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If a 4.5 million nation is the third biggest foreign holder of US Treasury securities, the biggest in the European Union, it is something remarkable. If a 0.5 million nation is the second EU-holder of US papers, it is something striking. Ireland and Luxembourg, as well as the United Kingdom and Belgium, are used by the international financiers of foreign powers to credit or cheat the US government who pays them interest for avoiding taxes in their home-country.
It is widely known that Japan and China are the two biggest holders of US government bonds. But these countries have huge savings and their investments over $1 trillion have fundamentals. Meanwhile, the EU holdings (altogether bigger than those of Japan or China) are pumped up by financial institutions, including US financiers and companies. In other words, European holdings stem from loose tax rules rather than strong economic demand for securities.
The European elites have long stopped to respond to the fears and hopes of the people, which resulted in the emergence of new political parties and movements that address these fears and inspire many citizens of the Old Continent with a hope that it is still possible to have a new, healthy establishment. The forthcoming elections in France, Italy and the Netherlands may decide whether such politicians as Fillon, Macron, Grillo or Wilders, who decisively oppose the current establishment, will hold positions of power. The question arises whether they are as reliable and trustworthy as they would like to be perceived or they only wish to pull wool over our eyes and will not be all that different than their neoconservative and liberal predecessors.
Due to numerous scandals, cronyism, unfair business deals, empty promises, thousands of migrants in the streets and refugee camps people began to mistrust the likes of Berlusconi or Sarkozy. Recently, new actors have appeared on the political stage who immediately have been labelled as extreme right or left, populist, xenophobic and anti-European. People in Italy and France, however, do not let themselves be duped with such misnomers anymore and prefer now to turn their attention to such politicians as Marine Le Pen or Beppe Grillo, who at least represent the common man’s feelings and hopes. Yet, even if the National Front and the Five-Star Movement abide by their election promises, the leaders of these parties do not seem so decent as their voters wish they were.
A break-up of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia’s claims to legal authority over Kosovo will be the next setback for the European establishment. It is not a matter of if but rather when the war in the Balkans will resume. The consequences will be more detrimental to European stability than the Bosnia war in the nineties. A war in Bosnia will increase the tension between the Muslim and the native populations in West Europe, with the latter being more and more vocal in its opposition to the Islamisation of Europe.
The 1999 NATO bombardments of Belgrade forced the Serbian authorities to withdraw their troops from the province of Kosovo. Unlike Bosnia, Kosovo was an integral part of the Serbian Republic.1)Bosnia and Herzegovina was a constituent republic that together with Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro made up Yugoslavia. Serbia in turn had two autonomous republics, Vojvodina in the north and Kosovo (and Metohija)in the south. Now it is questionable whether an autonomous republic is an integral part of something greater. It is another story that these two autonomous republics were carved out from Serbia by Tito/communists who, like communists everywhere in the world, also these in Brussels, hate nations and always try to split them up. By all international standards, the bombardments of Serbia were an illegal act of war. The European Union and Washington recognised Kosovo in 2008 as an independent state; 45% of the countries in the world did not follow suit, seeing the forced secession as a dangerous precedence incompatible with international law.2)International recognition of Kosovo, Wikipedia.To tell the truth, there is no such thing as international law; there is only international diplomacy where war is a strategic tool to bend the weaker party to the will of the stronger one.3)War is a mere continuation of policy by other means, On War Carl von Clausewitz.
Bosnia and Herzegovina was a constituent republic that together with Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro made up Yugoslavia. Serbia in turn had two autonomous republics, Vojvodina in the north and Kosovo (and Metohija)in the south. Now it is questionable whether an autonomous republic is an integral part of something greater. It is another story that these two autonomous republics were carved out from Serbia by Tito/communists who, like communists everywhere in the world, also these in Brussels, hate nations and always try to split them up.
