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After EU

by DoDo Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:14:04 AM EST

Inspired by the discussion of a Europe after the EU, the war in the Ukraine, and Michel Houellebecq's deplorable new book Soumission, I put myself into alt.history.what-if mode.

Let's start the annals two years from now:

22 May 2017. On the day after the second round of the French presidential election, the winner, Marine Le Pen of the Front National, announced France's exit from the EU.

1 July 2017. After the exit of all Southern European countries from the EU, Great Britain, the BeNeLux countries, Germany, Austria, the Visegrád countries, the Baltic states and the Scandinavian countries agree on re-launching the EU as a free-trade zone. Bulgaria and Romania protest at their exclusion.



28 August 2017. After the latest riots in Dunajská Sreda, the government of Hungary directed an ultimatum at the government of Slovakia to arrest the perpetrators until 1 September.

2 September 2017. Hungarian troops enter Slovakia. Asked by the Slovakian government, the EU and NATO hold emergency summits, which denounce Hungary's aggression in strong words and suspend Hungary's membership in both bodies, but NATO refuses to apply Article 5 against one of their own.

10 October 2017. In the latest round of the diplomatic war between France and Luxembourg regarding tax exemptions, President Le Pen declared that "A small rat shouldn't provoke a big lion for too long! And anyway, our republican tradition precludes us from recognising a principality!" Commentators said Le Pen is trying to deflect attention from the sagging economy with her usual theatrics.

13 October 2017. This morning French troops occupied all government buildings, TV stations and border stations of Luxembourg. The French government later issued a declaration that they were left no other option to fight back against what they termed "Luxembourg's tax war"; and also said that bank accounts will be frozen until a thorough investigation of the books. At an emergency meeting, NATO issued a strongly worded condemnation and suspended France's membership.

20 October 2017. Ignoring protests from other countries, France announced the annexation of Luxembourg. Accordingly, French regular troops are being replaced by the national Gendarmerie.

22 October 2017. In protest of the continuing occupation of Luxembourg, Great Britain's Royal Navy started a tense blockade of France's Atlantic ports from international waters, also re-directing traffic to the North Sea around the British Isles. At the same time, Flanders and Germany closed their borders and disconnected power lines, leading to blackouts in north-eastern Italy.

4 November 2017. According to unconfirmed reports, armed men not in French army uniforms but speaking French shot into a crowd and killed "dozens" during the rounding up of immigrants in Luxembourg.

7 November 2017. Ursula von der Leyen, the Chancellor of Germany, issued a short war declaration this afternoon, saying the slogan "never again" should apply more to genocide than to war. At the same time, German troops overran French occupying troops in Luxembourg in a lightning action. Analysts said von der Leyen found a suitable excuse for an action aimed to unfreeze the Luxembourgian assets of German citizens and companies, and expect a short intervention because the Chancellor fears a quagmire like in southern Slovakia.

8 November 2017. While there are conflicting reports about who shot first, French special forces annihilated a unit of 50 German soldiers in a shoot-out. Later that day, Chancellor Ursula von der Leyen announced the withdrawal of German troops, and took responsibility for the military failure by tendering her resignation, with snap elections to be held "within weeks".

10 November 2017. Today the new government of Spain's Patriotic Front, a splinter of the People's Party which took lead in the polls after the arrest of the entire leadership of the left-wing Podemos on charges of secret collusion with Basque terrorists, sent troops to occupy Gibraltar, saying "Spanish soil should no longer be used in the unfair EU aggression against France".

12 November 2017. Citing national emergency, British Prime Minister George Osbourne announced the end to the blockade of France, and directed the Royal Navy to blockade Spanish ports and the Straits of Gibraltar instead. Analysts breathed a sigh of relief at the end of a confrontation between nuclear powers. Other analysts warned, however, that it was just the nuclear deterrent that forced both governments to act responsibly and avoid actual shooting, and this will be lacking in the conflict with Spain.

14 November 2017. The government of Italy protested what it termed the EU's economic war on Italy, now that its marine trade is blocked after the problems with electricity imports. At the same time, in a strongly worded communique, it called on Slovenia to provide more electricity exports.

3 December 2017. The controversial leader of the AfD party, which won Germany's federal elections in a landslide today, announced Germany's exit from the EU, the re-introduction of draft, and said: "The countries that used the EU to suck Germany's blood will now have to face the consequences!"

10 December 2017. Russia launched a fleet of ten fighter jets in an overflight of Latvia and Lithuania on a route to Kaliningrad District. The planes were forced to the ground with the help of US air force planes stationed in the countries. Analysts assume President Putin wanted to test whether NATO has any teeth left.

1 January 2018. In a surprise move, Germany launched its expected second invasion of Luxembourg during New Year's celebrations, with fireworks explosions masking gun noise.

2 January 2018. A French submarine sank three ships in the mouth of the Elbe river, blocking the port of Hamburg. Other submarines attacked smaller ports. German troops progressed into France beyond the former borders of Luxembourg.

5 January 2018. After the crushing defeat of badly trained German ground troops near Metz, in the "Battle of Eurofighters", the French air force also all but eliminated Germany's. Later that day, France launched air strikes on Frankfurt's banking district, resulting in hundreds of civilian deaths.

7 January 2018. Citing persistent smuggling into Spain, Great Britain expanded its naval blockade to Portuguese ports.

...

Display:
Which part do you see as most realistic? And as least realistic? How would you continue it? Do you have alternative scenarios?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 07:03:05 AM EST
For one, I think it all goes to fast. There are bounds between elites to be severed, there are institutional connections (not least in the deep states) that would be a counterweight against open warfare, and there needs to be more propaganda to make warfare acceptable among European states again.

Same for the development of the EU. Even if the southern states left the north would run with the same institutions until they were reformed within the rules of the institution or abandoned for something else. The League of Nations for example existed until 1946 when it was dissolved and assets transfered to the United Nations. For the EU I think institutional paralysis is a more likely fate then quick re-boot. Once interests start heading in different directions there will not be enough collaboration to either reform or start something new.

The US is rather absent. Though I think the case of Slovenia is all to realistic, surely they would have opinions on NATO troops fighting and blockading each other all over western Europe. Unless they have gone isolationistic and elected Palin in 2016?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 08:13:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think my scenario actually includes some of what you are missing, some explicit, some implicit. The bounds between elites are severed by elites-disposing elections. For the EU, I think France's departure (in contrast to the departure of other southern European states until 2017) would be a major shift, giving Britain (and its occasional Scandinavian  ex-EFTA allies) much greater weight. France's exit would also mean the end of Strasbourg as EU sear, in addition, the split of Belgium I hinted at would incapacitate Brussels, all of which would IMHO necessitate a new start.

Regarding the USA and NATO, I think both are too focused on external enemies and loyalty to the hegemon, and Cyprus and lesser Turkish–Greek conflicts of the past show that they would have difficulty stopping a serious conflict between allies. This would be even more true for allies even less enthusiastic than de Gaulle: do you think Le Pen or Jobbik leader Vona would listen to appeals from the USA? What remains is siding with the victim militarily, on which point my scenario includes the establishment of a precedent for not applying Article 5. The USA would also have to hold back vs. France because of its nuclear deterrent and UNSC permanent membership.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 12:32:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The bounds between elites are severed by elites-disposing elections

It's nowhere near that easy, I suspect.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 12:44:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it "worked" in the Ukraine.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 12:49:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On second thought, I edited the first paragraph of the diary, after all, the war in the Ukraine was also on my mind (see the parallel discussion on Merkel in Moscow and Washington in the same diary).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 12:53:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see any of this as even remotely probable. The relevant security policy actor in Europe is not the EU. It is NATO, and in the article above the key actor - Washington D.C. - is conspicuously absent. The action will not be in western Europe - and even if the EU is not a relevant "hard power" security policy actor, it has done immense work creating bonds between e.g. France and Germany.

The conflict zone will be the front-line between Russia and the West. In Ukraine, the Baltic, and the Arctic. Maybe Putin can stir up some trouble in the Balkans too, or make some trouble with his pet right-wing populist parties, but I doubt it will come to much. The big resentment that fuel the right-wing populists is not anti-Americanism or geopolitics anyway, but immigration.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 01:06:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I expressed my much lower opinion of NATO as security actor, but I do agree that while the USA would be helpless to stop conflict between former EU members, they would want to at least sustain the containment of Russia, and support their Polish and Baltic vassals for that reason.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 07:07:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think vassal means what you think it means.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 07:29:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe you're just using a very narrow definition of vassal?
by generic on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 02:30:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Words have meaning, and they are important.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 05:45:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe you can agree with me that the usual word choice "partners" is only for public consumption, and suspect that you think you have a more positive interpretation of "vassal" than mine, but could you please spell it out?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 04:04:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Poland was a vassal of the Soviet union, forced into the Warsaw pact, not being able to choose its own destiny.

Today Poland is a sovereign democratic state, free to do whatever it pleases and enter whatever international treaties or organizations it wants.

Poland is a sovereign state. Not a vassal.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:25:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Today Poland is a sovereign democratic state, free to do whatever it pleases
Then Poland sovereignty is defined by its (new) elites.

The rest are free to do whatever they please within their economic game-theoretic options - only nominally for the sake of the country.

And after all, the feudal agreements were all between consenting rulers and vassals, right?

by das monde on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:40:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't even understand what you are trying to say here. This is what sovereignty means, from Wikipedia:

"Sovereignty, in layman's terms, means a state or a governing body has the full right and power to govern itself without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity.[1] It is a basic principle underlying the dominant Westphalian model of state foundation."

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 06:03:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Greece now meaningfully sovereign in the the power to govern itself without any interference? It may need to try to enforce the sovereignty by no less desperate measures than Hungary 1956 or Czechoslovakia in 1968.

The difference between sovereignty of post-WWII Western and East European countries was large - if Op Gladio did not represent a more supreme authority.

With the financial power pyramid of today, the sovereign entities comprise a small club.

by das monde on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 06:51:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you abandon your currency by joining the euro, you surrender a considerable part of your sovereignty.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 07:17:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My view is that Poland exchanged its situation as a constrained vassal of the Soviet Union for a situation as voluntary vassal of the US. It can't be denied that Poland has been unfailingly loyal to the US in foreign policy, even to the detriment of its supposed loyalty to an EU line, agreed between peers.

This respects the feudal notion; being a vassal does not necessarily involve constraint. In many circumstances, an aristocrat was able to choose his overlord. It was, in the final analysis, primarily a military relationship.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 06:49:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no such thing as a "voluntary vassal". Either you are subservient, or you are sovereign. Stating it in the terms you use is quite a blatant revisionist view which understates the extent of Communist and Soviet oppression, and cheapens the value of freedom and national independence. I find that very queer, especially given the situation we have seen in the European periphery, where the price of reduced sovereignty has been quite clear indeed.

Poland has acted in ways that she believes is in her best national interest. No more, no less. Obviously Poland has acted in a supportive way for the US on e.g. Iraq, because she thought she would get something in return. Sweden did the same thing on Afghanistan. This does not impair our sovereignty. Indeed, it's quite the opposite - a negotiaton or trade situation between two sovereign powers.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 07:24:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The feudal had obligations to vassals as well. Generally, if an agreement between sovereign parties turns out to be very skewed, is the depressed party still sovereign?

Poland's modus operandi is simple: annoy Russia. That's about all it wants to do with sovereignty.

by das monde on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 07:43:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think vassal means what you think it means.
Vassal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A vassal or feudatory[1] is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held as a fiefdom.[2] The term can be applied to similar arrangements in other feudal societies. In contrast, a fidelity, or fidelitas, was a sworn loyalty, subject to the king.[3]

It is perfectly clear, historically speaking, that Poland (and other Visegrad countries) felt an imperative need for military protection from any future domination from the east. That is the basis for Poland's voluntary vassal status with respect to the US. Being a vassal means you contribute troops to your overlord's military adventures, as you describe, in return for his military protection. Being militarily dependent on another country is obviously a partial renouncement of sovereignty, as is the renouncement of an independent foreign policy.

I'm not denying that the Soviet bloc vassal status was much deeper, because it was constrained and because it implied strong control of internal affairs in Poland.

