CounterPunch Radio (Ep. 29) – Pascal Robert

January 28, 2016 at 4:36 PM

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This week Eric sits down with political analyst and writer Pascal Robert to discuss author Ta-Nehisi Coates’ recent attacks on Bernie Sanders and what they tell us both about Coates and the presidential election. Eric and Pascal discuss the issues of race and class, and why interrogating those issues is critical to examining Coates’ recent writings, as well his individual social position in relation to the power structure. The second half of the show is an in depth dialogue about a variety of issues related to the 2016 campaign including whether Bernie Sanders actually has a chance to win, the outcome the political and financial establishment are pushing for, Hillary’s scandal-plagued campaign, and any potential unexpected developments between now and primary season. All this and much more on CounterPunch Radio this week.

Intro and outtro: David Vest – “Freight Train Rollin'”
Interlude: Marcel Cartier – “I’m a Socialist”

Syria: A US Base, Russian Countermoves, & the Kurdish Question; Venezuela Destabilization Escalates

January 28, 2016 at 4:29 PM

Eric Draitser of appears on CPR Sunday with security analyst Mark Sleboda, and broadcaster Don DeBar to discuss the latest global developments. The conversation examines the recent revelation that the US is in control of a base in Syria, as well as how Russia might respond to this escalation. Eric, Mark, and Don also discuss the role of the Kurds, how Russia is trying to make them into allies, and the importance of setting the stage for political negotiations. Finally, Eric discusses the latest escalation in Venezuela after a prominent journalist and Government spokesman was assassinated. All this and much more in this week’s CPR Sunday.

Israel Exploits Lifting of Iran Sanctions to Extort Money from US

January 28, 2016 at 4:23 PM

Eric Draitser of provides his commentary (Jan. 22, 2016) on Israeli PM Netanyahu’s recent address in which he called for more US funding to Israel in light of the lifting of sanctions on Iran. Draitser explains that this is standard operating procedure for Netanyahu and Israel who see in Iran a regional rival. Draitser also explains Israel’s central role in the imperial system.

Terror in Istanbul, Erdogan’s War on Kurds, Syria Update; Burkina Faso & US vs China in Africa

January 19, 2016 at 3:13 PM

Eric Draitser of appears on CPR Sunday with security analyst Mark Sleboda, and broadcaster Don DeBar to discuss the latest global developments. The conversation examines the latest terror attack in Turkey and what it means for the war in Syria, the Kurds, and the region. Eric, Mark, and Don discuss the shifting battlefield in Syria, what the most recent developments tell us about the war, and the ultimate aims of the players involved. Eric also touches on the terror attack in Burkina Faso and how events in Africa should be understood as part of a much broader US-China conflict. All this and much more on CPR Sunday this week.

Ethiopia: A US-China Battleground in Africa?

January 19, 2016 at 1:50 PM

ethiopia obama

Earlier this month, the Washington Post confirmed that the US military had closed its drone base in Arba Minch, in Southern Ethiopia.  While there was at least some mention of the closure in the corporate media, none of the coverage provided the much needed geopolitical and strategic context necessary to understand the true significance of the shuttering of the US base.  Instead, most of the coverage focused on the redeployment of US assets to other parts of Africa, or indeed beyond the African continent.

However, the real story has gone completely untold.  And what exactly is “the real story” one might ask?  In a nutshell, the closure of the US base is merely the latest chapter in an ongoing geopolitical chess match between the US and China, one which has seen Africa become by far the most hotly contested ground.  And while the story of China’s economic and political penetration of Africa has been told and retold countless times by many analysts, very few express the issue in terms of move and countermove between the US and China (see my 2014 article here for further exploration of this theme).

But this is precisely how the issue must be framed and, seen in that light, it is entirely reasonable to interpret the US move to close its Ethiopian drone base as motivated less by tactical and military needs than by political considerations.

China and Ethiopia: A Blossoming Partnership

As China has expanded its African footprint, Ethiopia has grown increasingly significant from Beijing’s perspective.  Seen as a source of both cheap exports and massive investment potential, Ethiopia now figures centrally in China’s plans for the Horn of Africa, and for the continent generally.  Indeed, the statistics show just how important Ethiopia has become.

According to the World Bank, Ethiopia is the world’s fastest growing economy as measured by GDP.  While it should be noted that GDP is not a measure of actual economic improvement for the majority of citizens who still live in the most abject poverty by and large, it does indicate the growth of the economy as a whole.  And it is precisely that GDP growth (2014-2017 GDP compounded annual growth rate of +9.70%), and potential for future growth, that has lured Chinese investors and the Chinese state.

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