Brexit and other blusters

 

 

The geopolitical world map is being reconfigured and it seems to be not too positive for Europe. Trump’s election goes far beyond the intention about the Americans recovering their factories or getting better terms in free-trade agreements. It is not only protectionism, but part of a change which could be radical.

An essential element for this changes must do with the role of the United States in the world. It is the great world military power; it also concentrates the largest and most important companies in the financial industry, energy, and those developing the greatest innovations in the productive environment. American manufacturing companies are no longer leaders because of their competition. In contrast, many of the American firms linked to Silicon Valley, from Amazon to Facebook, are becoming the leading players in the new economic context, and some others like Uber, Tesla or Airbnb, are becoming to be so. It will mean, if successful, that the US economic dominance will be strengthened in a new way, perhaps even more intense than in the past.

Ted Malloch, who is expected to be the next US Ambassador to the EU, has stated that the Euro has just 18 months left. He has said also that during 2017, decisive elections will take place in Europe, in France, Germany and the Netherlands, and the Europeans will decide whether they want to continue or not in the EU, and the end of the road will be inevitable. Of course, according to Malloch, the fact that the common European currency disappears and the EU breaks, it will not be a problem for these countries which decide to leave, because the US will be there to back them up. The bet has been made clear with the United Kingdom, which has been offered a bilateral treaty via express delivery if necessary, and it will be the way to reaffirm the UK position.

At the first meeting of President Trump with a foreign leader in the White House, British Prime Minister Theresa May, it will be measured if they both have more pragmatism or ideological affinity. The two conservative politicians share the enthusiasm for the Brexit and the negotiation of a bilateral trade agreement. “As we end our time in the EU, we have the opportunity to reaffirm our belief in a sovereign, global and self-confident UK, ready to build relationships with our old friends and new allies,” British PM said.

May seeks to become a privileged ally of Trump. But the British exit of the EU locates the so-call special relation between Washington and London in an uncertainty situation. So far, not everything is being an easy for May: The British Supreme Court has ruled that the instance which authorized the UK entry into the EU (1972), it is the only one which could authorize its departure. It is a broad-spectrum sentence. It opens a discussion of great interest: Most deputies were supporters of ´Remain´ and many of them even considered that Cameron had committed a serious political error in calling the referendum. It was, moreover, a transversal majority, of conservatives, labourist and liberals, and even the former PM was part of it. In the other hand, Trump praises the Brexit, but the British exit of the EU might mean for Washington the loss of the best defender of US interests in economy, security and espionage´matters, along the EU corridors.

Meanwhile, the head of Economic Affairs of the EU, Pierre Moscovici has quite reacted about Malloch´ statement:  “The Euro will not collapse, not in 18 months, not in 10 or 20 years. I do not think Malloch was well informed.” The Presidents of the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament have decided to keep a low profile in front of the new US administration and its more than inappropriate views on the future of the EU. Moscovici tried at first to be more neutral, insisting that “the US is a major EU partner, economic, strategic partner, an ally and friend, and will continue to be, but at the same time there is a new president with his own political choices and with a nationalist and protectionist´ tune.”

Questioned about a possible break-up of the Euro, the former French minister was much sharper. “I do not think it’s an informed judgment. The currency is a decisive factor of unity, it makes no sense to try to divide the Europeans, we need to strengthen the Eurozone, deepen it, and the European Commission will make its proposal in its next white book, when the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome.” In Brussels, the position of Trump irritates much, but they do not want to create more frictions with the new US administration. Before provoking a diplomatic incident, they prefer to let some time pass by, and see which the practical facts are going to be, and instead, go beyond rhetoric: “We will disappoint those who see us already dead. We should reflect on Mark Twain’s words about how the rumours of his death had been more than premature, ” Moscovici insisted.

Some days ago, it was again Pierre Moscovici who replied to the doomsday future painted by the new White House: “Having an Administration which is wishing the dismantling of Europe is simply impossible. I do not accept this view of things and I do not believe that these comment, which glorify the division of the Union, are the best for Euro-Atlantic relations.” It seems like those Trump’s advisers are linking the US policy success to the others´ failure. It would be a very poor vision of things. Trump is said to be against free-trade, but he might be only against free-trade when it benefits countries other than his own.

Although I must admit that this vision does not correspond only to the new US administration: It was also supported by the well-known Professor of Economics at the New York University, the American Paul Krugman, 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics, who considers himself very modern and liberal, and he is much praised by the American progressists, meaning the Democrats. They have more in common than a priori they seem. We must observe carefully to make sure if in Britain, as well as in Trump´s America, are these capable elites of carrying out the programs of the PEOPLE.

The year of the lies

 

We have never had so much access to information as we have today, but in the other side, we have never been so subjected to manipulation, simplification, and scam. It is the so-called ‘Post-truth’. We have seen a lot of it during the last 2016.

