by William Skink
Americans are too inundated with non-stop Trump analysis and Bernie bashing from our corporate media to pay much attention to what’s happening in other countries, but what’s happening is both disturbing and critically important to understand. Here are a few quick looks at how the reactionary right is taking advantage from the ravages left by neoliberalism.
The election for president of Austria turned into a cliffhanger on Sunday, with a former Green Party leader battling a populist who is seeking to become the first far-right politician to be elected head of state in Europe since 1945.
With all votes cast on Sunday counted, the race between Norbert Hofer, 45, of the far-right Freedom Party, and Alexander Van der Bellen, a 72-year-old economist, was too close to call. The outcome will be determined by mail-in votes.
Putin carries, at one end of his balancing pole, the various elites more oriented toward the West and the “Washington Consensus“ and, at the pole’s other end, those concerned that Russia faces both a real military threat from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and a hybrid geo-financial war as well. He is being pressed to come down on the side of the latter, and to pry the grip of the former from the levers of economic power that they still tightly hold.
In short, the issue coming to a head in the Kremlin is whether Russia is sufficiently prepared for further Western efforts to ensure it does not impede or rival American hegemony. Can Russia sustain a geo-financial assault, if one were to be launched? And is such a threat real or mere Western posturing for other ends?
In a television interview on Friday, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak echoed Ya’alon’s concerns, claiming that Israel has been “infected by the seeds of fascism”. For Sheizaf, all of this shows “that there is growing opposition to Netanyahu inside and around the security establishment” – opposition that could, at some point, coalesce into an electoral challenge.
Tensions between Ya’alon and Netanyahu came to the surface in March, when Israeli soldier, Elor Azaria, was caught on video executing a wounded Palestinian alleged attacker in Hebron. While Ya’alon was clear in his condemnation, Netanyahu, under political pressure from the populist hard-right elements within his own coalition, muddied the waters with a supportive telephone call to Azaria’s father.
Weeks later, the two senior Likud men were publicly divided again over Major General Yair Golan’s remarks on Holocaust Remembrance Day, when he drew parallels between Germans in the 1930s to modern-day Israeli society. Netanyahu slammed the speech, but Ya’alon made a pointed defence of the right of senior army officials to express their views.
(I would also suggest reading Uri Avnery’s piece, Israeli Weimar: It Can Happen Here)
In a speech to AKP delegates who earlier elected him party leader at a special congress, Yildirim, transport minister for most of the past decade and a half, left no doubt that he would prioritise the policies closest to Erdogan’s heart. His main aim, he said, was to deliver a new constitution and create an executive presidency, a change Erdogan says will bring stability to the NATO member state of 78 million, but which opponents fear will herald greater authoritarianism.
Yildirim, 60, said constitutional change was a necessity to legitimize the existing situation, tacit acknowledgment that Erdogan has extended the traditionally ceremonial role of the Turkish presidency. “The most important mission we have today is to legalize the de facto situation, to bring to an end this confusion by changing the constitution,” he said. “The new constitution will be on an executive presidential system.”
The constitutional change would give Erdogan unlimited power over virtually every aspect of governance.
Former US State Secretary Hillary Clinton is the most “dangerous” for France candidate in the race for the post of the president of the county as she has “gone hand in hand” with the US decisions that plunged the world into “chaos,” France’s National Front (FN) party leader Marine Le Pen said.
“There is a candidate who appears a lot more dangerous for France than the others — that’s Hillary Clinton… this is a woman who has gone hand in hand with the full spectrum of American decisions which have plunged the world objectively into chaos, ” Le Pen told the RT television channel in an interview released Friday.
Le Pen expressed her belief that Clinton would continue this “destructive policy, a policy of conflict, a policy of imprisonment of Europe in blinded Atlanticism, I think it’s a danger for world peace.”