O que é este blog?

Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org. Para a maior parte de meus textos, ver minha página na plataforma Academia.edu, link: https://itamaraty.academia.edu/PauloRobertodeAlmeida;

Meu Twitter: https://twitter.com/PauloAlmeida53

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paulobooks

terça-feira, 21 de setembro de 2021

A destruição do Brasil por um psicopata - Paulo Roberto de Almeida

 Estaremos assistindo (não eu), nesta terça-feira, com todos os holofotes em NY, a um dos mais sórdidos e execráveis espetáculos de rebaixamento continuado do Brasil no cenário internacional, um evento que certamente causará repulsa e horror em todo diplomata de bom-senso, independentemente de sua postura política ou preferências eleitorais. É simplesmente doloroso assistir um mentiroso ler um texto edulcorado pelo Itamaraty e que deve representar todo o contrário do que pensa e faz a escória subhumana que sequestrou a representação do Brasil no mundo.

Lamento que meus colegas diplomatas envolvidos no serviço ativo tenham de suportar esse mentecapto, autoritário, genocida e psicopata. Estou apenas expressando o que efetivamente penso e o que é a realidade.

Paulo Roberto de Almeida

Brasília, 21/06/2021


segunda-feira, 20 de setembro de 2021

Don’t Kill Me For Saying It — But Biden’s Presidency is Failing - Umair Haque (Medium)

Don’t Kill Me For Saying It — But Biden’s Presidency is Failing

America and the World are Losing Confidence in the Biden Administration — Because it Keeps Making Baffling Mistakes

 Umair Haque

Medium, September 18, 2021

https://eand.co/dont-kill-me-for-saying-it-but-biden-s-presidency-is-failing-d08537b29056



It falls on me to be the bearer of news I don’t want particularly want to give you. Sigh. Who wants to have tell people — especially liberals — that Biden’s presidency is now in danger of failing. And yet it is.

Now, before you get your hackles up, let’s…talk about it. Like grown ups. Adults. American Liberals get incredibly defensive about Joe Biden. They have a seriously unhealthy relationship with their politicians. A cultish one. They don’t brook any criticism, and lash out in rage. It’s understandable. America is indeed under siege from a militant, fanatical, authoritarian far right. And yet it doesn’t do liberals any favours to treat Biden and his team like blessed saints, above and beyond mere mortals, perfect, divine, and unquestionable. Don’t regress into the infantile rage of spoiled American liberal man-baby, OK?

It’s been a terrible month or two for Biden — that much should be clear to all. His approval rating is plummeting. It’s now hovering down there, approaching Trump’s. Again, this isn’t my opinion, it’s an objective fact. “His” means his whole team’s, obviously, so again let’s not fall into the trap of cultish personality centred thinking. Biden’s Presidency isn’t in free fall just yet. But it’s getting perilously close.

And if this trend keeps going, where does America end up? With President Trump, all over again. Or maybe even worse. This is not a drill. It’s bitter reality.

So please, take it seriously, as painful as it may be to hear, because it is an objective, empirical fact that Biden’s Presidency is now beginning to fail.

When I say “Biden’s presidency is beginning to fail, and it’s an objective empirical fact,” I mean it in three ways. One, Americans are losing confidence in Biden, and not just Trumpist fanatics but average people. Two, the world is beginning to lose confidence in Biden, America’s allies left shaken and bewildered. And three, all the numerous crises hitting us at once from Covid to climate change show no signs of abating.

Why is Biden’s Presidency beginning to fail? Because he and his team are making amateur level mistakes. Too many of them, too fast. And so Americans are beginning to lose confidence in Biden’s supposed strengths — competence, calmness, poise, a kind of assured control. A firm hand on the wheel in stormy waters. So why does the boat still feel so rickety?

Let’s discuss a few of those mistakes. I’ll begin with the one Americans care about least, to highlight just how amateur hour these mistakes are.

Biden’s team recently signed a pact with Australia and the UK to essentially make new nuclear submarines, to ward off China. What the hell is this nonsense?

