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Editorial correspondence | Back to History | Back to the world news
TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

News of 2007
The axis of evil five years later
The Democratic danger
State of denial
Never has the USA been so humiliated on so many fronts
Baghdad, USA
A lesson about irrelevance
How the USA supports the insurgents
What the 2006 elections are about
What is failing in Iraq
Isolating the USA
Why the USA is losing in Iraq
Bush the compassionate again
USA citizens fund terrorism
Not in our name
The axis of evil revised
The marginalization of the USA
How the Democratic Party will lose again
How much an Iraqi is worth
Is the economy better?
How dumb do we want to be and for how long
The coming Chinese apocalypse and the state of the union
The Mexican invasion
Bush unbound
The State of the Union
The real terrorists strike again in the USA
2005 articles

  • (December 2006) The axis of evil five years later. When Bush singled out Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the "axis of evil", many commentators wondered why he had chosen those three countries. There were other countries that might have looked more dangerous (for example, Syria, that was still occupying Lebanon, Libya, that was still an international outcast, Cuba, the longest-running dictatorship in the world, Zimbabwe, that was persecuting the opposition, not to mention mainland China, that was threatening Taiwan). Five years later Bush proved to be a good prophet, or his statement turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy: those three countries have become three major problems. North Korea now has tested nuclear weapons. Iran has ignored the international community and continues to work on its own nuclear program, besides basking in Iraq's civil war, threatening Israel and antagonizing the USA on the world scene. And Iraq is an absolute nightmare. Bush failed miserably to improve the situation with his "axis of evil": all three members of the group represent a bigger risk today than they did in 2001.
    The group has also found a new friend, much closer to Washington: Venezuela. Hugo Chavez (who was already in power but hardly known outside his country) has become the new champion of the anti-USA front.
    The world is also again faced with the possibility of genocide, this time in Darfur, a region of Sudan, and the reason is essentially that Sudan has joined the ranks of the "axis of evil", having realized that the evil ones get away with whatever violation of international order and the USA is powerless to stop them.
    If failure were not enough, the USA has to face another tough reality: that just about nobody in the world is willing to help out. No country is seriously considering military intervention against North Korea or Iran. And no country has offered any kind of help in Iraq (in fact, countries such as Spain and Italy have run back home after initially joining in the occupation). Neither Russia nor China nor India nor the European Union has any intention of getting involved in Bush's foreign policies. While they may privately worry about the future, they probably see the instability caused by Bush's policies as more annoying in the short term. China probably does not welcome a nuclear North Korea, and Russia probably does not welcome a nuclear Iran, and the European Union does not welcome a civil war in Iraq: but all of them are probably irritated that USA actions seem directed to increase tensions instead of reducing them.
    As for the "evil" ones (North Korea and Iran), one can hardly blame them. The only way that they can survive is by rearming as quickly as possible. They have seen what happened to countries like Iraq that do not have weapons of mass destruction. They know that, bogged down in Iraq, the USA is in no position to use force to stop them. It would be irrational not to pursue weapons of mass destruction.
    It will take a decisive victory in Iraq for the USA to be able to stop Iran and North Korea from becoming even bigger problems. But the trend is in the opposite direction: towards a defeat in Iraq, and an uncontrolled expansion of Iranian influence.
    So far, Bush made the "axis of evil" much worse than it was when he became president.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (December 2006) The Democratic danger. When the Republicans ruled the USA, the biggest danger was the stubborn denial of the failures in Iraq. Despite the thousands of innocents murdered every month, all sorts of powerful politicians (starting with the president himself) kept claiming that there was "progress" in Iraq. It turns out that the only progress in Iraq was staged by the militias intent at slaughtering civilians.
    Now that the Democrats won the elections and control both houses, the danger has changed. Now the USA is awash in admissions of failure and defeat, but the new danger is that it will draw the wrong conclusions from this obvious fact. One has to recognize a problem in order to solve it. But it would be foolish to recognize the problem and simply remove the problem without solving it. Many Democrats (and probably many USA citizens) want to simply withdraw from Iraq and forget about the whole thing. That is wishful thinking. There is no way that the USA can lose this war and sleep comfortably. The defeat would come back to haunt the country and cause much bigger troubles than it is causing now.
    It would also cause much bigger trouble to the Iraqis. Thousands of Iraqis would be slaughtered overnight if the USA troops withdrew. The only thing that keeps the militias from annihilating entire towns are the USA tanks stationed around those towns.
    The USA needs to win this war, just like it needed to win Wolrd War II. The problem has to be solved, not shelved.
    In order to solve it, the USA needs to:
    • Establish security throughout the country. This can be achieved in many ways, from sending more USA troops (many more) to involving Islamic allies (why only USA soldiers are dying to protect the brothers and sisters of the Turkish, Jordanian, Saudi and Egyptian nations?) to brokering a deal with USA enemies such as Iran. It may take guts and creative thinking, but that is a priority. If Syria managed to bring peace and order to Lebanon, one wonders why the much more powerful USA cannot achieve the same goal in Iraq.
    • Provide the Iraqi people with the basic means to carry out a decent life. Today the Iraqis still do not have the electricity and water that they used to have. This is a ridiculous case of inefficiency, incompetence and corruption by the USA entities in charge of "reconstruction".
    • Dispel the notion (widespread throughout the Islamic world) that Iraq equals Palestine. The anti-USA news media of the Islamic world have depicted (from the very beginning) the USA invasion of Iraq as a replay of the Israeli invasion of Palestine. The fact that most Iraqis are being killed by Iraqis does not resonate with the Islamic masses as much as the fact that USA soldiers are stationed on the soil of an Islamic country.
    • Weaken Iran and Syria. The outcome of the war and the power of these two USA enemies go hand in hand. One fuels the other.
    • Last but not least, disarm Iraq. In a sense, the USA has exported its notion that people should be entitled to guns (like they are in the USA). The USA gave the Iraqis democracy, but did not give them safe streets. The USA should do in Iraq what it should do in the USA: make guns illegal.
    Now that the state of denial is over, one would hope that the USA would face the problem and solve it, not shelve it.
    If there is a real parallel between Iraq and Vietnam it is the message that the USA sends to ordinary honest people. When the USA left Vietnam, they betrayed the millions of South Vietnamese who acted on the assumption that the USA would stay. They were brutally enslaved by the Communists and many of them turned into "boat people". That was the shameful legacy of the USA in Vietnam.
    "There is no substitute for victory" (Douglas MacArthur)
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (October 2006) State of denial. For six years the Bush administration has had the bad habit of denying the obvious. It over-reacted to the 2001 terrorist attacks limiting individual rights that were considered sacred by all USA presidents for more than 200 years. It never finished the job in Afghanistan. It made terrible mistakes in Iraq. It is losing the war in Iraq. It allowed North Korea and Iran to become threats that they never were.
    But the biggest denial of all is probably that the USA is now completely isolated. In september 2001 the whole world (or, at least, the regimes of the whole world) sympathyzed with the USA and condemned the demented psychos who carried out the terrorist attacks. When the USA decided to attack the Taliban in Afghanistan not a single country sided with the Taliban. Even arch-enemies like Iran and rivals like China cooperated with the USA invasion.
    In 2006 the situation is the exact opposite: not a single country is truly standing with the USA. Even the British and Australian public opinions are turning against the USA, despite the official commitment of their governments. Every country in the world is distancing itself from the USA and explicitly condemning its actions.
    The issue is not whether it was right or wrong to remove Saddam Hussein from power. The issue is that, whatever the USA is doing, it is obviously backfiring against the USA.

