Category Archives: European Union

In France the Choice is Clear: a Smug Corrupt Establishment Circles the Wagons Around Macron……

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After the first round of French presidential elections on Sunday the media, especially in the USA, has simplified matters as a race between sanity and madness, moderation and extremism. No, it ain’t that simple.

France‘s famous pop-philosopher BernardHenri Lévy is a good representative of the ruling elites of France. Recently he waxed eloquent about the establishment candidate, Emmanuel Macron. He compared him to John F Kennedy. I don’t know M. Macron, but I know a lot about Jack Kennedy. Macron is no Jack Kennedy. He is more like Bill Clinton, and we know what he did in the 1990s, the deals he cut against trade unions and poor minorities who kept voting for him and his wife because they were terrified of the rapacious Republicans.
Macron represents the usual candidate of a corrupt smug French establishment. He is just younger. If he comes to power his instinct will be to toe the European and Globalist line, strip the middle and lower classes of France of as much of the social safety net as he can get away with. He is closer to the British conservatives than to an American liberal, but just barely (American liberals are also closer to British conservatives than they like to think or admit).

Marine Le Pen appeals to many French and European racists, no doubt. But she is in fact closer to the working classes of France than even the Socialists have been lately. She is no Donald Trump, she is more genuine in her own way. Trump is a billionaire with phony populist claims, he got elected by deceiving many voters with a fake agenda. Trump’s first instinct upon taking power has been to try and strip the health and other benefits middle class and poorer Americans get, in favor of giving the rich more tax cuts.

Trump‘s other instinct has been typical of the American establishment in recent years: if all else fails at home, start or expand (or surge) an existing foreign war. This is typical of both major parties: Republican and Democrat. (Expect an escalation in Yemen, Syria, Libya, possibly in the Persian Gulf if the Arabian king and this princes get their way).


Le Pen might, or might not, pull France out of the European Union. She might scale back cooperation. That is what scares the establishment the most: they have so many vested interests, so much invested in the European plan.

In this coming election the left and the right-center are the terrified establishment, and the Front National represents the insurgency. Possibly a genuine insurgency, not a fake reality-TV insurgency that brought Trump into the White House.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

A Second American Century, But Trump Can’t Lead the Free World: Und Warum Nicht?…….

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The United States has been leading the “Free World” since the second week of December 1941. Seventy Six years of uninterrupted U.S. domination of the West and of the world. It has managed to do so through various presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama. All based on the strength of the US economy, US military, and the attractive American ideals.

But with this last election of 2016, the Shining City on the Hill looks less shiny to more in the world. Don’t get me wrong: the American ideal and its attraction still exist, its pull beckons both the needy and the persecuted and oppressed from across the world. Its freedom of speech and expression is unequaled, so far. But the new American ruling classes are not in sync with the rest of the Industrial World, with the rest of the Western World.

Some years ago in Paris, in my other carnation, I was at a lunch near Avenue Georges V with some French associates. They were curious what I thought the new 21st century would be like. They had doubts about another American Century. Europe was consolidating, asserting itself; China was grown, opening. I surprised and seemingly displeased them by asserting that this new century will also be an American Century, a Second American Century. I said that I can’t see any challenger in Europe or in Asia to the United States of America. The allure, the values, and openness of America continue.

I still do: I can’t see any challenger to America as the world’s dominant power. Nor as the world’s ideal destination, and as the main source of human innovation. Emma Lazarus endures……

But the new ruling classes that took power in January are small and mean by normal American standards. Possibly the worst in the past hundred years. The louder he praises his appointees, the smaller they look. They are not what the world is used to. They are not what most Americans are used to. And they are not nearly as honest as Americans are used to in their ruling classes.

Trump is no Roosevelt, and no Kennedy: a comparison would be an insult to both those dynasties. He has no vision of a New Deal type restructuring. He has no group of the Best and Brightest advising him. No “we are going to the moon” ideal. And he is no war hero, on the contrary…… Instead he has a gaggle of the meanest, greediest, and most selfish people advising him and running government departments. He appeals to some baser instincts in America (every nation in the world has them).

