Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Mondiale, Unione Europea

Summit di Varna. Erdogan, Juncker e Tusk.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-03-26.

2018-03-26__Varna__001

«Varna (in bulgaro: Варна?), conosciuta anche come “la perla del mar Nero”,[2] è la terza città della Bulgaria, dopo la capitale Sofia e Plovdiv. La città, posta nella parte orientale del Paese, è il capoluogo del distretto di Varna e un importante porto sul mar Nero, vicino al lago Varnesko (di Varna).

La città venne ribattezzata Stalin in onore della guida dell’Unione Sovietica per un breve periodo dal 1949 al 1956.»  [Fonte]

Varna ha un retaggio storico di tutto rispetto. Fondata nel 280 a.C. come colonia commerciale, conobbe splendore sotto l’impero romano. Fu aspramente combattuta tra bizantini e turki, finche con il 1393 divenne definitivamente colonia ottomana. Lì, nel 1444, i turki inflissero ai crociati di Ladislao III di Polonia una severa sconfitta, indispensabile per consentire quindi la conquista turka di Costantinopoli. Quattro secoli dopo i russi la conquistarono dopo un lungo e sanguinoso assedio.

*

Varna è la sede ideale per un summit tra la Turkia e l’Unione Europea.

Mr Juncker e Mr Tusk sono da poco reduci da un accordo economico con le Filippine.

Kontrordine Kompagni. Per la EU adesso Mr Duterte è un fior di galantuomo.

Questo importante trattato commerciale ha preso corpo dopo un lungo tempo di reciproche diffidenze e di visioni di vita contrastanti al limite dell’opposto, il tutto gridato con toni da battaglia e con parole grevi.

Al di là del contenuto economico, il trattato con le Filippine inaugura un nuovo clima di Realpolitik nella dirigenza dell’Unione Europea, e ciò lascerebbe sperare altrettanto buon senso nella gestione dei rapporti con la Turkia.

La posta in gioco è davvero alta ed i problemi quanto mai sfaccettati.

Volenti o nolenti, la Turkia rappresenta il lato sud dello schieramento Nato: quindi a Varna saranno convitati di pietra gli alleati dell’Unione Europea ed anche i comandi militari. Presenza discreta, ovviamente, ma di tutto rispetto. Come fare a non starli a sentire?

Poi ci sono pesanti problemi economici, che vanno dallo sfruttamento dei giacimenti energetici del Mediterraneo orientale all’interscambio commerciale.

Ma su tutto dominerà il problema dello schieramento della Turkia, che non è detto debba sempre restare filo occidentale. Non ci si dimentichi neppure come i turki abbiano una consistente presenza di loro immigrati in Germania: presenza alquanto scomoda per la Bundeskanzlerin Frau Merkel. M anche presenza che potrebbe diventare non più a lungo desiderata.

Poi c’è la lotta per i visti, una ragionevole regolamentazione del flusso di profughi dal Medio Oriente e l’assetto politico e militare dello stesso. Altri concitati di pietra saranno Mr Trump da una parte e Mr Putin dall’altra. Discretissimi, quasi ectoplasmi invisibili, ma ambedue con la mano ben pesante.

*

A ben vedere, tutta la bagarre sul colpo di stato è solo una cortina fumogena dietro la quale poter manovrare.

Nota.

Nessuno si faccia illusioni: ma proprio nessuna.

Una cosa è arringare le folle con paroloni roboanti, ed un’altra totalmente differente il sedersi alla scrivania del primo ministro di una delle nazioni più consistenti economicamente, incardinata nella Nato, membro dell’Unione Europea con voto in seno al Consiglio Europeo, membro delle Nazioni Unite, e con una industria quale l’Eni che ha interessi energetici a livello mondiale.

Sia il Presidente Mattarella sia i candidati premier ne tengono ben conto.


Aska. 2018-03-26. Ue-Turchia, oggi a Varna vertice Erdogan con Tusk e Juncker

Varna, 26 mar. (askanews) – Il presidente turco Recep Tayyip Erdogan incontrerà oggi a Varna, sul Mar Nero, i vertici delle istituzioni europee, il presidente dell’Unione Donald Tusk e quello della Commissione Jean-Claude Juncker. Nell’agenda dei colloqui diverse questioni spinose: in primis la richiesta di adesione di Ankara all’Ue, ma anche la repressione seguita al fallito colpo di stato in Turchia del luglio 2016 e la richiesta turca per una liberalizzazione dei visti. Il clima già teso fra i due blocchi si è ulteriormente deteriorato a seguito della recente disputa sulle perforazioni esplorative al largo di Cipro.

Il premier bulgaro Boyko Borisov, il cui Paese ha la presidenza del Consiglio europeo, ha detto di aspettarsi un “incontro molto difficile”.

Juncker ha detto di guardare “con sentimenti contrastanti al vertice, perché le differenze di vedute tra l’Ue e la Turchia sono molte”. Ma ha aggiunto di voler cercare “un dibattito franco e aperto con il Presidente Erdogan”.


Sole 24 Ore. 2018-03-26. La Ue deve fermare l’imperialismo di Erdogan senza subire il ricatto migranti

La partita si annuncia complicata e foriera di pericolose conseguenze in caso di fallimento del vertice di Varna oggi sul Mar Nero. Un dato sembra certo: la politica neo-imperialista regionale del presidente turco Tayyip Erdogan sembra non conoscere ostacoli di sorta: in Siria ha conquistato la roccaforte di Afrin costringendo alla fuga i curdi siriani del’Ypg fino ad oggi preziosi alleati sul terreno degli Usa contro l’Isis, lo Stato islamico che continua a insaguinare l’Europa con azioni terroristiche di lupi solitari; nell’Egeo la Turchia sperona navi greche su isolotti contesi nell’ex Dodecaneso italiano, detiene due soldati greci che hanno sconfinato via terra accusandoli di spionaggio e a Cipro un mese fa ha bloccato le perforazioni di gas della nave Saipem 12000 dell’Eni. Non solo.

La Turchia ha respinto il 23 marzo le velate critiche europee come “inaccettabili” arrivate dall’ultimo Consiglio dell’Unione europea a Bruxelles a Palazzo Lipsius che ha definito come “azioni illegali” le manovre navali di Ankara nel Mar Mediterraneo orientale nell’ambito di contenziosi con la Grecia del premier Alexis Tsipras e l’isola di Cipro del presidente Nikos Anastasiadis.

«Il comunicato Ue contiene dichiarazioni inaccettabili contro ill nostro Paese, al servizio degli interessi della Grecia e di Cipro» ha affermato senza mezzi termini il portavoce del ministero degli Esteri turco, Hami Aksoy. Il presidente del Consiglio europeo, il polacco Donald Tusk, e il capo della Commissione Ue, il lussemburghese Jean-Claude Juncker, incontreranno lunedì il presidente Erdogan nella città bulgara di Varna, visto che la Bulgaria è presidente di turno dell’Unione.

Una bella matassa intricata per la diplomazia di Sofia. Ankara lamenta che la Ue ha perso la sua neutralità sull contenzioso in corso con Cipro e Grecia dimenticando che sia Cipro che la Grecia sono membri a tutti gli effetti Ue, mentre Ankara ancora non lo è e forse non lo diventerà mai.

Inoltre Ankara lamenta e rivendica i pagamento della seconda tranche da 3 miliardi di euro dell’accordo firmato il 18 marz0 2016 in tutta fretta dalla cancelliera tedesca Angela Merkel con il presidente Erdogan per chiudere le frontiere e tenersi i profughi siriani in cambio di 6 miliardi di euro complessivi. In effetti la Turchia si è tenuta i profughi siriani che ora sono circa 3,8 milioni su una popolazione complessiva di 80 milioni di abitanti ma ora Ankara batte cassa e chiede la seconda tranche di 3 miliardi di euro perché reclama «pacta sunt servanda», i patti si rispettano.

Inoltre chiede di poter entrare nella Ue senza i visti. Ma la Ue è infastidita dalla politica neo-ottomana di Ankara nella regione e probabilmente chiederà il rispetto di tutti i patti compresi anche quelli che tutelano il diritto internazionale nelle acque cipriote e greche. Forse a Varna si comincerà a parlare finalmente di politica estera europea.

Annunci
Pubblicato in: Cina, Geopolitica Mondiale

Cina e Filippine. Sembrerebbe prospettarsi un accordo strategico.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-03-26.

Filippine 010

«Wang Qishan (Chinese: 王岐山; born 1 July 1948) is a Chinese politician, and the current Vice President of the People’s Republic of China, who is China’s eighth-ranked leader after Vice Premier Han Zheng and other Politburo Standing Committee members. [Fonte]

Dal 17 marzo 2018 Wang è il decimo vice presidente della Repubblica Popolare Cinese.

*

Cina e Filippine si affacciano sul Mare Cinese del Sud, una delle zone più contrastate al mondo, in questo momento.

I cinesi ne reclamano il completo dominio, e vi hanno costruito una buon numero di isole artificiali, rattamente trasformate in basi aereonavali sulle quali hanno impiantato ogni sorta possibile di armamenti. In pratica, il Mare Cinese del Sud, pur essendo formalmente acque internazionali, sono un lago interno della Cina. Fino a solo venti anni or sono quel mare era un lago americano: senza il suo controllo marittimo la guerra del Vietnam sarebbe stata impossibile.

Le Filippine, data la loro posizione geografica, potrebbero vantare analoghi diritti e, se ben appoggiate politicamente, economicamente e militarmente, potrebbero costituire una dolorosa spina nel fianco dei cinesi.

Infine, la Filippine governano un certo numero di importanti stretti che mettono in comunicazione il Mare Cinese del Sud con l’Oceano Pacifico. Anche in questo esse giocano un rilevante interesse strategico.

*

L’Occidente sembrerebbe aver preso le distanze dalle Filippine, ufficialmente per la politica anti droga del Presidente Duterte, nei fatti per la concreta impossibilità di difenderle militarmente.

Messe tra Cina e Stati Uniti, le Filippine sembrerebbero aver optato per la Cina.

Beijing and Manila in talks on joint projects in South China Sea

«Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano was in Beijing on Wednesday for talks on possible joint development projects in the South China Sea amid signs of an easing of tensions in the disputed waterway. ….

China and the Philippines have long tussled over islands and reefs in the South China Sea and since taking office in 2013, Xi has taken a hard line on issues of Chinese sovereignty.

Kicking off his second five-year term on Tuesday, Xi declared in a fervently nationalistic address to the ceremonial legislature that China would never cede “one inch” of its territory.

Cayetano said the two sides would discuss “broad areas of collaboration” ….

He said the territorial dispute would be discussed “in the context of how we can improve the situation”, and that the sides were trying to find a legal framework acceptable to both that would allow joint exploration even as they continued to disagree.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterto has pushed for closer relations with Beijing, downplaying the dispute over territory claimed by both sides and courting Chinese aid and investment. ….

to avoid frictions while operating in the area where an estimated US$5 trillion in international trade passes annually»

* * * * * * *

«Wang said China saw the country as a good neighbour, and that the two sides should view their relations from a “strategic and long-term perspective”.»

*

«But Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has since set aside the long-standing dispute and has instead been courting Beijing in exchange for billions of dollars in trade and investment.»

*

In sintesi finale.

Il Presidente Duterte sembrerebbe aver offerto alla Cina la chiusura del contenzioso, accettando di fatto che il Mare Cinese del Sud sia militarmente della Cina, ricavandone come contraccambio un incremento dell’interscambio economico e, soprattutto, di cospicui investimenti cinesi nelle Filippine.

Difficile dire se Mr Duterte abbia o meno avvisato la White House di quanto si accingeva a fare.


South China Morning Post. 2018-03-23. Wang Qishan calls for ‘strategic’ relations with Manila in diplomatic debut.

China’s new vice-president meets Philippine foreign secretary in Beijing.

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Xi Jinping’s trusted ally Wang Qishan made his diplomatic debut as vice-president on Friday, calling for a “strategic” approach to relations during a meeting with Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in Beijing.

It was his first meeting with a foreign dignitary since he returned to the political spotlight during China’s annual legislative sessions that finished on Tuesday. Lawmakers endorsed him as vice-president during the meetings, and controversially revised the constitution to remove term limits on the presidency and vice-presidency.

Wang’s meeting with Cateyano confirmed a South China Morning Post report that Wang, who is known for his “firefighting” skills and ability to handle tough tasks, will take charge of foreign relations.

The 69-year-old former anti-graft tsar stepped down from the powerful Politburo Standing Committee in October, in line with the Communist Party’s unwritten rule on the retirement age.

Analysts have said Wang was likely to play an important role in diplomacy, a departure from the usually ceremonial role of Chinese vice-presidents in the past.

Meeting the top Philippine diplomat on Friday, Wang said China saw the country as a good neighbour, and that the two sides should view their relations from a “strategic and long-term perspective”.

“We should comprehensively implement the consensus of our two countries’ presidents, step up communication between our senior officials, deepen our pragmatic cooperation, deal with our disagreements appropriately to enhance our friendship, and build a closer China-Asean community with a common destiny,” Wang was quoted as saying by state broadcaster CCTV.

The Philippines won a landmark case against China in 2016, when an international tribunal invalidated Beijing’s claim to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea.

But Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has since set aside the long-standing dispute and has instead been courting Beijing in exchange for billions of dollars in trade and investment.

Wang’s return to the top hierarchy comes as Beijing looks to shift gear on diplomacy to cope with a more hawkish US administration under President Donald Trump and also as Beijing is becoming more assertive.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Mondiale, Putin, Russia

La colpa è di Putin. Il delirio di persecuzione e del nemico.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2016-03-16.

2018-03-16__Russia__001

Da qualche anno è invalso in Occidente il vezzo di additare alla Russia ed a Mr Putin ogni qualsiasi cosa che abbia contrariando l’attuale dirigenza pro tempore.

Dare la colpa agli altri è solitamente un residuo di infantilismo.

A scuola il bambino ha preso un cattivo voto perché la maestra sarebbe indisposta nei suoi confronti, oppure perché i compagni lo disturbano.

Il nodo fondamentale è una cattiva percezione del reale ed un incapacità di fare revisione critica del proprio pensato ed operato.

Ma se questo aspetto fisiologicamente non passa entrando nella età adulta, allora tende ad assumere aspetti di patologia psichiatrica.

Per un tifoso la sconfitta della squadra del cuore sarà sempre colpa dell’arbitro.

Ma mica sempre ci si limita a situazioni che, tutto sommato, fanno sorridere.

*

Il disturbo delirante (MeSH D012563, eMedicine 292991, ICD-10 F00-F99) è tutt’altro che infrequente.

«In psichiatria, il disturbo delirante è una forma di delirio cronico basato su un sistema di credenze illusorie che il paziente crede vere (resistenti a ogni critica) e che ne alterano l’approccio con la realtà. Queste credenze sono in genere di tipo verosimile, come la convinzione di essere traditi dal proprio partner o di essere infettati da una malattia contagiosa. A parte l’incapacità di valutare oggettivamente il sistema di credenze illusorie che danno origine al delirio, il paziente mantiene le proprie facoltà razionali e in genere le sue capacità di relazione sociale non sono compromesse. Alcune forme di disturbo delirante (in particolare quelle basate su convinzioni a tema persecutorio, come la convinzione di essere spiati o di essere vittima di un complotto di qualche genere) vengono tradizionalmente indicate come casi di paranoia, termine che oggi è in disuso nella comunità scientifica internazionale.