    ( Articles on the USA invasion of Iraq)

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  • (October 2006) Never has the USA been so humiliated on so many fronts. North Korea and Iran thumb their nose openly at the USA, indifferent to empty USA threats. Venezuela's leader publickly mocks its president. Osama Bin Laden is still free, and planning the next terrorist attack against the USA. The mighty USA army is incapable of defeating the Taliban and the Iraqi insurgents (not exactly high-tech armies). A rising number of Islamic fighters are wreaking havoc in both the Islamic world and the non-Islamic world. Mexico openly supports the millions of illegal immigrants who are de facto invading the USA. Fidel Castro is still running Cuba after half a century of USA opposition.
    The USA is being humiliated every single week by just about every country that wants to. Its reaction: pointless diplomacy. The world stopped listening a while ago.
    These are not superpowers: these are poor, small countries run by mediocre dictators, or they are just groups of gangsters armed with obsolete guns. George W Bush keeps shouting and shouting, but the more he shouts the more irrelevant he becomes. There is a difference betweeen actions and words, and Bush seems to have forgotten it. The world is learning that all the USA does is to talk.
    Nobody likes to side with losers. So expect more and more countries to distance themselves from the USA. The USA made a lot of friends by winning wars, not by losing them. Let's face it: the USA has not won a war since World War II. It lost in Korea (as these recent events remind us), it lost in Vietnam, it lost in Lebanon, it lost in Somalia, it is losing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The history of the last 60 years of USA military intervention is a history of "cut and run" after losing wars against very small armies (in fact, smaller and smaller armies). No wonder that so many countries thumb their nose at this chronic loser.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (October 2006) Baghdad, USA. The litany continues. A milk-truck driver stormed a Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania. Every single month USA citizens are glued to the screen, watching in disbelief yet another act of terrorism. No, it is not the Iraqi insurgents or Al Qaeda who killed innocent USA citizens. It is USA citizens, and often USA kids, who grabbed a gun and killed their fellow citizens in a display of barbaric stone-age pre-tribal warfare. The difference between Iraq and the USA is that the massacre in Iraq is widely reported whereas the massacre in the USA (that kills just about the same number of people each year and has been going on for much longer) is covered up by politicians and media who are bribed and blackmailed by the largest terrorist organization in the world, the NRA (National Rifle Association). Nonetheless Iraq and the USA have something in common: a huge number of guns in the hands of just about everybody, and a political system that protects the disgusting businesses who make them and sell them. (See also The real terrorists killing Americans for real, day after day).
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (September 2006) A lesson about irrelevance. Leaders from all over the world have gathered at the United Nations in september to deliver their addresses. Very few people around the world (or, for that matter, even in the USA itself) listened to what Bush had to say. After so many of Bush's predictions turned out to be wrong, the world has stopped listening. The USA has lost credibility. If Bush said that the elephant is a mammal, people around the world would start doubting that elephants are mammals.
    On the other hand, the real stars of this event were the sworn enemies of the USA, notably Ahmadinejad of Iran (courted by all USA networks) and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. They dominated the headlines of newspapers around the world. Their anti-USA rhetoric is immensely popular in all continents, even among USA "allies". (The Soviet Union was never so popular).
    If they were not blackmailed one way or another by the USA, many developing countries would probably side openly with Iran and Venezuela at the United Nations. Bush's wars are highly unpopular in just about every country of the world. Even those who think that those wars were justified have lost faith in a man and a country that is losing them. Nobody likes to side with the loser.
    Ahmadinejad has invited Bush to a televised debate. Bush did not even respond. Therein lies the problem. The world (and particularly the Islamic world) is much more likely to believe Ahmadinejad than Bush on any single issue, from the Jewish holocaust to nuclear weapons. Bush has done such a bad job at winning over world opinion that Ahmadinejad would start such a debate with a huge advantage, and Bush (not Ahmadinejad) would be the underdog. At the same time, such a debate would be precisely the remedy to the problem: the USA has done too little to promote its view of the past and its view of the future. Given any hot topic, most of the world does not honestly know which side is right. They know that Bush (not Ahmadinejad) is responsible for the carnage in Iran. They know that hyper-terrorism has increased after Bush (not Ahmadinejad) launched a "war on terrorism". They know that, all in all, Ahmadinejad looks a lot less dangerous than Bush. Bush is running away from the only event that could change this situation: a televised debate with Ahmadinejad. Anyone else who tries to debunk Ahmadinejad's vastly inaccurate statements does not have an audience. Bush would have an audience, finally.
    George W Bush once called the United Nations "irrelevant". The one who has become largely irrelevant is him: Bush.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (September 2006) How the USA supports the insurgents. The USA is rapidly losing control of both Iraq and Afghanistan. In both countries the "insurgency" (a loose confederation of Islamic fundamentalists, terrorists, bandits and militias) has increased both the number attacks and their brutality, managing to create a widening divide between the USA and the population, and managing to paint the USA as the losing side.
    The irony is both insurgencies in Iraq and in Afghanistan would not exist without USA money.
    The Iraqi insurgents get their money, ultimately, from oil. If the USA economy did not depend on oil as it does, the price of oil would be lower and that part of the world would not be awash in oil money. Some of that oil money (whether through rich Arab sheiks or the Iranian government or the Iraqi smugglers) is used to support the Iraqi insurgents. It is, ultimately, money provided by millions of USA citizens who drive gasoline-powered cars. The money that they spend at the gas station ends up killing their soldiers in Iraq.
    In Afghanistan insurgents get their money, mostly, from drugs. Afghanistan has become again the main producer of opium. The main consumers of heroin are USA citizens. Therefore, indirectly, USA citizens are sponsoring the insurgents in Afghanistan. If USA citizens did not do drugs at the rate they do, drugs would not be such big business and the Afghani insurgents would not have the money to buy the weapons that they are using to kill USA soldiers. USA citizens who do drugs are, indirectly, the killers of USA soldiers in Afghanistan.
    The USA is losing both wars out of the sheer stupidity of its citizens, not only because of the incompetence of its leaders.
    Latin America has probably never been so anti-USA. The reason? Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez. What makes him so influential in Latin America? Venezuela is the biggest producer of oil in the Americas. Who buys his oil? Take a wild guess...
    It is only a matter of time before another country takes advantage of a similar situation. Beijing (mainland China) is getting rich thanks to the money that USA citizens spends in department stores that sell cheap Chinese goods. Besides strengthening its power over the Chinese people, eijing is using that money to modernize its armed forces. China has never made a mystery that its ultimate goal is to invade and annex the peaceful and democratic nation of Taiwan, a key USA ally.
    USA citizens are funding their own defeat.
    (See also How the USA funds the dictatorships of Iran and China)
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (September 2006) What the 2006 elections are about:
    • Corruption: the mother of all problems. Countless businesses profited from the Katrina disaster and from the Iraqi "reconstruction". None has been punished. No politicians has been published. Therefore the fraud and abuses are still going on. And they are certainly not limited to Katrina and Iraq.
    • Getting rid of oil: the USA must stop depending on a resource that it does not own.
    • Health care: the USA must offer the same free health care to every citizen that all Western countries long offer to their citizens.
    • Crime: the USA must protect its citizens against domestic criminals that truly terrorize our neighborhoods before it protects them against fictitious terrorists that only terrorize Muslims in faraway places.
    • Stagnant wages: the USA must restore the wealth of its citizens that has been badly eroded by huge trade deficits and globalization.
