Désaméricanisation du monde: Obama-Poutine-Xin, même combat ! (But who’ll stop the Nobels from voting with their feet ?)

https://i2.wp.com/www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/02.05.04/gifs/alties-0406-ig-nobel.jpgIl est alarmant que l’intervention militaire dans les conflits internes à l’étranger soit devenue chose ordinaire pour les États-Unis. Est-ce dans l’intérêt de l’Amérique à long terme ? J’en doute. Des millions de personnes à travers le monde considèrent de plus en plus l’Amérique non comme un modèle de démocratie, mais un modèle reposant uniquement sur la force, fabriquant artificiellement des coalitions sous le slogan du « vous êtes avec nous ou contre nous ». Vladimir Poutine
Alors que les politiciens américains des deux partis politiques continuent à faire des aller-retour entre la Maison Blanche et le Capitole, sans parvenir à un accord viable pour apporter la normalité au corps politique, et qu’ils s’en vantent, c’est peut-être le bon moment pour le monde embrouillé de commencer à envisager la construction d’un monde dé-américanisé. (…) Des jours aussi inquiétants où les destinées des autres pays sont entre les mains d’une nation hypocrite doivent prendre fin. Un nouvel ordre mondial doit être mis en place dans lequel toutes les nations, grandes ou petites, riches ou pauvres, verront leurs intérêts clés respectés et protégés sur un pied d’égalité. (…) À cette fin, plusieurs mesure fondamentales doivent être prises pour soutenir un monde dé-américanisé. (…) Pour commencer, toutes les nations doivent respecter les principes fondamentaux du droit international, y compris le respect de la souveraineté et ne pas s’ingérer dans les affaires intérieures des autres. (…) En outre, l’autorité de l’ Organisation des Nations Unies dans la gestion des points chauds du monde doit être reconnue. Cela signifie que nul n’a le droit de mener toute forme d’action militaire contre d’autres sans un mandat de l’ONU. (…) En plus de cela, le système financier mondial doit également faire l’objet de certaines réformes importantes. (…) Les économies émergentes et en développement doivent avoir davantage leur mot à dire dans les grandes institutions financières internationales, y compris la Banque mondiale et le Fonds monétaire international, afin qu’ils puissent mieux refléter les transformations du paysage économique et politique mondial. (…) Autre élément clé d’une réforme efficace, l’introduction d’une nouvelle monnaie de réserve internationale qui doit être créée pour remplacer le dollar américain dominant afin que la communauté internationale puisse s’éloigner définitivement de la contagion de la crise politique intérieure des États-Unis qui s’intensifie. (…) Bien sûr, l’objectif de ces changements n’est pas de mettre complètement de coté les États-Unis, ce qui est également impossible » conclu l’éditorialiste. « Il s’agit plutôt d’encourager Washington à jouer un rôle plus constructif dans la lutte contre les affaires mondiales. Agence Xinhua
President Obama has shelled out more in federal spending than the five presidents that came before him. Elizabeth Flock
Here’s a real bitter irony for the GOP. At the same time as their ideology took an ugly beating in the reality department, the man they are determined to destroy has a better record at deficit reduction than any of their recent Presidents. In fact, government spending under President Obama has grown at a slower rate than it did under any president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, according to Bloomberg (that’s over 50 years ago, if you’re counting). Ironically, this fact is due in part to their own obstructionism and President Obama’s endless compromises with them. Sarah Jones
Pour savoir qui sont réellement ces super-riches, accapareurs ou fainéants, il est intéressant de se plonger dans les travaux d’un chercheur, Edward N.Wolff, qui figure parmi ceux qui traque les inégalités depuis près de 20 ans. (…) Dans un rapport de 2010, il dévoile que 73,8% du patrimoine du 1% les plus riches sont dans des « unincorporated business », que nous croyons pouvoir traduire par entreprises individuelles, ces entreprises que leur fondateur n’a même pas constituées en sociétés à leur création mais tout simplement débuté en offrant ses produits ou services et qui sont restées sans statuts. Le grand public non averti pourrait penser que la fortune industrielle américaine est dans les grandes entreprises cotées, les Google, General Electric, les 40 entreprises du Dow Jones ou les 100 du Nasdaq. Erreur. Elles ne constituent que 11,8% du patrimoine total américain et 16,8% si l’on inclue les actions indirectement détenus à travers les fonds de pension, les OPCVM, etc. contre 20,1% [4] pour le patrimoine représenté par les entreprises individuelles. Plus de la moitié du patrimoine industriel américain est donc dans des entreprises non incorporées. De même d’ailleurs qu’en France. Dans son rapport 2010 sur les patrimoines 2007, Wolff confirme que les très riches américains sont ces créateurs d’entreprises individuelles, par cette phrase remarquable : « a somewhat startling 74 percent of the very rich reported owning their own business ». Pourquoi les entrepreneurs individuels représentent 75% des plus riches américains. C’est que la plus grande partie de la richesse d’une nation n’est pas créée par des élèves de grandes écoles ou universités, qui cherchent généralement des carrières sures au sein de grands groupes mais par des autodidactes qui, flair ou accident, débutent une activité en affichant simplement un panneau et ne s’embarrassent pas de statuts beaucoup trop compliqués ou coûteux. À force de travail et d’économies, leur activité grandit et ils finissent, aux USA, par constituer plus de 50% de l’actif industriel. On en trouve confirmation dans les travaux d’un autre chercheur [6]. C’est qu’un entrepreneur individuel ne peut généralement compter que sur lui-même – et son entourage familial –, pas sur les institutions financières, pour survivre en cas de retournement de la conjoncture économique et qu’il est donc conduit à accumuler de la richesse, à épargner, à s’enrichir au maximum, en vivant s’il le faut chichement, comme Sam Walton, le fondateur de la plus grande chaîne de distribution Wallmart qui roula dans sa vieille Ford plus de 20 ans, jusqu’à sa mort. (…) Ce qui nous conduit à penser que si la reprise américaine est si lente et si hésitante malgré les vannes de crédit largement ouvertes par la Federal Reserve, ce n’est pas que les circuits bancaires manquent de capitaux, c’est que les principaux agents de la croissance qui sont ces entrepreneurs américains, qui ont fait leur fortune généralement en partant de rien, ces riches américains n’ont plus confiance dans leur gouvernement et gardent leur fortune plutôt que de la risquer. Bernard Zimmern
Capital is a coward, and Mr. Obama has put the fear of uncertainty into capitalists. Take it from me, it’s hard to grow the pie — and thereby, hire more workers — when you are unsure how Washington is going to be divvying it up or what new rule it will come up with next. Mr. Moore points out that we’ve added 5,000 pages to the tax code in just the past 10 years. (…) Once upon a time, envy used to be a sin, but now it’s public policy. (…) “We tried tax cuts, and it didn’t work,” Mr. Obama claimed. He’s wrong. Experience is clear — be it from the Harding-Coolidge cuts of the 1920s, the Kennedy cuts of the 1960s, the Reagan cuts of the 1980s or the Bush cuts of the 2000s — taxing and spending doesn’t work, but cutting taxes grows the economy and brings in more revenue. As John F. Kennedy once put it, “A rising tide will lift all boats.” However, Mr. Obama, who once promised to control the tides, wants to control economic growth. (…) Has Mr. Obama reduced taxes on the middle class as he claims? Not quite. His tax-refundable credits cost the Treasury $81.49 billion a year. They are “welfare payments that masquerade as tax cuts,” Mr. Moore rightly notes. I agree with Mr. Moore that it would be fair if everyone paid at least something, but I think he may be overstating it a tad. The poor do pay taxes — they just pay them in forgone opportunity rather than with a check. Herman Cain
Under both Republican President Calvin Coolidge and Democratic President John F. Kennedy, high-income people paid more tax revenues into the federal treasury after tax rates went down than they did before. There is nothing mysterious about this. At high tax rates, vast sums of money disappear into tax shelters at home or is shipped overseas. At lower tax rates, that money comes out of hiding and goes into the American economy, creating jobs, rising output and rising incomes. Under these conditions, higher tax revenues can be collected by the government, even though tax rates are lower. Indeed, high income people not only end up paying more taxes, but a higher share of all taxes, under these conditions. This is not just a theory. It is what hard evidence shows happened under both Democratic and Republican administrations, from the days of Calvin Coolidge to John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. (…) The Democrats and Republicans both took positions during the Kennedy administration that were the direct opposite of the positions they take today. As Stephen Moore points out, « the Republicans almost universally opposed and the Democrats almost universally favored » the cuts in tax rates that President Kennedy proposed. Such Republican Senate stalwarts as Barry Goldwater and Bob Dole voted against reducing the top tax rate from 91% to 70%. Democratic Congressman Wilbur Mills led the charge for lower tax rates. Unlike the Republicans today, John F. Kennedy had an answer when critics tried to portray his tax cut proposal as just a « tax cut for the rich. » President Kennedy argued that it was a tax cut for the economy, that changed incentives meant a faster growing economy and that « A rising tide lifts all boats. » (…) ot only John F. Kennedy, but even John Maynard Keynes as well, argued that cutting tax rates could increase tax revenues and thereby help reduce the deficit. Because so few people bother to check the facts, Barack Obama can get away with statements about how « tax cuts for the rich » have « cost » the government money that now needs to be recouped. Such statements not only promote class warfare, to Obama’s benefit on election day, they also distract attention from his own runaway spending behind unprecedented trillion dollar deficits. Thomas Sowell
Reflecting the global mood, Xinhua, the Chinese news agency, editorialized last week that, with a possible U.S. default on the horizon, « it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world. » But then there is the Nobel Prize, and the fact that Americans, both native-born and immigrants, took home nine of them this year alone. Note to Xinhua: China, with 1.3 billion people, has produced a grand total of nine winners in its entire history. Of those nine, seven live abroad, including three in the U.S. Another, Liu Xiaobo, sits in a Chinese prison. How is national greatness best judged? The typical view is that what matters is size: Size of the economy, population, landmass, navy, nuclear arsenal. Hence the hysteria that China may overtake the U.S. in terms of GDP sometime in the next decade. Hence the treatment of middling powers such as Russia (with a GDP roughly that of Italy’s) as great powers. But a better metric for greatness is the ability of nations to produce, cultivate, attract and retain intellectual greatness. What is the ratio of Nobel laureates living in any one country to the total population? Russia, with a population of 142 million, has three living Nobel laureates, or one for every 47 million. So much for the land of Pasternak and Sakharov. A more interesting case is Israel. The Jewish state should be a Nobel powerhouse, given that Jews, 0.2% of the world’s population, have won 20% of all Nobels, including six prizes this year alone. But while Israel can claim nine living laureates, three of them live and teach mainly in the U.S. Why? « There are a lot of smart people in Israel and at the same time there was not a job, so he left, » Benny Shalev, brother of this year’s chemistry winner, Arieh Warshel, explained to the newspaper Haaretz. It isn’t enough for countries to produce geniuses. They also have to figure out how to employ them. Then there is Europe: Half a billion people with a comparatively minuscule Nobel representation. France has, by my count, just 10 living laureates. Germany does better, with nearly 30, although at least nine of them (including Henry Kissinger, physicist Arno Penzias, and this year’s medicine winner, Thomas Südhof ), have long lived in the U.S. Britain does about the same as Germany. Why is Europe such a Nobel laggard? In hindsight, evicting and killing most of its Jewish population was perhaps not the best idea—a lesson that still goes unlearned, considering the feverish efforts on European campuses to boycott Israeli academics. A more contemporary answer is the pervasive mediocrity of higher education throughout the EU. Cambridge and Oxford aside, the Shanghai Jiao Tong rankings list only one European university—the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich—in its top 30, and Switzerland isn’t even a member of the EU. Most European universities, overcrowded and underfunded, can’t hope to compete with their American peers. Which brings us to the Nobel superpower. Since 2000, Americans have won 21 of the 37 physics prizes, 18 of the 33 medicine prizes, 22 of the 33 chemistry prizes and an astonishing 27 of the 30 economics prizes. Pretty impressive considering our nonstop anxiety about failing schools, mediocre international test scores, undergrads not majoring in math or the sciences, and the rest. Singapore, South Korea and Finland may regularly produce the highest test scores among 15-year-olds, but something isn’t translating: Nobody from Singapore has ever won a Nobel. Korea has one—for peace. The Finns last took a science prize in 1967. The secret of America’s Nobel sauce isn’t hard to understand: an immigration culture that welcomed everyone from Ronald Coase (from the U.K.) to Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (from India) to Martin Kaplus (from Nazi-era Austria) to Elizabeth Blackburn (from Australia). A mostly private, highly competitive, lavishly endowed university system, juiced by federal funding for fundamental research. A culture of individualism and an ingrained respect for against-the-grain thinking. Bret Stephens