Un disturbo delirante può essere basato su qualunque sistema di credenze erronee, ma alcune forme sono più frequenti di altre. I pazienti con disturbi di tipo erotomaniaco credono di essere segretamente amati da qualcuno; in alcuni casi il presunto amante è un personaggio famoso (sindrome di de Clerambault). Nei deliri di tipo megalomaniaco, il paziente è convinto di essere depositario di una capacità o di una conoscenza di grandissima importanza (per esempio, di avere una missione affidatagli direttamente da Dio). Nei deliri di tipo somatico il paziente è convinto di avere una deformità, una malattia o un altro difetto fisico grave, come un cattivo odore o parassiti. I deliri di tipo persecutorio (spesso genericamente indicati come paranoia) sono caratterizzati dal fatto che il paziente è convinto di essere vittima di un complotto o di una persecuzione (per esempio di essere spiato, di essere progressivamente avvelenato, o di trovarsi in procinto di essere assassinato).» [Fonte]

*

Ma non esiste limite al peggio.

Dal disturbo delirante a quello paranoide il passo è breve (MeSH D010260, MedlinePlus 000938)

«Il disturbo paranoide è un disturbo di personalità caratterizzato da diffidenza e sospettosità che spingono a interpretare le motivazioni degli altri sempre come malevole per la propria persona o per le persone a cui il paranoico vuole bene (figli, genitori, famigliari…). Gli individui che maturano questa struttura di personalità sono dominati in maniera rigida e pervasiva da pensieri fissi di persecuzione, timori di venir danneggiati, paura continua di subire un tradimento anche da persone amate, senza che però l’intensità di tali pensieri raggiunga caratteri deliranti. L'”esame di realtà” rimane, infatti, intatto.

Secondo la prospettiva psicodinamica, queste caratteristiche di personalità sono prevalentemente attribuibili ad un massiccio uso del meccanismo di difesa della proiezione, attraverso il quale le caratteristiche ritenute cattive appartenenti alla propria persona vengono attribuite, proiettate all’esterno, su altre persone, o sull’intero ambiente, che verrà così percepito come costantemente ostile e pericoloso per la sopravvivenza dell’individuo.» [Fonte]

*

Il quadro non trattato ha un decorso naturale che sfocia in una forma di schizofrenia.

L’assunzione di alcune sostanze stupefacenti o farmaci sembra causare o peggiorare i sintomi.

Sono altresì frequenti i casi di abuso di sostanze (riscontrabili in quasi il 50% dei pazienti)

Circa la metà di questi pazienti erano cocainomani. Un quadro particolareggiato è stato pubblicato da:

Buckley PF, Miller BJ, Lehrer DS, Castle DJ, Psychiatric comorbidities and schizophrenia, in Schizophr Bull, vol. 35, nº 2, marzo 2009, pp. 383–402, DOI:10.1093/schbul/sbn135, PMC 2659306, PMID 19011234.

* * * * * * *

Le poche persone che siano riuscite a leggere fino in fondo il Mein Kampf oppure i Discorsi di Lenin vi avranno immediatamente riconosciuto questi due personaggi.

Era stata fatta un’elaborazione religiosa del delirio, ove il presunto nemico, per uno l’Ebreo e per l’altro il Borghese, erano considerati alla stregua del male assoluto, di satana. Un male così malvagio e così potente che nulla sarebbe stato sufficientemente perverso per fermarli: tutto sarebbe stato giustificato e giustificabile pur di annientarli.

Come conseguenza sequenziale, del resto ovvia, questo delirio forniva anche la ragione necessaria e sufficiente alla proprie esistenza ed al proprio agire. Il nazionalsocialismo esisteva per controbattere l’Ebreo, il comunismo per contenere le brame capitaliste del borghese.

E nella mente di Hitler e di Lenin diventava naturale il considerarsi dei benefattori della umanità, alla stregua dei santi.

* * * * * * *

Il delirio schizofrenico ha il grande vantaggio di essere facilmente comunicabile, comprensibile nella sua essenza e, soprattutto, di essere auto assolutorio: la colpa sarà sempre degli “Ebrei” oppure dei “Borghesi“.

*

Se gli esempi storici del nazionalsocialismo e del comunismo dovrebbero essere auto evidenti lo stesso potrebbe essere riferito all’ideologia liberal ed a quella del socialismo ideologico.

Ambedue giustificano la propria esistenza additando un nemico: per loro non esistono avversari politici. Esistono solo nemici.

Come Hitler e come Lenin si reputano salvatori del’umanità, filantropi è il termine che usano a proposito ed a sproposito. E come questi due dittatori restano stupefatti del fatto che la gente non li ami.

Negli Usa Mr Trump e ciò che rappresenta ha preso il posto di “Ebrei” o “Borghesi“. In Europa questo ruolo è stato addossato ai “populisti“.

È evidente quanto questa costruzione sia scazontica, se ne rendono conto gli stessi liberal e socialisti.

Ecco quindi, quasi a voler far buon peso, l’aggiunta della Russia.

Sicuramente questa esiste e fa di tutto per esistere al meglio: perché poi non dovrebbe?

Altrettanto sicuramente il suo Presidente cura gli affari della federazione: perché un russo non dovrebbe fare gli interessi della Russia?

Che i russi nel tutelare i propri interessi non guardino il pelo nell’uovo sembrerebbe non essere una loro peculiare caratteristica: più o meno tutte le nazioni si difendono e difendono i loro interessi con ogni mezzo, ivi compresi quelli illegali, dall’omicidio al ricatto.

Ma di qui al demonizzarli sistematicamente ce ne passa molto.

Alla fine si arriva al ridicolo.

Il buon Stalin soleva dire:

«Dicano pure che sono crudele, ma non che io sia ridicolo».

* * * * * * *

L’ambasciatore russo in Vaticano: quel gas nervino e gli Usa.

Che cosa può dirci della crisi con il governo britannico dopo il tentato omicidio dell’ex spia russa Serghej Skripal e di sua figlia Yulia nel centro di Salisbury?

«La storia è davvero molto strana. Secondo la stampa inglese il gas era di fabbricazione sovietica. Beh, anche se supponiamo l’impossibile – se l’attentatore fosse russo sarebbe stato proprio stupido a usare un gas sovietico rendendo immediatamente palese da dove proviene l’autore. Questo gas speciale era prodotto da una fabbrica chimica militare in Uzbekistan. Questa fabbrica è stata controllata dagli americani che l’hanno chiusa e hanno verificato che tutta produzione venisse distrutta. Un altro particolare: l’autore della formula di questo gas è un grande chimico russo  [Vil Mirzanyanov] , immigrato negli Stati Uniti 26 anni fa, che per tutto questo tempo ha lavorato nei laboratori americani. In Inghilterra questa ex spia russa scambiata nove anni fa, era stata dimenticata. Ma una settimana prima dell’attentato, la televisione britannica ha trasmesso un film sulla sua storia. Poi c’è stato il tentato omicidio. Ancora, è molto strano che proprio nell’ospedale vicino dove Skripal e sua figlia sono stati ricoverati avessero un antidoto per il gas adoperato».

Pubblicato in: Geopolitica Militare, Geopolitica Mondiale, Putin, Russia

Kremlin. Putin. Direttive strategiche russe.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-01-31.

 Putin 1000

La strategia del Presidente Putin è stata delineata con puntigliosa cura nel Valdai Discussion Club Report.

Global revolt and global order. The revolutionary situation in condition of the world and what to do about it.

Valdai. Mr Putin delinea la futura politica estera russa.

La lettura di questi documenti è prolegomeno e parte integrante dell’articolo.

Dopo un’intervista rilasciata dal Presidente Putin alla Cnn un anno fa (Interview to NBC), riportiamo in extenso

Russia’s Changing Relations with the West: Prospects for a New Hybrid System.

reso pubblico il 19 di gennaio dal Russian International Affairs Council.

* * * * * * *

«And I will never forget that, just like I will never forget the state in which this country was in the early 1990s.»

*

«The Constitution of the United States and the electoral legislation are structured in such a way that more electors can vote for a candidate who is backed by fewer voters. And such situations do occur in the history of the United States. …. The other thing is that I am deeply convinced that no interference from the outside, in any country, even a small one, let alone in such a vast and great power as the United States, can influence the final outcome of the elections. It is not possible. Ever.»

*

«It does not sound like justification. It sounds like a statement of fact»

*

«Listen, his boss is the foreign minister. Do you think I have the time to talk to our ambassadors all over the world every day? This is nonsense»

*

«And virtually every person we have met on the street says what they respect about you is they feel that you have returned dignity to Russia, that you’ve returned Russia to a place of respect.»

* * * * * * *

«The common view in Moscow is that Trump had been overrated, that U.S.-Russian relations did not have a chance, that the Deep State is simply too powerful for any President to turn around, and that the U.S. establishment is genetically Russo-phobic»

*

Tutto il resto discende di logica conseguenza.


Kremlin. President of Russia. 2017-01-05. Interview to NBC

On the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Vladimir Putin answered questions from NBC anchor Megyn Kelly.

*

Megyn Kelly: President Putin, you have repeatedly and passionately denied that Russia was behind the interference with our American presidential election, including on stage at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

But as you know, the consensus view in the United States is that you did. That’s what the 17 intelligence agencies concluded and that’s what the Republicans and the Democrats on the Congressional oversight committees who have seen the classified report have said. Are they all lying?

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: They have been misled and they are not analysing the information in its entirety. I have not once seen any direct proof of Russia’s interference in the presidential election in the USA.

We have talked about it with former president Obama and with several other officials. No one ever showed me any direct evidence.

When we spoke with President Obama about that, you know, you should probably better ask him about it – I think he will tell you that he, too, is confident of it. But when he and I talked I saw that he, too, started having doubts. At any rate, that’s how I saw it.

I have already told you, and I can say it again, that today’s technology is such that the final address can be masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one will be able to understand the origin of that address. And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack.

Modern technology is very sophisticated and subtle and allows this to be done. And when we realize that we will get rid of all the illusions. That’s one thing. The other thing is that I am deeply convinced that no interference from the outside, in any country, even a small one, let alone in such a vast and great power as the United States, can influence the final outcome of the elections. It is not possible. Ever.

Megyn Kelly: But the other side says is it was only 70,000 votes that won Trump the election, and therefore influencing 70,000 people might not have been that hard.

Vladimir Putin: The Constitution of the United States and the electoral legislation are structured in such a way that more electors can vote for a candidate who is backed by fewer voters. And such situations do occur in the history of the United States. True, isn’t it?

Therefore, if we were to discuss some kind of political and social justice, then probably that electoral legislation needs to be changed and bring a situation where the head of state would be elected by direct secret ballot and so there will be direct tabulation of votes that can be easily monitored. That’s all there is to it. And there will be no need for those who have lost the elections to point fingers and blame their troubles on anybody.

Now, if we turn this page over, I will tell you something that you most likely know about. I don’t want to offend anyone, but the United States, everywhere, all over the world, is actively interfering in electoral campaigns in other countries. Is this really news to you?

Just talk to people but in such a way (to the extent it is possible for you) so as to convince them that you’re not going to make it public. Point your finger to any spot on the world’s map, everywhere you’ll hear complaints that American officials interfere in their political domestic processes.

Therefore, if someone, and I am not saying that it’s us (we did not interfere), if anybody does influence in some way or attempts to influence or somehow participates in these processes, then the United States has nothing to be offended by. Who is talking? Who is taking offense that we are interfering? You yourselves interfere all the time.

Megyn Kelly: That sounds like a justification.

Vladimir Putin: It does not sound like justification. It sounds like a statement of fact. Each action invites appropriate counteraction, but, again, we don’t need to do that because I did not tell you this without a reason, both you personally and other members of the media, recently I was in France and I said the same things.

Presidents come and go, and even parties come to and away from power. But the main policy tack does not change. So by and large we don’t care who will be at the helm in the United States. We have a rough idea of what is going to happen. And in this regard, even if we wanted to it wouldn’t make any sense for us to interfere.

Megyn Kelly: You had said for months that Russia had nothing to do with the interference of the American election, and then this week you floated the idea of patriotic hackers doing it. Why the change and why now?

Vladimir Putin: It’s just that the French journalists asked me about those hackers, and just like I told them, I can tell you, that hackers may be anywhere. They may be in Russia, in Asia, in America, in Latin America. There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can’t you imagine such a scenario? In the middle of an internal political fight, it was convenient for them, whatever the reason, to put out that information. And put it out they did. And, doing it, they made a reference to Russia. Can’t you imagine it happening? I can. Let us recall the assassination of President Kennedy.

There is a theory that Kennedy’s assassination was arranged by the United States special services. If this theory is correct, and one cannot rule it out, so what can be easier in today’s context, being able to rely on the entire technical capabilities available to special services than to organise some kind of attacks in the appropriate manner while making a reference to Russia in the process. Now, the candidate for the Democratic Party, is this candidate universally beloved in the United States? Was it such a popular person? That candidate, too, had political opponents and rivals.

Megyn Kelly: Let’s move on. A special counsel has been appointed to investigate contacts between your government and the Trump campaign. You have said that your ambassador Kislyak was just doing his job. Right? So, what exactly was discussed in those meetings?

Vladimir Putin: There were no sessions. You see, there were no sessions. When I saw that my jaw dropped.

Megyn Kelly: No meetings between Ambassador Kislyak and anybody from the Trump campaign?

Vladimir Putin: No clue. I am telling you honestly. I don’t know. That’s an ambassador’s every day, routine work. Do you think, an ambassador from any place in the world or from the US reports to me daily as to whom he meets with and what they discuss? It’s just absurd. Do you even understand what you are asking me?

Megyn Kelly: Well, you’re his boss.

Vladimir Putin: Listen, his boss is the foreign minister. Do you think I have the time to talk to our ambassadors all over the world every day? This is nonsense. Don’t you understand that this is just some kind of nonsense. I don’t even know with whom he met there. Had there been something out of the ordinary, something remarkable he of course would have advised the minister and the minister would have informed me. Nothing of that happened.

Megyn Kelly: Since it happened have you gone back to speak with the ambassador about what was in those discussions he had with Jared Kushner, with General Michael Flynn, with anybody else from the Trump campaign?

Vladimir Putin: No, I haven’t.

Megyn Kelly: Aren’t you interested?

Vladimir Putin: No. Because if there had been something meaningful he would have made a report to the minister, and the minister would have made a report to me. There weren’t even any reports. Just every day, routine work that doesn’t mean anything that may not even have any prospects.

It’s just that someone decided to find fault with it and, you know, select it as a line of attack against the current President. This isn’t for us to get into, these are your domestic political squabbles. So you deal with them. Nothing to talk about.

There was not even a specific discussion of sanctions or something else. I just find it amazing how you created a sensation where there wasn’t anything at all. And proceeded to turn that sensation into a tool for fighting the sitting president. You know, you’re just very resourceful people there, well done, probably your lives there are boring.

Megyn Kelly: I am sure you have heard by now that one of the things they are looking into is the fact that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, reportedly discussed with Ambassador Kislyak in December establishing a back channel for communications between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. And the suggestion was, by Mr Kushner, that they could do this at a Russian embassy or a Russian consulate. That they could use Russia’s communications gear to make those communications happen so that the United States intelligence service could not hear. Does that strike you as a good idea?

Vladimir Putin: Russia had no channels of communication with neither campaign, the campaigns of the US Presidential candidates. None whatsoever. Russia did not set up and did not have any channels with anyone. There may have been official contacts with the campaigns of all the candidates, which is a standard diplomatic practice.

Megyn Kelly: This is a proposal, a proposal by Mr Kushner.

Vladimir Putin: I am not aware of such a proposal. No such proposal ever reached me.