It’s not just me asking — it’s the entire rest of the world, beginning with America’s closest allies. Something unprecedented then happened: France recalled its ambassador to America, because it was so offended and shocked. Germany said the deal challenged the “coherence and unity of the west.” The French foreign minister had strong words: “There has been duplicity, contempt and lies, and when you have an ally of the stature of France, you don’t treat them like that…this is a real crisis.” A former French ambassador to the UK said, “This puts a big rift down the middle of the Nato alliance.”

Now, you might think this is all meaningless. It’s not. Read the quotes above. This isn’t a game. It’s our duty as responsible adults to understand this stuff.

What the hell is Biden doing making new nuclear weapons to have some kind of macho pissing contest with China over? What on earth? Biden’s doing it because his team thinks China is a big, big threat. Are they kidding? To whom? To America? China’s not exactly a model global citizen, it’s true — but it’s hardly going to attack America, let alone Australia, or the UK. And if the US really wanted to make China scared, all it has to do is shut down trade for less than 24 hours and the Central Committee will quake in its boots.

Biden has signed this pact — AUKUS — to please Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison. These are two fanatically ultra conservative leaders. One a climate change denier, the other who behaves as if Covid is “just a flu.” They could care less about Biden or liberal progress at all. Why appease them? At the cost of Europe? This ain’t just bad policy. It’s terrible, amateur hour politics.

This is a bad, bad look for America. It reeks, to the rest of the world, of both paranoia, racism, and American empire. Three white nations…making nuclear weapons…to fight against…the largest non white nation. For no good reasonUnprovoked.

It’s not just about nuclear non-proliferation, though it is about that. New weapons? Nuclear ones? Seriously? Three white nations teaming up to intimidate the largest non-white one? What century is this?

It’s about much, much more than that though. This whole dumb episode reveals just how amateur hour the Biden teams’ mindset really is.

What is the actual biggest threat to America, right now? There are three. “Climate change,” or global warming, if you want to use the more accurate term and not the one made up by a Republican pundit to keep us from taking it seriously. It’s already making parts of America uninhabitable. Who’s going to live in California in a decade or two? How is the West going to have water? Then there’s the far right, which is doing an end run around the rule of law, and doing things like making people bounty hunters to harass and try to catch…vulnerable women. And number three is Russia. You know, the nation that essentially installed Trump in the Presidency, a fact which we now have stark evidence in support of.

Two of those three threats — global warming, the far right’s ascendant fascism — are domestic. Only one is external. And it has nothing — literally nothing — to do with China. So Biden’s team has managed to alienate allies over…nothing. For no good reason. Over something useless.

China paranoia, at this point, is more about racism than reality. No, China is not some kind of beacon of goodness and light. But it’s hardly a country so menacing to the West that a whole new nuclear arms race has to happen. This is not reality. It’s paranoia. It’s rank stupidity.

What’s the big deal about alienating, well, all of Europe, to build new nuclear weapons to intimidate China with?

There are three Very Big Problems with such Epic Goddamned Stupidity. One, America needs Europe on its side to fight the world’s — and America’s — actual biggest problem, which is global warming. Two, America needs China on its side to fight global warming, too. And three…let me think about how to put this kindly…nobody on the planet needs more nuclear weapons. More nuclear weapons aren’t going to save anybody’s ass. Our asses are going to be cooked by megafire, drowned by megaflood, poisoned by new pandemics, parched and starved — they already are.

What are you going to do, bomb global warming to death?

This isn’t just a failure of foreign policy, in other words — it cascades into the domestic and global policy failure of not fighting climate change hard enough. Meaning, half the country was either flooded or on fire a week or two ago, and it’s only going to get worse. These are failure cascades, which is how Presidencies fail. One mistake — bang!! — becomes a much, much bigger one.

The UN is warning that the world is on a “catastrophic climate pathway” — and there’s Team Biden alienating the very allies the world needs, on both sides, to fight climate change with…for the sake of macho posturing…more nuclear weapons…that aren’t going to save a soul from the planet melting down…which is the world’s, and America’s, actual biggest threat.

Let me say that last part again because I think most people are still in deep denial about this, caught in the minutiae of the latest crisis, constantly distracted by the next media buzz. Climate change, aka global warming, is the world’s biggest threat. Global warming is the biggest threat to America, to the world, to our civilization, right now.

