Fernando Fuster-Fabra's Blog

THE UGLY AMERICAN, 2012

November 4, 2012
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The Ugly Americans

 

Ever since the Burdick & Lederer’s novel, The Ugly American, was published in 1958, American candidates to the White House and incumbent Presidents have had a chance to face numerous international problems as leaders who have to assume responsibilities attributed the world’s most powerful nation.

 

Nevertheless, time and time again, one President after another has committed quite a number of errors that have led to what the USA is today.

 

On the verge of next Tuesday’s presidential elections, incumbent President Obama and his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, have demonstrated that Americans have not wagged away the then Asian foreign vision of “the ugly American”.

 

On the contrary, today, American leaders are seen as “ugly” in continents other than Asia. In the last half century, one after another, the U.S. Presidents have blundered in international affairs in Vietnam & Cambodia, in the Caribbean, in the Middle East, in Africa and in Central & South America.

 

From Kennedy to Obama, all White House tenants have had their Achilles heel. Some succumbed to the temptation of playing God and ended causing civil wars or local ethnic cleansing.

 

At the crossroads of American supremacy, President Obama has not only failed to live up to expectations and to a moral commitment after being awarded the Nobel Prize in 2009, but also has selfishly closed himself into what he sensed was to be a battle for his continuance as President of the United States of America. He has, in many ways, taken as his own the very habits of what was described in the novel as “the ugly American”.

 

Regretfully, his adversary is no better off. Mitt Romney considers he is a self-made man who has amassed a fortune with his talents. Nevertheless, if he would look back, I’m sure he will have to admit to himself that he isn’t all that respectable a citizen as he wants to make voters believe. He too is “an ugly American” in the eyes of any foreign beholder.

 

At this stage of the 21st century with new technologies making communications go global with a click, U.S. leaders have seemed to remain stagnant in their 20th century ways of government and diplomacy; precisely those very same manners that worried John F. Kennedy when the novel was first published.

 

Neither Obama nor Romney gets even solid approval from their European allies. I feel, much less would they get it from the Muslim states that their policies have led into an irreversible permanent war.

 

The issue is that none of them have learned from their errors but worst still is that there being an opportunity to be once again the best, both Obama & Romney have decided to just make it to the White House next balloting day.

 

Who is the “uglier American” of the two?

 

 

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona, Spain    

 

 

 

 

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USA TURNS BIN LADEN’S ASSASSINATION INTO HIS LAST HURRAH

May 6, 2011
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Kingdoms without justice are mere robberies and robberies are like small kingdoms; but large empires are piracy writ large.

St. Augustine

 

White House top officials viewing the assassination live !

Firstly and above all, let me say that I shall never support nor be in favour of any act of terrorism that may have caused death and sorrow.

Having said that, I affirm that under no circumstance would I openly support any regime of whatever ideology to impose their will in clear violation of the principles of universal justice all men have a right to receive.

The assassination of Osama Bin Laden in the hands of a specially trained U.S. commando in an incursion into Pakistan without authorization of Pakistani authorities is not only a violation of Bin Laden’s right to be judged according to international laws but likewise a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty over its territory.

What may be a consolation for Americans for the death of thousands of citizens a decade ago in the cruel attack against the Twin Towers, popularly dubbed “9 11”, has turned to be an opportunity for Bin Laden’s last hurrah at the expense of the honourable proclamation of democracy through liberty and justice for all Mankind.

The issue is further aggravated by the fact that the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief of its armed forces, Barack Obama, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. No man supposedly meriting such award should ever be permitted to instruct the assassination of any human being, no matter whether this person was a condemned criminal or an innocent man. For such condemning, there are courts of justice who have the responsibility to sentence men as guilty or innocent; never can a world leader usurp such functions which are not innate in the role of executive functions such as those inherent to Obama’s post as President of the United States of America.

Much as we would like to support the call of freedom from the seat of world power at the White House, no decent man can ever support an action based on revenge and wrapped with the banner of patriotism. No one in his sane mind can admit the reasoning that Bin Laden was a threat to the USA and the world a decade after the regrettable “9 11” tragedy.

