Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Policy’

Still More Brexit Aftershocks

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

It’s a big story, and the reverberations continue to sound around the world:

  • Boris Johnson withdraws from Tory PM race in favor of fellow Leave campaigner Michael Gove, who is expected to face-off against Remain backer Theresa May, “the no-nonsense domestic security chief.” Evidently the Washington Post doesn’t trust their readers to know what the Home Secretary (her actual title) does in the UK…
  • It sounds like the UK got out of the EU just in time: “Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault today presented a proposal for closer EU integration based on three key areas – internal and external security, the migrant crisis, and economic cooperation. But the plans have been described as an ‘ultimatum’ in Poland, with claims it would mean countries transfer their armies, economic systems and border controls to the EU.”
  • Brexit has caused such panic among our political elites that they’ve openly opposing democracy since it continues to thwart their will to power.
  • Marine Le Pen: “Do we want an undemocratic authority ruling our lives, or would we rather regain control over our destiny?” The usual Le Pen caveats apply, but she’s not wrong here. (Hat tip: Zero hedge.)
  • Brexit has UK journalists in a snit:

    The utter incomprehension of some colleagues at the result would be comical were it not so injurious to the sub-constitutional role played by the Fourth Estate.

    There is a sense of indignation that a majority of voters did not cleave to the group-think. The whiff of class-hatred hangs heavy in the air. This morning I risked pariah-status in the canteen queue by suggesting it was patronising to ascribe the working class with prejudices we could neither test nor vouch for. Dismissing their opinions as motivated by xenophobia precludes any notion that those uneducated poor folk might actually have a coherent view on sovereignty or national self-determination.

    This democratic deficit has been well ventilated over the weekend. Janice Turner, in particular, wrote beautifully and wisely in Saturday’s Times about the folly of denigrating “retired miners who now drive taxi cabs”. It is no surprise that contrarians like the brilliant Julie Birchill, who has written at length about the demonisation of white-working class ‘chavs’, came out for Brexit.

    Part of the seething fury felt by some of my co-workers lies in that feeling of being hoodwinked, of not being as smart, as omniscient as they, hitherto, imagined. Their self-esteem is bruised. Nobody likes to find out that the world they thought existed turns out to have been built on miopia and wishful thinking.

  • These opinions are not confined to the UK:

    There’s a growing sense, not only in Great Britain, but in the US as well, that the elites, or the political class, or whatever you’d like to call them, are incompetent and have been leading us astray. And the response from elites is to call those criticisms illegitimate. Those doing the carping are assumed to be racists or nationalists, both of which, of course, are unpleasant, dirty types of people. Both the UK’s Leavers and the US’s Trumpers share some commonalities. Among them are skepticism over free trade and free immigration; concerns that elites dismiss as foolish and uneducated. And, of course racist.

    Snip.

    I think we’re about to watch the elites start paying a price for their incompetence, inattention and contempt. Euroskepticism is on the rise elsewhere in Europe. If EU membership were put to a popular vote in the Netherlands, Spain, or Sweden, there is a good chance that Leave would win there, too. Indeed, it’s possible that a vote to leave the EU might even win in France, the nation for whom creating and strengthening the EU has been the primary policy goal for 60 years.

    Perhaps the “Vote Remain, you virulent racist!” PR campaign for staying in the EU needs a bit more thought.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • Eleven countries looking to strike trade deals with the UK. Including Germany. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “The idea of pitting Brexit against ‘globalization’ is historically ridiculous. A proudly independent Britain pretty much invented the global economy, centuries before the European Union. There is no reason Britain should suddenly have to choose between trade and independence, when it has so long benefited from both.”
  • Brexit will be good for growth and freedom.
  • France 2016 looks a whole lot like Britain circa 1978, though probably with better food.
  • Labour, Brexit, and the Left-Wing Revolt Against Global Elites

    Monday, June 27th, 2016

    Among the more interesting storylines to emerge after the Brexit vote was how Labour blew it. Despite having a leadership far more Europhilic and in favor of transnational statist government than even Tory insiders, Labour’s support of Remain was markedly tepid, starting right at the top with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn:

    Less than a month before the historic EU referendum, the team assembled by Cameron to keep Britain in the European Union was worried about wavering Labour voters and frustrated by the opposition leader’s lukewarm support. Remain campaign operatives floated a plan to convince Corbyn to make a public gesture of cross-party unity by appearing in public with the prime minister. Polling showed this would be the “number one” play to reach Labour voters.

