Tag Archives: Europe

Failed States, Part 1: Hopeless European Millennials And The Populist Takeover, by John Rubino

European’s younger people are discovering their future has already been borrowed and spent. From John Rubino at dollarcollapse.com:

Europe is frequently held up as an example of how the rest of the world should behave on a variety of issues. But this comparison misses at least two things: First, “Europe” is actually a lot of different countries in a lot of different situations. Second, much of what seems to work over there only does so because it’s being financed with ever-increasing amounts of debt.

For countries, as for individuals, borrowing money is fun at first but beyond a certain point becomes debilitating, as interest payments begin to crowd out everything else. That’s where a growing number of Europe’s failed states now find themselves, with overly-generous pensions and overly-restrictive labor laws making it virtually impossible to run a functioning market-based economy.

The result: Fewer good jobs and more frustrated voters – especially young ones who have seen only the downside of the current system – and the resulting rise of populist political parties that recognize the problems without offering coherent solutions, thus guaranteeing even more chaos in the future.

As Today’s Wall Street Journal notes, in Italy and Greece, nearly a third of young adults not only aren’t working but aren’t enrolled in school or training. What are they doing? Apparently just sitting around and stewing about life’s injustice.

European unemployment failed states

As for where they’re sitting and stewing, in Greece, Italy and Spain it’s now normal for adults all the way into their 30s to live with their parents, largely because they can’t find work that pays enough to afford a house, car and other requirements of independent life.

Europeans living with parents failed states

Not surprisingly, they’re also failing to attract mates — because who wants to marry an unemployed 30-year-old who lives with his or her parents?

Italian marriages failed states

To continue reading: Failed States, Part 1: Hopeless European Millennials And The Populist Takeover

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Is Europe Too Brainwashed To Normalize Relations With Russia? by Paul Craig Roberts

Europe is perhaps not too brainwashed, but probably too cowed by the US. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

Judging from statements made by G-7 leaders at the recent meeting, President Trump’s application of US sanctions to Europe and disregard of European interests, just as Washington dismisses every country’s interests except Israel’s, has not caused Europeans to disassociate from Washington’s hostility to Russia.

The prime minister of England said that the G7 “agreed to stand ready to take further restrictive measures against Russia if necessary.” The American puppet in France, Macron, falsely accused Russia, the only country trying to enforce the Minsk agreement, of violating the Minsk agreement. The French president also falsely accused Russia of invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea, despite the fact that Russian forces have been present in Crimea for years under a 50-year lease that provides Crimea as a Russian naval base. As the French president surely knows, all Russia did was to accept an unanimous vote of Crimeans to return to Russia. Crimea had been a part of Russia for three centuries, longer than the existence of the US, before it was illegally transferred to Ukraine.

The G7 politicians accused Putin of “destabilizing behavior,” of “undermining democratic systems,” and of “supporting Syria.”

Europe remains subservient to Washington despite everything Trump has done to humiliate Washington’s European vassals.

Putin’s response to what he called “creative babbling” was that Europe should get to work with Russia working out their common interest.

There are common interests, and Putin sees them, but, as the G7 statements make clear, the G7 sees only a Russian enemy.

From the West’s standpoint Putin is a problem because of his insistance on Russian sovereignty. When the West accuses Russia of “destabilizing behavior,” the West is saying that it is Russia’s independence that is destabilizing Washington’s world order. Russia is regarded as a destabilizing entity, because Putin does not accept Washington’s hegemony. Putin cannot overcome this attitude toward Russia with concessions and reasonable behavior. It could be a mortal delusion for Russia to believe that soft words can turn away the wrath of spurned hegemony.

To continue reading: Is Europe Too Brainwashed To Normalize Relations With Russia?

Behind Trump’s Exasperation, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Trump asks why America so often gets the short end of the stick, and American and European elites have conniptions. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

At the G-7 summit in Canada, President Donald Trump described America as “the piggy bank that everybody is robbing.”

After he left Quebec, his director of Trade and Industrial Policy, Peter Navarro, added a few parting words for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

“There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door. … And that’s … what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did. And that comes right from Air Force One.”

In Singapore, Trump tweeted more about that piggy bank.

“Why should I, as President of the United States, allow countries to continue to make Massive Trade Surpluses, as they have for decades … (while) the U.S. pays close to the entire cost of NATO-protecting many of these same countries that rip us off on Trade?”

