European Spyware Investigators Slam “Israeli” Regime Over Sale of Pegasus

 September 23, 202

By Staff, Agencies

European Parliament, which is investigating the use of “Israeli” spyware by EU governments, has slammed the Tel Aviv regime for a lack of transparency in allowing the sale of Pegasus to European governments to use it against critics.

The European lawmakers condemned the approach of the Polish government for refusing to meet and talk with them during the meeting of the fact-finding committee in Warsaw, which ended on Wednesday.

“It is regrettable and we condemn the fact that the Polish authorities did not want to cooperate with our investigation committee,” Jeroen Lenaers, the head of the delegation, said at a news conference in Warsaw.

“We think it also is a telling sign of the complete lack of importance this government attaches to checks and balances, to democratic scrutiny, and to dialog with elected representatives.”

The European Union’s fact-finding committee is investigating the use of the entity’s Pegasus spyware and other invasive surveillance tools by the European governments, saying the technology poses a serious threat to democracy in European countries.

Pegasus is “Israeli” spyware that was designed and developed by the entity’s NSO group and is used to break into mobile phones and spy on a large part of personal information including text messages, passwords, locations, and microphone and camera receivers.

The “Israeli” company marketed this technology as a tool to target its desired targets in the world.

Many European governments have used this controversial software to suppress dissidents, journalists, and political opponents around the world.

In Europe, some cyber detectives have found traces of the use of Pegasus or some other spyware in Poland, Hungary, Spain, and Greece.

Sophie in ’t Veld, the rapporteur of the inquiry, said the committee found out in its research that the NSO group sold this spyware to 14 European Union member states with official permission from Tel Aviv.

According to reports, Poland and Hungary are not allowed to buy this spyware from NSO due to some political issues, details of which remain unclear.

“Why can we not say with certainty that Poland was one of the two countries of which the contract has been terminated?” she said.

“Why is it that NSO is allowed to operate in the European Union, conduct its finances through Luxembourg, sell its products to now 12 member states, products that have been used to violate the rights of European citizens and to attack democracy of the European Union?”

Recently, Greece revealed that Nikos Androulakis, a member of the European Parliament and the head of the third largest political party in Greece, was monitored using Predator software last year when he was running for the leadership of the PASOK party.

It is said that a journalist from Mali was also under surveillance.

Recently, it was revealed that Poland, Hungary, and some Catalan separatists in Spain were using this software to suppress their critics and opponents.

The 10-member delegation of the EU’s fact-finding committee during its trip that began on Monday met with Poles targeted by the Pegasus spyware, including a prosecutor and a senator, and some members of the opposition-controlled Senate.

A report of the obtained results as well as some recommendations and solutions are supposed to be published on November 8 of this year.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned of the threat posed by spying programs such as the Pegasus spyware to UN human rights activists in a report to be released next week.

In recent days, Pegasus and some other spyware have threatened a group of UN human rights activists.

Guterres warned that the increase in digital surveillance by governments and some non-governmental sources has affected the activities of civil society activists in providing reliable information to the world body and has made them vulnerable to fear and threats of retaliation.

“United Nations actors have pointed to growing and concerning evidence of online surveillance, privacy intrusion, and cyberattacks by state and non-state actors of victims and civil society communications and activities,” the UN chief noted.

“The lack of trust in the digital sphere among those sharing information and testimony with the United Nations on sensitive issues can discourage future cooperation.”

The findings are part of an annual report that tracks the challenges facing those seeking to work with the organization and focuses on April 2021 to May 2022.

During this period, much of the UN’s activities following the Covid-19 pandemic have gone digital, and at the same time, espionage threats have increased.

According to UN officials, this software has also spied on the activities of Palestinian, Bahraini, and Moroccan organizations and some human rights activists of the UN during this period.

In his recent report, Guterres warned that in 2021, the mobile phones of employees of three prominent Palestinian NGOs – Addameer, Al-Haq, and Bisan Center for Research and Development – were hacked using Pegasus spyware.

The “Israeli” NSO Group has earned notoriety for trying to have its spy apparatuses maintain an edge over their international counterparts.

The regime makes extensive use of Pegasus and other locally-made spyware for espionage.

According to observers, Tel Aviv has treated NSO as a de-facto arm of the regime, granting licenses for the sale of the spyware to countries to forge stronger security and diplomatic ties.

In January, the New York Times reported that the FBI had purchased Pegasus software in 2019.

It also stated that in 2018 the CIA had purchased Pegasus for the government of Djibouti to conduct counterterrorism operations, despite that country’s record of torturing political opposition figures and imprisoning journalists.

Will the Ukraine be partitioned next and, if so, how?

August 16, 2022

Interesting info today.  First, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service has, through the statement of a Colonel General, made the following statement (translated by my friend Andrei Martyanov on his blog): (emphasis added)

Translation: MOSCOW, August 16 – RIA Novosti. Western curators have practically written off the Kyiv regime and are already planning the partition of Ukraine, Foreign Intelligence Service spokesman Colonel-General Volodymyr Matveev said at the Moscow Conference on International Security. “Obviously, the West is not concerned about the fate of the Kyiv regime. As can be seen from the information received by the SVR, Western curators have almost written it off and are in full swing developing plans for the division and occupation of at least part of the Ukrainian lands,” he said. However, according to the general, much more is at stake than Ukraine: for Washington and its allies, it is about the fate of the colonial system of world domination.

Just to clarify, the SVR rarely makes public statements and when they do, you can take them to the bank as the SVR is not in the business of “leaks” from “informed sources” and all the rest of the PR nonsense produced by the so-called western “intelligence” agencies (which have now been fully converted to highly politicized propaganda outlets).

The same day I see this article on the RT website: “Western countries waiting for ‘fall of Ukraine’ – Kiev” in which an interesting statement the Ukronazi Foreign Minister is mentioned:

Several countries in the West are waiting for Kiev to surrender and think their problems will immediately solve themselves, said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba in an interview published on Tuesday.  “I often get asked in interviews and while speaking to other foreign ministers: how long will you last? That’s instead of asking what else could be done to help us defeat Putin in the shortest time possible,” Kuleba said, noting that such questions suggest that everyone “is waiting for us to fall and for their problems to disappear on their own.

Finally, a while ago, Dmitri Medvedev post this “future map of the Ukraine after the war” on his Telegram account.  This maps shows a Ukraine partitioned between her neighbors and a tiny rump Ukraine left in the center.

Now, full disclosure, I have been a proponent of the breakup of the Ukraine into several successor states for a long while now: I gave my reasons for this in my article “The case for the breakup of the Ukraine” written in faraway 2016.

Now, six years later, what are the chances of this happening?

Without making predictions, which is close to impossible right now as there are way too many variables which can dramatically influence the outcome, I want to list a few arguments for and against the likelihood (as opposed to desirability) of such an outcome.

Arguments for the likelihood of this outcome:

  • First, most of the neighbors of the Ukraine would benefit from such an outcome.  Poland would not get the “intermarium” it always dreams about, but it would get back lands which historically belong to Poland and are populated by many Poles.  In this map, Romania would also get a good deal, albeit Moldavia would lose Transnistria, which it had no real chance to ever truly control anyway.  Romania might, therefore, even absorb all of Moldavia.  True, on this map, Hungary gets (almost) nothing, but that is an issue which Hungary must tackle with Poland and Romania, not Russia.
  • Russia might not even oppose such a development, simply because it makes the Ukronazi problem somebody else’s issue.  As long as what is the current Ukraine is fully demilitarized and denazified, Russia will be fine with such an outcome.
  • The rump ex-Banderastan would be so much reduced in size, population and ressources that it would present little to no threat to anybody.  Crucially, the Russians will never allow it to have anything more than a minimal police and internal security force (for at least as long as there remains even *traces* of the Ukronazi Banderista ideology anywhere near Russia).  The actual chances of this rump Banderastan to become a threat to anybody would be close to zero.  Not to mention that even if that rump Banderastan could become some kind of threat, it would be much easier to deal with it than the threat Russia faced in early 2022.
  • Objectively, the European countries would get the best possible “out” for them, as being in a constant state of total war by proxy is absolutely unsustainable for countries of Europe.
  • As for “Biden”, assuming he is still alive and in power (?), it would make it possible for “him” to remove the topic of this latest war lost (again!) by the USA from the headlines and deal with other issues.
  • The Ukraine has been such a waste of money, billions and billions, that it is essentially a black hole with an event horizon which lets nothing come back out and beyond which anything, money, equipment or men, simply disappear.  That is clearly an unsustainable drain on the economies of the West.
  • Yet, in theory, if a deal is made and all parties agree, then the EU could remove maybe not all, but at least the worst, self-damaging, sanctions it so stupidly implemented and which are now destroying the EU’s economy.
  • For the USA the biggest benefit from such an outcome could be, in theory, that it would “close” the “Russian front” and allow the US to focus its hatred and aggression against China.

There are, however, also many arguments against such an outcome.

  • First, the western ruling classes, drunk on total russophobia, would have to accept that Russia won this war (again) and defeated the combined powers of the West (again).  This would mean an immense loss of face and political credibility for all those involved in the political war against Russia.
  • Second, for NATO this would be a disaster.  Remember that NATO’s real goal is to “keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down“.  In this case, how would an even expanded NATO accept that it could do absolutely nothing to stop the Russians from achieving all their goals?
  • Next, while the people of the EU are suffering from the devastating economic policies of their rulers, the ruling elites (the EU 1%) are doing just fine, thank you, and don’t give a damn about the people they rule over.
  • Such an outcome would also directly challenge the US desire for a unipolar world, run by Uncle Shmuel as the World Hegemon.  The risk here is a political domino effect in which more and more countries would struggle to achieve true sovereignty, which would be a direct threat to the US economic model.
  • Such an outcome is almost certain to be unachievable while the Neocons run the USA.  And since there are NO signs of the weakening of the Neocons’ iron grip on all the levers of political powers in the USA, such an outcome could only happen if the Neocon crazies are sent back to the basement they crawled out from and where they belong.  Not likely in the foreseeable future.
  • This focus on the partition of the Ukraine overlooks the fact that the Ukraine is not the real enemy of Russia.  In fact, the Ukraine lost the war to Russia in the first 7-10 days after the beginning of the SMO.  Ever since, it is not the Ukraine per se which Russia has been fighting, but the consolidated West.  If the real enemy is the consolidated West, the it could be argued that *any* outcome limited to the Ukraine would not fix or solve anything.  At best, it might be an intermediate stage of a much larger and longer war in which Russia will have to demilitarize and denazify not just Banderastan but, at the very least, all of the EU/NATO countries.
  • While for some the Ukrainian war has been an economic disaster, it has been a fantastic windfall for the (terminally corrupt) US MIC.  And I won’t even go into the obvious corruption ties the Biden family has in Kiev.  If this “Medvedev solution” is ever realized, then all that easy money would disappear.
  • Furthermore, while amongst the argument for such an outcome I listed the ability of the USA to “close the Russian front” and focus on China, in reality such an arguments makes a very far-fetched assumption: that it is still possible to separate Russia and China and that Russia would allow the US to strike at China.  Simply put, Russia cannot allow China to be defeated any more than China can allow for a Russian defeat.  Thus the entire notion of “closing the Russian front” is illusory, in reality things have gone way too far for that and neither Russia nor China will allow the US to take them down one by one.
  • The EU is run by a comprador ruling class which is totally subservient to the interests of the US Neocons.  There are, already, many internal tensions inside the EU and such an outcome would be a disaster for those all those EU politicians who painted themselves into the corner of a total war against Russia, and even if, say, the Poles, Romanians or even Hungarians get some benefit from such an outcome, it would be unacceptable to the thugs currently running Germany, the UK or even France.

The arguments for and against such an outcome I listed above are just some examples, in reality there are many more arguments on both sides of this issue.  Besides, what made sense 6 years ago might not make sense today.

For example, this discussion focuses on the “what” but not on the “how”.  Let me explain.

I think that I was the first person in the West who noticed and translated a key Russian expression: “non agreement capable” (недоговороспособны).  This expression has been increasingly used by many Russian decision-makers, politicians, political commentators and others.  Eventually, even the folks in the West picked up on this.  So let’s revisit this issue again, keeping in mind that the Russians are now fully convinced that the West is simply “non agreement capable”.  I would argue that up until the Russian ultimatum to the USA and NATO, the Russians still left open the door to some kind of negotiations.  However, and as I predicted BEFORE the Russian ultimatum, Russia made the only possibly conclusion from the West’s stance: if our “partners” (sarcasm) are not agreement capable, then the time has come for Russian unilateralism.

True, ever since 2013, or even 2008, there were already signs that Russian decision making is gradually moving towards unilateralism.  But the Russian ultimatum and SMO are now the “pure” signs of the adoption by Russia of unilateralism, at least towards the consolidated West.

If that is correct, then I would suggest that most arguments above, on both sides of the issue, are have basically become obsolete and irrelevant.

Furthermore, I would like to add a small reminder here: most of the combat operations in the Ukraine are not even conducted by Russian forces, but by LDNR forces supported by Russian C4ISR and firepower.  But in terms of her real military potential, Russia has used less than 10% of her military and Putin was quite candid about this when he said “we have not even begun to act seriously“.

What do you think this war will look like if Russia decides to really unleash her full military power, that is the 90% of forces which are currently not participating in the SMO?

Here is a simple truth which most folks in the West cannot even imagine: Russia does not fear NATO at all.

If anything, the Russians have already understood that they have the means to impose whatever outcome they chose to unilaterally impose on their enemies.  The notion of a US/NATO attack on Russia is simply laughable.  Yes, the USA has a very powerful submarine force which can fire lots of Tomahawk and Harpoon missiles at Russian targets.  And yes, the US has a still robust nuclear triad.  But neither of these will help the USA win a land war against the Russian armed forces.

And no, sending a few thousands US soldiers to this or that NATO country to “reinforce NATO’s eastern flank” is pure PR, militarily, it is not even irrelevant, it’s laughable.  I won’t even comment on the sending of F-35s which is so utterly ridiculous and useless against the Russian Aerospace Forces and air defenses that I won’t even bother arguing with those who don’t understand how bad both the F-35s (and even the F-22s!) really are.

I won’t dignify the EU’s military capabilities with any comment other than this: countries who now seriously advocate taking less frequent showers to “show Putin!” have sunk to such a level of irrelevance and degeneracy that they cannot be taken seriously, most definitely not in Russia.

So where do we go from here?

As I said, I don’t know, there are too many variables.  But a few things seem clear to me:

  • Russia has decided to full unilateralism in her policies towards the Ukraine and the West.  Oh sure, if and when needed, Russians will still agree to talk to their western “partners”, but that is due to the long standing Russian policy of always talking to everybody and anybody, even Russia’s worst enemies.  Why?  Because neither warfare not political unilateralism are an end by themselves, they are only means to achieve a specific political goal.  Thus, it is always good to sit down with your enemy, especially if you have been gently but steadily increasing the pain dial on them for a few months!  The Europeans being the “great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies” (to quite BoJo) they are might cave in quickly and suddenly or, at the very least, they will try to improve their lot by trying to bypass their own sanctions (Uncle Shmuel permitting, however reluctantly).
  • The only party with any real agency left with which Russia could seriously negotiate is the USA, of course.  However, as long as the USA under the total control of the Neocons, this is a futile exercise.
  • Should there ever be any kind of deal made, it would only be one which would be fully and totally verifiable.  Contrary to popular beliefs, a great many treaties and agreements can be crafted to be fully verifiable, that is not a technical problem by itself.  However, with the current ruling classes of the West, no such deal is likely to be hammered out and agreed by all parties involved.

So what is left?

There is a Russian saying which my grandmother taught me as a kid: “the borders of Russia are found at the end of a Cossack’s spear“.  This saying, born from 1000 years of existential warfare with no natural borders simply expresses a basic reality: the Russian armed forces are the ones who decide where Russia ends.  Or you can flip it this way: “the only natural border of Russia are the capabilities of the Russian armed forces”.  You can think of it has pre-1917 Russian unilateralism 🙂

Still, this begs the question of the moral and ethical foundation for such a stance.  After all, does it not suggest that Russia gives herself the right to invade any country it can just because she can?

Not at all!

While there were imperialist and expansionist wars in Russian history, compared to the West’s 1000 years of wall to wall imperialism, Russia is but a meek and gentle lamb!  Not that this excuses anything, it is simply a fact.  The rest of the Russian wars were, almost all, existential wars, for the survival and freedom of the Russian nation.  I cannot think of a more “just war” than one which 1) was imposed upon you and 2) one in which your sole goal is to survive as a free and sovereign nation, especially a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation as the Russian one has always been, in sharp contrast to the enemies of Russia which were always driven by religious, nationalist and even overtly racist fervor (which is what we can all observe again today, long after the end of WWII).

Is this just propaganda?  If you think so, then you can study Russian history or, better, study the current military doctrine of Russia and you will see that Russia’s force planning is entirely defensive, especially at the strategic level.  The best proof of that is that Russia put up with all the ugly racist and russophobic policies of the Ukraine or the three Baltic statelets for decades without taking any action.  But when the Ukraine became a de facto NATO proxy and directly threatened not only the Donbass, but Russia herself (does anybody still remember that days before the SMO, “Ze” declared that the Ukraine should get nuclear weapons?!), then Russia took action.  You have to be either blind or fantastically dishonest not to admit that self-evident fact.

[Sidebar: by the way, the three Baltic statelets, for which Russia has not use at all, are constantly trying to become a military threat to Russia, not only by hosting NATO forces, but also by truly idiotic plans to “lock” the Baltic with Finland.  Combine this was the Nazi anti-Russian Apartheid policies towards the Russian minorities and you would be forgiven for thinking that the Balts really want to be the next ones to be denazified and demilitarized.  But… but… – you will say  – “since they are members of NATO, they cannot be attacked!”.  Well, if you believe that 1) anybody in NATO will fight Russia over these statelets or 2) that NATO has the military means to protect them, then I have got plenty of great bridges to sell you.  Still, the most effective way to deal with the Balts is to let them commit economic suicide, which they basically have already done, and then promise them a few “economic carrots” for a change to a more civilized attitude.  A Russian saying says that “the refrigerator wins against the TV” (победа холодильника над телевизором) which means that when your refrigerator is empty, the propaganda on TV loses its power.  I think that the future of the 3 Baltic statelets will be defined by that aphorism]

So will the Ukraine be partitioned?

Yes, absolutely, it has already lost huge parts of its territory and it will only lose more.

Might the western neighbors decide to take a bite out off the western Ukraine?  Sure!  That is a real possibility.

But these will all be either unilateral actions or very unofficially coordinated understandings wrapped in plausible deniability (like the deployment Polish “peacekeepers” to “protect” the western Ukraine).  But mostly I predict two things will happen: 1) Russia will achieve all of her goals unilaterally without making any deals with anybody and 2) Russia will only allow the Ukraine’s western neighbors to bite off some chucks of the Ukraine if, and only if, those chunks to not represent any military threat to Russia.

Remember what Putin said about Finland and Sweden and Finland joining NATO?  He said that by itself, this is not a problem for Russia.  But he warned that should these countries host US/NATO forces and weapons systems threatening Russia, than Russia will have to take counter-measures.  I think that this is also the Kremlin’s position about the future of any rump-Banderastan and any moves by NATO countries (including Poland, Romania and Hungary) to reacquire territories which historically belonged to them or which have substantial Polish, Romanian and Hungarian minorities.

Right now, we are only in the second phase of the SMO (which centers of the Donbass) and Russia has not even initiated any operations to move deeper into the Ukraine.  As for the real war, the war between Russia and the combined West, it has been going on for no less than decade, or even more, and this war will last much longer than the SMO in the Ukraine.  Finally, the outcome of this war will see  tectonic and profound changes at least as damatic as the changes resulting from the outcomes of WWI and WWII.

The Russians understand that what they now really must do is to truly finish WWII and that the formal end of WWII in 1945 only marked the transition to a different type of warfare still imposed by a united, consolidated West, but now not by German Nazis but by (mostly) US Neocons (which, of course, are typical racist Nazis, except their racism is Anglo and Judaic/Zionist).

I will conclude with a short quote by Bertold Brecht which, I think, is deeply understood by Russia today:

Therefore learn how to see and not to gape.
To act instead of talking all day long.
The world was almost won by such an ape!
The nations put him where his kind belong.
But don’t rejoice too soon at your escape –
The womb he crawled from is still going strong.”

― Bertolt Brecht, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

Russia slaughtered a lot of western apes in her history, now is the time to finally deal with the womb from which they crawled out from.

Andrei

PS: FYI – the Russian investigation has declared that the explosions in the airfield in Crimea was an act of sabotage/diversion.  Which was the most likely explanation to begin with.

Europe now cheats or suffers

May 31, 2022

Source

by Jorge Vilches

Europe has now painted itself into an infamous corner with only two choices left, nothing else. Both are definitely bad and terribly expensive — probably un-payable — in political and financial terms. On May 30, Brussels (a) dropped its previous declared strategy of ´buying Russian oil to prevent Moscow from selling it elsewhere at soaring prices´ (???) and (b) approved its sanctions package No. 6 imposing a ban on Russian seaborne oil imports. But by Christmas such ban will supposedly exceed 90% of total Russian oil as Germany and Poland have ´volunteered´ to reduce their own pipeline imports by then. Still, 65% of European consumers who today import Russian seaborne oil will suddenly face either one of the only two possible highly detrimental options explained hereinafter. Meanwhile the remaining 35% would theoretically benefit from the Russian Druzbha pipeline which will continue to safely feed them with the excellent Urals oil. But not quite and not really, because an ugly catch is awaiting Europe already cocked — line, hook and sinker — as if planned by its enemies, not its leaders as is the case. Migrations and unemployment cannot be avoided with the self-destructive ideology now rampant in the EU political mindset. Probably unknowingly, the EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen paraphrased Mao Zedong by considering this “a big step forward”.

