The World

All the news not fit to print
Email | Back to History | Back to the world news | Home | Support this website

TM, ®, Copyright © 2015 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.


The Future of Fake News
Articles written before 2017


  • (january 2017) The Future of Fake News. Fantastic. If you want a ticket to the Worlds Fair Nano of Jan 28-29 you have to reply to these questions. Notice that the YES to being excited about the future is mandatory. That's the real future: a future in which what is not forbidden is mandatory. The era of fake news is just the appetizer for the era of mandatory news that is coming. Forget Yelp reviews where at least you were still allowed to have an opinion. No more thinking! They will do all the thinking for you.

    What a wonderful world it will be.

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2016 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
    Back to the world news | Top of this page

  • (february 2016) Enemies of the People.

    Russia's president Vladimir Putin, Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Turkey's president Recep Erdogan and North Korea's dictator Jong-un Kim have something in common. These are the four national leaders who, more than anyone else, are causing instability in the world. All four would probably win regular elections (three of them actually just did). They have hypnotized their home audience with Hitler-style rhetoric: justify not-so-subtle ambitions of imperialism or at least regional supremacy based on a revival of nationalism that results in hostility towards democracies and violent persecution of political opponents. The fact that their subjects love them makes them all the more dangerous. Most dictators have to fear being overthrown, but these four political animals are assured of their position and, in fact, the solidity of that position largely relies on the trouble that they continously create on their borders. Compared with my previous lists, Pakistan is no longer in this list (it was for almost two decades) and China's president is not yet, although China's provocations in the China Sea may win him a spot for next year.
    1. Jong-un Kim. He tops the list because the trouble that he is causing is the most likely to lead to a full-fledged war. North Korea has spent more than 60 years annoying its neighbors with pointless provocations that range from kidnapping Japanese citizens to terrorist acts in South Korea. It has acquired a nuclear bomb (not surprisingly after George W Bush included North Korea in the "axis of evil"), and now it is refining its long-distance missile capability. It will soon technically capable of threatening Alaska and California. Even a wimp like Barack Obama is unlikely to tolerate that North Korea points nuclear-armed missile at Silicon Valley. His successor is likely to be even less tolerant. The USA has so far refrained from striking North Korea for two reasons: 1. North Korea de facto holds South Korea hostage, i.e. it would retaliate against South Korea if the USA attacked; 2. China is theoretically an ally of North Korea and any attack against North Korea would theoretically imply a war against China. Both these reasons are rapidly fading away. North Korea is widely despised by the Chinese population, perhaps even more in China than in South Korea; North Korea has repeatedly ignored the will of China's president, a fact that is beginning to reflect badly on China's president (if you can't stand up to a silly 33-year old dictator, how can you pretend to be a world power?) Last but not least, China must be fed up that North Korea offers the USA a valid excuse to stay in the China Sea: remove North Korea, and the USA has little or no business keeping soldiers and warships in China's part of the world. As for the threat on South Korea, that has always amounted to plain blackmail: if the USA attacks North Korea, North Korea promises to drop a nuclear bomb on South Korea. The risk of millions of casualties in South Korea has been too real for the USA to risk any action. But the calculation changes once North Korea achieves the capability to strike the USA. That long-range missile is a complete game changer. Now the USA is directly threatened. The motivation and justification for a preemptive strike is much stronger. Is the USA willing to risk one million casualties in California tomorrow in order to avoid one million casualties in South Korea today? North Korea is indirectly forcing the hand of the USA.
    2. Recep Erdogan. So many nations are directly and indirectly affected by the turmoil in the Middle East that it is difficult not to give Erdogan the #2 spot. In order to defeat his arch-enemy Assad, Erdogan pretty much engineered the rise of the Islamic terrorist organization ISIS, helped recruiting Islamic fighters by letting all sorts of crazies enter Syria from Turkey, and helped fund ISIS by letting Turkish middlemen sell the stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil. To this day the Turks can see the ISIS flag flying undisturbed not far from Turkish border. Syrian men willing to fight ISIS have been detained by Turkey, treated like terrorists for their willingness to fight the terrorists who destroyed their villages. Then Erdogan started fighting the very rebels who are fighting Assad because his second (or first) obsession is the Kurds, whom he persecutes in Turkey and who are winning in Syria. Erdogan sees Kurdish conspiracies everywhere and, little by little, his paranoia is becoming a self-fullfilling prophecy. His provocations have forced the PKK to resume "terrorist" attacks (which actually should be considered military operations because the PKK targets only military personnel) within Turkey. And Turkey is now bombing openly the Syrian Kurdish militias that have been so successful against ISIS. Alas, there are Kurds everywhere: Turkey, Syria, Iraq. Alas, they also tend to be more responsible and reliable than the powers occupying their lands (Turkey, Syria, Iraq). Erdogan is, more than anyone else, responsible for the millions of refugees caused by the Syrian civil war, refugees that are now causing instability as far as Western Europe. Of course, Erdogan denies helping ISIS, provoking the Kurds and causing the refugee crisis. Erdogan is, after all, the man who still denies the Armenian genocide.
    3. Benjamin Netanyahu. One has to admire "Bibi": he is the only person in the world who can treat the USA like a "banana republic". He goes to Washington and tells the Republicans what to do, and the Republicans have the majority in Congress. He used to give orders even to the president, before Obama got elected. However, he deserves a spot on this list because of his ability to speculate on Islamic terrorism and because his actions have killed way more civilians than North Korea did. His invasion of Gaza was pure ethnic cleansing based on a ridiculous pretext. See The art of inventing inexistent wars. His continued humiliation of the Palestinians has only one goal: to provoke "terrorist" actions by young Palestinians so that he is justified in killing more Palestinians and in claiming to the Israeli voters that he keeps them safe. The USA is stuck with a very unpleasant ally in the region, an ally that routinely plots to harm the reputation of the USA. The Arabs would love to love the USA, if it weren't for the fact that the USA arms and defends Netanyahu's rogue apartheid regime. This sends millions of Arabs into the arms of the Muslim Brotherhood and worse. Israel is, indirectly, the main recruiter of Islamic terrorists in the world because its actions create so much resentment among young Muslims all over the world. Last but not least, extremists like Netanyahu are the reason that the USA cannot restore friendly ties with Iran. Iran is the victim, not the aggressor, in the story that begins with the 1953 coup engineered by Britain and the USA to overthrow the democratically elected leader of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, and continues with the 1980 support by the USA for Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran, and reaches an all-time low with the 1988 missile fired by a US warship against an Iranian civilian airplane that killed all 290 passengers aboard. Israel has capitalized marvelously on the protracted Iran-USA rift, and Netanyahu is cynical enough to stoke tensions between the two because he knows that Israel would not benefit from peace (Iran, not Israel, used to be the USA's main ally in the region).
    4. Vladimir Putin. Putin is a gangster who rose thanks to help from gangsters. If you are scared that a demented dictator like Kim has nuclear weapons, you should be ten times more scared that a gangster like Putin has thousands of nuclear weapons. To be fair, Putin is more rational than Kim because, like all mobsters surrounded by gangsters, Putin is sensitive to money: economic sanctions do work with Putin, especially when they target his closest (and richest) allies. Putin, however, has often showed a more rational mind than his western counterparts: he was right on Georgia (it was Georgia that attacked its runaway republics, and those runaway republics should have the same right to secession that the West granted to Kosovo) and he was sort of right in annexing Crimea (a Russian-speaking region of ethnic Russians, given to Ukraine when the border didn't mean much because Ukraine and Russia were both part of the Soviet Union). But nobody is so naive to believe that he does what he does for a sense of justice. He is on a mission to weaken NATO and the European Union. His policies are meant to foment trouble in Ukraine and elsewhere in weak European countries like Moldova, and to threaten the countries that left the Soviet Union (notably the Baltic countries). He has turned Chechnya into a terror state run by one of his fellow gangsters. He has been wildly unsuccessful in his efforts to build alliances. No matter how much he "licks China's butt" (to use the expression he used to define Erdogan's alliance with the USA), China is the country that is growing and Russia is the one that is declining. He is obviously determined to win Syria, no matter what. He is fully aware that Syria's Assad would not be able to hold the territory that Russia wins back with its bombings, which means that Putin is prepared to deploy Russian soldiers in Syria like it has done in eastern Ukraine, Tajikstan, and in the self-declared independent countries of Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Putin is betting that ISIS will be defeated and then Syria will be up for grab. And Syria has always been the gateway to Iraq. Basically, Putin is destabilizing Europe (via Ukraine and assorted secessionist regions), Asia (via his deals with China and Central Asia) and the Middle East (via the civil war in Syria). Strategically speaking, he is a genius. That only makes him more dangerous. Incidentally, the European Union is also indirectly destabilized by Putin's bad influence. Kaczynski in Poland and Orban in Hungary came to power using tactics very similar to Putin's (notably a revival of ethnic and religious nationalism), and intending to establish very similar quasi-dictatorial perpetual regimes. And those who studied history probably notice the similarities with Pilsudski's Poland and Horthy's Hungary before World War II.

