Fernando Fuster-Fabra's Blog

CHINESE CHECKERS & WORLD ECONOMICS

February 7, 2011
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In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.Confucius

Chinese Checkers board

 

China is still a paradox for the Western developed nations even as it slowly sips capitalism, converting itself into the second world economic power. What China may not be willing to wholly swallow is the tint of democracy that inevitably goes with economic wealth and prosperity, as very recently demonstrated in relation to the Nobel Peace Award.

 

To understand China and its strategy on international relations, one must either have lived in Asia amongst Chinese for some time or try to find a palpable example of how these perseverant people draw up their goals and lay out their strategy.

 

If one has ever had a chance to play Chinese Checkers, he/she would easily comprehend what the past weeks of international actions by Chinese dignitaries in several fronts represent. Decidedly, China has had to put its foot forward to seek recovery of its wavering prestige after the absence of Liu Xiaobo at the Oslo Nobel Peace Awards ceremony last December 10, 2010.

 

On the checkers board, China has come to realise the order of priorities of the other international powers seated at the games table. Its growing economic power is no longer doubted and even Japan has admitted that its Asian neighbour has surpassed Nippon economic might if not replaced it as Asia’s primary industrial nation. If there is an Asian trait where China outshines is in perseverance towards established goals; and the present-day Chinese regime has understood that whilst not having to relinquish its communist ideals, capitalism offers it the best launching pad towards economic prosperity. Kissinger’s role in the Ping-Pong Diplomacy with then China’s Prime Minister Chou En-lai led to the Communist regime taking over the UN seat the Nationalist Chinese had occupied since the organisation’s constitution in 1945.  Ever since the Nixon Administration acknowledged in 1972 the existence of a Communist government (People’s Republic of China) in Beijing in the now famous Shanghai Communiqué during President Nixon’s week-long state visit to China, the trail was set for the USA to formally break diplomatic relations with its natural ally, the Taiwan-based Republic of China and establish formal relations with the larger mainland Chinese government in 1979.

 

Once the supreme world leader, the United States of America, took that step, all other democratic nations have the go-signal to establish open trade relations with the PRC. A few of the so-called non-aligned had already recognised diplomatically and some others had submerged trade relations behind the USA’s back. Year 1979 marked the turning point to openly trade with the nation with the world’s largest (and still growing) population.

 

Precisely what seems to have attracted most other states, China’s immense population as a potential market, could very well be the Communist regime’s ‘Achilles’ heel’ as time goes by. True to say, China has imposed birth controls measures some time ago to put a stop to the exponential growth of its population, especially in the rural area. However, as time goes by, the tides may have changed, especially in the macro-urban area such as Beijing & Shanghai. The high cost of living in tentative consumer zones discourage Chinese couples to have off-springs, leading to the initial break of birth of toddlers who would later have to support the burden of aging generations.

 

If China would look into this problem now, it would be faced with the true dilemma of its accelerated blossoming into one of the world’s leading economies. The problem China has yet to face is that of unequal wealth between urban citizens and those Chinese residing in rural, industrial and mining zones. It is creating a serious breach in consumer habits as well as modes of living that could very well end in a cause of medium-term future conflict.

 

China is converging into a unique model with a strengthened economy based both on its cheap labour and consistent industrial development. However, in the process, it is retaining the worst part of its Communist heritage and adopting the less solvent portion of democratic developed nations’ growth model that of a global unsupervised market. In the short-term, this has permitted China to take an empowerment role in international economics to the point it possesses the world’s Nº 1 bank and PRC’s investments in other states’ bonds. It has acquired businesses and land both in Latin America and Africa, in a clear attempt to diversify risk.

 

It has however not considered that the true risk to its upcoming combo-type regime that fails to relinquish old ideological traits whilst it embraces economic habits of Western democracies lies in splitting up of its vast population and territory into nuclei where one or the other purist model may finally wish to prevail. China should comprehend that it would prove insufficient to have a leader educated in the UK to make 1.350 million (1.35 B for Americans) citizens toe the line towards a democratic regime.

