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Our Second Chance: the US and the Neo Cold War
By John Perkins
The Ukraine-Crimea crisis marks the official beginning of a new period in geopolitics. The reign of one solitary superpower is over. The era we are entering is closer to the old Cold War than that of U.S. hegemony that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.
People in the U.S. and most of Western Europe welcomed détente as a time of tranquility, but the corporatocracy saw it as an opportunity to expand its empire. Much of the world – especially those countries often referred to as the Third World – soon came to understand that the end of the Cold War marked the beginning of bullying by the United States as, in collaboration with Big Business and the E.U., it sought to spread predatory capitalism.
The Cold War ended in the early 1990’s. At that time, the U.S. had two choices: step up as a leader and inspire generosity, compassion, and democracy throughout the world; or continue growing as a superpower and focus on expanding the corporatocracy. Unfortunately, it chose the latter; it exploited other countries even when doing so violated the sovereignty of those countries. It partnered with governments that were willing to sell resources cheaply regardless of the ideologies of those governments, and overthrew leaders who refused to play its game.
The fact is that the U.S. was handed an opportunity that no other country has ever before enjoyed – and blew it. The only sole global superpower in history, it behaved in ways that were contrary to its ideals, its self-interests, and world peace; yet it was able to fool its own people into believing that the rest of the world looked at it with gratitude and as a protective, pro-democracy force.
The majority of Americans did not understand that the Cold War had brought a sense of balance to much of the world. Countries that felt intimidated by the U.S. looked to the Soviet Union to offer an alternative. And visa versa. Détente destroyed that balance. It left smaller countries feeling vulnerable. When their leaders attempted to introduce policies that seemed to conflict with corporatocracy interests, such as higher wages and land reform, Washington launched coups against them (e.g. Aristide in Haiti, Chavez in Venezuela, and Zelaya in Honduras). In more extreme cases, unfettered by the fear that another superpower would step in, the U.S. deployed troops (e.g. Panama, Iraq, and Afghanistan).
The emergence of the European Union supported corporatocracy expansionism. Together with its E.U. allies, Washington set out to envelop former Soviet states into its sphere of influence. Russia – under the aggressive leadership of President Putin – plotted to reestablish its power base.
The rising influence of China offered another challenge to the U.S. Peking sent its versions of economic hit men into countries with resources it coveted. Many leaders viewed this as an opportunity to reestablish that sense of balance that had existed prior to détente. As an Ecuadorian cabinet minister recently told me, “We would rather accept financial aid from China than from the States. After all, China has never invaded a Latin country or backed coups against our elected officials; the U.S. has a history of doing both.”
That minister’s complaint is echoed by people in many countries. The sad truth is that the U.S. used its sole superpower status to establish military bases across the globe. The exact number is elusive due to government secrecy, but by conservative estimates the U.S. has a military presence in about 130 countries. U.S. citizens may like to imagine that those countries welcome that presence, but in reality most resent it.
The Ukraine-Crimea situation should spur the U.S. to take a deeply introspective look. It is likely just the first battle in a sort of Neo Cold War. There is every reason to believe that this clash between Russia and the U.S./European Union will escalate. For decades, an alliance has been maintained between the U.S. and Europe through NATO. This organization obliges members to support one another against external attacks, and as a large majority of the E.U. countries are also members of NATO, this means that the U.S. must pay close attention to relations between Russia and her neighbors.
The three Baltic nations, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, are members of both NATO and the E.U. and therefore U.S. allies. It is likely that Russia will attempt to lure or coerce one or more of these into its sphere. How should Washington react to this threat? The NATO alliance is not just a political one; it is also a military one, and so chances are that if Putin continues his push west the consequences will be violent. NATO war games are going on right now in Europe to reassure allies and discourage Russian action, and the U.S. is playing a significant role in the display of might. If NATO defends member countries against Russian aggression with military action, the U.S. would very likely be actively involved. Is this how the U.S. plans to lead the world toward peace?
I have written in previous newsletters about the need to convert the Death Economy – one based on militarization and ravaging the earth – into a Life Economy – one based on cleaning up pollution, helping hungry people feed themselves, and inventing more sustainable technologies. The Death Economy is a failure. One of many statistics that illustrate the magnitude of this failure: people living in the U.S. represent less than 5% of the global population, yet we consume nearly 30% of the world’s resources. That is not a model; it can’t be replicated by China, Russia, or anyone else, no matter how hard they try.
