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Mantenho o que disse

A 18 de fevereiro de 2018, numa discussão sobre o liberalismo que a IL representa e defende, afirmei o seguinte.

Há uma diferença substancial entre uma opção individual e a sua prática dentro dos limites do individuo, que deve ser integralmente respeitada por todos, e querer impor essa opção aos outros como norma, diminuindo a liberdade e visando uma alteração de comportamentos. A minha opção merece o mesmo respeito que é dado a qualquer outra. O mesmo é válido para a opções das outras pessoas, independentemente de serem, ou não, idênticas às minhas.

Eu vejo a IL a participar em marchas e paradas para defender o critério da opção e responsabilização individual contra a imposição normativa, e não só, do Estado. Quando afirmam que isto é uma adesão da IL à “agenda da esquerda” só posso concluir que quem o faz não tem a mínima noção do que está a dizer.

Hoje, passados mais de três anos e meio, mantenho o que disse.

Iran’s War Within

Ebrahim Raisi and the Triumph of the Hard-Liners

By Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar September/October 2021

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a state divided against itself. Since its inception in 1979, it has been defined by tension between the president, who heads its elected government, and the supreme leader, who leads the parallel state institutions that embody modern Iran’s revolutionary Islamist ideals. The current supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, served as president from 1981 to 1989. During his tenure as president, he clashed over matters of policy, personnel, and ideology with the supreme leader at the time, Ruhollah Khomeini, the charismatic cleric who had spearheaded the Iranian Revolution. After Khomeini died, in 1989, Khamenei was appointed supreme leader and went on to do battle with a long line of presidents more moderate than himself. 

Iran’s recent presidents have not been radicals by the standards of the country’s political establishment. But despite their differing worldviews and social bases, all of them pursued domestic and foreign policies that the parallel state labeled as secular, liberal, antirevolutionary, and subversive. In each case, Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which answers directly to the supreme leader, moved aggressively and at times brutally to contain and control the elected government. The battles left the government bureaucracy depleted and paralyzed. 

With the election of Iran’s new president, this struggle may have finally been decided in favor of the parallel state. Ebrahim Raisi, who captured the presidency in a meticulously engineered election in June, is a loyal functionary of Iran’s theocratic system. For decades, he served as a low-profile prosecutor and judge, including two years as the head of Iran’s judiciary. Over the course of his career, Raisi became notorious for his alleged role in the summary execution of thousands of political prisoners and members of leftist armed groups in the late 1980s. His eagerness to stamp out any perceived threat to the parallel state clearly endeared him to Khamenei, and there is little doubt that as president, one of his priorities will be to tighten the supreme leader’s control over the administrative agencies of the elected government. 

The context in which Raisi assumed the presidency will also require a break from the past. Iran has been impoverished by the stranglehold of U.S. sanctions and the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. The democratic aspirations of the devastated middle class are waning, and a collective sense of isolation and victimhood is rising in their place. The surrounding region remains threatening, strengthening those who pose as guardians of national security. Amid all this turmoil, Iran will soon need a new leader—a transition in which the new president is set to play a critical role, and which could potentially result in his own rise to head of the Islamic Republic. 

These changes promise to usher in a new era in the Islamic Republic’s history. The turmoil created by a divided system could give way to an Iran that is more cohesive and more assertive in trying to shape the region in its own image. As many of the leaders and movements that defined Iranian politics for the past three decades fade away, a faction of right-wing leaders has the opportunity to reshape Iran’s politics and society in ways that will expand the IRGC’s control over the country’s economy, further diminish political freedoms, and yet display limited tolerance on religious and social issues. It will champion Iranian nationalism to widen its popular base domestically, while relying on Shiite and anti-American ideologies to project power regionally.

These changes could also reshape Iran’s relationship with the world, and particularly with the United States. With the backing of a self-assured IRGC and no fear of domestic sabotage, the new government will not shy away from confronting perceived existential threats from the United States. Although it may compromise on the nuclear issue to mitigate mounting economic and environmental crises at home, the incoming foreign policy team will shelve previous presidents’ aspirations of a rapprochement with the West and instead pursue strategic alliances with China and Russia. Its primary focus will be the Middle East, where it will seek bilateral security and trade agreements with its neighbors and double down on strengthening its “axis of resistance,” a sprawling network of proxies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and the rest of the region. 

U.S.-Iranian relations will be transactional and revolve around immediate security concerns. The alluring promise of a broader rapprochement will no longer find fertile ground in Tehran. The window of opportunity for a “grand bargain” between the two countries has likely closed.

BORN IN STRUGGLE

The political order that Khomeini ushered into being in 1979 emerged in struggle. Removing the shah, the dictator who had ruled Iran since 1941, was a relatively peaceful affair, but the contest between Islamists and their rivals was bloody and protracted. Khomeini’s acolytes battled traditional clergy, nationalists, and Marxists for power. The 1979 takeover of the U.S. embassy by students loyal to Khomeini consolidated the Islamists’ grip on power, as did the war that Iran fought against its neighbor Iraq from 1980 to 1988, which helped expand their paramilitary force, the IRGC, as a counterweight to the U.S.-trained Iranian army. 

The victorious Islamist forces established parallel institutions that collectively they call nezam, or “the system,” which is designed to neuter any threats from the secular state. Iran soon found itself riven by fault lines, however: between the supreme leader and the president, between the commanders of the IRGC and the army, and between the religious jurists of the Guardian Council (the body that holds a veto power over legislation) and members of parliament. The fissures deepened after Khomeini died, when the Islamists’ conservative wing took over and removed its leftist brethren from power. The ruling faction soon split between the parallel state and the government, headed by the new supreme leader and the president, respectively. 

The supreme leader is constitutionally the ultimate decision-maker in Iran, but the president and the government bureaucracy can occasionally exploit popular sentiment to outmaneuver him. Elections have highlighted polarizing issues such as civil rights, mandatory dress codes, corruption, and relations with the United States, spurring social movements and protests that the parallel state cannot ignore. The 1997 presidential election gave birth to a formidable reform movement whose “religious democratic” aspirations altered even the supreme leader’s lexicon. 

But for Iran’s recent presidents, efforts to exploit popular sentiment to push for reform usually ended in frustration and failure. As candidates, all the men who have served as Iran’s president during the past three decades—Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mohammad Khatami, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Hassan Rouhani—promised to chart an independent course and open the country up to the world. Once in office, however, they inevitably fell short, constrained by the supreme leader’s active opposition. All these men also began their careers as fervent loyalists of the parallel state, and indeed they helped build the foundations of the Islamic Republic. 

Rafsanjani made the first attempt to weaken the parallel state. He was himself one of the founders of the theocratic establishment, as well as an instrumental backer of Khamenei’s appointment as supreme leader. But as Iran’s president from 1989 to 1997, Rafsanjani tried to shepherd the country out of its revolutionary phase and rebuild its fractured economy by strengthening ties with the United States and Europe. Before long, he was locked in a power struggle with Khamenei, as he sought to subsume the IRGC into the army or at least reduce it to a small, elite division. His objective was to centralize decision-making within the government and prevent the parallel state’s interests from determining national security. 

Khamenei foiled that plan and nixed a proposed constitutional amendment that would have allowed Rafsanjani to run for a third consecutive term. But when Rafsanjani left office in 1997, he did not exit the political scene. Instead, the competition between him and Khamenei introduced an element of volatility into Iranian electoral politics that lasted for a quarter century. 

Khatami owed his stunning landslide electoral victory in 1997 in part to Rafsanjani, who used his control over the political machine to back the unlikely reformist candidate. Khatami’s progressive platform appealed to disgruntled youth, women, and a middle class that had swelled because of Rafsanjani’s economic reforms. As president, Khatami presided over a brief moment of liberalization: hundreds of new media outlets emerged, and intellectuals put forward ideas about religious pluralism that threatened the supreme leader’s monopoly on divine truth. Khamenei and the IRGC moved aggressively to thwart Khatami’s reformist agenda and head off any rapprochement with the United States, arresting hundreds of journalists, intellectuals, and students.

Following this crackdown, the parallel state seemed to be on the verge of winning its power struggle with the government. Ahmadinejad ran a populist campaign in the 2005 election and defeated Rafsanjani, whom he portrayed as the symbol of a corrupt system. Throughout Ahmadinejad’s presidency, the IRGC penetrated state institutions, accelerated the country’s nuclear program, and exploited Iran’s international isolation under sanctions to bolster its own economic activities. When millions of Iranians protested Ahmadinejad’s contested reelection in 2009, the IRGC violently crushed the demonstrations. The parallel state imprisoned many reformist leaders and placed others under house arrest. Among the dead and detained were children and relatives of senior conservative officials. For a moment, even the parallel state cracked: IRGC commanders had to travel around the country to brief rank-and-file members and other conservative figures to justify their excessive use of violence against the protesters.

But even Ahmadinejad eventually clashed with Khamenei and the IRGC. In his second term, he dropped his anti-American stance in favor of overtures toward Washington and replaced his earlier Islamist rhetoric with appeals to Persian nationalism. He accused the IRGC and the intelligence agencies of smuggling luxury commodities such as cigarettes and women’s makeup products (and other goods) disguised as sensitive items into and out of Iran. In an effort to bypass the very religious establishment that had brought him to power, he intimated that he enjoyed a connection of some sort to the “Hidden Imam,” a messianic figure revered by the Shiites. 

After eight years with a loose cannon as president, Iranians began to support reformists who promised a return to normalcy. Rafsanjani was disqualified from running in the 2013 election by the Guardian Council, which is charged with assessing whether candidates hold loyalty to the supreme leader, and so he rallied support for his protégé, Rouhani, a former national security adviser to and nuclear negotiator for Rafsanjani and Khatami. Rouhani campaigned on an ambitious platform, pledging to defend citizens against the militarism of the IRGC and the religious extremism that restricted citizens’ daily lives, secure the release of reformist leaders from house arrest, and improve the economy by resolving the nuclear impasse. He linked economic growth to the nuclear negotiations by declaring, “It’s good to have centrifuges running, but people’s lives also have to run; our factories have to run.” 

With Rafsanjani and the reformists behind him, Rouhani was elected president in 2013 and reelected in 2017. Technocrats returned to senior positions and resumed the nuclear negotiations they had started a decade earlier under Khatami, but this time, they spoke not only with European powers but also directly with the United States. Preliminary nuclear talks between Iran and the United States had started secretly in Oman, with Khamenei’s blessing, a few months before Rouhani’s election. But the new team used its popular mandate to pressure the supreme leader to show more flexibility in the negotiations than he would have liked. After two years, Rouhani’s negotiators concluded an agreement with six world powers, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which offered Iran some relief from sanctions in return for agreeing to allow inspections of its nuclear facilities and to limit its uranium enrichment, at least for a time. 

LEAKED SECRETS

The parallel state struck back hard to dampen the euphoria that greeted the 2015 nuclear deal. In doing so, it provided graphic evidence of the internal struggles within the Iranian state. In April of this year, a three-hour audio file that was part of a classified oral history commissioned by an arm of the president’s office was anonymously leaked to the media. In it, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif can be heard bluntly stating that Iran’s foreign policy has consistently been at the service of the IRGC.

