Workers in Chicago got their eight-hour day in 1888, followed by decades of labour strife but also drawbacks due to war that eventually made way for working people in the wake of the new century to enjoy a comfortable standard, with living wages and a good standard of living at least in the developed countries.
A hundred and twenty years later, the financial crisis of 2008 in the USA and its transfusion to Europe swept the workforce and drove it into unemployment initially, then to humiliating work schedules and wages, bad debt, and poverty.
Today, 130 years later, we are witnessing an abyssal trade war between the USA and China. World markets register losses by the day with economists speaking of a global recession within the next nine months, with an even greater chance of worsening labour scenarios and even lower wages.
The finance ministers and central bankers of the G20 have already assembled in Fukuoka for top level meetings, where the presidents of USA and China will also meet face to face on June 29. Trump has the audacity and the mighty dollar to play hardball, while Xi Jinping has US bonds, a gazillion workers of cheap labour, executive power, and enough patience to stand his ground.
An important source told this author recently that 'the only remaining option for a settlement was sharing natural gas profits'
We are also going to witness another game of hardball in Fukuoka between the USA and Turkey on the issue of the S-400 missile system. Erdogan, who is acting like a thug in carrying out foreign policy (and) for internal political consumption, has already paid a steep price in the form of being on the receiving end of American jabs, such as the financial crisis that brought him election losses in Istanbul and Izmir. Also collaboration with the “Islamic State” has cost him an American support for the Kurds in north Syria. And now he is faced with a loss in Idlib, Afrin, and Jarabulus that would chase him away from Syria in humiliation.
The only move left for him to save the day is on the energy issue, where despite his war-sounding rhetoric, he has yet to cross the red line on the Cypriot EEZ. This is true in Cavusoglu’s statements that “there is no cause for concern regarding the Mediterranean…” and that “as soon the rights and interests of all parties are secured based on international law on sharing, there won’t be any problem.” He also clarified that the natural gas agreement does not mean “recognition” and used Taiwan as a case in point, saying “not everyone recognizes Taiwan but they all still conduct business together and sign agreements.”
This has to do with the latest statements by Yuri Kim, US State Department Director at the Office of Southern European Affairs, when she said during a PSEKA conference that “over the next few weeks and months you will see a bit more action in Cyprus” and also “in reality there will be things happening that we surely won’t advertise.”
And this has to do with the 45 days that are left before the S-400 are delivered to Ankara, which will end up somewhere else since Israel is no way ready to accept Ankara setting up this defence missile system in the area. Israel by the way does not want a Bicommunal, Bizonal, Federal solution (BBF) in Cyprus, according to the ambassador here, as it believes such a plan would allow Turkey to remain on Cyprus forever. And Russia is also okay with that, after it prevented through AKEL party a federal solution from taking hold, once in 1978 indirectly and another time with a direct move in 2004.
An important source told this author recently that “the only remaining option for a settlement was sharing natural gas profits.” All this fits with rumours that USA is pushing for a settlement formula with not a single Turkish soldier while security would be tasked to an American base on the island. And in exchange, the Turkish side would get a share of the profits from the Eastern Mediterranean energy project through company stocks.
In fact, pieces of information that merge together suggest President Anastasiades discussed the issue when he dined with Turkish Cypriot “foreign Minister” Kudret Ozersay. As Menander once said, “the truth sometimes not sought for comes forth to the light.”
The article was first published by Kathimerini Cyprus on 17 June 2019