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Click here for articles after 2005
What do Howard, Bush and Blair have in common?
The Anglosaxon and Jewish mind
The British mind
A conspiracy theory about Tony Blair
The Stop the War Coalition and Fascism
Britain and the Euro
The British Museum and how to get away with robbery
Britan has never been less European

  • (May 2005) What do Howard, Bush and Blair have in common? Australian prime minister John Howard, USA president George W Bush and British prime minister Tony Blair have a few things in common: 1. They were strong supporters of the invasion of Iraq. 2. They were widely accused of lying to the people. 3. They had to withstand millions of protesters marching in the streets. 4. They were opposed by powerful media . 3. They won reelection in each country's recent elections (october 2004 in Australia, november 2004 in the USA, may 2005 in Britain).
    History is certainly weird, but in 2003 few experts would have predicted that three such unpopular leaders would have any political future at all. Howard became Australia's second-longest serving leader after being reelected for a fourth term. Bush became the first Republican president to be reelected since Reagan. Now Blair becomes the first Labour politician to be elected for three terms.
    The opposition in Australia, the USA and Britain stands confused: how in heaven did the people choose to reelect the very people who caused the mess in Iraq?
    Maybe the people are not so stupid. Reelecting these very three people sends a stark, clear, unmistable message to the enemies of democracy in Iraq and elsewhere: we are here to stay. When the Spaniards dumped Aznar and elected Zapatero, terrorists and tyrants worldwide celebrated: Spain pulled out of Iraq and took an agnostic stand towards the world's remaining dictators. But then the tide turned: when Bush was reelected, all the sworn enemies of democracies cursed the American voters, because they knew Bush would keep USA troops in Iraq and continue his crusade against Islamic fundamentalism. In fact, Hamas, Syria and Hezbollah gave in only after Bush got reelected. Now those terrorists and tyrants must be even more depressed: Blair, one of the architects of the new world order, is going to be around for another term. The future looks darker and darker for the enemies of democracy.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (February 2005) The Anglosaxon and Jewish mind.
    This is the last in a series of articles on the French mind, the German mind, the Arab mind, and the Anglosaxon mind.
    And now I will try to explain the difference between these "minds" (as in "attitudes", "ways of reasoning") at a higher level of abstraction.
    I don't think we are witnessing a "clash of civilizations" (see Decolonization and the Islamic civil war) but that we are witnessing a "clash of minds". The Anglosaxon mind (USA, Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and, to some extent, India) is a very rational mind. It was forged over the centuries by by the industrial, electrical and digital revolutions. It is a mind that believes in logic and science. The Jewish mind is very similar. In fact, it would be interesting to discuss whether Jews influenced the English or viceversa. At the end of the day, both the Anglosaxons and the Jews believe in logical and scientific reasoning. The history of modern mathematics and science is largely an Anglosaxon and Jewish history, from Newton (Mechanics) to Darwin (Evolution), from Maxwell (Electromagnetism) to Einstein (Relativity), from Russell (Logic) to Schroedinger (Quantum Mechanics), etc.
    The Anglosaxon and Jewish mind is rigidly logical. It starts from some premises (e.g., democracy is good) and uses logical reasoning to derive the appropriate behavior (in politics, economics, whatever). This is the fundamental paradigm of the Anglosaxon and Jewish minds.
    The French and German minds are less rational and more humane. The human factor weighs a lot more in continental Europe than in the USA or Britain. These are, after all, agricultural and catholic minds. To them, the Anglosaxon/Jewish mind appears to be cruel, selfish, heartless, even barbaric when, in fact, it is purely rational. The Anglosaxon/Jewish mind is more likely to justify the removal of Saddam Hussein because it is the "logical" thing to do, whereas the continental minds also consider emotions and therefore are not so sure. The Anglosaxon/Jewish mind draws the conclusions that follow logically. The continental minds are also rational, but stop short of drawing the conclusions.
    The way people vote is also telling. Voter turnout in Anglosaxon countries is relatively low compared with continental countries: Anglosaxons tend to vote when they know what to vote for, whereas continental Europeans tend to vote in a more emotional manner (with their heart, not their brain).
    By comparison, the Arab mind is very irrational. To the Arabs, the difference between facts and opinions is blurred. Logic is mostly what they want, not what follows from the premises. To them, the Anglosaxon/Jewish mind appears to be totally unreasonable because they are not willing to compromise on their principles.
