Fernando Fuster-Fabra's Blog

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

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OBAMA AFTER A YEAR IN OFFICE: THE HONEYMOON IS OVER

January 20, 2010
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Anti-Obama Campaign

On the day of President Obama’s first anniversary in Office, the Democratic Party’s defeat in the senatorial elections in Massachusetts has been the final bitter drop to a rather complicated year.

Obama has had a rather full year with a rather favourable start due to his popularity as candidate, President-elect and during the first half of 2009. Three main issues have weighed heavily on White House decisions in this twelve months sin taking oath as America’s 44th President and first Afro-American to preside the world’s most powerful nation.

A change in Bush’s Iraq policy was probably the issue that best met with citizenry approval. This included the closure of the Guantanamo installations, a promise that has yet to be fulfilled. However, the international warfront did not end with the announcement of an orderly troop from Iraq. The anti-terrorist campaign in Afghanistan was likewise inherited from the Bush Administration. If new Iraq policy seemed acceptable, new troops for Afghanistan have met both with political and citizen objections.

Obama’s decision to reinforce American troops in Afghanistan clash with its effects on the U.S. budget precisely at a time when not only Republican politicians question such expenditure but also meet criticism from some Democrats.  True to say, the Obama Administration has had to dump public funds to save the American car industry and salvage the country’s largest banks. Such financial effort has further strained U.S. reserves and added to the overburdened public expenditures.

To top it all, Obama’s promised health reform is another burden to the already overloaded public deficit. Resistance to said bill has already provoked tensions within the Democratic Party and has been the Republicans’ main issue brought up against the White House in 2009. The degraded version passed by Congress is up for the Senate vote just when the bitter defeat for the Massachusetts senatorial post has grabbed the Democrat’s majority in the Upper House.

What awaits President Obama in his second year in Office? With the honeymoon over, the White House advisors must drain their minds to come up with creative solutions to the dark clouds up ahead.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra, Madrid


“9 11”, EIGHT YEARS AFTER

September 11, 2009
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Ferry View of NYCThe appalling effects of the terrorist attack against the Twin Towers in New York are indeed difficult to digest even at this stage, eight years after.

Far beyond the unjust deaths of thousands and the aftermath for Americans and citizens of other democratic states the world over, the tragedy of “9 11” must serve Humanity to learn a lesson beyond entrepreneur vested interests and international power-struggle politics.

A change of government in the USA has forced aside Bush’s doctrine of “an eye for an eye” and America’s patriotic vision has taken on a different address. Nevertheless, one must admit that never before was the US world supremacy ever questioned to such an extent.

The economic crisis, in more ways than one, is another “9 11” that has hit the USA in its waterline, making the ship more vulnerable to further flooding.  The slowed momentum of the Twin Towers memorial is but a sign of the unwritten relation between “9 11” and the subsequent economic debacle that was set off with the Lehman Brothers fiasco. How much global crisis is yet left on American soil?

After President Obama’s obligated address to the joint chambers – Senate & House of Representatives – this week, one can conclude that The Establishment is far from willing to undergo relevant changes. In this case, the issue is Obama’s health plan. However, this matter is just the tip of the iceberg of what America must undergo to recover itself from “9 11”. The USA leadership is under scrutiny after it was seriously questioned during the Bush Administrations. Are we about to face a tag-of-war between The Establishment vs. the Obama Administration?

“9 11” triggered off the global internal crisis which has not as yet waned nor been resolved. America suffers a crisis of ethics which President Obama may have understood and wishes to correct. Will the powerful vested interests and radical politicians wage battle to prevent him from changing America for the better? How far will these forces allow him to go? I wonder.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Madrid, Spain


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