Megyn Kelly: Did you know General Michael Flynn? He came over here for a dinner a photo of which has been widely circulated in the American media. What was the nature of your relationship with him?

Vladimir Putin: You and I, we have a much closer relationship than with Mr Flynn. You and I met up yesterday evening. You and I have worked all day together. We are meeting yet again at this moment. When I came to the event at our company, Russia Today, and sat down at the table, next to me there was a gentleman, and someone else was sitting down on my other side.

I made a speech, then we talked about something else, then I got up and left. Afterwards, I was told, ”You know, that American gentleman, he used to do this before, used to work in the special services. And now he does this.“ ”Great,“ I said, ”Are you working with him somehow?“ “No, we just invited him as a guest, one of the guests.” And I replied: “Well, good for you!” And that’s it.

I almost did not talk to him. I said hello, we sat next to each other, then I said goodbye and left. This sums up my entire acquaintanceship with Mr Flynn. If Mr Flynn and I had this kind of interaction, while you and I, we have spent an entire day together, and Mr Flynn was fired from his job, you then should be arrested and put in jail.

Megyn Kelly: Many Americans hear the name, Vladimir Putin. And they think, ”He runs a country full of corruption, a country in which journalists, who are too critical, could wind up murdered, a country in which dissidents could wind up in jail or worse.“ To people who believe that, what is your message?

Vladimir Putin: I want to say that Russia is developing along a democratic path, this is without question so. No one should have any doubts about that. The fact that, amidst political rivalry and some other domestic developments, we see things happen here that are typical of other countries, I do not see anything unusual in it.

We have rallies, opposition rallies. And people here have the right to express their point of view. However, if people, while expressing their views, break the current legislation, the effective law in place, then of course, the law enforcement agencies try to restore order.

I am calling your attention to something that I discussed recently when on a trip to France and in my discussions with other European colleagues. Our police force, fortunately, so far, do not use batons, tear gas or any other extreme measures of instilling order, something that we often see in other countries, including in the United States.

Speaking of opposition, let us recall the movement Occupy Wall Street. Where is it now? The law enforcement agencies and special services in the US have taken it apart, into little pieces, and have dissolved it. I’m not asking you about how things stand in terms of democracy in the United States. Especially so that the electoral legislation is far from being perfect in the US. Why do you believe you are entitled to put such questions to us and, mind you, do it all the time, to moralize and to teach us how we should live?

We are ready to listen to our partners, ready to listen to appraisals and assessments when it is done in a friendly manner, in order to establish contacts and create a common atmosphere and dedicate ourselves to shared values. But we absolutely will not accept when such things are used as a tool of political struggle. I want everybody to know that. This is our message.

Megyn Kelly: There have been questions in America about Donald Trump’s finances. He hasn’t released his tax returns. There have been questions about this secret Russian dossier, which he says is fake, but which purports to have blackmail information in it generated by the Russians. There have been questions about the communications between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, all of which has Americans asking, ”Do you have something damage on our president?“

Vladimir Putin: Well, this is just another piece of nonsense. Where would we get any information about him? Did we have some kind of special relationship with him. There was no relationship whatsoever. Yes, he visited Moscow in his day. But, you know, I never met him.

Many Americans come here. There are representatives of 100 companies from the US, who have come to Russia. Do you think I have met each and every representative of those American companies? You probably saw me walk into the conference hall, where our colleagues were sitting. I consider them all to be our friends. They are all working in Russia and many of them have been doing it for many years. They are investors. They are the CEOs of major US companies. They are interested in joint work. And that’s great! And we will welcome each and every one of them. And we will consider each of them our friend.

And we will help them implement their plans in Russia and will try to steer things in a direction so that they can work here successfully and make a profit.

And should they all be arrested for it afterwards? Have you lost your minds there or something? What about the freedom of economy? What about human rights? Do you think we are gathering dirt on all of them now? Are you all right in the head, all of you there?

Megyn Kelly: Last question. We have been here in St Petersburg for about a week now. And virtually every person we have met on the street says what they respect about you is they feel that you have returned dignity to Russia, that you’ve returned Russia to a place of respect. You’ve been in the leadership of this country for 17 years now. Has it taken any sort of personal toll on you?

Vladimir Putin: I hope not. Do you know what I feel? I feel this live, direct connection to this land, to its history, to this country. You have said that you have been in St Petersburg for several days. Yesterday, I had a conversation with Indian Prime Minister. He had visited the Piskarevskoye Memorial Cemetery, where almost 400,000 residents of Leningrad were buried, most of them civilians. They died during the siege of Leningrad. They starved to death. And buried in one of those graves is my older brother whom I have never seen. And I will never forget that, just like I will never forget the state in which this country was in the early 1990s.

You and I have had a debate today in the course of our conversation. However, in this country, since 2000 – and we have many problems, and recently even the poverty threshold has become a little worse than we planned – the situation will recover, I am confident of that, and yet our population’s real wages have grown manifold. And so have pensions.

Our economy has become completely different, on the whole. The size has changed. The economy has almost doubled in size. And the quality is changing, not as fast as we would like it to, but the structure is changing.

Our Armed Forces are completely different today from what they were, say 15 years ago or so.

All of this, including our great history, great culture, all of this, not just what we see today, is what makes the vast majority of Russia’s citizens feel proud for their country.

Megyn Kelly: Mr President, thank you very much. 


Russian International Affairs Council. 2018-01-19. Russia’s Changing Relations with the West: Prospects for a New Hybrid System.

At the end of 2016, both the political and expert communities in Russia appeared to be very pessimistic about the future of the world order in general, and the about the future of the West in particular. Indeed, the year had turned out to be an annus horribilis in many ways; numerous doomsday prophets referred to various harbingers of the looming cataclysms. They mentioned the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union and the victory of a non-system candidate in the U.S. presidential election. They highlighted the nearly global rise of right-wing populism and antiglobalism to a level that was unprecedented in recent decades. They talked about the wave of migration that was threatening to consume Europe. They pointed to the impotence of international organizations in the face of multiplying regional conflicts, and they noted a widespread decline in public confidence in practically all institutions of power [1].

These apocalyptic visions were, of course, somewhat self-serving. Notwithstanding all its problems, in 2016 Moscow demonstrated a lot of political, economic and social stability amidst this global turmoil. Inflation was put under control, devaluation of the national currency was stopped and even reversed, Western economic sanctions failed to bring Russia to its knees, and the parliamentary elections in September resulted in a predictable triumphant victory for the Kremlin’s United Russia Party. Political and economic risks in the coming year 2017 appeared to be relatively low and manageable. Technocrats in the government and in the presidential administration had reasons to be proud of their performance: the Russian system turned out to be more adaptive and flexible than its in-house and foreign critics had maintained.

The notion of stability as the supreme value was back in circulation and used widely in both domestic and international propaganda. Even if Russia’s stability looked more and more like the stagnation of the late Soviet period, stagnation still appeared to be a preferable alternative to the West’s disorder and commotion. Not surprisingly, the greatest portion of gloomy and even apocalyptic prophesies of Russian pundits had to do with the fate of the European Union. In 2014-2016, the EU found itself in a perfect storm that revealed the frightening fragility and obvious obsolescence of many of its fundamental political, financial, economic, institutional and even spiritual foundations. Russia’s problems appeared much less dramatic against the background of the EU seemingly sinking into chaos, and the apparent hopelessness of the “European project.” [2]

Subsequent developments in Europe, however, demonstrated that the European Union had not lost its resilience and its cohesion. In this chapter, I argue that in 2017 Russian foreign policy started a painful process of reassessing its previous assumptions about the EU and its midterm prospects. This reassessment ran parallel to a growing disappointment in the ability of the Trump Administration in the United States to change the negative momentum in the U.S.-Russian relationship or to pursue a consistent foreign policy in general. One can foresee these changes in the Russian approach to the West continuing in 2018 and beyond.

Engagement Can Wait

The expectation (and, for some, the eager anticipation) of the inevitable collapse of the current world order influenced Russia’s foreign policy and relevant discussions, particularly in late 2016 and early 2017. Indeed, what sense did it make to invest effort, energy and political capital in difficult negotiations with leaders whose days were numbered anyway? Would it be reasonable to keep following rules of the game that had been accepted way back when if these same rules would be rewritten very soon? Was it worth agreeing to concessions and uncomfortable compromises if a new post-Western world was about to arrive? Would it not be wiser to wait it out and observe from a safe distance the epic demise of the old era, which had formed at the turn of the century?

Russian foreign policy at that juncture seemed to follow a wait-and-see approach, abstaining from any far-reaching proposals, not to mention potential concessions to Western partners or recondition of Russia’s past mistakes. The last visible attempt to set Russia-EU relations into motion was the occasion of EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s visit to Russia for the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 16, 2016. President Vladimir Putin handed to his guest a list of specific proposals on restoring Moscow’s relations with Brussels. The EU, however, never reacted to the Russian list. Instead, the Kremlin had to live with the five principles of Federica Mogherini, only one of which (selective engagement with Russia on foreign policy issues vital to the EU) could be interpreted as a promise of limited cooperation in the future, but even this principle was deliberately vague and ambiguous.

A similar last-minute pitch failed in relations with the Obama Administration. On September 10th, 2016 in Geneva, after long and exhausting talks, John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov announced a tentative ceasefire deal for Syria. They also stated that this deal was to lead the way to a joint U.S.-Russian air campaign against ISIS and other extremist groups and new negotiations on the country’s political future.

This hope —to use Syria as an opportunity to limit the damage in Russian-American relations caused by the Ukrainian crisis—did not last very long. The painfully negotiated Kerry-Lavrov peace plan collapsed just a few weeks after signing. The Russian side accused the United States of failing to exercise the needed pressure on the select groups of the anti-Assad opposition to make them abide by the terms of the ceasefire agreement—a task that was arguably too big for Washington to handle successfully. Russians also complained that the United States had not been able to separate the moderate Syrian opposition from more radical factions gravitating to ISIS and al-Qaeda. Again, it remains unclear whether the United States was in a position to arrange such a separation. However, the main source of the Kremlin’s frustrations was the perceived unwill-ingness of the U.S. military to work in any substantive way with its Russian counterparts. In the fall of 2016 in Moscow, it became popular to argue that the Pentagon had managed to overrule the State Department, and that the hawkish views or Ash Carter had prevailed over the more moderate positions of John Kerry.

It seems that these failures to engage Europe and the United States, as well as the perception that the West was entering a long-term period of disarray and decline, led to a serious reassessment of Russian foreign policy priorities. Syria serves as an example of this reassessment. After the unsuccessful attempt to create a Russian-U.S. alliance, the Kremlin focused its energy and diplomatic skills on building a coalition of regional players through the Astana de-escalation process. Bringing Turkey and Iran to the negotiating table was an unquestionable diplomatic victory for Vladimir Putin, and the Kremlin worked hard to get major Arab countries interested in this new arrangement. The invitation was also extended to the United States, but U.S. participation was no longer considered critical for the success of Russia’s Syrian strategy.

Taking all of Russia’s internal problems and restraints into account, in 2016 Moscow appeared to have one undeniable advantage over the West: a more considerable reserve of time. Russia’s ailments, extremely serious as they are, are chronic and sometimes even dormant in nature: they have matured over years if not decades. The problems of the West, meanwhile, went from dormant to acute within a single year in 2016, and international experts started talking about the possibility of a fatal outcome. At any rate, the Kremlin had reasons to believe that in any possible confrontation scenario, Moscow would be able to outperform Western capitals, precisely because it had more time on its hands. The nature of the Russian political system, the high level of political mobilization and social consensus reached after the crisis of 2014, the marginalization of the domestic opposition and the relatively stable performance of the Russian economy—all these factors made the Russian leadership confident that it would not encounter major problems during, or following, the presidential elections of 2018.

Finally, the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States raised hopes in Moscow that Russia would be in a position to cut a deal with Washington above the heads of European capitals. Some of the election campaign statements by the new President sounded very encouraging; they apparently reflected a worldview and a set of foreign policy principles not very different from these of President Vladimir Putin. Though some Russian experts on the United States cautioned against too high expectations about possible change in U.S. foreign policy, the mood in Moscow on the eve of 2017 was largely optimistic. Only the pro-Western liberal minority was looking to the future with concerns and fear. This cohort of Russian intellectuals suspected that any further deepening of the crisis in the West would become a significant boost to authoritarian political trends inside Russia; the crisis and the growing impotence of the West could also create temptations for a more adventurist and risk-taking Kremlin foreign policy.

No Revolution This Week

Looking back to the “Trumpomania” of late 2016—early 2017, today many in Russia have turned from enthusiasm to fatalism. The common view in Moscow is that Trump had been overrated, that U.S.-Russian relations did not have a chance, that the Deep State is simply too powerful for any President to turn around, and that the U.S. establishment is genetically Russo-phobic. The logical conclusion is that in 2017, Russia could have done nothing and can do nothing today to change the momentum of the relationship. We now have to sit on our hands waiting for some shifts in U.S. politics. This is not a very optimistic view. However, was it really the case? Could we speculate about an alternative track of the relationship if Moscow had taken a different, more proactive approach, beginning in January 2017?

The inertia of negative trends in Russian-U.S. relations in early 2017 was very powerful and hard to stop. Policies toward Moscow became an important component of U.S. domestic politics and President Trump was significantly constrained in what he could offer his counterpart in the Kremlin. However, in my view, Russian policy made a few tactical mistakes that closed the door to even limited progress in the bilateral relationship during the first few months of the new Administration.

First, the political fallout of the alleged Russia’s interference into the U.S. presidential election of 2016 was grossly underestimated in Moscow. Instead of demonstrating its understanding of American concerns—no matter how grounded and justified these concerns looked from the Russian side—and offering full cooperation in investigating the hackers’ case, the Russian leadership took a very condescending and dismissive position in this matter. “This isn’t for us to get into; these are your domestic political squabbles. Therefore, you deal with them. Nothing to talk about,” [3] was how President Putin responded to Megyn Kelly’s question about hackers at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in early June. This dismissive attitude played a significant role in consolidating the anti-Russian consensus in America. Two month later the U.S. Congress almost unanimously approved a new far-reaching sanctions package against Russia.

Second, it its attempts to reach out to the United States, the Russian leadership targeted exclusively the new Administration, instead of sending meaningful signals to the U.S. public at large, including its representatives in the U.S. Congress. For instance, Moscow could have announced the abolition of the notorious Dima Yakovlev Law that banned adoption of Russian orphans by U.S. citizens. It could have demonstrated its good will by reconsidering the list of U.S. undesirable organizations that had been kicked out of Russia during the last years of the Obama Administration. It could have restarted a number of frozen U.S.-Russian exchange pro-grams in education and civil society (the FLEX program being one of the most evident options). Unfortunately, none of these evident steps was made—probably because the Kremlin did not consider U.S. public opinion to be an important factor in shaping the Trump Administration’s foreign policy.

Finally, to the extent we can judge the initial Russian proposals to the new U.S. Administration, which allegedly were submitted to the White house in late March-early April 2017, they were limited primarily to restoring communications in three areas. Moscow offered to resume political dialogue, contacts between top U.S. and Russian military officials and information exchange between intelligence agencies of the two countries. Nothing suggests that these proposals contained any substantive ideas or demonstrated any new flexibility in Kremlin positions on matters like Syria or Ukraine. There was nothing in the proposals that would give the Trump Administration the prospect of an early and spectacular foreign policy success.