    The different attitudes towards terrorism are emblematic. The Anglosaxon/Jewish mind simply condemns it. The continental minds tend to justify it because "they are desperate people" (although the Anglosaxon mind would easily counter that there are much more desperate people in the world who do not engage in terrorism). The Arab mind sees them as heroes.
    Ditto for the attitudes against dictators. Continental public opinion often forgets that their nations (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, etc) never (never) exported freedom and democracy. Exporting freedom is not part of the history of Europe (quite the opposite is true: continental Europe exported tyranny). They have always depended on other countries (USA, Britain) to bring democracy to the world. The concept of removing a dictator (on a purely ideological basis) is just not part of the "continental minds". It is, on the other hand, part of the Anglosaxon mind because it follows logically from the premises that democracy is what the people of the world aspire to.
    The Cold War was a marriage of convenience: the USA and western Europe united against the common enemy, the Soviet Union. But we can now see that their aims were different: the USA truly wanted to free the communist world, whereas continental Europe simply wanted to be left in peace. From an Anglosaxon point of view, there has been real political progress over the last century: first there were only a dozen democracies and many colonies, then there were a dozen democracies and many newly independent countries, now there are dozens of democracies. The Anglosaxon mind thinks (correctly) that it has exported freedom and democracy. But many Europeans see the other side of the coin: there used to be only a limited number of wars (no matter how big) because there were few countries that were independent. Then, as colonies became independent, the world became messier because there were more armies and more conflicts, but at least most of their dictators were under the control of a few Powers (USA, Soviet Union, France, Britain). Now the situation is even more chaotic, because all those countries have become independent, which means that their policies can change overnight if the opposition wins the elections. For continental Europe (long used to a stable world ruled by warring European powers) this is not a good scenario. For the Anglosaxons, who prize freedom and democracy, this is a good scenario.
    The same contrasting arguments can made on purely economic bases. Continental Europe got rich by exploiting colonies. The way to get rich was to colonize the world, then exploit its natural resources and cheap (slave) labor. The USA introduced a new economic paradigm, that now the whole Anglosaxon world accepts: the way to get rich is to create free democracies, that will create global trade. Europeans in the continent have a harder time seeing their benefits from replacing, say, Saddam Hussein with a democratic regime: it was much easier to see the economic benefits when Saddam Hussein was running a stable Iraq and selling its oil to Europe. The Anglosaxons see a democratic Iraq as a potentially lucrative market, because it will (hopefully) become as open and prosperous an economy as all the democracies that have preceded it.
    These different attitudes toward exporting freedom and democracy also explain the different attitudes towards the remaining dictatorships of the world: continental Europeans are fascinated by the likes of Castro and Qaddafi, while Anglosaxons are simply disgusted. Continental European display an irrational "tolerance of intolerance", which is actually half rational: it ignores the will of the people, but it privileges pragmatic self-interests.
    Again, continental Europeans tend to be only "half" rational, while Anglosaxons tend to be rigidly rational.
    Being so logical, the Anglosaxon mind is also painfully aware of its own shortcomings, and therefore indulges in self-criticism to a level unknown in continental Europe. Michael Moore is a good example: he is a star and the all-time best-seller in the USA, despite the fact that his main target is... the USA. He is also a star in France and Germany, a bigger star than some pop stars. But there is no equivalent of Michael Moore in France or Germany: there is no French film-maker making anti-Chirac documentaries and becoming a best-seller, there is no German film-maker making anti-Schroeder documentaries and becoming a best-seller. In fact, most American movies (including many Hollywood movies) focus on a negative aspect of the American society and exaggerate it into a sensational story (thus Europeans think there are gang shootouts all the time in every town, and serial killers all over the place), whereas French and German movies are mainly comedies, and, even when they are social dramas, they tend to blame the USA (directly or indirectly) for the problems of France or Germany. One can find many French movies critical of French society, but those movies are careful not to accuse the French government or the French people: they are much more likely to accuse multinational (a phenomenon associated with the USA, not France) or capitalism per se (a phenomenon associated with the USA, not France). Social drama in France and Germany is mostly a vehicle for the anti-American leftist intellectuals-politicians. (If you ask a French or German about this, they are likely to reply "because we don't have anything like you have in the USA", despite the fact that the only ring of cannibals in modern times has been discovered in Germany and despite the fact that Chirac has enough skeletons in his closet to fill ten, not one, Moore-like documentaries).