    Senior staff from the campaign “begged” Corbyn to do a rally with the prime minister, according to a senior source who was close to the Remain campaign. Corbyn wanted nothing to do with the Tory leader, no matter what was at stake. Gordon Brown, the Labour prime minister whom Cameron vanquished in 2010, was sent to plead with Corbyn to change his mind. Corbyn wouldn’t. Senior figures in the Remain camp, who included Cameron’s trusted communications chief Craig Oliver and Jim Messina, President Obama’s campaign guru, were furious.

    So to Corbyn, a vote many in Labour leadership regarded as the most important in their lifetime took a backseat to his bitter hatred of even appearing with the Tories. “An old school socialist, the Labour leader had in the past attacked the EU as an undemocratic, corporatist conspiracy that threatened workers’ rights. He never looked the part to save Cameron in a referendum the Conservative leader brought on himself.”

    From the same piece:

    Hardened by close-run contests in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and last year’s general election, the strategists running Stronger In decided to follow the playbook that worked in those campaigns, particularly the 2015 Conservative sweep, and focus mainly on economic security.

    It failed spectacularly. The depth of public anger over the influx of workers from other EU countries, and more broadly the rejection of political and business elites, was more significant than they had anticipated.

    Also this:

    Internal polling found just weeks before June 23 one in five Labour voters did not know the party’s position in the referendum. As party aides canvassed voters around the country, they discovered a deep well of concern about immigration.

    Labour leadership no doubt found it quite shocking that so many traditional Labour strongholds voted in favor of Brexit. There were also a small but notable number of Labour MPs who supported Brexit. Some hail from those same hinterland locales that voted for Brexit, and thus could be said to actually represent the wishes of their constituents (try to contain your shock).

    But Labour MP Kate Hoey represents a constituency smack dab against the south bank of the Themes in central London, an area that voted heavily to Remain. Yet Hoey was an early and notable voice for Brexit:

    I’m tired of people thinking that only those on the right of politics are Eurosceptic. This is far from true.

    The reputation of the EU has fallen sharply among many on the Left. The sight of the EU establishment imposing unprecedented levels of austerity on Greece was a real wake-up call. This was not a benign political institution guaranteeing social protection and international solidarity, but an unaccountable force bringing crippling pain on a people who cannot hope to repay the loans that are recapitalising their banks.

    Meanwhile, the EU is willing to require ever-greater sacrifice to living standards in order to keep the Euro and the wider European “Project” moving forwards. Ever closer Union is what is on the tin – and even if the words are removed to satisfy the Prime Minister, the contents will still be the same.

    The Labour Party has traditionally had a sceptical view of the European institutions. From Attlee to Foot, and until the late 1980s, Labour was predominantly Eurosceptic – but then, following three Thatcher victories, many on the Left looked desperately to Europe to block her policies. Wise Labour voices like Peter Shore and Tony Benn, however, argued that democratic faith in the wisdom of the public was a better guarantor than the benevolence of transitory political elites. They have been proved right as the EU is no longer motivated by Jacques Delors’ ‘Social Europe’, but is increasingly out of touch with the needs of its people.

    Familiar voices try to scare us into believing that leaving the EU would ruin the UK, but these are the same people who told us that we had to join the Euro or face disaster. We stayed out of the Euro and have therefore been spared much of the chaos of that unsustainable currency – but we still give £7.3 billion net a year of our money to the EU.