This leak confirms that the Rouhani administration viewed Iran’s nuclear program as an IRGC project not entirely in the interests of the state. In the taped conversation, Zarif says that he told Khatami and Rouhani that “a group [presumably the IRGC] has thrown the country down into a well, and that well is a nuclear well.” 

Zarif even accuses the IRGC of collaborating with Russia to sabotage his diplomatic efforts on the nuclear issue. The Russians feared that a nonproliferation agreement could bring Iran closer to the United States. According to Zarif, immediately after the JCPOA was announced, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, to discuss the Syrian conflict. Russian missiles and planes then began intentionally flying a longer route through Iranian skies to attack forces battling the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Zarif implies that Putin intended to lock Iran into a collaboration with Russia in a regional battle as a way to keep Tehran in conflict with Washington. 

In the leaked audio, Zarif howls that the parallel state spent the six months before the nuclear agreement went into effect trying to sabotage it. The IRGC’s “firing a missile with ‘Israel must be wiped out’ inscribed on it, those affairs with Russia and the following regional events, raiding the Saudi embassy [in Tehran], seizing U.S. ships—they were all done to prevent the JCPOA from implementation,” he says on the tape. 

In the years after the JCPOA was adopted, Zarif found himself constantly scrambling to repair the IRGC’s damage to his careful diplomacy. Soleimani told Zarif little about his plans. For instance, in January 2016, U.S. sanctions on Iran’s flagship airline, Iran Air, were relaxed as part of the nuclear deal. But five months later, Zarif learned from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Iran Air not only had resumed the use of putatively civilian flights to funnel weapons to Hezbollah in Syria, the action that had gotten it sanctioned in the first place, but also had increased those flights sixfold on Soleimani’s direct orders. 

The flights put Iran Air’s aging fleet at risk and courted new sanctions. Zarif furiously summarizes the IRGC’s view of the matter—that if using Iran Air for this purpose conferred a two percent advantage over the alternatives, “even if it cost the country’s diplomacy 200 percent, it was worth using it!” (Soleimani’s risk acceptance and willingness to provoke the United States may have contributed to his own demise; in early 2020, he was targeted and killed by an armed U.S. drone in Baghdad.) 

Zarif bemoans the fact that his popularity among Iranians dropped from 88 percent to 60 percent in the years after the JCPOA was finalized. Meanwhile, Soleimani’s approval jumped to 90 percent thanks to his heroic portrayal in the IRGC-backed media.  

Throughout his time in office, Rouhani found himself at war with the parallel state, just like predecessors. Back in the 1980s, Rouhani had helped expand the IRGC from a small volunteer organization into a full-fledged army, with ground, naval, and air forces. Three decades later, he publicly accused the IRGC of sprawling interference. In a 2014 anticorruption conference with the heads of the judiciary and the parliament, he demonstrated his frustration with the IRGC’s nonmilitary activities. Without explicitly naming the IRGC, he stated, “If guns, money, newspapers, and propaganda all gather in one place, one can be confident of corruption there.” 

LEAKED SECRETS

The parallel state struck back hard to dampen the euphoria that greeted the 2015 nuclear deal. In doing so, it provided graphic evidence of the internal struggles within the Iranian state. In April of this year, a three-hour audio file that was part of a classified oral history commissioned by an arm of the president’s office was anonymously leaked to the media. In it, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif can be heard bluntly stating that Iran’s foreign policy has consistently been at the service of the IRGC.

This leak confirms that the Rouhani administration viewed Iran’s nuclear program as an IRGC project not entirely in the interests of the state. In the taped conversation, Zarif says that he told Khatami and Rouhani that “a group [presumably the IRGC] has thrown the country down into a well, and that well is a nuclear well.” 

Zarif even accuses the IRGC of collaborating with Russia to sabotage his diplomatic efforts on the nuclear issue. The Russians feared that a nonproliferation agreement could bring Iran closer to the United States. According to Zarif, immediately after the JCPOA was announced, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, to discuss the Syrian conflict. Russian missiles and planes then began intentionally flying a longer route through Iranian skies to attack forces battling the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Zarif implies that Putin intended to lock Iran into a collaboration with Russia in a regional battle as a way to keep Tehran in conflict with Washington. 

In the leaked audio, Zarif howls that the parallel state spent the six months before the nuclear agreement went into effect trying to sabotage it. The IRGC’s “firing a missile with ‘Israel must be wiped out’ inscribed on it, those affairs with Russia and the following regional events, raiding the Saudi embassy [in Tehran], seizing U.S. ships—they were all done to prevent the JCPOA from implementation,” he says on the tape. 

In the years after the JCPOA was adopted, Zarif found himself constantly scrambling to repair the IRGC’s damage to his careful diplomacy. Soleimani told Zarif little about his plans. For instance, in January 2016, U.S. sanctions on Iran’s flagship airline, Iran Air, were relaxed as part of the nuclear deal. But five months later, Zarif learned from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Iran Air not only had resumed the use of putatively civilian flights to funnel weapons to Hezbollah in Syria, the action that had gotten it sanctioned in the first place, but also had increased those flights sixfold on Soleimani’s direct orders. 

The flights put Iran Air’s aging fleet at risk and courted new sanctions. Zarif furiously summarizes the IRGC’s view of the matter—that if using Iran Air for this purpose conferred a two percent advantage over the alternatives, “even if it cost the country’s diplomacy 200 percent, it was worth using it!” (Soleimani’s risk acceptance and willingness to provoke the United States may have contributed to his own demise; in early 2020, he was targeted and killed by an armed U.S. drone in Baghdad.) 

Zarif bemoans the fact that his popularity among Iranians dropped from 88 percent to 60 percent in the years after the JCPOA was finalized. Meanwhile, Soleimani’s approval jumped to 90 percent thanks to his heroic portrayal in the IRGC-backed media.  

Throughout his time in office, Rouhani found himself at war with the parallel state, just like predecessors. Back in the 1980s, Rouhani had helped expand the IRGC from a small volunteer organization into a full-fledged army, with ground, naval, and air forces. Three decades later, he publicly accused the IRGC of sprawling interference. In a 2014 anticorruption conference with the heads of the judiciary and the parliament, he demonstrated his frustration with the IRGC’s nonmilitary activities. Without explicitly naming the IRGC, he stated, “If guns, money, newspapers, and propaganda all gather in one place, one can be confident of corruption there.”

The Trump administration’s insistence that Iran’s elite was monolithic became something like a self-fulfilling prophecy: Trump’s actions pushed Iranian politics in a more extreme direction. Under the existential threat of a draconian U.S. sanctions policy, internal divisions abated. The White House’s policies helped forge a broad agreement among Iran’s elites that the only way to protect the country’s national interests was to secure the regime, which allowed the IRGC to present itself, for the first time in its existence, as the champion of Iranian nationalism. 

The IRGC had long claimed that its advanced ballistic missiles and network of proxies across the Middle East protected Iran’s territorial integrity. In 2019, after it became clear that Iran’s policy of “strategic patience” in upholding the JCPOA was not paying off, the IRGC sprang into action to establish deterrence against further pressure from the United States. It began carrying out brazen attacks, launching a startling, precise drone strike on an oil-processing facility in Saudi Arabia and shooting down a U.S. drone over the Persian Gulf. In January 2020, the IRGC launched ballistic missiles against American forces in Iraq in response to Soleimani’s assassination. These operations also served to silence the IRGC’s opponents within the state and society. 

For decades, the parallel state had feared that Iranian society would unite with the elected government to overpower it. The parallel state had acted, nimbly and often violently, to forestall that possibility. Now it could envision a new future, one in which both Iranian society and the government united behind the parallel state, making the supreme leader and the IRGC the vehicles for their aspirations. 

CO-OPTING THE FIELD

By this year’s election, Iran’s political and social landscape had been transformed. Rafsanjani, for decades a powerful force in elite politics, had died suddenly from a heart attack in 2017. Khatami remains under virtual house arrest, and the government forbids Iranian media from mentioning him or publishing his photograph. Ahmadinejad is still an outspoken critic: former advisers have described in Iranian media how he envisions himself as an Iranian Boris Yeltsin, destined to ride mass protests to power to save the nation. But Ahmadinejad’s faction has been purged from every important institution.

The reformist bloc was the biggest loser of the 2021 campaign, during which its aging leadership failed to present a united front or a coherent plan of action. The movement had once mobilized enough public support to propel Khatami to the presidency and later formed a crucial part of the coalition behind Rouhani. Now, however, it seems out of touch. The inflation rate in Iran soared to 40 percent after Trump withdrew from the JCPOA, and the country is plunging into poverty. According to Iran’s Social Security Organization, the absolute poverty rate doubled within only two years, from 15 percent in 2017 to 30 percent in 2019. The efforts by student groups and women’s organizations to organize protests against political repression and human rights violations have tailed off, replaced by impromptu violent riots over economic grievances, water shortages, and power outages. The rioters’ angry slogan—“Reformists, conservatives, your time is up”—suggests that they view the reformists as accomplices in their misery. 

In the past, reformists succeeded in elections by polarizing the political landscape. Khatami ran on a platform of promoting civil society and democracy, and Rouhani promised the resolution of the nuclear issue and improved ties with the United States. These qualify as wedge issues in Iran, and invoking them transformed those candidates’ campaigns into social movements, thus increasing voter turnout, particularly among women and young people. That strategy doomed Raisi’s first bid for the presidency, in 2017, when he lost badly to Rouhani.

In this year’s election, however, Khamenei and the IRGC found little resistance on their way to choreographing Raisi’s win. The Guardian Council disqualified all the candidates who could have potentially energized the electorate, barring not only all the reformists and Ahmadinejad but also Ali Larijani, a relatively moderate former Speaker of the parliament and chief nuclear negotiator. The only moderate candidate left in the game was Rouhani’s head of the central bank, Hemmati. 

In the end, the reformists’ supporters fractured into three camps: those who boycotted the election, those who cast blank ballots, and those who voted for Hemmati. Turnout came in at 49 percent, the lowest for a presidential election in the Islamic Republic’s history. In the reformist stronghold of Tehran, only 26 percent of eligible voters participated. According to official figures, Raisi won 62 percent of the vote, and Hemmati only eight percent. 

The hard-line campaign succeeded not solely due to repression but also by stealing a page from its opponents’ playbook. Raisi’s background is almost entirely in the theocratic judiciary, but as a presidential candidate, he emphasized security and prosperity rather than religion and ideology. He ran on a platform devoted to building a “strong Iran,” promising to tackle government corruption and neutralize the effect of sanctions by replicating the IRGC’s self-reliance in the defense industry in nonmilitary arenas, too. When he campaigned at bazaars, factories, and Tehran’s stock market, IRGC-affiliated media showed him talking to workers and technocrats about reopening bankrupt businesses and reviving the economy. 

Raisi not only posed as a centrist technocrat but appropriated the reformists’ secular discourse, as well. He promised to fight domestic violence and pledged to discourage the much-despised morality police from harassing ordinary people and to encourage them to instead go after economic and bureaucratic corruption. Images released by his campaign suggested that his supporters included women who did not follow the strict official dress code. 

