Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2014’s watershed events

History will mark 2014 as the year of shifting global alliances and the beginning of the end of America’s self-styled unipolar dominance under the rubric of the “New American Century.” The corporate media is largely using the same “bucket list” of 2014’s most memorable events but the relative overall importance of these news stories are in the eyes of the beholder. 

Because of the hype conferred by a corporate media eager to sell advertising on repetitive 24/7 cable news channels, the corporate media, including the Associated Press, has settled on American police shootings of mainly African-American civilians, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Middle East, the Republican sweep in the U.S. elections, the Ukraine conflict, the rollout of Obamacare, the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370, the approval of state-by-state gay marriage in America, and the U.S. Veterans Department scandal as among the top ten news stories of 2014. This U.S.-centric list does not represent realism when it comes to determining the top events of the past year. The police shootings in the United States are important in a wider context of the battle lines being drawn between the economically-squeezed middle and lower classes in the United States and the forces of über-capitalism as represented by an unrestrained Wall Street and U.S. politico-corporate dictatorship backed by the brute force of racist police forces and the omniscient surveillance powers of the National Security Agency, FBI, CIA, and other intelligence agencies. 

For the rest of the world, America’s “navel gazing” list of top news stories is meaningless. 

Major news was found in the political and economic realignment of world powers. The consolidation of the BRICS economic alliance of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa as a bulwark against the traditional but expanding dominance of the United States and Western Europe over international financial structures gained steam during the past year. 

The past year also saw new geopolitical flashpoints emerge that pit regional powers against one another. This was especially true in Eastern Europe where a NATO intent on moving its forces closer to Russia’s frontiers engineered a pro-NATO coup d’état in Ukraine. In Asia, China squared off against a neo-militarist Japan with a backdrop of President Barack Obama’s “pivot to Asia” shifting more U.S. military forces to the Asia-Pacific region.

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