Catfight – and it’s US vs EU

Lovers of turbo-neoliberalism, rejoice – and take your bottles of Moet to a prime ringside seat; there won’t be a nastier catfight this summer than the opening rounds opposing two Western giants. Forget about the Pentagon “pivoting” to Asia without ever abandoning the Middle East; nothing compares with this voyage in the entrails of turbo-capitalism, worthy of a neo-Balzac.

We’re talking about a new Holy Grail – a free-market deal between the United States and the European Union; the advent of a giant, internal transatlantic market (25% of global exports, 31% of global imports, 57% of foreign investment), where goods and services
(but not people) will “freely” circulate, something that in theory will lead Europe out of its current funk.

The problem is that to reach this Brave New World presided by the Market Goddess, Europe will have to renounce some of its quite complex juridical, environmental, cultural and health norms.

In that Kafkaesque/Orwellian bureaucratic paradise also known as Brussels, hordes of faceless equivalents of the bowler hat men in a Magritte painting openly complain about this “adventure”; there’s a growing consensus Europe has everything to lose and little to gain out of it, in contrast with the much-derided enemies of the European integration, as in the fanatics of an “pro-American” and “ultra-liberal” Europe.

Pepe Escobar

Asia Times Online, Hong Kong

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The Paradoxes of the Pacific Pivot

The “Pacific pivot” of the United States is nothing new. At the same time, it doesn’t really exist. And yet, even though it doesn’t exist, this pivot is partly responsible for the escalation of tensions in and around the Korean peninsula.

How can all three of these statements be simultaneously true? Such are the paradoxes of the U.S. shift in attention toward the Pacific Rim.

The Obama administration made a big splash with its announcement of a rebalancing of U.S. foreign policy. But it is in fact something that the Clinton administration also boasted about back in the 1990s. In 1993, Bill Clinton hosted the Leaders Summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Seattle as part of his own administration’s shift toward the Pacific. With APEC and other initiatives, the United States wanted to cash in on the enormous economic growth taking place in a region where, as Clinton put it, countries have “gone from being dominoes to dynamos.”

John Feffer

Foreign Policy In Focus

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