Frances Leader ~> Dump the ‘Rules Based’ NATO World Order!

Produce Food To Fight Famine, Not Weapons To Prolong War!

Frances Leader1 hr ago51

April 27 (EIRNS)—A major clash is now out in the open, between those nations and leaders backing measures to end the Ukraine conflict and produce more food to prevent famine, and those financial and political interests, centered in the Trans-Atlantic, perpetrating their “rules-based,” sanctions-based order, who want more weapons to Ukraine, and who couldn’t care less if it prevents settling the conflict or creates desperate hunger. We face the risk of nuclear war.

Who is for a food mobilization? The informal list ranges from India, to Argentina, to nations in Africa, as well as Russia and China. It includes all the farmers in Europe, the U.S. and India, who have been protesting for years, just for the right to be able to continue to produce food. And it includes the Schiller Institute, which has been leading the fight on precisely this issue.

Those opposed to the economic measures required to produce more food, include the U.S. government, the European Commission, G7, and financial networks in the IMF, World Bank, World Trade Organization (WTO) and others, especially hiding behind “free” trade rules, “green” limits, and non-food “human rights” concerns. Now, 1.7 billion people are headed to famine, warns UN Secretary General António Guterres.

India put the question on the world agenda April 22 in Washington, D.C. A joint press conference was held by two top Indian representatives, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Taranjit Singh Sandhu at the end of the annual spring summit of the IMF/World Bank. Sitharaman reported that she had told summit officials that “countries like India, which have potential for exporting agricultural production, particularly cereals, have faced difficulties with the WTO.”

The “difficulties” she politely referred to, include the WTO rules-based subversion of the sovereign right of governments to support their farmers, maintain food reserves, export, and even attempt to have food self-sufficiency. Since its founding in 1995, the WTO rationalizes suppressing nations’ food supply, by declaring that food security comes only from “access to world markets,” not from your own country developing its farm sector. According to WTO rules, India supports its farmers more than 10% of their costs, so India cannot be allowed to export wheat and rice, or they violate the rights of American, European and other farmers to sell grains!

Farm Mobilization

Stop this deadly tyranny. Support farmers everywhere in the world, and get the food to everyone in need—from Afghanistan, to Yemen, to Africa, to Haiti.

First, implement emergency measures, coordinated by leaders from the major producing nations, to get inputs of fertilizer, fuel, seeds, chemicals, machinery—now disrupted—to support farmers to the hilt in targeted locations that can produce the most exportable crop in the shortest time, like India. For wheat, for example, this means, maintaining and increasing the 200 million metric tons (mmt) exported annually. Double it as soon as possible. Make up for the loss of 19 mmt of yearly wheat exports from Ukraine, and rebuild as soon as possible. Do the same for rice, oils, beans, and all other staples.

Secondly, launch the infrastructure to support modern agriculture everywhere—water, power, transportation, crop science, agro-industrial capacity and food processing. Yes, this means replacing the monetarist system now in breakdown from speculation, financial bail-outs, and decades of no productive investment.

The goal is to double world food production as soon as possible, reaching a world output in the range of over 4 billion mmt of grains (all types), from the current 2.7 mmt. Over 800 million people were food insecure before the pandemic and hyperinflation, and now a billion people could reach starvation in the coming year, without our acting.

Allies for Production

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi told President Joe Biden earlier this month that India has grain to help fill the world wheat gap, worsened by the Ukraine crisis and sanctions, if the WTO lifts its restrictions. In Argentina, Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero made clear on April 23 that his nation will do everything possible against hunger, but will not join the sanctions against Russia. Argentina sees food security as a key topic to discuss at the June Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California. Russia is providing fertilizer to India, Brazil and other nations.

These commitments to fight the food crisis are just part of the worldwide realignment underway, essential to defeat Global NATO’s onslaught for war and starvation. The West is pouring arms into Ukraine, opposing any diplomatic negotiations for a resolution. The West is demanding we blame hunger on Russia, while preventing any increased food production drive to stop starvation. This is insane.

Join the Schiller Institute’s drive as a policy forum toward the convoking of an international conference to bring about a new security and development architecture, in the interests of all nations.

• Watch Harley’s Updates with Harley Schlanger on Thursday April 28, 2022: Every weekday morning on The LaRouche Organization,  Schlanger will give you the strategic briefing you need to start your day.


Independent Indian Daily Publishes Program for World Food Production Increase

April 27 (EIRNS)—The Indian “independent news daily” The Citizen published, April 27, a long article by S.P. Shukla, “Peasants Can Unite the Global South To Beat Back Food Shortages,” in which he clearly supports the Indian farmers’ movement as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that India will “feed the world,” and attacks the restrictions of the WTO. Advising against legal tangles with the WTO over India’s demand to be allowed to export from its food reserve, the paper calls on India’s farmers’ movement to take up the strategy of direct political action, which had gotten the government of India to repeal the “three black laws” over 2020-21.

