We should talk about MMT

MMT, or Modern Money Theory. At first you dismiss it as a crazy conspiracy: of course it makes no sense. Then you hear it mentioned again and again, and… it actually does? What the hell?

Really, I’ve come to think that it offers a valid alternative way to regulate money policy.

After all, once you get some historic perspective, money policy like we know it is…. a science still surprisingly in evolution! I was born under a different currency. My father became an adult before my central bank was independent from the government. And in fact, he was born in the world of Bretton Woods, where every currency was pegged to… gold!

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Don’t you just think of top hats if you hear “gold standard”?  And yet, for everyone up to 1971, being pegged to gold-dollar was THE pinnacle of monetary science. Today, we see it as a weird residue of antiquated thinking -you’ll hardly find an economist alive endorsing the gold standard. Could it be that we in turn, still aren’t perfect? Looking at the state of our economy… it seems a reasonable bet, to say that we aren’t.

Unfortunately, we also can’t be that off the mark. Abandoning the gold peg didn’t make us all work 4 hours a week; very, very likely, no theoretical shift will ever do that overnight. No matter how much some want to believe it.

And that’s precisely the reason of my article: MMT is presented by many supporters as if it was a pot of gold; which could solve all problems ever. As such, in the world of Trump, it has the potential to spread like wildfire in distorted, rose-tinted version among the ignoramus… and then, equally tragically, come to be automatically rejected by those “right-thinkers” who don’t think any more than the others do, but just assume the opposite to feel superior to “those crazy conspiracy theorists”.

I want you to do what neither of those groups do: to know what we’re actually talking about.

You’ll see the world after will be …still basically the same. You do have to work to eat.

Yet: new perspectives bring new insights. Would have said, in 2008, that central banks could just create money to buy us out of the crisis? It took years for most people to come to terms with that; yet everyone now agrees it was the only right thing to do.

How it works right now

Money exists independently of governments. Governments have to either get it through taxes or debt.

In fact money is created by lending. Bank lending creates money in the form of filling the bank account of the borrower; money he can then spend. In accounting terms that money cancels with the negative value of the debt; but while the debt just sits there, the money is spent and spent again. Until the debt is repaid, that money actually exists.

Central banks keep private banks in check by requiring they keep a ‘reserve’ of at least a certain percentage of the money they lend. And not “bank money” of deposits created by other banks; but “central bank money”; that is a deposit at the Central Bank itself. Note that bank notes are “central bank money” -a physical representation of a deposit there.

If for instance the reserve is 5%, then the bank has to borrow at least 1 million to lend 20 millions. Banks can borrow that money from depositors or other banks, but ultimately the increase in the total amount of money comes from the Central Bank; and the Central Bank charges an interest for it.

Why do we let banks create money? The Central Bank could definitely raise reserve requirements to 100%, create all the money, charge banks for it, and turn huge profits to the state. But we as a society have decided this is not how it should work. If the Central Bank tried to earn money, it would be a tax on the economy (which would take the form of either hiking the interest rate for borrowers or slashing it for savers). We have decided this is not within the scope of a Central Bank; let the Government explicitly tax the banks instead, if it needs money.

With that out of the way, please appreciate how it makes sense: lending implies the expectation of real value being created in the future. So it’s quite proper that it would also create the corresponding amount of money!

In this picture, the government is just a borrower among many. Which was definitely the case when the European kingdoms were dwarfed by private interests (most king’s finances were just a footnote in Venice’s affairs in 1300, and later India was first conquered by …a trading company); but it still quite makes sense in the big-state world of today: government debt is typically ‘just’ between a half and a third of the total debt of a modern rich nation (the rest being corporate debt, and mainly mortgages; although you also have consumer credit for medium purchases, payday loans, student debt, etc).

MMT

…simply throws all that out of the window. The Government and the Central Bank are both expression of the State -so, why should they be separate? Can’t they work better together?

The intuition (which is interesting) is that the functions of both could be accomplished using only one tool: the state’s budget. At least, once you throw away the constraint that the budget must be balanced like a private institution.

