viernes, 10 de agosto de 2018

Cuando hablan "los mercados"

La utilización de "los mercados" para hacer hocicar gobiernos díscolos debe ser una técnica tan vieja como el papel moneda. Hoy los está sufriendo Turquía, que viene dando signos de alejamiento de los principios básicos de sumisión al Imperio. Claro, la economía turca no es de gran ayuda tampoco. Primero veamos esta nota de Zero Hedge:

Título: Turkey Could Create A Larger Crisis Than Greece

Texto: The Turkish Lira collapse should have surprised no one. Yet, in this bubble-justifying market, it did.

First and foremost, the lira decline has been ongoing for some time, and has nothing to do with the strength of the US dollar in 2018

The collapse of Turkey was an accident waiting to happen and is fully self-inflicted.

It is yet another evidence of the trainwreck that monetarists cause in economies. Those that say that “a country with monetary sovereignty can issue all the currency it wants without risk of default” are wrong yet again. Like in Argentina, Brazil, Iran, Venezuela, monetary sovereignty means nothing without strong fundamentals to back the currency.

Turkey took all the actions that MMT lovers applaud. The Erdogan government seized control of the central bank, and decided to print and keep extremely low rates to “boost the economy” without any measure or control.

Turkey’s Money Supply tripled in seven years, and rates were brought down massively to 4,5%.

However, the lira depreciation was something that was not just accepted by the government but encouraged.  Handouts in fresh-printed liras were given to pensioners in order to increase votes for the current government, subsidies in rapidly devaluing lira soared by more than 20% (agriculture, fuel, tourism industry) as the government tried to compensate the loss of tourism revenues due to security concerns with subsidies and grants.

Loss of foreign currency reserves ensued, but the government soldiered on promoting excessive debt and borrowing. Fiscal deficits soared, and the rapidly devaluing lira led to a rising amount of loans in US dollars.

This is the typical flaw of monetarists, they believe monetary sovereignty shields the country from external shocks and loans in foreign currencies soar because no one wants to lend in a constantly-debased currency at affordable rates. Then the central bank raises rates but the monetary hole keeps rising as the money supply continues to grow to pay for handouts in local currency.

Now the risk is rising for the rest of Europe.

On one hand, the exposure of eurozone banks like BBVA, BNP, Unicredit to Turkey is very relevant.  Between 15% and 20% of all assets.

On the other hand, the rise in non-performing loans is evident.  Turkey’s loans in US dollars account for around 30% of GDP according to the Washington Post, but loans in euro could be as much as another 20%. Turkey’s lenders and governments made the same incorrect bet that Argentina or Brazil made. Betting on a constantly weakening US dollar and that the Federal Reserve would not raise rates as announced. They were -obviously wrong. But that erroneous bet only adds to the already existing monetary and fiscal imbalances.

Money supply continues to grow at almost double-digit rates, the government’s outlays exceed the diminishing reserves and capital flight starts to be evident as savers and investors fear that the Erdogan government prefers to take the option of capital controls in order to seize complete power than to restore economic credibility with sound money policies.

Like Argentina before, raising rates too late does not calm the market when the risk is capital controls and a bank run. Raising rates to 18% does not encourage anyone in Turkey to keep money in the bank when the risk is to lose all the money. Rates went from 8 to 17.5% and the crisis worsened. It will not stop because of slightly hgher rates.

Because the problem of Turkey is monetary and fiscal. Turkey will need a massive adjustment program and a credible opening of its institutions and markets to attract capital and restore growth. Unfortunately, the route seems to be more government control of institutions, less investment security and deepening the crisis blaming the inexistent external enemy.

Erdogan is fighting against a very dangerous economic foe. Himself.

For Europe, this is a devil’s alternative:

Bailing out Turkey will give further control to Erdogan and increase the imbalances of the economy while imposing higher restrictions to freedom.

Not bailing out Turkey, on the other hand, would cause a  much larger crisis than Greece was. Because too many eurozone funds and bank investments have been directed towards Turkey as a way to get access to some growth and inflation. What they got was a risk of capital controls and currency debasement.

The biggest risk for Europe will be to try to cover this mess with some aid in exchange for refugee and border support. Because what is already a relevant risk, but contained, will likely balloon to unmanageable proportions.

La respuesta turca no se hizo esperar. Amagaron contra la base de la NATO en Incirlik. Lo que sigue también es de Zero Hedge

Título: Turkish Lawyers Want To Raid Incirlik Air Base, Arrest US Troops For Terrorist Ties

Texto: A group of lawyers aligned to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has filed formal charges against a number of US Air Force officers who are stationed at Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base. The complaint accuses them of having ties to terrorist groups, and of being in league with the banned Gulenist organization.

Since the failed 2016 military coup, Erdogan has blamed cleric Fethullah Gulen for plots against him, and has been targeting any and all perceived enemies, accusing them of being in league with Gulen. This is the first time US troops, let alone US troops inside Turkey, have faced such charges.

Analysts say they believe the charges are a direct response to last week’s imposition of sanctions against two Turkish cabinet members by the US. The sanctions were imposed in protest of Turkey’s detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been held since 2016 on accusations of Gulenist ties.

The criminal complaint names Cols. John C. Walker, Michael H. Manion, David Eaglen, David Trucksa, Lt. Cols. Timothy J.Cook, Mack R. Coker, and Sgts. Thomas S Cooper and Vegas M. Clark. Air Force officials said they were “aware” of the complaint but would not comment beyond that.

The Air Force also praised their relationship with “our Turkish military partners,” though as US-Turkey tensions continue to rise, as they have in recent years, it’s not at all clear how long the US will be able to use the Incirlik base for its military operations in the Middle East.

The lawyers, on the other hand, demanded the government halt all flights out of Incirlik to keep the US officers from fleeing the country, and called on the government to raid the base and seek to capture the officers.

[ZH: As a reminder, Incirlik is a central hub for US air power in the region and the resting place of a few dozen B-61 nuclear gravity bombs with adjustable yields. Though the bombs are securely confined to the US-controlled side of the base, regularly maintained and looked after, and at little risk of falling into enemy hands, experts have long questioned the wisdom of holding US nuclear weapons in Turkey.] 


Ahora veamos un análisis que va un poco más a fondo. Viene del sitio web Moon of Alabama:

Título: How Turkey's Currency Crisis Came To Pass

Texto: President Erdogan of Turkey often asserts that 'foreign powers' (meaning the U.S.) want to bring him down. He says that the 'interest lobby' (meaning (Jewish) bankers), wants to damage Turkey. He is somewhat right on both points.

Since last week the Turkish lira is on an extended down-slide. Today alone it lost nearly 20% of its value. It will likely take the Turkish economy with it and Erdogan need someone to blame for it.

But while foreign powers and banks surely use the crisis for their own aims, it its Erdogan's economic policy that is foremost to blame. The long boom he created with borrowed foreign money is finally turning into a bust.

Here is a recap of how it came to this.

The larger political picture:

During the U.S. induced 'Arab Spring' U.S. President Obama joined with Qatar and Turkey in an attempt to install Muslim Brotherhood governments throughout the Middle East. When Hillary Clinton left the position of Secretary of State and John Kerry took over, the Obama administration changed its position. It endorsed the coup against the elected Egyptian President Morsi and it refrained from actively using the U.S. military to bring the Syrian government down.

Especially with regards to Syria Turkey was left holding the bag. Erdogan had bet on the U.S. plan to overthrow the Syrian government. His invitation of Syrian refugees and support of radical Islamists fighting in Syria had cost a lot of money and brought a lot of trouble with it. The Turkish trade route through Syria to the Gulf countries  was closed. Economic relations with Iran suffered. Erdogan wanted to get something out of it.