The notion of absolute national sovereignty is a recent concept, and like most ideals, is very unevenly applied.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 09:26:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With all due respect you don't know what are you talking about regarding the supposed "Communist and Soviet oppression" I am a Bulgarian, and have well informed opinion of Bulgaria before and after 1989. There is simply no comparison! While Bulgaria benefited immensely from the USSR after 1945 in every aspect, after 1990 it was reduced to captive colonial market; in demographic sense it was devastated; and the country is sovereign only on paper - all important decisions in the economic, military, foreign relations, and fiscal domain are taken outside Sofia; the function of the government is only to implement them, and police what remains from the population. Did I mention the country got an American base (there was never a Soviet military stationed in Bulgaria); and by sheer irony a succession of US ambassadors modelled themselves after the Third Reich ambassador Beckerle who constantly meddled and directed the country affairs.
by Ivo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 01:47:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But then if we compare Bulgaria and Poland, in spite of Katyn, the Red-Army-supported Bulgarian Communists achieved a more thorough elite elimination after the end of WWII than in Poland.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 02:17:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please note that "3 regents, 8 royal advisors, 22 former cabinet ministers, 67 MPs and 47 army officers" did not constitute "the elite of the nation"

More importantly the whole linked comment is distorted and ahistorical. In 1945 the communists did not rule Bulgaria; the country was ruled by the antifascist Fatherland Front, a broad coalition dominated by the Communists, and not unlike every liberated country in Europe. Even more importantly, Bulgaria was an Axis ally actively involved in the war, the Holocaust, and the looting of the occupied Greece and Macedonia. The political life of the country since the beginning of the 1930s was single-handedly managed by the king who suspended the Constitution; every subsequent parliament and government ministers were personally hand-picked by the palace. Therefore it is not exactly suprising that after the FF took power there were prosecutions of the former elite.

by Ivo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 04:42:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's special, however, that the trial and the executions took a single day, and at the end a doctor who volunteered to confirm the deaths was executed (without trial), too. I read somewhere the claim that the whole action happened on direct orders from Moscow, but I wish there would be an English-language source quoting original sources on this.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:31:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please bear in mind that from the 1990 on countless millions poured in Bulgaria from various NGO to finance anti-communist literature with the ultimate aim to sully the past and discredit any left/social project. In contrast to the country economy in general this industry of rewriting the history boomed. I often come across of pseudo-historical accounts in the Bulgarian press with such lurid minutiae details that verge on the impossible. Such detailed first account narratives rarely exist even for much more recent events.
by Ivo on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 02:49:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Btw, I never intended to compare Poland and Bulgaria - they are very different countries indeed. I just cited Bulgaria because (1) it was another member of the Eastern block; and (2), I am well familiar with it's recent history.
by Ivo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 04:48:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To lament the post-1944 trials and executions in Bulgaria is akin to lament the executions and violence in post-1943 Italy... Bulgaria had the strongest anti-fascist resistance of all German allies.
by Ivo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:04:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't lamenting, my point was that (if these executions were on Stalin's orders) there was some quite heavy Soviet influence on Bulgarian sovereignty early on and, unlike in Poland, it left no right-wing forces of significance that could maintain a widely held sense of national victimhood. (And the executions were several months after the Fatherland Front took over.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:41:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, this is a vast subject and a source of endless discussion. Suffice to point out, however, that contrary to the simplistic propaganda cliché Stalin wasn't the kind of micromanaging maniac as is often caricaturally portrayed. In the grand scheme of things what make you think that he personally engaged with the fate of some disgraced insignificant political figures from a former small German satellite? I find the notion highly improbable, and there is not a single shred of evidence to imply that. Since 1941 there was armed anti-fascist  resistance in Bulgaria, and by 1944 it is estimated that those actively engaged in it were in the realm of 20000; no need to tell, thousands were killed either in combat or by rapid military tribunals (the fact that the communist party was illegal for several years goes without saying). Taking the whole context into account there was no need for external pressure on the People's Tribunal - from one side it could be said that it continued to perpetuate the violence that marred the Bulgarian society; from the other it served justice to some of the people who actively brought Bulgaria into the war. It is not an accident that during the first part of the 20th century Bulgaria was infamous as the "Prussia on the Balkans" due to it's aggressiveness and militarism.
by Ivo on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 02:37:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is surely a difference of a couple of orders of magnitude between this purge and Katyn, which was closer to a Khmer Rouge-style elimination of an entire social class.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 03:13:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, no. The quoted event constituted the elimination of the top, within a purge with at least 20,000 killed summarily or executed. Katyn was similar in numbers in a much larger country, but it was heavily focused on army and police officers and a significant part of the elite escaped into emigration. Such purges were executed in all other Soviet-occupied countries and earlier in the Soviet Union itself, what the Khmer Rouge did was more extreme.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 02:46:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With the Warshaw pact parallel, you do indeed choose a way too limited definition of "vassal".

vassal - definition of vassal by The Free Dictionary

1. A person who held land from a feudal lord and received protection in return for homage and allegiance.2. A bondman; a slave.3. A subordinate or dependent.

Words do indeed have a meaning. Whether one views NATO membership for European states as a genuine provision of security (as you seem to view it) or as a means to perpetuate dependence and inhibit own initiative (as suggested by Zbigniew Brzezinski), the dependence and subordination part remains, and the armies fighting the wars under the NATO umbrella were pretty much organised along feudal principles.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 10:32:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are we not using the term "Sovereignty" in an all to absolute way? No country, with the possible exception of the USA in a unipolar world is absolutely sovereign, and even the USA feels constrained to construct "alliances" through which it conducts many of its affairs - with all the compromises that can entail...  Yes there is a debate in US foreign policy circles about the merits/requirements for unilateral or multi-lateral action in various situations. But generally the USA seeks the later and countries which fail to achieve significant multi-lateral support generally fail in achieving their objectives and optimizing their national interests.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 03:02:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My key objection is that you're probably a decade too early: I think we need at least another ten, twenty years to get back to war being doable between core members: the nationalists have a bit more work to do.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 07:53:15 AM EST
I do not think war in western Europe is realistic in this short timeframe. The populations of these countries would see a war between European nations as evil and distasteful for the most part. They can tolerate actions against evildoers such as dictators or terrorists, preferably far from home and with light casualties. The majority are too comfortable, too educated and too distrustful of politicians to be cajoled into a nationalistic fervor necessary to overcome their opposition to an aggressive war.  

I see the situation in the Eurozone leading towards  stagnation and a diplomatic split between Germany and the rest as they seem to live in separate realities. I do not see the Eurozone being dismantled because of a lack of politicans with the imagination and ability to create something else in most EZ-countries.

by chumchu on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 08:07:34 AM EST
Published by authority

Sorry Chum, we don't accept arguments from authority on this site

(and welcome to ET!)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 10:22:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by chumchu on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 12:36:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Germany" "lives in separate realities"

Euros will be short lived now, and the reality will catch them once the DM get to more appropriate 2 USD or 2 Francs.

Euro as a even worst Gold Standard could very well manages to bring wars back ( remember that Austerity was the talk of the day in France circa 1936, Germany being freed from GS, was investing like mad in its industrialisation, getting far ahead of its "masochistic" neighbour)

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 12:07:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I recall correctly, France was late to leave the gold standard because it had devalued the Franc wrt gold before returning to the gold standard, while the UK overvalued the pound, possibly thinking that asserting the old value as the new would make it so, which it did not. As a result gold flowed out of the UK and gold flowed into France as French exports were more competitive under gold. But that became a hollow victory when the UK, Germany and the USA left the gold standard.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 11:37:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Be that you are right, but given (1) how easily the wide majorities of northern European populations could be cajoled into a semi-racist attitude towards southern Europeans to support crippling and anti-democratic austerity and "reforms", I have no such trust in the populations, nor do I think them too relevant given that most European states now have professional armies. In addition, seeing how fast and far things escalated in the Ukraine (not a country where the population sat with guns ready either), I disagree that the timeframe must be long.

On the other hand, the unspoken assumption at the start of my scenario, namely that between now and 2017 the EU and the Eurozone already began to fall apart with members leaving and institutions hollowed out, is not one I expect personally: I don't see the end of the Eurozone, either, and for similar reasons. But, if – as some others seem to believe or even wish for – the EU does fall apart, I am certain war is down the line on many fronts, the only question is its timeplan and magnitude.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 12:07:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps I should mention that in my scenario, the German entry into (limited) war is modelled upon the German entry into the Kosovo War.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 12:43:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The media in the Baltic states is crazed against Russia - and now against Greece, potentially France. A war could start tomorrow, and no distaste would be publicly visible.

The antagonistic method can spread very quick. Especially when borrowers cannot pay and creditors cannot take.

by das monde on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 09:27:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK blockading Portugal is completely unrealistic. Portugal is their oldest ally, after all.

Also, German troops getting as far as Metz. Thionville, maybe.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 10:27:38 AM EST
The royal Navy consists of 27 ships, most of which are small and incapable of being part of a blockage. We couldn't blockade Calais and Dunkirk, let alone all the others.

Also, Gibraltar is still armed to the teeth and heavily dug in. Occupying it would probably require a significant mobilization of the Spanish army and the casualties would be colossal. A Pyrrhic victory at best

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 01:13:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the current nuclear doctrine is applied, the german troops would never go through the border. The french nuclear doctrine is quite adamant about nuking any country that would cross french borders... Which means either you get a localized war in Luxembourg, either it's the end of it all.

Additionnally, I do not believe that current armies are able to fight traditional wars between modern states. The only forces in shape in europe are Britain's and France's. All the other countries have cut too much of their defence budget to get anything usable against a great power.

My last comment would be that, during the belgian stand-off between flanders and wallonia a few years ago, there has been a quite-military training on the french side of the border under the label "flanders terrorist are attacking in Lille, what should we do"...

by Xavier in Paris on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 05:52:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Polish and Finnish armies are in OK shape too.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 05:56:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Judging from the exercises in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, some dirty warfare (state terrorism monopoly?) might be in the pipe.
by das monde on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 06:19:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Small size and low rediness of armies makes dashes like the attact to N'Dnamena more likely to succeed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_N%27Djamena_(2008)

by Jute on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 06:51:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the current nuclear doctrine is applied, the german troops would never go through the border.

In my scenario, I assumed that the German government fully recognises this in the first invasion, but the second government is insane, while France also has to take a possible British return strike into account.

I do not believe that current armies are able to fight traditional wars between modern states. The only forces in shape in europe are Britain's and France's. All the other countries have cut too much of their defence budget to get anything usable against a great power.

I actually agree, that's why the Hungary–Slovakia war in my scenario quickly becomes a quagmire and France defeats Germany soundly twice, without nukes. But IMHO what comes after that is not peace but something like Ukraine or worse.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 07:00:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course any future war will look like the Ukraine - 'terrorists' on one side, proxy states and 'aid' on the other.

The idea that national armies will go marching all over Europe in a WW2-ish kind of a way is way past its use-by date.

In any case, we may not live that long. Putin is being backed into a corner by the US, economically and militarily.

That's not a good thing to be doing to the world's biggest nuclear superpower.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 07:51:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In case anyone missed it, my nitpicking critique was satirical in nature, as I see the whole war scenario, as applied to western Europe, as fantasy. Eastern Europe, less so.

But we do need to do some serious thinking about what happens if Le Pen is elected president. My opinion is that she doesn't get a clear majority in the Assembly, leading to either :

  • enough of the UMP rump are prepared to work with her to give her a parliamentary majority. This is very grim because a lot of them are well to her right.
  • constitutional chaos because she can't form a government. This is my preferred option.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 07:22:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tnis wouldn't be constitutionnal chaos: it's what we call cohabitation, and we (that's a french we) are quite used to it.
by Xavier in Paris on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 11:15:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In case of Le Pen winning the elections, I'm much more worried by the people who would like to demonstrate aqgainst the result, because it would surely lead to a police repression with some deaths (police is very pro Le Pen in France). And people agaisnt Le Pen are still quite numerous (something around 60% who thinks she is unfit for power)
by Xavier in Paris on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 11:17:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As for the police being right-wing : it's not as simple as that (though a majority of uniformed cops certainly are). But not strictly relevant : in my observation, the police hierarchy obey the minister of the Interior (not the President).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 11:58:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thinking it through : Legislative elections follow the elecion of Le Pen, and give some sort of three-way split between left, right, and FN. A non-FN cohabitation government would have to be "UMPS" (a favourite catch-phrase of the FN : UMP, PS, all the same).

Quite different to the cohabitations under Mitterand or Chirac, much more conflictual. Le Pen could dissolve the Assembly after a year (the constitutional minimum). The danger is that, after a year of powerless posturing and foreign-policy adventures, the voters give her a parliamentary majority the second time.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 11:55:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, there wouldn't be "powerless adventures" because in the french constitution the government decides almost everything.

What gives our politics their flavour of monarchy is just the fact that the governement is choosen by the prez' and that we are used to it. It's not implemented in the text and we had various episodes when this was true (the last being probably between 2005 and 2007 when chirac was physically unable to preside).

by Xavier in Paris on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 12:01:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bear in mind that the President defines foreign policy and decides military matters.

This led to some squabbles under previous cohabitations, as I recall, but ended with governments backing off. It was actually no big deal (stuff like who represents France at a NATO meeting), because there is disappointingly little difference between PS and UMP in either domain.

This will be very different under a Le Pen cohabitation. Which is why I foresee both foreign adventures and constitutional crisis. Imagine, for example, a unilateral declaration by President Le Pen of a withdrawal from the Schengen area.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 06:56:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not completely true: the president is leading the armed forces when engaged: he has the final say in using nuclear weapons. But he does not decide all military matters. He has to consult the parliament in case of declaration of war (unlikely) or in case of foreign intervention (mali type). He is completely helpless in choosing the size and organisation of armed forces. He has no power to decide which treaties are to be signed...and ratified.

And he has to sign the laws passed by his government. It's an obilgation, even if he could delay them a litle. The french constitution is a lot less presidential than what is usually considered. It's just that, after the III and IV republic regimes, we sort of collectively choose a more presidential regime over the situation that prevailed before. And even this consensu is being modified in the last years, as more and more people ask for a return to IV republic era mechanisms.

by Xavier in Paris on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 10:15:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're supposing a bang, where a wimper would more than suffice.  (And, be far more likely.)

