Fernando Fuster-Fabra's Blog

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

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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


NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, BEYOND START II

April 11, 2010
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Finally, tedious negotiations have brought forth a new disarmament agreement between the two nuclear super powers. The Obama Administration has learned that White House timetables do not necessarily tally with those of other world leaders with their own negotiating strategies.

In a similar manner as the domestic healthcare issue, the historic signing of the new START bilateral agreement in the appropriate scenario of Prague is no guarantee that said goodwill expressed by both U.S. President Obama and Russian President Medvédev will lead to a nuclear non-proliferation as per the NPT  of 1968. Whereas Russia’s Duma will surely ratify the agreement, the U.S. Senate may still present objections to such arms reduction to show the Republican hawkish stance on American military supremacy.

True to say, all American Presidents from the end of the Cold War onwards have signed some sort of arms agreement with the defunct U.S.S.R. and then with Russia. The weakest link may have been during the previous Bush Administrations, where world conflicts elevated tension between these super powers.

However, one must not forget that, neither India nor Pakistan, known to possess nuclear armament, are signees of the NPT. Israel not only has remained adamant to accept said treaty but has so far refused to admit its nuclear potential. In a similar situation but in the process of turning into a nuclear power is Iran. Curiously, these four countries are close to or in the midst of the Middle East hotspot. Besides, one must take into account that both Pakistan and India have borders with another nuclear power, China. Furthermore, China is a firm supporter of yet another potential nuclear developer (North Korea) based in the Far East.

How well will the United States of America and Russia be able to handle the growing nuclear risks in these tension-loaded Middle East & Far East regions?

Under the disguise of uranium enrichment for energetic purposes, any of these states may well be in fact producing nuclear weapons. Such are IAEA suspicions on Iran and North Korea upon their refusal to undergo U.N. supervision.

A meeting called by President Obama in Washington D.C. on April 12-13 where 40 world leaders are expected to discuss the risks of nuclear power in the hands of international terrorism has failed to persuade Israel’s Netanyahu to join in said caucus although it will count with the presence of China’s President Hu Jintao.

The shadow cast by Netanyahu’s absence may not be fully enlightened by the assistance by China’s Hu.

Both Obama and Medvédev are aware that China has yet to fully agree on sanctions to be imposed on Iran by the U.N. Security Council presided by Japan during this current month. China has carefully weighed its decision based on its growing trade relations with Iran, present-day tensed bilateral economic exchange with the United States and the renewed START agreement between Americans and Russians.

On the other hand, Israel and its hawkish Prime Minister are a pain in the neck for the Obama Administration still pending a definite solution plan. Tensed relations have existed ever since Netanyahu took over with a challenging attitude towards White House demands to sit down at a negotiations table with the Palestinian Authority. Far from towing the line, Israel has permanently provoked American emissaries (Biden & Mitchell), refusing to bend down to Obama’s petition for moderation.

Will START II have meant pressing the reset button to minimise all nuclear endeavours in armament or, on the contrary, be the commencement of further underground attempts by potential and/or existing nuclear states bent on having a say on nuclear policies in the international scene?

Fernando Fuster-Fabra Fdz.


JERUSALEM OR JERICHO?

March 24, 2010
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“The gates of Jericho were shut tight and guarded closely because of the people of Israel. No one went out. No one came in …. Then the Lord spoke to Joshua. He said, “I have handed Jericho over to you. I have also handed its king and its fighting men over to you …..” – Joshua 6:1-2

Netanyahu’s rabid defence of Israeli rights over Jerusalem in his lightning visit to Washington D.C., remind me of Jericho and its walls.

His stubborn stance before the most powerful President of the world could be compared to Joshua’s 7-day chants around Jericho following Jehovah’s instructions.

Does he expect the walls of U.S. power to crumble down before his eyes?

Israeli’s hawk prime minister exercises his knowledge of U.S. negotiating habits in his stints as a student in said country but he may err with such tactical moves before a totally different player at the table. Barack Obama is not a standardised American political leader that may well have some surprises in store for the arrogant Jewish visitor. In the first place, no official picture was taken of this interview nor was a White House press release issued.

Netanyahu has overestimated his capability to pressure the Obama Administration, moreover after the diplomatic mess during the U.S. Vice-President’s recent visit to Israel. The provocation of the new constructions in East Jerusalem may well work against the Israelis, and the crumbling walls turn to be those of proud & arrogant Jewish Jerusalem.

No single democratic state considers Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and all embassies & legations are based in Tel-Aviv. Netanyahu’s speech before Jewish Americans just before the White House encounter was a clear provocation that President Obama was surely not willing to ignore. The pulse is on. Even allies quarrel but no small-fry state should risk the anger of its firmest sponsor.

This rather unintelligent posture has already caused a decline of Netanyahu´s popularity not only in Israel but also strengthened the EU’s rejection of the Israeli arguments to stall the recognition of a Palestinian state. If now, the Obama Administration leaves Israel on its own in its border conflicts with other Middle East powers, Israel may find itself in a true dilemma. It may be best for Israel to agree to play with a fresh deck that avoids turning Jerusalem into a 21st. century Jericho.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra, Madrid


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