If you think mathematics is about numbers, calculations and things like these, you are wrong. Mathematics is also about “restoring the cultural dignity of children.”1)What is ethnomathematics, and how can it help children in schools? Teaching Children Mathematics; Reston; Feb 2001; Ubiratan D’Ambrosio.If you think mathematics is acultural, then you are in the wrong; true, mathematics used to be perceived that way but it should not, since “an acultural mathematical curriculum […] distorts the facts that children learn about how mathematics has evolved and who has contributed to this evolution.”2)What is ethnomathematics, and how can it help children in schools? Teaching Children Mathematics; Reston; Feb 2001; Ubiratan D’Ambrosio.If you further think mathematics is an objective branch of knowledge which students ought to master, then, yes you guessed it, you are wrong. Students ought to be encouraged to use mathematics “to critique aspects of society” and, indeed, to “critique mathematics” itself because its “algorithms structure our lives in ways which reproduce inequality”,3)Decolonising mathematics: Why it’s good for us, how to begin, BizNews.com 2016-10-17.which is elegantly referred to as “weapons of math destruction”.4)Math Is Biased Against Women and the Poor, According to a Former Math Professor, The Cut 2016-09-06.If you think decolonisation is about lands and nations, then again you are wrong. Nowadays we are in need of decolonising university curricula, science and the language of instruction.5)It’s time to take the curriculum back from dead white men, The Conversation 2015-05-08; Why switching to indigenous languages will help solve university crisis – education expert, BizNews.com 2016-10-04.
What’s wrong with mathematics? Indictment number one: it has been created by “dead white men” (so has English literature) who thus continue to “control things”.6)It’s time to take the curriculum back from dead white men, The Conversation 2015-05-08.Indictment number two: mathematics “has a problem with diversity”. Why? Because “all over the world, black and women mathematicians remain rare”.7)Decolonising mathematics: Why it’s good for us, how to begin, BizNews.com 2016-10-17.Indictment number three: mathematics (and many other branches of science) “perpetuates stereotypes about who belongs in the field”. And who does? “Gifted people”, and since e.g. in “2013, 73% of math doctorates were male and 94% were white or Asian” and “the proportion of women pursuing mathematics PhDs between 2004 and 2013 actually fell, from 34% of students to 27% of students” mathematics is reprehensibly racist and biased against females.8)Ideas of “Giftedness” Hurt Students, youcubed.Indictment number four: mathematics is “all too often Eurocentric, paying homage to the fair-skinned Greeks as the purveyors of most of our significant mathematical knowledge”.9)What is ethnomathematics, and how can it help children in schools? Teaching Children Mathematics; Reston; Feb 2001; Ubiratan D’Ambrosio.
Syria has long been a target of Neoconservative foreign policy. After the removal of Saddam Hussein from Iraq, Paul Wolfowitz, the leading Neocon ideologist, Deputy Defence Secretary under George Bush and an architect of the invasion of Iraq, said in 2003 that ”there will have to be a change in Syria”.1)Syria could be next, warns Washington, The Guardian.The problems during the occupation of Iraq and the radical change in the American public opinion towards the conflict forced the Bush administration and Neoconservative circles to shelve their plans.
Original plan and first problems
In 2011, Obama assembled a mighty coalition, including France, the UK, Israel, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia to finally remove Assad and bring “regime” change to the Syrian people, confirming the line of of “liberal interventionism” of the Bush years as Robert Kagan, another prominent Neocon ideologist, defines it.
In August 2013, following an alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad government against rebels, Obama finally found his pretext to justify the invasion of Syria, obtaining the authorization for the use of force from the US Senate.2)S.J.Res.21 – Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against the Government of Syria to Respond to Use of Chemical Weapons, Congress.govThe use of sarin by the Assad troops would later turn out to be a fabrication,3)The Red Line and the Rat Line, London Review of Books.much like Saddam’s never found weapons of mass destruction that the Bush Neocons had used as an excuse to justify the invasion of Iraq.
In a meeting including the most successful minds of the business and political world, you would expect a buzz of new ideas on how to solve the rising displeasure in the Western world: none of that; the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos was an echo-chamber of whining about the democratic participation of the masses that are no longer blindly obeying their elites, scorned as “populism”.
Davos 2017 was the reflection of an elite detached from the reality of the lower classes of the West, unable to understand their problems: the choice of the location for the forum is further evidence of this; a tourist location in a tax haven, instead of, for example, Molenbeek in Brussels, transformed by globalization into a breeding ground for Muslim terrorists, a no-go area for years, until the Belgian police had to use its special forces in the wake of a terrorist attack. This is the daily reality of the average Belgian, European, Western citizen.