In 2017 it became evident that not only had the Trump Administration inherited the U.S.-Russian crisis from its predecessors, this coincided with what was arguably the most profound political crisis in the United States since Watergate. What was more, America had also entered a social crisis that went way beyond the Washington, DC Beltway and had the potential to affect the whole of American society. The hope that Donald Trump could be a strong president capable of restoring the shaken unity of the American people did not pan out, while the polarization of different political and social groups increased throughout most of 2017. The White house became significantly restricted in its ability to conduct a consistent foreign policy, not to mention implement any long-term strategy.

At the same time, the developments of 2017 suggest that the decline of the old era in Europe has been postponed, if not cancelled outright. The populist Eurosceptics failed in the Dutch and French elections, and the German election reaffirmed the continuity of Berlin’s European strategy. Notwithstanding all of Brexit’s negative implications, it actually resulted in the European idea gaining more popular support within the EU’s 27 remaining member states, and it became unlikely that any would follow suit any time soon. The migration crisis was not completely resolved, but in 2017 it no longer appeared as dramatic as it did in 2016 and especially in 2015. The euro did not crash, and no eurozone nations were thrown out.

It seems that Moscow was late to accept the important change of the curve in European developments and to change its tactics, if not strategy, towards Europe. Otherwise, it is hard to understand, for example, why Vladimir Putin chose to greet personally French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen at the Kremlin in March and why the Russian mainstream media were so critical, if not hostile, to Emmanuel Macron literally until the day of the second round of the French presidential elections. To be fair to the Kremlin, it demonstrated a much more prudent approach to the parliamentary elections in Germany in September. On the other hand, one can argue that there was a fundamental difference between the French and German election cycles of 2017: in France, three of four presidential candidate argued for a more accommodative EU policy toward Russia, including possible change to the regime of sanctions; in Germany no mainstream political party contemplated such a change.

The Resilience of the West

It would appear that the United States and Europe followed opposite courses in 2017: while Brussels was beginning to react to its systemic problems, albeit slowly and falteringly, Washington only watched its problems grow. On the other hand, these processes in Europe and North America, which might seem incompatible through the prism of global politics, essentially reflected in different ways the same fundamental meaning of 2017. The Western world as a whole demonstrated more ability to adjust, more resistance to destabilizing factors, and more resilience than anyone could have credited it with in late 2016. It would probably be an overstatement to label 2017 as annus mirabilis, but it was definitely not as bad as 2016, and it countered some of the most pessimistic views on the inevitability of Western decline.

It is true that after Trump became president, disputes intensified within NATO as to how the burden of defense expenses should be distributed within the Alliance. However, the May 2017 NATO summit in Brussels did not prove catastrophic, and any attempts to write NATO off appear to be very much premature. It is also true that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership project is no more, but this has not resulted in heated trade wars between Europe and North America, nor will such conflicts break out in the future. Washington has left the Paris climate accord, but the major part of American business and society continue to observe the letter and spirit of that agreement.

This does not mean that 2017 resolved the postmodernist crisis in international relations: the fundamental problems of the modern global political system did not disappear in 2017, and the system will still have to change one way or another. however, we can now see that postmodernism is characterized by a good share of momentum and will continue to fight against advancing traditionalist forces for years to come. Therefore, current changes will most likely be characterized by a protracted evolution rather than a swift revolution; they will take years and even decades to complete. This process will have its ups and downs, speedups and slowdowns. however, it is unlikely that historians of the future, let alone contemporaries, will be able to pinpoint the moment when global politics transitioned from one qualitative state to the next. Speaking specifically of 2017, one can conclude that this period was dominated by restorative trends rather than by revolutionary ones.

What does this all mean for Russia? First and foremost, in 2017 decision-makers in the Kremlin should have cast away all illusions that Russia’s problems with the West would disappear on the back of the radical changes taking place within the West itself. The assumption that Moscow’s main task was to wait out this period in global politics, which, although extremely unpleasant for Russia, might appear to be short-lived, turned out to be highly questionable. In 2017, it became apparent that the Kremlin had no guaranteed advantage in short- and mid-term planning over the West. The Russian leadership had to plan for a marathon, not a sprint, and it was by no means a given that Moscow was better equipped to last out this contest than its Western opponents.

The upheavals of the past few years might not have completely cut down the snobbish, overconfident and not entirely perspicacious European bureaucrats and strategists, but they may at least have forced them to come down to earth. For the sake of the future of the European project, Brussels and other European capital cities were actively looking for new EU development paths, discussing possible solutions to key issues of political and economic reforms and plans to reform the key European institutions. Can we say in earnest that in 2017 Russia was discussing the future of the Russian project with the same zealousness, breadth and intensity?

It is of course possible that skeptics will soon mount another attack on the European Union, and that pro-Russian leaders will come to power in one or two European countries. It is also possible that Trump will manage to win a tactical victory over the Deep State, minimizing the practical implementation of new anti-Russian sanctions. A new major armed conflict in the Middle East could distract the West from its confrontation with Russia, or global political instability could lead to a steep oil price hike. However, building a strategy on such premises is akin to planning a family budget in hope of a hefty lottery win. The unpredictability of international developments should not justify the absence of a cohesive strategy, especially when one has to deal with an opponent who is far superior in terms of overall economic, social and military attributes of power.

In addition, it is now becoming clear that Russia will not be able to engage in strategic interaction with the Trump administration while leaving the disintegrating EU by the wayside. So far, the opposite has been true.

It appears that in the foreseeable future, Russia cannot hope for much more than tactical interaction with the United States on a limited set of issues, such as Syria, North Korea, the Arctic and nuclear non-proliferation. If Moscow is particularly lucky, it might expand this list to add strategic stability, the fight against global terrorism and certain other problems. However, cooperation with the Americans on the creation of a new world order is no longer possible. The firmness of the anti-Russian consensus in Washington is indisputable; splitting this consensus will take a very long time, if it happens at all. Very few people in Moscow today believe that the decisions on anti-Russian sanctions made in Washington in 2017 are likely to be reconsidered anytime soon. What is currently happening in U.S.-Russia relations is more than a worsening of the weather; it is a fundamental climatic shift, the coming of a new Ice Age.

The EU, on the other hand, appears to be more promising for Russia. In order to overcome its numerous problems and ailments, the European Union will inevitably have to revise many of its existing mechanisms, procedures and priorities, and even, to an extent, its rules and principles. Russia could assist with the European Union’s transformation for its own benefit by supporting a stronger Europe and abstaining from patronizing anti-European parties and movements across the continent. In this case, it could hope to gradually expand cooperation with Europe, on the con-dition that at least some minimal progress is achieved on Ukraine, which is central to Russia-EU relations.

This does not imply that fundamental disagreements between Moscow and Brussels will cease to exist. The worldview of the current political leadership in the Kremlin is not going to change; an ideological revolution in the European Union is no more likely. In the observable future Russia will not become a part of the European project. Nevertheless, this division does not preclude various forms of cooperation similar to these during the 1970s or 1980s.

Back to the Cold War

Since no revolution took place in global politics in 2017, practical solutions need to be sought in the framework of the existing system of political coordinates; more grandiose plans have to wait. The old model of geopolitical confrontation between East and West, i.e., the Cold War model, should be revisited as an interim solution for the Russia-West adversarial relationship. This model is certainly far from ideal, it is expensive and to a great extent outdated. Nevertheless, notwithstanding all its shortcomings, the Cold War model used to ensure a satisfactory level of stability and predictability, both in Europe and in the world as a whole.

This model included numerous channels of political interaction, contacts among militaries, risk mitigation measures and arms control treaties. Furthermore, the Cold War model was based on mutual respect and even a degree of mutual trust. So why not fall back on this time-tested con-frontation management practice, using such mechanisms as the NATO–Russia Council, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe, or new ad-hoc formats like the Russia-NATO Crisis Management Group, which has been repeatedly proposed?

At this stage the name of the game in Russia’s relations with the West is not mutual trust, but rather mutual predictability. Since it is very difficult to make predictions about the Trump Administration, major European counties and the European Union at large become more important for Russia than was the case earlier. For example, both Russia and the EU have strategic interests to secure the multilateral agreement of the Iranian nuclear dossier. Likewise, the Russian and the EU positions are close on the North Korean problem.

In some areas, there is actually no need to return to the old model because it is still in place. This goes for Russia’s nuclear interaction with the United States, for example. The two remaining pillars of this interaction, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and New START Treaty, while certainly offering some positive aspects, are nevertheless fully compliant with the logic of controlled confrontation and are fully within the Cold War paradigm. Retaining and reinforcing these accords would not require any historic political breakthrough, unilateral concessions, or switching to a fundamentally new format of Moscow’s relations with Washington.

The goal to preserve INF and New START is definitely worth fighting for. Nevertheless, even if this hard battle is won, this will not signal the end of the fight to secure and to strengthen strategic arms control in the 21st century. Neither INF nor New START prevents the United States from spending $1 trillion in the next 30 years on modernizing its nuclear bombs, bombers, missiles and submarines. Russia will also continue its large-scale strategic modernization program, even if the two agreements remain in place.

The crisis of strategic arms control is more complex and fundamental than the uncertain future of the two agreements, as important as they are. In the 21st century, strategic arms control is no longer about arithmetic; it requires applications of higher mathematics. These days, mobility dom-inates location, precision beats throw-weight; and the line between nuclear and conventional weapons has become almost invisible. The old arms control paradigm has entered into its own perfect storm. While preservation of its Cold War heritage is indispensable, preservation in itself is clearly not sufficient to provide for strategic stability in a completely new global environment.

One can argue that traditional distinctions between strategic, intermediate-range and tactical systems are becoming antiquated. The reality is that the United States and Russia have and will continue to have strikingly different geopolitical and geostrategic positions in the world; their threat perceptions and their respective strategic doctrines will never be identical to each other. If so, the United States and Russia could merge New START and INF into one umbrella agreement that would set overall ceilings for nuclear warheads and launchers on both sides. Within these overall ceilings both Washington and Moscow would be in a position to blend individual cocktails of strategic, intermediate range and tactical systems to their liking. For a better taste, they could even add the missile defense component to the mix. The only sub-ceiling that they might need to preserve is the sub-ceiling for deployed warheads, which are of particular concern to the other side. This sub-ceiling can amount to a half or one third of the total number.

This approach will not address all the contemporary challenges to strategic arms control. For example, the time has come move away from a bilateral U.S.-Russian format to a multilateral one, but this approach will not do that. Still, an innovative approach would be a loud and clear signal to third nuclear powers that there is political will in both the White House and in the Kremlin not only to preserve, but also to enhance and to modernize global strategic security.

Skeptics can argue that today is not the best time to experiment with new approaches to strategic arms control. U.S.-Russian relations have hit historical lows, trust between the two countries is non-existent, political opposition to any new deals will be too strong to generate domestic support for any new agreements. These are exactly the arguments used back in the 1950s against a possible U.S.—Soviet collaboration to write a set of rules for the new nuclear world. It took the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 to start moving away from this perception, and another ten years to sign the first U.S.-Soviet Strategic Arms Limitation Talks Agreement (SALT 1). Are we ready to wait for another missile crisis—in North Korea or elsewhere? Can we afford another ten years for a new detente between Washington and Moscow?

The Second Layer of the Pie

Overhauling and restarting the old Cold War model is a necessary but insufficient factor for the future stabilization of Russia’s relations with the West. With all its comparative advantages, this model has at least four key structural limitations. First, the Cold War model is inherently static. It is aimed at preserving the status quo and precludes any evolution. Such a model is extremely difficult to reform; it was no accident that the Cold War ended not in an orderly transformation of the controlled confrontation model, but in a dramatic and chaotic collapse in the late 1980s. Given the dynamics of the international system today, any attempt to codify Rus-sia-West relations for an extended period of time is unlikely to be successful. There are simple too many independent variables that might affect these relations, from rising China to the fourth industrial revolution to global climate change.

Second, the Cold War was primarily fought by two vertically structured politico-military blocs, which split Europe into the Soviet and U.S. spheres of influence. It would be absolutely impossible to divide today’s Europe into distinct spheres of influence; the very idea of spheres of influence is considered to be hopelessly antiquated and unacceptable, at least in the Western world. Besides, contemporary Russia is not comparable to the former USSR at the peak of its might; a geopolitical parity between Moscow and the combined West is only possible if Russia creates a political and military alliance with China, but it is highly unlikely that Russia would be the leading partner in such an alliance.

Third, Soviet and U.S. leaders built the Cold War model in order to counter the most dangerous threats of the 20th century. Even though many of these threats still exist, the 21st century has brought up new challenges, including those posed by non-governmental actors. The Cold War model cannot offer much in terms of counteracting the new generation of threats to international security. In many ways, the Cold War model was the last incarnation of the traditional Westphalian world, which is no longer the world in which we live.

Fourth, the Cold War model was relatively effective in a situation when the two confronting systems remained virtually isolated from one another and separated by incompatible ideologies. No such economic, political or humanitarian confrontation between Russia and the West exists anymore, nor could it be reinstated, despite certain attempts being made on both sides. The current media war between Russia and the West looks like a caricature of the ideological struggle between communism and liberal democracy in the middle of the 20th century. Nor can Russia be isolated from the West in an age of unprecedented human mobility, porous borders, global information and communications technologies. Despite all of Russia’s efforts aimed at self-reliance, import substitution and higher protectionism, the country’s dependence on the outside word is likely to increase, not decrease.

The old model’s considerable limitations necessitate the introduction of a new complementary dimension to Russia-West relations. The role of such a dimension could be played out through a system of global, regional and sub-regional regimes that would preserve and expand the common space between Russia and Europe, between Eurasia and the Euro-Atlantic area.

In the initial phase, such regimes would be easier to preserve and develop in less politically sensitive fields, such as education, science and culture. However, it may be possible to apply the regimes model to nontraditional security challenges, including international terrorism, drug trafficking, cross-border crime, energy security and even cyber security. The regimes model can also work on the sub-regional level: for example, it has long been applied effectively in the Arctic.

In the current situation, the regimes model could efficiently complement the old Cold War model in Russia’s relations with the West. As distinct from the inherently rigid Cold War model, which requires strict codification of agreements reached, the regimes model is flexible, often making it possible to do without burdensome negotiations over technicalities and avoid complex and protracted ratification procedures.

While the Cold War model requires a universally recognized hierarchy of parties in international relations, the regimes model is based on horizontal interactions between the parties involved, which may include not only large and small states, but also non-governmental actors such as regions and municipalities, private companies and civil institutions, international organizations and cross-border movements. This significantly expands the range of potential stakeholders interested in the development of cooperation, creating a critical mass for subsequent breakthroughs.

Skeptics would argue that this approach has already been tried in the relations between Russia and the West, but failed to prevent the current crisis and therefore should be rejected as inefficient. I would make a counterargument: the current crisis would be much deeper and more difficult to manage if the two sides did not have a thick network of social, humanitarian, cultural, educational and other contacts. Despite an ongoing and intense information war, the West still remains a point of orientation to millions and millions of Russians. It is true that Russians have not become completely immune to anti-Western propaganda, but the depth and the sustainability of anti-Western moods in the Russian society can be questioned.

Whereas the Cold War model proceeds from the premise that the parties are prepared for major deals such as the 1975 Helsinki Accords, and is mainly based on a top-down approach, the regimes model works in situations of strategic uncertainty, in the absence of major deals, and is mostly based on a bottom-up approach. Shoots of cooperation sprout up wherever there are even the most minuscule cracks in the asphalt of confrontation.

The question is whether such different models of Russia’s relations with the West can possibly be combined within a single hybrid format. That this is possible in principle follows from the peculiarities of contemporary social organization in Russia and the West, which differs radically from how things were organized in the middle of the 20th century. Thanks to the high level of social, professional and cultural fragmentation in contemporary societies, the existence of multiple group and individual identities, and the extremely intricate mechanisms of interaction within vertical, horizontal, formal, informal, basic and situational ties, both models will have their target audiences, proponents, operators and ideologists in Russia and the West.

