Beyond the Cusp

May 29, 2016

Why the European Union Will Die

 

After our Brexit article some inquired why we claimed the European Union would die, or more aptly, implode, as we had stated at one point. A few expressly pointed to the fact that there were signs of economic recovery and that the steps taken by the European Union were working to bring the troubled nations, especially Spain and Italy, back from the brink. While it would be quite a blessing should the European Union make a recovery of unparalleled dimensions resembling the great periods of the post-World War II era but the likelihood is slender as there is not about to be another Marshall Plan as the United States too is facing lean years and will be working on their own recovery for the immediate future. The challenges to the Western World are mounting and if not addressed and some mitigation found the refugees flowing into Europe and North America on top of the brutal effects the refugees are placing on Turkey and more so on Jordan threaten to topple leaders as the strains on the economies will be extensive.

 

The challenge for Europeans as well as Turkey and Jordan will be to alter the manner in which they treat refugees and those who come from foreign extraction and to integrate them into their society rather than all but forcing them to live in autonomous zones separate and anything but equal. The French produced a 2,200-page report, “Banlieue de la République.” The report had numerous suggestions and goals which could be enacted which might alleviate some of the difficulties but are unlikely to see the light of day. The challenges listed in the French report can easily be applied to the other nations, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Finland, Britain and other nations will be a test of whether Europe can adapt and commit to integrating those who are unlike the native population as unless the Muslims are integrated and have opportunities the probability of rioting and radicalization rises. We are not equating lack of work and the other poverty and similar tags which have often been blamed for terrorism as not even claiming that their frustration and lack of address of grievances by government will produce terrorism, we are identifying such as a drain on the finances and budgetary balancing will be a factor which may tip the scales from an affordable situation to a destabilizing financial drain. Such situations can also be exploited leading to rioting and lawlessness. The same is true for Turkey and Jordan as their economies are not so vigorous such that they can integrate the thousands upon thousands of refugees which are streaming across their borders. Jordan has the added problem of refugees streaming in from Iraq as well. Even Israel is feeling some financial effects as she is called upon increasingly to provide medical treatment both for refugees as well as injured fighters from the various factions in the Syrian war zones, many of which are bordering the Israeli Golan Heights which makes Israel the best place to get emergency treatments. 

 

What will come about is the death of the European Union as a super-governance or providing a standard currency and economic plans as it has been the disparate rules and economic plans which are not universal which has caused much of the problems. With the work week standard being a 40 hour week we find that those who do work from national average to another are surprising in the numbers we were able to find from 2013 with Greece leading at 42.0 and the Netherlands with a mere 30.0 (see below).

 

European Average Hours Worked by Those with Employment

European Average Hours Worked by Those with Employment

 

The next important, actually vital, statistic is the unemployment rate by nation. We found records for 2014 and 2015 graphed (see below) where the lowest recorded at 5% for Austria followed closely by Germany and with Greece and Spain hovering at about 25%. During our researching we found that Youth unemployment usually ran from half again to around double the figures for population in total.

 

European Unemployment by Country for 2014 and 2015

European Unemployment by Country for 2014 and 2015

 

Another measure of the health of an economy is the debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a measurement where the lower the percentage the healthier the national economy. The percentages range from Sweden at 38% all the way to Greece at 157%. (see below) The one regularity which one has seen consistently was that Greece and Spain are at the end of the figures which are least desirable and Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian nations tend to be the most desirable positions which also explains why these nations rated amongst the happiest of nations in Europe. The main rational behind these numerous graphs and statistics was to generate the vast disparity between many of the European Union nations and to point out why the sharing of a singular currency, the Euro, places strains and limitations on the necessary monetary policies each individual nation has at their disposal as well as economic policy restrictions. For those at the disadvantaged end of the scales their not having their own adjustable currency means that they must make allowances in policies to the largest economic powers as they drive the European Union’s viability but while doing so they imperil the lesser economies.

