Global Security Headlines

Monday, July 16, 2012

#Eurozone Crisis Buffets #France

#France is the next #Spain as Euroland continues to dissolve.

The second eurozone economy is making all the wrong moves to resist the austerity wave imposed by reality on the failed welfare states across the Old Continent.

The fledgling Socialist Hollande administration is cruising for an economic bruising as it pretends all is well.

Eurozone Crisis Hitting Paris
The jolting mass firing of 8,000 Peugeot-Citroen car manufacturing employees last week, including the complete shuttering of its Aulnay plant, is emblematic of the eurozone crisis hitting France.

The bad news follows the firing of 6,000 last year as its prime market, Europe, continues to see sales slump.

Peugot is operating at a loss - 7% so far this year - and will have to find a way to be profitable or go out of business. 

As the Euroland continues to contract - economically, socially, and politically - more French companies could face tough choices between economic viability and drastic cost cutting. 

French Economic Malaise
Things are not going well for France to say the least, economically. The country seems locked into a timewarp as the global economy passes it by.

France is not competitive in the world ranking 18th out of the top 20 countries, trailing neighbors Switzerland, Germany, and even Belgium, according to the World Economic Forum survey.

L'Hexagone ranks 67th in the world for economic freedom, nestled between Cape Verde and Portugal, but way behind Spain at 36th.

Its public unions are dinosaurs (and across the EU) and obstacles to real economic progress in an interdependent global economy where pro-business policies, low tax rates, and dynamism are the coins of the realm.

The post-industrial or Information Economy seems to be in the country's rearview mirror.

As an aside, French manufacturing is slumping in 2012 and 2.2% less than last year.

The sclerotic 0% economic "growth" for the year so far is yet another red flag of the storm brewing ahead. The country is not making any money.

A study computes French GDP to debt ratio far worse than official numbers of 85%. 

Plus, the Holland administration faces a 33 billion gap if France wants to keep its commitments to cut the deficit to 3% of GDP by the end 2013.

Isn't this how Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and Spain got into trouble?

Hiking taxes to the hilt and reversing course on retirement reform (one thing Sarkozy got right) is not a promising start from the technocrat living in L'Élysée.

If the French do not demand more freedom, any escape from their suicidal economic downward spiral is a moot point. 

Stubborn Socialists
French President François Hollande calls the Peugot-Citroen firings as "unacceptable" and must be "renegotiated."

What precisely is there to negotiate? A company that is not making money cannot keep paying its employees.

While it is natural for the leader of the country to not welcome such bad news, the State should resist meddling.

It would set a bad precedent for the remainder of Hollande's term and worse send a signal to international markets already skittish about the Euroland.

The markets are watching you, M. Hollande.

Surely someone in your administration knows enough capitalist economics to advise against acting hastily.

Socialism killing Euroland
At the end of the day, the core economic philosophy of the Euroland is a demonstrable failure - socialism.

Frankly, the EU states cannot afford their welfare states where leisure is more highly valued than productivity, smart (capitalist) economics, and competitiveness.

The structural organization of the national economies traps the states to escape the spirling death trap.

As seen over the weekend in Madrid and in the streets of Athens, any reform is met with cries. So many Europeans are wed to the welfare state, any change - drastic or otherwise - is too politically painful.

However, there is also the math problem - the EU welfare states cannot afford their commitments and socialism produces little or no economic growth to pay the bills.

Spain's hiking the IVA from 18 to 21% will not bring in the promised revenue; it is absolutely nonsensical to raise taxes when the economy is in deep decline, Sr. Rajoy. 

Something has to give whether the dependent classes created by the cradle-to-grave society and their political patrons like it or not.

The alternative is a complete collapse of the civil society over national insolvency.

The lack of capitalism is killing the Euroland.

The harsh reality for (unionized) employees and politicians is that businesses do not exist to create jobs, provide vacations, health care or other benefits.

Businesses do exist to make profit and provide a healthy return to stockholders.

Until aggressive reforms that are pro-economic freedom - cutting tax rates to spur demand - are enacted the socialist economic superstructure will continue to sink the Eurloand.

