Rob : Do you have a name for it? What do you call this? What do you call this new economic reality?
Glen : I don't know. If I'd coined a phrase, I would've shared it with you already.
Rob : Well, you've got to come up with one (laughs).
Glen : (laughing) But clearly, it's not sustainable. Clearly it's not rooted in real values. Clearly it's the most extreme expression of the speculative nature of finance capital at this stage in history, and it is subject to constant crisis. It is inherently unstable. I liken it to (the situation of capital today) an old hoopdie car. This car, there's nothing right with this car. Everything is wrong with this car! The transmission is shot, the engine is shot, the electrical wiring is shot, the tires are bald. Everything is wrong with this car. You don't know when this car is going to break down.
Rob : I had a friend with one of those!
Glen : (laughing) But you know it is going to break down soon. Yeah. (laughs)
Rob : I had a friend with one, and you know what he does? He walks, and he takes the bus, and he gets rides from friends, and he's been trying to get it fixed since the summer. And so what you end up with, taking this metaphor personally to my friend Steve, is you've got a return to something much more basic and core, and dependence upon others.
Glen : Well, if these Capitalists don't continue to drive this car, of course they die as a class. We know this car, at some point soon, is going to stop. And we know that sometime soon, when it stops, it will not start again, but nobody can predict exactly what specifically will create the crisis. Is it going to be the transmission, or is it going to be the engine, or the electrical system? Or whatever. All of it is shot, but one or the other of these many systems in this hoopdie are going to break down, and it'll be over. All except, of course (back to the real world ), all except the weaponry.
Rob : The weaponry. Yes. Now I just want to go back again to something you said. You talked about Africa and China. Now, China is just cleaning up in Africa. They are scooping up deals for resources, and the US is getting kicked in the butt with this.
Glen : That's because China actually makes deals! And it's been described as Soft Power, but it's actually just straight-up economic trade relationships. China will build you a railroad, and it doesn't come with a Chinese military base attached; it doesn't come with the stipulation that you will vote with the United States at the United Nations attached. It's just a railroad, or a port, based upon the economic exigencies of the deal. That's why -- there's no secret to this -- the US can't compete, because again, we're talking about a country that's run by finance Capitalists who actually are not primarily involved in the production of things. Who are not, primarily, they don't make their fortunes off of trade, but the manipulation of markets, and increasingly, they can only manipulate those markets by calling in the coercive powers of the United States. And who wants to get involved with that kind of trade interlocutor: nobody. You have to force people into these kinds of/
Rob: / Well I think they kind of came uninvited. Like to Libya: one of the places you've commented about. Isn't that a good example of where US style trade negotiations are taking place?
Glen : Yeah, you know, I disagree with lots of my colleagues in terms of the assault on Libya. Although the United States has plans to attack every conceivable target in the world - that's what militaries do - I don't believe that the United States in December of 2010 had in mind to launch a military assault on Libya. I think that the assault on Libya was occasioned by the hysteria and desperation of the United States and Europe with the Arab Spring, and the prospect of losing the energy center of the world to these unknown forces that might be unleashed. And, what could their response possibly be except some massive show of force? And Khadafy was, especially in terms of domestic audiences, the ideal target. So, I believe the Libya aggression was a direct reaction, was their reaction, to the Arab Spring, and really was not primarily a move against oil fields. I think it was far more political and desperate than that.
Rob : Now you're talking about Arab Spring, and you've commented on Israel and its connections with the US and Saudi Arabia and the Arab Spring. Do you want to talk about that a little bit?
Glen : Yeah, did you see how quickly the United States and the Europeans moved to reign in Israel this time around, as opposed to the assault in 2008 and 2009 against Gaza that killed fourteen hundred, fifteen hundred [1400-1500] people? That's because in this renewed alliance that the United States has struck with the Salafists, with the Muslim fundamentalists, in the Arab world, and this renewed relationship was occasioned by the Arab Spring, and the assessment by the United States, that to get ahead of this Arab Spring, it had to strengthen its ties with those elements and with their benefactors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. That creates another set of contradictions for the Americans, because how are they going to maintain this inherently unstable alliance - as we see with the attack on the US ambassador in Libya -- how are they going to maintain that, and still have this unshakable alliance with Israel: a country that has, since its inception, had a policy of fomenting constant conflict within the Arab world?
Rob : So, now you've described a collection here: the US, Europe, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, and you talked about Salafists; now, the other ingredient here Iran and the Shia groups. So you've got the fundamentalist Salafists who are Sunni.
Glen : Yeah.