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 Corruption, as in many other parts, contaminates the atmosphere just as much its outdated transport system.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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EUROPE’S UNION IN THE CROSSROADS: DO OR DIE

November 15, 2011
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Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.

–       Albert Einstein

 

 

 

 

Spanish version:  http://wp.me/pRlnf-4D

 

The G-20 Summit of world leaders was held in Cannes a few days ago. As expected, no decisions were taken to resolve the economic crisis that affects the stability of a great number of countries. Not a word was said about establishing restrictions to speculative abuses that crop up based on ratings of agencies prone to cause alarm with their presumptions. Assisting the summit were the principal European leaders representing the EU as well as Germany, France, Italy and United Kingdom as full-pledged members, with Spain and The Netherlands as guests.

Just a few miles away, in Brussels, the Greek crisis with a call for referendum warning and the forthcoming Italian tempest had been left unsolved. Today, the Greek crisis remains unsolved although Greece’s elected Prime Minister (Papandreou) has had to step down and a new one (Papademos) appointed in his place without any elections.  Something similar went on in Italy just a few hours ago, with the forced resignation of Berlusconi after the approval of the demanded reforms and the appointment of Monti to replace him.

Two new figures, not elected by their respective citizens, assume their respective tasks; technocrats, as they are called, but without analysing their close links to the financial structures that, in my opinion, have been the root of this entire regrettable situation. Lukas Papademos was Vice-President of the ECB from 2002 till 2008 when Jean Claude Trichet was President whilst Mario Monti not only was a European Commissioner but also a consultant of the notorious American bank, Goldman Sachs.

Furthermore, in November, the turnover at the ECB has also taken place, with an Italian, Mario Draghi, taking over the chair occupied by Trichet from 2003 till late October. He is another figure related to the bank (Goldman Sachs) that caused more than a single financial quake, amongst which it is worth mentioning its advisory role to the Greek Government in the times of the conservative, Kostas Karamanlis, precisely when the state accounts were falsified in the reports to Brussels.

The irony of this entire circus is that a legitimately elected Papandreou was forced out of office for calling a referendum to approve his proposals but no one has said a word about prosecuting neither Karamanlis nor Goldman Sachs por having intentionally lied, causing the domino effect on the weaker Eurozone economies.

Thus, not only has a chance been lost in Cannes to set up global regulating and supervisory measure of the larger banking entities as well as the rating agencies but also it has allowed a slow transfer of previous bank executives and personalities linked to these entities to occupy relevant posts in the hierarchical big-shots of the EU and in the government of its member states.

Likewise, the American stance has taken a 360 degree change from Pittsburgh to Cannes. With elections in 2012, Obama does not wish to risk any confrontation with potential donors for his campaign funds, amongst which we may mention the larger U.S. banks and the powerful Jewish lobby. He abandons Europe to its fate, above all because he does not share the curt German stance in some questions of procedure and timing. Not even the goodwill efforts of the French President and proud father of a baby girl served to ease the tense atmosphere. Furthermore, Obama is aware that in spite of the Euro crisis, the currency has a strong quotation, benefitting the U.S. Dollar and facilitating its exports to the Old Continent while decreasing European countries competitiveness in world trade.

What seems to have gone unnoticed in all this week of European tension after the Cannes summit is that Munich  prosecutors ordered a search in the Deutsche Bank offices in relation to the famous ‘Kirch affaire’. In spite of the death of communications magnate, Leo Kirch, the lawsuit against Deutsche Bank continues its course, with outgoing CEO, Josef Ackerman, in the midst of the storm. The matter must have been of such importance that Ackerman announced his decision not to seek the appointment to the bank’s presidency, a rather difficult manoeuvre after the German banking law reforms in 2009. Said reforms establish a two-year grace period before a former CEO can aspire to the presidential post of a bank, with the only exception that 25% of the stockholders so demanded.

Angela Merkel has covered many inside details of the decisions taken in relation with the German banking system between 2005 and 2011, as well as her personal pact with Gerhard Schröder, with regards such a vital issue as energy, disguised under the so-called ‘grand coalition’. Few are conscious of the of Merkel’s stubborn tenacity that has brought her from that membership in the communist youth movement in her younger years in the extinguished GDR to become ‘my girl’ for conservative, Helmut Kohl. Her rise to power came by pure chance after a scandal caused the downfall of Kohl’s chosen successor, Wolfgang Schäuble, actually the Economic Minister in Merkel’s cabinet.

