Brexit remains inevitable, and the right’s hold on power is secure (for now)

Brexit remains inevitable, and the right’s hold on power is secure (for now)

[Photo by GETTY published on the Daily Express, Oct. 4, 2017). By Joshua Tartakovsky, 6 August 2017 Theresa May erred twice in the Brexit-related unraveling. First, she opposed Brexit, only to support it later after her opinion was defeated by the public in the booths. Secondly, she did not have the nerve to actually carry out negotiations representing the slim majority and bearing responsibility for the results. Rather than leading, and lacking a vision on what Brexit actually means, she went to early elections in her search for confidence and legitimacy. The public punished her for her cowardice. The Conservatives lost 12 seats. May’s arrogant gamble resulted in her loss of majority in parliament and in her forming a coalition agreement with DUP, a Northern Irish party of 10 seats. A genuine opportunist, but a clever survivor, Prime Minister May promised that she will deliver on Brexit. While the Financial Times, the Economist, Tony Blair, Nick Clegg, and countless others, were all trying to convince themselves that Brexit can be reversed and that a hard Brexit is far from being inevitable, this is wishful thinking. May has nothing to lose, and must deliver. Corbyn is breathing down her neck. She may be an opportunist, but once in power, she has shown she has the stamina and craftiness needed to survive. The pound stands now at about 1.1 euro. Before the Brexit referendum it stood at 1.30 euro. As the Guardian puts it:                 Holidaymakers buying €1,000 can now expect to pay around £879 after sterling dropped as markets reacted to the result...
Theresa May in Turkey: Will Cyprus be the down payment for Brexit?

Theresa May in Turkey: Will Cyprus be the down payment for Brexit?

[Photo credit: PA, via the BBC] By Joshua Tartakovsky, 28 January 2017 After a fairly successful meeting with US President Donald Trump, UK Prime Minister Theresa May is now in Ankara. Officially, May is in Turkey to discuss bilateral trade in the post-Brexit era, and security arrangements in the war against ISIS.  Turkey has been both a trade and security partner of the UK. But according to The Economist, May will also be pushing for a compromise in Cyprus: An end to the division between northern Turkish-Cyprus and Greek-Cyprus, a multinational state with a rotating presidency, a unification of the island. Most young Greek-Cypriots oppose such a plan, however.  Turkey has occupied north Cyprus in 1974 and as a civil war ensued the island has been artificially divided. If to judge by the case of multinational Bosnia and the deadlock between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, a multi-national state run in tandem by rotating presidents is highly unpopular and ineffective in creating a strong, common national identity. In the case of Cyprus, a international police force may be stationed there. Why the need for an unpopular international force if the island has been peaceful for decades? The Economist states that the 1960 independence settlement for Cyprus entails that Britain, Greece and Turkey have the right to intervene militarily in the island if the constitutional order of the country is in danger. The Greek-Cypriot majority has called for the removal of Turkish forces from the north of the country as well as for the removal of the security guarantees by Britain, Turkey and Greece. President Erdogan, however, has opposed a settlement that would unify the island and turn it into...
For Brexit to be a Success, UK and US Must Work Together to End German Hegemony

For Brexit to be a Success, UK and US Must Work Together to End German Hegemony

  (Photo by Calgacus) By Joshua Tartakovsky Calgacus 13 January 2016 Britain chose Brexit. Now Britain must find a way to leave while protecting its interests and finding an honorable compromise with its central trading partner. The problem is that forging a fair agreement with the EU, dominated by Germany, is impossible. In an election year where both French President Hollande and German Chancellor Merkel are facing increasingly potent eurosceptical challengers, and as Merkel’s refugee-friendly policy is revealing itself as lunacy in the streets of Berlin, it takes a high level of naiveté to assume that EU elite in Brussels would want to give Britain a fair deal. Anything less than ‘punishing’ Britain for daring to break free would embolden Front National, Alternative for Germany, and Wilders’ Party for Freedom in the Netherlands where elections will be held in March. Hollande and Merkel can hardly have the tranquility and good judgment needed for even a meagre compromise as they feel the ground shaking beneath their feet. Britain buys 7% of German exports. But Germany will not permit the EU to unravel for the sake of staying in good terms with Britain. If the EU breaks up, German industries would no longer dominate the EU, and Spanish, Italian or French products, now cheaper without the euro, could present a viable competition as they will be more attractive for buyers abroad. Similarly, Germany has already shown its inflexibility by the hardline it took towards Greece’s desperate pleas for a compromise on its debt. The Greek economy is on its death bed but Germany did not flinch. Germany’s financial interest is to...
A Strategy For Our Times When Democracy Is A Vestige

A Strategy For Our Times When Democracy Is A Vestige

Joshua Tartakovsky,  13 April 2016 Despite a massive fear campaign that by voting against an EU-Ukraine Association Agreement they would be “helping Putin,” the Dutch courageously defied the EU neoliberal powers with a majority voting No. 32% of the public participated while the Parliament said that it would respect a participation of over 30%. But several days later EU and the Ukrainian President seemed to reach a deal that would provide for a visa-free status for Ukrainians to come to the EU. The vote of the Dutch was ignored. (Of course, anyone who knows the history of EU referendums should realize that this would be the case, with the referendums given to the Irish over and over again (2011, 2012) until the desirable ‘Yes’ was achieved.) In the United States, erroneous ballots were handed over and delegates voted en masse for Ted Cruz and not for Donald Trump. GOP Colorado also tweeted shortly after that ‘Never Trump.’  The tweet was then deleted. There is a good reason to believe that the GOP establishment will do everything in its power to prevent Trump’s nomination. He challenges the status quo too much. The delegates will move en masse to Cruz at the end. That will defy the popular will of the voters, but who is naive enough to assume we still have democracy? If Trump managed by an odd miracle, for now quite unlikely, to get the delegates anyway, he might be assassinated at some point. Either way, even if the public votes for him which it seems largely willing to do, the powers that be will never allow him to...
Greece: In the Eye of the Storm

Greece: In the Eye of the Storm

By Joshua Tartakovsky, 7 April 2016 Greece is once again in the eye of the storm. This is true for several reasons. It is the only EU country where transnational EU capitalism failed (remember that when people tell you about how communism failed, and while they are right, capitalism failed and is failing too). Now according to Wikileaks, the IMF is considering creating a“credit event” against the country. Greece also became a magnet for migrants and so-called refugees. The country is mired in such a deep recession that it can never possibly recover. Ever. (How about that for American optimism?) In fact, in order to continuously pay for the debt, more cuts will be needed, homes will be repossessed, pensions will be sliced. All this in a country where a third are under the poverty line, where a majority of youth are unemployed and where the entire family often lives off pensions of the elderly. The debt will be paid for an eternity but it will not be followed by economic growth. When “life as it is” is not bearable, what do more cuts mean? More suffering, deeper into the endless pit. No hope. No future. Welcome to 21st Century EU Capitalism. Recession, austerity, crisis. Of course, Greece was the first victim. Its naïve populace with its good intentions believed joining EU was a glamorous endeavor. The Euro seemed shiny and starry.  But now that industries are destroyed, people have no money, and businesses close every day, the EU does not seem like such a big fantasy anymore. Now it is too late. (However, if only the Greeks could...