EU to offer 2-speed solution too late to stop French election

March 17, 2017

by Ramin MazaheriEU to offer 2-speed solution too late to stop French election

Keep asking the fundamental question: Has the European Union brought the prosperity and security it promised?

No.

Then that will always be a perfectly valid reason for exiting.

Because it hasn’t brought prosperity and security, can the European Union be reformed?

I have said “no” for years, but it’s been a month of historic changes in Europe, with more to come.

After years of rejecting such an idea, Europe’s leaders are expected to unveil a new plan for a “two-speed” European Union – where countries can choose their level of involvement – on March 25th, the 60th anniversary of the EU.

This is a rather shocking about-face, but will it save the Union?

Let’s be honest: The EU is nearly 60 and the bloom is off the rose, especially if she cuts her hair any shorter.

The timing is clear: France’s anti-Euroeverything Marine Le Pen seems assured of making it to the 2ndround presidential vote 8 weeks from now.

Le Pen has promised a Frexit vote this year if elected? Yes, she’s still losing in the 2nd round of all polls, but it has been a year of upsetting the political establishment: Cameron, Renzi, Hollande, Sarkozy, Clinton, etc.

My question is: Why not earlier, Brussels?

Yes, all governments move slowly, but the Brexit vote was last year.

A year ago is also when the uber-neoliberal International Monetary Fund admitted that austerity policies don’t work, which is something proven by the fact that they have never worked anywhere in recorded human history.

If Brussels thinks this can be a game changer in the French election, it may be too late.

That will all depend on if the EU/mainstream media’s preferred candidate – neoliberal globalist Emmanuel Macron – picks up the ball and runs with it or not.

But how can an unprecedented plan to unify a continent work if Brussels is always behind the curve, instead of setting it? The European Union is a revolutionary idea, but it bypassed the formation of a revolutionary leadership class and went straight to a middling, self-protective, corrupt bureaucratic guardianship.

Monday morning quarterbacking aside, 2 historic events just occurred

First, on March 1st European Commission President and Luxembourgeois Jean-Claude Juncker unveiled a White Paper on the future of the EU. He described five different scenarios about what the EU could be like in 2025.

Juncker clearly doesn’t have much faith in the future of the EU because, à la Francois Hollande, he won’t be seeking a 2nd term in 2019. Heck, he may even quit this month.

Hardly an inspiring leader who can unify a bloc, eh? Castro, he ain’t! Juncker’s (non) leadership is only inspiring to Eurosceptics.

The five options were presented to give the impression of democratic choice. Had they presented just one option…well, that would have been straightforward – and a bureaucratic class always rely on obfuscation to maintain power.

Hidden and middling to the maximum – at number 3 – among outgoing president Juncker’s five different plans was a two-speed Europe.

We aren’t going to waste time with the other four, because a two-speed Europe is the only one that really matters.

It is already a fact that it’s the only one that really matters because this week the heads of Germany, France, Italy and Spain met in Paris and said this is what they will push for.

This is a veritable political earthquake, even if people don’t realize it yet. It’s also an overturning of years of explicitly rejecting such changes.

But after Brexit the EU knows they have a problem, and that changes must be made.

Waitaminut: Yer telling me the EU is actually gonna change?

Is there any chance any major changes – such as a two-speed Europe – will be implemented, and quickly?

That depends – do you mean “democratically implemented”?

Firstly, let’s recall that a lack of democratic approval has never stopped the EU before: 8 times since 1992 national referendums have rejected key aspects of the EU, only to be totally and undemocratically ignored or subverted.

Amazing how such facts of history get ignored by the rabidly pro-EU supporters….

What would “democratically implemented” actually look like?

Well, European PMs are up for re-election in 2019. To give any changes the democratic approval they certainly require, EU leaders would need to decide, agree and campaign on the proposed changes well before this next legislative vote. That would give the public the chance to give their say – via vote – on the new changes.

But democratically proposing, debating and voting on structural changes to the EU’s political foundations by 2019?

It’s not impossible, but that’s still a very ambitious goal.

It would be ambitious of any single nation to hold a referendum on radically altering its very political structure.

But we are not talking about a single nation – we are talking about 28 of them. Well, 27 after Brexit.

More importantly, I have repeatedly stated that the EU is structurally incapable of reform because any major change requires the unanimous approval of all 27 members. Getting just 27 people to agree on anything is an arduous process, much less 27 nations.

Case in point: On Friday the EU was stymied in their effort get Poland’s Donald Tusk’s re-elected as president of the European Council. One country voted against him, so the body was nearly brought to a halt.

The dissenting country? Poland.

Noble Poland! Free Poland! Partitioned…Poland.

Why? Because there is both intense Euroscepticism in Poland, and also intense pro-EU sentiment…and this is the same everywhere. It’s complicated and emotional.