As for the most "likely" of what you've presented, that's easy.  Hungary is run by nuts.  This is something you've confirmed for us. (With diaries, not by example.)

That said, I think that the manner of assault is to simple.  Orban is an apt pupil of Putin.  Why issue ultimatums when you can opt for hybrid war?  There's an established beef on the issue of dual citizenship for Slovaks of Hungarian descent.  Hungary extended it, Slovakia banned it. The fifth column is already in Bratislava, or at least in the south of Slovakia.

So ... in the wake of a provocation against Hungarians in Slovakia, Hungary sends weapons for them to defend themselves.  And as things escalate, strange men with foreign kit start popping up alongside the "rebels."

Wash, and repeat, how many times in Eastern Europe?

As for more proximate issues, if the war in Ukraine continues to escalate, and NATO offers weapons, how many of these weapons find their way onto the street in Eastern Europe? Cheap weapons tend to be an accelerant where underlying tribal tensions provide the spark for a conflict

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 11:58:16 AM EST
Dont you think France should Nuke Luxembourg ?, they ll deserve the heat.
by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 12:09:32 PM EST
Ah, the wonderful sense of humour of FN voters...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 12:58:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You re cute
by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 04:28:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're not

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 06:55:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
scandal with HSBC hiding taxable income and assets on behalf of wealthy french customers, we probably need to annex that country too.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 05:15:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe you should have done so in 1934: Swiss Banking Act of 1934 (Wikipedia: bank secrecy)
Bank secrecy was codified in Switzerland by the 1934 Federal Act on Banks and Savings Banks (Swiss Banking Act of 1934) following a public scandal in France, when MP Fabien Alberty denounced tax evasion by eminent French personalities, including politicians, judges, industrialists, church dignitaries and directors of newspapers, who were hiding their money in Switzerland. He called these men of "a particularly ticklish patriotism", who "probably are unaware that the money they deposit abroad is lent by Switzerland to Germany". The Peugeot brothers and François Coty, of the famous perfume family, were on his list. Since then, Swiss banks have acquired worldwide celebrity due to their numbered bank accounts, which critics such as ATTAC NGO alleged only help legalized tax evasion, money laundering and more generally the underground economy.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 05:19:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... which was a bit complicated, as his name was Fabien Albertin.

As Fabien Alberty, he seems well-known on the English-language internets, sometimes credited with having been Prime Minister. Albertin was briefly secretary for public works in 1940, then voted full powers to Pétain and disappeared down the toilet of history.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 07:07:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we can all argue about the timing and the exact mechanisms of European disintegration, post EU, but what your scenario painting achieves admirably is to demonstrate how much is at stake should the EU be allowed to disintegrate.

The EU is so much more than a common market or common currency area and those who seek to reduce it to that do us all a great disservice.  Unfortunately the achievements of the past 64 years are easily forgotten or taken for granted, and once things start to fall apart. it becomes increasingly difficult to stop the rot.

In that sense the EU is an apt model for catastrophe theory modeling where a highly optimized system can exist in only one of two states: stable or rapid and irreversible disintegration.  We need to build in a lot of firewalls to add resilience to the whole structure so that (say) a serious breakdown of the Franco German relationship cannot destroy the whole edifice.

This seems to me to require a reduction in German dominance, an increase in the powers (and Europe wide accountability) of EU institutions, and an increase it fiscal transfers and solidarity with less successful regions. The UK is an obvious barrier to the latter two requirements, and may have to be ditched (of its own accord) in the process, but we have to find ways of reducing and reversing the current destruction of the "Social Europe".

My suggestions would be a huge increase in the development of EU competencies and agencies in Education, Healthcare, social welfare, taxation, job creation, defense, policing, the environment, energy policy and infrastructural development none of which is possible without at least indirect fiscal transfers.

The EU has to become relevant again to the felt needs of the populace if it is to survive.  50% youth unemployment in southern Europe is an affront to all of us.


Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 02:04:42 PM EST
I'm having a lot of wifi problems which are restricting blogging.  BTW the above scenarios make me quite glad to be living in boring Ireland... unless someone is going to invade us too

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 07:39:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Acoording to tradition, Denmrk, Norway or SNP-Scotland
by IM on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 07:46:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
er... you seem to have forgotten one?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 07:47:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Normans?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 07:48:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the sassenach?

Boooring. I want a resurgence of viking ireland.

by IM on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 11:16:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"an increase in the powers (and Europe wide accountability) of EU institutions, and an increase it fiscal transfers and solidarity with less successful regions."

Fortunately this "benevolent" despotism (power grab by independent commission for competency/budget (ECB style) using divide & conquer (EU Parliament)) is never going to happen, democracy is still more precious than Euro or EU.

EU is dying but Europe will be fine, back to pre-maastrich.

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 08:34:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
divide & conquer (EU Parliament)

What are you smoking? And when will you call for an uprising against the "benevolent despotism" of Paris when it executes fiscal transfers to Normandy or Corsica?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 04:00:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't aware.

But I for one am totally in favour of an uprising against the benevolent bobocracy of Paris, wherever that may take place, though as for Corsica my own preference would be to be rid of it (and we tried to go in that direction with a referendum about ten years ago...unsurprisingly when given the chance at more autonomy they voted NO...they know who butters their bread).

This being said, not sure what you need to be smoking to think the EU Parliament in Strasbourg is just powerless democratic window dressing which is used as cover for where the EU power grab, such as it has been attempted, has actually taken place (in Brussels and Frankfurt). A democratic smoke screen but no one except Daniel Con-Bandit is fooled.

In any event, I don't think fredouil is saying he is against these fiscal transfers so much as he is inveighing against the cruel joke which is the EU at present viz. democratic institutions in the EU and proper fiscal and monetary policy in the face of a financial deleveraging environment. I'm wondering why you are referencing fiscal transfers in the French context when in the EU context these have been, and quite by design (the maastricht reference is apt here), pathetic.

And given the current and near future political context in Berlin, London and nearly every other capital in the Northern parts of the Union, they will remain pathetic.

You don't need to be smoking anything to not only wish for the EU's demise, but also to be cautiously optimistic that the day may soon be coming.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 04:52:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This being said, not sure what you need to be smoking to think

...something completely different from what fredouil said.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 10:54:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are aware, I'm sure, that using "con bandit"() instead of Cohn Bendit is a specialty of the far right?

I am not at all pleased to see a lepenist expression making its way through to ET -to which I am associated-, so maybe you'd be courteous enough to avoid it in the future?

Thanks.

(): a dickhead and a thief

by Xavier in Paris on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 07:06:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You may have missed discussions like this one...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 02:32:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar:
Are there fiscal transfers to Normandy?
I wasn't aware.

Quelles sont les différentes ressources des collectivités ? - Les ressources des collectivités locales Découverte des institutions - Repères - vie-publique.fr

Les transferts financiers de l'État en faveur des collectivités territoriales, qui totalisent 101,2 Mds€ en 2014, sont composés de trois parties : les dotations de l'État aux collectivités territoriales (59 Mds) ; les dégrèvements d'impôts locaux et les subventions spécifiques versées par les ministères ; et la fiscalité transférée pour laquelle le législateur détermine une part locale d'assiette.

Transfers from the central state to regions, départements, municipalities totalled €101.2 bn in 2014.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 07:40:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are two aspects to this :
a) Perequation : transfers from richer entities to poorer entities (this is especially true at the municipality level)

b) Jacobinism applied to decentralisation. Rather than giving the entities (departments, regions) the right to raise taxes themselves, the government prefers to keep them on the dole.

So it's certainly not true that there are 101 billion euros of net fiscal transfers; but certainly, there is a considerable amount of effective inter-regional transfer going on. Not sure if Normandy is a net beneficiary.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 08:35:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would gather it receives something, because the transfers are purely made on a population basis, whereas the taxes are still quite correlated to wealth and production.

Paris and the Ile de France are the clear losers here (but it's a bit complicated, because benefits are counted at the company's headquarters, usually in Paris, and not at the plant level).

And you forget that half the public expenses (so something around 25%GDP) in France are actually pensions and medical bills, which result in a transfer between young and productive people (Paris...) to unemployed, old or sick people (everywhere else).

by Xavier in Paris on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 11:10:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
youth unemployment in the southern periphery is an affront to all of us.

Especially not the likes of a Michael Noonan.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 04:23:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well in fairness to Michael Noonan, he has enough on his plate trying to reduce Irish unemployment, and under his watch it has reduced from 15 to 10.5%.

A bit more solidarity with Greece wouldn't go amiss, and could improve medium term Irish prospects via greater and more balanced growth in the EZ.  But with an election coming up, it is hard to blame him for focusing on finding more ways to reduce Ireland's National debt interest rate burden...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 10:48:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait, what? Noonan has been holding up unemployment for years with his cutbacks, now they've levelled off a bit the economy is reasserting itself. Propaganda works ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 11:09:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Noonan has been operating within the framework of the Troika agreement which he inherited.  Going the Syriza route was never an option for an FG led government (and within the different political environment in the EZ in 2011-2014, and we have yet to see how successful Syriza will be at reducing unemployment.

I suspect they would be quite happy if they achieved in excess of a 1% p.a. reduction in unemployment on a sustained basis, and they are starting from a much higher base of unemployment. Even now, Noonan has gone against EC, ECB, IMF, OECD and the Irish Fiscal council advice in reflating the economy faster than they would like and have actively pressed for.

But no doubt you would have done a much better job with or without a Dail majority.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 01:47:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Noonan has been operating within the framework of the Troika agreement which he inherited.
I note that Tsipras refused to inherit a Troika agreement.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 04:33:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FG, quite the contrary.

We can't complain about the other side doing what the other side does, it is like complaining the wolf eats sheep. Of course the wolf eats sheep, that is what wolves do.

What is a problem is when the shepherd dogs, the ones on our side who are elected to fight for us, but instead of even trying to guard our sheep, assume the prone position when the wolf comes and accepts to take it in the ass instead.

Think PSOE, PS, Pasok, the list goes on.

I personally respect a bit of flexibility on the part of the wolf if it means having a few less sheep eaten, indeed I respect it more than the sexual flexibility of our social democratic friends when they are confronted with said wolf, for this flexibility not just doesn't save any sheep, but because it gives the wolves the idea they can eat to their hearts content indefinitely, gets even more sheep eaten in the future.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 05:38:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is nonsense and just an apology for agressors.
by IM on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 06:49:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is an expression of how things are, or often are, not as we might want them to be, and not an apology for anyone or anything.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 11:11:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I note that Tsipras refused to inherit a Troika agreement.

I note that Tsipras was elected in 2015, not 2011, in a country which is generally agreed to be insolvent (whereas Ireland, marginally, was not), where the political climate within the EZ is changing and there is widespread (and not just left-wing) acceptance that austerity is not working and a growing realization that alternative or additional approaches must be taken, and finally, where we do not know yet whether or to what degree he will succeed.

I repeat and amplify my earlier comment that if you offered Tsipras an economic recovery on a par with Ireland's over the past 4 years (yes, despite austerity)  he would probably bite you hand off and he would also probably be re-elected by a grateful electorate in 4 years time - something which may not happen to the Irish Government.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 07:58:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Except he wouldn't get it because Greece isn't Ireland.

I keep saying this, and you keep not hearing it: Ireland's economy is fundamentally in reasonable shape: favourable demographics and infrastructure. The achievement of austerity was stopping it growing - its almost certainly made measures like debt/GDP ratios and unemployment much worse than was necessary in a world where the place wasn't being run by econo-religious maniacs.

The Greek economy is fundamentally fucked: poor demographics and crappy infrastructure. All austerity is doing there is killing people.

The fundamental difference is that Ireland spent enough EU money wisely to build an infrastructure to support growth. Greece did not: too much of it ended up being siphoned off by corruption. Obviously lots of EU money was skimmed in Ireland too, but it's the difference between 30% and 60%.

What Ireland needed was enough support to rebuild its banks and tide us over through a rough patch. Instead we got manic cutting that caused a five year depression and what, 16% unemployment at peak?

The excuse that the government were too stupid, too clueless, too craven or too powerless to challenge the maniacs isn't a very good one.

Even now we've ended up paying as much in interest on loans as we spend on education while we're cutting support teachers from vulnerable kids and telling the sick elderly that they're going to have to pay more, faster for nursing home support.

Allowing the economy to take its head out of the bucket of ice you've been holding it in doesn't deserve praise or thanks. Grateful electorate my arse.

Greece needs help to reorient itself and it needs help rooting out corruption and building infrastructure that should have been built over the last twenty years. More austerity will just kill it.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 08:27:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't disagree with any of the above, but that doesn't mean I think Noonan is happy to see mass youth Unemployment in Greece or Spain: merely - as I said in the comment which sparked this exchange - that his focus is understandably on the Irish economy. In fact I doubt his analysis of Greece's problems is all that different from yours, but we are then both into the realm of speculating on what he really thinks, which I don't think is a very productive argument to make.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 11:10:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't being condescending, I was stating a fact.

You've just invoked TINA and given Noonan credit for an economy that's recovering in spite of, not because of him.

Even now, Noonan has gone against EC, ECB, IMF, OECD and the Irish Fiscal council advice in reflating the economy faster than they would like and have actively pressed for.

