Emmanuel Macron’s Berlin Wall

Emanuel Macron, the naughty schoolboy with the Oedipus complex who the French elected as their President, said about Brexit:

“ (Britain will find out) . . . It is not easy to leave the EU . . . there are consequences.”

And then he went home to sit on Maman’s knee for his cupcake and a glass of Orangina.

What is he planning to do? How will he make good his threat? In order to curry favour with his German masters is he going to round-up as hostages the 155,000 British expatriates living, working and paying taxes in France? And then is he going to put them against the schoolyard wall and shoot them? Maman will surely buy him a Milice playsuit for his birthday?

Ah! Le silence de la Mère.

When the great Russian Revolution was failing in Eastern Europe, the East Germans built The Berlin Wall to keep their people in. It was not easy to leave – and there were consequences. You were machine gunned down if you tried.

The West responded with psychological warfare. West Germany in general, and West Berlin in particular, became outstanding symbols of capitalistic affluence, hedonism, and entitled Civil Libertarianism. The appeal, especially to the young, was irresistible – and The Wall came tumbling down. Macron is intelligent enough to know that after BREXIT, freed from the dead hand of bureaucratic Brussels and trading internationally the UK will become a beacon of affluence and entitlement, irresistible to the young.

When OPEC, dominated by the Arab Gulf States in general, and Saudi Arabia in particular, took over their crude oil assets, they raised the price 5 fold, and used their petro-dollar power base to promote a swing toward radical Wahhab Sunni Islam. It was similar to the revolution against the Shah by Shia Ayatollahs in Iran. Sunni and Shia clerics built a wall against The West by imposing stringent and puritanical limitations on their citizens. But The West ensured that Bahrain and Dubai became affluent, hedonistic and relatively liberal: accessible fleshpots to weaken the resolve of the people. And it is working. The walls are coming down.

Dubai, in just a few short years has become one of the most enterprising trading capitals of the World, ranking alongside New York, London, Singapore and Hong Kong. Bahrain lives in Dubai’s shadow as an international financial and tourist centre. But thousands of Saudis and their families cross the Causeway to Bahrain every weekend and taste Western freedoms.

My current work in progress, THE GULF “The Beginning of Sorrows” that concerns itself with the 2008 GFC (Global Financial Crisis) is centred on Dubai, because of its relevance as an international financial centre. But my current book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” is set on Bahrain as it transformed from a sleepy backwater of the British Empire into an independent nation state that acts as an interface between The West, and insular Saudi Arabia.

You can review and buy my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” and its fictionalizations of real events in the Middle East at:

amazon.com

Or on my publisher’s website:

feedaread.com

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Marie Antoinette’s cake

Maybe, finally, what I have been writing about for the last 30 years is beginning to enter the mainstream.

At a recent conference of the political elite in Sydney, Peter Varghese, the former Head of the Australian Foreign Affairs Department said:

“ . . . I wonder whether this is a gathering of the Ancien Regime and we are all eating cake at Marie Antoinette’s party. One day we might wake up to find the peasants are revolting.”

The only thing he got wrong is that the peasants have already revolted, hence Trump, Brexit and here in Australia Pauline Hanson and her One Nation party.

The political elite/progressives agendas are based on the ideas of the 1960s Permissive Society, outmoded ideas that have failed catastrophically to meet the needs of Western societies. Every indicator of civilized life is going backwards: divorce rates, drug abuse, violent crime, home ownership etc.

For the first time in many generations the present young adult generation will not have as good a life as their parents. This is all the consequence of laissez faire capitalism, and laissez faire neo-liberalism.

Maybe a sea-change is on the horizon? On TV the American series MADAME SECRETARY, and in books the successful Inspector Brunetti series of Donna Leon, are based on successful marriages and happy families – and not the usual divorced, recovering alcoholic, omniscient and frequently violent protagonist that is the noir norm these days.

The only disturbing factor for me is that MADAME SECRETARY still clings to the 19th Century attitudes of American exceptionalism and its divine right to re-create the world in its image, ignoring the realities of its own violent, drug crazed, money obsessed and fractured society.

