Fernando Fuster-Fabra's Blog

LEADERS & LIES

December 31, 2012
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World leaders

 

“Others judge us by our past deeds, we value ourselves on what we are capable of achieving, but it seems no one bothers to evaluate what we are doing here and now.

–       Fernando Fuster-Fabra Fdz.

 

Spanish version: http://wp.me/pRlnf-7C

 

Year 2012 could have been the turning point for the crisis but it has ended being the consolidation of a disastrous style of world governance.

 

The replacement amongst elected and appointed posts in the countries relevant in planning global economy have barely contributed to substantial changes in the governance criteria.

 

A Barack Obama who defaulted on several of his electoral promises during his first term of office ended being reelected whilst the diplomatic incursions of his nation continued leaving dead in the streets of the Middle East. Today, he is still engaged in a tug-of-war with his political adversaries on the brink of the ‘fiscal cliff’, with the worldwide risks same represents for all other state economies.

 

The succession in China has not deterred the tight-fisted censorship that citizens suffer in their path towards global communications thru the new technologies. While they boast of bullet trains, they restrain human rights.

 

European leaders are incapable of reaching an agreement on how to manage a crisis baptized with a name (Euro Crisis) that has little to do with the real situation.  I will not even bother to list down their individual weaknesses as it would turn out to be a never-ending string.

 

Latin America continues being a keg of gunpowder about to vlast depending on who has the lit match in his hand. To mention the extremes, these swing from the inflation down south to the northern assassinations in the hands of the drug mafias.

 

India bears the burden of its most negative traditions, unable to avail of the opportunity of the moment. Corruption, as in many other parts, contaminates the atmosphere just as much its outdated transport system.

 

Russia hardly will ever be a true democracy while people like Putin desire to perpetuate themselves in power. The shadow of the Kremlin hovers like a vulture over its former domains.

 

Japan has just elected a new prime minister of the old school in the hope of salvaging their stagnant economy just as it faces a territorial dispute with neighbouring China over a handful of islands in the China Sea. 

 

The sad truth is that 2012 has been a year wasted by a bunch of leaders who not only did not fulfill but also lied, some rather shamelessly.

 

Who are the ones that control them and who are the true governors of the world?

 

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Sitges – Barcelona, Spain    

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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


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 WOES FOR NEXT 100 DAYS

May 11, 2009
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Having reached his first 100 days with an excellent rate of approval, President Obama has now to face issues both in at home and in the international scenario. No doubt that his firmness in applying economic measures in the bankrupt-threatened automobile industry and the cash-thirsty banking sector has alerted executives the nation over that he means business. However, the international scene is far from being under control and U.S. blunders in the years of the Bush Administration have mined Washington’s credibility as the world’s foremost leader.

As I already observed in previous blogs, Europe has still to see proof of Obama’s goodwill in the global international scenario and Latin America applauded at the Port-of-Spain summit without really giving the new U.S. Administration al approval of what is to come. From a rather broad and objective perspective, the start-off earned a merited approval but also showed that The White House with its new tenant has a lot of legal obstacles to overcome before he can push through relevant promises of his election campaign. Moreover, in trying to move away from his predecessor’s pathetic decisions, President Obama and his team are encountering numerous insurmountable legal of loopholes which will slow down key changes towards a more humane and accepted U.S. government.

obama-brown    If George Bush had his Waterloo in the invasion of Iraq, President Obama’s may well be the Afghanistan – Pakistan terrorist issue. True to say, the Afghanistan Taliban conflict is an inheritance of wrong U.S. strategic policies in trying to circumvent the Russian occupation in the 80’s of this arid central Asian territory. As in many other occasions, the U.S. Administration has supported rebel groups that afterwards have turned to bite their sponsor’s hand, as was the case of the Taliban entrenched in the mountains fighting off the Russian invasion. For almost a decade, Washington entrusted Pakistan’s rule to a military leader only to find that this trust did not resolve the free flow of Al Qaida terrorists through Pakistan to other countries. Today, both Pakistan and Afghanistan have turned into a tough international with the U.S. Administration scarcely supported by other western allies. The European Union flatly turned down President Obama’s request for more troops in Afghanistan and the fleeing Pakistani civilians will briefly have caused a new refugee issue similar to that of the Middle East. Where does Washington expect to turn to when none of the bordering Asian neighbours – India, Iran, and China – wish to support U.S. military plans in the region.

clinton-peres       Further complications will have to arise in the interconnection between Taliban & Palestinian Muslims, should Israel’s hard-line foreign policy towards the Palestinian Territory prevail. The negotiators’ bloc – U.S.A, European Union, United Nations & Russia – presently attempting to bring postures closer has found the recent appointment of a hawkish right-wing Israeli government a serious drawback in their efforts. Not even the recent visit of Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, seems to have softened Israel’s new position. Perhaps, this is the very reason why President Obama has scheduled to address a speech on June 4th. from El Cairo to the entire Muslim world. The brief presidential stay in Turkey scarcely a month ago may have not had the desired effects as per White House strategy. The contents of said message are surely relevant enough for the U.S. President to travel twice in such a short period to practically the same region.

chavez-lula           But woes always come in a bunch and Obama’s aren’t any exception. His apparent success in winning over some Latin American leaders at the V Summit of the Americas three weeks ago has now been clouded by Chavez’s latest seizures which may in some way have been provoked by a recent OAS report about Venezuela’s democratic rating. The divided Latin American leaders have shown their lack of united criteria in recent meetings between Brazil’s Lula and his Argentinean & Paraguayan counterparts, as well as harsh disqualifications made by Bolivia’s Morales o Venezuela’s Chavez against Peru’s García. Obama may have hoped to find in Lula a spokesman for all South America, a situation that is far from reality.

