• The IDF’s war crimes are a perfect reflection of Israeli society
    Miko Peled, author and former member of IDF Special Forces, explains how Israel indoctrinates its citizens in anti-Palestinian racism from the cradle to the grave.


    Three months into Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, the atrocities the IDF has committed against Palestinians are too numerous to name. Israel is staging a prolonged assault on the Palestinian people’s very means of existence—destroying homes, hospitals, sanitation infrastructure, food and water sources, schools, and more. To understand the genocidal campaign unfolding before our eyes, we must examine the roots of Israeli society. Israel is a settler colonial state whose existence depends on the elimination of Palestinians. Accordingly, Israel is a deeply militarized society whose citizens are raised in an environment of historical revisionism and indoctrination that whitewashes Israel’s crimes while cultivating a deep-seated racism against Palestinians. Miko Peled, former IDF Special Forces and author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine, joins The Chris Hedges Report for a frank conversation on the distortions of history and reality at the foundations of Israeli identity.

    Studio Production: David Hebden, Adam Coley, Cameron Granadino
    Post-Production: Adam Coley

    Transcript

    Chris Hedges: The Israeli army, known as the Israel Defense Force or IDF, is integral to understanding Israeli society. Nearly all Israelis do three years of military service, most continue to serve in the reserves until middle age. Its generals often retire to occupy senior positions in government and industry. The dominance of the military in Israeli society helps explain why war, militaristic nationalism, and violence are so deeply embedded in Zionist ideology.

    Israel is the outgrowth of a militarized settler colonial movement that seeks its legitimacy in biblical myth. It has always sought to solve nearly every conflict; The ethnic cleansing and massacres against Palestinians known as the Nakba or catastrophe in the years between 1947 and 1949, the Suez War of 1956, the 1967 and 1973 wars with Arab neighbors, the two invasions of Lebanon, the Palestinian intifadas, and the series of military strikes on Gaza, including the most recent, with violence. The long campaign to occupy Palestinian land and ethnically cleanse Palestinians is rooted in the Zionist paramilitaries that formed the Israeli state and continue within the IDF.

    The overriding goal of settler colonialism is the total conquest of Palestinian land. The few Israeli leaders who have sought to reign in the military, such as Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, have been pushed aside by the generals. The military setbacks suffered by Israel in the 1973 war with Egypt and Syria, and during Israel’s invasions of Lebanon only fuel the extreme nationalists who have abandoned all pretense of a liberal democracy. They speak in the open language of apartheid and genocide. These extremists were behind the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israel’s failure to live up to the Oslo Accords.

    This extremism has now been exacerbated by the attack of October 7, which killed about 1,200 Israelis. The few Israelis who oppose this militaristic nationalism, especially after October 7, have been silenced and persecuted in Israel. Genocidal violence is almost exclusively the language Israeli leaders, and now Israeli citizens, use to speak to the Palestinians and the Arab world.

    Joining me to discuss the role of the military in Israeli society is Miko Peled. Miko’s father was a general in the Israeli army. Miko was a member of Israel’s special forces and, although disillusioned with the military, moved from his role as a combatant to that of a medic. After the 1982 war in Lebanon, he buried his service pin. He is the author of, The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine and Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.

    You grew up, you were a child when your father was a general in the IDF. This inculcation of that military ethos has begun very young and begun in the schools. Can you talk about that?

    Miko Peled: Sure, thanks for having me, Chris. It’s good to be with you again and talk to you. So it begins before the military. It begins in preschool. It begins as soon as kids are able to talk and walk. I always say I knew the order of the ranks in the military before I knew my alphabet and this is true for many Israeli kids. The Israeli education system is such that it leads young Israelis to become soldiers, to serve the apartheid state, and to serve in this genocidal state, which is the state of Israel. It’s an enormous part of that. And with me, it came with mega-doses of that because when your father’s a general, and particularly of that generation of the 1967 generals, they were like gods of Olympus. Everybody knew their names.

    On Independence Day, I remember in the schools you would have little flags, not just flags of Israel, but flags of the IDF with pictures of IDF generals, pictures of the military, all kinds of military symbols, and so on. It’s everywhere. When I was a kid they still had a military parade. It’s everywhere and it’s inescapable. And you hear it when you walk down the street, you hear it in the news, you hear it in conversations, you hear it in schools, you read it in the textbooks, and there’s no place to develop dissent. There’s no place to develop a sense that dissent is okay, that dissent is possible. And the few cases where people do become dissenters, it’s either because their families have a tradition of being communist or more progressive and somehow it’s part of their tradition but this is a minority of a minority. By and large, Israel stands with the army, and Israel is the army. You can’t separate Israel from its army, from its military.

    Chris Hedges: Let’s juxtapose the myth that you were taught in school about the IDF with the reality.

    Miko Peled: The myth that I was… Again, this was given to me in larger doses at home because my father and his comrades were all part of the 1948 mythology. We were small and we were resourceful, and we were clever, and therefore, in 1948, we were able to defeat these Arab armies and these Arab killers who came to try to kill us and so on and destroy our fledgling little Jewish state. And because of our heroism – And you talked about the biblical connection – Because we are the descendants of King David, and we are the descendants of the Maccabees, and we have this resourcefulness and strength in our genes, we were able to create a state and then every time they attacked, we were there. We were able to defend ourselves and prevail and so on. It’s everywhere. Then again, in my case, it’s every time the larger, more extended family got together or my parents got together with their friends. And in many cases, the fathers were also comrades in arms.

    The stories of the battles, the stories of the conquests; Every city in Israel has an IDF plaza. Street names after different units of different generals are all over the country, street names of battles, so it’s everywhere. It wasn’t until I was probably 40 or a little less than 40, that it was the first time that I encountered the other narrative, the Palestinian story, and it was unbelievable. Somebody was telling me the day is night and night is day, or the world is flat, or whatever the comparison you want to make, it was incredible. They are telling me that what I know to be true – ‘Cause I heard it in school and I read it in books and I heard it from my father and my mother and friends – That all of this is not true. And what you find out if you go along the path that I chose to take, this journey of an Israeli to Palestine, is that it was one horrifying crime against humanity.

    That’s what this so-called heroism was, it was no heroism at all. It was a well-trained, highly motivated, well-indoctrinated, well-armed militia that then became the IDF. But when it started, it was still a militia or today they would be called a terrorist organization, that went up against the people who had never had a military force, who never had a tank, who never had a warplane, who never prepared, even remotely, for battle or an assault. Then you have to make a choice: How do you bridge this? The differences are not nuanced, the differences are enormous. The choice that I made is to investigate for myself and find out who’s telling the truth and who isn’t. And my side was not telling the truth.

    Chris Hedges: How did they explain incidents such as the Nakba, the massacres that took place in ’48 and ’56, and the massive ethnic cleansing that took place in ’67? How was that explained to you within that mythic narrative? Many of the activities that the IDF has had to carry out are quite brutal, quite savage. The indiscriminate killing of civilians – We can talk about Gaza in a minute – What did that do to society? The people who carried out those killings, and eventually huge prisons, torture, and everything else? But let’s begin with how the myth coped with those incidents and then talk about the trauma that is carried within Israeli society for carrying out those war crimes.

    Miko Peled: My generation, we knew that there were several instances of bad apples that committed terrible crimes. And we admitted, so there was Deir Yassin, which was a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a peaceful village where a horrible massacre took place. Then we knew that Ariel Sharon was a bit of a lunatic and he took the commandos that he commanded in the ’50s and went to the West Bank and went into Gaza and committed acts of terrible massacres. He was still a hero, held in high regard by everyone, but we knew that there were certain instances… And every military, every nation makes its mistakes and then these things happen But there was never any sense that this somehow discounted or hurt the image of us being a moral army.

    There are lots of stories of how soldiers went and they decided to, out of the kindness of their hearts, they didn’t harm civilians. And those same civilians went and then warned the enemy that they were coming. And these same good Israeli soldiers would then pay the price and were killed. So it’s presented as limited cases. Nakba was not something that was ever discussed. I’m sure it’s not discussed today, certainly not in schools. In Israeli schools today, you’re not allowed to mention the Nakba. There’s a directive by the Ministry of Education that even Palestinians are not allowed to mention the Nakba. But nobody ever talked about that. And the Arabs left, what are you going to do? There was a war and all these people left and this is the way it is.

    So none of that ever hurt, in any way, the image of us being this glorious heroic army, descendants of King David, and other great traditions of Jewish heroism. None of that ever hurt itself. So there’s no trauma because we did nothing wrong. If somebody did something wrong, well, it was a case of bad apples, it was limited to a particular circumstance, a particular person, a particular unit, and you get crazy people everywhere. What are you going to do? It’s never been presented as systemic. Today, we have a history so we can look back and if we do pay attention, and if we do read the literature, and if we do listen to Palestinians – And today there’s this great NGO called Zochrot, whose mission is to maintain the memory of the towns and cities that were destroyed in 1948 and to revive the stories of what took place in 1948 – They are uncovering new massacres all the time. Because as that generation is dying off, both the Israelis who committed the crimes and the Palestinians who were still alive at the time and survived, are opening up and telling more and more stories.

    So we know of churches that were filled with civilians and were burned down. We know of a mosque in Lydd that was filled with people and a young man went and shot a Fiat missile into it. All of these horrific stories are still coming out but Israelis are not paying attention, Israelis are not listening. Whenever there’s an attack on Gaza – And as you know very well, these attacks began in the fifties with Ariel Sharon, by the way – There is always a reason. Because at first they were infiltrators, and then they were terrorists, and now they’re called Hamas, and whatever the devil’s name may be there’s always a very good reason to go in there because these are people who are raised to hate and kill and so on. So it’s a tightly-knit and tightly-orchestrated narrative that is being perpetuated and Israelis don’t seem to have a problem with that.

    Chris Hedges: And yet carrying out acts of brutality. The occupation – Huge numbers, a million Israelis are in the states. Large numbers of Israelis have left the country. I’m wondering how many of those are people who have a conscience and are repulsed by what they have seen in the West Bank and Gaza. Perhaps I’m incorrect about that.

    Miko Peled: I don’t know. In the few encounters that I’ve had with Israelis in the US over the years, the vast majority support Israel, support Israel’s actions. It’s interesting that you mentioned that because I got an email from someone representing a group of alumni of Jewish Day Schools. These are Zionist schools all over countries where they indoctrinate the worst Zionism: secular Zionism. And they are now appalled by the indoctrination to serve in the IDF. A very high percentage of these students grew up, went to Israel, joined the IDF, took part in APEC events, and so on. And now they’re looking back and they’re reflecting and they’re feeling a sense of anger that they were put through this and lied through their entire lives about this.

    So that’s an interesting development. And if that grows, then that might be a game changer because these are the most loyal American Jews. The most loyal to Israel. But by and large, Israelis that I meet, with few exceptions, support Israel and they’re here for whatever reasons people come to America: They’re not unique, they’re not necessarily here because they were fed up or they were angry, or they were dissenters in any way, shape, or form. Around DC and Maryland, there are many Israelis. Sometimes you’ll sit in a coffee shop or go somewhere, you hear the conversations, and there’s no lack of support for Israel among these Israelis as far as I can see.

    Chris Hedges: Let’s talk about the armies. You were in the Special Forces elite unit. Talk about that indoctrination. I remember visiting Auschwitz a few years ago, and there were Israeli groups and people flying Israeli flags. But speak about that form of indoctrination and its link, in particular, to the Holocaust.

    Miko Peled: The myth is that Israel is a response to the Holocaust. And that the IDF is a response to the Holocaust; We must be strong, we must be willing to fight, and we must always have a gun in one hand or a weapon in one hand so that this will never happen again. And what’s interesting is, when you talk to Holocaust survivors who are not indoctrinated, who did not get pulled into Zionism – Which there are very, very many – They’ll say the notion that a militarized state is somehow the answer to the Holocaust is absurd because the answer to the Holocaust is tolerance and education and humanity, not violence and racism. But nobody wants to ruin a good myth with the facts. So that’s the story.

    The story is because of Auschwitz, we represent all those that were killed, perished by the Nazis, and so on, and therefore we need to be strong. And the Israeli flag represents them, and the Israeli military represents them. It’s absurd, it’s absolute madness. I went to serve in the army willingly, as most young Israelis do. In my environment, refusing or not going was not heard of, although there were some voices in the wilderness that were refusing and questioning morality. But I never did. Nobody around me ever did until I began the training and you began patrolling. I remember – You and I may have talked about this once – We were an infantry unit, a commando infantry unit. And suddenly we were given batons and these plastic handcuffs and were told to patrol in Ramallah.

    And I’m going, what the hell’s going on? What are we doing here? And then we’re told if anybody looks at you funny, you break every bone in their body. And I thought, everybody’s going to look at us, we’re commandos while marching through a city. Who’s not going to look at us? I was behind. I didn’t realize that everybody already understood that this is how it is, this is how it’s supposed to be. I thought, wait, this is wrong. Why are we doing this? We’re supposed to be the good guys here.

    And then there was the Lebanon invasion of ’82 and so on. So that broke that in my mind, that was a serious crack in the wall of belief and the wall of patriotism that was in me. But this whole notion that somehow being violent and militaristic and racist and being conquerors is somehow a response to the horrors of the Holocaust is absolute madness. But when you’re in it nobody around you is asking questions. You don’t ask questions either unless you’re willing to stand out and be smacked on the head.

    Chris Hedges: Within the military, within the IDF, how did they speak about Palestinians and Arabs?

    Miko Peled: The discourse, the hatred, the racism, is horrifying. First of all, they’re the animals. They’re nothing. It’s a joke, you see, it’s horrifying. They think it’s funny to stop people and ask them for their ID and to chase them and to chase kids and to shoot. It all seems like entertainment, you know? I never heard that discourse until I was in it. Then afterward, when I would meet Israelis who served, even here in the US, the way they joked around about what they did in the West Bank, the way they joked around about killing or stopping people or making them take their clothes off and dance naked, it’s entertainment.

    They think it’s funny. They don’t see that there’s a problem here because racism is so ingrained from such a young age that it’s almost organic. And I don’t think it’s surprising. When you have a racist society, and you have a racist education system that is so methodical, that’s what you get. And the racism doesn’t stop with Palestinians or with Arabs; It goes on to the Black people, it goes on to people of color, it goes to Jews or Israelis who come from other countries who are dark-skinned, for some reason. The racism crosses all these boundaries and it’s completely part of the culture.

    Chris Hedges: You have very little criticism of the IDF, almost none within the Israeli press, although there is quite a bit of criticism right now, of Netanyahu and his mismanagement and his corruption. Talk a little bit about the deification of the IDF within the public discourse and mainstream media and what that means for what’s happening in Gaza.

    Miko Peled: Well, the military is above the law. It’s above reproach, except from time to time. So after the ’73 war, there was an investigation. Earlier this week, there was, in the cabinet meeting… The cabinet meets every Sunday. And the army chief of staff was there and he was… This was leaked from the cabinet meeting. It was leaked that some of the more right-wing partners – It’s funny to say right-wing partners because they’re all this right-wing lunacy in the Israeli cabinet – But the more right-wing settlers that are in the cabinet were attacking the army, were attacking the chief of staff because he decided to start an inquiry because it was catastrophic when the Palestinian fighters came in from Gaza, there was nobody home. They took over half of their country back. They took 22 Israeli settlements and cities.

    They took over the army base of the Gaza brigade, which is supposed to defend the country from exactly this happening. And there was nobody in the… They took over the base. So he initiated an internal inquiry within the army, and they’re criticizing him and what you see in the Israeli press is two very interesting things: One is something went horribly wrong and we need to find out why, but we should wait because we shouldn’t do it during wartime. We shouldn’t criticize the army during wartime. We shouldn’t make the soldiers feel like they have to hold back because if they need to shoot, they should be allowed to shoot. And the other thing we see is that politically, everybody is eating each other up. They’re killing each other politically in the press. So everybody that’s against Netanyahu and wants to see it is attacking him.

    His people are attacking the others for attacking the government. It seems like there’s this paralysis as a result of this infighting that is affecting the functionality of the state as a state. Israelis are not living in the country, Israel is not the state that it was prior to October 7, it was paralyzed for several weeks, and now it’s still paralyzed in many ways. You’ve got missiles coming from the north, you’ve got missiles coming from the south. You’ve got very large numbers of Israeli soldiers being killed and thousands being injured and the war’s not ending. They’re not able to defeat the Palestinians in Gaza, the armed resistance, and so on.

    So all of this is taking place and you read the Israeli press and it’s like this cesspool that’s bubbling and bubbling and bubbling, and everybody’s attacking everybody else. And the army, it’s true, they are above reproach mostly, but this particular time the settlers are very angry. Another reason is because the the military decided to pull back some of the ground troops, understandably, since they’re being hit so hard. And I remember that happening before when the army pulled back out of Gaza, they were being attacked for stopping the killing, for not continuing these mass killings of Palestinians.

    Chris Hedges: Well, you had what? 70 fatalities in the Golani Brigade? And they were pulled back. This is a very elite unit.

    Miko Peled: Yeah, it’s very interesting because many of the casualties are high-ranking officers. You have colonels, lieutenant colonels, and very high-ranking commanders within Israeli special forces who are being killed. And they’re usually killed in big bunches because they’ll be in an armored personnel carrier or they’ll be marching together. And in Jenin a few days ago, they blew up a military vehicle and killed a bunch of soldiers. So Israelis are scratching their heads, not knowing what the hell is going on and what to do, because number one, they were not protected as they thought they were.

    And I’m sure you know this, the Israeli settlements, the kibbutzim, the cities in the south that border Gaza, [inaudible 00:25:59], they enjoy some of the highest standards of living among Israelis. It’s a beautiful lifestyle. It’s warm, it’s lovely. Agriculture is… And I don’t think it ever occurred to them that Palestinians would dare to come out of Gaza fighting and succeeding the way they did. The army was bankrupt. It was gone, the intelligence apparatus was bankrupt, and nothing worked. And it is reminiscent of what happened in 1973. This is far worse but it is reminiscent. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the October 7 attacks were exactly 50 years and one day after the 1973 October war began and the whole system collapsed. So that’s what we’re seeing right now.

    Chris Hedges: How do you read what’s happening in Gaza, militarily?

    Miko Peled: The Palestinians are able to hold on and kill many Israelis. And even though the Israelis have the firepower and they’ve got the logistics, supply chains are not a problem. Whereas Palestinians, I don’t know where they’re getting supplies. I don’t know where they’re getting food to continue fighting. They’re putting up a fierce resistance. I don’t think that militarily there’s a strategy here. This is revenge; Israel was humiliated, the army was humiliated, and they needed to take it out on somebody.

    So they found the weakest victims they could lay their hands on, and these are the Palestinian civilians in Gaza. And so they’re killing them by the tens of thousands. I don’t think anybody believes in such a thing as getting rid of Hamas. I don’t think anybody believes that that’s possible. I don’t believe anybody takes seriously or believes that you can take too many people out of Gaza and spread them around the world and into other places, even though that’s what they’re saying. But as long as Israel is allowed to kill, and as long as the supply chain isn’t interrupted, they’re going to continue to kill.

    Chris Hedges: And they’re also creating a humanitarian crisis. So it’s not just the bombs and the shells, but it’s now starvation. Diarrhea is an epidemic, sanitation is broken. I’m wondering at what point this humanitarian crisis becomes so pronounced that the choice is you leave or you die.

    Miko Peled: That’s always the big question for Palestinians. And the sad thing is that Palestinians are always being placed in these situations where they have to make that choice. It’s the worst form of injustice. And you know this, you’ve been in war zones. We don’t know how many bodies are buried under the rubble and what that’s going to bring up. And there are hundreds of thousands now who are suffering from all kinds of diseases as a result of this environmental catastrophe. And you remember, what was it? 2016 or something, 2017? The UN came out with a report that by 2020, Gaza would be uninhabitable. I don’t think the Gaza Strip has ever been inhabitable. It’s been a humanitarian disaster since it was created in the late forties and early fifties because they suddenly threw all these refugees there with no infrastructure and that was it, and then began killing them.

    I was talking to some people the other day, as Americans, as taxpayers, wouldn’t we want the Sixth Fleet, which is in the Mediterranean, the US Navy Sixth Fleet, to aid the Palestinians? To provide them support? To create a no-fly zone over these innocent people that are being massacred? As Americans, shouldn’t that be the natural ask, the natural desire to demand our politicians to use? Because American naval vessels have been used for humanitarian causes before. Why aren’t they supporting the Palestinians? Why aren’t they providing them aid? Why aren’t they helping them rebuild? Why are American tax dollars going to continue this genocide rather than stop it and aid the victims?

    These are questions Americans need to ask themselves because it makes absolutely no sense. It is absolute madness that people are allowing their government to support a genocide that’s not even done in secret. It’s not even done in hiding it. It’s on prime time. Everybody sees it. Everybody knows what’s going on. And again, for some strange reason, Americans are allowing their military and their government to aid the genocide. And there’s no question that it’s genocide. The definition of the crime of genocide is so absolutely clear, that anybody can look it up and compare it to what’s been going on in Palestine. So that to me is the greatest question: Why aren’t Americans demanding that the US support the Palestinians?

    Chris Hedges: Well, according to opinion polls, most Americans want a ceasefire. But the Congress is bought and paid for by the Israel lobby. Biden is one of the largest recipients of aid or campaign financing from the Israel lobby. This is true for both parties. Chuck Schumer was at the rally saying no ceasefire.

    Miko Peled: Which is odd. A ceasefire is a very small ask and I don’t know why we always ask for the bare minimum for Palestinians. But let’s talk about ceasefire. Israeli soldiers are being killed as well in very large numbers. How has ceasefire suddenly become an anti-Israeli demand? But it’s a very small ask. I don’t know how it was or where it was that this idea of demanding a ceasefire came up because that is not a serious demand. Ceasefire gets violated by Israel anyway, within 24-48 hours. You know that historically Israel always violated ceasefires. What is required here are severe sanctions, a no-fly zone, immediate aid to the Palestinians, and stopping this and providing guarantees for the safety and security of Palestinians forever moving forward so this can never happen again.

    That’s what needs to be asked. At this point, after having sacrificed so much, after having shown much of what I believe is immense courage, Palestinians deserve everything. We as people of conscience need to demand not to ceasefire, we need to demand a dismantling of the apartheid state and a full stop and absolute end to the genocide and guarantees put in place that Palestinian kids will be safe. I was talking to Issa Amro earlier in Hebron. It’s ridiculous when nobody even talks about what happens in the West Bank. Friends of mine who are Palestinian citizens of Israel, nobody dares to leave the house, nobody dares to text. They’re afraid to walk down the streets. Their safety is not guaranteed by anyone.

