Tag Archives: Francois Hollande

EUROPE CHANGES WHILE US PRE-OCCUPIED

British Prime Minister Theresa May, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet at the German Chancellery in Berlin, Germany November 18, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
British Prime Minister Theresa May,  Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet at the German Chancellery in Berlin, Germany November 18, 2016.       REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

When newspapers around the world reported that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand had been assassinated in Sarajevo, nobody would have thought it would lead to the First World War, the worst war in history.  The subsequent war started in the Balkans, a part of Europe that frequently saw conflict; it didn’t seem anything to worry about.

25 years later, another world war followed on from the first, again started in Europe.

You would think that, consequently, the world would want to know what’s happening in Europe!   But the mention of Europe is likely to see wide-mouthed yawns in an audience – Europe is a continent of the past, not the future; a quaint place to visit but of no relevance.

However, Europe is a continent that is unraveling as old rivalries rise to the surface.   The end result could be a Europe that is very different from what we see now.

What we are witnessing is the return of nationalism, the root cause of both world wars.   Right now, we are in the dark, just as the world was the morning after the Archduke’s assassination.   Another seemingly insignificant event could lead directly to global conflict, just as the assassination did over a century ago.

After six decades of the European Union and its predecessor, Europeans are turning against the idea of “an ever closer union.” Now, they want to put their own country first.   It started in the United Kingdom with the Brexit vote.   Outside of Europe, the Americans voted earlier this month to put “America First.”   Austrians seem likely to elect their “far right” candidate to the presidency on December 4th.   If he wins, he has promised to dissolve parliament and to hold a vote on whether or not the country should stay in the EU.   A referendum in Italy on the same day could also have a profound effect on other countries in Europe.

However, the biggest two upcoming elections will be in France in May and Germany four months later.

France just had its primaries for the center-right party, resulting in the selection of Francois Fillon as their presidential candidate. He will run against the leader of the Socialist Party.   It’s not likely that their candidate will be the current socialist president, Francois Hollande, as his approval rating is down to only 4%.   A third party candidate, Marine LePen, of the National Front, could beat the two establishment figures.   Ms. LePen is against both the EU and immigration, two popular positions that could give her victory.

Elections next year in France and Germany may see a continuation of the trend toward nationalist parties.

Brexit has already led continental Europeans to move ahead with a European Army, independent of NATO.   This has been talked about for some time, amid growing concerns about Russia and Islamic terrorism.   Donald Trump’s victory in the US led, hours later, to a German call to quickly move forward – without Britain this is now possible.   It’s also the case that, until the UK actually exits the EU, it will have to help pay for the combined military force.

Europe and America differ on Russia, even more so now that Trump will be president.   Note the following from The Orange County Register, November 25th.

“Russian and American interests in Europe do not align.   Although both powers do share the general goal of preventing Islamic terror networks from spiraling out of control, Russia’s tacit support for some acts of terrorism, through its close relationship with state sponsors of militant jihad, is well known.   The truth is that Putin’s regime wants instability in Europe, by hook or by crook, so as to replace U.S. dominance on the continent.” (“High-stake Russian relations”)

The editorial continues:   “And the reality is that Putin is well on his way to getting it.   NATO allies like Turkey, Bulgaria and Hungary have joined in a clear pendulum swing away from Western liberalism.   At the same time, reactionary parties on the ascent aim to shake off the political bonds economically forged by the international institutions that give the US its influential stake in European affairs.   Few in Europe wish to become satellites of Moscow.   But few realize that, absent a robust American role in Europe, there is no European force powerful enough to keep its patchwork of small states from slipping into Russia’s shadow.

“Were the US capable of defending a persuasive liberal agenda abroad, friendlier European relations toward Russia wouldn’t necessarily be cause for such profound alarm.   But today, America’s leadership – like public opinion – is divided and unsure about just how much support free trade and international agreements deserve. Without clarity and confidence, even a little resurgence in traditionally pro-Russian sentiment in Europe could trigger a stampede away from the kind of American influence that has helped build and maintain security and order on the continent for generations.

“Is that a price America’s pro-Russian right and left are willing to bear?   Whatever Trump’s actual preference around Russian relations may be, he is well advised to take into account the answer to that question.   Nothing can ruin a presidential legacy like losing Europe.” (The last sentence was italicized by myself for emphasis.)

