lundi 5 juin 2017

On this 73rd anniversary of the Normandy landing, it seems to be time to reinvent the Free World.

Cette page s’adressant à notre audience européenne est exceptionnellement en anglais. Elle sera transférée sur notre page en anglais d’ici une semaine. 

An independent NATO could replace the US as supreme guarantor of peace. 

The EU could become the Tax Haven for business and entrepreneurs only, thus financing NATO with recovered proceeds of tax evasion, and setting free the Very Long Term Investments (30-100 Yr.) palliating climate change, threats on ecosystems, cyberterrorism and psycho-warfare.

In June 2016, the people of the United Kingdom (UK) have voted to let their government negotiate Brexit, i. e. Britain exit from the European Union (EU). Formal negotiations are about to begin. Within two years, probably a bit more, the UK will no more be a member of the EU. Unless Euripides’ Law[i] plays some tricks.
Within the UK, the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland are the first to face unforeseen and critical consequences: Will the Good Friday Agreement (1998) become obsolete? With this agreement, the EU managed erasing the border artificially separating them. This formally ended a state of conflict punctuated by war and terrorism which, in practice, prevailed since Elizabeth the First… It means that the Irish people have a case to finally unite, and stay in the EU where they already belong, while keeping with the UK any trade and other agreements. A similar request from Scotland will probably follow. The scenario now in progress could end with the termination of a three-centuries-old union of kingdoms which, formally, never ceased to consider themselves as sovereign nations. Probable? No. But no more impossible.
Two weeks ago, Donald Trump, President of the United States, confirmed his previous statements during meetings in Europe and the Middle East: Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) should consider with a grain of salt the United States’ readiness to apply the One for All, All for One Rule which inspired the North Atlantic Treaty. 
The EU immediately reacted by backing Angela Merkel’s statement: From now on, we Europeans are on our own. 
A week later, Trump announced the Clichexit scenario (for Climate Change Exit): his government will step out of the Paris Agreement signed by 195 countries last year to jointly address Climate Change. Within days, a joint declaration signed by Germany, France and Italy reminded that this agreement cannot be renegotiated. Theresa May, the UK’s Prime Minister, remained silent. Sometimes a silence deserves to be heard.
The nations who signed the North Atlantic Treaty on April 4, 1949 were in a special state of mind. They took it as self-evident that the Free World does exist; that it consists of all nations accepting the Rule of Law, Universal Suffrage as source of sovereignty, and Separation of Powers; that they all understood that the Free World must make itself safe from all totalitarian threats; and they accepted to contribute to it through financial and military resources, while avoiding armed conflicts to settle their own disputes.
And so they did.

Pax Americana was a huge success for several decades.
In 1949, the United States constituted by far the biggest economy, industry, agriculture and scientific capability. It was the richest and most developed nation. It was an overwhelming military power with the then unique advantage of nuclear armament. It was also perceived as a legitimate moral leader in virtue of its role in World War 2 and of the tremendous help it was providing through the Marshall Plan. It was implicit that the U. S. Government was the guarantor underwriting this defense capability, and the leader in all strategic decisions and in political relations with the United Nations. This all the more that, at that time, the Berlin Air Bridge feeding that city despite a Soviet blockade reminded all that the USSR, led by Josef Stalin himself, represented the obvious threat to the Free World surviving the war; and that nations in continental Europe, having been the causes, the originators and the crucial site of two world wars, had lost all credibility.
It was a tremendous success: Considering that between 1910 and 1950 about one hundred million people died of consequences and repercussions of two world wars plus a few others, Pax Americana allowed for several decades a level of peace and prosperity unknown until now, especially in Europe. Whatever we may have been thinking of the United States’ leaders, corporations, successive Heads of State, and underlying motivations, we can feel some gratitude for the American people, who contributed to the Free World’s defense through the loss of a few hundred thousand lives and their taxes, without always understanding why they were paying (for they were not rich, that is a legend, see picture), and why they were risking their skins. They are present in Europe through various military graveyards which we should always treat with absolute respect.