Donna Leon, who is herself an American, but expatriated to Venice for many years, has a much more realistic view of the world as it is, and not as we wish it to be:

“ . . . how to persuade the Romanians to stop picking pockets, the Gypsies to stop sending their children to break into homes . . . in Venice. And on the mainland . . . asking the Moldovians to stop selling 13 year-olds and the Albanians to stop selling drugs . . and the possibility of persuading Italian men to stop wanting young prostitutes and cheap drugs.”

And, in the same vein as Donna Leon, I try to present the Middle East (or more precisely the oil-rich Arabian/Persian Gulf region) as it really is, and not as The West wish it to be.

In my first book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, I dealt with the effect that fabulous oil wealth brought to the region after the quadrupling of crude oil prices in 1972. In the book I am writing now, GULF II “The Beginning of Sorrows”, I am dealing with the ongoing effects of that wealth which lead to the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

You can preview my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, on Amazon’s Kindle Websites at:

www.amazon.com www.amazon.co.uk

and read the comprehensive 5 Star reviews it has received, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, you can preview my book, and order the paperback from my UK publisher:

www.feedaread.com

The Microcosm reflects the Macrocosm

Attempting to integrate into a small coastal community in Australia I joined the Progress Association assuming that they would be working diligently to develop the as yet underdeveloped community.

I walked out of the first meeting, thoroughly bored, on the edge of resorting to primal scream therapy. I gritted my teeth and stayed on at the second meeting while they continued to discuss in some detail weeds that were sprouting on a street corner, the price of tomatoes in the local supermarket, and whether we could spend A$230.00 on paint.

On the other hand, they blithely announced they had authorized spending A$83,000.00 on a feasibilty study (repeat feasibility study) to widen the cycle track on the road bridge across the river.

To their credit the committee anounced that they too were bored by penny-ante discussions about weeds and paint and the price of tomatoes, and were planning to produce a strategic plan for the development of the community. Hurrah! all well and good.

BUT,

the committee are going to produce this plan in a closed session without consultation or input from members, or the general public. When I objected to this I was shouted down – and I mean shouted down – with the saying “We are not going to listen and take note of a bunch of people spouting their opinions.”

And they wonder why BREXIT, and Trump, and here in Australia Pauline Hanson. The general public is tired of entitled groups making plans in secret, without consuktation, and then pushing their agenda down people’s throats, regardless.

My book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” places the plight of expatriates washed up in the Arabian/Persian Gulf in its political context. Ordinary people caught in the extraordinary clashes between cultures, and the agendas of narcissistic rulers and vainglorious politicians, and uber-rich businessmen and media moguls, all seeking to shape the world to their own advantage.

(Note: Google the meeting in 2008 on Lord Rothchild’s yacht anchored off Corfu, just as the world teered on the edge of the GFC. It was attended by Lord Sainsbury, Lord (Peter) Mandelson, George Osbourne, David Cameron, Rupert Murdoch, and the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska etc.)

Most of the people who read my book get the political context and the clash of cultures – but only two readers, both women, have seen that my book works on other levels. It exposes the gulf between the “haves”, and the “have nots” – and the gulf between men and women. The latter exposes not only the way Arabs treat women, but also the way greedy and faithless Western wives treat their husbands. Spousal abuse is not the sole prerogative of men.

You can preview my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, on Amazon’s Kindle Websites at:

www.amazon.com www.amazon.co.uk

and read the comprehensive 5 Star reviews it has received, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, you can preview my book, and order the paperback from my UK publisher:

www.feedaread.com

Writing is like living life twice

Writing is a hard discipline that gives you headaches, sleepless nights – and a bad back. But a wonderful thing about writing is the threads that weave into stories unbidden – and only reveal themselves later.

My first book – THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” was written on weekends as short stories while living in an oilfield camp in Saudi Arabia and based on my 40 years experiences in the Arabian/Persian Gulf. There were 10 stories – two from each decade. But when YouWriteOn (the UK Arts Council initiative designed to encourage new writing) offered to publish a book for me, I realized I didn’t have a book – just a collection of stories. I had to weave those stories into a narrative.