His first legislative act was to try and deprive millions of Americans of their health care coverage. With the goal of clearing up billions of dollars to finance tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, like himself and his associates. That has failed spectacularly. By executive order he has sought to destroy the beautiful natural treasures of this country, turning the treasures over to developers. Making the United States into another Brazil.

I can go on and on. The Second American Century is here. Unfortunately Mr. Trump and his gaggle of extremist ideologues and small thinkers can’t lead it. They are not qualified, and the rest of the world will not follow. His administration is the only Industrial Country Government that denies Climate Change and Evolution and Healthcare as a human right.

America‘s best chance now is that Donald Trump will do something stupid that gets him impeached and convicted.

As he liked to yell during his noisy campaign rallies: Get Him out of Here!

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Greek Drama: Beware Europeans Bearing Poisonous Gifts……..

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Several years of disastrous economic policies imposed by the IMF and the European Union and its bureaucrats have brought Greece to its knees.
Now that Greece is in a deep recession, with low income and terrible high unemployment, the same European bureaucrats are set to impose deeper tightening economic policies on Greece. What can result from deeper tightening in an economy that is in deep recession with little to export? Why, the next step is logically a depression.
What seems to matter most to European bureaucrats is that European governments and banks do not reduce Greek debt. Unlike decades ago in the 1950s when the United States and others canceled about 50% for German foreign debt and extended reduced payments over several decades. But that was when the West was facing the Soviet challenge and needed to showcase the Western part of Germany. There is no Communist challenge, so the West can afford to tighten the screws on Greece, so the Greek people will suffer for many decades, years after they leave Europe. Unless the Europeans come to their senses.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

A Solution: Hadi to Join European Union, Erdogan to Join Gulf GCC……..

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During the turmoil of the Arab uprisings of 2011, the Saudi king came up with an interesting idea, what Americans would call “a dilly”. He invited two unlikely Arab kingdoms to join the Gulf Cooperation Council– GCC: humorless Jordan and faraway but certainly more exotic Morocco. Even though the two countries are not located on the Persian Gulf, unlike for example Iraq or Iran or even the United States Navy. Anyway, I opined loudly and persistently that it will never happen, that it was a knee-jerk reaction by the Saudis to the Arab turmoil around them. I suggested that they will end up at most with a sort of watered-down ‘association’. As it happened the Arab turmoil turned the wrong way, and the princes used their money wisely to influence events in Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, Libya, and Yemen. Or so they thought. There was even some loose talk of membership and maybe association with military-ruled Egypt. Yemen was never mentioned at that time.

The invitations to the kingdoms of Morocco and Jordan were quietly shelved. The assumption was that Yemen can also forget about it. Now that the country is in turmoil, its former president is on the run, the issue comes up. Reports claim that the former president AbdRabuh Hadi is formally applying for membership of the GCC. The man is not even the true president as his term expired last year and he decided to unilaterally extended his own term, in true Arab fashion. I suppose it could be a way to show that he and his ministers are acting like a real ‘government’. Even after escaping first Sanaa and then Aden to the safety of Riyadh.


It will be interesting if the Saudis encouraged them to apply, or if they decided to spring a spring surprise while the Saudis are busy in their own power struggle. It is possible they resorted to this after failing to raise the expected popular militia in support of the air campaign: the opposition to Houthi-Saleh is mainly Southern Independence, Al Qaeda, and some tribal elements.

Either way, his chances of joining the GCC now are zero, mainly because Hadi will never return and rule in Sanaa. He has as much chance to join the GCC as Erdogan of Turkey has of joining the European Union. This is not to say that Yemen does not fit into the GCC, culturally and historically it could fit. But Yemen has three handicaps:
(1) it is a republic not a monarchy, presumably with an elected president;
(2) it is very poor, and;
(3)it is a large country that has more citizens than Saudi Arabia. Which means it can be the most populous country of the GCC, with all the economic and financial pressures that would create on the rest of the GCC.

