21 October 2017   Leave a comment

Some 450,000 Catalans protested today the decision by the central government of Spain to begin to take control of Catalonia’s regional government.  That decision must be ratified by the Spanish Senate in order to become effective and that decision is expected in a few days.  Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, indicated that Catalonia would not accept the decision, but it is unclear what that that stance would entail.  Giles Tremlett of The Guardian indicates that Puigemont’s position is somewhat shaky:

“Yet a poll run by Barcelona’s El Periódico newspaper last week shows that, despite the outrage and sympathy provoked by the police charges, separatists have a long way to go before they can properly claim to represent the will of the Catalan people.

“According to that poll, 55% of Catalans do not think the referendum – where only 43% of people cast countable votes – is a valid basis for declaring independence. Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan president, has, nevertheless, threatened to ask the regional parliament to do exactly that in response to direct rule.”

The independence movement, however, is a dynamic situation.  The hard line taken by the Spanish government may in fact increase sympathy for the independence movement.


The Czechs have given Andrej Babis, a billionaire who is under investigation for fraud, a convincing victory in the national elections.   Babis’s party, ANO (the party is an outgrowth of a previous movement–Action of Dissatisfied Citizens (Czech: Akce nespokojených občanů, ANO))  (ANO means “yes” in Czech), gained nearly 30% of the votes so it will have to find a coalition partner to govern.   The outcome follows the pattern we have seen in previous elections in Europe–a clear repudiation of the traditional parties.  Babis had promised to resist any deepening of the European integration process and to refuse to accept any additional refugees into the Czech Republic.  The Pirate Party and the far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy Party (SPD) came in third and fourth in the election.  The Czechs are clearly fed up with the old political process.

Andrej Babis


It appears as if several Asian countries, led by China, are set to become strong supporters of globalization as the US moves sharply toward a mercantilist policy  fostered by President Trump.  The balance of economic power is now held by European countries which appear themselves to be divided as Great Britain and several East European countries become more insular even as Germany and France seem intent on deepening the process of globalization.  Chinese President Xi has voiced strong support for the process of globalization, but it remains to be seen if China can maintain an open economy necessary for globalization to thrive while at the same time exercising greater control over the politics of the country through the dominance of the Communist Party.  The future of the global economy remains highly contested and problematic.


Smile Time

China’s Zhangjiajie National Forest Park


Posted October 21, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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