Ref #1 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61638860 + Ref #2 https://www.rt.com/news/555989-eu-russia-embargo-explained/

the rub

There is a very important game-changing rub that short-sighted EU politicians haven´t yet fathomed, let alone sorted out. And it will hit them hard, head-on, blindsided without any protection whatsoever. Not even their favorite protection, i.e, political cover for an obvious self-inflicted harm that public opinion is now witnessing front & center. Because, as duly forewarned, there will be tons of very serious problems with the 65% of consumers using — and most negatively affected by — the new non-Russian seaborne oil blends which literally no one would be exempt from.

Not even the remaining 35% of supposedly “Druzbha safe” oil consumers. How come ? In one minute you´ll find out.

Ref # 3 https://www.rt.com/news/556292-eu-oil-embargo-ukraine/

atomic fall out

Apparently, European brains are AWOL. The sole exception could be Hungary (sorta) the most prominent amongst the opponents of the embargo comparing its potential effect to “an atomic bomb”. So now here we have the atomic bomb being dropped, although rather than an extraordinary explosion it´d be a silent implosion of sorts that not even Hungary has thought of. For, theoretically, this EU ban on Russian seaborne oil would not affect Hungary et al, at least for now, as they would supposedly continue business as usual (not). And supposedly the same would happen with refineries such as all-important Schwedt which, for the time being at least, same as Hungary will continue to receive the Druzbha pipeline feedstock all with 100% normality with excellent Russian oil they are most used to consume, process and refine regularly … But not quite not really anymore, because the non-Russian oil fed to the other refineries and other chemical processing plants in Europe (65%) will cause havoc with knock-on impact throughout the economy directly affecting the remaining 35% of supposedly still “safe” consumers that will continue receiving the Druzbha pipeline feedstock with excellent Russian oil. So, it´ll be an all-around contagious bloody mess.

C:\Users\Jorge Vilches\Desktop\3.jpg

scenarios

You just can´t have 35% of the plants processing and/or running with “good” Russian oil still fed by the Druzbha pipeline… while the remaining 65% run on “bad” unknown non-Russian seaborne oil. It just doesn´t work that way.

Basic laws of physics, chemistry, geology, logistics, engineering, politics, business and trade are being violated without mercy by such an approach. Economies are integral, non-divisible. Will any Karens fill up their fuel tanks with “bad” gasoline / petrol derived from “badly” refined non-Russian oil… or intermittently supplied at filling stations on and off as in now-you-have-it but then you don´t ? What about trucks and plant machinery ? Petrochemicals anyone ?

Will any businesses want to deal with and buy products from associates processing new, yet unknown non-Russian oil blends plagued with problems of every sort derived from their lack of proper matching with their now necessarily hurriedly modified & retrofitted processing plants ? Reference #3 below describes the severe harmful differences between Russian and non-Russian oil blends regarding reservoirs + investments + price + quality + quantity + delivery + refinery feed + Baltic ports modifications + logistics + refine-ability + vendor performance + contract sustainability,etc.

Ref # 4 https://thesaker.is/dear-ursula-you-are-dead-wrong/

Option 1 (expensive) cheating

As European businesses know perfectly well, Option 2 simply means suicide, no doubt about it. So per Option 1 Europe avoids Option 2 and just plain cheats, still hurting itself badly by buying the very same Russian oil it says it´d be banning (not) but actually paying for it to third parties through “triangulation” which is far more EXPENSIVE. That´d mean that Russian oil would be sold to third parties as many times as needed so that the original Russian source can no longer be traced thus declaring it to be non-Russian and delivering it at European ports. This may also include STS or Ship-To-Ship transfers. Actually, even before being downloaded to the very first tanker somewhere in Russia, the now EU banned Russian oil could already be sold at least once, maybe more times. Of course, with each pass of hands, some mark-up is added to justify the investment…and the risk of being caught red-handed somewhere along the line. So the very same excellent Russian oil would get to Europe with at least a 35 to 50% higher price which would defeat the purpose of the EU Russian seaborne oil banning decision. Additional cheating could also include mixing Russia´s Urals oil with other third party blends of different origin OR tapping the South Druzbha pipeline branch into Hungary et al so better keep a close eye on that also. Still, whatever the cheats would still be far more expensive.

Option 2 (expensive) harm

If Europe effectively bans seaborne Russian oil for real, it´d fall into the infamous TRAP of ruining 65% of its industrial base through the failed attempt to use third party non-Russian oil blends with TONS of problems derived from the necessarily incomplete/unsuccessful attempt to adapt refineries and processing plants in 6 months time as repeatedly explained to death in deep detail and forewarning flashing signs at Ref #5 https://thesaker.is/why-russias-oil-ban-is-impossible/

The EU would thus still have the remaining 35% of traditionally excellent products derived from the Urals oils blend delivered by the Russian Druzbha pipeline and refined and/or processed as usual INTERMIXED and “competing” in the very same European economy with a rainbow planoply of different products obtained from different yet-unknown oil blends (65%) through differently modified process plants and refineries which would not be a close equivalent of original Druzbha products obtained with this excellent, proven Made-In-Russia raw material which European refineries and processing plants are specifically tuned-in for. For Heaven´s sake which part of this is so hard to understand ???

Ref #6 https://energyandcleanair.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Corrected_Fossil-fuel-imports-from-Russia-first-two-months-invasion.pdf

worse of both worlds

In a sense, it´d be the worst possible of all cases. It would mean a wholly unfair competition as Druzbha pipeline fed plants would have tremendous advantages over those fed with the new unknown oils plus the corresponding retro-fitting / reconversion downtime (or plain non-performance) kicking them outright out of the market for unknown period of time possibly bankrupting them and creating EXTRA-ordinary logistics problems to consumers throughout Europe.

Allowing for the Druzbha pipeline to continue feeding 35% of Europe with excellent Russian oils will mean the perfect comparison standard of practice. And it would reveal the fallacy of the premise itself, i.e, that Russian oil can be substituted easily and without enormous great pain. But no rewinding is allowed, sorry. And history will not be kind watching how “the EU makes sure to phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion, in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes minimising the impact on global markets” Who are you kidding Ursula ?

bad options

The new unknown oil blends cannot be described because they do not exist and quite possibly may never exist,

Russian Urals oil = enormous, well-known, geologically & physico-chemically stable reservoirs, reliable, well studied.

Unknown new oils = experimental mix from occasional “beach-front bazaar” vendors variable in time, not well coordinated. Venezuela oil, not good. Middle East oils, not available. Will North Sea supply ALL of Europe ?

In a nutshell, the world wasn´t anywhere nearly prepared for an EU ban on Russian oil… or other Russian fuels…

So now an EU Russian seaborne oil ban would require deep — and in many ways impossible – urgent modifications of European refineries and chemical processing plants throughout in order to adapt them to new yet-unknown feedstocks if ever possibly attainable as explained hereinafter. Instead of shooting itself in the head temple Europe now chooses to shoot itself in both knee-caps and both elbows…Is there not 1 thinking mind in Europe to stop this utter nonsense ?

Oil pipelines

European ports

Each and every European port will probably require modifications adapting to new handling, unloading, storage and additional delivery requirements of non-Russian oil from whichever tanker fleet is found, yet unknown, if any. This means building new dedicated facilities per specific consumer and tanker fleet needs (supposedly fixed, unchanging) in order to match the processing foreseen and executed until today with necessarily different Russian oils. As well known examples, below please find equivalent modifications to be urgently made at Baltic and North Sea ports which may also need to be similarly executed throughout European ports as needed. It´s an unfathomable mystery how all of this will be done simultaneously while maintaining current production at refineries and processing plants as current supply requirements dictate. Of course, countries will be selfish and, just as an example, Poland will not accommodate for German needs at its Gdansk Baltic port. Poland now has other priorities and helping out Germany is not one of them. This will severely affect German refinery logistics, most specially at Gdansk.

Baltic & North Sea ports

Rostock is a not-fit-for-purpose port with only tanker berth No. 3 which accepts crude oil with handling & unloading equipment also very limited. So upgrading and retrofitting is urgently needed plus specific dedicated facilities for storage and delivery capabilities. Also, Long Range (LR) 2 vessels are the maximum size accepted by this Rostock berth, thus limiting crude unloading volumes by each vessel. Furthermore, Wilhelmshaven (North Sea, Germany) and Gdansk (Baltic, Poland) also require dedicated storage + equipment for rather smallish yet frequent deliveries plus dedicated outbound logistics to Rostock port storage terminals which would be the only hub available in such area.

Rostock port in turn needs berth revamping for larger oil tankers from Wilhelmshaven or elsewhere plus dedicated equipment for larger, more frequent seaborne batches. Also required are logistics for internal delivery via inland waterways + rail + road inbound to both Wilhelmshaven and Gdansk dedicated storage terminals with additional linkage to the Rostock – Schwedt pipeline as the refinery just chews up unbelievable volumes of crude oil every day.

Both Wilhelmshaven and Gdansk despite already being large deep well-furnished ports still also require modifications.

Argenschwedt blues

Germany and Poland have also “volunteered” by Christmas 2022 to substitute Russian oil today delivered to both thru the Russian North Druzbha pipeline branch only for a few more months. This means — among many other impossible projects already described in detail — to find a solution for adequate feedstock delivery to Europe´s largest and most politically important refinery namely the troglodyte monster Schwedt that only T-Rex Russian oil can feed. So say no more and refer to fully seasoned Ref #7 https://thesaker.is/germans-schwedt-hard-for-russian-oil/ whereby the more than obvious ´Krautensuiciden´ is described in detail. Just as teaser, please be advised that the Schwedt refinery “solution” goes far beyond Baltic and North Sea ports deep modifications. It necessarily also includes the Rostock-Schwedt pipeline enlargement, upgrade, and revamping, a real-life mission impossible under current circumstances where ALL of Europe is turned upside down indefinitely while it still needs to consume what is still being normally produced until today with superb Russian oil perfectly matching all current and future refinery needs. Please allow

me to repeat myself: It´d be like trying to change all four tires while the car keeps on running non-stop at 100 km/hr.

So don´t cry for Argenschwedt, but be reminded of the required new oil feedstock definition, testing and vendor selection, approval, certification & contract + retrofit and full revamping modifications per Option (3) + enhanced storage facilities + handling equipment for large & frequent batch deliveries. Without very deep and years-long modifications of the Rostock port, the Schwedt refinery will starve to death. And without the Druzbha door-to-door Russian oil feed — besides the poor quality of the non-Russian oil substitute and its probable non-matching with the pertinent technical requirements — the Schwedt refinery would chew up the largest possible Suez tanker in just 4 (four) days. Still, this is impossible today at Rostock port so a string of dozens of far smaller tankers would have to cue up like school children at the infamous berth No.3 the only one apt for oil handling and unloading onto yet to be resolved storage and transmission lines to the Schwedt terminal…and then onto the obsolete 1963 Soviet era pipeline today way too small to make any difference thus badly needing urgent enlargement. Europe has obviously gone full bananas trying to unnecessarily do all of that and plenty more by Christmas. This very bad idea should not end well.

And pray that trying to execute the required modifications with such an unbelievably tight and impossible schedule does not mean – as usual — any physical injuries directly or indirectly to anyone involved in new feedstock lines and infrastructure, an atmospheric distillation facility, a vacuum distillation system, a cat-crack unit, a visbreaking facility, an alkylation unit, a catalytic reformer, an isomerisation unit, and a very important ethyl tertiary butyl ether facility.

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price

An EU Russian seaborne oil ban will shrink the number of vendors and the volume of oil offered to Europe very significantly thus ruining the supply side of the EU oil price equation. The much lower the supply, the MUCH higher the price. With Russian seaborne oil banned, the potential European supply is much smaller both in number of vendors and/or of the volume available for bidding. An unnecessary procurement mess, a harmfull self-inflicted policy.

Russian Urals oil = cheap, unbeatable, un-subsidized, already fully amortized facilities, in-expensive operation

Unknown new oils = unknown, but definitely FAR more expensive with terrific freight, logistics, and final delivery costs.

Not low enough – let alone very high prices — means disrupting the EU and the world with inflation beyond imagination

The unit price would not include pay-back amortization or the many huge investments / modifications / reforms made.

This means that the real effective price would be even far higher if the required monumental investments are priced in.

Ref # 8 https://www.statista.com/statistics/468405/global-oil-tanker-fleet-by-type/

Ref # 9 https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Record-High-Diesel-Prices-Will-Ripple-Across-The-Economy.html

Ref # 10 https://www.rt.com/business/556051-eu-new-gas-pipeline/

quality

Russian Urals oil = proven, fully vetted high-quality homogenous blend, low in sulphur, light- intermediate API gravity.

Unknown new oils = wishy-washy-iffy, does not even exist, will mean an engineering-chemical-logistics nightmare that does not bode well, and which will necessarily be heterogenous with batch to batch variations. A lower or mis-adapted oil quality would mean poor performance and operational risks with serious breakdown troubles and injuries plus down-time probably beyond repair at refineries, processing plants and final end use One single ‘bad’ batch would produce never ending down/time impact, damages, repairs, claims, potential accidents with possible injuries, non-compliance and altered delivery schedules, liabilities everywhere. It has happened before with non-Russian oils.

quantity

Russian Urals oil = unlimited, smooth, on-demand.

Unknown new oils = chances are that there is no enough volume available, not even in Africa, let alone Iran.

It´d also have to be “incremental” export volumes beyond current production for two reasons: one would be potential growth in EU demand and the second reason is that no vendor will leave traditional customers abandoned high & dry just because the EU has now gone bananas. Furthermore, these contracts could might all turn out being short-term ephemeral un-sustainable ´purchases of convenience´ with no future. Not enough and well delivered quantity means degraded European livelihoods and failing economy, with shut down plants and refineries affecting everything. Price would go up. Meanwhile, India increases its purchase of Russian seaborne oil by 25 times, that is 2500%. Just sayin´.

Ref. #11 https://www.rt.com/business/556345-russian-oil-exports-jump-india/

refineability

Russian Urals oil = efficient, well known, reliable with excellent guaranteed performance for decades allowing to refine with excellence a range of products including petrol (gasoline) diesel, aviation turbine fuel, LPG, extra light heating oil, heavy fuel oil, bitumen, benzene, toluene, xylene and sulphur.

Unknown new oils = fully unknown, risky, requires carefull constant testing of all-around refinery modifications (details on that later) adapting internal processes to new yet unknown oil blends required to remain constant for at least 30 years, preferably 50 years. No data possible yet. Lots of work yet to be done. Refinement process jeopardized, final distillates quantities and qualities unknown. Politicians believe that technical problems will always be solved by technical people. And though saying that contains a grain of truth, what about time, money and human resources ?

Technical people are not magicians.

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matched & mated

Refineries are very closely matched and subtly calibrated to very specific and foreseeable supply feedstocks which are also very difficult to substitute and with great uncertainty regarding the final outcome. Changing anything either on the refinery side as well as on the feedstock requires lots of time, effort, money, dedicated facilities, experimentation, mistakes, trial & error, specific expertise, risk, and most important fixed, unchanging feedstocks always complying with specs. It´s not a “plug & play” substitute.

This means that Russia today supplies Europe with specific Urals oil that would be almost impossible to get from unknown third parties fast enough and cheap enough in enormous quantities. A very delicate and tight matching has already achieved between the European industry and reliable, vetted, well-known Russian oil vendors.

Ref # 12 https://www.ifo.de/en/node/69417

first-hand SKovacs

Many EU refineries have been built to process certain types of oils found in Russia. The very design & build of these refineries was based on certain specific oil types within narrow variation in blend/quality and steady supply — variation normally of less than 15% vol/day — guaranteed for over 30 years (most commonly 50+ years). Obviously enough, the continuous supply of quality feeds is critical to the operation of a refinery or any chemical plant.

complications

Adapting an EU refinery to new types of oils requires detailed laboratory knowledge of the new blend with constant composition and formal guarantees for its continuous delivery for decades, convoluted & lengthy contracts and procurement processes, extremely detailed engineering plans, manufacturing of parts, shipping, installation, testing, commissioning, optimization, permitting etc. etc. etc. before it can be declared “done”. Any element of this incomplete list, if missing, renders the whole affair a failure both technically and economically.

guarantees

The above assumes guaranteed efficient and continuous shipping and receiving network(s) are always in place and fully operational (!) Such work involves thousands of people, complex processes and of course many billions of euros, regulatory permitting process, inherent lawsuits etc., i.e. A LOT OF TIME – years. If Europe were also deprived of oil + metallurgical coal from Russia — and also iron ore — is unlikely to build much. Never mind the finer components that require other alloy metals which are also provided by Russia… Ref # 13 https://thesaker.is/europes-mad-ban-on-russian-oil/

length of contract

Russian Urals oil = 50+ years, Made-In-Russia will be missed.

Unknown new oils = can´t know, but for decades-long contract requires mammoth reservoirs such as Russia has.

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Christmas 2022

Every European refinery and chemical process plant affected (say, 65%) will now immediately require modification of internal processes adapted to new unknown non-Russian seaborne oils. This re-vamping and retrofitting will consume humongous amounts of euros, human resources, expertise, trials & errors, risk and lots of hard work and lots and lots of time. Plus all sorts of sensors, software & firmware modifications and purchase of new equipment. Unbelievably, Christmas 2022 is the simultaneous deadline for all of the above. Schedule non-compliance could lead to outward chaos by continuous damage beyond repair of machinery, processes, sensitive devices and installations that EU plants currently have in place. No equivalent madness has ever been planned and implemented except for enemies.

Apocalypses now

So the goal is to simultaneously modify all affected European chemical plants and refineries by adapting them to whatever non-Russian feedstocks of whatever quantities (better find enough…) quality and variations are effectively found, contracted and delivered by yet-unknown non-Russian vendors willing and able to deliver to Europe under current circumstances… Geopolitics anyone ? So the name of the game is to modify, adapt, retrofit for non-Russian substitutes of unknown origin with yet undefined all-around characteristics nor vendor track record. These oils would all be different and obviously not interchangeable. Possible storage and delivery cross-contamination are not allowed. Impossible having a “toggle-switch” for alternate feed of different oils to the same piece of equipment. No way.

Also this mammoth undertaking would have to be done without Russia´s accommodation meaning it´d be utmost difficult to phase-out of Russian Urals oil as gradually as needed while new non-Russian blends phase-in… while the rest still awaits modification thus still requiring Russian oil grades which Russia would not supply in the way that Europe would need to keep importing. Russia would have other priorities, not accomodating for European needs.

The EU today has highly sensitive plants finely tuned and used to Russian high quality oil during decades. And no plant will run without continuous, foreseeably constant feed of the right quality product in large enough quantities which most probably will grow in time as demand increases. Europe is now trying to change that in 6 months by executing 11 (eleven) new and very complex and unexpected projects just for the Schwedt Refinery alone. No Pre-Feasibility nor Feasibility studies whatsoever. If this were not a very serious matter I would take it as bad joke.

No batch system in the whole wide world no matter how well designed and built – Swiss and Germans included– is anywhere comparable to a modern door-to-door pipeline such as Druzbha. Tankers have a costly service life if only for the regulation/inspection requirements. So they are a higher risk and higher cost. Also there are negative seasonal availabilities of hydrocarbons and shipping vessels types and sizes which means lots of negotiation, coordination, funding, expertise, risk, new fixed and variable costs and surprises from yet unknown trade and business partners, new procedures, modus operandi, brokers, insurance companies, etc. Can´t make this stuff up.

Human resources are probably the weakest link with tons of people missing with yet to be defined job descriptions, yet to be interviewed, hired, trained, teams put together, deployed, etc. Current operational and maintenance + staff & field personnel would probably demand being switched to other jobs… or will drag their feet… or would simply resign thus necessarily compounding the problem to uncharted depths. New, young, inexperienced hands do not help under these circumstances.

The Schwedt Refinery badly needs a 200 km. pipeline upgrade + revamping on a partially-buried heavy structure built with obsolete materials and technology commissioned in 1963 and already repaired many times. The old pipeline trace goes through highways and urban areas, pristine environments, rolling hills, valleys and ridges, forests, rivers, lakes, home to fish and wildlife with strong winds, rain and snow. People will not like all of that in their back-yards.

This new EU plan needs to cover absolutely 100% of all of Europe´s current and future oil consumption, not just a part. Because Russia now has other priorities and will no longer cooperate with and adapt to EU needs in any way.

So forget about gradual Russian oil substitution. It´d be the opposite. For example, and just to entertain the idea, even if eventually achieving constant delivery of 75% fully-compliant non-Russian oil… it´d still mean digging a 25% deep hole into Europe´s economy, which Russia will not help to solve by supplying the missing 25% oil. This and other important matters led to the title of this article. Europe now will either cheat & pay more or harm itself beyond belief.

My suggestion is get out of Dodge.

Ref # 14 https://thesaker.is/europes-mad-ban-on-russian-oil/

IGNORING THE MIDDLE EAST AT ONE’S PERIL: TURKEY PLAYS GAMES IN NATO

15.05.2022

Written by James M. Dorsey

Amid speculation about a reduced US military commitment to security in the Middle East, Turkey has spotlighted the region’s ability to act as a disruptive force if its interests are neglected.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan set off alarm bells this week, declaring that he was not “positive” about possible Finnish and Swedish applications for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

NATO membership is contingent on a unanimous vote in favour by the organisation’s 30 members. Turkey has NATO’s second-largest standing army.