 

Furthermore, it will take more than mere networking at conferences such as the recently-ended Davos World Economic Forum (where China’s delegation passed from 6 in 2001 to 66 in 2010) or the state visits by its premier and vice-premier to the USA and the stronger EU states to really convert China into a full-pledged democracy. Such time is both far and near, depending on which side of the fence one may see it from.

 

Revolutions are not writhe in a day, much less in a vast territory subdued during decades by the charm of Mao Tse Tung. Nevertheless, few would have expected the turmoil that now plagues Egypt but had its first spark in Tunisia. Global communications is changing social interaction habits for good.

 

China has played well its external economic moves on the checkers board; to the point that major other players sit agape in admiration whilst freedom is curtailed. What goes on within the walls of that other China is another story and few abroad are aware of the tensions that may be developing. How long before China either proves the solvency of its economic power or succumbs to its evident internal socio-economic disorganisation?

 

In the Year of the Metal Rabbit that has just started, China may well have to turn inwards in order to reach the true goals desired by its now open-eyed citizens immersed in the new pleasures of a semi-restrained global consumer economy.

 

 

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona

 

 

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NOBEL’S EMPTY PEACE SEAT

December 11, 2010
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I can forgive Alfred Nobel for having invented dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.

–       George Bernard Shaw

 

 

 

 

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I have come to wonder if the witty Bernard Shaw in saying what he said about the Nobel Prize was right, especially after the 2010 ceremonies.

The empty awardee’s seat at the Oslo Peace Award ceremony dampened the glittering reception of the Nobel Awards in Stockholm and once again demonstrated that this world is guided not by worthy principles intended to be rewarded by the Nobel Prize in its different categories but by vested interests and geo-political strategies.

China has again had its ways over those of the civilized Western world. Neither Liu Xiaobo nor any member of his family was allowed to assist the December 10 ceremony, much less accept the Peace Award from the Norwegian-based jury. In fact, China set up its own version of a so-called ‘peace prize’ awarded precisely the day before. The ‘hissing oriental dragon’ has launched another warning that it is not to be tamed into the fold of the democratic capitalist world so easily.

In a year where international events have not only been dominated by the pervading global economic crisis but likewise tinted with ominous signs of political tensions in various conflictive points around the globe, China has stoutly withstood pressures of the Western democracies for its aperture towards less restrictive policies in its territories.

It is not only its steadfast policy on the renminbi or yuan that confronts China with the USA and its Western allies but also its international support or consent of persistent conflicts with Iran and North Korea. However, some of said allies boycotted the Nobel Awards ceremony to satisfy China, each with different reasons for such support to the Chinese protest for Liu Xiaobo’s Peace Prize.

What is at stake in this rather repulsive situation is the way China can dictate its arrogant will upon some boot-licking trade partners or ideological sympathizers. Moreover, the passiveness of the other larger world powers may grant China a shift of attitude from a hissing dragon to a fire-throwing one.

On this very same weekend, the United Nations’ climate talks are to close at Cancun. There again China will probably be imposing its taciturn stance against anything that represents human rights, freedom or democratic principles.

How long is the free world going to stand for this daily repetition of the Tian’anmen episode of a now more powerful devil-dragon in the economic and geo-political world fronts?

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Independent Observer

Barcelona – Madrid

 


G-20, SEOUL: MEETING OF QUESTIONED LEADERS

November 12, 2010
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Versión en español:  http://wp.me/pRlnf-1I


A series of meetings commenced in Seoul on Thursday evening amongst the countries that are considered to command the developed and emerging economies of the world. In this their fifth meet after the burst of the financial crisis, the countries belonging to the so-called G-20 Group plus some invited nations (Spain amongst them), shall try to reach an agreement.

