About richarwb

I retired after 40 years in the international oil industry to write and to learn to play jazz on my bass flute. I published my first book - THE GULF "Reaping the whirlwind" in July 2012 and I am now working on a sequel GULF II " The Beginning of Sorrows". Heavy lifting - but someone needs to do it. I have a wife, two beautiful daughters and two wonderful grandkids, and I divide my time between Spain and Australia. Enough about me. My blog is not an ego trip.

Whatever happened to The Global Village

A few years ago it was the orthodoxy – the body of ideas that all right thinking people should adopt without question – to talk about the world as one big global village. Globalization a.k.a. Americanization would bring peace and prosperity, and universal Happyness.

Then came 9/11 – and then the GFC of 2008.

Nobody talks much about the Global Village any more, and DAVOS – the Olympus of the Gods of Globalization – was poorly attended this year.

When you reach your 80s, with a mind reasonably intact, then Karl Marx’s “History repeats itself, first time tragedy second time farce,” or the more elegant French saying, “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose,” resonate ever more strongly.

Do people remember these financial scandals of recent times?

– LOHNRO
– Investors Overseas Services
– Slater Walker
– BICC
– Icelandic Banks
– Societe General
– Barings Bank
– Northern Rock
– Lehman Brothers
– Bernie Madof
– Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac

And all the other nefarious dealings – and at times sheer incompetence – of the financial community? The unacceptable face of capitalism.

Or further back in time:

– The Great Depression of the 1930s

And even further back:

– The South Sea Bubble of 1720
– The Dutch Tulip Mania Bubble of 1636

And yet we continue to try and build a global society based on get-rich-quick speculative bubbles (a.k.a. financial derivatives and hedge funds) so that the filthy rich can get even filthier. There is currently about 8 times more out in paper than actual assets exist in the world. And if I have sparked your interest read Loretta Napoleoni’s excellent book ROGUE ECONOMICS for a more detailed and informed analysis.

Last year the wealth of the top 1% in the world increased by 18%, and the wealth of the bottom 50% decreased by 10%. I guess you could call that balance? Does anybody wonder why Trump, and BREXIT – and even ISIS (DAESH). These represent the backlash to the ruthless greed of the people who contribute nothing, merely seeking to make money from money, and ruin the lives of normal people. And of course they will fight endlessly to maintain their supremacy. Hence the howls of rage against Trump and Brexit.

My book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” concerns the flotsam and jetsam that washes up in The Arabian/Persian Gulf. Expatriate American and British workers who are victims of the West’s ruthless and heartless financial system. And my work in progress, GULF II “The Beginning of Sorrows” concerns one man ruined and brought to the end of his tether by the GFC, the Global Financial Crash of 2008.

You can review and buy my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” and its fictionalizations of real events in the Middle East at:

amazon.com

Or on my publisher’s website:

feedaread.com

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Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Australia’s bizarre decision to recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and reserve East Jerusalem for the Palestinians, pleased no one, and succeeded in antagonising everyone.

The Israelis claim the whole of Jerusalem as their own, and of course the Palestinians oppose this. And thinking of William Blake’s anthem JERUSALEM, that holy city resonates just as strongly in the Christian ethos. Think The Crusades and Richard Coeur de Lion.

Who would have thought that a remote desert oasis, whose reason for existence was a freshwater spring that never dried up, would become the focus for so much intellectual debate about the meaning of life and death – and brutal physical strife and the hatred of religious intolerance.

The background to my current work in progress, THE GULF “The Beginning of Sorrows” concerns itself with the long history of the Middle East, the Fertile Crescent, the cradle of our civilization, the Sumerians invention of writing and establishment of written law. And later the Silk Roads that brought exotic goods and ideas from the Far East. My current book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” is set on Bahrain as it transformed from a sleepy backwater of the British Empire into an independent nation state that acts as an interface between The West, and insular Saudi Arabia.

You can review and buy my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” and its fictionalizations of real events in the Middle East at:

amazon.com

Or on my publisher’s website:

http://www.feedaread.com

Emmanuel Macron’s Berlin Wall

Emanuel Macron, the naughty schoolboy with the Oedipus complex who the French elected as their President, said about Brexit:

“ (Britain will find out) . . . It is not easy to leave the EU . . . there are consequences.”

And then he went home to sit on Maman’s knee for his cupcake and a glass of Orangina.

What is he planning to do? How will he make good his threat? In order to curry favour with his German masters is he going to round-up as hostages the 155,000 British expatriates living, working and paying taxes in France? And then is he going to put them against the schoolyard wall and shoot them? Maman will surely buy him a Milice playsuit for his birthday?

Ah! Le silence de la Mère.

When the great Russian Revolution was failing in Eastern Europe, the East Germans built The Berlin Wall to keep their people in. It was not easy to leave – and there were consequences. You were machine gunned down if you tried.

The West responded with psychological warfare. West Germany in general, and West Berlin in particular, became outstanding symbols of capitalistic affluence, hedonism, and entitled Civil Libertarianism. The appeal, especially to the young, was irresistible – and The Wall came tumbling down. Macron is intelligent enough to know that after BREXIT, freed from the dead hand of bureaucratic Brussels and trading internationally the UK will become a beacon of affluence and entitlement, irresistible to the young.