    • Illegal immigration: the USA must stop the Mexican invasion that is threatening to change the ethnic mix of the USA
    • Wealth gap: the USA must reduce the growing gap between the rich and the poor, the largest of all Western countries.
    • How to win the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: the USA must find a way to define what "victory" is and then achieve it.
    • The budget deficit: the USA must rein in the indiscriminate spending that has created a colossal budget deficit
    • The trade deficit: the USA must correct the trade imbalance that has made the USA the biggest debtor in the world.
    • Taxes: the USA desperately needs to raise taxes or it will go bankrupt
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (September 2006) What is failing in Iraq. The USA is failing to win a war, but that is not the first time and it may not have dreadful consequences (just like losing the Vietnam war did not lead to losing the Cold War). The USA is losing the ideological war, which is much more important. Between 1945 and 1991 the USA won the ideological war against the Soviet Union: that is why losing the Vietnam war was not that important. Between 2003 and 2006 the USA has been losing the ideological war against the Islamic world: that does matter.
    It all started when George W Bush attacked Saddam Hussein under the pretense of weapons of mass destruction and a link with Al Qaeda. There were no weapons of mass destruction (this was indeed a surprise of any informed spectator) and there was no link with Al Qaeda (this was a lie, that in fact Tony Blair and other Bush sympathyzers refused to repeat). As the invasion turned into a nightmare, Bush has repeatedly changed the rationale for the invasion: removing an evil dictator, an experiment in democracy, fighting the global war against terrorism, supporting moderate Muslims against extremist Muslims, and finally fighting a global war against "Islamic fascism". They are all interesting topics, but they are not credible excuses because Bush went to war on different premises: weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein's connection with Al Qaeda, both of which turned out to be false. He can change the lyrics as much as he likes, but he won't change the tune: Bush was wrong.
    The consequence has been a huge loss of credibility all over the world. During the Cold War the USA had a huge credibility against the communists. Almost everything that the USA told us about the communist countries turned out to be true, and almost everything that the Soviet Union told its citizens of the West turned out to be false. But now the tables are turned: almost everything the USA told us about Iraq turned out to be false, while almost everything that Al Qaeda told us about the USA turned out to be true.
    Al Qaeda claims that the USA started a war against the Islamic world and not viceversa: by invading Iraq under wrong assumptions, the USA has just proven that point to one billion Muslims. Al Qaeda claims that the USA is torturing and killing Muslims: by abusing prisoners all over the world, the USA has just proven that point. Al Qaeda claims that Islam is being attacked all over the world (instead of the opposite): by invading Afghanistan and Iraq and sending troops and military aid to every country from the Philippines to Pakistan, the USA has proven that point.
    There is no way that the USA can stand up and claim to be exporting democracy and freedom: the facts tell the opposite story. Muslims may be brainwashed by the mosques, but they are not stupid: everything that the USA told them turned out to be false. Everything that Al Qaeda told them turned out to be true. The only reason that few Muslims are eager to join or support Al Qaeda is that Al Qaeda has mainly killed fellow Muslims. Again, Muslims are not stupid. But give the Islamic world an Islamic fighter who focuses only on killing non-Muslims and the temptation to join his army will be very strong for the Muslim masses. In the past the Muslim masses have always resisted the temptation to join the Islamic fundamentalists in their attempts to overthrow secular regimes, and thus the Islamic fundamentalists have failed repeatedly (except in Iran). But now the hearts and minds of the Muslim masses are being won over by those very Islamic fundamentalists. Pro-western regimes from Egypt to Saudi Arabia to Pakistan would probably lose democratic elections to their Islamist parties, just like Hamas won in Palestine and Hezbollah became a national institution in Lebanon. The USA has lost the ideological war, and will thus lose any democratic election in the Islamic world.
    The effort to democratize the area is becoming pointless because it would only lead to the victory of USA's enemies in every corner of the Islamic world.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (August 2006) Isolating the USA. After the terrorist attacks of 2001, Bush declared that the world had to choose between being with or against the USA. His goal was to isolate the terrorists and create a "coalition of the willing" that would fight terrorism anywhere it existed.
    Five years later, the terrorists have spread to virtually every corner of the Islamic and Western world, and seem to enjoy an increasing degree of support from the Muslim masses. On the other hand, fewer and fewer countries are willing to be associated with USA foreign policies, and every poll of the last few years shows that only a small minority of the world's public opinion likes the USA. In other words, the Bush policies have succeeded in isolating not the terrorists but the USA.
    One reason is, of course, that people and regimes tend to align themselves with the winner, not the loser. As Afghanistan continues to struggle, as Iraq has become the biggest carnage in the world, and Iran, Venezuela and North Korea are becoming more antagonizing by the day, people and regimes see the USA as losing, not winning. They see the terrorists as winning (if nothing else, just because they still exist, despite thousands of bombs, millions of soldiers and billions of dollars invested against them). Quite simply, failure alienated even the few world leaders who were willing to follow the USA against the will of their own public opinion.
    The second reason is simply bad diplomacy. The Bush administration (particularly Bush himself and Donald Rumsfeld) have a passion for highly polarizing rhetoric. They called it a "crusade". They scorned France and Germany as "old Europe" because they correctly predicted the trouble. Then Bush and Rumsfeld called the Iraqi invasion an "occupation" (which, in the minds of one billion Muslims, evoked the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza). Bush even labeled the enemy as "Islamic fascists" (has he ever called Hitler and Mussolini "Christian fascists"?). These were more than blunders: these were amazing acts of stupidity. Instead of trying to win over the hearts and minds of the Islamic world, the Bush administration kept digging a trench between the Islamic world and the USA.
    The third reason is the chronic and highly biased contradictions of USA foreign policy, that Condy Rice has not been able to redeem in any significant way. The USA preaches democracy but does not like the results of democratic elections in Palestine and Venezuela. The USA upholds the duty to fight dictatorships but relies on the brutal dictators of Saudi Arabia and Egypt; and forgives Qaddafi's past crimes in exchange for his surrender of weapons of mass destruction. The USA accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons while tacitly accepting Israel's nuclear weapons. The USA blames Iran for selling weapons to Hezbollah while it sells Israel much more sophisticated weapons. The Islamic world just does not understand the logic of this very biased actions. Even the European allies are frequently disturbed by the obvious inconsistencies of USA. Even Britain is beginning to distance itself from Bush's policies (e.g., on climate change).
    There is now little that the USA can do to change the situation. We simply live in a new world, a world in which the USA is largely isolated. Bush's "you're either with us or against us" has created a front of countries that are "against us", extending from Spain to Venezuela, from China to Russia, from France to Iran (of course, with various degrees of hostility). The USA will just have to learn to live with it.
    The risk that the world is running is that "isolation" will push the USA back to "isolationism": before 1918 the USA wanted none of the madness of the world and was perfectly happy to let the other powers slaughter each other. It was the USA that, directly or indirectly, ended up bringing peace to Europe and the Far East and eventually the whole world (except the Islamic world). If the USA disappears from the world scene, chances are that it will be badly missed by those whose peace and prosperity were created during the USA age.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (August 2006) Why the USA is losing in Iraq.
