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One lost its way to experience one of the lowest

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This lyric, written 50 years ago about another time could apply to our world now. What we understood about the sixties revolution after it happened was that it was a reaction to a deep unhappiness with the established order that had brought two world wars. People didn’t know what exactly they wanted, but they certainly didn’t want what they had come to see as normal.

Now, five months into Donald Trump’s America, as we watch Brexit threaten the foundations of the European Union and stand appalled at increasingly nihilistic Islamist terrorism it is clear something is happening. The old order is crumbling. That’s easy to interpret. The difficult part is who is opposing who? It is a fast emerging conflict, but broadly it is between opportunist, populist, revanchist and nationalistic politicians and their followers against the ancient regime of liberal, consensus leaning, globalist internationalists.

President Trump is the standard bearer for the first group, but he has fellow travelers in Britain and across Europe. This, let us call it a movement, is not slavishly committed to political correctness or multiculturalism. Russia is being connected to Trump by the Western media. But a lot of this is down to the fact that Vladimir Putin, too, refuses to kow tow to the second group.

For the last 30 years liberal, consensus driven, globalist politics dominated the rich, influential power blocs. The United States and the European Union (EU) through the 1980s and 1990s dominated world politics. And the two power blocs, intertwined with the military alliance of NATO and supported by the United Nations formed one all dominating, usually cohesive conglomerate.

The EU, though it expanded to 27 countries, and was supposed to represent a homogenous group was and is dominated by an axis of Germany and France. The EU will not deviate toward policy that adversely affects the interests of this axis.

The United Kingdom stood up to the French-German axis, and now it has left. Russia, re-emerging with confidence, would not be intimidated. But all this the EU and its dominating powers could handle. Then Trump became US President. This wild card has blown all the old certainties away.

Rapidly the accepted pillars of global politics have crumbled. The old way of doing things, driven by the liberal democracies and leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel was stuttering. A week ago, in a Bavarian Beer Hall, Angela Merkel was driven to say: “The times when we could completely rely on others are, to an extent over.”

Merkel supporters – and even her internal enemies – nodded at her bellicose language.

She was saying that Trump’s America, the ‘want away’ British and the cynical Russians and everybody else can’t be relied on anymore. They disagree, and they must be wrong. There is a general acceptance in the global, opinion setting liberal media that these three power blocs have wronged the EU power brokers.

This scolding from Merkel was inspired by Trump’s tour through Europe when he did some scolding of his own.

At a G7 meeting in Sicily Trump criticized America’s traditional European allies over NATO obligations and made clear that he was willing to go it alone on climate change and trade.

The Old Guard, led by Germany its close EU colleagues, are characterizing Trump, the British and other nations and political movements who oppose them as right wing and reactionary. The language of their criticism carries innuendo. Those who oppose them are violent, racist and backward thinking. The narrative from the European leaders in the EU to the departing British has been that they are a nation of fools led by inward looking politicians.

America too is, they say, a misguided country led by a backward, isolationist leader in Donald Trump. These views are strongly supported by large swathes of the media. The Western media is predominantly liberal, leftist and supportive of consensus politics.

I contend that it is the consensus, liberal politicians that are out of step. It is they who are suddenly seen to be tied to an out-of-date and exhausted ideology. The reaction of the European democracies to Trump indicates history has overtaken them.

Trump said at a NATO meeting in Brussels at the end of May “NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations.”

And it was met with shock.

Trump has been castigating NATO and the unwillingness of America’s partners to spend the required 2 percent of GDP on defense for well over a year now. He has driven it home time after time.

I was in Washington when he told Merkel to her face about his concerns.

When Trump last week pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord there was a worldwide shrill revulsion.

Belatedly some thinkers and writers have come to see that the reaction to this was over the top. Again, amazingly, many world leaders and commentators have not been listening to what Trump has been saying. Or why he is saying it.