Although the U.S. took the wrong path after détente, we now have the opportunity to set a different example and become a true leader. The world still looks to us for leadership. Let’s not blow it this time around. Let us instead be inspired by the tragic events in Ukraine-Crimea to blaze a new trail.
For me, the answer to that question – How should Washington react to the threat of Russian expansionism? – is that we can seize this as an opportunity to demonstrate to the world our commitment to developing a true geo-economic model: a Life Economy, one founded on cooperation, not conflict. We can be the leaders in guiding the world, even countries like Russia, toward a common future. Let us admit that the Death Economy is a failure and dedicate ourselves to quickly building a new globally unifying model.
A special note about Earth Day, April 22:
It can be difficult to foster sustainability in a culture where the old paradigm and systems are fighting for the past. And it can feel discouraging when you look at everything that needs to change to create a truly regenerative and sustainable world.
But there is great hope and amazing inspiration, if you know where to look…
That’s why I want to invite you to 2 very special Spring of Sustainability no-cost events – the world’s largest online Earth Day Celebration on April 22 and the Sustainability Action Program, to take place April 28 – June 20, 2014.
I’m honored to be among 75+ of the world’s top experts in sustainability – including Frances Moore Lappé, David Korten, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Randy Hayes and Bill McKibben – who will help you discover joyful, optimistic pathways to co-creating a sustainable new world.
You can sign up for free here:
Whatever your level of involvement in the green movement, The Spring of Sustainability can help you go to the next level – to help you discover the innovative solutions we need for this beautiful, ever-evolving planet.
With the inspiration and guidance you’ll receive from the top sustainability pioneers, there’s no way you can’t come away from The Spring of Sustainability deeply inspired, transformed – and ready to put what you’ve learned into action.
Please join us in taking sustainability to the next echelon – and help co-create a thriving planet that leaves a legacy of good for decades to come.
Buen Vivir! Are we losing our freedom? Or is this the time to get it back?
By John Perkins
As published on CSRWire on March 5, 2014: http://www.csrwire.com/blog/posts/1246-buen-vivir-are-we-losing-our-freedom-to-life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-happiness
The corporatocracy is striking out against our personal freedoms and squandering the trust we have placed in our leaders with our votes and our dollars. That their decisions aren’t made with the good of us all in mind is evidenced by the abuse of such government agencies as the NSA and such private corporations as Google, whose hand seems to reach into everything from our personal email to our health records. These large organizations and their lobbyists are writing our laws, buying Congress, and damaging the world while pursuing profits and power.
When we think of personal freedom, our first idea is often about ourselves. This is not the vision of my friend Freddy Elhers, the Minister of the newly formed cabinet position in Ecuador known as Buen Vivir (literally Good Living). Freddy’s closing talk on the opening day of the Human Resources Summit in Istanbul for 2000 corporate executives from all over the world was the “bookend” for my opening keynote in the morning. In his beautifully inspiring speech, he talked about how Ecuador is the first country to have a Ministry of Buen Vivir, a ministry that guides all the other branches of government. He emphasized the importance of living in happiness and love and that Ecuador is committed to that. In fact, the recently revised Ecuadorian Constitution reads: “We … hereby decide to build a new form of public coexistence, in diversity and in harmony with nature, to achieve the good way of living.”
This concept is incredibly inspiring as a way of governing both small and large entities, as well as our individual lives. Our actions impact others everyday, and so it is our responsibility to use our freedom for the benefit of others and the planet. Our personal freedom comes with great responsibility to honor all life with our choices. This is especially true for corporations and governments, and yet that is where we experience the greatest betrayals. In the model offered by Ecuador and a growing number of other Latin American countries, the people view themselves as a collective and their personal freedom as a responsibility to care about each other and to understand that the ecosystem and the entire planet is their “nest,” their home.
Held up against that framework, it should be easier to recognize those choices that will result in the good of our people, and separate them from those decisions that will only pad the pockets of the greedy and powerful. When the corporatocracy bombards us with sound bites about how to run our lives and at the same time exploits us and the precious resources of our planet, it is tempting to become lethargic. But that just plays into the hands of those who wish to control us.
True freedom is personal and powerful; the question to answer is about how we use that freedom to impact those around us, including the corporatocracy. Corporations and governments should exist only to serve a public interest; it is our duty – We the People – to insist that they do so and to only support the ones that comply. If we use our freedom this way, we will also be using our power to create change across the world.