Other hard-liners have struck a similar tone. In a debate between reformists and hard-liners held on the chat app Clubhouse during the campaign, Masoud Dehnamaki, a notorious vigilante and militia leader who since the 1990s has physically attacked intellectuals, students, and ordinary people for “un-Islamic” behavior, ridiculed the reformists for focusing on social restrictions. In a telling moment, he said that compulsory veiling was no longer a serious concern for the regime.

Raisi has also repeatedly said that he advocates engagement with the world. This represents a significant shift from the confrontational approach that hard-liners have traditionally taken. He also has made clear that he does not object to the nuclear deal as such, only to the specific aspects of the agreement that allowed the United States to violate it with impunity. The most dramatic shift has come among Raisi’s hard-line supporters, who were adamantly opposed to the JCPOA until a few weeks before his campaign began but have since made a U-turn, pledging compliance with the agreement. Mojtaba Zonnour, a senior member of parliament, once led a group of conservatives to the podium and set a copy of the JCPOA on fire after Trump withdrew from the agreement. After criticizing the JCPOA for years, he is now backing Raisi’s adherence to it, as long as the United States honors its obligations. 

THE PARALLEL STATE AS UNITARY STATE

This time, those who anticipate a repetition of the familiar conflict between the president and the supreme leader may be disappointed. The impending transition to the next supreme leader will loom over Raisi’s presidency. There is limited information on the 82-year-old leader’s health, except for a much-publicized prostate surgery in 2014. But it is widely expected that the decision to replace Khamenei will have to be made during the new president’s tenure. 

The forces that engineered Raisi’s victory are purging the highest echelons of the Islamic Republic to smooth this succession process. If he is not himself named Khamenei’s successor, Raisi will play a key role in determining who is. He is thus unlikely to spend his presidency challenging the current occupant of the nation’s highest office.

Raisi is simply part of a larger political project that Khamenei is pursuing in his final years. The new president may tactically moderate his positions, but any real policy shift will occur in close coordination with the supreme leader. The parallel state is widening its social base beyond Islamists to nonreligious nationalists, in an attempt to co-opt the growing influence of those who despise the official and selective imposition of Islamic law. Many veiled women have joined the anti-veiling campaign, since they see the dress code as divisive, generating resentment toward them in the street. Raisi’s selective and reversible appropriation of the reformists’ social and foreign policy agendas is designed to further undermine their ability to return to the political scene at this critical moment in Iranian history.

Despite its smooth start, this high-stakes gambit could quickly fall apart. Raisi and his team of young, right-wing technocrats will need to use state patronage to co-opt resentful elites, particularly the faction of marginalized conservatives. They also must address the needs of the impoverished population, a portion of which backed Raisi because of his economic promises.  

On foreign policy, Raisi will attempt to turn the failed globalist aspirations of his predecessors on their head. Previous presidents came to believe that the best way to forge a safe and secure Iran was to make the country a prosperous part of the global economy. Raisi believes that, on the contrary, only a strong Iran with undisputed regional leverage can deter external forces and achieve economic prosperity. Therefore, he is expected to enhance the IRGC’s military capabilities in order to counter U.S. pressure. That means bolstering the corps’s network of proxies in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and beyond, all in the service of protecting the original parallel state in Iran.  

The new administration will also deepen Iran’s security and economic ties with both China and Russia. Putin issued one of the first and strongest congratulations to the new president, expressing his confidence that Raisi’s election will lead to “further development of constructive bilateral cooperation between our countries.” Tehran also recently signed a 25-year trade and military partnership with Beijing, which was initially delayed in 2016 because Iran hoped to improve ties with the United States and Europe.

Paradoxically, the elimination of any potential rapprochement with the United States has brought coherence to Iran’s foreign policy. There is now a general consensus across Iran’s political spectrum that their country’s hostile relationship with the United States will persist indefinitely. Consequently, Iran’s competing factions are no longer obsessed with the domestic ramifications of improved ties with Washington. This means that neither the JCPOA’s success nor its failure can dramatically upset the internal balance of power. This new dynamic has reduced the likelihood of domestic sabotage in the event a diplomatic breakthrough is achieved—but it has also hardened Iran’s bargaining position in the ongoing negotiations. 

Raisi needs a diplomatic success on the nuclear front to deal with a sea of internal problems. But unlike Rouhani, he is not betting his political fortune on it. His hawkish foreign policy team perceives the United States as ideologically committed to destroying the Islamic Republic. Its assumption is that Washington will attempt to renege on any agreement either bluntly, as Trump did, or subtly, as the Obama administration did, by not properly removing financial sanctions on Iran. The political forces that propelled Raisi to the presidency are therefore preparing step-by-step retaliatory measures in case a revived JCPOA falters. They are also committed to preserving Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, to maintain the option to weaponize the program rapidly if the agreement falls apart. At the same time, the signing of a new nuclear deal could inadvertently create a more combustible region: Tehran fears that it would give the United States a free hand to go after its regional influence, and Tehran’s enemies are concerned that it would provide Iran with more resources to bolster its proxies and missile program. 

The resulting security dilemma appears poised to escalate tensions between Iran and the United States. The two countries are already embroiled in a low-level but continuous conflict in Iraq, where U.S. forces and pro-Iranian militias clash sporadically. Although Raisi has held out the prospect of talks with regional powers to lower tensions, the emerging unified leadership in Iran sees itself in a win-win position. It is confident in its military and has long known how to thrive on conflicts and expand its nonstate allies. Thanks to the new domestic political transformation, it can also make tactical compromises with its adversaries without the risk of exacerbating internal divisions. As a new era of the Islamic Republic begins, Iran and the United States are on a collision course.

Da necessidade do Estado

O Estado não existe à-priori. Resultou, paradoxalmente, de uma consciência de limitação da liberdade impossível de forma a concretizar a liberdade possível. O Estado é a convenção à-posteriori que previne a arbitrariedade enquanto assegura a liberdade.

Reencontrei hoje esta relíquia. Fazia parte das notas de pesquisa para um trabalho de investigação académica que fiz na altura. As coisas que se escrevem aos 20 anos.

Acabei por também a incluir nesta colectânea de pensamentos:
VFS, Livro dos Pensares e das Tormentas, 57, 1987.

Xi’s Gamble –

The Race to Consolidate Power and Stave Off Disaster

By Jude Blanchette

Xi Jinping is a man on a mission. After coming to power in late 2012, he moved rapidly to consolidate his political authority, purge the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of rampant corruption, sideline his enemies, tame China’s once highflying technology and financial conglomerates, crush internal dissent, and forcefully assert China’s influence on the international stage. In the name of protecting China’s “core interests,” Xi has picked fights with many of his neighbors and antagonized countries farther away—especially the United States. Whereas his immediate predecessors believed China must continue to bide its time by overseeing rapid economic growth and the steady expansion of China’s influence through tactical integration into the existing global order, Xi is impatient with the status quo, possesses a high tolerance for risk, and seems to feel a pronounced sense of urgency in challenging the international order.

Why is he in such a rush? Most observers have settled on one of two diametrically opposite hypotheses. The first holds that Xi is driving a wide range of policy initiatives aimed at nothing less than the remaking of the global order on terms favorable to the CCP. The other view asserts that he is the anxious overseer of a creaky and outdated Leninist political system that is struggling to keep its grip on power. Both narratives contain elements of truth, but neither satisfactorily explains the source of Xi’s sense of urgency.

A more accurate explanation is that Xi’s calculations are determined not by his aspirations or fears but by his timeline. Put simply, Xi has consolidated so much power and upset the status quo with such force because he sees a narrow window of ten to 15 years during which Beijing can take advantage of a set of important technological and geopolitical transformations, which will also help it overcome significant internal challenges. Xi sees the convergence of strong demographic headwinds, a structural economic slowdown, rapid advances in digital technologies, and a perceived shift in the global balance of power away from the United States as what he has called “profound changes unseen in a century,” demanding a bold set of immediate responses.

By narrowing his vision to the coming ten to 15 years, Xi has instilled a sense of focus and determination in the Chinese political system that may well enable China to overcome long-standing domestic challenges and achieve a new level of global centrality. If Xi succeeds, China will position itself as an architect of an emerging era of multipolarity, its economy will escape the so-called middle-income trap, and the technological capabilities of its manufacturing sector and military will rival those of more developed countries.

Yet ambition and execution are not the same thing, and Xi has now placed China on a risky trajectory, one that threatens the achievements his predecessors secured in the post-Mao era. His belief that the CCP must guide the economy and that Beijing should rein in the private sector will constrain the country’s future economic growth. His demand that party cadres adhere to ideological orthodoxy and demonstrate personal loyalty to him will undermine the governance system’s flexibility and competency. His emphasis on an expansive definition of national security will steer the country in a more inward and paranoid direction. His unleashing of “Wolf Warrior” nationalism will produce a more aggressive and isolated China. Finally, Xi’s increasingly singular position within China’s political system will forestall policy alternatives and course corrections, a problem made worse by his removal of term limits and the prospect of his indefinite rule.

Xi believes he can mold China’s future as did the emperors of the country’s storied past. He mistakes this hubris for confidence—and no one dares tell him otherwise. An environment in which an all-powerful leader with a single-minded focus cannot hear uncomfortable truths is a recipe for disaster, as China’s modern history has demonstrated all too well.

A MAN IN A HURRY

In retrospect, Xi’s compressed timeline was clear from the start of his tenure. China had become accustomed to the pace of his predecessor, the slow and staid Hu Jintao, and many expected Xi to follow suit, albeit with a greater emphasis on economic reform. Yet within months of taking the reins in 2012, Xi began to reorder the domestic political and economic landscape. First came a top-to-bottom housecleaning of the CCP. The party had repeatedly demonstrated its ability to weather domestic storms, but pressures were building within the system. Corruption had become endemic, leading to popular dissatisfaction and the breakdown of organizational discipline. The party’s ranks were growing rapidly but were increasingly filled with individuals who didn’t share Xi’s belief in the CCP’s exceptionalism. Party cells in state-owned enterprises, private companies, and nongovernmental organizations were dormant and disorganized. Senior-level decision-making had become uncoordinated and siloed. The party’s propaganda organs struggled to project their messages to an increasingly cynical and tech-savvy citizenry.

Xi took on all these problems simultaneously. In 2013 alone, he initiated a sweeping anticorruption drive, launched a “mass line” campaign to eliminate political pluralism and liberal ideologies from public discourse, announced new guidelines restricting the growth of the party’s membership, and added new ideological requirements for would-be party members. The size of the party mattered little, he believed, if it was not made up of true believers. After all, he noted, when the Soviet Union was on the brink of collapse in the early 1990s, “proportionally, the Soviet Communist Party had more members than [the CCP], but nobody was man enough to stand up and resist.”

Next on Xi’s agenda was the need to assert China’s interests on the global stage. Xi quickly began land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea, established an air defense identification zone over disputed territory in the East China Sea, helped launch the New Development Bank (sometimes called the BRICS Bank), unveiled the massive international infrastructure project that came to be known as the Belt and Road Initiative, and proposed the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Xi continued to slash his way through the status quo for the remainder of his first term and shows no signs of abating as he approaches the end of his second. His consolidation of power continues uninterrupted: he faces no genuine political rivals, has removed term limits on his tenure in office, and has installed allies and loyalists in key positions. New research centers are dedicated to studying his writings and speeches, party officials publicly extol his wisdom and virtue, and party regulations and government planning documents increasingly claim to be based on “Xi Jinping Thought.” He has asserted the CCP’s dominance over vast swaths of Chinese society and economic life, even forcing influential business and technology titans to beg forgiveness for their insufficient loyalty to the party. Meanwhile, he continues to expand China’s international sphere of influence through the exercise of hard power, economic coercion, and deep integration into international and multilateral bodies.