 

What agreement must they reach?

 

In previous sessions, measures were adopted but almost none have been carried forward to full extent. Amongst such agreements were: the ‘re-foundation of capitalism’ or ‘strict regulations to curtail banking abuses’, to mention but a few of the numerous good-will statements that have ended in nowhere.

 

Con June 23rd., I wrote that the G-20 meet of Toronto   http://wp.me/pv6EY-4T was the last chance the leaders had to see the crisis from another angle. I reaffirm my previous statement. In the almost six months that have elapsed, world leaders have suffered a loss which makes them less credible than when they commenced to be a group of twenty bent to convert themselves into the new impulsive force of the world economy.

 

U.S. President Barack Obama has long shed his buoyant Nobel Peace Award to suffer his first relevant electoral defeat in the last mid-term elections.

France’s President Nicholas Sarkozy is undergoing is lowest ebb in popularity after a flood of strikes against his retirement age reforms, just as he is about to take over the G-20 rotating presidency. Precisely, he is the leader that so arrogantly announced during the Washington, D.C. summit in December 2008 the ‘re-foundation of capitalism’.

 

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, virtual winner in the UE arenas with her imposition of part of her criteria on budget deficit cutbacks and regulation measures on EU members’ non-compliance, is not more credible after several electoral defeats and the doubts arisen from her change of views in political affairs such as tax cuts and nuclear power plants closures.

 

Novell British Prime Minister, David Cameron, after some protocol misstep in his visit to China on the way to Seoul, has suffered his first student revolt in absentia whereby the younger Britons acted in a manner not seen since the times of his venerated mentor, Margaret Thatcher.

 

Needless to say that the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is not only subjected to an ethical scrutiny of his sexual misdoings but likewise has been practically abandoned to his fate by his parliamentarian supporter to date, the ultra-conservative leader, Gianfranco Fini.

Russian President Dmitri Medvédev still has the shadow cast by his mentor and actual prime minister, Vladimir Putin; a shadow that chases him every step he takes, without knowing who will finally be Russia´s new czar of this millennium.

 

Naoto Kan, Japan’s Prime Minister, had hardly landed when the last G-20 meet was held and no relevant role can be accounted him thus far in the search of a solution of the international crisis. He has enough with trying to keep himself in office longer than his predecessor who resigned after 8 months.

 

The last G-20 host, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not obtain a definite final communiqué in the June G-20 summit; hence the widening breach in various fronts that have led to the so-called ‘currency war’ at present. The threat of a G-2 mentioned in June is now a currency war between two adversaries, the USA & china, which brings the world back to the brink of another profound crisis.

 

The aforementioned leaders make up the original G-7 which with Russia added was converted to the G-8. Furthermore, the European Union was given a seat in the G-8 and likewise representation in the expanded G-20. These are the directors, up till the recognition of the G-20 as possible substitute forum, of the destiny of the world economy.

 

The G-20 has given more importance to the emerging powers, of which China, India & Brazil are worth emphasising. In fact, some of their objections to G-7 veteran member stances obliged these to reorient their postures in the last meets of this new economic forum. Furthermore, the emerging members have made their presence known in other forums, some of quite a bit of importance, such as the Doha Round con international trade & commerce and the summits on climate change & environment, the latest held in Copenhagen with a forthcoming event in the next few days at Cancun.

 

The world problem cannot be limited to economic issues and the policies in budget cutbacks but rather should be visualized from another angle based on globalised commercial interaction towards a more balanced distribution of wealth in the framework of sustainable development that doesn’t exterminate or planet nor put an end to its inhabitants’ liberties and social well-being.

 

And such lack of will to descend from their power-seats to see the problem from another angle is putting these questioned leaders at a stalemate, without any capacity to react much less to act correctly.

 

 

Fernando Fuster-Fabra Fdz.