Attention: une désaméricanisation peut en cacher une autre !

Neuf prix Nobel dans toute son histoire dont sept vivant à l’étranger et trois aux Etats-Unis sans compter un en prison pour 1, 3 milliard d’habitants (Chine), trois prix Nobel vivant et à peine plus que le PIB italien pour le plus grand pays du monde et 147 millions d’habitants (Russie), 20% des prix Nobels de l’histoire et neuf encore vivant dont sept cette seule année mais trois travaillant la plupart du temps aux Etats-Unis pour 0, 2% de la population mondiale (Israël), dix Français, trente Britanniques et autant d’Allemands dont neuf vivant ou ayant vécu aux Etats-Unis pour un demi milliard-milliard d’habitants (Europe – finalement, l’expulsion ou l »extermination des Juifs n’était peut-être pas la meilleure des solutions), vingt-et-un des trente-sept derniers prix Nobel de physique, dix-huit des trente-trois Nobel de médecine, vingt-deux des derniers trente-trois de chimie, vingt-sept des derniers trente d’économie (Etats-Unis) …

Au lendemain, en cette saison des prix Nobel, où nos médias se félicitent de la victoire du plus rapide prix Nobel et accessoirement plus grand creuseur de déficits de l’histoire sur la prétendue folie du Tea party

En ces temps où, coup sur coup, les parangons de liberté tant de Moscou que de Pékin se paient le luxe de faire la leçon au supposé chef de file du Monde libre …

Pendant qu’un autre modèle de vertu démocratique fête à son inimitable manière son élection au Conseil de sécurité et qu’au pays de l’Obama français qui se voit ridiculiser par une petite Rom de 15 ans le matraquage fiscal continue …

Petite remise des pendules à l’heure, avec l’éditorialiste du Wall Street Journal Bret Stephens, sur la réalité de ce fameux monde qu’on est censé « désaméricaniser » …

Et ces prix Nobel qui refusent obstinément d’arrêter de voter avec leurs pieds …

Nobels and National Greatness

Anyone who thinks America’s best days are behind it should take a close

A look at the latest Nobel haul.

Bret Stephens

The WSJ

Oct. 14, 2013

In its proud and storied history, Hungary has produced a dozen winners of the Nobel Prize: four for chemistry; three for physics; three for medicine; one for economics; and one for literature. Not bad for a little country of not quite 10 million people.

But one curious fact: All of Hungary’s laureates ultimately left, or fled, the country. If you are brilliant, ambitious and Hungarian, better get out while you can.