But U.S. policies had turned against him. The Gezi protests in 2013 had all the signs of a  U.S. color revolution attempt. They failed. In 2014 the Obama administration began to support the Kurdish PKK/YPG forces in Kobane. The PKK is a terrorist organization which tries to create its own country in the eastern part of Turkey, north Syria and north Iraq. The U.S. alliance with the Kurds created a PKK/YPG dagger pointed at Turkey's underbelly.

In response to a Turkish led attack on Latakia and Idleb in mid 2015 Russia deployed its forces to Syria. In hindsight it was the point where Erdogan's game in Syria was over. The U.S. would not launch a war against the nuclear armed Russia. Syria would not fall. But Erdogan played on.

In November 2015 the Turkish air defense ambushed and shot down a Russian jet. Russia responded with a total stop of all economic exchange with Turkey.  These were not the needle prick sanctions the U.S. often uses, but a total abrupt end of all trade relations including Russian tourist visits in Turkey. The economic damage for Turkey was huge. Erdogan had to submit to Russia. Putin was gracious and allowed Erdogan to save his face. The Russian government offered a lucrative pipeline deal and other sweeteners. In mid 2016 the CIA arranged for a coup against Erdogan but Russian intelligence warned Erdogan and the coup failed.

Flipping Turkey from the "western" to the "eastern" camp can be seen is as part of Russia's Black Sea strategy. It is repeat of a mid 19th-century plan executed under Tzar Nicholas I. The current plan is so far successful. But it collides with the U.S. plans for revive NATO for another Cold War. Thus the current U.S. plan is to use Turkey's economy problems to finally bring Erdogan down.

The larger economic picture:

Outside of his country Erdogan is much disliked. His arrogance and autocratic style do not leave a good impression. But within Turkey he had a very successful career and continues to be supported by a majority of his people. The reason behind this is the long economic boom he created.

In 2002, when Erdogan became prime minister, Turkey was recovering from a recession. Erdogan's predecessor Kemal Derviş had implemented some significant reforms.  Erdogan took credit for the results. He additionally discarded a number of cumbersome regulations and cleaned up the bureaucracy. He invited foreign investment. The program worked well. The economy grew at a fast pace and many Turks were pulled from poverty. A few became rich. The early years of economic success under his rule are remembered well. Inflation was steady at a relatively low rate even while money was freely available and the economy grew. But Erdogan's expansive economic program also made Turkey more vulnerable.

Turkey has a chronic current account deficit. It imports more goods and services than it exports and has to borrow foreign money to pay for the difference. In the early Erdogan years a lot of money flowed into Turkey. But it was invested in unproductive matters. New housing expanded a booming Istanbul. New splendid bridges and airports, lots of shopping malls and more than 10,000 new mosques were build as well as a 1,000 room palace for Erdogan to use. His cronies in the building industry got very rich.

But productive industries that create products to export to other markets are harder to build than mosques. Erdogan never made them a priority.  Thus Turkey's current account deficits grew from 1% of its GDP to about 6% of GDP. This was clearly unsustainable.

During the boom the Turkish central bank interests rates came down from earlier heights but were still kept higher than elsewhere. The industries and banks borrowed in Euros or dollars which carried less interests but this also meant that they took on a high currency risk. If the Turkish lira was to fall the loans would have to be paid back in hard currencies from revenue made in a diminishing lira.

Under normal circumstances Turkey's central bank would have engineered one or more mild recession during the 16 year long boom. Some of the accumulated waste and bad loans would have been discarded. Consumption of foreign goods and the current account deficit would have come down. But Erdogan has a curious understanding of economic theory. He believes that high interest rates cause inflation.

Every time the Turkish Central Bank increased its interest rate to keep inflation in check and to stop the lira from falling Erdogan found harsh words against it and threatened its independence. The relatively cheap money kept flowing, the Erdogan boom kept going, but the structural problems became worse.

Since early 2017 inflation in Turkey picked up. It since increased from 8% to now 15%. The currency went down. The value of 1 lira fell from US $0.30 in 2016 to US $0.20 a week ago. During the last few days it crashed another 25% to US $0.15. It now takes 2,000 lira to pay back the principal of a 1,000 lira loan taken out in U.S. dollars in 2016. The Turkish industries and banks have borrowed some $150 billion in foreign currencies. Only those who export most of their products in hard currencies will be able to pay back their loans. The others are practically bankrupt.

The bill for the long boom is coming through. The Turkish lira is crashing. No foreigners want to loan Turkey more money. For taking such a high risk they demand extremely hight interest. Turkey will soon be unable to pay for its imports, especially for the hydrocarbon energy it needs. Unfriendly relations with the United States will make it difficult to take out an IMF emergency loan. It would come with very harsh conditions such as demands to 'reform', i.e. end, the benefits Erdogan has channeled to his followers.

The current escalation:

The escalation of the currency crisis during the last week coincided with the escalation of a minor conflict with the United States.

After the 2016 coup attempt Turkey imprisoned U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, who had long worked in the country, and charged him with terrorism. Last week a deal was arranged to exchange Brunson for a Turkish person held in Israel on terrorism charges. Turkey had expected more from the deal. It wants to free several people who the U.S. imprisoned for having breached U.S. sanctions on Iran. (They indeed did so by arranging a gold for oil trade with Iran. A trade from which Turkey, and especially Erdogan's immediate family, profited.)

Last week the U.S. side says that Erdogan went back on the exchange deal:

The deal was a carom shot, personally sealed by Trump, to trade a Turkish citizen imprisoned on terrorism charges in Israel for Brunson’s release. But it apparently fell apart on Wednesday, when a Turkish court, rather than sending the pastor home, ordered that he be transferred to house arrest while his trial continues.

Trump and his evangelical vice president Pence went berserk:

Thursday morning, after a rancorous phone call with Erdogan, Trump struck back. The United States “will impose large sanctions” on Turkey, he tweeted. “This innocent man of faith should be released immediately.”

Vice President Pence chimed in, saying in a speech at a religious conference that Turkey must free Brunson now “or be prepared to face the consequences.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called his counterpart in Ankara.

Erdogan would not give in. But the markets reacted to the public sanctions threat. The lira began to crash from 4.80 lira per dollar to 5.20 per dollar. On Wednesday a Turkish delegation traveled to Washington to further negotiate the issue but the talks failed. The lira went to 5.50 per dollar. The financial markets became alarmed. The fall out of the conflict threatened to impact European banks.

This morning Erdogan held a speech in which he dismissed fears of a lira crash:

“There are various campaigns being carried out. Don’t heed them,” Erdogan said.
“Don’t forget, if they have their dollars, we have our people, our God. We are working hard. Look at what we were 16 years ago and look at us now,” he said.

Erdogan said he would not "surrender to economic hitmen". The banks which have loaned a lot of money to Turkey might understand that as a threat to default on Turkey's loans.

At noon the lira was falling minute by minute at a 20% per day rate. Erdogan's son in law Berat Albayrak, who was recently made finance minister, held a planned speech on the economy. He was expected to give some numbers on the deficits and to name some concrete steps the government would take to end the lira problem. But he refrained from doing that. He tried to calm the markets by claiming the the Turkish central bank is independent and would act as necessary. No one believes  that the central bank in Turkey can act without Erdogan's approval. Erdogan is a self-declared enemy of high interests and the central bank did not intervene today when it was urgently needed.

In the mid of Albayrack's speech Donald Trump personally intervened via Twitter:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 12:47 utc - 10 Aug 2018
I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar! Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!

Steel is one of Turkey's biggest exports. The U.S. imports $1 billion worth of Turkish steel per year. The White House later said the these tariffs are tied to security, not to trade.

Meanwhile Erdogan held a phone call with the Russia's President Putin to "discuss the economic ties". He may have asked for an emergency loan.

Meanwhile the lira dropped to 6.80 for a dollar.

Erdogan then gave another speech in which he lambasted the U.S. pressure without naming Trump or mentioning his tweet.