    Palestinian safety and security are left to the whims of any Israeli, and that should be the conversation right now, after such horrendous violence. That needs to be the demand. That needs to be the ask when we go to protests when we make these demands like a ceasefire. And even that, Israel is not willing. And these bouts of political supporters of Israel here in America are not willing to entertain a ceasefire. I believe it’s a crazy part of history that we’re experiencing right now and it’s a watershed moment. October 7 created an opportunity to end this for good, to end the suffering of Palestinians, the oppression, and the genocide for good. And if we being people of conscience don’t take advantage of this now and bring it to an end, we will regret this for generations.

    Chris Hedges: The Netanyahu government is talking about this assault on Gaza, this genocide continuing for months. There are strikes, and have been strikes against, now Hezbollah leaders. What concerns you? How could this all go terribly wrong?

    Miko Peled: It’s already gone terribly wrong because of the death and destruction of so many innocent lives is… I don’t even know that there’s a word for it. It’s beyond horrifying. Netanyahu is relying on the restraint of Hezbollah and the restraint of Iran and the restraint of the Arab governments has all been neutralized either through destruct, being destroyed, or through normalization. So he’s relying on that and he knows that he can keep triggering, he can keep bombing Lebanon, bombing Syria, instigating all of these things and it won’t turn into an all-out war. Because at the end of the day, even though Lebanese, Hezbollah, and Palestinian fighters have shown that they’re superior as fighters, they don’t have the supply chains, they don’t have the warplanes, they don’t have the tanks. So more and more civilians are going to be hurt.

    So I don’t think it’s going to turn into a regional war by any stretch of the imagination. And so Netanyahu is betting on that, and that’s why he’s allowing this to go on. And for him, this is a win-win. There’s no way that he can be unseated by anybody that’s around him. There’s no opposition. And as long as this goes on, as long as everybody’s in a state of crisis, he can continue to sit in the Prime Minister’s seat, which for him is the end all and be all of everything. And the world is supporting. The world, as governments of the world, I should say.

    I do interviews with African TV stations, Indian TV stations, and Europeans; Everybody is supporting Israel. Everybody listens to what I have to say, and they think I am a lunatic for supporting terrorism or whatever it is they, however, it is that they frame it. But I don’t see this ending unless there is massive pressure by people of conscience on their governments to force change, to force sanctions, to force the end of the genocide, and the end of the apartheid state.

    Chris Hedges: I want to talk about the shift within Zionism itself from the dominance of a secular leadership to – We see it in the government of Netanyahu – The rise of a religious Zionism, which is also true now within the IDF. And I wondered if you could talk about the consequences of that.

    Miko Peled: Sure. So originally, traditionally, and historically, Zionism and Judaism were at odds. And even to this day ultra-orthodox Jews reject Zionism and reject Israel by and large. But after 1967, there was this new creation of the Zionist religious movement. And these are the settlers who went to the West Bank and they became the new pioneers. And they are today, they make up a large portion of the officers and those who joined the special forces and so on. In the past, in the army, the unofficial policy was that these guys, should not be allowed to advance. The current chief of staff comes from that world, which is a huge change. There are several generals and high-ranking commanders and so on who come from that world. The reason that it was the unofficial policy that these guys should not be promoted was that it’s an incredibly toxic combination, this messianic form of Judaism, which is an aberration.

    It’s not Judaism at all, with this nationalist fanaticism. This combination is toxic and look what it created. It created some of the worst racists, some of the most violent thugs that we’ve seen, certainly in the short history of the state of Israel, although I don’t know that they’re any less violent than the generation of Zionists of my father who are secular. This was a big concern in the past but now they’re everywhere and look at its current government. They hold the finance ministry, they hold the national security ministry, certainly in the military they’re everywhere, they hold many sub-cabinets, and they’re heads of committees in the Knesset, and so on. And they’ve done their work. They worked very hard to get to where they are today, which is where they call the shots. And Netanyahu’s guaranteed to remain in power.

    They’re his support group. That’s why you could have had, as we had earlier this year, hundreds of thousands of Israelis protesting in the streets and it didn’t affect him because he has his block in the Knesset that will never leave him as long as he allows them to play their game. And this is what’s happening. So in terms of violence and the facts on the ground, I don’t think these guys are any worse again than my parents’ generation who were young Zionists and zealots at the time and committed the 1948 Nakba and ran the country and operated the apartheid state for the first few decades. But it’s a new form of fanaticism being that it is religious as well as fascist. So it’s very toxic. And they have more of a stomach for killing civilians than we’ve ever seen before, even for Israelis. These numbers are beyond belief, even for Israel.

    Chris Hedges: I’m wondering if this religious Zionism probably has its profoundest effect within Israel, in terms of shutting down dissidents, civil liberties, this kind of stuff.

    Miko Peled: Well, Israelis love them. Israelis love these guys because they’re religious but they dress like us. They don’t look like the old Jews with the big beards and everything; They’re cool. They wear jeans. And the reason I say this is because one of their objectives is to take over Al-Aqsa and build a Jewish temple. They’re destroying Al-Aqsa and they conduct these tours. In the old city of Jerusalem, there’s a particular path that you take from where the western wall is up to Al-Aqsa, which is open for non-Muslims. And so they hold tours and there’s several odd times throughout the day. I’ve taken some of these tours to see what it’s about, what these guys do, you know?

    These are prayer tours and hundreds of thousands of Israelis go on these tours. And these are Israelis who are not religious at all, these are secular people. I see the people that go on the tours. To give you an idea of what this is about, you go up on that bridge and then you wait until the tour starts because you have to go in a group. And there’s a massive model of the new temple, of the Jewish temple that is going to be built there. And then you have a huge group of armed police –They’re not soldiers, they’re police but dressed completely militarized. And Muslim Palestinians are not allowed – That accompany the tour all around and they stop and they pray and they stop and they pray and they stop and pray at various places. The whole thing takes maybe an hour. But the interesting thing is that the people who go on these tours are secular Israelis. And then as I was doing this, I was remembering, even as a kid growing up completely secular, we would sing songs about the day that we build a temple.

    Why did we sing songs about building a temple? Because it went beyond our religious significance and became a national significance. And there’s no question in my mind that Netanyahu and secular Israelis would love to see this idea of destroying Al-Aqsa and having a Jewish temple there. It’s a sign that we’re back, King David is back. Even though it has nothing to do with history and there’s no truth in it, the connection that we are descendants of King David is something Israelis love. That’s what this is about, the relationship between the so-called settlers. That’s what they’re called in Israeli jargon. They’re called the settlers. Regular secular Israelis are an interesting one because on the one hand, they’re looked down upon because they’re religious, but on the other hand, they’re a cool religious. So there is an affinity.

    Chris Hedges: Great. That was Miko Peled, author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine and Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five. I want to thank the Real News Network and its production team: Cameron Granandino, Adam Coley, David Hebden, and Kayla Rivara. You can find me at chrishedges.substack.com.

    Creative Commons License

    Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

    https://therealnews.com/the-idfs-war-crimes-are-a-perfect-reflection-of-israeli-society

    https://telegra.ph/The-IDFs-war-crimes-are-a-perfect-reflection-of-Israeli-society-04-02
    The IDF’s war crimes are a perfect reflection of Israeli society Miko Peled, author and former member of IDF Special Forces, explains how Israel indoctrinates its citizens in anti-Palestinian racism from the cradle to the grave. Three months into Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, the atrocities the IDF has committed against Palestinians are too numerous to name. Israel is staging a prolonged assault on the Palestinian people’s very means of existence—destroying homes, hospitals, sanitation infrastructure, food and water sources, schools, and more. To understand the genocidal campaign unfolding before our eyes, we must examine the roots of Israeli society. Israel is a settler colonial state whose existence depends on the elimination of Palestinians. Accordingly, Israel is a deeply militarized society whose citizens are raised in an environment of historical revisionism and indoctrination that whitewashes Israel’s crimes while cultivating a deep-seated racism against Palestinians. Miko Peled, former IDF Special Forces and author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine, joins The Chris Hedges Report for a frank conversation on the distortions of history and reality at the foundations of Israeli identity. Studio Production: David Hebden, Adam Coley, Cameron Granadino Post-Production: Adam Coley Transcript Chris Hedges: The Israeli army, known as the Israel Defense Force or IDF, is integral to understanding Israeli society. Nearly all Israelis do three years of military service, most continue to serve in the reserves until middle age. Its generals often retire to occupy senior positions in government and industry. The dominance of the military in Israeli society helps explain why war, militaristic nationalism, and violence are so deeply embedded in Zionist ideology. Israel is the outgrowth of a militarized settler colonial movement that seeks its legitimacy in biblical myth. It has always sought to solve nearly every conflict; The ethnic cleansing and massacres against Palestinians known as the Nakba or catastrophe in the years between 1947 and 1949, the Suez War of 1956, the 1967 and 1973 wars with Arab neighbors, the two invasions of Lebanon, the Palestinian intifadas, and the series of military strikes on Gaza, including the most recent, with violence. The long campaign to occupy Palestinian land and ethnically cleanse Palestinians is rooted in the Zionist paramilitaries that formed the Israeli state and continue within the IDF. The overriding goal of settler colonialism is the total conquest of Palestinian land. The few Israeli leaders who have sought to reign in the military, such as Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, have been pushed aside by the generals. The military setbacks suffered by Israel in the 1973 war with Egypt and Syria, and during Israel’s invasions of Lebanon only fuel the extreme nationalists who have abandoned all pretense of a liberal democracy. They speak in the open language of apartheid and genocide. These extremists were behind the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israel’s failure to live up to the Oslo Accords. This extremism has now been exacerbated by the attack of October 7, which killed about 1,200 Israelis. The few Israelis who oppose this militaristic nationalism, especially after October 7, have been silenced and persecuted in Israel. Genocidal violence is almost exclusively the language Israeli leaders, and now Israeli citizens, use to speak to the Palestinians and the Arab world. Joining me to discuss the role of the military in Israeli society is Miko Peled. Miko’s father was a general in the Israeli army. Miko was a member of Israel’s special forces and, although disillusioned with the military, moved from his role as a combatant to that of a medic. After the 1982 war in Lebanon, he buried his service pin. He is the author of, The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine and Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five. You grew up, you were a child when your father was a general in the IDF. This inculcation of that military ethos has begun very young and begun in the schools. Can you talk about that? Miko Peled: Sure, thanks for having me, Chris. It’s good to be with you again and talk to you. So it begins before the military. It begins in preschool. It begins as soon as kids are able to talk and walk. I always say I knew the order of the ranks in the military before I knew my alphabet and this is true for many Israeli kids. The Israeli education system is such that it leads young Israelis to become soldiers, to serve the apartheid state, and to serve in this genocidal state, which is the state of Israel. It’s an enormous part of that. And with me, it came with mega-doses of that because when your father’s a general, and particularly of that generation of the 1967 generals, they were like gods of Olympus. Everybody knew their names. On Independence Day, I remember in the schools you would have little flags, not just flags of Israel, but flags of the IDF with pictures of IDF generals, pictures of the military, all kinds of military symbols, and so on. It’s everywhere. When I was a kid they still had a military parade. It’s everywhere and it’s inescapable. And you hear it when you walk down the street, you hear it in the news, you hear it in conversations, you hear it in schools, you read it in the textbooks, and there’s no place to develop dissent. There’s no place to develop a sense that dissent is okay, that dissent is possible. And the few cases where people do become dissenters, it’s either because their families have a tradition of being communist or more progressive and somehow it’s part of their tradition but this is a minority of a minority. By and large, Israel stands with the army, and Israel is the army. You can’t separate Israel from its army, from its military. Chris Hedges: Let’s juxtapose the myth that you were taught in school about the IDF with the reality. Miko Peled: The myth that I was… Again, this was given to me in larger doses at home because my father and his comrades were all part of the 1948 mythology. We were small and we were resourceful, and we were clever, and therefore, in 1948, we were able to defeat these Arab armies and these Arab killers who came to try to kill us and so on and destroy our fledgling little Jewish state. And because of our heroism – And you talked about the biblical connection – Because we are the descendants of King David, and we are the descendants of the Maccabees, and we have this resourcefulness and strength in our genes, we were able to create a state and then every time they attacked, we were there. We were able to defend ourselves and prevail and so on. It’s everywhere. Then again, in my case, it’s every time the larger, more extended family got together or my parents got together with their friends. And in many cases, the fathers were also comrades in arms. The stories of the battles, the stories of the conquests; Every city in Israel has an IDF plaza. Street names after different units of different generals are all over the country, street names of battles, so it’s everywhere. It wasn’t until I was probably 40 or a little less than 40, that it was the first time that I encountered the other narrative, the Palestinian story, and it was unbelievable. Somebody was telling me the day is night and night is day, or the world is flat, or whatever the comparison you want to make, it was incredible. They are telling me that what I know to be true – ‘Cause I heard it in school and I read it in books and I heard it from my father and my mother and friends – That all of this is not true. And what you find out if you go along the path that I chose to take, this journey of an Israeli to Palestine, is that it was one horrifying crime against humanity. That’s what this so-called heroism was, it was no heroism at all. It was a well-trained, highly motivated, well-indoctrinated, well-armed militia that then became the IDF. But when it started, it was still a militia or today they would be called a terrorist organization, that went up against the people who had never had a military force, who never had a tank, who never had a warplane, who never prepared, even remotely, for battle or an assault. Then you have to make a choice: How do you bridge this? The differences are not nuanced, the differences are enormous. The choice that I made is to investigate for myself and find out who’s telling the truth and who isn’t. And my side was not telling the truth. Chris Hedges: How did they explain incidents such as the Nakba, the massacres that took place in ’48 and ’56, and the massive ethnic cleansing that took place in ’67? How was that explained to you within that mythic narrative? Many of the activities that the IDF has had to carry out are quite brutal, quite savage. The indiscriminate killing of civilians – We can talk about Gaza in a minute – What did that do to society? The people who carried out those killings, and eventually huge prisons, torture, and everything else? But let’s begin with how the myth coped with those incidents and then talk about the trauma that is carried within Israeli society for carrying out those war crimes. Miko Peled: My generation, we knew that there were several instances of bad apples that committed terrible crimes. And we admitted, so there was Deir Yassin, which was a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a peaceful village where a horrible massacre took place. Then we knew that Ariel Sharon was a bit of a lunatic and he took the commandos that he commanded in the ’50s and went to the West Bank and went into Gaza and committed acts of terrible massacres. He was still a hero, held in high regard by everyone, but we knew that there were certain instances… And every military, every nation makes its mistakes and then these things happen But there was never any sense that this somehow discounted or hurt the image of us being a moral army. There are lots of stories of how soldiers went and they decided to, out of the kindness of their hearts, they didn’t harm civilians. And those same civilians went and then warned the enemy that they were coming. And these same good Israeli soldiers would then pay the price and were killed. So it’s presented as limited cases. Nakba was not something that was ever discussed. I’m sure it’s not discussed today, certainly not in schools. In Israeli schools today, you’re not allowed to mention the Nakba. There’s a directive by the Ministry of Education that even Palestinians are not allowed to mention the Nakba. But nobody ever talked about that. And the Arabs left, what are you going to do? There was a war and all these people left and this is the way it is. So none of that ever hurt, in any way, the image of us being this glorious heroic army, descendants of King David, and other great traditions of Jewish heroism. None of that ever hurt itself. So there’s no trauma because we did nothing wrong. If somebody did something wrong, well, it was a case of bad apples, it was limited to a particular circumstance, a particular person, a particular unit, and you get crazy people everywhere. What are you going to do? It’s never been presented as systemic. Today, we have a history so we can look back and if we do pay attention, and if we do read the literature, and if we do listen to Palestinians – And today there’s this great NGO called Zochrot, whose mission is to maintain the memory of the towns and cities that were destroyed in 1948 and to revive the stories of what took place in 1948 – They are uncovering new massacres all the time. Because as that generation is dying off, both the Israelis who committed the crimes and the Palestinians who were still alive at the time and survived, are opening up and telling more and more stories. So we know of churches that were filled with civilians and were burned down. We know of a mosque in Lydd that was filled with people and a young man went and shot a Fiat missile into it. All of these horrific stories are still coming out but Israelis are not paying attention, Israelis are not listening. Whenever there’s an attack on Gaza – And as you know very well, these attacks began in the fifties with Ariel Sharon, by the way – There is always a reason. Because at first they were infiltrators, and then they were terrorists, and now they’re called Hamas, and whatever the devil’s name may be there’s always a very good reason to go in there because these are people who are raised to hate and kill and so on. So it’s a tightly-knit and tightly-orchestrated narrative that is being perpetuated and Israelis don’t seem to have a problem with that. Chris Hedges: And yet carrying out acts of brutality. The occupation – Huge numbers, a million Israelis are in the states. Large numbers of Israelis have left the country. I’m wondering how many of those are people who have a conscience and are repulsed by what they have seen in the West Bank and Gaza. Perhaps I’m incorrect about that. Miko Peled: I don’t know. In the few encounters that I’ve had with Israelis in the US over the years, the vast majority support Israel, support Israel’s actions. It’s interesting that you mentioned that because I got an email from someone representing a group of alumni of Jewish Day Schools. These are Zionist schools all over countries where they indoctrinate the worst Zionism: secular Zionism. And they are now appalled by the indoctrination to serve in the IDF. A very high percentage of these students grew up, went to Israel, joined the IDF, took part in APEC events, and so on. And now they’re looking back and they’re reflecting and they’re feeling a sense of anger that they were put through this and lied through their entire lives about this. So that’s an interesting development. And if that grows, then that might be a game changer because these are the most loyal American Jews. The most loyal to Israel. But by and large, Israelis that I meet, with few exceptions, support Israel and they’re here for whatever reasons people come to America: They’re not unique, they’re not necessarily here because they were fed up or they were angry, or they were dissenters in any way, shape, or form. Around DC and Maryland, there are many Israelis. Sometimes you’ll sit in a coffee shop or go somewhere, you hear the conversations, and there’s no lack of support for Israel among these Israelis as far as I can see. Chris Hedges: Let’s talk about the armies. You were in the Special Forces elite unit. Talk about that indoctrination. I remember visiting Auschwitz a few years ago, and there were Israeli groups and people flying Israeli flags. But speak about that form of indoctrination and its link, in particular, to the Holocaust. Miko Peled: The myth is that Israel is a response to the Holocaust. And that the IDF is a response to the Holocaust; We must be strong, we must be willing to fight, and we must always have a gun in one hand or a weapon in one hand so that this will never happen again. And what’s interesting is, when you talk to Holocaust survivors who are not indoctrinated, who did not get pulled into Zionism – Which there are very, very many – They’ll say the notion that a militarized state is somehow the answer to the Holocaust is absurd because the answer to the Holocaust is tolerance and education and humanity, not violence and racism. But nobody wants to ruin a good myth with the facts. So that’s the story. The story is because of Auschwitz, we represent all those that were killed, perished by the Nazis, and so on, and therefore we need to be strong. And the Israeli flag represents them, and the Israeli military represents them. It’s absurd, it’s absolute madness. I went to serve in the army willingly, as most young Israelis do. In my environment, refusing or not going was not heard of, although there were some voices in the wilderness that were refusing and questioning morality. But I never did. Nobody around me ever did until I began the training and you began patrolling. I remember – You and I may have talked about this once – We were an infantry unit, a commando infantry unit. And suddenly we were given batons and these plastic handcuffs and were told to patrol in Ramallah. And I’m going, what the hell’s going on? What are we doing here? And then we’re told if anybody looks at you funny, you break every bone in their body. And I thought, everybody’s going to look at us, we’re commandos while marching through a city. Who’s not going to look at us? I was behind. I didn’t realize that everybody already understood that this is how it is, this is how it’s supposed to be. I thought, wait, this is wrong. Why are we doing this? We’re supposed to be the good guys here. And then there was the Lebanon invasion of ’82 and so on. So that broke that in my mind, that was a serious crack in the wall of belief and the wall of patriotism that was in me. But this whole notion that somehow being violent and militaristic and racist and being conquerors is somehow a response to the horrors of the Holocaust is absolute madness. But when you’re in it nobody around you is asking questions. You don’t ask questions either unless you’re willing to stand out and be smacked on the head. Chris Hedges: Within the military, within the IDF, how did they speak about Palestinians and Arabs? Miko Peled: The discourse, the hatred, the racism, is horrifying. First of all, they’re the animals. They’re nothing. It’s a joke, you see, it’s horrifying. They think it’s funny to stop people and ask them for their ID and to chase them and to chase kids and to shoot. It all seems like entertainment, you know? I never heard that discourse until I was in it. Then afterward, when I would meet Israelis who served, even here in the US, the way they joked around about what they did in the West Bank, the way they joked around about killing or stopping people or making them take their clothes off and dance naked, it’s entertainment. They think it’s funny. They don’t see that there’s a problem here because racism is so ingrained from such a young age that it’s almost organic. And I don’t think it’s surprising. When you have a racist society, and you have a racist education system that is so methodical, that’s what you get. And the racism doesn’t stop with Palestinians or with Arabs; It goes on to the Black people, it goes on to people of color, it goes to Jews or Israelis who come from other countries who are dark-skinned, for some reason. The racism crosses all these boundaries and it’s completely part of the culture. Chris Hedges: You have very little criticism of the IDF, almost none within the Israeli press, although there is quite a bit of criticism right now, of Netanyahu and his mismanagement and his corruption. Talk a little bit about the deification of the IDF within the public discourse and mainstream media and what that means for what’s happening in Gaza. Miko Peled: Well, the military is above the law. It’s above reproach, except from time to time. So after the ’73 war, there was an investigation. Earlier this week, there was, in the cabinet meeting… The cabinet meets every Sunday. And the army chief of staff was there and he was… This was leaked from the cabinet meeting. It was leaked that some of the more right-wing partners – It’s funny to say right-wing partners because they’re all this right-wing lunacy in the Israeli cabinet – But the more right-wing settlers that are in the cabinet were attacking the army, were attacking the chief of staff because he decided to start an inquiry because it was catastrophic when the Palestinian fighters came in from Gaza, there was nobody home. They took over half of their country back. They took 22 Israeli settlements and cities. They took over the army base of the Gaza brigade, which is supposed to defend the country from exactly this happening. And there was nobody in the… They took over the base. So he initiated an internal inquiry within the army, and they’re criticizing him and what you see in the Israeli press is two very interesting things: One is something went horribly wrong and we need to find out why, but we should wait because we shouldn’t do it during wartime. We shouldn’t criticize the army during wartime. We shouldn’t make the soldiers feel like they have to hold back because if they need to shoot, they should be allowed to shoot. And the other thing we see is that politically, everybody is eating each other up. They’re killing each other politically in the press. So everybody that’s against Netanyahu and wants to see it is attacking him. His people are attacking the others for attacking the government. It seems like there’s this paralysis as a result of this infighting that is affecting the functionality of the state as a state. Israelis are not living in the country, Israel is not the state that it was prior to October 7, it was paralyzed for several weeks, and now it’s still paralyzed in many ways. You’ve got missiles coming from the north, you’ve got missiles coming from the south. You’ve got very large numbers of Israeli soldiers being killed and thousands being injured and the war’s not ending. They’re not able to defeat the Palestinians in Gaza, the armed resistance, and so on. So all of this is taking place and you read the Israeli press and it’s like this cesspool that’s bubbling and bubbling and bubbling, and everybody’s attacking everybody else. And the army, it’s true, they are above reproach mostly, but this particular time the settlers are very angry. Another reason is because the the military decided to pull back some of the ground troops, understandably, since they’re being hit so hard. And I remember that happening before when the army pulled back out of Gaza, they were being attacked for stopping the killing, for not continuing these mass killings of Palestinians. Chris Hedges: Well, you had what? 70 fatalities in the Golani Brigade? And they were pulled back. This is a very elite unit. Miko Peled: Yeah, it’s very interesting because many of the casualties are high-ranking officers. You have colonels, lieutenant colonels, and very high-ranking commanders within Israeli special forces who are being killed. And they’re usually killed in big bunches because they’ll be in an armored personnel carrier or they’ll be marching together. And in Jenin a few days ago, they blew up a military vehicle and killed a bunch of soldiers. So Israelis are scratching their heads, not knowing what the hell is going on and what to do, because number one, they were not protected as they thought they were. And I’m sure you know this, the Israeli settlements, the kibbutzim, the cities in the south that border Gaza, [inaudible 00:25:59], they enjoy some of the highest standards of living among Israelis. It’s a beautiful lifestyle. It’s warm, it’s lovely. Agriculture is… And I don’t think it ever occurred to them that Palestinians would dare to come out of Gaza fighting and succeeding the way they did. The army was bankrupt. It was gone, the intelligence apparatus was bankrupt, and nothing worked. And it is reminiscent of what happened in 1973. This is far worse but it is reminiscent. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the October 7 attacks were exactly 50 years and one day after the 1973 October war began and the whole system collapsed. So that’s what we’re seeing right now. Chris Hedges: How do you read what’s happening in Gaza, militarily? Miko Peled: The Palestinians are able to hold on and kill many Israelis. And even though the Israelis have the firepower and they’ve got the logistics, supply chains are not a problem. Whereas Palestinians, I don’t know where they’re getting supplies. I don’t know where they’re getting food to continue fighting. They’re putting up a fierce resistance. I don’t think that militarily there’s a strategy here. This is revenge; Israel was humiliated, the army was humiliated, and they needed to take it out on somebody. So they found the weakest victims they could lay their hands on, and these are the Palestinian civilians in Gaza. And so they’re killing them by the tens of thousands. I don’t think anybody believes in such a thing as getting rid of Hamas. I don’t think anybody believes that that’s possible. I don’t believe anybody takes seriously or believes that you can take too many people out of Gaza and spread them around the world and into other places, even though that’s what they’re saying. But as long as Israel is allowed to kill, and as long as the supply chain isn’t interrupted, they’re going to continue to kill. Chris Hedges: And they’re also creating a humanitarian crisis. So it’s not just the bombs and the shells, but it’s now starvation. Diarrhea is an epidemic, sanitation is broken. I’m wondering at what point this humanitarian crisis becomes so pronounced that the choice is you leave or you die. Miko Peled: That’s always the big question for Palestinians. And the sad thing is that Palestinians are always being placed in these situations where they have to make that choice. It’s the worst form of injustice. And you know this, you’ve been in war zones. We don’t know how many bodies are buried under the rubble and what that’s going to bring up. And there are hundreds of thousands now who are suffering from all kinds of diseases as a result of this environmental catastrophe. And you remember, what was it? 2016 or something, 2017? The UN came out with a report that by 2020, Gaza would be uninhabitable. I don’t think the Gaza Strip has ever been inhabitable. It’s been a humanitarian disaster since it was created in the late forties and early fifties because they suddenly threw all these refugees there with no infrastructure and that was it, and then began killing them. I was talking to some people the other day, as Americans, as taxpayers, wouldn’t we want the Sixth Fleet, which is in the Mediterranean, the US Navy Sixth Fleet, to aid the Palestinians? To provide them support? To create a no-fly zone over these innocent people that are being massacred? As Americans, shouldn’t that be the natural ask, the natural desire to demand our politicians to use? Because American naval vessels have been used for humanitarian causes before. Why aren’t they supporting the Palestinians? Why aren’t they providing them aid? Why aren’t they helping them rebuild? Why are American tax dollars going to continue this genocide rather than stop it and aid the victims? These are questions Americans need to ask themselves because it makes absolutely no sense. It is absolute madness that people are allowing their government to support a genocide that’s not even done in secret. It’s not even done in hiding it. It’s on prime time. Everybody sees it. Everybody knows what’s going on. And again, for some strange reason, Americans are allowing their military and their government to aid the genocide. And there’s no question that it’s genocide. The definition of the crime of genocide is so absolutely clear, that anybody can look it up and compare it to what’s been going on in Palestine. So that to me is the greatest question: Why aren’t Americans demanding that the US support the Palestinians? Chris Hedges: Well, according to opinion polls, most Americans want a ceasefire. But the Congress is bought and paid for by the Israel lobby. Biden is one of the largest recipients of aid or campaign financing from the Israel lobby. This is true for both parties. Chuck Schumer was at the rally saying no ceasefire. Miko Peled: Which is odd. A ceasefire is a very small ask and I don’t know why we always ask for the bare minimum for Palestinians. But let’s talk about ceasefire. Israeli soldiers are being killed as well in very large numbers. How has ceasefire suddenly become an anti-Israeli demand? But it’s a very small ask. I don’t know how it was or where it was that this idea of demanding a ceasefire came up because that is not a serious demand. Ceasefire gets violated by Israel anyway, within 24-48 hours. You know that historically Israel always violated ceasefires. What is required here are severe sanctions, a no-fly zone, immediate aid to the Palestinians, and stopping this and providing guarantees for the safety and security of Palestinians forever moving forward so this can never happen again. That’s what needs to be asked. At this point, after having sacrificed so much, after having shown much of what I believe is immense courage, Palestinians deserve everything. We as people of conscience need to demand not to ceasefire, we need to demand a dismantling of the apartheid state and a full stop and absolute end to the genocide and guarantees put in place that Palestinian kids will be safe. I was talking to Issa Amro earlier in Hebron. It’s ridiculous when nobody even talks about what happens in the West Bank. Friends of mine who are Palestinian citizens of Israel, nobody dares to leave the house, nobody dares to text. They’re afraid to walk down the streets. Their safety is not guaranteed by anyone. Palestinian safety and security are left to the whims of any Israeli, and that should be the conversation right now, after such horrendous violence. That needs to be the demand. That needs to be the ask when we go to protests when we make these demands like a ceasefire. And even that, Israel is not willing. And these bouts of political supporters of Israel here in America are not willing to entertain a ceasefire. I believe it’s a crazy part of history that we’re experiencing right now and it’s a watershed moment. October 7 created an opportunity to end this for good, to end the suffering of Palestinians, the oppression, and the genocide for good. And if we being people of conscience don’t take advantage of this now and bring it to an end, we will regret this for generations. Chris Hedges: The Netanyahu government is talking about this assault on Gaza, this genocide continuing for months. There are strikes, and have been strikes against, now Hezbollah leaders. What concerns you? How could this all go terribly wrong? Miko Peled: It’s already gone terribly wrong because of the death and destruction of so many innocent lives is… I don’t even know that there’s a word for it. It’s beyond horrifying. Netanyahu is relying on the restraint of Hezbollah and the restraint of Iran and the restraint of the Arab governments has all been neutralized either through destruct, being destroyed, or through normalization. So he’s relying on that and he knows that he can keep triggering, he can keep bombing Lebanon, bombing Syria, instigating all of these things and it won’t turn into an all-out war. Because at the end of the day, even though Lebanese, Hezbollah, and Palestinian fighters have shown that they’re superior as fighters, they don’t have the supply chains, they don’t have the warplanes, they don’t have the tanks. So more and more civilians are going to be hurt. So I don’t think it’s going to turn into a regional war by any stretch of the imagination. And so Netanyahu is betting on that, and that’s why he’s allowing this to go on. And for him, this is a win-win. There’s no way that he can be unseated by anybody that’s around him. There’s no opposition. And as long as this goes on, as long as everybody’s in a state of crisis, he can continue to sit in the Prime Minister’s seat, which for him is the end all and be all of everything. And the world is supporting. The world, as governments of the world, I should say. I do interviews with African TV stations, Indian TV stations, and Europeans; Everybody is supporting Israel. Everybody listens to what I have to say, and they think I am a lunatic for supporting terrorism or whatever it is they, however, it is that they frame it. But I don’t see this ending unless there is massive pressure by people of conscience on their governments to force change, to force sanctions, to force the end of the genocide, and the end of the apartheid state. Chris Hedges: I want to talk about the shift within Zionism itself from the dominance of a secular leadership to – We see it in the government of Netanyahu – The rise of a religious Zionism, which is also true now within the IDF. And I wondered if you could talk about the consequences of that. Miko Peled: Sure. So originally, traditionally, and historically, Zionism and Judaism were at odds. And even to this day ultra-orthodox Jews reject Zionism and reject Israel by and large. But after 1967, there was this new creation of the Zionist religious movement. And these are the settlers who went to the West Bank and they became the new pioneers. And they are today, they make up a large portion of the officers and those who joined the special forces and so on. In the past, in the army, the unofficial policy was that these guys, should not be allowed to advance. The current chief of staff comes from that world, which is a huge change. There are several generals and high-ranking commanders and so on who come from that world. The reason that it was the unofficial policy that these guys should not be promoted was that it’s an incredibly toxic combination, this messianic form of Judaism, which is an aberration. It’s not Judaism at all, with this nationalist fanaticism. This combination is toxic and look what it created. It created some of the worst racists, some of the most violent thugs that we’ve seen, certainly in the short history of the state of Israel, although I don’t know that they’re any less violent than the generation of Zionists of my father who are secular. This was a big concern in the past but now they’re everywhere and look at its current government. They hold the finance ministry, they hold the national security ministry, certainly in the military they’re everywhere, they hold many sub-cabinets, and they’re heads of committees in the Knesset, and so on. And they’ve done their work. They worked very hard to get to where they are today, which is where they call the shots. And Netanyahu’s guaranteed to remain in power. They’re his support group. That’s why you could have had, as we had earlier this year, hundreds of thousands of Israelis protesting in the streets and it didn’t affect him because he has his block in the Knesset that will never leave him as long as he allows them to play their game. And this is what’s happening. So in terms of violence and the facts on the ground, I don’t think these guys are any worse again than my parents’ generation who were young Zionists and zealots at the time and committed the 1948 Nakba and ran the country and operated the apartheid state for the first few decades. But it’s a new form of fanaticism being that it is religious as well as fascist. So it’s very toxic. And they have more of a stomach for killing civilians than we’ve ever seen before, even for Israelis. These numbers are beyond belief, even for Israel. Chris Hedges: I’m wondering if this religious Zionism probably has its profoundest effect within Israel, in terms of shutting down dissidents, civil liberties, this kind of stuff. Miko Peled: Well, Israelis love them. Israelis love these guys because they’re religious but they dress like us. They don’t look like the old Jews with the big beards and everything; They’re cool. They wear jeans. And the reason I say this is because one of their objectives is to take over Al-Aqsa and build a Jewish temple. They’re destroying Al-Aqsa and they conduct these tours. In the old city of Jerusalem, there’s a particular path that you take from where the western wall is up to Al-Aqsa, which is open for non-Muslims. And so they hold tours and there’s several odd times throughout the day. I’ve taken some of these tours to see what it’s about, what these guys do, you know? These are prayer tours and hundreds of thousands of Israelis go on these tours. And these are Israelis who are not religious at all, these are secular people. I see the people that go on the tours. To give you an idea of what this is about, you go up on that bridge and then you wait until the tour starts because you have to go in a group. And there’s a massive model of the new temple, of the Jewish temple that is going to be built there. And then you have a huge group of armed police –They’re not soldiers, they’re police but dressed completely militarized. And Muslim Palestinians are not allowed – That accompany the tour all around and they stop and they pray and they stop and they pray and they stop and pray at various places. The whole thing takes maybe an hour. But the interesting thing is that the people who go on these tours are secular Israelis. And then as I was doing this, I was remembering, even as a kid growing up completely secular, we would sing songs about the day that we build a temple. Why did we sing songs about building a temple? Because it went beyond our religious significance and became a national significance. And there’s no question in my mind that Netanyahu and secular Israelis would love to see this idea of destroying Al-Aqsa and having a Jewish temple there. It’s a sign that we’re back, King David is back. Even though it has nothing to do with history and there’s no truth in it, the connection that we are descendants of King David is something Israelis love. That’s what this is about, the relationship between the so-called settlers. That’s what they’re called in Israeli jargon. They’re called the settlers. Regular secular Israelis are an interesting one because on the one hand, they’re looked down upon because they’re religious, but on the other hand, they’re a cool religious. So there is an affinity. Chris Hedges: Great. That was Miko Peled, author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine and Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five. I want to thank the Real News Network and its production team: Cameron Granandino, Adam Coley, David Hebden, and Kayla Rivara. You can find me at chrishedges.substack.com. Creative Commons License Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license. https://therealnews.com/the-idfs-war-crimes-are-a-perfect-reflection-of-israeli-society https://telegra.ph/The-IDFs-war-crimes-are-a-perfect-reflection-of-Israeli-society-04-02
    THEREALNEWS.COM
    The IDF's war crimes are a perfect reflection of Israeli society
    Miko Peled, author and former member of IDF Special Forces, explains how Israel indoctrinates its citizens in anti-Palestinian racism from the cradle to the grave.
    0 Comments 0 Shares 47709 Views
  • Check out new project intro video for Bands Crypto here.
    https://youtu.be/mbJd78v_Iiw?si=M_LEIi05MHk-jHJn
    https://t.me/bandscrypto join the group for more info.
    This project is on Ethereum and can use Uniswap to buy.
    #crypto #ethereum #bitcoin #defi #fiat
    Check out new project intro video for Bands Crypto here. https://youtu.be/mbJd78v_Iiw?si=M_LEIi05MHk-jHJn https://t.me/bandscrypto join the group for more info. This project is on Ethereum and can use Uniswap to buy. #crypto #ethereum #bitcoin #defi #fiat
    Like
    4
    0 Comments 0 Shares 3350 Views
  • What do these all have in
    common