2016 was the year in which the United Kingdom voted its divorce from the EU, blaming migrants and refugees, without receiving any of the latter as it was agreed within the EU system of quotas of distribution of refugees. The two great leaders of the campaign, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage admitted, after winning the referendum, having lied about their utopian promises. About the one which spoke of recovering for the United Kingdom 350 million € which, supposedly, was wrongly spent by the European Union. The British newspapers did not want or could not explain that the UK refused to receive in the previous months a single asylum seeker. The number of those who crossed UK borders was zero. The Brexit has been one more exponent of the alarming clashes of legitimacies that the Populisms put forward to end to the Rule of Law and the representative democracy in Europe.

The year 2016 will be remembered in the history as the year in which a multimillionaire disguised as ‘an outsider’ has broken all the prognoses when reaching the White House. Erratic, politically incorrect and unpredictable in his governing form, his victory can bring about a profound reversal of American politics. And the world.

It was 2016 the year in which there was a “near-coup” in Turkey and by which Erdogan, taking advantage, put in prison tens of thousands of people in Turkey accused of coup’ plotters without having presented a single evidence against them. Now Erdogan is about to seize all the power, the absolute power, once and for all, so that no one ever snatches it from him.

2016 was the year in which Bashar al-Assad razed Aleppo by killing thousands of civilians while using forbidden weapons. For many, he became the new liberator of the Middle East.

2016 was the year Putin imprisoned most of his opposition in Russia, including the communist, but managed to galvanize many left-wing sympathizers around the world, for being iron fist against the West. Including Donald Trump, who praised the Russian president’s response to the sanction imposed on his country by Obama’s White House team: “A great movement, I always knew he was very intelligent!

It was also 2016 the year in which it is observed that of, after the economic crisis of 2008, the largest of recent times, the social democratic left has been giving power and losing influence in the main developed countries.

We are already in 2017. Europe, the world, are changing so much that the stillness, the calm, seems no longer the worst of the scenarios. There are coming critical elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany and, as the EU idea about integration, collaboration and the transfer of sovereignty has become a first-class throwing weapon, Paris and Berlin will try not to make big decisions, announcements or new strategies, so as not giving ammunition to the populists. The scenario has changed completely in just a few months. After the British referendum on ‘Brexit‘ the EU split in two. On the one hand, those who like France, wanted more Europe. On the other, the side led by Germany, Holland or Finland, the economic hawks, who prefer a break for the time being.

Thinking over before acting, consolidate before proceeding. It seems obvious that the reaction of the citizenship to a possible greater integration is not wanted. Those referendums in Europe, the Greek on the bailout, Brexit, the Hungarian on quotas, the Dutch on Ukraine, or the Danish on participation in the EU in internal affairs, that of Renzi in Italy, were all lost. The Eurosceptic groups are proliferating. So, the Heads of State and government have chosen to give a truce. The issue is, that of at least two new elements have showed up in the equation. On the one hand, Trump, whose messages are very disturbing in Brussels and which may force to the member states to take a few steps forwards on issues of common defence and security policy, in the fear that NATO, its natural shield, will be affected by which it seems the new doctrine of the United States.

In Britain, Theresa May has given up her asymmetric free-market claim among European and British goods, as opposed to the barriers to the citizens who produce them. The imminent ruling of the British Supreme Court, which will rule on respect for parliamentary sovereignty over those who are based on the will of the people, has led the British PM to anticipate and dispel doubts about the actions and positions of her government around the withdrawal from the European Union.

Progress, integration, growth, are the natural EU’ movements, and much to do still remains. But doing it without a right plan, without any guidance or goals could become an equal or greater threat. One for which Putin and the Europhobes are already preparing. “We are witnessing the beginning of a new era, distinguish by the triumph of fear and anger; a brazen lack of respect for the truth; xenophobia; the weakening of liberal ideas and the rejection of the economic globalization’ achievements. “, was appointed by David Held, Professor of International Politics and Relations at the University of Durham in the UK. In 2017, the temptation for those leaders handling the planet’s geopolitics hot spots, (Trump, Putin, Erdogan, Assad, Al Sisi, Le Pen, Wilders …), will further abuse of this Post-Truth lab, in order to win contracts, elections or wars. While the emotions are occupying more space than the real facts.

Thus, begins 2017. Happy New Year!

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A Spy Story

 

 

 

During the last Christmas holiday, we have astonished and attentively observed every day the US political crisis issue motivated by the alleged interference of Russia in the last US presidential elections, and how such interference could have changed the direction and the result of the election. There has also come to the forefront, the very existence of a dark dossier on possible links during the last five years between the next US President and the Russian Government. From the beginning, no one wanted to give enough credit to this alleged dossier to bring it to light, but the information has erupted with just a week left for Donald Trump to make the Presidential oath.

