Wallonia Strikes at Canada

By George Friedman
Geopolitical Futures

How one regional parliament blocked a trade deal for the entire EU.

The Canadian-EU free trade negotiation has fallen apart. It was destroyed by the Walloon government, which opposed the deal. Since any free trade agreement (and most other things) must be approved by all members of the European Union, the Walloon parliament’s decision to oppose the treaty killed it. The Canadian trade minister was stunned and even distraught at years of negotiations being blocked by the Walloons, but they had their reasons to block it, which must be considered.

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Opinion: Why Wall Street’s scandals keep coming

By Maureen O’Hara


It’s too easy for Wall Street to overlook ethical constraints and only care about the ends, not the means

It is human nature to search for the easier way to do things. At Volkswagen, engineers decided it was easier to write code to fool mileage sensors than it was to actually build more fuel-efficient cars. At Wells Fargo, opening new accounts was much easier to do if you skipped that pesky customer step. Both cases illustrate the pitfalls of caring only about the ends and not also the means.

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Hungary 1956: a Socialist Revolution

by G.M. Tamás

We tend to forget the importance of the experience of people participating in historical events. The mainstream political literature presents 1945 in Eastern Europe as a Russian occupation that gradually forced a rootless system on a reluctant and recalcitrant population who obeyed out of fear. But almost nobody seems to have taken the pain to explain why even conservative or monarchist contemporaries called 1945 not only “liberation” but “revolution”. The new system—at the beginning pluralist and democratic—found in Hungary tens of thousands of surviving volunteers of the Red Army in 1919 and hundreds of thousands of participants of the 1919 revolution and of the Council Republic, hundreds of thousands of trade unionists trained by the slightly rigid and old-fashioned Marxism taught by social democracy.1

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If Hillary Clinton were Rachel in The Girl on the Train, Vladimir Putin would end up with a corkscrew in his neck. Alas, cyber wars don’t lend themselves to the neat endings of fictional whodunnits, much less most real crimes. Four months after the security firm Crowdstrike revealed that two groups of hackers believed to be based in Russia had penetrated the Democratic National Committee, convincing evidence has yet to surface that the Kremlin is responsible—and it may never. Likewise, security experts said last summer that whoever hacked Hillary Clinton’s private email servers was “far too skilled to leave evidence of their work.”

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Takeaways from Saudi Arabia’s record $17.5bn bond sale

Elaine Moore in London and Simeon Kerr in Dubai

Financial Times

Saudi was helped by the low-rate backdrop, but the demand for the 30-year bond still surprised

Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plan to chart a course away from oil dependence and towards a more diversified economy is off to a flying start — with a blockbuster $17.5bn debut sovereign bond sale.

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Duterte: Philippines is separating from US and realigning with China

The Guardian

Philippines president talks of resolving South China Sea dispute through dialogue in new ‘springtime’ in relations with China

The Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, has announced his “separation” from the United States, saying it has “lost” and he has realigned with China as the two agreed to resolve their South China Sea dispute through talks.

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The Roots of Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy

Geopolitical Futures
By George Friedman

The candidate has not shifted her strategy to respond to the changing reality in the international system.

This is an election in which anything can happen. Nevertheless, for now at least, it appears that Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States. For the moment, we can turn away from the real issues of this world to the question of what Clinton’s foreign policy might look like if she wins. It is an important question, inasmuch as I was at a dinner last night where there were foreign diplomats, and they seemed oddly obsessed with the question.

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Nuclear Disarmament – A Challenge for the New UN Chief

Analysis by Alyn Ware*

NEW YORK (IDN) – The United Nations General Assembly has on October 13 affirmed António Guterres, the former Prime Minister of Portugal and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, as the next United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG). The UN Security Council had on October 5 nominated him for the position after considering 13 candidates.

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A Nonviolent Strategy to End the Climate Catastrophe

Robert J. Burrowes

As the evidence mounts that we are fast approaching the final point-of-no-return beyond which it will be impossible to take sufficient effective action to prevent climate catastrophe – see ‘The World Passes 400 PPM Threshold. Permanently’ http://www.climatecentral.org/news/world-passes-400-ppm-threshold-permanently-20738 – the evidence of ineffective official responses climbs too. See, for example, ‘Climate Con: why a new global deal on aviation emissions is really bad news’. https://corporateeurope.org/blog/climate-con-why-new-global-deal-aviation-emissions-really-bad-news

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In Germany, a Founding EU Principle Is Challenged


Geopolitical Diary 


The German Cabinet on Wednesday approved a bill that would deny welfare benefits to unemployed citizens of other EU nations for five years. Defenders of the plan, which has yet to be taken up by parliament, argue that Germany needs to prevent inactive citizens from other EU members from claiming benefits in the country. The proposal marks a notable development in the evolution of the free movement of people in the European Union, one of the bloc’s founding tenets. From a principle that guarantees the free movement of citizens, the bloc could be slowly moving to a free movement of workers.

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A Snapshot of a Multipolar World in Action

by Dilip Hiro
LobeLog – Foreign Policy

In the strangest election year in recent American history — one in which the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson couldn’t even conjure up the name of a foreign leader he “admired” while Donald Trump remained intent on building his “fat, beautiful wall” and “taking” Iraq oil — the world may be out of focus for many Americans right now. So a little introduction to the planet we actually inhabit is in order. Welcome to a multipolar world. One fact stands out: Earth is no longer the property of the globe’s “sole superpower.”

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Panama: The Hidden Trillions

Alan Rusbridger

The New York Review of Books

In a seminar room in Oxford, one of the reporters who worked on the Panama Papers is describing the main conclusion he drew from his months of delving into millions of leaked documents about tax evasion. “Basically, we’re the dupes in this story,” he says. “Previously, we thought that the offshore world was a shadowy, but minor, part of our economic system. What we learned from the Panama Papers is that it is the economic system.”

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Syria—What Cost “Victory?”

by Graham E. Fuller
LobeLog Foreign Policy

A deep contradiction lies at the heart of US policy towards the present horrifying conflict in Syria. Which is better? To now reluctantly accept continuation of Bashar al-Asad in power in Damascus for the foreseeable future, thereby hastening the end of the war and the killing? Or to fight till the last Syrian in the belief that an indefinite prolongation of the civil war will somehow bring about a much brighter future for Syria and deal a rebuff to the position of Russia and Iran in Syria?

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