Thus, France needs more freedom to pursue profit to avoid its own eventual bailout.

Unfortunately, in the last presidential and legislative elections, the  anti-capitalist Socialists (besides their own personal fortunes) were swept into power - the exact opposite of what France needed as the effects of the Euroland storm threaten to throttle the region's second economic engine.

*** Peace through strength.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

#Putin's Snarling #Russia

Newly-elected former KGB Colonel Vladimir Putin is once again in total control of Russia and his global adversaries had better wake up.

A snarling Russia is back after a short hibernation under former puppet president Dmitry Medvedev.

From the brutal crackdown of the opposition at home to shielding Iran and Syria from international outrage abroad, Putin aims to use Moscow's limited influence where it can do the most damage to international peace.

The US Administration of President Obama now must see clearly what Russia has always been - a worthy adversary to stir up trouble on the global chessboard.

The last thing the Syrian Crisis needed was a Russian shipment of attack helicopters to help the Asad Regime in Damascus to cut down the opposition coalition.

Future of Global Security
The Syrian Conflict has always been more than an internal squabble between a disaffected opposition and an illegtimate authortitarian in another Mid East sandbox.

It is clearly Russia, China, and Iran vs. the US and its Western allies about the future of global security.

Russia of course needs to demonstrate fealty to its client states and deliver goods - it's good business for Moscow. Putin has brazenly laid down his marker.

The US-Russia-China squareoff over Syria is a window into the current state of international relations.

As from the beginning, the current US Administration is overmatched to defend freedom and its interests abroad. 

The decline of the US, presided happily over by the current Administration, could not come at a worse time.

*** Peace through strength.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

#Chavez officially stands for president again

 Yesterday Mr. Chavez, the current "president" of #Venezuela, rode in a caravan of vehicles from Miraflores Palace to the National Election Council to officially register as a candidate for the October elections.

The ailing leader expects another electoral victory despite a spirited campaign by opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles.

It has always been surprising that Mr. Chavez plays electoral politics when bretheren Castro of Cuba, Correa of Ecuador, and Morales of Bolivia have effectively neutered any opposition.

That is not to say Mr. Chavez has not moved to limit freedom; he assuredly has.

The Fix is In
However, he knows the score at the end of the day. There is no way he will ever lose an election.

The presidential election campaign in Venezuela is a show. Capriles or any opposition candidate will not be allowed to win.

In the end, in sham-democracies like Venezuela, he who has the guns and has stacked the bureaucracy with party hacks always seems to win.

*** Peace through strength.

#EU Dream Turns to Nightmare

 The #eurozone house of cards is quaking - again.

The $125 billion non-rescue rescue of Spanish banks is just another chapter in the eurozone thriller as worry now shifts to Italy. 

Three headlines wrap up the current eurozone crisis:

EU Floats Worst-Case Plans for Greek Euro
Worry for Italy Quickly Replaces Relief for Spain
Esta vez, Europa está de verdad al borde del precipicio
(This time Europe is truly on the precipice)

Does Germany have enough faux currency - euros - to save the faux union, EU?


*** Peace through strength.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

#France, au contraire

#Socialist Party top functionary-turned-President of France, François Hollande, expects sweeping gains in parliamentary elections tomorrow (Sunday) while Europe braces for the consequences.

The French Left is feeling its oats after more than a decade in the wildnerness.

Its ascendency to power could not come at a worse time for L'Hexagone and the house of cards known as the European Union (EU).

Undercutting NATO
On top of the four French soldiers killed this weekend, Hollande vows to cut-and-run from Afghanistan in July. The speedy retreat is set for the end of the year.

NATO's credibility will be in tatters by the time its operations wrap up in the SW Asian country.

Undercutting Germany-led EU
The "Mer-kozy" relationship between Paris and Berlin is ruptured.

The twin engines of the pan-European vision from the beginning at the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, France and Germany cannot be farther apart than now.

Hollande wants to outspend Sarkozy against the tide of imposed austerity on EU states as the entire project is called into question because of its rocky economic foundation - socialism. It has never worked wherever tried.