I’ve spent the past week reading up on the Nobels, mostly to relieve the gloom emanating from Congress, the White House, the State Department, the GOP caucus. It’s paralysis time in D.C., and America-in- Decline time on the op-ed pages. Reflecting the global mood, Xinhua, the Chinese news agency, editorialized last week that, with a possible U.S. default on the horizon, « it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world. »

But then there is the Nobel Prize, and the fact that Americans, both native-born and immigrants, took home nine of them this year alone. Note to Xinhua: China, with 1.3 billion people, has produced a grand total of nine winners in its entire history. Of those nine, seven live abroad, including three in the U.S. Another, Liu Xiaobo, sits in a Chinese prison.

How is national greatness best judged? The typical view is that what matters is size: Size of the economy, population, landmass, navy, nuclear arsenal. Hence the hysteria that China may overtake the U.S. in terms of GDP sometime in the next decade. Hence the treatment of middling powers such as Russia (with a GDP roughly that of Italy’s) as great powers.

But a better metric for greatness is the ability of nations to produce, cultivate, attract and retain intellectual greatness. What is the ratio of Nobel laureates living in any one country to the total population? Russia, with a population of 142 million, has three living Nobel laureates, or one for every 47 million. So much for the land of Pasternak and Sakharov.

A more interesting case is Israel. The Jewish state should be a Nobel powerhouse, given that Jews, 0.2% of the world’s population, have won 20% of all Nobels, including six prizes this year alone. But while Israel can claim nine living laureates, three of them live and teach mainly in the U.S. Why? « There are a lot of smart people in Israel and at the same time there was not a job, so he left, » Benny Shalev, brother of this year’s chemistry winner, Arieh Warshel, explained to the newspaper Haaretz. It isn’t enough for countries to produce geniuses. They also have to figure out how to employ them.

Then there is Europe: Half a billion people with a comparatively minuscule Nobel representation. France has, by my count, just 10 living laureates. Germany does better, with nearly 30, although at least nine of them (including Henry Kissinger, physicist Arno Penzias, and this year’s medicine winner, Thomas Südhof ), have long lived in the U.S. Britain does about the same as Germany.

Why is Europe such a Nobel laggard? In hindsight, evicting and killing most of its Jewish population was perhaps not the best idea—a lesson that still goes unlearned, considering the feverish efforts on European campuses to boycott Israeli academics.

A more contemporary answer is the pervasive mediocrity of higher education throughout the EU. Cambridge and Oxford aside, the Shanghai Jiao Tong rankings list only one European university—the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich—in its top 30, and Switzerland isn’t even a member of the EU. Most European universities, overcrowded and underfunded, can’t hope to compete with their American peers.

Which brings us to the Nobel superpower. Since 2000, Americans have won 21 of the 37 physics prizes, 18 of the 33 medicine prizes, 22 of the 33 chemistry prizes and an astonishing 27 of the 30 economics prizes. Pretty impressive considering our nonstop anxiety about failing schools, mediocre international test scores, undergrads not majoring in math or the sciences, and the rest. Singapore, South Korea and Finland may regularly produce the highest test scores among 15-year-olds, but something isn’t translating: Nobody from Singapore has ever won a Nobel. Korea has one—for peace. The Finns last took a science prize in 1967.

The secret of America’s Nobel sauce isn’t hard to understand: an immigration culture that welcomed everyone from Ronald Coase (from the U.K.) to Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (from India) to Martin Kaplus (from Nazi-era Austria) to Elizabeth Blackburn (from Australia). A mostly private, highly competitive, lavishly endowed university system, juiced by federal funding for fundamental research. A culture of individualism and an ingrained respect for against-the-grain thinking.

The government shutdown is unfortunate; a default would be a disaster. But anyone who thinks America’s best days are behind us should take a close look at the latest Nobel haul. It says something that we take it for granted.

Voir aussi:

An Overdue Book: « Who’s The Fairest of Them All? »

Thomas Sowell

The New American

28 November 2012

If everyone in America had read Stephen Moore’s new book, Who’s The Fairest of Them All?: The Truth About Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America, Barack Obama would have lost the election in a landslide.

The point here is not to say, « Where was Stephen Moore when we needed him? » A more apt question might be, « Where was the whole economics profession when we needed them? » Where were the media? For that matter, where were the Republicans?

Since Who’s The Fairest of Them All? was published in October, there was little chance that it would affect this year’s election. But this little gem of a book exposes, in plain language and with easily understood facts, the whole house of cards of assumptions, fallacies and falsehoods which constitute the liberal vision of the economy.

Yet that vision triumphed on election day, thanks to misinformation that was artfully presented and seldom challenged. The title Who’s The Fairest of Them All? is an obvious response to liberals’ claim that their policies are aimed at creating « fairness » by, among other things, making sure that « the rich » pay their « fair share » of taxes. If you want a brief but thorough education on that, just read chapter 4, which by itself is well worth the price of the book.

A couple of graphs on pages 104 and 108 are enough to annihilate the argument about « tax cuts for the rich. » These graphs show that, under both Republican President Calvin Coolidge and Democratic President John F. Kennedy, high-income people paid more tax revenues into the federal treasury after tax rates went down than they did before.

There is nothing mysterious about this. At high tax rates, vast sums of money disappear into tax shelters at home or is shipped overseas. At lower tax rates, that money comes out of hiding and goes into the American economy, creating jobs, rising output and rising incomes. Under these conditions, higher tax revenues can be collected by the government, even though tax rates are lower. Indeed, high income people not only end up paying more taxes, but a higher share of all taxes, under these conditions.

This is not just a theory. It is what hard evidence shows happened under both Democratic and Republican administrations, from the days of Calvin Coolidge to John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. That hard evidence is presented in clear and unmistakable terms in Who’s The Fairest of Them All?

Another surprising fact brought out in this book is that the Democrats and Republicans both took positions during the Kennedy administration that were the direct opposite of the positions they take today. As Stephen Moore points out, « the Republicans almost universally opposed and the Democrats almost universally favored » the cuts in tax rates that President Kennedy proposed.

Such Republican Senate stalwarts as Barry Goldwater and Bob Dole voted against reducing the top tax rate from 91% to 70%. Democratic Congressman Wilbur Mills led the charge for lower tax rates.

Unlike the Republicans today, John F. Kennedy had an answer when critics tried to portray his tax cut proposal as just a « tax cut for the rich. » President Kennedy argued that it was a tax cut for the economy, that changed incentives meant a faster growing economy and that « A rising tide lifts all boats. »

If Republicans today cannot seem to come up with their own answer when critics cry out « tax cuts for the rich, » maybe they can just go back and read John F. Kennedy’s answer.

A truly optimistic person might even hope that media pundits would go back and check out the facts before arguing as if the only way to reduce the deficit is to raise tax rates on « the rich. »

If they are afraid that they would be stigmatized as conservatives if they favored cuts in tax rates, they might take heart from the fact that not only John F. Kennedy, but even John Maynard Keynes as well, argued that cutting tax rates could increase tax revenues and thereby help reduce the deficit.

Because so few people bother to check the facts, Barack Obama can get away with statements about how « tax cuts for the rich » have « cost » the government money that now needs to be recouped. Such statements not only promote class warfare, to Obama’s benefit on election day, they also distract attention from his own runaway spending behind unprecedented trillion dollar deficits.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is http://www.tsowell.com. To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at http://www.creators.com.

Voir également:

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Who’s the Fairest of Them All?

WHO’S THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL?: THE TRUTH ABOUT OPPORTUNITY, TAXES, AND WEALTH IN AMERICA

By Stephen Moore

Encounter Books, $21.50, 136 pages

Herman Cain

The Washington Times

Saturday, November 3, 2012

« The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so, » Ronald Reagan once said. He might have been talking about tax policy.

