Catalonia’s independence is a retaliation for the 1939 defeat

After 80 years, the civil war in Spain has found its conclusion in the current attempt of tearing away Catalonia, ruled by successors of the republicans, from Spain. The referendum and the secession is clearly a retaliation on the part of the left for the defeat suffered in the years 1936-39 and for General Franco’s long rule.

The violent independence referendum in Catalonia, in which the vast majority voiced their support for secession is a part of Catalan tradition of rebellion against the conservative rulers and monarchs in Madrid.

Some of the commentators are of the opinion that Catalans wanted to stop Madrid from redistributing the wealth produced in this province and assigning it to poorer parts of the country; some others look at the phenomenon from a political or ideological perspective. For a long time Spain has been the battlefield between adherents of the political right and left. In 1909 during the Tragic Week (la Setmana Tràgica) the anarchist, anti-militarist, and anti-colonialist rebellion in Barcelona was crushed with heavy-handed methods. General European condemnation in the press was immediate. During the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War Catalonia was a “republican” stronghold, supported by the Soviet Union and communist volunteers from across Europe. Continue reading

No future for Africans in Europe

An exclusive interview with Anna Bono for Gefira
Guest author: Daniel Moscardi

GEFIRA asked in an exclusive interview the opinion of an expert on Africa about the current situation in Italy, about the “asylum seekers” coming mostly from sub-Saharan countries. Professor Anna Bono recently made headlines in Italy with a book that completely debunks the ongoing narrative of “poor Africans” running away from starvation and knocking on wealthy Europe’s doors through Sicily or other ports of southern Italy.

Prof. Anna Bono has been a researcher in African history and institutions at the University of Turin until 2015 after living many years in Africa. She has collaborated as an expert on Africa with a number of Universities and Institutions, including the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and written over 1600 articles, essays and books on topics such as international relations and cooperation with Africa, as well as demographics and migrations.

GEFIRA: Can we identify one of the more specific events as the beginning of the ongoing biblical numbers arriving in Italy?
ANNA BONO: It all started with the removal of Qaddafi. Qaddafi, bound by the 2008 treaty of cooperation with Italy, implemented an effective control of Libyan coasts, thus preventing the departure of migrants from other African countries. The numbers of arrivals of Africans to Italy prior to Qaddafi’s overthrow were manageable; moreover, they were not organized as they are today. It is important to remind Europeans that Libya prior to 2011 was a relatively wealthy and stable country, hosting approximately 1 million foreign workers mostly from sub-Saharan Africa. When the civil war broke out, some of these foreign workers went home, but the majority started to look for ways of crossing over to Italy.

G: Could we define the current demographic growth of Africa as “unsustainable”?
AB: Not necessarily. Africa, remains, after all, the least populated of all continents. The bottom line is all about Africa’s resources. The way these huge natural resources continue to be mismanaged – to say the least – is at the core of every possible discussion about the continent. The economic policies of most African governments fall short of any real accomplishment, with the result that only a fraction of the population receives any benefit, with corruption, deeply ingrained in most African countries, remaining as the chief obstacle to a serious and harmonized growth. Thanks to institutionalized corruption, Africans are literally squandering away their resources. One example: Africa exports oil in huge quantities, but then lacks refineries, and therefore imports refined fuel.

G: Most corrupted countries? Continue reading

A global conflict is knocking on the door

Another world war is looming large. China’s technology is advancing rapidly, while Russia is rich in resources, and the United States is still a world power. Who will win is uncertain. Future combat will verify the military might of the warring parties. The first world war started in Bosnia and Herzegovina; the second in Poland; will the third one start in the Far East?

Geopolitics and geostrategy deal with social and political processes and are preoccupied with the problem of the security of states relative to their location on the globe. Jacek Bartosiak, the advocate, doctor of social sciences, author of “Pacific and Eurasia. About War”, co-founder of the National Center for Strategic Studies, is a Polish expert in this field.

His views are worth discussing as they touch on the key global problems. He presents timeless rules governing politics and deriving from history, the mother of all knowledge. He analyzes the current political situation and draws conclusions for the future. His point of view differs from the one presented in most of the current studies and draws on the original theory of 1904 developed by British geographer and politician Halford Mackinder, which according to Jacek Bartosiak is still valid despite the development of technology.

For all practical purposes the globe contains one continent, Eurasia, and the rest are just islands. He who rules this continent rules the world. Eurasia can be divided into two zones: heartland (centre) and rimland (edge). The heartland has limited access to the sea, which hinders its participation in world trade and thus contributes to its economic weakness. So, in order to be able to play a role in the world, heartland countries, like Russia, tend to have strong armies and governments.