    How can we protect civil liberties when the EU forces on us unaccountable extraditions through the European Arrest Warrant? How can we ensure the jobs and growth that we need when vital contracts for work go to preferred bidders on the continent and not to British firms? How can we preserve and improve our public services when the Services Directives help force the privatisation of the Royal Mail and EU rules against state aid will make it almost impossible to renationalise the railways? TTIP is a gift to the multi-national corporations. I don’t trust the EU to negotiate on our behalf, and I certainly don’t trust it to be on the side of small businesses or Trade Unions.

    The Labour Party is looking at radical policies to tackle the problems in our country. We need to take back real control from the unelected and unaccountable European Commission if we are to have a chance of implementing any of these.

    My politics are very far indeed from those of Hoey, but she’s not wrong. Greece’s government may have brought upon the crisis by spending radically more money than they took in even after it became apparent they were going broke, but the EU responded in exactly the way described. It was born as an undemocratic organization, a fact the Euro crisis finally made apparent even to the those on the left, with the decisions of democratically elected officials overruled by unelected bureaucratic elites. And the self-serving agendas of those elites tend to be at odds with the goals of both left and right.

    The question isn’t why Hoey supported Brexit, but why so many Labour MPs didn’t.

    Other Brexit News:

  • Eight Labour shadow ministers quit.
  • You know who had a good day after the Brexit vote? Nigel Farage. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “In the end, it came down to the issue of immigration. The British people wanted to reclaim their nation. They wanted their nation to be their nation. They did not want it to turn into Germany. They wanted the hordes of immigrants camped out in Calais to stay in Calais. They had had had enough with British girls being ‘groomed’ by Muslim men.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Instapundit on the Brexit: “A lot of people felt powerless, and the political system not only didn’t address that, but seemed to glory in it.”
  • David Stockman sees Brexit not only as a revolt against the EU, but against the entire world financial elite’s low interest rate regime. “The ECB will soon be embroiled in an existential crisis as the centrifugal forces unleashed by Brexit tear apart the fragile consensus on which Draghi’s lunatic monetary experiments depended.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • As soon as the Brexit vote was announced, the EU announced that they were coming after people’s toasters and tea kettles. (Ditto.)
  • The previous Megan McArdle piece on Brexit was good. This one is even better:

    The inability of those elites to grapple with the rich world’s populist moment was in full display on social media last night. Journalists and academics seemed to feel that they had not made it sufficiently clear that people who oppose open borders are a bunch of racist rubes who couldn’t count to 20 with their shoes on, and hence will believe any daft thing they’re told. Given how badly this strategy had just failed, this seemed a strange time to be doubling down. But perhaps, like the fellow I once saw lose a packet by betting on 17 for 20 straight turns of the roulette wheel, they reasoned that the recent loss actually makes a subsequent victory more likely, since the number has to come up sometime.

    Or perhaps they were just unable to grasp what I noted in a column last week: that nationalism and place still matter, and that elites forget this at their peril. A lot people do not view their country the way some elites do: as though the nation were something like a rental apartment — a nice place to live, but if there are problems, or you just fancy a change, you’ll happily swap it for a new one.

    In many ways, members of the global professional class have started to identify more with each other than they have with the fellow residents of their own countries. Witness the emotional meltdown many American journalists have been having over Brexit….

    A lot of my professional colleagues seemed to, and the dominant tone framed this as a blow against the enlightened “us” and the beautiful world we are building, struck by a plague of morlocks who had crawled out of their hellish subterranean world to attack our impending utopia.

  • I’m always up for a good Morlock reference. And if you haven’t read H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine (which you should, because it’s a great novel), that analogy is more apt than you know. In Wells’ novel, the Morlocks were the underground race that actually ran things, the ones that maintain the machinery the Eloi depended on to live. Just like those inbred redneck freaks from JesusLand (or, to use a UK analogy, those Northern monkeys), the Morlocks are the essential population that keep things running, not the beautiful, useless Eloi.