    Be a shame if you researched these….

    Project Bluebird
    Project Bluebeam
    Project Evergreen
    Project Artichoke
    MK-Ultra
    MK-Naomi
    Project Monarch
    Operation Chaos
    Operation Gladio
    Operation Mockingbird
    Operation Paperclip
    Operation Northwoods
    Operation Ranch Hand
    Operation Popeye
    (Doomsday Project)
    Cointelpro
    Operation Project Seal
    Operation Stargate
    Operation Highjump
    Operation Delirium
    Project Rainbow
    Operation Midnight Climax
    Project Woodpecker
    Project Stagate - Grill Flame, Sun Streak
    Operation Cloverleaf
    Operation Fishbowl
    Project Bluebook
    Project Coast
    Musical Control ( Rockefeller )
    Project Groom Lake
    Jekyll Island
    The creation of the Federal Reserve
    Fiat currency
    Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd
    Agartha
    Flouridation effects
    Agenda 21
    Agenda 30
    Monsanto
    Aspartame
    The Getty Research Institute
    B G H (Bovine growth hormone)
    Rothschild’s family history
    Albert Pike
    Adam Weishaupt
    P.N.A.C
    Council of Foreign Relations (CFR)
    Committee of 300
    13 families
    Skull and Bones Society
    The Bush family’s business dealings
    General Wesley Clark
    Bill Cooper
    William Guy Carr
    MILABS
    Annunaki
    Nephalim
    Nibiru (Planet X)
    Ninth Circle Cult
    Nazi eugenics
    Council of 13
    Council of Nicea
    Library of Alexandria
    Vatican Catacombs
    Emperor Constantine
    Bloodlines of the Illuminati
    Freemasonry
    Knights of Malta
    Jesuits
    Sabbatean Frankists
    D.U.M.B.S
    Phil Schneider
    Protocols of the learned Elders of Zion
    Tavistock Institute
    Frankfurt subversion techniques
    Fabian society
    Satanic ritual abuse
    Elm St Guest house
    788 - 790 Finchley Road, Hampstead
    Christchurch Primary School, Hampstead
    The Samson Option

    Subscribe for more:
    https://t.me/BenjaminFulfordJ
    What do these all have in common ❓❓❓ Be a shame if you researched these…. Project Bluebird Project Bluebeam Project Evergreen Project Artichoke MK-Ultra MK-Naomi Project Monarch Operation Chaos Operation Gladio Operation Mockingbird Operation Paperclip Operation Northwoods Operation Ranch Hand Operation Popeye (Doomsday Project) Cointelpro Operation Project Seal Operation Stargate Operation Highjump Operation Delirium Project Rainbow Operation Midnight Climax Project Woodpecker Project Stagate - Grill Flame, Sun Streak Operation Cloverleaf Operation Fishbowl Project Bluebook Project Coast Musical Control ( Rockefeller ) Project Groom Lake Jekyll Island The creation of the Federal Reserve Fiat currency Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd Agartha Flouridation effects Agenda 21 Agenda 30 Monsanto Aspartame The Getty Research Institute B G H (Bovine growth hormone) Rothschild’s family history Albert Pike Adam Weishaupt P.N.A.C Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) Committee of 300 13 families Skull and Bones Society The Bush family’s business dealings General Wesley Clark Bill Cooper William Guy Carr MILABS Annunaki Nephalim Nibiru (Planet X) Ninth Circle Cult Nazi eugenics Council of 13 Council of Nicea Library of Alexandria Vatican Catacombs Emperor Constantine Bloodlines of the Illuminati Freemasonry Knights of Malta Jesuits Sabbatean Frankists D.U.M.B.S Phil Schneider Protocols of the learned Elders of Zion Tavistock Institute Frankfurt subversion techniques Fabian society Satanic ritual abuse Elm St Guest house 788 - 790 Finchley Road, Hampstead Christchurch Primary School, Hampstead The Samson Option Subscribe for more: https://t.me/BenjaminFulfordJ ✅️
    T.ME
    Benjamin FuIford
    Website: https://benjaminfulford.net/ Rumble: https://rumble.com/user/BenjaminFuIford
    Like
    1
    0 Comments 0 Shares 9177 Views
  • There is a buzz about a potential Farcaster airdrop. In my opinion, Farcaster is better than Lens. Warpcast is your gateway to Farcaster.

    Opening an account incurs a gas fee, but you can pay with fiat through Apple or Google. Additionally, you can take advantage of the opportunity to connect with Web3 developers, especially Ethereum and EVM chains developers, for early and valuable insights.

    Here is the link: https://warpcast.com/~/invite-page/212870?id=44091e9e.
    There is a buzz about a potential Farcaster airdrop. In my opinion, Farcaster is better than Lens. Warpcast is your gateway to Farcaster. Opening an account incurs a gas fee, but you can pay with fiat through Apple or Google. Additionally, you can take advantage of the opportunity to connect with Web3 developers, especially Ethereum and EVM chains developers, for early and valuable insights. Here is the link: https://warpcast.com/~/invite-page/212870?id=44091e9e.
    Warpcast
    A decentralized social network
    Like
    2
    0 Comments 0 Shares 4950 Views
  • Bitcoin Facts (Bonus NFT).

    1. Halving events occur approximately every four years, reducing the rate at which new bitcoins are created and impacting the overall supply dynamics. The most recent halving took place in 2020.

    2. The identity of Satoshi Nakamoto remains unknown, leading to various theories and speculations about the true identity of the cryptocurrency's creator.

    3. Bitcoin is often referred to as "digital gold" due to its store of value characteristics and being a hedge against inflation, similar to traditional precious metals.

    4. The first Bitcoin exchange, BitcoinMarket.com, was established in March 2010, allowing users to trade bitcoins for fiat currency.

    5. Some major companies and institutions, including Tesla and MicroStrategy, have added Bitcoin to their balance sheets as a strategic reserve asset.

    6. Bitcoin is divisible up to eight decimal places, providing flexibility for microtransactions and allowing for precision in the transfer of value.

    7. Several countries have embraced Bitcoin as legal tender, with El Salvador being the first nation to officially adopt it for everyday transactions in 2021.

    8. Wallets can be categorized as hot wallets (connected to the internet) or cold wallets (offline), each with its own security considerations.

    9. The Lightning Network is a layer-2 scaling solution for Bitcoin, aiming to enable faster and cheaper transactions by conducting some transactions off the main blockchain.

    10. Bitcoin has inspired the creation of thousands of alternative cryptocurrencies, collectively known as altcoins, each with its unique features and use cases.