It’s epic, epic stupidity. In all this, Biden comes off to the entire world as…just another idiotic cowboy American. Who else alienated Europe, do you remember? Trump did.

Why? Because his philosophy — and that’s a generous term — was “America First.” But it turns out, chillingly, fatally, that Biden’s isn’t all that that different.

You’re probably hopping mad right about now, because I compared Biden to Trump. So let me keep going and prove it to you.

What is Biden’s next massive failure — this time, the one Americans actually care about? Covid. Covid is out of control in America all over again. And American liberals ascribe this to the kind of moronic red staters who think making kids wear masks in schools is like Jews being sent to gas chambers during the Holocaust.

That’s only half right, though: yes, Covid’s out of control because Red Staters are idiots. But it’s also out of control because there’s a new variant, Delta. What happens when idiots meet a new variant of Covid? The cycle of death repeats. They turn a new variant into a wave. How do you really solve this problem? You stop the new variants.

How do you do that? You vaccine the world, fast. So that new variants don’t have breeding grounds. Because those variants will affect you, too.

Now I have some really bad news for you. News which should infuriate you, but leaves most American liberals indifferent, which just proves to me and the rest of the world that, yes, basically, they’re not that different from the idiot Trumpist fascists they imagine they’re opposing.

Biden hasn’t been on the side of vaccinating the globe. He’s been against itSure, he might have talked about it once or twice. But in practice? His people are at the WTO, literally enforcing patents with legal power. America will not let the world have vaccines.

But who does “America” mean? Well, it means figures like Bill Gates, who it seems intervened to make it happen, when researchers wanted to give the vaccine formula away. And it means Joe Biden, whose administration is actively preventing the world from being vaccinated.

What’s the outcome of all that? Well, as the head of the WHO has pointed out, Covid cases globally outpace vaccinations. That simple math has a devastating conclusion. New variants keep on igniting. Because obviously if people are getting a disease faster than they’re getting vaccinated, it’s spreading, breeding, and mutating. Worse, plenty of those new variants are vaccine resistant, like Israel’s experience shows.

Why is Biden’s preventing the world from getting Covid vaccines? Because they’re more interested in protecting the profits of pharmaceutical companies. Don’t Pharma companies already make enough money? Of course they do. Do they deserve to earn history’s greatest fortune from vaccinating eight billion, every year, over and over again? Of course they don’t. The worst part of all this might just be that Covid vaccines were literally created with public money at public institutions, which means they’re public goods, which means they’re there to be shared. With the whole world. Just like, say, the polio or smallpox vaccines. Because diseases spread right back to us.

Do you see how goddamned idiotic all this is? Biden might get on TV and talk a good game about Red States and Covid. But the truth is that if he and his team really wanted to stop Covid, they’d vaccinate the whole planet. Tomorrow. Do you know how much that would cost? Literally a tiny, tiny drop in the bucket. The IMF estimated $50 billion, of which it had a shortfall of $13 billion. Zuck or Bezos could do that single-handedly. That’s way less than all those new nuclear weapons.

This is an epic, incredible, shocking, jaw-dropping, amazing, astounding mistake. No superlative can possibly be enough. All Biden needs to do is spend $50 billion — call it a hundred if you like, it’s pennies for a nation like America — to stop Covid dead in its tracks. No more Red State lunacy, because no more new variants. No more domestic chaos and panic and anxiety, because Covid never goes away.

But he won’t do it. Because he’s too busy defending Pharma profits and building new nuclear weapons.

Do you know how much $50 billion — the cost of vaccinating the world — is? It’s a quarter of one percent of America’s GDP. It’s a tiny, tiny fraction. This is what Biden is sacrificing the planet’s public health for, sacrificing his Presidency, utlimately, for.

Let me make really clear why I say that.

Biden could go down as one of America’s few — very few — Presidents who did something good and noble and beautiful for the whole world. The man who eliminated Covid. He’d be up there with FDR. The entire world would applaud. America would be a respected and admired nation again. He would have defanged his opponents, too, by taking the game to a much, much higher strategic level, a higher level of vision and ambition and purpose. Conservatives would look like the narrow-minded fools they are, and they would be badly disempowered as Americans felt good about being a country that could do genuinely beautiful and noble things again.

