sábado, 25 de marzo de 2017


Resultado de imagen de foto Trump gritando

A Vision of Trump at War
How the President Could Stumble Into Conflict

Just a few months into the Trump administration, it still isn’t clear what course the president’s foreign policy will ultimately take. What is clear, however, is that the impulsiveness, combativeness, and recklessness that characterized Donald Trump’s election campaign have survived the transition into the presidency. Since taking office, Trump has continued to challenge accepted norms, break with diplomatic traditions, and respond to perceived slights or provocations with insults or threats of his own. The core of his foreign policy message is that the United States will no longer allow itself to be taken advantage of by friends or foes abroad. After decades of “losing” to other countries, he says he is going to put “America first” and start winning again.
It could be that Trump is simply staking out tough bargaining positions as a tactical matter, the approach to negotiations he has famously called “the art of the deal.” President Richard Nixon long ago developed the “madman theory,” the idea that he could frighten his adversaries into believing he was so volatile he might do something crazy if they failed to meet his demands—a tactic that Trump, whose reputation for volatility is firmly established, seems particularly well suited to employ. 
The problem, however, is that negotiations sometimes fail, and adversaries are themselves often brazen and unpredictable. After all, Nixon’s madman theory—designed to force the North Vietnamese to compromise—did not work. Moreover, putting the theory into practice requires the capacity to act judiciously at the appropriate moment, something that Trump, as president, has yet to demonstrate. And whereas a failed business deal allows both parties to walk away unscathed if disappointed, a failed diplomatic gambit can lead to political instability, costly trade disputes, the proliferation of dangerous weapons, or even war. History is littered with examples of leaders who, like Trump, came to power fueled by a sense of national grievance and promises to force adversaries into submission, only to end up mired in a military, diplomatic, or economic conflict they would come to regret. 
Will that happen to Trump? Nobody knows. But what if one could? What if, like Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Trump could meet a ghost from the future offering a vision of where his policies might lead by the end of his term before he decides on them at its start? 
The problem is that negotiations sometimes fail, and adversaries are themselves often brazen and unpredictable.

It is possible that such a ghost would show him a version of the future in which his administration, after a turbulent start, moderated over time, proved more conventional than predicted, and even had some success in negotiating, as he has pledged, “better deals.” But there is a real risk that events will turn out far worse—a future in which Trump’s erratic style and confrontational policies destroy an already fragile world order and lead to open conflict—in the most likely cases, with Iran, China, or North Korea.
In the narratives that follow, everything described as having taken place before mid-March 2017 actually happened. That which takes place after that date is—at least at the time of publication—fiction.
It is September 2017, and the White House is consumed with a debate about options for escalation with Iran. Another dozen Americans have been killed in an Iranian-sponsored attack on U.S. soldiers in Iraq, and the president is frustrated that previous air strikes in Iran failed to deter this sort of deadly aggression. He is tempted to retaliate much more aggressively this time but also knows that doing so risks involving U.S. troops even further in what is already a costly and unpopular war—the very sort of “mess” he had promised to avoid. Looking back, he now sees that this conflict probably became inevitable when he named his foreign policy team and first started to implement his new approach toward Iran. 
Well before his election, of course, Trump had criticized the Iran nuclear agreement as “the worst deal ever negotiated” and promised to put a stop to Iran’s “aggressive push to destabilize and dominate” the Middle East. Some of his top advisers were deeply hostile to Iran and known to favor a more confrontational approach, including his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn; his CIA director, Mike Pompeo; his chief strategist, Steve Bannon; and his defense secretary, James Mattis. Some of Mattis’ former military colleagues said he had a 30-year-long obsession with Iran, noting, as one marine told Politico, “It’s almost like he wants to get even with them.”
During his campaign and first months in office, Trump whipped up anti-Iranian feelings and consistently misled the public about what the nuclear deal entailed. He falsely insisted that the United States “received absolutely nothing” from it, that it permitted Iran to eventually get the bomb, and that it gave $150 billion to Iran (apparently referring to a provision of the deal that allowed Iran to access some $50 billion of its own money that had been frozen in foreign accounts). Critics claimed that the rhetoric was reminiscent of the Bush administration’s exaggerations of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs in the run-up to the Iraq war. In February 2017, in response to an Iranian ballistic missile test, Flynn brashly declared that he was “officially putting Iran on notice.” Two days later, the administration announced a range of new sanctions on 25 Iranian individuals and companies involved in the ballistic missile program. 
Trump whipped up anti-Iranian feelings and consistently misled the public about what the nuclear deal entailed.