It is easy to predict that the logic of confrontation will inevitably restrict and distort the logic of cooperation. One way or another, the two mutually complementary models affect each other, because they simply cannot be isolated. However, the art of foreign policy presupposes, among other things, the ability to play chess on several boards simultaneously, or to be more precise, to play chess, poker and even the exotic Asian game Go at the same time, not just the traditional Russian game of gorodki. The most important thing is to delimit the spheres of application of the two models and gradually shift the balance between them from the former to the latter.

Looking Beyond the Horizon

Any significant changes in the current pattern of relations between Russia and the West is likely to be a slow, gradual and long process. At this stage, there are not many compelling reasons for the Kremlin to reconsider its fundamental approaches to the West. On the one hand, the current status quo is perceived as not perfect, but generally acceptable. Potential risks associated with maintaining the status quo are regarded as relatively low compared to risks that might emerge from attempts at changing the status quo. The margin of safety of both the Russian political system and its economy is still quite significant. On the other hand, the trend towards a new consolidation of the West is still very fragile and arguably reversible. There are many political, social and economic problems, to which neither the United States, not the European Union, have found credible solutions.

The status quo-focused foreign policy does not exclude trial balloons, tactical adjustments, incremental concessions, and situational collaboration. All these are important in 2018 and in years to come. However, a more fundamental change in Russian foreign policy is not likely to come as a cumulative effect of incremental adjustments or situational collaboration. Neither will it result from a revelation of a Russian leader, no matter who this leader is likely to be a few years from now. At the end of the day, Russia’s foreign policy priorities will be defined by the economic and social development trajectory upon which the nation will embark once it has depleted the potential of the current development model.

Russia can definitely survive without the West generally, and without Europe in particular. It might even prosper without the West if global prices on oil and other commodities go up again and a new golden rain waters the national economy. It does not matter much to whom you sell your commodities—clients in the West or clients in the East, developed or developing nations, mature democracies or authoritarian regimes. With Russia’s rent-seeking economy in place, the West is not likely to reemerge as an indispensable partner for Moscow. Moreover, Russia can even stick to a neo-isolationist foreign policy, consistently trying to protect its citizens from the dangers and challenges of the globalizing world.

This foreign policy option will be even more probable if the overall international system evolves in the direction of more nationalism, protectionism, rigid balance of powers, continuous decay of international institutions and international law. If the name of game is survival rather than development, if the top national priority everywhere is security rather than development, then incentives to change anything will remain low.

However, let us suppose that the name of the game is not to maintain the rent-seeking economic model, but to pursue a strategy of encouraging deep structural economic reforms, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, and unleashing the creative potential of the Russian people. Let us suppose that the modern liberal world order successfully overcomes the ongoing crisis and the international system move away from hard to soft power, from unilateralism to multilateralism, from closeness to openness. In this case connecting to the West, borrowing best Western practices, learning from Western mistakes is going to be a critical precondition for any successful Russian modernization. This has always been the case, ever since Italian architects supervised the erection of the red brick Kremlin walls in Moscow back in 1485.

Given all the uncertainties of future developments in Russia and in the West, it might make sense to define three time horizons for this very complex and uneasy relationship. Each of these has its own logic, priorities, goals, opportunities, and limitations. The first is about de-escalation, which involves a stable cease-fire in Donbass, moderation of inflammatory rhetoric on both sides, a truce in the information war, and resumption of political and military contacts and various levels. The second is about stabilization, including a more general political settlement in Ukraine along the lines of the Minsk Agreements, gradual removal of sanctions and countersanctions, a set of confidence-building measures in Europe, promotion of cooperation in areas of mutual concern (e.g. soft security), unilateral limitations on military deployments, and strengthening European regimes in humanitarian fields. Moving on to the third, long-term horizon, we should review and revise the idea of a Greater Europe that was unsuccessfully tried after the end of the Cold War; our second attempt should be based on lessons learned from the failure of the first attempt.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Mondiale

Davos. Il giorno dei governanti scaduti.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-01-24.

Davos 001

«Il Forum economico mondiale (nome originale in inglese: World Economic Forum, conosciuto anche come Forum di Davos) è una fondazione senza fini di lucro con sede a Cologny, vicino a Ginevra, in Svizzera, nata nel 1971 per iniziativa dell’economista ed accademico Klaus Schwab.

La fondazione organizza ogni inverno, presso la cittadina sciistica di Davos in Svizzera, un incontro tra esponenti di primo piano della politica e dell’economia internazionale con intellettuali e giornalisti selezionati, per discutere delle questioni più urgenti che il mondo si trova ad affrontare, anche in materia di salute e di ambiente. Oltre a questo celebre incontro annuale (chiamato anche Forum di Davos), il Forum economico mondiale organizza ogni anno un meeting in Cina e negli Emirati Arabi Uniti e diversi incontri a livello regionale. La Fondazione produce anche una serie di rapporti di ricerca e impegna i suoi membri in specifiche iniziative settoriali. ….

Il World Economic Forum si considera “impegnato a migliorare la condizione del mondo” e si sforza di essere imparziale e privo di vincoli di natura politica, ideologica o nazionale. Sino al 2012 ha avuto lo status di osservatore presso il Consiglio economico e sociale delle Nazioni Unite.

Il principale evento organizzato dal Forum economico mondiale è il forum che si tiene con cadenza annuale a fine gennaio presso la cittadina sciistica di Davos, nel Cantone dei Grigioni in Svizzera. L’incontro è a inviti e si tiene a porte chiuse, sebbene venga diffusa la registrazione di specifici eventi, come la sessione plenaria. In occasione dell’incontro, i vertici delle imprese associate alla fondazione incontrano una ristretta platea di leader politici e di organizzazioni non governative, esponenti della comunità scientifica, leader religiosi e giornalisti.» [Fonte]

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Tutte le organizzazioni valgono in ragione della posizione politica, economica e sociale dei propri membri.

Una università che annoveri tra il suo corpo docente dei Premi Nobel gode di sicuro prestigio, ben maggiore di un altro ateneo gli insegnanti nel quale siano sconosciuti.

Similmente, le organizzazioni traggono prestigio dai temi che trattano ed affrontano. Sicuramente chi si occupasse di Bundesliga avrebbe pubblico ed audience a iosa, e comunque ben maggiore di un’organizzazione che si occupasse della ricostruzione delle bighe bizantine.

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Questo è un piccolo insieme di personaggi invitati.

«il re Filippo del Belgio e sua moglie, la regina Mathilde, e il principe ereditario norvegese Haakon e la principessa Mette-Marit sono sulla lista degli ospiti. I re Abdullah II di Giordania e la regina Rania sono ospiti abituali di Davos. La regina Massima dei Paesi Bassi ha poi il ruolo di avvocato speciale dell’Unità per la finanza inclusiva. Tra i politici, oltre Trump, quest’anno ci sono il Primo ministro britannico Theresa May, il presidente afgano Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, il presidente ucraino Petro Poroshenko, il presidente della Columbia, Juan Manuel Santos, il primo ministro pakistano, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, il presidente sudafricano, Jacob Zuma, e il presidente cinese, Xi Jinping. A loro, si uniscono i manager delle più importanti aziende internazionali che saranno presenti tra gli oltre 3mila nomi. Tra loro: il segretario generale dell’Onu, Antonio Guterres, e il direttore generale dell’Organizzazione mondiale del commercio, Roberto Azevedo. Ma anche il presidente della Banca mondiale, Jim Yong Kim, il direttore generale del Fondo monetario internazionale, Christine Lagarde, e il segretario generale della NATO, Jens Stoltenberg»

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«Ma Davos ha sempre visto anche la partecipazione di celebrità e di nomi del mondo dello spettacolo. Matt Damon, Goldie Hawn, Leonardo Di Caprio, Kevin Spacy e Bono sono solo alcuni dei nomi che hanno partecipato all’evento. Quest’anno verranno premiati per il loro impegno nel sociale Elton John e Cate Blanchett.»

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«Creare un futuro condiviso in un mondo fratturato»

Questo é il tema trattato a Davos e, sia detto in modo asettico, dal punto di vista dei liberal democratici americani e dei socialisti ideologici europei. Ognuno è libero, e fa anche bene, ad esternare ciò che pensa.

Significativi gli interventi di Frau Merkel e di Mr Gentiloni.

La prima reduce dalla débâcle del 24 settembre e da quattro mesi di estenuanti trattative che nulla hanno prodotto se non ulteriori cali nelle proiezioni elettorali, il secondo già con le valigie in mano, perché il 4 marzo sarà sfrattato da Palazzo Chigi.

Ecco il punto di vista di codesti loser.

«We are seeing nationalism, populism and in a lot of countries a polarized atmosphere»

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«We believe that isolation won’t help us. We believe we need to cooperate, that protectionism is not the answer»

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«Have we really learned from history, or haven’t we?»

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«Being a member of the single market is tied to the principle of free movement. On that we can’t make compromises, …. It is up to Britain to tell us how close a partnership they want. We are open to every kind of partnership»

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«Europe must take its fate into its own hands»

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Queste parole di Frau Merkel suonano alquanto stonate.

Sono proprio i nazionalismi quei movimenti che ne hanno causato caduta e rovina: è del tutto sequenziale che lei non li veda di buon occhio.

Che l’Europa debba prendersi nelle proprie mani il proprio destino è una gran bella frase ad effetto.

Vuol dire che la gente aspetterà con tanta pazienza che Frau Merkel riesca a ritornare a fare la cancelliera di un qualche governo: ma sono in molti ad avere forti dubbi che possa conservare autorità sufficiente da poter guidare i destini del continente.

Due sole domande.

Ma chi mai si crede di essere Frau Merkel?

Che fine ha fatto il ‘clima’?


Reuters. 2017-01-24. Ahead of Trump’s Davos visit, European leaders warn against nationalism

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – The leaders of Germany and Italy warned at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday against a return to nationalism and protectionism, with Angela Merkel evoking the two world wars and openly questioning whether the world had learned from them.

The speeches, given in quick succession, came one day before U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at the annual gathering of the global elite in the Swiss Alps to promote his “America First” policies.

Trump has pulled the United States out of international agreements on trade and climate since taking power one year ago, unsettling countries in Europe and Asia who have looked to Washington to help shape global rules since World War Two.

“We are seeing nationalism, populism and in a lot of countries a polarized atmosphere,” Merkel told a packed auditorium where French President Emmanuel Macron will speak later on Wednesday and Trump on Friday.

“We believe that isolation won’t help us. We believe we need to cooperate, that protectionism is not the answer,” she said, asking: “Have we really learned from history, or haven’t we?”

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, asked what his message to Trump was, offered a defense of multilateral cooperation and warned against steps to undermine that.

“It is totally legitimate, understandable, the desire for political leaders to defend their own citizens, their own companies, their own economy,” he said. “I respect that, but obviously there is a limit.”

The scene in Davos of two of the former Axis powers in World War Two cautioning the United States against nationalism was a sign of how much Trump’s election has unsettled governments in Europe and altered the relationships that have existed since the war.

Still, after suffering a series of crises over the past decade – from euro turmoil, to Ukraine, refugees and Brexit – Europe is feeling confident again.

Its economy has rebounded and the election of pro-European centrist Macron in France has injected new momentum into efforts to reform the European Union.

Merkel, weakened by an inconclusive German election in September which has given way to months of political limbo as she tries to form a coalition, urged Europe to complete its banking union project, make progress on a single digital market and take steps to shield the bloc from future crises.

“Europe must take its fate into its own hands,” she said, echoing a message she sent after a contentious Group of Seven summit with Trump back in May.

She said Germany and its European partners wanted a “good partnership” with Britain after it leaves the EU, but said it was up to London to decide what kind of link it wanted and said there could be no concessions on core EU principles.

“Being a member of the single market is tied to the principle of free movement. On that we can’t make compromises,” Merkel said. “It is up to Britain to tell us how close a partnership they want. We are open to every kind of partnership.”

Pubblicato in: Geopolitica Mondiale, Medio Oriente, Putin, Russia

L’Unione economica eurasiatica accoglierà l’Iran dal febbraio 2018.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-12-19.

Russia's president Putin visits city of Yaroslavl

«The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is an economic union of states located primarily in northern Eurasia. The Treaty aiming for the establishment of the EAEU was signed on 29 May 2014 by the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, and came into force on 1 January 2015. Treaties aiming for Armenia’s and Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union were signed on 9 October and 23 December 2014, respectively. Armenia’s accession treaty came into force on 2 January 2015. Kyrgyzstan’s accession treaty came into effect on 6 August 2015. ….

The countries represent a market of some 183 million people and a combined GDP of around $4 trillion. ….

Russia has the 12th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and the 6th largest by purchasing power parity. ….

The EAEU introduces the free movement of goods, capital, services and people and provides for common policies in macroeconomic sphere, transport, industry and agriculture, energy, foreign trade and investment, customs, technical regulation, competition and antitrust regulation.» [Fonte]

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E così l’Iran aderirà all’Unione economica eurasiatica. Ma siamo solo agli inizi.

«L’Unione eurasiatica potrebbe estendersi anche ad altri paesi che sono stati storicamente o culturalmente legati alla Russia, come la Finlandia, l’Ungheria, la Repubblica Ceca, la Bulgaria, la Cina e la Mongolia, che sarebbero uniti in un’unione federale dove il russo verrebbe usato come lingua di comunicazione e cooperazione economica.» [Fonte]

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Inutile dilungarsi sui dettagli protocollari, per quanto essi siano interessanti.

Il vero risultato è quello politico, che potremmo schematicamente riassumere nei seguenti punti.

– La Russia ha fatto transitare Siria ed Iran nella sua sfera di influenza politica, economica e militare.

– L’Occidente, e soprattutto gli Stati Uniti, hanno subito un severo smacco in Medio Oriente, prolegomeno alla perdita di influenza sia nel sud – est asiatico sia in Africa.

– Il blocco russo – asiatico si dimostra autoconsistente, coeso, in grado di vivere ed espandersi indipendentemente da quanto dica o faccia l’Occidente.

China’s CNPC weighs taking over Iran project if Total leaves – sources

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E mentre gli asiatici continuano a lavorare come castori intenti a costruirsi la diga, gli europei si accapigliano sulle regole da applicare alla ripartizione dei migranti e danno soddisfatti alle stampe il tratto dell’Unione sulla coltivazione dei broccoletti di Bruxelles, sintetizzato in undici volumi venduto quasi a diecimila euro.

Gli americani invece sono tutti intenti a farsi guerra a colpi di sexual harassment, tagliando così tutte le teste che fossero incorse nell’orrendo reato di essere accusati di aver guardato dentro una scollatura. La grande conquista dei liberal è che una denuncia, ancorché fatta ai media e non alla magistratura, è una sentenza passata in giudicato.

È giusto che scompaiano dalla scena politica.

Post Scriptum.

Se qualcuno incontrasse la Bundeskanzlerin Frau Merkel, glielo dica, per cortesia.


Aurora. 2017-12-15. L’Iran aderice all’Unione economica eurasiatica, addio Brzezinski

L’Iran aderisce all’Unione economica eurasiatica (UEE). All’inizio del prossimo anno, a febbraio secondo questo resoconto, l’Iran aderirà all’Unione e aprirà le porte alla Turchia per l’adesione entro la fine del 2018. Tra questa e la fine della guerra in Siria, non è difficile dichiarare la dottrina Brzezinski del caos centroasiatico guidato dagli Stati Uniti esalare gli ultimi respiri. L’Iran che infine aderisce all’UEE risponde a una serie di fattori, il più importante, la continua bellicosità degli Stati Uniti. Le sanzioni economiche estese all’Iran e al leader dell’UEE, la Russia, ha creato la necessità di un maggiore coordinamento su obiettivi economici e di politica estera. E crea la nuova realtà regionale che rimodellerà questo concetto per i prossimi cento anni.