The “shape” of taxes and expenses would keep doing the “government” function; to redistribute money among citizens. But monetary expansions (and contractions) would be realized just by spending more (or less) than it is raised in taxes. Both of which tings would be done without any ‘debt’ at all, mind.

Debt would be still an option, actually: it could be used to reduce inflation without having to reduce the deficit right away. But: this point of view reduces debt to the role of a tool, rather than a tyrannical maser like it’s come to be seen now.

The result of such a policy would be… rather much of the same? Consider:

  • If inflation is too low, MMT mandates that the government spend more or collect less taxes. The additional money flows in the bank system and allows them to lend more, creating even more money and lowering the interest rate. What happens now instead? Well, the Central Bank directly lowers the interest rate, allowing the banks to create more money at a lower interest; and then the reduced interest burden allows the state to spend more.
  • If the inflation is too high, MMT mandates that spending be cut or taxes raised. Less money in the system causes banks to lend less, further destroying money, and hiking rates for the real economy. Now? The Central Bank raises interest rates, forcing banks to raise rates and lend less. And concerns over the rise of interest costs then force the state to cut costs or hike taxes.

Soo… looks like the world would still look very much the same. Just… backwards? But the end result is about right. Who would have thought? 😉

Still, there are situations where the result starts being different.

Say you are… the United Kingdom, from 2014 to 2017. Inflation has been under 2% for much of the three-year period, flirting with 0% for a whole year, as the central bank struggled to enact a monetary policy expansionary enough to restart it. Still, only worried about “reducing the debt” the government kept cutting the budget deficit, from -4,4% in 2014 to -2,9% in 2016. MMT would have told them to just keep spending fresh printed money -if it isn’t creating inflation, it isn’t hurting! (of course, stop creating money after inflation restarts.) Were some painful cuts to the welfare system entirely avoidable? The United States had a very similar situation, too.

Even more -Japan. The country which has been stuck at 0% inflation for 20 years now. Contrary to the UK, Japan did spend -its public debt is now at 250% of GDP. But it isn’t really working, for a simple reason: rather than spending in turn, Japanese citizens dutifully put the money back by buying more bonds! Which on one side is necessary, to avoid the collapse of the debt system -if the interest rates were to rise, Japan would be in default instantly. And yet on the other side, it plainly defies the whole idea of giving money to the citizens to restart the economy, if they won’t spend it. Indeed the economy isn’t restarting. Add to that that Japanese politicians still sometimes keep reacting to the increase of the debt by raising taxes “to pay for it”, as if it was possible. Which only sends the economy tumbling, and inflation in negative territory. I cannot honestly say that following the MMT, throwing away the debt dogma and spending fresh, free money would be bad for them. Can you?

But what about when inflation rises again? Can the government really self-restrain, and cut spending to stop inflation? I think a compromise can be found. Just apply MMT… only in the rare case where it is superior to the classic system; and revert to the known path otherwise. It’s not difficult: IF inflation is low and the interest rate is already 0, then it must be a possibility for the central bank to just pass the government money free of any interest, not counting in any way as debt -but when inflation rises again, then this goes back to taboo, like it is now.  This avoids the trap of monetary policy becoming ineffective because, everyone being concerned with ‘too much debt’, no one (and particularly not the state) will borrow at any rate: as, indeed, the state would be able to spend without borrowing. But only after an unusually large crisis, which doesn’t mend by itself like they usually do. As soon as the conditions return normal, that is, to the situation for which independent central banks were invented in the ’70, then we would revert to that.

Best of both worlds!

The problem is wholly another. That is, that the adepts of MMT, and indeed the guru himself, go on building on this theory shiny catchphrases… which don’t make sense -not even within the theory itself!

Read some of the founder’s thesis, here. Ok, #1 is the main theory. #3, #4, #6? He’s basically right!

But go to #5 for a great example of what I mean.

Deadly Innocent Fraud #5:
The trade deficit is an unsustainable imbalance that takes away jobs and output.
Facts:
Imports  are  real  benefits  and  exports  are  real costs. Trade deficits directly improve our standard of living. Jobs are lost because taxes are too high for a
given level of government spending, not because of imports.