    Bitcoin NFT:
    https://bit.ly/4aDbrpT

    #btc #bitcoin #crypto #cryptocurrency #nft #nfts #nftart #nftartist #nftartwork
    Bitcoin Facts (Bonus NFT). 1. Halving events occur approximately every four years, reducing the rate at which new bitcoins are created and impacting the overall supply dynamics. The most recent halving took place in 2020. 2. The identity of Satoshi Nakamoto remains unknown, leading to various theories and speculations about the true identity of the cryptocurrency's creator. 3. Bitcoin is often referred to as "digital gold" due to its store of value characteristics and being a hedge against inflation, similar to traditional precious metals. 4. The first Bitcoin exchange, BitcoinMarket.com, was established in March 2010, allowing users to trade bitcoins for fiat currency. 5. Some major companies and institutions, including Tesla and MicroStrategy, have added Bitcoin to their balance sheets as a strategic reserve asset. 6. Bitcoin is divisible up to eight decimal places, providing flexibility for microtransactions and allowing for precision in the transfer of value. 7. Several countries have embraced Bitcoin as legal tender, with El Salvador being the first nation to officially adopt it for everyday transactions in 2021. 8. Wallets can be categorized as hot wallets (connected to the internet) or cold wallets (offline), each with its own security considerations. 9. The Lightning Network is a layer-2 scaling solution for Bitcoin, aiming to enable faster and cheaper transactions by conducting some transactions off the main blockchain. 10. Bitcoin has inspired the creation of thousands of alternative cryptocurrencies, collectively known as altcoins, each with its unique features and use cases. Bitcoin NFT: https://bit.ly/4aDbrpT #btc #bitcoin #crypto #cryptocurrency #nft #nfts #nftart #nftartist #nftartwork
    BIT.LY
    NFT by Nft_craftt
    Bitcoin NFT #btc #bitcoin #crypto #cryptocurrency #nft #nfts #nftart #nftartist #nftartwork...
    1 Comments 0 Shares 16614 Views
  • Welcome To The Project Serenity
    Traffic Tip #1Top ranked crypto investment newsletter
    I started publishing my newsletter in 2018 and have turned many subscribers into millionaires.

    That's why I have a renewal rate second to none. Let me turn your prospects into raving fans and loyal subscribers that pay you fat commissions year after click here to get
    https://www.digistore24.com/redir/307348/Abrar769/

    Best converting traffic is:

    1. Email
    2. Display/Native
    3. Social Media
    4. Blog
    5. Non-Branded Search
    Traffic Tip #2

    All English Speaking Countires.



    i
    i
    Traffic Tip #3

    40+
    Male converts best.
    Brand New On-Demand Class From Marco Wutzer Reveals...

    How To Multiply Your Net Worth
    Over The Next 2 Years.

    Introducing A Simple Strategy To Make Life-Changing Money
    From The Fastest And Biggest Wealth Transfer In History.
    The Corrupt Fiat Money System That's Keeping The Average Person Poor Is Already On The Way Out... Click here to buy
    https://www.digistore24.com/redir/307348/Abrar769/

    A Paradigm Shift Is Underway But Only Few People Have Noticed...

    This change happens over a period of 20+ years. That's why most people don't recognize it. There's a crucial transition point during this cycle that will deliver maximum profits.

    The Genesis Cycle Will Change Everything For You

    This rare event is presenting you with the fastest and biggest money making opportunity of your life-time. And it's starting right now.

    The Only Safe Haven During This Time Of Global Chaos
    And Turmoil

    The transition to this new system is chaotic. Most investors will lose big. Rampant inflation, currency controls, supply chain breakdowns, and insane money printing will destroy the savings and purchasing power of the average person.



    The Blockchain Ecosystem gives you financial sovereignty. It's the only way to protect and grow your wealth during these turbulent times.
    https://www.digistore24.com/redir/307348/Abrar769/
    Welcome To The Project Serenity Traffic Tip #1Top ranked crypto investment newsletter I started publishing my newsletter in 2018 and have turned many subscribers into millionaires. That's why I have a renewal rate second to none. Let me turn your prospects into raving fans and loyal subscribers that pay you fat commissions year after click here to get https://www.digistore24.com/redir/307348/Abrar769/ Best converting traffic is: 1. Email 2. Display/Native 3. Social Media 4. Blog 5. Non-Branded Search Traffic Tip #2 All English Speaking Countires. i i Traffic Tip #3 40+ Male converts best. Brand New On-Demand Class From Marco Wutzer Reveals... How To Multiply Your Net Worth Over The Next 2 Years. Introducing A Simple Strategy To Make Life-Changing Money From The Fastest And Biggest Wealth Transfer In History. The Corrupt Fiat Money System That's Keeping The Average Person Poor Is Already On The Way Out... Click here to buy https://www.digistore24.com/redir/307348/Abrar769/ A Paradigm Shift Is Underway But Only Few People Have Noticed... This change happens over a period of 20+ years. That's why most people don't recognize it. There's a crucial transition point during this cycle that will deliver maximum profits. The Genesis Cycle Will Change Everything For You This rare event is presenting you with the fastest and biggest money making opportunity of your life-time. And it's starting right now. The Only Safe Haven During This Time Of Global Chaos And Turmoil The transition to this new system is chaotic. Most investors will lose big. Rampant inflation, currency controls, supply chain breakdowns, and insane money printing will destroy the savings and purchasing power of the average person. The Blockchain Ecosystem gives you financial sovereignty. It's the only way to protect and grow your wealth during these turbulent times. https://www.digistore24.com/redir/307348/Abrar769/
    0 Comments 0 Shares 4964 Views
  • Biden’s Legacy Should Be Forever Haunted by the Names of Gaza’s Dead Children
    Biden’s support for the terror bombing of Gaza continues his long history as a steadfast supporter of Israel’s greatest crimes.

    Jeremy Scahill November 14 2023, 12:24 p.m.
    KHAN YUNIS, GAZA - NOVEMBER 13: Palestinians including children are brought to Nasser Hospital for treatment aftermath of Israeli attack in Khan Yunis, Gaza on November 13, 2023. (Photo by Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu via Getty Images)
    As Israel intensified its attacks on Gaza last week, including strikes against multiple hospitals, and presided over a forced exodus of hundreds of thousands of civilians from their homes, President Joe Biden was asked about the chances of a Gaza ceasefire. “None,” Biden shot back. “No possibility.”

    With a death toll that has now surpassed 11,000 Palestinians, including nearly 5,000 children, the extent of Biden’s public divergence from his “great, great friend” Benjamin Netanyahu’s scorched-earth war of annihilation amounts to meekly worded suggestions of “humanitarian pauses.”

    On Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken remarked, “far too many Palestinians have been killed; far too many have suffered these past weeks, and we want to do everything possible to prevent harm to them and to maximize the assistance that gets to them.” These disingenuous platitudes melt into a puddle of blood when juxtaposed with the administration’s actions.

    The Biden administration has funneled weapons, intelligence support, and unwavering political backing for Israel’s public campaign to erase from the earth Gaza’s existence as a Palestinian territory. As Israeli settlers wage campaigns of terror against the Palestinians in the West Bank, the U.S. remained entrenched in its global isolation, voting last week against a U.N. resolution demanding an end to the illegal settlements. The resolution condemned illegal Israeli settlements, calling them “illegal and an obstacle to peace.” The resolution, which passed 145-7, called for “the immediate and complete cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Only five countries joined the U.S. and Israel in voting “no”: Canada, Hungary, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Nauru.

    As the capitals of major world cities have seen massive protests on a scale not registered since the 2003 Iraq invasion, Netanyahu has been on a U.S. media blitz, appearing on Sunday talk shows to cast the stakes of his war “to destroy Hamas” as akin to World War II. “Without it none of us have a future. And it’s not only our war, it’s your war too. It’s the battle of civilization against barbarism,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And if we don’t win here, this scourge will pass. The Middle East will pass to other places. The Middle East will fall. Europe is next. You will be next.”

    Netanyahu has brazenly exploited the grief of Israeli citizens whose lives were torn apart on October 7 when Hamas launched a series of coordinated attacks inside Israel. Those raids resulted in the deaths of 846 civilians, 278 Israeli soldiers, and 44 police officers, according to the latest figures provided by Israel. Some family members of the victims, as well as relatives of the 240 hostages taken by Hamas and other militant groups — among them infants and the elderly — have emerged as some of the most vocal critics of Netanyahu’s government. A small number have spoken out against his attacks on Gaza, though their voices are largely drowned out by pro-war voices in Western media coverage.

    “I beg you, I beg also my government, and the pilots and soldiers, who may be called to go into Gaza. Don’t agree. Protect the area around the Gaza Strip, but don’t agree to go in and kill innocent people,” said Noy Katsman, whose older brother Hayim was killed on October 7 at the kibbutz he had lived on for a decade. Maoz Inon’s parents were also killed that day. “Today, Israel is repeating an old mistake it made many times in the last century. We must stop it,” Inon wrote. “Revenge is not going to bring my parents back to life. It is not going to bring back other Israelis and Palestinians killed either. It is going to do the opposite. It is going to cause more casualties. It is going to bring more death.”

    Over the past month, Biden has cast doubt on the extent of Palestinian civilian deaths, defended Netanyahu’s violent extremist agendas, and made clear that the U.S. position amounts to this: collectively punishing Palestinians for the actions of Hamas falls under the doctrine of “self-defense.” Biden has stood by Israel as government officials have openly described an agenda of ethnically cleansing Palestinians, proclaiming a “Gaza Nakba,” threatening to do to Beirut what Israel has done to Gaza, labeling hospitals and ambulances “legitimate military targets,” and accusing U.N. workers of being Hamas and journalists of being “accomplices in crimes against humanity.” More than 100 U.N. workers and at least 40 journalists and media workers have been killed in Gaza since October 7. Approximately one in 200 Palestinians have died in Gaza since the start of Israel’s attacks.

    National security adviser Jake Sullivan, when asked Sunday on CNN if Israel is abiding by the rules of war, replied, “I’m not going to sit here and play judge or jury on that question. What I’m going to do is state the principle of the United States on this issue, which is straight forward: Israel has a right, indeed a responsibility, to defend itself against a terrorist group.” The U.S. is simultaneously increasing the flow of weapons to Israel — and Biden proposed $14.5 billion in additional military assistance — while its senior national security official cannot state whether Israel is conducting operations in contravention of international law.

    Keenly aware of the growing opposition to Israel’s war at home and abroad, and even within his own administration, Biden and his advisers have sought to push a narrative that they are seeking to moderate Israel’s tactics. They make sure the U.S. press know that Biden had urged against a full-scale ground invasion, proposed limited pauses to the bombing, and expressed concerns about the humanitarian crisis for Palestinian civilians. On Monday, after days of relentless Israeli attacks on Gazan hospitals and desperate pleas from international doctors and health and aid organizations, Biden finally addressed the issue, but only after being directly asked. “Hospitals must be protected,” he said in response to a question from the press. “My hope and expectation is that there will be less intrusive action relative to hospitals.”

    The White House’s mounting effort to spin itself as being concerned about civilian deaths and doing all it can to urge Israel to avoid massacring civilians on an industrial scale is an effort to obfuscate the U.S. role as Israel’s central ally enabling this slaughter. It is a grotesque parlor game that only works if facts and history don’t matter. And in Biden’s case, that history is extensive.

    NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2023/11/09: Students, teachers, and pro-Palestinian allies march through Midtown Manhattan during a Student Walkout protest calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Since October 7, the Israeli army's bombardment of the Palestinian enclave, in retaliation for the Hamas attack on Israel that killed over 1,400 people, has seen thousands of buildings razed to the ground, more than 10,000 people killed and 1.4 million displaced whilst Gaza remains besieged. (Photo by Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
    Students, teachers, and Palestine solidarity allies call for a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel during a student walkout in Manhattan on Nov. 9, 2023.
    Photo: Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
    Support for Israel’s Wars

    For 50 years, Biden has been consistent in his support for Israel’s wars against the Palestinians. Time and again he has backed and facilitated campaigns of terror waged by a nuclear power against a people who have no state, no army, no air force, no navy, and an almost nonexistent civilian infrastructure. As Gaza burns in a smoldering pyre of death and destruction, 80-year-old Biden may be overseeing the final act in his devotion to Israel’s most extreme agenda. His legacy should be forever haunted by the names of the dead children of Gaza, thousands of whom have died in a matter of weeks under the hellfire of U.S.-manufactured weapons and support.

    Biden has been in public office longer than almost any U.S. politician in history. His career in the U.S. Senate began on the eve of the 1973 Arab–Israeli war when he traveled to meet Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. “I sat across the desk for an hour as she flipped those maps up and down, chain smoking, telling me about the [1967] Six Day War,” Biden said. He called it “one of the most consequential meetings I’ve ever had in my life.” But, as has been in the case with more than a few of Biden’s vignettes about his central role in historical events, in his numerous and varied retelling of that story, he seems to have exaggerated how important that meeting was to Meir and the Israelis.


    Related

    Joe Biden: Career Defender of Israel’s Crimes and Impunity

    Over the ensuing decades and up to the current horrors being inflicted on the people of Gaza, Biden has operated as one of the staunchest promoters of Israel’s colonialist agenda, often defending Israel’s disproportionate use of force, collective punishment, and at times outright massacres. “Were there not an Israel, the United States would have to invent an Israel to protect her interests in the region,” Biden said on the Senate floor in 1986. He repeated that same line earlier this year during a July visit by Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Washington. During Biden’s trip to Israel last month, as Israel intensified its attacks on Gaza and the civilian death toll skyrocketed, he told Netanyahu and his war cabinet, “I don’t believe you have to be a Jew to be a Zionist, and I am a Zionist.”

    Building support for Israel’s military might and funneling money and political support to Israel has been a central component of Biden’s career-long foreign policy agenda. He is fond of calling himself “Israel’s best Catholic friend.” In 2016, during a visit to Israel, Netanyahu heaped praise on Biden, then vice president. “The people of Israel consider the Biden family part of our family,” he said. “I want to thank you personally for your, for our personal friendship of over 30 years. We’ve known each other a long time. We’ve gone through many trials and tribulations. And we have an enduring bond that represents the enduring bond between our people.”

    Most Read

    There is one story from these decades of Biden’s dedication to Israel that seems eerily prescient given the bloodbath playing out in Gaza right now. It took place early in the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. In public, Biden was neither a cheerleader for the invasion nor an opponent. But in a private meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with Prime Minister Menachem Begin in June 1982, Biden’s support for the brutality of the invasion appeared to outstrip even that of the Israeli government.

    As the Israeli prime minister was grilled in the Senate over Israel’s disproportionate use of force, including the targeting of civilians with cluster bomb munitions, Biden, in Begin’s words, “rose and delivered a very impassioned speech” defending the invasion. Upon his return to Israel, Begin told Israeli reporters he was shocked when Biden “said he would go even further than Israel, adding that he’d forcefully fend off anyone who sought to invade his country, even if that meant killing women or children.” Begin said, “I disassociated myself from these remarks,” adding, “I said to him: No, sir; attention must be paid. According to our values, it is forbidden to hurt women and children, even in war. Sometimes there are casualties among the civilian population as well. But it is forbidden to aspire to this. This is a yardstick of human civilization, not to hurt civilians.”

    Coming from Begin, the comments were striking, because he had been notorious as a leader of the Irgun, a militant group that carried out some of the worst acts of ethnic cleansing accompanying the creation of the state of Israel, including the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre. The details of his exchange with Biden about Lebanon did not receive attention in the U.S. press. Instead, the New York Times focused on what it termed the “bitterest exchange” between Biden and Begin over the issue of Israeli settlements, which Biden opposed because, he said, it was hurting Israel’s reputation in the U.S. “He hinted — more than hinted — that if we continue with this policy, it is possible that he will propose cutting our financial aid,” Begin alleged.

    Over the years, Biden has referenced this confrontation when explaining his opposition to the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank as a disagreement among very good friends. Biden has long argued that these expansions undermine prospects for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, though his rhetoric has often been contradicted by his actions, as was the case with his opposition to last week’s U.N. vote labeling the settlements illegal.

    US Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee?s (AIPAC) annual policy conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, May 5, 2009. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference in Washington, D.C., on May 5, 2009.
    Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
    “Innocents Got Killed”

    In the 1990s, as Biden solidified his reputation as a top foreign policy senator, he often helped shepherd legislation and funding packages to Israel that human rights groups and international aid organizations said would hinder efforts at brokering lasting peace and further entrench the state of apartheid imposed on millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

    Biden was an early proponent of moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move that finally took place in 2018 under the Trump administration. In 1995, Biden helped pass a Senate resolution demanding that the embassy be moved by May of that year. Despite objections that it would harm ongoing Israeli–Palestinian peace talks by deciding a key issue by fiat, Biden said the move would send a positive signal to the region. “To do less would play into the hands of those who would do their hardest to deny Israel the full attributes of statehood,” Biden said.

    In 2001, following rare public criticism from the Bush administration directed at Israel’s policy of assassinating suspected Palestinian militants, Biden defended Israel’s right to carry out such killings and even rebuked President George W. Bush for criticizing them. “My view has always been that disagreements between Israel and the United States, those differences should be aired privately, not publicly,” Biden said. He also defended the legality of targeted killings, which at the time were considered highly questionable by legal experts for occurring outside a declared conflict. “I don’t believe this is a policy of assassinations,” Biden said, referring to the targeting of suspected Hamas members. “There is in effect a declared war, a declaration by an organization that has said its goal is to do as much as it can to kill Israeli civilians.”

    In July 2006, Israel was bombing both Gaza and southern Lebanon, with Biden cheering it on. The Israelis, Biden said on MSNBC, “have in both cases, both in Gaza and in southern Lebanon, done the right thing.” In the face of international condemnations of Israel’s brutality in its attacks, Biden defended Israel. “I find it fascinating — people talk about, ‘Has Israel gone too far?’ No one talks about whether Israel’s justified in the first place,” he said on “Meet the Press.” Unless critics of Israel recognize that it was a victim of terrorism, he said, “I think it’s awful — I think it’s a secondary question whether Israel’s gone too far.”

    Biden said his “only criticism of the Israelis is they’re not that great at public relations.” He compared Israel’s attacks on Gaza and Lebanon to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks. “It’s a little bit like the same thing we had when we went into Afghanistan,” Biden said at a press conference in July 2006. “We went into Afghanistan, remember, we took out a wedding party by accident? Remember, we took out — with these very sophisticated missiles we had, we accidentally killed some citizens? Was ever a war more justified than us going into Afghanistan? I can’t think of any war since World War II more justified. Yet innocents got killed in us trying to protect America’s interests.” By August 2006, more than 1,000 people were killed in Israel’s war against Lebanon, and UNICEF estimated that 30 percent of the casualties were children.

    During his time as vice president, Biden often played the role of placating his friend Netanyahu who famously loathed President Barack Obama. During those eight years, Obama largely maintained long-standing U.S. posture of showering Israel with weapons and other aid despite repeated political spats with Netanyahu, most prominently over Iran and Israeli settlements. During numerous episodes when Israel unleashed gratuitous violence, drawing international condemnation, Biden served as Israel’s most prominent American defender.

    In the early summer of 2010, a group of mostly Turkish activists attempted to deliver a flotilla of humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip. The attempt was interdicted by the Israeli military, which launched a raid on one ship that resulted in the deaths of nine people, including one American citizen. The raid triggered an international outcry and led to a diplomatic crisis between Israel and Turkey, while drawing further attention to the civilian impact of the ongoing Israeli siege of Gaza.

    Biden took the lead in defending the raid to the U.S. public. In an interview with PBS, he described the raid as “legitimate” and argued that the flotilla organizers could have disembarked elsewhere before transferring the aid to Gaza. “So what’s the big deal here? What’s the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza?” Biden asked about the humanitarian mission. “Well, it’s legitimate for Israel to say, ‘I don’t know what’s on that ship. These guys are dropping eight — 3,000 rockets on my people.’” No weapons were ever found on the ship, only humanitarian supplies. Amid the fury that the raid generated and the muted response from Obama, Biden’s remarks were welcomed by AIPAC spokesperson Josh Block, who said at the time, “We appreciate the many strong statements of support for Israel from members of Congress and the vice president today.”

    After the 2014 Gaza war — a seven-week Israeli ground invasion that killed more than 2,000 Palestinians (two-thirds of them civilians) and caused widespread displacement and destruction of civilian infrastructure — Biden boasted of how the Obama administration had “steadfastly stood before the world and defended Israel’s right to defend itself,” declaring, “We have an obligation to match the steel and the spine of the people of Israel with an ironclad, nonnegotiable commitment to Israel’s physical security.”

    In May 2021, a few months into Biden’s presidency, Israel intensified its ethnic-cleansing campaign against Palestinians in East Jerusalem, forcibly evicting people from their homes to hand them over to Israeli settlers. The incendiary situation was then exacerbated during a Ramadan siege by Israeli forces at one of the holiest sites in Islam, Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. In response, Hamas began launching rockets into Israel. Netanyahu retaliated by ordering a massive 11-day bombing campaign against Gaza, striking residential buildings, media outlets, hospitals, and a refugee camp.

    As the civilian death toll among Palestinians began to rise, Ned Price, the State Department spokesperson, characterized the operation as Israel exercising its right to self-defense. When he was then asked whether the principle of self-defense also applied to Palestinians, he struggled to answer before saying, “Broadly speaking, we believe in the concept of self-defense. We believe it applies to any state.” When Matt Lee of The Associated Press pointed out that Palestinians do not have a state, Price said, “I’m not in a position to debate the legalities from up here.”

    More than 250 Palestinians died during Israel’s siege, including dozens of children. More than 70,000 Palestinians were displaced. Throughout the bombing, the U.S. staunchly defended Israel’s disproportionate attacks, with Biden declaring on May 16, “there has not been a significant overreaction” from Israel before pivoting to condemn Hamas’s firing of rockets into civilian areas of Israel.

    GAZA CITY, GAZA - NOVEMBER 8: Palestinians who left their houses and live at the Nassr hospital, are trying to feed their children during food shortages as the Israeli attacks continue in Gaza City, Gaza on November 8, 2023. (Photo by Abed Zagout/Anadolu via Getty Images)
    Displaced Palestinians at Nassr hospital try to feed their children during food shortages on Nov. 8, 2023.
    Photo: Abed Zagout/Anadolu via Getty Images
    Evidence of Genocidal Intent

    Following Hamas’s horrifying attacks on October 7, Biden and his administration have defended Israel’s mass bombardment of Gaza, and U.S. weapons shipments have been accelerated. Biden called his proposal for additional military support an “unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security that will sharpen Israel’s qualitative military edge,” saying, “We’re going to make sure other hostile actors in the region know that Israel is stronger than ever.”

    This crisis has undoubtedly solidified Biden’s legacy as one of the premiere American defenders of Israel’s crimes, including disproportionate attacks against an overwhelmingly defenseless civilian population, in the history of U.S. politics.

    In an alternate reality — one where the rule of law is applied equally to all states — Israeli leaders would likely face war crimes charges for the razing of Gaza. Leading genocide scholars and international law experts have cited the statements of Israeli officials about the aims of their operations in Gaza as potential evidence of “genocidal intent.” A coalition of international lawyers representing Palestinian rights groups has already petitioned the International Criminal Court to open a criminal inquiry and issue arrest warrants for Netanyahu and other officials.