The split between France and Germany on the future of the EU dooms the already teetering house of cards.

Undercutting France
A political hack without any policy experience, Hollande continues to steer France to the fiscal cliff.

As southern neighbor Spain nears yet another bank bailout for the eurozone, Hollande intrepidly pushes ahead with risky economic schemes.

He has already fulfilled a campaign commitment to rollback the retirement age to 60 from 62, nixing a moderate Sarkozy policy switch. This, when the socialist states of the EU cannot afford their welfare states now.

Madame "35 Hours Work Week" Martine Aubry, a party rival and new Socialist leader, and with estimable credentials in capitalist economics, urges higher taxes because the French do not pay enough now.

The classic Socialist economic elixir comes to France (welcomed by the voters no doubt) as capital flight speeds up before the brewing storm wrecks the country.

Elections have consequences.

The French grew tired of the Right and its antics.

While the Socialists were a minority for over a decade for good reason - voilá - they are back. There is no change from the confiscatory slow-growth policies from the past.

President Hollande is ill-equipped to lead L'Hexagone and those around him even less.

National politics still dictate the course of the EU despite the hopes of its founders of a pan-European project of "one for all and all for one."

Now finally reality bites the quixotic EU plan. "Everyone for himself" is now the slogan as long as German taxpayers do not tire of subsidizing their neighbors.

France's swing to the Left will only hasten the EU's demise.

*** Peace through strength.

Worrying Turn in #Syria Crisis

 The UN's point man on the Syrian Crisis, the former chief of the ineffectual organization, Kofi Annan, wants Iran to enter the talks to resolve the situation.

This is the problem with muddle-headed multilaterialism. Not every country at the table is an equal or shares the same values or interests as the others.

The least common demoninator always prevails and as massacres of civilians climb, is that really what the world needs now?

Wrong Move on Iran
Iran is a terrorist state and an international pariah that does not have a clean hands with the UN or any other legitimate international organization.

Because of Iran, the Asad Regime has been able to hold onto power so far. With its partners Russia and China, inserting Iran into the equation only complicates the vision of a post-Asad Syria.

Iran, China, and Russia do not want a post-Asad Syria!

Mr. Annan, always an amiable dupe for the forces of wrong in global conflicts, again shows his poor understanding of global politics, at best.

Iran-Syria-Hizbollah Axis
Western interests are to break the Iran-Syria-Hizbollah Axis of Evil.

Syria is the fulcrum and without "The Lion" Asad at least one terrorist mafia is broken and lives are spared.

Of course that is of no concern for Mr. Annan who sees no difference in any side and continues to play the role of a menace on the world stage.

Asad Must Go
The former London-based pediatrician-turned-dictator after Papa Asad passed no longer has any legitimacy, if ever.

His army is in rebellion. The grip on perennial puppet-state Lebanon is tenuous.

That does not automatically mean the "Syrian Opposition" is the best-equipped to replace him.

One of the dominant players lurking is the Muslim Brotherhood.

While the constantly changing Kaleidescope that is Mid Eastern politics is not so easily understood, the merciless deaths of so many Syrian civilians caught between warring factions is.

A humanitarian crisis underlies the struggle at the "peace talks" among world powers to find a way out of the cul-de-sac that is the Syrian Crisis.

Iran is part of the problem, not part of solution. Surely even Mr. Annan can appreciate that point.

*** Peace through strength.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

#Iran Fools Again

 The slow sleep walk that is Iran's not-so-secret quest for a militarized nuclear program, and the ICBMs to deliver warheads to Tel Aviv, Paris or Washington continues unabated and worse, unopposed.

Iran balked again in the latest failed talks - a pattern that the Western powers just never seem to learn their hard lesson - Iran's nuclear program is non-negotiable.

While the Western powers, beset by economic malaise and domestic politics, continue to dither and allow China and Russia to protect Tehran in their proxy war against the West, Iran marches forward now with enough highly-enriched uranium for probably five bombs.

Obstacles: China and Russia
The white elephant in the room of the entire Iran Imbroglio is the proxy war between the Western powers and China and Russia.