La scommessa nucleare

Negli ultimi giorni dell’amministrazione Obama sembrava che l’obiettivo fosse placare l’Iran per fermarne la svolta verso Russia e Cina. Credo che fosse la forza trainante del negoziato di Obama sul controverso accordo nucleare. In effetti, Obama cercò di scambiare i miliardi congelati degli iraniani detenuti nelle banche occidentali con l’Iran ignorare la disintegrazione della Siria e conseguente disastro totale. Quando si pensa quanto siamo venali? Dopo aver sanzionato l’Iran economicamente, averne congelato i conti, impeditogli la comunicazione interbancaria coi clienti (rimozione dallo SWIFT), indotto l’iperinflazione per istigare il cambio di regime, avrebbe accettato di consegnare l’alleata Siria agli animali wahhabiti. In cambio avrebbe ripudiato la Russia e sarebbe stato grato per l’opportunità di riavere i soldi firmando un accordo che gli vietava di avere armi nucleari? Questa è la “logica” dei ritardati che guidavano la nostra politica estera sotto Obama. Quindi, ora, dopo aver visto Russia ed Esercito arabo siriano sconfiggere lo SIIL, l’Iran fa la mossa intelligente d’integrare l’economia, che ha bisogno di diversificazione ed investimenti, aderendo all’Unione economica che raggrupperà tutti gli interessi dell’Asia centrale lungo un percorso simile. Non c’è altro da dire. Non solo è morto Zbigniew Brzezinski, ma anche la sua strategia. Lasciamo Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain e i bambolotti dell’amministrazione di Bush il minorato prima di loro, buffoni raggirati ogni volta da Vladimir Putin, da Xi Jinping e dal Presidente iraniano Hassan Rouhani. E il mondo sarà perciò, presto un posto migliore.

Status di meraviglia

Tutto ciò che riguarda lo status quo degli ultimi trenta anni cambi. La Siria ha chiarito a tutti che gli Stati Uniti non sono infallibili. Di fatto, sono incompetenti militarmente e diplomaticamente. L’intervento russo ha evidenziato le vere radici del conflitto e quanto la nostra leadership mente, inganna e ruba per raggiungere i suoi caotici obiettivi regionali. Il presidente Trump cambia rotta a questa nave, ma è un processo lento e combattuto a tutti i livelli da chi aderisce ai dipartimenti della burocrazia. Ciò detto, l’ingresso dell’Iran nell’UEE a pieno titolo aprirà le porte a nuovi aderenti. La Russia corteggia tutti nella regione mentre l’UEE lavora sulle regole e costruisce l’organizzazione. L’adesione dell’Iran vedrà l’unione crescere rapidamente e contribuire a completare i progetti cinesi della Nuova Via della Seta. Facendo un ulteriore passo avanti, il quadro più ampio viene messo a fuoco con l’istituzione della New Development Bank, sfidando la Banca di sviluppo asiatica guidata dagli Stati Uniti, finanziando i progetti infrastrutturali. Con la raffica di grandi progetti annunciati di recente, compresa la nuova versione dell’IPI, gasdotto Iran/Pakistan/India, questo annuncio non è solo un colpo diplomatico per Putin e la Russia, ma piuttosto un fatto compiuto. Era sempre questione di quando, e non se, l’Iran aderiva all’UEE. E con esso a bordo, Paesi come India, Pakistan e Turchia possono aderirvi, sapendo di avere parità di condizioni su cui negoziare, smorzando animosità e dispute persistenti.

Picco USA

Come sottolineava Federico Pieraccini su Strategic Culture Foundation, anche le tensioni tra India e Cina si sono placate quando è diventato chiaro che gli Stati Uniti sotto Trump non sono disposti né possono mantenere il dominio sull’Asia centrale. “In questo senso, la mancanza d’interesse da parte dell’amministrazione Trump su alcune aree del globo è emblematica. Mentre la chimica tra Trump e Modi sembra buona, le tensioni tra India e Cina, accresciute dalle dispute sui confini, sembrano tuttavia essersi dissolte. In seguito al fallimento dei neocon nel dividere Russia e Cina, anche le tensioni di confine tra India e Cina sembrano ora estinguersi. Inoltre, in Ucraina, anche la decisione d’inviare armi a Kiev è stata minimizzata, e il Paese ora affronta un contro-golpe di Saakashvili (sì, ancora lui). L’Ucraina è un Paese in disordine che vive in prima persona le conseguenze della pessima posizione atlantista con la sua viziata politica anti-russa”. L’argomento di Pieraccini è che Trump è un mix di inettitudine e pragmatismo in politica estera. E questo mix ha portato all’attuale situazione, dove Stati Uniti, Israele e Arabia Saudita si agitano cercando di rimanere rilevanti. Non andrò così lontano, dato che questi Paesi hanno ancora una mano potente da giocare, se non altro per stabilizzare la maggior parte di ciò che hanno attualmente. E giocheranno tali carte fino in fondo per creare qualcosa che assomigli alla pace. Ma, l’Iran traccia una nuova strada, allontanandosi dalle ferite aperte dall’occidente, verso le opportunità che riposano in ogni altra direzione. Come ho detto recentemente, il quadro per un grande accordo in Medio Oriente è possibile. E l’adesione dell’Iran all’UEE è un forte indizio che vuole aderire alla maggiore economia mondiale da attore affidabile. Putin è diventato di fatto negoziatore degli alleati contro Israele e Trump, che s’impunta anche con Israele. Una volta che l’accordo sarà in vigore e Trump accetterà di rimuovere la presenza militare degli Stati Uniti dalla maggior parte della regione, allora si vedrà come apparirebbe il mondo senza conflitti istigati.

Pubblicato in: Cina, Geopolitica Mondiale, Russia, Stati Uniti

National Intelligence Council. Il rapporto quadriennale.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-12-13.

Terra vista dallo Spazio 001

Il National Intelligence Council ha rilasciato il suo Report quadriennale

«Global Trends. Paradox Of Progress» ISBN 978-0-16-093614-2.

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Punti chiave. Ricordiamo come la lettura del testo completo sarebbe necessaria per comprendere a fondo la portata di questa raccolta di frasi. Il testo completo conta 230 pagine, ma vale la pena di leggerle.

«Global growth will slow, just as increasingly complex global challenges impend»

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«An ever-widening range of states, organizations, and empowered individuals will shape geopolitics»

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«the emerging global landscape is drawing to a close an era of American dominance following the Cold War»

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«Doing so domestically would be the end of democracy, resulting in authoritarianism or instability or both»

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«erosion of norms for conflict prevention and human rights will encourage China and Russia to check US influence»

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«raising the specter of drained welfare coffers and increased competition for jobs, and reinforcing nativist, anti-elite impulses»

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«a restructuring of the global economy that leads to long periods of slow or no growth»

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«the trends of rising nationalism, changing conflict patterns, emerging disruptive technologies, and decreasing global cooperation might combine to increase the risk of interstate conflict»

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«growing public expectations but diminishing capacity of national governments open space for local governments and private actors, challenging traditional assumptions about what governing means»

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«China will attempt to shift to a consumer-driven economy from  its longstanding export and investment focus»

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«Populism will increase on the right and the left, threatening liberalism. Some leaders will use nationalism to shore up control»

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«Managing global issues will become harder as actors multiply—to include NGOs, corporations, and empowered individuals—resulting in more ad hoc, fewer encompassing efforts.»

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«Pechino, secondo il report, è destinata, insieme alla Russia, a scalzare definitivamente gli Stati Uniti dal ruolo di unica superpotenza mondiale. In quest’ottica anche l’Europa uscirebbe dalla sfera d’influenza americana per entrare in quella euroasiatica»

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«Thinking about the future is vital but hard. Crises keep intruding, making it all but impossible to look beyond daily headlines to what lies over the horizon. In those circumstances, thinking “outside the box,” to use the cliché, too often loses out to keeping up with the inbox. That is why every four years the National Intelligence Council (NIC) undertakes a major assessment of the forces and choices shaping the world before us over the next two decades.

This version, the sixth in the series, is titled, “Global Trends: The Paradox of Progress,” and we are proud of it. It may look like a report, but it is really an invitation, an invitation to discuss, debate and inquire further about how the future could unfold. Certainly, we do not pretend to have the definitive “answer.”»

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«Long-term thinking is critical to framing strategy. The Global Trends series pushes us to reexamine key assumptions, expectations, and uncertainties about the future. In a very messy and interconnected world, a longer perspective requires us to ask hard questions about which issues and choices will be most consequential in the decades ahead–even if they don’t necessarily generate the biggest headlines. A longer view also is essential because issues like terrorism, cyberattacks, biotechnology, and climate change invoke high stakes and will require sustained collaboration to address.»

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«The Future Summarized.

We are living a paradox: The achievements of the industrial and information ages are shaping a world to come that is both more dangerous and richer with opportunity than ever before. Whether promise or peril prevails will turn on the choices of humankind. The progress of the past decades is historic—connecting people, empowering individuals, groups, and states, and lifting a billion people out of poverty in the process. But this same progress also spawned shocks like the Arab Spring, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, and the global rise of populist, anti-establishment politics. These shocks reveal how fragile the achievements have been, underscoring deep shifts in the global landscape that portend a dark and difficult near future.

The next five years will see rising tensions within and between countries. Global growth will slow, just as increasingly complex global challenges impend. An ever-widening range of states, organizations, and empowered individuals will shape geopolitics. For better and worse, the emerging global landscape is drawing to a close an era of American dominance following the Cold War. So, too, perhaps is the rules-based international order that emerged after World War II. It will be much harder to cooperate internationally and govern in ways publics expect. Veto players will threaten to block collaboration at every turn, while information “echo chambers” will reinforce countless competing realities, undermining shared understandings of world events.

Underlying this crisis in cooperation will be local, national, and international differences about the proper role of government across an array of issues ranging from the economy to the environment, religion, security, and the rights of individuals. Debates over moral boundaries—to whom is owed what—will become more pronounced, while divergence in values and interests among states will threaten international security. It will be tempting to impose order on this apparent chaos, but that ultimately would be too costly in the short run and would fail in the long. Dominating empowered, proliferating actors in multiple domains would require unacceptable resources in an era of slow growth, fiscal limits, and debt burdens. Doing so domestically would be the end of democracy, resulting in authoritarianism or instability or both. Although material strength will remain essential to geopolitical and state power, the most powerful actors of the future will draw on networks, relationships, and information to compete and cooperate. This is the lesson of great power politics in the 1900s, even if those powers had to learn and relearn it. The US and Soviet proxy wars, especially in Vietnam and Afghanistan, were a harbinger of the post-Cold War conflicts and today’s fights in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia in which less powerful adversaries deny victory through asymmetric strategies, ideology, and societal tensions. The threat from terrorism will expand in the coming decades as the growing prominence of small groups and individuals use new technologies, ideas, and relationships to their advantage.

Meanwhile, states remain highly relevant. China and Russia will be emboldened, while regional aggressors and nonstate actors will see openings to pursue their interests. Uncertainty about the United States, an inward-looking West, and erosion of norms for conflict prevention and human rights will encourage China and Russia to check US influence. In doing so, their “gray zone” aggression and diverse forms of disruption will stay below the threshold of hot war but bring profound risks of miscalculation. Overconfidence that material strength can manage escalation will increase the risks of interstate conflict to levels not seen since the Cold War. Even if hot war is avoided, the current pattern of “international cooperation where we can get it”—such as on climate change—masks significant differences in values and interests among states and does little to curb assertions  of dominance within regions. These trends are leading to a spheres of influence world.

Nor is the picture much better on the home front for many countries. While decades of global integration and advancing technology enriched the richest and lifted that billion out of poverty, mostly in Asia, it also hollowed out Western middle classes and stoked pushback against globalization. Migrant flows are greater now than in the past 70 years, raising the specter of drained welfare coffers and increased competition for jobs, and reinforcing nativist, anti-elite impulses. Slow growth plus technology-induced disruptions in job markets will threaten poverty reduction and drive tensions within countries in the years to come, fueling the very nationalism that contributes to tensions between countries.

Yet this dreary near future is hardly cast in stone. Whether the next five or 20 years are brighter—or darker—will turn on three choices: How will individuals, groups, and governments renegotiate their expectations of one another to create political order in an era of empowered individuals and rapidly changing economies? To what extent will major state powers, as well as individuals and groups, craft new patterns or architectures of international cooperation and competition? To what extent will governments, groups, and individuals prepare now for multifaceted global issues like climate change and transformative technologies?»

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«Islands investigates a restructuring of the global economy that leads to long periods of slow or no growth, challenging both traditional models of economic prosperity and the presumption that globalization will continue to expand»

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«Orbits explores a future of tensions created by competing major powers seeking their own spheres of influence while attempting to maintain stability at home. It examines how the trends of rising nationalism, changing conflict patterns, emerging disruptive technologies, and decreasing global cooperation might combine to increase the risk of interstate conflict. This scenario emphasizes the policy choices ahead for governments that would reinforce stability and peace or further exacerbate tensions. It features a nuclear weapon used in anger, which turns out to concentrate global minds so that it does not happen again.»

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«Communities shows how growing public expectations but diminishing capacity of national governments open space for local governments and private actors, challenging traditional assumptions about what governing means. Information technology remains the key enabler, and companies, advocacy groups, charities, and local governments prove nimbler than national governments in delivering services to sway populations in support of their agendas. Most national governments resist, but others cede some power to emerging networks. Everywhere, from the Middle East to Russia, control is harder.»

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«As the paradox of progress implies, the same trends generating near-term risks also can create opportunities for better outcomes over the long term. If the world were fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of these opportunities, the future would be more benign than our three scenarios suggest. In the emerging global landscape, rife with surprise and discontinuity, the states and organizations most able to exploit such opportunities will be those that are resilient, enabling them to adapt to changing conditions, persevere in the face of unexpected adversity, and take actions to recover quickly. They will invest in infrastructure, knowledge, and relationships that allow them to manage shock—whether economic, environmental, societal, or cyber. Similarly, the most resilient societies will likely be those that unleash and embrace the full potential of all individuals—whether women and minorities or those battered by recent economic and technological trends.

They will be moving with, rather than against, historical currents, making use of the everexpanding scope of human skill to shape the future. In all societies, even in the bleakest circumstances, there will be those who choose to improve the welfare, happiness, and security of others—employing transformative technologies to do so at scale. While the opposite will be true as well—destructive forces will be empowered as never before—the central puzzle before governments and societies is how to blend individual, collective, and national endowments in a way that yields sustainable security, prosperity, and hope.»

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«Global Trends and Key Implications Through 2035

The rich are aging, the poor are not. Working-age populations are shrinking in wealthy countries, China, and Russia

but growing in developing, poorer countries, particularly in Africa and South Asia, increasing economic, employment,

urbanization, and welfare pressures and spurring migration. Training and continuing education will be crucial in developed and developing countries alike.

The global economy is shifting. Weak economic growth will persist in the near term. Major economies will confront

shrinking workforces and diminishing productivity gains while recovering from the 2008-09 financial crisis with high

debt, weak demand, and doubts about globalization. China will attempt to shift to a consumer-driven economy from  its longstanding export and investment focus. Lower growth will threaten poverty reduction in developing countries. Technology is accelerating progress but causing discontinuities. Rapid technological advancements will increase the pace of change and create new opportunities but will aggravate divisions between winners and losers. Automation and artificial intelligence threaten to change industries faster than economies can adjust, potentially displacing workers and limiting the usual route for poor countries to develop. Biotechnologies such as genome editing will revolutionize medicine and other fields, while sharpening moral differences.

