What an appropriate time to resume this website publishing opinion and analysis. After an enforced absence due to personal reasons and some overseas family commitments, being in Australia in March 2018 sees the world in absolute turmoil. In fact the context of drift and uncertainty with foreign policy generally, US domestic policy, European cohesion (& lack of democracy), Britain and its Brexit challenge, plus the chaos/farce to which Australian politics has descended, demands as many voices as possible and not just the tired Old Media which has presided over this with hardly even calling out the changes.
AUSTRALIA is in political and economic chaos, a commodities-dependent nation which, with the agreement of the dominant political class, willingly sabotaged its cheap energy riches; the limitless supplies of coal (also close to or as the biggest export for years), gas and uranium. From a virtual two-party monopoly for over 80 years with the left and conservatives once sharing over 85% of the (compulsory) vote between them, now sees them struggling to reach 35% in either case. Greens and other minor/micro parties plus tempoirary “independent” causes taking the rest. With a Senate modelled on that of the USA, but with a proportional representation voting system, is in virtual permanent gridlock, with the small groupings holding governing parties to ransom over pet (& often rent-seeking) causes.
The UNITED STATES, one year post-Obama is still hung over on his administration; Obama loyalists and a huge proportion of the US media can’t cope with his replacement by Donald Trump.
At the end of the Obama era, the middle east was (and is) still dealing with the aftermath of Obama policies in the region. Those policies, which had resulted in major changes, including ominous side effects, ones of leaving Russia with much more power in the region, more than it ever had since expulsion from Egypt by President Sadat in 1974. Due to Obama weakness in policy across the whole middle east, including eager fostering of the unfortunately-named Arab Spring of early 1911, Iran was left the increasingly dominant regional power, to the alarm of erstwhile Arab friends of the west in the region. With Russia as its ally, Iran quickly filled the vacuum left when Obama pulled US forces from Iraq in 2011. By the US deserting Iraq in 2011 and through US weakness in Syria, Iran was an invaluable savior for both regimes and has aided Russia in dominating the two countries.
Other changes resulted from the Obama foreign policy in Europe, allowing Russia a much freer hand. As soon as he got into power Obama reversed Bush-era plans for defensive US missile shields in Poland and the Czech republic and later his failed Hillary Clinton “Reset” and the Obama “give me more flexibility after the election” to the Putin stand-in Medvedev in 2012 seemed to set the tone. There is a lot more detail showing the weakening of all American foreign policy in Europe and the middle east during the Obama term, culminating in the notorious Iran nuclear deal. There is so much to be covered on that, its side focus to avoid conflicts with Iran on other (drug) fronts, the fragile position of Israel during Obama’s term including much money being spent on siding with one party in opposition to PM Netanyahu.
Domestically, the Obama era was of historic low-growth, with recovery from the global financial crisis slower than in any recovery since the Great Depression. Obama started with a filibuster-proof Congress but in his first 2 years carried only Obamacare of note. From the time of the Tea Party rise on the basis of the Obama administration’s spending, controversy was obvious, culminating with his first mid-terms in 2010 where The Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives and, until his leaving power in early 2017 they never again had a majority there. In his post-2010 era of using a “phone and a pen” instead, Obama empowered his Environmental Protection Agency to emasculate the coal and coal-fired power industry, paid billions to subsidise green energy etc and the IRS cooperated with the FBI to target Tea Party-affiliated groups and ,many other conservative groups to deny them tax-free status, demanded to know their donor’s names etc. It is appropriate that many of these issues will be recalled as the history of the “Obama Era” is laid out over time
With Donald TRUMP, as we now seem to know from what has been discovered since his inauguration of Donald Trump, the FBI was hopelessly compromised at the highest levels before and after the election date of November 8 2016. Doubts about the actual roles of the leadership of both the CIA and the National Security Agency have been raised also.
Since the demise of Obama, Trump has been subject to domestic obstruction by Democrats at incredible levels and nothing has been seen in living memory of such a combined politician/media/ political class revolt against a president elected by the people of the United States.
An important part of this website going forward will concentrate on the United States and the Trump administration, the massive Democratic/media backlash and even the highly-unusual Republican “establishment”/Never Trumper attacks plus alliances with Democrats against Trump.
EUROPE is in trouble, the EU is broken at present, worried sick about Brexit and the possibility of Britain’s leaving being the catalyst for the breakup of an endangered Union. It had survived the self-inflicted crisis involving Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain (the PIIGS nations), particularly Greece and Italy, by using all its undemocratic power to bear on Greece and Italy, forcing the Greeks to suffer and pay out all the money lent to it from German and French banks, money shoveled at them when Germany was getting rich on the back of exports to the cheap-money states (PIIGS).
The EU seems split between the de facto “rulers”, Germany & France and the rest of those who make up the EU itself. While most of the countries’ Europe bureaucrats seem to be rallying around the unelected European Council rulers in their efforts to bring Britain and others countries to heel, the fear of the people in many of the EU countries is palpable, plebiscites treated as hostile.
Now, by Angela Merkel having demonstrated the flaw in the supposed “union”, ie that Germany actually runs it and the others are mere vassal states to it, she invited a huge amount of supposed refugees from the middle east and Africa. When over a million arrived within a year, Germany exposed to the world her dominance of all other nations in the EU by attempting to force unwilling nations to take quotas of her invited “refugees”. Many of the states didn’t want to and four, the now-rebel Visegrád nations, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, resisted and are resisting the EU dictats on sharing German-directed immigration quotas. Far more needs to be said on that and Brexit but it can be dealt with later.
In all this, BRITAIN is split internally too. The Brexit vote to leave the EU was strongly carried in a voluntary vote at record levels in June 2016, with many working class areas strongly in favour, as were areas of Wales and elsewhere in England, but London, Scotland and Northern Ireland were against leaving. Not content with carrying out the voter’s wish, the vested interests in Britain have never stopped trying to overturn the original vote and denying the will of the people. The EU has also played its (usual) part, never accepting any such thing as an internal “people’s vote” on anything which the EU rulers deem necessary for their own good. Far more is yet to be done on this in Britain and between it and the EU, but it seems obvious from March, 2018 that direct opposition to Brexit against the will of the people is alive and well.
In summary, this is just a tip of the iceberg for all of us. The world is so interconnected that nothing happening any of these areas of conflict and human affairs can be isolated in it’s effects from anywhere else. I have yet to even hint at China and the rest of Asia. Being from Australia and China bearing such a large influence with and over Australia, that can wait until other web pages are published.Follow