Manal Saadi Postgraduate researcher in International Relations and Diplomacy at the Geneva-based UMEF University
doc.dr.Jasna Cosabic professor of IT law and EU law at Banja Luka College,
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Aleksandra Krstic Studied in Belgrade (Political Science) and in Moscow (Plekhanov’s IBS). Currently, a post-doctoral researcher at the Kent University in Brussels (Intl. Relations). Specialist for the
MENA-Balkans frozen and controlled conflicts.
Dr. Swaleha Sindhi is Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Administration, the Maharaja Sayajirao University of
Baroda, India. Decorated educational practitioner Dr. Sindhi is a frequent columnist on related topics, too. She is the Vice President
of Indian Ocean Comparative Education Society (IOCES). Contact:
It is an Ankara-based
journalist and notable author.
She is engaged with the leading Turkish dailies and weeklies for
nearly three decades as a columnist, intervieweer and editor.
Her words are prolifically published and quoted in Turkish,
French an English.
By İLNUR ÇEVIK Modified from the original: They killed 1 Saddam and created 1,000 others (Daily Sabah)
Aine O’Mahony Aine O'Mahony has a bachelor in Law and Political Science at
the Catholic Institute of Paris and is currently a master's student
of Leiden University in the International Studies programme.Contact:
Elodie Pichon Elodie Pichon has a
bachelor in Law and Political Science at the Catholic Institute of
Paris and is currently doing a MA in Geopolitics, territory and
Security at King's College London. Contact :
a MA candidate of the George
Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs. Her
research focus is on cross-Pacific security and Asian studies,
particularly on the Sino-U.S. relations and on the foreign policy
and politics of these two.
ALESSANDRO CIPRI Born in Chile and raised in Rome, Alessandro
Cipri has just finished his postgraduate studies at the department
of War Studies of King's College London, graduating with distinction
from the Master's Degree in "Intelligence and International
Security". Having served in the Italian Army's "Alpini" mountain
troops, he has a keen interest in national security, military
strategy, insurgency theory, and terrorism studies. His Master's
dissertation was on the impact of drug trafficking on the evolution
of the Colombian FARC.
Ms. Lingbo ZHAO is a candidate of the Hong Kong Baptist
University, Department of Government and International Studies. Her
research interest includes Sino-world, Asia and cross-Pacific.
Elodie Pichon, Ms. Elodie Pichon, Research Fellow of the IFIMES Institute, DeSSA Department. This native Parisian is a Master in Geopolitics,
Territory and Security from the King’s College, London, UK.
Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey currently lectures on Digital-Diplomacy. "Mo"
has benefited from a diverse career in investment banking & diplomacy, but
his passion has been the new avenues of communication. He was Bosnia &
Herzegovina's first Ambassador to the United Nations, Agent to the
International Court of Justice, Foreign Minister & Signatory of the Rome
Statute establishing the International Criminal Court. He also played
American football opting for a scholarship to Tulane University in New
Orleans after being admitted to Harvard, oh well!!
Amanda Janoo is an Alternative
Economic Policy Adviser to governments and development
organizations. Graduate from Cambridge University with an MPhil in
Development Studies, Amanda worked at the United Nations Industrial
Development Organization (UNIDO) supporting government's with
evidence-based industrial policy design for inclusive and
sustainable growth. Her research focus is on the relationship
between international trade and employment generation. She has
worked throughout Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa promoting greater
economic self-determination and empowerment.
Michael dr. Logies,
Endy Bayuni The writer, editor-in-chief of
The Jakarta Post, took part
in the Bali Civil Society and Media Forum, organized by the
Institute for Peace and Democracy and the Press Council, on Dec.5-6.
Bellevrat is the WEO Energy Analysts
Kira West Kira West is the WEO Energy Analysts
Victor Davis Hanson— NRO contributor Victor Davis
Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author,
most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global
Conflict Was Fought and Won.
Chief Research Fellow at the Primakov Institute of World Economy and
International Relations (Moscow, Russia). In 1989-1991 was a member
of Soviet negotiating team at START-1 negotiations (Defense and
Ingrid Stephanie Noriega
Ingrid Stephanie Noriega is junior specialist in International
Relations, Latina of an immense passion for human rights, democratic
accountability, and conflict resolution studies as it relates to
international development for the Latin America and Middle East –
regions of her professional focus.
Syeda Dhanak Fatima Hashmi
Author is a Foreign Policy Analyst and Research Head
at a think tank based in Islamabad. She has done Master of
Philosophy (M.Phil.) in Governance and Public Policy. Her areas of
research include both regional as well as global issues of
contemporary international relations.
Pia Victoria Poppenreiter Davos: The Other Side of the Mirror
An “inventor, startup guru, conceptualist and CEO” hangs out at the
world’s four-day power lunch
Jomo Kwame Sundaram,
a former economics professor, was United
Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, and
received the Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of
recent decades, the scope, size, concentration, power and even the
purpose and role of finance have changed so significantly that a new
term, financialization, was coined to name this phenomenon.
Financialization refers to a process that has not only transformed
finance itself, but also, the real economy and society. The
transformation goes beyond the quantitative to involve qualitative
change as finance becomes dominant, instead of serving the needs of
the real economy.
Financialization involves the growth and transformation of finance
such that with its hugely expanded size, scope and concentration,
finance now overshadows, dominates and destabilizes the productive
The role and purpose of finance has been qualitatively transformed.
Finance used to profit from serving production and trade.
Traditionally, financing production involved providing funds for
manufacturers to finance production, and for traders to buy and
Financialization, on the other hand, turns every imaginable product
or service into financial commodities or services to be traded,
often for speculation. Instead of seeking profits by financing the
productive economy and trade, finance is now more focused on
extracting rents from the economy.
Finance is hegemonic, dominating all of society without appearing to
do so, transforming more and more things into financial products and
services to be traded and sold. But financialization could not have
happened on its own.
Its nature and pace have been enabled and shaped by ideological,
legal, institutional and deliberate policy and regulatory changes.
Regulatory authorities, both national and international, can barely
keep up with its transformative consequences.
One aspect of financialization refers to the size of finance
relative to the whole economy, with the financial sector growing
faster and securing more profit than other sectors. The simplest and
most popular measure of finance uses national income accounts for
‘finance, insurance and real estate' (FIRE).