Relations with Russia are newly turning icy-cold after two Canadian NATO diplomats faced spying accusations and were expelled from the Russian territory. Russian influence in the Central Asian & Middle East scenarios is quite well-known, with its pronounced pro-Iranian defence of this state’s nuclear programme. More is coming Obama’s way, not only due to tense situations to arise in Asia and Africa in the forthcoming weeks in U.S. relations with China and the Two Koreas in the offing and complications menacing in focal points of Africa.

Finally, the Obama Administration seems to be playing hide-n-seek in its future stand at the Doha Round. Protectionist statements at times and liberal free-markets speeches make U.S. partners wonder exactly if Obama speaks up from the heart or off the cuff, as he joked during the recent newspapermen’s dinner in Washington D.C.. The White House will sooner or later have to let the cat out of the bag and face up to global market reactions either way it may go on world trade and the future of WTO-sponsored talks.  

US-Gibraltar  It is interesting to observe that the new U.S.  Administration may be undergoing lack of coordination between Treasury boss, Tim Geithner and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, just to cite one example. Recently, Geithner singlehandedly signed a protocol agreement with Gibraltar’s Colonial Chief Minister, Peter Caruana, in an inappropriate state status scenario which is insulting to Spain’s decades-long claim over The Rock, a U.K. Colony retained on the basis of the 18th. century Treaty of Utrecht.

 obama-zp           Precisely, Spain is certainly a key partner in any   attempt by the  Obama Administration to open talks both in the Middle East and the Latin American scenarios. The White House team should check out its coordinates and communicate better to avoid further woes in the international scene. The U.S. Government will need all help possible from its solvent partners in Europe if it wants to resolve ticklish issues in several conflictive regions.

 

Madrid, May 11, 2009


AMERICA: A TALE OF TWO CONTINENTS

April 20, 2009
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The V Summit of the Americas was an excellent opportunity for all to observe U.S. President Obama express his policy towards his southern American neighbours. Expectation was probably even higher than during his European stint earlier this month, with the cramp Port of Spain scenario as an incentive for the crowds to jam-pack streets. Not every day does a coloured dignitary of such status visits Trinidad-Tobago. At the same time, Latin America’s leaders were expected to be even less receptive to Obama’s proposals should he persevere in a U.S. hard-line policy towards Cuba. Mistrust of U.S. foreign policy has smouldered over the past half century and CIA intromission in Latin American politics has been a constant issue of confrontation.

 

Obama’s magic touch has seemed to soften the highly critical tone of some leftwing leaders such as Nicaragua’s President Ortega. Even Venezuela’s boisterous President Chavez expressed his wish to be “Obama’s friend”. But other that words loaded with excellent intentions, the Summit of the Americas with a prologue meeting between the U.S. President and his UNASUR colleagues, ended in a stalemate. No official declaration was signed and economic issues were relegated to an obscure corner. Cuba’s prolonged absence in said American summit was the main topic discussed with hopes of future progress but without a clear path as to how to carry about said integration.

 

True to say, the United States faces a crude reality. Its foreign policy towards Cuba, and in my opinion extensive to all Central & South America, has been both faulty and arrogant. Today, the Uncle Sam image of a dollar-giving protective superpower no longer results attractive to millions of Latin Americans who have suffered regimes of atrocity tolerated and occasionally supported by previous U.S. Administrations. From Cuba passing through Chile, Argentina, Peru, El Salvador, Colombia, Panamá and ending with Venezuela, numerous duly elected leaders were overthrown or persuaded with CIA support to give way to U.S. friendly governments.

 

 

 v-cumbre-americas

 

 

Obama has launched a challenge to Latin America’s leaders by admitting previous foreign policy errors towards Cuba, at the same time demanding counter-concessions by the Cuban dictatorial regime. In effect, all Obama is doing is to repeat the EU’s stance on Cuba sponsored by the Spanish Government since President Rodríguez Zapatero’s takeover in 2004. Should the established system at Washington D.C. slacken its firm grip on the Cuban Embargo Issue and lobby pressure from Miami-based “Cuba Libre” immigrants abide, President Obama’s path to American intercontinental understanding & cooperation may find stiff opposition in some U.S. neo-conservative circles. It must not be forgotten that the Cuban situation is beneficial to some Miami-based economic interests and these shall fight out regularization of diplomatic relations to the last ditch.

 

U.S.-Latin American icebreaking has just commenced but a long tortuous road awaits both the Obama team and the moderate South American leaders headed by Brazil’s President, Lula Da Silva. No single Latin American leader will be permitted to negotiate with the White House. The tale of these continents coming again together passes through a neutral mediator that understands all idiosyncrasies. Thus, it shall be the European Union that has a better chance to smoothen past resentments and inject trust in any dialogue. Spain, as the principal ex-colonizer of the Spanish-speaking nations should step forward to support the U.S. State Department in its slow approximation to La Habana regime and other distrusting Latin American leaders. The match has just begun.

 

 

      

Madrid, April 20, 2009


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