• The Sisi-linked cartel boss in charge of Gaza "file" - Why Egypt is not a friend of Palestine Part 3
    The Sinai Mafia boss and powerbroker linked to the Sisi regime and military

    vanessa beeley

    Ibrahim Al-Arjani (Organi) the Sinai cartel chief in charge of Gaza. Image from FT.

    Ibrahim Al Arjani rose to prominence during the alleged Egyptian war on terror in the Sinai as head of the Sinai Tribal Union. His rise was meteoric and his Empire established almost overnight as the Al Organi group that dominates construction and trade in the Sinai Peninsula. Al Arjani was a smuggler during the Mubarak era but became one of the most powerful men in Egypt under the Sisi regime. According to a 2023 article in Egypt Watch:

    The man whose name was associated with the president’s son, who helps him control the General Intelligence, suddenly seemed to have an empire or, as it is called, the Al-Arjani group, which is a partner of the regime internally and externally and is considered as an ambassador of the “Decent Life” initiative, and one of the warlords who will help the Armed forces in the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

    Timothy Kaldas, deputy director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, said the nature of the political economy under Sisi “means almost nobody can be a big player in business without co-ordination and some kind of dependence on the regime”. Financial Times

    14 years ago Al Arjani was in prison as a Bedouin tribal leader targeted in the crack down on Bedouin protests against the destruction of their environment as mentioned in Part Two of this series.

    Today Al Arjani is one of Egypt’s most influential warlords with shared business interests and close ties to the son of the Egyptian president, Mahmoud Al Sisi.

    Arjani, who owns some of the largest construction firms in Egypt, takes his orders from Egyptian intelligence – and also a big cut of Egypt's aid to Gaza, and from the movement of goods from Egypt into Gaza, mostly those that pass through the Saladin checkpoint in Rafah.

    Al Arjani has a de facto monopoly in the Sinai development project:

    Al-Arjani is a member of the board of directors of the National Agency for the Development of the Sinai Peninsula, a public economic agency affiliated with the Egyptian Ministry of Defence, which is responsible for granting the right for Egyptians and foreigners to own or use land, as well as managing and investing in land in Sinai.

    Please refer to Part One for information on the international (majority Gulf State) investment in the Sinai. The Sisi regime claims that it has spent $ 12.8 billion since Sisi took power in 2013 on the Sinai development project - headed up by Al Arjani.

    The Treasure Plane scandal

    In August 2023, 2 months before the Israeli genocide was launched, scandal rocked the Sisi strong-arm regime. While the majority of Egypt suffers power cuts, gas shortages, economic uncertainty and corruption a plane carrying millions of dollars, gold and weapons left Cairo and landed in Zambia where it was promptly seized by the authorities. According to a report in Middle East Monitor:

    Such speculation is reinforced by reports of links between the aircraft and Sinai businessman Ibrahim Al-Arjani, who is close to Mahmoud Al-Sisi, the son of the Egyptian president. Al-Arjani is suspected of being involved in the attack on the National Security headquarters in El-Arish last month in an attempt to release detainees belonging to his Tarabin tribe. Some say that those behind the attack were paid back in Zambia.

    This incident exposed the deep corruption within the Sisi regime’s close circle. Millions of dollars being smuggled during a time of severe dollar hard currency shortages in the country and while the regime was requesting yet another loan from the International Monetary Fund point to insider dealing.

    The plane was reported to have carried out multiple mysterious missions over the years. There is potential that scrutiny of these missions will highlight the involvement of regional and even international partners. Political opponents have claimed that the plane is affiliated to the General Intelligence Services and to Mahmoud Al Sisi. Middle East Monitor reported:

    Pictures being circulated show that the location of the aircraft often coincided with the presence of Egyptian intelligence and security delegations. These include officials from the Egyptian intelligence service accompanied by Al-Arjani in Libya, as well as Interior Minister Mahmoud Tawfiq at the head of an Egyptian security delegation participating in the 40th session of the Arab Interior Ministers’ Council in Tunisia in February.

    Al Arjani’s Gaza Monopoly

    Al Arjani’s monopoly extends into the Rafah border and Gaza itself. In 2021 Egypt was given the exclusive contract to rebuild Gaza after the May 2021 Zionist aggression against the besieged enclave that left thousands of Palestinians injured and killed an estimated 250 (probably a much higher number)


    Post-Zionist-aggression billboards were erected along the coastal road in Gaza emblazoned with Sisi’s image. Egyptian bulldozers rolled into the enclave along with construction workers and engineers - their mission to “rebuild Gaza”. Egypt pledged $500 million to reconstruct and to build new roads inside Gaza. An article in Haaretz at the time reported:

    The main beneficiary of the reconstruction plan is the company Beni Sinai, owned by Bedouin businessman Ibrahim al-Arjani, who also heads the Tarabin Bedouin tribe and the association of the tribe's leaders in northern Sinai – which are cooperating with Egyptian intelligence in its war against the terrorist groups in the Sinai Peninsula. Arjani, who owns some of the largest construction firms in Egypt, takes his orders from Egyptian intelligence – and also a big cut of Egypt's aid to Gaza, and from the movement of goods from Egypt into Gaza, mostly those that pass through the Saladin checkpoint in Rafah.

    Egypt was awarded a monopoly over more than just the initial rebuilding efforts. With the consent of Israel, the United States and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar agreed to a new arrangement for transferring its aid: Qatar would pay Egypt for oil and gasoline that Egypt would supply to Gaza where Hamas would have control over the sale of the resources.

    The pretext given by Israel for this change was that it no longer wanted Qatar-managed suitcases of cash being brought into Gaza. Israel has always claimed that Hamas has used a percentage of this cash to fortify the Resistance infrastructure and to buy weapons.

    Egypt would therefore take charge of the indirect distribution of $ 30 million per month. In the past this sum was divided three ways. One part was paid out directly to poor families, another was for buying diesel fuel for the Gaza power plant, and the third was for projects to create jobs and reduce unemployment that has now topped 60 percent.

    The irony is that the Sisi regime benefits from the sale of gas and oil to the Gaza strip while 1. the Egyptian people endure power outages and gas shortages 2. There are 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas sitting 20 nautical miles off the Gaza coastline that Palestinians have never been given access to by the Zionist regime and its allies in the UK and US.

    Please refer to Part Two for Sisi’s deepening ties with Israel.

    The Rafah Border provides blood money for the Sisi regime

    The Rafah border crossing is the only crossing allegedly not controlled by Israel. The reality is a little different, Israel controls Egyptian policy at the Rafah crossing without a doubt.

    In his November 2023 CNN interview, Egyptian Health Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar addresses the challenging situation regarding the transfer of infants from Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital to Egypt. Despite Egypt’s preparedness, boasting 37 hospitals and over 11,000 beds, the transfer process is stalled due to required clearances from an unspecified authority. When probed about Israel’s potential role in controlling border access, Ghaffar, while non-committal, acknowledges the influence of an external decision-maker. Israel. Watch:

    A young Iranian team of journalists and researchers put together this short report on the intricacies of the 2005 Philadelphi Accords, perceived by Israel as an extension of the 1979 Camp David agreement:

    Al Arjani has control over trade and construction at the Rafah border. That trade extends to the millions extorted from Palestinian refugees, many children, who have fled to Egypt. An adult is charged $ 5000 and a child $ 2,500. An average family of two parents and three children will be forced to pay $ 17,500 to enter Egypt where they are given only a three month visa which does not include a work permit. After three months they are effectively illegal aliens and face expulsion back to Gaza.

    Palestinians desperate to leave Gaza are paying bribes to brokers of up to $10,000 (£7,850) to help them exit the territory through Egypt, according to a Guardian investigation. [..] Belal, a US citizen from Gaza, was told he would need to raise $85,000 to get 11 family members out of the territory, including five children under three.

    Before the genocide, the cost was $ 500. This is a shocking exploitation of human suffering to profit from their bloodshed by Al Arjani and the Sisi regime - while Egypt is portrayed as a peace broker and mediator, it is taking blood money from the most vulnerable Palestinians without remorse.


    When Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry was asked in March whether the government condoned Hala now charging $5,000 for Palestinians to leave the Gaza Strip, he said: “Absolutely not.”

    “We will take whatever measures we need so as to . . . eliminate it totally,” Shoukry told Sky News.

    Yet weeks later Hala was still providing the service. Financial Times

    Where next for Al Arjani and the Sisi regime?

    A recent report in the Financial Times has detailed the “shuttering” of the Rafah Crossing. The Zionist military occupation of the crossing has dealt a blow to the Egyptian regime’s economic stake in Gaza, controlled by Al Arjani.

    The FT reports that Al Arjani’s response to the crisis was to create the “Union of Arab Tribes” to “work side by side with the Egyptian state” on security.

    In a sign of Cairo’s concerns, Organi, a leader of the Tarabin, Sinai’s largest tribe, last month announced the formation [already formed, perhaps mothballed and revived - my note] of an “Union of Arab Tribes” to “work side by side with the Egyptian state” on security.

    There have been recent reports on social media that Egypt is increasing its military presence in Sinai close to the Rafah border. According to Zionist media, at least 160 armoured vehicles and 140 other vehicles have been deployed to the area. It is wishful thinking to assume that this may be a reaction to halt the genocide that Israel has been conducting since October 7th.

    Instead I believe that this is linked to Al Arjani’s “security” project which is designed to PREVENT the exodus of exhausted, starved and hunted Palestinians from Gaza.

    Experts viewed the move as a sign of an anxious government seeking the support of the Bedouin — once nomadic tribes that inhabit the Sinai — amid concerns that Israel’s offensive could eventually drive Palestinians into Egypt. “It is with one eye towards Rafah and long-standing fears about displacement [of Gazans],” said Michael Hanna, an expert at Crisis Group. FT

    With the effective occupation of the Rafah border by Israel, with very little concrete protest by Egypt - Al Arjani will instead assume the role of policing the Egyptian side of the border with the tribal alliance.

    Sabry said he saw no signs that militias were being re-established, but added that the military was likely to be “trying to organise a locally grown, broad network of spies and informants” to monitor events on the Sinai side of Gaza’s border. FT

    A spokesperson for the alliance made it even clearer:

    Mostafa Bakry, spokesman for the union, has said the alliance would not be armed, adding that weapons were collected from the previous tribal union three years ago.

    But he told a Saudi television channel that the alliance “comes at a very important moment”.

    “We are surrounded by a ring of fire,” Bakry said. “We are facing a displacement plot and the president has been very clear from the start. We will not allow displacement [of Gazans].” FT

    During a televised address on Sunday 30th June, Sisi made the following statement:

    The region is going through serious changes recently amid intense Israeli war in the Gaza Strip and attempts to impose forced displacement towards Egyptian territories.

    The conscience of humanity was absent in this war. The international community remained silent, turning its face away from tens of thousands of innocent victims. (Emphasis added)

    I don’t think I need to spell out the rank and criminal hypocrisy of such a statement in the context of this article and Part One and Two.


    Von Der Leyen and President Sisi in Cairo. Body language says it all.

    Meanwhile European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announces the signing of more than 20 memorandums of understanding between European companies and Egyptian companies worth more than 40 billion euros, covering the fields of hydrogen, water, construction, chemicals, shipping, aviation, and automobiles.

    Egypt is the Ukraine of West Asia.