Five days earlier, another editorial in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette addressed European issues:

“President Obama spent Thursday and part of Friday in Germany, underlining the importance of the relationship with Chancellor Angela Merkel and, particularly, their personal rapport.   With Obama’s imminent disappearance from the world stage, the transition to a Donald Trump administration is creating international disquiet, as world leaders prepare for the unknown.   The German chancellor is arguably the most important figure of stability in international politics . . .   They met in Berlin, increasingly the capital of Europe, although Brussels still hosts the headquarters of both the European Union and NATO, British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Francois Hollande and Spanish Prime Minister Maariano Rajoy all traveled to Berlin for their farewell-as-president meeting with Obama.”

Continuing:   “Germany is the economic and, thus, probably, the political center of Europe, an ironic epilogue to its loss of two major wars in the last century.”  (“Obama’s last key European stop.”  Italics mine)

Put these two articles together and what you have is this:

Europe is increasingly likely to break away from America; and Germany is the leader of Europe.

But . . . not yet!

The Economist magazine’s Charlemagne column adds that Germany and its Chancellor Angela Merkel “are still too hesitant to be able to lead the free world” (“Iron Waffler,” Charlemagne, November 19th):

“Now, after an election campaign in which Mr. Trump trashed immigrants, vowed to rewrite trade deals and threatened to withdraw America’s security guarantee, the West’s indispensable nation appears to have dispensed with itself.   Desperate for a candidate to accept the mantle of leader of the free world, some alighted on Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor.”

Yet Mrs. Merkel’s options are limited.   “We are protected by our terrible history,” says Joschka Fisher, a former foreign minister.   “You cannot say, ‘Make Germany Great Again’.”

Times are changing – and further changes are likely as a result of Donald Trump’s victory in the US.   “The Westbindung (Western integration), a staple of German foreign policy since Adenauer, is fraying as extremist parties on the left and right cozy up to Russia.”

Konrad Adenauer was Germany’s first chancellor after the formation of the Federal Republic in 1949, four years after Adolf Hitler.   Germany’s foreign policy since then has been firmly rooted in both NATO and the EU.   Extremist parties in the country threaten this and could destroy this policy after next year’s election.

“Germany’s stake in the global liberal order is immense.  Its export-led economic model relies on robust international trade; its political identity is inexorably linked to a strong EU; its westward orientation assumes a friendly and engaged America.   All of these things may now be in jeopardy, and Germany would suffer more than most from their demise.   But do not look to Mrs. Merkel to save them, for she cannot do so alone.”

A different chancellor, a stronger chancellor, perhaps with more extremist views of either left or right, could make a huge difference in the 2017 general election.

It’s very difficult to predict what will happen in the next twelve months in Germany or other European nations, but the continent is going through a peaceful turmoil that could see radical changes in the months ahead.

The biblical books of Daniel and Revelation both wrote of the Roman Empire and successive attempts to revive the empire down through the ages.  In 1922 Mussolini proclaimed a revived Roman Empire; in 1957, the Treaty of Rome was signed to lay the groundwork for another attempt at European Union.   A final group of European nations will soon come together, with Germany as its leader.   Bible students have expected this for years — now the world’s media sees Berlin as the new European capital and Germany as the driving force behind the world’s biggest single economic grouping.

 

Does any reader have 60,000 frequent flyer miles they are not likely to use?  I would like to go over to Europe to research and write on developments on the continent.

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ISTANBUL TERROR ATTACK SHOWS WEAKNESS!

 

Secretary of State John Kerry
Secretary of State John Kerry

Now I understand!

After the latest terror attack on Istanbul airport and a death toll that’s already 41, with over 200 injured, US Secretary of State John Kerry, says that the increase in the number of terrorist attacks represents “weakness” on the part of ISIS – sorry, ISIL (we shouldn’t mention Syria, the Administration’s biggest single foreign policy failure!).

Just last week, the Administration tried to remove all references to Islam, the Quran and the IS leader, in an attempt to water down the Orlando attack.

