Kompromat ( Russian: компромат, short for компрометирующий материал) is the Russian term for compromising materials about a politician or other public figure. Such materials can be used to create negative publicity, for blackmail, or for ensuring loyalty. Kompromat can be acquired from various security services, or outright forged, and then publicized by paying off a journalist.
Today there were terror attacks in Turkey, Switzerland and Germany – and it is only getting worse. The civilized world must change thinking!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2016
Please see the Pessimism Report 2017, as it was published today on bloomberg.com . They had forecasted for 2016 the Trump Triumph and the Brexit. Chapeau. A little bit dark to read, especially as most of the events described are not entirely unrealistic. But to put it in the words of a famous future Ex-President: The Sun will also rise tomorrow, and Mr. Hawking has promised another 1.000 years to mankind.
Our view on the probability of these events:
YALTA 2.0: probable
CHINA/US Trade War: probable
KIM TRUMPS TRUMP: not probable
HEADS ROLL IN EUROPE:
INTERNET of BAD THINGS: probable
CUBA BACK to USSR: not probable
MEXICO MELT-DOWN: probable
SAUDI ARABIA’S GOLDEN BOY SIDELINED: not probable
Good Morning to the New Normal.
Italy has voted to remain in a political deadlock and to protest against the ugly truth of necessary reforms. Austria and the shatters of the European old guard are celebrating the defeat of the Austrian (Far-)Right with a convincing (?) 53-47 score, while the country itself remains hugely divided. In the mean-time the RealDonald has decided to save on the US diplomatic corps and to solve all urgent international matters by President-elect Tweets. But no worry, if things turn sour, the European Central Bank is ready to drown us in ever more money and to punish any type of cash hoarding or positive bank balances.
Stock and Currency markets take account of this new normalcy, major stock indices and the Euro rise. One is inclined to keep calm and think “So What?”. In reality we are witnessing the rapid dissolution of the European Union, and if politicians do not find fast any common and stable ground to put the European institutions onto, the noble-prize of peace awarded project will soon be history, blown away in an ugly, and un-controlled way. Of course there is rightfully some “Angst” going around, but things might in the end turn out much better than what they look like, and this is perhaps what financial markets already predict. An old wisdom is saying, “You have to face reality, before you can shape the future”.
Political leaders in line with an un-critical media/press (in Europe often still state financed), both in the US and in Europe, have lived in denial over major realities for a very long time and branded everybody either populist or extremist, who was naming these realities. However, the broader population has a very sensitive feeling for these realities, and is turning more and more to the people who name these realities, although in most cases they have no answers to these realities, too. Let us share at least some of these Lord Voldemort type of realities (“You Know Which realities”), that have been systematically denied over the last 10-15 years:
Once the ugly truths are digested and acknowledged, we will realize that the future is bright. First, Europe is much more than the European Union, and the friendship and respect and interrelations between the countries are enormous and lasting, and that vast diversity is the real asset of the continent. Second, there is a real chance, that we re-discuss the areas in which more integration is needed (like defense, fight of terrorism, border protection, climate control), and the areas where less integration can do a lot of good (daily life, monetary policy, taxation).
Let us not forget, that Europe is not the European Union, it is the European idea of peace, friendship and diversity, stability of borders and human rights that make up Europe.
A lot of people in Europe start their morning coffee, partially in frustration over US election results. Let us look on the bright side of this election results, that will rock the world at least in the same way that Brexit did. As Nigel Farage put it: „2016 has brought two revolution to us“ or the Ryanair CEO „At least it will be entertaining“ or famous US rapper Snoop Dog, reflecting on legalization of Marihuana in California (that was also voted vor tonight): „let us all take a spliff and relax“.
But: Congratulations to The Donald. The most powerful office in the World is won by a man, who has beaten main street, wall street, media, and last but not least his own party. He has put an end to Bush and Clinton family clan dominance and an end to an 8 year period that has turned the world more un-stable. It is a clear victory for democracy, and I predict, Trump will be a strong President. The people have voted to take their Government back, against all odds.