    ****

    Please do consider subscribing to my Substack. My work is entirely dependent upon public donations and I would like to thank everyone who already contributes xxx

    https://substack.com/home/post/p-146102703
    The Sisi-linked cartel boss in charge of Gaza "file" - Why Egypt is not a friend of Palestine Part 3 The Sinai Mafia boss and powerbroker linked to the Sisi regime and military vanessa beeley Ibrahim Al-Arjani (Organi) the Sinai cartel chief in charge of Gaza. Image from FT. Ibrahim Al Arjani rose to prominence during the alleged Egyptian war on terror in the Sinai as head of the Sinai Tribal Union. His rise was meteoric and his Empire established almost overnight as the Al Organi group that dominates construction and trade in the Sinai Peninsula. Al Arjani was a smuggler during the Mubarak era but became one of the most powerful men in Egypt under the Sisi regime. According to a 2023 article in Egypt Watch: The man whose name was associated with the president’s son, who helps him control the General Intelligence, suddenly seemed to have an empire or, as it is called, the Al-Arjani group, which is a partner of the regime internally and externally and is considered as an ambassador of the “Decent Life” initiative, and one of the warlords who will help the Armed forces in the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. Timothy Kaldas, deputy director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, said the nature of the political economy under Sisi “means almost nobody can be a big player in business without co-ordination and some kind of dependence on the regime”. Financial Times 14 years ago Al Arjani was in prison as a Bedouin tribal leader targeted in the crack down on Bedouin protests against the destruction of their environment as mentioned in Part Two of this series. Today Al Arjani is one of Egypt’s most influential warlords with shared business interests and close ties to the son of the Egyptian president, Mahmoud Al Sisi. Arjani, who owns some of the largest construction firms in Egypt, takes his orders from Egyptian intelligence – and also a big cut of Egypt's aid to Gaza, and from the movement of goods from Egypt into Gaza, mostly those that pass through the Saladin checkpoint in Rafah. Al Arjani has a de facto monopoly in the Sinai development project: Al-Arjani is a member of the board of directors of the National Agency for the Development of the Sinai Peninsula, a public economic agency affiliated with the Egyptian Ministry of Defence, which is responsible for granting the right for Egyptians and foreigners to own or use land, as well as managing and investing in land in Sinai. Please refer to Part One for information on the international (majority Gulf State) investment in the Sinai. The Sisi regime claims that it has spent $ 12.8 billion since Sisi took power in 2013 on the Sinai development project - headed up by Al Arjani. The Treasure Plane scandal In August 2023, 2 months before the Israeli genocide was launched, scandal rocked the Sisi strong-arm regime. While the majority of Egypt suffers power cuts, gas shortages, economic uncertainty and corruption a plane carrying millions of dollars, gold and weapons left Cairo and landed in Zambia where it was promptly seized by the authorities. According to a report in Middle East Monitor: Such speculation is reinforced by reports of links between the aircraft and Sinai businessman Ibrahim Al-Arjani, who is close to Mahmoud Al-Sisi, the son of the Egyptian president. Al-Arjani is suspected of being involved in the attack on the National Security headquarters in El-Arish last month in an attempt to release detainees belonging to his Tarabin tribe. Some say that those behind the attack were paid back in Zambia. This incident exposed the deep corruption within the Sisi regime’s close circle. Millions of dollars being smuggled during a time of severe dollar hard currency shortages in the country and while the regime was requesting yet another loan from the International Monetary Fund point to insider dealing. The plane was reported to have carried out multiple mysterious missions over the years. There is potential that scrutiny of these missions will highlight the involvement of regional and even international partners. Political opponents have claimed that the plane is affiliated to the General Intelligence Services and to Mahmoud Al Sisi. Middle East Monitor reported: Pictures being circulated show that the location of the aircraft often coincided with the presence of Egyptian intelligence and security delegations. These include officials from the Egyptian intelligence service accompanied by Al-Arjani in Libya, as well as Interior Minister Mahmoud Tawfiq at the head of an Egyptian security delegation participating in the 40th session of the Arab Interior Ministers’ Council in Tunisia in February. Al Arjani’s Gaza Monopoly Al Arjani’s monopoly extends into the Rafah border and Gaza itself. In 2021 Egypt was given the exclusive contract to rebuild Gaza after the May 2021 Zionist aggression against the besieged enclave that left thousands of Palestinians injured and killed an estimated 250 (probably a much higher number) Post-Zionist-aggression billboards were erected along the coastal road in Gaza emblazoned with Sisi’s image. Egyptian bulldozers rolled into the enclave along with construction workers and engineers - their mission to “rebuild Gaza”. Egypt pledged $500 million to reconstruct and to build new roads inside Gaza. An article in Haaretz at the time reported: The main beneficiary of the reconstruction plan is the company Beni Sinai, owned by Bedouin businessman Ibrahim al-Arjani, who also heads the Tarabin Bedouin tribe and the association of the tribe's leaders in northern Sinai – which are cooperating with Egyptian intelligence in its war against the terrorist groups in the Sinai Peninsula. Arjani, who owns some of the largest construction firms in Egypt, takes his orders from Egyptian intelligence – and also a big cut of Egypt's aid to Gaza, and from the movement of goods from Egypt into Gaza, mostly those that pass through the Saladin checkpoint in Rafah. Egypt was awarded a monopoly over more than just the initial rebuilding efforts. With the consent of Israel, the United States and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar agreed to a new arrangement for transferring its aid: Qatar would pay Egypt for oil and gasoline that Egypt would supply to Gaza where Hamas would have control over the sale of the resources. The pretext given by Israel for this change was that it no longer wanted Qatar-managed suitcases of cash being brought into Gaza. Israel has always claimed that Hamas has used a percentage of this cash to fortify the Resistance infrastructure and to buy weapons. Egypt would therefore take charge of the indirect distribution of $ 30 million per month. In the past this sum was divided three ways. One part was paid out directly to poor families, another was for buying diesel fuel for the Gaza power plant, and the third was for projects to create jobs and reduce unemployment that has now topped 60 percent. The irony is that the Sisi regime benefits from the sale of gas and oil to the Gaza strip while 1. the Egyptian people endure power outages and gas shortages 2. There are 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas sitting 20 nautical miles off the Gaza coastline that Palestinians have never been given access to by the Zionist regime and its allies in the UK and US. Please refer to Part Two for Sisi’s deepening ties with Israel. The Rafah Border provides blood money for the Sisi regime The Rafah border crossing is the only crossing allegedly not controlled by Israel. The reality is a little different, Israel controls Egyptian policy at the Rafah crossing without a doubt. In his November 2023 CNN interview, Egyptian Health Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar addresses the challenging situation regarding the transfer of infants from Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital to Egypt. Despite Egypt’s preparedness, boasting 37 hospitals and over 11,000 beds, the transfer process is stalled due to required clearances from an unspecified authority. When probed about Israel’s potential role in controlling border access, Ghaffar, while non-committal, acknowledges the influence of an external decision-maker. Israel. Watch: A young Iranian team of journalists and researchers put together this short report on the intricacies of the 2005 Philadelphi Accords, perceived by Israel as an extension of the 1979 Camp David agreement: Al Arjani has control over trade and construction at the Rafah border. That trade extends to the millions extorted from Palestinian refugees, many children, who have fled to Egypt. An adult is charged $ 5000 and a child $ 2,500. An average family of two parents and three children will be forced to pay $ 17,500 to enter Egypt where they are given only a three month visa which does not include a work permit. After three months they are effectively illegal aliens and face expulsion back to Gaza. Palestinians desperate to leave Gaza are paying bribes to brokers of up to $10,000 (£7,850) to help them exit the territory through Egypt, according to a Guardian investigation. [..] Belal, a US citizen from Gaza, was told he would need to raise $85,000 to get 11 family members out of the territory, including five children under three. Before the genocide, the cost was $ 500. This is a shocking exploitation of human suffering to profit from their bloodshed by Al Arjani and the Sisi regime - while Egypt is portrayed as a peace broker and mediator, it is taking blood money from the most vulnerable Palestinians without remorse. When Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry was asked in March whether the government condoned Hala now charging $5,000 for Palestinians to leave the Gaza Strip, he said: “Absolutely not.” “We will take whatever measures we need so as to . . . eliminate it totally,” Shoukry told Sky News. Yet weeks later Hala was still providing the service. Financial Times Where next for Al Arjani and the Sisi regime? A recent report in the Financial Times has detailed the “shuttering” of the Rafah Crossing. The Zionist military occupation of the crossing has dealt a blow to the Egyptian regime’s economic stake in Gaza, controlled by Al Arjani. The FT reports that Al Arjani’s response to the crisis was to create the “Union of Arab Tribes” to “work side by side with the Egyptian state” on security. In a sign of Cairo’s concerns, Organi, a leader of the Tarabin, Sinai’s largest tribe, last month announced the formation [already formed, perhaps mothballed and revived - my note] of an “Union of Arab Tribes” to “work side by side with the Egyptian state” on security. There have been recent reports on social media that Egypt is increasing its military presence in Sinai close to the Rafah border. According to Zionist media, at least 160 armoured vehicles and 140 other vehicles have been deployed to the area. It is wishful thinking to assume that this may be a reaction to halt the genocide that Israel has been conducting since October 7th. Instead I believe that this is linked to Al Arjani’s “security” project which is designed to PREVENT the exodus of exhausted, starved and hunted Palestinians from Gaza. Experts viewed the move as a sign of an anxious government seeking the support of the Bedouin — once nomadic tribes that inhabit the Sinai — amid concerns that Israel’s offensive could eventually drive Palestinians into Egypt. “It is with one eye towards Rafah and long-standing fears about displacement [of Gazans],” said Michael Hanna, an expert at Crisis Group. FT With the effective occupation of the Rafah border by Israel, with very little concrete protest by Egypt - Al Arjani will instead assume the role of policing the Egyptian side of the border with the tribal alliance. Sabry said he saw no signs that militias were being re-established, but added that the military was likely to be “trying to organise a locally grown, broad network of spies and informants” to monitor events on the Sinai side of Gaza’s border. FT A spokesperson for the alliance made it even clearer: Mostafa Bakry, spokesman for the union, has said the alliance would not be armed, adding that weapons were collected from the previous tribal union three years ago. But he told a Saudi television channel that the alliance “comes at a very important moment”. “We are surrounded by a ring of fire,” Bakry said. “We are facing a displacement plot and the president has been very clear from the start. We will not allow displacement [of Gazans].” FT During a televised address on Sunday 30th June, Sisi made the following statement: The region is going through serious changes recently amid intense Israeli war in the Gaza Strip and attempts to impose forced displacement towards Egyptian territories. The conscience of humanity was absent in this war. The international community remained silent, turning its face away from tens of thousands of innocent victims. (Emphasis added) I don’t think I need to spell out the rank and criminal hypocrisy of such a statement in the context of this article and Part One and Two. Von Der Leyen and President Sisi in Cairo. Body language says it all. Meanwhile European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announces the signing of more than 20 memorandums of understanding between European companies and Egyptian companies worth more than 40 billion euros, covering the fields of hydrogen, water, construction, chemicals, shipping, aviation, and automobiles. Egypt is the Ukraine of West Asia. **** Please do consider subscribing to my Substack. My work is entirely dependent upon public donations and I would like to thank everyone who already contributes xxx https://substack.com/home/post/p-146102703
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    The Sisi-linked cartel boss in charge of Gaza "file" - Why Egypt is not a friend of Palestine Part 3
    The Sinai Mafia boss and powerbroker linked to the Sisi regime and military
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  • The Committee of 300 - Dr. John Coleman (1994)
    RULERS OF OUR WORLD:
    The Committee of 300 is a small group of insidious people
    who control all aspects of our world. Through MI6 they ordered
    the murder of President Lincoln and President Kennedy.
    AIDS was created and WHO injected it into millions through the Smallpox vaccines.

