The end of Multiculturalism?

 

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After the recent attacks in Europe, the Western countries’ immigration policy has been strongly challenged, as well as the acceptance of the refugees. And it does nothing but growing. The cultural diversity which on other moments was so praised, is called into question, as it is bringing out its failures and challenges. If, as Samuel Huntington exposes in his “Clash of Civilizations”, these cultural differences are a fact and might become outright hostility, what is then the sense of the multiculturalism?

“Multiculturalism” is the coexistence’ phenomenon of heterogeneous cultural groups within a territory that previously housed a culturally homogeneous population. It is also referred to the process of claiming rights by diverse cultural communities in the international context. Some politicians argue that the multiculturalism is undermining from within the national identity of the traditional states. Its very existence seems to be questioning the ethnic, linguistic and historical cohesiveness, which has characterized some particular nations. The development of the multiculturalism is closely linked to the global migrations’ process, and by its extreme versions, the multiculturalism might adopt fundamentalism’ ways, by trying to impose a totalitarian logic for the rest of the population.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, said during her speech at the German CDU’ Youth Day that the multiculturalism is a failed fiction: “The attempt to integrate immigrants into the German society has been an absolute failure,” the Chancellor said, “the immigrants must accept the German rules of the peaceful coexistence. In order to have chances for finding a good job, the foreigners should learn to speak German properly. Traditions such as the forced child marriage cannot be afforded in the rule of law, nor keeping the girls from going to school. The police must act effectively and righteousness to prevent that whole neighborhoods become places without law“, were some of the Merkel’s speech statements.

In this context of social conflicts in Europe, the Netherlands, which had always been a multicultural model’ paradigm, has decided to give it up. The government of the Netherlands stated that the existing multicultural model has not done more than encouraging the Muslim immigrants into a parallel society, which is harmful for the country. The Internal Affairs Ministry presented a project in June 2015 in which it was expressed the intention to orient the immigration towards the values of the Dutch people, absolutely necessary because Dutch society is about to disintegrate in terms of identity. The new integration policy would be much more demanding with immigrants, who must learn the Dutch language compulsorily, among others. Likewise, the government will impose coercive measures on immigrants who ignore the values of the country and its laws. In addition, the government will no longer provide specific subsidies to the Muslim community to promote their integration, “since in any case, they don’t.”

Further proof of the failed attempt at multiculturalism can be found in the rise of Donald Trump in the USA. Trump proudly touts xenophobic rhetoric, and his speeches have brought him closer to the White House than anyone thought was possible a year ago. The fact is that Trump went from a candidate which no political analyst took seriously, to the Republican presidential nominee.

The anti-foreign sentiments aren’t unique to the United States. Countries throughout the European Union are seeing far-right parties rise in popularity and increase in xenophobic rhetoric. In fact, approximately 95% of polled Brits think multiculturalism is a failure. This issues become even more complex with the recent attacks which have taken place in France, and the last weekend in Bavaria, Germany and are coincidental with the very last flow of Syrian refugees.

For too long the successive governments refused to accept that immigrants had not only come to work and leave after, but to stay. For a diverse society to thrive, there needs to be a concerted effort on the native population to accept and adapt to an influx of new ideas and customs, but their also needs to be a substantial effort for immigrants or refugees to learn and assimilate the ideals of the host country. Failure to assimilate is feeding insecurities and mistrust throughout the western world. When large a number of people from a single culture move into a particular area and fail to assimilate, it understandably feels like an invasion to the native populace. If furthermore, the immigrants are attacking to the native population, the situation deteriorates on an unlimited basis, which is already happening. Any failure to assimilate on the part of the foreign party will always lead to the failure of multiculturalism.

 

Obama in Spain

 

1468230160_864362_1468231102_album_normalBarack Obama, the President of the United States, has visited Spain a few days ago. Spain is a good business partner for the US; both countries share the pattern of respect for the civil liberties and rights, and both are allies in the military defense of their common influence area. The Spaniards like many aspects of the “American way of life“, and last but not least, in Rota, Spain, is the US military base. Obama’s visit was planned for a long time, but it had to be shortened due to the unrest in Dallas. It had been carefully prepared by the White House for months, and none of its details had no political meaning, but unfortunately it coincided with the bloody attacks in Dallas, and while Obama did not want to cancel it, wanted to give priority to certain issues.

