Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes.” - Edmond Dantes (2002 adaptation)

The Manchester attack was a vicious Islamic terrorist act, a step up from the already seemingly random Paris attacks. Targeting children and their families at a pop concert is a chilling deed. The inquiry already uncovered a Lybian connection, which obviously draws criticism for the failed intervention in 2011. We can in turn blame the wishful thinking of politicians and their advisers who believed that all populations want democracy and freedom, or (more cynically) their ability to shape and control the outcome of the ‘revolution’.

A long arch of instability is now bordering Europe, from an assertive Russia, a failed Ukraine, a sinking Turkey, failed states (Syria, Iraq, Palestine), a sinking Egypt, and a failed Libya. Only Israel and Tunisia are islands of (relative) stability in an ocean of violence. In fact, we may argue that the Islamic extremists are winning. Bin Laden’s theories of attacking the backers of its homeland Saudi Arabia, the USA, to weaken it worked: the US spent trillions on failed wars, destabilized an entire region, thereby threatening the supplies of the fuel (quite literally) of the world economy while creating prosperous grounds for radicalization.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is a paranoid state who is also spending billions on social peace, though it appears both militarily incompetent in Yemen and increasingly weaker abroad. Europe’s failed monetary union has severely diminished its power projection capabilities and the continent’s obsession of doing what’s right at any price is not well received by most of its citizens. The window of opportunity for Islamic terrorist just opened and won’t close soon. The increased militarization and retrenchment of European populations is an understandable reaction given the speed of change and need for security.

However, their governments appear unwilling to step up and denounce the issues linked to immigration, from illegal work to wage pressures to the cohabitation of culturally radically different populations. Diversity is a great thing, but integration can only be achieved if the population are heterogeneous: packing together people of similar backgrounds and beliefs will further isolate them instead of integrating them.

Europeans pride themselves in being the heirs of the Enlightenment and their universal principle, but they appear to have tossed its rational roots. If they had applied rationality to their foreign policies, they wouldn’t have supported destabilization in Libya or support Islamic terrorists in Syria. It’s too late now for regrets now. Europe is now in a worse position than it was 20 years ago but still needs to address the future challenges of global warming, which will increase the migration flows and further pressure the region.

The Doomsday Clock was set at 2 minutes and a half to midnight in January 2017. It sure feels like time is running out.

Why Withdrawal or “Tiny” Living Isn’t a Solution to Sustainability – “Experts told me that it’s impossible to improve your community without being a part of it. But reader disdain for the idea resurrected a haunting suspicion I first felt when reporting on the tiny, off-the-grid house obsession a few years ago: that the pursuit of a sustainable life has become an exercise in looking inward.

Waves Rippled Through Greenland’s Ice. That’s Ominous – “The waves, observed during the two most intense melt seasons on record, sent an unprecedented cascade of ice and water rushing into the sea and warping the very bedrock upon which the ice sits. As temperatures continue to rise, scientists fear that massive waves of ice could expedite Greenland’s melt even further, pushing sea levels higher.

Corbyn Says The “War On Terror” Has Made Manchester-Style Attacks More Likely – “A lifelong non-interventionist, Corbyn has repeatedly opposed Western countries invading other nations, and earlier this month said attempts at regime change in the likes of Yemen, Libya, and Syria “have failed in their own terms, and made the world a more dangerous place”.

Yet Another Video Shows U.S.-Funded White Helmets Assisting Public Executions in Rebel-Held Syria – “Large corporate media networks have yet to report on the dark side of the White Helmets, however, and films like the widely celebrated Netflix feature function as uncritical commercials for the group, helping to keep the public in a state of ignorance about the domination of the Western-backed Syrian armed opposition by extremist Salafi jihadist groups, and about the civil conflict in general.

Stratfor looks at Afghanistan and sees a Conflict With No Time Limit – “Until the factors that contribute to the conflict — including the Afghan forces’ weakness and Pakistan’s support for the Taliban — have been addressed, the prospects for ending the war will be dim.

Europe’s Faustian Bargain with Big Finance – “…the countries in the Eurozone face the choice of either moving towards full fiscal and political union, which would make financial transfers a matter largely of financial transfers being automatically activated to flow from surplus to deficit areas in a fully unified economy. Or they end the monetary union. My sense is there is no middle way.

Private Equity Examines Its Distressed Navel – “At issue are the 2012 leveraged buyout and $350 million of dividend payments to Payless’s private equity sponsors in 2013 and 2014, funded by borrowing in the incredibly forgiving and lenient debt markets, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s abundant monetary stimulus. Borrowing costs were ultra low, and Payless took advantage of that to pile up more than $600 million in debt, which is what forced it to seek bankruptcy protection.

Picture of the week: World weather report

About Carlito Riego

"Great perfection may appear imperfect, but its usefulness is inexhaustible. Great abundance may appear empty, but its usefulness cannot be exhausted. Great correctness may appear twisted, great skills appear crude, great eloquence appear awkward. Activity conquers cold; inactivity conquers heat. Clear serenity governs the world." - Lao Zi