Perhaps just as predictably, Iran dismissed the administration’s tough talk. It continued to test its missiles, insisting that neither the nuclear deal nor UN Security Council resolutions prohibited it from doing so. Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, even taunted Trump for his controversial immigration and travel ban, thanking him on Twitter for revealing the “true face” of the United States. Tehran also continued its policy of shipping arms to the Houthi rebels in Yemen and providing military assistance to Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, neither of which proved particularly costly to the Iranian treasury. U.S. efforts to get Russia to limit Iran’s role in Syria were ignored, adding to the White House’s frustration.
To the surprise of many, growing U.S. pressure on Iran did not immediately lead to the collapse of the nuclear deal. As soon as he took office, Trump ended the Obama administration’s practice of encouraging banks and international companies to ensure that Iran benefited economically from the deal. And he expressed support for congressional plans to sanction additional Iranian entities for terrorism or human rights violations, as top officials insisted was permitted by the nuclear deal. Iran complained that these “backdoor” sanctions would violate the agreement yet took no action. By March 2017, U.S. officials were concluding internally—and some of the administration’s supporters began to gloat—that Trump’s tougher approach was succeeding. 
Different behavior on either side could have prevented relations from deteriorating. But ultimately, the deal could not be sustained. In the early summer of 2017, real signs of trouble started to emerge. Under pressure from hardline factions within Iran, which had their own interest in spiking the deal, Tehran had continued its provocative behavior, including the unjustified detention of dual U.S.-Iranian citizens, throughout the spring. In June, after completing a review of his Iran policy, Trump put Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations and announced that continued sanctions relief would be contingent on Iran’s release of all U.S. detainees and a return to negotiations to address the nuclear deal’s “flaws.” Instead of submitting to these demands, Iran responded with defiance. Its new president, a hard-liner who had defeated Hassan Rouhani in the May 2017 election, declared that in the face of U.S. “noncompliance,” Iran would resume certain prohibited nuclear activities, including testing advanced centrifuges and expanding its stockpile of low-enriched uranium. Washington was suddenly abuzz with talk of the need for a new effort to choke off Iran economically or even a preventive military strike. 
The Trump administration had been confident that other countries would back its tougher approach and had warned allies and adversaries alike that they must choose between doing business with Iran and doing business with the United States. But the pressure did not work as planned. China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United Kingdom all said that the deal had been working before the United States sought to renegotiate it, and they blamed Washington for precipitating the crisis. The EU even passed legislation making it illegal for European companies to cooperate with U.S. secondary sanctions. Trump fumed and vowed they would pay for their betrayal. 
As the United States feuded with its closest partners, tensions with Iran escalated further. Frustrated by continued Iranian support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Pentagon stepped up patrols in the Strait of Hormuz and loosened the rules of engagement for U.S. forces. When an Iranian patrol boat aggressively approached a U.S. cruiser, in circumstances that are still disputed, the U.S. ship responded with deadly defensive force, killing 25 Iranian sailors. 
The outrage in Iran bolstered support for the regime and led to widespread calls for revenge, which the country’s new president could not resist. Less than a week later, the Iranian-backed militia group Kataib Hezbollah killed six U.S. soldiers in Iraq. With the American public demanding retaliation, some called for diplomacy, recalling how, in January 2016, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke directly to defuse the situation after U.S. sailors drifted into Iranian waters. This time, the EU offered to mediate the crisis. 
But the administration wanted nothing to do with what it considered the Obama administration’s humiliating appeasement of Iran. Instead, to teach Iran a lesson, Trump authorized a cruise missile strike on a known Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps intelligence headquarters, destroying three buildings and killing a dozen officers and an unknown number of civilians. 
Trump’s advisers predicted that Iran would back down, but as nationalist fervor grew in Iran, Tehran escalated the conflict, calculating that the American public had no desire to spend more blood or treasure in the Middle East. Kataib Hezbollah and other Shiite militias in Iraq, some directed by Iran and others acting independently, launched further attacks on U.S. personnel. Tehran forced the weak government in Baghdad to demand the Americans’ departure from Iraq, which would deal a huge blow to the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State, or ISIS. 
As Washington reimposed the sanctions that had been suspended by the nuclear deal, Iran abandoned the limits on its enrichment of uranium, expelled the UN monitors, and announced that it was no longer bound by the agreement. With the CIA concluding that Iran was now back on the path to a nuclear weapons capability, Trump’s top advisers briefed the president in the Oval Office. Some counseled restraint, but others, led by Bannon and Mattis, insisted that the only credible option was to destroy the Iranian nuclear infrastructure with a massive preventive strike, while reinforcing the U.S. presence in Iraq to deal with the likely Iranian retaliation. Pompeo, a longstanding advocate of regime change in Iran, argued that such a strike might also lead to a popular uprising and the ousting of the supreme leader, an encouraging notion that Trump himself had heard think-tank experts endorse on television.
Once again, nervous allies stepped in and tried to broker a diplomatic solution. They tried to put the 2015 nuclear deal back in place, arguing that it now looked attractive by comparison. But it was too late. U.S. strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities in Arak, Fordow, Isfahan, Natanz, and Parchin led to retaliatory counterstrikes against U.S. forces in Iraq, U.S. retaliation against targets in Iran, terrorist attacks against Americans in Europe and the Middle East, and vows from Tehran to rebuild its nuclear program bigger and better than before. The president who had vowed to stop squandering American lives and resources in the Middle East now found himself wondering how he had ended up at war there. 
It is October 2017, and experts are calling it the most dangerous confrontation between nuclear powers since the Cuban missile crisis. After a U.S.-Chinese trade war escalated well beyond what either side had predicted, a clash in the South China Sea has led to casualties on both sides and heavy exchanges of fire between the U.S. and Chinese navies. There are rumors that China has placed its nuclear forces on high alert. The conflict that so many long feared has begun. 
Of the many foreign targets of Trump’s withering criticism during the campaign and the early months of his presidency, China topped the list. As a candidate, Trump repeatedly accused the country of destroying American jobs and stealing U.S. secrets. “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country,” he said. Bannon, who early in the administration set up a shadow national security council in the White House, had even predicted conflict with China. “We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to ten years,” he said in March 2016. “There’s no doubt about that.”
Not long after the election, Trump took a congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, breaking with decades of diplomatic tradition and suggesting a potential change in the United States’ “one China” policy. It wasn’t clear whether the move was inadvertent or deliberate, but either way, Trump defended his approach and insisted that the policy was up for negotiation unless China made concessions on trade. “Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea?” he tweeted. “I don’t think so!” In February 2017, after a call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump announced that the United States would honor the “one China” policy after all. Asia experts were relieved, but it must have infuriated the president that so many thought he had backed down. “Trump lost his first fight with Xi and he will be looked at as a paper tiger,” Shi Yinhong, a professor at Renmin University of China, told The New York Times
There were other early warning signs of the clashes to come. At his confirmation hearings for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson appeared to draw a new redline in the South China Sea, noting that China’s access to islands there “is not going to be allowed.” Some dismissed the statement as overblown rhetoric, but Beijing did not. The state-run China Daily warned that any attempt to enforce such a policy could lead to a “devastating confrontation,” and the Global Times said it could lead to “large-scale war.” 
Then there were the disputes about trade. To head the new White House National Trade Council, Trump nominated Peter Navarro, the author of The Coming China WarsDeath by China, and other provocative books that describe U.S.-Chinese relations in zero-sum terms and argue for increased U.S. tariffs and trade sanctions. Like Bannon, Navarro regularly invoked the specter of military conflict with Beijing, and he argued that tougher economic measures were necessary not only to rectify the U.S.-Chinese trade balance but also to weaken China’s military power, which he claimed would inevitably be used against the United States. The early rhetoric worried many observers, but they took solace in the idea that neither side could afford a confrontation. 
It was the decisions that followed that made war all but inevitable. In June 2017, when North Korea tested yet another long-range missile, which brought it closer to having the ability to strike the United States, Trump demanded that China check its small ally and announced “serious consequences” if it refused. China had no interest in promoting North Korea’s nuclear capacity, but it worried that completely isolating Pyongyang, as Trump was demanding, could cause the regime to collapse—sending millions of poor North Korean refugees streaming into China and leaving behind a united Korea ruled by Seoul, armed with North Korea’s nuclear weapons, and allied with Washington. China agreed to another UN Security Council statement condemning North Korea and extended a suspension of coal imports from the country but refused to take further action. Angry about Trump’s incessant criticism and confrontation over trade, Xi saw the United States as a greater danger to China than North Korea was and said he refused to be bullied by Washington. 
At the same time, the U.S. current account deficit with China had swelled, in part because growing U.S. budget deficits required borrowing from abroad, thus driving up the value of the dollar. That, combined with Chinese intransigence over North Korea, convinced the White House that it was time to get tough. Outside experts, along with Trump’s own secretary of state and secretary of the treasury, cautioned against the risks of a dangerous escalation, but the president dismissed their hand-wringing and said that the days of letting China take advantage of Americans were over. In July, the administration formally branded China a “currency manipulator” (despite evidence that it had actually been spending its currency reserves to uphold the value of the yuan) and imposed a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports. To the delight of the crowd at a campaign-style rally in Florida, Trump announced that these new measures would remain in place until China boosted the value of its currency, bought more U.S. goods, and imposed tougher sanctions on North Korea. 
The president’s more hawkish advisers assured him that China’s response would prove limited, given its dependence on exports and its massive holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds. But they underestimated the intense nationalism that the U.S. actions had stoked. Xi had to show strength, and he hit back.
All Trump wanted to do was get a better deal from China.