Many outside observers, myself included, initially believed that the party’s inability to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 highlighted the weaknesses of China’s system. By the summer of 2020, however, Xi was able to extol the virtues of centralized control in checking the pandemic’s domestic spread. Far from undermining his political authority, Beijing’s iron-fisted approach to combating the virus has now become a point of national pride.

A UNIQUE MOMENT

Xi’s fast pace was provoked by a convergence of geopolitical, demographic, economic, environmental, and technological changes. The risks they pose are daunting, but not yet existential; Beijing has a window of opportunity to address them before they become fatal. And the potential rewards they offer are considerable.

The first major change is Beijing’s assessment that the power and influence of the West have entered a phase of accelerated decline, and as a result, a new era of multipolarity has begun, one that China could shape more to its liking. This view took hold as the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq became quagmires, and it solidified in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, which the Chinese leadership saw as the death knell for U.S. global prestige. In 2016, the British vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as president in the United States fortified the consensus view that the United States, and the West more generally, was in decline. This might suggest that China could opt for strategic patience and simply allow American power to wane. But the possibility of a renewal of U.S. leadership brought about by the advent of the Biden administration—and concerns about Xi’s mortality (he will be 82 in 2035)—means that Beijing is unwilling to wait and see how long this phase of Western decline will last.

The second important force confronting Xi is China’s deteriorating demographic and economic outlook. By the time he assumed office, China’s population was simultaneously aging and shrinking, and the country was facing an imminent surge of retirees that would stress the country’s relatively weak health-care and pension systems. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences now expects China’s population to peak in 2029, and a recent study in The Lancet forecast that it will shrink by nearly 50 percent by the end of the century. Although Beijing ended its draconian one-child policy in 2016, the country has still recorded a 15 percent decline in births during the past 12 months. Meanwhile, the government estimates that by 2033, nearly one-third of the population will be over the age of 60.

Contributing to these woes is China’s shrinking workforce and rising wages, which have increased by ten percent, on average, since 2005. Larger paychecks are good for workers, but global manufacturers are increasingly moving their operations out of China and to lower-cost countries, leaving a rising number of low-skilled workers in China unemployed or underemployed. And because only 12.5 percent of China’s labor force has graduated from college (compared with 24 percent in the United States), positioning the bulk of the country’s workforce to compete for the high-skilled jobs of the future will be an uphill battle.

Directly related to this worrying demographic picture is the slowdown of China’s economy. With annual GDP growth having dropped from a high of 14 percent in 2007 to the mid-single digits today, many of the long-standing problems Beijing had been able to sweep under the rug now require attention and a willingness to accept economic and political pain, from unwinding the vast sea of indebted companies to demanding that firms and individuals pay more into the country’s tax coffers. At the heart of China’s growth woes is flagging productivity. Throughout the first several decades of the post-Mao reform period, realizing productivity gains was relatively straightforward, as the planned economy was dissolved in favor of market forces and droves of citizens voluntarily fled the countryside for urban and coastal areas and the promise of higher-wage jobs. Later, as foreign companies brought investment, technology, and know-how to the country, industrial efficiency continued to improve. Finally, the massive amounts spent on infrastructure, especially roads and rail, boosted connectivity and thus productivity. All of this helped a poor and primarily agricultural economy rapidly catch up with more advanced economies.

Yet by the time Xi assumed power, policymakers were finding it increasingly difficult to maintain momentum without creating unsustainable levels of debt, just as they had done in response to the 2008 global financial crisis. What is more, the country was already saturated with transportation infrastructure, so an additional mile of road or high-speed rail wasn’t going to add much to growth. And because almost all able-bodied workers had already moved from the countryside to urban areas, relocating labor wouldn’t arrest the decline in productivity, either. Finally, the social and environmental costs of China’s previous growth paradigm had become both unsustainable and destabilizing, as staggering air pollution and environmental devastation provoked acute anger among Chinese citizens.

Perhaps the most consequential shifts to have occurred on Xi’s watch are advances in new technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and biomedical engineering, among others. Xi believes that dominating the “commanding heights” of these new tools will play a critical role in China’s economic, military, and geopolitical fate, and he has mobilized the party to transform the country into a high-tech powerhouse. This includes expending vast sums to develop the country’s R & D and production capabilities in technologies deemed critical to national security, from semiconductors to batteries. As Xi stated in 2014, first-mover advantage will go to “whoever holds the nose of the ox of science and technology innovation.”

Xi also hopes that new technologies can help the CCP overcome, or at least circumvent, nearly all of China’s domestic challenges. The negative impacts of a shrinking workforce, he believes, can be blunted by an aggressive push toward automation, and job losses in traditional industries can be offset by opportunities in newer, high-tech sectors. “Whether we can stiffen our back in the international arena and cross the ‘middle-income trap’ depends to a large extent on the improvement of science and technology innovation capability,” Xi said in 2014.

New technologies serve other purposes, as well. Facial recognition tools and artificial intelligence give China’s internal security organs new ways to surveil citizens and suppress dissent. The party’s “military-civil fusion” strategy strives to harness these new technologies to significantly bolster the Chinese military’s warfighting capabilities. And advances in green technology offer the prospect of simultaneously pursuing economic growth and pollution abatement, two goals Beijing has generally seen as being in tension.

THE PARANOID STYLE IN CHINESE POLITICS

This convergence of changes and developments would have occurred regardless of who assumed power in China in 2012. Perhaps another leader would have undertaken a similarly bold agenda. Yet among contemporary Chinese political figures, Xi has demonstrated an unrivaled skill for bureaucratic infighting. And he clearly believes that he is a figure of historical significance, on whom the CCP’s fate rests.

In order to push forward significant change, Xi has overseen the construction of a new political order, one underpinned by a massive increase in the power and authority of the CCP. Yet beyond this elevation of party power, perhaps Xi’s most critical legacy will be his expansive redefinition of national security. His advocacy of a “comprehensive national security concept” emerged in early 2014, and in a speech that April, he announced that China faced “the most complicated internal and external factors in its history.” Although this was clearly hyperbole—war with the United States in Korea and the nationwide famine of the late 1950s were more complicated—Xi’s message to the political system was clear: a new era of risk and uncertainty confronts the party.

The CCP’s long experience of defections, attempted coups, and subversion by outside actors predisposes it to acute paranoia, something that reached a fever pitch in the Mao era. Xi risks institutionalizing this paranoid style. One result of blurring the line between internal and external security has been threat inflation: party cadres in low-crime, low-risk areas now issue warnings of terrorism, “color revolutions,” and “Christian infiltration.” In Xinjiang, fears of separatism have been used to justify turning the entire region into a dystopian high-tech prison. And in Hong Kong, Xi has established a “national security” bureaucracy that can ignore local laws and operate in total secrecy as it weeds out perceived threats to Beijing’s iron-fisted rule. In both places, Xi has demonstrated that he is willing to accept international opprobrium when he feels that the party’s core interests are at stake.

At home, Xi stokes nationalist sentiment by framing China as surrounded and besieged by enemies, exploiting a deeply emotional (and highly distorted) view of the past, and romanticizing China’s battles against the Japanese in World War II and its “victory” over the United States in the Korean War. By warning that China has entered a period of heightened risk from “hostile foreign forces,” Xi is attempting to accommodate Chinese citizens to the idea of more difficult times ahead and ensure that the party and he himself are viewed as stabilizing forces.

Xi has placed China on a risky trajectory, one that threatens the achievements his predecessors secured.

Meanwhile, to exploit a perceived window of opportunity during an American retreat from global affairs, Beijing has advanced aggressively on multiple foreign policy fronts. These include the use of “gray zone” tactics, such as employing commercial fishing boats to assert territorial interests in the South China Sea and establishing China’s first overseas military base, in Djibouti. China’s vast domestic market has allowed Xi to threaten countries that don’t demonstrate political and diplomatic obedience, as evidenced by Beijing’s recent campaign of economic coercion against Australia in response to Canberra’s call for an independent investigation into the origins of the virus that causes COVID-19. Similarly, Xi has encouraged Chinese “Wolf Warrior” diplomats to intimidate and harass host countries that criticize or otherwise antagonize China. Earlier this year, Beijing levied sanctions against Jo Smith Finley, a British anthropologist and political scientist who studies Xinjiang, and the Mercator Institute for China Studies, a German think tank, whose work the CCP claimed had “severely harm[ed] China’s sovereignty and interests.”

Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping demonstrated strategic patience in asserting China’s interests on the global stage. Indeed, Mao told U.S. President Richard Nixon that China could wait 100 years to reclaim Taiwan, and Deng negotiated the return of Hong Kong under the promise (since broken by Xi) of a 50-year period of local autonomy. Both leaders had a profound sense of China’s relative fragility and the importance of careful, nuanced statesmanship. Xi does not share their equanimity, or their confidence in long-term solutions.

That has sparked concerns that Xi will attempt an extraordinarily risky gambit to take Taiwan by force by 2027, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army. It seems doubtful, however, that he would invite a possible military conflict with the United States just 110 miles from China’s shoreline. Assuming the PLA were successful in overcoming Taiwan’s defenses, to say nothing of surmounting possible U.S. involvement, Xi would then have to carry out a military occupation against sustained resistance for an indeterminate length of time. An attempted takeover of Taiwan would undermine nearly all of Xi’s other global and domestic ambitions. Nevertheless, although the more extreme scenarios might remain unlikely for the time being, Xi will continue to have China flaunt its strength in its neighborhood and push outward in pursuit of its interests. On many issues, he appears to want final resolution on his watch.

THE MAN OF THE SYSTEM

Xi’s tendency to believe he can shape the precise course of China’s trajectory calls to mind the economist Adam Smith’s description of “the man of system”: a leader “so enamored with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it.” In order to realize his near-term goals, Xi has abandoned the invisible hand of the market and forged an economic system that relies on state actors to reach predetermined objectives.

Critical to this shift has been Xi’s reliance on industrial policy, a tool of economic statecraft that had fallen out of favor until near the end of the tenure of Xi’s predecessor, Hu, when it began to shape Beijing’s approach to technological innovation. The year 2015 marked an important inflection point, with the introduction of supersized industrial policy programs that sought not just to advance a given technology or industry but also to remake the entire structure of the economy. These included the Made in China 2025 plan, which aims to upgrade China’s manufacturing capabilities in a number of important sectors; the Internet Plus strategy, a scheme to integrate information technology into more traditional industries; and the 14th Five-Year Plan, which outlines an ambitious agenda to decrease China’s reliance on foreign technology inputs. Through such policies, Beijing channels tens of trillions of yuan into companies, technologies, and sectors it considers strategically significant. It does this by means of direct subsidies, tax rebates, and quasi-market “government guidance funds,” which resemble state-controlled venture capital firms.