In the US, finance's share of GDP grew from 14% to 21% between 1960
and 2017, while manufacturing's fell from 27% to 11%, and trade's
declined from 17% to 12%. The financial sector is almost twice as
large as both trade and manufacturing sectors.
The growth of shadow banking, referring to activities similar to
traditional banking undertaken by non-bank financial institutions
that are not regulated as banks, is a growing and significant source
of credit and accounts for much of the growth of finance.
Such institutions include hedge funds, private equity funds,
mortgage lenders, money market funds and insurance companies. These
financial institutions, including traditional banks, have used
securitization, ‘off-balance sheet' derivative positions and
leverage to create, manage and trade securities and derivatives,
ballooning its business volume.
With heightened concerns about growing financial fragility, more
sophisticated measures have been introduced to estimate ‘shadow
banking'. Most country-level measures show shadow banking increasing
rapidly before, and more worryingly, after the 2008-2009 global
At the same time, finance has also secured the most gains in the US,
taking advantage of the sector's ability to leverage more than
non-financial corporations, engaging in financial innovations and
trading complex and opaque products netting super profits.
During 1960-2017, finance almost doubled its profits, from 17% to
30% of total domestic corporate profits, while manufacturing's share
shrank by almost two thirds from 49% to 17%.
Jim Reid of Deutsche Bank estimated that that the US financial
sector made around US$1.2 trillion (US$1,200 billion) in ‘excess
profits', relative to the previous mean, in the decade before the
2008 global financial crisis.
There are contrasting views of whether bank concentration leads to
greater or less financial stability. But size certainly does not
guarantee either good banking practices or financial stability.
In fact, the global financial crisis suggests that the "too big to
fail" syndrome encouraged moral hazard. Big banks take on excessive
risk as they believe they have a safety net -- governments will bail
them out to prevent a financial system collapse.
Over the years, US banking has become more concentrated. This
accelerated with the abolition of the Glass-Steagall Act and its
replacement with the Graham-Leah-Bliley Act in 1999 which saw the
creation of universal bank behemoths combining commercial and
investment banking activities.
The top five banks in 1990 held less than 10% of total bank assets;
by 2007, they had 44%. Seven years after the 2008-2009 Global
Financial Crisis, the US banking industry is just as concentrated,
with the top five banks – JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells
Fargo, Citibank and US Bancorp – holding US$7 trillion, or 44% of
total bank assets.
Meanwhile, asset management is even more concentrated than banking.
Together, the ‘Big Three' – Blackrock, Vanguard and State Street –
are the largest shareholders in four-fifths of listed US
corporations, managing nearly US$11 trillion, thrice the worth of
global hedge funds. Such asset management relies on banks for
leveraged access to financial markets.
Undoubtedly, many regulators have replaced previously weak
regulation, which failed to check spreading systemic risk before the
2008-2009 global financial crisis, with new rules. But these do not
seem to have effectively checked more recent abusive practices.
“Money is what powers economy” – as professor Anis H.
Bajrektarevic writes – “but our blind faith in (constructed)
tomorrows and its alleged certainty is what empowers money.”
Recent technological, ideological, institutional
and political changes have drastically transformed finance, enabling
it to penetrate and dominate all spheres of life such that
financialization is the new avatar.
Jomo Kwame Sundaram, a former economics professor, was United
Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, and
received the Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of
Dr Michael LIM Mah Hui has been a university professor and
banker, in the private sector and with the Asian Development Bank.
MAY 30, 2019
(Imperialism of Imagination – I Part)
recession of plans and initiatives; systematically ignored calls for a
fiscal and monetary justice for all; €-crisis; Brexit and irredentism in
the UK, Spain, Belgium, France, Denmark and Italy; lasting instability in
the Euro-Med theatre (debt crisis of the Europe’s south – countries
scrutinized and ridiculed under the nickname PIGS, coupled with the failed
states all over the MENA); terrorism; historic low with Russia along with a
historic trans-Atlantic blow with Trump; influx of predominantly Muslim
refugees from Levant in numbers and configurations unprecedented since the
WWII exoduses; consequential growth of far-right parties who – by peddling
reductive messages and comparisons – are exploiting fears of otherness, that
are now amplified with already urging labour and social justice concerns;
generational unemployment and socio-cultural anxieties, in ricochet of the
Sino-US trade wars, while rifting in dilemma to either letting Bolivarism or
supporting Monroeism… The very fundaments of Europe are shaking.
Strikingly, there is a very little public debate enhanced in Europe about
it. What is even more worrying is the fact that any self-assessing
questioning of Europe’s involvement and past policies in the Middle East,
and Europe’s East is simply off-agenda. Immaculacy of Brussels and the
Atlantic-Central Europe-led EU is unquestionable. Corresponding with
realities or complying with a dogma?
* * * *
One of the leading figures of European Renaissance that
grossly inspired European renewal is Dante. Alongside with Petrarca and
Boccaccio, he is considered as one of the three fathers of European
humanism. Hence, Dante puts Prophet Muhamed to the 8thcircle of his famous
Inferno. The only individuals bellow Muhamed were Judas, Brutus, and
Satan. “Islam was seen as the negation of Christianity, as anti-Europe…and
Muhammed as an Antichrist in alliance with the Devil…” as Rana Kabbani noted
in her luminary piece Imperial Fictions.
However, both religions trace their origins back to Abraham. They both lived
in harmony (or at least they successfully cohabitated) for centuries within
the MENA proper, notably in Lebanon, Syria Egypt and Iraq. Why than there
was no harmonious relationship between Christian Europe and the Middle East?
Was Europe opting to demonise the Muslims in order to artificially generate
a homogenous European self? No enemy at gate, no unity at home?
This is a story of the past centuries – one may say. Still, absence of any
self-reflection on the side of the EU towards its policy in the Middle East
today, makes it worth to revisit some of the bleak chapters of European
history, and the genesis of its pre-secular and secular thoughts.
Brussels: Extra Euro-Atlanticum, nulla salus
Europe came to be
known as ‘Christendom’ because its identity was imagined or invented as the
Catholic in contradistinction to the Islamic Middle East and to the Eastern
(authentic, trueor Orthodox) Christianity.1
The Christianity, of course, originated in the Middle
East not in Europe. It was subsequently universalised and, by spreading onto
peripheral world, Europeanised by the Balkan-born Roman Emperor – Constantin
the Great (Edicto de Milan, 313 AD). He himself spent much of his
life on Bosporus and hence, was buried in Asia Minor.
