Tag Archives: Europe

The European Union Is Again Close To A Meltdown, by Bruce Wilds

Europe is looking at an ugly combination of rising prices, a faltering euro, contracting economies, and they’re taking their biggest supplier of energy off-line. From Bruce Wilds at brucewilds.blogspot.com:

The Ukraine conflict is taking a toll on the Euro-zone and it could result in finally pushing it over the edge. Everything flowing from Russia’s incursion poses a big negative for the region which is already struggling. When you couple soaring energy prices with stagnate growth and a growing trade balance with China you have the recipe for disaster. This is also apparent on the inflation front.

According to Reuters, the Euro-zone inflation rate surged to yet another record high in May. Inflation accelerated to 8.1% in May from 7.4% in April. A big part of the problem is that  it is no longer just energy pulling up the headline figure. Looking past the headline figure, we find excluding food and energy prices, inflation rose to 4.4% year-on-year from 3.9%. This puts pressure on the European Central Bank to increase rates further. The timing of such a move is horrible in that Europe’s dust-up with Russia has brought to the forefront just how weak Europe is.

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Zugzwang*, by Alasdair Crooke

The failure to recognize their own economic vulnerabilities more than anything marks a complete failure to think by the West’s supposedly leading lights. From Alasdair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

Europe’s future looks bleak. It is now pressed by its own imposition of sanctions, and the resultant spike in commodity prices. The EU is lumbering around in a daze.

Western self-destruction – a puzzle defying any unique causal explanation – continues. The examples where policy is pursued in apparent indifference to anything resembling rigorous reflection, has become so extreme as to provoke a former British military chief (and former head of NATO forces in Afghanistan), Lord Richards, to huff that the relationship between strategy and any synchronisation of ends has become hopelessly broken in the West.

The West pursues a “let’s see how it goes” ‘strategy’, or in other words, no real strategy at all, Richards contends. Many would say that a cult of unrelenting, untethered, positive spin, has asphyxiated mainstream critical faculties. How is it that the West, awash with ‘think-tanks’, invariably gets it so wrong? Why is it that facile memes and illusions, posing as geo-politics, get little or no challenge? Compliance to official and mainstream narratives is all. It is baffling to observe this becoming routine, without apparent cognizance of the risks which this entails.

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Meet the New Boss; Putin Reroutes Critical Hydrocarbons Eastward Leaving Europe High-and-Dry, by Mike Whitney

Putin is indeed giving Europe the energy middle finger. From Mike Whitney at unz.com:

“Rejection of Russian energy resources means that Europe will become the region with the highest energy costs in the world. This will seriously undermine the competitiveness of European industry which is already losing the competition to companies in other parts of the world…. Our Western colleagues seem to have forgotten the elementary laws of economics, or simply prefer to ignore them.” Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation

On Tuesday, Russia announced a 40% reduction in the flow of natural gas to Germany through the Nord Stream pipeline. The announcement, that was made by Gazprom officials, sent tremors through the European gas market where prices quickly soared to new highs. In Germany—where prices have tripled in the last three months—the news was met with gasps of horror. With inflation already running at a 40-year high, this latest reduction in supply is certain to tip the German economy into recession or worse. All of Europe is now feeling the impact of Washington’s misguided sanctions on Russia. Here’s more from Oil Price website:

“Russia’s Gazprom said on Tuesday that it would limit natural gas supply via the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany by 40 percent compared to planned flows because of a delay in equipment repairs… The lower supply of gas via Nord Stream to the biggest European economy, Germany, sent Europe’s gas prices surging by double digits...

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‘If We Don’t End the War, War will End Us’*, by Alastair Crooke

Russia has inflicted a stunning defeat on the West, and even now most Western leaders don’t realize the extent of their loss. The world has changed forever. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

Europe now is stuck ‘up to the gills’ with wide-ranging economic sanctions on Russia, and unable to confront the consequences.

Emmanuel Macron irritated many people (just as Kissinger did at the WEF), when he said, ‘we should not humiliate Vladimir Putin’, because there must be a negotiated settlement. This has been French policy from early in this saga. More importantly, it is the Franco-German policy, and therefore it may end as the EU’s policy as well.

The qualification ‘may’ is important – as on Ukraine policy, the EU is more rancorously divided than during the Iraq War. And in a system (the EU system) that structurally insists on consensus (however much it is a confected one), when the wounds go deep, the consequence is that one issue can gridlock the whole system (as occurred in the lead-up to the Iraq war). If anything, the fractures in Europe today are wider and more acrimonious (i.e. acerbated by Rule of Law enforcements).

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Pitchforks soon in Europe? by Jorge Vilches

If Europe bans Russia energy imports, it will push the continent backward economically, and probably politically. From Jorge Vilches at thesaker.is:

Dear Europeans

For your own children´s sake — on my knees and with my saddened eyes humbly looking downwards — I beg of you to please stop the current self-destructive nonsense dead in its tracks by immediately demanding from your political class to import the bloody Russian oil normally once again as Europe had been doing for dozens of years. The impact that the ban on Russian oil has upon your daily lives now and for years yonder is such that at the very least a Referendum should have been held. But it was not, and without consultation, the EU leadership acted on their own.

