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Showing posts from November, 2021

Europe Follows the USA and China in the Strategic Use of Space

From the series The war industry and European defence Next Spring SpaceX will be 20 years old. The company founded by Elon Musk has rapidly achieved a key role in international space activity. The first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket has recently been recovered, reconditioned and reused for the tenth time. SpaceX has already repeated this type of reflight 70 times or so; it allows for substantial savings when compared to the losses incurred in the first stages of a traditional rocket launch. It is for this reason that it is being considered as the standard for the future. According to NASA’s calculations, the average cost of launching a satellite into orbit has fluctuated around the level of $18,500 per kilogram for the whole period between 1970 and 2000. SpaceX has reduced this figure by seven times. Internet constellations In recent missions Falcon 9 rockets have put a total of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit. The aim is to create a vast constellation designed to gua

The British Link in the Imperialist Chain

Lenin often used the metaphor of a chain that binds the world to describe imperialism. The October Revolution of 1917 broke a first link in that chain and hoped to pull the whole thing loose. The metaphor was adopted in those years by all the Bolshevik leaders and the leaders of the newly formed Third International. Within a decade, Stalin's well-known formula of socialism in one country signified the overturning of that strategic cornerstone and the defeat of the revolution in Russia, in Europe, and in the world. Dates that have come to symbolise historical change act as the synthesis of previously accumulated contradictions, and, while such a sudden change does not exhaust the possibility of future contradictions, the concentration of events in 1926 nonetheless marked a watershed that revealed the true extent that the counter-revolution had reached. The great general strike in the United Kingdom that year, which was betrayed and failed — and which we will discuss when we concl

China on the Doorstep of the TPP

The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership ( RCEP ), a major Asian trade agreement, in November 2020, was remarkable because India decided not to take part in it while Japan was determined to strike a deal with China, despite the difficult political transition underway in Washington. Some questions arose at that time. Would the EU show as much autonomy from the United States on the Euro-Chinese economic negotiation front? Would India eventually join the RCEP ? Would the United States return to the competing transpacific project? Would China also seek to join also the Trans-Pacific Partnership ( TPP )? TPP ’s variable geometry In December 2020 came the first reaction from the European Union, which signed the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investments ( CAI ), ignoring a request from Joe Biden’s new presidency to stall the proceedings. On September 16 th , 2021 the question regarding China was also answered when it officially requested to join the TPP . The

The New Energy Shock

Can a good recovery do damage? The answer is: yes, sometimes it can, if it triggers major imbalances. The capitalist mode of production is a source of imbalances, inequalities and asymmetries. This time, the imbalance is largely due to the states which have concocted an unexpectedly strong recovery, pulled along by private consumption, with their stimuli, subsidies, relief, tax cuts and zero-rate credits. According to The Economist , the stimuli handed out by governments during the pandemic amounted to about $10,400 billion in the world, equal to one eighth of the 2020 gross world product in current dollars. According to the April IMF Fiscal Monitor , governments, additional expenditure and lost revenue in the advanced economies were equal to 16% of the sum of their GDPs, in the face of losses which, in the final balance sheets, amounted to 4.5% of it. A good part of this went on government spending for welfare and capital allocations, but a sizeable share,

The Hidden Costs of Covid-19

From the series The struggle against coronavirus Around 227 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus SARSCoV-2 worldwide, causing 4.7 million deaths [Johns Hopkins University, September 17 th , 2021]. If tracked over time, both figures can be seen as indicators of the pandemic’s evolution . However, they do not give the full picture of the humanitarian disaster — not only because the coldness of the statistics hardly expresses the violence with which this health crisis has disrupted the lives of millions, but also because the official figures are believed to greatly underestimate the real situation. Missed diagnoses The number of Covid-19 cases indentified and registered in the statistics depends in fact on the number of diagnostic tests performed. It also varies greatly from country to country and in the different phases of the pandemic curve, as well as being correlated with the capacity of health systems to provide care for s

Tokyo’s Balancing Act over Rearmament for a Stormy Fifteen Years

The taifu shizun , Japan’s typhoon season, last from May to October and is especially intense between August and September. Straits Times , a prestigious Singaporean newspaper, recently used the metaphor, invoking the rumbling of thunder and lightning bolts in relation to the announcement of the AUKUS deal (Washington’s strategic relaunch in the Indo-Pacific), and the immediate Chinese economic response, with China applying to join the CPTPP , the equivalent trading bloc to the RCEP in the Pacific. A hot autumn in the Indo-Pacific Other events have contributed to upsetting the Asian waters: the American withdrawal from Kabul, which has raised doubts about American credibility among its allies and Asian partners; a succession of North Korean ballistic tests, with the novelty of a Pyongyang cruise missile being deployed; the test conducted by Seoul of a ballistic missile aboard a conventional submarine, with South Korea blatantly flaunting its ambitions

The National Gamble of Poland

From the series European News In a lawsuit brought by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the Constitutional Tribunal, which is composed of judges chosen by the government, ruled that fundamental parts of the EU Treaty are incompatible with the Constitution of the Republic of Poland. This ruling thus denies the primacy of European law over national law, undermining both the political assumption of continental integration and the supranational character of the EU . Vectors of Polish history We can shed light on this event if we consider the four field vectors that cross Poland: its traditional ethnic-religious nationalism, its marked Atlantic tropism, the objective attraction exerted by the European force field, and the looming threat of Russia. The general picture is global collisions: China’s irruption and the crisis in the world order have put pressure on Warsaw to define its strategic position. The process is nonlinear, and creates political and