So, if I were a joking type, which I probably am not, I would suggest that Yemen Hadi has a better chance to join Europe than the GCC and Erdogan Turkey has a better chance to join the GCC than the European Union. I bet you know where this is leading……….

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Potentates of the Gulf Unite! (Against Human Rights)………

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“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recalled the UAE ambassador to Sweden in wake of comments the country’s foreign minister made about Saudi Arabia. In addition to recalling the ambassador, Sultan Rashid Al Kaitoob, the ministry also summoned the Swedish ambassador to the UAE, Jan Thesleff, and delivered a formal memorandum of protest over Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstrom’s remarks, state news agency Wam reported. Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, highlighted the “condemnation by the UAE of strong statements made by the Foreign Minister of Sweden to the Swedish Parliament against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its judicial system”. Dr Gargash stressed that these statements violate the principle of sovereignty……………..”

This show of outrage by the princes and potentates and their minions. Supposedly ‘sisterly or brotherly’ outrage as Gulf media and officials like to call it. This outrage would be funny if it were not outrageous. Coming from Persian Gulf potentates who meddle in Libya and Syria and Iraq and Lebanon and Bahrain and Egypt, among other places. Who paid billions to crush the Tahrir Uprising by the military and help repress Bahrain even as they claim to seek to liberate Syria and steer it towards the joys of Wahhabism.

So why would the Abu Dhabi potentates protest a diplomatic issue between two other countries? Maybe it is a case of “If the shoe fits, wear it“. In Arabic it would be “He who has a bump on his head will reach and touch it” (اللي على راسه بطحة يتحسسها).

Likely it has to do with a (non-mathematical) principle of transfer. They also do it, so maybe they expect the Swedish diplomats to mention them as well at some point. They feel entitled to certain consideration and accommodation, because they can threaten to block lucrative contracts (some may consider it a sort of blackmail). You never see the British or French governments talk about human rights in these countries. Why do you suppose that is so? Certainly it has nothing to do with principles: both these European governments leave their principles on the other side of the Mediterranean before they hit our shores. They always have.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Swedish-Saudi Wars: Arab League as Chopped Liver……..

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Sweden is one of a few ‘Western’ nations that has had good relations with almost all Muslim or Arab countries. They even recently recognized “a” palestinian state, whatever that may happen to be. That is not to say that I like all their successive governments. Sweden has even started dabbling in arms-for-money deals with despotic absolute Arab regime, including Saudi Arabia, in recent years.

The foreign minister of Sweden was invited to speak to a meeting of the Arab League (actually it is a Saudi-UAE League) a few days ago. The Saudis decided to prevent her from speaking, and they did. Shows you who “owns” the Arab League. The rest of the Arab delegates were as silent as chopped liver. They were afraid that, being a Suédoise, she would mention the unmentionable: “human rights”, “corruption”, and maybe even worse. The shaikhs may have fatwa-edd that uttering some of these words would send anyone straight to the fires of hell.
Now Sweden has decided to review its policy of supplying arms to the Saudi regime. Which pissed off the Saudi princes, who usually feel entitled because they believe their money makes them entitled to a lot of special European ‘consideration’. The princes have recalled their ambassador to Stockholm. Which has depressed the ambassador, since he will have to spend not only St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, but also the coming beautiful Swedish summer in the arguably the most boring capital in the whole wide world, Riyadh.
That is where things stand now…..

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail

Israel Invites a Swedish Minister to Stay Away……..

