Fernando Fuster-Fabra's Blog

AMERICA’S THANKSGIVING 2010

November 25, 2010
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“It isn’t necessary to have relatives in Kansas City in order to be unhappy.”

Groucho Marx

 

 

 

This 25th of November, 2010 is Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America.

 

Having spent quite a few such memorable celebrations in my stints in the USA, I have asked myself – What has America to be thankful for today on this our 3rd year of crisis and a quite a few more since the Bush Administration engaged Americans in a disastrous adventure in Iraq and later Afghanistan?

 

The successive events both on the home front and the international scene are not precisely heartening.

 

Unemployment is still high for US standards and foreclosures have left a lot of citizens homeless. The America that scarcely trembled in the wake of wars, disasters and crises was left shaky well before President Obama took over; some tremors still persist from the past Administration’s errors. What really counts is that the nation has recently spoken with its votes and the President has now a tough ride ahead to get to where America should be. In danger are such important endeavours such as the new healthcare plan or the taxing of the wealthier. Now, America may again turn its back on the social equality levels the Obama Administration pretended to reach. The influential lobbies may win the day by curtailing green energies in lieu of petroleum or the causers of the still persistent economic crisis, back in the driver’s seat of powerful entities, may submerge the US economy anew in new global conflicts in the wake of their making their profits.

 

The world scene isn’t any better. While Guantanamo remains operative, the joint world resistance to terrorism has been weakened due to vested interests of other world powers. The Palestinian-Israel conflict is at a standstill but may burst into open conflict at any time. Iran has not been subdued in its intent to convert itself into a nuclear-armed state and may never give in whilst it has China’s blessings. Further east, the two Koreas are on the verge of a nuclear war, with a US aircraft carrier already on the scene. The end of the Cold War with the defunct USSR (now Russia) may have an Asian offspring that refuses to come to an end. America, as the world superpower, is deep into every single international conflict and will remain even more so after the new scenario for NATO was drawn up a few days ago in the Lisbon summit.

 

Happiness seems to elude Americans this 2010. What must Americans be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day?

 

 

 

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona

 

 

 

 

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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


OBAMA SPEAKS TO THE NATION

January 28, 2010
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U.S. President Obama is one speaker worth listening to even it means staying up late. He has command of language and an impressive presence in public, that very image that made him popular and landed him in the White House.

Last night Barack Obama returned to his campaign speech ways and challenged Congress leaders to back up measures he proposes to create new jobs and resolve economic problems of the average American. He knew that he had the audience nationwide and that his words would sink in deep to make it clear that he means business.

However, the President avoided putting pressure on ticklish issues such as the healthcare bill and only mentioned it in the passing. Likewise, for the first time in his 12 months in office, he blamed the Bush Administration for the economic crisis and two wars inherited. A wink to the Republicans on budget and tax cuts didn’t harvest the expected applauses but Obama didn’t deter from his intention to speak more to the gallery than to the congressmen and senators in the hall.

Surely enough, public opinion surveys showed an improved image. What I wonder is how much easier will the Obama Administration have it to pass bills in the Senate. In a congressional partial election year, politicians from both parties will be cautious not to provoke voters in their constituencies. I feel that the first bill to be sacrificed will probably be the healthcare bill, at least as to the extent of coverage and planned expenditure.

No matter how well Barack Obama may speak to the nation, Washington lobbies end up having most of their ways at the end of the day. The President assures he isn’t quitting but neither are the lobbyists.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra, Madrid


DAVOS, A STANDING ECONOMIC VIP ARMY

January 27, 2010
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I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.
Thomas Jefferson

With Improve the State of the World: Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild” as theme of this 40th session and French President Nicholas Sarkozy delivering the opening address, the Davos Forum sets off to straighten some of the mistakes committed by the very economic frontrunners of globalisation that triggered off this and other economic crises in the last two decades.

Are the economic think tanks that have controlled the destiny of Mankind since the Allied victory in World War II now thinking of “rethinking” globalisation? I must say that it’s too late to think anew the very same thoughts that have prevailed since the global crisis burst wide open the financial and construction bubbles generated by no other than the leading financial institutions in the developed world. Wall Street and The City entities, brokers & intermediaries were up front making fortunes on the basis of foreign exchange, CDS’s and hedge funds whilst sinking further in the rut underdeveloped economies in Asia, Latin America & Africa.