    Such attempts at accountability should not focus solely on Israeli leaders, according to some U.S. constitutional law organizations. The U.S. is Israel’s premiere bankroller and arms dealer, not to mention its political defender. There are several U.S. laws and treaties that prohibit support for, and failure to prevent, genocidal activities. Among these is the Genocide Convention Implementation Act, signed into law in 1988. Its sponsor? A senator named Joe Biden.


    Related

    Palestinians Sue Biden for Failing to Prevent Genocide in Gaza

    On Monday, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Palestinians in Gaza seeking to block the Biden administration from providing further military aid to Israel. The suit names Biden, Blinken, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. “They have continued to provide both military and political support for Israel’s unfolding genocidal campaign while imposing no red lines,” said Katherine Gallagher, one of the lawyers who filed the case. “The United States has a clear and binding obligation to prevent, not further, genocide. They have failed in meeting their legal and moral duty to use their considerable power to end this horror. They must do so.”

    It is unfathomable, given the current world order, that any meaningful legal accountability will be served on U.S. or Israeli leaders. But on a moral level, it is important to remember these legal efforts to confront the slaughter and the complicity of Biden and other Western leaders. The U.S.-enabled horrors of the past five weeks should remain a bloody, permanent stain on the fabric of Biden’s political career and legacy. Among the U.S. political elite, it will simply be noted as Biden doing his job.


    https://theintercept.com/2023/11/14/gaza-israel-genocide-biden-legacy/
    Biden’s Legacy Should Be Forever Haunted by the Names of Gaza’s Dead Children Biden’s support for the terror bombing of Gaza continues his long history as a steadfast supporter of Israel’s greatest crimes. Jeremy Scahill November 14 2023, 12:24 p.m. KHAN YUNIS, GAZA - NOVEMBER 13: Palestinians including children are brought to Nasser Hospital for treatment aftermath of Israeli attack in Khan Yunis, Gaza on November 13, 2023. (Photo by Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu via Getty Images) As Israel intensified its attacks on Gaza last week, including strikes against multiple hospitals, and presided over a forced exodus of hundreds of thousands of civilians from their homes, President Joe Biden was asked about the chances of a Gaza ceasefire. “None,” Biden shot back. “No possibility.” With a death toll that has now surpassed 11,000 Palestinians, including nearly 5,000 children, the extent of Biden’s public divergence from his “great, great friend” Benjamin Netanyahu’s scorched-earth war of annihilation amounts to meekly worded suggestions of “humanitarian pauses.” On Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken remarked, “far too many Palestinians have been killed; far too many have suffered these past weeks, and we want to do everything possible to prevent harm to them and to maximize the assistance that gets to them.” These disingenuous platitudes melt into a puddle of blood when juxtaposed with the administration’s actions. The Biden administration has funneled weapons, intelligence support, and unwavering political backing for Israel’s public campaign to erase from the earth Gaza’s existence as a Palestinian territory. As Israeli settlers wage campaigns of terror against the Palestinians in the West Bank, the U.S. remained entrenched in its global isolation, voting last week against a U.N. resolution demanding an end to the illegal settlements. The resolution condemned illegal Israeli settlements, calling them “illegal and an obstacle to peace.” The resolution, which passed 145-7, called for “the immediate and complete cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Only five countries joined the U.S. and Israel in voting “no”: Canada, Hungary, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Nauru. As the capitals of major world cities have seen massive protests on a scale not registered since the 2003 Iraq invasion, Netanyahu has been on a U.S. media blitz, appearing on Sunday talk shows to cast the stakes of his war “to destroy Hamas” as akin to World War II. “Without it none of us have a future. And it’s not only our war, it’s your war too. It’s the battle of civilization against barbarism,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And if we don’t win here, this scourge will pass. The Middle East will pass to other places. The Middle East will fall. Europe is next. You will be next.” Netanyahu has brazenly exploited the grief of Israeli citizens whose lives were torn apart on October 7 when Hamas launched a series of coordinated attacks inside Israel. Those raids resulted in the deaths of 846 civilians, 278 Israeli soldiers, and 44 police officers, according to the latest figures provided by Israel. Some family members of the victims, as well as relatives of the 240 hostages taken by Hamas and other militant groups — among them infants and the elderly — have emerged as some of the most vocal critics of Netanyahu’s government. A small number have spoken out against his attacks on Gaza, though their voices are largely drowned out by pro-war voices in Western media coverage. “I beg you, I beg also my government, and the pilots and soldiers, who may be called to go into Gaza. Don’t agree. Protect the area around the Gaza Strip, but don’t agree to go in and kill innocent people,” said Noy Katsman, whose older brother Hayim was killed on October 7 at the kibbutz he had lived on for a decade. Maoz Inon’s parents were also killed that day. “Today, Israel is repeating an old mistake it made many times in the last century. We must stop it,” Inon wrote. “Revenge is not going to bring my parents back to life. It is not going to bring back other Israelis and Palestinians killed either. It is going to do the opposite. It is going to cause more casualties. It is going to bring more death.” Over the past month, Biden has cast doubt on the extent of Palestinian civilian deaths, defended Netanyahu’s violent extremist agendas, and made clear that the U.S. position amounts to this: collectively punishing Palestinians for the actions of Hamas falls under the doctrine of “self-defense.” Biden has stood by Israel as government officials have openly described an agenda of ethnically cleansing Palestinians, proclaiming a “Gaza Nakba,” threatening to do to Beirut what Israel has done to Gaza, labeling hospitals and ambulances “legitimate military targets,” and accusing U.N. workers of being Hamas and journalists of being “accomplices in crimes against humanity.” More than 100 U.N. workers and at least 40 journalists and media workers have been killed in Gaza since October 7. Approximately one in 200 Palestinians have died in Gaza since the start of Israel’s attacks. National security adviser Jake Sullivan, when asked Sunday on CNN if Israel is abiding by the rules of war, replied, “I’m not going to sit here and play judge or jury on that question. What I’m going to do is state the principle of the United States on this issue, which is straight forward: Israel has a right, indeed a responsibility, to defend itself against a terrorist group.” The U.S. is simultaneously increasing the flow of weapons to Israel — and Biden proposed $14.5 billion in additional military assistance — while its senior national security official cannot state whether Israel is conducting operations in contravention of international law. Keenly aware of the growing opposition to Israel’s war at home and abroad, and even within his own administration, Biden and his advisers have sought to push a narrative that they are seeking to moderate Israel’s tactics. They make sure the U.S. press know that Biden had urged against a full-scale ground invasion, proposed limited pauses to the bombing, and expressed concerns about the humanitarian crisis for Palestinian civilians. On Monday, after days of relentless Israeli attacks on Gazan hospitals and desperate pleas from international doctors and health and aid organizations, Biden finally addressed the issue, but only after being directly asked. “Hospitals must be protected,” he said in response to a question from the press. “My hope and expectation is that there will be less intrusive action relative to hospitals.” The White House’s mounting effort to spin itself as being concerned about civilian deaths and doing all it can to urge Israel to avoid massacring civilians on an industrial scale is an effort to obfuscate the U.S. role as Israel’s central ally enabling this slaughter. It is a grotesque parlor game that only works if facts and history don’t matter. And in Biden’s case, that history is extensive. NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2023/11/09: Students, teachers, and pro-Palestinian allies march through Midtown Manhattan during a Student Walkout protest calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Since October 7, the Israeli army's bombardment of the Palestinian enclave, in retaliation for the Hamas attack on Israel that killed over 1,400 people, has seen thousands of buildings razed to the ground, more than 10,000 people killed and 1.4 million displaced whilst Gaza remains besieged. (Photo by Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images) Students, teachers, and Palestine solidarity allies call for a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel during a student walkout in Manhattan on Nov. 9, 2023. Photo: Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images Support for Israel’s Wars For 50 years, Biden has been consistent in his support for Israel’s wars against the Palestinians. Time and again he has backed and facilitated campaigns of terror waged by a nuclear power against a people who have no state, no army, no air force, no navy, and an almost nonexistent civilian infrastructure. As Gaza burns in a smoldering pyre of death and destruction, 80-year-old Biden may be overseeing the final act in his devotion to Israel’s most extreme agenda. His legacy should be forever haunted by the names of the dead children of Gaza, thousands of whom have died in a matter of weeks under the hellfire of U.S.-manufactured weapons and support. Biden has been in public office longer than almost any U.S. politician in history. His career in the U.S. Senate began on the eve of the 1973 Arab–Israeli war when he traveled to meet Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. “I sat across the desk for an hour as she flipped those maps up and down, chain smoking, telling me about the [1967] Six Day War,” Biden said. He called it “one of the most consequential meetings I’ve ever had in my life.” But, as has been in the case with more than a few of Biden’s vignettes about his central role in historical events, in his numerous and varied retelling of that story, he seems to have exaggerated how important that meeting was to Meir and the Israelis. Related Joe Biden: Career Defender of Israel’s Crimes and Impunity Over the ensuing decades and up to the current horrors being inflicted on the people of Gaza, Biden has operated as one of the staunchest promoters of Israel’s colonialist agenda, often defending Israel’s disproportionate use of force, collective punishment, and at times outright massacres. “Were there not an Israel, the United States would have to invent an Israel to protect her interests in the region,” Biden said on the Senate floor in 1986. He repeated that same line earlier this year during a July visit by Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Washington. During Biden’s trip to Israel last month, as Israel intensified its attacks on Gaza and the civilian death toll skyrocketed, he told Netanyahu and his war cabinet, “I don’t believe you have to be a Jew to be a Zionist, and I am a Zionist.” Building support for Israel’s military might and funneling money and political support to Israel has been a central component of Biden’s career-long foreign policy agenda. He is fond of calling himself “Israel’s best Catholic friend.” In 2016, during a visit to Israel, Netanyahu heaped praise on Biden, then vice president. “The people of Israel consider the Biden family part of our family,” he said. “I want to thank you personally for your, for our personal friendship of over 30 years. We’ve known each other a long time. We’ve gone through many trials and tribulations. And we have an enduring bond that represents the enduring bond between our people.” Most Read There is one story from these decades of Biden’s dedication to Israel that seems eerily prescient given the bloodbath playing out in Gaza right now. It took place early in the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. In public, Biden was neither a cheerleader for the invasion nor an opponent. But in a private meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with Prime Minister Menachem Begin in June 1982, Biden’s support for the brutality of the invasion appeared to outstrip even that of the Israeli government. As the Israeli prime minister was grilled in the Senate over Israel’s disproportionate use of force, including the targeting of civilians with cluster bomb munitions, Biden, in Begin’s words, “rose and delivered a very impassioned speech” defending the invasion. Upon his return to Israel, Begin told Israeli reporters he was shocked when Biden “said he would go even further than Israel, adding that he’d forcefully fend off anyone who sought to invade his country, even if that meant killing women or children.” Begin said, “I disassociated myself from these remarks,” adding, “I said to him: No, sir; attention must be paid. According to our values, it is forbidden to hurt women and children, even in war. Sometimes there are casualties among the civilian population as well. But it is forbidden to aspire to this. This is a yardstick of human civilization, not to hurt civilians.” Coming from Begin, the comments were striking, because he had been notorious as a leader of the Irgun, a militant group that carried out some of the worst acts of ethnic cleansing accompanying the creation of the state of Israel, including the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre. The details of his exchange with Biden about Lebanon did not receive attention in the U.S. press. Instead, the New York Times focused on what it termed the “bitterest exchange” between Biden and Begin over the issue of Israeli settlements, which Biden opposed because, he said, it was hurting Israel’s reputation in the U.S. “He hinted — more than hinted — that if we continue with this policy, it is possible that he will propose cutting our financial aid,” Begin alleged. Over the years, Biden has referenced this confrontation when explaining his opposition to the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank as a disagreement among very good friends. Biden has long argued that these expansions undermine prospects for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, though his rhetoric has often been contradicted by his actions, as was the case with his opposition to last week’s U.N. vote labeling the settlements illegal. US Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee?s (AIPAC) annual policy conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, May 5, 2009. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images) U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference in Washington, D.C., on May 5, 2009. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images “Innocents Got Killed” In the 1990s, as Biden solidified his reputation as a top foreign policy senator, he often helped shepherd legislation and funding packages to Israel that human rights groups and international aid organizations said would hinder efforts at brokering lasting peace and further entrench the state of apartheid imposed on millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Biden was an early proponent of moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move that finally took place in 2018 under the Trump administration. In 1995, Biden helped pass a Senate resolution demanding that the embassy be moved by May of that year. Despite objections that it would harm ongoing Israeli–Palestinian peace talks by deciding a key issue by fiat, Biden said the move would send a positive signal to the region. “To do less would play into the hands of those who would do their hardest to deny Israel the full attributes of statehood,” Biden said. In 2001, following rare public criticism from the Bush administration directed at Israel’s policy of assassinating suspected Palestinian militants, Biden defended Israel’s right to carry out such killings and even rebuked President George W. Bush for criticizing them. “My view has always been that disagreements between Israel and the United States, those differences should be aired privately, not publicly,” Biden said. He also defended the legality of targeted killings, which at the time were considered highly questionable by legal experts for occurring outside a declared conflict. “I don’t believe this is a policy of assassinations,” Biden said, referring to the targeting of suspected Hamas members. “There is in effect a declared war, a declaration by an organization that has said its goal is to do as much as it can to kill Israeli civilians.” In July 2006, Israel was bombing both Gaza and southern Lebanon, with Biden cheering it on. The Israelis, Biden said on MSNBC, “have in both cases, both in Gaza and in southern Lebanon, done the right thing.” In the face of international condemnations of Israel’s brutality in its attacks, Biden defended Israel. “I find it fascinating — people talk about, ‘Has Israel gone too far?’ No one talks about whether Israel’s justified in the first place,” he said on “Meet the Press.” Unless critics of Israel recognize that it was a victim of terrorism, he said, “I think it’s awful — I think it’s a secondary question whether Israel’s gone too far.” Biden said his “only criticism of the Israelis is they’re not that great at public relations.” He compared Israel’s attacks on Gaza and Lebanon to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks. “It’s a little bit like the same thing we had when we went into Afghanistan,” Biden said at a press conference in July 2006. “We went into Afghanistan, remember, we took out a wedding party by accident? Remember, we took out — with these very sophisticated missiles we had, we accidentally killed some citizens? Was ever a war more justified than us going into Afghanistan? I can’t think of any war since World War II more justified. Yet innocents got killed in us trying to protect America’s interests.” By August 2006, more than 1,000 people were killed in Israel’s war against Lebanon, and UNICEF estimated that 30 percent of the casualties were children. During his time as vice president, Biden often played the role of placating his friend Netanyahu who famously loathed President Barack Obama. During those eight years, Obama largely maintained long-standing U.S. posture of showering Israel with weapons and other aid despite repeated political spats with Netanyahu, most prominently over Iran and Israeli settlements. During numerous episodes when Israel unleashed gratuitous violence, drawing international condemnation, Biden served as Israel’s most prominent American defender. In the early summer of 2010, a group of mostly Turkish activists attempted to deliver a flotilla of humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip. The attempt was interdicted by the Israeli military, which launched a raid on one ship that resulted in the deaths of nine people, including one American citizen. The raid triggered an international outcry and led to a diplomatic crisis between Israel and Turkey, while drawing further attention to the civilian impact of the ongoing Israeli siege of Gaza. Biden took the lead in defending the raid to the U.S. public. In an interview with PBS, he described the raid as “legitimate” and argued that the flotilla organizers could have disembarked elsewhere before transferring the aid to Gaza. “So what’s the big deal here? What’s the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza?” Biden asked about the humanitarian mission. “Well, it’s legitimate for Israel to say, ‘I don’t know what’s on that ship. These guys are dropping eight — 3,000 rockets on my people.’” No weapons were ever found on the ship, only humanitarian supplies. Amid the fury that the raid generated and the muted response from Obama, Biden’s remarks were welcomed by AIPAC spokesperson Josh Block, who said at the time, “We appreciate the many strong statements of support for Israel from members of Congress and the vice president today.” After the 2014 Gaza war — a seven-week Israeli ground invasion that killed more than 2,000 Palestinians (two-thirds of them civilians) and caused widespread displacement and destruction of civilian infrastructure — Biden boasted of how the Obama administration had “steadfastly stood before the world and defended Israel’s right to defend itself,” declaring, “We have an obligation to match the steel and the spine of the people of Israel with an ironclad, nonnegotiable commitment to Israel’s physical security.” In May 2021, a few months into Biden’s presidency, Israel intensified its ethnic-cleansing campaign against Palestinians in East Jerusalem, forcibly evicting people from their homes to hand them over to Israeli settlers. The incendiary situation was then exacerbated during a Ramadan siege by Israeli forces at one of the holiest sites in Islam, Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. In response, Hamas began launching rockets into Israel. Netanyahu retaliated by ordering a massive 11-day bombing campaign against Gaza, striking residential buildings, media outlets, hospitals, and a refugee camp. As the civilian death toll among Palestinians began to rise, Ned Price, the State Department spokesperson, characterized the operation as Israel exercising its right to self-defense. When he was then asked whether the principle of self-defense also applied to Palestinians, he struggled to answer before saying, “Broadly speaking, we believe in the concept of self-defense. We believe it applies to any state.” When Matt Lee of The Associated Press pointed out that Palestinians do not have a state, Price said, “I’m not in a position to debate the legalities from up here.” More than 250 Palestinians died during Israel’s siege, including dozens of children. More than 70,000 Palestinians were displaced. Throughout the bombing, the U.S. staunchly defended Israel’s disproportionate attacks, with Biden declaring on May 16, “there has not been a significant overreaction” from Israel before pivoting to condemn Hamas’s firing of rockets into civilian areas of Israel. GAZA CITY, GAZA - NOVEMBER 8: Palestinians who left their houses and live at the Nassr hospital, are trying to feed their children during food shortages as the Israeli attacks continue in Gaza City, Gaza on November 8, 2023. (Photo by Abed Zagout/Anadolu via Getty Images) Displaced Palestinians at Nassr hospital try to feed their children during food shortages on Nov. 8, 2023. Photo: Abed Zagout/Anadolu via Getty Images Evidence of Genocidal Intent Following Hamas’s horrifying attacks on October 7, Biden and his administration have defended Israel’s mass bombardment of Gaza, and U.S. weapons shipments have been accelerated. Biden called his proposal for additional military support an “unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security that will sharpen Israel’s qualitative military edge,” saying, “We’re going to make sure other hostile actors in the region know that Israel is stronger than ever.” This crisis has undoubtedly solidified Biden’s legacy as one of the premiere American defenders of Israel’s crimes, including disproportionate attacks against an overwhelmingly defenseless civilian population, in the history of U.S. politics. In an alternate reality — one where the rule of law is applied equally to all states — Israeli leaders would likely face war crimes charges for the razing of Gaza. Leading genocide scholars and international law experts have cited the statements of Israeli officials about the aims of their operations in Gaza as potential evidence of “genocidal intent.” A coalition of international lawyers representing Palestinian rights groups has already petitioned the International Criminal Court to open a criminal inquiry and issue arrest warrants for Netanyahu and other officials. Such attempts at accountability should not focus solely on Israeli leaders, according to some U.S. constitutional law organizations. The U.S. is Israel’s premiere bankroller and arms dealer, not to mention its political defender. There are several U.S. laws and treaties that prohibit support for, and failure to prevent, genocidal activities. Among these is the Genocide Convention Implementation Act, signed into law in 1988. Its sponsor? A senator named Joe Biden. Related Palestinians Sue Biden for Failing to Prevent Genocide in Gaza On Monday, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Palestinians in Gaza seeking to block the Biden administration from providing further military aid to Israel. The suit names Biden, Blinken, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. “They have continued to provide both military and political support for Israel’s unfolding genocidal campaign while imposing no red lines,” said Katherine Gallagher, one of the lawyers who filed the case. “The United States has a clear and binding obligation to prevent, not further, genocide. They have failed in meeting their legal and moral duty to use their considerable power to end this horror. They must do so.” It is unfathomable, given the current world order, that any meaningful legal accountability will be served on U.S. or Israeli leaders. But on a moral level, it is important to remember these legal efforts to confront the slaughter and the complicity of Biden and other Western leaders. The U.S.-enabled horrors of the past five weeks should remain a bloody, permanent stain on the fabric of Biden’s political career and legacy. Among the U.S. political elite, it will simply be noted as Biden doing his job. https://theintercept.com/2023/11/14/gaza-israel-genocide-biden-legacy/
    THEINTERCEPT.COM
    Biden’s Legacy Should Be Forever Haunted by the Names of Gaza’s Dead Children
    Biden’s support for the terror bombing of Gaza continues his long history as a steadfast supporter of Israel’s greatest crimes.
    0 Comments 0 Shares 20130 Views
  • The Age of Megathreats
    Nouriel RoubiniNov 4, 2022
    op_roubini3_Getty Images_worlddisaster Getty Images
    NEW YORK – Severe megathreats are imperiling our future – not just our jobs, incomes, wealth, and the global economy, but also the relative peace, prosperity, and progress achieved over the past 75 years. Many of these threats were not even on our radar during the prosperous post-World War II era. I grew up in the Middle East and Europe from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, and I never worried about climate change potentially destroying the planet. Most of us had barely even heard of the problem, and greenhouse-gas emissions were still relatively low, compared to where they would soon be.

    Moreover, after the US-Soviet détente and US President Richard Nixon’s visit to China in the early 1970s, I never really worried about another war among great powers, let alone a nuclear one. The term “pandemic” didn’t register in my consciousness, either, because the last major one had been in 1918. And I didn’t fathom that artificial intelligence might someday destroy most jobs and render Homo sapiens obsolete, because those were the years of the long “AI winter.”

    Similarly, terms like “deglobalization” and “trade war” had no purchase during this period. Trade liberalization had been in full swing since the Great Depression, and it would soon lead to the hyper-globalization that began in the 1990s. Debt crises posed no threat, because private and public debt-to-GDP ratios were low in advanced economies and emerging markets, and growth was robust. No one had to worry about the massive build-up of implicit debt, in the form of unfunded liabilities from pay-as-you-go social security and health-care systems. The supply of young workers was rising, the share of the elderly was still low, and robust, mostly unrestricted immigration from the Global South to the North would continue to prop up the labor market in advanced economies.