Within days, Xi announced that China was taking the United States to the World Trade Organization over the import tariff (a case he felt certain China would win) and imposed a 45 percent countertariff on U.S. imports. The Chinese believed that the reciprocal tariffs would hurt the United States more than China (since Americans bought far more Chinese goods than the other way around) and knew that the resulting inflation—especially for goods such as clothing, shoes, toys, and electronics—would hurt Trump’s blue-collar constituency. Even more important, they felt they were more willing to make sacrifices than the Americans were. 
Xi also instructed China’s central bank to sell $100 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds, a move that immediately drove up U.S. interest rates and knocked 800 points off the Dow Jones industrial average in a single day. That China started using some of the cash resulting from the sales to buy large stakes in major U.S. companies at depressed prices only fueled a nationalist reaction in the United States. Trump tapped into it, calling for a new law to block Chinese investment. 
With personal insults flying back and forth across the Pacific, Trump announced that if China did not start treating the United States fairly, Washington might reconsider the “one China” policy after all. Encouraged by Bannon, who argued privately that it was better to have the inevitable confrontation with China while the United States still enjoyed military superiority, Trump speculated publicly about inviting the president of Taiwan to the White House and selling new antimissile systems and submarines to the island. 
China responded that any change in U.S. policy toward Taiwan would be met with an “overwhelming response,” which experts interpreted to mean at a minimum cutting off trade with Taiwan (which sends 30 percent of its exports to China) and at a maximum military strikes against targets on the island. With over one billion Chinese on the mainland passionately committed to the country’s nominal unity, few doubted that Beijing meant what it said. On October 1, China’s normally tepid National Day celebrations turned into a frightening display of anti-Americanism. 
It was in this environment that an incident in the South China Sea led to the escalation so many had feared. The details remain murky, but it was triggered when a U.S. surveillance ship operating in disputed waters in heavy fog accidentally rammed a Chinese trawler that was harassing it. In the confusion that ensued, a People’s Liberation Army Navy frigate fired on the unarmed U.S. ship, a U.S. destroyer sank the Chinese frigate, and a Chinese torpedo struck and badly damaged the destroyer, killing three Americans.
A U.S. aircraft carrier task force is being rushed to the region, and China has deployed additional attack submarines there and begun aggressive overflights and patrols throughout the South China Sea. Tillerson is seeking to reach his Chinese counterpart, but officials in Beijing wonder whether he even speaks for the administration and fear Trump will accept nothing short of victory. Leaked U.S. intelligence estimates suggest that a large-scale conflict could quickly lead to hundreds of thousands of casualties, draw in neighboring states, and destroy trillions of dollars’ worth of economic output. But with nationalism raging in both countries, neither capital sees a way to back down. All Trump wanted to do was get a better deal from China.
It is December 2018, and North Korea has just launched a heavy artillery barrage against targets in Seoul, killing thousands, or perhaps tens of thousands; it is too soon to say. U.S. and South Korean forces—now unified under U.S. command, according to the provisions of the Mutual Defense Treaty—have fired artillery and rockets at North Korea’s military positions and launched air strikes against its advanced air defense network. From a bunker somewhere near Pyongyang, the country’s erratic dictator, Kim Jong Un, has issued a statement promising to “burn Seoul and Tokyo to the ground”—a reference to North Korea’s stockpile of nuclear and chemical weapons—if the “imperialist” forces do not immediately cease their attacks.
Even Trump’s harshest critics acknowledge that the United States had no good choices in North Korea.

