Tag Archives: Europe

Far from quiet on the US vs Russia-China front, by Pepe Escobar

Much of Eurasia is working to free itself from the US orbit, by either gravitating towards the China-Russia axis, or staying officially nonaligned. From Pepe Escobar at thesaker.is:

Let’s start in mid-May, when Nur-Sultan, formerly Astana, hosted the third Russia-Kazakhstan Expert Forum, jointly organized by premier think tank Valdai Club and the Kazakhstan Council on International Relations.

The ongoing, laborious and crucial interconnection of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasia Economic Union was at the center of the debates. Kazakhstan is a pivotal member of both the BRI and EAEU.

As Valdai Club top analyst Yaroslav Lissovolik told me, there was much discussion “on the state of play in emerging markets in light of the developments associated with the US-China trade stand-off.” What emerged was the necessity of embracing “open regionalism” as a factor to neutralize “the negative protectionist trends in the global economy.”

This translates as regional blocks along a vast South-South axis harnessing their huge potential “to counter protections pressures”, with “different forms of economic integration other than trade liberalization” having preeminence. Enter “connectivity” – BRI’s premier focus.

The EAEU, celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, is fully into the open regionalism paradigm, according to Lissovolik, with memoranda of understanding signed with Mercosur, ASEAN, and more free-trade agreements coming up later this year, including Serbia and Singapore.

Sessions at the Russia-Kazakhstan forum produced wonderful insights on the triangular Russia-China-Central Asia relationship and further South-South collaboration. Special attention should focus on the concept of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) 2.0. If a new bipolarity is emerging, pitting the US against China, NAM 2.0 rules that vast sectors of the Global South should profit by remaining neutral.

On the complex Russia-China strategic partnership, featuring myriad layers, by now it’s established that Beijing considers Moscow a sort of strategic rearguard in its ascent to superpower status. Yet doubts persist across sectors of “pivot to the East” Moscow elites on how to handle Beijing.

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What Does It Mean to Live in a Multipolar World? We May Be About to Find Out, by Marshall Auerback

Many people talk about the emergent multipolar world order, but few try to define what that will mean. from Marshall Auerback at nakedcapitalism.com:

The breakdown in the Sino-U.S. trade talks has led a number of commentatorsto suggest that America’s “unipolar moment” of post-Cold War preeminence is over, as Washington lashes out against a rising China, whose economic rise threatens America’s historic dominance. Direct military violence is highly unlikely, given the inherent fragility of high-tech civilization. We therefore may see Cold War–style conflict between the two superpowers, as relations in trade or national security matters become increasingly poisoned.

So what happens to the rest of us? Will a hitherto globalized world increasingly retreat into bifurcated competing blocs, much as occurred under the original Cold War? Or can the rest of the world develop a more muted and stable form of multilateralism?

After all, we are well past the point where parts of the globe are increasingly carved up via competing ideologies (e.g., capitalism vs. communism), given today’s broad embrace of various permutations of capitalism, or divided via proxy wars, or the “great game” of colonial expansion. Today, most nations focus on maximizing the relative productivity of their own respective economies, as opposed to establishing their ideological bona fides as quasi-colonial client states for either the United States or the former Soviet Union. Another important dimension to recognize is that what we understand to be global or international is, for the most part, owned and controlled by industrialized countries: 93 percent of foreign-owned production is controlled by Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) economies. Even the historic tendency to focus on state power should be questioned in this moment. In 2016, 69 of the world’s largest 100 economies were corporations, with their own range of interests and methods of functioning.

One of the (self-serving) fears governing the end of American hegemony is that in its absence, the world will inevitably revert to some sort of brutal Hobbesian “state of nature” characterized by a balance of power clashes, in which the strong dictate to the weak.

