Jul-04-14 - by Rosendo Fraga
1. Obama’s approval drops in the polls, the economy shows contradictions, the illegal immigration of minors has prompted conflicts and the Embassy in Iraq is protected. A poll released by the New York Times accounts that 54% disapproves the President’s job and only 40% approve of it. Disapproval of the foreign policy reaches 58% - the highest since 2009- and 52% rejects the handling of the crisis in Iraq. The fall of the GDP in the first quarter reached 2.9%, but the blame is on the cold weather and recovery is expected for the second quarter that has just ended, while consumer confidence is the highest since 2008, when the financial crisis was hastened. The three-fold increase in the number of children arriving illegally from Central America has generated a relevant social issue and the President could resort to executive orders to advance the delayed immigration reform. It is estimated that there are 11 million undocumented people in the United States. The Secretary of State (Kerry) visited Baghdad, pushing without success the Iraqi President (Maliki) to articulate a government of unity with Sunnis and Kurds. The enhanced protection of the US Embassy in the Iraqi capital and the use of drones are reduced for now to protect its facilities. He also met with the Kurdish President (Barzani), who has gained some autonomy as a result of the weakening of the Baghdad Government. The mastermind of the attack against the American consulate in Benghazi has arrived in the country and could be sentenced to death.
2. Moving to Europe, the President of Luxembourg was elected as the head of the European Commission, the xenophobic right fails to get organized, Renzi assumes the Presidency of the EU and the truce in Ukraine fails. Juncker was elected by the center-right parties led by Merkel, despite the opposition by Cameron, who is pressed by the British public opinion, increasingly critical to the EU. Marie Le Pen failed to organize the xenophobic right at the continental level, despite its electoral successes. The Italian Prime Minister took over the six-monthly Presidency of the EU seeking to energize it with its proposals for more growth rather than more tightening measures. The truce in Ukraine failed, despite support from the Governments of Kiev and of Putin. The violence in the pro-Russian separatist regions resumes, with the risk that this entails. The signing of the partnership agreement with the EU by Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia will generate some kind of response from Russia (that was the trigger for the Ukrainian conflict). In Spain, the new King Felipe VI took over, visiting Catalonia and the Pope; in France, Sarkozy was arrested on charges of influence peddling; Belgium begins to function as a Confederation and Merkel will visit China next weekend.
3. Following Asia, China participates for the first time in multinational sea maneuvers; the Indian President outperforms Obama on Twitter and in Pakistan a couple is killed for marrying against tradition. The decision of the Chinese Government was a sign of relaxation, but at the same time a sign of power against the US, with whom it shares the maneuvers just like with Japan. At the same time, it extended its official map, including the maritime areas in conflict with other countries on the continent (Japan, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia). For the first time since the split of the two Chinas, it sent an emissary to Taiwan with rank of Minister. In turn, in Honk Kong, half a million on the streets called for the extension of the vote to choose local authorities in 2017. Deepening the purges for corruption, a former head of the Army (Caihou) was expelled from the PC. Beijing is promoting an alternative project to the World Bank project and begins to dispute the US leadership in e-commerce. The President of India (Modi) is beating Obama by number of followers on Twitter; in Pakistan, a couple was killed and beheaded by relatives for marrying without respecting the tradition, and in Afghanistan, the result of the second round of the presidential election is announced this week and the Taliban carry out a new offensive in the province of Hallmand.
4. For the Middle East, ISIS proclaims the Caliphate, Russia and Iran are militarily involved, Assad fights it, Israel announces retaliation against Hamas and Turkey negotiates with the Kurds. ISIS fights a few kilometers from Baghdad and the Iraqi offensive to recover Tikrit continues without success. In fact, Iraq is divided into three countries: the Government of Baghdad (Shia), the territory that dominates the new caliphate (Sunni) and the Kurds. June was the month with more deaths in Iraq since the US invasion. Troops of the Republican Guard of Iran are already operating in Iraq and Russia has handed over to the government 5 Sukhoi aircraft. In Syria, the rebel Al-Nusra Front swears loyalty to the ISIS, which parades in streets of rebel towns and crucifies 8 dissident rebels. The leader of the Caliphate (Baghdadi) - which dominates a territory as large as the province of Neuquen in Argentina- demands fidelity from Muslim Governments and followers. Jordan fears actions of ISIS, Turkey negotiates with the Kurds and Iran moves forward in talks with the G6 on the nuclear issue. The lifeless appearance of three abducted Israeli teenagers has led Israel to carry out reprisals against Hamas, which generates strong tension.
5. Africa follows the offensive of Boko Haram in Nigeria and legislative elections are held in Libya; in Latin America, Dilma manages to dominate the protests at the World Cup as risks for a new Argentine default emerge. In sub-Saharan Africa, the actions of the terrorist group Boko Haram have generated dozens of deaths in recent days, with new abductions of women, attacks on Christian churches and counter-attacks by the Army, while in the Central African Republic violence grows between Christian and Muslim militias. In Saharan Africa elections in Libya are held in the midst of violence and in Morocco the 20F movement, which precipitated the fall of the Government at the beginning of the "Arab Spring", has lost influence. In Latin America, Dilma Rousseff in Brazil is managing to dominate the protests during the World Cup; in Argentina, the risk of a new default generated regional solidarity and Obama receives Bachelet in Washington.
6. To conclude:
a) In the US, Obama’s approval falls as the economy shows contradictory signals; the president could resort to executive orders to move on the migratory issue as military reinforcements in Iraq are limited to the Embassy.
b) In Europe, Germany and the UK take some distance due to the appointment of Juncker at the EU; Renzi takes over the Union’s presidency; Belgium begins to act as a Confederation and the truce in Ukraine fails.
c) In Asia, China participates in multilateral sea exercises, extends the official map to the disputed sea areas and removes corrupt officials while the president of India surpasses Obama in Twitter.
d) In the Middle East, ISIS makes Caliphate in Iraq and Syria, the Iraqi forces fail to curtail it, Iran and Russia participate in the conflict and Israel announces retaliation against Hamas over the murders.
e) In Africa, Boko Haram increases violence in Nigeria and in Libya the legislative elections are carried out amid violence; in Latin America, Dilma manages to tame protests and in Argentina the risk of default returns.