The vast majority of NATO members appear to endorse Finnish and Swedish membership. NATO members hope to approve the applications at a summit next month.

A potential Turkish veto would complicate efforts to maintain trans-Atlantic unity in the face of the Russian invasion.

Mr. Erdogan’s pressure tactics mirror the maneuvers of his fellow strongman, Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban. Mr. Orban threatens European Union unity by resisting a bloc-wide boycott of Russian energy.

Earlier, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia rejected US requests to raise oil production in an effort to lower prices and help Europe reduce its dependence on Russian energy.

The two Gulf states appear to have since sought to quietly backtrack on their refusal. In late April, France’s TotalEnergies chartered a tanker to load Abu Dhabi crude in early May for Europe, the first such shipment in two years.

Saudi Arabia has quietly used its regional pricing mechanisms to redirect from Asia to Europe Arab “medium,” the Saudi crude that is the closest substitute for the main Russian export blend, Urals, for which European refineries are configured.

Mr. Erdogan linked his NATO objection to alleged Finnish and Swedish support for the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which has been designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, and the EU.

The PKK has waged a decades-long insurgency in southeast Turkey in support of Kurds’ national, ethnic, and cultural rights. Kurds account for up to 20 per cent of the country’s 84 million population.

Turkey has recently pounded PKK positions in northern Iraq in a military operation named Operation Claw Lock.

Turkey is at odds with the United States over American support for Syrian Kurds in the fight against the Islamic State. Turkey asserts that America’s Syrian Kurdish allies are aligned with the PKK.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that Turkey opposes a US decision this week to exempt from sanctions against Syria regions controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

“This is a selective and discriminatory move,” Mr. Cavusoglu said, noting that the exemption did not include Kurdish areas of Syria controlled by Turkey and its Syrian proxies.

Referring to the NATO membership applications, Mr. Erdogan charged that “Scandinavian countries are like some kind of guest house for terrorist organisations. They’re even in parliament.”

Mr. Erdogan’s objections relate primarily to Sweden, with Finland risking becoming collateral damage.

Sweden is home to a significant Kurdish community and hosts Europe’s top Kurdish soccer team that empathises with the PKK and Turkish Kurdish aspirations. In addition, six Swedish members of parliament are ethnic Kurds.

Turkey scholar Howard Eissenstat suggested that Turkey’s NATO objection may be a turning point. “Much of Turkey’s strategic flexibility has come from the fact that its priorities are seen as peripheral issues for its most important Western allies. Finnish and Swedish entry into NATO, in the current context, absolutely not peripheral,” Mr. Eissenstat tweeted.

The Turkish objection demonstrates the Middle East’s potential to derail US and European policy in other parts of the world.

Middle Eastern states walk a fine line when using their potential to disrupt to achieve political goals of their own. The cautious backtracking on Ukraine-related oil supplies demonstrates the limits and/or risks of Middle Eastern brinkmanship.

So does the fact that Ukraine has moved NATO’s center of gravity to northern Europe and away from its southern flank, which Turkey anchors.

Moreover, Turkey risks endangering significant improvements in its long-strained relations with the United States.

Turkish mediation in the Ukraine crisis and military support for Ukraine prompted US President Joe Biden to move ahead with plans to upgrade Turkey’s fleet of F-16 fighter planes and discuss selling it newer, advanced F-16 models even though Turkey has neither condemned Russia nor imposed sanctions.

Some analysts suggest Turkey may use its objection to regain access to the United States’ F-35 fighter jet program. The US cancelled in 2019 a sale of the jet to Turkey after the NATO member acquired Russia’s S-400 anti-missile defence system.

Mr. Erdogan has “done this kind of tactic before. He will use it as leverage to get a good deal for Turkey,” said retired US Navy Admiral James Foggo, dean of the Center for Maritime Strategy.

A top aide to Mr. Erdogan, Ibrahim Kalin, appeared to confirm Mr. Foggo’s analysis. “We are not closing the door. But we are basically raising this issue as a matter of national security for Turkey,” Mr. Kalin said, referring to the Turkish leader’s NATO remarks. “Of course, we want to have a discussion, a negotiation with Swedish counterparts.”

Spelling out Turkish demands, Mr. Kalin went on to say that “what needs to be done is clear: they have to stop allowing PKK outlets, activities, organisations, individuals and other types of presence to…exist in those countries.”

Mr. Erdogan’s brinkmanship may have its limits, but it illustrates that one ignores the Middle East at one’s peril.

However, engaging Middle Eastern autocrats does not necessarily mean ignoring their rampant violations of human rights and repression of freedoms.

For the United States and Europe, the trick will be developing a policy that balances accommodating autocrats’, at times, disruptive demands, often aimed at ensuring regime survival, with the need to remain loyal to democratic values amid a struggle over whose values will underwrite a 21st-century world order.

However, that would require a degree of creative policymaking and diplomacy that seems to be a rare commodity.

Dr. James M. Dorsey is an award-winning journalist and scholar, a Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute and Adjunct Senior Fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and the author of the syndicated column and blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer.

A podcast version is available on Soundcloud, Itunes, SpotifySpreaker, and Podbean.

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Andrei Martyanov: Victory Day, May 9th, How To Make A Decision. Real War Planning.

May 09, 2022

Please visit Andrei’s website: https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/
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Can Europe overcome hatred, racism, embrace universalist spirit of refugee convention?

April 17 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Ruqiya Anwar 

The hardship of white Ukrainian refugees was humanized by the United States and Europe, while the West showed racism and double standards when it came to hosting refugees from the global south that were escaping western funded wars in the first place.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov described Ukrainian refugees as Europeans concluding “These are intelligent individuals”

The Ukraine crisis has caused one of Europe’s greatest and fastest refugee migrations since World War II ended. A massive amount of people had fled to neighboring countries. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as many as four million people could evacuate the country in the next weeks. The European Union (EU) estimates that there will be seven million refugees by the end of the year. 

It has revealed significant disparities in the treatment of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa, particularly Syrians who arrived in 2015. However, Europe’s radically divergent responses to these two crises serve a warning lesson for those seeking a more humane and generous Europe. The distinctions also explain why some of those fleeing Ukraine, particularly African, Asian, and Middle Eastern, are not receiving the same lavish treatment as Ukrainian citizens (Tayyaba, 2022).

However, we are aware that this is not how the international protection regime has worked in Europe, particularly in countries now hosting Ukrainian refugees. Racist and xenophobic language towards refugees and migrants, particularly those from Middle Eastern nations, pervades public discourse in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania, and hostile actions such as border pushbacks and draconian detention measures have been taken in the past.

Notably, Hungary, since the 2015 refugee crisis, the country has refused to accept refugees from non-EU countries. Non-European refugees, according to Prime Minister Victor Orbán, are “Muslim invaders” and migrants are “a poison”, and Hungary should not welcome refugees from diverse cultures and religions to preserve its cultural and ethnic unity. 

More recently, in late 2021, the atrocious treatment of refugees and asylum seekers stranded on Belarus’s borders with Poland and Lithuania, most of whom were from Iraq and Afghanistan, provoked an outcry across Europe. Belarus has been accused of turning these people’s misfortune into a weapon by luring them to Belarus to travel to EU countries in retribution for EU sanctions.

Whereas hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian migrants pour into neighbouring nations, clutching their children in one arm and their valuables. And leaders from nations like Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Romania have greeted them.

While hospitality has been praised, it has also brought significant disparities in the treatment of migrants and refugees from the Middle East, particularly Syrians who arrived in 2015. Some of them claim that the language used by politicians currently welcoming refugees is upsetting and cruel.

According to Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, “These are not the refugees we’re familiar with. These are Europeans. These are intelligent individuals. They are well-educated individuals. This is not the type of refugee surge we’ve seen before, with people whose identities we didn’t know, people with murky pasts, and even terrorists”.

However, when over a million individuals walked into Europe in 2015, there was initially a lot of support for refugees fleeing crises in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. There were also instances of animosity, such as when a Hungarian camerawoman was caught on camera kicking and potentially tripping migrants near the country’s Serbian border (CNC, 2022)

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Arab Uprisings of 2011 increased the number of refugees attempting to enter Europe. Even Turkey, which already hosts over 4 million migrants and asylum seekers, including 3.6 million Syrians, could not effectively accommodate them. However, the reception of these minority refugees in European countries has been overwhelmingly unfavourable.

Hundreds of Afghan, Syrian, Iraqi, and other asylum seekers were stranded in Poland-Belarus woodlands and marshes in 2021, without shelter, food, or water in subzero temperatures and facing constant assaults from Polish and Belarusian border authorities. At least a dozen people were killed, including children. Yet, the European Union refused to open the border.

Significantly, although walls are an inadequate means to handle the movement of refugees and migrants, wall-building has been on the rise in the region since the 1990s. Then, the European continent celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall. According to a 2018 Transnational Institute analysis, the primary goal of these walls is to dissuade refugees and asylum seekers from the Global South.

Greece finished building a wall along its border with Turkey in 2021 to keep Afghan asylum seekers out. The Spanish government now intends to construct the world’s tallest wall in northern Morocco, where it claims the power to block migrant access into Spain, which is only 250 miles away.

Lithuania has been constructing an 11-foot-high steel fence with 2-inch-thick razor wire on its border with Belarus since 2021 to prevent migrants from the Middle East and North Africa from entering the country. EU states have agreed to accept Ukrainian refugees for up to three years without requiring them to seek asylum. Poland has stated that it will absorb 1 million Ukrainians. Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Moldova, Greece, Germany, and Spain are among the countries that have already opened their borders.

Unfortunately, these double standards have shown in the attitude of non-Ukrainians leaving Ukraine’s conflict. Students and refugees from the Middle East have been subjected to racist abuse, obstruction, and violence while attempting to exit Ukraine in increasing numbers. Many others said they were barred from boarding trains and buses in Ukrainian cities because Ukrainian nationals were given precedence; others said they have violently moved aside and halted by Ukrainian border guards when attempting to pass into neighbouring countries.

There were tales about non-white refugee communities that had gone unrecorded and unpublished. Despite their huge number and agonizing battles across countries and continents, millions of Syrian refugees remained anonymous and blankly depicted in the media. While standing in line at the border and seeking to get crucial services, a number of non-Ukrainians of colour, including Africans, Afghans, and Yemenis, have experienced prejudice.

The astonishing double standards were on full display in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis and the early phases of the conflict that followed. The hardship of white Ukrainian refugees was humanized by the United States and Europe, as well as their different political spectrums. When the refugees were Arabs or Muslims, Black or Brown, however, it remained vehemently divided.

Moreover, the Polish authorities detained people and refused them to enter the country. The refugee crisis in Ukraine provides Europe with not only an important opportunity to demonstrate its generosity, humanitarian values, and commitment to the global refugee protection regime, and it also provides a critical opportunity for reflection, Can Europe’s people overcome widespread racism and hatred and embrace the universalist spirit of the 1951 Refugee Convention? All member states must apply the provisions of this Convention to refugees without discrimination as to race, religion, or country of origin.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

OPEC to EU: No Alternative to Russian Oil

April 12 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Current and future sanctions on Russia could spawn one of the worst oil supply shocks in history, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo warned EU officials on Monday, adding that it would be impossible to replace the volume of oil lost in such an event.

Some seven million barrels of Russian oil per day are leaving the world market as a result of sanctions and other restrictions on Russian trading, Barkindo explained.

The OPEC official also told the EU that the current volatility in the market is due to “non-fundamental factors” beyond OPEC’s control and that it is the responsibility of the EU to promote a “realistic” approach to energy transition.

The EU has announced that it plans to join the US and UK in instituting an embargo on Russian energy products. However, unlike the US and UK, Europe imports a majority of its energy supplies from Russia, and experts have warned that attempting to cut off the supply could have catastrophic results.

In particular, Germany is anticipating the collapse of entire industries, while the head of Austrian energy giant OMV has declared it would be “impossible” for his country to quit buying Russian gas.

While the US has promised to step up and fill the gaps with its more expensive liquefied natural gas exports, most of Europe’s LNG terminals are already operating at capacity, meaning there would be no place to store the fuel. Other countries are eager to use the crisis as an opening to push into renewable fuels.

Nevertheless, the European Parliament demanded last week an immediate and total embargo on Russian imports of oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear fuel, and it is expected to have a significant negative impact on European standards of living if followed through.

Some countries, such as Hungary and Slovakia, have made clear they plan to ignore the ban in the interests of self-preservation, though others have warned their citizens to tighten their belts and get ready for lean times ahead.

Oil and gas aren’t the only commodities whose supply is drying up amid the war in Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine together produce about a third of the world’s wheat exports, and both countries are also major exporters of sunflower oil and fertilizer. As a result, food prices have hit historic highs, and many countries and NGOs are warning of food shortages looming in the near future.

Special operation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and events in Ukraine April 10, day

 April 10, 2022

By  VT Editors

Source Self Explanatory

Fondsk.Ru: Briefing by the official representative of the RF Ministry of Defense Igor Konashenkov on April 10, 2022 on the progress of the special operation in Ukraine:

– The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continue to conduct a special military operation in Ukraine.

– During the night in the village of ZVONETSKOYE, Dnepropetrovsk region, high-precision sea-based missiles destroyed the headquarters and base of the nationalist battalion “Dnepr”, where reinforcements from foreign mercenaries arrived the other day.

– High-precision air-launched missiles in the area of ​​​​the settlement of STAROBOGDANOVKA, Mykolaiv region and at the military airfield CHUGUEV, destroyed launchers of Ukrainian S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems identified by reconnaissance.

– Russian air defense systems shot down eight Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles in the air in the areas of the settlements of OLHOVATOVKA, NOVAYA ASTRAKHAN, AVDEEVKA, SHAKHTERSKOE, KURAKHOVO, NOVOSELOVKA VTORAYA, VESELOYE.

– Operational-tactical aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces hit 86 military facilities of Ukraine. Among them: two command posts, two ammunition depots, three fuel depots, three installations of multiple launch rocket systems, as well as 49 strongholds and areas of concentration of Ukrainian military equipment.

– In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, the following have been destroyed:

  • 127 planes and 98 helicopters,
  • 234 anti-aircraft missile systems S-300, Buk-M1, Osa AKM;
  • 436 unmanned aerial vehicles,
  • 2052 tanks and other armored fighting vehicles,
  • 232 installations of multiple launch rocket systems,
  • 894 field artillery and mortar guns,
  • 1975 units of special military vehicles.

* * *

“Prime Minister Viktor Orban, of course, condemns the massacre in Bucha. Hungary fully supports the international investigation, the purpose of which is to find out who committed the crime, ”said the press secretary of the Hungarian Prime Minister Bertalan Havasi .

It was not in vain that Zelensky boiled up with indignation that someone in Europe was demanding some kind of proof.

* * *

In the Dnieper (former and future Dnepropetrovsk) there is an unreal commotion. All patrol cars of the national police were pulled up to the monument to Pushkin, on which unknown people put the symbol of the special operation Z.

Several people have been detained. Details are being clarified, writes the telegram channel Operative reports .

https://vk.com/video-35660695_456314482

* * *

Again, the population of Ukraine, as Arestovich said, prevents the Armed Forces of Ukraine from protecting it. For example, he does not want the Ukrainian military to mine the private sector. The population is outraged. He does not understand that, first of all, there is a war, and civilians in this war are a human shield, and their deaths are necessary to blame the Russian army for this.

* * *

The Ukrainian military with joyful shouts destroyed a truck with a red cross with an anti-tank missile.

The video was proudly published by former Ukrainian Ambassador to Austria Oleksandr Shcherba . A red cross and a white awning means that the truck is carrying the wounded or humanitarian aid.

At the same time, the military saw and understood that they were hitting an ambulance, this is clear from their dialogue, Radio Stydoba writes .

* * *

“Ukraine is already ready for big battles. Ukraine must win these battles, including in the Donbass. And after that, Ukraine will get a more substantial negotiating position, from which it can dictate certain conditions. After that, the presidents will meet. It may take two weeks, it may take three,” Mykhailo Podolyak , an adviser to the head of President Zelensky’s Office, one of the negotiators , broadcasts .

Boris Johnson arrived, promised Ukrainushka something extraordinary, posed together with Zelensky for a camera with clay roosters (as if hinting), and now Kiev is in a militaristic hellhole. Ready for war.

* * *

“Ukraine is failing and therefore using the tactics of Syrian terrorists – attacking civilians and calling for external intervention,” Brian Berletic , a geopolitical analyst and former US Marine Corps soldier, said of the Kramatorsk incident.

“It is clear what is happening here. Ukraine is defeated. And this is exactly what we saw during the Syrian conflict. When the terrorists sponsored by the US, Britain and the EU were defeated, they did something similar.

They attacked the civilian population. And they said that the Syrian government did it. And then they called for intervention. They called for new sanctions.

So they did throughout the conflict, until they completely lost. And this is what we see here in Ukraine.”

* * *

Putin’s real weapon against Europe is not missiles, not gas for rubles, and not even Russia Today. The real weapon is the millions of Ukrainian refugees who, in a few weeks, have Ukrainianized the best European cities and turned them into real pigsties.

Take, for example, my beloved Vienna, where I lived a happy year. The Austrians are very pedantic and scrupulous about their way of life. Order and some incredible biblical calm reign in this country. People do not violate parking rules not because high fines are set, but because they consciously protect their comfort, the beauty of their hometown and the rules of coexistence.

With the influx of Ukrainian refugees, a full @@@@ has begun: all parking spaces are filled, refugees strive to take a public transport lane and interfere with the work of city services, every Sunday thousands of Maidanites gather on the Museum Quarter Square, leaving behind not only tons of garbage, but also acoustic noise. For the Austrians, this is worse than being hit by the Kinzhal complex.

And so it is in other capitals. In Riga, the maydanuts yell in zombie costumes, in Chisinau they paint monuments blue and yellow and demand to communicate with them in Ukrainian. In expensive Stockholm, Ukrainian refugees demand accommodation for free that most Swedes cannot afford.

Europe gets tired very quickly. Despite the propaganda, Europeans are beginning to see with their own eyes who the Ukrainians are and what is their fundamental difference from the Russians. Ukrainians are constantly whining and demanding something, without giving anything in return and without thinking that it’s time to wake up and start radically changing their own lives, and not forever Maidan and whining.

Europe is waking up very quickly, and the next electoral cycle will be difficult for the current elites, who, to please the United States, got involved in the sanctions war, incurring enormous economic losses. But they receive a more powerful blow from my compatriots – lazy, capricious, hysterical and complex. Ukrainians for eight years have forgotten how to live in a normal society and turn any nutrient medium into a pigsty. And such a scenario was not difficult to calculate, because this is Putin’s real secret weapon.

* * *

The first footage of the evacuation in the port of Mariupol of the crew of the vessel “Blue Star”, under the flag of Panama, is written by WELDERS .

Crew 14 people. One Russian and 13 citizens of Ukraine.

Эвакуация проходила ещё под огнем нацбатов и ВСУ. Рядом противник оказывал сопротивление. Благодаря самоотверженным действиям военнослужащих ВС РФ и НМ ДНР люди спасены. Сейчас все моряки находятся в полной безопасности.

С началом боевых действий и до освобождения гражданские моряки находились в заложниках украинских нацистов, и использовать нацбатами в качестве «живого щита».

* * *

В морском порту г. Мариуполь отступающие остатки подразделений украинских националистов захватили ДВА иностранных судна «Царевна» и «Леди Аугуста». Удерживая в заложниках экипажи этих судов, националисты «Азова» ведут огонь с палуб из 120-мм минометов, различных типов гранатомётов и стрелкового оружия. Судьбы членов экипажей данных судов и состояние их здоровья пока неизвестно. Народная милиция ДНР совместно с Вооруженными Силами Российской Федерации предпринимают все возможное для спасения жизней насильно удерживаемых украинскими националистами моряков, – Народная милиция ДНР.

Заглавное фото: обстрел Еленовки, фото квадрокоптера “Пчёль”, источник

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The Dollar Devours the Euro

April 08, 2022

By Michael Hudson and posted with the author’s permission

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.

That makes the New Cold War against China an implicit opening act of what threatens to be a long-drawn-out World War III. The U.S. strategy is to pry away China’s most likely economic allies, especially Russia, Central Asia, South Asia and East Asia. The question was, where to start the carve-up and isolation.

Russia was seen as presenting the greatest opportunity to begin isolating, both from China and from the NATO Eurozone. A sequence of increasingly severe – and hopefully fatal – sanctions against Russia was drawn up to block NATO from trading with it. All that was needed to ignite the geopolitical earthquake was a casus belli.

That was arranged easily enough. The escalating New Cold War could have been launched in the Near East – over resistance to America’s grabbing of Iraqi oil fields, or against Iran and countries helping it survive economically, or in East Africa. Plans for coups, color revolutions and regime change have been drawn up for all these areas, and America’s African army has been built up especially fast over the past year or two. But Ukraine has been subjected to a U.S.-backed civil war for eight years, since the 2014 Maidan coup, and offered the chance for the greatest first victory in this confrontation against China, Russia and their allies.

So the Russian-speaking Donetsk and Luhansk regions were shelled with increasing intensity, and when Russia still refrained from responding, plans reportedly were drawn up for a great showdown to commence in late February – beginning with a blitzkrieg Western Ukrainian attack organized by U.S. advisors and armed by NATO.

Russia’s preemptive defense of the two Eastern Ukrainian provinces and its subsequent military destruction of the Ukrainian army, navy and air force over the past two months has been used as the excuse to start imposing the U.S.-designed sanctions program that we are seeing unfolding today. Western Europe has dutifully gone along whole-hog. Instead of buying Russian gas, oil and food grains, it will buy these from the United States, along with sharply increased arms imports.