At the end of the day the lira stood at 6.50 to the dollar after 5.50 yesterday. Turkish stocks were down some 2%. Stocks of some Turkish banks and steel producers fell 15%. Spanish, Italian and French banks, which lent tens of billion Euros to Turkish banks, also lost. Bloomberg documented today's tic-toc in a live blog.

Where from here:

Erdogan now has the weekend to discuss the issue with his advisors. If no measures are taken by Monday morning today's crash will gain pace. The lira will fall further. The central bank will have to raise interest raise to 30+% to stop the slide and to attract urgently needed foreign money. The Turkish economy will go into a deep recessions. A number of its banks and companies will go bankrupt. Unemployment will rise.

Erdogan will blame the U.S. and the "interest rate lobby" for the downfall. His followers will believe him. Any hope that Erdogan will go over this is in vain.

But Turkey's problems are structural. The burst of its bubble was long expected. Its foreign account deficit is simply unsustainable. It will have to cut back on imports and boost its exports. It will need large emergency loans.

Yes, the U.S. is using the issue to put pressure on Turkey. But the U.S. is not the root cause of the problem. It only exposes it.

The U.S. pressure is not about Turkey's economy and not even about pastor Brunson. The pressure is, and has been since 2013, to bring Erdogan in line with the U.S. agenda. He will have to stop his good relations with Russia. He will have to stop his purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system. He may be ordered to stop the Russian pipeline. He must follow the U.S. lead on Syria. As long as he does not do so the U.S. will try everything to bring him down.

The only chance Turkey has to escape from U.S. demands is to further ally with Russia. Putin knows that Erdogan needs him. He will play for time to increase the pressure and then make his own demands. Erdogan will have give up completely on his plans for Syria. All Syrian land Turkey or its proxies hold must be put back under Syrian government control. Only then will the Turkey's trade route to the Gulf states reopen. Only then will Russia (and Iran) help Turkey though its crises.

On Monday Russia's foreign minister Lavrov will visit Turkey.

Will Erdogan accept the Russian demands or will he flip back to the U.S. side and surrender to Trump and the IMF?  Or will he find a different way to escape from his calamity?

China avisa

Un videíto oficial lanzado en ocasión del día de las fuerzas armadas de China está causando furor en las redes sociales. Anuncia guerra y suponemos que tiene un doble propósito: interno y externo. Así lo cuenta Russia Today:

Título: Peace behind me, war in front of me’: China shows big guns in epic recruitment VIDEO

Texto: Beijing’s top-notch military hardware is showcased in a bombastic recruitment ad which went viral on Chinese social media. The blockbuster-like video was produced for Army Day.

The ad titled ‘I Am a Chinese Soldier’ began circulating in China last week. It starts with touching scenes of servicemen departing from their families. “Peace behind me, war in front of me,” the narrator is heard saying, describing the sacrifices the soldiers make leaving their loved ones behind, the National Interest reported.

The video then drastically changes its tone, turning into an extravaganza of Chinese military might. Accompanied by an epic soundtrack, it includes fighter jets, tanks, an aircraft carrier strike group, numerous artillery pieces, and ballistic missiles. The ad also features the grueling training the soldiers undergo, preparing for combat.

El video, acá:

jueves, 9 de agosto de 2018

India crece a tasas chinas

Las reformas neoliberales del primer ministro indio Narendra Modi comienzan a dar sus "frutos": en un país donde el costo del trabajo es uno de los más bajos del planeta, la apertura indiscriminada es pura ganancia. Nadie puede competir contra costos de producción que son más bajos que los de un robot. La nota que sigue es de RT News:

Título: India’s economy is an elephant starting to run – IMF

Texto: India will remain the world’s fastest-growing economy as the country begins reaping the rewards of the ongoing structural reforms, according to Ranil Salgdo, the IMF’s mission chief for India.

Solgado described India’s $2.6 trillion economy as an elephant that is starting to run. Growth of the world’s sixth-biggest economy is expected to soar to 7.3 percent in the current fiscal year, ending in March 2019, and 7.5 percent next year. The current pick-up reportedly follows a drop to 6.7 percent in the previous fiscal year.

According to the Washington-based institution, India makes up 15 percent of the entire global growth. At the same time, the IMF called on governors of Asia’s third-largest economy for action to curb inflation and increase the number of females in the workforce.

The fund expects India to see a “broadly positive outlook” to “strengthening investment and robust private consumption,” but expressed concerns over risks tied to higher fuel prices and the weakening national currency.

Among the reforms implemented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, the IMF highlighted the introduction of a nationwide goods and services tax in 2017, which replaced dozens of state and national taxes. However, the IMF urged further improvement in the country’s tax system and continued reforms.

The IMF called for tackling crippling debts at Indian public-sector lenders, as well as relaxing regulations on foreign direct investment that would have a positive impact on the economy.

India would benefit from further liberalization of trade and foreign investment,” the reports said.

The institution expects inflation to grow to 5.2 percent this financial year, well above the target of four percent set by India’s central bank and a 17-year low of 3.6 during the last fiscal year. India’s current account deficit will reportedly widen to 2.6 percent.

martes, 7 de agosto de 2018

Armando la paz en Siria

La nota que sigue es de Thierry Meyssan para Red Voltaire. Presten atención a los detalles de los encuentros y acciones de militares y diplomáticos rusos en la puesta a punto del fin de la guerra en Siria. La nota insiste en que el presidente estadounidense Donald Trump sigue empeñado en retirar sus fuerzas de ese país. La Casa Blanca sí, el establishment no tanto:

Título: De cómo Putin y Trump están poniendo fin a la guerra contra Siria

Epígrafe: La prensa occidental sigue apoyando a las élites financieras transnacionales y tratando de desacreditar al presidente estadounidense Donald Trump. Esa actitud obstaculiza la comprensión de los progresos a favor de la paz en Siria. Thierry Meyssan pasa revista a los acuerdos concluidos en los últimos 5 meses y los rápidos avances logrados en el terreno.

Texto: Con prudencia y determinación, la Federación Rusa y el presidente estadounidense Donald Trump están poniendo fin a la dominación del mundo por parte de los intereses transnacionales.

Convencido de que el equilibrio entre potencias no depende de las capacidades económicas de estas sino de sus capacidades militares, el presidente ruso Vladimir Putin ha logrado ciertamente restaurar el nivel de vida de sus conciudadanos pero ha tenido que desarrollar el Ejército Rojo antes de comenzar a enriquecerlos. El 1º de marzo de 2018, Putin revelaba al mundo las principales armas del nuevo arsenal ruso e iniciaba su programa de desarrollo económico.

En los días subsiguientes, la guerra en Siria se concentró en la Ghouta Oriental, o sea la parte este del cinturón verde de la capital siria. El general Valery Guerasimov, jefe del estado mayor ruso, se comunicó telefónicamente con su homólogo estadounidense, el general Joseph Dunford, y le anunció que en caso de interferencia militar de Estados Unidos, los 53 navíos estadounidenses desplegados en el Mediterráneo y en el Golfo Pérsico, incluyendo 3 portaviones nucleares, serían blanco de la respuesta rusa. Lo más importante es que el jefe del estado mayor ruso invitó encarecidamente al jefe del Estado Mayor Conjunto de Estados Unidos a que informara al presidente Trump sobre las nuevas capacidades militares de la Federación Rusa.

En definitiva, Estados Unidos se abstuvo de interferir en la limpieza de la Ghouta Oriental, lo cual permitió que el Ejército Árabe Sirio y algunas unidades rusas de infantería completaran la liberación de los alrededores de la capital siria expulsando de allí a los yihadistas que ocupaban varias localidades.

Sólo el Reino Unido trató de anticiparse a los acontecimientos, organizando el llamado «caso Skripal». Según la “lógica” de Londres, si se derrumba el orden mundial imperante hay que reinstaurar la retórica de la guerra fría, estimulando el enfrentamiento entre los “buenos” (los cowboys) y los “malos” (el oso ruso).

