aggressive wars in Iraq, Afghanistan to name just a few lethal adventures.”
“‘People see concretely what China is doing”, explains Mwandawiro Mghanga, former Kenyan MP, member of Defense and Foreign Relations Committees, poet and prisoner of conscience under brutal pro-Western regime of former dictator Moi. “If you travel throughout the country, you’ll see Chinese constructing and building roads, stadiums and housing projects which are very good. They are also very closely involved with people in spite of all propaganda being spread by the West. The reality of what China is doing is being seen and appreciated by our citizens. But there is great pressure on Kenyan government not to cooperate with China. In fact, there is great hostility towards Kenya – the West is punishing this country for having relatively close ties with PRC.”
The annual APEC Summit Meeting began yesterday in Yokohama.
Within APEC, micro-forums are functioning, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), for free trade, limited to Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore, to which the United States, Australia, Peru, Malaysia and Vietnam would like to be included. In brief, anything good for selling something: markets, markets, markets.
Obama, as one of the Magi, goes around distributing positions in the UN Security Council, like someone managing his own possessions. According to European news agencies “…indicated on Saturday that Japan is the model country that should have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council …”, already earlier, at the New Delhi Parliament, he had stated that his government “would support the eventual entry of India into the UN Security Council”. Pakistan, of course, bitterly complained about that Yankee promise. What it didn`t say is it that the post comes with or without the right to veto, as if that anti-democratic privilege were called upon to be eternal.
Likewise, one doesn`t know whether such a generous offer would also be made to Lula, in spite of the fact that more than 500 million Latin Americans and almost a billion Africans do not have permanent representation on that Council. How long does he think the world can be manipulated this way? But Maybe I am mistaken and I am underestimating Obama, if he, in his euphoria, decides to offer US support to all the hopefuls.
Of course, the G-20 and APEC meetings both ended on a happy note, like the Western films coming out of Hollywood when we were in school. The blah, blah, blah, won the Oscar, the “Vision of Yokohama” as described by the prime minister of Japan in the Final Declaration of the APEC Summit Meeting.
Nevertheless, Chinese President Hu Jintao, according to information released by a more serious US news agency, declared: “‘Recovery is not solid and the deficits cause great uncertainty’ […] ‘The situation of jobs in developed countries is bleak and the emerging markets face inflationary pressures and share price bubbles’.”
Another European agency that tends to be objective pointed out: “Chinese president Hu Jintao said that his country will not accept external pressure to change their policy.”
Obama concluded his Asian tour after the meeting with “a visit to the statue of the great Buddha of Kamakura – cast in bronze – 13 metres high and 93 tons in weight, built in 1252 and portraying Buddha Amida sitting in the lotus position with his hands in an attitude of meditation.”
As for the chief of British Armed Forces, General David Richards, he said that Al-Qaeda —so he erroneously describes the Afghan resistance, true architect of the anti-NATO struggle, that has nothing to do with the forces to be created by the CIA for the struggle against Soviet troops – cannot be defeated “and that the United Kingdom must be ready to face the threat of Islamist attacks for at least the next 30 years.
“In an interview with the British newspaper The Sunday Telegraph, General Richards declared that his country should focus on containing the threat on its own citizens, a task that, he said, could be accomplished, instead of trying to defeat Islamist militancy.
“‘In conventional war, defeat and victory is very clear cut and is symbolised by troops marching into another nation's capital. (enemy)’, assured the chief of the British General Staff.
“‘First of all you have to ask: "do we need to defeat it (Islamist militancy)?" in the sense of a clear cut victory, and I would argue that it is unnecessary and would never be achieved’”, he pointed out.
“‘But can we contain it to the point that our lives and our children's lives are led securely?’, Richards wondered.
“‘I think we can." the soldier maintained.
According to Richards, the real weapons in the war against Al-Qaeda are education and democracy.
Furthermore, he said that the British army and government are ‘guilty of not really understanding all that is in jeopardy’ in Afghanistan and he admitted that the Afghans are starting to ‘tire’ of NATO incapacity to carry out its promises.
According to BBC journalist Frank Gardner, General Richards’ comments reflect a ‘new realism’ in anti-terrorist circles in the United Kingdom and the US.
Gardner assures us that if Richards had spoken these words five years ago they would have been thought of as being scandalous and defeatist.
More than enough reasons for Obama to visit the statue of the Great Buddha of Kamakura, now that the fascist right-wing is rapidly gaining ground in the Europe of reformist trends, including Sweden, and in Yankee consumer society too many people are unaware of almost everything, and they believe that social justice, health, education, solidarity and peace are Communist ideas. Einstein, who wished for the anti-fascist United States of Franklin D. Roosevelt to have the atomic bomb before it was developed by Nazi Germany, never would have been able to imagine that several decades later the danger would consist of an ultra right-wing fascist who would take over the government of the United States.
Fidel Castro Ruz
November 14, 2010