Thus far, Beijing’s track record in this area is decidedly mixed: in many cases, vast sums of investment have produced meager returns. But as the economist Barry Naughton has cautioned, “Chinese industrial policies are so large, and so new, that we are not yet in a position to evaluate them. They may turn out to be successful, but it is also possible that they will turn out to be disastrous.”

Xi believes he can mold China’s future as did the emperors of the country’s storied past.

Related to this industrial policy is Xi’s approach to China’s private-sector companies, including many of the technological and financial giants that just a few years ago observers viewed as possible agents of political and social change. Technological innovation put firms such as Ant Group and Tencent in control of critical new data flows and financial technology. Xi clearly perceived this as an unacceptable threat, as demonstrated by the CCP’s recent spiking of Ant Group’s initial public offering in the wake of comments made by its founder, Jack Ma, that many perceived as critical of the party.

Xi is willing to forgo a boost in China’s international financial prestige to protect the party’s interests and send a signal to business elites: the party comes first. This is no David and Goliath story, however. It’s more akin to a family feud, given the close and enduring connections between China’s nominally private firms and its political system. Indeed, nearly all of China’s most successful entrepreneurs are members of the CCP, and for many companies, success depends on favors granted by the party, including protection from foreign competition. But whereas previous Chinese leaders granted wide latitude to the private sector, Xi has forcefully drawn a line. Doing so has further restricted the country’s ability to innovate. No matter how sophisticated Beijing’s regulators and state investors may be, sustained innovation and gains in productivity cannot occur without a vibrant private sector.

GRAND STRATEGY OR GRAND TRAGEDY?

In order to seize temporary advantages and forestall domestic challenges, Xi has positioned himself for a 15-year race, one for which he has mobilized the awesome capabilities of a system that he now commands unchallenged. Xi’s truncated time frame compels a sense of urgency that will define Beijing’s policy agenda, risk tolerance, and willingness to compromise as it sprints ahead. This will narrow the options available to countries hoping to shape China’s behavior or hoping that the “Wolf Warrior” attitude will naturally recede.

The United States can disprove Beijing’s contention that its democracy has atrophied and that Washington’s star is dimming by strengthening the resilience of American society and improving the competence of the U.S. government. If the United States and its allies invest in innovation and human capital, they can forestall Xi’s efforts to gain first-mover advantage in emerging and critical technologies. Likewise, a more active and forward-looking U.S. role in shaping the global order would limit Beijing’s ability to spread illiberal ideas beyond China’s borders.

Unwittingly, Xi has put China into competition with itself, in a race to determine if its many strengths can outstrip the pathologies that Xi himself has introduced to the system. By the time he assumed power, the CCP had established a fairly predictable process for the regular and peaceful transition of power. Next fall, the 20th Party Congress will be held, and normally, a leader who has been in charge as long as Xi has would step aside. To date, however, there is no expectation that Xi will do so. This is an extraordinarily risky move, not just for the CCP itself but also for the future of China. With no successor in sight, if Xi dies unexpectedly in the next decade, the country could be thrown into chaos.

Even assuming that Xi remains healthy while in power, the longer his tenure persists, the more the CCP will resemble a cult of personality, as it did under Mao. Elements of this are already evident, with visible sycophancy among China’s political class now the norm. Paeans to the greatness of “Xi Jinping Thought” may strike outsiders as merely curious or even comical, but they have a genuinely deleterious effect on the quality of decision-making and information flows within the party.

It would be ironic, and tragic, if Xi, a leader with a mission to save the party and the country, instead imperiled both. His current course threatens to undo the great progress China has made over the past four decades. In the end, Xi may be correct that the next decade will determine China’s long-term success. What he likely does not understand is that he himself may be the biggest obstacle.

Sobre as verdades PS

Tenho muita dificuldade em dar o benefício da dúvida a Augusto Santos Silva. Sempre tive. Mas faço-o. Augusto Santos Silva é o tipo de pessoa que acha que não deve explicações a ninguém e que detesta ser questionado.

O Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros, onde quase tudo é confidencial, classificado e raramente transparente, foi a escolha perfeita para um homem que não gosta nada de prestar contas. Infelizmente, sob o seu consulado ficou ainda mais nebuloso, opaco e sombrio.

Veremos o que nos revelará este caso.

Dissonância(S)

Esta afirmação, dita por um elemento da elite socialista que nos tem governado, traduz o reconhecimento de um falhanço, ou melhor, de um enorme falhanço relativamente à gestão dos fundos europeus. Sim. Passados tantos anos e tantos apoios, Portugal ainda não é um pais coeso e cada vez se atrasa mais face aos seus parceiros europeus.

Elisa Ferreira considera que será muito bom se o nosso país conseguir deixar de receber fundos de coesão após 2027, uma vez que isso significa que ultrapassou o limiar dos 90% de rendimento nacional bruto.

Eu não tenho tanta certeza acerca disso. Dependerá muito da estrutura dessa capacidade. A disparidade regional para a soma do rendimento nacional bruto é inquestionável. Ultrapassar esse critério sustentados em substanciais assimetrias revelar-se-á danoso para o país.

E o pior é que, tendo em conta o centralismo imposto pelos socialistas, aliado à deficiente descentralização a que assistimos, tudo indica que caminhamos para o desastre. Mais uma vez.

Der Kommissar

Para se celebrar o cinquentenário do 25 de Abril, vai ser necessário mais tempo do que aquele que foi despendido a planear e a executar a revolução.

Podem pensar que Pedro Adão e Silva é o mais novo capitão de abril. É um erro. Na realidade é um general. Com motorista (talvez o Pedro Marques Lopes?) e tudo.

Eis a bazuca em acção.

Ah, sim, mais uma escolha sem escrutínio ou concurso.

Paguem mais impostos. O Louçã precisa.

Francisco, tele-evangelista, Louçã não consegue esconder o que deseja. Prestem atenção. Prestem bem atenção.

Desenganem-se aqueles que acreditam no BE. Louçã, e as acólitas, não quer que vocês decidam. O que quer são servos e obediência cega.

A esquerda combate a corrupção

Retirado da capa do Público 12/05/2021

Depois das críticas que a Estratégia Nacional de Combate à Corrupção 2020-2024 foi alvo, principalmente por não considerar o enriquecimento ilícito e por ter deixado cair as mudanças no Tribunal Central de Instrução Criminal, o Governo disse que daria atenção as observações públicas de desagrado por estar comprometido com o objectivo de mais transparência e com as práticas de boa governança.

Não tenho a menor dúvida que é por essa razão que o regime de prevenção da corrupção isenta políticos e órgãos de soberania.

É inquestionável que a opinião de Cândida Almeida – “Portugal não é um país corrupto” -, em que os conceitos conceito sociológico, ético-político e as coisas afins não têm materialização ou aplicação jurídica, principalmente quando enquadradas e praticadas pelos decisores públicos ou, se preferirem, pelos decisores políticos eleitos e/ou nomeados, opinião que foi apoiada e suportada pelos actos de Pinto Monteiro e Noronha do Nascimento, é hoje doutrina oficial dos governos socialistas.

Posso estar enganado, mas parece-me que estas opções pouco diferem daquilo que era a postura característíca do Estado Novo relativamente à corrupção e que a esquerda portuguesa, incluindo o PS, tanto criticou.

Post-Scriptum: Espero, sinceramente, que a notícia do Público não se venha a confirmar.

Liberdade e Responsabilidade

Manuel Carvalho acaba de evidenciar o seu desconhecimento sobre a Iniciativa Liberal. Manuel Carvalho devia ter tido o cuidado de ler o programa político da IL.

Os liberais não defendem apenas a Liberdade. Os liberais defendem liberdade com responsabilidade. Por essa razão, não podem apoiar o vergonhoso processo de desresponsabilização política que o Governo de António Costa classifica como “descentralização”, processo esse que não contempla autonomia de decisão política na gestão nas competências que o governo pretende transferir para as autarquias. Daqui resultará a incapacidade de alguém assumir responsabilidades e não é difícil perceber que tanto o governo como as autarquias recusarão assumi-las. O governo dirá que transferiu as competências, as autarquias dirão que não lhes foi dada autonomia política. E a culpa morrerá solteira.

Nenhum liberal apoia a desresponsabilização da política.

Sim. Os liberais apoiam a descentralização. Sim. Os liberais também apoiam a subsidiariedade. Contudo, não apoiarão ambos se dos mesmos decorrer a impossibilidade de assumir responsabilidades.

Não somos socialistas.
Para nós, a culpa não morre solteira.

Quem nos livra do socialismo do PSD?

No universo físico, tudo é uma questão de escala; no universo humano, tudo é uma questão de opção. A política não é excepção.

Na vida não é possível agradar a gregos e a troiamos. E mesmo que fosse, alguém perguntaria pelos persas. Também aqui a política não é excepção.

Note-se igualmente que nunca na III República, tanto o PS (de António Costa) como o PSD (de Rui Rio) estiveram tão à esquerda.

O PSD é um partido que se afirma reformista, mas quais foram as reformas defendidas por Rui Rio? Acabar com os debates quinzenais? Promover alterações à lei para prejudicar a participação dos cidadãos às autarquias? Apoiar as restrições do Estado de Emergência? E que dizer da posição do PSD na questão das CCDRs? Em boa verdade, o PSD também é um partido estatista.

Nada disto é consistente com o que defende um liberal.
Quem nos livra do socialismo do PSD?

Tentam sumarizar a questão ao afastamento de Medina. Mas, Carlos Moedas não é um candidato independente. É o candidato do PSD. Reduzir a IL ao papel de um mero instrumento de conveniência do PSD é algo com que estou em profundo desacordo.

A IL tomou a decisão acertada. Esta decisão terá consequências? Certamente. Veremos o que o futuro reserva. Até lá, e seja como for, a IL deve seguir o seu caminho.

Que não haja enganos e, para o efeito, reafirmo o que há dias expresso no meu mural facebookiano: Sou contrário a entendimentos pré-eleitorais com o PSD. Na minha opinião, a IL não pode perder a identidade. A possibilidade de acordos pós-eleitorais é outra história. E acordos idênticos ao dos Açores não são de descurar.

Foi esta posição que defendi internamente.

Não Passarão

A liberdade é uma dádiva. É algo a que todo e qualquer ser humano aspira.

Ainda bem que os partidos que defendem a repressão e a obediência se expressam livremente. É fundamental sermos relembrados do valor da liberdade.

Não podemos esmorecer, nem dar a democracia como adquirida. É mais fácil conquistar a liberdade do que a manter.

Em Portugal,
4 anos de liberalismo
têm mais significado
do que 100 anos de comunismo

A TAP é do Pedro Nuno Santos

Pode ser uma imagem de texto que diz "EMPRESAS PÚBLICAS Depois dos acordos de emergência, TAP segue para a redução do número de trabalhadores Esta sexta-feira, a empresa viu serem validados os dois últimos acordos de emergência que estavam em aberto. Falta agora fechar o pacote de medidas voluntárias e dehnir se avança para um despedimento colectivo, e qual será a sua dimensão. Luís Villalobos 28 de Fevereiro de 2021, 6:08 Recebernotificações"

Pedro Nuno Santos, o guru do neo-socialismo, depois de desperdiçar mais dinheiro na TAP, vai despedir trabalhadores. Porquê?
Porque pode e por se estar a lixar para eles.

