Europe’s gas emergency: A continent hostage to seller prices

January 16 2023

Europe’s reliance on Russian gas imports has been upended by sanctions against Moscow. With few options for practical alternatives, the continent will remain energy-dependent and financially-vulnerable regardless of who it imports from.

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Mohamad Hasan Sweidan

The 2022 outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine revealed the importance of energy security in bolstering Moscow’s geopolitical power in Europe. The continent, which imported about 46 percent of its gas needs from Russia in 2021, found itself in a vulnerable position as it sought alternative sources.https://thecradle.co/Article/Analysis/20403

This presented an opportunity for the US to replace Russia and become the primary supplier of natural gas to Europe at significantly higher prices, resulting in large profits at the expense of its European allies. According France-based data and analytics firm, Kpler, in 2022 the EU imported 140 billion cubic meters (BCM) of liquefied natural gas (LNG), an increase of 55 BCM from the previous year.

Around 57.4 BCM of this amount (41 percent) now comes from the US, an increase of 31.8 BCM, 29 BCM from Africa (20.7 percent) – mainly from Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria and Angola – 22.3 BCM from Russia (16 percent), 19.8 BCM from Qatar (14 percent), 4.1 BCM from Latin America (2.92 percent) – mainly from Trinidad and Tobago – and 3.37 BCM from Norway (2.4 percent).

European gas imports 2022

In 2022, France was the leading importer of LNG in Europe, accounting for 26.23 percent of total imports. Other significant importers included Spain (22.3 percent), the Netherlands (12.65 percent), Italy (11 percent), and Belgium (10.42 percent).

These countries, along with Poland (4.7 percent), Greece (2.9 percent), and Lithuania (2.31 percent), imported over 90 percent of LNG exported to Europe at prices higher than Russian pipeline gas. It is worth noting that upon arrival, LNG is converted back to its gaseous state at receiving stations in Europe before being distributed to countries without such infrastructure, such as Germany.

Graph: 2020-2022 European gas imports, by month 

Switching dependencies

Europe was able to reduce its reliance on Russian pipeline gas from 46 percent to 10 percent last year. This decrease, however, came at a high cost to the economy, as the price of gas rose to $70 per million British thermal units (Btu), up from $27 before the Ukraine war. By the end of the year, the price had fallen to $36, compared to $7.03 in the US.

This price disparity has been hard to stomach. French President Emmanuel Macron went public with his annoyance: “American gas is 3-4 times cheaper on the domestic market than the price at which they offer it to Europeans,” criticizing what he called “American double standards.”

High gas prices have made Europe an appealing destination for gas exporters from around the world, with increased interest from countries such as Egypt, Qatar, Turkey, UAE, Iran, Libya, Algeria, and those bordering the Mediterranean basin, as they either export gas, or possess gas but lack infrastructure.

To replace the cheaper Russian pipeline gas, European countries are being forced to seek out the more expensive LNG. The EU and Britain are working to increase LNG import capacity by 5.3 billion cubic feet (BCF) per day by the end of 2023, and by 34 percent, or 6.8 BCF per day, by 2024.

Can West Asia, North Africa meet Europe’s gas needs?

The West Asia and North Africa region has the potential to partially meet Europe’s gas needs due to its geographic proximity and the presence of countries with large gas reserves and export infrastructure, such as Palestine/Israel, Algeria, and Egypt. However, there are several obstacles that must be considered.

Map of natural gas pipelines to Europe

For example, Egypt’s high production costs and increasing domestic consumption limit its export capacity. Additionally, Europe would need to be willing to pay a higher price than the Asian market for Egyptian gas.

Israel, on the other hand, has seen an increase in gas exports to Europe in the first half of 2022 after the pipeline to Egypt via Jordan was restored in March, but it is unlikely to significantly increase exports in 2023 due to factors such as limited export capacity and high domestic consumption. Experts predict that Israel may export around 10 BCM of gas to Europe this year, similar to the amount exported in 2022.

Qatar is the only Persian Gulf emirate that has increased its gas exports to Europe for 2022. This is largely because Persian Gulf countries prefer to sell their gas to Asian markets, where they can garner higher profits due to lower shipping costs and longer-term contracts.

Last year, Qatar took advantage of the significant increase in gas prices to sell part of its shipments on the European spot market. According to the Qatari Minister of Energy, between 10 percent and 15 percent of Qatar’s production can be diverted to this market.

However, it may be difficult for Europe to attract Qatari gas away from the Asian market, especially as China is expected to recover its demand for gas in 2023. In a policy home-goal, western sanctions on Iran, which has the second-largest natural gas reserves in the world, impede the investment needed to increase Iranian production.

No real alternatives

Iran’s lack of infrastructure connecting it to Europe and high domestic consumption also affect its export capacity. According to a report by BP, Iran produced 257 BCM of gas in 2021, of which 241.1 BCM were consumed domestically.

With regards to Algeria, the main obstacle in increasing its gas exports to Europe is political tension with Morocco and Spain that led to the suspension of the Moroccan-European gas pipeline project, which can export 10.3 billion cubic meters of Algerian gas.

In the case of the UAE, despite having the seventh-largest proven natural gas reserves in the world, its production is not sufficient to meet the demands of the local market and it imports a third of its gas consumption from Qatar through an undersea pipeline. European countries are currently in talks with Abu Dhabi to accelerate work on gas projects and increase production.

As for Saudi Arabia, it consumes all of its gas production domestically and does not export any, with a total production of 117.3 BCM in 2021. There are also expectations for a significant increase in the demand for oil and coal in 2023. The World Bank reports that this is due to an increase in European countries’ reliance on these fossil fuels instead of natural gas. This increase in demand will keep oil prices high, allowing Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ members to make large profits.

The dilemma of growing demand

The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that global demand for natural gas will increase to 394 BCM this year, driven in part by Europe’s need to diversify its sources of gas away from Russia. And West Asia, with its significant reserves, remains a key region for Europe to tap into for this purpose.

The challenge remains in finding cost-effective ways to transport the gas from the region to Europe, which will necessitate building a pipeline connecting the Mediterranean Basin to the Old Continent.

Failure to do so will result in Europe continuing to pay a high premium for its energy security without achieving true independence. The alternative for Europe is to rely on LNG from the US. This gives Europe almost complete independence from Russian gas, but keeps it weak, obedient, and dependent on American energy supplies.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Jordan hosts leaders from across West Asia for French-organized summit

The Iranian foreign minister met with the EU foreign policy chief ahead of the summit to discuss the inert JCPOA-revival talks

December 20 2022

(Photo credit: AFP)

ByNews Desk

Senior officials from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, and the EU launched the second Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership in the Jordanian capital Amman on 20 December.

Organized by France and Iraq, the summit stated aim is to “provide a forum for discussing the region’s problems.”

Ahead of the conference’s start, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani held a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and nuclear talks coordinator Enrique Mora to discuss the dormant process to revive the Iran nuclear deal.

Following the meeting, Borrell said in a tweet that he urged the Iranian diplomats to “immediately halt military support for Russia and internal repression.”

“Stressed need to immediately stop military support to Russia and internal repression in Iran. Agreed we must keep communication open and restore JCPOA on basis of Vienna negotiations,” the EU official said.

For his part, the Iranian foreign minister condemned western countries for supporting “rioters” and imposing illegal unilateral sanctions against Iran under the pretext of protecting human rights.

Amir-Abdollahian also voiced readiness to resolve any misunderstanding in direct negotiations with Ukraine, and called on the remaining JCPOA signatories to avoid politicizing the talks further and to adopt a “constructive and realistic approach to make necessary decisions for an agreement.”

Talks to restore the 2015 nuclear deal have been at a stalemate since September, when anti-government protests took hold in Iran. At the time, western nations accused the Islamic Republic of raising “unreasonable demands” in relation to a UN investigation into Iranian nuclear sites.

In the days leading up to the summit, reports spoke about a new possible meeting between Iranian and Saudi officials. However, there has been no official word on whether Amir-Abdollahian will meet with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud.

Since 2021, Iraq has hosted five meetings between Saudi and Iranian officials, the last of which was in April, but these contacts have not yielded any breakthroughs in relations.

Another notable leader attending the summit is French President Emmanuel Macron, who analysts believe is using the opportunity to keep a strong presence in West Asia, where western influence continues to wane.

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After the Ukraine Is Over, Many a European Heart is Aching

DECEMBER 13, 2022

By Batiushka

Source

Foreword: The Cold Wait

Northern Europe, as far south as northern Italy, is now in the grip of a wave of icy cold (no doubt, the result of global warming). As a result, observers are expecting the Russian winter offensive in the Ukraine to start all the sooner, though nobody knows when. This month or next? Maybe a dramatic entry from Belarus, cutting off NATO supplies? Nobody knows. For the moment, Allied forces are content to grind down the undersupplied and freezing Kiev regime conscripts and mercenaries in situ, hoping that perhaps they will simply surrender en masse, despite the regime’s guns poking in their backs. Conditions are such that this could happen with very few Russian losses. There is no hurry. Over 500,000 Allied soldiers and 500 winter camouflage tanks are waiting for their moment to move in and denazify the Ukraine. They will wait for the right moment.

Introduction: The Liberation of Europe

Russia could no longer allow a hostile, US-controlled, NATO-armed and soon-to-be-nuclear Ukraine to exist. Therefore, it is being liberated. It should have happened long before, but Russia was much too weak to do so before. When the Zelensky regime falls, billions of dollars of Western arms and supplies will fall into Russian hands. The Kiev regime’s Western-incurred indebtedness to the West for arms and supplies over the last nearly nine years will be cancelled. US-exploited Kiev regime territory, 40% of the whole, will be taken back without compensation. This will be a small measure of compensation for the destruction that the US and its European vassals, including the Minsk I and Minsk II liars of Germany and France, have caused in the Ukraine, especially in the much-tried Donbass.

Apart from completing the liberation of the four provinces that it has taken back so far, Russia may also take back four more Russian-speaking provinces, those of Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Nikolaev and Odessa, so joining up with Russian Transdnestria. A coup in Kiev could take place, as the remnants of the Kiev Army collapse and the new Ukraine could then even become a Russian ally, like Belarus, part of the Union State. Whether the five far western provinces of the present Ukraine remain with the new Ukraine, or three of them return to Poland, and one each to Hungary and Romania, remains to be seen. It will all depend on what Russia allows. After this, the whole fragile Western European domino set, hastily stood up by the US-run NATO and its political wing the EU, could begin to tumble. Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, the last three liberated from NATO and the EU, could be offered cheap gas, like NATO-tormented Serbia, with Montenegro and Macedonia. With their US puppet elites removed by their peoples, all these countries could become allies of Russia, recovering their independence after EU serfdom and NATO oppression.

We recall that the old Soviet ‘Eastern bloc’ failed precisely because, like the EU, it took away the independence of such nations. However, the centralising straitjacket of the Soviet world has gone and it will not come back. The same alliance with Russia, but keeping independence, could eventually take place in NATO-, EU- and US-elite-freed Greece and Cyprus. Then the three Baltics and even Finland could also become Russian allies, like the new Ukraine, energy supplied by Russia, their Russian minorities at last granted basic human rights. After this, first Austria, Italy, Germany and then the other countries in Western Europe will have to take important decisions about their futures: survival by negotiation with Moscow, or slow national suicide? The choice may seem obvious, but it must be their choice. Let us look at the current tendencies in the three main countries of Western Europe, Germany, France and the UK, to gauge what direction we may well be heading in.

Germany: The Struggle to Restore Your Own Country

On 7 December the German media announced the arrest of twenty-five ‘far-right extremists’ for plotting to overthrow the Federal government. Translated, this means that the US-run German government arrested twenty-five patriots who wanted to restore freedom in Germany. Interestingly, these patriots included a member of German royalty and a former member of the German Parliament or Bundestag. In a statement, the German federal prosecutor’s office stated that an estimated fifty people were suspected of being a ‘violent’ part of a broad-based movement called ‘Citizens of the Empire’ (Reichsbürger), with a total membership of 12,000. In any other country, there would be no problem with the existence of patriotism. But in US-run Germany, any patriotic movement is instantly dubbed ‘Neo-Nazi’, ‘pro-Hitler’ or ‘anti-democratic’, which is just propaganda code for pro-sovereignty, pro-German and pro-freedom.

The arrested were intending to overthrow the Federal puppet government which must swear allegiance to the US, and replace it with an independent German government. The freedom-fighters reject the US-imposed institutions of Woke-Fascist Federal Germany (there is nothing so intolerant as liberalism). German prosecutors named Heinrich XIII, Prince Reuss, a descendant of the House of Reuss, former rulers of parts of eastern Germany, as one of the group’s leaders. Interestingly, it was said that Prince Heinrich had sought (but not obtained) the involvement of Russian representatives in the alleged scheme. Another suspect is Birgit Malsack-Winkemann, who was a member of the Bundestag, representing the Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party, from 2017 to 2021. Since the beginning of this year, she had been working as a judge in the Berlin District court.

In 2017 the Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party became the first patriotic party to win seats in the Germany Parliament for nearly 60 years. This so upset the German serfs of the pyramid scheme run by the feudal US con-tricksters that in March 2021 the Party was placed under surveillance by the Germany secret service for trying to liberate Germany from American tutelage. Although the resistance movement has been defeated for now, we feel that though this is a lost battle, it is not a lost war. More battles will come, as German patriots struggling to decolonise their country and seek to find and eventually find freedom. Germany is Western Europe’s largest and strongest nation and also its barometer. When all is well there, all goes well elsewhere, all falls into place. Can Germany at last throw off the US yoke, expelling foreign troops, commemorating the 500,000 victims of the Anglo-American bomb genocide of German civilians of 1940-1945 and perhaps eventually become a Royal Confederation of Sovereign German States? It has to come. Freedom beckons.

France: The Revolt of the People

France was where Absolutism was invented with Louis XIV (+ 1715), ‘the Sun King’. He is alleged to have said, ‘l’Etat, c’est moi’ – ‘The State is me’, with the result that a bloody Revolution was born in France. For extremes always breed extremes and so the French Revolution bred the absolutist Emperor Napoleon. Since then, France has been ruled by absolutists, president-kings or president-emperors. Their slogan ‘the State is me’, although still true, has meant that each has only had the right to absolute power for a few years (the only fruit of the Revolution – a shortened and not a lifetime or hereditary period in power). Since 1944, after a long series of corrupt post-war governments, of which De Gaulle’s was by far the least noxious, because De Gaulle actually loved France more than money (just as Putin loves Russia more than money), it is now Macron, the Rothschild candidate, who is the current King of France. France is in effect ruled by a President by Divine right and Macron is known as ‘the Pharoah’. However, he is not the first Pharoah, as Mitterrand (1916-1996), who lived in the Presidential palace, his wife in one wing and his favourite mistress in the other, was the first. He even built a masonic pyramid of 666 panes of glass, providing the entry into the Temple of Knowledge, the Louvre Palace.

From last year I remember a conversation with a Paris taxi driver, when I had to get to the old Russian Cathedral quickly with heavy suitcases. The taxi-driver was a typical French African, from Cameroun. Seeing that I was a priest, in no uncertain terms he told me colourfully with his African-French accent how the hated Macron was either a fag, ‘un pédé’, or else he had a pretty young thing on the side. After all, how could a normal man go to bed with a woman twenty-five years older than himself? (Macron married one of his schoolteachers, nearly the same age as his mother; some say the ueber-botoxed lady in question should be tried for female pedophilia, since Macron is said to have been under age when they first conjoined). The African driver’s views on covid and French State compulsory vaccination were just as forthright as his views on gays. I quote him because his view of the world displays the very serious disconnect between the sophisticate Macron-style elite and the actual French grassroots. Actually, he sounded just like a Moscow taxi-driver.