En junio, cuando el Ejército Árabe Sirio, con apoyo aéreo ruso, comenzó su avance en el sur de Siria, la embajada de Estados Unidos en Jordania anunció a los yihadistas que, en lo adelante, tendrían que pelear solos, sin ayuda ni apoyo del Pentágono y la CIA.

El 16 de julio, en Helsinki, los presidentes Putin y Trump fueron aún más lejos. Abordaron el tema de la reconstrucción, o sea de los daños de la guerra. Como ya hemos explicado repetidamente desde la Red Voltaire, Donald Trump es contrario a la ideología puritana, al capitalismo financiero y al imperialismo resultante de los dos anteriores. Trump estima que su país no tiene porqué cargar con las consecuencias de los crímenes cometidos por los anteriores inquilinos de la Casa Blanca, crímenes de los que también fue víctima el pueblo estadounidense. Trump sostiene que esos crímenes fueron perpetrados por instigación –y en beneficio– de las élites financieras transnacionales y que son por consiguiente esas élites quienes tienen que pagar por ellos, aunque nadie sepa aún cómo forzarlas a ello.

El presidente ruso y su homólogo estadounidense también decidieron facilitar el regreso de los refugiados sirios. Al aprobar el regreso de los refugiados sirios, Donald Trump invirtió la lógica de su predecesor, quien afirmaba que los refugiados huían de «la represión y la dictadura», cuando en realidad huían de la invasión yihadista.

En el sur de Siria, los yihadistas ahora huían de las fuerzas sirias y rusas, pero –ya completamente desesperados– algunos remanentes del Emirato Islámico (Daesh) perpetraban atrocidades inimaginables en esa región en momentos en que el ministro ruso de Exteriores, Serguei Lavrov, y el general Guerasimov, iniciaban una serie de visitas en Europa y el Medio Oriente.

En los predios de la Unión Europea, ambos responsables rusos eran recibidos con la mayor discreción posible ya que, según la retórica occidental, el general Guerasimov es una especie de conquistador que invadió y anexó Crimea… y la Unión Europea, defensora autoproclamada del «estado de derecho», prohibió en su momento que este militar ruso pisara suelo europeo. Ahora, como no había tiempo para retirar su nombre de la lista de responsables rusos sancionados, la Unión Europea no tuvo más remedio que tragarse sus sanciones mientras este héroe de la reunificación entre Crimea y Rusia se hallaba en suelo europeo. La vergüenza de los dirigentes europeos ante su propia hipocresía explica la ausencia total de imágenes oficiales de los encuentros entre los dos altos responsables rusos y los dirigentes que los recibieron en varias capitales europeas.

El ministro de Exteriores y el jefe del estado mayor ruso resumieron a cada uno de sus interlocutores algunas de las decisiones adoptadas en la cumbre de Helsinki. Muy sabiamente, se abstuvieron de pedir cuentas sobre el papel de cada Estado en la guerra contra Siria y prefirieron exhortar a sus interlocutores a ayudar a poner fin al conflicto retirando sus fuerzas especiales, cesando la guerra secreta, cancelando toda ayuda a los yihadistas, contribuyendo al regreso de los refugiados y reabriendo sus embajadas en la capital siria. Los dos responsables rusos subrayaron además que todos podrían participar en la reconstrucción.

Inmediatamente después de la partida de la delegación rusa, la canciller alemana Angela Merkel y el presidente francés Emmanuel Macron interrogaron ingenuamente al Pentágono para saber si era cierto que el presidente Donald Trump tenía intenciones de forzar ciertas transnacionales –el fondo de inversiones KKR, Lafarge, etc.– a pagar, pero el único objetivo de esa averiguación era sembrar el caos del otro lado del Atlántico. En el caso del presidente francés Macron, ex cuadro bancario, se trata de una actitud particularmente deplorable en la medida en que antes había pretendido dar una muestra de buena fe con el envío de 44 toneladas de ayuda humanitaria a la población siria, ayuda distribuida por el ejército ruso.

En el Medio Oriente se dio mejor cobertura mediática al viaje de la delegación rusa. El ministro Lavrov y el general Guerasimov anunciaron allí la creación de 5 comisiones encargadas de facilitar el regreso de los refugiados sirios desde Egipto, Líbano, Turquía, Irak y Jordania, donde cada una de esas comisiones incluye representantes del país donde se hallan los refugiados así como delegados rusos y sirios. Nadie quiso plantear la pregunta incómoda: ¿Por qué la Unión Europea no participa en esas comisiones?

En cuanto a la reapertura de las embajadas en Siria, los Emiratos Árabes Unidos se adelantaron a los occidentales y a sus aliados regionales negociando de inmediato la reapertura de su misión diplomática en Damasco [1].

Quedaba pendiente la preocupación de los israelíes por obtener la retirada de los consejeros militares iraníes y de las milicias proiraníes que llegaron a Siria para luchar contra la agresión exterior. El primer ministro israelí Benyamin Netanyahu viajó varias veces a Moscú y Sochi para tratar de alcanzar ese objetivo. El general Guerasimov incluso llegó a utilizar la ironía al referirse a la pretensión de los vencidos israelíes de exigir la retirada de los vencedores iraníes. Por su parte, el diplomático Serguei Lavrov se atrincheró en el principio ruso que consiste en no inmiscuirse en las cuestiones vinculadas a la soberanía de Siria.

Rusia resolvió el problema de otra manera. La policía militar rusa reinstaló a los cascos azules de la ONU a lo largo de la línea de demarcación que separa a la República Árabe Siria del Golán ocupado por Israel, en las posiciones de donde los soldados de las Naciones Unidas habían sido expulsados por los yihadistas de al-Qaeda, cuando esos terroristas contaban con el apoyo de las fuerzas armadas de Israel [2]. La policía militar rusa instaló además, del lado sirio, 8 puestos militares de observación. De esa manera, Moscú logra garantizar –a Siria y a la ONU– que los yihadistas no volverán a esa zona y al mismo tiempo garantiza a Israel que Irán no atacará desde Siria.

Israel, que antes apostaba por la derrota de la República Árabe Siria y calificaba al presidente Assad de «carnicero», acaba de reconocer súbitamente, por boca de su ministro de Defensa Avigdor Liberman, que Siria sale vencedora del conflicto y que el presidente Assad es su líder legítimo. Como muestra de buena voluntad, Liberman incluso ordenó un bombardeo contra un grupo del Emirato Islámico (Daesh) al que hasta ahora Israel había respaldado de múltiples maneras [3].

Poco a poco, la Federación Rusa y la Casa Blanca –no Estados Unidos– están poniendo orden en las relaciones internacionales y convenciendo a diversos protagonistas de que se retiren de la guerra, exhortándolos incluso a que se propongan como participantes en la reconstrucción.

Por su parte, el Ejército Árabe Sirio prosigue su campaña de liberación del territorio nacional.

Queda pendiente, por parte del presidente Trump, implementar la retirada de los militares estadounidenses presentes en el sur de Siria –en la región de Al-Tanf– y en el norte del país –concretamente al este del Éufrates– mientras que el presidente turco Erdogan tendrá que acabar abandonando a su suerte a los yihadistas refugiados en el noroeste –en la región de Idlib.


[1] «Emiratos Árabes Unidos se dispone a reabrir su embajada en Damasco», Red Voltaire, 2 de agosto de 2018

[2] «Regresan los cascos azules a la línea de demarcación del Golán», Red Voltaire, 3 de agosto de 2018.

[3] «Bombardeo israelí contra elementos de Daesh en Siria», Red Voltaire, 4 de agosto de 2018.

lunes, 6 de agosto de 2018

Mientras tanto, en Afghanistán...

