By Jeff J. Brown
Pictured above:left is Jan Oberg of Transnational Foundation, center is Press TV’s Marzieh Hashemi, and right, Jeff J. Brown of China Rising Radio Sinoland.
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2020.11.07: Press TV just sent the video link to the full TV show, so use this one:
Jan Oberg (Nobel Prize Nominee), co-founder of Transnational Foundation (https://transnational.live) and Jeff J. Brown, Editor-in-Chief of China Rising Radio Sinoland were guests on Press TV with show anchor Ms. Marzieh Hashemi to talk about the US presidential election, it’s fallout there, European independence, or lack thereof, and where China and all the other anti-imperialist countries fit into the global geopolitical picture.
For the interview, I got brought in after it just started, so it begins with Jan, who is off screen. Ms. Hashemi is also off screen, so for video podcast fans, I’m it.
Enjoy an informative discussion about the US elections, from an anti-imperial point of view. I had the transcript made and edited below.
Jan Oberg: It’s nothing surprising that President Trump is in this situation, which I judged to be a win, and if he didn’t win, he would anyhow saying that he had won and we would keep prices at all empires come to an end. No empire that has existed. So the Soviet Union went down at an early stage for the United States. And my concern is, in which way will it go? Because the United States does not have a man with a vision of a better world or a modest moral person like Gorbachev. And that means the next four years are going to be very, very, I would say dangerous. And I would say, unfortunately for all of those who have never been anti-American, this is very tragic because the reason the US is falling as an empire seems as a society is all of its makings. Nobody is suggesting that you have this idea that China is setting that expanding and taking over the world and things like that the apples are just falling from the tree. Unfortunately for the US. So I think the image I would use is Titanic. It’s sailing on. But we know where that ends.
Marzieh Hashemi: Yes, indeed. Interestingly, you use the Titanic symbol because that is being used again, the leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, actually labeled that as the Titanic, basically, and sinking slowly but surely crossing over the Paris now like to bring in radio host and journalist Jeff J. Brown. Thank you so much for being with us.
Well, you heard our guest there and sweet and talking about what is happening and the dissipation of the United States and it coming from its own doing.
I want to look at that because, again, no country’s threatening them as far as war. There are no sanctions against the United States from other countries, no pressure from outside, for the most part. And yet we see this deterioration inside. We have seen continually over decades now a crumbling infrastructure that instead of spending money on roads, on schools, on hospitals, on the better bench of the average American, we have seen money going towards the industrial-military complex and other interests of the one percent. Your take on that, Jeff?
Jeff J. Brown: Well, as far as China is concerned, and since I lived and worked there for 16 years, it’s you hate to say it, but it’s just all the better for China because all for the last 70 years, 1949, China has just gone from strength to strength with the Mao Era, when it became an industrial juggernaut, technologically and agriculturally and scientifically. And then since the Deng Era and now the Xi Era, it all plays into China’s favor. And now whether it’s Biden or Trump, it doesn’t matter for the Chinese.
They have been dealing with Biden’s and Trump’s and Obama’s and Reagan’s going back to the times of the Persians and the Romans and the Greeks.
And they have all the imperial records. And it’s known that Mao actually and all the leaders of China consult Imperial Records going back thousands of years to see how to deal with different geopolitical situations and different styles of leaders.
So if as the United States continues to decline and the West in general, I mean, I’m here in France, it’s also going downhill.
The whole Western imperial model is of exploitation, extraction, expansionism, racism, evangelism, etc. The old colonial model is slowly dying. So that leaves room for first socialist anti-imperialist countries like Iran and South and Russia and China and the DPRK and Venezuela and Cuba and all the others to come in and hopefully offer humanity a greater social justice and greater economic equality and global harmony.
Marzieh: Well, back to Jan in Sweden. Your take on things, with what Jeff has said.
What direction do you think that we could be heading in as again, we see this decline in power out of Washington and we’ve also seen the somewhat of a divide between Europe and the United States. Do you think that the Europeans are going to be able to take a more independent path and space themselves distanced themselves from American imperial policies? Are they going to continue when I’m talking about Europe? I’m mainly talking about Germany and France and England. Are they just going to continue to copy-paste the policies of the United States?
Jan: Well, I hope not, but let me say that I think when you talk about the trans-Atlantic relationship, I believe that much of what we see happening now and the decline and fall of the US has to do with how the West and that was both Europe, but of course, the US as a leader of the Western world, how they reacted to the fall of the wall in 1899.
You know, it was these promises given to Gorbachev that NATO would not expand an inch, that it was this idea of a common European security space. It was the idea at least some of us had, that when the Warsaw Pact had gone, there was no reason to have NATO, which was always the argument that NATO is there because as the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. So instead of taking this as an opportunity to create a new and better, more peaceful and balanced world, the United States started with expanding.