 

Debt Expressed as % of GDP for European Nations

Debt Expressed as % of GDP for European Nations

 

The difficulties the European Union is facing goes beyond the individual national monetary and fiscal policies and the single currency enforcing economic policies of the strongest power nations upon the least national economies thus perpetuating their difficulty and in most cases condemning them to deficit spending and an ever rising debt load with little if any recourse. The financial difficulties are aggravated further by the bureaucracy in Brussels which continues to grow and demand more and more treasure be skimmed from the economy of the entirety of the European Union nations. This results in an ever more drastic effect upon the economically weaker nations sending their finances ever further into the red. The European Union regulation are simply one more drain on every economy throughout the European Union and once more the effect is disproportionally more dramatic on the weakest once again. When one observes the growth of the European Union Legislation and Legal Action Surge one starts to realize exactly where and why the European Union will eventually legislate itself out of existence.

 

Growth in European Union Legislation And Legal Action Surge 1973 to 2008

Growth in European Union Legislation
And Legal Action Surge 1973 to 2008

 

The vote next month will tell the story and will very likely be the last chance for the Western World to finally start to turn away from socialism and its guaranteed outcomes instead of simply providing a guaranteed equality of opportunity and a level playing field. Initially when the precursor of the European Union started, the European Common Market, it worked well as it basically created a low or no tariff zone within Europe for its member states. By the time it had grown and transited into the European Union it was already showing signs of becoming a super governance which was obviously heading to becoming the central power over the entirety of Europe. This was made all the worse by the fact that many of those in positions of influence and power were unelected individuals who need not report to any individual nation as they were employed to look out for the European Union and not babysit or hold the hand of any one country. From this humble beginning the European Union began to write large edicts. Many were about certain levels of pollutants one might put into the air, water or ground and also writing the procedures for handling and disposing of poisonous chemicals. Many of these regulations were quite important such as where to store spent nuclear fuel rods safely. The European Union also set standards for each nation on pollution control due to agreements entered into either by the nations or the European Union. Soon the European Union has become a super government which rules in a dictatorial manner with the individual European nations being incapable of altering their relations once a decision has come down from on high in Brussels.

 

This is part of what has galled many British voters and it is only the youth who have graduated within the past decade and probably left university knowing less than they went in but are now assured that they know everything and it will be their charge to come out and teach those out in the workforce what is the only approved manner of performing any work. They will expound regularly the complaints about income inequality and how it is not fair that older people receive higher salaries just because they have proven their ability, which, they will tell us, is a form of ageism except this particular time it is the youth at a disadvantage. Once the youth of today become a majority, be prepared for their instruction in college to come to the fore in our society and Capitalism will disappear and Socialism will become the new perfection of society and our national problems. They will address the income inequality by setting a maximum wage one will be permitted. Let us assume we have two people, one making 35,000 Euro per year and another making 250,000 Euro per year. Without even addressing how these two individuals came to be making such different amounts but will defer to the one making the higher wage and simple make the difference far less. Their newly adjusted salaries after the equality of worth standings are applied result in the first gentleman going from making 35,000 Euros per year to making 95,000 Euros per year and the gentleman who once made 250,000 Euros per year will now be making 135,000 Euros per year leaving the government with 55,000 Euros in redistribution fees. This will be the future when the youth get to make all the decisions across Europe and then slowly the rest of the Western World. Between an economy teetering on the point of exasperation and a flooding of refugees who are largely seeking the government relief and expecting the government to feed, clothe and house them and pay them salaries as they were told was their right upon arrival. The refugees seeking such as this will be the lesser of the problems as there are those who upon arrival disappeared into the woodwork and have yet to be found and it is these individuals who are most likely terrorists planted within the midst of the Europeans and the Americans and Western nations as ticking time bombs primed and ready to detonate at a moment’s notice.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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May 28, 2016

Brexit, Obama, Cameron and the EU Elites

 