Washington had expected some sort of a North Korean response when it preemptively struck the test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States, fulfilling Trump’s pledge to prevent Pyongyang from acquiring that ability. But few thought North Korea would go so far as to risk its own destruction by attacking South Korea. Now, Trump must decide whether to continue with the war and risk nuclear escalation—or accept what will be seen as a humiliating retreat. Some of his advisers are urging him to quickly finish the job, whereas others warn that doing so would cost the lives of too many of the 28,000 U.S. soldiers stationed on the peninsula, to say nothing of the ten million residents of Seoul. Assembled in the White House Situation Room, Trump and his aides ponder their terrible options. 
How did it come to this? Even Trump’s harshest critics acknowledge that the United States had no good choices in North Korea. For more than 20 years, the paranoid, isolated regime in Pyongyang had developed its nuclear and missile capabilities and seemed impervious to incentives and disincentives alike. The so-called Agreed Framework, a 1994 deal to halt North Korea’s nuclear program, fell apart in 2003 when Pyongyang was caught violating it, leading the George W. Bush administration to abandon the deal in favor of tougher sanctions. Multiple rounds of talks since then produced little progress. By 2017, experts estimated that North Korea possessed more than a dozen nuclear warheads and was stockpiling the material for more. They also thought North Korea had missiles capable of delivering those warheads to targets throughout Asia and was testing missiles that could give it the capacity to strike the West Coast of the United States by 2023. 
Early in the administration, numerous outside experts and former senior officials urged Trump to make North Korea a top priority. Accepting that total dismantlement of the country’s nuclear and missile programs was not a realistic nearterm goal, most called for negotiations that would offer a package of economic incentives and security assurances in exchange for a halt to further testing and development. A critical component, they argued, would be outreach to China, the only country that might be able to influence North Korea.
But the administration preferred a more confrontational approach. Even before Trump took office, when Kim blustered about developing the capacity to strike the United States with a nuclear weapon, Trump responded on Twitter: “It won’t happen!” On February 12, 2017, North Korea fired a test missile 310 miles into the Sea of Japan at the very moment Trump was meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago estate, in Florida. The next morning, Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to Trump, announced that the United States would soon be sending a signal to North Korea in the form of a major military buildup that would show “unquestioned military strength beyond anything anyone can imagine.” Later that month, Trump announced plans for a $54 billion increase in U.S. defense spending for 2018, with corresponding cuts in the budget for diplomacy. And in March 2017, Tillerson traveled to Asia and declared that “the political and diplomatic efforts of the past 20 years” had failed and that a “new approach” was needed.
In the ensuing months, critics urged the administration to accompany its military buildup with regional diplomacy, but Trump chose otherwise. He made clear that U.S. foreign policy had changed. Unlike what his predecessor had done with Iran, he said, he was not going to reward bad behavior. Instead, the administration announced in the summer of 2018 that North Korea was “officially on notice.” Although the White House agreed with critics that the best way to pressure North Korea was through China, it proved impossible to cooperate with Beijing while erecting tariffs and attacking it for “raping” the United States economically. 
Thus did the problem grow during the administration’s first two years. North Korea continued to test missiles and develop fissile material. It occasionally incited South Korea, launching shells across the demilitarized zone and provoking some near misses at sea. The war of words between Pyongyang and Washington also escalated—advisers could not get the president to bite his tongue in response to Kim’s outrageous taunts—and Trump repeated in even more colorful language his Twitter warning that he would not allow Pyongyang to test a nuclear-capable missile that could reach the United States. 
When the intelligence community picked up signs that Pyongyang was about to do so, the National Security Council met, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff briefed the president on his options. He could try to shoot down the test missile in flight, but shooting carried a high risk of missing, and even a successful intercept might provoke a military response. He could do nothing, but that would mean losing face and emboldening North Korea. Or he could destroy the test missile on its launch pad with a barrage of cruise missiles, blocking Pyongyang’s path to a nuclear deterrent, enforcing his redline, and sending a clear message to the rest of the world. Sources present at the meeting reported that when the president chose the third option, he said, “We have to start winning wars again.” 
These frightening futures are far from inevitable. Indeed, for all the early bluster and promises of a dramatic break with the past, U.S. foreign policy may well turn out to be not as revolutionary or reckless as many fear. Trump has already demonstrated his ability to reverse course without compunction on a multitude of issues, from abortion to the Iraq war, and sound advice from some of his more seasoned advisers could moderate his potential for rash behavior. 
On the other hand, given what we have seen so far of the president’s temperament, decision-making style, and foreign policy, these visions of what might lie ahead are hardly implausible: foreign policy disasters do happen. Imagine if a ghost from the future could have given world leaders in 1914 a glimpse of the cataclysm their policies would produce. Or if in 1965, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson could have seen what escalation in Vietnam would lead to a decade later. Or if in 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush could have been shown a preview of the results of the invasion of Iraq. In each case, unwise decisions, a flawed process, and wishful thinking did lead to a catastrophe that could have been, and often was, predicted in advance.  
Maybe Trump is right that a massive military buildup, a reputation for unpredictability, a high-stakes negotiating style, and a refusal to compromise will convince other countries to make concessions that will make America safe, prosperous, and great again. But then again, maybe he’s wrong



Resultado de imagen de foto de maduro


Por el rescate de la institucionalidad democrática y el estado de derecho en Venezuela

El 14 de marzo pasado, el Secretario General de la OEA (SG), Luis Almagro envió al presidente del Consejo Permanente (CP) una actualización de su informe sobre el deterioro de la democracia en Venezuela, sometido a la consideración del CP en mayo de 2016, en ejercicio de la potestad que le confiere la Carta Democrática Interamericana (CDI) y con el fin de que los Estados Miembros realizasen una apreciación colectiva de la situación y emprendiesen las acciones que considerasen necesarias, en la cual hace un exhaustivo examen del agravamiento de la situación política, económica y social venezolana, llamando de nuevo a examinarla y a adoptar las medidas necesarias, en vista de la ausencia de resultados positivos tras las gestiones y acciones emprendidas por representantes del gobierno venezolano, la oposición y la comunidad internacional.

La precisión de los hechos expuestos en el nuevo informe permite determinar con total claridad las características del régimen que gobierna a nuestro país de manera inconstitucional, contrario al Estado de Derecho –al extremo de señalar su inexistencia-, con total desconocimiento de la independencia de los poderes públicos y una gestión administrativa calificada como corrupta y altamente ineficiente, que da como resultado un país abandonado, empobrecido, con lamentables carencias en salud, alimentación y seguridad.
El nuevo informe expresa que ninguna de las recomendaciones anteriores ha sido tomada en cuenta y pone de manifiesto la profundización del deterioro del estado de la democracia y los derechos humanos, además del agravamiento de la ya crítica situación de abastecimiento de alimentos y medicinas, presagio de una crisis humanitaria sin precedentes en la región, a pesar de los esfuerzos realizados mediante un infructuoso diálogo.

En vista de ello, el SG estima que los mecanismos previstos en la CDI para el restablecimiento del orden democrático han sido agotados y que de no hacer el gobierno venezolano un llamado a elecciones generales en un plazo perentorio, los países miembros deberían tomar la decisión de suspender a Venezuela de la Organización, como medida de presión adicional para lograr su retorno a la normalidad democrática.

Como quiera que el gobierno nacional no ha rebatido las afirmaciones contenidas en el nuevo informe y se ha limitado a descalificar al SG, y que las diferentes declaraciones oficiales se orientan más bien a desdeñar la importancia de nuestra participación en la OEA, antes que a reconocer la existencia misma de una grave crisis que exige acciones concretas e inmediatas, la urgencia planteada por el SG en su informe de convocar a elecciones, como el mejor y más democrático camino para recuperar la vigencia del estado de derecho y la democracia, reviste la mayor importancia.