    Brexit Aftershocks

    Friday, June 24th, 2016

    It’s shaping up to be an interesting day:

  • Tory Prime Minister David Cameron is resigning. “Mr Cameron announced shortly after 08:15 BST that he had informed the Queen of his decision to remain in place for the short term and to then hand over to a new prime minister by the time of the Conservative conference in October.” Current favorite to replace Cameron is pro-Leave MP Boris Johnson.
  • Under terms of the Lisbon Treaty, it will take about two years to negotiate the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
  • World markets are going crazy.
  • The Pound Sterling is at its lowest exchange rate in 30 years.
  • Scotland, Northern Ireland and London voted heavily to stay in the EU, while Leave won pretty much everywhere else, including Wales. Now there’s talk of a second Scottish Independence referendum.
  • Euroskeptic parties across the continent are calling for their own independence votes.
  • Obama continues to demonstrate his magic touch at persuasion.
  • I would say the panic selling is largely unwarranted; there’s no reason that UK can’t negotiate an orderly exit from the EU and continue to participate in the European Economic Area the way that Norway and Switzerland do now. There was talk before the Brexit vote that the EU wouldn’t go along with this out of spite, but if the endless Greece crisis has shown, Eurocrats negotiate their non-negotiable demands all the time, and I doubt even Angela Merkel is willing to put Europe through a deep recession (which is to say, deeper even than the current one the Euro seems to have engendered in perpetuity) just to “teach the UK a lesson.”

    More later…

    Brexit Wins

    Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

    BBC News just called the election for Brexit. “UK votes to leave European Union with 309 out of 382 results declared.”

    No time to do instant-analysis tonight, but markets will undoubtedly be in panic-rollercoaster mode tomorrow. This will pass, but there’s a real risk this is the event that pishes the world into the cyclical recession that’s been looming for years now. Let’s hope not.

    More tomorrow.

    Could Brexit Win? Update: Leave Up By 800,000 Votes

    Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

    Short answer: Yes.

    Medium Answer: Answer cloudy, ask again later.

    Early tidings were that “Remain” was polling ahead, enough so that even UKIP head Nigel Farage said it looked likely that Remain would pull out a win. But the “Leave” vote seems to be outperforming in areas where “Remain” was expected to be strong, and I’m not seeing any areas where the reverse is true.

    Looks like its going to be a long night for global market watchers…

    Update: Leave is currently up by About 800,000 votes. Including Wales which is, I think, a significant surprise.

    Shotgun Brexit Megapost

    Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

    Imagine that there’s a thoughtful, in-depth introduction here that explains the pros and cons of the Leave and Stay positions.

    You’ll have to imagine it, because I have no time to write it and the vote’s tomorrow. Instead, have a quick-and-dirty shotgun scatter of Brexit links.

  • The economic case for Brexit. “The European project is controlled by statists and the one good thing it provides (free trade between members) is easily overwhelmed by the negative things it imposes (protectionism against outsiders, tax harmonization, horrible agriculture subsidies, bad fisheries policy, etc).” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Britain Doesn’t Need the EU to Thrive. (Hat tip: Zero Hedge.)
  • “The fight over Brexit is symptomatic of a much larger crisis facing out-of-touch elites on both sides of the Atlantic.” More:

    The European Union’s bureaucracy and paper-parliament were set up to be as insulated as possible from the concerns of actual voters. Representatives to the European Parliament are selected by party elites as a kind of highbrow patronage. They invariably defer to the permanent bureaucracy, which acts like a transnational cartel, one that happens to be composed of governments. As Daniel Hannan, the rare Euroskeptic skunk to infiltrate the garden party that is the EU parliament, put it, “faced with a choice between democracy and supra-nationalism, the EU will always choose supra-nationalism.”