Perhaps EU “founders” realized this by installing this principle of unanimity, one which was likely taken from…Poland again!

The “liberum veto” was used during the era of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a dominant and important (if unfairly ignored) European power. The veto was a major democratic advancement against absolute monarchy, and the PLC produced just the 2nd codified constitution in modern history, after the US.

When all the nobles were truly noble and in agreement, the unanimity principle worked out fine and the union peaked in the early 17th century. But when some aristocrats were bought off by foreign powers…proceedings could easily come to a dead halt and thus stagnation set in.

And then partition. And more partition.

In the case of Tusk, the liberum veto principle was not technically in play, but it had been common precedent for the council president to be elected unanimously.

Furthermore, Poland persuasively argued that the EU had no right to elect Tusk as their president when he was not even backed by his home country, LOL!

No matter – the EU ignored Poland’s claim for sovereignty over their own officials and re-elected Tusk anyway.

Poland expected the unanimity principle to be followed, but it wasn’t technically enshrined in this case, and so the bureaucrats got their way.

A new precedent has also been set: The EU can apparently dragoon anyone they want into power.

However, it is still this liberum veto system which ultimately defines the political structure of the European Union and which will make any change – two, three, 18-speed – seemingly impossible to democratically implement.

News flash: A multi-speed Europe is already legal, so they don’t need democracy

EU rules already permit groups of at least nine member states to pursue “enhanced cooperation”.

Barring a major earthquake that brings the EU to a halt – like a Frexit – the bureaucrats already have all the tools at their disposal to enforce the will of the elites. They don’t need any “referendum” – they’ll say “the rules for a multi-speed Europe have already been democratically approved” (except when they were rejected).

The basis of a multi-speed Europe is already permitted, it’s going to happen with or without a vote, and you can check the Rome Summit on March 25 to find that out for sure.

That’s the reality.

I predict they will use this rationale to create a two-speed Europe, regardless of the democratic preference of over 500 million people. Perhaps they will put it to a vote…in which case March 25th will announce the start of that campaign, and this is all we’ll be talking about for 2 years.

But I am Eurosceptical because the EU, and especially the Eurozone, was never a very democratic project. The EU is, fundamentally, a bureaucrat and lobby-dominated institution, after all – it was never truly revolutionary.

So what is a multi-speed Europe? We do have to move on….

A multi-speed Europe is basically a “coalition of the willing” – countries can join or not join multinational policies on economic growth, border protection, common defense, tax systems and others as they wish.

That’s the positive spin on it.

The negative spin is: This allows Western Europe to integrate at an even more breakneck pace, which is something many Western Europeans already do not want (see, “Brexit”).

Secondly, I hardly doubt the 27 nations of the EU will be democratically consulting their citizens for each and every multinational policy they join. The EU’s policies of economic austerity have been rammed through over the will of their people, so why will the future be any different?

Thirdly, a multi-speed Europe is already deeply opposed by many members in Central/Eastern Europe, who see themselves as being left out. Opposition to this plan was a major reason why Poland refused to vote in favor of native son Tusk.

Is a multi-speed Europe a good idea?

The existential crisis of the EU has always boiled down to this: Should there be “more Europe” or “less Europe”?

Clearly, changes are needed, because countries which have followed EU and Eurozone dictates have gone into a prolonged crisis.

EU economic growth since 2010 is just 1.3%, which is below the 1.5% required to start producing jobs. And this is me being charitable: I’m ignoring the -4.4% growth of 2009.

The best gauge of economic policies is how long and how deep an economic downturn lasts, as capitalism guarantees there will definitely be downturns, after all. For an alternative system, please check the stable long-term growth rates of communist behemoths like China as well as international blockade victims like Cuba.

The need to end the EU’s economic woes is immediate and clear.

Also clear is that there are huge economic divergences between EU countries – standard of living, borrowing rates, economic output, etc.

The EU was supposed to end this divergence. It was going to bring prosperity and stability, remember?

But capitalists never waste a good crisis and the 2009 European Sovereign Debt Crisis will go down in history as the time when the EU stopped working and started dying.

It is now abundantly clear that the economic solidarity which would be required from the richer nations of the EU to make “more Europe” work…simply does not exist.

Germany, France and the Netherlands only had the stomach to economically gut and destroy weaker nations like Greece and Portugal.

The rich nations got what they wanted – ports, airports, water departments, laws favoring their own industries against local industries – and now they want to take their money and leave “more Europe” behind.

Thus we will have “multiple speed” Europe on the table for the first time ever.

A “multiple-speed Europe” could indeed be a great option – it recognizes the fact that the required economic solidarity does not exist amid economically divergent countries.

The best option would be for Germany to leave, as many economists suggest – their economy is too strong and it upsets the entire balance. This is quite logical, if you think about it. You never read about that, though.