    • This article by the Nation (July 2007) details widespread atrocities carried out by USA troops against civilians
    • August 2002: the Justice Department de facto authorizes torturing "terrorists"
    • March 2003: as the USA and Britain invade Iraq, water and power infrastructure are severely damaged, and security collapses leading to widespread looting
    • June 2003: An Iraqi prisoner (Dilar Dababa) dies in Baghdad of "head injury" during interrogation by USA personnel
    • August 2003: USA detention centers increase the brutality of their interrogation techniques across Iraq
    • Fall 2003: USA guards torture prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison
    • November 2003: USA soldiers execute three men and destroy their home following wrong information
    • November 2003: An Iraqi prisoner (Manadel al-Jamadi) dies in Abu Ghraib of "head injury" during interrogation by USA personnel
    • January 2004: An Iraqi prisoner dies of drowning after being forced by USA soldiers to jump from a bridge into the Tigris river north of Baghdad
    • November 2003: Iraqi major general Abed Hamed Mowhoush dies "from asphyxiation due to smothering and chest compression"
    • February 2004: An Iraqi prisoner (Muhamad Husain Kadir) is killed in cold blood by a USA soldier near Taal Al Jai
    • April 2004: Photographs are published of abuses at Abu Ghraib
    • May 2004: a USA helicopter fires on a wedding party near the Syrian border killing 42 people, including 11 women and 14 children
    • May 2004: A wounded Iraqi militiaman (Karim Hassan) is killed by a USA soldier in Kufa
    • May 2004: Medical documents prove that USA doctors cooperated in torturing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison
    • November 2004: A USA corporal is videotaped shooting a wounded Iraqi in cold blood in Falluja
    • November 2004: the USA army uses a chemical weapon (white phosphorus) to incinerate people (including many women and children) during an offensive on Falluja (video)
    • A list of prisoners who died while in USA custody as of March 2005
    • October 2005: USA laser-guided bombs and helicopter gunships massacre 70 people in two incidents in Ramadi
    • November 2005: USA soldiers kill 24 civilians in cold blood in Haditha, including women and children (and the commanding officer did not consider it unusual)
    • January 2006: USA warplanes kill eight members of an Iraqi family in an air raid in Baiji
    • February 2006: USA troops kill an unarmed Iraqi man near Ramadi
    • March 2006: USA soldiers kill 16 people during a raid on the al-Mustafa Shia mosque in Baghdad
    • March 2006: USA soldiers kill 11 Iraqis, mostly women and children, in Balad
    • March 2006: USA soldiers in Mahmudiyah gang-rape Abeer Hamza, a 14-year old Iraqi girl, then burn her body, and kill her parents and her five-year old sister (Vigil for Abeer Hamza). The soldier who committed the murders, Steven Green, has simply been discharged by the USA army, but not send to jail at all.
    • March 2006: a USA raid kills 13 Iraqi civilians in Ishaqi
    • May 2006: USA soldiers kill three blindfolded Iraqi detainees in Salahuddin province
    There are hundreds of "minor" incidents in which USA troops killed one or two children or women. In some cases they "only" terrorized them, for example killing all their animals or destroying their furniture or harassing them at road blocks.
    These atrocities are known only because a witness survived, or photographs were taken or videos were taken. In all these cases the USA initially described the incident in totally misleading terms. In most cases Donald Rumsfeld denied that the atrocity took place until he was confronted with overwhelming evidence, which means that countless atrocities have never been investigated because no witness survived, no photographs or videos exist.
    This list makes Saddan Hussein look not so bad after all. The Iraqi population feels that it went from one mad dictatorship to another one, except that the old one was carrying out atrocities in person whereas the new one lets them vote for governments that have no power to stop the atrocities.
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  • (July 2006) Bush the compassionate again. George W Bush has made a point of proving to his own people and to the entire world how little he cares for ordinary people. He never planned the peace in Iraq, causing a civil war that is killing hundreds of innocent civilians a month. He was indifferent to the Katrina disaster until prospective voters started dying like flies. Now that his ally Israel is bombing the hell out of Lebanon the same philosophy is clearly visible: Bush is concerned about Iran's and Syria's involvement, he is concerned about defeating Hezbollah, he is concerned about the friendly Arab regimes of the region. Alas, he has not showed the slightest concern for the millions of Lebanese citizens. He has not spent one second thinking that maybe, just maybe, the USA could offer humanitarian aid to the Lebanese people. It would cost very little to USA taxpayers and it would project the image of a compassionate superpower. Instead, the Lebanese people are hearing only one thing from the USA: silence. Their roads cannot be used, their hospitals are running out of medicines, their stores are running out of food and water, and thousands of Lebanese are walking to Syria, the country that Bush would like to isolate and that, instead, is the only one willing to provide help when they need it. One more time, Bush just does not identify with and therefore understand the issues, the fears, the moods of ordinary folks. The price that the USA pays (and will pay for several generations) because of this president's grotesque indifference is colossal.
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  • (July 2006) USA citizens fund terrorism. The Taliban and Al Qaeda are on the rise again in Afghanistan. At the same time, Latin countries like Bolivia have moved towards an anti-USA stance. There seems to be no relationship between the fragile democracy of Afghanistan and the fragile socialism of Bolivia, but there is an obvious one: in both cases the enemies of the USA are supported by money that comes from millions of USA citizens, because they both rely on drug money. The Taliban are buying more weapons than ever thanks to the record profits of their opium-producing friends in Afghanistan. Those profits are due to the rise in drug consumption in the USA. Patriotic USA citizens do not buy anything that Afghanistan produces, except its drugs. By the billions. In four years of occupation the USA has not been able to restore electricity to the country (the Economist estimates that only 6% of Afghanis have electricity), but USA drug traffickers has been able to reorganize the drug trade into an estimated $2.7 billion business, which is about52% of Afghanistan's gross domestic product. (See this Economist article). If USA citizens want to see the real enemy, all they have to do is go to the popular San Francisco parties where more cocaine is consumed than ever: those are the real sponsors of terrorism.
    If the USA bombs the hell out of Afghanistan to remove the sponsors of terrorism from power, why it doesn't even punish its own sponsors of terrorism? Shouldn't drug users in the USA be considered as guilty as the Taliban? Or can't the USA simply expel drug users to Afghanistan? Join the Taliban and you'll have unlimited access to cocaine.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (June 2006) Not in our name. Five USA soldiers have been indicted for one of the most horrible crimes heard in 2006 anywhere in the world. They raped an Iraqi woman (whose only crime was to be attractive). Then they killed her entire family to avoid leaving behind witnesses. That includes a child. Then they burned the woman's body to avoid an autopsy.
    This is the sixth inquiry into alleged massacres of harmless Iraqi civilians by USA soldiers. One massacre is an aberration. Two massacres are a terrible coincidence. Six are not a coincidence. And one wonders if these six are "all" the massacres committed, or just the few that have been discovered.
    One of the five suspects has already been discharged for unspecified charges unrelated to the killings and is believed to be in the United States, two U.S. officials said on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. The others have had their weapons taken away and are confined to a U.S. base near Mahmoudiya.
    The previous week eight USA soldiers were charged with murdering an Iraqi man near Fallujah. There is also evidence that a group of USA soldiers killed 21 unarmed Iraqi civilians in november 2005 in Haditha in cold blood.
    Something is terribly wrong with the USA army. This is not the army that liberated Europe. This looks more like Saddam Hussein's nazist militia than the USA army. Perhaps this is what we should expect from a country that in 2006 still allows people to carry guns and still carries out the death penalty. USA soldiers are kids who grew up in a culture of extreme violence. No wonder that some of them kill and rape at will as soon as nobody is watching them.
