Fun to read Eurosceptics in this voluminous writing ... I read part of Chapter 1 - Background.
Europe On 387m A Day - 2009
Before its May 2004 expansion (Poland, Cyprus, Slovenia et al), the EU15 countries fairly closely described the area occupied by the Holy Roman or Habsburg Empires. After the Holy Roman Empire a short man with something of a Napoleon complex - Napoleon - came along. He forged an empire along similar lines to Charlemagne's but, as the noted historians ABBA remind us, "at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender".
Now, the European Union has "united" the continent as never before. José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, calls the present EU the "world's first non-imperial empire". Looking ahead in 2006 to the accession of Romania and Bulgaria, he called the expansion a "reunification of our European family". If that unification - whenever he may have been referring to (have Poland and Ireland really been yoked together before?) - is deemed a success worth repeating, why did it ever come unstuck? Will it not come unstuck again? We shall find out. In the meantime, how did it come about this time round?
The EU has had more British input than most people realise or acknowledge. Those who seek greater integration seethe that "la perfide albion" had anything to do with their beloved "projet", while British eurosceptics kick themselves. Thinkers and doers as diverse as Dante, Victor Hugo and Leon Trotsky have proposed a "united states of Europe". One man who went as far as calling for a "kind of united states of Europe... to begin now", in a speech at Zurich University in 1946, was Winston Churchill.
If you thought the Cold War between East and West reached its peak in the 1950s and 1960s, then think again. 1945 was the year when Europe was the crucible for a Third World War.
Operation Unthinkable - Churchill's plans to invade the Soviet Union -- May 1945
It's Geography, Stupid: Deciphering the Russian enigma with Churchill | Brussels Times |
I believe the answer lies in the second half - the seldomly quoted part - of Churchill's famous assessment of Russia above: "... but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest".
The borders of Europe that settled after the Cold War add nuance to the current situation, but there is in fact nothing new about what we are seeing. Rewinding back to its Ivan the Terrible origins, the Russian Empire has always been vulnerable to attacks by western powers through the North European Plain, which runs from the Baltic Sea in the north, to the Carpathian Mountains in the south.
A vast stretch of flat land that armies can roll through deep into the Russian heartland without much hindrance save the harsh Russian winter, the North European Plain has delivered a number of existential threats to Moscow: the Poles in 1605, the Swedes in 1708, Napoleon in 1812, and the Nazis in 1941.
In the aftermath of World War Two, the USSR padded this vulnerable artery with the freshly-minted communist satellite states, such as Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. The Iron Curtain served as a robust buffer zone for the delicate heart of the Soviet empire.
Iraqi Oil - the $250bn gift to Saudi Arabia and Russia | by Jerome a Paris Sat Dec 24th, 2005 |
Whenever one talks of Iraqi oil, conspiracy theories abound as to the real motive of the Iraq war, or the intentions of the Cheney clique viz. Iraqi oil.
As I have written before, the only theory that vaguely makes some kind of strategic sense is that Bushco wanted to sit on the Iraqi reserves, deny them to everybody else and keep them for the time in the near future when peak oil strikes and it becomes a huge strategic advantage. Not very useful in the short term, but possibly rational in the long run (in a narrow, zero-sum game tunnel vision sense, but hey, that's who they are).
But in the meantime, some other players, and I am not talking about ExxonMobil or the other majors, are laughing all the way to the bank.
From a comment by olexy (Ukraine), translated from Russian ...
From Kravchuk to Yushchenko | Journal Apologia - Nov. 2005 |
The term "party of power", which has firmly entered the everyday political lexicon in the post-Soviet space, appeared in the early nineties. This was the reaction of political circles and the expert community to the weakness of "normal" political parties, which appeared as a result of natural processes of institutionalization of political interests of various public groups. In a broad sense, this term is synonymous with the concept of "ruling elite".
"The Party of Power," Andrew Wilson and Valentyn Yakushyk wrote in 1992, is a political bloc consisting of pragmatically oriented and de-ideologicalized upper circles of the old nomenclature, representatives of the state apparatus, mass media, and leaders of traditional sectors of industry and agriculture.
In a narrow sense, the "party of power" is usually understood as party and movement-type associations, which are directly created by the political elite and play the role of the main exponent of its interests in the sphere of public policy.