Hanging (an election next year) has a way of concentrating the mind ...

But fundamentally, there's nothing in the standard EU wisdom that Noonan disagrees with - he's already talking about how we can cut taxes for the well off to encourage emigrants to return.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 04:45:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You implied I had been taken in by propaganda.  We may disagree, but let's not disrespect each other.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 07:28:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously not an FG person, but I can appreciate the contstraints that being one impose.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 04:10:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The bottom line is that if you are a politician in a democracy you have to build or be the beneficiary of a parliamentary majority which supports the broad thrust of your line of policy.  There never has been anything remotely close to a majority for Syriza like policies in Ireland - though that may indeed change after the next elections.

So it's just moral grandstanding to criticize Noonan personally for not doing what what he never had a mandate to do nor could have achieved within the political balance of power in Ireland (and the Eurozone) at the time.  I personally was all in favour of "burning the bondholders" and refusing to socialize private debts, but I and those few people in positions of influence who shared my view never had anything remotely close to a parliamentary majority supporting our views so claiming that Noonan cares not a jot for the unemployed of the southern periphery is at best moot and at worst a cheap shot from someone who never had the responsibility of managing the Irish economy or elsewhere from within the constraints of our democratic system.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 07:47:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... with the parliament available" is not a convincing defense of bad policies until you have demonstrated at least a couple of instances where the government fought for something better than what they actually achieved.

If you hit every goal you aim for, you're not aiming as high as you could.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 04:13:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Government tried and failed to get their "partners" to agree to Irish debts being refinanced at lower interest rates and only stopped when market rates went below any rate concession they were likely to get from their partners. (They did get the IMF to agree to early repayment of high interest loans with capital sourced from capital markets at cheaper rates).  They also managed to get the ECB to "look the other way" whilst it effectively used monetary financing to fund swapping the promissory notes for long term bonds but failed to persuade the ECB to allow it to burn some bondholders much earlier in the crisis. So some limited successes, but overall, a failure to overturn the worst effects of the bank bail-out visited on us by their predecessor Government.

I note that Tspiras, too, has abandoned attempts to get his "partners" to write off more debts, and focused on negotiating lower interest rates and longer maturities.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 05:18:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That last bit is not an adequate description of Greece's position.

The Greek position will involve write-offs, so long as the Greek government remains of the view that the Thessaloníki Program is senior to the bonds of previous governments.

Permitting the other side of the table to pretend that this is not so is a costless concession: It is not the Greek government's job to teach the German parliament, or their voters, elementary arithmetic.

Which brings us to the salient point of all your examples: They are all limited to shuffling around impaired assets on various balance sheets. If you want to argue that all this accounting legerdemain actually matters, you need to show how they impacted, in whatever minor way, the actual fiscal stance of the government.

Because the difference between running a 1 % primary surplus to pay all of the interest on half your original foreign debt, versus running a 1 % primary surplus to pay half of the interest due on your full original foreign debt...

... is simply not a matter of very great consequence.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 06:32:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, they have reduced interest payments due in this and future years quite significantly and helped enable quite a rapid reduction in the forecast debt/GDP ratio from last years all time high of 123.3%


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 07:51:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That still does not explain how any of that ever reaches the real economy. Debt/GDP is not an interesting metric, so having it go this way or that tells you nothing much.

(On a minor point, when is that graph from? Clearly at least one of the columns is a forecast, but there could be several.)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 08:08:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.publicpolicy.ie/irelands-current-fiscal-profile/

The reduction in interest payments each year is real

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 08:39:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That graph is actually somewhat out of date (May 2013).  The actual out-turn has been somewhat better -  see here

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 08:51:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But of course you also have to factor in the distortion in Ireland's GDP figures - see The idiot/ eejit's guide to distorted Irish national economic data

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 08:56:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So how many houses are built because of those reduced interest payments? How many kilometer of railway track laid? How many MW of power plants built? How many fibers of internet backbone laid down? How many ships launched?

Unless these reduced interest payments actually manifest in changed government outlays into (or revenues from) the domestic economy, they remain funny-money moving around within the consolidated government balance sheet.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 08:53:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The last budget (for 2015) was the first "post austerity" to include real increases in government expenditures- the previous trend was:
Graph 1: December Exchequer Returns (€000's)

Full text: Brendan Howlin's Budget 2015 speech

Gross current expenditure for 2015 will be just over €50 billion. This figure represents an increase of €429 million over the 2014 Revised Estimates.

This increase is targeted primarily at critical areas in Social Protection, Health, Education, Justice and Housing.

It is intended also that current expenditure will rise by further amounts in 2016 and 2017. The allocations published today contain some increases to meet service pressures. There will be further improvements announced next October, in line with the Government's priorities. The extent of such increases will be determined by future economic growth and by the level of progress made towards our medium term objectives.

I am also pleased to announce an increase of €210 million in Capital spending for 2015, to over €3.5 billion. There will be further increases in 2016 and 2017.

We are investing in our future and the detailed Capital Review, setting out priorities to 2020, will be published before year end.

This brings the net overall increase in expenditure over last year to €639 million, a position €2 billion better than envisaged in last year's Expenditure Report.

1.e the first small increases from a low base, but c. 2 Billion more than the further consolidation envisaged by the Troika.

AND FROM THE EU ECONOMIC FORECAST:
ie_en.pdf

Public debt is projected to fall to 107.9% of GDP in 2016, down from 123.3% in 2013. This marked improvement largely reflects the liquidation of the Irish Banking Resolution Corporation (IBRC)(45), along with the pick-up in growth

I.E  some of the bank bail-out costs are being unwound

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 09:37:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we can all argue about the timing and the exact mechanisms of European disintegration, post EU, but what your scenario painting achieves admirably is to demonstrate how much is at stake should the EU be allowed to disintegrate.

The EU is so much more than a common market or common currency area and those who seek to reduce it to that do us all a great disservice.  Unfortunately the achievements of the past 64 years are easily forgotten or taken for granted, and once things start to fall apart. it becomes increasingly difficult to stop the rot.

In that sense the EU is an apt model for catastrophe theory modeling where a highly optimized system can exist in only one of two states: stable or rapid and irreversible disintegration.  We need to build in a lot of firewalls to add resilience to the whole structure so that (say) a serious breakdown of the Franco German relationship cannot destroy the whole edifice.

This seems to me to require a reduction in German dominance, an increase in the powers (and Europe wide accountability) of EU institutions, and an increase it fiscal transfers and solidarity with less successful regions. The UK is an obvious barrier to the latter two requirements, and may have to be ditched (of its own accord) in the process, but we have to find ways of reducing and reversing the current destruction of the "Social Europe".

My suggestions would be a huge increase in the development of EU competencies and agencies in Education, Healthcare, social welfare, taxation, job creation, defense, policing, the environment, energy policy and infrastructural development none of which is possible without at least indirect fiscal transfers.

The EU has to become relevant again to the felt needs of the populace if it is to survive.  50% youth unemployment in southern Europe is an affront to all of us.


Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 02:15:15 PM EST
This seems to me to require a reduction in German dominance, an increase in the powers (and Europe wide accountability) of EU institutions

But the uncomfortable truth is that Germany wouldn't have any dominance in any of the institutions on its own, and the austerity dogmatism of the past five years wouldn't have been possible if even just a minority of other European governments would have made a real stand against it. (And don't just think of votes and vetoes in bodies, also think of bringing out certain ideas into "pubic" (that is MMS that is VSP) discourse.) Instead, most other EU governments and the Commission went along in one way or another: Finland's and the Netherlands's governments as fellow Eurozone hawks, the UK's and Sweden's and Visegrád countries' as fellow hawks on the sidelines, France's and Spain's ad at times Italy's as "model students". Methinks we need to throw out austerian governments in several countries and win the next EP elections before considering possible institutional changes.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 11:39:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Case in point:

Stubb: No more patience with Greece | Europe | DW.DE | 12.02.2015

Prime Minister Stubb, Finland has until now helped with the financial rehabilitation of Greece. How much patience do you have left with the Greeks?

Alexander Stubb: At this point, we have very little patience to spare. Finland has provided a loan of a billion euros ($1.4 billion). Bear in mind that our entire state budget is only 53 billion euros. So we are not talking about trifles here. We think that Greece should definitely keep to its contracts and obligations. That is what European integration is about. If one country were to break with its obligations, it would be unfair to those who have paid. And it would also be unfair to countries that already had to undergo difficult adjustment programs, such as Ireland, Portugal and Spain. We expect the Greeks to do their bit.

The compromise is very simple. They could receive an extension of the current bailout program, which in our opinion would be in Greece's best interests. But then they would have to push on with their structural reforms. The body monitoring these structural reforms is the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF has 70 years of experience with situations like this. I don't think we should allow any scope for populism in Europe. We have obligations and contracts, and we must stick by them.

Oh yeah, the IMF's 70 years of experience in monitoring structural reforms ruining countries...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 12:47:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
O don't blame him. Some evil gewmrna forced him to say that.
by IM on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:09:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was reading FN/Marine Le Pen programme on Wikipedia (not more than that, granted). Assuming that it reflects the truth: It is a program that seems sustainable from an economical and political perspective.

I am not saying that I agree with it (that is a completely separate discussion - but being an Southern-European emigrant in a North-European country, you can imagine my stake). I am just saying that it seems workable (as opposed, for example the Syriza perspective that it can talk with creditors - which seems unrealistic to me - something we will test soon).

That makes FN very dangerous: they are not lunatics. They seem to have a grasp on the economical and political reality of Europe. A dark grasp, but still they seem to understand the flow of things...

by cagatacos on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 02:45:38 PM EST
cagatacos:
That makes FN very dangerous: they are not lunatics.

 Agreed... she is a valid leader, whatever you think about their policies, and the competition is so bland. French voters are increasingly onto the L-R scam, they don't expect Sarko or Hollande types to be trustworthy any more, let alone effective.

Similar dynamic between Renzi and Berlusconi, with Salvini taking Le Pen's role. When Left is spineless or so compromised as to be indistinguishable from the Right, then voters rightly look for alternatives.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 03:17:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny you should say that. When I have read FN texts on economic policy, they have always seemed pretty crazy. Sure, they make some commiserative noises about the suffering of the periphery and the stupidity about the euro, but anyone who has read Economics 101 can do the same.

When you see how the party's economic policy has shifted over the years, from "Reaganite before Reagan" to the current anti-trade views, the impression you get is that their economic policy is completely opportunistic. That's not very strange, because the Front is not mainly about economic policy, but about "values" issue, immigration, identity and the like. Thus, they adapt their economic policy to suit their needs according to the shifting fashions and characteristics in their potential constituency.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 01:19:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually one of the things that crossed my mind about their economic policy is to what point it might be opportunistic as you say. Is it just noises or something they actually believe in (via the change from father to daughter)? I surely am not informed to know.

I actually see (again, just is what on wikipedia, nothing more - so take this view with a grain of salt) their proposals as coherent viewl. It says a lot about the current environment that what they say makes sense against the "competition" for example:

  1. SYRIZA's apparent belief that they can negotiate seems to me more pie in the sky (I would love to be proven wrong)

  2. And what about the case of the current neo-lib establishment and their views of "expansionary austerity"?

So, FN's economic views might be problematic (or just plain opportunistic), but I think many of the alternatives are just fairy tales (and in some cases, very dark fairy tales).

I find it worrying that the least crazy economic view is being put forward by an organization like FN. Terrifying, actually.

by cagatacos on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 06:57:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the FN's economic policy is about as relevant as, say, Ennahda's in Tunisia.  Ennahda, being the religious party, tried to apply religious doctrine to the subject, and it turned out that neither the Koran nor the Hadiths have much to say about running a modern economy. With the FN it would (will?) be the same : they can say what they want about the economy, but that's not what is important to them, and they will be completely clueless about how to manage it, with disastrous results.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 07:14:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Syriza's stance is to negotiate and not back down. That leaves two outcomes, either the austeritarians fold or they make reality of their threats to kick Greece out of the euro. Either way Greece will again have the freedom to decide their own economic policy.

Given that just leaving the euro is impopular in Greece, I think negotiating hard and looking like you earnestly expect the opponent to fold is the best strategy possible. Like it was designed by someone who is good at game theory.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 03:42:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A swedish kind of death:
I think negotiating hard and looking like you earnestly expect the opponent to fold is the best strategy possible. Like it was designed by someone who is good at game theory.

It's a 'last-to-blink' ploy, like two cars hurtling towards each other with the drivers gambling on the other's propensity for valuing survival over machismo being brave.

Someone's going to have to climb down from their position and eat humble pie, or it's a duel between Schauble and Varoufakis to the political death of one or the other, (or possibly both?)

Obviously games like this really should belong to history, they have no place in modern times.

Having said that, the OK corral factor is riveting in a gladiatorial kind of way, with the future survival of so many hanging on the result...

David/Goliath redux.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 08:03:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" economic policy is completely opportunistic"

Because situation has changed, Reagan's views of economic policies have been implemented by EU and UMP/PS both present it as the only path, they only wish to debate on side/inconsequential societal issues.