    THEIR GOALS:

    (1) A One World Government with a unified church and
    monetary system under their direction.
    (2) The utter destruction of all national identity
    and national pride.
    (3) The destruction of religion and more especially
    the Christian religion, with the one exception,
    their own creation mentioned above.
    (4) Control of each and every person through means
    of mind control and nanotechnology which would create
    human-like robots and a system of terror.
    (5) An end to all industrialization and the production of
    nuclear generated electric power in what they call
    "the post-industrial zero-growth society."
    (6) Legalization of drugs and pornography.
    (7) Depopulation of large cities.
    (8) Suppression of all scientific development except for those
    deemed beneficial by the Committee. Especially targeted is
    nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
    (9) Cause by means of limited wars in the advanced countries,
    and by means of starvation and diseases
    in Third World countries, the death of 3 billion people
    by the year 2050, people they call "useless eaters."
    (10) To weaken the moral fiber of the nation and
    to demoralize workers in the labor class
    by creating mass unemployment.
    (11) To keep people everywhere from deciding
    their own destinies by means of one created crisis
    after another and then "managing" such crises.
    (12) To introduce new cults.
    (13) To cause a total collapse of the world's economies
    and engender total political chaos.
    (14) To take control of all Foreign and
    domestic policies of the United States.
    (15) Give full support to supranational institutions such as
    the United Nations (UN),
    the World Health Organization (WHO),
    the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
    the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) and
    the World Economic Forum(WEF)
    and the World Court.
    (16) Penetrate and subvert all governments, and
    work from within them to destroy
    the sovereign integrity of nations represented by them.
    (17) Organize a world-wide terrorist apparatus and
    negotiate with terrorists
    whenever terrorist activities take place.
    (18) Take control of education in America with the intent and
    purpose of utterly and completely destroying it.


    The Club of Rome,

    The Venetian Black Nobility,

    The Royal Institute for International Affairs (RIIA),
    Chatham House

    The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR),

    The Bilderbergers,

    Trilaterals,

    The Zionists, Freemasonry,
    The Illuminati, the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

    https://rumble.com/v26xzwy--1994-lecture-dr.-john-coleman-reveals-the-dark-secrets-of-the-committee-of.html

    https://www.bitchute.com/video/9Nj36i6RgPvL/

    Follow https://t.me/sgdefense and share
    The Committee of 300 - Dr. John Coleman (1994) RULERS OF OUR WORLD: The Committee of 300 is a small group of insidious people who control all aspects of our world. Through MI6 they ordered the murder of President Lincoln and President Kennedy. AIDS was created and WHO injected it into millions through the Smallpox vaccines. THEIR GOALS: 🔹 (1) A One World Government with a unified church and monetary system under their direction. 🔹 (2) The utter destruction of all national identity and national pride. 🔹 (3) The destruction of religion and more especially the Christian religion, with the one exception, their own creation mentioned above. 🔹 (4) Control of each and every person through means of mind control and nanotechnology which would create human-like robots and a system of terror. 🔹 (5) An end to all industrialization and the production of nuclear generated electric power in what they call "the post-industrial zero-growth society." 🔹 (6) Legalization of drugs and pornography. 🔹 (7) Depopulation of large cities. 🔹 (8) Suppression of all scientific development except for those deemed beneficial by the Committee. Especially targeted is nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. 🔹 (9) Cause by means of limited wars in the advanced countries, and by means of starvation and diseases in Third World countries, the death of 3 billion people by the year 2050, people they call "useless eaters." 🔹 (10) To weaken the moral fiber of the nation and to demoralize workers in the labor class by creating mass unemployment. 🔹 (11) To keep people everywhere from deciding their own destinies by means of one created crisis after another and then "managing" such crises. 🔹 (12) To introduce new cults. 🔹 (13) To cause a total collapse of the world's economies and engender total political chaos. 🔹 (14) To take control of all Foreign and domestic policies of the United States. 🔹 (15) Give full support to supranational institutions such as the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) and the World Economic Forum(WEF) and the World Court. 🔹 (16) Penetrate and subvert all governments, and work from within them to destroy the sovereign integrity of nations represented by them. 🔹 (17) Organize a world-wide terrorist apparatus and negotiate with terrorists whenever terrorist activities take place. 🔹 (18) Take control of education in America with the intent and purpose of utterly and completely destroying it. ❇️ The Club of Rome, ❇️ The Venetian Black Nobility, ❇️ The Royal Institute for International Affairs (RIIA), Chatham House ❇️ The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), ❇️ The Bilderbergers, ❇️ Trilaterals, ❇️ The Zionists, Freemasonry, The Illuminati, the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. 🔹 https://rumble.com/v26xzwy--1994-lecture-dr.-john-coleman-reveals-the-dark-secrets-of-the-committee-of.html 🔹 https://www.bitchute.com/video/9Nj36i6RgPvL/ Follow https://t.me/sgdefense and share 😇
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  • ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 118: Mass grave found of Palestinians tied up, killed ‘execution-style’
    Leila WarahFebruary 1, 2024
    Crowds of Palestinians wait to be given cans of food at a school for the displaced in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. (APA Images)
    Displaced Palestinians in a school run by the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) crowd around a window to receive cans of food in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on January 29, 2024. (Omar Ashtawy/ APA Images_
    Casualties

    27,019+ killed* and at least 66,139 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
    387+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem
    Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147.
    558 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.**
    *This figure was confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health on February 1. Some rights groups put the death toll number at more than 33,000 when accounting for those presumed dead.

    ** This figure is released by the Israeli military.

    Key Developments

    Over 70 U.S. cities pass symbolic resolutions calling for ceasefire in Gaza.
    Palestinian officials accuse Israeli forces of “execution-style” killings in Gaza following reports of bodies with blindfolds and tied hands discovered in mass grave in northern Gaza.
    UN: unemployment in Gaza reached nearly 80 percent in December.
    Doctors without borders: Israeli forces have rejected aid deliveries to north Gaza “almost systematically,” medical facilities under constant attack by Israeli forces.
    UNRWA Gaza Chief: UNRWA staff and thousands of displaced Gazans forced to leave Khan Younis due to Israeli aggression.
    Human Rights Watch: UNRWA funding freeze could hasten famine in Gaza.
    UNOCHA:184,000 people sheltering on western outskirts of Khan Younis
    UNRWA: Facilities for displaced families in Gaza attacked at least 270 times since October 7.
    Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is expected in Cairo as the Palestinian group reviews a proposal for a six-week truce.
    Netenyahu: Israel has “red lines” in its ongoing negotiations.
    PCRS: Israeli forces storm Al-Amal Hospital square and fire heavily around the medical complex.
    Khan Younis hospitals under attack and starving

    The situation in the Gaza Strip remains dire as the besieged enclave continues to be ruthlessly attacked by the Israeli military.

    The two main medical complexes in Khan Younis, the second-most southern district in Gaza, have been under military siege and subject to Israeli attacks for several days.

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    Watch now: ANGELA DAVIS on Witnessing Palestine with Frank Barat
    On Wednesday evening, the Gaza Health Ministry released an update on the dire situation at the two besieged hospitals, Nasser and al-Amal, where things are “getting worse.”

    The situation “threatens the death of many wounded and sick people as a result of targeting and the lack of medical capabilities,” the ministry said, adding that both hospitals have run out of food.

    “We hold the Israeli occupation fully responsible for the lives of medical staff, patients, and displaced persons in Nasser Medical Complex and al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis,” the ministry’s statement concluded, adding a call for the Red Cross and the UN to intervene to protect the lives of patients and displaced Palestinians sheltering there and for the urgent delivery of food and supplies.

    Al-Amal Hospital is surrounded by Israeli tanks, attack drones, and heavy machine guns, which are “shooting at every moving object inside the medical compound,” reported Al Jazeera.

    On Wednesday, the Israeli forces stormed the hospital, and a security guard was shot dead by one of the quadcopters hovering at a low level in the sky, Al Jazeera added.

    An Al Jazeera analysis of satellite images taken on January 29 captured the impact of Israel’s military operations near al-Amal Hospital, revealing the damage the Israeli military has caused.

    The images showed about 25 Israeli vehicles were stationed in the area, including more than 20 vehicles located roughly 500 meters west of the hospital building.

    The images also reveal extensive leveling operations carried out by Israeli vehicles on the northern side of the hospital building and widespread destruction by Israeli forces in the western area of the hospital, where thousands of displaced people lived before having to evacuate.

    On Wednesday evening, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PCRS) said that Israeli forces were raiding the square of Al-Amal Hospital, with heavy firing reported.

    “Urgent: Occupation forces are currently raiding Al-Amal Hospital square, stationed in front of the external gate of the reception and emergency department, and firing heavily,” the group said in a social media post.

    “Despite ongoing bombardment and gunfire, the medical teams at PRCS Al-Amal Hospital in #KhanYunis persist in treating the wounded and patients,” PCRS later added on x.

    The humanitarian organization added that they received seven bodies at its headquarters in Khan Younis, including a member of its staff. It also said that it received nine injuries.

    The lack of supplies at al-Amal Hospital has also had fatal effects.

    PRCS released a video showing the burial of an infant girl and an elderly woman, aged 75, in the yard of al-Amal Hospital. The two died after oxygen had run out in the medical facility.

    Dr Chris Hook of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) told Al Jazeera that the situation around Khan Younis is “one of the most devastating things” he has seen in his career.

    Hook spoke of large numbers of casualties, many of them women and children, continuously arriving at the barely functioning Nasser Hospital, where thousands of displaced people were already taking shelter.

    If the children are “fortunate enough to survive,” he said they would continue to suffer from “terrible injuries, huge burns covering 50-70% of their body and massively broken limbs”.

    “They’re going to need long-term care; lots of them will never walk properly, if at all,” Hook said.

    Leo Cans, the director of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for the Palestinian territories, told Al Jazeera that assaults on medical facilities have become a common feature of Israel’s offensive.

    “Since the start of the war, there have been systematic attacks on health facilities, which is unprecedented for MSF,” he said. “In war, these places are always sensitive areas, and there are always incidents, but this is systematic,” Cans said.

    About 184,000 people have registered for humanitarian assistance in the western outskirts of Khan Younis in recent days, the UN humanitarian agency, OCHA, reported.

    “They were displaced from western Khan Younis city in recent days amid evacuation orders and continued hostilities,” UNOCHA said.

    The humanitarian group added that the UN’s relief agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has also relocated to the western outskirts of the city, as it was forced to abandon health centers and shelters in western Khan Younis.

    “We’ve lost a health clinic, major shelters – facilities that were supporting the people of Khan Younis,” said Thomas White, UNRWA’s director of Gaza affairs.

