Présidence Trump: Ils déversent leurs problèmes sur les États-Unis (As with many of his crusades, guess who basic numbers always seem to support in the end ?)

At that point, you’ve got Europe and a number of Gulf countries who despise Qaddafi, or are concerned on a humanitarian basis, who are calling for action. But what has been a habit over the last several decades in these circumstances is people pushing us to act but then showing an unwillingness to put any skin in the game. (…) Free riders (…) So what I said at that point was, we should act as part of an international coalition. But because this is not at the core of our interests, we need to get a UN mandate; we need Europeans and Gulf countries to be actively involved in the coalition; we will apply the military capabilities that are unique to us, but we expect others to carry their weight. Obama (2016)
Trump’s approval rating trajectory has diverged from past presidents. Trump’s approval rating has actually ticked up as the 2018 midterm elections approach. The Hill
Nous protégeons l’Allemagne, la France et tout le monde et nous payons beaucoup d’argent pour ça… Ça dure depuis des décennies mais je dois m’en occuper parce que c’est très injuste pour notre pays et pour nos contribuables. Nous sommes censés vous défendre contre la Russie alors pourquoi payez-vous des milliards de dollars à la Russie pour l’énergie ! En fait l’Allemagne est captive de la Russie. Donald Trump
Quand le Mexique nous envoie ces gens, ils n’envoient pas les meilleurs d’entre eux. Ils apportent des drogues. Ils apportent le crime. Ce sont des violeurs. Donald Trump
Ce que je dis – et j’ai beaucoup de respect pour les Mexicains. J’aime les Mexicains. J’ai beaucoup de Mexicains qui travaillent pour moi et ils sont géniaux. Mais nous parlons ici d’un gouvernement beaucoup plus intelligent que notre gouvernement. Beaucoup plus malin, plus rusé que notre gouvernement, et ils envoient des gens. Et ils envoient – si vous vous souvenez, il y a des années, quand Castro a ouvert ses prisons et il les a envoyés partout aux États-Unis (…) Et vous savez, ce sont les nombreux repris de justice endurcis qu’il a envoyés. Et, vous savez, c’était il y a longtemps, mais (…)  à titre d’exemple, cet horrible gars qui a tué une belle femme à San Francisco. Le Mexique ne le veut pas. Alors ils l’envoient. Comment pensez-vous qu’il est arrivé ici cinq fois? Ils le chassent. Ils déversent leurs problèmes sur États-Unis et nous n’en parlons pas parce que nos politiciens sont stupides. (…) Et je vais vous dire quelque chose: la jeune femme qui a été tuée – c’était une statistique. Ce n’était même pas une histoire. Ma femme me l’a rapporté. Elle a dit, vous savez, elle a vu ce petit article sur la jeune femme de San Francisco qui a été tuée, et j’ai fait des recherches et j’ai découvert qu’elle a été tuée par cet animal … qui est venu illégalement dans le pays plusieurs fois et qui d’ailleurs a une longue liste de condamnations. Et je l’ai rendu public et maintenant c’est la plus grande histoire du monde en ce moment. … Sa vie sera très importante pour de nombreuses raisons, mais l’une d’entre elles sera de jeter de la lumière et de faire la lumière sur ce qui se passe dans ce pays. Donald Trump
Ou vous avez des frontières ou vous n’avez pas de frontières. Maintenant, cela ne signifie pas que vous ne pouvez pas permettre à quelqu’un de vraiment bien devenir citoyen. Mais je pense qu’une partie du problème de ce pays est que nous accueillons des gens qui, dans certains cas, sont bons et, dans certains cas, ne sont pas bons et, dans certains cas, sont des criminels. Je me souviens, il y a des années, que Castro envoyait le pire qu’il avait dans ce pays. Il envoyait des criminels dans ce pays, et nous l’avons fait avec d’autres pays où ils nous utilisent comme dépotoir. Et franchement, le fait que nous permettons que cela se produise est ce qui fait vraiment du mal à notre pays. Donald Trump
I was in primary school in my native Colombia when my father was murdered. I was six – just one year older than my daughter is now. My father was an officer in the Colombian army at a time when wearing a uniform made you a target for narcoterrorists, Farc fighters and guerrilla groups. What I remember clearly from those early years is the bombing and the terror. I was so afraid, especially after my dad died. At night, I would curl up in my mother’s bed while she held me close. She could not promise me that everything was going to be all right, because it wasn’t true. I don’t want my daughter to grow up like that. But when I turn on my TV, I see terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and in Orlando. There are dangerous people coming across our borders. Trump was right. Some are rapists and criminals, but some are good people, too. But how do we know who is who, when you come here illegally? I moved to the US in 2006 on a work permit. It took nearly five years and thousands of dollars to become a US citizen. I know the process is not perfect, but it’s the law. Why would I want illegals coming in when I had to go through this? It’s not fair that they’re allowed to jump the line and take advantage of so many benefits, ones that I pay for with my tax dollars. People assume that because I’m a woman, I should vote for the woman; or that because I’m Latina, I should vote for the Democrat. The Democrats have been pandering to minorities and women for the last 50 years. They treat Latinos as if we’re all one big group. I’m Colombian – I don’t like Mariachi music. Donald Trump is not just saying what he thinks people want to hear, he’s saying what they’re afraid to say. I believe that he’s the only candidate who can make America strong and safe again. Ximena Barreto (31, San Diego, California)
This week, as President Trump comes out in support of a bill that seeks to halve legal immigration to the United States, his administration is emphasizing the idea that Americans and their jobs need to be protected from all newcomers—undocumented and documented. To support that idea, his senior policy adviser Stephen Miller has turned to a moment in American history that is often referenced by those who support curbing immigration: the Mariel boatlift of 1980. But, in fact, much of the conventional wisdom about that episode is based on falsehoods rooted in Cold War rhetoric. During a press briefing on Wednesday, journalist Glenn Thrush asked Miller to provide statistics showing the correlation between the presence of low-skill immigrants and decreased wages for U.S.-born and naturalized workers. In response, Miller noted the findings of a recent study by Harvard economist George Borjas on the Mariel boatlift, which contentiously argued that the influx of over 125,000 Cubans who entered the United States from April to October of 1980 decreased wages for southern Florida’s less educated workers. Borjas’ study, which challenged an earlier influential study by Berkeley economist David Card, has received major criticisms. A lively debate persists among economists about the study’s methods, limited sample size and interpretation of the region’s racial categories—but Miller’s conjuring of Mariel is contentious on its own merits. The Mariel boatlift is an outlier in the pages of U.S. immigration history because it was, at its core, a result of Cold War posturing between the United States and Cuba. Fidel Castro found himself in a precarious situation in April 1980 when thousands of Cubans stormed the Peruvian embassy seeking asylum. Castro opened up the port of Mariel and claimed he would let anyone who wanted to leave Cuba to do so. Across the Florida Straits, the United States especially prioritized receiving people who fled communist regimes as a Cold War imperative. Because the newly minted Refugee Act had just been enacted—largely to address the longstanding bias that favored people fleeing communism—the Marielitos were admitted under an ambiguous, emergency-based designation: “Cuban-Haitian entrant (status pending).” (…) In order to save face, Castro put forward the narrative that the Cubans who sought to leave the island were the dregs of society and counter-revolutionaries who needed to be purged because they could never prove productive to the nation. This sentiment, along with reports that he had opened his jails and mental institutes as part of this boatlift, fueled a mythology that the Marielitos were a criminal, violent, sexually deviant and altogether “undesirable” demographic. In reality, more than 80% of the Marielitos had no criminal past, even in a nation where “criminality” could include acts antithetical to the revolutionary government’s ideals. In addition to roughly 1,500 mentally and physically disabled people, this wave of Cubans included a significant number of sex workers and queer and transgender people—some of whom were part of the minority who had criminal-justice involvement, having been formerly incarcerated because of their gender and sexual transgression. Part of what made Castro’s propaganda scheme so successful was that his regime’s repudiation of Marielitos found an eager audience in the United States among those who found it useful to fuel the nativist furnace. U.S. legislators, policymakers and many in the general public accepted Castro’s negative depiction of the Marielitos as truth. By 1983, the film Scarface had even fictionalized a Marielito as a druglord and violent criminal. Then and now, the boatlift proved incredibly unpopular among those living in the United States and is often cited as one of the most vivid examples of the dangers of lax immigration enforcement. In fact, many of President Jimmy Carter’s opponents listed Mariel as one of his and the Democratic Party’s greatest failures, even as his Republican successor, President Ronald Reagan, also embraced the Marielitos as part of an ideological campaign against Cuba. Julio Capó, Jr.
For an economist, there’s a straightforward way to study how low-skill immigration affects native workers: Find a large, sudden wave of low-skill immigrants arriving in one city only. Watch what happens to wages and employment for native workers in that city, and compare that to other cities where the immigrants didn’t go. An ideal “natural experiment” like this actually happened in Miami in 1980. Over just a few months, 125,000 mostly low-skill immigrants arrived from Mariel Bay, Cuba. This vast seaborne exodus — Fidel Castro briefly lifted Cuba’s ban on emigration -— is known as the Mariel boatlift. Over the next few months, the workforce of Miami rose by 8 percent. By comparison, normal immigration to the US increases the nationwide workforce by about 0.3 percent per year. So if immigrants compete with native workers, Miami in the 1980s is exactly where you should see natives’ wages drop. Berkeley’s Card examined the effects of the Cuban immigrants on the labor market in a massively influential study in 1990. In fact, that paper became one of the most cited in immigration economics. The design of the study was elegant and transparent. But even more than that, what made the study memorable was what Card found. In a word: nothing. The Card study found no difference in wage or employment trends between Miami — which had just been flooded with new low-skill workers — and other cities. This was true for workers even at the bottom of the skills ladder. Card concluded that “the Mariel immigration had essentially no effect on the wages or employment outcomes of non-Cuban workers in the Miami labor market. » (…) Economists ever since have tried to explain this remarkable result. Was it that the US workers who might have suffered a wage drop had simply moved away? Had low-skill Cubans made native Miamians more productive by specializing in different tasks, thus stimulating the local economy? Was it that the Cubans’ own demand for goods and services had generated as many jobs in Miami as they filled? Or perhaps was it that Miami employers shifted to production technologies that used more low-skill labor, absorbing the new labor supply? Regardless, there was no dip in wages to explain. The real-life economy was evidently more complex than an “Econ 101” model would predict. Such a model would require wages to fall when the supply of labor, through immigration, goes up. This is where two new studies came in, decades after Card’s — in 2015. One, by Borjas, claims that Card’s analysis had obscured a large fall in the wages of native workers by using too broad a definition of “low-skill worker.” Card’s study had looked at the wages of US workers whose education extended only to high school or less. That was a natural choice, since about half of the newly-arrived Cubans had a high school degree, and half didn’t. Borjas, instead, focuses on workers who did not finish high school — and claimed that the Boatlift caused the wages of those workers, those truly at the bottom of the ladder, to collapse. The other new study (ungated here), by economists Giovanni Peri and Vasil Yasenov, of the UC Davis and UC Berkeley, reconfirms Card’s original result: It cannot detect an effect of the boatlift on Miami wages, even among workers who did not finish high school. (The wages of Miami workers with high school degrees (and no more than that) jump up right after the Mariel boatlift, relative to prior trends. The wages of those with less than a high school education appear to dip slightly, for a couple of years, although this is barely distinguishable amid the statistical noise. And these same inflation-adjusted wages were also falling in many other cities that didn’t receive a wave of immigrants, so it’s not possible to say with statistical confidence whether that brief dip on the right is real. It might have been — but economists can’t be sure. The rise on the left, in contrast, is certainly statistically significant, even relative to corresponding wage trends in other cities. Here is how the Borjas study reaches exactly the opposite conclusion. The Borjas study slices up the data much more finely than even Peri and Yasenov do. It’s not every worker with less than high school that he looks at. Borjas starts with the full sample of workers of high school or less — then removes women, and Hispanics, and workers who aren’t prime age (that is, he tosses out those who are 19 to 24, and 60 to 65). And then he removes workers who have a high school degree. In all, that means throwing out the data for 91 percent of low-skill workers in Miami in the years where Borjas finds the largest wage effect. It leaves a tiny sample, just 17 workers per year. When you do that, the average wages for the remaining workers look like this: (…) For these observations picked out of the broader dataset, average wages collapse by at least 40 percent after the boatlift. Wages fall way below their previous trend, as well as way below similar trends in other cities, and the fall is highly statistically significant. There are two ways to interpret these findings. The first way would be to conclude that the wage trend seen in the subgroup that Borjas focuses on — non-Hispanic prime-age men with less than a high school degree — is the “real” effect of the boatlift. The second way would be to conclude, as Peri and Yasenov do, that slicing up small data samples like this generates a great deal of statistical noise. If you do enough slicing along those lines, you can find groups for which wages rose after the Boatlift, and others for which it fell. In any dataset with a lot of noise, the results for very small groups will vary widely. Researchers can and do disagree about which conclusion to draw. But there are many reasons to favor the view that there is no compelling basis to revise Card’s original finding. There is not sufficient evidence to show that Cuban immigrants reduced any low-skill workers’ wages in Miami, even small minorities of them, and there isn’t much more that can be learned about the Mariel boatlift with the data we have. (…) Around 1980, the same time as the Boatlift, two things happened that would bring a lot more low-wage black men into the survey samples. First, there was a simultaneous arrival of large numbers of very low-income immigrants from Haiti without high school degrees: that is, non-Hispanic black men who earn much less than US black workers but cannot be distinguished from US black workers in the survey data. Nearly all hadn’t finished high school. That meant not just that Miami suddenly had far more black men with less than high school after 1980, but also that those black men had much lower earnings. Second, the Census Bureau, which ran the CPS surveys, improved its survey methods around 1980 to cover more low-skill black men due to political pressure after research revealed that many low-income black men simply weren’t being counted. (…) In sum, the evidence from the Mariel boatlift continues to support the conclusion of David Card’s seminal research: There is no clear evidence that wages fell (or that unemployment rose) among the least-skilled workers in Miami, even after a sudden refugee wave sharply raised the size of that workforce. This does not by any means imply that large waves of low-skill immigration could not displace any native workers, especially in the short term, in other times and places. But politicians’ pronouncements that immigrants necessarily do harm native workers must grapple with the evidence from real-world experiences to the contrary. Michael Clemens (Center for Global Development, Washington, DC)
His name was Luis Felipe. Born in Cuba in 1962, he came to the United States on a fishing boat and ended up in prison for shooting his girlfriend. He founded the New York chapter of the Latin Kings in 1986. Soon he was ordering murders from his prison cell. Esquire
Judge Martin says the extreme conditions are necessary to protect society.  »I do not do it out of my sense of cruelty, » the judge said at the sentencing, after Mr. Felipe had expressed remorse for the killings. But noting that the defendant had been convicted for ordering the murder of three Latin Kings and the attempted murder of four others, the judge said that without such restrictions,  »some of the young men sitting in this court today who are supporters of Mr. Felipe might well be murdered in the future. » (…) That Mr. Felipe, a man of charisma and intelligence, is nonetheless a ruthless criminal is not in dispute. His accounts of his background vary. He has said that his mother was a prostitute and that both parents are now dead. At the age of 9, he was sent to prison for robbery. On his 19th birthday in 1980, he arrived in the United States during the Mariel boatlift. In short order, Mr. Felipe became a street thug, settling in Chicago. There he joined the Latin Kings, a Hispanic organization established in the 1940’s. He moved to the Bronx. One night in 1981, in what has been described as a drunken accident, he shot and killed his girlfriend. He fled to Chicago and was not apprehended until 1984. Sentenced to nine years for second-degree manslaughter, he ended up at Collins Correctional Facility in Helmuth, N.Y. At Collins, he found an inmate system lorded over by black gangs and white guards. In 1986, he started a fledgling New York prison chapter of the Latin Kings. In a manifesto that followers circulated, he laid out elaborate laws and rituals, emphasizing Latin pride, family values, rigorous discipline and swift punishment. He was paroled in 1989 but by 1991 had returned to prison. He was eventually sent to Attica for a three-year sentence for possession of stolen property. His word spread, not least because he wrote thousands of letters, his prose a mix of flamboyant grandiosity and street bluntness. As King Blood, Inka, First Supreme Crown, Mr. Felipe corresponded with Latin Kings in and out of prison. (At its peak, the gang was estimated to have about 2,000 members.) He soared with self-aggrandizement, styling himself as both autocratic patriarch and jailhouse Ann Landers, dispensing advice about romance, family squabbles, schoolyard disputes. But in 1993 and 1994, disciplinary troubles erupted throughout the Latin Kings, with members vying for power, filching gang money, looking sideways at the wrong women. Infuriated, King Blood wrote to his street lieutenants: B.O.S. (beat on sight) and T.O.S. (terminate on sight).  »Even while he was in Attica in segregation, he was able to order the leader of the Latin Kings on Rikers Island to murder someone who ended up being badly slashed in the face, » said Alexandra A. E. Shapiro, a Federal prosecutor. One victim was choked and beheaded. A second was killed accidentally during an attempt on another man. A third was gunned down. Federal authorities, who had been monitoring Mr. Felipe’s mail, arrested 35 Latin Kings. Thirty-four pleaded guilty. Only Mr. Felipe insisted on a trial. The Latin Kings still revere him, said Antonio Fernandez, King Tone, the gang’s new leader, who is trying to reposition it as a mainstream organization.  »He brought a message of hope, » he said. NYT
Luis « King Blood » Felipe, who founded the New York chapter in 1986 (…) ran the gang from prison like a demented puppet-master. He ordered the murders of three Kings and plotted to murder three others. He routinely dispatched « T.O.S. » orders–shorthand for « Terminate on Sight. » In one particularly gory execution, a rival was strangled, decapitated and set afire in a bathtub. His Kings tattoo was peeled off his arm with a knife. Convicted of racketeering in 1996, Felipe was sentenced to life imprisonment in solitary confinement to cut him off from the Kings. LA Times
Julio Gonzalez, a jilted lover whose arson revenge at the unlicensed Happy Land nightclub in the Bronx in 1990 claimed 87 lives, making him the nation’s worst single mass murderer at the time, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Plattsburgh, N.Y., where he had been taken from prison. He was 61 (…) Mr. Gonzalez was born in Holguín, a city in Oriente Province in Cuba, on Oct. 10, 1954. He served three years in prison in the 1970s for deserting the Cuban Army. In 1980, when he was 25, he joined what became known as the Mariel boatlift, an effort organized by Cuban-Americans and agreed to by the Cuban government that brought thousands of Cuban asylum-seekers to the United States. It was later learned that many of the refugees had been released from jails and mental hospitals. Mr. Gonzalez was said to have faked a criminal record as a drug dealer to help him gain passage. (…) Mr. Gonzalez had just lost his job at a Queens lamp warehouse when he showed up at Happy Land. There he argued heatedly with his girlfriend, Lydia Feliciano, about their six-year on-again, off-again relationship and about her quitting as a coat checker at the club. Around 3 a.m., a bouncer ejected him. According to testimony, Mr. Gonzalez walked three blocks to an Amoco service station, where he found an empty one-gallon container and bought $1 worth of gasoline from an attendant he knew there. He returned to the club. (…) Mr. Gonzalez splashed the gasoline at the bottom of a rickety staircase, the club’s only means of exit, and ignited it. Then he went home and fell asleep. (…) Ms. Feliciano was among the six survivors. She recounted her argument with Mr. Gonzalez to the police, who went to his apartment, where he confessed. “I got angry, the devil got to me, and I set the fire,” he told detectives. (…) During a video conference-call interview at the time, he said he had not realized how many people were inside Happy Land that night, that he had nothing against them and that his anger had been directed at the bouncer. NYT
Cet exode des Marielitos a commencé par un coup de force. Le 5 avril 1980, 10 000 Cubains entrent dans l’ambassade du Pérou à La Havane et demandent à ce pays de leur accorder asile. Dix jours plus tard, Castro déclare que ceux qui veulent quitter Cuba peuvent le faire à condition d’abandonner leurs biens et que les Cubains de Floride viennent les chercher au port de Mariel. L’hypothèse est que Castro voit dans cette affaire une double opportunité : Il se débarrasse d’opposants -il en profite également pour vider ses prisons et ses asiles mentaux et sans doute infiltrer, parmi les réfugiés, quelques agents castristes ; Il espère que cet afflux soudain d’exilés va profondément déstabiliser le sud de la Floride et affaiblir plus encore le brave Président Jimmy Carter, préchi-prêcheur démocrate des droits de l’homme, un peu trop à gauche pour endosser l’habit de grand Satan impérialiste que taille à tous les élus de la Maison Blanche le leader cubain. De fait, du 15 avril au 31 octobre 1980, quelque 125 000 Cubains quitteront l’île. 2 746 d’entre eux ont été considérés comme des criminels selon les lois des Etats-Unis et incarcérés. Le Nouvel Obs
Avec l’autorisation du président Fidel Castro, 125 000 Cubains quittent leur île par le port de Mariel pour trouver refuge aux États-Unis. Cet exode massif posera plusieurs problèmes aux Américains qui y mettront un terme après deux mois. Le 3 avril 1980, six Cubains entrent de force à l’ambassade du Pérou à La Havane pour s’y réfugier. Les autorités cubaines demandent leur retour sans succès. Voulant donner une leçon au Pérou, le président Castro fait retirer les gardes protégeant l’ambassade. Celle-ci est submergée par plus de 10 000 personnes qui sont vite aux prises avec des problèmes de salubrité et le manque de nourriture. Pendant que d’autres ambassades sont envahies (Costa Rica, Espagne), la communauté cubano-américaine entreprend une campagne de support. Voulant récupérer le mouvement, Castro annonce le 23 avril une politique de porte ouverte pour ceux qui veulent quitter Cuba. Il invite les Cubains habitant aux États-Unis à venir chercher leurs proches au port de Mariel. Cet exode, qui se fait avec 17 000 navires de toutes sortes, implique environ 125 000 personnes, en grande partie des gens de la classe ouvrière, des Noirs et des jeunes. Son envergure reflète un profond mécontentement face à l’économie cubaine et la baisse de la ferveur révolutionnaire. D’abord favorables à cet exode, les États-Unis sont vite débordés. Le 14 mai, le président Jimmy Carter fait établir un cordon de sécurité pour arrêter les navires. Placés dans des camps militaires et des prisons fédérales, les réfugiés sont interrogés à leur arrivée. Parmi eux, on retrouve des criminels et des malades mentaux qui ont quitté avec le soutien des autorités cubaines, ce qui a un effet négatif sur la population. Carter cherche à remplacer l’exode maritime par un pont aérien avec un quota de 3000 personnes par année. Mais aucun accord n’est conclu avec Cuba. Submergées par un exode en provenance de Haïti, les autorités américaines mettront fin à l’exode cubain le 20 juin 1980. Perspective monde
As BuzzFeed investigative reporter Ken Bensinger chronicles in his new book, Red Card: How the U.S. Blew the Whistle on the World’s Biggest Sports Scandal, the investigation’s origins began before FIFA handed the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 event to Qatar. The case had actually begun as an FBI probe into an illegal gambling ring the bureau believed was run by people with ties to Russian organized crime outfits. The ring operated out of Trump Tower in New York City. Eventually, the investigation spread to soccer, thanks in part to an Internal Revenue Service agent named Steve Berryman, a central figure in Bensinger’s book who pieced together the financial transactions that formed the backbone of the corruption allegations. But first, it was tips from British journalist Andrew Jennings and Christopher Steele ― the former British spy who is now known to American political observers as the man behind the infamous so-called “pee tape” dossier chronicling now-President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia ― that pointed the Americans’ attention toward the Russian World Cup, and the decades of bribery and corruption that had transformed FIFA from a modest organization with a shoestring budget into a multibillion-dollar enterprise in charge of the world’s most popular sport. Later, the feds arrested and flipped Chuck Blazer, a corrupt American soccer official and member of FIFA’s vaunted Executive Committee. It was Blazer who helped them crack the case wide open, as HuffPost’s Mary Papenfuss and co-author Teri Thompson chronicled in their book American Huckster, based on the 2014 story they broke of Blazer’s role in the scandal. Russia’s efforts to secure hosting rights to the 2018 World Cup never became a central part of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice’s case. Thanks to Blazer, it instead focused primarily on CONCACAF, which governs soccer in the Caribbean and North and Central America, and other officials from South America. But as Bensinger explained in an interview with HuffPost this week, the FIFA case gave American law enforcement officials an early glimpse into the “Machiavellian Russia” of Vladimir Putin “that will do anything to get what it wants and doesn’t care how it does it.” And it was Steele’s role in the earliest aspects of the FIFA case, coincidentally, that fostered the relationship that led him to hand his Trump dossier to the FBI ― the dossier that has now helped form “a big piece of the investigative blueprint,” as Bensinger said, that former FBI director Robert Mueller is using in his probe of Russian meddling in the election that made Trump president. HuffPost