Stephen Moore’s latest book, « Who’s the Fairest of Them All?: The Truth About Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America, » fairly sets our liberal friends straight on the issue that seems to be confusing President Obama and the general American public a lot — economics and, in particular, tax policy.

Mr. Moore, the senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, formerly president of the Club for Growth and a fellow of the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation, has an encyclopedic knowledge of the tax fights of the 1980s. He condenses that nearly three decades in public policy in a slim 119-page volume that is an accessible and thorough guide to understanding economic growth. He understands that if we don’t learn the lessons of the past, we’re bound to repeat the follies, and so he has taken aim squarely at their chief originator, President Obama. While Mr. Obama may think of himself as Snow White — « the fairest of them all » — when it comes to taxing, he’s really Dopey, treating the world as if the Laffer Curve didn’t exist, as if food stamps and unemployment insurance actually grow the economy.

We should have seen this coming. It wasn’t so long ago that Charlie Gibson asked candidate Obama about his support for hiking the capital gains tax, given the historical experience that whenever government increases that tax, it loses revenue. After much back and forth, Mr. Obama insisted: « Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness. »

Four trillion dollars of debt later and 4 million jobs fewer than four years ago, we have learned that what Mr. Obama meant by fairness was actually going to make the tax code far less fair. The richest 1 percent of taxpayers already pay almost 40 percent of all income taxes, but still Mr. Obama wants more, threatening the « fat-cat bankers » with higher taxes. Mr. Obama wants a tax rate of 42 percent on anyone making more than $250,000. In some states, taxation could well be more than 50 percent. Capital is a coward, and Mr. Obama has put the fear of uncertainty into capitalists. Take it from me, it’s hard to grow the pie — and thereby, hire more workers — when you are unsure how Washington is going to be divvying it up or what new rule it will come up with next. Mr. Moore points out that we’ve added 5,000 pages to the tax code in just the past 10 years.

Mr. Obama would like to have you believe it’s the rich whose taxes will go up, but the fact is that the poor and the middle class get stuck with the consequences. At the same time Mr. Obama threatens to raise taxes on capital gains and therefore discourage people from investing, he has gutted the most successful anti-poverty program ever — the 1996 welfare reform law — turning our safety net into a safety hammock. It doesn’t have to be this way. Once upon a time, envy used to be a sin, but now it’s public policy. We can change that.

Economic growth could return again. With the help of groups like the Job Creators Solutions, which I co-founded with Bernie Marcus, we can begin to help employers educate employees about why it is so pivotal — for the rich and poor alike — that growth continue.

« We tried tax cuts, and it didn’t work, » Mr. Obama claimed. He’s wrong. Experience is clear — be it from the Harding-Coolidge cuts of the 1920s, the Kennedy cuts of the 1960s, the Reagan cuts of the 1980s or the Bush cuts of the 2000s — taxing and spending doesn’t work, but cutting taxes grows the economy and brings in more revenue. As John F. Kennedy once put it, « A rising tide will lift all boats. » However, Mr. Obama, who once promised to control the tides, wants to control economic growth.

Has Mr. Obama reduced taxes on the middle class as he claims? Not quite. His tax-refundable credits cost the Treasury $81.49 billion a year. They are « welfare payments that masquerade as tax cuts, » Mr. Moore rightly notes. I agree with Mr. Moore that it would be fair if everyone paid at least something, but I think he may be overstating it a tad. The poor do pay taxes — they just pay them in forgone opportunity rather than with a check. Poor people aren’t stupid; they’re just poor. They know things aren’t working in this country, and while they may not connect it to the tax rate, they too know something is amiss.

My 9-9-9 plan and discussion of opportunity zones was to start that conversation. Mr. Moore favors a flat tax and eliminating the corporate tax. I’m willing to negotiate. Are Congress and the president?

Herman Cain is a co-founder of Job Creators Solutions and former candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Voir encore:

Idée reçue

Qui sont les très riches Américains ?

Idée reçue : le 1% le plus riche des Américains n’est pas constitué de financiers de Wall Street mais aux trois quarts d’entrepreneurs individuels.

Bernard Zimmern

Emploi 2017

18 avril 2013

Contrairement aux croyances largement répandues, le centile le plus riche des Américains n’est pas constitué des financiers de Wall Street mais aux trois quarts d’entrepreneurs individuels, à la tête d’entreprises non incorporées. Ils ont débuté leurs entreprises sans s’embarrasser de statuts et sont parvenus dans le premier centile des plus riches par leur travail et en économisant. Mais ils possèdent plus de la moitié de la fortune industrielle des États-Unis et c’est donc d’eux que dépendent la croissance et l’emploi. Ceci peut expliquer la faible reprise de l’activité américaine malgré les vannes du crédit ouvertes par la Banque Fédérale si ces entrepreneurs n’ont pas confiance dans leur gouvernement et ne veulent plus prendre de risques.

Un débat clé pour l’avenir de nos sociétés occidentales

Ce débat a agité et continue d’agiter l’Amérique puisque Barack Obama réclame une taxation spéciale des millionnaires et qu’il est même question d’instituer aux USA un impôt sur la fortune. Un débat qui concerne la France. Il n’aurait en effet guère d’incidence s’il s’agissait seulement de couper le superflu et, comme le suggèrent rien moins que deux prix Nobel, de punir les plus riches qui vivraient, au mieux d’une rente, au pire de l’exploitation de la sueur et du sang des plus pauvres.

Le hic, c’est que ce sont précisément les plus riches qui sont responsables de plus de la moitié de l’investissement dans les entreprises et l’emploi. Comme dans probablement la quasi-totalité des pays de l’Ouest. Et que, comme l’a fort bien rappelé l’OCDE, la lutte contre les inégalités commence par un travail : « L’emploi est la voie la plus prometteuse pour réduire les inégalités. Le principal défi consiste à créer des emplois plus nombreux et de meilleure qualité, offrant de bonnes perspectives de carrière et des chances réelles d’échapper à la pauvreté » [1].

Les très riches Américains sont aux trois quarts des entrepreneurs individuels, non incorporés

Pour savoir qui sont réellement ces super-riches, accapareurs ou fainéants, il est intéressant de se plonger dans les travaux d’un chercheur, Edward N.Wolff, qui figure parmi ceux qui traque les inégalités depuis près de 20 ans. Pour chiffrer la fortune des Américains et sa composition en fonction du niveau de fortune, il s’appuie sur les enquêtes du Survey of Consumer Finances effectué par le Federal Reserve Board, publiées tous les 2 ans et portant sur environ 5.000 ménages (avec échantillonnage spécial sur les ménages les plus riches pour tenir compte de leur petit nombre). Un des intérêts de ces enquêtes est qu’elles se sont répétées depuis 1983 et que le chercheur les commente et les analyse tous les 2 ans depuis 1994. Ses travaux sont d’autant plus crédibles que Wolff appartient plutôt au clan des égalitaristes, comme d’autres membres de son université semble-t-il, qu’au clan des entrepreneurs.

Dans un rapport de 2010, il dévoile que 73,8% du patrimoine du 1% les plus riches [2] sont dans des « unincorporated business » [3], que nous croyons pouvoir traduire par entreprises individuelles, ces entreprises que leur fondateur n’a même pas constituées en sociétés à leur création mais tout simplement débuté en offrant ses produits ou services et qui sont restées sans statuts.