And that was Clinton. I consider Clinton one of the most destructive presidents internationally with Yugoslavia, all of the things that happened after that, and the expansion of NATO. So, if you take this mouthful, which is bigger than you can chew, you’re going to end up. And that’s a typical thing for an empire. An empire does overextension and it thinks it can rule the whole world and it thinks that its values must be global. This is a Western Christian missionary thinking, and that is coming to an end now because the pupils in the class are no longer listening to the teacher.
So and the second thing is the United States has gone down because of the MILMAC, the military-industrial-media-academic complex. It does not have one it is one MILMAC complex and that is self-destructive. These wars cost enormous sums in civil society in the United States. So I think the future is disillusion. And if you ask me, I think and that’s the final thing I’m going to say to you in answer to your question, I think the ministries of foreign affairs of Europe are waking up this morning and saying, oh, no, we had hoped for Biden.
We had hope that things would get back to normal and it’s not going back to normal whether Biden or Trump is winning because it is a declining and eventually falling empire. And the problem is, I’m a Danish citizen. I live in Sweden. I know Europe fairly well. There is, as far as I know, not a single Ministry of Foreign Affairs that has a Plan B for the fact that one day we cannot just listen to Washington and obey Washington and say, I repeat his master’s voice, we will have to think independently. We will have to balance between the following United States. We are all friends and we should keep on being friends and then opening up to the world. In other words, walking on two legs. I don’t think they can do that. I hope they are. I don’t think they are.
Marzieh: Well, it’s interesting you brought up that. I mean, because if we look at since 1945 and of course the end of World War Two, we have seen US domination and Western Europe immediately came under the pole of the US. And of course, after the fall of the Soviet Union, we saw the rest of Europe more or less following suit.
So I guess the question is, what will it take for the Europeans to find its independence again after so many years?
We’re talking about from 1945 that we’re dealing with 2020. I was able to find an independent policy and abide by an independent policy, because if we look at the situation in dealing with, for example, that the agreement with Iran and of course the United States basically made it null and void and then pressured the Europeans to stand by them. On the surface, the Europeans said they disagreed with Washington, but in reality, they did very little, if anything, in trying to have economic relations with Iran. So my question, staying there in Sweden is, what do you think it will take?
Jan: Well, it would take a completely new paradigm in the decision making circles of parliaments, ministries of foreign affairs, and defense. It would take preparation for a different defense system, a different way of thinking about what security is that is not NATO’s this mantra of stability, security, and peace that you hear, Mr. Stoltenberg. It’s just a mantra. It has nothing to do with the world. It’s nothing to do with reality. if, as I used to say if weapons were the road to peace, we would have a wonderful peace over a peaceful world, and that’s not the case, what we do have is a European Union who is without real leadership.
I mean, we have good people like Angela Merkel. The rest of them are without a vision. If you ask them, where do you want Europe to be in 40 years from now, which is what the Chinese have asked themselves, where do we want China to be in 40 years? You would not say anything interesting. There’s no brand left and there’s no to go left. There’s no parliament left that none of these were Gorbachev. In politics, there’s no one of these missionary people who could make the Europeans 400 million-plus people say, yes, this is why we should go.
They have all been you know, whenever there was a challenge from Yugoslavia, the European Union was the one that started cost released inmate unavoidable in the war in Bosnia. If you take the refugee crisis in 2015, they were all split. If you take the question of the corona, the EU did not stand up together. We have China and Russia coming in and helping the Italians, you know because there was no common thinking in the European Union. And you can go on like this. You mentioned the JCPOA.
I mean, the European states have accepted secondary sanctions as sovereign states on their territory, that American law applies to the European airspace. This is outrageous, in my view. If you are a union and you’re a treaty, the Treaty of Lisbon tells you that you are the first goal of the European Union is to make peace in the world. I mean, so I think unfortunate and I say this with pain in my heart. I don’t think that at the moment and what we’ve seen in the last few years, there’s nothing that indicates that the European Union, as Europeans, as an identity, as a new alternative in the eyes of the world to the United States leadership will happen.
Marzieh: Well, Jeff, turning back to Paris, you were talking about more socialist like elements being the way of the future. Let’s look at the United States itself. I mean, the word socialism, the average American almost appears fearful of the word socialism. And, of course, if it’s communism, even more fearful, a lot of it is because even a lack of understanding of socialism in general, when you’re talking about a country that the majority of people, more and more are under pressure, a seem socialist system would be quite beneficial. But when you’re dealing with a populace that has been so ingrained that to think negatively about such a system, I mean, what do you see this going in the United States?