But Biden won’t do it. He’s shown us, at this point, time and again, what his governing philosophy really is. Tragically, stupidly, astonishingly, it’s not that different from Trump’s. At least if you’re France, Germany, China, Russia, Afghanistan — the entire rest of the world. America First.

The problem with that is that none of this century’s great Existential Threats can be solved that way. They are all global. We are all in them together. You can’t fight global warming with nuclear bombs. You can’t even fight global warming alone. You can’t fight Covid with individualism and selfishness and indifference.

But Biden isn’t teaching Americans that. He’s teaching them the opposite. He’s telling them that the world doesn’t need vaccines — so why should they believe the position that Americans do? He’s telling them that global warming matters — and then going out and spending a fortune on bombs.

Is it any wonder that Americans — the sane ones — are losing confidence in Biden? They’re baffled and bewildered, and they’re beginning to get a little frustrated. I thought this guy was better than Trump, they’re saying. And he is, in some ways. But in others? He’s a lot like him. He doesn’t seem to really think things through. He shoots before he thinks. He has double standards and inconsistencies which are too glaring to really not to see.

Biden’s Presidency is beginning to fail, my friends. I don’t say that with gloating glee — I’ve always liked the guy. I say it as a warning. Nuclear weapons and preventing the world getting vaccinated. America First-ism and giving the fascists a slap on the wrist. Global warming a lower priority — while America burns and floods — than bombs and guns. Don’t even get me started on Afghanistan. What is going on here? The captain of the ship doesn’t seem to know how to navigate this storm. He seems to be going in circles, while the ship buckles, and the waves roar.

I think a lot of Americans feel this way, right about now. Biden should have been better than this. Why isn’t he?

Umair
September 2021



“No llores por mi, Argentina”, outra vez? - El País, La Nación

 As coisas vão mal no hermano país; não bastasse uma linda crise econômica— os argentinos têm pós-doc em crises —, eles agora também não têm governo, pois como se sabe era a vice-presidente quem presidia. Nem ela conseguiu evitar a derrota eleitoral… (PRA)

El País, Madri – 18.9.2021

La pelea entre Alberto Fernández y Cristina Kirchner paraliza a Argentina

Federico Rivas Molina y Mar Centenera

 

Buenos Aires - La pelea abierta entre Alberto Fernández y Cristina Fernández de Kirchner tiene paralizada a Argentina. Un día después de la renuncia de todos los ministros y altos cargos que representan a la vicepresidenta en el Gabinete, el presidente publicó este jueves un largo hilo en Twitter donde advierte de que es él quien toma las decisiones. “La gestión seguirá desarrollándose como yo estime conveniente”, escribió, y “no es tiempo de plantear disputas”. Cristina Kirchner le recordó más tarde en una carta pública que fue ella quien lo postuló para presidente en 2019. “Sólo le pido que honre aquella decisión”, le dijo.

La debacle electoral en las primarias del domingo, en la que los precandidatos del peronismo unido perdieron en 18 de los 24 distritos del país, terminó por catalizar una crisis soterrada de palacio que condiciona la marcha del Gobierno, agrava la crisis económica, espanta a los votantes y da alas a la oposición conservadora. Cristina Kirchner exigió el lunes tras la derrota cambios en el Gabinete como primera medida para recuperar al electorado perdido. La crisis escaló cuando el Fernández se negó.

Nunca hasta ahora las cabezas del Ejecutivo argentino se habían enfrentado tan abiertamente. Alberto Fernández se refirió a la “altisonancia y la prepotencia” de algunos dirigentes, sin nombrar a su rival, e hizo una defensa de su Gobierno. “Seguiré garantizando la unidad del Frente de Todos a partir del respeto que nos debemos”, dijo. Kirchner se tomó apenas unas horas para responderle.

 “Al día siguiente de semejante catástrofe política [por las elecciones del domingo], uno escuchaba a algunos funcionarios y parecía que en este país no había pasado nada, fingiendo normalidad y, sobre todo, atornillándose a los sillones. ¿En serio creen que no es necesario, después de semejante derrota, presentar públicamente las renuncias y facilitarle al Presidente la reorganización de su Gobierno?”, escribió Cristina Kirchner. “No soy yo la que jaquea al presidente, es el resultado electoral”, agregó.