Observer of Human Behaviour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


U.S. MERRY-GO-ROUND AFTER MID-TERM ELECTIONS

November 8, 2010
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The great American nation has voted and Obama has been punished for seeking reforms favourable to the U.S. citizenry in the first two years of his presidential term. The overwhelming Republican victory in the House of Congress is definitely the start of an uphill climb for President Obama and his White House advisors. Not only will the new Republican majority question and try to repeal approved laws such as Medicare but also will block any new initiatives in relevant fields such as economic reforms or foreign policy.

For those who are not familiar with the USA in its varied regional cultures, it is much harder to understand how voters in supposedly the world’s most powerful nation can change its historic support for America’s first Afro-American President two years ago to this sonorous defeat in the mid-term elections. Americans need a binding factor to keep their country at the top.

George W. Bush used the 9-11 tragedy to whip up American patriotism to get re-elected but left such a trail of discontent with the mounting deaths of American soldiers at the Iraq warfront. A change was needed and thus, Obama was put into the power seat at the White House four years later. The lower middle-class American expected Barack Obama to be the miracle-man who would shoo away the evil spirits of crisis and war that the Bush Administration had brought about in its second term.

Obama was aware of the timing by which he had scarcely 2 years to get America back to economic recovery, if he was to offer the Democratic Party a serene mid-term campaign. Unfortunately, such time pressure has worked against him on the local front. Whilst his popularity abroad brought him honours such as the Nobel Peace Award, the average American in the Midwest plus the Latin &the Afro-American communities continued to suffer the economic crisis and unemployment. The binding factor in the Democrat’s defeat in the recent congressional elections has been the so-called ‘fear syndrome’ magnificently availed of by the most conservative wing of the Republican Party.

The denominated ‘Tea Party’ campaigners have made good use of the economic crisis to make the middle and lower classes of the nation fear all that comes from abroad, in particular from the emerging nations of Asia and the southern neighbours of America.

One must point out a rather curious statement made by no less than NYC’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg while assisting the C40 Climate Change Group Forum held in Hong Kong last week. Bloomberg, a billionaire that was a Democrat till 2001, then ran for office as a Republican and finally has turned independent before seeking a third mandate in 2009, has probably defined best the worries about the average American voter and the new political scene when he said, “If you look at the U.S., you look at who we’re electing to Congress, to the Senate—they can’t read, …. I’ll bet you a bunch of these people don’t have passports. We’re about to start a trade war with China if we’re not careful here, only because nobody knows where China is. Nobody knows what China is.”

The U.S. 10-day presidential tour to Asia will not be enough to curtail fears about the new political scenario in Washington, D.C. nor solve the problems on hand.  Obama must fight such ignorance at the home front not only because the voters do not have interest in learning more about the globalised world but also because the new congressmen that will scrutinize his proposed laws are just unprepared for such an intensive intellectual task in a world wrapped up in a single napkin in all relevant issues from economic crises thru terrorism up to climate change.

As America’s political & economic merry-go-round is about to commence its mid-term ride, new inexperienced faces will appear in the U.S. Congress & Senate. With a much less than a thorough knowledge of international politics, they are to dictate laws which will not only affect the American citizenry but likewise the other nations of the world.

What’s in the ride for the rest of us?

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona


FIDEL CASTRO’S FAREWELL APPEARANCES?

July 27, 2010
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Fidel Castro’s half a dozen public appearances in the last fortnight have led to many speculations both in the home front and abroad. The octogenarian who turns 84 on August 13 first appeared dressed in Nike sportswear last July 10th in photos supposedly shot by his son, Alex, during a visit a few days earlier to the National Centre for Scientific Investigation (CENIC) in La Havana. Since then, he has made been seen in other public acts, the most relevant of which have coincided with the 57th anniversary of the unsuccessful rebel assault to the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba on July 26.