No neo-socialismo, os empregos são do governo e os trabalhadores não bufam.

Quem pagou os custos da EMPORDEF?

Resultado líquido consolidado: 57,2 milhões de euros negativos; capital próprio consolidado: 73,9 milhões de euros negativos; passivo consolidado: cerca de 827 milhões de euros. Accountability? Zero!

Texto publicado n’ Observador – 26 de Fevereiro 2021

Programa do XIX Governo previa a reestruturação das indústrias da defesa, visando a sua sustentabilidade e privatização. Este propósito já constava no Programa de Estabilidade e Crescimento (PEC) 2010-2013 que, para esse fim, preconizava quatro processos de alienação, a saber: Estaleiros Navais de Viana do Castelo, S.A. (ENVC), EDISOFT – Empresa de Serviços e Desenvolvimento de Software, S.A., EMPORDEF — Tecnologias de Informação, S.A e EID – Empresa de investigação e Desenvolvimento de Eletrónica, S.A.

No contexto da conclusão do ciclo de privatizações, que conduziu à alienação parcial de participações sociais na EDISOFT e EID – que passaram a ser empresas privadas com capitais públicos (e onde o Estado passou a ser minoritário, sem funções de gestão corrente) –, à subconcessão dos ENVC, e não tendo havido interessados na aquisição da EMPORDEF TI, em 2014, deu-se início à liquidação da holding das indústrias da Defesa, EMPORDEF, S.G.P.S., S.A., cuja atividade consistia na gestão das participações sociais detidas pelo Estado em sociedades ligadas direta ou indiretamente às atividades da Defesa.

Importa recordar que as decisões de privatização das participações sociais detidas pela EMPORDEF e sua subsequente liquidação, resultaram do acordo feito com a Troika e, para tal, através da Resolução do Conselho de Ministros (RCM) n.º 42/2014, que expunha a situação calamitosa da empresa – um resultado líquido consolidado de 57,2 milhões negativos, um total de capital próprio consolidado de 73,9 milhões de euros negativos e um passivo consolidado total de cerca de 827 milhões de euros, nos quais se incluíam 200 milhões de euros de financiamento obtido de curto prazo – situação que foi determinante para o início do processo conducente à dissolução e liquidação da empresa.

Por sua vez, a RCM n.º 50/2015, de 17 de julho, para além de indicar um prazo de 120 dias para a liquidação e que os direitos e responsabilidades remanescentes da EMPORDEF seriam transferidas para o Estado, via Direção-Geral do Tesouro e Finanças (DGTF), também determinou um prazo de 15 dias para a dissolução da EMPORDEF e que na sua liquidação e extinção fossem seguidas estas linhas de orientação:

  • Promover a dissolução da DEFLOC – Locação de Equipamentos de Defesa, S.A., e da DEFAERLOC – Locação de Aeronaves Militares, S.A., no prazo máximo de 30 dias;
  • Proceder à reorganização das participações do núcleo naval, mediante a transferência para a Arsenal do Alfeite, S.A., da participação no capital social da Navalrocha – Sociedade de Construção e Reparações Navais, S.A.;
  • Proceder à transferência para o Estado, através da Direção-Geral do Tesouro e Finanças, da participação no capital social da IDD – Plataformas das Indústrias de Defesa Nacionais, S.A.;
  • Concluir o processo de venda da participação na EID, S.A., cujas receitas seriam afectas ao reembolso das dívidas da EMPORDEF, nomeadamente perante a Arsenal do Alfeite, S.A.;
  • Concluir o processo de liquidação e extinção da ENVC, S.A., no prazo de 90 dias, a contar da data da publicação da presente resolução, prorrogável nos termos legais;
  • Promover a alienação dos imóveis disponíveis para venda.

Ora, a 30 de dezembro de 2019, quatro anos, cinco meses, uma semana e seis dias depois, já sob a égide do governo de António Costa, a EMPORDEF continuava em processo de liquidação, conforme é exposto no Despacho n.º 786/2020. Neste despacho também se definiu a reestruturação da IDD – Plataforma das Indústrias de Defesa Nacionais, S.A. (desde 29 de junho de 2020, IdD – Portugal Defence, S.A.) que na prática passou a ser uma holding, tendo assumido, entre outras, todas as participações da EMPORDEF que deveriam ter sido objecto de dissolução, liquidação, extinção e/ou venda. Miraculosamente, em 24 horas, foi registado o encerramento da liquidação da EMPORDEF [verificável no anexo 2 do relatório e contas da IdD, SA, 2019 (na página 84)].

É muito provável que tenha sido a DGTF, como acionista, a assumir todos os encargos financeiros, mas o montante dos mesmos é desconhecido. Isto é o que se sabe:

  1. Apesar da liquidação da holding EMPORDEF ter sido iniciada em 2014, em 2019 continuava por concretizar;
  2. Em 2020, foi criada uma  nova holding IdD – Portugal Defence, S.A., que passou a deter, através de aumento de capital em espécie, as seguintes participações detidas pelo Estado, algumas minoritárias, no sector da Defesa:
    1. OGMA – Indústria Aeronáutica de Portugal, S.A.;
    2. Arsenal do Alfeite, S.A.;
    3. Navalrocha – Sociedade de Construção e Reparações Navais, S.A.;
    4. EEN – EMPORDEF Engenharia Naval, S.A.;
    5. EID, S.A.;
    6. EMPORDEF TI, S.A.;
    7. EDISOFT, S.A.;
    8. Extra – Explosivos da Trafaria, S.A.;
  3. Do conjunto das participações sociais que migraram para a nova holding, encontram-se as detidas pela EMPORDEF, designadamente, as empresas cujos processos de privatização estiveram previstos no PEC 2010-2013 e no Programa do XIX Governo, mas que acabaram por não se concretizar.
  4. Tudo indica que o aumento de capital em espécie seja equivalente a 104 milhões 450 mil euros porque o capital social da IdD, S.A., aumentou de 50.000,00 € para 104.500.000,00 €.

É indesmentível que o XXI Governo não deu continuidade aos processos de privatização do sector da Defesa, previstos or José Sócrates e encetados por Pedro Passos Coelho, processos esses que poderiam ter minorado o impacto de encargos financeiros para o Estado.

Aliás, na linha da experiência passada, o que se verifica é que a “nova” holding mantém os maus hábitos herdados, sendo impossível ignorar que as empresas entretanto privatizadas apresentam uma situação estável, ao mesmo tempo que as empresas que se mantiveram sob gestão estatal, exibem significativas fragilidades, como é notícia, no caso do Arsenal do Alfeite, onde a tesouraria e a falta de encomendas fazem perigar o pagamento de salários e de fornecedores.

Acresce que o escrutínio sobre a liquidação da EMPORDEF continua a exibir elevada opacidade. Aos dias de hoje, não é possível saber qual o prejuízo que o Estado assumiu com a liquidação da EMPORDEF. O apoio técnico da função acionista do Estado (DGTF-UTAM) não divulga a informação sobre estes processos, nem sobre o Sector Empresarial do Estado, datando de 2015 a última informação disponívelEstranhamente, também a instituição superior de controlo, o Tribunal de Contas, que zela pela boa gestão dos dinheiros públicos, não tem apresentado qualquer resultado de auditorias sobre a dissolução e liquidação de empresas públicas, remontando a março de 2005 (relatório n.º 13/2005 – 2ª secção) o último trabalho feito a este nível.

Porém, isto é apenas uma parte do labirinto – um sinuoso e opaco labirinto deliberadamente construído para dificultar a accountability do Estado. Tudo isto está a ser conseguido com a complacência das “pessoas de confiança”, nomeadas e colocadas pelo Governo, nas entidades reguladoras e controladoras do Estado. O Governo chama a isto transparência. Eu classifico como obscurantismo ou capitalismo de compadrio.

Transparência é permitir que qualquer informação sobre a gestão do Estado esteja acessível a qualquer cidadão a qualquer momento.

Por essa razão é imperioso que o governo responda a estas questões:

  • A EMPORDEF foi ou não liquidada?
  • Há um registo de liquidação. Foi executado?
  • Tendo sido, quanto custou ao Estado?
  • Se não foi concluída a liquidação, qual o valor do passivo actual da EMPORDEF?
  • Quem são os seus credores, e qual o montante em dívida aos bancos?
  • Por curiosidade, de todas as empresas referidas, a única que se manteve sob gestão pública foi a Arsenal do Alfeite, S.A. Qual é situação actual desta empresa?

Antes & Depois

Pode ser uma imagem de 3 pessoas, pessoas em pé e texto que diz "SLC Antes VACINAÇÃO CONTRA A COVID-19 COVID EDIÇÃO NOITE GOVERNO MANTÉM OBJETIVOS DO PLANO SIC nOTIGI 13:01 REPÚBLICA PORTUGUESA TEGMBND.COMSCON शOग. Depois SAÚDE SAUD MÚDE HIORANA AUDL TESTAGEM EM MASSA NÃO AVANÇA .Primelro, imeiro Jornal ALTERAÇÃO DO CRITÉRIO FOI ANUNCIADA HÁ SEMANAS Não há antes nem depois. Nunca houve. Ο governo nunca teve qualquer plano para testagem em massa!"

A opção do governo pela mentira é recorrente e inegável. Também é cada vez mais indisfarçável.

Lamento profundamente que o Primeiro-ministro e os seus colegas de governo sejam incapazes de demonstrar humildade, de reconhecer as suas limitações e os seus erros de gestão, preferindo a arrogância e o alimentar da ilusão.

Mas não me surpreende que o façam. Mais. Vão continuar a mentir aos portugueses.

É preciso mudança.

A esquerda apela à censura

O esquerda veio a “Público” exigir respeito pela democracia. Para o efeito, defendem a censura às posições com as quais não concordem. Para os signatários desta carta, não existe democracia com liberdade de expressão. Aliás, é inaceitável que seja permitido às pessoas pensarem pelas suas cabeças. As pessoas são estúpidas e necessitam de ser doutrinadas pelo Estado. Mas não pode ser como acontecia no Estado Novo. Não. O ideal é que seja como foi feito no regime comunista leninista-estalinista da ex-URSS.

Vejamos alguns dos subscritores:

Eduardo Paz Ferreira, marido de Francisca Van Dunem, é um dos ComPrimos. Só em contratos com entidades públicas controladas por socialistas, a Eduardo Paz Ferreira & Associados – Sociedade de Advogados, RL já facturou mais de 620.500,00 €.

Isabel do Carmo, fundadora das Brigadas Revolucionárias, uma organização terrorista que defendia um diálogo explosivo, foi recentemente reabilitada.  Admitiu o transporte de explosivos sem nunca os ter deflagrado. Algo de que se arrepende.

Rita Rato é uma licenciada em Ciência Política e Relações Internacionais que foi incapaz de dizer o que era um Gulag. É preciso mais?

Tiago Rodrigues faz parte da vaga de bloquistas que se infiltrou no PS. Encenador, é o autor da peça “Catarina e a beleza de matar fascistas”, expressão que assumiu não ser figurada, e que se traduziu num mero incentivo ao ódio. Tudo pago com o dinheiro dos contribuintes.

Vasco Lourenço, um dinossáurio que ainda suspira por uma ditadura de esquerda em Portugal, não surpreende. Estamos a falar de alguém que queria substituir os censores da comunicação social por militares armados.