    Perhaps it is time to change the way USA soldiers are recruited. First of all, it is clear to everybody that the way you behave largely depends from where you grew up. How can anyone expect that a soldier from places like Texas or some other southern state (where people are routinely executed by the state because they cannot afford a good attorney) can behave like a human being when fighting a war in Iraq? Second, is anyone checking the reason why a young kid decides to risk his life? Is it because he is genuinely patriotic, or is it because he is a trigger-happy psycho? How about having the community where he lives testify about his credentials to defend the reputation of the USA around the world? Last but not least, it is obvious that the Bush administration spends a lot of time figuring out how to rob taxpayers of their money but very little time telling soldiers that they are not supposed to massacre innocents. It is time that Rumsfeld, if not Bush in person, be held accountable for the crimes of his soldiers.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (June 2006) The axis of evil revised. Years ago George W Bush, not the greatest of historians or the most knowledgeable of political scientists, declared that the biggest threat to the world came from the "axis of evil": Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Then he proceeded to take care of them.
    Years later his failure couldn't be more obvious, given that he was the one to outline the line-up of the enemy. If those were the three biggest dangers for the USA and the world, he simply made them bigger. North Korea has plainly admitted to having nuclear weapons and now claims to have a missile capable of hitting all of the USA's allies in the region and the West Coast of the USA itself. Whatever Bush's plan was to deal with North Korea (it is not clear to anybody "what" it was), it obviously failed badly.
    Iran is about to build its own nuclear weapon, and, again, this is a momentum increase in danger compared with where Iran was three years ago. The USA has not been successful in deterring Iran. Iran is in fact emerging as the regional superpower of the Middle East, thanks to a skyrocketing wealth in oil money (courtesy of USA citizens who buy SUVs that consume gasoline that pushes up the price of oil that increases revenues for oil-producing countries such as Iran).
    Iraq is not on the brink of civil war: it is obviously in the middle of a civil war, by any sensible definition of "civil war". More than 30,000 civilians have already died, and about 1,000 are killed every month. This is now the bloodiest conflict in the world. It was certainly a good idea to remove Hassan Hussein from power, but, again, whatever the plan was for Iraq's post-war future, it didn't work. Iraq is in fact the place where Al Qaeda has gotten closer to seizing power. It never was more than a convenient ally in the Afghanistan of the Taliban, where it killed very few civilians. It is, on the contrary, a major destabilizing force in Iraq, where it kills thousands of civilians. Bordering countries feel safer now that Iraq is a mess than when Saddam Hussein had a very efficient army at his disposal, but the world as a whole can hardly rejoice in the notion of a country the size of Iraq (and sitting on potentially billions of dollars of oil money) descending into the kind of chaos that bread terrorism in much poorer, more isolated and less populated countries such as Somalia and Afghanistan.
    It was Bush himself who announced that fighting the "axis of evil" was his mission as president of the most powerful country in the wolrd. Bush and Cheney should be honest enough to admit that they failed miserably on all fronts (to various degrees) and let someone else take over.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (June 2006) The marginalization of the USA. Ugo Chavez has largely failed in his attempt to marginalize the USA in Latin America. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has largely failed in his attempt to marginalize the USA in the United Nations. China has largely failed to marginalize the USA in Central Asia. France has largely failed to marginalize the USA in the European Union. Osama Bin Laden has largely failed to marginalize the USA in the Middle East.
    But the World Cup (the biggest show on Earth, as measured by number of people who watch it) is succeeding where countless world leaders have failed. Football is just not popular in the USA (they don't even know it's called "football": they call it "soccer"). It never was and it may never be. The few USA citizens who know about the world cup (mainly because immigrants in their neighborhood remind them) look down on this exhibition of barbaric instincts. A tv network (Fox News) pointed out that even Al Qaeda terrorists watch the world cup, and some Arab players openly admire Osama Bin Laden. This is not true of USA's sports: no baseball or "American football" player supports Al Qaeda. That tv station was actually on something but, as usual, failed to draw the conclusions from its own analysis. The entire planet, from Islamic terrorists to Catholic churches, from communist guerrillas to Vietnamese paesants, from druglords to European prime ministers, watch the world cup. The world cup does unite the entire world except the USA. Thus it marginalizes the USA in a way that the enemies of the USA can only dream of.
    The world's real superpower is Brazil (five-time winner), not the USA (that never won, never even made it to the final). The other powers are Germany, Italy, Argentina... not Russia or China. Every country that is not a power struggles to become one. Losing the Cold War was not particularly humiliating for Russians, but being eliminated from the world cup was a national disaster. Being poorer than the Japanese is not particularly embarrassing for the Chinese leadership, but the fact that Japan qualified for the world cup and China did not was a major setback.
    The fact that USA citizens watch a soap opera or a minor sport event when Argentina plays in the world cup sounds like an insult to all Argentinians. The fact that USA citizens do not even know if Iran plays or does not play in the world cup hurts the image of the USA among ordinary Iranians much more than their ayatollahs' anti-USA propaganda. And so forth. The USA "loses" on every soccer field of the world cup, and it loses battles that are much more popular among ordinary people than the war in Afghanistan or Iraq. The USA does not even call it "football" but "soccer", adding insult to injury.
    Who wants to be occupied by soldiers who do not know if Ronaldinho scored? Who wants to listen to a president who has no idea if Germany won?
    If the USA destroyed 2,000 nuclear bombs but managed to have a football team capable of competing against the world powers, it would probably gain a lot more respect around the planet. Had the USA the best "soccer" players in the world, would so many Arabs volunteer to blow up its soldiers?
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (June 2006) How the Democratic Party will lose again. In almost a decade, the Democratic Party has been losing by bigger and bigger margins. Before every election Democratic candidates look set to take advantage of the people's disenchantment with the Bush administration. After the election, the gap has increased: Republicans keep winning, Democrats keep losing. Kerry lost to Bush more votes than Gore lost to Bush (in fact, Gore had won more votes than Bush). Both houses are now controlled by Republicans. The governor of California (long considered one of the most left-leaning states) is now a Republican.
    Have the Democrats learned their lesson? There are indications that the chronic stupidity of the Democratic leaders is worsening not improving. This should be the perfect year to beat the Republicans. A child could win an election against a Republican candidate: all you have to do is list the ills of the USA, from the chaos in Iraq to the shameless corruption in Washington. The Democrats, instead, seem posed to lose again thanks to picking the wrong issue at the wrong time: illegal immigration. The Democratic Party is now supporting Bush's amnesty stronger than the Republican Party itself does. As more and more Republicans are breaking rank with their president on the issue of the amnesty (which Bush pathetically insists is not an amnesty), the Democrats are being left to uphold a principle (let everybody in) that voters widely despise and correctly interpret as a sell-out to a foreign country that is invading their land (See Mexican invasion).
    Proof of this is a recent election in California where a Democratic candidate was defeated by a Republican candidate. Only a blind man cannot read the message. This was a race between a member of the party that is responsible of all USA ills and a member of the party that is in the opposition, and the race was in Democrat-leaving California and the very reason for the race was that the departing Republican congressman had been arrested for corruption. How could the Republicans win an election that was supposed to be a referendum against Republican corruption and incompetence in Washington? Simple: the Republican candidate campaigned hard against illegal immigration. Californians remembered the Los Angeles marches of Mexicans waving Mexican flags (in case anyone had doubts on who is invading what) and they voted accordingly. Californians basically voted for a mass deportation of illegal Mexican immigrants at a time when the Democrats are siding with the president on granting amnesty to illegal Mexican immigrants. If this happened in California, there is little doubt on what would happen in more conservative regions of the USA.
    If Democrats can't win an election in California in the year of Bush's lowest approval ratings ever and in a district where the former Republican congressman was arrested for corruption, where and when in heaven can they?