Freddy Elhers likes to point out that “the pursuit of happiness” is embedded in the most sacred document of the United Sates. We the People can get back to those unalienable rights that our founders fought so hard to insure: “that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” We will be well advised to make those our guiding principles for how we vote, shop, and conduct our lives. Let’s be inspired by Ecuador. We’re all living on this tiny, fragile space station. It’s time to collectively choose Buen Vivir and to make this the time to get back our freedoms – in fact to attain more freedom than humankind has ever before experienced, the freedom to enjoy true prosperity, good living.
ATTENTION – VOLUNTEER GRANT WRITER NEEDED!
The nonprofit organization I founded, Dream Change, is looking for an experienced grant writer to raise funds for our new programs over the next 2 months. In exchange for your work, you will receive free entry to Dream Change programs, the opportunity to spend time with me and other Dream Change members at board meetings and other social gatherings, and the likelihood of a paid position in the future. If you are an experienced grant writer, please send your CV to Executive Director, Samantha Thomas: email@example.com.
To book a speaking engagement, please contact my publicist Peg Booth:
Phone: +1 760-929-1111
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2014: Revolutionizing Consciousness
By John Perkins
Please be sure to see my upcoming Online Course: Food, Plant and Animal Alchemy and Awakening Your Spirit listed at the bottom!
-Harriet Tubman, abolitionist and humanitarian, an important member of the “Underground Railroad” (1820 – 1913)
We are entering a new year and continuing along the path of a Consciousness Revolution, an event that has been anticipated for centuries by indigenous cultures. This is an ideal time for us to ask ourselves what it means to be human on this tiny space station, Earth, at this moment in history, to recognize that we must take the individual and collective actions necessary to turn crises into opportunities, to commit to daily actions that will transform that recognition into reality, and finally, to realize that doing all of this isn’t just necessary; it’s fun.
Achieving all of our goals will be possible as we pursue the goal of revolutionizing consciousness – as we think about the world and ourselves in a new and enlightened way. In order to pursue our mission to create a just, peaceful, and sustainable world, we recognize the importance of transforming ourselves from the inside out, starting with our hearts and minds.
Every crisis presents us with an opportunity to make a difference. Taking initiative during times of natural disaster and civil unrest leads to the changes that the world needs to see now. Stepping into the gaps caused by crises with courage and responsibility allows us to create a bright future for our children and grandchildren. We have the power to make sweeping lifestyle changes at home and to empower our leaders to do the same.
The corporatocracy wants us to consume more and more as their profits and power grow; yet, we are called upon to resist with purposeful action. It is time to educate those around us so that the movement to reduce consumption and to empower responsible businesses can become stronger. Not only is rampant consumption feeding into the corporatocracy, but it is also threatening the future of our children in every way from their food sources to their health. Through our purchasing decisions, we send powerful messages to the corporations. It is time now for those messages to be about creating an economy that cleans up pollution, helps starving people feed themselves, and develops new energy, transportation, communications, banking, education, and marketing systems – instead of about more militarization and pillaging of the earth.
After we commit to daily actions we see our goals become achievements and our dreams become reality. As I suggested in a recent blog, when you identify a cause that inspires you and email at least 10 people every day urging them to act around that cause and also asking them to email 10 of their friends, you manifest magical powers.
Setting clear goals helps us to be intentional about changing poor habits into powerful ones. Writing those goals down and sharing them with friends and family creates momentum and accountability. We can transform ourselves with each dream that starts in the heart and becomes reality.
It takes just one voice to start a movement. One voice is joined by hundreds and then thousands more voices to create an insurmountable energy for change. All over the world, we can and will continue uniting and demanding for the right of the people to be served. Strong grassroots movements will be unstoppable with enough of us behind them.
Let 2014 be the year that you dedicate yourself like never before to your transformative journey and your practice of living in a new consciousness. No matter what goals you set for yourself in the new year, one of the most important actions you can take is to educate those around you about these issues and how to make an impact regarding them.
Let’s dance together, soar together, and share our passions with others.
Please join me at this upcoming event:
February 6, 2014: EVOLVER LEARNING LAB- Food, Plant and Animal Alchemy and Awakening Your Spirit – ONLINE COURSE, First of Four
Date: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Time: 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT
Topic: Use the energies of food, plants and animals as an aid to developing spiritual insights and expanded consciousness. Hosted by John Perkins and John Kozinski
Details: 90 minute live video seminar with Question & Answer time
Location: ONLINE- 4 Course Seminar
Tickets available online: http://evolverlearninglab.com/products/food-plant-and-animal-alchemy-and-awakening-your-spirit#register
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