There are sort of these weird connections to everything going on in the political sphere in our country, which I think is interesting because when I was reporting the book out, it was mostly before the election. It was a time when Christopher Steele’s name didn’t mean anything. But what I figured out over time is that this had nothing to do with sour grapes, and the FBI agents who opened the case didn’t really care about losing the World Cup. The theory was that the U.S. investigation was started because the U.S. lost to Qatar, and Bill Clinton or Eric Holder or Barack Obama or somebody ordered up an investigation. What happened was that the investigation began in July or August 2010, four or five months before the vote happened. It starts because this FBI agent, who’s a long-term Genovese crime squad guy, gets a new squad ― the Eurasian Organized Crime Squad ― which is primarily focused on Russian stuff. It’s a squad that’s squeezed of resources and not doing much because under Robert Mueller, who was the FBI director at the time, the FBI was not interested in traditional crime-fighting. They were interested in what Mueller called transnational crime. So this agent looked for cases that he thought would score points with Mueller. And one of the cases they’re doing involves the Trump Tower. It’s this illegal poker game and sports book that’s partially run out of the Trump Tower. The main guy was a Russian mobster, and the FBI agent had gone to London ― that’s how he met Steele ― to learn about this guy. Steele told him what he knew, and they parted amicably, and the parting shot was, “Listen, if you have any other interesting leads in the future, let me know.” Steele had already been hired by the English bid for the 2018 World Cup at that point. What Chris Steele starts seeing on behalf of the English bid is the Russians doing, as it’s described in the book, sort of strange and questionable stuff. It looks funny, and it’s setting off alarm bells for Steele. So he calls the FBI agent back, and says, “You should look into what’s happening with the World Cup bid. » (…) It’s tempting to look at this as a reflection of the general U.S. writ large obsession with Russia, which certainly exists, but it’s also a different era. This was 2009, 2010. This was during the Russian reset. It was Obama’s first two years in office. He’s hugging Putin and talking about how they’re going to make things work. Russia is playing nice-nice. (…)That’s what I find interesting about this case is that, what we see in Russia’s attempt to win the World Cup by any means is the first sort of sign of the Russia we now understand exists, which is kind of a Machiavellian Russia that will do anything to get what it wants and doesn’t care how it does it. It was like a dress rehearsal for that. (…) It’s one of these things that looks like an accident, but so much of world history depends on these accidents. Chris Steele, when he was still at MI-6, investigated the death of Alexander Litvinenko, who was the Russian spy poisoned with polonium. It was Steele who ran that investigation and determined that Putin probably ordered it. And then Steele gets hired because of his expertise in Russia by the English bid, and he becomes the canary in the coal mine saying, “Uh oh, guys, it’s not going to be that easy, and things are looking pretty grim for you.” (…) I don’t know if that would have affected whether or not Chris Steele later gets hired by Fusion GPS to put together the Trump dossier. But it’s certain that the relationship he built because of the FIFA case meant that the FBI took it more seriously.   (…) I think [FIFA vice president Jérôme Valcke] and others were recognizing this increasingly brazen attitude of the criminality within FIFA. They had gone from an organization where people were getting bribes and doing dirty stuff, but doing it very carefully behind closed doors. And it was transitioning to one where the impunity was so rampant that people thought they could do anything. And I think in his mind, awarding the World Cup to Russia under very suspicious circumstances and also awarding it to Qatar, which by any definition has no right to host this tournament, it felt to him and others like a step too far. I don’t think he had any advance knowledge that the U.S. was poking around on it, but he recognized that it was getting out of hand. People were handing out cash bribes in practically broad daylight, and as corrupt as these people were, they didn’t tend to do that. (…) The FIFA culture we know today didn’t start yesterday. It started in 1974 when this guy gets elected, and within a couple years, the corruption starts. And it starts with one bribe to Havelange, or one idea that he should be bribed. And it starts a whole culture, and the people all sort of learn from that same model. The dominoes fell over time. It’s not a new model, and things were getting more and more out of hand over time. FIFA had been able to successfully bat these challenges down over the years. There’s an attempted revolt in FIFA in 2001 or 2002 that Blatter completely shut down. The general secretary of FIFA was accusing Blatter and other people of either being involved in corruption or permitting corruption, and there’s a moment where it seems like the Executive Committee was going to turn against Blatter and vote him out and change everything. But they all blinked, and Blatter dispensed his own justice by getting rid of his No. 2 and putting in people who were going to be loyal to him. The effect of those things was more brazen behavior. (…) It was an open secret. I think it’s because soccer’s just too big and important in all these other countries. I think other countries have just never been able to figure out how to deal with it. The best you’d get was a few members of Parliament in England holding outraged press conferences or a few hearings, but nothing ever came of it. It’s just too much of a political hot potato because soccer elsewhere is so much more important than it is the U.S. People are terrified of offending the FIFA gods There’s a story about how Andrew Jennings, this British journalist, wanted to broadcast a documentary detailing FIFA corruption just a week or so before the 2010 vote, and when the British bid and the British government got a hold of it, they tried really hard to stifle the press. They begged the BBC not to air the documentary until after the vote, because they were terrified of FIFA. That’s reflective of the kind of attitudes that all these countries have. (…) it reminds me of questions about Chuck Blazer. Is he all bad, or all good? He’s a little bit of both. The U.S. women’s national team probably wouldn’t exist without him. The Women’s World Cup probably wouldn’t either. Major League Soccer got its first revenue-positive TV deal because of Chuck Blazer. (…) At the same time, he was a corrupt crook that stole a lot of money that could’ve gone to the game. And so, is he good or bad? Probably more bad than good, but he’s not all bad. That applies to the Gold Cup. The Gold Cup is a totally artificial thing that was made up ultimately as a money-making scheme for Blazer, but in the end, it’s probably benefited soccer in this country. So it’s clearly not all bad. (…) The money stolen from the sport isn’t just the bribes. Let’s say I’m a sports marketing firm, and I bribe you a million dollars to sign over a rights contract to me. The first piece of it is that million dollars that could have gone to the sport. But it’s also the opportunity cost: What would the value of those rights have been if it was taken to the free market instead of a bribe? All that money is taken away from the sport. And the second thing was traveling to South America and seeing the conditions of soccer for fans, for kids and for women. That was really eye-opening. There are stadiums in Argentina and Brazil that are absolutely decrepit. And people would explain, the money that was supposed to come to these clubs never comes. You have kids still playing with the proverbial ball made of rags and duct tape, and little girls who can’t play because there are no facilities or leagues for women at all. When you see that, and then you see dudes making millions in bribes and also marketing guys making far more from paying the bribes, I started to get indignant about it. FIFA always ties itself to children and the good of the game. But it’s absurd when you see how they operate. The money doesn’t go to kids. It goes to making soccer officials rich. (…) When massive amounts of money mixes with a massively popular cultural phenomenon, is it ever going to be clean? I wish it would be different, but it seems kind of hopeless. How do you regulate soccer, and who can oversee this to make sure that people behave in an ethical, clean and fair way that benefits everyone else? It’s not an accident that every single international sports organization is based in Switzerland. The answer is because the Swiss, not only do they offer them a huge tax break, they also basically say, “You can do whatever you want and we’re not going to bother you.” That’s exactly what these groups want. Well, how do you regulate that? I don’t think the U.S. went in saying, “We’re going to regulate soccer.” I think they thought if we can give soccer a huge kick in the ass, if we can create so much public and political pressure on them that sponsors will run away, they’ll feel they have no option but to react and clean up their act. It’s sort of, kick ’em where it hurts. (…) But also, the annoying but true reality of FIFA is that when the World Cup is happening, all the soccer fans around the world forget all their anger and just want to watch the tournament. For three and a half years, everyone bitches about what a mess FIFA is, and then during the World Cup everyone just wants to watch soccer. There could be some reinvigoration in the next few months when the next stupid scandal appears. And I do think Qatar could reinvigorate more of that. There’s a tiny piece of me that thinks we could still see Qatar stripped of the World Cup. That would certainly spur a lot of conversation about this. Ken Bensinger
The United States has the world’s largest trade deficit. It’s been that way since 1975. The deficit in goods and services was $566 billion in 2017. Imports were $2.895 trillion and exports were only $2.329 trillion. The U.S. trade deficit in goods, without services, was $810 billion. The United States exported $1.551 trillion in goods. The biggest categories were commercial aircraft, automobiles, and food. It imported $2.361 trillion. The largest categories were automobiles, petroleum, and cell phones. (…) The Largest U.S. Deficit Is With China More than 65 percent of the U.S. trade deficit in goods was with China. The $375 billion deficit with China was created by $506 billion in imports. The main U.S. imports from China are consumer electronics, clothing, and machinery. Many of these imports are actually made by American companies. They ship raw materials to be assembled in China for a lower cost. They are counted as imports even though they create income and profit for these U.S. companies. Nevertheless, this practice does outsource manufacturing jobs. America only exported $130 billion in goods to China. The top three exports were agricultural products, aircraft, and electrical machinery. The second largest trade deficit is $69 billion with Japan. The world’s fifth largest economy needs the agricultural products, industrial supplies, aircraft, and pharmaceutical products that the United States makes. Exports totaled $68 billion in 2017.Imports were higher, at $137 billion. Much of this was automobiles, with industrial supplies and equipment making up another large portion. Trade has improved since the 2011 earthquake, which slowed the economy and made auto parts difficult to manufacture for several months. The U.S. trade deficit with Germany is $65 billion. The United States exports $53 billion, a large portion of which is automobiles, aircraft, and pharmaceuticals. It imports $118 billion in similar goods: automotive vehicles and parts, industrial machinery, and medicine. (…) The trade deficit with Canada is $18 billion. That’s only 3 percent of the total Canadian trade of $582 billion. The United States exports $282 billion to Canada, more than it does to any other country. It imports $300 billion. The largest export by far is automobiles and parts. Other large categories include petroleum products and industrial machinery and equipment. The largest import is crude oil and gas from Canada’s abundant shale oil fields. The trade deficit with Mexico is $71 billion. Exports are $243 billion, mostly auto parts and petroleum products. Imports are $314 billion, with cars, trucks, and auto parts being the largest components. The Balance
On connaît les photos de ces hommes et de ces femmes débarquant sur des plages européennes, engoncés dans leurs gilets de sauvetage orange, tentant à tout prix de maintenir la tête de leur enfant hors de l’eau. Impossible également d’oublier l’image du corps du petit Aylan Kurdi, devenu en 2016 le symbole planétaire du drame des migrants. Ce que l’on sait moins c’est que le « business » des passeurs rapporte beaucoup d’argent. Selon la première étude du genre de l’Office des Nations unies contre la drogue et le crime (l’UNODC), le trafic de migrants a rapporté entre 5,5 et 7 milliards de dollars (entre 4,7 et 6 milliards d’euros) en 2016. C’est l’équivalent de ce que l’Union européenne a dépensé la même année dans l’aide humanitaire, selon le rapport. (…) En 2016, au moins 2,5 millions de migrants sont passés entre les mains de passeurs, estime l’UNODC qui rappelle la difficulté d’évaluer une activité criminelle. De quoi faire fructifier les affaires de ces contrebandiers. Cette somme vient directement des poches des migrants qui paient des criminels pour voyager illégalement. Le tarif varie en fonction de la distance à parcourir, du nombre de frontières, les moyens de transport utilisés, la production de faux papiers… La richesse supposée du client est un facteur qui fait varier les prix. Evidemment, payer plus cher ne rend pas le voyage plus sûr ou plus confortable, souligne l’UNODC. Selon les estimations de cette agence des Nations unies, ce sont les passages vers l’Amérique du Nord qui rapportent le plus. En 2016, jusqu’à 820 000 personnes ont traversé la frontière illégalement, versant entre 3,1 et 3,6 milliards d’euros aux trafiquants. Suivent les trois routes de la Méditerranée vers l’Union européenne. Environ 375 000 personnes ont ainsi entrepris ce voyage en 2016, rapportant entre 274 et 300 millions d’euros aux passeurs. Pour atteindre l’Europe de l’Ouest, un Afghan peut ainsi dépenser entre 8000 € et 12 000 €. Sans surprise, les rédacteurs du rapport repèrent que l’Europe est une des destinations principales des migrants. (…) Les migrants qui arrivent en Italie sont originaires à 89 % d’Afrique, de l’Ouest principalement. 94 % de ceux qui atteignent l’Espagne sont également originaires d’Afrique, de l’Ouest et du Nord. En revanche, la Grèce accueille à 85 % des Afghans, Syriens et des personnes originaires des pays du Moyen-Orient. (…) des milliers de citoyens de pays d’Amérique centrale et de Mexicains traversent chaque année la frontière qui sépare les Etats-Unis du Mexique. Les autorités peinent cependant à quantifier les flux. Ce que l’on sait c’est qu’en 2016, 2 404 personnes ont été condamnées pour avoir fait passer des migrants aux Etats-Unis. 65 d’entre eux ont été condamnés pour avoir fait passer au moins 100 personnes.Toujours en 2016, le Mexique, qui fait office de « pays-étape » pour les voyageurs, a noté que les Guatémaltèques, les Honduriens et les Salvadoriens formaient les plus grosses communautés sur son territoire. En 2016, les migrants caribéens arrivaient principalement d’Haïti, note encore l’UNODC. (…) Sur les 8189 décès de migrants recensés par l’OIM en 2016, 3832 sont morts noyés (46 %) en traversant la Méditerranée. Les passages méditerranéens sont les plus mortels. L’un d’entre eux force notamment les migrants à parcourir 300 kilomètres en haute mer sur des embarcations précaires. C’est aussi la cruauté des passeurs qui est en cause. L’UNODC décrit le sort de certaines personnes poussées à l’eau par les trafiquants qui espèrent ainsi échapper aux gardes-côtes. Le cas de centaines de personnes enfermées dans des remorques sans ventilation, ni eau ou nourriture pendant des jours est également relevé. Meurtre, extorsion, torture, demande de rançon, traite d’être humain, violences sexuelles sont également le lot des migrants, d’où qu’ils viennent. En 2017, 382 migrants sont décédés de la main des hommes, soit 6 % des décès. (…) Le passeur est le plus souvent un homme mais des femmes (des compagnes, des sœurs, des filles ou des mères) sont parfois impliquées dans le trafic, définissent les rédacteurs de l’étude. Certains parviennent à gagner modestement leur vie, d’autres, membres d’organisations et de mafias font d’importants profits. Tous n’exercent pas cette activité criminelle à plein temps. Souvent le passeur est de la même origine que ses victimes. Il parle la même langue et partage avec elles les mêmes repères culturels, ce qui lui permet de gagner leur confiance. Le recrutement des futurs « clients » s’opère souvent dans les camps de réfugiés ou dans les quartiers pauvres. Facebook, Viber, Skype ou WhatsApp sont devenus des indispensables du contrebandier qui veut faire passer des migrants. Arrivé à destination, le voyageur publie un compte rendu sur son passeur. Il décrit s’il a triché, échoué ou s’il traitait mal les migrants. Un peu comme une note de consommateur, rapporte l’UNODC. Mieux encore, les réseaux sociaux sont utilisés par les passeurs pour leur publicité. Sur Facebook, les trafiquants présentent leurs offres, agrémentent leur publication d’une photo, détaillent les prix et les modalités de paiement. L’agence note que, sur Facebook, des passeurs se font passer pour des ONG ou des agences de voyages européennes qui organisent des passages en toute sécurité. D’autres, qui visent particulièrement les Afghans, se posent en juristes spécialistes des demandes d’asile… Le Parisien
Mr. Trump’s anger at America’s allies embodies, however unpleasantly, a not unreasonable point of view, and one that the rest of the world ignores at its peril: The global world order is unbalanced and inequitable. And unless something is done to correct it soon, it will collapse, with or without the president’s tweets. While the West happily built the liberal order over the past 70 years, with Europe at its center, the Americans had the continent’s back. In turn, as it unravels, America feels this loss of balance the hardest — it has always spent the most money and manpower to keep the system working. The Europeans have basically been free riders on the voyage, spending almost nothing on defense, and instead building vast social welfare systems at home and robust, well-protected export industries abroad. Rather than lash back at Mr. Trump, they would do better to ask how we got to this place, and how to get out. The European Union, as an institution, is one of the prime drivers of this inequity. At the Group of 7, for example, the constituent countries are described as all equals. But in reality, the union puts a thumb on the scales in its members’ favor: It is a highly integrated, well-protected free-trade area that gives a huge leg up to, say, German car manufacturers while essentially punishing American companies who want to trade in the region. The eurozone offers a similar unfair advantage. If it were not for the euro, Germany would long ago have had to appreciate its currency in line with its enormous export surplus. (…) how can the very same politicians and journalists who defended the euro bailout payments during the financial crisis, arguing that Germany profited disproportionately from the common currency, now go berserk when Mr. Trump makes exactly this point? German manufacturers also have the advantage of operating in a common market with huge wage gaps. Bulgaria, one of the poorest member states, has a per capita gross domestic product roughly equal to that of Gabon, while even in Slovakia, Poland and Hungary — three relative success stories among the recent entrants to the union — that same measure is still roughly a third of what it is in Germany. Under the European Union, German manufacturers can assemble their cars in low-wage countries and export them without worrying about tariffs or other trade barriers. If your plant sits in Detroit, you might find the president’s anger over this fact persuasive. Mr. Trump is not the first president to complain about the unfair burden sharing within NATO. He’s merely the first president not just to talk tough, but to get tough. (…) All those German politicians who oppose raising military spending from a meager 1.3 percent of gross domestic product should try to explain to American students why their European peers enjoy free universities and health care, while they leave it up to others to cover for the West’s military infrastructure (…) When the door was opened, in 2001, many in the West believed that a growing Chinese middle class, enriched by and engaged with the world economy, would eventually claim voice and suffrage, thereby democratizing China. The opposite has happened. China, which has grown wealthy in part by stealing intellectual property from the West, is turning into an online-era dictatorship, while still denying reciprocity in investment and trade relations. (…) China’s unchecked abuse of the global free-trade regime makes a mockery of the very idea that the world can operate according to a rules-based order. Again, while many in the West have talked the talk about taking on China, only Mr. Trump has actually done something about it. Jochen Bittner (Die Zeit)
Is the Trump administration out to wreck the liberal world order? No, insisted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an interview at his office in Foggy Bottom last week: The administration’s aim is to align that world order with 21st-century realities. Many of the economic and diplomatic structures Mr. Trump stands accused of undermining, Mr. Pompeo argues, were developed in the aftermath of World War II. Back then, he tells me, they “made sense for America.” But in the post-Cold War era, amid a resurgence of geopolitical competition, “I think President Trump has properly identified a need for a reset.” Mr. Trump is suspicious of global institutions and alliances, many of which he believes are no longer paying dividends for the U.S. “When I watch President Trump give guidance to our team,” Mr. Pompeo says, “his question is always, ‘How does that structure impact America?’ ” The president isn’t interested in how a given rule “may have impacted America in the ’60s or the ’80s, or even the early 2000s,” but rather how it will enhance American power “in 2018 and beyond.” Mr. Trump’s critics have charged that his “America First” strategy reflects a retreat from global leadership. “I see it fundamentally differently,” Mr. Pompeo says. He believes Mr. Trump “recognizes the importance of American leadership” but also of “American sovereignty.” That means Mr. Trump is “prepared to be disruptive” when the U.S. finds itself constrained by “arrangements that put America, and American workers, at a disadvantage.” Mr. Pompeo sees his task as trying to reform rules “that no longer are fair and equitable” while maintaining “the important historical relationships with Europe and the countries in Asia that are truly our partners.” The U.S. relationship with Germany has come under particular strain. Mr. Pompeo cites two reasons. “It is important that they demonstrate a commitment to securing their own people,” he says, in reference to Germany’s low defense spending. “When they do so, we’re prepared to do the right thing and support them.” And then there’s trade. The Germans, he says, need to “create tariff systems and nontariff-barrier systems that are equitable, reciprocal.” But Mr. Pompeo does not see the U.S.-German rift as a permanent reorientation of U.S. foreign policy. Once the defense and trade issues are addressed, “I’m very confident that the relationship will go from these irritants we see today to being as strong as it ever was.”  (…) In addition to renegotiating relationships with existing allies, the Trump administration is facing newly assertive great-power adversaries. “For a decade plus,” Mr. Pompeo says, U.S. foreign policy was “very focused on counterrorism and much less on big power struggles.” Today, while counterterrorism remains a priority, geopolitics is increasingly defined by conflicts with powerful states like China and Russia. Mr. Pompeo says the U.S. must be assertive but flexible in dealing with both Beijing and Moscow. He wants the U.S. relationship with China to be defined by rule-writing and rule-enforcing, not anarchic struggle. China, he says, hasn’t honored “the normal set of trade understandings . . . where these nation states would trade with each other on fair and reciprocal terms; they just simply haven’t done it. They’ve engaged in intellectual property theft, predatory economic practices.” Avoiding a more serious confrontation with China down the line will require both countries to appreciate one another’s long-term interests. The U.S. can’t simply focus on “a tariff issue today, or a particular island China has decided to militarize” tomorrow. Rather, the objective must be to create a rules-based structure to avoid a situation in which “zero-sum is the endgame for the two countries.” Mr. Pompeo also sees room for limited cooperation with Russia even as the U.S. confronts its revisionism. “There are many things about which we disagree. Our value sets are incredibly different, but there are also pockets where we find overlap,” he says. “That’s the challenge for a secretary of state—to identify those places where you can work together, while protecting America against the worst pieces of those governments’ activities.” (…) And the president’s agenda, as Mr. Pompeo communicates it, is one of extraordinary ambition: to rewrite the rules of world order in America’s favor while working out stable relationships with geopolitical rivals. Those goals may prove elusive. Inertia is a powerful force in international relations, and institutions and pre-existing agreements are often hard to reform. Among other obstacles, the Trump agenda creates the risk of a global coalition forming against American demands. American efforts to negotiate more favorable trading arrangements could lead China, Europe and Japan to work jointly against the U.S. That danger is exacerbated by Mr. Trump’s penchant for dramatic gestures and his volatile personal style. Yet the U.S. remains, by far, the world’s most powerful nation, and many countries will be looking for ways to accommodate the administration at least partially. Mr. Trump is right that the international rules and institutions developed during the Cold War era must be retooled to withstand new political, economic and military pressures. Mr. Pompeo believes that Mr. Trump’s instincts, preferences, and beliefs constitute a coherent worldview. (…) The world will soon see whether the president’s tweets of iron can be smoothly sheathed in a diplomatic glove. Walter Russell Mead
Illegal and illiberal immigration exists and will continue to expand because too many special interests are invested in it. It is one of those rare anomalies — the farm bill is another — that crosses political party lines and instead unites disparate elites through their diverse but shared self-interests: live-and-let-live profits for some and raw political power for others. For corporate employers, millions of poor foreign nationals ensure cheap labor, with the state picking up the eventual social costs. For Democratic politicos, illegal immigration translates into continued expansion of favorable political demography in the American Southwest. For ethnic activists, huge annual influxes of unassimilated minorities subvert the odious melting pot and mean continuance of their own self-appointed guardianship of salad-bowl multiculturalism. Meanwhile, the upper middle classes in coastal cocoons enjoy the aristocratic privileges of having plenty of cheap household help, while having enough wealth not to worry about the social costs of illegal immigration in terms of higher taxes or the problems in public education, law enforcement, and entitlements. No wonder our elites wink and nod at the supposed realities in the current immigration bill, while selling fantasies to the majority of skeptical Americans. Victor Davis Hanson
Much has been written — some of it either inaccurate or designed to obfuscate the issue ahead of the midterms for political purposes — about the border fiasco and the unfortunate separation of children from parents. (…) The media outrage usually does not include examination of why the Trump administration is enforcing existing laws that it inherited from the Bush and Obama administrations that at any time could have been changed by both Democratic and Republican majorities in Congress; of the use of often dubious asylum claims as a way of obtaining entry otherwise denied to those without legal authorization — a gambit that injures or at least hampers thousands with legitimate claims of political persecution; of the seeming unconcern for the safety of children by some would-be asylum seekers who illegally cross the border, rather than first applying legally at a U.S. consulate abroad; of the fact that many children are deliberately sent ahead, unescorted on such dangerous treks to help facilitate their own parents’ later entrance; of the cynicism of the cartels that urge and facilitate such mass rushes to the border to overwhelm general enforcement; and of the selective outrage of the media in 2018 in a fashion not known under similar policies and detentions of the past. In 2014, during a similar rush, both Barack Obama (“Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they’ll get sent back.”) and Hillary Clinton (“We have to send a clear message, just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay. So, we don’t want to send a message that is contrary to our laws or will encourage more children to make that dangerous journey.”) warned — again to current media silence — would-be asylum seekers not to use children as levers to enter the U.S. (…) Mexico is the recipient of about $30 billion in annual remittances (aside from perhaps more than $20 billion annually sent to Central America) from mostly illegal aliens within the U.S. It is the beneficiary of an annual $71 billion trade surplus with the U.S. And it is mostly culpable for once again using illegal immigration and the lives of its own citizens — and allowing Central Americans unfettered transit through its country — as cynical tools of domestic and foreign policy. Illegal immigration, increasingly of mostly indigenous peoples, ensures an often racist Mexico City a steady stream of remittances (now its greatest source of foreign exchange), without much worry about how its indigent abroad can scrimp to send such massive sums back to Mexico. Facilitating illegal immigration also establishes and fosters a favorable expatriate demographic inside the U.S. that helps to recalibrate U.S. policy favorably toward Mexico. And Mexico City also uses immigration as a policy irritant to the U.S. that can be magnified or lessened, depending on Mexico’s own particular foreign-policy goals and moods at any given time.
All of the above call into question whether Mexico is a NAFTA ally, a neutral, or a belligerent, a status that may become perhaps clearer during its upcoming presidential elections. So far, it assumes that the optics of this human tragedy facilitate its own political agendas, but it may be just as likely that its cynicism could fuel renewed calls for a wall and reexamination of the entire Mexican–U.S. relationship and, indeed, NAFTA.
Victor Davis Hanson
This year there have been none of the usual Iranian provocations — frequent during the Obama administration — of harassing American ships in the Persian Gulf. Apparently, the Iranians now realize that anything they do to an American ship will be replied to with overwhelming force. Ditto North Korea. After lots of threats from Kim Jong-un about using his new ballistic missiles against the United States, Trump warned that he would use America’s far greater arsenal to eliminate North Korea’s arsenal for good. Trump is said to be undermining NATO by questioning its usefulness some 69 years after its founding. Yet this is not 1948, and Germany is no longer down. The United States is always in. And Russia is hardly out but is instead cutting energy deals with the Europeans. More significantly, most NATO countries have failed to keep their promises to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense. Yet the vast majority of the 29 alliance members are far closer than the U.S. to the dangers of Middle East terrorism and supposed Russian bullying. Why does Germany by design run up a $65 billion annual trade surplus with the United States? Why does such a wealthy country spend only 1.2 percent of its GDP on defense? And if Germany has entered into energy agreements with a supposedly dangerous Vladimir Putin, why does it still need to have its security subsidized by the American military? Trump approaches NAFTA in the same reductionist way. The 24-year-old treaty was supposed to stabilize, if not equalize, all trade, immigration, and commerce between the three supposed North American allies. It never quite happened that way. Unequal tariffs remained. Both Canada and Mexico have substantial trade surpluses with the U.S. In Mexico’s case, it enjoys a $71 billion surplus, the largest of U.S. trading partners with the exception of China. Canada never honored its NATO security commitment. It spends only 1 percent of its GDP on defense, rightly assuming that the U.S. will continue to underwrite its security. During the lifetime of NAFTA, Mexico has encouraged millions of its citizens to enter the U.S. illegally. Mexico’s selfish immigration policy is designed to avoid internal reform, to earn some $30 billion in annual expatriate remittances, and to influence U.S. politics. Yet after more than two decades of NAFTA, Mexico is more unstable than ever. Cartels run entire states. Murders are at a record high. Entire towns in southern Mexico have been denuded of their young males, who crossed the U.S. border illegally. The U.S. runs a huge trade deficit with China. The red ink is predicated on Chinese dumping, patent and copyright infringement, and outright cheating. Beijing illegally occupies neutral islands in the South China Sea, militarizes them, and bullies its neighbors. All of the above has become the “normal” globalized world. But in 2016, red-state America rebelled at the asymmetry. The other half of the country demonized the red-staters as protectionists, nativists, isolationists, populists, and nationalists. However, if China, Europe, and other U.S. trading partners had simply followed global trading rules, there would have been no Trump pushback — and probably no Trump presidency at all. Had NATO members and NAFTA partners just kept their commitments, and had Mexico not encouraged millions of its citizens to crash the U.S. border, there would now be little tension between allies. Instead, what had become abnormal was branded the new normal of the post-war world. Again, a rich and powerful U.S. was supposed to subsidize world trade, take in more immigrants than all the nations of the world combined, protect the West, and ensure safe global communications, travel, and commerce. After 70 years, the effort had hollowed out the interior of America, creating two separate nations of coastal winners and heartland losers. Trump’s entire foreign policy can be summed up as a demand for symmetry from all partners and allies, and tit-for-tat replies to would-be enemies. Did Trump have to be so loud and often crude in his effort to bully America back to reciprocity? Who knows? But it seems impossible to imagine that globalist John McCain, internationalist Barack Obama, or gentlemanly Mitt Romney would ever have called Europe, NATO, Mexico, and Canada to account, or warned Iran or North Korea that tit would be met by tat. Victor Davis Hanson

