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Macron’s Tipping Point

Emmanuel Macron, avenue Kléber à Paris, le 2 décembre.

Emmanuel Macron’s presidency reached a “tipping point” this weekend, after anti-government protests that were “more virulent than anything we’ve seen in France since 1968,” writes Jérôme Fenoglio in Le Monde, according to a translation by CNN.

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Macron faces “a deeply rooted crisis for which he bears very partial responsibility,” Fenoglio writes. The “failure of successive governments has allowed anger to prosper,” as feelings of “fiscal and social injustice” fester.

“All the principles that made candidate Macron’s campaign successful have boomeranged and made apparent the fragility of the president,” Fenoglio argues. “The commando operation of back then is now a man on his own, with only a handful of loyalists placed in key positions. The blank slate on which reforms were to be written has become a deserted scene that the presidential party is unable to fill.”

Permanent instability

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First, a crisis with deep roots, of which it is only partially accountable: a questioning of thirty years of the system and political representation, to which is added a powerlessness of ten years to really respond to the consequences of the 2008 crisis. Among the “yellow vests”, composed of representatives of the middle and popular classes living mainly in rural and medium-sized cities, this bankruptcy of successive governments has allowed anger to flourish on the most powerful ferments, the feeling unfairness, both territorial, fiscal and social.

Then, the instantaneity of the exchanges on the social networks: it is this short time, on Facebook mainly, which built the mobilization of the “yellow vests” in a form of completely new engagement on this scale. But he is also at the origin of this Brownian movement which creates a permanent instability among the protesters, where the claims accumulate and end up being annihilated by being contradictory, where the spokespersons are delegitimized to the second. where they appear, where the permanent discussion does not allow to get along with each other nor to listen to what the rulers might propose.

A major handicap

Hasil gambar untuk Emmanuel Macron’s presidency reached a “tipping point” this weekend

It’s even more complicated in the face of an executive power that can not get out of the multiple disruptions it has theorized to build its new world. In fact, in the light of the current crisis, all the principles that made the success of Macron candidate’s campaign turned to show the fragility of the president.

A Victory in the New Opium War

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Although Trump is touting the “incredible deal” on trade that he struck with Xi Jinping this weekend, it’s unclear if the vague deal represents a true breakthrough. Yet Trump does appear to have won a concrete victory on drugs – getting China to classify fentanyl as a “controlled substance,” which should lead to a crackdown on exports.

Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are now responsible for 41% of overdose deaths in the US, and American officials believe China is the leading source.In a statement, China’s Foreign Ministry said China has “decided to schedule the entire category of fentanyl-type substances as controlled substances, and start the process of revising relevant laws and regulations.”

China and the United States have “agreed to take active measures to strengthen cooperation on law enforcement and narcotics control,” including the control of fentanyl-type substances, it said.

Hasil gambar untuk What to expect from US and China at G20 summit

The new designation for the synthetic opioid drug means people in China who sell fentanyl to the US “will be subject to China’s maximum penalty under the law,” according to a statement from the White House.

Fentanyl’s new designation is one result from their meeting. The US also agreed to maintain the 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, instead of raising them to 25%, the White House said.

Fentanyl, an extremely powerful drug, is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin.According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5,500 people died of synthetic opioid overdoses in 2014, most of them related to fentanyl. That’s an 80% increase over the number of deaths reported in 2013. Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a national alert stating that “drug incidents and overdoses related to fentanyl are occurring at an alarming rate.” In 2013, the Drug Enforcement Administration made 942 fentanyl seizures; in 2014, it made 3,344.“Beijing has been tardy in acting on its role in the fentanyl crisis,” writes Shuli Ren for Bloomberg. “But if it now moves quickly, President Xi Jinping will have plucked some very low-hanging fruit in his bid to improve relations with Washington.”

Trump last year declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency in the United States and brought up the issue with Xi when the two leaders met in Beijing in November 2017.

“America now has its own opium war, and China is coming to its rescue.”

Perhaps it’s that Chinese people have been living behind the Great Firewall for too long, oblivious to what’s happening in the rest of the world? The country has been very publicly blamed for the epidemic in the U.S. as well as in Canada, with President Donald Trump fuming in an August tweet that this “poison” is “pouring into the U.S. Postal System from China.” While China’s National Narcotics Control Commission has already placed more than two dozen fentanyl variants on its controlled substances list, it’s still very easy to buy opioids on Chinese websites as long as you can pay and provide a shipping address.