Et justement (I don’t know how you say that in English), Macron is opposed by the people, protesting as the Yellow Vests, the popular but brutalised French Resistance. The French elite is fearful because the French people are revolt-prone (frondeurs). This is why the French State has a permanent special force of riot-police (the C.R.S., founded in 1944 and directly replacing the SS, for long retaining much the same management and much the same uniform) to suppress the revolts of ‘the peasants’. On top of that, the French State is fearful because at the last French election in April 2022 a nationalist government under Marine Le Pen could have got elected. This would have challenged not just the whole French State, but also the EU bureaucratic machine, which largely depends on the French model. If the French people defeat the French elite, the EU bureaucracy knows that the French people will come to power and that since the French are against the EU, then the whole Brussels fantasy will fall. (And the bureaucrats will lose their handsomely-paid jobs plus privileges and generous pensions). It is the whole top-down French and EU Establishment ideology which is being challenged in France. Who will win? I don’t know, but there is only one phrase to describe the situation: Fragile for the elite.

The UK: Disunity Before Freedom

The UK finds itself in a far more precarious position even than Germany and France. The latter have only been forced to support the US for three generations. Until that they were independent. However, the British elite was at the origin of the American evil, and consciously and forcefully cultivated it from 1914 on and still does so. The fact that the US/UK language is basically the same language means that the Americans have immense power in the UK, even to the extent that the modern English language is littered with unconscious Americanisms. A lot of British people are nearly as obese as a lot of Americans, dress like Americans and their children sing American songs with an American accent. The nearly 60 million people who live in the remnants of the real England are on the verge of losing their identity. The notorious Establishment BBC mouthpiece and the State-supporting British tabloids manipulate the uneducated minds of tens of millions. Many are so brainwashed that as a result there is no opposition movement to the British Establishment, no parallel to the French ‘Yellow Vests’.

The problem is that a majority of UK citizens, especially in England, have over the centuries been ‘Establishmentised’, that is, co-opted onto the anti-English British Establishment and made to feel the advantages (?) in terms of finance and prestige of being on the British side. With the British Establishment side become a poodle to the American elite, UK citizens are now being Americanised and made to feel the advantages (?) in terms of finance and prestige of being on the American side. They have been so passivised that many Continental Europeans ask if, instead of blood, the British have tea in their veins. However, in 2022 more and more have come to see that the ‘advantages’ of being on the British/American side are remarkably thin. All the more so, as the divisive Brexit did not bring the restoration of sovereignty and recovery of borders, as promised by the New-York born Johnson, but instead brought the UK the honorary feudal position of being the 51st State of the USA. A broad-based national resistance movement has yet to appear in England. However, there is hope on the Celtic fringe. Certainly, in Scotland, North Wales and parts of Ireland, there is resistance through their national parties, the Scottish National and Welsh National Parties and Sinn Fein in Ireland, though are all seriously undermined by Wokeism.

The British Establishment-invented United Kingdom is today a Disunited Kingdom (DK). Quite soon, probably within a generation, there will be four independent countries in the Isles of the North Atlantic (IONA): England, (a reunited) Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For it is precisely in untieing the sinister tangle of knots that form the present imposed ‘unity’ and the coming of disunity that real unity may come. This will not be a political unity, but a unity of interest. The Four to-be Sovereign Nations of the British Isles and Ireland have a great deal in common in terms of shared geography, history and culture. Sadly, all that they have in common has been overshadowed by the oppressive, centralised State Establishment. This has been fixed in the Norman-British capital of London with its all-powerful Zionist City, for nearly a thousand years. This oppression is symbolised by the foreign Royal Family. The English lost their own Royal Family and the rest of the national elite after the last English King of England, Edmund Ironside, was murdered in 1016. Since then the monarchs have all been foreigners – Danish, Norman, French, Welsh, Scottish, Dutch, German. None has had the interests of the Four Nations at heart, because all have been aliens, many of whom could not even speak English and whose hearts have been elsewhere. Nevertheless, the hope for a serious search for identity and then a real national awakening in England and the Three Nations remains.

Conclusion: The Long Walk to Freedom

The battles for freedom from oppression in the three most powerful and populous countries of Western Europe, two in Continental Europe, one an offshore archipelago, a bit like Americanised Japan on the other side of Northern Eurasia, are under way. For the moment the huge weight of centuries-old oppression, suppression and repression would seem to make the victory of their zombified peoples in any of those battles impossible. And yet it seems to us that, ironically, it is precisely that weight which oppresses the peoples in the three quite different contexts that will ensure victory. Too much is too much – the revolts of peoples whose national identities have been oppressed, suppressed and repressed so heavily and for so long are coming. The sovereignty of Germany, France and the Four Nations has to be restored and the minorities who have realised it in each of them are growing. More and more are realising that restoration can only come once they have freed themselves from the elites which feed off one another. And those elites depend entirely on the alien US elite, which stands behind them all and pulls all their strings.

Today the UK is strike-bound as a result of salaries not keeping up with record-high inflation, which has been almost wholly caused by the anti-Russian and anti-freedom ‘sanctions’ imposed by the Establishment elite. Some there say that the UK event of 2022, the death of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96, was the result of her meeting Liz Truss two days earlier and realising what her country had come to. (A popular UK joke says that there is now proof that nobody is brainless – Liz Truss is the exception that proves the rule). Elizabeth’s son, King Charles, has had eggs thrown at him. (Remember how he cheated on Diana?). No-one, even the most devoted Republican, would ever have contemplated throwing eggs at his mother. Then there is the scandalous Harry, Duke of California, completely besotted by and under the heel of his American actress wife, who apparently is ‘black’. (Are the wokeists who call this woman, who appears to be a sun-tanned white woman, ‘black’ perhaps simply colour-blind?). Perhaps, just as France declares a new Republic whenever it undergoes a serious crisis (it is now on its Fifth), the UK, or rather England, as that is what it is actually about, will yet declare that it has a new Dynasty, which is what happens there whenever it has a serious crisis. In any case, Queen Elizabeth II was definitely the end of something: Goodbye, House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Windsor? Hello, English Royal House – Ironside II?

The Franco-German tandem which has essentially been running Continental Western Europe since the Schumann Declaration in 1950 is in trouble too. Sovereignist Germany wants to be Germany again and Sovereignist France wants to be France again. It is the power-grasping US that will not allow either. However, once the US has been discredited by losing its war in the Ukraine, then all will become possible in Europe, just as all became possible in Asia, once the US had been thrown out of it. (There the US now holds on only to the occupied coastal strip of Palestine, the southern tip of the Korean peninsula and offshore Japan, Taiwan and Singapore). We are heading towards a new Western Europe, true, not in a straight line, but in the tortuous zigzags of lies of such grandchildren of Nazis as Ursula von der Luegen. What Germany and France end up doing will pattern and determine the actions of all Western Europe, that is of the EU 27 plus the UK, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland, the European 31. It is our contention that a settlement with Russia, forming the Moscow-Berlin-Paris-London axis, which is what should have happened in 1914, is the only thing that can save the European 31 from serfdom to US feudalism. Now, the Kiev regime has a political slogan: ‘The Ukraine is Europe’. This is meaningless, as Russia is also Europe and there is no Non-Russian Europe without Russian-speaking Europe. They are two halves of a whole, each with a similar area of some five million square kilometres. The European 31 has a choice to make: Live under the transatlantic jackboot, stamped on its face from 3,000 miles away, or choose liberation and sovereignty. The latter means living as good neighbours with local, Russian-speaking Europe and the rest of Eurasia, where geographically, historically and culturally Europe already is and always has been.

13 December 2022

France’s Yellow Vests at 4: The movement’s three greatest achievements

Sunday, 04 December 2022 1:04 PM  [ Last Update: Sunday, 04 December 2022 1:04 PM ]

By Ramin Mazaheri

On December 1, 2018, the Yellow Vests announced themselves in France and the world, registering their name in history books with their revolutionary graffiti tagging of the Arc de Triomphe, one of the country’s most iconic monuments.

“The Yellow Vests will win” was a slogan that reverberated across the world, as the movement became the biggest, most organic, most devoted and truly revolutionary threat any Western country had faced for over half a century.

It was their third week of protest, and there was no going back now.

The world never expected a genuine resistance movement to sprout in France, a Western imperialist hub. The French were – many insisted – too self-righteous, too spoiled, too indoctrinated, and yet for the next six months every Saturday turned into a war zone across the country.

France was wholly gripped by the revolutionary frenzy at the time, and it was because the French way of life isn’t as extravagant as people may think.

The Yellow Vests didn’t bravely endure all this – at least 11,000 arrests, 1,000 political prisoners, 5,000 protesters seriously hurt, 1,000 critically injured, scores maimed for life and 11 deaths – because they have a luxurious lifestyle.

It is hard to say what was worse – the repression by the French regime, or the way Western media and NGOs slandered and ignored the weekly bloodletting, tear gas shelling and mass arrests.

The Yellow Vests are an immediate, permanent rejoinder to Westerners who claim that their governments are more protective of democracy and less brutal than those in non-Western countries. That’s one of the three great legacies of the Yellow Vests.

The key to understanding the Yellow Vests is this, and it’s implicitly understood by the average European, totally not understood in places like the United States, and has been intellectually mastered by the vanguard Yellow Vests.

Ever since the pan-European project was activated in 2009, it has failed to do anything. Prosperity, stability and democracy – none of these have been implemented. France is not really France anymore – not unless Brussels says so – and it’s becoming less like France with each passing day under a political system that is still new.

So the Yellow Vests were truly 10 years in the making. They even arrived after a decade full of major social movements, because the first war of the European Union wasn’t a proxy war against Russia but the social war it waged against its own citizens.

The problem was not just the Great Recession of 2008 but the fact that the European Union/Eurozone was the only macroeconomic bloc that implemented absolutely no major recovery plan.

Even worse, its response was to undemocratically ram through far-right austerity policies. The Yellow Vests were the “working-poor class” cemented by the changes in Brussels, and their opponents were the highly-unequal “bourgeois bloc” that only saw the pan-European project in a rainbow glow of total success.

The Yellow Vests disproved the insistence of the Anglosphere – whose cultures are politically conservative – that all populist groups in the West are necessarily on the far-right.

As soon as December 2018, it was clear in France that the Yellow Vests were steeped in left-wing economics, anti-imperialism and a non-Islamophobic, modern conception of healthy patriotism.

This explains the nearly 80 percent approval rate for the movement, and staggering popularity, especially in France which had grown extremely cynical due to undemocratic failures of the pan-European project.

If one word had to be given to describe the Yellow Vests, it would be “civic-minded”. Concern for fellow citizens and the downward spiral of non-elite masses is what basically propels such popular revolutions.

These simple, obvious and pro-community concepts are forbidden in the Western mainstream media. There is no “working-poor class” in France. There are only racist, backward, lazy, always-complaining Frenchmen. There is no “bourgeois bloc” but only an elite group of enlightened and deserving technocrats who decide for us what constitutes the “reality”.

These are truly the two classes of the 21st century West – forget “middle class”, because the pan-European project has dealt the final blow to what Reaganomics/Thatcherism began.

Fully understanding and opposing the West’s current social class reality is the second great achievement of the Yellow Vests, but of course, one cannot find class discussed in the English-speaking media. 

However, there is another achievement that is even greater but less discussed, probably because it requires a complete overview of modern Western politics, which began in 1789 with the anti-monarchy/anti-aristocrat/anti-privilege French Revolution.

The arrival and the repression of the Yellow Vests remind us all of the undeniable failures of “liberalism”. The Yellow Vests aren’t actually new but are integral to French revolutionary history transported from 1848-71.

The struggle today is the same as it was back then. It’s a struggle against elitist liberalism and its attendants: oligarchical and anti-democratic parliamentarianism, free-market chaos, anti-government ideology encapsulated by austerity cuts to social services, and encouragement of a rat race to “become bourgeois”.

The Yellow Vests took France and Europe back to 1848 when the “Second Republic” re-ended the French monarchy and claimed the mantle of the French Revolutionary “First Republic”. Liberalism was installed for the first time and immediately proved that it was plagued by all the problems described above.

Liberalism has proved a failure since 1848, and the liberalist principles (“neoliberal” is more commonly used today to differentiate it from the discredited, original “liberalism”) that underpin the pan-European project have failed today. They always fail.

The arrival, desperate passion and durability of the Yellow Vests are proof of this, and showing the hypocrisy, brutality and ineffectiveness of always-unequal liberalism is the third and greatest and historical achievement of the Yellow Vests.

Liberalism, infamously, does not promise anyone the right to a decent existence. Back in 1848, Karl Marx and other socialists demonstrated these facts about Western liberal democracies. The Yellow Vests have brought us back to these inescapable political and social truths. 

Why did the Yellow Vests “fail”? Quite simply because the French government scared people away from it through heavy-handed tactics such as violence, heavy fines, arrests and imprisonment. That’s why their protests slowly dwindled in scale and magnitude – owing to fear of state repression. 

The fear has had dramatic, lasting consequences: the French have been reduced from the most politically-active nation in the West to being apathetic and uninvolved – typical of Western liberal democracies.

The apathy surrounding this year’s re-election of French President Emmanuel Macron was completely atypical for the country but it showed there was no stopping the will of the 1 percent and their fanatical “bourgeois bloc” toadies.

The Yellow Vests recently marched to commemorate their fourth anniversary, but you probably didn’t hear about it. You also likely haven’t heard that they’ve been marching every Saturday since “Season 2” began in October 2021, following a year-and-a-half coronavirus pause – which no world leader embraced with more joy and relief than Macron. However, the media blackout on them actually began way back in June 2020.

France is no longer gripped in revolutionary fervor, but the Yellow Vests haven’t gone anywhere. The average person has put their reflective yellow vest back where it belongs by law – in the car – but the network, relationships and experiences created by this extraordinary movement ensure that they will be back one day.

And they will be back. The history of Western liberalism has proven over and over again that the average person’s right to live decently will never be guaranteed.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

The Yellow Vests at 4 years old: their 3 greatest historical achievements

Sunday, 04 December 2022 1:04 PM [ Last Update: Sunday, 04 December 2022 1:04 PM ]

By Ramin Mazaheri

On December 1, 2018, the Yellow Vests announced themselves in France and the world, registering their name in history books with their revolutionary graffiti tagging of the Arc de Triomphe, one of the country’s most iconic monuments.

“The Yellow Vests will win” was a slogan that reverberated across the world, as the movement became the biggest, most organic, most devoted and truly revolutionary threat any Western country had faced for over half a century.

It was their third week of protest, and there was no going back now.

The world never expected a genuine resistance movement to sprout in France, a Western imperialist hub. The French were – many insisted – too self-righteous, too spoiled, too indoctrinated, and yet for the next six months every Saturday turned into a war zone across the country.

France was wholly gripped by the revolutionary frenzy at the time, and it was because the French way of life isn’t as extravagant as people may think.

The Yellow Vests didn’t bravely endure all this – at least 11,000 arrests, 1,000 political prisoners, 5,000 protesters seriously hurt, 1,000 critically injured, scores maimed for life and 11 deaths – because they have a luxurious lifestyle.

It is hard to say what was worse – the repression by the French regime, or the way Western media and NGOs slandered and ignored the weekly bloodletting, tear gas shelling and mass arrests.

The Yellow Vests are an immediate, permanent rejoinder to Westerners who claim that their governments are more protective of democracy and less brutal than those in non-Western countries. That’s one of the three great legacies of the Yellow Vests.

The key to understanding the Yellow Vests is this, and it’s implicitly understood by the average European, totally not understood in places like the United States, and has been intellectually mastered by the vanguard Yellow Vests.

Ever since the pan-European project was activated in 2009, it has failed to do anything. Prosperity, stability and democracy – none of these have been implemented. France is not really France anymore – not unless Brussels says so – and it’s becoming less like France with each passing day under a political system that is still new.

So the Yellow Vests were truly 10 years in the making. They even arrived after a decade full of major social movements, because the first war of the European Union wasn’t a proxy war against Russia but the social war it waged against its own citizens.

The problem was not just the Great Recession of 2008 but the fact that the European Union/Eurozone was the only macroeconomic bloc that implemented absolutely no major recovery plan.