The prospective fall in the Euro/Dollar exchange rate

It therefore is appropriate to look at how this is likely to affect Western Europe’s balance of payments and hence the euro’s exchange rate against the dollar.

European trade and investment prior to the War to Impose Sanctions had promised a rising mutual prosperity between Germany, France and other NATO countries vis-à-vis Russia and China. Russia was providing abundant energy at a competitive price, and this energy was to make a quantum leap with Nord Stream 2. Europe was to earn the foreign exchange to pay for this rising import trade by a combination of exporting more industrial manufactures to Russia and capital investment in developing the Russian economy, e.g. by German auto companies and financial investment. This bilateral trade and investment is now stopped – and will remain stopped for many, many years, given NATO’s confiscation of Russia’s foreign reserves kept in euros and British sterling, and the European Russophobia being fanned by U.S. propaganda media.

In its place, NATO countries will purchase U.S. LNG – but they will need to spend billions of dollars building sufficient port capacity, which may take until perhaps 2024. (Good luck until then.) The energy shortage will sharply raise the world price of gas and oil. NATO countries also will step up their purchases of arms from the U.S. military-industrial complex. The near-panic buying will also raise the price for arms. And food prices also will rise as a result of the desperate grain shortfalls resulting from a cessation of imports from Russia and Ukraine on the one hand, and the shortage of ammonia fertilizer made from gas.

All three of these trade dynamics will strengthen the dollar vis-à-vis the euro. The question is, how will Europe balance its international payments with the United States? What does it have to export that the U.S. economy will accept as its own protectionist interests gain influence, now that global free trade is dying quickly?

The answer is, not much. So what will Europe do?

I could make a modest proposal. Now that Europe has pretty much ceased to be a politically independent state, it is beginning to look more like Panama and Liberia – “flag of convenience” offshore banking centers that are not real “states” because they don’t issue their own currency, but use the U.S. dollar. Since the eurozone has been created with monetary handcuffs limiting its ability to create money to spend into the economy beyond the limit of 3 percent of GDP, why not simply throw in the financial towel and adopt the U.S. dollar, like Ecuador, Somalia and the Turks and Caicos Islands? That would give foreign investors security against currency depreciation in their rising trade with Europe and its export financing.

For Europe, the alternative is that the dollar-cost of its foreign debt taken on to finance its widening trade deficit with the United States for oil, arms and food will explode. The cost in euros will be even greater as the currency falls against the dollar. Interest rates will rise, slowing investment and making Europe even more dependent on imports. The eurozone will turn into an economic dead zone.

For the United States, this is Dollar Hegemony on steroids – at least vis-à-vis Europe. The continent would become a somewhat larger version of Puerto Rico.

The dollar vis-à-vis Global South currencies

The full-blown version of the New Cold War triggered by the “Ukraine War” risks turning into the opening salvo of World War III, and is likely to last at least a decade, perhaps two, as the U.S. extends the fight between neoliberalism and socialism to encompass a worldwide conflict. Apart from the U.S. economic conquest of Europe, its strategists are seeking to lock in African, South American and Asian countries along similar lines to what has been planned for Europe.

The sharp rise in energy and food prices will hit food-deficit and oil-deficit economies hard – at the same time that their foreign dollar-denominated debts to bondholders and banks are falling due and the dollar’s exchange rate is rising against their own currency. Many African and Latin American countries – especially North Africa – face a choice between going hungry, cutting back their gasoline and electricity use, or borrowing the dollars to cover their dependency on U.S.-shaped trade.

There has been talk of IMF issues of new SDRs to finance the rising trade and payments deficits. But such credit always comes with strings attached. The IMF has its own policy of sanctioning countries that do not obey U.S. policy. The first U.S. demand will be that these countries boycott Russia, China and their emerging trade and currency self-help alliance. “Why should we give you SDRs or extend new dollar loans to you, if you are simply going to spend these in Russia, China and other countries that we have declared to be enemies,” the U.S. officials will ask.

At least, this is the plan. I would not be surprised to see some African country become the “next Ukraine,” with U.S. proxy troops (there are still plenty of Wahabi advocates and mercenaries) fighting against the armies and populations of countries seeking to feed themselves with grain from Russian farms, and power their economies with oil or gas from Russian wells – not to speak of participating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative that was, after all, the trigger to America’s launching of its new war for global neoliberal hegemony.

The world economy is being enflamed, and the United States has prepared for a military response and weaponization of its own oil and agricultural export trade, arms trade and demands for countries to choose which side of the New Iron Curtain they wish to join.

But what is in this for Europe? Greek labor unions already are demonstrating against the sanctions being imposed. And in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has just won an election on what is basically an anti-EU and anti-U.S. worldview, starting with paying for Russian gas in roubles. How many other countries will break ranks – and how long will it take?

What is in this for the Global South countries being squeezed – not merely as “collateral damage” to the deep shortages and soaring prices for energy and food, but as the very objective of U.S. strategy as it inaugurates the great splitting of the world economy in two? India has already told U.S. diplomats that its economy is naturally connected with those of Russia and China. Pakistan finds the same calculus at work.

From the U.S. vantage point, all that needs to be answered is, “What’s in it for the local politicians and client oligarchies that we reward for delivering their countries?”

From its planning stages, U.S. diplomatic strategists viewed the looming World War III as a war of economic systems. What side will countries choose: their own economic interest and social cohesion, or submission to local political leaders installed by U.S. meddling like the $5 billion that Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland bragged of having invested in Ukraine’s neo-Nazi parties eight years ago to initiate the fighting that has erupted into today’s war?

In the face of all this political meddling and media propaganda, how long will it take the rest of the world to realize that there’s a global war underway, with World War III on the horizon? The real problem is that by the time the world understands what is going on, the global fracture will already have enabled Russia, China and Eurasia to create a real non-neoliberal New World Order that does not need NATO countries and which has lost trust and hope for mutual economic gains with them. The military battlefield will be littered with economic corpses.

The ‘Counter-Revolutions of 1848’ stillborn child: Western Liberal Democracy

April 07, 2022

Source

by Ramin Mazaheri

(This is the fourth chapter in a new book, France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. Please click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)

The primary cause of the Revolutions of 1848 was the fact that it took 50 years for the sociopolitical ideas of the French Revolution to spread in a Europe dominated by autocratic monarchs. That’s how radical 1789 was, and how slow political history moves.

The secondary cause was the economic changes caused by the refusal to end feudal mindsets anywhere in Europe but in France, and amid the start of industrialisation. 1789 had changed all Europeans, but all monarchs – including the two dynasties in post-Napoleonic France – refused to govern according to the entirely new needs and demands of their citizens. It’s expressed in the primary slogan of 1848, “Bread and work, or lead!”

The primary result of the 1848 Revolutions was total failure everywhere but France. 1848 provided new upheavals to replace Europe’s memories of the Seven European Wars Against the French Revolution (1792-1815), and what replaced them was even worse absolute monarchies. Political gatherings and demonstrations were outlawed, censorship was not just rampant but total – in short, all European political life was back to where it was in 1847: underground, publicly nonexistent and ruthlessly repressed. There was no revolution – an accurate reading of European history would call this period the “Counter-Revolutions of 1848”.

So why isn’t it called that? For the same reason behind this long historical preface before an analysis of the achievements of the Yellow Vests: Western mainstream history and education is a catastrophe of elite bias and propaganda.

The secondary result of the Revolutions of 1848 was the very first establishment, and immediate popular rejection, of what we can finally start calling Western Liberal Democracy. It would last just three years before a coup against it was popularly approved 11 to 1 in what was then the largest democratic vote ever in history. It took just three years for Western Liberal Democracy to prove to voters its total, eternal inability to care for the masses and not for an elitist oligarchy.

This chapter will make that conclusion perfectly clear not only because we have 175 years of hindsight, but because we have the world-shattering journalism and analysis of one Karl H. Marx. His on-the-ground analysis of the actions of 1848 would shape politics for over a century, and inspire both true socialists and socialists-turned-fascists into breaking with Western Liberal Democracy.

Napoleon always draws the crowds – his nephew? Few even know he had one who was important. In between Napoleon’s demise and World War One there is an abyss of historical understanding in the West. In fact, they are instructed to not think of this era as significant at all – this chapter hopes to explain why.

Marx on France: The only country that mattered in 1848… and 1849

Simply look at the results:

Italy carried the torch of 1789 the most. After initially giving false hope, the Pope openly said that the Papacy could not be the leader of a unified Italian state. His refusal to mix religion and politics, even in a country which was so overwhelmingly of the same religion, was a major error. After 1848 the Papacy became totally anti-liberal, anti-national and supportive of absolutist regimes.

Hungary gave up after their ethnic-based revolt failed to take root – unsurprisingly – with the rest of the extremely multiethnic Hapsburg empire. Indeed, many seem to think that Germanic racial elitism was founded by Adolf Hitler?

Revolutionary France had ended the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, but the autocratic Hapsburgs held on after 1848 – the counter-revolutionary victory was primarily theirs… it’s a common theme.

Tsarist Russia was not affected by 1848. They would, in large part to keep Prussia weak, prop up their Austrian autocratic brethren.

Just like in the aftermath of Russia’s 1917 success, and the 1930s, and the Great Recession, Germany totally disappointed. The Germans were especially brutal in repressing their revolutions, and it would require World War One to finally end German despotism, at least in the monarchical form.

Yellow Vest: “We were so numerous in the beginning, but when people began to see how violent and ferocious the government repressed the Yellow Vests, then many got too scared to protest. The government did everything they could to make us disappear, just so they can govern us according to their selfish whims.”

(Note: this book intersperses over 100 quotations taken from actual, marching Yellow Vests which were originally published in news reports on PressTV.)

The broad outline of what happened across Europe in the year of 1848 is simply this: The nouveau riche, professional, and managerial classes were always quite content with mere liberal reformism, which was opposed by the monarchists. Those three groups initially allied with the artisans and students to push back against Anglo-Germanic-Russian enforced absolutism and repression. When this “bourgeois” triumvirate got the mild reformism they wanted (i.e. rights for themselves) these “liberal reformists” would no longer support the artisans and students – of course they never wanted to ally for long with the peasants and proletariat. They instead supported repression of the artisans, students and lower classes, and thus we have the Counter-Revolutions of 1848. These liberal reformers never wanted a revolution, but merely a bill of rights for rich people against autocratic monarchy. As all mere reformists do, they refused to incarcerate, confiscate or execute the counter-revolutionaries, and thus the counter-revolution won, as it always will when facing half-hearted reformism. 1848 stands as proof that the alleged heroes of liberalist reformism are actually right-wingers opposed to actual democracy.

The tertiary result of 1848 was the growth of nationalism, but rarely pointed out in the Anglo-Saxon world is that this nationalism was required to expel Anglo-Germanic theocratic autocrats. We certainly can’t blame the French revolutionaries who departed decades ago, but after planting the seed of anti-feudalism, anti-monarchism and patriotic pride. The rebellions across Europe were against the poor governance of the aristocratic oligarchies who had colluded to wipe out 1789. Some leftists see this rise of nationalism as a bad thing, but they have totally lost the thread.

1848 addressed the “political question”, of how governance should be arranged, and everywhere but France failed to install something which anyone could call “progressive”. Furthermore, France’s revolutionary victory also allowed for the first political discussions of the “social question” – how shall we transfer socially from feudal monarchy: liberal capitalism or socialism? – to be addressed and fought out in their new political structure. At least it was assumed at the start of 1848 that this would be a fair fight!

It took France 33 years (the length of a human generation), from the fall of Napoleon until 1848, for the French to get rid of an unelected executive – once again they were alone in this achievement. Universal (male) suffrage was also spectacularly achieved for the first time, as was the founding of a “right to work”. While all other Europeans gave up achieving any move away from pathetic monarchy France founded the 2nd Republic.

French history from the fall of Napoleon, and thus the end of the French Revolution, until 1848 can be quickly summarised: In 1815 Napoleon was imprisoned on St. Helena, and the Bourbons returned after having fled, again. The Bourbons only ruled until 1830, when Louis Philippe I of the House of Orleans was installed during that year’s “July Revolution”. For France 1848 was the result of 18 years of awful neglect from the Orleanists, who cared only about bleeding the country dry at the behest of the burgeoning financial elite, as it was this “bourgeois” who helped push the House of Orleans into power. 1848 deposed the House of Orleans, and France looked forward this new system we term “Western Liberal Democracy” – they would be disappointed.

In a country with universal male suffrage you would think the new parliament would endeavour to represent the interests of the masses, no? If so, you misunderstand who Western Liberal Democracy aims to serve. Marx summarised the Second Republic thusly, and according to his ideas of political progression: “Under the bourgeois monarchy of Louis Philippe only the bourgeois republic could follow; that is to say, a limited portion of the bourgeoisie, having (from 1830-48) ruled under the name of the king, now the whole bourgeoisie was to rule under the name of the people.

Western Liberal Democracy inevitably turns out that way, but the revolutionaries of 1848 had certainly expected some power and wealth to be devolved to them. In a truly post-feudal France former serfs now had higher opinions of their value to society, their right to earn bread to eat, wanted the necessary stability provided by central planning, social welfare, etc. However, while the souls of the French serfs had grown, the power of the new financial-oriented class had grown at a usurious rate! This is thanks to the start of industrialisation, but also to the usurious abuses of the serfs-turned-sharecroppers. I say “start of industrialisation” because at the time of Napoleon the average workshop had just four workers and the only large businesses were arms manufacturers – not so 30 years later.

As the short-lived 2nd Republic progressed it became clear that this new form of governance was only there to benefit the old landed royalists, the post-1492 corporate trading enterprises and these new “bourgeois” industrialists and rentiers. The 2nd Republic is the start of when powers began to slowly stop being royal and start being monetary powers – when power became corporatised. This is what makes 1848 France so vital to understanding the 21st century.

Yellow Vests: “Our system has become totally rotten. They make the laws to suit their own needs, or the needs of corporations, and they have done nothing to resolve the huge problems of the average person. This is why the Yellow Vests will keep marching in the streets.”

It took the French three years to learn this, then to clear a path for 1848’s popularly-elected president to bloodlessly abolish the always-oligarchical parliament of Western Liberal Democracy. That president was Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, whose father was Louis “the Good” Bonaparte, who was appointed King of Holland in 1806 in a failed bid to make the Batavian Republic less subject to monarchical attacks.

The above analysis which condemns Western Liberal Democracy is why this chapter is needed: The mainstream historical analysis of 1848-52 France places way too much emphasis on economic changes – i.e. the industrial revolution – and the alleged dictatorship of a guy who was elected because stupid French hillbillies thought an elderly Napoleon had broken free from St. Helena. This faulty analysis exists because it allows for the sidestepping of what actually happened politically: the mismanagement of France’s first Western Liberal Democrats, their obvious bias against the bottom 90%, and the eventual rejection of this form of governance which only entrenched inequality and created regular crises.

On the social level what they were pushing for in 1848, but what the 2nd Republic failed to legislate, is what postwar Europe looks like! The revolutionaries of 1848 were proven right, and that can’t be disproven.

1848-1948 was an awful century for the European masses, but also the masses everywhere else – European imperialism created the tragedies, famines and inequalities which literally moulded a new “Third World”: prior to 1848 a peasant in Europe was in the same socioeconomic condition as a peasant in India, China, Latin America, etc.

Yellow Vest: “The movement will hold firm in the future. It will not disappear because their demands are so very solid and true. There are real reasons for a revolution in France, and we will always continue to play our part.”

Learning how the 1848 Revolution got off-track in the country where it had its greatest success is a major key to understanding governments of today, because it is this form of government which has ultimately prevailed despite instant and lasting popular disapproval!

Thus, the ‘Counter-Revolutions of 1848’, indeed.

Marx’s genius: tying together 1848 and 1789, which is the only way to understand 1848

There are three critical contributions Marx made to the understanding of France’s 1848-52 period. They are so critical because they illustrate how Western Liberal Democracy starts with fake-leftism and ends in oligarchy over and over and over. It should be considered quite important that the complaints of the 2nd Republic are the exact same as the ones heard today!

Firstly, Marx condensed the economic evolution of France in a time when society and economics were changing rapidly even without the complications of a successful 1848 revolution. He laid out how class economic interests twisted the 2nd Republic into something which nobody who was actually at the barricades would have fought for.

Shortly after the February Revolution of 1848 forced the abdication of the House of Orleans the “June Days” uprising scared the royalists and bourgeois republicans (i.e. anti-monarchists) to unite into the “Party of Order”. The Bourbons – who represented the power of landed property, the oldest basis of money – finally ended their royal squabbles with the Orleanists – who were installed to defend the increased power of nouveau riche industrial/financial property. This new unity is what Marx meant by writing, “…landed property has become completely bourgeois through the development of modern society.” Gone were disputes of old or nouveau – it was just riche versus poor. Thus, 1848 in France is the birth of modern class warfare – and the rich started it!

Secondly, Marx condensed what actually took place in the hectic few years after the 1848 Revolution, which culminated in the popular vote which sanctioned the coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte against the unicameral National Assembly. Marx’s charted the lifecycle of this new political structure, and how it discredited itself via the same oligarchical flaws which are eternally apparent in this system.

Thirdly, Marx showed how the new professional politicians, doctors, small-town lawyers, bank managers and other professional-types, who are the cadres in this new Western Liberal Democracy, joined with the richer categories of wealth (royalist, usurious, landed wealth and financial, means-of-production wealth) to engage in a style of governance which put all their own interests first and demonised the interests of anyone else as “socialism!”. Yes, as epitomised in the awful politics of the United States 175 years later, Marx was flabbergasted to see even calls for the most basic reforms and moves to reduce inequality tarred as “evil socialism” at the very first implementation of Western Liberal Democracy. Marx goes even further to permanently indict Liberal Democracy as being far inferior to Social Democracy. This is an old debate, and it should have been decided in the latter’s favor by 1852 France.

By succinctly condensing – in just the one paragraph below – Marx’s summary of the events from 1848 to the voter-backed coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in 1852, all three historical contributions will be made clear.

An uprising truly led by the people (i.e. a popular revolution) in February 1848 forced out King Louis Philippe of the Orleanists, but the modern leftist demands of the people would be betrayed by June. The people’s hopes for a “Democratic and Social Republic” were sold out by the Social Democrats, mostly the small traders who were content with cementing the unprecedented achievement of universal male suffrage. However, the Social Democrats were soon sold out by the bourgeois republicans – those richer cadres of Western Liberal Democracy – who don’t really want universal suffrage but merely liberal rights for the upper class only. However, the republican bourgeois are sold out by the “Party of Order” coalition in parliament, half of which still wants a royalist restoration and the other half of which wants a republic but cares not much for liberal rights, and especially universal suffrage. This faction prevails and eventually guts universal suffrage, and votes the subordination of the constitution to the majority decisions of the parliament – i.e. a true legislative coup against the people. Good news! After three years of inefficiency, grandstanding and state-sponsored looting of the country’s natural, social and labor resources the “Party of Order” is sold out by the Bonapartist party – the National Assembly is dissolved, and what is restored is a Bonapartist idea of a popularly-elected emperor who puts the will and good of the nation first.

This is why Marx famously wrote his opening lines in The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (18th Brumaire is the French revolutionary calendar date for the coup of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799of history repeating itself as farce: instead of the revolution trending upwards in the first several years with leftist successes, as in 1789-94, a similar time period in 1848 sees sees failure. “Accordingly, the revolution moves on a downward line. It finds itself in this retreating motion before the last February-barricade is kicked away.… ”

Having condensed Marx’s timeline of 1848, his comparison with the timeline of 1789 will be especially illuminating of both 1789 and 1848. This book does not dissect the pre-Napoleonic events of 1789-94, in large part because they have been perfectly analysed by Marx in one paragraph. I include in parenthetical my explanations of key 1789 terms/parties which may not be fully known by the average reader (Marx is in bold)

In the first French revolution, upon the reign of the Constitutionalists (i.e., the start of the French Revolution via forcing the king to accept a constitution and to renounce total autocracy. Napoleon Bonaparte’s commitment to constitutionalism is precisely what made him a true political revolutionary of his day.) is succeeded by the Girondins (Truly the early martyrs of today’s Western Liberal Democrats. Most were from the department of Gironde, home of France’s slave-trade capital – Bordeaux -, and were committed to the free market, decentralisation and imperialist war. It’s decapitating them which Westerners call the “Reign of Terror”, precisely because neo-Girondins are what still rule in the West in the modern era. Napoleon Bonaparte clearly supported the Jacobins’ right to govern, fought against these rebels for years, was friends with Augustin Robespierre, etc.) and upon the reign of the Girondins follows that of the Jacobins. Each of these parties rests upon its more advanced element. … Just the reverse in 1848.”

It’s clear why outside of France the “Revolutions of 1848” are such a failure, but why is the French Revolution of 1848 such a failure for Marx? It’s because he was so very anti-Bonapartist. Marx was living in Paris during this era, after all, so we can understand his bias – we, however, do not. In 2022 it seems like a major mistake which loses the thread of political history: moving away from autocracy. I’ll deeply criticise his overly-strong condemnation of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in the next chapter, but what’s needed first is his analysis of France from 1848-52 – it’s critical because it is so reminiscent of Western politics today!

Both revolutionary eras fought against the very same political principle: autocracy, anti-democracy and the rule of an aristocratic elite. The Yellow Vest fight in the exact same way, even if the autocracy is only slightly less barbaric, although you should tell that to one of the many mutilated Yellow Vests.

What happened to France’s progressive revolution of 1848, then? Western Liberal Democracy happened!

The short answer is that Marx places the blame for the failure of 1848 on the half-revolutionary actions of France’s left wing in 1848, as well as the role played by Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte.