Hasil gambar untuk America Has an Opium War. China Hadn’t Noticed

Equally likely, fentanyl is simply not a problem in China yet. Anesthetics are used sparingly there. According to the Pain and Policy Studies Group, per capita consumption of opioid anesthetics is only 7.05 milligrams, a tiny fraction compared to the U.S. Of analgesics applied in China’s hospitals, the main variant of fentanyl has a tiny 6.3 percent market share. Humanwell Healthcare Group Co., the largest producer there, only sells fentanyl in liquid injection form.

What’s Fentanyl?

Whereas the U.S. has a fentanyl crisis, this painkiller is still new to most Chinese. The main form is not commonly used in hospitals and its sales growth dropped in 2017

Hasil gambar untuk America Has an Opium War. China Hadn’t NoticedSource: CICC Research

As a result, whereas antibiotics abuse, substandard vaccines for infants, or gene-edited babies are hot topics in China, the middle class hasn’t bothered to engage in a conversation as to when opioids become poison instead of medicine. There’s no public outcry, and bureaucrats aren’t eager to act.

Meanwhile, China’s health care regulators have been too busy with internal shake-ups to bother with America’s narcotics problem. In March, Beijing restructured its various ministries, and created three healthcare-related regulators. In July, the bureaucrats’ jostling for power only intensified after Changsheng Bio-technology Co., one of China’s biggest vaccine makers, was found to have falsified production data on rabies vaccines for babies. Six top officials, including the head of the National Medicinal Product Administration (one of the three newly formed entities mainly responsible for drug reviews and approval) were fired.

China’s propaganda machine was quick to highlight its bargaining chip. America now has its own opium war, and China is coming to its rescue, China Fund – a financial media outlet overseen by the People’s Daily – quipped on Monday.

Beijing has been tardy in acting on its role in the fentanyl crisis. But if it now moves quickly, President Xi Jinping will have plucked some very low-hanging fruit in his bid to improve relations with Washington.

Pac-Man bin Pac-Man

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh.

An exclusive CNN report sheds new light on Riyadh’s possible motivation in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A former court insider, Khashoggi had come to believe that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was a dangerous, power-hungry leader. “He is like a beast ‘pac man,’” Khashoggi wrote to Omar Abdulaziz, a Saudi activist living in exile. “[T]he more victims he eats, the more he wants.”

CNN has been granted exclusive access to the correspondence between Khashoggi and Montreal-based activist Omar Abdulaziz. The messages shared by Abdulaziz, which include voice recordings, photos and videos, paint a picture of a man deeply troubled by what he regarded as the petulance of his kingdom’s powerful young prince.”The more victims he eats, the more he wants,” says Khashoggi in one message sent in May, just after a group of Saudi activists had been rounded up. “I will not be surprised if the oppression will reach even those who are cheering him on.”

The exchanges reveal a progression from talk to action — the pair had begun planning an online youth movement that would hold the Saudi state to account. “[Jamal] believed that MBS is the issue, is the problem and he said this kid should be stopped,” Abdulaziz said in an interview with CNN.But in August, when he believed their conversations may have been intercepted by Saudi authorities, a sense of foreboding descends over Khashoggi. “God help us,” he wrote.

Two months later, he was dead. ,Abdulaziz on Sunday launched a lawsuit against an Israeli company that invented the software he believes was used to hack his phone.”The hacking of my phone played a major role in what happened to Jamal, I am really sorry to say,” Abdelaziz told CNN. “The guilt is killing me.”

Omar Abdulaziz believes Saudi authorities intercepted private messages between him and Jamal Khashoggi.

SIM cards and financial support

Hasil gambar untuk Jamal Khashoggi's private WhatsApp messages may offer new clues to killing

Abdulaziz began speaking out against the Saudi regime as a college student in Canada. His pointed criticisms of government policies drew the attention of the Saudi state, which canceled his university scholarship. Canada granted him asylum in 2014 and made him a permanent resident three years later.Researchers at the University of Toronto believe the Saudi government was spying on conversations between the activists, which contained much more than insults. “Khashoggi and Abdulaziz conceived plans to form an electronic army to engage young Saudis back home and debunk state propaganda on social media, leveraging Khashoggi’s establishment profile and the 27-year-old Abdulaziz’s 340,000-strong Twitter following,” CNN reports.

“The pair’s scheme involved two key elements that Saudi Arabia might well have viewed as hostile acts. The first involved sending foreign SIM cards to dissidents back home so they could tweet without being traced. The second was money.” According to Abdulaziz, Khashoggi pledged an initial $30,000 and promised to drum up support from rich donors under the radar.In one exchange, dated May this year, Abdulaziz writes to Khashoggi. “I sent you some ideas about the electronic army. By email.””Brilliant report,” Khashoggi replies. “I will try to sort out the money. We have to do something.”