I chose to do this through the eyes of a young and idealistic journalist sent out from the UK to cover the region. I topped and tailed the stories with a fictitious beginning and end for the fictitious journalist’s career. And when I had finished I realized that, subconsciously, the thread running through the book is a classic hero’s journey.

I have made several false starts on the sequel GULF II “The Beginning of Sorrows”, but recently, using a peripheral story from my first book set in aftermath of the war in Kosovo, I realize that this has set the tone for that book.

In the Kosovo excerpt a Serb policeman makes the point that UNMIK (United Nations Mission in Kosovo) and the O.S.C.E. (Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe) are desperate to prove that they were not wrong to back the Albanians against the Serbs.

But in researching the story again I find that now, General Wesley Clarke, the Supreme Allied Commander NATO during the Kosovo War, believes that NATO intervened on the wrong side. And Carla del Ponte, the former special prosecutor of ICTY (the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) produced a book, THE HUNT, in 2008 that contained “serious and credible allegations” that the Albanians had transported 3-400 Serb prisoners from Kosovo, harvested their organs – and then killed them. These allegations were backed by The Council for Europe.

This is by no means the first time The West has blundered in and created chaos. Politicians understand the issues (maybe) – but they don’t understand the people. They don’t understand the tribalism, the depth of ethnic hatreds and the desire for revenge going back centuries that is rife in the Middle East and The Balkans. And so they blunder around and make things worse.

In the Middle East think Sykes-Picot and the Balfour Declaration, and Britain’s neglect of its mandates in The Gulf, and the 5 fold increase in crude oil prices that funded the rise of fundamental Islam leading to the events of 9/11. And now Gulf II that destabilized the region and led to ISIS.

Read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”. Although it is a work of fiction, it is journalistic because the stories start from real events I witnessed – or were reported to me by reliable sources during my 40 years in The Gulf.

It is written from the points of view of those sources, archetypal expatriates who washed up in the the Arabian/Persian Gulf. They were victims of power-mad politicians’ proxy wars,(The Buraimi Oasis, the Dhofar Campaign, the Viet Nam War), greedy finance house excesses (IOS, BCCI, Lonrho, Lloyds of London etc.) – and in some cases just victims of Madame Bovary style Western wives, and out-of-control, drug-crazed teenage children.

You can preview my book on AMAZON’s Kindle Websites:

www.amazon.com

www.amazon.co.uk

and read the comprehensive 5 Star reviews it has received, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, you can preview my book, and order the paperback from my publisher:

www.feedaread.com

The lesser of two Evils

It is unbelievable that the most dynamic and enterprising nation on this planet can only produce two such mediocre candidates for the presidency.

Trump is an egomaniac cunningly riding the wave of peoples’ disgust for the venal and corrupt, lying and cheating and stealing political classes that have allowed the financial community to ride roughshod over our so-called civilization. And Hillary Clinton belongs exactly to that breed who are in cahoots with the banks and Wall Street.

She is a throwback to the hubris of the 1990s when the collapse of Communism led them to believe that globalised, laissez faire, free-market capitalism had solved all of life’s problems. Then came the financial collapse of Iceland, Lehman Brothers, Bear Sterns, Bernie Madof Et.Al. – and the GFC – initiated by Bill Clinton’s de-regulation of the banks in the 1990s. And the aftershocks of financial scandals continue to reverberate around the world.

We are now in the 16th year of the new Millennium, and if Hillary Clinton becomes President we will have 4-8 years of more of the same. It’s Deja Vu all over again.

Then again Barack Obama has been a mediocre do nothing President. He, and Hillary, are symptoms of rampant political correctness. Obama was elected on a triumphal wave of “the first black President” (although in fact his Mother is a white woman and he was raised by his white grandmother), and Hillary will be elected on a triumphal wave of “the first female President”, without regard for whether either of them are up to the job. Perception is more valued than reality.

