Saturday, April 22, 2017

Thailand: Crushing Localism Threatens National, Regional Stability

April 22, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Street vendors of all kinds are facing a complete ban of their livelihood across Bangkok, the capital of Southeast Asia's Thailand. While it may appear to be a minor move falling in line with many other nations within the "developed world," the significance of it both to Bangkok, Thailand, and the rest of Asia in socioeconomic terms is indeed, major.


Just like the "developed" nations the new ban seeks to emulate, it is driven not by a genuine desire to clear sidewalks, beautify the city, or enhance consumer health and safety.

Cui Bono? Not for Safety or Health

Instead, it is driven by larger corporations both foreign and domestic, and in particular, agricultural giant Charoen Pokphand Group (CP) which is connected to the massive and ever-expanding network of 7-Eleven convenience stores and Lotus retailers dotting every corner and crevice in both Bangkok and beyond.

The ban is in fact another salvo fired by special interests at Thailand's considerable "informal economy." Bloomberg in its article, "Thailand's Unemployment Rate is a Ridiculously Low 0.6%. Here's Why," would report that:
The informal sector of the Thai economy, comprising anyone who's not covered by formal work arrangements, accounted for more than 64 percent of the total workforce in 2013. It includes street vendors and taxi-motorbike drivers, the self-employed and those operating in gray areas of the economy. They are largely counted as employed.
And as technology further empowers the self-employed and is already disrupting economic monopolies in the "developed world,"  such trends in a nation like Thailand with a sizable informal economy already stand to transform Bangkok into a regional, even global "grey market capital" and model for economic alternatives, start-ups, and other disruptive economic models springing up elsewhere around the world.

While rational leaders within Thailand's government have seen this as an immense opportunity, investing in start-ups, small businesses, the leveraging of technology to empower independent entrepreneurs, other interests appear threatened by the prospect of an economy shifting decisively in favor of independent business owners who are increasingly able to compete against established monopolies across multiple industries.

While the actual number of users employing disruptive technology to compete against established business monopolies is small at the moment, as solutions are employed into markets, Thailand's substantial informal economy is likely to adopt them as well.

CP Group's Vision for the Future

For CP executives and investors, they envision a monopoly over Thai agriculture, food, beverages, retail, telecom, and other sectors. With the prospect of street vendors being swept from Bangkok's roads, CP's network of convenience stores would remain one of the remaining competitors, open 24 hours a day, and providing all the amenities currently provided for by street vendors.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Singapore Bigot Granted Asylum in US: A Taste of Things to Come

March 27, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Singaporean Amos Yee fits the description of virtually every foreign-backed agitator used to target and undermine political orders worldwide as part of Washington's "soft power" toolkit. 


He is a young individual who, at 18 years old, was not particularly bright in school and possesses no practical talent or skill with which to contribute to society. Incapable of achieving positive attention based on his merit, he has embarked on a life of seeking negative attention based on his ability to agitate, insult and defame. Much of his behaviour bears the hallmarks of clinical narcissism and other forms of mental illness.

It is very likely that no one at all would have even heard of Amos Yee were it not for the constant attention provided to him by US and European media outlets as well as assistance provided to him by politically motivated "rights advocates" like Amnesty International. More recently, a US court has ruled that Amos Yee qualifies for political asylum in America.

An article published by Quartz titled, "A US judge has granted a Singapore teen blogger political asylum, calling him a “young political dissident”," would report:
A United States judge has granted asylum to Amos Yee, an 18-year-old blogger from Singapore, who has been jailed on two occasions for his public views on religion and politics. Yee came to the US in December under the visa waiver program and requested asylum before an immigration judge, expressing a fear of returning to Singapore. 

Judge Samuel Cole approved his asylum, describing him as a “young political dissident” and saying that his “prosecution, detention and general maltreatment at the hands of Singapore authorities constitute persecution.”
It is perhaps ironic, however, that Amos Yee is not engaged in civilised discourse or legitimate political opposition in Singapore. Instead, he is engaged in the same sort of bigoted, divisive agitation used elsewhere around the world by Western governments to foment division, unrest and even catastrophic violence everywhere from North Africa to the Middle East, and from Eastern Europe to Southeast Asia. Had Amos Yee been attacking homosexuals, ethnic minorities or America's political principles, it is likely he would be labelled a bigot, be targeted by "hate speech" laws in the United States and otherwise silenced.

But because he is targeting a foreign state over which the US seeks influence, his otherwise intolerable agitations have been portrayed as "political dissidence."

Were Singapore more susceptible to such tactics and should the United States and Europe find more agitators like Amos Yee to prop up, unrest and even violence could once again take to Singapore's streets. Like yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre, the unconstructive rhetoric Amos Yee engages in serves only to divide and endanger society, not advance it in any civilised, progressive manner.


Friday, March 24, 2017

US Presence in Korea Drives Instability

March 25, 2017 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - US and European interests continue to portray the government and nation of North Korea as a perpetual security threat to both Asia and the world. Allegations regarding the nation's nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs are continuously used as justification for not only a continuous US military presence on the Korean Peninsula, but as justification for a wider continued presence across all of Asia-Pacific. 


In reality, what is portrayed as an irrational and provocative posture by the North Korean government, is in fact driven by a very overt, and genuinely provocative posture by the United States and its allies within the South Korean government.

During this year's Foal Eagle joint US-South Korean military exercises, US-European and South Korean media sources intentionally made mention of  preparations for a "decapitation" strike on North Korea. Such an operation would be intended to quickly eliminate North Korean military and civilian leadership to utterly paralyze the state and any possible response to what would most certainly be the subsequent invasion, occupation and subjugation of North Korea.

The Business Insider in an article titled, "SEAL Team 6 is reportedly training for a decapitation strike against North Korea's Kim regime," would report:

The annual Foal Eagle military drills between the US and South Korea will include some heavy hitters this year — the Navy SEAL team that took out Osama bin Laden, Army Special Forces, and F-35s — South Korea's Joon Gang Daily reports. 

South Korean news outlets report that the SEALs, who will join the exercise for the first time, will simulate a "decapitation attack," or a strike to remove North Korea's leadership.
To introduce an element of plausible deniability to South Korean reports, the article would continue by stating: 
Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Gary Ross later told Business Insider that the US military "does not train for decapitation missions" of any kind. 
Yet this is a categorically false statement. Throughout the entirety of the Cold War, US policymakers, military planners and operational preparations focused almost solely on devising methods of "decapitating" the Soviet Union's political and military leadership.

In more recent years, policy papers and the wars inspired by them have lead to documented instances of attempted "decapitation" operations, including the 2011 US-NATO assault on Libya in which the government of Muammar Qaddafi was targeted by airstrikes aimed at crippling the Libyan state and assassinating both members of the Qaddafi family as well as members of the then ruling government.

Similar operations were aimed at Iraq earlier during the 2003 invasion and occupation by US-led forces.

Regarding North Korea more specifically, entire policy papers have been produced by prominent US policy think tanks including the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) devising plans to decimate North Korea's military and civilian leadership, invade and occupy the nation and confound North Korea's capacity to resist what would inevitably be its integration with its southern neighbor.