Some thoughts on Putin’s op-ed article in the NYT – John Gelmini

English: Vladimir Putin at school age

English: Vladimir Putin at school age (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vladimir Putin makes good points in his Op -Ed concerning the risks of wider war and more casualties.

However, his real concern is the retention of the Port of Tartus and continued arms sales to Syria.

For all the talk about international law, the Putin article shows that what both Russia and the West wants is control of Syria.

Russia wants it as a warm water port in the Mediterranean, something they have coveted since before the Crimean War and in several brutal wars with the British in Victorian times.

Secondly, they want it as a first line of defense against a military strike on Iran and Iran as a second line of defense against an attack on themselves(See PNAC website).

Thirdly, he sees himself as the savior of Greek Orthodox Christians and has made a promise to the head of that church to defend it and its values which is part of the rationale behind his anti gay legislation and his desire to stop the march of militant Islam in the Caucasus,the Balkans and everywhere else.

America for all the hand wringing about gas attacks and 5 million refugees, wants to topple the regime as a precursor to doing the same in other countries including Iran.

So far Putin, being more fleet of foot than the cautious Obama, is winning the argument because the vast majority of the public in America, the UK and Europe are heartily sick of wars which deliver death, destruction and more trouble rather than the purported benefits of acting or “making history” as Senator McCain puts it.

That said, we should not see Vladimir Putin as someone entirely reasonable with whom we can have tea and cake on the vicarage lawn after lunch.

Chechnya with its oil pipeline was subjugated by being reduced to rubble at the behest of Putin albeit with the squeamish acquiescence of the G8 and the EU as it was at the time.

Other uprisings in the Muslim fringe of Russia have been crushed and the Ukraine and Estonia were subjected to blackouts by the GRU‘s 2 million cyber warriors and cutoffs of gas and power when they failed to pay their bills and when Estonian Nazi sympathisers defaced a Russian war memorial.

With him and the Chinese it is all about realpolitik and the endgame rather than the niceties that precede action.

John Gelmini

 

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A hard look at the European Commission and multi-nationals’ tax evasion – John Gelmini

European flag outside the Commission

European flag outside the Commission (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I thank Dr Alf for reblogging the FT article entitled Brussels probes multinationals’ tax deals. Here are my own views.

The European Commission is a failed institution with a deep and enduring financial problem which it continues not to address.

That problem is that apart from Germany, the rest of the EU is in financial difficulty due to lack of exports, lack of productivity, lack of competitiveness and awful productivity.

The shortfall is $6 trillion USD, yet the proposed measures only amount to $1.6 trillion USD.
Raising taxes is the way that the Eurocrat apparatchiks see as the way forward, yet already their own legal advice has told them that a Financial Transaction tax is illegal.

Having been cut off at the pass, the European Commission now wants to get more money out of multinationals by raising corporation taxes on multinationals.

Advice I’ve been given privately by an expert in the area of tax avoidance and financial discovery in Suffolk last week tells me that many of the current tax havens will within the next 3 to 4 years adopt greater transparency as far as corporations go. This will in theory make it easier for the Commission to tax multinationals more heavily. The reality is however, somewhat different.

As one tax haven becomes “more transparent”, another will spring up in its place, and if one goes to the Dublin Financial district as I did in the Summer one can see swathes of American companies plus State Street and BT basing themselves and major operations there.

Why?

Because the Irish Government has secretly agreed to charge just 3% corporation tax versus the 23% charged in the UK and the much higher rates levied elsewhere.

State Street is the fund manager responsible for managing all the monies in the UK Government‘s “Auto Enrolled” pension scheme, so it has chosen to base itself in Dublin rather than London with the knowledge of both David Cameron and the Chancellor whose silence on the matter is as deafening as their rhetoric on tax avoidance by everyone else is very loud indeed.

The best way for the European Commission to get more taxes out of multinationals is for them to lower taxes so that it is more expedient for the multinationals to pay the taxes and keep employment in Europe than it is to employ armies of tax avoidance specialists, hide the money offshore in tax havens, not invest and outsource /offshore the work to low-cost countries wherever possible.

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