Shukla, a former Commerce Minister and former Ambassador to General Association on Tariffs and Trade (the predecessor to WTO), writes: “What is needed is a bold initiative in WTO to mobilize support, especially of the countries of the South, for a fresh look at the whole problem of global agrarian economy at the present critical juncture”—i.e., essentially for a new WTO agreement on agriculture. “The guiding principles should be:

“(a) Ensuring food sovereignty of all countries;

“(b) Ensuring a large degree of policy autonomy to developing countries in the matter of agricultural production, pricing, incomes and trade; in particular, to ensure food security to all, and remunerative pricing and decent income to the peasantry and to facilitate orderly transfer of surplus agricultural labor force to non-agricultural activities;

“(c) Promoting equitable and fair opportunities for international trade in agricultural products;

“(d) Promoting direct trade measures such as long term contracts to facilitate viable trade in foodstuffs, particularly among developing countries to mutual advantage of surplus and deficit countries.

“(e) Promote international cooperation to set up regional/country level foodstocks to ensure price stability and as an insurance against shortages due to climatic or speculative reasons;

“(f) To promote agricultural practices that protect and promote the cause of preservation of land, environment and ecology and ensure optimal use and conservation of water;

“(g) To promote cooperative approach at local, regional and international levels, in regard to agricultural production, storage, processing, trade and research.”

It adds to its proposed program the observation: “Russia and China should not be averse to such a move. Russia has adroitly challenged the global order of U.S. dollar supremacy. China is supporting Russia to the hilt. A call from the South to review and reconsider the present dispensation of AoA [WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture], which is essentially tailored to suit the requirements of U.S.A. and EEC and its agribusiness giants, may, in all likelihood, evoke a positive response from both the powers.

“For India and its present rulers, it should be a welcome opportunity to restore India’s traditional role of prominence among the nations of the South. It will be a win-win situation for Russia, China and India.”

Argentina and India Agree on Focus on Needs of the ‘Global South,’ Not Just War in Ukraine

April 27 (EIRNS)—During his four-day stay in India this week, which ends today, Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed that their governments’ participation in such multilateral fora as the G20 provides an opportunity to focus attention on the needs of the developing nations of the “Global South” (almost all of them south of the Tropic of Cancer). In their discussions, they emphasized the importance that developing nations Indonesia, India and Brazil—in that order—will be leading the G20 between now and 2024.

In today’s world, where attention is largely focused on Ukraine, promoting the agenda of the Global South is a “challenge,” they noted, as Cafiero observed in an April 24 press conference, in which he pointedly asked “What about Haiti?” While the world’s attention is focused on the conflict in Ukraine, he said, Haiti’s horrific humanitarian crisis hasn’t gone away. But no one is shining a light on it.

India is Argentina’s fourth largest trading partner, and Cafiero’s trip was focused on revitalizing their bilateral “strategic association” and discussing areas in which they can expand cooperation, particularly in the fields of science and technology, energy, defense, aerospace, mining and agriculture. Cafiero extended an invitation from President Alberto Fernández to Modi to visit Argentina, to which Modi responded with an invitation to Fernández to visit India. Cafiero also invited Jaishankar to visit Argentina. In his private meeting with Prime Minister Modi, Cafiero stressed the “strategic importance” of India’s ties to Ibero-America and indicated his government’s commitment also to strengthening ties between India and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), of which Argentina is President Pro Tempore.

Cafiero pointed out that Argentine-Indian bilateral trade increased by 74% in 2021, and that the potential for expanding this is great, mentioning ample investment opportunities in Argentina for Indian firms in the areas of energy and lithium. He also invited Indian oil firms to invest in the development of Argentine oil and gas fields at the vast Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas deposits in the Patagonian province of Neuquén. Today, on his final day, Cafiero visited the site in Mumbai where Argentina’s internationally respected high-tech company INVAP will be building a reactor for isotope production, to be used in nuclear medicine, similar to the one it is also building in China. India and Argentina are also jointly building a Center for Excellence in Information Technology in Buenos Aires, which both hope will be the first of many high-tech cooperative ventures.


Borrell Seeks for EU To End Perpetual Conflict with Russia

April 27 (EIRNS)—The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, rather uncharacteristically, seems to have attempted to distance himself from the current and scary escalation in warmongering. He addressed the danger of the “forever warfare” being so loosely bandied around, in a post to his blog as High Representative and EU Commission Vice President, under the headline, “Russia’s War against Ukraine: Where Do We Stand and What Can the Future Bring?