    Against this backdrop, economic cycles were contained, and recessions were short and shallow, except for during the stagflationary decade of the 1970s; but even then, there were no debt crises in advanced economies, because debt ratios were low. The kind of financial cycles that lead to crises were contained not just in advanced economies but even in emerging markets, owing to the low leverage, low risk-taking, solid financial regulation, capital controls, and various forms of financial repression that prevailed during this period. The advanced economies were strong liberal democracies that were free of extreme partisan polarization. Populism and authoritarianism were confined to a benighted cohort of poorer countries.

    Goodbye to All That

    Fast-forward from this relatively “golden” period between 1945 and 1985 to late 2022, and you will immediately notice that we are awash in new, extreme megathreats that were not previously on anyone’s mind. The world has entered what I call a geopolitical depression, with (at least) four dangerous revisionist powers – China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea – challenging the economic, financial, security, and geopolitical order that the United States and its allies created after WWII.

    There is a sharply rising risk not only of war among great powers but of a nuclear conflict. In the coming year, Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine could escalate into an unconventional conflict that directly involves NATO. And Israel – and perhaps the US – may decide to launch strikes against Iran, which is on its way to building a nuclear bomb.


    Subscribe to PS Digital now to read all the latest insights from Nouriel Roubini.

    Digital subscribers enjoy access to every PS commentary, including those by Nouriel Roubini, plus our entire On Point suite of subscriber-exclusive content, including Longer Reads, Insider Interviews, Big Picture/Big Question, and Say More.

    For a limited time, save $15 with the code ROUBINI15.

    Subscribe Now

    With Chinese President Xi Jinping further consolidating his authoritarian rule, and with the US tightening its trade restrictions against China, the new Sino-American cold war is getting colder by the day. Worse, it could all too easily turn hot over the status of Taiwan, which Xi is committed to reuniting with the mainland, and which US President Joe Biden is apparently committed to defending. Meanwhile, nuclear-armed North Korea has once again been seeking attention by firing rockets over Japan and South Korea.

    Cyberwarfare occurs daily between these revisionist powers and the West, and many other countries have adopted a non-aligned posture toward Western-led sanctions regimes. From our contingent vantage point in the middle of all these events, we don’t yet know if World War III has already begun in Ukraine. That determination will be left to future historians – if there are any.

    Even discounting the threat of nuclear Armageddon, the risk of an environmental Apocalypse is becoming increasingly serious, especially given that most of the talk about net-zero and ESG (environment, social, and governance) investing is just greenwashing – or greenwishing. The new greenflation is already in full swing, because it turns out that amassing the metals needed for the energy transition requires a lot of expensive energy.

    There is also a growing risk of new pandemics that would be worse than biblical plagues, owing to the link between environmental destruction and zoonotic diseases. Wildlife, carrying dangerous pathogens, are coming into closer and more frequent contact with humans and livestock. That is why we have experienced more frequent and virulent pandemics and epidemics (HIV, SARS, MERS, swine flu, bird flu, Zika, Ebola, COVID-19) since the early 1980s. All the evidence suggests that this problem will become even worse in the future. Indeed, owing to the melting of Siberian permafrost, we may soon be confronting dangerous viruses and bacteria that have been locked away for millennia.

    Moreover, geopolitical conflicts and national-security concerns are fueling trade, financial, and technology wars, and accelerating the deglobalization process. The return of protectionism and the Sino-American decoupling will leave the global economy, supply chains, and markets more balkanized and fragmented. The buzzwords “friend-shoring” and “secure and fair trade” have replaced “offshoring” and “free trade.”

    But on the domestic front, advances in AI, robotics, and automation will destroy more and more jobs, even if policymakers build higher protectionist walls in an effort to fight the last war. By both restricting immigration and demanding more domestic production, aging advanced economies will create a stronger incentive for companies to adopt labor-saving technologies. While routine jobs are obviously at risk, so, too, are any cognitive jobs that can be unbundled into discrete tasks, and even many creative jobs. AI language models like GPT-3 can already write better than most humans and will almost certainly displace many jobs and sources of income. In due course, some scientists believe that Homo sapiens will be rendered entirely obsolete by the rise of artificial general intelligence or machine super-intelligence – though this is a highly contentious subject of debate.

    Thus, over time, economic malaise will deepen, inequality will rise even further, and more white- and blue-collar workers will be left behind.

    Hard Choices, Hard Landings

    The macroeconomic situation is no better. For the first time since the 1970s, we are facing high inflation and the prospect of a recession – stagflation. The increased inflation in advanced economies wasn’t “transitory.” It is persistent, driven by a combination of bad policies – excessively loose monetary, fiscal, and credit policies that were kept in place for too long – and bad luck. No one could have anticipated how much the initial COVID-19 shock would curtail the supply of goods and labor and create bottlenecks in global supply chains. The same goes for Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, which caused a sharp spike in energy, food, fertilizers, industrial metals, and other commodities. Meanwhile, China has continued its “zero-COVID” policy, which is creating additional supply bottlenecks.

    While both demand and supply factors were in the mix, it is now widely recognized that the supply factors have played an increasingly decisive role. This matters for the economic outlook, because supply-driven inflation is stagflationary and thus increases the risk that monetary-policy tightening will produce a hard landing (increased unemployment and potentially a recession).

    What will follow from the US Federal Reserve and other major central banks’ current tightening? Until recently, most central banks and most of Wall Street belonged to “Team Soft Landing.” But the consensus has rapidly shifted, with even Fed Chair Jerome Powell recognizing that a recession is possible, that a soft landing will be “very challenging,” and that everyone should prepare for some “pain” ahead. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s model shows a high probability of a hard landing, and the Bank of England has expressed similar views about the United Kingdom. Several prominent Wall Street institutions have also now made a recession their baseline scenario (the most likely outcome if all other variables are held constant).

    History, too, points to deeper problems ahead. For the past 60 years in the US, whenever inflation has been above 5% (it is above 8% today), and unemployment has been below 5% (it is now 3.5%), any attempt by the Fed to bring inflation down toward its 2% target has caused a recession. Thus, a hard landing is much more likely than a soft landing, both in the US and across most other advanced economies.

    Sticky Stagflation

    In addition to the short-term factors, negative supply shocks and demand factors in the medium term will cause inflation to persist. On the supply side, I count eleven negative supply shocks that will reduce potential growth and increase the costs of production. Among these is the backlash against hyper-globalization, which has been gaining momentum and creating opportunities for populist, nativist, and protectionist politicians, and growing public anger over stark income and wealth inequalities, which is leading to more policies to support workers and the “left behind.” However well-intentioned, such measures will contribute to a dangerous wage-price spiral.

    Other sources of persistent inflation include rising protectionism (from both the left and the right), which has restricted trade, impeded the movement of capital, and heightened political resistance to immigration, which in turn has put additional upward pressure on wages. National-security and strategic considerations have further restricted flows of technology, data, and talent, and new labor and environmental standards, as important as they may be, are hampering both trade and new construction.

    This balkanization of the global economy is deeply stagflationary, and it is coinciding with demographic aging, not just in developed countries but also in large emerging economies such as China. Because young people tend to produce and save more, whereas older people spend down their savings and require many more expensive services in health care and other sectors, this trend, too, will lead to higher prices and slower growth.

    Today’s geopolitical turmoil further complicates matters. The disruptions to trade and the spike in commodity prices following Russia’s invasion were not just a one-off phenomenon. The same threats to harvests and food shipments that arose in 2022 may well persist in 2023. Moreover, if China does finally end its zero-COVID policy and begin to restart its economy, a surge in demand for many commodities will add to the global inflationary pressures. There is also no end in sight for Sino-Western decoupling, which is accelerating across all dimensions of trade (goods, services, capital, labor, technology, data, and information). And, of course, Iran, North Korea, and other strategic rivals to the West could soon contribute in their own ways to the global havoc.

    Now that the US dollar has been fully weaponized for strategic and national-security purposes, its position as the main global reserve currency could eventually begin to decline, and a weaker dollar would of course add to inflationary pressures in the US. More broadly, a frictionless world trading system requires a frictionless financial system. But sweeping primary and secondary sanctions have thrown sand in what was once a well-oiled machine, massively increasing the transaction costs of trade.

    On top of it all, climate change, too, will create persistent stagflationary pressures. Droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, and other disasters are increasingly disrupting economic activity and threatening harvests (thus driving up food prices). At the same time, demands for decarbonization have led to underinvestment in fossil-fuel capacity before investment in renewables has reached the point where they can make up the difference. Today’s large energy-price spikes were inevitable.

    The increased likelihood of future pandemics also represents a persistent source of stagflation, especially considering how little has been done to prevent or prepare for the next one. The next contagious outbreak will lend further momentum to protectionist policies as countries rush to close borders and hoard critical supplies of food, medicines, and other essential goods.

    Finally, cyberwarfare remains an underappreciated threat to economic activity and even public safety. Firms and governments will either face more stagflationary disruptions to production, or they will have to spend a fortune on cybersecurity. Either way, costs will rise.

    The Worst of All Possible Economies

    When the recession comes, it will not be short and shallow but long and severe. Not only are we facing persistent short- and medium-term negative supply shocks, but we are also heading into the mother of all debt crises, owing to soaring private and public debt ratios over the last few decades. Low debt ratios spared us from that outcome in the 1970s. And though we certainly had debt crises following the 2008 crash – the result of excessive household, bank, and government debt – we also had deflation. It was a demand shock and a credit crunch that could be met with massive monetary, fiscal, and credit easing.

    Today, we are experiencing the worst elements of both the 1970s and 2008. Multiple, persistent negative supply shocks have coincided with debt ratios that are even higher than they were during the global financial crisis. These inflationary pressures are forcing central banks to tighten monetary policy even though we are heading into a recession. That makes the current situation fundamentally different from both the global financial crisis and the COVID-19 crisis. Everyone should be preparing for what may come to be remembered as the Great Stagflationary Debt Crisis.

    While central banks have been at pains to sound more hawkish, we should be skeptical of their professed willingness to fight inflation at any cost. Once they find themselves in a debt trap, they will have to blink. With debt ratios so high, fighting inflation will cause an economic and financial crash that will be deemed politically unacceptable. Major central banks will feel as though they have no choice but to backpedal, and inflation, the debasement of fiat currencies, boom-bust cycles, and financial crises will become even more severe and frequent.

    The inevitability of central banks wimping out was recently on display in the United Kingdom. Faced with the market reaction to the Truss government’s reckless fiscal stimulus, the BOE had to launch an emergency quantitative-easing (QE) program to buy up government bonds. That sad episode confirmed that in the UK, as in many other countries, monetary policy is increasingly subject to fiscal capture.

    Recall that a similar turnaround occurred in 2019, when the Fed, after previously signaling continued rate hikes and quantitative-tightening, stopped its QT program and started pursuing a mix of backdoor QE and policy-rate cuts at the first sign of mild financial pressures and a growth slowdown. Central banks will talk tough; but, in a world of excessive debt and risks of an economic and financial crash, there is good reason to doubt their willingness to do “whatever it takes” to return inflation to its target rate.

    With governments unable to reduce high debts and deficits by spending less or raising revenues, those that can borrow in their own currency will increasingly resort to the “inflation tax”: relying on unexpected price growth to wipe out long-term nominal liabilities at fixed interest rates.

    How will financial markets and prices of equities and bonds perform in the face of rising inflation and the return of stagflation? It is likely that, as in the stagflation of the 1970s, both components of any traditional asset portfolio will suffer, potentially incurring massive losses. Inflation is bad for bond portfolios, which will take losses as yields increase and prices fall, as well as for equities, whose valuations are hurt by rising interest rates.

    For the first time in decades, a 60/40 portfolio of equities and bonds suffered massive losses in 2022, because bond yields have surged while equities have gone into a bear market. By 1982, at the peak of the stagflation decade, the average S&P 500 firm’s price-to-earnings ratio was down to eight; today, it is closer to 20, which suggests that the bear market could end up being even more protracted and severe. Investors will need to find assets to hedge against inflation, political and geopolitical risks, and environmental damage: these include short-term government bonds and inflation-indexed bonds, gold and other precious metals, and real estate that is resilient to environmental damage.

    The Moment of Truth

    In any case, these megathreats will further contribute to rising income and wealth inequality, which has already been putting severe pressure on liberal democracies (as those left behind revolt against elites), and fueling the rise of radical and aggressive populist regimes. One can find right-wing manifestations of this trend in Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, the US (under Donald Trump), post-Brexit Britain, and many other countries; and left-wing manifestations in Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and now Brazil (which has just replaced a right-wing populist with a left-wing one).

    And, of course, Xi’s authoritarian stranglehold has given the lie to the old idea that Western engagement with a fast-growing China would ineluctably lead that country to open itself up even more to markets and, eventually, to democratic processes. Under Xi, China shows every sign of becoming more closed off, and more aggressive on geopolitical, security, and economic matters.

    How did it come to this? Part of the problem is that we have long had our heads stuck in the sand. Now, we need to make up for lost time. Without decisive action, we will be heading into a period that is less like the four decades after WWII than like the three decades between 1914 and 1945. That period gave us World War I; the Spanish flu pandemic; the 1929 Wall Street crash; the Great Depression; massive trade and currency wars; inflation, hyperinflation, and deflation; financial and debt crises, leading to massive meltdowns and defaults; and the rise of authoritarian militarist regimes in Italy, Germany, Japan, Spain, and elsewhere, culminating in WWII and the Holocaust.

    In this new world, the relative peace, prosperity, and rising global welfare that we have taken for granted will be gone; most of it already is. If we don’t stop the multi-track slow-motion train wreck that is threatening the global economy and our planet at large, we will be lucky to have only a repeat of the stagflationary 1970s. Far more likely is an echo of the 1930s and the 1940s, only now with all the massive disruptions from climate change added to the mix.

    Avoiding a dystopian scenario will not be easy. While there are potential solutions to each megathreat, most are costly in the short run and will deliver benefits only over the long run. Many also require technological innovations that are not yet available or in place, starting with those needed to halt or reverse climate change. Complicating matters further, today’s megathreats are interconnected, and therefore best addressed in a systematic and coherent fashion. Domestic leadership, in both the private and public sector, and international cooperation among great powers is necessary to prevent the coming Apocalypse.