A rosy-cheeked stooped Fidel Castro smiled at his first public act on July 7 and spoke slowly in a rather short speech as he commemorated the Moncada assault in a read speech dressed in his green-shirt uniform the eve of what Cubans consider the commencement of their revolution. He, however, did not attend podium at the official ceremony of the commemoration presided by his successor and younger brother, Raul. He only laid a wreath at the statue of national hero, José Martí, situated at the Plaza de la Revolución.

What goes on in Cuba after the pact between the Cuban authorities and the Cuban Catholic Church with the mediation of Spain’s Foreign Minister, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, has not been mentioned by either of the Castro brothers or by the 79 year-old Vice-President, José Ramón Machado Ventura. Nevertheless, 20 dissidents and their families have thus far accepted the terms of exile to Spain in exchange of prison term cancellations. An expected 52 of the Group of 75 are expected to benefit from this special arrangement.

Has change started to crop up in Cuba?

There are those who say ‘yes’ and yet others claim that no change worth mention has occurred. In spite of discrepancy, one cannot avoid admitting that with Fidel Castro almost 84 and his younger brother just turned 79, chances are that neither of them be around much longer. A younger generation of Cuban socialists must pick up the challenge of keeping the flame of the Moncada Assault alive, if such is the will of the Cuban people.

Fidel Castro’s recent public appearances seem to me more a last farewell tour just before his definite bowing out of the public scene and probably of dying. In spite of comments about his apparently good health, no medical certification warrants those four years of retirement after his 2006 surgery have brought the Communist leader back to his usual health. His irrevocable resignation in 2008 in favour of his brother, Raúl, was a clear sign that Fidel Castro had decided to take a back-stage role even if he did recover himself.

The ‘Fidel Castro’ that ruled Cuba for 49 years is long gone and the image of Fidel during this past fortnight is that of a wandering soul on his way to purgatory.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona


A TALE OF TWO ALLIES

July 26, 2010
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That Great Britain and the United States of America are allies is a well-known fact no one questions. Nevertheless, it is likewise true that the USA once was part of the defunct British Empire and fought the Redcoats to declare its independence on July 4th, 1776.

Two world wars brought the USA and the UK together across the Atlantic, in an alliance against those forces considered contrary to freedom and democracy. This alliance triumphed in both wars provoked by confrontations amongst European leaders in search of world supremacy. Borders have since then been moved and colonies reorganised. The alliance claims that it has served the interests of Mankind in the preservation of peace.

Such feat is only in part true. The tale these allies relate has a more profound lecture and a far deeper truth.

Way before the generation Barack Obama and David Cameron belong to could ever dream of attempting to lead the world as they are today, the USA and the UK carried out both positive and negative political actions that have compromised freedom and peace the world over. In their favour is the supremacy of the democratic system in major part of the developed states of the globe. In the negative side of the balance are the inherited conflicts some countries have to bear with as a consequence of erroneous decolonisation processes in various continents. One such process is clearly reflected in the present-day tense situation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority which dates back to 1917.

Supremacy for decades has been linked to control of energetic sources and it is a well-known fact that during the greater part of the 20th century it has been British and American consortiums dubbed ‘The Seven Sisters’ that controlled petroleum supply the world over. Today, three months after the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the ecological disaster for the gulf area coastline, the USA and the UK still are allies with a sensitive friction point as far as the respective citizenry are concerned.

For Brits, the severe US stance on imposing BP a costly salvage scheme has a far deeper effect on private pension fund holders where British Petroleum stocks is a priority asset. Thus, the reactions have been one of total rejection to the White House curt discourse demanding responsibility and claiming indemnification. Furthermore, with Cameron seeking severe budget cuts, Britons are each day more inclined to pursue a total withdrawal not only from the Iraq fiasco but likewise from the Afghanistan front.

What once united Great Britain and the United States of America – petroleum and ‘just wars’ – may now be the very cause that may slowly cause a crevasse between two strong allies.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona


OBAMA AFTER G-8 / G-20 CANADIAN RENDEZVOUS

July 5, 2010
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Seventeen months after taking oath of office and three G-20 summits held since then, President Obama must review his track record on international achievements thus far.