Germany can take their stupid, economically-blind, false-morality ideology of “We refuse to recognize that for us to export means someone has to import, and thus imbalances are required to exist, ” and not come back, as far as the rest of Europe is concerned.

Germany wants to stay in because neoliberal plundering is very profitable, after all.

Or countries like Greece could leave and start choosing their own economic policies to benefit their own citizens instead of French and German bankers.

They could drop out of the Euro and re-adopt the drachma, allowing them to set their own exchange rates, pay off their debt (read: interest on debt) and regain economic competitiveness.

But there are no guarantees on what a “multiple speed” Europe will actually look like, however….

Two-speed Europe will be “Rich Eurozone, poor everyone else”

It seems difficult to believe that high finance won’t win the day, as this is Europe and it is capitalist.

Therefore, the dividing line is likely to be set by Eurozone members banding together to form the top speed.

This why I don’t see “multiple speed” Europe being decided in March, or implemented by 2019, because the EU/Eurozone has to punish the hell out of Britain for Brexit.

That is a serious job!

Brexit is expected to be formally trigged this week (March 15), which means it’s not until 2019 that France and Germany can prove to Greece, Portugal and anyone else thinking of existing just how costly it will be to quit the club. If “multiple speed EU” is decided before Britain pays, we should see a rash of Euro exits.

And doesn’t France and Germany want to intimidate anyone from exiting? Doesn’t France and Germany want the neoliberal looting of poor countries to continue ?

Because there’s money still to be had! Smaller native industries to be bankrupted! Key infrastructure to be privatized! What kind of a half-hearted bust-out scheme are they running?!

Did they grow a conscience, maybe?

Well, I don’t think like a capitalist, so maybe I’m not seeing the bigger picture.

However, the Eurozone-speed group will almost certainly put up tariffs against the non-Eurozone speed members, and the latter will lose time after time.

How can they compete economically in a two-speed system when they were already behind during the time of single-EU unity?

The countries which didn’t adopt the Euro will band together, and you’ll basically have Western Europe versus Central Europe, economically. Capitalism is “the biggest corporation wins, not the best”, of course, and Western Europe has many more huge corporations set to dominate.

Also, the EU is currently in a crisis – why would the weaker EU countries even want to renegotiate the structure of the EU right now?

They are worse off than anyone else in the bloc, so they have even less pull than usual, therefore the solution can only entrench the current state of increased inequality.

So, given that it looks so bad for the lower gear of 2-speed Europe, why will Central Europe even stay in the European Union? They won’t, and the EU will ultimately disintegrate.

This is exactly what the Visegrad Group – Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – said in a response to Juncker’s proposal.

This is the path I foresee for the EU: Slow, painful, and the current winners will remain winners because that’s capitalism, which lacks the multinational solidarity of communism.

Frankly, Central Europe would do much better to join up with Russia, Iran and China and become the easternmost point of China’s “One Belt, One Road” program, which is going to be the new McDonald’s.

Another option: A zero-speed Europe

Why go through this slow, painful, inevitable process I just described?

There is another option: a zero-speed Europe.

That is what will happen if Marine Le Pen wins (though I prefer Jean-Luc Melenchon, of course), as France has historically been the biggest advocate of a unified Europe – lose France, and Europe goes down.

Why choose an inherently elitist 2-speed solution – how is entrenching inequality any form of progress?

The EU would do better to bring a total halt to the project in order to debate and make totally new changes. A “2nd Federal Republic of Europe” or something like that. It should be communist, of course.

The biggest obstacle is changing the idea that a total halt is equivalent to death.

This is true firstly on the most-simple literal level: pro-EU propagandists say that the death of the European Union means the return of European war.

This type of logic is not logic at all, as it based on the ultimate fear: massive death. We deserve better than that; we should think more of ourselves than that.

So why must a halt to the European Union mean the end of the concept of a united Europe?

Is THIS version of a united Europe the only possible version?

Must it continue because it has lasted 60 years and it must last another 60, or another 160?

A resounding “No” is the only logical answer to all of these. There IS an alternative.

Monetary systems and political unions come and go, and this crazy blue marble keeps on spinning, and mankind keeps advancing in knowledge just the same.

If the system is not working, why not replace it? Why try to patch up a clearly-flawed system?

The world has changed drastically in the last 30 years, the rise of computers and digital finance being two sweeping societal changes – why not start fresh with a new system that confines the vast powers of these two behemoths? That’s just a start.

Must we continue with the new lack of limits on the spying powers of national governments? With the neoliberal ideas that have gutted European industry and its social safety net?

The European Union can be entirely remade – that IS a real alternative.

It would be a true revolution which sweeps away a dead, undemocratic and structurally unworkable version.

Detractors will say that there is not a clear plan, but neither is there a clear plan for this version of the EU’s future!