To understand what drives Trump, and explains his exasperation and anger, these remarks are a good place to begin.

Our elites see America as an “indispensable nation,” the premier world power whose ordained duty it is to defend democracy, stand up to dictators and aggressors, and uphold a liberal world order.

They see U.S. wealth and power as splendid tools that fate has given them to shape the future of the planet.

Trump sees America as a nation being milked by allies who free ride on our defense effort, as they engage in trade practices that prosper their own peoples at America’s expense.

Where our elites live to play masters of the universe, Trump sees a world laughing behind America’s back, while allies exploit our magnanimity and idealism for their own national ends.

The numbers are impossible to refute and hard to explain.

Last year, the EU had a $151 billion trade surplus with the U.S. China ran a $376 billion trade surplus with the U.S., the largest in history. The world sold us $796 billion more in goods than we sold to the world.

A nation that spends more than it takes in from taxes, and consumes more of the world’s goods than it produces itself for export, year in and year out, is a nation on the way down.

To continue reading: Behind Trump’s Exasperation

Why the Eurozone and the Euro Are Both Doomed, by Charles Hugh Smith

One currency cannot serve nations with diametrically opposed economic goals. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Papering over the structural imbalances in the Eurozone with endless bailouts will not resolve the fundamental asymmetries.

Beneath the permanent whatever it takes “rescue” by the European Central Bank (ECB) lie fundamental asymmetries that doom the euro, the joint currency that has been the centerpiece of European unity since its introduction in 1999.

The key imbalance is between export powerhouse Germany, which generates huge trade surpluses, and its trading partners, which run large trade and budget deficits, particularly Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.

Those outside of Europe may be surprised to learn that Germany’s exports are roughly equal to those of China ($1.2 trillion), even though Germany’s population of 82 million is a mere 6% of China’s 1.3 billion. Germany and China are the world’s top exporters, while the U.S. trails as a distant third.

Germany’s emphasis on exports places it in the so-called mercantilist camp, countries that depend heavily on exports for their growth and profits. Other (nonoil-exporting) nations that routinely generate large trade surpluses include China, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and the Netherlands.

While Germany’s exports rose an astonishing 65% from 2000 to 2008, its domestic demand flatlined near zero. Without strong export growth, Germany’s economy would have been at a standstill. The Netherlands is also a big exporter (trade surplus of $33 billion) even though its population is relatively tiny, at only 16 million.

The “consumer” countries, on the other hand, run large current-account (trade) deficits and large government deficits. Italy, for instance, has a $55 billion trade deficit and a budget deficit of about $110 billion. Total public debt is a whopping 115.2% of GDP.

Spain, with about half the population of Germany, has a $69 billion annual trade deficit and a staggering $151 billion budget deficit. Fully 23% of the government’s budget is borrowed.

To continue reading: Why the Eurozone and the Euro Are Both Doomed

What Is America’s Cause in the World Today? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Do the rationales offered by the military and government officials who decide when and how the US will go to war, and embraced by the public, particularly those who lose loved ones, stand up to scrutiny and analysis?

In Memoriam, SLL, 5/28/18

Pat Buchanan asks the same question. From Buchanan at buchanan.org:

After being sworn in for a fourth term, Vladimir Putin departed the Kremlin for Annunciation Cathedral to receive the televised blessing of Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The patriarch and his priests in sacred vestments surrounded Putin, who, standing alone, made the sign of the cross.

Meanwhile, sacred vestments from the Sistine Chapel were being transported by the Vatican to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to adorn half-clad models in a sexy show billed as “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” One model sported a papal tiara.

The show proved a sensation in secular media.

In Minsk, Belarus, on May 17, to celebrate International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Britain’s embassy raised the rainbow flag. Belarus’s Ministry of Internal Affairs was not amused:

“Same-sex relationships are a fake. And the essence of fake is always the same — the devaluation of truth. The LGBT community and all this struggle for ‘their rights,’ and the day of the community itself, are just a fake!”

Belarus is declaring moral truth — to Great Britain.

What is going on? A scholarly study sums it up: “The statistical trends in religion show two separate Europes: the West is undergoing a process of secularization while the post-socialist East, de-secularization.”

One Europe is turning back to God; the other is turning its back on God.

And when Vladimir Putin and Belarus’ Alexander Lukashenko are standing up for traditional values against Western cultural elites, the East-West struggle has lost its moral clarity.

