Perhaps some peoples aren’t meant to live with other peoples. From Dmitry Orlov at cluborlov.blogspot.com:
One of my old friends’ father was at one time something of a Cold Warrior: he did something or other for the US defense establishment—nuclear submarine-related, if I recall correctly. This work activity apparently led him to develop a particularly virulent form of Russophobia; not so much a phobia as a pronounced loathing of all things Russian. According to my friend, her father would compulsively talk about Russia in overly negative terms. He would also sneeze a lot (allergies, perhaps), and she said that it was often difficult for her to distinguish his sneezes from his use of the word “Russia” as an expletive. But perhaps she was trying to draw a distinction without a difference: her father was allergic to Russia, his allergy caused him to sneeze a lot and also to develop a touch of Tourette’s, thus his sneezes came out sounding like “Russia!”
What had caused him to develop such a jaundiced view of Russia? The reason is easy to guess: his work activity on behalf of the government forced him to focus closely on what his superiors labeled as “the Russian threat.” Unfolded a bit, it would no doubt turn out that what Russia threatened was Americans’ self-generated fiction of overwhelming military superiority. Unlike the United States, which had developed any number of plans to destroy the Soviet Union (of which nothing ever came due to said lack of overwhelming military superiority) the Soviet Union had never developed any such plans. And this was utterly infuriating to certain people in the US. Was this truly necessary, or was this an accident?
Notre Dame was badly burned by a fire of a so far unknown cause. Numerous churches have been vandalized, trashed, and burnt by fires of known cause and know perpetrators. From Raymond Ibrahim at gatestoneinstitute.org:
- In Germany, four separate churches were vandalized and/or torched in March alone. “In this country,” PI-News, a German news site, explained, “there is a creeping war against everything that symbolizes Christianity: attacks on mountain-summit crosses, on sacred statues by the wayside, on churches… and recently also on cemeteries.”
- In virtually every instance of church attacks, authorities and media obfuscate the identity of the vandals. In those rare instances when the Muslim (or “migrant”) identity of the destroyers is leaked, the desecraters are then presented as suffering from mental health issues.
- “Hardly anyone writes and speaks about the increasing attacks on Christian symbols. There is an eloquent silence in both France and Germany about the scandal of the desecrations and the origin of the perpetrators…. Not a word, not even the slightest hint that could in anyway lead to the suspicion of migrants… It is not the perpetrators who are in danger of being ostracized, but those who dare to associate the desecration of Christian symbols with immigrant imports. They are accused of hatred, hate speech and racism.” — PI News, March 24, 2019
|In February, vandals desecrated and smashed crosses and statues at Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur, France, and mangled the arms of a statue of a crucified Christ in a mocking manner. In addition, an altar cloth was burned. (Image source: Eutrope/Wikimedia Commons)
Countless churches throughout Western Europe are being vandalized, defecated on, and torched.
In France, two churches are desecrated every day on average. According to PI-News, a German news site, 1,063 attacks on Christian churches or symbols (crucifixes, icons, statues) were registered in France in 2018. This represents a 17% increase compared to the previous year (2017), when 878 attacks were registered — meaning that such attacks are only going from bad to worse.
America doesn’t really need NATO. Of course, neither does the rest of the world, including Europe. From Gilbert Doctorow at antiwar.com:
As the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization approaches on April 4th, Belgium’s Royal Higher Institute of Defense has published an article which will bring little cheer to staff at the luxurious NATO headquarters situated on the outskirts of Brussels, 15 kilometers away from my home office downtown.
The birthday present in question is entitled “NATO and American technological superiority: a risk for Euro-Atlantic solidarity,” e-Note 26, 18 March 2019. Coming from the pen of an associate of the Institute, Alain De Neve, this article in French has been researched and set out with high professionalism. It merits wide circulation in the English-speaking world which I alone cannot assure, but let us start the ball rolling here and now.
In this brief essay, I will summarize the reasoning of the author. Why this is worth your reading time comes down to the two main points which follow from what he is saying:
- That “America First” is not a policy that began with Donald Trump’s inauguration in office. It was long the underlying principle of US military and foreign policy, only it was generally concealed under the ideological coating of Liberalism within the political dimension of the Alliance that was puffed up in the 1990s to justify its role as provider of stability to the swathe of Central Europe of the former Warsaw Pact countries. NATO was first and foremost the platform for shared values of democracy and rule of law.
Trump, as we know, has no patience either with the values jargon, or with the soft power, political dimension of multilateral institutions like NATO, preferring to stick to the military and Realpolitik side of things. And so America’s naked and selfish pursuit of its interests, always present in the past, is now laid bare.
