From October 2002 till October 2009, I lived and worked in London where I started this blog so my family and friends in Belgium were able to know what I was doing in London (although they didn't follow the blog).
In October 2009, I returned to Belgium (forced by circumstances) and now I live in Brussels, capital of Europe. I finally start to get used to my life back in Belgium, the country where I was born but I never really loved.
Trump's mental health discussion
People discuss President Trump's mental health and his
fitness for the presidential office. Of course, people should be able to do so.
Still, the way some people discuss this suggest some have their own problems.
Concerning certain issues I'm even on President Trump's side and don't support
his opponents although now they may also question my mental health.
For instance, in my opinion the President was right to
bomb Syria after President Assad's gas attack as he crossed a red line that was
set by President Obama but never enforced.
He's right to warn North Korea and to involve China
and the UN to stop its further development of nuclear weapons. And his method
seems to work as it resulted in more sanctions after which North Korea pretends
it is prepared to talk with South Korea and now joins its neighbour for the
Olympic Winter Games but it seems without any conditions, something I find
On other issues I disagree with the President such as
on climate change or his solution to stop immigration. But many of his
opponents don't agree on anything he does, even when they may do the same when
in power. And thus, why should he take them serious?
Recently people were
discussing President Trump's mental health and many think it's not great.
Indeed, it should be possible to discuss this although people should then also
question the mental health of his (powerful) supporters. Still, sometimes I
question the mental health of those who question the president's mental health
as they use every opportunity to not only argue against his policies but to
ridicule him. Do they really want him or his supporters to be angry? I think
someone like President Trump needs to be approached in the same way as people
do for other presidents, i.e. in a polite but correct way although that doesn't
guarantee it will be successful; still, people are more likely to listen to
opponents when they speak and not shout.
President Trump wants to stimulate the local industry so people have a job.
Very noble indeed. But people can explain that his country can be the
frontrunner of new energy that will make the USA independent from others and
thus great again. E.g. the car industry can be stimulated by building electric
cars in the USA that not only need people to develop and build them but also
people who build the equipment to charge them and for maintenance. He may or
may not do as others inform him. If he prefers fossil energy, people can still
decide to continue with electric cars and other measures to reduce our carbon
footprint; some States already indicated they will continue the commitment the
USA made at the Paris climate summit. He may not like it but later, if he
notices it works, he may change his mind and support it with the argument he
supports great new technologies, developed in his country that result in jobs
for Americans. During an interview with Piers Morgan, the President already
suggested the USA could re-enter the Paris agreement, maybe an opening
(although he should not oppose things because the previous black President
supported them). But ridicule him and it may confirm that he is right and
others are baboons. And ridicule may increase his and/or his followers anger as
they consider also to be insulted, something not very useful as it may convince
them even more to enforce their ideas.
In the past, we
thought many opponents of President Obama didn't seem to be very civilised and
thus we should do better while often it seems many of Trump's opponents don't
differ that much. The difference is President Obama was calm while President
Trump is the opposite. Still, he is right on certain things although people may
question his communication that probably reflects his character or he knows how
to achieve something from strong opponents.
President Trump not always
wrong in contrast to what his opponents suggest
In my opinion,
President Trump was right to bomb a Syrian army base after Assad's last
chemical attack as it seems to have stopped that person using these weapons
again; Mrs Clinton suggested she would have done the same. Because, as this
bombing showed, when red lines (that were set by President Obama) are crossed,
it will make Syria's president weaker as a major force (preferably under UN
leadership) may strike against him and this in contrast to the Russian army
that keeps Assad in power and helps him to destroy his own people and country.
Chemical and nuclear weapons: not allowed and to be stopped
my opinion, President Trump is also right concerning North Korea and I don't
support those who claim only diplomacy without any pressure should be used
because then the development of its (nuclear) weapons and army can continue as
it demonstrated during the time of diplomacy under Presidents Clinton, Bush and
Obama. Also in the 30s, diplomacy alone didn't stop the development of Hitler's
army and today we know that those who argued in favour of only diplomacy were
wrong as Hitler should have been stopped when he broke international laws (that
may not have stopped WWII, we don't know). President Trump's treats don't
necessarily mean he will use nuclear weapons to stop North Korea, also
conventional weapons can stop North Korea's nuclear ambitions if the correct
targets are hit. President Trump's policy of confronting North Korea but also
the international community that fears he may attack the North is working as
demonstrated by stricter UN sanctions (see also further) and Pyongyang that now
pretends to seek rapprochement with its southern neighbour and enemy South Korea, probably because it
hopes to gain time but also further divide the West as North Korea's leader
understands that people condemn the US president's policy that tries to stop
the final development of these dangerous weapons by a regime that is completely
untrustworthy while South Korea may be to scared to say "no".
President Trump is
also right that China (and other countries) needs to be involved to
be successful in the UN to stop North Korea; this resulted already in stronger
sanctions. Indeed, the USA should not be the only country on this planet to enforce
its will and needs to involve other countries, certainly because the economic
and as a result also political power of other countries are growing (in the
past often neglected for which the USA was criticised); of course, countries
can disagree but then it should be explained why opinions differ, as the USA
successfully did in the UN concerning North Korea (and if China, Russia and
other countries ever want to be taken serious than people should know they
protect people and not mad regimes by blocking action from other countries). As
the new UN sanctions are harsh, it could be expected that the North would try
to find support by countries that may try to reverse the sanctions or find
partners with whom it can continue to buy illegally fuel for its rockets.
