Tag Archives: Europe

The Brexit Battle Shows Democracy Is Only Allowed When the Regime Likes the Outcome, by Ryan McMaken

Some might argue that democracy where only approved outcomes are allowed isn’t really democracy. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court ruled “illegal” a parliamentary tactic used by PM Boris Johnson to ensure Brexit would be carried out on October 31, more than six months after Brexit was supposed to take effect.

While the court wasn’t ruling on Brexit, per se, the context of the situation makes it clear the ruling is really just the latest move from the UK’s political class designed to postpone Brexit yet again.

Given the history of EU-related referenda in Europe, we can already guess how the situation will play out. British voters will either be asked to vote again on Brexit — so that this time, they can get it “right” — or the Brexit agreement will be constructed in such a way that Brexit will be a British exit in name only.

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De-Dollarization: Europe Joins the Party, by Ronald-Peter Stöferle

De-dollarization will be a slow, incremental process, unless some sort of crisis hastens it along. From Ronald-Peter Stöferle at mises.org:

The ongoing “World War of Currencies”, as the German journalist Daniel D. Eckert called it, the battle for the future of the world monetary system is not a shallow action film but more like Game of Thrones – a complex series with hundreds of actors and locations, stretching over decades and demanding full concentration from the viewer.

The bottom line is that what has been true for decades still applies. The US dollar continues to enjoy the confidence of markets, governments, and central banks. But faith in the US dollar weakens a little every year. Europe, China, Russia and many small countries set new initiatives every year to make themselves independent. And gold, too, plays a major role in this slow departure from the US dollar. But for the world financial system, none of their currencies offer a viable, fully-fledged alternative to the US dollar yet, which is why any news of the death of the US dollar is definitely exaggerated.

Europe’s Small Uprising

Since the Greek crisis of 2012, the American media have often given the impression that the EU and the euro have already broken up or are about to break up. This is not the case. Twenty years after its creation in 1999, the euro area is larger than ever. Of course, nothing is perfect in the EU. The debt problems of the southern states have hardly improved. The structure of the euro zone itself is also often criticized and described as being in need of renovation.

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Europe’s full-blown Stockholm Syndrome in face of US bullying, by Finian Cunningham

Europe needs to rediscover its gumption. From Finian Cunningham at rt.com:

Europe’s full-blown Stockholm Syndrome in face of US bullying
The psychological condition known as Stockholm Syndrome, in which hostages irrationally sympathize with their captors, could well be applied to European leaders when it comes to US bullying.

The US has always been the dominant –and domineering– party in the transatlantic relationship. But past administrations in Washington have been careful to indulge European states as “partners” in a seemingly mutual alliance.

Under President Donald Trump, the Europeans are pushed around and hectored in a way that shows their true status as mere vassals to Washington.

Take the Nord Stream 2 project. The 1,220-kilometer-long undersea pipeline, which will significantly increase delivery of gas to Europe, is due to be completed by year’s end. The new supply stands to benefit the European Union’s economy, in particular Germany’s, by providing cheaper energy fuel to drive businesses and heat homes.

Yet last week, US Senator Ted Cruz threatened that his country “has the ability to halt” the entire project being completed. Cruz is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which in July passed a bill that will impose sanctions on companies involved in the construction of the pipeline. Germany, Austria, France and Britain are part of the building consortium, along with Russia’s Gazprom.

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Have Environmentalists Killed More Europeans Than Islamic Terrorists Did? by Sultan Knish

For some environmentalists, air conditioning is a mortal offense to nature and must be discouraged or banned. Unfortunately, when things get very hot, some people without it. From Daniel Greenfield at sultanknish.blogspot.com:

“Do Americans Need Air-Conditioning?” a New York Times piece asked in July. Air conditioning, it argued, is bad for the environment and makes us less human. It ran quotes suggesting that, “first world discomfort is a learned behavior”, and urging “a certain degree of self-imposed suffering”.

If environmentalists ruled the world, air conditioning wouldn’t exist. And there’s a place like that.

90% of American households have air conditioning. As do 86% of South Koreans, 82% of Australians, 60% of Chinese, 16% of Brazilians and Mexicans, 9% of Indonesians and less than 5% of Europeans.

A higher percentage of Indian households have air conditioning than their former British colonial rulers.

Temperatures in Paris hit 108.6 degrees. Desperate Frenchmen dived into the fountains of the City of Lights with their clothes on. Parisian authorities announced that they were deploying heat wave management plan orange, level three, which meant setting up foggers in public parks and distributing heat wave kits. The kits consist of leaflets telling people to go to libraries which have air conditioning.

France24, the country’s state-owned television network, advised people suffering from temperatures rising as high as 110 degrees to take cold showers and stick their feet in saucepans of cold water.