Perhaps that is the reason that one has given due importance to the very recent announcement of the inauguration of start-up of Operation Nord Stream, the gas pipeline agreed upon between Russia and German, with the blessing of France, The Netherlands and United Kingdom. Said pipeline will go from Vyborg in Russia to Greifswald in Germany in a submarine line across the Baltic Sea. In Russia’s behalf the participations is headed by state-owned Gazprom as natural gas supplier and Nord Stream AG, a German enterprise has been set up to handle constructions and operations. It is interesting to observe that former Prime Minister Schröeder has been involved in the Nord Stream project and with Gazprom since December, 2005, roughly a month after stepping down in favour of Angela Merkel.   

What makes this affair even uglier is the fact that the powerful EU members will share the spoils of Russian gas without sharing a bit with other Baltic member states, namely – Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia – nor seem to have offered a gas link to the Scandinavian states for the moment. Nevertheless, said gas will indeed go across the English Channel to the United Kingdom.

This project is contrary to the interest of the pan-European Nabucco project which had set the goal of constructing a gas pipeline from Erzurum in Turkey to Baumgarten in Austria, precisely with the intention of breaking EU dependence on Russian gas supply. The problems generated with Gazprom gas supply through Ukraine have left Central Europe and Italy without a reliable supply in more than one occasion whilst Turkey had offered its facilities in a sign of goodwill in its bid to join the EU. Germany has again vetoed a state that has been accumulating more merits to join the EU than some who already are in.

With partners who demand from the south sacrifices but will not share the favourable agreements with other non-EU states, it is no wonder that the Union of 27, each day, is turning into a more difficult endeavour.  In addition, those who impose the terms & conditions interpret the Stability & Growth Pact in such a manner as to oblige members to apply solutions thought out in conventional terms, in precisely the same line as those that created the problem.

Whilst our present-century ‘Medea’ is bossing around in Europe, the route travelled will be the wrong one and the estrangement amongst members each day larger.  How much must we wait before Merkel is sent into exile?     

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona, Spain     


20 YEARS AFTER, FROM THE USSR TO PRESENT-DAY RUSSIA

August 18, 2011
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Spanish version :-    http://wp.me/pRlnf-4m

 

After a failed coup, USSR Premier Mijail Gorvachov handed over the power of the disintegrating empire to Boris Yeltsin. In no time, the USSR was no more.

Even today, we must ask ourselves what would have been of this world if the process would have remained in the hands of Gorvachov instead of Yeltsin.

In spite of the supposed end of the Cold War, at that stage, the Russia Yeltsin is supposed to have constructed is no different from the USSR that Gorvachov tried to change with his Perestroika. A convinced Leninist, this world leader was less understood at home than abroad. Nevertheless, the Western World failed to give him the support he needed. Yeltsin took over but really no change occurred than a change of name and the celebration of apparently tutored democratic elections.

Today, 20 years after, Russia has not advanced sufficiently towards democracy nor has eradicated the corrupt ways of the defunct USSR. Power is still concentrated in the hands of a few with a strongman at the helm of its destiny. As one of the emerging states that form the so-called BRIC bloc, Russia is expected to propel world economy. How is that to take place when its leaders remain adamant to democratic change in the course of its economic advances?

 

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona, Spain

 


KOREA IN THE LIMELIGHT: THE NEVER-ENDING STORY OF THE 38th PARALLEL

November 23, 2010
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“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?”

https://fernandofusterfabra.wordpress.com/ November 21, 2010

Less than 72 hours after the historic NATO Summit in Lisbon that put an official end to the Cold War, the world stands abashed to a new North Korean provocation of its neighbour at the same time life-long adversary.

One of the principles that both North & South Korea have resorted to is precisely that of ‘just war’ although not in the manner President Obama employed to justify US presence in Iraq & Afghanistan. Korea, in fact was one nation up till the victorious Allied troops (USA & USSR as main actors) decided to end Japan’s 35-year colonial permanence by jointly occupying Korea as trustees, with the 38th Parallel as the demarcated control zone. However, the reference to said demarcation line dates back to an 1896 dispute between Russia and Japan over Japan’s British-recognised rights over the Korean peninsula.