Many have been the summits of world leaders with no results. One is the forum for the wealthy for their “rethought vision of world economics”. I doubt that it is because the wealthy and powerful wish to “redesign” the distribution of wealth, much less to “rebuild” Haiti with their earnings in 2009.

I suspect that Davos is another luxurious VIP summit to talk at leisure how to go about new ways of earning more and caring less for the needy.

Moreover, Davos has put the Obama Administration on dead centre of the bulls-eye of its contained fury. Never has a U.S. President been so belligerent with banking institutions. True to say too, never before has the U.S. Administration had to shell out such sums to refloat banks that didn’t manage their profits properly and paid enormous bonuses to incompetent managers.

At the end of the Bush Administration, French President Sarkozy spoke at the Washington G-20 Summit of the “re-foundation of capitalism”. All 2009 passed and no action in such sense was taken. On the contrary, the “old ways of the all-power bankers” have resurrected from a low profile to come back with more force. More large bonuses and back to conventional banking the world over with only the unemployed and poor sank in stress and misery.

What will Davos apport as conclusions this time? Will it be new forecasts of dangers up ahead? We have already had 40 sessions of such silly chatter. It’s time for action and it won’t be these economic bigots who will offer the right path towards worldwide economic stability.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra, Madrid


OBAMA’S WATERLOO – MIDDLE EAST, AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN, IRAN OR GUANTANAMO ?

May 23, 2009
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In the first trench of his mandate, not only has President Obama inherited all of the Bush Administration follies from warfronts to the economic crisis but now has started to create his own.

From some of the inherited woes not properly handled once in the seat of power, the Obama Administration may find itself in the limelight precisely of present-day decisions taken in the wake of election promises that may never be fulfilled.

Obama may09In a previous blog (Middle East: Obama’s Simmering Volcano) last month, I pointed out the risks of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Much has occurred since then, unfortunately in an unfavourable direction.

That simmering volcano has spout out lava towards the East, farther into Central Asia, sending its tremors way beyond the radius of the Middle East conflict zone. Another inherited conflict emanating from the 9-11 terrorist attack has now exceeded the Afghanistan borders and clearly infected neighbouring northern Pakistan.

Iran now has launched its trial missiles in an arrogant stance of its potential nuclear military power. Sitting amid the principal conflict zones affecting the U.S. military involvements in Iraq & Afghanistan with the added need to aid Taliban-invaded Pakistan, a U.S.-Iran confrontation is in the offing. Indeed, the Muslim-dominated part of Asia seems to be a firm candidate to be one of President Obama’s principal woes on short term. This may be the main reason for his June 4th. message to be delivered from Cairo, Egypt to the Muslim world.

guantanamo1Nevertheless, the turn of events on the home front may have put another of Obama’s woes unexpectedly in the limelight – GUANTANAMO.

In spite of being a long-term inheritance in U.S. foreign policy not only attributable to the Bush Administration, then candidate Obama’s election promises obliges the present U.S. Administration to a definite Guantanamo closure at the earliest. Now in this second 100-day trench at the White House, the Obama team has come up with numerous inconveniences to carry out said election compromise. The legal aspects so lightly considered then are building up a steep climb to fulfilment. Beyond the torture practices during the Bush era, definite closure of the dreaded jail on foreign soil seems unattainable.

Cheney may09The possible mess-up is serving Republicans to fuel up debate and no less than former Vice-President Cheney has picked up the issue to criticize the new Administration’s frivolity at rejecting the Bush hard-line anti-terrorist policy. It must be remembered that Cheney is believed to be the principal strategist behind former President Bush’s most questioned decisions during the two-term White House occupancy.

guantanamo2President Obama’s latest speech to counter the disastrous 90 to 6 Senate vote rejection to fund Guantanamo closure was not at all convincing and obviously even further weakened with the timely Cheney address a few minutes after. Something seems to be moving the wrong way for the new Democrat Administration that occupies the White House scarcely 120 days from the swearing in.

US Seal & FlagThe power machinery of the Texas Clan may have just started its bulldoze tactic on the trouble-ridden Obama Administration. Atop its inherited woes, Obama may finally have commenced to face a self-merited Waterloo – GUANTANAMO.

 

Madrid, May 23, 2009


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