He has opposed this deal since he rose to become a Presidential contender a year ago.

His castigation of NATO is not some mindless attack on old allies. It is a deep belief that America is being taken advantage of. America First he says and he means it.

His exit from the Paris deal is down to the fact that he believes it is a bad deal for America. And many agree with him.

And we get to back to basic politics. Trump was elected in the Rust Belt of the United States. And Greater Appalachia, a huge neglected, mainly white area in the middle of the United States that has been wonderfully chronicled in the Hillbilly Elegy memoir of JD Vance.

Trump believes the Paris Accord is unfair. It is bad for the US, it is bad for the US coal industry, and it is bad for the working class folk in the middle America states that elected him. And he is out.

When he accompanies his departure with crass and rather inaccurate statements like “I represent the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” it allows the intelligentsia to sneer. But it is an ingenious summation. The Paris Accord hurts steel workers in Pittsburgh, so it is out.

To me, this indicates that NATO allies the EU and lots of the world aren’t really observing and analyzing their foe. They aren’t looking at his political base and understanding what he is doing.

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Messi Lamenting Over Suarez Departure

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Lionel Messi bid an emotional farewell on Friday to Luis Suarez, the day after the Uruguayan striker had said tearful goodbyes to Barcelona after the club sent him to Atletico Madrid.

“Today I went into the dressing room and the awful truth hit me,” Messi posted on Instagram, before renewing his criticism of club management.

“You deserved to be sent off as what you are: one of the most important players in the history of the club,” Messi wrote. “And not to be fired in the way they did it.”

“The truth is that at this point nothing surprises me anymore.”

Messi has a long-running feud with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu which intensified after Barcelona were humiliated 8-2 by Bayern in a Champions League quarter-final in August.

Messi tried to force his exit from Barcelona but finally accepted that he would have to see out the final year of his contract. Meanwhile, two of his closest friends on the team, Suarez and the Chilean Arturo Vidal have left.

The 33-year-old Suarez moves to Atletico on a two-year contract on a free transfer, although, if he does well, Barcelona could receive some money.

Suarez, who hit 198 goals for Barca, becoming the third highest goalscorer in the history of the club, cried as he bid an impromptu farewell to the club on Thursday.

“I’m going to keep playing, with fresh motivation, with the objective to show I can continue competing,” Suarez said.

“Everyone knows the relationship we have, Leo and me. I’ve already played against him in the Uruguay-Argentina matches, playing against each other is not going to change the feelings we have for each other,” Suarez said.

Messi and Suarez were neighbours in the beachside suburb of Castelldefels and would arrive at training together.

“How difficult it is going to be not to continue to share the days with you, both on the pitch and off it” wrote Messi in a post accompanied by seven pictures of the two men together, sometimes with their families. “We are going to miss you very much. It’s been many years, many cups of mate, lunches, dinners…Many things that I will never forget.”

“It’s going to be weird to see you with another shirt and much more to face you,” wrote Messi. “But I wish you all the best in this new challenge. I love you very much, I love you very much. See you soon, my friend.”

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Bayern Beat PSG To Win Sixth Champions League Title

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Bayern Munich won the European Cup for the sixth time on Sunday as Kingsley Coman’s goal gave them a 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in an engrossing Champions League final in Lisbon, completing a fantastic season for the German giants and leaving their opponents still searching for the trophy they covet more than anything.

It was often a cagey final, with a bit of needle between the teams, but chances too, especially before Coman appeared at the back post to head in Joshua Kimmich’s inviting 59th-minute cross and wrap up a treble for a team who had already won the Bundesliga and German Cup.

Hansi Flick’s team will feel they deserved their victory, yet PSG will regret not taking any of the chances that were offered up to them on a surreal occasion at an empty Estadio da Luz.

Kylian Mbappe in particular should have done better than shoot straight at Manuel Neuer right on the stroke of half-time.