En el lapso entre ambos informes, los venezolanos hemos sido testigos de la arbitraria obstaculización de la solicitud de un referendo presidencial y de la posposición sine die de las elecciones regionales de gobernadores, ambas previstas en la Constitución, lo que constituye una conculcación del derecho constitucional de los ciudadanos a revocar y elegir sus mandatarios y significa además un grave retroceso en el ejercicio efectivo del derecho a vivir en democracia.

La compleja situación nacional se complica aún más con la persistencia de numerosos presos políticos, la inflación irrefrenable y la escasez y el desabastecimiento de bienes de todo orden, a lo cual se añaden el deterioro institucional generalizado del sistema judicial y el continuado irrespeto a las decisiones de la Asamblea Nacional, asiento de la más genuina voluntad popular.

Aunque consideramos que aún existen espacios para agotar las gestiones diplomáticas y los buenos oficios contemplados en la CDI, como podría ser la implementación de un Grupo de Amigos, coincidimos con el planteamiento de que solo mediante la celebración de elecciones que permitan entre otras cosas renovar los poderes del Estado venezolano a la brevedad posible, se podrá avanzar en la recuperación de la democracia.

Hacemos por ello un nuevo y urgente llamado a los gobiernos del hemisferio para que actúen como catalizadores del proceso de recuperación de la democracia en Venezuela, en concordancia con los inmanentes principios y valores universalmente compartidos del respeto a la libertad, la democracia y los derechos humanos, convencidos de que solo mediante su plena vigencia y observancia podrán nuestros pueblos convivir y progresar en paz.

Los integrantes del Grupo Ávila, al extender su agradecimiento a Luis Almagro por su preocupación y constante atención sobre la gravísima problemática que sufre el pueblo venezolano, exhorta a los Estados miembros de la OEA, 14 de los cuales ya se han pronunciado al respecto, para que en sesión del CP, examinen los informes presentados, efectúen una apreciación colectiva de la situación planteada y adopten las decisiones que consideren pertinentes para encontrar una solución pacífica y electoral a esa crítica situación.

Finalmente, exhortamos a la sociedad civil organizada, a la academia, a los gremios profesionales, a los estudiantes, a los trabajadores y a la ciudadanía en general a respaldar las acciones de la comunidad internacional dirigidas al rescate de la democracia en el país, solo posible mediante la recuperación de su elemento más esencial, el derecho a votar.

Caracas, 24 de marzo de 2017

lunes, 20 de marzo de 2017



Vivir con el populismo

Dondequiera que se practique la democracia, la falta de información y experiencia de los votantes no puede dar lugar a líderes y políticas que debilitan la democracia misma.

Marzo 2017
Vivir con el populismo

«Debemos educar a nuestros maestros», señaló el estadista inglés Robert Lowe tras la aprobación de la Segunda Ley de Reforma de 1867, que añadió más de un millón de votantes al Registro Parlamentario. Para él, un electorado educado era el mejor modo de asegurar una gobernanza participativa en Gran Bretaña.

150 años después, parece ser que los educados «maestros» de la democracia liberal han aprendido poco. Cabe suponer que a Lowe no le impresionarían las tendencias populistas actuales.

Como demuestra el referéndum del Brexit del Reino Unido y la elección de Donald Trump como Presidente de los Estados Unidos, prejuicios y falsas promesas confunden con facilidad a los votantes. El pensamiento crítico se descarta cada vez como elitista, mientras que las redes sociales sin instancias de rendición de cuentas, las «noticias falsas» y los «hechos alternativos» dominan la discusión pública. En un ambiente de ignorancia, los políticos populistas hacen presa voluntaria de aquellos que se sienten ignorados.

Pero debido a que esos políticos son tan atractivos para muchos, deben ser examinados, en un nivel no menor que sus votantes fácilmente influenciables. La cuestión es si es posible reformular también, para salvarla, una marca de política que amenaza a la democracia liberal.

En la actualidad hay dos tipos de populistas: el explotador y el iluminado. Trump representa el primero. Con una administración llena de ex alumnos de Goldman Sachs y una agenda que promete recortes de impuestos para los súper ricos mientras privatizan Medicare y la educación, Trump está destinado a decepcionar a la clase obrera blanca que le dio la Casa Blanca. La automatización, no el comercio, es responsable de la disminución de los puestos de trabajo manufactureros. El gas natural, y no la regulación ambiental, ha alimentado la desaparición de la industria del carbón de Estados Unidos.

Pero el ascenso de Trump no se debió solo a la economía. También se trataba de transformar una identidad nativista americana contra las minorías y los inmigrantes. Para los demagogos, jugar con las emociones de las personas es siempre más eficaz que apelar a su «sentido común», como explicó George Orwell en su reseña de Mein Kampf de Hitler. Esto es tan cierto para Trump en Estados Unidos como para populistas de derechas como Marine Le Pen en Francia, Frauke Petry en Alemania y Geert Wilders en Holanda.

Las democracias, sin embargo, también pueden producir un tipo más ilustrado de populismo, como el del Senador estadounidense Bernie Sanders. Si se hubiera convertido en el candidato presidencial del Partido Demócrata (en lugar de Hilary Clinton), y si hubiera asumido la presidencia de Estados Unidos, su promesa de girar el orden socioeconómico americano e implantar una democracia social de estilo escandinavo podría haber enfurecido a grandes sectores del electorado. El Congreso probablemente habría descarrilado toda la lista de metas nobles que incluía su plataforma (atención de salud de un solo pagador, universidad gratuita para todos, la reforma de las finanzas de campaña y el desglose de los grandes bancos como insoportablemente costosa, si no «antiestadounidense».

No obstante, Sanders podría haber acercado a Estados Unidos a la visión de Lyndon B. Johnson de una Gran Sociedad sin pobreza ni discriminación racial. Seguramente habría respetado la separación de poderes y no habría mancillado la presidencia con bacanales diarios de mentiras y narcisismo. La brújula moral y el espíritu público de Sanders se orientan a la humildad, rasgo vital para contener los instintos impulsivos del funcionario más poderoso del mundo.