It is evident in the showdown over Syria, too.
Like Tehran, Damascus is a friendly client-state and does the bidding for Moscow and Beijing in the region.

Is that bidding for good or for evil?

Both Syria and Iran are two cancers in the Mid East region as state sponsors of terrorism and regional goals incompatible with a lasting peace. 

US Fecklessness
Add US fecklessness under the current Obama Administration and you have a region on the brink.

The unceremonious abandonment of Mubarak, a long-time ally in Egypt, has only heightened regional tensions and boosted radical Islamic influence. The repercussions are only now manifesting.

The forces against freedom - across the world - have been given a gift for four years with the current administration in Washington that sees the US more of a threat to world peace than its sworn enemies. 

Nuclear Iran
It has been the position of GSM for awhile that Iran has already joined the nuclear club. The talks are folly and only allow Tehran to consolidate its gains.

It is also unlikely the negative regime in Tehran will altruisticly decide to cast away its chip on the world chessboard. Is there any example in world history for this to happen?

The time period of 2001-2012 will be remembered when Iran was allowed to achieve nuclear primacy - unopposed - and a nuclear nightmare began for those who truly want peace and security in a dangerous world.

*** Peace through strength.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Now, the Bell Tolls for #Spain

After Greece, now #Spain?

The Choice
Which is it, Espãna?

Courage to leave the (demonstrable) failed policies and practices in the past or continue the road to destitution?

Tired, Failed Unionists
Look at the tired, worn faces of the unionists leading the la huelga nacional (national strike) across Spain today.

With the highest unemployment rates in the EU, doesn't Spain need to work more, not less? Just a thought.

Toxo and Méndez  (CC OO and UGT respectively) pontificated today as if they have the real power in the country, not the Rajoy government which was just popularly elected in a landslide last November.

In fact, their old ways are out of step with a country facing financial ruin.

Their inflexibility, insularity, and inutility are barriers to saving Spain.

Narrow interests should not be allowed to hobble the economy of such a beautiful country.

The days of leftist union leaders demanding more from the taxypayers at whatever expense are over in Europe.

Are the unionists happy to be part of the problem rather than part of the solution?

Is Spain "Europe's biggest problem?"

Le Monde, France's leftist newspaper, singled out Spain in a frontpage headline as Europe's biggest problem (after Greece, I suppose).

The Rajoy government may not succeed in liberalizing the Spanish economy.

If it does not, Spain is likely the "next Greece."

Her youth - the future - are already abandoning the country because of the sky-high unemployment rate.

Worse, there is no hope, at least in the short run, for any positive change.

Spaniards have a choice. 

They can support the leftists in the street smashing windows of businesses and whose policies only exacerbated Spain's finances under the Socialists and thus are responsible for the current economic morass.

Or they can give the Rajoy government a chance and give their country a chance to avoid a repeat of Greece.

Or watch the entire European Union unravel around them.

Friday, March 9, 2012

#Spain heads for #union strike, 29 March

 So, at a time when Spain needs to work more, be more productive, and deliver value to global markets, here come the public unions calling for a general strike on 29 March.

Are the unionistas tone deaf ?

Out of touch public unions
Any change to the status quo that may require the rigid unions to make concessions is automatically deemed non-negotiable.

Maybe the union bosses have not noticed - the status quo is not sustainable.  Spain is sinking along with the entire faux "European Union."

And what happens when there is no business, no economy, to pay workers?

How will the greedy public union bosses earn their high salaries and privileges then?

Rajoy's Popular Party was swept into office last November after the disastrous failure of the Socialists under Zapatero to rejuvenate Spain - to save the democracy.

Should not the unionistas be wary of obstructing reform that is desperately needed?

EU Technocrats Arrive
Spain is not going to be the "next Greece" and grovel to Brussels.

Rajoy will not inflict more damage to the Spanish economy to please EU technocrats.

His defiance to not meet deficit targets for 2012 has drawn the ire of Brussels and now EU bean counters will descend on Spain to "verify" the deficit numbers.

Post-Greece EU
It appears that the Greek debt swap will work in the short term.

Now Portugal, Spain, and Italy are under greater scrutiny to strengthen their economies.