Surely, it was by the legal design of this glorious Emperor (fully backed by
the Empire’s political elite) that the city of Rome was (re)turned into an
administrative periphery, politico-ideological outcast and geostrategic
suburbia (by 324 AD). The official seat of Roman Empire including the Roman
Senate – by yet another historic edict of 330 AD – became Constantin-polis
(Constantinople), and it remained as such until a very end of the Empire, 11
Therefore, the post
Roman/Byzantine inauguration of ‘Christendom’ as a pure western culture
necessitated a sustained intellectual acrobatics – starching the truth away
from an elementary geography and historical evidence. Such an inversion by
which an ideological and geopolitical periphery presents itself as a centre
required considerably emasculation – both, physical coercion and imposed
narrative over the extensive space and time.2
This a ’lacard creation of Catholic Christendom or to say; Western
Ummah, served two vital objectives: domestic and external. Both helped
solidification of the feudal socio-economic and politico-military system,
and based on that of a precolonial European collective identity.
Domestically, it served for a coherent sense of selfhood – us vs. them
paradigm: Unity, oppression and obedience. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus
– no salvation
outside the church, following the old Roman rational ‘no world beyond
Limesline’, or the modern one:
‘no prosperity outside the EU’. Externally, here was found the ‘moral’
narrative – a justifier for the subsequent military voyages and other forms
of organized plunders. Such an image build-up, of course, was coupled with a
coercive societal identity – the ‘Dark ages’ for at home, crusaders for
This is how Europeans started to view the religious conflict as the
identifying attribute of the system’s formation, while elsewhere on the
globe the interethnic and interreligious coexistence was a traditional modus
operandi within and among countries.
By the time of
Renaissance, Catholic Europe came to realize that, in order to effectively
project itself – to physically and/or mentally colonise overseas territories
– it needed either coercion (rarefying and assimilation), labour-camp
detention (slavery) or final solution (physical extermination). These
strategic dilemmas over the instruments to use, influenced and dominated
European debates of the time. It brought about the conception of the ‘noble
savage’ – who could be assimilated, versus the ‘ignoble savage’ who was
destined for either labour detention or final solution. That
coerce-or-exterminate dilemma of ‘soul salvationists’ even culminated within
the pre-Westphalian Christian Ummah. It was best epitomised in the famous
Valladolid controversy of 1550, by which Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda’s notion of
the ignoble savagefaced off against Bartolomé
de Las Casa’s view of the noble savage.
In both cases – the
claim was offered – the Amero/AfroAsian Natives deserve salvation as they
have a ‘strong desire for it’, but the views differed on whether the
Natives’ prone wishes exceeded their mental capacity to receive
Christianity. Hence, the debates – which were the roots and origins of the
later liberal theories as well as the early precursors to the subsequent
regime change, humanitarian interventionand preemptiondoctrines, and to
the (onesided ultimatum of) EU Accession criteria
always presupposed the inferiority (and passivity) of the
remains a constant behaviour in international relations: E.g. views on Libya
differed, as they differ today on Syria. However, what is common to all
views is; nobody consults the local population and considers what they would
like for themselves.3
Legitimizing the imperialism of imagination
In a course of
subsequent centuries, the notion of final solution underwent through a
sophistication, and was eventually replaced by the combination of
cultural conversions/ submissions (induced submissiveness),
politico-military obedience and socio-economic apartheid. A subtle apartheid
(that is easy to deny, but hard to prove) is usually better than the brute
genocide (which is traceable and easily quantifiable). At the peaks of
imperialism a noble-ignoble savagedilemma was embodied in an implicit and explicit racism.
Debate was focused on a question whether the nations’ inferiority can be
remedied through the imperial ‘civilizing’ mission, with social Darwinists
and ‘scientific’ racists being rather pessimistic, but more forthcoming on
central dilemma of liberalism – Is it liberal to impose liberal values on
illiberal societies –
was of course only an innocently looking tip of the large
iceberg, of the tireless othering. This ‘epistemology’ was further
soft-embedded in the so-called Peter Pan theory with a romanticised image of
the Otheras more childishly careless
and helpless, than intentionally cruel and barbaric. Foreign remained
Other, but ‘became’ rather alluring, promiscuous and exotic.
Essentially, the East as a child enveloped in innocence, a derided inferior
who would never grow up. This, of course, gave rise to various binary
categorisations, the us-vs.-them/either-orlistings, in order
to manufacture rift and hence to facilitate a decisive and long-lasting
differentiation between the constructed West and the East.5
The West as a constructed male vs. the East as a constructed female. A
‘mind-oriented’ west vs. a ‘body-oriented’ east. Phallusoid peninsulas and
islands of (Atlantic-Scandinavian) Europe vs. womb-like continental landmass
of Afro-Asia; Erective and explosive vs. reflective and implosive; an
Omnipresent (ever seafaring and trading) extroverted male vs. humble,
handcrafting, waiting female. Masculine, phallusoid, progressively erected
temporal linearity vs. periodic menstrual leakages of femininity in
regressive cycles of stagnation. Clearly, anything beyond that was deemed
ideological, active, polarizing, determined vs. metaphysical, spiritual,
esoteric, atmospheric, inclusive, holistic. No wonder that all
operationalized ideologies originated solely in Europe. What else, since no
one ever, but Asians revealed any significant religion to the world.6Ideology penetrates,
AgitProp – Non-stop
imperial civilizing mission (Expansion is a path to Security) got a
new form, often under the watchful care of ‘Five Eyes’. It became a moral
duty – R2P (Responsibility to Protect), as much as the parental duty
is to raise their infant child. The handsome, masculine and strong Western
Prince Charminghas one duty – to emancipate his Eastern Sleeping
Beauty. Giving a ‘kiss’
meant projecting the
western physical military presence, Christianity and commerce.7Who was/is the
Eastern Sleeping Beauty?