Attention: un dépotoir peut en cacher un autre !

Au lendemain du Sommet de l’Otan et de la visite au Royaume-Uni

D’un président américain contre lequel se sont à nouveau déchainés nos médias et nos belles âmes …

Et en cette finale de la Coupe du monde en un pays qui, entre dopage et corruption, empoisonne les citoyens de ses partenaires …

A l’heure où des mensonges nucléaires et de l’aventurisme militaire des Iraniens

Aux méga-excédents commerciaux et filouteries sur la propriété intellectuelle des Chinois …

Comme aux super surplus du commerce extérieur, la radinerie défensive et la mise sous tutelle énergétique russe des Allemands

Et sans parler, entre deux attentats terroristes ou émeutes urbaines, du « business » juteux (quelque 7 milliards annuels quand même !) des passeurs de prétendus « réfugiés » …

L’actualité comme les sondages confirment désormais presque quotidiennement les fortes intuitions de l’éléphant dans le magasin de porcelaine …

Comment qualifier un pays qui …

Derrière les « fake news » et images victimaires dont nous bassinent jour après jour nos médias …

Et entre le contrôle d’états entiers par les cartels de la drogue, les taux d’homicides records et les villes entières vidées de leurs forces vives par l’émigration sauvage …

Se permet non seulement, comme le rappelle l’historien militaire américain Victor Davis Hanson, d’intervenir dans la politique américaine …

Mais encourage, à la Castro et repris de justice compris, ses citoyens par millions à pénétrer illégalement aux États-Unis …

Alors qu’il bénéficie par ailleurs, avec plus de 70 milliards de dollars et sans compter les quelque 30 milliards de ses expatriés, du plus important excédent commercial avec les Etats-Unis après la Chine ?

Reciprocity Is the Method to Trump’s Madness
Victor Davis Hanson

National Review

July 12, 2018

The president sends a signal: Treat us the way we treat you, and keep your commitments.Critics of Donald Trump claim that there’s no rhyme or reason to his foreign policy. But if there is a consistency, it might be called reciprocity.

Trump tries to force other countries to treat the U.S. as the U.S. treats them. In “don’t tread on me” style, he also warns enemies that any aggressive act will be replied to in kind.

The underlying principle of Trump commercial reciprocity is that the United States is no longer powerful or wealthy enough to alone underwrite the security of the West. It can no longer assume sole enforcement of the rules and protocols of the post-war global order.

This year there have been none of the usual Iranian provocations — frequent during the Obama administration — of harassing American ships in the Persian Gulf. Apparently, the Iranians now realize that anything they do to an American ship will be replied to with overwhelming force.