The difference is: we are actually talking about and working on the latter instead of the former. This is the same rationale intelligently used by environmentalists: “Well of course renewable energies aren’t as good as nuclear, oil or coal yet – we put all of our funding and R&D into those three options!”

The European Union can, should and must be reborn if it is going to start ending economic inequality and start promoting true unity, solidarity and mutually-beneficial cooperation.

A new European Union must reject what has clearly failed and what has been rejected: neoliberalism and capitalism.

A return to socialism is the only logical choice – history’s pendulum can only swing this way for Europe.

People need to grasp – and they don’t, and the mainstream media purposely obscures it – just how far to the right we currently are economically: Neoliberalism, European austerity, Trump’s domestic economic agenda – we cannot get much more unregulated and thus more unequal.

But working within the current structure of the EU is not going to work.

No one knows what a “multi-speed Europe” option will even look like, but for many it seems like: institutionalized 2nd-class citizenry for Central Europe; the cementing of the neo-imperial looting of countries like Greece; the cementing of right-wing roll backs to social rights and living standards in countries like France.

It’s been a historic fortnight. In another fortnight we’ll see what the aristocratic leaders of the European Union actually propose. On March 25th “two-speed Europe” is going to get very real!

More interestingly and more importantly, we’ll see what democratic votes in France and the Netherlands produce. In an intelligent world it would be more communism, but sometimes people just have to hit bottom before they turn themselves around.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

Trump -The Enigma

March 02, 2017

by Peter KoenigTrump -The Enigma

President Trump may be wondering himself about the miracles and mysteries and confusions he creates. As a megalomaniac, he is the only one who knows everything. His ideas range and flash from right to left, crisscrossing the political spectrum to favor the globalized world – and yet he is largely acting against globalization – and in the ‘interest of people’. That would be great.

He also seeks truth by telling truth; that Obama and Hillary created ISIS and the CIA created Al Qaeda, that 9/11 was not the way the Nine-Eleven Commission says it was, and that the Government lies about statistics. Poverty, unemployment and inflation figures are much higher than those published by the various US statistical offices. He loves BREXIT, congratulating Teresa May for it, and joyfully predicts the end of the European Union and of the Euro. It would be a good thing for the world. But does he mean what he says? – As a megalo he loves to be an Enigma.

The non- intervention policy – as candidate Trump he said he would not intervene in other countries’ affairs. Fair enough. That’s what most of the world wants; that’s what most of the Americans who voted for him want. Yet, Donald Trump, the almighty, along with his chief vassals of Europe, France, Germany and the UK, has just tried imposing new sanctions on Syria, among other deceitful allegations, because of some military commanders’ use of toxic gas attacks. By now, most of the informed world knows that this is a lie and nothing but a UN proven lie – a lie that has been repeated since the beginning of the CIA imposed war on Syria in 2011 to justify ‘regime change’.

Both China and Russia opposed the motion. Mr. Putin went on a news conference saying that sanctions would not be helpful for the new peace negotiations in Geneva. – Of course, not. But that’s precisely what they are supposed to do- undermine the peace process. There are enough ‘outside’ negotiators in Geneva with brainwashed, preconceived ideas that Bashar Al Assad is a mass murderer, having killed ‘hundreds of thousands of his own people’. Literally.

That’s the concept of some of the western negotiators. It is an outright shame that such people are allowed to help negotiate peace – even worse, they claim the right to rewrite Syria’s Constitution for a country without President Assad, who still has 80% of Syrians’ backing. Seriously? – Yes, very seriously. If it wouldn’t be a grave breach on a country’s sovereignty, it would be laughable. Who is sponsoring such nonsense anyway? The western world once again proves without impunity that they have no respect for human and civil rights, for those they consider below their boots. What would those foreigners say who are ‘negotiating’ a new Constitution for Syria, if foreigners were to decide on their own country’s Constitution? – Trump should know better. Is this the same Trump, who pledged non- intervention in foreign lands?

Trump, Netanyahu’s puppet – Or is it the ‘new’ Trump? The even more submissive Trump – submissive to Netanyahu’s Israel? Outranking by far his predecessor. – The little boy Trump we saw during the joint Press Conference with Bibi in Washington last month? – So sad and almost insulting to the American people, witnessing the President of the United States in total adulation of the Zionist-in-Chief. Surely, he may have swayed Trump’s good intentions away from staying out of other peoples’ and countries’ business. – The exceptional nation of the US of A is a sheer vassal of Israel, the Zionist-run 8-million people country in the Middle East, adamant to turn the entire zone into a huge chaos, a zone which they eventually hope to take over from shiny Euphrates to Shiny Nile, much like the Brits did, by killing all the indigenous people in North America to eventually create an empire from Shiny Sea to Shiny Sea? – Not bad. But why would The Donald not know about it? And go along with such atrocities? Who twists his arm? How does one twist the arms of the President of the United States?