famous 1899 poem, The White’s Man Burden offers some answers while
describing the Eastern peoples as ‘half-devil and half-child’. “The blame of
those ye better / The hate of those ye guard” – Kipling warns and instructs,
he describes and invites. In his classic novel of 1847, Tancred – The New
Crusade, much celebrated British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli claims
“A Saxon race, protected by an insular position, has stamped its diligent
and methodic character of the century. And when a superior race, with a
superior idea to Work and Order, advances, its state will be progressive…All
is race!”8Quite an
intellectual acrobatics for Disraeli himself, who was neither Saxonic nor
Over the period, western Catholic missionaries constituted one of the most
powerful and influential lobbying voices for this civilizing mission. It was
of course weaponisation of religion, a notorious misuse for ideological
purposes. Same like today, fanatics then and there, were identified,
manipulated and further radicalised, to say ’inspired’. In that time Europe,
they would have usually got hired as the AGITPROP – an Ideological police by
the predatory elites which hid behind the Feudal European states.
justifications were looked upon in any Biblical narrative. E.g. the
re-invoking the Genesis story of Noah’s three sons, and interpreting it as
the ‘duty’ of Japheth (Europe) to absorb Shem (Asians) and enslave and
colonise Ham or Canaan (Black Africa and Indianos of America). Amazingly,
according to Genesis ch.9, verse 27: “God shall enlarge Japheth and he shall
dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant”.9
(While Europe was to face a holocaust of 30-years War among essentially
Rimo-Catholic Christians, “Asians commercial and cosmopolitan cities formed
a network of hubs spanning numerous multi-ethnic and multilingual empires” –
says Parag Khanna.)
The later Protestant
revival infused the next wave of Christian missionaries to force this
narrative into the matrix of colonisation as ‘wilful’ implants onto the
minds and bodies of overseas peoples. Therefore, James Lorrimer and other
architects of that-time political and international legal order divided the
world in three segments: civilized White, barbarous Yellow and savage Black.
Yellowswere ‘fallen people’, inhabiting a terra infantilis,
bound to civilize (what will later evolve into indirect rule, with a social
apartheid in place). The area occupied by the Blacks, Redbonesand Aborigine
was a ‘borderless space’, terra nulliusjust to conquer and
settle, since the indigenous have no ‘birthright’ to it (meaning: physical
colonisation and direct rule, displacement final solution and genocide).
Even the champion of European rationalism, Max Weber, divinised Europe:
“Protestant Reformation and the Protestant ethic it spurred played a key
role in facilitating the rise of modern industrial society in Western
Europe.” Before him, the world’s most famous egalitarian, Karl Marx – who
sow nations and states not as a statistical reality but as a revolutionary
cause – was not so enthusiastic in preaching the proletarian revolution
beyond the narrow western world. In Marx’s writings, Revolution is reserved
for the advanced peoples (that even excludes the eastern European Slavs),
and is not meant for those civilisationally behind.
Nevertheless, the unfinished business of ‘salvation of
the world’ came back home; to Europe of the 20thcentury. Hitler’s interpretation of it was: civilized
White(Arian) – Central Europe;
Yellows(fated for indirect rule,
with ‘only’ social apartheid in place) – Atlantic and Scandinavian Europe;
Blacks(whose territory is
predestined for a physical colonisation by the superior race upon a decisive
final solution and genocide) – all Slavic states of Eastern and Russophone
Indeed, ever since the 18thcentury on, European notion that ‘civilization’ was the
monopoly of the West, clearly implied that there is no civilization – and
therefore, salvation – outside the western model.11To comply fully with
this new myth, the civilizational late comer from the geographic suburbia –
actually a remote peninsular northerly extension of the huge Asian
continental mass – started calling itself an Old Continent.Historian Toynbee
calls it “a secularized version of the primitive Western Christian
proposition Nemini salus …nisi in Ecclesia.” See for yourself how
much current debates, sparked by the ongoing refugee crisis, follow the
Prof. Anis H Bajrektarevicis chairperson and professor in international law and
global political studies, Vienna, Austria. He has authored six books (for
American and European publishers) and numerous articles on, mainly,
geopolitics energy and technology. Professor is
editor of the NY-based GHIR (Geopolitics, History and Intl. Relations)
journal, and editorial board member of several similar specialized magazines
on three continents.
His 7thbook is just realised in New York.
Kabani, R. (1994), Imperial Fictions: Europe's Myths of Orient,
Brading, D.A. (1991), The
First America: the Spanish Monarchy, Creole Patriots, and the Liberal
Cambridge University Press, (pages 80-88)
A. (1971), The
Controversy between Sepúlveda and Las Casas in the Junta of Valladolid,
The Northern Illinois University Press, (pages 280-282)
Toynbee, A. J. (1934-61),
A Study of History, Vol
VII:Universal States; Universal Churches (Oxford University Press 1954) and Vol XII:
(Oxford University Press 1961)
McBrien, R. (2000),
Lives of the Popes,
Harper San Francisco
Wright, L. (2006),
The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11,
First Vintage Books
Kipling, R. (1899),
The White Man’s Burden: The United States and The Philippine Islands,
NY 2(99) McClure’s Magazine, (reprint, 1934)
Disraeli, B. (1847), Tancred: Or the New Crusade (Complete),
Echo Library August 28, 2007)
Khana, P. (2019),
The Future is Asian,
Simon & Schuster
Curtain, P.D. (1984),
Cross-Cultural Trade in World History,
Cambridge University Press
Abu-Lughod, J. L. (1989),
Before European Hegemony,
Oxford: Oxford University Press
Lorimer, J. (1880), The
Institutes of Law: a Treatise of the Principles of Jurisprudence as
Determined by Nature (2 ed.),Edinburgh – London: William
Blackwood & Sons (retrieved
via Archive.org as of 14102018)
Wolf, E. R. (1982),
Europe and the People Without History,
Berkeley: University of California Press
Hobson, J.M. (2004),
The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization,
Cambridge University Press
Manning, P. (1996),
Slave Trades, 1500-1800: Globalization of Forced Labour(Variorium:
Aldershot, UK). Volume 15 of An
edited by A. J. Russell-Wood. (ed. and introduction).
Acemoglu, D. and Robinson, J.A. (2012),
Why Nations Fail,
Crown Business (Random House) NY
Harari, Y.N. (2018),
21 Lessons for the 21st
Penguin – Random House UK
Delantry, G. (1995),
London, Macmillan (p.84)
From WWI to www.,
Addleton Academic Publishers, New York
Palacio, A. (2016), Europe on the
Sidelines, Project Syndicate (13 Feb 2016, pg.27).