Ditto North Korea. After lots of threats from Kim Jong-un about using his new ballistic missiles against the United States, Trump warned that he would use America’s far greater arsenal to eliminate North Korea’s arsenal for good.

Trump is said to be undermining NATO by questioning its usefulness some 69 years after its founding. Yet this is not 1948, and Germany is no longer down. The United States is always in. And Russia is hardly out but is instead cutting energy deals with the Europeans.

More significantly, most NATO countries have failed to keep their promises to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense.

Yet the vast majority of the 29 alliance members are far closer than the U.S. to the dangers of Middle East terrorism and supposed Russian bullying.

Why does Germany by design run up a $65 billion annual trade surplus with the United States? Why does such a wealthy country spend only 1.2 percent of its GDP on defense? And if Germany has entered into energy agreements with a supposedly dangerous Vladimir Putin, why does it still need to have its security subsidized by the American military?

Canada never honored its NATO security commitment. It spends only 1 percent of its GDP on defense, rightly assuming that the U.S. will continue to underwrite its security.

Trump approaches NAFTA in the same reductionist way. The 24-year-old treaty was supposed to stabilize, if not equalize, all trade, immigration, and commerce between the three supposed North American allies.

It never quite happened that way. Unequal tariffs remained. Both Canada and Mexico have substantial trade surpluses with the U.S. In Mexico’s case, it enjoys a $71 billion surplus, the largest of U.S. trading partners with the exception of China.

Canada never honored its NATO security commitment. It spends only 1 percent of its GDP on defense, rightly assuming that the U.S. will continue to underwrite its security.

During the lifetime of NAFTA, Mexico has encouraged millions of its citizens to enter the U.S. illegally. Mexico’s selfish immigration policy is designed to avoid internal reform, to earn some $30 billion in annual expatriate remittances, and to influence U.S. politics.

Yet after more than two decades of NAFTA, Mexico is more unstable than ever. Cartels run entire states. Murders are at a record high. Entire towns in southern Mexico have been denuded of their young males, who crossed the U.S. border illegally.

The U.S. runs a huge trade deficit with China. The red ink is predicated on Chinese dumping, patent and copyright infringement, and outright cheating. Beijing illegally occupies neutral islands in the South China Sea, militarizes them, and bullies its neighbors.

All of the above has become the “normal” globalized world.

If China, Europe, and other U.S. trading partners had simply followed global trading rules, there would have been no Trump pushback — and probably no Trump presidency at all.
But in 2016, red-state America rebelled at the asymmetry. The other half of the country demonized the red-staters as protectionists, nativists, isolationists, populists, and nationalists.

However, if China, Europe, and other U.S. trading partners had simply followed global trading rules, there would have been no Trump pushback — and probably no Trump presidency at all.

Had NATO members and NAFTA partners just kept their commitments, and had Mexico not encouraged millions of its citizens to crash the U.S. border, there would now be little tension between allies.

Instead, what had become abnormal was branded the new normal of the post-war world.

Again, a rich and powerful U.S. was supposed to subsidize world trade, take in more immigrants than all the nations of the world combined, protect the West, and ensure safe global communications, travel, and commerce.

After 70 years, the effort had hollowed out the interior of America, creating two separate nations of coastal winners and heartland losers.

Trump’s entire foreign policy can be summed up as a demand for symmetry from all partners and allies, and tit-for-tat replies to would-be enemies.

Did Trump have to be so loud and often crude in his effort to bully America back to reciprocity?

Who knows?

But it seems impossible to imagine that globalist John McCain, internationalist Barack Obama, or gentlemanly Mitt Romney would ever have called Europe, NATO, Mexico, and Canada to account, or warned Iran or North Korea that tit would be met by tat.

Voir aussi:

Pompeo on What Trump Wants
An interview with Trump’s top diplomat on America First and ‘the need for a reset.’
Walter Russell Mead
The Wall Street Journal
June 25, 2018

Is the Trump administration out to wreck the liberal world order? No, insisted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an interview at his office in Foggy Bottom last week: The administration’s aim is to align that world order with 21st-century realities.
Many of the economic and diplomatic structures Mr. Trump stands accused of undermining, Mr. Pompeo argues, were developed in the aftermath of World War II. Back then, he tells me, they “made sense for America.” But in the post-Cold War era, amid a resurgence of geopolitical competition, “I think President Trump has properly identified a need for a reset.”
Mr. Trump is suspicious of global institutions and alliances, many of which he believes are no longer paying dividends for the U.S. “When I watch President Trump give guidance to our team,” Mr. Pompeo says, “his question is always, ‘How does that structure impact America?’ ” The president isn’t interested in how a given rule “may have impacted America in the ’60s or the ’80s, or even the early 2000s,” but rather how it will enhance American power “in 2018 and beyond.”
Mr. Trump’s critics have charged that his “America First” strategy reflects a retreat from global leadership. “I see it fundamentally differently,” Mr. Pompeo says. He believes Mr. Trump “recognizes the importance of American leadership” but also of “American sovereignty.” That means Mr. Trump is “prepared to be disruptive” when the U.S. finds itself constrained by “arrangements that put America, and American workers, at a disadvantage.” Mr. Pompeo sees his task as trying to reform rules “that no longer are fair and equitable” while maintaining “the important historical relationships with Europe and the countries in Asia that are truly our partners.”
The U.S. relationship with Germany has come under particular strain. Mr. Pompeo cites two reasons. “It is important that they demonstrate a commitment to securing their own people,” he says, in reference to Germany’s low defense spending. “When they do so, we’re prepared to do the right thing and support them.” And then there’s trade. The Germans, he says, need to “create tariff systems and nontariff-barrier systems that are equitable, reciprocal.”
But Mr. Pompeo does not see the U.S.-German rift as a permanent reorientation of U.S. foreign policy. Once the defense and trade issues are addressed, “I’m very confident that the relationship will go from these irritants we see today to being as strong as it ever was.” He adds that he has a “special place in my heart” for Germany, having spent his “first three years as a soldier patrolling . . . the West and East German border.”
In addition to renegotiating relationships with existing allies, the Trump administration is facing newly assertive great-power adversaries. “For a decade plus,” Mr. Pompeo says, U.S. foreign policy was “very focused on counterrorism and much less on big power struggles.” Today, while counterterrorism remains a priority, geopolitics is increasingly defined by conflicts with powerful states like China and Russia.
Mr. Pompeo says the U.S. must be assertive but flexible in dealing with both Beijing and Moscow. He wants the U.S. relationship with China to be defined by rule-writing and rule-enforcing, not anarchic struggle. China, he says, hasn’t honored “the normal set of trade understandings . . . where these nation states would trade with each other on fair and reciprocal terms; they just simply haven’t done it. They’ve engaged in intellectual property theft, predatory economic practices.”
Avoiding a more serious confrontation with China down the line will require both countries to appreciate one another’s long-term interests. The U.S. can’t simply focus on “a tariff issue today, or a particular island China has decided to militarize” tomorrow. Rather, the objective must be to create a rules-based structure to avoid a situation in which “zero-sum is the endgame for the two countries.”
Mr. Pompeo also sees room for limited cooperation with Russia even as the U.S. confronts its revisionism. “There are many things about which we disagree. Our value sets are incredibly different, but there are also pockets where we find overlap,” he says. “That’s the challenge for a secretary of state—to identify those places where you can work together, while protecting America against the worst pieces of those governments’ activities.”
Mr. Pompeo says his most important daily task is to understand what the president is thinking. As he prepared for the job, “I spoke to every living former secretary of state,” Mr. Pompeo says. “They gave me two or three big ideas about things you needed to do to successfully deliver on American foreign policy. Not one of them got out of their top two without saying that a deep understanding and good relationship with the commander in chief—with the person whose foreign policy you’re implementing—is absolutely central.”
He continues: “It needs to be known around the world that when you speak, you’re doing so with a clear understanding of what the president is trying to achieve. So I spend a lot of time thinking about that—trying to make sure that I have my whole workforce, my whole team, understanding the commander’s intent in a deep way.”
And the president’s agenda, as Mr. Pompeo communicates it, is one of extraordinary ambition: to rewrite the rules of world order in America’s favor while working out stable relationships with geopolitical rivals. Those goals may prove elusive. Inertia is a powerful force in international relations, and institutions and pre-existing agreements are often hard to reform.
Among other obstacles, the Trump agenda creates the risk of a global coalition forming against American demands. American efforts to negotiate more favorable trading arrangements could lead China, Europe and Japan to work jointly against the U.S. That danger is exacerbated by Mr. Trump’s penchant for dramatic gestures and his volatile personal style.
Yet the U.S. remains, by far, the world’s most powerful nation, and many countries will be looking for ways to accommodate the administration at least partially. Mr. Trump is right that the international rules and institutions developed during the Cold War era must be retooled to withstand new political, economic and military pressures.
Mr. Pompeo believes that Mr. Trump’s instincts, preferences, and beliefs constitute a coherent worldview. The secretary’s aim is to undertake consistent policy initiatives based on that worldview. This endeavor will strike many of the administration’s critics as quixotic. But Mr. Pompeo is unquestionably right that no secretary of state can succeed without the support of the president, and he is in a better position than most to understand Mr. Trump’s mind.
The world will soon see whether the president’s tweets of iron can be smoothly sheathed in a diplomatic glove.
Voir également:

De Cuba aux Etats-Unis : il y a trente ans, les Marielitos

Michel Faure

C’était il y a trente ans très exactement. Mai 1980. J’étais jeune journaliste, envoyé spécial de Libération à Key West, en Floride. Je restais des heures, fasciné, sur le quai du port où arrivaient, les unes après les autres en un flot continu extraordinaire, des embarcations diverses -bateaux de pêche, petits et gros, vedettes de promenade, yachts chics– chargées de réfugiés cubains.

C’était une noria incessante, menée avec beaucoup d’enthousiasme. Ces bateaux battaient tous pavillon des Etats-Unis et, pour la plupart, étaient la propriété d’exilés cubains vivant en Floride. Ils débarquaient leurs passagers sous les vives lumières des télévisions et les applaudissements d’une foule de badauds émus aux larmes et scrutant chaque visage avec intensité, dans l’espoir d’y retrouver les traits d’un parent, d’un ami ou d’un amour perdu de vue depuis plus de vingt ans.

Puis les bateaux repartaient pour un nouveau voyage à Mariel, le port cubain d’où partaient les exilés et qui leur donnera un surnom, « los Marielitos ».

La Croix Rouge et la logistique gouvernementale américaine ont fait du bon travail. Les arrivants, épuisés, l’air perdu, souvent inquiets, étaient accueillis avec égards, hydratés, nourris et enveloppés de couvertures.

Ils passaient à travers un double contrôle, médical et personnel, avant d’être rassemblés sous un immense hangar, libres de répondre, s’ils le souhaitaient, aux questions des journalistes, avant d’être transportés par avion à Miami.

Quand les Cubains étaient accueillis sous les bravos

Ceux que j’ai rencontrés, dans ces instants encore très incertains pour eux, racontaient plus ou moins la même histoire : la misère de tous les jours sous la surveillance constante des CDR, les Comités de la révolution, les commissaires politiques du quartier qui avaient (et ont toujours) le pouvoir de vous rendre la vie à peu près tolérable ou de vous la pourrir à jamais.

Oser dire qu’on aurait aimé vivre ailleurs n’arrangeait pas votre cas. Un mot du CDR et vous perdiez votre boulot. Le travail privé n’existant pas, le seul fait de survivre était l’indice d’un délit, genre travail au noir. Pour des raisons éminemment politiques, vous vous retrouviez donc en prison, délinquant de droit commun.

Bref, la routine infernale, les engrenages implacables et cruels de la criminalisation de la vie quotidienne pour quiconque ne courbait pas l’échine.

A Miami, dans un stade gigantesque, j’ai assisté quelques jours plus tard à des scènes de tragédies antiques, émouvantes à en pleurer. Les milliers de sièges du stade étaient occupés par des familles cubaines vivant aux Etats-Unis et, de jour comme de nuit, arrivaient de l’aéroport des autobus qui déposaient leurs occupants débarqués de Mariel (en ce seul mois de mai 1980, ils furent 86 000).

Ils étaient accueillis dans le stade sous les bravos. Puis, dans le silence revenu, un speaker énonçait ces noms interminables dont le castillan a le secret, ces Maria de la Luz Martinez de Sanchez, ou ces José-Maria Antonio Perez Rodriguez.

Et soudain, un cri dans un coin du stade, le faisceau lumineux des télés pointé vers un groupe de gens sautant en l’air de joie puis dévalant les escaliers du stade pour tomber dans les bras des cousins ou frères et sœurs retrouvés.

La stratégie de Fidel Castro

Cet exode des Marielitos a commencé par un coup de force. Le 5 avril 1980, 10 000 Cubains entrent dans l’ambassade du Pérou à La Havane et demandent à ce pays de leur accorder asile.

Dix jours plus tard, Castro déclare que ceux qui veulent quitter Cuba peuvent le faire à condition d’abandonner leurs biens et que les Cubains de Floride viennent les chercher au port de Mariel.

L’hypothèse est que Castro voit dans cette affaire une double opportunité :

  • Il se débarrasse d’opposants -il en profite également pour vider ses prisons et ses asiles mentaux et sans doute infiltrer, parmi les réfugiés, quelques agents castristes ;
  • Il espère que cet afflux soudain d’exilés va profondément déstabiliser le sud de la Floride et affaiblir plus encore le brave Président Jimmy Carter, préchi-prêcheur démocrate des droits de l’homme, un peu trop à gauche pour endosser l’habit de grand Satan impérialiste que taille à tous les élus de la Maison Blanche le leader cubain.

De fait, du 15 avril au 31 octobre 1980, quelque 125 000 Cubains quitteront l’île. 2 746 d’entre eux ont été considérés comme des criminels selon les lois des Etats-Unis et incarcérés.

L’économie de la région de Miami a absorbé en deux ou trois ans le choc de cet exode et, depuis, se porte très bien, notamment parce que de nombreux exilés étaient des professionnels diplômés (médecins, professeurs…) qui non seulement se sont facilement intégrés au sein de la société de Miami, mais l’ont aussi dynamisée.

Parmi les Marielitos, un poète : Reinaldo Arenas

En août 1994, 30 000 autres Cubains, « los Balseros » -ainsi nommés parce qu’ils s’enfuyaient par la mer sur des embarcations aussi précaires que des « balsas », des chambres à air de camion- ont rejoint à leur tour les côtes de Floride.

Puis la politique a repris la main. Castro a compris que le spectacle de ces exodes à répétition et le nombre et la qualité des exilés fragilisaient l’image du régime et son avenir. Les Etats-Unis, quant à eux, ont entendu les voix des conservateurs défenseurs des frontières.

Tout cela a abouti à un accord migratoire qui traduit une politique américaine absurde et déshonorante consistant à n’admettre sur le territoire des Etats-Unis que ceux qui l’auront touché du pied, et renvoyer tous les autres en direction de Cuba qu’ils fuyaient.

L’accommodement avec une dictature l’a emporté sur la générosité à l’endroit de ses réfugiés.

Parmi les Marielitos, il faut noter la présence de l’écrivain et poète Reinaldo Arenas, qui mourra quelques années plus tard du sida, à New York. Son véritable crime fut d’être homosexuel et son livre, « Avant la Nuit », a été remarquablement adapté en 2000 par Julian Schnabel avec le film « Before the Night Falls ». Il montre la terrible épreuve que fut pour tous les exilés le passage des contrôles du port de Mariel.

Voir de même:

Trump Was Right: Castro Did Send Criminals to U.S.

The Weekly Standard

If you ever worry about the quality of news on the Internet, consider a recent story at BuzzFeed from reporter Adrian Carrasquillo. The writer notes indignantly that Donald Trump’s infamous campaign comments about Mexican immigrants were not unprecedented: Speaking on a radio talk show, in 2011, Trump had anticipated his claim that « Mexico was sending criminals and rapists » to the United States (in Carrasquillo’s words) by « appear[ing] to suggest Fidel Castro had hatched a similar gambit. »

Here is what Trump said in 2011:

I remember, years ago, where Castro was sending his worst over to this country. He was sending criminals over to this country, and we’ve had that with other countries where they use us as a dumping ground.

Carrasquillo acknowledged that Trump’s facts are not imaginary— »Trump was speaking about the Mariel boatlift in 1980, when more than 125,000 Cubans came to the U.S. because of the island’s floundering economy »—but he seems to have gleaned what knowledge he has about the Mariel boatlift from the Internet, or perhaps a friend or neighbor: « Castro did send prisoners and mentally ill people to the U.S. mixed in with other refugees, » Carrasquillo wrote.

In fact, of course, it was not Cuba’s « floundering economy »—Cuba’s economy, it could reasonably be argued, has always been floundering—that prompted the exodus; it was Fidel Castro’s malice. The Jimmy Carter administration, as Democratic administrations tend to do, had been seeking a rapprochement with the Cuban regime, and in early 1980, Castro—habitually angered by the official American welcome to Cuban refugees—rewarded Carter’s credulity by emptying his nation’s jails, prisons, and mental institutions and sending their occupants, in overcrowded vessels, across the Straits of Florida to Miami.

It was an extraordinarily cruel, and cynical, gesture on Castro’s part; but of course, hardly surprising. And in any case, it swiftly halted Carter’s flirtation with Cuba.

What Adrian Carrasquillo doesn’t appear to know, however, and what gives this episode contemporary resonance, is that the Mariel boatlift, and its attendant migrant crisis, had political repercussions that extend to the present day. One of the repositories for Cuban criminals chosen by the Carter White House was Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, where there were subsequent riots and mass escapes. The governor of Arkansas, one Bill Clinton, was furious that his state had been chosen to pay the price for Carter’s misjudgment—and he complained loudly and publicly about it. So loudly, in fact, that it made Carter’s efforts to settle refugees elsewhere politically toxic.

Jimmy Carter never forgave Bill Clinton for the Mariel/Fort Chaffee debacle. And vice versa, since it was one of the main reasons which led to Clinton’s defeat for re-election in November 1980. It also explains the continued enmity between the senior living Democratic ex-president, Carter, and Clinton—whose wife Hillary is currently running for president.

A handful of lessons may be drawn from all this: The roots of political issues are deep and complicated; the settlement of refugees is a sensitive matter; and it seldom pays presidents to trust the Castro regime. From a journalistic standpoint, however, it raises an urgent question: Does BuzzFeed employ editors with knowledge of events before, say, 2011?

Voir de plus:

Years Before Mexican Comments, Trump Said Castro Was Sending Criminals To U.S.
« I remember, years ago, where Castro was sending his worst over to this country. He was sending criminals over to this country, and we’ve had that with other countries where they use us as a dumping ground. »
Adrian Carrasquillo
BuzzFeed News
October 6, 2016

Four years before Donald Trump roiled the presidential race by announcing that Mexico was sending criminals and rapists — their worst — to the U.S., he appeared to suggest Fidel Castro had hatched a similar gambit.

Speaking on Laura Ingraham’s radio show in 2011, Trump took a rhetorical tact that will be familiar to anyone paying even a passing interest to the 2016 presidential election.