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (June 2006) How much an Iraqi is worth. It is bad enough that USA soldiers killed 25 Iraqi cibilians in Haditha. But the USA added insult to injury when (one month later) they compensated the families of the victims with a sum that was about $2,500 per dead person.
    When Libyan officials were found guilty of a terrorist attack that killed hundreds of Americans flying on a Pan Am plane over Lockerbie (Scotland), the families of the victims demanded millions of dollars of compensation. The USA insisted that Libya paid, and eventually Libya did pay. And the families of the victims of that terrorist incident are still claiming even more money and even political reprisals against the entire country of Libya.
    It does not take a genius to figure out what the USA government should do for the families of the victims of Haditha: just look at your own precedents. An Iraqi child is worth as much as an American child.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (June 2006) Is the economy better?. A growth rate of 5.3% and an unemployment rate of 4.7% seem to prove my prediction that Bush started the longest world-wide economic crisis of modern times.

    The truth is the economy is in a dismal state by any international standard. Bush is using the same illusions that Reagan used in the 1980s to delude Americans that they were getting richer when they were in fact getting poorer. The Bush economy is relying on three joint effects to create the illusion of growth and employment. First, a huge deficit. These are good times created by borrowing money from future generations. Anybody is capable of living the life of a rich man if others are willing to lend him money... for as long as they are willing to lend him money. In this case the "others" are the future generations who will have to deal with the debt left behind by president Bush, and foreigners, who own quite a bit of the USA debt. The USA has been borrowing from abroad to finance its own economy.
    Second, Bush has sent the dollar to all-time record lows. As long as Americans do not travel around the world, they do not realize how poor they are becoming, just like a "wealthy" man in Rwanda or Ecuador does not realize how poor he as long as he stays in his own country. But the truth is that the USA dollar buys less and less. It used to be the world's most powerful currency. Now it is a joke. People literally make fun of the ever declining USA dollar the same way they used to make fun of the Italian lira. Despite the huge dollar reserves that still exist around the world, the USA dollar is rapidly approaching the status of a third-world currency that nobody wants.
    Third the economic growth and the low unemployment have done very little to readdress the fundamental problem of middle-class Americans: shrinking salaries. The Reagan years were the years when the American family multiplied by two, meaning that wives had to start working in order for the family to enjoy the same quality of life enjoyed by previous generations (in which only the husband was working). The Bush years are the years in which both parents have to work, and work extra hours and still not make ends meet. Compared with the cost of living, salaries have declined in most of the USA, and there is no sign that the trend will be reversed any time soon. It probably cannot be reversed, because this economy depends on cheap labor.
    In fact, the gap between the rich and the poor keeps increasing, having reached the levels that are more typical of Third World countries than of western countries (See Inequality in the USA by the Economist). The growth that Bush boasts about is really a growth of wealthy by the very rich, who are getting richer at an amazingly fast pace. The middle class is not "growing" at all. In fact, it is getting poorer and poorer, both because they have to pay higher and higher costs for their health care, children's education, housing, etc, and because the money they earn is in dollars, a sliding currency.
    Bush, like Reagan before him, has crippled the USA economy for generations to come. Americans never quite regained the economic position they had before Reagan. During the 1980s, Japan and Western Europe caught up with the USA, and several of them passed the USA in per-capita income. Bush is now presiding on a second major slide, as the wealth of average Americans is passed even by what used to be called "third-world countries".

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (April 2006) How dumb do we want to be and for how long. All sorts of antidotes to rising gasoline prices are being proposed, most of which would have devastating consequences. Generally speaking, rising gasoline prices are good news. That "is" the motivation that the market and therefore the industry needs to start diversifying (in other words, start the process of getting rid of oil). That "is" good: the USA needs to reclaim its independence from the oil-producing company that now control its economy.
    It won't take long before USA citizens start realizing that antagonizing Iran, Venezuela and Russia causes oil prices to go up. It won't take long before USA citizens will demand good relations with Iran and Venezuela on the grounds that this would bring lower oil prices. Should we have ayatollahs as presidents if that gives us cheap gasoline? The dependence on gasoline is clearly very dangerous. For how long can Condoleezza Rice continue to hammer Iran before her boss realizes that she is pushing the world towards the brink of an oil crisis that would send gasoline prices further up and Bush's approval rating further down? The entire USA foreign policy risks being influenced by people's desire for cheaper gasoline. This is simply senseless.
    Proposals to reduce the price of gasoline might be popular with short-sighted and narrow-minded voters, but they may hurt the USA to the point that the USA will simply become a second-tier regional power. We do not want to eliminate the federal gasoline tax (we want to tax gasoline much more than it is taxed now). We do not want to build new refineries (we want to get rid of these polluting factories that nobody wants in their neighborhood). We do not want to drill in Alaska or anywhere else. What we want is more ethanol and more hybrid cars and more fuel-efficient cars of all kinds. The motivation that will bring us more ethanol and more fuel-efficient cars is simple: higher and higher gasoline prices.
    Needless to say, the pain is real. Millions of USA citizens were dumb enough to buy terrible SUVs that consume more than any vehicle ever built in the world. It is the duty of responsible politicians to tell those USA citizens the truth: they were dumb. Now the question is how dumb do you want to be and for how long. Politicians who promise solutions to a problem that has no solution are confusing the issue and simply increasing the anger of people. It would be wiser to tell the USA: "Gasoline prices will rise forever, and, in fact, they will soon start rising faster".
    The economy does not like uncertainty. Ordinary people like it even less. Both in the interest of the economy and in the interest of ordinary people, the USA government should enact a law mandating a progressive increase in gasoline prices. Instead of depending on the whims of oil producers and oil companies, it should be the government's job to offer a mandated curve of gasoline prices. Thus everybody would know that one year from now gasoline will cost 25% more. People will be able to prepare because they will know exactly how much they will pay one, two, five years from now.
    It is devastatingly stupid and dangerous to let people believe that gasoline prices will go down in the future. It is the government's duty to tell the opposite, and to make sure that the opposite happens so that nobody has to guess or fear anymore. It will be a certainty, just like we are all certain that winter will be colder than summer, and we simply prepare for it.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (April 2006) The coming Chinese apocalypse and the state of the union According to projections by the Economist, the GDP of mainland (communist) China will surpass the GDP of the USA in 2020 (adjusted for purchase power parity). In 2021 the USA will live in a world where it is no longer the main economic power. Technically, its status will be downgraded from "superpower" to "power". It will be the second time in a century that the country with the world's largest GDP is not the world's most powerful country (the British Empire, and even Hitler's Germany, had more weapons than the USA well after the USA had passed everybody in GDP terms). History teaches that the inevitable eventually happens: the country with the largest GDP eventually takes over.
    True: it will take a bit longer before the Chinese currency is readjusted and the GDP becomes a real (not just hypothetical) mass of money, but, if Japan's case teaches any lesson, that readjustment could come very soon and very quickly.
    The USA has only 15 years to adjust to this new scenario. There are several things the USA could do (it is doing none of them).
    The first one is use the old European tactic: hit your rivals while they are still weaker. Ronald Reagan did not miss the opportunity to do just that when it sensed that the Soviet Union was weak. It went for the kill. The Soviet Union collapsed. It will take a long time for Russia to return to the superpower status that the Soviet Union briefly enjoyed. The USA could put military pressure on China until it implodes too. The current scheme of things is designed to foster peace, not war. It works admirably well. For the first time in the history of the human civilization, there are no wars among the powers. The price that the USA is paying is the same price that the British Empire paid for being friendly with the USA: all the countries that trade with the USA have a chance to overcome the USA, i.e. the USA is basically helping its rivals close the gap. The USA does it for the same reason that the British Empire did it: it is economically convenient to do so, even if in the long term it means digging its own grave.
