Friday, June 24, 2016

Possible breakup of EU and UK: Bigger Picture

Possible breakup of EU and UK: Bigger Picture

I have not reported anything on the large daily political struggles of this world for months – not for lack of important things going on but the opposite, a level of complexity out there in the real world hard to fit in in a brief blog, demanding too much background to fully explain. The “watch” continues, exactly as I mentioned in earlier blog posts on discussions with Yeshua ben David, discussions which have continued to grow.

This morning, the possible breakup of both EU and UK dominate the news, as they should; this is one of a number of threads which might tip the balance either towards human survival or human species extinction.

When people react, it is important, at a minimum, for decision-makers in Europe (including UK) to remember what drove the results of this election, at the immediate (surface) level. “Remain” would have had a great victory, as Cameron had initially expected, BUT FOR THE CONCERN about immigration, about control of borders, and above all about opening doors to terrorists.

There is a deeper level to what happened, but it mostly reinforces this simplified story, even though the simplified story is not the whole thing.

As I went to bed last night, at a lower level of consciousness than what I have now as I type, after hearing the brexit news and a few other jarring things, I imagined a thin reed of hope: “Since Trump is over there, wouldn’t it be nice if he held a truly secret meeting with Cameron and the head of that British independence party, to talk about where they go now, to seek a good deal? For example, how to maintain FOR NOW – to be reassessed later – the full package of UK in the EU EXCEPT for the UK’s right/ability to control its borders, what the people really demanded?”

Cameron could say: “Now it is time to figure how can we best IMPLEMENT what the people have really been telling us, and how to give people even more control over their future. (Then the deal.) As part of that respect, we must also admit that the people of Scotland and Northern Ireland have a new view of their needs and their future, and we have an equal duty to give them what they want, a new referendum on whether they want independence on the condition that they are accepted and join the EU as an independent nation.” (A bit of humor: if England keeps out immigrants from the same places Trump wants to keep out, but Scotland and Northern Ireland choose the opposite, has anyone ever thought of building a wall with many doors between England and Scotland? Actually, it did work the last time, though in this millennium it would need a lot more, bigger doors. But then again, in this millennium, small boats and airplanes are all over the place around the UK.)

But is it possible? I wish.

It involves the art of the deal. Some folks say that there is nothing you can learn from the Harvard Business School that you couldn’t learn better at Trump University, but I have to admit I disagree. At Harvard there is a professor Howard Raiffa (and once Professor Schelling) who have a lot to say about the art of the deal, who actually know some real things Trump never quite put together, though certainly he learned a lot of other things from experience and from Wharton, another place deserving of maximum intellectual respect.

Calling things what they REALLY are... and not being inhibited by political correctness or the political demand to dumb things down and distort them... the art of the deal is really the art of obtaining a local Pareto optimum in a game of mixed cooperation and competition. It is an important art, and certainly goes beyond formal game theory. Trump rightly says it requires some imagination, much more than what we have seen from any of his political competitors. But it also requires some understand of the “rules of the game,” especially in a game like international politics where “winning” often turns out to be losing on the next round, and where sometimes it is vice-versa. There is an old French saying “Nothing endures like the temporary provisional agreement,” and that is just one of the many important paradoxes in this realm.

The terms of “the watch” are a bit like what the New York Times asked its reporters for years ago: don’t take sides, but dig as deep as you can into all sides, expose both positive and negative possibilities and facts, and separate the news from the editorials. That applies to me in spades right now regarding Trump, Clinton and Sanders. On the one hand, we certainly do need a new “Teddy Roosevelt,” as Icahn has said (for domestic policy).  Probably the Republican party should not just be replaced by a new third and fourth party, but it requires really massive cleanup at a deep level if there is any hope it can go back to supporting the real spirit of the constitution and past the many horrid forms of corruption which have crept in in recent years. A major part of this corruption is what I think of as “the fifth column,”
folks like Cheney (more like Palpatine than Darth Vader, though the confusion is understandable) influenced by flows of money traceable back to the same billionnaires in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, who also fund ISIS, the Moslem Brotherhood, Erdogan and anything which supports their particular vision of how a global Third Caliphate should work.  (Their view of the Bush family was a bit like the ancient Chinese view of how to deal with barbarian tribes, depicted in a very pleasant novel I just read, Under Heaven, depicting safer and more peaceful times than what we live in today.)

BUT CAN TRUMP DO IT? Only if he really means to, and only if he understands what is going on, which takes a whole lot of self-discipline and fast learning. One may hope. ON the positive side, he resisted the Firth Column pressure to create a new war between US and Israel versus Russia and Iran, scheduled for this year. He deserves great personal credit for that – but should he be rewarded with the presidency or with a new business deal that could earn him a trillion dollars? (Certainly I wish he were prepared for the latter; it is a serious objective opportunity, as the world energy industry fluctuates.) Also on the positive side –
the discussions of US deficit have been incredibly thin this year, but he said a few things casually a lot closer to the Way Out than what anyone else said in these debates.