American field farmers during the Great Depression.
Many of them were good for the draft in 1942.
..
With or without Donald Trump, the game is over.
The European Union must from now on learn to count on its own resources for its security. Which, after all, was bound to happen sooner or later, Trump or no Trump. Why should one single nation bear such a burden; a nation which enjoys no overwhelming power anymore today, and in which political divisions are growing to the point that some are considering an impeachment of its President, and at least one State, California, the strongest in population and GDP, is openly talking of a Calexit?
Let us think of the future. 
We attempt here a sketch of the scenario we could consider today for Europe, facing all its NATO allies, and appraising those of the world’s twelve key powers with whom we must work for peace while facing potential disagreements and disputes, and the chaotic hornets' nest called the Arab World. We think that these will be Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Mexico, North Korea, Russia and Turkey (alphabetic order).
We should keep NATO alive, (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Atlantic_Treaty) simply taking act of the U. S. reconsidering from now on its ability and willingness to play the guarantor of last resource in case of immediate threat. This doesn’t mean at all that the US might step out of the alliance. Actually the occasion is right for us Europeans to pay a tribute to John (Jack) D. Hickerson who, according to history, drafted the treaty almost single handed within two weeks. He certainly didn’t expect that his text would last that long. His statue somewhere could serve as reminder of this moral debt.

1
1949. The Air Bidge to rescue Berliners despite a Soviet blockade
demonstrated beyond doubts the U. S.'s moral leadership
as well as military preeminence
NATO was born for the U. S. to guarantee European security. It’s time we reconsider all the assumptions.
We submit that the guarantor should from now on be… NATO itself, being entrusted with the proper authority vis a vis each member, including the U. S. if it decides to remain a member, which is quasi-certain; without the U. S. if, in the course of unforeseeable events, it could return to its pre-1917 policy of total independence, as Donald Trump’s body and Twitter language seem to hint when acting the poker player who might hold four aces.
All members should contribute fairly to its resources, for it is perfectly true that the U. S. have been supporting more than their share, but at same time have overburdened NATO to make it fit with its own ambitions and perceived security needs. The U. S. in 2016 supported 72% of a total budget of $ 918 billion (The UK comes second with 6.5%, France comes third with 4.8 %.) These contributions are indirect (Germany’s defense forces, for instance, are part of NATO, and are equipped and organized for effective participation to NATO’s missions), and direct (NATO owns its own equipment for aerial defense, for command, control and communication systems…)
If NATO costs close to $ 1 trillion, it is at same time thanks to the US, and its fault, because it helps the US maintain a completely oversized defense organization, in which Air Force, Navy and Army duplicate weapon systems, and intelligence agencies compete with each other. And yet, on 9/11/2001, a few Muslim terrorists trained in the U. S. as pilots at a cost of a few thousand dollars each, motivated for suicide, armed with two GPS worth six hundred dollars apiece, took control of two airliners and crashed them on the World Trade Center in New York. They taught us that the world has changed. The last times the lesson was repeated were a few days ago in Manchester and on the London Bridge.

The direct cost to Al Qaeda of the 9/11 attack was far less than $ 50,000.
This was possible because it was a suicide mission inspired by transcendental motives.


Reconsider NATO’s missions and needs using more of the Apollo XI planning tools and less of the next quarterly forecast favored by Financialization.
We suggest that NATO’s needs in resources be reconsidered using long term strategic planning and implementation rather than Stockholders’ Value Enhancement (SVE) and the three universal scenarios of Global Financialization: Low salary costs, low salary costs, and… low salary costs, aiming at no other goals than “looking-good” quarterly reports and nanosecond speculation. About Financialization see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financialization
We suggest that NATO’s future weaponry definition be revised to take into account today’s new forms of aggression, and other major dangers, which may require completely different armament or no armament at all: population change with special attention to causes inciting sudden migration, climate change, possible destruction of ecosystems, control and piracy of information, psycho-manipulation by ideology propaganda using social networks, and surprise terrorist action killing and maiming at random innocent children, women and seniors, through coaching of suicidal behavior.

Let us, in the jails of many countries, identify and liaise with tomorrow’s Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi.
NATO’s policy statement should emphasize that NATO is more interested in contributing to world peace, and in eradicating war and violence as a way to settle dispute never mind the circumstances, than in defending European interests, or specific interests of any of its members.
Muhammad Mossadegh, Iran's Prime Minister
elected by a legitimate parliament, 1951-53