What do Brexit’s opposition, President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron and the European Union Elite have in common along with the British Treasury, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development? They all are using hyperbolic, exaggerated paranoid economic forecasts of doom and gloom pitched with great arm waving and volume. Those supporting the British Isles leaving the European Union are equally voluminous and strident. There are entire lists of arguments favoring each side as well as dire predictions of horrific disasters with which to attack each side. So, where is the reality which a sane and measured approach of scientific study would support? The sad truth is that no such rational and unemotional report has actually been released and for good reason, leaving the European Union is a completely unprecedented occurrence. The best thing we can do in approaching Brexit is to simply add another opinion which in reality is not that different from every other opinion out there, the best we can reason out and then we will wait and see what happens should the vote go the way we would advise, but we so not expect to influence too many Brits as the other thing that has been polled is that the populace is divided mostly by age and everybody has chosen and are unlikely to compromise on their assumptions. The older generations, possibly because they remember the pre-European Union Britain, favor Brexit while those who have lived entirely as members of the European Union do not support rocking the boat. Perhaps it does break down to whether you lived in a period when Britain was not just another national entity lost within the folds and bureaucracy known as the European Union.

 

The one thing which the British have done which would facilitate their leaving the European Union much more easily than most other European Union nations is the British kept the Pound Sterling as well as accepted the Euro. This may prove to be one of the smartest decisions the British have ever made as eventually, whether it is next month or not all that far into the future of humankind when the European Union finally tears itself apart as the economic strains of retaining Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Poland and Germany as a single economic union while continuing to allow each of the aforementioned nations to rule themselves and make their own economic decisions within some unenforced presumed limitations which would have made minimal difference anyway. So, there will come a time when Britain will be leaving the European Union or the European Union will be leaving Britain along with every other member nation as it melts down from economic hemorrhage. The one thing which is easy to predict is what will happen if Brexit is voted down next month, nothing, absolutely nothing as the entire world will continue with possibly a slight amount of sighs in Brussels and a few perplexed looks from some of the financial wizards across Europe and in the United States as all their studies and predictions of the perils that Brexit will entail.

 

Pound Sterling

Pound Sterling

 

The question which needs examination is what will happen should Brexit pass. The only honest answer is that we have no idea, none at all. President Obama has predicted that should Brexit pass that Britain will lose out in every manner especially in trade with other nations. President Obama threatened that Brexit passing will necessarily place the British at the back of the line in trade with the United States. The President did not explain why this condition would come to pass; he just claimed that would be the result. Perhaps somebody should inform President Obama that first he cannot place anybody at the back of a line which does not exist and unless he was going to place trade sanctions on the British, there was nothing preventing their trade continuing with the United States without suffering any change as membership with the European Union has little effect on United States trade with Britain. The trade between the two nations would simply revert to the same manner as before Britain joined the European Union. Sure there would likely be some legislation passing through the Congress and being sent to the President reverting some of the trade regulations clarifying trade relations but even that would likely be more a reassurance than any drastic alteration such as what President Obama threatened. Even should President Obama veto such legislation, it could be readdressed come January 21 immediately after the new President is sworn in and it is doubtful that whomever should be in the White House would make any difference as such legislation is fairly innocuous and there would be little reason outside obstinacy for a veto.

 

That will not prevent us from offering our point of view. The immediate advantage the British would gain is they would no longer be constrained by the monetary policies of the European Union and the Euro. The British have had the advantage in setting some form of monetary policy free of European Union regulations as they did maintain their old currency, the Pound (we love the old term of Pound Sterling as it sounds so provincial and proud). The British also have their natural relations with the Anglosphere nations of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, United States and a few other more minor English speaking nations. Such a natural set of trading partners being made simpler by a common language grants Britain an easier transition should Brexit pass and they be free to trade under their own desires free of European Union constraints. Further, the British economy would no longer be having some of their resources diverted to support those nations which are in financial meltdown which is causing an ever more serious crisis one after another. Despite the economic restructuring and presumed limitations placed on spending pressed upon those nations suffering economic difficulties ranging from slow economic growth after the 2008 worldwide financial meltdown which began with market collapse in real estate and mortgage collapse due to lax lending standards which were dependent upon rising real estate prices to complete financial freefall such as the collapse in Greece, these nations often ignored these limitations regarding them as impinging on their national pride and being so draconian that they prevent their addressing the economic needs to climb out of their difficulties. Whatever the reasoning, the strain these failing economies place on the productive nations is slowly strangling their monetary gains, threatening to drag them down the same drain with the financially crippled nations. This could be the main reason for the appeal to many British and the reason that establishment supporters of the European Union desire to persuade the defeat of Brexit as they fear an even faster decline of the European Union should the British economy be removed from the sum total of the European Union economy.

