If “Western” is synonymous with “democratic” or “free,” then you don’t need the term at all.
If “Western” is synonymous with “democratic” or “free,” then you don’t need the term at all.
Any company with substantial exposure to Brexit that hasn’t yet devised contingency plans to deal with a range of outcomes, including very bad ones, is about as far behind the curve as Britain’s current government seems to be right now. After a surprising parliamentary election result, uncertainty surrounds how the UK will handle the Brexit negotiations. Some argue that if the Conservatives had won their predicted supermajority, Theresa May, the British prime minister, would have been able to steer toward something a bit softer than a “hard Brexit,” because she wouldn’t have had to worry about keeping the extreme anti-EU fringe of the party on her side. But it also appears that a hard Brexit doesn’t carry widespread MP support. Apart from throwing one’s own prediction onto this heap, what can we say about what we have learned from the latest British general election and about what businesses should be doing to prepare? Sociopolitical forces are taking new prominence in market strategy. First, as Martin Reeves of the Boston Consulting Group has pointed out to me, “In many cases companies are seeing bigger impacts from political and macroeconomic factors than from competitive considerations.” The Brexit-related factors that he cites include exchange rate movements, share price shifts following policy announcements, and the cost of shifting investment plans in the light of anticipated shifts in trade policy. From a more general perspective, one could also add to the list the rise of NGOs, the proliferation of social media that facilitates social movements, and the increases in antiglobalization sentiment. Nonmarket strategy — the way that companies manage relationships with governments, nongovernment organizations, the media, and society at large — has traditionally taken a back seat to market strategy, with the usual practice being to set market strategy first and then determine which sociopolitical forces, etc., need to be exploited, sidestepped, or somehow countered to make the strategy work. This must change, at least for now. Identify regularity amid persistent uncertainty. Second, persistently high levels of uncertainty compromise traditional recommendations about how companies should react in such situations. The usual assumption is that uncertainty brought by political or economic events will diminish over time — that it’s just a matter of waiting it out. But a matter of ongoing policy flux can’t be approached in that fashion. My upcoming article in the July–August issue of HBR, “Globalization in the Age of Trump,” explains that one approach in such environments is to find regularities that are likely to continue to hold and then to rely on them in forming strategies. As Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, once put it, When I’m talking with people outside the company, there’s a question that comes up very commonly: “What’s going to change in the next five to ten years?” But I very rarely get asked “What’s not going to change in the next five to ten years?” At Amazon we’re always trying to figure that out, because you can really spin up flywheels around those things. Whether you agree with this approach or not, it is clear that some new approaches are required. Understand the law of distance. Third, of the regularities that I focus on in my work, the one that is most helpful in thinking about long-run prospects is the law of distance: the pattern evident across countries, industries, and time where international interactions are dampened by distance along cultural, administrative, geographic, and often economic dimensions. The implication is that, come what may between Britain and the EU by March 2019, the deadline by which Brexit has to be accomplished one way or another, the EU and the UK are natural trading partners. Related Video Lack of Information Stokes Globalization Anxiety The less we know about the world, the less we want to interact with it. Save Share See More Videos > See More Videos > As I wrote about here, there is no way, for instance, that the Commonwealth of Nations (made up mostly of former British colonies) comes close to the EU in terms of market potential for British companies. So, in the long run, I expect to see some kind of special access to the EU market for Britain, as opposed to just a snap back to the WTO rules that would afford Britain no privileges relative to any other WTO member in accessing EU markets. In another example, from the U.S. perspective, even if the U.S. targets Mexico and Canada on trade (as President Trump has said he will do in August), both of those countries are likely to remain among the U.S.’s largest trading partners and very dependent on the U.S. for their exports, irrespective of what happens with NAFTA. Consider that more than 100 years ago, the U.S. already accounted for 55%–60% of Mexico’s imports and 65%–75% of its exports — and U.S. businesses at that time had invested more in Mexico than in any other country, despite economic nationalism on the Mexican side of the border. Waiting and watching isn’t enough. Fourth, it would seem that waiting for some sort of restoration of close economic ties between Britain and the EU might take too long from the perspective of businesses with significant exposure to Brexit. In my earlier HBR articles on the topic, I wondered if it might be too soon for companies to act. I found it hard to imagine that a worldly commonwealth like the UK, with such a well-regarded civil service, would fail to be adequately prepared to embark on negotiations critical to its economic future. But given the shambolic nature of the Brexit process to date, I no longer take it for granted that an agreement will prevent large British industries such as automobiles or financial services from being locked out of the Continent. In other words, although we don’t know yet exactly what’s going to happen, so far the process does not inspire confidence. As a result, many companies in sectors most likely to be affected are starting to move. By early May, more than one-quarter of the 222 UK financial services firms monitored by the EY Brexit Tracker had announced that they are moving some activities out of the UK, or that they are reviewing their domicile as a result of Brexit — up significantly from January. And the Bank of England has written to the CEOs and branch managers of all firms with cross-border activities between the UK and the rest of the EU to ask for contingency plans by July 14. The major automakers have kept a lower profile, partly because economies of scale in car manufacturing will require difficult in-or-out decisions rather than incremental ones. Mary Barra, the CEO of GM, called Brexit one of the reasons the company needed to sell its underperforming European operations (under the Vauxhall and Opel brands) to PSA. There are concerns that automakers like Honda, Nissan, and Toyota may reassign new manufacturing work to their operations outside the UK. To take another example, Dublin-based Ryanair, which operates out of the UK under an EU “open skies” agreement, has warned that it might have to suspend UK flights for “weeks or months” without an early Brexit deal on aviation, because it schedules its flights 12 months in advance. To succeed in this uncertain environment, companies will need to anchor themselves in new ways. It seems clear that “business as usual” is no longer an option on any continent.