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 08:40:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia Would See U.S. Moves to Arm Ukraine as Declaration of War - Moscow Times
U.S. provision of military aid to Ukraine would be seen by Moscow as a declaration of war and spark a global escalation of Ukraine's separatist conflict, Russian defense analysts said.

by das monde on Tue Feb 10th, 2015 at 10:56:04 PM EST
I think that, for the neocons, war with russia is the entire point. The Ukrainians whose entire country will be destroyed as a result, are simply collateral damage in the Great Game.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 03:09:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The neocons have been out of power since late 2008... And no one wants war with Russia. No one wants war for its own sake, including Moscow.

Well, maybe ISIS wants war for its own sake.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 03:16:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe that's the case, but some people would arm Ukraine for its own sake:

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 05:06:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it sure feels like "the right thing to do", just like many people wanted Britain to support Finland in 1939 against Russia. But you can't make policy based only on emotions.

My view is that arming Ukraine might be a good idea (or not - I haven't decided), but it certainly won't be decisive.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 05:36:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Blowback. That's the least worst possible outcome I'm  seeing here, and it's  pretty awful. Arms sent to Ukraine won't  necessarily  stay there. What happens when the cool toys we sent to Poroshenko start popping up in the arsenals of criminal organizations. Or ISIS?

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 12:05:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Blowback is always a risk. Doing nothing is also a risk. I don't think anyone has argued for sending anti-air missiles - the Russians don't use their airforce in any case. What's needed are anti-tank weapons. That's not a big problem from a blowback perspective.

This does not, however, mean that sending arms or military support is the right choice. But it sure seems pretty hypocritical for me to say that, as the defence policy of Sweden is founded on the very expectation that foreign troops and arms will come to our aid if we are attacked.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 05:51:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's needed are anti-tank weapons. That's not a big problem from a blowback perspective.

ISIS aside, this seems to be a huge problem. Anti-tank weapons would make a hell of an asset for bank robbers.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 07:43:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really. If you want to open a vault, you need plastic explosives. Not a shaped-charge warhead which will create a 1 cm wide hole through the vault door.

Not that banks even have money in most branch offices any longer (not many branch offices left either...).

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:28:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's needed are anti-tank weapons.

Let's suppose that (1) the Ukrainian army only gets anti-tank weapons, (2) learns to use it properly, (3) manages to evade similar weapons held by the rebels, (4) eliminates all heavy armour held by the rebels, and (5) Russia has no further ideas of military assistance to the rebels. Even in this unrealistically optimistic scenario, what do you do about small arms?

However, IMHO it is much more realistic to expect Ukraine to get some big toys whose use will result in limited rebel losses and a couple more hospitals blown up,  met by a further arming-up of the rebels; that is, a further escalation of the bloodshed with no end in sight. And let's face it: the USA has hardly a good record on counter-insurgency to provide help to a badly trained Ukrainian army.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 04:30:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think Ukraine can win this war on the battlefield, foreign weapons or no. The idea behind sending weapons is to make the war more expensive for the enemy, by restricting their ability to utilize armoured forces with the same freedom they have today.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:30:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After the experience of the Bosnia war in the 1990s I decided that if foreign powers are not willing to go in in full force and stop the fighting, they should also not impose weapons embargos, because that not only lengthens the war but ensures that it is the side that is better connected with mafias of weapons smugglers, or that has the backing of a "rogue" state willing to violate an international arms embargo, that wins the war.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:37:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"the side that is better connected with mafias of weapons smugglers"

With further precision, "the side, dominated by a faction that is better connected with mafia..."

As Kosovo, the EU's Mafia Superstate, has so amply shown.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 07:02:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and Kosovo wars:

German diplomacy is a joke, precisely because Germany does not have an army behind it. And so, we all wait around while many people get killed until uncle Sam finally comes to the rescue. Classic EU statecraft led by Germany.

Germany recognised states (thinking esp. but not only Croatia) it had no business taking the lead in recognising, as it had no intention nor wherewithal to actually take responsibility for that action. (And no, social democratic idealists, it is not reasonable to say "ah the bad Serbs they are responsible for everything! If they hadn't attacked and yada yada yada," because you deal, in such matters, with the way things really are, and not as you think they ought to be.

At least the French and the Brits are capable of taking care of their own diplomatic back yard, whatever else you can say about it. Of course, Ukraine is Germany's diplomatic back yard. And as Stalin said, how many divisions?

And we all wonder why Victoria Nuland is so bellicose? What choice does she have? Unlike many social democratic types in the EU, she remembers her recent Balkan wars history...

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 07:09:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Iraq, Syria patterns of Uncle Sam's saving will apply, I guess.
by das monde on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 07:14:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And in any event, the comparisons are invalid. Irak was a war started by the Americans. The wars of the Yugoslav succession were not. And, in many important ways (not least on the diplomatic front) they were egged on by major EU players.

Confused here: is the holding up of the US example in Irak supposed to therefore excuse the German pattern of essentially starting a war and then refusing to participate in it?


The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 08:38:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh come on. Eurogreen mentioned some beautiful examples of the USA not creating anything resembling order in its "diplomatic back yard", who started war or not is irrelevant. As for who started or not, if Germany's recognition of Croatia's and Slovenia1s unilateral declaration of independence should count as starting the war, US support for the KLA should in the case of Kosovo, much more so...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 10:49:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU nations, Germany at the forefront, make a complete hash of the wars (and I did employ the plural) of the Jugoslav succession, getting many people killed in the process and not just in Bosnia, but plenty in Croatia too.

Who comes in finally to clean up? And has to deal with Milosevic, strengthened by the understandable Serbian reaction to German meddling in the process of disintegration of the Jugoslav state? The US. Not for nothing that the Dayton accords happened in the industrial heartland of the US rather than somewhere in Germany, industrial heartland of Europe. Why? Because the Europeans were incapable of doing anything but make the deadly mess worse.

By that point, mass had already been said as regards Kosovo, once it had been seen what the Dutch soldiers were capable of allowing due to German style preparedness, I don't think anyone was prepared to see the same thing happen again. And your insinuation that US alliance with KLA was by choice is fairly offensive. Far from the case, see Mig's comment on "the side with the best arms mafia contacts." Unfortunately for the social democratic world view, in the real world you deal with actual power centres and actual facts on the ground, not the ones you think ought to be.

I think if Europeans want to complain about US actions in Europe, there is a very easy solution: stop free-riding on the US security guarantee, and ask the troops to leave. Leave Nato too. A lot would be solved right there.

But then, you would have to reckon with the fact that you still need security. And, since the past generation of Nato diplomacy was mostly about fucking Russia (the Yeltsin years in particular), you are going to have to make nice to Moscow and make use of their capabilities (ah, but no one, social democrat or no, wants to do this, wonder why?) or build your own, which less than half of Europe ( Russophobic -understandably or no - nations plus France and UK).

When Europe starts building its own, it can justifiably belly-ache about US actions in Europe. But not before.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 04:59:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
" if Germany's recognition of Croatia's and Slovenia1s unilateral declaration of independence should count as starting the war"

uttermost nonsense. remember the timeline.

The destruction of Yugoslavia was started by Milosevic in Kososvo in 1989.

by IM on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 05:40:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Could you leave me out of your debate with redstar?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 03:10:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
why?
by IM on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 05:53:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because you look as if you can't recognise a counterfactual.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 06:17:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is abuse, not argument.
by IM on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 06:32:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is abuse? In the comment I protested, you quoted the counterfactual part of my argument which paraphrased what redstar claimed, and commented it as if it were a factual claim of my own.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 06:34:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"As for who started or not, if Germany's recognition of Croatia's and Slovenia1s unilateral declaration of independence should count as starting the war,"

So it shouldn't?

And the dissolution wars of Yugoslavia did start in Yugoslavia by its inhabitants?

by IM on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 06:52:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You've got it. Now, can we progress the second part of my argument towards redstar?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 07:04:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not the right person here. My impression of american hard power gaining positive results for american policy in the last, say forty years isn't that high. To much had "we had to destroy the city to save it" results. The one big success - dissolution of the eastern block - is very much the result of soft power.

This whole discussion - The EU this, the US that creates a false dichotomy anyway. Apart from Iraq most foreign policy is a common enterprise anyway.    

by IM on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 07:50:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US doesn't do foreign policy - the US does domestic policy in foreigns way.

The primary aim of US domestic policy is Wall St profit.

If that means starting a war of fifteen or subverting popular democracies around the world, that's considered business as normal.

This makes the US seem more like a military failure than it actually is. The US does not use military force to maintain its empire. It uses military force as an excuse for domestic military profit, and as a misdirection from less overt forms of political manipulation.

The primary difference between the US and the Soviet Union is that the US mastered two very important arts - overt international lifestyle propaganda, used to define imperial values as self-determining high-status markers, and covert indirect repression.

The USSR never understood the value of either. Putin doesn't seem to have learned that lesson. He's still doing the 'You know we have nukes and soliders, so you'd better take us seriously' thing in the Ukraine.

It may work there, for a while, but - unless those nukes are used - it may dent US hegemony, but it won't destroy it.

China is the only country which has more military leverage and longer experience of building empire through careful status management and media control. Post-communist China isn't there yet, but it has certainly has the potential to win a narrative war against the US.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 08:19:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess Putin is aware of the power of the Western propaganda, that being the reason he does not even try to compete there. He does not particularly resist the painted image of himself, and relies on "reality based" measures to hold onto what he can. And surely, Putin is opportunistic with the freedom from appearances.

The US-led indirect repression has increased risks with worse global economy and energy resource limits in sight (as Greece exemplifies). Russia and China might just reasonably expect to wait for the "reality" to hit harder.

by das monde on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 10:07:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh. Do you remember RT exists? I'd rather say this is one of the cases where he doesn't particularly object to the picture painted.

Similar to ISIS in some  ways. They're propaganda strategy is to show everyone what badass motherfuckers they are and how the West is shitting its collective pants. The NATO strategy is to show what terrible murderers they are and building up hysteria to get more funding and make those surveillance, torture and bombed wedding scandals go away. Which is the same strategy minus the coarse language.

by generic on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 04:24:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't come across RT that often. Is it really addressed in any measure towards a dialogue recognizable to "convertible" Westerners?

All this ISIS, Putin, Hebdo, North Korea circus is to make otherwise smart people keep  wondering what is happening.

by das monde on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 04:38:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
das monde:
Is it really addressed in any measure towards a dialogue recognizable to "convertible" Westerners?

Yes, precisely. In English, German, and French.

Putin personally supervised a shake-up of Russian communications with the rest of the world. RIA Novosti in English (rather a good news agency) was merged with Voice of Russia to make the surprising Sputnik News. Russia Today in English was boosted with more means, now more languages.

das monde:

the power of the Western propaganda, that being the reason he does not even try to compete there.

He is most definitely trying to compete, and with some success.

das monde:

Putin is opportunistic with the freedom from appearances.

Really?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 05:17:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For the international stage, I expected some participation in the Western media, adressing damning implications, a more complete narrative. But apparently I am clueless about what appeals to fellow (?!) human brains, or how to do mass propaganda.
by das monde on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 06:08:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, one way to appeal to human brains is to plant stories which are picked up by other media and enthusiastic conspiracy theorists and thus get read by people critical of their governments but uncritical of their alternative news sources, to which you gave us an involuntary demonstration.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 07:47:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If that is so massively significant... The advantage for Russia is that it does not need much deliberte effort to appeal to quite a few kinds of analytical, unorthodox, certain justice or truth seeking brains - if only because the West is consistently leaving vast vacuum here and there. In that particular case of "involuntary demonstration", you don't need TASS or BBC to have a heretic question about the ATC records - still undisclosed (apart from a few bits) and not under discussion.
by das monde on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 08:52:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, yes, we know your conspiracy theories don't require evidence, or even plausible stories from creditable third parties.

Troll-rated for promulgation of MH 17 troof.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 18th, 2015 at 12:59:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All I am telling for that tangent (brought up by DoDo) is that the offical troof theory does require that existing (and often decisive) evidence to be brought up to the public. That is an interesting fact... But let me just get away from this - troll rate what you want with your undisputable authority.
by das monde on Wed Feb 18th, 2015 at 02:26:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I highlighted is your selective propaganda blindness, which is quite on-topic regarding your claim that Russia supposedly doesn't do effective propaganda. The subject of the linked example is immaterial, your treatment of information is. Someone who can't be bothered to distinguish who in a story is a "single anonymous source", "Interfax", and "BBC", and can't distinguish between a fact-checked article and live-blogging, shouldn't kid himself about having an analytical mind. The right word is "paranoid".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 18th, 2015 at 01:10:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So you are telling, the Kremlin issued that isolated "propaganda" bit of TASS info, and then never tried anything better? That absent propaganda from Russia is what I am talking about in this thread.

Leonard Cohen sings:
   There is a crack in everything
   That's how the light gets in.

I had some education in crack sensing in the last Soviet years. That TASS/BBC blip -- a deviation from the eventual presented makeup - is what I recognize as a crack. That's all.

by das monde on Thu Feb 19th, 2015 at 03:09:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My impression of american hard power gaining positive results for american policy in the last, say forty years isn't that high.

Then we are actually in agreement!