Peace with Russia – candidate, as well as President Donald Trump was pledging for a future peaceful relationship with Russia. However, when pressed, he is not a friend of Putin’s and doesn’t know whether he will get along with him. In any case, to deserve a friendly relation with the exceptional nation, Mr. Putin must return Crimea – return to whom? – to Kiev’s Nazi regime? Anybody who hears this must be thinking it’s a joke, or sheer lunacy.

And withdrawing Russian troops from Ukraine? Anybody who says this and propagates it around the world is mad. People who by now haven’t gotten to the truth are insane. Because the truth is everywhere, except in the presstitute. Get away from the presstitute. Crimean people decided by a 97% majority to rejoin Russia, where they were during the past 300 years; and Ukraine – it is by now a little secret that the US Embassy in Kiev, helped by CIA, MI6, NATO and the EU vassal states, instigated the coup in February 2014 against the democratically elected – pro-Russian President Yanukovych. Rather than intervene in Kiev’s Washington and Brussels driven Nazi war against her own people in the Donbass, Putin has explicitly refused the democratically voted demand by the Donbass people also to be reintegrated into Russia. Ukraine for hundreds of years was part of Russia.

Instead, President Putin has initiated the Minsk II Agreement of February 2015. Minsk II was a Russian initiative after Minsk I of September 2014 collapsed, mainly because the warrying parties Kiev and NATO didn’t adhere to the accord. At Minsk II the leaders of Germany and France, Russia and Ukraine’s oligarch President, Poroshenko, shook hands for peace. For the west, this was mere propaganda, as they can say now, that Russia didn’t adhere to the deal. Lie after lie after miserable lie. Mr. Trump, despite his pledges to the contrary – and he said once as much as Obama was responsible for Maidan, the Kiev coup in February 2014 – is back-tracking on his own common sense. Did here too, Netanyahu’s evil wisdom prevail?

Sanctions – Trump was clear during his campaign and in the first days of his Presidency that he didn’t think sanctions were a good idea, especially not applied to Russia. Has he had a change of mind or a twist of arms? – The war industry, of course, does not like the notion of peace with Russia. The President of the United States has nothing to say. Is he a mere marionette of the war and security faction of the Deep State? Naturally, well accompanied by a bunch of stooges from Brussels. Never mind that these sanctions hurt Europe more than they hurt Russia. As Mr. Putin said repeatedly – thanks god for the sanctions. They have helped Russia to become independent again, building her own agriculture and manufacturing capacity – let alone research and development which is already producing cutting edge technology, by far superior to the US-outsourced kind, coming from such low-wage countries like India.

Appointing Nikki Haley Ambassador to the UN – the new mandate for the former Governor of South Carolina, is another ruse that should please Israel. Judging from her first moves in the UN body, Nikki Haley looks not much different from her predecessor, Samantha Power, especially when she flies such lies in the face of the world, like, “It is a sad day on the Security Council when members start making excuses for other member states killing their own people. The world is definitely a more dangerous place,” in response to Russia’s and China’s veto to the new western attempt to impose more sanctions on Syria.

She knows – or should know better. Trump definitely knows better. If he let her get away with this slander propaganda, it’s because he has been told to do so, or wants to bend over backwards to please his friend Bibi, and / or because he himself thinks the UN has become a useless body of bla-bla nations, devoid of any backbone; it should melt away, as it is unreformable in its current structure, like the EU. Both have been hijacked by the world’s Deep State of neocons. It’s time to wake up to this new reality.

Firing Michael Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first choice as National Security Advisor – was a horrible betrayal of a friend and possibly a peacemaker. Did Trump simply follow orders from non-peace-loving Pentagon masters – Deep state warriors? With that unsavvy move the President lost all his respect from people, whose ethics weigh infinitely more than those of the Washington swamp. The no-nonsense strategist Flynn, who was about to seek harmonious relations with Russia, and would defend Trump’s non-intervention policy, is gone. The masters of the Pentagon, the military industrial complex have won. – By firing Flynn, did Trump hand over de facto his Presidency to neocon Vice-president, Mike Pence? Thanks to Pence who created a storm in a water glass about a private citizen talking to the Russian Ambassador, Flynn is out – and Trump has lost his worldwide standing.

NATO is outdated – superfluous – those were the wise words of candidate Trump. He repeated them, somewhat weakened after his inauguration – but not for long. The puppets in Europe were crying big Crocodile Tears; the newly appointed James “Mad Dog” Mattis, true to his name went to Brussels, telling his subjects that there was nothing to worry about; the US would continue protecting Europe with NATO against the evil Russians – but they had to pay up, sharing more of the cost of this expensive, but highly profitable enterprise, the weapons industry. He didn’t tell them the latter part. That was implicit, though. – We can assume that Mattis didn’t go to Brussels on his own initiative, but as the emissary of his boss, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the United States.