Main thesis? He’s one of the few to get the obvious right: more stuff is good!

But then he goes on a tangent to fairyland.

 And what options do foreign savers have for their dollar deposits?
They  can  do  nothing,  or  they  can  buy  other  financial assets  from  willing  sellers  or  they  can  buy  real  goods and  services  from  willing  sellers.  And  when  they  do that at market prices, again, both parties are happy.

Come again? If China selling goods and buying bonds means for America more goods, if China decided to do the exact opposite and cash out their dollars to bring back real goods, it would mean for America, mh… less goods? And more money. In a word, inflation. To sap away that inflation, our central bank system would restrict lending, and his MMT would raise taxes; as we have seen, the first would cause the second and the second would cause the first, so not much changed. It would be a disaster. And really: if A is ‘very good’, how can non-A …not be something to worry about? If logic has any value, it should be definitely not-good!

But also

Deadly Innocent Fraud #2:
With government deficits, we are leaving our debt burden to our children.
Fact:
Collectively,  in  real  terms,  there  is  no  such burden possible. Debt or no debt, our children get to consume whatever they can produce.

Oh, absolutely! Except… ‘collectively’? You really have to ‘see the world as one’ to a tree-hugger hippie level, to buy this argument. Yes, the world in 2050 will consume what they produce. But if we get into huge debt now, those who will be holding that debt will be entitled to a larger share of it, to the expense of those who don’t -he isn’t even trying to deny this. So… what side will you be on? The side with two chicken, or the one with no chicken, of the one-chicken-each-on-average world?

And… the climax is clearly the last:

Deadly Innocent Fraud #7:
It’s a bad thing that higher deficits today mean higher taxes tomorrow.
Fact:
I agree – the innocent fraud is that it’s a bad thing, when in fact it’s a good thing!!!

How? Well, he’ll tell you:

And  why  would  we  ever  increase  taxes?  Not  for  the government to get money to spend – we know it doesn’t work that way. We would increase taxes only when our spending power is too high, and unemployment has gotten very low, and the shelves have gone empty due to our excess spending power, and our available spending power is causing unwanted inflation.

So… is he unaware that it is possible to have a tanking economy, struggling families, high unemployment -AND high inflation? As is the case in nearly every crisis but the last one? You don’t have to go to Venezuela -just think what happened in the ’70 -including his United Sates; when the term “stagflation” was created, from “stagnation”+”inflation”. Just what planet, where this doesn’t regularly happen, is he thinking of?

To conclude: seeing reality through new, and perhaps sometimes better lenses? Cool! No, really: cool! Sometimes, it just might save us years of unnecessary suffering -not something to overlook.

Using the confusion from said novelty, to fly egregious crap past people’s radar?

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Know.the.difference!

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Cinque stelle e il libero mercato

Il M5S ha pubblicato un “libro per l’Europa”.

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L’ironia su che concetto di “libro” si abbia da quelle parti, visto il formato, si è sprecata già. Fingiamo invece ci sia scritto “opuscolo”, e occupiamoci del contenuto.

Primo capitolo, giustamente, il mercato unico.

Il mercato unico non viene smantellato, ma riformato,

Il bello di un partito fondato da un comico: si fanno la parodia da soli, già servita.

“Non voglio smantellare il mercato, ma.”

Ma?

a vincere sui trattati commerciali suicidi come il TTIP e il CETA
dev’essere il principio di precauzione.

[…]

piena applicazione del principio di precauzione

Qui già si ride a crepapelle.

Il principio di precauzione è il grimardello universale, di chi vive di paura. Una clava che può essere (…e, regolarmente, è!) usata contro tutto e tutti.

Rendiamoci conto che, dopo essere stato usato per bloccare gli OGM per ormai 30 anni (lunghetto, come tempo di precauzione), ora è usato perfino contro i vaccini. Metti che causino l’autismo? Precauzone!

Ricetta infallibile:

  1. non mi piace
  2. pesco un complottista che dice che fa male
  3. precauzione!