Ideas and Identities are driving a wave of exclusion. Growing global connectivity amid weak growth will increase tensions within and between societies. Populism will increase on the right and the left, threatening liberalism. Some leaders will use nationalism to shore up control. Religious influence will be increasingly consequential and more authoritative than many governments. Nearly all countries will see economic forces boost women’s status and leadership roles, but backlash also will occur.

Governing is getting harder. Publics will demand governments deliver security and prosperity, but flat revenues, distrust, polarization, and a growing list of emerging issues will hamper government performance. Technology will expand the range of players who can block or circumvent political action. Managing global issues will become harder as actors multiply—to include NGOs, corporations, and empowered individuals—resulting in more ad hoc, fewer encompassing efforts.

The nature of conflict is changing. The risk of conflict will increase due to diverging interests among major powers,

an expanding terror threat, continued instability in weak states, and the spread of lethal, disruptive technologies. Disrupting societies will become more common, with long-range precision weapons, cyber, and robotic systems to target infrastructure from afar, and more accessible technology to create weapons of mass destruction.

Climate change, environment, and health issues will demand attention. A range of global hazards pose imminent and longer-term threats that will require collective action to address—even as cooperation becomes harder. More extreme weather, water and soil stress, and food insecurity will disrupt societies. Sea-level rise, ocean acidification, glacial melt, and pollution will change living patterns. Tensions over climate change will grow. Increased travel and poor health infrastructure will make infectious diseases harder to manage.

The Bottomline

These trends will converge at an unprecedented pace to make governing and cooperation harder and to change the nature of power—fundamentally altering the global landscape. Economic, technological and security trends, especially, will expand the number of states, organizations, and individuals able to act in consequential ways. Within states, political order will remain elusive and tensions high until societies and governments renegotiate their expectations of one another. Between states, the post-Cold War, unipolar moment has passed and the post-1945 rules based international order may be fading too. Some major powers and regional aggressors will seek to assert interests through force but will find results fleeting as they discover traditional, material forms of power less able to secure and sustain outcomes in a context of proliferating veto players.»

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Occhio della Guerra. 2017-12-10. Ecco come sarà il mondo nel 2035 secondo l’intelligence americana.

L’intelligence USA ha delineato come potrebbe essere il mondo nel 2035. Diciotto anni possono sembrare un lasso di tempo molto breve per poter osservare dei cambiamenti radicali. Eppure molti osservatori sono concordi nel ritenere i prossimi venti/trent’anni come i più rivoluzionari di tutta la storia del genere umano. Inoltre basta guardarsi alle spalle e osservare i cambiamenti avvenuti nei vent’anni precedenti, per verificare come tale lasso di tempo sia più che sufficiente per dei mutamenti radicali. Diciotto anni fa il mondo doveva ancora assistere al crollo delle Torri Gemelle, alla conseguente guerra al Terrore, agli interventi militari in Afghanistan, Iraq e Libia, nonché alla crisi finanziaria del 2008. Insomma cambiamenti sconvolgenti.

Il paradosso del progresso

Ci ha pensato ora il National Intelligence Council USA, organo strategico dell’intelligence USA, a mettere nero su bianco quello che potrebbe essere il mondo fra diciotto anni. Il documento, chiamato “Paradox of Progress” fa parte del più ampio progetto “Global Trends” che ogni cinque anni cerca di dare un’idea del futuro più prossimo. Il documento serve così al presidente americano di turno, all’inizio del suo mandato (o al rinnovamento di esso), per farsi un’idea migliore delle sfide che lo attendono.

Per la sua redazione l’analisi si è servita di una dettagliata raccolta dati e di proiezioni basate sull’osservazione dell’evoluzione economica, sociale e tecnologica su scala planetaria degli ultimi anni. Un approccio scientifico per quanto la previsione del futuro non possa essere materia di scienza esatta. Tuttavia lo studio fatto dall’intelligence USA arriva addirittura al punto di prevedere quelli che potrebbero essere titoli di giornale in specifiche date.

La Cina si espanderà fino al largo delle Hawaii.

Ecco che il 3 febbraio del 2019 alcuni giornali scriveranno: “La Cina compra un’isola disabitata dell’arcipelago Fiji per costruire una base militare a 3.150 miglia dalle Hawaii per 850 milioni di dollari”. Pechino, secondo il report, è destinata, insieme alla Russia, a scalzare definitivamente gli Stati Uniti dal ruolo di unica superpotenza mondiale. In quest’ottica anche l’Europa uscirebbe dalla sfera d’influenza americana per entrare in quella euroasiatica.

Droni assassini e lavoratori sempre più flessibili.

Il 13 marzo del 2019 invece si titola che “Il Messico mette al bando i droni per uso privato dopo l’ultimo tentativo di assassinio”. La tecnologia, secondo il report, ha dunque preso il sopravvento e l’utilizzo dei droni diventerà nei prossimi anni disponibile al grande pubblico. Il report denuncia in particolare come tali droni diventeranno facilmente reperibili anche per la criminalità organizzata, che potrà usare queste silenziose zanzare meccaniche al posto dei più riconoscibili sicari. Se saranno i droni a “sporcarsi le mani”, il lavoro delle forze di sicurezza del futuro diventerà sempre più impegnativo e difficile.

Il 17 settembre del 2021 è invece il turno della “rivolta dei gig workers a Londra”. I “gig workers” sono i lavoratori della cosiddetta “gig economy”. Si tratta di lavoratori senza stipendio fisso che lavorano solo “su richiesta (on demand)”. Lavoratori in proprio che svolgono attività temporanee. Secondo l’intelligence USA, infatti, lo sviluppo tecnologico creerà un ulteriore disequilibrio economico, modificando radicalmente la piramide lavorativa conosciuta dopo la Prima Rivoluzione Industriale. Così lo sviluppo progressivo di Intelligenza Artificiale andrà a sostituire il capitale umano in numerosi comparti, contribuendo allo sviluppo appunto della figura del lavoratore “su richiesta”.

C’è ottimismo per il futuro dell’Africa.

Se il futuro dei lavoratori dipendenti sembra a tinte fosche, pare invece che il 2035 rappresenti per il Terzo Mondo  un’opportunità di rivalsa. Nel documento redatto dall’intelligence USA si fa riferimento infatti a una rivoluzione energetica dell’Africa, che porterà il Continente ad una progressiva autosufficienza. Un traguardo raggiunto grazie allo sviluppo di pannelli solari e batterie fatte in casa facilmente reperibili a basso prezzo. A ciò si aggiunge poi la diffusione della tecnologia di desalinizzazione dell’acqua che contribuirà a stabilizzare la produzione alimentare africana.

Conflitti per acqua e cibo.

Per il resto del mondo invece i problemi legati all’acqua e allo sfruttamento del suolo diventeranno di primaria importanza. Ben 21 delle 37 sorgenti d’acqua più grandi al mondo sono attualmente sfruttate in maniera “insostenibile” e se la tecnologia non porterà un miglioramento a questo, secondo l’ intelligence USA, vi sarà un crescendo di conflitti. Stesso discorso vale per la terra, sfruttata oggi ad un ritmo quaranta volte più veloce rispetto alla naturale rigenerazione del suolo. Quest’analisi lucida arriva da una fonte più che autorevole e mette in guardia l’attuale presidenza americana rispetto ai rischi maggiori per la società contemporanea. Starà ora alla Casa Bianca interpretare al meglio gli avvertimenti lanciati dalla propria intelligence. 

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Mondiale

Macron in visita nel Burkina Faso. Per poco lo accoppano. Incidente diplomatico.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-11-29.

201711-29__Macron__macron-2-copertina

«Un gay psicopatico che odia la Francia»

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«Come tutti gli psicopatici crede solo nei suoi propositi. Macron non ama la Francia, ama solo se stesso e non combatterà per i cittadini francesi» [http://www.gay.it/]

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Episodi di questo tipo bollano a fuoco l’autore.

Sarebbe persino inutile commentare con le pesanti e severe parole del caso: sarebbe sufficiente leggersi i resoconti.

«la prima volta di Emmanuel Macron in Africa da presidente si è risolta in una gaffe pesantissima, ai limiti dell’incidente diplomatico»

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«Durante un incontro con gli studenti a Ouagadougou, capitale dell’ex colonia Burkina Faso, l’inquilino dell’Eliseo, per invitarli a superare la visione di una Francia paternalista alla quale chiedere soccorso nella difficoltà, li ha esortati, con toni un po’ bruschi, a “non trattarlo come se fosse il presidente del Burkina Faso”»

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«Mi parlate come se io fossi ancora la potenza coloniale ma io non voglio occuparmi dell’elettricità nelle università del Burkina Faso! È il compito del vostro presidente»

Christian Kaboré, Presidente del Burkina Faso, inizialmente reagisce con un sorriso e poi si alza, lasciando la sala.

Ma Mr Macron lo incalza:

«Ecco se ne va… Ma no resta qui… Niente, è andato a riparare l’aria condizionata»

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Interpellato dai ragazzi sul traffico di rifugiati:

«Chi sono i trafficanti? Chiedetevelo, voi che siete giovani africani. Siete da non credere. Chi sono i trafficanti? Sono africani, amici miei. Non i francesi. Ognuno comprenda questa responsabilità. Mostratemi un francese, un belga o un tedesco che ha compiuto traffici tra la Nigeria e la Libia. Non esiste. Oggi in Africa ci sono Africani che rendono schiavi altri africani. Questa è la realtà. E ci sono europei che approfittano della miseria in Africa. In entrambi i casi si tratta di crimini inaccettabili. E li stiamo combattendo entrambi»

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«diffusi casi di abusi sessuali compiuti dai militari transalpini di stanza in Africa, abusi che hanno spesso visto come vittime bambini.»

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«You speak to me like I‘m a colonial power, but I don’t want to look after electricity in Burkina Faso. That’s the work of your president»

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«I am from a generation that doesn’t come to tell Africans what to do»

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«French military out of Burkina»

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Macron publicly ‘humiliates’ Burkina Faso president as French leader’s Africa trip goes wrong

«”It is the work of the president [of Burkina Faso],” he said, pointing at president Roch Marc Christian Kabore, who was listening to Macron’s speech from the same stage.

At this point, Kabore suddenly stood up and left the room. “He’s leaving… Stay there! So, he went to repair the air conditioning,” »

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Macron embarrasses Burkina Faso’s President Kabore: ‘He left to fix the AC’

«“I do not want to pay attention to the problem of electricity, this is what the president should be doing …he is leaving … stay here, he has left to fix the air conditioning system”»

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«The French leader also referred to his comments that prompted controversy in July, when he suggested that it’s a problem when African women have “seven or eight children.”»

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La diplomazia è l’arte del colloquiare, dello stare a sentire, sempre con amabile garbo, mantenendo sempre il completo controllo di sé stessi. Il diplomatico è una persona amabile, con la quale si può parlare di tutto, alla ricerca di accordi duraturi ed equi.

Intemperanze di questo genere fanno in un baleno il giro del mondo ed alienano in modo definitivo chi le ha perpetrate.

Noi comprendiamo bene come la sindrome da astinenza possa alterare profondamente le manifestazioni caratteriali, ma di capi di governo rottamati perché inidonei a reggere quel ruolo ne abbiamo visto un gran numero.

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Non tutto il male viene per nuocere.

Come nel caso di Herr Schulz e di Frau Merkel, anche Mr Macron sta suicidandosi con le sue stesse mani, e con lui la sua bislacca visione dello stato europeo, e con il suo sussiegoso ed altero comportamento.

Ci si guardi bene dal fermarlo. Mai fermare i suicidi.

Nota.

Mr Putin e Mr Xi se la stanno sghignazzando della grossa. Aiutare l’elezione di Mr Macron è stato uno dei loro capolavori.


Agi. 2017-11-28. Il viaggio di Macron in Africa è cominciato con una gaffe devastante

Mentre prosegue placido il lungo viaggio di Paolo Gentiloni nel continente nero, la prima volta di Emmanuel Macron in Africa da presidente si è risolta in una gaffe pesantissima, ai limiti dell’incidente diplomatico. Durante un incontro con gli studenti a Ouagadougou, capitale dell’ex colonia Burkina Faso, l’inquilino dell’Eliseo, per invitarli a superare la visione di una Francia paternalista alla quale chiedere soccorso nella difficoltà, li ha esortati, con toni un po’ bruschi, a “non trattarlo come se fosse il presidente del Burkina Faso”, dopo che alcuni di loro si erano lamentati delle pessime condizioni del loro ateneo. “

Mi parlate come se io fossi ancora la potenza coloniale ma io non voglio occuparmi dell’elettricità nelle università del Burkina Faso! È il compito del vostro presidente”, dice Macron, indicando l’omologo locale Christian Kaboré, che inizialmente reagisce con un sorriso e poi si alza, lasciando la sala. “Ecco se ne va… Ma no resta qui… Niente, è andato a riparare l’aria condizionata”, fa Macron.

Un umorismo che non è stato apprezzato dagli utenti dei social, che hanno parlato di “arroganza”, immaturità” e “mancanza di rispetto”. Di certo questa vena sarcastica era ancora ignota a chi era abituato al compassato Macron visto finora nei consessi europei.

L’inquilino dell’Eliseo aveva poi perso la pazienza quando, in precedenza, era stato interpellato dai ragazzi sul traffico di rifugiati: “Chi sono i trafficanti? Chiedetevelo, voi che siete giovani africani. Siete da non credere. Chi sono i trafficanti? Sono africani, amici miei. Non i francesi. Ognuno comprenda questa responsabilità. Mostratemi un francese, un belga o un tedesco che ha compiuto traffici tra la Nigeria e la Libia. Non esiste. Oggi in Africa ci sono Africani che rendono schiavi altri africani. Questa è la realtà. E ci sono europei che approfittano della miseria in Africa. In entrambi i casi si tratta di crimini inaccettabili. E li stiamo combattendo entrambi”. Più che il contenuto delle affermazioni, piuttosto realistiche, colpisce quanto il presidente francese si sia mostrato a corto del suo consueto aplomb, a partire dal linguaggio del corpo.

La delegazione francese accolta da bombe e pietre

Va detto che la visita non era iniziata proprio benissimo. Prima dell’arrivo della delegazione francese, due terroristi incappucciati avevano tirato una bomba a mano che trasportava truppe francesi, mancando il bersaglio e colpendo tre civili. Macron ha poi cercato di minimizzare: “È solo una granata, non dimenticate i morti che la vostra gente ha dovuto soffrire ieri e nelle settimane e nei mesi scorsi”. In seguito, il convoglio della delegazione è stato accolto da lanci di pietre, mentre gli studenti manifestavano di fronte all’università dove Macron avrebbe parlato chiedendo il ritiro dei soldati francesi dal loro Paese. “Dovreste solo ringraziare i soldati francesi”, ha poi detto Macron agli studenti. La rabbia degli africani non è però alimentata da generiche “proteste contro l’imperialismo” ma anche dai diffusi casi di abusi sessuali compiuti dai militari transalpini di stanza in Africa, abusi che hanno spesso visto come vittime bambini. 


Reuters. 2017-11-28. Macron’s promise of new France-Africa ties raises heckles

Ouagadougou (Reuters) – France’s President Emmanuel Macron told African youths on Tuesday that he belonged to a new generation of French leaders who would build partnerships with the continent rather than tell it what to do.

