THE ROVING EYE Politburo uber alles
By Pepe Escobar
Ah, those good old Cold War/Soviet Union days when an army of Kremlinologists
was hooked on every imperceptible move by an inscrutable politburo.
Wait a minute. Who would have thought that two decades after the end of "real
socialism" politburos would be back in fashion?
China does it - see their nine-member standing committee, the holy of the
holies inside their 25-member politburo. And proving once more Slavoj Zizek's
thesis that the marriage of capitalism and democracy is over, "free" Europe
also does it - with relish, even doubling down on China's notorious Gang of
Meet the Gang of Eight
The eurozone is now in fact run by an eight-member politburo.
What a sterling job. This Gang of Eight is accountable to no one, except
mythical Zeus with his trademark thunderbolts. In the liquid modernity era,
Zeus goes by the name of the God of the Market. The only thing that matters to
the Gang of Eight is what financial markets - run by the God - want; mere
mortals, as in European voters, are at best a nuisance.
Ergo, eurozone national governments are totally meaningless. The shots are
called by a troika formed by the European Central Bank (ECB), the European
Commission (EC) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). All of them
Europe's politburo goes by the innocent acronym GdF, French for Groupe de
Francfort (Frankfurt Group), established last month. They met no less than four
times during the recent, spectacularly failed Group of 20 debt festival in
Cannes. Here's the full technocratic list - with a few politicians thrown in.
1 and 2: "Merkozy", that mongrel cross-pollination of German Chancellor Angela
"Iron Cross" Merkel and neo-Napoleonic French President Nicolas Sarkozy. As
much as bling bling stalwart Sarko may pose as a king - in the guise, among
others, of Great Liberator of Libya; and as much as he refers to La Merkel as
"La Boche" (in a French World War II derogatory way), the "Merk" part in
"Merkozy" displays the real cojones at the European Union (EU).
3: The slick Chanel/Wall Street merger Christine Lagarde, managing director of
the IMF, who inherited her post from former savior of capitalism turned
self-imploded French presidential candidate, notorious trans-Atlantic
woman-lover Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK). Madame Lagarde herself is a proven
financial quantity, as former chair of international law firm Baker and
4: Former vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International Mario Draghi, now
president of the all-powerful European Central Bank (ECB). The technocrat who
pushed Italy into the euro, now widely hailed by financial hacks as "the savior
5: The president (since 2004) of the European Commission (EC), Jose Manuel
Barroso, essentially an unspeakably dour power-hungry bureaucrat.
6: The president of the European Council (since 2009) Herman van Rompuy, a
faceless, former Belgian senator and prime minister who vehemently opposes
Turkey's accession to the EU.
7: European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs (since 2010) Olli
Rehn, from Finland, a self-effacing former top bureaucrat in charge of the EU's
8: The chairman of the group of European Finance Ministers (since 2005),
Jean-Claude Juncker, a former prime minister of Luxembourg whom The Economist
describes as a "fanatical federalist".
Elections are for sissies
Way beyond the Rabelaisian, trashy/reality show version of the last days of the
Roman Empire personified by former Italian prime minister Silvio "bunga bunga"
Berlusconi, and the travails of forming a government of national unity headed
by super-technocrat, former European commissioner Mario Monti, who Italians
call "Super Mario", there's only one road map ahead as far as the EU is
concerned; implacable "austerity", duly supervised by Madame Lagarde and her
Super Mario, by the way, is a total Gang of Eight man; former EU commissioner,
international adviser for Goldman Sachs, European chairman of David
Rockefeller's Trilateral Commission and key member of the Bilderberg Group.
Even a populist neo-liberal such as Il Cavaliere - a former darling of the
global plutocracy - could not find a way to implement in Italy the hardcore
austerity roadmap imposed by the ECB, the IMF and creditor banks. When The God
of the Market - the only true oracle of liquid modernity - speaks, reality
bends over. No wonder Van Rompuy uttered these oracular words last Friday in
Rome; "The country needs reforms, not elections."
No one even needs to pry open Brussels corridors or sit with the odd
functionary over steak frites and Bordeaux to know how much the EU hates
democracy. For instance, no one knows how the (unelected) governing council of
the all-powerful ECB votes, because everything they do is secret.
Hardcore neo-liberalism, as imposed by the Gang of Eight, is like a Mafia
treatment; first they go for your knees - amputating social rights. Then they
go for your throat - amputating political rights. For the "cattle" that will
carry the burden of endless austerity - European voters - there's not much left
except the odd general strike or screaming their lungs out in the streets.
It won't matter much that Italy's "fundamentals" are excellent - including high
levels of private savings, low private debt, a stable banking system and a
trade surplus in manufacturing.
From Greek to Latin, the problem with Greece and Italy has nothing to do with
the EU's alleged dysfunctional periphery. The point is the excesses of casino
capitalism - financial capital operating in total deregulation. Thus the
pre-eminence of this glossy/shady character - the liquid modernity technocrat -
averse to democracy yet legitimate enough to call for popular repression, all
in the name of satisfying the Almighty financial God.
There's no (political) difference in conducting regime change with
"humanitarian" bombing or through the God of the Market's thunderbolts.
As for the necessary firewall that would "save" Italy from its debt - over 1.9
trillion euros (US$2.6 trillion) - it is a humongous 1 trillion euros. It won't
happen - first of all because the Almighty Emperor Hu (Jintao) has snubbed this
latest invention by the Western barbarians. Emperor Hu certainly knew avant la
lettre the Orwellian-style European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF)
would be revealed as a monumental scam, as the EFSF bought hundreds of millions
of euros of its own bonds. You don't need to be Nouriel Roubini to bet the euro
may be on the way of breaking down.
"Merkozy" - responsible for 48% of the eurozone's gross domestic product - and
the Gang of Eight are now first-class practitioners of neo-colonial power. What
the Gang of Eight is truly after is essentially a rich man's EU, as breached in
a near-apocalyptic Reuters story.  Get ready because from now on, the euro
won't unify Europe; it will spearhead its balkanization.