« You either have borders or you don’t have borders. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it possible for somebody that’s really good to become a citizen. But I think part of the problem that this country has is we’re taking in people that are, in some cases, good, and in some cases, are not good and in some cases are criminals, » Trump said.

« I remember, years ago, where Castro was sending his worst over to this country. He was sending criminals over to this country, and we’ve had that with other countries where they use us as a dumping ground, » he continued. « And frankly, the fact that we allow that to happen is what’s really hurting this country very badly. »

Liberal media watchdog Media Matters provided the audio from their archives, after a request by BuzzFeed News.

While Trump does not mention Fidel Castro’s full name, he made similar comments about Cubans on conservative radio last summer, just weeks after his initial remarks about Mexicans during his June announcement.

“And they’re sending — if you remember, years ago, when Castro opened up his jails, his prisons, and he sent them all over to the United States because let the United States have them,” Trump said. “And you know, these were the many hardcore criminals that he sent over. »

Trump was speaking about the Mariel boatlift in 1980, when more than 125,000 Cubans came to the U.S. because of the island’s floundering economy. Castro did send prisoners and mentally ill people to the U.S. mixed in with other refugees.

In a statement, Trump campaign senior advisor and Hispanic outreach director, AJ Delgado, said his remarks in 2011 were absolutely correct and only underscore his « keen awareness » of historical facts.

« The 1980 Mariel boatlift out of Cuba certainly did contain thousands of criminals, including violent criminals, the Castro regime having taken it as an opportunity to empty many of its prisons and send those individuals to the U.S, » she said, stressing that the matter is not in dispute.

« Worth noting, this 2011 audio also proves Mr. Trump’s years-long consistency: even five years ago, he was advocating for the same sound immigration policies he advocates today — one that places Americans’ safety and security first, » she added.

Trump’s relationship with Cuban-American voters is somewhat unusual for a Republican nominee. For years, support for the embargo on Cuba has been a major Republican plank; a recent Newsweek report also alleged that Trump violated the Cuban embargo when he disguised payments from his companies in Cuba in an attempt to make money on the island.

The Republican nominee changed his opinion on immigration multiple times in the past few years, including during the campaign. But he has also struck a nativist and restrictionist tone on the dangers and nefarious intentions of foreigners coming to the country for years. Though Barack Obama’s two campaigns showed the traditionally Republican voting bloc beginning to fray somewhat, that’s put more pressure on those voters, particularly younger ones.

« We know how Donald Trump feels about the Hispanic community, and this is just more of the same, » said Joe Garcia, a Cuban-American Democrat running for congress in Florida where Trump has become a flashpoint in his race against Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who has also denounced Trump. « Whether he makes hateful statements today or five years ago, Trump’s sentiments toward minority groups have been very clear. »

Ana Navarro, a CNN commentator and Republican strategist who has staunchly opposed Trump, noted that being a « marielito » was somewhat taboo for a while, « but it’s important not to forget all the good people who came. Many have gone on to make great contributions to the U.S. »

Jose Parra, a Democratic strategist from Florida who served as a senior adviser to Sen. Harry Reid, argued the comments leave no doubt that Trump doesn’t just have it out for Mexicans.

« Now we know that when he says Mexicans, he means all Hispanics, » Parra said. « He was talking about Cubans in this case… the issue is Hispanics not Mexicans. It’s immigrants period. »

Nathaniel Meyersohn contributed reporting.

Voir encore:

Trump Says Mexican Immigrants Are Just Like « Hardcore Criminals » Castro Sent To U.S.
Trump also took credit for bringing to the public’s attention the death of a San Francisco woman killed by an undocumented immigrant.
Andrew Kaczynski
BuzzFeed News
July 10, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday compared undocumented Mexican immigrants to the « hardcore criminals » Fidel Castro sent to the United States in the early 1980s.

Speaking on conservative radio, the real estate mogul addressed the controversy surrounding his characterization of Mexican immigrants as « rapists » in his presidential announcement speech.

« A lot of people said, ‘Would you apologize?’ I said, ‘Absolutely, I’d apologize, if there was something to apologize for, » Trump told radio host Wayne Dupree on Wednesday.

« But what I said is exactly true. You understand that, Wayne. And what I’m saying — and I have great respect for the Mexican people. I love the Mexican people. I have many Mexicans working for me and they’re great. »

« But that’s — we’re not talking about — we’re talking about a government that’s much smarter than our government, » Trump continued. « Much sharper, more cunning than our government, and they’re sending people. »

Trump then went on to compare the immigrants coming into the country from Mexico to Cuban exiles who came to the U.S. as a part of the Mariel boatlift in 1980. Many of those exiles were later found to be inmates released from Cuban prisons and mental health facilities.

« And they’re sending — if you remember, years ago, when Castro opened up his jails, his prisons, and he sent them all over to the United States because let the United States have them, » Trump stated. « And you know, these were the many hardcore criminals that he sent over. And, you know, that was a long time ago but essentially Mexico is sending over — as an example, this horrible guy that killed a beautiful woman in San Francisco. Mexico doesn’t want him. So they send him over. How do you think he got over here five times? They push him out. They’re pushing their problems onto the United States, and we don’t talk about it because our politicians are stupid. »

Trump then took credit for bringing to the public’s attention the death of the San Francisco woman killed by an undocumented immigrant.

« I don’t even think it’s a question of, uh, good politics. I think they’re just stupid. I don’t think they know what they’re doing. So I bring it up and, you’re right, it became a big story, » said Trump.

« And I’ll tell you something: the young woman that was killed — that was a statistic. That wasn’t even a story. My wife brought it up to me. She said, you know, she saw this little article about the young woman in San Francisco that was killed, and I did some research and I found out that she was killed by this animal … who illegally came into the country many times, by the way, and who has a long record of convictions. And I went public with it and now it’s the biggest story in the world right now. … Her life will be very important for a lot of reasons, but one of them would be that she’s throwing light and showing light on what’s happening in this country. »

Voir par ailleurs:

The White House Used This Moment as Proof the U.S. Should Cut Immigration. Its Real History Is More Complicated

Julio Capó, Jr.

Time
August 4, 2017

This week, as President Trump comes out in support of a bill that seeks to halve legal immigration to the United States, his administration is emphasizing the idea that Americans and their jobs need to be protected from all newcomers—undocumented and documented. To support that idea, his senior policy adviser Stephen Miller has turned to a moment in American history that is often referenced by those who support curbing immigration: the Mariel boatlift of 1980. But, in fact, much of the conventional wisdom about that episode is based on falsehoods rooted in Cold War rhetoric.

During a press briefing on Wednesday, journalist Glenn Thrush asked Miller to provide statistics showing the correlation between the presence of low-skill immigrants and decreased wages for U.S.-born and naturalized workers. In response, Miller noted the findings of a recent study by Harvard economist George Borjas on the Mariel boatlift, which contentiously argued that the influx of over 125,000 Cubans who entered the United States from April to October of 1980 decreased wages for southern Florida’s less educated workers. Borjas’ study, which challenged an earlier influential study by Berkeley economist David Card, has received major criticisms. A lively debate persists among economists about the study’s methods, limited sample size and interpretation of the region’s racial categories—but Miller’s conjuring of Mariel is contentious on its own merits.

The Mariel boatlift is an outlier in the pages of U.S. immigration history because it was, at its core, a result of Cold War posturing between the United States and Cuba.

Fidel Castro found himself in a precarious situation in April 1980 when thousands of Cubans stormed the Peruvian embassy seeking asylum. Castro opened up the port of Mariel and claimed he would let anyone who wanted to leave Cuba to do so. Across the Florida Straits, the United States especially prioritized receiving people who fled communist regimes as a Cold War imperative. Because the newly minted Refugee Act had just been enacted—largely to address the longstanding bias that favored people fleeing communism—the Marielitos were admitted under an ambiguous, emergency-based designation: “Cuban-Haitian entrant (status pending).” At this week’s press conference, Miller avoided discussions of guest workers because they enter under separate procedures. It’s important to note, however, that the Marielitos also entered under a separate category.

In order to save face, Castro put forward the narrative that the Cubans who sought to leave the island were the dregs of society and counter-revolutionaries who needed to be purged because they could never prove productive to the nation. This sentiment, along with reports that he had opened his jails and mental institutes as part of this boatlift, fueled a mythology that the Marielitos were a criminal, violent, sexually deviant and altogether “undesirable” demographic.

In reality, more than 80% of the Marielitos had no criminal past, even in a nation where “criminality” could include acts antithetical to the revolutionary government’s ideals. In addition to roughly 1,500 mentally and physically disabled people, this wave of Cubans included a significant number of sex workers and queer and transgender people—some of whom were part of the minority who had criminal-justice involvement, having been formerly incarcerated because of their gender and sexual transgression.

Part of what made Castro’s propaganda scheme so successful was that his regime’s repudiation of Marielitos found an eager audience in the United States among those who found it useful to fuel the nativist furnace. U.S. legislators, policymakers and many in the general public accepted Castro’s negative depiction of the Marielitos as truth. By 1983, the film Scarface had even fictionalized a Marielito as a druglord and violent criminal.

Then and now, the boatlift proved incredibly unpopular among those living in the United States and is often cited as one of the most vivid examples of the dangers of lax immigration enforcement. In fact, many of President Jimmy Carter’s opponents listed Mariel as one of his and the Democratic Party’s greatest failures, even as his Republican successor, President Ronald Reagan, also embraced the Marielitos as part of an ideological campaign against Cuba. And the political consequences of the reaction to Mariel didn’t stop there: the episode also helped birth the English-only movement in the United States, after Dade County residents voted to remove Spanish as a second official language in November of 1980. (The new immigration proposal that Trump supports would also privilege immigrants who can speak English.)

While the Mariel boatlift—with its massive influx of people in a short period of time—may appear to be an ideal case study for economists to explore whether immigrants decreased wages for U.S.-born workers, its Cold War-influenced and largely anomalous history makes it less so.

During this week’s press conference, Miller later told Thrush that, more than statistics, we should use “common sense” in crafting our policies. As the case of the Mariel boatlift shows, so-called common sense can be inextricably informed by ulterior motives, prejudice and global political disagreement. When history is used to inform policy decisions, this too must be factored.

Historians explain how the past informs the present

Julio Capó, Jr. is assistant professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and was a visiting scholar at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. His book on Miami’s queer past, Welcome to Fairyland, is forthcoming from the University of North Carolina Press.

Voir aussi:

There’s no evidence that immigrants hurt any American workers
The debate over the Mariel boatlift, a crucial immigration case study, explained.
Michael Clemens

Aug 3, 2017

Pressed by a New York Times reporter yesterday for evidence that immigration hurts American workers, White House senior adviser Stephen Miller said: “I think the most recent study I would point to is the study from George Borjas that he just did about the Mariel Boatlift.” Michael Clemens recently explained why that much-cited study shouldn’t be relied upon:

Do immigrants from poor countries hurt native workers? It’s a perpetual question for policymakers and politicians. That the answer is a resounding “Yes!” was a central assertion of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. When a study by an economist at Harvard University recently found that a famous influx of Cuban immigrants into Miami dramatically reduced the wages of native workers, immigration critics argued that the debate was settled.

The study, by Harvard’s George Borjas, first circulated as a draft in 2015, and was finally published in 2017. It drew attention from the Atlantic, National Review, New Yorker, and others. Advocates of restricting immigration declared that the study was a “BFD” that had “nuked” their opponents’ views. The work underpinning the paper became a centerpiece of Borjas’s mass-market book on immigration, We Wanted Workers, which has been cited approvingly by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions as proving the economic harms of immigration.

But there’s a problem. The study is controversial, and its finding — that the Cuban refugees caused a large, statistically unmistakable fall in Miami wages — may be simply spurious. This matters because what happened in Miami is the one historical event that has most shaped how economists view immigration.

In his article, Borjas claimed to debunk an earlier study by another eminent economist, David Card, of UC Berkeley, analyzing the arrival of the Cubans in Miami. The episode offers a textbook case of how different economists can reach sharply conflicting conclusions from exactly the same data.

Yet this is not an “on the one hand, on the other” story: My own analysis suggests that Borjas has not proved his case. Spend a few minutes digging into the data with me, and it will become apparent that the data simply does not allow us to conclude that those Cubans caused a fall in Miami wages, even for low-skill workers.

The Mariel boatlift offered economists a remarkable opportunity to study the effect of immigration

For an economist, there’s a straightforward way to study how low-skill immigration affects native workers: Find a large, sudden wave of low-skill immigrants arriving in one city only. Watch what happens to wages and employment for native workers in that city, and compare that to other cities where the immigrants didn’t go.

An ideal “natural experiment” like this actually happened in Miami in 1980. Over just a few months, 125,000 mostly low-skill immigrants arrived from Mariel Bay, Cuba. This vast seaborne exodus — Fidel Castro briefly lifted Cuba’s ban on emigration -— is known as the Mariel boatlift. Over the next few months, the workforce of Miami rose by 8 percent. By comparison, normal immigration to the US increases the nationwide workforce by about 0.3 percent per year. So if immigrants compete with native workers, Miami in the 1980s is exactly where you should see natives’ wages drop.

Berkeley’s Card examined the effects of the Cuban immigrants on the labor market in a massively influential study in 1990. In fact, that paper became one of the most cited in immigration economics. The design of the study was elegant and transparent. But even more than that, what made the study memorable was what Card found.

In a word: nothing.

The Card study found no difference in wage or employment trends between Miami — which had just been flooded with new low-skill workers — and other cities. This was true for workers even at the bottom of the skills ladder. Card concluded that “the Mariel immigration had essentially no effect on the wages or employment outcomes of non-Cuban workers in the Miami labor market.”

You can see Card’s striking result in the graph below: There’s just no sign of a dip in low-skill Miami wages after the huge arrival of low-skill Cubans in 1980. The red line is the average wage, in each year, for workers in Miami, ages 19 to 65, whose education doesn’t go beyond high school. The dotted red lines show the interval of statistical confidence, so the true average wage could fall anywhere between the dotted lines.

These estimates come from a slice of a nationwide survey, in which small groups of individuals are chosen to represent the broader population. (It’s known as the March Supplement of the Current Population Survey, or CPS). Carving out low-skill workers in Miami alone, that leaves an average of 185 observations of workers per year, during the crucial years.

The gray dashed line shows what the wage would be if the pre-1980 trend had simply continued after 1980. As you can see, there is no dip in wages after those Cubans greatly increased the low-skill labor supply in 1980. If anything, wages rose relative to their previous trend in Miami. The same is true relative to wage trends in other, similar cities.

Current Population Survey, Clemens

Economists ever since have tried to explain this remarkable result. Was it that the US workers who might have suffered a wage drop had simply moved away? Had low-skill Cubans made native Miamians more productive by specializing in different tasks, thus stimulating the local economy? Was it that the Cubans’ own demand for goods and services had generated as many jobs in Miami as they filled? Or perhaps was it that Miami employers shifted to production technologies that used more low-skill labor, absorbing the new labor supply?

Regardless, there was no dip in wages to explain. The real-life economy was evidently more complex than an “Econ 101” model would predict. Such a model would require wages to fall when the supply of labor, through immigration, goes up.

Slicing up the data — all too finely

This is where two new studies came in, decades after Card’s — in 2015. One, by Borjas, claims that Card’s analysis had obscured a large fall in the wages of native workers by using too broad a definition of “low-skill worker.” Card’s study had looked at the wages of US workers whose education extended only to high school or less. That was a natural choice, since about half of the newly-arrived Cubans had a high school degree, and half didn’t.

Borjas, instead, focuses on workers who did not finish high school — and claimed that the Boatlift caused the wages of those workers, those truly at the bottom of the ladder, to collapse.

The other new study (ungated here), by economists Giovanni Peri and Vasil Yasenov, of the UC Davis and UC Berkeley, reconfirms Card’s original result: It cannot detect an effect of the boatlift on Miami wages, even among workers who did not finish high school.

In short, different well-qualified economists arrive at opposite conclusions about the effects of immigration, looking at the same data about the same incident, with identical modern analytical tools at their disposal. How that happened has a lot to teach about why the economics of immigration remains so controversial.

Suppose we are concerned that the graph above, covering all low-skill workers in Miami, is too aggregated — meaning it combines too many different kinds of workers. We would not want to miss the effects on certain subgroups that may have competed more directly with the newly-arrived Cubans. For example, the Mariel migrants were mostly men. They were Hispanic. Many of them were prime-age workers (age 25 to 59). So we should look separately at what happened to wages for each of those groups of low-skill workers who might compete with the immigrants more directly: men only, non-Cuban Hispanics only, prime-age workers only. Here’s what wages look like for those slices of the same data:

Here again, if anything, wages rose for each of these groups of low-skill workers after 1980, relative to their previous trend. There isn’t any dip in wages to explain. And, again, the same is true if you compare wage trends in Miami to trends in other, similar cities.

Peri and Yasenov showed that there is still no dip in wages even when you divide up low-skill workers by whether or not they finished high school. About half of the Mariel migrants had finished high school, and the other half hadn’t. So you might expect negative wage effects on both groups of workers in Miami. Here is what the wage trends look like for those two groups.

The wages of Miami workers with high school degrees (and no more than that) jump up right after the Mariel boatlift, relative to prior trends. The wages of those with less than a high school education appear to dip slightly, for a couple of years, although this is barely distinguishable amid the statistical noise. And these same inflation-adjusted wages were also falling in many other cities that didn’t receive a wave of immigrants, so it’s not possible to say with statistical confidence whether that brief dip on the right is real. It might have been — but economists can’t be sure. The rise on the left, in contrast, is certainly statistically significant, even relative to corresponding wage trends in other cities.

Here is how the Borjas study reaches exactly the opposite conclusion. The Borjas study slices up the data much more finely than even Peri and Yasenov do. It’s not every worker with less than high school that he looks at. Borjas starts with the full sample of workers of high school or less — then removes women, and Hispanics, and workers who aren’t prime age (that is, he tosses out those who are 19 to 24, and 60 to 65). And then he removes workers who have a high school degree.

In all, that means throwing out the data for 91 percent of low-skill workers in Miami in the years where Borjas finds the largest wage effect. It leaves a tiny sample, just 17 workers per year. When you do that, the average wages for the remaining workers look like this:

For these observations picked out of the broader dataset, average wages collapse by at least 40 percent after the boatlift. Wages fall way below their previous trend, as well as way below similar trends in other cities, and the fall is highly statistically significant.

How to explain the divergent conclusions?

There are two ways to interpret these findings. The first way would be to conclude that the wage trend seen in the subgroup that Borjas focuses on — non-Hispanic prime-age men with less than a high school degree — is the “real” effect of the boatlift. The second way would be to conclude, as Peri and Yasenov do, that slicing up small data samples like this generates a great deal of statistical noise. If you do enough slicing along those lines, you can find groups for which wages rose after the Boatlift, and others for which it fell. In any dataset with a lot of noise, the results for very small groups will vary widely.