    The second thing the USA could do is, obviously, dramatically increase its GDP growth. Today it is roughly one third of mainland China's GDP growth. No economist knows how to do this in a free market. Free markets control themselves. The government can only do so much. It is pointless to build ten million cars if the market can only absorb one million. Companies will just not do that. Given the growing reluctance of citizens to pay taxes, the government cannot afford the luxury anymore of funding economic activities that the private sector (companies) do not want to fund. Thus it is unlikely that anything will boost the USA's GDP growth to approach anything of the order of magnitude of China's growth.
    The third and wisest thing that the USA could do is, even more obviously, to get as big as China. That would indeed solve the problem and leave the USA as the only superpower of the world. For about one century the USA has been reluctant to expand its borders. The only states added to the union have been Alaska and Hawaii, that were both already part of the nation. Even tiny Puerto Rico has remained in a limbo. It may be time to change mentality. Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Britain itself are obvious candidates for a super-union of the Anglosaxon world. Besides boosting the population to some 400 million people and greatly increasing the gap with China's GDP, a union of the Anglosaxon world would solve many of the social problems that the USA seems chronically incapable of solving (from the increasing Latino penetration to the abominable practices of gun ownership and death penalty). It would also create a multi-continental "empire". In fact, the next obvious candidates for membership would be the African countries, many of which are more similar to the USA than the USA would like to admit (former British colonies, English-speaking countries, melting pot of ethnic groups, fast economic growth, etc). Ghana and Botswana, for example, are well on their way to becoming booming economies and stable democracies. Sooner or later such a union would also attract some of the continental European countries that have strong blood ties with the USA, namely Italy and Poland, if not Ireland.
    In other words, the USA has a strong advantage over China that is not being emphasized by the current dynamics: a lot of people around the world would love to live in the USA and be "Americans", whereas very few non-Chinese are dreaming of moving to China and becoming Chinese, no matter how wealthy Beijing and Shanghai become.
    When the USA builds weapons to counter China's expansion, the USA is not thinking right: it is people, not weapons, that will make the difference, because it is people, not weapons, that create economic power, and, unless the USA wants to go back to the old military logic, the future will be a time of economic competition.
    Put it this way: if the idea is that every country in the world has to reach the same GDP per capita of the USA, then obviously the more people live in a country the more powerful that country will be. We have abandoned the British/French logic that the rest of the world has to remain poor forever. In the USA logic that everybody has to become a market of consumers it is the number of consumers that determine the power of a country.
    Darwin's motto "survival of the fittest" is more current than ever. The future belongs to demographic giants. China is a giant. India is a giant. Right now the USA is not really fit for a fugure of giants. It doesn't have a lot of time to adapt.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (March 2006) The Mexican invasion. The USA is dreaming if it really thinks that it can curb Mexican immigration alone. There will be immigrants for as long as the USA is richer than Mexico and the border is a joke. No amount of border control will significantly stem the flow.
    The idea of building a wall along the border is even more dangerous: empires such as the Roman Empire have been brought down when the empire refused to let immigrants in (the "Barbarians"). It is very dangerous to create a huge number of people who want to enter the country and cannot enter it. Once they are inside, they become part of the nation. As long as they are outside, they are a security problem.
    On the other hand, it is indeed a problem. It is not the number of immigrants that constitutes a problem, but their nationality: they are almost all Mexicans. The pro-immigrant faction that emphasizes the contribution of immigrants to the USA forgets to mention that those immigrants came from all over the world, from China as well as Ireland. There was no group that stood out as dramatically as the Mexicans stand out today. These millions of illegal Mexican immigrants threaten to change the very nature (not to mention the language) of the USA. The fact that they displayed Mexican flags is emblematic: can you imagine Irish immigrants of a century ago demanding USA citizenship while waving an Irish flag? The injection of millions of Mexicans will not create a society of immigrants, it will create a society of Mexicans. (States such as California have already adopted Spanish as a second language, a clear insult to all the immigrants who came before the Mexicans: why was Chinese or Italian never a second language in California?) If you want to preserve the spirit of the USA, let millions of Kenyans and Indonesians in, and send back millions of Mexicans. The USA does need millions of illegal immigrants to keep its economy going, but the spirit of the USA can be maintained only of those immigrants come from all over the world.
    Thus the problem exists, both as a security issue and as an issue of national identity.
    The problem can be solved only if the USA makes it someone else's problem: Mexico's. The problem can be solved in several ways. The first way (and the most reasonable in an ideal world) is that the Mexican government admits its failure at creating a wealthy society and surrenders to the USA. Let Washington sort the mess, develop the country, and create highly competitive businesses that will create millions of jobs and spread wealth around Mexico. Alas, we live in the age of decolonization. The idea that a country voluntarily becomes a colony again is alien to this historical period. Maybe a few generations from now people will become more reasonable, but in 2006 brains are just not ready for logic.
    The other way to make it Mexico's problem is to state that Mexican immigrants are welcome as long as... they come with their land. Whenever a Mexican moves to the USA, that Mexican citizen has basically renounced to a piece of the homeland. Why should the person physically move from one country to another, but the land remain locked behind the borders of Mexico? The USA should open its borders... literally. By offering to take in millions of Mexicans in return for land, the USA would create a debate not inside the USA but inside Mexico. Millions of Mexicans (particularly near the border) would be tempted. Other than patriotic feelings, what have they got to lose? Give the gringos their decrepit hut and in return get a green card.
    This policy could even led to some kind of secession within Mexico, as some states may be tempted to jump boat altogether.
    Now: that would create a motivation for the Mexican government to stem immigration. The Mexican government is only too happy to lose people and gain the money that those people send back home. It is basically a tax on immigrants, with the additional bonus of reducing the population. But the Mexican government would not be happy at all to have to deal with millions of Mexicans who demand to sell their land to the USA government. It would be even less happy to face a movement in some states for their incorporation in the USA.
    The third and more effective way to deal with the problem is to simply move the border. The reason that it is so easy to cross the border is that the border is unnatural. Most borders (whether the Alps in Italy or the Himalayas in India) are natural borders that eventually became political borders. The border between the USA and Mexico is (mostly) a straight line that ignores geography. The border would be a lot more secure if the USA moved it south along some major river and mountain range (e.g., the Yaqui river, the western Sierra Madres, the Conchos river and keep the current Rio Grande river border). It would be a much shorter border (less than half today's border) and it would be defended not by a sparse group of border guards but by nature itself. In fact, the problem today is not the eastern border, that is marked by the Rio Grande, but the western border, that has no natural feature to defend it.
    The laws proposed by the USA Congress are misleading. They talk about immigrants, when in fact the issue is about Mexican immigrants. There is no threat to USA society, jobs or security from the few African or Far Eastern immigrants who manage to enter the USA without proper documents. A more sensible law would establish quotas for the various countries of the world based on the size of each nation. Thus the USA should accept many more immigrants from India than from Mexico, not viceversa. Failing to correctly identify the problem (a problem of Mexicans dramatically altering the ethnic mix of the USA society) may result into a law that actually compounds the problem (making it even more difficult for non-Mexicans to enter the USA while not stemming the flow of Mexicans). The USA Congress may help Mexicans "invade" the USA, not immigrate into the USA.
    The issue of illegal immigration is too important to be left to traditional laws. No law will stem the flow unless the Mexican government plays a significant role or the border is significantly changed.