En la foto de arriba, el señor de camisa con cuello mao, sin corbata, es el presidente de Afghanistán, Ashraf Ghani. La leyenda de la foto dice: “Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (front C) on February 28, 2018 offered a conditional plan for peace talks with the Taliban, including the recognition of the militants as a political group, a move aimed at ending the 17-year war. The offer comes two days after the Taliban called for direct talks with the United States to find a “peaceful solution” to the conflict in Afghanistan, in an apparent policy shift after months of escalating attacks.” La nota que sigue, de donde viene la foto,  apareció hace pocos días en el sitio web Oriental Review:

Título: The Surrender Of US Positions In Afghanistan, Or Part Of A New Strategy?

Texto: The Pentagon is trying to convince the Afghan government to withdraw troops from sparsely populated districts, which is tantamount to abandoning vast swaths of land to the Taliban. What’s more, the White House is for the first time prepared to take a seat at the negotiating table across from the Taliban.

The New York Times notes that Trump’s new strategy is to a large extent building on the groundwork of his predecessors, George Bush and Barack Obama, who were planning to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan, handing over to the Taliban and other armed gangs those territories that were actually already under their control. The Americans are advising the Afghan authorities to focus their efforts on defending major population centers, with a natural priority on Kabul, Kandahar, Kunduz, Mazar-i-Sharif, and Jalalabad.

This new-old strategy is a gratuitous acknowledgement of the fact — no longer contested by even the most desperate optimists— that the US-supported central government in Kabul is not able to protect the country’s rural population.  The war in Afghanistan has now been underway for 17 years.  And during all these years, as the waves of American and NATO troops rolled into Afghanistan and then rolled out, the government was slowly relinquishing one position after another, ceding more and more districts and land to the Taliban.

The inability of the government forces to fight the insurgents was once again confirmed after the Obama administration announced the end of military operations in Afghanistan in 2014 and withdrew most of the US troops, providing security forces trained by American and other Western instructors to protect the remote areas and military bases.  In the months that followed, the overwhelming majority of those outposts fell into in the hands of the Taliban.

At a press conference in Brussels in June, General John Nicholson, the commander of the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan, acknowledged that most of the remote outposts and military bases had been captured by the Taliban.

Now much depends on the government of Ashraf Ghani and on his desire and readiness to draw down his troops. But the truth is, not all Afghan leaders agree with such a defeatist position.  Some Afghan commanders have no wish to quit their fortified outposts, for fear that the local residents will understandably believe they have been betrayed and throw in their lot with the rebels.

More than a quarter of the approximately 35 million people who live in Afghanistan make their homes in rural areas, while the population of the country’s largest city— the capital of Kabul— exceeds four million. Of the 407 Afghan districts, the government either controls or wields significant authority in 229, while 59 districts are run by the Taliban. Rule over the remaining 119 districts is seen as contested.

Every week hundreds of soldiers and policemen fall victim to Taliban attacks at remote outposts.  The government troops, as well as the law-enforcement and security services, lost almost 5% of their members— 18,000 people— just last year alone.

Obviously the situation cannot go on this way forever, and a political solution must be found. The Washington strategists and Pentagon generals feel that this answer lies in retreating into the cities and then defending the approaches to these urban areas. We were starting to see such moves in Afghanistan even during the Obama administration, when he began to withdraw the American troops.

But during Obama’s first term, the Pentagon continued to pursue the George Bush-era plan to create dozens of outposts throughout Afghanistan, thereby sending the message that the Western coalition would fight for every village and pasture, no matter how remote.

General Nicholson, who was at that time still a colonel, began to establish the first such outposts in 2006 in the Korengal Valley. However, three years later, the Pentagon realized the error of such a strategy, and by 2010 was already pulling troops out of that valley, having suffered heavy losses.

By 2015 the White House had already begun to try to talk the government of Afghanistan into abandoning those remote outposts and military bases, in order to concentrate its forces on the protection of cities and the more densely populated areas.  If the army withdraws, the protection of remote bases will be entrusted to the local police, who are far more poorly armed and trained than the army, in addition to being much more vulnerable to the Taliban’s ideological influence.  There is virtually no hope that the police would be able to hang on to the positions they still hold.

Of course, the entire American contingent in Afghanistan, which numbers about 14,000 troops, is not stationed solely in cities. Some of the American servicemen are training their Afghan colleagues in small towns and on remote military bases.

Donald Trump has long advocated for ending the war in Afghanistan. Only very reluctantly did he bow to pressure from Secretary of Defense James Mattis and order the deployment of an additional 4,000 boots on the ground.

Nor has the White House forgotten about diplomatic methods for resolving the crisis. For the first time ever, after 17 years of war, Washington has agreed to take a seat at the negotiating table across from the Taliban, one on one. The Americans had previously always restricted themselves to the role of observers in the negotiation process between the Taliban and government of Afghanistan. Officials from the US State Department and high-level Taliban representatives had their first contact last week in Qatar. If they really put their minds and backs into such negotiations, then this will be a major change in the US strategy for this war in Afghanistan that is almost 20 years old.

sábado, 4 de agosto de 2018

El frente europeo

Las tensiones centrífugas en la Unión Europea van a agravarse; esto es lo que sugieren varios analistas como el que posteamos hoy. El Imperio, en su afán de ganar tiempo frente a Rusia y China, está dispuesto a sacrificar a sus aliados de la NATO. Esta es la conclusión de la nota que sigue, de Rostislav Ishchenko para el sitio web The Vineyard of the Saker. Acá va:

Título: Europe as the Main Front of the Hybrid War

Texto: The fact of a global hybrid standoff between Russia and the US hasn’t been denied by anybody for a long time. Allies can change and come over to the other side, but the issue can be definitively resolved only by the defeat of one of these two powers. However, so far politicians and experts, proceeding from personal preferences or specialisation, highlight various private crises (that are, in fact, fronts of a global standoff) as the main one, calculating the options for victory or defeat depending on the succession of events in a concrete direction.

Some crises, like, for example, Middle Eastern ones (which is the most pronounced in the Syrian civil war), are indeed a key to the defeat of one of the parties. A victory for the Americans in Syria would guarantee them control over the Big Middle East and unimpeded penetration into the Caucasus and Central Asia. In turn, it would ensure the blocking of Russia-China transit routes and would nullify the trans-Eurasian political-economic project, which, in fact, is indeed the main competitor to the Anglo-Saxon oceanic one. After this any particular successes in any other directions wouldn’t mean anything.

The victory of Russia and allies – which in the military sphere has already been gained, but it still has to be cemented diplomatically (and this is a no less complex challenge) – guarantees to Russia and China reliable (even superfluous) control over trans-Eurasian trade routes. From this point of view the US has suffered a defeat. Their efforts in the Far East and in Ukraine can change nothing. Even a hot war with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the sinking of Ukraine into fully-fledged Makhnovshchina can’t tear up all transport arteries.

Ukraine is being quietly bypassed in several directions at once. And the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea even more so lies at a distance from the strategic transport routes connecting the West and the East of Eurasia. Nevertheless, the involvement of Washington in the designated crises (the Korean and Ukrainian ones) doesn’t weaken. It only acquires new forms. If Obama’s administration worked for the creation of stable, hostile to Russia structures, then Trump’s administration, on the contrary, destabilises and chaotisizes the situation on the borders of Russia and China.

Such chaotization when the Syrian crisis hadn’t yet been solved could’ve played an essential role in the distraction of the forces of Moscow and Beijing in secondary directions and giving a free hand to the US in a strategically important point — in the Middle East. But, as was said above, in the military-political plan the destiny of the Syrian crisis has already been decided. As for the diplomatic settlement, these crises, even in their worst variant, won’t be able to significantly affect the position of Moscow and Beijing at the negotiating table any more.

