Base Camp is where visitors go to relax, unwind, and get familiar with an anthology of earlier material.

Europe 2012-2013: Hot Spots And Cooling Points

Europe is Heating Up. Flickr/cristic

Hot Spots: What To Expect

Both the far-left and the far-right had a good day at the latest polls in Greece.

Also, in France, right-wing Nicolas Sarkozy was ousted from office, beaten by the socialist François Hollande.

And the far-right National Front did well, too.

And the Dutch government fell after the far-right Party for Freedom withdrew its support for the coalition on account of their disagreement regarding austerity measures.

In light of all this, here’s a list of ten political hot spots and topics that are likely to play a major role in European affairs over the coming 12 months:

  1. As the plot thickens, so does people’s willingness to reason. Look out for issues of immigration getting meshed with issues of economic policy. Notice how these topics will be exploited by populists to rile up national anger while deflecting the real causes of the problems, such as
    • the lack of strategy on how to deal with the crisis,
    • the public sector’s lack of professionalism/efficiency as compared to the private sector,
    • the private sector’s inability to step up to the task of social responsibility, at least in broad terms, and
    • the absence of strong and visionary leadership on both the national and international level.
  2. Look out for religious extremists taking advantage of the turmoil, namely:
    • Representatives of extremist minority groups will speak out against the majority, using the ‘multicultural shield’ they’ve appropriated to their cause. Ironically, staunch liberals will have their flank.
    • On the other hand, representatives of extremist groups that represent the dominant cultures in any given country will scream at those who don’t agree with them to leave the country.
  3. Look out for xenophobes that argue for purer societies and cultures. They will do so from dominant group platforms and minority group turrets, the message equally hateful in both cases.
  4. Look out for the pragmatic and silent majority as it tries to find its voice in the midst of growing uncertainty and madness. Look out for volatility in party allegiances, and an increasingly fluent base.
  5. Look our for volatility in the markets, both in equity and foreign exchange.
  6. Look out for populists on the extreme left preaching
    • the collapse of all monetary unions,
    • a return to prosperity through national pride.
    • Also look out for populists on the extreme right, who will argue for the same thing.
  7. Monitor Spain and Italy closely, our crisis bellwethers. They set the pace for reasonable and self-enforced austerity. How well they fare will determine future European financial/fiscal policy.
  8. Expect a number of European nations to gang up on Germany and Finland as its extreme austerity policies come under fire.
  9. Consider the possibility of Greece’s total collapse. Regard it as the direct result of its medieval state mechanism, its institutionalized corruption, and the callous, mean-spirited and floundering attempt at top-down. outside-in reform and restructuring, which was enforced by the Troika (EU, ECB and IMF) and the Greek legislature with appalling results.
  10. Consider Greece’s exit from the euro and a possible military coup d’etat to follow. Expect civil unrest in both Athens and the countryside. Attacks on Albanian minorities by mobs could occur. Expect Turkey to get involved with the aim to protect the rights of endangered Muslims, itching as it is to rekindle and capitalize on the Ottoman arch in the Balkans, which was retraced and revamped with the troubles in Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo over the past twenty years.

Remember: in the midst of the chaos, everyone has at least one valid point to make.

The challenge is to identify the valid points – assemble/implement them across individuals, parties, nations and corporations, in a policy of common sense.

Image via The Daily Telegraph

“This cartoon by Blower from The Daily Telegraph blends the lighting of the Olympic torch and the eurozone debt crisis: A Greek “high priestess” [sets] fire to a map of Europe with a torch bearing the euro sign—an apt metaphor for Greece’s role in the euro zone crisis.” – sourced from

Cooling Down via Flickr/ Attila con la cámara

Cooling Points: Driving Solutions

The above analysis is heavy and de-spiriting. It needs a pick-me up.

Here’s a list of ten cooling points:

  1. Don’t employ or cooperate with illegal immigrants. This will help the institution/concept of immigration. Support legal immigrants and get to know a little about them and their culture as you invite them to become familiar with your own.
  2. If you’re not religious, don’t castigate those who believe in the supernatural as long as they’re not intruding upon your lives. If you’re religious, don’t judge people who aren’t. Identify and compare things you believe in, seeking a common root, such as respect, honesty, family values, devotion to a greater cause – anything that can be seen as the lowest (positive) common denominator to your given belief systems.
  3. If you come across a bigoted opinion, left or right, religious or secular, don’t let it slide. Confront it, either directly or indirectly. Apathy isn’t an option.
  4. Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. Invest in a wide range of products, services and markets. If you don’t know how to do it, ask people you know and trust, like a friend, or an associate, or your branch manager. Follow the answers up with research. Don’t approach random companies on the internet and ask for life-saving services. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  5. Focus on your household expenditures. How you manage your home economics reflects upon the economy in general. The more wise you are at home, the sounder the overall system becomes.
  6. Turn off your electricity at night for an hour or two, and use candles. Do it at least once in the coming months, for two reasons. One: it will save energy. Two: it will demonstrate what things will be like if countries dissolve their economic pacts and stop working together. Regressing back to dis-organized, protectionist, nationalist relationships, as many populist parties support, will most likely result in energy and food shortages, and that’s never a good option. Get a taste of it before you vote for policies that plunge us back in the dark age.
  7. Don’t fall victim to mindless, popular shows that make a quick buck by stereotyping people through crappy, conveyor-belt humor. There’s a difference between good satire and bad taste.
  8. Don’t watch the news shows all the time, they ooze with negativity and spin. Use the web to gather information from a number of sources.
  9. Use alternating keywords to break the filter bubbles that grow around web users. These bubbles are created by filtering mechanisms and other search-engine algorithms that are designed to match your preferences when searching for information. Help the web browsers deliver material from the entire web database instead.
  10. Share information on the web. Make comments when you can. Forward things to people you know. Be part of the debate.

The future is in everyone’s hands, to each our own.

Good luck!