When OPEC, dominated by the Arab Gulf States in general, and Saudi Arabia in particular, took over their crude oil assets, they raised the price 5 fold, and used their petro-dollar power base to promote a swing toward radical Wahhab Sunni Islam. It was similar to the revolution against the Shah by Shia Ayatollahs in Iran. Sunni and Shia clerics built a wall against The West by imposing stringent and puritanical limitations on their citizens. But The West ensured that Bahrain and Dubai became affluent, hedonistic and relatively liberal: accessible fleshpots to weaken the resolve of the people. And it is working. The walls are coming down.

Dubai, in just a few short years has become one of the most enterprising trading capitals of the World, ranking alongside New York, London, Singapore and Hong Kong. Bahrain lives in Dubai’s shadow as an international financial and tourist centre. But thousands of Saudis and their families cross the Causeway to Bahrain every weekend and taste Western freedoms.

My current work in progress, THE GULF “The Beginning of Sorrows” that concerns itself with the 2008 GFC (Global Financial Crisis) is centred on Dubai, because of its relevance as an international financial centre. But my current book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” is set on Bahrain as it transformed from a sleepy backwater of the British Empire into an independent nation state that acts as an interface between The West, and insular Saudi Arabia.

You can review and buy my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” and its fictionalizations of real events in the Middle East at:

amazon.com

Or on my publisher’s website:

feedaread.com

The Muppet Show – or Fiddling while Rome is Burning?

Right now the Australian government is in uproar and has yet again changed Prime Ministers. That’s 5 Prime Ministers (only two elected) in 8 years.

Is the reason for this?:

1) A Royal Commission has found evidence of widespread corruption and outright criminal activity in the banking and financial sector (what a surprise).
2) There is a huge and growing drug addiction crisis (The highest illegal drug usage per capita in the developed world). A 28% increase in consumption year on year 2016-17.
3) The state of NSW is in the throes of the worst drought in 100 years driving many farmers to the wall – and some to suicide.
The answer is none of the above.

The answer lies in the overriding concerns of politicians – their ego and their vanity. The ruling Liberal party was sinking rapidly in the polls because of their lack of action over the above problems – and a huge increases in the cost of living.

The patrician leader Malcolm Turnbull was replaced, and like Serena Williams, displayed a complete lack of class. He resigned from Parliament on the spot, handing a poisoned chalice to the incoming leader. He has to try and operate in Parliament without a majority.

And the man who first started the leadership challenge, Peter Dutton, is now being challenged and vindictively pursued because it is alleged that he, as Home Affairs Minister, let in a French and Italian Aupair in order to help his mates. All they did was babysit. Meanwhile there has been no satisfactory answer why the perpetrator of the Lindt Café Siege – an Iranian illegal immigrant with 36 counts of sexual assault, and one count of accessory to murder – was free to roam the streets on bail.

It is so bad, that one of the Opposition MPs has labelled parliament THE MUPPET SHOW, and wonders why he bothers to turn up such is the low level of debate.

Last year the main concerns of Parliament were Gay Marriage, with a very expensive and time consuming referendum, and the number of MPs who had dual nationality. They did absolutely no harm. There was no evidence that they were acting as agents for their Mother countries. But they were forced to resign on a technicality, causing a series of disruptive and expensive by-elections. It’s all part of the game. Huff and Puff and Ponce around to avoid the serious issues.

Fiddling while Rome is burning.
In the broader political context of the background to my new book GULF II “The Beginning of Sorrows” the starting point is a meeting of the “Great and The Good” that took place in Corfu. The occasion was the 40th birthday of Rupert Murdoch’s daughter, and her party attended by Lord Rothschild, David Cameron and George Osbourne, former UK Prime Minister and UK Chancellor, and Peter Mandelson, the right hand man of Tony Blair, the existing UK Prime Minister at that time.
One of the outcomes of that get together was Mandelson and Rothchild squabbling over a GBP 50K donation solicited from Oleg Deripasky the wealthiest Russian oligarch. He was also present on the island at that time.
And while squabbling over the petty cash none of these Masters of the Universe foresaw the GFC – the multi-billion dollar financial meltdown that would ruin the lives of millions of people – and expose the greed, the cynicism, the criminality and sheer incompetence of unbridled global laissez faire free market capitalists.
The overriding theme of my current book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, is that Western politicians have persisted in trying to make the Middle East conform to their view of how they think it should be – democratic, free market, capitalistic – a system that isn’t even working in The West. The calibre of our leaders has never been lower. It is time for another Oliver Cromwell. Or maybe we have found one in Donald Trump?

To quote Rudyard Kipling: “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”

You can review and buy my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” and its fictionalizations of real events in the Middle East at:

amazon.com

Or on my publisher’s website:

feedaread.com

The Glass Slipper – or Cake and Eat it effect

In a recent TV series that accurately depicted life in the UK in the recent past, one of the female characters said she was “Still waiting for the glass slipper.” She clung to the fairy tale romantic dream of a Prince Charming coming along to sweep her off her feet. In the meantime she cheated on her husband, and destroyed her marriage.

