How Global Elites Forsake Their Countrymen | WSJ

Great column by Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal on the growing detachment between political and cultural elites and the problems facing ordinary citizens on the lower rungs of society. There is plenty of evidence of out-of-touch elites, including Brexit and Angela Merkel’s unilateral decision to allow 800,000 migrants and refugees from Muslim countries.

Nothing in their lives will get worse. The challenge of integrating different cultures, negotiating daily tensions, dealing with crime and extremism and fearfulness on the street — that was put on those with comparatively little, whom I’ve called the unprotected. They were left to struggle, not gradually and over the years but suddenly and in an air of ongoing crisis that shows no signs of ending — because nobody cares about them enough to stop it.

The powerful show no particular sign of worrying about any of this. When the working and middle class pushed back in shocked indignation, the people on top called them “xenophobic,” “narrow-minded,” “racist.” The detached, who made the decisions and bore none of the costs, got to be called “humanist,” “compassionate,” and “hero of human rights.”

Surprising support for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders also reflect the disillusionment of the bottom half with leadership by the 1 percent. They feel they have been taken for granted — if not shafted — and their anger will be reflected at the ballot box. Hopefully we can avoid the rise of tyranny as in the 1930s — after the last financial crisis — but these are dangerous times.

Source: How Global Elites Forsake Their Countrymen – WSJ

In Milan, Germany’s leader strikes the right note on Russian sanctions | Washington Post

Opinion from the Washington Post:

To her credit, Ms. Merkel is staking out a firm position, perhaps because she has spent more time than any other Western leader talking to Mr. Putin about Ukraine. On Monday she said, “There’s a long way to a cease-fire, unfortunately,” and added that Russia would have to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity “not just on paper” before sanctions could be lifted. That added weight to comments last week by Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who — even as he tried to promote U.S.-Russian cooperation on other issues — said Russia would have to withdraw “heavy equipment” and allow its border with Ukraine “to be properly monitored and secured” to win sanctions relief.

Mr. Putin is unlikely ever to meet those terms. To do so would doom Novorossiya, which can’t survive without military and material support from Russia. As the sanctions bite, he is as liable to escalate his aggression as to offer concessions….

Further escalation is not likely — it’s inevitable. Decisive action now will save much pain later. Read Putin’s Coup, Ben Judah’s piece on how Vladimir Putin has consolidated his hold on power. The parallels with Germany’s NSDAP in the 1930s are chilling — using fear to quell dissent.

Read more at In Milan, Germany’s leader strikes the right note on Russian sanctions | The Washington Post.

Euro, Yen plunge against Dollar

The Euro broke support at $1.33, signaling a further decline against the Dollar with a target of $1.30*. Falling 13-week Twiggs Momentum, below zero, warns of a strong down-trend. Recovery above $1.35 is most unlikely, but would suggest that the down-trend is slowing.


* Target calculation: 1.35 – ( 1.40 – 1.35 ) = 1.30

The recent rally of the Euro against the Russian ruble has faltered. An economic contraction and rising tensions over Eastern Ukraine both contributed. The Euro remains in an up-trend and recovery above RUB 49 would suggest another attempt at the previous high of RUB 51. But failure of support at RUB 46 would signal a primary down-trend. 13-Week Twiggs Momentum oscillating close to zero reflects current uncertainty.


Vladimir Putin is attempting to exploit fault lines in the US/European alliance, targeting the powerful European farming and motor industry lobbies. Unauthorized incursions into Ukrainian territory by his white-painted “aid convoy” are another example, where the infringement is so apparently inoffensive that Angela Merkel will find it difficult to convince her European allies to escalate sanctions further. Failure to react will merely embolden Putin to conduct further minor infringements in defiance of the EU, confident in their response, until the Ukraine suffers “death by a thousand cuts”.


Only if the US/EU adopt an aggressive escalation, as suggested here on Defence & Freedom, are they likely to contain Russian aggression.

“…a defensive and reactionary game plan makes one predictable. The very existence of a crisis should be understood as a hint that someone used this predictability to predict the outcome of a produced crisis — and arrived at the conclusion that it’s a good idea. Aka failure of deterrence.”


As with the Euro, the Japanese Yen is also weakening against the Dollar. The Greenback broke resistance at ¥103.50, signaling a rally to test the 2013 high. Follow-through above ¥104 would confirm. Rising 13-week Twiggs Momentum above zero strengthens the signal. Reversal below ¥103 is unlikely, but would warn of another test of primary support at ¥101.