In the above section I related in one paragraph Marx’s summary of the events from 1848 to the popular coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte. A bit more information is needed on the major political events in between that start and finish.

The February Revolution of 1848 re-ended monarchy, but April’s voting results saw the new constituent (temporary) Assembly filled with royalists, elite and professionals who did not incarnate the socialistic demands which had propelled the popular revolution: the opposition to free markets and the demand for government works to create jobs. National Workshops had been immediately created in 1848 in order to fulfil the “right to work” and thus introduce governmental central planning into the economy.

So one should imagine the hundreds of thousands of workers now trying to ply a trade in Paris while, concurrently, the new temporary parliament to draw up a new constitution is full of capitalistic Western Liberal Democrats. Naturally, the people saw they were getting left behind. On May 15 a leftist demonstration entered and dissolved this temporary National Assembly. The National Guard – which had always played the decisive role in French revolutionary affairs – sided against the protesters. The ardent republicans and protest leaders were arrested; a banker would be installed as the new Paris Chief of Police; a lawyer would now head the restored Assembly.

In June the conservative National Assembly announced that the National Workshops would be closed, and the newly-unemployed workers could either join the army or go back home to the provinces – this sparked the June Days uprising. We see here how Western Liberal Democracy is never – not from it’s very earliest days – going to allow anything but an “invisible hand” to guide the economy, and also that imperialist war (which is not at all revolutionary war) is its primary answer to the economic question. Over 10,000 people were massacred, or 60% as many as were guillotined during the “Reign of Terror” (but without any trial). It also marks the last time French Catholic clergy tried to play a role in elections: The Archbishop of Paris literally entered into the Paris street fray as a mediator – he was shot, almost certainly by the conservative forces. The popular revolution was thus ended: death, prison and exile to Algeria for the leftists.

Yet the trader-class Social Democrats did not condemn the repression – they threw their weight behind November’s Constitution of 1848, which granted universal male suffrage. Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte was elected in December, and like his uncle he took a middle-of-the-road pro-revolutionary approach: he was neither like the leftist socialist candidates, nor the anti-socialist/pro-republican army chief who led the June Days repression, nor a liberalist lawyer. Marx was unwilling to reconcile with Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, who was also a leftist writer – his most famous book was the pro-working class The Extinction of Pauperism, which undoubtedly helps explain his massive victory.

After Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte was elected 1850-onwards was an ineffective and nation-destroying combat between the executive and the legislative branch:

The legislative branch – as it will always do for the next 175 years – lost all popular support by rejecting to represent the populace and not just the upper class. The popular, bloodless coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte would be deemed “fascism installed by country rednecks”, and Marx’s own analysis is very similar to that, sadly.

The executive branch – as it will always do for the next 175 years – would jealously fight to acquire as much autocratic, dictatorial powers as it could, and employ jingoistic, imperialist wars to win popular opinion while mostly advancing the needs of the elite.

It took only three years to realise such a system was unworkable, and yet is this not still the alleged apex of governmental structure and efficiency for Western Liberal Democrats of today?

Yellow Vest: “After three years nothing has changed, except for the fact that things have gotten even worse for the average French person. Life has gotten so much more expensive, but Macron doesn’t care. Macron doesn’t see the demands of the Yellow Vests, or even the French people, as worthy of his attention.”

Weak leftism against a strong executive – France has the same problem today

In May 1849 the first National Assembly of the 2nd Republic was officially seated. This Assembly would eventually go on to approve total non-support for any other popular revolution sweeping Europe; to ban the reborn Sans-Culottes and other political parties; similar to Macron today, they would end the longtime practice of the National Assembly hearing petitions from grassroots special interest groups.

Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte would immediately use foreign war to establish to the “Party of Order”, which had 64% of seats, that he, too, was a mighty man of (executive) “Order”. Even before the new parliament sat he violated the new constitution’s prohibition of military interference in the freedom of other nations by bombarding Rome to prop up an exiled Pope. This was at the expense of the nascent but doomed Roman Republic, which did not have popular support – it would have been nice if the Marxists had won, but it just wasn’t possible until 1917. This does not make either Bonaparte the equivalent of an absolute monarch, one must point out. France had arrived expected to be received as liberators, and also sought to prevent an invasion by Austria.

The opposition Mountain Party, with 26% of seats, who were republicans and neo-Jacobins, boldly voted to impeach Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, who had been elected by a whopping 75% landslide. Propping up the Pope was popular among the average person, and now France’s “left party” (though actually petit-bourgeois small traders and minor professionals) were taking on an extremely popular president?

What cannot be disputed is how ineffectually the Mountain Party fought their fight. Marx’s superb analysis will remind people of the halfhearted, non-revolutionary struggle of fake-leftist parties across Western Liberal Democracy. We should remember that Marx was living in Paris at this time. He surely must have hoped that the Mountain were genuine leftists – after all, “fake-leftism” in a Western Liberal Democratic context had not yet ever been seen!

Following the Mountain’s impeachment vote the unarmed protests of June 1849 were held. The National Guard was there – in uniform, but unarmed. This pacifistic decision was fatal: they had no way to defend themselves from the subsequent army attack. The demonstration ended in total failure – it was the last “Revolutionary Day” of the 2nd Republic – and there were no casualties. Marx writes: “The chief error of the ‘Mountain’ was its certainty of being victorious.” (emphasis his). I don’t think France has had an official “Revolutionary Day” since, and probably because most French don’t know this history either?

Marx saw that the real leftism had been chopped out of the Mountain by the June Days of 1848 and replaced with smug, ultimately conservative, sense of false certainty. He saw these fake-leftists were doomed precisely because they accepted Western Liberal Democratic terms:

“If the Mountain wished to win in parliament, it should not appeal to arms; if it called to arms in parliament, it should conduct itself in a parliamentary way in the street; if the friendly demonstration was meant seriously, it was silly not to foresee that it would meet with a warlike reception; if it was intended for actual war, it was rather original to lay aside the weapons with which war had to be conducted. But the revolutionary threats of the middle class and of their democratic representatives are mere attempts to frighten an adversary….”

This certainly describes France’s union-led demonstrations and the “walks in a park” which are other European Social Democrat-led demonstrations. This same entrapping logic is what the Yellow Vests are told to submit to and what they still so bravely faced down Saturday after Saturday.

Yellow Vests: “France is waking up. The government continues to accuse all of us of being Black Bloc or thugs to make the country turn against us. But we are all united to prevent the destruction of France, and this unity will continue to increase.”

The “superstitious spell” the National Guard had on the French imagination – i.e. its ability to sway the army to back the people and the elite – was crucially broken here. They would be suppressed under Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte and then banned at the start of the Third Republic in 1871, when Western Liberal Democrats would wrest back control from the Louis-Napoleon and the Bonapartists, who also existed in the interim between the two Bonpartes.

A clear difference between imperialist Liberal Democracy and anti-imperialist Social Democracy: the former clearly uses foreign war to gut the possibility of a marital spirit which would protect the rights of the people domestically. It also uses perpetual imperialist war to insist that such domestic rights are not convenient, and that such discussions certainly cannot involve anything but words.

The subsequent crackdown caused the remaining true leftist politicians, including many in the Mountain Party, and journalists to be arrested or go into exile – Marx went to London. With the real left gone the new Mountain Party was no opposition. The National Assembly embarked on a series of right-wing measures which turned everyone against them.

On June 13, 1848 they voted the subordination of the constitution to the majority decisions of the parliament – it was a coup against the constitutional rights of the people.

So, indeed, did the republic understand it, to-wit, that the bourgeois ruled here in parliamentary form, without, as in the monarchy, finding a check in the veto of the Executive power, or the liability of parliament to dissolution. It was a ‘parliamentary republic’, as Thiers styled it.”

Thus we see the true emergence of the unstated dream of Western Liberal Democracy: a country ruled by a parliament of the rich; an expansion of absolute monarchy to a tiny coterie of aristocratic elite.

The last straw would come on May 31, 1850, when the assembly would vote to drastically undermine universal suffrage by millions of voters. Marx wrote, “The law of May 31, 1850, was the ‘coup d’etat’ of the bourgeoisie.” Against the voters, he means.

Thus the first coup in the 2nd Republic was actually made by the parliamentarians and not Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte! Bonaparte would restore universal suffrage, to his great credit.

Those two crucial facts are always left out of any discussion of the 2nd Republic and Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte’s “self-coup” (a coup where a legally-elected executive dissolves the legislative branch). In 2022 they should drastically change our assessment of him, and break from Marx’s negative, rather biased view.

That requires the next chapter – Louis-Napoleon: Confirmation of the revolutionary difference between Bonapartism & Western Liberal Democracy.

From the beginning Western Liberal Democracy showed what it wanted: A country ruled by a parliament of and for the rich

Marx writes in summation of the political discussion permitted in the first Western Liberal Democracy:

“Whether the question was the right of petition or the duty on wine, the liberty of the press or free trade, clubs or municipal laws, protection of individual freedom or the regulation of national economy, the slogan returns ever again, the theme is monotonously the same, the verdict is ever ready and unchanged: Socialism! Even bourgeois liberalism is pronounced socialistic; socialistic, alike, is pronounced popular education; and likewise, socialistic national financial reform. It was socialistic to build a railroad where already a canal was; and it was socialistic to defend oneself with a stick when attacked with a sword.

This was not a mere form of speech, a fashion nor yet party tactics. The bourgeois receives correctly that all the weapons which it forged against feudalism thorn their edges against itself; that all the means of education which it brought forth rebel against its own civilisation; that all the gods which it made have fallen away from it. It understands that all its so-called citizens’ rights and progressive organs assail and menace its class rule, both in its social foundation and its political superstructure – consequently have become ‘socialistic’. It justly scents in this menace and assault the secret of Socialism, whose meaning and tendency it estimates more correctly than the spurious so-called Socialism is capable of estimating itself and which, consequently, is unable to understand how it is that the bourgeoisie obdurately shuts up its ears to it, alike whether it sentimentally whines about the sufferings of humanity; or announces in Christian style the millennium and universal brotherhood; or twaddles humanistically about the soul, culture and freedom; or doctrinally matches out a system of harmony and well-being for all classes. What, however, the bourgeoisie does not understand is the consequence that its own parliamentary regime, its own political reign, is also of necessity bound to fall under the general ban of ‘socialistic’. (Emphasis mine)

If you still believe in Liberal Democracy, may I suggest you read that again.

Not only does Marx show that Western Liberal Democracy refuses to protect the rights which Western Liberal Democracy claims to have created and to believe in, but that Western Liberal Democracy is a phoney “third way”: there is either socialism or autocracy/oligarchy/fascism.

“Accordingly, by now persecuting as Socialist what formerly it had celebrated as Liberal the bourgeoisie admits that its own interest orders it to raise itself above the danger of self government….” Western Liberal Democracy is not a resolution to class warfare, like Socialist Democracy claims to be, but the permanent institution of class warfare with the express goal of government by an elite.

“The parliamentary regime leaves everything to the decision of majorities – how can the large majorities beyond the parliament be expected not to wish to decide?” The parliamentarianism of Western Liberal Democracy is false and unrepresentative, culminating in rule by parties which are controlled by the elite. This is unlike the parliaments in Socialist Democracy, where cobblers become parliamentarians, as in Cuba’s 2018 legislative vote.

No wonder Western schools don’t want to discuss this era!

By examining the era of 1848-52 we see that Western Liberal Democracy totally discredited itself out of the gate, and that we have the same problems as we did 175 years ago: it is autocracy improved into aristocratic rule, but never popular rule. Western Liberal Democracy is so undemocratic that it is not even worthy of the moniker “Western Liberal Democracy”!

Thus the Revolution of 1848 in France was a success – ouster of an unelected king, universal male suffrage, installation of a new political system. It culminated in the 1852 referendum on Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte’s “self-coup” against parliament, and the replacement of the 2nd Republic with the 2nd Empire, to be headed by the new “Napoleon III”. It was approved by 97% of voters with 80% turnout. Over 8 million Frenchmen wanted to vote, and they only could in 19th century France by agreeing that the Bonapartist vision of the French Revolution was the only way to maintain the gains of the French Revolution amid a continent of absolute monarchy and failed revolutionaries AND by rejecting the Western Liberal Democracy of the 2nd Republic.

1848 succeed in France precisely because voters rejected Western Liberal Democracy entirely. Four years to figure it out is not so bad at all?

Thus the period between the 2nd and 3rd Republics is falsely slandered as being equivalent to all the other monarchies of the time. We have been through this before: we are talking about an elected Bonaparte, who naturally was detested by his autocratic contemporaries everywhere else in the region. History is repeated as farce in the modern leftist rejection of both Bonapartes, not in the difference between 1789 and 1848.

Without embracing the will of the inherently progressive French electorate – inherent because there was no other mass electorate at this time – and their eventual selection of the Bonapartes, we are stuck with siding with awful absolute monarchs or awful Liberal Democrats.

Absolute monarchy reigned long after 1848. The slighted Western Liberal Democrat, with all their arrogance, remained non-plussed, as Marx noted: “At all events the (social) democrat comes out of the disgraceful defeat as immaculate as he innocently went into it….” In 1871 the collusion of these two forces with Germany against both Social Democracy and Bonapartism/French Revolutionism led to the traitorous sieging of Paris (the Paris Commune) and then the restoration of Western Liberal Democracy, sadly.

However, in 2022 we must reject Marx’s condemnation and consider the Revolutions of 1848 a success in France. The preservation of universal male suffrage was a spectacular advance from the rest of Europe. This advance alone allows us to clearly see that the ideals of 1789 and the movement away from autocracy still progressed.

But 1848 was an advance for an even greater reason: it allowed the first implementation of modern Western Liberal Democracy… and its endemic flaws were immediately revealed. It became clear that Socialist Democracy was the only true solution – thus the Paris Commune – if one wants broad prosperity, stability and equality for the average person. Those who don’t realise that are stuck in a useless doom loop of 1849-52.

The rise of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte is not as thrilling as that of his uncle’s – the former merely came to power via the vote. He is a modern politician, with plenty of flaws, but the French at the time knew he was a progressive option compared to absolute monarchy or Western Liberal Democracy.

The Algeria section

Before we get into Marx’s failure to appreciate the achievements of France’s 1848 Revolution and the rule of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in opposition to Western Liberal Democracy, we must briefly analyse Marx’s failure to take account of the role the conquest of Algeria played on the French mainland’s politics in 1848.

Marx’s focus was more on banking and industrial systems, instead of imperialism. It’s a significant omission: the treasures, resources and stolen wages of imperialism are enormous – we are talking of the gains of impoverishing an entire country. But where Marx really failed was in not noting the enormous political-cultural impact of being a coloniser.

What the events of 1848 proved, and which Marx failed to note, was how Western Liberal Democracy works hand in hand with militaristic imperialism to repress their nation’s own masses. This is an incredibly important analysis to take from 1848 because the French army went from being a Revolutionary Army in 1789 to an imperialist army in 1830.

The colonisation of Algeria was of an entirely different order than the colonisation of the New World, and we must delineate this difference: the colonisation of a Mediterranean space which saw Marseilles and Algiers socially interact for over two millennia is not at all the same thing as a (ignorant) Western perception of heathen savages who need to be converted. Yes, France had other imperialist domains but we cannot underestimate the power of French Algeria in French history from 1830 until today.

Algeria was invaded in 1830 to distract from and eventually legitimise the take-over by the House of Orleans, which ended the Bourbon Restoration since 1815 – this invasion happened at precisely the same time as the fall of Algiers. The finances and internal prestige of Louis Philippe I was enormously supplemented domestically by the occupation of Algeria. This new “imperialist class” was too ignored by Marx in the French events of 1848.

A proof of the political-cultural impact of this new “imperialist class” is found in the person of Louis-Eugène Cavaignac, who went directly from being governor of Algeria to quelling the June 1848 uprising. He was as vital a player in 1848 and beyond as anyone save Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, to whom he finished second in the 1848 presidential election. As Marx noted: “Cavaignac, the General of the bourgeois republican party, who commanded at the battle of June, stepped into the place of the Executive Committee with a sort of dictatorial power.” The election of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in December would end this dictatorship, but not before the imperialist Cavaignac ruled over the drafting of the November constitution which gave the elite class ruling power over France. This is not a small thing!

The person of Cavaignac thus represents the new capitalist-imperialist rot which would turn against its own people, like a CRS riot cop who aimed his rubber bullet gun at the faces of Yellow Vests. Marx fails to emphasise that it is the imperialism against Muslim Algeria which provided this muscle to topple 1848. Or that the beloved National Guard was sapped by this imperialist deployment. Or that French culture had certainly become hardened by a war which was not waged at all for progressive revolution.

Romaric Godin, economics reporter at top French media Mediapart, in his book La guerre social en France (The Social War in France) recognised Cavaignac’s import (even if Godin does not recognise the importance of imperialism) as both a new type of politician and its clear parallel with Emmanuel Macron. Godin wrote: “Democratic authoritarianism is that of Cavaignac in 1848 and Adolphe Thiers (the future president of the 3rd Republic who colluded with Bismarck to siege Paris) of 1871: that which uses the entire legislative capacity to repress opposition. This sort of abuse is sanctioned by the law and thus is perfectly legal.”

Western Liberal Democracy actually begins with Cavaignac, who suppressed those calling for Socialist Democracy, the National Workshops and a role for the peasants and the proletariat in politics in June 1848. We can draw a straight line from him to Macron’s crushing of the Yellow Vests, and both men are garlanded by Western Liberal “Democracy”.

Indeed, more and more seem willing to call 21st century France “democratic authoritarianism”. Muslim Algerians knew it back in 1830, and by 1848 everyone knew that authoritarianism is what Western Liberal Democracy has always truly been.

<—>

Upcoming chapter list of the brand-new content in France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. The book will also include previous writings from 2018 through the 2022 election in order to provide the most complete historical record of the Yellow Vests anywhere. What value!

Publication date: June 1, 2022.

Pre-orders of the paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the Kindle version may be made here.

Pre-orders of the French paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the French Kindle version may be made here.

Chapter List of the new content

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

Neo-lend-lease, or how to enslave a country

April 07, 2022

Source

By Batko Milacic

Until June 1944, the United States, the most powerful industrial power of the Second World War, had made the main contribution to the battle against Nazism in Europe through the courage of its pilots and Lend-Lease. Lend-lease was a special program authorized by the White House to supply military and civilian aid to America’s foreign allies, which assumed that whatever of those deliveries survived by the time the war was over, would either be returned or paid for by the recipients. Britain received $31 billion worth of military goods (around $400 billion in today’s prices), while the Soviet Union received similar assistance to the tune of $11 billion (140 billion). This assistance was vitally important for the British, who were losing the Battle of the Atlantic, and also for the USSR in the first year of the war, when this country suffered significant losses. However, shortly after the war, the issue of payment arose for the US-supplied military equipment that had not been destroyed in battle, and which had saved the lives of many US soldiers who had avoided direct participation in the war. The exact sum was negotiated for several years, and was repaid only during the 2000s. However, being a great power, which had made the main contribution to the allied victory over Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union could afford not to agree with the conditions put forward by the United States.

Unfortunately for Ukraine, however, it is not even a regional power, looked down on by its Polish and Hungarian neighbors, let alone Washington. Therefore, the modern-day lend-lease program invented for Kiev is provided on different conditions. The Zelensky government is getting more and more “military gifts” from the West, forgetting that it will have to pay for every Javelin rocket, every box of cartridges and every howitzer shell. Unless, of course, there will be someone left to pay after the Russian army, which is slowly but surely advancing in Donbass, has destroyed what has remained of the combat-ready Ukrainian forces, and starts storming the big cities.

That said, someone will still have to pay for the work being done on a round-the-clock basis by Bulgarian arms factories, which are the only ones capable of supplying Soviet-style weapons to Ukraine. Add to this the paycheck for the work of Belgian, US and British gunsmiths, highly paid instructors from NATO countries, for the supply of medicines and food, most of which is not provided on a pro bono basis. Therefore, in the event of an “honorable peace with Russia,” Ukraine will face multimillion-dollar debts. After all, it lacks the status that the Soviet Union enjoyed in 1945, so the Kiev regime will accept any conditions that would allow the current Ukrainian elite to stay in power.

This means that the current lend-lease system for Ukraine is fundamentally different from the one we had during World War II. The United States and Britain are ready to support both radical Islamic groups and Ukrainian neo-Nazis both of whom are complicit in war crimes. Their shared goal is to weaken Russia and make it more compliant. At the same time, unlike the semi-terrorist groups active in the Middle East, Kiev is potentially able to pay for the supplied weapons. The main goal is to save the territories and then start making people pay the bill by freezing their bank deposits for “restoration” purposes, confiscating their foreign currency assets, selling off forests and subsoil – something that was actively done already before the war. If the people of a country impoverished by war are no longer able to pay jacked up direct taxes, no problem – they will have to pay indirectly via excise taxes. As a result, many European and American businessmen will receive a multi-year annuity to be paid for by ordinary Ukrainians.

Moreover, millions of Ukrainian refugees will be brought back home and start earning their living instead of just spending Ukrainian money. As a result, the average Ukrainian citizen, convinced by propaganda that despite the loss of Mariupol, Nikolayev, Odessa, Kherson, and possibly Kharkov and Chernigov, he has won the war, will have to pay, along with his children and grandchildren, the multibillion-dollar “war debt,” while occasionally wondering why he has to cough up so much for utilities and electricity.