Authored by Jayant Bhandari via Acting-Man.com, Everything Gets Worse (Part XII) – Pakistan vs. India After 70 years of so-called independence, one has to be a professional victim not to look within oneself for the reasons for starvation, unnatural deaths, utter backwardness, drudgery, disease, and misery in India. Intellectual capital accumulated in the West over the last 2,500 years — available for free in real-time via the internet — can be downloaded by a passionate learner. In the age of modern technology, another mostly free gift from the West which has significantly leveled the playing field, societies that wanted economic convergence with the West, such as Japan, Korea, Singapore, HK, China, etc., have either achieved it rapidly, or have strongly trended toward it. More than 28,000 children less than six years of age have died in just one province, Madhya Pradesh, over the past year. Because these deaths were due to diseases resulting from malnourishment, the government attributed every single death to disease rather than malnourishment. Given that Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has been at the helm for only three years, it is hard to blame him in general for any of the above mentioned monstrosities marring daily life in India. The best the head of the executive of an extremely diverse and complicated country can achieve is to nudge the Titanic in the right direction. The problem is that Modi has actively sped the Titanic toward collision with an iceberg, from which he himself will not emerge unharmed. He must be blamed for his naiveté, his upside-down understanding of economics and a complete lack of awareness of the realities of life, his narcissism and obsession of making a hero out of himself, and an utter lack of self-respect that drives him to seek solace in Hindu fanaticism. He and his party have been a catalyst fanning the flames of nationalism and fanaticism among Indians. Farmers demonstrating in Delhi to point out their plight. More than 12,600 farmers and agricultural laborers committed suicide in 2015 in what is one of the world’s poorest countries. On average, life is worse for Indians than it is for Africans. However, sociopaths exist in every society. If you get rid of one, another one enters the scene. In the end, it is Indians who deserve to be blamed for elevating Modi and his BJP to their positions. In the end, it is Indians who deserve to be blamed for hollowing out and destroying institutions the British left behind over the past 70 years. In the irrational and tribal society of India, Modi perfectly symbolizes and unconsciously exploits the thinking process of the common man, who tends to deal with problems by doing even more of what created the problems in the first place. A rational person (particularly one whose perception is otherwise skewed by political correctness) faces a huge uphill task and high levels of frustration, when trying to comprehend the actions of irrational people and societies. He won’t be able to understand that the irrationality of some people is so pronounced it can keep them from connecting two simple dots right in front of them. Some 3,000 children die every day from illnesses related to poor diets. Of those who survive, 44% of the children under the age of 5 are stunted. 72% of infants and 52% of married women have anemia. With respect to this India is ranked on the same level as North Korea and Sudan. It is difficult or me to judge whether Pakistan is better or worse off by comparison, but I received many complaints in response to an earlier article in this series (in which I had presumed Pakistan to be somewhat worse off than India), mostly based on tribalism. But let’s try to bring some balance to the issue anyway. On the World Happiness Report, India is ranked in 122nd position. Pakistan is ranked much higher, in 80th position. Pakistan’s per capita GDP is US$1,550, India’s is US$1,719. The difference is very small. Moreover, Pakistan has to spend a fortune to cater to refugees, to defend itself against problems from Afghanistan, as well as a much bigger foe, namely India. Pakistan also suffers from instability spilling over from Afghanistan and Iran. As a result Pakistan is spending a much higher proportion of its government revenue on the military than India. If the external conditions of the two countries were similar, Pakistan would presumably be richer than India. I also received several introspective messages from Pakistanis, who averred that Pakistan was descending into chaos, and similar statements were made by Indians as well. Most Pakistanis asked me to keep their names confidential, as speaking out against the Pakistani army or Islam could easily lead to unwelcome consequences such as beheading. A small minority in India is less concerned about speaking out, but this is changing quite rapidly. A silly, well-orchestrated routine that is conducted every day at Indo-Pak border. Ironically, both Indian and Pakistani forces work and practice this routine together, to keep it well-synchronized. The bravado and bravery is all superficial theater. Demonetization Pain Continues Unabated When Narendra Modi announced on 8th November 2016 that he was demonetizing 86% of the monetary value of all currency in circulation, he gave three major reasons for doing so: to end corruption, to end terrorism and to eliminate counterfeit currency. Ironically, all three are now in far worse condition than they were previously, and even worse than the predictions I made in this series of essays (Part XI is linked here). Many ATMs in India still dispense no cash. The economy is in shatters. This had to happen, as any new cash is rapidly moving under the carpets of the financial powerful that hoard currency. Small businesses are traumatized by the lack of access to cash – many are closing for good. People continue to avoid making non-essential purchases. Even food demand has failed to recover. Poor people very likely are still forced to go to bed half-hungry. No-one knows whether there are famines in parts of India, as none of the mainstream media are covering the issue. Not unlike North Koreans or the Chinese during the times of Mao, Indians today, particularly members of the so-called educated class, simply cannot see what Modi or their nationalistic paradigm does not want them to see. Indian banks and other financial institutions are extremely unethical. Since privatization was implemented in the 1990s, they have charged fees and commissions for accounts that were never agreed upon. Indians never fight, so this continues. After the demonetization exercise, these mysterious charges have started to appear more often. Then they deduct certain services and financial taxes, and most people don’t make the effort to try to understand them. Indians are getting very tired of the banks – not for moral, but simply for financial reasons. Bank websites are extremely unwieldy. They require a sequence of passwords and OTPs (one time pad codes), which have an automatic expiry date. Getting the whole sequence right to make an online payment without having these websites freeze during the procedure leaves one with a sense of accomplishment. Most people prefer to walk down to their banks to get bank officials to perform such online transactions. India is simply not ready for the digital age. This experiment in going cashless will end in a disaster. Similar to every tyrant, Modi likes to think that tax collection should be at the heart of society. He imagines a society in which subjects dance around the state. The problem is, one can perfect the tax system or minimize corruption, but with a per capita GDP of $1,718, India simply does not have the required productivity. Bank charges, rapacious tax authorities and massive amounts of time lost in dealing with the lack of cash have hurt whatever little productivity the Indian economy may have had. And by forcing digitalization, Modi has merely shifted liquidity from the informal to the formal sector. Even in the