Please be advised that the EU un-elected brass simply does not represent you or your needs. They were all voted amongst themselves into their positions like members of a committee in a private country club. If left unchecked, EU politicians will now continue misrepresenting you and, on your behalf — with your hard-earned assets and livelihoods – will keep on picking a most unnecessary and prolonged armed conflict with Russia, eventually forcing upon you a total war scenario where chances play out all very strongly against you, with Russia probably resulting unscathed.

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The New Iron Curtain, by Patrick Lawrence

Those to the west of the new iron curtain will find themselves far more hurt than they were by the first one. From Patrick Lawrence at consortiumnews.com:

The Ukraine crisis proves to be Europe’s crucible and Europe proves a profound disappointment.

We have read a great deal about a new Cold War since the U.S. cultivated the coup of February 2014 in Ukraine and the nation was tragically divided against itself.  Some of us have ruminated in print, in this publication and elsewhere, on this emergent reality.

With the back-to-back announcements that Finland and Sweden intend to apply for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, “Cold War II” is no longer merely a handy locution for columnists and those who pontificate on barstools.

The accession of these Nordic nations to Washington’s principal instrument of power projection is assured and will be complete in very short order. This will solidify the wall Washington and its European clients insist on erecting to divide the world yet more perversely and destructively than it was for the four decades and some of Cold War I.

It would be hard to overstate the significance of this turn of events — for Finns, Swedes and Russians, certainly, — but also for all Europeans and, at the horizon, for everyone on this planet, alive or yet to be born.

Remember the famous lines from Kipling?

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,

Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat…

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Can Europe Survive Without Russian Coal and Oil? Here’s What It Means for Skyrocketing Prices…, by Chris MacIntosh

Europe seems hell bent on cutting off energy imports from Russia. Which raises the question: what is Europe going to use for energy? From Chris MacIntosh at internationalman.com:

Russian Coal and Oil

Wait, you mean dirty stinky polluting coal? That coal?

Which brings me to….

EU TO BLOCK RUSSIAN COAL

So the EU, already in the middle of the worst energy crisis since the Arab oil crisis and likely worse, is now pushing to eliminate imports of Russian coal. Just so you understand the importance of Russian coal to Europe…

Some 70% of Europe’s thermal coal comes from Russia. Coal accounts for about 20% of continental Europe’s electricity production (as of 2019; perhaps it is 25% now).

Watching the news is enough to drive a man to drink or to put his drink through the telly.

But fear not, there is a silver lining.

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“They must be out of their minds”: how the Collective West is stumbling towards nuclear Armageddon, by Gilbert Doctorow

Has anyone thought out the consequences of overthrowing Vladimir Putin? From Gilbert Doctorow at gilbertdoctorow.com:

I have in past weeks focused attention on the political talk show “Evening with Vladimir Solovyov,” calling it the best of its kind on Russian state television and a good indicator of the thinking of Russia’s political elites. However, it is time to admit that in terms of overall quality of presentation, level of invited panelists and screening of videos of topical developments in the West to inform the panelist discussion, Solovyov is now being outdone by Vyacheslav Nikonov’s “Great Game” talk show.

“The Great Game” in the past featured live discussion with its anchor in Washington, director of the National Interest think tank , Dmitry Simes. Now Simes is a rare guest, and the panel format more closely resembles that of other political talk shows, with the following notable qualification: the host, Nikonov, is an unusually gifted moderator, who does not impose his views on the panel and brings out the best from his panelists. Nikonov is a leading member of the Russian parliament from the ruling United Russia party, and has broad experience running parliamentary committees. As the grandson of Bolshevik revolutionary Molotov, he happens also to be a member of the hereditary ruling clans and practices ‘noblesse oblige’ in his public service work.

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My Energy is Your Problem – The Birth of a New Europe, by Tom Luongo

Russia has the energy resources and Europe isn’t going to be able to get them anywhere else. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

“Energy makes energy anyhow
So spend yourself and get rich right now”

— Marillion “Rich”

This day has been a long time coming. From the moment, more than a decade ago, when it was finally admitted that Europe was destined to be an energy importer, we were going to see the climax of the showdown between the West and Russia.

Europe as energy importer always meant that time was on Russia’s side. All it had to do was draw the conflict out long enough, survive long enough, to force Europe into submission. Russia has the energy Europe needs, no one else can supply it, therefore the final decision will be to accept this fate.

No amount of financial wizardry, pathetic virtue signaling about Climate Change, malinvestment into inefficient and unsustainable ‘renewables,’ or military threats would ultimately change the outcome of this story.

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The Dollar Devours the Euro, by Michael Hudson

While Russia wages war on Ukraine, the U.S. wages war on Europe. From Michael Hudson at thesaker.is:

It is now clear that today’s escalation of the New Cold War was planned over a year ago, with serious strategy associated with America’s plan to block Nord Stream 2 as part of its aim of blocking Western Europe (“NATO”) from seeking prosperity by mutual trade and investment with China and Russia.

As President Biden and U.S. national-security reports announced, China was seen as the major enemy. Despite China’s helpful role in enabling corporate America to drive down labor’s wage rates by de-industrializing the U.S. economy in favor of Chinese industrialization, China’s growth was recognized as posing the Ultimate Terror: prosperity through socialism. Socialist industrialization always has been perceived to be the great enemy of the rentier economy that has taken over most nations in the century since World War I ended, and especially since the 1980s. The result today is a clash of economic systems – socialist industrialization vs. neoliberal finance capitalism.

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