The Ukrainian authorities now have to make the people believe that there is still free cheese in the mousetrap. At the same time, they keep offering the NATO countries to sell rather than donate weapons to Ukraine, even though the government was unable to fully meet its defense spending targets even before the war actually broke out. However, ordinary Ukrainians, both in the rear or at the frontlines, sincerely believe that their country is getting everything, from the latest anti-aircraft systems to body armor, just for free. This is not so, of course, but they will never be allowed to see numerous agreements on military supply payments, which are so easy to keep under wraps as “confidential.”

Once the war is over, there will be numerous conferences held on payment “restructuring” issues, which will leave many ordinary people wondering how come they are going to pay for decades for this “selfless help.” Well, their compatriots, who will end up on the territories that Russia will occupy, will also face hard times having to build new roads, rebuild cities and get high-speed trains rolling again. And the average citizen, who “saved” Ukraine will be told by the media day in and day out that the main cause of his troubles are the Russians, who have snapped up the country’s most fertile lands and money-making factories. Meanwhile, it is the neo-lend-lease that is going to be the true cause of all his troubles…

Day 39 of the Russian SMO – a few developments

April 04, 2022

Source

First, in Hungary, Viktor Orban won a supermajority in the latest elections.  This makes perfect sense, as Orban’s policies have guaranteed that Hungary will get her energy at a low and stable price for the next 15 years (if I remember correctly) while the Eurolemmings will get their at astronomic prices on the spot markets which they themselves chose over long term contracts.  The same goes for food items, fertilizer, etc.

I want to congratulate the Hungarian people not only on being the smartest in Europe, but for showing and proving that even a nation which is part of the EU and NATO can defend its own national interests.

Now about the Bucha fake, I won’t repeat it all here, I rather simply refer you to these:

I also would like to use this opportunity to point you to the YouTube channel of Patrick Lancaster: https://www.youtube.com/c/PatrickLancasterNewsToday

Unlike Gonzalo Lira who is in Kharkov, Lancaster reports from Mariupol.  They have very different styles, but they both deserve the recognition for the crucial work they are doing.

I also noticed that the Chinese channel CGTN has very good correspondent in the Ukraine, although I have heard him only on the Russian-language CGTN chanel.  Here is the main one, FYI: https://www.youtube.com/c/cgtn.

Finally, it appears that the USA is trying to color-revolutionize Imran Khan in Pakistan and that this might even involve a plot to kill that man.  Makes me wonder – did the CIA really learn nothing from Belarus or Kazakhstan???

In Russia the mass exodus of pro-western 5th columnists is continuing, which is a real cause for celebration.  The sad part is that the official spokesman for the Kremlin, Peskov, seems to think that these folks are not traitors.  Considering how the Atlantic Integrationists in the Presidential Administration and the Russian Government have totally mismanaged PR war, and then sent a pitiful figure like Medinsky to talk, which resulted in a real panic in Russia as most Russians are much more afraid to have diplomats negate all the efforts of the military.  Frankly, sending Ramzan Kadyrov to negotiate would have been a much better move.

If the first phase of the war has shown that the Russians could achieve amazing results against a major force with a smaller force and the focus on maneuver, it has, alas, also shown that Russian PYSOPs and Civil Affairs capabilities are minimal and mostly ineffective.  Now, wars can be won with little or not efforts allocated to PYSOPs and Civil Affairs, but such wars are much more costly not only in time and money, but also in human lives.  Negotiations, PSYOPs, Civil Affairs and military operations have to work together, towards a common goal – then they act as a force multiplier.  But when civilians do their own thing and the military their own, this needlessly complicates military operations and make wars much harder to end.

In all fairness to the Russians, they never had the kind of propaganda resources the Empire of Lies has.  In fact, since US forces are typically of poor military value, the US has developed very sophisticated capabilities which they now bring to bear with great efficiency.  So Russia faces two very different enemies:

  • The Ukrainian soldiers who are just the cannon fodder for Uncle Shmuel
  • The formidable propaganda machine of the Empire of Lies

The only good news here is that INSIDE Russia the Empire of Lies has totally failed, Putin’s personal popularity is now well above 80% and the popular disgust with the Russian fake “intelligentsia” (the self-applied label of “creative class” the Russian 5th columnist always claim for themselves) is real.  So more and more of them are resigning, moving abroad, or openly caving into the immense pressure of the Empire to condemn their own President and country.

Lastly, remember how for YEARS I wrote that a Russian invasion of the Ukraine would be a dream come true for the Neocons?

Now that this has happened, do you see what I was referring to?  We can now say that thanks to this war, the Empire of Lies can now officially “cancel Russia” – their 1000 year old dream.

That being said, I think that the West also overplayed its hand.  Yes, they managed to make hatred for Russia and Russians a new type of woke virtue signalling, but they went so far overboard that they got the undivided attention of the Russian people who now see the true face and intentions of the Empire of Lies.  And now that most Russians have understood that:

  • Russia and the Empire of Lies are in an existential war which only one side can walk away from and
  • The Empire of Lies wants to genocide the Russian nation (by a combo of means), this is a fight for survival, and for the right to live in a sovereign country

At this point in time, Ze has indicated that he will make no concessions, etc. etc. etc. so the negotiations are going nowhere.  Good.  I think that the Russians need to get rid of the Ukrainian force inside the Donbass cauldron first, and then offer negotiations again.  But until that battle is over, I don’t see the point of talk unless these are talks about the surrender of this force.

Andrei

Gonzalo Lira: News & Views 2022.04.04

APRIL 04, 2022

Book Review: Seven Roads to Moscow

March 26, 2022

Source

By Francis Lee

Seven Roads to Moscow is an intriguing book written by that strange animal, a British soldier intellectual.

Lieutenant-Colonel W.G.F.Jackson

MC, BA, R.E.

Instructor, Royal Military Academy,

Sandhurst, 1950-53

I read this book when I was only 17 and at the time it made a great impression on me. The stories of the seven invasions of Russia have now passed into history. In order of invasions Russia’s uninvited guests were the Vikings, Huns, Swedes, French, and Germans. Each in their turn marched through forest, marsh, and Steppe into the heart of the Russian lands. The impression which these invaders left behind, however, is one of abject failure. All the invaders sooner or later had to succumb to the vastness of the Russian lands and the fortitude and genius of the Russian people.

The only partial success was with Rurik in the rise and fall of Kiev Russia, 862-1228. Rurik is said to have arrived in Novgorod in 862 and gradually established his sovereignty over the native Slavs. From the military point of view Rurik’s invasion is unique in Russian history. It was the first and only invasion which has been largely successful. The tactical methods of Rurik lie shrouded in the mists of early Russian history. For the invaders the military problems of invading Russia do not appear in tangible form until the days of the Swedish King Charles’ XII ill-fated (1707-1709) invasion and no more successful than the much larger and later expeditions by Napoleon and Hitler.

The sole aim of these armies who marched eastwards all had the same objective: to destroy the Russian armies. Moreover, each was faced with the same military problems: namely how could they defeat the Russian armies before they withdrew into the vastness of the Russian interior. If they failed to defeat the Russian armies in the early period of the campaign, how could they prevent the Russians recruiting new levies and returning to counter-attack with overwhelming strength? And how could the invaders manage to keep their armies supplied and reinforced once they had advanced deep into the Russian lands?

Charles XII had the simplest method of all – namely to outmarch and outfight his opponent. He relied on the superior marching and tactical skills of his soldiers to achieve results. But Tsar Peter the Great was a wily old fox who was determined to outwit his opponent and avoid a decisive action. The policy of scorched earth and withdrawal found the Swedes weak, ill-nourished and a long way from home. Charles had failed because he turned away from his primary objective and allowed himself to be cut-off from his base for the uncertain advantage of rallying the somewhat unstable Cossacks of the Ukraine to his banner. He was unable to stem the steady wastage of his best Swedish soldiers. The Cossacks and Kalmuks and other peoples of southern Russia whom he was forced to recruit as reinforcements, were no better than Peter’s reinforcements. The Battle of Poltava (8 July 1709) was the decisive victory for Peter the Great of Russia over Charles XII of Sweden in the Great Northern War. The battle ended Sweden’s status as a major power and marked the beginning of Russian supremacy in eastern Europe. This was the inevitable defeat of trying to achieve too much with too little.

Napoleon did not fare any better. The Grand Army some 600,000 strong marched into Russia in 1812. When the French Revolution had broken out (1789) there was little to indicate that within 23 years a Napoleonic Army would be treading the French Road to Moscow. In what was to become inevitable the West moved East. Thus, the die was cast. Napoleon obviously believed that he was invincible, and the Grand Army outmatched any other fighting force in Europe. But as the Scottish poet Robbie Burns reminds us – ‘’The best laid plans of mice and men oft gang aglay.’’ (Translation from the Scottish Celtic – ‘go awry’)

Napoleon tried 3 methods to bring Tsar Alexander to terms. His first plan was to win a quick military victory in these western lands by breaking through the Russian front using overwhelming force at the point of attack. He then hoped in crushing in turn each half of his opponent’s army. This plan failed because the Russians withdrew too soon.

A group of men riding camels Description automatically generated with medium confidence

When Napoleon appreciated that his first plan had failed, he reoriented his strategy. His next step was to lure the Russian forces in attempting to give battle, but the Russians made a tactical retreat further and further into the inhospitable wilderness of marshes and forests of the older Russian lands. If the Russians would only stand and fight, he might well crush them. After all no enemy had ever survived Napoleons military and tactical genius in his set-piece battles. Be that as it may he was unable to persuade the Russians too accept such a battle until it was too late.

From his arrival until the fall of Moscow Napoleon tried every stratagem to entice the Russians to give battle. In threatening the city of Smolensk and eventually Moscow the Russians did stand and fight in the Battle of Borodino in front of Moscow, but the unexpected toughness of the Russian armies prevented an outright victory for Napoleon.

Moreover, things were now beginning to move against the Grand Army; they were no longer possessed of sufficient numerical superiority, and Napoleon was now too far from home to use the Imperial Guard, his last reserve, to snatch a victory. The Russian army remained intact, but Moscow, Russia’s ancient capital, fell into French hands.

Now the problems for the French military began to mount as had the Swedish during their earlier debacle. In front of the Grand Army villagers abandoned their villages and set them ablaze, burning or hiding their supplies. Marauders and guerilla bands started to take a toll of all that passed along the slender French supply routes. The French needed to leave garrisons in every town along the Moscow highway, and the necessity of providing guards for all convoys sapped at the morale, sickness and fatigue caused by constant disease, dust, and intolerable heat. By the time that Kutuzov, the Russian commander-in-chief, offered battle at Borodino, it was too late for Napoleon to win a decisive victory. However, it was too early to stop the Russians to prevent the French capture of Moscow – the Russian army was not yet strong enough, but the wind was getting into their sails. So, all was not over for Napoleon yet.

However, the fall of Moscow was not the be all and end-all of Napoleon’s campaign. In all his previous campaigns the fall of the enemy’s capital had brought about a decision – that is, a surrender. But the Russians were, however, playing from a different game-plan and did not react in the way that other European nations generally reacted, and they were quite prepared to withstand the loss of Moscow. The great conflagration which followed the French entry into the city only served to harden the will of every Russian to resist. The fall of Moscow was in fact the decisive finish to Napoleon’s campaign.

The invasion and defeat of Russia was predicated on three main approaches. 1. Initially a quick victory in the opening stages of the campaign using overwhelming force. 2 A deliberate set-piece pitched battle, 3. And finally the capture of Moscow.

In the first two methods he was defeated by the immense space of the Russian landscape and by the rugged determination of the Russian soldier, and in the third method by his failure to appreciate the determination of the Russian people.

Now Napoleon’s options had come to naught there was only the long retreat from Moscow for the Grand Army which piece by piece was to fall apart in a rendezvous with its total demise.

In 1941 Hitler and the German General Staff launched the invasion of the USSR which had been meticulously planned and prepared. Hitler was fully aware of the reasons for Charles’ and Napoleon’s failures. This was above all a political/ideological war and Hitler was filled with contempt for the Russian Army and the Russian population that his predecessors possessed in abundance.

In the replay of Napoleon’s tactical demise and the rout of the Grand Army, Hitler’s Wehrmacht had defeated the Western European armies, with ruthless efficiency – the French and the low countries were forced to surrender, and the British chased out of the European continent only because they had a bigger navy than Germany as well as the Royal Air Force with the Spitfire being the most advanced fighter plane. Like Napoleon before him Hitler realized the key to success lay in the destruction of Stalin’s frontier armies before its slow mobilization could be completed. The German military concept of Blitzkreig i.e. ‘lightning war’ was a very different animal to the pitched battles of WW1 which in military terms had become archaic in this new approach to warfare.

Now new technologies had mobilized warfare with the advent of railways, motor transport and aircraft. The wireless would make possible the efficient control of vast armies across the whole breadth of the Soviet Union (as it then was).

Hitler’s initial strategy was both military and political. He needed firstly to destroy the Red Army and Communism, so that the military and political objectives were coordinated. The next step was the seizure of the unlimited Russian abundance of economic resources. But in purely military terms there was a certain sense of Déjà vu. In this context with the Soviet Army, Hitler, like Napoleon before, him made significant inroads into Russian space very quickly, but despite capturing large numbers of Russian POWs he failed to trap and destroy the main body before it was reinforced by the slowly mobilizing reserves from deep inside of Russia beyond the Urals. In addition, his endeavour to capture the centres of Soviet resistance was no more successful. Only Kiev and Kharkov fell into his hands, but Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad never succumbed.

In this earlier period of the war the Wehrmacht was seemingly irresistible; but it became like Napoleon’s initial success, only to be locked into what was to become the usual pattern of invasion into Russia. In his drive for the acquisition of Russia’s economic resources Hitler did seize the industrial and grain producing areas of Ukraine, but by his efforts to seize the oil of the Caucasus he lay himself open to the first counter offensive by the fully mobilized Red Army.

Hitler’s solution to this strategic problem showed a characteristic under-estimate of the strength of the Russian Army and an overestimation of his own resources. ‘’He decided to hold the Army groups North and Centre on the defensive whilst he deployed all his strength in the sector of Army Group South. Using the great bend of the Don to protect his northern flank between the Don and the Volga near Stalingrad. From here he could either attack southwards into the Caucasus, and possibly into the middle east to join hands with Rommel.’’ (Seven Roads to Moscow – p.290) But this was rather wishful thinking since by this time the Anglo-American forces were in North Africa as well as their navies in the Atlantic and Pacific this in addition to the US/UK bombing offensive which had started in earnest against German cities.

The German 6th Army, in triumphalist mode, Paris – 1940

The German 6th Army had advanced in the southern part of the Ukraine and had crossed 3 rivers, the Dnieper, the Don, and the Volga, it had arrived in Stalingrad in the shape of the 6th Army, in the same way as it had when it entered Paris in 1940. But the outcome was rather different. By 1942 the German offensive had stalled in Stalingrad.

In the bitter fighting in the city, the Wehrmacht was halted in its tracks and unable to move forward but its flanks were exposed and vulnerable to a Russian counterattack. The line of defence was manned by Romanian and Hungarian forces of dubious quality and loyalty. The Russian counterattack became inevitable and so it worked out when the Russians broke through the Romanian defences and completed the encirclement (or Cauldron) as the Russians now call them.

This changed the whole character of WW2. The Red Army battled all the way to Berlin as well as hooking up with British and American forces coming from the other direction. The war was, apart from the American Japanese conflict in the Pacific and the British-Japanese conflict in Malaya and Burma, was effectively over.

‘’Post-war vital economic objectives for Russia were equally hard to choose, since Russia’s bitter experiences of invasions from the West had taught her to move and develop her industries further and further eastwards as the ranges of western European Armies had increased. The gradual move to the East started with Five Year Plans before the German invasion. Hitler’s attack only accelerated this process. Industrial plants in areas which were overrun by the Nazis, were often dismantled before the Germans could capture them. The dismantled machinery was then to be re-erected beyond the Urals.’’ (Seven Roads to Moscow p.315)

Conclusion

The only lasting road to Moscow was the Viking Road of Rurik that provided the constructive services which the Russian people themselves wanted and for which they themselves asked.

‘’Let us hope that no-one will ever be tempted to emulate Charles, Napoleon, and Hitler in imposing a military solution of a kind of which history has shown must fail, and which will bring nuclear annihilation to mankind.’’ (Jackson – Seven Roads to Moscow – p.319)

In the Greek fable of Pandora’s Box, Pandora could not resist opening the box, but she opened the box, and several evil entities started flying out of it. These included hatred, envy, greed, disease, poverty, pain, death, and war. All these miseries of human life escaped the box and entered the real world. By the time Pandora slammed back the box’s lid, all the evils had escaped except for ‘hope’.

I begin to wonder if we have in fact opened the box?

Two more briefings: Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy and Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev

March 25, 2022

https://telegra.ph/Speech-of-the-Head-of-the-Main-Operational-Directorate-of-the-General-Staff-of-the-Armed-Forces-of-the-Russian-Federation-on-the-03-25 March 25, 2022

Speech of the Head of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy

(This should be read with the previous statements of this morning:  http://thesaker.is/briefing-by-the-russian-ministry-of-defence-on-the-current-results-of-the-special-military-operation-in-ukraine/

In accordance with the decision of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief since February 24 this year. The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are conducting a special military operation.

Its main goal is to provide assistance to the people of the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics, who have been subjected to genocide by the Kiev regime for 8 years.

It was impossible to achieve this goal by political means. Kiev has publicly refused to implement the Minsk agreements. The Ukrainian leadership twice in 2014 and 2015 tried to solve the so-called Donbass problem by military means, was defeated, but did not change its plans on resolving conflict by force in the East of the country. According to reliable data, the Armed Forces of Ukraine were completing the preparation of a military operation to take control of the territory of the people’s republics.

In these conditions, it was possible to help the Donetsk and Lugansk republics only by providing them with military assistance. Which Russia has done.

There were two possible courses of action.

The first is to limit the territory to only the DPR and the LPR within the administrative borders of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which is enshrined in the constitutions of the republics. But then we would be faced with constant feeding by the Ukrainian authorities of the grouping involved in the so-called joint force operation.

Therefore, the second option was chosen, which provides for actions throughout the territory of Ukraine with the implementation of measures for its demilitarization and denazification.

The course of the operation confirmed the validity of this decision.

It is conducted by the General Staff in strict accordance with the approved plan.

The tasks are carried out taking into account minimizing losses among personnel and minimizing damage to civilians.

With the beginning of a special military operation, air supremacy was won during the first two days.

Offensive actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are carried out in various directions.

As a result, Russian troops blocked Kiev, Kharkov, Chernigov, Sumy and Nikolaev. Kherson and most of the Zaporozhye region are under full control.

The public and individual experts are wondering what we are doing in the area of blocked Ukrainian cities.

These actions are carried out with the aim of causing such damage to military infrastructure, equipment, personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the results of which allow not only to shackle their forces and do not give them the opportunity to strengthen their grouping in the Donbass, but also will not allow them to do so until the Russian army completely liberates the territories of the DPR and LPR.

Initially, we did not plan to storm them in order to prevent destruction and minimize losses among personnel and civilians.

And although we do not rule out such a possibility, however, as individual groups complete their tasks, and they are being solved successfully, our forces and means will concentrate on the main thing – the complete liberation of Donbass.

Significant territories of the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics have also been liberated. The people’s militia has taken control of 276 settlements that were previously under the control of the Ukrainian army and the national battalions.

Demilitarization of Ukraine is achieved both by high-precision strikes on military infrastructure facilities, locations of formations and military units, airfields, control points, arsenals and warehouses of weapons and military equipment, and by the actions of troops to defeat opposing enemy grouppings.

Currently, the Ukrainian air forces and the air defence system have been almost completely destroyed. The naval forces of the country ceased to exist.

16 main military airfields were defeated, from which combat sorties of the AFU aviation were carried out. 39 storage bases and arsenals were destroyed, which contained up to 70% of all stocks of military equipment, materiel and fuel, as well as more than 1 million 54 thousand tons of ammunition.

All 24 formations of the Land Forces that existed before the start of the operation suffered significant losses. Ukraine has no organized reserves left.

Losses are replenished at the expense of mobilized persons and personnel of the territorial defence forces who do not have the necessary training, which increases the risk of large losses.

At the time of the start of the special military operation, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, together with the National Guard, numbered 260 thousand 200 servicemen. During the month of hostilities, their losses amounted to about 30 thousand people, including more than 14 thousand – irretrievable and about 16 thousand – sanitary.

Of the 2,416 tanks and other armored fighting vehicles that were in combat on February 24, 1,587 units were destroyed; 636 units out of 1,509 field artillery guns and mortars; 163 out of 535 MLRS; 112 out of 152 aircraft, 75 out of 149 helicopters; 36 Bayraktar TB2 UAVs – 35;

180 out of 148 S-300 and Buk M1 air defence systems; 300 out of 117 radars for various purposes.

The AFU continue to use high-powered weapons indiscriminately against towns in Donbass. An example of this is the strikes by the Tochka-U missile system on the civilian population of Donetsk and Makeyevka.

In this regard, they are the primary targets.

As of today, 7 Tochka-U launchers have been destroyed, and 85% of missiles are in arsenals and in the air. This significantly limited Ukraine’s capabilities for their combat use.

Since the beginning of hostilities, the Western countries have supplied the Kiev regime with 109 field artillery guns, 3,800 anti-tank weapons, including Javelin, Milan, Konkurs, NLAW ATGM, M-72, Panzerfaust-3, 897 Stinger and Igla MANPADS.

We consider it a vast mistake for Western countries to supply weapons to Kiev. This delays the conflict, increases the number of victims and will not be able to influence the outcome of the operation.

The real purpose of such supplies is not to support Ukraine, but to drag it into a long-term military conflict “to the last Ukrainian.”