Whilst Obama’s first year was loaded with international engagements that culminated in a Peace Nobel Award, 2010 has been mainly centred on a domestic agenda laden with Republican rebuffs and unsavoury surprises on the home front. This may have been initially essential to curtail far too rapid popularity erosion and possible Democratic defeats in the forthcoming congressional elections in November but became even more demanding after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with incalculable impact on the US coastline.

A week after the latest international G-8 & G-20 summits in Canada and coinciding with the traditional 4th of July celebrations, Gulf Coast beaches were solitary scenes on an otherwise jam-packed day. The fireworks on such a relevant day for the United States were not limited to the evening sky glitters nationwide but to a series of worrying issues both on the home front as well as abroad.

In the local scene, unemployment hit a 10% record figure which if properly considered would stand for as much as 16.5% seeking a job in the 50-star nation. Temporary jobs created by the Administration over the last months to undertake the census were not enough as private entrepreneurs languished with a lack of steady job offers. Consumption isn’t at its best, not even with the 4th of July festivities on the going. America is immersed in a serious economic crisis that may not go away so easily and end, as Krugman predicts, in another Great Depression.

What really is worrying is that Obama has stood alone in the last G-20 meet and one of its staunch allies in the G-8 & G-20, Great Britain, is now in the limelight due to the British Petroleum fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico and Cameron’s insistence in totally withdrawing U.K. troops from Afghanistan by 2015. Tension was added by Britons’ demand for stronger actions by the U.K. cabinet in defence of BP, to avoid its shares plummeting further due to the Gulf of Mexico rig spill. Will Obama finally kick someone’s ass or is he going to take a beating himself?

G-20 silence on Israel’s undaunted policy of striking first as a defence measure, mainly backed by U.S. permissiveness while condemning Iran and North Korea leaves an unsavoury taste for freedom-lovers around the world. No matter what are a nation’s alliances, any world leader must have the stamina to demand its ally to fulfil international agreements towards peaceful coexistence. The United States has thus far consented Israel too many whims to honestly stand out as a firm defender of human rights and democracy. This situation is further aggravated if one considers that Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Award in 2009.

Has the concern for domestic issues blurred Obama’s vision of the international front loaded with unresolved conflicts or is he being forced by American issues and K-Street lobbies to give leeway in such matters as the closure of Guantanamo, the unstable Iraq regime, the war in Afghanistan or the Israeli-Palestinian endless confrontation?

On the other hand, Obama may have decided to make a strategic halt to assess where he stands today after his solitary stand at the G-20 summit. If he decides for a G-2 push, his best bet as a partner would be the European Union with a carefully planned diplomatic action amongst the less conceited and more reliable members instead of the usual partners. It’s Obama’s turn to move a piece on the international chessboard. The world is watching.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona


G-20 TORONTO SUMMIT: LAST CHANCE TO SEE THE CRISIS FROM ANOTHER ANGLE

June 23, 2010
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Spanish Version              http://wp.me/pRlnf-1a


After a futile Busan meeting of economic ministers earlier this month, hopes of progress and consensus amongst world leaders at the G-20 Summit are scarce.  One inevitable question crops up – Are these government leaders governing their nations and the world for the citizens that elected them or for the financial markets that sway their fragile decisions?

Just as Obama was about to take over at the White House and Spain was first invited into the group, the G-20 met in Washington D.C. under a retreating George Bush. Two other summits, London https://fernandofusterfabra.wordpress.com/2009/04/19/hello-world/ & Pittsburgh https://fernandofusterfabra.wordpress.com/2009/09/26/the-pittsburgh-summit-the-world’s-future/ , have been held since then with practically the same futile results. Chances are that the Toronto summit will be more along the same line.