    USA citizens who fear for their jobs are fearing for the wrong reason. Immigrations has been the fuel of USA growth throughout its history. USA citizens should fear for their security, not their jobs. Does anyone truly believe that Al Qaeda has not taken advantage of the biggest flaw in USA defenses? Does anyone truly believe that, out of the thousands of illegal immigrants who crossed the border since 2001, not one was an Islamic terrorist? Can anyone who studied history name one empire of the past that was not invaded and destroyed by foreigners in the place where its borders could not be defended?
    Like a symptom that warns of a major disease, illegal immigration is good news because it may alert the USA to the very simple fact that its southern border is a nonsense. Either it changes that border or it may be laying the foundations for its own destruction.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (February 2006) Bush unbound. A video shows Bush being briefed by hurricane experts who warm him that "Katrina" could cause massive disaster. Bush ignored their warnings and one thousand people died.
    This feels like an old movie. Bush was told by countless experts, including many foreign countries, that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. More importantly, he was told (by his own secretary of state, no less) that maintaining peace in Iraq would be a very difficult task. Bush ignored all warnings and 20,000 Iraqis have paid with their lives for the ill-prepared USA campaign of "democracy building" in Iraq.
    The problem is fundamentally simple: Bush does not understand the issues. He makes decisions based on political pressures that come from inside his administration (notably his vice-president), from outside his administration (notably the neo-con mafia) and even from outside the USA (notably Saudi Arabia). Bush is not capable of understanding the gravity of what the independent experts tell him. Those decisions may not all be necessarily wrong, but Bush gives the impression of being clueless about the consequences.
    The USA is a country adrift in a sea of special interest groups.
    From Iraq to "Katrina", Bush has consistently pretended that nobody could have predicted what happened and has consistently been proven a liar because experts had been predicting precisely what happened and begging him to listen to them, from the top antiterrorist expert (Dick Clarke) to the top disaster-relief expert (Michael Brown).
    How many more warnings has George W Bush received of which we don't know yet? How many more disasters are going to happen because he is not listening to the experts?
    Dick Cheney shoots a friend in the face. Bush travels around the world with a smile on his face, apparently indifferent to (and possibly unaware of) the mess created by his actions or inactions.
    Is anybody running the country?
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (January 2006) The State of the Union. If i had to give the speech on "The State of the Union", these are the points i would emphasize (i wrote these before listening to Bush's actual speech):
    • Disunity. The Union has rarely been so disunited. Bush is a very divisive president. There are now virtually two different countries within the USA (the "red" and the "blue" states), something that had not happened since the end of the Civil War.
    • Dependency on oil. The USA and its friends are basically all out of oil. Oil is in the hands of dubious friends (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait), historic rivals (Russia) or sworn enemies (Iran, Venezuela). Needless to say, they are all blackmailing the West, to one degree or another. There is no way that the USA can maintain its status of superpower if it depends on a resource that it does not own. The USA needs to get rid of the oil economy: invest in public transportation, invest in alternative fuels, invest in nuclear power.
    • No health care. This is the mother of all natural disasters in the USA. There is no other country that spends so much to get so little. There is no other western country that cannot provide universal health care to its citizens. Imagine a country where 40% of citizens are denied the protection of the police. The USA is denying 40% of its citizens an even more important protection: health care.
    • Corruption. Washington is driven by lobbies that routinely buy votes. Outrageous tax reforms and pork-barrel projects are passed only because powerful lobbies "oiled" the right channels.
    • Crime. USA citizens do not get adequate protection against crime, a nonsense in the age of genetic testing and pervasive media. Most crimes are not even investigated. If a car is vandalized, police do not even take fingerprints. Criminals escalate their crimes because they quickly realize that they can get away with them. If there is no punishment for a small crime, this is motivation to try a bigger crime, all the wy up to murder. Crime must be stopped at the very beginning, from the simplest acts of vandalism. The real terror starts at home: families are terrorized to leave doors open, parents are terrorized to send children to school. You can be a victim at any time and you know that there is little to deter a gun-armed criminal from robbing and even killing you. It should be trivial to install live cameras at every corner and to use fingerprint and genetic testing to solve every case, no matter how small. And hire a lot more police officers. Gangs are controlling entire neighborhoods, but there should be a simple way to identify and annihilate gangs: they carry guns.
    • Guns and death penalty. The USA is still awash in a culture of violence, that costs the lives of thousands of its citizens every year. No terrorist organization has caused more deaths in the USA than the gun lobby (headed by the National Rifle Association, one of the most powerful lobbies in the USA).
    • Islamic wars. The USA has still not found a good strategy to deal with the Islamic world (one reason being that the USA government refuses to admit that Islam "is" the problem). The mission is not accomplished in Afghanistan (where the Taliban and other warlords still control much of the country) and certainly not in Iraq. Both Iranians and Palestinians have voted radical Islamic politicians (who swear death to the USA or Israel or both) into power. Clearly Bush's democratic campaign is not working. Probably the big problem is one of communication: the Muslims masses rarely hear the western version of the facts, partly because the West is too shy to take on Islam (to defend its values against the stone-age values of Islam) and partly because the West has not made the effort to communicate in the first place (how many times has Bush spoken live to the Iraqi people?).
    • Fiscal chaos. There is no way the USA can remain a world superpower and USA citizens can remain wealthy people of the world if the USA continues to run up the largest debt ever seen in history. The USA owes foreigners trillions of dollars. Domestically, Washington runs a colossal budget deficit. These twin deficits are rapidly dimishing the status of the USA, and making it more and more vulnerable to foreign blackmail.
    • Wealth gap. Over the last decades, the gap between the richest and the poorest people of the USA has increased dramatically. The middle class has not gotten richer (in fact, it became poorer during the 1980s and never really recovered its old wealth) while the rich have become wildly richer, thanks mainly to generous tax cuts for the rich and colossal hidden taxes for the middle class (from health care to education).
    • Illegal immigration. The USA is invaded every year by millions of foreigners, who simply cross an unguarded border. While the USA humiliates millions of educated visitors who enter the country legally at the various international airports, uneducated illegal immigrants are spared the trouble and the humiliatioN: they just walk in.
    • Failing education. The USA's educational system is the most expensive on Earth, but the USA still trails most western and far-eastern countries in children's performance. Since stricter immigration laws are basically discouraging foreign brains to migrate to the USA, the USA has to rely more on its own people to provide the inventions and discoveries of the future, but its colleges seem to be better at producing football players than physicists.
    • Pollution. The U.S.A. is the #1 polluting country in the world, accounting for more than 30% of all poison released in the air. It certainly does not help make friends around the world.
    • Religious fanaticism. The USA still has stone-age churches that exert a ridiculous influence on Washington, sponsoring all sorts of superstitions, from "intelligent design" to the legends of the Bible. If the USA has to lead the world in its fight against Islamic radicals, it first needs to clean up its own (Christian) house. It is time to curb the influence of religious organizations, particularly in the regions where higher education is still lagging (and maybe them simply expel them as undesired, assuming there is a country in the world willing to take them).
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (January 2006) The real terrorists strike again in the USA Just in case USA citizens had forgotten which organization keeps killing them by the thousands, a beneficiary of the pro-terrorism laws sponsored by the NRA (National Rifle Association), the largest terrorist organization in the world, killed six postal workers in Goleta, California. The gun laws sponsored by the NRA kill a lot more Americans than Osama bin Laden ever dreamed of killing. These terrorist attacks indirectly sponsored by the NRA as so common in the USA that very few newspapers bothered to report the news in the front page. Six more innocents killed by the NRA: what's new?
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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