German Biology Book of 1942 (Biology
for the Middle School, For 5th Grade Girls; chapter: The Laws of
Nature and Humanity)
We have established that all creatures, plants as well as
animals, are in a constant battle for survival. Plants crowd into the area
they need to grow. Every plant that fails to secure enough room and light
must necessarily die. Every animal that does not secure sufficient territory
and guard it against other predators, or lacks the necessary strength and
speed or caution and cleverness will fall prey to its enemies… The battle
for existence is hard and unforgiving, but is the only way to maintain life.
This struggle eliminates everything that is unfit for life, and selects
everything that is able to survive. Mankind,
too, is subject to these natural laws, and has won its dominant position
through struggle. Our Führer tells us:
He who wants to live must fight, and he who does not want to fight in this
world of perpetual struggle does not deserve to live!” (Mein Kampf,
life form strives to ensure the survival of its species… The number of
offspring must be greater than the number of the parents if the species is
to survive (law of the larger number of offspring). Each species strives to
conquer new territory. Here, too, we can recall the Führer’s words: The
goal of female education must be to prepare them for motherhood.(Mein Kampf,p. 460)
These natural laws are incontrovertible; Those who resist them will be wiped
out. Biology not only tells us about animals and plants, but also shows us
the laws we must follow in our lives, and steels our wills to live and fight
according to these laws. The meaning of all life is struggle. Woe to him who
sins against this law. Our Führer reminds us: The world does not exist
for cowardly nations. (Mein Kampf,p. 105)
1Western animosities towards Russia that are constantly
here (with some short-lived exceptions during the Metternich post-Vienna
congress period, Bismarck chancellorship and Yeltsin dizzy years) are
escaping any rational explanation. The only possible logics to find is if
going back to the moment of split of the Christian Church, mid XI century.
That is the time when the Roman curia decided to compete with Constantinople
by organising the invading tribes in Europe for its ‘civilising’ mission
(read: geostrategic ends), alongside the parallel process that have started
with the Russophones undertaking a similar mission in the norther and north
eastern portions of Eurasia. Two parallel ‘civilising’ missions, competing
over concept and territories for centuries.
2Transferring the official seat of the Roman Empire to
Bosporus marked far more than just an event of the peripheral maturity;
periphery pressing onto the centre. It meant that – at the peak times of the
Milan’s Edict of Constantin the Great – the peripheral power successfully
relocated itself closer to the centre; ideologically (metaphysically,
religiously) but also geopolitically (physically, geographically). Not to
insert itself (like during the subsequent Crusaders), but to transcend. That
is a real meaning of the transfer of imperial capital from Rome to Bosporus
once for good. This will be the first and the last such a successful move
from Europe, in human history. With this adjustment – past its failed
European experiment, Roman Empire returned to its origins; Balkans and the
Middle East, which extended the Empire’s life impressively – for over 1,000
3For centuries, it follows the same matrix: doctrinated/induced
inferiority, denouncing, attack, marginalization, passivation, plunder,
indirect rule, remote control presence. Or, reduced to a binary code
formula: victimisation-criminalisation. Namely: humanitarian intervention.
4E.g. Cecil Rhodes, the 19th
century British businessman and the architect of Apartheid, used to say that
to be born an Englishman was to have ‘won first prize in the lottery of
life’. He is also remembered of the following: “I contend that we are the
first race in the world, and that the more of the world we inhabit the
better it is for the human race.” Large part of colonial Africa was called
after his name – Rhodesia, until rather recently, 1979.
5Small surprise that the 43rd
US President (un)famously claimed: ‘you are either with us or against us’.
His father, the 41st
US President, viewed the Cold War and summarised its epilogue effectively:
‘We win, they lose’. For the Atlantist’s world all should be Kierkegaardian either-or, a binary choice.
6To this end: Inventive, proactive, scientific, rational,
disciplined, sell-controlled/self-constraining, sane, sensible, practical,
‘mind-oriented’, independent, and most of all paternal West. The East, of
course, was on the opposite side and inferior: imitative, passive,
superstitious, lazy, irrational, spontaneous, insane, emotional, exotic,
body-oriented, dependent, and above all, child-like. Tall, matured
‘masculinity’ vs. immature and physically underdeveloped ‘femininity’. The
masculine phallus of military, industry, technology, shipping and trade that
is welcomed, if not heartedly invited, to tap and drill the womb-like dwell
of resources, while at the same time seeding the ideological semen of
7To this very day, most of the so-called
Multinational/Cross-continental Trade Pacts are closer to the capitulation
agreements (like those that Britain imposed on China after the Opium Wars)
than to any fair, balanced and mutually beneficial commercial accords. Their
stipulations are regularly kept away from public eyes. When was the last
time you have seen one of them publicly available? No wonder, what a popular
language of today calls barriers to trade
are in fact the remaining socio-economic sovereign rights and other rarefied
instruments of nation’s well-being that these Trade Pacts are derogating. “By
hook or by crook” – as the
Dutch East India Company
formulated it in its XVII century business model moto.
8The novel itself is named after the Norman leader of the
First European Crusades, that later became the Prince of Galilee, and regent
of the satellite Europe’s state on the territory of today’s Syria and Turkey
poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want.
But you will not always have me…” /Mark 14:7-9 (NIV) New International
Version/ was a Biblical verse, allegedly spelled out by Jesus from Nazareth.
It was among most quoted and misused lines – as to justify Europocentrism,
exceptionalism and institutionalisation of inequality which then and there
have started its global conquest.
10To illustrate a centuries-long residual climate of
jingoism, later conceptualised and postulated as the European ideology of
Biologism, let us quote the III Reich’s Biology schoolbook: “The meaning of
all life is struggle. Woe to him who sins against this law. Our Führer
reminds us: ’He who wants to live must fight, and he who does not want to
fight in this world of perpetual struggle does not deserve to live!’ (Mein
Kampf, p. 317) Hence, ‘the world does not exist for cowardly nations’. (Mein
Kampf, p. 105).” (For the full quote see appendix: Biology for the Middle School, The 5th Grade Girls;
chapter: The Laws of Nature and Humanity,
Textbook of 1942)
11The Spirit of Laws
and other writings of Montesquieu were the most decisive influencers on the
French revolutionaries, Jacobins and Napoleon himself. In the hands of
French revolutionaries, Buonaparte and later his own nephew – Napoleon III,
the Montesquieu’s teaching shaped the administrative and legal order of
Europe up to this very day. How did Montesquieu see Europe and the world?
