Goodbye 2018. With a hug!

The year that has now ended proved far more volatile than initially anticipated by eminent political and economic analysts. This is what the stock exchange demonstrates.

At the epicenter of this instability is the United States. In the first part of the year, the tectonic plates, to the East, clashed with Russia and created small tremors. But that's another matter. It was on the western side of the USA that significant movements and displacements of structural blocks occurred. The constant friction and adjustment have launched shock waves that constantly run through the earth's crust and create a widespread apprehension in consumers, investors, politicians and markets, that is, in People.

In parallel is this novel of Brexit, already a vexation for the Great Albion, lost in its charades of internal policy. In it everyone loses. The United Kingdom, Ireland and the European Union. Not to mention all those who believe in a united Europe, in globalization and multilateralism. Others, however, smile. While the EU is discussing Brexit, other important issues, including greater economic, fiscal, political and social integration, are not solved amongst the member states themselves.

But other issues related to the buffer zones surrounding the EU are also neglected and these need to be stable and viable. There is the issue of the Maghreb, pressured by the exodus from sub-Saharan Africa, there is Turkey, which must be kept in a proximity orbit and there is a bipolar Ukraine, fragmented in its identity and on the verge of a new rupture that can precipitate an escalation of violence with Russia and have unpredictable consequences. I will stop here, not mentioning Yemen, Palestine, Libya, Venezuela, Afghanistan, North Korea, South American refugees in Mexico or the Rohingyas of Myanmar. Things are what they are. And nowadays there isn't time for everything. There is a lot of news, many communication channels and our attention and focus is already going thinner.

But it's worth insisting. Insist on principles and the truth. Instead of whistling to the side like Trump did, and much of the international community, by the way, when Saudi Arabia savagely murdered a Washington Post journalist in foreign territory. More incredible than the macabre and hideous way in which a state kills and disposes of the body of one of its citizen, are the blatant contradictions and dismembered fakery that the Saudi spin doctors gave us. Is the world going crazy?

It seems to be the nature of things. But the movement of rotation and translation remain undisturbed. There is no illusion left with these world leaders who preside over the destinies of the planet, more so now that Merkel is preparing to leave the scene. Statesmen? Trump, May, Macron, Bolsonaro? Let me laugh. Let me cry.

Putin and Xi emerge as the only true, charismatic, visionary, and gravitas leaders in this new world (dis)order. Leaders of giant cou ntries who seek another leading role, at the scale of their territory, their population, and their history.

Russia is undoubtedly a more bellicose and imperialist nation, but Trump chose to dance with China. And the ball is armed!

I am content, however, to see the serenity, and above all, the prudence of Chinese diplomacy as it deals with the barrage of American information and counter-information. I am pleased to see the Chinese expansion strategy unfolding before everyone's eyes, without hysterics, without haste, but with a precise and well-delineated direction.

In Portugal, regarding the recent state visit of China, it was a pleasure to see how two countries so distant and so different, were willing to convergence in such a natural way. It is a fundamental capital to protect and to potentiate with intelligence.

The balance is, however, delicate. Portugal is in the EU and NATO, and has an Atlantic vocation. The privileged relationship with China enhances Portugal's negotiating power within the EU, within the CPLP and even with our great traditional allies, England and the United States. It also opens up many good business opportunities that our small and weak economy truly needs.

But we should not celebrate too much. All in moderate doses and without losing our good sense. We know our size and do not forget our deeds, bravery and ingenuity. We have a unique identity, a strong culture, which through our language, which is no longer exclusively ours, has an endless potential. I believe, in all modesty, that both courage and clarity of strategic direction in the field of international relations are lacking in Portugal. Without that, at the very best, opportunities will pass us by. In the worst scenario, we will be destroyed and lose what today still makes us relevant - the ability to connect closely with other countries and to help other friendly peoples to connect with each other, building a good foundation for a greater prosperity, for everyone. We can thus contribute to prolonging this long period of relative peace and freedom.

2019 will be a year of hope for the recovery of a greater general lucidity, if the political cycles allow that...

Portugal and China celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Macau handover and the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. There are important initiatives and state visits in the immediate horizon. But it can not be just for show. There are dossiers to prepare, there are projects to materialize, counterparts to negotiate. We must lay the foundations for creating a future.

If we have not done it before, let's do it now with determination. As the Chinese proverb reads, "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now!".

种一棵 最好的 机是 20 年前 , 其次是

João Rato