“Unless we choose to remain in perpetual tension or conflict, and this is certainly not the option preferred by the EU, we will need to find ways to reorganize the relationship between the EU and Russia and agree on security guarantees and mechanisms to allow for peaceful coexistence to take hold again. This will for sure be a very difficult and lengthy process.”

Rather remarkable when one recalls Borrell’s notoriety, just weeks ago, for renouncing negotiations, with his: “This war will be won on the battlefield.”

Of course, no Western authority figure can say such things without first blaming Russia for everything, and Borrell had gone on for some length in his blog’s article. The above comment was preceded by a long defense of EU and Western policy. And it was followed by: “The Russian leadership must first understand that its own security cannot and will not be attained at the expense of broader European security and that of its neighbors”—with more blame upon Russia. Yet, importantly, it referenced Russia’s insistence that each country deserved security, but none in terms of taking security away from another: “The U.S. and NATO replied carefully to Russian proposed treaties and letters. The message was clear on our side: We are ready to discuss all aspects of security, including the Russian references to ‘indivisibility’ of security.”


Exchange-Rate Moves Reflect a Global Physical-Economic Collapse

April 27 (EIRNS)—Despite the fact that the U.S. Commerce Department is expected to report on April 28 a dismal 1-2% annual rate of GDP growth in the United States in the first quarter, the U.S. dollar has gotten extraordinarily strong against other major currencies since the start of this year. This is the period of real runaway global inflation, commodity shortages, supply shut-downs, bringing the world’s “financial haven” currency up sharply against other currencies being hit by physical-economic decline. The euro has fallen from $1.13 to just over $1.06 since the start of war in Ukraine. The Japanese yen is at a 20-year low vs. the dollar, and falling. The Chinese yuan has fallen from 6.3/dollar to below 6.6/dollar in two months. The Indian rupee is falling more slowly, by about 2% this month. The no-account British pound has fallen 12% in three months. The Turkish lira, Egyptian pound and Brazilian real have all fallen more sharply than any of these “advanced” currencies, and the developing nations as a whole are a rolling devaluation with painful economic effects.

This threatens masses of, especially, corporate debt with default, as well as foreign exchange derivatives contracts which did not anticipate such sharp changes in exchange rates. Remember the $5 trillion daily speculation in these rates as of 2012.

One currency of significance has moved up against the dollar during the war in Ukraine and the monster sanctions—the ruble, which is now at about 75/dollar. This is due primarily to capital controls by Russia since Feb. 28. There is anticipation of a further cut in the very high Bank of Russia central bank interest rate (now at 17%), when the bank makes a rate announcement on April 29.

Russia Calls the EU Bluff, Cutting Off Poland and Bulgaria for Non-Payment of Natural Gas

April 27 (EIRNS)—Today was the deadline for Poland and Bulgaria to pay Russia energy giant, Gazprom, in rubles, for their natural gas. They have refused for the last four weeks to cooperate with Gazprom’s demand to be paid in rubles, and now, as promised, Gazprom cut off their service. There was some consternation in Europe, prompting assurances from various countries (e.g., Italy, Germany, Hungary) to the effect that they were still in line for getting their natural gas supplies. Meanwhile, this morning the price for May futures on the TTF trading hub (out of the Netherlands) sky-rocketed up to $1,374 per 1,000 cubic meters. That translates to almost $125/megawatt-hour for households.

The European Union has pressured countries to “Just Say ‘No’ ” to Russia, maintaining that the payment arrangements violate the agreed-upon sanctions against Russia. (Customers of Gazprom are required to set up two accounts at Gazprombank, whereby they use whatever currency they like to pay, instruct the bank to convert the funds into rubles to be deposited in their second account, and pay for their natural gas purchase from that ruble-denominated account.) However, Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer threw a monkey wrench into that narrative.

Nehammer gave his press conference, stressing that, while Austria opposes Russia’s military mission in Ukraine, it has accepted the new ruble gas payment mechanism and will abide by it: “We, that is, OMV [Austria’s state energy company], accepted the terms of payment, as did the German government. They were found to be in line with the terms of the [EU] sanctions. For us, this was important.” Austria’s oil and gas company, OMV, has already opened an appropriate account with a Russian bank for transferring payments; and Nehammer noted that, during his recent trip to Moscow, Putin explained to him the new payment mechanism and assured him of further gas supplies in full. Basically, just because one thinks that it is proper to apply sanction pressures on Russia, it doesn’t mean that all rules are off and it is time to go crazy.