Well, Montesquieu registered the geographic regularity in prosperity and
poverty concentration. His explanation to it was the geography hypothesis:
that people in tropical climates tended to be ‘lazy and to lack
inquisitiveness.’ Consequently, they didn’t work hard, were not innovative,
which ultimately led them to poverty. Montesquieu further speculated that
lazy people tended to be ruled by despots – due to their tropical location –
a political phenomenon linked with economic failure, and harsh primitive
APRIL 21, 2019
Other Side of the Mirror
An “inventor, startup guru, conceptualist and CEO”
hangs out at the world’s four-day power lunch
Pia Victoria Poppenreiter
has been a couple of months since I was hanging out in Davos
learning about this year’s World Economic Forum. Perhaps I have a
unique view, because I am the founder of Peppr and Ohlala, described
as “the one dating app where everyone’s intentions are very clear.”
and the person said to be responsible for the #escortgate
controversy, in which paid escorts showed up at one of the world’s
most exclusive investor conferences in Berlin in 2016. I am also the
author of the statement that “We
all have sex work to do,” I follow up on all conversations
related to escorting and sex work, which I deliberately call “paid
I have been following up on the conversations ever since: about
world leaders said to be not acting as role models (or acting as bad
role models), about the hypocrisy over sustainability, philanthropic
models or the proposals to adjust taxes for the wealthier among us
to secure a basic standard of living for all, a conversation the
ones directly affected seemed to be avoiding.
Davos, as we know, brings together so many of the world’s most
powerful leaders – parleys occur, deals are made and opportunities
appear that likely don’t ever arise elsewhere. And among these deal
makers are people whose drive takes other avenues.
As one woman
was quoted as saying: “It’s the kind of place where if a woman
turns away to exit a conversation and looks back just quickly
enough, she’ll find her posterior aesthetic being carefully
dissected by the man who just asked her for her business card — even
if he is the CEO of a major bank. When we weren’t being asked how we
got here, we were constantly being stared up and down by CEOs, hedge
fund managers, finance ministers and embassy heads.”
However, I am still a bit confused about the opinionated statements
that were going on this year after Davos. It’s the same debates and
thoughts we had around #escortgate. I have been wondering how to
productively progress the conversation around this morally,
emotionally loaded topic, because clearly we are running around in
What I have seen is a whole lot of personal, subjective judgments of
people sometimes labeled as “escorts” and how they are not supposed
to be around in places like Davos. I had hoped for a more deliberate
thought-through conversation, a dialogue, but mostly what I read
stigmatizes and judges people on their very personal choices and
agreements: how they want (or have to — as most of us do) to make
money, to afford a living.
“I don’t want to be mistaken for a prostitute”
You might wonder which conversations or statements I was so confused
existence of escorts at the Forum, by a young woman named
“And then I heard the whispers of what happens at night, at the
parties, in the hotel lobbies and at the famous Piano Bar where it
was an unspoken understanding that some men ‘took off their wedding
rings.’ Almost all my male colleagues commented on the presence of
female escorts at these venues, many of which were guest-list only,
or required a hotel badge to access. A quick online search displayed
a number of articles confirming that the existence of and easy
access to escorts at Davos is nothing new, and what for some
delegates, could be a strong motivator to attend.” Statement found
Demand creates supply. It’s as simple as that and from an economic
standpoint, I do understand wo/men going there to seek business, in
any sense. Also, on that particular one.
However, I wonder: What is so bad about the “existence of and easy
access of escorts” in the first place? Why shouldn’t there be men or
women who get paid to date at the World Economic Forum? If it’s
true, maybe some men took off rings because they are in an open
marriage? Why would you care about someone else’s choice? (Unless
you are the wife of that person and you have a personal private
agreement to stay physically faithful and not take the ring off.)
In Switzerland, at least, if there really were some men or women
paid to have sex, it would be legal and regulated — not even a
breach of law. For me, these workers should be as much part of the
conversation as anyone else in Davos.
Actually, given the current political environment in the US around
the topic of sex work, they should definitely be part of the
conversations, because this industry screams: “Please reinvent me
and improve circumstances for those who are not protected. Make it
safer for everyone involved.”
What else has been subject of the realm on feeling “unsafe” or
“discriminated” at Davos.
I look and check bodies all the time myself, with men and women. I
can appreciate a beautiful person without having the urge to hook
up. We do check out people all the time — on Instagram and Facebook.
But we are not allowed to look in real life? Everyone does it.
Recently, I have found myself with other people in the office
kitchen wondering how cute the new intern is. #Wetoo do it.
Third quote about warnings regarding sexual
“At the Davos opening Women’s Reception, with some male allies in
attendance, I asked a question: Why is it that in 2019, young female
delegates are forewarned about sexual harassment — as if it’s our
responsibility to protect ourselves — but the delegates themselves
aren’t given training on how (or why) not to harass? There was no
answer, other than a murmuring recognition that it was a known
issue: many of the women who attended in past years had personal
experience of sexual harassment.”
What is actually sexual harassment? Can we come up with a
definition? Does sexual harassment go both ways? Where does it
start? Where to draw the line?
There is always two sides of the story and I feel like, in the realm
of the “gender narrative debate” (certain traits assigned to genders
because of a gender), we need to let both parties speak in order to
find a common ground. What one attempt-to-hit-on-someone finds okay,
another may feel totally offended.
Of course we could be confused anyway. Every third relationship
evolves in a work-related context. So that means, including these
events, it could be a dating market as well, right? Personally, 90
percent of my time, I am surrounded by people with whom I somehow
work together. The chances that I meet someone that I want to
partner up with is high. So naturally, events like this also create
a space where I might get to know someone for a night, maybe more.
I understand, there are certain limits: If someone runs up to
someone during the day time event in a straightforward business
context and does a pussy or penis grab (Presidential style?), I
understand negative sentiment. But if people (yes, men AND women)
hit on each other in a Piano Bar to romantic music at 2 in the
morning, after a couple of glasses of wine or even four gin and
tonics, where people go to hang loose and left the laptop in their
hotel room, you cannot possibly be surprised that this is happening.
