The Silver Story - The existing global economic dynamics


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Van de 13e tot de 16e eeuw handelden Kilwa-kooplieden in goud, zilver, parels, parfums, Arabisch servies, Perzisch aardewerk en Chinees porselein. Chinees porselein bleef een ruilmiddel tot ver na de introductie van het monetaire systeem in de stad Kilwa. Source: unesco.


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Located on two islands close to each other just off the Tanzanian coast about km south of Dar es Salaam are the remains of two port cites, Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara. The larger, Kilwa Kisiwani, was occupied from the 9th to the 19th century and reached its peak of prosperity in the13th and 14th centuries. In , the great traveler, Ibn Battouta made a stop here and described Kilwa as one of the most beautiful cities of the world. Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara were Swahili trading cities and their prosperity was based on control of Indian Ocean trade with Arabia, India and China, particularly between the 13th and 16th centuries, when gold and ivory from the hinterland was traded for silver, carnelians, perfumes, Persian faience and Chinese porcelain.

Kilwa Kisiwani minted its own currency in the 11th to 14th centuries. In the 16th century, the Portuguese established a fort on Kilwa Kisiwani and the decline of the two islands began. The remains of Kilwa Kisiwani cover much of the island with many parts of the city still unexcavated. The substantial standing ruins, built of coral and lime mortar, include the Great Mosque constructed in the 11th century and considerably enlarged in the 13th century, and roofed entirely with domes and vaults, some decorated with embedded Chinese porcelain; the palace Husuni Kubwa built between c and with its large octagonal bathing pool; Husuni Ndogo, numerous mosques, the Gereza prison constructed on the ruins of the Portuguese fort and an entire urban complex with houses, public squares, burial grounds, etc.

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The ruins of Songo Mnara, at the northern end of the island, consist of the remains of five mosques, a palace complex, and some thirty-three domestic dwellings constructed of coral stones and wood within enclosing walls. The islands of Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara bear exceptional testimony to the expansion of Swahili coastal culture, the lslamisation of East Africa and the extraordinarily extensive and prosperous Indian Ocean trade from the medieval period up to the modern era.

Criterion iii : Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara provide exceptional architectural, archaeological and documentary evidence for the growth of Swahili culture and commerce along the East African coast from the 9th to the 19th centuries, offering important insights regarding economic, social and political dynamics in this region. The Great Mosque of Kilwa Kisiwani is the oldest standing mosque on the East African coast and, with its sixteen domed and vaulted bays, has a unique plan. Its true great dome dating from the 13th was the largest dome in East Africa until the 19th century. The key attributes conveying outstanding universal value are found on the islands of Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara.

Already Afghanistan is being enthusiastically advertised as a laboratory for testing weaponry, like the Gulf was previously.

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New equipment-"smarter bombs, more sensitive surveillance systems and more sophisticated communication networks"-is to "supply the troops with better information, precision and speed" Feder, The war on terrorism coincides with a programme of "force transformation" centred on rebuilding the American military around information technology and phasing out big weapon systems; this is variously described as modernization towards a capabilities-based, entrepreneurial approach Rumsfeld, and "a revolution in warfare" Dao and Revkin, The war on terrorism bridges these objectives and thus creates a bipartisan framework of consensus.

The Bush administration has adopted an aggressive unilateralism "if you are not with us you are against us" , largely bypassing international institutions such as the United Nations UN and UN Security Council. In November Dick Cheney warned that the United States could take action against 40 to 50 countries, with Somalia and Iraq then top of the list. The Nuclear Posture Review of Congress released in early adds preemptive nuclear strikes to the arsenal of deterrence.

In late spring the Bush administration has formally taken the war to an offensive stage by announcing preemptive strikes; by summer the target was narrowed down to Iraq. Forks in the road The war on terrorism raises short term and long term problems and problems that are internal and external to the United States.

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A short-term problem is that Israel's invasion of the West Bank stole the thunder from the American war on terrorism. Israel's war on terrorism took the form of a reoccupation and devastation of a defenseless people who had been occupied for 35 years already, in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions and international law during most of this time.

The overt rationale of Israel's invasion of Palestine is clearly absurd: destroy the "terrorist infrastructure" while "suicide bombs" are a low-tech weapon of despair; destroy the Palestinian security forces while urging them to contain terrorism; and devastate the civilian infrastructure under the pretext of defence against terror.

The implications are absurd: Palestinian infrastructures have been largely funded by the EU, US and international agencies and have been destroyed with American weapons and blessings.

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The bravery of Palestinians may add up to this: that after Jenin the US war on terrorism has been derailed for the time being and its legitimacy has evaporated. The attempts to bring Iraq back into the picture funding families of suicide bombers in Palestine and supplying the "terrorist infrastructure" and thus linking the US and Israeli war on terrorism backfired by placing them on the same moral footing, in a frame of international war crimes.

Attempts to bring Iraq's weapons of mass destruction back into the picture appear thin, also considering that they had been supplied by the United States in the first place during Iraq's war against Iran. The resemblance between US and Israeli policies is not occasional. Both share a Goliath complex in relying almost exclusively on force as a solution to their perceived problems; this leads to the suspicion that some problems may be manufactured to justify a war policy and machinery that has become an end in itself. That different factions in American military circles endorse divergent strategic principles in reaction to the threat of terrorism presents another kind of problem.