A 2003 heat wave killed 15,000 people in France. And, in response, the authorities have deployed Chalex, a database of vulnerable people who will get a call offering them cooling advice.

The advice consists of taking cold showers and sticking their feet in saucepans of cold water.

Desperate Frenchmen trying to get into any body of water they can have led to a 30% rise in drownings. The dozens of people dead are casualties of the environmentalist hatred of air conditioners.

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The Great Switch: The Geo-Politics of Looming Recession, by Alastair Crooke

The US is switching roles from the world’s policeman towards unilaterally pursuing its own interests. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

Is the prospect of looming global recession merely an economic matter, to be discussed within the framework of the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 – which is to say, whether or not, the Central Bankers have wasted their available tools to manage it? Or, is there a wider pattern of geo-political markers that may be deduced ahead of its arrival?

Fortunately, we have some help. Adam Tooze is a prize-winning British historian, now at Columbia University, whose histories of WWII (The Wages of Destruction) – and of WWI (The Deluge) tell a story of 100 years of spiraling; ‘pass-the-parcel’ global debt; of recession (some ideologically impregnated) , and of export trade models, all of which have shaped our geo-politics. These are the same variables, of course, which happen to be very much in play today.

Tooze’s books describe the primary pattern of linked and repeating events over the two wars – yet there are other insights to be found within the primary pattern: How modes of politics were affected; how the idea of ‘empire’ metamorphosed; and how debt accumulations triggered profound shifts.

But first, as Tooze notes, the ‘pattern’ starts with Woodrow Wilson’s observation in 1916, that “Britain has the earth, and Germany wants it”. Well, actually it was also about British élite fear of rivals (i.e. Germany arising), and the fear of Britain’s élites of appearing weak. Today, it is about the American élite fearing similarly, about China, and fearing a putative Eurasian ‘empire’.

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Germany Stalls and Europe Craters, by Alastair Crooke

Will Europe lead the world into an economic depression? From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

The influential economic commentator on Europe, Ambrose Pritchard Evans, writes:

“German industry is in the deepest slump since the global financial crisis, and threatens to push Europe’s powerhouse economy into full-blown recession. The darkening outlook is forcing the European Central Bank to contemplate ever more perilous measures.

“The influential Ifo Institute in Munich said its business climate indicator for manufacturing went into “free fall” in July, as the delayed damage from global trade conflict takes its toll and confidence wilts. It goes far beyond the woes of the car industry. More than 80pc of Germany’s factories are in outright contraction.”

Why? What is going on here? It seems that, though other European member-states used to be Germany’s largest market, Germany’s first and third largest export destinations are now the US and China, respectively. Together, they account for more than 15% of all outbound German trade activity. More than 18% of Germany’s export goods ended up somewhere in Asia. Therefore, Germany’s industrial struggles in 2019 point the finger in the direction of its external focus, which means the US, China, and Asia – i.e. its largest marginal trade partners. And the principal assailants in today’s trade and tech wars.

Clemens Fuest, the Ifo president, says: “All the problems are coming together: It’s China, it’s increasing protectionism across the board, it’s disruption to global supply chains”.

But if Germany’s manufacturing woes were not sufficient in and of themselves, then combined with the threat of trade war with Trump, the prospect indeed is bleak for Europe: And the likelihood is that any of that ECB stimulus – promised for this autumn, as Mario Draghi warns that the European picture is getting “worse and worse” – will be very likely to meet with an angry response from Trump – castigated as blatant currency manipulation by the EU and its ECB. EU Relations with Washington seem set to sour (in more ways than one).

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Europe is Dying on a Cross of Gold, by Tom Luongo

Are investors and speculators edging towards the exits on Europe? From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

Gold is calling out the insanity of the European Union. It is also calling out the insanity of the global economy. But really it’s all about the euro at this point.

Since breaking through the post-Brexit high of $1375 per ounce, gold has pushed higher. Yes, it’s been volatile. Yes, the forces of control keep trying to stuff gold back inside the box, as it were.

And they keep failing.

Last week’s price action was impressive, even if the close was less than stellar. In the world of financial commentary everyone is looking for proximate causes for spikes and dips.

But most of that is simply noise. I don’t care why gold touched $1450 last week, only that it did.

Because a bull market that shakes off a number of big intra-week corrections to then blast to a new near-term high is a healthy one; one climbing the proverbial wall of worry.

And what’s important here is that this is not an anti-dollar trade. It is an anti-euro one. The U.S. Dollar Index has fully shaken off all attempts by the Fed to talk it down, trading at 97.6, and threatening a back-to-back monthly reversal at 97.8.

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