Into this vacuous vacuum China and now Russia have been able to ramp up their powers without any effective countermeasures – and after 8 years of Obama, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are still in turmoil – and Guantanamo is still open for business. And I don’t even want to think about the chaos that is Europe – brought about by the failed utopian dreams of drunken, tin-pot geriatric politicians and bureaucrats from tin-pot no-account nations.

Can America, or Europe, not find in the new tech-savvy digital generation a real leader? Or are they too lost in the hubris and unreal and narcissistic world of Social Media? Where is the Washington, the Lincoln, the Churchill, the Eisenhower, the Cromwell?

Or have I really been brainwashed by the Western version of History that I was taught?

In researching my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” I read deeply the writings of TE Lawrence, Freya Starke, Gertrude Bell, and learned about the imperial connivings of France and Britain in the Middle East– the Sykes-Picot agreement, the Balfour Declaration – and later the proxy conflicts between Britain and the USA in oil-rich Iran and Arabia – that sowed the seeds of the present conflicts. And further back Peter Hopkirk’s books about THE GREAT GAME between Imperial Russia and Britain over India – the Jewel in the Crown. History repeats itself – endlessly.

If you want my insights into the chaos and confusion in the Middle East from Britain’s neglect of its mandates in The Gulf, and the 5 fold increase in crude oil prices that funded the rise of Islam, until the events of 9/11, read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”. Although it is a work of fiction, it is journalistic because the stories start from real events I witnessed – or were reported to me by reliable sources – during my 40 years in The Gulf.

You can preview my book on AMAZON’s Kindle Websites, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, order the paperback, or hardback if you are a real bibliophile, direct from my publisher:

www.feedaread.com

Don’t wait for my sequel, GULF II “The Beginning of Sorrows”

Stop the World – I want to get off

Am I the only sane person on this planet?

At the present moment there is 11 times more financial instruments being traded worldwide than the total World GDP. A massive bubble waiting to burst. Here in Australia private debt is 250% of GDP, and yet, in order to buy a house young couples are being encouraged to extend themselves, and borrow 8 times their joint incomes.

Yet the cause of the most recent Global Financial Crisis was the Banks and investment houses selling mortgages that they knew people could not afford (i.e. they committed fraud) and then bet against those toxic financial instruments so that they made billions when they failed. And nobody went to jail.

And the IMF have admitted that they allowed Greece to draw down 2,000 times more than the agreed safe borrowing limit. And, of course, nobody can find the papers on that, or who was responsible for signing it off.

Stop the World I want to get off.

Now the neo-liberal urban elite are decrying BREXIT, in spite of the fact that there are already 8.5 million immigrants in the UK, with more to come, in a country about a third the size of New South Wales, with a permanent population of 60 million. And the much vaunted trade with Europe is running at a Euros 89 Billion deficit per year for the UK. The EU is dominated by an anti-British bureacracy in Brussels, run by a drunken old fool, that has actively encouraged, and funded the transfer of British manufacturing and technology across to Eastern Europe.

Stop the World I want to get off.

And now on a global basis it is predicted that Robotics, and the “Internet of Everything” will be a new Industrial (Digital) Revolution that will throw millions of people out of work. And still we hear that Globalization – a euphemism for Americanization – the only way for mankind to proper.

Are we all going to emulate a society whose only philosophy is “Get rich quick”? A violent society riven by racism, where almost every citizen owns a gun: with 20,000 gun murders a year (including massacres in schools, colleges and gay clubs), with 200,000 aggravated assaults and 200,000 (reported) rapes a year – where 2.5 million citizens are in jail with a further 1 Million on parole – and where the President and Commander in Chief of 40% of the world’s miltary with his/her finger on the trigger is either going to be an ego-maniac jingoist with a ridiculous combover, or a crazed geriatric chipmunk with an adulterous husband: a Wall Street puppet whose CV is littered with shady business dealings who has shown ignorance of, or cavalier disregard for, even the most basic disciplines of national security.

Stop the World I want to get off.

But I guess it was always so. Look at the chaos in the Middle East, whose past is littered with fools, carpetbaggers, despots, religious zealots and power crazed politicians – and outright thieves. If you want insights into how it got into such a mess read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”.