The latest tense developments between the two Koreas with the North bombing of a South Korean island in the Yellow Sea has brought to front-page new risks of war in the Asian scenario. Not to be taken lightly due to North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, the affair has gone beyond a mere skirmish in the frequent incidents provoked mainly by the last Stalin-cut Communist regime in the world. Although North Korea may be applying once more its calculated-risk provocation strategy to improve its position in forthcoming meetings to negotiate its nuclear development, the near end of Kim Jong Il’s regime with the succession entrusted to his youngest son may provoke a will of confrontation beyond usual limits.

What was in the NATO-Russia agreement that may have to do with this international incident?

Would an expanded NATO alliance have to intervene in case of an open conflict between the two Koreas?

The UN Security Council has been convoked to an emergency meeting. In said council seats China with its veto power. If Russia has now ended the Cold War and is an ally of the NATO allies, only China can block any resolution to condemn North Korea’s supposed attacked against its southern neighbour.

What is in store for us in the next few hours in the ever increasing risk of international nuclear conflict at the 38th Parallel?

Fernando Fuster-Fabra Fdz.

Observer of Human Behaviour


OBAMA’S RETURN TO EUROPE: WHAT IS IN STORE AFTER THE G-20 FLOP?

November 19, 2010
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Sad to say but true, President Obama is not only a questioned leader in the USA but also as a world leader before the eyes of some of his staunch allies, particularly in Europe.

This weekend’s NATO Summit in Lisbon will be the first encounter after the disheartening G-20 performance by the cast of developed & developing nations’ leaders meeting in Seoul. Said summit will be followed by yet another bilateral one between the USA & the EU which may not count with Obama’s presence.

The disheartening results of an ineffective meet such as the one held in Seoul, whereby developed democracies on both sides of the Atlantic succumbed to a subtle Chinese strategy of political abstraction, cannot but have cooled even further already estranged EU-US postures in the economic field. China had its ways at the Seoul summit and as of today has further aggravated economic tensions with the latest communiqué from its central bank by raising its reserve ratio 50 basis points. Furthermore, the Communist Asian superpower has set its protectionist mechanism to curtail foreign investment in Chinese real estate and enterprise as a precautionary measure to avoid speculation.

True to say, the EU’s stance at the G-20 meet wasn’t all that unanimous, with Germany applying pressure on the USA in a similar manner as China but with different tactics. I keep asking myself why both superpowers – the USA on one side and the EU as a whole bloc of 27 state & 500 M population on the opposite side – haven’t yet decided to sit down to draw out a single strategic route for the economic crisis resolution.

The opportunity was missed when the EU-US bilateral summit scheduled in Spain in May was cancelled due to Obama’s overloaded agenda on the home front. Since then, six months have elapsed and the crisis has not only grown in intensity but rather new doubts have been raised as to the best common ground solutions no one seems to venture into.

The NATO encounter will have Afghanistan at the top of the priority list. The US seems more worried about ensuring military backing from the EU partners than solving other issues on hand. Indeed, probably the new common adversary encased in Al Qaeda’s terrorism requires a collective effort in lieu of a defunct ‘cold war’ with the extinct USSR now converted into an ally represented by Russia. Nevertheless, even in this new ‘war against terrorism’, I see a lack of realism in the world leaders’ analysis.

¿Can we forget that China, the emerging superpower with UN veto rights, not only is not a full-pledged democracy but likewise is a traditional sly manipulator of world political tensions in such vital issues as Iran & Korea?

Resolving favourably the Afghanistan issue is yet light years away, if ever a satisfactory solution is feasible on medium term. Yet, NATO members are attending the issue as ‘top priority’ with the presence of a no less insignificant and worthless Karzai. Instead, these nations should be discussing not only a common defence with Russia against ‘international terrorism’ (not only Al Qaeda), which goes from fanatic movements bent on destabilising democracies but also implies ‘economic terrorists’ who are capable of sinking the world into further long-term crises whilst bolstering their unscrupulous enrichment schemes.