In fact, the different understanding of the essence of the phenomenon we are considering reflects different stages of the development of the political system. During the period of formation of multi-party system and electoral democracy, "normal" political parties, arising as a result of natural processes of institutionalization of political interests of various public groups, were too weak.
With the establishment of democracy and the development of multipartyism, the new elite formed around the structures of executive power could no longer act in the sphere of public policy as an independent force independent of society. It was necessary to create the appearance of an expression of the interests of broad sections of the population. And different groups of the ruling elite, trying to legitimize their existence, began to create their own political parties - peculiar political superstructures of oligarchic groups of influence. The differences between them did not consist in different ideological and programmatic orientations, but mainly in the unequal degree of involvement in power and in the different level of access to the distribution of material and other resources.
No surprise Cheney chose Lithuania as location for his memorable speech ... left an indelible mark on anti-Russia rhetoric and pro-NATO stance. Today Lithuania manages to continue with provoking the CCP and China.
Mark Ames: Cheney Starts New Cold War Over Oil by Nomad Sat Jun 3rd, 2006 |
Tipped yesterday by Helen, I read a provocative and insightful piece on the oil politics in Russia and Central Asia by Mark Ames, posted on Alternet. Little did I know then how prolific a writer Mark Ames is, yet with help of poemless I send out an invitation to The eXile asking him to re-publish his story here on European Tribune.
Cheney Starts New Cold War Over Oil | By Mark Ames, The eXile - June 1, 2006 |
Cheney's brazen oil grab strategy in Central Asia has launched a new Cold War with Russia -- and this time we're losing.
[Editor's note: Mark Ames' essay is a lucid overview of what the Bush administration has been up to in Central Asia and former Soviet republics since 9/11. No, not fighting "terror" -- they've been working on a long-term oil grab by supporting dictators and gaming democratic elections in their favor, all while publicly bemoaning Russia's "slide" back to a dictatorship. Ames' lively writing style turns a heavy story into one of the best articles you'll read this month.]
One of the oddest reactions to Vice President Cheney's now-infamous speech in Lithuania, the one which many Russians believe officially heralded the start of a new Cold War, came from the mainstream American media. What was so strange? They actually did their job.
Instead of simply parroting the Administration's latest pieties, they actually allowed themselves to smell a rat.
The Bush cabal with VP Cheney, assistent Vicky Nuland, Rumsfeld, had other ideas for Europe ... a new mission for NATO.
NATO Summit in Bucharest - Spring 2008
Just before the NATO summit in Bucharest, the differences on what and how the Alliance should do in the future seem all but rising on both sides of the Atlantic. The Warsaw conference on NATO's Transformation made fundamental divides clearly visible. (...) The new NATO members seem to live in a Neverland. Professor Kuzniar assessed that the Alliance is the only force of global reach and capabilities. Wrong. There is no such thing as NATO global capability. There is the US global capability and to be more precise it is one of the US Navy.
Odds & Ends: All Russia Lovefest All The Time, Vol.37 | by poemless Fri May 16th, 2008 |
It's just some odds and some ends.
But reading it will make you better informed. I'm sure of that. And if we can't make people better informed, then the rest means nothing, my friends. Nothing, damn it!
Ok. It's a bit multi-lingual...
The man who brought us the first news about this new cold war situation is back …
The New American Cold War | The Nation - June 21, 2006 |
Contrary to established opinion, the gravest threats to America's national security are still in Russia. They derive from an unprecedented development that most US policy-makers have recklessly disregarded, as evidenced by the undeclared cold war Washington has waged, under both parties, against post-Communist Russia during the past fifteen years.
But that doesn't mean you don't have to read it, just because you read the first one! All twenty times I posted it... More than a concise and poignant explanation of US/Russia relations, more than a brilliant little gem of geopolitical insight, more than a damning criticism of American policy, this article is a cry of desperation!
The Missing Debate | by Stephan F. Cohen - May 1, 2008 |
This article appeared in the May 19, 2008 edition of The Nation.
Even the current cold peace could be more dangerous than its predecessor, for three reasons: First, its front line is not in Berlin or the Third World but on Russia's own borders, where US and NATO military power is increasingly ensconced. Second, lethal dangers inherent in Moscow's impaired controls over its vast stockpiles of materials of mass destruction and thousands of missiles on hair-trigger alert, a legacy of the state's disintegration in the 1990s, exceed any such threats in the past. And third, also unlike before, there is no effective domestic opposition to hawkish policies in Washington or Moscow, only influential proponents and cheerleaders.
