While the war in Ukraine occupied all the media attention this week, a whole series of news stories that we cannot overlook slipped off the front pages. We list headlines with brief commentary.
Heading towards financial crisis
Stock market analysts are warning that 2022 will be a year of financial crisis. In a first scenario, stock markets would fall between 40% and 50%. Inflation would be unstoppable for central banks, which have no leeway for rates because accumulation required the "doping" of a negative interest rate for years, evidencing the radicalization of their contradictions.
They point out that the US stock market is inflated, that there is a new real estate bubble in the US, and that the imposition of a new international division of labor generates such inefficiencies that inflation is going to be unstoppable as long as the process of relocation of resources and production lasts... which in turn reflects the underlying process of formation of economic-military blocs that has been underway since 2017.
War in Asia is much more than a spectre
India fired a missile at Pakistan, it was "accidental" and fortunately did not carry a nuclear warhead. But it reveals the kind of situations that can erupt at any time amid developing imperialist tensions.
South Korea held elections against the backdrop of increasing tensions with China and deteriorating living and working conditions, especially for the youth. The most warmongering and militaristic option won, in favor of an even stronger alliance with the US and the withdrawal of investments from China. The expectation is a Korea much more belligerent towards Beijing and more involved in AUKUS' strategy of tension.
Meanwhile, in the Middle East, the carnage continues. UNICEF denounced that Saudi bombings in Yemen over the last month have left behind 47 dead children. Adults do not even count. And all analysts expect an echo of the Ukrainian war in Syria.
The imperialist confrontation between France and Russia in the Sahel deepens and spreads.
Underneath, the background of an open imperialist competition between France-EU and Russia for control of the region that reached a milestone with the official announcement, hours before the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine, of the departure of French troops from Mali. Now, in the new context opened in Ukraine, Russia is reviving its project to open a military base in Sudan - raising its stakes - and France is fortifying itself in Niger, trying to drag the rest of the European countries towards the new center of regional conflict.
The pandemic is not over
This week an independent study confirmed what seemed obvious: all the states have fiddled with the statistical criteria to lower the numbers of deaths from Covid. The cost in lives so far would be approximately 18 million people.
Not that Covid has disappeared. We are facing a new wave in France, Russia, South Korea... there is talk of the new variant and even China is suffering an outbreak and is trying to control the situation with partial and district-wide lockdowns in Shanghai.
The return of polio, a malaria outbreak and the abandonment of public health systems.
Venezuelan state collapse and the rise of malaria.
Poliomyelitis is back. The main reason being that most semi-colonial countries use live attenuated instead of inactivated virus vaccines. But these living viruses can circulate and become virulent again if vaccination is too slow or if campaigns are "patchy".
This is what is happening and the reason, as Science points out, is none other than the abandonment of healthcare systems.
The phenomenon is not limited to Asia and Africa. One need only look at the malaria figures in Venezuela. The collapse of the regime, hospital supply shortages, the fall of hygiene and prophylaxis and the collapse of the healthcare system resulted from 2014 onwards in a soaring growth of new cases.
However, we should not assume that the neglect of care and health systems has only reached a critical point in semi-colonial countries. This week it became known that in Belgium, the probability of dying increases by 50% when entering a nursing home versus remaining at home with the same pathologies. In France, the criminal effect of handing over nursing homes to companies linked to investment funds, whose targets claimed lives from day one, is now being assessed.
One-off mistakes? Hard to believe when the German government's own advisors are starting to use Kenya as a model for epidemic management.
South America in its own reorganization process to face the new phase of global imperialist conflict.
Boric was sworn in yesterday as Chilean president. His mandate heralds not only a renewal of the political apparatus but the return of Chilean capital to an era of concentration and reorganization around the state, beginning with the end of concessions and the return to mining industry nationalizations.
The internal shift is accompanied by the prospect of a change of alliances in the continent. We may see an unprecedented Chile-Argentina alliance in an attempt to resist US pressure against the arrival of Chinese capital.
Colombia holds senatorial elections tomorrow which will give way to the proclamation of candidates for the presidency. Should Petro, as many polls show, end up occupying the Casa de Nariño, the imperialist game in South America could turn upside down, consolidating a new alliance of nationalist and statist forces in favor of maintaining a balance between China and the US with Petro himself, Boric and Fernández as referents... while awaiting Lula.
China and the encirclement of the dollar
China is continuing its encirclement of the dollar. Most ASEAN countries have adopted the currency swap technique. It consists of a credit of simultaneous purchases and sales of one currency for another. If a central bank has a swap agreement with China, it means that it has a credit line to buy its own currency with Chinese currency. If, like any line of credit, it is in itself a way of placing capital in a profitable way, as an imperialist bet it is unbeatable, since it turns the Chinese currency into an increasingly important asset in the reserves of the central banks, displacing the dollar.
Beijing, aware of the difficulty involved in getting the central banks of third countries to exchange reserves in dollars for reserves in its own currency, has been favoring swaps for years. Not only in Asia. Argentina has recently managed to avoid another devaluation thanks to a Chinese swap credit.
Scenes from France
The attempted assassination in prison of Yvan Colonna stirs up Corsica's petty bourgeoisie and prompts the state to launch a constitutional reform and a "full autonomy statute" for the island, equivalent to that of a Spanish autonomous community (with its own parliament and powers to be defined).
Read also: the triumph of nationalism in Corsica (in Spanish), 11/12/2017.
France is becoming full of ghost stores, a business model which outrages the petty bourgeoisie but is aligned with the urbanism brought about by the "Green Deal".
Intellectual property, that characteristic scourge of a decadent and anti-human system.
The FBI vs. SciHub. The exacerbation of scarcity as a way to increase profits, through the intellectual property of scientific journals, takes precedence over the need to socialize scientific knowledge.
Read also: Intellectual property and the pandemic, 9/2/2021