    Bodies found tied up and executed

    At least 30 Palestinian bodies with alleged signs of torture were found dumped inside a schoolyard in northern Gaza on Wednesday.

    The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called for an international investigation team to look into accusations that Israeli forces executed Palestinians that it took captive in Gaza.

    “According to testimonies of Palestinian citizens, more than 30 decomposing bodies of Palestinian martyrs were discovered buried in the northern Gaza Strip,” the ministry said in a statement, as reported by Al Jazeera. “They were killed while blindfolded and with their hands tied, as clear evidence that they were executed… in the most horrific forms.”

    “As we were cleaning, we came across a pile of rubble inside the schoolyard. We were shocked to find out that dozens of dead bodies were buried under this pile,” a witness told Al Jazeera.

    “The moment we opened the black plastic bags, we found the bodies, already decomposed. They were blindfolded, legs and hands tied. The plastic cuffs were used on their hands and legs and cloth straps around their eyes and heads,” the witness continued.

    The Palestinian Foreign Ministry continued: “the discovery of this mass grave in this brutal form reflects the scale of the tragedy to which Palestinian civilians are exposed, the mass massacres and executions of even detainees, in flagrant and gross violation of all relevant international norms and laws.”

    The Hamas government media office has also called on human rights organizations “to document this horrific crime.”

    It added that Israel is continuing to “exterminate” the Palestinian people without regard to the decisions of the International Court of Justice, “which demanded that they stop the crime of genocide and ethnic cleansing.”

    Similarly, Palestinian human rights lawyer Diana Buttu says these bodies are evidence that bolsters the ICJ’s ruling that there is a plausible risk Israel is committing genocide in the besieged strip.

    “This is precisely why Israel was taken to the ICJ,” the Ramallah-based attorney told Al Jazeera, adding that Israel has been committing war crimes against Palestinians since 1948, and yet, nobody has ever held Israel to account.

    This incident, Buttu pressed, is a war crime, and the world should do something about it. She said this type of evidence needs to be preserved, but that can only happen under a ceasefire.

    Israel is making Gaza uninhabitable

    As Israeli forces kill Palestinians in Gaza at alarming rates, the military is systematically destroying civilian infrastructure and making the besieged enclave uninhabitable.

    In recent weeks, commanders in the Israeli military have begun instructing soldiers to set fire to residential homes in Gaza without the necessary legal approval, reports Haaretz.

    Citing unnamed sources, Haaretz added that soldiers have destroyed several hundred buildings this way.

    Israel has also been accused of creating a “buffer zone” between itself and Gaza after satellite imagery showed that it had demolished hundreds of buildings within the besieged enclave that sits within 1km of the border.

    Moreover, a report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has found that Israel’s campaign in Gaza precipitated a 24 percent contraction in GDP.

    “The level of destruction from the latest Israeli military operation rendered [Gaza] uninhabitable,” it states.

    Even if Israel’s military operations end immediately and Gaza returns to previous growth trends of 0.4 percent each year, pre-war GDP levels will not be restored until 2092, the report continued.

    Risk of famine in Gaza grows

    As Israel’s hostilities continue, Gaza’s population is on the brink of famine due to the ongoing blockade imposed by Israel and now exacerbated by international funding cuts to UNRWA.

    Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement released on Wednesday that UNRWA’s work is “vital” in “averting a humanitarian catastrophe and the risk of famine” in Gaza.

    The decision by 18 governments to suspend funding to UNRWA comes months after “Israeli authorities cut off essential services, including water and electricity,” HRW said.

    Israeli forces are “deliberately blocking the delivery of water, food, and fuel, willfully impeding humanitarian assistance [and] apparently razing agricultural areas,” HRW said.

    Meanwhile, Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to stop trucks from delivering humanitarian assistance into Gaza in a letter, saying that allowing aid into the strip harms Israeli unity.

    “The people of Israel are now fighting a war that has no choice but to defend the State of Israel against those who oppose it, and these images harm the unity of the people, the social cohesion, and the war effort,” the letter states.

    “In light of the above, I demand an immediate halt to the passage of the trucks through the border crossings,” it concluded.

    Talks of a hostage deal

    As Israel’s hostilities in Gaza approach the four-month mark, Israel and Hamas are reportedly discussing the possibility of a truce.

    The Israeli news outlet Channel 12 reported that Mossad chief David Barnea presented the Israeli war cabinet with a prospective nine-point outline of a potential deal to release 136 captives who remain in Gaza, reported Al Jazeera.

    The first stage of the deal would include the release of 35 captives in exchange for a 35-day truce, with an emphasis on women, sick, injured, and elderly captives.

    The truce could then be extended to allow for discussion regarding the second round of releases, which would include Israeli combatants.

    While details regarding the number of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons were limited, the report suggests that Israel would prioritize the release of low-level prisoners.

    In a video message released on his X account, Netanyahu says that Israel has “red lines” in its ongoing negotiations to strike a deal that would see Israeli captives held in Gaza released.

    “We will not end the war, we will not pull the [Israeli military] out of the Strip, we will not release thousands of terrorists,” Netanyahu said in his message.

    The prime minister said that in addition to working on getting the captives out, Israel is working towards its other goals in the war – “the elimination of Hamas and to ensure that Gaza never again represents a threat.”

    “We are working on all three of them together, and we will not give up on any of them.”

    However, Hamas has repeatedly said they will not agree to a pause, only a permanent ceasefire.

    “There is clearly a movement, and there is clearly an interest on both sides. Israel is interested in getting the captives back, and Hamas is interested in ending the fighting,” said Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst Marwan Bishara, expressing caution amid widespread optimism.

    “But there is a huge gap between Hamas and Israel on what is required. Usually, in cases like this, when the gap is too huge, it’s the US that would need to step in with the help of others and provide guarantees to both sides.”

    US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said from a press briefing at the White House: “We are looking at an extended pause [in fighting] as the goal … longer than what we saw in November, which was about a week,”

    “The goal of an extended level pause is so you can get the maximum amount of [Israeli] hostages out … [this] is all a part of the discussions right now,” Kirby continued.

    West Bank: Children scared to go to school

    The effects of Israel’s aggression on Gaza continue to spill into the occupied West Bank, where the Israeli army and settlers conduct rampages with impunity.

    Israeli fire has killed ninety-nine children in the West Bank since October 7, Jonathan Crickx, the chief of communication and advocacy at UNICEF in Palestine, told Al Jazeera.

    “That is more than double the entire year of 2022, and that is happening amid increased military and law enforcement operations,” he said from occupied East Jerusalem.

    “It is also important to note that 600 children have also been injured,” he said, noting that the violence was “creating fear.”

    “So many children, especially in Jenin and Nablus, are scared of going to school,” he said.

    “So, the overall situation in the education system is very concerning, and what is really required in order for children to go to school is a long, lasting ceasefire,” Crickx said. “Education is where hope lies. It is where children can actually build their own future and hopefully a better future.”

    Federal case against Biden dismissed

    The civil case filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of Palestinian human rights organizations and Palestinians in Gaza accusing US President Joe Biden and other senior officials of being complicit in Israel’s “genocide” in Gaza has been dismissed by a US federal court judge on jurisdiction grounds.

    However, the court did “implore” the defendants to examine their role in the war on Gaza.

    “There are rare cases in which the preferred outcome is inaccessible to the court. This is one of those cases,” it said.

    “This court implores defendants to examine the results of their unflagging support of the military siege against the Palestinians in Gaza.”

    Human rights lawyer Noura Erakat says a US judge dismissing such a case “was to be expected.”

    However, “the coup is that the judge was so compelled by the evidence that he made powerful statements on behalf of the plaintiffs regarding genocide,” Erakat added in a post on social media.

    Mohammed Monadel Herzallah, who testified in the civil case, says it is still essential for a US “federal court to hear Palestinian voices for the first time,” in a statement released by the Center for Constitutional Rights.

    “Currently, my family lacks food, medicine, and the most basic necessities for survival,” Herzallah continued, “As Palestinians, we know this is a hard struggle, and as plaintiffs, we will continue to do everything in our power to save our people’s lives.”

    Herzallah’s lawyer, Katherine Gallagher, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, added that together with their plaintiffs, they plan to “pursue all legal avenues to stop the genocide and save Palestinian lives.”

    BEFORE YOU GO – At Mondoweiss, we understand the power of telling Palestinian stories. For 17 years, we have pushed back when the mainstream media published lies or echoed politicians’ hateful rhetoric. Now, Palestinian voices are more important than ever.

    Our traffic has increased ten times since October 7, and we need your help to cover our increased expenses.

    Support our journalists with a donation today.

    https://mondoweiss.net/2024/02/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-118-mass-grave-found-of-palestinians-tied-up-killed-execution-style/