During his visit, Obama has felt very comfortable with the King Felipe VI, as always when they have before gathered. Same with the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, with whom are together binding many political ideals, although Obama had been portrayed in Spain as a kind of ‘progressive saintly‘ who came to pacify the world. Obama wanted to say personally the fact that there is a worry in the EU about the possibility of a new administration in Spain led by the populist extreme-left in Spain, which began to demand a policy’ review, as well as the international alliances, and which would start heavy spending and social engineering making. It could jeopardize the EU. An alarm that is not yet relieved and the Brexit has even worsened. Obama made clear the point about a strong, united and solid Spain, which is the NATO’ common interest.

Obama had more reasons for visiting Spain: he wanted to speak in Rota, the US military base which is the US entry to the Mediterranean Sea, a geo-strategic location of utmost importance for the US. He wanted to talk to the US military, but also to the rest of the world. Also to those who are threaten us with rockets.

Our security is at jeopardy. Europe is suffering the Jihadist terror’ attacks for some time. Also the US. The hatred that drives our attackers, is very difficult to combat because of their irrationality, which comes from their hatred and impotence facing the Western civilization, which has proven to be more open, fair, prosperous, and infinitely more livable and stronger. The terrorists are seeking to destroy our way of life, detested by the Jihadism. The concepts of political freedom, living’ alternatives, freedom of choice, those are blasphemous concepts for them. As a result, it is very difficult to fight against the preposterous, as it has already been proven. Using the cutting-edge military technology has become an imperative to address them. There is no dialogue which might perform at such a barbarism. It would be as frustrating as a futile exercise. Only a military force of higher intensity. Let’s no one dream to wipe these barbarians by benevolent or persuasive procedures. Or equidistant from both sides, something shamefully which still happens a lot in Europe: Make no mistake, it is not our fault, the only blameworthy ones are the terrorists and those who induce them to kill.

Do not touch the US Military Bases in Spain ‘: It is the main statement, which is the subliminal message launched by the President of the United States, so that was heard throughout Spain and in all the countries belonging to NATO. A few times it has had more political content a visit in Spain. We have to defend ourselves as the world will be a much more dangerous place to live.

 

Erdogan’s self-coup?

 

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I’m not a supporter of the conspiracy theory. In most cases these are bizarre stories which are impossible to give any credibility. But in the particular case of the latter attempted coup in Turkey, I would suspect there is something behind it which has not a nice scent. The President of Turkey, Mr. Tayyip Erdogan is using this attempted coup to purge the army, and move on the Islamist drift in the way which he always wanted. According to the Turkish Minister of Justice, Mr. Bekir Bozdag, more than 6,000 people related to the coup have already been arrested, and he has promised that these arrests will continue ongoing. Today it has been known that most of these purged and arrested people, were identified in a drawn up list beforehand. The latest death toll provided by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, reached 290 people, which includes military rebels and civilians. Erdogan will move further in this matter, by the idea of reintroducing the death penalty in the country.

Analyzing the recent history of Turkey, since the fall of the Caliphate and the Turkish empire, Mustapha Kamal ‘Ataturk’ one of their most brilliant generals, and the military around him, changed and modernized the state, and tried to get closer to the West while limiting the political Islam. Since then, there has been a tension between those who defend a modern and secular Turkey, backed by the army, and those who try to recover the Islamic tradition, mainly located in the Anatolian peninsula. As a result, the tension has resulted in several coups during the last decades.

Erdogan himself was part of the Islamist party’s Youth organization which gave a military coup in 1980. His party was outlawed, but he returned to the political activity in the party APK, with the wish of implementing the Islamic precepts in the Turkish society. After a stint in prison, Erdogan came to the conclusion that “it was necessary to find a way for Turkish Islamism to be compatible, at least for a while, to the democracy and the market’ economy“. The key to this statement is, “at least for a while.” It is possible that the time has just arrived.

About the authorship of the coup, the theory with more followers and defended by Erdogan’s Administration and Cabinet, points out to the Cleric Fetula Gulen, self-exiled in the US and former friend of Erdogan. It is known about the presence of Gulen followers’ movement within the Army, especially among the officers. For years, the President Erdogan has insisted that Gulen was plotting to carry out a coup. Both Erdogan and Gulen are conservative Islamists and against the Army’ role as the guardian of Turkish democracy, and guarantor of secularism imposed by Atatürk, (the ‘father of the Turks’). Fetula Gulen, founder of Hizmet (Service) movement, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan had many common objectives in 2002, when the current president’ party, ‘Justice and Development’ (AKP) was presented to the ballots.  Former allies and close friends, Erdogan accused Gulen of being behind the leak of several recordings which would link Erdogan with serious corruption’ cases. Since 2013 the Gulen’ movement is persecuted in Turkey and hundreds of its members within different public bodies, have been arrested.

