Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Today's Links

1--Obama Destroyed Libya, SC


Libya in 2009 was prosperous. As citizens of a major oil- and natural gas-exporting nation, Libyans enjoyed high salaries, low living expenses, generous social benefits, not to mention law and order. It seems like a mirage today.
Looking back, many Libyans miss their former tyrant. “Muammar Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa,” notes Garikai Chengu of the Du Bois Institute for African Research at Harvard University. “However, by the time he was assassinated, Libya was unquestionably Africa’s most prosperous nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy in Africa and less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.”...


The New York Times describes Libya as “veer[ing] toward complete chaos.”
In 2015, the UK Guardian reports, Libya is in danger of meeting the official international definition of a failed state: “Libya is wracked by violence, factionalism and political polarization – and by the growing menace of jihadi extremism. Two rival governments, parliaments, prime ministers and military forces claim legitimacy. One side is the Islamist-dominated Libya Dawn coalition in Tripoli, the capital. The other camp, Dignity, which is recognized internationally, is based in Tobruk and Bayda. Hundreds of rival militias exist across the country. In recent months the homegrown fighters of Ansar al-Sharia have been challenged by Islamic State (Isis), who released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians. Oil production, the source of most state revenues, has declined massively. Cash is running out and basic services are facing collapse as the financial situation deteriorates. Hopes for change generated by the Arab spring and the demise of Gaddafi’s dictatorship have faded into despair and dysfunction.”


2--De-Dollarization Accelerates: Russia Launches SWIFT-Alternative Linking 91 Entities, zero hedge


Almost 91 domestic credit institutions have been incorporated into the new Russian financial system, the analogous of SWIFT, an international banking network.

The new service, will allow Russian banks to communicate seamlessly through the Central Bank of Russia.

It should be noted that Russia's Central Bank initiated the development of the country's own messaging system in response to repeated threats voiced by Moscow's Western partners to disconnect Russia from SWIFT.....Joining the global interbank system in 1989, Russia has become one of the most active users of SWIFT globally, sending hundreds of thousands of messages per day. In general, SWIFT provides a secure communication network for more than ten thousands of financial institutions around the world, approving transactions of trillions of US dollars.


3--Russia Dumps Most US Paper Ever As China Reduces Treasurys Holdings To January 2013 Levels, ZH


4---Rejecting Austerity, Greece Squares Off with Its Creditors & Risks Future in Eurozone, democracy now video


5--Naked capitalism comments: 
At the Guardian, a very thought-provoking piece by Varoufakis from a lecture he gave in 2013. Long form: How I Became an Erratic Marxist.
http://www.theguardian.com/news/2015/feb/18/yanis-varoufakis-how-i-became-an-erratic-marxist
…Marx’s brilliant insight into the essence of capitalist crises was precisely this: the greater capitalism’s success in turning labour into a commodity the less the value of each unit of output it generates, the lower the profit rate and, ultimately, the nearer the next recession of the economy as a system. The portrayal of human freedom as an economic category is unique in Marx, making possible a distinctively dramatic and analytically astute interpretation of capitalism’s propensity to snatch recession, even depression, from the jaws of growth….
His analysis that the left has ceded ‘freedom’ to the neoliberals, which has been a fatal error, is among many very insightful observations in this piece.
As I read this piece, Varoufakis sees the inhumanity of current financialized capitalism. But he also recognizes that simply to object to it leaves entire populations vulnerable to the rise of neo-Nazism, and other far right authoritarian forces.


6---Germany v Greece is a fight to the death, a cultural and economic clash of wills, Paul Mason Guardian


7--Greece's fight against "fiscal waterboarding" will halt economic recovery , sober look


8--Ukraine's impending debt restructuring, sober look


9--Mathew D. Rose: Greece – It’s a Revolution, Stupid!, NC


10--The "West's" Dilema After Debaltseve: What To Do About Poroshenko?, MoA


11--The strategic implications of the battle for Debaltsevo , saker

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