Whilst the USA has flirted with China in what was dubbed ‘G-2 formula’, the EU has been incapable of having a solid single stance towards international economic policies in the successive summits. Furthermore, the White House is cautious about withdrawing public expenditure hastily meanwhile recovery is hardly convincing. On the contrary, German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has whipped other EU leaders with French President Sarkozy’s consent towards drastic public debt cutbacks in the 27-member club. This opposed views will make it difficult to come to a common ground in the truly indispensible actions G-20 leaders must take without further delay.

Canada’s Prime Minister and summit host, Stephen Harper, is precisely against the only common point between US and European leaders – the levy on bank operations. His posture will probably be used by other leaders from emerging economies to delay any actions that may endanger their respective growth rates. However, this very growth may well be the cause of economic overheating in Brazil, China and India that could put any recovery in serious trouble. Harper, who boasts of Canada´s economy y banking solvency seems to forget that he heads a nations that has steadily lost relevance in worlds affairs and whose banks are too conservative to be a reference as institutions for the New Millennium.

Moreover, China may have apparently made a concession to the USA with regards the Yuan but it would prove naive to consider such tactical move as a definite trend towards Chinese permanent cooperation in all economic and political international issues. On the contrary, this move may well be countered by a rather steadfast stand against any of the US–EU proposal at the Toronto summit.

In a similar manner, Brazil’s outgoing President, Lula Da Silva, in an effort to impress Brazilian electors and assure his proposed successor’s victory will probably play a hard-line strategy against US proposals.

I feel that world leaders continue being incapable to think big https://fernandofusterfabra.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/world-leaders-uncapable-to-think-big/ nor are they creative enough to view the crisis issue from another angle. It is evident that the G-20 meet must start off by recognising the main cause of this sneaky situation. No solutions will ever be effective if free-trade and globalisation isn’t governed by global financial & investment regulations agreed by world leaders and implemented under strict authorized international supervisors. The care-free ways of liberal monetary flows has been unleashed for three decades to produce the existing crisis that may well pervade another decade or so.

Is any world leader brave enough to put the warning bell leash on the market’s unscrupulous misdoings?

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona


FROM BILDERBERG CLUB AT SITGES TO G-20 IN BUSAN

June 6, 2010
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version in Spanish –  http://wp.me/pRlnf-10

The tranquil Mediterranean sky over Sitges suddenly was a flurry of helicopter traffic last Thursday afternoon whilst security measures were tightened at the entrance of Can Girona.  The arrival of members and guests of the exclusive five-decade Club at Sitges’ Hotel Dolce coincided in time with the start of the Finance Ministers’ conference 10.000 kilometres in Busan, preparatory to the world leaders meet at the end of June in Canada.

A world in crisis with the elite of the wealthy and powerful in their annual get-together since its first session in the Bilderberg Hotel in Arnhem, the Netherlands in 1954 must talk much more than of the nice sunny weather and the pleasure of Sitges’ excellent golf course. In turn, the Finance Ministers of the developed and developing countries of the world must have sat down to decide which path to take at the June 25-26 leaders’ conference in Toronto.

Coinciding with these economic and political events thousands of miles apart were two Israeli blockade actions in international waters.

The Bilderberg Club, in spite of its discreet holdings and utmost secrecy, seemed to have been fortified its existence with NATO Secretary-Generals from as permanent members. More than a shear economic club, ever since Polish political advisor Jósef Retinger received Netherland’s Prince Bernhard’s backing to his idea, Bilderberg has acted more like a political one. In fact, its first meeting in 1954 was meant to establish closer ties between the leaders of Europe and the United States of America and avoid an anti-American wave in Western Europe. Although never mentioned, one of the issues that has always hovered the European scene since the end of World War II has been the moral and economic reparations of Jewish Nazism victims. At the turn of the tides, with Israel now as an established independent state, what does the club think about Israel’s arrogant stance in the world scene today?