How did it come to this? Less than twenty years ago, in 1989-90, the Soviet Russian and American leaders, Mikhail Gorbachev and George H.W. Bush, completing a process begun by Gorbachev and President Reagan, agreed to end the cold war, with "no winners and no losers," as even Condoleezza Rice once wrote, and begin a new era of "genuine cooperation." In the US policy elite and media, the nearly unanimous answer is that Russian President Vladimir Putin's antidemocratic domestic policies and "neo-imperialism" destroyed that historic opportunity.
You don't have to be a Putin apologist to understand that this is not an adequate explanation. During the last eight years, Putin's foreign policies have been largely a reaction to Washington's winner-take-all approach to Moscow since the early 1990s, which resulted from a revised US view of how the cold war ended [see Cohen, "The New American Cold War," July 10, 2006]. In that new triumphalist narrative, America "won" the forty-year conflict and post-Soviet Russia was a defeated nation analogous to post-World War II Germany and Japan--a nation without full sovereignty at home or autonomous national interests abroad.
The policy implication of that bipartisan triumphalism, which persists today, has been clear, certainly to Moscow. It meant that the United States had the right to oversee Russia's post-Communist political and economic development, as it tried to do directly in the 1990s, while demanding that Moscow yield to US international interests. It meant Washington could break strategic promises to Moscow, as when the Clinton Administration began NATO's eastward expansion, and disregard extraordinary Kremlin overtures, as when the Bush Administration unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty and granted NATO membership to countries even closer to Russia--despite Putin's crucial assistance to the US war effort in Afghanistan after September 11. It even meant America was entitled to Russia's traditional sphere of security and energy supplies, from the Baltics, Ukraine and Georgia to Central Asia and the Caspian.
Such US behavior was bound to produce a Russian backlash. It came under Putin, but it would have been the reaction of any strong Kremlin leader, regardless of soaring world oil prices. And it can no longer be otherwise. Those US policies--widely viewed in Moscow as an "encirclement" designed to keep Russia weak and to control its resources--have helped revive an assertive Russian nationalism, destroy the once strong pro-American lobby and inspire widespread charges that concessions to Washington are "appeasement," even "capitulationism." The Kremlin may have overreacted, but the cause and effect threatening a new cold war are clear.
See my earlier writing about the Atlantic Council and Ivo Daalder: “Making Russia a pariah state,” repeated by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Willfully provoking the Red Bear over three decades!
END OF UPDATE
Citizen ET in Lithuania - Programme by Bjinse Sun Nov 24th, 2013 |
Meanwhile in Ukraine ...
Sen. John McCain will become the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Ukraine since government violence against street protestors engulfed its capital last week. He will express support and solidarity with the protests.
"Ukrainians should not be forced to choose between a future in the west or the east. They should be free to chart their nation's future as they choose, in the best interest of Ukraine's citizens," he said. "As Ukrainians continue to press their government to take the necessary steps to sign an association agreement with the EU, the Ukrainian government should listen to the voices of its people and respond to their legitimate aspirations."
McCain has a long history of supporting emerging democracies in the former Soviet Union. During the height of his 2008 presidential run, he strongly criticized Russian aggression in Georgia and dispatched two top emissaries, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman, to "stand in solidarity" with Georgia's leaders.
Thursday night, McCain spoke at the annual gala of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, where he called for a more active U.S. foreign policy and introduced honoree Vice President Joe Biden, who also criticized Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych for the violence against street protesters perpetrated by the Ukrainian government.
"My conversation with Yanukovych just in the past few weeks, I've made it clear that he has a choice. He can choose a path that leads to division and isolation or can take immediate tangible steps to diffuse his country's crisis and start a genuine dialogue with the opposition to agree to a path that returns Ukraine to economic and political health,"Biden said.
"We hope he leads his country back to its European path, but he needs help. Because it's in the most fundamental interest of the United States that Ukraine succeed, the door is open. And what the Ukrainian people have to know is that the America stands with them on the side of universal rights, democratic principles, and economic assistance and intervention."
Biden's comments follow the visit to Kiev by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who also criticized Yanykovych and urged Ukraine to turn toward Europe. Nuland also handed out food to protesters in downtown Kiev.
The Vice President does in fact have a long history of dealing with Ukraine. In a 2009 visit to Kiev, he was reported to have said Ukraine has "the most beautiful women in the world."