While the powerful in economy and the military meet in Lisbon, the Nobel Peace Awards Committee has cancelled this year’s ceremony because China has not allowed the 2010 awardee, Liu Xiaobo, nor any family member, to travel to Oslo; Haiti is plagued by cholera and the population has uprisen in revolt against the UN Blue Helmets; Indonesia suffers from volcano eruptions with death toll rising; the Sahara territory under Moroccan dominion is isolated from the world whilst possible abuses are being committed; More than 30,000 children die each day due to hunger, and malnutrition shortens the life expectations of many thousand more; There are over a billion hungry people in the world today according to FAO’s malnutrition report, with almost 2/3 in Asia (where China & India have the largest populations) and 1/3 in Africa & Latin America.

I could go on to cite numerous such situations, not to mention that poverty has increased even in developed countries (15 M in 2009) the world over.

I wonder how our leaders can meet time and again to discuss economic & military issues and get nothing resolved to the world’s citizenry’s satisfaction in what really counts.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra Fdz.

Observer of Human Behaviour


G-20, SEOUL: MEETING OF QUESTIONED LEADERS

November 12, 2010
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Versión en español:  http://wp.me/pRlnf-1I


A series of meetings commenced in Seoul on Thursday evening amongst the countries that are considered to command the developed and emerging economies of the world. In this their fifth meet after the burst of the financial crisis, the countries belonging to the so-called G-20 Group plus some invited nations (Spain amongst them), shall try to reach an agreement.

 

What agreement must they reach?

 

In previous sessions, measures were adopted but almost none have been carried forward to full extent. Amongst such agreements were: the ‘re-foundation of capitalism’ or ‘strict regulations to curtail banking abuses’, to mention but a few of the numerous good-will statements that have ended in nowhere.

 

Con June 23rd., I wrote that the G-20 meet of Toronto   http://wp.me/pv6EY-4T was the last chance the leaders had to see the crisis from another angle. I reaffirm my previous statement. In the almost six months that have elapsed, world leaders have suffered a loss which makes them less credible than when they commenced to be a group of twenty bent to convert themselves into the new impulsive force of the world economy.

 

U.S. President Barack Obama has long shed his buoyant Nobel Peace Award to suffer his first relevant electoral defeat in the last mid-term elections.

France’s President Nicholas Sarkozy is undergoing is lowest ebb in popularity after a flood of strikes against his retirement age reforms, just as he is about to take over the G-20 rotating presidency. Precisely, he is the leader that so arrogantly announced during the Washington, D.C. summit in December 2008 the ‘re-foundation of capitalism’.

 

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, virtual winner in the UE arenas with her imposition of part of her criteria on budget deficit cutbacks and regulation measures on EU members’ non-compliance, is not more credible after several electoral defeats and the doubts arisen from her change of views in political affairs such as tax cuts and nuclear power plants closures.

 

Novell British Prime Minister, David Cameron, after some protocol misstep in his visit to China on the way to Seoul, has suffered his first student revolt in absentia whereby the younger Britons acted in a manner not seen since the times of his venerated mentor, Margaret Thatcher.

 

Needless to say that the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is not only subjected to an ethical scrutiny of his sexual misdoings but likewise has been practically abandoned to his fate by his parliamentarian supporter to date, the ultra-conservative leader, Gianfranco Fini.

Russian President Dmitri Medvédev still has the shadow cast by his mentor and actual prime minister, Vladimir Putin; a shadow that chases him every step he takes, without knowing who will finally be Russia´s new czar of this millennium.

 

Naoto Kan, Japan’s Prime Minister, had hardly landed when the last G-20 meet was held and no relevant role can be accounted him thus far in the search of a solution of the international crisis. He has enough with trying to keep himself in office longer than his predecessor who resigned after 8 months.

 

The last G-20 host, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not obtain a definite final communiqué in the June G-20 summit; hence the widening breach in various fronts that have led to the so-called ‘currency war’ at present. The threat of a G-2 mentioned in June is now a currency war between two adversaries, the USA & china, which brings the world back to the brink of another profound crisis.