This sub-thread was started by redstar with the premise that a successful foreign policy needs military power, claiming the Kohl government's independence recognitions as evidence. Be it due to passion for controversy or a bout of Germanophobia to externalise his justified despair over the state of the French Left, he couldn't refrain from stating it with a distracting hyperbole that spun the narrative of pro-Serbia apologists even further (Kohl and Genscher's move quite arguably only aggravated the conflict, but that's a far cry from starting it). However, the greater problem of his argument was that recent examples of imperial foreign policy backed with military power weren't exactly successful. Redstar tried to explain this away by denying US agency in the conflict in Kosovo, although the support for the KLA was a quite significant move (aggravating the situation much more than the independence recognitions): it not only led to the escalation of rebel and Serb police/military violence before and especially during NATO's bombing campaign, but virtually ensured that independent Kosovo become the mafia state it is now. (And yes, the Kosovo conflict didn't begin with the US support for the KLA, either.)

Apart from Iraq most foreign policy is a common enterprise anyway.

But with increasing disagreements and running-apart strategies, see Ukraine again.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 07:03:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...recent examples of imperial foreign policy backed with military power weren't exactly successful...
...the support for the KLA... virtually ensured that independent Kosovo become the mafia state...

On the other hand, one can argue that Kosovo as a mafia state is a foreign policy success for the USA.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 07:16:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
O come on. Russia has a South Ossetia too. That is only fair!
by IM on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 05:28:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IM:
To much had "we had to destroy the city to save it" results. The one big success - dissolution of the eastern block - is very much the result of soft power.

Couldn't agree more. This is why I think it was folly to push Ukraine to the brink. The only way to imagine that February 2014 would stand was if Russia respected the distinction between soft and hard power. Russia may be trying, even with some success, to do soft power, but it never bought the 'military power is obsolete' or that it is 'uncivilized', etc.

The only sensible approach was to have left Yanukovich in power and not to have gotten involved in November '13. But that would imply that foreign policy is based on national interests. Here I agree with TBG. I think it is, but only in the sense that national interests, so far as they extend to the nation and people as a whole, have been hijacked and conflated with the interests of the elite wealth extraction crowd to whom the importance of maintaining their control over the domestic population far exceeds any other concern. This is true about the USA, Great Britain, Germany and France if in differing degrees.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 12:18:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This concern with appearances has led easily to a 'politics begins at the border' approach to foreign policy issues, where they become important mostly for the way they can be used to manipulate the population. In the USA this  goes back to the 'who lost China' nonsense which was instrumental in JFK's initial steps in Vietnam and, especially, in LBJ's escalation. I hated it then and hate it now.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 12:25:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the history books generally would say two years later, 1991, declaration of independence of Slovenia and Croatia.

Saying 1989 is a political statement, one I may or may not agree with, relating to actions Milosevic took relative to an internal Serbian matter on the statute of Kosovo. A political statement, not a statement of fact. Otherwise, why stop at 1989? We can go to 1981...that wasn't even Milosevic...or again, why stop there, we can go back to the famous 11th century or whatever that Serbian nationalists are always on about.

Again, you present a political statement as a fact.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 04:49:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No political in history books or, heaven beware, us nationalism either?

"The history books" - charming.

The destruction of the self-government of Kossovo was a fact and I watched it back then in real time. It was a internal yugoslavian matter, destroying the balance of Yugoslavia.

by IM on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 05:07:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean the same balance that produced even more severe repression in Kosovo in the early 1980's when Milosevic was still in law school or whatever?

Tito died in 1980. What followed was predictable, and predicted. Except maybe to those perpetually and irresponsibly naive, which is my cheif criticism here.

Of course, this makes me a Milosevic lover. In the same way, I suppose, that AJP Taylor is called a Hitler lover by some equally naive people.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 06:40:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you both miss the 80ies destruction of the Yugoslav economy with IMF and "reforms" and all. Though that was the US, so I am not at all sure were this fits into your discussion.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 02:56:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tito died in 1980. What followed was predictable, and predicted.

But in  this case the famous "recognition§ had no influence on events anyway.

by IM on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 08:05:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Redstar is not wrong in pointing out that in suppressing Kosovo, you could go back at least to the bloody repression of the 1981 protests in Kosovo: the elimination of intra-Serbian autonomy doesn't suffice as the start of war or even the start of dissolution. (The Gazimestan speech, on the other hand, came close to a declaration of war, or at least a declaration of intransigent fightr for self-interest against the other Yugoslav republics.) You should have noted instead that, even if 1991 be the starting date, the Ten-Day War was months before Germany's recognition.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 07:54:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That speech and the suppression of the independent administration started the dissolution and the civil wars. That was obvious even back then.

"You should have noted instead that, even if 1991 be the starting date, the Ten-Day War was months before Germany's recognition."

Why? I didn't caim teh war started with recognition. The facts are obvious after all.

by IM on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 07:58:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That speech and the suppression of the independent administration started the dissolution and the civil wars.

That's a way too cavalier summary of the events between March 1989 and June 1991. To make that claim, there would have to been near-continuous civil war during that period, but even the (not yet fighting) paramilitaries appeared in late 1990 only and hostilities started in March 1991.

Why?

Because it would have been a valid argument against redstar's position, obviously. 1989 as the starting date of the civil war is most definitely not standard history,  but you don't need that to disprove redstar.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 08:17:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"1989 as the starting date of the civil war is most definitely not standard history,"

Oh come on. That is as close to standard history as it is going to get.

What is your interpretation? That the dissolution of Yugoslaiva started in Slovenia and serb politics had nothing to do with it?

by IM on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 08:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actualaly it was feared in Slovenia that an "anti-bureaucratic revolution, that is Milosevic takeover could happen there too.
by IM on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 08:25:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As in here:

proto civil war in december 19889

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rally_of_Truth

by IM on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 08:27:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope, standard history says 1991:

Yugoslav Wars - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Yugoslav Wars were ethnic conflicts fought from 1991 to 2001 on the territory of former Yugoslavia.

Every civil war obviously has non-immediate causes and background, and how far back in time you follow those depends on the historian. I note that by referencing the "anti-bureaucratic revolution" in another comment, you already followed it back to 1986.

If you are curious about my personal interpretation of the events, I think even with the bad preconditions – the loss of Tito as a symbolic connecting figure (a Croat fighting WWII with mostly Serb supporters), existing nationalist movements reaching into the top ranks, and a federal make-up giving structure to rather than mitigating conflict –, for the total escalation, the specific ambitions and style of power of the leaders was crucial. Above all Milo's tendency to attempt to grab more power with an ever firmer grip but losing even more of it slipping through his fingers: a more intelligent supreme leader wannabe would have realised that it's not good to have everyone against him at the same time. But several others bear responsibility for not attempting to wait longer and play for Milo's eventual overthrow and further the escalation one way or another, above all Tuđman, with his de-Serbification campaign and his little deal with Milo regarding Bosnia (March 1991!). Among foreign meddlers, in addition to the IMF, the USA, Germany and Russia, I could mention Hungary's first democratically elected government which secretly sent a large cache of arms to Tuđman's government in late 1990.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 09:23:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there a HD Genscher Strasse in your neighbourhood too?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 08:34:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"This was followed by the mass replacement of opposing communist leaders in the provinces, called the "anti-bureaucratic revolution". Many Albanians were killed in March 1989 when demonstrations against the new constitution were violently suppressed by Serbian security forces. By June 1989, the atmosphere in Kosovo was calm but tense"

Thta was the timeline. Babbling about early 1980s, there after all no civil war was staretd, is irrelevant in that context.

by IM on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 08:01:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The situation in June 1989 was exactly like after the bloody clampdown in 1981: repression successful. The civil war started well after, for which you needed the conflict with the other republics. It doesn't help your position to dismiss arguments as "babbling".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 08:06:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No it wasn't. the other republics couldn't accept the take over of the votes of the provinces by Serbia, leading to dissolution. I see no hidden german hand here, do you?

And yes, deflecting form the situation in 1989/1990/1991 by talking about the eraly eighties isn't much of an argument

A situation starting to develop in mid 1989 was not caused by something happening in december 1991.

by IM on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 08:10:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The 1981 events were triggered by Kosovan demands for statehood, something hardly irrelevant to the subsequent elimination of autonomy. For Milo's power grab within Yugosavia, the takeover of his supporters in the republic of Montenegro is just as relevant than the two autonomy regions (the first of which fell in 1988 already in the Yogurt Revolution). I don't understand what you mean by the other republics "not accepting" the takeovers: they took active part in the Presidency until March 1991 at least.

I still don't get why you're so hung up on March 1989 when June 1991 already destroys redstar's argument.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 08:35:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...in the EU - you need to go back to pre - unification Germany EU logic.

Once you go there you understand.

Timing is everything.

I suppose, in a more perfect world, Gysi is chancellor and Redstar not only isn't Germanophobe, but is busy learning German and sick of the ball - less french among whom he has lived for years.

But hey, you go to war with the Germany you have,  not the one you wished you have.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 09:00:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany recognised states (thinking esp. but not only Croatia) it had no business taking the lead in recognising, as it had no intention nor wherewithal to actually take responsibility for that action. (And no, social democratic idealists, it is not reasonable to say "ah the bad Serbs they are responsible for everything! If they hadn't attacked and yada yada yada," because you deal, in such matters, with the way things really are, and not as you think they ought to be.
Interestingly, Croatia is still full of "Hans Dietrich Genscher street".

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 09:14:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is vastly overestimating the importance of recognition. At time germany pushed ahead and recognized croatia a few weeks earlier, there had been already month of civil war.

>(And no, social democratic idealists, it is not reasonable to say "ah the bad Serbs they are responsible for everything! If they hadn't attacked and yada yada yada,"<

That is the only reasonable way to see things. By the way where is your hero Milosevic now and how has Serbia pofited in he end of all his wars?

by IM on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 05:36:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
where is your hero Milosevic now

Is that really necessary? Still Milosevic dying during his trial in a cell in de Haag should hardly be a point of pride for the interventionist side.

by generic on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 07:10:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, even if you want to give Kohl & Genscher a pass so that you can give Schröder & Scharping a pass (not to mention other Western powers or Russia), you have to at least recognise the proto-fascist streak on Franjo Tuđman's side and lay some blame there.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 02:52:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have a curious method for keeping out of debates

"you have to at least recognise the proto-fascist streak on Franjo Tuđman's side and lay some blame there."

Sure, but that is very much a cause of dissolution from inside Yugoslavia. I didn't say anything about the independence movement in  Slovenia and Croatia being a good thing. I just pointed out that is was very real thing, leading to civil war long before the recognition crisis.

"so that you can give Schröder & Scharping a pass (not to mention other Western powers or Russia)"

Is this a new theory that makes Germany the prime mover in the Kosovo war? Not the US?

by IM on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 05:59:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, but that is very much a cause of dissolution from inside Yugoslavia. I didn't say anything about the independence movement in  Slovenia and Croatia being a good thing. I just pointed out that is was very real thing, leading to civil war long before the recognition crisis.

In other words, you can do nuance and do not really think that redstar's caricature of a supposedly SocDem view, that "the bad Serbs are responsible for everything", is "the only reasonable way to see things".  Shoot less from the hip, less confusion.

Germany the prime mover in the Kosovo war? Not the US?

Not shooting from the hip would also let you to notice nuance when reading what others wrote. That way, you could distinguish between my position and that of redstar.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 06:27:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I haven't seen much nuance from you on this topic so far. The dissolution of Yugoslavia started when Milosevic removed the autonomy of the autonomous province inside Serbia and so destroyed the balance of feral Yugoslavia.

As far as recognition was involved I looked up the timeline:

"Germany advocated quick recognition of Croatia, in order to stop ongoing violence in Serb-inhabited areas, with Helmut Kohl requesting recognition in the Bundestag on 4 September."

Recognition by the EU happened on January 15th and Germany jumped ahead and recognized on December 19th.

But at this time the croatian civil war was already under way a full half year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_of_Croatia#General_recognition  

by IM on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 06:45:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Again, you are debating redstar, not me. You don't need to see me invest energy into the 100th detailed debunking of this simplistic narrative to deduce a different view from my previous comments.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 07:02:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your interlocutor here claims that Milosevic started everything in 1989 when he revoked Kosovo's autonomous stature. 5I think he did the same in the Hungarian province too, but not with the same result although I think Monica Seles mentioned it as a reason to take US citizenship if memory serves).

And what was my point? That when two years later, Bonn recognises, before everyone else, Croatian and Slovenian independence, unilaterally, with no military contingency plan or negotiations with Belgrade, that this recognition very predictably would escalate into war.

And you don't need to be a Milosevic lover or a Germanophobe or whatever other insults to which some of you are on thread are prone, to recognise this.

This is what I meant by you deal with the world as it is, and not how the social democrat thinks it ought ot be. To which, again, one is either a Milosevic lover or a simplistic carcaturer of social democrats (leaving aside the fact that , predictably, your social democrat interlocutor on this subject immediately started blaming Milosevic for being...Milosevic, which in my world is called a tautology)

Seems to me that you can't call me an idiot because I point out it was naive to think Milosevic was not going to be Milosevic, and at the same time point fingers in the end at Milosevic because he was Milosevic. Because it is precisely that sort of idiocy I am criticising in the first place.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 05:43:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I note we have elided here to the intervention in Kosovo, seven years after what I was describing as a serious failure of EU and EU-member state foreign policy.