Argentina es espectadora ahora del pulso de las dos fuerzas en pugna. El origen de las tensiones hay que buscarlo en la decisión de Cristina Fernández de Kirchner de promover a su exjefe de gabinete Alberto Fernández como candidato a presidente en 2019, con ella como vice. Se sumó a aquel binomio Sergio Massa, un dirigente que había vencido al kirchnerismo en la provincia de Buenos Aires y que ahora completaba la unidad total del peronismo. La estrategia resultó, y Alberto Fernández impidió en las urnas la reelección de Mauricio Macri. Pero la tensión entre un presidente sin votos pero con el poder formal y una vicepresidenta sin poder formal pero con votos lastraron los dos primeros años de Gobierno. Hasta que todo estalló por los aires con la debacle en las primarias del 12 de septiembre, una elección que elige a los candidatos que disputarán una banca en el Congreso el 14 de noviembre próximo.

 

*

 

La Nación, Buenos Aires – 18.9.2021

La carta de Cristina Kirchner que dinamita al Frente de Todos

Rompió toda negociación, al reprobar sin atenuantes la política económica de Alberto Fernández y acusarlo de operar contra ella; el repunte electoral que el peronismo soñaba parece hoy una utopía

Martín Rodríguez Yebra

 

Aturdida por el voto popular que desnudó los límites de su poder, Cristina Kirchner cometió un acto de autodestrucción política bajo el imperio de una emoción violenta. La idea de plantearle el miércoles un ultimátum público a Alberto Fernández para que se sometiera a su voluntad fue dinamita pura en los cimientos del Frente de Todos. La carta que publicó esta noche en medio de la crisis parece la carga definitiva sobre la coalición peronista que los argentinos eligieron para gobernar hasta 2023.

Dejó todo a la luz. “No podíamos ganar”, confiesa. Lo atribuye a una “política de ajuste fiscal equivocada” que ella, en sus palabras, se cansó de advertir ante un Presidente que se negaba a verlo. La fuerza de la palabra escrita agiganta el impacto de su acusación de que el entorno de Fernández hace operaciones mediáticas en su contra, la revelación de los nombres que pidió para asumir como ministros y el desdén con el que alude, sin nombrarlo, al jefe de Gabinete, Santiago Cafiero, cuando pone: “Al día siguiente de semejante catástrofe política, uno escuchaba a algunos funcionarios y parecía que en este país no había pasado nada, fingiendo normalidad y, sobre todo, atornillándose a los sillones”.

La reacción de la vicepresidenta sucede a unas declaraciones previas de Fernández en Página 12, en las que alude a un supuesto acuerdo por la reforma del Gabinete que ella habría incumplido con las renuncias en masa que inició el miércoles Wado de Pedro. “Con presiones no me van a obligar”, fue la frase desafiante que le dedicó su criatura presidencial.

Los intentos de alcanzar un acuerdo para desescalar la crisis en marcha parecían un mal chiste al caer la noche en Buenos Aires. Cristina acelera hacia lo desconocido, sin reparar ni en lo inverosímil que resulta ahora un repunte electoral en noviembre ni en las condiciones en que deja al Gobierno. Ya es una cuestión personal.

En las trincheras del albertismo retumba desde ayer la palabra “traición”. De Pedro propició una cascada de renuncias que llegaron a los medios de comunicación antes que al despacho presidencial. En el manual del kirchnerismo eso constituye una declaración de guerra: así se lo habían hecho saber a Martín Guzmán en mayo, cuando quiso echar a través del periodismo al subsecretario de Energía Eléctrica, Federico Basualdo.

El estupor es indisimulable en la Casa Rosada y en la quinta de Olivos en estas horas de indefinición y versiones cruzadas. Sus habitantes le gritaban “destituyente” a Mauricio Macri porque dijo sin mucho cuidado aquello de “o cambian o se van a tener que ir”.

 

Los hechos propios ridiculizan las palabras ajenas.