 

The aforementioned leaders make up the original G-7 which with Russia added was converted to the G-8. Furthermore, the European Union was given a seat in the G-8 and likewise representation in the expanded G-20. These are the directors, up till the recognition of the G-20 as possible substitute forum, of the destiny of the world economy.

 

The G-20 has given more importance to the emerging powers, of which China, India & Brazil are worth emphasising. In fact, some of their objections to G-7 veteran member stances obliged these to reorient their postures in the last meets of this new economic forum. Furthermore, the emerging members have made their presence known in other forums, some of quite a bit of importance, such as the Doha Round con international trade & commerce and the summits on climate change & environment, the latest held in Copenhagen with a forthcoming event in the next few days at Cancun.

 

The world problem cannot be limited to economic issues and the policies in budget cutbacks but rather should be visualized from another angle based on globalised commercial interaction towards a more balanced distribution of wealth in the framework of sustainable development that doesn’t exterminate or planet nor put an end to its inhabitants’ liberties and social well-being.

 

And such lack of will to descend from their power-seats to see the problem from another angle is putting these questioned leaders at a stalemate, without any capacity to react much less to act correctly.

 

 

Fernando Fuster-Fabra Fdz.

Observer of Human Behaviour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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.


WORLD TRADE & ECONOMY JIGSAW PUZZLE: THE EXPLOSIVE G-2 FORMULA

February 28, 2010
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President Obama’s visit to China last November hastily coined a new economic axis, G-2, in U.S. and international economic circles. The results of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (https://fernandofusterfabra.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/obama-after-copenhagen/) a few weeks later seemed to confirm closer ties between two world powers with different goals. I for one was totally convinced that the Chinese theatre show would be short lived.

World trade events involving the U.S.A. & China in the last quarter have tensed relations. However, bilateral commercial relations have not been the only point of confrontation that has lit the red-light alert in the growing risk of rupture. U.S. arms sale to Taiwan and the Dalai Lama’s private visit to the White House have served to ignite the already heated atmosphere.

There are two main points that oblige the Obama Administration to watch their step in their relations with China :-

  1. The Iran nuclear dilemma
  2. China’s hold on U.S. public bonds

Let me analyse each item and the impressions said issues cause in other scenarios such as the European Union.

The Iran Nuclear Dilemma

The international scenario on nuclear development is supposedly supervised by the United Nations through its IAEA; such situation implies that the five U.N. members (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom & U.S.A.) with veto power in the Security Council have final say on sanctions and nuclear power control. Having convinced Russia to back U.S. demands on Iran, China is the only veto bloc power that could frustrate U.N. Security Council resolutions against Iran’s uncontrolled uranium enrichment scheme.

Being aware of its strategic vote, China has the Obama Administration in a rather awkward position. No words are required whilst China picks the flower dilly dallying on the issue.

China’s hold on U.S. public bonds

China may have as much as 20% of U.S. long-term bonds. A recent move to sell part of its holdings just as commercial hassle on Chinese products imported into the U.S.A., was but a warning of what China could do to effectively harm the still shaky U.S. economy. Furthermore, China has refused to revalue its Yuan, in order to rebalance U.S.-China import-export trade flow.

In this rather inflamed setting, American economic policies seem predestined to toe a soft-line where China is concerned. Nevertheless, President Obama’s bet on a G-2 axis to trigger a global world economic recovery is destined to fail. Moreover, if the U.S. Administration has still any hopes of soothing their Chinese counterparts with light concessions, it then becomes evident that the Obama team knows very little about Chinese Machiavelli-style use of time to wear off their adversaries.

Instead of a G-2 with this unreliable undemocratic commercial partner, the Obama Administration has to bend back to envision a more solid panorama where the other partner lies across the Atlantic Ocean, a natural partner for free-trade, economic sustainable growth, democracy and peace.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra, Madrid


WORLD LEADERS UNCAPABLE TO THINK BIG

December 29, 2009
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Year 2009 has come to an end. Are world leaders satisfied with their performance?

I for one am not. This year ending obliges me to reflect how decided leaders would have availed of all those caucuses to reach substantial agreements to resolutely face up the challenges of the financial & economic crisis.

One cannot put all the blame on just one leader, as all have had a say in all the summits. Three such meetings were of economic nature but the last one where our leaders deserve the most reproach for was Copenhagen.