Even worse, its response was to undemocratically ram through far-right austerity policies. The Yellow Vests were the “working-poor class” cemented by the changes in Brussels, and their opponents were the highly-unequal “bourgeois bloc” that only saw the pan-European project in a rainbow glow of total success.

The Yellow Vests disproved the insistence of the Anglosphere – whose cultures are politically conservative – that all populist groups in the West are necessarily on the far-right.

As soon as December 2018, it was clear in France that the Yellow Vests were steeped in left-wing economics, anti-imperialism and a non-Islamophobic, modern conception of healthy patriotism.

This explains the nearly 80 percent approval rate for the movement, and staggering popularity, especially in France which had grown extremely cynical due to undemocratic failures of the pan-European project.

If one word had to be given to describe the Yellow Vests, it would be “civic-minded”. Concern for fellow citizens and the downward spiral of non-elite masses is what basically propels such popular revolutions.

These simple, obvious and pro-community concepts are forbidden in the Western mainstream media. There is no “working-poor class” in France. There are only racist, backward, lazy, always-complaining Frenchmen. There is no “bourgeois bloc” but only an elite group of enlightened and deserving technocrats who decide for us what constitutes the “reality”.

These are truly the two classes of the 21st century West – forget “middle class”, because the pan-European project has dealt the final blow to what Reaganomics/Thatcherism began.

Fully understanding and opposing the West’s current social class reality is the second great achievement of the Yellow Vests, but of course, one cannot find class discussed in the English-speaking media. 

However, there is another achievement that is even greater but less discussed, probably because it requires a complete overview of modern Western politics, which began in 1789 with the anti-monarchy/anti-aristocrat/anti-privilege French Revolution.

The arrival and the repression of the Yellow Vests remind us all of the undeniable failures of “liberalism”. The Yellow Vests aren’t actually new but are integral to French revolutionary history transported from 1848-71.

The struggle today is the same as it was back then. It’s a struggle against elitist liberalism and its attendants: oligarchical and anti-democratic parliamentarianism, free-market chaos, anti-government ideology encapsulated by austerity cuts to social services, and encouragement of a rat race to “become bourgeois”.

The Yellow Vests took France and Europe back to 1848 when the “Second Republic” re-ended the French monarchy and claimed the mantle of the French Revolutionary “First Republic”. Liberalism was installed for the first time and immediately proved that it was plagued by all the problems described above.

Liberalism has proved a failure since 1848, and the liberalist principles (“neoliberal” is more commonly used today to differentiate it from the discredited, original “liberalism”) that underpin the pan-European project have failed today. They always fail.

The arrival, desperate passion and durability of the Yellow Vests are proof of this, and showing the hypocrisy, brutality and ineffectiveness of always-unequal liberalism is the third and greatest and historical achievement of the Yellow Vests.

Liberalism, infamously, does not promise anyone the right to a decent existence. Back in 1848, Karl Marx and other socialists demonstrated these facts about Western liberal democracies. The Yellow Vests have brought us back to these inescapable political and social truths. 

Why did the Yellow Vests “fail”? Quite simply because the French government scared people away from it through heavy-handed tactics such as violence, heavy fines, arrests and imprisonment. That’s why their protests slowly dwindled in scale and magnitude – owing to fear of state repression. 

The fear has had dramatic, lasting consequences: the French have been reduced from the most politically-active nation in the West to being apathetic and uninvolved – typical of Western liberal democracies.

The apathy surrounding this year’s re-election of French President Emmanuel Macron was completely atypical for the country but it showed there was no stopping the will of the 1 percent and their fanatical “bourgeois bloc” toadies.

The Yellow Vests recently marched to commemorate their fourth anniversary, but you probably didn’t hear about it. You also likely haven’t heard that they’ve been marching every Saturday since “Season 2” began in October 2021, following a year-and-a-half coronavirus pause – which no world leader embraced with more joy and relief than Macron. However, the media blackout on them actually began way back in June 2020.

France is no longer gripped in revolutionary fervor, but the Yellow Vests haven’t gone anywhere. The average person has put their reflective yellow vest back where it belongs by law – in the car – but the network, relationships and experiences created by this extraordinary movement ensure that they will be back one day.

And they will be back. The history of Western liberalism has proven over and over again that the average person’s right to live decently will never be guaranteed.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

Debunking the myth of ‘de-politicizing’ sports

November 20, 2022 

Source: Agencies

By Ahmad Karakira 

Ahead of the 2022 Qatar World Cup, calls to de-politicize sports seem ridiculous and senseless upon examining the inseparable historical connection between sports and politics.

Debunking the myth of ‘de-politicizing’ sports

A few days before the 2022 Qatar World Cup, French President Emmanuel said that sport should not be politicized.

“I think we must not politicize sport,” said Macron, whose national team is defending the title it won in Russia in 2018.

Macron, who will go to Qatar if the French team reaches the semifinals, said it was “a very bad idea to politicize sport,” noting that France will host the Olympic Games in 2024.

This comes amid a wave of criticism that Qatar is being subjected to over reports that many migrant workers — predominantly from South Asia and South-East Asia and Africa — have suffered from exploitation and widespread labor abuses while working on the Gulf country’s World Cup projects.

Doha is also accused of allegedly paying bribes to some football federations in exchange for winning the right to host the FIFA World Cup on its territory.

It seems that the French President is contradicting himself and has apparently “forgotten” his interference and role in ensuring that French player Kylian Mbappe remains in France with his current team Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), as well as forcing coach Didier Deschamps to call Real Madrid player Karim Benzema to the French national team and participate in the 2020 European Championship, as per investigative journalist Romain Molina.

It also seems that Macron has forgotten that his country’s football federation did politicize sport and was the first to call for the expulsion of the Russian national team from the 2022 World Cup following the start of the war in Ukraine, showing clear double standards and turning a blind eye on several other issues pertaining to human rights, such as Israeli occupation crimes against Palestinians for example.

Soon after the Ukraine war broke out, numerous sports governing bodies suspended Russia from international competitions. However, these bans coincided with unprecedented support for Ukraine despite these bodies banning any other form of political or religious expression on the field.

A history lesson

Aside from the French President’s shallow argument, let’s not forget that, historically, sports have always been intertwined with politics and used as a theater to promote political ideology, voice political messages and criticism, shift diplomatic feuds to sports arenas, and whitewash human rights violations by political regimes – also known as sportswashing.

Several sports clubs around the world were even established on the basis of politics, were influenced by their founders who are usually into politics, and their fans follow certain political ideologies.

Felix Jakens, head of Priority Campaigns and Individuals at Risk at Amnesty International UK, defines sportswashing as “a process or moment where a country with a bad human rights record attempts to use sport as a way to create positive PR to clean up its image and deflect attention away from its human rights record.”

For example, when Italy was awarded the right to host the second FIFA World Cup in 1934, Italian fascist Benito Mussolini saw it as an opportunity to whitewash his regime’s image in front of the international community, despite the heinous crimes committed at the time.

Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini awarding the 1934 World Cup to Italy’s players (AP)

Similarly, Adolph Hitler used the 1936 Olympics held in Germany in an attempt to promote Nazism and prove the superiority of the Aryan-race athletes.

Adolph Hitler during the Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany in August 1936 (AP)

The same can be said about Argentina organizing the 1978 World Cup under the dictatorship of General Jorge Videla, where matches would be played a few meters away from where thousands of dissidents were being tortured.

On the other hand, the sports arena was also used, by athletes and fans, to protest injustice and show support for rightful causes.

In fact, when late boxing champion Muhammed Ali was drafted into the US Army to take part in the Vietnam war in 1966, the African-American athlete expressed his rejection of the decision, saying, “I will say directly, no, I will not go 10,000 miles to help kill innocent people.”

As a result, Ali was stripped of his title and suspended from boxing before the Supreme Court ruled in his favor in June 1971.

Boxing Heavyweight champion Muhammed Ali 1965 (AP)

In a related context, after receiving the gold and bronze medals for the men’s 200-meter race at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, African-American runners John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised a fist in a Black Power salute in protest of mistreatment and systematic racism in one of the most iconic images of 20th-century sports.

Despite being demonized by the press and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) later expelling the two from the Games, Smith said this act of activism “was a cry for freedom and for human rights” and that “we had to be seen because we couldn’t be heard.”

Tommie Smith and John Carlos (Bettmann/Bettmann Archive)

Most recently, in continuation of Carlos and Smith’s activism in the sports arena, several athletes all over the world “take a knee” before the start of games in protest of police brutality and systematic racism and in support of their victims, and multiple sports federations and clubs have endorsed this cause, especially after the death of African American George Floyd, who was brutally killed by a white police officer in the US city of Minneapolis.

When it comes to fandom, in late 2018, fans of the Raja Athletic Club of Casablanca (RCA), known for their endless support for the Palestinian cause, impressed the world with a new chant called “Fbladi Dalmouni,” i.e. “In my country, I suffered from injustice.”

The lyrics of the chant recount the suffering of the Moroccan youths and blame the country’s government for corruption, the economic situation, and oppressing freedom of expression.

RCA fans are only one example of the political messages and numerous causes that sports fans express during events in order to grab attention and make their voices heard against injustice and oppression.

Another example is notably Celtic F.C. fans, who have always openly declared their support for the Palestinian cause by abundantly raising Palestinian flags in their stadium, all whilst chanting pro-Palestinian anthems. FIFA usually fines the Scottish Football Association over Celtic fans’ acts of solidarity with the Palestinian people, deeming it “not appropriate for a sports event.”

In stark contrast, FIFA, along with other major sports bodies, allow themselves to practice double standards and violate their rules by hailing acts of solidarity with Ukraine.

As such, it becomes clear that amid such political activism in sports, as well as other similar acts, a call such as Macron’s to de-politicize sports seems ridiculous and senseless upon examining the inseparable historical connection between sports and politics.

The French President’s call is also unjust and would deprive athletes and fans of a huge platform to voice their opinion and shed light on their causes in a world full of injustices.

World Cup 2022.. How to involve the international conflict in the football event?

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The G20’s Balinese geopolitical dance

FRIDAY, NOV 18, 2022 

BY TYLER DURDEN

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

Xi has few reasons to take Biden – rather, the group writing every script in the background – at face value…

Balinese culture, a perpetual exercise in sophisticated subtlety, makes no distinction between the secular and the supernatural – sekala and niskala.

Sekala is what our senses may discern. As in the ritualized gestures of world leaders – real and minor – at a highly polarized G20.

Niskala is what cannot be sensed directly and can only be “suggested”. And that also applies to geopolitics.

The Balinese highlight may have featured an intersection of sekala and niskala: the much ballyhooed Xi-Biden face-to-face (or face to earpiece).

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs preferred to cut to the chase, selecting the Top Two highlights.

1. Xi told Biden – rather, his earpiece – that Taiwan independence is simply out of the question.

2. Xi also hopes that NATO, EU and US will engage in “comprehensive dialogue” with Moscow.

Asian cultures – be they Balinese or Confucianist – are non-confrontational. Xi laid out three layers of common interests: prevent conflict and confrontation, leading to peaceful coexistence; benefit from each other’s development; and promote post-COVID global recovery, tackle climate change and face regional problems via coordination.

Significantly, the 3h30 meeting happened at the Chinese delegation’s residence in Bali, and not at the G20 venue. And it was requested by the White House.

Biden, according to the Chinese, affirmed that the US does not seek a New Cold War; does not support “Taiwan independence”; does not support “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”; does not seek “decoupling” from China; and does not want to contain China.

Now tell that to the Straussians/neo-cons/neoliberalcons bent on containing China. Reality spells out that Xi has few reasons to take “Biden” – rather the combo writing every script in the background – at face value. So as it stands, we remain in niskala.

That zero-sum game

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was dealt a terrible hand: how to hold a G20 to discuss food and energy security, sustainable development, and climate issues, when everything under the sun is polarized by the war in Ukraine.

Widodo did his best, urging all at the G20 to “end the war”, with a subtle hint that “being responsible means creating not zero-sum situations.”

The problem is a great deal of the G20 arrived in Bali bent on zero-sum – seeking confrontation (with Russia) and hardly any diplomatic conversation.

The US and UK delegations avowedly wanted to snub Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov every step of the way. France and Germany is a different matter: Lavrov did speak briefly with both Macron and Scholz. And told them Kiev wants no negotiation.

Lavrov also revealed something quite significant for the Global South:

“US and the EU have given the UN Secretary General written promises that restrictions on the export of Russian grain and fertilizers will be lifted – let’s see how this is implemented.”

The traditional group photo ahead of the G20 – a staple of every summit in Asia – had to be delayed. Because – who else – “Biden” and Sunak, US and UK, refused to be in the same picture with Lavrov.

Such childish, un-diplomatic hysterics is profoundly disrespectful towards ritual Balinese graciousness, politeness and a non-confrontational ethos.

The Western spin is that “most G20 countries” wanted to condemn Russia in Ukraine. Nonsense. Diplomatic sources hinted it may be in fact a 50/50 split. Condemnation comes from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, UK, US and EU. Non-condemnation from Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkiye and of course Russia.

Graphically: Global South against Global North.

So the joint statement will refer to the impacts of the “war in Ukraine” on the global economy, and not “Russia’s war in Ukraine”.

The collapse of the EU economy

What was not happening in Bali enveloped the island in an extra layer of niskala. Which brings us to Ankara.

The fog thickened because on the backdrop of the G20, the US and Russia were talking in Ankara, represented by CIA director William Burns and SVR (Foreign Intel) director Sergei Naryshkin.

No one knows what exactly was being negotiated. A ceasefire is only one among possible scenarios. And yet heated rhetoric from NATO in Brussels to Kiev suggests escalation prevailing over some sort of reconciliation.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was adamant; de facto and de jure, Ukraine can’t and does not want to negotiate. So the Special Military Operation (SMO) will continue.

NATO is training fresh units. Next possible targets are the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and the left bank of the Dnieper – or even more pressure in the north of Lugansk. For their part, Russian military channels advance the possibility of a winter offensive on Nikolaev: only 30 km away from Russian positions.

Serious Russian military analysts know what serious Pentagon analysts must also know: Russia used at best only 10% of its military potential so far. No regular forces; most of them are DPR and LPR militias, Wagner commandos, Kadyrov’s Chechens and volunteers.

The Americans suddenly interested in talking, and Macron and Scholz approaching Lavrov, point to the heart of the matter: the EU and the UK may not survive next winter, 2023-2024, without Gazprom.

The IEA has calculated that the overall deficit by then will approach 30 billion cubic meters. And that presupposes “ideal” circumstances this coming winter: mostly warm; China still under lockdowns; much lower gas consumption in Europe; even increased production (from Norway?)

The IEA ‘s models are working with two or three waves of price increases in the next 12 months. EU budgets are already on red alert – compensating the losses caused by the current energy suicide. By the end of 2023, that may reach 1 trillion euros.

Any additional, unpredictable costs throughout 2023 mean that the EU economy will completely collapse: industry shutdown across the spectrum, euro in free fall, rise of inflation, debt corroding every latitude from the Club Med nations to France and Germany.

Dominatrix Ursula von der Leyen, leading the European Commission (EC), of course should be discussing all that – in the interests of EU nations – with global players in Bali. Instead her only agenda, once again, was demonization of Russia. No niskala here; just tawdry cognitive dissonance.

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باسيل إلى باريس واحتمال لقاء مع ماكرون: فرنسا تعدّ مشروع «رئيس توافقي»

 الأربعاء 16 تشرين الثاني 2022

الأخبار

(هيثم الموسوي)

يشهد الملف الرئاسي في لبنان تطوراً لافتاً يتمثّل في زيارة يُفترض أن يقوم بها رئيس التيار الوطني الحر النائب جبران باسيل إلى باريس، هذا الشهر، لعقد سلسلة لقاءات على مستوى رفيع تشمل كل المعنيين بالملف اللبناني، للبحث في الاستحقاقات الداهمة رئاسياً وحكومياً واقتصادياً. وقالت مصادر مطلعة إن الفرنسيين يأملون بالاتفاق مع باسيل على خريطة طريق للانتخابات الرئاسية، انطلاقاً من العلاقة الجيدة التي تربطه بكل من البطريرك الماروني بشارة الراعي وحزب الله.