  • Elites ignore the populist revolt against them at their peril.
  • “A substantial portion of the Leave campaign views the referendum as a rigged process and the EU as conspiring behind the backs of the British people to launch a new round of integration.”
  • Everyone knows the Brexit vote is a sham.
  • A generally good piece about the myths of both sides of the Brexit debate, but when he tags Geert Wilders as a “genuine fascist,” he’s talking out his ass.
  • Brits buying gold.
  • Here’s a debate between UK Tory PM David Cameron and UKIP head Nigel Farage on the subject:

  • Finally, here’s Brexit: The Movie, a 71 minute film that lays out the case for the UK leaving the EU. Haven’t watched any but a tiny bit of either of these videos, but offer them up here as a public service.

  • LinkSwarm for June 17, 2016

    Friday, June 17th, 2016

    Today is a quadruple witching hour for markets, so try not to freak out if there’s more than the usual market volatility today.

  • “Obama Is Bringing 100 Syrian Refugees Into U.S. Every Day.”
  • And Syrian refugees are blowing big holes in Sweden’s welfare budget. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • The rich aren’t paying their “fair share,” they’re paying everyone’s share. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Swiss overwhelmingly turn down “guaranteed income,” the latest pie-in-the-sky socialist scheme to rob every Peter to pay every Paul.
  • David Horowitz believes that Donald Trump’s post-Orlando foreign policy speech is a game changer. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Not a game-changer: Continued vapid liberal cheer-leading for multiculturalism at all costs. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Orlando wasn’t about ‘gun violence’ or ‘homophobia.’ It was about Islam. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Yet another MSM journalist caught lying about guns.
  • “Why it’s called a ‘modern sporting rifle‘ and not an ‘assault weapon.'” (Hat tip: Instapundit, who notes “Remember, none of this is about saving lives. It’s about the cultural domination of the people in flyover country, by their coastal ‘betters’ who get a near-erotic thrill out of such domination, and who are reduced to blind rage whenever their efforts at domination fail.”)
  • Aside: Is the Washington Examiner paying Ashe Schow enough? She’s like some indefatigable writing machine…
  • The Corrosive Politics of the New York Times Editorial Board Led to the Orlando Shooting. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Right now the debate seems choked with people who don’t know, are proud of not knowing, and think you’re a redneck gun-nut asshole if you want them to know because they feel very strongly about this.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • No charges for officer Brad Miller. He’s the one who shot the “unarmed teen” who had driving his Jeep through a plate glass window and was in the process of vandalizing cars.
  • And here’s a police shooting where the use of lethal force was clearly justified.
  • JFK and LSD. Meh. It’s not that I think Kennedy wouldn’t have dropped acid given a chance, but Timothy Leary was basically a con man, and we already know that Nina Burleigh is irrational.
  • Wow, believe it or not, still another reason to never visit Oklahoma. “I’m going to need your driver’s license and all the money on your prepaid debit cards.”
  • “The prohibition of comments that are considered biased or hateful is an explicit denial of freedom of speech.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Australia’s women’s Olympic soccer team defeated by teenage boys.
  • Are shipping containers the future of farming?
  • Your auditor finds huge cost discrepancies in Houston ISD construction costs. Does HISD: A.) Call in an outside auditor, B.) Launch a criminal investigation or C.) Suspend the auditor who found the problems?
  • New UT President Greg Fenves is a vast improvement over Bill Powers merely by being mediocre.
  • Land’s End decides to commit suicide.
  • Father buys car for son to go to college. Son decides to smoke pot and hang with no-good friends instead. Father sells car.
  • You’re not authorized to know the dire secrets of the Amtrak snack car! (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Affluent buyers snapping up Hill Country land and building mansions.
  • Pat Condell on the Brexit Vote

    Thursday, June 16th, 2016

    In case you hadn’t noticed with all the jihad shooting and Hillary corruption and the GLAVEN, the UK is voting next week on whether or not to leave the EU. Here Pat Condell makes the case for Brexit.