Increasing the Defense budget by US$ 54 billion – Trump’s recent announcement, wasn’t exactly a move towards peace. Earlier, within his first couple of weeks in the White House, Trump went to the Pentagon and told the generals to come up within a month with a plan on how to renew the war equipment, including the nuclear arsenal – sort of confirming Obama’s plan to put a trillion dollars into ‘nuclear renewal’ within the next ten years.

None of this smells of peace, or even of promoting harmonious relations with the rest of the world. It has nothing to do with wanting to become a nation of equals. And it goes way beyond simply ‘Making America Great Again’. It rather smacks of perpetuating Washington’s status of the exceptional nation – pure insanity.

Iran Bashing – calling her “The World’s Biggest State Sponsor of Terrorism”, – another outrageous lie destined to spread negative propaganda about Iran, to intimidate other countries from renewing their commercial dealings with Iran. After all, the ‘Nuclear Deal’ promised to abandon sanctions. Yet, Trump just started a new regime of sanctions. Trump also wants to ‘scrap’ or rip apart the 5+1 and Iran (Permanent Security Council Members, plus Germany and Iran) ‘Nuclear Accord’ of January 2016. This may not be easy, as there are more players involved than just the exceptional nation.

Trump and his aids, have been demonizing Iran already during his campaign and reiterated the groundless accusations after his inauguration. – Why? – He knows that there is no substance to back up his claims and that Iran is backed by Russia and China and that a direct confrontation with Iran would mean a clash – nuclear? -with Russia and possibly also with China. Is this a way of getting at Russia (and China) through the back-door? Or is it just one more goody for his Pal, Bibi? – We don’t know yet. But it is not excluded that Israel launches an attack against Iran – supported by Washington, of course. Any intervention by Russia would be considered an aggression on the US.

Truth be told, this appears to be sheer sabre rattling. Nobody dares attacking Iran, which would mean attacking the entire axis of Middle East stability, China-Russia-Iran – and more, attacking the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), of which Iran is now a member. Confronting SCO would be aggressing one half of the world’s population that commands one third of the world’s GDP. That’s heavy stuff. More than a conventional WWIII. From there, nuclear is just an emotional breath away, or a tiny misunderstanding — who wants to risk that? – Least the war industry. Because once the planet is eviscerated, there is no more need for arms. Those few elitists who may survive, have killed their milk cow. Trump should know that. He is a businessman.

Better is eternal chaos – leaving the arms and bankster business booming – reducing at the margin the world population by continuous merciless killing; by armed conflicts; by artificial food shortages; by clandestine sterilizations through GMOs (plus a myriad of deadly diseases potentially implanted in genetically engineered food seeds); by an out-of-bounds pharma-industry, today already responsible for one third of annual deaths, right after cancer and heart failure – all with the goal of leaving more resources for the few. That’s ideal for the empire and those who are in command of the empire. In the meantime, sabre rattling with nuclear warheads is an excellent tool for intimidation. Scared people are much more submissive.

And on the domestic front….

The wall on the Mexican border – a promise, Trump seems adamant to keep. Has he been told how many particularly southwestern US businesses he would kill? Agriculture, hospitality and tourism, small businesses depend on illegal workers. They all do work Americans don’t want to do. So, there is no immediate alternative. Did Trump think this over?

Forced evictions of illegal immigrants from their often longtime homes in the US, fall in the same inhuman category. The trained brutes of US police enjoy this ‘new freedom’ to use force tremendously. A more generous, more civil and more human – and for both sides more beneficiary move would be granting all illegals with no criminal records – at least 97% – amnesty, with work visas or immigration status, depending on their situations.

But The Wall has become so abjectly popular among the non-thinking US rednecks that there seems to be no crawling back. Or is there, Mr. Trump? – Like coming to reason?

Renegotiating NAFTA – or abolish this nefarious trade deal altogether – yes, but done professionally. That should in the long run please both Mexico and Canada, as both of these countries have lost enormously for signing on the 1992 Clinton- imposed dotted line. Mexico alone lost 1.3 million farm jobs, as the US 2002 Farm Bill subsidized US agribusiness by as much as 40% of net farm income, thereby driving countless Mexican farmers into ruin. – So, renegotiating NAFTA would be welcome by Mexico and Canada, but surely that’s not the way Trump sees it. – Or has he or some of his economic advisors told him what is really at stake?

Bringing back jobs and Making America Great Again – the Trump slogan of the year. Probably coined by some members of the Deep State, to emulate Obama’s ‘Yes we Can’ – just coming through other lips, is nothing but the same trick – but with the naked emperor wearing differently shaded clothes. If Trump can pull this through – it would be truly amazing, a true feather in his hat. Of course, it doesn’t happen overnight, and it requires thorough planning. Just giving homecoming corporations tax breaks is not the solution. Analysts say it would take at least 20 years to build up a job base, mainly in the rust belt, that could rival what was there before the big exodus to cheap labor countries in the late 80s and 90s.