وكانت السفيرة الفرنسية في بيروت آن غريو غادرت إلى باريس، أول من أمس، في مهمة عاجلة، يتعلق جانب منها بالتحضير لزيارة باسيل الذي يفترض أن يلتقي أعضاء خلية الإليزيه المعنية بالملف اللبناني، والتي تضم السفير إيمانويل بون ورئيس الاستخبارات الخارجية برنار إيمييه، إضافة إلى مسؤولين في وزارة الخارجية. وبحسب المصادر، فقد يلتقي باسيل، بحسب مسار المحادثات، الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون، وأن أمير قطر تميم بن حمد آل ثاني يتوسّط لعقد هذا اللقاء.

وبحسب المعلومات، فإن الزيارة العاجلة لغريو إلى باريس تهدف إلى وضع القيادة الفرنسية في أجواء الاتصالات الأخيرة التي أجرتها في بيروت حول الملف الرئاسي والاستحقاقات الحكومية والاقتصادية. ويفترض أن تطلع غريو على نتائج الاتصال الذي جرى بين ماكرون وولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان قبل يومين في ما يتعلق بلبنان، على أن تعود إلى بيروت الأسبوع المقبل لمرافقة باسيل متى تم تحديد موعد زيارته.
وأجرت غريو في الأيام العشرة الماضية سلسلة اجتماعات بقي معظمها بعيداً من الأضواء، وشملت البطريرك الماروني بشارة الراعي ورئيس الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي وليد جنبلاط وشخصيات من قوى المعارضة التي ترشح النائب ميشال معوض. كما عقدت غريو اجتماعين مهمين أحدهما مع مسؤول كبير في حزب الله والثاني مع باسيل.

اجتماعات السفيرة الفرنسية في بيروت شملت لقاء مع مسؤول كبير في حزب الله


ومع أن الجانب الفرنسي لا يحمل مبادرة متكاملة، إلا أنه سعى إلى معرفة موقف كل الأطراف من لائحة من المرشحين تضم نحو سبعة أسماء. وفهم متصلون بالسفيرة الفرنسية أن بلادها لا تزال تحظى بالتفويض الأميركي لإدارة المبادرة بما خص الملف الرئاسي، وأن باريس تريد التوصل مع السعودية إلى اتفاق يسهل المهمة، لأن الإصرار على خوض معارك قاسية من شأنه عدم انتخاب رئيس في وقت قريب.
وكررت غريو أمام كل من التقتهم أن بلادها مهتمة بتوافق جدي يتيح انتخاب رئيس قادر على تشكيل حكومة سريعاً، وعلى الخطوات الإصلاحية التي تنتظرها الدول التي ستقدم مساعدات للبنان لمعالجة الأزمة الاقتصادية. كما كررت التزام بلادها الشق المتعلق بفرنسا وشركة «توتال» ضمن تفاهم ترسيم الحدود البحرية مع كيان الاحتلال. علماً أن إدارة شركة «توتال» أعلنت، أمس، أنها أنجزت مع حكومة العدو الاتفاق الخاص بطلبات إسرائيلية مالية تتعلق بالجزء الجنوبي من حقل قانا الواقع جنوب الخط 23 والذي يفترض أن توفره الشركة الفرنسية من دون المساس بحصّة لبنان.

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Macron’s statements; clear proof of interference in Iranian affairs

14 Nov, 2022 

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The remarks of the French President that the alleged “revolution” in Iran will have an impact on the Iranian nuclear talks corroborate the Iranian accusations of French meddling in the country.

French President Emmanuel Macron (AFP)

During an interview for France Inter radio on Monday, November 14, the French President estimated that the current alleged “revolution” in Iran has an impact on the nuclear deal negotiations. The interview was recorded Friday with Elysée, after Emmanuel Macron’s meeting with four members of delegations of Iranian regime-change mouthpieces, as described by Fars news, including a Washington-based journalist, Masih Alinejad

Macron commented on the Western-induced hysteria surrounding the Iranian riots, saying that the “revolution changes a lot of things,” adding that “the regime is weakened by Iran’s internal situation and the demands that are hard to obtain.”

He called for international sanctions against Iranian officials saying, “I am in favor of a strong diplomatic reaction and sanctions on the figures of the regime who have a responsibility” in what he called “the repression of this revolution,” in an interview for France Inter radio.

Read next: Dirty money: Meet the US agent driving the CIA-led riots in Iran

Macron described the crackdown as “unprecedented,” adding, “We don’t rule out any option,” he said, noting that Iran’s government was already the target of numerous sanctions.

He repeatedly used the word “revolution” to describe what was happening in Iran, while accusing the government of “cracking down” on the western-instigated riots. 

Was it a mere coincidence that when he welcomed pro-Western Iranians who are strong advocates of regime change in Iran he brought up the issue of the so-called “revolution” having an impact on Iran’s nuclear talks? Or does it stand as clear proof of the real intentions of the west, particularly France in this case?

As a matter of fact, one can only say that the French President has actually confessed to interference in Iran’s affairs, albeit indirectly and unintentionally, having brought up the impact of the riots on the nuclear talks, which only confirms the Iranian accusations of Western interference in the country.

But how is it so? The answer lies in Iran’s statements via different officials all along, from day one. 

Western meddling in Iran

The Assistant Commander of the IRGC for Political Affairs, Brigadier General Yadollah Javani, confirmed on November 11 that one of the enemy’s goals in destabilizing the country and trying to repeat the Syrian scenario in Iran is to influence the nuclear negotiations and obtain some concessions.

During a speech at a symposium entitled “From protests to riots,” Javani said all the “enemies have united to confront the government in Iran.” 

In the same context, Iranian Army Commander, Maj. Gen. Seyyed Abdolrahim Mousavi, considered on November 7 that the riots in Iran were part of the US plan to disrupt the negotiations on the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Read next: When double standards reign, Western ‘humanity’ dies between the lines

Mass riots began in Iran in mid-September in connection with the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Iranian authorities have accused Western countries of fueling the riots, and European diplomats were given a note of protest in connection with anti-Iranian media reports and calls to overthrow the country’s government.

“The recent unrest in Iran was part of US efforts to disrupt the negotiations in Vienna [on the JCPOA],” Mousavi was quoted as saying by Iranian state broadcaster IRIB.

Foreign intelligence services behind riots

Foreign intelligence was never absent from the Iranian arena ever since the riots started.

Earlier, a spokesperson for the Iranian Parliament’s presiding board, Nizamuddin Mousavi, stated that the Minister of Interior submitted a report on recent developments in the investigation into Mahsa Amini’s death.

On September 23, the Iranian Minister of Interior Ahmad Vahidi confirmed that “reports, evidence, and medical examinations confirm that Amini was not beaten,” which refutes western media claims that the Iranian woman was brutally beaten while in morality police custody. 

Mousavi said that “there are individuals linked to foreign organizations, intelligence services, and terrorist groups that had a hand in fomenting the recent riots.” He pointed out that “estimates indicate that some 45,000 people formed networks across the country, some of whom have been arrested.”

Who trained the riot leaders?

In the same context, Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi revealed that the leaders of the recent riots in Iran received training in seven countries.

Referring to the recent riots, Vahidi considered that the enemy harnessed all its energies, including the media, in order to undermine national unity but suffered defeat in the face of the vigilance and insight of the coherent Iranian people that were able to thwart this scheme.

It is noteworthy that in late October, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry and the IRGC’s intelligence wing revealed that intelligence obtained by Tehran indicates that the CIA and allied intelligence services planned a conspiracy against the Islamic Republic.

“The conspiracy’s goal is to commit a crime against the Iranian people and the territorial integrity of Iran,” the statement underlined.

“The main perpetrators were the CIA, the British and Saudi intelligence services, the Israeli Mossad, and the intelligence services of other countries,” it read, indicating that “the planning and the execution of the majority of the riots were carried out by the Mossad in collaboration with terrorist organizations.”

French nationals confess to unrest in Iran

It is worth noting that Iran released a video on October 6 of two French citizens, Cecile Kohler and Jacque Paris, arrested for espionage in Tehran. The two are unionists with France’s National Federation of Education, Culture, and Vocational Training.

In the clips, Kohler confessed to being an “intelligence and operation agent of French foreign security service.” The two French nationals infiltrated into Iran as tourists on April 28 but turned out to be spies for Western intelligence agencies.

According to the Iranian Intelligence Ministry, the duo attempted to foment instability and social disorder earlier in June when some teachers took to the streets in peaceful protests to demand fair wages and better working conditions.

Read next: Iranian intelligence arrests element linked to detained French spies

Macron’s ‘double standards’ exposed through social media

Some wrote on social media platforms against Macron’s anti-Iran statements, highlighting the French President’s double standards. Some reminded him of France’s colonial past, stating that Iran will teach him a lesson this time, while others slammed him for undertaking the mission of defending what he called a “revolution” to describe riots in a country while turning a blind eye to the crimes and slavery practices of Qatar. 

Translation: While France is on the verge of exploding, Macron allows himself to give Iran lessons, while not saying a word about Qatar and its crimes and slavery practices. 

Translation: France decided not to learn from its past interferences in the internal affairs of other countries. Iran will teach it that.

Now, what about the French protests, and how did Macron handle them? The President demonstrated utmost hypocrisy by criticizing Iran while his people were prevented from merely expressing themselves during the recent French protests. 

Macron confidently defended the Iranian riots as a “revolution”, while designating the French protests as riots. He criticized the Iranian government’s “violent suppression” while allowing his security forces to crack down on protests against the deteriorating livelihood in France.

Moreover, 100 injuries were reported in clashes between environmentalists and French police at a protest on October 31 against the building of a sizable water reservoir for farm irrigation in western France, according to the authorities. About 60 gendarmes and 30 demonstrators were injured in the protest, which the authorities tried to suppress in the Sainte-Solin area.

Additionally, tens of thousands of French people took to the streets last month in protest of the government’s performance, Macron’s economic plans for the country, and the rising costs of living. The protests were predominantly led by the country’s leftist coalition.

So, technically, when people protest for their most basic rights in a European country, they are attacked and beaten under the pretext of putting an end to riots. 

In stark contrast, the actual riots taking place in Iran, coupled with vandalism, violence, murders, and arson, which are in fact instigated by the very natural death of Mahsa Amini, are hailed as acts of “democracy” that ought to be protected by all means necessary, even if that leads to the violation of a country’s sovereignty and interference in its internal affairs through collaborators and proxies, such as the terrorist groups MEK and ISIS.

The aim behind all that is going on in the Islamic Republic of Iran is terrorizing and fomenting unrest in the West Asian country after all the development and progress it has achieved at all levels. Rising as a key influential player in the region, all eyes, whether friends’ or foes’, remain focused on the Islamic Republic either to build or to tear down bridges.

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Sit-in marks 38 years since Georges Abdallah’s imprisonment

October 23, 2022 

The United Campaign for the Liberation of Lebanese revolutionary Georges Abdallah stages a sit-in in front of the French Embassy in Beirut.

A sit-in protest in front of the French embassy in Beirut.

    The United Campaign for the Liberation of Lebanese revolutionary Georges Abdallah, alongside a number of activists, staged a sit-in in front of the French embassy in Beirut on Saturday.

    The annual sit-in commemorates his arrest on October 24, 1984, and calls for his release, which has been constantly denied despite numerous judicial and political victories.

    Abdallah has so far served 38 years in prison, which makes him the longest-held prisoner in Europe. He was accused of assassinating US and Israeli diplomats and was sentenced based on these accusations.

    Abdallah completed the minimum portion of his life sentence in 1999, but French authorities denied his nine parole requests. The judiciary agreed several times to these requests, given that the French Interior Ministry planned on deporting him, but that decision was never taken.

    Seven years after his latest parole request, the Lebanese revolutionary changed his strategy and is now back before the judiciary requesting that he be deported from France.

    A member of the United Campaign for the Liberation of the Lebanese revolutionary, Mohamed Hoteit said: “On the 38th anniversary of Abdallah’s arrest, and in conjunction with a protest at the Lannemezan Prison in France, as well as rallies in several Arab and international capitals, including Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Palestine, we stand here in front of the French embassy to demand Abdallah’s release, which had been possible in 1999, but French authorities rejected his nine parole requests.”. 

    “A decision to release Abdallah was made in 2003, but it was put on hold due to a political decision made by the French government, as well as clear, public, and explicit pressure from the US – ‘Israel’s’ biggest ally,” he added.

    A Wikileaks document about former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails revealed that between January 10-14, 2015, she sent an email to former French Minister of Foreign Laurent Fabius, saying that “although the French Government has no legal authority to overturn the Court of Appeal’s January 10 decision, we hope French officials might find another basis to challenge the decision’s legality.”

    In other words, the US ordered the French government to stomp over its legal system and over the principle of separation of powers.

    Read more: France’s ‘robust’ ties with “Israel” keep Georges Abdallah in prison

    Atef Al-Ibrik, a leading member of the People’s Democratic Party, stated that “it is forbidden to release Abdallah since it will be considered as a victory for the Resistance whether in Lebanon or Palestine.”

    Addressing French President Emmanuel Macron, the campaign questioned how the latter “urges Ukrainians to resist, supplying them with lethal weapons, despite the fact that Ukraine is thousands of kilometers far from his country while condemning just cause of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah.”

    In his only statement in regard to the war in Ukraine, Abdallah underlined the hypocrisy of the imperialist camp, notably by turning a blind eye to the presence of neo-Nazi Ukrainian battalions, while criminalizing pro-Palestinian movements.

    Unicorns Are Real

    September 02, 2022

    Source

    by Batiushka

    Unicorns Are Real or It Must Be True, the Western Media Told Me So

    An autumn chill is descending on every European country, though in each country in different ways.

    Gas-dependent Germany and Italy are desperate for Russian gas. It is not just homes, but whole factories which face imminent closure in energy-intensive industries. The result of that will be mass unemployment. By ‘mass’, I mean 20% and more.

    In France there is popular rejection of President Macron who has told his people that they (i.e. not him) must suffer so that the Ukraine can ‘win’. September is the first month of the annual strike-season in France. French people do not like being cold. Expect some headlines.

    In Latvia the Russian minority are fearful for their future, but so is everyone else. Heating will not be an option this winter. With a pension of just over 100 euros a month, many pensioners are simply going to die of the cold.

    From Slovakia we have received the following:

    ‘Thanks for your email. Just to give you some idea of the current manufacturing costs here in Slovakia and to be brutally honest throughout the upside down world, We paid last year 85,000 euros for electricity, this year it’s going to be around 500,000 euros. As of 1 Jan2023 it’s going to be 1.2 million euros at best.

    So that’s just the electricity, never mind the gas, the increase in raw materials, salaries and all other manufacturing costs, This is a hard way of saying it’s impossible to reduce and every customer of ours has to accept it or not. Surprisingly we have never ever been as busy! You cutting margins down low is of course difficult, but at least you have margins. We simply do not have anything to reduce’.

    In Moldova the crisis is profound. As in Latvia and Lithuania up to half the population have fled their countries after they were pillaged by the EU (even though officially Moldova does not even belong to the EU!). Previously medicine came from the Ukraine. Now that is unobtainable, they have to use medicine from Germany. Only that costs ten times more. Quite simply, if you are very ill and you don’t have the money, this year you will die.

    In Romania, which has lost a quarter of its population to emigration after the great EU pillage, and where a salary of 600 euros per month is considered very good, food prices are the same as in Western Europe, where average salaries are four to five times more, and diesel costs even more than elsewhere.

    In Ireland restaurants are closing because they cannot afford their energy bills, which have increased by 1,000% (yes, one thousand per cent).