A short video I saw yesterday showed a journalist interviewing youngish (18-34) people on the streets of Brooklyn, asking them who was behind the Orlando shootings.  Not one thought the attack had anything to do with Islam; blame was placed on the Republicans! It seems to me that the US is singularly incapable of dealing with the greatest security threat to the West since World War II.

The month of Ramadan still has some time to go, so expect more terror attacks.   It’s just their way of celebrating holy days!

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BERLIN – NOW EUROPE’S IMPERIAL CAPITAL

“One thing is certain:   Britain’s departure from the European Union will not make the union more democratic.   The hierarchical structure of its supranational institutions will want to reinforce itself:  Like all dying ideologies, the union knows only how to forge blindly ahead.   The roles are already cast — Germany will lead the way, and France will obligingly tag along.

Here is a sign:   President François Hollande of France, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy and acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain take their lead directly from Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, without running through Brussels.   A quip attributed to Henry Kissinger, “Who do I call if I want to call Europe?” now has a clear answer:   Call Berlin.”

(Marine LePen,   “After Brexit, the People’s Spring is inevitable.  NY Times, 28th June.”)

Nietzsche, German philosopher: “The German is an expert on secret paths to chaos.” 

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NONE DARE CALL IT TREASON

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, never misses an opportunity to push for Scotland to break away from the United Kingdom.

She’s on the continent today talking to EU officials about keeping her country in the EU.   62% of Scots voted to “Remain” in the EU.   If something can be worked out with the EU, Scotland could remain in the organization, while England would be outside of it.   This could only happen with a break-up of the United Kingdom.

Ms. Sturgeon’s scheming with EU leaders would have been treason not so long ago!

Prior to the two kingdoms uniting under one king, back in 1603, Scotland posed a major security threat to England.   Remember Mary, Queen of Scots?

The worst-case scenario following Brexit is that Scotland and Northern Ireland will leave the United Kingdom and remain in the European Union, with Berlin as its new de facto capital.

Can you imagine what this would have meant for Winston Churchill in World War II?

Long-term this development could be a major security concern for England.

Perhaps a future John Kerry type British Foreign Secretary could put a positive spin on this.   No doubt a Scottish death-blow to the United Kingdom is really a good thing!

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TRUMP AND BREXIT

Donald Trump has been very supportive of Britain’s Brexit vote, promising a speedy trade deal with the UK (or what’s left of the UK) if he becomes president.   He is hoping Americans will vote the same way in November – to reject globalization and internationalism and “make America great again.”

This could be very interesting – the two English-speaking powers lined up against the EU globalist socialists.

The European Union has even gone so far as to stop the use of English in meetings.   This will, in effect, make their meetings more secretive as foreign languages have never been a strong point of the Anglo-Saxons!

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LONDON BANS SWIMSUIT ADS

Another threat posed to England comes from the new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim to hold the post.   Twenty years ago it wouldn’t have mattered as the role was ceremonial.   Then, the law was changed to make London and other major metropolitan centers, more like New York and other US cities, granting the Mayor an executive role.

Mr. Sadiq’s first decision was to ban ads showing women in swimsuits on British Transport, including the London Underground.

No vote was taken on this.  It’s a clear case of Mr. Sadiq forcing his Islamic beliefs on non-Muslims.

He would also like to take London out of the United Kingdom so that it can continue its association with the European Union.

What a mess!   No wonder David Cameron has quit.

Syndicated anti-Trump columnist Kathleen Parker observed:   “His resignation essentially marked the death of the establishment and a rebirth of people who have risen in protest of a world they refuse to accept” (“Brexit – meet Trexit – Trump’s political rise”  (LSJ, 6/28).

The two recent prime ministers who have contributed most to this mess are Mr. Cameron and Tony Blair.   It was Mr. Blair who let Scotland have its own parliament, laying the groundwork for the latest attempt to break away.   Then David Cameron called the referendum.

We should not, however, forget Edward Heath, who was PM from 1970-74.  He’s the one who took the kingdom into Europe, one of the biggest mistakes the country ever made.  IMO.

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NOT EVEN A GOOD METHODIST

Pressured by Donald Trump, Mrs. Clinton declared a few days ago that she is a Methodist.

The United Methodist Church in America came out last month against abortion, a decision that is not binding on members.   The majority of delegates, however, felt strongly enough on the issue to make a statement.   Since 1973 the church had been supportive of Roe vs Wade.

Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, is pro-abortion.   Even more so than the average person as she believes abortion should be available in the third trimester.

This is murder – the murder of innocent children.

It’s hard for me to understand how anybody calling themselves “Christian” can support abortion.   The Bible tells us that children are a blessing.   They are not an inconvenience, which is what abortion is all about.

Psalm 127:3 says:   “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALCOHOL, EUROPE AND THE ECONOMY

Hollande and Iranian Pres

The British and French governments seem to belatedly be realizing the threat from Islamization.

When the French president Francois Hollande entertained the visiting Iranian president last week, an official luncheon had been arranged to welcome the visitor and his entourage.  But then the Iranians objected to wine being served at the meal.  London or Washington would have simply switched to non-alcoholic grape juice, but not the French.  The very idea of a meal without wine was unthinkable, so they promptly cancelled the lunch.

Good for them!

Across the English Channel, the Palace of Westminster, home to the Houses of Parliament, is in need of some urgent repair.  While the building is being renovated, parliament will meet in another hall. This hall is owned by a group with Islamic connections and will not allow alcohol in the building.   Parliamentarians are used to having ten bars to choose from in their own hall.  They will now have no alcohol for a few months!

Perhaps a dry spell might help them focus better on the threat from growing Islamic influence.

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Meanwhile, consumption of alcohol must be up across America as people follow (or don’t follow) the US presidential election.   It’s a means of escape.

Our bank manager dismisses all the candidates as being “useless.”   His point is that not one of them offers a solution to the problem of the $19 trillion national debt – which, of course, threatens the very existence of the country.

It’s a world record.  Never before in history has any country owed so much.   It cannot go on.

We are in unchartered territory, as no nation has ever been in this great a fiscal mess.

Since I wrote this segment, plans have been revealed for $4.1 trillion more to be spent, in a record budget by the Obama Administration. This will include a major allocation for cyber-security, seen as the single biggest threat to the United States.

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I’m writing this on Tuesday afternoon while watching “Dumbo,” the Disney classic about a flying elephant.

I should add that Diane and I are watching two of our grandchildren. This is their favorite movie.  They are both three years old.

When I finish, I could switch over to one of the news channels and see the latest from New Hampshire, where primaries are being held today.

But I think I will stick with escapism.

The grandchildren will be asking for “Little Einsteins” next.

It’s going to take an Einstein to make even a dent in the problems that confront us.

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We watched “The Big Short” on Saturday night.  The movie is a factual account of how the housing bubble burst a few years ago.   It’s engrossing on one level, unbelievable really.  However, I should warn you, it contains a great deal of bad language.

Sunday we were able to watch “Murder of a President,” a 2-hour PBS “American Experience” documentary, about the assassination of President John Garfield in 1881.  His assassin was, at least, delusional and may have been paranoid schizophrenic.  But it wasn’t the assassination as such that killed the president.  It was mistakes by his doctors and one doctor in particular.   Medical science has certainly come a long way since Garfield’s death.  Back then, they did not even know the importance of cleanliness!

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It turns out that $750 million in Obamacare subsidies went to illegal aliens last year.  That partly explains why the IRS has just presented me with a $6,500 tax bill, mostly for Obamacare.   I’m still reeling from the shock and may require medical care, but can’t afford it thanks to the bill for Obamacare!

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That’s not to say it’s better elsewhere.

The former Greek finance minister today warned that Europe is going through a depression.   Yanis Varoufakis warns in The Independent that Europe is sliding back into the 1930’s and a new political movement is needed.    He is launching the “Democracy in Europe Movement 2025” (DiEM25 for short).   He says that Europe is run by a cartel, not by its people, even though European countries are all democracies.

The self-described “erratic Marxist” says he wants to remove power from an unaccountable, authoritarian elite and distribute it fairly to the continent’s citizens.” (The Independent).

Americans will recognize this as similar to the arguments made by people like Bernie Sanders.  They have a point when they say that 1% owns 99% of all wealth.  From what Mr. Varoufakis is saying it’s no different in Europe.

It’s clearly time for a new economic system as the current one is increasingly failing people.  As things are predicted to deteriorate this year, calls for change are only going to increase.