We are closely monitoring the statements of the military and political leadership of individual countries about their intention to supply aircraft and air defence systems to Ukraine. In case of implementation– we will not leave it without attention.

We also hear assurances from NATO leaders about non-interference in the conflict. At the same time, some member states of the North Atlantic Alliance propose to close the airspace over Ukraine. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will immediately respond accordingly to such attempts.

In order to prevent the restoration of weapons and military equipment of the AFU that have received combat damage, the Russian Armed Forces are disabling repair enterprises, arsenals, storage bases, logistics warehouses with high-precision weapons.

At the moment, 30 key enterprises of the military-industrial complex have been hit by cruise missiles X-101, Kalibr, Iskander, and the Kinzhal aviation complex, which carried out repairs of 68% of weapons and equipment disabled during combat operations.

Russian modern weaponry has proven to be highly accurate, reliable and capable of operational use.

I would like to emphasize that the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation do not strike at civilian infrastructure facilities, including the destruction of bridges across rivers.

127 bridges were destroyed in the area of military operations. All of them were blown up by Ukrainian nationalists in order to deter the advance of our troops.

Another example of recklessness is the mining of approaches to the ports of Odessa, Ochakov, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny, where over 400 anchor mines of obsolete types are installed.

At least 10 mines have broken anchor and are drifting in the western part of the Black Sea, which poses a real threat to warships and civilian vessels.

The rampant crime, looting and marauding and civilian deaths have been caused by the Ukrainian regime’s massive uncontrolled distribution of tens of thousands of small arms to the civilian population, including to criminals released from prisons. The situation will only get worse in the future.

The course of hostilities, the testimonies of civilians who left the blockaded settlements and captured Ukrainian servicemen show that today the AFU’s ability to resist is based on fear of reprisals by neo-Nazis. Their representatives are embedded in all military units.

The mainstay of the Kiev regime are nationalist formations such as Azov, Aidar, Right Sector and others recognized in Russia as terrorist organizations. In Mariupol alone, they include more than 7 thousand militants who are fighting under the guise of civilians, using them as a “human shield”.

The militants of the Azov battalion drive women and children out of the basements, threatening them with weapons, and send them towards the advancing units of the DPR in order to hinder the advance of the people’s militia. This has become a common practice for them.

The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, on the contrary, seek to avoid unnecessary losses. Before the start of the offensive, the AFU units are invited to leave the combat area and move along with equipment and weapons to the point of permanent deployment. Not to resist when the offensive begins and those who lay down their arms are guaranteed safety.

Civilians caught in a war zone are always advised to stay in their homes.

Humanitarian corridors are being organized in all cities to get the population out of the area of hostilities, and their security is also maintained.

Humanitarian corridors are being created in all towns to allow people to leave the area where the fighting is taking place, and their security is being maintained.

In addition, at the initiative of the Ukrainian leadership, the country has become a home to 6,595 foreign mercenaries and terrorists from 62 states.

They are not subject to the rules of war and will be ruthlessly destroyed.

Today, the number of foreign mercenaries is declining. This was facilitated by high-precision strikes on their bases and training camps. On March 13, more than 200 militants were killed and more than 400 wounded in Starichi and at the Yavorovskii training ground alone.

I note that not a single foreign mercenary has arrived in Ukraine in the last seven days. On the contrary, there has been an outflow. Within a week, 285 fighters escaped into Poland, Hungary and Romania, I hope without Stingers and Javelins.

Previous experience has shown that man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS) and ATGMs are spreading out fairly quickly, along with the mercenaries who return home.

In general, the main objectives of the first phase of the operation have been achieved. The combat capabilities of Ukraine’s Armed Forces have been significantly reduced, which allows us, once again, to concentrate our main efforts on achieving the main goal – the liberation of Donbass.

In eight years, in the area of the so-called “joint forces operation”, a defence belt has been prepared that is deeply echeloned and well-fortified in engineering terms, consisting of a system of monolithic, long-term concrete structures.

In this regard, in order to minimise casualties among the troops of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics, the conduct of offensive operations is preceded by a heavy fire attack on the enemy’s strongholds and their reserves.

At the beginning of the special military operation, the LPR and DPR people’s militias were confronted by a group of 59,300 people comprising the most combat-ready units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the National Guard and nationalist formations.

As a result, Ukraine’s security forces in the OOS zone lost about 16,000 people, or 26% of their total strength as of 24 February this year.

More than 7,000 of them were irrecoverable losses.

Replacing losses is prevented by isolating the Ukrainian grouping of troops in Donbass, taking control of railway stations and key road routes with firepower.

The supply of missiles and ammunition, fuel and food to Ukrainian forces has been almost completely halted.

The field depots of missile and artillery weapons and ammunition, as well as fuel located directly in the area of the Joint Forces Operation are being hit. To date, 32 facilities have been destroyed, or 61% of the total.

All weapons and military equipment, including foreign-made, seized by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation during the special military operation are handed over to the People’s Republics. Already 113 tanks and other armoured combat vehicles, 138 Javelin and 67 NLAW grenade launchers and other trophy weapons have been handed over.

Units of the People’s Militia of the Lugansk People’s Republic have liberated 93% of the republic’s territory.

Fighting is currently taking place on the outskirts of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.

The People’s Militia of the Donetsk People’s Rupublic controls 54% of the territory. The liberation of Mariupol continues.

Units of the Russian Armed Forces together with the People’s Militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic are conducting an offensive to liberate settlements to the west of Donetsk.

Unfortunately, there are casualties among our comrades-in-arms during the special military operation. As of today, 1,351 servicemen have been killed and 3,825 wounded.

All family support solutions will be taken over by the state, raising children up to higher education, full repayment of loans, housing solutions.

We receive a large number of appeals from Russian citizens wishing to take part in the special military operation to liberate Ukraine from Nazism.

In addition, more than 23,000 foreigners from 37 countries have expressed their willingness to fight on the side of the people’s republics. We offered the leadership of the LPR and DPR to accept this assistance, but they said they would defend their land themselves.

They have enough power and resources.

The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will continue to conduct a planned special military operation until the tasks set by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief have been completed.


Speech of Head of the National Centre for Defence Control of the Russian Federation Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev

March 25, 2022

The special military operation in Ukraine with its corresponding objectives and tasks was preceded by an eight-year period of a highly grave humanitarian disaster in Donbass that made more than 6.5 million persons to be victims of violations of human rights and caused deaths of more than 14.5 thousand persons. The almost daily shelling carried out by the Armed Forces of Ukraine and nationalist battalions caused 4,115 infrastructure buildings destroyed and 55,310 damaged, including residential buildings, educational establishments, hospitals and many other social facilities.

Over these eight years, 19.5 per cent of the infrastructure of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’ s republics has been completely destroyed and up to 37 per cent damaged by the use of heavy weaponry from Ukraine.

From April 2014 to February 2022, 1,451,304 refugees had been displaced just to the Russian Federation.

Due to a rapid aggravation of the situation and increase of the shelling intensity on the territory of Donbass, only from 18 to 23 of February the number of refugees had rapidly increased; during these six days, the border of Russia has been crossed by 106,946 persons.

The rest of the population – 3,600,940 people, including civilians, mostly elderly, children, women and some vulnerable groups – continued to be shelled every day, in basements without any basic conditions for life – no water, heat, electricity, food or medicines.

This period comparable with two Great Patriotic Wars 1941-1945 in terms of timeline caused numerous victims every day.

Meanwhile, the countries of the so-called “civilised” West, led by the United States of America, have deliberately kept silent about all this, showing complete indifference to the fate of millions of residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’ republics.

The special military operation commenced in the conditions of this highly grave humanitarian crisis.

Since 4 March, the Russian Federation has been providing humanitarian corridors on a daily basis, exclusively for humanitarian purposes, in the directions of Kiev, Chernigov, Sumy, Kharkov and Mariupol, of which one humanitarian corridor to Russia and one more through Kiev-controlled territories towards Ukraine’s western borders.

The Ukrainian side has never confirmed a single humanitarian corridor towards the Russian Federation for the entire period.

At the same time, we coordinate all additional humanitarian corridors proposed by Kiev on a daily basis.

The Russian Armed Forces strictly observe ceasefire on all routes, despite the fact that this slows down the pace of conducting a special military operation. But this is done solely in the interests of saving civilians.

And on the Ukrainian side, systematic shelling of humanitarian convoys and attempts to shift responsibility for their own inhumane acts to units of Russian troops continue. So, this week alone, 17 attacks on civilians traveling along humanitarian corridors were recorded, including the cynical shelling of a convoy of refugees from Mariupol.

In the face of tough opposition from the official authorities of Ukraine, since the beginning of the special military operation, 419,736 people, including 88,373 children, have been evacuated to Russia from dangerous areas of Ukraine, Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. 49,362 units of personal motor transport crossed the state border of the Russian Federation.

Without any participation of the Ukrainian side, nine thousand foreign citizens who applied for help were assisted in the evacuation.

Russia continues to work on the preparation, delivery and distribution of humanitarian aid to the civilian population of the liberated territories.

A total of 5,043 tons of basic necessities, food packages, including baby food, vital medicines and hygiene products were delivered. 617 humanitarian actions were carried out in Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, Kiev, Chernigov, Sumy, Kharkov, Zaporozhye, Kherson and Nikolaev regions.

All Ukrainian prisoners in the Russian Federation are treated as required by the norms of international humanitarian law. They are kept in decent conditions, provided with three meals a day, timely and qualified medical care is provided to them. They are not subjected to violence or psychological pressure. Everyone is given the opportunity to contact relatives.

Interaction with the International Committee of the Red Cross on these issues is organized.

At the same time, the Ukrainian authorities, against the general background of the lawlessness that reigns everywhere in Ukraine, grossly violate elementary humane norms, not to mention the requirements of the Geneva conventions,

regarding the treatment of prisoners of war.

Despite this, or most likely contrary to what the Kiev authorities are doing, the Russian side will continue to treat Ukrainian prisoners of war humanely and respectfully.

Being aware of the nature of all the existing difficulties, as well as the essence, the origins and the character of the provocations carried out by the Kiev regime, considering the passiveness of the international organizations, the Russian Federation will continue opening and maintaining humanitarian corridors every day and informing the Ukrainian party and all the international community.

The Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation General of the Army Sergei Shoigu reports regularly to the leadership of the country as the implementation of the special military operation, as the efforts adopted by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to provide humanitarian aid and security at the liberated territories.

War in Ukraine: “The whole world is with us” – and, with whom is “us”, with Kiev or with Moscow?

March 03, 2022

by Yuri Podolyaka for this YT channel

Source

translated by N.

Hello, my dear listeners.

Today is March 2 and today’s first material will not be a review of the war front situation, because in the last few hours I just have not had a chance to get a whole lot of information. There is some information, but I will cover it in the next review.

Today, and also in the future, in the morning reviews, I want to look at what is happening around the conflict in Ukraine.

And, one of the most important issues is – which countries of the world have supported Russia on this issue and which have not, because this question is actually critical for Ukraine. And not only for Ukraine, for it is unquestionably very important for Russia too, because the prevailing opinion in Ukraine is that “the whole world is with us”.

So, let’s take a look – who is this “whole world” and to what extent is it with them?

Well, it is obvious that the USA, Canada and most of the European countries are really with them, at least so they say, but then there are other countries, like Hungary, for example, which express ambivalence. On one hand, they support sanctions, but then on the other hand, regarding military assistance to Ukraine, Hungary said a firm “No”. Furthermore, it will not even allow any transportation of any goods across its territory and borders.

Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina have taken a special position as well, certainly, because the position of the Serbs is very clear and resolute – they are totally behind Russia.

Then, there is the USA and Europe – with them it is all quite clear, as with Japan, Australia and all the closest political partners of the USA. After that – silence.

All other significant countries, in one form or another, have expressed support for Russia. Firstly, it is very visible in Latin America, where Brazil, Argentina, and yesterday Mexico – everyone, the main countries, all stated in unison that they will not support sanctions against Russia. Understandably, besides Columbia and several other countries, the more economically developed countries of that region, however, have stated that they will not support sanctions against Russia.

South Africa, the only country of the African continent that has some political weight, also took the same position. And, almost forgot – also Egypt. It is also against the sanctions. Well, it’s understandable why – because if Egypt says “yes” to the sanctions, it would stand to lose all the Russian tourists. Also, Turkey said it was against the sanctions against Russia. And, so it follows, all the countries that orient themselves around Turkey, also are against the sanctions. Even Israel’s position in this question looks very, very ambivalent.

Israel really, really does not want to quarrel with Russia. And it’s clear that Israel will continue to maneuver till the very last moment. For the leadership of Israel, the final knife in the back was the killing of an Israeli citizen by the nationalist Ukrainian soldiers, during the attempt to evacuate him, when he was mistaken for a Kadyrov Chechen mercenary associated with the pro-Russian separatists.

Also, none of the Middle Eastern countries, at least none of the significant ones, have expressed support for the sanctions against Russia. The United Arab Emirates were against, Saudi Arabia was against – moreover, it stated that it would strictly adhere to the policies of OPEC-Plus. The Americans had implored them to increase production.

It is also clear that Iran is behind Russia. So, the axis that Russia has developed in the Middle East is working and, in fact, working strictly like clockwork.

India also did not support the sanctions, although yesterday there was communication that the Bank of India was looking into the matter of halting some transactions with Russian banks but so far the matter is unresolved.

At the national level, India is saying that it is against the sanctions.

Understandably, China’s position is clear and unequivocal – China is Russia’s ally.

But, an even more interesting situation has emerged in the post-Soviet space. It is obvious and predictable that the Baltic states are supportive of the sanctions, but with the others it is not nearly as obvious. It could have been expected with the participant countries of the Eurasian Economic Union, that are part of the CSTO. Naturally, all of them have supported Russia. However, two countries which Ukraine depended on heavily, Moldova and Georgia, did not support the sanctions. Even Georgia, did not support Ukraine in the sanctions against Russia. Also, Moldova – I remind you that today Moldova has a pro-Europe government. So, it appears that in the post-Soviet space, none of the countries, except the three little Baltic limitrophe states, supported the sanctions against Russia. Even the ones that Ukraine really counted on – Moldova and Georgia.

This raises a very legitimate question – so, “who is the whole world with”?

Is the “whole world” – the USA plus the better part of Europe, the sum total population of which comprises less than 20% of the world’s population, and represents less than about 50% of the world GDP? Again, this figure includes and is based on fake, digital GDP numbers, which exist only on paper.

Therefore, we can see that on a diplomatic level, Russia prepared for this war very well.

Russia’s alliances and her allies work. It also means that all the countries of the world understand perfectly well what the battle that has unfurled in Ukraine is all about.

It is not a battle between Ukraine and Russia. Of course, not.

It is a battle of the USA against Russia and China – the destruction of that world where the Anglo-Saxon dominated countries are the leaders. It is perfectly understandable, why most of the countries that are not part of this European and North American bloc, wish to see the victory of China and Russia.

So, unfortunately I have to disappoint President Zelensky and the Ukrainian nationalists, who believe “the whole world is with us”. No, far from it.

In fact, the greater part of the world is not with you. Even Moldova and Georgia are not with you. That is what I wanted to say in this release. So, that is all for now on this subject matter. Please wait for the review on all fronts. I think it will come out somewhere around noon to 1:00pm.

See you soon.

Ukraine Crisis Will Spurn Wave of Authoritarianism Around the World

February 21, 2022

A convoy of truckers and supporters block an intersection near the border as they continue to protest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates, in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, February 19, 2022. REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier – RC29NS9TJIMK

Martin Jay

Middle East countries, certainly in the GCC region, are benefitting from the Ukraine standoff as the heat is taken off them, Martin Jay writes.

Boris Johnson’s words themselves may be prolific. He said at a conference on 19th of February in Munich that a Ukraine invasion would “echo” around the world while asking for Europe to take a united stand against Russia. In fact, the Ukraine crisis, without even one Russian soldier entering Eastern Ukraine, is having quite an impact already simply due to the media bandwidth it has taken, depriving other big stories the oxygen they deserve – particularly affecting the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA).

These countries, certainly in the GCC region, are benefitting from the Ukraine standoff as the heat is taken off them. In particular the UAE and Saudi Arabia have been given a get-out-of-jail-free card by western media in the latter’s abandonment of Yemen, a bloody senseless war there which has wiped out generations and left the rest with starvation and whose gruesome images used to fill TV screens and mainstream media’s print and online portals. But no more.

In fact, sceptics might even go further and argue that in the case of Saudi Arabia, it would appear that its mercurial young crown prince has actually taken full advantage of the media blackout on Yemen by ploughing ahead with his reforms which include the banning of Mosque loudspeakers, significantly reducing hours spent on Islamic education and Arabic language in the national curriculum and even allowing bikini beaches in Jeddah. The hope presumably is that at some point western media will return to the region and notice such changes and start to feature them in their reporting.

But there might be a long wait.

Remarkably, Putin’s standoff with the West might go on for some time, even if there is no invasion as such. In the meantime, for many of the elite which make up countries in the region who are fearing another Arab Spring, the limited media attention given to Yemen is interesting. But it is Justin Trudeau’s extraordinary authoritarian behaviour in Canada against peaceful truckers who wish to protest which will have ramifications in the Arab world. Not only will Arab leaders note that also the press coverage is limited as is the opprobrium from the normal so-called experts in Washington and London, but that they now have the green light from the West to replicate anti-democratic measures all in the name of the sanctity of the state and woe betide Canada for criticising KSA’s human rights record as it did previously when it demanded the release of Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi in 2018.

Trudeau has truly shocked the world with his arbitrary move to criminalise the protests and has set a template for the Middle East and Africa to follow suit.

Indeed in Africa, tyrannical, brutal regimes will not doubt note how the Ukraine crisis and the media attention it has attracted has caused almost a media blackout on authoritarian power grabs in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, western satellites which, in the case of Mali at least, have fallen into the hands of Moscow simply by its association with Wagner mercenaries. The very real fear that African dictators have which impacts their ability to scrounge aid from the World Bank and the IMF is press coverage itself from the media giants. When that line of communication is closed down, there’s no telling how African countries’ elites will react. There may well be a domino effect which will take many with it as it sweeps across the region, while the EU remains a impotent spectator to the winds of change.

And in the EU itself, Poland is no longer alone in being seen as the rude boy in the class who might be expelled from the club, or rather leaves unceremoniously. Others, like Hungary, are now falling victim to EU laws which challenge their constitutions and place them on a collision course with the maniacs in Brussels who cannot see how they are digging their own graves with their bellicose language and ultimatums. A recent study by the EU revealed that MEPs themselves are asking for a special slush fund of billions of euros to head off the next anti-EU referendum which is sending some EU leaders into a panic as many believe that one more EU member to follow Britain might be the end of the project as we know it.

None of these stories are getting any real traction or attention by journalists who are either heading to Ukraine or have turned all their attention to the tensions in their copy and left these subjects aside. Is this what Boris Johnson meant when he warned leaders in Munich about the consequences echoing around the world?

Hungary does the “unthinkable” and defends its national interests

September 28, 2021

Hungary does the “unthinkable” and defends its national interests

Hungary as just signed a 15 year contract with Russia for the delivery of Russian gas via the southern route, thus bypassing the Ukraine completely (3.5 billion cubic meters via Serbia and 1 billion cubic meters via Austria).  But that is not all.  The Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has stated, in so many words, that this is a sovereign decision of Hungary and that is is nobody’s business how the Hungarians will heat themselves in the winter.

This is a direct act of “disobedience” not only to the rest of the EU and NATO, this is also a “screw you” to the US.

Oh, that does not make Hungary a “friend” of Russia or Putin, not at all, this is still an EU/NATO member with all that implies.  But this hopefully shows that at least one country in Europe has retained enough sovereignty to act in its own interests rather than prostituting itself to the Empire.

I am not an expert on eastern Europe, so I will let other, better qualified than myself, comment and analyze this.  All I will say is that I wish the other Europeans had even 10% of the courage shown by Hungary.  But, at least so far, only the Hungarians have my respect for being at least trying to retain some sovereignty.

Will that set a precedent?  I am not holding my breath…

Andrei

Road to Nowhere – Talking Heads

Road to Nowhere – Talking Heads

December 22, 2020

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

The referendum on Britain’s vote to Remain or Leave the EU – Brexit – has raised deeper issues than simply whether or not the UK retains its European membership. The real issue is that of the whole Transatlantic bloc from Seattle to Warsaw, its, culture, institutions, politics, and economics has also been undergoing deep structural changes – not necessarily for the good.

The victory of the Leave majority in the first UK Brexit referendum in 2018 and a rerun, which should never have been allowed, of the Remain campaign in the general election of 2019 – both in the face of a massive establishment propaganda blitzkrieg was quite remarkable. The centrist coalition of the centre-right Conservative business class and the still deeply Blairite and third-wayist faction of the overwhelming majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party, the Trades Union Congress (TUC and most of its affiliated unions) and tens of thousands of rank-and-file woke militants, threw everything but the kitchen sink into their campaign but lost. But even then, the issues had not been settled – that is for the self-appointed, London based, middle-class, parvenues who imagined themselves as carrying the torch for civilization. After what was a definitive verdict – which in both instances was a ‘NO’ to the continued membership of Britain in the EU – there was a vicious counter-attack. It started from the premise that EU membership is an absolute good, the absolute truth, and that any opposition is racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynist … and so on and so forth. The fuddy-duddy notion of national sovereignty was of course considered completely de rigueur. Therefore, there is not, nor can there be any legitimate critique of the EU. Argument closed: no engagement or discourse on the subject, just hysterical ranting, and mass cancellation. Sound familiar?

