Like the first Presidential debate, the much anticipated second show down didn’t deliver a straight knock-out blow either. Gradually, the Presidential campaign 2016 is turning into a low level display of accusations, gossip and hearsay, worse than I can recall from the nine previous Presidential campaigns that I have followed as a news consumer. The newly elected leader of the Free World inherits a tainted image from the campaign trail and –starting the day after the elections- has to restore credibility and dignity. One candidate grossly underestimated the impact of slandering by proclaiming: “It’s just words folks, just words”.
Delhi, 06:30. Watching the first Presidential Debate with the children. Munching away a bowl of cereal, little escapes their attention: “Why does Trump wear a blue tie? He always wears red”. The debate showcased no knock out punch from either side. Trump proved tough on the issues especially trade, yet failed to look like a statesman from start to finish. Hillary was more presidential by any standard, but failed to neutralize the persistent punches from her opponent. I am afraid this is going down to the wire. Ninety minutes passed by in the wink of an eye. “Okay guys, time for school”.
All but two countries in Europe have declining populations. The only two with inclining population are Kosovo and Albania. No prejudice, just facts. Turkey is the third, if you are willing to -yet or still- count Turkey as European. Europe’s share of the world’s population will cut in half if you compare the world of your parents with the world of your grandchildren. It is fair to say that Europe is edging towards the wrong end of global relevance. The best odds Europe has to still matter in the world of your grandchildren is to stand together and unite.
As long as the underlying DNA of a warzone like Syria is not altered, the armed conflict remains. It is a fair assumption that in the foreseeable future, the influx of displaced people to Europe will continue. These people will probably never repatriate. Short term fix: provide shelter, food and water, as you are obliged to help strangers in need. Medium term solution: negotiate them a country that is diplomatically viable and economically sustainable. Long term paradigm shift: come to terms with the reality that next to business and tourism, refugees might become a main source of people travelling to Europe.
Algeria left the European Economic Community when it declared itself independent from France in 1962. Greenland followed suit in 1985. The most recent ‘exit’ was by the island of Saint-Barthélemy, part of the EU as outermost region of France. After seceding from Guadeloupe a decade ago, it requested to “obtain a European status which would be better suited to its status under domestic law, particularly given its remoteness from the mainland, its small insular economy largely devoted to tourism and subject to difficulties in obtaining supplies which hamper the application of some European Union standards”. Now thát sounds familiar.