In almost daily exchanges between October 2017 and August 2018, Khashoggi and Abdulaziz conceived plans to form an electronic army to engage young Saudis back home and debunk state propaganda on social media, leveraging Khashoggi’s establishment profile and the 27-year-old Abdulaziz’s 340,000-strong Twitter following.

The digital offensive, dubbed the “cyber bees,” had emerged from earlier discussions about creating a portal for documenting human rights abuses in their homeland as well an initiative to produce short films for mobile distribution. “We have no parliament; we just have Twitter,” said Abdulaziz, adding that Twitter is also the Saudi government’s strongest weapon. “Twitter is the only tool they’re using to fight and to spread their rumors. We’ve been attacked, we’ve been insulted, we’d been threatened so many times, and we decided to do something.”

The pair’s scheme involved two key elements that Saudi Arabia might well have viewed as hostile acts. The first involved sending foreign SIM cards to dissidents back home so they could tweet without being traced. The second was money. According to Abdulaziz, Khashoggi pledged an initial $30,000 and promised to drum up support from rich donors under the radar.In one exchange, dated May this year, Abdulaziz writes to Khashoggi. “I sent you some ideas about the electronic army. By email.”

A month later, another message sent by Abdulaziz confirms the first $5,000 transfer has arrived. Khashoggi replies with a thumbs up.But in early August, he says he received word from Saudi Arabia that government officials were aware of the pair’s online project. He passed the news to Khashoggi.

“How did they know?” asks Khashoggi in a message.

“There must have been a gap,” says Abdulaziz.

Three minutes pass before Khashoggi writes back: “God help us.”

The ‘hack’

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Abdulaziz first spoke publicly about his contact with Khashoggi last month after researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab reported his phone had been hacked by military-grade spyware.

According to Bill Marczak, a research fellow at the Citizen Lab, the software was the invention of an Israeli firm named NSO Group, and deployed at the behest of the Saudi Arabian government.

‘Tyranny has no logic’

Hasil gambar untuk Jamal Khashoggi's private WhatsApp messages may offer new clues to killing

The fact Abdulaziz’s phone contained spyware means Saudi officials would have been able to see the same 400 messages Abdulaziz exchanged with Khashoggi over the period.

The messages portray Khashoggi, a Saudi former establishment figure, becoming increasingly fearful for his country’s fate as bin Salman consolidates his power.

“He loves force, oppression and needs to show them off,” Khashoggi says of bin Salman, “but tyranny has no logic.”

Such discussions could be considered treasonous in Saudi Arabia, a country with one of the world’s worst records for free speech. In a sign Khashoggi and Abdulaziz were mindful of their security in exile, they flitted back and forth between phone calls, voice messages and chats on WhatsApp and other encrypted platforms like Telegram and Signal.As Khashoggi speculated about bin Salman’s future, Abdulaziz was already in the crown prince’s sights and was about to receive a visit with a message right from the top.

‘Message from MBS’

Hasil gambar untuk Jamal Khashoggi's private WhatsApp messages may offer new clues to killing

Last May, Abdulaziz said two Saudi government emissaries asked to meet with him in Montreal. He agreed and says he secretly recorded 10 hours of their conversations over the course of their five-day stay. He shared them with CNN.

Speaking in Arabic, the men, referred to only as Abdullah and Malek, tell Abdulaziz they have been sent on the orders of bin Salman himself, bypassing the usual channels like the Security Ministry. Bin Salman watches him on his Twitter feed, they say, and wants to offer him a job.”We have come to you with a message from Mohammed bin Salman and his assurance to you,” one of them says.

Abdelaziz’s recorded messages are telling because Saudi Arabia has always claimed its crown prince had nothing to do with plots like the one leading to Khashoggi’s death, blaming that incident on a failed rendition attempt, masterminded by advisers and subordinates from the security staff.

Dear Prudence

George H. W. Bush

“As the world order shifted dramatically, George H. W. Bush steered the ship of state with experience, expertise, and—though it launched a million gibes—prudence,” writes Richard Fontaine in The Atlantic.

“Bush aimed not to force into existence a better world, but to adapt to and shape circumstances for America’s advantage. He sought not to roll geopolitical dice but rather to consider fully the consequences of both action and inaction. He seemingly wished to be judged not only on the victories accrued—Panama, Iraq, NAFTA, Germany, the Cold War—but also tragedies avoided: the wars not commenced, the chaos not unleashed, the blood and treasure saved rather than squandered.”

“Bush-style caution isn’t right for every era… [b]ut with the world in dramatic transformation, and with the geopolitical stakes at their very height, George H. W. Bush’s prudence was just what America needed. And the country could use a dose of it today.”

Fareed’s MHI LOGO MEDIA HUKUM INDONESIA 01

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