This type of actions in the 21st. century seems a remake of previous American geopolitical blunders that made the people of America earn the label of The Ugly American* in the Vietnam War.

Today, after Bin Laden’s supposed death at the hands of the U.S. commando, the USA has given wings to enshrine an international terrorist and lift him to the rank of martyr for his followers. What consequences will such action bring to the civilised world in the next decade?

Surely not peace, probably more terrorist attempts with deaths of innocent civilians the world over.     

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona     

*The Ugly American – Eugene Burdick & William Lederer


2011

January 2, 2011
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2011


Posted in Communications, Goodwill
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OBAMA’S METAMORPHOSIS: FROM PEACE AWARDEE TO MISSILE SHIELD PROMOTER

November 21, 2010
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“ …. Still, we are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill. Some will be killed. And so I come here with an acute sense of the cost of armed conflict – filled with difficult questions about the relationship between war and peace, and our effort to replace one with the other.  ……  The concept of a “just war” emerged, suggesting that war is justified only when it meets certain preconditions: if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense; if the forced used is proportional, and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence.” Barack Obama (Oslo, Norway  December – 2009)


At the end of his term as 2009 Nobel Peace awardee, I come to understand better Obama’s rather contradictory speech at the Oslo Nobel ceremony last year.

Obama’s personal peace convictions have come up against the reality of the tasks of the man that took over the Oval Office from a belligerent predecessor who left him the bitter inheritance of a questionable invasion of Iraq and a rather shaky strategy to defeat Al Qaeda’s expansive terrorism at its Afghanistan roots. No less relevant was the status of international relations with the European allies across the Atlantic or the state of the thawing Cold War with defunct USSR’s successor, Russia.

The recently concluded NATO Summit celebrated this weekend in Lisbon has taken a gigantic leap towards a stronger military alliance that has declared Russia, at last, as an ally. The Cold War seems to have been finally buried for good, or least up till a new confrontation crops up between Russia and the USA.

Why my reluctance to accept Lisbon’s alliance declaration at face value?

First, Medvédev and Obama signed earlier this year a renewed START agreement that should conclude in a joint reduction of their missiles’ arsenals. Nevertheless, said agreement may never come into effect if and when the new Republican majority in the US Congress decide to reject same. Both Republicans and the White House are presently engaged in a bluff & counter-bluff game to put pressure upon each other prior to the constitution of the new Congress in January, 2011.

Second, Afghanistan topped the NATO meet priority list and the conclusions reached of a gradual withdrawal to end in 2014 seemed to please not only Karzai but the NATO members as well. Not so, Medvédev, who doubts that such deadline is realistic.

Third, instead of heading towards peace, NATO expansion with a missile shield to protect Europe with Russian cooperation, may well be a means to combat international terrorism but likewise it is a sign that more wars and conflicts are expected from territories to the East of Europe.

Are we about to set new standards for ‘just war’ which may well surpass reasons of shear military logistics to enter other areas of international relations such as economics?

Are we assisting to a new distribution of geo-political power that will only move the demarcation line further towards the East of the Atlantic?

Has President Obama’s brief stay in Lisbon been intended towards a Western-front pact with Russia included to curtail other world powers from the temptation of going beyond their economic ambitions?

So far, since I started my posts in this English blog in April, 2009, my humble views have made bulls-eye on major international issues. Those who have followed my Spanish blog  http://www.blogger.com/profile/06825435168558835379 since 2005, have seen that we have likewise pointed out certain flaws in US-EU relations which have led to this rather estranged situation, apparently cleared in a 90-minute meeting as an appendix of the NATO Summit. Unfortunately, time will prove that encounter insufficient to patch the tattered relations dating back to the clashes during the 8-year Bush Administration. Obama has not been too observant to realise that his problems back home in such vital issues such as the economic crisis, climate change and military alliances have only one possible firm ally – the European Union.