    https://donshafi911.blogspot.com/2024/02/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-118-mass.html
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 118: Mass grave found of Palestinians tied up, killed ‘execution-style’ Leila WarahFebruary 1, 2024 Crowds of Palestinians wait to be given cans of food at a school for the displaced in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. (APA Images) Displaced Palestinians in a school run by the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) crowd around a window to receive cans of food in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on January 29, 2024. (Omar Ashtawy/ APA Images_ Casualties 27,019+ killed* and at least 66,139 wounded in the Gaza Strip. 387+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147. 558 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.** *This figure was confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health on February 1. Some rights groups put the death toll number at more than 33,000 when accounting for those presumed dead. ** This figure is released by the Israeli military. Key Developments Over 70 U.S. cities pass symbolic resolutions calling for ceasefire in Gaza. Palestinian officials accuse Israeli forces of “execution-style” killings in Gaza following reports of bodies with blindfolds and tied hands discovered in mass grave in northern Gaza. UN: unemployment in Gaza reached nearly 80 percent in December. Doctors without borders: Israeli forces have rejected aid deliveries to north Gaza “almost systematically,” medical facilities under constant attack by Israeli forces. UNRWA Gaza Chief: UNRWA staff and thousands of displaced Gazans forced to leave Khan Younis due to Israeli aggression. Human Rights Watch: UNRWA funding freeze could hasten famine in Gaza. UNOCHA:184,000 people sheltering on western outskirts of Khan Younis UNRWA: Facilities for displaced families in Gaza attacked at least 270 times since October 7. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is expected in Cairo as the Palestinian group reviews a proposal for a six-week truce. Netenyahu: Israel has “red lines” in its ongoing negotiations. PCRS: Israeli forces storm Al-Amal Hospital square and fire heavily around the medical complex. Khan Younis hospitals under attack and starving The situation in the Gaza Strip remains dire as the besieged enclave continues to be ruthlessly attacked by the Israeli military. The two main medical complexes in Khan Younis, the second-most southern district in Gaza, have been under military siege and subject to Israeli attacks for several days. Advertisement Watch now: ANGELA DAVIS on Witnessing Palestine with Frank Barat On Wednesday evening, the Gaza Health Ministry released an update on the dire situation at the two besieged hospitals, Nasser and al-Amal, where things are “getting worse.” The situation “threatens the death of many wounded and sick people as a result of targeting and the lack of medical capabilities,” the ministry said, adding that both hospitals have run out of food. “We hold the Israeli occupation fully responsible for the lives of medical staff, patients, and displaced persons in Nasser Medical Complex and al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis,” the ministry’s statement concluded, adding a call for the Red Cross and the UN to intervene to protect the lives of patients and displaced Palestinians sheltering there and for the urgent delivery of food and supplies. Al-Amal Hospital is surrounded by Israeli tanks, attack drones, and heavy machine guns, which are “shooting at every moving object inside the medical compound,” reported Al Jazeera. On Wednesday, the Israeli forces stormed the hospital, and a security guard was shot dead by one of the quadcopters hovering at a low level in the sky, Al Jazeera added. An Al Jazeera analysis of satellite images taken on January 29 captured the impact of Israel’s military operations near al-Amal Hospital, revealing the damage the Israeli military has caused. The images showed about 25 Israeli vehicles were stationed in the area, including more than 20 vehicles located roughly 500 meters west of the hospital building. The images also reveal extensive leveling operations carried out by Israeli vehicles on the northern side of the hospital building and widespread destruction by Israeli forces in the western area of the hospital, where thousands of displaced people lived before having to evacuate. On Wednesday evening, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PCRS) said that Israeli forces were raiding the square of Al-Amal Hospital, with heavy firing reported. “Urgent: Occupation forces are currently raiding Al-Amal Hospital square, stationed in front of the external gate of the reception and emergency department, and firing heavily,” the group said in a social media post. “Despite ongoing bombardment and gunfire, the medical teams at PRCS Al-Amal Hospital in #KhanYunis persist in treating the wounded and patients,” PCRS later added on x. The humanitarian organization added that they received seven bodies at its headquarters in Khan Younis, including a member of its staff. It also said that it received nine injuries. The lack of supplies at al-Amal Hospital has also had fatal effects. PRCS released a video showing the burial of an infant girl and an elderly woman, aged 75, in the yard of al-Amal Hospital. The two died after oxygen had run out in the medical facility. Dr Chris Hook of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) told Al Jazeera that the situation around Khan Younis is “one of the most devastating things” he has seen in his career. Hook spoke of large numbers of casualties, many of them women and children, continuously arriving at the barely functioning Nasser Hospital, where thousands of displaced people were already taking shelter. If the children are “fortunate enough to survive,” he said they would continue to suffer from “terrible injuries, huge burns covering 50-70% of their body and massively broken limbs”. “They’re going to need long-term care; lots of them will never walk properly, if at all,” Hook said. Leo Cans, the director of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for the Palestinian territories, told Al Jazeera that assaults on medical facilities have become a common feature of Israel’s offensive. “Since the start of the war, there have been systematic attacks on health facilities, which is unprecedented for MSF,” he said. “In war, these places are always sensitive areas, and there are always incidents, but this is systematic,” Cans said. About 184,000 people have registered for humanitarian assistance in the western outskirts of Khan Younis in recent days, the UN humanitarian agency, OCHA, reported. “They were displaced from western Khan Younis city in recent days amid evacuation orders and continued hostilities,” UNOCHA said. The humanitarian group added that the UN’s relief agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has also relocated to the western outskirts of the city, as it was forced to abandon health centers and shelters in western Khan Younis. “We’ve lost a health clinic, major shelters – facilities that were supporting the people of Khan Younis,” said Thomas White, UNRWA’s director of Gaza affairs. Bodies found tied up and executed At least 30 Palestinian bodies with alleged signs of torture were found dumped inside a schoolyard in northern Gaza on Wednesday. The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called for an international investigation team to look into accusations that Israeli forces executed Palestinians that it took captive in Gaza. “According to testimonies of Palestinian citizens, more than 30 decomposing bodies of Palestinian martyrs were discovered buried in the northern Gaza Strip,” the ministry said in a statement, as reported by Al Jazeera. “They were killed while blindfolded and with their hands tied, as clear evidence that they were executed… in the most horrific forms.” “As we were cleaning, we came across a pile of rubble inside the schoolyard. We were shocked to find out that dozens of dead bodies were buried under this pile,” a witness told Al Jazeera. “The moment we opened the black plastic bags, we found the bodies, already decomposed. They were blindfolded, legs and hands tied. The plastic cuffs were used on their hands and legs and cloth straps around their eyes and heads,” the witness continued. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry continued: “the discovery of this mass grave in this brutal form reflects the scale of the tragedy to which Palestinian civilians are exposed, the mass massacres and executions of even detainees, in flagrant and gross violation of all relevant international norms and laws.” The Hamas government media office has also called on human rights organizations “to document this horrific crime.” It added that Israel is continuing to “exterminate” the Palestinian people without regard to the decisions of the International Court of Justice, “which demanded that they stop the crime of genocide and ethnic cleansing.” Similarly, Palestinian human rights lawyer Diana Buttu says these bodies are evidence that bolsters the ICJ’s ruling that there is a plausible risk Israel is committing genocide in the besieged strip. “This is precisely why Israel was taken to the ICJ,” the Ramallah-based attorney told Al Jazeera, adding that Israel has been committing war crimes against Palestinians since 1948, and yet, nobody has ever held Israel to account. This incident, Buttu pressed, is a war crime, and the world should do something about it. She said this type of evidence needs to be preserved, but that can only happen under a ceasefire. Israel is making Gaza uninhabitable As Israeli forces kill Palestinians in Gaza at alarming rates, the military is systematically destroying civilian infrastructure and making the besieged enclave uninhabitable. In recent weeks, commanders in the Israeli military have begun instructing soldiers to set fire to residential homes in Gaza without the necessary legal approval, reports Haaretz. Citing unnamed sources, Haaretz added that soldiers have destroyed several hundred buildings this way. Israel has also been accused of creating a “buffer zone” between itself and Gaza after satellite imagery showed that it had demolished hundreds of buildings within the besieged enclave that sits within 1km of the border. Moreover, a report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has found that Israel’s campaign in Gaza precipitated a 24 percent contraction in GDP. “The level of destruction from the latest Israeli military operation rendered [Gaza] uninhabitable,” it states. Even if Israel’s military operations end immediately and Gaza returns to previous growth trends of 0.4 percent each year, pre-war GDP levels will not be restored until 2092, the report continued. Risk of famine in Gaza grows As Israel’s hostilities continue, Gaza’s population is on the brink of famine due to the ongoing blockade imposed by Israel and now exacerbated by international funding cuts to UNRWA. Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement released on Wednesday that UNRWA’s work is “vital” in “averting a humanitarian catastrophe and the risk of famine” in Gaza. The decision by 18 governments to suspend funding to UNRWA comes months after “Israeli authorities cut off essential services, including water and electricity,” HRW said. Israeli forces are “deliberately blocking the delivery of water, food, and fuel, willfully impeding humanitarian assistance [and] apparently razing agricultural areas,” HRW said. Meanwhile, Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to stop trucks from delivering humanitarian assistance into Gaza in a letter, saying that allowing aid into the strip harms Israeli unity. “The people of Israel are now fighting a war that has no choice but to defend the State of Israel against those who oppose it, and these images harm the unity of the people, the social cohesion, and the war effort,” the letter states. “In light of the above, I demand an immediate halt to the passage of the trucks through the border crossings,” it concluded. Talks of a hostage deal As Israel’s hostilities in Gaza approach the four-month mark, Israel and Hamas are reportedly discussing the possibility of a truce. The Israeli news outlet Channel 12 reported that Mossad chief David Barnea presented the Israeli war cabinet with a prospective nine-point outline of a potential deal to release 136 captives who remain in Gaza, reported Al Jazeera. The first stage of the deal would include the release of 35 captives in exchange for a 35-day truce, with an emphasis on women, sick, injured, and elderly captives. The truce could then be extended to allow for discussion regarding the second round of releases, which would include Israeli combatants. While details regarding the number of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons were limited, the report suggests that Israel would prioritize the release of low-level prisoners. In a video message released on his X account, Netanyahu says that Israel has “red lines” in its ongoing negotiations to strike a deal that would see Israeli captives held in Gaza released. “We will not end the war, we will not pull the [Israeli military] out of the Strip, we will not release thousands of terrorists,” Netanyahu said in his message. The prime minister said that in addition to working on getting the captives out, Israel is working towards its other goals in the war – “the elimination of Hamas and to ensure that Gaza never again represents a threat.” “We are working on all three of them together, and we will not give up on any of them.” However, Hamas has repeatedly said they will not agree to a pause, only a permanent ceasefire. “There is clearly a movement, and there is clearly an interest on both sides. Israel is interested in getting the captives back, and Hamas is interested in ending the fighting,” said Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst Marwan Bishara, expressing caution amid widespread optimism. “But there is a huge gap between Hamas and Israel on what is required. Usually, in cases like this, when the gap is too huge, it’s the US that would need to step in with the help of others and provide guarantees to both sides.” US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said from a press briefing at the White House: “We are looking at an extended pause [in fighting] as the goal … longer than what we saw in November, which was about a week,” “The goal of an extended level pause is so you can get the maximum amount of [Israeli] hostages out … [this] is all a part of the discussions right now,” Kirby continued. West Bank: Children scared to go to school The effects of Israel’s aggression on Gaza continue to spill into the occupied West Bank, where the Israeli army and settlers conduct rampages with impunity. Israeli fire has killed ninety-nine children in the West Bank since October 7, Jonathan Crickx, the chief of communication and advocacy at UNICEF in Palestine, told Al Jazeera. “That is more than double the entire year of 2022, and that is happening amid increased military and law enforcement operations,” he said from occupied East Jerusalem. “It is also important to note that 600 children have also been injured,” he said, noting that the violence was “creating fear.” “So many children, especially in Jenin and Nablus, are scared of going to school,” he said. “So, the overall situation in the education system is very concerning, and what is really required in order for children to go to school is a long, lasting ceasefire,” Crickx said. “Education is where hope lies. It is where children can actually build their own future and hopefully a better future.” Federal case against Biden dismissed The civil case filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of Palestinian human rights organizations and Palestinians in Gaza accusing US President Joe Biden and other senior officials of being complicit in Israel’s “genocide” in Gaza has been dismissed by a US federal court judge on jurisdiction grounds. However, the court did “implore” the defendants to examine their role in the war on Gaza. “There are rare cases in which the preferred outcome is inaccessible to the court. This is one of those cases,” it said. “This court implores defendants to examine the results of their unflagging support of the military siege against the Palestinians in Gaza.” Human rights lawyer Noura Erakat says a US judge dismissing such a case “was to be expected.” However, “the coup is that the judge was so compelled by the evidence that he made powerful statements on behalf of the plaintiffs regarding genocide,” Erakat added in a post on social media. Mohammed Monadel Herzallah, who testified in the civil case, says it is still essential for a US “federal court to hear Palestinian voices for the first time,” in a statement released by the Center for Constitutional Rights. “Currently, my family lacks food, medicine, and the most basic necessities for survival,” Herzallah continued, “As Palestinians, we know this is a hard struggle, and as plaintiffs, we will continue to do everything in our power to save our people’s lives.” Herzallah’s lawyer, Katherine Gallagher, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, added that together with their plaintiffs, they plan to “pursue all legal avenues to stop the genocide and save Palestinian lives.” BEFORE YOU GO – At Mondoweiss, we understand the power of telling Palestinian stories. For 17 years, we have pushed back when the mainstream media published lies or echoed politicians’ hateful rhetoric. Now, Palestinian voices are more important than ever. Our traffic has increased ten times since October 7, and we need your help to cover our increased expenses. Support our journalists with a donation today. https://mondoweiss.net/2024/02/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-118-mass-grave-found-of-palestinians-tied-up-killed-execution-style/ https://donshafi911.blogspot.com/2024/02/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-118-mass.html
    MONDOWEISS.NET
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 118: Mass grave found of Palestinians tied up, killed ‘execution-style’
    A mass grave in northern Gaza was found following the withdrawal of Israeli forces. The already decomposing bodies were tied up, blindfolded, and dumped after allegedly being killed execution-style.
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  • Chris Hedges: The Enemy From Within
    April 30, 2023

    You Are What They Eat – by Mr. Fish
    By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

    America is a stratocracy, a form of government dominated by the military. It is axiomatic among the two ruling parties that there must be a constant preparation for war. The war machine’s massive budgets are sacrosanct. Its billions of dollars in waste and fraud are ignored. Its military fiascos in Southeast Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East have disappeared into the vast cavern of historical amnesia. This amnesia, which means there is never accountability, licenses the war machine to economically disembowel the country and drive the Empire into one self-defeating conflict after another. The militarists win every election. They cannot lose. It is impossible to vote against them. The war state is a Götterdämmerung, as Dwight Macdonald writes, “without the gods.”