The Kosovo crisis is of course very much related, but I do hope you and your interlocutor here can see the nuance and the shift in focus which is undertaken, in both of your rhetoric, which is of course advantageous to the viewpoint you both seem to want to put forth (hard power bad, US hard power very bad).

Remember, my main practical point was simply that German foreign policy relating to the former Jugoslavia in 1991-1992 was irresponsible and played a significant contributing part in the escalation of the wars in Bosnia and Croatia, conflict in which US hard power, in support of diplomatic efforts culminating in Dayton peace accords which hold to this day, was eventually needed, given EU member state armed response was pathetically inadequate. I further avered that if the US has a hard time taking EU diplomacy in this part of the world (today Ukraine) the recent past, and decades of under-investment in security on the part of many EU nations (and especially Germany, which enjoys a security guarantee by the US) can help explain it.

I never of course said that I approved of Ms. Nuland's worldview or words or acts. Simply put them in context.

To this I am treated to...wait for it...accusations of US misbehaviour in the middle east, as if I think those imperial wars were justified. And why not talk about Kosovo, which happened 7 years later (and which I further mentioned, given the strengthening of Milosevic in the first Jugoslav wars in Croatia and Bosnia)? Why not keep misdirecting?

Again, I was commenting on unilateral recognition of an independent state in Europe with a very large Serbian minority, at a time when a nationalist was entrenching his power in Belgrade. It doesn't take a genius to suspect that, given what was known about Milosevic already, the man in Belgrade was not going to take such declarations lying down.

This is just how things were, and stating this does not make one a Milosevic lover, as your interlocutor has explicitly stated.

And my "caricature" of the social democratic response was simply, again, a statement about the inability to be realistic about such things, to recognise Croatia unilaterally without so much as pourparlers with Belgrade or military contigency plans in the event of the inevitable. But this somehow makes me a Germanophobe and "distraught at the state of the French left".

And the reason for this is that we are in the same place with Putin right now, and the EU have a similarly weak response. Again, I am not a Putin lover for saying this. There are times when a  military response is warranted, or at the very least a credible threat, else diplomatic pressure can be ignored, something Putin has shown time and again, and any Georgian can tell you about this.

If folks on this site are going to decry lack of nuance, I would suggest folks on this site try to employ it for themselves.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 05:27:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar:
If folks on this site are going to decry lack of nuance, I would suggest folks on this site try to employ it for themselves.

If contributors are going to start whining about "this site", I would suggest they go try another one.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 05:33:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was not whining about this site. I was amused at the hypocritical whining (and casual insults) of two contributors of this site.

Nuance.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 06:09:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's an invitation to debate without the whining and the victimisation.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 06:44:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
which has been an invitation for so many previous contributors to leave.

I see.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 06:47:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No you don't.

In almost ten years, very few people have been banned or "invited to leave".

Keep up the pissy insinuations, you're going to be treated as a straightforward troll.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 07:49:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But certain "site cops" do have a way of intervening. It isn't what is said, it is the way it is said, and when the intervention is chosen.

Ad homs on being Milosevic lover? Germanophobe? Et c.? No intervention.

Call people on it? Afew to the rescue.

You may not have a practise of banning people but, let's just say, certain people do have a very strong habit of making others quite unwelcome.

It is a passive aggressive form of the same thing.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 08:57:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When you choose the sig line you have, you don't bitch about being called Germanophobic. You have chosen to make your Germanophobia patent.

Nobody called you a "Milosevic-lover", any more than anyone called you an idiot. You are just posing as a victim.

As for people who complain about how "this site" is run, I told you further up. Try another place to see if it fits your style better.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 09:30:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thumbs down for the escalation here.
by das monde on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 09:57:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]


The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 07:21:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[ET Moderation Technology™]

As you have now decided to engage in a ratings battle, I'm warning you that any more of it will see your ratings wiped and your right to rate shut down.

 

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 09:34:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"we have elided here to the intervention in Kosovo,"

We have done nothing of that sort. Yozu wnated for whatever reason peddle pro Milosevic myth of the dissolution of Yugoslavia. One again: At the time Germany recognized Croatia (unilaterally, but only a few weeks prior to the rest of the EC) there was already a civil war in Croatia raging for half a year. A hard power devotee like you should recognize facts on the ground or not?

And you germanophobia is well known. That was perhaps one of its milder eruptions.

(hard power bad, US hard power very bad).

No. Rather: hard power has its limits. Take Bosnia:the US ended it, but how? By just freezing the frontlines - after Serbia captured the enclaves by the way. And now? Bosnia is de fato still in the same state of frozen frontlines. Is that really a success?

A common EU/USA failure of course - as so often.

And now in Ukraine, what exactly is american hard power doing?

by IM on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 05:40:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"pro-Milosevic" myths.

What is it with you and ad hominem?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 05:54:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Says the person, who thinks "huns" funny. And yes, you are peddling pro Milosevic myhts. I haven't forgotten the actual timeline. If you have, look it up again.
by IM on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 05:56:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At the time Germany recognized Croatia (unilaterally, but only a few weeks prior to the rest of the EC)

This is a self-serving qualifier, which might lead the careless reader to assume that the EC would have anyway recognized Croatia.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 04:19:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it would have. Recognition on january 15th was already decided.
by IM on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 04:37:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope, Germany forced its partners' hand. From a contemporary source:

Slovenia and Croatia Get Bonn's Nod - NYTimes.com

At a fractious European Community meeting last week, Germany announced to its partners that it was planning to recognize Slovenia and Croatia, even if it had to do so alone. To preserve a semblance of unity, the 12 member countries approved a resolution authorizing recognition of new nations that meet certain conditions, including stable borders, respect for democracy, and protection of minority rights. Thousands Killed in Fighting

Several European leaders, as well as President Bush and Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar of the United Nations, had urged Germany not to proceed with plans to recognize the two republics immediately. They suggested instead that recognition be withheld until it could be granted as part of an overall peace settlement.

Both supporters and opponents of recognition say their position will help end the fighting, which has claimed thousands of lives since since Slovenia and Croatia declared independence this summer. Troops of the Serbian-dominated regular army and militias have taken over a third of Croatia's territory in their attempt to block Croatian secession.

I don't understand why you have to defend Kohl & Genscher here: they were clearly wrong in assuming that recognition will end the fighting.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 07:46:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"they were clearly wrong in assuming that recognition will end the fighting. "

Sute. But the claim here was that the recognition startedthe figfhting. Not quite the same.

by IM on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 07:50:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Munich newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, one of whose correspondents was killed this year while covering the Yugoslav conflict, today criticized the Government's action as "an empty gesture" that was "a foreign policy reaction to domestic political pressure."

Was hardly universally applauded in Geemany bachj then, too.

That said:

"Under the European Community resolution, today was the first day on which a member country could declare that Croatia or Slovenia had met the conditions for recognition. The community set Jan. 15 as the first day for formal recognition, and whether Germany has adhered to that deadline or acted too quickly was described in Bonn as a matter of interpretation. "

by IM on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 07:53:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I blame Mitterand much more than Kohl.

Germany was a foreign-policy midget, and should have been treated as such by its EU partners, who should have developed a coherent and morally defensible common position. Public pressure in Germany, based more on previous historical affinities (no, I'm not just talking about WWII) than current events, should not have been the determining factor in recognising the post-Yugoslav republics.

France, as the senior foreign-policy actor in the EU, had the largest responsibility in providing an adequate response. But here too, policy-makers  maintained their historic affinity with the Serbs, always their preferred hegemon in the Balkans (going back a long way). Mitterand apparently saw nothing wrong with the Serbs mutilating the Yugoslav federal system in order to seize power. He was such an arsehole in foreign policy.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 17th, 2015 at 09:08:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a quite militaristic view on diplomacy... Methinks things would have been rather more bleak had Germany played around in its "diplomatic back yard" the same way the USA did in Iraq.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 10:43:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to restart any balkan discussions but what do you mean by "At least the French and the Brits are capable of taking care of their own diplomatic back yard"?

Because I distinctly remember the French starting with the bombing Libya only to go to the US hat in hand because they were running out of bombs.

But really most western armies are a joke, because the procurement process and military leadership is devoid of any accountability. You can sort of work around it by throwing infinite money at the problem, but still.

by generic on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 11:35:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And, at least in the case of European joke armies, I say und das ist auch gut so.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 11:41:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
until you actually need it.

Leben ist alles, Rose, wenn Sie ein Träumer sind.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 05:07:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar:
Unfortunately, hard power is not an aspect of a flowering society, but at best one nearing the end of its universal state, heading towards decline.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 03:09:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But viewed in a manicheistic manner, I can see how they could be taken that way.

Because the northern European vision of society is about something other than decline? Just look at the birth rates.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sat Feb 14th, 2015 at 05:30:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
backyard. Libya was clearly a mistake, but it wasn't the case that this was due to French bungling of the classic diplomacy/force tandem, because there was no diplomacy to speak of. It was pure US-style power project for sake of power projection, and not even the US has resources for that, as Irak has shown.

I am refering to the area of the world known as Françafrique (using the term by the way means I am not lending my approval to it, just stating it as a fact), and recent interventions include Côte d'Ivoire a couple years ago, or more recently Mali and Centrafrique.

Libya is definitely not in Françafrique. You use of it is a red herring.

Where has Germany succesfully used its diplomatic power to alleviate tensions, and how has it done so?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 05:05:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At least the French and the Brits are capable of taking care of their own diplomatic back yard, whatever else you can say about it.

Echoing generic below, I think the Libyan intervention contradicts that.  My memory is of Sarko and Poshboy being incapable of taking a firm position and tying themselves in knots until Obama finally said, "Okay, let's get involved."  And then France and Britain ran out of bombs and everybody in the US was, like, "wut?"

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:22:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, IMHO France's military adventures in Africa and the notion of "taking care of one's own diplomatic backyard" are in the category of post-menopausal imperialism.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:48:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nearly spit my beer out reading that. ;)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:58:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And we all wonder why Victoria Nuland is so bellicose? What choice does she have?

She and her buddies, along with the US Government could and should have left Ukraine the fuck alone instead of running their 'color revolutions' and orchestrating the coup that led to Petro Poroschenko. Had Obama wanted to avoid this US fiasco/Ukrainian tragedy he should have reassigned her and her fellow travelers. But no, we had to undermine the Ukraine because Putin is the heir of Stalin. The whole current situation is due to that group's influence and the subsequent refusal by the US to allow a functional degree of autonomy for the Donbas.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 09:25:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're ascribing way too much agency to the US in this conflict, just as others ascribe way too much agency to Putin. Sure, colour revolution, yadda yadda yadda; but once Pandora's box is opened, nobody can predict how it turns out, and nobody's micro-managing either side, as far as I can see.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 03:34:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps, and perhaps others, such as yourself, are ascribing too little. It was certainly no Iraq, but Nuland, Pyatt and others certainly felt they had accomplished something great, pulling Ukraine away from Russia, and through the agency first of the Orange Revolution, and then of the protests that led to the downfall of the recently elected government of Yanukovich. The US was fishing in troubled waters, organizing, financing and facilitating what came to pass: "Bringing Democracy to Ukraine." A match struck in just the right/wrong circumstances can set a prairie on fire, as I found out at age six. They are not six year olds.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 08:10:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"German diplomacy is a joke, precisely because Germany does not have an army behind it"

You are stuck in the 19th century.

"At least the French and the Brits are capable of taking care of their own diplomatic back yard,"

No wonder africa is in such a godd shape.

by IM on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 05:42:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the threat of heavy arms for the Ukraine government has forced Putin to stop sending heavy arms to the rebels.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:42:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't see how that's correct. Russian regulars armed with heavy equipment like tanks and rocket artillery are constantly in action against Ukrainian units. They are even rotating troops in and out of the battle zone. As late as today I saw pictures of Russian soldiers with strikingly Asiatic (think turko-mongol) features in the area.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 06:06:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed, but Putin's fiction is that they are not Russian army regulars but "volunteers" (I'm not sure if they are leasing tanks from the army or what).

If he concedes border controls in the negotiations, he won't be able to rotate his troops in and out any more. Or at least, not with the heavy weapons, pretty visible by satellite.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 09:34:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Putin said it was not the best night in his life, but agreed with "good morning". (Youtube ~20s). The ruble rate improved though.

English speaking Asovians were definitely spotted in Mariupol.

by das monde on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 07:05:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It appears that in the all-night party between Putin, Poro, Merkel and Hollande, agreement has been reached on closing the Russian border. This would presumably put an end to the possibility of driving (privately-owned) tanks over it.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:39:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What happens when the cool toys we sent to Poroshenko start popping up in the arsenals of other criminal organizations.

Fixed it for you.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 06:01:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Three words Migeru: Military Industrial Complex

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 11:49:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The neocons have been out of power since late 2008...