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“A high-ranking government official revealed on Saturday that Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom canceled her trip to Israel after she was notified that she would have to bring her own security personnel and that her trip would not be considered an official state visit. The very public breakdown in relations between Sweden and Israel began after Sweden officially recognized Palestine as a state in October……………”

It is no secret that there is no love lost between Mr. Netanyahu and almost all (West) European leaders. Almost without exception. That also goes for his top ministers. That is also true about his relationship with the Obama administration which usually bends backwards to please his lobby of groupies in the Congress. That would also be true if a Republican is ever again elected to the U.S. presidency, even if it is the historically-challenged Louie Gohmert. Even if it is the extremist Las Vegas gambling tycoon the Likudist Sheldon Adelson.

Odd for leaders of countries that are strong and consistent supporters of Israel. It must be some personality issue, no?

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Asian Migrants in Europe: Beware Greeks Holding Wages and Guns………


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“A Greek court’s decision to acquit farmers who admitted shooting 28 Bangladeshi strawberry pickers when they asked for months of back pay has sparked outrage in the country. Politicians, unions and anti-racist groups condemned the verdicts, describing them as a black day for justice in a case that had shone a light on the appalling conditions in which migrant workers are often kept in Greece. I feel shame as a Greek,”………….”

Who would have thunk it. Even the Greeks, usually mellow and not into racist stuff, are changing. Tsk, tsk. A terrible ugly sign of the bad economic and political times.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Angry Euro-Centric International Community: Torn Between Ukraine and Gaza…….


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Headline today in the Huffington Post: “Global” anger at Russia grows……..

Odd: I look around the globe, the media in several languages, and I don’t see worldwide intense anger. There is sympathy and a desire to uncover the culprit(s), but no anger. I see some regional real anger and some regional pretend anger, and I see mostly some politics mixed with anger, and it is focused on a particular part of the globe. In recent years, it seems that the world has gone back to the old Euro-centric order, just as it did during the eighteenth and nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Apparently when the angry “international community” or “the world” is mentioned the acronyms that matter are NATO and EU. Forget about UNO and BRICS and PIGS and TRICKS and SCO and WTF and the rest.

No wonder the angry “international community” is never angry when third world airlines are shot down, especially when shot down by NATO missiles (Iran Air 655, Libyan Air).

I guess “global” here means the West: “European Union” or “North American”. The Rest Of the World, almost 85% of it,  are just that, ROW, and not part of the “global community”, since we don’t see much if any of the same “outrage” across Asia (outside Malaysia) or Africa or Latin America, or the Middle East. The same applies to “The International Community” that we often see in Western headlines. The Int’l Community is often angry at someone or the other (Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Freedonia, etc). The “Int’l Community” is never ever angry at the European Union or the USA or Canada. And why should they?

Now speaking of “global” outrage, and speaking of Gaza……….

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Impartial Foreign Monitors of Syrian and Egyptian Elections Are Happy with Great Big Zeros……

      


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Syrian
media reported that an ecstatic Bashar Al Assad met with an uncharacteristically cheerful Iranian parliamentary delegation that had monitored the Syrian election. The Iranians insisted they did not care who won as long as the election went smoothly and everybody from Al Raqqah through, er, Beirut got to vote. They declared themselves satisfied with the election process. They claimed the elections were as free and fair as they had wished them to be, and the results (Assad won with 88%) were fantastic. “Could not be better”, said one bearded Iranian who insisted they were in Damascus as just impartial observers “to keep the honest, honest”.………


Egyptian media is quoted by my Cairo source claiming that General Al Sisi met with a gaggle of Gulf princes and potentates who had monitored the Egyptian election from the GCC democracy-monitoring headquarters in Riyadh. They declared the voting to have been free, fair, and very democratic, “almost as good as anything we have never seen back home”. One worthy grumbled that it was actually too democratic “if you ask me“, even if not tribal enough. When asked about the results (Sisi won with 97%), they said it was obviously fantastic and ordained by Allah and “why haggle over a lousy 3% discrepancy?”………
One smirking shaikh added his own version of a Parthian parting shot: “unlike that Great Big Zero election held in Syria“…….


Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com