Again, it goes both ways. We all forget our manners sometimes, when
we are drunk (or high, or whatever). On a personal note: The most
aggressive hit on me ever was by a drunken woman, not a man.
“I think about what I wear more because there are a lot of
prostitutes in Davos, especially at the Piano Bar,” one woman said,
referencing the popular late-night hot spot. “I don’t want to be
mistaken for a prostitute.”
When we gender mainstream almost everything, even adjust anthems of
countries, toilet signs, why don’t we just get rid of that
particular word too? Or best: all of them: escort, prostitute,
whore. Those devaluating terms are connected directly to women. We
will not evolve in any of the conversations if we use preconceived
terms. We need to let go of these terms. When we talk empowerment,
we need to empower all women (or people in general). That certainly
includes also those who get paid to date.
I would like to start proposing a couple of solutions and quick
fixes. Here are some ideas that I would like to propose as to how to
progress in this entire discussion:
Power of perception: Could you, instead looking down toward
this type of entrepreneur, take it as a compliment? Flip the
coin. Be bold and brave. So what? Maybe that person misread the
signs? If he/she thinks you want to be paid to date: just say.
‘No, I don’t‘. This way you are still respecting other people,
especially women who do this — as a personal choice entering
into an agreement — and you maintain your own integrity. Problem
solved. That I find acting out of a position of power, instead
of victimizing yourself.
Let’s stop gender blaming! People can have female and male
traits. This makes the whole gender debate almost irrelevant.
This is “how men are” or this is “how women are” is simply
stereotyping our way to further separation. Even the Davos
Vanity Fair – as my legendary professor Anis H. Bajrektarevic
calls the WEF – advocates the gender neutrality.
This whole finger pointing and mansplaining doesn’t solve anything
but create negative sentiment because we simply sometimes don’t know
anymore as to how to behave in certain contexts. I feel like the
whole dynamic is ruled by fear, as to what we are not supposed to
do, instead of relearning how we can handle each other in certain
contexts. Reframe it in a positive way. Look at it as a chance or
And it goes both ways, this #metoo. We have to find a common ground
towards a #wetoo. From he said, he did, she said, she did. We need
to evolve to a “#wetoo are going to solve this together.”
3. Education is key. We need proper training of all sorts on how to
handle each other. Why not invest in our (work) relationships?
Maybe we need to elaborate a guideline. We could design a new sort
of “Knigge” or a Code of Conduct on how to behave in a work-related
context. This could help navigate through some uncertainties,
especially if cultures vary across borders and continents.
Or maybe even a defense class to train people for difficult
situations. For example: I had a compulsory defense class in middle
school. We were trained by really big guys to defend ourselves. The
impact in my life? I always feel/felt safe, because though I might
be physically inferior, I know some really important tricks. It gave
me a lifelong confidence. Maybe that’s what we all have to learn at
the end of the day: articulate our intentions properly and (be able
to) show the limits.
Imagine a world, free from personal judgement, where “it” would be
decriminalized. People active in this field could seek help if they
needed it and would pay taxes. The proceeds of the taxes could be
used to combat negative forces within this market.
That for me, is a desirable future. One I would like to help shape.
What do you think?
Davos: The Other Side of the Mirror
An “inventor, startup guru, conceptualist and CEO” hangs out at the
world’s four-day power lunch
Pia Victoria Poppenreiter
APRIL 21, 2019
The Sino-US Trade War – Why China can’t win it
Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic
our history only appear overheated, but is essentially calmly
predetermined? Is it directional or conceivable, dialectic and
eclectic or cyclical, and therefore cynical? Surely, our history
warns. Does it also provide for a hope? Hence, what is in front
of us: destiny or future?
One of the biggest (nearly schizophrenic) dilemmas of
liberalism, ever since David Hume and Adam Smith, was an insight
into reality; whether the world is essentially Hobbesian
or Kantian. As postulated, the main task of any liberal
state is to enable and maintain wealth of its nation, which of
course rests upon wealthy individuals inhabiting the particular
state. That imperative brought about another dilemma: if wealthy
individual, the state will rob you, but in absence of it,
the pauperized masses will mob you. The invisible hand
of Smith’s followers have found the satisfactory answer –
sovereign debt. That ‘invention’ meant: relatively strong
central government of the state. Instead of popular control
through the democratic checks-&-balances mechanism, such a state
should be rather heavily indebted. Debt – firstly to local
merchants, than to foreigners – is a far more powerful
deterrent, as it resides outside the popular check domain. With
such a mixed blessing, no empire can easily demonetize
its legitimacy, and abandon its hierarchical but invisible and
unconstitutional controls. This is how a debtor empire was born.
A blessing or totalitarian curse? Let us briefly examine it.
The Soviet Union – much as (the pre-Deng’s) China itself – was
far more of a classic continental military empire (overtly
brutal; rigid, authoritative, anti-individual, apparent,
secretive), while the US was more a financial-trading empire
(covertly coercive; hierarchical, yet asocial, exploitive,
pervasive, polarizing). On opposite sides of the globe and
cognition, to each other they remained enigmatic, mysterious and
incalculable: Bear of permafrost vs. Fish of the
warm seas. Sparta vs. Athens. Rome vs. Phoenicia… However,
common for the both was a super-appetite for omnipresence. Along
with the price to pay for it.
Consequently, the Soviets went bankrupt by mid 1980s – they
cracked under its own weight, imperially overstretched. So did
the Americans – the ‘white man burden’ fractured them already by
the Vietnam war, with the Nixon shock only officializing
it. However, the US imperium managed to survive and to outlive
the Soviets. How? The United States, with its financial capital
(or an outfoxing illusion of it), evolved into a debtor empire
through the Wall Street guaranties. Titanium-made Sputnik
vs. gold mine of printed-paper… Nothing epitomizes this better
than the words of the longest serving US Federal Reserve’s boss,
Alan Greenspan, who famously said to then French President
Jacques Chirac: “True, the dollar is our currency, but your
problem”. Hegemony vs. hegemoney.