western world, most big corporations are in bed with governments. In India, romping in bed with the State is all they ever do. For the moment, these corporations are huge beneficiaries of shift of resources to the banking system. But without the spine that is the informal sector, the formal sector cannot benefit for very long. Eventually even the formal economy will succumb and take a massive hit. Bank credit growth in India plummets to 60 year lows. Corruption is bigger today, with most people complaining that they have to pay almost twice as much as usual in bribes, as bureaucrats and politicians try to make up for any real or assumed loses they faced as a result of the demonetization process. Counterfeiting of banknotes is a bigger problem today than it likely ever was. Kashmir – Where India’s Disintegration Is Set to Begin The last professed reason for Modi’s demonetization decree was to end terrorism and to solve the problems in Kashmir. The situation in Kashmir has deteriorated rapidly, while the law and order situation is generally worsening around the country, as vigilantes are given free reign. An African student in India being thrashed merely for being African. Racism against Africans is rampant in India, and the hostility is growing. Sacred cow enforcement squad: Cow vigilantes have become a regular feature of the Indian landscape, with Muslims and lower-caste people being killed and thrashed on a regular basis (one of the five men beaten up in this video later died). The Muslim community is increasingly isolated. This cannot end well in a country with the world’s second biggest Muslim population. Hindu Yuva Vahini, a group of fanatics, founded by none other than the current Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, roaming freely, with swords drawn (UP is India’s most populous state with nearly 200 million inhabitants). Once the genie of lawlessness is out of the bottle in this irrational society, it will be centuries before it can be put back in again. This is a disaster waiting to happen. Immediately after his appointment, Yogi Adityanath created “Anti-Romeo” squads, whose job is to harass any couples deemed to be unmarried. In spite of the fact that the police has no such constitutional authority, the courts have been silent spectators. Vigilante Hindu fanatics have even dragged couples from private properties to the police station. Instead of police charging these fanatics, they end up interrogating the couples dragged to the station. As I have said repeatedly, only hollowed out structures remain of the institutions the British left behind. There has been an unprecedented increase in human rights violations by the Indian army in recent days in Kashmir Another short video showing the Indian army in action in Kashmir The Indian army recently used a man as a human shield in Kashmir. Not only celebrities and journalists voiced their approval, India’s Attorney General, one of the main guardians of the law, justified it by saying: “peculiar situations require peculiar measures”. One must reflect on what it means if the country’s Attorney General has no clue what the rule of the law actually means. Voting was almost non-existent in recent elections. The army is stressed out and desperate. Those not in Kashmir and with no skin in the game happily pass judgment from their couches. There is no political mechanism in place for Kashmir to secede. Secession through violence – which looks increasingly inevitable, particularly in view of Modi’s heavy-handedness – will be extremely chaotic. Its reverberations will be heard across the world, and might start the fragmentation of India as a political entity.
Via Jayant Bhandari of Acting-Man.com, India’s Currency Ban – Part X It has now been four months since Narendra Modi declared about 86% of monetary value of currency illegal. Linked here is the last in my series of updates, which was written soon after the deadline to deposit the demonetized currency. Most of the banned currency was eventually deposited, making a mockery of Modi, who had claimed that unaccounted money would not reach the banks. Perhaps 3% of the cash never reached the banks. A cunning plan unravels Those living outside India still have the option to return to the country, complete a number of formalities at the airport, and then hope that India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will do the conversion. Many of these people are unfortunately return empty-handed. In India, where stamps, signatures of bureaucrats, file-passing, attesting of documents, etc. go with everything, a lot of submitted paperwork is deemed incomplete by the RBI. India’s narrow money supply M1 has collapsed from 28.42 trillion rupees in September of 2016 to just slightly above 20 trillion rupees in December. This makes recently reported GDP growth data (see further below) particularly dubious – click to enlarge. Modi never intended to hurt Indians who are living abroad, but in the utter chaos of India, he can merely wave his magic wand and hope. India’s bureaucracy has a life of its own. The silver lining is that the chaos of India makes it impossible to establish an all-out Stalinist state. Non-resident Indians who succeed in depositing their banned notes are complaining that the RBI is not crediting the cash to their account. The process of depositing is not easy to boot. No Toilets, but Will Send Rockets Into Space The worst losers were the poorest people of the country, who are lucky if they have a toilet. 50% of Indians still relieve themselves out in the open. Tribal people who never got to know about the ban, people who were too sick, or people who had forgotten their cash are now left with paper that can land them in prison. Modi has made ownership of more than ten of the banned bills illegal. These hungry people have indeed been asked to celebrate that India has recently sent more than 100 satellites into space in a single launch, at a profit. People still have images of Sputnik in their minds when they think about satellites. What was not disclosed was that most of the satellites that India sent weighed no more than a few pounds. Indian ISRO rockets taking off into space. Former British defense minister Gerald Howarth felt compelled to remark that “a country with its own space program does not need aid from us” after learning that the UK had sent around GBP 300 m. in aid to India in FY 2015. People were also required to trust the government that the rocket was sent up at a profit. Politically correct international media happily accepted India’s claims. Of course no accounting had been disclosed. The question remains: How can you show the profitability of a small project of an organization that is totally dependent on public funds to stay up and running? Indians have become extremely nationalistic. Independent thinking or challenging any facts that contradict good feelings about India are considered sacrilegious these days. With the exception of the tensions and the lack of even superficial unity that India’s huge ethnic diversity creates, India has all the makings of Pakistan, Afghanistan or Iraq. Banks have become extended arms of the government. Nowadays one must explain cash withdrawals and deposits. Any cash transaction above Rs 300,000 (~US$4,500) has been made illegal in a country where most consumer transactions are in cash. Income tax authorities have been given free reign to knock at one’s door without having probable cause to make such a visit. Modi is hiring more than 100,000 people to work for the tax department. In the last four months India has rapidly become a suffocating police state. Banks and ATMs still suffer from a shortage of cash. Queuing up at banks is a mandatory part of life in India. The terrible state of hygiene in India Dubious Statistics I have yet to meet anyone in India — including anyone from the ranks of demonetization supporters — whose economic life has improved. People are still avoiding to go shopping. Businesses continue to fail. And food prices