Today, the circumstances are portraying to Erdogan as the big winner of the crisis: A leader who was low at the polls due to his increasing authoritarianism, has become overnight in the defense of democratic order. The weakness of the rebels and the collapse of the entire coup action in just a few hours, it is seen by some as evidence of a false action. This thesis is defended by the most critical of Erdogan: the secularist and pro-European sectors, who see their president as someone capable of anything to stay in power. Some have suggested that, although he did not organize the coup, perhaps he knew in advance and looked away and let them move on, and then establish himself as the leader and savior. I’m in for this thesis, which seems the most realistic one.

During his government, Erdogan has sought to move towards Islamism, while maintaining an erratic foreign policy. As a result, it has meant a great tension with the military who might have tried to solve the situation. The result of the coup seems as a triumph of Erdogan, because since then it is being an Army cleanup, which could allow the faster progress of the political Islam. The most important Administrations in Europe have already anticipated the possibility that the coup is used by Erdogan to accentuate his authoritarian drift.

It is very important to be aware about the situation in Turkey from now on. This attempt to make a secular twist by the force, seems like it will eventually allow Erdogan and his party to go deeper about the Islamist politics, something which is extremely serious given Turkey’ hot geopolitical situation today, with borders with Russia, Iran and Syria.

The rise of populism

 

 

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If something is getting dangerous in the current world’ politics it is the Populism. The political Populism is the exerted through a strong leadership of a charismatic individual, who pledges promises for social equality. To achieve this purpose, the leader uses emotional arguments over the rational ones, such as the excitement of the nationalist sentiments in order to boost the social cohesion and the popular mobilization. The Populism does not distinguish between right or left-wing and provides political projects of any kind. It is possible to apply the ‘populist’ label to a politician who tries to win the popular support by promising things which cannot keep once power is seized. In any case, the concept is pejorative … it is about demagogic, which has a large repertoire of methods to reach and remain in power.

There are currently populist political anti-system leaders such as Donald Trump in the US, Boris Johnson in the UK, Marine Le Pen in France, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, Alexis Tsipras in Greece or Pablo Iglesias in Spain. In Latin America are those around the Hugo Chaves’ political orbit, as was Chavez, Maduro, Evo Morales in Bolivia, the Kirchners in Argentina or Lopez Obrador in Mexico. In Latin America, the administration are leftist-populist, interventionist and in some cases are even dictatorial, where the will of the rulers is prevailing over the law enforcement.

After the severe crisis that we have recently suffered, the Populism is also experiencing a boom in Europe and the United States due to the harsh evolution and deterioration of the living conditions of people, as well as the expectations of opportunities. The voters react to these circumstances making wrong choices and voting to these options which are promising measures which clearly cannot be done, as it has been the case of Tsipras in Greece. The Populist politicians are good in television debates and experts in social media and networks, without any hesitation to change their strategy when they see in the polls that are not in the desired path to their purposes.

In the particular case of Trump, his growth has been fostered by criminalizing the Hispanic immigrants for their unstoppable growth with already more than 52 million people in the US, and rising. Also he is directing people’s anger against the ‘establishment’ represented by the traditional politicians. Trump’s motto is ‘Make America great again’, chauvinism which it is also being used in France by Le Front National (FN) of Marine Le Pen. The FN has won the last French elections, the European and the first round of departmental, and only the electoral system has stopped them. As Trump, she has also criminalized the immigrants, but especially she denounces the status quo, i.e. the European Union and the ‘old politics’.

The European populists blame on the EU for all their misfortune: Jaroslaw Kaczynski in Poland, has joined the anti-European front of Viktor Orban in Hungary, who said that “the future is about restricting freedoms only in order to make more efficient countries“. The easy slogans on television collect the votes of the despair people. But all of them have something in common: when they leave power, everything is much worse. Like in the Venezuela of Maduro: it is already terrifying. When they size power the populist discourse can opt for the abandonment of one’s principles and make the ‘politics of the possible’ as Alexis Tsipras did in Greece, or either like Chavez in Venezuela, followed his principles, which was looking like a stable situation while the oil prizes were making up the disaster. With the Brexit in the UK, the populist anger against the established order has reached the boiling point.

We, the citizens ask for a much better management of our realities than it has been so far: more efficient, and why not, more honest. We do not want the misfortune of the populism coming along, which would not lead us to nothing but to the political frustration and economic disaster, or even worse, to the lack of freedom.