This dossier has been classified as ‘unverified information’ by all those media which have published it. But the reality is that the content has placed the President-elect on the ropes during his first press conference after several weeks, and only a few days before his swearing-in as President of the United States. According to the report, there would have been some plot among Trump’s team and Putin’s government to injure during the election to the Democratic Party and its candidate Clinton. On the other hand, it is said in it that Russia could use the information collected for several years on the tycoon, information which might include an alleged orgy with prostitutes in a luxurious hotel in Moscow, in order to blackmail him once he is officially the President of the USA.

Trump called the report ‘fake news,’ and blamed to the US intelligence agencies about being behind the dossier. He has described these facts and information as a ‘witch hunt,’ although in the document it is pointed out that the Russian Intelligence would have material and compromising information about the President-elect, both economically and personally. It has now been reported that the dossier was written by Christopher Steele, a former MI6 spy, who worked as a spy in Russia during the 1990s and right now runs the private ‘Orbis Business Intelligence’ company in London, and who recently has been forced to leave his home in Surrey together with his family and hide in an unknown location in the face of fear of retaliation by the Russian secret services. In his report, Steele concludes that Moscow has been tracking Donald Trump for five years and has accumulated enough embarrassing material of unorthodox behaviour to blackmail him.

But that is not the most disturbing part of the report: it is affirmed that Trump has been receiving assistance, support and information by the Russian administration, under the name ‘Operation Trump’ which has been commanded by Putin directly. The Kremlin would have been providing intelligence about Trump’ opponents in the electoral race. The dossier also contains information accumulated over many years about candidate Clinton, including the communications interception, led directly by Kremlin spokesman, Mr. Peskov, reporting directly to Putin.

The report relates about continued conspiracy between Donald Trump’s campaign team at the highest level, which would include Russia’s diplomatic staff in the US as well as the use of hackers who would be behind the appearance of Clinton’s e-mails in the WikiLeaks platform, to create distrust and hatred towards the Democratic candidate. In exchange, Putin would receive intelligence from the US, especially about the Russian oligarchs, their businesses, and their families in the US, and would have managed to get rid of the candidate Clinton to whom Putin detests.

In the Steele’ report are concrete data, dates, details of actions and events which makes it very difficult to reject it in advance. Both, the US intelligence services are giving it the highest credibility and the FBI is investigating its authenticity. The only fact admitted by Trump, but only a little bit, is that Russia might have entered the Democratic National Committee’s servers to steal damaging information for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. But then, he clarified his words. “The US is being ‘hacked’ by the whole world. It includes China, Japan and Russia and everyone.” Trump said in a new example of his tendency to talk about China, Mexico or Japan, whenever he is asked about Russia.

WikiLeaks has pointed out that the dossier “is not an intelligence report. Neither its style, facts nor data shows any credibility.” The Kremlin was quick to dismiss the revelation as an ‘utter falsehood’ aimed to damage the relations between the two countries. “The sources are one of the flimsiest aspects of Trump’s report,” wrote the journalist Luke Harding at the ‘The Guardian.’ Despite those holes in the style and content, the very report has been circulating for weeks on the heights of the American power. Here is the rarity. Even the Arizona Senator John McCain has acknowledged that the FBI sent it for review to him.

Now there are two possibilities: if the accusations were verified, their very serious character could trigger further investigations, and even a possible impugnation which might undermine Trump’s Presidency. If they were false or unconfirmed, it would further aggravate the relations among Trump’ administration and American intelligence. If the report were verified, it would explain the Trump’s always favourable stance towards Russia; His compliments to Vladimir Putin and his strategy in Syria; The open door to recognize the annexation of Crimea; The not responding, within the NATO framework, to an eventual Russian aggression in Europe; The refusal to acknowledge the Russian ‘hacking’ during the campaign to the Democratic Party, despite the insistence of American intelligence, and finally, the appointment as the Head of Diplomacy of Rex Tillerson, an ex-ExxonMobil who is a close person to Vladimir Putin. It is ironic that Mitt Romney was dismissed as Secretary of State just when his very main opinion on foreign policy is being now vindicated. Romney said in 2012 that “Russia was the geopolitical adversary number 1 of the US.”

 Trump has at least acknowledged for the very first time that it may have been Russia which has pirated the accounts of the Democratic National Convention, although he also said that “Russia will have a lot more respect for our country when I am leading it than before, when other people were leading.” A typical intelligence play, worthy of a former KGB colonel, which is working up to date, but it has already created many shadows of doubt, and has begun to make water even before Trump assumes his new role as President of the USA. But if this report were verified, i.e., the violation of the most basic rule of International Law, the, ‘non-interference in the affairs of another country’, it would be too serious for the interests of the American citizens, because their will would have been vitiated, annulated and manipulated.