    “[The EU’s] primary purpose is to eliminate the need for democratic consent, to empower politicians at people’s expense, and to make them our rulers, not our servants.”

    “If you can’t remove the people who govern you, you live in a dictatorship, however many fancy labels and buttons and bows they dress it all up in. We cannot remove the people who run the European Union, no matter what they do, so they do what they want.”

    “Do we want to live in a strong, free, independent country governed by laws to which the people have consented, or do we want to be a province of a federal dictatorship where we do what we’re told by unelected bureaucrats? When you sweep away all the speculation and verbiage, that is the choice.”

    Don’t agree with his view on Ukraine, but the rest seems pretty solid. Also includes a fine slam on Obama.

    The Brexit vote occurs June 23.

    This Week in Hillary Clinton Corruption

    Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

    Looks like I’m going to have enough news to make this a regular weekly posting…

  • Saudi Arabia Has Funded 20% Of Hillary’s Presidential Campaign, Saudi Crown Prince Claims.” That, of course, is an addition to the already generous funds the Saudis sent to the Clinton Foundation. And naturally the report was taken down and Hillary’s mouthpieces at the Poedesta groups were frantically trying to convince people that “there’s nothing to see here.”
  • “I happen to believe when it comes to American industries or foreign oligarchs sending large checks to politicians they’re not going it out of the kindness of their hearts. They want favors and in the case of the Clintons, we’re talking about massive amounts of money and we’re talking about favorable action in return.”
  • Julian Assange says Wikileaks will publish enough dirt on Hillary Clinton to indict her.
  • Did Clinton’s state department block an investigation into the Orlando gay nightclub shooter’s mosque?
  • Democrats have “chosen the corrupt, opaque, power hungry, self-serving, aloof, greedy, politically soulless, congenital liar they so richly deserve.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • EmailGate: “This appears to be a clear violation of federal law and the sort of thing that is a career-ender, or worse, for normals.”
  • What qualifications did Rajiv K. Fernando have to sit on the International Security Advisory Board? Simple: He gave the Clinton Foundation money.
  • How that unflattering picture of Secretary of State Gambino checking her Blackberry was the beginning of the end for Hillary.
  • State Department admits it’s missing all emails from Clinton toady Bryan Pagliano.
  • A quick primer on Clinton scandals. The miss several (where’s Sandy Berger stuffing classified information into his pants?) and soft-peddle others.
  • How Hillary’s tools shut out Bernie Sanders supporters in California: by explicitly denying them Democratic Party ballots.
  • Hillary enters incubation period. “As soon as we informed Hillary that she had reached the number of delegates necessary to secure the Democratic nomination, she thanked the staff and then promptly began secreting a thick, resinous substance from her oral gland and fashioning it into a protective casing around herself.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Never mind weekly. There’s probably enough dirt coming out on Hillary that I could make this a daily roundup, if I only had the time…

    Hillary Revealed Names of Intelligence Officials in Email

    Saturday, June 4th, 2016

    Well, isn’t this lovely?

    Hillary Clinton posted and shared the names of concealed U.S. intelligence officials on her unprotected email system.

    Federal records reveal that Clinton swapped these highly classified names on an email account that was vulnerable to attack and was breached repeatedly by Russia-linked hacker attempts. These new revelations — reminiscent of the Valerie Plame scandal during George W. Bush’s tenure — could give FBI investigators the evidence they need to make a case that Clinton violated the Espionage Act by mishandling national defense information through “gross negligence.”

    Numerous names cited in Clinton’s emails have been redacted in State Department email releases with the classification code “B3 CIA PERS/ORG,” a highly specialized classification that means the information, if released, would violate the Central Intelligence Act of 1949.

    Remember when “Plamegate” was the worst thing ever as far as liberals were concerned?

    Hillary committed a Plamegate every day while Secretary of State, because it was more important for her to protect her crooked dealings from Freedom of Information Act requests than it was to protect the lives of actual intelligence agents out in foreign countries.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)