are still down by as much as 50% or more in many places, a sign that poor people are going hungry. There are of course exceptions. Bureaucrats are now charging twice the usual bribe, to make up for losses they suffered due to demonetization. In the police state of India, the common man — still very proud of India’s achievements — is compliant. India recently released its latest GDP growth numbers claiming that the country’s growth rate is still 7% on annualized basis. International economists are confused, as they had expected India to face a short-term setback due to the demonetization exercise. The people on the street, simple folk like me, know better what is actually happening in India. India’s economy is not growing at 7%. It seems more likely that it has suffered negative growth of 20% annualized or more last quarter. India, quarterly GDP growth rate, annualized and credibility-challenged – click to enlarge. Not only are the growth numbers released by the corrupt Indian government cooked, but many businesses also converted their undeclared money into legal money in November 2016 by booking fake sales. They paid months of salaries to their employees in advance and often prepaid bills years in advance while booking revenue for future sales. A lot of sales were back-dated and booked in cash. All of these contortions increased GDP on paper exactly at a time when the entire economy was actually severely traumatized. India is not growing, it is regressing. India’s informal sector, which employs more than 80% of the population, is suffering the most. Boosting happiness, Modi-style Caretoon by Satish Acharya China gets a lot of blame for allegedly cooking its statistics. I often go to China and consistently find it to be increasingly more open, more liberal, more investment-friendly and more growth-oriented. I see accumulation of capital and knowledge happening in that country. At the same time, India is regressing to its medieval past. And this is not an exaggeration. This is happening not just economically, but most importantly culturally as well, as I have discussed at great length in earlier updates. India is a democracy and many people are not happy to accept that it might be faring worse than China. In reality, India is so wretched that it is hilarious that people try to compare it with China. China’s economy is more than five times bigger than that of India. There is massive confusion in the use of “growth” and “growth rate.” Even if India were growing at 7%, it would add only $120 to its per capita GDP of $1,718. If China grows by 6.8% (often erroneously referred to as “slowing”), it would add $561 to it’s per capita GDP. India is simply no match for China. The often repeated statement of international organizations, media, economists and intellectuals that India is the fastest growing large economy fails to pass test of primary school mathematics. Ultimately one must ask what India’s GDP of $1,718 per capita actually means. The reality is that a vast majority of India’s citizens goes to bed hungry every day. They often have no access to primary health care. They live in slums. Disease and tyranny are a daily part of their lives. A common sight in towns and cities in India. A great many Indians live a medieval lifestyle. On a per capita basis, Indians are poorer than Africans. On per capita basis India has more children exhibiting stunted growth than Africa has. Conclusion India’s problem is not a lack of tax collection. Its problem is a horrendous lack of productivity. The sorry state of education in India. Forget about students, even the teachers are uneducated. The result is that Indians are completely unprepared for the modern economy. Huge waves of young people are joining the workforce, with no hope of getting jobs. Job growth was stagnating in India even before the demonetization was announced. They are unskilled and very badly trained. Many so-called literates cannot even write their own names. Among the jobs that have seen the largest growth in India in the past several years has been that of security guard. To anyone interested in sociology, this is not a sign of economic progress, but a symbol of a degrading society. While the world is looking with trepidation toward the impending arrival of the age of robots, India finds itself at the precipice of a humanitarian crisis, made much worse by the simplistic and dictatorial policies of Narendra Modi. Collateral damage: India’s poorest
Recipients of the scholarship will spend time in Buckingham Palace, but don’t get the wrong idea: They will cook, cater and otherwise serve the British royals.
Joseph Hammond Security, Asia Maldives has sent more terrorists per capita than any other country in the world to fight with extremist groups in Syria and Iraq. A popular tourist destination could be sliding into Islamist terrorism following its departure from the British Commonwealth, according to regional experts. The Maldives, a nation of 1,192 islands in the Indian Ocean, is best known for its tropical weather and seaside resorts. But Maldives has sent more terrorists per capita than any other country in the world to fight with extremist groups in Syria and Iraq. Expert analysts fear a greater terrorist threat following the country’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth of Nations October 13. The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 52 sovereign states, most of which once were British colonies or former holdings of the colonies. While politically independent, Commonwealth nations cooperate within a framework set forth by The Singapore Declaration, which puts an emphasis on values such as individual liberty, free trade and world peace. The Maldives had been a member of the Commonwealth since 1982. But President Abdulla Yameen has pursued a crackdown on dissent since his election in 2013. The Yameen administration has arrested opposition leaders, announced plans to end a moratorium on capital punishment, and closed media outlets. A Commonwealth of Nations meeting on September 23rd resulted in a communiqué warning the Maldives it could face suspension from the group unless its human rights situation improved. Rather than respond to those concerns, the Maldives withdrew from the organization. Some Maldivians cheered the move, comparing it on social media with the unexpected victory for the Brexit vote in June, which puts the United Kingdom on a path to leave the European Union. But international observers were not so sanguine. “[Getting] out of Commonwealth will spare the Maldives from constant watch and scrutiny,” said Animesh Roul, Executive Director of Research at the Society for the Study of Peace and Conflict (SSPC) in New Delhi. “As a result, radical Islamism and terrorism might witness an unhindered upsurge.” Even though the regime “never came under the direct influence of [any] mullahs," Roul added, "they prefer to ignore the threat or appease the growing Islamization of Maldivian society and politics.” Read full article
Мальдивские острова в первую очередь и совершенно справедливо ассоциируются с тропическим туризмом. Цепь атоллов располагается в субэкваториальных водах, температура воздуха круглый год колеблется в пределах +17 °C…+32 °C. Опасные животные, досужие насекомые и даже недружественная человеку растительность практически отсутствуют. Купальный сезон продолжается 10 месяцев году, имеются пляжи и отели на любой вкус и кошелёк. Валютно-туристическая выручка составляет 80% всех бюджетных поступлений Мальдив. ВВП страны (с учётом мультипликативного эффекта) обеспечивается зарубежными отдыхающими на 70-75%. Два важнейших экспортных товара – это морепродукты и… почтовые марки! Насколько Саудовская Аравия зависит от нефти, настолько Мальдивские острова зависят от туризма. Религиозное просвещение Эр-Рияда сыграло в островной исламской стране роль катализатора бурных беспорядков. Оно же спровоцировало выход Мальдив из Содружества наций (Британского содружества наций) и может стать причиной государственного краха.