In fact the EU before, during, and after the referendum was hardly the Shangri La imagined by the ‘Remainer’ constituency. At that time, their political and cultural love object was the EU of Manuel Barroso, ex-Maoist, ex-President of the European Commission, now working for Goldman Sachs, Merkel’s pet Russophobe, Donald Tusk, and not forgetting Jean-Claude Juncker, at that time President of the European Commission, who was incidentally involved in a tax avoidance scandal in Luxembourg where he was one-time Prime Minister, and then a litany of other self-serving political mediocrities on the make. The EU is also an economic dead zone (particularly in the peripheral areas of Eastern and Southern Europe) with unemployment rates higher than the UK and growth rates lower.

A veritable economic and political Shangri-la? Yeah, right. Like Lord Nelson at the Battle of Copenhagen* the Remainers are putting the telescope to their blind eye: I see no economic and political dead-zone! Maybe they should have gone to Specsavers!

These sentiments are not just conservative, they are downright reactionary and anti-democratic. And the ex-centre-left has played an insidious part in this development. The glaring contrast between the people’s vote for leaving and the vote of the PLP and TUC institutions which supposedly represent them, for remaining, prompted even left observers to conclude that the people, like sheep, had gone astray and handed racist xenophobes a shameful victory. This was the liberal centre-left’s great Brechtian moment when ‘the people should be dissolved and a new one elected.’ The famous German playwright, Bertolt Brecht, was of course making a sardonic comment on the actions of the East German Communist regime in 1953 when it suppressed the workers uprising. It bears a striking similarity to the response by our own neo-totalitarians in 2016. Additionally, the procrastination of the establishment Remainers, which was slowing down the whole exit project, can be thought of as the establishment’s Augustinian moment. St. Augustine ‘’God give me chastity and celibacy, but not yet.’’ the Remainer-speak version being God give me Article 50 but not yet.

In sociological terms the upper-echelons of the liberal class who think that they have the divine right to set the political agenda, represent a sub-hierarchy below the real policy makers and shakers. The 20% beneath the 1%. They tend to be ensconced in the media, academia, professions such as law and medicine, middle-management, financial planners, economists, computer programmers, aerospace designers, and the entertainment business. Quite a number, particularly in business, government, both local and central, advertising, telemarketing, public relations, could be considered to be ‘bullshit jobs’ (in the late) David Graeber’s insightful observation. As a whole this particular social and occupational stratum, look up rather than look down, they serve power not the people. They are Orwell’s Outer party in his 1984 novel, sandwiched between the Inner party and the Proles. Knowing which side their bread is buttered on they identify with and support the Power Elite.

An avant garde leading from the rear, yes. Trahison des Clercs, most certainly but more politically and culturally homogeneous today than as was once the case.

This shell of a once fighting left (now unrecognisable from their previous political and ideological moorings) now embraces the culture of identity but excludes the entity of class. As a result poverty has become the P-word, and the poor the pariahs of neoliberal dystopic utopia. When we talk about class in a Marxist, materialist sense, we are talking about a relation of power, specifically about who does and who doesn’t have power to shape society. Identity politics makes this conflict of interests in society invisible. Neoliberal economics, however, is quite simply class war. It has advanced in part because identity politics depoliticized the public. Is it mere coincidence that the melange of post-Marxism, identity politics, and neoliberal economics saw the light in the same post-sixties decades? Together, they form the heart of the reaction, which is the take-back by the economic elite in the last four decades of every gain the fighting left loosed from the fist of capital before and since World War II. The rapacity of contemporary capitalism is enabled by the weakness, dishonesty, and cowardice of the flaccid and collaborationist left.

On the American side of the pond the same (albeit worse) diseased and morbid social tendencies began to emerge from a decaying body-politic circa 2001 and maybe even before, but the 9/11 was the pinnacle, which was of course no accident. For one of the persistent strands in American political life is a cultish extremism that approaches fascism. This was given expression and  reinforced during the two terms of Barack Obama. “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being.” said Obama, who expanded America’s favourite military pastime, bombing, and death squads (“special operations”) as no other president has done since the Cold War.

The American political and social-theorist, Christopher Lasch, now unfortunately no longer with us, succinctly identified the political/cultural shifts in the American polity in the late twentieth-century. (1) America has undergone a profound structural, cultural, and political transmutation: it is not the masses or working class, so much as an emerging sub-elite of professional and managerial types who constitute the greatest threat to democracy, according to Lasch. The new cognitive sub-elite is made up of what Robert Reich called “symbolic analysts’. This middle-class occupational stratum – in the British rather than the American sense – traffics in information and manipulates words and numbers for a living. They live in an abstract world in which information and expertise are the most valuable commodities. Since the market for these assets is international, the privileged class is more concerned with the global system than with regional, national, or even local communities. In fact, members of the new sub-elite tend to be estranged from their communities and their fellow citizens. “They send their children to private schools, insure themselves against medical emergencies … and hire private security guards to protect themselves against the mounting violence against them,” Lasch writes. In effect, they have removed themselves from the common life and have moved offshore.

These tendencies, however, have been observable even before Lasch’s observations. Way back in the middle to late 1950s, the great American theorist C Wright Mills, produced powerful polemics concerning the structure and direction in which the Republic was headed. These tendencies were recognised as early as the 1950s. (2)

He argued:

‘’We cannot assume today that men (sic) must in the last resort be governed by their own consent. Among the means of power that now prevail is the power to manage and manipulate the consent of men … and many people are neither radical nor reactionary, they are simply inactionary. If we accept the Greeks definition of an idiot as an altogether private man then we must conclude that many citizens of mass societies are indeed idiots … History making may well go by default, men may well abdicate its continual making and so merely float along as corks in a bottle of an Ocean drift. The implication of this, however, is that history will indeed be made – but by narrow elite circles without effective responsibility to those who must try to survive the consequences of their decisions and of their defaults.’ (3)

A more recent American social critic, Morris Berman, has also been cognisant of the cultural decline and disintegration of America; indeed it would have been difficult to miss. His caustic analysis on the current state of American Culture – The Twilight of American Culture (4) – makes particularly compelling reading for the English-speaking world. Mr. Berman argues provocatively and incisively that the direction of American civilization is locked into a path which will lead nowhere except into its own demise. The American empire has now borne witness to the passage of its most fruitful and triumphant years and its approaching the future – if it hasn’t already got there – and a period of social and political chaos from which there doesn’t appear to be an exit, or at least a controlled exit. So the controlled exit is about the best route on offer, though only 50/50 at best.

‘’For when a population becomes distracted by trivia, and when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of ‘baby-talk’, when in short, a people become an audience and their public business becomes a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture death is a near (extremely near) possibility.’’(5)

CONCLUSIONS:

The fault-lines, stresses and cleavages in the Transatlantic bloc are becoming increasingly clear both within nations and between nations. In Europe the exit of Britain from the EU and Europe, and the possible defections of Hungary, Poland and Italy. In the United States the strain on the Republic with an increasing and assertive emergence of the South and possible mid-west as well as the drift of coastal America away from flyover America. It could be said that these are simply speculative guesses, but these future possibilities are a little more than simply straws in the wind. For better or worse, big changes are on the way.

Interesting times.

NOTES

(1) Christopher Lasch – The Revolt of the Elites – published posthumously in 1994. The title of the book was taken from the name of a book “the Revolt of the Masses” by the elite theorist Jose Ortega Y Gasset in 1930.

(2) The Power Elite, 1959 and The Sociological Imagination 1956.

(3) C Wright Mills – The Sociological Imagination – Ibid – pps. 51, 195

* The naval Battle of Copenhagen (1801) occurred during the War of the Second Coalition when a British naval fleet commanded by Admiral Sir Hyde Parker defeated a Danish fleet anchored just off Copenhagen. Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson led the main attack. During the battle, he famously is reputed to have disobeyed his senior officer, Sir Hyde Parker’s, order to withdraw by holding the telescope to his blind eye to look at the signals from Parker. The signals had given Nelson permission to withdraw at his discretion. Nelson then turned to his flag captain, Thomas Foley, and said ‘You know, Foley, I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes.’ He raised the telescope to his blind eye saying, ‘I really do not see the signal.’ Copenhagen is often considered to be Nelson’s hardest-fought victory.

(4) Morris Berman – The Twilight of American Culture – published in 2000.

(5) Berman – Ibid., -Introduction.

Reforming the EU – Like waiting for Godot!

Reforming the EU – Like waiting for Godot!

October 22, 2020

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

There is a human tendency to cling on to cherished beliefs even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. There was a time, during the heady days of Jacques Delors and the Social Chapter, when the EU appeared to represent a social-democratic and neutral geopolitical bloc; a third force between the USSR as it then was and the US/NATO – this, however, is no longer the case. The EU has long since transmuted into part of an aggressive neo-liberal and neo-conservative imperial alliance under US command. The liberal, centre-left Remainers such as Yanis Varoufakis seem to think that it is possible to reverse this development and get the EU back to its original prototype, presumably by dint of political will. In view of historical developments this view seems increasingly difficult to sustain.

EU/NATO PUSHES EAST.

In particular since the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty of 2005 the EU Defence and Security Policy has been aligned with NATO. Indeed, EU membership has become a stalking horse for NATO membership and vice versa. NATO’s geopolitical drive to Russia’s western borders has been concurrent with the EU’s economic expansion – a strategic partnership between a military push and an economic push.

Not surprisingly perhaps the Russians see the siting of US anti-ballistic missile systems on their western borders in Romania and Poland, together with ongoing NATO military exercises involving tens of thousands of alliance troops as something of a provocation. Little wonder we now have a second cold war.

The position of the EU is, in geopolitical terms, completely subordinated to US interests. If there is a Russian-NATO conflict it will be fought on Europe’s turf not on America’s; Europe is ultimately expendable. This much can be inferred from facts on the ground, though this must be kept assiduously secret from the electorates of western Europe. Eastern Europe, however, seems only too willing to serve as the cannon-fodder for the US imperial designs; witness the incessant baying for war on the part of Russophobic states such as Poland and the Baltics, as well as NATO-EU wannabees like Ukraine and Georgia. It was precisely this expansion to the East (or new Europe as it was called by Donald Rumsfeld) which served as the essential prerequisite for the NATO takeover of the whole of Europe. The change has been noted:

EUROPE FROM LISBON TO VLADIVOSTOCK – AN IMPOSSIBLE DREAM.

‘’The destructive Russophobia of the new Europe undermined the credibility and cohesion of Europe as a whole. It had been anticipated that the new members’’ – Poland, the Baltics. etc. – would be ‘socialised’ into the ways of the EU, but, instead, the EU was in danger of reverse socialization incorporating the axiological (ethical – FL) dynamics and virulent neo-liberalism of some of the newer members, accompanied by their prioritisation of Atlantic Security over EU social solidarity.’’ (1)

In its original quasi-Gaullist form the EU might have played a constructive part in the Ukrainian crisis as a third party and disinterested broker between Russian and American interests, but by 2014 the EU had been transformed into something very different from its original configuration: it had become joined at the hip to the US imperial juggernaut. Moreover, the EU’s status in this relationship was subaltern rather than equal. It should be understood that the United States does not do ‘partnerships’ only master and flunkey slave relationships. It is further commented that:

‘’Instead of a vision embracing the whole continent it (the EU) it has become little more than the civilian wing of the Atlantic security alliance … The drift toward a merger with the Atlantic Security system left it bereft of autonomy and policy instruments when it really mattered – maintaining peace on the European continent.’’ (2)

COSTS IN EUROPE OF US FOREIGN POLICY

The terrorism and refugee crisis in Europe – the blowback – was unquestionably traceable to the US bull-in-a-china-shop foreign policy in the middle east, this much is obvious to even an impartial observer; but answering the call of duty the western media has strained every nerve and muscle in an attempt to deny what was a blatant fact. Terrorism and refugee flows were ripped out of the wider context in an attempt to obfuscate any causal connexions with these phenomena and US/EU/NATO foreign policy. The media propaganda tsunami notwithstanding the electorates of Europe were able to put 2 and 2 together, and this resulting in an ongoing political crisis in Europe which shows no signs of stabilization and, if anything, seems to be intensifying including the Brexit vote which committed the UK to leaving the EU, and, the electoral advances for the AfD in Germany as well as anti-EU sentiments which in Hungary and Poland has gained significant support from the population of those states. Propaganda and economic stagnation seems to have its limits; like Abe Lincoln said: ‘You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.’

So much for the geopolitics.

WASHINGTON CONSENSUS CROSSES THE POND

Perhaps as significant is the shift in economic policies and development which has taken place within the EU. Without doubt there has taken a sharp right turn since the 1980s.This policy consists of full-on neo-liberal economic and social imperatives involving the imbibing of a ruthless, winner-takes-all orthodoxy and its equally brutal imposition; Greece is perhaps the most egregious victim of this frugal economic diet, followed by Latvia, Estonia, Ireland, Portugal, Greece and even Italy, all of which are being forced into penury and debt-peonage courtesy of the Troika’s relentless austerity programme.

THE EURO – A NON-OPTIMAL CURRENCY WITHOUT A STATE.

Piling on the agony the creation of the Euro single currency (the key problem) since 1992 has put the Euro member states into an economic strait-jacket. The currency value cannot be changed or devalued to boost national exports during economic downturns such as that experienced since 2008. The result has been that the largest industrial power in the Eurozone, Germany, has benefited from the stable euro while weaker economies on the periphery of the EU, including most notably, France, have endured catastrophic consequences to the rigid Euro rate. The cost and productivity structures of Germany and the northern bloc in the EU, means that its goods will be cheaper than the higher costs and lower productivity levels in the southern belt. It follows therefore that the northern bloc runs permanent trade surpluses whilst the south has permanent trade deficits.

In a new report, the Dutch think-tank, Gefira Foundation, notes that French industry has been contracting since the adoption of the euro. “It was not able to recover after either of the 2001 or 2008 and present crisis because the euro, a currency stronger than the French franc would be, has become a burden to France’s economy. The floating exchange rate works like an indicator of the strength of the economy and like an automatic stabilizer. A weaker currency helps to regain competitiveness during a crisis, while a stronger currency supports consumption of foreign goods.

The only reason that the Germans were prepared to abandon their beloved deutschmark was that it would be replaced by a hard euro whose exchange rate was fixed and overvalued. The euro is an orphan, a currency without a state, and thus a foreign currency to all the European states in Europe.

EASTERN EUROPE:

TWO COLLAPSES. 1. COMMUNISM, 2. NEOLIBERAL CAPITALISM

The EU’s eastern periphery also has problems, but of a different kind. However only the Baltics, Slovenia and Slovakia actually use the euro. It is planned to include them into the euro in the fullness of time. Apart, that is, from basket cases like the Baltics whose government, unlike the people, went where angels feared to tread – into the Eurozone and the euro.

Excluding Russia, of course, these Eastern European states – termed ‘transitional economies’ – have become stalled in economic stagnation which so far has been difficult if not impossible to overcome. These obstacles have been specific to the Eastern periphery. The European Union now consists of 28 states. No fewer than 10 of these are former states of the Eastern Bloc, and this proportion is set to grow with the impending accession with some minor Balkan nations. Although Georgia and Ukraine are in line for membership of the EU, they are also expected to join NATO as has become customary for aspirant EU states.

Whether they obtain either is a matter of conjecture, however, as this would be almost certain to cross Russia’s red lines and result in a major geopolitical flareup. Europe’s centre of gravity is shifting. And while the process of joining the European Union is driving change within these countries, it is also changing the nature of Europe itself. Those Eastern European states which emerged from the break-up of the Soviet Union had been led to believe that a bright new world of West European living standards, enhanced pay levels, high rates of social mobility and consumption were on offer.

Unfortunately, they were sold an illusion: the result of the transition so far seems to have been the creation of a low-wage hinterland, a border economy on the fringes of the highly developed European core; a Euro version of NAFTA and the maquiladora, i.e., low tech, low wage, low skills production units on the Mexican side of the US’s southern borders. Moreover there are acute demographic problems confronting the ‘new Europe’.

Eastern Europe is bleeding people. With low fertility rates, higher death rates, and emigration. Case study:

‘’IN THE Lithuanian town of Panevezys, a shiny new factory built by Devold, a Norwegian clothing manufacturer, sits alone in the local free economic zone. The factory is unable to fill 40 of its jobs, an eighth of the total. That is not because workers in Panevezys are too picky, but because there are fewer and fewer of them. There are about half as many students in the municipality’s schools as there were a decade ago, says the mayor.

Such worries are increasingly common across central and eastern Europe, where birth rates are low and emigration rates high. The ex-communist countries that joined the European Union from 2004 dreamed of quickly transforming themselves into Germany or Britain. Instead, many of their workers transported themselves to Germany or Britain. Latvia’s working-age population has fallen by a quarter since 2000; a third of those who graduated from university between 2002 and 2009 had emigrated by 2014. Polls of Bulgarian medical students show that 80-90% plan to emigrate after graduating.

Lithuania’s loss of workers is costly, says Stasys Jakeliunas, an economist. Remittances and EU money for infrastructure upgrades have helped, but labour shortages discourage foreign investment and hurt economic growth. According to the IMF, in some countries in eastern Europe emigration shaved 0.6-0.9 percentage points from annual GDP growth in 1999-2014. By 2030 GDP per person in Bulgaria, Romania and some of the Baltic countries may be 3-4% lower than it would have been without emigration.

All of this imperils public finances. Pensions, which take up about half of social spending in eastern Europe, are the biggest worry. In 2013 Latvia had 3.3 working-age adults for each person older than 65, about the same as Britain and France; by 2030 that is projected to fall to just over two, a level Britain and France will not reach until 2060. Countries are raising the retirement age (apart from Poland, which is recklessly lowering it). Benefits are already meagre, leaving little room for cuts. As a share of GDP, social spending in Bulgaria, Romania and the Baltic states is roughly half of that in many richer European countries.

Unable to dissuade people from leaving, governments are trying instead to lure them back, inspired by successful efforts in Ireland and South Korea. Daumantas Simenas, project manager of the Panevezys free economic zone, credits his return from Britain to the country’s “Create for Lithuania” programme, which matches educated professionals from the diaspora with government jobs. Having a job already lined up made the decision to return easier, he says. Plus, he adds, “home is home.”

Whether such efforts can turn the tide seems doubtful. “Create for Lithuania” has brought back more than 100 people since its launch five years ago, says Milda Darguzaite, who started the programme after leaving an investment-banking career in America for a government post in Vilnius. Returnees include an MP, a deputy mayor and several advisers to the prime minister. Bringing back doctors and engineers, however, is trickier. Studies show that skilled workers from eastern Europe are attracted abroad primarily by the quality of institutions such as good schools; better social benefits matter more for unskilled migrants. Data on return migration are scanty, but a recent report by the IMF suggests it has been “modest”, in some countries as low as 5% of those who left.’’ (3)

In more general terms figures for Eastern and central Europe as a whole are as follows. With the exception of the Czech Republic and Slovakia and Russia, every eastern European country has a declining population. Population declines as follows from 2006 to 2018:

Latvia and Lithuania = 12%

Ukraine = 9%

Hungary = 8.5%

Romania = 7%

Bulgaria = 6%

Estonia = 1.5%

Poland = 0.3%

The comprador vassal elites on the wrong side of the Oder-Neisse Line have been caught in the trap of dependency and semi-development, and in some cases under-development, and this was partly of their own making due to their rush to throw themselves into the arms of the US-NATO-EU alliance and an expected pay-off/bribe. The only states to avoid this have been Czechia, Slovakia and Russia. In the Balkans the same devastating NATO coalition engineered the destruction and break-up of what was once the sovereign state of Yugoslavia.

Thus In both economic and foreign policy the European political and financial elites have acted as overseas branch managers of a multinational enterprise whose HQ is on the other side of the pond (the US) where policy is determined and exported. Quislingism might be an appropriate word in this context.

DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT – THE FINAL ACT.

Finally, we come to the democratic deficit. This is important since the only way that change is possible is through the EU institutions. In order of importance these institutions comprise 1. The Council of Ministers, 2. The European Central Bank, 3. The European Commission. The last of these institutions consists of a President, at present, Ursula Von der Leyen, and formerly, Jean-Claude Juncker, seven, Vice-Presidents, whose identities are not known to me, and twenty Commissioners, equally obscure. Juncker succinctly enunciated the process of EU’s decision making as follows: ‘’If it’s Yes, we will say on we go, and if it is a No, we will say we will continue.’’ So much for open and flexible debate on policy.

The Council of Ministers and the ECB also pull various levers, often in tandem with extra-European global institutions such as NATO, WTO and IMF. Of course there is absolutely no sign that the current policies of the EU are not continuing along their present reactionary trajectory; and since the electorates of the EU have no control of the Council of Ministers and ECB there seems no way to break into this closed system of rule by a technocratic oligarchy. Once again political unrest in Europe suggests a causal connexion between the nature of the EU’s political and economic structures and the policies and outcomes emanating thereof.

This is not the EU we (the UK) signed up to in 1976, and there comes a time in politics where it is judicious to give up flogging a dead horse. A ‘progressive’ Labour government – if such a political animal is possible – would not be allowed by EU law to implement its economic reforms, cancel Trident, leave or even modify its NATO membership. Democracy is impossible without some measure of sovereignty, and nations must get control of their own foreign and economic policies since if they don’t the globalisers and Bilderbergers will and have done. There is nothing wrong with a volte face in politics.

It was J.M. Keynes who once said: ‘’When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do sir?’

NOTES

(1) Richard Sakwa – Frontline Ukraine.

(2) Sakwa, Ibid. pp.227/228)

(3) The Economist – 19/01/2017. It should be added that the Economist is very much the house journal of the British elite. Yet even they have their doubts about the Euro project.

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