Not only would it help bring back job sovereignty to the US, it would be a tremendous blow to globalization; this evil structure created by the neocons and their institutions, FED, IMF, World Bank at the Washington Consensus Conference at the end of the 1980s. Globalization has had nothing but devastating effects for the large majority of the world population. This would clearly be an unparalleled trump in Trump’s basket. He seems to be serious, as he congratulated the British PM to BREXIT and doesn’t believe in the long-term survival of the European Union and the single currency, the Euro. And he is right.

Canceling the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement – and possibly also the highly controversial TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) deal – would be a tremendous achievement for Trump. The people of Europe and of the 11 Pacific Countries might be forever thankful to Trump for his genius move. Never mind that he believes they would have been bad for the US of A. Let him. A good deed to the world, so anathema to his other business- oriented discourse. Here’s to the enigma Trump!

Trade war with China – may it be Trump’s soft version of Obama’s South China Sea aggression? He already announced a 45% import tax for anything coming from China that could be made in the US of A. Of course, this is first meant as an incentive for all the US corporations who outsourced their manufacturing to bring them back home. But, he thinks, by the way it would hurt China as a rising star on the world economic horizon. It hardly would. Especially not in the long-run. More hurt would be the United States if China were to retaliate.

As of the end of 2016 Chinese foreign direct investments (FDI) since 2005 in the US cumulatively amounted to 109 billion dollars, a mere10% of all of China’s FDI, worldwide. But, they are accelerating. China’s FDIs in the US in 2016 with 45.6 billion were about triple those of 2015. This compares with about 644 billion dollars of US FDI in China over the past 15 years. Punishing China with steep import taxes is about as effective as ‘sanctioning’ Russia – namely almost nil. China has huge investments in Asia, in her principal export market. This is one area where Obama wanted to interfere with his pivot to Asia. The other one, of course is militarily, by stationing about two thirds of the US Naval Fleet in the South China Sea. They won’t be twiddling thumbs for long.

Let’s see what the twittering Trump does. Will he get the license to play business with China? Or will the Deep State of the Pentagon-Security clan get the best of him – through an arm-twisting provocation in the South China Sea?
———–
Trump, the enigma. These are just a few of the bountiful contradictions and controversies of the new Trump Administration. If he manages to stop Globalization, the nefarious trade deals set up under Obama, bringing back the work force to the US, rehabilitating his country’s decaying infrastructure and bringing back security to the common citizen, plus decent health care and education – and foremost, keeping wars at bay, then he has achieved more for the US and the rest of the world than any of his predecessors for the last 100-plus years. – To be fair, The Donald, less than 50 days in office, deserves the benefit of the doubt, as anybody would who dares oppose and attack the “fake news” lie culture of western media.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media, TeleSUR, TruePublica, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

American interference in the Brexit referendum

Hedge-fund mogul Robert Mercer helped Brexit campaign: Report

Robert Mercer in New York in 2014 (file photo)
Robert Mercer in New York in 2014 (file photo)

An American hedge-fund mogul who contributed to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign played a crucial role in the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, according to a report.

Billionaire Robert Mercer, an owner of the right-wing Breitbart News Network as well as data-analytics companies, is a close friend of Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader and leading Brexit campaigner.

In the lead-up to the June 23 referendum on the EU membership, Mercer directed his data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, to provide expert advice to Farage associates on how to target undecided voters on Facebook, The Observer has learned.

The services were kept from the electoral commission.

Cambridge Analytica, which has 25 years of experience in military disinformation campaigns, claims to use state-of-the-art technology to build psychometric profiles of voters in an attempt to target their “emotional triggers” in elections.

“They were happy to help. Because Nigel is a good friend of the Mercers. And Mercer introduced them to us,” Andy Wigmore, communications director of Leave.eu, told The Observer.

British politician Nigel Farage speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 24, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by AFP)

“What they were trying to do in the US and what we were trying to do had massive parallels. We shared a lot of information,” he added.

The Trump campaign also reportedly paid millions of dollars to the company to persuade swing voters to cast their ballot for the real estate tycoon.

The strategy involved harvesting personal data from people’s social media profiles and using the information, combined with artificial intelligence, to decide who to target with individualized ads.

Farage dined with the US president and his advisers in Trump International Hotel in Washington this week, praising them as being part of a “global revolution” that began with Brexit.

CrossTalk: Revolt in the West

February 23, 2017

The West appears to have entered into a new era – the era of the political upsets, growing anger, and increased disillusionment with ruling elites. It is not a question of leftwing – rightwing politics. It is all about a failing status quo.