    In London, the capital of the Brutish (sic) Empire, the Gauleiter Johnson finally admitted that, ‘British households will have to endure soaring energy bills as part of efforts to defeat Vladimir Putin….economic sanctions imposed on Russia have contributed to soaring global gas prices which have driven up household bills’. Analysts expect the UK’s energy price cap per household to rise from an already extremely high £1,971 today to £3,554 a year this October and to a completely unaffordable £6,089 in April 2023. A bill boycott is gathering momentum. Expect rioting and the looting of supermarkets by the hungry.

    Did British people choose to endure this? No. Did British people plead to suffer so that they can defeat Putin in a local quarrel about a country most of them had never heard of until last February? No. Did British people refuse to pay for the abundant and cheap Russian oil and gas in roubles? No. Were they consulted about choosing the new Prime Minister? No. So much for ‘the mother of parliaments’….

    In the oligarch-controlled UK there are now calls for Thatcher’s privatised utility companies, with their huge profits, generous payouts of dividends to shareholders, hopeless infrastructure, lack of investment and absence of government regulation, to be renationalised. Some have even commented that perhaps ‘the free market’ really meant the law of the jungle and that ‘privatisation simply meant Thatcher selling off public assets to her capitalist cronies and supporters’. Well, forty years late, but some people have finally got the message.

    Enough. That is not what I wanted to tell you about.

    In the last week of August I left France and went to Wiesbaden. There I visited the magnificent Russian church, built in the century before last. Going round the cemetery with the graves of old aristocrats with their masonic symbols on their headstones (now you know why the Russian Revolution took place), I saw the relatively new grave that I had been looking for.

    This was the grave of a lovely old couple, whom I had long known. I won’t reveal their names, just to say that their story would make a film, only so romantic that you would not believe it. However, if you are past the age of forty, you should have realised by now that real life is far, far stranger and far, far more incredible than any fiction. All I will say is that he was born in Saint Petersburg in 1916, was taken by his fleeing parents to Finland after the rest of the family had been shot, that in 1943 he had become a monk and a priest in Nazi Germany, and that in late 1946 the family had fled ruined Berlin for Peronist Argentina as Russian Orthodox refugees. And there, in 1948, he met a desperately poor Argentinian street girl who had been born in Italy. It was love at first sight. I don’t think I have ever met such a devoted and exemplary couple or ever will. They died in great old age within hours of each other.

    Enough. That is not what I wanted to tell you about.

    After I had gone down from the high wooded churchlands into the town of Wiesbaden, I saw a middle-aged woman wearing a T-shirt which said: ‘Unicorns are Real’. The words were not in German, but in English (even though, no doubt the T-shirt was Made in China). I began to wonder.

    Was it just infantilism? The sort of escapism that funded the UFO industry, or Star Wars, or Harry Potter? The irresponsible and immature who are running away from reality?

    And I thought to myself that I could not imagine any middle-aged Russian, Chinese, Indian, Iranian, African, Cuban, Colombian or Brazilian woman wearing such a T-shirt (unless of course they were so futile that they had married oligarchs). And then there came to me the words written by the British author G.K. Chesterton in his short story of 1925, The Oracle of the Dog: ‘The first effect of not believing…is that you lose your common sense’.

    In other words, to wear such a T-shirt simply shows a lack of faith – in anything. And I thought how significant it was that the words had been written in English, the language of the Hegemon. And I thought, yes, this really is the end of the Western world. Because if you want to advertise your belief that unicorns are real, you have quite simply lost your mind and that from now on you will believe anything the Western world tells you. After all, it is only one step from ‘Unicorns are Real’ to:

    ‘The great and noble Zelensky is winning the war in the Ukraine because our Western cause is just’.

    Macron Insulted Africans’ Intelligence by Claiming That Multipolar Powers Manipulate Them

    Global Research, August 29, 2022

    By Andrew Korybko

    Region: Europesub-Saharan Africa

    Theme: Intelligence

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    ***

    The shameless ethno-nationalist supremacy associated with his hateful remark will result in Africans doubling down on their anti-imperialist and Pan-Africanism activism since no self-respecting person would ever capitulate in the face of such blatantly racist pressure and thus voluntarily submit themselves to being dominated by their abuser.

    French President Macron claimed during his latest trip to Algeria that “Many of the (information) networks that are covertly pushed (in Africa) – … by Turkey… by Russia… by China – have an enemy: France.” This was a supreme insult to all Africans’ intelligence since it channeled the discredited racist trope that they’re supposedly so stupid as to be easily manipulated by multipolar powers. Instead of acknowledging the genuinely grassroots and politically legitimate reasons why many Africans are actively rebelling against French influence in its self-proclaimed “sphere of influence” in so-called “Françafrique” like Turkiye’s Foreign Ministry suggested that he do, Macron chose to once again spew unsubstantiated smears similar in spirit to those malicious ones that it earlier made against Mali.

    The reality is that the global systemic transition to multipolarity that unprecedentedly accelerated since the latest US-provoked phase of the Ukrainian Conflict has served to inspire the entire BRICS-led Global South to push back against the US-led West’s Golden Billion at this pivotal moment in the New Cold War between those two polar opposite models of socio-economic and political development. Moreover, many Africans felt emboldened to further intensify their efforts after President Putin unveiled his global revolutionary manifesto in late July that was followed shortly thereafter by Foreign Minister Lavrov pledging that Russia will help Africa fully complete its decolonization processes ahead of his successful trip to the continent.

    Video: Freedom Convoy Solidarity in Alberta. Agreement with RCMP

    Africa’s Role In The New Cold War” is destined to be that of a major battleground between the Golden Billion and the Global South precisely because its people refuse to be subjugated any longer by the former after having ruthlessly been exploited by them for half a millennium. France, which is among the most powerful of the Golden Billion’s hegemons in Africa and even surpasses the US’ influence in some parts of the continent, isn’t even hiding its neo-colonial intentions anymore after Macron ripped off his mask and started insulting Africans’ intelligence in the extremely racist way that he just did. The so-called “battle for hearts and minds” has already been won by the Global South’s multipolar Great Powers like Russia and China, who are helping to liberate all African countries with no strings attached.

    They’d never dare disrespect their partners, let alone in the crude way that Macron just did, especially because they themselves have been victimized by similar forms of verbal abuse. Africans are well aware not only of those two and others’ proud anti-colonial histories, but also of just how sincerely they respect all others in contrast to the behavior exemplified by Western leaders like the French one and his peers. Macron’s racist insult of all Africans’ intelligence isn’t just rude, but also suggests that the Golden Billion is done “playing nice” after having abandoned all pretenses of their faux “politeness” that they unconvincingly attempted to practice in the past. As Western “thought leaders” never tire of reminding everyone, “might makes right” in their eyes, hence why they’re now sowing chaos across Africa.

    This isn’t speculation either but documented fact after Mali recently accused France of supporting those Al Qaeda-connected terrorists that declared war on its Russian partner in late June and then the joint US- and Egyptian-led but TPLF-driven Hybrid War of Terror on Ethiopia resumed shortly thereafter on the other side of the continent. In fact, that second-mentioned conflict that first went hot in November 2020 after years of multilateral planning can be seen in hindsight as the new template that the West and its regional vassals like Egypt are employing since it was hatched as punishment for Ethiopia’s principled neutrality in the New Cold War between the US-led West’s Golden Billion and the BRICS-led Global South. It therefore follows that similarly multipolar states like Mali and others will be punished too.

    Macron made a major mistake though by letting his mask slip after spewing his racist innuendo about Africans supposedly lacking the intelligence to not be manipulated by foreign powers. The shameless ethno-nationalist supremacy associated with his hateful remark will result in Africans doubling down on their anti-imperialist and Pan-Africanism activism since no self-respecting person would ever capitulate in the face of such blatantly racist pressure and thus voluntarily submit themselves to being dominated by their abuser. Far from helping the Golden Billion’s hegemonic cause like his twisted mind imagined that his crude insult would supposedly do, the French leader’s public embrace of racist tropes against Africans will only serve to accelerate the decline of the US-led West’s hegemony over that continent.

    *

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    This article was originally published on OneWorld.

    Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

    He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

    Featured image is from OneWorld

    The original source of this article is Global Research

    Copyright © Andrew Korybko, Global Research, 2022


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    Macron Hosts MBS Regardless of Outrage over Khashoggi Murder

    JULY 28, 2022

    By Staff, Agencies

    French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS] for talks in Paris on Thursday, regardless of criticism that the invitation is deeply inappropriate barely four years after the murder by Saudi agents of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

    The meeting is seen as the latest step in the readmission of the de-facto ruler of the kingdom into the international fold, after US President Joe Biden met him earlier this month.

    The topics set to loom over the meeting include energy supply as concern grows over possible power shortages in wake of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, as well as reining in the nuclear program of Riyadh’s top regional foe Iran.

    “I feel profoundly troubled by the visit, because of what it means for our world and what is means for Jamal [Khashoggi] and people like him,” Amnesty International secretary general Agnes Callamard told AFP, describing MBS as a man who “does not tolerate any dissent.”

    The visits mark MBS’ first trip to the EU since the murder of Khashoggi by Saudi agents at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018, a crime that a UN probe described as an “extrajudicial killing for which Saudi Arabia is responsible.”

    It also said there was “credible evidence” warranting further investigation of the individual liability of high-level Saudi officials, including MBS.

    US intelligence agencies determined that MBS had “approved” the operation that led to Khashoggi’s death, though Riyadh denies this, blaming rogue operatives.

    The killing drew outrage not just over the elimination of a prominent critic of the Saudi regime, but also for the manner in which it was carried out. Khashoggi was lured into the Saudi consulate on October 2, 2018, strangled and dismembered, reportedly with a bonesaw.

    His reception by world leaders is “all the more shocking given many of them at the time expressed disgust [over the killing] and a commitment not to bring MBS back into the international community,” Callamard added, denouncing the “double standard.”

    But despite the concern over Saudi Arabia’s rights record, the kingdom is seen by many in the West as an essential partner due to its energy resources, purchases of weaponry and staunch opposition to Iran.

    Western countries resume their relationship with Riyadh after the isolation imposed on Ibn Salma

    Postscript: Looking back and looking forward with the Yellow Vests

    July 12, 2022

    Source

    by Ramin Mazaheri

    (Now available! This book has just been published in paperback and E-book form, and in French too!)

    Western culture has been so prevalent for two centuries that I think much of the world assumes that they already intimately know a major European country like France. Many outside of the West may be saying, “We know the West, but the West doesn’t know us!”

    It’s just not that simple.

    (This is the nineteenth and final chapter in a new book, Frances Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the Wests Best ValuesPlease click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)

    A contemporary progressive demand correctly says that local histories must be prioritised and no longer imposed from the outside – stereotypes must be broken. The end of feudalism finally allowed the average person to say the truth in public – there is a class struggle – and using this most high-powered lens we realise: the people of France deserve this right as much as any other people because the history of their working poor masses, too, has been repressed, ignored and slandered.

    That didn’t all start with the Yellow Vests.

    Yellow Vest: “It’s not only in Paris, or in France – discontent is international. The poor, the young, the old – so many sectors of society are doing poorly because of a lack of humanity in our social and economic policies. The beauty of the Yellow Vests is that we gather together every weekend to communicate with each other – otherwise, people are just home alone with their misery.”

    By far the best part of this book, in my opinion, is their words. I hope you have been as delighted as I have been to read their analyses right alongside the deeds of Napoleon, the revolutionaries of 1848, Communards, true Trotskyists, etc. Not only do their words tie this humble book together, but they tie together over 200 years of French history. France has this tremendously exciting history of political resistance, but it gets buried, distorted and untaught by the Liberalist elite – the Yellow Vests exhumed it and brought it back to living reality.

    After more than a dozen years living in France I must admit that I, too, didn’t know France and Europe anywhere as well as I assumed I did before I moved here. What an enormous mistake I made – assuming that I “knew” France even though I knew hardly any French people!

    One doesn’t have to be on the world’s bottom socioeconomic rung to have their culture and history falsely portrayed – every nation without a Socialist-inspired revolution to protect them has their own bottom rung which is silenced, crippled, massacred, etc. This book has been an effort to view modern French history from their ground up and not in the Liberalist fashion – their top down.

    Yellow Vest: “Macron has ended so much social assistance to poor people. He tells lies about the poor, and also about his own policies. We are sick of his policies! We must finish the Macron era! We demand more aid for poor people, such as myself!”

    Ah, still more progressive Yellow Vest thoughts! Yes, more, because this book is not my book but theirs. This book is not an attempt to give my version of French history, but the version from the average French person.

    The average French person has much to learn from this book, I humbly insist, because the history of their working-poor has been so suppressed domestically, and also because the truth of the new pan-European project has been so suppressed.

    Admit the truth: the euro has totally failed in its promise to bring about prosperity and economic security. The European Union has totally failed to act in a democratic manner. The pan-European project has not waged bilateral war (perhaps “yet”) but it has waged social war on its own citizens across the continent. Many permanently disfigured Yellow Vests would say I am even being too lenient here.

    Yellow Vest: “By denying that there was any police brutality the government legitimised it. How we can have confidence in a government which cripples its own citizens, or in institutions which do not intervene to stop that? It is truly barbaric violence, which mutilated people because they believe in a better future.” 

    The immediate, perpetual and ongoing failure of Liberalism; the notion that Western political culture has actually been excised of the influence of immoral, arrogant and unjust monarchism – a misconception which rather turns Iranians apoplectic; the clear goal of modern politics to move from absolutism towards citizen involvement and empowerment; the obvious historical trajectory of Western political structures from absolute monarchy, to aristocratic oligarchy, to a bankocracy which inflicts neo-imperialism on anyone it can reach – I hope this book has clarified these realities. Admit the truth.

    I am convinced that what Europeans definitely agree on is that they all want an end to the wars which have gutted their lower classes for so long, to easily move around within Europe and the basic advances of mere Social Democracy. The working classes want peace, ease of movement and a decent social safety net. The pan-European project has manipulated these desires – the 1% has teased with the carrot but just given the stick. The only real success of the pan-European project has been the flexibility of the EU passport – Europeans are quite relieved to be able to move around the continent without the previous hassles.

    Europeans, in my experience and according to polls, mostly want a united Europe – it’s unfortunate that they are misled into believing that there is no alternative to this thus-far woefully unsuccessful version of it.

    Yellow Vest: “I can’t tell people how to vote, but I certainly advise them to not vote for Macron. He hasn’t done anything for the French people, but has instead worked for the rich bankers, corporations and Brussels.”

    Even though his autocratic repression of the Yellow Vests should have disqualified him from ever holding public office again, Emmanuel Macron was re-elected, incredibly. The false branding of the Yellow Vests as mere “hooligans” has largely stuck in France, stunningly. There is a dysfunction, a Marxist “barrenness”, an autocratic schizophrenia which Western Liberal Democracy is forcing the average Frenchman to endure – this book shows how long this sickness has been imposed on the French poor, working poor and working classes.

    Without the courage to call things by their rightful names – Western Liberal Democracy means failure for the 99%; Socialist Democracy justly puts the 99% at the forefront of government policy – France as a whole will never heal. How very few political analysts say this!

    This postscript was finished the day after France’s 2nd-round legislative elections. Macron has not been handed another absolute majority by a slim margin – it’s another Yellow Vest victory, but not one which was resounding enough. It’s certain that Macron was never a “centrist” but a mainstream conservative, merely with a new logo and of his younger generation. Thus, his coalition will continue to unite with the mainstream conservative les Républicains party (and also many fake-leftist Socialists and Greens) for an absolute majority on all issues involving far-right economics, the re-imposition of Liberalism and the pan-European project. French parliament will now be less stable and more combative, but in appearances only – in reality French parliament remains only for appearances on the major questions of economic and political power distribution. It’s certain that the reason an absolute democratic majority of France (54%) didn’t even bother to vote is because they implicitly know that modern autocracy – rule by the 49-3 executive decree and the overruling of national sovereignty by Brussels – rules, thus rendering Europe’s national parliaments a waste of time, their breath and our attention. I would conclude that Liberalism in France is on the verge of becoming so preposterously dysfunctional that it’s surely about to be consigned to the dustbin of history but, alas, I recall that Marx and Trotsky wrote the same thing.