Therefore, supporting the processes of chaotization on the Russian and Chinese borders, the US tries to achieve another new (other) objective. This objective is obvious. In both cases of the US hopes that Europe, being integrated into NATO, will have to support America’s actions in one way or another. A new period of deterioration in Russian-European relations and deep cooling between the EU and China will become the consequence of this. Or so it seems to Washington.

What does it give to America?

The entire project of Big Eurasia is based on three components:

- European technologies and market;

- Chinese commodity production;

- Russian transit, resource base, and military-political umbrella.

The US didn’t succeed to tear the Russian-Chinese union apart. Similarly, Washington wasn’t able to block trans-Eurasian trade routes. However, if to force the European link out from the project, then it will sag.

Theoretically, Russia, after a while, will be able to replace Europe as the technological base of the project. However, there is nothing to replace the capacious and solvent half-billion European market. If Chinese goods aren’t purchased in Europe, then there is no need to transport them there. This calls into question the program of the development of transit corridors. Moreover, then the US will remain the main buyer of Chinese goods, which gives them the chance to significantly influence the policy of Beijing and to even try to change it in their own favor.

It is clear that China won’t opt for a confrontation with Russia. But its neutrality and economic dependence on the US is enough to radically change the direction of the flow of goods and to push Russia out to the roadside of global trade. With this move the ambitious modernisation projects of Moscow will be immediately called into question and its global influence will decrease. Controlling the Middle East as the intersection of global trade routes is one thing. But it is another matter if these routes are laid across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and the Middle East remains nothing more than a zone of permanent instability.

In fact, this global conflict is over the EU. And the slogan “We need Berlin!”, which Ura-patriots from the era of the Russian spring in Ukraine like to laugh at, not only didn’t lose its relevance, but on the contrary, after victory in Syria it finally comes to the forefront. Obtaining control over trade routes and, as a result, learning that at the end of these routes no trade partner is to be found, will be more than regrettable.

However, the actions of the US in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ukraine, and the Middle East – where they provoked another episode in the Muslim-Israeli conflict, and not Arab-Israeli conflict, (the main operators of which become the not at all Arabian Turkey and Iran), are rather transparent. Meanwhile Europe resists these actions by calling on the US to act more moderately in the dispute with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, condemning the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and having practically stopped its active participation in the Ukrainian crisis. Theoretically Washington can put more pressure on the EU, but there is no guarantee that its resistance will be broken. It’s possible that Europe may not involve itself in a confrontation against Russia and China, having kept its neutrality, which is formally favorable for the US, but in practice disrupts the scheme of Washington.

I think that the US surely understands the unsteadiness of placing a stake on the voluntary involvement of the EU in a crisis that isn’t just unprofitable for it, but is also economically deadly. Brussels, Berlin, and Paris already showed that they are able to politically support and thus bureaucratically sink the most elaborated American projects (for example, the Transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP), which didn’t happen because of the EU’s sabotage). Since the battle for transit routes was lost by the US, the only option that doesn’t allow the creation of Big Eurasia is to yank Europe out of the scheme at any cost, as the weakest link of the developing chain.

If Europe doesn’t desire to voluntary close its doors to the Russian-Chinese project, and it is also impossible to force it to do so, then all that remains is the option for the disappearance of Europe. Of course, not the physical disappearance of European States from the political map, but of peoples from history. Just the disappearance of Europe as an economic partner. For this purpose ensuring the chaotization of Europe is enough.

The task becomes simpler by the fact that Europe is far from being united, and the EU is experiencing serious economic difficulties. The problem of diluting the European identity via the liberal-globalist ideology of permanent tolerance and rejecting traditional values is superimposed on top of this. Besides this, the EU is the traditional economic partner and military-political ally of the US, and it is a younger partner and younger ally too. I.e., Washington has considerable-enough freedom of hands to influence the development of both the policies of certain European states and general European policies. Finally, the liberal elites that are still in power feel the breath on their necks of conservative nationalists, which are scoring more and more points both in national and in general European elections. Without having the possibility to prevent their political opponents from coming to power in the near future at the expense of an internal resource, the liberal elites are obliged to lean on the US, sacrificing the interests of their States and the European Union in general in favor of personal and party interests.

Thus, it is possible to expect that if the declared policy of the EU aimed at gradually exiting the sanctions regime and normalising relations with Russia doesn’t change, then the US – leaning on strong positions inside the European Union – will start active work for the disintegration and chaotization of Europe. In the soft option this must destroy the united economic structure and plunge EU countries into a deep economic crisis that will depreciate them as economic partners. In the hard option there can be talk of a series of political and military conflicts on the European continent. The result will be the same, but the economy will be destroyed more reliably, and the purchasing power of the population will collapse no less than Ukraine’s did.

The US has two directions for active actions:

- Following the line of contradictions between the rich North and the poor South: the PIGS group countries, which are up to their ears in debt, and the countries adjoining them, which for a long time haven’t been enthusiastic about the German policy of austerity and control over the deficiencies of national budgets. However, in order to throw them against Germany, they need to offer to them the equivalent financing. I will remind that Alexis Tsipras, since becoming the Prime Minister of Greece using slogans of resistance to the German dictatorship, immediately went to Russia to ask for money. As soon as it became clear that Russia doesn’t plan to finance the Greek deficiency, Tsipras gave up and accepted all of Germany’s demands documented as the requirements of the EU. It is unlikely that Washington, feeling a need for available funds, will want to finance a very expensive mutiny of the European South against the North.

- Following the line of contradictions between the West and the East (or Old Europe and New Europe). Eastern European countries entered the EU as clients of Washington and repeatedly entered into conflicts with the leaders of the EU, supporting the position of the US. And now their elites, who built their political career on the back of Russophobia, categorically oppose normalising relations with Russia. Rare exceptions (like the president of the Czech Republic and the Prime Ministers of Slovakia and Hungary, who are also situational allies and not completely free in their actions) don’t play a role.

The fact that Washington chose precisely the Eastern option and placed a stake on Eastern European limitrophes, strengthening America’s military presence in these States, testifies to this. Moreover, a considerable part of these troops (except the division that was additionally transferred from America) simply change their location, leaving garrisons in Western Europe and moving to Eastern ones.

Stories about this being done in the name of defending the small, but proud Eastern Europeans from a Russia that dreams of occupying them don’t invoke trust. Not only because Russia has no reason to attack NATO if it seeks to set an economic partnership with the EU in motion, but also because NATO Generals themselves don’t hide the fact that even if the created groups are increased threefold in size, they won’t be able to prevent an almost instant occupation at least of the Baltics (and then all of Eastern Europe) by Russia if the latter suddenly has the desire to attack. Moreover, in both the US and in Old Europe politicians almost openly say that they won’t risk a global nuclear conflict because of Riga, Warsaw, or Bucharest.

Thus, the American troops don’t increase the stability of the Eastern European regimes in relation to Russia. On the contrary, they create a nervous situation inside the country, reducing the support of voters for Russophobic parties. The population is simply afraid that some badly though over provocation can indeed result in a military conflict.

But the American garrisons sharply increase the stability of Eastern Europe in discussion with Western Europe. Limitrophes act as priority allies of the US in the defence of the “free world”, and they demand the preservation of and even an increase in financial support from general European funds, because they supposedly are “frontline States”.

At the same time, Germany seriously intends to completely stop giving this support by 2020. France supports Germany in this, and even the “poor South” isn’t at all against believing that it will be able to lay claim to for the saved money or, at worst, to avoid the sequestration of the general European payments in its advantage.

Meanwhile, many rounds of negotiations and consultations showed that the parties aren’t inclined to a compromise, taking hard lines instead. Paris and Berlin are already ready to switch from talking about “a Europe of different speeds” to the implementation of the project “of two Europes”. It assumes that rich EU countries with stable economies will unite around Paris and Berlin into a certain federal European State, and the others, having formally remained members of the EU, but dropping out of the circle of further integration, in essence will turn for Old Europe into a colonial periphery approximately under the same conditions that the EU imposed on the countries of the Eastern Partnership in agreements on association.