 

What those who have as their desire the continued existence of the European Union fear most is Brexit passing as they are completely aware that Brexit would be the first and far from the last nation to exit the European Union. The reality is well known, once Britain leaves the European Union the writing is on the walls in Brussels, the end is nigh. How much longer would France or Germany remain should the British economy become positive and surging forward with a bright future becoming apparent? The answer is not long, weeks, months, but definitely not years. As the European Union is seen as the best stalwart against another ruinous European war and the only manner where the continent of Europe can fairly compete with the United States, China, Brazil, India and any other up and coming economic powers; the European Union core believers are of the mind that only as a unit does the European nations have any hope of competing with any form of equality with the far larger economies and simply larger nations which have the advantage that size brings. The European Union members see their union as the enabler of trade advantages and refuse to see that they are simply another layer of regulatory strangulation and further taxation depriving the nations and some companies from greater profits. They claim that without the European Union such companies as Airbus could never have been created and survived as it was the European Union which allowed the separate nations to work as if a single unit. The reality is that the nations would cooperate as doing so increases their financial strength and in this world of information technology the old differences and impediments which often strangled trade with tariffs and protectionism would not return as the new reality so obviously rewards cooperation between nations and so many of the corporations are now international in nature that nations no longer benefit from such measures. That is the reality and the British remember the freedom of pre-European Union Britain and with any luck, they will be able to reason and influence those without such experience and Brexit will pass and strike a mortal blow to the European Union.

 

Counter to what numerous economists claim, and luckily this is not a universal opinion, the European Union is not the answer to the problems faced by the troubled economies such as Greece, Italy and Spain but rather the result of the Economic Union and its common currency, the Euro. Whether Brexit passes inflicting a mortal wound to the European Union or if we need wait for the European Union to reach its inevitable implosion, the individual nations reverting to their natural independent currencies will initially cause some difficulties but will soon be able to alter their currencies in relation to one another and thus permit the struggling nations to have a devalued currency permitting them to have economic advantages of lower manufacturing costs and thus an economic advantage that accompanies such. That will bring a new vitality which is impossible when they must share an equal cost rate against Germany as the two nations are as different as night and day. Greece and the other struggling nations are closer to an agrarian or light industrial base while Germany is a heavily industrialized and entered the information age and has robotic manufacturing in many industries making a similar currency preposterous in the max. Brexit may just be the key to freeing Europe from Brussels and the self-appointed crowned aristocracy which has placed themselves over a continent for far too long and have reached well past the point where they have gone from a unifying and strengthening of the continent to a detractor which now regulates Europe slowly into a stagnation which was unavoidable as the simple fact that the European Union was an unelected oligarchy which thought itself above the people and not for or of the people and saw the people and individual governments and the nations as merely pawns in their social and economic games and misadventures. There may never be a study done which will find exactly when the European Union went from a path for greater economic growth and strength to a drag upon the continent and a guarantee of a slow but inevitable decline as the bureaucracy grew to the point that it became a ponderous beached whale no longer capable of reacting to financial needs and instead squelching any vibrancy making responding to changing economic forecasts next to impossible. The European Union has gone from a force for European economic cooperation to a farce siphoning off an ever increasing price dampening economic activity.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 25, 2016

A World Spinning Out-of-Control

 