The G-20 Finance Ministers closed their meet yesterday with not even a mention of the deadly effects of Israel’s boarding in international waters of a Gaza-bound six-vessel flotilla, supposedly bearing humanitarian aid for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip; a second vessel, the Irish MV Rachel Corrie was likewise hijacked to prevent its arrival at Gaza. Not only did the ministers not decide a common stand on new banking regulations and control but neither did it evaluate the effects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the world’s economy.

The Bilderberg Club seems to have agreed that the crisis is due to last at least another year and surely the G-20 ministers must have talked along the same line. What is indeed worrying is to observe that neither political nor economic world leaders seem to be concerned about the risks of another global conflagration in the crossroads between Sitges and Busan, in Gaza just where Israel is challenging all international authority in its arm-twisting strategy on the Palestinian issue.

How long will such inhuman actions go on in the name of a single state’s security? Can we honestly say that as developed and developing countries belonging to international organisations such as the United Nations all agree that Israel can have its ways in an eye-for-an-eye strategy against Hamas? Who then must speak out for all civilian victims of 20th. Century atrocities? Has Israel forgotten what its people suffered in the Nazi concentration camps? Is a similar action against all Palestinians justifiable and permissible?

Today, I for one, feel ashamed of belonging to our present-day inhuman race.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Sitges


WORLD TRADE & ECONOMY JIGSAW PUZZLE: THE EXPLOSIVE G-2 FORMULA

February 28, 2010
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President Obama’s visit to China last November hastily coined a new economic axis, G-2, in U.S. and international economic circles. The results of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (https://fernandofusterfabra.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/obama-after-copenhagen/) a few weeks later seemed to confirm closer ties between two world powers with different goals. I for one was totally convinced that the Chinese theatre show would be short lived.

World trade events involving the U.S.A. & China in the last quarter have tensed relations. However, bilateral commercial relations have not been the only point of confrontation that has lit the red-light alert in the growing risk of rupture. U.S. arms sale to Taiwan and the Dalai Lama’s private visit to the White House have served to ignite the already heated atmosphere.

There are two main points that oblige the Obama Administration to watch their step in their relations with China :-

  1. The Iran nuclear dilemma
  2. China’s hold on U.S. public bonds

Let me analyse each item and the impressions said issues cause in other scenarios such as the European Union.

The Iran Nuclear Dilemma

The international scenario on nuclear development is supposedly supervised by the United Nations through its IAEA; such situation implies that the five U.N. members (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom & U.S.A.) with veto power in the Security Council have final say on sanctions and nuclear power control. Having convinced Russia to back U.S. demands on Iran, China is the only veto bloc power that could frustrate U.N. Security Council resolutions against Iran’s uncontrolled uranium enrichment scheme.

Being aware of its strategic vote, China has the Obama Administration in a rather awkward position. No words are required whilst China picks the flower dilly dallying on the issue.

China’s hold on U.S. public bonds

China may have as much as 20% of U.S. long-term bonds. A recent move to sell part of its holdings just as commercial hassle on Chinese products imported into the U.S.A., was but a warning of what China could do to effectively harm the still shaky U.S. economy. Furthermore, China has refused to revalue its Yuan, in order to rebalance U.S.-China import-export trade flow.

In this rather inflamed setting, American economic policies seem predestined to toe a soft-line where China is concerned. Nevertheless, President Obama’s bet on a G-2 axis to trigger a global world economic recovery is destined to fail. Moreover, if the U.S. Administration has still any hopes of soothing their Chinese counterparts with light concessions, it then becomes evident that the Obama team knows very little about Chinese Machiavelli-style use of time to wear off their adversaries.

Instead of a G-2 with this unreliable undemocratic commercial partner, the Obama Administration has to bend back to envision a more solid panorama where the other partner lies across the Atlantic Ocean, a natural partner for free-trade, economic sustainable growth, democracy and peace.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra, Madrid


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