And what’s more, Eastern Europe can resist such a succession of events only by leaning on the US and destroying the EU. Moreover, not discussing, like Britain did, the Brexit points of order, but solving problems on the spur of the moment. The American military-political umbrella will allow them to ignore the European rules and the discontent of partners.

But the chaotic destruction of the European Union will inevitably entail the destruction of an economy that wasn’t re-constructed in time (usually reforms in the EU last for years) and the crash of the Euro system. At worst there will be separatist movements (when a country votes for an exit from the EU, but some regions are against it), and also border conflicts. These conflicts can easily develop into military ones, and American bases won’t be able to prevent them (even if Washington wants to, the US won’t want to).

If the fragile structure of the EU starts to crumble – it is already experiencing considerable strain – and it isn’t known what new hair will break the camel’s back, then it will be almost impossible to stabilise the situation and to reverse the already begun process. It will mean an economic and political disaster for Europe.

In such a succession of events, the US practically wins nothing, destroying its last serious ally and losing its European bridgehead. But they don’t allow Russia to win either. Should Europe drop out, the project of Big Eurasia with a high share of probability will break up into two projects. China will start recreating the “sphere of co-prosperity” that was left unfinished by the Japanese in the first half of the 20th century in Southeast Asia and in the Asia-Pacific region. Russia will try to rally Central Asia and the Middle East around itself, and also to manoeuvre in the shattered Europe. The interests of these two systems will meet in Africa and India. But the Americans will try to return to the doctrine of “America for Americans” and force out China and Russia from the bridgeheads occupied by them in Latin America.

In general, the world will become multipolar, but more confrontational, and Washington will have the possibility to play on the contradictions between the former allies in the Eurasian project.

The battle for Europe promises to become the heaviest and unpredictable battle of the 4th world hybrid war (the 3rd one being a cold war). Thus, Russia and China need only a victory, but for the US a draw will be enough. A draw will also give them a neutral result in the geopolitical standoff, as well as the opportunity to be reconstructed and start everything anew.

viernes, 3 de agosto de 2018


Nueva movida del Papa Francisco, esta vez en contra de la pena de muerte. El destinatario final parece ser el Imperio, uno de los principales impulsores de esta pena a escala global. Veremos qué pasa con las comunidades cristianas de ese país. La nota que sigue es de Lorena Pacho para el diario español El País:

Título: El Papa cambia el Catecismo para declarar “inadmisible” la pena de muerte

Subtítulo: El Vaticano considera que este castigo "atenta contra la inviolabilidad y la dignidad de la persona"

Texto: El papa Francisco ha modificado el Catecismo católico para declarar "inadmisible" la pena de muerte y para señalar el compromiso de la Iglesia con la supresión de esta condena en todo el mundo. La Santa Sede informó este jueves en un comunicado de que bajo orden del Pontífice se ha reformado el artículo de este documento, en el que se recogen las bases del catolicismo, que hacía referencia a esta cuestión. En la versión antigua, no se excluía el uso de la pena capital, aunque solo bajo ciertas premisas y si fuera "el único camino posible". Con este cambio la Iglesia erradica de su doctrina la legitimación de la pena de muerte.

 En el nuevo texto se refleja que "la Iglesia enseña, a la luz del Evangelio, que la pena de muerte es inadmisible, porque atenta contra la inviolabilidad y la dignidad de la persona, y se compromete con determinación a su abolición en todo el mundo".

El prefecto de la Congregación para la Doctrina de la Fe, Luis Ladaria Ferrer, presentó las modificaciones con una carta dirigida a todos los obispos del mundo. En ella explica que Francisco había autorizado el cambio del artículo 2.267 del documento católico porque "hoy está cada vez más viva la conciencia de que la dignidad de la persona no se pierde ni siquiera luego de haber cometido crímenes muy graves". En contraposición, la situación política y social del pasado, que "hacía de la pena de la muerte un instrumento aceptable para la tutela del bien común". De hecho, expone que uno de los elementos actuales que influyó para adoptar el nuevo posicionamiento ha sido la expansión de "una nueva comprensión acerca del sentido de las sanciones penales por parte del Estado".

Para redimensionar su postura, el Vaticano también se ha hecho eco de la implementación de sistemas de detención "más eficaces, que garantizan la necesaria defensa de los ciudadanos, pero que, al mismo tiempo, no le quitan al reo la posibilidad de redimirse definitivamente". En su carta, el cardenal español destaca que esta metamorfosis se asienta principalmente en "la conciencia cada vez más clara en la Iglesia del respeto que se debe a toda vida humana".

La versión anterior, que se anulará cuando la nueva –datada el 1 de agosto de 2018– entre en vigor con la publicación en el diario oficial, L'Osservatore Romano, y en el Acta Apostolicae Sedis, que recoge los textos de la Santa Sede, no excluía el uso de la pena capital. La contemplaba únicamente "si esta fuera el único camino posible para defender eficazmente del agresor injusto las vidas humanas". También añadía que en aquel momento, los casos en los que fuera "absolutamente necesario suprimir al reo" sucedían "rara vez (...) si es que ya en realidad se dan algunos".

El Catecismo, que tiene carácter de instrumento de derecho público eclesiástico, terminó de elaborarse en 1992. Se redactó siguiendo las referencias del Concilio Vaticano II, que se había celebrado treinta años antes y que marcó una nueva época al introducir importantes cambios que dieron origen a la Iglesia actual. Una vez que el Catecismo estuvo hilvanado, durante los cinco años posteriores se recogieron propuestas de modificación procedentes de la Iglesia universal y en 1997 se publicó la versión oficial y definitiva en latín con el cardenal Joseph Ratzinger -después Papa Benedicto XVI- al frente del proyecto como prefecto en aquel momento de la Congregación para la Doctrina de la Fe.

Según los últimos datos de Amnistía Internacional, en 2017 al menos 23 países de todo el mundo llevaron a cabo ejecuciones de reos y más de 2.500 personas fueron condenadas a muerte ese año en 53 países.

El estado Vaticano abolió la pena de muerte en 1969, por orden de Pablo VI. Se había establecido cuarenta años antes exclusivamente para condenar el delito de asesinato – en todos sus grados – al Papa y nunca llegó a aplicarse.

martes, 31 de julio de 2018

A propósito de Siria

Más de una vez hemos señalado que la “guerra civil” siria es mucho más que un conflicto local, o incluso regional. Es el campo de batalla más visible donde se juegan, hoy, intereses y conflictos de alcance global. No es el único, pero si el de mayor envergadura; tampoco será el último. A propósito de Siria y “su” conflicto, nos gustó esta nota reciente de Thierry Meyssan para Red Voltaire:

Título: El ocaso de la guerra

Epígrafe: Si en vez de ver la guerra en Siria como un acontecimiento en sí mismo la consideramos el clímax de un conflicto mundial de más de un cuarto de siglo, tenemos que interrogarnos sobre las consecuencias del final, ya próximo, de las hostilidades. Su fin no marca la derrota de una ideología sino el fracaso de la globalización y del capitalismo financiero. Los pueblos que no han entendido eso, fundamentalmente en Europa occidental, se ponen al margen del resto del mundo.

Texto: Las guerras mundiales no terminan simplemente con un vencedor y un vencido. Su final traza los contornos de un nuevo mundo.

La Primera Guerra Mundial concluyó con las derrotas del imperio alemán, del imperio ruso, del imperio austrohúngaro y del imperio otomano. El fin de las hostilidades se vio marcado por la creación de una organización internacional, la Sociedad de las Naciones (SDN), encargada de abolir la diplomacia secreta y de resolver los conflictos entre los Estados-miembros a través de la negociación.