The France World Cup-winning forward had spoken of his determination to go down in his country’s history by helping PSG become just the second French winners of European football’s greatest prize.

But they will have to wait for the chance to match Marseille, who won the inaugural Champions League in 1993.

PSG’s Qatari owners spent a combined 402 million euros ($474m) on Neymar and Mbappe in 2017 to win this competition, not just reach the final. However, in the end, it was one who got away from Paris who denied them.

The 24-year-old Coman was born in Paris and started his career at PSG, only to leave in 2014 for Juventus, sensing he wouldn’t get the regular football he desired if he stayed put.

He had been on the bench in the semi-final against Lyon but was promoted to the starting line-up for the final, replacing Ivan Perisic on the left-wing.

Now he may not be welcome back in his home city again.

But at Bayern, he will always be remembered as the man who won them this trophy in 2020, in the club’s 11th final and seven years after they were last European champions.

– Mbappe’s big miss –

Flick’s team have ended this season with 21 straight victories and unbeaten in 30 matches. They deserved to be crowned in a full stadium.

However, only a few hundred lucky invitees were inside the cavernous home of Benfica to see the denouement of the ‘Final Eight’, at the end of a competition so long delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The strangest of finals pitted together two clubs who have taken very different routes to becoming part of Europe’s elite, with Bayern’s status as Germany’s most successful and powerful side long-established and PSG having left the rest of the French game behind following the Qatari takeover of 2011.

But if this was a mismatch in terms of history, on and off the pitch right now they are almost perfectly balanced.

That translated into the kind of proper match-up on the field that neither side often experiences these days.

Bayern came desperately close to opening the scoring midway through the first half when Lewandowski — looking for his 56th goal of the season — took down an Alphonso Davies cross, turned and struck a shot against the post.

The Pole also came close with a header that was saved by Keylor Navas, PSG’s goalkeeper who won the Champions League three times with Real Madrid and who was returning after injury ruled him out of the semi-final against RB Leipzig.

But Bayern take risks by playing with such a high line, and PSG should have punished them in the first half.

Neymar was denied by an excellent Neuer save after being set up by Mbappe, while Mbappe himself contrived to fire straight at the goalkeeper after David Alaba gited him the ball in the Bayern box.

Alaba had earlier seen his central defensive colleague, Jerome Boateng, limp out seemingly with a recurrence of the hamstring problem that forced him off against Lyon.

Niklas Suele replaced him and helped contain the Paris attack as Bayern held onto their lead.

Bayern had broken the deadlock just before the hour mark in a move that began with a sprayed Thiago Alcantara pass forward, and ended with Coman arriving to head in Kimmich’s perfect delivery.

Neymar ended the game with a yellow card for chopping down Lewandowski, and a runners-up medal, while Bayern celebrated.

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Premier League Release Fixtures List For 2020/2021 Season

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Leeds’ first Premier League game for 16 years will see Marcelo Bielsa’s men travel to defending champions Liverpool, while Manchester City and Manchester United will miss the opening weekend to give them extra time to recover from a late end to the 2019/20 season.

All sides were guaranteed by the football authorities to have at least 30 days off between the two seasons after the late finish to the campaign caused by a three-month stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic.

City and United were eliminated from the Champions League and Europa League respectively last weekend, three weeks after the end of the Premier League season.

Chelsea and Wolves will start their seasons on Monday September 14th after they too were involved in European competition into August.

Leeds are back in the top-flight for the first time since 2003/04, but could not have asked for a tougher start, on September 12 against the champions who have not lost a league game at Anfield in more than three years.

Tottenham host Everton, Arsenal travel to newly-promoted Fulham and Chelsea are away to Brighton on the opening weekend.

City and Liverpool are scheduled to meet on the weekends of November 7 at the Etihad and February 6 at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp’s men do not face traditional rivals Manchester United until 2021 with the Red Devils visiting Anfield on January 16 and Liverpool heading to Old Trafford on May 1.

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