Bolognese Sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 450 g lean minced (ground) beef
  • 675 g fresh plum tomatoes, skinned (or two 400 ml tins)
  • 4 tbsp tomato concentrate (paste)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) beef stock or water
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • handful of chopped fresh basil (or 1 tsp dried)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, and gently saute the garlic and onions. Add the beef mince, and fry until browned. Add the tomatoes, tomato concentrate, water and herbs, and simmer over low heat until the fluid has mostly reduced (about 30 minutes). Season to taste, add the vinegar and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Iraq, Oil and the US Dollar

Contrary to the huge amount of media spin and blatant propaganda, much of the current US global military strategy is motivated by two concerns: securing the world’s last remaining oil reserves, and preventing those reserves from being traded in Euros. This explains the lack of support for, even outright opposition to, the US invasion of Iraq in the EU. The opposition is strongest in the states with the most at stake in the Euro currency: France and Germany.

The US dollar gains a good portion of its ballast by being the prime currency that oil, drugs and arms are traded in. The War On Terrorism is just a convenient pretext, mere smoke and mirrors to hide this sad fact from a public that would not support such action if the true motive were known.

Bush points to his draconian domestic and foreign anti-terrorism measures and says, “See? We must be doing the right thing by removing your civil liberties and rights because we haven’t had a terrorist event in the 3 years since 9/11.” Well, there wasn’t a terrorist event in the three years preceeding it either. The fact is, terrorist attacks of any significant magnitude on US soil are quite rare.

Some are thanking Bush for going in to bat to keep our NZ petrol prices low. This is, at the very least, a cynical kick in the teeth for the families of the 100,000 Iraqi civilians (UN, Red Cross figures) that have died as a direct result of the illegal US invasion.

The reason Kerry was a more hopeful prospect for the recent US presidential election was that his administration would have almost certainly not contained the rabidly fundamentalist, uneducated philistines (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Pearle, and so on) behind the blatantly fascist thinktank Project For The New American Century. The website speaks for itself. In particular, their manifesto Rebuilding America’s Defenses states among their goals such things as global “full spectrum dominance”, “US global leadership” and “securing America’s national interests”. No mention is made of what exactly these “national interests” are, but the evidence seems to suggest that they include other people’s oil and financial markets.

Let us not forget that a large proportion of the American people have been completely brainwashed by the blatant propaganda machine of Fox News and other TV networks.

Newsflashes: The US dollar has been in decline since 2000, and is now at its weakest (as of 3 December 2004) in over twenty years. 9/11 and Iraq are not related. There are no WMD in Iraq, and the US government knew it before 9/11 happened. Among other terrorist organisations, Al Qaeda was funded, trained, and armed by the CIA throughout the 1980s to help bring about the fall of the USSR. According to Brzezinski, adviser to Reagan and Bush I, this was accomplished by overextending their military industrial sector by enticing them to invade Afghanistan, which helped to bring about the Soviet economic collapse.

Reading list:
Chomsky, N. Hegemony Or Survival
Brzezinski, B. The Grand Chessboard
Klare, M. Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict

American Empire

First of all, I’m not anti-America. I’m anti-Bush, which is not the same thing. Bush, Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Pearle, and other members of ultra-right wing thinktanks seem uneducated in matters of history, particularly the decline of the British Empire, and the activities of Nazi Germany during the lead-up to World War 2.

Keep in mind that the US is no longer the economic superpower it once was. It has been in steady decline economically and politically since the Vietnam War, and only has the military dimension of its power left to its disposal. Its flagrant abuse of this military power has now isolated it from much of the rest of the world and accelerated its own decline. If you are in any doubt about this, just look at the performance of the US dollar over the last four years and US debt as a percentage of GDP since 1940.

The world’s financial markets are already starting to abandon the US dollar for the Yen and Euro. Not to mention the ensuing repercussions that would ensue if China ever open up (i.e. unpeg) their currency. India is booming right now at a rate that will supercede China within the decade, and it is doing that largely through leapfrogging industrialisation and becoming a world leader in IT.

The most ingenious thing about the propaganda machine in operation in the US is that it is only partly the fault of the US government. It doesn’t need a 1984 scenario when there are people like Rupert Murdoch who are doing an adequate job independently. The other thing to keep in mind is that it has been progressively built up over nearly a hundred years, with each roll-back of a regulation here, each buy-out of a local radio station there. Alex Carey, an Australian sociologist, has done seminal work on the corporate control of government, media and education in the US.

There aren’t smoky backrooms where people gather, rub their hands together and plan the domination of the world. It is much more of an emergent, systemic effect. Current US foreign policy is the inevitable result of an 18th century social and economic system that still wrongly assumes (to give two examples) infinte growth and unlimited resources. Whilst they may have been sensible assumptions to make in the age of wooden sailing ships before the advent of steam-powered mass production, human civilisation has now expanded to all corners of the globe and we now tread upon the world with very large collective feet indeed. We (globally) have become ever more efficient at fishing the ocean, milling the forests, eroding the soil, heating the atmosphere and polluting fresh water supplies.

It is a pretty mundane affair to predict US actions over the next term in the light of this knowledge. That it isn’t covered in the mainstream media means it is therefore easy to write off as conspiracy theory, and invented explanations can be used instead in order to engineer public thought. Here’s my prediction – North Korea will be all about summit talks, treaties and agreements, whereas Iran will be another invasion (probably with some new pretext, perhaps even an engineered “event” in order to precipitate it). It won’t be as straightforward as Iraq however, because Iran is not as crippled, and they have recently been making big oil deals with China. So expect to see a lot more negotiation and sabre rattling beforehand.

References:
Klare, M. T. Resource Wars: The New Landscape Of Global Conflict.
Wallerstein, I. Decline Of American Power.
Wasserstein, B. Israel & Palestine: Why They Fight And Can They Stop?
Brzezinski, Z. The Grand Chessboard.