La forma benigna de populismo de Sanders no era solo una manera de alcanzar el poder, sino un impulso ilustrado para la mejora moral y social. Su rechazo al sistema del Partido Demócrata le ahorró a Estados Unidos una competencia electoral única entre marcas diametralmente opuestas de populismo. Si Hannah Arendt tenía razón sobre la «mórbida fuerza de atracción» que el «desprecio por los estándares morales» tiene por la mentalidad de las masas, los «maestros» enojados aún habrían dado su voto a Trump.

Sin embargo, ganar competencias populares (ya sea el referéndum del Brexit en el Reino Unido, elecciones en las democracias occidentales o incluso el plebiscito sobre el acuerdo de paz con las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC)) requiere un guiño a la política populista. Denunciar el sistema establecido, incluso si el candidato es parte de él, es ahora la norma. La opción de los votantes parece ser si apoyar a los proveedores de ideas de explotación o el liderazgo ilustrado.

La perpetua campaña antisistema de Trump muestra que, incluso como presidente, he tratado de cultivar una imagen ajena. Es la forma clásica de liderazgo explotador. En este sentido, él y el primer ministro israelí Benjamín Netanyahu tienen mucho en común. A lo largo de sus 11 años de mandato, Netanyahu ha mantenido su ataque contra la supuesta hegemonía delestablishment del Partido Laborista y de los principales medios de comunicación.

Pero ni siquiera los populistas ilustrados están libres de los riesgos de la duplicidad: también se ven obligados frecuentemente a traicionar a sus votantes. Antes de la elección que lo llevó al poder, otro primer ministro israelí, Yitzhak Rabin, dijo que «el líder que daría la orden de retirarse de los Altos del Golán, incluso a cambio de paz, debe estar desquiciado». Sin embargo, una vez en el cargo, inició conversaciones encaminadas a asegurar la paz con Siria a cambio de la retirada de Israel de esas alturas estratégicas.

La democracia occidental parece atrapada en un enigma. El sistema falla cuando los votantes no pueden tomar decisiones informadas basadas en las plataformas de los candidatos. A largo plazo, la solución es educar a los «maestros» y responder a sus preocupaciones con hechos, como Lowe defendió hace un siglo y medio. Mientras tanto, el populismo ilustrado puede ser la mejor opción. Dondequiera que se practique la democracia, la falta de información y experiencia de los votantes no puede dar lugar a líderes y políticas que debilitan la democracia misma.

Fuente: Project Syndicate
Traducción: David Meléndez Tormen

lunes, 13 de marzo de 2017


Resultado de imagen de foto di federica mogherini

Speech by the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the AmCham EU Transatlantic Conference

Brussels, 10 March 2017

Thank you very much. First of all for the invitation, but also for hosting me in this room, that reminds me of my times in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (PA), because this is the room where the NATO PA sessions in Brussels normally take place. So this is a very familiar transatlantic set up for me. Thank you, Susan [Danger, CEO of AmCham EU], for all of these things combined.

For me this is really a very good opportunity, not only to address you, but also to have an exchange of views later on. I think this conversation is crucial, coming at a crucial time, where Europe is reflecting upon its future, the United States are reflecting on the directions they're taking, the United Kingdom is reflecting on the direction to take. And the business community in all of this has, I believe, a key role to play.

I will try to align myself with the positive mood, especially of your study, and start from a positive point. I believe that in Europe it is time we start to focus on how strong we are. And I know this can sound strange for you to hear, because we normally associate the words Europe, or European Union, with the word crisis in these times. And yet, if you look at the numbers, if you look at the reality, it's quite obvious this is still the best place in the world where you can live, do business and improve your lives.

Sometimes, us Europeans we don't realise how much we have gained over the last 60, 70 years, also thanks to the transatlantic cooperation we have put in place. And also thanks to our American friends. For which the gratitude will never end. And being an Italian I can say this, remembering parts of the history that my grandmother and grandfather were sharing with me.

This positive narrative about how strong Europe is goes beyond the discussions on Brexit. First of all, because eight months after the referendum we have not yet started even. The notification has not arrived. There is a democratic debate in the United Kingdom about that of which we are very much respectful, but again, the European Council that met yesterday was a Council at 28. I'm chairing three formations of the Council: Foreign Ministers, Defence Ministers, Development Ministers, and I have as a chair the responsibility of building consensus at 28.

And the news is, we do take decisions at 28, by consensus, the last ones, some of them very important, just a few days ago here in Brussels. So, the news is, even if everyone is talking about Brexit, Brexit has not even yet started. And it will take two years from when it will start. I know most of you know this in the room, but I'm not sure our public opinions understand that we're not there yet. So, yes we have a changing environment, but we have also some solid realities that we need to take into consideration.

Going back to how strong we are: for seventy years, Europeans have relied strongly on our Americans, on our friends and allies. They have helped us rebuild our continent after the war, they have been the pillar of our common security. And in seventy years we, Europeans, have become a global power. This is also a word that we don't normally associate with Europe. Power. But indeed if you look at the numbers, we are a real global power.

We're going to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Rome Treaty. So we are grown up and it's time we realise how much we have grown in this decades. We are today part of the world’s economic G3, we are the leading trading partner and foreign investor at all corners of the world, everywhere, from Asia to Latin America, and we are a global security provider, more and more so.

So, I believe the European Union is an indispensable partner for the United States. And let me take this opportunity to thank publicly, as I have done privately several times, someone who is in this room and has worked enormously on strengthening the transatlantic cooperation in these years here in Brussels and that I understand has enjoyed also your awards this morning. Tony [Anthony Gardner, former US Ambassador to the EU], grazie mille. He has been a great ambassador here in Brussels and I wish you all the best for the continuation of your wonderful career. Grazie.

This to thank him, but also to thank you for awarding him because I think you made a wise choice. He has touched first hand, and he has promoted first hand, this indispensable partnership we have across the Atlantic. And by the way, let me tell you something here that I normally say to our American friends who are not from the United States, but that I really believe is true. When we talk about the transatlantic relations, we don’t only talk about the Europeans and Washington, or the United States. Because across the Atlantic from Europe are also Canada, Mexico and the entire Latin America. And that is also part of the transatlantic relations for us.

But this partnership we have, between the United States and the European Union, is an indispensable partnership for both of us. In all my first meetings, both in Washington DC, and here in Brussels or in other parts of Europe, in these first months, I have seen great interest and respect towards the European Union. I know this is not always the public message that comes across from DC, or from other places in the United States, but in all my meetings, with Vice-President Pence, with Secretary Tillerson, with Secretary Mattis, the message has been loud and clear. Also publicly here in Brussels  from Vice-President Pence.