    Even those who voted for Bush are rational, because they a) list their priorities and then b) vote accordingly. Their behavior is cold, blind logic, which is maddening to the rest of the world. Some of the people who voted for Bush disagree with many of Bush's decisions, from Iraq to the tax cut, and even think that his vice-president is corrupt, but they nonetheless voted for Bush based on a rational belief that nations decline when "moral values" decline (a fact historically proven by the empires of the past). Thus millions of Europeans may see the Bush reelection as an act of ignorance and arrogance by the American people, when in fact American voters have simply applied rationally the lessons of the past.
    The most puzzling phenomenon for the Anglosaxon Mind is that the other "minds" do not appreciate its rationality at all. As a German reader recently wrote, "the rest of the world does not want what America gives us"; but the whole point of what the Anglosaxon Mind does is based on what the world wants. The world wants freedom and democracy, therefore the Anglosaxon Mind assumes that removing tyrants is good for the people of the world, but then the world rises up against the Anglosaxon Mind. For the Anglosaxon Mind this is becoming an increasingly difficult world to understand. If the Anglosaxons don't do anything to remove tyrants, they are accused of conniving with them. If they do something to remove them, the Anglosaxons are accused of arrogance.
    Continental Europeans have always been fascinated by totalitarian regimes, whether Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin or, later, Castro, Qaddafi, Mao. One can view European anti-Americanism, from the moment the USA became a world power (after World War 1) until today, as a progression in three stages. First, many Europeans were indifferent to standing up against fascism because a) it didn't appear to be such a dangerous or evil phenomenon, and b) it didn't appear to be defeatable. Instead, the USA defeated it and completely removed it from the face of Europe, giving Europe the longest period of peace since the Roman Empire. Then an even larger number of Europeans opposed the confrontation with the Soviet Union because a) it didn't appear to be such a dangerous or evil phenomenon, and b) it didn't appear to be defeatable. Instead, the USA defeated it and completely removed it from the face of the world (with two exceptions, Cuba and North Korea), thus increasing the number of democracy from a dozen to more than one hundred. Now an even larger number of Europeans oppose the confrontation with the Arab world (Islamic fundamentalism and totalitarian regimes) because a) they don't see it as such a dangerous or evil phenomenon, and b) it doesn't appear to be defeatable.
    History has taught that the USA can defeat totalitarian regimes, and that the world benefits from it; but somehow Europeans seem to always learn the opposite lesson, because the number of Europeans that oppose the USA keeps increasing instead of decreasing. Imagine a doctor who may or may not use rough methods but does manage to cure your disease, not once but twice: would you trust him more or less?
    The problem is that these minds operate at different levels. The Anglosaxon and the Continental minds are fundamentally different. And so are these minds and the Arab mind.
    The bad news is that these minds are unlikely to find agreement because they "think" differently. The good news is that there is hope. There is hope because the Arab mind is so "irrational": it can change back to loving the USA relatively easily. It is a matter of finding the way to connect and change the mood in the relationship.
    I would more optimistic about restoring friendly relations with the Arabs than with continental Europe, where a mixture of rational and irrational attitudes create the worst of the two.
    This is the last in a series of articles on the French mind, the German mind, the Arab mind, and the Anglosaxon mind.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (February 2005) The British mind
    See the Anglosaxon mind.
    The British mind is significantly different from the "continental" minds, particularly when it comes to judging the USA. The language is still a barrier for many continental Europeans, who get their information about the USA from Hollywood movies (the only USA artifacts that get translated) and the occasional American intellectuals that get translated into local languages (Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore more often than historians or political scientists). American newspapers (even the New York Times) are off-limits for most Europeans, who do not master the English language. The British get a much more accurate picture of the USA, both shortcomings and virtues.
    The British also seem to have a better grasp of their place in history. They know their era is long gone, and that, at best, they can help shape the power of the future, whether the USA or the European Union. They are not trying to monopolize either one, knowing that it would be pointless.
    The British have two key advantages in looking at the world: they are neither affected by Euro-nationalism nor particularly in love with the American model.
    Perhaps the "independent" thinking of the British mind is the main reason for Britain's unique success in recent years. Britain is enjoying the best economy in the West, and, surprise, run by a socialist party.
    Britain is not given credit enough for the American success. If one looks at the major economic indicators of the last sixty years, there is hardly any difference between Britain, the USA, Australia and Canada. The British could claim that there exists a "British model" (not an American one) and that the USA is simply one of the countries that adopted it.
    Free of stereotypes and prejudices, what the British think if, mostly, a unique mix of pragmatic, rational and ethical.