People who claim President Trump may endanger the world by starting a nuclear
war are wrong in my opinion: President Trump inherited a nuclear arsenal that
exists because previous presidents had to end WWII and afterwards to oppose the
USSR's treat while the North Korean regime, against all treaties, started
developing them because its regime not only oppresses its own people but also
threatens to attack the rest of the world. If the North can continue to develop
these weapons, there will be a bigger chance of having a nuclear war than when
the development is stopped. If a regime murders its own people and people
accept this by not rebelling against their own leaders, we may say that the
people accept their destiny. But if a regime threatens to attack others or
destabilises regions as war results in mass migration, certainly with the
(possible) use of destructive chemical or nuclear weapons, then its the duty of
leaders to protect their citizens and stop the treat, if needed by using violence.
Personally, I find
South Korea can agree to perform together with North Korea at the Olympic Winter Games (whereby the South sacrifices a number of its own qualified
athletes) but only on the condition the North allows inspections and
negotiations about disarmament to show goodwill or is further isolated but we should not give in
just when sanctions seem to work. If he wants to be accepted then he should do what everyone expects. And don't forget, also Hitler organised Olympic Games just
before he started a war because those Games can be abused to gain time.
My concluding summary
realise that it's not because an opponent is in power that all policies are
wrong. And indeed, although President Trump may seem mad to some, the Syrian
and North Korean leaders are the real mad persons; still, President Trump may
one day be fed up with his critics. But also in the past many of the European
"intelligentsia" rather trusted Stalin's USSR than the Americans who
liberated Europe from its own evil. In addition, the USA should not be the only
leading country and this to prevent it may become dictatorial and enforce its
will on other countries as happened in the past; therefore, President Trump is
right to involve other countries, certainly because countries such as China or
Russia are important but also to prevent they impose policies directly opposed
to those of the free world as the only way to execute influence; and although
we listen to them, we can still agree or disagree and if needed criticise them.
But the Western world will no longer be able to silence other nations as white
people did in the past, the opinion of other counties also counts.
The irony is that
President Trump's links with Russia are under investigations and this should be
possible. But he was the first to oppose Russia by bombing the army of Russia's
friend and mass murderer Assad. And we may expect that many more powerful people
can be accused of links with Russia as everyone in a position of power will
have in one way or another, directly or indirectly, links with Russia, it only
President Trump uses
a language that other alpha males understand.
much cleverer than most of us and someone who dares to do things or we would
all be as wealthy and powerful as him.
President Trump should not be based on the person but on the policies and thus
yes, I don't agree with everything. But by opposing everything, the result may
be that he listens even less to other opinions as whatever he does, good or
bad, will not make a difference for opponents while in power his opponents may
do exactly the same.
But I also
understand, never claim to be better than the President or you're out.
Brexit and the EU and possible troubled future relationshipSimon Jenkins is reasoning that PM Johnson may have to give in to the EU as he thinks that the UK's fishing industry depends on the EU to survive. However, EU consumers will be angry when fish becomes scares and expensive after EU fishers are no longer allowed to fish in British waters; indeed, the UK's own fish export may even increase. Or the UK may export its fish to the rest of the world. Similar to other farming exports such as lam of which a large part is exported to the EU.
Further, he writes [Quote]
"It may be that one day the EU’s economy so collapses that it really is worth Britain’s while to turn away and seek better deals elsewhere. There is not the remotest sign of that at present."
Really? Does he not read newspapers or watch news programs? Look to the border between Greece and Turkey. Turkey opened its borders with Greece because it's angry the EU (very likely) doesn't keep its promise …
Economies are restarting, a necessitySocieties are slowly restarting their country, including opening borders so people can travel again. In Belgium shops opened while schools for some students restarted. People can also restart non contact sports. But, we're also reminded to continue to keep a distance from others and to continue washing our hands regularly. Unfortunately, for many people this restart comes too late as the economy plummeted worldwide and companies need to fire people or close completely when they couldn't survive two months of inactivity. And, although many people acknowledge this lockdown was necessary, up to 25% of businesses say they won't survive a second lockdown; I also think "Mr Doom" is more realistic when he says that the recovery will be much slower than the IMF thinks it will. And yet, bars and restaurants still can't reopen in Belgium while also tourism that includes travel agencies, airline companies, hotels and others suffers a…
and video to explain
the statistics behind the coronavirus deaths but also to record illnesses. Excess
mortalityI'm in favour of
using excess deaths (excess mortality) as a starting point to determine the
severity. Of course, it doesn't need to be only death as the seriousness of
something can also be defined as numbers of people who can't perform normal
activities as is done for flu or heatwaves. But, as we're in the middle of a
coronavirus pandemic that kills, I'll continue with excess mortality i.e. how
many people die more compared with the average of the same months in previous
years (see figure 1 for explanation). This excess death (and if data is
available excess sick) informs quickly whether a day, week, month and year is
normal or not. Already this is done
in the healthcare sector when GPs and/or hospital doctors notice an increase in
patients and thus record the numbers of patients who are very ill or die to
know whether a warning should be giv…