US-centric media report that Japan has become the biggest holder of the US treasuries, surpassing China last month. However, this is true only in regard to single countries. If we consider European Union member states collectively, then they appear to be the biggest holder of the US treasuries. It has been so almost one year long. Unfortunately, the EU’s holdings are artificially overstated because of some financial havens and they are going in the opposite direction to the trend: up rather than down.
According to the latest data from TIC (Treasury International Capital System), the EU was in possession of $1242 billion of US Treasuries in November 2016, $9 billion more than one month earlier. The EU was the only one from three biggest holders that increased its amount of US treasuries in November, while China and Japan continued to lower their holdings.
When the so called communist system had crumbled in Eastern European countries, their respective societies embraced Western-style democracy and economy, which, taking into consideration the development gap between the two systems came as no surprise. What was stunning, however, was the fact that yesterday’s communists became today’s social-democrats; yesterday’s enemies of the West transpired as today’s ardent friends of the west; yesterday’s anti-liberal propagandists had no difficulty changing sides and becoming today’s pro-liberal propagandists; why, to top it all, yesterday’s Moscow’s footstools turned into the Kermlin’s fierce critics. It does not stand to reason that they (i) became capitalists overnight and that (ii) they converted to western values in droves.
The same people in a position of power who before 1989 would punish their compatriots for entertaining a mere thought of emigrating to the West or copying Western-style political or economic solutions; the same people at the helm who would not even ponder leaving the Warsaw Pact and joining NATO, arguing that geopolitics was such as to impediment any such attempts, the same people after 1989 came to laugh at the opponents of the European Union or NATO.
American dreams about energy independence may never come true. After a continuing decrease in the shale oil production, also the shale gas output has reached its peak and started to fall. As shale oil and gas make up half of the total United States oil and gas production and the rig count remains historically low, the American energy independence is shrinking and hopes for American LNG supply to Europe are disappearing into thin air. The US continues to be a net importer of energy resources and this is not going to change.
Dreams about the American energy autonomy are far from being abandoned, though. The shale revolution enthusiasm was shared even by top politicians, like Hillary Clinton, who claimed that the US had achieved energy independence, even if it was obviously not true.1)Hillary Clinton said America is energy independent. It is not, CNBC 2016-10-10 Gas autonomy seemed to be more achievable that of oil and 2016 was slated to be the first year when the US would export more gas than import.2)The New U.S. Energy Era Will Be a Gas, USNews 2016-05-16
The rule of law is often invoked by as a Western value that “populist” movements want to destroy, yet the establishment’s own governments have long suspended that very same rule of law when it comes to immigration. The most evident example of this is the immigration policy started by the Italian Letta government in 2013 and continued since then under the Renzi government.
In October 2013, the Letta government, facing waves of refugees escaping the chaos of Western backed-Arab Spring in Libya, which later transpired as nothing more than insurgencies of Islamic radical groups, launched the operation “Mare Nostrum” or “Our Sea”, which consisted in the use of the Italian navy near Libyan waters to rescue asylum seekers from the African coast.
On the morning of 19 December Ukrainians got up to learn about a momentous economic decision: the biggest Ukrainian bank, PrivatBank, had just been nationalised after its two owners used depositors’ money to build a business empire and distributed the money among Jewish organisations in Europe. Why did it have to happen?
A look into the past. PrivatBank used to be Ukraine’s largest bank with 20% of the banking sector and $53bn assets.1)UPDATE: Government nationalizes PrivatBank, guarantees deposits KyivPost 2016-12-18Its history is quite unusual for the country’s realities because it:
was one of the first private banks (formed in 1992);
was the first bank to introduce plastic cards and ATMs;
was the first Ukrainian financial institution to receive an international rating (Thomson BankWatch International Rating Agency, Fitch IBCA);
was the first Ukrainian bank to have opened its International Banking Unit in Cyprus in 1999;
introduced electronic banking in 2001;
received STP Excellence Award from Deutsche Bank in 2003.
In 1992, at the end of the Cold War, an American political scientist infamously proclaimed “the end of history:” liberal democracy and the capitalist system has won, the rest of the world will eventually embrace western ideas as superior to theirs because only they are able to provide peace and prosperity.
This line of reasoning has since become the West’s dogma in international relations, and so under the pretext of spreading human rights and parliamentary democracy all over the world the West perceives itself to be on a mission. For a while, it worked. Most of Eastern Europe readily embraced Western democracy and capitalism and even Russia seemed to follow.