    Since the end of the Second World War, the federal government has spent more than half its tax dollars on past, current and future military operations. It is the largest single sustaining activity of the government. Military systems are sold before they are produced with guarantees that huge cost overruns will be covered. Foreign aid is contingent on buying U.S. weapons. Egypt, which receives some $1.3 billion in foreign military financing, is required to devote it to buying and maintaining U.S. weapons systems. Israel has received $158 billion in bilateral assistance from the U.S. since 1949, almost all of it since 1971 in the form of military aid, with most of it going towards arms purchases from U.S. weapons manufacturers. The American public funds the research, development and building of weapons systems and then buys these same weapons systems on behalf of foreign governments. It is a circular system of corporate welfare.

    Between October 2021 and September 2022, the U.S. spent $877 billion on the military, that’s more than the next 10 countries, including China, Russia, Germany, France and the United Kingdom combined. These huge military expenditures, along with the rising costs of a for-profit healthcare system, have driven the U.S. national debt to over $31 trillion, nearly $5 trillion more than the U.S.’s entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This imbalance is not sustainable, especially once the dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency. As of January 2023, the U.S. spent a record $213 billion servicing the interest on its national debt.

    The public, bombarded with war propaganda, cheers on their self-immolation. It revels in the despicable beauty of our military prowess. It speaks in the thought-terminating clichés spewed out by mass culture and mass media. It imbibes the illusion of omnipotence and wallows in self-adulation.

    Support our Independent Journalism — Donate Today!

    The intoxication of war is a plague. It imparts an emotional high that is impervious to logic, reason or fact. No nation is immune. The gravest mistake made by European socialists on the eve of the First World War was the belief that the working classes of France, Germany, Italy, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Russia and Great Britain would not be divided into antagonistic tribes because of disputes between imperialist governments. They would not, the socialists assured themselves, sign on for the suicidal slaughter of millions of working men in the trenches. Instead, nearly every socialist leader walked away from their anti-war platform to back their nation’s entry into the war. The handful who did not, such as Rosa Luxemburg, were sent to prison.

    A society dominated by militarists distorts its social, cultural, economic and political institutions to serve the interests of the war industry. The essence of the military is masked with subterfuges — using the military to carry out humanitarian relief missions, evacuating civilians in danger, as we see in the Sudan, defining military aggression as “humanitarian intervention” or a way to protect democracy and liberty, or lauding the military as carrying out a vital civic function by teaching leadership, responsibility, ethics and skills to young recruits. The true face of the military — industrial slaughter — is hidden.

    The mantra of the militarized state is national security. If every discussion begins with a question of national security, every answer includes force or the threat of force. The preoccupation with internal and external threats divides the world into friend and foe, good and evil. Militarized societies are fertile ground for demagogues. Militarists, like demagogues, see other nations and cultures in their own image – threatening and aggressive. They seek only domination.

    It was not in our national interest to wage war for two decades across the Middle East. It is not in our national interest to go to war with Russia or China. But militarists need war the way a vampire needs blood.

    After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev and later Vladimir Putin lobbied to be integrated into western economic and military alliances. An alliance that included Russia would have nullified the calls to expand NATO — which the U.S. had promised it would not do beyond the borders of a unified Germany — and have made it impossible to convince countries in eastern and central Europe to spend billions on U.S. military hardware. Moscow’s requests were rebuffed. Russia was made the enemy, whether it wanted to be or not. None of this made us more secure. Washington’s decision to interfere in Ukraine’s domestic affairs by backing a coup in 2014 triggered a civil war and Russia’s subsequent invasion.

    But for those who profit from war, antagonizing Russia, like antagonizing China, is a good business model. Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin saw their stock prices increase by 40 percent and 37 percent respectively as a result of the Ukraine conflict.

    A war with China, now an industrial giant, would disrupt the global supply chain with devastating effects on the U.S. and global economy. Apple produces 90 percent of its products in China. U.S. trade with China was $690.6 billion last year. In 2004, U.S. manufacturing output was more than twice China’s. China’s output is now nearly double that of the United States. China produces the largest number of ships, steel and smartphones in the world. It dominates the global production of chemicals, metals, heavy industrial equipment and electronics. It is the world’s largest rare earth mineral exporter, its greatest reserve holder and is responsible for 80 percent of its refining worldwide. Rare earth minerals are essential to the manufacture of computer chips, smartphones, television screens, medical equipment, fluorescent light bulbs, cars, wind turbines, smart bombs, fighter jets and satellite communications.

    War with China would result in massive shortages of a variety of goods and resources, some vital to the war industry, paralyzing U.S. businesses. Inflation and unemployment would rocket upwards. Rationing would be implemented. The global stock exchanges, at least in the short term, would be shut down. It would trigger a global depression. If the U.S. Navy was able to block oil shipments to China and disrupt its sea lanes, the conflict could potentially become nuclear.

    In “NATO 2030: Unified for a New Era,” the military alliance sees the future as a battle for hegemony with rival states, especially China. It calls for the preparation of prolonged global conflict. In October 2022, Air Force General Mike Minihan, head of Air Mobility Command, presented his “Mobility Manifesto” to a packed military conference. During this unhinged fearmongering diatribe, Minihan argued that if the U.S. does not dramatically escalate its preparations for a war with China, America’s children will find themselves “subservient to a rules based order that benefits only one country [China].”

    According to the New York Times, the Marine Corps is training units for beach assaults, where the Pentagon believes the first battles with China may occur, across “the first island chain” that includes, “Okinawa and Taiwan down to Malaysia as well as the South China Sea and disputed islands in the Spratlys and the Paracels.”.

    Militarists drain funds from social and infrastructure programs. They pour money into research and development of weapons systems and neglect renewable energy technologies. Bridges, roads, electrical grids and levees collapse. Schools decay. Domestic manufacturing declines. The public is impoverished. The harsh forms of control the militarists test and perfect abroad migrate back to the homeland. Militarized Police. Militarized drones. Surveillance. Vast prison complexes. Suspension of basic civil liberties. Censorship.

    Those such as Julian Assange, who challenge the stratocracy, who expose its crimes and suicidal folly, are ruthlessly persecuted. But the war state harbors within it the seeds of its own destruction. It will cannibalize the nation until it collapses. Before then, it will lash out, like a blinded cyclops, seeking to restore its diminishing power through indiscriminate violence. The tragedy is not that the U.S. war state will self-destruct. The tragedy is that we will take down so many innocents with us.

    NOTE TO SCHEERPOST READERS FROM CHRIS HEDGES: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at chrishedges.substack.com so I can continue to post my now weekly Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, The Chris Hedges Report.


    Chris Hedges

    Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of show The Chris Hedges Report.

    He was a member of the team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for The New York Times coverage of global terrorism, and he received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. Hedges, who holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, is the author of the bestsellers American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle and was a National Book Critics Circle finalist for his book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. He writes an online column for the website ScheerPost. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and the University of Toronto.