PRR – Draft.

Resultado de imagem para prr

Não é possível deixar de notar que só depois de ter sido obrigado pela Comissão Europeia, e mesmo assim a muito custo, é que o Governo partilhou o PRR para a devida consulta pública. Sabemos que a verdadeira intenção é apenas cumprir um formalismo, porque se o Governo estivesse realmente interessado em contributos não o teria feito só agora.

Seja como for, fizemos um esforço para fazer uma leitura do documento. Gostamos especialmente desta parte: “O presente documento constitui uma síntese da versão atual do PRR e tem como principal objetivo servir de suporte a uma nova audição pública e dos principais stakeholders, previamente à submissão formal do Plano à Comissão Europeia. Esta síntese contempla a globalidade dos elementos da versão mais atual do PRR com exclusão de alguns elementos técnicos ainda em elaboração, nomeadamente os relativos aos custos e a alguns marcos e metas”.

Estamos, portanto, perante um upgrade incompleto do plano Costa e Silva com alguns números e gráficos que não correspondem ao que será feito, pois os custos, marcos e metas ainda estão a ser elaborados.
É isto que o Senhor Primeiro-ministro quer colocar à consulta pública? Um plano sem metas definidas?

De qualquer maneira, após a leitura do documento, fiquei com a ideia que finalmente o PS vai dar cumprimento às promessas eleitorais das legislativas de 2009, 2011, 2015 e 2019.

Mas, e o Portugal de 2021?
Vivemos noutro tempo e as necessidades são outras. A economia não interessa? Os agentes privados não interessam?

Não precisamos de mais um orçamento para a administração pública, especialmente um que comtempla medidas que já deviam estar realizadas.

Não é difícil perceber o que vai acontecer à bazuca. Nem que não será o país a ganhar com a mesma.

O PRR é uma mão cheia de mais Estado. Não passa disso.

Das eminências pardas – Pacheco Pereira

Quando as eminências pardas deste regime – regime que já não é completamente democrático – especialmente aquelas, como José Pacheco Pereira, que, aguardando ansiosamente pelo regresso do bloco central, se movem nas tenebrosas zonas cinzentas do pântano e, esquecendo-se das suas próprias palavras, fazem uso das tácticas da esquerda (talvez um regresso ao passado?) para atacar a Iniciativa Liberal, dizendo que o ataque não é um ataque, só provam que estamos no caminho certo.

Que não haja engano. Não estamos disponíveis para pactuar com as políticas e os compromissos que arruinaram Portugal e que continuam a aumentar a pobreza.

Da desonestidade socialista

A propaganda socialista está em pleno vapor. A falta de rigor também.

Reparem nisto. Entre 3,44 e 3,21 a diferença é de 0,23. Porém, se olharmos para o efeito visual parece que estamos a ver uma diferença duas vezes superior.

Para além disso, como é apenas indicada a média da UE, quantos Estados-Membros estão com performances acima da nossa?

Finalmente, imaginem onde estaríamos sem as vacinas às Begonhas, às Natividades, às Isildas, aos Calixtos e afins socialistas?

São incapazes de serem rigorosos e verdadeiros. A mentira é integralmente compulsiva.

Post-Scriptum: a este ritmo, quanto tempo é necessário para que Portugal esteja imunizado?

Ana Gomes e a intolerância

Ana Gomes (12,97%) e André Ventura (11,9%) no debate da campanha às Presidenciais
ANTÓNIO COTRIM/Lusa

Ana Gomes milita no PS desde 2002. Mas nunca esqueceu as suas raízes revolucionárias. Acredito que para algumas pessoas, mesmo após o tempo ter demonstrado a inconsistência e a invalidade de algumas ideias, seja, como fervorosos e inquestionáveis crentes, difícil abandonar os evangelhos de Mao Tse Tung e Enver Hoxha.

Preocupada com a ditadura de direita, mas incapaz de agir contra aqueles que defendem (e ainda suspiram por) uma ditadura de esquerda, Ana Gomes apresentou uma participação na Procuradoria-Geral da República para extinguir o Chega. Não há nada que o impeça (talvez o bom-senso?), mas ao fazê-lo, Ana Gomes só demonstra o seu sectarismo e intolerância. Nada que não seja característico dos intransigentes da esquerda, que, não apoiando o pluralismo, só aceitam que as coisas sejam com eles acham que devem ser. A esquerda não é apenas democrática. Também existe uma esquerda totalitária, de onde Ana Gomes é oriunda, que despreza os valores da democracia e que também não devia ter lugar num regime democrático.

E não deixa de ser curioso que Ana Gomes questione o discernimento e a capacidade dos juízes do Tribunal Constitucional. Esta instituição é um dos últimos resquícios do PREC.

Ora, eu não sou um apoiante do Chega, partido que defende ideias contrárias aos valores e princípios duma democracia liberal. Na representação desse sentido, o Chega é equivalente ao PCP e ao BE, estando apenas situado nos antípodas do espectro político. Nenhum extremo é desejável. Mas, à semelhança dos partidos da extrema esquerda, o Chega, que deu cumprimentos aos formalismos e requisitos para o efeito, e tendo sido reconhecido como tal, tem o direito a ser um partido político.

Ana Gomes não devia ter problema com a argumentação e o contraditório. Não são as jogadas de secretaria ou as proibições que resolvem as discordâncias, principalmente as políticas.

É através das ideias, pela formulação de argumentos, que se combatem os adversários políticos. Especialmente os que representam extremos.

Mais Democracia, Mais Liberdade

Pode ser uma imagem de 2 pessoas e texto que diz "IL AVISOU: UM ANO DE ATAQUES À DEMOCRACIA Portugal desceu de "país totalmente democrático" para 'democracia com falhas"* Restrições inconstitucionais no combate à pandemia Substituição do Presidente do Tribunal de Contas Nomeação de Centeno para ဝ Banco de Portugal Diretiva da PGR sobre subordinação hierárquica Escolha do candidato a Procurador Europeu Fim dos debates quinzenais na AR iniciativa Liberal Jornalistas vigiados a mando do MP Acusações de anti-patriotismo à oposição política democrática *Fonte: Democracy Index, The Economist Intelligence Unit Recebe os nossos conteúdos no WhatsApp: Receber para 920 563 111 iniciativa liberal"

Portugal é hoje um país menos democrático. Mas esta perversão não se deve apenas ao PS. Sem o apoio do PSD e a passividade, que pode ser confundida com obediência, do Presidente da República seria muito difícil concretizar algumas destas medidas.

Há anos que era notório que o nível de pluralismo estava a diminuir na sociedade portuguesa. A causa identifica-se facilmente. O fenómeno grassava no interior dos partidos políticos portugueses democráticos (PS, PSD e CDS-PP). Salvo algumas excepções, as aclamações passaram a caracterizar a eleição dos respectivos líderes. A troca de ideias passou a ser secundária e aqueles que disputavam as eleições internas, após a derrota viam os seus apoiantes ser ostracizados e as suas bandeiras atomizadas. E não haveria qualquer vestígio de posições contrárias nas listas às eleições. Pelo menos, em lugares elegíveis.

Esta foi uma das razões que me fez estar na fundação da Iniciativa Liberal. E continua a ser um dos motivos para que a minha militância seja activa. Não pactuo com demagogias e não estou disponível para permitir que o nosso país ceda ao conformismo. Não aceito limitações às liberdades do cidadão, nem a infalibilidade dos líderes providenciais, especialmente quando estes não aceitam assumir a responsabilidade pelas suas decisões.

Vai levar tempo, mas iremos alterar esta cultura não democrática que tomou conta de Portugal. Não duvidem da nossa resolução. Não duvidem da nossa determinação.

Mais promessas por cumprir

Mais uma vez, o Primeiro-Ministro dá com a cara no chão. Promete, promete, promete, mas quase nada se concretiza, Após sucessivas garantias de que o plano de vacinação ia correr bem, incluindo com a sua garantia pessoal a Miguel Sousa Tavares – “vai correr bem (…) tem que correr bem (…) só pode correr bem” – a realidade, com um forte contributo dos camaradas socialistas, voltou a desmentir António Costa. Os abusos às regras sucedem-se e, apesar do que o Primeiro-Ministro afirma, não deve haver quem realmente tenha uma certeza concreta sobre o número real de vacinados. Mas oxalá esteja enganado.

O que se está a passar é absolutamente crítico. O próprio governo reconheceu a importância do plano de vacinação para combater a pandemia. Assim, o seu sucesso era fundamental para que gradualmente fosse mitigado o esforço a que estão a ser sujeitos todos os meios de saúde do país e que o retorno à normalidade acontecesse o mais depressa possível.

Apesar do Ministério da Saúde e das entidades dele dependentes, como a Direcção-Geral da Saúde (DGS) e a sua Directora, o Governo tem autonomia para criar Task Forces para coordenar assuntos específicos. Contudo, ao delegar esta competência num organismo autónomo, sem o devido acompanhamento e apoio institucional, a probabilidade do não reconhecimento de autoridade é alta. Foi o que se passou neste caso.

Perante os abusos, a Task Force pouco conseguiu para os contrariar. Para além disso, este tipo de delegação também esvazia de razão o papel da DGS. Isto não é de somenos e deve ser objecto de reflexão. Neste ponto, igualmente deve ser questionado o desaparecimento de Graça Freitas. O Governo perdeu a confiança na sua gestão? Seja como for, não é aceitável que a responsabilidade pelos erros recaia apenas sobre a Task Force. E se o Ministério da Saúde não está disponível para o efeito, terá de ser o Primeiro-Ministro a fazê-lo.

Cristina Gatões e a odisseia SEFiana

Cristina Gatões, a ex-Directora Nacional do SEF, apesar de ter aguentado 9 meses no cargo, acabou por não resistiu ao caso Ihor Homeniuk. Ainda bem. A morte deste ucraniano é um dos episódios mais tristes e sórdidos da história da III República Portuguesa, apenas comparável aos relatos dos procedimentos que eram utilizados pela PIDE-DGS.

Note-se que no meio de todas as rocambolescas fases deste caso, Cristina Gatões acabou por não esclarecer cabalmente o que se passou. Agora, num passe de mágica, está de volta ao SEF para, aparentemente, gerir o dossier dos vistos gold.

Eis o que penso sobre o assunto.

Eduardo Cabrita não queria demitir Cristina Gatões (não vou especular sobre as razões). Foi obrigado a fazê-lo. Entretanto, arranjou forma de a manter no SEF, agora como assessora do novo Director-Geral. Porém, na prática, quem continua a gerir o SEF é Cristina Gatões. O tenente-general Botelho Miguel, que a substituiu, é que faz a assessoria.

Duas curiosidades deste caso: Primeiro, 9 meses para despedir a Gatões, 1 mês para voltar a contratá-la; Segundo, é no dia que os 3 inspectores do SEF foram acusados por homicídio qualificado que se sabe que Cristina Gatões tinha voltado ao SEF.

Pedro Nuno Santo acusa António Costa.