CrossTalking with Stephen Haseler, Marcus Papadopoulos, and Joaquin Flores.

Gilad Atzmon on Brexit, Trump and New Left duplicity

February 22, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

Hello, World!

America – Europe: Divide to conquer حديث اليوم | اميركا – اوروبا : فرق تسد

A false reality has contributed to a new political reality

A false reality has contributed to a new political reality

The descent into complex post-factual politics goes some way to showing why Brexit and Trump were so successful, and their opposition so ineffective.

lead lead Nigel Farage is seen in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, NY, USA December 15, 2016. Pool/ABACA ABACA/Press Association. All rights reserved.

 

Nothing is real. A lot of us feel that this is close to the truth right now, waking up each day hoping that it was all a dream. Brexit didn’t happen. Trump didn’t win. Two men of the people didn’t have their picture taken in front of a dictator-esque golden door. But each morning you wake up and realise it is all real, that the world has turned upside down.

The worse thing is that these two events haven’t even happened yet. Britain hasn’t lost access to the biggest market in the world, it hasn’t shut its borders to millions of people it used to consider friends, it hasn’t brought back imperial measurements. And Trump hasn’t torn up the Paris climate deal, he hasn’t built a massive wall/fence.

But they will happen and I, for one, look forward to measuring everything in hands and yards again, just like the good old days. But why did they happen? These were things that seemed absurd when first suggested, but eventually caught the imagination of millions of people and were victorious. One idea, brilliantly shown by Adam Curtis in his film HyperNormalisation, is that nothing is real.

We live in an incredibly complex, interconnected world. The world finance system is a large web running through banks, institutions, countries, companies, people, all built so that the richest few who can interact with it gain the most out of it. With the rise of neoliberalism, the ethos that if business thrives, a country will thrive, took hold and further embedded the importance of finance into our national politics.

Privatisation and tax cuts would be used to show that a country was business friendly, unions would be broken, business friendly policies would be taken up. When this resulted in fewer taxes and greater unemployment, governments would have to borrow to fill the deficit in social spending that this would create. The lenders would be banks, who would place even more business friendly – or growth friendly – conditions on the borrowing countries. This is what is happening in Greece at the moment. This would reduce choice in how a country was run, as the assets that politics haggles over were greatly reduced, set free into the private world. As things worsened for ordinary people, they were being told that their lives and their countries were great. Told they had more freedom than ever at a time when they worked longer for less, when freedom was being taken away by hidden networks of financial power.

Geopolitically, the world was becoming more complex too, with western interests in the Middle East creating a web of truths, half-truths and lies that are impossible to disentangle. Governments were becoming increasingly adept at counter-intelligence. This added to the feeling of helplessness and despair at the complexity of the world, leading people and politicians to retreat into a simplified version of the world of good and evil, right and wrong, left and right. This trajectory carried on until now and is reflected in the increasing popularity of conspiracy theories in the world.

No one believes anything from governments any more. The trajectory is also most eloquently expressed by Vladislav Surkov, Putin’s ‘Grey Cardinal’, who advised Putin to finance both left and right groups within Russia, making people unsure who the real and who the fake opposition was.

Such uncertainty helps to paralyse opposition. Thinking they are playing a game with the same rules, their voice becomes neutered, actions ineffective. These tactics have been used by Russia in what is called ‘non-linear warfare’, which always keeps the opposition guessing at what Russia is doing, allowing Russia to take the advantage. It did this in Ukraine and it is doing this in Syria.

This is only a brief overview of the descent into the complex post-factual politics that we have fallen, however it goes some way to showing why Brexit and Trump were so successful and why their opposition were so ineffective.

They understood two things. The first is that people did not believe what they heard any more, so what they said did not matter. The second is that what mattered was that people wanted change, and it was the direction of change that mattered. They wanted to be able to grasp reality again. People knew that their lives had not improved and that politics as it stood offered them no choice. They also knew that they did not fully understand or trust the world they were living in. So when they were given the option to vote for something that would both bring tangible change, and that would put them on the track to a less complex reality, they jumped at the opportunity.

Fighting under the impression that truth still mattered, and that all the system needed was a little tweak, unwilling to understand the complexity of the world, and the desire for a reality where actions mean something, the opposition failed.

We crave reality but a simplified version of it. That’s why we watch reality TV, follow stars on Instagram, spend hours on YouTube. We are searching for meaning, for reality, trying to forget the unreality of our existence, forget that whatever we do, nothing seems to change.

When we vote, we feel like we are voting for the same thing, we feel like nothing changes, that we are stuck, invisibly bound. Brexit and Trump gave us a way out, a route back to reality and some of us took it. Unfortunately, it’s a simplified version, one that will fall apart and leave us in a broken reality. To fix it, we must fight for a world where our actions can effect positive change.

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