    Note that all four use the same tactic to demonize their enemies. First, they charge the enemy with a crime that someone else has committed. Secondly, they punish their enemy for the crime that it has not committed. Thirdly, they accuse the enemy of terrorism when the enemy retaliates. And, finally, they crack down on the enemy who has now officially become a terrorist. That is what Israel did to Hamas in Gaza (the pretext was the murder of two Israeli teenagers, whom Israel already knew had not been killed by Hamas). That is what Turkey does to the Kurds. That is what Putin did to the Chechens (the first pretext was a terrorist attack in Moscow that every independent investigation has shown was engineered by Putin's own men) and to the Ukrainians. Admittedly, North Korea only does it with words, promising war against the USA every time the USA responds to one of North Korea's criminal acts.

    Barack Obama's inaction is routinely blamed (from different quarters) for the rise of these four monsters. Unfortunately each of these four people knows that, for now, Obama's hands are tied. He can't quite bomb North Korea without risking a conflict with China and millions of casualties in South Korea, especially since no US ally in the region (neither Japan nor South Korea) is likely to help out. He can't quite invade Syria or Ukraine risking a direct war with Russia, especially since no US ally in the region (neither the Arabs nor the Europeans) is likely to help out. He can't quite overthrow Netanyahu or reduce his influence in the USA. He can't quite kick Turkey out of NATO at a time when Turkish bases are essential for US operations in the Middle East.
    See also What Netanyahu and Putin have in common and What Netanyahu and Putin have in common, part II.

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2016 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
    Back to the world news | Top of this page

    2015 articles

Email | Back to History | Back to the world news | Home | Support this website

TM, ®, Copyright © 2015 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.