E qui è nominato due volte come prima cosa. Sappiamo cosa aspettarci: una lobby tipo i tassisti si mette di traverso a una qualsiasi cosa? Precauzione!

Sai mai che Uber causi il cancro?

Aspetta, continuiamo a leggere, m magari poi c’è qualcosa di buono

Vogliamo ridurre ai minimi terminil’importazione di prodotti concorrenti come l’olio tunisino, le arance marocchine, il grano ucraino e il riso asiatico
…ah, no. Qui siamo in zona Salvini profonda. Poveri noi.
Insomma: vogliamo il mercato libero solo se e quando piace a noi. Singolo caso per singolo caso.
News flash: questo è quello che accadeva prima dell’Europa.
Seriamente; come credete che funzionasse prima? I governi si sedevano ad un tavolo, e discuevano, discutevano, discutevano …non si approvava nulla finché non si fossero assicurata la difesa di ogni singolo gruppo di interessi.
Con magari la pesca del merluzzo a tenere in scacco accordi da migliaia di miliardi -perché senza quei voti il governo cade, e quindi non si può far nulla.
Questo è esattamente il mondo a cui il M5S si impegna esplicitamente -o quasi
Ogni decisione di politica commerciale, lesiva degli interessi delle
piccole e medie imprese, dev’essere abbandonata: bisogna intervenire
per salvaguardare le eccellenze del Made-In dagli effetti negativi
derivanti dall’importazione.
Leggetelo, questo significa: tornare al mondo delle barriere commerciali, della guerra dei polli. Mondo a cui l’Europa è nata per tirare un calcio nei denti, nell’interesse di tutti.
Non si può fare finta che il protezionismo sia gratis. È una lotta: tra i pochi (i produttori con agganci politici), e i molti (i consumatori). Come sempre, nascondere la testa sotto la sabbia, in buona o cattiva fede, è schierarsi con gli oppressori.
E questa è la direzione presa dal M5S.  Si presentino come forza “responsabile” quanto vogliono, questo c’è sotto; solo lievemente dissimulato, anzichè andarne fieri come Trump o la Le Pen.
(leggetelo tutto, il documento: e magari cercate la parola “euro”. Non c’è! Però c’è che “la banca centrale deve acquistare in modo illimitato debito di banche e stati in difficoltà”. Dire “fuori dall’euro domani” sarebbe stato equivalente e più onesto, di nuovo.)
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Duce mio dammi novanta lire

Recentemente ho scoperto che l’Italia, appena nata nel 1860, subito entrò in una… unione monetaria. 

L’Unione Monetaria Latina, per la precisione; non era ampia quanto l’euro, ma legava comunque il nostro paese ad una moneta forte come il Franco francese; assieme a Belgio, Svizzera, e indirettamente Austria-Ungheria. Insomma mezza Europa visse in un cambio fisso per un lunghissimo periodo: fino alla Prima Guerra Mondiale.

Mi chiedo perché non si studi a scuola, perché l’implicazione é molto interessante: vuol dire che, contando il cambio fisso con il dollaro/oro di Bretton Woods fino al 1971, e lo SME dal 1979 al 1992, mentre il cambio finale della lira in vista dell’Euro fu fissato nel 1996, ed anche ignorando l’inutile “serpente monetario” del 1972-74… significa che dei suoi 157 anni, l’Italia ne ha vissuti almeno (1914-1860)+(71-46)+(92-79)+(2017-1996) -> 131 anni in un sistema di cambi fissi o quasi fissi. 

L’unico buco significativo essendo i famosi anni ’70 dell’iperinflazione, più la crisi del ’92… un attimo; non staremo dimenticando qualcosa? 

Oddio oddio, ci stavamo dimenticando di LVI!

Beh, ma questa è facile: dato che oggi i suoi sostenitori dicono peste e corna dell’Euro perché moneta altrui troppo forte, il periodo mussoliniano deve essere stato uno di gloriose svalutazioni. Niente da aggiungere, dunque, alla nostra collezione di peg a monete forti. Giusto? 