But we suggest that those members of NATO who also are members of the EU add to their contribution a new NATO-Europe Intelligence Unit. Its missions will be decided by Europe. it will be specialized in the twelve key powers already listed, which can have goals and interests synergistic with, or conflicting with Europe’s, and may live crises with possible violent consequences for world peace while constituting opportunities for cooperation. With each of them, we need a red telecom line. We must agree on what we agree, and agree on what we disagree. We must agree to update positions frequently. We must try to share visions of the future to update agreements. We should prepare with Putin how we shall relate with Russia after Putin; prepare it also, silently, with Putin’s successor presently in jail. And the same with the future Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi… and with each nation who hasn’t yet assimilated what makes a legitimate sovereign out of a people.
NATO should make it crystal-clear that not only will it not allow war between its own members, but it will then impose by force immediate, unconditional surrender to all fighting parties without distinction; and that it is ready to participate to any mission ordered by the United Nations (UN) to impose peace to war-waging parties the same way anywhere on the planet, whenever the UN’s Security Council decides that a conflict elsewhere is becoming an uncontrollable threat to world peace. As happened in the Middle East since 1948 around Israel and Palestine, and in Iran in 1951-53, where two ruthless dictatorships resulted of the deposition engineered by the CIA and the British Intelligence Service of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, legally elected in impeccable conditions, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Mosaddegh[ii] The NATO of tomorrow should use the same competences and information the other way round, so that when dissidents come out of jail and of camps to become Prime Ministers, they already know Europe, as a friend and ally, with no secret agenda.

Wars today are rooted in religious, ideological, and transcendent assumptions giving a sacred dimension to a Them and Us paradigm.
Take one example. There is one fundamental principle on which Palestinians and Israelis agree in full: They firmly refuse separation of Religion and State. Israel is a Jewish Republic. Palestine wants to be an Islamic Republic. In both countries, the Them and Us paradigm is declined to its logical end. War, terrorism, spontaneous violence, general insecurity, hostile settlements have been firmly built in this agreement in 1948.
NATO’s policy statement should include a doctrine statement to all followers and inspirational leaders of any organized ideologies and religions, that NATO considers any claimed sovereignty, whether of a historical or conceptual or hereditary or transcendent and any other nature, as a potential danger for Mankind if the Security Council of the UN assesses it aggressively infringes on a sovereignty that is already legitimated by the Rule of Law; unless its inspirational leaders publicly accept that the sole sovereign law in their country of residence is the one elaborated by legislative process, adopted by vote of a parliament elected through universal suffrage, in front of which all citizens and residents are treated as equals without any exception of age, sex, religion, ethnic origin, language, unusual but harmless behavior, or other.
Any ideology that can be described as “nationalist” because it is based on any such Them and Us assumption, will be considered as potentially dangerous for the same reasons. Such assumptions always imply that a specific population, never mind how defined, may claim to special rights compared with others; be these rights based on divine mission or other divine right, or on proclaimed genetic superiority, or on a position in history justifying either an allegedly proven superiority or a damage suffered in the past that deserves compensation, or on self-assessed superiority in “progress”, “civilization”, “reason”, “state-of-the-art technology” or “development”, etc.
However, NATO members should recognize that critics and complaints expressed by the U. S. regarding the excessive share of resources which it has contributed in the past are legitimate. We move that NATO’s members will set a goal for the next decade during which the US contribution to NATO’s resources will be reduced by two thirds, while NATO’s total contribution expressed in constant U. S. dollars would be reduced by one third. This unless the United States decide to withdraw from NATO.

Be transparent on Europe's interests, goals, and negotiations in progress.
The U. S., the United Kingdom and France are NATO’s three members already capable of nuclear dissuasion and retaliation. All of NATO’S members should agree that NATO be equipped with its own nuclear armament, on which its chief commanding officer would have sole authority in certain circumstances, for the sole purpose of guaranteeing the territory of each of its members as a sanctuary protected by the certainty of immediate retaliation. Unless France would decide to contribute its own nuclear dissuasion system (Force de Frappe) to NATO, if other NATO-EU members accept to contribute financially to France’s historical and operating costs incurred in it (you may have noticed that France needs the money…). To achieve this, NATO’s members should define what would be the exact circumstances in which the last resort of nuclear retaliation should be used, and what should be the chain of command executing it according to various possible scenarios, of course revisited at regular intervals.
NATO should make it clear that any military operation it would undertake outside the territory of its members will only be as part of a mission ordered by the UN and solicited by the nation to which belongs the territory targeted by this operation. It has been more or less the case in the past. Let it be the case beyond any suspicion.
In order to absolutely avoid circumstances in which NATO could happen to be the initial user of nuclear armament, NATO should be capable of sending by air combat-ready forces anywhere in the world within a week at most, these forces being always trained and prepared to train and support local forces which, through the UN, have requested assistance.