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The Limits of American Destructiveness, by Dmitry Orlov

The main limit on American destructiveness is that the rest of the world is getting tired of destruction. From Dmitry Orlov at cluborlov.blogspot.com:

US foreign policy has always been directed at wrecking anything that wasn’t deemed sufficiently American and replacing it with something more acceptable—especially if that something allowed wealth to flow into the US from the outside. Compromises were reserved for the USSR, but even there the Americans constantly tried to cheat. For everyone else there was just submission, which was usually tactfully disguised as a positive—a seat at the big table which offered better chances for peace, prosperity and economic and social development.

Of course, it was a simple enough matter to pierce this veil of hypocritical politeness and to point out that the US, living far beyond its means, has only managed to survive by looting the rest of the world, but anyone who dared to do so would be ostracized, sanctioned, regime-changed, invaded and destroyed—whatever it took.

The US establishment has lavished its wrath on anyone who dared to oppose it ideologically, but it reserved its most extreme forms of malice for those who dared commit the cardinal sin of attempting to sell oil for anything other than US dollars. Iraq was destroyed for this very reason, then Libya. With Syria the juggernaut bogged down and stalled out; with Iran it is unlikely to ever get started.

Even the spineless European politicians are now forced to admit that US policies are designed to enrich certain American interests at the expense of their constituents; they understand by now that further denial would cause them further harm at the polls. Most insultingly to the American ego, US attempts at making Russia and China submit are being greeted with shrugs, titters and eye rolls. And now anybody who wants to can openly criticize the US and scheme behind its back.

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US Isn’t Become Europe, We’re Become Rome, by Ann Coulter

Immigration has already transformed the US far more than it has Europe. From Ann Coulter at anncoulter.com:

Can we have a quick reality check and acknowledge that what is happening to America is a million times worse than what’s happening in Europe and is of much greater consequence?

Conservatives regularly point to the mass migration afflicting Europe as if it’s the Ghost of Christmas Future for America. Since waves of Third World migrants began sweeping into the European Union, we’ve seen terrorism, knifings, rape gangs and riots popping up all over the birthplace of Western civilization. Sweden has gone from a country where rape was essentially nonexistent to the Rape Capital of the World.

It’s sweet of Americans to be so concerned about Europe, but maybe they should look at their own country. On account of a mass immigration policy imposed on us by our government, the United States has undergone a transformation unprecedented in all of world history.

From 1620 to 1970, the U.S. was demographically stable — not to be confused with “a nation of immigrants.” The country was about 85% to 90% white, almost entirely British, German, French and Dutch, and 10% to 15% African American. (The American Indian population, technically in their own nations, steadily plummeted — an example of how vast numbers of new people can displace the old, both accidentally and on purpose.)

In a generation, the white majority has nearly disappeared, while the black percentage has remained about the same, with more than 90% of African Americans still native-born. White Americans are one border surge away from becoming a minority in their own country.

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Europe is Powerless in Growing Conflict Between the US and Iran, by Patrick Cockburn

Europe is talking loudly but has next to no stick in the dispute between the US and Iran. From Patrick Cockburn at counterpunch.org:

Brexiteers in Britain are denouncing the EU as an all-powerful behemoth from whose clutches Britain must escape, just as the organisation is demonstrating its failure to become more than a second-rate world power.

The EU’s real status – well behind the US, Russia and China – has just been demonstrated by its inability to protect Iran from US sanctions following President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal of 2015. A year ago, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron made humiliating visits to Washington to plead vainly with Trump to stay with the agreement, but were rebuffed.

Since then the US has successfully ratcheted up economic pressure on Iran, reducing its oil exports from 2.8 to 1.3 million barrels a day. The UK, France and Germany had promised to create a financial vehicle to circumvent US sanctions, but their efforts have been symbolic. Commercial enterprises are, in any case, too frightened of the ire of the US treasury to take advantage of such measures.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that Iran would stop complying with parts of the nuclear deal unless the Europeans provided the promised protection for the oil trade and banks. Everybody admits that Iran is in compliance but this is not going to do it any good.

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Respecting the Other, by Dmitry Orlov

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?

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European Churches: Vandalized, Defecated On, and Torched “Every Day”, by Raymond Ibrahim

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.

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