 

Cristina habló con Alberto el martes, en una reunión hermética en Olivos, sobre una reformulación urgente del gabinete y de la política de Guzmán. Fernández retrata ese episodio sin testigos como un encuentro fructífero. Cristina transmite algo distinto. “Habían transcurrido 48hs sin que se comunicara conmigo y me pareció prudente llamarlo y decirle que tenía que hablar con él. Deje pasar 48hs deliberadamente, para ver si llamaba”, relata, en una frase que expone cómo concibe su relación con el Presidente. Blanquea ahí que pidió al gobernador de Tucumán, Juan Manzur, alguien que no cuenta con su cariño, en lugar de Cafiero. Fernández se resistía a cesar a su mano derecha.

El desencuentro a puertas cerradas derivó en un escandaloso espectáculo público. El Gobierno se desayunó el miércoles con las renuncias en bloque del gabinete de Santa Cruz y de Buenos Aires, los dos territorios donde Cristina ejerce sin limitaciones su voluntad (en la Provincia finalmente Axel Kicillof no le aceptó a nadie la dimisión). Al mediodía, Fernández reivindicó a Guzmán en un acto en la Casa Rosada y le cedió la palabra para que diera un discurso amablemente provocador, en el que dijo que todas las medidas que tomó contaban con el respaldo de Cristina, Kicillof, Máximo y Sergio Massa. El dedo en la llaga. Por eso la vicepresidenta se encargó en la carta de recordar que ella viene marcando desde hace meses su desacuerdo con el rumbo económico.

De Pedro disparó la primera renuncia apenas después. El sacudón puso a Fernández ante una encrucijada apremiante. Se rinde y entrega los últimos jirones de su autoridad presidencial o se sumerge a la dimensión desconocida de gobernar sin el kirchnerismo, en un estado de minoría angustiante. Decidió parar el reloj. En parte es su costumbre patear los conflictos para adelante. Pero en este caso -casualidad o estrategia- el tiempo podía jugarle un poco a su favor: el Frente de Todos es una familia mal ensamblada en la que la amenaza de ruptura toca los intereses de muchos actores relevantes. Más que nunca cuando hay elecciones legislativas en el horizonte cercano. Con el correr de las horas empezaron a llegar apoyos de gobernadores, diputados, intendentes y sindicalistas. La sangría de renuncias se detuvo, en un impasse dramático. ¿Cuánto más podría demorar una definición?

Cristina Kirchner nunca imaginó que justo ahora Alberto fuera a empacarse. En su entorno, consideran que debe “allanarse”. Lo culpan de llenar el gabinete de amigos sin capacidad de conducción política (apuntan sobre todo pero no únicamente a Cafiero) y de validar el ajuste del gasto que promovió Guzmán en su camino por pactar con el FMI. El impactante audio viral de la diputada Fernanda Vallejos, en el que trata al Presidente de “enfermo”, “mequetrefe” y “okupa”, retrata la virulencia que condimenta el desacuerdo. La pluma de Cristina ratifica que no se trató de un exabrupto aislado. Le recordó sin piedad que es presidente gracias a ella: “Le pido que honre esa decisión”.

El durísimo audio de una diputada kirchnerista sobre Alberto Fernández

La presión kirchnerista para hacer cambios urgentes respondía al miedo a que en noviembre fuera demasiado tarde para torcer el rumbo. Vislumbraban dos caminos contradictorios, igual de preocupantes:

* Que sin una reacción clara el resultado de las legislativas fuera otra paliza que dejara al Gobierno en minoría en las dos cámaras, maniatado y con el “boleto picado” de cara a 2023.

* Que con algunos ajustes en la campaña, ciertas medidas de estímulo y un mayor compromiso militante de la dirigencia peronista el Frente de Todos pudiera mejorar algo sus números y que eso pudiera ser interpretado por Fernández como una validación de su equipo y sus políticas. Es decir, que todo siguiera más o menos igual, en vuelo crucero hacia un fracaso dentro de dos años.

