Sunday, January 20, 2013

Does Mali Prove the Need for an African Super State?

One thing is clear as the French hurriedly mobilized to save Mali's besieged capital last week, African current weak states lack capacity. Many being product of colonial power deals and the Berlin Conference lack the cohesive semblance of state or economic status to sustain cohesive nations that can defend territory or people. Africa is filled with separatist groups. Check this interactive map, and this in itself shows that Africans are not satisfied with the current configuration of Africa!

African General Takes Instruction from French Colonel..LOL

Think of it, France? The fact is many states in Africa are just mere post-colonial outposts of their ex-colonial masters. What the ex-colonialists have done was to cut off the expensive appendages of colonial administration and potential influx of immigrants a collapsing world structure will bring if that relationship were still in place and replaced it with a cheaper structure of weak states governed with military bases and commercial exploitation. The new task masters are Africa's diabolical elites- educated abroad, turned internal warlords or thieving political class that does the bidding of the Europeans! This classic mis-governance of the past 40 years have led to an even weaker state filled with intrigues that ensure uprising that a weaker state with no capacity to stand up to rebellion can beat back. This is the story of Mali and many other African nations.

Even the relatively stronger ones like Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt or South Africa can barely manage internal uprisings as evidenced by the recent history of these foursome. One of the former Super-Giants- Sudan, had to eventually crack into two under the weight of its own state of misnomer , and Darfur is still brewing within a much smaller Sudan. And the new South Sudan is spiraling fast into the pit of poverty, internal rivalries, corruption and reality of being a landlocked state that most of its older brethren are learning to cope with!

Fact is even the much vaunted African Powers can only brutishly deal with some form of internal rebellion, and can barely handle external aggression like Egypt (remember 1967 territory loss to Israel and uprising in the Arab Spring?), Algeria (we were just reminded of how brutish it can be with internal rebellions) and Nigeria (Oh the mighty crippled by Boko Harem and won't bat an eye lid as Cameroon took Bakassi).

Clearly, it is time to rethink African states. Most of them are failing. Somalia, CAR, the Sudans (40 years conflict),  both Congos, Angola- many of these states much larger than entire Western Europe have been in perpetual state of war for decades! Internal strife and insecurity is the order of the day in West, North, Central and Horn of Africa. Political tension is wrecking East Africa as it is increasingly drawn into the Horn of Africa conflict. Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger are hapless as their vast desert territories are overran by eager jihadists seeking their own Afghanistan base to fight their insane holy war.

Perhaps if Obama wants to do something transformative in his second term, he can take Africa more seriously and double cross the European- as a true son of the soil, that can make this new Africa morning become a truism. Sub-Sahara Africa's border can be redrawn into 5-7 more sustainable Federal Nations, at least anything below Algeria-Egypt-Morocco line. These states will be democratic  they will elect sensible leaders; they will practice true federalism that acknowledges their diversity and internal ethnic configurations; they will be larger and have access to sea; they will also be multi-lingual and work towards adopting new, generous identities beyond what the crazy 60s left them. They will have stronger and effective security apparatus, that can respond to the challenges of terrorism without borders.

A new Trans-African national order aided by a true son that emerged the most powerful man in the world. Even if he doesn't finish it, he can help start the conversation. Africa must Unite.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Let them eat cake! Happy New Year!

Here is Krugman saying it was a good deal, but still complaining. Of course, now we get defense cuts and across board spending cuts while getting higher taxes on wealthy and no cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Indeed, Dems also get unemployment taxes, payroll tax rightly expire and child credits are back in. The 250k limits to deductions, capital gains also stay in place.  I think this is a very good deal, even he now agrees- depending on what happens in March!

The only part I wish the Dems got right was Estate tax. At least they could have insisted on fixing the carried interest loophole for that. Some say they needed to leave that and capping deductions which could raise another $500bn on the table, and eliminating corporate welfare for March discussions on sequesterization and debt ceiling debate.

However, the more I read blogs on the left - I think folks forget get confused between the sequesterization and the fiscal cliff (sequesterization + tax cut expiry) . This tax deal had nothing to do with the first debt ceiling debate where Dems basically ate shit to avoid hostage taking agreeing to 1.2 trillion in advance cuts (mostly in freezes in program growth and savings from Afghan) plus 1.2 trillion in painful sequesterization in return for 2.4 trillion raise. It was all 1.2 trillion in spending cuts then, now this is 600 billion in tax raises which they get in return with little or no spending cuts. The game is now 1-1 or may be 1-2 if you assume Liberals cried for Afghan war ending.

The next game is when the 1.2 trillion in sequesterization which are the real spending cuts in both discretionary and defense spending will kick in about March (about time for Debt Limit raise again). Today GOP is claiming they don't like those sequesterization, and the defense industries will die if it happens. There is no way Dems will just let those pain sequesterization go away in March without obtaining revenue in return or save their own programs. So there will have to be an even negotiation on what gives of the 1.2 trillion just happen and everyone cries. 

So either there is a mutual disarmament (which basically means everyone agrees deficit don't matter), or adults come to the table to negotiate evenly in March, or there is mutual assured destruction (the 1.2 trillion cuts over 10 years hitting both GOP and Dem programs evenly). I sense you will get A or C. There are no adults left anymore. In fact my bets is on C, and hey who cares? Everyone keeps their tax cuts, and government cuts defense and some welfare programs. Medicare and Social Security stays intact, the selfish baby boomers win. LOL

And yes, the right strategy for Obama is to separate the debt ceiling from deficit talks. Debt ceiling should be routine and he must insist so; thank goodness there is no Triple A credit to protect again. I like the tactic of reminding the country they racked up the debt, and stop acting like kids. Let them eat cake! 

Happy New Year Folks!


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