“Tu quoque, Brute, fili mi”

António Costa gosta de se dar com Deus e com o Diabo. Conheço algumas pessoas assim. Nunca é boa ideia. A ideia que acaba por ser transmitida é tibieza, indecisão e fragilidade, e nem a aparente tentativa duma eventual aplicação da máxima de Mário Puzo é sustentável. O diálogo é algo indispensável em democracia, mas aquilo que defendemos, e que representamos, a matriz ideológica e os valores, jamais devem ser objecto de questionamento, principalmente pelos nossos adversários, especialmente em alturas que requerem conversações governativas.

Já o escrevi e repito-o. Guterres, inconscientemente, iniciou o fim do PS de Mário Soares, que, na minha opinião, era democrático. Sócrates e Costa enterraram-no. Pelo meio, um pequeno canto do cisne com António José Seguro, mas hoje é indiscutível que PS de Costa virou à esquerda. Há uma diferença entre o socialismo democrático e o totalitário. Porém, Pedro Nuno Santos critica uma viragem do PS ao centro preferindo que o socialista se mantenha no extremo.

Pedro Nuno Santos é alguém que podia ser do BE. Aliás, apoia-se em pessoas que vieram da extrema-esquerda, como Ana Gomes e Tiago Barbosa Ribeiro, um ex-bloquista. Ou seja, Pedro Nuno Santos, que ideologicamente está ainda mais à esquerda do que António Costa, critica o seu líder de governo por ter ajudado ao crescimento do Chega. Imaginem o significado para o Chega dum PS com Pedro Nuno Santos como secretário-geral?

Também já o disse anteriormente e vou reiterar. Todos estes jogos evidenciam que a possibilidade de um novo bloco central não é descabida. Não acredito que nenhum partido ganhe as próximas legislativas com maioria absoluta. Também acho que está em aberto qual partido que ganhará essas eleições. Nesse cenário, de um vencedor sem maioria absoluta, uma das maneiras de António Costa e de Rui Rio manterem o poder é com uma coligação governamental, solução que também lhes permitirá eliminar a oposição interna. Vai ser interessante seguir o próximos desenvolvimentos.

Seja como for, estamos num ponto de viragem. Ainda bem.

Um retrato

Um retrato do país hoje. Vai ficar pior. Infelizmente. Tudo gerido por um governo que mente. Mente compulsivamente, incapaz de aceitar qualquer observação ou critica por mais construtiva que seja. E será neste registo que a governação continuará.

Que haja quem apoie o governo não me admira. O que me espanta, perante a evidência do falhanço da gestão de António Costa, é o silêncio generalizado dos socialistas.

Contudo, em boa verdade, tal não me surpreende. O PS está quase como o PCP no que respeita ao pluralismo interno. São poucos aqueles que questionam o líder do partido porque o silêncio compra lugares elegíveis na próxima eleição. Como tal, não há pressão interna para fazer melhor. Para azar do país, este compadrio silencioso que grassa no PS também revela a fibra dos futuros líderes socialistas, potenciais futuros governantes.

Eichmann in Jerusalem – a solução final

Hannah Arendt – versão de 1964

A propósito da polémica com as declarações de José Rodrigues dos Santos, era aconselhável procurar mais informações. Não há questão que não tenha no mínimo duas perspectivas.

Este livro foi publicado em 1963. Como jornalista, Hannah Arendt acompanhou os julgamentos dos ex-oficiais nazis em Jerusalém, que começaram em 1961. Espero que estes breves excertos sejam motivadores para uma leitura completa desta obra indispensável.

VI. Third Solution: Extermination

“Furthermore, all correspondence referring to the matter was, subject to rigid “language rules,” and, except in the reports from the Einsatzgruppen, it is rare to find documents in which such bald words as “extermination,” “liquidation,” or “killing” occur. The prescribed code names for killing were “final solution,” “evacuation” (Aussiedlung), and “special treatment” (Sonderbehandlung); deportation – unless it involved Jews directed to Theresienstadt, the “old people’s ghetto” for privileged Jews, in which case it was called “change of residence” – received the names of “resettlement” (Umsiedlung) and “labor in the East” (Arbeitseinsatz im Osten), the point of these latter names being that Jews were indeed often temporarily resettled in ghettos and that a certain percentage of them were temporarily used for labor (…)”

“We must remember that weeks and months before he was informed of the Führer’s order, Eichmann knew of the murderous activities of the Einsatzgruppen in the East; he knew that right behind the front lines all Russian functionaries (“Communists”), all Polish members of the professional classes, and all native Jews were being killed in mass shootings. Moreover, in July of the same year, a few weeks before he was called to Heydrich, he had received a memorandum from an S.S. man stationed in the Warthegau, telling him that “Jews in the coming winter could no longer be fed,” and submitting for his consideration a proposal as to “whether it would not be the most humane solution to kill those Jews who were incapable of work through some quicker means. This, at any rate, would be more agreeable than to let them die of starvation.” In an accompanying letter, addressed to “Dear Comrade Eichmann,” the writer admitted that “these things sound sometimes fantastic, but they are quite feasible.” The admission shows that the much more “fantastic” order of the Führer was not yet known to the writer, but the letter also shows to what extent this order was in the air. Eichmann never mentioned this letter and probably had not been in the least shocked by it.”

Sociais-democratas à esquerda do PCP.

As acólitas de Francisco “Tele-evangelista” Louçã – o homem que aderiu à Liga Comunista Internacional (LCI), partido político (fundado em 1973) de matriz trotskista que se declarou como a secção portuguesa da IV Internacional, e que em 1978 se fundiu com o partido revolucionário dos trabalhadores (PRT), originando, um ano depois, o partido socialista revolucionário (PSR), – Catarina Martins e Marisa Matias são sociais-democratas.

Tinha a ideia de que os trotskistas, à semelhança do que Marx tinha afirmado, defendiam a mudança da sociedade pela via da revolução, preferencialmente permanente, desprezando a via evolucionária e reformista preconizada por Ferdinand Lassalle (fundador da social-democracia), que foi revista e aperfeiçoada por Eduard Bernstein.

Este tipo de contradições não é novidade nos bloquistas. Se tiverem de renegar aquilo em que acreditam, fazem-no sem qualquer problema. Há uma divisão essencial no socialismo: os que são democratas e os que são totalitários. Um dos fundamentos para essa divisão reside precisamente na forma de mudança da sociedade. A social-democracia é democrática, o trotskismo não.

Recorde-se que Francisco “Tele-evangelista” Louçã, juntamente com o seu camarado Luís Fazenda, depois de eleitos para a Assembleia da República, fizeram uma birra por quererem sentar-se à esquerda do PCP. Pouco tempo depois, a 21 de julho de 2005, numa entrevista ao Público, Francisco Louçã afirmou que queria ser uma alternativa ao governo socialista, ou seja, ao PS. Contudo, na mesma entrevista Louçã definiu o BE como “socialista do século XXI”. E que tipo de socialismo defende o BE? Segundo o próprio tele-evangelista, pela radicalidade e transformação política consistente com o posicionamento do BE à esquerda do PCP (2 de março de 2008, DN).

A social-democracia não fica à esquerda do PCP. Fica à direita do PS. O tele-evangelista e as suas acólitas sabem-no perfeitamente. São hipócritas, desonestos e populistas, disponíveis para serem o que for necessário ser para terem mais um voto.

Ao fazê-lo demonstram toda a sua incoerência face ao que defendem ideologicamente.

Transparência e presunção de inocência

Há poucos dias foi notícia uma investigação ao Ministro de Estado, da Economia e da Transição Digital, Pedro Siza Vieira, e ao Secretário de Estado Adjunto e da Energia, João Galamba, por suspeita de favorecimento do consórcio EDP/Galp/REN no projeto do hidrogénio verde para Sines. Quando partilhei a notícia afirmei que só faria comentários após o fim da investigação. Porquê? Porque, conforme expressei num segundo post, a presunção de inocência deve ser dada a qualquer pessoa. Contudo, gracejei sobre o tema, gracejo esse que não aguardou a todas as pessoas e é natural que assim seja.

No caso em questão, a investigação aconteceu por causa duma queixa anónima. Ora, a queixa anónima é uma espécie de zona cinzenta. Tem tanto de bom como de mau. Por um lado, pode ser instrumentalizada para atingir pessoas sem qualquer fundamento ou substância, visando apenas o denegrir da sua reputação. Por outro lado, parece-me ser indesmentível que sem as denúncias anónimas muitos casos, de manifesta gestão danosa da coisa pública, não teriam conhecido a luz do dia.

Infelizmente, é usual os decisores políticos portugueses serem acusados de práticas ilícitas. Eu penso que tal acontece porque a maioria dos nossos decisores não divulga a totalidade da informação referente aos assuntos que estão sob a sua responsabilidade. Por outras palavras, devia haver mais transparência. E este é o ponto em questão como veremos a seguir.

Na sequência da divulgação desta investigação, tanto Pedro Siza Vieira como João Galamba reagiram à mesma. Ontem (7 de Novembro), o gabinete do Secretário de Estado Adjunto e da Energia, fez sair uma nota explicativa onde detalha exaustivamente todos os passos tidos durante a discussão da Estratégia Nacional para o Hidrogénio e sua implementação. Para esse efeito, na nota explicativa lê-se o seguinte: “(…) foram realizadas várias reuniões, com diversos interessados, que são, agora, tornadas públicas”.

Ou seja, aquela que deveria ser a prática normal e habitual, a divulgação e o acesso público a toda a informação, a qualquer momento, só é excepcionalmente tornada pública após estes acontecimentos. Se esta excepção fosse a norma, a probabilidade do Ministro de Estado, da Economia e da Transição Digital, Pedro Siza Vieira, e do Secretário de Estado Adjunto e da Energia, João Galamba, terem sido, ou virem a ser futuramente, alvo duma queixa anónima teria diminuído substancialmente. Para além disso, é conveniente não esquecer os comportamento dos portugueses. Os portugueses gostam de ser juízes de rua e as explicações de pouco valem. Mesmo após uma validação de inocência em tribunal, as suspeitas, apenas por uma questão de preferência pessoal ou afiliação ideológica, perduram. E esta constatação só reforça o argumento da transparência.

Perante o exposto, é indubitável que se deve retirar daqui uma uma lição. A defesa e a prática da transparência é algo que me distingue, e à Iniciativa Liberal também, dos socialistas. A transparência não é um instrumento de conveniência. É, pelo contrário, um valor que deve ser praticado diariamente.

Dito isto, reitero o que anteriormente afirmei sobre a presunção da inocência e reafirmo que é indiscutível que politicamente, e não só, a prática da transparência é a melhor solução.

As práticas sobre transparência e de acesso documental utilizadas na União Europeia servem de exemplo e poderiam ser facilmente implementadas no nosso país.

Vienna – Terror attacks

Vienna suffers its first terrorist attack in four decades | Atalayar - Las  claves del mundo en tus manos

The cost of the politically correctness has exceeded the limit of what’s acceptable. Clearly, this posture doesn’t work and no longer is understandable.

Respect requires reciprocity. Tolerance demands correspondence. And dialogue should be reciprocated.

Yes, we defend human rights and we’re willing to accept those who seek a better life. But, we’re unwilling to forfeit our values and principles. The Separation between the State and the Church, the Rule of Law and the Separation of Powers are some of the axis upon which our society stands.

Those who are unable to respect a society that welcomes them, are free to return to their countries of origin.

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