And the message has been: United States recognise the added value of the European Union and of our cooperation. And we want to do even more together in some of the fields that are key for both of us. And I believe the fact that Vice-President Pence paid an official visit to the European Union institutions here in Brussels is in itself quite a political message. I'm going to be in Washington again for my second visit in a month next week for other meetings and for our common work on the counter-terrorism and anti-Da'esh Coalition of which we are part.

We realise there is work to do together, we realise we need each other. We need each other on security issues – Europe needs the United States, but also the United States need Europe and the European Union. We need each other because, first of all, the challenges we're facing are common and they go beyond our borders. If you think of the real security challenges we are facing today: think of the online propaganda of terrorist groups, think of terrorist financing - and I could go on with a long list - you don't really tackle these issues within national borders. The threats go transnational and our work to face them and to fight them has to be based also on international cooperation.

Isolation is not giving an answer to the threats that our citizens are facing, first of all in the security sphere. And in fact the cooperation, the data cooperation of our agencies, among our agencies, for instance on counter-terrorism is getting more and more intense by the day. So when you look at the practical cooperation of our people on the daily work they do, counter-terrorism for instance, is growing, is increasing every single day.

We need each other also because we are complementary. There has been a lot of discussions around the burden sharing across the Atlantic, on defence for instance. This is more of a NATO debate, that I will leave to my friend Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General] to manage. But there are a couple of examples I always use, both with my European and my American friends.

No matter of how much of the GDP a Member State of the European Union or a NATO ally spends on defence, invests on defence, there is one number - actually two numbers - that tell us a lot. Europeans invest 50% compared to the Americans on defence. The output of this investment in Europe is 15% of the output in the United States. This means that, yes, we have to have reflection on how much Europeans spend on defence, but we can have an immediate work on bridging the gap on the output. This can be done immediately - and what is the difference? Why is our output on defence so poor, compared to the one in the United States? Simply because of the economy of scale. The Europeans do not invest together on defence, while the economy of scale in the United States is definitely more convenient for better output of investments.

 If you want to tackle this issue, then you need the European Union, because the European Union is the only one that can incentivise defence cooperation among Member States. Most of them are also allies within NATO and this will increase the burden sharing across the Atlantic. So if you want to improve the defence cooperation within NATO you have to use EU instruments to incentivise  cooperation on defence among Members States of the European Union. This is how we are interlinked, this is how we can work together. This is why also our work on strengthening the European defence is making NATO stronger and a stronger NATO makes also America strong.

 Also, because no country has the resources to address today’s crises alone. If you take Syria or Iraq, for instance, military power is essential, but it is not enough – neither to end the war nor to win the peace. And we have learned some lessons in the past. Europe’s diplomatic network, power, work - we are the only ones who talk to all the players in the region and beyond. And also our humanitarian support: we are the first donor worldwide and we are by far the first humanitarian donor for Syria and Iraq.

This work is essential. Our European Union experts are demining the liberated areas in Iraq; our engineers are working at the Mosul dam; our investments are supporting the economy of countries hosting millions of refugees around Syria – and I could continue. When the reconstruction of Syria will begin, and at a certain moment we will get to post-conflict also there - even if we are not there yet -, the European Union will be there to accompany a political transition. We will host a conference here in Brussels less than in one month from now, together with the United Nations, to look at the positive economic incentives that can be put on the table of negotiations to create the peace dividends for the Syrians to engage seriously in a political transition.

America needs this power of Europe as well as Europe needs the power of America – not just in our region, not just in the Middle East, but even inside the United States. During last year’s Louisiana floods and Hurricane Matthew in Florida, the European Union put at America’s disposal our Copernicus satellite system, one of the most advanced technologies on earth for high-resolution maps: a tiny example of things that we do together.

And beyond security, the European Union remains – and here I get to economy - the most attractive market and the largest source of investments in the world, including in the United States, and including without the UK in the moment when this will happen and, again, I stress, this has not even started yet.

We know the numbers – actually I guess you know the numbers better than I do, and I am sure in that report you will find many of them -, but let me just mention a couple of facts. European majority-owned firms employ more than four million Americans inside the United States, and more than two and a half million jobs depend on exports towards the European Union in the United States. Almost three quarters of Foreign Direct Investments - three quarters - in the United States come from Europe and the share has been rising in recent years enormously.

Let me share one good story with you in a field that normally is not taken into consideration as top priority, wrongly so: research. A few years ago the European Commission launched an international consortium for research on rare diseases and the idea was to join forces among institutions, the business sector and NGOs, on both sides of the Atlantic, and to develop 200 new therapies for rare diseases by 2020. Well, they have managed to achieve their result last year, four years ahead of schedule. And thanks to our transatlantic cooperation, in a field such as research. So, transatlantic cooperation makes us strong – for sure stronger – on research and technology as much as on defence. Three quarters of research performed by foreign companies in the US come from Europe.

And there are three times more American students in European universities; I have the impression that the Italian universities contribute a lot at least for the attraction that Italy can have on the American students. So there are three times more American students in European universities than European students in American universities. Our top class public education – let me say so because I am proud of that – is incredibly attractive for Americans. I guess also our food, our way of life, our weather - maybe not here in Brussels, but in other parts of Europe - and they are bringing back home in the United States the knowledge, the expertise, the lifestyle they get here in Europe and that many in the United States appreciate, including in the new US administration. Europe is attractive for Americans. Everyone in this room understands this perfectly well. And Europe will continue to be attractive even after Brexit, when, eventually, it will happen.

I really don’t want to underestimate the impact of the UK decision. The referendum was painful and we all wished here in Brussels for sure that this was not going to be the decision that the voters in the United Kingdom would have taken. Because we know perfectly well the enormous contribution that the United Kingdom gave to our economy, to our foreign policy, to our strong transatlantic relations. Before the vote, as I had said, we hoped the British citizens would decide to remain. But I believe their decision to leave will have tougher consequences for Britain than for the European Union. It is not a wish, it is looking at reality of what is happening already now and what kind of impact this will have on the United Kingdom itself.

We will still be in the European Union the leading foreign investor in the world, and the main donor for international development or humanitarian aid. We will still be the largest global market on earth including for American businesses, and you know that well. More than 400 million people with the same rules, the same protections and the same standards. Something nobody else in the world can compete with in terms of attractiveness of unique market.