The nastiest neocons may have been out of power since 2008, but Obama seems to hold some neo-con cards in his hand and has allowed Victoria Nuland, et al to continue their games. Perhaps he is a whole lot more of a neo-con than most would like to think - especially if it suits his Wall Street buddies.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 10:49:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apart from Nuland, who exactly are these neocons?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 01:58:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Career civil service mostly, such as the former Ambassador to Ukraine, John Herbst and  Geoffrey R. Pyatt.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 02:32:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems to me "neocon" is one of those words that lose meaning in their overuse. I was taken to task over this by MarekNYC (whose absence from ET is greatly to be regretted), so here's a Wikipedia definition to chew on:

Neoconservatism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The term "neoconservative" refers to those who made the ideological journey from the anti-Stalinist left to the camp of American conservatism.[2] Neoconservatives frequently advocate the "assertive" promotion of democracy and promotion of "American national interest" in international affairs including by means of military force.[3][4] The movement had its intellectual roots in the Jewish[5] monthly review magazine Commentary.[6][7] C. Bradley Thompson, a professor at Clemson University, claims that most influential neoconservatives refer explicitly to the theoretical ideas in the philosophy of Leo Strauss (1899-1973).[8]

Nuland might just qualify, given her high post with Cheney and her marriage to Robert Kagan. Otherwise, the neoconservatives are out of office. The career diplomats you mention are bog-standard servants of hawkish US foreign policy (and Herbst is retired and has nothing to do with Obama afaik).

I'm not trying to obfuscate the aims of US policy in Ukraine, or to get Obama off the hook. Obama's foreign policy stance is hawkish -- not that this comes as a surprise, since it's the straightforward continuity of US policy since WWII (with a possible blip with Jimmy Carter). You don't have to be a neocon to advocate opposing and restraining Russia.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 03:47:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After having read further subsequent to my first response last night I was thinking pretty much the same regarding the general trend of US foreign policy. George Kennan, the father of 'containment', was, non the less, hardly a neo-con and has been scathing in some of his critiques of more recent policies. And I had lost track of the definition, though it does seem that much of their thinking has become mainstream in establishment US 'National Security' thinking, sadly. John Mearshimer and Steven Cohen are notable but lonely exceptions.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 10:38:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not trying to obfuscate the aims of US policy in Ukraine, or to get Obama off the hook. Obama's foreign policy stance is hawkish -- not that this comes as a surprise, since it's the straightforward continuity of US policy since WWII (with a possible blip with Jimmy Carter).

Eh, wasn't Carter the one who started our whole bit of sending weapons to the mujahedeen?  Granted, the bulk of it was under Reagan, but that one kind of bit us in the ass.

Think Obama wins that comparison, if only for hesitancy on this sort of stuff.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:15:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nah, arming the Mujahedeen worked out wonderfully. They created an insular, semi-stable, armed to the teeth spoiler state right in the middle between Russia, China, Iran, and India. What's not to like?

And it's not like it cost anything in particular until Baby Bush went and put them on the shit list for silly sentimental reasons.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:39:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Say what you will about Obama, but the "Don't do stupid shit" approach -- flawed though they are at adhering to it -- seems to me to work a lot better than the "grand" strategies every dipstick who's held the office in recent history has tried.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:47:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't too sure about Carter, so I said "possible".

In fact, we're talking about the US deep state stance on world affairs.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 01:27:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, I'm with ya.  And I generally like Jimmy.  But in terms of dumb military intervention, I think Obama's been alright and has successfully resisted the deep state stance a bit.  It's more the surveillance state where I think he's been shit, but then I don't really know, since it's the surveillance state and we obviously don't know what the hell they're doing.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 06:30:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...adding:

And, yeah, I wish Marek were still around.  Wish we'd had a chance to get together when he was in Northern Virginia in '08.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:30:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However, if '"neoconservative" refers to those who made the ideological journey from the anti-Stalinist left to the camp of American conservatism"', this leave out Leo Strauss and most of those he influenced through his teaching: Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfield, Richard Perle, etc., as he would have been a Nazi would they have had him, and was a big proponent of 'the modern tyrant', his update of Plato's 'philosopher-king'.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 08:54:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another marker not mentioned in that Wiki snippet is the influence of "Scoop" Jackson, who was an anti-Soviet Democrat. Richard Perle began his career with him.

As I recall, Marek's argument (when upbraiding me for spraying "neocon" around) was that Cheney and Rumsfeld were mega-hawk conservatives, not neocons in the strict sense. They were however extremely closely associated with neocons under (or over) BushII.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 01:39:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, where does that leave Cheney, Rumsfield, and Perle? I don't know the extent, if any, of Jackson's involvement with Leo Strauss. And Milton Friedman wouldn't have even Hayak, let alone Strauss, influencing economic orthodoxy. (Though I can't imagine Strauss had any association with the Mt. Perlin Society.)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 08:31:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jackson doesn't need to be involved with Leo Strauss. Strauss is a neocon theoretical reference, Jackson a practical political one.

Henry M. Jackson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Influence on neoconservatism

Jackson believed that evil should be confronted with power.[20] His support for civil rights and equality at home,[13] married to his opposition to détente,[20] his support for human rights[22] and democratic allies,[23] and his firm belief that the United States could be a force for good in the world[24] inspired a legion of loyal aides who went on to propound Jackson's philosophy as part of neoconservatism. In addition to Richard Perle, neoconservatives Paul Wolfowitz, Elliott Abrams, Charles Horner, and Douglas Feith were former Democratic aides to Jackson who, disillusioned with the Carter administration, supported Ronald Reagan and joined his administration in 1981, later becoming prominent foreign policy makers in the 21st-century Bush administration. Neoconservative Ben Wattenberg was a prominent political aide to Jackson's 1972 and 1976 presidential campaigns. Wolfowitz has called himself a "Scoop Jackson Republican" on multiple occasions.[22][25] Many journalists and scholars across the political spectrum have noted links between Senator Jackson and modern neoconservatism.[1][20][23][26][27][28][29][30][31][32]

So a whole bunch of neocons, Perle included, cut their political teeth with Jackson, before shifting to Reagan Republicanism. Cheney and Rumsfeld didn't follow that trajectory, but when they hit the big-power spot in the early '00s they surrounded themselves with, and empowered, neocons, to the extent that they are often considered to be neocons (though, if you consider the list of values attributed above to Jackson and his aides, Cheney and Rumsfeld obviously don't fit).

I don't get what the economics people you go on to mention have to do with it. No one has ever called them neocons, more likely neolibs.  

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 12:02:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 07:18:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See Fight with Cudgels.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 07:26:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I saw his Pinturas negras when I visited two years back. They haunt still.
by Bjinse on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 07:47:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
El sueño de la razón produce monstruos.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:18:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]

The copyright is OK.

by Xavier in Paris on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 04:33:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in Luxembourg?

With what army?

Totally unrealistic...Germany has underfunded it's preparedness for decades.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 05:07:10 AM EST
In Dodo's scenario, the army are withdrawn and replaced by the gendarmerie, once Lux is formally annexed.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 07:16:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean the gendarmerie using this force?

This is old but was selected as an infantry light tank in the 70s. It represents the predecessor of this and has been in use in Kosovo in the 90s-00s.

The army actually got another model, more adapted to the field, which is being replaced by this one.

Nevertheless, I feel that, if we are to pursue that kind of dystopia, we should open a thread in this kind of forum... where we would probably find "experts" on the use of these equipment.

by Xavier in Paris on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 11:40:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I concur with others on the timeline.  I think you'd need to push it out at least five years.  

The idea of Germany attacking France also seems highly unlikely, simply because Germany surely knows it'd get steamrolled.

What I don't get -- and this goes beyond the discussion here -- is the assumption that dropping the euro leads to dropping EU membership.  I don't see how the latter follows the former.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 10:15:56 AM EST
Not surprising, as the euro is what has clawed to the centre of what the EU has become.
The social ideal? Come come, everyone knows that was the honey to get everyone to fall into the troika deathtrap repaying debts run up by idiot politicians like 'bridge to nowhere' Berlusconi.
Didn't anyone see what would happen if you create a currency ahead of fiscal union? How the poorer countries would be encouraged into profligacy by lower borrowing costs?
So obvious in retrospect. All those actors being so rational and all...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 01:10:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany Emerges - Stratfor - Geopolitical Weekly
If it is too much to say that Merkel's world is collapsing, it is not too much to say that her world and Germany's have been reshaped in ways that would have been inconceivable in 2005. The confluence of a financial crisis in Europe that has led to dramatic increases in nationalism -- both in the way nations act and in the way citizens think -- with the threat of war in Ukraine has transformed Germany's world. Germany's goal has been to avoid taking a leading political or military role in Europe. The current situation has made this impossible. The European financial crisis, now seven years old, has long ceased being primarily an economic problem and is now a political one. The Ukrainian crisis places Germany in the extraordinarily uncomfortable position of playing a leading role in keeping a political problem from turning into a military one [...]

There is a common contradiction inherent in German strategy. The Germans do not want to come across as assertive or threatening, yet they are taking positions that are both. In the European crisis, it is Germany that is most rigid not only on the Greek question but also on the general question of Southern Europe and its catastrophic unemployment situation. In Ukraine, Berlin supports Kiev and thus opposes the Russians but does not want to draw any obvious conclusions. The European crisis and the Ukrainian crisis are mirror images. In Europe, Germany is playing a leading but aggressive role. In Ukraine, it is playing a leading but conciliatory role. What is most important is that in both cases, Germany has been forced -- more by circumstance than by policy -- to play leading roles [...]

Germany needed to make an example of Greece, and it tried very hard last week to be unbending, appearing to be a bit like the old Germany. The problem Germany had was that if the new Greek government wanted to survive, it couldn't capitulate. It had been elected to resist Germany. And whatever the unknowns, it was not clear that default, in whole or part, wasn't beneficial. And in the end, Greece could set its own rules. If the Greeks offered a fraction of repayment, would anyone refuse when the alternative was nothing? [...]

It was ironic that Germany, which the United States blocked twice as a hegemon, tried to persuade the United States that increased military action in Ukraine would not solve the problem. The Americans knew that, but they also knew that if they backed off now, the Russians would read it as an opportunity to press forward. Germany, which had helped set in motion both this crisis and the European crisis, was now asking the United States to back off. The request was understandable, but simply backing off was not possible. She needed to deliver something from Putin, such as a pledge to withdraw support to Ukrainian secessionists. But Putin needed something, too: a promise for an autonomous province. By now Merkel could live with that, but the Americans would find it undesirable. An autonomous Ukrainian province would inevitably become a base for undermining the rest of the country.

This is the classic German problem told two ways. Both derive from disproportionate strength overlying genuine weakness. The Germans are trying to reshape Europe, but their threats are of decreasing value. The Germans tried to reshape Ukraine but got trapped in the Russian reaction. In both cases, the problem was that they did not have sufficient power, instead requiring the acquiescence of others. And that is difficult to get. This is the old German problem: The Germans are too strong to be ignored and too weak to impose their will. Historically, the Germans tried to increase their strength so they could impose their will. In this case, they have no intention of doing so.  It will be interesting to see whether their will can hold when their strength is insufficient.

by das monde on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 03:51:33 AM EST
5 Reasons Arming Ukraine Won't Work
[No 1.]  America's commitment to Ukraine [...] has actually been quite limited, especially relative to Russia's determination to support the Ukrainian rebels. Moscow knows this from our own words and deeds  [...] arming Ukraine will serve as a credible deterrent only if President Obama clearly and persuasively affirms that he is prepared to send significant U.S. forces to Ukraine to combat the rebels (and that he is willing to risk using nuclear weapons in the process, if needed). Is Mr. Obama willing to do that? Would Congress or the American public support him?

[No 2.]  Limited lethal military assistance, whether offensive or defensive, won't impose sufficient costs on Russia to deter its support for separatists  [...] an American decision to impose costs that high in Ukraine would allow the Kremlin to frame the war as an existential U.S.-Russian conflict, rather than as a symbolically important but otherwise optional struggle to help Ukraine's separatists.

[No 3.] Poor weapons are not the Ukrainian military's principal problem.

[No 4.]  Time is not on our side. America's current economic-sanctions policy is in essence an economic war of attrition against Russia  [...]   a deliberate attempt to collapse Russia's economy is a huge gamble that could easily end with extreme nationalists in power and a Kremlin seizure of Western assets in the country.

[No 5.] We will not be able to succeed in managing the challenges Russia presents if we cannot be honest with ourselves.

by das monde on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 10:37:41 PM EST
I don't think the acrimonious debate or revisionism down-thread is much use to anyone.

Instead, maybe someone is interested in taking a look at this scenario. It's not a prediction, so we don't need to evaluate its probability, but I still think it's an interesting scenario.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Feb 20th, 2015 at 10:35:59 AM EST
It is a scenario that assumes that Russia wants to conquer Ukraine. If they did, they had an excellent opportunity when they had an escaped deposed president that they could have claimed as the rightful ruler of Ukraine and tried to return with a column of tanks at his back. But they didn't, instead Russia took Crimea and snarked about the lack of president in Ukraine.

I think what the Russian government does not want long term is a Ukraine in NATO and the EUs larger economic zone. Short term they do not want a military conquest of east Ukraine, much in the same way as a year ago the west did not want the then independent areas in western Ukraine conquered by the central power.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Feb 21st, 2015 at 05:12:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's more of a reactive and opportunistic view of Russia I'd say, rather than one based on an clear will to conquer other nations. Which is how I think of the Kremlin mindset. They don't want to conquer the world, or Europe, or even the former Soviet space. They will however act opportunistically to recreate some semblance of a Russian empire when the option presents itself, or if they feel themselves forced into action.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Feb 21st, 2015 at 06:34:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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