After nearly 18 months of an extremely entertaining election campaign, here are our main take-aways, of course purely subjective, but being a result from talking to many leaders and great minds:
(1) Trump will be a strong President: presumably winning not only Oval office, but also House and Senate, Trump will have a strong backing to push the political agenda and bring real change. He will turn the energy of all systems to make the US stronger economically, and that will not only be good for the US, but for the whole world. The GOP will be a slave to Trump, as it is purely thanks to him, that they are still in business.
(2) Endgame of party dominated representative democracies: Both Trump and Sanders have proven, that in today’s instant information world, parties have become obsolete. An authentic candidate can gather and engage masses of followers without big infrastructure, party apparatus and political experience. This has also been confirmed in other countries in the recent past. Given the fact that the multipolar party systems have been a stabilizing factor in post WW2 Western democracies, we are only starting to realize what impact this can have on the future of public governance, policy shaping and decision making.
(3) New negative levels of trust: Complete and instant global transparency on mistakes, failures, betrayals and inconsistencies have led to an incredible deterioration of people’s trust in institutions. We do not trust any more, and often we even hate: the establishment, the parties, the leaders, companies (Volkswagen), Islam, immigrants, even the Church. Authenticity and brutal personal branding will be the key political success factors of the future, an Eldorado for the new Populists in this world. But also an enormous potential for changing rigid political structures and red tape bureaucracies, bringing power back to the people. Trump, at least, has not held back with his views, with his flaws, with the human side of him, and he has a personal brand, that is of course not appreciated by everybody, but it is authentic, and that has made him President.
(4) Elections are influenced from outside powers: Media and IT based democracies are very vulnerable for outside influence meddling. As we know, everybody is spying on everybody and now everybody is hacking everybody. Our IT infrastructures and social media are dominated by a handful of players. Both foreign powers and NGOs/companies with IT capabilities wield power in this respect as we have seen in the US elections – and they are ready to use this power for their political objectives. This will be for sure one of the top IT security topics in the coming years.
(5) World will be safer: The world needs a strong US and a strong US leader. In the 8 years of Obama’s (and Hillary’s) foreign policy mess the world has become less safe. It was characterized by a complete lack of political and military coherence and the readiness to throw even long term allies under the bus for short-term PR gain. The Middle East is exploding, the Pacific Strategy imploding and the relation with Russia in a cold war state. Even for creative minds it is difficult to understand how Hillary with her Egypt, Libya and Syria legacy and her failed Russian re-boot could have improved this for the better. Trump will concentrate on the US, and he will only interfere where he sees a long-term benefit for the US. Now there is real opportunity to come to terms with Russia and solve at least some of the burning conflicts. He will however demand stronger contributions from US allies. Arms producers and defense services providers can prepare the champagne.
(6) Economy and Investing: Financial markets will go down in the short-term, perhaps even significantly. This should be welcome, as we have been in a mega bubble state of financial markets, and any development of deflating this bubble without complete crash, should be welcome. There is hope for a re-surrection of real industries, and the containment of financial markets and central banks. With interest rates set to rise (hopefully), Brexit to materialize, China slowing down, and political risk increasing everywhere, there is a high risk that the mother of all bubbles will now find an inflection point to slowly deflate. In the mid-term we would clearly overweight: US, EU (Germany, Spain, CEE), USD/Gold/real estate/industrial assets/agriculture, and preferably direct investments. Avoid: China, Mexico, Latin America, Middle East, UK, Oil.
(7) One last word: We credit the US to be one of the most stable and admired democracies. This was a victory for democracy. Clinton, Bush and Kennedy family clans and all administration and financial market elites have dominated the political establishment for too long. This is a real-world win over cnn, google, mainstream media; and again the polling industry should seriously review its business model. Many players will lose huge money thanks to their forecasts. Now, all eyes on Trump. He has to demonstrate, that he is not a Bully, but a President for all Americans. And he will.