The first area the world is having difficulties is nothing new as finances and resources are always at a critical point somewhere, but when it spreads wide and wild, then there is a problem. The problems are about to get really tightly strung as the United States cash flow valves are about to be made even tighter until mid to late August when the money will be released to give the economy as good a feel and appearance that people will believe that President Obama’s promises to repair the economy have finally begun to work. This will be reflected in a general media message that all is finally well in the world and the United States is healthy and ready to take on the comeback of the millennia. Nothing could be further from the truth but if the economic weapon is to be taken off the table making the push to place Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton in the White House will begin in earnest. What about the e-mail scandal and the leaking of classified information and her using her own private server to remain out of sight her dealings and what about those dealings and then there is the pay-to-play cashing in on her Secretary of State position by the Clinton Foundation personal slush-fund and so much more it is impossible to keep up with it. These e-mail revelations will all be settled and forgotten by the mid-September push where the world will be all Hillary all the time should her coronation go off as planned at the democrat National Convention, which means Bernie Sanders is the court jester out to entertain the masses while all the Hillary loose ends are tied up nice and neat; then Bernie will disappear and drop out for personal and family needs. Of course he will release his support and give Hillary all his delegates at the second round unless the most unbelievable happens and Bernie Sanders becomes the man and the Democrats will dump on Hillary again and the Clintons will have it out once and for all when Bill tells Hillary that it just was never meant to be. Look for a very vindictive and messy divorce to soon follow as Bill will have not been able to provide the necessary support to assist Hillary when it became her turn. Of course it could never have been that Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton was such a set of damaged goods that anything short a miracle could have ever placed her in the White House as the President. Perhaps the truth lies in that she was better as an ornament assisting Bill and quietly out of the actual scene than she would ever be the ‘One’ herself.

 

Meanwhile American consumerism has yet to recoil from the 2007-8 recession and the United States has been languishing in the shadows making a very slow recovery on the jobs market. This has put a serious damper on American consumerism, the buying power on which much of the world economy sits waiting to serve up the goods for Americans to buy. The European one currency disaster is slowly being repaired by using Germany’s wealth and productivity to provide universal monetary relief making the European Union a full circle system where Germany pays the less affluent countries to pay off their debts to Germany and assist their less than ambitious workforce to at least take welfare and spend it on German goods. This has created a system where Germany produces the goods that the rest of Europe consume with well over half the population using German wealth to buy in, so to speak. This is a model of an economic perpetual motion and cash flow machine. The problem is friction and drag which will eventually cause all the funds to not quite reach their theoretical place and be utilized to purchase German goods. People will use a fair share of the German largesse on feeding themselves and not living on German beer, or is it bier? The governments dispensing this cash flow fungible funds will take their cut as government are known to do and other diversions prevent this perpetual cash flow machine to rather rapidly grind to a halt, then what? This was where American consumerism was to kick in and cover the difference and continue to push cash into the machine to overcome the friction and inertial problems but that did not occur right on time. Then there was supposed to be this new middle class in China ready, willing and wealthy enough to re-prime the European economic model. Another ‘no-go’ as they are spending their cash to prop up much of the Asia markets and doing that slightly better than the Germans, but that too is reaching its tipping point as China’s buying power turned out to be overrated and Japan and Australia were not capable of filling that gap so they were also turning to the American consumerism machine which remained relatively idle for reasons the rest of the world could not understand. The reinvestment in American consumerism is scheduled for lift-off later this year in order to place the next media coronation on-track to place Hillary Clinton back in the White House. Expect Bill to play his role perfectly as the supportive spouse as he provides the necessary cash for her campaign while attempting to resist any temptations which would be a true and dramatic scandal.