    It’s certain that these analyses will not be popular among my journalist colleagues.

    What is so unfortunate is that as early as the summer of 2019 people kept asking me: “You’re going to report on a Yellow Vest demonstration? But I thought they had stopped marching?” The media blackout on the group extends beyond the common excuse of the corporate domination of Western media: it doesn’t explain the refusal of France’s state-owned media to cover the group. French taxpayers deserve better. Capitalism is an issue, but the larger issue is obviously political and cultural – it’s elite-driven Liberalism.

    Yellow Vest: “We marched as Yellow Vests for two years, and we are still Yellow Vests today, but we all saw that nothing changed! The cost of living is too expensive – we can’t pay our bills at the end of the month! We don’t want this government – and their violence – any more.”

    The fact that the Yellow Vests have marched every Saturday for over three and half years (not including the coronavirus pause) is actually more important than how they have been wilfully ignored:

    As the West comes out of the coronavirus era, during which they actually employed some Social Democratic-inspired economic measures, they are immediately reverting to extremist Liberalist economic solutions: forced recession, in order to perpetuate the elite’s dominance over the working poor. The first half of 2022 was supposed to be a time when France’s elections were going to garner great interest, at least in France, but the vote was overshadowed everywhere by total economic disaster – much of it self-inflicted in the West. Betting on a period of economic disaster – always a constant in Liberalist capitalism – seems like a gamble that will pay off quite big, and quite soon, in the world’s weakest and least-sovereign macroeconomic bloc.

    Yellow Vest: “Things really could explode because prices keep going up but wages do not. If Emmanuel Macron somehow wins re-election then social unrest will go sky-high. The Yellow Vests will really take to the streets then, and it will be much worse than in 2019.”

    For those who marvel at the insight of these Yellow Vest quotations – they truly are just that politically intelligent and aware! Give them all the credit. The idea that they are just rioting berserkers is… well, this book has already disproven that completely.

    The perspective of the daily hard-news reporter is, I think, a unique and useful one. There is an urgency to this particular area of journalism caused by the reality that (after starting from the ideal of objectivity) serious conclusions must be drawn immediately and presented – they cannot be drawn-out, postponed, frittered away by mealy-mouthed relativism. Additionally, I interview and learn the opinion on the day’s most vital events from everyone, from hedge fund mangers to think-tank analysts to pensioners to protesters to Yellow Vests and to – most often – the everyday Frenchman and Frenchwoman on the street. That’s not something which can be easily replicated. Personally, my favorite chapters may be Chapters 9 through 11 – covering 2009-2022 – which condensed over 1,500 2-3 minute television hard news reports for PressTV (which equates to more than 3,000 soundbites from French people) and hundreds of columns. That can’t be easily replicated, either, nor can my honest claim to have reported on more Yellow Vest demonstrations than any other journalist in any language.

    At the next Liberalist-provoked disaster the Yellow Vests will be there – they have never left. That should give France great hope. This book has aimed to share their fundamental message of hope and civic-mindedness.

    Yellow Vest: “What voters should do is to not be scared, and to rejoin the Yellow Vests. We have lost our purchasing power, our social services, our individual freedoms – stop crying about these two candidates from behind your television or computer and come join us!”

    The ideas of the Yellow Vests are not new – this book examined many different modern French eras to show precisely that. There is obviously a human unity across spaces, and there is also a political unity across time. The interspersed quotes of the Yellow Vests should have given you the clear understanding of: it’s been the same political and economic struggle for the past 233 years. It’s not complicated: just examine how and why they repressed the Yellow Vests so brutally, and why that failed to stop them.

    Yellow Vest: “The government doesn’t know what to do because they see that the movement continues despite so much repression. We will not stop until we get the right to citizen-initiated referendums, the end to corporate tax evasion and a rule of social justice so that people can live decently.”

    That’s perhaps the most simple encapsulation of the primary demands of the Yellow Vests. Mine might be a bit different, but I was honoured to be alongside the Yellow Vests to insist on our right to live decently.

    The West’s best values are not imperialism, elitist Liberalism, oligarchical parliamentarianism, free market chaos, suppressive austerity and a rat race to “become bourgeois”. Look at the Yellow Vests for the West’s true virtues, and then join them wherever you can.

    Ramin Mazaheri

    Paris

    June 20, 2022

    <—>

    Now available for purchase: English paperback and e-book – French paperback and e-book.

    Complete chapter list of France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values

    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.

    French vote shows the undemocratic rot of the pan-European project 2/2

    June 26, 2022

    Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. His new book is ‘France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values’. He is also 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.

    by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

    Part 1 discussed how a “hung parliament” isn’t going to happen in France. President Emmanuel Macron won enough seats and can find plenty of allies among the mainstream conservatives, as well as the Socialist Party and Green Party. Thus, on all issues involving far-right economics, neoliberalism and the pan-European project Macron will proceed without parliamentary difficulty.

    Part 1 ended with my pointing out how Macron’s coalition-building is actually unimportant.

    Because the Mainstream Media is fine with his ends, they rarely discuss how Macron often used the 49-3 executive decree in his first term even when he had an absolute majority. Macron bypassed parliament just to avoid public discussion in Parliament on his hugely unpopular austerity “reforms” – i.e. right-wing rollbacks.

    And then the guy would actually sign these bills – which were also entirely written by his own coterie – live on television, rubbing it in everyone’s faces! The French, of course, can’t stand this obviously autocratic – and certainly not democratic – behavior. The elite-driven “bourgeois bloc”, however, adored it.

    So who cares about the French legislature? Certainly Macron has not.

    Francois Hollande used the 49-3 executive decree multiple times as well, so this is clearly a long-running issue of executive branch power grabs.

    The MSM doesn’t want to focus on these facts because they so obviously reveal the incredibly low quality of French democracy and of the pan-European project.

    Therefore, even if Macron can’t create a majority to pass neoliberal legislation why would he allow parliament to restrain hims now? In the coming years we should expect his rationalisations along the lines of, “We must avoid dysfunction and stagnation, therefore I decree…”.

    All the above explains why the democratic absolute majority winner of the legislative vote was “none of the above” – abstention won 54%. The French know that modern autocracy – rule by the 49-3 executive decree and the overruling of national sovereignty by Brussels – rules, thus rendering Europe’s national parliaments a waste of time, breath and attention. Remember Syriza of Greece, or the “bomb” Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank, promised Ireland? Many European citizens have not.

    Elections at just 46% turnout are a hair’s breadth away from not having democratic credibility, but that must be added with the constant use of the 49-3 executive decree and the certainty of a Brussels’ veto for any legislation they don’t like. It combines to modern autocracy – rule by an oligarchical elite.

    When is the broad prosperity and stability which Western Liberal Democracy promises ever going to arrive? When is the broad prosperity and stability of the pan-European project ever going to arrive? Certainly the latter’s short tenure has been marked by nothing but economic disaster and democratic repression.

    Because Western Liberal Democracy took the defeated fascists of World War II under their wing they also subsumed many of their ideas. One of them is identity politics: the average Frenchman is now being told to focus on the paltry 15% score of the National Front and not the larger issues presented in the paragraph above. It’s nonsense, and to do that would be to play into the hands of the bourgeois bloc.

    All of these realities should be clear to people who cover French politics.

    Macron has to actually pay attention to parliament now and work a little harder to win over some votes (but only if he actually feels like it) – I guess that’s democracy, but it’s not much. The MSM and bourgeois bloc elite is worried that “reforms” – i.e. rollbacks to the Social Democratic advances implemented from 1945-75 – won’t get through, but after 13 years here, and over 1,500 2-3 minute television reports for PressTV, which includes over 3,000 soundbites from French people, and hundreds of written columns, I’m worried about the democratic will of the French people.

    But it’s been foolish to look for the democratic will in Western Liberal Democratic parliaments and in French parliament ever since 1848, when they did away with unelected monarchy.

    France’s parliament is going to get louder, but that’s about it. It’ll be more like the United States in that there will be a lot of grandstanding and big talk, and then the same right-wing conclusions will arrive exactly as predicted. If it somehow doesn’t – Macron will use the executive decree. If Macron somehow doesn’t use the executive decree – Brussels will step in to forbid, sanction or legislate around the democratic will of any member nation.

    As time goes on this reality will become clear and clearer. Some in the NUPES alliance and some in the National Front will actually say such things in Parliament. Macron promised to govern in a way to decrease “extremism” – i.e. those who point out the failures of Liberalism – but he clearly achieved the exact opposite.

    Macronism is my generation’s type of conservatism, but that doesn’t mean it was ever built to last. The former Rothschild banker was a candidate who was fabricated at the last moment of 2016 by the intensely monied powers who have always governed in Western Liberal Democracy. He’s not as all-powerful as he was in his first term, but how could he be, given his discrediting behavior, his lack of merit and the arrogant elite he chooses to guide him? How could Western Liberal Democracy not keep proving to the masses their lack of concern for the problems of the working poor and middle classes?

    However, since 2009 France does not control its currency, prices, budget, laws, rails, skies and obviously much, much else. A major failure of the Yellow Vests was to focus their attention entirely on Macron and on parliament and not on the pan-European project. The Western media tells them deceptive lies, but this column has laid out solid conclusions drawn from close observation. The Yellow Vests have protested every Saturday since October 2021 – you likely haven’t heard about that because the MSM refuses to tell the truth about that, too. When the next inevitable bust period occurs in Liberalism, they are ready to be there.

    Will France descend into chaos shortly, as many predict? My God – how can it get more chaotic than every single Saturday from November 2018 through June 2019? All that’s left is for the forces of order to open fire on protesters – massacres!

    That would change things – at least I hope it would. The West, ever-grandstanding about their moral superiority, certainly ignored the occasionally-lethal brutality towards the Yellow Vests.

    The French elections have ended – major changes were not made. Since the Great Recession, and subsequent undemocratic installation of the pan-European project, the world’s third-largest but weakest and least-sovereign economy has only gotten weaker. After damage so great we don’t even know how bad it is, the coronavirus fog has lifted – remember that it was instituted just weeks after the failure of France’s longest labor movement ever, the general strike of 2019-20. France and the EU are marching to war over the unrest in Ukraine, and also sacrificing their economies for that cause.

    Such is France today.

    No Bonapartism – either Napoleonic or Louis-Napoleonic – is coming to save them from the autocratic bourgeois bloc. They have no revolutionary “Supreme Leader branch” of government, either – they don’t even want to understand what that term means. The French don’t believe in the goodwill of the leadership of the United States, but they follow them anyway. China, which since 2008 has soared in direct inverse proportion to the demise of Europe, is following an independent path, just as Iran has done since 1979. Now Russia appears to be doing the same after three decades of Liberalism.

    The world needn’t worry about the results of French parliament, but they should worry for the French.


    Part 1 of 2

    French vote shows the undemocratic rot of the pan-European project 1/2

    June 25, 2022

    by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

    France’s election season finally got interesting, but only marginally.

    Even though his brutal repression of the Yellow Vests should disqualify him from being a public servant ever again, Emmanuel Macron was re-elected president, incredibly. However, he has finally been reprimanded at the voting booth – his parliamentary coalition just lost its absolute majority.

    The Yellow Vests can claim wresting yet another concession. Unfortunately – like most of their concessions – it’s rather minor.

    The Mainstream Media is in a tizzy over an allegedly “hung parliament”, but don’t they always do that when the working-poor class rebels against Western Liberalist diktats?

    The man initially hailed as the “new leader of the free world” by Politico (how badly does that hold up four years later?), and who then obviously became a “liberal strongman”, now has to actually acknowledge the National Assembly’s existence after ruling by executive order for five years.

    This is such a bad thing? The entire start of modern global politics, in 1789, was the move away from absolute monarchy via the demand for a parliament – a representative body which can, finally, exert some influence over the policy-making of the executive branch.

    To the Western elite: yes, this is a very bad thing.

    They don’t want absolute autocracy anymore, but they certainly don’t want the poor, working-poor and middle classes exerting any influence over policy-making. They are continually appalled at how the French masses – from the Yellow Vests, to the 2005 “No” vote on the European Constitution, to the election of anti-austerity candidates like Francois Hollande and Francois Mitterrand – keep rejecting the “bourgeois bloc’s” insistence that neoliberalism is the greatest thing since pockets.

    The dominant analysis in France now is that it is divided into three blocs: the far-right of Le Pen, a left wing (represented by the NUPES “popular front”, which just over-promised and under-delivered) and a “center” of Macronistas. This is wrong. The best description of French divisions is between a bourgeois bloc (the 25% which supports Macron) and everyone else (the 75% which supported the Yellow Vests/the 70% which didn’t want Macron to have another absolute majority in parliament).

    The bourgeois bloc is obviously full of pro-elite, pro-privilege, right-wing ideas – neo-imperialism, free market economics, perpetual austerity, a poor social safety net, regressive taxes on the average person but tax evasion for the rich and corporations, the idea that citizens should vote once every 4 or 5 years for elite politicians and then stop being involved in politics – but what it is actually presented as is “radical centrism”. Much like the idea of the “bourgeois bloc”, such terms are gaining popularity in recent years.

    “Radical centrism” is the idea that mainstream Western thought is the only “right” way to view reality. The ideology of Liberalism is “centrist”, or so they allege, but they definitely make this claim with a virulence that is truly radical.

    This started post-1991 with TINA – There Is No Alternative. The great unsaid to that popular phrase is that There Is No Alternative to Neoliberalism and Neo-imperialism. Radical centrism has become – to them – “the truth”. Criticise their policies – such as the false benevolence, and certainly the false success, of the pan-European project – and you are classified as “disinformation”. Affirm these policies and you’re a blue-checked “expert” and “independent”.

    It’s all nonsense of course, but ever since 1789 created a bourgeois bloc they have always been out of touch with the average person’s experiences and beliefs.

    This brings us back to the legislative vote: the Western MSM, owned by the bourgeois bloc in a West which eschews state media, is now worried that without an absolute majority Macron won’t be able to force through his “radical centrist” policies as easily as he did for the past five years.

    The Western MSM is, of course, totally unconcerned about the fact that Macron forced through his policies only on top of the broken bones, lost eyes and blood of the Yellow Vests. They only worry about protesters in right-wing places like Hong Kong, or Ukraine, or the MKO, etc.

    The intellectual state of France has now been established – are the MSM’s worries justified? Does the vote signify a huge change?

    No, but not for the reasons expected by people who don’t closely follow French politics.

    Firstly, ignore the usual French drama: Of course newspapers want to sell papers by inflaming the results. The far-right’s Marine Le Pen wants to act like 15% is a parliamentary majority, leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon wants to believe that 25% of seats earns him the prime minister post, and the mainstream conservative Republicans are talking about “still being an opposition party” but these are all lies, exaggerations and self-delusions.

    The biggest delusion outside of France since 2017 is that Macron was ever a “centrist”. His subsequent legalisation of Islamophobia and the state of emergency, his far-right economic policies and his authoritarian style all disproved that indisputably.

    Macron was always a mainstream conservative, just with a new logo and of his generation. Somehow this eluded many commentators, and I attribute this – among the misled older commentators – to a generation gap.

    Macron’s generation was raised to be entirely pro-Europhile, and also to reject xenophobia. Some in the mainstream conservative party are pro-globalisation and some aren’t so much, and some in the mainstream conservative party are Islamophobic and some aren’t so much, but those in les Républicains haven’t joined the National Front (now the National Rally) for a reason, and that reason is: these are not their main issues.

    So we should add together the seats of Macron’s coalition and those of the mainstream conservatives – and we get an absolute majority of 53%. Thus, on all issues involving far-right economics, neoliberalism and the pan-European project Macron will proceed without parliamentary difficulty.