America First has been the guiding hand in the new military doctrine for the United States called the Third Offset Strategy which Barack Obama authorized in 2014. De facto it dispensed with the need for America to have allies, their being only encumbrances for reasons we shall see momentarily.
Much as the US would like it to, Europe can’t just spurn China. There’s too much money at stake. From Patrick Lawrence at consortiumnews.com:
The simplicities of the postwar order have just begun to pass into history, writes Patrick Lawrence.
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of Xi Jinping’s visits to Rome, Paris and Monaco last week. In bringing his much-remarked Belt and Road Initiative to the center of Europe, the Chinese president has faced the Continent with the most fundamental question it will have to resolve in coming decades: Where does it stand as a trans–Atlantic partner with the U.S. and — as of Xi’s European tour — the western flank of the Eurasian landmass? The simplicities of the postwar order, to put the point another way, have just begun to pass into history.
In Rome, the populist government of Premier Giuseppe Conte brought Italy into China’s ambitious plan to connect East Asia and Western Europe via a multitude of infrastructure projects stretching from Shanghai to Lisbon and beyond. The memorandum of understanding Xi and Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio signed calls for joint development of roads, railways, bridges, airports, seaports, energy projects and telecommunications systems. Along with the MoU, Chinese investors signed 29 agreements worth $2.8 billion.
Xi Jinpeng: Plenty to celebrate in Europe. (Wikimedia Commons)
You can’t inflate your way to prosperity. From Alasdair Macleod at mises.org:
Last week, the ECB announced the reintroduction of targeted long-term refinancing operations for the third time. TLTRO-III is scheduled to start from next September. The idea is to make yet more money available for the banks at attractive rates on condition they increase their lending to non-financial entities.
The policy is justified because the ECB sees growing signs the Eurozone economy is stalling, possibly badly. The weaker Eurozone economies are moving into outright recession, and Germany’s motor exports appear to have dramatically slowed, putting a constraint on her whole economy.
The ECB’s reintroduction of TLTRO is an offer of yet more monetary and credit inflation, despite the evidence that unprecedented waves of monetary inflation in the last ten years have failed in all the objectives for which they were designed, except two: governments have continued to get the funds to spend without meaningful restraint, and insolvent banks have been preserved.
Only two months after its asset purchase programme officially ended, the inflationists are at it again. But one wonders why the ECB bothers to delay TLTRO-III until September. If it is such a good thing, why not introduce it now?
Europe is probably already in a recession. The US won’t be far behind. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:
Europe’s leading economic policy makers have officially thrown in the towel.
Last week, the European Central Bank admitted economic conditions are so dire that it already has to reverse its monetary policy.
I’ll get back to that in a minute…
Following the Great Financial Crisis in 2008, central banks printed trillions of dollars and pushed interest rates to their lowest levels in human history. Low interest rates (and lots of new money sloshing around the system) mean people should go out and buy things that would otherwise be out of reach… new houses, new cars, businesses, etc.
And, in theory, all of that activity creates jobs and helps the economy grow… in theory.
Ten years into this monetary experiment, central banks did create growth…
US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was about $15 trillion in 2008. Current GDP is about $22 trillion. That’s $7 trillion of economic growth.
Impressive… until you figure the cost of that growth.
Over the same period, the US national debt increased from $10 trillion to $22 trillion.
So, it took $12 trillion of debt to create $7 trillion of economic growth.
Is Trump’s grand plan to wind down the American empire? From Patrick Armstrong at strategic-culture.org:
About a year ago I advanced the theory that US President Trump understood that the only way to “Make American Great Again” was to disentangle it from the imperial mission that had it stuck in perpetual wars. I concluded that his statements implied that he believed that
1) the post 9/11 military interventions did nothing for American security;
2) foreign interventions impoverish the country;
3) the alliance system is neither useful nor a good deal for the country;
4) Russia is not the once and future enemy.
I further argued that he understood that the Gordian Knot of entanglements could not be cut from the American end because Americans were too wedded to the idea that the USA was “the indispensable nation” or too complacently accepting of the conceit that it had a moral obligation to set the world aright. (Gallup has just revealed that Americans greatly overestimate the respect and affection the rest of the world holds for them.) In any case “The Swamp” was too entangled in the war business ever to change. I speculated that he understood that the cutting could only come from the other side.
In short I saw method in Trump’s boorishness and well-displayed contempt for Washington’s allies.
So what do we find thirteen months later? Well, of course, one year is not nearly enough time to cause American allies to quit. Washington has not pulled out of NATO and no one has left it, the wars continue, the bases remain; but the Knot is loosening a bit. Despite very strong pressure from Washington, Ankara is going ahead with its S-400 purchase and Berlin is determined to complete Nord Stream. Washington has made its opposition plain – and with menaces – but these two important allies persevere in their contumacy.