Le grand public non averti pourrait penser que la fortune industrielle américaine est dans les grandes entreprises cotées, les Google, General Electric, les 40 entreprises du Dow Jones ou les 100 du Nasdaq. Erreur. Elles ne constituent que 11,8% du patrimoine total américain et 16,8% si l’on inclue les actions indirectement détenus à travers les fonds de pension, les OPCVM, etc. contre 20,1% [4] pour le patrimoine représenté par les entreprises individuelles. Plus de la moitié du patrimoine industriel américain est donc dans des entreprises non incorporées. De même d’ailleurs qu’en France.

Dans son rapport 2010 sur les patrimoines 2007, Wolff confirme que les très riches américains sont ces créateurs d’entreprises individuelles, par cette phrase remarquable : « a somewhat startling 74 percent of the very rich reported owning their own business » [5].

Pourquoi les entrepreneurs individuels représentent 75% des plus riches américains

C’est que la plus grande partie de la richesse d’une nation n’est pas créée par des élèves de grandes écoles ou universités, qui cherchent généralement des carrières sures au sein de grands groupes mais par des autodidactes qui, flair ou accident, débutent une activité en affichant simplement un panneau et ne s’embarrassent pas de statuts beaucoup trop compliqués ou coûteux. À force de travail et d’économies, leur activité grandit et ils finissent, aux USA, par constituer plus de 50% de l’actif industriel.

On en trouve confirmation dans les travaux d’un autre chercheur [6]. C’est qu’un entrepreneur individuel ne peut généralement compter que sur lui-même – et son entourage familial –, pas sur les institutions financières, pour survivre en cas de retournement de la conjoncture économique et qu’il est donc conduit à accumuler de la richesse, à épargner, à s’enrichir au maximum, en vivant s’il le faut chichement, comme Sam Walton, le fondateur de la plus grande chaîne de distribution Wallmart qui roula dans sa vieille Ford plus de 20 ans, jusqu’à sa mort.

Les entrepreneurs individuels, le facteur clé de la croissance, qui manque actuellement

En 2007, c’est pourtant ce 1% des plus riches qui représente 49,3% de toutes les actions et fonds communs de placement, 60,6% des placements financiers, 62,4% du « business equity » [7], donc représente plus de la moitié de la fortune industrielle américaine. Page 19 de son édition 2012, Wolff va même plus loin et rappelle que « comme montré tableau 6, les foyers du centile le plus riche (rangés par patrimoine) investissaient plus des trois quarts de leurs économies dans la propriété immobilière, les entreprises, des actions de sociétés et des placements financiers ».

Ce qui nous conduit à penser que si la reprise américaine est si lente et si hésitante malgré les vannes de crédit largement ouvertes par la Federal Reserve, ce n’est pas que les circuits bancaires manquent de capitaux, c’est que les principaux agents de la croissance qui sont ces entrepreneurs américains, qui ont fait leur fortune généralement en partant de rien, ces riches américains n’ont plus confiance dans leur gouvernement et gardent leur fortune plutôt que de la risquer.

Sur le web.

Notes :

OCDE (2011), Toujours plus d’inégalité : Pourquoi les écarts de revenus se creusent. ↩

Pour éviter toute ambiguïté, il écrit lui-même que les très riches sont les 1% les plus riches, pas les 10% ou tout autre décile. ↩

Table 6 page 49 « Recent Trends in Household Wealth in the United States » 2010 Edward N. Wolff. Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. ↩

Page 16, ibid. ↩

Page 16, même document. ↩

« Entrepreneurship, Business Wealth, and Social Mobility » par Gabriel Basaluzzo UT Austin / ITAM. ↩

Table 9 ibid. ↩

Is Obama Like Ike?

Michael Doran

October 2013

“I remember some of the speeches of Eisenhower,” Hillary Clinton said during a joint interview with President Obama in January. “You know, you’ve got to be careful, you have to be thoughtful, you can’t rush in.” It seems likely her memories were jogged by the reviews of Evan Thomas’s recent book, Ike’s Bluff, which argued that Eisenhower’s experience as a soldier and general taught him the limitations of exercising power. That book and a spate of other recent studies have established Ike firmly in the public mind as the very embodiment of presidential prudence.

They have also turned him into a posthumous adviser to the Obama administration. Before becoming secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel bought three dozen copies of David A. Nichols’s study of the Suez Crisis and distributed them to (among others) the president, Hillary Clinton, and Leon Panetta, his predecessor as secretary of defense. At Suez, Ike refused to support Britain and France when they (in collusion with Israel) invaded Egypt, and he effectively killed the intervention. Hagel’s lesson was clear: Don’t let allies drag you into ill-advised military adventures.

In an influential essay published last year in Time entitled “On Foreign Policy, Why Barack Is Like Ike,” Fareed Zakaria argued that when the president showed a wariness to intervene in places like Syria, he was displaying an uncanny resemblance to Eisenhower. The key quality that the two share, Zakaria argued, is “strategic restraint.” In his recent book, Presidential Leadership and the Creation of the American Era (Princeton University Press, 200 pages), Joseph S. Nye of Harvard takes the argument even one step further. Nye claims Eisenhower was actually an early practitioner of what an Obama aide, speaking of the administration’s role in the ouster of the Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya, notoriously called “leading from behind.”

A cursory examination of Eisenhower’s actual Middle East policies reveals the hollowness of both this thesis and the notion that Eisenhower, as president, followed a strategy of restraint—especially as regards the Middle East. To be sure, he frequently exercised prudence in military affairs. He ended the war in Korea and did not intervene in 1956 when the Hungarians rose in revolt against their Soviet masters. Most notable of all, he refrained from intervention in Vietnam. But military prudence should not be confused with global strategy. Modern-day “restraintists” are quick to cite Eisenhower’s warning, in his farewell address, regarding the dangers of “the military industrial complex.” They typically forget, however, to quote his justification for it: “We face a hostile ideology—global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration.” Eisenhower, in other words, zealously prosecuted the Cold War. Indeed, contemporary critics diagnosed his administration as suffering from “pactomania,” an irresistible urge to organize alliances against Communism. Many historians now regard his reliance on the CIA, which toppled regimes in Iran and Guatemala, as anything but restrained. And there are also more public examples of Eisenhower flexing his presidential muscles.

There was Syria, for one. Then, as now, the country was at the center of a regional power struggle. In the summer of 1956, when the Syrian government began to drift toward the Soviet Union, Eisenhower instructed the CIA to topple it. By summer 1957, the spy agency had attempted to stage two coups, both of which failed. No sooner had Syrian counterintelligence rolled up the second plot than Eisenhower formulated another plan: fomenting jihad. He instructed the CIA to position itself in order to stir up violent disturbances along Syria’s borders. The goal was to present these incidents to the world as a threat—a Syrian threat—to the peace and security of the region. Syria’s neighbors would then use the unrest as a pretext to invade and topple the government in Damascus.

The trickiest part of the plan was convincing the Arab states to invade. In the hope that Saudi Arabia would help, Eisenhower wrote to King Saud. The letter expressed alarm over the “serious danger that Syria will become a Soviet Communist satellite.” It affirmed that “any country that was attacked by a Syria which was itself dominated by International Communism” could count on the United States for support. And then it closed with an appeal to Islam: “In view of the special position of Your Majesty as Keeper of the Holy Places of Islam, I trust that you will exert your great influence to the end that the atheistic creed of Communism will not become entrenched at a key position in the Moslem world.” The letter missed its mark. “Saud,” as the historian Salim Yaqub wrote, “had little interest in Eisenhower’s jihad.”