La lógica de Cristina el miércoles fue atacar en caliente para forzar los cambios ahora. ¿Midió las consecuencias de arrojar semejante misil? El silencio presidencial, las reacciones peronistas y la perplejidad de la opinión pública descolocaron a los promotores de la ofensiva. La vicepresidenta intuyó que el Gobierno le estaba tirando a la gente en contra. Lo acusa sin eufemismos al vocero presidencial, Juan Pablo Biondi. Ya el miércoles había sido llamativo el interés de la propia vicepresidenta por difundir que había llamado a Guzmán para explicarle que no pedía su cabeza. Temía que la señalaran ante un eventual temblor financiero. Lo ratificó en su texto, cuando señala que confía “sinceramente” que Fernández y Guzmán se van a sentar a revisar los números del presupuesto para moderar el ajuste. Y se encargó de aclarar que no pide cosas irracionales, como sugieren sus rivales internos: “No estoy proponiendo nada alocado ni radicalizado”.

Los caminos posibles

Emisarios de distintos sectores intentaron una mediación entre Alberto y Cristina, de momento trabada por el orgullo. “La gestión de gobierno seguirá desarrollándose del modo que yo estime conveniente. Para eso fui elegido”, tuiteó al mediodía el Presidente. Como quien dice “mando yo”. Edulcoró el mensaje al enfatizar su vocación de mantener unida la coalición.

 

Para acessar a íntegra: https://www.lanacion.com.ar/politica/la-debilidad-de-cristina-kirchner-y-el-peligro-de-una-implosion-del-frente-de-todos-nid16092021/

 

A China está no limiar de uma grande crise financeira, que afetará os mercados mundiais? - Adam Tooze (Chartbook)

Tem gente que está tremendo: afinal, são US$ 350 bilhões de dívida, num mercado imobiliário que representa 28% do PIB chinês. Pode dar calafrios em muita gente. Os ocidentais colocaram no último ano mais de 500 bilhões de dólares na China. Tudo vai fundir?

Paulo Roberto de Almeida

Adam Tooze's Top Links: Is Evergrande "China's Lehman moment"? (#21)

Stuff to read and listen to ahead of a nail-biting week. 

Is the long-awaited “China crisis” upon us? If Evergrande implodes, will it be China’s Lehman moment? 

Certainly, it will be at the top of the financial news in the coming week. The meltdown now seems irreversible. It will be controversial. Assessments of the crisis will bring into play wider views of China’s outlook. 

To help guide you through the news, this special edition of Chartbook Top Links pulls together some useful links and reading:

There is a mass of good stuff out there. The smart money is definitely not betting on a Lehman-style implosion with uncontrolled systemic contagion. But it is also clear that this crisis poses a huge challenge for Beijing’s crisis-management. It is another test of “Keynesianism with Chinese characteristics”.

The basics:

China’s financial markets are closed on Monday and Tuesday 20-21 September. But as Bloomberg reports, Evergrande’s inability to service its debts will likely become apparent on Monday. 

It will be scary. Rumors like this are circulating: 

There have been dramatic scenes in China.

Thousands of staff have been affected. For a good human interest story, see this report by the New York Times.

Evergrande has $305 billion in debts outstanding. Its footprint in China’s economy and society is large. For good basic backgrounder, check out this report by The Guardian.

For some metrics check out this CNBC report:

  1. Evergrande owns more than 1,300 real estate projects in over 280 cities in China.

  2. Its property services management arm is involved in nearly 2,800 projects across more than 310 cities in China.

  3. The company has seven units dabbling in a wide range of industries, including electric vehicles, health-care services, consumer products, video and television production units and even a theme park.

  4. The firm says it has 200,000 employees, but indirectly creates more than 3.8 million jobs every year, according to its website.

  5. Evergrande’s shares and bonds are included in indexes across Asia.

  6. In an August report, S&P estimated that over the next 12 months, Evergrande will have over 240 billion yuan ($37.16 billion) of bills and trade payables from contractors to settle — around 100 billion yuan of that amount is due this year. 

A paint supplier to Evergrande, Shanghai-listed Skshu Paint, said in a filing that the real estate firm repaid part of its debt in properties – and uncompleted ones at that.