A tax reform to finance NATO, first through recovery of tax revenues diverted by tax havens, will make of the EU the supreme tax haven, but only for businesses and entrepreneurs.
The cost to the EU of tax evasion monitored by financialization operators and tax havens through their Overseas Financial Services (see Murphy’s report on Tax Havens at http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Documents/CreatingTurmoil.pdf) is around half a trillion dollars, i. e. the same order of magnitude than NATO’s future budget.
A tax reform eradicating tax havens by gradual shift from Income Tax to Tax on Net Assets should allow that recovered tax revenues would finance NATO’s financial resources. But there is more…
Comité Bastille's tax reform project, by gradually replacing all Income Tax, land tax and inheritance tax by a Tax on Net Assets (NAT) of physical persons only, is the only one that will put an end to tax havens, who were born in 1929 precisely because Income Tax was generalized from 1900-1915 onwards, and for the sole purpose of avoiding this form of taxation.
The foreseeable abolition of all Income tax will favor private, very long term (30-100 year) investments. They became impossible since the fatal accumulation of world debt plus the growing confusion of money supply and foreign debt, allowing short term profits at no risk for the global oligopoly of systemic banks[iii], their clients and services suppliers, increases the power they agree to impose on nations and businesses. From the forties to the seventies very long term investment was taken over by the State. Now most of European nations are paralyzed by excess debt. The EU should favor a new Bretton-Woods creating a new monetary order. After all, present difficulties were predicted by John Maynard Keynes at the Bretton-Woods conference when he proposed a new monetary standard which he called Bancor see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bancor for details. In 2008, Zhou Xiaochuan, then President of the People’s Bank of China, already proposed that Keynes’ project be revisited. An IMF study supported it in April 2010, see http://www.imf.org/external/np/pp/eng/2010/041310.pdf. In March 2017, Prof. Francois Morin, of Toulouse University’s Economy Department, wrote a book on his research, proposing how it could be implemented today in L’Economie Politique au XXIe Siècle, see http://www.luxediteur.com/catalogue/leconomie-politique-xxie-siecle/. In the U. S, Inequality.org defends a tax on net assets. See http://inequality.org/business-case-annual-wealth-tax/ Several think tanks including Comité Bastille are presently working on promoting this monetary reform, merged with the tax reform proposed here.
The progressive Tax on Net Assets will constitute the tool for setting limits to inequality in wealth, and gradually abolish the economic model by which Financialization presently governs the world.
It can be limited by a Sovereign Law on Budget Discipline, imposed by a sovereign authority inspired by the Swiss Federal Finance Control Agency (Eidgenössische Finanzkontrolle). It will maintain deficits within the bracket where it is more than compensated by creation of real assets and education for next generations, while slowly but automatically reducing Tax Pressure (total taxation as % of Gross Domestic Product) as well as favoring thrift and private investments.
Switzerland is an old European nation, and the oldest democracy in Europe. It is the richest country in the world in actual assets per capita and life expectancy. Its tax code is the closest from our proposed code, with a Federal Income Tax of only 8% and a progressive Tax on Wealth, meaning Net Assets of physical persons only, from 0 to 3%. We could pick a worse model.
We motion that the Swiss Confederation be invited to join the EU and NATO (with whom Switzerland already has cooperation agreements), it being understood that aligning tax on wealth and income tax with the figures in their Tax Code will be considered as the first major step toward abolition of Income Tax. Businesses will pay no more taxes. Their stockholders will pay instead, through tax on wealth, but the formidable consequences of such a level of long term investments on the European economy[iv] will be such that they will get more than their money back, with a healthy planet as a bonus.

André Teissier du Cros, President, Comité Bastille.




[i] It is not the worst, it is the unexpected that happens. Euripides, circa 500 B. C.
[ii] If our French readers feel somewhat smug reading about old Anglo-Saxon misdeeds in the Middle East, I have some similar stories to recall about protection of French oil or uranium interests in ex-French colonies in Africa which are worth their grain of salt.
[iv] For France alone, our model simulating the reform shows that a tax revenue of around $250 billion represented by all income taxes, land tax (taxe foncière), inheritance tax and present wealth tax (ISF) would be replaced by the same revenue coming from Tax on Net Assets of physical persons only. The double stimulus of abolition of Income Tax and higher taxation of dormant assets than of productive assets could mobilize annually $100 billion worth of long term private investments in quasi-equity, or 8% per year of total private French wealth.







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