The eurozone crisis persists and will persist until there is more economic freedom to compete in the global market and less intrusion from Brussels and self-interested unionistas.


Monday, March 5, 2012

#Spain Losing Its Future/#España pierde el futuro

 While Greece steals most of the headlines in the Euro-mess, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, and yes, Spain are suffering dearly too.

Spain is where I really learned Spanish in 2002. Ten years later I can see from afar the destruction after the Socialist reign under Zapatero which coincided lamtentably with the current Euro-mess.

Whether Rajoy can steer the ship back onto course remains unclear. Certainly a break from Socialist orthodoxy is a good start. 

Pain in Spain - Youth hit hardest
Unemployment is nearing 23% - nearly one in four Spaniards are out of a job. Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the sinking European Union.

Spain also leads the Euro-zone in youth unemployment - 42.9%!

The IMF warns that the country could possibly risk losing a generation

Brain Drain
Its future leaders are not staying home either. More than 300,000 Spaniards have fled abroad since la crísis.

A group called JESP (jóvenes emigrantes sobradamente preparados) - well-prepared young migrants - are participating in the global economy, as reported by Cinco Días, a business daily in Madrid.

Spain has more university-educated adults between the ages of 25 and 34 than the rest of the Euro-zone. The educated are usually more motivated, restless, and refuse to settle for mediocrity.

The JESPs are engaging the global economy and leaving Spain behind - a classic brain drain which does not augur well for the future.

What future?
Spain must shake away from socialism or it will never recover, just like the EU.

The public unions need to be flexible and the leadership needs to be more reasonable by thinking more about the country than their own greed.

The economy continues to contract.
Unemployment does not abate.

Rajoy has a chance to be bold and return the country to a road to recovery, off the road to serfdom. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Terror, Inc. Nuclear Ambitions Unabated and Uninterrupted

 Terror, Inc.'s drive for nuclear primacy continues unabated and uninterrupted.

Global security officials in Western capitals appear to have acquiesced to a nuclear terror state bent on Islamic jihad.

Is Iran already nuclear?

Iran will become (if not already) a nuclear state. GSM has been confident in that fact since its 2009 Net Assessment.

The Western powers do not have the will to challenge the terror tyrants in Tehran, a fact underscored by the dovish US Obama Administration.

Aggressors throughout history have profited from the cowards in Western officialdom.

One of the mysteries about the entire Iranian ambitious push for nuclear primacy has been the timeline.

Recently analyzed Iranian telexes contained in an ISIS report again point to weaponized nuclear capability from the beginning. It seems Iran  has been working on its nuclear portfolio longer than Western "experts" believe.

Just how far along are the Iranian nuclear projects?

It is absolutely folly for the top US intelligence official to doubt Iran has decided to pursue  nuclear breakout.

Tehran Undeterred

Iran is serious about marrying its burgeoning nuclear capability with the ballistic missiles to deliver warheads.

Tehran is undeterred in its maniacal maneuver to eliminate the state of Israel, become a regional hegemon, and drive the US out of the Middle East.

Just as more futile sanctions were applied by the European Union (EU) and it was learned that Iran had greater capacity to enrich uranium, Tehran called for negotiations.

Time and again negotiations have been used by aggressors throughout history to consolidate their naked ambitions and to keep their enemies on the defensive.

This "rope-a-dope" strategy still advances Iran's nuclear goals while lulling the cowardly West.

Given Tehran's record deception and deceit throughout its entire nuclear escapade, really, what is there to negotiate?

Iran laughs at the West and marches steadily toward its atomic dream.


More pressure is now on Israel to stand down and let Iran go nuclear without a fuss.

The US Administration has an election to win and the EU is just plain powerless.

China and Russia prod on Iran in their proxy war with the US in the MidEast region. These two protectors encourage Tehran to defy the West and to do so with impunity.

It may yet be a couple of years before Iran explodes a nuclear bomb to once and for all clear up any doubts about its capability.

However, Iran will become nuclear - that is without any doubt.

The next question is how to be ready to counter a nuclear terror state in one of the world's most volatile regions.