Nehammer’s position found some support from the Chief Commercial Officer of Germany’s Uniper energy company, Niek den Hollander, who stated that the ruble payment arrangement does not contradict sanctions, so such payment is possible. The CCO added that Uniper will continue a dialogue with the German government on the issue of paying for Russian gas in rubles, stating that their next payment should take place in late May. Both Austria and Germany may simply be taking advantage of the EU Commission’s “speaking with a forked tongue”—that is, it is said that the EU Commission has authorized the opening of the ruble accounts at Gazprombank while, simultaneously, condemning any payments in rubles. Such is life in the brave new “rules-based order,” where hypocrisy is the coin of the realm.

Contrary to the image of unanimity against Russia, Bloomberg reported that four European purchasers from Gazprom are already paying via the ruble arrangement, and ten others have already set up their two-account arrangement for when their next payment is due. (Italian coverage includes the historic ENI as one of the ten.) Bloomberg cites “a person close to Russian gas giant Gazprom PJSC” for this confidential news. There’s a certain measure involved here, indicating a significant representation of Europe has chosen not to drink the EU’s “Kool-Aid.”

Meanwhile, the ideologues in Poland evidently get to pay somewhat dearly for the privilege of insisting that their euros remain pure. Gascade, the German operator of the gas transmission network, reported that Poland ordered five times more “reverse” natural gas this morning from Germany than they did yesterday. That is, they get the same Russian natural gas—but they get to pay for it to be first sent westward to Germany, then re-sold to Poland, and then completing its round trip, back eastward to Poland.


Sen. Rand Paul Confronts Blinken: Would the U.S. Permit Ukraine To Be Neutral?

April 27 (EIRNS)—Yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) exemplified the old adage, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king.” During the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing (on the 2023 State Department budget), Paul cited the hysteria in the Senate, where Ukrainians were “being pushed and goaded by half the members of the Senate who want them in NATO.” Without that, he suggested that Ukraine might have simply agreed to neutrality, as Moscow had asked. He then posed the question to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, whether the U.S. would even accept Ukraine becoming a neutral state.

Blinken refrained from his language of recent days about winning wars, and danced around: “We, Senator, are not going to be more Ukrainian than the Ukrainians. These are decisions for them to make.” The purpose of the current U.S. military aid to Ukraine is to give Kyiv the ability to “repel the Russian aggression” and “strengthen their hand at an eventual negotiating table.” But the simple question had been posed.

The rest of Blinken’s answer was downhill from there, as Blinken retailed some of his fantasies. First, the U.S. has “seen no sign to date” that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “serious about meaningful negotiations,” but “if he is, and if the Ukrainians engage, we’ll support them.” Then, he claimed that the U.S. had taken Russia’s security concerns “very seriously” and “sought to engage” with Moscow; and he denied that the talk of Kyiv joining NATO may have played any role in the escalation of hostilities in Ukraine. For good measure, Blinken then bowdlerized Putin’s very insightful and compassionate research, presented in February, on Russian and Ukrainian culture and heritage, reducing it to a devious argument that Ukraine should cease to exist: “When everything came to a head, it is abundantly clear, in President Putin’s own words, that this was never about Ukraine being potentially part of NATO, and it was always about his belief that Ukraine does not deserve to be a sovereign, independent country, that it must be reassumed [sic] into Russia in one form or another.”


Russian Discussion of Gold Backing for Ruble Comes from a Higher Official

April 27 (EIRNS)—RT and other Russian media report that Secretary of the National Security Council Nikolay Patrushev said on April 26 that Moscow “is working on linking the price of the ruble to bullion and other commodities.” Patrushev, who gave an interview yesterday to the government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta, is reported by RT to have described a “two-loop monetary and financial system in the country,” which would involve “the provision of the Russian currency with both gold and a range of goods representing a currency value. As a result, the ruble exchange rate would correspond to its real purchasing power parity.” He stressed that it is important that the means of payment in the national financial system, the ruble, “is not tied to the dollar.”

There continues to be little apparent connection of the Russian gold-ruble plans to credit for economic development, although Patrushev stressed that the national economy must also be “restructured on the basis of new technologies.” In the context of discussions of national-currencies trade with India and of meetings with Central Asian countries, however, the need for the ruble’s exchange with those currencies to support mutual investment in projects has been stated—for example, by Russian Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov at the Innoprom Central Asia industrial exhibition in Tashkent.

About michael burgwin

A child of the peace and antiWar movements, a Truther with self-diagnosed Opposition Defiance Disorder, formerly politically liberal tho now politically marooned, and Post-Doomer, on any issue, I trend to the conspiracy side, sort through the absurd, fantastical and insane, until I find firm ground usually located just the other side of the censorship firewall of propaganda and orthodoxy, dogma, and other either / or thinking.
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