Showing posts with label Brexit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brexit. Show all posts

Sunday, September 4, 2016

World War II, nearly everybody lost

Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and France were invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany in 1940.  Yugoslavia and Greece got the same a year or two later.  Poland, Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania were invaded and occupied by the Soviets.  Germany and Italy  were heavily bombed and then invaded and occupied by the Anglo Americans.  A few countries managed to stay neutral, but darn few. 
   We, America, won without taking too much damage.  The British won but suffered a lot more.  The Russians won at a terrible cost. 
   So on balance we have three winners, and a whole lotta losers.  Right after the war, 1946, the survivors (losers all), determined never to do a World War again, set out to build a United States of Europe to prevent another catastrophe. It started small, just six members.  It went thru a bunch of name changes, but it kept growing, and now everyone is in it, except the Russians.  They set up a Common Market, the Euro, and a government of sorts in Brussels.  Up until this summer it looked like a winner, despite some boondoggles like Greece. 
   This summer the Brits pulled out.  That's a setback for the United Europe idea.  Britain is the second biggest economy in the EU, right after Germany, they are very good diplomats, and they have the enormously strong American connection, far stronger than anyone else in the world.  Britain will be missed. 
   It will take some years for Brexit to sort out.  If no other country follows the Brits, then it's a minor setback.  If some minor players bail out that's a bad thing.  If a biggie, France say, bails out, that's a very bad thing.  
   Time will tell.


Monday, June 27, 2016

What's the difference between Brits and Scots?

An election map of the Brexit referendum shows everywhere in England except London, voting Leave, whereas every place in Scotland voted Remain.  The dividing line between Scottish Remain and British Leave is very sharp and follows the old border between England and Scotland.
   The TV newsies have been yacking about how the Leave voters were all working class blue collar people and the Remain voters were all London financial system operators.  Maybe.  But why does all of Scotland want to remain, whereas most of England wants to leave?  I haven't heard any TV newsies pontificating about that. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The McLaughlin Shouting Hour

There were on for their usual half hour this morning.  And not a word was said about Brexit.  I guess the show was taped sometime before Friday, when the British referendum results came out.  They did talk quite a bit about Venezuela's collapse.  The liberal members of the show (most of 'em) tried to explain the Venezuela problem as anything but socialism.  Yeah right.
   The also talked about NATO's plan to station ONE battalion (1000 men) in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland.   Total 4000 troops.  This is nothingness.   Four divisions, 40,000 men would be more like it.  Hitler launched a hundred divisions in 1941.  Then there was some yellow belly talk about how the Baltic states don't really matter and we should not be risking war with Russia over them .  I'll admit that war with Russia is a real downer, but letting the Russians take over free and independent countries sticks in my craw. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Brits did it.

The polls had it close, and it was.  The London bookies were wrong, they were quoting 84% to remain.  American investors didn't think Brexit would happen, and yesterday they were happily buying stocks on the assumption that Brexit would not happen.  Today, with the US market opening in a few minutes,  I, and the TV newsies, expect a wave of selling.  European markets, already open, have taken a nosedive. 
  The interesting question, after the first ripples settle out, it what happens to Britain in the long term.  Something like 50% to 60% of Britain's exports go to the EU.  Right now, or at least yesterday, those exports go duty free.  The EU may decide to force Britain to pay full EU tariffs, which will hurt a lot.  They may decide other things.  There are a couple of countries like Norway and Switzerland that are not EU members, but enjoy tariff free entry to the EU market.  I don't see why the EU would cut Britain any favors, but what do I know?  The Brits may seek entry to NAFTA, and I have no idea how that would work out. 
  The EU has it's own troubles, the Euro is shaky, they are still paying off the Greeks, and they have the humongous refugee problem.  Britain was the second strongest member (after Germany) and a lot of Europeans will miss the Brits.  They served as a counterweight to the Germans, who are the biggest and richest country.  With the Brits out, Germany will pretty much run the EU. 
   Brexit surely hands the whole European unity project a big setback  European unity got started right after WWII, with the object of welding Europe together into a single country to prevent another World War from breaking out.  It's been on a roll ever since.  All of Western Europe joined up, they started up the Euro, and all the Russian satellite countries joined right up as soon as the Russian's iron grip slacked off.  What happens next is hard to predict. 
   What the EU ought to do is tighten up their financial system, tell the dead beat countries like Greece no more handouts.  Create bank deposit insurance, and come up with a uniform set of banking regulations to prevent setting up banks in places with no regulations, that proceed to do all sorts of shady deals.  And  loosen up labor laws, permitting lay offs when business drops off, fewer holidays, less vacation, and a 40 hour work week. 
   Whether the EU will do this is anybody's guess.