Fernando Fuster-Fabra's Blog

CAPITALISM’S CASINO & ITS RIGGED ROULLETTE

October 31, 2011
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I can forgive Alfred Nobel for having invented dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.

–       George Bernard Shaw

 

Versión Español:

http://wp.me/pRlnf-4v

 

I have come to wonder if the witty Bernard Shaw in saying what he said about the Nobel Prize was right, especially after the awards for 2009 (Barack Obama), passing thru 2010 (Liu Xiaobo) to come to 2011 where the award is shared by three women (Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman) “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”.

Whereas Barack Obama’s award was premature as time has demonstrated, Liu Xiaobo’s final compensation was a longer jail term in the wake of Western silence; and the three women from Liberia (Ellen Johnson Sirleaf & Leymah Gbowee) and Yemen (Tawakkul Karman) may well have to wait ages before women’s rights, or citizen’s rights for that matter, are respected and full participation given to these in Africa and the Middle East. Much less will it be possible to see peace-building in these parts of the world after the Western blunders in international affairs affecting the countries of those regions.

The world went into an economic descending spiral that commenced with the 2007 U.S. sub-prime crisis and continued with the 2008 Lehman Brothers scandal, dragging the world into an even deeper dilemma – the total absence of ethics in the search for a common solution to our woes.

The Arab Spring that commenced with a bonzo burning of the young Tunisian, Mohamed Bouazizi, in Sidi Bouzid on December 17, 2010, set off a series of protests all over Africa and the Middle East, causing the fall of a number of long-term dictators ruling the region with complacent U.S. and European support. Curiously enough, all the U.S.-E.U. friendly dictators (Ben Ali of Tunisia, Mubarak of Egypt) have saved their necks thus far whilst others (Saleh of Yemen, Algeria’s Bouteflika or Syria’s Assad) continue ruling their territories with uneven Western support. Only one leader, Muammar el-Qaddafi, was assassinated in the hands of the rising political leaders of the ‘liberated Libya’ with NATO bombing support and United Nations sanction, in the name of civilian protection.

Do leaders really think the world is so blind not to see that all of their actions are a mere farce to cover up the fact that this world is governed by vested interests pulling the strings from back-stage?

As in Iraq and Afghanistan, petroleum and other fuels have been in the bulls-eye of all conflicts. The Northern African and Middle East conflagrations are along the same line, with Qaddafi’s elimination vital to cut off any possible leadership against vested interest moves to control the regional energetic resources. Furthermore, tiny conflicts are profitable for large corporations engaged in armament & aircraft technologies; and likewise these are of interest to companies offering their security services in unstable situations all over the world.

The sixth G-20 Summit is scheduled in Cannes November 3 & 4, with French President Nicholas Sarkozy as host. Long past is the first 2008 summit in Washington D.C. where he clamoured for “the re-foundation of capitalism”. Also forgotten, it seems, are U.S. President Obama’s September 8, 2009 statement on the Pittsburgh summit, “… It’s important to note how far we have come in preventing a global economic catastrophe. A year ago, our economy was in a freefall. …. The steps that we have taken to jumpstart growth have also been coordinated with our partners around the world. …. As the leaders of the world’s largest economies, we have a responsibility to work together on behalf of sustained growth, while putting in place the rules of the road that can prevent this kind of crisis from happening again.”

At Cannes, not only has capitalism not been re-founded nor have the world leaders worked together on behalf of sustained growth but also, and most important of all, we have followed a path in the wrong direction that leads to, not prevents, a global socio-economic catastrophe.

Well and good to claim women’s rights for all those who may not still have them all over the world but better still would be to stop once and for all 25,000 daily deaths due to hunger and disease.

How can this be possible in a planet capable of feeding twice its population?

The only answer that comes up to my mind is that we, the anguished citizens of the world, are playing a lopsided betting game in capitalism’s casino, where our meagre resources are up against 1 to a million odds in a vested interests rigged roulette.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona, Spain     

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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 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


OBAMA AFTER COPENHAGEN

December 20, 2009
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Almost a year after taking oath of office and with the unexpected Nobel Peace Award to his brief presidential CV, President Obama must be evaluated as to his effective achievements in his first year in the White House.

Surely, media all over the world but more so the U.S. press will undertake a point by point fulfilment analysis of the President’s electoral promises. From a global point of view, one must get down to brass tacks to properly evaluate Obama’s first year in office.

At this point and time, the closing of the U.N. Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen could be the best indicator of the pressures the U.S. President must have been subjected to in the last twelve months since his historic election.

The U.S. stand on curtailing CO2 emissions showed signs of a shift away from the irresponsible disregard of the Bush Administrations (2000-2008) of the Kyoto Protocol; a new will to participate was expressed upon Obama’s takeover. However, after the Asian Presidential tour in November that ended with a China-US meet, thunder clouds again appeared in the December Copenhagen summit skies.

Obama’s charms lost force and the Chinese Government did not succumb to his persuasive speeches. Moreover, China has a firm grip on U.S. Government Bonds which are the funding source for the Obama’s anti-crisis strategy.

The Asian posture, mainly China and India, have remained unchanged in spite of the President’s efforts during his Beijing summit and at the first dignitary banquet at the White House in honour of India’s Prime Minister Singh. Without the United States and China accepting the European Union’s CO2 cutback proposal and financial scheme, any alternative agreement would be a whitewash that would fall short of all minimum expectations.

And this is exactly what has happened.

Obama’s four-hour negotiations resulted in a lame pronouncement initially only back by India and South Africa, to later add in China and Brazil. President Obama has sought a way out that has put his goodwill relations with the European bloc in jeopardy.

Obama has likewise had his hands pretty tied up at the home front to make any spectacular promises on the principle issues at stake at the Copenhagen meet.  How much of Obama’s climate change posture is due to a need to face up to global challenges for approval of vital bills into laws?

At the outset of the New Millennium’s second decade, the world’s most powerful man Barack Obama, as Head-of-State of a nation whose international supremacy is put to test, must set up a visionary list of priorities in his quest of long-term objectives. A clash of interests among main issues vital before the eyes of the average American such as healthcare, Afghanistan troops, Guantanamo, Iraq withdrawal, unemployment, climate change, sustainability, etc. have been cleverly manipulated to cast the shadow of a doubt as to Obama’s capacity to live up to his campaign promises.

Has Obama’s lukewarm speech before the Copenhagen climate change assembly anything to do with the upcoming voting of indispensible funding and bill approvals on the mentioned issues in the U.S. Senate?

Have potent lobbies influenced the Obama Administration to prevent signing a new protocol that could prejudice vested interests profits and multinational expansion strategies?

There are relevant lessons to learn from Copenhagen. One that cannot be missed is Obama’s failure to live up to expectations in Oslo earlier this month. He now has to double his efforts not only to turn his words into acts but also to end his so-called just wars.

Obama must admit he cannot walk alone towards a better world in peace. We, the people of the world, are watching.


Fernando Fuster-Fabra, Madrid


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