Researchers can and do disagree about which conclusion to draw. But there are many reasons to favor the view that there is no compelling basis to revise Card’s original finding. There is not sufficient evidence to show that Cuban immigrants reduced any low-skill workers’ wages in Miami, even small minorities of them, and there isn’t much more that can be learned about the Mariel boatlift with the data we have.

Here are three reasons why Card’s canonical finding stands.

Borjas’s theory doesn’t fit the evidence

The first reason is economic theory. The simple theory underlying all of this analysis is that when the supply of labor rises, wages have to fall. But if we interpret the wage drop in Borjas’s subgroup as an effect of the Boatlift, we need to interpret the upward jumps in the other graphs above, too, as effects of the Boatlift. That is, we would need to interpret the sharp post-Boatlift rise in wages for low-skill Miami Hispanics, regardless of whether they had a high school degree, as another effect of the influx of workers.

But wait. The theory of supply and demand cannot explain how a massive infusion of low-skill Cuban Hispanics would cause wages to rise for other Hispanics, who would obviously compete with them. For the same reason, we would need to conclude that the boatlift caused a large rise in the wages of Miami workers with high school degrees only, both Hispanic and non-Hispanic — who constitute the large majority of low-skill workers in Miami. And so on.

Economic theory doesn’t offer a reason why such a big benefit should happen. So we should be suspicious of jumping to the rosy conclusion that the Mariel boatlift caused big wage increases for the other 91 percent of low-skill workers in Miami. One could reach that conclusion by the same method Borjas used, if one sought such a result. But we should hesitate to make strong conclusions — one way or another — from any handpicked subset of the data.

The study states that this was done because, among other reasons, the arrival of non-Cuban Hispanics in some of the other cities that Miami is being compared to — including Anaheim and Rochester — may have driven down wages in those places. But the graphs shown here are just for Miami, unaffected by that hypothetical concern.

As you can see above, the wages of low-skill Hispanics as a whole jumped upward in Miami in the years after the boatlift. Dropping the data on groups that experienced wage increases, without a sound theoretical reason to do so, ensures by construction that wages fall in the small group that remains. The method determines the result.

There’s too much noise in the data to conclude native workers were hurt

The second reason the data backs Peri and Yasenov’s interpretation is statistical noise caused by small subsamples. Because there is a great deal of noise in the data, if we’re willing to take low-skill workers in Miami and hand-pick small subsets of them, we can always find small groups of workers whose wages rose during a particular period, and other groups whose wages fell. But at some point we’re learning more about statistical artifacts than about real-world events.

Remember the key Borjas sample in each year — the one that experienced a large drop in wages — was just 17 men. By picking various small subsets of the data, a researcher could hypothetically get any positive or negative “effect” of the boatlift.

Race made a difference here

Yet another reason to believe the Card study remains solid has to do with something very different from statistical noise. Average wages in tiny slices of the data can change sharply because of small but systematic changes in who is getting interviewed. And it turns out that the CPS sample includes vastly more black workers in the data used for the Borjas study after the boatlift than before it.

Because black men earned less than others, this change would necessarily have the effect of exaggerating the wage decline measured by Borjas. The change in the black fraction of the sample is too big and long-lasting to be explained by random error. (This is my own contribution to the debate. I explore this problem in a new research paper that I co-authored with Jennifer Hunt, a professor of economics at Rutgers University.)

Around 1980, the same time as the Boatlift, two things happened that would bring a lot more low-wage black men into the survey samples. First, there was a simultaneous arrival of large numbers of very low-income immigrants from Haiti without high school degrees: that is, non-Hispanic black men who earn much less than US black workers but cannot be distinguished from US black workers in the survey data. Nearly all hadn’t finished high school.

That meant not just that Miami suddenly had far more black men with less than high school after 1980, but also that those black men had much lower earnings. Second, the Census Bureau, which ran the CPS surveys, improved its survey methods around 1980 to cover more low-skill black men due to political pressure after research revealed that many low-income black men simply weren’t being counted.

You can see what happened in the graph below, which has a point for each year’s group of non-Hispanic men with less than high school, in the data used by Borjas (ages 25 to 59). The horizontal axis is the fraction of the men in the sample who are black. The vertical axis is the average wage in the sample. Because black men in Miami at this skill level earned much less than non-blacks, it’s no surprise that the more black men are covered by each year’s sample, the lower the average wage.

But here’s the critical problem: The fraction of black workers in this sample increased dramatically between the years just before the boatlift (in red) and the years just after the boatlift (in blue). That demographic shift would make the average wage in this group appear to fall right after the boatlift, even if no one’s wages actually changed in any subpopulation. What changed was who was included in the sample.

Why hadn’t this problem affected Card’s earlier results? Because there wasn’t any shift like this for workers who had finished high school only (as opposed to less than high school). Here is the same graph for those workers (again, non-Hispanic males 25 to 59):

Here, too, you can see that in the years where the survey covered more black men, the average wage is lower. But for this group, there wasn’t any increase in the relative number of blacks surveyed after 1980. If anything, black fraction of the sample is a little lower right after 1980. So the average wage in the post-boatlift years (blue) isn’t any lower than the average wage in the pre-boatlift years (red). About two-thirds of Card’s sample was these workers, where the shift in the fraction of black workers did not happen.

When the statistical results in the Borjas study are adjusted to allow for changing black composition of the sample in each city, the result becomes fragile. In the dataset Borjas focuses on, the result suddenly depends on which set of cities one chooses to compare Miami to. And in the other, larger CPS dataset that covers the same period, there is no longer a statistically significant dip in wages at all.

You might think that there’s an easy solution: Just test for the effects of the boatlift on workers who aren’t black. But this is really pushing the data further than it can go. By the time you’ve discarded women, and Hispanics, and workers under 25, and workers over 59, and anyone who finished high school— and blacks, you’ve thrown away 98 percent of the data on low-skill workers in Miami. There are only four people left in each year’s survey, on average, during the years that the Borjas study finds the largest effect. The average wage in that minuscule slice of the data looks like this:

With samples that small, the statistical confidence interval (represented by the dotted lines) is huge, meaning we can’t infer anything general from the results. We can’t distinguish large declines in wages from large rises in wages — at least until several years after the boatlift happened, and those can’t be plausibly attributed to the boatlift. Taking just four workers at a time from the larger dataset, a researcher could achieve practically any result whatsoever. There may have been a wage decline in this group, or a rise, but there just isn’t sufficient evidence to know.

David Card’s canonical conclusion stands

In sum, the evidence from the Mariel boatlift continues to support the conclusion of David Card’s seminal research: There is no clear evidence that wages fell (or that unemployment rose) among the least-skilled workers in Miami, even after a sudden refugee wave sharply raised the size of that workforce.

This does not by any means imply that large waves of low-skill immigration could not displace any native workers, especially in the short term, in other times and places. But politicians’ pronouncements that immigrants necessarily do harm native workers must grapple with the evidence from real-world experiences to the contrary.

Michael Clemens is an economist at the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC, and the IZA Institute of Labor Economics in Bonn, Germany. His book The Walls of Nations is forthcoming from Columbia University Press.

Voir aussi:

The Republican candidate wants to deport immigrants and build a wall to keep Mexicans out. So what drives los Trumpistas?

Lauren Gambino

‘Trump is our wakeup call’

Raul Rodriguez, 74, Apple Valley, California

I always carry a bullhorn with me to rallies and campaign events. Into it I shout: “America, wake up!” Americans have been asleep for way too long. We need to realise that the future of our country is at stake.

If we don’t elect Donald Trump, we’ll get another four years of Barack Obama and frankly, I don’t know what would happen to this wonderful country of ours. Obama has already done so much to destroy our way of life and Hillary Clinton is promising to carry on where he left off. Like Obama, she wants to change our fundamental values – the ones people like my father fought to defend.

My father was born in Durango, Mexico. When he came to the US he joined the military and served as a medic during the second world war. He was a very proud American – he truly loved this country. I think I got my sense of patriotism from him.

Obama and Hillary Clinton want to have open borders. They let illegal immigrants cross our borders and now they want to accept thousands of Syrians. We don’t know who these people are. If they want to come to this country, they have to do it the right way, like my father did it.

I’m tired of politicians telling voters what they want to hear and then returning to Washington and doing whatever their party tells them to do. Politicians are supposed to represent the people – not their parties or their donors.

Part of the reason I like Donald Trump is because he isn’t an established politician. Sometimes that hurts him and people get offended. But the truth hurts. Even if he doesn’t say it well, he’s not wrong. Trump is our wakeup call.

‘Democrats treat Latinos as if we’re all one big group’

Ximena Barreto, 31, San Diego, California

I was in primary school in my native Colombia when my father was murdered. I was six – just one year older than my daughter is now. My father was an officer in the Colombian army at a time when wearing a uniform made you a target for narcoterrorists, Farc fighters and guerrilla groups.

What I remember clearly from those early years is the bombing and the terror. I was so afraid, especially after my dad died. At night, I would curl up in my mother’s bed while she held me close. She could not promise me that everything was going to be all right, because it wasn’t true. I don’t want my daughter to grow up like that.

But when I turn on my TV, I see terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and in Orlando. There are dangerous people coming across our borders. Trump was right. Some are rapists and criminals, but some are good people, too. But how do we know who is who, when you come here illegally?

I moved to the US in 2006 on a work permit. It took nearly five years and thousands of dollars to become a US citizen. I know the process is not perfect, but it’s the law. Why would I want illegals coming in when I had to go through this? It’s not fair that they’re allowed to jump the line and take advantage of so many benefits, ones that I pay for with my tax dollars.

People assume that because I’m a woman, I should vote for the woman; or that because I’m Latina, I should vote for the Democrat. The Democrats have been pandering to minorities and women for the last 50 years. They treat Latinos as if we’re all one big group. I’m Colombian – I don’t like Mariachi music. Donald Trump is not just saying what he thinks people want to hear, he’s saying what they’re afraid to say. I believe that he’s the only candidate who can make America strong and safe again.

‘Trump beat the system: what’s more American than that?’

Bertran Usher, 20, Inglewood, California

Pinterest
Bertran Usher, centre. Photograph: Edoardo Delille and Giulia Piermartiri/Institute

Donald Trump is the candidate America deserves. For decades, Americans have bemoaned politicians and Washington insiders. We despise political speak and crave fresh, new ideas. When you ask for someone with no experience, this is what you get. It’s like saying you don’t want a doctor to operate on you.

But Trump is a big FU to America. He beat the system and proved everyone wrong. What’s more American than that?

As a political science student who one day hopes to go into politics, I am studying this election closely. Both candidates are deeply unpopular and people of my generation are not happy with their choices. I believe we can learn what not to do from this election. I see how divided the country is, and it’s the clearest sign that politicians will have to learn to work together to make a difference. It’s not always easy, but I’ve seen this work.

I was raised in a multicultural household. My mother, a Democrat, is Latino and African American, raised in the inner city of Los Angeles. My father, a Republican, is an immigrant from Belize. My parents and I don’t always see eye to eye on everything, but our spirited debates have helped add nuance to my politics.

I’m in favour of small government, but I support gay rights. I believe welfare is an important service for Americans who need it, but I think our current programme needs to be scaled back. I think we need to have stricter enforcement of people who come to the country illegally, but I don’t think we should deport the DREAMers [children of immigrants who were brought to the country illegally, named after the 2001 Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act].

Trump can be a nut, but I think he’s the best candidate in this election. Though there are issues of his I disagree with, at least he says what’s on his mind, as opposed to Hillary Clinton, who hides what she’s thinking behind her smile.

It’s up to my generation to fix the political mess we’re in. I plan to be a part of the solution.

‘Trump’s The Art Of The Deal inspired me to be a businessman’

Omar Navarro, 27, Torrance, California

When I was a kid, people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up. I would tell them: I want to be president of the United States. If that doesn’t work out, I want to be a billionaire like Trump.

In a way, I supported him long before he announced he was running for president. He was my childhood hero. I read The Art Of The Deal as a student; it inspired me to become a businessman. Now I own a small business and am running for Congress in California’s 43rd district.

Trump built an empire and a strong brand that’s recognisable all around the world; he’s a household name and a world-class businessman. Almost anywhere you go, you can see the mark of Donald Trump on a building or property. When I see that, I see the American Dream.

Some people ask me how I can support Donald Trump as the son of a Mexican and Cuban immigrants. They are categorising me. In this country we label people: Hispanic, African American, Asian, Caucasian. We separate and divide people into social categories based on race, ethnicity, gender and creed. To me, this is a form of racism. I’m proud of my Hispanic heritage but I’m an American, full stop.

Like all immigrants, my parents came to this country for a better opportunity. But they did it legally. They didn’t cut the line. They assimilated to the American way of life, learned English and opened small businesses.

Why should we allow people to skirt the law? Imagine making a dinner reservation and arriving at the restaurant to find out that another family has been seated at your table. How is that fair?

We have to have laws and as a country we must enforce those laws. A society without laws is just anarchy. If someone invited you to their house and asked you to remove your shoes would you keep them on? If we don’t enforce the rules, why would anyone respect them? I believe Donald Trump will enforce the rules.

‘He has taken a strong stand against abortion’

Jimena Rivera, 20, student at the University of Texas at Brownsville

I’m Mexican, so I don’t have a vote, but I support Donald Trump because he is the one candidate who opposes abortion. He may have wavered in the beginning, but since becoming the nominee he has taken a strong stand against abortion.

Hillary Clinton is running as the leader of a party that has pushed a very pro-choice platform. Even Democrats like her running mate, Tim Kaine, who is a devout Catholic, compromise their faith to support abortion.

I don’t always agree with his positions on immigration. I see the border wall every day. I’m not convinced that it’s effective. The people who want to cross will find a way. I don’t think it’s right that they do, but most of them are looking for a better way of life. A wall won’t stop them.

‘Lower taxes and less regulation will create more jobs’

Marissa Desilets, 22, Palm Springs, California

I am a proud Hispanic conservative Republican woman. I became politically engaged as a political science and economics major at university. By my junior year, I was a member of the campus Republicans’ club. As a student of economics, I am very impressed with Trump’s economic agenda. I believe we must cut taxes for everyone and eliminate the death tax. Lowering taxes and reeling back regulations will create more jobs – meaning more tax-paying Americans. This in turn will generate more revenue for the Treasury.

I also support Trump because he favours strong leadership and promised to preserve the constitution of the United States. We must have a rule of law in this country. We must close our open borders. Like Trump says: “a nation without borders is not a nation.” This doesn’t mean we should not allow any immigrants. We should welcome new immigrants who choose to legally enter our beautiful country.

This won’t be the case if Hillary Clinton becomes president. I would expect the poor to become poorer and our country to become divided. I believe that liberals’ reckless domestic spending will bankrupt our future generations. I refuse to support a party that desires to expand the government and take away my civil liberties.

‘He has gone through so many divorces, yet raised such a close-knit family’

Dr Alexander Villicana, 80, Pasadena, California

I am an example of the opportunities this country has to offer. My parents came from Mexico at the turn of the 20th century. They were not educated but they worked hard to make a better life for us and it paid off.

I went to school and studied cosmetic surgery. Now I work as a plastic surgeon and have been in practice for the last 40 years. I have a beautiful family and my health. I am Hispanic – but I am a citizen of the United States and I feel very patriotic for this country that has given me so much.

I’m supporting Trump because I agree with his vision for our economy. He has experience at the negotiating table, so he knows what to do to create jobs and increase workers’ salaries. In Trump’s America people would be rewarded for their hard work rather than penalised with hefty taxes.

The security of our nation is a top priority for me. I think it would be impossible to deport 11 million people who are here illegally, but we have to do a better job of understanding who is in our country and who is trying to come into our country.

A lot of what Trump says, especially about security and immigration, is twisted by the media. What he said about Mexicans, for example, that wasn’t negative – it was the truth. There are Mexicans bringing over drugs and perpetrating rapes. But what he also said – and the media completely ignored – is that many Mexicans are good people coming over for a better quality of life.

He may be blunt and occasionally offensive but I find him likable. I was so impressed by Trump and his family at the Republican National Convention. It’s hard for me to imagine that someone who has gone through so many divorces has managed to raise such a close-knit family. None of his children had to work and yet they spoke with eloquence and integrity about their father.

‘When Trump is harsh about Mexicans, he is right’

Francisco Rivera, 43, Huntington Park, California

People ask me how I can support Donald Trump. I say, let me tell you a story. I was in line at the movie theatre recently when I saw a young woman toss her cupcake into a nearby planter as if it were a trash can. I walked over to her and said, “Honey, excuse me, does that look like a garbage can to you?” And you know what she told me? “There’s already trash in the planter, so what does it matter?”

I asked her what part of Mexico she was from. She seemed surprised and asked how I knew she was from Mexico. “Look at what you just did,” I told her. “Donald Trump may sound harsh when he speaks about Mexicans, but he is right. It’s people like you that make everyone look bad.”

I moved from Mexico with my family when I was seven. I still carry a photo of my brother and I near our home, to remind people how beautiful the city once was. Now I spend my time erasing graffiti from the walls and picking up trash. Sixty years ago, we accepted immigrants into our country who valued the laws, rules and regulations that made America the land of opportunity. Back in those days, people worked hard to improve themselves and their communities.

I’m tired of living in a lawless country. It’s like we put a security guard at the front door, but the Obama administration unlocked the back door. And I have seen what my own people have done to this country. They want to convert America into the country they left behind. This country has given me so many opportunities I wouldn’t have had if my mom had raised her family in Mexico. I want America to be great again, and that’s why in November I am going to vote for Donald Trump.

‘I voted for Obama twice, but Hillary gets a free pass’

Teresa Mendoza, 44, Mesa, Arizona

In my day job I am a real estate agent but every now and then I dabble in standup comedy. Comedy used to be a safe space. You could say whatever you wanted to and it was understood that it was meant to make people laugh. Now everything has to be politically correct. You can’t say “Hand me the black crayon” without someone snapping back at you: “What do you mean by that?” Donald Trump offended a lot of people when he gave the speech calling [Mexicans] rapists and criminals but he didn’t offend me.

I was a liberal Democrat all my life. Before this I voted for Obama twice. I wanted to be a part of history. If it wasn’t for Obamacare and the ridiculous growth of our federal government, I’d probably still be a Democrat, asleep at the wheel. But I woke up and realised I’m actually much more in line with Republicans on major policy points.

I like to joke that I’m an original anchor baby. My parents came from Mexico in the 1970s under the Bracero work programme making me a California-born Chicana. We later became US citizens. But now that I’m a Republican, Hillary Clinton is trying to tell me I’m “alt-right”. It’s strange isn’t it? All of a sudden I’m a white nationalist.

My sons and I go back and forth. They don’t like Trump. But it’s what they’re hearing in school, from their friends and teachers, who are all getting their news from the same biased news outlets.

I’m very concerned about the role the media is taking in this election. The networks sensationalise and vilify Trump while they give Hillary Clinton a free pass. It amazes me. I don’t care if Trump likes to eat his fried chicken with a fork and a knife. I do care that Clinton has not been held responsible for the Benghazi attacks.