Here is a finance twitter summary (NB expletives included):

According to SCMP, Evergrande’s major China investors are bailing out

“Crumbling stone and empty jungles”

One thing is clear. No one in the markets is really surprised by what is happening. This crisis has been a while in the making. Back in 2017 there were this kind of warning ….

Real Estate Kraken

If memory serves, I first became aware of Evergrande in 2018 with this FT Alphaville’s report by Jamie Powell. I remember it blew my mind. It was one of my talking points in the months following the release of Crashed.

At the time, the IMF was very worried about systemic risk arising from China’s overinflated real estate sector.

Contagion?

For the rest of the economy and the world at large it is not so much Evergrade’s collapse per se, but the resulting contagion that matters. 

On finance twitter, two very knowledgeable observes have delivered important threads. The fabulously-named Girolamo Pandolfi da Casio ditto Carlo Dossi Erba got their first: 

You can get it unrolled here

The punchline is sobering: “If funding stress signs don’t emerge, don’t conclude that there is no contagion. Contagion is playing out already if you know where to look.” 

But how bad is it going to be? Jens Nordvig went looking and in his first thread he arrived at rather less dramatic conclusions. 

There was contagion last week, but it was confined to immediately “adjacent” real estate bonds. 

Over the weekend Jens Nordvig doubled down with this thread on why Evergrande is unlikely to be China’s Lehman. 

Very well-informed China Beige Book concurred: “critical to recognize that all of this hinges on how broadly "contagion" is defined. This is not Lehman. There is no durable counterparty risk when the state owns or controls all of the counterparties.” 

But as they pointed out in another tweet: “"Signs of stress are appearing in China banks’ loan books, as more of their corp loans to developers go sour...“We haven’t seen such a high level of bad #property loans in over a decade” Balance sheets only provide visibility into the tip of the NPL iceberg

Their source was this WSJ report.

Controlled demolition?

The collapse of Evergrande has many of the attributes of a classic saga of corporate “rise and fall”. But it is also the effect of direct intervention by Beijing. As this report in the WSJ makes clear, Beijing is attempting to deflate the giant real estate bubble.

The crucial question is, can Beijing manage this controlled demolition?

A Bloomberg team paints a picture of how it could all go wrong. 

As Kent Willard speculates this could be a futher step towards Beijing’s assertion of control: “Xi will use Evergrande to rationalize a much stronger control over large corporations, provincial governments, and asset prices. Evergrande isn't the catalyst as much as the excuse. It won't be a financial crisis, but a controlled burn of the world's 2nd largest economy.”

Future of the China model.

The real worry going forward may be less the risk of an acute financial crisis, than the impact on the real estate sector as a whole, which according to some calculations accounts for as much as 28 percent of Chinese economic activity. 

Implications:

What are the implications for the rest of the world? 

Andreas Steno Larson of Nordea in his influential weekly report argues that Evergrande is not another Lehman, but it does pose a significant risk for export-dependent German economy. 

If you are in New Zealand or Australia, Evergrande feels a lot closer than it does in Europe or the US: 

Politics

The crisis reverberates at a moment when relations between China and the West are extremely tense. Political and geopolitical tensions have been escalating. But, at the same time, big money has been flowing from West to East. In the 15 months through June 2021, global investors on the rebound from COVID have bought $527 billion of Chinese stocks and bonds. 

Money one way, geopolitics the other - so striking has this dislocation become that it has attracted interesting commentary. See, for instance, this piece by the FT

The world of finance itself is divided. BlackRock and other big US players have continued to argued for engagement in China. By contrast, George Soros, the anti-Communist warhorse, has come out with all guns blazing. First in the pages of the FT and then in the WSJ, Soros has blasted what he regards as a fundamental miscalculation of Western investors. 

The WSJ headline was particularly garish. 

So direct was his attack that in the days that followed, BlackRock was forced to mount this rather lukewarm defense

Will Evergrande tip the balance? Will Western investors panic? Will Evergrande trigger a break in another strand in China’s relations with the West? 

As Bill Bishop at Sinocism pointed out, lines of communication between Beijing and Wall Street are running hot right now. Expect this argument to heat up! 

In reading commentary on the events it is useful to remind oneself that there are a lot of players with “skin in the game”. Commentary on the events themselves is highly politicized.