WikiLeaks has once again exposed how supranational organizations create artificial crises in an effort to advance the Western corporate-political elites geostrategic goals, as revealed in the transcript of a teleconference, which took place on March 19, 2016, between top International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials.
The striking conversation reveals IMF officials imply that the threat of an imminent financial disaster was necessary to force other stakeholders into accepting the IMF’s “measures” such as cutting Greek pensions and working conditions. However, a June 23 referendum will essentially freeze European decision-making at an extremely critical moment – potentially risking greater political destabilization, but also giving the organization greater leverage. Continue reading →
Billboard for António Costa, leader of the PS. Photo by El-Kelaa-des-Sraghna (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
On October 4, Portugal had a general election. The results were mixed, with the center-right Forward Portugal alliance (PAF) winning the most seats, but losing its actual majority in parliament. The majority of the seats were won by left of center parties, the largest of which is the Socialists (PS) followed by the Left Bloc (BE) and Communist (PCP) parties.
Thursday night, President Anibal Cavaco Silva said that he would not allow a coalition of the PS, BE and PCP to form a government, arguing that it was too risky to let the Left Bloc or Communists come close to power. He said:
“In 40 years of democracy, no government in Portugal has ever depended on the support of anti-European forces, that is to say forces that campaigned to abrogate the Lisbon Treaty, the Fiscal Compact, the Growth and Stability Pact, as well as to dismantle monetary union and take Portugal out of the euro, in addition to wanting the dissolution of NATO.
“This is the worst moment for a radical change to the foundations of our democracy.”Continue reading →
Austrian foreign minister meets Serbian finance minister and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić. Wikicommons. Some rights reserved.
By the very end of the twentieth century, in the late 1980s, Joseph Nye coined the term ’soft power’. Little did we know that he had hit an ontological political jackpot. Oculus tauri.Nye wrote that ’the dictionary tells us that power means an ability to do things and control others, to get others to do what they otherwise would not’, giving the very definition of power as it is, an almost proverbial potestas per se. Traditionally, power was seen as brute force, an almost strictly military instance. ’Today, however, the definition of power is losing its emphasis on military force and conquest that marked earlier eras’, he wrote. ’Soft power lies in the ability to attract and persuade’.
No matter how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise, today’s Europe (and much of the rest of the world) is a willing slave to the Right-Wing’s soft power. This power is so strong that it has persuaded us that the Right Wing is not even Right-Wing. Until it becomes ’extreme’, such as the case of Viktor Orbán. Soft power is the Right-Wing’s bread and butter. And it works. Continue reading →
Alexis Tsipras at the Subversive Festival in Zagreb, 2013. Photo by Robert Crc (Subversive festival media) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons
In a move that came as a surprise to many, sources have toldReuters that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will announce Thursday that he will ‘step down’ from his post as soon as this evening and that new elections for control of the government will be held next month.
“The aim is to hold elections on Sept. 20,” the government official reportedly said after Tsipras met with senior party officials and ministers to discuss the government’s next move.
Though a call for snap elections was ultimately expected, many assumed they would not be held until after a confidence vote in Parliament. Tsipras’ preemptive resignation was not widely foreseen, though the ruling government is compelled to give over power once the election is officially announced. Media outlets report that Tsipras will address the nation tonight to make his resignation official and make clear his reasons for doing so. Continue reading →
European Union flag. Photo public domain via Wikimedia Commons
The Brussels summit of July 11 and 12 was undoubtedly one of the darkest moments in the EU’s more recent history. The new agreement between Athens and its creditors within in the Eurozone has rightly been called ‘Europe’s insane deal with Greece’.
Everybody knows that the new agreement can’t work and including the Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras, who said as much on television. Everybody knows that this is only one more hopeless attempt to kick the can down the road. Most experts who have ever given any thought to the matter know that for Greece to survive within the Eurozone and to regain some amount of economic stability and prosperity, it needs not only a radical haircut which reduces its national debt to a sustainable level – let us say 60-70% of GDP from about 180 % now – but also permanent financial support not in the form of so called loans but as direct financial transfers.
For the next 10 to 15 years or – more likely – indefinitely, the country would probably need at least 20 billion euros per annum to survive. Would such transfers be affordable for the rest of the Eurozone? In theory the answer is yes, in particular if one reminds oneself that the EU is spending a lot of money on fanciful projects such as paying vast subsidies to farmers so that they can ruin their competitors in Africa or South America, by selling their products below the normal market price.
Then why did the Northern countries – a group which in this case includes Belgium and Slovakia – resist a solution along such lines so fiercely? The problem is that paying permanent subsidies to Greece would only be the thin end of the wedge. At least that is what is widely assumed in The Hague, Helsinki, Bratislava and Berlin and probably in Antwerp as well where the Flemish look back on their own history of fiscal transfers to a region which does not pull its weight in economic terms. Continue reading →
Alexis Tsipras. Photo by Joanna (Flickr: Επίσκεψη Αλέξη Τσίπρα στην Κομοτηνή) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Relations between Greece and Europe are at key turning point. Between Friday 19 June and Monday afternoon, 22 June, when the European Council meets in an unexpected summit, four things may happen. An agreement, a temporary compromise, a break-up between Athens and Brussels, or a deepening of the crisis.
The first possibility – the most desirable – is an agreement based on the proposal of the Greek leader Alexis Tsipras: end austerity, release the 7.2 bn.euros of planned European aid, start a radical debt restructuring. But even the most pliable EU leader, Jean-Claude Juncker, said on Friday: “I do not understand Tsipras” and “I have warned Mr. Tsipras many times he shouldn’t depend on me being able to prevent a failure of the talks”. This is not exactly the way you would prepare an agreement.
The second possibility is that the talks this weekend will lead to an intermediate compromise: an agreement to drag along the talks, with bridging EU funds for repaying the 1.6 bn. euros owed to the IMF at the end of June. In the meantime, on Friday ECB’s Mario Draghi has provided 2 bn. euros in emergency liquidity assistance to Greek banks where the massive capital flight of past months has left no liquidity. Continue reading →
Two days ago, Greece held national elections. The anti-austerity Syriza party was the big winner, coming up two seats short of an absolute majority in the Greek parliament – they won 149 out of 300 seats. But, what does this actually mean for Greece going forward? First, we have to understand how Greece got to where it is today.