Voir également:

En 2016, le business des passeurs de migrants s’élevait à 7 milliards de dollars

Zoé Lauwereys
Le Parisien
10 juillet 2018

L’Office des Nations unies contre la drogue et le crime (l’UNODC) livre un rapport détaillé sur le trafic fructueux des passeurs.

On connaît les photos de ces hommes et de ces femmes débarquant sur des plages européennes, engoncés dans leurs gilets de sauvetage orange, tentant à tout prix de maintenir la tête de leur enfant hors de l’eau. Impossible également d’oublier l’image du corps du petit Aylan Kurdi, devenu en 2016 le symbole planétaire du drame des migrants. Ce que l’on sait moins c’est que le « business » des passeurs rapporte beaucoup d’argent. Selon la première étude du genre de l’Office des Nations unies contre la drogue et le crime (l’UNODC), le trafic de migrants a rapporté entre 5,5 et 7 milliards de dollars (entre 4,7 et 6 milliards d’euros) en 2016. C’est l’équivalent de ce que l’Union européenne a dépensé la même année dans l’aide humanitaire, selon le rapport.

A quoi correspond cette somme ?

En 2016, au moins 2,5 millions de migrants sont passés entre les mains de passeurs, estime l’UNODC qui rappelle la difficulté d’évaluer une activité criminelle. De quoi faire fructifier les affaires de ces contrebandiers. Cette somme vient directement des poches des migrants qui paient des criminels pour voyager illégalement. Le tarif varie en fonction de la distance à parcourir, du nombre de frontières, les moyens de transport utilisés, la production de faux papiers… La richesse supposée du client est un facteur qui fait varier les prix. Evidemment, payer plus cher ne rend pas le voyage plus sûr ou plus confortable, souligne l’UNODC.Selon les estimations de cette agence des Nations unies, ce sont les passages vers l’Amérique du Nord qui rapportent le plus. En 2016, jusqu’à 820 000 personnes ont traversé la frontière illégalement, versant entre 3,1 et 3,6 milliards d’euros aux trafiquants. Suivent les trois routes de la Méditerranée vers l’Union européenne. Environ 375 000 personnes ont ainsi entrepris ce voyage en 2016, rapportant entre 274 et 300 millions d’euros aux passeurs.Pour atteindre l’Europe de l’Ouest, un Afghan peut ainsi dépenser entre 8000 € et 12 000 €.

L’Europe, une destination de choix

Sans surprise, les rédacteurs du rapport repèrent que l’Europe est une des destinations principales des migrants. Les pays d’origine varient, mais l’UNODC parvient à chiffrer certains flux. Les migrants qui arrivent en Italie sont originaires à 89 % d’Afrique, de l’Ouest principalement. 94 % de ceux qui atteignent l’Espagne sont également originaires d’Afrique, de l’Ouest et du Nord. LIRE AUSSI >Migrants : pourquoi ils ont choisi la France

En revanche, la Grèce accueille à 85 % des Afghans, Syriens et des personnes originaires des pays du Moyen-Orient.

En route vers l’Amérique du Nord

Le nord de l’Amérique et plus particulièrement les Etats-Unis accueillent d’importants flux de migrants. Comme l’actualité nous l’a tristement rappelé récemment, des milliers de citoyens de pays d’Amérique centrale et de Mexicains traversent chaque année la frontière qui sépare les Etats-Unis du Mexique. Les autorités peinent cependant à quantifier les flux. Ce que l’on sait c’est qu’en 2016, 2 404 personnes ont été condamnées pour avoir fait passer des migrants aux Etats-Unis. 65 d’entre eux ont été condamnés pour avoir fait passer au moins 100 personnes.Toujours en 2016, le Mexique, qui fait office de « pays-étape » pour les voyageurs, a noté que les Guatémaltèques, les Honduriens et les Salvadoriens formaient les plus grosses communautés sur son territoire. En 2016, les migrants caribéens arrivaient principalement d’Haïti, note encore l’UNODC.

Un trafic mortel

S’appuyant sur les chiffres de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), le rapport pointe les risques mortels encourus par les migrants. Première cause : les conditions de voyage difficiles. Sur les 8189 décès de migrants recensés par l’OIM en 2016, 3832 sont morts noyés (46 %) en traversant la Méditerranée. Les passages méditerranéens sont les plus mortels. L’un d’entre eux force notamment les migrants à parcourir 300 kilomètres en haute mer sur des embarcations précaires.C’est aussi la cruauté des passeurs qui est en cause. L’UNODC décrit le sort de certaines personnes poussées à l’eau par les trafiquants qui espèrent ainsi échapper aux gardes-côtes. Le cas de centaines de personnes enfermées dans des remorques sans ventilation, ni eau ou nourriture pendant des jours est également relevé. Meurtre, extorsion, torture, demande de rançon, traite d’être humain, violences sexuelles sont également le lot des migrants, d’où qu’ils viennent. En 2017, 382 migrants sont décédés de la main des hommes, soit 6 % des décès.

Qui sont les passeurs ?

Le passeur est le plus souvent un homme mais des femmes (des compagnes, des sœurs, des filles ou des mères) sont parfois impliquées dans le trafic, définissent les rédacteurs de l’étude. Certains parviennent à gagner modestement leur vie, d’autres, membres d’organisations et de mafias font d’importants profits. Tous n’exercent pas cette activité criminelle à plein temps. Souvent le passeur est de la même origine que ses victimes. Il parle la même langue et partage avec elles les mêmes repères culturels, ce qui lui permet de gagner leur confiance. Le recrutement des futurs « clients » s’opère souvent dans les camps de réfugiés ou dans les quartiers pauvres.

Les réseaux sociaux, nouvel outil des passeurs

Facebook, Viber, Skype ou WhatsApp sont devenus des indispensables du contrebandier qui veut faire passer des migrants. Arrivé à destination, le voyageur publie un compte rendu sur son passeur. Il décrit s’il a triché, échoué ou s’il traitait mal les migrants. Un peu comme une note de consommateur, rapporte l’UNODC.Mieux encore, les réseaux sociaux sont utilisés par les passeurs pour leur publicité. Sur Facebook, les trafiquants présentent leurs offres, agrémentent leur publication d’une photo, détaillent les prix et les modalités de paiement.L’agence note que, sur Facebook, des passeurs se font passer pour des ONG ou des agences de voyages européennes qui organisent des passages en toute sécurité. D’autres, qui visent particulièrement les Afghans, se posent en juristes spécialistes des demandes d’asile…

Voir enfin:

How The Pee Tape Explains The World Cup

Bidding for the 2018 World Cup was the first glimpse of today’s “Machiavellian Russia,” Ken Bensinger explains in his new book about FIFA’s corruption scandal.

On the morning of May 27, 2015, Swiss police officers raided the Baur au Lac Hotel in Zurich and arrested nine of the world’s top soccer officials on behalf of the United States government. In the coming days, the world would learn about deep-seated corruption throughout FIFA, global soccer’s governing body, that stretched from its top ranks to its regional confederations to its marketing partners around the world.

Top soccer officials from across North, South and Central America and the Caribbean were among those implicated in the case, which also brought down top executives from sports marketing firms that had bribed their way into controlling the broadcast and sponsorship rights associated with soccer’s biggest events. FIFA’s longtime president, Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, eventually resigned in disgrace.

It was the biggest organized-corruption scandal in sports history, and some within FIFA were skeptical of the Americans’ motives. In 2010 the U.S. had bid to host the 2022 World Cup, only to lose a contentious vote to Qatar. For FIFA officials, it felt like a case of sour grapes.

But as BuzzFeed investigative reporter Ken Bensinger chronicles in his new book, Red Card: How the U.S. Blew the Whistle on the World’s Biggest Sports Scandal, the investigation’s origins began before FIFA handed the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 event to Qatar. The case had actually begun as an FBI probe into an illegal gambling ring the bureau believed was run by people with ties to Russian organized crime outfits. The ring operated out of Trump Tower in New York City.

Eventually, the investigation spread to soccer, thanks in part to an Internal Revenue Service agent named Steve Berryman, a central figure in Bensinger’s book who pieced together the financial transactions that formed the backbone of the corruption allegations. But first, it was tips from British journalist Andrew Jennings and Christopher Steele ― the former British spy who is now known to American political observers as the man behind the infamous so-called “pee tape” dossier chronicling now-President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia ― that pointed the Americans’ attention toward the Russian World Cup, and the decades of bribery and corruption that had transformed FIFA from a modest organization with a shoestring budget into a multibillion-dollar enterprise in charge of the world’s most popular sport. Later, the feds arrested and flipped Chuck Blazer, a corrupt American soccer official and member of FIFA’s vaunted Executive Committee. It was Blazer who helped them crack the case wide open, as HuffPost’s Mary Papenfuss and co-author Teri Thompson chronicled in their book American Huckster, based on the 2014 story they broke of Blazer’s role in the scandal.

Russia’s efforts to secure hosting rights to the 2018 World Cup never became a central part of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice’s case. Thanks to Blazer, it instead focused primarily on CONCACAF, which governs soccer in the Caribbean and North and Central America, and other officials from South America.

But as Bensinger explained in an interview with HuffPost this week, the FIFA case gave American law enforcement officials an early glimpse into the “Machiavellian Russia” of Vladimir Putin “that will do anything to get what it wants and doesn’t care how it does it.” And it was Steele’s role in the earliest aspects of the FIFA case, coincidentally, that fostered the relationship that led him to hand his Trump dossier to the FBI ― the dossier that has now helped form “a big piece of the investigative blueprint,” as Bensinger said, that former FBI director Robert Mueller is using in his probe of Russian meddling in the election that made Trump president.

Ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final, which will take place in Moscow, HuffPost spoke with Bensinger about Red Card, the parallels between the FIFA case and the current American political environment, FIFA’s reform efforts, and whether the idea of corruption-free global soccer is at all possible.

The following is a lightly edited transcription of our discussion.

You start by addressing the main conspiracy theory around this, which is that this was a case of sour grapes from the United States losing out on hosting the 2022 World Cup. But the origin was a more traditional FBI investigation into Russian organized crime, right?

That’s correct. And there are sort of these weird connections to everything going on in the political sphere in our country, which I think is interesting because when I was reporting the book out, it was mostly before the election. It was a time when Christopher Steele’s name didn’t mean anything. But what I figured out over time is that this had nothing to do with sour grapes, and the FBI agents who opened the case didn’t really care about losing the World Cup. The theory was that the U.S. investigation was started because the U.S. lost to Qatar, and Bill Clinton or Eric Holder or Barack Obama or somebody ordered up an investigation.

What happened was that the investigation began in July or August 2010, four or five months before the vote happened. It starts because this FBI agent, who’s a long-term Genovese crime squad guy, gets a new squad ― the Eurasian Organized Crime Squad ― which is primarily focused on Russian stuff. It’s a squad that’s squeezed of resources and not doing much because under Robert Mueller, who was the FBI director at the time, the FBI was not interested in traditional crime-fighting. They were interested in what Mueller called transnational crime. So this agent looked for cases that he thought would score points with Mueller. And one of the cases they’re doing involves the Trump Tower. It’s this illegal poker game and sports book that’s partially run out of the Trump Tower. The main guy was a Russian mobster, and the FBI agent had gone to London ― that’s how he met Steele ― to learn about this guy. Steele told him what he knew, and they parted amicably, and the parting shot was, “Listen, if you have any other interesting leads in the future, let me know.”

It was the first sort of sign of the Russia we now understand exists, which is kind of a Machiavellian Russia that will do anything to get what it wants and doesn’t care how it does it.

Steele had already been hired by the English bid for the 2018 World Cup at that point. What Chris Steele starts seeing on behalf of the English bid is the Russians doing, as it’s described in the book, sort of strange and questionable stuff. It looks funny, and it’s setting off alarm bells for Steele. So he calls the FBI agent back, and says, “You should look into what’s happening with the World Cup bid.” And my sense is the FBI agent, at that point, says something along the lines of: “What’s the World Cup? And what’s FIFA?”

He really didn’t know much about it, to the point that when he comes back to New York and opens the case, it’s sort of small and they don’t take it too seriously. They were stymied, trying to figure out how to make it a case against Russia. Meanwhile, the vote happens and Russia wins its bid for the 2018 World Cup.

So it’s more a result of the U.S. government’s obsession, if you will, with Russia and Russian crime generally?

The story would be different if this particular agent was on a different squad. But he was an ambitious agent just taking over a squad and trying to make a name for himself. This was his first management job, and he wanted to make big cases. He decides to go after Russia in Russia as a way to make a splash. It’s tempting to look at this as a reflection of the general U.S. writ large obsession with Russia, which certainly exists, but it’s also a different era. This was 2009, 2010. This was during the Russian reset. It was Obama’s first two years in office. He’s hugging Putin and talking about how they’re going to make things work. Russia is playing nice-nice. The public image is fairly positive in that period. It wasn’t, “Russia’s the great enemy.” It was more like, “Russia can be our friend!”

That’s what I find interesting about this case is that, what we see in Russia’s attempt to win the World Cup by any means is the first sort of sign of the Russia we now understand exists, which is kind of a Machiavellian Russia that will do anything to get what it wants and doesn’t care how it does it. It was like a dress rehearsal for that.

Steele has become this sort of household name in politics in the U.S., thanks to the Trump dossier. But here he is in the FIFA scandal. Was this coincidental, because he’s the Russia guy and we’re investigating Russia?

It’s one of these things that looks like an accident, but so much of world history depends on these accidents. Chris Steele, when he was still at MI-6, investigated the death of Alexander Litvinenko, who was the Russian spy poisoned with polonium. It was Steele who ran that investigation and determined that Putin probably ordered it. And then Steele gets hired because of his expertise in Russia by the English bid, and he becomes the canary in the coal mine saying, “Uh oh, guys, it’s not going to be that easy, and things are looking pretty grim for you.”

That’s critical. I don’t know if that would have affected whether or not Chris Steele later gets hired by Fusion GPS to put together the Trump dossier. But it’s certain that the relationship he built because of the FIFA case meant that the FBI took it more seriously. The very same FBI agent that he gave the tip on FIFA to was the agent he calls up in 2016 to say, “I have another dossier.”

The FBI must get a crazy number of wild, outlandish tips all the time, but in this case, it’s a tip from Christopher Steele, who has proven his worth very significantly to the FBI. This is just a year after the arrests in Zurich, and the FBI and DOJ are feeling very good about the FIFA case, and they’re feeling very good about their relationship with Christopher Steele.

If we think about the significance of the dossier ― and I realize that we’ve learned that the FBI had already begun to look into Trump and Russia prior to having it ― it’s also clear that the dossier massively increased the size of the investigation, led to the FISA warrants where we’re listening to Carter Page and others, and formed a big piece of the investigative blueprint for Mueller today. Steele proved his worth to the FBI at the right time, and that led to his future work being decisive

To the investigation itself: In 2010, FIFA votes to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, and you quote (now former) FIFA vice president Jérôme Valcke as saying, “This is the end of FIFA.” So there were some people within FIFA that saw this vote as a major turning point in its history?

I think he and others were recognizing this increasingly brazen attitude of the criminality within FIFA. They had gone from an organization where people were getting bribes and doing dirty stuff, but doing it very carefully behind closed doors. And it was transitioning to one where the impunity was so rampant that people thought they could do anything. And I think in his mind, awarding the World Cup to Russia under very suspicious circumstances and also awarding it to Qatar, which by any definition has no right to host this tournament, it felt to him and others like a step too far.

I don’t think he had any advance knowledge that the U.S. was poking around on it, but he recognized that it was getting out of hand. People were handing out cash bribes in practically broad daylight, and as corrupt as these people were, they didn’t tend to do that.

You write early in the book that this all started with the election, as FIFA president, of João Havelange in 1974. He takes advantage of modern marketing and media to begin to turn FIFA into the organization that we know today. Is it fair to say that this corruption scandal was four decades in the making?

I haven’t thought of it that way, but in a way, you’re right. The FIFA culture we know today didn’t start yesterday. It started in 1974 when this guy gets elected, and within a couple years, the corruption starts. And it starts with one bribe to Havelange, or one idea that he should be bribed. And it starts a whole culture, and the people all sort of learn from that same model. The dominoes fell over time. It’s not a new model, and things were getting more and more out of hand over time. FIFA had been able to successfully bat these challenges down over the years. There’s an attempted revolt in FIFA in 2001 or 2002 that Blatter completely shut down. The general secretary of FIFA was accusing Blatter and other people of either being involved in corruption or permitting corruption, and there’s a moment where it seems like the Executive Committee was going to turn against Blatter and vote him out and change everything. But they all blinked, and Blatter dispensed his own justice by getting rid of his No. 2 and putting in people who were going to be loyal to him. The effect of those things was more brazen behavior.

Everyone knew this was going on. Why didn’t it come to light sooner?

It was an open secret. I think it’s because soccer’s just too big and important in all these other countries. I think other countries have just never been able to figure out how to deal with it. The best you’d get was a few members of Parliament in England holding outraged press conferences or a few hearings, but nothing ever came of it. It’s just too much of a political hot potato because soccer elsewhere is so much more important than it is the U.S. People are terrified of offending the FIFA gods.

There’s a story about how Andrew Jennings, this British journalist, wanted to broadcast a documentary detailing FIFA corruption just a week or so before the 2010 vote, and when the British bid and the British government got a hold of it, they tried really hard to stifle the press. They begged the BBC not to air the documentary until after the vote, because they were terrified of FIFA. That’s reflective of the kind of attitudes that all these countries have.

A lot of the things that resulted from the bribery and the corruption, or that were done to facilitate bribery and corruption, helped grow the sport here. The Gold Cup, the Women’s World Cup, the growth of the World Cup and Copa America. To the average fan, these are “good” developments for the sport. And yet, they were only created to make these guys rich. How do you square that?

Well, it reminds me of questions about Chuck Blazer. Is he all bad, or all good? He’s a little bit of both. The U.S. women’s national team probably wouldn’t exist without him. The Women’s World Cup probably wouldn’t either. Major League Soccer got its first revenue-positive TV deal because of Chuck Blazer.

A lot of these guys were truly surprised. If they thought they were doing something wrong, they didn’t think it was something that anyone cared about.

At the same time, he was a corrupt crook that stole a lot of money that could’ve gone to the game. And so, is he good or bad? Probably more bad than good, but he’s not all bad.

That applies to the Gold Cup. The Gold Cup is a totally artificial thing that was made up ultimately as a money-making scheme for Blazer, but in the end, it’s probably benefited soccer in this country. So it’s clearly not all bad.

You’d like to think that we could take these things that end up being a good idea, and clean them up and wash away the bad.

Blazer is a fascinating figure, and it seems like there are hints of sympathy for him and some of the other corrupt players in the book. Were all of these guys hardened criminals, or did they get wrapped up in how the business worked, and how it had worked for so long?

There’s no question he’s greedy. But there’s something about the culture of corruption that it can almost sneak up on a person. Blazer had a longer history of it. He always had a touch of corruption about him. But I think a lot of the officials in the sport came up because they loved the sport and wanted to be involved in running it. And then they found out that people were lining their pockets and they thought: “Everyone else is doing it. I’d be a fool not to participate in this.”