This adolescent, entitled, narcissistic dream typifies the state of denial that exists in Western Society. The belief that we are entitled to everything life can offer – and then more.

Here in Australia we have a female MP who is being investigated for abusing her staff, and her expense entitlements. Her defence is that she is a single Mother with 3 children, and needs her political staffers to babysit, and shop, and to use private limousine services to save time, so that she can do her job.

Sorry lady, you brought 3 children into the world, and that is your priority – not your political career. You cannot climb Everest, dive the Pacific depths, and sail single handed around the World – and still be home for tea. You can’t have your cake and eat it.

And on a global scale that is what is happening. An adolescent, Quixotic view prevails. Dreaming the impossible dream. Seeing the World as it ought to be (in your own egocentric opinion)- and reacting badly when having to deal with the world as it is. Donald Trump, for all his failings, sees the World as it is – and deals with it. And so do the Brexiteers, sick and tired of the Franco-German Axis trying to rule Europe.

Germany, having failed to dominate Europe by military might is consciously, or unconsciously, trying to dominate by financial might. And France, consciously or unconsciously, is collaborating (please read the book “Le Silence de La Mer” by Vercors).

The parallels with the 1930s are alarming. A global financial meltdown, followed by civic unrest, and the rise of right wing nationalism. All because of Germany’s overriding need to dominate (after losing two World Wars), and the French to demonstrate intellectual and cultural superiority because Britain brought down that other European tyrant, Napoleon (the degree of Anglophobia in Europe is frightening). And once again it is down to uncouth Britain to save Europe from itself. The Brexit Remainers are of course Petainists. Old, tired, and afraid of standing on their own two feet.

“Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.”

The overriding theme of my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, is that Western Governments persist in trying to make the Middle East conform to their view of how it should be – democratic, free market, capitalistic – and not see it as it is. They understand the problems. They do not understand the people.
As one of the characters in one of my stories says, “The Arabs read backwards, they write backwards, and they think backwards.”

Simply stated, their mindset is different. “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet”.

You can review and buy my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” and its fictionalizations of real events in the Middle East at:

amazon.com

Or on my publisher’s website:

feedaread.com

Tomorrow the World?

 

“See you in Jerusalem . . . tomorrow,” was a greeting by Zionists expressing their desire to see Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

 

            Now that they have all but achieved that ambition – hiding behind the swagger of Donald Trump, and the influence of his Israeli son-in-law Jared Kushner – what is next?

 

             When I worked in Saudi Arabia, even the moderate Western educated young graduates I mentored said that the Israelis would never be satisfied until they controlled the whole of the Middle East – and its oil. At the time I thought that was extreme. But now with Trump cancelling the nuclear treaty with Iran I have become a believer. 

 

In exactly the same way as the build up to the deposing of Saddam Hussein, they are setting up to depose the Ayatollahs. The lies and deception about Saddam’s WMD, and his “yellow cake” nuclear weapons program are being replicated by Netanyahu and Trump recycling old – and discredited – data about Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

 

           Saddam was the most credible threat to Israel’s hegemony in the Middle East – and so he was removed by Bush, with the shameful collaboration of Tony Bloody Liar. Now Iran – and specifically the Iran back Hezbollah – are the most credible threat to Israeli expansion and control. The last time Israel invaded South Lebanon they were soundly beaten back by Hezbollah – and Israel lost control of South Lebanon.

 

 What baffles me is that the US, and other Western governments, never mention Israel’s stockpile of 400 nuclear weapons, or its refusal to sign the Non-Proliferation Agreement. Does anybody doubt that Israel would start hurling these weapons at anybody and everybody if they were losing their battle?

 

While Israel has nuclear weapons I think it is permissible for Iran (or Saudi Arabia) to also have them. The situation is the same as Pakistan and India developing them to neutralize each other. It’s called a balance of power. 400 to nil is not a balance of power.

 

 Israel, backed by Trump, claiming Jerusalem as its capital to the exclusion of Christians and Muslims, is yet another act of aggression and destabilization. Israel has no interest in a stable situation. Only instability can be exploited under the guise of national security.

 

 It seems to me that successive Israeli governments (with the honorable exception of Iitzak Rabin) are intent on obliterating the Palestinians. They have no intention of allowing a 2 State solution.

 

In my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, I have a character – Uncle Tom – who is murdered because of his support for a Christian home for orphaned Palestinian children. Like all my stories this is a fictionalization of a true story that concerns a Christian missionary/archaeology professor. He was murdered because it was rumoured he had found evidence that the Palestinians were in the Holy Land before the Jews.

 

 The inspiration for that story was from a brilliant book, ‘Palestinian Twilight’ by Edward Fox.

 

 You can review and buy my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” and its other fictionalizations of real events in the Middle East at:

 

 www.amazon.com

Or on my publisher’s website:

 

            http://www.feedaread.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of my best friends are Palestinians

Gallery

Not strictly true. But when I went to work for ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia my first boss Saeed Al-Jerbi was a Palestinian refugee, married to a Saudi woman. He was a deeply religious Muslim who treated me with respect, and … Continue reading