    Yet there are many domestic and international obstacles standing in the way of policies that would allow for a less dystopian (though still contested and conflictual) future. Thus, while a less bleak scenario is obviously desirable, a clear-headed analysis indicates that dystopia is much more likely than a happier outcome. The years and decades ahead will be marked by a stagflationary debt crisis and related megathreats – war, pandemics, climate change, disruptive AI, and deglobalization – all of which will be bad for jobs, economies, markets, peace, and prosperity.
    The Age of Megathreats Nouriel RoubiniNov 4, 2022 op_roubini3_Getty Images_worlddisaster Getty Images NEW YORK – Severe megathreats are imperiling our future – not just our jobs, incomes, wealth, and the global economy, but also the relative peace, prosperity, and progress achieved over the past 75 years. Many of these threats were not even on our radar during the prosperous post-World War II era. I grew up in the Middle East and Europe from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, and I never worried about climate change potentially destroying the planet. Most of us had barely even heard of the problem, and greenhouse-gas emissions were still relatively low, compared to where they would soon be. Moreover, after the US-Soviet détente and US President Richard Nixon’s visit to China in the early 1970s, I never really worried about another war among great powers, let alone a nuclear one. The term “pandemic” didn’t register in my consciousness, either, because the last major one had been in 1918. And I didn’t fathom that artificial intelligence might someday destroy most jobs and render Homo sapiens obsolete, because those were the years of the long “AI winter.” Similarly, terms like “deglobalization” and “trade war” had no purchase during this period. Trade liberalization had been in full swing since the Great Depression, and it would soon lead to the hyper-globalization that began in the 1990s. Debt crises posed no threat, because private and public debt-to-GDP ratios were low in advanced economies and emerging markets, and growth was robust. No one had to worry about the massive build-up of implicit debt, in the form of unfunded liabilities from pay-as-you-go social security and health-care systems. The supply of young workers was rising, the share of the elderly was still low, and robust, mostly unrestricted immigration from the Global South to the North would continue to prop up the labor market in advanced economies. Against this backdrop, economic cycles were contained, and recessions were short and shallow, except for during the stagflationary decade of the 1970s; but even then, there were no debt crises in advanced economies, because debt ratios were low. The kind of financial cycles that lead to crises were contained not just in advanced economies but even in emerging markets, owing to the low leverage, low risk-taking, solid financial regulation, capital controls, and various forms of financial repression that prevailed during this period. The advanced economies were strong liberal democracies that were free of extreme partisan polarization. Populism and authoritarianism were confined to a benighted cohort of poorer countries. Goodbye to All That Fast-forward from this relatively “golden” period between 1945 and 1985 to late 2022, and you will immediately notice that we are awash in new, extreme megathreats that were not previously on anyone’s mind. The world has entered what I call a geopolitical depression, with (at least) four dangerous revisionist powers – China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea – challenging the economic, financial, security, and geopolitical order that the United States and its allies created after WWII. There is a sharply rising risk not only of war among great powers but of a nuclear conflict. In the coming year, Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine could escalate into an unconventional conflict that directly involves NATO. And Israel – and perhaps the US – may decide to launch strikes against Iran, which is on its way to building a nuclear bomb. Subscribe to PS Digital now to read all the latest insights from Nouriel Roubini. Digital subscribers enjoy access to every PS commentary, including those by Nouriel Roubini, plus our entire On Point suite of subscriber-exclusive content, including Longer Reads, Insider Interviews, Big Picture/Big Question, and Say More. For a limited time, save $15 with the code ROUBINI15. Subscribe Now With Chinese President Xi Jinping further consolidating his authoritarian rule, and with the US tightening its trade restrictions against China, the new Sino-American cold war is getting colder by the day. Worse, it could all too easily turn hot over the status of Taiwan, which Xi is committed to reuniting with the mainland, and which US President Joe Biden is apparently committed to defending. Meanwhile, nuclear-armed North Korea has once again been seeking attention by firing rockets over Japan and South Korea. Cyberwarfare occurs daily between these revisionist powers and the West, and many other countries have adopted a non-aligned posture toward Western-led sanctions regimes. From our contingent vantage point in the middle of all these events, we don’t yet know if World War III has already begun in Ukraine. That determination will be left to future historians – if there are any. Even discounting the threat of nuclear Armageddon, the risk of an environmental Apocalypse is becoming increasingly serious, especially given that most of the talk about net-zero and ESG (environment, social, and governance) investing is just greenwashing – or greenwishing. The new greenflation is already in full swing, because it turns out that amassing the metals needed for the energy transition requires a lot of expensive energy. There is also a growing risk of new pandemics that would be worse than biblical plagues, owing to the link between environmental destruction and zoonotic diseases. Wildlife, carrying dangerous pathogens, are coming into closer and more frequent contact with humans and livestock. That is why we have experienced more frequent and virulent pandemics and epidemics (HIV, SARS, MERS, swine flu, bird flu, Zika, Ebola, COVID-19) since the early 1980s. All the evidence suggests that this problem will become even worse in the future. Indeed, owing to the melting of Siberian permafrost, we may soon be confronting dangerous viruses and bacteria that have been locked away for millennia. Moreover, geopolitical conflicts and national-security concerns are fueling trade, financial, and technology wars, and accelerating the deglobalization process. The return of protectionism and the Sino-American decoupling will leave the global economy, supply chains, and markets more balkanized and fragmented. The buzzwords “friend-shoring” and “secure and fair trade” have replaced “offshoring” and “free trade.” But on the domestic front, advances in AI, robotics, and automation will destroy more and more jobs, even if policymakers build higher protectionist walls in an effort to fight the last war. By both restricting immigration and demanding more domestic production, aging advanced economies will create a stronger incentive for companies to adopt labor-saving technologies. While routine jobs are obviously at risk, so, too, are any cognitive jobs that can be unbundled into discrete tasks, and even many creative jobs. AI language models like GPT-3 can already write better than most humans and will almost certainly displace many jobs and sources of income. In due course, some scientists believe that Homo sapiens will be rendered entirely obsolete by the rise of artificial general intelligence or machine super-intelligence – though this is a highly contentious subject of debate. Thus, over time, economic malaise will deepen, inequality will rise even further, and more white- and blue-collar workers will be left behind. Hard Choices, Hard Landings The macroeconomic situation is no better. For the first time since the 1970s, we are facing high inflation and the prospect of a recession – stagflation. The increased inflation in advanced economies wasn’t “transitory.” It is persistent, driven by a combination of bad policies – excessively loose monetary, fiscal, and credit policies that were kept in place for too long – and bad luck. No one could have anticipated how much the initial COVID-19 shock would curtail the supply of goods and labor and create bottlenecks in global supply chains. The same goes for Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, which caused a sharp spike in energy, food, fertilizers, industrial metals, and other commodities. Meanwhile, China has continued its “zero-COVID” policy, which is creating additional supply bottlenecks. While both demand and supply factors were in the mix, it is now widely recognized that the supply factors have played an increasingly decisive role. This matters for the economic outlook, because supply-driven inflation is stagflationary and thus increases the risk that monetary-policy tightening will produce a hard landing (increased unemployment and potentially a recession). What will follow from the US Federal Reserve and other major central banks’ current tightening? Until recently, most central banks and most of Wall Street belonged to “Team Soft Landing.” But the consensus has rapidly shifted, with even Fed Chair Jerome Powell recognizing that a recession is possible, that a soft landing will be “very challenging,” and that everyone should prepare for some “pain” ahead. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s model shows a high probability of a hard landing, and the Bank of England has expressed similar views about the United Kingdom. Several prominent Wall Street institutions have also now made a recession their baseline scenario (the most likely outcome if all other variables are held constant). History, too, points to deeper problems ahead. For the past 60 years in the US, whenever inflation has been above 5% (it is above 8% today), and unemployment has been below 5% (it is now 3.5%), any attempt by the Fed to bring inflation down toward its 2% target has caused a recession. Thus, a hard landing is much more likely than a soft landing, both in the US and across most other advanced economies. Sticky Stagflation In addition to the short-term factors, negative supply shocks and demand factors in the medium term will cause inflation to persist. On the supply side, I count eleven negative supply shocks that will reduce potential growth and increase the costs of production. Among these is the backlash against hyper-globalization, which has been gaining momentum and creating opportunities for populist, nativist, and protectionist politicians, and growing public anger over stark income and wealth inequalities, which is leading to more policies to support workers and the “left behind.” However well-intentioned, such measures will contribute to a dangerous wage-price spiral. Other sources of persistent inflation include rising protectionism (from both the left and the right), which has restricted trade, impeded the movement of capital, and heightened political resistance to immigration, which in turn has put additional upward pressure on wages. National-security and strategic considerations have further restricted flows of technology, data, and talent, and new labor and environmental standards, as important as they may be, are hampering both trade and new construction. This balkanization of the global economy is deeply stagflationary, and it is coinciding with demographic aging, not just in developed countries but also in large emerging economies such as China. Because young people tend to produce and save more, whereas older people spend down their savings and require many more expensive services in health care and other sectors, this trend, too, will lead to higher prices and slower growth. Today’s geopolitical turmoil further complicates matters. The disruptions to trade and the spike in commodity prices following Russia’s invasion were not just a one-off phenomenon. The same threats to harvests and food shipments that arose in 2022 may well persist in 2023. Moreover, if China does finally end its zero-COVID policy and begin to restart its economy, a surge in demand for many commodities will add to the global inflationary pressures. There is also no end in sight for Sino-Western decoupling, which is accelerating across all dimensions of trade (goods, services, capital, labor, technology, data, and information). And, of course, Iran, North Korea, and other strategic rivals to the West could soon contribute in their own ways to the global havoc. Now that the US dollar has been fully weaponized for strategic and national-security purposes, its position as the main global reserve currency could eventually begin to decline, and a weaker dollar would of course add to inflationary pressures in the US. More broadly, a frictionless world trading system requires a frictionless financial system. But sweeping primary and secondary sanctions have thrown sand in what was once a well-oiled machine, massively increasing the transaction costs of trade. On top of it all, climate change, too, will create persistent stagflationary pressures. Droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, and other disasters are increasingly disrupting economic activity and threatening harvests (thus driving up food prices). At the same time, demands for decarbonization have led to underinvestment in fossil-fuel capacity before investment in renewables has reached the point where they can make up the difference. Today’s large energy-price spikes were inevitable. The increased likelihood of future pandemics also represents a persistent source of stagflation, especially considering how little has been done to prevent or prepare for the next one. The next contagious outbreak will lend further momentum to protectionist policies as countries rush to close borders and hoard critical supplies of food, medicines, and other essential goods. Finally, cyberwarfare remains an underappreciated threat to economic activity and even public safety. Firms and governments will either face more stagflationary disruptions to production, or they will have to spend a fortune on cybersecurity. Either way, costs will rise. The Worst of All Possible Economies When the recession comes, it will not be short and shallow but long and severe. Not only are we facing persistent short- and medium-term negative supply shocks, but we are also heading into the mother of all debt crises, owing to soaring private and public debt ratios over the last few decades. Low debt ratios spared us from that outcome in the 1970s. And though we certainly had debt crises following the 2008 crash – the result of excessive household, bank, and government debt – we also had deflation. It was a demand shock and a credit crunch that could be met with massive monetary, fiscal, and credit easing. Today, we are experiencing the worst elements of both the 1970s and 2008. Multiple, persistent negative supply shocks have coincided with debt ratios that are even higher than they were during the global financial crisis. These inflationary pressures are forcing central banks to tighten monetary policy even though we are heading into a recession. That makes the current situation fundamentally different from both the global financial crisis and the COVID-19 crisis. Everyone should be preparing for what may come to be remembered as the Great Stagflationary Debt Crisis. While central banks have been at pains to sound more hawkish, we should be skeptical of their professed willingness to fight inflation at any cost. Once they find themselves in a debt trap, they will have to blink. With debt ratios so high, fighting inflation will cause an economic and financial crash that will be deemed politically unacceptable. Major central banks will feel as though they have no choice but to backpedal, and inflation, the debasement of fiat currencies, boom-bust cycles, and financial crises will become even more severe and frequent. The inevitability of central banks wimping out was recently on display in the United Kingdom. Faced with the market reaction to the Truss government’s reckless fiscal stimulus, the BOE had to launch an emergency quantitative-easing (QE) program to buy up government bonds. That sad episode confirmed that in the UK, as in many other countries, monetary policy is increasingly subject to fiscal capture. Recall that a similar turnaround occurred in 2019, when the Fed, after previously signaling continued rate hikes and quantitative-tightening, stopped its QT program and started pursuing a mix of backdoor QE and policy-rate cuts at the first sign of mild financial pressures and a growth slowdown. Central banks will talk tough; but, in a world of excessive debt and risks of an economic and financial crash, there is good reason to doubt their willingness to do “whatever it takes” to return inflation to its target rate. With governments unable to reduce high debts and deficits by spending less or raising revenues, those that can borrow in their own currency will increasingly resort to the “inflation tax”: relying on unexpected price growth to wipe out long-term nominal liabilities at fixed interest rates. How will financial markets and prices of equities and bonds perform in the face of rising inflation and the return of stagflation? It is likely that, as in the stagflation of the 1970s, both components of any traditional asset portfolio will suffer, potentially incurring massive losses. Inflation is bad for bond portfolios, which will take losses as yields increase and prices fall, as well as for equities, whose valuations are hurt by rising interest rates. For the first time in decades, a 60/40 portfolio of equities and bonds suffered massive losses in 2022, because bond yields have surged while equities have gone into a bear market. By 1982, at the peak of the stagflation decade, the average S&P 500 firm’s price-to-earnings ratio was down to eight; today, it is closer to 20, which suggests that the bear market could end up being even more protracted and severe. Investors will need to find assets to hedge against inflation, political and geopolitical risks, and environmental damage: these include short-term government bonds and inflation-indexed bonds, gold and other precious metals, and real estate that is resilient to environmental damage. The Moment of Truth In any case, these megathreats will further contribute to rising income and wealth inequality, which has already been putting severe pressure on liberal democracies (as those left behind revolt against elites), and fueling the rise of radical and aggressive populist regimes. One can find right-wing manifestations of this trend in Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, the US (under Donald Trump), post-Brexit Britain, and many other countries; and left-wing manifestations in Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and now Brazil (which has just replaced a right-wing populist with a left-wing one). And, of course, Xi’s authoritarian stranglehold has given the lie to the old idea that Western engagement with a fast-growing China would ineluctably lead that country to open itself up even more to markets and, eventually, to democratic processes. Under Xi, China shows every sign of becoming more closed off, and more aggressive on geopolitical, security, and economic matters. How did it come to this? Part of the problem is that we have long had our heads stuck in the sand. Now, we need to make up for lost time. Without decisive action, we will be heading into a period that is less like the four decades after WWII than like the three decades between 1914 and 1945. That period gave us World War I; the Spanish flu pandemic; the 1929 Wall Street crash; the Great Depression; massive trade and currency wars; inflation, hyperinflation, and deflation; financial and debt crises, leading to massive meltdowns and defaults; and the rise of authoritarian militarist regimes in Italy, Germany, Japan, Spain, and elsewhere, culminating in WWII and the Holocaust. In this new world, the relative peace, prosperity, and rising global welfare that we have taken for granted will be gone; most of it already is. If we don’t stop the multi-track slow-motion train wreck that is threatening the global economy and our planet at large, we will be lucky to have only a repeat of the stagflationary 1970s. Far more likely is an echo of the 1930s and the 1940s, only now with all the massive disruptions from climate change added to the mix. Avoiding a dystopian scenario will not be easy. While there are potential solutions to each megathreat, most are costly in the short run and will deliver benefits only over the long run. Many also require technological innovations that are not yet available or in place, starting with those needed to halt or reverse climate change. Complicating matters further, today’s megathreats are interconnected, and therefore best addressed in a systematic and coherent fashion. Domestic leadership, in both the private and public sector, and international cooperation among great powers is necessary to prevent the coming Apocalypse. Yet there are many domestic and international obstacles standing in the way of policies that would allow for a less dystopian (though still contested and conflictual) future. Thus, while a less bleak scenario is obviously desirable, a clear-headed analysis indicates that dystopia is much more likely than a happier outcome. The years and decades ahead will be marked by a stagflationary debt crisis and related megathreats – war, pandemics, climate change, disruptive AI, and deglobalization – all of which will be bad for jobs, economies, markets, peace, and prosperity.
    0 Comments 0 Shares 27629 Views
  • The Age of Megathreats
    Nouriel RoubiniNov 4, 2022
    op_roubini3_Getty Images_worlddisaster Getty Images
    NEW YORK – Severe megathreats are imperiling our future – not just our jobs, incomes, wealth, and the global economy, but also the relative peace, prosperity, and progress achieved over the past 75 years. Many of these threats were not even on our radar during the prosperous post-World War II era. I grew up in the Middle East and Europe from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, and I never worried about climate change potentially destroying the planet. Most of us had barely even heard of the problem, and greenhouse-gas emissions were still relatively low, compared to where they would soon be.

    Moreover, after the US-Soviet détente and US President Richard Nixon’s visit to China in the early 1970s, I never really worried about another war among great powers, let alone a nuclear one. The term “pandemic” didn’t register in my consciousness, either, because the last major one had been in 1918. And I didn’t fathom that artificial intelligence might someday destroy most jobs and render Homo sapiens obsolete, because those were the years of the long “AI winter.”

    Similarly, terms like “deglobalization” and “trade war” had no purchase during this period. Trade liberalization had been in full swing since the Great Depression, and it would soon lead to the hyper-globalization that began in the 1990s. Debt crises posed no threat, because private and public debt-to-GDP ratios were low in advanced economies and emerging markets, and growth was robust. No one had to worry about the massive build-up of implicit debt, in the form of unfunded liabilities from pay-as-you-go social security and health-care systems. The supply of young workers was rising, the share of the elderly was still low, and robust, mostly unrestricted immigration from the Global South to the North would continue to prop up the labor market in advanced economies.

    Against this backdrop, economic cycles were contained, and recessions were short and shallow, except for during the stagflationary decade of the 1970s; but even then, there were no debt crises in advanced economies, because debt ratios were low. The kind of financial cycles that lead to crises were contained not just in advanced economies but even in emerging markets, owing to the low leverage, low risk-taking, solid financial regulation, capital controls, and various forms of financial repression that prevailed during this period. The advanced economies were strong liberal democracies that were free of extreme partisan polarization. Populism and authoritarianism were confined to a benighted cohort of poorer countries.

    Goodbye to All That

    Fast-forward from this relatively “golden” period between 1945 and 1985 to late 2022, and you will immediately notice that we are awash in new, extreme megathreats that were not previously on anyone’s mind. The world has entered what I call a geopolitical depression, with (at least) four dangerous revisionist powers – China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea – challenging the economic, financial, security, and geopolitical order that the United States and its allies created after WWII.

    There is a sharply rising risk not only of war among great powers but of a nuclear conflict. In the coming year, Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine could escalate into an unconventional conflict that directly involves NATO. And Israel – and perhaps the US – may decide to launch strikes against Iran, which is on its way to building a nuclear bomb.


    Subscribe to PS Digital now to read all the latest insights from Nouriel Roubini.

    Digital subscribers enjoy access to every PS commentary, including those by Nouriel Roubini, plus our entire On Point suite of subscriber-exclusive content, including Longer Reads, Insider Interviews, Big Picture/Big Question, and Say More.

    For a limited time, save $15 with the code ROUBINI15.

    Subscribe Now

    With Chinese President Xi Jinping further consolidating his authoritarian rule, and with the US tightening its trade restrictions against China, the new Sino-American cold war is getting colder by the day. Worse, it could all too easily turn hot over the status of Taiwan, which Xi is committed to reuniting with the mainland, and which US President Joe Biden is apparently committed to defending. Meanwhile, nuclear-armed North Korea has once again been seeking attention by firing rockets over Japan and South Korea.

    Cyberwarfare occurs daily between these revisionist powers and the West, and many other countries have adopted a non-aligned posture toward Western-led sanctions regimes. From our contingent vantage point in the middle of all these events, we don’t yet know if World War III has already begun in Ukraine. That determination will be left to future historians – if there are any.

    Even discounting the threat of nuclear Armageddon, the risk of an environmental Apocalypse is becoming increasingly serious, especially given that most of the talk about net-zero and ESG (environment, social, and governance) investing is just greenwashing – or greenwishing. The new greenflation is already in full swing, because it turns out that amassing the metals needed for the energy transition requires a lot of expensive energy.

    There is also a growing risk of new pandemics that would be worse than biblical plagues, owing to the link between environmental destruction and zoonotic diseases. Wildlife, carrying dangerous pathogens, are coming into closer and more frequent contact with humans and livestock. That is why we have experienced more frequent and virulent pandemics and epidemics (HIV, SARS, MERS, swine flu, bird flu, Zika, Ebola, COVID-19) since the early 1980s. All the evidence suggests that this problem will become even worse in the future. Indeed, owing to the melting of Siberian permafrost, we may soon be confronting dangerous viruses and bacteria that have been locked away for millennia.

    Moreover, geopolitical conflicts and national-security concerns are fueling trade, financial, and technology wars, and accelerating the deglobalization process. The return of protectionism and the Sino-American decoupling will leave the global economy, supply chains, and markets more balkanized and fragmented. The buzzwords “friend-shoring” and “secure and fair trade” have replaced “offshoring” and “free trade.”

    But on the domestic front, advances in AI, robotics, and automation will destroy more and more jobs, even if policymakers build higher protectionist walls in an effort to fight the last war. By both restricting immigration and demanding more domestic production, aging advanced economies will create a stronger incentive for companies to adopt labor-saving technologies. While routine jobs are obviously at risk, so, too, are any cognitive jobs that can be unbundled into discrete tasks, and even many creative jobs. AI language models like GPT-3 can already write better than most humans and will almost certainly displace many jobs and sources of income. In due course, some scientists believe that Homo sapiens will be rendered entirely obsolete by the rise of artificial general intelligence or machine super-intelligence – though this is a highly contentious subject of debate.

    Thus, over time, economic malaise will deepen, inequality will rise even further, and more white- and blue-collar workers will be left behind.

    Hard Choices, Hard Landings

    The macroeconomic situation is no better. For the first time since the 1970s, we are facing high inflation and the prospect of a recession – stagflation. The increased inflation in advanced economies wasn’t “transitory.” It is persistent, driven by a combination of bad policies – excessively loose monetary, fiscal, and credit policies that were kept in place for too long – and bad luck. No one could have anticipated how much the initial COVID-19 shock would curtail the supply of goods and labor and create bottlenecks in global supply chains. The same goes for Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, which caused a sharp spike in energy, food, fertilizers, industrial metals, and other commodities. Meanwhile, China has continued its “zero-COVID” policy, which is creating additional supply bottlenecks.

    While both demand and supply factors were in the mix, it is now widely recognized that the supply factors have played an increasingly decisive role. This matters for the economic outlook, because supply-driven inflation is stagflationary and thus increases the risk that monetary-policy tightening will produce a hard landing (increased unemployment and potentially a recession).

    What will follow from the US Federal Reserve and other major central banks’ current tightening? Until recently, most central banks and most of Wall Street belonged to “Team Soft Landing.” But the consensus has rapidly shifted, with even Fed Chair Jerome Powell recognizing that a recession is possible, that a soft landing will be “very challenging,” and that everyone should prepare for some “pain” ahead. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s model shows a high probability of a hard landing, and the Bank of England has expressed similar views about the United Kingdom. Several prominent Wall Street institutions have also now made a recession their baseline scenario (the most likely outcome if all other variables are held constant).

    History, too, points to deeper problems ahead. For the past 60 years in the US, whenever inflation has been above 5% (it is above 8% today), and unemployment has been below 5% (it is now 3.5%), any attempt by the Fed to bring inflation down toward its 2% target has caused a recession. Thus, a hard landing is much more likely than a soft landing, both in the US and across most other advanced economies.

    Sticky Stagflation

    In addition to the short-term factors, negative supply shocks and demand factors in the medium term will cause inflation to persist. On the supply side, I count eleven negative supply shocks that will reduce potential growth and increase the costs of production. Among these is the backlash against hyper-globalization, which has been gaining momentum and creating opportunities for populist, nativist, and protectionist politicians, and growing public anger over stark income and wealth inequalities, which is leading to more policies to support workers and the “left behind.” However well-intentioned, such measures will contribute to a dangerous wage-price spiral.

    Other sources of persistent inflation include rising protectionism (from both the left and the right), which has restricted trade, impeded the movement of capital, and heightened political resistance to immigration, which in turn has put additional upward pressure on wages. National-security and strategic considerations have further restricted flows of technology, data, and talent, and new labor and environmental standards, as important as they may be, are hampering both trade and new construction.

    This balkanization of the global economy is deeply stagflationary, and it is coinciding with demographic aging, not just in developed countries but also in large emerging economies such as China. Because young people tend to produce and save more, whereas older people spend down their savings and require many more expensive services in health care and other sectors, this trend, too, will lead to higher prices and slower growth.

    Today’s geopolitical turmoil further complicates matters. The disruptions to trade and the spike in commodity prices following Russia’s invasion were not just a one-off phenomenon. The same threats to harvests and food shipments that arose in 2022 may well persist in 2023. Moreover, if China does finally end its zero-COVID policy and begin to restart its economy, a surge in demand for many commodities will add to the global inflationary pressures. There is also no end in sight for Sino-Western decoupling, which is accelerating across all dimensions of trade (goods, services, capital, labor, technology, data, and information). And, of course, Iran, North Korea, and other strategic rivals to the West could soon contribute in their own ways to the global havoc.

    Now that the US dollar has been fully weaponized for strategic and national-security purposes, its position as the main global reserve currency could eventually begin to decline, and a weaker dollar would of course add to inflationary pressures in the US. More broadly, a frictionless world trading system requires a frictionless financial system. But sweeping primary and secondary sanctions have thrown sand in what was once a well-oiled machine, massively increasing the transaction costs of trade.

    On top of it all, climate change, too, will create persistent stagflationary pressures. Droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, and other disasters are increasingly disrupting economic activity and threatening harvests (thus driving up food prices). At the same time, demands for decarbonization have led to underinvestment in fossil-fuel capacity before investment in renewables has reached the point where they can make up the difference. Today’s large energy-price spikes were inevitable.

    The increased likelihood of future pandemics also represents a persistent source of stagflation, especially considering how little has been done to prevent or prepare for the next one. The next contagious outbreak will lend further momentum to protectionist policies as countries rush to close borders and hoard critical supplies of food, medicines, and other essential goods.

    Finally, cyberwarfare remains an underappreciated threat to economic activity and even public safety. Firms and governments will either face more stagflationary disruptions to production, or they will have to spend a fortune on cybersecurity. Either way, costs will rise.

    The Worst of All Possible Economies

    When the recession comes, it will not be short and shallow but long and severe. Not only are we facing persistent short- and medium-term negative supply shocks, but we are also heading into the mother of all debt crises, owing to soaring private and public debt ratios over the last few decades. Low debt ratios spared us from that outcome in the 1970s. And though we certainly had debt crises following the 2008 crash – the result of excessive household, bank, and government debt – we also had deflation. It was a demand shock and a credit crunch that could be met with massive monetary, fiscal, and credit easing.

    Today, we are experiencing the worst elements of both the 1970s and 2008. Multiple, persistent negative supply shocks have coincided with debt ratios that are even higher than they were during the global financial crisis. These inflationary pressures are forcing central banks to tighten monetary policy even though we are heading into a recession. That makes the current situation fundamentally different from both the global financial crisis and the COVID-19 crisis. Everyone should be preparing for what may come to be remembered as the Great Stagflationary Debt Crisis.

    While central banks have been at pains to sound more hawkish, we should be skeptical of their professed willingness to fight inflation at any cost. Once they find themselves in a debt trap, they will have to blink. With debt ratios so high, fighting inflation will cause an economic and financial crash that will be deemed politically unacceptable. Major central banks will feel as though they have no choice but to backpedal, and inflation, the debasement of fiat currencies, boom-bust cycles, and financial crises will become even more severe and frequent.

    The inevitability of central banks wimping out was recently on display in the United Kingdom. Faced with the market reaction to the Truss government’s reckless fiscal stimulus, the BOE had to launch an emergency quantitative-easing (QE) program to buy up government bonds. That sad episode confirmed that in the UK, as in many other countries, monetary policy is increasingly subject to fiscal capture.

    Recall that a similar turnaround occurred in 2019, when the Fed, after previously signaling continued rate hikes and quantitative-tightening, stopped its QT program and started pursuing a mix of backdoor QE and policy-rate cuts at the first sign of mild financial pressures and a growth slowdown. Central banks will talk tough; but, in a world of excessive debt and risks of an economic and financial crash, there is good reason to doubt their willingness to do “whatever it takes” to return inflation to its target rate.

    With governments unable to reduce high debts and deficits by spending less or raising revenues, those that can borrow in their own currency will increasingly resort to the “inflation tax”: relying on unexpected price growth to wipe out long-term nominal liabilities at fixed interest rates.

    How will financial markets and prices of equities and bonds perform in the face of rising inflation and the return of stagflation? It is likely that, as in the stagflation of the 1970s, both components of any traditional asset portfolio will suffer, potentially incurring massive losses. Inflation is bad for bond portfolios, which will take losses as yields increase and prices fall, as well as for equities, whose valuations are hurt by rising interest rates.

    For the first time in decades, a 60/40 portfolio of equities and bonds suffered massive losses in 2022, because bond yields have surged while equities have gone into a bear market. By 1982, at the peak of the stagflation decade, the average S&P 500 firm’s price-to-earnings ratio was down to eight; today, it is closer to 20, which suggests that the bear market could end up being even more protracted and severe. Investors will need to find assets to hedge against inflation, political and geopolitical risks, and environmental damage: these include short-term government bonds and inflation-indexed bonds, gold and other precious metals, and real estate that is resilient to environmental damage.

    The Moment of Truth

    In any case, these megathreats will further contribute to rising income and wealth inequality, which has already been putting severe pressure on liberal democracies (as those left behind revolt against elites), and fueling the rise of radical and aggressive populist regimes. One can find right-wing manifestations of this trend in Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, the US (under Donald Trump), post-Brexit Britain, and many other countries; and left-wing manifestations in Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and now Brazil (which has just replaced a right-wing populist with a left-wing one).

    And, of course, Xi’s authoritarian stranglehold has given the lie to the old idea that Western engagement with a fast-growing China would ineluctably lead that country to open itself up even more to markets and, eventually, to democratic processes. Under Xi, China shows every sign of becoming more closed off, and more aggressive on geopolitical, security, and economic matters.