 

Then we come to the rest of the world. Saudi Arabia is sitting on that valve with the exception of Iran and the one-hundred-billion-plus bribery to permit them to sit in a really plush hotel suite and dictate their dream nuclear treaty and for President Obama and Secretary of State John François, did we mention he was French, Kerry to appear to be writing and crafting a cleverly devious set of rules and stipulations which would prevent Iran from building any nuclear weapons, especially deliverable ones as they also were writing a prevention to test missiles and related technologies into the treaty. They were terrible actors or at least other than the carefree unconcerned President completely trusting his competent yet bumbling Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau of the French Sûreté Kerry to bring in the play of the century and deliver the ultimately understated but effective treaty. The entire act failed as none of the parts were played by the late Peter Sellers and thus masterly failing and flailing to the best solution through erroneous thinking always overcorrecting just enough to get the criminal in the end was not pulled off. The Iranians were playing three dimensional chess, or possible a number of dimensions higher, while Obama and Kerry were playing the ever so complicated game of Noughts and Crosses, how so ever European of them. The nuclear path to Armageddon arranged, paved, and decorated by the United States gift wrapped and delivered to the Iranians set Saudi Arabia even further on edge. The Saudis are playing their one card and playing it to its utmost capacity pumping oil from the ground at a pace previously unheard of to crash the market and push prices down as far as it can go.

 

This has had effects all desired and planned by the Saudi government, aka the Saudi Royal Family. The low prices means that the lesser grade or difficult to extract barrels of oil produce little if any profit and even losses for certain lower grade oils less desirable than the light, sweet oil of the Saudi oil field production. This was intended to bankrupt the Iranian oil market which is likely not producing the cash flow which makes Iran operate but fear not, the Obama administration has taken care of that with the unfreezing of over one-hundred-billion-dollar present right into the Mullahs of Iran’s pockets which will neatly finance their missile and nuclear research and production placing their nuclear and missile programs on the fast track for a five year target date which may be even less in the distance than all except soon to be out of office and thus not blamed for what happens next. The low price of oil is also killing any additional fracking or other fairly expensive to initiate oil fields exploration thus slowing the United States ability to develop these technologies until further notice. The final effect is against Iran’s favorite former and soon to be again super power, Russia. Russia is getting next to nothing in profits from oil sales and is likely depending on vodka profits, a real let down.

 

The Russian government is next to broke but this is where gifts from President Obama roll in. Remember that hundred-billion-plus monetary reward the United States is about to turn over to Iran? Well, guess what they are going to do with a goodly amount of that largesse? That’s the ticket; we knew you would figure that out, of course they will be buying tons of military equipment from Russia. Expect the Iranians to repaint those units tan, beige and brown and then claim they designed and manufactured them within the first year. These military sales may end up being the life’s blood, the mother’s milk for the Russian economic engine. So, Iran gets advanced military equipment and will reverse engineer it or also buy production rights and for the Russians to build the factories as well to produce the missiles and other equipment in Iran. This will provide Russia with the funds to operate for a decade longer providing military goods to Iran. What could conceivably go awry?

 

Where does all of this end? Who knows? Sure, we’ll take a stab at it. Even the military equipment will not save Russia from their adventurisms. Propping up Bashir al-Assad is an expensive business and gets all the worse with every downed aircraft, exploded tank and even every bullet shot and supplies shipped to Syria all costs but things could be worse. Turkey is a wary acquaintance with a love-hate relationship with Iran. Should Turkish-Iranian relation devolve back to animosity stages then Turkey might decide to push back closing the Bosphorus thus separating the Mediterranean Sea from the Black Sea and making the bulk of the Russian fleet all but useless. This would also mean resupplying the Russian units in Syria far more expensive as they would all need to go by air routes around Turkey. With the Russian economy still weak and near collapse, such additional expense would be just the impetus that Russia might require to take care of the Turkish problem and take the Bosphorus straights on both sides including Constantinople, well, returning Istanbul to its former name might be part of the plan, couldn’t it? This more than likely would result in an all-out war between Turkey and Russia which might not end with Turkey. The Russians would not even blink when it would come to also raking-in the Kurdish areas of Syria and Iraq taking the northern parts of Syria down as far as Aleppo. Where such aggressions might lead is a troubling thought. Russia, under Putin, might fabricate an insult or problem from the Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia and many of the old nations, especially those in Central Asia, reestablishing the smaller and more vulnerable nations all in the name of protecting them from untold horrors threatening their futures. Now under the protection of Russia they need not spend anywhere near as much on their fears. It has all been crystalized down to one concern; the big brown ten-thousand-ton bear in the living room.