The government said it had been treated “unjustly and unfairly” over questions about its human rights record.
**Wikipedia**: _[Direct Action Day]_: >British Prime Minister Clement Attlee sent a three-member Cabinet Mission to India aimed at discussing and finalising plans for the transfer of power from the British Raj to the Indian leadership, providing India with independence under Dominion status in the Commonwealth of Nations. After holding talks...
On a business trip to London in the '80s, I saw a billboard for an airline at Heathrow Airport that proclaimed "Best Route to Europe''. I asked a cabbie: "Aren't we in Europe?'' He answered: "No, Sir, we're in England''. Whenever I visit Britain, I never feel I am in "Europe,'' but rather in something closer to the U.S. or Canada. It isn't just the language; it's in the manner of the people and the look of the place. London reminds me of Boston (Mass.), Nottingham of Worcester (Mass.). On June 23, British subjects will vote on whether the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) should quit the European Union (the exit called the "Brexit''). There would be pitfalls (for a while) in doing so but advantages too. The pitfalls: Harder for British people to get jobs on the Continent, less flexibility for big U.K. companies in doing deals with Continental companies and snags in coordinating some transnational anti-terrorism security measures with E.U. members. Still, while Brexit would hurt the U.K. economy for several years it would strengthen it for the long term. It would give the U.K. more control over its own affairs, thus letting it better maintain its best qualities, especially its love of liberty; its quirky individualism; its entrepreneurialism; the strength and stability of its institutions, including its glorious Common Law, the astonishingly adaptable language that England gave the world and that 1.5 billion people speak now, and its special relationship with America. For all their flaws, no nations have benefited the world as much as have the United Kingdom and its offspring the United States. The U.K.'s cultural/political/economic characteristics made that possible. Further absorption into the homogenizing, bureaucratizing and centralizing European Union, mostly run by unelected administrators, threatens to dilute these strengths. The late historian Robert Conquest wrote: "within the West, it is above all the English-speaking community which has ...pioneered and maintained the middle way between anarchy and despotism.'' http://nationalinterest.org/article/toward-an-english-speaking-union-1263 Brexit would probably encourage the U.K. to tighten ties with its most important offspring - America -- with which it shares so many values -- and with the 53-nation Commonwealth of Nations, formerly the British Commonwealth, to help offset negative economic effects of Brexit. I used to live in France and am a fan of the European Union - for the Continent. For all its regulations, bureaucracy and social engineering, the E.U. has, all in all, helped make the Continent more prosperous and humane and war in Western and Central Europe much less likely. That the E.U. has made it much easier for citizens of E.U. countries to travel and work where they want within the Union has usually been a boon. But it also has made it easier for terrorists and other criminals to operate freely over a wide area, which has increasingly worried the British. Thank God for the Channel! The biggest near-term threats to the E.U. come from the gangster Vladimir Putin's aggression and from Islamic pathologies, which wreak terror attacks and refugee floods, but confronting them is mostly NATO 's job, not the E.U.'s. And the United Kingdom will remain in NATO, whether or not it leaves the E.U. Meanwhile, for all the talk of the glories of "multiculturalism,'' the fact is that Western culture has brought more prosperity and human rights to the world than any other. No wonder almost all refugees want to flee to the West. We need to do everything possible to boost the broader Western World through, for example, such projects as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership - a huge free-trade area in the mutual self-interest of the European Union, the U.K. (Brexit or not) and the U.S. But in such cooperation, let's not dilute the best idiosyncratic elements of Western Civilization's parts. The U.K., in the long run, would do better as a friendly partner of the E.U. than as a member. Its history, its enduring psychic separation from Europe, its curious blend of insularity and worldliness (much of the latter stemming from the British Empire experience) has served itself and the world well. Robert Whitcomb ([email protected]) is a former finance editor of the International Herald Tribune, a former Wall Street Journal editor and a former Providence Journal vice president and editorial page editor. He is currently overseer of newenglanddiary.com, a partner in Cambridge Management Group (cmg625.com) and president of Guard Dog Media, in Boston. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
TORONTO -- Gerald Butts, a top adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, received an email this past October when his man won the office. It came from Butt’s friend and fellow political consultant David Axelrod, who had played a similar role for U.S. President Barack Obama. "Congratulations on a great victory," Axelrod said. "Now don't screw it up." Butts laughed as he recalled the email the other day in Toronto. He, his boss and Trudeau's inner circle were making final preparations for the prime minister's visit to Washington this week. Trudeau will be feted with the first White House state dinner in 19 years for Canada's leader. It's not likely that Trudeau -- or Obama, for that matter -- will "screw it up." But it's important for millions of people that they don't, because the destinies of Canada and the United States are more closely intertwined than ever. On border security, climate change, trade and foreign policy, working together in relative harmony is a requirement, not an option. The challenge for the two men will be to turn their personal similarities and the camaraderie of their previous brief encounters into concrete measures. They have to begin by repairing a government-to-government relationship that was strained under then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a tea party-style conservative who was ultimately frozen out by the Obama administration. Our most important relationship is with the U.S., and I am going to do everything I can to bring us closer together. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Trudeau and Obama need to work quickly, since the latter has only 10 months left in office and America could wind up with a Harper-esque successor in 2017. "We just have to do as much as we can in the meantime and not worry about that," said Butts. "And we think we'll make a good start." Canada now has a prime minister with foreign policy views similar to Obama's -- namely, that the best and most useful way to neutralize "radical Islamist terrorism" is to engage with Islam and the Middle East diplomatically and commercially, and not merely with bombs, drones and surveillance. When Pierre Trudeau, the current PM's father, was prime minister -- from 1968 to 1984, with one brief interruption -- the U.S. and Canada were often at odds over foreign policy. In the early years, the U.S. was fighting a war in Vietnam that the Canadians abhorred. Trudeau also infuriated U.S. administrations by dealing openly with the likes of Fidel Castro and the communist Chinese government, the latter before the U.S. did. There is a faint echo of those strains now, as Justin Trudeau followed through on a campaign promise to end Canadian participation in allied bombing runs over Syria. But Obama reacted mildly, giving Trudeau