It is a linked series of character studies of archetypal expatriates who wash up in the the Arabian/Persian Gulf, victims of powermad politicians’ wars, greedy finance house excesses – and in some cases just victims of avaricious Western wives, and out of control drug-addled teenage children. Welcome to the modern world.

It is based on my 40 years in the international oil industry, most of it spent in The Gulf. You can preview it on:

www.amazon.com

or

www.amazon.co.uk

and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, order the paperback direct from my publisher:

www.feedaread.com

Tribal Weaving

One of the criticisms levelled at BREXIT it that it will encourage the rise of nationalism in Europe. The irony of the European Union is that it has already presided over the rise of nationalism, and a descent into tribalism.

First we had the breakup of Yugoslavia, with only Serbia, Slovenia, and Croatia as viable economic entities, and the remainder as dependent entities for the forseeable future. Then Czechoslovakia broke up with Slovakia heavily dependent.

Now it seems that the UK might break up – with Scotland and Northern Ireland wanting to stay in the EU – and leave the UK. The EU encourages disintegration, with its promise of huge regional grants to support peripheral economies that actively encourages ethnic differences.

I am, on my Mother’s side, Anglo Saxon from Middle England, with surnames like Brown, Jackson and Washington, and possible distant realtionships with American Presidents. But on my Father’s side I am a Celt with grandparents from Greenock on Clydeside, and Wrexham, North Wales. I even have a Manx great grandmother, so there is some Viking in there. (And this raises the issue of The Shetlands, which are as much Norwegian in their thinking – UP HELLY Aa festival with Geizer Jarl and a procession of Vikings. And remember, The Shetlands were a gift from the Norwegians to the English Crown so legally does not belong to Scotland).

Where I was born and raised in England our neighbours were predominantly Irish – the Brandons, the Braddocks, the Burkeys and the Hollingsworths – and Welsh, the Williams, the Roberts and Jones’s. And where my grandparents lived they were mostly Scottish – the Lawsons, the McTaggarts, the McCallisters. And the Anglo, Irish, Welsh and Scottish children all freely intermarried. The idea of racial purity is atavistic.

The British are a mongrel nation of Anglo-Celts with dashes of Viking, Norman and even Roman blood – and it was this broad gene pool that produced the hybrid energy and dynamism that changed and enriched the whole world. It is unthinkable that we will go back to the atavistic extremes of nationalism, tribalism and ferocious clan loyalties.

We have just recently emerged from 25 years of the blood letting and brutality of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. A battle between two Celtic tribes with the English as “piggy-in-the-middle”. Imagine if Sinn Fein get their wish, and Northern Ireland stays in the EU, and the EU supports the unification of Ireland. How will the Protestant Celts respond? I forsee a civil war with Scottish Protestants joining the fray. It will be The Balkans all over again, with the Americans and the UN joining in and turning a crisis into a disaster.

It is exactly this sort of outside interference and intervention that has caused the sectarian rivalry and tribalism and the apocalyptic and brutal conflicts in the Middle East.

In my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” there is a story, TRIBAL WEAVING, that appears to support tribalism. In a way it does, because the yearning to return to the simpler nomadic life of a hunter/gather, (the Noble Savage), and escape the boredom of sedentary and tedious suburban living, is very strong, particularly in the hard-pressed Western male. But the story is more serious than that.

Iran had a democratically elected government under Mossadeq – but he was socialist, and so the Americans deposed him and placed the despicable Shah and his cronies in power. They tried to drive the nomadic tribes to settle in towns and villages so that they could seize their lands. And the people revolted and threw out The Shahinshah and replaced him with the Ayatollahs. Out of the frying pan and into . . .

If you want authentic insights into the chaos in the Middle East from 1960 that lead to the events of 9/11, 2001 then read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”. Based on 40 years working in the international oil industry it is a collection of stories about expatriates washed up in the Arabian/Persian Gulf. Flotsam and jetsam trying to survive in a rapidly changing and frequently violent world. You can preview it at:

www.amazon.com

or

www.amazon.co.uk

and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, order the paperback direct from my publisher:

www.feedaread.com