La Segunda Guerra Mundial concluyó con la victoria de la Unión Soviética sobre el Reich nazi y el imperio nipón del hakk? ichi’u [1], seguida de una carrera entre los Aliados por ocupar los despojos de la coalición derrotada. De ese conflicto nació una nueva estructura –la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU)– encargada de prevenir nuevas guerras mediante el establecimiento del Derecho Internacional alrededor de una doble legitimidad:

- la Asamblea General, donde cada Estado dispone de un voto, independientemente de su tamaño;

- y un directorio donde figuran los 5 principales vencedores del conflicto, o sea el Consejo de Seguridad.

La guerra fría no es la Tercera Guerra Mundial. Tampoco terminó con la derrota de la Unión Soviética sino con su derrumbe sobre sí misma. El fin de la guerra fría no dio paso a la creación de nuevas estructuras sino a la integración de los Estados ex soviéticos a organizaciones ya existentes.

La Tercera Guerra Mundial comenzó en Yugoslavia, continuó en Afganistán, Irak, Georgia, Libia y Yemen para terminar en Siria. Su campo de batalla se circunscribió a los Balcanes, el Cáucaso y lo que ahora se designa como el «Medio Oriente ampliado» o «Gran Medio Oriente». Sin desbordar demasiado hacia el mundo occidental, ha tenido sin embargo un gran costo en vidas para innumerables poblaciones musulmanas o cristianas ortodoxas. Y está concluyéndose desde que Putin y Trump realizaron su encuentro cumbre en Helsinki.

Las profundas transformaciones que han modificado el mundo durante los 26 últimos años han transferido parte del poder de los gobiernos a otras entidades, ya sea administrativas o privadas, así como a la inversa. Por ejemplo, hemos visto un ejército privado –el llamado Emirato Islámico (Daesh)– autoproclamarse Estado soberano. También hemos visto al general estadounidense David Petraeus organizar el mayor tráfico de armas de toda la Historia desde su cargo de director de la CIA y, luego de ser obligado a dimitir, lo hemos visto proseguir ese tráfico desde una firma privada, el fondo especulativo KKR [2].

La situación actual puede describirse como un enfrentamiento entre, de un lado, una clase dirigente transnacional y, por el otro lado, varios gobiernos responsables ante sus pueblos respectivos.

Las alegaciones de la propaganda atribuyen las causas de las guerras a circunstancias inmediatas pero esas causas se hallan, por el contrario, en rivalidades y ambiciones profundas y antiguas. Los países demoran años en levantarse unos contra otros. A menudo, sólo el tiempo nos permite comprender los conflictos que devoran nuestras vidas.

Por ejemplo, muy pocos lograron comprender lo que estaba sucediendo cuando los japoneses invadieron Manchuria –en 1938– y hubo que esperar a que Alemania invadiera Checoslovaquia –en 1938– para entender que las ideologías racistas estaban desatando la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Asimismo, también fueron pocos los que lograron entender, desde el momento de la guerra en Bosnia-Herzegovina –en 1992–, que la alianza entre la OTAN y el islam político abría el camino a la destrucción del mundo musulmán [3].

A pesar de los trabajos que han publicado periodistas e historiadores, son aún numerosos los que siguen sin ver la enorme manipulación de la que todos hemos sido víctimas. Quienes no ven eso se niegan a admitir que la OTAN coordinaba en aquella época todos los elementos sauditas e iraníes en Europa, a pesar de ser esto un hecho innegable [4].

También se niegan a reconocer que al-Qaeda, grupo terrorista al que Estados Unidos atribuye los atentados del 11 de septiembre de 2001, combatió en Libia y en Siria bajo las órdenes de la OTAN, lo cual es también innegable [5].

El plan inicial que preveía azuzar al mundo musulmán contra el mundo ortodoxo se transformó durante su aplicación. No hubo «guerra de civilizaciones». El Irán chiita se volvió en contra de la OTAN, bajo cuyas órdenes había luchado en Yugoslavia, y se alió con la Rusia ortodoxa para salvar la Siria multiconfesional.

Tenemos que abrir los ojos ante lo que la Historia nos enseña y prepararnos para el surgimiento de un nuevo sistema mundial, donde algunos de nuestros amigos de ayer se han convertido en enemigos y viceversa.

En Helsinki, no fue Estados Unidos quien concluyó un acuerdo con la Federación Rusa. Fue sólo la Casa Blanca porque el enemigo común es un grupo transnacional que goza de autoridad en Estados Unidos. Esa clase o grupo se considera el verdadero representante de Estados Unidos, aunque ese papel supuestamente pertenece al presidente, y no ha vacilado en acusar al presidente Trump de traición.

Ese grupo transnacional ha logrado hacernos creer que ya no hay ideologías y que estamos ante el fin de la Historia. Ha presentado la globalización –que en realidad es la dominación anglosajona mediante la imposición de la lengua y del modo de vida estadounidense– como una consecuencia del desarrollo de las técnicas del transporte y las comunicaciones. Nos ha asegurado que un sistema político único –la democracia, presentada como el «gobierno del Pueblo, por el Pueblo y para el Pueblo»– es lo ideal para todos los humanos y que es posible imponer ese sistema mediante el uso de la fuerza. Para terminar, ese grupo transnacional ha presentado la libre circulación de personas y capitales como la solución de todos los problemas de escasez de fuerza de trabajo y de inversiones.

Pero esas “verdades” que aceptamos en nuestra vida cotidiana no resisten al empuje de la reflexión.

Utilizando esas mentiras, ese grupo transnacional ha venido corroyendo sistemáticamente el poder de los Estados y acumulando enormes fortunas.

El bando que sale vencedor de esta larga guerra defiende, por el contrario, la idea de que para escoger su destino los hombres deben organizarse en Naciones definidas, ya sea a partir de un territorio, de una historia o de un proyecto común. Por consiguiente, ese bando apoya las economías nacionales contra la finanza internacional.

Acabamos de ver la Copa Mundial de Futbol. Si la ideología de la globalización hubiese triunfado, tendríamos que respaldar no sólo la selección de nuestro país sino también las de los demás países, en función de la pertenencia de esos países a estructuras supranacionales comunes. Por ejemplo, belgas y franceses deberían haberse apoyado mutuamente… agitando juntos banderas de la Unión Europea. Pero ningún aficionado se comportó así, lo cual nos permite comprobar el abismo que existe entre la propaganda que nos remachan constantemente –y que nosotros mismos repetimos– y nuestro comportamiento espontáneo. A pesar de las apariencias, la victoria superficial del globalismo no ha modificado lo que en realidad seguimos siendo.

Por supuesto, no es casualidad que sea Siria, la tierra donde nació y tomó forma la idea de lo que hoy llamamos “Estado”, el lugar donde ahora termina esta guerra. Porque tenían y tienen un Estado verdadero, que nunca dejó de funcionar, Siria, su pueblo, su ejército y su presidente lograron resistir el embate de la mayor coalición que se ha visto en la Historia, en la que se reunieron 114 países miembros de la ONU.


[1] El hakk? ichi’u («los 8 extremos del mundo bajo un solo techo») es la ideología del Imperio japonés. Plantea la superioridad de la raza nipona y su derecho a dominar Asia.

[2] «Armamento por miles de millones de dólares utilizado contra Siria», por Thierry Meyssan, Red Voltaire, 18 de julio de 2017.

[3] Les Dollars de la terreur: Les États-Unis et les islamistes, Richard Labévière, Grasset, 1999.

[4] Wie der Dschihad nach Europa kam. Gotteskrieger und Geheimdienste auf dem Balkan, Jürgen Elsässer, Kai Homilius Verlag, 2006. Existe una edición en francés titulada Comment le Djihad est arrivé en Europe [en español, “Cómo llegó a Europa la yihad”], Xenia, 2006.

[5] Sous nos yeux. Du 11-septembre à Donald Trump, Thierry Meyssan, Demi-Lune 2017.