    How did it come to this? Part of the problem is that we have long had our heads stuck in the sand. Now, we need to make up for lost time. Without decisive action, we will be heading into a period that is less like the four decades after WWII than like the three decades between 1914 and 1945. That period gave us World War I; the Spanish flu pandemic; the 1929 Wall Street crash; the Great Depression; massive trade and currency wars; inflation, hyperinflation, and deflation; financial and debt crises, leading to massive meltdowns and defaults; and the rise of authoritarian militarist regimes in Italy, Germany, Japan, Spain, and elsewhere, culminating in WWII and the Holocaust.

    In this new world, the relative peace, prosperity, and rising global welfare that we have taken for granted will be gone; most of it already is. If we don’t stop the multi-track slow-motion train wreck that is threatening the global economy and our planet at large, we will be lucky to have only a repeat of the stagflationary 1970s. Far more likely is an echo of the 1930s and the 1940s, only now with all the massive disruptions from climate change added to the mix.

    Avoiding a dystopian scenario will not be easy. While there are potential solutions to each megathreat, most are costly in the short run and will deliver benefits only over the long run. Many also require technological innovations that are not yet available or in place, starting with those needed to halt or reverse climate change. Complicating matters further, today’s megathreats are interconnected, and therefore best addressed in a systematic and coherent fashion. Domestic leadership, in both the private and public sector, and international cooperation among great powers is necessary to prevent the coming Apocalypse.

    Yet there are many domestic and international obstacles standing in the way of policies that would allow for a less dystopian (though still contested and conflictual) future. Thus, while a less bleak scenario is obviously desirable, a clear-headed analysis indicates that dystopia is much more likely than a happier outcome. The years and decades ahead will be marked by a stagflationary debt crisis and related megathreats – war, pandemics, climate change, disruptive AI, and deglobalization – all of which will be bad for jobs, economies, markets, peace, and prosperity.
    The Age of Megathreats Nouriel RoubiniNov 4, 2022 op_roubini3_Getty Images_worlddisaster Getty Images NEW YORK – Severe megathreats are imperiling our future – not just our jobs, incomes, wealth, and the global economy, but also the relative peace, prosperity, and progress achieved over the past 75 years. Many of these threats were not even on our radar during the prosperous post-World War II era. I grew up in the Middle East and Europe from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, and I never worried about climate change potentially destroying the planet. Most of us had barely even heard of the problem, and greenhouse-gas emissions were still relatively low, compared to where they would soon be. Moreover, after the US-Soviet détente and US President Richard Nixon’s visit to China in the early 1970s, I never really worried about another war among great powers, let alone a nuclear one. The term “pandemic” didn’t register in my consciousness, either, because the last major one had been in 1918. And I didn’t fathom that artificial intelligence might someday destroy most jobs and render Homo sapiens obsolete, because those were the years of the long “AI winter.” Similarly, terms like “deglobalization” and “trade war” had no purchase during this period. Trade liberalization had been in full swing since the Great Depression, and it would soon lead to the hyper-globalization that began in the 1990s. Debt crises posed no threat, because private and public debt-to-GDP ratios were low in advanced economies and emerging markets, and growth was robust. No one had to worry about the massive build-up of implicit debt, in the form of unfunded liabilities from pay-as-you-go social security and health-care systems. The supply of young workers was rising, the share of the elderly was still low, and robust, mostly unrestricted immigration from the Global South to the North would continue to prop up the labor market in advanced economies. Against this backdrop, economic cycles were contained, and recessions were short and shallow, except for during the stagflationary decade of the 1970s; but even then, there were no debt crises in advanced economies, because debt ratios were low. The kind of financial cycles that lead to crises were contained not just in advanced economies but even in emerging markets, owing to the low leverage, low risk-taking, solid financial regulation, capital controls, and various forms of financial repression that prevailed during this period. The advanced economies were strong liberal democracies that were free of extreme partisan polarization. Populism and authoritarianism were confined to a benighted cohort of poorer countries. Goodbye to All That Fast-forward from this relatively “golden” period between 1945 and 1985 to late 2022, and you will immediately notice that we are awash in new, extreme megathreats that were not previously on anyone’s mind. The world has entered what I call a geopolitical depression, with (at least) four dangerous revisionist powers – China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea – challenging the economic, financial, security, and geopolitical order that the United States and its allies created after WWII. There is a sharply rising risk not only of war among great powers but of a nuclear conflict. In the coming year, Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine could escalate into an unconventional conflict that directly involves NATO. And Israel – and perhaps the US – may decide to launch strikes against Iran, which is on its way to building a nuclear bomb. Subscribe to PS Digital now to read all the latest insights from Nouriel Roubini. Digital subscribers enjoy access to every PS commentary, including those by Nouriel Roubini, plus our entire On Point suite of subscriber-exclusive content, including Longer Reads, Insider Interviews, Big Picture/Big Question, and Say More. For a limited time, save $15 with the code ROUBINI15. Subscribe Now With Chinese President Xi Jinping further consolidating his authoritarian rule, and with the US tightening its trade restrictions against China, the new Sino-American cold war is getting colder by the day. Worse, it could all too easily turn hot over the status of Taiwan, which Xi is committed to reuniting with the mainland, and which US President Joe Biden is apparently committed to defending. Meanwhile, nuclear-armed North Korea has once again been seeking attention by firing rockets over Japan and South Korea. Cyberwarfare occurs daily between these revisionist powers and the West, and many other countries have adopted a non-aligned posture toward Western-led sanctions regimes. From our contingent vantage point in the middle of all these events, we don’t yet know if World War III has already begun in Ukraine. That determination will be left to future historians – if there are any. Even discounting the threat of nuclear Armageddon, the risk of an environmental Apocalypse is becoming increasingly serious, especially given that most of the talk about net-zero and ESG (environment, social, and governance) investing is just greenwashing – or greenwishing. The new greenflation is already in full swing, because it turns out that amassing the metals needed for the energy transition requires a lot of expensive energy. There is also a growing risk of new pandemics that would be worse than biblical plagues, owing to the link between environmental destruction and zoonotic diseases. Wildlife, carrying dangerous pathogens, are coming into closer and more frequent contact with humans and livestock. That is why we have experienced more frequent and virulent pandemics and epidemics (HIV, SARS, MERS, swine flu, bird flu, Zika, Ebola, COVID-19) since the early 1980s. All the evidence suggests that this problem will become even worse in the future. Indeed, owing to the melting of Siberian permafrost, we may soon be confronting dangerous viruses and bacteria that have been locked away for millennia. Moreover, geopolitical conflicts and national-security concerns are fueling trade, financial, and technology wars, and accelerating the deglobalization process. The return of protectionism and the Sino-American decoupling will leave the global economy, supply chains, and markets more balkanized and fragmented. The buzzwords “friend-shoring” and “secure and fair trade” have replaced “offshoring” and “free trade.” But on the domestic front, advances in AI, robotics, and automation will destroy more and more jobs, even if policymakers build higher protectionist walls in an effort to fight the last war. By both restricting immigration and demanding more domestic production, aging advanced economies will create a stronger incentive for companies to adopt labor-saving technologies. While routine jobs are obviously at risk, so, too, are any cognitive jobs that can be unbundled into discrete tasks, and even many creative jobs. AI language models like GPT-3 can already write better than most humans and will almost certainly displace many jobs and sources of income. In due course, some scientists believe that Homo sapiens will be rendered entirely obsolete by the rise of artificial general intelligence or machine super-intelligence – though this is a highly contentious subject of debate. Thus, over time, economic malaise will deepen, inequality will rise even further, and more white- and blue-collar workers will be left behind. Hard Choices, Hard Landings The macroeconomic situation is no better. For the first time since the 1970s, we are facing high inflation and the prospect of a recession – stagflation. The increased inflation in advanced economies wasn’t “transitory.” It is persistent, driven by a combination of bad policies – excessively loose monetary, fiscal, and credit policies that were kept in place for too long – and bad luck. No one could have anticipated how much the initial COVID-19 shock would curtail the supply of goods and labor and create bottlenecks in global supply chains. The same goes for Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, which caused a sharp spike in energy, food, fertilizers, industrial metals, and other commodities. Meanwhile, China has continued its “zero-COVID” policy, which is creating additional supply bottlenecks. While both demand and supply factors were in the mix, it is now widely recognized that the supply factors have played an increasingly decisive role. This matters for the economic outlook, because supply-driven inflation is stagflationary and thus increases the risk that monetary-policy tightening will produce a hard landing (increased unemployment and potentially a recession). What will follow from the US Federal Reserve and other major central banks’ current tightening? Until recently, most central banks and most of Wall Street belonged to “Team Soft Landing.” But the consensus has rapidly shifted, with even Fed Chair Jerome Powell recognizing that a recession is possible, that a soft landing will be “very challenging,” and that everyone should prepare for some “pain” ahead. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s model shows a high probability of a hard landing, and the Bank of England has expressed similar views about the United Kingdom. Several prominent Wall Street institutions have also now made a recession their baseline scenario (the most likely outcome if all other variables are held constant). History, too, points to deeper problems ahead. For the past 60 years in the US, whenever inflation has been above 5% (it is above 8% today), and unemployment has been below 5% (it is now 3.5%), any attempt by the Fed to bring inflation down toward its 2% target has caused a recession. Thus, a hard landing is much more likely than a soft landing, both in the US and across most other advanced economies. Sticky Stagflation In addition to the short-term factors, negative supply shocks and demand factors in the medium term will cause inflation to persist. On the supply side, I count eleven negative supply shocks that will reduce potential growth and increase the costs of production. Among these is the backlash against hyper-globalization, which has been gaining momentum and creating opportunities for populist, nativist, and protectionist politicians, and growing public anger over stark income and wealth inequalities, which is leading to more policies to support workers and the “left behind.” However well-intentioned, such measures will contribute to a dangerous wage-price spiral. Other sources of persistent inflation include rising protectionism (from both the left and the right), which has restricted trade, impeded the movement of capital, and heightened political resistance to immigration, which in turn has put additional upward pressure on wages. National-security and strategic considerations have further restricted flows of technology, data, and talent, and new labor and environmental standards, as important as they may be, are hampering both trade and new construction. This balkanization of the global economy is deeply stagflationary, and it is coinciding with demographic aging, not just in developed countries but also in large emerging economies such as China. Because young people tend to produce and save more, whereas older people spend down their savings and require many more expensive services in health care and other sectors, this trend, too, will lead to higher prices and slower growth. Today’s geopolitical turmoil further complicates matters. The disruptions to trade and the spike in commodity prices following Russia’s invasion were not just a one-off phenomenon. The same threats to harvests and food shipments that arose in 2022 may well persist in 2023. Moreover, if China does finally end its zero-COVID policy and begin to restart its economy, a surge in demand for many commodities will add to the global inflationary pressures. There is also no end in sight for Sino-Western decoupling, which is accelerating across all dimensions of trade (goods, services, capital, labor, technology, data, and information). And, of course, Iran, North Korea, and other strategic rivals to the West could soon contribute in their own ways to the global havoc. Now that the US dollar has been fully weaponized for strategic and national-security purposes, its position as the main global reserve currency could eventually begin to decline, and a weaker dollar would of course add to inflationary pressures in the US. More broadly, a frictionless world trading system requires a frictionless financial system. But sweeping primary and secondary sanctions have thrown sand in what was once a well-oiled machine, massively increasing the transaction costs of trade. On top of it all, climate change, too, will create persistent stagflationary pressures. Droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, and other disasters are increasingly disrupting economic activity and threatening harvests (thus driving up food prices). At the same time, demands for decarbonization have led to underinvestment in fossil-fuel capacity before investment in renewables has reached the point where they can make up the difference. Today’s large energy-price spikes were inevitable. The increased likelihood of future pandemics also represents a persistent source of stagflation, especially considering how little has been done to prevent or prepare for the next one. The next contagious outbreak will lend further momentum to protectionist policies as countries rush to close borders and hoard critical supplies of food, medicines, and other essential goods. Finally, cyberwarfare remains an underappreciated threat to economic activity and even public safety. Firms and governments will either face more stagflationary disruptions to production, or they will have to spend a fortune on cybersecurity. Either way, costs will rise. The Worst of All Possible Economies When the recession comes, it will not be short and shallow but long and severe. Not only are we facing persistent short- and medium-term negative supply shocks, but we are also heading into the mother of all debt crises, owing to soaring private and public debt ratios over the last few decades. Low debt ratios spared us from that outcome in the 1970s. And though we certainly had debt crises following the 2008 crash – the result of excessive household, bank, and government debt – we also had deflation. It was a demand shock and a credit crunch that could be met with massive monetary, fiscal, and credit easing. Today, we are experiencing the worst elements of both the 1970s and 2008. Multiple, persistent negative supply shocks have coincided with debt ratios that are even higher than they were during the global financial crisis. These inflationary pressures are forcing central banks to tighten monetary policy even though we are heading into a recession. That makes the current situation fundamentally different from both the global financial crisis and the COVID-19 crisis. Everyone should be preparing for what may come to be remembered as the Great Stagflationary Debt Crisis. While central banks have been at pains to sound more hawkish, we should be skeptical of their professed willingness to fight inflation at any cost. Once they find themselves in a debt trap, they will have to blink. With debt ratios so high, fighting inflation will cause an economic and financial crash that will be deemed politically unacceptable. Major central banks will feel as though they have no choice but to backpedal, and inflation, the debasement of fiat currencies, boom-bust cycles, and financial crises will become even more severe and frequent. The inevitability of central banks wimping out was recently on display in the United Kingdom. Faced with the market reaction to the Truss government’s reckless fiscal stimulus, the BOE had to launch an emergency quantitative-easing (QE) program to buy up government bonds. That sad episode confirmed that in the UK, as in many other countries, monetary policy is increasingly subject to fiscal capture. Recall that a similar turnaround occurred in 2019, when the Fed, after previously signaling continued rate hikes and quantitative-tightening, stopped its QT program and started pursuing a mix of backdoor QE and policy-rate cuts at the first sign of mild financial pressures and a growth slowdown. Central banks will talk tough; but, in a world of excessive debt and risks of an economic and financial crash, there is good reason to doubt their willingness to do “whatever it takes” to return inflation to its target rate. With governments unable to reduce high debts and deficits by spending less or raising revenues, those that can borrow in their own currency will increasingly resort to the “inflation tax”: relying on unexpected price growth to wipe out long-term nominal liabilities at fixed interest rates. How will financial markets and prices of equities and bonds perform in the face of rising inflation and the return of stagflation? It is likely that, as in the stagflation of the 1970s, both components of any traditional asset portfolio will suffer, potentially incurring massive losses. Inflation is bad for bond portfolios, which will take losses as yields increase and prices fall, as well as for equities, whose valuations are hurt by rising interest rates. For the first time in decades, a 60/40 portfolio of equities and bonds suffered massive losses in 2022, because bond yields have surged while equities have gone into a bear market. By 1982, at the peak of the stagflation decade, the average S&P 500 firm’s price-to-earnings ratio was down to eight; today, it is closer to 20, which suggests that the bear market could end up being even more protracted and severe. Investors will need to find assets to hedge against inflation, political and geopolitical risks, and environmental damage: these include short-term government bonds and inflation-indexed bonds, gold and other precious metals, and real estate that is resilient to environmental damage. The Moment of Truth In any case, these megathreats will further contribute to rising income and wealth inequality, which has already been putting severe pressure on liberal democracies (as those left behind revolt against elites), and fueling the rise of radical and aggressive populist regimes. One can find right-wing manifestations of this trend in Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, the US (under Donald Trump), post-Brexit Britain, and many other countries; and left-wing manifestations in Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and now Brazil (which has just replaced a right-wing populist with a left-wing one). And, of course, Xi’s authoritarian stranglehold has given the lie to the old idea that Western engagement with a fast-growing China would ineluctably lead that country to open itself up even more to markets and, eventually, to democratic processes. Under Xi, China shows every sign of becoming more closed off, and more aggressive on geopolitical, security, and economic matters. How did it come to this? Part of the problem is that we have long had our heads stuck in the sand. Now, we need to make up for lost time. Without decisive action, we will be heading into a period that is less like the four decades after WWII than like the three decades between 1914 and 1945. That period gave us World War I; the Spanish flu pandemic; the 1929 Wall Street crash; the Great Depression; massive trade and currency wars; inflation, hyperinflation, and deflation; financial and debt crises, leading to massive meltdowns and defaults; and the rise of authoritarian militarist regimes in Italy, Germany, Japan, Spain, and elsewhere, culminating in WWII and the Holocaust. In this new world, the relative peace, prosperity, and rising global welfare that we have taken for granted will be gone; most of it already is. If we don’t stop the multi-track slow-motion train wreck that is threatening the global economy and our planet at large, we will be lucky to have only a repeat of the stagflationary 1970s. Far more likely is an echo of the 1930s and the 1940s, only now with all the massive disruptions from climate change added to the mix. Avoiding a dystopian scenario will not be easy. While there are potential solutions to each megathreat, most are costly in the short run and will deliver benefits only over the long run. Many also require technological innovations that are not yet available or in place, starting with those needed to halt or reverse climate change. Complicating matters further, today’s megathreats are interconnected, and therefore best addressed in a systematic and coherent fashion. Domestic leadership, in both the private and public sector, and international cooperation among great powers is necessary to prevent the coming Apocalypse. Yet there are many domestic and international obstacles standing in the way of policies that would allow for a less dystopian (though still contested and conflictual) future. Thus, while a less bleak scenario is obviously desirable, a clear-headed analysis indicates that dystopia is much more likely than a happier outcome. The years and decades ahead will be marked by a stagflationary debt crisis and related megathreats – war, pandemics, climate change, disruptive AI, and deglobalization – all of which will be bad for jobs, economies, markets, peace, and prosperity.
    0 Comments 0 Shares 26042 Views
  • The threat of hyperinflation has haunted fiat money economies throughout history. Although past empires crumbled under the weight of unrestrained money printing, modern bankers at the Federal Reserve assure us that today’s financial system is immune.
    The threat of hyperinflation has haunted fiat money economies throughout history. Although past empires crumbled under the weight of unrestrained money printing, modern bankers at the Federal Reserve assure us that today’s financial system is immune.
    WWW.ACTIVISTPOST.COM
    The Specter Of Hyperinflation Looms Over The Economy - Activist Post
    Current economic stimulation may be propelling us toward a crisis of catastrophic proportions: a crack-up boom that marks the end...
    Like
    Haha
    2
    2 Comments 0 Shares 1527 Views

  • Graphic link
    I summarized the factors why governments are hesistant about cryptocurrencies up until now.
    Governments' recognition and regulation of cryptocurrencies vary across different countries. There are several reasons why governments may be hesitant to fully recognize cryptocurrencies:
    Lack of Central Control: Cryptocurrencies operate on decentralized networks, which means they are not controlled by any central authority like traditional fiat currencies. This lack of control raises concerns for governments regarding monetary policy, financial stability, and the ability to enforce regulations.
    Regulatory Challenges: Cryptocurrencies present regulatory challenges due to their unique nature and global reach. Governments need to develop comprehensive frameworks that can address issues such as consumer protection, anti-money laundering (AML), and tax evasion associated with cryptocurrencies.
    Volatility and Speculation: Cryptocurrencies are known for their price volatility, which can create risks for investors and financial stability. Governments may be concerned about protecting their citizens from potential losses and fraudulent activities in the cryptocurrency market.
    Financial System Stability: Governments have a responsibility to maintain the stability of their financial systems. The decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies, coupled with their potential to disrupt traditional financial institutions, can raise concerns about the overall stability and security of the financial system.
    Money Laundering and Illicit Activities: Cryptocurrencies have been associated with money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit activities due to their pseudonymous nature and cross-border capabilities. Governments are cautious about the potential misuse of cryptocurrencies and strive to implement AML and Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations to mitigate these risks.
    Investor Protection: Governments aim to protect investors from fraud and scams in financial markets. The lack of regulation and oversight in the cryptocurrency space raises concerns about investor protection and the potential for market manipulation.
    However, it's important to note that many governments are gradually recognizing the importance and potential of cryptocurrencies. Some countries have implemented regulations to provide a legal framework for cryptocurrency exchanges and transactions. Governments are also exploring the development of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) as a way to leverage blockchain technology while maintaining regulatory control.
    As the cryptocurrency ecosystem continues to evolve and mature, governments are likely to further engage with cryptocurrencies, striking a balance between innovation and regulation to address the opportunities and challenges they present.
    Posted using SoMee
    Graphic link I summarized the factors why governments are hesistant about cryptocurrencies up until now. Governments' recognition and regulation of cryptocurrencies vary across different countries. There are several reasons why governments may be hesitant to fully recognize cryptocurrencies: Lack of Central Control: Cryptocurrencies operate on decentralized networks, which means they are not controlled by any central authority like traditional fiat currencies. This lack of control raises concerns for governments regarding monetary policy, financial stability, and the ability to enforce regulations. Regulatory Challenges: Cryptocurrencies present regulatory challenges due to their unique nature and global reach. Governments need to develop comprehensive frameworks that can address issues such as consumer protection, anti-money laundering (AML), and tax evasion associated with cryptocurrencies. Volatility and Speculation: Cryptocurrencies are known for their price volatility, which can create risks for investors and financial stability. Governments may be concerned about protecting their citizens from potential losses and fraudulent activities in the cryptocurrency market. Financial System Stability: Governments have a responsibility to maintain the stability of their financial systems. The decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies, coupled with their potential to disrupt traditional financial institutions, can raise concerns about the overall stability and security of the financial system. Money Laundering and Illicit Activities: Cryptocurrencies have been associated with money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit activities due to their pseudonymous nature and cross-border capabilities. Governments are cautious about the potential misuse of cryptocurrencies and strive to implement AML and Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations to mitigate these risks. Investor Protection: Governments aim to protect investors from fraud and scams in financial markets. The lack of regulation and oversight in the cryptocurrency space raises concerns about investor protection and the potential for market manipulation. However, it's important to note that many governments are gradually recognizing the importance and potential of cryptocurrencies. Some countries have implemented regulations to provide a legal framework for cryptocurrency exchanges and transactions. Governments are also exploring the development of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) as a way to leverage blockchain technology while maintaining regulatory control. As the cryptocurrency ecosystem continues to evolve and mature, governments are likely to further engage with cryptocurrencies, striking a balance between innovation and regulation to address the opportunities and challenges they present. Posted using SoMee
    Like
    1
    0 Comments 0 Shares 7776 Views