Biden said the world was at a transformational moment where the United States could play a role in shaping the international future.
"We have a chance to maybe just bend history just a little bit, and I really mean that. Think about it," he said. "If we were having this meeting 15 years ago, the ability of America to influence the world was considerably less than it is today."
Sen. John McCain introduced Biden and said that the two politicians shared a long friendship and a similar political style despite their partisan differences.
VP Joe Biden has a long history with Ukraine stretching back to the 2004 Orange Revolution ...
Stop infighting, Biden tells Ukraine's leaders | Reuters - July 22, 2009 |
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden chided Ukraine's political leaders, telling them they had to stop "posturing" if the country was to seal its post-Soviet independence and economic development.
In a speech marked by a sharper tone that contrasted with previous expressions of unflinching support from Washington, Biden said Ukraine stood at a historic moment in building on the gains of the 2004 pro-Western "Orange Revolution".
"Literally, you are standing in a moment in history that you have never stood at before, literally," Biden said. "Frankly, your success will bear on the successes or failures of many people in this part of the world."
Infighting has pitched Ukraine into non-stop political turmoil since a heady week of street protests in 2004 against electoral fraud swept President Viktor Yushchenko to office.
Good grief (4.00 / 7)
For those tempted to think that Russian media might be providing accurate information about anything,
I can do it even shorter. Consider their coverage of Chechnya. But of course, that might bring up some - ah - interesting parallels to US press coverage of Gaza and Iraq ...
The US press is full of shit. The Russian press is full of shit. The Danish and British press are full of shit (mostly because they plagiarise the US press with a vengeance - they can't read French or German (nevermind Russian, Chinese or Indian) so their options w.r.t. plagiarisation are limited). What else is new?
The French and German agencies seem to have people on the ground and appear to be willing to actually use their input. Some of the time.
As an aside, if it wasn't such a serious matter, I would find it amusing that you quote approvingly an analysis that argues that the US need counterweights "in the region" of Ukraine and Georgia. Take a look at a map and then try to justify Chinese and Russian "counterweights" in Mexico, Hawaii and Canada...
It's one thing to pretend to believe the "democracy promotion" justification for the US/NATO presence right on Russia's border, it's quite another to baldly assert that it's bad old Grand Chessboard strategy and then defend it on that premise.
Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008
Grand Illusions: The Impact of Misperceptions About Russia on U.S. Policy | Carnegie - June 30, 2021 |
United States An Existential Threat to Russia | by Oui Sat Mar 12th, 2022 |
As always a war of choice is about fossil fuel dominance ... America failed in the Caspian Sea basin [Jerome a Paris @dKos in 2005], Afghan campaign for Central Asia, losing its primacy in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia (majority 9/11 plane hijackers and home to OBL).
From the Banana republics of Central America, Kissinger doctrine in South America, to the Pacific Islands and the Philippines. Perceived threats are build upon to increase military spending beyond the scope necessary for human kind to survive. The planet is in mortal danger, yet the coal and fossil fuel lobby managed another, perhaps final, war on the European continent.
Media to explain thirty years of failed foreign policy for dummies.
America and NATO military command knew the national security red lines of Russia, got Putin into a corner, knew it was unacceptable yet failed in honest diplomacy for many years.
US disinformation is all about framing the explosive war in Ukraine. The Washington political bubble and American fantasy.
American Petroleum Institute (API)
Oil Winning the War On Ukraine by Oui Thu Oct 27th, 2022 |
In March there were joyful reactions in fossil fuel lobby community when sanctions on Russian natural gas were announced and the European powers were left without a diversion but coal, LNG and nuclear power. The wreckage of green transition to solar and wind power. Quite unreliable sources for fuel consuming industrial processes and transport sector. The politicians in EU HQ Brussels and member states were caught napping as Joe Biden crossed Europe in his Blitzkrieg boasting promises America couldn't meet.
Enduring American Energy Leadership
History: Renovating Kyiv by eliminating urban planning regulations
East-West "Unity" and Europe's basic values of Four Freedoms ...
The highest share of positive first instance asylum decisions in 2015 was recorded in Bulgaria (91%), followed by Malta, Denmark and the Netherlands. Conversely, Latvia, Hungary and Poland recorded first instance rejection rates above 80%. ...
The highest shares of final rejections were recorded in Estonia, Lithuania and Portugal where all final decisions were negative...