In praise of Ike’s pacific record, Zakaria notes that “from the end of the Korean War to the end of his presidency, not one American soldier died in combat.” The statistic is striking, but it creates a misleading impression. In truth, Eisenhower had the one quality all successful leaders have: He was lucky. Any number of his policies could easily have backfired, producing a much less impressive statistic. The Syrian crisis of 1957 is a case in point. While Eisenhower was attempting to generate a jihad, the Turkish government amassed 50,000 troops on the Syrian border. The move provoked the Soviets. In an interview with the New York Times, Nikita Khrushchev, then the Soviet premier, publicly accused the United States of fomenting the crisis and issued a warning to the Turks: “If the rifles fire,” he said bluntly, “the rockets will start flying.” Secretary of State John Foster Dulles immediately came to the aid of the Turks: “If there is an attack on Turkey by the Soviet Union,” he said, “it would not mean a purely defensive operation by the United States, with the Soviet Union a privileged sanctuary from which to attack Turkey.” In such tense circumstances, a miscalculation by a Turkish, Syrian, or Soviet commander could have dragged the United States into an extremely ugly conflict. History, in that case, would have produced less impressive statistics.

Zakaria also happens to be factually wrong. A number of soldiers did die on Eisenhower’s watch—three, to be exact. One fell to an enemy sniper; the other two to friendly fire. All of them died in Lebanon during the 1958 intervention. Zero or three—either way the record is remarkable, but the fallen Marines should remind us of an important fact: Eisenhower, when the situation required, did not shrink from entering a messy conflict.

In the first half of 1958, Camille Chamoun, the Lebanese president, was battling an insurgency and strongly urged Eisenhower to come to his assistance. The insurgents were receiving support from Syria, which by this time had merged with Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt to form the United Arab Republic. Eisenhower feared a quagmire and resisted calls to intervene. But overnight, his calculus changed.

When Eisenhower went to bed on Sunday, July 13, Iraq was an ally—“the country,” he wrote in his memoirs, “that we were counting on heavily as a bulwark of stability and progress in the region.” By the time he woke on Monday, the bulwark had collapsed. In the early morning hours, renegade army officers staged a successful coup, destroying Iraq’s Hashemite monarchy and replacing it with an Arab nationalist republic that Eisenhower feared might align with the United Arab Republic and its Soviet patron. In a mere instant, a Cold War ally had disappeared.

Fearing a push by Nasser and the Soviet Union against all Western-leaning states of the region, a number of American allies—including the Lebanese, Saudis, and Jordanians—called for immediate intervention by the United States. Cairo and Moscow, they argued, must be put on notice that the Americans would not let their remaining friends go the way of the Iraqi monarchy. If the United States failed to intervene, the Saudi king informed Eisenhower, it would be “finished” as a power in the region. Eisenhower sprung to action with remarkable speed. Within a few hours, he gave the order to send in the Marines to bolster the resolve of allies and reinvigorating the deterrent capability of the United States.

Almost immediately, Eisenhower invited a bipartisan group of congressional leaders to the White House for a briefing. Sam Rayburn, the speaker of the House, expressed concerns: “If we go in and intervene and our operation does not succeed, what do we do then?” He also worried that “the Russians would threaten general war.” Eisenhower replied that it was impossible “to prophesy the exact course of events. If we do or if we don’t go in, the consequences will be bad.” He calculated, however, that it was crucial to take “a strong position rather than a Munich-type position, if we are to avoid the crumbling of our whole security structure.” Rayburn also believed that “intervention would intensify resentment against us throughout the area.” Eisenhower shared his fear.

The Lebanon intervention, we now know, went as cleanly as any such operation in history. At the moment of decision, however, Eisenhower regarded the venture as highly risky—so dangerous, in fact, that it reminded him of giving the go order on D-Day, the most momentous event of his life. “Despite the disparity in the size of the two operations,” he wrote in his memoirs, “the possible consequences in each case, if things went wrong, were chilling.” What, in particular, made the intervention so dangerous? “In Lebanon, the question was whether it would be better to incur the deep resentment of nearly all of the Arab world (and some of the rest of the Free world) and in doing so to risk general war with the Soviet Union or to do something worse—which was to do nothing.”

Over the last year, a parade of America’s Middle Eastern allies have made their way through the White House, raising the alarm of Syria, and urging Obama to organize a more robust international response. Unlike Ike, Obama calculated that doing nothing was preferable to taking actions that have uncertain outcomes. As a result, when Obama finally decided that some response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons was necessary, he found himself almost bereft of allies.

And what about Nye’s favorable comparison of Obama’s foreign policy with Eisenhower’s? “An incautious comment by a midlevel White House official characterized the Libya policy as ‘leading from behind,’ and this became a target for political criticism,” Nye writes, but adds that “Eisenhower was a great exemplar of knowing that sometimes it is most effective to keep a low profile and to lead from behind.”

This is an act of rhetorical legerdemain. Nye’s use of the term gives the impression that two very different things are actually one and the same. With respect to Obama, “leading from behind” describes his administration’s policy toward Libyan intervention. With respect to Ike, it describes his management style, which Fred Greenstein famously called “the hidden-hand presidency.”

In Eisenhower’s day, intellectuals almost universally regarded him as an amiable dolt, more golfer than strategist. Before Greenstein (together with Stephen Ambrose and others) set the record straight in the 1980s, it was widely assumed that John Foster Dulles was the man who actually ran American foreign policy. Using declassified documents, Greenstein and his cohort showed that Eisenhower was resolutely in charge, a master of detail, fully in command of strategy and tactics. Eisenhower might have put Dulles out front and center stage, but he was always guiding him with a “hidden hand.”

The diary of Jock Colville, Winston Churchill’s right-hand man, provides a vivid example of Eisenhower’s skills at “gentle persuasion,” to use Nye’s phrase. After Stalin died in March 1953, Churchill, then in his final term as prime minister, perceived signs of moderation in Moscow. He began a campaign to convince Eisenhower to convene a summit with the USSR on the model of the great wartime conferences. Ike repeatedly rebuffed Churchill, who eventually made his differences with Eisenhower publicly known. Tensions came to a head in Bermuda in December 1953 at a conference attended by the leaders of the United States, Britain, and France. During one of the opening meetings, Churchill immediately delivered an eloquent appeal for engaging the new Soviet leaders. Eisenhower, Colville writes, was enraged. He reacted with “a short, very violent statement, in the coarsest terms,” likening the Soviet Union to “a whore” whom the United States would drive off the main streets. Colville was shocked by Eisenhower’s profanity. “I doubt,” he noted, “if such language has ever been heard at an international conference.”

Now consider: The Islamic Republic of Iran recently elected a new president, Hassan Rouhani, whom many observers regard as a moderate. Those observers have been urging Obama to engage with him directly, just as Churchill urged Ike. Imagine a conference between Obama and a delegation of European leaders who argue eloquently for reaching out to Rouhani. Obama springs up, enraged. The veins in his forehead pop out, throbbing. He launches into a profanity-laced tirade. “Iran,” he thunders, “is a whore and we are going to drive her off the streets of the Middle East.”

If Obama were truly like Ike in foreign policy, this thought experiment would not be a fanciful one.

The popular association of the Eisenhower administration with “strategic restraint” is itself he product of historical revisionism. It was not the contemporary view. Until the 1980s, most pundits believed the opposite. Their view was perfectly distilled in Townsend Hoopes’s The Devil and John Foster Dulles (1973). The unstated goal of the book was to saddle the Republicans with responsibility for the Vietnam War—no mean feat, given that Democrats Kennedy and Johnson had made the key decisions to intervene. Nevertheless, Hoopes found an ingenious method to lay the responsibility squarely on Eisenhower’s shoulders—or, more precisely, on the shoulders of his secretary of state.

