Wednesday, June 29, 2016


One is all too familiar with the canary and the coal mine metaphor. Now the Brexit fools in the UK find themselves lost in a coal mine of their own doing, with no fresh air to breathe. The likes of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage were the lying blind leading the blind. The "Remain" camp is in shock and acts as if it were unable to come out either with execution or an alternative.

The EU members and the EU machine do not live up to the expectations one might have after a political implosion of such an enormous magnitude. The Commission, the counsel, the ECB, seem hard pressed to identify confidence-building measures which could temper the new financial no-man's-land and lift some political uncertainties. The EU leadership is splintered among various interests which share one identical characteristic: being unloved.  Actually, the yes and the no camps share the same alienation. Both might have voted for their own reasons but one thing is certain: they are ignoring their figureheads now rather than supporting them. Populism results less from poor management skills than from the absence thereof.  A slot is created, waiting to be filled in, who knows by what?

All the arguments about economy, immigration, security, wealth inequality, economic elite, patrimonial capitalism reek of superficial Piketty-reading by amateurs. On the other side, the macro-global benefits of staying in the EU sounded unconvincing, given the slow growth (in the continent), the immigration mess and the Franco-German permanent coup d'état.

The argument in favor of strong leadership is dangerous under the current circumstances. It would be better to convene a restricted group of wise diverse personalities (a Philadelphia redux), with a clear mandate to come up with ideas which can slim, deregulate, free and inspire the workings in Brussels. The bad cholesterol which is clogging the arteries of the EU is devastating: a Commission too large, an absurd repetitive flight to Varennes (Brussels/ Luxembourg/Strasbourg), a costly Babel of languages, a rotating presidency which makes no sense under the current mood (a unsatisfactory revision being considered), an inept defense component and a common foreign policy killed in the crib by the stepmothers in Berlin and Paris. The euro continues to be a stateless currency, tolerated by some, ignored by others.  Instead, the EU leaders voice sterile discontent, while the British of all opinions are united in sulking. Article 50 will become a very unpleasant pill to give and to swallow.

Meanwhile, the American midwife tries to minimize the damage, while the Russians and Chinese look on.  In 2007, three wise men--Ben Bernanke of the US Federal Reserve, Jean-Claude Trichet of the European Central Bank and Mervyn King of the Bank of England--were able to stem the financial Behemoth.  In 2016, the repeat of such a relief operation, wherein so few helped so many looks improbable.
The politcians are out of their depth. The chorus of the 27 will demand representation over vision and will refuse to relinquish a seat on this bus, lost in a shared tunnel vision.

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