Jeff: I would like to comment, I’m sorry I missed his name. The gentleman that just talked, he made some very good points. What’s his name?
Marzieh: Jan Oberg from Sweden.
Jeff: Great. Since 1945, the United States has embedded thousands of pro-American bureaucrats, politicians, journalists into Europe, and they’re just embedded like termites and so NATO is in Brussels. So it’s extra. It’s going to take a lot. The United States has invested a lot too, in effect internally European governance. And so it’s going to take a lot to get rid of all those people. And it may take the collapse of the United States for it to happen to go back to socialism.
The United States was at its best in its history, was when it was semi-socialist during the New Deal with Franklin Delano Roosevelt and when Roosevelt essentially nationalized industry in the 1940s to Beat in World War Two, they nationalized the entire economy, just like China does. And the DPRK and Iran do a lot, too. And Venezuela and Russia with their state-owned corporations.
That was when the United States was at its very best in terms of solidarity and working together and having a common goal. But unfortunately, it was just it lasted long enough to save capitalism. And then the oligarchs and the deep state, the CIA was created in 1947, the National Security Administration, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all were created by Truman. And we know that the New Deal kind of lasted into the 60s and 70s.
And then with the start of the Reagan era, the neoliberal model that took over this world. And so it’s all going away now. We have been brainwashed to hate the Pavlovian response. We’re brainwashed in the Anglo-Saxon countries, Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada, the United States, and in some places for some people here in France. I mean, I talk to people who just, like, get apoplectic when you talk about the Communist Party here.
So we have been brainwashed to fear socialism because it is a threat to capitalism and that is not our oligarchs and our deep state is not going to give that up without going down in flames. And that would be the collapse of the Western empire.
Marzieh: Jeff, you made some interesting points. And when you talk about an FDR, US, and you said that was at its best and more state-owned entities. And it’s interesting how that term state-owned has taken on negative connotations now, if we look at the US mainstream media, if they’re talking about, for example, let’s say, press TV, they will say state-owned media to make it sound extremely negative and not being free. Of course, they don’t use that same combination when they’re describing the BBC. And we have so many other examples of this brainwashing that is taking place. And I’m going to switch back over to Sweden.
And what do you think it is going to take as far as the people and the way they are thinking? Because what Jeff has talked about just now, so apropos and talking about the embedding of these intellectuals throughout Europe, making sure that the US said neo-liberal agenda is propagated.
Jan: Well, if you’re asking me about that, I mean, I don’t think at this moment the very it’s rather unlikely. Whatever however you define socialism, forget it about the United States. I think what I see as a very clear indicator in cultural terms and generally, people who comment on scholars who work with international affairs are looking too much, in my view, on material and economic things. And if you look at culture, way of thinking, a very interesting difference between the east and the West, if you will, the United States, Europe, and China.
On the other side is that China walks on many legs. You know, it’s socialism, it’s capitalism, it’s Buddhism, it’s Confucianism. And it’s this kind of Chinese-ness of thinking about society as a family and things like that. The West is also characterized after 89-90 by having one solution to everything, not at both, and thinking not even a mixed state like in Sweden. And it all went neoliberal. And it didn’t say that certain sectors of the Western society could be neo-liberal, market-oriented, and then that would be a state building, infrastructure and things like that. Everything is going to be privatized. Everything is doing.
This is what the World Bank has done, which is why the International Monetary Fund message has been our model of one leg economy, which is very vulnerable. Instead of walking on more legs and more feet is where you end up now. And the same goes for the hammer called the military-industrial media academic complex, whatever problem the United States has seen in the last few years and the international societies have been about giving selling weapons.
It’s been a starting a war. It’s been an interventionist. It has been spreading bases. It is always the military first. Now that destroys any empire the moment there’s an unbalance in terms of power, rankings between economic power, political power, legitimacy power, cultural power, and military power, you got you are already on your way down, and that’s why I said at the beginning of this conversation that the United States fall or decline has been happening for a long time.
The only difference is that Trump will make that decline go faster if you don’t want the American empire. You should be happy today, in my view. So long story short, there is a cultural way of thinking that is coming to an end. And that’s the Western model and that intellectual armament that we need. That’s the only armament we need. I am wondering whether that is possible because all the research and intellectual work have been subsumed under the state.
Most research institutes and think tanks today are state-financed or financed by private corporations. My little foundation is the Transnational Foundation in Sweden, which around the world is one of the very few, probably handful in the business of peace and conflict, which is not dependent on the state and corporations. And we do say different things because you can take a state institute. They say completely different things, what we say. So there is a reason. There’s a confluence of things happening which Trump is the embodiment, so to speak, but it’s nothing new. And what is happening? All empires fall, as I say, and at some point.