But a youth protest against him, stones pelting one of his delegation’s vehicles and a botched grenade attack on French troops hours before his arrival in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou showed the hostility that still lingers after decades of an often tense France-Africa relationship.

Macron was also subjected to rowdy student questions at the university after his speech in Ouagadougou, and was sometimes left fruitlessly hushing as he struggled to get his answers heard above the crowd.

In his speech, peppered with references to African nationalists such as Nelson Mandela and Burkina’s revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, Macron promised a break with a past in which France often seemed to call the shots to former colonies.

“I am from a generation that doesn’t come to tell Africans what to do,” Macron said, prompting applause.

“I am from a generation for whom Nelson Mandela’s victory is one of the best political memories.”

The 39-year-old is on a three-day visit to Burkina Faso, Ghana and Ivory Coast aimed at boosting cooperation in education, the digital economy and migration.

“I will be alongside those who believe that Africa is neither a lost continent or one that needs to be saved,” he said.

The grenade attack missed the French soldiers but wounded three civilians hours before Macron arrived. No group claimed responsibility.

Stones were thrown at a delegation convoy, however Macron was far away from it at a meeting with his Burkina counterpart, Roch Marc Kabore in the presidential palace.

Dozens of local youths clashed with security forces in the center of the capital throwing stones. Police responded with teargas. Protesters burnt T-shirts with images of Macron and carried slogans including “Down with new-colonialism” and “French military out of Burkina”.

BREAK WITH PAST?

It was not the first time a French president has promised to break with past French politics on the continent.

Macron’s predecessor Francois Hollande declared while visiting Senegal in 2012 that “the time of La Francafrique is over”, referring to a shadowy network of diplomats, soldiers and businessmen who manipulated African leaders for decades after independence.

But it comes at a tense time, when French troops are being sucked deeper into a years-long battle to quell Islamist militancy in the Sahel region.

France has 4,000 troops deployed there, and there are mixed feelings about their presence – highlighted in a bitter row between France and Mali over the deaths of 11 Malian troops being held captive by Islamist militants in a French air strike.

The French are pinning their hopes on the so-called G5 Sahel force being set up by regional country’s with French and American backing. It launched a campaign on Oct. 28 amid growing unrest in the desert reaches of the region, where jihadists allied to al Qaeda or inspired by Islamic State roam undetected.

Macron earlier told journalists G5 had been too slow to get established.

He said he would call for greater co-operation between Europe and Africa to tackle human trafficking and he touted a European initiative to rescue African migrants from being enslaved in Libya.

The exchange with heckling students was typical Macron, who during his presidential campaign often managed to turn initially hostile crowds in his favor by answering questions head on.

“You speak to me like I‘m a colonial power, but I don’t want to look after electricity in Burkina Faso. That’s the work of your president,” he retorted to one hostile questioner.

Pubblicato in: Cina, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Geopolitica Militare, Geopolitica Mondiale

Cina. BeiDou. La via digitale della seta. Il dominio del mondo.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-11-26.

Pechino-Cina

«If you want to get rich, first build a road»

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«In 2013 President Xi Jinping revived this ancient endeavour, with the aim of linking China with Asia, Africa, eastern Europe, Russia and the Middle East»

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«In 2018 the new Silk Road will get a digital dimension. China will extend coverage of its home-grown satellite-navigation system to the 60-plus countries along the belt and road»

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«By 2020 China aims to compete directly with America’s Global Positioning System (GPS), and expand its services globally with a network of 35 satellites»

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«BeiDou connects the unconnected»

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«The UN says that 62% of people in the Asia-Pacific region are not currently online»

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«In addition to over $1trn in planned belt and road investments, China is spending an estimated $25bn on BeiDou.»

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«More than 30 countries have signed agreements to embed BeiDou domestically»

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«BeiDou, which is under military control, enables China to end its dependence on America’s GPS.»

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«Now China can deploy BeiDou-guided conventional strike weapons »

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Mentre l’Occidente investe gran parte dei bilanci statali in welfare e benefit, stipendi e vitalizi, la Cina investe cifre colossali in infrastrutture, dalle quali si attende anche un congruo ritorno economico, duraturo nel tempo.

È semplicemente evidente che alla fine il modello cinese è quello destinato a vincere. Con tutte quelle che saranno le ovvie conseguenze. Infatti sta semplicemente accerchiando l’Occidente.

Due elementi da mettere in evidenza.

«BeiDou connects the unconnected»

Già: ed i paesi che l’Occidente aveva snobbato saranno forse ingrati verso i cinesi?

«BeiDou, which is under military control»

Si è avvisati.

Tra tre anni la Cina disporrà di un sistema sia civile sia militare di geolocalizzazione: questo era l’elemento cardine per permettere il passaggio da potenza locoregionale a mondiale.

Poi non ci si stupisca più di tanto se alla fine la Cina esercitasse il potere che sta pazientemente costruendo.


The Economist. 2017-11-22. A digital Silk Road. BeiDou, China’s rival to GPS, goes global

Over 2,000 years ago the Silk Road carried goods, services and ideas across the Eurasian continent. In 2013 President Xi Jinping revived this ancient endeavour, with the aim of linking China with Asia, Africa, eastern Europe, Russia and the Middle East. His “belt-and-road” initiative (overland and maritime respectively) involves ambitious plans for ­infrastructure.


In 2018 the new Silk Road will get a digital dimension. China will extend coverage of its home-grown satellite-navigation system to the 60-plus countries along the belt and road. By 2020 China aims to compete directly with America’s Global Positioning System (GPS), and expand its services globally with a network of 35 satellites. 


By the start of 2018 what China is calling BeiDou (its term for the Big Dipper) will have nearly 30 satellites, narrowing its accuracy to well below ten metres. That still leaves it behind GPS, which can pinpoint positions to a metre or less. But it is catching up and aims eventually to surge ahead.


Improvements mean faster, more efficient broadcasting. Navigation services will also get a boost. And BeiDou connects the unconnected. The UN says that 62% of people in the Asia-Pacific region are not currently online. Expanding coverage will be costly. In addition to over $1trn in planned belt and road investments, China is spending an estimated $25bn on BeiDou. 


More than 30 countries have signed agreements to embed BeiDou domestically. Many authorise China to build ground stations, which improve BeiDou’s accuracy and reliability. On top of this, China has a three-year plan to invest in information infrastructure projects worth a combined $174bn, including the development of fibre-optic cables for high-speed internet.


Already, more than 150m Chinese smartphones, or 20% of the market, are equipped with BeiDou, and over 40,000 fishing vessels use it to communicate. Some 20m bicycles and motorcycles employ its positioning services. BeiDou-enabled services were worth more than $25bn in 2015; this is expected to double by 2020. A sub-industry of BeiDou-compatible chips, antennas and products aimed at the mass market has also formed. 


Economic development is only part of the point. BeiDou, which is under military control, enables China to end its dependence on America’s GPS. Now China can deploy BeiDou-guided conventional strike weapons. As well as autonomy, the system brings the prestige of fielding one of the world’s four global navigation satellite systems (Europe, America and Russia manage the other three). 


Critics worry about two things. China’s secrecy is a concern, especially when something goes wrong with the satellites. And, as with the rest of the belt-and-road initiative, China’s lopsided assumption of financial risk could cause problems if the returns are lacklustre. 


Still, the government is committed to the plan. As the Chinese proverb goes, “If you want to get rich, first build a road.” In 2018, that means a digital highway, too.

Pubblicato in: Agricoltura, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Geopolitica Mondiale, Russia

Putin. Dal controllo del petrolio a quello del grano.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-11-15.

2017-11-15__Putin_Grano__001

La vera grande difficoltà intrinseca ad ogni discorso economico è la complessità del sistema nella sua generalità.

Se sicuramente la comprensione è facilitata dal ragionare su di un argomento per volta, alla fine arriva sempre il momento in cui si resta obbligati a considerare la situazione nel suo insieme.

Questo momento riserva sorprese anche molto grandi, e spesso non molto piacevoli.

Un elemento che considerato a sé stante sarebbe sembrato della massima importanza, nel quadro di una visione globale potrebbe diventare secondario, financo privo di valore.

Sarebbe davvero ingenuo pensare che i diversi elementi non interagiscano di loro, esattamente come sarebbe ingenuo pensare che gli effetti seguano leggi lineari.

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Nel rudimentale immaginario collettivo, la Russia è vista quasi esclusivamente come potenza militare oppure come potenza energetica. Due aspetti reali e concreti, che certo non estinguono la realtà russa. Non solo. L’uso delle risorse naturale non è il fine di una nazione, bensì un mezzo per portare avanti le proprie strategie, sempre che, ovviamente, quelle nazioni possano concedersi governi in grado di avere visioni strategiche e strutture organizzative in grado di perseguirle in modo coerente.

In questa ottica i governi occidentali sono severamente penalizzati dal troppo frequente ricorso alle urne. Generalmente parlando, ogni quattro o cinque anni mutano gli orientamenti strategici, condannandosi alla marginalizzazione.

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2017-11-15__Putin_Grano__002

«Russia, a leading exporter of crude oil for decades now, is increasingly dominating another critical global commodity. Its output of wheat has surged in recent years as good growing conditions boost farmers’ profits, allowing them to reinvest in better seeds and equipment»

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«About half the countries in the world import wheat from Russia»

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«Some of the biggest buyers are situated a short distance away, in the Middle East and North Africa, but demand comes from as far away as Mexico and Indonesia»

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«This season’s shipments are expected to be up more than 40 percent from just three years ago»

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«What’s the allure of Russian grain? It’s cheap»

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«tractors made by U.S. firm Deere & Co. and Germany’s Claas KGaA roll across Russian farms, and crops are sprayed with pesticides made by Monsanto Co. and Syngenta AG.»

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«Now forecast as the top wheat shipper, Russia saw its share of the export market jump from less than 1 percent in 2000 to an estimated 18 percent this season»

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«Russian grain typically doesn’t meet strict quality requirements set by key buyers Algeria and Saudi Arabia, for example, and it’s cheaper for Brazil to buy from suppliers within the Mercosur free-trade bloc.»

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«Transforming its farm industry will still leave Russia a long way from competing in the global corn, sugar or meat markets in the way it does with wheat»

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«The nation struggles to compete in corn because the government bans genetically modified seeds that make growing the crop more profitable in other countries»

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Cerchiamo di riassumere, sintetizzando.

– L’umanità necessita di un alto numero di materia prime, di commodities, che sono indispensabili: il cibo è prioritario su tutto.

– Se è strategico per una nazione raggiungere una ragionevole autosufficienza alimentare, altrettanto stratetico è il dominare e controllare i mercati mondiali: da questo punto di vista la produzione agricola è una arma, ed anche molto efficiente.

– Il grano russo è prodotto a prezzi di circa la metà di quello occidentale. Seguire il mercato delle commodities, ossia quei beni le caratteristiche dei quali non differiscono per sito di produzione, può essere anche fuorviante, se gli indici considerati prendano in esame solo la componente produttiva occidentale.

– La Russia ha il grande vantaggio nel poter stabilire prezzi politici, ed usualmente i grandi contratti sono stilati nell’ambito di accordi internazionali bilaterali, evitando il confronto con il mercato globale.

– Non solo. Un governo accentrato e snello, dotato di effettivo potere decisionale, può coordinare in modo particolarmente efficiente prezzi e disponibilità delle materie prime prodotte per l’estero: li vede non parcellizzati, bensì come un tutto unico.

– Da questo punto di vista il Chicago Board of Trade, classico mercato del frumento, pur restando di primaria importanza, ha perso molto del suo passato valore quando si considerino gli equilibri alimentari mondiali.


Bloomberg. 2017-11-13. How an Oil Giant (Russia) Came to Dominate Wheat

Russia, a leading exporter of crude oil for decades now, is increasingly dominating another critical global commodity. Its output of wheat has surged in recent years as good growing conditions boost farmers’ profits, allowing them to reinvest in better seeds and equipment. As low oil prices hurt the ruble, making grain more alluring for overseas buyers, Russia grabbed more of the wheat-export market from major shippers like the U.S. This is particularly welcome news for Russia as it tries to cut its dependence on agricultural imports, after it banned imports of some western foods in retaliation to sanctions imposed over the annexation of Crimea.

  1. Who’s buying Russian wheat?

About half the countries in the world import wheat from Russia. Some of the biggest buyers are situated a short distance away, in the Middle East and North Africa, but demand comes from as far away as Mexico and Indonesia. Russia’s top customer, Egypt, depends on Russian wheat to feed its people, while No. 2 buyer Turkey uses the grain to make flour it then exports. This season’s shipments are expected to be up more than 40 percent from just three years ago.

  1. What’s the allure of Russian grain?

It’s cheap. Gluts from years of bumper harvests depressed prices, which are also kept down by the short shipping routes from the Black Sea — the hub for the bulk of Russia’s supply — to Middle Eastern and African buyers. More recently, poor crops made grain from North America and Australia less attractive to some of their traditional markets in Asia, opening up the door for Russian wheat.

  1. How did Russia become a wheat export king?

Russia’s wheat exports began to surge at the start of this century, after Soviet-era collective farms gave way to private ownership of rich soils and farmers gained access to the latest international technology. Now, tractors made by U.S. firm Deere & Co. and Germany’s Claas KGaA roll across Russian farms, and crops are sprayed with pesticides made by Monsanto Co. and Syngenta AG. Helped by state support, farmers’ costs can be as little as half those of major competitors, so Russia can afford to keep planting even when prices tumble.

  1. What does Russian dominance mean for world markets?

Now forecast as the top wheat shipper, Russia saw its share of the export market jump from less than 1 percent in 2000 to an estimated 18 percent this season. During the same period, the U.S. share was cut almost in half. Bigger Russian harvests have added to the global glut and pushed prices in Chicago to near a decade low, prompting American farmers to plant the least winter wheat in a century last year. Russia’s dominance also gives it the power to shake up world markets. Benchmark prices surged almost 50 percent in 2010 as Russia banned exports, following a drought.

  1. Can Russia keep tightening its grip on exports?

Harvests may keep setting records — weather permitting — but there are signs the country’s ports and railways are starting to creak under the pressure of so many exports. Plus, Russia has struggled to crack some markets. Russian grain typically doesn’t meet strict quality requirements set by key buyers Algeria and Saudi Arabia, for example, and it’s cheaper for Brazil to buy from suppliers within the Mercosur free-trade bloc. Russia has made inroads in Asia, but high shipping costs will likely limit how much it sends there.

  1. Can Russia replicate its success with other foodstuff?

Transforming its farm industry will still leave Russia a long way from competing in the global corn, sugar or meat markets in the way it does with wheat. It’s now self-sufficient in producing sugar, but output costs are too high for large-scale exporting. Plus, Russia isn’t equipped to adequately handle shipments in containers, the world’s preferred way to haul white sugar. The nation struggles to compete in corn because the government bans genetically modified seeds that make growing the crop more profitable in other countries. Widespread African swine fever in Russia’s agricultural regions prevents significant pork exports.

The Reference Shelf

– A report on the revival of Russian agriculture by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

– Climate change helped Russia become a food-supply superpower, writes Bloomberg View’s Leonid Bershidsky.

– Ukraine is among the nations struggling to keep up in wheat.

– Duke University research on Russia’s wheat economy and its influence on the Middle East’s food security.

– An analysis of Russian agricultural potential by Sara Menker, founder and CEO of Gro Intelligence.

– A report by the Australian Export Grains Innovation Center on implications for Australia of Russia’s wheat expansion.

– The United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization’s country profile on Russia.