some domestic political cover by praising him for increasing the number of non-combatant Canadian instructors in the region. Trudeau wants to move Canada toward full diplomatic relations with Iran, though carefully and cautiously; the U.S. president hasn't gone quite that far yet. Trudeau is under pressure to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia; that kind of breach with the Saudis remains all but unthinkable in Washington. Trudeau wants a more even-handed approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues; Obama does, too, even if he doesn't put it that way. These and other matters will no doubt come up at a joint press conference the two will have in Washington -- although the event is almost sure to be dominated by queries about Trudeau's increasingly wary comments (made to The Huffington Post) about Donald Trump and the U.S. election scene. The more immediate anti-terrorism issue involves borders, which is likely to be the subject of the most important "announce-able" this week. The United States essentially wants a more secure perimeter around all three NAFTA countries (Mexico, Canada and the U.S.) to make it more difficult for suspected bad actors to enter the U.S. But that means harmonizing U.S. and Canadian border regimes more closely, and overcoming both bureaucratic inertia and Canada's long-standing ties to other countries, including those of the Commonwealth of Nations. Canada also wants it made easier to ship goods to the U.S., with which it does $2 billion worth of trade each day. Loosening and tightening borders at the same time isn't easy. In the realm of climate change, the Canadians have abandoned hope that the U.S. will approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which Obama rejected. "It's dead and we're not worrying about it anymore," said Butts, an expert on environmental issues as well as campaigns. But Canada is pursuing other pipeline projects that lie entirely within its borders, and the Trudeau administration has no intention of abandoning them. In other words, while Trudeau promised to be Obama's climate change ally during the Paris talks in December, he may find it hard to deliver. The prime minister is already finding it difficult to persuade provincial leaders to go along with a new carbon tax. He may have to unilaterally impose a federal levy, but he has not committed to that course and it is politically risky. Trudeau travels to Washington this week with his entire family in tow: wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, his wife's parents and his three young children. "They all want to visit the Smithsonian," he said. While they are doing so, Trudeau will meet with Capitol Hill leaders, Cabinet officials and the president over the course of three days. "We'll get a lot done, but this is just the beginning," said Trudeau. "Our most important relationship is with the U.S., and I am going to do everything I can to bring us closer together." -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Вот уж если в Лондоне начали истерить, то это - серьезно. Там что-то либо знают, либо уже чувствуют. А что Вы хотите? Лондону важно всё, что происходит вокруг и внутри "Британской империи 2.0", сиречь, так называемого, "Commonwealth" или в переводе "Общего благополучия", которое на политическом языке именуется "British Commonwealth of Nations" - да-да - именно "Британское Содружество Наций", контролируемое лично Британией из Лондона.
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON ON HATING THE WEST, INC.: What explains these hypocritical and incoherent attac…
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON ON HATING THE WEST, INC.: What explains these hypocritical and incoherent attacks on the West? The answer is important because it reminds us not to take too seriously the agendas of 20-something campus critics of white privilege and those protesting against micro-aggressions and demanding safe spaces and trigger warnings. No civilization in […]
**John F. Kennedy**: [Crosscup-Pishon American Legion Post](http://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/JFK-Speeches/Boston-MA-Crosscup-Pishon-American-Legion_19451111.aspx): >Our foreign policy today may well determine the kind of life we will live here for generations. For the peace and prosperity of this country are truly indivisible from the peace and prosperity of the world in this atomic age. >But before we whole-heartedly subscribe to any foreign policy, it may be well for us to examine the kinds of government that are taking over in the countries of post-war Europe and try to estimate where they are headed. I would like to offer for your consideration today my personal observations on three of these countries—England, Ireland, and Germany—victor, neutral, and vanquished. >The subject is a very broad one so that I am going to speak chiefly on the political parties of England and Ireland to try to estimate the reasons for their success or failure and to study the problems they face and their prospects for the future. In the case of Germany I merely propose to estimate the possibilities as they appear at the present time of building any kind of democratic government—democratic in the western sense. >The outstanding political event of the year was the emergence of the Labour Party...
It’s hard to imagine the monarchs of Saudi Arabia and Thailand selling souvenir tchotchkes in quite the same way.
[Winston Churchill: Speech of May 13, 1945](https://archive.org/details/WartimeBroadcastSpeechesBySirWinstonChurchill) >It was five years ago on Thursday last that His Majesty the King commissioned me to form a National Government of all parties to carry on our affairs. Five years is a long time in human life, especially when there is no remission for good conduct. However, this National Government was sustained by Parliament and by the entire British nation at home and by all our fighting men abroad, and by the unswerving co-operation of the Dominions far across the oceans and of our Empire in every quarter of the globe. >After various episodes had occurred it became clear last week that so far things have worked out pretty well, and that the British Commonwealth and Empire stands more united and more effectively powerful than at any time in its long romantic history. Certainly we are - this is what may well, I think, be admitted by any fair-minded person - in a far better state to cope with the problems and perils of the future than we were five years ago. >For a while our prime enemy, our mighty enemy, Germany, overran almost all Europe. France, who bore such a frightful strain...
---- Winston S. Churchill: >Yesterday morning at 2:41 a.m. at Headquarters, General Jodl, the representative of the German High Command, and Grand Admiral Doenitz, the designated head of the German State, signed the act of unconditional surrender of all German Land, sea, and air forces in Europe to the Allied Expeditionary Force, and simultaneously to the Soviet High Command. >General Bedell Smith, Chief of Staff of the Allied Expeditionary Force, and General Francois Sevez signed the document on behalf of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, and General Susloparov signed on behalf of the Russian High Command. >To-day this agreement will be ratified and confirmed at Berlin, where Air Chief Marshal Tedder, Deputy Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, and General de Lattre de Tassigny will sign on behalf of General Eisenhower. Marshal Zhukov will sign on behalf of the Soviet High Command. The German representatives will be Field-Marshal Keitel, Chief of the High Command, and the Commanders-in- Chief of the German Army, Navy, and Air Forces. >Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight to-night (Tuesday, May 8), but in the interests of saving lives the "Cease fire" began yesterday to be sounded all along...