And in this summit, President Obama, in my opinion, did not live up to expectations. Moreover, he has probably eased the path for China’s ever-growing influence on world politics and economics. I have asked myself why the EU bloc silently towed the line instead of refusing to sign the ridiculous declaration that was more a farce than an honest attempt to keep hopes alive.

The problem will grow precisely in the Year of the Tiger, 2010, when the Asian Tiger, China, will apply further pressure on the USA. One must not forget that China holds U.S. Treasury Bonds that will come due in the following years. Will the American economy have reached a point of recovery so as to guarantee liquidity to pay up?

The Obama Administration must meditate each step it takes from here onward. The European Union may not always be around to pick up the pieces of Chinese broken promises. Choosing allies is an ability of those statesmen who know how to think big when facing challenges.

The main issues to be resolved need a highly democratic sense where China would definitely fail to qualify in. Likewise, Russia’s Putin may complicate renewal of the nuclear arms agreement with the USA.

How big will Obama and his generation of democratic world leaders be in 2010?

Fernando Fuster-Fabra, Madrid


THE PITTSBURGH SUMMIT & THE WORLD’S FUTURE

September 26, 2009
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After Obama’s call for “.. a new era of engagement based on mutual interests and mutual respect ..”, and his insistence that “.. work must begin now”, one would expect world leaders to seriously involve themselves in concrete actions at the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh. Thus far, the foremost outcome of the meet is the concession of exclusive powers from G-8 to G-20 to resolve the international economic issues.

G20 Pittburgh

I have analysed the final declaration of intentions. Aside from a lack of specific rules, I’m afraid that world leaders have failed to establish a strategic order of priorities in the 31-point document. Stating so optimistically that what has so far been done “has worked” is a rather hasty conclusion.

The economic recovery process, thus far, has a long way to go. From dumping huge amounts into the banking & financial entities to save the system, the governments must return to balanced budgets and inflation adjustments, each state applying specific measure in an unevenly distributed crisis.

President Obama spoke at the UN General Assembly of four pillars as fundamental for the world’s future – non-proliferation & disarmament, the promotion of peace & security, the preservation of our planet and a global economy that advances opportunity for all people. Other world leaders agreed while some remained silent. Still others dared question his posture.

In the very same week, the first three of such pillars were exposed to be dynamited by an issue which ended up stealing the headlines at the summit that had worked on the strengthening of the fourth pillar – “global economy that advances opportunity for all people”.

Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad not only delivered a tirade of religious nonsense at the UN assembly but also an offensive speech that questions the average intelligence of Mankind. In his own right as Iran’s President to preach out his restricted views, Ahmadinejad launched a challenge to world leaders as a clear provocation of what was to come after. Naively picking up the glove, Israeli Prime Minister Nethanyahou availed of his turn to accuse the assisting assembly of ‘lack of decency’ for having politely withstood his adversary’s tirade without abandoning the hemicycle.

West trio

Referring to these speeches is necessary in order to comprehend how Iran stole the show at the Pittsburgh summit. The joint press conference – Obama, Brown & Sarkozy – versed on Iran’s new provocation in the nuclear front. It is evident that the Middle East is the centre of all tensions, a permanent time bomb at the base of Obama’s four pillars. I missed seeing the other two leaders – Medvedev & Hu Jintao – with veto rights at the UN Security Council in said press conference. This is a clear sign that Obama’s wink to Russia has only gone halfway through and China’s approval must wait till after the November bilateral meeting during Obama’s state visit.

Meanwhile this tense situation prevails, scarcely any of the well intended resolutions at the G-20 Pittsburgh summit are worth the paper they are printed on.

There will not only be hard times for placement of 50 M new unemployed all over the world but further risks of armed conflicts East and West of Afghanistan. Whilst the best result of this summit is the decision to grant the G-20 first choice to lead the world in its growth and development, the lack of a convinced single voice to support Obama’s four pillars may well be a wrong point of crossing of the Rubicon at the wrong time.

After all the words at the General Assembly and debates at the G-20 meet, the Pittsburgh assistants have gained a little and lost a lot. They may have missed the best opportunity to show the world how united and decided they are to solve crucial world politics.

The world now faces a new Waterloo.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Madrid


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