Marzieh: Oh, well, definitely some interesting points that you’ve made. And I’m going to turn back to Paris and chat about some of those points. I want to expand on that. And looking at the independent, the intellectuals, the academics, you talked about the Reagan era. And of course, we know that it started with the trickle-down economics never trickle down. And we saw from then on basically a neoliberal agenda continually to pick where is the independent voice.
Where are the intellectuals, the academics that should be informing the people of the reality and the true effect of these types of economic policies? So perhaps people could make a better judgment during elections and understanding what is really at stake?
Jeff: Well, I think there was quite a bit of academic freedom postwar or even back into the 20s and 30s and 40s, etc. There was a more vibrant, more varied media in the West. The problem is that they have it has been consolidated with this neoliberal model. And in Europe is not as bad as the US, but it’s getting that way.
But right now, because of all this consolidation, leveraged buyouts and mergers, and acquisitions, etc, with thousands of radio stations and magazines and newspapers and book publishers, etc, television stations have been consolidated now in the West into about eight or nine huge multi-billion-dollar transnational media corporations.
And so now and who owns these multi-billion dollar media corporations as well? It’s our oligarchs and, you know, the global capitalists who own these corporations. They’re the ones that have all the shares and the preferred stock and they’re on the board of directors and they’re in the executive departments of these media behemoths.
And so they now have taken their voice is what we are hearing. We then have the Internet in the 1990s and the 2000s, and there was a resurgence of expression, a lot of variety. And that wasn’t going to last very long because these oligarchs want to control everything. And so now you see censorship. I’m being censored. Hundreds of thousands of social media accounts are being shut down all over the world, not just liberal, socialist, communist, or whatever libertarian.
I mean, anybody who is not for the oligarchic global capitalist viewpoint of the World Trade Organization. Supposedly free markets, taxation on the 99 percent, etc, if you’re against any of that now, you’re getting shut down on the Internet. And so now they are taking control of all of the Internet because that was too much for them to be able to handle that kind of informational competition.
So, you know, what can I say? And you talk to professors in the United States. You can’t express there’s no academic freedom. You know, Michael Parenti had that great speech, that great talk he gave on YouTube because he wrote a book about academic freedom. You know, he started at Yale and Princeton and he’s a socialist-communist. It ends up, you know, in another and a smaller university. And then he ends up going to college and then you end up in a junior college. If you speak up, you’re going to get crushed academically. And so it’s an endless fight.
Marzieh: You made some interesting points. And we talk about the academic side of things. And yes, I mean, I know many professors who no longer could even work. You’re talking about a junior college. Some of them could no longer even get a job teaching at a high school. Others have had to leave the United States and teach elsewhere. Why didn’t other academics stand up? I think this is one of the main problems that has happened in Western society, whereas before, for example, you had tenured professors, and I mean had their jobs very much secured.
But we have seen professors, for example, talking about the Zionist regime, talking about the influence that Israel has in the United States, or just the crimes that Tel Aviv commits against Palestinians, and have even tenured professors have lost their jobs. And on so many other issues also, I guess the question is, what happened to that independent thinking academic that would at least stand up for the others when they’re losing their jobs? We have seen journalists that have stood up, for example, talking about, again, the Palestinian issue losing their jobs. Where is the independent elite that will stand up for those who are not getting their rights?
Jeff: Well, I interviewed the people who translated the Progressive Press book, who translated Udo Ulfkotte, a book called Presstitutes. And basically, the independent voices are co-opted by money. These foundations, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, George Soros, if you need money, you need grant money, to publish or whatever. Then you’re going to sing their tune. They also use as Ulfkotte explained, they use blackmail, they use extortion, they use bribery.
So they do not hesitate to use what I call the imperial toolbox to control people. And a lot of it is just they flatter you and they give you insider information. And you go on speaking tours, get phony medals and phony prizes, you know, for this and that – they flatter you.
And so you either end up like Michael Parenti, teaching in a small college someplace, or you stand up for what’s right and what’s truthful. And you end up being a professor in China or Iran or some other country and making half as much as you were. So it’s tough. You know, every day I wake up and I got to get back out there and keep writing and keep reporting, no matter how depressing, discouraging it gets.
Marzieh: I know you Jeff, and on that note, I’m going to have to end it here.
But I appreciate you being with us. From Paris, Jeff J. Brown, radio host, and journalist, and out of Sweden, Jan Oberg, founder of Transnational Foundation, appreciate you being with us also and also for us.
Thanks so much for staying with us right here at the Press TV headquarters. But I’m going to toss it back over to London. Well, they will take it.
Show producer: All right. Thank you for joining us, sir. And take care.
Jeff: Thank you. Bye.
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