 

The Soviets of the Mayor in Madrid

 

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In Spain are started to happen serious matters: The Mayor of Madrid, Mrs. Manuela Carmena, representative of the party ‘Ahora Madrid’, a local wing to the populist party ‘Podemos’, has decided to implement in the city capital of Spain an administrative model in the purest ‘soviet’ style, or as the nearest Chavista model in Venezuela. To that end, the Mayor of Madrid will create an administrative and police structure which would work in parallel to the existing police. Mrs. Carmena, despite of her past as a Judge, has no doubts about submitting this proposal at City Hall, which is frontal colliding with the Spanish judiciary and legal system.

But, what is a ‘soviet’?  For the Russian Revolution’ scholars, the word will not surely sound any odd.  ‘Soviet’ means literally an assembly of the workers, or a workers’ council. Contrary to the popular belief, the soviets were not born in the wake of the Russian’ 1917 Revolution but a decade earlier. They were originally workers’ associations, who rose up against the Tsarist and the Russian ruling class’ privileges, in order to express the discomfort of most of the population. Those ignited the flame of proletarian Russia, sick of the serious social and economic differences that the Russian society historically lived.

Soviets were introduced in 1917 as soldiers and workers’ assemblies. Lenin described them as the basis for a “superior form of democracy” based on “the participation for the construction of a new society“. They were organized at the local level, and then successively up in higher committees which led to the Supreme Soviet. Once created, this governance’s system from the bottom-up, was perverted so that allowed the exercise of power from up to down.

In the real life, those were committees to fight against the Revolution’ enemies and to ensure the social control over the entire population. The Communist Party in the Soviet Union ruled until 1991 through the soviets’ system. Their eyes and commands reached to every corner. The model has been repeated with the ‘Committees for the Defense of the Revolution’ in Cuba and the ‘Bolivarian Circles’ in Venezuela. The base of the soviets is thus, usurping the functions of the State by a political party. It is a parallel structure to the state led by the ruling party, through which the real power is executed. It is, so to speak, the  perfect method to be perpetuated in power,  because its structure is confused with the state.

The new Mayor’s project aims to establish a Neighborhood’ Political Police, a Local Jury, and a “Community Manager” in charge of energizing the citizen participation. These are three of the figures which the Mayor intends to launch in the capital of Spain’s 121 districts, like of the district’ soviets controlling the police and the justice in the Soviet Union, and still continuing in Cuba to do so. The Neighborhood’ Manager, will be the head of the new security policy that the Mayor is trying to launch: it is a genuine ‘political commissar’ figure, and will be appointed directly by the Mayor. The creation of the ‘community policing’, is based on the claiming that still are several neighborhood’ groups who feel animosity toward the police presence.

The Mayor also aims to create a Neighborhood’ Jury.  The main purpose is to gather together offenders and the victims and give them “the opportunity to meet the social environment where the offense was committed, acknowledging their guilt, and jointly agreeing about some ways to restore the damage done to the community.”

This model totally collides with the current prevailing legal and judiciary system, since the safety in Madrid depends on the police. And of course, the criminal offenses depend on the justice. The Mayor, who has been a Judge in the past, should be aware about this small detail.

The proposed model  reminds the ‘participatory models of Venezuela’, ie, following the Soviet ideology. We’ve all ever heard the statement: “This cannot happen in Spain“, in the sense that our country could never endure some Chavista or Bolshevik model. Make no mistake, of course it could happen in Spain.

 

Good news in Argentina: Welcome to Macri, the antiPopulist

 

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I like Mauricio Macri. He is a close person, which is projected in his kind of political management. As a good Argentinean, he is passionate about football, especially the Boca Juniors; he has been only for six months as President of Argentina, but the course of the country is already changing and he is making history. This civil engineer, businessman and sports leader, managed to wrest control of the traditional parties which had monopolized Argentina’s politics since 1983. However, this is not his real merit. With a new political party and his proposal for oneness and dialogue, Macri already achieved that Argentina is beginning slowly to breathe out of the of tension, division and violence’s climate of the Kirchners’ discourse, which has dominated the country for the past years.

Macri is just about to show to the world the other side of Argentina, the good side, and seeking for investments that would stimulate the country, in order to solve the problems of the poverty and exclusion that bequeathed the K’s Administration, as it is called to the Kirchners in the country. Such a heritage has been the confrontation with the entire planet except with the ALBA countries (Chavistas), due to the breach of its international commitments, alteration of internal statistics, and ultimately, the permanently lying to the Argentinean.

He found upon arrival a completely devastated, ineffective and corrupt state. It was not known which were the currency reserves, the rate of inflation, poverty, GDP, insecurity’s statistics, even the traffic’ accidents … previous rulers did not seem to have a democratic commitment or attachment to any kind of institutional quality. It seems that the Kirchners, in addition to Chavez, also financed the populist party Podemos in Spain, which is a serious interference in the internal affairs of another country.