    This is the last in a series of articles on the French mind, the German mind, the Arab mind, and the Anglosaxon mind.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (November 2004) A conspiracy theory about Tony Blair. In a Middle-East that is always awash in conspiracy theories, it is surprising that so few Arabs are questioning how is it possible that Arafat died days after arriving in Paris (in relatively good health) of a mysterious disease. Shouldn't this cause a wave of conspiracy theories? Maybe it is a sign of how much Arafat's charisma had decayed.
    Anyway: since nobody is doing it, let me advance a few conspiracy theories. I don't believe in anything of what I write below, but sometimes conspiracy theories are useful to imagine possible scenarios. It is also a way to demistify the usual oil-based conspiracy theories that always implicate the USA. The western press (particularly the anti-American one, such as "The Guardian" in Britain and "La Repubblica" in Italy) indulges in all sorts of conspiracy theories (most of which age very rapidly, and the very readers who believed them forget them after a few months). Surprisingly, I rarely see conspiracy theories about the obvious coincidences that should lead to one.
    For example, think of the week when the USA liberated Najaf from the Sadr militias: what a coincidence that grand ayatollah Sistani (the main religious authority in Iraq) had to undergo heart surgery at the very moment that the USA stormed the city. What if Tony Blair convinced ayatollah Sistani to take a trip to London with the excuse of a "heart surgery" (clearly hypocritical to go to the land of the infidels to prolong his life on this earth, when natural death should be welcome by a holy man of Islam) in exchange for a solution of the Najaf crisis that would make him the hero of the Shiite population? When the USA is about to retake Najaf, Sistani returns, miracoulosly healed, and works out a deal to spare the holy mosque. The USA got what it wanted (decimate and expel the Sadr militia), Sistani got what he wanted (humiliate his dangerous rival Al Sadr and save the mosque). Note that, after the liberation of Najaf, Sistani has not needed any new trip to London to check on his operation. If Iraqi hospitals are in such state of decay, one wonders how can the fragile patient of a heart surgery be attended by local doctors.
    The sudden illness of Arafat is another striking coincidence: he fell into a coma right after George W Bush was reelected. Just before the USA elections, Arafat decided to take a trip to Paris to get some medical attention. When he left, he looked in good health and his own wife told the world that it was only a routine check-up. At the same time, Blair tells the world that solving the Palestinian problem is his number-one priority. Both Bush and Blair have always claimed that Arafat is the main obstacle to finding a solution. By the time Bush gets reelected and gives a press conference confirming what Blair said, Arafat is in grave conditions... We don't even know what he is suffering of (see this BBC news: "he is being treated for an unexplained illness"), but his health deteriorates rapidly after Bush's reelection. And this mysterious Arafat disease pops up days before Israel is about to pull out of Gaza, an event that, whether "inspired" by Blair or not, is exactly what Blair needs to restart the peace process. Now here comes the conspiracy theory. Over the last few months, France has steadily sided with the USA on just about everything, from the coup in Haiti to the operation in Liberia (see How France is trying to win the peace). Which western country does Arafat trust more than any other western country? France, because France has always been a strong defender of Palestinians and Arabs in general. Arafat would not be so stupid to go to Britain or the USA, two countries that want him dead, but he would accept a medical check-up in Paris. Maybe Blair had a deal with Sharon: "you pull out of Gaza and I'll have Arafat killed". Then Blair calls Chirac and tells him "We got a deal. Now we just need to get Arafat out of Palestine, and you're the only one he trusts; and make sure he doesn't leave France alive". Chirac invites Arafat and then waits for the outcome of the USA elections: the moment Bush is declared the winner of the elections, Chirac, eager to please Bush, orders the discrete assassination of Arafat. Arafat's wife and the Palestinian leadership acquiesce because of financial or political self-interest. Then, when Arafat's death has not even been announced, Blair flies to Washington to discuss with George W Bush how to restart the peace process now that Arafat is dead.
    How about Sudan? Sudanese militias slaughtered millions of Dinkas, Christians and black Africans for years. Suddenly, Blair launched an appeal to do something about the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur. Good idea. But is it a coincidence that this sudden interest in Sudan arose only after Iraq became such a big mess? Is it a coincidence that, de facto, the Darfur crisis is reminding the world that the Arab world is at least as messy as liberated Iraq? Or could it be that Blair, eager to distract world opinion from Iraq, picked on the weakest, poorest and most isolated of the Arab countries, Sudan?
    Who negotiated Qaddafi's "surrender"? It was Blair, who convinced (we still don't know how) to give up his nuclear ambitions and become a friend of the West. The first western leader to visit Libya was Blair.