Sbagliato. Mussolini nel discorso di Pesaro del 1926 si scagliò contro la “vergognosa” svalutazione della lira, e prese solennemente l’impegno della “quota 90“. Ovvero un… ancoraggio ad una moneta forte straniera, stavolta inglese: 90 lire per una sterlina. Considerato che nel 1926 di lire ce ne volevano circa 150, la quota 90 significò una drastica rivalutazione della moneta nazionale. 

Il bello è che causò in maniera più drastica precisamente quello di cui si accusa l’euro: la deflazione diede ossigeno alla classe media, ma il lavoro dei proletari fu svalutato con tagli dello stipendio anche del 10%; con effetto particolarmente pronunciato sui lavoranti agricoli del sud, allora votato all’esportazione.

Dall’altra parte, ebbe anche gli stessi vantaggi dell’Euro. Dallo shock di cambio vinsero le grandi aziende, che potevano sfruttare la moneta forte e stabile per acquistare materie prime e macchinari avanzati; quelle stesse aziende (sotto un altro cambio fisso, Bretton Woods) furono protagoniste del boom economico del dopoguerra. La scelta di mantenere un cambio sopravvalutato pose le basi per l’Italia come paese industriale. Nel senso, beninteso, che uccise le aziende di prima e ne fece nascere di più forti al loro posto. Così funziona l’economia.

Contando i 12 anni 1926-1938 in cui la lira rivalutò o si mantenne alta nelle vicinanze della fatidica quota 90, arriviamo a 143 su 157 anni di vita del nostro paese passati all’interno di accordi di cambio fisso o strettamente vincolato. Inclusi i periodi di maggiore sviluppo, come la belle epoque e il boom economico.

Che dite, magari non è l’euro il problema? 

Studiatela, la storia. Utile, e anche divertente: la prossima volta che qualcuno vi sventola che LVI non si sarebbe fatto mettere i piedi in testa dalla Germania -rispondetegli che monetariamente, in effetti preferiva aggrapparsi alle gonne dell’Inghilterra, spiegando la quota 90 e tutto quanto. Italica ilarità non può che seguire.

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La mozione Orlando

Ebbene sì; ho fatto un fioretto di quaresima, e mi sono reimmerso nelle profondità della politica italiana leggendo il testo integrale della proposta Orlando. Che potete trovare qui.

Dell’uomo so quello che dice Wikipedia: ad occhio, quello che ha fatto finora non è stato pubblicizzato; ma non è poco, e soprattutto va nella direzione giusta.

Il mio giudizio generale: bene. Dà l’idea di essere meno guitto di Renzi e meno mummia di Bersani, che di questi tempi non è disprezzabile. Insomma, si dica quel che si voglia, il Pd si conferma un partito funzionante -essenzialmente l’unico.

Lo slogan del “non meno stato, ma stato migliore”, in particolare, è anche condivisibile. Che ne dica chi guarda solo oltreoceano, la spesa pubblica italiana non è poi fuori scala rispetto a quella europea: è solo disperatamente inefficiente. Un grande piano di investimento in ricerca e anche in protezione sociale ci porterebbe più vicini al nord Europa; a patto che sia l’investimento che i tagli altrove per finanziarlo siano fatti con criterio.

Certo, ci sono quel paio di punti in cui cadono braccia, gambe, e qualcos’altro.

Tipo quando tuona che “se l’Europa non si affretta a mettere in sicurezza le nostre banche” (affrettarsi in qualcosa che NON ha intenzione di fare?), saremo costretti a disseppellire l’ascia di guerra, e… salvarle coi soldi pubblici! Sììì! Liberté, sovranité, paghi té!

(o quando magnifica le miracolose sorti progressive che sarebbero messe in moto se solo avessimo il coraggio di imboccare una strada mai tentata: spendere in lavori pubblici al sud!)

Insomma, bene, ma non benissimo. La lotta con il beniamino dei sondaggi “Enorme Asteroide dell’Appcalisse 2018” resta se non altro combattuta.

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If Donald Trump was a woman?

The great thing about the Internet is that if something is interesting, someone, somewhere, will do it on video for you.