Obama has now reached his objective, the EU’s support and that of Russia for a missile shield. Likewise, the NATO partners have approved his proposal of a more powerful NATO military alliance. Nevertheless, Obama in his metamorphosis has left out his search for peace and a more balanced distribution of wealth to curtail the miseries of millions in underdeveloped nations around the world. He has become unworthy of the Nobel Peace Award granted him in 2009.

His true problems start now not only in the home front but before millions of citizens of different races, religions and cultures who had looked up to him as a symbol of democracy in peace.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra Fdz.

Observer of Human Behaviour


HAITI & THE WORLD’S FALSE PROMISES

October 25, 2010
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Scarcely nine months after Haiti suffered the earthquake disaster, it appears again in headlines the world over. This time is the outbreak of cholera that is brought to front page.

What really is concerning is the fact that the Haiti earthquake disaster harvested promises expressed in high-sounding phrases before the General Assembly and in other international forums. Today, when Haiti again is news, not only have the promises not been fulfilled but likewise world leaders and organisms have a rather indifferent reaction to the urgent sanitary needs of a stressed Haitian population still living in provisional tents since last January. Only Oxfam seems to have kept acting to bring comfort to the needy in the distressed island. The UN officials have not said a word about their role, which should be a leading one. Nor have the economic organisations linked to the UN seemed to seek the urgency of rebuilding homes and roads in the ruined Caribbean nation. Likewise, the USA and the EU have decelerated the flow of humanitarian aid after the first months of the disaster. Many nations seemed to have returned to their priorities and principal worries, the global economic crisis.

Where are those millions of Dollars & Euros in aid boisterously promised nine months ago? Has part of the aid received been deviated by corrupt officials in charge of the humanitarian actions? Have the countries delivered the sums promised by their respective leaders when the flashes and TC cameras registered their promises?

In any manner, world leaders have failed to fulfil their compromise with the disaster-stricken victims of Haiti. Aloofness and disdain of true world humanitarian affairs is part of the role that most leaders seem to prefer, as a shield from miserable reality. Only the economic crisis keeps them awake at night but snore whilst human beings die of hunger, disease or natural disasters.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona


NOBEL PEACE AWARD: FROM OBAMA TO LIU XIAOBO, A NEVER-ENDING TALE OF CONTROVERSY

October 25, 2010
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No matter how many Nobel Peace Awards have been granted, the world remains immersed in a sea of violations of human rights, incessant wars and lack of just distribution of wealth …

A year has elapsed since President Barack Obama was named the Nobel Peace awardee. It seemed then that the Norwegian-based jury granted the prize in the hope of Obama’s future contributions towards peace. Twelve months later, the advances in those issues on his White House desk have mainly remained unresolved. True to say, the Obama Administration has firmly commenced the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, as promised. However, Guantanamo remains open with political prisoners accused of terrorism without democratic guarantees for their defence; nor has the White House efforts to foster Palestinian-Israeli peace talks given any significant progress.

To take over the honour of being the Nobel Peace Award in 2010, the Norwegian-based jury has elected a Chinese dissident to replace Obama as the champion of world peace. Liu Xiaobo not only remains serving a long-term imprisonment but will probably miss the Nobel Awards ceremony in his honour. Although world leaders headed by the outgoing awardee have pressured the Chinese Communist Government on the issue, as the days pass, interests seems to wane in favour of Liu Xiaobo’s release from prison.

Today, Obama is lost in the density of political meetings to try to save as many governors and congressional seats now held by Democrats. He scarcely has time to lose till the Nov. 2 mid-term elections and the dilemma created by the Norwegian-based Nobel jury on the 2010 award must be too far in the back of his mind today.

Other world leaders elsewhere have varied worries of their own trying to wade through the global crisis or local issues that require their full attention. Justified or not, each one looks for his own priorities and objectives, with little or no concern for ensuring human rights in powerful nations such as China. I wonder if their attitude would be different if the state in question was a less powerful nation with less economic and military influence on the destiny of Mankind.

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


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