    Let's look back to the Iraqi invasion. Are we so sure that it was Bush who decided to remove Saddam Hussein? After all, Blair was as outspoken as Bush in denouncing Saddam Hussein, and much of the evidence on the weapons of mass destruction came from Britain. After all, Blair put pressure on Clinton, way before Bush even thought of running for president, to bomb Iraq every time there was a chance. All the books published by former Bush "ministers" (including the most critical of all, Dick Clarke) confirm that Bush truly believed in Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, whereas Blair was abandoned by a few of his closest associates who accused him of lying to the British people. Could Blair have been the main driver of the 2003 invasion of Iraq? Maybe (just maybe) Blair first tried with Clinton, but Clinton was not eager to invade anyone, let alone Iraq. Geroge W Bush was a godsend: a complete idiot, easy to manipulate, surrounded by veterans of the Gulf War, and whose dad was almost assassinated by Saddam's hitmen. Blair convinced Bush the way he could not have convinced Clinton: "September 11 gave us a historic opportunity to solve all the problems in the Middle East. Let's go and get Saddam, and then create a new Middle-Eastern order". Bush, who likes cowboy movies, loved the idea and followed Blair step by step. And still is.
    Just a fantasy, of course.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (November 2003) The Stop the War Coalition and Fascism. The "Stop the War Coalition" has organized protests aimed at (presumably) forcing the USA and its allies to withdraw from Iraq. It is pointless to ask them what they want to do with Iraq: none of their business. They just want the USA and the UK to go home. Every human being with a semblance of a brain knows that this would allow Saddam Hussein's party to regain control of the country and exact a terrible price in human lives from those who celebrated his fall. It sounds like the "Stop the War Coalition" is totally indifferent to the fate of the Iraqi people, and would actually welcome such an outcome. In fact, the "Stop the War Coalition" can be said to rank as one of Saddam Hussein's main supporters in the world. One suspects that they would equally support any other dictator in the world. In fact, they have never organized a single protest against other dictatorships, but they have organized plenty of protests against democracies.
    Do not be misled: organizations such as the "Stop the War Coalition" are the new fascists. They will fight anywhere and anytime against democracy and to keep totalitarian regimes in power. Their true goal is the total annihilation of democratic forces in Iraq and anywhere else in the world, in order to keep the existing totalitarian regimes in power.
    Join in a coalition to stop the new fascists of the "Stop the War Coalition".
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (May 2003) Britain and the Euro. Britain is split (as usual) about joining the Euro-zone (i.e. dropping the pound and adopting the euro). The fact is that the Eurozone is afflicted by massive, chronic unemployment, huge budget deficits and perennial slow growth, whereas Britain has posted much better results in all aspects of the economy. The other side of the coin is that Euro-zone countries offer their citizens much better services and a safety net that is only a dream for most British citizens. But, then, most Euro-zone countries are slowly repealing that safety net for lack of money. Whether it is good or bad, it is a fact that the British economy has little in common with continental Europe. If Britain joins the euro, it is likely to boost the euro to become "the" most important currency in the world, but it is not clear how the integration of British and Eurozone interests can possibly happen without punishing either one or the other.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (January 2002) The British Museum and how to get away with robbery. If you ever visit the Parthenon in Athens, you will be very disappointed. You will wonder what is so special about this ruined building at the top of a hill. If you ever visit the British Museum, you will understand why the Parthenon was considered a wonder of the world: that's where the statues that graced the Parthenon (the "Elgin marbles") have been for the last two centuries. They were stolen by the British ambassador (Elgin) two centuries ago. Britain still refuses to return them to the legitimate owner: the Parthenon. And so millions of tourists visit a great building that has been reduced by British barbarians to an ugly ruin. That is only the most famous of the acts of robbery committed by the British barbarians. The same barbarians stole Buddha statues and all sorts of precious friezes from civilizations of the Middle East and the Far East. The British Museum is a museum of Robbery, one of the world's best displays of stolen goods. The Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Louvre in Paris are close second and third. Please boycott these vestiges of barbaric hordes that raped the great civilizations of the past.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (October 1999) Britan has never been less European. Britain has always been closer to the United States than any other European country. Thatcher and Reagan created a paradigm that has become very much an anglo-american paradigm of capitalism and that is making them look more and more one like the other. Britain has exactly the same dynamics as the US: high growth, low inflation, low unemployment, a budget surplus, a booming service economy, and lots of new, young millionaires. The rest of Europe is exactly in the opposite situation. It is hard to see how Britain fits in Europe.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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