And  being the first Woman’s Day after an election where many blamed sexism for a shocking outcome, few things are more interesting than Mr.Clinton and Ms. Trump debating

Of course, plenty of caveats. The worst problem is probably that we already know that Trump won, and Clinton lost. This forces us to take seriously “Trump”, and conditions us to dismiss “Clinton”. Would we have done the same a year ago? 
Still, an interesting takeover: that men too are subject to a rather symmetric pressure, at least as great. For a man to be seen as feminine, it’s way more taboo and damaging, than a woman being rude.

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The Great Consciousness Lock

Today, at the Startup Weekend, we also had a talk on how the illusion of multitasking brought by new technologies is actually hurting productivity (and life in general): our brain cannot multitask. It can only have the tasks displace each other; at a significant cost. 

Of course, if you tell this to hackers, you have to account for the reaction: “yes I generally know this is true. But is it truly true? Can I hack around this?” -which was mine 😁

And the answer is… well, depressing. It’s a quite solid result in literature: attention is one.

But you can do stuff if you’re so used to it it requires no attention at all. After all, white I write this I’m walking around my house; performing in background  computational feats of motor control and obstacle avoidance which took decades for robot labs to replicate. 

It’s a bit like our brain was python. The interpreter can leverage several processors (…or billions of neurons!) internally; yet it only ever executes one thread of program instructions at a time …and still performance libraries can work around it; by avoiding the interpreter entirely, and directly executing native code.

What are my performance libraries? Can I handle boring tasks making such a natural habit of them, that I can dispatch of them without allowing any lock on my precious consciousness?

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EU <3 Russia?

What are the reasons which tie Europe to the USA, rather than Russia?

And: what is left after Trump?

It seems far-fetched. But what do the facts say?

The noble reason, of course, is the sharing of values.

But one thing Trump has never contradicted himself on is his admiration for Putin. It would be ironic to think of his government as better. And indeed: he supports torture, is an enemy to women’s reproductive rights, he despises and threatens the checks and balances of democracy…  staying their allies would require us daily looking the other way.

But, what about the practical side -money?

Here things are even more worrying. The other thing Trump has been adamant on, is that he wants America to have a trade surplus; or at least to cut its deficit. It’s an incredibly stupid idea, we all agree. But he will do it -we’ve already seen he really means what he says.

Europe has a huge,and growing, trade surplus with America. This means, adieu to TTIP; but that is only the beginning. It means, any trade move of the Trump administration will be obstinately aimed to reduce our exports.

Instead of being able to hope to boost our economy with ever closer ties, we have to brace ourselves for a merciless trade war which could be devastating -at a time where many states are still exceedingly fragile.

After all, Trump doesn’t even like the European Union. Possibly the only man on earth to fear it, he described it as “an attempt to beat us”. Hell, his perspective ambassador to the EU explicitly likened it to the Soviet Union. Relying America in any way from now on would be suicide. They’ll purposefully try to undermine us at every turn.

So we’re between a rock and a hard place. America is an enemy to us just as much as Russia is. Or is it?

What divides us from Russia?

Mainly… being on America’s side. NATO wants to demolish any alternative sphere of influence; and therefore the wars in Georgia, Ukraine, Syria… we stuck with America because it was the most convenient choice at the time, although it dragged us in a lowkey war with Russia.

But now that war doesn’t exist anymore. Trump has no interest in maintaining a global empire. He explicitly stressed out he won’t antagonize Russia in any way.

So Crimea is Russia now. Kiev won’t like it, but that’s what it is.

Will Europe persist in sanctions against Russia when it also hurts relations with the USA; which will be deteriorating already on their own? Not with this economy, we won’t.

And when you look into it, it’s not that bad. Putin keeps Ukraine in a state of civil war because that gives it a bargaining chip to stop it from joining NATO. With that out of the picture, things might change.

Once we can blame the loss of Crimea on the about-face of America; if Putin started working towards a peaceful agreement in the east, it wouldn’t even look like a defeat if we dropped the sanctions.