    People are acting like Les Républicains haven’t been going along with pan-European project diktats since Nicolas Sarkozy? It’s crazy. He’s the one who engineered the passage of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, which was rejected in that 2005 vote mentioned above, and which put the installation of the European Union in the hands of national parliaments (run by the bourgeois bloc) and not in the hands of voters.

    Macron’s coalition won enough seats to avoid a crisis. He’ll be able to win over just 2/3rds of Republicans (or 44 seats) for a majority on anything of economic and political importance to conservatives (and to pan-Euroepans).

    However, one must realise that Macron will also win over many in the Socialist Party and the Green Party, as well! They are plenty of them who are totally on board with neoliberalism and the pan-European project. The NUPES left-green alliance is already fracturing.

    Allow me a short victory lap: in already-published chapters of my new book (France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values – out July 1) I predicted the formation of AND the failure of the NUPES “popular front”. I understand Western fake-leftism – what can I say? This electoral alliance was always just that – to win votes – and it’s already breaking apart. Many in NUPES only put away their Europhilia to keep their seat, after all.

    This certainly cannot be argued with, as well: There simply has not been a huge influx of parliamentarians who are anti-EU, anti-Liberalist, anti-austerity and anti-bourgeois bloc, and certainly not any majority. It will be business as usual in Western Liberal Democracy.

    However, all of these facts are entirely moot!

    You haven’t wasted your time, however, but you do need to please read Part 2 of this column, out soon.


    Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. His new book is ‘France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values’. He is also 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.

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

    June 13, 2022

    Alastair Crooke

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

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

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

    Whilst the tag ‘realist’ has acquired (in present circumstances) the connotation of ‘appeasement’, what Macron simply is saying is that the West cannot, and will not, maintain its current level of support for Ukraine indefinitely. Politics is intruding in all European states. In Germany, in France and in Italy too, there is a body of opinion against continued engagement in the conflict. Simply, the coming economic train crash is becoming all too apparent and threatening.

    Boris Johnson’s rough ride in the recent confidence vote in the 1922 Committee may not have been explicitly linked to Ukraine, but the underlying indictments of Johnson’s Net Zero policies (viewed by Conservative voters as stealth-socialism), immigration and rising living costs, nonetheless certainly were.

    Of course, ‘one swallow does not make a summer’. But Johnson’s dramatic collapse in popular standing, resulting from his economic belligerence towards Russia, is sending the European leadership in to a spin. “We are seeing panic in Europe due to Ukraine”, President Erdogan remarked.

    What is notable is that for all Macron’s embrace of ‘European strategic autonomy’ in calling for a deal, he may be closer to Washington than are the London hawks. Yes, at the outset, the word ‘deal’ was vaguely present in American discourse, but then there followed a long hiatus in which, for about two and a half months, the narrative became solely: the need to bloody Putin’s nose.

    The U.S. mood – the narrative – is turning, seemingly reconciled to more bad military news emanating out of Ukraine (with even quasi-neo-con Edward Luttwak throwing-in the towel, saying Russia will win, and that Donbass should have a say in its own fate).

    Just as Johnson’s embrace of Ukraine is viewed as a desperate bid to summon the legacy of Margaret Thatcher’s Falklands War (Thatcher faced rising inflation and mounting domestic anger at her agenda, yet the victorious conflict over Argentina in 1982 helped power her to re-election), “Talk of the Ukraine crisis providing a ‘Falklands moment’ for Johnson – however – is simply fool’s gold for desperate Conservatives”, wrote Steven Fielding, a professor of political history at the University of Nottingham. It may prove ‘fool’s gold’ for Brussels too.

    If there is something to be said about Macron’s call for a deal, it is that even a limited ceasefire deal – which probably is what Macron has in mind – would not be feasible in this toxic, polarised western atmosphere. In short, Macron is ‘out over his skis’. Ducks (to mix metaphors) first need lining-up:

    America would need to walk back its vicious ‘hate Putin’ meme. They would need to pivot messaging to a ‘spin’ about the ‘win’ that might be inherent to talking with Putin, otherwise the very act of talking with ‘evil Putin’ will backfire in a flood of public acrimony. Macron has just had a taste of this.

    A certain reset has already begun (either by design or reader boredom). Ukraine news hardly rates ‘above the fold’ treatment in U.S. media today. Google ‘war’ searches and links have fallen off a cliff. In any event, the Democratic Party clearly needs to focus on the domestic issues, inflation, firearms and abortion – the issues that will dominate the midterms.

    Here’s the thing. The EU clearly is fractured, but so are the American security élites. Perhaps a drawn-out stalemate, a war of attrition, keeping both Russia and western Europe engaged with each other is preferred (not least by an emotionally engaged Biden) to a ‘deal’, but long war may no longer be available (if, as Luttwak suggests, Russia soon will win).

    And would Biden, were he to opt to try for a Ukraine ‘deal’, be able to sustain – politically – anything less than a deal spun as a clear U.S. ‘win’? Is that even an option now? Almost certainly not. Moscow is not in the mood.

    Would an offer of talks from Biden contain even a kernel of value to consider from a Russian perspective? Almost certainly not. If not, what’s there then to talk about.

    Moscow says it is open to talks with Kiev. The Kremlin however, is not looking for a ‘way out’ (public opinion is dead-set against it). Call it ‘talks, if you will, but a better translation might be that Moscow is ready to accept Zelensky’s ‘surrender document’ under the rubric of ‘talks’ – no easy ‘win’ there for a Team Biden to tout to a sceptical American electorate!

    Thus, in one sense, this ‘long war of attrition’ formula has certain ‘failure’ baked-in to it – for it was not military attrition, but the financial war that was configured as the West’s ‘first strike’ capacity. The “rouble would become rubble” almost immediately, as full-spectrum economic war collapsed Russia structurally (pulling down its will to fight in Ukraine). The warning to China (and others such as India), was expected to be stark.

    At least that was the pre-war plan. Military action was never intended to be the ‘heavy lift’ for crushing Russia, but rather to act as the amplifier of domestic discontent as Russia’s economy crumbled under unprecedented sanctions. A Donbas insurgency, planned and prepared over eight years, was never supposed to get a ‘starring role’, precisely because the U.S. always imagined it likely that Russian forces ultimately would prevail. Nonetheless it became ‘the only game in town’.

    But the financial war, on which hopes for a quick Russian collapse were founded, has not only failed, but paradoxically has rebounded to wound Europe very, very badly. That, and collapsing Ukrainian esprit de corps, have become an albatross hanging from the neck of the EU. There’s no walking away from sanctions, nor from the imminence of Ukrainian military implosion, without Russia emerging the clear ‘winner’.

    It is a debacle (however much the ‘spin artists’ twist and turn). Unsurprisingly then, European leaders are looking for an off-ramp from the noxious effects of policies which they – the EU – so breathlessly adopted, without even bothering to do ‘due diligence’.

    But the point here is a much graver one: Even if there were to be wider talks (say) next week, can the West even theoretically agree on what it might say to Mr Putin? Has it, at least, done due diligence on how Russia, in its turn, would define its vision for the Eurasian future? And if so, would the European negotiators have the political mandate to respond, or would the talks collapse because Europe cannot answer to any negotiation mandate, beyond one strictly limited to issues of Ukraine’s future make-up?

    Russia, in fact, has set forth clearly its strategic aims. In December 2021, Russia issued two draft treaties to the U.S. and NATO which included demands for a security architecture in Europe that would guarantee indivisible security for all, and a withdrawal by NATO to its former 1997 eastern limits. These documents underline that Ukraine is but one small part to Russia’s wider strategic aims. The two drafts were ignored in Washington.

    The Ukraine war, in principle, could be ended through a negotiated settlement that addresses Russia’s wider security concerns across the European expanse, whilst still maintaining Ukraine’s independence – albeit with the Ukrainian north-east, east and south linked in some configuration to Russia, or absorbed into it.

    But then, there is the reality that the EU has offshored its political mandate in respect to Ukraine to an overarching NATO. And the latter’s clear objective is to exclude Russia from the world political ‘chess board’ as a player, and to implode the Russian economy – to return Russia to the Yeltsin era, in other words.

    As such, NATO objectives imply no room for dialogue. Moscow’s ‘long war’ too has to be correctly understood – it is not just about security threats emanating from Ukraine, but the security threat emanating from a culture, self-defined as an excusatory western ‘civilisation’:

    Christopher Dawson in Religion and the Rise of Western Culture, written nearly a century ago, writes: “Why is it that Europe alone among the civilisations of the world has been continually shaken and transformed by an energy of spiritual unrest that refuses to be content with the unchanging law of social tradition which rules the oriental cultures? It is because the religious ideal has not been the worship of timeless and changeless perfection, but a spirit that strives to incorporate itself in humanity, and to change the world”?

    Do those European leaders contemplating a ‘deal’ understand that, whether they agree or not, the latter sums up the popular Russian perception? And that winning in Ukraine is seen as the necessary Cathartic trigger to re-launch Russian and other non-western civilisations?

    The question then becomes: Does the European Union have a hand to play in such a scenario, separate to Washington’s? Actually no; it has no locus.

    The EU has no locus – for – as Wolfgang Streeck has noted in his essay on “The EU after Ukraine”, west European states, apparently as a matter of course (i.e. without deeper reflection), agreed “to leave it to Biden to decide on its behalf – Europe’s fate will depend on Biden’s fate: That is, on the decisions, or non-decisions, of the U.S. government”. The EU thus effectively situates itself as an outlier province, within American domestic politics.

    Some EU élites were triumphant: Ukraine had fixed the EU unambiguously as ‘North Atlanticist’, period. But why the glee?

    It is true that the Ukraine war may (temporarily) have neutralized the various fault lines where the EU was crumbling. For some time, efforts have been made by the EU Commission to address the democracy void arising from the de factocentralization and depoliticization of the Union’s political economy, through filling the gap with a neoliberal ‘politics of values’ to be rigorously enforced by the EU – upon recalcitrant member states – through economic sanctions.

    Identity rights, according to this interpretation, would serve as a substitute for the debates over political economy, with compliance on values to be enforced on member-states through economic sanctions (Rule of Law).

    It is not hard to see how Ukraine might have gelled with Ursula von der Leyen’s determination to enforce EU values, not only on the likes of Orbán, but as a tool to uproot lingering pro-Russian sentiments in a factious EU, and firmly to plant North Atlanticism as the overriding EU value. Sanctioning Russia and its traditionalist notions was in perfect harmony with sanctioning East European states for their social traditionalism too.

    This came at a cost however – the cost of catapulting the United States into a position of renewed hegemony over western Europe. It has forced Europe to continue wide-ranging, indeed crippling economic sanctions on Russia, which as a collateral effect, reinforces the position of U.S. dominance as a supplier of energy and raw materials to Europe.

    It rules out completely Macron’s ideas that the EU needs a ‘European strategic sovereignty’ that can mitigate Russia’s legitimate security concerns. Europe now is stuck ‘up to the gills’ with wide-ranging economic sanctions on Russia, and unable to confront the consequences. There is literally ‘no way’ the ensuing structural inflation or the economic contraction can, or will be, contained. The EU has abdicated on the means to bring the war to its end. Only sharing a table whilst Zelensky signs the surrender document remains to it.

    There will be no serious attempt in the U.S. before November even to try to curb inflation. The consequence of this EU surrender to U.S. Command is that in respect to inflation, too, the EU will be dependent on the vicarious shifts of U.S. electoral politics. It just is as possible that Biden will order a new issue of ‘stimmie checks’ to mitigate the effects of inflation on American pocketbooks (thus further accelerating inflation), as it is as likely for him to permit Quantitative Tightening (aimed at reducing inflation) in the run up to the midterms.

    As the effects of the war set in, these will bring a serious backlash against Brussels.

    *(H. G. Wells)

    Ukraine to decide how much territory it trades for peace – NATO

    12 Jun, 2022

    Bloc chief Jens Stoltenberg said that a deal will come at a price, but insisted it’s up to Ukraine

    Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2022 © AP / Olivier Matthys

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday that the US-led bloc aims to strengthen Ukraine’s position at the negotiating table, but added that any peace deal would involve compromises, including on territory. 

    Stoltenberg was speaking at the Kultaranta Talks in Finland, following a meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. While the NATO chief insisted that the West was willing to “pay a price” to strengthen the Ukrainian military, Kiev will have to make some territorial concessions to Moscow in order to end the current conflict.

    “Peace is possible,” he outlined. “The only question is what price are you willing to pay for peace? How much territory, how much independence, how much sovereignty…are you willing to sacrifice for peace?”

    Stoltenberg did not suggest what terms Ukraine should accept, saying that “it’s for those who are paying the highest price to make that judgment,” while NATO and the West continue supplying arms to the Ukrainians to “strengthen their hand” when a settlement is eventually negotiated.

    The secretary general did not directly endorse the ceding of Ukrainian territory, but he did bring up the example of Finland, which gave up Karelia to the Soviet Union as part of a peace deal during the Second World War. Stoltenberg described the Finnish-Soviet settlement as “one of the reasons Finland was able to come out of the Second World War as an independent sovereign nation.”

    Stoltenberg’s statement comes amid growing sentiment that Ukraine may soon be pressed into a peace deal by its Western backers. While US and British officials publicly insist that Ukraine “can win” its war with Russia, a recent CNN report suggests that officials in Washington, London and Brussels are meeting without their Ukrainian counterparts in an effort to plan a ceasefire and peace settlement. 

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also claimed that unnamed foreign parties have been trying to “push us a little” toward a deal, as the public in countries backing Ukraine grows “war weary.”

    French President Emmanuel Macron has publicly denied urging Zelensky to give up some territory in exchange for an end to hostilities, as former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger suggested last month he should do.

    Kissinger proposed in May that Ukraine accept a return to the “status quo ante,” meaning it would relinquish its territorial claims to Crimea and grant autonomy to the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Crimea has been a part of Russia since 2014, while Moscow recognized the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics several days before its military operation began in February. 

    Zelensky has shifted positions several times on a potential peace deal, with the president periodically expressing interest in negotiating a settlement with Russia, only for his officials, the US State Department, or Zelensky himself, to express the opposite sentiment shortly afterwards. After announcing his willingness to enter negotiations late last month, Zelensky came out several days later and told his citizens that “there will be no alternative to our Ukrainian flags” flying over the Donbass republics.

    “We understand that it is very difficult for Ukraine after all this fighting to give up their land,” Niinisto said during the discussion with Stoltenberg on Sunday. “But seeing that Russia would lose all its holdings is not at this point foreseeable. Gaining peace is absolutely difficult.”

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    The World Doesn’t Work That Way Anymore

    June 6, 2022

    Alastair Crooke

    The fixation with Ukraine essentially is but a gloss pasted over the realities of a global order in decomposition.

    The First World War signalled the end to a mercantilist order that had evolved under the aegis of European powers. One hundred years later, a very different economic order was in place (neoliberal cosmopolitanism). Believed by its architects to be universal and everlasting, globalisation transfixed the world for an extended moment, but then started the subsidence from its zenith – precisely at the moment the West was giving vent to its triumphalism at the fall of the Berlin Wall. NATO – as the order’s regulatory system – addressed its attendant ‘identity crisis’ by pushing for eastward expansion toward Russia’s western borders, disregarding the guarantees it had given, and Moscow’s virulent objections.

    This radical alienation of Russia triggered its pivot to China. Europe and the U.S. however, declined to consider issues of due ‘balance’ within global structures, and simply glossed over the realities of a world order in momentous metamorphosis: with the steady decline of the U.S. already apparent; with a European faux ‘unity’ that masked its own inherent imbalances; and in the context of a hyper-financialised economic structure which lethally sucked out the juice from the real economy.

    The present war in Ukraine therefore simply is an adjunct – the accelerant to this existing process of ‘liberal order’ decomposition. It is not its centre. Fundamentally geo-strategic in their origin, the explosive dynamics to today’s disintegration can be seen as blowback from the mismatch from diverse peoples’ looking now to solutions tailored to suit their non-western civilisations, and from the western insistence on its ‘one size fits all’ Order. Ukraine thus is a symptom, but is not per se, the deeper disorder itself.