This approach matches the Nazi Blitzkrieg, the swift application of full military means to achieve rapid victory. Proportionate violence is one of the principles underlying just war; Overwhelming Force or unrestrained force is far removed from proportionate. Current American military doctrine frequently refers to the Blitzkrieg as a shining example for the modernization of the US military Rumsfeld, This type of approach privileges hierarchical centralized command.

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RAND analysts advocate a strategy of "netwar", or "fight networks with networks". This analysis argues that Al Qaeda "holds advantages at the organizational, doctrinal and social levels" Arquilla and Ronfeldt, a: This approach follows the American tradition of low intensity conflict and privileges decentralized command.

Underlying the tension between centralized and decentralized command is an overall contradiction between structures of hierarchy and dynamics of modernization. Here technology functions as a "silver bullet" approach to security risk. The hierarchical command structure, however, is out of synch with knowledge-intensive force transformation, a problem that also beset earlier attempts to modernize the US armed forces.

US policies and their ramifications for allies and foes raise further problems from the point of view legality and security. The new policy of preemptive strikes "could amount to ultimate unilateralism, because it reserves the right to determine what constitutes a threat to American security and to act even if that threat is judged imminent" Sanger, Based, essentially, on the threat of weapons of mass destruction, which is in turn based on classified information, the rationale for war is unaccountable; it is the preserve of closed-door committees releasing allegations.


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  • Any unruly country or government can be targeted. The allegation of harbouring or assisting terrorism, possessing or manufacturing weapons of mass destruction is of a type that only intelligence agencies can monitor and assess. Meanwhile, the investigator, rapporteur, prosecutor, judge and executioner are a single entity. While the talk is of a "common security policy", in matters like this there are no independent sources of information. International terrorism is a crime and a matter of law enforcement, not military operations a pointed argument is Boyle, A country seeking extradition of a criminal must produce evidence.

    The definition of terrorism is contentious. Terrorism bills in the US and United Kingdom, the curtailment of civil liberties, suppression of dissent, illegal detention of suspects of Middle Eastern descent in the US and secret military tribunals for terrorism suspects, compound the situation. International law is a major avenue toward stabilizing international affairs. In brief, without legality, there is no legitimacy; and without legitimacy, there is no security. Hence weakening international legality means weakening security.

    The war on terrorism gives governments a green light to use violent means to suppress crossborder and domestic challenges. The attractions of this paradigm do not go unnoticed by other governments. The policy of preemptive strikes may raise the stakes further: "Israel could use it to justify harder strikes into Palestinian territory; India could use it to preempt any Pakistani nuclear capability; China could use it justify an attack on Taiwan" Sanger, It may also prompt preemptive strikes by opponents.

    This may open the door to widening international anarchism. While actual US policy is one of temporary plug-in plug-out alliances Nederveen Pieterse, a , the official US response is to formulate a common security policy for the great powers-Europe, Russia, China, Japan Sanger, But each of these envisions different threats and opportunities, and the policy of "ultimate unilateralism" undermines the very political and legal basis that the United States seeks to fashion. If the war against terrorism extends to Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, and other countries a coalition may not hold.


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    • Already the Beirut proposal of Saudi and other Arab countries for peace in the region has drawn a line against US intervention in Iraq. Legality is a sensitive point in coalition politics too. European countries may not extradite terrorist suspects to the United States because of the US death penalty. Other central concerns are US Middle East policy and macroeconomic policy. This displaces the problem of American policies to a question of perceptions. Note the question of a young Pakistani: "How come Americans are so good at selling Coke and McDonald's to people all over the world, but can't sell their policies?

      Nothing short of a change in policies, then, will change this situation; yet US support for Israel is deeply anchored in American domestic politics.

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      Neoliberalism "The terrorist attacks on America were the Chernobyl of globalization', according to the German sociologist Ulrich Beck America's vulnerability is indeed much related to its political philosophy. Neoliberalism has always been a fair-weather philosophy, one that works only when there are no serious conflicts and crises". With the turn to war, states again take the front seat; Big Government is back also in the US.

      Once consumer confidence fades an economy driven by replacement demand and consumer spending on status goods, kept going by marketing mood-making, comes tumbling down like a house of cards. Confidence-and stock market gains-evaporate in a blink. Companies whose strategies appeared brilliant are exposed as overreaching, or even fraudulent, the moment times get tough" Stevenson, Global capitalism turns out to be as interconnected as network analysis has suggested and as vulnerable.

      In this war, Americans have been urged to go shopping.

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      If the insurance industry would not receive government support rates will increase, delaying economic recovery. Countries that have been lectured by Washington and the International Monetary Fund on economic sanity are surprised to learn that the US does not follow its own counsel. This may have lasting ripple effects, showing up the shallowness of neoliberal policy. That neoliberalism is crisis-prone rather than crisis-proof is no news in most of the world Asia, Latin America, Africa and Russia but a novel experience for the US.

      The Silver Story - The existing global economic dynamics The Silver Story - The existing global economic dynamics
      The Silver Story - The existing global economic dynamics The Silver Story - The existing global economic dynamics
      The Silver Story - The existing global economic dynamics The Silver Story - The existing global economic dynamics
      The Silver Story - The existing global economic dynamics The Silver Story - The existing global economic dynamics
      The Silver Story - The existing global economic dynamics The Silver Story - The existing global economic dynamics
      The Silver Story - The existing global economic dynamics The Silver Story - The existing global economic dynamics

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