Conventional economic theory teaches us that money is a
universal equivalent to all goods. Historically, currencies were
a space and time-related, to say locality-dependent. However,
like no currency ever before, the US dollar became – past the
WWII – the universal equivalent to all other moneys of the
world. According to history of currencies, the core component of
the non-precious metals money is a so-called promissory note –
intangible belief that, by any given point of future, a
particular shiny paper (self-styled as money) will be smoothly
exchanged for real goods.
Thus, roughly speaking, money is nothing else but a
civilizational construct about imagined/projected tomorrow –
that the next day (which nobody has ever seen in the history of
humankind, but everybody operates with) definitelly comes (i),
and that this tomorrow will certainly be a better day then our
yesterday or even our today (ii).
This and similar types of social contracts (horizontal and
vertical) over the collective constructs hold society together
as much as its economy keeps it alive and evolving. Hence, it is
money that powers economy, but our blind faith in (constructed)
tomorrows and its alleged certainty is what empowers money.
Clearly, the universal equivalent of all equivalents – the US
dollar – follows the same pattern: Strong and widely accepted
promise. What does the US dollar promise when there is no gold
cover attached to it ever since the time of Nixon shock of 1971?
Pentagon promises that the oceanic sea lines will remain opened
(read: controlled by the US Navy), pathways unhindered, and that
the most traded world’s commodity – oil, will be delivered. So,
it is not a crude or its delivery what is a cover to the US
dollar – it is a promise that oil of tomorrow will be
deliverable. That is a real might of the US dollar, which in
return finances Pentagon’s massive expenditures and shoulders
Admired and feared, Pentagon further fans our planetary belief
in tomorrow’s deliverability – if we only keep our faith in
dollar (and hydrocarbons’ energized economy), and so on and on
in perpetuated circle of mutual reinforcements.
These two pillars of the US might from the East coast (the US
Treasury/Wall Street and Pentagon) together with the two pillars
of the West coast – both financed by the US dollar and spread
through the open sea-lanes (Silicone Valley and Hollywood), are
an essence of the US posture.
This very nature of power explains why the Americans have missed
to take our mankind into completely other direction; towards the
non-confrontational, decarbonized, de-monetized/de-financialized
and de-psychologized, the self-realizing and green humankind. In
short, to turn history into a moral success story. They had such
a chance when, past the Gorbachev’s unconditional surrender of
the Soviet bloc, and the Deng’s Copernicus-shift of China, the
US – unconstrained as a lonely superpower – solely
dictated terms of reference; our common destiny and direction/s
to our future/s.
rarely a game-changer
Sadly enough, that was not the first missed opportunity for the
US to soften and delay its forthcoming, imminent
multidimensional imperial retreat. The very epilogue of the WWII
meant a full security guaranty for the US: Geo-economically –
54% of anything manufactured in the world was carrying the
Made in USA label, and geostrategically – the US had
uninterruptedly enjoyed nearly a decade of the ‘nuclear
monopoly’. Up to this very day, the US scores the biggest number
of N-tests conducted, the largest stockpile of nuclear weaponry,
and it represents the only power ever deploying this ‘ultimate
weapon’ on other nation. To complete the irony, Americans enjoy
geographic advantage like no other empire before. Save the US,
as Ikenberry notes: “…every major power in the world lives in a
crowded geopolitical neighborhood where shifts in power
routinely provoke counterbalancing”. Look the map, at Russia or
China and their packed surroundings. The US is blessed with
neighboring oceans – all that should harbor tranquility, peace
and prosperity, foresightedness.
Why the lonely might, an empire by invitation did not
evolve into empire of relaxation, a generator of harmony?
Why does it hold (extra-judicially) captive more political
prisoners on Cuban soil than the badmouthed Cuban regime has
ever had? Why does it remain obsessed with armament for at home
and abroad? What are we talking about here – the inadequate
intensity of our confrontational push or about the
false course of our civilizational direction?
Indeed, no successful and enduring empire does merely rely on
coercion, be it abroad or at home. However, unable to escape its
inner logics and deeply-rooted appeal of confrontational
nostalgia, the prevailing archrival is only a winner, rarely
To sum up; After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Americans
accelerated expansion while waiting for (real or imagined)
adversaries to further decline, ‘liberalize’ and bandwagon
behind the US. Expansion is the path to security dictatum
only exacerbated the problems afflicting the Pax Americana.
That is how the capability of the US to maintain its order
started to erode faster than the capacity of its opponents to
challenge it. A classical imperial self-entrapment!! And the
repeated failure to notice and recalibrate its imperial retreat
brought the painful hangovers to Washington by the last
presidential elections. Inability to manage the rising costs of
sustaining the imperial order only increased the domestic
popular revolt and political pressure to abandon its ‘mission’
altogether. Perfectly hitting the target to miss everything else
* * * *
When the Soviets lost
their own indigenous ideological matrix and maverick
confrontational stance, and when the US dominated West missed to
triumph although winning the Cold War, how to expect from the
imitator to score the lasting moral or even a momentary economic
Neither more confrontation and more carbons nor more weaponized
trade and traded weapons will save our day. It failed in past,
it will fail again any given day.
Interestingly, China opposed the I World, left the II in rift,
and ever since Bandung of 1955 it neither won over nor joined
the III Way. Today, many see it as a main contestant. But, where
is a lasting success?
Greening international relations along with greening of economy
(geopolitical and environmental understanding, de-acidification
and relaxation) is the only way out. Historically, no global
leader has ever emerged from a shaky and distrustful
neighborhood, or by offering little bit more of the same in lieu
of an innovative technological advancement. Ergo, it all starts
from within, from at home. Without support from a home base,
there is no game changer. China’s home is Asia.
Hence, it is not only a new, non-imitative, turn of technology
what is needed. Without truly and sincerely embracing mechanisms
such as the NaM, ASEAN and SAARC (eventually even the OSCE) and
the main champions of multilateralism in Asia, those being India
Indonesia and Japan first of all, China has no future of what is
planetary awaited – the third force, a game-changer, lasting and
trusted global leader.
Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic,
Vienna, 31 MAR 2019
Author is chairperson and professor in international law and
global political studies, Vienna, Austria. He has authored six
books (for American and European publishers) and numerous
articles on, mainly, geopolitics energy and technology.
Professor is editor of the NY-based GHIR (Geopolitics, History
and Intl. Relations) journal,
and editorial board member of several similar specialized
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