The story of the European Union is short and promising. Or perhaps I should have written "was short and promising." We all know the devastation wars that are behind the success story of first The European Coal and Steel Community, then European Community, now European Union. Perhaps in the absence of World War I and World War II Europeans and more precisely French and Germans would have never sit down and agreed upon building a common market. The Euro has in my opinion hurt the European Union along two axes because the political, fiscal and monetary unions have been left incomplete. This article delves into the formation and first stages of the European Union, analyzes who's behind the vision that enabled the consolidation of a common market, analyzes the present and explores the future of perhaps the World's most innovative supranational consolidation and integration episode. Think about it. One hundred years back Europe started The Great War. No need to repeat what everyone can read today on Wikipedia. For centuries European nations had fought each other. Empires emerged and declined, from Portugal and Spain to France and Britain. Europeans conquered and ruled the World, colonized sometimes massacred local populations. Europeans competed against one another as much as they hated one another. Animosity between France and Germany fed the conflicts. Poverty, unemployment facilitated the emergence of radical ideologies: fascism, communism. The United States learned how to intervene and proclaimed its superiority and World dominance subsequent to the armistice and in the aftermath of World War II. The Cold War then begins. It was a different generation of Americans, which defended freedom, democracy, fairness above everything and anything else. Americans saved Europe and the World from Nazism and Fascism. Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry S Truman and Secretary of State General George Marshall had a vision and no doubt knew how to lead the World forward towards a New World Order. I think that that kind of American leadership is gone with the wind. Today's leadership in The United States prioritizes money making and is unfortunately radically business-oriented. It's no longer the people but the money what really matters contrary to Suze Orman's postulates, of which I am a big advocate. It was a different generation of Europeans, who were fully aware of the carnage, the bloodshed, the inhumanity of the Nazis-led genocide, a generation of Europeans -perhaps and more particularly the French Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman and of course Britain's Winston Churchill- who envisioned a united Europe which would no longer fight endless Wars of rivalry. Lenin and Stalin's communism only exacerbated American expansionism in Western Europe, Greece and Turkey. NATO was created. The Marshall Plan was inaugurated in General George Marshall's Harvard Address on 5 June 1947. The Bretton Woods Institutions emerged. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed. The United Nations was constituted, building on the failure of the League of Nations. It was looking back on the rearview mirror, the true birth of a New World Order, a Renaissance after the two World War's Armageddon. The World has not seen another Global War ever since. Myriads of regional wars remain. Today's Global War is perhaps economic. The United States' leadership has only been mildly threatened by an emerging China. Much of Asia, Subsaharan Africa, the Arab World and Latin America remain lagging behind. The United Nations' Millennium Development Goals signed in 2000 which expire year-end 2015 will not be fulfilled in spite of Kofi Annan and Professor Jeffrey Sachs' exciting and extraordinary work. The generation of the World's very last true leaders -now called The Elders- is passing away along with the late Nelson Mandela. My great Mentor and Advisor, former UNESCO Director General Federico Mayor Zaragoza repeats time and again that in his opinion there are no longer true leaders on the surface of this Planet, with perhaps the sole exception of President Barack Obama who will soon retire from office. I think that Europe's crisis is centered around the defense of national priorities over continental priorities. Following this logic, Chancellor Angela Merkel has been a great leader for Germany, but not for Europeans. The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was created with the signature of the Treaty of Paris in 1951. France's Jean Monnet who had been a Deputy Director General in the failed League of Nations, became its First President. The ECSC acquired a wider scope with the signature of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, adding to Europe's new era of understanding, the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community. Six members are the founders of the ECSC including eternal rivals France and Germany, as well as the three Benelux countries and Italy. The United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Greece, Portugal and Spain joined through 1982 increasing the number of members to 12. Today's European Union features 28 members. I think that the European Union's enlargement and the creation of a common market with free movement of goods, services and people (Schengen) were the three obvious moves that the European Commission's establishment in Brussels had to approach perhaps and obviously setting the ground for the establishment and the adoption of a common currency as suggested by Columbia University Nobel Prize winning economist Robert Mundell who in 1961 wrote his seminal paper "A Theory of Optimum Currency Areas." The 1990s were a buoyant decade for the European Union. Under the leadership of former European Commission Presidents Jacques Delors, Jacques Santer and Romano Prodi and the participation in their respective cabinets of super star Commissioners such as Javier Solana, expansion increased from 12 to 15 members and the extremely sophisticated work which enabled the launch of the Eurozone was accomplished. It was a time when the European countries were unable to agree upon an exit strategy which would conclude the Balkan Wars in the former Yugoslavia. It was a time of strong leadership featuring Presidents and Prime Ministers who were respected throughout such as François Miterrand, Helmut Kohl, Margaret Thatcher and perhaps Felipe González. Europe's troika has lost its essence ever since. The Euro physical coins and notes were finally introduced in January-2002. I think that even Euroskeptics from Britain must respect the work done by Brussels in the introduction of the supranational currency. Today's Eurozone comprises 18 countries out of the European Union's 28 members. Technicalities and the economic and financial crisis which has particularly hit Europe's south have aggravated the doubts about the common currency and divided the European Union's along two axis. In February 2005 Spain was the first country under Premier José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero which in a public referendum voted in support of the European Constitution. Later in 2005 France and the Netherlands rejected the European Constitution also in public referenda. The economic union was moving forward. The democratic union was not. The constitutional crisis sank Jean Monnet's United States of Europe in a trap. The Euro crisis has only contributed to aggravating the evils. Everyone on European soil must be proud of what has been accomplished since the signature of the Treaty of Paris was completed in 1951. Most Europeans were born in the aftermath of World War II. A handful lived through it, perhaps even fought or dwelt a concentration camp. Europeans who have lived in different countries are well aware of the cultural differences which still exist today. Nationalism within nation-states as in Spain or the United Kingdom is only a consequence of Europe's diversity and of the myriad of ethnicities which share a continent. Differences must and shall not disappear, but diversity must not stop us