Some believe the European Union is too big to be an efficient system; I know that this is quite common as a narrative: bureaucratic, it doesn't work, it is too slow, it is too complicated. Part of it is true. I was fighting myself in the first couple of days because you do not really have much time to take time at the beginning of this job just to look at the organigram of our institutions. It is complex. Let me tell you that being expert in complexity in the world of today is not a minor issue. It gives you some instruments to understand complexity also outside of yourself.

Let me tell you something: two days after the British referendum, I presented a Global Strategy for foreign and security policy of the European Union to the Heads of State and Government of the 28 Member States. That was in the end of June. Eight months after, the British government has not even notified us of their decision to leave the European Union. I am not talking about setting up the negotiations. I am saying that: that the referendum – that was a clear political choice – did not have an institutional translation. It did not have an impact in our lives; and Theresa May [Prime Minister of the United Kingdom] was sitting at the [European] Council yesterday as all the other Member States.

Why? Because - and I have great respect for this - democracy can require time, including the UK democracy. There are procedures, there are systems to be put in place and things to be prepared in the United Kingdom that is an important country but one country. So democracy takes time, democracy takes decision-making, democracy takes discussions, voting and if you take this to the continental scale of the European Union, you will understand easily that you can make the comparison. If it takes more than eight months for the United Kingdom to notify a political decision that was taken by referendum, you understand that European Union procedures can take time.

And yet, in the meantime, in these eight months, the implementation of that Global Strategy I presented back in late June has moved fast, with unity and with determination. And last Monday we agreed unanimously to set up a first unified command structure for our military missions of the European Union. We are creating a European Defence Fund to promote cooperative procurement, have larger research programmes and more predictable investments in the field of defence. And you understand how important this can be for the European defence industry. And in this field, we have achieved more in these eight months than in the previous 60 years. So are we sure that we are so slow? Are we sure we are so divided? Are we sure it [the EU] is such a dysfunctional body?

I am actually seeing a lot of potential in our Union and I belong to that generation that has lived the European Union as the dream of the European identity. My mother and father were the ones betting on the European Union as the way to peace and they won this bet. My generation has seen the peace becoming a reality, we have it for granted. We should look at the Balkans and not have it too much for granted. But the European Union has brought to our continent sixty years of peace, because we have simply realised that making business was much more convenient than making war. It is a very basic principle you would all share.

But my generation was the generation that was betting on the common European identity: Erasmus, Schengen, the currency, the dream. Today, we have the peace - not sure if we have the dream anymore -, but we still have the Erasmus, the Schengen, the euro plus today we live in a time of the indispensable European Union. There is no other way in which the Europeans can regain sovereignty in the global world if not through the Union. I know there are a lot of talks about regaining sovereignty, but if you look at the continent sized powers in the world, from the Americans, the United States, to China, India, Brazil, I often say that there are only two kinds of Member States in the European Union: the ones that are small and the ones that have not yet realised they are small. So you need to be united if you want to count to protect your citizens, to make good trade agreements and to play the role you can play in economy, in trade, in foreign policy, in defence, in security, in energy, in culture.

And, by the way, let me tell you something on trade - and then I will finish: I know that there is a bit of misunderstanding across the Atlantic about a story that the Member States of the European Union cannot conclude or negotiate trade agreements bilaterally with third countries. I know President [of the United States of America, Donald] Trump was impressed – to say diplomatically – when Theresa May explained to him that the United Kingdom cannot negotiate a bilateral trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States as long as they are a Member of the European Union as this is going to be at least for the next two years plus, whenever they will start the notification process.

And I know the perception might be: ‘this is a prison, if you cannot even negotiate a bilateral trade agreement’. No, it is not a prison, it is a guarantee. It is a guarantee for us because we are much stronger if we negotiate as European Union, so big and so powerful. So it might be natural for the ones that you negotiate with that they wish you were weaker and negotiate bilaterally, nationally, but it does not defend European citizens as much as negotiating as the European Union, because this gives you the strength to negotiate a good deal. So we are also good negotiators. We know how to make deals and we know how to protect our citizens and we are stronger if we are together as European Union.

It is a matter of size, it is a matter of economic power, it is a matter of relevance. But it is also – and here it comes another element – that it is very important for us, it is also the guarantee that whatever trade agreements we conclude with partners around the world we do it as the European Union and this guarantees European citizens that there is no distinction, there is no inequality on the positive impact that trade agreement will have in one part of Europe or another. This is the way of protecting Europeans in the world as globalised as it is today. This is why I have to tell you I am proud our trade agreement with Canada – CETA [Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement]; I am proud we are moving fast and well with others partners in the world on trade agreements, from Mexico to Japan and  I could continue - both in Latin America and in Asia. And I see that our partners in the world are looking at the European Union today as a reliable, indispensable partners, also to strengthen the system of free and fair trade in the world.

We believe it is possible to have a trade that is free and fair and we believe that is essential to build, to protect and promote rules of the game that make sure that trade benefits equally everyone. This is our idea of free and fair trade. We can push for better protection for workers, higher standards on food safety, stronger recognition on trademark products, with more opportunities for the entrepreneurs.

As a Union of half billion people we have the size, we also have the impact globally to work for that. When we say rules-based global order, we do not only refer to multilateralism and security, we also refer to global system of trade that is guaranteed by rules, because rules are not something that are limiting or binding our freedom - rules are the guarantees for all that the play is fair. So this is our idea for free and fair trade. This is what we propose to our friends all over the world. These are our principles, our values, our interests that we believe we share with our American friends. And this is the foundation that we want to use as we engage with our partners, including with the United States of America.

I know we might not always agree on everything and we are probably entering into a time of a more pragmatic approach, but we are ready to be extremely constructive and not only pragmatic, because I believe our interests converge - in the economic field, in the security field. When we look at our citizens’ lives, I think we have much more that we can do together than issues on which our ways will go apart.

We know where we stand and what we want to achieve. For all those who share the same goals, the European Union is, as I said in the beginning, an indispensable partner for Europeans and an indispensable tool to play our role in the world. And we will be even more indispensable in the future as a force for multilateralism, for a fairer globalisation, for an open and cooperative global order and I believe, also, for an economic growth that can benefit businesses, trade but also the life of our citizens. I thank you very much and I am looking forward to our exchange.