John Foster Dulles’s influence, Hoopes explains, was so immense that it extended beyond the Republican Party. Dulles managed to shape the zeitgeist by establishing in the broad culture the unassailable sanctity of “America’s posture of categorical anti-Communism and limitless strategic concern.” Once he successfully stamped the culture with anti-Communist zealotry, the Democrats had no choice but to follow its inexorable logic, which led to imperial overreach in Vietnam. “In early 1968,” Hoopes writes, “when the Tet offensive and Lyndon Johnson’s withdrawal from further political combat tore away the final veil hiding the misperception and failure of America’s freedom-defending and nation-building in South Vietnam, I faced, along with many others, the dawning of the realization that an era in American foreign policy had ended.”

This was hysterically overwrought, obviously, but in its day, intellectuals took the argument seriously. It’s worth considering why. Caricature, of course, exaggerates recognizable aspects of reality. In the 1970s, the very real anti-Communism of the Eisenhower era was still a part of living memory. “Mutual Assured Destruction,” “the domino theory,” “brinkmanship”—these 1950s catchphrases reverberated, testifying to the fact that Ike, even while steering clear of military adventures, took the fight to the enemy. By contrast, contemporary audiences know Ike only from history books such as Greenstein’s, which emphasizes Eisenhower’s pragmatism precisely in order to supplant the prevailing caricature of his stupidity.

Still, there was more than just a grain of truth to Hoopes’s presentation. Ike operated in a specific ideological context. To detach “Ike the pragmatist” entirely from it is to draw a caricature every bit as distorted as “Dulles the zealot.”

Zakaria sees Ike and Obama as uncannily similar for exhibiting “strategic restraint” in their Middle East policies. That Obama has been restrained is undeniable. In what way, however, is his reluctance to use military force “strategic”? What larger plan does the policy serve? The best answer came last March from Tom Donilon, his former national-security adviser. The Obama administration, he explained in an interview, had determined that the United States was “over-invested in our military efforts in South Asia and in the Middle East.” At the same time, it was “dramatically under-invested” in Asia, which was “the most economically dynamic region in the world.” Therefore, it was “rebalancing” to Asia.

So Obama, the global strategist, pores over a huge map spread out on the table before him. Using his pointer stick like a croupier, he slides pieces from the Middle East to Asia. That’s all well and good on the global level, but what about the Middle East? The region is undergoing an epochal transformation. Where does the president see it headed? What is the American role in guiding it there?

In May 2011, a few months after the Arab Spring first broke out, Obama identified a powerful movement toward freedom and democracy and reached out his hand in partnership. “The question before us,” Obama said at the time “is what role America will play as this story unfolds.” He answered with clarity: “There must be no doubt that the United States of America welcomes change that advances self-determination and opportunity.” Only two years later, he struck a less hopeful note. In the Middle East, he said, “there are ancient sectarian differences, and the hopes of the Arab Spring have unleashed forces of change that are going to take many years to resolve. And that’s why we’re not contemplating putting our troops in the middle of someone else’s war.”

Where Obama was nurturing democracy two years ago, he is now arguing for quarantining sectarian violence. This blatant shift raises even more questions. Will this sectarianism burn itself out, or will the conflagration grow? What security structures will best contain it? How will the “rebalancing” to Asia help build them? One suspects that there are no answers to any of these questions, because the decision to pull back was disconnected from a larger vision of the Middle East. “Strategic restraint,” when applied to Obama’s policies, is synonymous with “strategic neglect.”

That was not true of Eisenhower’s policies. His eight years in office also coincided with a revolutionary wave. The old imperial and colonial order was crumbling. A new one, dominated by secular pan-Arab nationalism, was taking its place. Eisenhower saw it plainly and formulated a strategy to deal with it. His goal was to channel the nationalism of the region away from the Soviet bloc and toward the West by offering security and economic assistance. The United States was engaged in a delicate balancing act, supporting its European allies against the Soviet Union while simultaneously facilitating the rise of the independent nations of the Middle East, which were hostile to the Europeans.

It is impossible to understand any of Ike’s major moves without reference to this vision. Take, for instance, the Suez Crisis, which Zakaria cites as a prime example of “strategic restraint” and which Hagel holds up as a model for Obama. When Eisenhower turned against his allies, he did not do so out of any overarching commitment to “restraint.” He simply believed Britain and France were alienating Arab nationalists and destroying the prospect for a strategic accommodation between the Arab states and the West. He therefore shunted the Europeans aside—in what was actually the most dramatic assertion of American primacy of the Cold War.

In the midst of the crisis, he announced the Eisenhower Doctrine, a unilateral American commitment to defend the entire Middle East. His doctrine put the world on formal notice that the United States was replacing Britain as the dominant power in the region. The result of Ike’s “strategic restraint” was a massive increase in the global responsibilities of the United States. Obama’s restraint represents an attempt to shed those responsibilities.

The Ike–Obama analogy creates an illusion of commonality and historic continuity where none exists. It is bad history, because it depicts Eisenhower as a two-dimensional figure, entirely detached from his key associates and their core beliefs. At the same time, the analogy presents us with a distorted view of Obama. The Eisenhower Doctrine asserted American primacy in the Middle East, and every president since has regarded it a vital American interest to shape the international order of the region. Every president, that is, except the present one.

The old order in the Middle East is crumbling. The enemies and rivals of the United States—Russia, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda—are working assiduously to mold the new order that benefits them. Their efforts, which are often in conflict, have ignited a great fire. Unlike his predecessors, Barack Obama has determined that the United States is best served by hanging back. This is a sharp break with the past—especially with Eisenhower. Those desperately looking to burnish Obama’s reputation when it comes to foreign policy by associating it with that of a successful presidency will have to look elsewhere.

About the Author

Michael Doran, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and a former senior director of the National Security Council in the George W. Bush administration, is the Roger Hertog Senior Fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He is finishing a book on Eisenhower and the Middle East. He tweets @Doranimated.

Voir enfin:

Pourquoi les Français sont « en colère » : le rapport secret des préfets

François Bazin

Le Nouvel Observateur

19-10-2013

Un rapport confidentiel des préfets montre les racines d’une exaspération qui peine à s’exprimer sur le terrain social, mais qui menace de tout emporter dans les urnes.

C’est une note de quatre pages, classée « confidentiel » et rédigée par le ministère de l’Intérieur. Chaque mois, les services de Manuel Valls, sur la foi des rapports que leur adressent les préfets, rédigent une « synthèse », qui est une manière de plonger dans les méandres de l’opinion publique. Elle dit l’esprit du temps, le moral des élus et l’humeur des Français, ceux que l’on entend peu dans les grands médias et qui représentent ce que certains appellent « le pays profond ».

La dernière en date de ces synthèses a été publiée le 27 septembre dernier. Elle est remontée illico jusqu’au sommet de l’Etat et a été jugée suffisamment inquiétante à l’Elysée et à Matignon, pour que, cette fois-ci, elle soit communiquée aux principaux dirigeants de la majorité.

La France gronde, les Français sont en « colère « . Ce mot-là, François Hollande, en déplacement la semaine dernière en Haute-Loire, l’a d’ailleurs prononcé publiquement. Dans la synthèse des préfets, il ne figure pas de façon explicite. Mais c’est tout comme ! Les casquettes de la République n’ont pas l’habitude d’employer les formules chocs et les phrases qui claquent. C’est ce qui fait tout l’intérêt de la note du 27 septembre.

Il faut savoir la décoder pour mesurer son caractère alarmiste. Tout est écrit par petites touches qui signalent, une à une, les sources d’un mécontentement qui monte, qui tourne, qui s’alimente parfois à de petits riens dont on mesure toutefois combien ils pourraient devenir explosifs si demain ils devaient se cristalliser dans un même mouvement. On n’en est pas encore là. C’est ce qui explique, au bout du compte, un climat insaisissable fait d’aigreurs accumulées, sur fond de ressentiment à l’égard de ce qui vient d’en haut, du pouvoir parisien, de ceux qui gouvernent l’Etat.