Citizens of the US and UK should be thankful.   Mr. Varoufakis holds them up as a model of financial success compared to other western nations.

I’m not so sure about that.  We may be better off than most, but we certainly can’t be complacent.

Unfortunately, both Mr. Varoufakis and the prime minister he served under, Alexis Tsipras, are avowed atheists, influenced more by Karl Marx than anything in scripture.  But they should take a look at Leviticus, chapter 25, and specifically at the Year of Jubilee.  Only the cancellation of all debt will help revive the world economy.

Hopefully, all debts will be cancelled before I have to pay the IRS!

Back to “Dumbo” and some sanity……..   Maybe I should also have a beer, but it doesn’t seem right while watching “Dumbo.”  Come to think of it, Dumbo drank alcohol when he fell into a barrel of it – that’s why he saw all those pink elephants!  A beer it is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

GERMANY OVERHAULING DEFENSE STRATEGY TO COUNTER RUSSIAN THREATS

GDM von der Leyen

The Ukrainian situation is having a profound effect on Europe.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen is promising to overhaul defense strategy in response to Russian aggression against the government and people of Ukraine.   The Russians have been using “power politics and military force,” to get their own way.

The latest deal, Minsk 2, brokered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with the aid of French President Francois Hollande, failed to end the fighting.   It’s clear who is the major problem – yesterday, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, was warning Ukraine to pull its forces out of yet another of the country’s cities, so that Russian rebels can take over.   There’s ample proof these rebels include Russian professional soldiers.   This is a blatant attack by Russia on the sovereignty of one of its neighbors.

Not content with being the biggest country in the world, the Russians clearly want more territory.   It may even be that Moscow is intent on taking back all the territories of the former Soviet Union. The fall of the USSR in 1991 was once described by Mr. Putin as the greatest disaster of the twentieth century.

It’s less than seven years since Russian troops invaded Georgia in support of ethnic Russians living there.   Less than a year ago, the Crimea was annexed.   Now eastern Ukraine is seriously threatened. Other countries on Russia’s borders now face the same prospect, as the western alliance is proven impotent in the face of Moscow’s aggression.

Watch for dramatic changes ahead in Europe.   As the US shuts down military bases in Europe to focus on needs elsewhere in the world, only one western European country has the capacity to fill America’s shoes.   That country is Germany.   The German Defense Minister sees clearly the need for Germany to reassert itself in the face of Russian threats from the east.

 

 

GERMANY’S GROWING DIPLOMATIC CLOUT

Merkel Putin Hollande

Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is in Washington today to discuss the Ukrainian situation with President Obama.   Just three days ago, she was in Moscow with French President Francois Hollande to put forward suggestions for peace with Russian President Vladimir Putin.   The previous day the two leaders were in Kiev for discussions with the Ukrainian president.

The American Administration and members of Congress have been talking about sending more arms to the Ukrainian government to help it defeat Russian-speaking rebels in the east of the country. Although Russia denies it, it’s fairly certain that Russian troops are actively helping the rebels.   Germany and France are concerned to avoid an escalation of the conflict.   The French president warned of the prospect of “total war.”

Interestingly, the US was not present at the meetings in Kiev and Moscow.   Now, Mrs. Merkel is visiting Washington to update the US president on the discussions, which have been described as the last hope for a peaceful resolution of the situation.   It is clear that there are differences between the US and Europe on this issue.   How great a rift remains to be seen.

President Putin has until Wednesday to decide on the proposed peace deal.

Meanwhile, discussions continue between Germany and Greece following the Greek election.   The new, governing, Syriza party is not only refusing to repay loans made to the country, it is even undoing what the previous government tried to do to restore the country’s economic health.   The new prime minister is promising to restore thousands of jobs to civil servants who were previously laid off in order to balance the budget.   With Greece pursuing a reckless course, it’s difficult to see how the country can remain within the eurozone.

The prime minister seems set on a deliberate confrontational course, even demanding German reparations for invading Greece in World War II.   On a visit to Germany, he even threatened the country with the specter of a revival of Nazism in Greece if the country is pushed too far, reminding the Germans that they know all about that.

So, at a time when European unity is threatened, total war is also a serious possibility.   Germany is clearly in the driving seat at a challenging time for the continent of Europe.