The Aussie Dollar, however, is holding its own — ranging between $0.92 and $0.95 against the US Dollar. The narrow band and 13-week Twiggs Momentum holding above zero both suggest continuation of the up-trend. Breakout above $0.95 would suggest a target of $0.97. Reversal below $0.92 is unlikely at present, but would warn of a decline to the band of support between $0.87 and $0.89.

Aussie Dollar

The ASX 200, retracing slightly from resistance at 5650, is also influenced by strong foreign investment flows. Indications are predominantly bullish, including 21-day Twiggs Money Flow forming troughs above zero. Follow-through above 5660 would signal another advance, with a medium-term target of 5850. Reversal above 5550 is unlikely, but would warn of another test of primary support.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 5650 + ( 5650 – 5450 ) = 5850

Europe’s Five Deadly Sins on Ukraine | Carnegie Europe

Jan Techau of Carnegie Europe writes:

….In recent years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has talked about the Kremlin’s fears of Western encirclement. He has declared that EU and NATO enlargement are part of a conspiracy to destroy Russia, that Ukraine is not really a sovereign nation, and that Western agents provocateurs were behind Ukraine’s 2004–2005 Orange Revolution.

Amid all that rhetoric, the West failed to recognize that Putin was deadly serious. Such talk was dismissed either as cheap propaganda or as the mild lunacy of a handful of overideologized true believers. Nobody imagined that Putin himself really believed his own bluster.

But for the Russian president, the fight over Ukraine is not an imperialistic adventure, it is a fight for survival against a mortal Western enemy. Just because observers in the West know that’s nonsense, that doesn’t mean that others think the same. Such Western projections were finally debunked when German Chancellor Angela Merkel remarked to U.S. President Barack Obama on March 2 that Putin was “in another world.”

Read more at Europe’s Five Deadly Sins on Ukraine – Carnegie Europe.

Merkel Concessions at Euro Crisis Summit Smarter than they Seem – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Christian Rickens: Merkel’s concession is more than compensated for by a diplomatic victory she scored in the run-up to the summit: Late last week, she managed to get new French President François Hollande to sign off on her fiscal pact, which is deeply unpopular in Paris, in return for her support on the €130 billion ($165 billion) European Union “growth pact.”

The inequality of the deal is difficult to overstate. The growth pact is made up of little more than empty promises and dreams that can never come true. Though it won’t spur any growth in Europe, at least it won’t cost Germans any more money either.

Should one be looking for a summit loser, in fact, it necessary to look no further than Hollande. Not Angela Merkel. She merely did what she always does on the EU stage. She made compromises. And pretty clever ones at that.

via Merkel Concessions at Euro Crisis Summit Smarter than they Seem – SPIEGEL ONLINE.

EU Treaty Takes Shape –

[European Union] leaders, who are still deeply divided over key elements of their crisis strategy, decided they would move to form a pact among at least 23 of the members to tighten rules on national fiscal policy.

But details of the proposed treaty remained to be settled. The U.K. stood aside—after Prime Minister David Cameron failed with what officials said was a “shopping list of demands” designed among other things to protect national supervision of its banks—while Hungary, Sweden and the Czech Republic reserved their positions.

“We will achieve the new fiscal union. We will have a euro currency within a stable union,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the end of the meeting. “We will have stronger budget deficit regulations for euro-zone members.”

via EU Treaty Takes Shape –

Merkel Rejects Rapid Action on the Euro –

PARIS — Quashing recent speculation of a softening in Germany’s hard-line stance on the euro, Chancellor Angela Merkel repeated on Thursday her firm opposition either to bonds issued jointly by the euro zone countries or to an expansion of the role of the European Central Bank as quick responses to the sovereign debt crisis.

“Nothing has changed in my position,” she said at a news conference…..[but] The German newspaper Bild reported Thursday that the Merkel government was inching towards accepting so-called eurobonds, at least in some form, even if the public stance remained against them, and that some of her party said they could be a tradeoff for treaty changes.

via Merkel Rejects Rapid Action on the Euro –

Colin Twiggs: ~ I am getting a sense that Angela Merkel already knows the outcome. As a consummate negotiator she is using the debt crisis to force her EU colleagues to make concessions that in normal times would be politically unthinkable. Germany does not want to abandon the euro which has served them well over the last two decades. They also does not want to risk inflation — so an ECB solution is ruled out. But euro-bonds may be acceptable to the German public — provided that there are strict controls throughout the EMU to ensure fiscal discipline. That, I suspect,  is her desired outcome — she just has to make her EU counterparts feel the heat long enough that they fully appreciate the concessions she makes — and do not start back-tracking on their commitments.