Since I’m too lazy to recap, this post will make much more sense if you read my last post, “Assad, Putin and…Iceland???”
Having concluded that this Panama Papers spectacle could not be more contrived, I can’t help trying to figure out what the point is. There’s no careful study required when the person at the center of the scandal is Russian, Syrian or South American, but when an ostensible pal gets a drubbing, the point is less obvious. For the second time, identifying the target‘s connections to China reveals interesting possibilities, like this Vox post from a year ago, excerpted below:
How a Chinese infrastructure bank turned into a diplomatic fiasco for America
Last fall, China rolled out a new regional economic initiative — the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank — on which it was partnering with India and a range of smaller Asian countries. The United States swiftly announced its opposition to the plan, which it said would undermine the existing global financial architecture, and began leaning on allies around the world to give the bank the cold shoulder.
This March, America’s AIIB diplomacy suddenly and dramatically collapsed, as the United Kingdom — over the objections of the UK’s own Foreign Office — said it would join the bank. And that opened the floodgates. Germany, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Korea, and Brazil are now all on board. The US is isolated, America is sniping at its closest foreign allies, and the Obama administration has been dealt a humiliating diplomatic defeat.
So is this all David Cameron’s fault?
That’s more or less how it looks from Washington. The Obama administration’s pique is re-enforced by the fact that, as Jamil Anderlini and Kiran Stacey reported for the Financial Times, the United Kingdom’s decision to join the bank was made over the objections of the UK Foreign Office. As Thomas Wright of the Brookings Institution writes, “It appears as if David Cameron’s government took this decision because it wanted to be the first to join and to get the credit from China for doing so.”
This haste to obtain nonspecific commercial advantages at the expense of following America’s lead on grand strategy is seen by many in DC as crass and opportunistic.
You may recall, as my pal @lstwheel did, that a pig-fucking scandal, courtesy of this dude, afflicted Cameron half a year later. Admittedly, Lord Ashcroft had possible reasons of his own — or so we’re told — but surely pissing off Washington and the Foreign Office gave the story the strongest of legs.
Perhaps it wasn’t punishment enough.
There’s this also, from last month:
Of course, every leader does things that the US is not happy about, but these are big. If nothing else, badmouthing Cameron for a year suggests the marriage is kaput.
Of course we’ve all been instructed by the leaknoscenti to never roll our eyes and say, “old news” but since posting this I’ve learned that there really is no way to credibly deny it this time. Here from 2012: Cameron family fortune made in tax havens. The lede:
David Cameron’s father ran a network of offshore investment funds to help build the family fortune that paid for the prime minister’s inheritance, the Guardian can reveal.
Cameron mentioned the 2012 dress rehearsal in his early remarks to the Press, but it slipped by me.
That this scandal has come and gone before makes a useful point. The idiots that love these dramas are in thrall to the childish idea that it’s the leaks themselves that incite protests, investigations, resignations and reforms. But no, dipshits, like everything else in the spectacle, a leak lives or dies in accordance with its utility to people with power. You know, the people that own the story and all the means of telling it and stirring shit around it. The people without whom you wouldn’t even know what Mossack Fonseca is.
Clearly, the story of Cameron’s Dad didn’t make the cut of Really Important People Priorities the last time around. That seems to have changed and resources have been mobilized accordingly. Rubes are jumping through hoops predictably, starting with the “This Four-Year-Old Story is REALLY Important” hoop. That is, exercising their agency.
It’s amazing to me that there are actual adults wondering if this scandal is going to create a crisis for capitalism. This is just hilarious. The way playing practical jokes on yourself is hilarious. Seriously, even if this show isn’t entirely contrived, who the fuck do you think is in charge here?
You preening tools that sneer at people who are rightfully skeptical about what looks unmistakably like weaponized scandal, I would love to know what theories about power, information and media you’re operating under. What history of spying, propaganda, blackmail and coups is your reference point? Put another way, do you know anything?