As we all have been taught, at its creation what is today called the European Union was conceived as a “peace project.” True, its first iteration in a French-German understanding on managing trade in coal and iron was purely economic. True, a later iteration was the European Economic Community or Common Market, all of which call attention to the economic dimension. However, the framers of these institutional arrangements were motivated by the need to put an end to Europe’s century long civil war, to the cleavage between the biggest economies of the Continent, France and Germany.
Regrettably, that past is now being buried day after day as the European Institutions, in particular the Commission and the Parliament, turn the 27 into NATO by another name, that is, into a war-fighting alliance directed against….Russia under the micromanagement of Washington.
Last week we learned that the Parliament passed a resolution empowering the expulsion of Russia from the SWIFT monetary transfer network and also called for an embargo on Russian gas. It is hard to imagine any action that could do more damage to European economies by “cut off my nose to spite my face” thinking.
Continue reading “Brussels Wants War!”
President Putin’s annual address to a joint session of the bicameral legislature which was held today in Moscow with a considerable presence of invited representatives of civil society generally followed the tradition of the past two years in terms of allocation of time to domestic and foreign policy. Now as then the lion’s share of his talk was devoted to what he called the “everyday issues” that are of greatest interest to the average television viewer across the country: financial assistance to families with children, improving medical services, investments in high-speed auto routes passing through St. Petersburg and Moscow to Kazan and Yekaterinburg, keeping food prices under control under conditions of pandemic caused inflation, vaccinating the whole country.
Foreign policy and the deployment of the latest strategic weapons systems took up just 10 minutes at the end of his speech of nearly one and a half hours. But for the “Kremlinologists” among us, those last minutes were golden, meaning they contained substantive material for discussion, bearing in mind that for speeches such as this every word has been weighed in advance and nothing is spontaneous or superfluous.
Continue reading “The Foreign Policy Segment of President Putin’s ‘State of the Nation’ Address Today”
A few days ago, I mentioned that the same-day response on Russian airwaves to President Biden’s calling Vladimir Putin a “killer” was to consider the mental health of the American president, then to conclude that he was not suffering from dementia. This rough and ready appraisal of Joe Biden was based on his not showing disorientation and his apparently still good memory.
However, on reflection, it is clear that the Russian elites have concluded that the best way to deal with Biden’s verbal aggression is precisely to cast him as senile. That resonates with middle aged Russians who remember very well their own succession of Communist Party bosses who had one foot in the grave at the same time they had one finger hovering over the Red Button of their nuclear controls.
In his last years, Brezhnev may have been only in his low 70s, but he was suffering from debilities that could not be concealed from the public: wearing a bulky and visible hearing aid, speaking with a slur that was due either to a stroke or some serious dental problem, appearing puffy and walking with difficulty, Brezhnev was carried along by his aides more for their benefit than for his. His immediate successor, KGB boss Yuri Andropov, was seriously ill at the time of his appointment as General Secretary and held office for fourteen months before he was carried out feet first. Then came another member of the Old Guard, Konstantin Chernenko, who was suffering from emphysema and could barely breathe when he was elevated to the top post. He stopped breathing altogether nine months later.
Continue reading “Joe Biden Is Senile: Russia Delivers Its Verdict on National Television”
Once again I am grateful to RT International for inviting me to do a live interview that forced me to put on my thinking cap and get my mind around a key development in international relations that might have not caught my attention were it not for their prompting me.
To be specific, I was invited to comment on Boris Johnson’s presentation to Parliament two days ago of the 110 page paper entitled “Global Britain in a Competitive Age.”
That paper covers a lot of ground, but the Russian interest in it focused on one issue only: the designation of Russia as the UK’s chief security threat, while China, the other major power that otherwise has been characterized by the Collective West these past several years as being “revisionist” and “expansionist,” as well as a flagrant violator of our values, alongside Putin’s Russia, is designated in this paper merely as a “competitor.”
By their own report on the British foreign policy paper and by the nature of the questions tossed to me by the presenter, it was obvious that the policy line at RT is to hold Russia blameless and to deny that it is a security threat to the UK; to insist that Russia seeks only good relations with the UK and with the West generally.
Continue reading “Russia as the UK’s Number-One Security Threat”
“If you want peace, prepare for war!” Sergei Lavrov, 11 February 2021 speaking on cutting relations with the EU
In a televised interview on Russian state television yesterday, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov made this declaration together with the threat to cut relations with the EU if Russia’s vital economic interests were put in danger by any further sanctions they might consider imposing. His remarks were clearly calculated to turn on a light in the thick skulls of EU Parliamentarians, of the EU Commission run by former German Defense Minister von der Leyen, and of her deputy for external relations Borrell.
“Prepare for war” is an old bit of wisdom that we have heard from time to time coming from the Kremlin together with related folk wisdom such as : if you do not finance properly your own army, you will be financing someone else’s army; and if you cannot deal with Lavrov, then you will have to deal with Shoigu (Russian Defense Minister).
Continue reading “‘If You Want Peace, Prepare for War!’ Sergei Lavrov to the EU”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s State of the Union Address was remarkable in a number of ways. It marked an informal but very tangible constitutional change in European Institutions whereby the Commission becomes in practice if not in law a parliamentary cabinet. She hued as closely to the policies promoted by a majority of the MEP’s as Elizabeth II does in her Queen’s speech to the Houses of Parliament when she reads a text handed to her by the Prime Minister.
The reasons for this development are perfectly obvious. When her candidacy for president was put to a vote in the European Parliament, she barely squeaked by. This, after having spent several weeks in a charm campaign when she consulted with and listened to all the leading parties of the incoming parliament. The reason for her difficulties was what was construed as a violation of the growing parliamentary habits of the EU Institutions whereby the new President is chosen from among the candidates put up by the parties and the award is given to the party with the largest number of incoming MEPs, which was the PPE, the right of center People’s Party.
Continue reading “The New Cold War and the Marginalization of Europe”