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 Corruption, as in many other parts, contaminates the atmosphere just as much its outdated transport system.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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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


OBAMA’S MISSILE SHIELD SCRAPPING, A WINK TO RUSSIA

September 19, 2009
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obamaWith the healthcare debate still smouldering in the home front and with the Pittsburgh G-20 summit around the corner, the White House announcement that scraps Bush’s missile shield scheme in Eastern Europe came both as a surprise and a relief for most Europeans.

Probably only Polish and Czech politicians could have been disappointed with the withdrawal of the multi-billion dollar scheme in their respective territories. However, it is known that Poles in border towns where said long-range missiles were to be installed breathe with relief with the announcement.

The prolonged study of the project and its final scrapping go far beyond the technical aspects reflected in the final report as yet not made public. Two important factors must have played prominently in President Obama’s decision. First, the economic crisis with its enormous pressure on public spending warrants cutbacks in all superfluous expenses; use of existing SM-3 interceptors is easily applicable to the sea-based Aegis system as early as 2011. Secondly, Russia’s permanent objection to Bush’s missile shield project has caused a tense ‘wait and see’ attitude since Obama assumed office.

It is this second reason which, on the verge of the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, seems the main political card the Obama Administration wishes to include in the card pack to be played at the negotiations table on September 24-25.

anti-missileWithout really withdrawing the military menace to Iran, the USA can lure Russia into a more receptive stance towards NATO reinforcement in the Eastern European-Middle East front. Russia cannot forget that once before both Poland and the Czech Republic belonged to the extinct USSR military treaty and these former Soviet allies are now EU states and NATO members.

Furthermore, in spite of U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in the next few years, the Afghan warfront is a common ‘Achilles’ heel’ for both the USA and Russia. Where the Americans are now trapped in a frenzied battle to wipe out insurrection in Afghanistan, the extinct USSR Army (now mainly Russian) had already suffered heavy losses in the battlefields a decade ago. Russia cannot forget that then, Talibans and warlords alike, received underhanded U.S. military support.

shieldThis announcement comes at a time when President Obama must wade through deep waters both in the home front and in the international scenario. While the world watches how Obama plays his cards at the G-20 summit, American vested interests and The Establishment shall be observing how he construes his state policies affecting armament expenditures in the upcoming budget. No one can deny that the world conflicts and the arms race are a permanent source of revenue for American business groups. The Iraq and Afghanistan warfronts, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, have enriched numerous entrepreneurs but mainly maintained alive multinational industries involved in aviation, armament, construction and allied services.

President Obama’s dilemma is how to push through this wink at Russia without neither bruising The Establishment’s sentiments nor upsetting vested interests back home. Needless to say, maintaining the see-saw balance may prove vital for the approval of a relatively decent healthcare law.  The USA can no longer decide at will, when the rest of the world with the EU states present at the G-20 summit, are there to have their say.

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


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


MIDDLE EAST: OBAMA’S SIMMERING VOLCANO

April 20, 2009
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In a Jan. 13th. blog in Spanish ( http://2009-retos-crisis-1.blogspot.com/ ) about the  challenges the world crisis has brought about, my analysis foresaw changes the Obama victory would undertake and some of the difficulties the new Administrations would be faced with. My closing remarks on the Middle East are now slowly becoming a reality.

 

Benjamin Netanyahu’s election as Israel’s new Prime Minister and his forced alliance with the ultra-right leader Avignor Lieberman have been cause of concern in all diplomatic chancelleries all over the world. The first actions of the 30-member cabinet have proved to be more belligerent than Olmert’s outgoing team, inciting Iran to counteract with its own anti-Israeli tirade.

 

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has undergone through a tensing process that not even President Obama’s extended hand towards Iran’s President Ahmadineyad seems to have calmed. The ticklish issue is one of the outstanding priorities of the White House in its crusade towards a new U.S. foreign affairs image. April has been a relevant month with previous summits that have taken the President to several European cities, Turkey and finally a surprise visit to Iraq. However, Obama has clearly avoided further contact with the candent Middle East scenario. Hillary Clinton’s official visit to the hotspot, bolstered by the follow-up by U.S. envoy George Mitchell proved sufficient exposure at this stage.

 un-flag1

 

What has worried the U.S. Administration is precisely the transfer of the Middle East confrontation to another front, a U.N.-sponsored summit on racism where Ahmadineyad was to meet Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Several governments headed by the United States decided to decline the invitation to avoid possible exposure to a diplomatic incident. Said concern was not at all unfounded, with Iran’s President provoking not only the ire of the Israeli delegation but the consternation of several diplomats from the European delegation who abandoned the conference in protest. White House fears have indeed materialised far beyond a territorial dispute to end in a serious diplomatic fiasco with the United Nations sitting atop the simmering Middle East volcano.

 

 

Madrid, April 20, 2009


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