And when they end up getting arrested and charged, it’s not the same as a mafia guy in Brooklyn. A lot of these guys were truly surprised. If they thought they were doing something wrong, they didn’t think it was something that anyone cared about. They clearly aren’t innocent, and they went to great lengths to hide it. But at the same time, the impunity came from a culture of believing it was OK to do that stuff. And this really was a case of the FBI and DOJ pulling the rug out from under these people.

One point you stress in the book is that fundamentally, this was a crime against the development of the sport, particularly in poorer nations and communities. How did FIFA’s corruption essentially rob development money from the lower levels of soccer?

That’s something that took me a little while to understand. But when I understood the way the bribery took place, it became clearer to me. The money stolen from the sport isn’t just the bribes. Let’s say I’m a sports marketing firm, and I bribe you a million dollars to sign over a rights contract to me. The first piece of it is that million dollars that could have gone to the sport. But it’s also the opportunity cost: What would the value of those rights have been if it was taken to the free market instead of a bribe?

All that money is taken away from the sport. And the second thing was traveling to South America and seeing the conditions of soccer for fans, for kids and for women. That was really eye-opening. There are stadiums in Argentina and Brazil that are absolutely decrepit. And people would explain, the money that was supposed to come to these clubs never comes. You have kids still playing with the proverbial ball made of rags and duct tape, and little girls who can’t play because there are no facilities or leagues for women at all. When you see that, and then you see dudes making millions in bribes and also marketing guys making far more from paying the bribes, I started to get indignant about it. FIFA always ties itself to children and the good of the game. But it’s absurd when you see how they operate. The money doesn’t go to kids. It goes to making soccer officials rich.

Former U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati pops up a couple times. He’s friends with Blazer, he ends up with a seat on the Executive Committee. Is there a chance U.S. Soccer is wrapped up in this, and we just don’t know about it yet?

I will say that I don’t believe Gulati is a cooperator. People wonder that and it’s reasonable. It’s curious how this guy who came up in Blazer’s shadow and rose to so much power, and literally had office space in the CONCACAF offices, could be clean. And he might not be clean, but more likely, he’s the kind of guy who decided to turn a blind eye to all the corruption and pretend he didn’t see it.

That said, there are legitimate questions about how U.S. Soccer operates that weirdly parallels a lot of the corruption that we saw in South America, the Caribbean and Central America. The relationship between U.S. Soccer, MLS and this entity called Soccer United Marketing ― that relationship is very questionable. MLS has the rights to the U.S. Soccer Federation wrapped up for years and years to come. There hasn’t been open bidding for those rights since 2002, I think it is. SUM has MLS, but it also has the rights for the U.S. Soccer Federation for men and women. There’s a lot of money to be made, and SUM’s getting all that, and since they haven’t put it out for public bid, it’s really not clear that U.S. Soccer is getting full value for its product. And in that sense it parallels the sort of corruption we saw.

What do you make of FIFA’s reform efforts?

FIFA is battling itself as it tries to reform itself. I’m suspicious of current FIFA president Gianni Infantino. This is a guy who grew up 6 miles from Sepp Blatter. His career echoes that. He was the general secretary of UEFA, which is not unlike being the general secretary of FIFA. Both of them are very similar in a lot of ways, in their ambitions and their role being the sport’s bureaucrat. Their promises to win elections by spilling money all over the place is just too similar. That said, I think Infantino recognizes that that culture is what led to these problems, and he sees an organization that’s in financial chaos right now. This World Cup’s going to bring in a lot of money, but the last three years have been massively income-negative. They’re losing money because of sponsors running away in droves and massive legal bills. I think he sees a pathway to financial security for FIFA by making more money and being more transparent.

When massive amounts of money mixes with a massively popular cultural phenomenon, is it ever going to be clean? It seems kind of hopeless.

But he still talks about patronage and handing out money, and federations around the world are still getting busted for taking bribes. The Ghana football federation got dissolved a week before the World Cup because a documentary came out that showed top officials taking bribes on secret camera. It’s still a deeply corrupt culture. Baby steps are being taken, but it seems like 42-plus years of corruption can’t be cleaned up in two or three years.

On that note, one of the marketing guys in the book says, “There will always be payoffs.” That stuck out to me, because I’m cynical about FIFA’s willingness or ability to clean this up at all. From your reporting, do you believe “there will always be payoffs” is the reality of the situation, given the structure of our major international sporting organizations?

This is like, “What is human nature all about?” When massive amounts of money mixes with a massively popular cultural phenomenon, is it ever going to be clean? I wish it would be different, but it seems kind of hopeless. How do you regulate soccer, and who can oversee this to make sure that people behave in an ethical, clean and fair way that benefits everyone else? It’s not an accident that every single international sports organization is based in Switzerland. The answer is because the Swiss, not only do they offer them a huge tax break, they also basically say, “You can do whatever you want and we’re not going to bother you.” That’s exactly what these groups want. Well, how do you regulate that?

I don’t think the U.S. went in saying, “We’re going to regulate soccer.” I think they thought if we can give soccer a huge kick in the ass, if we can create so much public and political pressure on them that sponsors will run away, they’ll feel they have no option but to react and clean up their act. It’s sort of, kick ’em where it hurts.

My cynicism about the ability for anyone to clean it up made me feel sorry for Steve Berryman, the IRS agent who’s one of the main investigators and one of your central characters. He said he’ll never stop until he cleans up the sport, and I couldn’t help but think, “That’ll never happen.”

That’s right. It’ll never happen. People like him are driven. It’s not just soccer for him. He cared so much about this. He felt, “I have to do this until it’s over, or else it’s a failed investigation.” I think people like him sometimes recognize that they can never get there, but it’s still disheartening, every piece of new corruption we see, and these guys think, “I’ve worked so hard, and … ”

The World Cup is going on right now, it’s in Russia, and corruption has barely been a part of the story. Do you think the book and the upcoming Qatari World Cup will reinvigorate that conversation, or are people just resigned to the belief that this is what FIFA is?

There is some of that resignation. But also, the annoying but true reality of FIFA is that when the World Cup is happening, all the soccer fans around the world forget all their anger and just want to watch the tournament. For three and a half years, everyone bitches about what a mess FIFA is, and then during the World Cup everyone just wants to watch soccer. There could be some reinvigoration in the next few months when the next stupid scandal appears. And I do think Qatar could reinvigorate more of that. There’s a tiny piece of me that thinks we could still see Qatar stripped of the World Cup. That would certainly spur a lot of conversation about this.

You talk at the end of the book about a shift in focus to corruption in the Asian federation. Are DOJ and the FBI tying up loose ends, or are there deeper investigations still going?

There are clear signs that there’s more. This is still cleaning up pieces from the old case, but just Tuesday, a Florida company pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud in the FIFA case. It was a company that was known from the written indictments, but no one had known they were going to be pleading guilty, so it was a new piece of the case. This company’s going to pay $25 million in fines and forfeitures, and it was sort of a sign from DOJ that they have finished what they’re going to do.

That piece at the end of the book with the guy going off to the South Pacific is a guy named Richard Lai. He’s from Guam and he pleaded guilty in May or June of 2017. That was a pretty strong clue, too, that they’re looking at the Asian Football Confederation, which is the one that includes Qatar. I do know from sources that the cooperators in the case are still actively talking to prosecutors, and still spending many, many hours with them discussing many aspects of the case. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see more. That said, a lot of the people who were involved in the case in the beginning have moved on. It’s natural to have some turnover, and people who inherit a case aren’t necessarily as emotionally bought into it as the people who started. So at some point, it could get old.

But not Steve Berryman. He’s still going?

Steve Berryman will never stop.

3 Responses to Présidence Trump: Ils déversent leurs problèmes sur les États-Unis (As with many of his crusades, guess who basic numbers always seem to support in the end ?)

  1. jcdurbant dit :

    HOW BLESSED CAN YOU GET ? (If Trump’s brain trust gathered together in his palatial Mar-a-Lago estate to concoct a scheme to get the Democrat Party to adopt the most tone-deaf possible platform, they could not have drafted one better than what the Democrats have created for themselves)

    How did Trump luck out by getting such hopeless geebos for opponents? It can’t just be chance. At every turn, these dummies choose to lock themselves into the most implausible and indefensible positions imaginable, then push all their chips into the center of the table. It’s almost supernatural – maybe Trump won the intervention of some ancient demon by heading over to the offices of the Weekly Standard and snatching away one of its Never Trump scribblers to use as a virgin sacrifice. How did this guy win, and in doing so crush the avatar of the establishment, the smartest woman in the world, Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit? One of his secrets to success is really no secret at all. It is to embrace the obvious. Unlike our exhausted establishment, Trump rarely holds to bizarre, indefensible positions. You would think that would be an instinctive thing for politicians of both parties – “I know! I’ll adopt stands on issues that won’t make my constituents ask ‘What the hell is wrong with you?’” – but it isn’t. Instead, the establishment has somehow talked itself into taking positions that are so clearly ridiculous that Normals scratch their heads, baffled at what they are being told by their betters via the lapdog liberal media.

    Look at NATO. The entire foreign policy establishment is scandalized that Trump says he expects the Europeans to cover their fair share of the NATO nut. Now a normal American is going to think “Yeah, I think they ought to pay their share of their own defense. Sounds reasonable.” But the establishment collectively wets itself – “HE’S DESTROYING THIS ESSENTIAL ALLIANCE BY ASKING THE PEOPLE BENEFITING FROM IT MOST TO ACTUALLY PARTICIPATE IN IT!”

    And the Normals (many of whom, like me, actually served in NATO) wonder, “Well, if it’s so essential, why aren’t the allies eager to pay for it?” And the establishment responds, “SHUT UP, RUSSIAN STOOGE! ASKING THE ALLIES TO MAKE NATO MORE EFFECTIVE BY PAYING WHAT THEY PROMISED, WHICH IS STILL A FRACTION OF WHAT THE U.S. PAYS, IS PLAYING RIGHT INTO PUTIN’S HANDS. ALSO, THE EMOLUMENTS CLAUSE SOMEHOW.”

    Here’s a test. Leave DC or New York, drive a few hours out to America, find a random guy on the street and ask, “Hey, don’t you think it’s awful that Trump wants our allies to increase their contributions to their own defense to just about half of what the U.S. pays?” You can safely assume he’ll respond, “Wait, why only half?”

    The Normal/Elite disconnect was also in full effect regarding the new SCOTUS dude. The establishment decided it’s going to bork Brett by pointing out that he bought baseball tickets and apparently liked beer in college, like there’s not a significant portion of Americans who wouldn’t be thrilled to have their next justice be nicknamed “Kegmaster K.” And what’s the new fussiness about alcohol, or are they upset because he quaffs brewskis (RUSSIANS!) instead of guzzling chardonnay? The Dems weren’t so picky about partying in 2016 when Stumbles McMyTurn was staggering all over the map. Well, not in Wisconsin.

    Then the establishment attacked Brett’s family for looking like a normal family instead of a traveling freak show. The Kavanaugh kids didn’t have nose rings or teen tatts, and they presumably know which bathroom to use. This, to the establishment, is unforgiveable. To Normal Americans, this constant social warfare against people who don’t want to be sketchy mutants is just more inspiration for more militancy.

    The Democrats have also decided that they want to go into November on the platform of abolishing ICE and opening the borders to future Democrat voters from festering Third World hellholes. Perhaps they didn’t read the polls, but Normal Americans – the ones not appearing on CNN, working for Soros-funded agitator collectives, or in college squandering their dads’ money on degrees in Oppression Studies – actually like borders. If Trump’s brain trust gathered together in his palatial Mar-a-Lago estate to concoct a scheme to get the Democrat Party to adopt the most tone-deaf possible platform, they could not have drafted one better than what the Democrats have created for themselves. The Dems ought to be required to report everything they have done lately to the Federal Elections Commission as an in-kind donation to the Republicans in 2018.

    And then there is the Mueller/ FBI/Collusion/Treason charade, which has normal people asking, “Is that still a thing?” Yeah, kind of, though it becomes less thingy every day as it becomes obvious that Sad Bassett Hound Mueller and the Conflict-of-Interest Crew’s got no-thing.

    The establishment is convinced that Peter Strzok came out of that hearing not looking like a guy who probably has a sex dungeon in his basement. But he totally looked like he has a sex dungeon in his basement, thereby launching a thousand memes of him leering, smirking, and generally channeling Paul Lynde.

    One of the secrets of Trump’s success is having really, really stupid enemies, enemies who are so tone-deaf and out-of-touch that they simply cannot adopt commonsense positions that resonate among normal Americans. The establishment instead insists on telling Americans that up is down, black is white, and girls can have penises. Nope. No wonder the Normals have gotten militant, and no wonder a leader like Donald Trump came along with the vision to exploit the opening the establishment left for an outsider to rise and prevail by embracing the obvious.

    https://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2018/07/16/its-undeniable-trump-is-blessed-with-really-stupid-enemies-n2500638

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  2. jcdurbant dit :

    ALL BITE AND NO BARK (It would be preferable if Trump’s rhetoric reinforced his solid actions, but he did not create an empowered Putin and has done more than any other president so far to check Putin’s ambitions)

    NATO’s problems predated Trump and in many ways come back to Germany, whose example most other NATO nations ultimately tend to follow. The threat to both the EU and NATO is not Trump’s America, but a country that is currently insisting on an artificially low euro for mercantile purposes and that is at odds with its southern Mediterranean partners over financial liabilities, with its Eastern European neighbors over illegal immigration, with the United Kingdom over the conditions of Brexit, and with the U.S. over a paltry investment in military readiness of 1.3 percent of GDP while it’s piling up the largest account surplus in the world, at over $260 billion, and a $65 billion trade surplus with the U.S.

    Germany, a majority of whose tanks and fighters are thought not to be battle-ready, cannot expect an American-subsidized united NATO front against the threat of Vladimir Putin if it is now cutting a natural-gas agreement with Russia that undermines the Baltic States and Ukraine — countries that Putin is increasingly targeting. The gas deal will not only empower Putin; it will make Germany dependent on Russian energy — an untenable situation. Merkel can package all that in mellifluous diplomatic-speak, and Trump can rail about it in crude polemics, but the facts remain facts, and they are of Merkel’s making, not Trump’s.

    The same themes hold true regarding attitudes toward Putin, who (again) predated Trump and his press conference in Helsinki, where the president gave to the press an unfortunate apology-tour/Cairo-speech–like performance, reminiscent of past disastrous meetings with or assessments of Russian leaders by American presidents, such as FDR on Stalin: “I just have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of man. Harry [Hopkins] says he’s not and that he doesn’t want anything but security for his country, and I think if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing in return, noblesse oblige, he won’t try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.” Or Kennedy’s blown summit with Khrushchev in Geneva: “He beat the hell out of me. It was the worst thing in my life. He savaged me.” Or Reagan’s weird offer to share American SDI technology and research with Gorbachev or, without much consultation with his advisers, to eliminate all ballistic missiles at Reykjavik.

    Trump confused trying to forge a realist détente with some sort of bizarre empathy for Putin, whose actions have been hostile and bellicose to the U.S. and based on perceptions of past American weakness. But again, Trump did not create an empowered Putin — and he has done more than any other president so far to check Putin’s ambitions.

    Putin in 2016 continued longstanding Russian cyberattacks and election interference because of past impunity (Obama belatedly told Putin to “cut it out” only in September 2016). He swallowed Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine after the famous Hillary-managed “reset” — a surreal Chamberlain-like policy in which we simultaneously appeased Putin in fact while in rhetoric lecturing him about his classroom cut-up antics and macho style.

    Had Trump been overheard on a hot mic in Helsinki promising more flexibility with Putin on missile defense after our midterm elections, in expectation for electorally advantageous election-cycle quid pro quo good behavior from the Russians, we’d probably see articles of impeachment introduced on charges of Russian collusion. And yet the comparison would be even worse than that. After all, America kept Obama’s 2011 promise “to Vladimir,” in that we really did give up on creating credible missile defenses in Eastern Europe, breaking pledges made by a previous administration — music to Vladimir Putin’s ears.

    It would be preferable if Trump’s rhetoric reinforced his solid actions, which in relation to Putin’s aggression consist of wisely keeping or increasing tough sanctions, accelerating U.S. oil production, decimating Russian mercenaries in Syria, and arming Ukrainian resistance. But then again, Trump has not quite told us that he has looked into Putin’s eyes and seen a straightforward and trustworthy soul. Nor in desperation did he invite Putin into the Middle East after a Russian hiatus of nearly 40 years to prove to the world that Bashar al-Assad had eliminated his WMD trove — which Assad subsequently continued to use at his pleasure. There is currently no scandal over uranium sales to Russia, and the secretary of state’s spouse has not been discovered to have recently pocketed $500,000 to speak in Moscow.

    In a perfect world, we would like to see carefully chosen words enhancing effective muscular action. Instead, in the immediate past, we heard sober and judicious rhetoric ad nauseam, coupled with abject appeasement and widely perceived dangerous weakness. Now we have ill-timed bombast that sometimes mars positive achievement. Neither is desirable. But the latter is far preferable to the former…

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/07/peter-beinarts-forgets-nato-problems/

    Aimé par 1 personne

  3. jcdurbant dit :

    HAVE BATTERY ACID, WILL TRAVEL

    Traffickers charge African migrants £16 each to be protected by gangs who decide the time and place to launch attempts to charge through razor wire fences surrounding the Spanish territory of Ceuta, which borders Morocco. According to a confidential police report, those who do not pay the fee are barred from taking part in the mass charges. To enforce discipline, the gangs have a “president”, who works with a “prime minister” and “officials”. Before each charge, gangs send out scouts to “inspect the area and collect updated information on the security measures implemented by the Spanish and Moroccan security forces”, according to the report seen by El País.

    Migrants are taught to intimidate police by shouting and throwing items such as rocks, faeces, battery acid and quicklime. If they fail to get through the razor wire and more than a month passes, they are charged another £16 before they are allowed to try again.

    More than 100 African migrants forced their way into Ceuta on Wednesday by throwing battery acid and quicklime, injuring seven police officers. They used wire-cutters to get through a weak point in the fence where there are no cameras.

    The 115-strong group were later filmed with bloodied arms and legs, apparently caused by the razor wire, cheering as they walked towards a temporary reception centre. Some were draped in EU and Spanish flags as they paraded past police. Last month 602 migrants broke through the border fence at the same point.

    Sub-Saharan Africans living illegally in Morocco often try to enter Europe by scaling fences surrounding Ceuta and Melilla, Spain’s other north African territory. Many head for temporary migrant accommodation centres and are eventually repatriated or released. More than 3,800 migrants have crossed the border into the Spanish cities so far this year, according to the UN.

    The route accounted for 14 per cent of the 27,600 who arrived in Spain, mainly by sea, between January and July, a 130 per cent increase on the previous year. The number of migrants arriving in Spain by sea this year has outstripped Italy and Greece after Italy rejected migrants picked up by rescue boats.

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/gangs-train-african-migrants-to-storm-ceuta-border-for-16-fee

    J'aime

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