Why should Putin want this? Well, because the Pentagon has experts enough. We would have won the war, eventually. Having an enemy is good for the image; but entering the third year straight of economic contraction, or at least far weaker growth than it would be possible -is definitely not. With stagnating economy and ever increased military expenses, Russia would have collapsed given enough time. There is a reason, after all, why they invested heavily in changing things in unconventional ways -say, helping Trump.

At this point, Putin has milked the opposition to America for all it’s worth. Now if Trump offers him recognition as equal superpower again on the world’s stage, recognition of some token victories on the ground (Crimea, Assad in Syria), and it comes with a strong rebound of the economy thanks to the lifting of sanctions… it would be just stupid to refuse, and Putin isn’t stupid. The Russian people would see that their sacrifices actually paid off in full! His support would only stop by hitting its head at the 100% limit.

Sure, in a few years he’ll need another enemy; but maybe in the meantime we’ll have survived Trump. And, that enemy might not even be us. Cannot count on it, but it’s a possibility.  Maybe we can just keep Russians happy with fighting “terrorism”, now that they are ‘a global superpower’? If Americans at the height of their dominance could be kept afraid of Iraq and North Korea -that might definitely be an option.

And in the meantime; the end of the “pro-western” and “pro-russian” nonsense in our backyard would stop useless divisions, and free the region’s potential for commerce. We need it -remember the main crisis: Trump will close his border to our exports. Reopening Putin’s (which also means the land link to China) might just help soften the blow.

And migration. Restoring Assad in Syria cannot possibly be worse than continuing the war -and it will lessen the flow of refugees many of our fellow Europeans are so concerned over. Another crisis we could definitely do without, at least until the union is stronger.

The synergy would be positive in other fields too. Take, privacy: we don’t have a vote in USA, but part of us is there -most of our digital lives. Maybe 90% of our data is under Trump’s jurisdiction, and he made it clear he won’t respect it. Russia has instead developed its own networks, like VKontakte. While it would be just as crazy to switch to Putin’s tools -a technology transfer agreement could help finally jumpstart a proper European digital industry, of which he have a tragic lack as of today.

Of course there is the issue of human rights. But if America has decided not to be better, it’s quite moot. To save our values, the priority is surviving. And I’m pretty sure we could start being OK with them tomorrow -just as we keep being good friends with China, Turkey or Saudi Arabia. Don’t talk about it on the newspapers, it’s as good as not there.

This is what I’ve thought today -Putin, being a smart guy with a passion for audacious plots, has probably seen it from November 9.

The shift could be well underway.

Don’t believe me? Go look at the positions of the candidates to the next big event of European politics -the elections in France, a few months from now. We all know Le Pen is Putin’s lapdog. But what about the pro-EU candidates? Fillon, the “classic right” candidate and current favorite:

European Union sanctions on Russia are pointless, the frontrunner in France’s presidential election Francois Fillon said on Monday in Berlin, warning Russia and the United States under Donald Trump could forge links that exclude the EU.

Oh. What about Macron, the center candidate and rising star of the election?

France must reopen talks with Russia, centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron told journalists on Wednesday. He said Russia must play a decisive role in ending the conflict in Syria, and that the removal of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad cannot be a prior condition to end the war. The former economy minister also favours renewed peace talks on Ukraine in order to gradually diminish sanctions against Russia

This IS huge. Whoever wins -France will be in favor of mending ties with Russia.

And in September, we’ll have the German elections. Would you be so surprised if say a convergence between CSU, AfD and others doing surprisingly well unhorsed Merkel (maybe after some scandal, email reveal, Wikileaks dossier…) -and shifted the tide in favor of Russia in Germany too?

Then the EU would just follow suit.

If my theory is correct, Le Pen will do poorly in the coming months …because her funds and army of virtual influencers will have shifted to the pro-EU candidates.

Enemy cities are to be destroyed if holding them is too difficult. If the enemy is just packing and going away …well, they’re your cities now. America was strong yesterday: but if Trump is either corrupt or blind enough, Putin can just keep Europe together -and playing the right cards, swallow it whole.

Time will tell.

eurussia

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