    https://scheerpost.com/2023/04/30/chris-hedges-the-enemy-from-within/
    Chris Hedges: The Enemy From Within April 30, 2023 You Are What They Eat – by Mr. Fish By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost America is a stratocracy, a form of government dominated by the military. It is axiomatic among the two ruling parties that there must be a constant preparation for war. The war machine’s massive budgets are sacrosanct. Its billions of dollars in waste and fraud are ignored. Its military fiascos in Southeast Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East have disappeared into the vast cavern of historical amnesia. This amnesia, which means there is never accountability, licenses the war machine to economically disembowel the country and drive the Empire into one self-defeating conflict after another. The militarists win every election. They cannot lose. It is impossible to vote against them. The war state is a Götterdämmerung, as Dwight Macdonald writes, “without the gods.” Since the end of the Second World War, the federal government has spent more than half its tax dollars on past, current and future military operations. It is the largest single sustaining activity of the government. Military systems are sold before they are produced with guarantees that huge cost overruns will be covered. Foreign aid is contingent on buying U.S. weapons. Egypt, which receives some $1.3 billion in foreign military financing, is required to devote it to buying and maintaining U.S. weapons systems. Israel has received $158 billion in bilateral assistance from the U.S. since 1949, almost all of it since 1971 in the form of military aid, with most of it going towards arms purchases from U.S. weapons manufacturers. The American public funds the research, development and building of weapons systems and then buys these same weapons systems on behalf of foreign governments. It is a circular system of corporate welfare. Between October 2021 and September 2022, the U.S. spent $877 billion on the military, that’s more than the next 10 countries, including China, Russia, Germany, France and the United Kingdom combined. These huge military expenditures, along with the rising costs of a for-profit healthcare system, have driven the U.S. national debt to over $31 trillion, nearly $5 trillion more than the U.S.’s entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This imbalance is not sustainable, especially once the dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency. As of January 2023, the U.S. spent a record $213 billion servicing the interest on its national debt. The public, bombarded with war propaganda, cheers on their self-immolation. It revels in the despicable beauty of our military prowess. It speaks in the thought-terminating clichés spewed out by mass culture and mass media. It imbibes the illusion of omnipotence and wallows in self-adulation. Support our Independent Journalism — Donate Today! The intoxication of war is a plague. It imparts an emotional high that is impervious to logic, reason or fact. No nation is immune. The gravest mistake made by European socialists on the eve of the First World War was the belief that the working classes of France, Germany, Italy, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Russia and Great Britain would not be divided into antagonistic tribes because of disputes between imperialist governments. They would not, the socialists assured themselves, sign on for the suicidal slaughter of millions of working men in the trenches. Instead, nearly every socialist leader walked away from their anti-war platform to back their nation’s entry into the war. The handful who did not, such as Rosa Luxemburg, were sent to prison. A society dominated by militarists distorts its social, cultural, economic and political institutions to serve the interests of the war industry. The essence of the military is masked with subterfuges — using the military to carry out humanitarian relief missions, evacuating civilians in danger, as we see in the Sudan, defining military aggression as “humanitarian intervention” or a way to protect democracy and liberty, or lauding the military as carrying out a vital civic function by teaching leadership, responsibility, ethics and skills to young recruits. The true face of the military — industrial slaughter — is hidden. The mantra of the militarized state is national security. If every discussion begins with a question of national security, every answer includes force or the threat of force. The preoccupation with internal and external threats divides the world into friend and foe, good and evil. Militarized societies are fertile ground for demagogues. Militarists, like demagogues, see other nations and cultures in their own image – threatening and aggressive. They seek only domination. It was not in our national interest to wage war for two decades across the Middle East. It is not in our national interest to go to war with Russia or China. But militarists need war the way a vampire needs blood. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev and later Vladimir Putin lobbied to be integrated into western economic and military alliances. An alliance that included Russia would have nullified the calls to expand NATO — which the U.S. had promised it would not do beyond the borders of a unified Germany — and have made it impossible to convince countries in eastern and central Europe to spend billions on U.S. military hardware. Moscow’s requests were rebuffed. Russia was made the enemy, whether it wanted to be or not. None of this made us more secure. Washington’s decision to interfere in Ukraine’s domestic affairs by backing a coup in 2014 triggered a civil war and Russia’s subsequent invasion. But for those who profit from war, antagonizing Russia, like antagonizing China, is a good business model. Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin saw their stock prices increase by 40 percent and 37 percent respectively as a result of the Ukraine conflict. A war with China, now an industrial giant, would disrupt the global supply chain with devastating effects on the U.S. and global economy. Apple produces 90 percent of its products in China. U.S. trade with China was $690.6 billion last year. In 2004, U.S. manufacturing output was more than twice China’s. China’s output is now nearly double that of the United States. China produces the largest number of ships, steel and smartphones in the world. It dominates the global production of chemicals, metals, heavy industrial equipment and electronics. It is the world’s largest rare earth mineral exporter, its greatest reserve holder and is responsible for 80 percent of its refining worldwide. Rare earth minerals are essential to the manufacture of computer chips, smartphones, television screens, medical equipment, fluorescent light bulbs, cars, wind turbines, smart bombs, fighter jets and satellite communications. War with China would result in massive shortages of a variety of goods and resources, some vital to the war industry, paralyzing U.S. businesses. Inflation and unemployment would rocket upwards. Rationing would be implemented. The global stock exchanges, at least in the short term, would be shut down. It would trigger a global depression. If the U.S. Navy was able to block oil shipments to China and disrupt its sea lanes, the conflict could potentially become nuclear. In “NATO 2030: Unified for a New Era,” the military alliance sees the future as a battle for hegemony with rival states, especially China. It calls for the preparation of prolonged global conflict. In October 2022, Air Force General Mike Minihan, head of Air Mobility Command, presented his “Mobility Manifesto” to a packed military conference. During this unhinged fearmongering diatribe, Minihan argued that if the U.S. does not dramatically escalate its preparations for a war with China, America’s children will find themselves “subservient to a rules based order that benefits only one country [China].” According to the New York Times, the Marine Corps is training units for beach assaults, where the Pentagon believes the first battles with China may occur, across “the first island chain” that includes, “Okinawa and Taiwan down to Malaysia as well as the South China Sea and disputed islands in the Spratlys and the Paracels.”. Militarists drain funds from social and infrastructure programs. They pour money into research and development of weapons systems and neglect renewable energy technologies. Bridges, roads, electrical grids and levees collapse. Schools decay. Domestic manufacturing declines. The public is impoverished. The harsh forms of control the militarists test and perfect abroad migrate back to the homeland. Militarized Police. Militarized drones. Surveillance. Vast prison complexes. Suspension of basic civil liberties. Censorship. Those such as Julian Assange, who challenge the stratocracy, who expose its crimes and suicidal folly, are ruthlessly persecuted. But the war state harbors within it the seeds of its own destruction. It will cannibalize the nation until it collapses. Before then, it will lash out, like a blinded cyclops, seeking to restore its diminishing power through indiscriminate violence. The tragedy is not that the U.S. war state will self-destruct. The tragedy is that we will take down so many innocents with us. NOTE TO SCHEERPOST READERS FROM CHRIS HEDGES: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at chrishedges.substack.com so I can continue to post my now weekly Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, The Chris Hedges Report. Chris Hedges Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of show The Chris Hedges Report. He was a member of the team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for The New York Times coverage of global terrorism, and he received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. Hedges, who holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, is the author of the bestsellers American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle and was a National Book Critics Circle finalist for his book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. He writes an online column for the website ScheerPost. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and the University of Toronto. https://scheerpost.com/2023/04/30/chris-hedges-the-enemy-from-within/
    SCHEERPOST.COM
    Chris Hedges: The Enemy From Within
    The war industry, a state within a state, disembowels the nation, stumbles from one military fiasco to the next, strips us of civil liberties and pushes us towards suicidal wars with Russia and Chi…
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  • Essential facts about the Hamas-Gaza-Israel war
    [email protected] October 26, 2023 Gaza, hamas, justice, occupation, resistance, terrorist, zionism
    Essential facts about the Hamas-Gaza-Israel war
    One of thousands of buildings in Gaza that were destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in the last two weeks. (photo)
    The current situation in Gaza and Israel did not come out of the blue. Read critical background left out of breaking news alerts…


    by Kathryn Shihadah

    On Oct 7, the resistance group Hamas did not invade a peace-loving country. To Israelis, it may have felt tranquil and carefree – they were dancing, raising families on tree-lined streets, planning vacations abroad. Palestinians are pretty much invisible, locked as they are behind high concrete walls and electrified, fortified, barbed wire barriers.

    Israelis have never experienced the kind of invasion they got that day. The roles are usually reversed. This time some Palestinians were killing, kidnapping, and causing panic, trauma, and unconscionable violence. Usually it is some Israeli soldiers and settlers that perpetrate such acts.

    The Israelis’ experience – and that of their loved ones – is real and significant.

    But many of us are dismissing Gazans’ experience out of hand.

    If we believe in equality, in the presence of the imago dei in everyone, we ought to be troubled by this. Are Israeli sins forgivable, but Palestinian sins somehow unforgivable?

    We ought to make sure we have true and accurate information, and are responding to it responsibly. If we detect any bigotry in our perspective, we must work diligently to weed it out.

    What you didn’t know you didn’t know

    History did not begin on October 7, 2023. If it had, Hamas militants would have no pertinent reason for the rage they displayed. Their only excuse would be hatred for Jews.

    We must acknowledge that each of the young Gazan fighters has experienced a lifetime under a brutal Israeli blockade and multiple major Israeli operations – it’s a stretch to call them “wars,” as the weaponry and the casualty figures were so lopsided (for example, in the 2008-2009 hostilities, 9 Israelis were killed, vs 1,400 Gazans; in 2012, 6 Israelis vs 174 Gazans; in 2014, 72 Israelis vs 2,200 Gazans). These experiences shaped every Gazan (Israeli journalists Amira Hass and Gideon Levy recognize the significance of this fact).

    Each fighter in Gaza likely grew up not just fearful and angry, but hungry, malnourished, growth-stunted, and anxious. He has likely seen dead bodies, amputated limbs, and blood. He has likely lost loved ones and played in the shells of bombed-out houses.

    The violence against him has not stopped long enough for him to get PTSD. There has been no “post” to his trauma.

    (We must also recognize that the United States and Israel helped create and sustain Hamas, and one day decided that Hamas was now the enemy.)

    Hamas fighters, like all young people in Gaza, struggle to hold onto hope for the future. Israel’s brutal blockade, plus its destruction of factories, shops, and other businesses, has left an unemployment rate hovering around 45%.

    How to restore hope? Not by committing murder, but by winning freedom. That is what every Palestinian wants. Not revenge, not the eradication of Jews. Freedom and hope.

    How to achieve freedom?

    Obviously, killing hundreds of Israelis is not moral or productive, and will not lead to freedom – at least, not directly.

    Similarly, bombing Gaza to rubble is not the way for Israel to gain security. That has been proven again and again, at great cost to Palestinians.

    These are irrational actions on both sides, horrible acts.

    For years, Palestinians have tried rational, peaceful methods of achieving justice: they have petitioned the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. They have held thousands of peaceful protests. In the ICC and ICJ, the United States always exercises veto power in Israel’s favor. When it comes to peaceful protests, Israeli soldiers shoot to kill.

    (The UN Security Council voted on a resolution Wednesday, October 18, merely calling for Israel to pause its bombing to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza – the United States vetoed it. That is not contributing to anything but carnage.)

    When Palestinians are quiet, the world forgets them, leaving them to Israel’s whims; when they protest peacefully, they are killed. Only when they make a lot of noise does the world finally wake up. October 7th was about as noisy as it gets – and millions are now rallying for a ceasefire and Palestinian rights. The international community carries some of the blame for allowing Israel to oppress Palestinians to the breaking point.

    That is to say that while each individual member of Hamas is responsible for his own actions – and some or many may have committed atrocities – Israel’s policies of brutal starvation, suffocation, and airstrikes, pushed them into a corner. Israel must own up to that. American foreign policy allowed it, and we must own up to that. The current situation is by no stretch of the imagination all Hamas’ fault.

    In every war, individuals commit atrocities that are inexcusable. The members of Hamas had just broken out of the world’s largest prison, where they had been brutalized every day by Israel. Violent retribution on the part of some should not surprise us.

    It is also worth noting that at least some of the Israeli hostages held by Hamas were treated well and with respect – so well that some Israelis wished the truth hadn’t been made public. It is understood that they were not captured to be killed, but to be bargaining chips for the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners wrongly held by Israel.

    One possible culpability loophole for us everyday folks: if you are one of the millions who know nothing about Palestinians except the October 7 massacre, realize this: our mainstream media has for years been working to keep you in the dark (see this, this, and this, for example).

    Zionism

    So. Why did they do it? Do Hamas militants have a deep, inbred hatred of Jews?

    The one thing most Palestinians know for sure about Jews is that they come in two types: those who embrace Zionism and those who don’t.

    The people who took over the Palestinian homeland in 1948 and sent 700,000 Palestinians to refugee camps – those were Zionists. The people who, ever since, have dropped bombs, withheld human rights, and stripped Palestinians of their humanity – those are Zionists. Palestinians hate Zionism. Not Judaism. Not Jews (in fact, in the decades before Israel was born, the majority of Jews were against the very idea of a Jewish state; many were anti-Zionist).

    Palestinians are highly intelligent, highly educated – and their education did not include being “taught to hate Jews.” They didn’t need to be taught to hate their occupier – each boy and girl from Gaza to the West Bank, from East Jerusalem to Israel, figured out all by themselves that the ones shooting their family members and withholding blankets and baby food are despicable.

    Nor is the distinction between “Jew” and “Zionist” too hard for Palestinians to comprehend.

    (For some Israel apologists, including but not limited to Jonathan Greenblatt, the distinction between Jew and Zionist is lost. Wait…does that mean Palestinians are smarter than Zionists?)

    October Seventh

    The whole world is aware of Hamas’ October 7th attack – its brutality is already legendary. People who should know better are publicly calling them “animals” and “barbarians.” “These are not human beings! They killed babies, raped women.”

    Look, several thousand militants entered Israel that day. If they were all animals, killing babies and raping women, there would have been a lot more victims (I have yet to see actual evidence of a rapes of Israeli women that day – if you have, please share it with me). Governments lie during wars, and this appears to be one of those times (that said, there is documentation of Israeli soldiers raping Palestinian women (and men, and children) that stretch from Israel’s founding to the present).