    Tom Luongo has remarked – in connection with the ‘messy’, confusing events of today – that that which he fears most, is so many people analysing the intersection of geopolitics, markets and ideology, and doing so with such striking complacency. “There is a stunning amount of normalcy bias in the punditocracy, too much ‘cooler heads will prevail’ and not enough ‘everyone’s got a plan until they’re punched in the mouth’”.

    What Luongo’s retort doesn’t fully explain is the shrillness, the outrage, with which any doubting of the accredited ‘punditocracy’ of the moment is met. Plainly, there is a deeper fear stalking the lower depths of western psyche that is not being made fully explicit.

    Wolfgang Münchau, formerly at the Financial Times, now authoring EuroIntelligence, describes how such a canonised Zeitgeist implicitly has imprisoned Europe in a cage of adverse dynamics which threaten its economy, its autonomy, its globalism and its being.

    Münchau relates how both the pandemic and Ukraine had taught him that it was one thing to proclaim an interconnected globalism ‘as cliché’, but “It is quite another to observe what actually happens on the ground when those connections get torn apart … Western sanctions were based on a formally correct, but misleading premise – one that I believed myself – at least up to a point: That Russia is more dependent on us than we are on Russia … Russia however is a provider of primary and secondary commodities, on which the world has become dependent. But when the largest exporter of those commodities disappears, the rest of the world experiences physical shortages and rising prices”. He continues:

    “Did we think this through? Did the foreign ministries that drew up the sanctions discuss at any point what we would do if Russia were to blockade the Black Sea and not allow Ukrainian wheat to leave the ports?… Or, did we think we can adequately address a global starvation crisis by pointing the finger at Putin”?

    “The lockdown taught us a lot about our vulnerability to supply chain shocks. It has reminded Europeans that there have only two routes to ship goods en masse to Asia and back: either by container, or by rail through Russia. We had no plan for a pandemic, no plan for a war, and no plan for when both are happening at the same time. The containers are stuck in Shanghai. The railways closed because of the war …

    “I am not sure the west is ready to confront the consequences of its actions: persistent inflation, reduced industrial output, lower growth, and higher unemployment. To me, economic sanctions look like the last hurrah of a dysfunctional concept known as The West. The Ukraine war is a catalyst of massive de-globalisation”.

    Münchau’s response is that unless we cut a deal with Putin, with the removal of sanctions as a component, he sees “a danger of the world becoming subject to two trading blocs: the west and the rest. Supply chains will be reorganised to stay within them. Russia’s energy, wheat, metals, and rare earths will still be consumed, but not here – We [just] keep with the Big Macs”.

    So again, ‘one’ searches for an answer: Why are the Euro-élites so shrill, so passionate in their support for Ukraine? And risk heart-attack from the sheer vehemence of their hatred for Putin? After all, most Europeans and Americans until this year knew next-to-nought about Ukraine.

    We know the answer: the deeper fear is that all the landmarks to liberal life – for reasons they do not understand – are about to be forever swept away. And that Putin is doing it. How will ‘we’ navigate life, bereft of landmarks? What will become of us? We thought the liberal way-of-being was ineluctable. Another value-system? Impossible!

    So, for Europeans, the endgame in Ukraine crucially must reaffirm European self-identity (even at the cost of its citizens’ economic well-being). Such wars historically, mostly have ended with a dirty diplomatic settlement. That ‘end’ probably would be enough for the EU leadership to spin a ‘win’.

    And there was a big EU diplomatic drive to persuade Putin to do a deal, only last week.

    But (paraphrasing and elaborating Münchau), it is one thing to proclaim the desirability of a negotiated ceasefire ‘as cliché’. “It is quite another to observe what actually happens on the ground when blood is being spilled to put facts on the ground …”.

    Western diplomatic initiatives are premised on Russia needing a ‘way out’, more than does Europe need one. But is that true?

    Paraphrasing Münchau again: “Did we think this through? Did the foreign ministries that drew up the plans to train and arm a Ukrainian insurgency in Donbas in the hope of weakening Russia – discuss at any point what effect their war and their expressed contempt for Russia might have on Russian public opinion? Or what ‘we’ would do if Russia simply opted instead to put facts on the ground until it finished its project … Or did we even address the possibility of Kiev losing, and what that would mean for a Europe loaded to the gills with sanctions that then would never end?”.

    The hope for a negotiated settlement has given way to a more sombre mood in Europe. Putin was uncompromising in the talks with European leaders. The realisation is dawning in Paris and Berlin that a fudged settlement is not something that benefits Putin, nor is one that he can afford. The Russian public mood will not easily accept that its soldiers’ blood was spent in some vain exercise, ending in a ‘dirty’ compromise – only to have the West resuscitate a new Ukraine insurgency against the Donbas again, in a year or two.

    The EU leaders must be sensing their predicament: They may have ‘missed the boat’ for getting a political ‘fix’. But they have not ‘missed the boat’ in respect to inflation, economic contraction, and of social crisis at home. These ships are heading in their direction, at full steam. Did the EU foreign ministries reflect on this eventuality, or were they carried along by euphoria and the credentialed narrative issuing out from the Baltics and Poland of ‘Bad Man Putin’?

    Here is the point: The fixation with Ukraine essentially is but a gloss pasted over the realities of a global order in decomposition. The latter is the source of the wider disorder. Ukraine is but one small piece on the chess board, and its outcome will not fundamentally change that ‘reality’. Even a ‘win’ in Ukraine would not grant ‘immortality’ to the neoliberal rules-based order.

    The noxious fumes emanating from the global financial system are wholly unconnected to Ukraine – but are that much more significant for they go to the heart of the ‘disorder’ within the western ‘liberal order’. Perhaps it is this primordial unspoken fear that accounts for the shrillness and rancour directed at any deviation from sanctioned Ukraine messaging?

    And Luongo’s normalcy bias in discourse is never more in evidence (Ukraine aside), than when addressing the strange self-selectivity of Anglo-American thinking about their neoliberal economic order.

    The Anglo-American system of politics and economics, James Fallows a former White House speechwriter has noted, like any system, rests on certain principles and beliefs. “But rather than acting as if these are the best principles, or the ones their societies prefer, Britons and Americans often act as if these were the only possible principles: And that no one, except in error, could choose any others. Political economics becomes an essentially religious question, subject to the standard drawback of any religion—the failure to understand why people outside the faith might act as they do”.

    “To make this more specific: Today’s Anglo-American world view rests on the shoulders of three men. One is Isaac Newton, the father of modern science. One is Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the father of liberal political theory. (If we want to keep this purely Anglo-American, John Locke can serve in his place.) And one is Adam Smith, the father of laissez-faire economics.

    “From these founding titans come the principles by which advanced society, in the Anglo-American view, is supposed to work … And it is supposed to recognize that the most prosperous future for the greatest number of people comes from the free workings of the market.

    “In the non-Anglophone world, Adam Smith is merely one of several theorists who had important ideas about organizing economies. The Enlightenment philosophers however were not the only ones to think about how the world should be organized. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the Germans were also active—to say nothing of the theorists at work in Tokugawa Japan, late imperial China, czarist Russia, and elsewhere.

    “The Germans deserve emphasis—more than the Japanese, the Chinese, the Russians, and so on because many of their philosophies endure. These did not take root in England or America, but they were carefully studied, adapted, and applied in parts of Europe and Asia, notably Japan. In place of Rousseau and Locke the Germans offered Hegel. In place of Adam Smith… they had Friedrich List.”

    The Anglo-American approach is founded on the hypothesis of the sheer unpredictability and unplannability of economics. Technologies change; tastes change; political and human circumstances change. And because life is so fluid, this means that any attempts at central planning are virtually doomed to fail. The best way to “plan” therefore, is to leave the adaptation to the people who have their own money at stake. If each individual does what is best for him or her, the result will be – serendipitously – what is best for the nation as a whole.

    Although List did not use this term, the German school was sceptical about serendipity, and more concerned with ‘market failures’. These are the cases in which normal market forces produce a clearly undesirable result. List argued that societies did not automatically move from farming to small crafts to major industries just because millions of small merchants were making decisions for themselves. If every person put his money where the return was greatest, the money might not automatically go where it would do the nation the most good.

    For it to do so required a plan, a push, an exercise of central power. List drew heavily on the history of his times—in which the British government deliberately encouraged British manufacturing and the fledgling American government deliberately discouraged foreign competitors.

    The Anglo-American approach assumes that the ultimate measure of a society is its level of consumption. In the long run, List argued, a society’s well-being and its overall wealth are determined not by what the society can buy, but by what it can make (i.e. value coming from the real, self-sufficient economy). The German school argued that emphasizing consumption would eventually be self-defeating. It would bias the system away from wealth creation, and ultimately make it impossible to consume as much, or to employ so many.

    List was prescient. He was right. This is the flaw now so clearly exposed in the Anglo model. One aggravated by subsequent massive financialisation that has led to a structure dominated by an ephemeral, derivative super-sphere that drained the West of its wealth-creating real economy, couriering its remains and its supply-lines ‘offshore’. Self-reliance has eroded, and the shrinking base of wealth creation supports an ever-smaller proportion of the population in adequately paid employment.

    It is no longer ‘fit for purpose’ and is in crisis. That is widely understood at the upper reaches of the system. To acknowledge this however, would seem to go against the past two centuries of economics, narrated as one long progression toward Anglo-Saxon rationality and good sense. It lies at the root of the Anglo ‘story’.

    Yet, financial crisis might upend that story entirely.

    How so? Well, the liberal order rests on three pillars – on three interlocking, co-constituting pillars: Newton’s ‘laws’ were projected to lend the Anglo economic model its (dubious) claim to being founded in hard empirical laws – as if it were physics. Rousseau, Locke, and their followers elevated individualism as a political principle, and from Smith came the logic-core to the Anglo-American system: If each individual does what is best for him or her, the result will be what is best for the nation as a whole.

    The most important thing about these pillars is their moral equivalence, as well as their interlocking connection. Knock out one pillar as invalid, and the whole edifice known as ‘European values’ comes adrift. Only through being locked together does it possess coherency.

    And the unspoken fear amongst these western élites is that during this extended period of Anglo supremacy… there has always been an alternative school of thought to theirs. List was not concerned with the morality of consumption. Instead, he was interested in both strategic and material well-being. In strategic terms, nations ended up being dependent or sovereign according to their ability to make things for themselves.

    And last week Putin told Scholtz and Macron that the crises (including food shortages) that they faced, stemmed from their own erroneous economic structures and policies. Putin might have quoted List’s amorphism:

    The tree which bears the fruit is of greater value than the fruit itself… The prosperity of a nation is not… greater in the proportion in which it has amassed more wealth (i.e., values of exchange), but in the proportion in which it has more developed its powers of production.

    Messrs Scholtz and Macron probably did not like the message one bit. They can see the pivot being yanked out from western neoliberal hegemony.

    The Question Of Whether Or Not To “Humiliate Russia” Is Irrelevant

    5 JUNE 2022

    The debate over this issue is actually irrelevant, however, since it presupposes that Kiev will inevitably emerge victorious in the conflict. There’s no credible indication that anything of the sort will transpire, nor was there ever in fact, since such a scenario was never anything more than political fantasy.

    Source

    The Question Of Whether Or Not To “Humiliate Russia” Is Irrelevant

    By Andrew Korybko

    Kiev reacted very angrily to French President Macron’s suggestion not to “humiliate Russia” after the Ukrainian Conflict finally ends, which prompted a media firestorm over the most optimal way to resolve hostilities between these former Soviet Republics. His proposal was interpreted as implying some variation of Kissinger’s plan whereby the status quo would return to what it was like in February before the commencement of Moscow’s ongoing special military operation, which in turn was taken to hint that Crimea and Donbass would continue to remain separate from Ukraine. That was obviously unacceptable for Kiev, hence why its Foreign Minister lashed out at the French leader.

    The debate over this issue is actually irrelevant, however, since it presupposes that Kiev will inevitably emerge victorious in the conflict. There’s no credible indication that anything of the sort will transpire, nor was there ever in fact, since such a scenario was never anything more than political fantasy. The “official narrative” upon which that wishful thinking was based has decisively shifted over the past two weeks as the second phase of Russia’s special operation began to gain ground in Donbass. It remains unclear whether that’ll lead to a game-changing military breakthrough or not, but it nevertheless debunks the speculation that Moscow will inevitably lose the conflict.

    The real question is therefore whether or not Kiev should be humiliated after everything ends. Nobody can say with full confidence on what terms that country will surrender nor when that will happen, but it’s clear that this outcome has always been the most likely. The details will largely depend on the military situation at the time that hostilities finally cease, which can’t be know for sure at this moment, just that it’ll remain among the most decisive factors. As it presently stands, Kiev has lost control of Southern Ukraine’s Kherson Region and most of Zaporozhye, which appear poised to reunite with their historical Russian homeland within the next year.

    It’ll therefore be forced to accept the loss of at least those two parts of the country along with Crimea and Donbass, which together constitute approximately one-fifth of its pre-“EuroMaidan” territory. There’s nothing “humiliating” about that though since it’s just the way that things are, especially considering that the locals there don’t even want to be part of Lenin’s unnatural mini-empire anymore anyhow. It would therefore actually be “humiliating” and even dangerous for those locals to be forced back under Kiev’s control, which Moscow would never do since it understands the real danger that this would pose for their people.

    What might be interpreted as “humiliating” by Kiev is if its US-led Western allies agree to Russia’s demand that the country be demilitarized, with the details remaining unclear but nevertheless likely resulting in a drastic reduction of this rump state’s respective capabilities. Truth be told, however, that wouldn’t objectively be “humiliating” but pragmatic since it would most sustainably ensure the peace that would follow the end of hostilities between these former Soviet Republics. Nevertheless, it might still be a tough sell for President Zelensky considering his people’s rabid nationalism nowadays, though he could always try to find a scapegoat to blame it on in order to lesson the blow to his popularity.

    Kiev is completely dependent on its US-led Western allies and therefore can’t realistically behave independently of them, at least not for long enough to make a tangible difference in whatever it might be. This is crucial to keep in mind considering CNN’s recent report that those countries are meeting with one another to hash out the details of their hoped-for ceasefire for ending this conflict, curiously without Kiev’s participation despite promising to always include it in such talks. That news very strongly suggests that they’re aware of how unpopular their proposed terms would be but that they also know that they can successfully coerce Kiev into accepting them.

    Against this behind-the-scenes context, one can better understand why the question of whether or not to “humiliate Russia” is nothing but a distraction. It serves to conveniently refocus the public’s attention towards an unrealistic scenario while the most likely one is actively being advanced. Kiev appears uncomfortable with these secret diplomatic dynamics but can’t really do anything to shape them in the direction of its interests. The best that it can hope for is to manipulate public perceptions in such a way as to draw comparisons with the infamous Munich Agreement of 1938 by artificially manufacturing the narrative that it’s been sacrificed by its allies for so-called “appeasement” purposes.

    Even that can only convince so many folks since many are already desensitized to the false comparisons between Nazi Germany and the Russian Federation on one hand and Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Putin on the other. Few in the US-led West are likely to take Kiev’s side over their own governments’, especially considering the fact that their authorities are the ones controlling the Mainstream Media narrative, not Zelensky and his clique who just play the role of puppets in this theater. World-class “perception managers” can just once again begin talking about Ukrainian corruption and fascism like they did prior to the latest conflict in order to discredit Kiev from the perspective of “Western values”.

    Zelensky is quickly becoming trapped between the Russian Armed Forces’ increasingly successful offensive in Donbass, reported pressure from his own military officials who are very displeased with his decisions over the past 100 days, and his own US-led Western allies who are supposedly hashing out the details of a potential ceasefire behind his back. In such a situation, the best-case scenario would be for him to take the initiative by unilaterally declaring a ceasefire aimed at freezing the lines of control in order to not lose any more of his crumbling country than he already has, but instead he’d rather propagate the political fantasy of “humiliating Russia” so as to distract his people for as long as possible.

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