Macri has its downside as well: his appearance in the “Panama’ Papers”, and has been widely criticized for his delay in giving explanations; although late in time, Macri recognized his error and his mistake, but he tried to justify himself by saying that it was his father’s company and all of it was fiscally declared.

With regards to the Populism, Macri promised he would demand the release of the Venezuelan’ opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. He fulfilled the claim during the 49th Summit of Heads of State of Mercosur demanding the “prompt release of political prisoners in Venezuela.” Macri has the opinion that the Maduro’s government has violated all the human rights, and has led to the Venezuelan population to famine and neglect.

Luckily, it seems like a big political change is happening in Latin America: Cristina Kirchner is not in power anymore; Evo Morales has lost great popularity rating in the last six months; Rafael Correa in Ecuador follows the same line; Maduro is being asked by the Parliament and more than 80% of the population to leave power … Is the end of Populism?

After years of booming due to high oil prices, Populism showed the great levels of generated fraud, and it has glimpsed the need to rule giving value to the commitments, solving problems in real time, and not permanently lying to the population.

The Argentinians opted for a fundamental political change and have decided to choose the value of the truth, the personal effort and the word given. With the great Argentinian’ talent and resources they own, it seems that this path will lead to advancement, progress that politician should have never thwarted in a nation which was once among the richest on the planet.

 

The self-loving of the British people and its consequences

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The results of the Brexit´ referendum on June 23rd was as unexpected as transcendent. Against all odds, the British narrowly voted to leave the EU. Last week, some British people, mostly English, have justified the decision, as a reaffirmation of what they are, as giving a dose of self-love for themselves and, the confirmation that they are special, unique, exceptional and overall, a different country.

With the advent of the globalization brought by Thatcher, the UK was divided among many poor and few rich people, Scotland against England and London against the deep England. Given the circumstances, UK should have clung hardly to Europe. With the English narrative to use, it goes in the opposite direction, and arrived in the UK something which had never arisen before: the populism of Nigel Farage, leader of the populist party UKIP, and totally Europhobic. Influenced by this populist wave, Cameron promised a referendum on the EU and loses it, being the Referendum in the English political tradition considered as a “weapon of demagogues and tyrants.”

At the political level, the EU must respond firmly to that, so there is no contagion´ effects to the rest of the EU, especially where the populism is stronger. The presidents of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council must be very resolute in their response to avoid further referenda in Europe about staying in the Union or on particular issues such as Schengen or the Euro. And the UK has to be stressed that it can be no access to the single market for goods and services without the freedom of movement of the people, like any other Member State of the EU.

The 27 Member States must show to London that the output of the EU is not a trivial matter at all, and it has serious consequences. Otherwise the ´domino effect´ could occur in several European countries. The right-wing populist parties in France and the Netherlands have already taken a step forward. The leader of the National Front, Marine Le Pen as the Dutch far-right leader, Geert Wilders, have already expressed support for a Query.

As a result, he UK will have internal problems that might influence over the independence movements again: the majority of Scots voted to stay in Europe last year but the Scottish Chief Minister, Mrs. Sturgeon has already warned that the results could push a new query. And in Northern Ireland, the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. McGuinness, already asked to vote for reunification with the Republic of Ireland. Gibraltar could start to look favourably to Spain, because the Brexit might cause an economic blow which will begin with a devaluation of wages and, an end to their comfortable lifestyle across the border, in Spain.

For these reasons and possibly many more, at their next summit, the 27´ Heads of State should demand to the UK to activate Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, in order to initiate the withdrawal from the EU as soon as possible. We Europeans should take the Brexit as a last chance to revive and rebuild an EU faithful to its origins and ideals, and very essential for the future prosperity and freedom in security for the EU´ European citizens.

We must make to understand to European Democrats that there is no alternative to a more integrated and better governed Europe. It is not enough the Security cooperation, but the integrated European executive agencies are crucial; we need a common Defence policy, funded in common by all members. It is also foolish to maintain a common currency without the political integration. The democratic quality needs an empowered Parliament over all subjects and, common European lists to ballots. Europe’s external borders must be protected at European level with an integrated European force, otherwise the Schengen free movement will not work. For the international politics we need a single voice or we will become as irrelevant as despised.

It is still possible to convert the Brexit´ threat into an opportunity towards a more integrated Europe, but the 27 Members´ nigh raid must be tough and with negative consequences for London, in order to prevent further leakage and more populism. The EU needs an exciting plan with a clear roadmap if it wants to maintain its attractiveness worldwide.