 

 

Ukraine Was Already a Conflict Spinning Out of Control and in at Least One Possible Future This Will Become a Picture of the Calm Before the Storm

Ukraine Was Already a Conflict Spinning Out of Control
and in at Least One Possible Future
This Will Become a Picture of the Calm Before the Storm

 

 

The hard truth is financial matters on a global scale are similar to the financial situation in Europe right before World War I. Far Eastern Asia such as China was not one of the main conditions as their economy was not producing great amounts of wealth and thus was not part of the purchasing consumer world. Russia was faltering as the Czars were overthrown and the democratic first elected governance was unable to instantly produce a functioning and burgeoning economy such as had been witnessed in the booming economies right after the turn of the century in Europe and the United States. That brought on another governance and government change and the Communists took over and immediately cowed the people and put them under a harder and more forceful boot that the Czars had done, Europe was facing an economic stall as if somebody had mucked up the flow of money and without money flowing the economic sails drooped and became dead weight and unproductive. This was not as true in the United States but the American economy drove American business and the main imports by the United States were exotic fruits from South America and coffee from South America plus America was still growing though far slower than before. The Ottoman Empire, a long deceased empire staggering, was being largely propped up by the Europeans as nobody desired these lands which were tribal, primitive, unproductive deserts.

 

By every measurement, Europe was a tinderbox awaiting a single spark. The Ottoman Empire was an even more volatile place and the Balkans were the Balkans with the different religious conflicts, the tribal conflicts, largely inert economies, no overriding force of arms keeping the lid on and everything in a kind of lingering limbo slowly devolving into Machiavellian might makes right situation where many thought they had the might and were waiting for the time to be right. Well, the time never got around to being right as firing a gun with the tinderbox that was Europe was frightening enough, what followed was simply the explosion that set the world ablaze. On June 28, 1914, then, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Sophie were touring Sarajevo in an open car, with surprisingly little security, when Serbian nationalist Nedjelko Cabrinovic threw a bomb at their car; it rolled off the back of the vehicle and wounded an officer and some bystanders. Later that day, on the way to visit the injured officer, the archduke’s procession took a wrong turn at the junction of Appel Quay and Franzjosefstrasse, where one of Cabrinovic fellow revolutionaries, 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip, laid waiting. Leaping towards the car the assassin fired into the rear seat shooting Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Sophie at point-blank range. The would-be martyr then attempted to turn the gun on himself but was wrestled to the ground and was basically saved by the arresting officers. The rest is history, no, really, history, literally and exactly World War I history. Nedjelko Cabrinovic was an anarchist and belonged to a subversive group who desired revolution called the Black Hand which was later connected to the Freemasons though there is little evidence we could find of an actual link. Any input either way would be appreciated and allow us to say thanks in advance. Meanwhile, our other conspirator, Gavrilo Princip, was raised in a home of Serbian Orthodox Christian parents though many conspiracy theorists claim because of his appearance he had to be a Jew, the actions of assassinating the Archduke and his wife just sealed the deal on his religious origins had to be Jewish despite all evidence to the contrary. Hopefully there will be no rulers of the Austria-Hungary Empire riding through the Balkans in an open car with a maximum speed of almost seventy miles per hour in the next few weeks having a bang up time at the expense of the downtrodden masses; that would just be tempting fate, now, wouldn’t it. Kidding aside, the world does seem to be picking up speed as if there may be a crashing event in the near future and that is not a happy thought. Really nothing to add to that except the list of national and international leaders vulnerable to some revolutionary anarchist or other form of fanatic is not that far-fetched and that is frightening.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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