    Members of Hamas and other resistance groups in Gaza absolutely have a cruel streak. Would anyone expect them not to?

    Israel and its self-proclaimed “most moral army in the world” reinforce their cruel streak with one of the most powerful militaries in the world and (apparently) complete exemption from international law.

    Key questions

    Palestinians really have two choices: resist and be labeled “terrorist/subhuman,” or sit quietly and let Israel starve and shoot and humiliate them. There are no good options. (Most can not afford to emigrate, nor do they want to leave their homeland.)

    Here are the questions we must grapple with.

    Do Palestinians have the right to be free of Israeli occupation?

    Do they have the right to self-determination?

    Do they have the right to a dignified life?

    These are yes/no questions. They are unrelated to Hamas. Do Palestinians have these rights?

    If you are grieved by the loss of Israeli life – in spite of Israel’s many sins – but Palestinian casualties still do not move you, what you are feeling is probably not righteous anger, but prejudice.

    Cleanse your palette of judgmentalism toward two million people for the faults of a few, for being born Palestinian, for desiring a better life.

    Understand that legitimate grievances, left to fester, will beget hostility and violence.

    Discern the difference between recognizing these grievances and approving the violence.

    Acknowledge that America has been complicit in the carnage we’ve witnessed in the past weeks.

    As long as we cheer for Israel – or stay silent about the slaughter of Palestinians – we are part of the problem.

    Palestinians are people, and that’s the bottom line.

    Kathryn Shihadah is an editor and staff writer for If Americans Knew. This is reposted from Patheos – Grace Colored Glasses – Kathy’s blog on Patheos, an online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality. She also occasionally blogs at Palestine Home.

    RELATED READING:

    Gaza-Israel: Latest news and statistics (ongoing updates)
    Sec’y Blinken (indirectly) calls Israel’s treatment of Gazans “barbaric”
    It’s not just Gaza – Israel is also killing scores in the West Bank
    Palestinian-American child killed in Illinois: this is what media reports left out
    In Gaza, she now inhabits a solitary space between life and death
    VIDEOS:

    WATCH: What was happening in Gaza BEFORE the Hamas attack that the media didn’t tell you
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    Hover over each bar for exact numbers.
    Source: IsraelPalestineTimeline.org



    https://israelpalestinenews.org/how-to-make-sense-of-the-palestinian-call-for-freedom-and-justice-gaza/
    Essential facts about the Hamas-Gaza-Israel war [email protected] October 26, 2023 Gaza, hamas, justice, occupation, resistance, terrorist, zionism Essential facts about the Hamas-Gaza-Israel war One of thousands of buildings in Gaza that were destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in the last two weeks. (photo) The current situation in Gaza and Israel did not come out of the blue. Read critical background left out of breaking news alerts… by Kathryn Shihadah On Oct 7, the resistance group Hamas did not invade a peace-loving country. To Israelis, it may have felt tranquil and carefree – they were dancing, raising families on tree-lined streets, planning vacations abroad. Palestinians are pretty much invisible, locked as they are behind high concrete walls and electrified, fortified, barbed wire barriers. Israelis have never experienced the kind of invasion they got that day. The roles are usually reversed. This time some Palestinians were killing, kidnapping, and causing panic, trauma, and unconscionable violence. Usually it is some Israeli soldiers and settlers that perpetrate such acts. The Israelis’ experience – and that of their loved ones – is real and significant. But many of us are dismissing Gazans’ experience out of hand. If we believe in equality, in the presence of the imago dei in everyone, we ought to be troubled by this. Are Israeli sins forgivable, but Palestinian sins somehow unforgivable? We ought to make sure we have true and accurate information, and are responding to it responsibly. If we detect any bigotry in our perspective, we must work diligently to weed it out. What you didn’t know you didn’t know History did not begin on October 7, 2023. If it had, Hamas militants would have no pertinent reason for the rage they displayed. Their only excuse would be hatred for Jews. We must acknowledge that each of the young Gazan fighters has experienced a lifetime under a brutal Israeli blockade and multiple major Israeli operations – it’s a stretch to call them “wars,” as the weaponry and the casualty figures were so lopsided (for example, in the 2008-2009 hostilities, 9 Israelis were killed, vs 1,400 Gazans; in 2012, 6 Israelis vs 174 Gazans; in 2014, 72 Israelis vs 2,200 Gazans). These experiences shaped every Gazan (Israeli journalists Amira Hass and Gideon Levy recognize the significance of this fact). Each fighter in Gaza likely grew up not just fearful and angry, but hungry, malnourished, growth-stunted, and anxious. He has likely seen dead bodies, amputated limbs, and blood. He has likely lost loved ones and played in the shells of bombed-out houses. The violence against him has not stopped long enough for him to get PTSD. There has been no “post” to his trauma. (We must also recognize that the United States and Israel helped create and sustain Hamas, and one day decided that Hamas was now the enemy.) Hamas fighters, like all young people in Gaza, struggle to hold onto hope for the future. Israel’s brutal blockade, plus its destruction of factories, shops, and other businesses, has left an unemployment rate hovering around 45%. How to restore hope? Not by committing murder, but by winning freedom. That is what every Palestinian wants. Not revenge, not the eradication of Jews. Freedom and hope. How to achieve freedom? Obviously, killing hundreds of Israelis is not moral or productive, and will not lead to freedom – at least, not directly. Similarly, bombing Gaza to rubble is not the way for Israel to gain security. That has been proven again and again, at great cost to Palestinians. These are irrational actions on both sides, horrible acts. For years, Palestinians have tried rational, peaceful methods of achieving justice: they have petitioned the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. They have held thousands of peaceful protests. In the ICC and ICJ, the United States always exercises veto power in Israel’s favor. When it comes to peaceful protests, Israeli soldiers shoot to kill. (The UN Security Council voted on a resolution Wednesday, October 18, merely calling for Israel to pause its bombing to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza – the United States vetoed it. That is not contributing to anything but carnage.) When Palestinians are quiet, the world forgets them, leaving them to Israel’s whims; when they protest peacefully, they are killed. Only when they make a lot of noise does the world finally wake up. October 7th was about as noisy as it gets – and millions are now rallying for a ceasefire and Palestinian rights. The international community carries some of the blame for allowing Israel to oppress Palestinians to the breaking point. That is to say that while each individual member of Hamas is responsible for his own actions – and some or many may have committed atrocities – Israel’s policies of brutal starvation, suffocation, and airstrikes, pushed them into a corner. Israel must own up to that. American foreign policy allowed it, and we must own up to that. The current situation is by no stretch of the imagination all Hamas’ fault. In every war, individuals commit atrocities that are inexcusable. The members of Hamas had just broken out of the world’s largest prison, where they had been brutalized every day by Israel. Violent retribution on the part of some should not surprise us. It is also worth noting that at least some of the Israeli hostages held by Hamas were treated well and with respect – so well that some Israelis wished the truth hadn’t been made public. It is understood that they were not captured to be killed, but to be bargaining chips for the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners wrongly held by Israel. One possible culpability loophole for us everyday folks: if you are one of the millions who know nothing about Palestinians except the October 7 massacre, realize this: our mainstream media has for years been working to keep you in the dark (see this, this, and this, for example). Zionism So. Why did they do it? Do Hamas militants have a deep, inbred hatred of Jews? The one thing most Palestinians know for sure about Jews is that they come in two types: those who embrace Zionism and those who don’t. The people who took over the Palestinian homeland in 1948 and sent 700,000 Palestinians to refugee camps – those were Zionists. The people who, ever since, have dropped bombs, withheld human rights, and stripped Palestinians of their humanity – those are Zionists. Palestinians hate Zionism. Not Judaism. Not Jews (in fact, in the decades before Israel was born, the majority of Jews were against the very idea of a Jewish state; many were anti-Zionist). Palestinians are highly intelligent, highly educated – and their education did not include being “taught to hate Jews.” They didn’t need to be taught to hate their occupier – each boy and girl from Gaza to the West Bank, from East Jerusalem to Israel, figured out all by themselves that the ones shooting their family members and withholding blankets and baby food are despicable. Nor is the distinction between “Jew” and “Zionist” too hard for Palestinians to comprehend. (For some Israel apologists, including but not limited to Jonathan Greenblatt, the distinction between Jew and Zionist is lost. Wait…does that mean Palestinians are smarter than Zionists?) October Seventh The whole world is aware of Hamas’ October 7th attack – its brutality is already legendary. People who should know better are publicly calling them “animals” and “barbarians.” “These are not human beings! They killed babies, raped women.” Look, several thousand militants entered Israel that day. If they were all animals, killing babies and raping women, there would have been a lot more victims (I have yet to see actual evidence of a rapes of Israeli women that day – if you have, please share it with me). Governments lie during wars, and this appears to be one of those times (that said, there is documentation of Israeli soldiers raping Palestinian women (and men, and children) that stretch from Israel’s founding to the present). Members of Hamas and other resistance groups in Gaza absolutely have a cruel streak. Would anyone expect them not to? Israel and its self-proclaimed “most moral army in the world” reinforce their cruel streak with one of the most powerful militaries in the world and (apparently) complete exemption from international law. Key questions Palestinians really have two choices: resist and be labeled “terrorist/subhuman,” or sit quietly and let Israel starve and shoot and humiliate them. There are no good options. (Most can not afford to emigrate, nor do they want to leave their homeland.) Here are the questions we must grapple with. Do Palestinians have the right to be free of Israeli occupation? Do they have the right to self-determination? Do they have the right to a dignified life? These are yes/no questions. They are unrelated to Hamas. Do Palestinians have these rights? If you are grieved by the loss of Israeli life – in spite of Israel’s many sins – but Palestinian casualties still do not move you, what you are feeling is probably not righteous anger, but prejudice. Cleanse your palette of judgmentalism toward two million people for the faults of a few, for being born Palestinian, for desiring a better life. Understand that legitimate grievances, left to fester, will beget hostility and violence. Discern the difference between recognizing these grievances and approving the violence. Acknowledge that America has been complicit in the carnage we’ve witnessed in the past weeks. As long as we cheer for Israel – or stay silent about the slaughter of Palestinians – we are part of the problem. Palestinians are people, and that’s the bottom line. Kathryn Shihadah is an editor and staff writer for If Americans Knew. This is reposted from Patheos – Grace Colored Glasses – Kathy’s blog on Patheos, an online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality. She also occasionally blogs at Palestine Home. RELATED READING: Gaza-Israel: Latest news and statistics (ongoing updates) Sec’y Blinken (indirectly) calls Israel’s treatment of Gazans “barbaric” It’s not just Gaza – Israel is also killing scores in the West Bank Palestinian-American child killed in Illinois: this is what media reports left out In Gaza, she now inhabits a solitary space between life and death VIDEOS: WATCH: What was happening in Gaza BEFORE the Hamas attack that the media didn’t tell you Congress gives 29 standing ovations for president of foreign nation that harms the US Joe Biden: Career Defender of Israel’s Crimes and Impunity Hover over each bar for exact numbers. Source: IsraelPalestineTimeline.org https://israelpalestinenews.org/how-to-make-sense-of-the-palestinian-call-for-freedom-and-justice-gaza/
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  • 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.


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    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.
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  • 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.


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    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.
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