« Un sentiment d’abandon »

Le premier point mis en exergue par les préfets porte sur le monde rural. Celui-ci « s’organise pour revendiquer une spécificité de traitement dans les réformes en cours ». A quelques mois des municipales, il n’y a rien là de secondaire.

Si le redécoupage cantonal « ne suscite guère de réactions dans l’opinion, il fait parfois l’objet de débats enflammés dans les exécutifs locaux ». Plus que « des accusations partisanes », les préfets notent ainsi « les inquiétudes sur les conséquences d’un tel redécoupage sur le maillage territorial des services publics et l’éligibilité à certaines subventions ou projets d’équipements ».

Le discours qui monte est tout entier dirigé « contre l’hégémonie des métropoles » que le gouvernement serait en train d’organiser à travers la loi Lebranchu. Chez les petits élus, tout fait désormais sens : les restructurations liées au vote de la loi de programmation militaire aussi bien que la réforme Peillon des rythmes scolaires. Le sentiment qui domine est « un sentiment d’abandon ».

Le deuxième point abordé par les préfets a davantage fait les gros titres des médias. »Inquiets du discours antifiscal qui pourrait favoriser les extrêmes, écrivent-ils, les élus considèrent que les limites du consentement à l’impôt sont atteintes. »

Là encore tout converge : « Dans les esprits où domine la hantise du chômage et de la baisse du pouvoir d’achat, la hausse de la fiscalité devient un élément anxiogène de plus. » L’expression utilisée est celle de « choc psychologique » pour « des foyers jusque-là non imposables ». A preuve,  » l’afflux record dans certains centres de finances publiques de contribuables à la recherche d’informations « .

Dans ce contexte, « les élus confient avoir constaté la radicalisation des propos de leurs administrés qui fustigent ‘un matraquage fiscal’ et ‘une hausse insupportable d’impôts qui financent un système trop généreux’. » Et les préfets de conclure : « La menace de désobéissance fiscale est clairement brandie. »

Le troisième point abordé par les casquettes de la République porte sur « l’évolution des modes de délinquance ». « Médiatisation croissante des faits divers par les médias locaux […] dans des régions qui s’en croyaient indemnes » ; « cambriolages, délinquance de proximité, incivilités » : la formule choisie pour résumer le sentiment des Français se passe de commentaire.

Tout cela « inquiète autant que cela exaspère ». C’est ce qui conduit les préfets à souligner que « la population semble désormais prête à s’impliquer davantage dans la lutte contre la délinquance à travers des opérations comme ‘voisins vigilants’ ou ‘alertes commerce' ».

Enfin, sur un mode un peu plus positif au regard des mesures prises récemment par le gouvernement avec notamment la baisse de la TVA sur la rénovation de logements, les préfets soulignent « la situation de détresse » qui est aujourd’hui celle des professionnels du bâtiment.

Loin du discours convenu sur les bienfaits supposés du statut d’auto-entrepreneur, ils rappellent ainsi que « dans certains départements, près de 70% des créations d’entreprises artisanales » relèvent de ce dit statut. Ce qui, ajouté à « la concurrence d’entreprises étrangères qualifiée de low cost », entretient un discours récurrent sur la « concurrence déloyale ».

Ras-le-bol fiscal

Faut-il dès lors s’étonner que le Front national monte dans les sondages ? Sentiment d’abandon des zones rurales, ras-le-bol fiscal, augmentation de la petite délinquance, détresse du monde artisanal : on retrouve là tous les ingrédients qui, mis bout à bout, nourrissent le programme lepéniste dans ce qu’il a de plus tristement classique. Durant l’été dernier, Hollande confiait volontiers son inquiétude de voir la réforme des retraites « unifier » un mécontentement latent.

« Si ça prend, disait-il en privé, toutes les catégories qui grognent oublieront leurs antagonismes pour se retrouver derrière la première manif venue. » Le danger n’est plus là. La réforme des retraites, bouclée fin août avec un sens achevé de l’équilibre hollandais, a étouffé dans l’oeuf le mouvement social et du même coup mes projets assassins de la gauche Mélenchon, en lien avec les secteurs les plus durs de la CGT ou de FO.

Sur le front de l’emploi qui s’améliore doucement, les plans sociaux qui tombent provoquent plus de ressentiments que de mobilisations. De même qu’il existe des grèves perlées, on voit s’installer une colère diffuse qui entretient dans le pays ce curieux climat où l’insatisfaction domine sans que jamais elle ne s’exprime de manière unifiée dans la rue.

« Ne comptez plus sur notre bulletin de vote »

Aujourd’hui, on en est là. Les sondages le disent. Les préfets le confirment. Les plus expérimentés des élus de gauche confient, la peur au ventre, que cette situation leur rappelle celle qui prédominait avant leur déroute des législatives de 1993. « Les gens se taisent. Bien sûr, sur les marchés, nos sympathisants viennent râler. Mais tous les autres ont le visage fermé, témoigne un député d’Ile-de-France. Ils se contentent d’un ‘C’est dur, hein !’ dont on sent bien qu’il veut dire ‘Ne comptez plus sur notre bulletin de vote’.  »

L’abstention, voilà l’ennemi. Celui qui fait trembler les candidats de l’actuelle majorité, à l’approche des municipales. Avec, en toile de fond, une attention croissante au discours lepéniste, perçu comme la dernière manifestation possible de ce refus du « système » qui fait désormais florès.

Dans ce climat délétère, tout est désormais fléché pour que la colère qui monte se porte sur le seul terrain électoral. Quand Jean-François Copé répète à tout-va que la seule manière de « sanctionner le pouvoir » est de favoriser une « vague bleue » aux prochaines municipales, mesure-t-il qu’il ne se trompe sur rien, sauf sur la couleur exacte d’un vote qui s’annonce essentiellement « bleu Marine » ? Face à cela, la majorité ne peut compter que sur l’implantation de ses élus sortants. Elle tente de faire souffler sur le pays un air d’optimisme, encouragé par la croissance qui revient et la courbe du chômage qui devrait s’inverser à la fin de l’année.

C’est peu et beaucoup à la fois. C’est un peu tard surtout pour espérer que le courant qui enfle, dans les profondeurs du pays, puisse être freiné dans les mois à venir. En 2014, immanquablement, tombera la facture. Pour Hollande, comme pour la droite républicaine, il n’y a guère de raison de penser qu’à la colère qui gronde, ne succédera pas, demain, une de ces sanctions dont on ne pourra pas dire qu’elle est venue par surprise.

3 commentaires pour Désaméricanisation du monde: Obama-Poutine-Xin, même combat ! (But who’ll stop the Nobels from voting with their feet ?)

  1. […] successeurs des auteurs toujours impunis du plus grand massacre de l’histoire se paient le luxe d’ironiser sur les limites du modèle démocratique […]

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  2. jcdurbant dit :

    OBAMA LEGACY (After the Philippines, Malaysia kowtows to China)

    Obama’s strategic rebalance, or “pivot,” to Asia has proved a disappointment in many capitals, with the ambitious 12-nation ­Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement in deep trouble. ­China, by contrast, can offer piles of cash and promises of investment without tortuous negotiations or exacting conditions. The U.S. military has been unable to prevent China’s island reclamation program in the South China Sea, while Duterte’s pledge to throw out U.S. troops has been another blow — even if many experts predict a less dramatic shift in Philippine foreign policy than its erratic president might threaten…

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/domino-theory-or-hedging-after-the-philippines-now-malaysia-embraces-china/2016/10/31/d30984ea-9f63-11e6-b74c-603fd6bbc17f_story.html

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