Rimland in turn is a coastal area which can benefit from cheap maritime transport while trading with the world and so is generally better developed. Profitable location favours capital accumulation. Rimland countries, like those of Western Europe, tend to fall under the dominance of a player with the strongest fleet. Heartland and rimland are separated by a crush zone where tensions accumulate and wars break out. Poland, and Ukraine, to give an example, lie in such a zone. Continue reading

A global military confrontation?

The situation in the world raises the question of whether and when there may be armed confrontation between China and Russia on the one hand and the United States on the other.
Americans have begun to implement the offshore balancing concept which means that local powers, located far away from the US, have to take care of their own security. China’s economic and military activity is very extensive. Through the Belt and Road concept Beijing is striving for domination in Eurasia and the whole world. The conflict in Ukraine is going on, US-Russian relations are strained.

Russia feels encircled by the NATO and so is strengthening its ties with China. We can also talk about a trade war between USA and Russia. Germany and France are in opposition to Trump’s administration and the role of the United States in Europe and in the world. The effectiveness of NATO is questionable. NATO member Turkey has just bought the Russian S-400 air-deference system while Germany has put all major arms exports to NATO ally Turkey on hold. Americans do not want to lose their present dominant position. The political atmosphere in Europe and in the world is highly charged. One more impulse, one more conflict and another global war may break out. Therefore, it is well-founded to analyze forces of the global players: China, Russia and USA. Continue reading

The next step in the trade war against the United States

After the European Union has failed to implement TIPP and the European Parliament has barely accepted the controversial CEFTA against a backdrop of numerous protests, Brussels is letting in another Trojan Horse through the back door and is doing it secretly.

Since the TTIP has failed, the EU just had to think up a new monstrosity: JEFTA, an agreement on free trade with Japan that is about to be finalized and that hardly anybody has heard about despite the four-year negotiations. On July 6 the EU Commission and Japan decided to complete the JEFTA agreement. It is outrageous that the EU citizens have scarcely been informed about it. The same was true of TTIP and CEFTA: people only learnt about it when huge protests were staged. So also now the most important documents concerning JEFTA have only been made known to us through a leak affair.

As for now the trade between Japan and the EU is burdened with customs duties that amount to one billion euros annually. Thanks to the prospective abolition of customs duties the Toyotas and Hondas should become cheaper in Europe whereas the Japanese might be able to eventually afford French cheese and champagne. Sounds good, or does it? We describe below in short how dangerous the agreement is:
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Methane clathrates: another revolution in the gas-industry in the making?

Flammable ice, as sometimes methane clathrates (or hydrates) are called, lately has become an important issue for global powers. Attaining technology making it possible to extract resource from deposits, which haven’t been up to now taken into consideration may change the face of world economy and influence the prices of LNG.

To many, methane clathrates sound unfamiliar so lets explain briefly what we’re talking about and why they haven’t been extracted yet. The hydrates emerge when molecules are surrounded by water, which becomes a sort of a cage for them. Such substance looks like ice and is present underneath the earth or underwater (yet, only there, where the appropriate tension and temperature exist). What’s important, when the conditions change, such clathrates become highly unstable and may cause huge explosions and, as a result, landslips and submarine landslides. That’s why any intrusion and extraction-attempts are extremely dangerous and complicated. However, mining tests have already been conducted for a few years. Though the estimates aren’t much reliable, it’s believed that methane hydrates contain more of gas than any other known fossil fuels put together. According to the US Energy Information Administration there may be even 2.800 trillion m3 of gas in hydrates, whereas the current global production equals up to 3.5 billion m3. So it’s possible that the extraction of clathrates would meet humanity’s demand for methane for another few hundred years.
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How the elites are divorcing from reality: The Economist “what if”.

The Western globalist elites have not digested Trump’s victory or Brexit yet. They are having a hard time dealing with their ideological failures, and when the reality dares not to comply with their day dreaming, they go online and create a parallel world, where their “expert” predictions always turn right and their failures cannot be questioned. The Economist‘s portal named “what if”, a neo-liberal, wishful thinking echo chamber, is the point in case.

Its latest pieceattributes magical powers to the new hero of the elites, Emmanuel Macron, who soundly defeated “evil” Marine Le Pen in May. For The Economist, Macron is nothing short of Jesus as he was correspondingly depicted on the monthly’s cover walking on water:
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