Enjoy your day, God bless America, and may Donald Trump prove all critics wrong and become the best President ever in US history!
Friends: I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I gave it to you straight last summer when I told you that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for president. And now I have even more awful, depressing news for you: Donald J.
To put the important things first: I m a profound European, from my mind-set an unconditional liberal person and my family lives close to Nice/France.
We are going to bed with yet another terror attack in France. With an incredible number of innocent people dead and thousands of inhabitants and tourists who were present at the site heavily traumatized. Whoever is still astonished, shocked, afraid or excited about Trump becoming presidential candidate, Britain leaving the EU or Rome being led by an anti-establishment populist movement: prepare for more and faster. Welcome to a period of an in-depth mid-life crisis of Western democracies after an un-precedented period of post WW2 stability. Poor economic development, uncontrolled immigration, terror attacks and weak Western leadership, all is somehow linked with each other. In one point Trump is a 100% right: We need to declare unconditional war on terrorism.
Although fundamentally against these developments, there is one part of me, which is welcoming and flirting with the recent Brexit vote, hoping for a right wing President in Austria and welcoming the cry for stronger Government. Sounds familiar to you? How is this possible? Because we need and we deserve better political leadership in our countries, to address the real problems in our societies and not shy away from conflicts. We are sick of posing another solidarity message on the diverse social media, in the meantime I am Charlie, Paris, Nice, Brussels, Istanbul, who is next in the line of the fire??
Political elites need to address three main developments, otherwise we will see more and stronger nationalist movements destroy the very foundation of our liberal world:
(1) Failure of delivering on the Better-Off promise.
An ever smaller percentage of the population is bearing the burden of tax and social security payments. It is the ones who cannot move their work, income or capital our of their country, who are the betrayed ones. The famous middle class is losing out fast, no chance to build a home, no chance to build a wealth cushion fro retirement. Same on corporate side: The local, small and mid size companies, who cannot move their operations or income streams to tax havens, are the ones who are paying. The Googles, Amazons, and Apples are denying to pay their share for the development of our societies.
We need to have a major overhaul of tax and social security systems to bring back perceived justice to the ordinary tax payer.
(2) Failure of delivering on the Power Monopoly promise.
The citizens have a constitutional right of protection. If the Government gives up the monopoly of power, there is no right for it to continue and people will vote for strong leaders, automatically. How can it be, that we accept uncontrolled immigration? How can it be, that police does not dare to enter certain quarters in Brussels/Belgium, Paris/France or Cologne/Germany? Why do we still allow hate preachers in our countries? Why do we have open borders while our intelligence services and police of the diverse countries are still to proud and closed to co-operate? Why are home and street burglaries increasing so much, without counter-measures? Why is it so easy to buy explosives and firearms ons street markets in the heart of Europe and drugs through the internet?
Liberal rights an open-minded thinking can only flourish in an environment of perceived safety. And we need that perceived safety back fast.
We need to strengthen our security and safety on all levels. We need to solve conflicts to the end and not create deeper conflicts by lacking the perseverance to go through to the end.
Liberalism does not mean to allow other people destroy your home.
(3) Lack of Enthusiasm
The rise of populist leaders and movements is exploiting these two truths as they promise quick fixes, which of course do not exist. We can and should expect from political leaders answers to these truths, otherwise they will be swiped away (and right so), and we will see more and more Brexit and Nice wake-up calls. Trump, Farage and Le Pen have another common feature. They bring their agenda forward with energy and enthusiasm, and they fight for it, and they play with old and new media. They occupy the news stream and dominate the discussions. In our times, personalities and psychology matter more than political parties. The traditional party systems will lose more and more ground until they realize this development, it might be too late.
We deserve better leaders, who are not softened through twenty years of party hierarchy, but combine common sense, with energy, courage and vision. Western democracies are in a mid life crisis and if we do not address the underlying developments and try to build a next generation modern societal contract, we might see development we would not have thought possible a few years ago. But do not forget, we are all part of it.