from moving forward with integration. But not only Europe is diverse. The World is a diverse and diversity ought to be an asset and not a liability. Millions of University graduates in Europe have spent one year abroad through the Erasmus Program which fosters exchange of students between Universities across countries in Europe. I could also spend my fourth college year in Paris and my sixth college year in Stuttgart. Most Erasmus students in their early twenties think that Europe is a fraternity. Youth is of course wonderful. Differences only emerge as we grow adults. It is then when the Germans look down on the French, the French look down on the Spaniards, the Spaniards look down on the Portuguese, who in addition look down on the former colonies of Angola and Mozambique. Few will actually reckon the relative truth which hides in my words. Religion continues to divide Europeans. Let me be blunt. There is a first and second breach among Christians. The first breach fosters a division between Protestants and Catholics. The second breach fosters a division between Catholics and Orthodox. Then there is a third breach between all Christians and Muslims. It is important to understand the rationale behind the three breaches and in what manner they feed the current Ice Age in Europe. The European Union and the Eurozone are divided today along two axes. Northern Europe is protestant. Southern Europe -including the PIIGS and therefore Ireland- is catholic. Protestants grow at full employment. Their spreads over public debt are below average. Catholics stagnate with unemployment above the 10% mark. Their spreads over public debt are above average putting extraordinary pressure on public debt levels which are already soaring at one hundred percent of gross domestic product. Protestants look down on Catholics. Then there is Greece where most Christians are orthodox. Of course nobody in the PIIGS countries acknowledges to be like Greece even though they are - I think that Portugal and Spain are closer to Greece than to Ireland or Italy. Then the whole of Europe's Christians look down on Muslims, even though it is not politically correct to admit it. Many are afraid of Muslims living in Northern Africa and Turkey. The three religious breaches contribute to Europe's division. In this scenario Turkey will never join. Anyhow Turkish no longer care about joining the European Union, the euphoria is gone. Now there is the nation-state and the former Empires, whether Portugal, Spain, France or more recently Britain. One still breathes the Empire's grandeur when visiting Paris and London. I have lived three years in Paris and one in London. Britons and French's sense of security and moreover their arrogance is fed by a former grandeur which was perhaps well deserved then. Grandeur is earned not inherited. So France still thinks she is ruling French speaking Africa and Britain still thinks she's running the British Empire through its Commonwealth of Nations. So Spain still thinks she's influential in Latin America and Portugal still thinks she's influential in Brazil. In this environment of course each country must continue to maintain its Ministry of Foreign Affairs with its numerous embassies, consulates and diplomats. The European Union duplicates the national networks of embassies through its External Action Service commanded by Catherine Ashton. Duplicity and redundancy and therefore inefficiencies shall perpetuate in a European Union unable to set a more ambitious path towards total integration. Then there is the Germany's regrettable way of approaching leadership in Europe. Germany has historically shown that she is unable to expand and subsequently manage an Empire. Germany tried to do it in World War I and World War II without success. The country has succeeded at doing it in the present European Union through the imposition of its economic Third Reich, a truly economic empire. The Euro is for many the new Deutsche Mark and half of the Eurozone is now lagging behind due to Germany's lack of compassion and its imposition of strict and straight economic justice. I think that there is no future for the European Union if Europeans do not move beyond their fears once and for all. First we have the cultural fears that divide the Germans and the French, the Spaniards and the Portuguese, the Britons and the Continental Europeans, then religious breaches that divide where the Romans once built an Empire prior to the emergence of Christianity and Islam. Finally the technical reasons must be dealt with. The fact of the matter is that today's debate and strategy is almost exclusively technical. The technocrats in Brussels are increasingly perceived far, remote and unknown, as the technocrats at the World Bank and more specifically at the International Monetary Fund are perceived in many developing countries. I think that there is no future for the European Union if the youth do not embrace the ideals, the passion, the romanticism of one hundred years ago when many were willing to risk their lives to defend an ideal. Of course the ideal was perhaps ill one hundred years back. Today there is simply no drive to fight for ideals. The youth in Europe have oftentimes embraced new values and attitudes of tolerance. Many are laid back and liberal in the social sense. But consumerism, narcissism and the search for the immediately pleasure have become the only priorities ahead. Many University graduates believe their diplomas shall grant them secure jobs and comfortable lifestyles. That was true in the 1960s and 1970s. China and the emerging BRICs are now changing the rules of the game. At 38 years old I see the two generation-divide, Europe's Berlin Wall: an elder generation with fuel and no ideals, a younger generation with no fuel full of ideals. Americans are ahead of the game with extraordinary initiatives such as the Peace Corps and of course the Armed Forces of which I am no big fan but which nonetheless enrol thousands of voluntary men and women in uniform every year to fight and defend an ideal of freedom and democracy. Nothing alike of continental scope has been put together by our elites in Europe who I think are fundamentally concerned with economic growth and business profits. I lead a global initiative that is trying to embrace Universal values from the very beginning as a de facto pre-condition for take-off, incorporating and embracing cultural and religious differences, in order to discuss technicalities on a much more even playing field. We are setting up teams in every country and territory. I think that we will be able to design a common future for The European Union if we embrace diversity, change attitude and allow efficiencies to enter the equation. Europe's new name might then be Euphoria.
A Muslim person has no hope of winning the presidency in Lebanon due to a requirement that the executive leader be a member of the Maronite Christian Church. Such a rule might seem extreme from the perspective of religious freedom, but Lebanon is not alone. Thirty countries, or roughly 15 percent of the world's nations, require their heads of state to follow a particular religion, according to a new Pew Research analysis. These include both monarchies and republics, 17 Muslim countries, two Christian, two Buddhist and one Pancasila (the political philosophy of Indonesia.) The remaining eight prohibit clergy from running for office. Several of the countries, including Iran, Saudia Arabia, Syria and Afghanistan, also made the State Department's 2012 report on international religious freedom as some of the worst perpetrators of religious oppression. In Saudia Arabia for instance, not only is the president's religion restricted, but any public practice of a religion other than Islam is prohibited. Pew also notes that 19 additional countries require a particular religious affiliation for ceremonial monarchs, including 16 countries that are part of the Commonwealth of Nations under Queen Elizabeth II -- who is referred to as the Defender of the Faith and belongs to the Church of England.