And, so, what do we Americans stand for now? What is our cause in the world today?

In World War II, Americans had no doubt they were in the right against Nazism and a militaristic Japan that had attacked us at Pearl Harbor.

In the Cold War, we believed America was on God’s side against the evil ideology of Marxism-Leninism, which declared the Communist state supreme and that there was no such thing as God-given rights.

To continue reading: What Is America’s Cause in the World Today?

Sanctioning the World, the US Inadvertently ‘Locks & Launches’ Multipolarism, by Alastair Crooke

As the US tries to browbeat the world, many countries are deciding they know longer want to play in the American playpen. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

The commemorative medal had already been cast and published. It depicts profiles of Trump and Jong Un, facing each other, at the 12th June historic meeting – at which Jong Un was supposed to disavow and discard his nuclear armament, irreversibly, and then to accept Trump’s gracious benediction. The meeting now is moot (and, since drafting, has been cancelled, blindsiding both Moon and Abe), leaving in its wake, a frustrated and angry Trump. And, as we prefigured earlier, instead of realising that Team Trump had not been listening adequately to what Jong Un was signalling, Trump now blames Xi for upsetting ‘the deal’ from being struck.

China’s Global Times makes the point:

“The US unilaterally demands prompt peninsular denuclearization before it provides compensation to Pyongyang. China will not oppose such a deal between the US and North Korea. However, can Washington achieve it? Pyongyang has just given an answer … It would be OK if Washington pressures Pyongyang to gain an edge in negotiations, but Washington should think twice about the possibility of pushing the Korean Peninsula back to fierce antagonism.

It is clear from China’s perspective that the US has overestimated its weight in forcing North Korea to accept its demands. The US has forgotten the awkward situation it was in last year when it could not stop North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, and the difficulty of taking military action against North Korea.

The US has always believed it was duped by North Korea, which is, in fact, far from correct. The US was responsible for the aborted peninsula resolutions, multiple times.”

Irritated too, by harsh comments made by ‘trade hawks’ on the lack of tangible result in trade negotiations with China (Steve Bannon, for example, told Bloomberg that Trump “changed the dynamic regarding China – but in one weekend, Secretary Mnuchin has given it away”), Trump now seems to be set to pivot towards a tougher China trade stance, saying that the talks had not achieved much, and that a new framework might be needed.

To continue reading: Sanctioning the World, the US Inadvertently ‘Locks & Launches’ Multipolarism

Who Needs Enemies? by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Will the Europeans go along with Iran sanctions or not? From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

Obviously, there are tensions between Europe and the US. Just as obviously, these tensions are blamed on, who else, Donald Trump. European Council President Donald Tusk recently said: “With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?” EU Commission chair Jean-Claude Juncker even proclaimed that “Europe must take America’s place as global leader”.

These European ‘leaders’ love the big words. They think they make them look good, strong. In reality, they are merely messenger boys for Berlin and Paris. Who have infinitely more say than Brussels. Problem is, Berlin and Paris are not united at all. Macron wants more Europe, especially in finance, but Merkel knows she can’t sell that at home.

So what are those big words worth when the whip comes down? It’s amusing to see how different people reach wholly different conclusions about that. Instructive and entertaining. First, Alex Gorka at The Strategic Culture Foundation, who likes the big words too: “..a landmark event that will go down in history as the day Europe united to openly defy the US.”and “May 17 is the day the revolt started and there is no going back. Europe has said goodbye to trans-Atlantic unity. It looks like it has had enough.

 

Brussels Rises In Revolt Against Washington: A Turning Point In US-European Relations

The May 16-17 EU-Western Balkans summit did address the problems of integration, but it was eclipsed by another issue. The meeting turned out to be a landmark event that will go down in history as the day Europe united to openly defy the US. The EU will neither review the Iran nuclear deal (JPCOA) nor join the sanctions against Tehran that have been reintroduced and even intensified by America.

Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the JPCOA was the last straw, forcing the collapse of Western unity. The Europeans found themselves up against a wall. There is no point in discussing further integration or any other matter if the EU cannot protect its own members. But now it can.

[..] As European Council President Donald Tusk put it, “With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?” According to him, the US president has “rid Europe of all illusions.” Mr. Tusk wants Europe to “stick to our guns” against new US policies. Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the EU Commission, believes that “Europe must take America’s place as global leader” because Washington has turned its back on its allies.

To continue reading: Who Needs Enemies?