A technical practical point: Cameron could ask for a schedule in which departure of England from EU is coordinated with creation and entry of independent Scotland and Northern Ireland (importantly one entity, if the next referendum supports that) into EU.  

But on the negative, worry side: “Does he have enough respect for women?” We all know that people are asking this; it’s a big part of the noosphere, and we are all connected to the noosphere (some more consciously than others). For me, the most worrisome sign is what he keeps saying about Hillary Clinton’s emails.  “Hey, those are Obama’s people who say she is a criminal.” Ah, but are they? It suggests that he is totally oblivious to what Cheney and his comrades in the fifth column have been doing. “But what was Obama doing?”  “Off playing golf.” (Another reason we need more of a real hands-on CEO right now.  And I have even wished Specter were alive still, and available to be a VP candidate, to help root out the bad guys embedded
in so many agencies with bad wires plugged into them.) Response: “Oh, maybe *I** should try playing golf ...”  

For the EU, this has been the year of Three Great Challenges –  austerity and “reform” versus growth, immigration and now brexit. But the EU was stuck in mud even on the first of these, and not well prepared to move on. The danger of the US being the one to initiate a world economic depression was already on the table. I was surprised, a bit, that the space movement came closer to understanding the way out on challenge one (see than the supposed great economists in play there, economists stuck in scalar thinking.

Layers of the onion. At a deeper level, I have long expected a certain kind of changing of the guard, which I can observe but have little impact on. Above the billionnaires and the fundamentalists... important as they are... but still in this neck of the woods... there is a different type of conservatism brewing... and we have only seen the early stages of something which will become much stronger and focused. I just hope it moves into constructive channels. I hope we don’t all blow it, the way the US blew it with Russia. (And for that matter, I hope the Russians think long and hard about Paulson’s book on how China did so much better with economics reform, and what that tells us at an analytic level which many Russians are able to understand if they bother to, if they control their pride.)

Best of luck.

P.S. The brexit vote was one of about four things which are challenges to me to assimilate this morning. More than the vote itself was the deeper flux of forces there. But also I received a reminder of how the stakeholder system has been implemented in the White House bureaucracy itself, perhaps in the shadow of Reid’s perception of how to do things right, which tries to balance power/money in a certain way, without enough respect for truth, strategic thinking and the need for parallel channels of information (reminding me of ADP mathematics and Sarbanes-Oxley, hints of what a more complete and functional system needs to have). But... too many vicissitudes for this morning.

And oops! I was supposed to mention: I really hope someone SERIOUSLY looks into the possibility of a four-way presidential debate, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian and Green. The latest CNN poll strongly suggests that would be good for the country, and would enrich the depth and seriousness of dialogue, which we badly need. Is it really constitutional to allow anonymous billionnaires to take out misleading hit jobs on major candidates, without any limits, while not allowing networks to hold debates between all candidates doing 5% or better in the polls? Allowing that option is itself a litmus test of who is serious about real free speech. Could CNN invite all four, or put a briefing before the courts (as was suggested re Cruz's citizenship)? We do need deeper dialogue, and a bit more entertainment, as the public begins to weary of predictable pie throwing.

Some additional key details:

If they really think it through, there will be a new referendum on Scotland AND Northern Ireland

Note the Northern Ireland aspect. This is not a small matter, nor do I mention it lightly.
Having an M.Sc. from LSE on international institutions with an emphasis on European institutions,
having been an active member both of the Bow Group (the "Heritage House" of Tories, albeit
a whole lot more rational and reasonable and Burkeian)_ and of the European student union...
and yet of half staunch Irish family... well, I have tracked this more than I can say.

After the brexit vote, lots of folks in northern Ireland were upset about the coming truncation of very deep and very important ties within Ireland, which was PARTIALLY reunited, in a nice humane way, via the EU. A serious worry. Northern Ireland has seen really serious conflicts of course, which could come back if we all act stupid (which does happen more and more these days). But in this case,
BOTH the Catholics (nativists) of northern Ireland and the "protestants" (as much Scotch settlers as protestants) would be better off in a new Scotland+Northern-Ireland as a new state in the EU.
And frankly... England would be a LOT better off being able to simply wash its hands of the Northern Ireland issues. WHO NEEDS them? Maybe people who have wet dreams of being Trajan... but I think/hope there is a bit more rationality about such things in the upper classes of UK than in
certain sectors of the US. I hope.

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